Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories.
The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres.
Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front.
Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third.
The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters.
Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres.
He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third.
With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden.
At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position.
Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide.
But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap.
Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter.
Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line.
Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts.
Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres.
Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh.
In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres.
Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap.
The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm.
Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria