Aussie News : July 19

by Adam Hamilton

The Kiwis hold all the aces in next week’s Group 1 Queensland Derby.

Sure Krug is the clear top seed and will love dropping back against his own age, but fellow Kiwi pacer American Dealer is back to his very best at just the right time.

American Dealer scored his second “feature” win in as many weeks for Ray Green and Anthony Butt when he was too classy and strong for his rivals in the South East Derby at Albion Park.

It followed his powerhouse win in the consolation of The Rising Sun a week earlier.

American Dealer arrived here down on his best form and his first couple of runs were just fair, but trainer Ray Green has turned him around.

“He’s thriving here. Ray’s done a great job. He actually seems to be getting better with every run here,” Butt said.

“It’s not easy to come three-wide by yourself and win here, but he’s strong and just kept coming.”

Butt drove Krug to win the recent Redcliffe Derby and was asked if American Dealer could upset him next week.

“It won’t be easy. Krug is an out-and-out superstar. It’ll probably come down to barrier draws, but this wee guy is right back to his best and he’ll give it his best,” he said.

American Dealer’s win kick-started a huge night for Green, who also won the Group 1 Sunshine Sprint with stable star Copy That.

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Bryan Healy, the man who co-trained and drove Australia’s greatest ever trotter Maori’s Idol, was trackside for the first time to watch Pink Galahs win the $52,000 Group 1 Darrell Alexander Trotting Championship final (2647m) at Albion Park.

Healy, now retired and living on the Gold Coast, is a part-owner of the brilliant mare and she races in his family colours of green and gold, which Maori’s Idol made so famous.

Pink Galahs became the first trotter in history to win both heats and the final of the Alexander when she simply blew her rivals away, despite standing-up the leaders about 60m when the field settled down.

She’s won 16 of her 30 starts and is one of the very best trotters in this part of the world.

“She makes me look good,” trainer-driver Matty Craven said. “One of the main reasons we brought her up here to race was so Bryan could see her and he was trackside tonight. She means the world to all of us.”

Pink Galahs will finish her Queensland raid when she backs-up for the fourth consecutive week in the Group 1 Queensland Trotters’ Cup.

Her main rival will be veteran NSW star Tough Monarch, the fresh blood after two fantastic wins back from a break at Menangle.

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Still on exciting trotters and Majestuoso returned from a spell with a narrow but outstanding Geelong win.

Despite coming from last in a leader-dominated race (first half 64.2sec), Majestuoso just kept coming and beat the leader and main danger, Sleepee, by a neck.

He’s now won five of six first-up runs and 17 of his 36 starts.

“We’ve been really happy with him and it’s not easy to do what he did tonight,” trainer Andy Gath said.

“On sheer ability, he’s better than Tornado Valley and McLovin, but whether he’s got their courage or will to win and the signs were good tonight.”

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The rise and rise of former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis continues.

The brilliant four-year-old won his first three Aussie runs for Team McCarthy before a fantastic fifth in last week’s Group 1 The Rising Sun.

Back in grade, he was too classy and fast for a good field despite sitting parked in the Group 3 4YO Championship at Albion Park.

“He’s more a speed horse, but when I got outside them and there was no cover, I just let it turn into a sprint home. He went super,” driver Luke McCarthy said.

Spirit Of St Louis will likely go straight back into the big league for next week’s $250,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake.

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Some good judges already think gifted former Kiwi pacer Minstrel is second-only to Shockwave as WA’s best pacer.

We will know soon as Team Bond’s young star marches towards open-class racing.

Minstrel made it three wins from as many starts this campaign when he defied a 30m backmark and staggering betting drift ($1.70 to $3) to emphatically win the $25,000 Botra Cup (2503m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Despite chasing hard and sitting parked, Minstrel had the race won on the home bend and seemed to cruise to a 3.9m win in a brisk 1min59.2sec mile rate.

He’s won 11 of his 21 starts, including the Group 1 Golden Nugget, but was overawed by the occasion when he crossed the country to tackle the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire back in February when ninth to Expensive Ego.

Shockwave is top of the pops in WA with Minstrel’s stablemate, Mighty Conqueror, second seed with the query over where veteran star Chicago Bull is at.

Another recent Kiwi import, Gambit, won another of the Gloucester Park features, the Group 3 Chandon for father-son Gary Hall and Gary Jr.

The son of Shadow Play won five races in NZ and his three runs for Hall Sr have netted two wins and a fantastic second.

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What a shame COVID-19 means Tasty Delight won’t be in next week’s Queensland Derby.

The star NSW 3YO won the Australian Gold final before a freshen-up and has returned with a couple of great Menangle runs against quality older rivals, including a win last Saturday night.

Tasty Delight was too good for the in-form Arden Messi in a 1min54.1sec mile rate for 2300m.

“We’d love to have gone, but it was too hard with the travel issues,” trainer Brian Portelli said. “He’s got the Breeders Challenge here then the Victoria Derby.”

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What an old marvel Cash N Flow is.

The rising nine-year-old returned to something like his best when he upstaged a good free-for-all field in a 1min 51.2sec mile in the $30,600 Group 3 Vic Frost at Menangle last night.

It was his 23rd win from just 43 starts at Menangle and edged him close to $600,000 in earnings.

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