Alford does enough for victory

Tabcorp Park. (Damjan Janevski). 382852_04

John Dunne

Champion reinsman Chris Alford was a relieved man as he returned after guiding the globetrotting multiple Group 1 winning trotter Aldebaran Zeus back into the winner’s stall in the Aldebaran Park

Trotters Free For All at Melton on Saturday night.

Aldebaran Zeus landed on the back of the leader Harry Stamper while the favourite Mufasa Metro was caught leading the outside horses over the 1720 metre sprint trip.

Aldebaran Zeus peeled off and issued a challenge to Mufasa Metro who strode to the lead on straightening and dug deep in the home stretch to score by a metre on the line in a mile rate of 1:54.

Alford admitted he thought it was his race to lose in the run.

“He would have been in a bit of trouble if he hadn’t of been able to win with the run he had,” he said.

“It was good and he felt a bit like his old self tonight,” he said.

It has taken Aldebaran Zeus four runs back this time in to recapture his best form.

“He had a hard trial where they went 1:55 and he backed up five days later first up and it may have flattened him,” he said.

“So they backed off him and he got a bit fat, he was fair last week but the run probably trimmed him up for tonight.”

Alford believes Aldebaran Zeus isn’t as sharp as he was a year or two ago.

“He has lost a bit of speed now as a six-year-old but he should keep getting better,” he said.

“And he was down a bit in confidence so the win should do him the world of good.”

Alford believes Aldebaran Zeus will still be a key player in the upcoming feature races.

“He will still be one of the major chances in races like the Inter Dominion later in the year,” he said.

Allan McDonough made the most of a late call up when he steered the Clayton Tonkin trained pacer Like A Wildfire to victory earlier in the night.

Second up following a short spell, Like A Wildfire settled towards the rear of the field from his second row barrier and McDonough was able to latch onto the back of Triple Eight for a cart into the race with 800 metres to travel.

Like A Wildfire balanced up on straightening before reeling in Triple Eight over the= concluding stages to score by a metre and a half with the fast finishing Bach a metre away third.

McDonough said he stepped into the breach after the pacer’s regular driver David Moran was

delayed at his Shepparton stables.

“I was heading out onto the track around 3.30 this afternoon when Clayton said there was a change of plans for me to drive the horse after David had an issue with one of his horses,” McDonough said.

Like A Wildfire was beaten into fifth place when resuming in the Italian Cup three weeks ago.

“I got carted back around the home turn but he really hit the line once he got clear and his sectionals were off the chart,” he said.