Group racing giant Orson Allen set a 26.87sec track record winning the 2019 Group 2 Horsham Cup final over 485 metres.
Roll on nearly a year, and his amazing mark was under siege during today’s G2 Locks Constructions Horsham Cup heats.
Sensational 22-month-old sprint prospect Zambora Lou (pictured below with handler Luke Thompson) had the first crack when he clocked a sizzling 26.97sec in Heat 1.
Trained by Jason Thompson, Zambora Lou ($1.60F) was the subject of a betting plunge and duly saluted, accounting for G1 Melbourne Cup finalist Oakvale Beauty by four lengths.
A member of an exciting Apr ’18 Zambora Brockie x Zambora Cross litter, Zambora Lou notched his sixth win from only seven starts.
Almost 40-minutes later, Mepunga Wonder (May ’17 Barcia Bale x Mepunga Mia) went even closer – albeit ever slightly – taking out Heat 3 in 26.96sec.
Prepared by Jeff Britton, Mepunga Wonder ($3.90) defeated Christo Bale ($4.20) in a head-bobbing finish (see above). It was his third successive win, and his ninth win from 25 starts.
And it was Britton again in Heat 4 when Mepunga Pegasus ($4.10) ‘sprouted wings’ to defeat G2 Cranbourne Cup finalist Ultimate Bling ($2.70) by two lengths in 27.32sec.
Winner of last year’s G3 SA Derby, Mepunga Pegasus (Sep ’17 Barcia Bale x Mepunga Hayley) notched his eighth win from 30 starts.
Both Mepunga Wonder and Mepunga Pegasus are bred and owned by legendary Mepunga East breeder Barry Smith.
It was also a big day for Jeff Britton who will rug three finalists – Barcia Prince, Mepunga Wonder and Mepunga Pegasus.
Smokin’ Cindy, who landed her third win from 21 starts, emerged as a surprise packet in Heat 2.
Trained by Tony Tufo, Smokin’ Cindy ($17.70) defeated Barcia Prince ($2.70) in a head-bobbing finish in 27.16sec.
Her career record is nothing to write home to mum about, but what does pique the interest is she’s a litter sister of Hard Style Rico who will contest the G1 Australian Cup final (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Young trainer Correy Grenfell, who shot into prominence courtesy of Orson Allen’s deeds, is chasing back-to-back Horsham Cup victories.
He took out Heat 5 with dual G1 finalist Tiggerlong Tonk ($1.40F) who defeated Revelation ($13.00) by three lengths in 27.23sec.
Tiggerlong Tonk registered his 14th win from 27 starts, and remains undefeated in three starts at Horsham.
The underrated Vivatar snared Heat 6 for another young trainer in Matthew Lanigan.
A finalist in last year’s G2 Geelong Gold Cup, Vivatar ($5.00) defeated the front-running Time To Talk ($2.90) by just under one length in 27.27sec. It was his 14th win from 38 starts.
WATCH: Mepunga Wonder (2) wins a thriller over Christo Bale (8) in 26.96sec (best).
G2 Horsham Cup box draw
Saturday 7 March
1. Christo Bale (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
2. Barcia Prince (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
3. Tiggerlong Tonk (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC)
4. Vivatar (Matthew Lanigan, Labertouche VIC)
5. Mepunga Pegasus (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
6. Zambora Lou (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
7. Mepunga Wonder (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
8. Smokin’ Cindy (Tony Tufo, Labertouche VIC)
9. Oakvale Beauty (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
10. Time To Talk (Angela Galea, Sunshine North VIC)
(fastest to slowest)
26.96sec Mepunga Wonder
26.97sec Zambora Lou
27.16sec Smokin’ Cindy
27.23sec Tiggerlong Tonk
27.32sec Mepunga Pegasus