Trainer Adam Trinder has feature-race ambitions for two promising three-year-olds that gave him a double at the opening meeting of the new season at Spreyton on Sunday.
Trinder won the 3YO Maiden with Michbar and the Class 1 Handicap with Warrior Prince, both horses returning after spells.
Michbar, ridden by apprentice Thomas Doyle, overcame a four-wide run to score impressively and Warrior Prince, ridden by David Pires, wore down former Victorian galloper Bandinelli to score a narrow but gutsy win.
Trinder said he almost scratched Michbar after the gelding drew the outside gate.
"My initial thought was that barrier 11 over 1000m was going to be too complicated," the trainer said.
"When there was a couple of scratchings, I decided to run him but, after they'd gone 100m, I was questioning whether I'd done the right thing."
Michbar couldn't get in and, with none of the three horses on inside prepared to concede, he was posted for the rest of the race.
"Thomas couldn't do anything else, really," the trainer said. "It was just a matter of rolling with the tide and taking your chances.
"He certainly did it tough.
"He's a nice little horse who has made good improvement since last time in when he ran fourth in the Magic Millions.
"If he hadn't bucked just after the start of that race I thought he might have run second, if not won.
"I don't think there's much between him and Warrior Prince who we hold in high regard.
"I'll be disappointed if there's not something in the future for him but, unfortunately, the two horses are going to clash at some stage down the track."
Trinder's double was one of many at the opening meeting of the new season.
Leanne Gaffney continued her good form when she scored with Up Wind and Balearic; Bill Ryan doubled up with Look To The Future and Sh'bourne Renegade and Scott Brunton and his partner Tegan Keys took winners Runaway Girl and Dunmining home to Seven Mile Beach.
David Pires, Ismail Toker and Brendon McCoull all rode doubles.
GOOD FIELDS FOR CLASSIC HEATS
The heats of the prestigious Illingworth Classic highlight the 10-race greyhound meeting at Mowbray on Monday night.
Although the club would have preferred more than two qualifying divisions, the quality is good and should ensure a very competitive $14,000-to-the-winner final the following week.
Ava Wine, a 29.74 winner at the track, heads the Greyhound Recorder's predicted market on heat 1 but is not ideally drawn in box 3 and will need a clear run.
Dashing George will be having his third run in eight days after an eye-catching third to Wynburn Lethal and Fabulous Baroque in last Monday's Shane Yates Memorial Cup and a second to Just Browsing in Hobart on Thursday night when he again finished strongly.
Inner Circle is coming off a smart win at Devonport and Highland Wonder was only narrowly beaten by the in-form Siberia at his last start.
Wynburn Lethal has drawn box 2 in the second heat and, if she begins as quickly as she did last week, could make it four wins in a row.
Handsome Prince has a middle draw for the second week in a row but should be hard to beat with a trouble-free trip while the lightly-raced Vintage Fame has to be respected at his first start on the track.
NOTHING SHALLOW ABOUT THIS PACER
Exciting pacer The Shallows made a sensational return to racing in the Rating 66-75 in Hobart on Sunday night.
After starting from outside the second row, the four-year-old settled at the rear before Broadmarsh trainer-driver Heath Woods started a three-wide run at the bell.
With 400m to go, The Shallows still had most of the field in front of him but he produced a withering finish to run down the well-supported leader Resurgent Storm and score by just over a metre.
The last 800m was run in a quick 56.7 seconds.
The Shallows has now won 10 of his 21 starts and, but for the COVID-19 uncertainty in Victoria, would have races in Melbourne at his mercy.
A great front-running drive by Mark Yole saw Full Speed Ahead ($34) hold out 30m backmarker Ryley Major in the main race.
The nine-year-old was having his first start for trainer Zeke Slater after being claimed last week.