The David Aiken juggernaut extended to Tasmania last weekend with the Avenel horseman claiming the Tasmanian Cup and the Tasmanian Derby in Hobart.
Shelby Bromac bounced back from a fourth placing in his cup heat to claim the $75 000 Tasmanian Cup, while Max Delight strolled to an effortless win in the $30 000 Tasmanian Derby.
The wins came after recent feature race wins by the Aiken-trained trotter Big Jack Hammer the previous week in the $100 000 Grand Prix at Melton and Max Delight in the $200 000 NSW Derby the week prior to that.
Driven by Kima Frenning, Shelby Bromac broke for a few strides before hitting his straps and working to the front in the Tasmanian Cup after about 600 m of the 2579m marathon.
He was then able to hold off fellow Victorian War Dan in the run to the judge.
A Bettors Delight five-year-old, Shelby Bromac has now won five of his six starts for the Aiken-Frenning combination since being bought from New Zealand by the Stokie Racing Group, great supporters of the Aiken stable.
The Tasmanian Derby proved a walk in the park for the long odds on favourite Max Delight.
An upset winner of the NSW Derby at his previous start the three-year-old went straight to the front and cruised to the line more than 20 m clear of his nearest rival in sub two-minute mile rate time for the 2579 m trip.
NSW reinsman Todd McCarthy, who partnered Max Delight to win the NSW Derby, was in the sulky again.
Ellen Bartley returned to familiar territory last Friday and made her presence felt.
Now training at Coleambally in the Riverina, Merrigum-raised Bartley took the driving honours at Cobram with a double.
She partnered Duke Jujon to victory in a C2-3 class race for Albury trainer Helen Scott and also won on the Glenn Douglas-trained Distinctive Del in a C1 Only class event.
Bartley had Duke Jujon camped on the back of the pacemaker Ramblenroller throughout the run and was able to slip up the sprint lane and deny that pacer victory in the run to the judge.
Bartley bided her time midfield on Distinctive Del who powered over his rivals in the last 600 m for one of the easiest wins on the program.
It was a Bartley quinella in the race with her sister Bec finishing second on the NSW visitor Harry Turbo.
Distinctive Del was also the first leg of a training double for Douglas who drove Chinook Winds to an effortless win in the following race for C1 Only class pacers.
Tatura trainer Craig Turnbull thoroughly enjoyed last weekend.
It started at Cobram last Friday when he produced a winner and three top three placegetters.
His winner was Reputational who put in a strong finish to win the Wal Watson Memorial Pace at only his third start.
Reputational is a son of Modern Art out of the Classic Garry mare Rich In Memories who was a multiple winner and also the dam of the ill-fated and speedy The Russian, a winner of four races.
Turnbull also produced outsider Giant Jackson for a runner-up effort behind Heaven In Locksley, Kissing Game, driven by Abbey Turnbull, for a third to Distinctive Del and Fletchas Roy for the minor placing to Salvator Mundi.
Turnbull was back in the winner’s circle at Boort last Sunday with La Player who scored his second win in his past three starts after a 29 races winless streak.
Driven by Turnbull the fouryear-old equalled the track record of 1:59.9 for the 2250 m in a photo finish win over the favourite and pacemaker Buckledown Buddy.
Talented pacer Sofala outclassed a smart field to claim the Allan Campbell Memorial and his seventh win at Cobram.
Coming off a win at his last start at Swan Hill on March 7 the Safari five-year-old gelding was driven a patient race by his trainer and driver Donna Castles in a 1:55.9 performance which was not far outside the 1:55.1 track record set by Mach Up in November.
Castles made her move on Sofala in the final lap, getting a three wide tow into the race and then swamping his rivals in the home stretch.
Sofala tackles the $50 000 Melton Plate tomorrow night at Melton, but has had no favours in the draw coming up with barrier seven.
Echuca trainers held their own at Cobram.
Wayne Lear and Mick McMahon produced longshot winners at the meeting.
Lear caused an upset when he won a thrilling meeting opener on five-year-old trotting mare Aldebaran Poppy.
In a gripping finish Aldebaran Poppy, a 26/1 shot on the tote, sprint laned to victory to beat the favourite Molly Pippin and the pacemaker Crazy Ben in a threeway drive to the wire.
It was her third win from 20 starts.
The Mahon-trained Dallas Nikolay also upset some more fancied rivals to claim the honours in the Artavilla Emporium C2-C3 class race.
Driven by Ellen Torney, the sixyear-old Art Official gelding ran his rival ragged over the short 1670 m trip, paying a handsome $14.40 for the win on the tote.
Dallas Nikolay has been a good money spinner for connections who has now won seven races and had a host of minor placings in his 80 starts.
Talented pacer Heaven In Locksley has been crying out to win a race and last Friday’s Cobram meeting proved the day.
The John Nissen-trained fouryear-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, driven by Bec Bartley, led from pillar to post in a C0 class race in effortless fashion.
Heaven Of Locksley’s previous five starts had all produced top four finishes.
He looked a good thing beaten at his previous start at Shepparton when he encountered all sorts of problems in the race won by Toolern Art Miss.
Heaven In Locksley is well bred with his dam, the Christian Cullen mare Heaven In Locksley, a winner of 10 races and his second dam and third dam also winners.
Well travelled pacer Salvator Mundi notched his first win as a three-year-old with a dominant pillar-to-post display in the Tom Kennedy Memorial at Cobram.
Trained and driven by Euroa horseman Cameron Maggs, the son of Art Major was having his sixth start as a three-year-old which had produced three top three finishes and with a favourable draw was well found by punters.
Salvator Mundi was a smart twoyear-old who won the Silver Consolation of the Gold Crown at Bathurst this time last year and also won a race at Geelong.
It was a district trifecta in his latest win with the Brett Bunfieldtrained Suresoundslikealie and the Craig Turnbull-trained Fletchas Roy filling the minor placings in the 1670 m dash.
Five-year-old trotting mare Lexington Queen is making up for lost time.
The CR Commander five-yearold, who scored an all-the-way win at Ballarat last Friday night was having just her third trip to the races.
Trained by Merrigum horseman Luke Bryant and driven by Chris Alford Lexington Queen always had her rivals covered and cruised to an easy win.
Coming off third placings in her heat and also the final in the recent Breed For Speed series, punters pinned their faith in her and she was a $1.50 hot favourite.
Lexington Queen was one two winners at Ballarat and one of three from the Kyabram area to notch wins at the weekend.
Tongala trainer Michael Watt also had a win at Ballarat with Dynamic Legacy, who outclassed his rivals in a T1-T2 class trot in impressive style.
Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore made it three wins in four starts this campaign with Claudys Prince who prevailed in a T4 or better class trot at Melton on Saturday night.
I can again assure you the win went down well with connections.
Goulburn Valley horseman Arthur Austin who died last week at the age of 90, loved his standardbreds.
He spent nearly 70 years as a trainer, driver and owner.
He broke in and shod his horses and was the complete horseman who got great enjoyment in just getting horses he handled to the races.
Some of these horses included Albert Austin, Destiny Deal, Truella Abbey, Bella Rhythm, Freeway Drive and Truella Fella.
His funeral was held at Seymour on Monday.
Shepparton horseman David Moran claimed one of the timehonoured juvenile races at Melton last Saturday night.
Moran partnered the Emma Stewart-trained debutante Treasure to win the Sapling Stakes for twoyear-old fillies.
A daughter of Art Major out of the American-bred Western Hanover mare O Narutac Bella, a multiple winner who has left four other winners, Treasure led early before taking a sit on the pace and then sprint laned to a comfortable win.
Some of Australia’s best fillies and mares have claimed this feature over the years when its monetary value was a lot more generous than it is today.
The lucrative Bathurst Gold Crown carnival kicks off tonight with Gold Tiara heats for the twoyear-old fillies.
Wahring horseman Daniel Jack has Im Delightful, Sheza Mamacita and Miss Lamarra engaged in heats.
Im Delightful and Sheza Mamacita have second row draws to contend with, while Miss Lamarra goes from barrier three in her heat.
Heats of the Gold Crown tomorrow night will have Shepparton horseman Steve Boyington f ly the f lag for Goulburn Valley trainers at the carnival.
He will be represented by Frankie, who has drawn barrier seven, in the fourth heat.
Euroa horseman David Jack will line up Princess Mila in the Trotters Cup and Moreton Bay in the Gold Coronet, supporting feature events on tomorrow night’s card.