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Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile winner James Rattray has made a successful hit and run harness racing mission to the NSW Riverina region. Rattray, based at Exeter in the Southern Highlands, two hours south of Sydney, loaded up three of his stable members last Friday and headed to Wagga Wagga, a three and a half hour road trip. He got the money with two of them, which punters sent out as warm favorites, and later on the program picked up a winning catch drive for fellow trainer David Kennedy. "I've been there a few times in recent years and usually do okay. It's an easy drive down the Hume Highway and the 1000 metre track is pretty good," Rattray said. "We were lucky last season to post a double there in two $50,000 feature races," he said. At his latest visit to Wagga, Rattray won in consecutive events. Rossini (Mach Three-Miss Fantastic (Falcon Seelster) set the tone with an easy win in the Conquest Pools Pace, while Star Major (Art Major-Vertigal (Western Terror) was probably even more impressive with an 18 metre runaway victory in the TAB Odds and Evens Pace. Rossini stopped the clock at 1.53-1 which set a new track record for a four-year-old, while Star Major was super impressive in 1.51-8 which broke the overall track record. "Our other stable runner was Operative Anna who went around in the 3yo fillies heat. She galloped and was out the back, but we are battling a bit of soreness with her at the moment," Rattray said. Rattray, who has a team of 20 horses in work, is well-known through his association with former champion Beautide. The pacer won 49 races and over $2 million including three high profile events in the 2013-14 season-the Inter Dominion Final, the Miracle Mile and the Len Smith Mile. Rattray's Wagga driving treble came courtesy of bay gelding Mammals Prince (Rock N Roll Heaven-Mammals Rocket (Pacific Rocket) in the 3yo colts and geldings' heat for highly respected local trainer David Kennedy. It was Rattray's first drive for Kennedy, who has been amongst the winners regularly again this year. The stable has had 53 victories for the 12-month period ending August 31 and Mammals Rock's win is among another eight for the stable since then. "The horse went super because it was his first-up run from a spell," Rattray said. "He hadn't been to the trials, so David certainly had him forward enough for his race appearance." Rattray said he was thrilled in the way Star Major had come on during this extended season. "He's only been lightly raced because we decided to really look after him. We'll sit down and pick out a few races for him to target," he said. "We've got a few who are VicBred eligible horses and we will more than likely look toward Victoria with Star Major. "He is raced by Dean York and family. They are very good clients who have been with me since I moved to Exeter a few years ago. They also have a lovely horse in Delightful Angel, who won at Penrith last start in a NSWBC fillies heat."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

DUAL Inter Dominion winner Jimmy Rattray is warming to the thought of being part of this year’s Auckland series. But it will be another couple of weeks before he makes the final call. The possibility of taking a couple of his former Tasmanian stars across to Auckland gained momentum when stable newcomer Harjeet won a Menangle trial yesterday (Monday). Stable star Ignatius returns to the trials at Menangle next Monday. “Both seem well, but I want to get a trial or two into them then make the decision on Auckland,” Rattray said. Harjeet, now six, raced 31 times for 17 wins and nine placings in Tasmania for Rattray’s brother, Todd, before being sent to NSW a couple of months back. His record is quite similar back in Tasmania to the mighty Beautide, who went to another level after being moved to Sydney where he won two Inter Dominion titles. “The family has always had a big opinion of this horse and he’s come-up well. It was good to get that trial into him,” Rattray said. Harjeet won the mile trial by 4.5m in 1min53.8sec and closed in splits of 55.3 and 27.4sec. “Ignatius is ready to trial as well, but I’ll wait until next week for him,” Rattray said. The Auckland Inter Dominion flavour stretched to yesterday’s (Monday) Bathurst trials where three contenders, Steve Turnbull’s Atomic Red and Courtsinsession as well as Amanda Turnbull’s Ellmers Image, clashed in the opening trial. It was another local, Misterfreeze, who won the 1730m trial in blazing 1min53.4sec mile rate by whisker over Ellmers Image with Courtsinession another head away third. Atomic Red was beaten just 4.7m in fourth spot. The mile rate was just one-second outside Mista Lombo’s track record. Steve Turnbull’s pair, Courtsinsession (gate 10) and Atomic Red (11), both returns from spells in the free-for-all at Menangle on Sunday.   By Adam Hamilton

Jimmy Rattray is not fazed by the disappointing Aussie raid at the Harness Jewels. Instead, he’s excited at the prospect of attacking the NZ Cup and Auckland Inter Dominion with stable star Ignatius. But first comes the NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO series and a possible Queensland raid. “There’s no shortage of options for him, but I’ve got to work out what’s best given I’m really keen on the NZ Cup and Inter Dominion,” Rattray said. Ignatius returns from a freshen-up in the free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night, but it won’t be easy from the outside draw. “At least it’s 2300m, which helps overcome the draw. He’s really well going into it, but you always need luck from out there,” Rattray said. “He’s had those couple of runs at the smaller tracks and had bad draws, but it’s good to get back to the big track at Menangle. “He’s ready to go this week, but the run will top him off for the semis of the Breeders Challenge two weeks later.” Beyond the Breeders Challenge final on June 30, Rattray said he was weighing-up options in the Queensland Winter Carnival, which could include the Group 1 double of Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. “I have to work through whether Queensland fits and, if so, what races, but it’s all about having him right for NZ. He’ll be a five-year-old then and it’s the ideal time to tackle an Inter Dominion,” he said. “Auckland doesn’t bother me at all, he takes everything in is stride this horse. Going the other way isn’t an issue with him, he does a few laps that way quite often at home and is just a comfortable either way.” Rattray is the first trainer to public declare his NZ Cup plans, but expect many other Aussies to follow with the ideal timing just a couple of weeks before the Auckland Inter Dominion.   Adam Hamilton

IF you’re a fan of the NZ Cup, then make sure you tune in a race at Penrith in suburban Sydney on Thursday night. One of Australia’s most exciting young pacers Ignatius kick-starts a campaign which will see him tackle the NZ Cup and then the Auckland Inter Dominion. “We’re very keen on the NZ Cup, especially with the Inters starting just a couple of weeks later,” trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray said. “Plus, Gareth (Rattray, Jimmy’s brother) gave him a few standing-start runs back in Tassie and he really handled it well.” Ignatius won his Chariots Of Fire lead-up then drew poorly in the big one itself and finished down the track. He’s been freshened since. “He’s been working well at home, pleased with a strong trial win in 1min53sec and change last Tuesday and he’s ready to go,” Rattray said. “The problem we have at Penrith is the draw. Inside the back around that tight track could be tricky. “But the time I took him to Penrith he went as good as he ever has in any race, anywhere. It was an amazing win, so I know he loves the little track.” Ignatius has opened $3 second elect on the Aussie TAB with the older and in-form Ellmers Image $2.80 favourite from outside the back row. This Renshaw Cup is a ripper with other class runners including Brent Lilley’s recent Kiwi import Sicario (gate five, $5) and Kevin Pizzuto’s Harness Jewels hopeful Picard (six, $5). Beyond Penrith, Ignatius will head to the one-time Grand Circuit race – the $65,000 Group 2 Treuer Memorial – at Bankstown on April 26. “Then it’s into the Breeders Challenge series before we decide on whether to take him to Queensland for their winter features or rest him and focus just on NZ. He could do both,” Rattray said. “He really enjoyed that little freshen-up after the Chariots and it’s exciting to have him back racing again.”   Adam Hamilton

Tasmanian champion four-year-old Ignatius suffered from another horror draw in Saturday night's Group 1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire. Trainer-driver James Rattray had no other option than to press forward in the early stages from a wide draw, but was trapped three-wide through the first turn in a scintillating first quarter of 26 seconds and drew up into the death seat through the second split of 27.9-seconds. The enormous effort started to take its toll in the home stretch as the Emma Stewart trained Poster Boy, with Chris Alford in the sulky, swamped the early speed setters to claim the Chariots Of Fire and record a mile-rate of 1:49.1. Ignatius battled on courageously in the straight to finish ninth, 15.3-metres from the winner.   Shane Yates

Todd and James Rattray have enjoyed a glorious run with their star pacer Ignatius, tonight at Menangle they plan another step in the successful journey with a tilt at victory in the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire. Ignatius earned his place in the $200,000 4YO feature with a sensational win in last week’s Group 2 Paleface Adios Stakes. “He couldn’t be better than he is right now, Todd has prepared him perfectly for this campaign, he has eased him through a slight setback in January and got him right for the trip,” said James. “His run last week to win the Paleface Adios Stakes was certainly one of his best ever performances and has him primed for an all-out assault on the Group 1 tonight against the best in the land.” Ignatius drew wide in the Paleface Adios and did some early work out three-wide through the first turn before James found the death-seat outside the favourite Chase Auckland. “Chase Auckland and Ignatius have drawn almost identical gates to last week, Chase Auckland is in one again we are again out wide in eight but Ignatius returned his career best mile-rate of 1:50.2 to beat him last time and he has felt even better at home during the week,” said James. “Chase Auckland, Poster Boy, Picard and Ashley Locaz are all topliners but they will know Ignatius is there when the pressure is on turning for home over 1609-metres, the winner receives an invitation to the Miracle Mile so there’s a lot on the line.” Todd made the trip to Sydney during the week and was there to keep a close eye on Ignatius as he was taken into the Retention Barn at Menangle Park on Thursday. “He’s looking and feeling great, he put up a great performance last week and that will have just topped him off perfectly for the Chariots,” said Todd. “Ignatius couldn’t be in better hands than James, we have a great relationship, racing to us has always been a family affair, we all share the ups and downs together and that’s the way it should be, let’s hope we all have something to celebrate tonight.”   Shane Yates

Tasmania’s champion pacer Ignatius took another giant step in his quest for Chariots Of Fire glory by winning Saturday night’s Group 2 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle. Ignatius scored one of the most sensational victories of his illustrious career to assure himself a berth in the $200,000 four-year-old Group 1 Classic. Despite again having no luck with the barrier draw, starting from barrier nine in a field of 10, James Rattray went forward in the early stages and found cover out three-wide on the track before running to the death at the thousand-metre mark. With quarters of 28 seconds and 29 seconds behind them, Ignatius applied the blow torch to the race favourite Chase Auckland ($1.75) as they thundered through the third quarter in 26.7 seconds. Turning for home James called upon his champion for the supreme effort and just as he has done throughout his career Ignatius responded. The Lyrae Rattray-owned four-year-old (pictured) showed all of his courage and superstar qualities to take the lead and stave off the challenges down the never-ending Menangle home straight to win by a half-neck in his career-best time of 1:50.2 seconds. “He went great, his two runs back this campaign have been enormous, he seems to have pulled up well from last night and is keen to get out into the paddock this morning,” said James. “He went to the post strongly and felt comfortable when holding off the challenges over the last 400-metres, I couldn’t hope for him to be in better shape, the Chariots Of Fire has always been his target and he will be right in the finish, we are due for a good draw so fingers crossed for that to be this week.” The amazing victory was the 17th of a 21 start career for the Roll With Joe-Ashkalini gelding. Shane Yates

A STAR-studded field of three-year-old boys has been assembled to contest tonight’s $195,000 IRT Group 1 Breeders Crown final. And racing, punting and media experts believe it is shaping at the season’s greatest harness race. Eight Group 1s are scheduled,peaking at 8.33pm with the three-year-old colts and geldings final. The voice of Victorian harness racing, Dan Mielicki, said there was a possibility this could be the best race in Victoria this season. “The high-quality depth is obvious,” he said. “It’s the end of the three-year-old season and looking at horses like Ignatius, Ride High, who is possibly still on the up, Poster Boy is such a classy professional and the Derby winner (Colt Thirty One) has drawn gate one and is almost an afterthought. “If people are struggling to put the Derby winner in their top three, that gives a reflection of how strong it is.” The quality is also reflected in the numbers. When compared to the previous four stagings of the race, the winning percentage of this year’s class (47 per cent of all starts) far exceeds any other. The next highest was 41 per cent in 2015-16, when Menin Gate saluted, and the average winning mile rate (1:56.6) was almost two seconds slower than this year’s contenders. The depth is not lost on top New Zealand trainer-driver Mark Purdon, who will steer South East Derby winner Duplicated, a $35 TAB chance, from gate 12. “The overall quality is high, four or five of the best chances could win any other year,” he said. “James Rattray’s Ignatius heat run was very, very good, as was Poster Boy — they are two real class acts.” Their war in last Saturday night’s Breeders Crown semifinal at Bendigo is burned into the memory of leading bookmaker Tom Hogan. “Poster Boy and Ignatius were the best of the heat runs,” he said. “I’d probably tip Poster Boy from Ignatius, but the depth and quality — I’m sure in 18 months’ these horses are going in Grand Circuit races and I’m sure they will measure up. “I’ve never seen a field like this — it presents as one of the greatest three-year-old races I’ve seen in the last 20 years. “This field is as good as you can get … usually you only get one or two that stand out, this time it’s five or six.” Michael Howard

TRAINER-driver James Rattray is optimistic about drawing the second row with his star pacer Ignatius in Saturday night’s Group 1 Breeders Crown Final at Melton, Victoria. Ignatius will start from barrier 10 and it will be the fourth time in his 18-start career that he will begin from the back line. “I don’t think it’s the worst draw,” said Rattray. “It makes the race interesting because some of the others have drawn a bit tricky as well.” Ignatius holds the favouritism to win the $195,000 epic battle despite facing the second defeat of his career in the semi-final last weekend. The three-year-old is currently ranked as the $3 TAB Fixed Odds favourite to win over the likes of Poster Boy ($4.20), Ride High ($4.50) and Colt Thirty One ($5). “Colt Thirty One has drawn well and looks like one of the main dangers with the draw,” said Rattray. “Poster Boy and Ride High are the other main dangers and they have drawn the second row too. “It makes for an interesting race and my tactics will just depend on how the race is run. “Ignatius is pretty versatile.” Ignatius was defeated by Poster Boy in last Saturday’s qualifier at Bendigo. After being forced to do the work outside the leader, Ignatius was only beaten a head in track recording-breaking time. The mile rate for the 2150m event was of 1:54.2. “He took no ill effects from that run . . . he has been bright and sharp ever since,” said Rattray. “His work has been good as well. “He hasn’t had a race like that for a long time so it was a bit of a wake up for him. “It was a huge run from him considering he sat parked and they broke the track record and he kept fighting to the line. “He has such a high cruising speed, I knew we were running along but it didn’t feel like it was in track record time. “He is so versatile and can do all the work and he’s come from behind to win before, like when he won the Breeders Challenge as a two-year-old, so we have options.” Ignatius won 13 races in a row before his recent second-placed effort. The son of Roll With Joe has won 16 races and has pocketed $283,134 in prizemoney.   Amanda Rando

IT is the Jewel in the Crown, literally. This epic showdown between the best modern era crop of three-year-olds Australia has seen is the standout highlight of Breeders Crown Super Saturday. And it’s come at a crucial time with the new wave – including NZ’s Chase Auckland when he returns - offering the solution to our desperately think open-class stocks across Australia and NZ. But, for now, we await this awesome contest between the likes of former Tasmanian pacer Ignatius, glamour Emma Stewart pair Poster Boy and Ride High, gun Queenslander Colt Thirty One and the support cast. Emma Stewart has qualified half the field – six of the 12 finalists -  but such is the depth she doesn’t even have the favourite. Ignatius, despite suffering just his second defeat in 18 starts when edged-out by Poster Boy in their semi-final, has been backed from $3.50 into $3 on the Aussie TAB despite drawing the back row (gate 10) in the final. “I was proud of him last week. He did the work, they broke the track record and Poster Boy just got him,” trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray said. “The run should bring him just that little bit more as well.” Poster Boy, already a winner of the NSW Derby and Vicbred finals this term, is her most favoured runner. He’s been $4.50 into $4.20 from gate nine. “He just shouldn’t have been able to do that,” said driver Chris Alford, shaking his head after Poster Boy came three-wide without cover in a 55sec last half to edge-out Ignatius. Stewart’s other runners are the untapped Ride High (gate 12, $4.50), who beat stablemate Konan (gate eight, $5) in the other semi. She also has outsiders Maraetai (gate seven, $16), Major Times (gate five, $26) and Tam Major (gate two, $35). Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One had little luck when fifth in his semi behind Ride High, but drew to be a big factor from the pole in the final. “I think he’s in the top five of an amazingly strong crop,” trainer-driver Grant Dixon said. “We needed a good draw and got it. “You’ve got to use these draws. Plan A is to get out as quick as can and hold the lead if possible. “I know the pressure will be on, but I’d rather be in front than anywhere else.”   Adam Hamilton

Tasmania’s superstar pacer Ignatius is through to the IRT Breeders Crown Final after running a sensational second to Poster Boy in his $20,000 Semi-Final tonight at Bendigo. The James Rattray trained and driven dual Group 1 winning three-year-old was forced to sit in the death seat outside the Emma Stewart-trained Tasmanian Derby winner Maraetai. Maraetai kicked on the home corner and led Ignatius by four metres but the Tasmanian champion was in for the fight. “I called on him at the 400-metre mark as the leader sneaked away and he responded like the fighter he is, slowly but surely he was closing the gap on the front-runner and then Chris Alford came with Poster Boy and put his head in front but Ignatius kept coming and he’s only gone down by a half neck,” said James full of admiration. “To cap it off the Semi was run in track record time of 1:54.1 and he never wilted at any stage, it was a courageous effort, he had the seven-hour float trip earlier in the week and he now has another week to acclimatise and ready himself for the Final, the tough run will just top him off nicely.” Leading Victorian trainer Emma Stewart dominated the earlier Semi-Final with her four stable runners filling the first four placings. Ride High made it seven wins from eight career starts, including a win in Launceston on Final night of the Bandox and Glode Derby in May, with a brilliant display accounting for stablemates Konan, Major Times and Tam Major, but the race was run in much slower time than the second Semi recording 1:56.3. “We didn’t get any favours with the barrier draw in the Final starting from three on the second line,” said James. “But both of Emma’s top hopes are drawn out the back as well so it could have been worse, I’m confident he will do us proud in the Final.” The draw for next Saturday nights IRT Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Final. 1 Colt Thirty One 2 Tam Major 3 Braeview Bondi 4 Diamonds N Cash 5 Major Times 6 Brackenreid (emerg) 7 Maraetai —–Second row—– 8 Konan 9 Poster Boy 10 Ignatius 11 Duplicated 12 Ride High 13 Alpha Charlie   The Paul Ashwood-trained Max Delight, driven by Rohan Hillier, ran a huge race at odds of $58 when fourth behind Centenario in his Semi Final of the Two-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Division, beaten 10.6-metres.Max Delight has drawn outside the front line in seven for the Final. Shane Yates

Tasmania’s champion three-year-old pacer Ignatius has arrived in Victoria in preparation for his bid for Breeders Crown glory. The James Rattray-trained and driven superstar will take his place in the $20,000 second Semi-Final of the Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Division of the IRT Breeders Crown on Saturday night at Bendigo. “We floated him down from New South Wales on Monday night to the stables of Keith Cotchin here at Elmore, the trip took seven hours but he handled it well and has settled in perfectly and eating just as he does at home,” said James. “I gave him a good hit out on Wednesday morning and he worked well, I will give him a couple of jogs in the cart and a little light work between now and Saturday.” Ignatius is unbeaten this season and will carry a record of winning streak of 13 into the Semi-Final including 11 straight this season. “I’ve been very happy with his performances this season, he crushed his rivals at Penrith and smashed the track record there after doing all the work, then went back to Menangle and streeted them in the Semi-Final of the New South Wales Breeders and strolled home in the Final,” said James. “He won his heat of this series at Menangle and then followed up with a 10-metre MO victory going 1:53.3, so he’s ticking over nicely.” Ignatius has started at the prohibitive odds of $1.04 at his last four outings but has been quoted at $1.50 in pre-post markets for Saturday’s Semi-Final. “I’d expect Emma Stewart and Chris Alford’s Poster Boy to be the main danger Saturday night and Duplicated for Dean Braun has been going well, they have both won seven races this season,” said the dual Interdominion winning trainer and reinsman. “Ignatius has drawn five on the front line and will start from the four alley with the early scratching of  Mach Up, so he is ideally suited and he has the speed to lead so we will more than likely use that to advantage.” Ignatius will run in race seven at 20.00 while the Paul Ashwood-trained Max Delight will tackle race eight the Two-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Division of the Breeders Crown at 20.30.   Shane Yates

There is no more exciting pacer in Australia than Ignatius. The former Tasmanian three-year-old heads to Victoria for his Breeders Crown assault with a 16 wins from just 17 starts. And he's won his past 13 starts on end. With the disturbing attrition rate in our open-class ranks, some say Ignatius may already be the best pacer in Australia. Even trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray (pictured) admits that attrition rate has turned his mind to "possibly" nominating Ignatius for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series in December. “I might nominate, but all I’m focused on at the moment is the Breeders Crown. As good as he’s looked this season, these runs in Victoria will be the next step for him when you consider how strong this crop of three-year-olds is. How can not have enormous respect for Emma Stewart’s horses like Poster Boy and Ride High and there’s plenty of others as well,” Rattray said. “I’ve been amazed how much he’s just kept improving with every start this season and I think he’s a really special horse, but this Breeders Crown will be a test, no doubt. “I’m certainly not making any plans beyond the Crown final.” Rattray is floating Ignatius from Sydney to Keith Cotchin’s stables, not far from Bendigo where the Crown semi-finals will be run on Saturday week. The Aussie TAB has Ignatius $2.30 prepost favourite for the Breeders Crown final from Ride High ($3.80), Poster Boy ($6), Colt Thirty One ($8) and Duplicated ($9). If Ignatius conquers the Crown, it becomes a juggling act if Rattray opts to chase the Inter Dominion, which starts on December 1 at Melton. How long a spell can he give Ignatius after the Crown to then have him primed for the Inter Dominion, but also being mindful of races like the Chariots Of Fire, Miracle Mile and NSW Breeders Challenge in the early to middle parts of next year?   By Adam Hamilton & Harness Racing New Zealand For The Trots  

SUPERSTAR Tasmanian pacer Ignatius continued on his winning way in Sydney last Saturday night with another effortless victory, this time in an M0 pace over 1609 metres against quality opposition. The James Rattray-trained three-year-old remains unbeaten from 11 starts this season as he heads towards the Breeders Crown series in Victoria. If the gelded son of Roll with Joe can emerge from that series with his unbeaten record intact, few would argue that he will own the Australian three-year-old of the year title. In this latest assignment, Ignatius showed good early speed to lead from gate seven and once in front Rattray ensured a modest first half before allowing his stable star to sprint home the last 800 metres in a slick 54.8 to score untouched by 10 metres from The Golden Cross with The Major Rocket almost three metres astern. The Tasmanian connections of Ignatius pocketed the prize money three starts back when he blitzed his rivals in the Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge final at Menangle on July 1 and he followed up with another easy win in a Breeders Crown heat at the same venue just over two weeks later. Rattray will take the gelding to Melbourne next week to prepare for his Breeders Crown semi-final and if successful he will line up in the $200,000 Group 1 final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday fortnight. Ignatius’ career record stands at 16 wins and a second from 17 starts for $269,934 in stakes.   Peter Staples

The All Stars barn unleashes a couple of its key Breeders Crown players when Harness Jewels winners Our Princess Tiffany and Im Anothermasterpiece step-out at Menangle on Tuesday. Under the quirk of the different racing seasons, Our Princess Tiffany is of course still a juvenile in Australia and will tackle boys and girls of her own age in the third race. Although sure to be a hot favourite, it’s not a “gimme” race with talented Christian Cullen gelding Regulus, a winner of five of his 10 starts, drawn to lead from gate six. Our Princess Tiffany has gate seven. In a differing quick, although still a two-year-old in Australia, Im Anothermasterpiece, tackles open-aged rivals in the fourth race. The Aussie TAB has Our Princess Tiffany $1.80 favourite in the Breeders Crown final prepost market from Kualoa at $3.20. Im Anothermasterpiece is $4.50 third favourite in the two-year-old colts and geldings final behind Emma Stewart’s star pair Hurricane Harley ($2.40) and Centenario ($3.40). Still on the All Stars’ barn and their emerging open-class pacer Cash N Flow turned heads even in defeat at his first Menangle run last Saturday night. Team Tritton’s speedy My Alpha Rock controlled the tempo from outside the lead and zipped away with a huge lead before Cash N Flow stormed home from near out and out very wide to finish just a head away in second spot. Cash N Flow was clocked to run 54.7sec last half. _______________________________________________________________________ THE countdown to the Breeders Crown continues with Victoria’s two heats for juvenile fillies at Ballarat Tuesday night and two colts and geldings heats at Kilmore on Wednesday night. At Ballarat, most focus will be on Emma Stewart’s powerhouse Vicbred final winner Kualoa, who is considered the main threat to the All Stars’ brilliant filly Princess Tiffany. Kualoa will have a fascinating battle in her heat with gifted stablemate Two Times Bettor, who ran second to Kualoa in the Vicbred final, drawn the pole. Kualoa has gate four. At Kilmore, numbers are surprisingly thin, but the quality is great with Stewart having six of the 15 runners across the two heats. The first heat has Australian Gold and Vicbred winner Centenario drawn the pole and the one to beat, but Tim Butt’s buzz new stable addition Whereyabinboppin (gate five), Nostra Ideal (two), Fourbigmen (six) and College Chapel (eight) also command respect. Stewart certainly holds the key to the second heat with the brilliant Hurricane Harley (seven) and her NSW Breeders Challenge winner Hardhitter (six). _______________________________________________________________________ THE hype just keeps growing around Ignatius and its easy to see why. The former Tasmanian three-year-old, now in Jimmy Rattray’s care, made it 16 wins from 17 starts when he toyed with older rivals at Menangle on Saturday night. The son of Roll With Joe led, dictated through a 58.5sec first half then Rattray allowed him a little rein for a 54.8sec closing half to win with plenty in reserve in a 1min53.3sec mile. It will be fantastic to see him step-up against the best of his age in the upcoming Breeders Crown semi and final. Also at Menangle, Amanda Turnbull’s emerging four-year-old Ellmers Image caused a big upset when stalked hot favourite Gotta Go Ya Hu and simply beat him for zip in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes in a 1min51.4sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu led easily with Ellmers Image on his back and they dawdled through a 58sec first half before ripping home in splits of 26.5 and 26.9sec. _______________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton looks to have another feature race at their mercy with exciting juvenile Muscle Factory. The Roll With Joe colt won his Brisbane Australian Gold Graduates heat at Albion Park by half the straight last Friday night and should be far too classy in next Saturday night’s final at the same track. Muscle Factory worked forward to lead for Lauren Tritton and cleared out to win by 36.4m in a flying 1min54.1sec mile rate for 1660m. By comparison, talented Art Major filly For All We Know dominated the first heat to win by 8.6m, but went a much slower 1min58.5sec mile rate. _______________________________________________________________________ IT has taken The Storm Inside almost three seasons to build his unbeaten streak of 11 wins, but he looks primed to make up for lost time. Emma Stewart’s rising five-year-old scored with ease again at Melton on Saturday night – in a sharp 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2240m – as he prepares to step into much better races.   Adam Hamilton

STAR Tasmania pacer Ignatius has set another track record and this time it was at least an Australasian best for a three-year-old. Ignatius led throughout to win a heat of the Australasian Breeders Crown series at Menangle on Tuesday with his mile rate of 1.53.5 over the 2300-metre trip shattering the previous best set by Sushi Sushi and The Black Prince (1.54.1) by six-tenths of a second. The James Rattray-trained gelding led and set scintillating sections coming home his last 800 metres in 56 seconds. According to Rattray there was a helicopter parked in the centre of the arena and he was frightened it might break his stable star’s concentration so he placed a racing hood over the horse’s head but that only led to the three-year-old becoming “fired up”. “Putting the hood on sort of back-fired but he did a great job all the same.” Ignatius had scored by 15 metres at his previous outing in the final of the Group 1 Breeders Challenge series which he won by 15 metres and hard-held but on Tuesday the winning margin was only 2-1/2 metres ahead of Royal Gamble. “The margin might not have been as big as in previous wins but he still did it comfortably and there was a bit in reserve.” Rattray said he would wait and see how the horse pulls up before deciding whether he needs another run before tackling the Breeders Crown semi-final at Bendigo in Victoria on August 18 with the final to be run at Tabcorp Park, Melton, the following week. Peter Staples

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