Picture: Barry Bennett
Going great guns: Millah Joy, pictured winning at Shepparton, won her second race for trainer Steve Duffy at Bendigo on Monday night.
Shepparton-trained Millah Joy became the first district-trained pacer to salute when racing under reduced regions was ushered in at Bendigo on Monday.
The Steve Duffy-trained fouryear-old Bettors Delight mare had won her previous start in the Shepparton zone on Wednesday last week when she produced an impressive mile rate of 1:56.4 in a last-to-first effort in recording her sixth win.
It was also her first win in three starts since joining Duffy.
Bec Bartley drove the mare to last week’s win and was again in the sulky on Monday night when Millah Joy defied all efforts to be run down.
She was trapped wide and forced to do plenty of early work to take over the front running position, but dug deep to stall off all challengers in the home stretch.
Millah Joy posted a PB mile rate of 1:55.2 in scoring the gutsy and impressive win to suggest she is enjoying her change of environment.
A big-Arted effort
Ten-year-old mare Village Art was rewarded for her consistency with her fourth win last Friday night at Shepparton.
The Col Godden-trained daughter of Village Jasper went into the race with eight successive minor placings behind her which enticed punters to support her into a $1.90 favourite
Reinsman Damian Wilson was able to position Village Art in the one-one sit and she was able to sprint over the pacesetter Hypervigilant and Shez Elite at the business end of the 1690 m race.
Going into the race Village Art had not won a race since April last year and was having her sixth start for Godden after joining his Nanneella stables earlier this year from the Sunraysia area.
Godden is winning a reputation for rejuvenating horses and recently produced another well-travelled 10-year-old mare, Cheval Charette, for a drought-breaking win at Shepparton early last month.
Village Art is out of the Exotic Earl mare Haytime and is a half-sister to Truckies Art, who won 12 races, and Exceptional Art who had five wins.
Big game hunter
The surprise of Ona Safari’s dashing win at Shepparton last Friday night was his price.
Despite a fast finishing second to Imapest at his previous start on the track when a 33/1 chance, punters again ignored the seven-year-old son of Safari who paid odds of nearly 17/1.
Trained by veteran Barmah mentor Trevor Gallaway and driven by Damian Wilson, Ona Safari stormed home to beat the strong finishing Dallas Franco by more than 10 m with Galactic Girl filling the minor placing.
The win was a family affair as the trainer’s wife, Jill, owns Ona Safari who has now faced the judge on 56 occasions for six wins and 13 placings for prizemoney now topping $35 000.
Ona Safari’s win also completed a driving double Wilson who also won on the Col Godden-trained Victory Art.
Tipsy pips them all
Congupna horseman Mark Lee chalked up his first win with trotting mare Miss Tipsy last Friday night at Shepparton.
The well-named and bred fouryear-old daughter of Bacardi Lindy took the early lead before handing up to the Peter Lindberg-trained and Brent Thomson-driven Star Down Under.
The race changed complexion straightening for the run to the judge when Star Down Under galloped allowing Miss Tipsy to sprint lane to victory over the lightly-raced and consistent John Newberrytrained Bella Countessa and the Nev Pangrazio-trained and driven Wildomav, who was having only his third start.
Miss Tipsy, who is out of the smart trotting mare Enjoy A Champers, has always shown she has ability, but it has taken her 20 starts to break her maiden status.
Miss Tipsy is a full-sister to Cuban Fizz a winner of six races.
Venkman is flying
Venkman is a trotter starting to build an impressive resume.
The Cameron Maggs-trained three-year-old daughter of Wishing Stone notched her second win in her past three starts when successful last Friday night at Shepparton.
Sandwiched between the wins was a second.
David Jack did the driving honours again and, while giving away experience and age to all her rivals, Venkman proved too classy.
Settling three back in the run Venkman travelled three deep for most of the last lap, but ran away from the pacemaker Antiope and Morgan Mylee for an easy win at the finish.
Venkman has now won three and been placed four times in 13 starts and looks a trotter with a future.
She is out of the winning Sundon mare Shadows.
It’s okay to win
The Aikens — David and son Josh — were well to the fore again last Friday night at Shepparton.
Josh drove another double, scoring on the Leigh Shannon-trained Oktolove in the opening event and then buttering up on the impressive Sirlectic, trained by his father David, later on the program.
Oktolove, a six-year-old son of Safari having his 25th start, was able to edge out the Fred McKenner-trained and Laura Crossland-driven Cobber Mac, who made a gallant effort to lead all the way with another Echuca pacer, the Mick Mahon-prepared, Lagom, who started favourite, filling the minor placing.
Trained at Chiltern, Oktolove is out of the winning Albert Albert mare To Love Again and his second dam, Tara Wealth, has been a broodmare gem, leaving 10 winners.
Sirletic was most impressive in winning again.
He posted the quickest run of the night — 1:55.6 mile rate time for the 1690 m trip — in accounting for a plucky Shoshone Brave and his stablemate Ideal Star.
Formerly prepared by the late Gavin Lang, David Aiken has had the six-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover for two starts for two wins.
And they have been special wins as Lang’s wife Meagan is one of the part-owners.
Roll Along quickly
Pacer Roll Along Styx did precisely that to run his rivals ragged at Shepparton on Friday night.
The Wayne Potter-trained and Ryan Sanderson-driven five-yearold Rocknroll Hanover gelding jumped straight to the front over the 1690 m trip and led his rivals a merry dance from then on.
He cruised home with more than 10 m to spare from the runner-up Axinite with the top fancy Treasure filling the minor placing.
It completed successive wins on the track for the pacer, having also scored at his previous start there on May 1.
It was his sixth win from with 10 placings from 27 starts.
Star dances home
Three-year-old pacer Oursouthernstar didn’t waste any time claiming his Vicbred bonus.
The A Rocknroll Dance gelding, driven by Abbey Turnbull, was having his first start in Victoria for Tatura trainer Craig Turnbull at Shepparton last Friday night and was able to edge out a brave Juanita Breen-trained and driven Louisiana Jo in a two-horse war to the wire.
Oursouthernstar had been trained by NSW horseman Peter Rixon and had won four races and been placed on five occasions from 18 starts, so his win was no surprise.
In a rare occurrence full-brothers saluted in successive races at Bendigo on Monday night.
Kyvalley Senator and Kyvalley Chief, who pulled off the double, were bought at the New Zealand yearling sales in successive years by Kyvalley owner Jim Connolly.
They are by Muscle Hill out of the Love You mare, Love Ya Doosie, who raced six times for two wins.
Kyvalley Chief, having his fifth start, skipped over the 1650 m trip in a slashing mile rate of 1:56.4, which included a 57.5 last half, to edge out the pacesetter, Fear The Yankee, in a two-horse battle to the wire.
Three-year-old Kyvalley Senator, who was a $1.40 favourite, also had to pull out plenty to account for Avimore to notch his second win from 10 tries.
Today: Mildura (d), Shepparton (n).
Tomorrow: Melton (n).
Sunday: Cranbourne (d).
Monday: Melton (d).
Tuesday: Shepparton (n).
Wednesday: Kilmore (d), Kerang (n).
Thursday: Bendigo (d), Kilmore (n).