Day At The Track

Aussie news - 23rd April 2018

09:08 AM 23 Apr 2018 NZST
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Jilliby Kung Fu,Harness racing
Jilliby Kung Fu
Stuart McCormack photo

THE Harness Jewels remains very much “front and square” in the minds of the Jilliby Kung team.

Although the Chariots of Fire winner and Miracle Mile placegetter is yet to be officially invited to the Jewels, it looks a formality if trainer Marg Lee and the team want it.

“The Jewels is the plan at this stage,” driver Jason Lee said. “I’d say he’s three weeks or so away from a race.

“We need to race the big boys to get better and for the spectacle of the game.”

What a great attitude and what a coup it would be for Cambridge.

Jilliby Kung Fu hasn’t raced since his fantastic second to My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile on February 24.

With Custodian invited and Jilliby Kung Fu, Wobelee and Carlas Pixel surely soon to follow. Then a bunch of others chasing invites, this will take the Aussie presence at the Jewels to a new level.

Yes I’m biased, but surely this is the year an Aussie wins a Jewels final for the first time.

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AGEING champ Lennytheshark will try to break the $3 million stakemoney barrier without a lead-up race.

Connections had hoped to run at Bendigo last Friday night, but the race was scrapped so will have to settle for a trial on Tuesday.

“Sure we’d have loved a race, but he’s got a great first-up record and ‘Aikey’ (David Aiken) will have him ready for a race like this,” part-owner Martin Riseley said.

It will be an emotional night with Lennytheshark needing just $4915 to reach $3 million with his 79 starts netting 39 wins and 30 placings so far.

“We’ve had this planned for a long time. The chance to chase a milestone like this at his and Aikey’s home track is so exciting,” Riseley said.

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ANDY Gath admits an Addington raid in November is tempting, but first he wants to win a Group 1 at home with his new stable star Tornado Valley.

The former Kiwi trotter made it six wins on end when he did the work and won as he liked in a slick 1min56sec mile rate for 1720m in the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton last night.

Gath’s immediate target is the $50,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship at Melton on May 19.

“We loved him the first time we worked him, but the best part is he just keeps getting better and better in his work and he’s thriving on racing just about every week,” Gath said.

“Other than the Australasian Champs next month there’s nothing big for him, but if he can just keep picking off these free-for-alls it’s money in the bank.”

Tornado Valley has already banked more than $120,000 from just nine Aussie runs for Gath.

Asked about NZ, Gath said: “We did think about the Anzac and Rowe Cups. We like to travel with out horses for the right races, so the Dominion is definitely an option later in the year.”

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FORMER buzz Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem lost fans in defeat in yet another WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park.

It’s the third prelude of the Oaks (final run on May 5) she has contested and after a second and a win, she had to settle for a close and brave third in last Friday night’s race.

Gary Hall Sr’s classy filly Liberty Rose was crossed at the start, re-took the lead, and then dictated through a 62.9sec middle split before dashing home in 56.0 and 27.7sec to win from another former Kiwi, Purest Silk.

Our Angel Of Harlem settled well back and had to sustain a long three-wide run without cover in the sprint home, so to get within 3.4m was a big effort.

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IF Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel doesn’t tackle the Harness Jewels then Shane Tritton’s former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter would be a strong second pick.

The four-year-old made it eight wins from just 11 Aussie runs when she blasted to the front in a 26.5sec opening quarter and found plenty late to win in a 1min52.5sec mile at Menangle on Saturday night.

Tritton and wife Lauren have made it clear they’d love a Jewels invite.

The feature race at Menangle was the Group 2 Bulli Trotters’ Cup which was won by former Kiwi veteran Sundons Comet, now in the Joe Rando barn and driven by David Morris.

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EMMA Stewart has a staggering four finalists in the $300,000 Australian Gold final for colts and geldings.

Centenario, Hurricane Harley and Hardhitter all won their heats at Melton last Friday week.

Then Fourbigmen, who was a well-held third to Hurricane Harley in his heat, lifted for a powerhouse repechage win at Melton last night.

Amazingly, Chris Alford drove all four to win their qualifiers.

Fourbigmen’s improvement didn’t surprise the stable who have always said he is as good as any of their stellar juvenile crop on ability, but is still raw and developing.

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OUR Waikiki Beach’s baby brother Bechers Brook is doing the family proud.

While Our Waikiki Beach was a superstar from day one, the raw and tough Bechers Brook is getting better with every run.

He just missed winning the WA Derby when a close second to King Of Swing on April 6, then narrowly but impressively won at Gloucester Park last Friday night.

Bechers Brook has raced just 13 times for seven wins, four placings and almost $120,000.

“I like him. He’s really strong. It didn’t surprise me he ran so well in the Derby,” Reed said.

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CANBERRA Raiders captain Jarrod Crocker loves his harness racing and classy pacer Our Triple Play is rewarding his passion.

Our Triple Play continued his golden season with another feature win, the Group 3 Sydney Cup, at Bankstown last Friday night.

The Brad Hewitt-trained and driven four-year-old had already won the time-honoured Inter City Pace final at Maitland and Wagga Cup this season.

He’s won six races this term for almost $76,000 in earning to take his career record to 41 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $141,720 in stakemoney.

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NO doubt the news of Hectorjayjay’s switch from David Aiken to Gavin Lang’s stable turned a few heads.

Lang hasn’t trained many horses for the past decade or so,  but now has an exciting team of “10 or 12” in work.

One of them, recent Kiwi import My Cash, made it two very impressive Aussie wins from as many starts with a dominant display at Bendigo last Friday night.

Despite sitting parked in solid times, My Cash left her rivals standing to win by 10.2m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2150m.

All going well, Hectorjayjay could have his first start for Lang as soon as early June.

 

Adam Hamilton

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