Increasing interest

HARNESS RACING ACTION: Look At The Stars, driven by Leah Harvey, came in at third place in race three. PHOTO: John Penny
HARNESS RACING ACTION: Look At The Stars, driven by Leah Harvey, came in at third place in race three. PHOTO: John Penny

On a night with eight races and good fields the crowd once again was great. It seems that the interest in harness racing on a Saturday night in Port Pirie is increasing with each meeting. The first race had seen twelve horses nominated for the Ubet Pace over 1609 metres, a race for horses in the C3 to C5 class, one had been scratched. There had been no doubt which horse would start at favourite, it had to be Mymatethomo.

What a wonderful couple of seasons this horse has had. Since July last year, and including this win, he had passed the post thirteen times in first position. Ten of these wins have been on the Pirie track and I am not sure if there had been some before that date. He had started the race from barrier eleven, five out on the second row, not the best of draws. It had been quite a warm night and some of the horses had got a sweat up in the prelim. By the time the horses had come into the straight facing the bell, the little dark brown gelding had come three wide and by the bell had taken the lead from Regal Lager and Torque of Courage.

Just tucked in behind them had been Hard Rock Shannon and Barney Fella. Little Foo was back on the track after a lengthy spell but the tiny little mare had got stuck in traffic and had nowhere to go. Into the straight to the finish line and Dale Afford had asked Mymatethomo for that little extra and that little extra he did give. Torque of Courage had set out after him but had been no challenge for Thomo and he had gone on to win by about a metre with four metres then to Regal Lager.

Mile rate for the race had been 1.56.1. The second race on the card had been The Hopkins Saddlery Pace over 1609 metres. Seven horses had lined up for this event with Forte Courage having started favourite. From barrier two, Forte Courage had taken the lead and Atomic Blue Chip had sat on his outside. Positions in the race had remained unchanged until in to the front straight when the sprint lane had opened up and Lan Grin had charged on the inside.

However, Ryan Hryhorec had sat a confident seat and the margins had been three meters and then six metres to Atomic Blue Chip who had lost it stamina the further they had gone. The race had been run in a mile rate of 1.57.6. Dominic Tattoli had scored a win with Antaeus Blue Chip in the third race of the evening, The Dale Afford Life Member Pace run over 1609 metres. This event was for horses classed C1 to C2 and with good prize money of $7,000 as was the first and fourth race.

The extra money in stakes is of course due to Harness Racing SA having granted the Saturday night racing to Port Pirie, instead of that meeting being held at Globe Derby. Rhyfelctive, driven by Wayne Hill, didn’t need to be stressed to take the lead from barrier one and Antaeus Blue Chip passed over from position four to sit on his outside. Around the bend into the front straight and Danielle Hill had taken Ultimate One three wide to take on the leaders. However, just as it had seemed safe Dale Afford had whipped up a frenzy to bring Glenrae Hanover to the front and challenging Rhyflective.

Ultimate One had dropped back one. Afford was desperate to win his own race and at this stage Antaeus Blue Chip had been one out , one back. But he wasn’t to stay there long and in to the straight, Ken Rogers had asked him to take the lead and he had won by just a neck to Rhyflective and a half-neck to Look At The Stars which had charged home on the outside. Mile rate had been a nice fast pace at 1.56.2.

The 2018 Barry Ewen Memorial had seen Calcavado a scratching with ten lining up for the 2050metre race. A race for C6 to C12 horses, this had seen the David Harding, Blinding Light, start favourite, but would the barrier of eleven have been a hinderance. It had been Rate Highly which had taken the front position when the barrier had shown the green light in front of Mohegan Sun with Blacklist slotted in third position.  At the siren the leader was unchanged but Blinding Light had sneaked up on his outside and was ready to throw out the challenge. Into the straight and Dani Hill gave Blinding Light a little tickle and he had shot away to win by a margin of eighteen metres. Make Mine Joe had run in to second place with Major Kiwi another metre away in third place, the Mile rate having been a smart 1.55.6.

On to the fifth event on the card for the evening , The Shane Davey Life Member Pace. This was a race over 1609 metres and for horses C1 to C2 class. Blurred Lines, a seven year old gelding owned by the Buckland Park Homestead had started favourite in this event. It would seem that this horse had shared most of his racing over time between Globe Derby and Melton, having won over $78,000 in his racing career. A winner from last meeting, Midnitedelite had galloped in the score up and had missed the start. He had danced and pranced around being at least one hundred and fifty metres from the mobile when they had been let go. Midnitedelite is now out of the mobile draw until he can clear himself once more. It was nice to see the Linke, Meyers and the late Alan Coventry’s mare, Badelaide in her first start after a nice spell.

The line of horses fought it out for front position, but it had been Manly Mach, driven by Anthony Robinson who had led the field as they settled. Torque To the Stars had found its run on the outside and their postions had remained unchanged with Badelaide running three wide on the bottom bend into the straight. But Canelliesparkle had come from nowhere, charging down the outside and had got up to beat Manly Mach by a head.  What a fantastic drive by Dale Afford in this one. Badelaide had a mighty run home also and had just got beaten for second by a neck. One to watch next start, I would say.

The Hammill House Pace over 1609 metres had seen Run Rabbit Run, driven by Paul Fidge, and from barrier six, persist and take the lead. Run Rabbit had started favourite and had found Shezwhitelightening sitting on his shoulder. These two had been joined by Cora Jaccka on the bottom bend into the straight, three wide. To the line and Brohart had come wide, from behind, and we thought it had looked like the Charge of the Light Brigade. Brohart had stormed home to take the event, finishing two metres to Run Rabbit Run and then another metre to Cora Jaccka. The mile rate, 1.58.2. To the Henry Osborne Fodder Store Pace, run over 1609 metres, a race for CO only and 3 year olds and older, Toss Up had started favourite. A win here on Toss Up would have given Dominic Tattoli a training double for the evening and Ken Rogers a driving treble. Right from the release of the mobile, Rogers had sooled Toss Up to the front, he meant business.

He still led at the bell with White Star Stephie and Jilliby Beach Girl hot on his tail. The heat was too much for White Star Stephie and a mighty run had come from I Wanna Rocknroll to finish second but Toss Up had finished twenty metres in front with another six metres to Jilliby Beach Girl. Mile rate 1.56.6.

And so we come to the last race for the evening, The Equissage Pace. This had been a race for RO only and 3YO and older. There had been no scratchings in this race and eight horses had lined up. For the betting man there had certainly been some long shots in this race and if things had gone slightly different, the tote may have been in big trouble. Major Sharkie, trained by Ashleigh Dunkley and driven by Dani Hill had started favourite. Nevaevabend, trained and driven by Leah Harvey, had been in its maiden start, after winning its workout the weekend previous. Mighty Sheffield from barrier four had taken the lead after Major Sharkie had galloped and gone back through the field to Six Kays, which had travelled some distance back and had never looked like getting into the race and eventually pulled up.

Rockin Safari had gone up to join the leader and into the straight to the line, Nevaevabend had taken to the sprint lane and put out the almighty challenge to get up and beat Mighty Sheffield by three metres and away another three meters had been Outa Control. Riverina Ava finished in fifth pace, but this little mare will be one to watch. I believe that she is off to Mildura soon, so keep an eye out for her over there. The Mile rate in this event had been 1.59.1. A great night of racing once again. Don’t sit at home, come on over to the track and experience the atmosphere. The next workout is this Sunday, October 14, first one at 9am and the next race meeting is Saturday, October 20. See you at the track!

                           - SUE PENNY