Day At The Track

Bellman's cancer crusade kicks off

05:31 PM 02 Sep 2020 NZST
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Prostate cancer,Harness racing

Mick Bellman will be making moves with a message throughout September, with the hard-working reinsman to don the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia silks from tonight.

Selected along with John Caldow to raise awareness against the silent killer, the pair’s success in September will see Harness Racing Victoria pledge $500 to the foundation for each victory they drive.

For Bellman that begins with his three steers at Ballarat tonight, when he takes the reins of two his own – mare Raptover A Rainbow and three-year-old trotter Jazspur – and Rebecca East’s promising three-year-old pacer Julius Shadow.

“It’s a great honour to be even considered alongside Johnny,” Bellman said. “You don’t expect to get selected or recognised, hopefully it will be good for the cause.”

The Ararat reinsman, who’s just three victories shy of 1500 career wins, said personal health was often an afterthought for men, one in six of whom are diagnosed with prostate cancer by age 85.

“You get a bit complacent about things and take a lot for granted. Just because you don’t feel sick doesn’t mean something isn’t developing there,” Bellman said.

“I’ve had a couple of friends' fathers go through it and luckily come out the other side okay. Proactivity is the best cure. Luckily they were proactive and got tested when they reached the age bracket, caught it early and were able to be treated for it.”

Bellman is hopeful his Prostate Cancer Awareness Month silks will get plenty of airing at Ballarat tonight, when his commitments begin with the Travel Collection Pace, which streams on Trots Vision at 7pm.

The mare’s having her fourth run this campaign and Bellman’s optimistic she will rebound strongly from a disappointing last start.

“I probably took the edge off her first up,” he said. “She ran second in the heat, backed up five nights later and it was probably too soon and knocked the edge off her.

“She has trained on good since her last down-the-track effort and I have had the vets go over her.”

Raptover A Rainbow’s well placed, with the gate one draw putting Bellman in prime position to hand up to favourite Soho Bollinger, who’ll start to his immediate outside.

“Hopefully I will lob behind Soho Bollinger. If that’s the way it pans out she should be afforded every chance,” he said.

“When she won last time here she was three back the fence, never spent a penny and hit the line really strong.”

But it’s Julius Shadow, who he will steer for Rebecca East in the Grease Monkey Pace, who Bellman considers his best chance of picking up a win and putting $500 into the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia pot.

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s run into a couple of nice horses of late,” he said. “He had a great run last time and very rarely runs a bad race.”

He runs into another smart one tonight with Emma Stewart’s Abouttime, winner of eight of his 15 starts, drawn directly to his outside.

“He is probably the one to beat, looks like a nice enough horse even though Emmett (Brosnan’s Yankee Gold) beat it last time.

“I don’t know what Rebecca prefers at this stage, but he could sit not far off them and get home strong.”

And then’s there the sometimes problem child Jazspur in the John Valves 3YO Trot, who starts from outside the front row due to being out of the draw after a last start miss-step, which saw her trail the field by almost 50 metres before being beaten only 10.

“She ran a good race apart from the start,” Bellman said. “Manners are her biggest downfall, but she definitely has ability if she puts the right foot forward.”


HRV - Michael Howard

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