Day At The Track

Hilton holds out Cup hope

08:40 AM 22 Mar 2019 NZDT
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For Des Hilton, last weekend's second placing in the Boort Pacing Cup was a tough pill to swallow.

It looked as though Itmademyday was set to deliver his biggest training success, that was until he was mown down by Perspective in the shadows of the post.

The son of Live Or Die got way out in front turning for home, but was grabbed right on the post by his rival, who got the judge's nod in a photo finish.

"I thought he'd hang on," Hilton, a hobby trainer based in Swan Hill, said.

"(Driver) Grant (Campbell) went early, but if he waited until the back straight he would have had others come out in front of him and he probably wouldn't have got around them.

"I was happy with the run... I would have liked to have just hung on, but he didn't quite do so."

Hilton, who owns and bred Itmademyday and some of his family members, said victory would have been a career highlight.

The seven-year-old pacer has won 14 of his 98 starts.

"I was disappointed. I thought I might have been holding my first cup, but it wasn't to be," he said.

"I've won a few country races, but that would have been the biggest prizemoney win I've had.

"I haven't won an M0 yet in my whole life of 35 years training, so I've got a bit to achieve before I put the cue in the rack."

Hilton hasn't wasted much time getting Itmademyday back to the races, entering him for this Sunday's Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup (2423m).

But a tricky draw on the outside of the front row has dampened Hilton's confidence about landing a long-awaited feature.

The 69-year-old said it was likely driver Michael Bellman would have to go back from barrier six, which will make his task difficult against a high-quality field.

"I'm probably going to settle at the tail of the field and the four horses on the second row would be too good for him. I think so anyway," he said.

"He'd need things to go his way or a better draw and he'd have a show, but I doubt from six."

Win, lose or draw on Sunday, Hilton, who now works part-time at the harness racing track in Swan Hill, has loved his time in the sport.

"I like breeding them and naming them myself. I've probably got a few unusual names back among them all, but I like doing that and putting a bit of thought into it," he said. "I've had a few handy bush horses."

Mark Watson-trained Brallos Pass is likely to start favourite for the $14,500 Ouyen Pacing Cup, but will face tough opposition from the likes of Flojos Gold (Ian Watson/Luke Watson) and Murranji Track (Colin Rogers/Wayne Hill).

The race is part of the Trots Country Cups Championship. The series carries a $25,000 bonus for the winner, with $15,000 given to the successful owner and $10,000 to the horse's trainer.

Tim O'Brien-trained Perspective, who will also line-up on Sunday, has climbed to third on the leaderboard behind Buster Brady and San Carlo following his win last weekend.

The Ouyen Pacing Cup will start at 5.53pm.

Tim O'Connor

for Trots Media

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