Day At The Track

Aussie stable snippets

12:00 PM 09 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Cobram Cup smoke haze,Harness racing
Cobram Cup smoke haze

WHILE the smoke haze at Cobram last weekend provided a sad reminder of how our country is burning up, a pacer making its harness racing debut certainly "lit up" the track.

Three-year-old gelding Scorcha (pictured), a full brother to InterDominion winning superstar Smolda (Courage Under Fire-Under The Mattress (Safely Kept), posted an impressive runaway victory in the Cec Berger Memorial 3yo.

The business-like manner that Scorcha stopped the clock in 1.57-8 certainly augurs well for owner/breeder Paul Blackshaw. He's destined for bigger things, that's for sure!

Scorcha is trained by Peter Romeo at Chiltern and was reined by Cameron Maggs.

In what has been described as a most fitting result, it saw two legendary north-east harness racing families in the spotlight. Peter Berger donated a beautiful canteen of cutlery in memory of his father Cec, to the Blackshaw family. Cec was a staunch supporter of the sport. Peter and Matt Berger are now following in his footsteps.

Smolda had 32 wins for $2.4M in a sensational career. Apart from winning the 2016 Inter, the champ also claimed the NSW Derby, Len Smith Mile, Melton A.G Hunter Cup, Bohemia Crystal FFA, SA and Ballarat Cups and was narrowly beaten by Lennytheshark in the $750,000 Miracle Mile.


STAR big gun NSW pacers My Field Marshal (Tim and Anthony Butt) and Alta Orlando (Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy) have had travel plans disrupted on the eve of Friday night's $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park, Perth.

My Field Marshal, who won the Group One event 12 months ago, and last-start Shirley Turnbull Memorial winner Alta Orlando were due to fly out Monday.

It's believed an air-freighter was delayed and threw the travel plans into chaos.

The two horses eventually left Sydney for Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon and the next leg from Melbourne to Perth was scheduled for 3am today (Thursday).

Millionaire pacer My Field Marshal, the Miracle Mile winner in 2018, has been installed favorite to make it back-to-back wins in the Cup. Luke McCarthy's drive Alta Orlando shares equal second favoritism with Galactic Star.

The visiting pair were among those chosen by a Racing and Wagering WA selection panel. Officials received more than 30 entries.

HoofNote: My Field Marshal's little brother, four-year-old Surreal won at his race debut at Menangle on Tuesday. The pacer rated 1.53-6 and was bred and owned by Syd and Shona Brown, who were trackside to celebrate.


ACCOMPLISHED Hamilton reinswoman Jackie Barker obviously doesn't suffer from travel sickness-which is just as well!

In true Barker family form, the youngster is prepared to clock up the kilometres to fulfil any driving commitments that come her way.

Back in the day, her grandfather Jim and father Rod would bob up here, there and everywhere, whether it was just a short trip from their Hamilton base, or a five- or six-hour road journey. And win, lose or draw, their trademark broad smiles were always there.

And Jackie is is certainly a "chip off the old block(s)"!

Let's take a look where she competed in the first week of 2020: Leeton 652 kms; Terang 111; Bendigo 264; Melton 259; Cobram 449; Boort 285 and Mt Gambier 125. That's round trips totalling 4290kms.

Asked about all the travelling, Jackie replied: "Crazy...but I don't think anything of it. I'm really just doing what I love".


IT didn't take long for the "comeback kid" to return to the winner's circle.

Competent South Australian freelance reinsman Mark Billinger combined with well-known trainer Paul Cavallaro to win the opening event at Globe Derby on Monday.

Billinger scored on 3yo filly Miss Iconic (Art Major-Lucille Franco (McArdle) in the Amos Vac pace. He had seven drives at the Saturday night fixture and warmed-up nicely with two placegetters.

"Fortunately, I've become a bit of a gym-junky lately and that certainly helped get back into the swing of things," Billinger said.

Another to re-ignite their career was colorful horsewoman Gaita Pullicino, now based at Mallala, near Gawler. And it probably won't be too long before the highly experienced driver greets the judge, either.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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