Day At The Track

Tim has two reasons to remember Swan Hill trip

11:25 PM 26 Apr 2019 NZST
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The ANZAC Day silks
The Anzac Day silks

Ballarat horseman Tim McGuigan won’t be forgetting his first trip to race at Swan Hill, in Victoria’s north west region, for quite a while. Harness racing trainer Tim and his reinsman son Darby landed a memorable double — the first winner blowing punters out of the water at 16/1.

“I’ve been up there a few times with Darby, but solely as a spectator,” Tim said.

“When I was glancing over the program, I thought the fast class event for C5 or better horses suited our bloke Solarsonic, who is hard to place because of his tight mark (C13-M3),” he said.

“So two others made the trip up in the float as well – and it turned out they landed the money!

Team McGuigan’s first Swan Hill winner was in the Gallipoli 3YO Pace, and fittingly Darby wore special Anzac Day Appeal commemorative silks on He’s An Artist (Art Major USA-Espeshlimade Lombo (Troublemaker USA).

The Anzac Day program silks were worn by all the drivers starting from gate one at Swan Hill, highlighting the appeal which raises funds for the RSL to provide support for servicemen, women and their families.

After being headed at the start by Gottahaveahobbie, Darby was content to sit on the leader’s back and wait for his opportunity.

“They rolled along at a consistent speed and that certainly suited our horse,” Tim said.

On the home corner, He’s An Artist was angled for a wide run, rather than wait for the sprint lane, and when Darby got him into daylight, the gelding stormed home with a wet sail.

The quarters of 29.4, 28.8, 28.2 and 29.6 equated to a smart mile rate of 1.54-9.

Darby McGuigan with He’s An Artist

The starting odds of 16/1 certainly seemed generous, with He’s An Artist a winner at Melton two starts prior and his most recent outing a runner-up performance at the Mildura Pacing Cup carnival.

“He’s a beautifully-bred horse.  His dam Espeshlimade Lombo was an outstanding racehorse with 16 victories and 14 placings, including a Group Two race, for nearly $300,000,” Tim said.

“And she’s been a prolific broodmare and has thrown some very nice horses.”

To watch a video replay of He’s An Artist winning click here on this link.

The second leg of the McGuigan double didn’t get under the guard of punters, with Sunrainbow (Safari-Sunrain (Perfect Art USA, being sent out a short-priced $1.20 hot pot in the Battle of Tobruk Pace.

Sunrainbow gave his supporters no anxious moments and led all the way after pinging out quickly from the mobile barrier. The double brought up 70 wins for the season for concession driver Darby and puts him on track to eclipse his previous best of 73 in season 2017-18.

To watch a video replay of Sunrainbow winning click on this link

The other McGuigan runner in Solarsonic didn’t weigh in, but he was only 14 metres off the winner Emain Macha, in a fast-run race that equalled the track record of 1.53-5.

Tim has been involved in the sport for about 30 years as a hobby trainer.

Tim McGuigan

“I’m a qualified electrician, but now do a bit of part-time truck driving to work in around the horse stable duties,” he said.

“I was winding down and thinking of getting out at one stage, but then Darby started showing a bit of interest, and now I’ve got more horses than I’ve ever had!

“I have to be honest and say that Darby does most of the work, but I’m never far away to help him on fast work days.”

The stable has 16 in work, including a lot of youngsters.

Tim said the three hour plus drive to compete at Swan Hill didn’t faze him.

“It’s okay when the horses are on an easy mark, but it becomes difficult after that and these days the key is to try and place them in suitable races,” he said.

“I set a goal of somewhere around 20 winners for the season and we’ve now passed that with 23, so the travel’s all good, because it looks like being our best-ever season.”

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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