Pretty Punk gives trainer Leon MacDonald another Tasmanian feature race

CLOSE FINISH: Pretty Punk (inside), ridden by Ben Allen, holds out favourite Andrea Mantegna in Sunday's Hobart Cup. Picture: Bill Hayes
CLOSE FINISH: Pretty Punk (inside), ridden by Ben Allen, holds out favourite Andrea Mantegna in Sunday's Hobart Cup. Picture: Bill Hayes

Australian Hall Of Fame trainer Leon MacDonald continued his love affair with Tasmanian racing when Pretty Punk won the $250,000 Hobart Cup at Elwick on Sunday.

Adelaide-based MacDonald has been a regular visitor to the state during his 46-year career and has won a host of feature races including the Launceston Cup, Tasmanian Derby, Gold Sovereign Stakes, Thomas Lyons and Mowbray Stakes.

But he has never had a better trip than this year, having also won last Friday’s $150,000 Bow Mistress Trophy with Gogo Grace.

“I’ve got a 100 per cent strike-rate this visit and you can’t do any better,” MacDonald said after Pretty Punk accounted for favourite Andrea Mantegna by a short neck, with local hope Fastnet Dragon 1-¼ lengths away third.

“It was a sensational win and a superb ride by young Ben Allen– I couldn't get over the run he gave her.”

Allen only picked up the ride late last week after Craig Williams was suspended.

The Victorian apprentice also won last year’s Launceston Cup on Big Duke.

MacDonald, who trains in partnership with son-in-law Andrew Gluyas, said that Pretty Punk would probably go on to the Launceston Cup but the Adelaide Cup was the other option.

Allen said he had been “a little bit worried early when things didn't work out.

“But I was able to slide forward and, once I got outside the leader, she got a real good breather which left us with a good kick late.”

Pretty Punk was heavily backed in early betting, firming from $7 to $4.60 but blew back out to $7 when the money came for Andrea Mantegna ($5.50 to $3.60) and the unplaced Eastender ($7 to $4.20).

JASON MASKIELL is hoping Hellova Street’s win in the $100,000 Thomas Lyons will hasten his return to Melbourne racing.

Hellova Street, who blew from $1.75 to $2.80, led all the way to easily beat stablemate Lord Da Vinci ($3 to $2.05) and Gee Gees Top Notch ($14).

It was Longford-based Maskiell’s first listed race success since returning to the saddle after a long layoff.

“I'm pretty hungry – I want to get back to where I was in Melbourne and I’m just one step closer now,” said the former leading apprentice.

OWNER Wayne Roser rated Mystic Journey’s win in the $100,000 Elwick Stakes alongside his finest moments in racing.

“It falls into the same category as Valiant Warrior winning at Moonee Valley and beating Admiral (in the 3YO Cup at Mowbray), he said.

The Adam Trinder-trained filly remains unbeaten after three starts.

PLEASURING easily won the $100,000 Strutt Stakes to give trainer Darren Weir the three-year-old feature double. He also won Friday’s Tasmanian Derby.