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Shepp News 9-02-24

Jack has knack from back


Melton moment: Abbey Turnbull enjoyed one of her biggest successes with Dalvey Robyn at Melton.

Shepparton horseman Nathan Jack’s judgment proved spot on when he elected for a second row draw on French import Callmethebreeze in Saturday’s richest race for trotters in Australasia.

Jack surprised everyone — even the trainer of Callmethebreeze Anton Golino — when he chose barrier 10 three off the second row instead of frontline draws barrier six or seven in the $300,000 final of the Great Southern Star series.

Callmethebreeze had demolished his rivals in his heat earlier in the night, but Jack was concerned a wide front row draw and the likely frenetic early pace would be detrimental to his charge’s chances in the final.

It proved a winning decision with Jack pushing through early to land the one-one sit with the French trotter before settling him three back in the running line after the favourite Just Believe made an early move from a wide front row draw to sit outside the pacemaker Hesallmuscle.

Jack made his move 700m out and singled out with the gallant Just Believe to fight out an epic finish in which Callmethebreeze prevailed by a neck in record 1:53.1 mile rate time for the 1720m trip.

Jack wouldn’t be drawn into comparisons with top Australian trotters he has driven, naming Sundons Gift, Dance Craze and Cravache Dor as the best Australian trotters he has driven.

Jack’s win on Callemethebreeze came after he had partnered the David Aiken-trained veteran Max Delight into third place in the $500,000 Hunter Cup at the meeting.

The eight-year-old Bettors Delight gelding, who was a 70/1 chance, was given the run of the race by Jack, two and three back on the pegs, and he battled bravely to the finishing line just 5m from the winner and favourite Leap To Fame with the Kiwi pacer Don’t Stop Dreaming splitting the pair in a top performance in his 104th start.

The $50,000 third prizemoney took Max Delight to within $8000 of joining the $1m Prizemoney Earnings Club.

Shepparton-trained Curly James, the recent home-town cup winner, showed he wasn’t out of his depth in this company.

The Coutney Laker-trained pacer was given every chance by reinsman David Moran and finished seventh, just over 13m from the winner.

Robyn up and flying

Nathan Jack wasn’t the only Goulburn Valley success story at the mega Melton meeting.

Abbey Turnbull and Lisa Pitt flew the flag for the fairer sex with impressive wins.

Turnbull enjoyed one of her biggest wins in the sulky when she partnered Dalvey Robyn to win the $40,000 Mecury80 final over the 1200m sprint trip.

To add a bit more excitement it was a milestone win as it was her 150th winner.

She rates it up with Hiranya’s Tasmania Derby triumph in 2022 in her six years in the sulky.

Turnbull settled Dalvey Robyn second last in the run and made her move with 500m to run with the sixyear-old daughter of Washington VC prevailing by a head from the favourite Jillyjacksparrow in a tight finish.

Trained by her father Craig Turnbull, Dalvey Robyn’s time equated to a mile rate of 1:49.6.

Dalvey Robyn ran second to Letsrockletsroll in her heat of the series at Melton the previous week.

It was the mare’s ninth win — there have also been 19 minor placings — and took her prizemoney to $92,000.

Thinker proves smart

At the Melton meeting Lisa Pitt combined with reinsman husband Mark to win with pacer Major Thinker who made it five wins from seven starts since arriving in Australia.

The son of Art Major was driven a treat with Mark getting him off the pegline three back into a one-one sit early in the race which proved the winning move.

His mile rate of 1:54.4 for the 1720m trip was a PB.

Like Dalvey Robyn, Major Thinker is owned by Leeton-based Boots Properties Racing.

Victory well deserved

When you have finished among the top four placegetters eight times in succession you are well overdue for a win.

That was the case for pacer Deewhy at last week’s Shepparton meeting.

The David Aiken-trained son of Downbytheseaside assumed the front running role early and reinsman Alex Ashwood was able to dictate terms from then on.

Deewhy accounted for the Brett Bunfield-trained Barny Bill and the Laura Wilson-trained and Damian Wilson-driven Streets Of Madrid.

It was Downbytheseaside fouryear-old pacers 20th start and first win, but in those starts he had clocked up nine third placings.

Bred by Benstud and raced by a huge syndicate Aiken has trained Deewhy from day one.

Ashwood had a double at the meeting, with his second winner Cotchinelle, a pacer he trains, who was driven to an impressive victory by his partner Tayla French.

It was the fifth win in only 16 starts for the Hes Watching five-year-old gelding and his 1:56.2 mile rate for the 1690m trip was a PB.

French enjoyed a double at the meeting also, winning on the Clive Henderson-trained Edward Grange.

Creatable makes it

It was a case of third time lucky for trotter Creatable at the Shepparton meeting.

The four-year-old son of Creatine was stepping out for his third race, but punters were well aware of his ability and he was the $3.90 second favourite.

Caught outside the leader and favourite Vici Bloom, Creatable never shirked the issue and was too good, surging to the front on the home turn, clocking an impressive 2:01.1 for the 1690m trip.

The Michael Watt-trained pacemaker Vici Bloom battled on well for second and Taken By Wine was a distant third.

Creatable is trained and driven by Laura Wilson (formerly Crossland) and is out of the Straphanger mare Spinghassprung who was left three other winners including Aussie Beach Blond and Miss Cully.

Plenty of life in her yet

Rochester trainer Mark Thompson produced pacer Dieing Art for one of the most impressive wins at the Shepparton meeting.

Driven by Ellen Tormey the sevenyear-old daughter of Art Major raced in the death seat before roaring away from her rivals in 1:56.4 mile rate time for the 1690m trip at her second trip to the races.

Dieing Art had a whopping 22m to spare over the runner-up Little Arty Miss with another 10m to the third placegetter Miss Collann.

Dieing Art made her debut at Swan Hill on January 16 when second to the favourite Goodtime Cracker when she raced roughly early, but it was all smooth sailing at Shepparton.

Donna gets Cheeki

Consistent pacer Cheeki Philtra made it win number 14 after trainer-driver Donna Castles overcame a second row draw to win on the hardy mare at the Shepparton meeting.

After settling four back on the outside in the run the eight-year-old daughter of Modern Art produced a strong finishing burst to beat the Mark Gledhill-trained Eliza Hill and Paul Tonkin-prepared Alta Bedford.

Cheeki Philtra was having her 111th start which have also produced 31 minor placings.

Muscling in on action

Kyabram-trained trotter Malhana Muscles doesn’t win out of turn … and it was her turn again at the Shepparton meeting.

Going into the meeting the sevenyear-old daughter of Down Under Muscles had not saluted in her previous 20 starts for trainer Paul Railton.

But after being around the mark in her previous three outings Malhana Muscles was hinting a win was not far away.

Despite being forced to face the breeze early before getting cover Malhana Muscles sprinted over her rivals in the concluding stages for an easy win.

Malhana Muscles has faced the starter 44 times for her three wins and nine minor placings.

Hola Amigos, I’m here

Trotter Amigos is certainly making up for lost time.

The injury-plagued eight-yearold gelding was having only his second start when he stepped out at Shepparton last week, but he had already shown he was a trotter with a lot of talent when he spreadeagled his rivals in sub two-minute time on debut at the Cobram meeting on January 18.

At Shepparton the Lisa Pitttrained and Mark Pitt-driven son of Bacardi Lindy repeated that win, leading throughout to account for Hillside by 6m with Little Teddy third, but more than 23m from the winner.

His winning mile rate for the 2190m trip was a respectable 2:03.4.

A sequence of injury setbacks delayed Amigos’ debut by five years, but he has certainly made an impression in his first two starts.

Gunning for a big day

A cash-boosted Sunday card and the appearance of a former AFL star will lift the profile of Gunbower Harness Racing Club when it celebrates its 100th birthday at its meeting on Sunday week.

The club has gone all out to celebrate the milestone and has gained sponsorship to added feature events, the $14,000 Gunbower Centenary Trotters Cup and the $14,000 Brereton Family Gunbower Centenary Pacers Cup.

Collingwood premiership player Mick McGuane will be in attendance to host a marquee throughout the day, while $1000 will go to the leading trainer at the meeting thanks to G & M Poly.

Great grandson of the club’s first president, Grant Lunghusen, said the day was set to be a special one for the Gunbower community.

“I went around and chased some good sponsorship that I just wanted to put into some races where we got some better class horses,” he said.

‘‘Now, because it’s our centenary, we’ve thrown in that extra money to boost the meeting.

“It’s a big day for Gunbower and surrounds.”

A book compiled by Daryl Poxon on the club’s history will be unveiled as part at the meeting.

Nominations for the Gunbower meeting close on Tuesday, February 13.

Roman trainer dies

Graeme Johannesen, the trainer of one of one of Australia’s greatest trotters, died earlier this week.

The Elmore-based former trainer took the mighty trotter True Roman to 73 wins from 1983 to 1992 from 135 starts.

There were also 24 seconds and 12 thirds.

True Roman won 35 times at Moonee Valley, a record in the modern era, but since surpassed last year by the Mildura Miracle, Bernie Winkle, who won 42 races on the Sunraysia track.

Johannesen also won the first Redwood Classic for two-year-old trotters with Young Trouper who also won the Victorian Sires Stakes classic in that season.

Johannesen, wo was in his ’80s, was a well respected and liked figure in the industry.

Coming up

Today: Melton (n )

Tomorrow: Cranbourne (n)

Sunday: Swan Hill

Monday: Maryborough (d)

Tuesday: Ararat (n)

Wednesday: Geelong (n)

Thursday: Bendigo (n)

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