Aussie News : June 5
King Of Swing’s retirement certainly hasn’t halted the open-class force of Team McCarthy.
Spirit Of St Louis is close to resuming, former Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu is impressing on the comeback trail and, of course, top flight Kiwi pacer AG’s White Socks joined the stable this week.
But it was another high-class former Kiwi, Mach Shard, who had everybody talking again at Albion Park last night.
For the second time in as many weeks, the former Barry Purdon-trained gelding made light of a 20m handicap to win the fast-class race in Brisbane.
And last night was some sort of win.
You’d have to say it was as good as Mach Shard has ever gone.
Luke McCarthy had to make a three-wide midrace move without cover, eventually got outside the leader and then showed stunning high speed to spear to the front on the final bend.
Another gifted former Kiwi, Turn It Up, finally got clear of traffic and flew home to get within a half-neck in a ripper run.
But for Mach Shard to do the work he did and still win in a slick 1min57.3sec mile rate for a long 2647m trip was outstanding.
If he holds this form, Mach Shard will be a major player in the upcoming Group 1’s like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.
It was an “all Kiwi’ trifecta with another former Kiwi pacer, L L Cool J, finishing third after setting the pace.
Another win of note on the night came from former Kiwi four-year-old Hemsworth, who blazed a 1min52sec mile rate for 1660m.
It was Hemsworth’s 10th win from just 20 starts since joining the Chantal Turpin/Pete McMullen team.
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Last night’s Melton meeting started in fitting and emotional style when former Kiwi pacer Helluva dominated from the front for trainer-driver John Justice.
The win came in a week where the Justice family lost their passionate matriarch, Josie Justice, on the day of her 91st birthday.
Only recently, Justice became the oldest person to train a winner in Australian harness racing.
“It’s been a tough week, but Mum’s in a better place now and she’s not in any pain,” John Justice told thetrots.com.au
“Right up to the very end she was still organising the stable, making sure there was plenty of oats, the harness was clean and (checking) how they’ve been track working. It was just her whole life.”
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Trainer Mick Stanley refuses to “chase” a start in the Group 1 Rising Sun with his exciting four-year-old Rock N Roll Doo.
The big and raw gelding thrashed his rivals first-up from a spell at Melton last night and looks every bit a feature race player in waiting.
“If they want me, they can invite me,” Stanley said. “I’m not taking him up to run in lead-up races.
“If they invite him, we’ll go. If not, we’ll stay here and focus on races like the Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion in our own backyard later in the year.”
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Comeback driver Mark Pitt continued his fantastic association with the Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable at Melton last night.
They teamed-up for impressive wins with classy mare Treachery and emerging open-class pacer Cant Top This.
But it was an “outside” win which gave Pitt the most satisfaction when he won the Group 3 Lenin Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m) on veteran gelding Sundons Courage.
Pitt couldn’t believe his luck when he went from a tricky four pegs spot to get inside runs and take the sprint lane at the top of the straight to win running away.
The race was supposed to be a match between Australia’s top trotter Majestuoso, first-up from a spell, and exciting former Kiwi Ultimate Stride.
Both ran well below their best with Ultimate Stride tiring for fourth after leading and Majestuoso tiring uncharacteristically after sitting parked through the middle stages to finish almost 20m from the winner in seventh spot.
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THE juggernaut that is Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars continued when their exciting juvenile filly Aureus crushed a good field at Melton last night.
The daughter of Art Major sustained a long run and blazed a 55.9sec last half to beat Emma Stewart’s highly-rated newcomer Elysian Jay in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1720m.
Tubbs and Sugars have been in awesome form as they prepare to take a team north for Queensland Constellations, headed by classy former Kiwi Triple Eight and their Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse.
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Things have been a bit quiet for trainer Kevin Pizzuto, but he struck back by preparing Loorim Lake to back-to-back wins in the Group 3 JD Watts Memorial at Menangle last night.
It was only the gelding’s fourth win in the 12 month between races.
Loorim Lake, superbly driven in the one-one trail by Wes Komorowski, pounced late to rundown leaders Cruz Bromac and Zeuss Bromac to win by 2.4m in a 1min51.4sec mile.
Cruz Bromac, resuming from a spell and preparing for a Queensland raid, had his chance after leading from an outside draw and running home in 55sec flat.
Zeuss Bromac was the run of the race after sitting parked throughout and finishing just 2.7m from the winner.
On the same card, Tough Monarch’s younger half-sister Tough Love brilliantly won the 3YO Trotters’ Foundation final.
Trainer-driver Rickie Alchin took her to the front from gate seven and ripped home in 27.6sec to win by 23.4m
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Emerging former Kiwi pacer Double Up survived a protest to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Team Bond’s American Ideal five-year-old beat another exciting former Kiwi, Jumpingjackmac, by 2.7m but his driver Gary Hall Jr fired-in an objection for interference from the winner at the 700m.
After an at times animated hearing, stewards dismissed the protest and Double Up snared his 15th win from just 42 starts and edged past $180,000 in earnings.
Another win of note came from Justin Prentice’s talented four-year-old mare Bettors Destroya, who is part-owned by Gloucester Park CEO Mick Radley and top thoroughbred trainer Simon Miller.