Could Bondi Lockdown be heading to Cambridge?
By Adam Hamilton
A trip across the ditch for The Race By Grins is a possibility for rejuvenated Aussie pacing star Bondi Lockdown.
Owner Aaron Dunn and Team McCarthy will decide this week where to go with the five-year-old, who gunned-down Kiwi raider and leader B D Joe to win last night’s $100,000 Light Horse free-for-all (2400m), which was effectively a Miracle Mile consolation.
Bondi Lockdown worked to the front then took a sit on B D Joe soon after before getting an inside run late and winning by two metres in a slick 1min53.8sec mile.
B D Joe ran a fantastic race in front, but simply no match late for Bondi Lockdown off his soft trail, while Jess Tubbs’ pair Triple Eight and Better Eclipse were third and fourth.
Dunn sent Bondi Lockdown to Team McCarthy after the pacer had a small bleed before the Victoria Cup last October.
“We set him for the Miracle Mile and it was disappointing he didn’t get a run. I think he deserved it,” Luke McCarthy said.
“If he’d have been in it, I think he’d have gone close to winning it.
“But we had to settle for this one and hopefully it’s just the start of things.
“We just want to get through the (yearling) sales up here and then sit down and work out what to do and where to go.
“NZ is definitely an option. He’s on the way up.
“We would also think about NZ with Expensive Ego.”
Better Eclipse, who sat one-one and ran a fair fourth, is already locked-in for the Race By Grins at Cambridge on April 14.
Jason Grimson’s pair I Cast No Shadow (fifth) and Major Meister (sixth) must also be in consideration for slot holders.
Maybe Grimson’s exciting recent Kiwi import Betterzippit could be another “Race" runner.
The five-year-old made it four wins from just five Aussie starts with Grimson when he won the opening race at Menangle last night.
X X X
Former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley scored one of his most satisfying wins when rising star Aldebaran Zeus upstaged Australia’s top trotter Just Believe to win last night’s Group 1 Hammerhead at Menangle.
Aldebaran Zeus has made the transition from juvenile star to major open-class player and been nursed through some issues by Lilley, who continues to show his training genius, especially with trotters.
Champion driver Chris Alford made full use of gate two to lead and always looked in control on his way to a 6.8m win over Just Believe with another half-metre to Im Ready Jet in third spot.
“We were really confident when he drew to lead because he’s so hard to run down,” Lilley said.
“Chris drove him great and he really deserved that win.”
X X X
There aren’t many bigger names in Australian harness racing than the Turnbulls.
The late Tony “AD” Turnbull was a legend and best known for Hondo Grattan, his son Steve won an Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile with Smooth Satin and Steve’s daughter, Amanda, is one of Australia’s top drivers.
Now, Jason Turnbull grabbed his own piece of NSW harness racing history with Better Be The Best’s Group 1 NSW Derby win last night.
Jason is the grandson of Tony, son of Steve and brother of Amanda.
And he’s been a revelation, especially the past 12 months, in NSW training ranks.
Everyone needs a marquee horse and Better Be The Best is his.
The son of Shoobees Place snared his ninth win (with two seconds) from just 13 starts when he turned the tables on Naturally Gifted from a luckless heat run to win last night’s $200,000 Derby final.
“Pinch me, is this really happening,” Turnbull said. “Dad was able to win this race with ‘Socks’ (Smooth Satin) and it’s unbelievable to do it myself.”
Kiwi raider Alta Meteor, a well-backed second favourite, copped a flat tyre and finished 19m from the winner in seventh spot.
X X X
Former Kiwi pacer Benji scored his biggest win since making WA home at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The son of former high-class pacer Highview Tommy made the most of a gun draw to lead throughout from the pole for driver Gary Hall Jr and trainer Nathan Turvey in the $50,000 Chandon 4YO Classic.
The gelding has won six of his past eight starts and upstaged another exciting Kiwi import, Team Bond’s Street Hawk, to win by 3.1m.
It was part of another huge night for Hall Jr, who also won all three Australian Gold Sales’ finals run on the night.
He teamed with trainer Mike Reed and Sweet Lou filly Water Lou to easily win the $100,000 2YO Fillies’ final, then the Michael Young-trained Lucapelo won the 3YO colts and geldings’ final.
Luke Edwards’ Captaintreacherous filly August Moon then beat a small field in the 3YO Fillies’ final.
X X X
Evergreen pacer Bulletproof Boy scored another barnstorming free-for-all win at Melton last night.
The eight-year-old, trained and driven by Scott Ewen, came from last to snatch a head win over the emerging Curly James in the Markovina free-for-all (2240m) in a 1min55.7sec mile rate.
It was the gelding’s 34th career win from a whopping 148 starts and he’s been placed another 33 times with over $400,000 in earnings.