Aussie News - 12 October

By Adam Hamilton

IT was the win that had it all.

Three-year-old filly Pink Galahs did the unthinkable beating Australia’s best open-aged trotting stars in the $50,000 Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint (1720m).

And the post-race interview with trainer-driver Matty Craven was raw, emotional and about the greatest advertisement you’d ever get for harness racing.

The love for the horse, pride Craven had in his filly and overall buzz of the win totally overcame the young horseman.

“You wouldn’t think it would make me so emotional, but it has. She’s just something else this filly,” he said as tears flowed freely.

“I’d love to see her heart when she leaves this earth, it’ll be huge. If all horses tried as hard as her, this game would be easy.”

The pint-sized Pink Galahs, by colonial stallion Skyvalley, landed the one-one trail and squeezed into the open rounding the final bend before storming home to snatch a head win over the leader and hot favourite Dance Craze in a 1min54.3sec mile rate for 1720m. Just 0.6sec outside Keystone Del’s track record.

Most trainers wouldn’t dream of running a three-year-old against Group 1 open-aged trotters and, yes, this is an elongated season, but it was still remarked for Pink Galahs at just her 16th start. She’s won 10 of them with four placings.

Dance Craze had to bustle to lead from the pole, something she hasn’t done often, and was excellent in second.

Tough Monarch looks on target for a return trip to NZ where he won at Group 1 level on Cup Day last year after a ripper third.

Andy and Kate Gath’s stars Tornado Valley and McLovin both disappointed in ninth and eighth spots.

Both will be fully vetted tomorrow (Monday), especially Tornado Valley, who pulled-up “quite distressed” in the words of Kate Gath to stewards.


ANTHONY Butt didn’t hesitate to declare Elite Stride the fastest and best young trotters he’s driven.

But, just as quickly, he added the three-year-old Muscle Hill colt has a long, long way to go to be spoken of in the ilk of champion trotters like Lyell Creek and Take A Moment.

“He’s not the complete package, but his speed and potential is amazing. If he keeps developing he could be something special, but he’s got a few million and a stack of big open-class races to win before I’d compare with those others,” Butt said.

Elite Stride unleashed a 26.7sec split down the back straight to blast to the front and then was nursed to a three-metre win over the promising Red White An Bloom in the $30,000 Group 2 Holmfield (1720m) in a 1min56.6sec mile rate.

Bred and owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati, out of their former US trotting mare Real Babe, Elite Stride raced 10 times for nine wins, a second and earned $100,190.

He’s got all the big three-year-old trotting races to come, including the Victoria Derby and Breeders Crown.


THERE was a lot to like about Mighty Conqueror’s racetrack return.

The reigning WA Cup winner opened a campaign aimed at defending that crown with a terrific second to Convert Denario at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

It was his first run since winning the WA Cup in January and came after being scratched from a race two weeks ago.

While Convert Denario led and dictated, Mighty Conqueror was trapped deep early, eventually found the spot outside the leader and kept coming to be beaten just 2.5m in second spot.

They went a solid 1min55.9sec mile rate for the 2130m and ripped home in 56 flat and 27.8sec.

Mighty Conqueror will certainly improve off the run and he’ll need to when he meets WA’s benchmark horses at the moment in Chicago Bull and Shockwave in coming weeks.

His new stablemate, former top class Kiwi mare Wainui Creek, also impressed despite being beaten at her first WA run for Team Bond.

Wainui Creek sat outside classy local Millwood Molly and failed a whisker to run her down in what turned into just a sprint home in 56 flat and 27.3sec against the mares.

Most Kiwi horses improve with their first experience around Gloucester Park and, as you’d expect, Wainui Creek looks like she’ll be as good as any mares in WA.


THE signs were terrific with injury-plagued superstar Turn It Up’s comeback run at Albion Park last night (Saturday).

Having his first run since winning the Harness Jewels 4YO final on June 1, last year, Turn It Up settled last from an outside back row draw and came right around the field in blistering closing splits to finish third to Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One.

New trainer Vicki Rasmussen, who now leases the former Auckland Cup winner, would have been thrilled with Turn It Up’s own closing splits of 54.3 and 26.9sec. 

It was the first time in his 16 start career he’s finished further back than second, having won 11 of them.

Colt Thirty One controlled the race from outside the leader and won well by 4.4m from the leader, Secretagent Tycoon. Turn It Up was 10.3m from the winner.

In other Queensland news, another injury-plagued star Hectorjayjay showed he was close to a racetrack return with a sharp Albion Park trial win last Friday.


YES it’s a different and elongated season, but Australia may never have seen a two-year-old crop quite like this.

At Menangle last night, Victorian trainer Mick Stanley’s two star youngster Bar Room Banta and Soho Almasi brilliantly won their NSW Breeders Challenge semi-finals.

Bar Room Banta smashed the Australasian two-year-old, posting a stunning 1min50.3sec mile, which took 1.1sec off Ignatius record.

On loan to Craig Cross and driven by Luke McCarthy, Bar Room Banta still looked quite strong on the line, but runner-up Tasty Delight was mighty in second spot, just 1.1m from the winner.

The other colts and geldings semi went to exciting local Watts Up Sunshine, who actually finished second to the exciting He Aint Fakin, but got the nod on protest in a 1min52.9sec mile.

Soho Almasi stalked her main danger Arma Renegade in the second of the fillies’ semis and cruised past her in a 26sec last quarter at the end of 1min52.6sec mile to win by 6.6m.

The first fillies’ semi was a stroll in the park for the brilliant Anntonia in a cosy 1min54sec mile. She looks the only possible threat to Soho Almasi in the final.

Earlier in the night at Melton, Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin flexed their muscle by snaring the first five home in the $50,000 Vicbred Home Grown final for 2YO fillies.

The times were off the charts with winner Ladies In Red’s 1min51.9sec mile rate for 1720m taking a whopping 1.6sec off Nostra Beach’s 2YO fillies’ race record at Melton.

As good as Ladies in Red was snatching a last-stride win over a very brave Tough Tilly, who sat parked, Tonkin insisted their were a vintage crop. That’s evidenced by just 2.6m separating their first five home in the record time.

Tonkin and Stewart also grabbed first (Act Now) and third (Major Moth) in the Home Grown colts and geldings final in a 1min53.2sec mile rate.


YOU can also throw Idyllic in the conversation of our best two-year-olds.

It might only have been a ho-hum Geelong race last Friday, but Idyllic equalled the all-aged track record as a two-year-old at just his sixth race start.

And that’s after sitting parked, running a 58.3sec middle half and still running home in 57.3sec.

The Clayton Tonkin-trained youngster rated 1min55.6sec for the 2100m, matching the record of his ex-stablemate Dee Denuto.

At the same meeting, Tiger Tara’s baby brother Stingray Tara made it three wins (and a second) from his four Aussie runs for Geoff Webster.


IT was a close call, but classy former All Stars pacer Im Anothermasterpiece made a winning debut for new trainers Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars at Melton last night.

Remarkably well graded given his Kiwi form in the top races, the entire led, dictated and just staved-off the promising Denis William along the sprint lane to win by a head.

“He’s only been here about 10 days and we’re still learning about him. It feels like he might be stronger than he is fast, but at least he go the job done tonight,” Sugars said.



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