Aussie News - January 22

By Adam Hamilton

Brilliant four-year-old Catch A Wave could be a surprise Hunter Cup runner.

The plan was always to target the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on February 18, but trainer Andy Gath is warming to Victoria’s biggest race on February 4.

Gath’s change of heart came after Catch A Wave brilliantly won a heat of the quirky Mercury80 series over just 1200m at Melton last night.

“We’ve got some thinking to do and lots of options,” Gath said. “His next run will be on February 4, but there are three possible races for him: the Hunter Cup, the 4YO Bonanza or the final of the Mercury80.

“I’d say the Hunter Cup is the most likely. He’s right in the zone now, I think it’s the best we’ve had him.

“He won really well last night and 100m past the post he was going stronger than ever.

“He beat a serious horse, proven in Group 1 races, in Hurricane Harley last night and I don’t think the open-class horses are anything special at the moment. They’re a good, even bunch and I think he’ll measure up to them with the right (barrier) draw.”


Team McCarthy looks set to have one, maybe two runners in Saturday week’s Hunter Cup.

Luke McCarthy said it was very unlikely stable star Expensive Ego would be one of them.

“Spirit Of St Louis is a definite. He’ll race this week, most likely at Menangle but maybe at Melton, then go to the Hunter Cup,” he said.

“Mach Shard will run this week, too. He’s right back to his best. His last run was fantastic behind Spirit Of St Louis and if he runs that well again this week, he will probably head down for the Hunter Cup, too.”

In contrast, Expensive Ego looks set to stay at Menangle, which he absolutely loves.

“He’s just so well suited at the Menangle,” McCarthy said. “We’re really focused on the Miracle Mile and it’s probably best to just keep racing him at Menangle in the lead-uo.

“He can go flat out all the way at Menangle and the big track suits. He’s gone 1min48sec twice and sat parked to win a Chariots Of Fire.

“It’s harder to do that around the smaller tracks.”

Expensive Ego suffered a shock defeat at Menangle last night when he worked to the front but was nabbed late by Inter Dominion finalist Petes Said So, who trailed him.

Petes Said So posted a slick 1min49.3sec mile.

McCarthy is also excited about unleashing recent stable addition Bondi Lockdown in coming weeks.

“He’s just about ready to go,” he said. “He had his first trial for us last week (at Menangle) and did it well.

“He’ll run in the next week or two and head to the Newcastle Mile to try and get his spot in the Miracle Mile.

“He’s such a talented horse and a thrill to have join the stable. That Chariots Of Fire run of his last year was off the charts. You don’t go any better than that.

“He’s coming up really well, but we’ll know a lot more about him once we get him to the races.”

Bondi Lockdown was sent to Team McCarthy after having a minor bleed late last year for owner, trainer and driver Aaron Dunn in Victoria.

The five-year-old has raced 32 times for 13 wins, 10 placings and banked $353,640.


Brilliant WA pacer Pinny Tiger may skip his biggest hometown race to chase the Miracle Mile.

Trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan said Pinny Tiger’s past two explosive wins – in a heat and final of the Nights Of Thunder series – have shown his love for sprint racing.

Pinny Tiger went 1min51.5sec winning his heat over 1730m then an even quicker 1min51.2sec winning last Friday night’s $50,000 final at Gloucester Park.

It was just 0.2sec outside Chicago Bull’s track record.

“I think we’ll have a crack at the Miracle Mile,” Brennan said.

“We love him, but I’m not sure stepping-up to 2900m in the WA Cup is the best thing after two sprint wins.

“I know it’s a massive step-up to a Miracle Mile, but if you equate his 1min51.2sec at Gloucester Park to a Menangle mile time, you’d have to be talking 1min47sec.

“We’ll make a final call in the next day or so, but I think we’ll give the Miracle Mile a crack.”

The $450,000 WA Pacing Cup is at Gloucester Park next Friday night.

If Brennan heads to Sydney, it needs to be soon so he can give Pinny Tiger a look at the huge 1400m track at Menangle in work or a trial and plan what he races he uses to try and book a Miracle Mile berth.

The options are the Newcastle Mile or the qualifying sprint races the week before the Miracle Mile.


Inter Dominion trotting winner Just Believe picked-up where he left off at Ballarat last night.

Racing for the first time since his Inter Dominion victory on December 10, Just Believe humbled a strong field in the Group 3 Cochran Trotters’ Cup.

“He’s back and he might have gone to another level,” race caller Dan Mielicki said.

Just Believe powered clear to win by 5.9m over Brent Lilley’s Aldebaran Zeus with Im Ready Jet in third spot.

The seven-year-old trotted a 1min58.5sec mile rate for 2200m, ripping home in 27.9sec for his last quarter.


Jason Grimson’s latest Kiwi import Betterzippit turned plenty of heads winning his Aussie debut at Ballarat last night.

The five-year-old was heavily backed and worked to the front before powering away to win by 13.6m.

He went a 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2200m, dashing home in 55.6 and 27.6sec.


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