Aussie News - 20 July
By Adam Hamilton
Chicago Bull just may be on the way back to his very best.
If you haven’t seen his epic Gloucester Park win last Friday night, take a look at the reply. It was pretty special.
It’s questionable whether the emerging Chicago Bull, the one before his awful and untimely back injury in Auckland a couple of years back, could have done what the comeback version of “The Bull” did last Friday.
It was certainly helped by one of the most tactically brilliant drives you’d ever see from Gary Hall Jr.
Emerging star Handsandwheels led, but knowing he was second-up from a spell and over 2536m, Hall Jr was straight outside him on the race-hardened Chicago Bull and repeatedly niggling at the leader.
They went through a 58.3sec middle half and Hall Jr really put the acid on with a 27.6sec split down the back straight.
Handsandwheels rallied and looked like he had “The Bull” beaten on the home bend, but Chicago Bull had other thoughts and just kept coming to snatch a nose win right on the line.
In the middle of winter they went a 1min55.4sec mile rate, just 1.2sec outside the track record Caviar Star set winning the Fremantle Cup in the middle of last summer (January 10).
It was Chicago Bull’s seventh win (with four seconds and a third) from 12 runs on the comeback trail.
“Gee it was a bloody good race. He went great and it’s got people talking,” Hall Jr said. “I can’t wait until the big race later in the year when we get full fields and they aren’t all just driving to beat one horse.”
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Governor Jujon earned a break after scoring his most important and richly deserved win in a fascinating Group 2 South-East Derby (2138m) at Albion Park last night.
Grant Dixon’s latest young star ran second in the Victoria Derby earlier this season and also won a heat of the NSW Derby.
He made it 15 wins from just 20 starts when he sat parked early then took advantage of a scorching attack from eventual third placegetter Blacksadance through a 26.5sec third quarter.
Blacksadance crushed the leader, last week’s South-East Oaks winner Jenden Strike, but Governor Jujon was too classy and strong and seemed to win comfortably in a 1min55.5sec mile rate.
Blacksadance’s performance to finish just 3.5m away in third spot was monstrous, clearly the best run of the race.
Dixon said Governor Jujon would have a break now and return from the November/December Carnival at Albion Park, which is expected to include the rescheduled Queensland Derby.
Asked how Governor Jujon compared to his star three-year-old of two years back, Colt Thirty One, Dixon said: “I think ‘Chester’ (Colt Thirty One) raced against a better crop and I put a lot of weight in that, but we won’t know which is best until this horse gets into open-class racing.”
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The last-minute decision to send much-improved pacer Cruz to Brisbane keeps paying dividends.
Trainer Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy had their Brisbane team chosen, but added Cruz just before the float headed north because they realised he would be clashing with their own stables if he stayed home.
“He’d be up against one of Alta Orlando, King Of Swing and Cash N Flow every week at home, so we sent him up with five others and it’s turned out really well,” McCarthy said.
Cruz led throughout in a track record-equalling 1min50.8sec over 1660m in the Wondais Mate Pace at Albion Park to open his Brisbane campaign.
Last night, just a week later he repeated the dose when he led easily again but stretched out to 2138m to win the Mr Feelgood Open in a slick 1min53.2sec mile rate, just 0.8sec outside stablemate Bling It On’s track record.
Talented local Major Cam made good late ground along the sprint late in closing splits of 53.9 and 26.6sec to get within 1.1m.
Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One, again had to sit parked and ran a mighty third after his similarly strong second to Cruz the previous week.
Former Inter Dominion placegetter Our Uncle Sam opened his Queensland campaign with a solid fourth and he will relish stretching to the staying trip against the same field at Albion Park next week.
The emerging former Kiwi pacer Speech Is Silver has run fifth and sixth from hopeless positions in both races and certainly shown enough to say he’ll measure up in time.
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A much-anticipated Menangle “match race” between Alta Orlando and The Black Prince didn’t quite turn out as expected.
The pair dominated betting and locked horns through the middle stages, including a scorching 26.1sec split from 800-400m, but it took its toll and they were swamped late.
Alta Orlando’s trainer Craig Cross still won the race with the one of the outsiders of his five runners, the Ian Dobson-owned Little Rascal, who stormed to a 1.3m victory as a $34 shot in a 1min55.4sec mile rate for 2300m.
Alta Orlando, just second-up since the Miracle Mile, fought on well for third, just 2.2m from the winner, while The Black Prince was slightly disappointing after leading and finishing 5.4m away in fifth spot.
Alta Orlando gets next week off while Cash N Flow aims for his ninth successive Menangle mile win.
The following week will see the return of Miracle Mile winner King Of Swing.
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Wobelee just may be the best trotter in Australia.
Yes, he’s still got to prove it, but the signs are outstanding.
Fans of the mighty Tornado Valley will ask why about him and McLovin is doing nothing wrong, but Wobelee has the X-factor of stunning high speed.
And it was that speed that enabled him to come from midfield to reverse the result on McLovin for their previous clash when he won at Ballarat last night.
McLovin was brave again, sitting parked, and finishing just two metres away in third spot in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2200m.
Tornado Valley is only about a month away from racing and, despite his age, he still holds the crown Wobelee needs to earn from him.
Wobelee’s transition from megastar juvenile to a long stint off with injury and now a budding open-class star is a huge credit to Alison and Chris Alford.
Last night’s win took his record to 37 starts for 22 wins, 10 seconds, four thirds and almost $400,000.
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Much-travelled former Great Southern Star winner Glenferrie Typhoon posted his 36th win, albeit having to split the prize, at Menangle last night.
The rising 11-year-old, who has earned almost $570,000, did all the work outside the leader and dug deep when challenged strongly by Gold Sovereign for a dead-heat.
Glenferrie Typhoon started his career with Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler, changed ownership and became a star for Kate and Andy Gath and then had a stint in WA with Matt Scott.
He changed ownership again and went to Roy Roots Jr in NSW where he has mixed his form, but still shown glimpses of his best.
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Former Kiwi Forgotten Highway continues to build in WA.
The rising seven-year-old posted his sixth win from 13 WA runs for Michael Brennan in the Botra Cup, the standing start feature, at Gloucester Park last Friday night. He’s only missed a place once in WA.
Early manners were the key with Forgotten Highway “pinging” away from his 10m handicap and finding the lead after 400m for driver Michael Grantham.