Rochester trainer Neville Pangrazio was true to his word when he told punters to ignore Moonshine Linda’s run in the Oaks Trial at the Shepparton Cup meeting the previous week when he headed with the filly to contest the $40 000 NSW Trotters Oaks at Menangle last Saturday night.
Melton blitz: Lisa Bartley and Mark Pitt drove winners at Melton last Saturday on a night where Goulburn Valley trainers and drivers were well to the fore.
Moonshine Linda finished near the tail of the field at Shepparton when favourite, but Pangrazio said teeth problems and lack of a hard run had taken its toll and was the reason for the uncharacteristic performance.
He was extremely confident she could bounce back in the Sydney feature — and she did.
Top NSW horseman Luke McCarthy positioned Moonshine Linda from barrier four on the back of the well-fancied fellow Victorian Amour De Frere who crossed the field and led from barrier seven.
Amour De Frere got the stitch half way down the home straight in the testing 2400 m mobile event and McCarthy pounced with Moonshine Linda to hit the front and then hold off the fast finishing Tim Butttrained favourite Sassy Pants to win by a head with the unlucky Pretty Majestic filling the minor placing in a threeway drive to the finishing line.
Moonshine Linda, who is by top sire Majestic Son out of the Sundon mare Maori Sunshine, was bred by Pangrazio and was having her 11th start.
But with four wins under her girth going into the race she showed she was one of the most talented trotting fillies in Australia, a point she proved with the win. She paid $5 for the win. ‘‘It wouldn’t have wanted to have been much further. Luke (McCarthy) said she switched off once she got to the front and he didn’t want to risk hitting her, so he yelled at her to keep her going to the finishing line and luckily she held on,’’ Pangrazio said.
Pangrazio now has his sights on the Victoria Trotters Oaks, the Vicbred series and the Breeders Crown with the filly.
Pangrazio, who milks camels for a Rochester neighbour for a living and trains horses for a hobby, paid tribute to his pregnant wife, Louise, who is only three weeks from giving birth.
‘‘We were hoping it (baby) wasn’t going to arrive early on the trip up there and back. She does most of the work with her (Moonshine Lindy), so it was a family thing,’’ Pangrazio said.
Out to be a Classic hit
Plenty of district interest in tonight’s Group Two $50 000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Home Grown Classic for two-year-old fillies at Melton.
Six of the 11 finalists are trained in the Goulburn Valley area.
Kialla horseman John Hallam has Yankee Vision coming from a poleline draw, Euroa’s Cameron Maggs lines up Idathoughtso from barrier three, Congupna’s Mark Lee will be represented by Magic In Her Moves from barrier six, while Rochester’s Mark Thompson and Shepparton’s Laura Crossland and Steve Boyington have Gone And Forgotten, Tiger Courage and Reality Writer, respectively, coming from second row draws in the feature over the 1720 m trip.
Despite drawing the outside of the front row the Emma Stewart-trained Two Times Bettor looks certain to start favourite and will be hard to beat after a runaway heat win.
The Boyington-trained Reality Writer was impressive in winning her heat at Kilmore last Friday night on debut, but will need things to fall her way from the extreme outside backrow draw.
Another feature tonight, the Group Two $30 000 Alabar Angelique Club Pace, will also have a strong district flavour.
Consistent Steve O’Donoghue-trained mare Shakahari is drawn to run a bold race from barrier two, dual state trainer Amanda Turnbull has Without You engaged from barrier four, while David Aiken will lineup Rockstar Angel from a second row draw.
Big Share of prize
It was a successful night for Shepparton-based trainers and drivers at Melton last Saturday.
Heading the performances was the Laura Crossland-trained and driven Share The Road who claimed the $30 000 Country Clubs Championship final, lowering the colours of the odds-on favourite General Dodge in the process.
Crossland drove a patient race on the four-year-old Tintin In America mare who tracked General Dodge three wide into the race and run him down within the shadows of the post in an impressive performance.
Share The Road has now six races with four placings and continued the success Crossland has enjoyed in a breakout season as a trainer.
Shepparton reinsman Nathan Jack also claimed one of the features on the program, steering the Emma Stewart-trained Berisari to victory in the Group Three $30 000 Alabar Make Mine Cullen.
Shepparton partners Mark Pitt and Lisa Bartley also were in the winner’s circle at the meeting.
Pitt reined the Stewart-trained Striking Beauty to an M0 Only class win, while Bartley was successful on Code Bailey for Shepparton trainer Ross Pike.
Alpe cruises home
Congupna horseman Scott Stewart upset the applecart of most quaddie punters when he drove a well judged front running race on Alpe De Huez in a C3-C4 class race over the 2170 m trip at Cobram last week.
Quaddie punters had put their faith in Cruz, supported into a $1.30 favourite, as an anchor, but Stewart had different ideas, utilising Alpe De Huez’s poleline barrier draw to lead and dictate the terms and with a 27.2 final quarter put paid to all his rivals.
Flight Officer hugged the back of Alpe De Huez during the run with Cruz, who had a tough run, weakening to finish third.
Alpe De Huez couldn’t be begrudged of the win as he had run second three times in his previous five starts.
A five-year-old gelding by Changeover, Alpe De Huez has been a consistent money earner for connections with eight wins and 10 placings from 35 starts.
Rosas is first
Merrigum trainer Simon Turnbull was another trainer looking for a change of luck at Cobram — and experienced it.
Turnbull lined up Rosas First in a C0-C1 mares race and after a third and a second at her previous two starts was naturally looking to go one better.
This eventuated with Turnbull overcoming a second draw on Rosas First who came with a well timed run to account for the Kyabramtrained pacemaker Gallifrey Penny with the NSW visitor Victory Lass filling the minor placing.
A six-year-old mare by Ponder, Rosas First was having only her 12th start which have produced two wins and five placings.
Two up for Three
Kyabram trainer Bruce Rose made a wise decision when he bought a Million Dollar Cam four-year-old gelding as a going proposition from the Riverina earlier this year.
The gelding is Threepeat and in 10 starts for Rose he has won two races and never finished further back than fifth.
Threepeat had run two placings, but had not won prior to Rose taking over part ownership and the training of the pacer.
His latest win came at Cobram last week when reinsman Nathan Jack timed his run to perfection after settling in the run three back on the pegs.
Jack was able to get into clear running on the home bend on Threepeat who proceeded to mow down Freemarksgonzo and the pacemaker Crocodile Kid in the run to the judge in a C0 Only class race.
Threepeat hoisted a PB in the run of 1:57.2 in recording his second win in 12 trips to the races.
Liking winning feeling
Three starts ago Graciella Pinevale hadn’t won a race in 23 tries.
That dubious record was in tatters after a Bendigo meeting on April 26 when she finally cracked it for her first win for Lancaster trainer Russell Thomson.
Much to her trainer’s delight Graciella Pinevale didn’t rest on her laurels.
She did it again last week at Cobram after a perfect Bec Bartley drive.
Bartley was able to dodge some early breakers and position the daughter of Muscles Yankee on the pace off her 10 m handicap and she reeled in the Donna Castles-trained and driven pacemaker and longshot Illawong Red with the Carmel Belottrained and driven Levina finishing off the race nicely for third in a trifecta for Goulburn Valley trainers.
Life’s a Beach
Scotlynn Beach is giving his large band of owners a good ride.
The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere landed his third win in his last five starts and his fifth win in 18 starts — there have also been three second placings — when he saluted at Cobram.
The Nathan Jack-trained and driven Scotlynn Beach didn’t get any favours, racing in the death for the last 1400 m, but was well and truly up to the challenge in cruising home over the Donna Castles-trained and Doc Wilson-driven Emessgee with the Kima Frenning-driven Major Patron filling the minor placing.
Scotlynn Beach was a $1.40 favourite.
The win also completed a driving double for Jack, who had won earlier on Threepeat.
From go to Rothko
Shepparton trainer Steve Duffy completed a good day for northern Victorian trainers at Cobram when he won the final event on the 10-race card for three-year-old pacers with the promising Rothko.
Having just his eighth trip to the races and driven by Duffy, Rothko led and was able to fend off the Craig Turnbull-trained and Mark Pittdriven La Player in a two-horse war to the finishing line with the Gary Merkel-trained and Damian Wilsondriven Roslyn Gaye filling the minor placing in another trifecta for Goulburn Valley trainers.
It was Rothko’s second win and there have also been two second placings.
Duffy has a good opinion of the lightly raced three-year-old son of Artistic Fella who is raced by first time owners Owen and Carmel Flynn from Toolamba.
Goulburn Valley trainers and drivers had a good night at Bendigo last Sunday.
Kima Frenning continued her stellar season in the sulky with a driving double.
She reined the $3 Ian Dornauftrained favourite Royal Knockout to victory as well as the Glenn Douglasprepared Curlimore who was $5.30.
Nathan Jack teamed up with trainer David Abrahams to win with pacer Playing It Cool, who outclassed his rivals in a three-year-old race when having only his third start.
By Four Starzzz Shark, Play It Cool was second last at the bell in a 1690 m scamper and raced three wide over the final lap and with a 57.6 last half put paid to his rivals.
Also in the winner’s circle were the Mark Lee-Stacey Towers team who produced the talented trotter Col Du Galibier to upset more fancied runners in a TR-T2 class race.
Towers bided her time on the 15-1shot and timed her run to perfection to beat the favourite On Fast Forward and the second favourite, the Michael Watt-trained Dynamic Legacy.
Col Du Galibier is a six-year-old gelding who has had his share of problems and has had only 29 starts for two wins and 12 placings.
He is beautifully bred being by Great Success out of the R Cs Dee Jay mare Styx who left the great trotting filly Zesta and also River Red who was a winner of 28 races.