A late decision by Appin (NSW) harness racing trainer Nicole Molander to contest the $30,505 (Group 2) Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup for TM0 or better class over 2555 metres at Cranbourne on Saturday after nominations were extended, paid dividends when prolific winning six year old Dr Ronerail/Flipside gelding Keystone Del scored a fighting victory in the feature event on the program.
With regular reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick again holding the reins, Keystone Del who two stars back was successful in the rich Great Southern Star Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in March, began swiftly from gate five, however Chris Alford aboard Spidergirl inside him had similar thoughts and the pair went head and head as the mobile barrier pulled away, with Keystone Del winning out.
Allowed to dawdle at the head of affairs with the field racing in Indian file, Keystone Del went through the first two quarters of the last mile in 33.8 and 33 seconds, with Vics Cheval one of three David Aiken trained runners moving from last to creep forward in the open at the bell.
In a last half mile of 29.9 and 28.6, Keystone Del had to pull out all stops to defy a strong challenge by Spidergirl along the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in a pedestrian mile rate of 2-06.2, with Vics Cheval 4.8 metres away in third place.
Even through the rate was nothing special, the race had the crowd on their toes cheering all the way up the running.
It was Keystone Del’s 17th victory in 34 outings.
The trotters took pride of place at the meeting, with brilliant Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse filly Claudys Princess taking the $10,275 Aldebaran Park Starlet for Three Year Olds over 1609 metres and in doing so, brought up her eighth victory from eleven outings.
Driven by Gavin Lang for Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore, Claudys Princess starting solo on the second line was allowed to amble at the rear of the field, before moving forward three wide racing for the bell to park in the open for the final circuit.
Cruising to the front on straightening, Claudys Princess registered a 5.6 metre victory in a rate of 2-01 over Im Havinaball which led and Indie Pepperell (one/one last lap) which came in third 8.7 metres in arrears of the pair.
Bred by veteran Goulburn Valley trotting devotee Gus Underwood, Claudys Fancy is raced by the Catchya Racing Group of which Gus is a member.
Honest eight year old Conch Deville/Springfield Wilma mare Rockin Wilma chalked up her 10th victory and first since February, when successful in The Red Shed Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres.
Trained and driven by Sunbury’s Justin Livingtstone, Rockin Wilma starting from 20 metres was given the run of the race trailing the front runner Mosquito Spur after the heavily supported pole line favourite Seascape Boy galloped shortly after the start when contesting the lead.
Taken away from the markers approaching the home turn, Rockin Wilma proved far too strong over the concluding stages to score by an easy 14.1 metres in advance of Seascape Boy which made up plenty of ground, with Mosquito Spur holding down third albeit 25.5 metres from the winner.
Harness Racing Victoria