There will be nowhere to hide - we're in the big league now.Trainer Adam Trinder on Mystic Journey's next assignment in Saturday's Makybe Diva Stakes
Birthday boy Adam Trinder is hoping he has double cause for celebration after star mare Mystic Journey tackles the $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The Spreyton trainer, who turned 40 on Tuesday, knows the group 1 race is Mystic Journey's moment of truth - the day she puts her Cox Plate favouritism on the line against some serious opposition.
"There will be nowhere to hide - we're in the big league now," Trinder said.
"All the best horses are starting to step up and everyone has the same objective."
A win over the likes of Scales Of Justice, Humidor, Hartnell and imported horses Yucatan and Rostropovich would see Mystic Journey's odds for the Cox Plate shorten even further.
She is already a clear favourite at $4.40 with tab.com.au.
Trinder is confident the mare will go into her second-up assignment in top order after two grass track gallops.
He has been given permission to work Mystic Journey on the course proper at Mowbray for the past two weekends.
She had a "nice gallop" on the grass 12 days ago and repeated the exercise on Saturday which was her final serious piece of work.
"She's really well placed at the moment," the trainer said.
"She has made good improvement from her first-up win in the Lawrence Stakes so she'll present better again on Saturday."
All-in markets -
MAKYBE DIVA: 2.10 Mystic Journey; 5.50 Scales Of Justice; 9.00 Yucatan; 11.00 Hartnell, Rostropovich; 15.00 Fifty Stars, Humidor, Kings Will Dream, Mr Quickie, Nights Watch; 26.00-plus others.
COX PLATE: 4.40 Mystic Journey; 8.00 Lys Gracieux; 10.00 Avilius, Homesman; 15.00 Danceteria, Kluger, Latrobe, Verry Elleegant; 26.00-plus others.
CUP-WINNING TRAINER DIES
Victorian trainer Russell Cameron, who won the 2011 Launceston Cup with Fast Future, died on Tuesday.
Cameron, 61, had battled Alzheimer's disease for several years.
He trained for almost 30 years and had eight group 1 winners.
Fast Future won the Launceston Cup in a three-way photo-finish from White Yard and Geegees Blackflash.
NOTHING SCRUFFY ABOUT THIS FORM
Longford trainer Peter 'Scruffy' Luttrell continued his flying start to the new season with a double at Spreyton on Sunday.
Former South Australian four-year-old Ethical Dilemma won his second race in four starts for Luttrell in the Class 1 Handicap.
And, consistent staying mare Uncovered won her second race from her past four starts in the Benchmark 64 Handicap.
Luttrell is sitting third on the premiership table with five winners and they have come from only 14 starters at an impressive strike-rate of 35.7 per cent.
He's also had five minor placings including three with Mr Churchill.
Nicknamed 'Winston' for obvious reasons, Mr Churchill's inability to win a race in Tasmania has been costly for punters - but not for Luttrell.
The former Victorian veteran has earned close to $20,000 since arriving in the state and, in nine starts since a spell, all on the synthetic track, he has not failed to take home a stake cheque.
EASY WINNERS AT LONGFORD TRIALS
Barrier trials were conducted at Longford for the first time since May on Tuesday and two Spreyton-trained horses were impressive winners.
Lesnar, who trainer Glenn Stevenson is preparing for a possible trip to Melbourne, cruised home by 3-1/2 lengths in a 1400m trial and lightly-raced mare Tessie, who is now with Leanne Gaffney, won a 700m trial by 4-1/2 lengths under a tight hold.
Stuart Gandy's speedy mare Gee Gee Queen Bee was the easiest winner of the morning, scoring by seven lengths in a trial that included quality mare Lady Pluck and Lesnar's stablemate I'm Wesley but most of the beaten runners weren't extended.
The first race meeting back on turf is still a month away, with the Tasmanian Turf Club launching its new season on Saturday night, October 12.
MOWBRAY 'KING' TO DEFEND CROWN
Newly-crowned Launceston Pacing Club horse of the year Illegal Immigrant will be looking to add to his super Mowbray record on Wednesday night.
The Troy Hillier-trained former Kiwi has been to the track 14 times for eight wins and five placings.
His only unplaced run was a fifth in the Easter Cup.
He comes off 20m in this week's Discretionary Handicap where his main rivals look to be fellow backmarker Call Me Hector and another former New Zealander, Im Compliant.
Nominal favourite Ryley Major has been scratched from the race as a precautionary measure due to a minor nasal discharge.
Illegal Immigrant had eight starts at Mowbray last season for five wins, including a heat of the Easter Cup, and two placings including a third in the Tassie Golden Apple.
He was voted LPC horse of the year ahead of four other finalists, Sunny Sanz, Courageous Katee, Awayandrideyourself and Cardinal Ringo.
The eight-race meeting is the second of four Wednesday night fixtures in September. Last week's meeting in Hobart returned better than average turnover figures.