By Adam Hamilton
JUST days after the flying Cash N Flow made it a staggering eight successive Menangle wins, his stable is about to unleash one they say is better.
Former Kiwi pacer Alta Orlando made quite a splash last campaign, culminating with a luckless third in the Miracle Mile, and returns from a break in the mile free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night.
Driver Luke McCarthy doesn’t hide the fact he rates Alta Orlando above Cash N Flow despite the stunning autumn/winter form of the latter.
“Cashy is a lovely horse and we’ve really found the key to him, but he’s that notch below our absolute best and Alta Orlando is one of them,” McCarthy said.
“Alta Orlando was actually ready to run last week, but it looked a good race for Cashy and we weren’t keen for them to clash when Alta was first-up.
“It was pretty awesome what Alta Orlando did last time in work and gee he’s come back well. He won that Miracle Mile qualifier so well and would’ve gone close in the Mile itself if everything had gone his way.
“It’s great to have him back and we think he’ll be a big player in all the top races.”
Alta Orlando is one of six runners trainer Craig Cross has in Saturday’s free-for-all, but he’s sure to be a warm favourite despite the outside draw.
His major rivals look to be Steve Turnbull’s star stayer Atomic Red, who is also resuming from a wide draw, along with the classy The Black Prince.
The best of Cross’ other runners are the ultra-consistent Replayed Eye and talented former WA pacer Zennart.
Like most of Australia’s top pacers, Alta Orlando is being primed for the $300,000 Victoria Cup at Melton on October 10.
And he is Cross and McCarthy’s anointed one for a Perth raid to tackle the Group 1 double – Fremantle and WA Cups – in November/December.
“Remember we had him booked to go to those races this year, but we couldn’t get flights across,” McCarthy said.
“We thought a lot of him back then, but he hasn’t really proved it. He has now and we think the best is still to come.”
Alta Orlando’s return headlines a ripper Menangle card.
In the third race, one-time buzz pacer Ignatius returns from a spell and should be too classy.
Jimmy Rattray’s stable star grabbed the eye when hard-held behind Perfect Stride in a recent Menangle trial where they zipped home in 26.6sec at the end of a 1min53.1sec mile.
Perfect Stride then resumed with a Menangle win last week and backs up in a hot final of that race – the fifth event this Saturday night.
It’ll be a serious test for Perfect Stride from gate nine with major danger Whereyabinboppin (gate five) drawn inside him
If he comes through this run well, Perfect Stride will head north for what shapes as a cracking South-East Derby at Albion Park.