Aussie News - 1st July
By Adam Hamilton
IT only took Mark Purdon one race to stamp himself on the Queensland Winter Carnival.
Purdon and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen’s first two runners this raid – Self Assured and Jesse Duke – snared the quinella at the Albion Park last night (Saturday).
The quinella came the day after the Allstars’ glamour filly Our Princess Tiffany blazed her way to a 1min51.4sec trial win for 1660m at Albion Park to show she was right on target.
The hype around the Aussie-owned Self Assured continued to grow despite his third win from as many starts only being by a whisker over Jesse Duke after trailing the last-start Jewels winner throughout and getting last shot at him.
Self Assured, the latest exciting pacer raced by Victoria’s Jean Feiss, was privately-timed to run his last quarter in a scorching 25.9sec.
“We were rolling along and he did a good job to get up,” Purdon said.
Jesse Duke made him earn it, peeling-off a 53.9sec last half in front after driver Kylie Rasmussen dictated terms in front.
It’s going to take something special to stop the Allstars winning the Queensland Derby and Oaks judging by Princess Tiffany’s trial and the fact Self Assured and Jesse Duke are Derby-bound.
“Princess Tiffany will line-up next week and we’ll have one of these boys (Jesse Duke or Self Assured) in the Premiers’ Cup next week as well,” Purdon said.
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EMMA Stewart dominated last night’s stellar Vicbred semi-final card, but arguably the best horse at the meeting was Mick Stanley’s Rackemup Tigerpie.
More on yet another monster night for Stewart soon, but let’s talk about Rackemup Tigerpie first and where he’s headed.
With Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy falling ill and being scratched from the Vicbred series, Rackemup Tigerpie looks to have the final at his mercy judging by last night’s powerhouse win.
Perhaps because of Stewart’s dominance, punters surprisingly crunched Major Times into clear favouritism over Rackemup Tigerpie, but he was no match.
Rackemup Tigerpie did all the work around the field then parked and left Major Times standing in a slick 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2230m. It was 1.2sec faster than the improving Three Summas went in the other semi.
“He’s come back really well and is still on the up,” Stanley said of Rackemup Tigerpie. “He felt great in the run and will be better again for the final.”
He will need to be now he’s drawn gate 12 in the final.
Longer term, Stanley is looking at the Victoria Cup in October.
Back to Stewart and she looks set for a gala night next Saturday in the Vicbred finals after winning a staggering eight of the 12 pacing semi-finals run last night.
Of all her wins, it was a runner-up who set tongues wagging.
Art Major colt Mirragon was beaten a nose in his semi after striking early trouble and settling down at least 60-70m from the leaders.
As good as stablemate Pandering was winning the other semi, Mirragon looks something special.
It was also great to see Stewart’s star juvenile of last season, Hurricane Harley, back to his best winning a semi of the 3YO series by a big space in quick time.
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HOPES continue to grow Colt Thirty One is good enough to snatch a hometown win in of the upcoming major races at Albion Park.
Trainer-driver Grant Dixon bypassed the Chariots Of Fire and happily skipped last week’s Redcliffe Cup to focus on this Winter Carnival.
And, instead of taking the easy option against his own 4YO age group, Dixon is setting Colt Thirty One for the two marquee races of the Carnival – the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 13 and the $250,000 Blacks A Fake a week later. Both are Group 1.
Colt Thirty One made it seven wins from eight starts this campaign when he did all the work, ran time and won with authority in the Wondai’s Mate at Albion Park last night (Saturday).
It was his 30th win from just 43 starts and he smashed his PB race time with a scorching 1min51.3sec mile rate for the 1660m despite sitting parked. It took 1.3sec of his previous best.
It was just 0.9sec outside Im Themightyquinn’s track record, but it must be noted the times were absurdly fast across the board at the Albion Park meeting.
Veteran Holy Camp Clive went 1min51sec flat winning the race before Colt Thirty One, albeit after a soft run behind the leader and use of the sprint lane.
Colt Thirty One’s owner-breeder Kevin Seymour is clearly excited: “Grant has got him peaking nicely towards the Winter Carnival. That was pleasing.”
Dixon snared the quinella last night with rejuvenated veteran Ohoka Punter – also owned by Seymour – following his fantastic second in the Redcliffe Cup a week earlier with a game second last night.
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DRIVER Mark Reed wasn’t as surprised as punters when he upstaged Chicago Bull aboard Golden State in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
“I thought he’d hold the lead and could run 1min55sec for the 2130m, so I wanted to hold the front unless Chicago Bull got to me really easily and quickly,” Reed said.
“Chicago Bull had to do a lot of work to get there and, no matter how good you are, it’s hard to come from that far back and do all the work in times like they ran tonight.”
That said, Chicago Bull looked flat and tired late to run a 2.8m fourth with inferior horses like Tommy Be Good and Tact Major getting past him late.
Chicago Bull has mixed his form somewhat on the comeback trail, but connections are not fazed, citing the fact he’s still not full wound-up after so long on the sidelines.
The Gloucester Park card also features Group 1 Westbred Classic finals for the juveniles.
The colts and geldings went to top young trainer Justin Prentice, but not with the pacer most expected. Prentice took the reins himself on Major Martini, who upset stablemate Aristocratic Star.
The long-time power combo of trainer Ross Olivieri and Chris Lewis combined to win the fillies’ final with Sweet Lou’s daughter Double Expresso.
Chicago Bull’s shock defeat aside, his stablemate Ideal Liner was the other major talking point of the night after overcoming an awful draw to win his seventh race from just eight starts this campaign.
Everything about Ideal Liner says he’s an open-class star in the making and already a horse to treat seriously for the WA and Fremantle Cups in January.