THE strength of Australasia’s four-year-old pacing ranks was underlined at the weekend with Turn It Up prevailing at Cambridge and Im Pats Delight saluting at Shepparton.
On Friday night in New Zealand, Turn It Up was out to continue his ascendancy when tackling the Group 2 Waikato Flying Mile.
At his previous start the son of Courage Under Fire had become the least experienced Auckland Cup winner and his $1.40 starting price at Cambridge reflected that.
But the veteran of just 10 race starts did not let punters down, running down Hunter Cup aspirant Star Galleria.
On Saturday night another Kiwi four-year-old, Im Pats Delight, made headlines with a last gasp Shepparton Cup triumph over Our Triple Play and Inter Dominion runnerup Our Uncle Sam.
Im Pats Delight was well backed to win one of Victoria’s most prestigious regional features — if he led.
But traditional sit-sprinter Let It Ride kept the front with local hero San Carlo forced to sit outside him while Im Pats Delight stalked them.
Turn It Up, Spankem, Im Pats Delight, Ride High and Poster Boy headline the group of emerging pacers along with Chase Auckland and Ignatius.
The set of four-year-old features, which will start with the 4YO Bonanza at Melton on January 26 and end with the Chariots of Fire on February 16 at Menangle, should be intriguing.
DESPITE a comfortable Saturday night success at Menangle, Australasia’s best pacer, Tiger Tara, will not compete in Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup.
The Inter Dominion and Victoria Cup winner was expected to have his final Hunter Cup hitout at Bray Raceway, but trainer Kevin Pizzuto has decided otherwise.
With Im Pats Delight also a non-starter, it appears Mark Purdon’s All Star barn will run riot in Victoria’s richest Country Cup.
Among Purdon’s likely starters in the $110,000 event are Cruz Bromac and New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer.
Purdon has won four of the past seven Ballarat Cups with Heaven Rocks (2018), Smolda (2016-17) and Highview Tommy, who upset the highly touted match-race between Smoken Up and Sushi Sushi in 2012.