Shepparton horseman Mark Pitt rarely shows emotion, but the occasion got the better of him last Saturday night at Menangle.
Mark Pitt celebrated winning the NSW Oaks with Shez All Rock at Menangle last week.
Winning the prestigious $200 000 NSW Oaks was a good reason for displaying his feelings as he saluted with his whip as the filly he trains and drives Shez All Rock crossed the finishing line ahead of her rivals to claim the blue riband event.
Halfway down the home straight Shez All Rock was in the middle of a traffic jam and desperately seeking a gap to appear. And when it came to the inside and not the outside Pitt pounced and drove the filly through it and on to a famous victory.
Pitt had Shez All Rock positioned two out and three back in the run, but said he resisted going too early when Soho Burning Love made her run three deep around him.
So he banked on getting a late run at the leaders, which fortunately eventuated and which he took every advantage of. And that whip salute? ‘‘Yeah, it was a pretty big thrill to win a race like that, so that’s why I did it. My parents, my son and my sister and my partner (Lisa Bartley) were all there to see it, so it was pretty special,’’ Pitt said.
Pitt has the Victoria Oaks in April on the exciting filly’s agenda.
‘‘I’m giving her a freshen up, but that’s her next main mission,’’ he said.
Shez All Rock has had five starts for four wins and a second and the $120 000 first prize for her latest win has swelled her prize money earnings to more than $165 000.
Pitt also drove Major Times into third place in the $200 000 NSW Derby to complete the trifecta in the race for Victorian trainer Emma Stewart.
Star pacer San Carlo almost pulled off a double for Sheppartontrained pacers at Menangle last Saturday night, leading to within the shadows of the post in the Group One $100 000 Bohemia Crystal Free For All.
The Steve O’Donoghue-trained seven-year-old was taken to an early lead by his driver Bec Bartley in the 2400 m event and was nabbed near the finishing line by the odds-on favourite Franco Nelson.
San Carlo will step out again in tomorrow night’s $50 000 Cranbourne Pacing Cup in which he comes from barrier five and will be one of the top fancies along with Messini, Shadow Sax and Clancys Fobwatch. Wagga Pacing Cup, where is drawn in barrier two off the second row.
A double to Avenel trainer David Aiken, a maiden metropolitan class win by Brallos Pass and another win by A Special Dream had Goulburn Valley-trained pacers well to the fore last Friday night at Melton.
Aiken won a C1 Only class race with the consistent Sanna Cruza and also produced Rockstar Angel to win a M0-M3 class race with Michael Bellman in the sulky.
Sanna Cruza posted a PB 1:54.9 winning over the 1720 m trip.
The Steve Duffy-trained A Special Dream continued his remarkable season by again upstaging some classy rivals in a M1-M3 race after a masterful Darby McGuigan drive.
Coming off a win the previous week in the Albury Cup, the classy Mark Watson-trained and Nathan Jack-driven Brallos Pass was too good for his rivals, including the odds-on favourite Sams The Master, to claim his maiden M0 class race in PB 1:56.3 mile rate time for the 2240 m trip.
The Kyabram-trained pacer contests tomorrow night’s $30 600
Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore had to hang around for four hours to race horses at Charlton last Sunday, but in the end he reckoned the wait was worth it.
After gearing up giant trotter Rory McHinson for a well deserved win at his fourth start early in the program it was not until four hours later his other runner, Claudys Prince, faced the starter in a T1 or better class trot.
But Claudy — God bless him — made the long wait worthwhile with a strong win over the 2570 m trip, which ironically deprived Euroa horseman David Jack of a double.
Jack had earlier caused an upset and continued his hot recent run when the pacer he trains Call Me Hector won the $13 000 Threeyear-old Classic at odds of 40-1, despite having won his previous start at Echuca on February 10.
Rory McHindson’s win was particularly popular as he had two seconds and a third from his previous three starts.
Claudys Prince bounced back from galloping in his previous two starts with his win, with Blackmore explaining a return to half hopples on the trotter had produced the desired outcome.
The Prince is going around again tomorrow night at Cranbourne.
Five-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding Scotlynn Jack is another pacer who obviously loves Shepparton.
He has had three starts there for three wins.
His latest win there last week followed up a win at his previous start on the same track, in September.
Trained by Laura Crossland, Scotlynn Jack downed the hot favourite Laredo Torpedo who got locked in long enough to miss running down the Shepparton-trained pacer by a half neck.
Scotlynn Jack’s mile rate of 1:55.9 for the 1690 m was easily the quickest on the 10-event program.
Greybeard pacer Brother Rabbit gave his younger rivals a lesson or two and further confirmed Ardmona horsewoman Donna Castles’ reputation of being able to get horses home at juicy odds when he took the C1-C4 class event at Shepparton last week.
His win did not do his Kaarimba trainer Darryl Hill’s reputation any harm either as the 10-year-old was making his return to racing since May and he had not won a race in his previous 26 starts.
Play it again Bill. That is what Seymour horseman Bill Morgan did last week at Shepparton.
Morgan made it successive wins on the track with the pacer he trains, Amelia Holmes, who had scored there the previous week.
The only difference between the two winning efforts was the drivers.
Gavin Lang was in the sulky for the win the week before and last week Morgan drove Amelia Holmes in Lang-like fashion, timing his run to perfection in beating the Linton Power-trained and Kima Frenningdriven Mangochillime and Moreliner.
The Goulburn Valley lost a trotting stalwart this week with the death of Kevin Weidenbach after a short illness.
Weidenbach spent a lifetime in the industry, firstly in South Australia where he was a leading trainer and driver then in Victoria where he and his wife Marlene ran Festival Lodge stud at Harston for many years and stood several successful stallions including the top trotting stallion Red Coach Glory.
He raced many horses over the years, including Spring Festival who won 30 races in South Australia and Festival Summer, a multiple winner in Victoria who won three Coca Cola Cups at Moonee Valley.
One of his sons, Paul, and grandson Kevin Jr inherited his love of the sport and have carried on the family tradition.
His funeral was yesterday at Tatura Lawn Cemetery.