Day At The Track

Vicbred Classic Finals for two-year-old trotters

05:35 AM 25 May 2015 NZST
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Josh Aiken and impressive trotting filly Princess Phoenix
Josh Aiken and impressive trotting filly Princess Phoenix
Stuart McCormick Photo

Charlie Runkle and Princess Phoenix won last night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Finals at Tabcorp Park Melton for harness racing two-year-old trotters.

Charlie Runkle (by Angus Hall out of Star Spangled Banner) took out the colts and geldings’ final for trainer Gary Quinlan and driver Chris Alford, while trainer David Aiken and reinsman son Josh combined with Princess Phoenix (by The Pres out of Dodo Rocket) to win the fillies’.

From gate two Charlie Runkle showed gate speed from the 1720m start and easily found the pegs after polemarker Sundons Courage galloped away.

Alford handed up to Aiken on Skyflyer and waited for his turn along the sprint lane, Charlie Runkle finishing fast for a 3.4-metre victory in a rate of 2:00.6.

“(He) came out really well and got a bit keen being his first time under lights, but he was travelling well at the turn and once the sprint lane opened he got to it like an old pro,” Alford said.

Race favourite Cruisin Around ran third after covering ground three wide with no cover.

Princess Phoenix rated 2:03.7 for her win.

At the 400m she was eased three-wide by Aiken but was still 15m off frontrunner Truscott Law, who had trotted opening quarters of 32.7, 31 and 30.3.

Princess Phoenix sprinted sharply and went on to put her opposition away with apparent ease due to an impressive 400-metre burst.

“She’s a fast filly. I said the other day she might be a pretty serious filly. And she’s confirmed that,” Josh Aiken said.

Plenty of punters found both the Home Grown winners, each backed in late to $3.30.

“I think the owners might have tipped a few into her on the way here,” Aiken quipped.

Aiken explained Princess Phoenix had fired up during the warm-up but relaxed better when the mobile started to roll.

“It’s very daunting for the babies to come here under the lights. She turned it on a bit during the preliminary but once they were scoring up she became a racehorse.”

Truscott Law held down second while Maoris Got Muscle and reinsman Caleb Lewis finished third.

by Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria

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