In the mix: Brallos Pass is contesting tonight’s Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup.
Talented pacers Sicario and Brallos Pass headline a talented field of pacers in tonight’s 42nd running of the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup.
The pair has contrasting draws with Sicario coming from the poleline alley while Brallos Pass has drawn inside the second row.
Both pacers have district connections with Echuca’s Rob Rob Owen a part owner of Sicario while Brallos Pass is trained at Kyabram by Mark Watson.
Classy Brallos Pass is resuming from a lengthy spell, but his trainer is anticipating he can run a big race on his return to the track.
‘‘The 2500 m trip first-up is a big ask . . . but I’m very happy with him at the moment,’’ Watson said.
Watson believes Sicario is the horse to beat in the Group 3 $35 000 feature.
‘‘He’s a South Australian Cup winner and he won the Pure Steel at Melton last Saturday night, so he’s in good form and has got the good draw,’’ Watson said.
An interesting runner is Cankickatarget who has done all his racing in NSW and Queensland.
He’s a veteran of 118 starts, which have produced 25 wins and 27 placings and more than $145 000 in stake-money earnings, so he is no slouch.
He is now back with his original trainer after being prepared in recent times by leading Queensland horseman Grant Dixon.
At his last start he won a race at Dubbo on January 22.
Last-start Temora Cup winner Rusty Crackers has good recent form for this race as has the Lance Justice-trained-and-driven Love Ina Chevvy, a winner at Melton last Saturday night.
The Shepparton-trained Winkanditsover is stepping up in class, but caught the eye with a strong finish at Melton last Saturday night and could be a sneaky each-way chance.
The other feature on the program, the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket for the trotters, has drawn an even field of eight starters, headed by Kyvalley Finn and former Victoria Derby winner Stress Factor.
Kyabram-trained Rory McHinson will be attempting a hat-trick of long-shot wins in the race after wins at big odds in the Wedderburn Trotters Cup and at Melton at his last two starts.
Enough nominations were received to split another of the features, the Tiff Murray Memorial, into two divisions.
King of Swing steals limelight
No major prizemoney from the two main features at the Melton meeting last Saturday made its way back to the Goulburn Valley.
Rising star Lochinvar Art’s wide draw never made him a factor in the $500 000 A G Hunter Cup, with his Shepparton trainer-driver David Moran electing to ease to the tail of the field at barrier rise.
Lochinvar Art finished seventh, nearly 20 m from the all-the-way winner, the NSW-trained King Of Swing, who was initially an emergency for the race, which was hit by three scratchings.
One of the scratchings was the Shepparton-trained San Carlo, withdrawn on the morning of the race by stewards with a greasy heel problem.
In the $250 000 Great Southern Star trotters feature tiny Shepparton mare Sky Petite ran a great race to finish seventh, less than nine metres from the winner, champion Tornado Valley, for trainer Steve Duffy and reinsman Greg Sugars.
All-the-way win for Tara
Shepparton mentor Isabel Walsh delivered the only win for northern Victorian trainers at the mega Melton meeting last Saturday night.
Walsh puts the polish on Delightful Tara, who claimed the $30 000 Rising Stars final with an all-theway win.
Top Sydney reinsman Todd McCarthy was in the sulky in what was a Shepparton quinella with the Amanda Turnbull-trained and Luke McCarthy-driven favourite Think About Me finishing second in a blanket finish.
Walsh has had Delightful Tara, formerly prepared in NSW, for only four starts and has now won two races and also recorded a second placing with the five-year-old Bettors Delight mare.
While Delightful Tara was the only Goulburn Valley-trained pacer to win at the meeting, the winner of the Group 3 $30 000 Pure Steel, Sicario, has district connections.
Echuca’s Rob Egan is among the owners of Sicario along with former Seymourites Gary Dowling and John Wilkinson.
Career-best run on times
Bunbartha trainer John Newberry’s love affair with the Bendigo track continued with another winner on the circuit at last week’s meeting.
This time it was Village Encounter who kept the Newberry name up in lights with a career-best run on times.
The six-year-old son of Village Jolt rated 1.54.4 for the 1690 m event after reinsman Matt Newberry gave him the run of the race on the back of the pacemaker.
Village Encounter secured a sprint lane run and in a crowded three-way finish got the verdict from the rank outsider Auroa and the Amanda Turnbull-trained and David Moran-driven Lifeof brian.
Village Encounter zipped home in 56.8 to record his eighth career win which took his prize money earnings to more than $51 000.
Hoofnote: In the final at Bendigo on Tuesday night Village Encounter put in another top run to finish third.
Rest does Shadow world of good
The previous time Kyabram trainer Max Watson took pacer Casting Shadow to a Shepparton trots meeting he reacted to a disappointing effort by putting the pacer in the spelling paddock for almost a year.
That was in February last year. Fast forward a year to Monday night and Casting Shadow displayed his long rest had done him the world of good.
Back on the Shepparton track in a 30 to 49-class race Casting Shadow was settled at the rear of the field by driver Ellen Tormey before making a well-timed run to blow his rivals away, downing the odds-on favourite Causing Strife in the process.
Watson believes the Shadow Play four-year-old can go on to win more races if he stays sound and continues to make further natural improvement.
Casting Shadow, who won on debut as a two-year-old on the Shepparton track, has had just the eight lifetime starts for two wins and two placings.
Fireplay finds winning way
Former NSW-trained pacer Fireplay found a winning way at his 15th start and just his third outing in Victoria at Monday night’s Shepparton meeting.
Prepared by local horseman David Moran the Josh Duggandriven Shadow Play four-year-old found the front early and was never headed in beating the Mark Thompson-trained Nil Desperandum and the Isabel Walshprepared Somedaylady.
His previous two Victorian runs had produced a fifth at Cobram and a fourth at Shepparton, indicating he was close to breaking his maiden status.
Fireplay is out of the multiwinning Courage Under Fire mare Kilifi Fire and is her first winner.
While David Moran handed the reins for Josh Duggan to drive Fireplay he was back in the sulky for a win at the meeting.
He partnered the NSW-trained Jenden Strike to his second win on the track in four starts for Bathurst trainer Chris Frisby.
Avenel mentor David Aiken took the honours at Monday night’s Shepparton meeting with a training double.
He scored with Major Delico and the talented Roll With It in successive races.
The Josh Aiken-driven Major Delico produced his second career win when he claimed a 54-63 class race.
The four-year-old son of Art Major downed locally owned Izzy Jolie and the Shepparton-trained Mumas New Dude to continue his vein of good form, which included a win at Yarra Valley and second placings at Bendigo and Melton in his previous three starts.
Major Delico is out of the Pacific Fella mare Mendelico, who was no slouch on the racing track with 17 career wins and 10 placings from just 10 race starts.
Major Delico is a half-brother to the talented pacer Heaven Rocks, a 14 times winner from 34 starts.
Roll With It, who was driven a treat by concession reinsman Ryan Sanderson, continued his burst of good form to prevail in dashing style in 64-76 class race in posting his 14th career win.
Heavenly return for five-year-old
Five-year-old Heaven In Locksley made an impressive return to racing at Tuesday night’s Bendigo meeting.
Trained by Locksley horseman John Nissen and driven by Bec Bartley, Heaven In Locksley produce a brilliant PB mile rate of 1.56.5 over the 2150 m trip in an emphatic win to suggest he has returned to racing better than ever.
The lightly raced Heaven In Locksley was one of three district horses to win at the meeting.
Tatura north trainer David Abrahams produced trotter So Awesome, who was driven by Kima Frenning for a strong longshot win, while Undera horseman Glenn Freeman combined with reinsman Ryan Duffy to win with Rockin In Memphis.
By Down Under Muscles, So Awesome is having just his eighth career start, which has now produced two wins and a placing.
Rockin In Memphis chalked up his seventh career win from 38 starts, which have also produced seven minor placings.
Three cup winners for sire
Champion Kyabram-based sire American Ideal has produced three cup winners in the space of a fortnight. Mighty Conqueror NZ started the ball rolling when he beat a top field in the Group 1 $450 000 WA Pacing Cup — the fifth leg of the Australasian Grand Circuit — at Gloucester Park on January 17.
The gelding became American Ideal’s third WA Cup winner in five years, joining Soho Tribeca (2018) and My Hard Copy (2015 and 2016).
On February 1 another of American Ideal’s sons, Son Of A Tiger, claimed the Group 3 $30 000 Northam Pacing Cup and the following night Illegal Immigrant notched his most important success to date in the Group 3 $30 000 Devonport Cup.
American Ideal has climbed into fourth position on this season’s All Aged sire list with $2 061 475 (as at February 2).
He is also ranked fourth on the NZ sires’ list with $676 572 and finished third on the 2019 USA Sires’ premiership with a staggering $16 million.
American Ideal, who has just completed his first Australian season at Northern Rivers Equine at Kyabram, was again among the most popular stallions in the Southern Hemisphere.
He served more than 200 Australian-based mares and 40 in New Zealand.
Northern Rivers Equine prepared 13 yearlings on behalf of clients Lauriston Bloodstock, Greg Fleming and Phil and Tracey Wade for the 2020 Australian Pacing Gold Melbourne sale last Sunday.
Of the 12 that were offered, 11 were sold and one was passed-in.
The 11 lots sold aggregated $405 000 with the top price of $85 000 being for the lovely Art Major-Sugarland colt consigned by Lauriston Bloodstock.
Meetings coming up
It’s all roads to Echuca tonight for its cup meeting:
Today: Horsham (d), Echuca Cup meeting (n);
Saturday: Melton (n); Sunday: Cranbourne (t); Monday: Charlton (d); Tuesday: Ballarat (n); Wednesday: Mildura (n); Thursday: Cobram (d), Bendigo (n).