Day At The Track

Ride High explodes to Breeders Crown triumph

10:02 AM 26 Aug 2018 NZST
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Hurricane Harley,Harness racing

The intrigue ahead of the three-year-old IRT Breeders Crown Grand Final was akin to the goings on in Canberra this week, but there can only be one winner in any power struggle.

And tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton rising superstar Ride High produced a lethal mix of ridiculous speed, ironclad strength and versatility to blow away his rivals in the race touted by many in the lead-up as “the best Crown contest in years”.

“He’s done it with ease,” beamed winning reinsman Mark Pitt (pictured winning tonight on Hurricane Harley) aboard the Emma Stewart-trained colt affectionately known by stable name ‘Chainsaw’ and a son of megastar Alabar stallion Art Major.

“He’s only lightly raced and every time he goes out there he just keeps getting better and better.”

If a good drive is “a peach” then Pitt produced punnets – making a lighting move seven furlongs out to arrest control from Queenslander Grant Dixon aboard polemarker Colt Thirty One.

Once Dixon relented, and Poster Boy and Ignatius – two of the race’s big guns – lagged back and didn’t pour on the mustard, Pitt was riding high.

“I was a little bit surprised there weren’t a lot of challenges but the tempo was very genuine and I suppose it made it hard for the backmarkers,” Pitt said.

Ride High notched a mile rate of 1:55.2. Colt Thirty One held on for second, with Poster Boy third.

Earlier, another Art Major young star Our Princess Tiffany made it nine wins from nine career starts for New Zealand champion trainer Mark Purdon.

Our Princess Tiffany twinkled under the Melton lights, parking outside boom filly Kualoa and finding gears at the finish when the others had simply nothing in reserve to take the Always B Miki at Alabar two-year-old fillies’ final.

“She was very courageous and full credit to her. She took quite a bit out of herself over-racing, which surprised me a bit. Down the back I just let her roll so we got down the back pretty good. We were off the bit at the quarter, but it just survival of the fittest,” Purdon said.

Our Princess Tiffany went 1:55.3, with Kualoa a brave second and Enchanted Stride third.

Wrappers Delight continued marching towards an Inter Dominion 2018 campaign, blowing away a strong line-up in the Hygain four-year-old Crown final.

Driven by Kima Frenning – the former Swedish monte rider who now boasts a huge Australian fan base – Wrappers Delight dominated to score by almost 10m.

“I just have got absolutely no words,” Frenning said.

“I’m just shaking my head. I’m so grateful that I get to drive him and Aiks (trainer David Aiken) has done an amazing job with this horse to get him where he is today. It’s been such a cool ride to be on.”

To kick off the night – in glorious winter sunshine – Kiwi Stress Factor remained unbeaten on Australian soil with victory in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for in-form trainer Brent Lilley and champion driver Chris Alford.

Stress Factor dictated in front to beat Anywhere Hugo and Kyvalley Finn in 2:00.4.

Alford went back-to-back in the second race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting Fillies’ Final, courtesy of Sleepee – trained and owned by wife Alison.

“Colin was kind enough to give us the opportunity to lease (Sleepee) and mum jumped in and took a share with me. It’s a little surreal, I never thought I’d own one, I always wanted to own one, and I said to Chris on Thursday I’m starting to get a bit nervous. He said I could have told you that on Monday.”

Our Show Gait captured the three-year-old trotting fillies’ final for NZ trainer Regan Todd and Purdon, rating 2:01.2 to defeat Moonshine Linda.

The two-year-old pacing final lived up to the hype, with Emma Stewart training the quinella as Hurricane Harley finished like a whirlwind to defeat Centenario to deliver driver Pitt the crown.

“… He really dug deep and deserved to win,” Stewart said of the performance.

Speak No Evil extended her winning streak to six in the Woodlands three-year-old fillies’ final – another win for Stewart/Alford – holding off Angel Of Arts in second and My Harmony Blue in third.

“She’s had an amazing season really, winning this and winning Vicbred and an unlucky second in the Oaks as well,” Alford told Trots Vision. “You can’t ask much more.”

Kyvalley Clichy secured Alford his fourth crown for the evening but in controversial circumstances, having to withstand a protest from runner-up Kate Gath aboard Dream Mastar after the winner broke stride in the run to the post.

“I’m extremely happy. This is a race I’ve been very fortunate in over the last 18 years. I’m just very lucky and hope the luck continues,” said winning owner Jim Connelly.

Dean Braun-trained Carlas Pixel showed she had classes on her rivals in the Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown four-year-old mares’ final, thoroughly dominating.

Driven by Pitt – who won three crowns tonight – Carlas Pixel had to work to find the front early but had plenty left at the finish to score by almost 7m over runner-up Cherry Stride in 1:54.2.

“She’s a fantastic mare. Every time we have taken her out she’s just got better and better,” Braun told Trots Vision.

“She’s just got an amazing constitution, she never really gets sick. She’s just one of those horses; she’s a pleasure to train and the owners are really, really good people. She’s a star. She’s got a motor as big as herself.”


Cody Winnell

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