Aussie News : February 12

by Adam Hamilton

Phil Williamson’s extended stay in Australia took a different twist when he drove an outside winner at Geelong last Friday night.

Williamson, who has star trotter Majestic Man stabled with Brent Lilley, drove Love You filly Our Marvella to lead throughout and win easily at Geelong.

Our Marvella has won twice with a second from just four runs this season and given Lilley’s fantastic record, she could develop into an Oaks filly.

Majestic Man, who started his Aussie campaign well with a Dullard Cup, hasn’t gone on with it since.

He disappointed again last night in the Knight Pistol after working the front early and just battling into third spot as favourite.

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It just felt right for exciting young trotter Plymouth Chubb to win last night’s Group 2 Knight Pistol Trot at Melton.

Plymouth Chubb is trained by Peter Manning and was driven by his record-breaking daughter, Kerryn.

And the race was named after former trotting great Knight Pistol, who Kerryn and Peter teamed with for magical moments and massive wins through the mid to late 1990s.

Knight Pistol’s win in the 1997 Harley Davidson Trot in Norway made Kerryn just the second female to drive a Group 1 winner in Europe.

It’s great to see Plymouth Chubb back and firing.

The four-year-old was unstoppable at two, but missed most of his three-year-old season with a life-threatening setback.

Peter Manning has nursed him back, won a heat of the Great Southern Star and now the Knight Pistol, proving he’s going to be a major open-class force.

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Any hope classy Kiwi raider Republican Party has of testing Captain Ravishing in the Chariots Of Fire will be a lot clearer tomorrow (Monday).

The barrier draw for Australasia’s biggest four-year-old is slated for 2pm Monday (NZ time) at Harness Racing NSW.

As talented as Republican Party is, Captain Ravishing looks to have the race at his mercy.

That view was underlined even further when two pacers he beat out of sight a week earlier, ran first and third in the last of the Chariots qualifying races, the Group 3 Paleface Adios Stakes, at Menangle last night.

Heza Son Of Agun, who won last night, was beaten 21.8m into second spot behind Captain Ravishing in the 4YO Bonanza at Melton. Invitation Only finished 30.7m away in fourth spot in that race and improved for third last night.

Republican Party booked his Chariots spot a week earlier when he easily won the Hondo Grattan Stakes.

The biggest watch last night was on exciting Victorian pacer Catch A Wave, but he drifted back to last from a wide draw and was never a winning chance.

He did make good late ground to grab fourth, which was just enough to book him a spot in next week’s big one.

But, clearly, Catch A Wave is going to need a great draw to be any real player next week.

Team McCarthy’s former Kiwi pacer Cantfindabettorman also got through the big one with a solid second after leading last night.

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Mighty Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis faces a big challenge to complete a Ladyship Mile three-peat at Menangle.

Younger stablemate Braeview Kelly beat Stylish Memphis for the second successive time at Menangle last night.

And star Victorian mares Amore Vita and Tough Tilly are also heading to Sydney for the Queen Elizabeth II Mile (formerly) Ladyship in two weeks.

Trainer Jack Trainor has always been a fan of Braeview Kelly and she’s right in the zone, as evidenced by an almost arrogant 1min50.4sec mile to win the Group 3 Sibelia Stakes last night.

Driver Cam Hart didn’t even pull the plugs in a 26.3sec closing quarter.

Stylish Memphis certainly wasn’t disgraced and ran home well for third, but was beaten 7.1m and doesn’t quite look as sharp as her past two NSW raids.

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Gifted pacer Bondi Lockdown is making up for lost time.

This time last year he was Australia’s hottest harness racing property after a monstrous second in the Chariots Of Fire.

Amazingly, he scored his first win since then – albeit just from seven runs – when he stormed home to win the Menangle free-for-all in a 1min50.5sec mile last night.

It was just his second run for Team McCarthy and both have been outstanding.

“It’s not easy to do that (at Menangle). It was a big win,” driver Luke McCarthy said.

“I didn’t want to light him up from the wide draw, so we went back and had to come from last.

“But he really picked up when I needed him to and hit the line very strongly.

“That run will top him off nicely for Newcastle.”

That’s next Friday night’s Newcastle Mile where only a win will guarantee Bondi Lockdown a Miracle Mile berth.

Inter Dominion runner-up Torrid Saint returned to his best form with a terrific second to Bondi Lockdown last night.

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What an old marvel Tough Monarch is.

The 11-year-old now holds the record for the most wins by any horse – pacer or trotter – at Menangle after posting his 27th win (from just 56 starts) at the track last night.

Trainer-driver Rickie Alchin took the gelding to the front, dictated terms, and won well in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2300m.

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Dual Inter Dominion winning horseman Jimmy Rattray has snared the drive on Miracle Mile hopeful Pinny Tiger.

The WA speed sensation worked between races at Menangle last night and will open his NSW campaign in Friday night’s Newcastle Mile.

Only a win would secure him a Miracle Mile berth, meaning he may need to back-up in one of the qualifying sprints at Menangle eight days later.

Pinny Tiger convinced trainer Michael Brennan to chase the Miracle Mile when he broke the Gloucester Park 1730m track record with a 1min51.2sec mile rate to win the Nights Of Thunder final on January 20.

“It’s a step-up for sure, but he’s a real speed horse and we think he’ll be competitive. It’ll also be a great learning experience for him to take on these sorts of horses,” Brennan said.

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Buzz Victorian three-year-old School Captain will miss the NSW Derby.

It follows news Victoria’s top stable of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin will bypass the Derby with their young stars as well, headed by the exciting The Lost Storm.

School Captain had a minor setback and was scratched from the Caduceus Club 3YO Classic at Melton recently.

“It is nothing serious at all. He’s just far too good to rush or take any risks with and there are so many great options for him later in the year, too,” driver Nathan Jack said.

School Captain has beaten The Lost Storm twice, including the Group 1 Breeders Crown final at Melton on November 19, which was most recent run.

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Young gun Emily Suvaljko snared yet another feature win when Bettor Get It On was simply too good for her rivals in the Group 3 Laurie Kennedy (1730m) for mares’ at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

It was the same combination who won the recent Fremantle Cup with Mighty Ronaldo. Bettor Get It On is trained by Justin Prentice.

Despite sitting parked, the Kiwi-bred daughter of Bettors Delight dug deep to rundown leader Vivere Damore and win by 1.6m in a 1min55.9sec mile rate.

Another former Kiwi pacer Glenledi Chief overcame his own awkwardness for Team Bond to win the free-for-all by a whisker over the rejuvenated veteran Handsandwheels.

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THE rising influence of stallion Captaintreacherous was highlighted again when he sired the first 2YO winner of the season at Newcastle last Friday night.

The nicely-bred Lux Aeterna, a half-sister to the speedy and now US-based Crunch Time, led throughout to upset Team McCarthy’s Sweet Lou colt Tomahawk Bart in a 1min55.5sec mile.

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