Shepparton trainer Steve O’Donoghue admits he never stresses about barrier draws and that will be the case again when his star pacer San Carlo tackles the first round heats of the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship at Melton tomorrow night.
Going well: Zuberi, trained by Col Duncan, brought up his ninth win at Shepparton last week.
San Carlo and two of Avenel trainer David Aiken’s three runners in the series have come up with second row draws in the first round heats.
‘‘Hopefully we can get a better draw in the next two heats. But I’d like to think we can finish in the top four on Saturday night because if you don’t, the pressure is really on then in the last two heats to qualify (for the final),’’ O’Donoghue said yesterday.
‘‘The series is really a test of stamina and I’m confident my horse has the depth to handle the format of three heats in seven days and the final a week later.’’
San Carlo was a $5 second elect behind Franco Nelson ($2.40) for his heat tomorrow night.
The exciting Aiken-trained Wrappers Delight fared best of the barrier draw of the four district-trained pacers for the first round heats.
To be driven by driver-of-themoment Kima Frenning, Wrappers Delight will come from barrier two in the opening round heat and is listed as a $2.80 favourite ahead Tiger Tara and My Alpha Rock (both $3.60).
Wrappers Delight has gate speed, but so has the pacer drawn inside him, the NSW performer My Alpha Rock which will make for an interesting early jostle for positions.
Aiken’s two other runners, Im The Boss who will be driven by Frenning and Audi Hare, who will have Shepparton reinsman David Moran in the sulky, have to contend with second row draws in their heats tomorrow night.
Im The Boss is a $34 chance and Audi Hare a $151 shot.
Both will come from gate two off the second row in their heats and Frenning and Moran will add their names to the list of Goulburn Valley drivers to compete in the Holy Grail of Australasian trotting.
? Aiken also has a runner — Big Jack Hammer — contesting the first heat of the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship tomorrow night in which another GV-trained trotter, Fabrication, will also contest for Tatura horseman David Abrahams.
Neither have fared well in the draw.
Big Jack Hammer, to be driven by Frenning, has drawn inside of the second row and Fabrication the outside of the front row.
District-owned trotters Sky Petite and Kyvalley Blur are contesting this heat, while Seymour trainer Bill Morgan will line up the well performed Maori Law in the second heat.
A Brady bunch of fun
Kima Frenning might have described taking out the Geelong Cup with Buster Brady last Saturday night at just her third runner as a trainer as ‘‘ridiculous’’, but she is also well aware she has a serious horse in her care.
The six-year-old former Kiwi did most of the bullocking work in the race, but was still too good for Ample Power and Inter Dominion hopeful Cash N Flow in the dash to the judge in the $50 000 feature.
Frenning was quick to thank Luke Stokie, who gave Frenning Buster Brady to train, and also David Aiken for their support in her dizzy rise to prominence in the industry. She had a big rap for Aiken. ‘‘He’s just been a great mentor and to be able to work alongside him for so long has just been amazing. He’s such a great trainer and I couldn’t have done any of this without him,’’ Frenning said.
Frenning said she was concerned during the race about the hard run Buster Brady was having, but was full of praise for the toughness he displayed in getting the job done.
Frenning is not concerned she is missing the Inter Dominion with Buster Brady.
She believes he is 12 months off that challenge and there’s other races to target, including country cups, at the moment.
Buster Brady was having only his third start in Australia for Frenning, but was a nine times winner in New Zealand from 27 outings.
The win brought Frenning’s record in the sulky for this season to an impressive 21 wins from 73 drives.
And with the Aiken-trained Wrappers Delight and Im The Boss to drive in the Inter Dominion starting tomorrow night, Frenning is looking to continue driving on the crest of a wave.
Augustus Jack certainly has been an honest pacer in his current campaign.
Now being prepared by Amanda Turnbull, Augustus Jack came off second placings at Cobram meetings at his previous two starts to win last Sunday at Cranbourne.
Capable reinsman Corey Bell was in the sulky for the win which is the second triumph the pacer has achieved since resuming racing late last month after a year on the sidelines through injury.
On resumption Augustus Jack won at his first start at Shepparton and in five starts since before stepping out at Cranbourne included four placed runs.
Keen trots follower Laurie Cormican is among the syndicate owners who race Augustus Jack who is a four-year-old son of Art Major out of the multi-winning Flight N Irish mare Im A Happy Girl.
Turnbull also had a winner at the Geelong Cup meeting the previous night with trotter Aldebaran Willo.
There was no doubting the talent of Aldebarn Willo, but his manners in his only three previous starts left a lot to be desired.
But that didn’t deter punters at Geelong and with Gavin Lang driving a cautious race Aldebaran Willo, a $1.60 chance, was too good for his rivals in what could well be a forerunner for better things to come.
Aldebaran Willo is by top sire Majestic Son out of the unraced Sundon mare Solar Powered.
Cashing in on Interest
It’s no wonder Shepparton trainer Russell Jack says he would like a barnful of horses as honest as the trotter he prepares, Shared Interest.
Shared Interest added another win to his resume last Friday night when he won at Melton.
The Nathan Jack-driven sevenyear-old made it win number 10 and his eighth win since returning to racing in 2016 after an injuryenforced spell of two years on the sidelines.
But it’s his consistency everyone admires about the son of Angus Hall.
Since returning to the racetrack Shared Interest has missed a top four spot in just two of 31 starts.
Apart from his eight wins he has finished runner-up 11 times and both third and fourth on five occasions.
Shared Interest, who is also engaged tomorrow night at Melton, wasn’t the only winner Nathan Jack drove at the meeting.
He also partnered the John Kennedy-trained Celebrindal to win at big odds.
Josh has Maggs wheels
Locally-trained Hayjoshandco broke a run of 17 outs when he saluted last week at Shepparton.
And the win reunited Euroa horseman Cameron Maggs for another success on the Dave Farrar-trained seven-year-old.
Maggs had driven the pacer to three of his previous six wins, but was having his first drive on the pacer in 16 starts.
From a backrow draw Maggs was able to push Hayjoshandco onto the back of the pacemaker and get the sprint lane to finish off the victory in which he beat Eliska by a head in a two-horse war to the wire.
Rivals green with Envy
It took David Aiken just three starts to get pacing mare She Envy back on the winners’ list.
The Rock N Roll Heaven mare has been around a bit, campaigning mainly in South Australia and the Sunraysia region with her previous win being at Mildura eight starts earlier on June 22.
She Envy ran second first-up for Aiken at Bendigo on November 9 and was seventh at Melton at her next outing.
Confidently supported at Shepparton, She Envy was driven to victory by Kima Frenning.
Frenning eased to take the sit on the other fancied runner American Zest after an early burn for the lead and was too strong for that pacer at the business end.
And the extra bonus of the win was a PB 1:56.6 mile rate.
Zuberi good effort
Avenel-trained pacer Zuberi did not win a race last year in 18 tries, but has already chalked up two wins this season.
The latest win was achieved at Shepparton last week when Josh Duggan piloted the Col Duncan trained six-year-old son of Art Major to an effortless win after a brilliant getaway to find the front.
Zuberi also won at Bendigo five starts ago at September 18.
The pacer has now chalked up nine wins with 18 placings from 64 starts.
Living the life of Kylie
Trotter Kylies Life may be a little easier to pronounce than her trainer’s name, but it was a time for connections to celebrate last week at Shepparton.
Trained by Petia-Kelli HortonWhybrow, Kylies Life had not saluted in 13 tries previously at Menangle, but the Victorian air — and Shepparton reinsman David Moran — did the trick.
Moran ushered Kylies Life, a fouryear-old daughter of Life Sign to the front at barrier rise and she stalled off all rivals in the home stretch to win by a short half-head to notch her maiden.