Ace; Champion reinsman Chris Alford claimed his second Victoria Cup with victory aboard Lennytheshark
Champion reinsman Chris Alford delivered an inch perfect drive aboard star pacer Lennytheshark to win the Gr.1 $400,000 Good Form Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday).
Lennytheshark ($2 fav) defeated Kiwi raiders Smolda ($2.70) by a head margin while Mossdale Conner ($76.50) was a further 3m away in third in a time of 1:55.0.
The victory provided Alford with his second Victoria Cup triumph after scoring back in 1995 with Golden Reign while it was a first for trainer David Aiken.
With all pre-race discussions focused on who would lead the 2240m event, it was Alford and Lennytheshark who blasted out from his wide draw and challenged hard while Smolda and Mister Mundaka tried valiantly to lead.
But the recent Inter Dominion champion cleared going into the first turn while Smolda sat in the trail with Mister Mundaka left without cover early.
The lead time was covered in 43.4 seconds.
The first move in the race came from Messini who worked around three wide before parking outside the leader while Bling It On soon followed.
Alford quickly backed off the pressure and allowed Lennytheshark to gain a breather mid-race while his main danger and last start Ballarat Cup winner Smolda sat coiled on his back.
The first quarter on the final mile was covered in 30 seconds.
As the field reached the bell lap, Major Crocker commenced a three-wide run and was tracked up by Mossdale Conner and then My Hard Copy also joined the cover flow.
The second quarter was posted in 30.9 seconds.
Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Alford continued to control the speed and allowed Lennytheshark to conserve as much energy as possible.
As the field headed off the back straight in a controlled third quarter of 28.9 seconds, Alford continued to dictate and quickly turned the event into a final quarter dash.
Lennytheshark straightened with a handy lead after shaking off the challenge from Bling It On while Smolda aimed for a run via the sprint lane with Mossdale Conner winding up wider on the track.
Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark prevailed narrowly from Smolda with Mossdale Conner an excellent third.
The last quarter was timed in 26.9 seconds.
“He went super and relaxed perfectly after the early burn, I was confident I could hold Smolda over the final stages and it worked out well. He’s a great horse and now we’re headed to Sydney for the Miracle Mile.” Alford said.
Following his success in last month’s Inter Dominion in Perth, Lennytheshark becomes the first horse to win multiple Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit events this season and sits at the top of the points table with 200 points.
Smolda (160) is second while My Hard Copy (108) is third with two legs of the season remaining, the $500,000 Hunter Cup next week and the $750,000 Miracle Mile on February 28.