Day At The Track

Young guns fired up at Scottish season opener

12:54 AM 05 Jun 2015 NZST
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Alan Scot, harness racing Naughty Nellie, harness racing
Alan Scot and driver Scott Murray win the high grade finale
Bill Cardno photo
Naughty Nellie and driver Tony Allan (#8) hold off Live In Toyboy by a neck
Bill Cardno photo

The first meeting of the harness racing season in Scotland this past weekend and saw the young drivers make their mark and claim five of the seven races at Corbiewood Stadium, including first time final wins for both Tony Allan (21) and Scott Murray (27).

The first race of the night was a six horse elimination for the low grade final, with Miami Seelster and Gregor Paterson making good use of pole position on the gate to lead out.

Starzapan, driven by Stuart Mackenzie, made a challenge at the half and took up the running at the five eighths marker, with the favourite Funtime Frankie looking to be its only challenger at the business end of the race. As they came off the last bend, Funtime Frankie made his move and eased into a two length victory for Gordon Gilvear who was deputising for the injured Logan Fowler.

Race 1 (1 mile)

1st Funtime Frankie (Jimmy Long-Lyons Flum) – G Gilvear

2nd Starzapan (Genghis Pan-Starry Nite) – S Mackenzie

3rd Miami Seelster (Pierce Seelster-Miami Crombie) – G Paterson

6 Ran

Time: 2.07.13

Dist: 2 lengths & 8 lengths

Race 2 was the second elimination again featuring another six contenders looking to secure one of four positions in the final.  The favourite, Naughty Nellie, in the hands of the catch driver Tony Allan, led out and made all come after them. Their only real threat in the race came in the form of Live In Toyboy, driven by another youngster and 2014 SHRC top driver, Grant Cullen (21).

Despite Grant’s best efforts he was unable to get close to the long-time leader and Tony Allan notched up his first winner of the 2015 season. Tony having recently returned from a three month work placement with John Butenschoen in Florida.

Race 2 (1 mile)

1st Naughty Nellie (Jimmy Long-February Spur) – T Allan

2nd Live In Toyboy (Village Jasper-Live In Lover) – G Cullen

3rd Ayr Escape (Artiscape-Unforgotten) – H O’Neil Jnr

6 Ran

Time: 2.07.16

Dist: 4 ½ lengths & 1 ¾ lengths

The next race on the card was the first elimination for the high grade final.  It was yet another young driver, Scott Murray, who took control of the race early on and blitzed to the lead from the three hole with Alan Scot. Scot dictated the fractions throughout the race and the only challenge came late on from William Greenhorn on Sureamsomething, who popped out of the pack off the last bend to chase the leader down.  Alan Scot had all the moves covered though and held on to a ¾ length victory, with both finishing clear of the third placed horse.

Race 3 (1 mile)

1st Alan Scot (Prince Lee Dancer-Southlands Kestrel) – S Murray

2nd Sureamsomething (Wolfdancer Mindale-Suream Smart) – W Greenhorn

3rd Hawthorns Maggie (Coalford Art-Dot Comm) – G Paterson

6 ran

Time: 2.06.19

Dist: ¾ length & 5 lengths

Race four concluded the eliminations, with five runners contesting for a coveted spot in the final. From the outset, it was a massive speed duel for the lead with Jasper Hill and Grant Cullen retaining the inside line from the pole position from Bayrigg Millionayr with William Greenhorn, racing to the half in 1:01.

Astounding, from a massive trail, came to challenge between the ¾ and ⅞, looking to give Gordon Gilvear his second win on the night, but coming off the last bend he began to tire and allowed another big trailer in Major League Star to sneak up the inside to look threatening.

However, Jasper Hill had plenty in hand to stay clear of the fast-finishing second placed horse and recorded Grant’s first winner in Scotland for the year, having already chalked up three victories in England and Wales.

Race 4 (1 mile)

1st Jasper Hill (Village Jasper-Eyes Wide Open) – G Cullen

2nd Major League Star (Art Major-Cascade Hanover) – W Drysdale

3rd Astounding (Artiscape-Jennababe) – G Gilvear

The fifth race saw the first maiden and novice race to be held north of the border in 2015. 

Caraghs Hall lined up as the favourite and justified its popularity with the punters by leading out.  Gordon Gilvear was in the bike and dictated the race, with Evenwood Coolsting breaking away from the pack down the back straight for the last time, taking the race to Caraghs Hall.  The two horses battled it out nose to nose, tail to tail with Caraghs Hall holding on by a neck to win and securing Gordon’s second winner of the night.

Race 5 (1 mile)

1st Caraghs Hall (Hasty Hall-Flyers Comet) – G Gilvear

2nd Evenwood Coolsting (The Firepan-Lamour La Plott) – S Mackenzie

3rd Our Jo (Immortalized-Just Joanna) – G Cullen

6 ran

Time: 2.08.48

Dist: Neck & 5 ½ lengths

Race six was the SHRC low grade final which featured the first four horses from the first two eliminations on the night. 

With Gordon Gilvear already boasting a driving double, his drive Funtime Frankie opened up as favourite in the betting market, despite being drawn in the outside hole. 

Naughty Nellie showed tremendous gate speed to lead out and deployed similar tactics to those in its heat by trying to lead the entire race. Approaching the half mile marker, Grant Cullen committed Live In Toyboy first over and by the 5/8ths had drawn level with the leader going stride for stride, with Live In Toyboy looking to have the measure of Naughty Nellie as they rolled off the final bend.

However, Naughty Nellie demonstrated great desire and just got the better of Live In Toyboy in a thrilling finish which saw the official distance given as a neck and a first final victory for young Tony Allan.

Race 6 (1 mile)

1st Naughty Nellie (Jimmy Long-February Spur) – T Allan

2nd Live In Toyboy (Village Jasper-Live In Lover) – G Cullen

3rd Funtime Frankie (Jimmy Long-Lyons Flum) – G Gilvear

8 ran

Time: 2.05.95

Dist: Neck & 1 length

The final race of the night was the extended distance SHRC high grade final over one mile and three furlongs, which resulted in the back markers Astounding and Major League Star going to post as the 6/4 joint favourites.

Scott Murray with Alan Scot led out from the two post and dictated relatively slow fractions early on.  His first challenger came in the form of GDs Twist driven by George Carson who hung out first over for the first mile of the race.

Major League Star, driven by the seasoned campaigner William Drysdale, secured second over early on and tipped three wide approaching the final quarter looking like a major threat, however Sureamsomething, in the hands of William Greenhorn, which had enjoyed the pocket trip, emerged as the biggest danger to the leader coming off the last bend.

But Scott Murray had judged the pace and tempo of the race to perfection and Alan Scot battled on to be the worthy winner. This was another first time final win on the night, this time for Scott who had travelled from the east coast of Scotland with his single charge, and they made the trip worthwhile for the stable.

Race 7 (1 mile 3 furlongs)

1st Alan Scot (Prince Lee Dancer-Southlands Kestrel) – S Murray

2nd Sureamsomething (Wolfdancer Mindale-Suream Smart) – W Greenhorn

3rd Major League Star (Art Major-Cascade Hanover) – W Drysdale

8 ran

Time: 3.00.86

Dist: 1 length & 1 ½ lengths

The next race meeting at Corbiewood Stadium is scheduled for Friday 5th June, featuring the STAGBI Future Broodmares Race. First race 7.30 pm, free entertainment provided in the bar afterwards.

By Sarah Thomas, for

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