NSW Breeders Challenge review

By Adam Hamilton

FOR almost a year Tim Butt has been telling anyone who would listen Let It Ride was right up with his Miracle Mile champ My Field Marshal.

Sure the four-year-old has shown glimpses, but it’s really been these past two runs where Let It Ride has genuinely underlined his potential.

Sure he ran second in the Chariots Of Fire in blazing time to Jilliby Kung Fu, but he had a soft run and every chance.

The Let It Ride who won both his NSW Breeders Challenge semi-final and yesterday’s final, would most likely have beaten Jilliby Kung Fu off the same run he had in that Chariots.

In typical Tim Butt fashion, so much like My Field Marshal, the master horseman has shaped and nurtured Let It Ride into the horse he is and the horse he promises to be.

His Challenge semi win was narrow, but the way he came so wide and broke 54sec for his own last half was a bit special.

So it was absolutely no surprise when – after the leaders blazed an unheard of 53.2sec first half – that Let It Ride unleashed from and blew his rivals away in a 1min49.4sec mile.

That’s 0.7sec quicker than Cruz Bromac went winning the open-class Len Smith Mile on the same day.

                              

And that first half was the fastest ever run at Menangle, easily bettering the 53.8sec run by Arms Of An Angel in a Miracle Mile before finishing third.

“This bloke is pretty talented and to win a Group 1 was a great achievement for the horse. He could have gone any better today,” Butt said.

To snare that win and follow My Field Marshal’s Miracle Mile win in February just further cements Butt’s inspired move from NZ to base himself at Menangle.

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YOU won’t get Jimmy Rattray to say, but others are starting to ask whether Ignatius could be the new Beautide.

At the very least, it hasn’t taken Rattray all that long to find a horse who looks set to reach seriously great heights. Whether it’s two Inter Dominion and a Miracle Mile like Beautide remains to be seen.

The Ignatius boom gained more momentum, if that’s possible, when he toyed with his rivals in the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO colts and geldings final at Menangle yesterday.

He just seemed to jog around in a 1min51.3sec mile, including a 54.4sec last half.

Ignatius now boasts 14 wins from 15 starts.

Fans are already licking their lips as the prospect of Ignatius against the likes of current Vicbred stars Ride High and Poster Boy along with Queensland’s Colt Thirty One and comeback pacer Lumineer in the Breeders Crown 3YO division.

The 3YO Fillies’ final went to Victorian raiders, trainer Courtney Slater and driver Glen Craven, with outstanding filly Rock N Roll Heaven filly Goodtime Heaven.

It was a heck of a win after she drew the outside, worked three-wide for the first 500m, sat parked and was still too strong for Emma Stewart’s leader, Molly Kelly, in a 1min52.1sec mile.

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EMMA Stewart’s feature race splurge isn’t just contained to Victoria.

Stewart unleashed another of her stellar juvenile crop, Mach Three colt Hardhitter, for a powerhouse NSW Breeders Challenge win yesterday.

“He loves having a horse alongside him, racing him,” driver Chris Alford said.

And that’s how it panned-out. Hardhitter lead from gate five, cruised through a 57.7sec first half, but then burned from the 800-400m with Muscle Factory on his outside in a 26.8sec split.

Hardhitter was clearly headed and looked under all sorts of pressure on the home turn, but just kept responding to Alford’s urgings and pulled clear to win by 2.5m in a slick 1min51.6sec mile.

Buzz youngster Lochinvar Art got behind the leader and struggled for racing room until getting a gap late. He closed OK without flashing at the winner and ran second, beaten 2.5m.

Muscle Factory did a super job to hold-on for third after doing the work.

The 2YO Fillies’ final provided driver Gavin Fitzpatrick with a milestone 1500th career driving win aboard Miss Halfpenny, trained by his father Paul.

The other final on the day was for 4YO Mares’ and provided an upset when hot favourite Cherry Stride led,  bowled along in quick splits and was nabbed late by Dennis Picker’s Elle Yeah in a 1min52.2sec mile.

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