Aussie News - April 7
by Adam Hamilton
The rampaging Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable is set to break a 14-year Mildura Cup drought on Saturday night.
Stewart and Tonkin’s only win in the iconic Victorian country cup came with mighty stayer Safari back in 2007. Other greats to have won the Mildura Cup include Sokyola (2003, ’04 & ’05), Arden Rooney (2015), Hectorjayjay (2016), Our Maestro (1988), Jane Ellen (1990).
Emerging star Mach Dan looks the standout of the three finalists Stewart and Tonkin qualified through the Mildura Cup heats on Tuesday night.
The Mach Three four-year-old made it four wins from as many starts this campaign when he found the lead in the early stages for Greg Sugars, dictated terms and won as he liked in a comfortable 1minm59.6sec mile rate for 2600m.
Stablemate Somewhere Secret continued his fantastic four with a fighting third after sitting parked in the same heat.
In the first heat, Stewart and Tonkin’s much-improved Like A Wildfire lost no admirers when nosed-out late by the much-travelled and promising Silent Major in an epic stoush where they went a much faster 1min58sec mile rate.
Silent Major was having his first run back with the in-form Aaron Dunn after a brief stint in Perth with Gary Hall Sr.
Kate Gath made a rare trip to Mildura and had to be content with minor placings in the Cup heats on Like A Wildfire and Somewhere Secret, but did snare both heats of the main support event Carlas Mach and Krafty Bart both scored dominant wins in the Australia Cup series.
The enigmatic Carlas Mach was right back to his best, sitting parked and crushing his rivals to win by 12m in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2190m.
While Krafty Bart also sat parked and was too strong and classy in a more comfortable 1min58sec mile rate.
It’ll be interesting which Gath drives in Saturday night’s final.
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Team Bond’s recent Kiwi import Booraa makes her Gloucester Park debut as the key runner in Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks (2536m).
The daughter of Mach Three had 13 runs for trainer-driver Katie Cox in NZ, snaring three wins, a second and a third. She headed to Perth after a close second to Got You Covered at Methven on January 31.
In an Oaks lacking a standout, drawing gate three has given Booraa huge chance.
She’s one of three runners for Team Bond, the others being the exciting Newsy (gate 11) and last week’s much-improved winner Unconditional.
Brilliant local Black Jack Baby, renowned for his lethal sit-sprint, has the pole and much will depend on where she settles in the run.
Other major players include Justin Prentice’s Always An Angel (gate five), Colin Brown’s speedy Joelene (two) and Barry Howlett’s talented Just For Love (12).
On the same card, Team Bond also holds the key to the free-for-all with stable veteran Galactic Star drawn to show big improvement from the pole, while their former WA Pacing Cup winner Mighty Conqueror has the outside alle (gate nine).
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Speculation continues to grow Ignatius will head to North America soon, but he should grab another Menangle win this weekend.
The Miracle Mile finalist sparkled with a career-best 1min49.4sec mile win last outing and should work to the front and dominant again from seven in the Cordina Chickens Joe and Michael Ilsley free-for-all (1609m).
The other Menangle feature is the NSW 4YO Trotters’ Foundation final where exciting recent Kiwi import Funky Monkey looks the one to beat for Kerry Ann and Robbie Morris.
The Monkey Bones mare won two of nine NZ runs before moving to NSW where she’s unbeaten in four outings and already boasts a slick 1min54.4sec mile.