Australasian Grand Circuit pacer Cruz Bromac warmed up for the ,000 Victoria Cup on October 12 with a victory for new trainer, expatriate New Zealander Amanda Grieve, at Kilmore on Thursday, September 26.
Cruz Bromac, despite starting from the outside of the second row for top driver Greg Sugars, had the easier resumption race on the night in a rating 80-94 pace, moving up parked and winning by 1.6 metres in a 1:56.6 rate for the 2180m.
Connections went for the $20,000 race for the $2.10 favourite, instead of the Group Two $80,000 Kilmore Cup on the same night, won by San Carlo in a 1:58 rate over the longer mobile 2600m journey.
"I'm very happy to have a horse like Cruz Bromac in my stable, but with that comes a lot of nerves," Amanda said.
Most trainers feel added pressure being entrusted a horse formerly prepared by Australasia's champion trainers, but Amanda Grieve is no stranger to working with top horses and is highly-regarded by her peers.
Cruz Bromac has also been nominated for the $750,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup at Addington on November 12, and the Auckland Inter Dominions in December, but it will be a case of monitoring his progress through October.
Now eight, Cruz Bromac remained in Australia after finishing third to former stablemate and subsequent NZ Harness Horse of the Year Spankem, in the $100,000 Canadian Club Sprint in 1:51.15 (mile) at Menangle on February 23.
Cruz Bromac, winner of last season's Group One NZ Free-For-All at Addington (over Turn It Up, Jack’s Legend and Pat’s Delight) for premier NZ trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, was unbeaten in three heats of the Victorian Inter Dominions in December.
However, the Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender gelding had to settle for third from a tough draw to Tiger Tara and Our Uncle Sam in the $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final.
Cruz Bromac also ran third to former stablemate Thefixer in the Group One Ballarat Pacing Cup on January 10, and eighth in Tiger Tara's Hunter Cup, before his Canadian Club placing to round out his seven-year-old season.
Christchurch-born Amanda Grieve learned the ropes working for father Paul, then had stints in NSW with Paul Fiitzpatrick and her uncle, Dennis Wilson (who starred in the 1990s as the trainer-driver of NZ-bed Lotsnlots, and as a driver of other big-winning NZ-breds, Young Mister Charles and Atitagain).
She then teamed up with Ardmore trainer Tony Herlihy, who described her as one of his most valued workers, doing much of the behind the scenes work with former star trotter One Over Kenny.
She also worked as a starter’s assistant for six years at Alexandra Park.
Amanda then returned to Australia, assisting Dean Braun, then taking over the entire running of that stable for a time when she had a Group One win with NZ-bred Im Corzin Terror in the 2014 Ballarat Cup.
She quickly won 50 races from 197 starts for over ,000 before returning to NZ, teaming up with Cran Dalgety at West Melton for just over three years.
Dalgety said she was an invaluable asset to the operation, rating her the equivalent to doing the work of three.
Much to Dalgety's regret, Amanda returned to Victoria this year to be closer to her parents, who have relocated to Melbourne.
She again began working as stable foreperson for Dean Braun, a former trainer of Cruz Bromac (and also in Australia of now the USA's top mare Shartin N) in February, who has decided not to renew his license this term.
She's stepped into the head role again this season, basing herself at Avalon, 15 kilometres north east of Geelong.
Cruz Bromac, a winner of ,815 from 21 wins and eight placings in 42 starts, including last year's Group Two Len Smith Mile at Menangle in 1:50.1, is raced by major Geelong businessman, Danny Zavitsanos.
Mr Zavitsanos syndicated Cruz Bromac in March last year with four others, including wife Joanna.
They also have the smart NZ-bred War Dan Delight (1:53.3, seven wins from 20 starts for ,740) in the six-horse Grieve team.
A younger brother to 2017 Northern Derby winner Raukapuka Ruler (1:50.2, Aust), War Dan Delight won his first two Group Three NZ juvenile starts for the Allstars stable, taking out last year's NZ Sapling Stakes at Ashburton and the NZ Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham in a slick 1:53.3.
By Bettor's Delight, War Dan Delight and Raukapuka Ruler are from the former Colin and Julie De Filippi-trained NZ 2600m 3YO filly stand record-holder, Miss Elsie (1:55.3, seven wins & $143,633).
War Dan Delight was exported to Australia last term, running third in a NSW Derby Heat and fifth to Max Delight in the NSW Derby Final in March for the Dean Braun stable.