There is dominance and then there is the Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin juggernaut.
Victoria’s powerhouse stable is poised to plunder the huge Group 1 Australian Gold finals night at Melton on Saturday with a remarkable 13 runners across the four Group 1 finals.
Staggeringly, Stewart and Tonkin have the first two favourites in three of the finals and the second favourite in the other.
Leading their charge is pin-up filly Tough Tilly, the $1.28 TAB fixed odds favourite in the $350,000 Group 1 3YO Fillies’ final, which would take her earnings past $350,000 and nine wins and six seconds from just 17 starts.
Stewart and Tonkin’s strongest hand is in the $125,000 2YO fillies final with six of the 10 runners, including the first five in betting: Playing Up ($1.95), Fiamma ($3.70), Irish Black Label ($4.80), Petillante ($5) and Our Little Jet ($21).
Their three runners dominate betting in the $125,000 2YO colts and geldings final with the untapped Beach Villa the $1.70 favourite.
Stablemates Khafaji ($4 into $2.60) and Lightning Dan ($5) look the only dangers.
Emma Stewart (pictured) and Clayton Tonkin have a very strong hand at Melton on Saturday night. Picture: Ashlea BrennanSource:Supplied
The $350,000 Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final is the only race Stewart and Tonkin don’t have the favourite, but weight of money could see that change by race time with Act Now ($4.80 into $3.30) challenging NSW raider Tasty Delight ($2 to $2.50).
Premier driver Kate Gath takes the reins on three Stewart and Tonkin’s big guns, including Tough Tilly.
“She’s drawn well (five), especially compared to the main danger Anntonia (11). I’m not sure we’ll find the front, but she’ll be hard to beat regardless. She felt the best she ever has winning a heat start,” she said.
“I’m excited to be driving Fiamma in the (2YO) fillies’ final. They’ve got a great batch of fillies, but I think she’s as good as any of them. Nothing went right last time.
“I’ve loved Beach Villa since the first time I drove him at the trials. He felt even sharper winning last time compared to first-up and I think he’s the best horse in the race with any luck from the draw (gate eight, inside back row).”
Originally published asPower stable has sights on Gold rush
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