Star Galleria back to best


Star Galleria signaled he was back to his absolute best with a crushing win in Group 2 company at Melton on Saturday night.

The Steven Reid-trained pacer put a frustrating run behind him by winning $50,000 the 2240m Casey Classic.

Star Galleria’s main rival, Inter Dominion heat winner Wrappers Delight, appeared to have every chance to beat the New Zealander after his driver Kima Frenning controlled the race in front.

However, Star Galleria did not let that stop him as he launched a sweeping finish for driver Tony Herlihy.

The victory indicated the five-year-old had put throat problems, that saw him undergo surgery after his below-par seventh in the New Zealand Cup, behind him.

“We are thrilled, he went super, now he just has to step up for next week,” Reid said, alluding to the A$500,000 Hunter Cup.

“When they have those little issues, it is always good to get them back with no complications.”

Star Galleria should strip a fitter horse for his Melton hit-out.

And the pacer will need to be when he races a star-studded line up in the Hunter Cup on Saturday night.

“I think he will improve off the run, for sure, and I am hoping he can go even better next week.”

Star Galleria was the only New Zealand-trained horse to score a win on the massive night of feature racing at Melton on Saturday.

Though they could not land a victory, several Kiwi runners impressed with big efforts in defeat.

Temporale was the best of the four New Zealand trotters, when he ran second in the Group 1 A$250,000 Great Southern Star.

He launched a big late run in the hands of trainer Tony Herlihy, but so did the winner, Dance Craze, who got his measure down the outside.

The Anton Golino-trained mare helped New Zealand driver Mark Purdon make the most of a rare night of catch-driving.

Dance Craze and Temporale quickly reeled in Marcoola, who produced a shock flop in the race, running second last at $1.70 odds.

Marcoola’s stablemate Amaretto Sun also put in a shocker, when dropping out of the race from the quarter pole.

Fellow New Zealander, Speeding Spur, faded in the home straight after setting the pace throughout.

Purdon scored the first of his two Group 1 wins in the sulky when steering Carlas Pixel to win the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup for Victorian trainer Dean Braun.

The Reid-trained Utmost Delight ran a courageous fourth, after she and driver Greg Sugars sat parked for much of the race’s sizzling 1.51.7 pace.

“When she crossed the line I was a little disappointed, but on reflection she has gone good,” Reid said.

“And as Greg said, she never stopped working during the race.

“I am hoping she will be better next week too, because she had not had a race for a month.”

Fellow New Zealander, Juice Brodgen, disappointed when running ninth in the mares’ feature.

Purdon completed a hat-trick of winning drives for rival trainers when scoring with Mister Ohanzee , a pacer he formerly co-trained, also for Braun.

Purdon produced two gallant second place-getters with training partner, Natalie Rasmussen.

Another Masterpiece, with Rasmussen in the sulky, could not reel in sensational winner Muscle Factory in the Group 1 A$200,000 Victoria Derby.

Driver Lauren Tritton’s front-running tactics made for an exciting race and they paid off for the three-year-old she trains with husband, Shane.

Spankem was brave when running second to Victorian pacer, Poster Boy, in the Group 1 A$100,000 4YO Bonanza.

The All Stars pacer was forced to sit parked for much of the race, handing the winner a nice sit in the one-one.

Fellow New Zealander Pat’s Delight’s Chariots Of Fire chances took a hit when he faded to run fourth, more than ten metres behind the winner.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, Purdon and Rasmussen had mixed results with their pair of four-year-old pacers.

Chase Auckland, last season’s champion three-year-old, ran fourth in his first start for over 10 months while in-form pacer Ashley Locaz blazed a stunning 1.50.1 mile.

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