Aussie Stars to Step Out
by Adam Hamilton
Two of Australia’s biggest stars will be in action over the next two weeks.
First out is millionaire trotter Tornado Valley, who will chase further Group 1 glory in Saturday night’s Maori Mile at Bendigo.
Then, just a week later, sidelined megastar Lochinvar Art is slated to return from almost a year out in the Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup.
Both pleased connections at today’s Melton trials.
Lochinvar Art, who hasn’t raced since winning last year’s Hunter Cup on February 6, ran a close second to high-class former Kiwi pacer Tango Tara, a stablemate of Tornado Valley.
“It was just the workout I wanted. Tango Tara ran along and ‘Arty’ got within about a neck and still felt strong on the line,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said.
“Providing he comes through it well and we’re happy over the next few days, he’ll go to Shepparton.
“He obviously won’t be at his top there, but it’s an important race for many reasons. I’m really keen to get that run into him then skip the Ballarat Cup and go to the Casey Classic (January 29, Melton). It’s a week before the Hunter Cup and I want him to have that quick back-up.
“If he keeps progressing the way he is, I think we can have him pretty close to his top come Hunter Cup time.”
Tornado Valley, who topped $1 million in stake earnings with a Melton win on December 4, has been freshened since.
“He didn’t quite work as well as he hoped the other day, so we decided to give his this trial to make sure he was right for Bendigo this week,” trainer Andy Gath said. “He showed his good gate speed and it was really just a sprint home.”
Tornado Valley drew barrier one, but there will be sparks early with brilliant former US mare Aldebaran Revani, who boasts six wins from just seven starts in Australia, down from NSW for Team McCarthy. She’s drawn six and is an explosive beginner.
In other stable news, Gath said recent addition, top flight Kiwi trotting mare, Vacation Hill, was almost ready to debut for the barn.
“How can you not like her, she’s all class. I think she’ll be up with our best trotters, which you’d expect on her NZ form,” he said.
“It’s likely she’ll run first-up for us on Ballarat Cup night (January 22). She’s working well at home.”
Another of Gath’s star trotters, Matjestuoso, will return from a break at Shepparton on Saturday week.
It was also interesting to see 2019 NZ Cup winner Cruz Bromac trial well with emerging stablemate Willie Go West at Melton today.
Cruz Bromac hasn’t raced since finishing fourth at Melton on November 14, 2020.