Day At The Track

Duke Of Wellington wins Melton feature

12:24 AM 24 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Duke Of Wellington,Harness racing
Duke Of Wellington
Stuart McCormick photo

Exciting Duke Of Wellington won tonight’s 30th renewal of the City of Melton Plate at Tabcorp Park and secured Great Western trainer-driver Kerryn Manning her second Plate success.

Fifteen years had passed since Manning’s first Plate win, aboard Run Albert Run in 2004, and she declared tonight’s triumph “a big thrill” before adding she felt her four-year-old son of American Ideal was destined for big things.

See bottom of article for Manning's list of $50k+ feature race wins

“It’s a very nice honour roll (for the Melton Plate) and to join it is a big thrill. I think this horse can be the same as them (top-line past winners), he’s certainly got the talent but he’s still got a bit of learning to do,” she said.

Perusing the honour roll of Plate champions reveals names such as Hectorjayjay, Make Mine Cullen, Melpark Major, Shakamaker, Sokyola and Tailamade Lombo just to name a few.

Punters put their faith in the Duke and Manning, sending the pair out as a commanding $1.4 favourite.

They rolled forward out of the gate, but War Dan ($10.70) and James Rattray found the pegs first and wouldn’t relent to the favourite.

“I always thought War Dan may try to hold the front,” Manning said. “I was prepared for that.”

The ensuing fight was enthralling, with first and second splits of 29.9 and 29.5 followed by a 28 third sectional and a 28.9 run home.

War Dan wouldn’t lie down, but Duke Of Wellington was too classy – despite covering more ground – and held a 1.5m buffer at the wire to record a 1:54.6 mile rate.

“He got a bit wobbly at the start … he over-raced quite a bit during the first lap, too. Eventually he settled at the 1200m and I was just hoping too much damage wasn’t done by then,” Manning said.

Rishi ran third, with Jilliby Chevy and Somebeachshadow rounding out the top five Plate finishers.

Duke Of Wellington is raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth. He has had five runs for three wins with Manning since moving to Australia after a successful New Zealand three-year-old campaign.

“He’s had a little time between runs this time in, so he’s still on the way up I think,” Manning said.

“His fitness is pretty good. That’ll top him off nicely.”

Meanwhile, trainer Stephen Telfer combined with local reinsman John Caldow to win the Allied Express Jodi’s Babe with five-year-old Art Major mare Our Step Up, who led throughout from gate two in 1:54.0 over 1720m.

Our Step Up finished 1.5m clear of Reciprocity, who was charging home for Manning in second place, with Share The Road third and Juice Brogdon fourth.  Race favourite Berisari failed to beat a runner home.

Highly rated Andy Gath-trained trotter McLovin won the 2Contstruct Scotch Notch Memorial over 2240m in 2:01.0 with Kate Gath in the gig.

The last-start Charlton Cup winner made it back-to-back successes by finishing 4.7m clear of stablemate Kingdom Come, with polemarker Jerichos Trumpet third and consistent Savannah Jay Jay fourth.

Michael Stanley trained and drove Watch List to win the Group 3 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic in 1:55.7 over 2240m, the $5.9 second-favourite out-sprinting the $2.1 punters’ elect Crime Writer by 2.1m.

Stanley sent Watch List to the front from barrier three early before handing up and using the sprint lane late.

Titan Bromac finished third, 3m from the winner, with Perfect Major fourth.

Driver Kima Frenning combined with trainer David Aiken to win the night’s sprint feature, the 1200m Quest for Success Stampede, with four-year-old Mach Three gelding Higherthananeagle.

Predicted fireworks didn’t eventuate as Frenning found the lead easily from gate two before thoroughly dictating terms in a gross time of 1:22.2 to jog home by 8.7m over Benicio and Vinny Chase, who both followed the peg line, with Vee Rock fourth.

If the sparks had flown horses in this race might have broken 80seconds.

Check out the full results from tonight’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting


Kerryn Manning’s $50,000+ Feature Race Wins 
1997 Australasian Trotting Championship Final $125k – Knight Pistol 
1999 El Dorado Final (3YO C&G) $150k – Sky Strike 
2000 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Mares) Final $100k – Jilliby Magic
2000 Chariots of Fire $200k – Lombo Rapida
2000 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Fillies) Final $100k – Jilliby Melody
2001 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Trotters) Final $50k – La Coocaracha 
2001 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – La Coocaracha 
2001 Australian Trotting Grand Prix $100k – La Coocaracha
2002 SA Trotters Cup $50k – La Coocaracha
2002 Australasian Trotters Championship $100k – La Coocaracha 
2002 Rowe Memorial Cup, NZ $100k – La Coocaracha
2002 Legends Mile $50k – Hearts Legend
2003 Australian Pacing Gold Final (2YO C&G) $288k – Kathryn Dancer
2003 Vicbred Super Series (2YO C&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie 
2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO C&G $100k – Blatant Lie
2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO Fillies $100k – Yada Yada Yada
2004 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO C&G Final $300k – Emmas Only
2004 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Broke As Usual 
2004 Vicbred Super Series (2YO Fillies) Final $100k – Kinda Arty Lombo
2004 Breeders Crown (2YO C&G) Final $190k – Emmas Only
2004 Kilmore Cup $100k – True Cam
2004 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – Sammy Do Good 
2005 Victoria Derby $150k – Emmas Only
2005 Vicbred Super Series (4YO E&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie
2005 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Tennotrump 
2005 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotters Final $50k – Split Image
2007 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Donttellmehetrots
2007 George Johnson $50k – No More Trouble 
2008 Tatlow Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $50k – Ananz
2008 Victoria Trotters Oaks $50k – Mystic Hush
2008 NSW Sires Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $100k – Ananz
2010 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies Final $300k – Leilani Lombo
2010 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Trotters) Final $50k – Mister Castleton
2015 A.G. Hunter Cup $400k – Arden Rooney 
2015 Mildura Pacing Cup $50k – Arden Rooney
2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup $765k – Arden Rooney 
2017 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final $50k – Imprincessgemma
2017 Breeders Crown Graduate Free for All $60k – Ameretto
2017 Norm’s Daughter $50k – Ameretto
2018 Ladyship Cup $100k – Our Golden Goddess
2018 Queen of the Pacific $100k – Ameretto
2019 City of Melton Plate $50k – Duke Of Wellington  

Cody Winnell

for Trots Media

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