Racing night delight

FIRST PLACE: Brohart, driven by Ken Rogers, gets to the line in first place during the TAB Pace last Saturday night.
FIRST PLACE: Brohart, driven by Ken Rogers, gets to the line in first place during the TAB Pace last Saturday night.

Everything old is new again! How often do we hear that phrase?

Well, let me tell you, one of the biggest delights that I have heard in a while is when I hear Ray Fewings commentating at the trots.

Although I really appreciate the ability of the modern day commentators, and what a real talent it is, to listen to Mr Fewings takes me back to days of old and to a time when things were just that little bit different. I thoroughly enjoyed the call on Saturday night.

Fewings’ use of colourful phrases certainly adds to the night of harness racing. And what a night of racing it had been.

The heat had been so intense in the days leading up to it that the start of the meeting had been placed an hour later, giving the night a 7.30 start with an eleven o’clock finish.

The stalls are all fitted with water sprays and it was obvious how much the horses had enjoyed them when I went for a walk through the stables. Despite the amount of water put on the track during the week, on the day and between races, it had been hard to still keep the dust down.

Despite the fact that the track was fast, it wasn’t until the sun had gone down that the dust had settled and for the last four races the track had been in a perfect racing condition.

Something to catch the eye of those at the meeting had been the “Teal Pants Campaign” initiative. Danielle Hill and Leah Harvey had taken on the challenge wearing teal pants and silks emblazoned with the Australian Ovarian Cancer symbol.

Leading lady drivers all throughout the country are wearing these colours over the thirty nine day campaign.

For each win that is racked up by the women in South Australia, Harness Racing SA will donate $400 to the kitty.

A wonderful initiative and we all wish Dani and Leah the best of British during this time.

Danielle Hil, wearing the Ovarian Cancer silks and holding the winning horse, Reva.

Danielle Hil, wearing the Ovarian Cancer silks and holding the winning horse, Reva.

As I said last week, the first race could have belonged to just about anyone, but it had been Brohart expertly driven by Ken Rogers which had won easily by four metres to take out the event.

After finding himself three wide at a couple of times during the race, Rogers had placed the five year old gelding in the perfect spot of one out, one back with a lap to go.

Tossup had finished in second place with Nykea Courage, the favourite, taking out third. Lars Ahlfors, owner and trainer of Brohart had been one excited man at the end of the race and Ken Rogers, although one fine driver, seems to miss the limelight somewhere along his travels. But don’t be mistaken, he is one helluva driver.

A Mile Rate of 1.55.00, the time for the second event on the programme, has been put down as the fastest Mile Rate for this season so far. Although a little slower than that of Better Party from last season, when he had run a 1.53.5, it is still a pretty quick time.

Fine Artist is a four year old gelding, owned, trained and driven by the double of Peter Borrelli and David Smith and was the first of the double racked up by the two for the night.

La Machnificent, which had started favourite had just been beaten to the line by a head and eight metres away had been Graffiti Lombo with Kaela Hryhorec at the reins.

Corey O’Donohue, in the seventh event of the eight race card, had given the Borelli/ Smith team a double. Corey O’Donohue is a ten year old gelding with almost a quarter of a million dollars in his winning basket.

He has had 183 starts for 36 wins, twenty one seconds and seventeen thirds.  Smith had driven him to defeat the Dani Hill driven Saab Magic, the favourite, by two metres. I’m Lonely was lonely, back another nine metres back in third place.

Canelliesparkle kept up her reputation of being a reliable runner, showing once again her good form when she took out the Hopkins Saddlery Pace, the third race to be offered on the programme.

Trainer and driver, Dale Afford, had kept the mare tucked in behind the leader, just biding his time until they had reached the front straight to the line.

Afford pulled her out and she was “sprinting like a gazelle’, (in the words of Ray Fewings) to the line and was just too good for the rest of the field. Glacier Heights which had looked like winning throughout the race had been beaten by three and a half metres and Look At The Stars with Leah Harvey in charge had found himself another eight metres back in third spot.

A trifecta in the third would have put a pretty penny in your pocket with Dee Lewis starting at $35.40, taking out the event. Allthe girlsinmylife had started at $110.20 and finished second with the $10.80 Samara Crocker in third place.

Dee Lewis is a four year old gelding with only two starts under his belt in regional Victoria but had trained really well last week and to some it had been no surprise with his win, not when the TAB had to write a cheque to someone for his win. I bet he won’t start at that price next start.

The big bay gelding, Reva, had not fired on eight for a few starts, but starting in a longer distance race, and with Dani Hill at the helm, he was on fire. Dani got him in the one out, one back position and his strength had seen him wind up in the last half lap to get up to defeat Big Behemoth by two metres. Its Me Telowie finished a short head next.

Dani’s double win had come with the Les Harding trained King Of The Roses, starting as favourite, in the Trotters Standing Start. He had been four out and one back at the bell and had the speed to get up to finish six metres in front of Rejuvenation and Paul Fidge’s Pocketfullofcash just a half neck away.

What an easy drive King Of The Roses must have been compared to her drive in the last race of the evening on Riverina Ava. The three year old filly wanted to run and Dani had to exert every inch of power that her small body could find to hold her back.

At one stage she looked like she was perpendicular to the cart, she had been holding her so hard. After the race I had asked her how her arms were, but she said to feel her hands. Her hands were left with the imprint of the reins, leaving large welt like lumps on her palms, all from pulling on the little mare who just wanted to run. She almost completely choked down but came back fighting in the straight to just lose the race to Marty’s Party.

She may be a really handy little mare as she matures a little more. The Hall Stables had another two new horses in the field, The Tooth Fairy and Princess Pickles.

The Tooth Fairy did break at the mobile and had been issued a warning despite the fact that it was her first start.

She was a fair distance behind the field but had come home like a train. Princess Pickles ran a good race and finished fourth. But the accolades had gone to Marty’s Party with Shesashark, the favourite, sixteen metres behind the leader.

Malcolm Meyers’ colt, Mackalan, ran a mighty race last Monday at Globe Derby, started favourite and only just got beaten by Shardonant. Possibly worth watching at his next start.

What a great night of racing, good clean, fast racing. Big night at Globe Derby this Saturday night but don’t forget the next trots night in Pirie is February 16.  

March is a big month with both the Kadina Cup and the Port Pirie Cup being run on Sunday 10th and Saturday 23rd, respectively.

So – see you at the track!

- SUE PENNY