Day At The Track

Gumdrops sprints hard to win Make Mine Cullen

06:49 AM 08 May 2016 NZST
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Mark Pitt and Gumdrops
Mark Pitt and Gumdrops take out the Make Mine Cullen for mares at Melton.
Stuart McCormick Photo

Gun mare Gumdrops remains undefeated since joining the Emma Stewart harness racing stable with victory last night in the Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen at Tabcorp Park Melton.

The 2014 Queen of the Pacific champion, who also won aged mare of the year in 2014 at the Victorian industry awards, picked up her 18th career victory in the 1720-metre Make Mine Cullen in a mile rate of 1:53.1.

She did it in true Gumdrops fashion, coming from near last at the home bend before an electric final 200-metre dash wide in the Tabcorp Park straight.

The eight-year-old by Western Terror out of Awesome Powers hit top gear and chewed up the ground, motoring by the tiring My Willow and grabbing Milly Perez and Quick Draft on the line for a short half-head win.

Gumdrops has only been at the Smythes Creek stable for two runs and has won them both, tonight’s win following a Decron Westburn Grant Free-for-All win in April when she went 1:55.2 over 2240m.

It is just the third time in her career that Gumdrops has been able to register successive wins.

WATCH GUMDROPS POWER HOME IN THE MAKE MINE CULLEN

Given the final half-mile last night was covered in 56.1 – and Gumdrops came from last – her sectionals would have been supersonic.

“She was really great tonight. I thought she might not be able to pick them up but she proved that she could,” winning reinsman Mark Pitt said.

Pitt has piloted Gumdrops to both her wins this time in.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said when asked how it felt to zoom over the top of a quality field of mares to win.

“I thought being back there it was going to be pretty hard because I thought they were going to run a bit of time up front, but she proved she is getting back to her best.”

Larry Eastman’s talented five-year-old Milly Perez was game in defeat running second, while Quick Draft covered plenty of ground but still got past early pacesetter My Willow in the run to the line to finish third.

My Willow’s early splits of 29.2, 28.2 and 28.4 appeared to bring her undone, the $1.50 favourite wilting at the finish to run fourth. But she was only beaten 2m.

Once mighty mare Steam Washed finished well back in ninth place of the 10, and the Shinn camp will be hoping the longer mares’ races will see her recapture form.

The mares’ circuit continues next Friday night at Melton with the running of the Group 3 Angelique Club Cup, followed a week later by the $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific over 2760m.

Cody Winnell

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