Last night’s Anniversary Trophy (450m) at Ballarat certainly lived up to its hype.
It was billed as a three-way clash between Tiggerlong Tonk, Speed Star and Charging Yaala – and it panned out exactly that way.
As expected, Speed Star (Box 1) – who had notched seven wins from nine starts from the ‘red’ alley – gained the early ascendancy with Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 5) in hot pursuit.
The pair raced in unison on the circle and into the home straight, but Tiggerlong Tonk’s strength was telling over the final stages.
Tiggerlong Tonk ($2.00F) defeated Speed Star ($2.60) by just over two and a quarter lengths, with Charging Yaala ($5.90) a further two and a half lengths away third in a slick 25.07sec (Best). The Exacta paid a healthy $4.90.
Prepared by Correy Grenfell, Tiggerlong Tonk – a dual G1 finalist – notched his 11th win from 21 starts. The $8,500 first prize lifted his stakes to $66,030.
The February 2018 Dyna Double One-Tiggerlong Dot dog first shot to real prominence late last year during the G1 Hobart Thousand (461m) series. He ran a near-record 25.55sec defeating 461-metre track record holder Stanley Gordon, before finishing fifth to Hooked On Scotch in the final.
And he’s gone on with the job, recently finishing third to Simon Told Helen in the G1 Silver Chief (525m) at The Meadows.
Meanwhile, flying machine Peter Galo (Box 5) was expected to give the 390-metre track record a nudge in a Mixed 4/5. He was also chasing his 20th win from his past 24 starts.
But the five-time group finalist – who recently finished third to La Grand Quality in the G2 Warragul Cup – was upstaged by Neo Bale (Box 1), albeit Peter Galo ($1.50F) was last out of the traps and flashed home to be beaten by inches.
Trained by Mark Delbridge, Neo Bale ($7.50) clocked a stunning 21.76sec – only two lengths off the 21.64sec mark set by Arizona Dozer in January 2013.
WATCH: Tiggerlong Tonk (5) mows down Speed Star (1) in a Best of Night 25.07sec, his 11th win from 21 starts.