By Adam Hamilton
WHO say it’s hard for an Aussie horse to tackle the Harness Jewels and return a major player back home?
Certainly not Shane and Lauren Tritton after Petes Big Dream’s first run back in Aussie after his fantastic and very close second at the Harness Jewels.
Petes Big Dream, the most surprising of the Aussie invitees to the Jewels, landed some big bets when crunched from $1.80 into $1.40 and toyed with his rivals in a heat of the rich Vicbred series at Bendigo last night (Tuesday).
Lauren Tritton used gate one to lead and then rolled through a comfortable 61.3sec first half of the last mile. He then ripped home in 56.3 and 27.6sec to easily hold-off Emma Stewart’s Morengo Magic, who trailed him throughout.
Petes Big Jim’s 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2150m was the second fastest of seven Vicbred heats held on the night.
Not only did Petes Big Jim’s win stamp him as a major player for the final, but the subsequent defeat of Australian Gold champion Centenario further threw open the series.
Emma Stewart won a staggering five of the seven heats on the night and despite Centenario’s shock first defeat in six starts, she still won that heat as well with improving Bettors Delight colt Hurricane Harley.
Centenario showed a surprising lack of early speed so Hurricane Harley rushed across the field to lead before taking a trail on his hotpot stablemate.
The cruised through a 62sec first half of the last mile, but rounding the home bend Chris Alford said go on Centenario and it was clear Hurricane Harley sit had plenty to offer on his back.
Hurricane Harley zoomed past Centenario to win by 6.4m in a 1min56.7sec mile rate and was privately clocked in a 26.6sec closing quarter.
Connections felt Centenario “loafed” and lost concentration in front and plan to add blinkers for the Vicbred semis and final.
The other big shock came when Australian Gold 2YO fillies’ champ Soho Nolita was also upstaged in her heat and on her merits by Stewart’s improving Bettors Delight filly Two Times Bettor, who simply outstayed the favourite.
Stewart’s other wins came with: Blissful Hall filly Kickit Sista in race one; Nostra Ideal (by American Ideal), who upstaged favourite and stablemate Four Big Men in race two and Art Major’s daughter Kualoa, who was the most impressive of the filly winners in race six.