He’s battled the best and now Kentuckiana Lodge pacer Watermelon Sugar gets his shot at the lower grades in his return to racing.

The Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained pacer returns for his first start as a three-year-old in a low-key event at Addington on Friday afternoon.

Watermelon Sugar has tuned up for his return with two trials and he is ready to run a nice race fresh up.

“He raced all the big bangers right the way through last year and he never seemed to be able to draw a marble in any of the better races,” Cran said. 

“But he deserved his shot at that level and he ran some handy races.”

“We haven’t had much more luck with draw department this time but we won’t be using that as an excuse back into a lower grade race.”

“He’s forward enough to be very competitive and with the touch of class he has compared to some of his rivals we are expecting him to be on the pointy end of things.”

Kentuckiana Lodge line up another smart three-year-old on Friday in Franco Sinatra.

The pacer was tenacious in his last start at Methven, digging in for a gutsy second.

Franco Sinatra takes on hardy types in race 9, but he wouldn’t be in the event if the Dalgetys didn’t think he was up to it.

“He got beaten by a horse with a better run at Methven but full credit to him because he does look a smart animal,” Cran said. 

“We lost no confidence in our horse there, that was a tough effort.”

“He has come through the run well and he seems to be getting better all the time.”

“From the 3 gate we would like to think he would take a bit of catching.”

Kentuckiana Lodge also lines up Rakasharp and Darby O’Gill in race 5 on Friday.

“Rakasharp has been right there in two runs back and she’s taken good improvement from them.”

“From the 4 hole she should be right on the speed and I would expect her to give us a good sight.”

“Darby O’Gill had no luck in his last start at Addington and we have copped the visitors draw this week.”

“From 9 he is going to need some luck to get into it, but he is very bright and well in himself.”

Carter Dalgety takes the reins behind most of the team tonight with Jonny Cox to drive Darby O’Gill.