Amaretto Sun misses Great Southern Star
By Michael Guerin
Kiwi horseman Clint Ford was too angry to enjoy the fact his trotting star drew well in the A$250,000 Great Southern Star on Saturday.
Because he believes he and father Ken have been robbed of having two horses in the group one race at Melton on Saturday night and it is hard to argue with him.
Ford is the unofficial trainer and driver of Marcoola and took him to Australia for Saturday’s race along with stablemate Amaretto Sun.
But he was stunned on Tuesday morning when Harness Racing Victoria officials rang to inform him Amaretto Sun was only first emergency for the Great Southern Star and will need a scratching to make the field.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says Ford.
“I went online as soon as I could to look at what got in before him but the noms were taken down.
“But now I have seen the field I am sure he should be in there in front of at least three or four of the others.
“So I was pretty annoyed and all we can do now is hope for a scratching.”
Ford’s annoyance is understandable as 14 months ago Amaretto Sun won Australasia’s equal richest trotting race the Dominion at Addington, arguably the strongest trotting race in the Southern Hemisphere.
He suffered from soreness soon after and raced only twice more last season then struggled upon his return this season before bouncing back to form with a win in the Green Mile at Methven and more importantly a third in the group two Lyell Creek at Alexandra Park last.
But that has been rated inferior form to Victorian locals like Pizza Queen and Dance Craze, who have never won a major open class race, and while recent winners they were in inferior Victorian trot fields away from GSS favourite Tornado Valley and the Inter Dominions.
While Marcoola’s draw at barrier three for the Great Southern Star looks good the major problem is local champ and brilliant beginner Tornado Valley being drawn two, from where he looks a certain leader and clearly the horse to beat.
The news was a lot better for a host of other Kiwi reps, none more so than Another Masterpiece who looks to have the A$200,000 Victoria Derby at his mercy.
He has drawn to find the front and after an effortless heat win at Ballarat last Saturday is rated a $1.65 chance by Aussie bookies to win the classic.
Pat’s Delight has barrier two in the A$100,000 Bonanza, a big advantage over fellow NZ pacer Spankem, who has drawn the outside of the front line.
And Pukekohe trainer Steven Reid has fared well with Star Galleria (barrier three in the pacing free-for-all) and Utmost Delight (barrier four) in the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup.
Tony Herlihy, who will be at Melton to partner Temporale in the Great Southern Star, will drive Star Galleria while Greg Sugars has been engaged for Utmost Delight.