Aussie News - 13th May

 By Adam Hamilton

KIWI driver Jack Mackinnon teamed with rookie trainer Ben Aubron for a heartwarming albeit massive upset win with Xebec in last night’s $40,000 Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Derby (2400m) at Menangle.

The pace was hot early when favourite All Cashed Up led and copped pressure from local hope Caligula and that set-up for the backmarkers given the slick 1min58sec mile rate.

Xebec sustained a booming run from well back to storm away with a 7.1m win from another late-swooper All The Muscles.

Aubron and Mackinnon are part of the powerhouse Yabby Dams (Anton Golino/Pat Driscoll) team and this is the first horse Aubron has trained in his own right.


IT has been a season of what ifs for Emma Stewart and her band of three-year-old pacing stars.

Bad draws, luckless runs and a shortage of suitable races have plagued the likes of Centenario, Hurricane Harley, Demon Delight and Fourbigmen.

That forced Stewart to line them all up against each other in the Reg Withers Classic at Kilmore last Friday, but things didn’t go to plan.

A deluge of rain through Victoria forced the abandonment of the meeting before the Reg Withers could be run.

HRV is working with industry participants to reschedule the Reg Withers.


STILL on Stewart’s powerhouse barn and it’s fair to say her staff were spread thin across the weekend.

As well as runners at the Kilmore (Friday) and Melton (last night), Stewart had a team at Port Pirie in South Australia last Friday and both Australian Gold finals at Albion Park last night.

They managed just the one win in the Southern Cross series heats at Port Pirie via two-year-old filly Treasure, who gave a scare with an early gallop, but circled the field to lead and win as she liked.

Amanda Turnbull had the pick-up drive on Treasure and completed a night by training and driving three other heat winners: Animal and Young Rooster and Catch A Moment.

At Melton last night, Stewart landed first and third in the mares’ feature, the Group 3 Angelique Club Cup (2240m), with stars Berisari and Tell Me Tales.

In a rare drive for the stable, Kate Gath bustled her way to the front on Berisari and kept rolling to make sure Tell Me Tales had to work hard around the field and outside the leader.

Berisari, crunched from $4.50 into $1.80, scorched a 1min54.2sec mile rate to beat Makes Every Scents (behind leader) by 3.6m with another six metres away to Tell Me Tales third.

Another highlight of the Melton meeting was SA bush hero Emain Macha winning again in town.

Trained by Greg Schofield and with Greg Sugars aboard, Emain Macha posted his 28th win from just 45 starts and edged close to $230,000 in earnings.

Sugars teamed with Emma Stewart earlier in the night to win the $50,000 Group 2 Vicbred Platinum final with Maajida, who dug deep after working hard in quick time to beat stablemate Artemede by a head.


GARY Hall Jr is still hopeful more than confident King Of Swing will deliver on his abundant potential.

But the signs were really encouraging at Gloucester Park when third-up from a spell last Friday night.

Despite engaging in stinging early speed burn to hold the front from Thereugo – who tired to run a distant last – King Of Swing kept going and bolted in by 8.1m in a slick 1min54.5sec mile rate for 2130m.

“I wasn’t going to concede the front and I knew I had a horse good enough to keep fighting for it. He’s got such much talent, but the most pleasing part was how easily he was away from them at the finish after spending so many petrol tickets early,” Hall Jr said.

“That’s a sign of what he can do, but the challenge is showing it all the time.

“It’s hard not to be impressed with a win like that and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. He’s got the talent to be a really smart horse.”

King Of Swing started a big night for the Hall with Gary Sr training four winners and Hall Jr driving three.

 But the feature race, the $50,000 Group 2 WA Breeders Fillies and Mares Stakes went to their arch rivals Greg and Skye Bond with talented former Kiwi four-year-old Our Alfie Romeo.

The other notable winner was ageless marvel The Bucket List, who paced a dazzling 1min52.8sec mile rate for 1720m in the free-for-all to win courtesy of a glorious Michael Granham drive.


TWO months back Tim Butt tagged Prestonpans as one of his upcoming Queensland Carnival raiders.

And now we know why.

The former Kiwi four-year-old is starting to put it all together and blazed a 1min50.8sec mile to lead throughout at Menangle last night.

Butt also won the Group 3 Bulli Trotters’ Cup with his emerging trotting mare Sassy Pants in a strong 1min59.6sec mile rate for the 2400m stand.

It wasn’t as good a news in the Bulli Pacing Cup with Butt’s pair Bettermatch and Let It Ride finishing down the track first-up from spells.

That race went to the enigmatic former Kiwi Cash N Flow, who enjoyed being driven with confidence in front by Todd McCarthy and dug deep to hold-off the flying and in-form Ellmers Image by a neck in as 1min51sec mile.


JILLIBY Bandit is quickly becoming a lot more than just a travelling companion.

That’s been his role of late as trainer Marg Lee has taken her megastar juvenile Jilliby Nitro to Bathurst and Albion Park to win the Gold Crown and now last night’s Australian Gold final.

But Jilliby Bandit has thrived with the role and taken his form to another level.

“He’s absolutely flying, never gone better,” driver Jason Lee said.

Jilliby Bandit claimed a huge scalp when he easily downed Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One, in the fast-class race at Albion Park last night.

Lee took Jilliby Bandit to the front, forcing Colt Thirty One to sit parked, and ripped home in 54.5sec and 27 flat to cause the big upset.

Colt Thirty One, who had won 26 of his previous 39 starts, had to be content with third.



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