Aussie News - July 24
By Adam Hamilton
Brilliant three-year-old The Lost Storm’s TAB Eureka chances have soared on all levels.
Not only did he win the Group 1 Queensland Derby by half the straight, but the two biggest guns (outside of him) in the TAB Eureka – Leap To Fame and Catch A Wave – suffered shock defeats.
Defeat was never likely for The Lost Storm who worked to the front and won without being extended by 16.5m in a slick 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2680m. He ripped home in 54.2 and 27.1sec.
And co-trainer Clayton Tonkin insists he is still on the rise.
“This was part of developing him and preparing him for the Eureka,” Tonkin said. “It’s good to win a Group 1 race, but it’s also important for him to have this trip away for his Eureka build-up. He’ll be better for it.
“We’ll tread water a bit now and then screw him back down again, probably with two Melton lead-up runs, before the Eureka.”
The Lost Storm’s win was his 10th from just 12 starts and stamped him as Australia’s standout three-year-old.
His TAB Eureka odds were slashed from $8 to $5, but Leap To Fame remains $2 favourite from Catch A Wave ($3.50 to $4).
Trainer Andy Gath said he was "deflated but not panicking" after Catch A Wave's defeat by half-brother and stablemate, Yambukian.
"He star-gazed a bit, but also pulled-up blowing which suggests he wasn't quite as fit as thought," he said.
"We've got plenty of time until the Eureka and he's shown before he can peak when it matters."
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The $1mil Miracle Mile is moving back a week as part of some key changes to Menangle’s biggest carnival.
Club Menangle confirmed the Carnival of Miracles would be shortened and some key features moved to a new timeslot.
The Miracle Mile, recently held on the first Saturday in March, will now back one week and be run next year on March 9.
That epic meeting will also feature the $200,000 Group 1 NSW Derby, $100,000 Group 1 Hammerhead Trotters’ Mile, $100,000 Group 2 Australian Light Horse FFA, along with the Sapling Stakes and Raith Memorial for juveniles.
Importantly, the Chariots Of Fire, which has traditionally be run two weeks before the Miracle Mile, will now be the week before (March 2). It will be on the same night as the two Miracle Mile qualifying sprints (Schweppes Sprint and Allied Express Sprint) as well as heats of the NSW Derby.
The most significant changes with a creation of a new feature meeting at Menangle on May 4.
Australia’s top mares’ race, the $200,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Mile (formerly Ladyship Mile) shifts to the May 4 meeting, thus is no longer a Miracle Mile lead-up or potential qualifier.
Following industry feedback with the new calendar year season, Menangle has pushed the NSW Oaks heats and finals back from Miracle Mile time to have the $200,000 final on the new May 4 fixture.
The $100,000 Group 1 Macarthur Trotting Mile (for mares) and the $75,000 Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Oaks will also be part of what is clearly a “ladies” themed night.
It’s all smart thinking from Club Menangle and won’t just help it, but also slightly decongests Australian national calendar.
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Brilliant pacer Captain Ravishing continues to build towards a racetrack return.
Now back with original trainer Ahmed Taiba, the long-time TAB Eureka favourite worked strongly on Saturday and may head to Melton later this week for a private trial with new race driver Greg Sugars.
“If we can get on to Melton late in the week, I’d love to do that,” Taiba said. “We’re really happy with him and he’s close now.
“Ideally he can have that Melton workout then we’ll take him to Geelong to work between races at the big Team Zav night (August 4) and then look for a race.”
Captain Ravishing, who hasn’t raced since the Miracle Mile, remains a clear $5 third favourite behind Leap To Fame and Catch A Wave for the TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.
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Australia has another exciting new slot race.
During last Saturday night’s huge Blacks A Fake meeting at Albion Park, Racing Queensland launched the $500,000 Ladbrokes Protostar, a slot race exclusively for two-year-olds to be run over 1660m at Albion Park on Blacks A Fake night in July from next year.
Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace said: “With an enticing half a million dollars in stakes on offer, this race is sure to attract the interest of Australasia’s best and brightest two-year-olds.”
Unlike the $2.1mil TAB Eureka, Kiwi horses are a key target for this new feature.
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NSW trainer-driver Brad Hewitt’s first trotter has given him Group 1 glory.
Former Kiwi gelding Majestic Trio caused a minor upset with a booming finish in the $100,000 Group 1 Queensland Trotters’ Cup (2138m) at Albion Park last night.
Majestic Trio beat two other former Kiwi trotters, Doff Your Cap and Sugarinspice.
“I don’t mind these trotters,” Hewitt laughed.
Majestic Trio is part-owned by Canberra Raiders star and Hewitt’s good friend, Jarrod Croker.
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There is life in those old legs yet.
Former topliner Galactic Star returned to winning form to upstage his younger rivals in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The Team Bond-trained 10-year-old led throughout for young gun driver Deni Roberts and dashed away from his rivals in a slick 1min56.6sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip, dashing home in 56.6 and 28sec flat.
It was just his second win since November 5, 2021.
The son of Bettors Delight is closing-in on $800,000 in earnings with 132 starts netting 34 wins and 39 placings.
It was another big night at Gloucester Park for Gary Hall Jr with four driving wins, while his partner Maddison Brown snared a double, both on her father Colin’s horses in American Arma and Xceptional Arma.
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The wins keep building for former young Kiwi horseman Kyle Marshall in Victoria.
The now Cranbourne-based horseman made it six training wins from just 10 starters when two-year-old Smoken Ace won easily again at Geelong.
Smoken Ace, a son of Sportswriter, has produced three of those wins, matching Marshall’s stable star, Son Of Mac, who has also landed three Aussie wins.
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It is a rare thing when you win your own race.
But that’s exactly what decorated trainer Paul Fitzpatrick did at Menangle with classy former Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden.
The six-year-old easily won the Paul Fitzpatrick free-for-all (2300m) to make it five wins from just six starts since being transferred to Fitzpatrick’s care.
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It was a local win in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.
Owner-breeder Ian Corazzol teamed with father-and-son Wayne and Shane Graham to win with $41 outsider Torque In Motion.
“Dad’s done a great job with this filly. We had some luck tonight, but she did a terrific job. It’s a big thrill,” Shane Graham said.
It was Graham’s third Oaks win as a driver.
Earlier in the night, Kiwi-bred pair Cantfindabettorman and Neptune won support features.
Cantfindabettorman sat behind the leader and easily won the Group 3 4YO Championship for Team McCarthy, while Neptune led throughout to win the Queensland Derby Consolation for trainer-driver Robbie Morris.
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Star mare Encipher bounced-back from a bout of atrial fibrillation at her most recent run to win the $30,000 Jane Ellen mares’ feature at Melton.
The race was dominated by trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, who snared the trifecta. Treachery was second and Beach Life third.
Four-year-old Encipher has raced just 25 times for 15 wins, seconds and a third.