Day At The Track

Kimani, two Mount Gambier Cups

09:50 PM 05 Mar 2018 NZDT
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Kimani,harness racing
Photo Graham Fischer

An emotional Jason Lee celebrated the record breaking win of Kimani in the 2018 Baxter Hire & Sales Mount Gambier Gold Cup (2580m).

In winning, the Matthew Craven-trained Kimani, became the first horse to win two Mount Gambier Cups but it was the elation showed by Lee which had the crowd cheering.

Halfway down the straight when victory was virtually guaranteed, Lee started waving his whip in salute.

Kimani ($11.40) scored by 17-1/2 metres from Okelerho Lad ($128) with Emain Macha ($1.50 fav), 3-1/2 metres away third.

“The win was for my Nan and Pop (Alice and Matthew Craven),” Lee said.

“When I was very young Nan and Pop would often bring me to the trots here, Nan said they had the best steak sandwiches, and they still do.

“When I started driving it was on my bucket list to drive a Mount Gambier Cup winner and tonight I was able to do it.”

For Matthew Craven it brought up a treble of Cup wins in consecutive years winning with Smoken Pump Action in 2016 with his father Peter in the sulky, then last year with Kimani with Chris Svanosio driving.

Craven said it was likely that Kimani would now be heading to Western Australia to join the Gary Hall stable.

“He’s a good stand start and mobile horse and they have good stakemoney on offer in WA,” Craven said.

“I think a change of scenery might help his career and be good for the owners.

“Kimani is a nice horse but just finding it a bit tough in Victoria and that is why a new environment might help him regain his best form.

“On Saturday, I knew his barrier manners would ensure he was competitive but after the heats thought with even luck, Emain Macha or Bee Gees Bandit might be too good.

“As it happened they didn’t have any luck early and Kimani was good enough to win.

“It was a great drive by Jason, he is a gun.

“I was at a wedding but I knew all my horses were in good hands with Jason in the sulky and so it proved.”

Apart from Kimani, Lee also won on All Perfection and Nova’s Delight for Craven to give the trainer a treble plus landed Keayang Starzz in the Ubet Pacing Cup for his mother Margaret.

The favourites were involved in an early incident.

Bee Gees Bandit ($3.10) galloped at the start and collided with Emain Macha which had stepped away safely and costing him valuable ground and forcing him to settle at the tail of the field.

Rod Barker went forward on Emain Macha midrace, but Lee saw him coming and came out in front and sprinted to the front leaving the favourite parked.

Once in front, Lee rated Kimani perfectly and he was too strong at the finish.

Graham Fischer

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