By Lachlan Mitchell
Grant Dixon and Leap To Fame closed out an ultra-successful Victorian raid by adding victory in the $100,000 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup to the A G Hunter Cup triumph from seven days prior.
The Queensland megastar had to negate a back row draw (10) and three-wide trip throughout the last lap on Saturday night, but forged clear in the concluding stages to win convincingly while smashing the 2555m track record in the process.
After Petes Said So found the early lead from gate three, Chris Alford and Kanena Provlima burned to the front at the winning post the first time and then set the race alight with a sizzling 26.7 third quarter.
This kept Leap To Fame working down the back straight and approaching the turn, but he eventually assumed control and powered away to prevail in a sizzling 1:55.6 mile rate.
The time was a half-second quicker than Shadow Sax’s record set in 2018.
Kanena Provlima faded late to finish fourth, with the David Aiken-trained Max Delight and Jess Tubbs-prepared Rakero Rebel rounding out the minors.
As Dixon and Leap To Fame returned to the winner’s circle, a round of applause filtered through the grandstand with spectators in awe of what they had just witnessed.
“He went well,” Dixon said.
“I had to give him a tap-up down the straight, just to keep his mind on it when he went past the leader.
“When I asked him, he knows what he’s got to do.
“I was super happy with him.”
The result took Leap To Fame’s career record to 33 wins from 43 starts, and his 51-year-old trainer-driver now has sights set on New South Wales’ big pacing features.
“Next stop is the Newcastle Mile and all being well, the Miracle Mile,” he said.
Veteran trainer-driver John Justice raised his whip high in the air as Mufasa Metro landed a narrow victory in Saturday night’s other headliner, the Betavet Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup.
The six-year-old squaregaiter was set for a spell after galloping at the start and finishing sixth in the Great Southern Star Final, but a lack of early nominations saw connections chase one more race before a break.
And it proved an inspired decision as Mufasa Metro wore down favourite Im Ready Jet in the shadows of the post to win for the first time since March 2023.
Is That A Bid and Kyvalley Hotspur took turns with the lead through the early stages before Nathan Jack and Im Ready Jet pressed forward to take up the running.
Then, in what was a brilliant piece of driving, Justice progressed to the “death seat” from his inside back row draw and ducked in for cover behind his great danger when the pace quickened at the bell.
Justice and Mufasa Metro stalked Im Ready Jet until the final turn and then wore her down in a stirring duel to claim the $50,000 event.
“He has had Im Ready Jet’s measure for the last few runs and I think tonight he dug deep… it was fantastic,” Justice said.
Mufasa Metro has now won 12 races for prizemoney earnings up over $370,000.