Alta Orlando too big and too tough in Classic win

Alta Orlando too big and too tough in Classic win

It will always be a case of what could have been in terms of the juvenile career of Alta Orlando. However, the present Alta Orlando has done a very good job of showing that there is still plenty of life in his legs. Today at Rangiora in the Rangiora Classic he called on all of his staying reserves to out-tough a very game Billy Badger in a Group Three stable quinella.

In a race that proved a true staying test, Alta Orlando was always back in the early stages and a conservative 15 lengths off leader Tiger Thompson at the 1400m. Able to get onto the back of James Dean from the 1300m, Alta Orlando enjoyed the perfect trip into the race. All the while, stablemate Billy Badger was getting an identical run to last week, on the back of Tiger Thompson in the trail.

As the pace started to be upped from the 600m, the run of James Dean started to come to an end and John was forced to go four wide to launch his run. He quickly loomed up towards the leaders on the home turn, just as Billy Badger had hopped out of the trail to take the lead. At the 200m, the two knuckled down for a great fight and as game as what Billy Badger was, there was no denying Alta Orlando today which swept past at the 100m, going on for a strong win by three quarters of a length.

Today's win was the second at Group Three level for the Courage Under Fire six year old, after downing More The Better at Addington a month ago. The eighth win of his career takes his stake-earnings to a very respectable $233,000, considering how much time he missed from the track as a three and four year old.

On a stunning Rangiora afternoon, the win clearly meant a lot to all involved with the horse including driver John Dunn and owners Jenna Dunn, Robert Dunn, Mitzi Taylor and Dr Margaret Evans. 

Driver Dexter Dunn was also very happy with Billy Badger which was nothing but game in defeat. He was left lamenting that leader Tiger Thompson couldn't have dragged him to the passing lane, that runner having peaked on its run on the turn. Buster Brady was a fast finishing third for Blair Orange, while good mare Delishka put up a big run for 4th.

The other success for the day came in the last, with the Warwick Sparks owned Awesome Speed, very much living up to its name. A strong maiden winner at Addington last week after doing plenty of work, today Awesome Speed had to come from well off the pace at the 600m to get up.

In a race dominated on the tote by favourite Come Dance With Me, the chances of an upset were firmly on the cards after that runner was forced to park over the last lap. When the trailling horse Miss You hit the front inside the last 200m, she looked the likely winner, but out wide the swoopers started to appear. In what was an inch perfect drive by Tim Williams, Awesome Speed hit the front inside the last 50m, before holding out another late swooper in Highland Reign. 

In her two wins, Awesome Speed has shown a combination of speed and toughness, great qualities for a filly only in the early stages of her career. She looks a filly with plenty of potential moving forward and it is nice to see Warwick with another nice racehorse out of the stable.

Of the other stable runners on show today, Johnny White was the best of these running another placing, this time a second behind an impressive Editorial.

Posted: Sun 22 Apr 2018