Lennytheshark tonight etched his name alongside greats such as Golden Reign, Popular Alm, Pure Steel and Paleface Adios, winning the 2017 Jet Roofing
The cup at Kilmore has a unique history and place among the trots. Obviously $70,000 stakemoney is signifant, but the esteem in which participants and fans hold this race is disproportionate. For many, winning the Group 2 Kilmore Cup is sweeter than any Group 1.
For superstar reinsman, who steered Lennytheshark to his win tonight, this was his third Kilmore Cup win after successes aboard Golden Reign in 1994 and Chancellor Cullen in 2013.
For Lennytheshark, his stake earnings surpassed $2.6 million.
A commanding odds-on favourite, Lenny had to use up some petrol early, the Miracle Mile, Inter Dominion and Victoria Cup champion bustled to find the front after speedster Major Crocker found the pegs first from the 2690-metre start.
Once in front Alford was able to settle Australia’s best pacer, who controlled the race and went on to score a 2.4-metre win – in a mile rate of 1:59.4 – over a bold My Kiwi mate, who ran on powerfully from last in the run for Jodi Quinlan.
Tonight's win moved-trained Lennytheshark (Four Starzzz Shark-Botswana) into equal second place on the Trots Country Cups Championship ladder, on nine points, alongside Major Secret and Im Corzin Terror. A stablemate of Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay, leads the Country Cups ladder on 10 points, with the winning horse at season's end to pick up a $25,000 bonus.
Lets Elope (Josh Duggan) finished third in tonight's cup after a soft trip on the pegs, edging out Major Crocker, with bonny mare Milly Perez in fifth place.
Earlier at Kilmore Ross Sugars-trained Illawong Helios (Majestic Son-Shining Sun) emphatically won the McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup.
Driven by Ross’s son, Greg, Illawong Helios rated 2:04.9 in the 3150m stand-start contest to defeat Dead Cat Bounce (Michael Bellman) by 8.5m with Claudys Princess (Gavin Lang) third from her 30m back-mark.
Greg Sugars finished the night with a winning double, his first winner coming aboard Whirily School (Courage Under Fire-Mayhappen) in the Lawrie Boyd Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship 11th Heat (Race 3).
Whirily School ran to the front at the 1200m after Courageous Call initially held up from barrier four and the Emma Stewart-trained four-year-old mare was able to sprint home in 28.6 and 28.4 final quarters for a 1:55.7 rate, holding out Courageous Call at the finish by 2.5m.
That win was the second leg of a race-to-race double for Victoria’s leading trainer, Smythes Creek’s Emma Stewart.
Stewart combined with Chris Alford to win Race 2, the Great Northern Super Crisp 3YO Pace with promising bay Rocknroll Icon (Rocknroll Hanover-National Gallery). Rocknroll Icon now boasts three wins from his seven career starts.
The night was opened by Siliqua winning the J&A Mazzetti Pace Final for Bacchus Marsh’s Amy Tubbs.
Three-pegs in the run, Tubbs steered Siliqua to the outside off the back straight before putting her rivals away for a 5.8m win over Four Starzzz Forsa.
Trainer/driver husband and wife team Maree and John Caldow combined to take out the Bendigo Vicbred Platinum Country Series K (2nd Heat) for trotters with four-year-old Muscle Hill-Calder Luck gelding Muscletonian.
The Melton squaregaiter was all out at the finish, only just holding off a fast-finishing Light The Flame by 1.1m in a mile rate of 2:05.8 for the 2180-metre trip.
One of the more impressive performances of the meet belonged to Majordan (Art Major-Benelise), who is absolutely flying.
The well-bred four-year-old used his customary gate speed to arrest control of the race early for driver Rod Petroff before powering clear for a 10.2m win over in-form Rock Of America, who ran on from the back for second, with Glenferrie Blade slashing home along the sprint lane for third ahead of Classic Grin.
And rounding out the night was a victory for in-form trainer Andy Gath, who produced Bettor Think Quick (Bettors Delight-Rona Lorraine) to win the Momentum Gaming Pace over 1690m.
Driven by Alex Ashwood, Bettor Think Quick scored a 2.8m win over Peter Perfect, with Flick Me An Ace running on for third.
The Trots Country Cups action heads to Boort tomorrow.