By Adam Hamilton
SURE it was Inter Dominion weekend in Melbourne, but the most remarkable training performance took place on the other side of Australia.
Greg and Skye Bond produced a truly remarkable result with the first five – yes, five – placegetters in Australia’s second biggest four-year-old feature, the $200,000 Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park last Friday.
They had half the field with the Bonds sixth runner, Thisbeachrighthere, finishing 10th.
It was hugely-hyped Kiwi import Ana Malak who took first prize, with driver Ryan Warwick taking advantage of the pole draw to lead, dictate terms and rip home in 55.6 and 28.2sec to win by a whisker.
But the run of the race without doubt came from stablemate Mighty Conqueror, who sat parked for driver Dylan Egerton-Green and just kept coming. He’d have won in another half a stride and in a slick 1 min57.5sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip.
“He could be the real deal,” co-trainer Greg Bond said. “He’s a big fella still filling into himself, so there’s probably still some upside with him which is exciting.”
There should be upside to Ana Malak as well. He battled a minor, but niggling hoof issue which limited his racing preparation for the Nugget. He won the big won at just his third start for Team Bond.
The next three home for the Bonds were Fizzing, Bright Diamond and Bettor Aim.
“We really like this batch of horses and it’s great to get a result like this,” Greg Bond said.
With WA’s best pacer, Chicago Bull, sidelined, Bond is looking at running the cream of his four-year-old crop against the older horses in the Group 1 open-class features, the Fremantle and WA Cups, next month.
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GRANT Dixon has his sights set on next year’s Auckland Inter Dominion with Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One.
Dixon toyed with running in this year’s Melbourne series, but opted to stay home to ease his stable star into open-class racing through some home state features.
And Colt Thirty One completed the double, following last week’s easy Xmas Cup win with a narrow but fantastic Group 2 Queensland Cup win last night.
The son of Mach Three came from an outside back row draw, did all the work and dug deep to win a whisker in a slick 1min55sec mile rate for 2138m, beating stablemates Smooth Showgirl and Avonnova.
“We did think about taking him to Melbourne, but I’m glad we stayed here and went through these races,” Dixon said.
“I know Kevin (Seymour, owner) will want to chase the Inter Dominion next year if he’s going well enough.”
Next stop is a trip to Sydney to target Australia’s biggest four-year-old race, the Chariots Of Fire, which promises to be an epic this year.
Think of horses like Chase Auckland, Spankem, Im Pats Delight, Ride High, Poster Boy, Ignatius and maybe even WA pacers like Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror.
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WHAT a night it was for the girls at Melton on Inter Dominion final night.
Kate Gath took centre stage with the Trotting Final win aboard Tornado Valley, but females won six of the 11 races on the card.
They were: Kima Frenning (race two, Pizza Queen), Amanda Turnbull (races four and five on Conviction and Ellmers Image), Gath (races six and seven on Star Of Memphis and Tornado Valley) and Jodi Quinlan (race nine, Glenferrie Blade).
Turnbull turned around an otherwise frustrating Inter Dominion series to win the consolation in gritty fashion with Ellmers Image and the free-for-all with Conviction.
Conviction’s win was one of the runs of the night, simply running his rivals ragged in front in blistering times. His splits were 28.9, 28.2, 28.5 and 28.3sec for a 1min53.5sec mile rate over 2240m.
Let It Ride finished strongly, but had his chance when second, while Buster Brady simply worked too hard outside the leader in the blistering times and did well to fight on for third.
It was great to see Quinlan, one of the pioneering females at the top level, snare the Group 3 Richmond Lass win aboard Glenferrie Blade for partner, Craig Demmler.
Glenferrie Blade trailed the leader and got clear when favourite Delight Me crushed the leader, My Harmony Blue, and kicked-away, but couldn’t sustain the sprint.
They ran a 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1720m and it was a sprint home in a 54.4sec last half and 27.1sec last quarter.
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MIRACLE Mile winner My Field Marshal will have to head to Perth without a lead-up race.
A deluge of rain caused the abandonment of the Menangle meeting last night where My Field Marshal was due to return.
Trainer Tim Butt is keen to get My Field Marshal across to Perth early for a lead-up run the Celebrity Sprint on December 28 ahead of the big Fremantle and WA Cup double in January.
In a coup for Gloucester Park, Mark Purdon said he was “seriously considering” sending one of the All Stars’ open-class stars across for the Fremantle and WA Cups as well.
“Nat and I need to sit down and think through it, but there is a flight which makes it attractive,” he said.
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IT was great to see one-time budding star Mr Mojito returned to winning form at Gloucester Park last Friday.
It was the now six-year-old’s first win since scoring at Melton on September 17, last year, when trained and driven by Kerryn Manning.
Now with Ross Olivieri, Mr Mojito boasts a win and two seconds from three starts back from an injury which sidelined him for almost a year.
He’s still very lightly-raced with 30 starts netting 12 wins, five seconds and two thirds.
The free-for-all on the same night went to Kiwi import Rocknroll Lincoln in impressive style after leading and copping plenty of pressure in a sharp 1min54sec mile rate for 2130m, including closing splits of 55.9 and 28.4sec.
Rocnkroll Lincoln’s win was his ninth from just 19 starts for trainer Justin Warwick.
Another winner with a strong Kiwi flavour on the card was Our Angel Of Harlem, who dropped sharply in grade, led from the pole and thrashed a moderate field by almost 17m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for 2130m.