TRAINER Greg Norman enjoyed plenty of big feature race wins when previously based in South Australia.
Now calling Charlton home, Norman is still showing a knack for major race wins in his former home state.
The astute trainer completed another successful raid across the border on Saturday night when his smart three-year-old Aladdin won the $30,000 Group 3 South Australian Pacing Derby (2230m).
Aladdin went into the race a $1.10 favourite on the strength of his win the previous weekend in the $14,000 Mildura Guineas (2190m), which doubled as his Australian debut for Norman and his owners Adam, Ben and Terry Cormack.
His Derby win followed a similar pattern, with the Sweet Lou gelding, superbly driven by champion Kerryn Manning, showing plenty of gate speed to lead before improving impossible to run down.
It was a brilliant night all-round for Norman, who also trained the third placegetter Apieceoflou, who is by the same sire as Aladdin, and was coming off a neat second in the Euston Club Pace Final at Mildura, on the same night as his stablemate's Guineas win.
The pair was separated by the Aaron Dunn-trained and driven Bondi Lockdown, who was chasing a third-straight win following victories in January at Charlton and Tabcorp Park Melton.
The colt's Melton win was at Group 1 level in the $100,000 VHRC Caduceus 3YO Classic (1720m), highlighting the challenge that faced the Norman-trained runners in Adelaide.
Norman, who continues to get the most out of his smallish team of horses, including the likes of country cups performer Zadaka and Cee Cee In America, said while he was confident Aladdin could get the job done, it was good to see him top it off.
"That's what we hoped for after what he did at Mildura, but as well all know a lot can happen in harness racing," he said.
"But it all panned out well - everything went to plan for a change.
"Both horses went good. The one that separated them is a pretty serious horse. To see Apieceoflou run third really topped it off."
Norman said Aladdin and Apieceoflou were destined to meet again in similar big races.
He praised both the drives of Manning on Aladdin and Danielle Hill on Apieceoflou.
Norman and Hill had previously combined for a Group 2 success at Globe Derby with Belladonna Girl in last December's $50,000 Southern Cross Series Final for three-year-old pacing fillies.
"Danni is one of the best drivers in Australia, no doubt about that," he said.
Following a long trek home on Sunday, Norman said both horses would be given breaks for a few days.
A winter preparation up north and a tilt at the Queensland Derby is on the cards for Aladdin, who was bought by the Cormacks shortly before his win in the inaugural $200,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million Final, run on New Year's Eve.
The Cormacks were immediately able to recoup his purchase price with the $107,000 first prize.
"We're on a journey," Norman said in reference to the Queensland Derby.
"That's what we do this for, we do it to get a good horse and to do it for good owners,' he said.
An exciting weekend for the Charlton trainer was completed by a win for his beloved Port Adelaide Power over Carlton on Saturday night.
Aladdin boosted his overall career record to 18 starts for five wins and seven placings for earnings of $182,681.
His two Australian starts have netted connections $26,892 in just eight days.
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