Aussie News : September 12
by Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi horseman Brent Lilley’s assault on the upcoming Inter Dominion trotting series just keeps gathering momentum.
Waiting to resume is brilliant young mare Queen Elida, while four-year-old stablemate Aldebaran Zeus has returned in fantastic style.
Aldebaran Zeus graduated to feature open-class race winner when he worked to the front and staved-off a gallant reigning Inter Dominion champ Maori Law to win the $50,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship (2760m) at Melton.
Chris Alford drove superbly, dictating terms before breaking his rivals with a 27.6sec split down the back and a 29sec last quarter.
Aldebaran Zeus has won three of his four runs this campaign to go to 12 wins from 28 career runs.
Earlier, Chris Lang’s Kiwi-bred trotting Ollivici continued his winning streak with a sixth win from as many starts this campaign at Melton.
This time the four-year-old overcame a back row draw to land a one-one trail and rundown a gallant leader Just Believe in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2240m.
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The already super-strong Victoria Derby has a new key player.
A month ago the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable spoke glowingly about new stable addition Captain Ravishing.
Last Friday night we saw him have his first start for them and the result was 36.5m win and one of the fastest last quarters ever run in Australia.
Sure, the race was a walk for most of the 2200m with Captain Ravishing in front, but to run home in a 25sec flat last quarter was something to behold. His last half was 52.7sec.
“We think we’ve got one who can really match it with Catch A Wave and the others in the Derby,” said Tonkin before the race.
Kiwi raider Simply Sam basically took no part in the race for trainer Ray Green after settling four pegs and being held-up in traffic. He finished an inconclusive fourth, some 42m behind the winner.
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Still on the Victoria Derby and big guns Leap To Fame and Catch A Watch both continued on their winning streak in recent days.
Back to last Thursday, NSW and Queensland Derby winner Leap To Fame broke the all-aged track record when sat parked to beat brilliant leader Teddy Disco in a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge at Tamworth.
It’s not renowned as a quick track, so Leap To Fame’s 1min54.3sec mile was considered almost unthinkable.
Leap To Fame now heads down to Victoria for one more lead-up race ahead of the Victoria Derby heats on October 1.
Catch A Wave won at Melton night but created some drama and potential issues by causing a false start in his race.
Stewards put him out of the draw for his next start.
He was better behaved at the second attempt, led and won as he liked for Team Gath to win a free-for-all by five metres in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2240m, including closing splits of 55.3 and 27.8sec.
He’s now won 11 of his 13 starts and Team Gath are sure to look for another race to try and get him back in the draw ahead of the Derby heats.
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Exciting WA pacer Lavra Joe bounced straight back with a narrow but terrific Gloucester Park win last Friday night.
Backing-up for the fifth successive week, the Ray Jones-trained four-year-old sat without cover and edged-out leader and main danger Hampton Banner to win by a half-head in a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2130m. They dashed home in 56 and 28.2sec.
It came a week after he sat parked in a frantically run race and tired late to finish at the rear.
Lavra Joe’s won 25 of his 42 starts and shapes as a major player in WA’s major races this season.
It was also pleasing to see an improved showing from Fremantle Cup winner Minstrel to finish third after a slow start to his campaign so far.
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The dominance of star filly Wonderful To Fly in WA is something to behold.
The daughter of former star Kiwi pacer Fly Like An Eagle toyed with her rivals to win the $100,000 Group 1 Westbred 3YO Fillies’ Classic at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
It was her 10th successive win and her 21st career win from 31 starts. She’s now banked $409,183 for trainer-driver Shane Young.
The colts and geldings final produced a minor upset when new power combo trainer Justin Prentice and driver Gary Hall Jr combined with Tricky Miki to salute as a $7.50 chance.
Favourite Goodfellaz led disappointed slightly in fourth spot, while the other big gun Swingband galloped and lost all chance.
Later in the night, Hall Jr teamed with his father, Gary Hall Sr, to win the 2YO race with their latest exciting Kiwi import Im The Black Flash, a Bettors Delight colt out of Simply Devine.
The colt, who had a fourth and second in two NZ starts, worked his way to the front and won as he liked.
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Former Kiwi mare Braeview Kelly continued her rapid rise at Menangle.
Trained and driven by Jack Trainor, the four-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight stormed home from near last to win the Group 3 Norms Daughter in a slick 1min50.9sec mile.
It was fourth win with another second from just five starts since moving to Trainor’s Menangle barn.
The free-for-all was won in fighting fashion by former Miracle Mile runner The Black Prince for trainer Roy Roots Jr and driver Robbie Morris in a 1min50.7sec mile.
Top class former Kiwi pacer A Gs White Socks showed promising signs first-up from a break with a close second for Team McCarthy.
Another former Kiwi, four-year-old trotter Regal Attire, has made an immediate splash at Menangle.
The son of Muscle Hill who is now trained by Jarrod Alchin made the most of a front mark to thrash his rivals in last night’s trotting race. It followed a close second at his first Menangle start.
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Blacksdance is the best of sprint racing at Albion Park.
The Chantal Turpin-trained five-year-old smashed his own 1660m track record with a career-best win.
Despite doing the work outside the leader, Blacksadance blasted past former NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac to win by 11.8m in a blistering 1min49.2sec mile rate. It took 0.8sec off his own track record.