Aussie News - April 28
Hopefully the barrier draw hasn’t robbed us of an epic $200,000 Group 1 WA Derby at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The build-up has been superb with Lavra Joe in one corner, Jumpingjackmac in another and then potential blowout contenders headed by Mighty Ronaldo.
The marbles seemingly couldn’t have fallen worse for Lavra Joe, who goes into the Derby with seven wins and a massive second from his eight starts this season. He’s drawn inside the back row.
In contrast, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging Jumpingjackmac gained a huge advantage with gate four, which should see him work forward and find the lead.
Mighty Ronaldo also drew ideally in gate two.
Lavra Joe is so good and mighty strong, but it looks an enormous ask to overcome the draw.
His masterful driver Chris Lewis firstly has to decide whether to push through at the start and hope for luck or, more likely, snag right back and get into clear air.
Jumpingjackmac’s draw has seen him installed a commanding $1.40 favourite.
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A kind barrier has tightened Expensive Ego’s grip on Australian Gold 4YO final favouritism at Melton on Saturday night.
Team McCarthy’s Chariots Of Fire winner is a $1.30 from gate four, while his two key rivals have drawn worse: Mach Dan (gate nine) and Pacifico Dream (six).
In the 4YO mares’ final, much-travelled Queenslander Pelosi holds all the aces from gate three in a surprisingly weak race for the $210,000 purse.
The highlight of the night could be the Golden Reign free-for-all where untapped, but injury-plagued Victorian pacer General Dodge has to overcome a wide draw (gate seven) and strong opposition.
General Dodge returned from 14 months out with a sparkling Geelong win on April 17, taking his record to 13 wins from just 18 starts. He’s only raced three times since mid-2018.
This is much harder than Geelong with Team McCarthy bringing down the classy former Star Galleria (gate 10) and former NSW Derby winner Max Delight (eight) also in the field.
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Aussie fans could get their last glimpse of Ignatius at Menangle on Saturday night.
The Tassie-owned star could head to North America to continue his career with trainer Noel Daley, but it’s pending a suitable flight.
Ignatius finished a luckless seventh in the Miracle Mile and has brilliantly won both starts since.
This week he stretches to the 2300m in the free-for-all and takes on some quality from Team McCarthy in Balraj (gate two) and Alta Orlando (eight).
There’s a strong trotting flavour to the Menangle card as well with the Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Oaks and Group 3 La Coocaracha for open-aged trotting mares.
The Oaks looks open, but Brent Lilley’s former Kiwi Queen Elida is favourie from gate two ahead of another Kiwi-bred Lady In The Sky (one) for Amanda Grieve.
The value could be Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith’s Ima Cherished Stride (gate three), who galloped while leading and looking the winner at her latest run.