Local owner Noel Watson enjoyed a “night of nights” at the Swan Hill harness meeting on Wednesday May 22, winning a double on the program.
Home bred Shadow Play- Torridon gelding Torrid Saint opened the night’s racing with an upset victory in the Ray & Grace Hepworth Memorial 3Y0 Pace over 2240 metres. Trained at Bolinda by Vince Vallelonga and driven by Ross Payne, Torrid Saint led out from gate four, but was restrained shortly after to allow the raging hot favourite The Crimson Prince ($1.10) to assume control hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Given the run of the race, Torrid Saint moved away from the inside on the home turn to the surprise of most, bloused the favourite in the last bound to record a head margin in a mile rate of 1-57.7. Bettor Star (one/one) was third 17.3 metres away.
Art Official-Anna Rachelle 4Y0 gelding Artistic Saint trained and driven by Strathfieldsaye’s Glenn Douglas gave Watson the double, when successful in the 2nd Heat of the Time Honoured Northern Region Championship for C1 & C2 class over 2240 metres. Starting solo on the second line, Artistic Saint was able to trail the poleline leader Barbie Mattgregor as the start was effected, with the hot favourite Artful Christian (one/one). When Lounge Art which had raced exposed took care of the front runner in the last lap, Douglas was able to angle around Barbie Mattgregor to once again possie on the back of the then leader Lounge Art before using the sprint lane to perfection and score by 1.9 metres over a game Lounge Art, with Artful Christian a most disappointing third 12.2 metres away after easing three wide on the final bend. The mile rate 1-58.
Another semi-local Pyramid Hill trainer John Kennedy landed the Khonke’s Own Pace for C3 & C5 class over 1750 metres with 7Y0 Badlands Hanover-Southern Sugar mare Celebrindal in a rate of 1-57.3. Driven by Bendigo’s Chris Svanosio, Celebrindal starting outside the front line was eased to the rear as Dunrobbin led, but with the speed nothing special, driver Kerryn Manning had no hesitation in sending her forward to race in the open approaching the bell. Proving to be the best stayer on the night, Celebrindal was much too strong over the concluding stages, hitting the wire 2.7 metres in advance of Jayedgar (one/one), with Rocking Tess using the sprint lane off the back of the leader third a half head back.
South Merbein trainer Ian Watson and reinsman son Luke snared the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series N for C0 class over 2240 metres with Cullen Reign, a 4Y0 daughter of Christian Cullen and The Midnight Reign in a rate of 2-01.3. Another to lead out, Cullen Reign was eased to allow Shadow Terror outsider her to cross over to then enjoy the run of the race. Using the sprint lane, Cullen Reign prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish, with Gollahgold (three back the markers) closing in fast when extricated wide in the straight to be a head away third.
The DNR Logistics Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2240 metres went to Junortoun part-owner/trainer Gary Donaldson’s 5Y0 Angus Hall-Skye Rockey mare Skyeski. Driven by Lancefield based Rod Petroff who rushed to Swan Hill after competing at Maryborough in the afternoon, Skyeski coming from 20 metres settled five back along the markers as Adelaide visitor Sweetasis the sole front marker led. Gaining a one/one trail in the last lap as Gooroc Gambler (three back the markers) moved away from the inside, Skyeski driven vigorously on turning, finished best to register a 1.9 metre victory over Sweetasis in a slow rate of 2-05. Gooroc Gambler held down third 1.8 metres back. Skyeski was victorious at the last Swan Hill meeting.
Four year old Mister Big-Elly Bromac gelding Edwin Bromac made amends for Sweetasis’ defeat by winning the Hygain Pace for C0 & C1 class over 1750 metres, Trained by Greg Norman Edwin Bromac was driven a dashing race by Kerryn Manning, leading throughout from gate two to score easily by 6.5 metres over Cosar Delight (one/one) which switched to his back approaching the home turn, with Badland Star (one/one last lap) 19 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.1.
Former Kiwi bred ex Victorian and W-A 4Y0 Think About Me was the most impressive winner of the night when successful in the 1st Heat of the Northern Region Championship. Now in the care of Amanda Turnbull’s Shepparton stable, Think About Me a gelding by Christian Cullen from Imagine Me taking a concession for Brad Chisholm was eased from outside the front line to the tail of the field , before making a swift move forward when the speed slackened to park outside the odds-on favourite The Brooklyn Brawler. Showing great staying prowess, Think About Me was too tough in the run to the wire, registering a 1.4 metre margin over the leader in 1-58.6. The Deal was third 4.6 metres away after trailing The Brooklyn Brawler and easing wide in the straight.
Quality 3Y0 Alta Christiano-Jupiters Darling gelding Im Sir Blake trained by the Armstrong father and son combination of Leroy and Danny O’Brien made a one act affair of the 3rd Heat of the Norther Region Championship to give Kerryn Manning two for the night. Eased to the tail of the small four horse field as second elect Thermal Reactor led, Im Sir Blake raced uncovered for the last lap to win untouched by 8.1 metres from Keayang Bazooka which followed him home, with Thermal Reactor giving ground to be third 2.5 metres back. The mile rate 2-03.9.
*** Swan Hill race again Wednesday June 19.