Aussie News - 11 Nov
By Adam Hamilton
POTENTIAL superstar Ride High marked two comebacks with his $75,000 Group 2 4&5YO Championship win at Melton last night.
The entire was first-up after 16 months sidelined by a suspensory ligament injury following his Breeders Crown 3YO win.
And his trainer, Clayton Tonkin, had his first runner in his own name for almost 15 years, having been the silent partner with Emma Stewart for so long.
“I’ve got a special connection with this horse and it just felt right to take out my licence again for his comeback,” Tonkin said.
Driver Greg Sugars used gate two to lead, controlled the race with a cosy 62.8sec middle half then zoomed home in 53.7 and 26.8sec to win, albeit by just a half-neck.
Virtual stablemate Hurricane Harley smashed the clock, running his own last half in 53.4sec to almost rundown Ride High, while another Emma Stewart runner, Tam Major, was third after trailing the leader.
The race lost plenty of gloss at the start when Victoria Cup runner-up and Auckland Inter Dominion contender Colt Thirty One galloped and effectively took no part in the race.
Ride High’s win was his ninth from just 10 starts (he ran third in the Group 1 Vicbred final at his only defeat) and it will be fascinating when Tonkin opts to try him at the elite level, potentially in races like the Hunter Cup and/or Miracle Mile.
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TRAINER Craig Cross had half the field in Menangle’s feature race last night (Saturday), but didn’t punters any favours.
That’s because the outsider of his quintet, the much-improved Wrangler, stormed to victory as a $61 shot over stablemate and $1.65 favourite Cash N Flow.
Little Rascal grabbed third to make it a trifecta for Cross.
The scorched over the mile in 1min49.9sec.
Steve Turnbull’s two Auckland Inter Dominion contenders, Atomic Red and Conviction, ran fourth and seventh respectively.
Atomic Red was terrific after leading at just his second run back from a long spell and finishing just 5.8m from Wrangler.
Wrangler’s win was the fourth on the night for Cross, following Admiral Bronski, Under Worked and Bettor Enforce.
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GREAT Southern Star winner Dance Craze just did enough to make a winning return at Melton last night (Saturday).
The Muscle Hill mare led home a trifecta for trainer Anton Golino and the Yabby Dams team in the Group 3 La Coocaracha free-for-all with Destinee Jenilou second and Amour De Frere third.
Another classy trotter to win on the night was former superstar juvenile, Wobelee, who clocked a 1min59.6sec mile rate for 2240m.
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TEAM Bond won the big race at Gloucester Park last Friday night, but just not with the horse punters hoped for.
It was Vampiro, the outsider of Greg and Skye Bond’s three runners in the $50,000 Group 2 JP Stratton Cup, who poked his head out on the line to snatch a head win over stablemate and favourite El Jacko.
Their other runner, Ana Malak, was the run of the race after sitting parked in quick time and fighting on strongly for a close fourth.
They mile-rated a slick 1min54.7sec for the 2130m trip.
Driver Colin Brown challenged for the lead early on Vampiro, then took a trail on Ana Malak and finished strongly in a 55.8sec last half.
Team Bond will be a major force in January’s Fremantle and WA Cups with last night’s trio along with buzz pacer Mighty Conqueror heading its charge.
Another impressive winner on the night was much-travelled five-year-old Bill Haley.
The Kiwi-bred created a big impression during a short Queensland stint before heading to Debbie Lewis stable in WA where he’s unbeaten in three runs.
Bill Haley is still racing through the grades, but has elite speed and could be a major race player.
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BUZZ Kiwi-bred Wildwest is turning the tide for top WA trainer Gary Hall Sr.
In recent months he’s lost stable stars Chicago Bull and Major Trojan to injury.
But, such is his stable depth, Wildwest has quickly stepped-up.
The four-year-old son of Raging Bull made it eight wins from as many starts with by far his best and biggest victory so far at Pinjarra last Monday.
Wildwest drew wide on the back row in a cracking field, but driver Gary Hall Sr showed his confidence on the gelding by making a midrace move to sit parked outside the talented leader, Patrickthepiranha, who was dictated terms.
Just when it seemed Patrickthepiranha was doing enough, Wildwest lifted late in closing splits of 54.8 and 26.7sec to snatch a half-head win in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2185m.
It was the win of a very serious horse.
And WA’s string of four-year-old feature races, headed by the Group 1 Golden Nugget, are just around the corner.
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INTER Dominion champ Tornado Valley found a 50m handicap beyond him in the Group 3 Yarra Valley Trotters Cup last Thursday.
It was the rejuvenated Magicool who continued trainer-driver Chris Svanosio’s recent red hot form, by popping out of the trail to beat the leader, Father Christmas.
Tornado Valley chased hard, but was a never a winning hope before closing strongly late for third.
The Group 3 Yarra Valley Pacing Cup went to Emma Stewart’s in-form Code Black, who was simply too good despite sitting parked in a 1min59sec mile rate for 2650m in wet and miserable conditions.
Lance Justice’s underrated Rishi ran second while former classy Kiwi pacer Sicario was third.