Aussie News - January 21

By Adam Hamilton

As the odds of champion Aussie trotter Just Believe contesting the inaugural TAB Trot at Cambridge shorten by the day, the aura around him continues to grow.

The eight-year-old made it six wins from as many starts back from Sweden when he returned from a freshen-up in stunning style at Ballarat last night.

Despite sitting parked in quick time, Just Believe won without being extended by 3.9m in a 1min57sec mile rate for 2200m.

It was yet another arrogant display and he can only improve for the Great Southern Star on Saturday week.

Connections are yet to show their hand beyond the Great Southern Star, but insiders say he is unlikely to return to Sweden this year.

And that would make the TAB Trot slot race an absolutely given.

The other eye-catcher from the race was the French-bred European import Callmethebreeze at his first run for Anton Golino and the Yabby Dams team.

The $1.7mil earner began well, sat one-one on Just Believe, struggled around the final bend, but hit the line strongly for a good second.

It was a terrific run in such hot company at his first Down Under run.

With Yabby Dams having a slot in the TAB Trot, Callmethebreeze could find his way to Cambridge as well.

Star Kiwi-owned mare Queen Elida drew wide, settled near last and ran some very shatp late fractions to finish just 12.6m from the winner in seventh spot.

Mufasa Metro’s dashing front runner tactics didn’t seem to pay off as he tired late to run eighth.

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It was workmanlike more than brilliant, but Leap To Fame returned from a let-up to win easily at Albion Park last night.

First-up since his powerhouse Inter Dominion win, the five-year-old worked forward from a wide draw to take the lead and posted a slick 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1660m.

Turn It Up came from three pegs to pull some ground off the winner late, but trainer-driver Grant Dixon was there just to give Leap To Fame a pipe opener for his hit-and-run Hunter Cup raid on Saturday week.

Leap To Fame still ran home in 54.5 and 26.5sec.

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Jason Grimson has a serious Miracle Mile contender in Hi Manameisjeff.

The injury-plagued gelding made it eight wins from nine starts in Grimson’s care when he posted a career best 1min48.6sec mile winning at Menangle last night.

Hi Manameisjeff worked to get the front and had to really roll along then fight-off a spirited late challenge from classy former Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden to win by a half-head.

It was an outstanding performance and Grimson will keep him racing at Menangle where the big track suits his battle-scarred legs.

Earlier, Grimson’s recent stable addition Illavabubbles sparked for the second week in a row at Menangle.

This time the former Kiwi mare ran a 1min50.9sec mile and won by almost 14m.

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Some brave runs through the Brisbane Inter Dominion series seem to have been the making of veteran pacer Kanena Provlima.

The eight-year-old followed a terrific second in the Shepparton Cup with a dominant win in last night’s stronger $100,000 Ballarat Cup.

Owned by well-known breeder Ben Settree, Kanena Provlima was driven by David Moran for KerryAnn and Robbie Morris.

And he landed a huge plunge from $21 into $4.

Moran took the gelding to the front, dawdled through an unthinkable 64.5sec middle half, and dashed home in 54.4 and 26sec flat to win by 5.7m.

Beyond Delight ran second after trailing the leader, while Cya Art came from three pegs for third.

The run of Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave was huge considering he came from near last, was three-wide without cover for the last 800m and only beaten 7.5m in what was really just a 500m dash home.

Kanena Provlima ran third, sixth and third in his Brisbane Inter Dominion heats before finishing seventh in the final.

His Ballarat Cup win will ensure him a spot in Saturday week’s Hunter Cup field.

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Champion driver Chris Alford continues to close in on an historic 8000th career win.

Alford, 55, moved to 7991 wins when he teamed with Brent Lilley and former Kiwi trotting mare Simone Lindenny to win at Melton last Friday night.

“I’m getting there,” Alford said. “It might take a week, two weeks or even three, but I’m getting there.

“It’ll be a big thrill when I do get there and it would be great if it was on one of the big nights coming up.”

The ultimate stage would be Victoria’s biggest meeting of the year, Saturday week’s Hunter Cup night at Melton.

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The $1.25mil Nullarbor is still a few months away, but comeback pacer Ideal Agent threw his name in the mix with a stunning return at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

The Kiwi-bred seven-year-old had been sidelined with injury since winning at Gloucester Park on December 30, 2022.

Nursed back by Team Bond and with Deni Roberts aboard, Ideal Agent made light work of sitting parked outside favourite Talks Up A Storm to win in dominant style.

The son of American Ideal ripped home in 55.6 and 28.1sec to win by two metres in a 1min55.7sec mile rate for 2130m.

“He felt great. He’d had plenty of work at home, but we still knew he’d improve a lot on whatever he did tonight,” Roberts said.

Earlier on the card, former Kiwi gelding Our Maestoso led throughout and easily won the feature of the night, the Group 3 Trotters’ Sprint, for trainer Barry Howlett and driver Chris Lewis.

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