PREMIER trainer Emma Stewart has a strengthened her grip on next week’s Australian Pacing Gold Final.
After capturing two of the three heats at Tabcorp Park Melton a fortnight ago, Stewart returned to complete a clean sweep of the semi-finals last night.
Unbeaten youngster The Storm Inside led the way, with ample support coming from the highly-promising Our Little General.
“It was a great result for the stable,” Stewart said. “Now we just have to hope for some luck in the draw for the Final and that they both get a good shot at it.”
Driven by Chris Alford, Our Little General worked to the lead from barrier four as Alford maintained a solid tempo during the middle stages.
Forced to dig deep along the home straight, the son of Mach Three scored by a short half-head from Three Of The Best, with Wrappers Delight five metres away third.
“It got closer at the end than we would have liked, but he got the job done,” Stewart said. “He’s still got a lot to learn as he showed, but he is a very nice type.
“He’s won four of his five starts and the only time he has been beaten was on debut by The Storm Inside.”
Covering the last half in 56.8 seconds, the two-year-old rated 1:55.4 for the 1720 metres, with his time eight-tenths of a second slower than his stablemate.
With Greg Sugars holding the reins, The Storm Inside was three-wide early from barrier seven before taking over the role as pacemaker.
Never seriously challenged, the colt completed a nine-and-a-half metre win from Redbank Blaze, with Atomic Red a half-head away third.
An all-American bred freshman, The Storm Inside is by Rocknroll Hanover, which sired the trifecta.
“He just did it so easily again,” Stewart said. “He is a pretty special colt, which just keeps getting better.
“That’s five from five now, and barring bad luck, there is no reason he can’t make it six in the Final.”
- PAUL COURTS