Aussie News : November 5
By Adam Hamilton
Ladies In Red stamped herself as the best Australian mare of the modern era with a stunning Group 1 Queen of the Pacific at Melton last night.
The mind blowing win moved trainer Emma Stewart to say: “She’s a freak."
Ladies In Red was having her just third run back from almost a year out and destroyed a vintage crop of mares – including Encipher and Amore Vita – to win by 11.6m.
Her 1min53.8sec mile rate for 2760m took a thumping 1.8sec off the race record and was just 0.6sec outside the track record set by Tiger Tara in the 2019 Hunter Cup.
Incredibly, Ladies In Red has raced just 30 times for 24 wins and six seconds.
Last night’s win made her just the second million-dollar earner Stewart has trained. Encipher is the other, courtesy largely of her TAB Eureka win in September.
“There’s no substitute for racing and those two runs back from so long out really helped her, but getting out to the long trip really suits her,” driver David Moran said. “She was right back to her very best tonight.”
Former Kiwi mare Rakero Rebel continued her fantastic form with a brave second to Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars.
Kiwi-owned mare Amore Vita lifted after looking under pressure at the 400m to run a fighting third.
Encipher had to do all the work outside leader Braeview Kelly in sizzling time and held on well for fifth, while the leader dropped out to run second-last.
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The Kiwi horse everyone told Gary Hall Sr not to buy scored an upset win in Friday night’s $200,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Derby at Gloucester Park.
Skylou caught Hall Sr’s eye while watching some Alexandra Park racing a few months back and he rang his Kiwi “man” Peter Blanchard asking him to buy the then Peter Brown-trained gelding.
“Everyone said don’t buy him because he failed a vet as a two-year-old, but it was a bone chip in a knee and they said it would dissolve over time, which it has,” Hall Sr recalled.
“He cost a bit, but it seems cheap now. He’s a nice horse and should keep improving.”
Skylou, driven by young gun former jockey Maddison Brown, led then took a sit on boom pacer and raging hot favourite Never Ending before gunning him down late.
Never Ending, regarded by many as Australia’s best three-year-old and driven by Hall’s son Gary Jr, missed a key lead-up race two weeks earlier and cost himself night by getting very keen in front through the middle stages.
“Going into the race I didn’t think we could beat him (Never Ending), but I said to Karen (Hall Sr’s wife) with a lap to go that I thought we would win it because Never Ending had over raced so much in front,” Hall Sr said.
“Gaz (Hall Jr) said after the race Never Ending got far too keen and sucked wind, but Skylou still went great. They beat the rest by about six lengths.”
Remarkably, Hall Sr said Skylou was only the third best three-year-old in his stable behind Mister Smartee (ninth in the Derby) and Im The Black Flash (third).
“I’m just disappointed I talked Stewie McDonald out of driving the winner, but I really thought Mister Smartee was the better chance. Nothing went right for him.
“Mister Smartee is and will be my best, but Im The Black Flash is going to make a really serious horse, too.”
Skylou won by 3.6m from Never Ending with another 17m away to Im The Black Flash third in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for the 2536m trip.
Hall Sr’s win with Skylou was his sixth in the WA Derby – all with Kiwi imports. The others have been: Major Trojan (2019), King Of Swing (2018), Chicago Bull (2016), Beaudiene Boaz (2015) and Alta Christiano (2013).
Now Hall Sr turns his attention to the race he has made his own, next Friday night’s $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park.
Diego gave him a staggering 13th win in WA’s marquee race earlier this year and will be a big chance again next Friday, along with Jumpingjackflash.
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Inter Dominion favourite Leap To Fame missed a place for just the second time in his 34-start career last night.
But it was the result of a horror draw and no racing room rather than anything he did wrong.
Leap To Fame drew inside the back row and was buried four-back on the inside in the 1660m Be Good Johnny Sprint at Albion Park.
As hard as trainer-driver Grant Dixon tried to get away from the inside, he couldn’t and then had to wait and dash home late along the inside when the race was all over.
Leap To Fame closed impressively for fourth.
He will back-up in the much more suitable Group 1 Queensland Cup at Albion Park next Saturday night as his final lead-up before the Inter Dominion heats on December 1.
The Be Good Johnny was won by Future Assured, who trailed leader and former Kiwi pacer Turn It Up throughout.
There was also plenty to like about Hot And Treacherous’ fifth after doing the work outside the leader at his first run back from a let-up.
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While Swayzee prepares for Tuesday week’s IRT New Zealand, Jason Grimson’s other key Inter Dominion contender Himanameisjeff returned to winning form at Menangle last night.
Driver Cam Hart took the gelding straight to the front from gate eight and won as he liked.
Himanameisjeff has won five of six runs for Grimson with the only other run being a 10th in the Victoria Cup.
“He got back and wasn’t really comfortable coming around the bends in the Cup,” Hart said.
Hi Manameisjeff paced a 1min50.2sec mile last night, dashing home in 53.2 and 26sec flat.
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Will it be third time lucky for star pacer Magnificent Storm in the Group 1 WA Pacing Cup?
Trainer Ray Williams admits he hasn’t had his stable star primed the past two attempts, but he looked right on target for Friday night’s $450,000 feature.
Magnificent Storm followed a slashing first-up second with an easy $50,000 Navy Cup (2130m) win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
It’s been a juggle for Williams to prime Magnificent Storm given his disappointing Queensland winter campaign and the fact the WA Pacing Cup was brought forward from January to next Friday night.
“He’s had a lot of work and the two runs back. He’s ready, but it’s an open race and the draw will be important,” Williams said.
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Arcee Phoenix is a young trotter going places.
His seven wins (and two seconds) from just 10 starts this season have booked him a trip to the Brisbane Inter Dominion next month.
And the four-year-old is into fourth favourite for the final, behind only stars like Just Believe, Queen Elida and Ollivici.
Trained and driven by Chris Svanosio, Arcee Phoenix toyed with his rivals to win the feature trot at Melton last Saturday night by 6.7m in a 1min55.1sec mile rate for 1720m.