Picture: Shepparton Harness Racing Club
Enforce to be reckoned with: Bettor Enforce won for Tony Peacock at Shepparton.
Shepparton-trained superstar pacer San Carlo made a stunning return to racing last week, claiming one of the most prestigious country races in Australia, the $80 000 Kilmore Pacing Cup.
Co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Bec Bartley, who drove the horse, were a little surprised with his first up performance since winning the Warragul Pacing Cup in April.
Bartley summed up the race well, taking San Carlo from the tailenders to the death seat with two laps of the 2690 m marathon to run and despite death seating from then on digging deep to hold off all challengers with a 56.4 last half.
Code Black got closest on the finishing line to San Carlo with Tam Major filling the minor placing.
O’Donoghue admitted he had not expected his star to win the race first-up.
‘‘It’s a big race and there were a lot of good horses in it. To be honest I would have thought he would have needed the run and as long as he ran well I would have been happy,’’ he said.
‘‘Bec made a brave decision to go to the death when she did and it paid off.
‘‘I leave it to her to do what she think is the right thing and she makes good decisions as a driver.’’
The Kima Frenning-trained and driven Buster Brady also ran a top race in finishing fourth, just 3.30 m from the winner.
San Carlo’s immediate aim was the Victoria Pacing Cup tomorrow night week, before crossing the Tasman to tackle the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominion in November and December.
It was San Carlo’s 29th career win from 49 starts and the $45 500 first prizemoney boosted his career earnings to more than $500 000.
Good night in the sulky
While Kima Frenning missed out on the Kilmore Pacing Cup with Buster Brady she still had a good night in the sulky at the Kilmore Cup meeting, reining home two winners for Avenel trainer David Aiken.
She won on Yankee Roller, having his first start for stable and his first run since July and also Emerging Talent.
Yankee Roller was expected to win and was a $1.60 favourite, but Emerging Talent, who was having only his sixth trip to the races, was a 10-1 shot.
Revolt captures hat-trick
Bettors Delight four-year-old Revolt completed a hat-trick of wins on the track when he led from pillar to post at Friday night’s Shepparton meet.
Trained by Shepparton’s Isabel Walsh, Revolt had also notched allthe-ways wins at his previous two outings on the track at the September 10 and September 20 meetings.
Revolt, who accounted for Major Sea and Wild Imagination in his latest win, was regarded as one of the best bets on the 12-race card and was a $1.20 chance on the tote.
Kima Frenning has driven Revolt to all three of his latest wins and the pacer is building an impressive record with six wins and four placings from just the 20 career starts.
Back-to-back at Shepparton
Trotter Bro Creed was another horse to complete back-to-back wins on the Shepparton track when he saluted at last week’s meet.
The Mark Lee-trained and Stacey Towers-driven six-year-old prevailed in one of the program’s thrilling finishes, getting the photofinish verdict by a half head from Tiber with a head to the thirdplaced Aimforthemoon. The fourth and fifth placegetters — Fatouche and The Majestic — were also close.
Bro Creed had won at the previous meeting on the track at his seventh start in a race and, despite that win, was a $14 chance on the tote.
But several of the well-fancied runners put themselves out of business with bad manners and opened the race up for an upset.
Showing youngsters how it is done
The old firm of trainer Tony Peacock and veteran reinsman Brian Gath were to the fore at the Shepparton meeting, winning a 67-76 class race with seven-year-old pacing mare Bettor Enforce.
Septuagenarian Gath demonstrated why he has won a reputation as one of the greatest front running reinsman this country has ever had in the victory.
He used Bettor Enforce’s barrier one draw to lead and dictate terms in the 1690 m event, beating Shawami Lass and the favourite Trendy Bromac in slick 1.56.8 mile rate time.
Trainer Tony Peacock has had the Bettors Delight mare for only five starts, which have produced three wins, a second and a fourth.
Bettor Enforce had won four starts from 57 outings in New Zealand before crossing the Tasman to join the Peacock barn at north Moama.
Alford weaves magic at meeting
The Chris Alford factor was well to the fore in the win of the Echucatrained Sassyfeet at Shepparton.
While the six-year-old Julius Ceaser mare’s previous win had been at Broken Hill during a Sunraysia campaign earlier this year, the engagement of premier driver Alford enticed punters to send the Geoff Allen-prepared mare out to third favourite in the 30-49 event despite being beaten 36 m when seventh at her previous start at Cobram.
But Alford was able to weave his magic, biding his time and bringing the mare with a well-timed run from the rear of the field to account for another Echuca-trained pacer, the Wayne Lear-prepared Hez Leo Da Vinci.
Patience pays off for Pekin
A patient Gary Pekin drive landed Bicardi Wood his second career win at the Shepparton meeting.
Contesting a 30-51 class trot, Pekin parked the six-year-old son of Bicardi Lindy at the tail of the field before getting a tow into the action with 800 m to run.
Bicardi Wood quickly rounded up his rivals at the business end of the race and cruised to the finishing line nearly 7 m clear of the runner-up, the Mick Watttrained Hettivale, with Shadow Dancer filling the minor placing.
Bicardi Wood was having only his 14th trip to the races for Stanhope west trainer Ken Covington, whose patience with the trotter is starting to pay off.
Well-deserved win for family
Bunbartha’s Newberry team — trainer John and his reinsman son Matthew — scored a well deserved and well overdue win with four-year-old Mr Feelgood gelding A Good Knight at the Shepparton meeting.
Matt Newberry used the pacer’s barrier one draw to lead and dictate terms in the 48-55 class 2190 m event to beat Good Feelings and Steely Blue.
A Good Knight had been knocking heavily on the door for his maiden win with his previous six starts producing top five finishes.
Tight finish for class event
Finishes do not come much tighter than the one witnessed in the 67-78 class event at Friday night’s Shepparton meeting.
Just 6 m separated the first seven horses at the finishing post with just over 1 m between the first four placegetters.
The result was an upset with the $17.60 chance Manassa Sky getting the verdict ahead of Shoshine Brave, Blissfull Stride and the favourite Boncel Benjamin.