Day At The Track

Hottest tickets in town still on offer

08:00 AM 17 Feb 2021 NZDT
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A winning trifecta: Kevin Gordon, David Moran and Lochinvar Art, Harness racing
A winning trifecta: Kevin Gordon, David Moran and Lochinvar Art

They’re the hottest tickets in town at the moment – but don’t think you can just rock up to the “Arty Party” in the NSW harness racing city of Newcastle on Friday night.

Superstar Victorian pacer Lochinvar Art has captured the imagination of harness racing fans and the hype is such that hospitality areas for the time-honored Newcastle Mile are booked out – there are still general admission tickets available, but they must be booked in advance.

“Arty” has captured the imagination of harness racing followers across the country and showed just what he is capable of in Victoria’s prestigious $285,000 Hunter Cup 10 days ago. He’s drawn the extreme outside barrier in alley number 10 for Newcastle’s AVE Technologies $100,000 Group One mile.

Trainer-driver David Moran is still upbeat, but deep down would know that, as great as the five-year-old is, he’s going to need to be on top of his game.

“The horse is in great order. He’s settled in pretty well and I’ll give him a bit of a dash-up tomorrow (Wednesday). We realize he’s going to have to be good, but that’s the norm in these big events,” Moran said yesterday.

“We’ve had a good run recently with barrier draws. I’ll probably have to work around early and get up to the death-seat, but we’ll see how it plays out.”

Newcastle Harness Racing Club is thrilled to have the boom horse attempting an automatic qualification for Australia’s richest sprint, the Miracle Mile.

Hospitality areas were booked out almost immediately after connections confirmed “Arty” was a starter, but there are still general admission tickets available for outside. However, due to COVID restrictions, they must be pre-booked – there will be no general admission tickets at the gate on race night.

Tickets are $10 and include entry and a racebook. Two dollars is a donation toward the John Hunter Children’s Hospital Club, a charity fundraiser for equipment for young patients.

Tickets are available online: https://www.newcastleharness.com.au/events/ave-technologies-newcastle-mile


Leading Sky Channel harness racing guru Adam Hamilton chats with owner Kevin Gordon and trainer-driver David Moran after Lochinvar Art won the Hunter Cup

Although the upcoming Garrards Miracle Mile is no doubt Lochinvar Art’s primary target, owner Kevin Gordon, a Newcastle local, makes no secret that winning his home town mile is a “bucket list” item for him.

“For Leonie and me to have the horse racing in front of our family and friends is pretty exciting. It’s probably the only opportunity for them to see him race in the Hunter Valley.  And there’s such a buzz about – it’s got everyone talking,” Gordon said.

“Many of my greyhound and thoroughbred friends are getting on board and I’ve had lots of people say they’ll come along just to see what the fuss is all about,” he said.

“I’m just thoroughly enjoying the ride.  It’s a bit of a Cinderella story, and he’s becoming the ‘people’s horse’ more and more each day which is fantastic for the sport.”

Gordon said he wasn’t really feeling the pressure of the moment.

“I’m not really.  But if you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said ‘absolutely’!” he said.

“All of us, myself, ‘Arty’ and David, have grown together in the sport and grown with the horse. He finished third at Bendigo as a two-year-old in his first start and we had no idea he’d go to the heights he has.

“I suppose for David and Arty it’s not unlike the Vo Rogue and Vic Rail partnership in the gallops in the mid-1980s. Lochinvar Art is not from a big stable and David is not a big name, he’s a young guy who has worked hard to get where he is, and that’s capturing people’s imagination.”

(Vo Rogue, perhaps the greatest front runner in Australian turf history, won 26 races and $3.1M under Rail’s supervision. Rail died in 1994 from a heart attack after being admitted to hospital with symptoms of Hendra virus.)

Gordon said he sees Lochinvar Art as a “real good horse” at this stage.

“He’s got a little bit more to get that champion tag. But if he could win the Newcastle Mile or the Miracle Mile in a couple of weeks, I might say that he’s got there!”

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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