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Shepp News 2-06-23

Girls have a lot of winning fun


Winning ways: Lisa and Mark Pitt enjoyed a winning double at Echuca on Tuesday night.

Talk about a girls’ night out. Eight of the nine winners at the Echuca Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Tuesday had the female touch associated with them.

Heading the female-dominated meeting were sisters Ellen Bartley and Lisa Pitt who bagged two winners each as trainers and Bendigo reinswoman Ellen Torney with a driving double.

Local trainer Susan Hunter and an ex-local in Maree Caldow also dished up winners.

The odd trainer-driver combination were Tom and Darby McGuigan who landed the first winner, Williebillie, an odds-on favourite, who ran his rivals ragged as an oddson pacemaker.

A total sister act

Stanhope trainer Lisa Pitt set the mood for the female dominance of the meeting with impressive debutant Swift Watch in race two.

The three-year-old son of Hes Watching, driven by Pitt’s husband Mark, turned in a blistering front-running display to destroy his rivals in close to track record time for the 2160m trip.

Swift Watch pulled away in the concluding stages to beat the runner-up, the Isabel Walsh-trained and Leigh Sutton-driven Island Feenix by a whopping 30m, rating 1:57.2 for the 2160m trip with final splits of 27.9 and 28.0 in a scorching 55.9 last half.

Swift Watch had impressive trial form leading into the race and punters were prepared to back him into a $1.15 favourite.

He is the first foal to race out of the winning Live Or Die mare Sounds Swift and is partly owned by the trainer.

The Pitts struck again later in the program with smart pacer Love Lou Longtime who had not raced since December.

He then had impressive form, winning three races and finishing runner-up twice and fourth once in his five starts prior to going for a spell.

Like his stablemate Swift Watch the five-year-old Sweet Lou gelding led and dominated the race in slick 1:58.1 mile rate time to hoist his fourth with eight minor placings from 16 starts.

Lisa’s sister, Narrandera-based Ellen Bartley produced winners in Island Bouhinia and Dun Me Up Francy who were respective $3.30 and $1.80 favourites.

Both were driven by Bartley’s partner, leading Riverina reinsman Blake Jones.

Tormey flexes muscle

Ellen Tormey, the other horsewoman to enjoy dual success at the Echuca meeting, struck a blow for the ‘‘golden oldies’’ with one of her winners.

In the trotters race Tormey drove the Elmore-trained 10-year-old mare Jay Bee Flex to her ninth win in what was a top training feat for her veteran mentor Jimmy Beecroft.

The Federal Flex mare had not stepped out since October, but Beecroft had the faith the mare’s racing career wasn’t quite done with then despite her advancing age.

Ushered to the front early from a front row draw by Tormey Jay Bee Flex led from start to finish.

It turned into a battle of the veterans with the Brian Bourke-trained 11-year-old Starlight Storm enjoying the run of the race on the back of the winner and picking up the runners-up cheque with the Susan Hunter-trained Partytime filling the minor placing.

Tormey’s other win was on the Dylan Marshall-trained Open The Valve.

The seven-year-old Sportswriter gelding enjoyed the sit on the pacemaker and runner-up , the Michael Watt-trained Trumpys Legend, in what was a drama-filled race.

Local trainer Geoff Allen was dislodged early from the sulky on Stormboy Star who was fortunately plucked driverless from the field by the clerk in a good display of horsemanship without a major mishap.

Lover proves too lethal

Susan Hunter struck a blow for the home town trainers at the Echuca meeting with the consistent pacer Lethal Lover.

Driven by David Moran, Lethal Lover settled near the rear of the field, but was sent to race outside the leader and second favourite Amber Alert for the last 900m and proved equal to the challenge.

Lethal Lover got home by a halfhead from Amber Alert and the fast-finishing Pinnacle Hope.

It was the six-year-old Pet Rock mare’s second win this season with five minor placings from 12 starts.

Lethal Lover’s record now stands at six wins and 19 minor placings from 59 starts.

Nice visit home

Completing the almost clean sweep of female wins at the Echuca meeting was ex-local Maree Caldow.

Caldow trains Azterian, driven by her husband John, who nailed the Brent Thomson-trained and Nathan Jack-driven Country Rockstar on the finishing post to post his sixth win.

It was Azterian’s first win in 10 starts since winning at Warragul in December.

But in those runs there were four top three finishes.

Azterian is out of the winning Jeremes Jet mare Neishars Jet who was bred by a syndicate which includes Kyabram and GVL football identities Paul Newman, Dave Williams, Peter Croxford and Graham Lyon.

Paying $19 for the win Azterian was also the longest priced winner at the meeting.

Heart beats true

Nathan Jack obviously doesn’t mind a long drive if he thinks he’s got a winner in the float and last Friday was no exception.

The Shepparton horseman made the four-hour trip to West Wyalong in NSW to campaign two pacers — Listen To My Heart and Hyleinvincible — and was satisfied with a 50 per cent return with Listen To My Heart successful.

Jack ushered the Well Said threeyear-old filly straight to the front over the 1740m trip and got away with some soft sectionals to win untouched in leisurely 2:03.7 mile rate time.

Listen To My Heart has had 11 starts for three wins and three seconds, all achieved in nine outings since March.

Hyleinvincible was given every chance as an odds-on favourite, but didn’t fire and finished a distance fifth.

Jack was back driving at Melton on Saturday night — and also winning.

He produced former Kiwi pacer Our Boomer for his first Australian start and the three-year-old Bettors Delight gelding led and held off a wall of challengers in the home straight to record his third win in 11 starts.

He zipped home in 55.7 and returned a mile rate of 1:56.2 in accounting for Louie Lou I and the Mark Pitt-driven and Emma Stewartprepared Our Vinnie with less than 2m separating the first three placegetters.

Nothing Arcee about it

Finley-owned trotter Arcee Phoenix made it two wins from his past two starts in this campaign when he scored at Bendigo last Friday night.

The Chris Svanosio-trained and driven four-year-old son of Trixton vindicated his $1.05 starting price with a dominant front-running display in which he arrived at the finishing line with more than 17m to spare over the runner-up and stablemate Cuchulainn in slick 2:00.0 mile rate time for the 2150m trip.

He left his rivals standing with a sizzling 57.2 last half.

Partly owned and bred by Finley butchers Ashley Haynes and Chris Shaw, Arcee Phoenix is now the winner of four races with six minor placings from 16 starts and on current form will improve that record in the near future.

Maybe even tomorrow night when he goes around at Melton where he has to overcome an outside front row draw and a couple of smart rivals.

Going for 9 on bounce

The Emma Stewart-trained pacer Major Grace will be attempting to keep her unbeaten Australian record intact when she steps out in the Mares Championship at Melton tomorrow night.

GV reinsman Mark Pitt who has driven the Art Major mare to five of her eight successive Aussie wins will be in the sulky again and will be trying to halt another pacer’s winning streak in the process.

The NSW-trained Im Pressi Belle is also on a mission to continue a five-race winning streak and will have top Victorian reinsman Chris Alford in the sulky.

Major Grace has had the better of the draws, coming from gate four, while the Peter Rixon-prepared Im Pressi Belle has drawn gate six over the 2240m tip.

The Steve Duffy-trained Serg Blanco and the David Aikenprepared Max Delight hold the hopes of a Goulburn Valley win in the Lazarus Free For All at the meeting in which Pitt will partner the Stewart-trained Hurricane Harley.

Coming up

Today: Maryborough (d), Mildura (n)

Tomorrow: Melton (n)

Sunday: Bendigo (d)

Monday: Yarra Valley (d)

Tuesday: Shepparton (n)

Wednesday: Ararat (n)

Thursday: Kilmore (n)

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