Lennytheshark far too strong in Championship

10:13 PM 01 Jun 2014 NZST
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Lennytheshark and Chris Alford win the University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship.

Sound the alarm because the Shark has well and truly arrived.

Punters had already been warned of course – the wraps on the David Aiken-trained horse were enormous before last night’s University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship, following a powerful win first up when he donkey licked his rivals earlier this month.

Heavily backed since fixed odds opened midweek, Lennytheshark started $2.10 but had been odds-on.

The punters nailed it.

From the pole draw, Lennytheshark cruised to the lead almost unchallenged for driver Chris Alford early and nothing wanted to take him on until the bell.

Emma Stewart star Restrepo, which was first up from a spell, launched his claim as the bell sounded and improved to the breeze.

Down the back, Dean Braun’s rising star Chilli Palmer started his move with an audacious burst as Lennytheshark quickened up front.

Turning for home though and the Shark attacked, Lenny skipping clear and powering further away late to eventually score by a substantial 10.3m.

Braun trained the second, third and fourth horses over the line – Inky Cullen, Chilli Palmer and Magical Telf – while Restrepo dropped out to finish seventh.

The mile rate was 1:56.5.

Meanwhile, two young trotters became Group 1 winners via the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series.

In the fillies’ final it was Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven Royal Treat too strong.

The Majestic Son filly utilized the sprint lane in the home straight to defeat Meadow Valley Road, with Neville Welsh-trained Est Est Est third.

Illawong Armstrong prevailed in the colts and geldings’ final for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, defeating Black Valley and Bring The Action.

Champion reinsman Chris Alford took driving honours for the night with a winning treble, while Rebecca Bartley’s amazing run in the Young Drivers Challenge continued, winning the third race of the series after collecting the first two at Shepparton on Thursday night.

Last night Bartley steered Smiling Spirit home at cricket score odds of $54.30.

By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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