Allamericanlover triumphs in Queen of Hearts

By Michael Guerin

Don’t bother asking James Stormont the last time he won a Group 1 before Allamericanlover’s pinnacle moment in the $100,000 Rosslands Stud Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park on Friday.

Because the Pukekohe horseman had no idea.

Stormont produced what turned out to be a perfect drive to get Allamericanlover up along the passing lane to grab favourite and leader Manhattan in the shadow on the post in Auckland’s richest mare’s pace.

For those keeping score it was Stormont’s first Group 1 since Susie Maguire won the Sires’ Stakes Fillies Championships at Alexandra Park on May 4, 2007, so over 15 years ago.

While enjoying the moment after the race he admitted that his stablemate from the Team Telfer in Darling Me with Tim Williams aboard actually helped him, far from intentionally.

“I was in the running line and Tim pushed me down on to the marker pegs,” smiled Stormont.

“At the time I wasn’t thrilled about it but then I ended up three back on the inner and thought we still had a chance.

“When she got that gap she showed a good horse’s speed and it is very satisfying and I appreciate the opportunity.”

The win continued Stormont’s long-held record of being a harness racing ladies’ man, with all but one of his career Group 1s coming with females, both pacers and trotters.

Allamericanlover is a very good mare but also one who seems better every preparation and has now won 11 of her 22 starts and her win wasn’t just another Group 1 for Team Telfer but took them two clear in the premiership starting what could be a crucial weekend.

“We will have horses racing at all three meetings up here before the end of the season and plenty down south so we have our shot,” says Steve Telfer.

He will also send a team to Menangle in February and that could include either Allmericanlover or Darling Me, who disappointed on Friday night, but not both.

“We will split the mares and one of them will definitely head to Menangle and the other stay here for the mare’s race down south,” says Telfer.

“We will have to discuss that with the owners but also get to the bottom of what happen with Darling Me tonight, that clearly wasn’t the real her.”

Telfer was originally also puzzled by Chimichurri’s rank failure as a hot favourite in race 4 but says a recent change of feed could mean the talented pacer is doing too well so expect improvement next start when he has either had less food or more work.

While Allamericanlover’s win left little in the way of excuses Manhattan was brave in second and now has a Group 1 placing to add to her future broodmare resume while Harder Than Diamonds gets the same after trailing the leader in what is very much of job well done by trainers Andrew and Lyn Neal and driver Andre Poutama.

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