Day At The Track

Aussie news

10:45 AM 02 Sep 2019 NZST
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Robert Morris,Harness racing
Reinsman Robert Morris drove Balraj to a 1-51.9 mile
HRNSW photo

CHAMPION driver Chris Alford just keeps racking-up the milestones.

The latest came last Friday night when No City Chick’s Bendigo win taking him to a mind-blowing 7000 career wins.

“I'm having a great run. It doesn’t seem that long ago I reached 6000 wins,” he said. “I’ve got so much great support from owners and trainers.”

Alford, 51, now surely ranks up with all the greatest drivers we’ve had in this part of the world.

“It’s been another big season and I’ve got some nice horses to look forward to in the new season as well, especially Be Happy Mach, who is the equal of any two-year-old I’ve driven.”

** ** ** **

TIGER Tara was beaten at his own game in a massive upset at Menangle last night.

In a rare sight, the Inter Dominion champion was simply outstayed by the much-improved Islandspecialmajor, a $26 outsider for trainer-driver Jason Grimson.

Tiger Tara burned early with main danger Joes Star Of Mia, then sat behind that horse, while the former Victorian pacer Islandspecialmajor sat parked and dug deep to fend-off the favourite, who had the whole straight to run him down.

They went a 1min54.5sec mile rate for 2300m.

No doubt Tiger Tara isn’t fully wound-up with his major targets still a long way off, but he has just turned nine and any defeats like last night will raise queries over whether he is still as good.

** ** ** **

THE winning streak is now seven.

Buzz former Kiwi pacer Balraj thrashed his rivals again at Menangle last Tuesday, just days after it was reported connections had turned down a $500,000 offer.

Balraj won races at Forbury on February 21 and March 7 and was then sold to Australia where he’s won five on end.

His past four Aussie wins have been by an aggregate of 128.4 metres.

Last Tuesday he was led and was driven more conservatively by Robbie Morris, but still roared clear to win by 24.4m in a 1min51.9sec mile.

He ran home in 54.2sec, but it was the 25.6sec last quarter which set tongues wagging this time.

“You’ve got to have more string to your bow, so I wanted to drive him more conservatively and just let him sprint home. I was really pleased with the way he settled for, then he was electric when I said go and just took off,” Morris said.

“He’s learning with every run and looks exceptional.

“He’s having a let-up now, maybe a month off, and then it’s back to target the Chariots Of Fire.”

** ** ** **

A TRIP down to Melbourne paid dividends with one of Australia’s best trotters last night.

Rickie Alchin’s classy stayer Tough Monarch was simply too good for his rivals despite a 10m handicap and doing most of the work in the Group 3 Coulter Crown (2760m).

The son of former star Kiwi mare Tussle enjoyed another strong season, mostly racing against the best company, for six wins and five placings from 20 starts. He’s now earned almost $180,000 and looks to still be on the improve.

** ** ** **

IT was a winning reunion for Kima Frenning and one of her favourite pacers at Melton last night.

Frenning was back aboard Wrappers Delight for the first time this campaign and then duly saluted despite a back row draw in the My Lightning Blue free-for-all.

“He’s been such a great horse to me and I’d love to drive him all the time, but it’s hard now I train Buster Brady and they clash a bit,” Frenning said.

Wrappers Delight finished strongly to win in a scorching 1min51.sec mile rate for 1720m, just 0.4sec outside Cruz Bromac’s track record.

** ** ** **

TRAINER Debbie Lewis has certainly unlocked the key to Our Corelli.

The Bettor's Delight gelding built a solid record in Justin Prentice’s stable, but has gone to a whole new level since switching to Lewis’ care in June.

Nine runs for Lewis have netted six wins, a second and a tag as one of WA’s most exciting open-class pacers.

The buzz grew last Friday at Gloucester Park when Chris Lewis used gate one to lead and gave nothing else a chance in blistering times to win the free-for-all.

The 1720m mile rate was a scorching 1min52.7sec, just 1.1sec outside of Chicago Bull’s track record.

** ** ** **

BREEDERS Crown champ Be Happy Mach is a look in for Aussie 2YO of the Year.

But the depth behind him paves the way for some mouth-watering Derby clashes in this new season.

Jilliby Nitro is a star and hopefully recovers from injury in time for races like the Victoria and NSW Derbys.

And there’s the late juvenile season find, NSW-trained Expensive Ego.

The son of Rocknroll Heaven stretched his unbeaten record to six races for trainer David Thorn when he easily won another feature, the Group 2 Australian Gold NSW final, at Menangle last night.

It followed a pair of Group 1 wins in Queensland.

Expensive Ego matched his Menangle mile personal best with a 1min52.9sec dash last night.

 

Adam Hamilton

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