Day At The Track

Caruso thrilled with Battle of the Claimers double

03:59 PM 07 Sep 2015 NZST
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My Man Dan at Melton with Chris Alford in the gig
My Man Dan at Melton with Chris Alford in the gig
Stuart McCormick Photo

After bookending the harness racing program at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with a couple of his stable favourites, South Australian horseman Robert Caruso is confident of further Victorian success this coming weekend.

Caruso-trained horses won two heats of the Battle of the Claimers, Paleface Jasper (11G Village Jasper/My Paleface Navajo) taking the first in 1:55.7 and My Man Dan (10G Pacific Rocket/Fullabubbles) heat four in 1:56.9.

Both were driven by Chris Alford, who finished with a winning treble for the night.

“I brought them over a month ago and thought they’d go well but things just didn’t quite work out,” Caruso said.

“Dan didn’t travel for whatever reason last time. I changed up a few things and that seemed to work. And Paleface had to work too hard.”

Paleface Jasper ran to the lead after about 500m and dictated terms from there, race favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) coming around to the breeze through a 30.1secs second quarter.

At the home turn both the first and second horses were put to pressure but Paleface Jasper wasn’t going to be denied, fighting on doggedly to score by a half-neck.

“I knew if Jasper got to the front he’d be a hard horse to beat,” Caruso said.

Ten races later it was Caruso and Alford to the fore again with My Man Dan, who, like his other successful stablemate is a former Queensland pacer.

My Man Dan was driven off the pace, one-out and two back, before easing three-wide at the 600m.

At the home corner My Man Dan loomed up to hit the front with Ballochbuie (Greg Sugars) and My Elusive Dream (Alison Chisholm) joining in four- and five-wide.

The three engaged in a cracking tussle up the stretch but My Man Dan found enough to win, the last quarter run in 28.2secs.

“He was just a jump and charge horse up in Queensland but I always thought a horse with that much speed has to be able to come from behind,” Caruso said.

“We changed things up a bit and he’s won four of his last six, so he’s got a few extra strings to his bow.”

Mighty Mav (5G Town Champion/Shes A Dancer), trained by Matthew Craven and driven by Chris Svanosio, and Inky Cullen (Christian Cullen/Inky Lady), trained by Dean Braun and driven by Alex Ashwood, were the other Battle of the Claimers heat winners on Saturday night.

Mighty Mav went 1:56.6 and Inky Cullen posted a rate of 1:55.8.

Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria

>> Video: Paleface Jasper too strong

>> Video: My Man Dan overpowers his rivals

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