Day At The Track

Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory

11:05 PM 25 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Line Up,Harness racing
Line Up
Stuart McCormick photo

An extraordinary night for Anthony Butt, who claimed both the Victoria Derby and Oaks, and a ground-breaking performance by Lochinvar Art highlighted a stunning Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory.

The Alabar 4YO Bonanza proved a scintillating spectacle that re-wrote the record books, with Lochinvar Art winning from Self Assured in a time of 1:48.6 to record the first Victorian sub-1.50 mile rate.

In addition Temporale produced an imposing win and Always Fast became the first Mercury80 champion amid a cavalcade of highlights captured in Live Blog.


Group 1 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby

Anthony Butt doubled-down on a sublime night for the reinsman as he added the Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby to an earlier Victoria Oaks triumph.

Line Up carried his favouritism status with aplomb in the night’s $200,000 feature Group 1, having been in a class of his own out of the gate to claim the lead and holding a late challenge from Governor Jujon to salute in the three-year-old classic at Tabcorp Park Melton.

Butt said he got a lot of “satisfaction” from the victory, having not only driven but trained the winner, though he was quick to share the accolades.

“Sonya (Smith’s) a major part in it and the staff at home – Cam and Ash and Grace – it’s not a one-man band so it’s immensely satisfying,” Butt said. “Also Ray Green, he sent the horse over (from New Zealand) in magnificent order and we’ve just topped him off. A big team effort.”

Tonight's win never really looked in doubt as Line Up emulated his heat victory at Ballarat by comfortably finding the front, with Youaremy Sunshine advancing to the breeze for Damien Burns.

The two held those placements almost to the final bend, when Line Up spaced the chasing bunch with a 26.8-second third quarter and closing with a 27.8-second final 400 metres, which was enough to win by 1.6 metres from Grant Dixon’s Governor Jujon.

“He’s a lovely horse, very relaxed,” Butt said. “He just went to sleep in front, that’s what he likes. He just goes along, same the other night at Ballarat, when I pulled the plugs around the bend he really zipped away. It was a big effort.”

It was also a big result for owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, not only with Line Up winning but their other entrant, Perfect Stride, running third.

“He’s a fantastic owner,” Butt said of Emilio. “He’s been in the game a long time and certainly spends millions and millions of dollars on his horses. He just absolutely loves them. You can see the satisfaction he’s getting tonight, it was a huge thrill when he offered Sonya and I the job, and we are just rapt to get so much success so early for them.”

Emilio said “it is an absolute dream”.

“It doesn’t get any better than this. Yes we put a lot of money into it, we all die one day, you can’t take it with you,” he said.

“I love a challenge, and when I started in this sport people told me, mate, that guy just loves to waste money, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, half them are dead and the other ones are broke, I’m still here.”


Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Oaks

Dr Susan broke in a false start, then broke the hearts of her rivals with a 26.3-second third quarter to set up victory in the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Oaks.

The all-the-way win was scored by 4.4 metres from favourite Stylish Memphis, a satisfying win for reinsman Anthony Butt and co-trainers Nathan Purdon and Cran Dalgety, which the latter dedicated to Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang.

“I just saw my good friend Gavin Lang today,” Dalgety said post-race. “Gavin’s having a wee bit of an off time, if I can dedicate a race I’m going to dedicate it to that good man Gavin Lang. It seems a bit hollow tonight not having him win one of these big races.”

It was a fitting dedication given the might of Dr Susan’s performance, having worked to the front after Good Faith and Rockingwithsierra burned early and then controlled proceedings from there.

“The draw was great for her, she found the front pretty easily,” Butt said. “I kept her out of the early burn and then went around when the pace eased and she got a really good first lap.”

After moderate first (29.6-second) and second (29.3-second) quarters, Butt stepped on the gas.

“I knew Mark was still back in the field about a lap out, so I slowly just kept up the pace. I knew he would be coming down the back, I didn’t look around.”

A 26.3-second third quarter made making ground difficult.

“You leave yourself open doing that, but Stylish Memphis is a great filly and I didn’t want her getting close.”

Dr Susan then had enough left in the tank to hold on and win, with Rockingwithsierra boxing on well to finish third for Gary Hoban and John Caldow.


Group 2 Allied Express Casey Classic

Mach Shard sent a shiver down rivals’ spines a week out from the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup, crashing the line to win a quickly run Allied Express Casey Classic.

The pace was bristling throughout but it was the Barry Purdon-trained and Zac Butcher-driven five-year-old Kiwi who was hitting the line best to win the $50,000 Group 2 in a 1:52.2 mile rate, only 0.7 of a second outside Bling It On’s track record.

“All the credit goes to Barry (Purdon) and all the boys back home and at Craig (Demmler’s) place,” Butcher said. “They put all the hard work into this fella. (Barry’s) a master, he’s a freak and I’m just lucky to be in the seat I am in, just ride the wave while I’m here.”

Butcher was happy to wait while others poured on the pace, with Jilliby Bandit finding the front with Triple Eight on his outside, and when Thefixer loomed three-wide there was no easy move to the breeze.

                                                                                     --Stuart McCormick photo

Triple Eight pressed, eventually working past Jilliby Bandit and allowing Thefixer into the running line, but the leader’s had paid a price and were exposed when Cash N Flow flashed around the field to lead, only to be nabbed late by Mach Shard.

“He went super,” Butcher said. “He got stuck a bit wide on that bend when they were running really hard. You probably lose a length or two just being a bit wider.

“Then when he straightened up I thought he was a chance to get (Cash N Flow). I will give it to Mach Shard he fought hard and got there in the finish.”

They ran incredible time in the final 1200 metres, clocking quarters of 27 seconds, 27.3 second and getting home in 27.4 seconds, with Mach Shard eventually winning by 1.3 metres from Cash N Flow and My Kiwi Mate running into third.

For Mach Shard and Butcher it was a great lead-in to next week’s $500,000 Grand Circuit headliner, the A. G. Hunter Cup.

“Barry mentioned to me not long ago that he has taken the next step this horse and he was spot on.

“He keeps getting better and better and tonight proved that as well. The fact that he can hit the line like he did when a lot were probably dropping out, that’s what you have got to take out of that race and into next week’s Hunter Cup. He might even get a bit better with than run.”


Group 1 Alabar 4YO Bonanza

Lochinvar Art has left no doubt that he’s at the pointy end of the Australasian pacing scene, winning the Group 1 Alabar 4YO Bonanza for trainer-driver David Moran ahead of Self Assured.

The pair separated themselves from the field in a boldly run race, with Lochinvar Art stealing a march on the competition leading into the final turn to record a memorable win.

“He’s just a legend really,” Moran said. “I don’t know what more to say, I’m chuffed and lost for words really. He’s been really good all week. He’s just a champion.”

Moran worked forward from the gates but had to wait as those inside him found position before finding the front with Lochinvar Art, comfortable that whatever work he had to do Self Assured had to do more.

“Tonight (Self Assured) had to cover a bit extra ground,” he said. “We were happy to keep him running, while we were one-off and then in front he was going to be three-wide and then one-off, so he was going to have to do a lot more work than us. If we were going to beat him tonight was the night.”

Moran kicked into the final turn and created a buffer that Self Assured wouldn’t threaten, with Hurricane Harley running into third, but the Group 1 was always in Lochinvar Art’s keeping.

“He’s just that sort of horse, nothing worries him whatsoever – distance wise, class wise – just nothing worries him at all.”

Moran said providing all fell into place the four-year-old would be directed towards Sydney’s Chariots Of Fire, having earned qualification into the final with tonight’s victory.


Group 2 Mercury80 Final

Always Fast has made history, becoming the first Mercury80 winner with Emma Stewart's aptly named pacer leading all the way to salute in the Group 2 $50,000 final.

The $2 favourite lived up to its billing, not only producing an all-the-way win in reinswoman Kima Frenning's hands but setting the fastest time of the series, having stopped the clock at 81.4 seconds.

"It's hard not to do it on him, because he's just so cruisy," Frenning said. "It feels like you are going in second gear and he goes even 27-second quarters. I didn't do much, Emma (Stewart) and the team do a really great job with him. I'm very grateful."

Always Fast endured pressure from Call Me Hector in a 26.7-second first quarter but managed to hold the lead and was largely unthreatened from there, producing 27.7-second and 27.0-second quarters to secure the win.

"He probably took a little bit too wind up out of the gate, but he held them and then after that he did everything pretty comfortably really."

Off The Radar finished second for trainer-driver Richie Caruana and Fourbigmen third, while Frenning and the connections of Always Fast snapped up a further $20,000 bonus after their four-year-old won in the fastest time of the series.

"I think it's a good concept with the four heats and the final and a bit of a bonus, it's great," Frenning said.


HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

HRV Trots Media Live Blog

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