By Adam Hamilton
JIMMY Rattray’s quest for a third Inter Dominion crown gains more momentum at Menangle tomorrow (Monday).
Rattray, who won back-to-back titles with the great stayer Beautide, could have two runners in the upcoming Auckland Inter Dominion with Harjeet and Ignatius.
Harjeet looked good winning a Menangle trial in steady time last Monday and now it’s Ignatius’ turn to step-out at Menangle tomorrow.
Ignatius hasn’t raced since winning the NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO final at Menangle in powerhouse style at Menangle on June 30.
“I’m happy with them both at this stage. It’ll be good to get this trial into Ignatius and see where he’s at,” Rattray said.
Ignatius looks classes above his five rivals in the opening 1609m trial at Menangle.
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INTER Dominion trotting champ Tornado Valley added to his bounty of feature wins with last night’s Group 3 Chris Howe Trotters’ Cup.
Driver Kate Gath blasted him off the gate and it was hassle-free after Tornado Valley wrested the lead from Red Hot Tooth and dictated terms in front.
The former Kiwi was nursed to the line to beat Red Hot Tooth by two metres in a comfortable 1min59.2sec mile rate for 2240m.
Tornado Valley has won three of his four runs this campaign and 30 of his 86 lifetime starts with almost $520,000 in earnings.
“We’re happy to keep him at home while McLovin goes to NZ. He just doesn’t enjoy the travel, even in the float to the races at home, let alone if we took him to NZ,” trainer Andy Gath said.
It’ll be interesting when McLovin returns from NZ and clashes with Tornado Valley.
“Who’s the better of the two? I honestly don’t know. Before this campaign I’d have said Tornado Valley, but McLovin keeps improving,” Gath said.
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THE excitement continues to build around injury-plagued star The Storm Inside.
In between at least two major injury setbacks, the Emma Stewart-trained entire has raced 16 times for 14 wins and two seconds.
And he obliterated the track record winning last Friday night’s Swan Hill Mile, pacing 1min52.4sec and taking 1.1sec off Amajorjo’s record.
Stewart has openly spoken on a longer range Miracle Mile plan.
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KIWI-BRED gelding Zahven Banner turned a ho-hum afternoon Albion Park meeting into something so much better last Friday.
One of a few horses Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy took north to campaign in Brisbane, Zahven Banner blazed to an easy win over 1660m in a scorching 1min50.8sec mile rate.
It was – wait for it – just 0.3sec outside Im Themightyquinn’s track record.
The six-year-old of Bettors Delight has shown some promise, but that was next level stuff at his sixth win from 23 starts.
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IT was little more than trackwork for Kiwi import Wildwest to stretch his unbeaten record to seven races at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Gary Hall Sr’s son of Raging Bull led from gate two, dictated and roared away to win by 19.6m over another highly-talented pacer, Bletchley Park, a brother to Bling It On.
Wildwest has assumed top seed in Hall Sr’s stable and maybe overall for December’s Group 1 Golden Nugget after stablemate Major Trojan was sidelined by injury.
On the same card, it was great to see the talented Vampiro return to winning form in the Howard Porter Memorial, using the pole to lead throughout for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and driver Colin Brown.
It was a quinella for the stable with the much-travelled Ana Malak, who was first-up back in the barn after a mixed Victorian campaign, ran a fantastic race after sitting parked in a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 2130m.
The enigmatic El Jacko added to a good night for the Bonds by returning to his best form and easily winning the seventh event in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 1730m.
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JILLIBY Chevy looks set to make up for lost time.
A couple of years back, trainer Marg Lee and her family felt there was nothing between Jilliby Chevy and eventual Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile placegetter Jilliby Kung Fu.
Both have had injury issues since, but “Kung Fu” banked more before being sidelined.
Jilliby Chevy, now a six-year-old, returned from a spell with an impressive Melton win in good company last night (Saturday).
It took his record to 11 wins from just 26 starts with another eight placings.
Driver Jason Lee took Jilliby Chevy to the front from gate three with main danger, former classy Kiwi pacer Sicario, on his back, but they ripped home in 55sec and 27.9sec and the leader was never in danger.
Sicario ran second with Emma Stewart’s promising pacer Maraetai an eye-catching third.
Another impressive winner on the night was Stewart’s former star juvenile Hurricane Harley, who made it 15 wins from just 25 starts.