Triple Eight upsets in Aussie feature

by Adam Hamilton

High-class former Kiwi pacer Triple Eight stormed into contention for Queensland’s biggest races with an upset Albion Park win last night.

The much-travelled seven-year-old made a lie of his recent mixed Victorian form and being a $31 outsider to storm home from last and win the Group 3 Mr Feelgood Open (2138m).

Trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars, Triple Eight was suited by the frantic and early midrace tempo, but still came from a seemingly impossible position to win easing down by 6.1m in a slick 1min53.2sec mile rate for 2138m.

The time was just 0.8sec outside Bling It On’s track record.

Rockin Marty again showed his love of Albion Park by running second at $61. That came after he broke gear in the score-up and forced a false start.

David Hewitt’s Rockin Marty was huge odds when third in the Sunshine Sprint and second in the Blacks A Fake last year.

Jason Grimson’s Messenger winner Majestic Cruiser had a lovely run, loomed as the winner on the home bend and finished a sound third.

Spirit Of St Louis was sent out a $1.80 favourite and looked disappointing in fourth spot after a nice trail throughout and not being part of the early speed burn.

Pleasingly, much-loved former Kiwi AGs White Socks improved on his first run for Team McCarthy to finish fifth and show good signs towards the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.

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Ladies In Red did an “Amazing Dream” and beat the boys in stunning style in last night’s $305,000 Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park.

Just as Amazing Dream did last year, Ladies In Red took full advantage of the preferential barrier draws mares get in the fantastic new race.

While Amazing Dream won along the sprint lane from behind the leader, Nathan Jack took Ladies In Red to the front and gave nothing else a chance.

Jack rated her superbly by “pinching” a 30.3sec first quarter and increasing the tempo when the heavily-backed Chariots Of Fire winner Better Eclipse moved around the field from a back row draw to sit parked.

“I could see Greg (Sugars) asking Better Eclipse on the final bend and I knew it was time to go for home,” Jack said.

Ladies In Red roared away to win by 11.2sec in a 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2138m with Better Eclipse a brave third and NSW Derby winner Leap To Fame running a mighty first-up third after doing plenty of work.

It was Ladies In Red’s first start against the boys and took her record to 19 wins from 23 starts. She’s run second in the other four runs.

She is widely regarded as the best mare Australia has produced for more than 20 years.

Owner-breeder Bill Anderson summed it up best: “She’s really special and the sport needs superstars like her.”

Co-trainer Emma Stewart said Ladies In Red was likely to head home rather than staying for Group 1 races like the Golden Girl and Blacks A Fake.

“She’s done what we came for … I doubt she’ll stay,” she said.

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What a wonderful mare Maajida is.

Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s star has won feature races at two, three, four and now five after he easy Group 3 Fleur De Lil (1660m) win at Albion Park last night.

She’s now for the $100,000 Group 1 Golden Girl at the same track next week.

Maajida boasts 24 wins from 42 starts and almost $700,000.

Former Kiwi mare The Honey Queen burnt across from a wide draw to lead then took a sit on Maajida and her driver Nathan Jack slowed to a dawdling 32.4sec second quarter.

Just as she did a couple of weeks earlier, The Honey Queen galloped at a crucial stage, leaving Maajida to rip home in 26.7sec and win easily.

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Kiwi gelding Global Flight has been an inspired addition to Narissa McMullen’s stable.

The Majestic Son gelding made it four wins from just five Queensland runs for McMullen when he led throughout to win the $50,000 Group 1 Darrell Alexander Trotters’ Championship last night.

The six-year-old managed just four wins from 60 starts in NZ.

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Any hope of a surprise Queensland raid for Bondi Lockdown went out the window with his first-up defeat at Cranbourne last night.

Not that he was disappointing, just that trainer-driver Aaron Dunn said he would need to do something special to make him reconsider heading north.

Bondi Lockdown, first-up since the Miracle Mile, did the work outside the leader and finished a close and brave third to exciting former Kiwi gelding Supreme Dominator.

The race turned into a sprint home with the Joe Pace-trained Supreme Dominator finding the lead early for young gun James Herbertson, steadying through a 60.6sec middle half, and dashing home in 55.6 and 28.3sec.

It was Supreme Dominator’s third run back from a spell and his first trip back to Cranbourne since the biggest win of his career in the Group 2 Cranbourne Cup on December 18, last year.

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When champion trainer Gary Hall Sr talks, it pays to listen.

Hall Sr told anyone who would listen that his exciting former Kiwi pacer Jumpingjackmac would turn the tables on the awesome Magnificent Storm when they met again.

And that’s exactly what happened at Gloucester Park in the free-for-all last Friday night.

Magnificent Storm sat outside and thrashed Jumpingjackmac two weeks early, but driver Gary Hall Jr revealed after the race that Jumpingjackmac had lost all chance by getting his tongue over the bit.

This time Jumpingjackmac led, Hall Jr rated him to absolute perfection, and he held-off stablemate Chicago Bull and Magnificent Storm to win in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2130m.

Magnificent Storm, a winner of his two previous runs this campaign, certainly wasn’t disappointing after sitting parked and ripping home his own last half in 55.2sec to be beaten 1.7m in third spot.

And Chicago Bull’s run was a sign of his stellar best, lifting up looking under pressure to flash home late and get within a head of the winner in his own 54.8sec last half.

When you throw in Minstrel, Shockwave, Lavra Joe and others, there is absolutely no doubt WA has the strongest depth in free-for-all ranks anywhere in Australia.

Lavra Joe made it two wins from as many starts on the comeback from a year out when he jogged home in a 26.5sec closing quarter to win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Another star to shine on the night was WA’s standout three-year-old filly Wonderful To Fly. The daughter of Fly Like An Eagle won by almost 12m to make it 18 wins from 28 starts.

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A timely return to form could help former three-time Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One tackle a fourth successive Blacks A Fake.

Grant Dixon’s seven-year-old was no hope until he turned around his form courtesy of a lovely drive and three pegs run to beat a strong field in the opening race at Albion Park last night.

Colt Thirty One won the 2019 Blacks A Fake at his first attempt, ran second to King Of Swing in 2020 and then finished eighth last year.

Last night’s win took his record to 109 starts for 49 wins, 33 placings and over $1.05 million in earnings.

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It was great to see one-time Grand Circuit player Wolf Stride return with an eye-catching third at Menangle last night.

Having his first run for nine months and now with Darren Binskin, the multiple Group 1 winner ran home strongly for third in the Vic Frost free-for-all.

The race was won in dominant all-the-way fashion by Paul Fitzpatrick’s classy Zeuss Bromac. The former Chariots Of Fire runner-up posted his 11th win with another 19 placings from just 37 starts.

Zeuss Bromac ran the mile in 1min51.6sec but blazed home in 54.4 and 26.6sec to win running away by 8.9m.

On the same card, it was terrific to see classy former Kiwi and WA mare Wainui Creek return to winning form for Fitzpatrick.

The six-year-old daughter of Bettors Delight blazed a 1min51.3sec mile for her first victory since scoring at Gloucester Park when trained by Team Bond back on September 24, last year.

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