Harness Racing returned to Swan Hill last Thursday with champion reinsman and state record holder Chris Alford piloting four winners during the evening after landing a double at Maryborough during the day.
The night which may have been cold, but the action on track was hot during the evening as sensational times were recorded in each race.
Veteran Gol Gol trainer Noel Cameron combined with Strathfieldsaye’s Glen Douglas to take the opening event – the DNR Logistics Pace for C0 class over 2240 metres with 4Y0 Mach Three-Victoria Bound mare Magic Mach in a rate of two minutes even. Leading out from gate two, Douglas restrained the mare to allow Shesabeegee (gate four) to assume control shortly after the start, giving Magic Mach the run of the race. Easing off the back of the leader on turning, Magic Mach took the entire length of the straight to gain the day, prevailing by a head right on the wire to defeat Shesabeegee which refused to give in, with Stonebridge Star (one/one – three wide home turn) third a half neck away.
The first of Alford’s winners came up in the 1750 metre Sipcam Sledge 2Y0 Pace aboard the Emma Stewart (Cardigan) trained colt Always First. Trapped three wide from gate five, the son of Always A Virgin and All The Magic crossed to lead at the bell, but only just lasted to defeat a determined Shoshone Brave which raced outside him for the final circuit by a head, with first starter Topsies Dancin (one/one last lap) third 19.4 metres away. The mile rate 1-56.3.
Shepparton’s Mark Pitt snared a double on the night, guiding Undera trainer Glenn Freeman’s Mach Three-Silkan Star gelding Starry Mach to victory in the Sipcan Terbyne Xtreme 2Y0 Pace over 1750 metres and Kialla trainer Isabel Walsh’s 5Y0 Bettors Delight-Special Ops gelding Bettor Ops to take the Websters Vaccine Pace for C3 to C5 class over the same journey. Starry Mach (gate two) immediately slotted to the back of the poleline leader Rossini and travelled beautifully throughout. Easing away from the markers on the final bend, Starry Mach was too strong for the pacemaker the run home, scoring by 1.6 metres in a brilliant rate of 1-55. The almost unbackable favourite Perfect Major (1.10) was a disappointing third 5.7 metres away after racing exposed from the bell.
Bettor Ops who needs to be driven along for most of the journey, raced parked outside polemarker One Golden Day inside him for all of the trip and in a punishing finish, gained the day by 1.5 metres, with Scout Hall Road third 2.2 metres back after following the leader and using the sprint lane to no avail. The mile rate 1-56.
The Sipcam Ecopar Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2240 metres went the way of Bendigo trainer Michelle Eastman’s 5Y0 Sundon-Insulated gelding Aleppo Murphy who returned to the winners stall for the first time since December 2016. Driven by Chris Alford, Aleppo Murphy was a trifle slow to begin from 30 metres, but gradually made ground to be one/one at the bell as polemarker favourite Clarkes Hill led. Easing three wide on the home turn, Aleppo Murphy finished best to score by 1.5 metres in a rate of 2-03.3 over Clarkes Hill and 40 metre backmarker Shesasundon who was 15.1 metres back.
Kialla duo Laura Crossland and David Moran have a great record at Swan Hill and captured the Virbac Strategy T 3Y0 Pace over 1750 metres with Run Business Run, a gelded son of Courage Under Fire and Unfinishedbusiness in 1-56.2. Driven by David, Run Business Run was eased to trail the leader Marjorie Jean (gate two) after making an unsuccessful bid for the lead from gate four. Using the sprint lane, Run Business Run greeted the judge by a 1.2 metre margin in advance of Bettorockbettoroll (one/three – three wide home turn), with Im Shadow Boxer third off a three wide trail last lap 6.1 metres away.
Chris Alford and Emma Stewart landed the last two races on the program – the Cydectin Multi Min Pace for C2 class over 2240 metres with Isntshejust and the BR & C Agents Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres with Art Major-Perfect Life colt Thats Perfect, both raging favourites. Isntshejust a 4Y0 daughter of Real Desire and Jennas Beach Girl was eased from outside the front line to settle at the tail of the field before being set alight with an electrifying burst of speed to take over once the speed slackened. Given an easy time, Isntshejust had to pull out all stops to defy a strong challenge by Ross Fox’s Franks Very Muck along the sprint lane after joining the winner on the home turn after easing off her back on the final bend. Coolncalm came from last to be third 19.4 metres away. The mile rate 1-58.1.
Thats Perfect made a ne act affair of his race, leading throughout to record an easy 9.4 metre victory over American Tour which trailed in 1-59. Swearengen was third 7.6 metres back after following the pair.
*** The next Swan Hill meeting will be Wednesday September 12 ***