Day At The Track

The TAB Breeders Crown finals night

08:00 PM 24 Aug 2019 NZST
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Tee Cee Bee Macray,Harness racing
Tee Cee Bee Macray
Stuart McCormick photo

Challenging conditions saw the toughest emerge and reinforce their dominance on TAB Breeders Crown night, when eight Group 1s were captured amid some unforgettable triumphs.

Emma Stewart's two-year-old pair Maajida and Be Happy Mach only added to their lofty reputations, Kiwi trainer Phil Williamson produced a trotting double from his only two contestants, Yabby Dam Farms lost one on a protest but captured another and there was even an upset or two.

Relive all the winning at Tabcorp Park Melton on Breeders Crown night with this rolling blog.

TEE CEE BEE MACRAY WINS THE ALWAYS B MIKI BREEDERS CROWN GRADUATE CUP

An extraordinary start to the night as Tee Cee Bee Macray, the horse who means so much to trainer Jess Tubbs and reinsman/husband Greg Sugars, salutes in the Graduate Cup.

Having been trained to great heights by Tubbs's late father, Alan, Tee Cee Bee Macray's victory tonight was his first since Alan's passing, some 37 starts ago.

"That's just amazing, that's one for Dad," Tubbs said. "Been a long time coming and what we've all been working for. He's had so many issues, we've all just worked through them and he's been really well lately.

"It just worked out so well tonight, I'm just so proud for Dad. (Tee Cee Bee Macray) by all rights shouldn't really be here, he's ovecome a lot of health issues, a few surgeries along the way, it's been a long way back. Dad was so patient with him and spoiled him, he's a bit of a brat and a handful to deal with but we just love him."

Sugars has enjoyed plenty of big wins, but few have meant more than this.

"I would have given up just about every win this season to get this one over the line. There's been a lot of downs, a few ups along the way and a lot of criticism and a lot of weight on our shoulders from everyone but it just means the world to us."

 

LIBERTY STRIDE WINS THE FATHER PATRICK @ NEVELE R STUD 3YO TROTTING FILLES FINAL:

A perfect Anthony Butt drive and a very good horse in Liberty Stride, trained by Phil Williamson, kicked off the night's TAB Breeders Crown Group 1s with a dominant victory.

There was plenty of heat on early in the three-year-old trotting fillies final but every move played more in the hands of Liberty Stride, the well-back favourite, and when the moment came Butt streaked clear to win for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati.

"We had high expectations but you never know with these young trotters. Got a really good run and it worked out beautifully," Butt told Sky Racing Active.

"I wanted to be a little bit aggressive but take my time as well and nurse her, got into a good spot down the back, I was lucky to drop in and then Johnny pulled in front of me getting to the back and got a beautiful dragged into it and she jogged it. Won really easily."

Butt gave much credit to Williamson and his owners, with the Rosati's producing not only the winner but also second placed Emerald Stride.

"Emilio and Mary have been really good lately supporting me and given me some really good drives so, long may it continue. Also Phil Williamson, great mate from New Zealand. We've been mates a long time and he's got some great boys who drive at home so very lucky to get a call up."

 

ULTIMATE STRIDE WINS THE ALDEBARAN PARK 2YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS FINAL:

Ultimate Stride was spectacular in winning by almost 40 metres in the two-year-old trotting boys' final to leave no doubt who was the best horse in the class.

It was a second consecutive Group 1 win for trainer Phil Williamson, reinsman Anthony Butt and owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, with Ultimate Stride unbeaten in his Victorian campaign and capping it with a Crown.

"He is a nice horse, very nice horse," Williamson told Sky Racing Active. "He showed that he was a wee bit dominant on them, without stating the obvious he is a wee bit smart isn't he?

"His mother (One Over Kenny), she won a million, (his sire) Love You was pretty good too, so it's a bit of a combination made in heaven you might say. When you hit the jackpot you've got yourself a good horse."

Williamson said they knew Ultimate Stride was a very good horse from "the very first day".

"Day one I said we have got a very special horse here," he said. "He just oozed class right from when we bought him at the sale. He's just a quality horse."

It's great reward for the Rosatis, who Williamson said had "put a lot into the game".

"He's had probably his fair share of disappointments so it's great to give him some upside. It's what we do it for."

 

NO WIN NO FEED WINS THE WOODLANDS STUD 3YO FILLIES FINAL

Opportunity knocked and Todd McCarthy burst through to produce a boilover with $43-shot No Win No Feed saluting in the three-year-old fillies Breeders Crown final.

All the drama again surrounded Our Princess Tiffany, the brilliant All Stars three-year-old who looked lacklustre in her heat, improved in her semi-final but ultimately outpointed in tonight's Group 1 after a testing run punching a stiff breeze.

Instead it was No Win No Feed, trainer Craig Cross and reinsman McCarthy who pinched the headline, with McCarthy steering his filly to the front from gate six, getting cover from Miss Streisand and then stealing a march on the field when the latter hung wide and enabled him to gain the front again at the final bend.

That set up a 3.5-metre win ahead of Jeremy Young's Best Western, with Our Princess Tiffany a close third.

"She's been a terrific filly," McCarthy said. "She's been super consistent all season, she's really come a long way, she's done a great job.

"I probably would have liked to have held the front but Chris (Geary) come at me pretty hard and I was happy to take the sit at that time. I know that filly (Miss Streisand). I've driven her before and she can get up the track. I never thought it would be at that point in the race, but it worked out good for us."

 

TAM MAJOR WINS THE HYGAIN BREEDERS CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP FOR 4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS

Tam Major's advancement this season was capped with a powerful victory in the four-year-old Breeders Crown Championship, a title to add to his Vicbred Super Series success for reinsman Chris Alford and trainer Emma Stewart.

Alford couldn't have been more glowing in his praise when speaking to Sky Racing Active post-race.

"There was good speed early and we were able to get around at the right time," Alford said. "He's just racing like a killing machine at the moment.

"He got a good breather there for a little bit, about the 600 he wanted to get on with the job, so I said let's go racing."

Seated in the breeze for much of the race, Tam Major wore down leader Rackemup Tigerpie and held off sprint lane stablemate second-placed Major Times to reinforce that he's a Grand Circuit contender of the future.

 

KRATOS WINS THE WHAT THE HILL 3YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS' FINAL

It was a drama-fuelled finish to the TAB Breeders Crown final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, with a first-past-the-post All Cashed Up galloping in the closing stages and prompting a protest from second-placed Kratos.

Only a nose separated Anton Golino's trotter from the Kiwi challenger, trained by John and Josh Dickie, with Majestuoso just a head back in third.

HRV Chairman of Stewards explained their decision to Brittany Graham on Sky Racing Active.

"They are always so difficult to do when they are so close to the line," Mr Day said.

"The relevant rule requires that when a horse does break gait that either it doesn't gain ground or, importantly, doesn't maintain ground. When they gallop so close to the line it's very hard for them to lose ground, or alternatively not maintain their ground, and we were satisfied that when All Cashed Up broke in the final 50 metres, initially while in a gallop, it did maintain its position.

"Mindful of the very small margin between the two of a nose, we were satisfied the protest ought to be upheld and we amended the placings."

 

MAX DELIGHT WINS THE IRT 3YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS' FINAL

It was an impressive and clinical performance by Max Delight as the David Aiken trained horse was placed in front by Todd McCarthy out of the gates and controlled a class field to win another Group 1.

The front row draw proved beneficial and while a strong clan of Emma Stewart runners and highly-rated Lochinvar Art had to shuffle and work to gain their best chance, Max Delight was always in control and with 26.8-second and 27.8-second third and fourth quarters had enough in reserve to hold off Out To Play.

"He was super," McCarthy told Sky Racing Active. "We got out of the gate quick, once he held up easy enough I think everyone knew he was going to be there. I was able to a bit of a breather while everyone sorted themselves out and he was just so brave in that slick last half."

McCarthy gave great credit to trainer Aiken, whose confidence was rock solid despite the semi-final fourth placing.

"David's so good with these horses and he said after that run (in the semi-final) last week 'don't worry, he will be better next week'. Full credit to David, he had him spot on.

"I've been very fortunate to be able to drive some great horses throughout the season and I can't thank the owners and trainers I've been involved with enough for that. I've had a pretty good season here at Melton, it's a pretty good place to me."

 

BE HAPPY MACH WINS THE DOWNBYTHESEASIDE 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS' FINAL

Chris Alford drove Be Happy Mach like he was the best horse in the race and he only served to further prove that reputation in the run with a commanding Breeders Crown Group 1 victory.

A significant exclamation was put on the talented Mach Three colt's season for trainer Emma Stewart, with Be Happy Mach coming from the back of the field to tackle Zuess Bromac for the lead.

While trainer-driver Zach Butcher initially responded, Alford wouldn't be denied, muscling to the front and despite that early work blazing away on the final bend to set up a seven-metre win from an impressive second-placed Youaremy Sunshine.

Alford had plenty of praise for the champion when talking to Sky Racing Active post-race.

"He had a bit of a chequered passage early," Alford said. "Two galloped in front of him, he hit one wheel and it didn't even faze him, he just rolled around and had to put it to the leader to wrestle the front off him.

"Once you buzz him up then he'll drop the bit and go 31 and a half and just walk along, let another one head him and when it's time to go he goes.

"(At the final turn) it was just like he hit the turbo button and his arse just dropped and off he went."

It's been a significant two-year-old season and the champion reinsman's confident much more is to come.

"You look at the size of him now, he's only going to get bigger and stronger and that's a bit scary."

 

MAAJIDA WINS THE ALWAYS B MIKI 2YO FILLIES' FINAL

The professionalism of Emma Stewart's runners was to the fore for a second successive TAB Breeders Crown final with, like Be Happy Mach before her, Maajida capping a dominant season with a royal performance.

Greg Sugars easily held the front from his advantageous draw and while those behind him shuffled for a good sit, Maajida was clinical in careering away to a 12-metre win ahead of a valiant Iolanta for Mick Stanley.

Sugars, speaking to Sky Racing Active post-race, gave plenty of credit to the Stewart stable.

"Not only do they get the best out of them ability-wise but their manners are first class," Sugars said. "It's very rare for them to have an unruly horse in their stable, especially their youngsters, they do a terrific job.

"She's relatively lightly raced this one but she's got a lot of runs on the board. It's just been a pleasure to be a part of it.

"She was fortunate enough to have good draws right through this series, which have helped. She's got better and better as the races have gone on. Very happy with her, she felt very sharp tonight and did leave the gate a lot better, which made it a lot easier."

 

IM READY JET WINS THE ALDEBARAN PARK 2YO TROTTING FILLIES' FINAL

A difficult night for Yabby Dam Farms gained a significant silver lining as Anton Golino and Glen Craven captured their Group 1 when Im Ready Jet put in a scintillating finish to win her TAB Breeders Crown final.

Having lost a protest in the three-year-old boys class after All Cashed Up galloped in the closing stages, there was no question as to the winner in the fillies' final with Im Ready Jet careering away for a 20-metre win from Jaxnme and Illawong Stardust.

"She was just jogging at the 400 and it was just a matter of trotting to the line," Craven told Sky Racing Active. "I was quite surprised on her last start how quick she can run a last quarter. I knew if the pace was on and she was thereabouts in the run she would be hard to hold out."

Craven was particularly pleased for Golino and Yabby Dam Farms owner Pat Driscoll.

"They put so much into the sport. Unfortunately that poor bloke (All Cashed Up)'s run three seconds in Group 1s now, but that's how it's going to be. This filly, she's something special."

 

GOODTIME HEAVEN WINS THE VINCENT @ ALABAR CHAMPIONSHIP FOR 4YO MARES

The pressure came but you wouldn't have known it as reinsman Glen Craven and mare Goodtime Heaven sat cool as a cucumber in front and then when it came time to win the night's final title they put paid to all comers.

The Courtney Slater-trained leader held the front and withstood pressure from $2.70 chance Art Series in the breeze, with the latter's reinswoman Amanda Turnbull attempting to hold at bay favourite Nostra Villa's three-wide advance.

Craven and Goodtime Heaven answered the challenge with a 28.5-second first quarter and then had enough to get home in 57.7 seconds for the final 800 metres to take the Crown with a nine-metre win from Major Sea.

"It's been a nice night after all, a second and two wins, I'll take that," Craven told Sky Racing Active.

"She didn't get it all her own way tonight, she's such a good little racehorse, she's so quick off the arm and was able to settle and let the horse outside the leader sit in front of her the whole way. When I asked her to go she went good."

 

Michael Howard

HRV Trots Media

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