Aussie News - 23 March

By Adam Hamilton

IT was the Kate Gath show at Melton last night.

Gath drove three of the feature winners, two for Emma Stewart and the other for husband, Andy Gath.

Gath’s splurge started when she partnered Stewart’s exciting three-year-old Pacifico Dream led throughout and blew his rivals away in the Group 3 VHRC Sires Classic.

The son of Mach Three scored by 18.2m in a 1min55.1sec and that’s after being pressured through a blazing 27.6sec second quarter.

Pacifico Dream was underdone when fifth in the Victoria Derby, ran a terrific race when fourth in the NSW Derby and looks be better as the season rolls on.

Gath then teamed with the classy Demon Delight to lead home an Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin trifecta in the Group 2 Melton Plate with Out To Play second and Major Times third.

Demon Delight, back from a Sydney campaign, pulled very hard in the run, moved to sit parked in the middle stages and still found plenty to hold-off Out To Play and win by a half-neck in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 2240m.

“He’s all class. I wondered what he’d have left when I asked him, but he just kept finding. It was a big win,” Gath said.

Gath’s third big win came on champion trotter Tornado Valley in the Group 3 Scotch Notch Memorial.

Tornado Valley sat parked from the middle stages and simply proved too classy and strong for a gallant leader, Maori Law, in a 1min59.4sec mile rate for 2240m.

It was Tornado Valley’s 35th win from 95 starts and took him past $760,000 in earnings.

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TOP driver Kima Frenning faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines, but things could have been much worse after a crash in the opening race at Melton last night.

Rival drivers listened as watched as horror as Frenning’s head smashed into the track and she was rushed to hospital.

Reports and photos emerged later showing Frenning’s badly smashed helmet, but she has a suspected broken hand or wrist, sore back and suspected concussion.

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CHAMPION driver Chris Alford’s 1600km return road trip to Bathurst for Friday night was worth it after he snared two key wins.

Alford partnered Clayton Tonkin’s raw but exciting two-year-old colt to an impressive win the fourth heat of the Gold Crown and Anthony Butt’s buzz young trotter Elite Stride in the Gold Coronet.

“By the time you go to airport from home, get a plane to Sydney and then drive to Bathurst … I’ve actually just found it easier to drive the whole way from home,” Alford said.

Idyllic, a strongly-built son of Somebeachsomewhere, caught the eye when second to stablemate Ideal Dan on debut and went one better despite sitting parked at Bathurst in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1730m and closing splits of 56.5 and 27.8sec.

“The stable have always had a big opinion of him, but he’s still learning. That was a good win because the leader just kept coming back at us,” Alford said.

Ideal Man also won his way through to next Saturday night’s Gold Crown final after overcome some traffic issues to score easily for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Amanda Turnbull.

David Moran, of Lochinvar Art fame, will be a major player in the Crown final with his impressive Captaintreacherous gelding Lochinvar Chief, who went the quickest of the heats in a 1min55.2sec mile rate.

Tasty Delight beat Lochinvar Chief when they last met at Menangle and he too won through the Crown final with an sharp 1min56.2sec heat win.

Elite Stride was never out of second gear posting his fourth win from just five starts.

“They told he was something special before I drove him at Melton and they weren’t wrong,” Alford said.

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IT will be fun to see WA’s latest pacing star Shockwave chase some eastern states riches later this year.

But for now, the Ryan Bell-trained four-year-old should just keep picking off races at home.

The son of Mach Three was untroubled making it two wins from as many runs back from a minor injury setback when he cruised to a free-for-all win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Driver Aiden De Campo pushed through to take the lead after 150m, cruised through a 61.3sec middle half, then dashed home in 54.9 and 26.8sec to win as he liked.

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IT was a new stable, but the same result for classy Kiwi mare Havtime at Menangle last night.

Now in the care of KerryAnn Turner, Havtime was beaten to the lead by No Win No Feed, but then worked around to take the front off her and was never in danger.

The former Barry Purdon-trained mare zoomed away to win by 10.9m in a 1min51.5sec and looks sure to have loads of fun at Menangle in coming months.

On the same card, former star juvenile filly Molly Kelly continued her unbeaten streak for the Craig Cross stable with an all-the-way win in the Group 3 Autumn Gift final.

The five-year-old made it four wins for Cross when she paced a 1min52.4sec mile.

Cross snared another significant win when former star filly Speak No Evil, having her third run on the comeback trail, scored in a 1min50.9sec mile.

It was his 13th win from just 18 starts and she spent almost 18 months on the sidelines with injury after a fantastic juvenile career with Emma Stewart.

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FORMER Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal edged tantalisingly close to $1.5 million in career earnings with another Menangle win last night.

Tim Butt’s eight-year-old blazed off the gate in 25.9sec with Replaced Eye, but couldn’t cross, so driver Jack Trainor dropped in for the trail.

My Field Marshal looked set for an easy win at the top of the straight, but the early burn took its toll and he had to dig deep to fight off Alpine Stride, who ran a monstrous race after galloping early, in a 1min51.1sec mile.

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IT was great to see Lance Justice back in the winner’s circle at Melton last night even if most punters weren’t so happy.

Justice trained and drove Love Ina Chevy to win the 1200m Stampede as a $27.10 outsider.

Love In A Chevy is a special horse to Justice and his stable, having been nursed for many days through the effects of a snake bite which left him fighting for his life.

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