If ever a pacer deserved a Group One win it was the one Shepparton-trained three-year-old Lochinvar Art finally achieved at Bathurst last Friday night.
Impact made: Harness racing has lost one of its pioneers Margaret Davies who died last week.
Dogged by bad draws in big race features, but still running into the placings the David Moran and Laura Crossland-prepared son of Modern Art finally got his biggest pay day to date when he thrashed his rivals in the $104 000 Gold Chalice final for three-year-old colts and geldings.
Driven a positive race by Moran from another tricky inside second row draw, Lochinvar Art simply outclassed his rivals, cruising to the line with more than 12 m to spare over the runner-up.
Lochinvar Art’s 1:54.5 mile rate for the 2260 m trip also equalled the track record.
The $50 000 winner’s cheque boosted the pacer’s prizemoney to more than $236 840 in 19 starts which have produced 10 wins and nine minor placings.
Moran said it would have to be the best win he had been associated in with the gifted pacer.
He said Lochinvar Art would not be tackling the Harness Jewels in New Zealand next month.
‘‘He’s been in a lot of dog fights and we have to be fair on him,’’ Moran said.
Moran said Lochinvar Art would have a brief let-up before preparing for the NSW Breeders Challenge or the Vicbred series and the Queensland Derby mid year.
Brady bunch of cups
Goulburn Valley trainers enjoyed plenty of success last weekend.
Apart from Lochinvar Art’s stirring win Kima Frenning snared yet another country cup with her super pacer Buster Brady.
In what was arguably his greatest win for Frenning, who trains and drives the pacer, Buster Brady pulled out a classic off-the-canvas win to claim the Group Two $60 000 Horsham Pacing Cup last Sunday.
Buster Brady looked a spent force early in the home straight after death seating outside the pacesetter and second favourite Cant Refuse from the 1400 m mark in the 2700 m marathon.
When Cant Refuse kicked clear turning for home it looked all over for Buster Brady, but once he balanced up he rallied again and hauled in Jilliby Chevy and Cant Refuse near the finishing post in a memorable effort.
Frenning rated it Buster’s best win under her care. ‘‘He was very brave,’’ she said. The six-year-old Real Desire gelding who added the cup to his Geelong, Maryborough, Cobram and Echuca cups collection with the win is now off to the spelling paddock for a well deserved rest with connections resisting heading to the Mildura Cup Carnival with him next week.
Industry pioneer dies
Harness racing lost the woman credited with pathing the way for female drivers to become an integral part of the industry when Benalla’s Margaret Davies died last week at the age of 74.
Davies made an indelible mark in the harness racing industry as the inaugural president of the NSW Reinswomen’s Association which was formed in 1974.
Employing the Discrimination Act to advantage and after lobbying with the Harness Racing Authority in NSW and the Australian Trotting Council Davies and Lynette Locke in late 1977 were the first females to be issued drivers licences in NSW.
Davies was the first reinswoman in NSW to drive against the men and her first winner against the men was achieved on Pipedream at Goulburn on March 4, 1978.
Davies, who lived in the Benalla area for the last decade, was a great lover of the trotter.
She owned, trained and drove Altimeter to win the 1989 NSW Trotters Derby and also bred and owned the star filly Jingling Silver who downed colts to win the 2010 Victoria Trotters Derby when trained for the race by Chris Lang.
Jingling Silver was also placed in a Victoria Oaks and Super Sires final and boasted a career record of 14 wins and $191 322 in prizemoney.
From her base originally at Bulli on the south coast of NSW, Davies trained a team of pacers and trotters and gave the credit to husband Kelvin as having the biggest inf luence in her career in harness racing.
A memorial service for Margaret Davies is being held at 1 pm today at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Arundel St, Benalla.
On Mildura mission
The Mildura Trotters Cup is the next target for in-form Kyabramtrained trotter Claudys Prince who completed a hat-trick of wins when he beat a top field of rising stars last Friday at Maryborough.
Trainer of the five-year-old Mick Blackmore is keen to tackle the Mildura Cup tomorrow night week after missing out on winning the race with My Mate Claudy, who finished second in 2011.
‘‘We’ve always said we would go back (to Mildura) one day and try to go one better, so that’s the plan at the moment,’’ Blackmore, who believes a six months spell had worked wonders with Claudys Prince, said.
‘‘He had some niggling injuries last year which we couldn’t get on top of, but the long spell has done the trick. He is a very happy horse at the moment and he is showing that on the track,’’ Blackmore said.
In six runs since returning to racing he has chalked up four wins and a third which I admit Eva and I find is pretty easy to take as well as being a whole lot easier on the wallet.
Enjoying a good Fling
Last Friday proved a good day for Kyabram-owned trotters with talented three-year-old Fling it and wing it resuming racing with a dashing win at Geelong.
Owned by Kyabramites Peter Hall and John Lilford and Benstud’s Craig Judd it was the three-yearold’s second win in seven outings which have also produced two second placings.
Experienced Shepparton horseman Steve Duffy puts the polish on the gelding who is out of the multiple-winning trotting mare Maybe Hall.
Duffy is now looking to the NSW Trotters Derby and the Foundation Series in that state with the talented youngster.
Fling it and wing it’ s reinsman is the trainer’s son, Ryan, who is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best young reinsmen in Victoria.
The father-son pair also combined to win at the previous night’s meeting at Echuca with Boncel Benjamin and again at this week’s Shepparton meeting with Rothko.
Sharing a double
The Turnbulls — father Craig and daughter Abbey — left their mark on last week’s Echuca meeting.
Craig set the mood early, partnering the pacer he trains, Giant Jackson, to a well-deserved win in a C0 Only class race.
The four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, who was having only his fourth start since joining Turnbull’s Tatura stables, put the writing on the wall for a coming win when second at his previous start at Shepparton.
He had only two previous wins in 28 starts when campaigning in NSW.
Abbey Turnbull completed the family driving double when reining Distinctive Del to victory in a C1 Only class race for Bendigo trainer Glenn Douglas,
Abbey was having only her second drive on the Live Or Die sixyear-old gelding who accounted for the last start winner Gunna Collect.
Craig had another winner on Wednesday night at Shepparton, scoring an all-the-way win with the short-priced favourite Im Joey Jones.
Cheers and Popcorn
District trainers and drivers notched their share of winners on Wednesday night’s nine-race card at Shepparton.
Apart from the wins of Rothko and Im Joey Jones, Undera horseman Justin Torney prevailed with extra smart trotter Enforce The Law, Elmore horseman Keith Cotchin produced three-year-old Rossini for an impressive win, Rochester’s Mark Thompson saluted with Dunrobbin, while the David Aiken-Kima Frenning team scored with trotter Popcorn Sutton.
Jeff’s not dreaming
Punters warmed to the Jeff Gledhill-trained Fantasy Beach in a C0 Only class race last week at Echuca although he had been out of the winner’s circle in his past seven outings.
But in those outings he had a second and two fourths leading into Echuca to indicate he was ready to win again.
And those punters who supported him into a $2 favourite were always on good terms with themselves courtesy of a patient Josh Duggan drive.
It was the four-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding’s second win in 26 starts.
Better than old one
The Rochester-trained grey mare Weeks End was another popular winner among punters at Echuca.
The Mark Thompson-prepared daughter of Jet Laag, driven by Zac Phillips, was sent out a $2.90 favourite in a C2-C3 race and duly delivered with a tough win.
Phillips elected to move from the on-one sit to the death seat for most of the 1755 m trip, but Weeks End was still too tough for her rivals in posting her 10th win and 17th placing in 35 starts.
Pat votes for Trump
Former Shepparton Harness Racing Club president Pat Mellington shared in a win at Echuca.
Mellington is one of the part owners of the trotter Tennoeagle who scored his maiden win.
The four-year-old son of Tennotrump, who was backed into favouritism, was certainly overdue for his duck breaking win after five top four finishes in his previous five outings.
In what turned out to be a threehorse battle to the wire the Glenn Sharp-trained and Josh Duggandriven Tennoeagle got the better of Show em yo urn muscle sand Levi na to break through for his maiden win.
From pillar to post
Lightly-raced Mongiana was first out and first home in an impressive win in a C0 Only class event last Friday at Maryborough.
The five-year-old Life Sign gelding, trained by Shepparton’s Steve O’Donoghue and driven by Bec Bartley, was having only his second start this campaign and only his 12th trip to races.
But he put the writing on the wall with a third placing when resuming at Boort meeting on March 17.
He franked that form with his Maryborough effort in which he posted a PB 1:57.9 mile rate for the 2190 m trip.
There is talent in the gelding’s maternal side with his dam, the Armbro Operative mare Two Teds, winning five of her seven starts.
Nissen’s rocking on
Locksley horseman John Nissen was content with his day at Kilmore on Monday.
Nissen owns Rockon Locksley, an all-the-way winner in a C0 Only class race at the meeting for his Shepparton trainer-driver Bec Bartley.
Although a six-year-old Rockon Locksley was having just his fourth start and had produced three minor placings going into the race.
Rockon Locksley is beautifully bred, being by Rocknroll Hanover out of the Christian Cullen mare Miss Rustic Rose, a winner of eight races who has just the one other foal, Strahan, who was a winner.
Nissen’s other runner at Kilmore Heaven In Locksley, who he trains, finished runner-up to the hot favourite Shining Oro.
Heaven In Locksley was coming off a win at Cobram.