Aussie News - 14th Oct

NEW Zealanders will get to see Australia’s new buzz trotter McLovin, but just not for as long as first expected.

Trainer Andy Gath confirmed an NZ raid was on the cards after McLovin returned from a spell and overcame a torrid run to win the $50,000 Group 1 Bill Collins Trotters’ Mile at Melton last night (Saturday).

But, the change is the decision not to stay there for the Auckland Inter Dominion.

“No, he’ll come back home after Addington,” Gath said. “We’ve decided not to go on to Auckland because when we worked him the reverse way to prepare for the Rowe Cup earlier this year, he didn’t enjoy it.”

McLovin showed huge potential in his first Aussie campaign for Gath, but it’s clear he’s come back a better horse.

“He’s come up really well. We thought it was a big ask from the wide draw over the sprint trip tonight, but he’s been so well it didn’t totally surprise us,” driver Kate Gath said.

“He’s so versatile. He’s won a good sprint race for us before even though we think he might be an even better stayer.”

McLovin drifted back from a wide draw, but Kate Gath launched a three-wide run from the 1100m.

“They went so slowly early, I just had to get into the race,” she said. “He was so strong, he just kept coming and coming.”

McLovin hit the front and held-off three-time Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer, who sprint-laned, to win by a head in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1720m.

Former North American mare Lily Stride, now trained and driven by Anthony Butt, ran on well for third.

Hot favourite Tough Monarch sat outside the leader (Red Hot Tooth), but was battling before the final bend and tired for sixth in a run well below his previous two fantastic Melton wins.

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THE Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross Melton splurge spread beyond winning the Victoria Cup.

Their Victorian pacer Cruz won the Preux Chevalier free-for-all, which was effectively the Victoria Cup consolation.

“He ran a terrific race at Kilmore and we didn’t think he’d have been out of place in the Victoria Cup if he’d got a run,” McCarthy said. “He’s going really well.”

Cruz held-off David Aiken’s pair Audi Hare and Shelby Bromac to win.

Former Kiwi pacer Sicario was favourite. He led, then took a trail midrace and ran home just fairly for sixth at his first run from a spell.

The eye-catching run came from Queensland visitor Tennyson Bromac, who was checked early and stormed home late without seeing much daylight to finish fifth.

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IT’S been a tough few months for top WA trainer Gary Hall Sr.

First he had to shelve feature race plans and contemplate retirement with his pint-sized superstar Chicago Bull.

Then, despite winning the free-for-all at Gloucester Park with the improving Speed Man last Friday night, Hall Sr delivered some more awful news for the stable.

Star four-year-old Major Trojan, one of the most exciting horses in the state, has been sent to the spelling paddock for six months with a “slight bow to a tendon.”

So that’s the end of the Golden Nugget and potentially a crack at the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups.

“It happened (last) Wednesday, he’s gone amiss and is going for a six month spell. He’s being gelded Tuesday and going out. I wouldn’t say it’s serious, but any bowed tendon is a bad thing,” he told RWWA’s Tim Walker.

“It’s now up to Eloquent Mach and Wildwest to fly the flag for me in the Nugget.”

Hall Sr was pleased Speed Man, himself a former classy young pacer, stepped-up to use gate one, lead throughout and win the free-for-all last Friday.

“I thought he’d have the pace to lead and he’s good enough to beat those horses he raced if he leads,” he said. “He’s improving all the time and looks like our best chance for the big races in January.”

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THE talented Joes Star Of Mia enjoyed a few of NSW’s big guns spending the weekend in Melbourne.

Steve Turnbull’s gelding worked to the front and clocked slick times winning the 2300m free-for-all in a 1min55sec mile rate, beating the in-form Loorim Creek.

It was also great to see the promising and speedy Gods Spirit lead throughout in a 1min52.1sec mile to open the night.

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EMMA Stewart makes no secret of the fact she thinks injury-plagued pacer The Storm Inside is a bit special.

And we got a glimpse why when the six-year-old thrashed a handy field at Melton last night.

The Storm Inside opened-up to win by 11.5m and posted a scorching 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2240m.

There was an early hope he may have made the Victoria Cup field, but now the sights move to races like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile later in the season.

He’s raced just 14 times for 12 wins and two seconds.

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