Wesley Vale trainer John Keys will be taking a close interest in Saturday's $2 million Caulfield Guineas before he heads to Mowbray for the opening night meeting of the new season.
Keys has smart sprinter O'Lonh Star engaged in the main race on the Launceston program and believes the speedy gelding is "getting close" to another win.
But four hours earlier his attention will be focused on the group 1 race at Caulfield where his brother Ken will be represented by Tasmanian-bred Soul Patch.
A winner of two of his three starts, the latest at Flemington, Soul Patch will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn and is a $16 chance.
The colt was bred and raised at Armidale Stud and is by 2013 Cox Plate winner Shamus Award from the Flying Spur mare God Bless Us.
Ken Keys bought him at the 2018 Tasmanian Magic Millions sale for $45,000.
The trainer knew early on that he had a good horse. Before Soul Patch had even raced, he returned to Tasmania to buy his half brother at the 2019 sale.
"Ken told me he was here to buy a particular horse and, when I asked him which one, he said 'if I told you, I'd have to kill you,'" John Keys recalled.
Ken Keys got his horse but it cost him. Soul Patch's half brother, by Street Boss, went for $95,000.
The trainer is hoping Soul Patch can go one better than his 2014 Caulfield Guineas runner Rich Enuff who finished a close second to Shooting To Win.
Soul Patch's dam God Bless Us now has a weanling filly by Armidale stallion Alpine Eagle and has been served again by the same stallion.
STAR IS NOW 'TROUBLE-FREE'
The fact that O'Lonh Star has had only 25 starts as a seven-year-old is testimony to the fact he's had a few issues.
But John Keys couldn't be happier with his present condition.
"He's 100 per cent trouble-free at the moment," the trainer said.
"We took him to Melbourne for his first-up run (on August 3) but he had a problem - he choked down basically.
"So we left him there for a fortnight to have some tests, including galloping him with a camera looking down his throat, and they found nothing, which was good."
A month later, O'Lonh Star was placed behind Ruettiger and Gee Gees Jet at Spreyton before a close second to Gee Gee Double Dee three weeks ago.
"I'm not confident he'll win this week because Ruetigger is a handy horse but it looks a race between the top three," Keys said.
MILLION-DOLLAR BID ON LINE
The chance to have a second crack at a $1 million stake cheque is on the line for Launceston-owned greyhound Jamella Jet at Wentworth Park on Friday night.
Jamella Jet has drawn box 4 in the fifth semi-final of the Million Dollar Chase and is rated a $6.50 chance in the Greyhound Recorder's market.
If he wins, he advances to next week's $1 million-to-the-winner final which is the world's richest greyhound race.
Owner David Booth had the thrill of watching Jamella Jet run in last year's inaugural final when the greyhound put up an amazing performance.
He missed the start and settled a distant last before storming home to finish second, earning connections $100,000.
For the first time, this year's race will be shown on free-to air television with a one-hour coverage on 9Gem.
DAVE SUITED BY DROP IN CLASS
In-form pacer Northview Dave could get punters off to a good start at the first meeting of the Devonport season on Friday night.
From the strong Bianca Heenan stable, Northview Dave will appreciate a drop in class when he returns to claiming grade in the opening race.
His last run was in the open-company Show Cup at Mowbray last week when he finished a respectable sixth to Ryley Major.
Prior to that, Heenan had taken the eight-year-old to Victoria where he won a heat of the Battle Of The Claimers at Melton before a handy sixth in the final.
Heenan has only had Northview Dave since early August when she claimed him after an unplaced run in Hobart.
He ran second to Remember Joe at his first start for the stable before winning at his next outing.