Gateway to the Wimmers was the venue for Monday harness racing in Victoria and the Western District of the state dominated with no less than six winners on the eight event card.
Hamilton father and son - Jim & Rod Barker opened proceedings, when 4-Y-0/So Innocent gelding Guilty Rama taking the Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres in a mile rate of 2-03.
Driven by Rodney, Guilty Rama starting from gate two was given plenty of time to find his feet settling three back in the moving line.
Trailing up Set My Speed three wide in the final circuit which went off stride approaching the home turn, Guilty Rama missed trouble and quickly set sail after the hot favourite Jilliby Major (gate three) which had led with ease before kicking clear on the final bend.
Finishing full of running, Guilty Rama claimed Jilliby Major in the shadows of the post to score narrowly but well, with Set My Speed regaining his composure for third.
Armstrong trainer Brooke Hansen combined with Daryl Douglas to land the Alabar Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres with 4-Y-0/Gorgeous Gambit mare Brand New Day.
Leading from gate two, Brand New Day a red hot $1.20 favourite, was never out of second gear and coasted to the wire well in advance of Pacific Spirit (three wide last lap) and Dalcross (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-03.7.
Both winners will contest the $$5,500 Final at Stawell next Monday.
Kerryn Manning produced a Kiwi bred/Opera Doon gelding by the name of The Phantom to snare the Mountain View Stud 3-Y-0 Pace over 1700 metres on debut.
Raced by prolific owners Merv & Meg Butterworth, The Phantom was driven forward from gate four to lead running into the first turn and toyed with his rivals, racing away on the home turn to score as he pleased in a rate of 1-59.5 over another first starter G K Galleon (one/one - three wide home turn), with Ashlees Bird third after following the winner.
Kolora (Terang) part owner/trainer Barry Beasley provided a long shot winner when 5-Y-0/Princess Mac gelding Weerrook Jet greeted the judge in the Wimmera Mail Times Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres at Supertab odds of $43.40, giving Rodney Barker a driving double.
Starting from outside the front row, Weerrook Jet was sent forward to race outside the pacemaker and favourite Stevie Harlyn, with another roughie Monfries circling the field to take over at the bell.
Joining the leader on the home turn, Weerrook Jet refused to give in and outstayed his rivals to score by a head over Blissful Bird (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-00.8, with Monfries holding down third resulting in the trifecta paying a massive dividend of $4318.
Peter Manning was a winner when much improved 4-Y-0/Nevabend Lombo mare Never Waver Lombo captured the Moore Bulk Haulage Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres.
Driven by Kerryn, Never Waver Lombo from gate two on the second row was quickly off and running to assume control from the noted sit-sprinter My Caracal and led for the majority of the trip in defeating sister Michelle aboard a death-seating Wheatsheaf Avaball, with My Caracal third. The mile rate 2-00.6.
Stawell trainer Ray Harvey and Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman combined to land theTrotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2200 metres with 5-Y-0 gelding Baltimore Boy.
A gelded son ofhimself from the Jeb Hanover mare Theresa Rose, Baltomore Boy coming from the 10 metre mark possied just off the speed being set by Paper Trail, with Bellman sending him forward entering the back straight on the final occasion to join the leader.
Dashing clear prior to the home turn, Baltimore Boy opened up a handy margin on his rivals and although getting weary as the winning post loomed, held on to score from Out All Night and Micro Mitch in a rate of 2-08.4.
Youthful Bendigo based trainer/driver Tim Mannix was successful with his 6-Y-0/Merrywood Princess gelding Seymourjasper in the Rosehill Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres.
Spending most of the race four back in the moving line after starting from gate two on the second row, Seymourjasper gained a lovely trail home three wide on the back of Wor Jackie (one/two) and despite being very wide on the final bend, ran home strongly to score from Wor Jackie and Styx Lover (one/one) in a rate of 2-01.
Dunnstown trainer/driver David Murphy dealt punters a knockout blow in the second leg of the quaddie - the Vale Barry Bourke Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1700 metres, scoring with $18.10 chance Ponchartrain.
Settling on the back of polemarker stablemate Seven Nations drawn inside him, Ponchartrain enjoyed a cosy trip with the favourite Gambolalnight (gate seven) keeping the leader honest.
When Seven Nations shifted away from the markers under pressure on straightening, Ponchartrain raced through the opening to defeat her in a rate of 1-58.4 to land the quinella, with Gambolalnight close up in third place.
Barry Bourke a long time Portland based trainer/driver was a great harness devotee until his sudden passing a couple of weeks back.