Novacastrians Animate and Lochita set to lock horns in an absorbing tussle over 1400m at the Scone Race Club

Cameron Crockett resumes his promising filly Confinement at the Scone Race Club on Tuesday.
Cameron Crockett resumes his promising filly Confinement at the Scone Race Club on Tuesday.

IT might just prove one of the stronger Class 1 form lines anywhere around the country, and certainly a showdown worth watching from the moment they enter the yard until the winner hits the line.

Rival Novacastrians - beautifully bred three-year-old gelding Animate from the Kris Lees stable, and emerging four-year-old mare Lochita from the Jason Deamer yard - lock horns in an absorbing tussle over 1400m at the Scone Race Club on Tuesday, February 11.

And, while both are only having their fourth start on a likely heavy track, the long and sweeping run home at the Bunnan Road track is a picture perfect battleground, with the winner almost certain to push on towards a shot at provincial championship glory.

Animate, by Kentucky Derby-winning Animal Kingdom out of the well performed mare Flowerchild, didn't arrive in time charging home late first-up at Port Macquarie.

But, the addition of blinkers and extra journey are both big plusses, although unlike his main rival, a wet track will be unknown territory.

Drawn one barrier position further out, Lochita, by the former champion Lonhro out of an Encosta de Lago mare, has already stamped her heavy track credentials surging home at Taree to win her maiden first-up wearing down smart Toguchi who was then only beaten a nose at her next start.

Both runners will settle back in the field and aim to power down the middle late, and if one of the two doesn't win, you're bound to hear a pin drop in the Upper Hunter.

Earlier, the in-form Scone stable of Stephen Jones debuts impressive three-year-old filly and two-time trial winner Beauty Betty in a 3YO Maiden Plate over 1000m to open the meeting before neighbouring trainer Cameron Crockett resumes his promising filly Confinement off two sharp trials in another 3YO Maiden Plate.