Day At The Track

Angus Garrard has a week to remember

06:00 PM 28 Dec 2020 NZDT
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Angus Garrard, Harness racing
Racing Queensland

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.

 

THE GOOD

Angus Garrard has had one of his most successful weeks in the sport, landing multiple wins at three successive meetings last week.

The run started at Redcliffe on Wednesday night with a winning double aboard the Doug Lee-trained Illawong Dreamtime and Barboo for Charlie Chiang.

The Christmas eve meeting - again at The Triangle - saw Angus go one better than the previous evening when scoring a threepeat of victories.

His first winner for the day came with Fortyfive Rock, a pacer that was winless after 43 career starts.

Garrard has now had ten drives on the gelding for three wins and two minors.

Go Anne Go was the second triumph, with the Gary Gerard-trained mare charging home from the rear of the field to claim victory.

The treble was complete when Blues Terror - having its first start in Queensland - was successful in race eight for trainer Donny Smith.

Angus only had two other drives outside of his winners, placing third in both.

Heading to headquarters for what looked on paper a strong book of drives, the results backed up that early assessment.

In claiming his third metropolitan treble in his fledgling career, it was trainer Donny Smith that provided the first winner of the night.

That win was courtesy of Letterkenny Boy, a pacer Garrard has now partnered to five victories.

Picking up a nice catch-drive for the Craig Cross stable in the seventh, Lets Katchmeifucan proved that the field could not, scoring a start-to-finish win.

The treble was completed with a well-timed and patient drive aboard the star filly Pelosi, charging home wide off the track to score.

In just his first full season of driving, Angus has broken into the top 20 nationally, sitting behind 174 wins in the extended season.

Listing the treble of wins at his first ever Metropolitan meeting back in June as a season highlight, the young reinsman has had many memorable wins already.

Landing four wins for the term aboard the excitement machine Speech Is Silver also ranks highly, purely for the acceleration and speed he can deliver at the end of his races.

Arguably one of the most impressive wins for the season for Angus came aboard The Bus at Albion Park back in September.

Caught three-wide throughout, it was a composed drive and looming up in the stretch, Garrard was able to coax enough out of the entire to score a win against the odds.

The call by Chris Barsby complemented the triumph, as he proclaimed “The Bus reaches the lead, he has the Go-Card stamped tonight, The Bus - that’s a monster victory”.

Driving with poise and balance beyond his years, Angus will also claim a unique record in Queensland for the season.

Five tracks have hosted TAB meetings in Queensland this season and just one driver has been able to win at least one race at all five - Angus Garrard.

 

THE BAD

Bad injuries are never easy for any human to manage, and athletes can often find it even harder in the pursuit of returning to their chosen endeavour.

When those injuries belong to an equine athlete, the job of a trainer can become testing, stressful and even harder to manage.

Secretagent Tycoon has faced a string of injury setbacks in his career, but trainer Ryan Veivers has been able to convert the bad into something special.

A broken hip and two bowed tendons have meant long stints on the sideline, however with a patient attitude and a steady approach, Secretagent Tycoon is on the cusp of breaking into the open class ranks.

Progressing through the grades, the rising eight-year-old is now one win off becoming a Band 1-rated horse in Queensland and thus a free-for-all competitor.

The latest victory for the gelding on Saturday night was against many horses that are already in the open ranks, with the likes of Fame Assured, Mattgregor, Northview Hustler and recent Queensland Cup winner Cruz all finishing behind the gelding.

Sent straight to the front over the 2,138-metre distance, Secretagent Tycoon proved too strong up front in claiming victory, his eighth win when partnered by Dannielle - now the wife of Ryan Veivers.

Stepping out for Ryan for the first time back in July 2019, the rangy chestnut has now had 33 starts for 12 wins and 7 placings under his care, amassing just shy of $85,000 in stakes in that period.

Owned by Karen Burrows, he is now within striking range of $100,000 in earnings and after his win on Saturday, and it looks a case of when, not if, he can breakthrough that figure.

 

THE MILESTONE

Chris Petroff has achieved plenty in the sport; 1000 plus career driving wins, six Group 1 victories and countless feature race wins.

However, in November 2018, it was time for a break and Chris stepped away from the sport.

Harness racing is one contagious beast and like it has done to so many people before, it was able to lure another back to the bright lights of the racetrack.

Enter Grant Dixon, the country’s leading trainer who knew the talent and experience Petroff could bring to the sulky, and soon the comeback was in motion.

Pulling the silks back on under race conditions for the first time in 754 days, Chris was able to steer the Dixon-trained Tajie Baby to third placing at his first drive back.

Just two days later with the first night of the Summer Carnival underway, linking with the Dixon stable meant that drives were available in the feature racing.

While a comeback victory was proving elusive, the placings were starting to build.

Finally, on Redcliffe Christmas Cup night, the present was delivered when Chris Petroff was able to bounce back for his first victory back in the sulky.

Courtesy of an all the way win to Madamoiselle Jujon, 27 days following his first drive and 848 days since last tasting a race victory, the comeback was complete.

With that monkey off the back, expect to see C A Petroff more regularly in the winner’s enclosure.

 

THE WILDCARD

With the extended racing season closing this Wednesday night, one horse will end the term with a unique achievement.

In the past season, TAB rated meetings have been held on five tracks through Queensland - Albion Park, Redcliffe Marburg, Kilcoy and Warwick.

There are several horses that have competed on all five tracks, however Montana Chief stands alone with victories on four of the five and finishing runner-up at the fifth.

Trained by Adam Sanderson, Stephanie Graham and Darrel Graham throughout the season, the four-year-old ends the term with the figures of 66: 9-11-7 and stakes of $55,509 for his owner Will Jones.

Drivers at the reins for the wins were Brittany Graham (3), Adam Sanderson (2), Trent Lethaby (2) and Angus Garrard (2).

The first win of the 2019/20 season came with an Albion Park success on September 30, 2019 and was followed four days later by another win at The Creek.

Montana Chief scored his first Redcliffe victory for the season on December 11, 2019 and again showed an appreciation for the quick back-up when claiming a qualifying victory just three days later.

Marburg was next on the hitlist for the Chief, scoring there on October 25, 2020, with his next victory coming at Kilcoy on Sunday November 29.

The Kilcoy win made it success at all four tracks that had conducted TAB meetings until that point of the season.

Heading to Warwick - the fifth track - victory in the Warwick Pacing Cup would have completed the set, however Our Major Day proved too strong on the day as Montana Chief scored a respectable second placing.

A consistent performer throughout his career, Montana Chief will also bring up the milestone of 100 starts when he next steps out.

 

THIS WEEK

Following the extension to the racing season to coincide with the calendar year, this week will see the 2019/20 term close.

Racing for the final week of the season starts with 8 races to be held on the grass at Kilcoy.

Although field sizes are thin, the races look competitive with the club also running a heat and final series for the first time.

Those progressing out of the heats will do battle at Kilcoy on Monday January 25 in the Final where the $8,170 stakes will be the largest prizemoney ever offered in Queensland grass track racing.

The remainder of the week will see Albion Park hosting the regular Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday slots.

The last day of the current season ends with Redcliffe hosting the Thursday afternoon meeting.

With last season starting at The Creek on a Monday, the 2020/21 Season will again at Albion Park as they play host to a night meeting this Friday.

 

Darren Clayton

for Racing Queensland

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