Aussie News - October 8

By Adam Hamilton

Mark Purdon is well placed to win a fourth Victoria Derby final after The Real Sherlock’s upset victory in a heat of the series at Melton last night.

In the biggest shock of the night, Australia’s top-rated three-year-old The Lost Storm led and was easily rundown as a $1.12 favourite in the second Derby heat.

It was The Real Sherlock, who did plenty early from a wide draw to get back and then took the one-one trail, who finished best to beat Perfect Class in the stronger of the two Derby heats.

“I know how fast he is and he was traveling well coming to the last bend. He finished it off really well,” driver Greg Sugars said.

“He’s certainly up to the task of winning the final, but the barrier draw and luck in running will be very important.”

Purdon, now in partnership with son Nathan, last won the Victoria Derby with the great Lazarus in 2016. Before that he won with Rare Gem in 2001 and Sharp And Telford in 1996.

The Lost Storm’s driver Mark Pitt said the star youngster wasn’t quite right.

“He didn’t pull-up 100 per cent, but they’ve got a week to get him back on top of his game for the final,” he said.

Earlier, Pitt teamed with The Lost Storm’s brilliant stablemate, Petracca, for an easy win in the first Derby heat where it was a Stewart-trained quinella with the emerging Celebrity Royal running a slashing second.


What an inspired trip to Australia this has been for young Kiwi trotting filly High Step.

Purdon Racing’s youngster made it three wins from as many Victorian runs and did so in by far her most stunning style yet at Melton last Friday night.

High Step worked across to lead from gate six, always looked in control and zoomed away to win as she liked by 15.5m. Her closing splits were 57.9 and 28.5sec.

Unlike stablemates High Energy and The Real Sherlock, High Step is staying in Victoria until the end of the month.

Her biggest target of the trip is the time-honoured $50,000 Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough on October 29.

High Step’s older sister, High Energy, clearly wasn’t herself when unplaced for the first time in her 11-start career at Melton last Friday.

High Energy sat midfield in the running line, but was struggling before the home turn and weakened to finish 16.1m away in eight spot behind Shes Ruby Roo in the $50,000 Need For Speed Princess final.

On the same card, Australia’s top three-year-old trotter The Locomotive smashed through the $300,000 prize money barrier with an easy win in the $50,000 Need For Speed Prince final.


Brilliant Kiwi-owned trotting mare Queen Elida looks primed to snare her seventh Group 1 win at Melton next Saturday night.

And her owners Tony Barron and Gordon McKenzie will be trackside to cheer her on.

The five-year-old made it nine wins (and a second) from her past 10 starts when she toyed with her rivals in the George Gath (2240m) at Melton last Friday night.

She will be a hot favourite to back-up and win the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint at Melton next Saturday night.

“It’ll be great to see her trackside again,” Barron said. “I’m actually coming across for a week because she’s got a mares’ free-for-all the following Friday, too.”

The daughter of Love You was sublime last Friday, posting her 28th win from just 46 starts despite sitting parked throughout.

John Justice’s classy former Kiwi trotter Musafa Metro led easily and cruised along, but was no match for the brilliance of Queen Elida in closing splits of 55.5 and 27.3sec.

The other class runner, Im Ready Jet, had the gun behind the leader and closed well late for third without ever looking a winning hope.


A huge group of owners were trackside to see August Moon lead throughout and land a photo-finish win in last Friday night’s Group 1 WA Oaks.

In a stirring finish, champion driver Gary Hall Jr lifted the August Moon after she appeared to be headed by former Kiwi filly Turn The Page and win by a nose.

It was Hall Jr’s third WA Oaks win, having scored previously on Major Reality (2015) and Miss Holmes (2004).

Turn The Page, a daughter of Vincent, was the run of race after sustaining a three-wide run without cover for the last lap for Team Bond and driver Deni Roberts.

Classy Victorian raider Soho Seraphine did the work outside the leader and battled away well to finish a close fourth in a 1min57.9sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip.

Although Roberts was narrowly denied the Oaks win, she enjoyed another stellar night with four wins.

The highlight was the return to winning form of Team Bond’s classy pacer Minstrel, who made the most of the pole to lead and blitzed his rivals in slick 1min55.6sec mile rate for 2536.

Roberts also won aboard former Kiwi pacers Lusaka, Carana and Getn Wiggy Withit.


Top class former Kiwi mare Braeview Kelly booked herself a Victorian trip when she blitzed her rivals first-up at Menangle last night.

The reigning Queen Elizabeth II (formerly Ladyship Mile) winner unleashed a blazing finish to beat stablemate B K Swy by 6.3m in a slick 1min51.sec mile.

Trainer-driver Jack Trainor thanked fellow trainer Jarrod Alchin for helping prepare the mare for her winning return.

“Jarrod’s done a lot of the work with her and it’s great to have her back in this sort of form,” he said.

“She wasn’t quite right during the Queensland trip (in winter), but she is back to the mare of old.

“I know how hard it will be against the likes of Ladies In Red and others in Victoria, but we’ll give her the chance. She deserves it.”


Brilliant filly Major Delight looks to have next Saturday night’s Group 1 Victoria Oaks at her mercy.

The Emma Stewart-trained star made it 12 wins from just 13 starts when she won her Oaks heat with ears still pricked in closing splits of 54.7 and 26.3sec at Melton last night.

Stablemate Joyful, part owned by Cran Dalgety, grabbed the eye with a booming fourth from last but will need a gun draw to seriously test Major Delight in the final.

The first saw Jess Tubbs’ emerging filly First Dance, a half sister to veteran star Triple Eight, land a big betting plunge and lead throughout to beat recent Vicbred final winner Sahara Breeze.


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