Stent dominates again

By Matt Markham

Colin DeFilippi is looking forward to the opportunity to end a longstanding argument next month.

He and wife Julie’s outstanding trotter Stent continued his golden season with another Group One victory at Addington last night in the Fred Shaw Memorial New Zealand Trotting Championship.

Our best square gaiter only further underlined his dominance – coming from a long way off leader Master Lavros at the home turn to run him down with plenty to spare in a display of sheer speed that is unrivalled in this part of the world.

And while speed has forever been the major key in Stent’s career, DeFilippi is hoping to put to bed questions around whether or not he can stay at the ultimate distance of two miles in the Rowe Cup.

“I know he can stay, all really good horses can stay  and to be fair I’m getting a bit tired of hearing that he can’t,’’  DeFilippi said.

“When you look back over all his performances over two miles they haven’t been bad.

“The Dominion two years ago was my fault and I have quite openly said that, then this season he was battling with an asthma issue which I have no doubt was hindering him.

“But I thought his run in the Rowe Cup last year was very good, plus, he’s a better horse now than what he was 12 months ago.’’

Such is the dominance of Stent at the moment that if there was a Rowe Cup market open today he would be a short-priced favourite and last night’s performance would only have enhanced that.

Backed into incredibly short odds off the back of his Great Southern Star victory, there were a few moments for punters to be concerned.

Two false starts – which resulted in the late scratching of Kincaslough – left a number of horses, Stent included, a little fractious round at the start and DeFilippi admitted he got a little concerned when his charge began to get quite keen.

“It wasn’t ideal…he got pretty wound up by it all.

“But I managed to get him settled enough and he was fine once we got up behind the gate again.’’

Beaten for speed early, DeFilippi played the patient game early and settled just off the speed.

Master Lavros found the front after about 600 metres and kept up a solid tempo before kicking away rounding the final bend.

“We had a bit of ground to make up when we straightened up but I knew his speed would take him close.

“He really stretched out and found the line.’’

After more than 12 months of frustration Mark Jones painted the picture of a man who had just won the New Zealand Cup following the performance of Master Lavros – who trotted the best he has for long time.’’

“That’s a lot more like it and I’m rapt with his performance that’s really only his first run – bring on Auckland.’’

Sheemon was his usual honest self in running third while performances from King Denny, One Over Da Moon and particularly Alley Way were all full of merit.