Aussie News - March 1
The comeback excitement continues for former top young Kiwi trotter President Roydon.
All credit goes to leviathan owner Merv Butterworth who just wasn’t going to give in through two years of injury issues with the former All Stars’ trotter.
Now with trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, President Roydon made it four wins on end (and four wins and a second from five starts on the comeback trail) when he scored easily at Melton on Saturday night.
President Roydon ran second in the NZ Trotters’ Derby, second in the Harness Jewels 3YO and second in the NZ Sires 3YO for the All Stars’ barn before going to Kerryn Manning and finishing third in the Victoria Trotters’ Derby.
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Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran hasn’t wasted his time going to Sydney.
While Lochinvar Art’s Miracle Mile quest derailed without having a race, Moran’s exciting three-year-old Patsbeachstorm looks a major player for next Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 NSW Derby.
Patsbeachstorm defied a remarkable betting drift and came from off the speed to brilliantly win by far the fastest and most competitive of the three Derby heats at Menangle on Saturday night.
It continues a remarkable comeback from a “toxic reaction” which went within a whisker of taking his life just over six months back.
“They can’t say for sure what it was, but think it’s about 95 per likely it was a spider bite. He was down and out,” Moran said.
“He had about 11 months out in total and it’s a relief as much as anything to see him come back so well. We’ve loved this horse since day one.”
Patsbeachstorm was having just his seventh start when he sat three, gave the leader and main danger Act Now a big start and roared straight past him to win by 6.1m in a blistering 1min53.4sec mile rate for 2400m. He was clocked to run a 54.5sec last half.
“It was good to be able to drive him from off the speed, he’s so fast,” Moran said. “That run was just what he needed. It was only his fourth run after a 11 months out and it’ll top him off nicely for the final.”
In contrast, Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart’s key Derby player Idyllic led, walked and dashed home in 26.7sec and the end of a slow 1min 57.5sec mile rate to win his the heat.
The third heat was a similar dawdling affair with top local Derby hope Tasty Delight leading, walking through the middle stages and ripping home in 54.3 and 26.9sec to win as he liked.
All the big guns are through to next Saturday night’s final, but the sheer speed and X-factor of Patsbeachstorm makes him the one beat.
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Scotty Hamilton has spent many years taking photos and videos of ecstatic winning owners at Gloucester Park.
Last Friday night he was in their shoes.
Hamilton and his parents, Linda and Barry, won $100,000 Group 1 APG 2YO Fillies Classic with Valhalla Miss.
Valhalla Miss, a daughter of former star Kiwi juvenile Fly Like An Eagle, was bred by Allwood Stud and bought by the Hamilton’s for just $17,500 at the APG Perth sales.
A brilliant Kyle Harper drive helped Valhalla Miss score by 1.6m in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for 1730m.
The colts and geldings version went to trainer-driver Aiden De Campo with Sportswriter colt Floewriter.
The best clash of the night came in the $50,000 3YO APG colts and geldings final when Mighty Ronaldo led throughout to just stave-off Lavra Joe in an epic tussle
Lavra Joe’s effort to sit parked and get within a head in a blistering 1min54sec mile rate for 2130m showed he was very serious WA Derby contender.
Mighty Ronaldo, a son of the ill-fated Alta Christiano, had already won at Group 1 level in WA’s biggest 2YO race, the Golden Slipper, last season.
The 3YO fillies’ final proved a walk in the park for Mach Three filly Just For Love, who led throughout for trainer Barry Howlett and driver Jocelyn Young.
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Classy four-year-old Mach Dan wouldn’t have been out of place chasing Chariots Of Fire berth.
Instead, trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, opted for a softer launch to his season at home when he resumed with an easy win in the Geelong Rocket last Friday night.
Greg Sugars took Mach Dan straight to the front from gate two and never looked in danger as he smashed the track record with a 1min53.6sec mile.
It was a special win for leviathan owner Danny Zavitsanos, who lives and runs his business in Geelong.
Mach Dan, who boasts 10 wins from just 20 starts, won the SA Derby and Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge final last season as well as finishing fourth in the Breeders Crown final.