Top draws aid top Kiwis in Queensland
By Adam Hamilton
Star Kiwi-owned filly Amore Vita has drawn to hit back with victory in Saturday night’s $106,070 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2138m) at Albion Park.
Nathan Purdon’s stable star, who ran fifth from an awful draw after a torrid run in last week’s South-East Oaks, snared gate two this week.
Most interest will centre around whether driver Chris Alford can get her off the gate quickly enough to hold-out slick beginner and last week’s third placegetter Steno.
Despite her hard run, Purdon still felt Amore Vita didn’t help her own cause last week.
“She got keen again,” he said. “Chris said when he started his move (three-wide) she just wanted to get it over and done with.
“There are some changes we can make. I’ll think about gear changes.
Luck went against Queensland’s pin-up three-year-old Leap To Fame in the Group 1 Queensland Derby with Grant Dixon’s star drawing gate 11.
He was beaten at $1.30 when forced to face the breeze in last week’s South-East Derby.
Former Kiwi pacer Cantfindabettorman used the sprint lane to upset Leap To Fame last week and take his record to three wins from as many starts for Team McCarthy.
He’s drawn superbly again in gate two and looks the early leader.
The draw was also cruel to buzz NSW three-year-old Ripp, who will start from outside the back row.
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Brilliant former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis was the big winner at the barrier draw for Saturday night’s $355,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake (2680m) at Albion Park.
The Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile runner-up caught the eye when a flashing second along the inside from three pegs when second to Better Eclipse in last week’s Sunshine Sprint.
Spirit Of St Louis drew gate three this week and much will depend on whether speedy stablemate Alta Orlando (gate two) or brilliant former Kiwi pacer Turn It Up (gate six) lead early.
Jack Callaghan will be looking to push forward and get the front if possible.
Better Eclipse’s rise and rise will need some luck to continue from an awkward inside back row draw (gate eight) this week, but the longer 2680m trip will help.
The fresh factor to the race is Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s much-improved Like A Wildfire, who has been stunning winning all three starts this campaign.
Connections are just sweating on confirming a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane for the pacer, who drew outside the front (gate seven).
Former classy Kiwi pacer Mach Shard, who ran a solid fourth in last week’s Sunshine Sprint, drew gate 11 this week. Luke McCarthy confirmed he would take the drive.
Another former Kiwi, Better Eclipse’s stablemate Triple Eight, drew much better in gate one with Adam Sanderson to take the reins.