Champion reinsman Gavin Lang had armchair drives in front on Heavens Trend and Lettucefirestar to win both heats of the Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge at Wagga on Friday. Lang had no cause for concern on either three-year-old as both moved through to the semi finals with the high probability both will be in the rich finals at the end of June.
Lettucefirestar speared out from barrier six to find the lead after 200 metres as he maintained his unbeaten record in five starts for trainer Wayne Potter.
“I was very confident of winning on what he has been doing back home,” Potter said.
“He has a huge amount of speed and I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes against the better three-year-olds.”
Lettucefirestar is raced by a syndicate from Wagga who are enjoying a wonderful run with the son of Courage Under Fire who was bred by Redbank Lodge Standardbreds. Potter said he made some gear adjustments to Lettucefiretstar when he arrived at his Avenel stables and he was excited by what could lay ahead.
Lang was impressed with both and said it made a big difference having gate speed to find the front.
“I have had a few drives at Wagga over the years and gate speed is a big asset,” he said.
“Lettucefirestar went really well and looks to have a nice future.”
Lettucefirestar clocked a mile rate of 1.56.7 which was 0.1 seconds outside of the track record held by Modern Era. There is little doubt Lettucefirestar could have broken the record had Lang wanted to.
Heavens Trend’s time of 1.57.7 seconds could have also been much faster as the top class filly raced into the semi finals.
Lang was at Wagga last year when Heavens Trend won the Breeders Challenge heat as a two-year-old before going onto claim the semi final and final. It could be a similar story this time as Heavens Trend continues to dominate her age group.
“I have driven her most of the time, but was only filling in on Lettucefirestar,” Lang said.
“She does everything you ask of her.”
Heavens Trend accounted for the gallant Sport Report by almost ten metres with Boundtobemad running on well for third. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has won 11 of her 16 starts and earned in excess of $200,000.
Meanwhile, reinsman Corey Bell and trainer Shaun Snudden recorded a significant victory with East Emperor. The meeting was the last for Snudden and Bell in the Riverina as they follow new career paths. Bell will relocate to Victoria to continue driving, while Snudden will close his stables at Narrandera and commence working with Harness Racing NSW as a handicapper in a couple of weeks.
Snudden said after six successful years it was time to move on.
“I will still be in the industry, but in a different capacity,” he said.
The win by East Emperor was the 150th together for the pair.
“I have won ten races on East Emperor so to win this last one with Shaun means a lot,” Bell said.