Protostar Hopefuls In Action

The inaugural running of the Ladbrokes Protostar is starting to take shape with only two slots yet to be finalised.

On Tuesday at The Creek, two confirmed runners were in action with Fate Awaits stepping out at the trials, while Sweet On Lexy returned to racing with an impressive victory.

Confirmed for the Gemma Hewitt Racing slot, Sweet On Lexy is trained by Bernie Hewitt who has made the annual pilgrimage to some warmer Queensland weather from the depths of the Bathurst winter.

“He’s got plenty of ability,” Bernie Hewitt said about the Sweet Lou two-year-old.

“He is a horse that likes to run strong quarters and he keeps running, that is the ability he has got.”

That ability was on full display when tackling older horses from outside the front line, the gelding allowed to balance up early before being sent forward with 1000 metres to travel.

Taking control after an opening half of 59.1, Hewitt increased the tempo to a 28.4 third split before opening up in a 27.4 closing quarter in posting a 22-metre winning margin.

Hewitt was pleased with the first up performance and buoyed by the fact that the gelding will take benefit from the run moving forward.

Sweet On Lexy impressive first up at The Creek.

Stepping out in a trial was the Grant Dixon trained Fate Awaits, the first horse confirmed for the Protostar when Ladbrokes locked away the colt back in April for one of their two slots as the naming rights sponsor.

In similar fashion to Sweet On Lexy, Dixon did not push his star two-year-old in the early stages, allowing him to balance and keeping him in wider going when making a move at the 1000.

Moving to the front with 800 metres to travel, Fate Awaits ran a steady third quarter in 29.5 before zipping home in 28.4 seconds to pull well clear of the opposition.

At Wagga last Friday, Bittersweet was making a return to the track for her first run since claiming the Bathurst Gold Tiara in March, with the Brad Hewitt trained filly tacking older opponents.

Settled in the running line, the smart three-year-old Chart Topper charged across from gate eight before taking the trail, then angling off to move to the front in the stretch with, Bittersweet attacking the line strongly in the closing stages to finish just a half-head from Chart Topper on the wire.

The Captaintreacherous filly was able to run her own last 800 in 54.35 seconds and her last 400 in 26.97.

Sanchez was a winner earlier in the day at Wagga, the Nathan Jack trained and driven colt breaking maiden ranks with a strong victory from gate seven in 1.54.6.

Owned by Terry and Ros Cluse, the colt was first up since the Gold Crown Final and looms as a leading contender to fill the Protostar slot held by Cluse.

Fate Awaits and Grant Dixon following victory in April

At Melton on Monday night, both Cigano and The Highlight Reel were at the trials, the Clayton Tonkin trained pair running in the slots of GSM Racing and Jamie Durnberger-Smith respectively.

Cigano was sent straight to the front in his work out, pulling clear over the closing stages with a last 800 in 56.9 and his last 400 in 27.26.

The Highlight Reel settled three back in single file order in his hit out, angling to the passing lane in the stretch with the closing splits in 54.86 and 27.16, just failing to run down the seven-win four-year-old Hugo Maguire

My Ultimate Barney is the confirmed runner for Daren Garrard Racing and the Jarrod Alchin trained colt was having his first run back from a spell at Newcastle last Friday.

Leading easily from gate one, the son of Downbytheseaside was never bothered in front, peeling off some slick closing fractions of 27.7 and 27.3 to post a 22.4-metre winning margin.

The Highlight Reel remains the $2 pre-post favourite with Ladbrokes, with Cigano and Fate Awaits on the second line at $3.50.

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