Aussie News 6 January

By Adam Hamilton 

The Victoria Derby has another very serious player.

Muscle Factory’s record-smashing first-up Menangle win last night (Saturday) and the fact co-trainer Shane Tritton described him as a “freak” has made everyone take notice.

Muscle Factory opened his three-year-old campaign with a scorching 1min49.6sec in the Group 2 Simpson Sprint at Menangle.

It’s so early in the season, but the time smashed Vincent’s Australasian three-year-old mile record of 1min50.2sec.

“He’s a freak this horse. He showed a glimpse of it winning at Albion Park at the end of last campaign and everything told us he’d come back even better,” Tritton said.

“It’s straight into the (Victoria) Derby heats now (Ballarat, January 19) and we can’t wait.

“I know it’s a terrific crop of three-year-olds, but they’ll want to be as good as everyone says.”

All credit to Muscle Factory, but the run of buzz Victorian raider Lochinvar Art in second spot was monstrous considering the times and trip he endured.

Lochinvar Art drew the outside, while Muscle Factory had the pole and led. Lochinvar Art was three-wide for the first 400m, snagged back into a midfield trail, then quickly launched again to sit parked for the last 700m.

To see him digging deep and still hitting the line well in a 1min49.6sec mile and blazing closing splits was amazing.

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STAR Victorian pacer San Carlo bounced-back from a disappointing end to his Inter Dominion campaign to win the $70,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m) last night.

In a stirring finish, San Carlo got the lead surprisingly easy from main rival Let It Ride and just held him off to win by a half-head in a brisk 1min55.4sec mile rate for the long trip.

The jury is out on whether that form will stack-up into the big races like the Ballarat Cup (January 19) and Hunter Cup (February 2).

Let It Ride certainly improved on some recent below par runs and, as tipped by trainer Tim Butt, appears to be thriving on racing week-to-week.

Victoria’s country cup circuit moves to the Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup next Saturday night where San Carlo looks a logical runner at his home track.

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LEADING Chariots of Fire contender Ignatius remains on target for the race despite missing his planned first-up run in Tasmania last Friday.

Co-trainer Barrie Rattray said the winner of 16 of his 19 starts had a minor bug and there was still plenty of time to prime him for the Chariots at Menangle on February 18.

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TREVOR Casey’s dip into WA racing continues to reap rewards.

Casey’s veteran trotter Sun Of Anarchy overcame a 20m handicap to win WA’s biggest trotting race, the $50,000 Trotters’ Cup, at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

It continued the strong strike rate Casey and young gun trainer-driver Justin Prentice have shared.

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TEAM Bond’s dominance of WA’s open-class ranks continued when the zippy El Jacko caused an minor upset in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

The Bonds had four of the nine runners, but it was Phil Costello’s Vultan Tin who dominated betting and led as expected from the pole.

El Jacko emerged out of the one-one and stormed home to snatch a head win over Vultan Tin with a gallant Runrunjimmydunn third after sitting parked throughout.

Key Fremantle and WA Cup hopeful Vampiro, one of the Bond runners, drew wide, settled last and tried to sustain a three-wide run but the 55.7sec last half was beyond him and he wilted to finish seventh.

Judging by last night’s race, Team Bond’s best hope in next Friday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup clearly remains dual Inter Dominion finalist Galactic Star.

They’ve kept him fresh and it’ll be a month between runs since the Inter Dominion final when he lines up next week.

My Field Marshal and Galactic Star head the Aussie TAB’s pre-draw Fremantle Cup market at $2.60.

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IT’S straight into the big time again for exciting filly Platinum Revolution following her first-up win at Penrith last Thursday night.

It was her first start since finishing eighth in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge  back on June 2.

The daughter of Changeover toyed with her Penrith rivals, winning by 14.2m in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2125m.

“It’s the (Group 2) Raith Memorial next Saturday at Menangle now,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said.

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IT’S great to see Peter Manning back with a nice horse.

The decorated trainer has worked wonders with former NSW mare Reciprocity with four wins from just five starts.

Daughter Kerryn Manning took the reins and blasted Recipriocity to the front where she always looked in control and easily beat a good field of emerging pacers in the $30,000 Group 3 Metropolitan Pace final (2240m) at Melton last Friday night.

The next three home – Franco Tristan, Bonus Play and Goonly – all look set to win plenty of races as well.

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NO stable is going better in Victoria than the Mick Stanley barn right now.

And exciting mare Soho Burning Love is leading the way with three sparkling wins from as many runs this campaign, including the Graham Goffin Memorial (1720m) at Melton last Friday night.

The daughter of Auckland Reactor worked hard early from a wide draw to find the front then just kept charging for a brisk 1min53.4sec mile rate and easy 6.4m win.

She’s shaping as a genuine NSW Ladyship Mile player.

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TIM Butt still has the Hunter Cup in the back of his mind with emerging star Bettermatch.

He dipped the entire into open-class for the Kilmore Cup back on September 27 and didn’t fire, but has returned for three impressive Menangle wins going through the grades.

Bettermatch made it 14 wins from 17 starts when he led throughout in a 1min53.1sec mile, including a 26.8sec closing quarter, at Menangle last night.

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