Successful day for Johnny and Dex
While on opposite sides of the Tasman today, both Johnny and Dexter enjoyed stellar days in the cart.
John had just the two stable drives for the day. Surfin Swift proved that it was only bad luck that has seen her out of the money in her last couple of starts. Driven assertively by John today, the Christian Cullen filly was in front 2200m out after an early duel with Ideal Arden. She then dictated terms until the 1400m where John elected to hand up to hot favourite Hannah Jaye. Once reaching the top, driver Ken Barron kept the pace on and was always going to be vulnerable with Surfin Swift on her back. John elected to pass up the passing lane, instead pulling out at the 150m, mastering Hannah Jaye and then holding out a late finish from Ideal Arden. To put into context today's run, the filly's time of 3.11.7, was just 0.8 seconds outside De Lovely's New Zealand record. With Kabet and Surfin Swift in such dynamic form, both are going to be very competitive in upcoming classic races.
John's second stable drive was Ten Diamonds in the Cheviot Cup. She worked hard to take the lead at the 2200m and was then pressured throughout. It was clear at the 400m that she was a spent force and a time of 4.00.2 reflected the hard run that she had. It was that man again, former stable driver Tim (Turtle) Williams that was beneficiary of the hot pace, steering home another Mark Purdon trained catch drive in Southwind Arden.
John always looked to have a good outside book for the day and gained a further two victories with Venus Serena and Lochranza Franco. Venus Serena trained by Geoff Dunn was impressive in taking out the Group 3 American Ideal Stakes for the 2yr old fillies. The Mach Three filly was backing up a top run for 2nd on debut. Today she enjoyed a great trail behind the Clark Barron trained and driven Raksdeal. The two drew clear at the 200m with Venus Serena proving too tough over the last 50m. She looks to have plenty further wins in store.
John's day was wrapped in style on the Ben Waldron trained Lochranza Franco. After an excellent last start 3rd in much tougher company, the P-Forty-Seven 4yr old mare was sent out at false odds of 12-1. After settling back from a wide draw, Johnny launched the mare from the 800m. After keeping up a sustained run, she hit the front at the 100m and held on by 1/2 neck in a tight finish. This win took John to 55 driving wins for the season and he is well on track to smash his season best of 75 victories.
Meanwhile across the Tasman, Dexter was again making headlines, with the outstanding Christen Me from the Cran Dalgety stable beating a star field of 4yr olds in the Group One Chariots Of Fire. After surging to the front on the home turn, Christen Me staved off late challenges from Smoulda and Restreppo in an incredible 1.50.50 for the mile. Everything that this horse continues to do smacks of future champion. Ironically in his final lead up to the Chariots, he convincingly beat now 3 time Inter-Dominion Pacing champion in Im Themightyquinn. What a future lies in front of him!
Posted: Sun 03 Mar 2013