Day At The Track

Gifted grey keeps QLD trot record perfect

07:28 PM 27 May 2015 NZST
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Grey trotting mare Sharons Millicent
Grey trotting mare Sharons Millicent
Dan Costello Photo

Trotting mare Sharons Millicent, last month purchased by Queensland harness racing board chairman Greg Mitchell as a gift for his wife Sharon, has started off its Queensland career perfectly with three wins from as many starts for leading trainer/driver Grant Dixon.

The 5yo grey Monkey Bones square-gaiter raced 58 times in New Zealand as Millicent and recorded six wins with just one of them from 11 starts there this year. Since joining Dixon’s Tamborine stable Sharons Millicent has blossomed into a very promising prospect.

Mitchell said he had been looking for a grey horse for his wife and this one ticked the boxes.

“Sharon wanted a grey horse and this one fitted the bill so I bought her for my wife as a present, hence the new name Sharon’s Millicent,” Mitchell said

Sharons Millicent burst onto the Queensland trotting scene when she took out the $12,000 Gold Rush Final for T0 – T3 trotters at Albion Park on 22 May. She won at her Brisbane debut taking out the heat a week earlier and in the space of 11 days has posted third Albion Park win on Tuesday afternoon. The mare’s race times in Brisbane are proof of just how far Sharons Millicent has come in a short space of time under Dixon’s care. The tough mare will now target at a couple of feature races, firstly the Trotters Marathon and later in the year the Darrell J Alexander. “The Marathon will be her initial target, then she will go for a spell and Grant will aim her at the DJA,” Mitchell said. The Trotters Marathon is raced at Albion Park over 3157 metres on 20 June with Darrell J Alexander Memorial (2647m) raced at Albion Park in October.

Sharons Millicent looks capable of improving further and her connections are hopeful she will continue to thrive in Queensland. Her best mile rate in New Zealand was as a 3yo when she trotted 2.05. At her first start here, Sharons Millicent trotted a PB of 2.00.6 in a mobile start over a mile and on Tuesday went 2.03.3 from a standing start over 2138 metres to win the Betta Home & Living Virginia Trotters Handicap. Coming from a 40 metre handicap in the 3yo+ event, Dixon placed Sharons Millicent ($2.00fav) outside the leader and she looked impressive in wearing down and pulling away from promising youngster Justabitnoisy (Doug Lee $2.90) and beat him by 6 metres. Lightly raced filly Toasted (Narissa McMullen $10.20) was a metre and a half away in third place with Denis Smith debutante filly, High Cloud Lass also putting in a good performance to finish fourth.

The Mitchell’s and Dixon made it a double a few races later when QHRB chairman Greg Mitchell’s outstanding Art Major gelding Alleluia continued building its ultra-impressive Albion Park record with a gutsy win in the heat of the C4/C5 Rising Stars Championship. Last year’s Queensland and Gold Coast Derby runner-up, Alleluia has scored six Albion Park wins including three black type wins and the classy pacer came into today’s race off the back of its victory in the Group 2 Carnival of Cups Final. Like its stable mate Alleluia faced the breeze with Dixon content to camp the $2.00 favourite outside Pet McMullen driving Paint The Hammer ($3.20). In the straight Alleluia asserted its superiority and drew away to win by 2.6 metres from Paint The Hammer and paced the mile in a personal best time of 1.55.3.  Sammys Kriden rounded out the top three, 5.4 metres from the winner. Mitchell said Saturday night will determine Alleluia’s immediate goal and longer term he will be aim at the Breeders Crown.

“If he doesn’t win Saturday night ($20,000 Rising Stars Final at Albion Park) he will go to the Premiers Cup and then maybe target the Breeders Crown,” Mitchell said. “He will be sticking to his own age this year.”

The Premiers Cup heats are raced at Albion Park on 12 June with the $50,000  Final (2647m) at Albion Park on 20 June.

Also at Albion Park yesterday New Zealand young driver Nathan Purdon piloted a winning double, scoring on Young American for Ian Gurney and Lachie Maguire for Simone Price. Purdon arrived in Australia last month and has been impressing locals. He is currently based with the Gurney stable.

by David Aldred

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