Day At The Track

Aussie News - March 27

09:37 AM 27 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Kevin Pizzuto.jpg
Kevin Pizzuto

Suddenly Friday week’s Group 1 WA Derby looks a real contest.

After buzz former Kiwi colt Mitch Maguire thrashed his rivals in a Derby prelude two weeks ago, most conceded the Derby final was his for the taking.

That changed last Friday night.

Mitch Maguire won and took his WA record with Greg and Skye Bond to 10 wins and a second from just 11 runs, but he was far from impressive.

Driver Ryan Warwick didn’t have to spend much petrol to lead from the pole, went through a solid but far from daunting 59.4sec middle half and then had to pull out everything to win by a half-head.

In another stride, the late swooping filly Maczaffair would have snatched victory for sure.

On that run, trainer Mike Reed has every reason to push ahead with running Maczaffair against the boys in the Derby.

And the run of third-placed Herrick Roosevelt was most encouraging. He sat parked, looked spent on the home bend, but kept finding to finish less than a metre from the winner.

The upside for Mitch Maguire is that he still won and the 1min57.3sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip was solid, but others will give themselves a serious chance of beating him in the WA Derby final, especially if draws go against him.

Staying with the three-year-old’s and Justin Prentice’s filly Im Stylish looks a serious WA Oaks player on the strength of her dominant Gloucester Park win last Friday night.

The Kiwi-bred daughter of Bettors Delight made it three wins on end when she scored by almost nine metres in a 1min58.7sec mile rate for 2130m.

THE next stage of Tiger Tara’s career looks exciting.

It’s taken a few runs with new trainer Kevin Pizzuto, but genuine glimpses of the horse who a genuine star in NZ are coming back.

Three starts back the six-year-old covered plenty of extra ground and won narrowly, but impressively at Menangle.

But it was last Friday’s win at the same track which reminded us all how good the best version of Tiger Tara really is.

Driver Todd McCarthy drove aggressively from a wide draw and kept pushing forward until he found the lead, but it appeared at what cost given the petrol he had to spend.

Instead of looking vulnerable, Tiger Tara thrived on the challenge and absolutely thrashed a handy field.

The son of Bettors Delight opened right up, put a 17m gap on runner-up Spare Me Days and posted a career-best 1min49.8sec mile.

Tiger Tara’s had five runs for Pizzuto for two wins and two fourths.

HEADING into the NSW Oaks, most felt there wasn’t much between Victoria’s two top fillies Petacular and Miss Graceland.

As it turned out, Petacular looked a class above Miss Graceland given she easily beat Miss Graceland in a heat and then beat her out of sight in the final when second to Partyon.

That may still be the case, but Miss Graceland has come back home and arrogantly won two much easier races.

The latest came at Kilmore last Friday night when she led, was never out of second gear for Chris Alford and strolled away to win by 12.3m.

Of course, Petacular did absolutely blitz her rivals winning at her only run back in Victoria since the NSW Oaks.

The pair is headed to another showdown in the upcoming Victoria Oaks.

WHEN Maximan came to Australia he was known as a dour stayer.

Now the eight-year-old son of Armbro Operative has won the shortest semi-feature race test of speed in Australia.

Maximan held-off buzz pacer Tee Cee Bee Macray to win the City of Melton Stampede over the 1200m scamper at Melton last Saturday night.

In contrast to so many of his wins, the big gelding came from off the pace and to hold-off renowned big finishing Tee Cee Bee Macray was a fantastic effort.

It’s a credit to the patience of Andy and Kate Gath they have him back firing after so many injury issues and more than 12 months on the sidelines.

The other Melton feature, the Group 3 Sires 3YO Classic, went to much-travelled gelding Emain Macha in easy fashion in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2240m.

THREE Eagles fantastic strike rate as a broodmare has continued with David Aiken’s exciting juvenile Higherthananeagle.

The son of Mach Three was a certainty beaten on debut when he ran second after an early gallop, then he won as he liked at Ballarat last Wednesday night in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 1710m.

The colt is owned by Kevin and Carol Riseley, who race Lennytheshark and also have a share in Lazarus, among many other star pacers.

Higherthananeagle is Three Eagles’ fifth foal to race and all have been winners, most notably former top young pacer Fly Like An Eagle – also by Mach Three – who posted 19 wins and earned $699,419.

Her other foals include the ill-fated but gifted filly Three Squared (two wins, $62,045) and current NSW open-class pacer Mach Doro, who boasts 15 wins and $161,086 in earnings.

YOUNG trainer Kyle Harper must often wonder how good Bettors Fire could have been.

The eight-year-old has won 31 races and over $620,000, but so often injuries have interrupted his career at crucial times.

Bettors Fire returned from another let-up an simply outclassed a handy field in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

In contrast to so many of his front-running wins, Bettors Fire drew wide, snagged back to last and blew his rivals away with a big sprint from last to first in the final lap to post a 1min55.4sec mile rate for 2130m.

DURING last year’s Perth Inter Dominion series champion driver Chris Lewis nominated emerging pacer Im Full Of Excuses as a likely contest for this year’s Inter Dom.

The Ross Olivieri-trained former Kiwi was roaring through the grades.

Im Full Of Excuses, raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth, has continued to impress since.

He made it 10 wins from just 15 starts in WA when he sat without cover – outside classy performer Our Jimmy Johnstone – and smashed the clock easily winning the Harvey Cup at Bunbury last Saturday night.

His mile rate was a slick 1min56.1sec for the long 2569m.


Adam Hamilton

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