Aussie News - 25th April
By Adam Hamilton
THIS is going to some sort of WA Derby.
After a superb build-up, the $200,000 Group 1 feature is at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The stunning emergence of former Kiwi gelding Jumpingjackmac has turned this Derby from what many thought would be a Lavra Joe benefit into one of the most anticipated races of the season so far.
Lavra Joe holds a 2-1 advantage over Jumpingjackmac going into the Derby, but the latter’s improvement over the past month has been stunning.
Throw in the bullishness of his trainer, Gary Hall Sr, and this should be an epic stoush.
Jumpingjackmac made it six wins from his eight starts – his only two defeats have been behind Lavra Joe – when he came from an outside draw, did all the work and scored strongly in slick time at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Hall Sr has declared him the best three-year-old he has trained and added: “He’ll win the Derby.”
Meanwhile the Ray Jones-trained Lavra Joe plotted a different course, winning the WA Country Derby at Bunbury last night (Saturday) to cap his WA Derby preparation.
Lavra Joe has looked out of this world with seven wins and a monstrous second from his eight runs this season.
Now we await the barrier draw and the race itself.
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A “nudge” from the great Mark Purdon was behind former star Kiwi mare Spellbound impressively winning her first Aussie run at Melton last night.
New trainer Nathan Purdon was leaning towards giving the four-year-old a trial this week before racing her, but father Mark Purdon drove her in work said she was ready to race.
Spellbound showed her strength and class with a mighty win in slick time over the fit and in-form local Tangowithsierra.
She worked early from the wide draw, then driver Stuart McDonald got into the running line on the back of Tangowithsierra, who had an easier run.
Tangowithsierra rushed to the front rounding the final bend, but Spellbound stalked her then gobbled her up quickly to post a superb 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1720m.
“We know her class, she was in the top four or five mares in NZ, and she’ll improve on what she did tonight, too,” Nathan Purdon said.
With most of Purdon’s Aussie stable being youngsters, Spellbound could be the early stable headline act he needs to fly the stable flag.
And the win was also big for McDonald, who left a big role with the Gary Hall Sr stable in Perth to be Purdon’s foreman and drive some of his team.
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CHAMPION trotter Tornado Valley’s quest to top $1 million in stakemoney lingers on.
After a fighting second at Geelong where victory would’ve given him the milestone, Tornado Valley found a 30m handicap and doing the work outside the leader beyond him again at Bendigo last Friday night.
The nine-year-old loomed as a big chance rounding the final bend, but a slick 28.6sec split down the back straight took its toll and he wilted late for sixth behind John Justice’s Hatchback.
It remains to be seen whether trainer Andy Gath keeps Tornado Valley going in a quest for the milestone or spells him now with a view to another crack at all the big races late in the year and early next.
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THE mail is this could be Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s best juvenile crop yet.
It’s a big call given their stunning juvenile dominance in recent years, but the early signs are very positive.
Petillante and Irish Black Label turned heads winning on debut for the barn and then Bettors Delight filly Fiamma toyed with her rivals at her first start at Melton last Friday.
Despite sitting parked outside the Nathan Purdon-trained main danger Captn Me, Kate Gath had an armchair drive with Fiamma ripping home in 55.8 and 28sec to win as she liked by 13.9m in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 1720m.
Then came Poster Boy’s baby brother, Beach Villa, who looked stunning winning his first start by 9.2m in a 1min55.1sec mile rate for 1720m in the Sapling Stakes at Melton last night.
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WHAT a shame stallion Somebeachsomewhere is no longer with us.
The former champion pacer has enjoyed a stellar start to this juvenile season with My Ultimate Byron, Beach Villa and Petillante all creaying a stir.
My Ultimate Byron scored a breathtaking $125,000 Group 1 Australian Gold 2YO Bullion win at Menangle last night.
After racing a tad roughly early, My Ultimate Byron mustered pace for driver Cam Hart, but locked in a speed burn with main danger, Mahomes, through a scorching 25.4sec opening quarter.
Hart was able steady through a 30.6sec second split when he held the front, but ripped home in 56.4 and 27.5sec to win by 13.1m in a 1min52.4sec mile. He’s unbeaten in three starts.
It was a huge race for Alchin, who also snared third spot with My Ultimate Cobber.
“That’s my third Group 1 win, second as a trainer and I drove Shesaruna to win the Oaks for David Kennedy (trainer),” Alchin said.
The fillies’ version continued trainer Russell Jack’s awesome juvenile season with Captains Queen’s fighting all-the-way win in a 1min54.1sec mile.
The daughter of Captaintreacherous has won four of five starts and finished second to stablemate Just Hope in the Bathurst Gold Tiara final.
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WA’S “Quad Squad” has the found winning formula with the progeny of former superstar Kiwi youngster Follow The Stars.
Last season it was the brilliant Follow The Stars filly Black Jack Baby, who won eight of her 11 starts, including the Group 1 Westbred Classic.
Now it’s a colt Bushwacked, who has improved with every start and looked terrific copping pressure in front and kept going to win the $50,000 Group 2 Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Like Black Jack Baby, Bushwacked is bred, owned and trained by Shane Quadrio.
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IN-FORM Victorian trainer-driver Chris Svanosio snared the South Australian Oaks with a confident and aggressive drive on Courage Under Fire filly Aliens Exist at Globe Derby last night.
Svanosio almost crossed hot favourite Celestialfragrance at the start, but then sat parked and kept up the pressure before dashing straight past the leader and holding-off Dougs Babe to score by 1.6m in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1800m.