Lochinvar Art’s Shepparton trainer-driver David Moran says you couldn’t help but be impressed with Ride High’s stunning track record run last Saturday night at Bendigo.
But he won’t be deliberately dodging the Clayton Tonkin trained superstar pacer with his outstanding pacer.
‘‘We could be racing against each other at the Shepparton meeting next Saturday night week (August 21),’’ Moran said this week.
‘‘I’ve had that race in mind with Lochinvar Art for his next outing and they are looking at it too with Ride High I’ve been told.’’
But Moran said he had heard nothing more on a recently mooted match race between the two superstar pacers.
At Bendigo last Saturday night Ride High put in a dazzling track record shattering 1:49.0 performance after sitting in the death seat for the last lap.
He lopped a whopping 2.07 seconds off the track record for the 1690 m trip of 1:51.7 established on June 6 by the David Aiken-trained Leonidis.
Lochinvar Art returned to racing at Shepparton on July 25 when he accounted for the Aiken-trained Sirletic, the same pacer Ride High beat at Bendigo.
Comeback reinsman Daryl Douglas provided a sample of his driving skills on Tuesday night at Shepparton when he reined three winners.
Back in the sulky after several years, Douglas struck early, driving the winners of the first two races.
He partnered You Ninety Two and Major Jodi, both trained by his brother Glenn, to win the opening two races before completing the hat-trick on the Shepparton prepared Bring Back Leah in race five.
Trained by David Moran, Bring Back Leah was having her first start for the stable after winning on her Australian debut at Leeton on July 7.
Eight starts in New Zealand prior to crossing the Tasman had produced three minor placings for the Art Major three-year-old filly.
Bring Back Leah was solidly supported into a $1.40 favourite and after sitting on the pacemaker Really Under Fire got home along the sprint lane to beat the Craig Turnbull-trained and Abbey Turnbull-driven Fletchas Roy and Paddington Central.
Moran forfeited the drive to Douglas as he was suffering a migraine.
Four-year-old gelding Western Sonador made a winning return to Victorian racing for Shepparton’s Steve O’Donoghue-Bec Bartley team on Tuesday night at Shepparton.
Western Sonador put up one of the runs of the meeting to win running away in an impressive effort in a 62-75 class race for the pacers.
The Wayne Potter-trained and Ryan Sanderson-driven Roll Along Styx made a gallant bid to lead all the way, but couldn’t withstand Western Sonador’s powerful and sustained finishing burst.
The Laura Crossland-trained and Greg Sugars-driven Our American Princess filled the minor placing.
By Western Terror, Western Senador started his racing career in Victoria from the O’ Donog hue Bartley barn in September when fourth on debut at Shepparton.
He followed up with a third at Melton and then a win at Cobram before being transferred to the Riverina stables of Ellen Bartley, sister of Bec.
Ellen produced Western Sonador for five wins in seven starts on Riverina tracks with four of these wins coming on the Riverina Raceway at Wagga.
One of the part owners, who no doubt got a big kick out of the win, is Shepparton trots stalwart and businessman John Baldi.
Debutant trotter Heres To You Jimmy upset more fancied, experienced and older rivals when he stormed home to win at Shepparton on Tuesday night.
Trained by Toolleen horseman Graham McDermott, Heres To You Jimmy was neglected by punters for his race debut and was a 40/1 shot.
Bred by Elmore trainer and stalwart of the trotter, Jenny Johnson, the three-year-old is bred on the same lines as former star mare Claudys Princess.
Both are by Bacardi Lindy and out of Wind Cries Maori mares.
Heres To You Jimmy’s dam is the former good racemare Singing Creek who won 11 races and who has also left the four times winner Cobbler Creek.
For a greater part of the race Heres To You Jimmy raced at the rear of the field, but when asked by McDermott made a searching run over the last 800 m to reel in his rivals.
The heavily-backed favourite Kyvalley Kyrie looked the winner on the home turn, but when she broke stride Heres To You Jimmy pounced.
Heres To You Jimmy returned a respectable mile rate of 2:04.7 for the 2190 m trip from the mobile.
Talented David Aiken-trained trotting mare Aldebaran Crescent made it three wins in her past five starts when she saluted at Shepparton on Tuesday.
A winner on the track on June 8 and at her next outing at Cranbourne on June 28, the five-yearold daughter of Majestic Son had galloped and struck trouble at her two previous starts before lining up at Shepparton.
Reinsman Josh Aiken used the mare’s gate speed from barrier six to take up the front running before surrendering it to Fields Of Kyvalley with a little more than a lap to go.
Attempting back-to-back wins on the track the Brent Lilley-trained Fields Of Kyvalley looked to have his rivals covered on the home turn when he broke stride.
Aldebaran Crescent, who had raced on the back of Fields Of Kyvalley for the last lap seized the moment and went on to account for Kyvalley Senator with the Cameron Maggs-trained and driven Venkman running another honest race to finish third.
It seems Aldebaran Crescent either wins or finishes out of a place in her races.
She has raced 20 times for six wins, but has no minor placings.
Avenel horsewoman Juanita Breen landed her fifth win with Golden Spurs when the Pegasus Spur trotting mare saluted on Wednesday at Bendigo.
Stepping out for the second time since December, Golden Spurs put in a strong finishing burst to account for the fast-finishing Keith Cotchin-trained Regal Assassin and Tam Oshanter after coming from the 20 m stand over 2150 m trip.
Breen has enjoyed a lot of success with Golden Spurs, who has now won five races from the 16 starts she has given her.
No horror movie
Ex-Kiwi pacer Skreemr hasn’t wasted any time making her mark in Victoria.
The Mach Three mare trained by Avenel horseman Wayne Potter made it three wins from five starts in Oz when she saluted at Bendigo on Wednesday.
In her other two Victorian starts she finished second and a close up fifth.
In her latest win reinsman Chris Alford made an early move on Skreemr to take over the front running and she then proceeded to run her rivals ragged in PB 1:56.1 PB mile rate time over the 1650 m trip.
Skreemr had seven runs in New Zealand last year that didn’t produce a top three placing, so Potter has achieved a lot in a short time with the four-year-old mare.
Rochester-trained pacer The Black Horse didn’t take long to do what his siblings have done — win races.
The three-year-old Shadow Play gelding was having only his second trip to the races on Wednesday at Bendigo, but was up to the challenge for his trainer Mark Thompson and driver Ellen Tormey.
In a thrilling three-way battle to the line The Black Horse was able to get the photo finish verdict from Saint Win and Costly Mistake.
The Black Horse is from the Totally Ruthless mare Orta Be
Ruthless who won 19 races and has also left the smart pacers Ruthless Armbro (16 wins) and Weeks End (15 wins).
Tatura trainer David Abrahams looks to have a talented two-yearold trotter on his hands in Sunsup.
The Muscle Mass gelding made his debut at Wednesday’s Bendigo meeting and was most impressive motoring home into second place behind the odds-on favourite Keayang Ninja.
Sunsup made up a lot of late ground on the winner over the concluding stages after coming from second last on the home bend.
The winner wasn’t extended, but there still looked to be a lot of upside in Sunsup’s effort.
He is from the unraced Sundon mare Aldebaran Sunset who has left three other winners, Aldebaran Midnite (by Skyvalley), Coconut Sunrise (Skyvalley) and Fend Off (Yield Boko).
Harness Racing Victoria cancelled Monday’s Maryborough meeting immediately after being made aware of a potential participant COVID-19 close contact shortly before the first race.
It won’t reschedule the meeting and participants who had horses engaged will receive compensation.
HRV chief executive Dayle Brown said there was only one option.
“We acted immediately. There is only one choice when you cannot be certain of the circumstances surrounding this virus — people’s health and wellbeing is top priority and will remain so,” Brown said.
“We communicated to participants immediately and commenced inquiries. I am comfortable with the great work of our team conducting these inquiries and the processes that guide them.”
After inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the participant who is a potential close contact, four people were identified as having had some incidental contact with this participant in recent days.
The four individuals will not attend race meetings or interact with industry participants until the test result from the potential close contact is known.
The potential close contact and the four individuals did not go to Maryborough.
HRV is comfortable after making inquiries that no other participant or staff member is at an increased risk of contracting the virus.
“Our protocols, which have guided us through this virus to this point, remain in place and must be adhered to all times. I cannot stress this enough. Our stewards are ensuring compliance and I thank the industry for the way they have looked after each other in recent months,” Brown said.
Monday: Maryborough (d).
Tuesday: Shepparton (n).
Wednesday: Stawell (d), Bendigo (n).
Thursday: Ballarat (n).