Day At The Track

Another tremendous Redwood Classic Day

12:46 PM 15 Jul 2012 NZST
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The cream of harness racing squaregaiting talent descended on Maryborough Sunday July 15, for the 27th running of $50,000 The Redwood Classic, a Group 1 feature for Two Year Old Trotters over 2190 metres, sponsored by Michael Taranto's Seelite Windows & Doors.

Also on the program was the $75,000 (Group 1) Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby over 2690 metres and the $9,000 Peter Egan Rentravision Trotters Free For All over 2190 metres.

Sedgwick neighbours Ross Graham and Shane Hall quinellaed the Redwood, with Graham's Sun Of Sonoko defeating Hall's Hilltown Yankee in a mile rate of 2-07.1, well outside the race record of 2-04.7 set by Maidstone Miss in 2011.

Raced by twin brothers Ross and Leigh Graham, trained and driven by Ross, Sun Of Sonoko from the extreme draw stepped safely to settle six back along the markers, moving to be four back after the hot favourite Blitzthemcalder and Bellmac Cody (five back the markers) both galloped (Blitzthemcalder when challenging the front runner Hilltown Yankee for the lead running off the back straight on the first occasion).

Moving to be one/one racing for the bell after The Boss Man which had galloped shortly after the start when in front, then making up valuable ground to lead the outside division with a circuit to travel, Sun Of Sonoko travelled kindly for the final lap poised to pounce.

Easing three wide on the home turn, Sun Of Sonoko a gelded son of Sundon and Sonoko put pay to his rivals in a couple of bounds, racing clear over the concluding stages to score by 4.5 metres over the ever reliable Hilltown Yankee which had won the Maori Legend the previous Monday, with Dora Pepperell third after following the leader and The Boss Man an impressive fourth.

Kiwi visitor Bonechip also galloped in the back straight on the first occasion putting an end to his chances, while Blitzthemcalder was on his worst behavior tailing out.

Parwan trainer/driver Jodi Quinlan was all smiles after winning the Derby aboard Last Sunset/Maramas Invasion gelding Sunset Invasion much to the delight of owner Sharon Garbutt and husband David.

Given the run of the race from the pole trailing the pacemaker Aldebaran Shades which led easily from outside the front row being shadowed by the well fancied Triumphant Monarch, Sunset Invasion was always travelling on a tight rein, while the favourite Cyclone U Bolt (gate two on the second line) was perfectly poised one/one for Mark Purdon who surprisingly showed no interest in vacating the prime spot to challenge the leader when the pace was a dawdle.

With no moves being made until the last lap when Cyclone U Bolt eventually eased three wide to issue a challenge, Aldebaran Shades looked set to sizzle home after such an easy time, but started to give out signals of distress on straightening.

Gaining the upper hand in the shadows of the post, Cyclone U Bolt was grabbed by Sunset Invasion along the sprint lane right on the wire to score by a head in 2-06.9 (last half 57.7 - quarter 28.5), with Aldebaran Shades 1.6 metres away in third place and Triumphant Monarch a further 8.6 metres back fourth.

Evergreen Earl/Eilish Mac 8-Y-0 gelding Earl Of Mot chalked up his 31st victory when successful in the Peter Egan Free For All.

Trained at Melton by Lance Justice and driven by John Caldow, Earl Of Mot led for the majority of the trip in safely holding Kasyanov at bay after trailing, with I Didnt Do It running home late from last to finish third at his first outing since February. The mile rate 2-01.1.

A highlight on the day was the running of the Thompson Timber Saddlery & Grain Maffra Monte over 1690 metres where the horses were ridden, victory going to Chris Lang aboard 6-Y-0 Sundon/Insulated gelding Aleppo Sunrise.

Trained by Chris who over the past few years has made Redwood Day his own, Aleppo Sunrise the class runner of the field, overcame a 20 metre equal backmark to blitz his rivals by 24 metres in advance of Optimum and Lastingimpressions in a mile rate of 2-07.2.

On a huge afternoon, other winners were : Chevals Racer (David Aiken), Dark Jasper (Luke Steenhuis), Donkiri (Carlo Corso - Peter Wells), Kyvalley Blur (Chris Lang), Mister Zion (Geoff Webster), Theywannacallmesue (Robert Shellie - Nathan Jack) and Trappers Puzzle (Gary Bailey - Rod Petroff).

Son Of Sonoko

Sunset Invasion

Earl Of Mot

Aleppo Sunrise


by Len BAKER

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