Picture: Stuart McCormickMonster mash: Star Shepparton-trained pacer San Carlo is now a $6 pop to win the Inter Dominion after mauling his rivals in the Yarra Valley Pacers’ Cup.
Diminutive trotting mare Sky Petite claimed the trotters’ cup, while San Carlo continued his impressive pitch towards a Melbourne Inter Dominion campaign with a powerful win in the pacers’ cup.
San Carlo was trapped wide early from his outside draw in the $30 000 feature and raced without cover.
But he was just too good for his rivals, pulling away at the business end of the 2650 m marathon with a 56.8 last half to beat the outsider Hickstead with the David Aikentrained second favourite Im The Boss, driven by Kima Frenning, filling the minor placing.
The win took San Carlo’s record to 24 wins from 36 starts and he now boasts stake earnings of more than $292 000.
It also completed a hat-trick of wins on San Carlo’s return to racing.
He won first-up in the Italian Cup at Mildura on October 12 and followed that win with success in the Cranbourne Cup on October 27.
The next mission for the eightyear-old son of Mach Three is tonight’s Free For All at Melton where he will clash with another main Inter Dominion contender Shadow Sax in the Popular Alm Free For All.
It will be his final hit-out before the first round heats of the Inter Dominion on Saturday night, December 1.
Owned by Shepparton’s Noel Pattison and now trained at Burrumbeet by Michael Stanley, Sky Petite was driven a copybook race by former Shepparton reinsman Ryan Duffy to claim the trotters’ cup.
Despite galloping out Duffy was able to get the seven-year-old mare in a forward position off a 20 m handicap and was always travelling well.
In the run home Sky Petite was never seriously challenged and had nearly 7 m to spare at the finishing line over the runner-up Cruisin Around with Our Twentyten filling the minor placing.
It was the mare’s 20th win from 60 tries with 19 minor placings and took her earnings to more than $212 000.
While Kima Frenning missed out with Im The Boss in the cup she did experience a win at the meeting.
Frenning partnered the Dylan Stratford-trained Sharing The Love to an all-the-way win in a threeyear-old event.
Sharing The Love was having only her second start and was able to hold off the Russell Jack-trained roughie Gordon Girl, driven by Corey Bell, who put in a eyecatching run at her second start.
Night of Delight
The David Aiken, Kima Frenning and Wrappers Delight show rolled on at Melton last Saturday night with another outstanding win.
The five-year-old Bettors Delight gelding simply outclassed his rivals in the $75 000 Group Two Four and Five-Year-Old Championship to continue his dominance under Avenel trainer Aiken’s guidance and Frenning’s driving.
Despite being trapped wide early Frenning didn’t panic and gradually worked Wrappers Delight to the front and on to a resounding win.
At the finishing line he had nearly 8 m to spare over the runner-up Diamonds And Cash with Wardan Express filling the minor placing.
Wrappers Delight peeled off a 55.2 last half and a blistering 26.9 final quarter in a 1:54.4 mile rate for the 2240 m trip.
Inter Dominion-bound, Wrappers Delight has only once missed a top two finish in 11 starts since Aiken took over the training of the pacer, who had been previously campaigning in Western Australia.
In his brief time with Aiken he has accumulated $185 400 at an average of just on $17 500 a start from six wins and four seconds and is now just another win shy of sending his prizemoney earnings to more than $300 000.
Soaring up the charts
After their feature race wins in the past week, San Carlo and Wrappers Delight are now listed among the top chances for the upcoming Melbourne Inter Dominion.
The Steve O’Donoghue-trained San Carlo is a $6 chance for trotting’s holy grail after his arrogant win in the Yarra Valley Pacing Cup, while the David Aiken-trained Wrappers Delight put his name up as a serious Inter Dominion contender with his effortless win in the Group Two Four and Five-Year-Old Championship at Melton.
Pitting the high notes
Shepparton reinsman Mark Pitt has had a big week in the sulky, launching it with a treble at Bendigo last Friday night.
Pitts winners at Bendigo — Isntshejust, Intrusive and Perfect Major — were from the barn of leading Victorian trainer Emma Stewart.
Isntshejust, who paid $6 on the tote, provided the first leg of the treble, prevailing in a C5-C6 class race with a well judged front running drive by Pitt against more fancied runners.
In the following race Pitt won on Intrusive, a $2.40 chance in C3-C4 class event before saluting in the final event on Perfect Major, a $1.30 pop.
Pitt drove two more Stewarttrained pacers Delight Me and Victoria Brew to victory at Melton last Saturday night to continue his big weekend in the sulky.
Delight Me was having her first start in more than a year and got the money with a well-judged front-running drive by Pitt.
The winners kept coming for Pitt at Cobram on Monday, steering the Isabel Walsh-trained Besidetheseaside to an all-theway victory in a three-year-old race.
A son of the Rocknroll Hanover stallion Rocknroll Dance, Besidetheseaside had finished second on debut at Yarra Valley on Melbourne Cup day to show he had his share of ability which he produced again at Cobram in beating two other district-trained pacers, Gordon Girl for Russell Jack and Major Delico for David Aiken.
Stars shine on Orion
Wins don’t come much more satisfying than this one Nanneellatrained pacer Blazing Orion achieved at Bendigo last Friday night.
Having only having his eighth start since resuming from nearly three years of injury enforced time on the sidelines, Blazing Orion swamped his rivals after giving them a start with a tardy getaway in the C1 Only class pace.
But with two placings at his previous two starts punters warmed to his chances, sending him out a $2.90 favourite.
Trained by Col Godden and driven by Josh Duggan it was Blazing Orion’s sixth win from 45 tries. There have also been 13 minor placings.
He is the only one of seven foals of the Island Fantasy mare Clearwater Isle to race.
Godden was again in the winner’s stall at Cobram on Monday, producing his old marvel Lights And Music for his 22nd win at his 207th start.
Driven by concession reinsman Jack Laugher in a C1 class race Lights And Music got a tow into the race three-wide and blew his rivals away with a powerful finishing burst.
He had five top five finishes immediately prior to stepping out at Cobram and there was some money to say he would return to the winners’ list.
Apart from his 22 wins, Lights And Music, an 11-year-old by Jet Laag, has also chalked up 53 placings and has banked more than $132 000 in prizemoney.
A drop in class was appreciated by smart Scott Stewart-trained Alp De Huez at Cobram.
The six-year-old son of Changeover had had two starts at Melton and had run second to Hickstead at his previous start before stepping out at Cobram.
With Hickstead finishing second to star pacer San Carlo in the Yarra Valley Cup last week the formline suggested he would be hard to toss even with the presence of the Amanda Turnbull-trained hot favourite Dream To Share in the race.
Stewart was able to spear Alp De Huez to the front from barrier five and from then on dictated the terms and was never going to lose.
It was his 10th win from 52 starts and took his prizemoney earnings to more than $52 000.
Aylett has Arty party
Brad Aylett staged another successful hit-run raid on a Riverina track last weekend, producing a winner at the Griffith Cup meeting on Sunday.
The Merrigum mentor struck this time with Arty Guy, who notched his eighth win in a C2 or better class event.
A son of Art Official, the six-yearold Arty Guy was driven to victory by Riverina concession reinsman Peter McRae.
Arty Guy’s last win was also on a Riverina track at Wagga six starts previous.
Aylett has also produced another of his team, Four Shotzzz, to win five races — including four in succession at Wagga — on Riverina tracks this season.
Gunbower set to rock
It’s Gunbower Harness Racing Club’s big day on Sunday with its annual cup meeting.
Feature events on the eight-race card are the $14 000 Gunbower Pacing Cup and the $12 000 Gunbower Trotters Cup.
The pacers’ cup has drawn a small field, but has three last start winners — Delight Me, Rackemuptigerpie and Animated — among the six runners.
The Emma Stewart-trained Delight Me returned to racing after a long break in sparkling form at Melton last Saturday night and should be hard to toss again.
The trotters’ cup has attracted an even field of eight starters, but with no last start winners it should promote some keen betting.
Gates open at 11.45 am and there is free entry into the course and plenty of family-orientated off-field activities as well as the on-track action.
Club secretary Peter O’Shea described the track as being in fantastic condition.
‘‘We are expecting a huge crowd and everyone who attends should have an enjoyable day at the races,’’ O’Shea said.