Exciting racing night

There is nothing like Santa Claus to draw the crowd and while we like to suspect that it was the racing that did it, well, we do have to be practicable.

Santa arrived somewhere after the fourth race and as usual wasn't he a popular fellow. It was a beautiful night weather wise for the families to be out and about and I know many were off to look at Christmas lights after leaving the trots.

And while we like to keep the cheer of Christmas with us at this time of the year, there is always a tinge of sadness that catches up with some of us. The Port Pirie Harness Racing Club lost an identity last week in Coral Duke.

Coral, while not actively involved in trotting at this stage of her life, was someone who was constantly seen on trots night. She was a great help to Lyndon Hall, harnessing, showering off after, being a general help.

Coral was the daughter of Harry Duke, an owner, trainer, driver of years gone by was brought up with harness racing in her blood.

Once in your blood, it never leaves, you never lose that interest. Condolences go to Coral's family.

Also cheerios must go off to Terry Conder. Terry is the offsider to local on-course bookmaker, Robert Cronin. Terry found that bowls is not such a less dangerous sport to be playing at his age.

I do believe a broken hip and a broken shoulder were the outcome of a Saturday game just recently. Hope you are home for Christmas Terry, maybe look at rugby league or something similar in the new year.

Harness racing on Saturday night, although only six races, was an exciting night of racing. The track was in fine condition and times for the evening showed up the work put in the week previous to the meeting.

The track was in fine condition and times for the evening showed up the work put in the week previous to the meeting. The night had seen Wayne Hill, Ken Rogers and Lisa Ryan all walking away with a double each.

The night had seen Wayne Hill, Ken Rogers and Lisa Ryan all walking away with a double each.

It had been unusual to see Dani Hill miss out on a win for the evening, especially since she had not driven at Wayville the night before.

Wayville is proclaimed once again as a roaring success.

It was sure unusual to see the horses racing over the small track and all races at a greater distance, no 1609m races there, all being over 2000 metres.

The times were noticeable also, being over the smaller track and the longer distance.

The first event on the programme on Saturday night had seen a late driver change on Loving Life, Wade Knight being replaced by Dale Afford.

Loving Life had been retired recently.

However, to help with nomination numbers Wade had brought her back to the track after a week of no training nor stable feed.

She had surprised everyone, Knight especially.

However, Saturday night had been a little bit of a letdown, when Loving Life had finished forty five metres from the leader.

Maybe now she will relish in retirement.

Aaron Bain's four year old, Alcatraz Lass, driven by Wayne Hill, had taken out the race in a smart time of 1.57.5.

Alcatraz Lass had sat on the outside of the leader, in the death seat, for the entire race and still had something left at the post to go on to win by a head from Villa Boy which had started at $75.00.

Lisa Ryan drove the first of her double in the second event, on Glenrae Hanover.

Dale Afford had taken the drive on Shesashark and Lisa had been given Glenrae Hanover.

Lisa had tucked the gelding in behind the leader, Backwards, for the entirety of the race, sitting patiently waiting for the Sprint Lane in the straight.

And that was all that it had taken.

Glenrae Hanover had gone on to win by almost five meters from backwards and in third position had been I'm Lonely.

Ultimate Won, as usual, had won a grand race, but just wasn't there at the finish.

Young Corey Johnson had been reprimanded for lack of control over Tossup, which had run at the rear of the field.

Corey is the son of Laine Johnson, active harness racing participant in many genres. At only sixteen years of age he is do a mighty job at driving.

He may have been fined a few times lately for over use of the whip, but Corey, at his early age gets a bit excited and will soon settle down.

Not many sixteen year olds have been offered to go to New Zealand to further perfect the ways of their trade and I take off my hat to him and his dad.

Laine is there every step of his son's way, travelling with him at all times and it is mum who is a bit concerned about the time away in New Zealand.

The third event had seen Leah Harvey snag first and third place, All Day Bliss taking out winners position and Big Behemoth running on in third, only two metres behind.

Mymatethomo had his best run of the season and may be finding some form, finishing in second.

It was nice to see Atomic Blue Chip back in the winner's circle, always a nice looking and presented horse, a good run home had seen him take out the fourth event. Four back, one out at the bell he had got up smartly to finish in front of Barney Fella by head.

Bien Hoa, a Shane Loone trained gelding of twelve years of age had started at Wayville the evening previous.

The old fella had passed a vet's examination before the race as a vet examination before racing is a common feature in elderly horses, just as a precautionary.

Lisa Ryan clocked up her double in the last race of the evening, a race dedicated to the canteen and bar volunteers. And justly so, what a wonderful job these people do each and every meeting, the canteen supplying some of the best food available at any club event in town.

And so we come to Christmas. Have a safe and happy one. If you are travelling, travel safe, if you are having family and friends over, why not bring them along to the next meeting, Saturday, December 28.

Right between Christmas and new year it should prove to be another great night of harness racing. Enjoy your new year and make 2020 one to remember.

See You at the track!!