Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Sixty-six-year-old master reinsman Chris Lewis gave his supporters no cause for concern when he guided smart Victorian-bred five-year-old Mirragon to a comfortable victory in the 2130m Countryman Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
He then travelled to Albany on Saturday night where he landed a double, driving the Barry Howlett-trained four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven pacers State Of Heaven ($1.22) and Name In Lights ($1.20) to victory to increase his early-season lead on the West Australian drivers’ premiership table. He has driven 12 winners in the first 15 days of the year to lead the table from Shannon Suvaljko (eight wins).
Mirragon, the $1.70 favourite prepared by Debra Lewis, started from the inside of the back line and Chris Lewis made sure that the gelding would not be hemmed in on the pegs by easing Mirragon into the one-wide line soon after the start.
Mirragon then raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back, before Lewis sent him forward, three wide, with 700m to travel. Mirragon covered the third quarter of the final mile in 28.6sec. before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.8sec. He took the lead at the 220m mark and dashed away to win by one and a half lengths from the pacemaker Valbonne.
Aldo Cortopassi, driving Allwoods Rocknroll in the favourable one-out, one-back position, was dislodged from the sulky in an incident 420m from home. He suffered injuries to his ribs but appears certain that he will be fit to drive the brilliant Magnificent Storm in the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Cup on Friday night.
Mirragon is by Art Major and is the first foal out of the Mach Three mare The Waratah, who raced 50 times for six wins, 13 placings and stakes of $40,861. Mirragon had 33 starts in Victoria for seven wins and ten placings, and his 23 WA starts have produced seven wins and five placings.
The Waratah is a half-sister to good winners Master Waratah and Lady Waratah. Master Waratah’s 106 starts produced 23 wins, 35 placings and $158,620, while Lady Waratah raced 36 times for 20 wins, eight placings and $564,770 in stakes.
Lady Waratah’s wins included the $300,000 APG two-year-old fillies final at Harold Park and the $215,000 Crown final for fillies at Cranbourne. Then, as a three-year-old she won the $100,000 APG final at Harold Park and a $145,000 classic at Ballarat in 2006.