A terrific night of harness racing was held on Thursday, with well supported runners winning most races – the feature being the Swan Hill RSL Anzac Day Cup for C5 or better class over 1750 metres, the winner being ultra consistent 5Y0 Safari-Machabella gelding Emain Macha in a slashing mile rate of 1-53.5. Part-owned and trained by astute horseman Greg Scholefield, Emain Macha coming off a second in the Mildura Pacing Cup on April 13 was driven by Greg Sugars (his only drive for the night) and as usual, showed his great gate speed from gate six to head off Bernie Winkle inside him running into the first turn and once there, the race was as good as over. Coasting around at his leisure, Emain Macha won untouched by a neck over Bernie Winkle along the sprint lane, with Kingofthestars, a stablemate of the winner third 4.7 metres away.
Barham trainer Dennis Stevens snared the opening race of the evening – the DNR Logistics Pace for C0 class over 2240 metres with Village Art, a 9Y0 daughter of Village Jasper and Haytime. Driven by Ararat freelance Michael Bellman, Village Art was given a sweet trip from inside the second line trailing the poleline pacemaker Velox Equus, before dashing home along the sprint lane to nail him by 1.9 metres, with Reputational 4.3 metres away in third place after racing exposed. The mile rate 2-00.7.
Bendigo’s Gary Donaldson is a regular visitor to Swan Hill and landed the Egmont Stud Pace for C0 & C1 class over 1750 metres with 5Y0 Stonebridge Regal-Live Your Life mare Live Like A Royal. Driven by Lancefield based Rod Petroff, Live Like A Royal was trapped three wide from gate four with no option but to go forward and park outside the leader Celebrita from the pole. Gaining cover racing for the bell as Kissing Game went forward to sit in the breeze, Live Like A Royal was given a breather before easing three wide on the final bend. Running home best, Live Like A Royal scored by 1.1 metres in advance of Kissing Game in a mile rate of 1-58. Abbeydale Road (one/two) was third 9.5 metres back after trailing the runner up home.
As mentioned on previous occasions, the trotting races are always interesting at Swan Hill and the Three Arms Bistro Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class was no exception taken out by Junortoun trainer/driver Ellen Tormey’s 4Y0 Bacardy Lindy-Cruzenthepacific mare Mar Pacifico in a rate of 2-02.9. A little slow to begin from 10 metres, Mar Pacifico settled five back along the markers as the favourite Beta Hanoverdakash moved around the early leader Tennoeagle to assume control. Moving forward to be one/one with a lap to travel trailing Skyeski, Mar Pacifico when taken three wide on the home turn, finished full of running to prevail by 2.7 metres over Beta Hanoverdakash who ran yet another placing, with Skyeski holding down third 5.3 metres away.
Gordon father and son – Tim & Darby McGuigan combined to land the 1750 metre Gallipoli 3Y0 Pace with Art Major-Espeshlimade Lombo gelding Hes An Artist. Enjoying the run of the race from the pole trailing Gottahaveahobbie (gate three), Hes An Artist when extricated three wide on straightening, finished at a great rate to register a runaway 2.9 metre margin over Rocks Arnt Pets (one/one) and Its All Business (one/two) which made the home turn very wide, finishing 6.2 metres off the runner up. The mile rate a slick 1-54.9.
The combination provided a double following the victory of Safari-Sunrain 4Y0 gelding Sunrainbow in The Battle Of Tobruk Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres and in doing so, brought up a hat-trick of wins. Pouncing on the lead from gate four as the mobile pulled away, Sunrainbow after an easy time had 3.7 metres up his sleeve at the finish, accounting for Stonebridge Star along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Distinctive Del running home from the rear to be 2.4 metres away in third place.
The HMAS AE2 Pace for C2 & C4 class over 2240 metres went the way of the Glenn Douglas (Strathfieldsaye) trained ex-Kiwi 5Y0 Art Official-Natural Creation gelding Jayedgar in a rate of 1-56.6. Driven by in-form concessional reinsman Jack Laugher over here from Tasmania, Jayedgar sprinted hard with a wing on every foot from three back in the moving line in the last lap to join the leader Delightful Mia on straightening and raced clear over the concluding stages to register a 3.1 metre margin over her. Our Amazing Grace was third 2.3 metres back after trailing the front runner.
*** Swan Hill race again May 22.