Day At The Track

Ecstasy for the connections of Cruisin Around

08:10 AM 02 Jul 2016 NZST
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Cruisin Around connections Cruisin Around Trainer Michael Hughes and Cruisin Around
Cruisin Around connections celebrate victory in the Vicbred three-year-old colts and geldings.
Stuart McCormick Photo
The last 50m was all Cruisin Around
Stuart McCormick Photo
Trainer Michael Hughes was elated after the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final win to Cruisin Around
Stuart McCormick Photo

The heartache of 2015 made all the more glorious the ecstasy of 2016 for the connections of Cruisin Around, who won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series at Tabcorp Park Melton for harness racing three-year-old colts and geldings.

In Greg Sugars’ hands the trotter overcome favourite Sundons Courage to win for Cranbourne trainer Michael Hughes and a merry band of Cranbourne owners.

Among them was Bill Hutchison, who said it was the “greatest night of my life in harness racing”.

“There’s no greater fun than owning a horse with blokes like this,” Hutchison said. “Cranbourne blokes, I’ve been on the committee about three or four years down there now, we got together ... this is sensational.”

The gelding by Bacardi Lindy out of Cloud Chaser was beaten 2.6m into second by Chris Angove-trained Sundons Courage in the two-year-old Vicbred race last year, a fact not lost on his owners.

“We had unfinished business and we got there tonight, and he proved he’s the best of them,” Hutchison said.

Having started the back row, Sugars had Cruisin Around one-out three-back mid-race before drawing three-wide down the back straight to chase leader Sundons Courage, driven by Chris Alford.

“Always a little bit of a concern with the two main dangers obviously going to settle down a fair way in front of us,” Sugars said. “Drawn the back row we had to rely on a little bit of luck at some stage, but that meant that we didn’t spend any petrol earlier.”

Sugars tried to join the front runners at the turn but Sundons Courage remained strong out front.

“When Chrissy kicked and I just got to his wheel I was flat out and he seemed to be going well on the leader, I wasn’t confident I was going to pick him up,” Sugars said.

But the last 50m was all Cruisin Around.

 “They had to do a bit of work to find the front in Sundons Courage and we got off relatively easy, lobbed within a couple of lengths and that was probably the difference over the last 150m,” Sugars said.

“Halfway up the straight this horse really dug deep and I felt him lift and Sundons Courage probably just felt the pinch for that early work and (Cruisin Around) was strong to the finish.

 “There’s not much between those two, as we’ve seen they have fought out quite a few finishes, not only this preparation but last season as well.

“It’s good to turn the tables on him in the Vicbred when I thought we had the race shot to pieces last year. Really pleased for this group of owners, the horse did a terrific job. Full credit to (trainer) Mick (Hughes), he had him in tip-top order this whole campaign.”

A 29.6 last quarter sealed a 2:00.3 winning mile rate for Cruisin Around and a terrific result for Hughes.

“It was special. We just missed out last year as a two-year-old when Sundons Courage just got him on the line,” Hughes said. “This time we reversed the tables and it was a good effort, great drive by Greg.

“Last prep he gave me a few headaches but this time in he has been really good. He was very immature last time in but he has sort of grown half a brain this time, put it all together and he has the record on the board.”

Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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