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Drawing the short straws (Shepp News 2-2-18)

Drawing the short straws


Tricky draws have again been dealt to Goulburn Valley-trained pacers contesting tomorrow night’s $500 000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup at Melton.

Picture: Stuart McCormickMotiv-eight me: Lennytheshark has drawn barrier eight in tomorrow night’s Hunter Cup.

Avenel-trained superstar Lennytheshark has drawn the inside of the second row, while Shepparton hope, San Carlo, has drawn gate 11, four off the second row, in the 2240 m mobile event.

The quandary for Lenny’s reinsman Chris Alford will be either trying to get a forward position sticking to the marker pegs or to try and get into the running line, two off the pegs if, and when, a chance presents itself.

With the New Zealand freak and favourite Lazarus drawn barrier three and two other genuine hopes in Tiger Tara and Bling It On drawn inside him a fascinating early duel for the lead could unfold.

Despite his draw Lenny’s trainer David Aiken is upbeat about his chances and has stated Lazarus ‘‘wouldn’t want to go into the race with any niggles because Lenny is in a really good space at the moment’’.

Because of a slight setback after his heroic second placing in the Inter Dominion final in December Lazarus could be a little vulnerable, but is still definitely the one to beat.

As good as he is the Steve O’Donoghue-trained and Bec Bartley-driven San Carlo is going to need a small miracle to figure in the finish from his draw.

He is likely to be among the tailenders when the field settles and his best chance will probably be getting a tow into the race late if an early speed burn takes its toll on some of the more fancied front markers.

Comeback pacer Bling It On has been preparing for his defence of the race at Luke McCarthy’s Shepparton stables for trainer Craig Cross and has the draw to give a heap of cheek.

But it’s a fascinating race of ‘‘what or if?’’ which will thoroughly test punters.

? The other feature on a super night of racing, the $50 000 Group One V L Dullard Trotters Cup, also holds plenty of local interest.

The Dean Pattison-trained Sky Petite is drawn to run a bold race from barrier one, while the David Abrahams-trained Fabrication, who comes from barrier four and will be driven by Gavin Lang, is bursting to win a race.

Sparkling Success, winner of last week’s Great Southern Star, is the one to beat again with the New Zealander Temporale, who chased him home in that race, the main threat. and Bec Bartley-driven San Carlo losing no admirers after being trapped outside the winner for the entire in finishing third in a blistering 1:52.7 mile rate for the 2240 m.

Two other winners on the card, Sparkling Success and Jilliby Kung Fu, have strong local links.

Sparkling Success who won the $300 000 Great Southern Star in a manner which confirms he is Australasia’s best trotter at present, is Goulburn Valley-bred being by Great Success, a stallion Ken and Jan Wills stand at their Niota Stud at Girgarre.

Jilliby Kung Fu claimed the FourYear-Old Bonanza in arguably the run of the night.

After drawing barrier seven, Jilliby Kung Fu raced in the death seat for the entire 1720 m trip and lowered the colours of the odds-on favourite Stars Align in a stunning career best run of 1:51.9.

By Four Starzzz Shark — also the sire of Lennytheshark — Jilliby Kung Fu was bred by Dean and Blanche Poole who run Rhiannon Park stud near Congupna.

Jilliby Kung Fu is out of the Perfect Art mare Slip Slop Slap who has also left other multiple winners Caribbean Crest, The Jet Player and Slap On A Hat. wins, 11 seconds and 11 thirds and her prizemoney earnings are now more than $85 000.

Bred and raced by Cobram Harness Racing Club president Charlie Ewert it was a special win as Ewert also has ownership in Forestspider’s sire, Yankee Spider, who stands at Niota Stud, Girgarre.

Forestspider is trained at Henty by Grant Forest and to avoid travelling long distances to compete in races against her own gait often races the pacers in the Riverina area.

In fact her previous win was against the pacers at Coolamon on November 5 when she beat a field C0 Only class pacers. the Junee Cup meeting last Saturday night, but it was called off after rain left the track unfit for racing. the Jeff Gledhill-trained and Ben Gledhill-driven Zozo Ma Gogo, a Rocknroll Hanover mare, with another district pacer Crocodile Kid third for Nathalia trainer Noel Tyndall.

It was a notable training feat by Mark to get the win with Thunder Cookie who had not raced since May and who had run just the seven minor placings in her career prior to stepping out at Wangaratta.

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