Chris Alford has his second Group 1 in two nights thanks to Messini scoring a huge win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO colts’ and geldings’ harness racing final tonight.
The Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major sprinted to the lead mid-race and was never going to lose once there, eventually scoring an 8.8m triumph over Major Crocker in a mile rate of 1:55.9.
Both favourite (Messini at $2.70) and second-favourite (Hectorjayjay at $3.30) had drawn extreme barriers and tactics were always going to be hugely important, with Alford on Messini and Simone Walker on Hectorjayjay.
Walker took off wide aboard her chance early in the piece and was made to work by Young Modern and Michael Stanley to get to the breeze.
Eventually Stanley eased into the one-out-one-back position, and then Alford made his move, sending Messini off around the field and sprinting to the front without too much trouble.
“Once we got to the front he was always going to be hard to beat,” Alford said.
“This is a great little horse.”
Messini drew right away to win by 8.8m over runner-up Major Crocker (Greg Sugars) and Smokey Quartz (David Miles) in third.
Lilley was full of praise for legendary New Zealand trainer-driver Mark Purdon, who sent the horse to the Bolinda horseman.
“He’s welcome to stay at my place as long as he wants,” Lilley said of Messini, which has won 10 of 24 starts.
“I can’t take too much credit for him. Mark sent him over in great order.”
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria