Utopia makes stunning debut

By Adam Hamilton

DEBUT wins don’t come any better than Utopia.

The buzz Victorian baby trotter lived-up to the hype when came from off the pace to win by a staggering 82.5 metres at Shepparton yesterday (Thursday).

It came little more than a week after he won a Melton trial by half the straight and co-trainer Clayton Tonkin declared him “a bit special.”

In contrast to the trial where Utopia ran straight to the lead and kept going further in front, he sat third and was given plenty of time to balance up by driver Jodi Quinlan.

Another debutante, Rogue Gentleman, who had some support in betting to beat Utopia, led by a big space in the middle stages, but it was clear 600m from home that Utopia had him covered.

Quinlan eased Utopia off Rogue Gentleman’s back at the 500m and he rushed to the front, increasing the margin all the way home without being extended.

For a two-year-old trotter having his first start, Utopia’s 2min2.6sec mile rate for the 2240m mobile was pretty slick.

By comparison, the three-year-old trotters in the next race, won by the Breckon Farms-bred Kyvalley Senator, went 2min3.5sec.

Utopia is superbly-bred by US trotting sire Trixton out of former talented Victorian trotting mare Gluteus Maximus, a winner of 14 races and over $100,000.

This is only Gluteus Maximus’ third foal, the others have been winners Derrie Aire (seven wins, $68,730) and Kyvalley Shaunie (three wins, $28,723).

Utopia shows all the qualities to become just the second trotter to win a Group 1 race for the Stewart/Tonkin team, following the immensely exciting Alpha Male. He won at Group 1 level in late 2018 and is close to a comeback.

“We’ve hardly had any trotters, but a few of our owners were keen to get involved and it’s been a tremendous start,” Clayton Tonkin said.

“Alpha Male could seriously be anything if we can keep him sound. He’s an absolute giant, but with so much talent it’s not funny.

“And we’ve also got a good opinion of Cover Of Darkness.”

Cover Of Darkness, a three-year-old, is going for this third run from as many starts in the seventh race at Ballarat tonight (Friday). Quinlan has the drive on him as well.

Here’s the replay of Utopia’s debut win at Shepparton yesterday:

 http://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/race-fields/?mc=SP020720#SPC02072008

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