Season in review, part 5 - December
The Inter-Dominions continued at Alexandra Park and we continued to be plagued by bad draws that would ultimately scuttle the hopes for most of the team. However, come Grand Final night, the brave runs for 4th by Valloria in the trotters grand final and 2nd by Classie Brigade in the pacers consolation salvaged some pride for the team.
Night two of the Inter-Doms started favourably for us with a win down the grades by Megastar. However, Henry Hubert from a bad draw never got into it in the first of the big pacers heats, while Classie Brigade earned some much needed points in running 4th in his heat. The trotters faired little better, with only Bonnie Highlander in running 4th getting close to some better points.
Three nights later it was the final round of heats and you guessed it some more bad draws! A 4th in his heat saw Valloria safely through to the trotters grand final, but both Classie Brigade and Henry Hubert were bereft of luck in their heats, with the former narrowly missing out on the following week's grand final.
On the undercard that night, it was a much brighter picture, with our three year old fillies Need You Now and Spellbound providing the quinellan in their Sires Stakes heat, the runs of both auguring well for the final on New Years Eve. Franco Niven was an Addington winner the following night for Tim Williams, while at Methven on the Sunday, Heisenberg ran third as favourite in the Pacers Green Mile.
A week later at Addington, One Majic Kenny got his three year old campaign successfully underway with a nice win, driven by Matt Anderson, but it was Alexandra Park and grand final night that all attention now turned.
Spellbound put in a nice run for third early in the programme in the Group One Caduceus Club Stakes, with Amazing Dream too good for Stylish Memphis. The first of the Grand Finals was for the trotters and saw Valloria do us proud in running 4th. After looming with what looked like a winning run wide on the turn, he stuck to his guns all the way up the straight. Favourite Winterfell was too good for second favourite Majestic Man and Massive Metro. A race later and Classie Brigade was back to something near his best. After looking the winner all the way up the straight, he only succumbed late, going down by a head at the line to Another Masterpiece. The pacers grand final was won impressively by Ultimate Sniper. Back home a day later, John was immediately back in the winners circle with Cheddar Valley an impressive winner in just his second start for the stable.
The last Addington meeting for the year was on 20 December and Pres Da Belle, Stars Tonight and Sugar Loaf were all impressive winners, Pres Da Belle especially so in beating a good field of trotters by six lengths. At Ashburton on Xmas Eve, Kensington Bill was a convincing winner in his pacing debut, while Heisenberg was rewarded for consistency with a win in the feature, the Ashburton Cup.
Stars Tonight was the sole rep for us on Boxing Day at Westport, but driven by Gavin Smith delivered in fine style in winning the Westport Cup. He backed up with a nice second behind Tango Tara on the second day. Ben Hope reined home Soundslikeart for us a day later at Motukarara.
The year finished for us at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve. The day started on a high with Swiss Miss and Resonate providing the quinella in the first. However, after going into the Sires Stakes final full of confidence with Need You Now and Spellbound, we were disappointed as both finished well back, later revealed to be suffering from a virus. Try as he might, Classie Brigade had no luck at all in the Auckland Cup, eventually finishing well back after doing plenty of work in the running. Sugar Loaf continued a bright start to her career with another win, this time at Winton, driven by Matt Anderson.
Posted: Thu 09 Apr 2020