Aussie News - 8th August

By Adam Hamilton

FORMER Kiwi gelding Supreme Dominator continued his charge towards an Inter Dominion campaign with victory in the Our Maestro free-for-all (2240m) at Melton last night.

The former Barry Purdon-trained six-year-old looks set for another big campaign for trainer Joe Pace and young gun driver James Herbertson.

“He went from a country-class horse to racing in our biggest races in the space of eight to nine runs last campaign,” Herbertson said.

“He had a good spell and all the signs are that he’s come back that bit better again.

“I know the margin wasn’t great tonight, but he did a bit (of work) early and did a good job to fight it right out.

“He’s not really screwed down yet, either.”

Pace will no doubt target the Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 8 before the Victorian Inter Dominion series, starting on November 26.

Supreme Dominator just held-on to beat the fast-finishing Torrid Saint by a nose with another former Kiwi, Tango Tara, running a huge third after doing the work outside the leader.

The disappointment was former Victoria and NSW Derby winner Line Up, who was crunched into $1.90 favourite and led, but weakened late for fifth.

Another Melton winner who could be Inter Dominion-bound is Brent Lilley’s four-year-old trotter Aldebaran Zeus.

The son of Muscle Hill returned with a dominant win despite sitting parked in the main trotting race last night.

It was his first run since finishing second in the Group 1 Vicbred final last New Year’s Eve and Aldebaran Zeus has now won 10 of his 25 starts with another 11 placings.

On the same card, rising star Yambukian provided the first leg of a winning treble for Andy and Kate Gath.

The four-year-old has raced just 20 times for nine wins and five placings and looks a bundle of potential.

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FORMER Kiwi horseman Stewie McDonald stamped his return to Western Australia with a free-for-all win aboard Jumpingjackmac at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

McDonald, who had a stint with Gary Hall Sr’s stable in WA, has recently returned from Victoria where he was stable foreman and occasional driver for Nathan Purdon.

Hall Sr showed his appreciation for McDonald’s return by giving him the drive on Jumpingjackmac, while stablemates were driven by Justin Prentice (Chicago Bull, second), Maddison Brown (Diego, third) and Deni Roberts (Gambit, last).

It was an armchair drive for McDonald who easily held the lead from the pole then stole a dawdling 32.2sec opening quarter.

The race was really just a 400m sprint home with a 27.4sec last quarter and Jumpingjackmac holding off a gallant Chicago Bull, who sat parked, to win by 2.7m.

The win again showed Jumpingjackmac was up with the best when able to lead or race on the marker pegs.

It was one of three driving wins on the night for McDonald, who is sure to be in high demand.

Much interest was on former superstar juvenile Lavra Joe at his first dip into serious free-for-all racing.

Driver Chris Lewis was content to drop straight in behind and trail Jumpingjackmac, but never saw daylight and finished a close-up fourth.

The race also saw the return of Fremantle Cup winner Minstrel, who couldn’t get into the slowly run affair and finished back in sixth spot.

Earlier, Minstrel’s trainers Greg and Skye Bond dominated the feature, the $50,000 Group 2 San Simeon Pace, with a trifecta of former Kiwi pacers. Art

Major gelding Socrates caused a minor upset to beat Himself by a nose with 5.8m away to Markham Eyre in third spot.

All three look headed for open-class racing.

In the opening race of the night, untapped gelding Swingband defied a startling betting drift to win a clash of many of WA’s best three-year-olds.

Trained by Ryan Bell and driven by Michael Grantham, Swingband worked his way to the front first-up from a break and was too good for the heavily-backed and exciting The Miki Taker with Tricky Miki third.

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A PAIR of young former Kiwi horsemen teamed-up for an upset win with Our Vinnie at Bendigo last Friday night.

The Nathan Purdon-trained son of Vincent led throughout win on debut for driver Josh Dickie.

He was aided by the fact the $1.10 favourite First Responder from the Emma Stewart stable galloped when outside the leader coming to the home bend.

Despite the upset nature of the win, Purdon has a good opinion of Our Vinnie, who is raced by Danny Zavitsanos and others.

“We’ve liked him all along,” he said. “Whatever he does this season, I think he’s the sort of horse who will be a better three-year-old.”

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FORMER Kiwi gelding Mach Da Vinci is back where he loves it.

It was this time last year when the five-year-old found career-best form for Shane Graham and he seems back in the same zone.

Mach Da Vinci used gate two to lead throughout for Graham and driver Leonard Cain in a slick 1min52.1sec mile rate for the 1660m free-for-all at Albion Park last night.

He gave nothing else a chance with sparkling closing splits of 54.1 and 26.2sec.

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SOFIA Arvidsson keeps clocking-up the winners since making Sydney home.

Arvidsson trained and drove one of her favourites, veteran trotter Gus An Maori, to win the fast-class trot at Menangle last night.

The 10-year-old is a son of Angus Hall out of former Inter Dominion-winning mare Sumthingaboutmaori.

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