Aussie News : October 11

She is just a little marvel, Pink Galahs.

Trainer-driver Matty Craven timed both her training preparation and run to perfection to snatch a half-head win over the brilliant Majestuoso in the $50,000 Group 1 Bill Collins Trotters’ Sprint (1650m) at Bendigo.

It always mapped like Majestuoso would lead and Pink Galahs would be on her back and that’s how it panned out, but Pink Galahs was able to gun-down the leader in dazzling closing splits of 56.4 and 28sec flat.

It gave her back-to-back wins in the Group 1 feature, having created history by winning it as a three-year-old filly last season.

The eye-catching run came from Chris and Alison Alford’s mare Sleepee, who rocketed home along the inside from well back to finish only a half-neck away in third spot.

They went a slick 1min54.2sec mile rate for the 1650m, taking 0.2sec off the track record.

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It was yet another feature night of dominance for the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable.

First, they won just their second Victoria Derby with brilliant colt Act Now, then Ladies In Red simply outclassed her rivals to win the Victoria Oaks.

It was their third Oaks win, following Beauty Secret in 2012 and Miss Graceland in 2017.

Act Now, who followed their first Derby winner Our Little General in 2017, was stunning from the front for driver Jodi Quinlan.

“I’m so thrilled for Jodi, she’s driving him so well,” Stewart said. “It was a great result for us, the whole race.”

Stewart and Tonkin trained first, third (Longfellow) and fourth (Major Moth), while runner-up Blitzern is trained by their stable foreman Allan McDonough and driven by his son, Bailey.

Act Now blazed a 1min54.9sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip, ripping home in 55.7 and 28.7sec.

Ladies In Red went slower in the Oaks at 1min56.4sec, but the arrogance of her being able to sit parked and beat star stablemates Joanna (leader) and Beach Music (one-one trail) was stunning.

It moved Tonkin to say: “I think if she’d been in the Derby, she would’ve given it a good shake. She doesn’t know when to stop.

“She’s the best filly we’ve trained, no make that the best juvenile we’ve trained.”

Ladies In Red boasts 13 wins from just 14 starts and the other was a second in the Group 1 Vicbred 2YO final behind Tough Tilly.

Driver David Moran said: “She was just tremendous night. She’s something else this filly. She was great last season, but has gone to another level.”

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John Justice insists the best is yet to come with exciting former Kiwi trotter Mufasa Metro.

The three-year-old son of Father Patrick made it two wins from as many Aussie runs for Justice when he led throughout, dictated terms, trotted a tad rough in the home straight, but won the $30,000 Group 2 The Holmfield (1650m) at Bendigo.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have butterflies before the race because they paid good money for him and I felt he was probably a week away from being ready for it,” he said.

“That’s why I wanted that quiet quarter (32.7sec second split). I think he’s only about 85 per cent fit now.

“Bernie Hackett did a terrific job with him in NZ and now he’s got to go up in trip for the (Victoria Trotters’) Derby in a few weeks time.”

Mufasa Metro held off the fast-finishing Aldebaran Zeus along the sprint lane to win by a neck in a 1min57.9sec mile rate, finishing-off in 57.2 and 28.4sec.

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Champion trotter Tornado Valley fell just short of breaking the $1 million stakemoney barrier when he resumed a second at Melton last Friday.

Coming to the home bend, the rising 10-year-old zipped away with a big lead and looked to win, but his run came to an end the emerging four-year-old Is That A Bid emerged from the pack to win running away by 16m.

Tornado Valley’s second placing took his bankroll to $999,797.

The other talking point of the race was the mystifying flop of multiple Group 1 winner Tough Monarch, who did some work outside Tornado Valley, but dropped right out to finish 42.1m from the winner in fifth spot.

Earlier in the meeting, Team Gath’s buzz juvenile Catch A Wave stretched his unbeaten record to three races when he led throughout and sizzled home in 54.8 and 27.4sec to score.

At the same meeting, recent Kiwi import Sertorius broke through for his first Aussie win for former Kiwi horseman David Kaa with Anthony Butt aboard.

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Brilliant former US trotting mare Aldebaran Revani stretched her winning streak to six races, albeit in narrow fashion at Menangle.

The Team McCarthy-trained four-year-old mare smashed her PB with a 1min52.7sec mile, but had to pull out plenty to beat exciting former Kiwi trotting mare Funky Monkey by a head.

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It was supposed to be another step towards the big time for Jumpingjackmac, but it ended in a shock defeat.

The exciting former Kiwi took on older rivals in Gloucester Park’s feature last Friday night, the $30,000 Group 2 The Kersley, but looked the leader and win.

The Gary Hall Sr-trained pacer did lead, but, much to the surprise of punters and those watching, Aiden De Campo’s Alta Engen sat parked and nabbed him right near the line to win by a head in a 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2130m.

Driver Gary Hall Jr still had a big night with a quartet of wins, including the free-for-all for trainer Stephen Reed with Bling It On’s younger brother, Bletchley Park.

It was the sort of win which underlined Bletchley Park has genuine Fremantle/WA Pacing Cup potential.

Trainer David Thompson enjoyed a big night with his two stable stars, three-year-old Otis and two-year-old Paul Edward, both winning impressively.

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As trainer Mick Stanley increases his thoroughbred interests, it was great to see him snare a big race with leviathan owner Rob Watson.

Their American Ideal gelding Soho Dow Jones led throughout, dictated terms and never looked in danger in the $50,000 Group 2 Alabar Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic final for colts and geldings.

He’s raced just six times for three wins and three placings and he went a quick 1min54.4sec mile rate for 1650m, home in 55.2 and 27.7sec over Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s emerging Captain Rival, while buzz youngster Hes Charlies Angel lost no admirers after making ground from worse than midfield for third.

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Old marvel Bernie Winkle moved close to a remarkable record when he won at the Mildura track for the 34th time last Friday night.

Only the former champion trotter True Roman has won more races at one track in Victoria. That was 35 victories at Moonee Valley in the 1980s.

The Kiwi-bred Bernie Winkle, trained by Julie Douglas, has raced 229 times for 53 wins, 54 placings and banked $512,297.

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It's so good seeing the gifted but injury-plagued Speech Is Silver back winning impressively.

The former Kiwi pacer, who is part-owned by the Kennards, made it 15 wins from just 23 starts when he beat a good Albion Park free-for-all field in a slick 1min52.7sec mile rate for 1660m last night.

The six-year-old son of Mach Three finished strongly from well back to snatch a nose win over Blacksadance for driver Angus Garrard and trainer Darren Weeks.

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