Aussie News - June 19
- 19 June 2017
By Adam Hamilton
HANDICAPPING systems are a big talking point right now, whether it’s in NZ of Australia.
Harness Racing NSW unveiled its new system late last week and leading trainer Shane Tritton immediately came out with lavish praise.
“This will be the saviour of (harness) racing in NSW,” he said. “And metropolitan racing will become the place to be … horses will come from all over the country to compete at Menangle.”
Despite Tritton’s support and that of most others trainers who compete regularly at Menangle, HRNSW stressed it was just being trialled for three months – July-September this year – for comparison against the same period last year. Betting turnover, field sizes, number of short-priced favourites and stakeholder satisfaction are the KPIs with which a longer term decision will be made.
David Aiken is another training excited by the trial. “I’ve usually got five or six horses in my Menangle stable, but it could be up to 14 or 15 now with the new handicapping system,” he said.
Handicapping systems are never easy to explain, but the keys to this NSW system are:
* Horses placed in races based on stakemoney earned at their past five starts.
* Barrier draws done within those races based on stakemoney earned at past five starts.
* Up to six levels of races with staggered stakemoney down from level one to six.
* 20 per cent discount on stakemoney earned for mares to aid them in barrier draws
* 20 per cent discount on stakemoney earned for pacers when driven by concession drivers to aid them in barrier draws
The NSW industry mood seems strong around this system and it will be interesting to see if has as positive effect as Tritton predicts in the three-month trial period.
YOUNG Kiwi superstar Vincent survived a scare to win his NSW Breeders Challenge semi-final at Menangle last Saturday night.
Most expected the NSW and NZ Derby winner to stroll to the front and win as he liked, but instead outsider Geldof overraced outside Vincent once he found the front and they scorched through a 54.9sec first half.
Luke McCarthy steadied Vincent with a 28.9sec third split and ripped home in 27.2sec to hang on a win by 1.1m over the fast-finishing Pretty Hot in a 1min51sec mile.
The Victorian raiders have certainly made their impact on the NSW Breeders Challenge semi-finals.
Last Saturday week, Victorian-trained pacers won three of the six semis at Menangle and three-year-old colt Jilliby Bandit added to the strike when he caused a minor upset last Saturday night.
The superbly-bred Marg Lee-trained colt – by Rock N Roll Heaven out of former top filly Keppel Bay – came from behind the leader in a hotly-run semi to win in a 1min52.4sec mile.
The win thwarted a massive betting plunge on NSW Derby heat winner Atomic Red, who could only manage fourth after being backed from $4 into $1.60 and coming from a back row draw.
In the Challenge 3YO fillies’ division, Dont Think Twice showed why she will dominate betting in the final with a dominant al-the-way semi win in a 1min53.1sec mile.
The Breeders Challenge finals are on the same card as the Len Smith Mile at Menangle next Sunday.
IT only took former Kiwi mare Supersonic Miss two comeback runs to show she still had some serious star power.
The five-year-old strung together nine successive wins – the last six of those when switched from the Allstars barn to Kerryn Manning’s stable – before injury forced her off the track in March, last year.
Supersonic Miss returned with a good second to reigning Breeders Crown champ Rocknroll Magic at Melton on June 9, then regained winning form at the same track last Saturday night.
She smashed the clock, too. Despite sitting parked, she posted a 1min53.9sec mile rate for 1730m and ripped home in 55.9 and 27.5sec.
ONE of Western Australia’s best pacers is heading to Victoria.
Soho Tribeca, a placegetter in the big Group 1 WA and Fremantle Cups double earlier this year, is returning to the state where his career started to chase the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final at Melton.
Trainer-driver Kim Prentice confirmed the trip when Soho Tribeca returned from a spell with a gutsy third after doing all the work in slick times at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The other key race at Gloucester Park last Friday, the free-for-all, went to former Kiwi sit-sprinter The Bucket List, who swooped off a hot pace to win impressively for trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan and driver Michael Grantham.
The race was set-up for the backmarkers when Gary Hall Jr threw everything at easing favourite Beaudiene Boaz to try and cross Sheer Rocknroll at the start in a blazing 35.3sec lead time. He failed to get across, but spent plenty of petrol and dropped in behind the leader.
Beaudiene Boaz did a good job to finish a distant third, while classy stayer Our Jimmy Johnstone caught the eye by flashing home late for a close second.
Classy three-year-old Mitch Maguire continued his big season by posting his 10th win from just 13 starts this term in last Friday’s ninth event.
ONE of Australia’s biggest “buzz” pacers, San Carlo, could be a surprise raider at the Queensland Winter Carnival.
The Steve O’Donoghue-trained six-year-old has been restricted to just 16 starts by a string of injury issues, but he’s won 14 of those and looked elite at times.
Arguably his best win yet came at Bendigo last Saturday when he sat parked and toyed with a strong field in a 1min55.4sec mile rate for 2150m.
The line in the sand for a Queensland trip comes at Maryborough on Thursday when San Carlo tackles the Leo Crameri Memorial.
“That’s his next target and it’s likely he will meet plenty of classy rivals but it will also tell us if Brisbane is on or off. A victory will go a long way in making the northern trip a reality, Brisbane will be tough but it looks a good opportunity for him,” O’Donoghue told harness.org.au
“I don’t think he shocked us in anyway last week because we’ve known for some time how good he really is but to do it in the manner in which he did was the best part. He was really strong.
“And that’s his best asset; he’s a very strong horse.”
GIANT-KILLER Onlykidding snared her second Group 3 win this season when she swamped a strong field of mares to win the Frith Stakes in a slick 1min51.7sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night.
Trained and driven by Dennis Picker, Onlykidding previous won the Group 3 Ladyship Pace at Menangle on March 10.
The eye-catching run of the Frith Stakes came from former Kiwi mare Rocker Band, now in the care of Mark Jones. She rocketed home too late for a close third.
In contrast, top class mare Cyclone Kate, the $3.70 favourite, finished last and stewards queried the run and ordered veterinary tests.
IT’S not just Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark winning feature races for David Aiken’s stable.
Aiken has always liked his trotters and snared a Group 3 win when the in-form Maorisfavouriteson won the Wagon Apollo free-for-all (2240m) in a slick 1min57.4sec mile rate last Saturday night.