Maybe we've got a breath of fresh air.

The Volkstok'n'barrell inquiry at Ellerslie brought up some refreshing insights.

For so long in galloping inquiries, after all evidence has been presented the Judicial Control Authority chairperson has asked stipendiary stewards what they thought, on any interference and how they thought the result should be.

On Saturday at Ellerslie JCA chairperson Nicki Moffatt broke ground, if not new, certainly refreshing.


In what was a white hot inquiry into the result of the $200,000 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes, in terms of a group one race and a time restriction, Moffatt handled all angles beautifully.

When the protest camp of trainer Nigel Tiley and rider Dylan Turner and Donna Logan, Chris Gibbs and Jim Gibbs for Volkstok'n'barrell presented their evidence, Moffatt said: "We would like the opinion of the stipendiary stewards, but not on the result of this inquiry, only on the opinion of the interference."

That statement said: "The end result is for the JCA, not the stipendiary stewards."

For so long those involved in inquiries have felt the JCA has taken the soft option of agreeing with the stipendiary stewards.

Suddenly, we have something new and very necessary.

If you were listening to the inquiry on Trackside Television you knew this was not an easy protest. But as it worked through the evidence showed Girl Of My Dreams was not hampered in the closing stages, where she and Volkstok'n'barrell ran to the line each without changing stride.

Perhaps it could have gone either way, depending on your bent, but this was a group one and those are not easy to change.

Second favourite Stolen Dance may have had enough after several tough races, and the very firm track certainly didn't help her.

Girl Of My Dreams showed she was more than capable, jumping up from rating grade races to group one. Her recent form has been outstanding.

Heroic Valour powered to the top of the two-year-old standings at Ellerslie when he stretched his unbeaten record to three.

The Te Akau colt's greenness couldn't mask his raw ability with a sterling effort to down the season's most competitive juvenile line-up in Saturday's group one Sistema Diamond Stakes.

Heroic Valour was ridden aggressively from a wide gate to race close to the pace and he rounded off strongly in the run home to maintain his perfect record at the expense of Wyndspelle and O'Rachael.

"He's improving all the time and keeps stepping up," said Jamie Richards, who trains the youngster with Stephen Autridge.

Heroic Valour credited Te Akau with their fourth group one winner of the season and his n Australian sire Fastnet Rock with his first two-year-old success at the highest level.

Fully Funded extended his burgeoning record of success at New Zealand racing's premier venue when he lumped a healthy 60kg to victory in the opening event on Auckland Cup Day at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The four-year-old has finished out of the money just once in six starts at headquarters with the last three of his five career wins coming at the track where his co-owner, Peter Walker, is a board member of the Auckland Racing Club. Walker races Fully Funded with longtime friends and racing partners Sir Patrick Hogan and Alistair Sutherland.

- Additional reporting: NZ Racing Desk