Aussie News : Sept 20

David Moran gets the chance to go back-to-back in the Group 1 Victoria Cup, but on a different horse.

Moran won last year’s Cup on his own now sidelined superstar Lochinvar Art, but this time he’ll take the reins on the horse he beat, King Of Swing.

After weeks of speculation, Luke McCarthy confirmed Moran would drive King Of Swing in the October 9 feature at Melton.

“Sal (Moran’s nickname) has driven for us in big races before and we’ve got Lochinvar Art up here doing rehab and stud duties,” McCarthy said.

“He’s driving so well and with me unable to go down with ‘King’, Sal will be perfect.”

Moran said: “I’m such a privileged position, driving and training so many great horses in recent years, and now getting this drive (on King Of Swing).”

It’s back to work for King Of Swing this week.

He will head to the Menangle trials on Wednesday to kick-start his quest for more Group 1 glory.

“He’s very fit. In fact, he’s already at his racing weight now,” McCarthy said. “He didn’t have what you’d call a spell after the big Queensland races, more just a couple of quiet weeks.

“He looks fantastic. His summer coat has come through and he couldn’t look any better.”

McCarthy said King Of Swing is ready for a strong hitout Wednesday ahead of his racetrack return in a free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday week.

“The trial and that one Menangle run, that’s all he’ll need before heading down (to the Victoria Cup).”

King Of Swing will be Team McCarthy’s lone Victoria Cup runner with their other Grand Circuit star, Expensive Ego, staying home to focus on the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle on October 23.

“Expensive Ego is only a week behind King Of Swing, but we’re keeping him at home,” he said.

“He’ll probably trial next week and the plan is to run him at Menangle on October 16, a week before the Len Smith.”

McCarthy said King Of Swing would return “home” the day after the Victoria Cup and then go straight into the Len Smith Mile.

Remarkably, King Of Swing is unbeaten in nine starts over a mile at Menangle, including the past two Miracle Miles.

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The driver was different, but the result was the same.

WA pacing sensation Magnificent Storm stretched his record to 18 wins from 20 starts in stunning fashion in the $50,000 Group 3 Navy Cup (2130m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Young gun Aiden De Campo took the reins with regular driver Aldo Cortopassi out suspended.

The four-year-old son of American Ideal now gets a short spell before returning to chase WA’s two biggest races, the WA Pacing Cup and Fremantle Cup, in January.

Trainer Ray Williams gave him just six runs this campaign for as many wins, but last Friday was a superb way to go out for a break, simply outclassing his rivals.

Despite sitting parked, Magnificent Storm had main danger Vampiro beaten on the home turn and De Campo nursed him to the line as much as possible to beat outsiders Back In Twenty and Medieval Man in a slick 1min55.1sec mile rate.

He broke their backs with splits of 28.3sec (1200-800m) and 28.4 (800-400m) before running home in 29.6sec.

“It’s been just the campaign we planned and hope for, give him some experience in free-for-all racing before going into the big races next time,” Williams said.

“You keep learning about these good horses. When Vampiro got so close to him the week before, we realised we’d been a bit too easy on him in the week between runs.”

The other highlight of the Gloucester Park meeting was the continued emergence of top young driver Emily Suvaljko.

Part of a passionate and successful harness family, Suvaljko won three of the first four races on Vespa, Jaspervellabeach and Walsh.

It also brought up Suvaljko’s 300th career win.

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It was the night the boy became a man.

Majestuoso has always oozed speed and potential, but he looked more a complete package and lethal racehorse winning the Group 3 Shepparton Trotters’ Cup last Friday night.

Rather than sitting pack and using his stunning speed late, driver Kate Gath decided to own the race.

As soon as the pace slackened, she launched the five-year-old from near the rear, blasted around the field and took the lead.

Majestuoso kept bowling along in front, while another budding star, Pink Galahs, stalked in the one-one trail.

But when Gath said go, Majestuoso ripped home in 27.9sec in driving rain on a slushy track. The mile rate for the 2190m was 1min58.3sec.

“He’s just so brilliant and he showed it at both ends of the race tonight,” Gath said.

Majestuoso raced clear for a seven metre win – his 19th from just 40 starts – over Pink Galahs, with another 10m away to third-placed Aldebaran Crescent.

Pending travel restrictions, Team Gath are keen to chase the NSW Inter Dominion with Majestuoso.

Pink Galahs, one of the stars of the Queensland Constellations Carnival, was first-up from a break and will definitely be improved by the run.

On the same card, Brent Lilley teamed with Chris Alford to win the Shepparton Trotters’ Oaks with talented former Kiwi filly Queen Elida.

The daughter of Love You has returned in great style with three wins from as many runs this campaign.

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Driver David Moran thinks Ladies In Red is even better than last season.

And that’s a bit scary when you consider she raced 10 times at two for nine wins and a second to stablemate Tough Tilly in the Group 1 Vicbred final.

Ladies In Red avenged that defeat from New Year’s Eve when she took her advantage over Tough Tilly to 6-1 in the Argent 3YO Classic (2200m) at Ballarat.

Moran took her to the front from a wide draw, dawdled through a 62sec first half and blasted home in 53.5 and 26.4sec to win by 8.2m over a gallant Tough Tilly, who sat parked from the middle stages and beat the rest by 10m.

“She just feels fantastic. That long break after last season seems to have really worked,” Moran said.

“I just get the feeling she could be set to go to another level.”

Ladies In Red, an easy winner of both runs this campaign, heads to the Victoria Oaks heats on October 2, the Oaks final a week later and then onto races like the Breeders Crown and Vicbred 3YO series.

Tough Tilly will be with her every step of the way and sure to keep her very honest.

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Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin have dominated Victoria’s juvenile racing for the best part of the past decade.

But they look to have a serious challenger in Andy Gath’s gelding Catch A Wave this season.

“He’s as good a juvenile as I’ve had my hands on for a long time. I just love this horse,” Gath said.

After he won last night’s $40,000 Group 2 APG 2YO Gold Sovereign final at Ballarat, driver Kate Gath added: “We always liked him, but he’s probably even exceeded our expectations.”

Catch A Wave made it two wins from as many starts when he cruised to the front from gate four and thrashed his rivals by 12.4m in a 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1710m at Ballarat.

His closing splits were stunning, a 54.6 last half and 26.5sec last quarter.

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Underrated pacer Bulletproof Boy strongly pressed his case for a Victoria Cup berth with a barnstorming Gammalite free-for-all win at Ballarat.

This seems to be Bulletproof Boy’s time of year.

Late last year, Scott Ewen’s stable star proved a giant-killer with wins in the Breeders Crown Graduate Cup at $60.70 and then the Blacks A Fake free-for-all at $45.50.

Last night he came from a seemingly hopeless position and smashed the clock for his last half to finish over the top of serious Victoria Cup contenders like Tango Tara and Mach Dan.

Mach Dan looked to have every chance after sitting one-one and finishing fourth, while Tango Tara stalked Mach Dan everywhere but had no answer to Bulletproof Boy’s booming finish in a privately clocked 53.5sec last half.

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It was terrific to see former Kiwi star Turn It Up back in winning form.

The injury-plagued six-year-old resumed from a break for Vicki Rasmussen and used gate one to lead throughout in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2138m at Albion Park.

While all the issues he’s had mean Turn It Up is no longer a Grand Circuit force, Rasmussen is doing a terrific job with him and is sure to win plenty more races in Queensland if she can keep him sound.

That was his 15th win from just 30 starts.

The other Albion Park highlight was yet another sparkling win from Will The Wizard, who scored in a 1min51.7sec mile rate for 1660m.

The previous week he scorched a 1min50.6sec mile rate, just 0.3sec outside the track record.

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Could former US mare Aldebaran Revani be a smokey for the big trotting races in coming months?

That’s what people are asking after she showed blazing gate speed and won brilliantly in a 1min53.9sec mile at Menangle last night.

The four-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover, owned by Aldebaran Lodge, has raced just six times in Australia for Team McCarthy for five wins and a second.

She raced 10 times in the US for two wins and three placings.

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