Aussie News - March 13

By Adam Hamilton

Brilliant Kiwi-owned trotting mare Queen Elida is eyeing up more Group 1 spoils after winning in Victoria on Saturday night.

Brent Lilley’s star returned from a short break with a sparkling Group 3 La Coocaracha free-for-all win (2240m) at Melton.

Next stop is the $75,000 Group 1 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters’ free-for-all (2760m) for mares’ at Melton on March 25.

Longer term, she will return to Menangle on May 6 for a race she won last year, the $100,000 Group 1 Macarthur Mile (formerly La Coocaracha), which is also restricted to mares.

“We’d originally looked at taking her to NZ for the Rowe Cup, but there are so many good mares’ races here, it makes sense to keep her here and focus on NZ with Aldebaran Zeus,” Lilley said.

Queen Elida sat back in fourth spot in a slow-run six-mare field and unleashed a 55.9sec last half to win as she liked by 7.4m.

“She felt great, that speed and sharpness was back,” driver Chris Alford said.

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Veteran former Kiwi pacer A Gs White Socks wound back the clock for a terrific return to winning form at Geelong last Friday night.

The nine-year-old posted his first win since scoring at Menangle on October 18 when he sat parked and won the $24,000 Geelong Rocket.

It was only A Gs White Socks’ second win since he saluted in the Ballarat Cup way back on January 18, 2020.

Now in the care of Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars, the gelding has improved with each outing for them and should have more wins left in him at Victorian free-for-all level.

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Last season’s champion Aussie three-year-old Leap To Fame is close to a racetrack return.

Grant Dixon’s young superstar heads to the Albion Park trials on Tuesday and will be back racing by the end of the month.

“He seems really well. He’ll probably have this trial, one more and then we’ll look for a race,” Dixon said.

“This will only be a short campaign, probably three runs, then he’ll have another freshen-up before we aim at the big winter races (in Queensland).

“He’ll definitely run in the Rising Sun and Blacks A Fake, but we’re not sure about the Sunshine Sprint.”

Leap To Fame, winner of the NSW, Queensland and Victoria Derbys last year, has not raced since winning the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO final on October 29.

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It was a big night for trainer Joe Conolly and driver Seaton Grima at Menangle last night when the pair combined with a treble.

They won the opening race with Bettors Delight gelding Doubtless Bay, then snared race three with Loyalist.

But the major win came with rejuvenated veteran Jimmy Locke, who beat evergreen former Kiwi veteran Alta Orlando by a neck in the J E Binskin free-for-all and posted a slick 1min50.4sec mile.

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Former champion Kiwi trainor Tim Butt continues to make his mark along with son, Riley, in Queensland.

The pair combined with former Kiwi gelding Kar Manor for a dominant win in a heat of the Jim McNeil Trotters’ Championship at Albion Park last Friday night.

The seven-year-old son of Majestic Son is in career-best form with two wins and a second from his past four starts.

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Jason Grimson’s record of rejuvenating older pacers continues to grow.

The latest example is the much-travelled Sicario, who Grimson and major owner Dianne Reilly recently bought.

Sicario has raced six times for Grimson for three wins and a second.

The latest win, in last Friday night’s Young Cup, meant the world to Grimson, given he grew-up in the area.

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Waiting an extra week was certainly worth it for the connections of exciting WA youngster Waverider.

The son of Downbytheseaside was favourite to win the $100,000 APG 2YO Sales Classic at Gloucester Park on March 3, but the race was abandoned due to an awful midrace fall.

Seven days later Waverider blasted to the front from gate three for trainer Ryan Bell and driver Kyle Symington and powered away to win by a staggering 25.2m in a slick 1min55.4sec mile rate or 1730m.

Just for good measure, Bell and Symington also won the other two-year-old race on the night with Tintin In America gelding Heez A Vibe in a cosy 2min0.1sec mile rate for 1730m.

Another highlight last Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting was a treble for driver Deni Roberts in combination with training duo Greg and Skye Bond, headlined by high-class pacer Minstrel in the free-for-all.

Former Kiwi colt Im The Black Flash sat without cover to impressively win the $50,000 Caduceus Club 3YO Classic on the night for father-son Gary Hall Sr and Gary Jr.

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