Meade's Magical Moment

By Adam Hamilton

THERE were high expectations in Victoria’s deep south-west the region could be celebrating Group 1 glory at Melton Saturday Night

But the bulk of those hopes sat firmly with Victoria Derby favourite Lumineer, trained at Childers Cove, three hours south-west of Melbourne.

Just 20 minutes up the road at Cudgee, dairy farmer John Meade was plotting his own Group 1 moment in Australasia’s biggest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, with emerging trotter Sparkling Success.

Meade, who has long trained trotters as his hobby outside of milking cows, had found the horse he’d been dreaming of.

He’d nursed Sparkling Success back from an injury which sidelined him for a year as a late four-year-old and headed to Melton with an real confidence despite a back row draw (gate 10).

Sparkling Success and unheralded young driver Chris Svanosio did the rest.

After the leaders set solid early splits, Svanosio summed-up the race perfectly and whizzed around the field to sit parked outside leader Vincennes where he controlled the race.

Realising he had those out wide struggling, Svanosio went for home rounding the home bend, but it enabled Tony Herlihy to find clear air on Temporale from three pegs and launch his challenge.

Sparkling Success was strong to the wire, Temporale wobbled a little under pressure and Meade’s gelding scored by 1.2m in a sharp 1min58.7sec mile rate for the long 2760m.

“I don’t know what to say … I can’t believe it,” Meade said moments after the win. “I don’t plan on milking cows tomorrow. We’re having a proper party. Everyone is invited.”

The extra layer to win was Svanosio, who has fought back from a shock, career-threatening illness less than two years ago.

He spent almost two months in hospital once doctors realised crippling back pain was being caused by a rare condition called cerebrospinal fluid leak.

The typically modest Svanosio played down his own role and switched the focus to Meade.

“Given my past couple of years, I was thrilled just to be in such a Group 1 race, let alone winning it, but this is about Meadey and the way he’s managed this horse,” he said.

It was just Svanosio’s second Group 1 win, the other also coming on Sparkling Success in the Maori Mile at Bendigo on January 6.

Sparkling Success has raced just 30 times for 15 wins, six seconds, four thirds and earned $364,020.

Temporale ran a fantastic race for second, but had his chance after the cosy trip.

The other Kiwi raider, Speeding Spur, settled well back and was never in the contest before finishing 25m from the winner in eighth spot.

Most of the key players from the Great Southern Star will meet again in next Saturday night’s Group 1 Dullard Cup (2240m) as part of the huge Hunter Cup meeting at Melton.

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