To say that harness racing had returned to Port Pirie in quite a big way would be no way an understatement. With talks still at a stand-still with Globe Derby, there has been and will continue to be racing on the Port Pirie track each and every Saturday night, until the end of June at least.
Hopefully talks will have developed into a solution to please all by then. Until then, though, we are basking in a golden time of good, fast trotting with races in the vicinity of $50,000, as is this Saturday night and a race worth $100,000, the 2-year-old Allwood Classic on Saturday, June 8. This Saturday night sees the finals of the 2-year-old Classics for fillies and colts and finals for 3-year-old colts and fillies, each separately.
Last week the meeting had been dominated by the Victorian crew of Amanda Turnbull. With four wins up her sleeve at the end of the evening, the first of her wins had come on the Emma Stewart trained Treasure. Treasure, a two year old filly with four starts, had three wins and a second under her belt, had started a short $1.10 favourite.
Treasure had broken at the start of the race but had run three wide in the early stages, working her way forward to take the win by seven and a half metres from Michael Smith driven Triple Bella and the Dean Giradi Tuscan Star finishing in third.
The next win that Amanda had racked up from the 11-event programme had been heat one of the 3-year-old pacing colts and gelding. Heat one. As would have been expected her 3-year-old gelding, Young Rooster had started favourite, $1.50. Having started from Barrier four, the run had no fault involved at all.
The young gelding had charged from the barrier with great gate speed, worked his way to the lead and had gone on to win by one and a half metres from Cee Cee In America with another six metres to Above Average. Popular local gelding, Mackalan, had finished in fourth place. Even though Mackalan had run the almost perfect race, he really didn't have enough in the tank in the straight.
Heat two of the same division, 3-year-old colts and geldings, had seen Turnbull in the winning seat again, this time on Catch A Moment, an Art Major colt. Having started at a $1.70 favourite also, he had run an almost perfect race, leaving the field behind as he had pulled away to win by 15 metres.
Emma Stewart's Perfect Major had run up into second spot with Shardonant finishing in third. Also an Art Major colt, Animal, had brought up the fourth win of the evening for Amanda Turnbull. Heat Three of the Three year old colt and geldings Southern Cross Series had seen Animal run his race sitting behind the leader and waiting for the Sprint Lane to come in to play down the main straight.
Getting his nose into that Sprint lane and Animal had proved his name sat well with him, he just plowed down the leaders and had made the race all his. Although he had only won by a couple of metres, the run home itself, had seemed more impressive. With each of the three heats for the 3-year-old colts and geldings having been won by Amanda Turnbull, what a dilemma she faces this week.
With the final worth $50,000, it will be a huge decision she will face, which winner will she chose to drive over the line in first spot. It will certainly be on this week, with some of the best young horses in the Southern Hemisphere vying for the honours and of course the rich purses that are at the end of it all.
If ever you wish to see some of the best racing you will ever see, don't miss this Saturday night's trotting.
Just Cappy, a Courage Under Fire two year old gelding, took out another heat with a disappointing run from Hesashark finishing at the rear of the field.
But it had been the stablemate, Shesashark which shone in one of the 3-year-old Pacing Filly Heats when she had sat on the outside of the leader throughout the race and had gone on to win by four metres.
Starting as favourite, it had been a good win and would have replaced the smile on Dale Afford's face. How wonderful it would be to see a local win the final this week.
I wouldn't take a chance on having a pick this week, too many good horses in competition.
It will be a programme filled with great competition, good odds and don't you be one to miss out on seeing these great horses and drivers hard at it.
Hard at it has also been the case with the yourtown young people. Under the direction of 'Big AL' they have certainly cleaned up the back of the track, they have done a marvelous job. Well done crew and thank you.
I hope to be back at the track this week after spending a bit of a spell in the RAH and then at home, not doing too much at all. So until then ...
See you at the track!