Outstanding Queensland six year old Famous Forever/Making Gold mare Forever Gold was a brilliant winner of the $25,275 Harness Breeders (Vic) Make Mine Cullen – the first leg of the huge Triple Crown Series for Mares M0 or better held over a three week period at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday, thanks to a brilliant drive by Kylie Rasmussen.
Trained by Darren Weeks at Toorbul, Forever Gold starting from gate three on the second line was set alight almost immediately the start was effected in the 1720 metre feature to circle the field and park outside the pacemaker Beauty Secret (gate two) which had crossed the polemarker Baby Bling.
Relaxing beautifully in the run, Forever Gold cruised up to Beauty Secret on straightening and quickly put a gap on her rivals.
In quarters of 29.4, 29.4, 28.8 and 27.7 for the last 1609 metres after a lead time of 6.9 seconds, Forever Gold scored by 2.6 metres in advance of a very much in-form Gumdrops from five back the markers in a rate of 1-54.3, with Baby Bling using the sprint lane for third ahead of a disappointing Beauty Secret.
Darren Weeks was thrilled with the performance in registering his first Victorian winner, while Kylie Rasmussen commented that “she was always confident throughout the race, especially on the final bend”.
It was also Kylie’s first success in Victoria.
On a super night of racing loaded with highlight’s, Victoria’s favourite pacer eleven year old marvel Smoken Up (Tinted Cloud/Carnlough Bay) chalked up his 73rd victory at start number 147 to win the Bold David Free For All over 1720 metres with trainer/driver Lance Justice in the sulky.
Sent forward from outside the front line to assume control from Five Star Anvil (gate six), Smoken Up enjoyed an easy passage all through the race and although looking to be in trouble on straightening when both Five Star Anvil which surprisingly moved away from the inside and Chilli Palmer (three wide after a one/one passage from gate four) issued strong challenges, Smoken Up rallied as he usually does to record a fighting half neck victory from Chilli Palmer in a rate of 1-58.3 (last half 55.4 – quarter 26.9), with Five Star Anvil a neck back in third place.
Quality four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Botswana entire Lennytheshark now with David Aiken at Avenel, resumed off an eleven month lay-off with an awesome display to land the second heat of the choicehotels.com.au Rising Stars Pace for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres.
Driven by Chris Alford, Lennytheshark raced by Kevin Risely and son Martin, led throught to score by 22.1 metres in a rate of 1-56.5 (last half 55.8 – quarter 28.1) from Sapphire Swayze which faced the breeze from the bell and Astronaut.
The first heat saw Melton trainer/driver Alison Chisholm’s six year old Grinfromeartoear/New York On Sunday gelding Asoka outstay his rivals after racing parked from gate six to defeat the long odds-on favourite Flaming Flutter which led from gate two, with the ever reliable Weallwantano third after racing wide in the final circuit. The mile rate 1-57.1.
Bacchus Marsh reinswoman Amy Tubbs experienced a night of “ups and downs”.
After guiding Brunelleschi to a brilliant victory in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trotting Series for TM0 & TM1 class over 2240 metres, she “hit the deck” when tipped from the sulky of Blazeaway Macray in the Make Mine Cullen.
Fortunately Amy suffered no injuries.
The 1st Heat of the Trotting Series was taken out by seven year old Conch Deville/Smilin Eyes gelding Monsieur Deville for Shepparton’s Geoff (Marto) Martin.
The $30,505 Final will be held next Friday
By Len Baker (Harness Racing Victoria)