It was a thrilling night’s racing at Swan Hill last Friday with three big features on the program – the Swan Hill Pacing Cup, Swan Hill Trotters Cup and the Swan Hill Mile.
The celebrations in Birchip are likely to last all week long following the victory of 7Y0 Somebeachsomewhere-Dreams Of Heaven gelding Menin Gate in the $30,000 (Group 3) 3SH Swan Hill Pacing Cup for M0 or better class over 2790 metres as the winner is raced by them.
In what was a training/driving triumph for Burrumbeet’s Michael Stanley, Menin Gate first up since June last year crossed the polemarker Solarsonic shortly after the start was effected to lead and rated to perfection in quarters of 30.9, 30.1, 27.2 and 28.6 for the last mile, defied all challengers to record a fighting head margin over the hot favourite Im The Boss which moved outside him for the final circuit, with Magical Marn off a three wide trail from last 1.5 metres away in third place. The mile rate of 1-57.3 took three tenths of a second off the track record set by 2016 Inter-Dominion runner up Hector Jayjay in 2016.
The What The Hill Swan Hill Trotters Cup for T5 or better class over 2790 metres (first leg of the quaddie) was a rough result for punters as $28.60 chance King Denny took the prize for Ararat based duo Michael Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade (Michael being a former Swan Hill District boy). Driven by Denbeigh, King Denny a revitalised 8Y0 Majestic Son-A Touch Of Sun gelding stepped slowly from outside the front line before regaining his composure to unsuccessfully tackle the polemaker Kyvalley Barney for the front running. Gaining cover at the expense of 30 metre backmarker Sky Petite, King Denny then received the run of the race. With runs coming at the bell led up by the favourite Father Christmas who was found wanting in the last lap, King Denny was eased three wide on the final bend to issue a challenge and raced clear halfway up the running. Holding a slender margin the post, King Denny greeted the judge a neck clear of the fast finishing Our Dream Lover which extricated late from the one/two spot approaching the home turn. Sky Petire fought on doggedly for third 1.6 metres back. In quarters of 31.6, 30.9, 28.1 and 29.8, King Denny returned a mile rate of 2-02.8 which was six tenths of a second outside Kinvet Avenger’s 2-02.2 set in 2014.
Terang’s Mattie Craven took the equal honours for the evening with a training/driving double – the first leg being in-form 5Y0 Art Major-Benilise gelding Wardan Express in the Kiel Tiling Swan Hill Mile for C5 or better class over the true 1609 metre course. Driven with extreme vigour from gate six to try and head off Mick Stanley’s pole marker Macey Jade without success, Wardan Express was restrained to allow Lucky Lombo to park in the open. Despite using plenty of petrol at the start, Wardan Express when eased three wide on the home turn, ran on strongly to record an excellent 1.5 metre victory in advance of Lucky Lombo in a rate of 1-56.2. Dynamic Bromac was a disappointing third 2.5 metres back after trailing the leader and using the sprint lane to no avail.
Extremely talented 5Y0 Tennotrump-Free Rider gelding Magicool treated his rivals with contempt in the 2240 metre Tasco Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class after coming from a 40 metre backmark. Stepping safely, Magicool gradually made ground to tack on to the field mid-race and when taken four wide approaching the home turn, put pay to his rivals in a couple of bounds, winning virtually untouched by 4.2 metres from Gin (one/one at bell – three wide home turn) in 2-03.5, with Rosehill Magic running her usual honest race for third a half neck away after racing exposed. Mattie would have made it three from three had Our Dream Lover scored in the Trotters Cup.
Swan Hill Club stalwart Noel Watson would have been “jumping for joy” following the victory of his 4Y0 Art Official-Anna Rachelle gelding Artistic Saint in the DNR Logistics Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres to open the program. Trained and driven by Strathfieldsaye’s Glenn Douglas a great supporter of Swan Hill, Artistic Saint possied one/one from gate five before going forward to join the leader Elfonzo, then restraining to enjoy a sweet one/one passage as Majestic Cruiser made a forward rush from last to occupy the “death-seat”. Again three wide approaching the final bend, Artistic Saint was able to wear down the leader to record a 2.3 metre margin in a 1-57.4 mile rate. Majestic Cruiser held down third 9.1 metres away.
The 2240 metre Mixx FM Pace for C0 class went the way of Kialla duo Laura Crossland and David Moran’s 4Y0 Four Starzzz Shark-Wish An Order gelding Reincarnate. Whizzing forward to assume control shortly after the start, Reincarnate exploded away from his rivals in the last lap to win by an untouched 22.7 metres in advance of Sassy Indiana (three wide last lap from last), with Assignation (three back the markers) third. The mile rate 1-59.2. The pair made it a double when 4Y0 Art Major-Pyrites gelding Golden Year after racing exposed, was too strong for Bundy Playboy which trailed him all of the way by 1.1 metres . Thomas Burns which led was third 1.3 metres back.
Bannockburn’s Geoff Webster snared the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Mares Championship for C1 & C2 class (heat 1) over 1750 metres with Mount Gambier owned Big Jim-Scentiment five year old Miss Atlanta, leading throughout from the pole with Emmett Brosnan in the sulky to defeat the red-hot favourite Vouvray Beach which raced outside her by 1.4 metres in 1-56,8. Keayang Alimar (one/one – three wide home turn) was third a half head away.
Kialla trainer Clive Dalton’s Roll With Joe-Bolshoi Belle gelding Allmightyjoelouis made it two wins in a row after scoring at Shepparton last week by taking the 2240 metre C2 & C3 class North Vic Waterproofing Pace. Driven once again by Greg Sugars, Allmightyjoelouis enjoyed the run of the race from gate two trailing the pacemaker Franks Very Much which flew away from gate five. Angling away from the inside on the home turn, Allmightyjoelouis finished full of running to gain the day by 1.9 metres from a death-seating Rackemup Tigerpie, with Franks Very Much in third place 3.2 metres back. The mile rate 1-56.5.
*** Swan Hill race again on Melbourne Cup night – November 6.