Stanley stays strong
By Adam Hamilton
YOUNG trainer force Mick Stanley takes a different approach to many when it comes to the staggering Vicbred dominance of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin.
It inspires Stanley to do better and adds greater value to any wins against them he can land.
Last night was an example when Stanley’s classy three-year-old filly Soho Burning Love defied a bad draw and gun Stewart/Tonkin rival in Nostra Villa to win her Vicbred semi.
It justified Stanley’s “can do” attitude despite having his butt kicked with a number of his stable stars, all by Stewart/Tonkin runners, in the Vicbred qualifying heats.
“We can’t beat ‘em staying home and thankfully we’ve still got the semis and finals to come,” he said back then.
Although Soho Burning Love had some luck with a softer trip than Nostra Villa – who was attacked in front – in the semi, most will always say you need some luck in big races.
Stanley’s luck with Soho Burning Love carried through the night when the Rob Watson-owned filly drew to lead from gate two in next Saturday night’s Group 1 final at Melton.
She will now tussle for favouritism with Nostra Villa, who will likely have to sit parked from gate five. Stewart also has the depth with Speak No Evil (four) another key runner.
Marg Lee is another trainer set to make an influence on what will otherwise be a Stewar/Tonkin dominance in the Vicbred finals.
Lee has gun four-year-olds Jilliby Kung Fu (gate 13) and Jilliby Chevy (five) in their final. Jilliby Kung Fu may not even start favourite from a horror draw.
Wrappers Delight, who has been so good for new trainer David Aiken this campaign, is another major player from gate six.
Stewart’s best hope in that final is Rocknroll Icon, who need luck from gate nine, while Gavin Lang’s improving Sirletic is an upset hope from gate three.
Kiwi mare Our Step Up has impressed in her Aussie raid and a perfect pole draw for the 4YO Mares’ final brings her into the mix with big guns Tell Me Tales (six) and Carlas Pixel (12) not drawing as well.
Other Vicbred pacing final draws:
2YO PACING COLTS/GELDINGS
Stewart dominates with Hurricane Harley favourite from the pole and Centenario next pick in gate two. Trittons’ Petes Big Jim is in gate five.
2YO PACING FILLIES
Can’t go past Stewart’s imposing filly Kualoa from gate five. Superb winning heat and semi. Stanley’s Aussie Gold winner Soho Nolita has the class and speed with luck from gate nine. Stewart’s Two Times Bettor still a hope even from gate 12
3YO PACING COLTS/GELDINGS
Stewart has a mortgage on it, but which of her amazing five finalists wins it? For mine, it’s the X-factor Ride High even from gate 12. Fast, tough and untapped. Poster Boy gets his chance from two, while Liftntorque (three), Major Times (nine) and former Kiwi Master Moonlite (nine) have place claims.