CO-TRAINER Scott Brunton is hoping that three runs since an injury-enforced layoff will have top Tasmanian stayer Banca Mo close to his peak for Thursday's $200,000 Warrnambool Cup.
EM``If he's fit enough and on-song, I've got no doubt that he is the best horse in the race,'' Brunton said yesterday.
``His fitness is the only query.
``When we've taken him over (to Victoria) previously, he's had a lot of miles in his legs.
``But, he hasn't had the same preparation this time because, since he had a bone chip removed from his hock, we've been trying to protect him.
``He's been going well but he's been under-done.''
Brunton said that Banca Mo's first two runs after his spell were ``great'' but his fading last-start seventh in the Easter Cup at Caulfield ``came as a bit of shock.''
``He hit the front on the home turn but blew out almost immediately,'' the trainer said.
``We're hoping that run over 2000 metres will have brought him on.
``Up until then, we had been giving him three weeks between runs, so the quicker backup (12 days) should work in his favour.''
Banca Mo has topweight of 59.5 kilograms on Thursday after carrying 58kg to victory in the same race 12 months ago.
``It's a big weight but it's not our main concern,'' Brunton said.
Brunton and his father, David, are coming off a near career-best performance in Hobart on Sunday when they trained five winners.
``We got six winners one day and you can't be greedy but I thought we were a bit stiff not to get six on Sunday,'' Brunton said.
``Vigilante's effort to finish second was terrific.''
BURNIE is almost ready to host its first night harness meeting. The installation of lights at the Wivenhoe Showgrounds is nearing completion and a trials session has been scheduled for Friday week.
If all goes well, there will be a seven-race program, with Sky Channel coverage, on May 16.
Most of the funding for the project, which will benefit a large number of sporting clubs in the region, has come from the Burnie City Council and state government.
THE 2014 Tasmanian Youngbloods series starts in Hobart on Sunday, with further rounds at Devonport the following night and Launceston on May 11.
Two heats will be conducted at each venue and will be penalty-free races.
The annual event is open to drivers under 23 years of age at the start of the season.
This year's competitors will be Alex Ashwood, Nicholas Brockman, Duncan Dornauf, Dylan Ford, Samantha Freeman, Lyarna Graham, brothers Braden, Justin and Matthew Howlett and Brady Woods, with Taylor Ford the emergency.
BEAUTIDE'S win in the $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on Sunday took his career earnings to $1,338,837.
Although records based on prizemoney are purely academic, he is now the highest-earning Tasmanian-bred pacer of all time.
Thorate won $1,329,345 between 1986 and 1992 when prizemoney for most races was significantly lower than it is now.
Trainer James Rattray confirmed after the race that Beautide would now be spelled and prepared for another tilt at the Miracle Mile and Interdominion.
FORMER top class Tasmanian-bred pacer Villagem won his first race for 19 months at Bendigo on Saturday night.
Villagem was a multiple group 1 winner in his prime, taking out the Vicbred Super Series final as a three-year-old and the Chariots Of Fire and Breeders Crown at four.
He was also placed in the 2010 Miracle Mile behind Smoken Up and Blacks A Fake.
However, he lost form the following year after battling a series of allergies and has since changed stables several times.
He is now trained by Trevor Monk at Junortoun near Bendigo.