Aussie News - 10th August

By Adam Hamilton

IT looks like we have another player for the big league.

The hype on former Kiwi gelding Balraj this time last was monstrous and a switch to the Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy team could see him live it up to it.

The first signs were breathtaking.

Balraj blasted off the gate to lead, handed over to stablemate and Miracle Mile placegetter Alta Orlando and ran him down.

That’s despite Alta Orlando running home in 53.7 and a scorching 25.7sec splits.

Balraj made-up a length and won by 1.2m, so he’s run at least a 25.3sec split.

It was Balraj’s first win at his first run for Cross, but his 11th from just 18 starts and his ninth from just 13 Aussie runs.

“We knew he’d run well, but to do that was pretty amazing to a horse as good as Alta Orlando, who had race fitness on his side,” McCarthy said.

“He’s shown in some of his work with King Of Swing he’s got terrific speed, but we wanted to see him at the races before we started to get too excited.”

Balraj simply adds to the embarrassment of riches in the Cross/McCarthy barn with the likes of King Of Swing, Cash N Flow and Alta Orlando..

On Cash N Flow, the remarkable former Kiwi pacer will chase a staggering 10th successive Menangle free-for-all win next Saturday night.

The Mach Three gelding has won his past nine, all over a mile, and will stick to the sprint trip again this week.

His times have been amazingly similar through the streak with his quickest being the last start career-best 1min49.2sec and the “slowest” his 1min50.6sec two starts back.

Cash N Flow’s broken the magical 1min50sec barrier in four of those nine wins and five times through his career.

“It looks another good race for him with Alta Orlando having the week off and King Of Swing not having his second run back until the week after,” McCarthy said.

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MIGHTY trotter McLovin earned a short spell after yet another gritty and outstanding win at Ballarat last night

The former Kiwi seven-year-old squared the ledger with his now arch-rival Wobelee at 2-2 from their four clashes this campaign when he sat parked and dug deep for a 2.2m win in a 1min59sec mile rate for 2200m. 

Unfortunately Wobelee was back to his old tricks, galloping in the score-up and chasing hard but still missing the start by 15m or so.

He loomed down the back the final time, but the chasing took its toll and he tired late for sixth.

Trainer Andy Gath said McLovin would have a break now with champion stablemate Tornado Valley set to resume at Bendigo on Saturday week.

“Mickey (McLovin) was terrific again tonight, he can have a little break now while Tornado Valley gets back into it,” Gath said.

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EXCITING former Kiwi three-year-old Patronus Star stretched his unbeaten run for WA’s Team Bond to five races at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

It was a major win too, snaring WA’s richest “metro maiden” race and beating older horses by leading throughout from the pole in the $50,000 San Simeon.

The WA Derby winner has built nicely through three wins this campaign with a view to WA’s biggest four-year-old races, headed by the Group 1 Golden Nugget, which are now pushed back to January.

Greg Bond has made no secret of fact he’s got a lofty opinion of the son of American Ideal, who won two of seven runs for Gavin Smith in NZ before joining Team Bond.

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OF Chicago Bull’s 10 wins on the comeback trail, the latest was right up with the easiest.

The rising eight-year-old absolutely jogged to the 53rd win of his 81 start career in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m, only really quickening for 55.9 and 27.5sec closing splits.

What’s remarkable after the serious nature of the back injuries he sustained in NZ in late 2018 is the fact Chicago Bull loves racing every week.

Friday’s win was the eighth consecutive week Chicago Bull has headlined Gloucester Park’s free-for-all field. He’s won six of them and finished second in the other two,

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ZAHVEN Banner has been a real project horse for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy.

And the work and patience is being rewarded.

It was 10 months ago, when Cross and McCarthy, sent the now six-year-old to Queensland for a stint with trainer Jack Butler, when the pacer first signalled his potential.

He almost broke Im Themightyquinn’s track record with a blazing 1min50.8sec mile rate for 1660m at a midweek meeting.

Zahven Banner’s won eight races since, the most important of them the Group 3 Agnes Banks Pace by an increasing 15m in a slick 1min50.3sec mile last night.

He’s raced by Peter O’Shea, boasts ownership in stars like Mr Feelgood, Cruz Bromac and Bling It On.

Zahven Banner was one of five winners on another huge night at Menangle for Cross, along with Balraj, Pocket Of Terror, First String and Shortys Mate.

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LANCE Justice is thriving in Victoria’s COVID-19 zoned racing.

Justice is zoned to the “metro” region, specifically Melton, and snared the trifecta in the free-for-all – all of them Kiwi imports - for the second successive week last Friday.

Jean Luc went one better than his second the previous week to Love Ina Chevy with Rishi third, when used the sprint lane to beat the leader, Rishi, with Love Ina Chevy third.

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TALENTED former Kiwi mare Doubledelightbrigade started the next phase of her career in sparkling style at Albion Park last night.

The Bettors Delight five-year-old won just two of 19 NZ runs for Andrew and Lynn Neal before heading to Aussie and the Mick Formosa stable, best known for former strong open-class performer Ultimate Art.

Doubledelightbrigade won nine races for Formosa before connections decided to do they what did so successfully with Ultimate Art, send the mare to Queensland for a stint.

Despite doing all the work at her first run for top Queensland trainer-driver Grant Dixon, Doubledelightbrigade powered clear to win by 7.1m in a slick 1min52.7sec mile rate for 1660m.

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