Still A Star took home the major share of the prizemoney but Mystic Journey earned equally high praise after the two Tasmanian mares produced outstanding performances at Flemington on Saturday.
With the help of a 10-out-of-10 ride by former Launceston jockey Luke Currie, Still A Star showed her usual tenacity to score a last-stride win in the $300,000 Rose Kingston Stakes.
Mystic Journey came from worse than midfield, recording the best closing sectional times of the meeting, to finish third, beaten only 3/4 length.
Both mares will now head to their ultimate spring assignment, the $1 million Empire Rose at Flemington on October 30, in peak form.
The Adam Trinder-trained Mystic Journey has firmed from $11 into $8 second favourite for the group 1 race, while tab.com.au has shortened Bill Ryan's Still A Star from $26 to $11.
Still A Star's career-best win earned connections $180,000 and took her career earnings to $873,000.
Mystic Journey's third place was worth $27,000 and took her earnings to $4,002,100.
Luke Currie said winning a group 2 race for Ryan, his godfather, was probably the most emotional moment of his successful career.
"Bill, his wife Mary and daughter Monica are hands-on and do all the work themselves,"he said.
"And to have Monica coming over with Still A Star because she knows her, is invaluable."
Currie got Still A Star into a perfect trailing position from a wide draw but said he was never over-confident of winning.
"I thought being second-up might have made her a bit vulnerable," he said.
"They rolled along and she was under pressure a fair way out.
"I was a little bit concerned that they might start to fold and a swooper might get us but she got her head out on the line.
"Hopefully, we can go on and win one more this time in."
Mystic Journey came from about eight lengths off the lead on the home turn and returned closing sectionals of 33.44, 22.55 and 11.54.
Each split was the fastest of any race on the program.
Still A Star will be chasing a $1.6 million payday in the Empire Rose.
First prizemoney for the race is $600,000 and she is now eligible for a $1 million bonus.
The bonus will be paid if the Empire Rose winner was successful in any of 12 designated lead-up races.
Two of those races were run on Saturday, the Rose Of Kingston and the Edward Manifold Stakes won by three-year-old filly Elusive Express.
There are another five qualifying races remaining.
Former Tasmanian pacer Longfellow has qualified for this week's $200,000 Victoria Derby final at Melton.
The Emma Stewart-trained colt came from one-out and three-back at the bell to finish fourth to stablemate Act Now in the third heat at Bendigo on Saturday night.
It was only his second start for Stewart and followed a super impressive midweek win at Melton nine days earlier.
Bred by the Rattray Family Trust and Barry Stewart, Longfellow won in Hobart in August before changing hands.
He is a half brother to Fioki (26 wins) and Juniper (seven wins).
Tasracing has announced a major change to the Tasmanian greyhound of the year award.
From October 1, the only performances that will be taken into consideration are those when the greyhound is owned or trained in Tasmania.
Last year's greyhound of the year, Handsome Prince, won the award for his performances after he was sold by Dilston owner-trainer Pat Ryan.
He was owned and trained interstate when he won the Million Dollar Chase final in Sydney.
The greyhound of the year selection panel will be Peter Hayes (co-ordinator), Rick Puccinelli, Colin McNiff, Michael Hoyle and Duncan Dornauf.
The winner will be announced at the combined awards night - Launceston Cup dinner on January 29.
The Launceston Cup has been brought forward next year, with the heats on Janaury 24 and the group 2 final a week later.
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