Aussie News : April 21

By Adam Hamilton

This will be some sort of Queen Elizabeth II Mile. Boom Kiwi mare Aardies Express made quite a statement on debut in Australia as she prepared for a showdown with Aussie champ Ladies In Red in the race formerly known as the Ladyship Mile at Menangle on Saturday week.

Just a week after Ladies In Red flexed her muscle after a break at Melton, Aardies Express smashed the clock and looked downright arrogant doing it in last night’s $50,000 Group 3 Sibelia Stakes at Menangle.

The daughter of Always B Miki joined Jack Trainor’s stable with 13 wins from just 19 starts in NZ and added to that with a blistering 1min48.9sec mile win despite sitting parked against some outstanding mares.

Aardies Express ripped home in 53.9 and 26.6sec to easily stave-off another former Kiwi, Illavabubbles, by 2.6m. Trainor’s other former star mares, Manhattan and Braeview Kelly, ran fourth and fifth respectively.

The final QEII field won’t be finalised until after next Saturday night’s Robin Dundee Stakes, but at this stage it looks close to a match-race between Aardies Express and Ladies In Red.

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New Zealand Oaks winner Aardiebytheseaside opened her WA career in stunning style at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Now in the care of Greg and Skye Bond, the four-year-old had her first start since winning the NZ Oaks at Addington on December 10 and smashed the clock in a strong mares’ race.

Aardiebytheseaside began well, but couldn’t hold out the blazing Steno, so camped on her back.

Steno fired-up in front for driver Jocelyn Young, carving out frantic splits, while driver Deni Roberts bided her time on Aardiebytheseaside before bringing her around the leader on the final bend.

The big, raw daughter of Downbytheseaside cruised to a three metre win in a staggering 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2536m.

Amazingly, it was 1.1sec faster than Catch A Wave went winning the Nullarbor and only 0.6sec outside the track record.

“We thought she’d run well, but she’s a big mare and had a query on how well she’d get around then small track,” Greg Bond said. “It helped being on the pegs, but she’s all class.”

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So many people left Gloucester Park last Friday night wanting a rematch after an epic $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor.

Nobody could begrudge Catch A Wave another huge win, but so many of the beaten brigade had no luck and/or ran huge races.

The good news is, the rematch is on and only a few days away in next Friday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup.

Almost all the Nullarbor combatants will return except young gun Never Ending, who is headed for a spell, and Spirit Of St Louis who reportedly didn’t pull-up well from his disappointing run.

Can Catch A Wave complete the double? Will Minstrel go one better than his brave second? Will Lavra Joe have more luck and run up to his monstrous Nullarbor run? And what about Swingband?

You can almost certainly add Michael Brennan’s Pinny Tiger to the field, too.

For all of the sparks flying in the Nullarbor, Pinny Tiger led throughout over the same distance to win the consolation and went quicker – albeit by just 0.1sec.

But the six-year-old’s bold front-running win in a new career high and his blazing gate speed will be a weapon if he draws well enough in the Fremantle Cup.

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What an old marvel Triple Eight is.

The former Kiwi gelding posted his 24th win from 128 starts when he blazed a 1min52.6sec mile rate to win the 1720m free-for-all at Melton last night.

The nine-year-old, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars, is within a whisker of $800,000 in career earnings.

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TRAINER Gary Hall Sr has long been singing the praises of his four-year-old crop and the best three of them, all former Kiwi pacers, excelled last Friday night.

Mister Smartee made it two wins from as many starts this campaign when he cruised to victory again.

In the following race, Im The Black Flash just did enough to upstage more highly-fancied stablemate Skylou to win a strong standing-start race.

“They’re all lovely horses. Mister Smartee is the one the real X-factor,” Hall Sr said.

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Another huge night of Melton juvenile racing saw another night of dominance from Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart.

The powerhouse training couple snared the quinella in the two main finals for two-year-old pacers.

The Highlight Reel, a colt from the first crop of former star pacer Poster Boy, led throughout to beat Storms Collide by 7.8m in the $250,000 2YO colts and geldings final/

Exciting Queenslander Fate Awaits lost no fans after sitting parked in a blistering 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2240m and finishing third.

In the fillies’ final, it was Miss Australiana, a daughter of Captaintreacherous, beating stablemate Ivseenheavenslight in a 1min57.1sec mile rate.

Stewart also won the 3YO colts and geldings final in easy style with Bay Of Biscay, while NSW raider Lux Aeterna made it 11 wins from 16 starts when she toyed with her rivals in the 3YO fillies’ final.

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