The much-anticipated clash between two of Australia’s top three-year-olds was the undoubted highlight of Shepparton Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Wednesday night — and it disappointed no-one.
Picture: Andrew MoleBuster the beast: Buster Brady and trainer-driver Kima Frenning smash their rivals in the Echuca Pacing Cup.
The Emma Stewart-trained Hurricane Harley beat the Sheppartontrained Lochinvar Art in the showdown by just more than 2.5m, but the Laura Crossland-trained and David Moran-driven runner-up lost no fans with his performance.
Moran was unable to wrest the lead from the Amanda Turnbulldriven Hurricane Harley in an early burn for the lead and was forced to race without cover for the rest of the race in a gallant effort.
Hurricane Harley peeled of some blazing sectionals with his winning mile rate of 1:54.1 for the 2190 m trip slicing 0.8 seconds off Winkanditsover’s track record.
So dominant in the race were Hurricane Harley and Lochinvar Art there was a gap of more than 40 m to the third placegetter Exciter.
Hurricane Harley was one of three Stewart-trained winners on the night, but district trainers also enjoyed success.
Turnbull produced Cmon Pretty Mumma to claim a C0 class race with Corey Bell doing the driving honours.
Mick Blackmore landed the trotters race with the favourite Claudys Prince who was driven by John Caldow, while the Scott Stewarttrained and driven Alpe De Huez upset the hot favourite Flying Moth in a C4-C6 class race.
Buster has all moves
Last Friday night’s 70th version of the Moama Bowling Cub Echuca Pacing Cup was over within the first lap of the Frank Ryan Raceway.
Despite an extreme outside back row draw the unbackable favourite Buster Brady was in front within 700 m of the mobile barrier arms folding back in the 2560 m marathon.
Trainer-driver Kima Frenning’s daring early move to take up the front-running position on Buster Brady put paid to any expectant rivals’ hopes of causing an upset in the $35 000 feature.
The Wayne Potter-trained and Gavin Lang-driven 25/1 shot Shadow Reign chased Buster Brady to the line in a tough performance as he had faced the breeze for the final two laps, while the Tamworth visitor Gottashopearly ran home strongly to finish third after getting clear from three back on the pegs in the home straight.
But the minor placegetters were more the 7 m from Buster Brady whose 56-second last half made it just about impossible for him to be run down.
The Swedish horsewoman had another good night in the sulky, also steering another short-priced favourite, the David Aiken-trained Shelby Bromac, to victory in the Norm and Joan Visca Pace for C3-C5 pacers.
Pantzup belts them
It’s not often leading trainerdriver Gavin Lang is surprised, but he has been in the case of trotting mare Pantzup.
Five-year-old Pantzup made it six successive wins when she claimed one of the features, the $14 500 JA Connelly Crystal Bucket, at Echuca on cup night.
Lang said after the win he was initially hopeful of winning a couple of pacing races with the Always A Virgin mare when she joined his stable.
But he said although pacing bred she always showed a penchant to trot, so he let her do it.
‘‘I can’t say I’ve done this and that to get her trotting how she is because I haven’t. She has just done it by herself — it’s unbelievable really,’’ Lang said to the crowd after Pantzup had accounted for Fratellino and co-backmarker Kheiron in track record time.
Pantzup rated 2:03.3 for the 2530 m trip which clipped 0.6 seconds off the record set by bonny pint-sized Shepparton-owned trotting mare Sky Petite in winning the race last year.
Lang enjoyed a big night at Echuca, also producing Harpagus to win the Tiffany Murray Memorial.
Bec Bartley drove Harpagus for the first time and as a friend of the late Tiffany Murray it was a special and emotional win for the Shepparton reinswoman.
Having a winning Time
There was a time not so long ago Echuca-trained trotter Majestic Time seemed to like finishing second or third in his races.
But the Fay McEwan-trained Majestic Time is now enjoying winning.
He obviously enjoyed a recent Shepparton win so much he repeated the dose with another dominant front-running win on his home track on Echuca Cup night.
Regular reinsman Josh Duggan was again in the sulky for the win in which he accounted for the Mark Lee-trained and Stacey Towersdriven Col Du Galbier and Zoomalong Johnny.
And being only a four-year-old it won’t be his last win on his current form.
It’s fully Sicario bro
Among the owners to enjoy the win of former Kiwi pacer Sicario in the $60 000 South Australian Pacing Cup last Saturday night were former Seymourites Gary Dowling and John Wilkinson and Echuca’s Rob Owen.
The four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere was having only his second start in Australia and was driven the perfect race by Gavin Lang who had him perched on the back of the pacemaker Emain Machan before sprint landing to victory.
There was a huge rap on Sicario when he made his Australian debut in the Central Victorian Pacing Championship on January 31, but he was slightly disappointing when finishing sixth to Little Peanut.
But with 10 wins and six placings in his 23 starts in New Zealand he couldn’t be ignored by punters for his South Australian errand and he was sent out the $2.60 favourite in the Group Two event.
Another former New Zealander, Mclovin, took the South Australian Trotters Cup on his Australian debut for the Victorian combination of Andy and Kate Gath, while the other feature, the South Australian Pacers Derby was called a no race after a horrific fall in which local drivers Danielle Hill and Paul Cavallaro sustained serious injuries.
Smudge steps out
Great to see the old pacing warrior Smudge Bromac parading at the Echuca meeting and still looking a million dollars.
He actually won an Echuca Pacing Cup in his racing days.
Owner Sue Terry is now using the retired pacer to help raise money in the fight against motor neurone disease, a cruel disease which claimed the life of one of Smudge Bromac’s popular Shepparton owners, John Brain.
Smudge Bromac has been the centre of attraction at numerous MND fund raising functions since his retirement and has been booked again to appear at the Walk to D-Feet MND at Lake Benalla, Benalla, on Sunday, February 24.
He was a popular addition to this event last year.
Trained by Avenel maestro David Aiken, Smudge Bromac won 36 races and was placed 50 times for more than $460 000 in prizemoney earnings during his career which finished just more than two years ago.
Golden medal for Spurs
Avenel-trained trotter Golden Spurs made it two wins in succession in her return to the racetrack when she saluted last Monday night at Melton.
Juanita Breen now boasts a perfect training and driving record with the five-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur after another all-theway win.
Formerly trained by Seymour horseman Bill Morgan, who won two races with the mare and still holds an ownership interest in her, Golden Spurs repeated her Shepparton win in her return to racing early this month with another pillar-to-post performance over the 1720 m trip.
Golden Spurs also created a PB mile rate of 2:01.2 in keeping out the odds-on favourite Moonlight Dream and the roughie My Darling Beware in the run to the judge.
Golden Spurs has been raced sparingly and it was only the 17th time she has faced the starter with the win her fourth along with six minor placings.
Shadow can reign
It’s Albury Pacing Cup night tomorrow and there’s a good chance the silverware may end up in Victoria.
Avenel horseman Wayne Potter looks to have a major player in the $14 944 2570 m marathon in Shadow Reign who will be driven by Ellen Tormey.
Shadow Reign chased home Buster Brady in the Echuca Pacing Cup last Friday night in what is sound form for tomorrow night’s assignment, although a second row draw is a negative in his prospects.
Euroa horseman Cameron Maggs is also chasing cup glory in the race on the Albury-trained Carla Clare who has drawn well in barrier three.
The other feature on a bumper eight-race program, the $10 200 String Of Pearls will feature two Goulburn Valley-trained threeyear-old fillies.
The Ian Ward-trained and Tania Ward-driven Minaj comes from barrier four over the 2170 m trip, while the Laura Crossland-David Moran team has Celerina coming from barrier seven.
Cameron Maggs also has a drive in this race, the Wangaratta-trained Falling Shadows.