Aussie News - May 15

By Adam Hamilton

Former Kiwi trotting mare Escape The Pace won in good style at her first run for new trainer Rickie Alchin at Menangle on Saturday night.

Formerly trained by Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan, Escape The Pace galloped at her first Aussie run in the Group 1 Macarthur Mile a week earlier.

This time she stepped away well from the standing start to lead and never looked in danger.

And there was a top result for Michelle Wallis' raider Melsadele who ran a terrific second in the Schweppes NSW Trotters Derby, after her fourth in the Oaks seven days earlier.

Both the Oaks and the Derby were taken out by last season's Australian two-year-old trotter of the year Rockinwithattitude for trainer-driver David Miles.

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Former star Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden moved closer to a racetrack return with a sharp Menangle trial win last week.

Now in the care of Paul Fitzpatrick, the six-year-old was asked to do more than his first trial and won well in a 1min52.8sec mile, closing-off in 55.9 and 27.1sec.

South Coast Arden, who boasts 13 wins from 39 starts and $504,021, hasn’t raced since finishing down the track in the New Zealand Cup on November 8, last year.

Fitzpatrick said a Queensland winter raid was unlikely with the focus being on getting the pacer’s confidence at form back around the suitably large Menangle track in coming months.

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The return of outstanding young pacer Leap To Fame was everything we hoped for.

Last season’s Australian 3YO of the Year and triple Derby-winner was long-awaited given he hadn’t raced since October 29 last year.

And, despite the aura around him, the rivals didn’t give the race to him on a platter.

Quite the opposite in fact, with Leap To Fame being posted three-wide for the first 600m or so, setting-up a blazing 27.9sec first quarter before he finally found the lead.

Trainer-driver Grant Dixon let him slide coming to the final bend and the race was quickly over before he coasted the last 100m win easing down by six metres.

The closing splits were 55.1 and 27.6sec for a sharp 1min53.3sec mile rate, which was just 0.9sec outside Bling It On’s 2138m track record.

Leap To Fame’s first major target is the Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 8, which gives Dixon time for another three or four lead-up runs should he wish.

“He’s got to be absolutely primed for that because it’ll be such a strong race,” Dixon said.

Leap To Fame, who Dixon says is the best pacer he’s trained in a 30-year career, boasts 18 wins, four seconds and a third from just 24 starts.

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He is one of Aussie pacing great enigmas, but Expensive Ego returned from a disappointing last campaign with an easy Menangle win on Saturday night.

The six-year-old found the front comfortably from veteran stablemate Alta Orlando, cruised through a 29.5sec second split then ripped home in 53.8 and 26.7sec to win by 4.4m over Alta Orlando with Fire Fox third.

Expensive Ego will join stablemate Bondi Lockdown, who won impressively first-up a week earlier, for a Queensland winter raid in June/July.

 

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It is great to have gifted WA pacer Shockwave back and winning.

First-up for almost two years, the seven-year-old showed glimpses of the talent many thought would make one of Australia’s best pacers with a dominant win.

Sure, the opposition wasn’t great, but Shockwave sat parked, cruised past leader and main danger Hampton Banner and won as he liked in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2130m. He ripped home in 55.2 and 27.1sec.

A thrilled trainer Ryan Belle explained Shockwave damaged a tendon which required stem cell treatment and an earlier attempt to bring him back was halted when connections were totally happy with the pacer.

Shockwave’s win was his 20th from just 48 starts, along with another 17 placings and he’s earned $532,202.

On the same card, Team Bond and stable driver Deni Roberts had a big night with a treble.

The most notable came from exciting former Kiwi pacer Lusaka, who has won all five starts this season.

The son of Sweet Lou won on debut at Addington on July 1, last year before being sold to Team Bond.

 

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