Breeders Crown night two wrap
By Adam Hamilton
THE similarities are remarkable.
Just as the All Stars barn continued dominates so many of the juvenile features in NZ, Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin do the same in Australia.
It was underlined again when Stewart and Tonkin snared the two richest Breeders Crown finals at Melton last night with Be Happy Mach winning the $300,000 Group 1 2YO colts and geldings pacing final and Maajida winning the fillies’ equivalent.
Winning drivers Chris Alford (Be Happy Mach) and Greg Sugars (Maajida) both heaped praise on the genius of Stewart and Tonkin.
“This guy’s had a long season and done plenty of travelling, but kept getting better through it all. He hit a new peak in his last run of a long season. That takes some doing as a trainer,” Alford said.
Sugars added: “It’s just been a pleasure to be part of the season with this filly. The thing people don’t probably see is how well-mannered Emma and Clayton’s horses are. You very rarely see one of theirs without great manners.”
Be Happy Mach matched young Kiwi trotter Ultimate Stride for “win of the night” honours.
Alford launched him early from an outside back row draw, burned through a 27.7sec opening quarter to bludgeon his way to the front from heavily-backed Kiwi raider Zeuss Bromac and then win as he liked.
“He’s a really special young horse and just such a professional. To sprint as quickly as he did at two different parts of the race, but relax in between … that’s real maturity for a young horse,” Alford said.
Be Happy Mach’s win cemented him Aussie 2YO of the Year honours with 10 wins and third from just 11 starts and $344,215 in earnings.
Kiwis Perfect Stride (third) and Zeuss Bromac (fourth) ran good races, but were simply outlassed by Be Happy Mach.
Perfect Stride stays in Australia and goes to Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith in NSW, while Zeuss Bromac will also continue his career in NSW.
Maajida led and made a one-act affair of her 2YO fillies final, finishing the season with eight starts for seven wins, a second and $271,800.
Stewart and Tonkin also landed the Group 2 4YO entires and geldings final with the much-improved Tam Major, who came around to sit parked early and won like a horse headed to the Grand Circuit.
“He’s racing like a killing machine,” driver Chris Alford said. “He wanted to get going at the 600m, so I just cut him loose and away he went.
“He’s gone from just behind the best ones the past couple of years to winning the Vicbred and Breeders Crown this season.”
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CHAMPION driver Luke McCarthy was still smarting hours after superstar Kiwi filly Our Princess Tiffany’s shock loss in her Breeders Crown final.
And that’s despite the fact McCarthy is a part of the team who trains the filly who beat her, the massively improved No Win No Feed.
“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong there,” McCarthy said. “Tiffany should’ve won easily.”
Our Princess Tiffany had to sit parked outside Miss Streisand, but McCarthy knew he had her beaten down the back straight and went for home.
“I was just about around the leader and I’d have been off and gone and the race was over, but Miss Streisand veered up the track, took me out and the winner got the run through,” he said.
“She kept coming, but that burn the back straight and being pushed out like that, it really cost her.”
You could still argue the very best version of Our Princess Tiffany this season would’ve picked herself up again and still won.
But maybe that’s disrespectful to No Win No Feed, a former battling Victorian filly who has now won three Group 1 races this season.
“She’s been super consistent this filly and just kept stepping-up. Things obviously worked out well for us in the run, but she was still good enough to take advantage of it,” driver Todd McCarthy said.
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MAX Delight surely locked away Australian 3YO of the Year honours and added some Tasmanian flavour to Crown night with his win in the $200,000 3YO colts and geldings final.
Driver Todd McCarthy made the most of the good draw (gate two) to lead, pinched a soft lead time and Max Delight scorched home in 54.6 and 27.8sec to beat a fast-finishing Out To Play.
It followed wins in the NSW and Tasmanian Derbys earlier in the season.
Max Delight is owned in Tasmanian by big spending owner Michael Maxfield.
“I was able to get a bit of breather in front while they sorted themselves out early and then he was so brave in that slick last half,” McCarthy said.
It was McCarthy’s second Group 1 win on the night after he teamed with No Win No Feed to cause a huge upset in the 3YO fillies’ pacing final.
“It caps a great season, especially down here at Melton,” McCarthy said.
Most notably, McCarthy won the Victoria and Hunter Cups as well as the Inter Dominion at Melton this season aboard Tiger Tara.