Aussie News with Adam Hamilton

MAGNIFICENT Storm is the most exciting up-and-comer in Australia.

The former Kiwi gelding stretched his unbeaten Aussie record to 10 wins when he did all the work and smashed the clock to win the opening race at Gloucester Park on Christmas Eve.

The margin wasn’t great as he got a tad tired and seemed to want to switch-off late, but Magnificent Storm’s 1min54sec mile rate stacked-up well against the 1min52.9sec track record when you consider he was three-wide to the breeze.

Trainer Ray Williams says he’s the best horse he has trained and driver Aldo Cortopassi joined the chorus saying he’d never driven a better or faster three-year-old.

Magnificent Storm heads into WA’s string of four-year-old majors as the top seed. It starts with the $50,000 4YO Championship on January 15, goes to the $125,000 4YO Classic on January 29 and culminates with the $200,000 Golden Nugget on February 12.

His major rival will be this year’s WA Derby winner Patronus Star, who returned to winning form in trackwork-like style in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Thursday night.

Patronus Star led from the pole for Dylan Egerton-Green and cruised around in a much slower 1min57.3sec mile rate for the same 2130m trip to win untouched by 3.3m.

Both Patronus Star and Maginificent Storm are by American Ideal.

Patronus Star won all seven starts, including the Derby, in his first WA campaign for Team Bond then suffered his first and only defeat when first-up and second to the fit and flying Vivere Damore at Gloucester Park on December 18.

Excitingly, Magnificent Storm’s first clash with Patronus Star could be just around the corner.

Both are on target for the $25,000 Pinjarra (4YO) Classic on January 4.

Another Team Bond runner Howard Hughes, who started favourite when eighth to Patronus Star in the Derby, made it five wins from as many starts this campaign when he scored at Gloucester Park last Thursday.

The Bettor's Delight colt is tough and classy, boasts 11 wins from just 14 starts, and will be a genuine Nugget contender as well.

** ** ** **

IT was a milestone night for Kate and Andy Gath at Ballarat on Saturday.

The pair snared a double with their latest Kiwi import Havehorsewilltravel and Monaro Maro.

Kate, already with her first Victorian metro driving title in the bag, reached 200 wins for the season when Monaro Maro made it two wins on end.

And that victory was Andy’s 150th for the season as a trainer.

Havehorsewilltravel showed terrific gate speed to lead and win as he liked in a 2min1.3sec mile rate for 2200m.

The Angus Hall gelding won four of his 18 starts in NZ before being bought by the Gath’s for major stable owner, Norm Jenkin, who also races the likes of Tornado Valley and McLovin.

Kate’s focus now turns to the big finale of the season with a string of good drives in the stellar Vicbred meeting on New Year’s Eve, where all 12 races are at Group 1 level.

** ** ** **

IT was a case of third time lucky for classy local Our Uncle Sam in one of Bathurst’s biggest races.

The Chris Frisby-trained Inter Dominion placegetter won the Group 3 Shirley Turnbull Memorial at his third attempt. He’s improved each year with a third in 2018, second last year and now victory on Saturday night.

Suited by the hectic pace set in front by favourite Whereyabinboppin, Our Uncle Sam finished strongly to post his 22nd win and edge close to $650,000 in stakemoney.

“He’s been such a great horse to us and this one means a lot,” Frisby said.

** ** ** **

EXCITING former Kiwi mare Balcatherine is making up for lost time.

The lighly-raced rising five-year-old was injured after her first three Aussie runs for trainer Gary Hall Sr and sidelined for almost a year.

But she’s back and seemingly getting better with every start.

Balcatherine posted her 10th win from just 19 starts when she crushed the in-form Vivere Damore in slick time at Gloucester Park last Thursday night and she’s already won the Group 1 WA Mares’ Classic this campaign.

Her 1min54.5sec mile rate compared well with the 1min54sec posted by WA’s buzz pacer Magnificent Storm on the same night and with the 1min52.9sec Gloucester Park 2130m track record.

** ** ** **

TOP young driver Angus Garrard teamed with the rampaging Craig Cross team for victory with emerging pacer Lets Katchmeifucan at Albion Park on Saturday night.

The rising seven-year-old has won all three runs in this Queensland raid and boasts five wins and two seconds from just seven starts since being transferred to Cross in late September.

Garrard cemented one of his most rewarding nights with a victory 30 minutes later on three-time Group 1 winning filly Pelosi.

Trainer Anna Woodmansey made the most of Garrard’s junior driver claim and Pelosi won strongly in a 1min54.8sec mile rate for 1660m.

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