Trained by Darren McDonald, Nova Surf was the only bitch to contest the final of the recent Group 1 Maturity Classic at The Meadows where she placed a gallant second behind Aston Trivett after overcoming early trouble.
A black bitch by Surf Lorian out of Nova Keroma, Nova Surf has won 11 of her 19 starts and has only once found herself outside the placings. She comes into the series as a last-start 29.96 Sandown winner, despite being only moderately away at box-rise.
The local threat appears likely to come from either Nova Surf’s kennelmate Regal Blaze, a recent Sandown day meeting winner in 29.72 and the talented Mystical Soul who registered impressive recent wins in 30.08 at The Meadows and a scintillating 24.63 at Sale to capture their recent Oaks final.
NSW raiders Certain Magic and Brislane appear set to play a big hand in the series and notably have the edge on their southern rivals in terms of racing experience. Certain Magic, in particular, boasts an impressive strike rate with nine wins from her 19 career starts, and she has managed to hold her own against Group opposition in the recent Ladies Bracelet and Peter Mosman series at Wentworth Park.
Disturbia will carry the hopes of Western Australia under the care of the Moe maestro Peter Giles. She also has racing experience on her side and looks well placed in her heat to progress to the next round.
The winner of the Group 1 Hawkins Media Laurels will receive $50,000 and a free service to leading Queensland sire, donated by studmaster Tony Apap on behalf of the A-Team. The series is Australia’s richest race for age-restricted bitches, and was first run back in 1964. The Laurels boasts some of Australia’s greatest race bitches on its Honour Roll, including Sandi’s Me Mum, Cheltenham Lass and Paua To Burn.
Champion Queensland chaser Queen Lauryn will share the limelight over the coming weeks for Laurels sponsor Steve Hawkins when she contests the McKenna Memorial over 715m. Fresh off a stirring win in the Group 1 Gold Cup at Albion Park, the ‘Queen’ has franked her potential as one of the country’s premier stayers.