Spankem to debut for new trainers

Spankem to debut for new trainers

By Adam Hamilton  

Top class Kiwi pacer Spankem will kick-start a massive couple of months at Albion Park when he steps out next Saturday night.

The former All Stars’ Miracle Mile winner will have his first start for Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen in the standing-start Flashing Red as stepping-stone to Group 1 races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake during Queensland’s huge Constellations Carnival.

Spankem looked sharp winning an Albion Park trial last Friday, seemingly in second gear.

Rasmussen said he “felt awesome” when she hooked him out of the one-one trail coming to the final bend and he zoomed away to win as he liked with closing splits of 56.3 and 27.6sec.

It will be Spankem’s first run since he finished a close second to stablemate Self Assured in the Rangiora Classic on April 18.

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Winning the final was actually a consolation for emerging pacer Send It.

Brad Hewitt’s Western Terror four-year-old was the run of the race in defeat in last week’s $100,000 NSW Regional Metro final behind Eye Can Run.

His huge second placing booked him a spot in the $100,000 Group 1 Regional “State” final along – along the stars of all regional finals – and Send It got what he deserved … a win.

Hewitt worked to the front of Western Region winner Keayang Kreuzer, putting favourite Ilikemebettor three pegs and that’s where he won the race.

Send It, part-owned by Hewitt’s friend and Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker, kept finding to hold-off Keayang Kreuzer with Ilikemebettor third in a 1min55.7sec mile rate for 2300m.

It was a big night for Hewitt, who teamed with cousin Gemma Hewitt, to win the Regional State Consolation final with Kash Us Back.

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Jason Grimson has become quite a training force at Menangle.

Some competition for Team McCarthy is much-needed and Grimson, who trains from the same barn at Menangle as Jack Trainor, is doing his bit.

One of Grimson’s great success stories is classy Courage Under Fire mare Rubies For Tash, who brilliantly won the free-for-all at Menangle.

The former Riverina mare has been smashing the clock of late and when she lobbed the one-one trail and Cash N Flow had to work to lead, the race looked hers to lose.

Rubies For Tash scorched her own 25.9sec last quarter to win easily from the brave Loorim Lake in a 1min51.4sec mile.

Cash N Flow skipped and lost valuable ground in the score-up, chased hard to catch the gate, then has to work in a 26.5sec first quarter. The effort took its toll and he tired late for eighth.

Rubies For Tash was the third leg of a winning quartet on the night for Grimson, who scored earlier with Always Rockin and Yoha and later with Marmitta, who won the $50,000 Group 2 Australian Gold 3YO fillies’ consolation.

It was also a magical night for top young driver Cameron Hart, who drove all four winners for Grimson.

Hart’s previous Menangle best was a double.

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There was a strong Kiwi flavour to the feature race at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

The Breckon Farms-bred In The Spotlight (Bettors Delight-Goodlookingbabe) was too strong for her rivals in the $100,000 Group 1 2YO Diamond Classic.

The Team Bond-trained filly was driven with confidence and intent by Ryan Warwick and stamped her class by kicking clear on the final bend and easily holding-off favourite Taking The Miki to win easily in a 1min57.7sec mile rate for 2130m.

In The Spotlight is unbeaten in three runs and the mix of speed and strength to make her an exciting prospect.

The other feature, the $51,000 Group 1 Australian Gold 3YO Consolation final proved exactly that, a consolation, for Miss Boudica and her connections.

Trainer Michael Brennan had everything booked to tackle the $350,000 Australian Gold final at Melton, but all the travel and quarantine complications of Victoria’s latest COVID-19 outbreak thwarted plans.

Michael Grantham, who now mixes thoroughbred training with driving, zoomed Miss Boudica to the front from three and always looked in control on her way to a brisk 1min54.3sec mile rate for 1730m.

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Driver Gary Hall Jr has warned fans not to panic with superstar pacer Chicago Bull.

The nine-year-old failed to beat a runner home as favourite in the free-for-all last Friday night at Gloucester Park, which followed a sixth placing at his first run back from a spell the previous week.

“He felt flat. And he pulled-up like he really needed the run. Maybe we just haven’t got him fit enough now he’s such an older horse?” he said. “Don’t go writing him off yet.”

Chicago Bull’s stablemates still provided the quinella last Friday with Kiwi-bred Whozideawasthis winning for the second successive week, this time as a $51 outsider from a horror draw and courtesy of a superb Maddison Brown drive. Ideal Liner led and fought on bravely for second.

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The powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin team won three of the four Group 1 Australian Gold finals at Melton, but they were just as chuffed about winning a support trotting race on the card.

That’s because the winner, Cover Of Darkness, is one of their most exciting horses and looks untapped.

“He’d won eight of his nine starts and had to come back against older horses on a hard mark, but we were so happy with at home. He’s a machine,” Tonkin said.

“We thought he’d win even from the back row.”

Cover Of Darkness, as he can do, trotted awkwardly and roughly at times, and driver Chris Alford often had to pause and nurse him, but it mattered little.

The four-year-old son of Majestic Son won as he liked by 6.4m in a slick 1min58.3sec mile rate for 2240m, taking his record to nine wins from just 10 starts.

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Top Queensland trainer Grant Dixon is priming his team for the upcoming Constellations Carnival.

He snared the quinella with favourite Jasper beating Chamonix in the $50,000 Group 2 Australian Gold 3YO Consolation at Albion Park.

It gave Dixon a training treble after Fame Assured and Major Generaljujon won the first two races.

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