By Adam Hamilton
The second coming of South Coast Arden couldn’t have started any better.
The former Kiwi star made it two wins from as many starts for NSW trainer Paul Fitzpatrick when he scored narrowly but impressively at Menangle last night.
And he smashed the clock with a 1min49.1sec mile.
In a spirited affair, South Coast Arden did what few can do at Menangle by sustaining a big run around the field to beat some serious opposition.
He was helped by a scorching 53.3sec opening half set-up when Abouttime blasted out to lead from a wide draw and just kept running.
Just when it seemed Spirit Of St Louis, who sat behind the leader, was going to win, South Coast Arden lunged and won by a half-head.
Spirit Of St Louis was terrific first-up since finishing second in the Nullarbor at Gloucester Park on April 14.
Inter Dominion winner I Cast No Shadow, who was also resuming sat three pegs and had his chance but was still good in third spot.
The worry from the race was Bondi Lockdown, who for the second successive week ran well below his best.
Fitzpatrick will now surely be tempted to take South Coast Arden north next month for races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.
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Hot And Treacherous added to the huge Kiwi flavour in Australia’s major open-class races over the weekend.
The former North Island gelding, now owned in Queensland, was terrific doing plenty of work from a 10m handicap and winning The Flashing Red at Albion Park last night.
The five-year-old has improved each of just four runs for trainer Jack Butler and has now won the past two.
Despite doing the work, he gave driver Nathan Dawson a huge kick when asked at the top of the straight and dug deep to hold-off Manila Playboy and Turn It Up, who both charged home late.
He mile-rated a brisk 1min58.8sec from the standing start over 2647m.
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Still on Albion Park and Queensland’s best pacer Leap To Fame cruised to another win last night.
The four-year-old led throughout and ripped home in 54.5 and 27sec flat to post a 1min53.3sec mile rate over 2138m. It was just 0.9sec outside Bling It On’s 2015 track record.
Leap To Fame boasts 19 wins from just 25 starts as he heads towards the $350,000 Group 1 Rising Sun at Albion Park on July 8.
Trainer-driver Grant Dixon will then chase the $400,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake on July 22 and the inaugural $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle on September 2.
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This rivalry between Kiwi-bred trotting stars Queen Elida and Ultimate Stride is brightening up winter in Melbourne.
The “cousins” turned it on again at Melton last night, but this time Queen Elida turned the tables on Ultimate Stride to win by 1.7m in a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate or 2240m.
Two weeks earlier, Ultimate Stride led throughout to upset Queen Elida.
“She was great tonight,” Queen Elida’s driver Chris Alford said. “She did a bit too well between runs after the Sydney trip and peaked on her run a couple of weeks back, but she really savaged the line tonight.”
Just as he did last time, Chris Lang took Ultimate Stride to the front and adopted “catch me if you can” tactics over the last 1200m.
Queen Elida looked to have a real battle halfway down the straight, but lifted under Alford’s urging to exert her class.
It was her 23rd win from just 41 starts and edged her close to $500,000 in earnings.
There’s a long way to go and lots of feature races here first, but it’s also exciting to know Lilley is thinking about next year’s Elitlopp with Queen Elida.
Another trotter turn heads at Melton last night was Chris Svanosio’s Arcee Phoenix, who made it three brilliant wins from as many starts this campaign.
The four-year-old son of Trixton boasts an aggregate margin of 50.7 metres for his three wins this time in work.
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WA’S best pacer Magnificent Storm showed he was right on target for an upcoming Queensland raid with an arrogant free-for-all win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
The former Kiwi six-year-old was buzzed off the gate from an outside draw to lead the five-horse field for driver Aiden De Campo.
After a cosy lead time and 60.3sec middle half, Magnificent Storm ripped home in 55.4 and 26.6sec to beat the talented Mighty Conqueror by 9.7m in a steady 1min57sec mile rate for the longer 2536m trip.
The son of American Ideal has won three on end and 31 of his 48 lifetime starts.
Trainer Ray Williams confirmed his first Queensland run would be at Albion Park on July 8 in the $50,000 Mr Feelgood.
De Campo provided another of the highlights of the night when he won aboard Ryan Bell’s exciting four-year-old Swingband in race four.
The son of the ill-fated Alta Christiano made it 13 wins from just 25 starts and is headed to free-for-all class quickly.
Alta Christiano also sired the feature winner of the night, Acharne Girl, who led throughout to win the 4&5YO Westbred for trainer Gary Hall Sr and driver Stewie McDonald.
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Classy speedster Hurricane Harley will have to earn his ticket to the Queensland Constellations next month.
The seven-year-old went part of the way to it when he returned from a spell and blazed a 26sec flat last quarter to win the Lazarus Free-For-All (1720m) at Melton last night.
It was his first run since finishing fourth in the Miracle Mile on March 4.
For most stables, he would be the star, but Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin also have Hunter Cup winner Honolua Bay and proven Grand Circuit star Mach Dan aiming towards races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.
“We probably won’t take all three,” Stewart said. “They’d be racing each other and there are nice races down here if one stays home.
“We picked this race out for ‘Harley’ because he loves the sprints. He’s a real stable favourite and it’s great to have him back.”:
A star since his juvenile days, Hurricane Harley has overcome injury setbacks to win 26 races and over $700,000.
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Vincent continues to make his mark in the breeding both on both sides of the ditch.
His son, Thelittle Master, out of Christian Cullen mare Anna Faye, made it three successive wins when she cruised home at Gloucester Park last Friday night.
Earlier, three-year-old Vincent filly Brulee scored narrowly but impressively to make it four wins from 17 starts for trainer Barry Howlett.