06 August 2017 | Trots Media - Michael Howard
Connections of Wobelee celebrate his victory in the Redwood Classic.
If there was one box left to tick to reaffirm Wobelee’s status as the finest two-year-old trotter of the season consider it ticked, marked and crossed.
The Alison Alford trained, Chris Alford driven and Colin Murphy owned Down Under Muscles two-year-old was in a class of his own in winning the Seelite Windows & Doors Redwood Classic, a third Group 1 victory of the season.
Since running second to One Muscle Hill in his first start, coincidentally named the 157 Days To Seelite Redwood handicap, and then third in his second start, Wobelee has reeled off eight consecutive victories including Vicbred and now Redwood acclaim.
It’s been enough to surprise even the most seasoned of drivers.
“After his first trials we thought at least he’s going to make it to the races and he’s just improved and improved and improved the further the year has gone along,” Chris Alford said. “It’s pretty amazing really."
Many considered the Classic – having blemished many a two-year-olds spectacular debut season – a key test of Wobelee’s standing, but the inside back row draw was no barrier.
Wobelee burst from the standing start to lead in a matter of meters, capitalising on the polemarker (Whizzbang Dan) leaving a door open.
“Pretty lucky really at the start,” Alford said. “In the warm-up Christopher Shinn’s horse, he gave it a practice and as it jumped it did a right-hand turn and went out about three carts and I thought, this couldn’t be true. If this happens and we are moving forward we will just go straight through.
“Thankfully it happened and the professional little thing that he is he just trotted away.”
And from there it was all she wrote.
A 48.2 lead time set an honest pace and no challenger could threaten as Wobelee, as is his custom, used his high cruising speed to churn out 29.9 and 30.9 first and second quarters.
“He was just rolling along, when I saw 29.9 I thought I might be going a bit quick here, but he just likes to run.”
With 29.6 and 30.5 quarters he closed out a 2:04.4 mile rate, matching Illawong Byron’s race/age/sex record set in last year’s Classic and clearing out by a colossal 32.6m.
It was a heck of a statement and connections, in particular owner Colin Murphy, will be hoping the Down Under Muslces gelding can extend his winning ways to Breeders Crown’s super Sunday.
“He’s had a long year,” Alford said. “He’s starting to tire a little bit, we will just try and keep him ticking over.
“The good thing is he doesn’t do a lot at home, so he’s got two more runs and then he can have a rest, so hopefully he can keep it up.”