Smart four year old trotter, Unico Crown looks on target to take out the Tontine Series Final at Ballarat, after an all the way win in his heat at Stawell last Monday.
The former New Zealander has now won two heats in the series, his previous win coming at Geelong and he looks all set to take out the $40,000 final at Ballarat on February 14.
Trained at Lara by Dean Braun, Unico Crown was taken straight to the front by driver Chris Alford and was never headed in a blistering heat at Stawell.
Braun said he always felt Unico Crown was a chance at Stawell if he got away to a good start.
"He is a nice horse with plenty of ability and I thought he would be hard to beat," he said.
"He always steps away well, so I was confident. I'm hoping he will be hard to beat in the final too."
Since arriving from New Zealand, Unico Crown has established quite an impressive record. He has put together three wins and two second placings in his five starts on Australian soil.
One of those seconds was in the final of the Central Victorian Trotters Championship at Maryborough in January.
Braun said he had always planned to set Unico Crown for the championship series when he arrived in Australia.
"That was his first big mission and he only just missed out in the final," he said.
"My main aim after that with him was to tackle the Tontine Trotters Series. He has won both of his heats now, so hopefully he will carry that form into the final."
Braun said he felt Unico Crown was still learning and would make an excellent trotter as he continued to develop.
That could open the door for the stable to tackle some big races with the youngster down the track.
"He is only four, so he's still only young really," he said.
"He's on the way up and is a very nice horse, so I think he will continue to improve. He has a good gait and a great attitude, so I believe he could go a long way.
"Fingers crossed it starts with the Tontine Final. Hopefully he stays down and trots safely, because he's definitely a chance of winning it."
Braun is planning to give Unico Crown a spell following the Tontine final, giving the gelding time to mature.
When he returns, Brain will map out a program that could include some of the big trotting races over the next six months.
"There is a good race in Sydney worth $40,000 that I could target with him when he returns," Braun said.
"I will certainly be aiming at that first and then see where he's at.
"Hopefully he will come back from the spell bigger and stronger, so we might be able to tackle some of the better races with him.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed anyway, because that's the plan with him."