Day At The Track

Dominant repechage win by Chariot King

02:01 PM 05 Aug 2009 NZST
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Peter Tonkin
Peter Tonkin
File Photo

John Tapp's Tabcorp Australasian Breeders Crown harness racing dream remains alive following a dominant repechage win by Chariot King tonight at Cranbourne. The classy gelding, trained by the New South Wales-based former racecaller, streeted his rivals in the first of three 2080-metre qualifiers for the two-year-old males.

The son of Badlands Hanover made full use of barrier one to lead from start to finish for an 11-3/4-metre win in a 2:00.8 mile rate as a $1.30 favourite. His time included a slick 56.3-second final 800m.

Tapp said it was a relief to see the Bathurst Gold Crown winner progress to the August 14 semi finals at Melton’s Tabcorp Park following his shock defeat as a $1.20 favourite in a heat at Menangle two starts ago.

“When he got beaten at Menangle all of our plans went egg-shaped,” he said. “We hoped he’d just win there, back up in the Sapling Stakes (when fifth last Friday night) and then have that nice, long break into the semis.

“That plan fell over in the heat, but he won tonight, so we can breath again…at least for the next nine days or so!”

Chariot King was one of several big names beaten in their heat who grabbed the top-four repechage placing required to secure their place in one of the $20,000 semis.

Boom local colt Renaissance Man progressed, but he goes through as a runner-up after being edged out by the Paul Males-trained Modern Warrior in a 2:01.2 mile rate.

Queensland visitor Maywyns Gold enhanced his already impressive record with a 2:02.2 win in a race that included star Western Australian gelding David Hercules (third) and Captain Joy’s half-brother Master Joy (fifth).

Three repechages for the girls were also run and Kiwi filly Flying Pocketlands justified trainer Steven Reid’s decision to bring her over despite not being guaranteed a spot in the semis with a cushy five-metre win in 2:01.6.

The Shane Eeles-trained Ballandella Baby ($3.70) scored a 2:02.5 win over dead-heaters Jo Louleonie and Modern Girl ($2.10 fav), while Fayes My Girl was an upset winner of an eventful final repechage.

Australian Pacing Gold winner and $2.50 favourite Mach And Me galloped at the 300m when leading and put Morgan Abby ($4.40) out of business, leaving Steve O’Donoghue’s $13 chance to scoot through for a 2:05.3 win.

The repechage action continues at Yarra Valley on Friday when star fillies Keppel Bay and Elixir will be in action, along with top male performers Garnet River, Truckers Ruffnut and Our Mercurio.

Class hasn't deserted Kalahari

Peter Tonkin would dearly love to win this Friday night’s $25,000 Tabcorp Park Cup Final with Captain Kalahari, but even if he doesn’t he can consider the series a success.

The injury-plagued gelding provided Tonkin and his loyal band of owners with immense satisfaction when he bounced back from a neck problem to score a gutsy win over Ruby Dazzler in his heat last Friday night.

It was only Captain Kalahari’s second start in a year, the other being a debut victory for the Smythes Creek trainer at Mildura on May 12.

Prior to that the son of Albert Albert was trained by managing part-owner Geoff Dodd. The rising seven-year-old raced just 26 times for the Romsey horseman, winning half those starts and failing to place just once.

Two of those minors came in Group 1 Vicbred Super Series finals with his biggest win coming in the Group 2 Melton Plate at Moonee Valley on October 6, 2007.

His Tabcorp Park Cup heat win was just his fourth run since that win that most considered a stepping stone to greatness.

“He’s had a neck problem that has been a bit of a snag, but the Ballarat Veterinary Practice has done a wonderful job helping me get him right so a lot of credit has got to go to them,” Tonkin said.

“We’ve had a few troubles with him, but that’s just part of the job as a trainer.

“I just hope he stays sound now because I think we’ll have a lot of fun with him.”

That could start in Friday night’s 2240-metre final at 9.42pm, in which Gavin Lang will replace heat-winning reinsman John Caldow in the cart.

Despite drawing outside of the front row (seven) in a race also containing heat winner Real Smooth Lombo (barrier two), Charleys Dream (eight), Ruby Dazzler (nine) and classy duo Mystical Warrior (10) and Baltic Ice (11), Tonkin hasn’t given up hope of back-to-back wins.

“It’s going to be a tough ask, but the horse is pretty well in himself and he’ll improve on last week’s run,” he said.

“We know that he’s a pretty good horse, so I wouldn’t be writing him off.”

Brad BISHOP

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