Aussie News - March 27

By Adam Hamilton 

Part-owner Tony Barron (third from left) was trackside at Melton to see his star trotting mare Queen Elida add another Group 1 to her bounty on Saturday night.

In a stirring contest, the Brent Lilley-trained five-year-old eventually wore down her main rival, the high-class Im Ready Jet, to win the $75,000 Group 1 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters’ free-for-all for mares.

It was Queen Elida’s 20th win from just 37 starts (with another 12 placings) and took her earnings to almost $420,000.

A superb Chris Alford drive to get behind the leader in the middle stages shaped the win, while Im Ready Jet made an early mistake, circled the field to sit parked and did a monstrous job to run a close second.

Queen Elida beat Im Ready Jet by 1.8m with another 24m away to Inter Dominion heat winner Ofortuna in third spot.

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Veteran Triple Eight showed he will be competitive in the Race by Grins even in defeat at Melton on Saturday night.

The eight-year-old came from well back in a slowly run race for a close third to former Kiwi and one-time Cranbourne Cup winner Supreme Dominator, who had the soft run behind the leader.

Triple Eight loomed on the home bend, but peaked on his run after running a 27.4sec split down the back straight and was only beaten 1.5m.

His rejuvenated stablemate A Gs White Socks continued his terrific form for Jess Tubbs with a slashing second.

Triple Eight and stable star Better Eclipse will both fly the Tubbs stable flag in the Race by Grins.

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What an old marvel Kiwi-bred trotter C K Spur is.

The nine year-old started his career with success in NZ, then had a good stint with Andy Gath in Victoria before going to South Australia and winning nine of his 11 starts in that state for Ryan Hryhorec.

Now in his fourth “home”, C K Spur blew his rivals away for new trainer-driver Matt Elkins in the Listed Our Overanova Trotters’ Marathon at Albion Park on Saturday night.

The son of Pegasus Spur has won 21 of his 78 starts with 23 placings and banked almost $242,000.

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Former Kiwi champion Anthony Butt was back in feature race winning form at Melton on Saturday night.

Butt teamed with trainer Neville Pangrazio and three-year-old Shezawish to win the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Home Grown fillies’ final.

Shesawish led, as she did in the heat, and clocked a solid 1min58.1sec mile rate for 1730m to win well.

She went much quicker than the 2min0.1sec mile rate the boys ran in their final, won by the Chris Lang trained-and-driven Imhavinagoodtime.

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Superstar young Queensland pacer Leap To Fame is nearing a racetrack return.

Trainer-driver Grant Dixon was delighted with his trial win at Albion Park last Tuesday and is considering one more trial before going back to the races.

Leap To Fame, winner of the NSW, Queensland and Victoria Derbys last season, is being primed for his home state Queensland Winter Carnival, specifically races like the Rising Sun and Blacks A Fake.

One of his key and most fascinating rivals in the Rising Sun will be NZ’s best three-year-old Merlin, winner of last Friday night’s Northern Derby at Alexandra Park.

Top Victorian stable Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin are also setting their best three-year-old, The Lost Storm, for the Rising Sun.

Leap To Fame and The Lost Storm will then progress to the inaugural $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.

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It was the Jason Grimson show at Menangle last Friday night.

Menangle moved forward to Friday because of the huge Bathurst Gold Crown meeting and Grimson won three of the eight races.

Former handy youngster Lightning Dan started the splurge with a narrow but good 1min51.7sec mile win in race three.

Then came recent stable addition, veteran former Kiwi Teagan Banner, who went a 1min51.4sec mile win in race five.

Grimson’s biggest win came when enigmatic speedster Fire Fox stormed home in a 1min50.5sec mile to win the free-for-all.

It was Fire Fox’s first win this season, but he’s been racing well, including a second to subsequent Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave in the Mercury80 1200m final at Melton on February 4.

The hard luck story was top class pacer Spirit Of St Louis, who sat behind the leader, but was held-up at a crucial stage and flew home for third.

He’s being primed for a Perth raid in the inaugural $1mil Nullarbor slot race at Gloucester Park on April 14.

Grimson’s success stretched to Bathurst last night when the much-travelled veteran Sicario won the Mayor’s Cup, making it four wins from his past five starts for the stable.

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Former top young pacer Lavra Joe snared one of his biggest open-class wins when he upstaged Magnificent Storm in Saturday night’s $50,000 Bunbury Cup (2569m) in Western Australia.

In a stirring battle, the pair raced together from the middle stages and drew clear rounding the final bend, but with the benefit of the lead, Lavra Joe pinched a break at the top of the straight and held-on to win by 3.3m.

He ripped home in 26.2 and 27.6sec at the end of a solid 1min56.8sec mile rate.

It added to Lavra Joe’s stunning record at the track of seven starts for a six wins and a third.

Magnificent Storm, who came from the back row and sat parked, cost himself by wobbling on the final bend, but rallied strongly late.

Fremantle Cup winner Mighty Ronaldo added to the class of the race by flashing home for third.

The trio all look right on target for the inaugural $1mil Nullarbor slot race at Gloucester Park on April 14.

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THE brilliant return of top young mare Wonderful To Fly headlined a strong Gloucester Park meeting last Friday night.

First-up this season, Shane Young’s former top juvenile was outstanding in gunning down WA’s best and in-form older mare Nevermindthechaos in a stirring battle.

They blazed a 1min54.8sec mile rate, capped by closing splits of 56.5 and 28sec flat.

It was a brilliant drive by Gary Hall Jr on Nevermindthechaos to turn the race in a staying test, but an equally lovely Shane Young drive helped Wonderful To Fly – a daughter of former top young Kiwi pacer Fly Like An Eagle – to snatch a 1.4m win.

Former Kiwi pacer Street Hawk won the feature of the night, the $50,000 Group 3 Preux Chevalier 4YO Classic for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and new stable driver Deni Roberts.

Street Hawk, a son of Bettors Delight, has raced 13 times in WA for seven wins, three seconds and a third.

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