SA TROTS -SA Cup Heats Night race review

Harness Racing South Australia’s decision to run heats for four of the state’s feature races proved a winner with an outstanding night of racing at Globe Derby Park on Friday.

Two heats were conducted for each of the Sky Racing Pacing Cup, Sky Racing Trotters Cup, Sky Racing South Australian Derby and the Alabar SA BOTRA Golden Nursery.

With emphasis on qualifying for this Saturday night’s rich and prestigious finals, the competition was keen with sensational race.

Alabar Golden Nursery

Heat one was a perfect example of what was to come.

The result saw the Les Harding-trained Bay Jim Major ($10), driven by Mark Norman, charge home to score a 10-1/2 metre win with an excellent mile rate for two-year-olds of 1:56.1.

Tilly Jane ($2.40 fav) took second two metres clear of Star Man ($3.10) with Alive And Free fourth and Tembie qualifying for the final as the fastest fifth.

The race changed complexion on the first turn when Hezrockinroyalty, which had led from gate two, galloped badly causing issues before Tembie went quick to find the lead and ensure the quick time.

Harding said Bay Jim Major continued to improve with racing and he was certain the son of first season sire Major Secret would be competitive in the final.

Less action in the second heat with Miss Idaho ($1.28 fav), trained and driven by Ryan Hryhorec, finding the lead and rated perfectly to win by 5-1/2 metres from Buzz Bomb ($11) with Lil Miss Crocker ($5), 4-1/2 metres away third and Waitpinga Reactor fourth to make the final.

Hryhorec said his filly had been able to have a relatively easy race and was confident she could prove an excellent chance in this week’s final.

Sky Racing South Australian Pacing Derby

One of the best news wins on the night was by Lifeisbutadream in heat one of the Derby.

Trained and driven by Anthony Robinson, Lifeisbutadream ($19) found the front from gate three and led throughout to win by 2-1/2 metres from the fast finishing Nicely Spoken ($21) with Laylas Princess ($71) a half head away third.

Victorian Little Louie ($1.28 fav) sat parked and held on for fourth ahead of Delightfull Tammy ($4.20) to both qualify for the final.

The winner was bred by the late Andrew Gilbert who said on Lifeisbutadream’s birth that he felt it was the best horse he had bred.

Robinson said the gelding had really turned the corner over the past month and was ready to deliver on his early potential.

Victorian trainer Emma Stewart has a wonderful record when bringing horses to South Australia and Our Vinnie stamped his mark on the Derby with an impressive victory in heat two.

Sitting parked, Our Vinnie ($1.35 fav), driven by Gaita Pullicino, drew clear to score by 5-1/2 metres from Hes All Torque ($11) with Cheerstolou ($3.70) a head away third.

Lethal Louise and Powerofpersuasion were fourth and fifth to qualify for the final.

Cheerstolou led from gate two and made it a race with Our Vinnie, but the latter had too much quality to win in a rate of 1:59.2 compared with Lifeisbutadream’s 2:00.2.

Sky Racing South Australian Pacing Cup

There is a strong South Australian connection with the Emma Stewart-trained Wheres The Gold which proved too tough for his rivals in heat one.

The four-year-old is owned by Aaron Bain Racing, Summit Bloodstock and a group of their owners including Brad Fitzgerald, Kisty Tattoli and Nicolle Rantanen Reynolds.

Driver Gaita Pullicino made a crucial mid race move to come around and sit outside the leader and as a result, Wheres The Gold ($3.60) held off all challenges to win by two metres from Perfect Stride ($3.90) with Hot Deal ($3.40 fav), 6-1/2 metres away third.

Ultimate Vinnie was fourth to give Victorian-trained horses spots in the final with the Angela Chapman-trained Wrangler fifth to be the first emergency.

Heat two gave trainer Shane Sanderson and driver Ryan Sanderson another Cup runner when Platinum Stride scored following Perfect Stride’s second in the first heat.

Platinum Stride ($6) took advantage of an incident with a lap to go to go to the front and scored by seven metres from Western Sonador ($21) with Sahara Tiger ($8.50), a stablemate of the winner, 10 metres away third.

With another three Victorians making the Cup final, SA grabbed a spot when Culture King, trained by Paul Cavallaro, grabbed fourth.

Like A Wildfire ($1.40 fav) led the heat from gate one but driver Gaita Pullicino mistook the laps and thought she had won with a lap still to go and drifted off the fence allowing Platinum Stride to go through and lead.

Pullicino realised her mistake, but the favourite was back in midfield and couldn’t regain his spot and eventually finished seventh.

Sky Racing Trotters Cup

A patient drive by Tayla French resulted in Anywhere Hugo, trained by Chris Svanosio finish best to win heat one.

Anywhere Hugo ($3.20 fav) arrived to win by a neck from Travel Bug ($3.40) which had looked the winner with Blue Coman ($6), 13 metres away third.

Its Trixton Time and Powderkeg ran fourth and fifth to qualify for the final.

Three-year-old trotter Aldebaran Stiles looked sure to qualify when just behind the leader in the home straight but galloped to come home sixth and is now the emergency for the final.

Training partners Jill Neilson and Katie Wilson have done a good job with My Used To Be and he resumed from an 11 month break to take out heat two.

Driven by Wayne Hill, My Used To Be ($9.50) finished best to score by 5-1/2 metres from Hesallmuscle ($1.70 fav) with Get Lucky ($61), 9-1/2 metres away third.

Hammers Law and Millys Magic also qualified for the Cup final.

My Used To Be’s win was the five-year-old’s first for almost two years, with his last victory on December 4, 2021, at Globe Derby Park.

He rated 2:03.6 compared with Anywhere Hugo’s 2:04.4 so the Trotters Cup looks certain to be a fascinating contest.   

 Story: HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga

Lifeisbutadream (Heat 1 – SA Derby)