Any doubts that champion stayer Tornado Tears would return to his brilliant best after a lengthy injury-enforced spell were erased in no uncertain terms at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Contesting the last of three heats of the Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers, Tornado Tears produced a sensational display, clocking a near-record 41.96sec, just .03 outside his ‘uncle’ Space Star’s 725m benchmark.
Space Star, a litter brother to Tornado Tears’ dam Tears Siam, also trained by master distance conditioner Robert Britton, set the record in the heats of the Super Stayers in 2015.
Tornado Tears had only returned to the track one week earlier, after five months on the sidelines due to a hock injury, when he claimed a memorable – albeit narrow – victory in the Group 1 Zoom Top invitational.
After running 42.51sec in the Zoom Top, Tornado Tears started a prohibitive $1.20 favourite from box two in the final Super Stayers heat, with his litter-brother Rippin’ Sam ($7.70) the only other runner at single figures.
Tornado Tears began well and settled second behind Taken King ($18.70) and after railing to the lead approaching the home turn he exploded clear, careering away to a 7.34 length victory over Queenslander Double Gee ($15.70) and Boom Down ($26.50).
It was Tornado Tears’ eighth win in a row and 21st from 30 overall, while he’s yet to taste defeat in four starts over The Meadows’ 725m course.
The Zoom Top form from the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival also stood up in the opening heat of the Super Stayers when ultra-consistent NSW visitor Blue Moon Rising was a commanding 42.73sec victor.
Blue Moon Rising, trained by veteran mentor John Finn, had been edged out by Tornado Tears in the Zoom Top, beaten less than half a length, and he went one better as the $2.20 favourite in the first Super Stayers run-off.
Blue Moon Rising has now finished first or second in his last 14 starts.
NSW raiders won the opening two heats of the Super Stayers with veteran Ebby Ripper, prepared by Michael Eberand, producing her trademark powerful finish to claim the second qualifier in 42.48sec, running down leader Black Impala ($4.20) at her 102nd start.
Tornado Tears has been installed $1.30 favourite in TAB’s market, with Double Gee and Poco Dorado sharing the second line of betting at $7.