Day At The Track

Rich championship series lures some of the best

05:36 AM 22 May 2019 NZST
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Glenn Douglas,Harness racing
Glenn Douglas
Courtesy Cobram HRC

Several in-form stables are targeting one of country Victoria's richest harness racing series for lowly-assessed pacers.

The 2019 Mitavite Northern Region Championship, hosted by far north-west sister clubs Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura, gets underway tonight (Wednesday May 22) for C1 to C2 horses.

The first round of qualifying heats at Swan Hill boasts representatives from the Shepparton-based stables of Laura Crossland-David Moran and Amanda Turnbull, as well as Glenn Douglas and Chris Svanosio of Bendigo; Leroy and Danny O'Brien of Armstrong; and Melton-based Rob O'Connell.

Link: Swan Hill Fields

https://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/race-fields/?mc=FD220519

The spotlight then moves to Ouyen on June 2 with a second round of heats, going into a $25,000 final at Mildura on June 6.

Douglas, who has won the championship several times in the past, said he always hopes to have an ideal runner up and going for the series each year.

"You really don't get these sorts of races for this class of horse - they just don't come along very often," he said.

"There's terrific stakemoney up for offer right through the three meetings and the big bonus is the final is worth $25,000 but the winner takes only a country penalty," he said.

"The first three heats have attracted some nice horses, who are sure to go onto bigger things. The Swan Hill track is big and spacious so I think there could be some quick times recorded there."

Douglas always enjoys heading north from his central Victorian base because he spent four years in the Northern Region in the late 1990s. His career was kick-started training horses for Eric and Heather Anderson, the parents of his wife Julie, who were at the time based in the Robinvale-Euston district.

"We had some good times up there before we all up and moved to our present training complex at Bendigo. It just made sense to come down here because there's less travel and we're much closer to many more tracks," he said.

Douglas has former Kiwi pacer Dublin Street in the first heat.

He said while the mare was honest, she was going to have to produce her very best as The Brooklyn Brawler (David Moran) and Think About Me (Brad Chisholm) were full of class.

"This will be a measuring stick for our horse, that's for sure," Douglas said.

His next runner is Artistic Saint in the second qualifying heat, owned by enthusiastic Swan Hill horseman and club vice-President Noel Watson.

"I'd love to get the money for Noel because he'd be over the moon with a hometown victory. I'll be wearing Noel's race colors, the colors of his beloved St Kilda Football Club, so that would be another reason for him to get excited," Douglas said.

"I've actually got a bit of an opinion about this horse. His first start back after five or six months off when he finished third was enormous.

"It was a super run because they went quick. He had a few things go wrong in his previous preparation, but they appear to be behind him now, thankfully."

The third heat should see smart youngster Im Sir Blake continue on his winning way.

World champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning has big wraps on the O'Brien-trained horse, who was sensational in winning during the recent Mildura Pacing Cup carnival.

"He's just below the very best going around in Victoria - he's a lovely little fella and I thoroughly enjoy driving him," she said.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

 

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