An extraordinary outpouring of pride from Matt Craven summed up the feat of his superb filly Pink Galahs, with the three-year-old shocking the trotting world by upstaging Australia’s best to record a Group 1 win.
Pink Galahs secured the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint with a brilliant sprint to beat Dance Craze by a head and record a stunning win for her trainer-driver Craven and co-owners Caleb and Laura Lewis and Bryan Healy.
“I’m so happy for her,” Craven told Trots Vision. “I nearly fainted halfway up the straight I was yelling that hard.
“Get to the Gordon (Hotel) in Portland, Caleb (Lewis) will be bouncing off the walls. And Bryan (Healy) in the Gold Coast, look out up there.
“So proud of this girl and my partner, Sof (Arvidsson) and all the team. They’ve just put in so much work. You wouldn’t think you would be so emotional, but gee.”
As expected, the sprint was on from the start with Dance Craze and Red Hot Tooth dicing for the lead, with the former’s advantage from the gate serving her well.
Wobelee hustled up to find Dance Craze’s back and Craven held his place in the running line confident Red Hot Tooth would take him a long way, resisting the temptation to hunt a place on the pegs from where Pink Galahs has done so much damage.
“I said before the race, we’ve got the two best drivers off the gate – Jason Lee and Chris Alford – on our inside. How are we going to get to the fence,” Craven said.
“It turned out that way and we just had to settle for one-one. I looked at three fence but I’ve got a lot of time for Red Hot Tooth – she’s a brave mare.”
When three-wide McLovin tired rounding the final turn Craven took his chance and emerged on Pink Galahs and from there it was the battle of the fastest, with Pink Galahs clipping leader Dance Craze by a head with Tough Monarch and Wobelee finishing third and fourth.
“Off the back she was just travelling so well, I didn’t think we’d go that early so I just had to bide our time. We didn’t have a lot of room top of the lane, but she saw the gap, she’s just a little tiger.”
It was also a victory for local breeding lines.
Bryan Healy’s father, Ric, was responsible for the extraordinary Maori lines and Pink Galahs is a Maori descendent, who was pared with Aldebaran Park stallion Skyvalley.
“I used to love Skyvalley as a horse,” Craven said. “He was the most magnificent looking trotter when he raced for Chris Lang.
“When we bought (Pink Galahs) mother (Sweetasay) to race that didn’t go so well, but she had a heap of speed. I had no hesitation telling Caleb and Laura that we should send him to Skyvalley.
“He’s the leading colonial stallion, he leaves horses that want to trot. They’ve got a bit of gut, and this filly’s got plenty of it.”