Aussie News : May 30

Former classy Kiwi pacer Triple Eight looks right on target for his upcoming Queensland raid.

The seven-year-old capped a huge night for the in-form Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars stable, who snared a treble. Their other winners were La Captain (race one) and Momentslikethese (two).

“It’s been a sensational month,” Sugars told thetrots.com.au

Sugars and Tubbs are leading ambassadors for harness racing’s “Pacing For Pink” fundraising month.

“Jess and I said leading into tonight we had a few good chances, if we were able to get the score on the board … we’re happy to donate an extra $1000 to Pacing For Pink campaign. It’s been a terrific month not only for me as a driver but for the stable as well, so more than happy to put the hand in the pocket and add a bit more to the tally.”

Triple Eight worked to the front from gate five and ripped home in 55.4sec to win by 7.3m in the Bold David free-for-all (2240m) in a 1min56.4sec mile rate.

“He’s been a wonderful horse to us for the last 12 months or so,” Sugars said. “It was a bit of a rocky start to his campaign when he first joined our team, things weren’t looking all that well at one point of time, but he came back from a break really well in some good races. So far so good this campaign.”

Triple Eight and Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse headline the raiders Tubbs and Sugars have earmarked for the Queensland riches in coming weeks.

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Comeback star Jilliby Kung Fu headlined a starting splash to Team McCarthy’s latest Queensland raid.

The former Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up returned from injury and stud duties to win at Albion Park on Saturday night.

It was Jilliby Kung Fu’s first start in a couple of years, but only his second run in the past four years.

Luke McCarthy worked forward from a wide draw in quick early splits to find the front and Jilliby Kung Fu found plenty when challenged to win by 2.5m in a 1min53.5sec mile rate for 1660m.

“It’s great to get that run out of the way,” McCarthy said. “We’ve been so happy with him at home and he’ll head towards the big races up here.”

Earlier, former top-class Kiwi pacer Mach Shard showed he was also on target for races like the Redcliffe Cup, Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake with a brave win for Team McCarthy.

The seven-year-old overcame a lone 20m back mark to beat classy locals L L Cool J, Blacksadance and Colt Thirty One in a 2647m discretionary handicap.

Another highlight of the strong Albion Park card was the three-year-old race where Jack Butler’s Dangerzone speared to the front and impressively won in a 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1660m.

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What a golden night it was for the NSW Riverina at Menangle.

After 40 years as a trainer, popular Riverina horseman Trevor White snared his first Group 1 victory when Defiant caused a huge upset as a $31 outsider in the $100,000 NSW Regional Championships State final.

Defiant turned the tables on a game second to Rocknroll Runa in the Riverina final, courtesy of a lovely Peter McRae drive.

Earlier, Riverina pair David Kennedy and Jackson Painting continued their golden run when Braedos Lad won the consolation final of the Regional Championships.

Previously they had combined to win the Riverina final with Rocknroll Runa.

On the same card, Swedish-born Sofia Arvidsson continued her fantastic strike rate since relocating to NSW and joining the Blake Fitzpatrick stable.

Arvidsson scored on veteran trotter Gus An Maori, a 10-year-old son of former outstanding trotting mare Sumthingaboutmaori.

Another Menangle winner of note was Jack Trainor’s emerging former Kiwi mare Town Echo.

The four-year-old could be Queensland-bound after making it five wins from as many starts since moving across from Christchurch to join Trainor’s blossoming Menangle barn.

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What a comeback story While They Pray is proving to be.

The talented but headstrong pacer was really starting to turn heads through the middle of 2020 before being struck down with injury.

Michael and Prue George have nursed him back after more than 18 months on the sidelines and it’s been worth all the effort.

While The Pray, a six-year-old son of Alta Christiano, has overcome hard runs to win two of his past three starts on the comeback trail.

Veteran driver Lindsay Harper has really clicked with the gelding, who sat parked and just kept digging-in to win by a nose in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

It was a big night for Harper, who also won the other fast-class race with the emerging speedster Eldaytona.

While the four-year-old showed promise last season, he has gone to a new level this term with 12 starts for eight wins and three seconds.

It was a one-act affair once Eldaytona zipped to the front from gate four and dictated terms last Friday night.

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The glorious run of young gun driver Cam Hart continued when he won the innovative Trot Rods series at Redcliffe last week.

It came just a month after he snared the Group 1 Messenger in NZ aboard the Jason Grimson-trained Majestic Cruiser.

The Trot Rods is a six-week series of 20 heats over the 947m scamper around Redclife’s unique triangle-shaped track.

Hart was the first interstate driver to compete in the three-year history of Trot Rods in the 10 heats on the all-important “finals” night last Wednesday.

He drove two winners on the night, but it was his victory on the Ricky Thurlow-trained Just Dessy in the 18th heat of the series which won the title.

Just Dessy won by 24 metres and his blistering 63.5sec time not only won this year’s Trot Rods title, but is also the fastest time in history of the series.

“It was a thrill to be invited to be part of Trot Rods and to pick-up a drive on Just Dessy, who went so well, was amazing,” Hart said. “I’ve enjoyed watching the Trot Rods in the past because it’s something different and exciting.”

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