Aussie Update - 24 December
By Adam Hamilton
Dominant Queensland trainer Grant Dixon has quickly turned the page on the disappointment of the Auckland Inter Dominion is planning to hit the road again.
But his stable star, Colt Thirty One, won’t be part of the next “excursion.”
Dixon is eyeing-off the Victoria Derby, which starts with heats at Ballarat on January 18, with his two top three-year-olds, recent Kiwi import Virgil and the exciting Governor Jujon.
They ran the quinella in the inaugural Bill Dixon – a race named after Dixon’s father - at Albion Park last Saturday night.
Virgil led throughout and won in quick time, but Governor Jujon’s effort to get within a nose was massive, suggesting he’s the pick of the pair heading towards the Derby.
Dixon knows what it takes to win the Victoria Derby, doing so with Colt Thirty One just two years ago.
Colt Thirty One, who made a lie of his luckless and still below-par Auckland form, with a fantastic victory in last Saturday night’s Group 2 Queensland Cup.
“He’s having a week or so off now to find his feet again,” Dixon said. “The Miracle Mile is his next target.”
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Perth raids for two of Australia’s top pacers hinge on how they go at Bathurst on Boxing night.
Tiger Tara and My Field Marshal clash for the second time in as many runs this campaign in the $50,000 Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial (2790m).
They finished second and third respectively behind Alta Orlando at their latest runs at Menangle last Saturday week.
Alta Orlando is among their rivals again at Bathurst and has the advantage of the front row (gate seven), while Tiger Tara (nine, inside back) and My Field Marshal (11) are off the back row.
The other key runners include Harjeet (four) and Make Way (one).
Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto said his star has “come on very well” since a first-up third and was definitely on target for Perth.
While Tim Butt said My Field Marshal was “90 per cent likely” for Perth, presuming he runs up to expectations at Bathurst.
Adding further depth to the Bathurst card is the return “home” of Our Uncle Sam after his disappointing Auckland Inter Dominion campaign.
Surprisingly, he’s not in the Shirley Turnbull, but rather he meets another talented open class player, Ellmers Image, in a 2790m free-for-all.
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The cream of the locals aiming for the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups lock horns at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
The $50,000 Group 2 Village Kid (1730m) has drawn a fantastic field, headed by: Herrick Roosevelt (one), El Jacko (two), Ana Malak (three), Vampiro (four), Rocknroll Lincoln (seven), Handsandwheels (eight), Vultan Tin (nine), Mighty Conqueror (11) and Galactic Star (12).
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Buzz Victorian pacer The Storm Inside should make is 16 wins (and two seconds) from just 18 starts when he tackles the $20,000 Lightning Sprint (1710m) at Ballarat on Boxing night.
He looks a class above his rivals as he builds towards races like the Ballarat Cup (January 18) and Hunter Cup (February 1).