Mach Shard shines at Menangle
By Adam Hamilton
Mach Shard was part of an impressive Kiwi showing at Menangle on Saturday night, winning the $100,000 Group Ainsworth free-for-all.
The former classy Barry Purdon-trained pacer was having just his second start for Belinda McCarthy and showed a dazzling turn of speed from a midfield trail to easily beat stablemate and another top former Kiwi pacer Star Galleria.
Mach Shard was so impressive it heightened talks how stiff he was to miss a Miracle Mile berth.
The gelding finished an unlucky third to Wolf Stride at his first Aussie run in a Miracle Mile qualifier the previous week, but the last spot in the Miracle Mile went to Ignatius, who only finished fourth in his qualifier.
“We thought he was unlucky not to get into the Mile. He’d have gone close to winning last week with any luck and came out tonight and proved that,” driver Luke McCarthy said.
“He works like our very best at home. He’s here to stay and will be set for all the big races.
“I want to thank Barry and Katrina (Purdon) and the owners for sending such a lovely horse across.”
Mach Shard ran a 1min53.2sec mile rate for the 2400m and was privately clocked to rip home his last half in 53.3sec.
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Young Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor finished a career-changing Carnival of Miracles in style.
Trainor’s recent stable addition, Mighty Flying Deal, brilliantly won the last race of the four-night Carnival and landed some big bets in the process.
It was a Carnival where Trainor stamped himself as a serious force in training and driving ranks.
Stylish Memphis gave him so many highs, including his first Group 1 win in the Ladyship Mile. On the same night won another Group 1 on Anntonia in the NSW Oaks.
“It’s just been the most awesome few weeks,” he said. “I had to beg Mark Jones to send that mare across for the Ladyship and then she raced five weeks in a row for about $1.5 million stakemoney.
“It’s been a chance to get my name up in lights and she’s done so much for me.”
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What could have been a horror Miracle Mile night for David Moran, actually turned out to be a ripper.
Having his stable star Lochinvar Art miss the Mile with a hoof injury was heartbreaking, but Moran still won a Group 1 race on the night and finished second in the Mile itself.
Patsbeachstorm showed why Moran has been so excited about him for so long with a stunning Group 1 NSW Derby victory.
Having just his eighth start, Patsbeachstorm did some work early then landed a lovely trail before using his stunning change-up speed to pounce at the top of the straight and win easily in a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2400m.
“It sounds strange when I’ve got Lochinvar Art, but this is my favourite horse on so many levels,” Moran said. “To go through what he has and come back so well, it’s pretty special.”
Moran’s referring to what’s presumed to have been a spider bite which left Patsbeachstorm fighting for his life in the middle of last year.
“It was touch and go, 50-50 whether he’d pull through they said, so to have him back like this is amazing,” Moran said.
“He’s just got such unbelievable high speed and if he can develop some toughness to go with it, he could be anything. I’m so fortunate to have ‘Arty’ and now a horse like this come along.”
Moran was stoked with Expensive Ego’s second to King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile.
“I had to put him into the race once King Of Swing found the front and was going to dictate. He ran a super race, he just kept giving,” he said.
“It’s a big step-up from a Chariots to the Miracle Mile, but he showed the sort of potential he’s got.”
Expensive Ego was the fifth consecutive Chariots winner to be placed in the Mile.
It is remarkable how fast the babies go these days.
A perfect example was the $50,000 Group 1 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on Saturday night where Mister Rea blazed a 1min52.3sec mile to win at just his second race start.
Delve deeper and you’ll see the son of Pet Rock went much quicker opening splits that King Of Swing in the Miracle Mile.
Mister Rea’s first quarter was 26.3 and half 54 flat, compared to King Of Swing’s 26.6 and 55.2sec.
Sure he overall mile was a lot slower, but Mister Rea, who blasted out from gate eight and eventually sat behind the leader, Smaltese, did a remarkable job to win by 11.6m.
It’s got to be said Smaltese’s effort to hold on for second was huge as well.
Mister Rea is trained by Ray Walker at Temora in the Riverina and Daryll Perrot took the reins.
Walker has long been regarded as a fantastic conditioner of young horses.
Imastrongone is one of Walker’s best horses. He won 34 races in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including a Paleface Adios Sprint and he ran fourth in the NSW 3YO Sires final.
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It was terrific to see former superstar trotter Sparkling Success return to winning form on Saturday night.
The nine-year-old’s Melton win was his first in 13 starts on the comeback trail from a serious injury when derailed his career and plans to race in the US.
Sparkling Success had won the Great Southern Star among other features in a stellar 2018, but injury struck after a Melton win on September 8 this year.
Jackie Barker took the reins for trainer John Meade and Sparkling Success snatched a half-head win over talented former Kiwi trotter C K Spur.
The pacing free-for-all went to the promising Malcolms Rhythm for trainer David Aiken and driven Zac Phillips.
Phillips trailed the leader and stablemate Sirletic and used the sprint lane to score in a slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m.
Top young trainer-driver Chris Svanosio continued his fantastic strike rate with a training and driving double at Melton with trotters Peregrine Phoenix an Dels Destiny.
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Former classy Victorian pacer Major Times has quickly become a hit in Perth.
Connections sent the six-year-old, who upset Lochinvar Art in a race at Ballarat back on August 8 last year, after he finished ninth in the Breeders Crown Graduate free-for-all at Melton on November 20.
Nothing went right at Major Times’ first run for new trainer Ross Olivieri, but the tough customer has won both starts since, including a powerhouse win in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bunbury Cup (2569m).
Chris Voak took the reins, worked Major Times forward from gate four to find the front and never looked in danger, sailing clear in a 55.3sec closing half to win by 7.3m over The Bird Dance with Bletchley Park third.
Major Times was trained by Emma Stewart and had plenty of success, including third in a NSW Derby and second in the Vicbred 4YO final. He’s won 20 of his 51 starts with another 20 placings.
WA Pacing Cup winner Vultan Tin, on the quick back-up after winning last Monday’s Group 2 Pinjarra Cup, couldn’t reproduce the form and was 18.1m away in fifth spot.
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Still in WA and outstanding three-year-old Lavra Joe continues to his impress.
Driver Chris Lewis made the most of a pole draw to lead and win win as he liked by almost 12m in a blazing 1min53.5sec mile rate for 2130m the Group 3 Caduceus Club Classic.
The Ray Jones-trained colt boasts 14 wins from 26 starts and will be a serious rival to the much-hyped Ragazzo Mach when he heads to Perth and Mike Reed’s stable for the WA Derby.
Gary Hall Sr and Jr teamed for a treble at Saturday night’s Gloucester Park meeting, including wins with emerging pair Texas Tiger and Silent Major.
Texas Tiger, who won just two of 20 NZ starts, is unbeaten in five runs for Hall Sr in WA and looks headed straight to open-class.