Aussie News - October 30

By Adam Hamilton 

Any doubt over who Australasia’s best three-year-old is was answered emphatically by Leap To Fame at Menangle last night.

In a stellar crop, he is the “King.”

Grant Dixon’s son of Bettors Delight did all the work from a horror draw and capped a massive season with a powerhouse win in the $150,000 Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge final (1609m).

Despite never seeing the marker pegs, Leap To Fame broke the Australasian 3YO race record with a 1min49sec flat mile.

He was simply too classy and strong for a brave leader My Ultimate Ronnie, who gave a great sight but had to be content with second, almost five metres away.

Leap To Fame heads to the paddock having raced 12 times this season for nine wins, two seconds and a third and banked almost $440,000.

He became the first pacer since Captain Joy in 2009 to win the big three Aussie Derbys – Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Dixon and owner Kevin Seymour are thinking long term, opting to miss the Breeders Crown and even next February’s Chariots Of Fire to aim at the Queensland Winter riches and the inaugural $2.1 million Eureka at Menangle next September.

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Champion mare Ladies In Red’s sixth Group 1 win was one of easiest.

In contrast to her many trademark tough wins, the four-year-old was able to work around and find the lead midrace and cruised home after that.

It was her 21st win from just 26 starts.

The race changed when Anthony Butt led and held the lead from Tough Tilly in the early stages, but handed straight over to Ladies In Red when her driver David Moran came looking for the front.

Ladies In Red steadied with a 30.3sec second quarter once in front then ripped home in 55.5 and 27.8sec to win as she liked by 4.8m over stablemate and arch-rival Tough Tilly.

Ladies In Red now boasts an 8-3 head-head advantage over Tough Tilly.

Braeview Kelly was a sound third at her first test in the big league.

Ladies In Red now heads to the Breeders Crown and Vicbred before the end of the year.

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Former Kiwi horseman Stewie McDonald is enjoying being back in WA.

After a stint in Victoria with Nathan Purdon, McDonald returned to the WA and the Gary Hall Sr team a few months back.

McDonald took the reins on the Hall Sr-trained Gambit for an upset all-the-way win in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Navy Cup (2130m) at Gloucester Park.

The race changed complexion at the start when Hall Sr’s favourite Diego galloped from the pole and lost all chance, while former Auckland pacer Gambit speared to the front with Lavra Joe parked and Magnificent Storm in the one-one trail.

Magnificent Storm was flushed three-wide without cover at the 900m so McDonald quickened for a 27.4sec split down the back.

As hard as Magnificent Storm tried, Gambit had all the answers and easily held him at the finish to win by 4.5m with To Fast To Serious a close and good third.

Interestingly, To Fast To Serious’ owner Rob Tomlinson plans to take the pacer to Victoria for the upcoming Inter Dominion series, which starts at Ballarat on November 26.

Back to Gambit and Hall Sr said the Fremantle/WA Cups double before the inaugural $1 million Nullarbor, WA’s first slot race, are his targets.

The Nullarbor will be run on April 14, effectively clashing with Cambridge’s The Race.

“He’s raced by NZ owner Steve Waters, who has bought a slot in The Nullarbor, and wants Gambit to run in his slot,” Hall Sr told the West Australian paper.

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Young Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor’s hot streak continued with a huge upset in the $150,000 Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ final at Menangle last night.

Captn Me snatched a neck win as a $34 shot for owner Mick Harvey, who has a share in former champ King Of Swing.

She’s by Captaintreacherous, who also sired Brad Hewitt’s colt Captains Knock, winner of the $150,000 Group 1 2YO colts and geldings final earlier in the night.

Trainor also had one eye on Melton last night where his exciting mare Braeview Kelly ran a solid third to superstar mares Ladies In Red and Tough Tilly in the Group 1 Queen of the Pacific.

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It pays to listen when champion trainer Emma Stewarts describes one of his horses as “something special.”

That’s exactly what she said about regally-bred Major Delight ahead of her record-breaking win in last night’s $150,000 Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies’ final.

“I think she’ll win even from the terrible (wide) draw. We think she’s something special,” Stewart said pre-race.

Major Delight, a half-sister to Victoria Cup winner Max Delight, sat parked and crushed the favourite Peaceful to win by 5.6m in a 1min50.3sec mile. It took 0.2sec off the Australasian record she set, winning her semi-final.

Another winning going places from the night is Matty Craven’s lightly-raced Bettor Isolate, who made it eight wins from just 13 starts when he scorched a 1min49.8sec mile to win the 4YO Breeders Challenge final.

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It's a long way from a Group 3 Swan Hill Cup to the Inter Dominion, but that’s the chance emerging pacer Our Millionaire will be given.

Yet another member of the awesome Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin stable, Our Millionaire thrashed his rivals in blistering time in last Friday night’s Swan Hill Cup with David Moran aboard.

Headstrong at times, Our Millionaire sailed away in the home straight to score by 9.2m.

The six-year-old’s 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2790m took a full second off the previous track record, co-held by former NZ Cup winner Arden Rooney.

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Another pacer Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin could set for the Inter Dominion is Act Now.

Last season’s star 3YO has regained his best form and scored a remarkable win in last night’s Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton.

Despite working hard to find the lead and then clearly being headed by multiple Group 1 winner Better Eclipse, Act Now kicked back to snatch a half-head win.

The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere posted a slick 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2240m, including closing splits of 54.3 and 26.7sec.

Better Eclipse was massive to come from near last in those closing splits and looks right on target for the Inter Dominion.

 

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