Day At The Track

Finding the winning post

05:00 PM 15 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Ifoundthebeach
Ifoundthebeach wins the first juvenile race of the season in Queensland at Albion Park.
Dan Costello Photo

The first two-year-old race of the harness racing season in the sunshine state is now in the books.

And just like the previous year, it was the same connections that proved triumphant.

Ifoundthebeach, trained by Chris Petroff and raced by his breeder, Alf La Spina and family scored a nose victory over Always A Jewel with Well Disguised finishing third in a time of 2:00.0 for the 1660m event at Albion Park yesterday (Tuesday).

The regally bred gelding was handled by Gary Whitaker.

Last year, it was Maestro Bellini who proved successful in the opening race of the term when winning the Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park.

And that race is the initial target for Ifoundthebeach before connections map his campaign any further.

The 2017 $20,000 Wayne Wilson Paleface Adios Memorial is scheduled for March 4 at Albion Park.

“We’ll aim for the Paleface Adios and then decide which way we go for the remainder of the season, he’s staked for basically everything including Bathurst which we love targeting each and every year but we won’t commit at this stage until after the Paleface Adios.” Rosario La Spina said, Alf's son.

The La Spina have enjoyed tremendous success over a long period of time breeding and racing their young stock which includes the likes of La Speranza, Corelli, Il Tenore, Armida, Caesar Augustus among many others.

Ifoundthebeach possesses a strong pedigree, a son of former world champion and now booming sire Somebeachsomewhere from the good producing Perfect Art mare, Sheez Not Perfect.

From 7 foals to race, Sheez Not Perfect has produced 4 winners including the richly talented The Archduchess.

A daughter of Christian Cullen, The Archduchess won 12 of 27 career starts while banking more than $280,000.

Her biggest success came via the 2011 Gr.1 $150,000 Nursery Pace Final at Albion Park while being placed in the Bathurst Gold Tiara, Australian Pacing Gold Final, Breeders Classic, Raith Memorial, Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks.

“We’ve always liked this guy but we think of him as work in progress, he’s always shown that he’s fast but he’s a little highly strung and a very excitable type. Chris and Bec (Croghan) have worked hard on him and he’s slowly coming around, he was still quite keen in the run but fought hard in the straight.

“We have another filly that is close to racing and if she measures up, she could even make the trip to Bathurst with Ifoundthebeach but nothing is confirmed just yet. The filly is called Arch Empress.”

The La Spina/Petroff combination also have a pair of talented three-year-olds in Maestro Bellini and San Domino which will also be set for feature events this season.

Maestro Bellini has won 4 from 13 starts to date while San Domino has recently joined the stable and met with immediate success at Albion Park on February 3.

Chris Barsby

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