Aussie News - 21st January

By Adam Hamilton

INTER Dominion winner Tiger Tara again showed his vulnerability in sprint racing despite winning the Group 3 Brian Hancock Cup over a mile at Menangle last Saturday night.

Dropped back from an easy 2300m Menangle win a week earlier, Tiger Tara worked to the front, dictated the terms and just scrambled home by a half-head.

Fellow Inter Dominion finalist Maximan returned from a freshen-up with a ripping second where he was timed to run a 25.8sec last quarter.

Tiger Tara’s splits for the mile were 26.9, 30.3, 29.4 and 26.1sec, which showed turning it into a sprint home probably didn’t suit him ideally.

Now it’s back to the staying distance for the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 then a Miracle Mile quest.

Earlier in the night at Menangle, another two Inter Dominion contestants – My Alpha Rock and Village Witch – ran the quinella in a 1min51.4sec mile.

While Paul Court’s Kiwi raider, Hail Christian, made it four wins from just five NSW starts winning in a 1min51.1sec mile in the third event.

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INTER Dominion finalist Spankem sharpened-up for his Chariots Of Fire quest with a slick Ballarat win last Saturday night.

Staggeringly, the gelding was able to drop back to race C3/4 class and won accordingly  by 4.3m in a slick 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1710m with Natalie Rasmussen aboard.

He goes straight into next Saturday night’s Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton against the likes of Im Pats Delight, Ride High and Poster Boy where only the winner gets a Chariots Of Fire invite.

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NSW star trotter Tough Monarch booked a trip back to Melbourne and more Group 1 racing with a sparkling first-up win at Menangle last Saturday night.

Rickie Alchin’s gelding, who ran so well through the Inter Dominion series, will head back to Melton to tackle Tornado Valley, Marcoola, Speeding Spur and others in the Group 1 Great Southern Star next Saturday night.

He thrashed his rivals when first-up from a short break at Menangle where he trotted 1min58.2sec for 2300m and won by 21.5m.

Another major Inter Dominion player, Save Our Pennys, showed he too would be a key Great Southern Star player with an easy Group 2 Cochran Trotters’ Cup win at Bendigo last Saturday night.

Making the most of Tornado’s Valley’s absence, Save Our Pennys led throughout for trainer Graeme Lang and driver Gavin Lang to win easily by 5.2m over a gallant Dance Craze, who ran second after being parked, in a 1min59.8sec mile rate for 2200m.

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LEADING Chariots Of Fire contender Ignatius has made the trip from Tasmania to NSW, is back with Jimmy Rattray and will trial at Menangle on Tuesday.

Regular trainer Todd Rattray had planned to give the four-year-old a race in his home state before returning to NSW, but a minor “bug” prompted his scratching two weeks ago.

Ignatius, who boasts 16 wins from 19 starts, has not raced since a luckless but still slightly disappointing seventh in the Breeders Crown 3YO final at Melton on August 25, last year.

“He seems well. We will get through the trial then decide whether he goes to the Hondo Grattan or we wait a week later for the Paleface Adios,” Jimmy Rattray said.

The countdown to the $200,000 Group 1 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 15 really hots up with the Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton next Saturday night.

The field will be headed by star Kiwi pair Spankem and Im Pats Delight taking on Emma Stewart’s glamour duo of Ride High and Poster Boy.

Crucially, only the winner of the 4YO Bonanza gets a ticket into the Chariots, meaning the others will have to tackle one of the Menangle qualifiers – Hondo Grattan (February 2) or Paleface Adios (February 9).

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ONE of Team Bond’s stellar four-year-old Bettor Aim looks to have Perth’s Nights of Thunder final at his mercy.

The former Kiwi son of Bettors Delight smashed the clock with a 1min52.4sec heat win at Gloucester Park last Friday and looks a league above his rivals.

Greg Bond thinks Bettor Aim is right up there with his other top four-year-olds, Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror, and we saw why last Friday.

Bettor Aim finished behind Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget.

Mighty Conqueror is about to race again and Bond is considering a Sydney raid to try and qualify for the Chariots Of Fire.

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SOUTH Australian pin-up pacer Email Macha scored one of the most important wins of his career when he snared the Wedderburn Cup yesterday (Sunday).

The five-year-old gelding worked around to the front and found plenty to post his 26th win from just 29 starts. He’s won six of his eight runs this season.

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ANDY Gath hoped an Inter Dominion campaign would take his former Kiwi trotter Kingdom Come to the next level and it seems to have done just that.

Kingdom Come ran a string of good races through the series won by stablemate Tornado Valley.

Dropping back big time in class at Melton last Friday, Kingdom Come came from a back row draw, sat parked and thrashed his rivals by 19.4m in a 2min0.1sec mile rate for 2240m.

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