Aussie News - May 21
By Adam Hamilton
Trotting guru Chris Lang had a plan and executed it superbly.
Lang felt he had former top young Kiwi trotter Ultimate Stride back to his best and drove him accordingly, to stunningly upset glamour mare Queen Elida in the free-for-all at Melton last night.
Once he found the front, Lang pinched a cosy lead time and 30.6sec first quarter before letting Ultimate Stride really roll along in front.
He went 57.9sec from the 1200-400m, making Queen Elida really have to chase hard after giving him a 25m start in the run.
Queen Elida loomed ominously rounding the final bend, but Lang still had something in the locker and Ultimate Stride kicked strongly to win by a half-neck in a brisk 1min57.8sec mile rate for the 2240m.
“He’s had lots of soundness issues, but I thought his previous win was outstanding and he’s in great order at the moment,” Lang said.
“I knew I had to try and take some of the speed out of the mare and just hope we could keep going. He went super. It’s great to have him back to his best.”
Ultimate Stride is six, but still lightly raced with just 36 starts for 16 wins and four placings.
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There is plenty of life left in Alta Orlando’s old legs yet.
The remarkable former Kiwi 11-year-old upstaged his glamour stablemate Expensive Ego to win the free-for-all at Menangle last night.
It was the 26th win of his 141 start career and pushed his earnings well past $1.1 million.
Most felt he would lead and sit on $1.15 favourite Expensive Ego as he did the previous week, but few felt he could cause the upset so he was sent out a $12 shot.
But just when Expensive Ego, who had a lovely run in front, should have been zooming away, old Alta Orlando knuckled-down for driver David Morris and snatched a half-neck win.
His closing splits were blistering in 53.7 and 26.9sec.
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It was a good way to kick-off in Australia for former high-class Kiwi pacer South Coast Arden.
The six-year-old, now with the Fitzpatrick clan, looked sharp winning his first Aussie run at Bathurst last Wednesday night.
South Coast Arden sat parked for most of the short 1730m trip and switched into another gear when asked to dash away and win by 3.8m, albeit beating moderate opposition.
There was plenty to like about the ease of his win in slick closing splits of 55.2 and 27.7sec for a 1min53.3sec mile rate, still well outside Expensive Ego’s 1min50.6sec track record.
The win is sure to boost South Coast Arden’s confidence as he heads to some stronger race at Menangle, although initial plans from trainer Paul Fitzpatrick don’t include the Queensland riches through July.
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Former gun Kiwi pacer Vincent continues to make his mark as a stallion.
The Kiwi-bred Brulee (Vincent-Russian Rocket) is from Vincent’s first crop and the three-year-old filly caused an upset at $17 to win the $50,000 Group 3 Diamond Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Young gun Deni Roberts took the reins for trainer Barry Howlett as Brulee stretched her record to 16 starts for three wins, nine placings and almost $52,000.
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What a marvel Turn It Up is.
As much as we always wonder what might have been had he not been ravaged by injuries, we can also celebrate the superb job Queensland trainer Shane Graham has done with the former top young Kiwi pacer.
The now eight-year-old clocked-up yet another win at Albion Park when he led and thrashed a handy field by 13.2m and in a slick 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1660m last night.
He beat another talented former Kiwi pacer, Speech Is Silver.
Turn It Up has returned in great style this campaign with six starts netting four wins and two seconds.
The son of Courage Under Fire boasts 30 wins and 22 placings from his 61 starts and earnings of $764,061.
He’s getting a great grounding ahead of the huge Queensland Constellations during July where Turn It Up will face many of Australia’s best pacers in races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.
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Jimmy Rattray scored one of his biggest wins since those glory days with dual Inter Dominion Beautide when Gordons Bay won the $100,000 NSW Championships Metropolitan final at Menangle last night.
It was a brilliant front-running drive from Rattray, who also trains the five-year-old son of Captaintreacherous.
Gordons Bay dug deep to fend-off Patsy Valentine and win by a neck in a comfortable 1min57.2sec mile rate for the long 2300m trip.
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Promising Sweet Lou gelding Brooklyn Bridge toyed with his rivals to win the Riverina final of the NSW Championships last Friday night.
The Ellen Bartley-trained four-year-old looked a standout through the series and started a commanding $1.28 favourite on his way to a blazing 12.8m win in a slick 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2270m at Wagga last Friday night.
It was his third successive win and his seventh victory from just 10 starts.
Earlier in the week, Amanda Turnbull dominated her hometown Western Regional final at Bathurst by snaring the quinella.
Isobel Ross took the reins on the winner Iam The Captain, who scored by 4.1m over $126 stablemate Alta Billy, driven by Jack Callaghan in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2260m.
Turnbull drove the third runner she qualified for the final, but finished last aboard Racing Time.
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Trainer-driver Shane Young is plotting an eastern states raid with WA’s most exciting young mare Wonderful To Fly.
The four-year-old, a daughter of former top Kiwi youngster Fly Like An Eagle, led throughout and thrashed her rivals in the feature mares’ race at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Wonderful To Fly, a star juvenile, has returned with four wins and three placings from just seven starts this season to stretch her record to 25 wins from just 41 starts.
Young is tossing-up a Queensland winter trip to tackle some of Australia’s best mares in races like the Group 1 Golden Girl.
He is also keen to snare a slot in the world’s richest pacing race, the inaugural $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.