By Adam Hamilton
KATE Gath’s golden run continued when she won both features at Saturday’s Shepparton Cup meeting.
Gath teamed with trainer Emma Stewart and Victoria’s most improved pacer, Phoenix Prince, to snare the $60,000 Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup and earlier with her husband Andy andMcLovin in the Group 3 George Gath Trot.
Phoenix Prince is clearly Victoria’s country cups star right now with the latest win following victories in the Geelong and Cranbourne Cups as well as second in the Bendigo Cup and third in the Stawell Cup.
Gath has been aboard in four of those runs, including the Geelong Cup win, while Jodi Quinlan partnered Phoenix Prince to win at Cranbourne.
The Shepparton Cup was Phoenix Prince’s most important win yet, beating all of Australia’s three Auckland Inter Dominion finalists – Sicario (fourth), My Kiwi Mate (sixth) and San Carlo (seventh) – along with emerging star Lochinvar Art (fifth) and Our Uncle Sam (second).
Our Uncle Sam found the front and copped some midrace pressure from San Carlo, who weakened, while Our Uncle Sam was only beaten a head.
Lochinvar Art was thehardluck runner, being shuffled to four-back on the inside and storming home late when he saw some daylight from a hopeless position.
McLovin has bounced-back to winning form at his first run since illness derailed his Auckland Inter Dominion campaign.
The former Kiwi gelding got the job done – only just – but did show plenty of fight to lift after looking in strife on the last bend to snatch a head overSundons Courage in the Group 3 George Gath Trot at Shepparton on Saturday night.
While it was great to see him back in winning form, he did have a lovely one-one trail and was entitled to win and win with more ease given the closing splits of 58.0 and 29.4sec at the end of a 2min0.7sec mile rate for 2190m.
He’s sure to be fitter for the run, but will need to lift plenty for his date with the likes of OscarBonavena, etc in the Group 1 Dullard Cup at Melton on January 25 and the Group 1 Great Southern Star a week after that.
The win certainly meant plenty to trainer Andy Gath. “It’s a great thrill to win this race again in honour of my legendary grandfather,” he said.
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IT’S great to haveCran Dalgety back in the Aussie feature race mix.
His emerging filly Dr Susan capped her Victoria Oaks preparation with a very impressive win in the $50,000 Group 2Raith Memorial at Menangle on Saturday night.
Fresh from a well-held third in the Sires Stake final at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve, Dr Susan underlined the depth of talent on this year’s Kiwi crop.
Anthony Butt bustled her out of gate five and had a crack for the lead from local KeepRockin through a brisk 26sec opening quarter, but then had to grab hold and drop in behind the leader.
Rather than risk being pocketed, Butt came off the leader’s back at the 500m and zoomed away with a big lead, until local outsiderVincenzina emerged from the back and roared home to miss causing an upset by just a head.
Although the margin wasn’t great, Dr Susan did the do the early work and paced an impressive 1min52.1sec mile.
The heats of the Oaks are at Ballarat next Saturday night.
Dr Susan’s win underlines why another Kiwi, Stylish Memphis, is clear favourite to win the Oaks given she did more work and easily beat home Dr Susan on New Year’s Eve in Auckland.
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ONE horse with enough sheer speed to at least test Self Assured in Saturday week’s 4YO Bonanza is Hurricane Harley.
Emma Stewart’s pacer simply packed too much speed for his older rivals despite sitting parked in yesterday’s Hamilton Cup.
Although sitting parked is not his go, it was only 1660m and turned into an 800m dash with a 54.3sec last half.
Hurricane Harley had too much sheer brilliance for the leader and main rival Duke Of Wellington to win by a neck.
The race was robbed of much interest with the scratching of buzz pacer Lumineer, who was shooting for his 16th win from just 18 starts.
“He has a float mishap. It’s nothing major, just some superficial stuff, but we’d never take any risk with him after the problems he’s had,” trainer Ange McDowall said.
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FORMER Kiwi Our Alfie Romeo isn’t just the best mare in WA, she looks one of the best in Australia.
Greg and Skye Bond’s five-year-old thrashed a good field at Gloucester Park last Friday night, leafing throughout to win unextended by 8.1m and dashing home in 55.6 and 27.4sec.
The daughter of Washington VC won 12 of her 20 runs in WA last season and has raced eight times this term for four wins, two seconds and a third.
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EXCITING former Kiwi filly Tiffany Rose looks right on target for a NSW Oaks raid despite suffering her first WA defeat at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere had eight starts at two in NZ for seven placings, some in the top races, and then won her first five starts in WA for trainer Mike Reed.
She drew the outside, gate nine, drifted back to last and stormed home for a close third to WA’s other top filly, Double Expresso, last Friday night.
Driver Chris Lewis won the race when he mad a mid race move to sit parked on Double Expresso and dug deep to win in 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2130m.
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ONE of Australia’s most loved and popular pacers,Emain Macha, added to his fantastic record with an easy win in the Italian Cup at Globe Derby on Saturday.
The six-year-old fifth win from nine starts this campaign took his record to 32 wins from 54 starts with another 13 placings and over $270,000 in earnings.