Aussie update : August 27
By Adam Hamilton
Former Hunter and Victoria Cup winner Bling It On is about to add to the embarrassment of open-class riches in the Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy barn.
The rising 10-year-old got the sign-off to launch what will be his final campaign of racing after a sparkling Menangle trial win yesterday.
Bling It On showed he had lost none of his “ping” when he cruised to a 1.8m win over emerging stablemate Zahven Banner in a 1min51.8sec mile. He was clocked to run his own closing splits in 54.6 and 26.4sec.
“He’s come back really well,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “He felt sharp and did it easily.
“This will be his last campaign and he’ll still mix serving mares with racing, like he did when he came back and won the Victoria Cup this time last year.”
Bling It On, who boasts 48 wins from 95 starts and more than $1.83mil in earnings, has not raced since finishing ninth at Group 1 level at Menangle on March 7.
His pending racetrack return adds to the likes of King Of Swing, Alta Orlando, Cash N Flow, Balraj and others at the top end of the Cross/McCarthy open-class crop.
Two of them, Alta Orlando and Balraj, lock horns in a 2300m free-for-all (race seven) at Menangle on Saturday night.
They clashed three weeks ago when Balraj, back from a spell and first-up in the Cross/McCarthy barn, was able to sit on Alta Orlando (who led) and somehow get past him despite the leader running a 25.7sec last quarter.
Alta Orlando then ran a close second to King Of Swing in a 1min48.8sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night.
Balraj, a former Kiwi who boasts 11 wins from just 18 starts, packs mindblowing speed and has definitely improved since his first-up win, according to McCarthy.
“He’s exciting for sure. He surprised us a little bit that he was able to get past Alta Orlando first-up, especially the times they ran, and he’ll certainly be better for that run,” McCarthy said.
“It should be another good clash again.”
The other race of interest at Menangle this week is a return clash between star three-year-olds Perfect Stride (gate six), Dr Susan (eight), Mach Da Vinci (six) in the final event.
Perfect Stride won round one between the trio last week, but so much depends on how the race is run this time.
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The All Stars’ Queensland raid steps-up another notch at Albion Park on Saturday night.
Trainer Vicki Rasmussen snared a first-up win with another classy All Stars’ pacer, One Change, at Albion Park on Tuesday and looks to have Ashley Locaz primed after a recent runaway trial win.
But this is no easy task with Ashley Locaz drawn five over 1660m against former Inter Dominion placegetter Our Uncle Sam (six), likely leader Northview Hustler (one), emerging Secretagent Tycoon (three) and the classy Bright Energy (seven).
Champion Kiwi filly Amazing Dream, who was enormous in defeat at her first Brisbane run last weekend, won’t get it all her own way again this week.
She’s drawn the outside (gate seven) over 1660m and some class opposition in glamour local and stablemate Smart As Camm Be (gate 10) as well as Grant Dixon’s Madamoiselle Jujon (nine).
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Injury to the exciting pacer While They Pray looks to have presented the free-for-all to former Kiwi pacer Convert Denario at Gloucester Park tomorrow (Friday) night.
Sadly, trainer Michael George confirmed While They Pray, a winner of eight of his 17 start this season, had sustained a suspensory ligament injury.
That moves Convert Denario into the pole draw where driver Michael Grantham should be untroubled to lead, dictate and be very hard to rundown.
It’s a rare WA free-for-all without genuine star power, but that’s about to change with the likes of Mighty Conqueror, Vampiro and Shockwave all close to resuming.
Meanwhile Chicago Bull is enjoying his break and won’t race again until early to mid-October.