If pre-race comments are any way to measure the happiness of a trainer after an event, then Anakie mentor Jeff Britton will be as happy as the proverbial pig in mud.
When speaking about his bitch Mepunga Tiara to ARG through the week, Britton said “I’ll be happy if she can run a place.”
She did that and a whole lot more on Saturday night at The Meadows when she landed the Group Two 2014 AWM Victorian Distance Championship. In the process, the daughter of Premier Fantasy and Mepunga Opal (Hallucinate – Mepunga Spark) not only picked up a cool $40,000.
After exiting box six in fourth place, Mepunga Tiara quickly mustered pace to sit in second, racing about three dogs off the fence behind early leader Lethal Three (3) while youngster Zipping Rory (8) was in third place.
Odds-on favourite Xylia Allen (1) was slowly away and found herself in fifth as the field went down the home straight on the first occasion.
The leading trio raced in that order until they left the back straight when Mepunga Tiara took over. Zipping Rory also made good ground and loomed as some sort of threat.
However as they turned for home, Mepunga Tiara’s strength became evident as she quickly beat off the challengers and made the race her own.
When she crossed the line, the 27kg black bitch had stopped the clock at 42.66 in winning by a length.
Dyna Willow (4) did not have an abundance of luck in running and made good ground late to grab second while Zipping Rory ran a credible third.
Of the beaten brigade, Xylia Allen’s tardy start saw her feature heavily in the stewards report including colliding on the home turn on both occasions, as well as a brush with the running rail mid-race. There is no doubt that she is capable of much better and will not be out of the winners circle for too long.
Lethal Three was unable to maintain her early lead and knocked up to finish fifth. Zipping Joe (5), Arejay Smokey (7) and Zipping Maggie (2) were probably the worst served in terms of interference and as a result, were never in the hunt. They filled the last three positions in that order.
The win was a part of what proved to be a night to remember for Jeff Britton. Two races later he made it a feature race double when he landed the Group One Maturity with Mepunga Hayley.
Britton also took out Race Four with Cosmic Wise and Race Nine with Mepunga Fearon.
The 2014 Distance Championship victory was Mepunga Tiara’s ninth career win from 34 starts and she has now amassed over $120,000 in prizemoney.
1st: Mepunga Tiara (6) – Jeff Britton
2nd: Dyna Willow (4) – Steven Collins
3rd: Zipping Rory (8) – Bethany Dapiran
4th: Xylia Allen (1) – Jenny Hunt
5th: Lethal Three (3) – Kelly Bravo
6th: Zipping Joe (5) – Darren McDonald
7th: Arejay Smokey (7) – Bob Iredale
8th: Zipping Maggie (2) – Peter Dapiran
1st split: 4.92
2nd split: 15.97
3rd split: 29.78
Margins: 1 x 1/4
Scratchings: Galloping Rocky (9) and Liara Allen (10)