The Group 2 Summer Plate is the distance event on the Paws Of Thunder card each year, and as a result it regularly attracts a quality field of local and interstate stayers.
The great Fanta Bale ventured to Sydney in 2018 and won the Summer Plate, while smart types No Donuts (2016) and Space Star (2015) have also captured the event.
Interstate dogs have dominated in recent times with Queenslander Double Gee winning in 2019, and in the 2020 edition of the Summer Plate, Jeff Britton - who won the race with Dublin Bull in 2017 – prepared True Detective to take out the feature staying event.
But it was a victory for the locals in 2021 when the Mark Gatt-trained Stanley Road overcame a chequered passage to surge to the lead swinging for home and hold off the fast-finishing Zipping Truvy.
Gatt had always believed Stanley Road would turned into a smart stayer, and the Group 2 Summer Distance Plate was the first major step in his staying career.
Stanley Road and Gatt were hoping to go back-to-back having qualified for the 2022 Summer Plate, but the Victorians were dominant in the final with leading trainer Jeff Britton collecting the quinella in the feature with Mepunga Ruby and Hank The Hustler.
Mepunga Ruby was brilliant from box rise, leading clearly, never looking like being headed, and running a slick 41.64s.
Stanley Road ran on to grab third.
2022 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate winner Mepunga Ruby with trainer Jeff Britton
2022 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate winner Mepunga Ruby