Chasing Cup glory: Lochinvar Art and trainer David Moran will want to bounce back after running second in the Shepparton Cup last week when they contest the Ballarat Cup.
Shepparton-trained pacing hero Lochinvar Art has not one but two Belinda McCarthy-prepared pacers to contend with in tomorrow night’s lucrative Ballarat Pacing Cup.
And McCarthy’s second and more highly regarded runner, Expensive Ego, who joins stablemate Spirit Of St Louis in the $110,000 feature, is a pacer Moran is familiar with.
He’s the pacer Moran drove to victory in the Inter Dominion final a month ago at Menangle, only to be deprived of the win by the Shepparton-owned Boncel Benjamin on a protest.
That was the last time Expensive Ego stepped out and with a freshen up is sure to be a major player.
But Lochinvar Art has the more favourable draw in barrier two than Expensive Ego, who will be partnered by Luke McCarthy and will come from barrier nine, two off the second row.
This means Expensive Ego will follow out Lochinvar Art and if Moran decides to try to lead on his champion the Sydney-trained pacer could push through into a forward position early over the testing 2710m trip.
But Team McCarthy’s other runner Spirit Of St Louis might want a say in who sets the pace and gets his chance to do this from his poleline draw.
Spirit Of St Louis is coming off impressive wins in the Bendigo and Shepparton cups in the past two weekends and is racing in rare form for young reinsman Jack Callaghan.
But Lochinvar Art and the McCarthy runners are not the only hopes in the lucrative showdown.
Talented David Aiken-trained Max Delight has also been favoured by a good draw — barrier three — and Triple Eight, Tango Tara and Amazing Dream are other talented pacers who could win without surprising.
It’s certainly a mouth-watering showdown.
Shepparton Harness Racing Club chief executive Ian McDonald couldn’t have been happier with the crowd and how the Shepparton Gold Cup meeting went last Saturday night.
‘‘I was thrilled and Harness Racing Victoria was rapt as well,’’ the veteran administrator said in summing up the meeting.
‘‘I estimate the crowd was around the 2000 mark which was really good in these (COVID-19) times.
“Of course you had to be double vaxxed to get in and that put a lot of people who attended at ease a bit.
‘‘We had some cancellations of our dinning packages, but all in all it was a great night for the club and the industry.
‘‘I think a lot of people came to see the local champ Lochinvar Art, who ran a mighty race even if he was beaten.
‘‘Locals love this horse and he is a credit to his trainer-driver David Moran who leaves nothing to chance with his team and is very meticulous in preparing his horses and keeping his stables spotless.’’
Confident support for the Russell Jack-prepared Hi Manameisjeff was vindicated when the five-yearold ran his rivals ragged in the opening event at the Shepparton Cup meeting.
Driven by David Moran the son of Art Major had to do some work early to find the front and shook off all challengers in the home stretch for an emphatic win, the only success savoured by Goulburn Valley trainers at the meeting.
Hi Manameisjeff started his career on Riverina tracks where he won his first two starts at Wagga and in eight starts for Jack has now saluted three times.
His record of five wins from 11 starts suggests his resume may only get better.
The pace was certainly on at the Shepparton Gold Cup meeting.
Three pacers — Total Diva, Captain Wilson and Aphorism — produced sub 1:55.0 performances in their wins.
Spirit Of St Louis ran a race and track record of 1:55.6 for the 2690m in winning the Shepparton Gold Cup and every other pacing winner on the program broke the 1:58.0 mile rate barrier.
The two races for trotters on the program, while not producing sub two-minute performances went close to it.
The Andy Gath-trained speedster Majestuoso rated 2:01.1 in taking the Derby Royale Trotters Free-For-All over the 2190m trip, while another of the Gath runners, Scallywag Sam, went even quicker at 2:00.8 at winning a lower class trot over the same distance.
Wahring trainer Rosie Weidenbach produced winners at Kilmore and Cranbourne within the space of six days during the past nine days.
She completed back-to-back wins at last week’s Kimore meeting with Rolling Remona and made the trip to Cranbourne worthwhile on Tuesday night, collecting the major cash with recent stable addition White Star Village.
Driven a treat by Rosie’s son Kevin Weidenbach Jr, Rolling Remona beat the on-odds favourite, the Laure Crossland-trained and Damian Wilson-driven Delightful Nikky, in a Goulburn Valley quinella.
White Star Village, an eightyear-old Village Jolt gelding, was having only his fourth start for the Weidenbachs when he scored at Cranbourne.
He was also given the run of the race by reinsman Kevin Weidenbach Jr and beat the odds-on favourite and pacemaker Mister Rebel with the second fancy, His Dream Lives On, filling the minor placing.
Before joining the Weidenbach stables White Star Village did most his racing in the Mildura area and South Australia where he had faced the starter 105 times for 12 wins and 26 placings.
Another Goulburn Valley win at Cranbourne was achieved by David Moran.
Moran partnered the visiting Chris Frisby NSW-prepared pacer Our Aunty Ash to win a maiden three-year-old race at her 14th try.
Our Aunty Ash had finished second at her first and only Victorian start at the Bendigo Cup meeting and taken to the lead early by Moran comfortably held off all rivals for a resounding win.
In sport it’s accepted you might lose your form and confidence for periods, but you never lose your ability. Particularly if you have generous helpings of it.
An example of this was evident at last Sunday’s Hamilton Cup meeting.
Winner of the pacing cup, Rackemup Tigerpie, and the trotters cup victor, Kyvalley Finn, were outstanding young performers who bounced back at Hamilton to snare the feature events and break lengthy droughts from the winner’s circle.
Before his Hamilton win Rackemup Tigerpie had not won for 27 starts with his previous win recorded at Melton in June 2020.
Kyvalley Finn’s winless drought stretched back 23 starts to his Ararat Cup win in February 2020.
While there was been a lengthy gap between the wins of Rackemup Tigerpie and Kyvalley Finn, their prizemoney earnings of more than $200,000 are testimony to the fact they have always possessed a generous helping of natural ability..
Nanneella trainer Col Godden enjoyed a prosperous 2021 with his team of pacers and he has started the new year in winning style.
Gooden produced four-year-old Lincoln Royal mare Digyourheelsin to open her Victorian winning account at her third try when she won at last week’s Kilmore meeting.
Godden purchased the four-yearold mare when campaigning a team in Queensland last year and she won a race at Redcliffe at her second start for him.
Since coming south Digyourheelsin ran thirds at Albury and Maryborough at her previous two starts to suggest she was ready to win and she obliged at Kilmore with a runaway win after a copybook Josh Duggan drive.
Cobram Harness Racing Club has a meeting today with a nine-race card starting at 12.44pm with the last event at 5.47pm.
Coming off a win at Cranbourne on Tuesday night with White Star Village Wahring trainer Rosie Weidenbach will be tying to complete a hat-trick of wins with pacer Rolling Remona at the meeting.
The four-year-old daughter of Pet Rock won at Yarra Glen on January 5 and at Kilmore on January 13, so will be trying to achieve the three-in-arow feat in the space of two weeks.
There was a good chance mega Tasmanian trainer Ben Yole was going to win at least two and probably four races at last Sunday night’s Hobart meeting.
In two of the races a field of 12 fronted the starter and 11 of the runners were trained by Yole. Yes 11.
In another two races he had 10 of the 12 runners.
He also had half the field in two other races with six of the 12 runners and in all he had 55 of the 96 starters at the meeting.
His haul was five winners, two first fours, three trifectas and three quinellas.
There was a slight ‘‘blue’’ in this column last week in my story on Cobram Harness Racing Club having little difference in its prizemoney for its pacers and trotters cups.
In the story I mentioned Duncan McPherson was the principal of Alabar Farms when it should have read Aldebaran Park.
I’m sure Duncan will excuse me — on the grounds of age if anything.