Aussie News - 4 November 2018

By Adam Hamilton

Shadow Sax’s surge towards the Melbourne Inter Dominion gained some serious momentum with an easy Sokyola Sprint win at Melton last night.

After some brave runs from bad draws in strong races, Shadow Sax drew superbly in gate three and used it to lead and dominate.

With Chris Alford away at Globe Derby for the Australian Drivers’ Championship, Mark Pitt took the reins on Shadow Sax and always looked in control.

And he beat fellow key Inter Dominion hopefuls Wrappers Delight and Menin Gate in the process.

Shadow Sax clocked a 1min52.5sec mile rate for 1720m – just 1.8sec outside Cruz Bromac’s track record – and closed with splits of 55.0 and 26.6sec.

Wrappers Delight’s run was enormous given he sat parked early then took the one-one trail on Menin Gate, but had to swing three-wide and make-up good ground in the blistering last quarter for second.

The concern from the race was how sharply Menin Gate, who returned from a long spell with a terrific Swan Hill Cup win – dropped out to finish a distant last.

Stewards queried the race and stood him down pending vet tests.

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An emerging star and a rejuvenated veteran stole the show in the Group 3 Nick Robin Free-For-All (1609m) at Menangle last night.

And both of them – Joes Star Of Mia and Maximan – could be Inter Dominion-bound.

Joes Star Of Mia has made a stunning step into Menangle’s big league, following a ripper fourth and eye-catching second with a sub-1min50sec win last night.

Despite being part of a slick 26.5sec quarter as driver Amanda Turnbull fought to lead, Joes Star Of Mia followed with splits of 28.0, 27.3 and 27.5sec to win brilliantly in a 1min49.3sec mile.

Most thought the currently sidelined Atomic Red was trainer Steve Turnbull’s next star horse, but Joes Star Of Mia has pinched that title, at least for now.

Maximan’s slashing second, coming from a mile off them and finishing well ahead of Let It Ride, has got trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton thinking.

“We’re talking with the owners about paying the late entry for the Inter Dominion. He won a couple in a row and he’s smashed the clock finishing second in both runs since,” Shane Tritton said.

“I’ll be talking to HRV about it. He’s going well enough to give it a go for sure.”

Maximan’s stablemate, My Alpha Rock, tired late but wasn’t disgraced in eighth spot after sitting parked.

Let It Ride settled near last and was standing-up the leaders a huge start on the home bend before finishing well for fifth, less than five metres from Joes Star Of Mia.

He’s now got two runs under his belt and shows every sign he will appreciate getting over further than a mile.

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Many of the biggest names in Australian driving ranks locked horns at Globe Derby last night.

There were eight heats of the Australian Drivers’ Championship and it went right down to the last heat to decide the winner.

And it was NSW young gun Todd McCarthy who snatched victory by just two points over Queensland-based Adam Sanderson with WA veteran Chris Lewis another four points away in third spot.

McCarthy only won the one heat – heat two about Imprincessgemma – but was consistent through the right races, also snaring a second and three fourths.

Final standings were: Todd McCarthy (72pts), Adam Sanderson (70), Chris Lewis (66), Greg Sugars (63), Pete McMullen (63), Dani Hill (62), Ricky Duggan (59), Ellen Rixon (51), Todd Rattray (45), Chris Alford (44), Shannon Suvaljko (40) and Ryan Hryhorec (37).

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Former Kiwi pacer Vampiro continued his rapid rise through the ranks with the biggest win of his career at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Driver Ryan Warwick made the most of a good draw (gate three) and Vampiro’s gate speed to lead and always looked in control in the $50,000 Group 2 James Brennan Memorial (2130m).

After cruising through a 61.4sec middle half, Vampiro finished-off in 56.0 and 27.9sec to hold-off a gallant and revitalised stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone in 1min57sec mile rate.

Vampiro’s won five of his past seven starts and 17 of his 38 career runs and with Chicago Bull sidelined he is pressing for the top seeding in WA’s open-class ranks.

“I liked him from the start, but Bondy (co-trainer Greg Bond) wasn’t so sure. He rushed through his grades and took a few runs in open-class to take the next step, but he’s into it now,” Warwick said.

Vampiro is one of two “Team Bond” pacers being set for the Melbourne Inter Dominion. The other, Galactic Star, is slated to return to racing next Friday night at Gloucester Park.

Team Bond’s other emerging open-class player. Mitch Maguire, also impressed winning last Friday night, coming from a 10m handicap to score by 16m in a slick 1min58.8sec mile rate for the long 2503m from the stand.

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