Lilley and Alford's trans-Tasman double
By Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley capped a big weekend with his two star trotters when Queen Elida won at Melton.
It was just a day after stablemate Aldebaran Zeus impressively won his first run of his New Zealand raid at Cambridge last Friday night.
And champion driver Chris Alford was aboard both.
While Aldebaran Zeus will chase further feature race riches in NZ, Queen Elida will also hit the road.
The five-year-old daughter of Love You is NSW bound early next month for the $100,000 Group 1 Macarthur Mile at Menangle. It’s a race she won last year when it was called the La Coocaracha.
Queen Elida was simply a class above her rivals, headed by former star Kiwi juvenile Ultimate Stride, last night.
Alford was content to sit last in the small five-horse field and back her speed.
Queen Elida blew her rivals away to win by 12.1m over Ultimate Stride in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2240m.
It took her record to 38 starts for 21 wins, 12 placings and earnings of $424,825.
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Miracle Mile winning couple Andy and Kate Gath starred with three wins at Melton on Saturday afternoon.
The highlight was a return to winning form by talented former Kiwi pacer Tango Tara.
The seven-year-old broke a long drought with his first win since June 10, last year, when he rocketed home along the inside to win the Tiger Tara free-for-all in a 1min54.2sec mile rate for 1720m.
Another former classy Kiwi, Cranbourne, ran an improved on his recent form to finish third.
Team Gath also won with new Kiwi import Winegum in a 1200m race.
Wingum, who won three of 16 NZ starts, was bought by former top WA harness and thoroughbred trainer Justin Warwick.
Another recent Kiwi import, Sly Terror, made it three wins from four Aussie starts with Team Gath when he won the $30,000 Country Clubs Championship final at Melton last night.
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Luke McCarthy has always had a good opinion of former Kiwi pacer Kingmaker and we are starting to see why.
The son of Mach Three blasted around Menangle in a 1min49.9sec mile to win as he liked on Saturday night.
Kingmaker has won four of his seven runs this season to make it 16 wins from 43 starts in his career.
Kingmaker’s win was the first of a treble for Team McCarthy at Menangle.
The second leg was one-time star Kiwi pacer Mach Shard, who returned to winning form in the free-for-all.
Driven by John McCarthy, Mach Shard upstaged another veteran stablemate Alta Orlando to win in a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2300m.
Classy former Kiwi mare Fairy Tinkerbell was the third leg of the treble when she thrashed the mares in race seven, winning by 12.8m in a 1min52.4sec mile.
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One-time Kiwi star Turn It Up keeps clocking-up the wins in Queensland.
The eight-year-old led throughout to win the 1660m free-for-all at Albion Park on Saturday night in a brisk 1min52.8sec mile rate.
Turn It Up has returned in great style this season with five runs netting three wins, two seconds and $50,225 in earnings.
The son of Courage Under Fire had won 29 of his 60 career runs and banked $749,976.