Day At The Track

Aussie news - 12th March 2018

10:00 AM 12 Mar 2018 NZDT
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Franco Nelson,Harness racing
Franco Nelson
Club Menangle

Shane Tritton has a good problem on his hands with rejuvenated former Kiwi star Franco Nelson. 

He’s got the horse flying, but there aren’t many suitable races in the short term. 

“We thought about going down to the Kilmore Cup (next Saturday night), but he’s an old horse with niggles and it’s a risk to take him away from home now we’ve got him sound and racing so well,” he said. 

“I just wish he’d got into the Miracle Mile. He’d have given it a shake with a good draw.” 

If you think that’s a bold call, think back a month when Franco Nelson thrashed eventual Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal at Menangle. 

Franco Nelson produced a huge effort to win the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal free-for-all on Miracle Mile night and then actually improved again to win the free-for-all at Menangle last Friday night. 

Despite doing plenty of work, Franco Nelson powered home by 5.2m in a scorching 1.52.8 mile rate for 2300m – just 0.2sec outside Clancys Fobwatch’s track record. 

“I said after Miracle Mile night he’s the best horse we’ve trained and he’s only highlighted that again,” Tritton said. 

With Kilmore off the table, Franco Nelson will be freshened before a campaign aimed at the Bulli Cup and Len Smith Mile, both at Menangle. 

It’s all starting again. 

As usual at this time of year, the Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin team start to flex their muscle with the two-year-olds. 

It started with a splash when Fourbigmen (Mach Three-Aleppo Heiress) thrashed his rivals at Kilmore last Wednesday night. 

Chris Alford made the most of gate one to lead and cruise through a 61.4sec first half, then zip home in 57.0 and 28.2sec. 

Fourbigmen zoomed away from Peter Manning’s Scheu Creek – already a feature race winner this season – to win by 17.9m in a 1.58.1 mile rate for 1690m. 

“He’s named after four of his part-owners as we are four big men,” part-owner Peter Tonkin said. 

Then at Geelong last Friday night, debutante Centenario was every bit as impressive at Four Big Men. 

Centenario, closely-related to the injury-plagued but outstanding Philadelphia Man, led throughout in a 1.58.6 mile and closed in 28.1sec to win by 13.7m. 

“We’re really excited about the babies again this year. These two are among our best, but there’s another couple right up there with them you’ll see step-out in the next few weeks,” Peter Tonkin said. 

Classy pacer Spare Me Days created some country NSW history on Saturday night. 

The Brad Hewitt-trained six-year-old did something even the former great NSW stayer Karloo Mick couldn’t do – win three successive Young Pacing Cups. 

Karloo Mick went back-to-back in 2009-10, but Spare Me Days went one better with a powerhouse win on Saturday, beating classy mare Dont Think Twice by 4.5m in a 1.57.1 mile rate for 2480m. 

Buzz Tasmanian three-year-old Ignatius, now based in NSW with Jimmy Rattray, did all the work and won the Young Derby in good style. 

He’s won nine of his 10 starts and is being set for the NSW Breeders Challenge and a possible Queensland Derby tilt. 

The Young Oaks was a cracking race with favourite War Dan Bad Girl leading and being nabbed by a brave Major Occasion, who sat parked throughout. 

It might only have been a ho-hum Maryborough Friday race, but remember the name Share The Road. 

The four-year-old Kiwi-bred mate, by Tintin In America out of High Tops Hanover, sparkled beating another exciting recent Kiwi import Boom Time. 

Share The Road pressured her way to the front from Boom Time midrace and found plenty to win in a 1.56.1 mile rate for 2190m with closing splits of 55.6 and 27.3sec. 

Part-owner Zac Cornell, who has raced stars like Arms Of An Angel, Suave Stuey Lombo, Mach Beauty and others, has high hopes for Share The Road. 

“I think she’s one of the best four-year-old mares in the land. What she did at Maryborough was good and not really her go, she’s better off just rolling along. Her previous win at Shepparton was awesome.” 

Popular Melbourne media man Rob Auber has enjoyed his fair share of success as an owner. 

Auber’s headline act has been former star mare Bellas Delight, but Madame Meilland is starting to challenge for the mantle. 

There is still a way to go given Bellas Delight won 20 races and almost $450,000 in stakemoney. 

But Madame Meilland posted her 10th win from 35 starts and passed $100,000 in earnings with a career-best $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m) win at Gloucester Park last Friday night. 

It was an enormous win given she sat parked outside hot favourite Better B Chevron and nutted her on the line in a 56.2sec last half. 

Madame Meilland is trained by Auber’s friend Ross Olivieri and driven by the much-underrated Shannon Suvaljko. 

Another highlight of the Gloucester Park was the battle between emerging stars Vampiro and Runrunjimmydunn with the former prevailing by a nostril in the sixth event. 

They went to war down the back straight in a 27.1sec and Vampiro, who led, just did enough to hold-off a very brave Runrunjimmydunn in a 1.55.7 mile rate for 2130m.


Adam Hamilton

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