Plenty of Kiwi interest in big night at Albion Park

By Adam Hamilton

This time last year young Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor snared one of his biggest wins when Town Echo caused a massive upset in the Group 1 Golden Girl at Albion Park.

Trainor returns to “The Creek” to defend his crown on Saturday night, but with two different mares – former Kiwi pair Braeview Kelly and B K Swy.

While he trained and drove Town Echo to win as a despised $81 outsider last year, Trainor has given the reins to young gun Cam Hart aboard his best hope this time, Braeview Kelly. The Group 1 winner is a $2.70 favourite from inside the back row (gate eight).

Braeview Kelly is expected to trail through behind another former Kiwi, Jack Butler’s Manhattan, who should hold the front from the pole. That would give Braeview Kelly her shot along the sprint lane when it matters in the $150,000 feature sprint (1660m).

Hart boasts a 50 per cent winning strike rate from eight drives on Braeview Kelly, including the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II (formerly Ladyship Mile) at Menangle in February.

Trainor himself will need to repeat last year’s upset as a driver with B K Swy being a $101 shot from outside the back row (gate 11).

There is loads of Kiwi flavour to the race with Fairy Tinkerbell (gate two), Total Diva (four) and Amore Vita (10) also NZ-bred.

Amore Vita adds loads of interest with her class, but she will need lots to go right from gate 10 over the sprint trip.

Champion driver Chris Alford will make the trip up from Victorian to drive her again for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, who also have the classy Soho Historia in the race from gate three.

Manhattan, who will be driven by Kiwi Bob Butt, should certainly get her chance from the pole and is $3.50 second favourite.

Trainor continues his relationship with the incredible Jason Grimson stable when he takes the reins on Inter Dominion hero I Cast No Shadow in the feature, the $200,000 Group 1 Sunshine Sprint (1660m).

Beating Leap To Fame will be a huge ask for all rivals, but I Cast No Shadow should be primed after three runs back from a spell and is drawn well in gate two. Despite that, he is a $19 chance.

Trainor’s driven I Cast No Shadow eight times for just the one win, but it was in a similar race, the Group 1 Len Smith Mile in the build-up to last year’s Inter Dominion.

Grimson is considered to be the main threat to Leap To Fame’s seven-race winning streak, but primarily with another of his former Kiwi pacers Betterzippit, who should lead from the pole.

Betterzippit was fantastic winning the inaugural $1mil Nullarbor at Gloucester Park in April, but has taken time to regain his best form in three starts this campaign.

Against that, nobody has a better strike rate over the past 18 months than Grimson in the Group 1 open-class races that really matter.

Despite how awesome Leap To Fame has been in his past two wins, coming from gate six over 1660m against proper open-class rivals for the first time will be his greatest challenge so far.

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