Day At The Track

Carnival concludes with a bang!

08:59 PM 19 Jul 2015 NZST
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Menin Gate
Menin Gate dominates in the Gr.1 Queensland Derby with an all the way victory at Albion Park
Photo by Dan Costello (The Racing Wrap)
Menin Gate

The 2015 Albion Park winter carnival came to a dramatic close on Saturday night. On a program that boasted four Group One features with strong prizemoney attached and a majority of leading trainers and drivers from around the southern hemisphere represented, harness racing fans were set for a huge night of entertainment.

And they got what they were asking for.

Brilliant Victorian three-year-old Menin Gate added to his impressive list of feature race victories this season by winning the $150,000 Queensland Derby when leading throughout defeating a gallant My Kiwi Mate and Queensland Oaks victor Fight For Glory in the 2680m feature.

Sent straight to the lead by his reinsman Chris Alford from his ideal draw, the $1.40 favourite scored decisively in a time of 1;57.9.

He covered his final mile in splits of 30.5, 30.1, 27.9 & 27.6 seconds.

Prepared by Larry Eastman, the big striding gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere has now claimed the Victoria, Gold Coast and Queensland Derby’s plus the Vicbred Super Series Final this term.

Menin Gate

Comeback pacer Philadelphia Man gave his loyal army of supporters plenty to cheer about when he proved too classy for his rivals winning the $125,000 UBET Blacks A Fake.

Having only his second run back from a lengthy break, the Emma Stewart prepared Art Major entire worked hard early before finding the lead at the 1800m from local mare Forever Gold.

After being perfectly rated by Gavin Lang, the $2.10 favourite scored a convincing victory from a brave Forever Gold while Avonnova fought strongly to hold third placing.

The 2680m open-class feature was covered in a mile rate of 1;56.8.

The last mile was covered in splits of 31.4, 29.9, 27.6 & 27.7 seconds.

Philadelphia Man is now unbeaten in two runs back this campaign while providing Stewart with her biggest victory in the sunshine state.

Philadelphia Man

Most expected the Victorians to claim the $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final with the brilliant Heavens Trend, but her erratic behavior cost her victory.

Improving local filly Special Moment ($35.10) caused a boilover downing Sweet As Candy and Aussie Vista in a mile rate of 1;58.0.

The victory provided another feature race victory for Shannon Price and Scott Miller plus winning reinsman Brad Cowen during this carnival.

Passing the 400m marker, Heavens Trend raced to the lead from Get In The Groove but raced greenly before ultimately galloping which left Trista Dixon (Get in The Groove) unseated while Covert Beauty and her driver Mark Dux crashed to the track.

All horses and drivers involved in the incident were ok.

Special Moment

In the $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo colts and geldings Final, the fast finishing burst from Leos Best ($8.60) proved too much for his rivals in the 1660m feature event.

Leos Best, trained and driven by Grant Dixon, forced clear of an early pocket and relished a strong speed to defeat Roarn and Catcha Lefty in a career best time of 1;54.8.

The Cammibest gelding has now claimed two feature events this season after winning the Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Classic last month.

And the Gr.2 $50,000 Landfill Logistics 4yo Championship was taken out in brilliant fashion by New South Wales mare Sweet Molly Oshea ($11.80) for trainer Blake Hewitt and winning reinsman Gavin Lang.

After racing without cover, the Mach Three mare proved too strong for Alleluia and Bling It On in a race record time of 1;54.7 for the 2138m journey.

Club officials were thrilled with the big crowd in attendance to conclude a strong carnival.

 

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