Aussie News : March 25

By Adam Hamilton

Emerging Queensland star Speak The Truth may have one more lead-up run before his first trip to NZ for the $1m Race By Grins.

Shannon Price’s five-year-old, who ran third in the Miracle Mile on March 9, posted his 16th win from just 29 starts at Albion Park on Saturday night.

It was closer than expected, but Speak The Truth dawdled and dashed home in 54.7 and 27sec flat to beat former Kiwi pair Aardies Flash and OK Boomer in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2138m.

“We’ve got options. We’ll see how he is and decide on another race, a trial here or just a strong workout at Menangle before he flies out of Sydney,” Price said.

“It’s good to have that run to keep him up to the mark.”

On the same card, remarkable veteran Turn It Up made light of a 20m handicap to win the fast-class handicap in a 1min55sec mile rate for the 2138m stand.

Shane Graham’s nine-year-old has won 34 of his 81 starts with another 31 placings and banked almost $870,000.

There was also plenty of interest in Grant Dixon’s exciting two-year-old Fate Awaits, who brilliantly made it two wins from as many starts in the last race at Albion Park.

Fate Awaits as won his two starts by an aggregate 33.3 metres.

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Star trotting mare Queen Elida smashed the clock but didn’t get the win at Melton on Saturday night.

A brilliant front-running drive by Nathan Jack on main danger Im Ready Jet made it almost impossible, running home in 56.8sec.

Queen Elida came from near last, much of it three-wide, and ran her own last mile in 1min56.1sec to finish six metres away in third spot.

She now heads to NZ early for the Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge on April 4 ahead of the TAB Trot eight days later.

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Much-improved NSW trotter Constantinople wouldn’t be out of place in the TAB Trot at Cambridge.

And rumours are swirling that connections are in talks for the lone remaining slot in the inaugural $575,000 race at Cambridge on April 12.

Since winning what was effectively the Brisbane Inter Dominion consolation on December 16, Constantinople has won four of six runs back at Menangle for trainer-driver Luke McCarthy.

The son of Trixton sparkled in his latest win in a blistering 1min52.9sec mile.

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Former Kiwi pacer Hot And Treacherous is really hitting his straps for new trainer Jason Grimson.

The six-year-old cruised to his third win from just five starts for the stable in the 2300m free-for-all at Menangle over the weekend.

Speculation is mounting he will land a slot in the $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor at Gloucester Park on April 19, a race Grimson won last year with Betterzippit.

Grimson had another big night with his speedy former Kiwi mare Illavabubbles posted a career-best 1min49.8sec mile with junior driver Chloe Formosa aboard.

The five-year-old Breckon Farms-bred mare boasts six wins and a third from seven starts since joining Grimson’s stable.

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Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs had a golden might at Melton on Saturday night as they prepare to head to NZ with stable stars Just Believe and Better Eclipse.

Former Kiwi mare Rakero Rebel continued her fantastic form, thrashing a handy field in the mares’ free-for-all despite sitting outside the leader. It was a Tubbs quinella with First Dance running second.

Earlier, stable favourite and former Kiwi veteran Triple Eight caused a big upset when he gunned down Catch A Wave, who led, in the free-for-all.

Nine-year-old Triple Eight ran his own last quarter in 25.8sec for his 24th win from 126 starts.

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The star power was on high at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Former Kiwi pacer Tenzing Bromac returned with a sparkling free-for-all win, but may have caused headaches for Team Bond.

Greg and Skye Bond already have Minstrel, and to a lesser extent Ideal Agent, primed for the $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor at Gloucester Park on April 19.

But the problem is they only have one slot in the race and most other slots are already or close to being locked in.

Minstrel looked a clear top seed for the stable with his stunning recent return to form, but there was some X-factor about Tenzing Bromac’s return after sitting parked and winning as he liked from another Nullarbor hopeful, Tricky Miki.

“It’s so hard to split Minstrel and Tenzing Bromac,” Greg Bond said. “Minstrel has been doing his thing and is right back to his best, but we’ve got a big opinion of Tenzing Bromac and it didn’t surprise us he won so well the other night.

“We’ve got some thinking to do and, hopefully, one of the other slot holders will look to take one of them.”

There’s no such problems for trainer Justin Prentice, who will now have two Nullarbor runners with Entain (Ladbrokes) taking his young gun, Never Ending, in its slot. Prentice and his key owners are expected to take multiple Group 1 winner Mighty Ronaldo in their slot.

Never Ending returned for his start in 2024 and posted his 13th win from just 15 starts when he won narrowly but impressively in the $50,000 Preux Chevalier 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Noted front-runner and speedster Hotly Pursued led and dictated terms, leaving Gary Hall Jr no option but to sit parked and chase on Never Ending for the last 1200m.

In a stirring battle, Never Ending won by a half-head in closing splits of 55.5 and 27.9sec.

“Knowing how much improvement he’s got to come, that was a terrific win. He just wanted to win,” Hall Jr said.

“Justin’s got another two runs planned, which should bring him right to his top for the Nullarbor, but we know it’s going to be his biggest challenge yet against those seasoned older horse.”

On the same card last Friday, Hall Jr continued his emerging success as a trainer when former Kiwi gelding Miki Jet (who raced as Miki Noel in NZ) made it four wins from just six WA starts.

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NZ Cup-winning owner Danny Zavitsanos hopes to build on his love affair with the Bathurst Gold Carnival with exciting young colt Fox Dan.

The son of Art Major cruised to victory in a heat of the Gold Crown series on debut for trainer Clayton Tonkin and driver Cam Hart last Friday in a 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1730m.

Earlier, Bernie Hewitt’s Sweet Lou gelding Sweet On Lexy emerged as the main danger with a blistering 1min53.9sec mile and 22.4m winning margin.

The standout performer in the Gold Tiara heats for two-year-old fillies last Wednesday was Brad Hewitt’s Captaintreacherous filly Bittersweet, who won by almost 40m in a 1min54.7sec mile rate.

The finals are at Bathurst next Saturday night.

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