Friday, May 25, 2018
Moorak owner Robert Chuck has been there before. Back in 2015, to be precise, when Galactic Viper, trained at the time in Victoria by David Geall, won the Group 3 Howard Ashton Classic (515 metres) at Angle Park.
Last night, while Geall was at Sandown Park winning the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson final with My Redeemer and picking up a cool $100,000, Worrolong trainer Steve Bartholomew was at Angle Park with the Chuck-owned Galactic Panther, hoping to finish in the first four of a red-hot first semi-final and qualify for next week’s $37,500 Ashton Classic final.
Bred by Chuck, Galactic Panther, a son of Milldean Panther x Galactic Rumball, had previously won the Peter Rocket Summer Classic this year at Tara Raceway and run a terrific third in the Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup.
And while the Panther’s Angle Park runs leading up to last night’s all-important semi-final had been fair enough, this race was another step up in class with Victa Louise at $1.30 obviously expected to win and more than likely repeat the dose in the final.
In a race that ultimately threw up some amazing results, the first surprise was Galactic Panther ($23) quickly finding the front from box two and, to be honest, looking the likely winner as he careered away from the bolters Madam Onyx and Minacious.
However, in the home straight, he moved out, the $46 box one runner Madam Onyx taking the short way home for long-time participant Judi Hurley of Two Wells and gaining the verdict by a neck with $100 chance Minacious, trained at Whyalla by Graham Brown, finishing third while Springvale Choix was the fourth qualifier.
For Madam Onyx, despite some recent solid performances, it was a win that really came from nowhere – her first win this year and only her second all-up after a maiden 400 metre win at Gawler in December.
But Bartholomew and the Panther are through to the final, the trainer, involved in the sport since the opening of Glenburnie in 1979, now chasing his biggest win.
And after the second semi-final threw up further surprises, Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew, a couple of long-time friends and workmates, find themselves lining up with the locally bred, owned and trained Galactic Panther from box seven in a Group race that all of a sudden appears very winnable.