Queensland Harness Racing Wrap - June 10

10 June 2024
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Catch up on the week's harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.

 

THE GOOD

If there were any doubts about the standing start conditions facing Leap To Fame in the Flashing Red Handicap, they were soon allayed within two strides.

Stepping safely into stride from his 20-metre mark, Leap To Fame was into a pace immediately as trainer and driver Grant Dixon allowed the five-year-old plenty of time to balance up and find rhythm through the first 1000 metres.

Aroda was the best to start and the four-year-old was able to lead early before handing over to Northview Hustler which made a flyer and was in front by the winning post on the first occasion with two laps to travel.

Moving down the back straight with one mile left to travel, Send It was on a forward march and worked to the front as the first quarter of the last mile was put behind them in 29.6 seconds.

Making his move three-wide at the 1400 metre mark, Dixon flushed out Turn It Up who worked forward and handed over the breeze to Leap To Fame with 1000 metres to travel.

Running the second quarter in 29.9 seconds, the power started to go on as Leap To Fame got to the wheel of Send It, with the third split in 28.8 seconds. 

Reaching the quarter pole, Kelli Dawson was starting to feel for Send It, while Dixon still had a stranglehold on his champion, sitting confidently as the big field made the swing for home.

Pulling clear over the closing stages, Leap To Fame was never troubled, taking a winning margin of 12.6 metres stamped by a sizzling 26.7 second close out to stop the clock in a 1.55.5 rate.

That was enough to take one full second off the track record of Mach Shard, set in this same race two years ago, and give Leap To Fame his third Albion Park track record.

Send It was able to grip on for second, continuing his rejuvenated season and great standing start record which has seen him finish top-three in all eight appearances from behind the tapes.

A winner of the race back in 2019 and running in his fourth Flashing Red, 10-year-old veteran Northview Hustler grabbed third place for Hayden and Al Barnes.

Leap To Fame will now head to the Redcliffe Cup and likely the New Zealand Cup later in the year off the back of the impressive victory, his 13th in succession.

As the wins continue to pile up, Leap To Fame keeps surpassing records.

Unbeaten in eight starts this season and eclipsing $1 million in stakes for the term, the win created history for an Australian-bred pacer, becoming the first to record successive $1 million seasons and the first to achieve it racing exclusively in Australia.

The only horse to have ever recorded successive seven-figure stake seasons is Lazarus, who completed the feat in 2017 and 2018, winning races in both New Zealand and Australia in each season.

For Leap To Fame his 13 successive wins also eclipsed a record once held in the Dixon stable by Majestic Mach.

‘Razzle’ reached 12 successive wins on two occasions, with 'Larry' now taking that mantle, with that tally only looking at expanding.

 

STAR GAZING

There were several performances across the weekend in three states relevant to the upcoming Queensland Constellations.

In the first race of the night at 'The Creek' on Saturday, four-year-old Regazzo Di Tilly took his wining streak to four with a dominant performance in a qualifying pace.

Pressing to the front, the Daren Garrard-trained and Angus Garrard-driven gelding was able to zip home in 54.8 seconds to claim a two-metre margin over fellow four-year-old Free Thinker.

Air Express indicated he will be competitive in stronger races when he claimed victory in a three-year-old event for Grant and Trista Dixon.

Air Express ran his last 800 metres in under 55 seconds after charging down the outside.

Not To Be Denied impressed in a mares event, sent around the field from the second line and fighting off Cheer Leader in the closing stages to score, with races like the Fleur De Lil and The Golden Girl pencilled in.

At Menangle, Captains Knock was resuming from a spell in the first race of the night and the four-year-old returned in style with a 1.51.6 win.

The Rising Sun invitee finished strongly down the centre of the track to record career win 13.

Second-up from a spell, Swayzee was again dominant, running out a strong 2300 metre trip to record a rate of 1.52.8, with another showdown with his ‘brother’, Leap To Fame firmly on the radar come July.

Another of the Grimson stable to perform strongly was Aardies Express, the mare blasting home a slick closing quarter to score effortlessly.

The Great Square invitee and defending champion, London To A Brick, was back in winning form, finishing strongly to secure a narrow victory in 1.54.7.

Fellow The Great Square invitee, Rockinwithattitude, resumed from a spell at Melton, running second from a tough second line gate.

Shes Ruby Roo started favourite in the race, sent around the field to sit parked before just peaking late to finish fifth. 

Also, hopeful of a The Great Square appearance, The Locomotive disappointed first-up from a spell, fading to finish last and 33 metres from the winner, Hesallmuscle.

Prince Of Rock is yet to race this season, however, the runner-up in last season’s Victorian Trotters Derby behind Not As Promised has arrived in Queensland and the gelding will start his campaign towards The Great Square in the coming weeks.

 

THE MILESTONE

Night Ninja was victorious in the fourth race of the day on Sunday with the win moving the gelding equal for most race wins at Marburg.

Domestic Art has sat alone at the top of the list for some time.

The former Wayne Davis-trained pacer had his last race start on October 25, 2020, and his last victory some 12 months earlier on September 22, 2019.

Having his third run back from a spell on Sunday, Night Ninja, Circle Line and Teachers Pet were all equal on nine victories at Marburg, with a second line gate looking a tough obstacle for Night Ninja to negotiate.

However, Leonard Cain sent the Ben Aldons-trained gelding forward soon after the start, finding the front and once in control of proceedings, the pair cruised home to score, posting a 1.7 metre winning margin.

With the latest victory from Night Ninja, he now joins Domestic Art on 10 wins a-piece at the 700-metre oval, with Night Ninja having a slightly better conversion rate, his 10 wins coming from 39 starts with a further nine placings.

Domestic Art achieved his 10 wins from 46 starts as well as placing on 12 separate occasions.

Leonard Cain has driven Night Ninja in eight of his Marburg victories, the other two wins recorded by Errol Cain and Paul Diebert.

Night Ninja was bred and is owned by Aldons’ parents, Dr Pat and Rhonda Aldons, and the Shadow Play gelding started his career in Victoria with Peter Manning, as do the majority of their horses.

Winning at Stawell and Swan Hill for Manning, Night Ninja had his first Queensland appearance for Ben Aldons at Redcliffe in May of 2018.

With 10 career victories at Marburg, Night Ninja moves to 16 career victories with the latest success, including a 1.55.5 career personal best when scoring at 'The Creek' in a Marburg to Albion Final.

 

THE WILDCARD

Jonah Hutchinson had a night to remember at Redcliffe last Wednesday, claiming a training treble.

Taking seven horses up the Houghton Highway to the meeting, Hutchinson came away with the winning treble along with one second, two thirds and a fourth placing.

The first winner of the night came with Motu Cullen, an eight-year-old also owned by Hutchinson, who started from inside the second line.

Unable to hold the back of the leader drawn one, Motu Cullen was positioned three back along the inside once the field sorted their positions.

With that leader, Artful Maid, looking to establish a break on her opponents at the 400 metre mark, Motu Cullen looked at risk of being snookered over the closing stages.

As the field swung for home, Hutchinson angled the eight-year-old to the inside and the gelding was able to sprint sharply along the passing lane to arrive.

With a third behind Favreau in race three and then a fourth to War Club in race four, Snip Of Beauty was the next runner for the stable, with Hutchinson's partner Paige Bevan taking the reins in race five, finishing in third place.

Foveaux Major was the next runner to step out, with Hutchinson again taking the reins on the nine-year-old, who is part-owned by Bevan.

The gelding overcame a second line barrier to score.

Securing the prefect cart into the race on the back of the favourite Ghost Train, Hutchinson angled the gelding wider on the home bend and finishing best was able to secure a 2.5 metre victory.

Presenting two runners in the eighth race of the night, Hutchinson was denied the training and driving treble, partnering with Matai Reactor who finished in second position.

However, he was still able to secure the training treble as Dipped In Silver had the speed to arrive for the victory, with Bevan taking the reins on the four-year-old that she shares in ownership with Hutchinson.

That gave the pair a winning quinella to coincide with the three winners, making for a successful Wednesday night at the races.

 

THIS WEEK

A total of six race days ahead on the calendar this week with three meetings from each of Albion Park and Redcliffe.

Tuesday at 'The Creek' will see the first two-year-old trot race of the season, where four fillies will line up.

Friday is another night meeting at Albion Park, with Saturday’s metropolitan fixture seeing extended stakes offered for a mare’s qualifier and a three-year-old event.

Wednesday night at Redcliffe has 11 races on the docket, with heats of the three-year-old Yearling Sales Series along with four heats of the Showcase Series.

Redcliffe will host the regular Thursday spot along with a Sunday night meeting to round out the week.

 

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