Day At The Track

Craven delights at chance with Tell Me Tales

04:55 AM 09 May 2019 NZST
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Tell Me Tales,Harness racing
Tell Me Tales
Stuart McCormick photo

A delighted Matt Craven’s enjoying the drive as he attempts to guide Tell Me Tales towards a feat achieved only three times, a clean sweep of the Mares Triple Crown.

The Terang reinsman’s making the most of a rare pairing with the Emma Stewart stable, steering their Tell All mare to victory in last Saturday’s VHRSC Make Mine Cullen and he's hoping to repeat the dose in this Saturday’s second leg of the three-leg series.

Tell Me Tales will have to be very good to scoop up the Angelique Club Pace and register a 19th victory from 26 starts when Craven guides her from outside the back row at Tabcorp Park Melton amid a full and talented field.

“It’s going to be a tough ask,” Craven said. “If you work off last week’s race, if anything Berisari put in the run of the race.”

Berisari, another Stewart runner, finished fourth last Saturday after leading the three-wide train and will be advantaged by her gate four draw for this weekend's middle-distance Group 3 pace.

“(Berisari’s) drawn the front line and will possibly be able to dictate the race, which will make it tough,” Craven said. “We will have to come with one run.

“Emma’s team are all good quality mares. We know how good Delight Me is at her best, Berisari and Pistol Abbey had a good run last week. The draw definitely makes it interesting.

“You don’t expect to win every week when you are racing high quality mares, but I definitely want to give her the best chance.”

Tell Me Tales means more to Craven than just picking up a quality catch drive, in particular his respect for owner/breeder Helen Head and, indeed, the mare’s breed.

Craven oversaw the purchase of Tell Me Tales half-sister - an Art Major filly named Shes Offlimits bred by Helen Head - for $8000 at Australia Pacing Gold’s 2017 Autumn Sale.

“It was before Tell Me Tales had done anything, which is probably why we got the filly so cheap,” Craven said.

“We thought a bit of Shes Offlimits. She had very, very good speed. She was very, very fast, but unfortunately just wasn’t very sound. She had bad luck along the way, having fractured her leg in a trial and then this time in did a tendon.”

It would put paid to her racing career, but in a considerable silver lining it was the filly’s breeder, Helen Head, who stepped forth when Shes Offlimits was returned to sale for a broodmare career.

Craven said it was a “terrific result for us and her”, and it was also understandably significant when Helen Head called last week ahead of Tell Me Tales victory in the VHRSC Make Mine Cullen.

“Helen’s been a stalwart of harness racing and it was nice to get a call from her,” Craven said.

And even nicer to reward that faith with a win, when Tell Me Tales overcome her back row draw, sat in the breeze throughout and saluted.

“When you are drawn out the back over the shorter distance it is never easy,” he said. “She was wide to the death in a solid quarter off the back, she had no breather and in the straight was still strong. It was a terrific effort.

“Just to sit behind such a wonderful mare, she’s just beautiful to drive. It’s a credit to Clayton and Emma the way they turn them out and it was a nice surprise to get that drive. She’s the standout mare. They will have to be good to beat her.”

 

Michael Howard

Trots media

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