Aussie News - 28th January
By Adam Hamilton
THE All Stars barn didn’t train a winner at Melton’s huge Victoria Derby meeting, but Mark Purdon somehow still found a way to be a major player.
Purdon drove a treble – all on outside horses – including winning Group 1’s aboard Carlas Pixel in the $100,000 Ladyship Cup and Dance Craze in the $250,000 Great Southern Star.
Purdon completed his treble aboard Mister Ohanzee for Carla’s Pixel’s trainer Dean Braun in the final race.
Carlas Pixel sat backed and thrived after the leader, Soho Burning Love, set a scorching tempo before she swooped home to win in a 1min51.7sec mile for 1720m.
The win gained Carla’s Pixel automatic entry to defend the NSW Group 1 Ladyship Mile crown she won so impressively last year.
Soho Burning Love couldn’t sustain the heat in front and tired late for fifth, just behind classy Kiwi raider Utmost Delight, who ran a solid fourth.
Tell Me Tales ran a ripping third at her first run back from a spell.
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CAMBRIDGE’s Centernary meeting looks to have produced one of the great form races with the Waikato Flying Mile.
Sure we haven’t seen winner Turn It Up again since, but Star Galleria (second), Ashley Locaz (third) and Thefixer (fifth) have all come to Australia and won since,
Thefixer stamped himself as a major Hunter Cup player winning last week’s Ballarat Cup.
Star Galleria showed he was right back on target with a narrow but outstanding free-for-all win at Melton last night.
And Ashley Locaz sparkled winning at his first Menangle run last night.
Superlatives flowed for Star Galleria when he was able to come three-wide and close a big gap on the classy leader Wrappers Delight to win the Group 3 Casey Classic. He was timed to run 54.6sec last half at the of a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m.
Wrappers Delight will also be fitter for his first run since the Inter Dominion final, but had his chance to beat Star Galleria last night.
Ashley Locaz went within a whisker of breaking 1min50sec when he blasted home to win the Vivian Jones free-for-all in a 1min50.,1sec mile at Menangle.
In an eventful race, favourite Majordan galloped at the start, while the other key runner, My Alpha Rock, found the lead.
It was a huge effort from Ashley Locaz to make up the ground and win so easily in a 54.3sec last half.
Ashley Locaz stamped himself as a serious Chariots of Fire contender.
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THE much-anticipated return of boom Kiwi pacer Chase Auckland didn’t go as expected at Menangle last night.
Despite more than 10 months away from the races through injury, Chase Auckland looked well grade in a city maiden race.
He settled a long way back from a wide and the race wasn’t run to suit, but Chase Auckland could only manage fourth having notched eight wins and a second from his only nine previous runs.
The clock says he still went well and he should improve, but his opposition will also get much, much stronger in coming weeks.
The race was won by Kevin Pizzuto’s Chariots of Fire hopeful, Picard, who led and thrashed his rivals closing splits of 54.1 and 26.5sec at the end of a 1min51sec mile.
“He’s been set for the Chariots and we think he’s right in it,” Pizzuto said. “He’s a big part of the reason I’m not in Victoria now with Tiger Tara, to focus on getting this horse right for the Chariots.”
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THE first horse into the Chariots Of Fire is Victorian Poster Boy, courtesy of his narrow but outstanding first-up win in the $100,000 Group 1 4YO Bonanza (1720m) at Melton last night.
Chris Alford gave Poster Boy a perfect one-one trip behind Spankem while Im Pats Delight led and finish quickly to snatch the victory.
Spankem was so game in defeat, going down by just a neck in a 1min52.8sec mile rate after doing all the work.
Im Pats Delight left trainer Cran Dalgety scratching his head after getting a cost first lap, but tiring to finish almost 11m from the winner in fourth spot.
“Don’t know what to make of that. He won’t go around in the Hunter Cup and we’ll set our sights on Sydney now,” Dalgety said,
Spankem will also have to try and qualify for the Chariots through either Paleface Adios or the Hondo Grattan a week later. Both races are at Menangle.
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TWO superb drives snared the feature races at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
First came peach from champion Gary Hall Jr to caused a minor upset on Benhope Rulz, trained by his father Gary Sr, in the $50,000 Group 2 Nights of Thunder final.
It was a hotly-contested race where Hall Jr took all the short cuts, while easing favourite Bettor Aim was posted wide most of the race from an outside draw and finished at the rear.
Benhope Rulz pounced on the lead around the final bend and easily held-off the heavily-backed As Happy As Larry to win by 2.4m in a 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1730m.
In the free-for-all, the underrated Chris Voak produced arguably an even better drive to win aboard the class runner Vultan Tin from an outside front row draw.
A mix of daring and aggression from gate nine at the start somehow saw Voak land the one-one trail while hot favourite Saying Grace led.
Voak launched at the 400m and simply packed too much class and speed for the leader despite a 27.3sec closing quarter and slow midrace tempo.
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STAR Victorian three-year-old filly Kualoa warmed-up for a NSW Oaks tilt with an easy first-up win at Geelong last Friday night.
First-up since finishing second to Princess Tiffany in the Breeders Crown 2YO final, Kualoa was classes above her rivals and won accordingly by 7.8m in a dawdle 2min2.1sec mile rate for 2100m, just dashing home in 27.9sec.
She’s one of a huge team Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin are taking to Menangle for races like the NSW Derby, Oaks, Ladyship Mile and Chariots of Fire in coming weeks.
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IT’S great to see new father-son team Richard and Emmett Brosnan making their impact in Victoria.
The pair posted another win, with Richard driving, when Bopper Jet prevailed in a stirring four-horse finish at Geelong last Friday night.