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Shepp News 16-02-24

Aiken hoping for a Miracle

Dream of Delight: David Aiken (right), pictured with gun reinsman Nathan Jack, is heading to Menangle and is also hoping for a Miracle Mile berth with his old marvel Max Delight.

Can Max Delight complete the comebacks of all comebacks and make the field for the Miracle Mile?

That’s the mission of his popular trainer David Aiken who this week started a new chapter in his life, shifting his training base from Avenel to Menangle in NSW.

Max Delight has joined him there with another nine or 10 horses.

Family reasons — closer to ageing parents for him and his wife Colleen — is the major reason for the move.

But they will retain their Avenel property where their son and former reinsman Josh will prepare a small team.

The Aikens originally hail from NSW and made the move from Bankstown in Sydney to Avenel to train 30 years ago.

Aiken will be first to admit it was tough going at the start, but his training skills and work ethic came to the fore and he has become one of Victoria’s leading trainers in the past 20 years.

Inter Dominion winner Lennytheshark, Max Delight and Hectorjayjay have been among the best pacers he has trained along with Ultra Jet who he brought with him when he first moved to Victoria.

Letsrockletsroll has also been a consistent money earner for him in recent years.

He has also enjoyed a lot of success with trotters including My High Expectations, Big Jack Hammer, Spider Girl, Eljaykay Phoenix, Princess Phoenix and Aldebaran Crescent,

Aiken completed one of his goals with Max Delight last Saturday night when his second placing to the champion Leap To Fame in the Cranbourne Cup took his prizemoney earnings over $1 million.

That was a mission completed for Aiken who had set him that milestone even when Max Delight went through an 18-month winless period and was wiped off by a lot of pundits claiming his useby date was up.

But Aiken never lost faith in the pacer and now would like nothing better than to qualify him for Australia’s premier sprint for pacers, the Miracle Mile, at Menangle on March 9.

Max Delight will have to contest some lead-up qualifying races to the famous race to earn a place in what will be a hotly-contested field.

A lot to like for Laura

Laura Wilson has been doing it on the double this week.

The Byrneside horsewoman produced a training and driving double at last Sunday’a Swan Hill meeting and on Wednesday night repeated the feat at Echuca.

At Swan Hill Wilson produced Alot Like Louie and Dessie Gee for wins in the space of three races.

Alot Like Louie completed successive wins, having broken his maiden status at his 14th start at Bendigo on February 2.

He had do work early before getting cover in the last lap and working home wide out in a two-horse war to the wire with the favourite Hot Rocks, prevailing by a half head in 1:57.3 PB mile rate time for the 2240m trip.

Alot Like Louie is out of the unraced Art Major mare Without Guile who left five winners from five foals including the classy Bondi

Lockdown (17 wins), Rocknroll Eyes (19 wins) and Joeys Hangover (21 wins).

Wilson was keen to lead on Dessie Gee and succeeded to and then dictated terms and held off the favourite Idealrockidealroll who had every chance.

A six-year-old gelding by Sweet Lou, it was Dessie Gee’s first win for eight starts and he has now won 10 races and been placed 11 times in 43 starts.

At Echuca Wilson drove the trotter she trains Creatable for a dominant win to claim successive wins with the Creatine gelding.

She then partnered the Brian Bourke-trained trotting mare Starlight Red mare to her 14th win which has her closing in on joining the $100,000 prizemoney earners club

Good odds Weidenbachs

Mum Rosie Weidenbach and son Kevin delivered some knockout blows to punters at last week’s Cobram meeting.

The Wahring combination stunned punters in the opening event when The Vicars Girl took the short cut home to account for the favourite Bullapark Beno and Tiney at tote odds of 15/1.

But their longshot day was far from done and dusted, bobbing up again in the final event with the 25/1 shot Rolling Remona.

The Vicars Girl had won three starts previously at Maryborough to open her winning account at her 12th trip to the races, but it was slightly longer between wins for Rolling Remona whose previous win was at Charlton, eight starts previously on December 1.

A six-year-old Pet Rock mare Rolling Remona has now saluted eight times and has had six minor placings in her 57 starts for prizemoney of more than $38,000.

The Vicars Girl, a five-year-old mare by Father Patrick, has faced the starter 15 times for two wins, two seconds and two thirds and is an improving type.

Welcome successes

There was some well overdue wins recorded at Cobram, none more than those of pacers Stormboy Star and Barny Bill.

Bunbartha trainer Jeremy Quinlan produced Stormboy Star for his second win in 52 starts and his first win for 28 starts with his previous win recorded at Shepparton in September, 2022.

Quinlan took over Stormboy Star’s training only four starts ago, so it has been a satisfying training feat to get the Follow The Stars gelding back in the winner’s circle so quickly.

Pacer Barny Bill has been a consistent placegetter for Merrigum trainer Brett Bunfield, so his win was well earned.

The four-year-old son of recently deceased super sire American Ideal, Barny Bill had clocked up 10 minor placings, including seven seconds from 22 starts before stepping out at Cobram.

With ace Riverina reinsman Blake Jones in the sulky Barny Bill led throughout to account for the favourite Good Tobe Locksley and Maginot Line with a 56.9 last half.

Honest little mare

The Wayne Potter-Nathan Jack combination has been running hot of late and enjoyed more wins at Cobram and Albury last week.

At Cobram, the Shepparton duo struck with diminutive mare Honest Harriette who had placed at her previous two starts at Cobram and Shepparton in January to indicate a coming win.

Jack had the four-year-old Art Major mare sitting on the back of the pacesetter and favourite Colby Art from her inside back row draw and she was too good at the business end of the race.

Captain salutes

Six-year-old gelding Captain Confetti was another pacer to win at good odds at Cobram.

Trained by Nanneella horseman Col Godden and driven for the first time by Cameron Maggs, Captain Confetti hit the ground running and was never seriously challenged in a commanding front-of-the-field role.

Godden has now won two races with the son of Sweet Lou who wasn’t jinxed by his latest success which came with the 13th start he has given the pacer.

Captain Confetti’s 81 starts have now produced 11 wins and 20 placings, including 10 seconds, and $111,000 in prizemoney.

His 1:56.5 mile rate in his latest win was the quickest for the meeting over the 1670m trip.

About Bloom-ing time

It’s taken 30 starts, but four-yearold trotting mare Vici Bloom finally cracked it for her maiden win at last week’s Bendigo meeting.

Trained by Tongala horseman Michael Watt and driven by Tayla French Vici Bloom zoomed to the front at barrier rise from gate five and ran her rivals ragged over the 2150m trip.

By the French stallion Orlando Vici she had put the writing on the wall for her maiden win at her previous when second to Creatable at Shepparton on February 1.

She is well bred with her dam K D Muscles a winner of 11 races and $170,000 in prizemoney.

Vici Bloom is her only foal so far. Shepparton horseman David Moran also enjoyed a win at the meeting, partnering the Anton Golino-trained Egret to a win in a heat of the Breed For Speed Gold

Trotters series.

Ideal time for Gledhill

A patient drive from Ben Gledhill produced a longshot win at last Friday night’s Melton meeting.

The Shepparton horseman bided his time on the pacer he trains, Kellys Ideal, near the rear of the field, but successfully plotted a course to victory on the home bend and then in the home straight to get up and grab the major money in the last stride at juicy odds of 25/1.

A nine-year-old by Western Hanover, Kellys Ideal was resuming after a five-month break and his previous win was seven starts previously at Shepparton in July of last year.

It is Kellys Ideal’s fourth win for Gledhill and his ninth win from 83 starts.

Jack racks up three

Nathan Jack was the star of last Friday’s Albury meeting with a driving hat-trick on the seven-race card.

The Shepparton reinsman started the program with a win on the Peter Romero-trained Keayang Crippa who notched his second win in 12 starts.

Then it was the NSW-trained Acheron who provided a runaway win for Jack and the pacer’s sixth win from 62 starts.

Jack then completed the hat-trick on Sophies Scooter for fellow Shepparton horseman Wayne Potter to make it two wins and two seconds at his past four starts for the Captaintreachous threeyear-old gelding.

Jansu shows toe

Echuca-trained trotter Jansu proved too nippy for her rivals over the 1690m trip at Maryborough on Monday.

The four-year-old Trixton mare settled four back on the pegs before reinsman Josh Duggan asked the question with 600m to run which she answered impressively and reeled in her rivals to win by 7m in 2:00.2 mile rate time.

Trained by Fay McEwan Jansu was having her 25th start and has now won two races and been placed six times.

Having a dip at cup

There will be a lot of interest in the SS&A Club Albury Pacing Cup meeting tonight after a whopping stakemoney boost to $60,000 for the headline event.

Shepparton-trained pacers Curly James and Skinny Dip are contesting the race over 2570m.

The Courtney Laker-trained Curly James comes from barrier 10 (four of the second row) and will be driven by regular reinsman David Moran, while Natan Jack will be in the sulky of Skinnydip who has drawn barrier two.

Jack is familiar with the Downbytheseaside gelding having trained him for his six starts which have produced four wins.

This is his first start for Wayne Potter and his first since August 11.

Coming up

Gunbower Harness Racing Club celebrates 100 years of existence with a big meeting on Sunday featuring the centenary pacers and trotters cups.

Today: Melton (n )

Tomorrow: Terang (n)

Sunday: Gunbower

Monday: Waragul (d)

Tuesday: Mildura (n)

Wednesday: Bendigo (n)

Thursday: Horsham (d), Shepparton (n)

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