Harness racing identity relinquishes the reins

There was enough rain to render the track in good racing condition.

A night that was pleasant within itself and a crowd that had to make you think that harness racing is far from over in the public eye.

It was a great crowd, the betting ring abuzz, young families everywhere, the kind of night that put a smile on all of our faces. With fields that were of a premium standard the racing promised to be far from ordinary and far from ordinary it was. However, there were so many other things happening on the outskirts of the racing that just filled the night with glee. Leah Harvey was presented with her Life Membership by Club President Jacqui Hall in a short ceremony trackside. Jacqui had paid homage to Leah in the racing program, laying out her many achievements and thanking her for her work and dedication while filling the role of Country Representative on the Committee. Leah had responded, thanking the Club for all that they had given to her in return. She was sorry to resign from her role, but with health issues over the last couple of years it really was time for her to concentrate on other things. One race during the evening was dedicated to Leah, "The Leah Harvey Life Membership Pace' . This was a race which showed the strength and power of Ultimate Won, driven by Dani Hill. After his miserable performance at Mildura during the week, he was a good starting price at $4.10. Having started from barrier ten, Dani had no choice but to sit at the rear end of the field with him, in fact, five back on the outside. With a lap to go he had come out three wide in the straight and had hooked on to the tail of Shesashark, both running three out. Leaving the back straight and in Dani's words, "he had pulled himself out four wide" around the outside of Shesashark and had continued to make ground. Halfway down the main straight and the pair had hit the front and from there had managed to cross the line four and a half metres in front of Toss Up with Longtan Casanova running home third. Shesashark, starting favourite, ran disappointingly and her run had been queried by the Stewards. Leon Jolly, from Kadina, was present on track to present a rug for 'The Happy 34th Birthday Suntory Pace'. Suntory is a 34 year old gelding, retired and out to pasture in Kadina. The gelding, in his heyday, had quite a successful career and despite his age is in relatively good health. Suntory was unable to make an appearance on the night, the trip may have been a little too much for the aging gent. Well, as seven years is equal to one in human years, this makes him 238. I doubt if I would travel then either. The Ides Of March made it a hat-trick in winning this event. Robert Caruso and C. Neilson purchased this six year old gelding on October 5 in a Claiming Race at Globe Derby and the horse has gifted them a fifth and three wins in that time, totaling over $17,000 in prizemoney in just under a month. Pretty good purchase I would say, even if I am not aware of how much they paid for him. What a thrill for connections of First Round Pick, owner Greg Baker and trainer, driver Ryan Hryhorec. It was the first run for the three year old, Courage Under Fire colt. Unbelievably, he had started favourite in the Henry Osborne Fodder Store Pace, someone had been peeking. Ryan had First Round Pick out from barrier four, hit the lead and did not look like losing the spot over the 1609 metre event. Lisa Ryan threw everything that she could at Eyre Space down the straight but the post came all too soon and Hryhorec's colt went on to win by three metres. A shock to the Committee, had been at the last meeting, when Club Secretary/ Manager, Neville Thomson, retired from his duties at the Club. Joining the Committee the first time at 17 years old, after sitting on his parents' verandah, just across the road, on The Terrace, and just busting to get over there and get involved. He did leave but returned and a huge part of Neville's life for the past 22 years has become the PP Harness Racing Club. Over the years, Neville has taken on more and more roles as they have become vacant. These roles have been shared with the ever energetic and rushing here and rushing there, Jenny. Jenny and Neville have made the Club (and the Club have made them) their second family and it will be hard to close that chapter on his life. But don't fret, Neville will still be around the place, because how could he not be, and Jenny isn't leaving just yet. Members of the Club can never express the gratitude that is due.

Although we all know that no-one is indispensible, they are certainly big shoes that Neville is leaving behind to fill.

The Meeting at Wayville is December 13, a Friday night. The Club does have a bus going down, costs being $40 for the trip and $20 admission. Contact the Secretary's office or anyone on the Committee and they will set you straight. It should be a memorable night, as was the meeting almost two years ago.

Our next meeting is Saturday, November 16. The nights are getting warmer and it a great night of entertainment.

See you at the track!