Aussie News - August 6
By Adam Hanilton
Normality resumed when Leap To Farm returned to winning form in stunning style at Albion Park last night.
Australasia’s most exciting pacer was made to earn it after sitting parked in quick time, but switched into another gear when asked to by trainer-driver Grant Dixon.
Leap To Fame quickly put away the emerging leader Mr McLaren and zoomed clear to win by 10.1m in a slick 1min53.2sec mile rate for 2138m.
It was just 1.2sec outside half-brother Swayzee’s track record, but he ran the time on the marker pegs in front.
Leap To Fame was stepping out for the first time since his almighty second to Swayzee in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 22.
That’s his only defeat in 10 starts dating back to the Victoria Derby final at Melton on October 8, last year.
“He had two days off after the Blacks A Fake and bounced back well. He felt terrific tonight,” Dixon said.
“I’d like to get one more run into him before we head down to Menangle, probably the Sunday before the Eureka.”
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Champion mare Ladies In Red is nearing a long-awaited racetrack return.
And co-trainer Clayton Tonkin has a warning for anyone who thinks her lengthy stint on the sidelines with a leg injury will bring her back to the pack.
“Gee, she’s coming well, really well,” he said. “She’s not that far away, maybe a month.
“We can stick to the mares’ races for the rest of this year, but won’t be afraid to run her in the big races against the boys.
“With most mares you’d think it might be too hard, but not her. We see what she can do against the Grand Circuit horses at home.
“I’m sure she’ll measure up, maybe by the time races like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile come around.”
Ladies In Red has already beaten the boys in last year’s Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park.
Her 27 starts have netted 22 wins, five seconds and almost $900,000.
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Still on Tonkin and Stewart and the champion trainers are warming up for another interstate raid.
Along with outstanding three-year-old The Lost Storm, Stewart and Tonkin and planning to take open-class stars Mach Dan and Hurricane Harley to the huge Menangle meeting on September 2.
The Lost Storm is a $6 shot in latest markets for the $2.1mil TAB Eureka, while Mach Dan and Hurricane Harley will target the Group 1 Len Smith Mile on the same night.
Mach Dan, who has a luckless Queensland winter raid, sharpened-up for his return when he worked between races at Geelong with Catch A Wave last Friday night.
“I think we’ll take Mach Dan and Hurricane Harley to Menangle,” Tonkin said.
Hurricane Harley returned from a spell with a terrific second in the Our Maestro free-for-all at Melton last night.
In other stable news, Tonkin and Stewart will be major players in Friday night’s Nutrien Classic finals at Bendigo.
Their untapped two-year-old colt Bay Of Biscay, who smashed the clock winning his heat, looks a standout in his $175,000 final.
While three-year-old filly Sweet Bella, who also parked to win her heat, looms as a major player in her $100,000 final.
They also have leading contenders Petracca and Oliver Dan in the $100,000 3YO colts and geldings final.
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In the week their best horse Just Believe returned home from Europe, another star of the Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars stable returned with a first-up win at Melton last night.
Dual Group 1 winner Better Eclipse, first-up since finishing third in the Group 1 Messenger at Alexandra Park on April 28, was good enough to sit parked and beat a strong field.
The classy and fast Hurricane Harley enjoyed the one-one trail and couldn’t quite run him down, while Yambukian, who upstaged stablemate and half-brother Catch A Wave at his previous run, was a close-up third after leading.
“It’s great to have him back,” Tubbs said. “We’re getting him ready for the Len Smith Mile and then he’s got the Victoria Cup and Brisbane Inter Dominion.”
Better Eclipse held-on by a head in a 1min55.6sec mile rate and dashed home in 55.2 and 26.4sec.
His stablemate, the old warrior Triple Eight, didn’t fire first-up and finished 14.6m away in 11th spot.
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Former Kiwi gelding Peter Petrify snared the feature race for Team Bond and Deni Roberts at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The four-year-old son of Pet Rock was good enough to sit parked in a strong $50,000 Group 3 John Higgins Final (2130m) and beat favourite Paul Edward by neck in a 1min57.6sec mile rate.
It took Peter Petrify’s Aussie record to 12 starts for seven wins, four placings and $72,122 in earnings.
It was the second leg of a double for Team Bond and Roberts with Master Yossi easily winning the opening race.
Gary Hall Jr landed a driving treble, headlined by Michael Young’s exciting former Kiwi gelding Watching Our Coin, who won the free-for-all to make it nine wins and three placings from just 12 starts since being bought from NZ by Summit Bloodstock and Aaron Bain Racing.
Earlier, Hall scored another win on Gary Hall Sr’s promising four-year-old Your So Fine.
The other key race of the night saw a minor upset when former high-class NSW mare Steno led throughout to easily upstage WA’s best mare Wonderful To Fly, who is preparing to head to Sydney this week to try and land a TAB Eureka slot through the $50,000 The Singo at Menangle on August 19.
Steno led throughout, dictated terms and roared home in 55.7 and 27.4sec to easily beat Wonderful To Fly.
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Tiger Tara’s baby brother Stingray Ray scored one of his biggest wins and a huge upset in the Group 3 Alf Phillis free-for-all (1609m) at Menangle last night.
Adding to the Kiwi flavour is the fact former Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor puts the polish on the seven-year-old Stingray Tara, who upstaged hot favourite South Coast Arden’s quest for a sixth win from just seven starts since moving to NSW.
Stingray Tara won in a 1min51.4sec mile. It was his 14th career win with another 23 from 91 starts and earnings of $216,840.
Old boy Cash N Flow was fourth, while Ripp returned from a break to finish fifth in a run which should see him get the Western Jewels TAB Eureka slot held by his owner, Wayne Loader.
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Popular training couple Gary and Deb Quinlan look to have a serious Victoria Oaks contender in Sahara Breeze.
The daughter of Captaintreacherous made it five wins from her past six starts when she upstaged a couple of highly rated fillies, Joyful and Perfect In Pink, in a strong 3YO Pace at Melton last night.
Perfect In Pink led with Joyful outside her and they set a slick pace before Sahara Breeze stormed home to beat them by a neck in a fast 1min53.6sec mile rate for 1720m.