Day At The Track

Lilley grabs himself a Victorian double

03:01 PM 21 Feb 2013 NZDT
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Brent Lilley Brent Lilley - deep in thought Rodney Petroff
Brent Lilley
Brent Lilley - deep in thought
Rodney Petroff

Former Kiwi harness racing trainer Brent Lilley now based at Bolinda in the Macedon Ranges District, landed both heats of the C0 class event over 2100 metres at the Birchip Graduation class meeting held at Charlton on Thursday February 21, Crusader Acey taking the the Birchip Hotel Pace and Lavra Florence the Living's Hardware Pace, both horses driven by Melton's Rod Petroff.


Three year old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey first up since December, snared the first heat in a rate of two minutes.

Starting from gate two on the second line, Crusader Acey lobbed beautifully one/one shortly after the start, with Petroff wasting no time in sending him forward to park outside the leader Star Buccaneer making his race debut.

Surging to the front in the last lap, Crusader Acey coasted to the wire 21.4 metres in advance of Iconic Art which trailed the weakening pacemaker, with Wenyahotyahot (one/three) a further 3.5 metres away in third place.

Four year old Live Or Die/Florentine Star mare Lavra Florence had been racing in better quality races close to town and appreciated to drop in grade.

Despite drawing outside the front row, Lavra Florence was sent forward at the start to assume control, with the race becoming a procession.

Kicking clear on the final bend, Lavra Florence scored by 2.4 metres from Abstraction which trailed after leading out from gate two, with Im Totally Kool third after following the pair. The mile rate 2-00.2.

Former classy juvenile Almost El Eagle opened his three year old season with a 6.3 metre victory in the O'Connors & Case IH 3-Y-0 Pace over 2100 metres.

Trained at Orrvale (Goulburn Valley) by Steven Duffy and driven by Chris Alford, Almost El Eagle possied four back in the moving line from the extreme draw, before making a lightning move racing for the bell to cross the pacemaker Floweronthewall.

With the result never in doubt, Almost El Eagle cruised to the wire untouched in accounting for Floweronthewall who battled on gamely when making her race debut. Rocky Carrington (three back the markers at bell) finished third. The mile rate 1-59.9.

Very honest 4-Y-0 Last Sunset/Springfield Paula gelding Sunset Tour chalked up his 5th victory in 28 outings when successful in the Gregs Digging Trotters Handicap for TR0 or better class over 2100 metres.

Driven by Nathan Jack for Elmore trainer Jenny Johnson, Sunset Tour stepped cleanly from the 10 metre mark to possie three back in the running line, with the roughie Spiros The Greek leading from barrier three.

Setting sail after the leaders in the final circuit, Sunset Tour proved a little too strong on reaching the wire to nail Spiros The Greek by a head in a mile rate of 2-07.8. Mister Pepe finished third after following Sunset Tour throughout.

The feature event of the day - the $3000 Doyle's IGA & Sharps Bakery Mallee Bull Pacing Cup saw victory go the way of Kiwi bred 5-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Kurahaupo Dream gelding Kurahaupo Quin in a rate of 1-57.6.

Trained by Parwan's Vince Albanese, Kurahaupo Quin with Chris Alford in the sulky led throughout to score by 1.9 metres from Meet Me In Seattle (one/one) and Sky Salute which had every chance trailing the winner.

It was Kurahaupo Quin's 6th victory in 39 race appearances.

by Len BAKER

Brent Lilley and Rod Petroff's two wins -

Crusader Acey (Race 5):

Lavra Florence (Race 7):

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