Aussie News - 25 October

By Adam Hamilton

VICTORIA Cup winner Max Delight is staying home … for now.

Trainer David Aiken confirmed the five-year-old would not head to Menangle for next Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile.

“No, none of my big three are going to Menangle,” he said. “We’ve got the Yarra Valley Cup next week (November 4) and the 4&5YO Championship at Melton next Saturday night.

“It’s just a matter of how I split them up and who goes where. Malcolms Rhythm might be the one who goes to Yarra Valley, with Max Delight and Reactor Now to the 4&5YO, but I’m not locked into that yet.

“We’ll wait for the Inter Dominion before we take any back to Sydney again. It’s likely all three will go.”

More immediately, Andy Gath’s classy pacer Pacifico Dream capped his preparation for the 4&5Yo Championship with victory at Geelong last night.

Last season’s Group 1 Vicbred winner struck interference when resumed in the Victoria Cup two weeks earlier, but driver Kate Gath took luck out of the equation this time with a lightning midrace move around the field to take the lead.

His 1min55.3sec mile rate took 0.3sec off the Geelong 2100m track record.

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THAT’S the General Dodge we’ve been waiting to see.

The injury-plagued rising nine-year-old blew his rivals, headed by champion mare Amazing Dream, away to win the $60,000 Group 2 Geelong Cup.

It was his 15th win from just 23 starts and only his eighth start since June 2018 because of setbacks.

Amazing Dream led and dictated terms but had no answer for General Dodge’s finishing brilliance when he came out of a midfield trail to make a three-wide run without cover at the 650m.

“That means the world. It’s our hometown Cup and one of the part-owners passed away during the week, so it makes it extra special,” trainer Mick Chircop said.

“He’s been so good at home these past two weeks since the Victoria Cup. He ran up to the leaders, I thought ‘here we go, he’s on song tonight.’

“This makes all the hard work and patience worthwhile and now we’ve got some racing into him, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

“I’m not sure where we go next. I’ll have to take a look at the calendar.”

General Dodge was privately clocked to run his own closing splits in 54.8 and 26.6sec.

Amazing Dream ran well, but again seemed a touch below her best leading.

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HOW good is it seeing veteran NSW trainer Harry Martin right back in the mix for a major race.

Martin won everyone’s hearts through the early to mid-2000’s with his Grand Circuit superstar Double Identity, who won 51 races, including a Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup, and over $1.25 million.

Martin’s latest star, Titian Raider, will be as hard to beat as any in the Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO colts and geldings final at Menangle next Saturday night.

Owned in similar interests to Double Identity, Titian Raider led and kept finding to win his semi-final in a slick 1min50sec flat last night. His closing splits were 53.7 and 26.9sec.

The run of last year’s 2YO Breeders Challenge final winner Bar Room Banta was enormous, doing all the work outside Titian Raider and still coming strongly on the line for a brave second, beaten just 2.4m.

That was the strongest semi, but Rickie Alchin’s brilliant Captain Crusader thrashed his rivals in the second semi and his explosive gate speed makes him a major factor for the final.

Captain Crusader burned to hold the front from Hy Voltage early, but left his rivals standing on the final bend and won as he liked in a 1min50.5sec mile.

You could argue Captain Crusader’s win was better because he had to blaze a 25.8sec first quarter to hold the lead and still ripped home in 55.4 and 27.8sec.

Titian Raider has gate one in the final, while Captain Crusader is in five and Bar Room Banta landed the outside (gate 12).

The 3YO fillies’ final looks a match between glamour pair Anntonia and Chrissy Chic, who both easily won their semi-finals.

NSW Oaks winner Anntonia led and dictated, but did rip home in 26sec on a wet track to win as she liked.

Chrissy Chic was given a lovely one-one trip by Cam Hart and easily held-off the emerging and previously unbeaten Winona Writer to win impressively.

Anntonia is assured of favouritism for the final from gate three with Chrissy Chic in seven.

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STILL on the NSW Breeders Challenge and Jarrod Alchin’s big guns My Ultimatre Byron (gate 11) and My Ultimate Ronnie (eight) both drew wide for the 2YO Colts and Geldings final next Saturday night.

It certainly gives Brian Portelli’s speedy Smaltese (gate six) his chance to test the pair.

Exciting filly Madrid will dominate betting in the 2YO Fillies’ final from gate two.

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BILL and Anne Anderson have another lovely filly in Irish Black Label.

The daughter of Bettors Delight gave their Lauriston Bloodstock another feature win in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Nutrien Equine Tatlow Stakes for fillies’ at Geelong.

Irish Black Label won two of three runs in her first campaign and was superbly driven by David Moran for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, who got the quinella with Encipher running a huge race for second.

They went 1min57.8sec for 2100m, home in 57.3 and 28.1sec.

The Andersons had to be content with second in the colts and geldings final when Beach Villa led, but was rundown by Matty Craven and Sofia Arvidsson’s Art Major colt Heza Son Of Agun in a 1min56sec mile rate.

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CHAMPION driver Chris Alford continued his feature race splurge with a brilliant front-running drive on The Panthiest for a minor upset in the $30,000 Group 3 Angelique Club Pace (2100m) at Geelong last night.

The David Miles-trained filly caught the eye when close-up behind Spellbound the previous week and always looked in control when Alford blazed to the front from gate three.

High-class mare Maajida sat parked and ran a terrific second, while Spellbound was well below back in eighth spot despite having to come three-wide without cover for the last 1000m.

The big guns will clash again, with Amazing Dream added to the mix, in the $100,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific at Melton next Saturday night.

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BABYFACE Adda is staking his claim for the tag as Australia’s most improved pacer.

The five-year-old had been an honest performer, but trainer-driver Cody Wallrodt has taken him to a whole new level this campaign, especially over the past six weeks.

Babyface Adda has won four of 10 runs this season, but the two best of his career have come in his past three starts.

The best yet came when Wallrodt drove a gem of a race to snatch a head win in free-for-all company at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Babyface Adda has surely put himself in the frame for a tilt at the big Fremantle/WA Pacing Cup double in January.

The Gloucester Park feature, the $30,000 Group 3 Preux Chevalier produced a bittersweet win for Hengheng’s connections.

Trained by Lindsay Harper and driven by his son, Kyle, Hengheng led throughout to beat a brave favourite Finvarra, who sat parked in a 1min57sec mile rate for 2130m.

But Hengheng was found to have bled soon after the win and stood-down for three months.

On the same card, Team Bond’s former Kiwi filly Booraa continued her rise with a hard-fought win over star filly Always An Angel in a stirring finish.

Booraa, a daughter of Mach Three, has been building this campaign with three seconds before making the most of a good draw to win last Friday.

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