Ken Warren – Racing and Sports
Local hero Leap To Fame took his next step towards the title of Australia’s best pacer when landing his first open-age Group 1 win with a come-from-behind victory in Saturday night’s Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park.
The star four-year-old was backing up off last week’s Rising Sun against his own age group but faced a new challenge against some older and highly-accomplished rivals this time around.
Unlike the Rising Sun when he found the front a long way from home, tonight he was still spotting his rivals a start on the home turn and had to call on his speed and strength to overhaul them.
Leap To Fame bettered the race record of former champion Im Themightyquinn in winning by 2.8m from long-time Grand Circuit performer Spirit Of St Louis ($23) with outsider Hot And Treacherous ($151) third.
Trainer/driver Grant Dixon said he was ‘super proud’ of the horse affectionately known as Larry.
“He had to overcome a few difficulties through the run. In the end we probably didn’t get too bad a trip at them and he finished off good.”
“He’s got great speed and a great will to win.”
Dixon said the decision to back up was made by the horse himself.
“We did a blood test through the week and we were really happy with that. He felt so well last week we thought we just have to keep him ticking over and let him adjust to this level.”
Leap To Fame is expected to be the drawcard again in next Saturday’s Blacks A Fake on the final night of the Constellations.
The Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin Group 1 juggernaut rolled on earlier in the night when Amore Vita came from the clouds for a last-stride win in the mares’ feature, the Golden Girl.
The former Kiwi had always shown ability and was a multiple Group 1 winning filly but had also been let down at times by her immaturity.
But Amore Vita has grown up this season and it was a much more professional mare that lined up on Saturday night, relying on her class and will to win to get her home over Manhattan and Delightful Angel.
It was a 133rd win for driver Chris Alford who said the mare had to call on her reserves to find a way to win.
“That was terrific. She had to do a lot of work and she was all out at the 400m but she was still digging in to the line.”
“She’s always been pretty fast but she’s so strong now… she just keeps on going.”
Stewart was also full of praise for her mare’s bravery.
“If they all tried as hard as her it would make life a lot easier.”
The win continued the stable’s success from their first Constellations carnival last year when they claimed the Rising Sun and Queensland Oaks.
Emerging local gelding Speak the Truth earned a tilt at the $2.1 million Eureka at Menangle in September with his victory in the night’s other feature, The Hayden.
It was the inaugural running of The Hayden, a slot race for Queensland bred and trained three and four year-olds with the Eureka berth a bonus for the winner.
Speak The Truth engaged in a battle with fellow in-form gelding Captain Shuffles but got the upper hand late to win the $231,000 race for trainer Shannon Price and driver Adam Sanderson.
Source: Racing Queensland