Semi-Final day of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships hosted by the St Arnaud HRC at Charlton on January 15, were impacted by scratchings resulting in small fields contesting a number of the races due to the extreme heat conditions prevailing all throughout the State.
Four runners contested the first Pacers Semi, with victory going to four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze for Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stand in reinsman John Caldow.
Enjoying a sweet passage trailing the leader and favourite Bushrod with both horses coming from the 10 metre mark, Sapphire Swayze when eased away from the markers in the last lap, sprinted like a gazelle to lead running into the final bend to defeat the rank outsider Red Riverbed along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Bushrod a disappointing third after hanging away from the inside in the last lap. The mile rate 2-08.3.
Semi number two consisted of seven starters, with Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy’s above average four year old McCardle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle greeting the judge in 2-01.3.
Driven by John Caldow, Almost El Eagle stepped cleanly from barrier three to trail the surprise pole line leader Dynamite Dude, with Boyz Talk being sent forward after a slow beginning from 10 metres to park in the open.
Charging home along the sprint lane, Almost El Eagle coasted to the wire 2.9 metres in advance of Nimble Jack (one/one – three wide last lap), with Dynamite Dude weakening to finish third 2.9 metres away.
The first Semi of the Trotters saw only six starters, with Junortoun trainer/driver Scott Dyer’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Oh Yes Indeed gelding The Boss man an impressive victor.
Slowly away from barrier two, The Boss Man settled three back along the inside, with the favourite Unico Crown bounding straight to the front from the pole.
Given an easy time by Chris Alford, Unico Crown always looked the one to beat judging on his brilliant heat performance at Bendigo.
The other highly fancied candidate Quite A Moment (last season’s Breeders Crown winner) possied five back along the markers from a 30 metre backmark, moving to be one/one at the bell when The Boss Man eased away from the inside.
Ambling up to Unico Crown on the home turn, The Boss Man was strong at the finish even though the margin was only a head, scoring in a rate of 2-07. Quite A Moment finished 10.1 metres away in third place.
Six also contested the second Semi with the winner being Bendigo trainer David Van Ryn’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Belstar gelding Belmac Cody much to the delight of Pyramid Hill resident Teddy Carmody and partners.
Driven by Haydon Gray nephew of the trainer, Belmac Cody galloped away from the pole, settling three back along the markers in a strung out field with the roughie Featherfoot Sun leading from barrier two, being trailed by 20 metre marker Man Of The World.
Taken back a spot mid-race after Invasive made a lightning move from four back the markers to assume control from Man Of The World which had moved around Featherfoot Sun, Belmac Cody left the markers to race in the open at the bell.
Pushed three wide in the last lap when Invasive shifted ground enabling Man Of The World to lead into the straight, Belmac Cody ran to the wire strongly to score from Man Of The World and Invasive in a mile rate of 2-07.5
Both Finals each worth $25,000 will be held at Maryborough next Monday January 20.
Unfortunately several horses will miss out on a spot due to their non penalty scratching from the Semi’s due to the heat.
Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria