Stewart smashes record again
By Adam Hamilton
AUSTRALIAN harness racing hasn’t quite seem anything like this current dominance of Emma Stewart.
The Victorian-based trainer, who works in partnership with Clayton Tonkin, took her “ownership” of the rich Vicbred series to a staggering new level at Melton last night.
There were 12 semi-finals for pacers, Stewart and Tonkin won eight of them. In the other three they ran second twice, third in another and fifth in the other.
Think about that … then add in the fact they also snared the quinella in four of the semis and landed the trifecta in one.
Next step is next Saturday night’s six pacing Grand Finals where they will have favourites in at least four of the six.
The driving honours were split with Alford driving five of Stewart’s winners and young Mark Pitt, of Shez All Rock fame, three of them.
Pitt made it four on the night as he also partnered Dean Braun’s glamour mare Carlas Pixel in her heat win.
Let’s through the semis one-by-one:
Race 1 – 2YO Fillies Semi 1: Stewart’s Two Times Bettor was simply too strong and classy for a gallant Major Kiss (trained and driven by David Jack) in a solid 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2240m.
Race 2 – 2YO Fillies Semi 2: Real statement win here from Stewart’s tough and strong filly Kualoa, who did all the work and was simply too strong for Mick Stanley’s Australian Gold winner Soho Nolita in a 1min57.4sec mile rate.
Race 3 – 3YO Colts/Geldings Semi 1: Upset here, but it was still a Stewart dominance. Emerging Mach Three colt Konan led throughout and easily held-off glamour stablemate Poster Boy (the NSW Derby winner) in a sizzling 1min55.1sec mile rate. Former Kiwi pacer Master Moonlite ran fourth and made the final.
Race 4 – 2YO Colts/Geldings Semi 1: Another Stewart quinella with Fourbigmen leading throughout and holding-off a gallant Nostra Ideal, who sat parked. Mile rate 1min57.3sec.
Race 5 – 4YO Entires/Geldings Semi 1: For a few months the mail has been trainer Marg Lee rates Jilliby Chevy very close to Jilliby Kung Fu. And Jilliby Chevy showed his potential with an individual 26.6sec closing quarter to rundown the flying Wrappers Delight, who sat parked. 1min55.9sec mile rate.
Race 6 – 3YO Colts/Geldings Semi 2: There is just something beautifully exciting about Ride High. If he was with the Allstar barn, people would be saying he’s the sports next big thing. I think he could be. Toyed with a handy field after sustaining a long run around field from back row to take lead midrace and win with plenty in reserve for Stewart/Alford. Mile rate 1min56sec
Race 7 – 2YO Colts/Geldings Semi 2: Another Stewart quinella and another win for the emerging Bettors Delight colt Hurricane Harley over Aussie Gold winner Centenario. This time by a thumping 14m in a 1min56.1sec mile rate. Team Trittons’ Jewels runner-up Petes Big Jim made some late ground for distant third.
Race 8 – 4YO Entires/Geldings Semi 2: It was the bounce-back win Jilliby Kung Fu needed. Led easily from gate three, kept rolling and seemed to win with plenty left over eye-catching Sirletic with Stewart’s Rocknroll Icon not disgraced in third after sitting parked. Mile rate 1min55.5sec.
Race 9 – 4YO Mares’ Semi 1: She’s back! Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel did the work and dominated in a 1min56.2sec mile rate. Stewart’s Flying Moth second after cosy trip.
Race 10 – 4YO Mares’ Semi 2: Stewart’s Tell Me Tales was too classy after doing all the work from back row. She’s alongside Carlas Pixel for the final. Kiwi raider Our Step Up grabbed the eye with late closing second. Rough hope in final.
Race 11 – 3YO Fillies Semi 1: Stewart’s emerging Speak No Evil won, but not without a huge scare and was nowhere near as impressive as recent runs. Need to lift to win final, but we know she can. Mile rate 1min57.4sec.
Race 12 – 3YO Fillies Semi 2: Mick Stanley probably couldn’t believe he’d actually beaten a Stewart runner when Soho Burning Love made the most of beautiful run to nab a head win over Nostra Villa, who was the run of the race after being attacked in front by headstrong Major Occasion. Mile rate 1min55.5sec.