TRAINER Barry Campbell rates Alfa the best horse he has prepared during his career.
``He was everything a racehorse should be and I doubt if I will get another one as good again,'' he said.
Tonight the Tasmanian Turf Club honours the former star with the running of the $30,000 Shaw Alfa Crystal Bowl and Campbell has his chance of winning the race for the first time with unbeaten youngster Grand Tycoon.
``Obviously it's a race I would dearly like to win and I've had to be content with second a couple of times over the years,'' he said.
Grand Tycoon, like Alfa, is unbeaten as a two-year-old, and tonight he will be aiming for his fourth win.
``I've got my reservations he will ever be as good as Alfa but he has a couple of similarities in that he does everything right and is virtually bomb-proof,'' Campbell said.
Campbell prepares Grand Tycoon for regular stable clients Charlie and Wendy Langmaid, and he has put together his sequence of wins at the Elwick track.
``He's been up since October and has done a very good job,'' Campbell said.
``I've managed to give him a few days on the grass here and there and I'll be guided by how he runs in this race before deciding what to do with him.''
The obvious target is the $100,000 Elwick Stakes on February 3.
Grand Tycoon is well treated under tonight's set weight conditions, and with Brendon McCoull retaining the ride he is a hot $1.35 favourite.
For almost a decade the Tasmanian Turf Club has named the race after Alfa, who went through his two-year-old season in 1995 unbeaten.
He took out the Debutante Plate, Gold Sovereign Stakes, Silver Ingot, Tilford Stakes and Foster's Classic before being transferred to Bart Cummings, where he became a group 1 winner.
Now 19 year old, Alfa remains in good fettle and is a member of the Victoria Police mounted unit.
Visiting Queensland jockey Chris Whiteley has a book of seven rides including Brighton-trained filly Miss Elsa in the Alfa Crystal Bowl.
Whiteley and his Deloraine-born wife, Melanie, are in Tasmania visiting family and friends for the next few days, and he made himself available for rides tonight.