It might have been Geelong Pacing Cup night on Saturday March 29, but without doubt the biggest harness racing winner of the evening was young seventeen year old Patrick (Paddy) Lee, the younger brother of talented concessional reinsman Jason following the victory of nine year old Keystone Salute / Amanda Branach gelding Salute Branach in The Weekly Review Greater Geelong Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2570 metres.
Trained at Terang in the name of mother Marg, Paddy after pleading with the family purchased the horse which had been spending his life lost in the wilderness in a paddock at Warrnambool after being given a couple of tries by Portland’s Garry Jennings for a mere $500.
Paddy does all of the work with the horse which was making only his fourth appearance at the races and second for the week after having been in work for a considerable time, having finished third at Terang the previous Wednesday when first up since August 2012.
Driven by cousin Glen Craven, Salute Branach bred by Burrumbeet’s Brendan Cahill came into the race on bad terms having never won a race, but jumped straight to the front from barrier three, before surrendering to Gazoline which began like a rocket from 30 metres.
Travelling beautifully all of the way, Salute Branach used the sprint lane to register a 1.8 metre victory untouched over the former Breeders Crown victor Triumphant Monarch (three wide home turn from one/two at bell), with Armed Guard third after racing in the open for the final circuit.
Trotters are rather new to the Lee stable which is famous for the Keayang brand and Paddy is going to have plenty of fun along the way.
The victory would also have given grandparents Harold and Alice Craven a tremendous thrill.
Harness Racing Victoria