Aussie News with Adam Hamilton


FORMER Kiwi pacer Alta Orlando earned a late call-up to Perth’s biggest races with his impressive Bathurst win on Boxing Night.

The race will be remembered as Tiger Tara’s farewell, but Alta Orlando made the most of a lovely trail home on the back of My Field Marshal to win the $50,000 Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial.

It was his fourth from just 12 starts since being sent across from NZ to join Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy’s barn.

And he’s now won three of his past four.

“He seems to have stepped-up to this level and he's versatile, which suits WA racing,” McCarthy said. “The owners are very keen, so we’ll give it a shot.”

Alta Orlando will be joined by My Field Marshal on a flight to Perth with the Group 1 Fremantle Cup on January 10 his first target. The Group 1 WA Pacing Cup is a week later.

Trainer Tim Butt was thrilled with My Field Marshal’s fourth to Alta Orlando at Bathurst and he is a definite to defend his Fremantle Cup crown.

“I’m really happy with him. That run will have done him the world of good,” he said.

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STAYING on the Perth features and the local lead-up races continue to confuse.

One-time budding star Vampiro made a timely return to his best form when he blasted to the front and never looked in danger in the $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid Sprint (1720m) at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

The $13 shot packed too much early speed from gate four for polemarker and $2.80 favourite Herrick Roosevelt, who sat behind him and had his chance late when second in closing splits of 56.2 and 28.3sec.

They blazed a 1min52.9sec mile rate.

The eye-catcher was comeback veteran Galactic Star, a stablemate of Vampiro, who stormed home late for third from a three-wide trail into the action.

Buzz pacer Mighty Conqueror galloped early and lost 30-40m, caught the field and ran home strongly near the inside late for eighth.

Last year’s WA Cup winner Rocknroll Lincoln, having just his second run back from a spell, looked totally off his game after tiring from a three-wide trail to finish 28m away in last spot.

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STAR trotter McLovin is back fast-working after his derailed Auckland Inter Dominion campaign.

And trainer Andy Gath says he’s on target to tackle the Great Southern Star on February 1.

“He’ll be ready to have one lead-up run, but it won’t be the Maori Mile (Bendigo, January 3) because Tornado Valley is going there,” Gath said.

McLovin’s options are the Group 3 George Gath at Shepparton on January 10 or the Group 2 Cochran Cup at Ballarat a week later.

It will be interesting which way Kate Gath goes for her choice of drives if and when McLovin and Tornado Valley meet in the Great Southern Star.

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LEVIATHAN owner Merv Butterworth’s decision to send enigmatic Victorian trotter Mr Sundon to Ross Olivieri in WA has been a winning move.

The Kiwi-bred made it two wins from as many WA runs when he thrashed a handy field by 17.6m in a sizzling 1min58.2sec mile rate for 2130m last Friday night.

He looks to have the upcoming WA Trotters’ Cup at his mercy.

** ** ** **

THE rise and rise of young gun NSW driver Cam Hart continued at Maitland last night (Saturday).

Hart teamed with trainer Trevor Munday and his gelding Benalong Valley to win one the iconic regional race, the 57th Inter City Pace final.

As usual it was a hotly-contested affair, but Hart’s patience won the day on Benalong Valley, the $1.65 favourite, by 2.7m in a 1min59.2sec mile rate for 2422m around the tight, old-school circuit.

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TIME will tell if former superstar juvenile trotter Wobelee makes the big league in open-class, but the signs are promising.

Alison and Chris Alford’s posted his 20th win from just 31 starts and edged to $349,889 in earnings at Melton last night (Saturday).

Most importantly, Wobelee’s nine runs this campaign have netted five wins and four placings.

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DOMINANT trainer Emma Stewart had another big night at Melton with four wins, including those by promising pacers Always Fast, Somewhere Secret and Our Millionaire.

The other win came from arguably Victoria’s most-improved pacer Deedenuto, who has netted four wins and two seconds in just eight runs for Stewart, including his past two in powerhouse style.

** ** ** **

JOT down Youaremy Sunshine as a genuine Victoria Derby contender when the heats come around on January 18 at Ballarat.

The Hurrikane Kingcole colt showed plenty of promise as a juvenile, but looks to have come back even better judging by his strong Melton win in good company last night.

Despite doing the work in quick time, Youaremy Sunshine was too strong in a 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2240m.


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