Kima Frenning ticked off another first in her blossoming harness racing career at last Saturday night’s tri-code meeting at Cranbourne.
Another first: Kima Frenning (centre) trained her first winner, Buster Brady, at Cranbourne on Saturday night.
When pacer Buster Brady crossed the finishing line well clear of his rivals in a C4-C6 class race with Frenning in the sulky it was a milestone win for the Swedish horsewoman — her first success as a trainer.
Frenning prepares the former Kiwi pacer for the Stokie Racing Group, great supporters of David Aiken’s Avenel stables where Frenning puts in most of her time.
Good judges were tipping Buster Brady would provide Frenning with her first win as a trainer at the St Arnaud Cup meeting the previous week on his Australian debut, but he galloped at the start and was never a factor.
But at Cranbourne he motored straight to the front from barrier five with a good turn of early speed and was never challenged with a 56.7 last half leaving his rivals gasping.
Buster Brady cruised to the finishing line nearly 9 m clear of the runner-up Tough Call with Mygoldengrinner a distant third.
And punters who missed out first-up loaded up again and sent the six-year-old son of Real Desire out a $1.50 chance.
Buster Brady is chasing bigger spoils tomorrow night, tackling the $50 000 Geelong Pacing Cup from a favourable barrier four draw.
It was a big night at Cranbourne for Frenning as earlier in the program she won on the Aiken-trained Malcolms Rhythm, a $1.20 chance, in a C1 Only 1609 m dash.
It completed a hat-trick of wins for the Art Major three-year-old who had won his previous two outings at Bendigo and Melton in September when Frenning was also in the sulky.
Malcolms Rhythm has now won three of his eight starts and a 1:56.3 mile rate at his latest outing suggests a lot more wins are beckoning.
Frenning was also in the winner’s circle at Melton the previous night on the Aiken-trained trotter Big Jack Hammer.
He was another casualty of the tight track at St Arnaud the previous week and is preparing for a tilt at the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship.
Jack doubles down
Kima Frenning was not the only driver to savour dual success at Cranbourne.
Shepparton reinsman Nathan Jack also doubled up.
He steered home the Carson Miller-trained Our Sir Ivanhoe to a last-to-first victory in a claimer and also saluted on the Dean Brauntrained Mister Ohanzee in a C2-C3 affair. Both were favourites.
Jack produced another driving double at Kilmore on Tuesday night.
He reined the Charlie Attardtrained Manbar Duke and also the Joe Abela-prepared trotter Madena Sky to all-the-way wins.
Carlo caught in traffic
Brilliant Shepparton pacer San Carlo lost no admirers in his last hit-out before his Inter Dominion campaign last Friday night at Melton.
Contesting the Popular Alm FreeFor-All from his second row draw he got stuck on the pegs three back, while the favourite and winner Shadow Sax dictated terms at the front of the field.
But San Carlo, listed as a 7-1 chance for the Inter Dominion, looked really strong on the line, zipping into second spot behind Shadow Sax with plenty still to give.
There is not much between a lot of the Inter Dominion top fancies and San Carlo is one of them, but the draws are going to be vital in sorting out the winner of harness racing’s holy grail.
The Steve O’Donoghue-Bec Bartley team also has an important assignment tonight at Melton with Willem contesting the Group Three $30 000 Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship final.
But he has to overcome an extreme outside back row draw and some smart up and coming pacers to cause an upset.
Merrigum horseman Luke Bryant enjoyed a first-up win with former NSW pacer Mickilla Express last week at Kilmore.
The seven-year-old son of the Life Sign stallion Strong Life had not saluted in 20 previous starts on NSW tracks, but had a second placing at Young at his previous start on October 20.
Mickilla Express, who was a $9 chance, was driven to victory by Damian Wilson.
Wilson settled Mickilla Express near the tail of the field, but when he made his move 500 m out he got the desired response with the gelding finishing powerfully to reel in his rivals.
Mickilla Express has been around a while and it was the 65th time he had faced the starter which have produced eight wins and 15 placings and close to $40 000 in prize money earnings.
Another Goulburn Valley-trained winner at the meeting was the Ian Montgomery-trained and driven Kissmelvis.
The Avenel pacer was given a perfect run by Montgomery in a R2-R4 class event and finished strongly to get the major money in his fourth win from 27 tries.
It was a good training feat by Montgomery who was producing the Rocknroll Hanover gelding for the first time since August.
Lang back with bang
Former Wahring trainer Chris Lang made a successful return to the training ranks last week at Kilmore.
Once the King Of Trotters in Australia Lang walked away from the industry four years ago with health problems, but is now back preparing a team of 10 trotters at Diggers Rest.
He produced former NSW trained trotter Miyabomba to make his successful return to the training and driving ranks, but as a short priced favourite he gave his supporters plenty of heart flutters before prevailing by a head.
Ups and downs of life
Kyabram trainer Mark Watson experienced the high and lows of life as a trainer in the space of two races at Maryborough on Monday.
Watson produced Here Comes Sharkie for an impressive all-theway win in race two for C1 Only class pacers and two races later watched another of his runners, Thermo, break shortly after the start and finish last.
Both pacers were driven by Ellen Tormey.
Here Comes Sharkie ran his rivals a merry dance at the front of the field.
His 1:56 mile rate over the 2190 m trip was a PB in his 16 outings which have produced three wins and three minor placings.
Here Comes Sharkie, who is a five-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark and raced by the McGills, had put the writing on the wall for a coming win at his previous start on November 9 at Bendigo when he ran third to a couple of smart ones in Courageous Affair and Whats In The Esky.
Favourites to fore
It was a good day for favourite backers last Sunday at the Gunbower Cup meeting.
Five of the eight races were won by the top fancies on Victoria’s biggest track, including the impressive winner of the Gunbower Trotters Cup, King Denny.
The Gunbower Pacing Cup went to the second favourite, the Michael Stanley-trained and driven Rackemup Tigerpie, who handled a step up in class in style and ran some slick time in leading all the way in accounting for Animated and the hot favourite, the Emma Stewarttrained and Mark Pitt-driven Delight Me.
But Pitt still had a successful meeting with a driving double, partnering another of the Stewart runners, Pistol Abbey, and the Ben Settree-trained Passions Delight to victories.
Inter drivers poser
Inter Dominion time is almost upon us again and with some Goulburn Valley-trained pacers contesting the series local harness racing fans, trainer Steve O’Donoghue and his father-in-law Eric Wilson posed this question to me this week:
How many drivers from the Goulburn Valley region have driven in an Inter Dominion Pacing Championship series?
We have come up with four — Tom Brain, Scott Stewart, David Aiken and Bec Bartley.
Stewart has the honour of actually driving a winner of the championship, Jodies Babe for trainer Bob Knight in Perth in 1989. Have we missed anyone? If we have let me know on 5852 2579 or email gus.underwood @kyfreepress.com.au and I will put the record straight.
One of the most frustrating experiences in watching harness races on Sky Channel is when there is an attempt to provide the numbers of the horses in order in the run.
Well that is the intention, but in most cases it is far from accurate. In fact, laughable at times. In some cases it can take an eternity to get the proper order; sometimes never.
For the die-hards who know their colours and numbers it is not such a big deal.
But for any newcomers and potential harness racing recruits it would have to be a put off.
If it can’t be done correctly, don’t do it all is what I’m saying.