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We have a serious new player in the big league. Former Kiwi pacer Balraj has shown freakish glimpses at times, but he firmly arrived in the big league by beating Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile winner King Of Swing on his merits at Menangle on Saturday night. For the second time in his past three runs, Balraj has defied belief to run a low 25sec closing quarter to gun down firstly Alta Orlando and now King Of Swing from their back. Watch the race replay click here. Balraj did his share of work early from the second outside draw to lead, then took a sit on King Of Swing as they ran through a 58.7sec first half. Luke McCarthy went through the third split in 27sec flat on King Of Swing, while Jimmy Rattray stalked him on Balraj, while last year’s Victoria Cup winner Bling It On was third on the pegs. King Of Swing looked to be cruising around the final bend, while Balraj paced a bit roughly and seemed to hit a flat patch, but when he balanced-up again he launched at the leader and nabbed him to win by a half-neck. King Of Swing ran his own last quarter in 25.6sec, while Balraj was clocked to go his in 25.3sec. His Victoria Cup odds were slashed from $7 to $5.50 on the Aussie TAB and he’s now equal second favourite with Lochinvar Art. Ride High is the $2.10 favourite. Bling It On was 13m away in third spot, but given his age and being first-up in such a scorching last time and last quarter, it was a really encouraging return. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ There is just some special about Gloucester Park’s best racing. After some stunning winter contests between Chicago Bull and Handsandwheels, Gloucester Park delivered another epic free-for-all last Friday night. Chicago Bull was part of it again, but this time he didn’t win. It was the enormously-talented four-year-old Shockwave who returned from a long spell with the most remarkable of wins. Clearly a bit fresh first-up, Shockwave was bustled off the gate to lead effectively “took charge” of driver Aiden De Campo in the middle stages. “It wasn’t ideal at all, he started kicking the (sulky) wheels and there wasn’t much Aiden could do,” trainer Ryan Bell said. Think about this … he ran the two middle quarters in 28.7 and 26.6. That’s a 55.3sec middle half in a testing 2536m race. And first-up. Shockwave opened-up at least a 30-40m lead in the middle stages, while Chicago Bull was parked outside As Happy Larry and had to do all the chasing. Shockwave still had a big lead on the home bend, but Chicago Bull flew at him late to miss by just a half-head. They went a 1min55.7sec mile rate for the staying trip, which compared strongly with Caviar Star’s 1min54.2sec track record from the Fremantle Cup win earlier this year. It was a mighty return from Shockwave, while Chicago Bull, also back from a four-week break, was massive in defeat. “It was a huge effort to win, but not quite the run you’d want first,” Bell said. “We’ve got time on our side before the big races so I can give him an easy week now to get over that one and then look his next race.” Throw in Vampiro and Mighty Conqueror, who are both nearing returns, and the WA open-class stocks are super exciting. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ It hasn’t taken long for recent Kiwi import Red Reactor to make his mark in Sydney. The newcomer to David Thorn’s barn grabbed the eye at his first Aussie run when second in a heat of the Group 3 series on September 5, then caused an upset but won like a horse on the rise as a $21 shot in the final of the that series at Menangle Saturday night. Anthony Butt’s Group 1-winning and emerging star Wolf Stride was a remarkable betting drift from a wide draw ($1.40 to $2.60) and had to do a power of work to find the front in opening splits for the mile of 26.3 and 28.2sec. You’d be a hard marker to be disappointing, given Wolf Stride kept finding and was only beaten a neck in total in fifth spot in a 1min50.9sec mile. Red Reactor was given a lovely trail in the running line by former Kiwi driver Jack Trainor and snatched a half-head win. Sean McCaffrey trained Red Reactor to win seven of his 40 runs with another nine placings in NZ. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Fingers crossed former Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up can make it back to the races and, more so, recapture some of the form which stamped him as the most exciting pacer in Australasia about 18 months ago. Sadly injuries have kept him to just 15 starts for 11 wins and four seconds for the All Star barn. Turn It Up hasn’t raced since winning the Harness Jewels 4YO final on June 1, last year. In one last quest to get him through his issues and back to the track, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen sent him to Queensland a few months back to Vicki Rasmussen. It was terrific to see him step-out at the Albion Park trials last Tuesday where he was dropped-out early, made a move at the bell and did some work in the last lap. He was held together to the wire for third, just 4.9m from winner, star filly Pelosi. Pelosi returns from a let-up at Albion Park on Tuesday as she prepares to head south for a defence of the NSW Breeders Challenge crown she won at Menangle last year. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ That's the Colt Thirty One we love. Queensland’s best pacer returned from a freshen-up with a narrow, but powerhouse win in the free-for-all at Albion Park on Saturday night. The rising six-year-old sat off a hot early pace, moved to the death in the middle stages and won strongly in a slick 1min53.7sec for the 2138m trip. He’s now won 39 of his 69 starts with another 18 placings and he’s edging close to $900,000 in earmings. It’ll be interesting to see if trainer-driver Grant Dixon entertains a Melbourne trip for the Victoria Cup on October 10 or stays home to continue preparing for the major races at Albion Park in November/December. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Group 1-winning trotter Tough Monarch makes his racetrack return next Saturday night. Rickie Alchin’s stable star, who scored the biggest win of his career on NZ Cup Day last year, sharpened-up with a soft trial win at Menangle last Wednesdau where he really just sprinted home the last quarter in 27.1sec. Tough Monarch, who boasts 21 wins from 65 starts, hasn’t raced since finishing seventh at Menangle in a below-par run back on March 7. Alchin has said he’s keen to return to Addington in November, but the challenges of COVID-19, travel, etc will likely keep him at home. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Jot down the name Treachery. The Captaintreacherous filly made it three wins from as many starts when she returned from a spell with a Bendigo victory last Thursday night. She looks every bit another serious juvenile star in the making for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Treachery won a heat and final of the Allwood series at Globe Derby by 25m and 37m respectively back in March and although she only won by 1.2m at Bendigo, her sectional times defied belief. Driver Greg Sugars let her balance-up near the rear in the six-horse field, but was able to give the leader Eva Mateo a big start and run her down in closing splits of 54.3 and 27.5sec. Treachery was privately timed to run a 53.8sec last half away from the pegs. Treachery, bred by Ride High’s owner Peter Gleeson and the Cameron family, is out of former classy mare Lovelist (18 wins and $222,889 in stakes). Her only other foal is the promising stablemate Adapt, who has one win from four starts but loads of talent. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ It took one “feel” of Ride High for new driver Kate Gath to know what all the fuss was about. Gath, who upstaged the likes of Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and others to replace Kima Frenning as Ride High’s driver, said she more like a passenger than a driver as the entire posted his 16th win from just 17 starts at Terang last night. “I haven’t driven a horse give me the feel he did tonight,” Gath said. “He was low-flying around that last bend and I was just holding on. He just does it on the bit and so easily, by himself.” Gath pushed through the field early and took the lead after 400m of the 1680m race through a cosy 60.2sec first half. It was only about the 600m when Gath gave Ride High a bit more rein and he still paced a 27.2sec split from the 800-400m. With Gath just nursing him, Ride High finished-off in 26.2sec (a 53.4sec last half) to win by 19.7m. His 1min53.9sec mile rate for 1680m – on a rain-sodden track and cool night - was just 0.3sec outside stablemate Tam Major’s track record. Gath only learned at 8.30am Thursday, much to her shock, she had landed the drive on Ride High, replacing Frenning, who has opted to step-aside from race driving to focus on her training and pre-training career. “I have nothing but huge respect for Clayton (Tonkin) and Emma (Stewart) and job they do,” Gath said. “What an absolute honour it is for them to ask me to drive their best horse, the horse they say is the best they’ve ever trained.”   Adam Hamilton

Kate Gath is still in excited disbelief after snaring the drive on Australia’s most exciting pacer Ride High. In somewhat of a shock, Gath upstaged the likes of Chris Alford and Greg Sugars to get the nod from trainers Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart. Gath’s first drive on Ride High will be as a $1.08 Aussie TAB favourite in the $30,000 Gammalite at Terang on Saturday night, but just around the corner are features like the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (October 3) and $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup a week later. Both races are at Melton. Tonkin called Gath with the great news at 8.30am today. “It was completely out of the blue and I couldn’t quite believe it,” she said. “I remember when he won at Bendigo (and smashed the track record), Andy and I were the only two people in the grandstand watching and he gave us goosebumps. He’s something else. “I’d like to thank Clayton, Emma and Peter Gleeson (owner-breeder) for this opportunity. “I’ve had the privilege of driving some nice horses for them before and I have nothing but respect for the job Emma and Clayton do. I can’t wait to drive him (Ride High) for the first time.” Gath replaces replaces Kima Frenning, who has won all five starts on Ride High this campaign, but announced yesterday she was stepping-side from driving to focus on training. “We’ve gone with Kate. There’s a heap of mutual respect between us, Kate and Andy (Gath) and we know the horse will get well looked after (in his races),” Stewart said. Tonkin added: “This has been a long and stressful decision with a horse as good as him. We worked through so many options and changed our minds a few times along the way.” Ride High, $2.10 prepost TAB favourite for the Victoria Cup, is chasing his 16th win from just 17 starts at Terang. Gath, 37, is no stranger to driving star horses in major races, having won a string of features, including the Inter Dominion trotting final on Tornado Valley. She’s also won Victoria’s two biggest pacing races, the Hunter Cup on About To Rock in 2006 and the Victoria Cup on Caribbean Blaster in 2012. Both trained by her husband, Andy.   By Adam Hamilton 

A GENUINE half-hour of harness power headlines a massive weekend of racing Australia. In a stroke of genius, NSW officials have scheduled King Of Swing’s race as the opener at Menangle on Saturday night. That’s at 5.47pm and just 15 minutes later, Australia’s most exciting pacer Ride High, chases his 16th win from just 17 starts in the $30,000 Gammalite (1690m) at Terang. Ride High is the lone back row runner (gate eight), but is a class above his rivals and a $1.08 favourite on the Aussie TAB, King Of Swing will have more of a contest, albeit he should work forward and find the lead over 2300m. As usual, his trainer Craig Cross has more than half the field (seven of the 10 runners), but it’s the emerging Balraj who will likely work across from gate 10 and then sit on King Of Swing (gate 11). There will also be plenty of interest in last year’s Victoria Cup winner Bling It On, who resumes from a spell and looked very sharp in a recent Menangle trial. Luke McCarthy is sticking with King Of Swing as his drive. His father, John, will drive Bling It On and Jimmy Rattray again drives Balraj. The other Menangle highlight will see Anthony Butt’s emerging Wolf Stride chase his eighth successive win in he fourth event. Wolf Stride won the Group 1 NSW Regional Metro final before a break and returned with a sharp Menangle win last weekend. It won’t be easy from a wide draw (gate 10), but he’s still a $1.40 Aussie TAB favourite. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ WA superstar Chicago Bull returns from a freshen-up for what shapes as a stirring clash with the gifted Shockwave at Gloucester Park on Friday night. After a hectic but hugely successful winter campaign, Chicago Bull has been away from the track for a month, but still has a fitness edge over his major rival.  Shockwave, a winner of 14 of his 34 starts, is first-up since running second at Gloucester Park back on April 24. Shockwave does have a slight barrier edge from gate six with Chicago Bull on his outside (seven) in the $50,000 Group 2 James Brennan Memorial (2536m). But it’s not just a two-horse race with Inter Dominion finalist Galactic Star, albeit he’ll be a distant third favourite having drawn outside the other pair (gate eight). ________________________________________________________________________________________________ QUEENSLAND’S best pacer Colt Thirty One returns from a short break and headlines the Albion Park card on Saturday night. Grant Dixon’s stable star is a class above his rivals, but has the dreaded outside front row draw (gate seven) and may have to do all the work as he’s done in recent minor placings. In other Queensland news, All Stars gun colt One Change stretched his record to three wins from as many runs in Queensland with a slick victory yesterday (Tuesday). The Bettors Delight colt did plenty of work early in a blazing 1min52sec mile rate for 1660m. One Change, now in the care of Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham, now boasts 11 wins and six placings from his 17 starts.   Adam Hamilton

NOW the thinking really begins for the Cash N Flow team. Dubbed the “Menangle Mile Marvel”, Cash N Flow made it a staggering 11 successive Menangle mile free-for-all wins on end last night. It was also a record seventh time Cash N Flow has broken 1min50sec for the mile, doing it by a whisker in 1min49.9sec. But the ex-All Stars gelding did something special again, by breaking 27sec in three of his four splits, including the closers of 26.9 and 26.7sec as he cruised home by seven metres. So do Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy stretch him beyond his beloved mile to chase the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 10? Or do they keep him closer to his “zone” and target the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up over 1720m at Melton a week before the Victoria Cup. “He won’t run in both. It’s one or the other. We’ll talk it through. I do think he’ll stretch out to the 2240m OK if we want him too,” McCarthy said. The last time Cash N Flow raced beyond a mile was his 10th in the Hunter Cup back on February 1. His last win over further than a sprint trip was at Menangle over 2300m way back on March 15, last year. On the same card, Anthony Butt’s emerging star Wolf Stride won narrowly but impressively first-up. The rising five-year-old, first-up since winning the Group 1 NSW Regional Metro Championship final on May 23, sat parked throughout, hit the front early and held-on bravely for his eighth win from just 14 starts. It will be interesting whether Butt chases a Victoria Cup start or waits to dip into the big league later early next year. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ STINGRAY Tara did his older brother proud with a very impressive win at his first Aussie run for new trainer-driver Geoff Webster at Bendigo last Thursday night. The rising five-year-old, who raced 23 times in NZ for just three wins and seven placings, suggested he would quickly race through the grades in Victoria after sitting parked and winning easily in quick time  Despite doing all the work, Stingray Tara cruised to the front on the home bend and seemed to win with plenty in reserve by 7.8m in a 1min56sec flat mile rate for the longer 2150m trip. Tiger Tara’s former trainer Kevin Pizzuto watched with interest and excitement. “It’s great to see and we’re really excited at the moment, too, because this is Tiger’s first full season at stud,” he said. “He’s already got three yearlings and five weanlings.” __________________________________________________________________________________________________ A RUN under his belt and a stretch in distance say the All Stars’ Ashley Locaz return to winning form at just his second run for trainer Vicki Rasmussen at Albion Park on Saturday night. The rising six-year-old did all the work outside the leader, Northview Hustler, but broke him on the final bend and held the rest at bay easily to win by 3.8m in a brisk 1min54.1sec mile for 2138m. It was a marked improvement on his sound third to Northview Hustler the previous week, but no doubt the stretch from 1660m to 2138m really suited Ashley Locaz. And, of course, it was only his second run since contesting the Auckland Inter Dominion last December. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ STABLE favourite Galactic Star headlined a stellar night for Team Bond at Gloucester Park on Friday. The barn won a four of the 10 races. The rising eight-year-old, a dual Inter Dominion finalist, showed he could still be a Fremantle and WA Cup player with an impressive win courtesy of a tactically brilliant Ryan Warwick drive. Buzz but still raw former Kiwi pacer Wildwest was favourite from the pole, but headed-off early and never looked really comfortable after that. Warwick summed-up the race superbly when he made an early move to sit parked and control the race, then ping for home at the top of the straight. Galactic Star cruised to a three metre win in a 1min56sec mile rate for 2130m, including closing splits of 56.8 and 28.3sec. It was his 28th win from 80 starts and took his earnings close to $560,000.  Wildwest was trapped behind the leader, didn’t have much racing room late and certainly lost no admirers in second spot. Earlier in the night, the Bonds and Warwick combined with the emerging Justasec for an effortless all-the-way back from a spell. It was the pint-sized gelding’s 10th win from just 15 starts and he looks to be learning with every outing. The Bond’s buzz Kiwi import Howard Hughes made it nine wins from just 11 WA runs when he showed extraordinary depth and courage after a tough run in fast time. Despite doing all the work in a scorching 1min53sec mile rate for 1720m, he kept finding to easily stave-off a big late challenge from Undercover Mac and score by two metres. Howard Hughes firmly joins Patronus Star as equal top seed in Team Bond for WA’s major four-year-old features in January. It was great to see their star mare Our Alfie Romeo return to something like her best form with a runaway win in race seven. It was her 20th win from just 48 starts and took her to within a round of drinks of $300,000 in earnings. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ NO wonder David Aiken has such high hopes for Auckland Reactor’s son Reactor Now. The lightly-raced gelding stepped-up big time in grade, but won again, making it 11 wins from just 15 starts with his scorching Shepparton victory last night (Saturday)  Reactor Now was headed-off early from the pole, but quickly re-took the front then started to pull very hard for driver Josh Aiken. Despite overracing to noticeably and carving out some super splits, Reactor Now kept finding in a 1min52.8sec mile rate for 1690m. That’s just 0.3sec outside the track record set by former stablemate Ideal Star back on June 19. Auckland Inter Dominion finalist My Kiwi Mate scooted home strongly late along the marker pegs for second. Earlier in the night, classy mare Red Hot Tooth beat buzz trotter Wobelee on his merits when she sat parked and dug deep in the fast-class trot. Wobelee started his campaign in stunning style, but hasn’t looked as sharp in recent runs and the jury is out on whether he’s going to be a major player in the biggest races on current form. Red Hot Tooth, trained by Kari Males and driven by Kerryn Manning, now boasts 22 wins and 27 placings from 76 starts and earnings of almost $460,000. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE delayed NSW Breeders Challenge is underway and already has a bit of a headline act. There were a couple of two-year-old heats at Penrith last Thursday night and the raw Captaintreacherous filly Arma Renegade looked fantastic. Trained and driven by Brad Hewitt, Arma Renegade has won all three starts by an aggregate margin of over 52 metres. That was her biggest test so far and, although she worked to the front and dictated terms, she still posted a very sharp 1min55.3sec mile rate for 1720m.  The time was certainly impressive when you consider Ignatius holds the Penrith 1720m track record at 1min53.6sec. The colts and geldings went ripper time as well, with Tasty Delight producing a huge performance to snatch a nose win over Captain Crusader in a 1min54.4sec mile rate for the same 1720m trip. Another juvenile filly to impress was Im Presi Belle (Mach Three-White Thunder), who won her heat by a big space at Leeton last Friday.   Adam Hamilton

FANS will have to wait a bit longer again for the first clash between Australia’s two most exciting pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art. Ride High heads to Terang for next Saturday night’s $30,000 Gammalite, but it’s now very unlikely Lochinvar Art will join him. “I’ll nominate him and make a final decision first thing Tuesday, but my gut feel is that it’s not the right thing to do with him,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer driver David Moran said. “I feel bad for the great people at the Terang club, who have boosted the prizemoney and done everything right, but the Victoria Cup is the goal and everything I do has to be around peaking him for that in five weeks or so. “Giving him a 9-10 hour road trip for a mile race against Ride High right now … it’s a risk. And it could be a gut-buster. “He’s not quite ready to go to war yet, but give him a couple more runs and he will be.” It sounds clear Lochinvar Art will stay home this week and go to a free-for-all at Bendigo a week later (September 19). “If we wait for Bendigo, it’ll probably be the first of four runs in as many weeks for him,” Moran said. “That’d be ideal. He thrives on the hard racing close together.” Moran kept Lochinvar Art up the mark with a slick workout between races at Shepparton last night. Chasing a galloping pacemaker, Lochinvar Art dawdled the first part of the 2190m workout, but Moran really stepped it up with a his last mile in a tick over 1min52sec, the last half in 53.2 and closing quarter in 26.4sec. “He felt terrific, but racing will bring him on even more. It’s about mapping out the best way towards the Victoria Cup with him now,” Moran said.   By Adam Hamilton

Cash N Flow’s quest for a remarkable 11th successive Menangle free-for-all win headlines another big weekend of Aussie action. The former Kiwi pacer faces much the some company he’s beaten in recent wins, headed by stablemate Replaced Eye and classy Bathurst stayer Atomic Red, and dominates betting as a $1.25 Aussie TAB favourite. Despite the outside draw, Luke McCarthy likely follow the same winning formula from most recent wins and work forward at the start to take the lead from Replaced Eye. It’s another stablemate, the emerging Zahven Banner, who adds to more interest to this week’s $30,600 Group 3 Lazarus @ Yirribee Stud Pace (1609m). But Cash N Flow would have to dip below his recent breathtaking form and/or have plenty of bad luck not to continue on his winning way. The other key race of interest at Menangle is the fourth event where Anthony Butt’s NSW Metropolitan Region Championship winner Wolf Stride returns from a break. The rising star has gate two in a handy field, but only needs to return in his best form to make the most of the gun draw and seven wins on end. _________________________________________________________________________________ As we continue to wait for the first Ride High and Lochinvar Art stoush, we have to settle for another workout between races this weekend. Last week it was Ride High and this time Lochinvar Art will work with a galloping pacemaker between the fourth and fifth races at Shepparton. Trainer-driver David Moran will wait for the workout before locking in where Lochinvar Art will race next. While there is some chance it could be against Ride High at Terang on Saturday week, it is a lot more likely to be at Bendigo on September 19. On the race front, the two highlights at Shepparton are races four and fifth. In the fourth, gifted trotter Wobelee headlines a small seven-horse field and will dominate betting despite the outside draw. His key rivals look to be classy and speedy mare Red Hot Tooth (gate five), former Kiwi C K Spur (two) and multiple Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer (six). The fifth event is the fast-class race of the night and David Aiken’s untapped Reactor Now faces by his biggest test, but has the advantage of gate one. The son of Auckland Reactor boasts 10 wins from just 14 starts and has already blazed a 1min 52.2sec mile rate, but he’s never faced this calibre of opposition. Major rivals include Auckland Inter Dominion finalists Sicario (gate 10) and My Kiwi Mate (eight) and Emma Stewart’s brilliant Hurricane Harley (nine). _________________________________________________________________________________ Former Kiwi pacer Wildwest, the horse Gary Hall Sr hopes will fill the shoes of Chicago Bull in time, is the star attraction at Gloucester Park tomorrow (Friday) night. Wildwest made it nine wins from just 11 starts when he resumed with a terrific run, but he jumps straight into free-for-all grade second-up, albeit with the huge help of barrier one. Stablemate Fake News, arguably the best mare in WA right now, looks a threat from gate five, while proven topliner Galactic Star is the class act, but he has outside the back row (gate 12) to overcome in the 2130m race. There will also be plenty of interest in Galactic Star’s exciting three-year-old stablemate, Howard Hughes, who will chase his 10th win from just 13 runs from gate seven in race six. _________________________________________________________________________________ Another week and some more strong All Stars’ flavour at Albion Park on Saturday night. Ashley Locaz will be out to improve on his strong first-up third for trainer Vicki Rasmussen when he starts from gate five in a similar race to last week. He’s sure to be improved by last week’s run when close-up despite sitting parked and being first-up since last December’s Auckland Inter Dominion final. Amazing Dream, who has a win and a second from her two Queensland runs for trainer Darren Weeks, steps out again in the fourth race. While she’s easily the best pacer in the race, Amazing Dream has drawn inside the back row (gate eight) and much will depend on where she settles and luck in running over 2138m trip.   by Adam Hamilton

AUSSIE pacing sensation Ride High will chase his 16th win from 17 starts at Terang on September 12. Trainer Clayton Tonkin confirmed the plan after Ride High posted some scorching sectional times in a workout between races and in the company of a pacemaker at Ballarat last night (Saturday). “We’ll head to Terang for sure,” Tonkin said. “We are pushing ahead on the basis the Victoria Cup will go ahead (on October 10), so Terang will be his second-last lead-up run going into the Cup.” With the disappointment of HRV not holding the first clash of Ride High and Lochinvar Art still lingering, Ballarat fans instead got to see Ride High workout. In a surprise move, Tonkin’s partner, Emma Stewart, took the reins as Ride High worked over a mile in a blistering 1min52.2sec – just 0.7sec outside former stablemate The Storm Inside’s track record. Ride High’s unofficial splits last night, timed by the Tonkin/Stewart stable, were: 27.95, 31.63, 26 flat and 26.72. “Emma came back saying she could’ve let him go a lot quicker around the bends,” Tonkin giggled. “He’s just amazing. He’s run those times so easily tonight and come through it like he hasn’t even been around. “We were keen to give him a decent hitout tonight because when they didn’t run the race this week, it means he’ll be a month between runs when he goes to Terang.” Speculation is growing HRV will soon confirm the October 10 timeslot for the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup, despite the probable and obvious COVID-19 related issues with interstate horses. It is also understood they have slated the $50,000 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) for the week before the Victoria Cup in the hope that will be the first clash between Ride High and Lochinvar Art. And that they will then meet again a week later over 2240m in the Victoria Cup. But all of that depends on the Victorian government easing Stage 4 restrictions on September 13 as planned and enabling metropolitan racing back into Melton. And there is no certainly Lochinvar Art will be in either race if they go ahead on those dates. His trainer-driver David Moran is still in talks with connections about a let-up and switching focus to Perth trip for the big Group 1 double – the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in November/December.   by Adam Hamilton

REJUVENATED and much-travelled former Kiwi pacer Zennart has Miracle Mile winner King Of Swing to thank for his new lease on life. When the move from WA to NSW was so massively successful for King Of Swing, some of his connections who also race Zennart decided to do the same and send him to Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy. And now he’s a record-smashing Menangle winner. Zennart’s scorching 1min51.4sec win over 2300m last night took 1.1sec off Clancys Fobwatch’s track record for the trip. Perhaps a better comparison is the fact the time broke the Menangle 2400m record – the distance most of his major “staying” races are run over. The time was an Australasian record. Max Delight set that record at 1min51.5sec winning last year’s NSW Derby. The race was full of sensations, the first coming when favourite and Miracle Mile placegetter Alta Orlando galloped out at the start an effectively took no part. His buzz stablemate Balraj worked to the front, but overraced through a quick 47.7sec lead time and 56.3sec middle half. He did a mighty job to still fight on for second. Another win of note on the night for Cross and McCarthy was No Win No Feed’s first-up victory, blazing a 1min50.8sec mile after scorching across from the outside draw to lead. The four-year-old mare has won 10 of his 37 starts and the time sliced 0.4sec off her career-best. _________________________________________________________________________________ KATE Gath is headed towards some big decisions. She and husband Andy already have Tornado Valley and McLovin set for the major trotting races and Majestuoso is looming as a genuine contender as well. And all three are owned by Queenslander Norm Jenkin. McLovin is spelling and Tornado Valley stayed home, while Majestuoso resumed from a spell with an impressive win in a brisk 1min58.7sec mile rate for 2200m. It was his first outing since a third at Melton on March 28. Majestuoso, last season’s Victoria Trotters’ Derby winner, has raced just 25 times for 12 wins and six placings. Gath had more reason to smile at Ballarat when recent stable addition Pacifico Dream scored impressively at just his second run for the stable. Pacifico Dream oozes potential, as shown by heats win in the NSW and Victoria Derbys. He ran fourth and fifth respectively in those finals. _________________________________________________________________________________ ONE former Kiwi upset the “party” for another higher-profile former Kiwi at Albion Park last night. The speedy Northview Hustler used gate one to lead and land a betting plunge ($9 into $4.50) in a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 1660m. Former All Stars’ pacer Ashley Locaz, first-up for the Vicki Rasmussen stable and having his first run since the Auckland Inter Dominion final last December, was $2 favourite and sat parked and finished a sound third  It was a walk and sprint race with a 60.4sec first half and sparkling 26.1sec last quarter. Later in the night, awesome Kiwi filly Amazing Dream bounced-back to winning form in a sparkling 1min53sec mile rate for 1660m. Driven a tad more aggressively from a wide draw and with a run under her belt, Amazing Dream found a trail just off the pace and had the race run on the final bend. The Northern Derby winner cruised to a 5.5m win for the Kylie Rasmussen/Darren Weeks team. She’s campaigning in Queensland until she heads to Victoria for the Breeders Crown in October/November. _________________________________________________________________________________ Still in Queensland and another All Stars pacer One Change lifts the profile of a ho-hum Albion Park Tuesday meeting when he steps out again this week. Now in the care of Vicki Rasmussen, One Change looked fantastic winning his first run during this Queensland stint at Albion Park last Tuesday. The Bettors Delight colt came deep from midfield in some blazing late splits to snatch a 1.2m win in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for 2138m. One Change was clocked to run his own late splits in 55.3 and 27.8sec. He should be too good again, especially being the lone back row runner (gate eight), in the third race on Tuesday (at 5.12pm NZ time). _________________________________________________________________________________ DISAPPOINTING news out of WA with one of the state’s best pacers sidelined with injury. It was revealed last Friday night, former WA Derby winner Handsandwheels had injured a rear suspensory ligament. Trainer-driver Aiden de Campo told RWWA said the injury was “too serious” and he hoped to have Handsandwheels back racing early next year. Handsandwheels boasts 28 wins from 83 starts and $666,739 in stakemoney. _________________________________________________________________________________ STILL in WA and Changeover gelding Convert Denario continues to emerge as a possible Fremantle and WA Cups contender. Now in the care of Ray Williams, the six-year-old led throughout to turn the tables on a very gallant Bletchley Park from their clash the previous week. Bletchley Park, a half-brother to Bling It On, has regained his best form since being switched to Stephen Reed’s stable and his effort come three-wide solo from last and run second was monstrous. Like Bling It On, speed is Bletchley Park’s best asset and he absolutely looms as a smokey for the Fremantle and WA Cups as well. _________________________________________________________________________________ IT wasn’t a vintage version of the Group 2 Franco Australian Trotters Cup, but that won’t phase the Kiwi connections of winner More Shades Of Gold. The five-year-old of Majestic Son snared a head win over Agent Maori for trainer Blake Fitzpatrick and driver Jack Trainor. It was a good training performance by Fitzpatrick given More Shades Of Gold was just fourth-up after more than nine months away from the track.   by Adam Hamilton

Fans will have to wait longer for the first clash between Aussie pacing megastars Ride High and Lochinvar Art. While connections of both were committed to racing against each other at Ballarat on Saturday night, they scared-off other rivals. Harness Racing Victoria had said it would not run the race unless it attracted at least five but preferably six runners. Nominations were extended from late yesterday until today (Tuesday), but HRV said it still didn’t get sufficient acceptors. It’s a huge blow given the broad anticipation and massive PR opportunity it promised the sport. And, going ahead, it creates a huge dilemma because it is unlikely many other rivals would to tackle both Ride High and Lochinvar Art when they next nominate for the same race. Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran now has a major problem.  “Looks like it’ll be a month between runs for him now,” he said. “He’s not eligible for a race at Shepparton next weekend and the week after it’s Terang, which is on the other side of the state from my stables and I’m not taking him all that way for a $20,000 race. “It’s surprising they wouldn’t run the race this week with just three or four horses because they talked so much about wanting a match race with just the two of us. “And I’ve been in small fields with others horses of mine in Victoria in the past.” Ride High will also have to go a month between runs with Terang on September 12 his next racing option. His last run was his 15th win from just 16 starts at Shepparton on August 15, Adding to the frustrations for connections of Ride High and Lochinvar Art is the ongoing, COVID-19 driven uncertainty around whether the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup will go ahead as planned at Melton on October 10. Victoria’s Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions aren’t due to end until, at the earliest, September 13. HRV has said it wants to stick with October 10 for the Victoria Cup, but wouldn’t be in a position to give a genuine update until mid-September. And HRV’s GM of Racing, Stephen Bell, has said they would not go ahead on October 10 unless key interstate horses, trainers and drivers were able to get to Victoria for the race.   by Adam Hamilton

THIS special crop of Aussie open-class stars was on show again when Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing flexed their muscle on Saturday night. Chariots Of Fire winner Lochinvar Art found himself under the microscope after a shock defeat two weeks earlier when found to have a mild viral infection. And he delivered … superbly. David Moran’s four-year-old was given time to settle early, unlike his previous run, then Moran made his move after 800m and when his only real rival, Major Times (who beat him last time) had spent plenty of petrol to find the front. Lochinvar Art had the race won at the 500m and Moran largely nursed him from there to a 10.5m in closing splits of 55.9 and 27.7sec. Watch the replay click here! “He just felt a different horse tonight. When he got outside Major Times he felt keen and great, compared to last time when I knew he was in trouble at the 600m when he didn’t pick-up the bit when Major Times came at him,” Moran said. “It’s a relief for sure. I felt a bit of pressure going into this after what happened last time. I know how good he is and you don’t expect things like last time. “He felt back to his best tonight and did it easily.” Asked about clashing with Ride High, which now looks likely in coming weeks again after Lochinvar Art’s winning return, Moran said: “We’ll just take it a week at a time and see what happens. “Everything is in limbo. We don’t when the Victoria Cup will be. I’m not going to think too far ahead, but you can’t with all this uncertainty.” Just a few minutes after Lochinvar Art strutted his stuff, King Of Swing defied a windy and cold winter’s night to blaze a 26.2sec opening quarter and 1min48.8sec mile to win second-up. As he can do, the five-year-old “waited” a little for his rivals and classy stablemate Alta Orlando looked a chance of gunning him down from the perfect trail, but King Of Swing held him comfortably on the line in closing splits of 54.6 and 26.8sec. Watch the replay click here! It was King Of Swing’s sixth win on end and took his record for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy to six wins and a second from just seven runs. The 1min48.8sec mile was the third fastest of his career, but the other two, headed by the Miracle Mile’s 1min48sec flat, were run in summer conditions. “We had him ready to go first-up, but he was better again tonight,” McCarthy said. “This run should bring him on that little bit more again.” King Of Swing deservedly headlines the Cross/McCarthy team of open-class stars, but it’s a hot batch with Cash N Flow, Alta Orlando, the emerging Balraj and also Bling It On about to return. Balraj, who upstaged Alta Orlando at his first run for Cross/McCarthy, steps out again next Saturday night at Menangle. McCarthy said Bling It On, a Victoria and Hunter Cup winner, was progressing well in his last racing campaign and would trial at Menangle on Wednesday.    By Adam Hamilton

QUEENSLAND trainer Darren Weeks has to go back more than a year for the last time he was this excited about a horse. Mighty Kiwi filly Amazing Dream makes her slightly-delayed Aussie debut for Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen at Albion Park tomorrow (Friday) night. “She reminds us of those really top horses they (Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen) have sent across in the past, like Self Assured and the top filly (Princess Tiffany) last year,” Weeks said.  “She’s been working with Dina Bolt, but on what she’s shown, she’d go any of our open-class horses for sure. “It’s an honour to get a filly like her to train, even if it’s just for a few months. It’s a vote of confidence in our system and what we do.” Amazing Dream, a winner of 11 of her 18 starts for the All Stars’ including beating the boys in the Great Northern Derby, was scratched from a race last week. “She couldn’t gone around, but we learnt from Dina Bolt, who was probably a bit underdone when he got beaten here first-up, so we scratched her last week and she’s that bit fitter for another week’s work,” Weeks said. “It’s never easy from outside the back row over the sprint trip (1660m) here, but she’s ready to go.” The only real danger looks to be NSW raider Uncle Jord, but trainer Chris Frisby conceded he was more hopeful than optimistic. “He’s got ability, but he’s a funny horse. You’ve got him one day and then he lets down the next. I think he’s up against taking on a filly like her (Amazing Dream). You don’t expect to bump into something like her in this grade during the off-season in Brisbane,” he said. Frisby thinks he can win the race before Uncle Jord with his untapped two-year-old He Aint Fakin, who blazed an Albion Park two-year-old record 1min52.7sec winning last weekend, “We loved him from the start, but he wasn’t delivering so we gelded him and it looks like it’s worked,” he said. “He’s got this race, then he’s back home to get ready for the NSW Breeders Challenge.” Back to Weeks and he expects Dina Bolt to bounce-back and win at Albion Park tonight (Friday) in the last of nine races. “He’s tightened-up a lot for that first-up defeat and you’ll see a lot better horse this time,” he said.   By Adam Hamilton

TWO of the brightest stars in Australia headline a ripper Bendigo meeting on Saturday night. Australasia’s champion trotter Tornado Valley returns from a spell, while Chariots Of Fire winner Lochinvar Art is back from a minor health scare and shock defeat at the Ballarat two weeks ago. Tornado Valley, a winner of 35 races and $767,617, steps out for the first since winning a Melton free-for-all on March 21. “He’s been ready to go for a couple of weeks, but with the regional racing we can’t race at Melton so we waited for something closer to home because he doesn’t like travel to the races,” trainer Andy Gath said.  “It’s worked well because he’s back and ready and McLovin can enjoy a bit of a break now.” Tornado Valley is drawn gate nine, while the emerging Wobelee in gate 10 after his early mistake last time saw he placed out of the draw. It’s a cracking race with former Great Southern Star winning mare Dance Craze also resuming from gate six. Multiple Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer is there as well from inside the back row (gate eight), as is high-class and speedy mare Red Hot Tooth (seven). Lochinvar Art will need to be back on song after his viral infection to overcome an outside back row draw (gate 12) and some handy rivals. Sure he’s a league above them when right, but horses like Sirletic (gate three), Auckland Inter Dominion finalists Sicario (nine) and My Kiwi Mate (eight) as well as Major Times (11), who upset Lochinvar Art last time. “He had a couple of easy days after Ballarat and picked-up again really well,” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said. “I’ll get a blood done again Friday just to make sure, but if it’s good we are all go and he’ll raring to go.” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ GLAMOUR Kiwi filly Amazing Dream’s Albion Park debut has only been delayed one week. New trainers Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen felt the darling from the All Stars’ barn “wasn’t quite ready” to have her first run for them last week and scratched her. Amazing Dream will start from outside the back row (gate 10) over 1660m, but needless to say she’s got a monstrous class edge over her older rivals, remembering she’s still a three-year-old in Aussie. Another of her All Stars stablemates, Ashley Locaz, looked very sharp winning an Albion Park trial yesterday (Tuesday). Ashley Locaz, now with Vicki Rasmussen, was allowed to stride in the last lap by driver Shane Graham and roared away to win by 33.3m in a 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1660m. He closed in 54.8 and 27.5sec. Everything looks set for the five-year-old to open his Queensland stint on Saturday week at Albion Park. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ BUZZ former Kiwi pacer Patronus Star faces his first serious test this campaign at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Team Bond three-year-old, who won the WA Derby at just his second run across from NZ, has stretched his unbeaten WA record to six wins after winning all four outings this campaign. He takes on older rivals from a wide draw (gate seven) in a very strong $50,000 Group 2 The Binshaw (2130m). Key rivals include classy four-year-old Sangue Reale (gate five), Forgotten Highway (two) and Mandy Joan (three). The race will tell us a lot more about how well Patronus Star, who can look lazy at times, has come back this campaign.   by Adam Hamilton

A FITTER and sharper King Of Swing will headline Aussie racing this week. The Miracle Mile winner will have his second run back from a spell, this time taking on top class stablemate Alta Orlando, in a mile free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night. Trainers Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy have been juggling their stable stars to keep them apart in recent weeks, but the sheer glut of talent meant King Of Swing and Alta Orlando had to lock horns this week. “We’ve also got Balraj, Cash N Flow and Bling It On to race in the next few weeks as well,” McCarthy said. “Balraj will run Saturday week (August 29) then Cash N Flow will continue his routine of three week gaps and go around on the 5th (of September). “Bling It On is very close, too. He’ll trial next Wednesday we’ll see how he comes through that before picking out a race.” Back to King Of Swing and he’ll start from the outside draw in a race where McCarthy and Cross have a staggering eight of the 10 runners. Alta Orlando, likely to be driven by Todd McCarthy, will start directly inside King Of Swing. Asked about the hype around Ride High and a clash with him at some stage, McCarthy said: “Ride High is a machine and a gorgeous horse. It’ll be awesome when they all come together.” Cross and McCarthy also hold the key to Saturday night’s Group 3 Ladyship Pace (1609m) at Menangle. The one to beat is Bettor Enforce, who has two wins and a top second from three runs this campaign, despite the outside draw. Kiwi-owned former WA mare Dracarys steps up in grade for an arrogant win at just her second run for Cross and McCarthy and looks the main threat. On the same card, Victoria Oaks winner Dr Susan returns from a spell for trainer Sonya Smith, but has the outside draw (gate six) against the boys. Jack Trainor takes the drive on Dr Susan because Anthony Butt is committed to Victoria and NSW Derby placegetter Perfect Stride from gate five. The other key runner is another former Kiwi, Mach Da Vinci, from gate four.   Adam Hamilton

FORMER Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow seems to still be getting better. Despite being a rising eight-year-old, the one-time All Stars’ team member, won a staggering 10th – yes 10th – Menangle mile free-for-all last night. And, just as he did at his previous run, he again broke his PB, this time clocking a sizzling 1min49sec flat and he cleared out to win by 11.4m and finish with splits of 53.1 and 26.2sec. The knockers will point-out he’s been superbly placed by Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy, but any horse winning 10 races on end – let alone from the outside draw in blazing times on most occasions – is pretty special. Life will get harder when he will inevitably have to clash with Miracle Mile-winning stablemate King Of Swing and even Ride High, but let’s savour Cash N Flow’s amazing deeds for now. The Mach Three gelding’s won 29 of his 63 starts – including 13 of 20 this season – and is super close to topping $500,000 in earnings. He’s now broken 1min50sec an amazing six times at Menangle, which no other horse has done. Earlier in the night, Cross and McCarthy also won with Kiwi owner Trevor Casey’s talented former NZ and WA mare Dracarys, who strolled home in a 1min51.2sec mile at just her second run for the stable. Another winner with strong Kiwi interest on the night was former Paul Court-trained Mach Da Vinci, who is now trained by Peter Hanson in NSW and scored in a 1min52.3sec mile. He’s won two of three runs for Hanson.  _____________________________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull earned a short spell after taking his record to 54 wins from 82 starts at Gloucester Park night. More importantly, he won 11 of his 16 starts in a comeback campaign from a career-threatening injury and produced some performances which indicated he was right back to his best. “We really didn’t know what to expect when he came back,. We knew he’d need some hard racing to get fully fit, but he just kept getting better and better every week,” driver Gary Hall Jr said. “It’s pretty amazing really when you consider what he went through with his back. Some of his wins since coming back have been enormous.” Chicago Bull drew the pole for the first time in more than two years and used it to lead, dictate and win without any fuss in the August Cup on Friday night. While he gets a break, WA’s others stars like Shockwave, Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro are about to resume. And Handsandwheels will keep building as well. It’s a smart play by trainer Gary Hall Sr, let the others lock horns now and bring Chicago Bull back closer to the rescheduled Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in November/December. Chicago Bull also edged super close to $1.9 million earnings with his latest win. Also last Friday, Hall Sr beat Hall Jr in the other feature when Fakes News came off the back of the emerging While They Pray in a 54.9sec last half to win the fourth event. The Hall Sr-trained Fake News led, former Kiwi driver Stuey McDonald took the sit on Hall Jr aboard While They Pray and nabbed it late to win by 1,2m in a 1min55sec mile rate for 2130m. And, later in the night, Hall Sr and Hall Jr combined again to win with the gifted but still raw talent, Wildwest. The four-year-old resumed with a spell to come from a 30m handicap at his first Aussie standing-start run and narrowly but very impressively. The son of Raging Bull won his first and only NZ run at Winton and then moved to WA where won his first seven starts for the Halls. Wildwest unravelled when eighth and 12th respectively in two of WA’s biggest 4YO races late last year. “His return has been delayed because of a few issues, just niggling problems, nothing serious. It was a big effort,” driver Gary Hall Jr said. Adding to the class of the meeting, WA Derby winner Patronus Star survived a late scare to maintain his unbeaten WA record for Team Bond. The former Kiwi three-year-old worked to the front after 600m and looked to loaf at times before staving-off a late surge from Bracken Sky to win by a half-neck. Patronus Star, nominal favourite for the major WA 4YO races in January, has won all six runs for Team Bond, including four this campaign. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ MEGASTAR Kiwi filly Amazing Dream’s racetrack return was postponed, but trainers Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen still took a glamour girl to Albion Park last night. Last season’s champion Queensland filly Smart As Camm Be returned to racing with a blazing win. Just when it seemed Tact Bess was home, Smart As Camm Be grew wings in a 27.5sec last quarter to snatch a two-metre win in a 1min55sec mile rate for 2138m. It was Smart As Camm Be’s first run since winning the Redcliffe Oaks as part of a stellar three-year-old season. That was way back on June 22, last year. She’s won 13 of her 16 starts and almost $180,000 in stakemoney. Weeks scratched Amazing Dream, despite looking good in an Albion Park trial during the week, citing he felt she was still short of the fitness she needed for a racing return. In the feature of the night, NSW trainer John Boserio snatched a fortunate win with Hes Watching gelding Hes Sweet in the $104,200 Group 1 Brisbane APG Sales Graduate final. It was fortunate because the leader veering off the track down the last time, which aided Hes Sweet’s cause and certainly didn’t help favourite and runner-up Jasper. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ JOT down the name Reactor Now as a horse to follow. The big, raw, even ungainly son of Auckland Reactor is still very much a work in progress, but he packs one heck of a motor. Just check out his Shepparton win last night if you didn’t see it. Reactor Now came from the back row, never stopped working and racing greenly and still bludgeoned his way to powerhouse win in a brisk 1min55sec mile rate for 2190m. Driven by Josh Aiken and trained by his father, David, Reactor Now has won 10 of his 14 starts, including eight of his past nine. In the following race, former Kiwi trotter Robbie Royale added to his terrific record since coming to Brent Lilley’s Aussie barn. The six-year-old Raffaello Ambrosio gelding led throughout from the pole to beat a handy field, including another talented recent Kiwi import in CK Spur, who finished third. It was Robbie Royale’s fourth win along with three placings from 10 starts since crossing the ditch.   by Adam Hamilton

AUSSIE pacing sensation Ride High will race on for another two years as part of a massive deal by Alabar Farm’s Alan Galloway to buy a half-share. The deal was sealed just before Ride High won his 10th successive race at Shepparton last night and took his career record to 15 wins from just 16 starts. Neither Gleeson or Galloway would disclose what the sale valued Ride High at, but it’s believed to smash all records for a Down Under pacer. “We’ve agreed to a deal, all that’s pending is a fertility test on Monday,” Ride High’s owner-breeder Peter Gleeson said. “I wouldn’t have done the deal without surety he’ll race for another two years, providing he stays sound. “I’ve waited a lifetime for this horse and the sport needs him as well. Alan (Galloway) was great about that.” The complex deal, which effectively has Galloway as a “silent” and non-earning partner during Ride High’s racing career, allows for Gleeson to continue a lease agreement with co-trainers Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart. Galloway, a major global breeding figure, said Ride High was the best pacer he had ever seen. “I’ve been all around the world and seen the best of the best, most of them in the flesh, and this horse is next level. He’s the best I’ve seen, anywhere, and that includes horses like Niatross and Nihilator. “The way he gets over the ground so easily and the times he runs without being asked … he’s just amazing. “I’ve been trying to buy a share in this horse for two years. Peter and I go back 40 years, he even worked for Alabar at one stage, and I’m sure that helped, but it’s taken a long time and lot of negotiating to get to this point. “I want him to race on as well. Peter deserves to have him race and I know what this horse can do for the sport.” Gleeson said winning major races and breaking the world record – Always B Miki’s 1min46sec – were the major goals with Ride High. “We want to get him to Menangle. Clayton (Tonkin) and I are sure he would break 1min46sec in the right conditions at Menangle. The problem is we obviously can’t with COVID restrictions,” he said. “We’re obviously not sure about feature races either with growing talk the Victoria Cup will be pushed back because of the virus. “Hopefully we can get to Menangle before too long and give that (world) record a crack.” Galloway and Alabar buying in begs the question about Ride High campaigning in North America to potentially further boost his stallion value. “We would like to do that, but it’s highly unlikely for a myriad of reasons,” Gleeson said. “There’s the virus, the fact Clayton and Emma really couldn’t leave their huge operation here to go with him and his age as well. He’s turning six later this year. “I think we’ve got some amazing things we can achieve here without having to worry about America and the risks associated with that.”   Adam Hamilton

THE All Stars influence is starting to hot up in Queensland. Megastar filly Amazing Dream opens her Queensland campaign for trainer Darren Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Bettors Delight filly, who boasts 11 wins and six placings from her 18 starts, was sharpened-up with a close second to stablemate Ashley Locaz (yes, he’s in Queensland now too) in an Albion Park trial on Tuesday. Ashley Locaz, now with Vicki Rasmussen, led the 1660m trial and dawdled through a 60.7sec first half, before zipping home in 55.8 and 27.3sec. Amazing Dream sat on Ashley Locaz’s back and while the leader was driven-out, the filly looked to cruise to the line to finish just 1.9m away in second spot. Amazing Dream looks leagues above her rivals despite drawing the outside (gate seven) over 1660m in the last of 11 races at Albion Park on Saturday night. Another All Stars pacer, Dina Bolt, opened his Queensland campaign for Weeks and Kylie Rasmussen with a 2.4m third as favourite in the sixth race at Albion Park yesterday (Tuesday). ________________________________________________________________________________________ KIWIS will get to watch Australia’s most exciting pacer Ride High in an early timeslot at Shepparton on Saturday night. Clayton Tonkin’s untapped star is a $1.04 favourite to stretch his record to 15 wins from just 16 starts in the second event (8.04pm NZ time). Ride High has looked amazing winning all four runs on the comeback trail from a breathing-related throat operation. With Lochinvar Art recovering from a minor viral infection, Ride High is simply a league above his Shepparton rivals again this week. It’s all about how far he wins by and – if connections want – how much he takes off the 1min51.5sec track record for 1690m. Ride High’s latest 1min49sec mile rate took 2.7sec off the Bendigo 1650m track record. ________________________________________________________________________________________ WILL the amazing Cash N Flow make it 10 successive Menangle mile free-for-all wins? That’s his challenge heading to NSW’s harness headquarters again on Saturday night. The field is no harder than he’s beaten in many of his recent wins and, despite the outside draw, it’ll be a major shock if he doesn’t stretch the winning streak.  His major rivals look to be Atomic Red (gate three) and his in-form and improving stablemate Replaced Eye (10). ________________________________________________________________________________________ COMEBACK hero Chicago Bull should make a one-act affair of the August Cup (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. As if the pint-sized superstar didn’t already have a class edge on his rivals, he snared the pole in the random draw. Chicago Bull has won 10 of his 15 runs on the comeback trail and 53 of his 81 lifetime starts. There’s a bit more depth this week with classy veteran Galactic Star resuming from gate four and the talented Handsandwheels in the mix from gate three.   Adam Hamilton

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