Aussie News with Adam Hamilton

THE real McLovin is back.

The jury has been out on the former Kiwi trotter since his roller-coaster NZ raid late last year, which culminated in him being scratched from the Auckland Inter Dominion with a viral infection.

He’s won a few races since returning home, but largely not quite looked the same horse.

But all that changed last night with his epic, off-the-canvas win in the Group 3 Noopy Kiosk Trotters’ free-for-all.

Yes he may have lost a little of his brilliance, but strength and will are as good, if not better, than ever.

McLovin looked beaten a dozen times, especially when shoved four-wide for much of the last lap, but just kept coming and savaged the line to win by a half-neck.

They went a brisk 1min55.9sec mile rate for 1720m.

It rekindled memories of his mighty win in the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint back on Victoria Cup night last October.

McLovin’s raced 11 times this term for six wins, two seconds, a third and almost $120,000.

He’s now won 15 races and pocketed almost $260,000 since joining Gath’s stable.

McLovin was the first of two huge wins for Team Gath on the night, the second coming when the emerging Kiwi-bred gelding Eureka copped plenty of pressure in front, overraced badly and still scorched a 1min52.1sec mile rate for 1720m to score.

Eureka, a Washington VC four-year-old, is raced by Norm Jenkin, who also owns McLovin.

Eureka’s 10 Aussie runs have netted seven wins, a second and a third.

** ** ** **

CASH N Flow’s eighth successive Menangle mile free-for-all win sent onlookers scrambling for the record books.

Race caller Fred Hastings confirmed the former Kiwi gelding had broken two records on his way to a soft 4.3m win over stablemate Replaced Eye.

Cash N Flow’s last half and quarter were the quickest officially clocked race splits at Menangle.

The son of Mach Three blazed home in 53.2 and 25.3sec.

It came off a very cosy 27.6 opening quarter and 57.4sec first half, so the mile itself was comfortable for Cash N Flow at 1min50.6sec.

The previous fastest winning split by a leader was the 53.6sec Spankem clocked winning last year’s Miracle Mile.

** ** ** **

ANTHONY Butt will get his wish with classy former Kiwi three-year-old Perfect Stride.

Butt wants some strong racing for the colt before he heads to the South-East Derby at Albion Park later this month.

Perfect Stride had to dig deep for his first-up win at Menangle last night, despite running to the front and strolling through a 59.2sec first half over a mile.

It was really just a 400m sprint home and Perfect Stride just held-off his main danger, Seeuinnashville, to win by a half-head in a 26sec final quarter over a 1min53.7sec mile.

The win qualified Perfect Stride for next week’s TAB Long May We Play final, which will draw together a strong line-up.

Hardest to beat will be buzz four-year-old Whereyabinboppin, who did things wrong, raced erratically at times and still won his heat sitting parked much of the trip in a 1min51.5sec mile.

The other heat winners were Paul Fitzpatrick’s improving Bracken Storm in a 1min51.4sec mile and Craig Cross’ Royal Aurora in 1min51.8sec.

** ** ** **

FANS now can’t wait to see Queensland’s buzz pacer Speech Is Silver take on the big boys.

The former All Stars’ five-year-old seemed to win with something in reserve despite doing plenty of work in a 1min54.5sec mile rate for 1660m at Albion Park last night.

It was his seventh win on end, his 11th win from just 13 runs this season and his 14th win from just 18 lifetime starts.

Queensland’s top pacer Colt Thirty One survived a late scare to win the free-for-all last night.

The five-year-old led from the pole, copped a little midrace pressure, and held-off Justalittle Torque by a half-neck in a 26.6sec last quarter and 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2138m.

** ** ** **

CHRIS Voak has become one of the best front-running drivers in Australia.

And he showed why with a superbly-rated drive in front on hardy veteran Vultan Tin to upset Chicago Bull in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Voak put the foot down with a 28.4sec second quarter, then went 27.7sec down the back before a 28 flat closing split. That’s 1min24.1sec for the last 1200m!

It was only Vultan Tin’s third win from 21 starts this season, but took his career record to 160 starts for 26 wins, 41 placings and almost $570,000.

Vultan Tin’s been a player at WA’s top level for a number of years and most notably ran fourth to Lazarus in the 2017 Perth Inter Dominion final.

In the other Gloucester Park features Friday, Mach Three filly Just For Love led throughout for driver Jocelyn Young to easily win the 2YO Fillies’ Gold Bracelet.

** ** ** **

VICTORIA’S dominant Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable continue to make a splash with their select team of trotters.

Just a day after buzz two-year-old trotter Utopia won his first start by almost 90m at Shepparton, their three-year-old Cover Of Darkness stretched his unbeaten run to three wins at Ballarat.

It came after a scare for driver Jodi Quinlan when Cover Of Darkness, a Majestic Son colt, galloped for a few strides at the start, but quickly settled.

Quinlan let him balance-up, but when he started to pull hard, she unleashed him around to take the front.

Cover of Darkness was headed rounding the final bend, but just kept finding to win by 3.9m in a 2min1.9sec mile rate for 2200m.

Sitting at home about to resume is Tonkin and Stewart’s untapped four-year-old trotter Alpha Male, who won the Group 1 Need for Speed on March 9 last year, but hasn’t raced since because of injury.

Alpha Male, described by Tonkin as a “monster of a horse,” has raced just five times for three wins and two placings. Both placings came after costly gallops.

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