Princess Phoenix - is she trotting's next star?
A few of them went for a hop, skip and a jump at different times during the race, but not Princess Phoenix. She trotted throughout and was ultra-impressive winning last night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Ballarat.
The David Aiken-trained filly recorded a mile rate of 2:03.8 for the 2200-metre trip – Harness Breeders Victoria tweeting that time was 0.1secs faster than the 2090m Group 2 Dullard Cup at Moonee Valley in 2003.
Tweet from @HarnessBreeders
"2YO trotting fillies running 2:03.8 mile rates for 2,200m! How far has our breed come? 0.1 faster than 2,090m 2003 Group 2 Dullard Cup @ MV"
The filly by The Pres out of Dodo Rocket looks every bit as exciting as last season’s male juvenile trotter of the year, Eljaykay Phoenix.
Allowed to stride along boldly in the run, bowling well clear on the final lap, Princess Phoenix was 10m in front of the second horse off the back straight.
She quickly extended further down the side and in the blink of an eye had her rivals gapped, opening up all the way to the line – and with plenty in reserve as Josh Aiken sat quietly in the sulky – to score by nearly 30 metres.
Princess Phoenix has won two of her four starts and is already a Group 1 winner, taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Home Grown Classic Final at Melton last month.
She has also finished second beaten 1.3m against the boys in the Tatlow Stakes.
“She’s a really nice filly. She’s not the complete racehorse yet. She still plays around a bit in the warm-up, so I think there’s more improvement still,” Josh Aiken said.
“She’s got the high speed at this stage of her career which the other two-year-olds just can’t match. That’s her biggest weapon.”
Aiken compared Princess Phoenix to Eljaykay Phoenix – who won eight races as a two-year-old including three Group 1s, taking out both the Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown finals.
“In terms of their talent I don’t think there’s much between them,” he said.
Princess Phoenix beat Social Fireball by 29.1m with A Nip Will Do third.
Aiken doubled up in Race 4 with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series fourth heat for four-yea-old mares going to consistent Art Major/Quick Comment pacer Quick Draft.
“She appreciated finding the top,” Aiken said.
“She’s usually the one doing the chasing. We think she can play a big part in the next few weeks. Let’s hope it’s her year … she deserves it.”
Quick Draft rated 2:00.6 to defeat Milady Denver by 6.1m with Blitzsuzy third.
Charlie Runkle held out Cruisin Around to take out the Empire Stallions two-year-old trotting colts and geldings in the first heat at Ballarat in a rate of 2:05.5.
Cruisin Around broke early and lost plenty of ground but picked up again, caught the field and for a stride at the finish looked like he could win. It was a big run.
The winner, trained by Gary Quinlan and driven by Chris Alford, has a similar story to Princess Phoenix in that he also won the Vicbred Home Grown Classic Final last month.
Kyvalley Tinman finished third last night.
Meanwhile, exciting pacer Iconic Valor (Jeremes Jet/Princess Hayley) took out the two-year-old colts and geldings pacers’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series fourth heat for Heath Redwood and Chris Alford.
It was a Redwood-trained quinella, Iconic Valor holding out stablemate Showgun Thomas at the end by 2m with Blackbird Power running third in a rate of 2:01.4.
2YO TROTTING FILLIES 1st HEAT
2YO COLTS AND GELDINGS TROTTING 1st HEAT
4YO MARES 4th HEAT
2YO COLTS AND GELDINGS 4th HEAT
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