Aussie News : May 26

By Adam Hamilton

New Zealand Cup hero Swayzee looks set for another big campaign after a terrific first-up win at Menangle last night (Saturday).

Jason Grimson’s powerhouse stayer blazed a 1min51.1sec mile rate for 2300m – just 0.7sec outside the track record – at his first start since finishing third to Leap To Fame in the Brisbane Inter Dominion final way back on December 16.

“I know how much he’ll take from that, so it was a terrific win,” driver Cam Hart said.

Grimson wants to give Swayzee one more Menangle run before taking him and a talent-crammed team to Brisbane on June 15 for a string of feature targets.

“He’s had a long, steady build-up and was as good as we could have him for the first run back. He’s felt as good as ever at home,” Grimson said.

Swayzee first shot to prominence when he upstaged his younger half-brother Leap To Fame in last year’s Blacks A Fake during winter at Albion Park.

His rematch with Leap To Fame in the same race on July 27 should be something special.

Leap To Fame showed he was close to a return with a standing-start trial win at Albion Park last Friday.

He looks set to resume in the standing-start Flashing Red at Albion Park on June 8.

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Trainer Jess Tubbs said it was unlikely champion Aussie trotter Just Believe will return to NZ for the Dominion Trot in November.

While Tubbs and co-trainer Greg Sugars are still buzzing about Just Believe’s perfect four wins from four starts in his NZ campaign, a burning desire to win an historic third Inter Dominion trotting crown trumps everything.

“He and Better Eclipse will take little breaks now,” Tubbs said. “While it would be lovely to take ‘Harry’ back in November, the Inter Dominion is our priority and the timing isn’t ideal to try and do both.”

The Group 1 Dominion is at Addington on November 15 and the Sydney Inter Dominion starts at Newcastle just 14 days later.

Like so many Aussie trainers contemplating an NZ Cup Week trip, the sticking point is the need to travel from Australia to Christchurch via Auckland and the extra time it takes.

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Boom former Kiwi mare Aardies Express will have two Menangle lead-up races before chasing more Group 1 glory in Brisbane.

Trainer Jack Trainor confirmed the five-year-old would return from a freshen-up in a mares’ 1609m free-for-all at Menangle on June 8.

“Then I’ll find another race at home before we go to Brisbane,” Trainor said.

Aardies Express has looked awesome winning both runs for Trainor, including gunning-down Australia’s champion mare Ladies In Red in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Mile at Menangle on May 4.

The pair are headed towards a rematch in the $150,000 Group 1 Golden Girl at Albion Park on July 20.

“We’d consider running her in the Blacks A Fake the week after if she won the Golden Girl really well,” Aardies Express’ Canadian owner Mike Tanev said.

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The buzz keeps growing around NSW four-year-old Extreme Sea.

For the third time in as many starts, the David Hewitt-trained gelding left his rivals gasping with a massive winning margin.

On May 7 he won a heat of the NSW Regional Metro series by 25.1m, then he won the final by 26.1m.

Last night he won the overall $100,000 statewide final of the series by more than 30m.

Extreme Sea has won seven of just 10 starts and will now be set for a step into the big league with a Brisbane campaign where the main goal will be the $350,000 Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 13.

His ultimate aim is the $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 7.

“We’re not going out to win by big margins, just letting him do it himself,” driver Brad Hewitt said. “He’s learning all the time and the experience is just what he needs before he steps up to taking on even better horses.”

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Star four-year-old The Lost Storm survived a huge scare to return with a Melton win last night.

The Emma Stewart-trained gelding made it 13 wins from just 18 starts when he led and just held-off outsider Yambukian, who sat outside him, to win the Bold David free-for-all by a nose.

In his defence, it was only his second start this year and his first since winning on March 16

And the time was quick with a 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2240m.

The Lost Storm is building towards a Queensland raid for the Rising Sun and later the TAB Eureka on September 9 at Menangle.

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Champion trainer Gary Hall Sr is back dominating the Gloucester Park free-for-alls.

Hall Sr has four of the nine runners in last Friday night’s 2130m free-for-all and landed the first four placings with American Ideal gelding Finvarra leading throughout to upset favourite Jumpingjackmac in a 1min55.5sec mile rate.

The highlight of the night was the powerhouse win of leading WA Derby hope Waverider for trainer Ryan Bell and driver Kyle Symington in the $50,000 Group 3 3YO Pearl Classic.

Waverider sat parked outside stablemate Franco Encore and was simply too classy, posting his sixth win (with three seconds) from just 11 starts.

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