Aussie News : Feb 13

The Kiwi flavour just keeps getting stronger as the $200,000 Group 1 Ladyship Mile gets closer.

Defending champion Stylish Memphis was irresistibly impressive making it three wins from as many runs in NSW this campaign at Menangle.

The ease of the win even surprised caretaker trainer-driver Jack Trainor, who felt she may have needed the hitout after three weeks between races.

“There’s no doubt she’ll be fitter for it,” he said. “It just shows her class and speed to be able to come and do that when I know there’s more to come with her.”

Het Kiwi trainer Mark Jones confirmed Stylish Memphis had a minor hoof issue in between runs.

Stylish Memphis, an alarming $1.90 to $3.50 betting drifter, was eased back to near last from a wide draw while star Victorian mare Maajida worked forward to find the leader and steadied with a 29.5sec second split.

The leader-to-winner closing splits were 54.4 and 26.6sec, but Stylish Memphis came from at least five lengths off the speed to win. She surely broke 54sec for her last half.

Maajida did some work, but still raced well below her best. Tiring late for fifth, beaten 4.1m. She will need to improve and back-up next week to get a Ladyship berth.

Last season’s star NSW filly, Anntonia, enjoyed a lovely one-one trail, but just battled in the run home for fourth.

Young mare The Honey Queen added to the Kiwi flavour when raced into the Ladyship Mile equation with a sparkling first-up win for Team McCarthy at Menangle last night.

The four-year-old, who won seven of her 19 NZ runs, was sent to Team McCarthy after finishing fourth to South Coast Arden at Cambridge on January 27.

The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and Tosti Girl worked her way to the front in a brisk 26.6sec opening quarter and was still good enough to zip home in 26.7sec to win easily in a 1min51.2sec mile.

“She hadn’t been here long so it was great to see her come out and go like that. She’s very fast,” Luke McCarthy said.

Earlier in the night, Better Call Me, showed he would be a genuine factor in the Chariots Of Fire with a barnstorming 1min50.6sec win against older horses.

Trained by Matty Craven and driven by Sofia Arvidsson, Better Call Me booked a Chariots berth with his second to Titian Raider in the Group 2 Hondo Grattan the previous week.

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The rematch is on.

IT was just over three months ago when Boncel Benjamin “pinched” the Inter Dominion crown of Expensive Ego in the Menangle stewards’ room.

They will meet for the first time since in Friday night’s Group 1 Newcastle Mile where only the winner is guaranteed a spot in the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 5.

While things haven’t gone ideally for Expensive Ego in two runs since, Boncel Benjamin hasn’t started since being crowned Inter Dominion champion.

But trainer Jason Grimson insists Boncel Benjamin is primed for his return.

“He’s flying. He worked (at Menangle) over 2300m last Thursday and ran home in 53sec flat. He’s come back really well,” he said.

While Boncel Benjamin won the 3000m Inter Dominion final, he’s best known as a sprinter. Remember in the Bathurst sprint heats of the Inter Dominion he led and went within a whisker of beating King Of Swing.

Luke McCarthy says Expensive Ego has bounced back since being scratched from last Saturday week’s Hunter Cup.

Expensive Ego had two Victorian runs last month and led both times for a fourth in the Ballarat Cup and second in the Casey Classic.

He was scratched from the Hunter Cup after feeling flat in his final workout and having an elevated heart rate.

“We got him straight back home and he seems great. He’s raring to go again,” McCarthy said.

It was also great to see former Victoria and NSW Derby winner Line Up return from a break with a sparkling 1min50.3sec win last night.

First-up since the NSW Inter Dominion series, trainer Darren Binskin took the five-year-old to front after 400m and kept rolling to win in cruise-mode by 6.2m in a 1min50.3sec mile.

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Majestuoso cemented his status as Australia’s best trotter with third win and second at Group 1 level in the space of eight days when he won at Melton.

The fact he backed-up just eight days after winning a heat and final of the Great Southern Star on the same night is a sign of how he’s come in the past 12 months.

“We wouldn’t have even tried the back-up last year, but he’s really matured and comes through his races so much better now,” trainer Andy Gath said.

Majestuoso drew inside the back row, but it proved a blessing when Hatchback, Always Ready and veteran Kiwi raider Temporale burned for the front over the first 300m.

Kate Gath eased Majestuoso away from the inside then launched after 700m to circle the field and find the front.

Temporale ran another mighty race, giving Majestuoso a scare down the home straight and he was superb in second spot, just 1.4m away, in a 1min57.8sec mile.

Majestuoso gained eight points for winning to give him a two-point lead over Im Ready Jet in the Aurura Australis points tally with just one race remaining.

The two stars are set to clash for the title and a $50,000 bonus in the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Melton on February 26.

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Former Kiwi gelding Minstrel has assumed the mantle as Wwestern Australia's best pacer.

Victory in the Fremantle Cup, a fighting fifth from a poor draw in the WA Cup and last Friday’s effortless all-the-way $50,000 Group 2 Lord Mayor’s Cup win give him the nod.

Team Bond’s five-year-old was never out of second gear last Friday with driver Ryan Warwick leadin easily from gate two and dawdling through a 61.4sec middle half of the 2536m trip.

Minstrel zipped home in 55.3 and 27.1sec to beat Roman Art, who sat behind him by four metres, with Golden State making late ground along the inside for third in a cosy 1min58.2sec mile rate.

Minstrel’s raced just 31 times for 16 wins, 10 placings and banked $536,523.

The other class winner of the Gloucester Park meeting was Nathan Turvey’s former Kiwi mare Savvy Bromac, who made light of a back row draw to impressively again.

The five-year-old daughter of Mach Three returned from a let-up to score her 13th win from 32 starts (with 11 placings) and reaffirmed her standing as one of WA’s very best mares.

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