Racing: Gold Ace proves master of mile at Cambridge

By Michael Guerin

Gold Ace's long-term goal is the Interdominion in Sydney on March 3. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Gold Ace's long-term goal is the Interdominion in Sydney on March 3. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Gold Ace is becoming New Zealand pacing's master of the mile.

Genuine sprint trips for open class pacers are a rarity in New Zealand, with only two with group status all season.

And after last night's Flying Mile at Cambridge, Gold Ace has won them both - in identical fashion.

The Pukekohe five-year-old blasted straight to the lead from his wide barrier six last night, with Pembrook Benny happy to take a trail, and from there driver Tony Herlihy kept the tempo quick enough to deter challengers before kicking clear at the top of the straight.

That saw him easily hold on to win in 1:53.3, just outside Gomeo Romeo's race record set last season.

The win mirrored Gold Ace's in the New Zealand Free-For-All over a mile in November, giving him a rare group one/group two mile double in the same season.

While Gold Ace was bouncing back from a luckless outing in the Victoria Cup last start, hot favourite Smolda was the one missing the luck last night. After being beaten for early speed he was forced to sit parked and blew out the last 100m, fading to fifth.

He will get a chance for revenge over Gold Ace when they meet in a Four and Five-Year-Old Futurity on the same track next Friday.

It wasn't all bad news for Smolda's trainer Mark Purdon, though, as stablemate Auckland Reactor ran on strongly for fourth in one of his best performances this season.

Sir Lincoln, another superstar returning to the track last night, was forced to go back to last at the start and never got into the race.

Gold Ace's long-term goal is the Interdominion in Sydney on March 3 and he will meet arch-rival Terror To Love in the sole New Zealand heat at Alexandra Park on February 16.

Earlier last night Sovereignty completed an unlikely holiday comeback by winning the free-for-all trot.

The local hero was rated only a slim chance to contest Christmas-New Year races six weeks ago as he struggled to recover from an injury suffered during Cup week in Christchurch.

Trainer Sean McCaffrey even took the gamble of starting him in the record-run mile race at Cambridge on Christmas Eve with little more than a week's fast work under his belt.

He was third there, third again in the National Trot last Monday and with no Stig or I Can Doosit in the line-up last night he took full advantage.

He still had to be good to do so though, overcoming the outside barrier then sitting parked outside hot favourite Escapee for the last 800m.

After setting an even tempo the leader should have got home but didn't perform quite up to her last-start second and was clearly outpointed by Sovereignty.

The win was Sovereignty's 24th, with 14 of those coming on his home track, amassing over $660,000 in stakes.

The question for McCaffrey will be whether he sends Sovereignty to Australia to try to take advantage of the Australasian Trotting Champs being bypassed by Stig and I Can Doosit later this month.

One horse who will be heading to Melbourne is Ohoka Punter, who remained unbeaten this season by thrashing older pacers last night.

He is being set for the Victoria Derby, at Melton on February 2.

- NZ Herald

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