Top Tasmanian galloper Hellova Street clashes with a couple of genuine stars in the Blamey Stakes at Flemington, striving for his biggest win and a significant milestone.
Saturday's Group Two Blamey (1600m) has a field of five headed by dual Group One-winning Darren Weir-trained stablemates Tosen Stardom and Humidor.
If Hellova Street can upstage them and win the $120,000 first prize, he will go past $1 million prize money which his trainer Scott Brunton says will be a significant achievement.
"Myself and one of the owners, Larry Lamont, we did it in $250,000 increments," Brunton said.
"We wanted to get to $500,000, then we wanted to get to $750,000, but we were always thinking that we wanted to get to the million.
"It was a bit of a pipedream early days, and it's just been a bit of an ongoing joke. But it's no joke, we're nearly there.
"We're excited and he's been a great horse to us, because if he had gone through the sale ring he might have fetched about two-grand, if he was lucky, as a yearling."
Hellova Street has 16 wins and 15 placings from 37 starts.
He won at Group Three level at Flemington last spring while at the corresponding meeting last year he won the Listed March Stakes (1400m).
Having won the Thomas Lyons and Mowbray Stakes again in Tasmania this year Brunton believes the gelding is at the top of his game.
"I think it's probably about time we stopped trying to dodge the better ones and just see how we stand up against them," Brunton said.
"We've never met them at the peaks of our powers, in my thoughts.
"I think going into this race, the way he is and with the spring carnival he had, I just thought this was the perfect opportunity.
"I felt he's probably earned the opportunity to have a real crack at them.
"I've got the fingers crossed and I think he can run a great race."
Hellova Street was at $8 on Friday behind Tosen Stardom ($2.20) and Humidor ($2.40).
"They are both incredibly good animals. They're going to be a good yardstick," Brunton admitted.
He said Hellova Street was not there to make up the numbers.
"I would prefer to meet these horses at handicap level and not at set weights and penalties, but this is the perfect race for him to go to," he said.
"We're really hoping for the best."
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