Veteran pacer Triple Eight salutes to beat the favourite

Veteran pacer Triple Eight caused an upset when he downed the odds on favorite Catch A Wave in the Captain Sandy Free For All at Melton on Saturday night.

TRIPLE EIGHT (outside).
TRIPLE EIGHT (outside). Picture: HRV

Having his first start since pulling up sore in the Geelong Rocket a month ago, Catch A Wave was sent out a $1.85 favorite and Kate Gath pressed forward to find the lead inside the first 400 metres.

Greg Sugars on Triple Eight was the first to pull out of Indian File formation to lead up the outside horses with a lap to travel.

The race turned into a dash home with Triple Eight ($5) grabbing Catch A Wave on the line to get up and score by a metre from Catch A Wave in a mile rate of 1:55.3.

A noted sit sprinter, Triple Eight is capable of doing some work in the run according to Sugars.

"He has done it in the past in the right sort of races and tonight he was awesome," Sugars said.

"He's a wonderful old horse, it's a special win tonight as Scott Plant who bred him has come across from New Zealand to see him race," he said.

Sugars said Triple Eight's days campaigning at the highest level are finished.

"He's an old warhorse now so we've scaled back plans to race him at the top level, we'll just pick and choose free for all races like these," he said.

Sugars is undecided whether the nine-year-old will make the trek north to the upcoming Mildura Cup carnival.

Meanwhile, Andy Gath conceded Catch A Wave had every opportunity to win.

"He worked pretty hard early but he got it pretty cheap after that," Gath said.

"His fitness is not where I expected it to be but with the run he had he was entitled to win," he said.

Later in the night a brilliant front running drive from Nathan Jack paved the way for Im Ready Jet to chalk up another Group 1 success in the $75,000 Aldebaran Park Sumthingaboutmaori Mares Free For All.

A well supported $2.50 second elect behind Queen Elida ($2.15 fav), Im Ready Jet was able to muster sufficient early speed to hold the front running from the inside alley while the favorite settled down last from her extreme draw.

Chris Alford finally flushed out Illawong Stardust in the back straight however Queen Elida struggled to make a lot of headway as Jack and Im Ready Jet tried to steal a winning break around the home turn.

The move proved successful as Im Ready Jet held her rivals at bay scoring by four metres from Lady Adelia with Queen Elida two metres away third.

Jack said he realised the magnitude of the task confronting Queen Elida.

"When Queen Elida was that far back it was always going to be hard for her especially when we got a really cheap lead time," Jack said.

"This mare has been a great mare and obviously the other mare has gone huge as well," he said.

Jack admitted he deliberately slowed the tempo to entice Alford to make a move on Queen Elida.

"I knew I was going slow enough to purposely invite him to come around as she probably doesn't run her best races that way and when Illawong Stardust went in front of Queen Elida that made it even harder," he said.

Im Ready Jet, who won the race in 2022, has now achieved four Group 1 successes in a career that has netted more than $630,000 in stake earnings from 24 wins and a further 24 placings.

Emerging mare Rakero Rebel will be aimed at the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth 11 in Sydney following her authoritative win in the Mimosa Homes Mares Free For All.

The Jess Tubbs trained daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven enjoyed a huge drop in class after chasing home champion pacer Leap To Fame and The Lost Storm in recent weeks and punters reacted accordingly sending her out a $1.45 favorite.

Rakero Rebel cruised past the leader Illawong Awesome approaching the home turn and bounded away in the home straight scoring by seven metres from stable mate First Dance in a slick mile rate of 1:53.6.

"She's a mare on the rise and is racing in great form and really has a killer instinct about her now and hopefully there are exciting times ahead," Sugars said.

Sugars said the mare will focus on gaining a berth in the Queen Elizabeth 11 at Menangle in early May.

"We are hoping to get a start up in Sydney in the Queen Elizabeth Mile and that's her main target for this preparation and if we don't receive an invitation then then we'll go up for the lead up races at the end of April, "he said.

"We'll just target other major mares races later in the year as they come up."

Purchased from New Zealand early last year, Rakero Rebel has now won eight races since joining the Jess Tubbs stable.