Smythes Creek (Ballarat) harness racing trainer Peter Tonkin's 5-Y-0 Pacific Fella/Keeping Watch entire Watchmefella returned to his best form at Stawell on Wednesday December 23, when successful in the Yaruga Trotting Complex Great Western Pace for C5 & C7 class over 2175 metres.
Not all that quickly away from gate four, reinsman Chris Alford wasted no time in revving Watchmefella up to go forward and arrest the lead away from the polemarker Wingofaneagle running into the first turn and once at the head of affairs, appeared to have the race in his mercy.
Scrubbed along on straightening, Watchmefella only just lasted by a head on the wire from Madazhell (three wide last lap), with Spirit Of Tetrarch (three back the markers) third.
Raced by strong harness supporters Russell and Pam Hockham, Watchmefella chalked up his 14th victory in 52 outings, returning a mile rate of 2-00.3.
Stable on fire
Prolific owners Merv and Meg Butterworth's stable of more than handy horses all over Australia are on fire at present, especially in Victoria, where 5-Y-0/Hyland Lady mare Hyland Zali brought up two wins in succession by taking the Holmes Fruiterers Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2175 metres at Stawell in 2-01.7.
Trained and driven by Kerryn Manning, Hyland Zali despite racing in the open from gate three, had too much quality on her rivals and was much too strong at the finish for the pacemaker Lucys Pride, with Village Deputy running on late for third after a bad beginning.
Victory number four
Armstrong (Ararat) trainer Brooke Hansen does a fine job with her team and snared the Perry's Footwear 3-Y-0 Pace over 2175 metres at Stawell with True Courage, a colt byfrom Lady In Paris.
Driven by Chris Alford, True Courage was sent forward from gate six to assume control and led for the greater portion of the journey to easily account for Art And Rhythm which boxed on well after facing the breeze and Luke Thomas which trailed the winner after leading out in a rate of 2-03.1.
With a record to date of four wins and 4 placings from 15 race appearances, True Courage has a bright future.
South East South Australia (Glencoe) duo Barry Finnis (trainer) and son Jayson (driver), scored a tough victory with 4-Y-0 Kiwi bred/Rich Moment gelding Den Of Inequity in the Barham Insurance Agencies Pace for C0 class at Stawell.
Eased away from inside the second line immediately as the start was effected, Den Of Inequity possied four back in the moving line, but with the speed nothing special, was set alight to park outside the leader The Silver Dart.
Always travelling comfortably, Den Of Inequity got the better of the pacemaker prior to the home turn and held a margin to the wire in defeating Threes A Cloud (one/one) and Peace Artist (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-04.5.
Dan Of Inequity had previously won two in his homeland and one at Mt Gambier.
Honest six year old/The Devil Inside gelding Devilsliveinside part-owned and trained by Darren Cole in Terang, scored a well overdue victory in the Magdala Motor Lodge Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres at Stawell, returning a mile rate of 2-02.3.
Given the run of the race from the pole on the back of the pacemaker Thingswedoforlove by neighbour Kerry Clarke, Devilsliveinside was eased outside the leader on turning and ran home well to score from Thingswedoforlove which had no answer to his challenge, with Riley Watts third after following the pair.
Even though it was his first success since August 2008, Devilsliveinside is usually close up in whatever race he contests.
All Western District finish
It was an all Western District finish to the $5,500 VHRSC Pace Final for C0 class over 1780 metres at Stawell, with Terang trainer Marg Lee's 5-Y-0/Jilliby Magic gelding Jilliby Cougar dead-heating with Hamilton trainer/driver Shannon Edwards' /Sweet Sienna 4-Y-0 gelding Flying Jasper in yet another contoversial decision.
Driven by nephew Glen Craven, Jilliby Cougar bred and raced by the Craven family, was trapped three wide from gate three, with Glen having no option but to press forward.
Striding past the leader Flying Jasper at the bell, Jilliby Cougar was strongly tested by both Larrikin Ace and the hot favourite Peaces Of You in the final circuit, but kept on giving on straightening and appeared to have held on to score over Flying Jasper along the sprint lane, with Peaces Of You third in a sub two minute rate of 1-59.6, however the judge could not separate the pair, resulting in a dead-heat being posted.
Lake Boga's Paul Gadsden made the trip from the Mallee to Stawell with happy results, as his/Kentucky Kutie gelding Kentucky Jasper with Leigh Sutton in the sulky snared the Comfort Hotels Pace for C2 class over 1780 metres in a 1-59.1 rate.
Unable to head off the polemaker Miss Athens from gate two, Kentucky Jasper was left in the open until Courtney Slater moved Goodtime Jasper forward to park in the open, giving Kentucky Jasper the prime one/one spot.
Easing three wide on the final bend, Kentucky Jasper proved too strong at the finish for Jewel Of Manwarra (three wide last lap) and Indigo Falcon (three back the markers) in bringing up his 3rs success in 7 outings.