The goalposts may have moved but it was still a sweet feeling for Matt Craven when his fabulous filly Pink Galahs took the honors in what he’s long considered her grand final, tonight’s TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks.
Only a week after she shocked the trotting world and won the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint, the three-year-old backed up to claim a second successive Group 1 in a bruising Oaks.
“They made her earn it tonight,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race, with Pink Galahs having worked to the front from gate five and controlled proceedings with a 32.2-second first quarter, before being exposed to a mid-race challenge.
Jason Lee, steering Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon’s Im Ready Jet, turned it into a staying contest approaching the bell, challenging and claiming the lead in 28.2 and 28.7 second and third quarters.
It reverted Pink Galahs to a sit-sprint role, but as she’s shown readily in open class company that suits her just fine, rushing via the sprint lane to a 4.2-metre win from stablemate Queen Of Crime, with Im Ready Jet running third.
“Jase with 1200 to go tested us out and was able to beat her for a little bit for speed, but to her credit she travelled really kind on his back and it was just a matter of getting to the sprint lane without doing anything wrong,” Craven said.
“It wasn’t easy, but this was the end goal. We reset now and set some more (goals), but just to achieve what we set out to achieve at the start of the season with this little girl, the campaign all through winter was all aimed around this race. We new that we had to improve over that period to be competitive in this race to season her up for what was produced tonight.
“That middle half in (56.8), for three-year-old fillies you have got to be pretty brave to be able to finish it off after that. I’m just so proud of her to be able to get through and get the job done.”
It was another superb result for breeder Laura Lewis, who co-owns the filly with Caleb Lewis and Bryan Healy, and the Craven camp, particularly with the stable producing second-placed Queen Of Crime.
The latter was driven by Craven’s brother Glen, while cousin Jason Lee placed third in a Terang trifecta, but there was little brotherly spirit in the run.
“Cousins, brothers, once you are out on the track I think they become your biggest enemies,” Matt Craven told Trots Vision. “People would think you’d look after each other, I think it works the entire opposite because we are all so competitive.
“I hate getting beaten, I know (Jason) hates getting beaten and I know Glen hates getting beaten. I think when we see each other, we’re all in red colours, it’s like waving a red flag at a bull.
“He takes no prisoners out there Jason and he expects no favors, which makes it so great, we’re all such great competitors, but they’re always the first ones to congratulate each other.”
Craven said Pink Galahs would likely be directed towards the November 1 Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough before readying for December’s Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series.
TROTS REVIEW IS SUPPORTED BY ALABAR FARMS.
Here's the Alabar Winner of the Week: BAR ROOM BANTA
Breeding: by A Rocknroll Dance out of Jerada Ace (Christian Cullen)
Breeder: Ray Cahill