Aussie News - 21 September

By Adam Hamilton

IT amazing to think Chicago Bull looks back to his best, maybe even a tad better, than before the freakish mishap which almost ended his career in Auckland two years ago.

But you only had to watch him last Friday night to see the proof.

Chicago Bull, rising eight and still one of the smallest pacers you’d see, did all the worked outside the leader and thrashed his rivals to win the $50,000 Group 2 Navy Cup.

He roared away to win by 10.6m in a scorching 1min53.7sec mile rate for 2130m, just 0.8sec outside the track record. His last three quarters were: 28.4, 27.5 and 28.1sec.

And all that after a phenomenal run for second in his epic clash with Shockwave in near record time just seven days earlier.

“That’s the best he’s felt since he was in NZ,” driver Gary Hall Jr said. “He felt amazing out there and, judging by the comments, it must have looked pretty amazing too.”

Chicago Bull’s won 55 of his 84 starts with another 23 placings and is rapidly closing-in on $2 million in earnings.

His comeback campaign this season has netted 12 wins, five seconds and a third from 18 runs.

Yes the rivals are lining-up and WA has a strong open-class crop, but Chicago Bull is clearly the one they all have to beat.

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YOU don’t go better in defeat than Lochinvar Art went at Bendigo on Saturday night.

The winner Hurricane Harley produced a career-best run when he led throughout in a 1min52.3sec mile rate for 2150m and smashed the track record by a full second.

He’s earned a spot in the Victoria Cup and is clearly on the rise.

But Lochinvar Art’s effort to get within 1.5m was monstrous.

He came from outside the back row, settled last, came three and four-wide around the field in the middle stages and still keep bridging the gap on the winner all the way to the wire.

Lochinvar Art ran his last mile – remember all the extra ground he covered – in a mindblowing 1min50.9sec.

And trainer-driver David Moran was openly cautious going into the race, warning punters his star was “not fully wound-up and would improve a lot from the run.”

The obvious question is could Ride High have done what Lochinvar Art did, but gone that bit better and won?

Only Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart could truly tell you given they train both Hurricane Harley and Ride High.

All interest now settles on whether Lochinvar Art backs-up in a Melton free-for-all next Saturday night, which would likely mean his first clash with Ride High.

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LEVIATHAN owner-breeder Kevin Seymour is comfortable with the decision to keep Queensland’s best pacer Colt Thirty One at home instead of chasing next month’s Victoria Cup.

Colt Thirty One ran second to Bling In On in last year’s Victoria Cup and has sparkled in two wins from as many runs back from a let-up.

He stormed home from last, three-wide around the field without cover, to nab classy former Kiwi pacer Ashley Locaz and win in a blazing 1min51.2sec mile rate for 1660m.

He was clocked to run his last half, three-wide all the way, in 54.2sec.

“He’s come back really well and if things were normal, we’d think about Victoria, but it’s just too hard to get the horses and people down there with what’s going on,” Seymour said. 

Instead, Colt Thirty One will keep running in Albion Park free-for-alls in the build-up to the enhanced Queensland Summer Carnival in November/December.

He’s now won 40 of his 70 starts and close to $900,000.

Ashley Locaz was fantastic in defeat after making a midrace move to sit parked and set the blistering times on the speed.

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CLASSY mare Red Hot Tooth keeps getting better with age.

She took the biggest scalp of her career so far and did it on her merits when beat champion trotter Tornado Valley and easily in a 2150m free-for-all at Bendigo Saturday night.

Tornado Valley zoomed out from gate five, but Red Hot Tooth had enough speed to hold him out and then the champ dropped in behind her form a trail and to try and sprint lane her late.

But Red Hot Tooth always looked in control and ripped home in brilliant 56.7 and 28.6sec splits.

Tornado Valley tried hard, but could only get to within 4.2m in a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 2150m.

The gifted but increasingly costly Wobelee loomed down the back straight, but was fighting driver Chris Alford and weakened late to finish 10.2m away in fifth spot.

It was some revenge for Red Hot Tooth who was beaten a whisker by Tornado Valley in Australia’s biggest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, back on February 1.

The Kari and Paul Males-trained Red Hot Tooth’s rapidly closing in on $500,000 in earnings with her 77 starts returning 23 wins and 27 placings.

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NOT since the days of the great Noopy Kiosk in the 1990s has there been so much excitement about two-year-old trotters racing in Australia.

Wobelee came close to Noopy Kiosk-like hype when he raced 12 times as a juvenile trotter for 10 wins, four of them at Group 1 level. 

But the buzz around Utopia and Aldebaran Zeus this season is huge.

Brent Lilley’s internationally-bred Aldebaran Zeus (Muscle Hill-Zoia Boko) hasn’t been foolproof in four runs, but the talent he’s shown winning two of them has been stunning.

He returns from a spell with Chris Alford to drive from a 20m backmark in the fourth race at Maryborough on Monday.

At Bendigo on Wednesday, the freakishly-talented Utopia returns from a spell for Emma Stewart.

Utopia’s only run was an 82.5win win at Shepparton in a brisk 2min2.6sec mile rate for 2190m back on July 2.

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LEVIATHAN owner-breeder Rob Watson looks to have found another star youngster.

In a season ravaged by COVID-19, Soho Almasi looks like quickly making up for lost time.

The daughter of Mach Three looked awesome winning her first start for trainer-driver Mick Stanley, but lost all chance with an early gallop at her second run. 

Back from a long spell and “on loan” to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy, Soho Almasi turned plenty of heads winning her NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO fillies’ heat by 16.5m in a 1min52.7sec mile last Monday.

It was only 0.6sec outside the Australian mile record for a two-year-old filly, set by Heavens Trend at Menangle in 2012.

“I had an outstanding filly a few years back in Petacular. She’s was really strong, but this filly is so fast. She’s the fastest filly I’ve ever had,” Stanley said.

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STILL on exciting youngsters and we are starting to see the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn unleash some of their best now.

First came Art Major colt Major Moth, who zoomed home a 26.3sec last quarter to win on debut by 9.9m for driver Damian Wilson.

Major Moth led from gate three, cruised through a 62.6sec first half, but ran his last half in 54.7sec at the end of a 1min57.3sec mile rate for 1650m.

It’s no secret the stable has a massive opinion of him.

Last Thursday, Rogue Wave (Somebeachsomewhere-Perfect Life) looked stunning leading throughout to win her first start.

Chris Alford used the pole to lead easily, but was kept honest through a 58.9sec first half before scorching home in 55.3 and 27.8sec to win by 18.7m.

Rogue Wave’s 1min54.3sec mile rate for 1690m was stunning when you consider the track record is the 1min52.5sec set by open-class pacer Ideal Star back in June.

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TIGER Tara’s baby brother Stingray Tara is two-from-two in Australia.

But, unlike his dominant Aussie debut win for Geoff Webster, the gelding had to dig deep after leading and appearing to “loaf” a bit in front for a half-neck win in a 1min58.4sec mile rate for 2200m at Ballarat last Wednesday night.

He did rip home in 56sec flat and 27.6sec.

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