YEAR: 2012


Michael Taranto presents the trophy to Trevor Casey

It would be hard to recall a better young trotter than Escapee. Some will come to mind and may be as good, but it would have to be special to be better.

Escapee has won seven of her 11 starts. There were two seconds, when she started off, and her untested win in the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors New Zealand Trotters Derby at Addington was her sixth on end.

In the domnating form she's now in, it's hard to believe how the losses occurred. But for the record - second on debut to All Shook Up, disqualified from fourth behind Flying Isa, second in the Jewels to Flying Isa, all at two; and 12th on the grass at Orari when first-up as a three-year-old.

It was unfortunate that You Rock was not there - forced out owing to veterinary treatment - because that may have given her competition the others couldn't. No Boundaries was the best of them, more than three lengths back, after running a trailing second throughout.

The performance of Escapee was no less than what Mark Purdon expected. "I thought she was actually better this week, than last week, when she won the Oaks," he said. "And she reminds me very much of Dependable, same frame, same way of going, and I trained him at the same age." Purdon, in fact, gave Dependable 10 starts at three and won three, including two Group 1s.

Escapee is owned by his breeder, Trevor Casey, a big man in the game in so many ways. Sponsor Michael Taranto was on the mark when he said: "It's great to see an owner and a breeder who puts back so much as a sponsor, get a reward like this." Casey said "It was a relief. The pressure is on when you have a $1.20 shot."

Escapee still has much ahead of her, with a trip north to come, and You Rock, will be waiting, and Not Likely as well. Not Likely, a strong third in the Oaks, was not at her best for the Derby and galloped when leading at the mile. She has also been sold, to Australian Ray Cahill, but will stay with trainer Andrew Grant until after the Jewels.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 4Apr2012

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