Two former New Zealand pacers look set to fight out the $75,000 Tasmania Cup after group 1 performer Triple Eight made light work of a 30m handicap in Sunday night's second heat in Hobart.
His arrogant win - eased right down in the closing stages - sets the scene for an interesting clash with first heat winner Willie Go West in next Saturday night's final.
It will be a battle between a proven horse that has made an Inter-Dominion final and a lightly-raced newcomer who will be getting a handy head-start.
Driver Greg Sugars had Triple Eight away quickly from his back and he was in sixth place by the time the field had settled down.
Sugars then wasted no time whipping around to the lead and was given no cause for concern as the $1.35 favourite cruised home by 2m from another Victorian-trained runner, Bullys Delight, with local Cool Water Paddy 6m away third.
The final margin was not indicative of the ease of the win, as Sugars applied the brakes over the last 100m.
Triple Eight was having only his third start for trainer Jess Tubbs - Sugars' wife - since arriving from New Zealand.
Sugars went into the race confident of success, telling the Tasracing web site that Triple Eight looked perfectly placed.
"He has performed at the highest level in New Zealand for most of his career and has done a lot of his racing over the long trips and in standing starts," the driver said.
The Tubbs-Sugars team also scored an easy win in the $12,000 3YO Fillies Championship with Momentslikethese.
The $1.20 favourite scored by 8m from Stepping Stones and Most Perfect Major and will now advance to the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks on Saturday night.
Regular Tasmanian visitor John 'Bulldog' Nicholson produced a minor upset in the other feature race, the $12,000 Tasmanian Guineas.
The Victorian trainer-driver led all the way on Alby Two Chains who was only a $7.00 chance but nonetheless the second outsider of the field.
He scored by 4m from stablemate Sebs Choice ($3.80) with Rocknovertime ($5.00) 2m away third. Favourite Helikaon ($2.90) was a neck away fourth.
IGNATIUS OUTSPED IN HOT MIRACLE MILE
Top Tasmanian pacer Ignatius ran seventh in the $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle on Saturday night.
The Todd Rattray-trained gelding drew barrier 2 and was left needing a miracle soon after the start when he was beaten for gate speed by polemarker The Black Prince.
The Black Prince held the front only briefly before being headed by odds-on favourite King Of Swing, leaving Ignatius awkwardly placed three back on the pegs.
He had nowhere to go in the home straight and ended up 11.2m behind King Of Swing who won his second successive Miracle Mile in 1:49.2.
Fellow Tasmanian star Ryley Major continued his Victorian campaign in the Free-For-All at Melton on Saturday night when a close fourth from a second-row draw.