NOTHING appeals to a Victorian more than swooping in and winning a Group One at Menangle.
Brent Lilley and Chris Alford did exactly that tonight when they brought outstanding five-year-old trotter Aldebaran Zeus to Club Menangle and waltzed away with tonight’s $100,000 Yabby Dam Farms 2023 Yearlings Hammerhead Trotters Mile.
Champion reinsman Chris Alford has driven almost 8000 winners, including 130 Group Ones yet tonight’s win looked as easy as any of those major successes.
Alford quickly found the front from gate two, refused to let anything get too close and was able to back off the speed with a 29.6 second quarter of the mile before whipping home in 27.8 and 27.9 for a comprehensive six and three-quarter metre win over Just Believe (Greg Sugars), with Im Ready Yet (Nathan Jack) making it a Victorian trifecta.
The winner rated an impressive 1:52.5 over the flying mile.
“He was great tonight and this horse has just been devoid of luck lately,” said Lilley.
“So, I thought we’d come to Menangle and take luck out of the equation.
“Chris said he should probably have let him stride because he just felt so good.
“This is his Aldebaran Zeus’s first serious trip away. The furthest he had been before this was an hour and a half trip to Shepparton.
“So this was pretty big to come all the way up here and perform like that.
“We’ve been stabled at Luke and Belinda McCarthy’s place and I can’t thank them enough: they have been great hosts.”
Lilley said there wasn’t a great deal left for Aldebaran Zeus to chase in coming weeks.
“He’s won a couple of Group 1s as a five-year-old, he’s a lovely horse and he’s impeccably bred,” he said.
“So he should make a decent career as a stallion at some stage.”
Just Believe lost no admirers with a plucky effort to race without cover and bet on to finish second while local hope Caligula was up to his old tricks, galloping as soon as the starter let them go and losing all chance.