Last weekend was a sweet-bitter experience for Tatura trainer Craig Turnbull.
Turnbull f loated two horses to the Wagga Cup meeting and hit the jackpot twice in two of the feature events.
In successive races he claimed the $20,000 Wagga Pacers Cup with Jemsoms Pet and the $12,000 Wagga Oaks with Heritage Lady.
Jemsoms Pet was partnered by Turnbull’s daughter Abbey, while her cousin Amanda Turnbull was aboard Heritage Lady.
In the Wagga Cup Abbey sent Jemsoms Pet to the front early over the 2270m trip and the four-yearold Pet Rock gelding gamely held off a herd of challengers in the home stretch.
It was an all-Goulburn Valley finish in the race with the Russell Jacktrained and Leigh Sutton-driven Young Rooster powering home from beyond midfield to finish second.
With Amanda driving an ice cool race Heritage Lady came from the rear of the field to swamp her rivals in the home straight to win the Wagga Oaks.
In the process Heritage Lady beat Abettasecret to snare the quinella for the stable.
It was only Heritage Lady’s fifth trip to the races and her first start since winning as a two-year-old at Shepparton on December 23.
What was a memorable meeting for Craig and his family was somewhat dimmed by the death of his father Tony, the legendary Bathurst trainer-driver of one of Australia’s greatest and most loved pacers Hondo Grattan.
A Shepparton pacer was expected to win a heat of the Alabar Platinum sprint at Melton last Saturday night.
And it did. But it wasn’t the one punters thought would.
The David Moran-trained and driven Patsbeachstorm was sent out a raging hot favourite despite having his first start since winning the NSW Pacers Derby in early March.
Near the back of the field for most of the race from a backline draw and with a hectic pace up front it was always going to be a big ask.
The son of Somebeachsomewhere still made up a lot of ground at the finish and with the last half being run in 56.2 by the winner it was still a good effort to finish fourth only 5.7m astern.
The winner just happened to be Santa Casa Beach, also trained at Shepparton by Russell Jack.
Reinsman Lee Sutton tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to get to the lead early on Santa Casa Beach, but ended up getting the one-one trip and the pacer finished stoutly to beat Radius and Mynameisjeff in PB 1:52.7 mile rate time.
Moran said after the race Patsbeachstorm had felt a bit flat in the run and he would get a blood test this week before taking his place in the final tomorrow night at Melton.
It was a good training feat by Jack as Santa Casa Beach had not stepped out since November.
The win took the four-year-old pacer’s record to an impressive seven wins and four placings from 21 starts.
The win also continued the hot winning streak the Jack-Sutton combination has been enjoying lately.
Underrated pacer Boy From Bondi won his sixth race this season when he saluted at Melton on Saturday night.
And taking into consideration this season only started on January 1 it is a pretty good return from the 11 starts that Avenel trainer Wayne Potter has given him.
Concession reinsman Jordan Leedham sat Boy From Bondi on the back of the pacemaker Ozzie Battler for the 1720m dash and got him into clear running on the home turn to go on and beat the favourite Crime Writer and Live On Broadway in a sizzling 1:51.9 career best mile rate time.
It was the seven-year-old Somebeachsomewhere’s 11th win from 49 tries and took his prizemoney to more $87,000.
Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore produced talented juvenile trotter Senitas Strength for an impressive win last week at Kilmore.
The daughter of Muscle Mass was having her first start since finishing fifth in the NSW Oaks on May 1 and ran her rivals ragged in a threeyear-old trot where her class prevailed.
It was her third win from 13 starts and there have also been five minor placings, including finishing runner-up in the Group One Vicbred final for two-year-old trotting fillies in late December.
Kyabram hobby trainer Rod Alley produced four-year-old pacing mare Pippi for a dashing win at Sundays Pacing for Pink Shepparton meeting.
The win was even more significant as it was Alley’s first win as a trainer.
Top reinsman Chris Alford was able to get Pippi from a second row draw into the one-one sit in the run and the chestnut daughter of Auckland Reactor spaced her rivals when she got into clear running in the home stretch.
Pippi was having only her sixth start and clocked a creditable mile rate of 1:58.6 in scoring her maiden win.
Alley, who has had success as a driver, has made a comeback to the training ranks in recent times and combines working Pippi with his profession as a Tongala schoolteacher.
He is a member of a famous trotting family — his grandfather was the legendary trainer-driver the late Bert Alley — and was naturally thrilled to secure his first win as a trainer and admitted to being a bit emotional after the race.
Trainer Clive Dalton was on good terms with himself as he watched the finish of the Cobram Trotters Handicap at the Shepparton meeting.
The two trotters fighting out the finish were Allwoods Sunbeam and Imperial Countess, who are trained by Dalton.
Track specialist Allwoods Sunbeam, who was favourite, got a three wide tow into the race from midfield over the last 500m and got up to beat Imperial Countess who made a valiant bid to lead all the way for top reinsman Chris Alford.
To say Allwoods Sunbeam is a Shepparton track specialist would be an understatement.
Of her 12 wins the past eight have been on the Kialla circuit, three of which have been achieved this season.
She now boasts a record of 12 wins and 22 placings from her 69 starts which have produced more than $76,000 in prizemoney.
There was an interesting story behind the win of Smooth Deal who claimed the honours in a 56-61 class race at Shepparton.
A four-year-old son of Bettors Delight, he was a top juvenile pacer in New Zealand with four wins in his first five starts for trainer Mark Purdon containing a Group One success.
But stomach ulcers plagued the pacer which resulted in form reversals and through a family connection he ended up in the Brent Lilley barn in Australia earlier this year.
Echuca’s Rob Owen and former Seymourites Gary Dowling and John Wilkinson, strong supporters of Lilley, are among the owners who bought Smooth Deal.
He had his fourth start for Lilley at Shepparton and prevailed via a sprint lane run after tracking the favourite and pacemaker What A Pleasure over the 1690m trip.
Smooth Deal had prizemoney earnings of more than $150,000 going into the Shepparton race, so those who use prizemoney as a punting guide no doubt would have been tempted to back him.
Kyabram horseman Wes Shellie had a night to remember with his first training and driving double at Bendigo on Tuesday night.
Shellie prepares two-year-old trotting filly Hey Karla and fouryear-old trotting mare Fugal, who scored all-the-way wins.
Hey Karla was having her fifth start and Fugal her third.
Both are daughters of top sire Majestic Son.
It was a good night for northern Victorian trainers at the meeting.
Echuca trainer Fay McEwen produced Skyvalley three-year-old gelding Watch And Act for his first win at his 16th try and Tatura mentor David Abrahams scored with five-year-old Skyvalley debutant Ask No Questions who scored an impressive all-the-way win.
Another Kyabram trainer who has enjoyed success this week was Peter Hall who snared a heat of the Trotters Foundation series at Menangle with three-year-old trotter Three Bros.
Having his fifth start and coming off an impressive win at his previous start at Bendigo on May 7, Three Bros finished powerfully in sizzling 1:56.3 mile rate time which included a 56.8 last half.
Pink rocks track
Marg Watson and Donna Castles and their team of helpers were delighted with the success of the Pacing For Pink fundraiser meeting at Shepparton on Sunday.
Sponsors from near and far supported the meeting which lured a big crowd and raised more than a staggering $50,000.
Watson, wife of the late Cobram Harness Racing Club secretary Bob Watson, couldn’t attend the day after recent heart surgery, but was able to watch the day unfold on Trots Vision.
Castles on behalf of Watson and her helpers praised everyone who helped make the day the success it was.
It wasn’t so much about trying to hoist his 100th winner for the season, but his assault on the meeting.
Ben Yole took five truckloads and two f loats full of pacers to the Hobart meeting on Sunday night — in total a staggering 54 horses.
Only three won at the meeting, but the treble took him to the magical milestone of 100 winners for the season the first Australian trainer to reach that milestone this season.
It is the sixth consecutive season Yole has notched 100 wins or more in a season.
The trip south from Yole’s training base at Sidmouth in the north of the state to Hobart is 243km and takes more than six hours to get there and back.
The logistics of gearing up 54 horses at the one meeting that far away is mind boggling in itself let alone what the fuel bill amounted to.