Day At The Track

Action packed $75,575 Victoria Trotters Derby

10:52 PM 07 Aug 2016 NZST
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Wilmas Mate
Wilmas Mate wins the Victoria Trotters Derby for driver David Butt.

Wilmas Mate survived an action packed Group 1 to reward harness racing favourite followers and smash a track record at Maryborough in winning the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby

Locking of wheels twice savaged the hopes of well-rated Victorian hopes Sundons Courage and Cruisin Around and while Wilmas Mate took full advantage to win by 2.5m from High Gait, a protest led to a wait before any champagne could be popped.

Wilmas Mate’s connections - trainer Paul Nairn, driver David Butt and owner Richard Cornelius – were forced to dwell after High Gait’s driver Chris Alford protested the result because Wilmas Mate veered into the sprint lane from the lead.

HRV Chairman of Stewards Nick Murray said Butt hadn’t explicitly complied with his obligations to prevent the horse shifting further into the sprint lane. Mr Murray said Wilmas Mate then trotted roughly under pressure and Butt restrained him, and it was only then High Gait made late ground, and owing to that and the 2.5m margin the protest was dismissed.

Wilmas Mate, by Pegasus Spur out of Mybrotherwasastar, won in a 2:00.3 mile rate, taking 0.4 off Speeding Spur’s Maryborough and District Harness Racing Club track record set in the 2015 Derby.

“It’s great to win a race in Australia,” Cornelius said. “I’ve been over here before with horses and gone home with my tail between my legs and for a minute or two I thought the same might happen again, but thankfully we got through it and won the race.

“Obviously Paul again showed the master that he is. He had the horse in excellent condition to do what she has done today and David Butt again proved that he is a great driver.”

Wilmas Mate found the front at the bell after advancing from the rear of the field, looping Sundons Courage (leader) and Cruisin Around (breeze), who then appeared to briefly lock wheels that led to Pizza Queen galloping.

High Gait jumped out from the death to challenge Wilmas Mate who had made a break, with a recovering Sundons Courage and Cruisin Around locking again at the final bend to put paid to their hopes.

It became a race in two and Wilmas Mate cleared away, looking all the world the winner only to veer into the sprint lane and lose gait in the dying moments, but being first past the post and surviving the protest.

“She was getting pretty tired at the end,” Butt said. “She deserved to be, she put in a big run. They made her work but she came around and went really well.”

Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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