Valley double pushes Allan closer to crown
IVAN ALLAN strengthened his vice-like grip on the trainers' title with a 10-1 double at Happy Valley last night.
Allan took the opening event on the Lester Piggott-ridden Horse Delight and completed his brace of winners when potential Class One performer Big Arnold scored a bloodless pillar-to-post victory under Basil Marcus in the fifth.
Piggott produced a virtuoso front-running display on Horse Delight in the first for his long-time friend Allan.
The 58-year-old maestro bounced his mount out of the stalls and straight to the lead.
Despite Horse Delight hanging down the back and then facing a strong challenge in the straight, Piggott had cunningly kept enough up his sleeve to repel Happy Go Lucky's persistent challenge by a neck.
''It was a lovely ride from Lester; he really dominated from the front,'' said Allan.
Horse Delight has now scored twice over last night's 1,235-metre trip and is improving. He could really come into his own next season and is bred to stay farther.
Happy Go Lucky was running well at the first time of asking for Neville Begg and he could get away with one before the season ends.
Allan produced an expert piece of training with Big Arnold in the fifth.
He had given him a couple of starts over 1,200 metres, pushed him up to 1,400 metres last time and slapped on the blinkers for last night's mile.
The Australian import had been unlucky in running on each of his last two outings when firstly trapped wide and then badly hampered.
There were never going to be any hard luck stories last night when Marcus sent him straight to the front and won as he pleased by a comfortable two lengths from Mastermind who spoiled the party to some degree by foiling an Allan stable quinella on Big Arnold and Team Valour.
Allan has now sent out 43 winners in only his second season here and is 11 clear of Lawrie Fownes in the championship.
Fownes was on the mark with veteran handicapper Money No Problem in the Class Six event to gain some compensation for some dreadful luck earlier in the night.
His first-season import Tornadic Win had to be destroyed after dislocating a fetlock in the feature Governor's Cup won by John Moore's Survey King under a copybook rails ride from Johnny Marshall.
Darren Gauci sprained his thumb when toppling off Tornadic Win but should be back on Sunday.
Fownes' Tung Feng was backed from 5-1 to 3-1 in the third but missed the start and was then checked before running home strongly for second behind Geoff Lane's Winning Colors.
Favourite punters suffered another reverse when Moore's Action Time, the 2-1 market leader, was outpaced from trap to line in the 975-metre second event.
Winning Vic set a blistering pace but the popular W. H. ''Rambo'' Tse conjured a tremendous rails run from David Oughton's enigmatic Holy Terror to win going away by 11/4 lengths.
Wong Tang-ping's rank outsider, Top Performance, who still looked a little big in the paddock, kept on promisingly for third on only his second ever start.
He was wide throughout and is another to keep a close eye on in the last third of the campaign.
Wylie Wong's Jewellery Star is destined to make his presence felt in Class One the way he accounted for Al Bundy in the night's final contest.
A grand-looking son of Bluebird, Jewellery Star has made tremendous physical progress over the last 12 months and was well ridden by Felix Coetzee who has returned from South Africa riding better than ever.
Last night's turnover of $945 million was a record for a seven-race card.