KIWI raider Smooth Deal has another serious Aussie rival to contend with in the Victoria Derby.
Queenslander Governor Jujon blitzed a strong field in the rescheduled $50,000 Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle yesterday, pacing a 1min52.8sec mile and ripping home in 54.3 and 26.2sec.
He won without being asked for any real effort by stand-in driver Robbie Morris, while Paul Court’s Kiwi pacer Mach Da Vinci flashed home from well back for a ripper second.
Governor Jujon’s win was his seventh from just nine starts and he’s run second in the other two. He’s trained by Grant Dixon, making him a stablemate to 2018 Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One.
The exciting son of Cammibest now heads straight to the Derby heats at Ballarat on Saturday week.
Australia’s other top Derby contender, last season’s 2YO of the Year Be Happy Mach, only had his first public trial this campaign at Geelong last night.
He looks certain to head into the Derby heats first-up, which is a daring move given the jump from 2240m to 2760m for this year’s Derby final at Melton on January 25.
Smooth Deal is $2.60 Derby prepost favourite with the Aussie TAB from Be Happy Mach at $2.80 and Governor Jujon seemingly the value at $9.
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IT was great to see Let it Ride return with a Menangle win yesterday.
Tim Butt’s gelding failed in two runs in early winter and was sent straight for a spell.
The 2018 Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner was given a lovely trip in the one-one by Anthony Butt, grabbed the front turning for home and held-on by 3.9m over favourite Little Rascal in a 1min52.4sec mile, capped by closing splits of 55.3 and 27.3sec.
The opposition will certainly get much harder in coming weeks, but at least there were signs of the old Let It Ride.
The Butts combined for another impressive win at the rescheduled Menangle meeting when Ideal Star led throughout and bolted in by 12.9m in a career-best 1min51.3sec mile.
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TRAINER Shane Tritton is regrouping after losing his two best horses.
Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory has re-injured a tendon, ruling out the Chariots Of Fire and casting doubts over whether he will race again.
While recent Kiwi import Funatthebeach, who Tritton felt could be a Grand Circuit player, has been sent to the USA by connections.
He raced just twice for Tritton after leaving the All Stars barn for a win and a third at Menangle.