GOULBURN VALLEY TRAINERS AND DRIVERS RETURN HOME FROM BIG NIGHTS AT MELTON WITH GROUP ONE GLORY
David Aiken, Kima Frenning, Mark Pitt and Nathan Jack flew the flag for northern Victorian trainers and drivers at last weekend’s Vicbred Super Series finals at Melton.
On pacers finals night the Aiken-prepared Wrappers Delight was driven to victory in the four-year-old geldings and entires final by Frenning in her most significant win in the sulky.
Frenning’s superb tactical drive was telling in the final result and Aiken is hoping the son of Bettors Delight will be his next grand circuit performer.
It was a big night for the Aiken stable in more ways than one as trotsgoers also bid farewell to crowd favourite and millionaire pacer Lennytheshark, who was trained by Aiken.
Lenny is now preparing for a stud career, joining the stallion roster at Empire Stallions at Avenel.
Shepparton reinsman Pitt had a mixed night, missing out on the hot favourite Hurricane Harley who was not on his game, but still securing a Group One win on another of the Emma Stewart runners, Speak No Evil, in the threeyear-old final for pacing fillies.
Pitt also drove Group One placings for Stewart on Two Times Bettor (two-year-old fillies) and Ride High (three-year-old colts and geldings) on pacers finals night.
On trotters final night, Kyabram and Rochester owners savoured Group One wins.
Kyabram neighbours Geoff Berry, Trudi and Phillip Plumb and Terry Gregory, celebrated well into the night when the young trotter they have a share in, the Anton Golino-trained Always Ready, led from start to finish in the two-year-old colts and geldings trotters final with Jack in the sulky.
While it was his only Group One win for the weekend Jack also drove winners in supporting events on both Group One nights.
He won on another of the Golino runners, Dance Craze, on trotters finals night and on the Jayne Davies-prepared Melchoir on pacers final night.
Cheering the house down
Rochester-owned trotter Moonshine Linda claimed her second Group One victory with a win in the $90 000 Vicbred Super Series final for thee-year-old trotting fillies at Melton last Friday night.
Trained and driven by Gavin Lang, Moonshine Linda accounted for the favourite Pretty Majestic and Moonlight Dream in a stirring three-way battle to the finishing line between the three top fancies.
Moonshine Linda, the $2.90 second favourite, was three wide early and was forced to race without cover midrace before getting cover over the final lap and finishing strongly to claim the $45 000 first prizemoney.
The triumph added to the filly’s other recent Group One win in the NSW Oaks when she was being trained by one of her owners and breeder, Rochester’s Neville Pangrazio.
Neville and his wife Louise and Neville’s father and mother Michael and Kaye Pangrazio own and race Moonshine Linda.
They were out in force at Melton to witness the win.
‘‘We were the ones doing all the cheering as they came down the home straight,’’ Neville said summing up euphoric the win.
‘‘Gavin (Lang) said before the race that if she ran up to her track work she would be very hard to beat and that gave us a bit of confidence. He was right.’’
Moonshine Linda is having this week in the paddock to freshen up before tackling a race at the Redwood carnival and a Breeders Crown campaign next month.
Moonshine Linda’s latest win has taken her record to seven wins and three minor placings and more than $133 000 in prizemoney.
Keith hot on a chilly night
Elmore trainer Keith Cotchin had two good reasons to be happy at a chilly Kilmore on Sunday night. Cotchin prepared The Bettormack and Hezthebigbopper to win successive races at the meeting.
The Bettormack paid $7.50 for the win and Hezthebigbopper $4.60, so Cotchin stable followers should also have had a good night.
Both were driven by Ryan Duffy.
Over in a wink of an eye
Talented Shepparton-trained pacer Winkanditsover claimed his biggest scalp to date when he wore down Code Bailey in a C4-C5 class race last week at Shepparton.
The Passmaster six-year-old trained by Steve Duffy and driven by Ryan Duffy camped on the pacemaker Idle Belief and was able to get into clear running on the home and proceeded to run down the Ross Pike-trained and Lisa Bartley-driven Code Bailey in a stirring twohorse war to the wire.
Code Bailey, who was chasing his fourth successive win, lost no admirers with his second as he was 40 m off the pace early and was forced three wide before getting to the death and eventually the front over the final 500 m in the 2190 m event.
Winkanditsover posted a PB mile rate of 1:54.9, only bettered on the day by the Mark Pitt-trained and driven Shadow Chevron over the shorter 1690 m trip.
Winkanditsover was coming off a win at his previous outing at Echuca on June 21 and now has six wins in his past 13 starts under Steve Duffy’s guidance.
No keeping Pitt in Shadow
Mark Pitt was one of the stars last week at Shepparton, notching a training and driving double.
He won with three-year-old Shadow Chevron and completed the double on A Courage Thang.
Shadow Chevron, a three-year-old by Shadow Play and making his debut for Pitt couldn’t have been more impressive.
He left his rivals standing at the business end of the race to beat the runner-up Marchello Gold by more than 15 m with the former well-supported South Australian The Deal filling the minor placing.
Shadow Chevron has been racing in the Riverina where he had some placings but no wins in seven starts.
But some really slick sectionals in his Shepparton win suggests he is a talented young pacer.
Pitt completed the double in the following race on A Courage Thang who showed early gate speed from barrier five and led for most of the 2190 m trip.
A five-year-old daughter of Courage Under Fire, A Courage Thang was having only her third start for Pitt and also peeled off some slick final sectionals to suggest it won’t be her last win.
Barmah horseman Mal Whiteford has had a happy knack of producing a good winner down the years and he was back in the winner’s circle last week at Shepparton.
Whiteford got the chocolates on the fouryear-old Sportswriter gelding Nicopolis who broke through for his first win in 16 tries in claiming a C0 Only class race.
Nicopolis had put the writing on the wall for the win at his previous start at Charlton when he stretched the long odds on favourite Aint No Lombo, going down by a neck with daylight third.
So the $5.50 he paid for the Shepparton win, when he again accounted for a favourite, Adieu Renway, was particularly generous.
Nicopolis’ dam Mands Gearl was a prolific winner and Nicopolis is one of only two foals she has produced.
Alford doesn’t miss out
You could count the meetings Chris Alford drives at and misses out on a winner on one hand and he didn’t go home empty handed from Shepparton.
Although a little quieter than usual by his lofty standards Alford had only the four drives at the meeting, but made the trip worthwhile by partnering the Ian Ward-trained favourite Krisney Symbol to victory in a C1 Only class race. But only just.
The Trevor Galloway-trained and Damien Wilson-driven Ona Safari certainly sent a scare through Krisney Symbol supporters when he fully stretched the favourite in the drive to the wire.
It was Krisney Symbol’s fourth win from 30 starts, but with 12 minor placings the fouryear-old daughter of Modern Art has been a consistent performer.
Good night for Jack
Shepparton trainer Nathan Jack was the standout performer at Echuca this week with a driving and training double.
Jack scored in the three-year-old race on the pacer he prepares, Executive Dash, and then won with another pacer he trains, Franco, who was driven to victory by Lisa Bartley in a C2 Only class race.
Jack completed his driving double on the Brad Aylett-trained Arty Guy in a C1 Only class race.
Executive Dash put in a top run to win, sitting back near the rear of the field before Jack weaved him through some tight spaces on the home turn to get into some clear running. Then Executive Dash did the rest wide out with a powerful finishing burst.
A son of Well Said, the New Zealand-bred Executive Dash was at the races for only the fifth time, having already broken his maiden at Shepparton in April.
He was returning to the track after a brief let-up.
Jack was able to weave some magic on Arty Guy, who came from four back on the pegs, securing inside runs to get up and beat Hells Confession and the favourite Rusty Crackers.
Arty Guy had been out of the winner’s circle for 13 starts, but a second placing at his previous start at Shepparton had indicated he was ready to strike again.
But many punters were put off by his second row draw and he started at the generous tote odds of 15/1.
Reinswoman Bartley made an early move to take up the front running on Franco who was having his first start for Jack.
Franco singled out with Nugget Pan to fight out the finish and prevailed narrowly to post his ninth win.
Also enjoying a win at the meeting was Shepparton trainer Isabel Walsh and reinsman Mark Pitt who got the money with Better Ops.
A son of Bettors Delight, Bettor Ops, who got no favours, toughed it out to beat Midnitedelight and Takahoa in a stirring three-horse duel to the finishing line.