Ace Bacchus Marsh based reinsman Gavin Lang has been one of the state’s top drivers for many years and showed his qualities by snaring a training double and a driving treble at last Sunday’s harness fixture.
The first to arrive was 4Y0 Rocknroll Hanover-Indigo Breeze gelding Sirletic in the first heat of the second round of the time honoured Mitavite Northern Region Championship for C1 & C2 class over 2240 metres. An unextended winner of the first round heats at Mildura a week earlier, Sirletic a prohibitive $1.10 favourite, led throughout from the pole to record an unextended 20.5 metre margin in advance of Mildura hope Misterfreeze which trailed, with S-A visitor Friends 2.3 metres back in third place after racing exposed. The mile rate 1-57.8. Both Misterfreeze and Friends locked wheels on straightening and had they not disengaged, the result could have been different.
Eight year old Modern Art-Jemalong Lady gelding Yerrington Bob returning from an unsuccessful campaign in NSW returned home to land the 2240 metre Kohnke’s Own Pace for C3 to C5 class to give Lang the middle leg. Trained at Merrigum by Brett Bunfield, Yerrington Bob starting from gate two on the second line settled mid-field in the running line and was suited by the slick tempo of the race as both Pental Power and the favourite Manganello applied pressure to the leader Mana Master (gate two). Easing three wide in the final circuit, Yerrington Bob finished full of running to prevail by 4.6 metres in a mile rate of 1-57.4 from Manassa Sky which followed the winner all of the way, with Manganello weakening to be 2.9 metres back in third place.
American Ideal-Jazzee Valentine gelding Alpha Charlie brought up the treble when successful in the 2nd Heat of The Ray & Grace Hepworth Memorial 3Y0 Pace over 2240 metres. In a great training feat, Alpha Charlie was having his first outing since August last year and after momentarily settling one/one from gate four, crossed to lead . Dictating terms to perfection, Alpha Charlie was too strong over the concluding stages for Bullys Delight three wide home turn after extricating away from the markers mid-race to be three back in the moving line at the bell, going down by four metres. Bruised Ego ran on late from mid-field on the markers to be third 8.4 metres away. The mile rate 1-58.6.
The 1750 metre Pearsons Grain Pace for C1 & C2 class opened the day’s proceedings and Deniliquin trainer Wayne Gretgrix’s Elsu-Illawong Shirley 5Y0 mare Poppys Princess put up a astonishing performance to score. Driven by young Ballarat junior Connor Ronan, Poppys Princess (gate six) was trapped three wide, with no option but to back to the tail of the field. Going forward four wide in the last lap, Poppys Princess appeared to have little chance. Still a long way back on straightening, Poppys Princess motored home down the outside fence to gain the day by head in 1-58.4 over Parisian Ruler along the sprint lane off the back of the leader and third placegetter Atomic War Lord. Who was a half neck away.
Nathalia trainer/driver Noel Tyndall snared the Swan Hill Stockfeeds Vicbred Series N Pace (2nd Heat) for C0 class over 2240 metres with 4Y0 Armbro Operative-Crocodile Tears gelding Crocodile Kid. Forced to do all of the work from gate two outside the leader Rosalee Dot Com inside him, Crocodile Kid surged to the front on the home turn, holding a margin all the way up the running to register a tough half neck victory over Night Safari which trailed the winner everywhere, with Sirbenjaminbutton coming from the tail of the field to be third seven metres back. The mile rate 2-00.1.
Gillieston owner/trainer/driver Wayne Hayes made a long awaited return to the winners list when 5Y0 Grinfromeartoear-Totally Radical mare Abroad greet the judge in the C0 class Pearsons Transport Pace over 1750 metres. Gertting a great run through the field from the extreme draw, Abroad received the run of the race one/one as Gallifrey Penny led from gate two. Taken three wide on the final bend, Abroad finished best to nail a death-seating Andrew Jay by a nack in 1-58.3. Gallifrey Penny held down third 1.1 metres away.
Most reliable 5Y0 Framework-Riegle Anne mare Scottish Sardius has a liking for Swan Hill (her last victory being here in February), by taking the Andrew Peace Wines Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2240 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.6. Bred by Melbourne’s Rod and Anne Pollock and raced by them in partnership with Inglewood’s Peter and Jenny Sanderson, Scottish Sardius trained and driven by Peter began with a wing on every foot from 30 metres to go forward a assume control. With Peter seemingly extremely confident all the way, Scottish Sardius held a slender margin all the way up the running to prevail by a neck from Star Gazing along the sprint lane after trailing, with track specialist Jaden Gil (one/one – three wide last lap) third 2.2 metres away. It was Scottish Sardius’ 5th success in 77 outings which include 29 placings.
Stawell owner/trainer Owen Martin combined with Bendigo’s Chris Svanosio to land the Support Your Local Pace for C6 or better class over 1750 metres with speedy front running 8Y0 Dream Away-Jilliby Jasmine mare Hellovaway. Leading easily from the pole with no challengers, Hellovaway coased at the head of affairs, kicking away at the straight entrance to record a untouched 1.6 metre margin in a slick 1-54.5 from Jedi Mind (one/one last lap) and Des Hilton’s Itmademyday who led up the outside division from the bell, finishing 3.4 metres in arrears of the runner up.
Melton father and son – John & Rhys Nicholson captured the 2nd heat of the Northern Region Championship with a very smart ex-Kiwi commodity by the name of Its Back In The Day, a 4Y0 gelded son of Washington VC and Bragato. Starting from the extreme draw, Its Back In The Day who was also a heat winner at Mildura possied one/one looking the winner a long way from home as the speed was hectic up front with Jakarras Ace, Manonthemoon and Regardless all vying for the lead, with Jakarras Ace winning out. Easing three wide running into the final bend, Its Back In The Day had hit the front on turning and scored narrowly but well by 1.2 metres from Kathys Son (three wide from mid-field last lap) in 1-57.2. Regardless which after working hard had dropped to the back of the leader was a game third 16.7 metres away after easing wide in the straight.
The $25,000 Final will be held at Ouyen this Sunday.
**** Swan Hill race again on Wednesday June 13.