Aussie News - 11 January
By Adam Hamiton
THE resurrection of classy former Kiwi trotter McLovin has created a “good” problem for Kate Gath.
With a string of major trotting races looming, most notably the Great Southern Star on February 6, Gath will inevitably have to choose between McLovin, rising star Majestuoso and long-time stable star Tornado Valley as her drive.
McLovin showed he was right when he sat parked and scored arguably the best win of his career in the Group 1 Maori Mile at Bendigo on Saturday night.
Despite doing all the work outside the leader, McLovin clocked a 1min54.2sec mile – just 0.1sec outside Tornado Valley’s race and track record.
McLovin ran past star mare Red Hot Tooth who led and held-off another glamour mare, Dance Craze, along the sprint lane, to win by a head in closing splits of 55.7 and 27.6sec.
The win gave Team Gath their third successive win in the Maori Mile with Tornado Valley having won the past two.
“It was a huge run, his form over the short trip is super. I won’t say I was confident of winning knowing we’d have to sit parked, but I was confident he’d run a great race,” Kate Gath said.
“He’s really in the zone at the moment, his work at home this time in has been fantastic.”
Majestuoso was scratched from the race after hanging in trackwork and not pleasing the stable during the week, but he’s got time on his side of the upcoming features.
Kate Gath confirmed Tornado Valley was close to a return.
“He’s almost ready. He’s getting older and time will tell if he’s still right up with the very best of them,” she said.
Asked if she had a preference to drive when they clash, Gath said: “Hopefully they are all going well at the time and then it’ll be a matter of choosing then, but McLovin is right there with them at the moment.”
X X X
EMERGING star Wolf Stride bounced-back from a couple of costly defeats to impressively win the Group 2 Bendigo Cup and effectively snare a Hunter Cup berth in the process.
And the win in Saturday night’s feature was the first “major” in Victoria for the training partnership of Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith.
Butt touted Wolf Stride as a budding Grand Circuit player early last year and it’s all starting to come together.
It was a big effort to come from an outside back row draw, three (albeit with cover) for the last 1300m and still power home to win.
Wolf Stride enjoyed the genuinely run affair with a mile rate of 1min55.8sec for the long 2650m trip, just 0.9sec outside the record Cody Bailey set in the Cup last year.
The rejuvenated Fourbigmen ran a fantastic race for second for Emma Stewart and Kate Gath and his run served to underline the strength of the form around Lochinvar Art.
Fourbigmen’s previous run was second to Lochinvar Art – beaten 30.5m – in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final on New Year’s Eve.
X X X
GIFTED pacer Bletchley Park is starting to emerge in his own right.
Long known as the baby brother of superstar performer Bling It On, Bletchley Park blazed his way to a 16th career win, this time at Group 2 level in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
It took his earnings past $310,000 and underlined the training genius of hobbyis Stephen Reed, who took on Bletchley Park from his father Mike at the end of 2019.
Stephen Reed is best known for rejuvenating Lovers Delight to run second to Lennytheshark in a Perth Inter Dominion final, but Bletchley Park represents the best opportunity he’s had yet given he is still just a five-year-old.
Bletchley Park had to burn through a 26.6sec opening quarter to hold the lead from gate two for Lindsay Harper and a scocrging 54.8sec first half, but kept finding to beat WA Cup hero Vultan Tin by 3.3m in a 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1720m.
The 1min52.4sec mile rate was just 0.8sec outside Chicago Bull’s track record.
Owner Albert Walmsley praised Reed’s work with Bletchley Park.
“All credit to Stephen Reed for improving Bletchley Park with beach work at Bunbury. He has blossomed since we transferred to Stephen las year,” Walmsley told the West Australian newspaper.
“He thrives on being kept in a paddock most of the time.”
Walmsley ruled-out a Hunter Cup or Miracle Mile tilt in coming weeks,.
“We’ll keep him racing in Perth racing even if the border restrictions are lifted. He’s suited at Gloucester Park and can continue winning here.”
Bletchley Park’s dam, Alldatglittersisgold, has had eight foals to race, all winners with Bling It On (49 wins and $1.88mil) and Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling (21 wins, $854,490) being star performers.
X X X
RECENT Kiwi import The Croupier snared a Group 3 win for Craig Cross, but upstaged one of his stable “glamour boys” in the process.
Chariots Of Fire favourite Expensive Ego was $1.25 favourite to make it four wins from as many starts for Cross, but did a power of work from a wide draw and was nosed-out by The Croupier right on the wire.
It was an improved effort by the $61 outsider who could only manage fourth in his heat of the Group 3 Agnes Bank Equine series a week earlier.
The son of Roll With Joe, who won four of his 25 NZ runs, has raced five times in NSW for Cross for two wins, a second and a third.
Expensive Ego lost no admirers after working three-wide from the outside draw then eventually sitting parked and fighting hard late in a slick 1min50.9sec mile.