Successful Swan Hill trip for Riddell duo

Riddells Creek trainer Chris Lang and stable foreman Xavier O’Connor both tasted success at last Thursday’s compact Swan Hill harness fixture. Lang preparing consistent gelding Next Thru to land the Starlight Sulkies Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class and O’Connor training and driving the DNR Logistics 3Y0 Pace winner - Art Major-Gusau filly Be The One.

Next Thru a 5Y0 Muscle Hill-Invasions Pride gelding bred and raced by Richard and Pauline Matthews coming off a first-up Yarra Valley victory on February 8, started from a 30 metre backmark in the 2240 metre event stepping cleanly as solo front marker Majestic Devil led. Settling at the tail, Next Thru gradually moved forward to face the open for the final circuit, joining the front runner prior to the home turn with the pair racing away on straightening. In a two horse drive to the wire, Next Thru prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish, with My Darling Beware 7.2 metres away in third place after joining the leaders three wide on the final bend. The mile rate 2-03.7.

It was a different story with Be The One which speared away from gate five to lead running into the first turn, before coasting to the wire 13.2 metres in advance of Somedaylady (three back the markers) and Interest Me (one/one) who were both making their race debut’s. Interest Me 4.9 metres back. The mile rate 1-56.4.

Six babies fronted the starter on debut in the Jehm 2Y0 Pace, with victory going the way of the all conquering Emma Stewart stable’s Mach Three-Bettor Give It gelding Mach Dan. Driven by Chris Alford, Mach Dan was driven with great vigour from gate two, but couldn’t hold out Changeover gelding Yianni (Amanda Turnbull) which had superior speed from gate four. After an easy time on the back of the leader, Mach Dan finished best along the sprint lane to gain the day by a neck in a rate of 1-58.7. Courage Under Fire gelding Premonition (one/one last lap) was third for Ararat’s Terry Young.

The stable chalked up a double when Western Terror-Art Princess mare Pistol Abbey greeted the judge in the 2240 metre Kiel Tiling Pace for C2 to C4 class, but not before giving her supporters some cause for alarm. Restrained by Sidney Van Den Brande from outside the front line to settle at the tail of the field as last start Bendigo victor Delightful Mia exploded away from gate six to lead, Pistol Abbey was still last approaching the home turn. Taken four wide on the final bend, Pistol Abbey produced a whirlwind finish down the centre of the track to register an easy 4.9 metre margin over the pacemaker in a rate of 1-58.3. Dunrobbin (one/one – three wide home turn) was third 1.6 metres away.

The stable had earlier in the day snared four winners at the Maryborough meeting, all driven by Alford.

Shelbourne trainer Kate Hargreaves and partner Alex (Alby) Ashwood captured the fast class feature on the program – the $7,000 Thank You Doug Gretgrix Pace for C5 or better class over 1750 metres with American Ideal-Resurgent Star gelding Resurgent Spirit in a mile rate of 1-55.3. Staring solo on the second line, Resurgent Spirit trailed Pocket The Dream (gate two) and A Special Dream (gate three) through from gate two as the field was released lobbing in the open as Pocket The Dream moved around A Special Dream to lead. Not wasting any time, Ashwood urged Resurgent Spirit to the front entering the straight for the bell and maintained a margin to the wire, scoring by a head from Emma Stewart’s Lookofalegend which parked in the open for the final circuit, with Ouyen hope Tippitinya (one/one last lap) third 7.5 metres back.

Young Bungaree District (Pootilla) trainer Zac Steenhuis combined with Ryan Duffy to register a runaway victory with 4Y0 Auckland Reactor-Ballygeana gelding Thermal Reactor in the Steven & Kyra Valentines Pace for C0 class over 2240 metres, leading throughout from the pole to blitz his rivals by 18.6 metres over Major McRae which raced exposed from the bell in a rate of 1-57.9. Montana McLead was third from four back the markers.

Bendigo trainer/driver Chris Svanosio’s long day ended on a happy note after 4Y0 Auckland Reactor-Lady Lunchalot gelding Quamby Reactor scored an easy victory in the 1750 metre Team Teal Pace for C0 & C1 class. Leading from gate two, Quamby Reactor travelled beautifully all the way, kicking clear on the home turn to register a 2.8 metre margin over Toolern Art Miss which trailed with Night Safari 11.9 metres away in third place after following the pair. The mile rate 1-55.9.

*** Swan Hill race again March 7.

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