Victoria’s ‘fab four’ in the 2008 Group 1 Rapidvite National Sprint Championship (520m) and Rapidvite National Distance Championship (720m) grand finals, to be held at Wentworth Park in Sydney on Saturday, August 30, are All Caution and Mogambo (NSC) and Mantra Lad and Rebel Angel (NDC).
Comeback kid All Caution and freakish sprinter Mogambo will be attempting to provide Victoria with its 12th national sprint champion since the inaugural race in 1965.
All Caution will head the Victorian ‘warning’ after his scintillating win in last week’s $10,000-to-the-winner National Sprint Championship state final (515m) at Sandown Park.
Trained by Group race king Darren McDonald, of Devon Meadows, All Caution (September 2005 Collision-All Ages) has made a remarkable return to racing following a serious tendon injury which sidelined him for nearly four months.
All Caution ($7.60) defeated Mogambo ($1.40F) by four and a half lengths, with Bliksem ($10.10) a nose away third in 29.67sec.
Then followed: Kelandy ($67.30), Sonador ($18.80), Turanza Bale ($17.10), Summer Grace ($32.80) and Cool Effort ($9.50).
All Caution – who has now reached six Group race finals – notched his 18th win (with seven seconds and four thirds) from 41 starts. And his prize money jumped over the $100,000 mark.
He finished third to kennelmate Shanlyn Prince in the 2007 G1 Melbourne Cup and was fifth and seventh respectively in the 2008 G1 Silver Chief and 2008 G1 National Derby. He was also third in the 2007 G2 Young Star Classic and 2008 G3 Golden Easter Egg Consolation.
McDonald will be hoping history repeats as he won the 2005 NSC grand final, held at Wentworth Park, with Pure Octane. He also prepared Nitro Nori, who finished seventh to New South Wales star Bit Chili in the 2007 NSC grand final at Sandown Park.
And it’s a case of like father, like son for the Ennis family.
Training young gun Jamie Ennis, of Lara, is chasing his own slice of national glory with Mogambo.
Twenty years ago, Ennis’ father, Gary, guided Freewheeler to sixth in the 1988 NSC grand final at the now defunct Gabba racetrack. He also won the 1981 NDC grand final with Shamrock Jewel.
Mogambo clocked a stunning 29.52sec in the NSC state heats – the equal eighth fastest winning time ever at Sandown Park.
He also finished fifth in the 2007 G2 Great Chase and smashed the Ballarat 550-metre track record, semaphoring 30.64sec, on July 23 this year.
Mogambo (January 2006 Where’s Pedro-Zarbo) has only started on 22 occasions for 10 wins, four seconds and one third.
Victoria’s previous NSC winners are: Kinta’s Son (1966), Princess Kerry (1968), Regal Hermes (1970), New Mariner (1973), Temlee (1974), Bowetzel (1977), Mr. Slick (1992), Shayne’s Champ (1996), Henerik Bale (2001), In The Frame (2002) and Pure Octane (2005).
Victoria has won only one of the seven NSC grand finals conducted at Wentworth Park – Pure Octane.
Meanwhile, Mantra Lad, the ‘next big thing’ in staying ranks, and Rebel Angel will be attempting to supply the ‘Big V’ with its 21st national distance champion since the event’s inception in 1969.
Mantra Lad will lead the Victorian ‘chant’ following his brilliant win in the $10,000-to-the-winner NDC state final (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Trained by Graeme Jose, of Catani, Mantra Lad equalled the 42.28sec track record set by Sargent Major on March 18, 2006.
Mantra Lad, a son of 2005 National Sprint Champion Pure Octane, was only having his sixth distance start – all at The Meadows since early last month – where he has notched three wins, one second and one third.
He is owned by leading New South Wales breeders Martin and Fiona Hallinan who raced his dam, Al Fresco – a lightly raced but brilliant stayer.
In all, he has only raced on 16 occasions for seven wins, three seconds and one third. His stakes total $30,040.
Mantra Lad ($8.10) defeated Rebel Angel ($26.20) by six and a half lengths, with Phil’s Mate ($4.10) three lengths away third.
Then followed: Four Way Flash ($60.20), Sky Hazzard ($5.90), Gunnadoo Magic ($7.50), Lilley Criminal ($2.30F) and Ima Drifter ($52.00).
Mantra Lad will be contesting only his second Group race final, having three weeks earlier finished fifth to Sky Hazzard in the Group 2 AWM Distance Title on the Camp Road circuit.
Prepared by Elsie King, of Sulky, Rebel Angel – a son of former champion speedster and 2004 Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Hallucinate (an older half-brother of Pure Octane) – will be lining up in his fourth black type race, and second Group 1 final. He finished fifth to Tasmanian superstar Chinatown Lad in this year’s Sandown Cup on May 15.
Victoria’s previous NDC winners are: Amerigo Lady (1969), Sargood (1970), Saki Dasher (1971), Bubble’s Luck (1972), He’s Some Boy (1973), Corcoran (1974), Bolta’s Gift (1976), Mary Marella (1979), All Promise (1980), Shamrock Jewel (1981), Ten Guitars (1983), Mystic Hope (1987), High Intensity (1988), Clean Machine (1990), Pace Galore (1992), Osti’s Joker (2000), Tip Top Tears (2001), Boomeroo (2002), Arvo’s Junior (2003) and Flashing Floods (2007).
Victoria has won three of the six NDC grand finals staged at Wentworth Park – Amerigo Lady, High Intensity and Pace Galore.