Aussie News 15 July

By Adam Hamilton

LUKE McCarthy first made his name at Albion Park and wound back the clock with a dominant display at Brisbane’s home of harness on Saturday night.

McCarthy drove five winners, including landing teaming with Kiwi horseman Andrew Stuart to jag the $75,000 Group 2 Queensland Oaks (2130m) with emerging filly Sociable.

McCarthy also teamed with Victorian trainer Dean Braun to win two other features: Duplicated in the South East Derby and Carlas Pixel in the Fleur De Lil for mares’.

It was the second year in a row McCarthy has won the Oaks, last year he drove the Braun-trained Shartin to win it. She’s since gone on to be a megastar performer in the US.

Sociable’s continued the terrific recent strike rate of Kiwis in the Queensland Oaks, having won four of the past seven. The others being: Nek Time (2016), Fight For Glory (2015) and O Baby (2012).

It took a glorious drive for McCarthy to extricate Sociable from a three pegs pocket and launch late to nab a gallant NSW raider Major Occasion and win the Oaks by a half-neck in a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2138m.

Carlas Pixel, already a winner of the Group 1 Ladyship Mile this term, underlined the strength of the Victorian mares’ crop when she crushed her rivals in the Fleur De Lil.

Just a week earlier she had finished a distant third to the immensely exciting Tell Me Tales in her Vicbred final, but this time she came with a sustained three-wide run from midfield to win by 10.7m in a 1min53.5sec mile rate for 1660m.

It was just 0.5sec slower than Tact Tate went winning the Sunshine Sprint two races later.

Duplicated’s South East Derby win was arguably the performance of the night, albeit he strolled to the front and dictated, but he still roared home in 54.6 and 26.8sec to thrash local hero and Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One by 11.4m in a 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2138m.

Colt Thirty One, unbeaten in his previous 14 Albion Park runs, sat parked and never looked like testing the winner.

The other Albion Park feature, the Group 2 Queensland Trotters’ Cup, produced a huge upset with Matty Craven’s Victorian raider Our Dreamlover overcame a scratchy start to win easily as a $48.40 shot.

“We thought he’d be competitive, but winning certainly surprised us a bit. You’ll take those when they come,” Craven said.

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SHANE Tritton will resist the temptation to change plans and tackle Saturday’s Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park with emerging star Gotta Go Ya Hu.

The awful injury to Soho Tribeca and My Field Marshal’s flop in the Sunshine Sprint combined with Gotta Go Ya Hu’s blazing Menangle free-for-all win last Saturday set tongues wagging,

“I think he’d be competitive, but we’ve got a long term plan because we like him so much,” Tritton said from his US holiday. “We’re looking at this as a gap year for him, a chance to learn all about racing before we throw him in the deep end.”

Gotta Go Ya Hu, a four-year-old raced by NZ’s McKay clan, made it 16 wins from just 36 starts when he stormed home from near last in his own 54.4sec last 800m to beat rejuvenated stablemate Mach Beauty in a 1min51.7sec mile.

The focus of the race was last-start Group 1 Len Smith winner Cruz Bromac, who had to burn a 26.7sec lead split from an outside draw, but still ran well below his best by weakening for a 12m seventh.

It’s doubtful on that run trainer Kevin Pizzuto would send him north for the Blacks A Fake this week.

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IT was a race that had it all.

Gloucester Park’s Golden Slipper assembled the best crop of WA juveniles in recent history and certainly delivered.

In the end, it was stirring and even controversial drive to the wire between the two benchmark babies, with Kiwi-bred Franco Edward just holding-off the regally-bred Bletchley Park by a half-head.

But it didn’t end there.

Bletchley Park’s driver Mark Reed, frustrated by a checkered passage down the home straight, fired in a protest against Kyle Harper on Franco Edward.

The twist was that any interference to Bletchley Park was actually caused by Its Rock And Roll, who tried for a run in between Franco Edward and Bletchley Park.

The protest was dismissed, but Harper was fined $400 and cautioned to make more care.

Franco Edward, by American Ideal out of Changeover mare Edinburgh Franco, is raced by leviathan owner Rob Watson and trained and driven by Harper.

He’s raced six times for four wins and two seconds.

Runner-up Bletchley Park is the latest progeny to race out of megastar broodmare Alldatglittersisgold, mother of Bling It On, Baby Bling and so many others.

Adding weight to the quality of the race is the 1min56sec mile rate for 2130m, which was 0.3sec faster than Chicago Bull went winning the free-for-all first-up from a spell on the same night.

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ONE of Australia’s most exciting juveniles, Lochinvar Art, won’t be part of the Breeders Crown.

Many were looking forward to seeing the brilliant son of Modern Art tackle Australasia’s best babies at Melton next month.

“No, he won’t be there. The owner hadn’t paid-up for him. We only recently found out,” trainer Laura Crossland said.

Lochinvar Art posted his fifth win and smashed the clock doing so in the Vicbred Silver final at Melton last Thursday night.

He went a sizzling 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2240m.

The other eye-catcher from the Vicbred Bronze finals was untapped but raw Shadow Play three-year-old gelding Bonus Play, who won strongly in a 1min55sec mile rate.

Since galloping on debut, the Bruce Morgan-trained Bonus Play has won five of his next six starts and looks feature race material.

Emerging four-year-old San Domino posted the quickest time of the night. Despite sitting parked, he roared away from his rivals to win by 16m in a 1min54.3sec mile rate.

It was just 1.9sec outside Lennytheshark’s Melton 2240m track record.

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THE Storm Inside is unbeaten across just nine starts across almost three years, but trainer Emma Stewart is in no rush to chase big races.

The son of Rocknroll Hanover burst onto the scene with a monster juvenile season, including winning the Australian Gold final, but went amiss soon after and had eight months away from the track.

Sadly an attempted comeback as a three-year-old lasted for just one race, a Cranbourne win on January 7, 2017, then we went amiss again.

The Storm Inside returned with a Bendigo win on July 3, added another at Melton on Saturday night – in a slick 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1720m without being extended – and now it’s a matter of staying sound to see how far he can go,

The Breeders Crown 4YO division is the next target.

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BERNIE Hewitt made the Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue finals his own at Menangle on Saturday night.

Hewitt, 56, had already won an impressive five “Blue” finals headed in the meeting and dominated by adding another three of the $50,000 features with: Write About Lexy (Sportswriter-Lexys Laughing) in the 2YO fillies’; Cobbity Chic (Always A Virgin-Cobbity Colleen) in the 3YO fillies’ and Lifes A Jungle (Always A Virgin-Jungle Talk) in the 3YO colts and geldings.

The only other trainer to win a Blue final was Michael Doltoff, who teamed with gun driver Todd McCarthy and superbly-bred two-year-old colt Lets Go To Brazil (Rock N Roll Heaven-Miss Brazilian) in a slick 1min53.9sec mile.

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THE Breeders Crown countdown moves to Menangle on Tuesday with four qualifiers.

Bathurst Gold Crown winner College Chapel returns from a setback in his heat and should make the most of gate one to win.

Tim Butt’s promising Glenledi Babe looks hard to beat in her two-year-old fillies’ heat, while the headline act will again beat megastar three-year-old Ignatius, who should make it 15 wins from 16 starts in race four.

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