Aussie News - 29 March

By Adam Hamilton

MIGHTY Kiwi mare Our Princess Tiffany scored one of her best and most courageous wins in a heat of Tasmanian Easter Cup last night (Sunday).

Already facing a daunting 30m backmark, the Dean Braun-trained mare skipped at the start and added another 15m or so to her handicap.

From there we saw the genius of driver Anthony Butt at work, first allowing Our Princess Tiffany to balance up and catch the field then saving her as late as possible for her big finishing sprint.

Just when it seemed local star Ryley Major, who had a lot easier run from his 20m handicap, was set for victory, Our Princess Tiffany sprouted wings and grabbed the prize.

It was a monstrous win which took her record to 25 wins from (and 11 placings) from just 43 starts. And she’s over the $1 million in career earnings.

It was a very fruitful trip to Launceston for Butt, who answered a call-up from Braun with regular driver Chris Alford still recovering from a badly infected knee and stint in hospital.

Butt and Braun also combined to win the first Easter Cup heat with emerging former Kiwi gelding Willie Go West, who found the front early, dictated terms and ripped home in 27.3sec to score as he liked in a 2min2.8sec mile rate for 2698m stand.

By comparison, Our Princess Tiffany’s mile rate was 1min59.8sec and was privately clocked to run her closing splits in 55.3 and 27.4sec.

The $75,000 Group 2 Easter Cup final is at Launceston on Saturday night.

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IT’S great to see Wagga taking centre stage over the next week.

The NSW Riverina region has such a rich harness racing heritage and seeing stars like Wolf Stride, Maajida, Out To Play, Muscle Factory and Max Delight in action at Wagga Tuesday night is fantastic.

Even Lochinvar Art would have been there except for his injury issues.

It’s all because of the new NSW Riverina Championship series’ for four-year-old entires and geldings and another for four and five-year-old mares.

The clash of the night looks to be the second entires and geldings heat (race three) where former Victoria Derby winner and now comeback hero Muscle Factory meets Miracle Mile contestant Out To Play.

Muscle Factory, unbeaten in five runs on the comeback trail for new trainer Belinda McCarthy, has the advantage of a better draw (gate six), while Out To Play will start from the outside alley (eight) over 2270m.

Out To Play will be on the quick back-up after contesting Sunday’s Group 2 Horsham Cup. He grabbed the late with some blistering sectionals to finish from an impossible position behind stablemate Mach Dan at Horsham.

Miracle Mile placegetter Wolf Stride, nominal favourite to win Saturday night’s $100.000 Group 1 final, should be too classy in his heat (race five) despite the outside draw.

Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s best mare, Maajida, returns after a mystifying flop in the Ladyship Mile on February 26. She’s the class runner in her heat (race seven) and being the lone back row runner looks a plus.

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STILL on the powerhouse Stewart/Tonkin stable and they could not have been more dominant in yesterday’s (Sunday) $60,000 Group 2 Horsham Cup.

The barn had five of the nine runners in one of Victoria’s stronger country cups and – you guessed it – they were the first five home.

It was exciting four-year-old Mach Dan who made it three wins from as many runs this campaign and continued his charge through the grades when he led throughout to win easily for driver Greg Sugars.

Mach Dan dictated the terms, turned it into a dash home and seemed to win with something in reserve despite a blistering 26.3sec closing quarter at the end of a cosy 2min0.1sec mile rate for 2700m.

The underrated Somewhere Secret ran another slashing race for second after doing plenty of work, while Fourbigmen raced handy and grabbed third.

Miracle Mile contestant Out To Play finished strongly from near last to grab fourth and smashed the clocked late, while Like A Wildfire finished fifth.

Mach Dan, a Mach Three four-year-old raced by Danny Zavitsanos, has raced just 22 times for 12 wins, six placings and almost $270,000 in earnings.

Team Gath continued its dominance of major trotting races when classy mare Monaro Maro comfortably won the Group 3 Horsham Trotters’ Cup.

The win came just 18 hours after the former Kiwi mare ran a good third at Group 3 level at Melton the previous night.

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TALK of a possible move to North America continues to grow for high-class pacer Ignatius.

Stepping out for the first time since his sixth in the Miracle Mile, Ignatius scorched a personal best and scored one of the most impressive wins of his career at Menangle last Friday night.

Trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray kept working forward from an outside draw and somewhat surprisingly got the lead from favourite Cruz before winning as he liked.

It was the first time Ignatius has broken 1min50sec and he did it seemingly with plenty in the tank, winning by 13.2m and posting a 1min49.4sec mile.

Reports from his old home state of Tasmania suggest connections are considering sending Ignatius to North America to continue his career.

Ignatius, still just a six-year-old, has raced 52 times for 25 wins, 12 placings and almost $530,000 in earnings.

The other eye-catching Menangle winner was high-class mare Rocknroll Angel, who resumed from a freshen-up after her tough sixth in last month’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile.

The Jason Grimson-trained mare hopped and skipped a little early as driver Cam Hart pushed forward to find the front, but once on the marker pegs she just kept rolling and won as she liked by 13.3m in a sharp 1min50.8sec mile.

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THE excitement continues to build around WA Derby favourite Lavra Joe.

The son of Roll With Joe made it five wins (and a mighty second) from six runs this season when he cruised to another sparkling Gloucester Park victory last Friday night.

And again, seemingly without much effort, he posted slick time again with a 1min54.4sec mile rate for 2130m.

As impressive as Lavra Joe was again, Gary Hall Sr’s lightly-raced Kiwi import Jumpingjackmac grabbed the eye with a slashing second and potentially breathed some competition into next month’s WA Derby.

Backing-up for a tough first-up midweek win at Gloucester Park just three days earlier, Jumpingjackmac settled well back and ripped home late to grab a clear second and post some sparkling late fractions.

The powerhouse Team Bond won a couple of the Gloucester Park “majors” including the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes for fillies and mares with classy former Kiwi mare Wainui Creek.

The five-year-old was awkwardly placed three pegs throughout, but a superb Ryan Warwick drive saw her find daylight rounding the home bend and she cleared out to win easily.

It was a welcome return to form after four unplaced runs to start the season and took Wainui Creek’s record to 10 wins, 13 placings and more than $260,000 in earnings.

Team Bond also won the free-for-all with former WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror in easy fashion when he used the pole to lead and clock a fast 1min55.7sec mile rate for the long 2536m.

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GOTTA Go Cullect gelding Dangerzone won Queensland’s first juvenile feature of the season.

Given a lovely one-one trip by Brendan Barnes, the Jack Butler-trained gelding stormed to the front rounding the home bend and cleared out to win by 17.2m in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 1660m.

 

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