Robert Britton’s Hutmaker looks ready to make an impact in the $25,000 to-the-winner Group 3 Launching Pad final next Thursday night. Starting $2.10 favourite in the second heat, the son of Premier Fantasy began well and used his pace to set up a winning break over Queenslander Withcott Warrior.
After contesting the Australian Cup series last month, Hutmaker looks right at home in top company and appreciated the drop to restricted win class. It has been reported that Britton plans to tackle the Irish Derby later this year, and with Hutmaker bringing up his sixth win from ten starts at only 21 months of age, he looks an ideal candidate to make the journey.
Graeme Bate had a great night too however, with three of his runners saluting. After favourite In Hiding found early bother in the opening heat, Aleta Allen was able begin well and to skip away for its fifth lifetime win in 29.74 with 6.25 lengths to spare. Her Sandown Park record is becoming ever-more imposing with 3 wins and 2 seconds from seven looks at the Lightwood Road venue.
No less than nine races later, Allen Lawson gave Graeme his second winner after handing in an impressive come-from-behind performance. Darren McDonald’s runner Little Bit Fancy broke clear down the back, but Allen Lawson called upon all of its’ strength to rally in the home stretch. Grabbing the lead right on the post, the son of Over Flo and Kazar Bale stopped the clock at 29.66.
Completing the Bate trio was Martili Bale, who won the final event on the card in 29.55. Overcoming box five was no problem and the same courage will be needed again wearing the white vest in the final. Nonetheless, Martili Bale is a model of consistency having won six and placed on seven other occasions from only nineteen attempts.
Western Australian chaser Mini Emily has the title of fastest qualifier after showing great track sense to win in 29.51. Starting from box eight, Mini Emily only began moderately but resisted the urge to crash down towards the rail. After sticking to the middle of the track and avoiding trouble, Glenn Rounds’ daughter of Solve The Puzzle slipped into over drive down the back and gained the front position. From there the race was over and she galloped away to defeat Rumble Missile by 3.5 lengths with the promising Allen Bullman holding on to third.
Easy Peasy gave big-race specialist Darren McDonald a finalist, after bouncing back to form from box five. Coming into the race with two recent below-par efforts, punters were still confident enough to send him around as favourite. Easy Peasy ran up to its name though, spearing away by 4 lengths in the slick time of 29.56. Having drawn box two for next weeks’ final, it seems likely Easy Peasy will be well in the market and make his presence felt at some stage of the race.
Zero’s Hero caused an upset after winning heat six in 29.68. With odds-on favourite Lacomare looking to keep its undefeated record intact, Zero’s Hero was sent around at lucrative odds of $6.70. Lacomare began poorly and found all sorts of bother, meaning Zero’s Hero was left to hold off the challenge of the peculiarly named Barry Blowout. It was the sixth win from 21 starts for Kay King’s chaser and broke an eight-run losing streak.
‘Boilover of the night’ title belonged to Mario Briganti’s King Ashy, who led all the way in heat four. With the more fancied runners Simply Charlie, Sanfe and My Secret Shiraz all engaged, King Ashy surprised most punters and came in at odds of around 16 /1. The result of a March 2009 mating between Kiowa Sweet Trey and Hermione Holly has now won five races from seventeen starts, three of which have been at Sandown Park.
The box draw for next week’s final was drawn on track last night and is as follows:
1) Zero’s Hero – Kay King – 29.68
2) Easy Peasy – Darren McDonald – 29.56
3) Martili Bale -Graeme Bate – 29.55
4) King Ashy – Mario Briganti – 29.75
5) Mini Emily – Glenn Rounds – 29.51
6) Allen Lawson – Graeme Bate – 29.66
7) Hutmaker – Robert Britton – 29.70
8) Aleta Allen – Graeme Bate – 29.74
9) Little Bit Fancied – Darren McDonald
10) Monstered – Hugh Clarke