Aussie News June 14

By Adam Hamilton 

The margin wasn’t great, but Spankem got the job done at Albion Park last Saturday night.

Backing-up after his ill-fated debut for trainer Darren Weeks, when he lost his driver soon after the start, Spankem won by a head, but did sit without cover for the last half of the 2138m race and rip home in 55.2 and 27.5sec. The mile rate was 1min56.1sec.

Weeks was desperate to get a run under Spankem’s belt with a view to the big races just around the corner.

The six-year-old looked set to win easily on the home bend, but second favourite Candlesfromheaven got clear of a pocket behind the leader and flew home to just miss.

It’ll be interesting whether Weeks backs-up Spankem again in the Lucky Creed next Saturday night or waits another three weeks for the next Albion Park free-for-all.

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That was the Mighty Conqueror we all love to see.

The six-year-old’s first-up win in the Gloucester Park free-for-all last Friday night reminded us all why we thought he could be a elite Grand Circuit horse about 18 months ago when he won the WA Pacing Cup.

Mighty Conqueror has only won three races since, but he’s only raced 13 times and hopefully he’s ready to really deliver again.

The signs were superb last Friday when, despite being first-up and doing all the work, he just kept finding to beat classy stablemate Patronus Star in blistering time.

They went a 1min54.2sec mile rate for 2130m and Patronus Star camped on Mighty Conqueror the whole way and still couldn’t get past him, albeit failing to do so by just a nose.

Mighty Conqueror went splits outside the leader for the last mile of 28.8, 27.8, 28.0 and 28.9sec.

“We’ve been playing around with him for about six weeks, doing a lot of saddle work and have taken most of the head gear off him,” Greg Bond said.

“We’ve been really happy with him after a couple of trials and felt he was close to his best again. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”

Chicago Bull was never a chance in the run after getting back near last in traffic, but he did catch thr eye late with a strong finishing third.

He’s winless in four runs this campaign and the jury is out, but there have been enough positives from his past two runs to believe he can again be a major force with more racing under his belt.

Hopefully all the big guns from last Friday back-up again in next week’s Winter Cup which also see the much-anticipated return to racing of Shockwave.

Another horse headed to open-class in WA is Ray Williams’ To Fast To Serious, who blitzed superstar three-year-old Lavra Joe for brilliance last Friday night.

Driver Aldo Cortopassi opted to take a sit on Lavra Joe after leading and zoomed past him in a privately-clocked 26 flat las quarter to win quite easily by 2.3m.

Lavra Joe backs-up next week in the $100,000 Group 1 Westbred 3YO Classic.

Meanwhile Williams has his other stable star, four-year-old Magnificent Storm, working towards a racetrack return and he could be WA’s next big thing.

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Top young WA horseman Aiden De Campo has a taste of what perfection feels like.

Remarkably, De Campo filled the trifecta with his only three runners in the $100,000 Group 1 Pearl 2YO Classic (2130m) a Gloucester Park.

“It’s unimaginable really, such a thrill,” De Campo.

Exciting gelding The Miki Taker, a son of the now very much back in favour Always B Miki, outclassed his rivals with a dominant win from the “death seat” for driver Dylan Egerton-Green in a slick 1min57.7sec mile rate, home in 57.2 and 28.9sec.

The Miki Taker overpowered the leader and stablemate Floewriter, while De Campo’s other runner, Rock On Top, flashed home late for third with De Campo himself aboard.

It was superb training performance from De Campo in a race considered second-only to the Golden Nugget as WA’s biggest juvenile feature.

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Nathan Purdon has quickly learned how hard it is to win juvenile races in Victoria given the dominance of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin.

So you can understand his joy when Captaintreacherous filly Uhura led throughout to win well at Melton last night, thanks to a lovely Stewie McDonald drive.

It was an important win for Purdon and McDonald, who is also his stable foreman, given Uhura is raced by big-spending US owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks.

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That's why David Aiken is such a great trainer.

Putting Chris Alford on former NSW Derby winner Max Delight was an inspired move and got the result he hoped for.

It was glorious to watch Alford at his daring best, launch from last at the 1200m, circle the field to find the lead and win.

Surprisingly, it was Alford’s first drive on Max Delight in his 39-start career.

Alford and Aiken have shared plenty of success together, none more so than with former champion pacer Lennytheshark.

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Look no further than Kiwi-bred mare The Stunning Nun for the most-improved pacer in NSW.

She was a handy bush performer in the NSW Riverina before joining the Menangle barn of Jason Grimson where she’s now unbeaten in four starts.

The daughter of Bettors Delight went to a whole new level against some of NSW’s best mares when she bolted in and broke 1min50sec with a 1min49.7sec mile.

Jack Trainor took the reins, camped on top-class stablemate and leader Rocknroll Angel and dashed past her to win by 5.1m in stunning closing splits of 53.6 and 26.7sec.

Trainor and Grimson combined for a double when another recent stable addition, Hy Voltage, blazed an all-the-way 1min51.8sec mile win.

It came in a week where NSW stewards took the extraordinary step of demanding all Grimson’s horses be trained from the Menangle retention barn, rather than their usual nearby barn.

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Keayang Livana is one of the most exciting trotters in Victoria.

Despite being first-up since winning the Vicbred 4YO final on New Year's Eve, the daughter of Imperial Count stormed home to beat a strong field of open-class mares in the Group 3 La Coocaracha free-for-all at Melton last night.

It was her fifth win on end and her 11th win from just 22 starts for trainer Marg Lee and son, Jason.

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