The Paul Anderton trained Shifty Sticka was the fastest winner of twelve superb heats of the $100,000 Group One AJS Corporation Silver Chief at The Meadows on Saturday night.
The night provided plenty of upsets, with some of the big names missing out on advancing to next weekend’s semi finals. Shifty Sticka’s classy front running display was a real highlight, along with a tenacious last-to-first effort from Allen Deed in heat six.
With the series being a producer of so many champions in the past, we may see a new name emerge this time around. It certainly augurs well for four classic semi finals next Saturday evening.
Despite beginning in the last couple, Hailstorm Billy (3) took out the first heat in style for trainer Angela Langton, winning by 5 lengths in 30.06. After leaving the boxes in sixth position, Hailstorm Billy dropped straight down onto the rails and made the most of every opportunity presented to him. Thunder Won set the early pace with a 5.12 first section. Volksjager Blue (1) was also handy early but didn’t negotiate the first turn too well and Zipping Brock (4) put himself in the picture. Hailstorm Billy had used the fence well and was up into third place as they headed into the back straight. It wasn’t long before the son of Westmead Hawk and Shelby Shiraz had taken the ascendency and from that point there was little chance of him being run down, given his recent middle distance form. Volksjager Blue chased Hailstorm Billy hard all the way home to finish second, but was no match and didn’t really make up any ground. Supersonic Hawk finished third a further 5 lengths away.
Top Innings (7), part owned by former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, led all the way to take out the second heat. Top Innings left the boxes swiftly and had found a margin as they passed the post the first time in a first section of 5.04. Favourite Peleton Bale (1) and Frosty Jay Jay (2) were the margin abbreviators and both had their chance to run down the leader. Top Innings showed too much fight and held them at bay to score by 1.25 lengths in 29.97. Peleton Bale finished second with Frosty Jay Jay a further 1.75 lengths away in third.
The early upsets continued when Deadly Boy (5) took out heat three for Maryborough mentor Joe Borg. After beginning well from the middle, Deadly Boy was headed out wide by Mepunga Fearon (8) in a first split of 5.07. Deadly Boy was able to hold the fence and punch up underneath Mepunga Fearon as they went into the back. The favourite Ride The Rails (1) had the sit on the pair and looked poised to strike, but Deadly Boy just kept on keeping on and staved off Mepunga Fearon to score by 1.25 lengths in 30.06. Ride The Rails was unable to make an impression on the pair, finishing a further 1.75 lengths away in third.
Veetee Turbo (3) carved out a personal best of 29.93 to take out the fourth heat, leading all the way for Avalon trainer Michelle Mallia-Magri. After being challenged for the lead early by Tonk (6), Veetee Turbo held the rails and a slight lead, which he extended out of the straight. Empire Allen (4) and Whodat Knockin’ (8) were in pursuit as that trio drew right away from the rest of the field. Veetee Turbo finished strongly to win by 3.75 lengths with Empire Allen a further 2.25 lengths away in third.
Joe Borg made it a double for the night when Deadly Vane (1) landed heat five in 30.08. Deadly Vane was only fairly away and drifted wide on the first turn. Whata Good Size (2) set the early tempo of 5.03 and led to the back, with Deadly Vane recovering to settle in second three lengths away and beginning to wind up. As they swung for home Deadly Vane had got on terms with the leader and began to overhaul him. Ollie Bale (5) began to sprout wings late and finished an eye catching second, 0.75 lengths from the winner. Where’s The Surf (4) finished third a further 0.75 lengths away.
Allen Deed (2) showed a ton of heart, coming from well back to win the sixth heat in 29.91 in a very classy display. Cosmic Station (3) was the first away and set a quick 5.03 first split. Allen Deed was stone motherless last as they headed out of the straight the first time. Cosmic Station was challenged by Dyna Fulcrum (1)for the lead, while Allen Deed had taken all the rails runs to sit in third from well back in the field. Swinging for home Dyna Fulcrum burnt off Cosmic Station, but had no sooner hit the front before Allen Deed gave him a cold, whizzing away to score by 1.5 lengths. Ireland’s Oyster (5) ran on well for third a further 3.25 lengths away.
Keybow (2) worked around the field and ran away to score heat seven in a solid 29.94 for trainer Darren McDonald. After beginning moderately, Keybow was third into the first turn as Awesome Grunt (1) and Keep Calm (4) matched motors in a first section of 5.03. As the field headed into the back, Keybow had hooked out three wide on the track and quickly claimed the early leaders to speed away and make it a one act affair. Awesome Grunt fought on resolutely but could only get within 3 lengths of the winner. Nobby Bale ran third a further length away.
Devon Meadows trainer Darren McDonald made it a race to race double when Tiggerlong Chief (4) took out the eighth heat if the night. Symmetry Lad (3) led early, registering a zippy 5.01 to the first mark. Tiggerlong Chief was parked right behind the early leader and claimed the lead as they left the back straight, opening up a winning break to score in 30.18. Jordan Allen (7) ran home well to finish second some 1.75 lengths from the winner, with See Him First another 0.5 lengths back in third.
The ninth heat proved a wipeout for punters, with Godric Gyfindor (6) prevailing in 30.44 for Marlene Dopper. Buckle Up Mason (5) found the lead early with Godric Gyfindor on his outside. That’s the way they went to the back straight, with Waymore’s Blues (8) in third. Coming off the back the three dogs raced tightly, with both Buckle Up Mason and Waymore’s Blues being heavily inconvenienced. This left Godric Gyfindor all alone in front and he hung on to win by 1.25 lengths from a fast finishing Beckenbauer (4) and Allen Malik (7) a further 3 lengths away in third.
Melbourne Cup finalist Shifty Sticka (6) gave his rivals a galloping exhibition in the tenth heat, leading all the way to score by 7 lengths. The son of Premier Fantasy and Irish Malt set a new time standard of 29.85 in the process. After spearing the lids and leading easily in a first split of 5.08, nothing came close to Shifty Sticka in what was a virtual solo trial. Greywinds Butch (5) rattled home to finish second with Kid Maximus (7) a further 0.75 lengths away in third place.
Rocky Bale (7) showed a terrific mid-race turn of foot to take out the eleventh heat in 29.92 for trainer Jenny Hunt. It was a trifecta for owner Paul Wheeler, with Allen Gizmo (4) in second and Dyna Deeksey (1) in third. Rocky Bale began tardily, with the son of Surf Lorian and Amity Bale the last to leave the boxes. National Time (5) set the early split of 5.10 in a keenly contested run to the first turn. It was halfway down the back straight that Rocky Bale hit top gear, exploding away from the field. He won the race by 5.75 lengths with another 5 lengths between second and third placing.
Dundee Toro (7) closed out the evening with a major upset in the last heat for trainer Geoffrey Scott-Smith. Gimme Fuel (4) began quickly, running a quick 5.01 early, with the two favourites Hallelujah Henry (1) and Dream It (2) in pursuit, while Dundee Toro sat fourth nailed to the fence. As the field entered the back, the three early leaders became victims of their own success and became involved in a mix up, which presented Dundee Toro with a dream rails run. Dundee Toro obliged, and sped up the fence to set up his victory. The son of Where’s Pedro and Cora Bale won by 2.75 lengths with a further 1.25 lengths between second and third place. Dundee Toro registered a moderate 30.55 for the 525 metre journey.