With a brilliant dash up the sprint lane three-year-old filly Pink Galahs bettered Australia’s leading trotting mares and delivered Matt Craven a victory dripping in sentimental delight.
The trainer-driver dedicated the win to Pink Galahs’ part-owner Bryan Healy, son of Ric Healy, who produced the extraordinary Maori family that changed Australian trotting, which includes Sumthingaboutmaori after whom Saturday night’s race was named.
“That’s one for Bryan in Queensland,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race. “I am sure he’s having kittens up there on the Gold Coast.
“All his mates will be at the pub and to win a race named in the honour of his great mare (Sumthingaboutmaori), I’m sure he will be super thrilled tonight, as will Caleb (Lewis) and Laura (Lewis). They will be super excited and very proud of their little filly.”
Bryan shares ownership of Pink Galahs with daughter Laura and her husband Caleb. The Skyvalley filly is out of Sweetasay, whose lines lead back three generations to Maori Mia, dam of Maori’s Idol, and a fourth generation to the great Maori Miss.
Now Pink Galahs is writing an extraordinary new chapter of trotting success in the Maori family, having tonight registered her ninth win in just 15th starts, despite her last six starts having been run outside of her age group.
“We were a bit concerned we had been way to easy on her and the reason she was here tonight was because we needed to get a run into her before the Oaks,” Craven said.
“There’s not a lot of options for her, she’s put herself in this position basically because she’s been so good.”
Tonight’s Aldebaran Park Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free For All was a whole nother level, with the likes of Dance Craze and Red Hot Tooth contesting for the Group 3 prize.
Pink Galahs tagged on to the back of leader Imsettogo out of the gates, with Red Hot Tooth again doing heavy work in the breeze while Dance Craze loomed likely with her typical late run.
But it was Craven’s runner, benefitting from a perfect run on the pegs, who had enough late zip and plenty in the tank to score by 2.1 metres.
“Tonight we had the ideal trip in the box seat right behind the leader. Against this class of horse, stepping up against the older mares, super experience, well performed horses, she’s going to need that trip at the moment,” Craven said.
“She’s probably all heart. Considering we have been so easy on her, she was great to the line and I think she will take a lot of benefit out of that. It’s a big thrill for me.”
And it has the Terang trainer optimistic about his filly’s chances as the three-year-old classics near, beginning with the $60,000 TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks on October 17 at Melton.
“It’s a great ride that she’s given us, hopefully we can take this form into the age feature races that are coming up, the Oaks, we could have a throw at the stumps at the Derby maybe,” Craven said. “Then we’ll just have the (Vicbred Super Series) in December.”
And, if all goes well, the Great Southern Star?
“Every time we’ve raised the bar she’s stepped up to it,” he said. “There’s one thing that we know: that she tries hard. She’s got good speed, you’d love to see her following the fence in a race like that. It wouldn’t be beyond her by any means.”