By Adam Hamilton
FAMILY is the essence of harness racing and that shone through in both huge Australian Gold 2YO finals at Albion Park last night.
Despite a night of a drama with a mobile malfunction caused a 90-minute delay, great stories played out in both features.
First-up was the mother-and-son victory of Jilliby Nitro in the $350,550 colts and geldings final. Like the Bathurst Gold Crown, he led throughout and ran super-duper time.
Jason Lee used gate one to lead for mother, Marg Lee, but Chris Alford ensured it was a hotly-contested race with second favourite Be Happy Mach applying pressure in the death.
They ran splits of 27.9, 28.9, 27.4 and home in 28.4 for a scorching 1min52.6sec mile rate over 1660m.
Jilliby Nitro is by the Lervarg Racing Group, which compromises a batch of the Lee and Craven farming clan from Victoria’s western districts
It was a Victorian trifecta with Mick Stanley’s much-improved Yejele Hammer snatching second and Be Happy Mach a massive third after doing all the work.
Arguably Pelosi’s win in the fillies’ final was even better.
The regally-bred filly is trained by Anna Woodmansey – partner of decorated breeder and trainer Wayne Honan – and was her first Group 1 runner.
Pelosi was simply a league above her rivals, sitting parked outside Emma Stewart’s buzz filly Jemstone and proving far to strong to win by five metres in a 1min54.1sec mile rate for 1660m.
She’s won four of five starts and is the latest star from Honan’s rich breeding line.
Pelosi is by American Ideal out of For Dear Life, a classy filly herself who won 14 races – including the NSW Oaks – and $322,331 in stakes.
For Dear Life is a daughter of Honan’s immensely gifted Express Post (by Stature out of Irish Mail), who was cut short by injury after 11 wins from 18 starts.
Express Post managed just three foals, all stars: Petousa (19 wins, $180,217), Flightpath (12 wins, $291,654) and For Dear Life.
Honan and his father, Jack, have been amongst the most influential breeders in Australia and it’s great to see the bloodlines continuing on through the gifted Pelosi.