Million dollar mark on line at Melton
Will it be third time lucky for Tornado Valley?
The champion trotter has been beaten at his past two starts when victory would have taken him past $1 million in stakemoney, something only two Aussie-trained trotters have done before – Sundons Gift and Keystone Del.
Tornado Valley is perched on $994,397 as he heads to the Group 2 Vulcan Trotters’ free-for-all (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night.
Only the $13,680 first prize will be enough to give him the milestone moment.
But it won’t be easy again as the nine-year-old has drawn the back over the sprint trip, negating that great gate speed weapon of his.
Former topliner Sparkling Success has gate six looks as looks the main danger, while Big Jack Hammer beat Tornado Valley at Geelong two starts back, but will need luck from inside the back row this time.
It’s one several highlights on the Melton card, which also includes two Group 1 Vicbred Home Grown finals for two-year-old trotters.
In the fillies’ final, Geoff Webster’s Aldebaran Misty looks as hard to beat as any from gate two.
Brent Lilley and Chris Alford team-up with the promising Kyvalley Pierro, will take beating from the pole in the colts and geldings final.
In the fast-class race of the night, former Kiwi Willie Go West has the pole and will take beating, but the brilliant Honolua Bay (gate four), Reactor Now (eight), Sicario (nine) and Im Anothermasterpiece (10) are also major players.
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The strong trotting theme stretches to Saturday night’s card, headlined by the Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Derby.
Last week’s Oaks winner Aldebaran Ursula comes right into play from gate one, while Anthony Butt’s Have No Fear (six) and Brent Lilley’s Kyvalley Hotspur (seven) will have plenty of admirers.
The other highlight of the card is star speedster Cash N Flow’s return in the Bulli Cup.
The Kiwi-owned veteran is back from a freshen-up and will dominate betting in a moderate field despite drawing the outside (gate 10).
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You can tell Queensland’s bolstered winter carnival – now dubbed “Constellations” – is just around the corner.
Everybody is talking about the long list of stars headed to the Sunshine State in coming months.
And one of the best local players will be former star but injury-plagued Kiwi pacer Turn It Up.
Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham gave him a break after he didn’t show his best in two runs during a NSW raid in February/March.
Turn It Up resumes in the free-for-all (2138m) which is race one at Albion Park on Saturday night.
It’s never easy from outside the back row (gate 11), but Turn It Up’s speed and class will see him very popular with punters.
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A couple of classy former Kiwi mares in Tiffany Rose and Queen Shenandoah add loads of interest to Gloucester Park’s feature on Friday night.
The mares have drawn gates one and two respectively in the $50,000 Group 2 WASBA Breeders Stakes for fillies and mares over 2130m.
It’s a wide open race, but if Tiffany Rose and/or Queen Shenandoah are at their best first-up, they’ll give it a huge shake.