Aussie News - January 15
By Adam Hamilton
The records keep tumbling for young gun driver Emily Suvaljko.
The diminutive Suvaljko became the first female to snare a Group 1 Fremantle Cup winner when she drove a glorious race and caused an upset on $31 shot Mighty Ronaldo in last Friday night’s feature at Gloucester Park.
“That was a huge thrill and a bit of a surprise. I missed the WA Cup winning drive on Vultan Tin two years ago when I suspended and then ran second in that race on Miracle Moose,” Suvaljko said.
It was as much a triumph for Suvaljko as it was trainer Justin Prentice, who has nursed Mighty Ronaldo back to peak form after being a Group 1 winner as a two and three year-old.
“It’s my biggest win and it’s great to share Justin’s first Fremantle Cup win with him, too.
“I’ve had a terrific couple of years and this really tops it off.”
In a strangely run affair, Suvaljko camped just off the speed and nabbed a very gallant defending champ Minstrel to win by a head in a 1min56.9sec mile rate for 2536m.
The race was an absolute dawdle early once Diego got across favourite Lavra Joe at the start with a 70sec lead time, then driver Maddison Brown put the foot down on Diego from the 1200m with splits of 28.8, 27.5 and 28.1sec.
Diego had his chance, Minstrel was fantastic and Mighty Ronaldo added to his giant-killer tag in WA’s major races.
“I waited as long as I could before pulling out, knowing Minstrel would be hard to get past and ‘Ronny’ (Mighty Ronaldo) gave me enough when I needed,” Suvaljko said.
Lavra Joe had little luck back in fifth spot, while the backmarkers were never a chance of making an impact the way the race was run.
In saying that, buzz pacer Magnificent Storm did little after getting a three-wide trail home and his eight placing, beaten 13.4m, certainly raised concerns.
Much the same field will back-up in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup on Friday week.
Earlier in the night, exciting Mach Three gelding showed why he is one of WA’s most exciting pacers with a sparkling win in the first heat of the Nights Of Thunder series for trainer Michael Brennan and driver Michael Grantham.
The five-year-old blasted to the front and blazed a 1min51.8sec mile rate for 1720m to win by 11.1m. He’s got next week’s final at his mercy and must be a WA Cup contender.
That 1min51.8sec was just 0.2sec outside Chicago Bull’s track record from October 20, 2017.
Former WA Cup winner Mighty Conqueror made a timely return to winning form in what was basically the Fremantle Cup consolation and did enough to suggest he’ll get a crack at another WA Cup for Team Bond.
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Team McCarthy is back on song.
Their stars Expensive Ego and Spirit Of St Louis were costly during the Inter Dominion, but both have since returned home and won well at Menangle.
First it was Expensive Ego last week and then Spirit Of St Louis controlled a 2300m free-for-all from the front and won well over stablemate Mach Shard last night.
Spirit Of St Louis balanced up early and then driver Jack Callaghan took him around to the front and dawdled through a 60.3sec middle half before zipping home in 54.5sec to win by 1.5m.
Mach Shard’s effort to get so close off the slow speed was outstanding.
Focus now turns to whether Team McCarthy send Expensive Ego and/or Spirit Of St Louis down to Victoria for the Ballarat and/or Hunter Cups.
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The huge Yabby Dams has some outstanding trotters and Interview is one of them.
The French-bred entire made it seven wins on end and nine wins from just 15 starts when he toyed with his rivals in a Menangle free-for-all last night.
Luke McCarthy took the drive for trainer Anton Golino and coasted home by 6.4m.
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It is great to see former top young pacer Tasty Delight back and winning.
The five-year-old was simply awesome sitting parked and crushing his rivals in a 1min50.5sec mile in the New Year’s Gift Final at Menangle last night.
Tasty Delight won 12 of his 21 starts at two and three for trainer-driver Brian Portelli and banked almost $340,000 before being sidelined with injury in late 2021.
The five-year-old lost on protest first-up and then atoned with a powerhouse win last night.
You could see what it meant to Portelli with his huge victory salute on the line.
Tasty Delight’s return and talent could see him emerge as a smoky for the Miracle Mile if he keeps progressing in coming weeks.
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Former Kiwi pacer Outlaw Man is proving an inspired purchase for Andy and Kate Gath.
The five-year-old made it five wins from just six Aussie runs when he led throughout and scorched a 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1690m at Shepparton last night.
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The powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable won four races at the big Devonport Cup meeting last night, but not the big one.
In a major shock, local Sunny Sanz overpowered favourite Hes Ideal to win by 1.6m for locals Kent and Gareth Rattray.
Stewart and Tonkin had to be content with second spot with Hes Ideal and a luckless fifth with Like A Wildfire.