It was yet another memorable meeting for Chris Alford at HQ tonight, the champion reinsman driving five winners on the 11-event card at Tabcorp Park Melton.
“The Puppet” steered Big Jack Hammer home in the Yabby Dam Racing Trot for trainer Tim O’Brien, Anywhere Hugo to a stunning VHRSC Holmfield win for trainer Chris Svanosio, and a treble for champion trainer Emma Stewart – Kualoa in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes for 2YO Fillies, Tell Me Tales in the Alabar Silver Chalice and Nostra Villa in the GBL Property Consultants Pace.
“Driving horses like this makes it so much easier,” Alford said after the win aboard Nostra Villa in the last race of the night to cap his handful of wins.
Nostra Villa was dominant in defeating a small field of three-year-old fillies, finishing 2.2m clear of Matthew Craven-trained My Harmony Blue in 1:57.4 for the 2240m.
“She had it quite easy early but to break 27 on the way home is a pretty good job,” Alford said.
Earlier, Alford had landed Group 2 success aboard Anywhere Hugo, which stormed home to score by a neck over Kyvalley Finn in the VHRSC Holmfield over 1720m.
The Svanosio-trained trotter rated 1:59.1.
Tell Me Tales never looked like losing the Alabar Silver Chalice, taking the lead off stablemate Flying Moth in the middle stages before holding that mare off in the home straight for a 1.8m win in a rate of 1:55.3 for the 2240m trip.
Two-year-old Kualoa had 7.2m to spare on runner-up Larajay Macray in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes over 1720m, the Stewart-trained daughter of Art Major defeating two valiant Jess Tubbs-trained youngsters – with Lady Rocknrolla (Larajay Macray’s stablemate) running third. The winner rated 1:55.8.
Big Jack Hammer led from go to whoa in the Yabby Dam Racing Trot to hold off rank outsider Desert Flyer by 4.8m with Zhenya third, the mile rate for the race 2:00.9.
Other winners tonight were Stroke Of Luck for Kerryn Manning in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m, holding off Dancingwithsierra by 3m in 1:56.2, Rockabella Starz in the Hygain Pace for Kari Males and Zac Phillips in 1:58.9 by a head over Platinum Power, Magical Marn in the Hyland Harness Colours Pace for trainer Adam Kelly and Phillips, producing an explosive finish to overhaul Solarsonic with Mach Cruiser in third (the rate for the 2240m trip 1:55.6), Moonrock in the Young Pedro Free for All for trainer Sonya Smith and reinsman Anthony Butt, who held off Bad Billy by a half-head in 1:54.6, boom two-year-old Lochinvar Art for Laura Crossland and David Moran in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes for 2YO Colts and Geldings, which paced 1:57.3 for the 1720m trip to score by 3.2m over Fourbigmen, and Beach Skipper for Lance Justice in the TAB Multiplier Pace Final, going 1:56.4 over 1720m.