Talking trots: Sulky Shorts with Gus Underwood.
Some big pay cheques beckon for Goulburn Valley trainers and drivers at tomorrow night’s Gold Bullion and Vicbred Platinum finals at Melton.
Shepparton horseman Russell Jack has flying filly Just Hope coming from a poleline draw in the $125,000 Group One APG Vic Gold Bullion for three-old fillies. The daughter of Bettors Delight, to be driven by Nathan Jack, has to contend with no fewer than five Emma Stewart runners in the field of seven.
Another Shepparton trainer Brian Crossland has the other pacer not in the Stewart stable in this final in Championne, who has drawn next to Just Hope.
In the Gold Bullion final for three-year-old colts and geldings the impressive Rod Lakeytrained heat winner Lochinvar Jag has a second row draw and a hot favourite in Catch A Wave to contend with. Nathan Jack will drive Lochinvar Jag.
Locksley horseman John Nissen has the emergency Always Locksley in this final.
In the $150,000 two-year-old pacers Gold Bullion fillies final for colts and geldings Byrneside trainer-driver Damian Wilson has Will He Reign coming from barrier three in a seven-horse field.
In the $150,000 two-year-old pacers Gold Bullion fillies final Undera horseman Justin Torney will line up outsiders Skadi from barrier four and Lanning from gate two off the second row. Greg Sugars will drive Skaddi and Nathan Jack Lanning.
In another of the features the $30,000 Vicbred Platinum for trotters, Avenel trainer-driver Juanita Breen will carry the local hopes with the consistent Golden Sunset, who is drawn to run a big race.
Laura Crossland has the emergency Garshaway in this final.
In the $50,000 Home Grown Classic for twoyear-old trotters Avenel mentor Wayne Potter has two runners.
He looks to have a genuine winner with The Locomotive who has drawn the pole and will have Nathan Jack in the sulky.
His other runner, Avenel Eagle, has drawn the outside of the second row and will be an outsider.
Mark Pitt, who will drive Avenel Eagle, also has some good drives in the features for Emma Stewart.
Amazing, but not quite a world record, Shepparton reinsman Mark Pitt’s recent feat of driving nine winners on the one program is not a world record in terms of winners driven at one meeting.
Two Americans —Tim Tetrick and George Napolitano Jr — hold the record with 10 wins.
Both were achieved on the Harrahs track in Pennsylvania, USA, with Tetrick’s feat achieved in December last year and Napolitano Jr’s in 2009.
But on a percentage basis Pitt would have them covered with his performance at the Launceston Cup meeting on April 16.
His nine winners came from 10 drives and all his winners were trained by leading Victorian conditioner Emma Stewart.
Tetrick had 15 drives to get his 10 winners and Napolitano 14 drives for his identical haul.
Pitt was in the spotlight again at last Sunday’s Shepparton meeting with a double. He produced ex-Kiwi High Flying Harry to a debut Australian win.
The four-year-old son of Bettors Delight is the first winner Pitt has trained since his return to sport.
High Flying Harry had won five and was placed 11 times in New Zealand prior to crossing the Tasman and was having his first start since February 24.
Pitt was able to get High Flying Harry from four back on the pegs and from third last along the sprint lane in the home straight to beat the Donna Castles-trained and driven Sofala by a half-head in a blanket finish.
Pitt completed his driving double at the meeting on the Wayne Potter-trained trotter Alluring Tyron.
Castles goes one better
While Donna Castles had to be content with the runners-up prize with Sofala she quickly atoned, partnering another of her team Lils Nightmare to victory in the following race.
Castles settled Lils Nightmare midfield and urged him around the field to the front, straightening up and then holding off a late challenge from the Col Godden-trained and Leigh Sutton-driven Reddy Major.
It was the third win from 21 starts for the four-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover with two of those victories achieved on the Shepparton track.
While Col Godden missed out with Reddy Major he also had a winner as the owner of Digyourheelsin whom he formerly prepared, and is now in the Bendigo stables of Julie Douglas, who has produced the fouryear-old son of Sir Lincoln for two wins from two starts and taken his career wins to five.
Always good to win
A perfect drive from Damian Wilson landed filly Always Be Chloe with her second career win at the Shepparton meeting.
Wilson gave the run of the race for threeyear-olds, finishing strongly to hold out the favourite No Neigh Philtra.
The win continued the winning run for Shepparton trainer Dave Farrar and owners Stewart and Pam McDonald who had enjoyed a win with another of their team Hayjoshandco the previous week at Wagga.
It was a special day and a special win for Pam who has fought cancer in recent years.
Always Be Chloe, who is out of the Village Jasper mare As It Is In Heaven, a winner of five races who has also produced seven other winners, including Doubledipofheaven, a winner of 22 races.
All’s Wells ends well
Bec Bartley was popular with punters after the favourite Jeremy Wells claimed the ladies’ drivers race at the Shepparton meeting.
The Sweet Lou five-year-old, who was favourite and having his second Australian start for Shepparton trainer Russell Jack, couldn’t have been more impressive in winnig.
Trapped wide early and eased to the back of the field he was set alight by Bartley to take up the running at the bell lap before leaving his rivals standing at the business end of the race in slick 1.56.8 mile rate time for the 2190m trip.
The win followed his successful Australian debut at the Wagga Cup meeting on April 16 when he also streeted his rivals when driven by Nathan Jack.
Jeremy Wells was a three-time winner and 13-times place-getter in New Zealand before crossing the Tasman.
Dominating the field
Invergordon trainer Ian Ward produced Del Port for an impressive all-the-way at the Shepparton meeting.
Reinswoman Laura Crossland worked the five-year-old son of Bettors Delight to the front at barrier rise and was never in danger of being run down after that.
He cruised to the line with 10m to spare over the place-getter Im The Mighty Grumps who ran on well.
Del Port was having just his 10th race start, which have now produced two wins and a second, all on the Shepparton track.
His dam Kayleens Passport, who is by the Jennas Beach Boy sire Lotsa Clout, won 10 races and has left two other winners.
Muscle Mass mares are in the good books with Avenel trainer Wayne Potter at the moment.
The Potter-prepared Alluring Tyron proved up to the task of giving up to 20m start to a field of smart trotters at the Shepparton meeting.
Driver Mark Pitt was able to get the mare into a one-one sit for the greater part of the 2190m trip and she dashed away down the home straight to beat the consistent Rockford Peach and Elegant Peak who made a brave bid to lead all the way for Nathan Jack.
Alluring Tyron has been racing in good heart of late and being only a four-year-old looks capable of going on to better things.
Potter also had an interesting place-getter in the heats of the Vicbred Homegrown Classic for two-year-old trotters at last week’s Bendigo meeting.
The Potter-trained The Locomotive ran a bold second to the Andy Gath-prepared hot favourite Basilica on debut in a colts and geldings heat.
Also by Muscle Mass, The Locomotive is out of the former champion race mare La Coocaracha who has 11 foals to race and nine have been winners, including the former Anton Golina-trained champion mare Dance Craze.
Father Patrick sired both Basilica and the fillies heat winner Valerie Lane of the Home Grown Classic.
Jagging more success
Heats of the APG Vic Gold Bullion for threeyear-olds at last week’s Bendigo meeting produced Shepparton-trained winners.
Rod Lakey produced Lochinvar Jag for a runaway win in the colts and geldings heat while Russell Jack won a fillies heat with his Group One performer Just Hope. Both led all the way and were driven by Nathan Jack.
Just Hope was coming off a win in the Wagga Oaks and Lochinvar Jag had streeted his rivals at his previous start at Charlton.
Just Hope is now within $700 of passing $250,000 in prizemoney earnings from eight wins and five placings from just the 18 career starts.
The Andy Gath-trained budding superstar Catch A Wave broke the clock in winning his heat in 1.52.3 for the 1650m trip which makes him the one to beat in the series.
GV trainers salute
Congupna trainer Eddie Tappe, Bunbartha horseman John Newberry and Shepparton reinsman Mark Pitt enjoyed wins at Tuesday night’s Kilmore meeting.
Tappe scored with his talented trotter Abbie who produced a career-best performance to notch his second win from just 12 starts.
The four-year-old son of Majestic Son showed plenty of grit to race three wide to outside the leader at the bell lap and then pull away from his rivals.
Newberry gave Diamond Eclipse every chance in the run and the four-year-old Pet Rock gelding prevailed in a crowded finish to notch his third career win from 20 tries.
Mark Pitt continued his successful association with leading trainer Emma Stewart at the meeting, partnering the Stewart-trained Perfect In Pink and Soho Historia to wins.
Perfect In Pink is a half sister to the champion mare Ladies In Pink and Our Little General.
Meetings coming up:
Today: Maryborough (d), Mildura(n) Saturday: Melton (n)
Sunday: Cranbourne (d)
Monday: Hamilton (d)
Tuesday: Swan Hill (n) Wednesday: Shepparton (n) Thursday: Maryborough (d), Kilmore (n) Friday: Ballarat (n)