Great Southern Dance
By Adam Hamilton
LEVIATHAN owner-breeder Pat Driscoll wasn’t trackside for his biggest win with Dance Craze in last night’s $250,000 Group 1 Great Southern Star (2760m) at Melton.
In fact, trainer Anton Golino said Driscoll may not have even seen race.
“I’m not sure what time his flight was, but Pat’s on a plane across to NZ for the Karaka sales. He’s starting to dabble in the thoroughbreds a bit,” Golino said.
“But I know he’ll get a real buzz out of this. She’s such a special mare to us all this one.”
In a hotly-contested Great Southern Star, missing its biggest name in Tornado Valley, Dance Craze finished best of a bunch of swoopers to beat classy Kiwi Temporale by 1.4m in a slick 1min58.8sec mile rate for the long trip.
The lead time, set by another Kiwi Speeding Spur after he burned out of a wide draw to lead, was four seconds fastest than Tornado Valley clocked in winning the Inter Dominion final over the same trip last month.
The disappointment of the race was boom Kiwi raider Marcoola, who enjoyed the run of the race in the one-one trail, loomed coming to the final bend but stopped just as quickly to finish last, beating home only his stablemate Ameretto Son.
Marcoola was beaten almost 30m in a performance miles below his stellar home country form.
But it was all about Dance Craze, Golino’s training effort and the continual growing force that Driscoll’s Yabby Dams has become in this part of the world.
Golino has always rated Dance Craze something special, but keeping her sound getting her to race regularly has been a challenge.
Just six months or so back when he took her to the Harness Jewels and she was a luckless third he lamented not being able to get her to the races more often.
“That’s the difference now. We’ve been able to get that consistent racing into her in good races and she’s thrived on it,” Golino said.
It was a superb pick-up drive by Mark Purdon, who had landed another Group 1 via a pick-up drive on Carla’s Pixel in the Ladyship Cup just 30 minutes earlier.
Purdon followed Temporale home, came six and seven deep and Dance Craze packed too much speed.
“Down the back straight I looked up and we were a long, long way off them, but the leaders started to get tired and she was really strong to the line to get past Temporale,” Purdon said.
“It’s great to get this win for Anton, who I’ve had a lot to do with.”
Dance Craze, by Muscle Hill out of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha, has now won 15 of her 25 starts and almost $330,000.
The other Kiwi, Speeding Spur, couldn’t sustain his solid tempo in front and tired late to finish 16m from the winner in eighth spot.