Members of the Gration & McGrath family were on course at the Stawell HRC meeting held on Monday October 7 to witness the victory of “iron” 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Hot Reaction gelding Boyz Torque in the Rachael (McGrath) Gration Memorial Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres.
Trained at Great Western by Peter Manning and driven by Terang’s Glen Craven, Boyz Torque making his 53rd appearance at the races and starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with stablemate The Avoca Flyer beginning with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to lead running into the first turn.
Gaining a three wide trail home in the final circuit at the expense of the favourite One Wise Man (one/two), Boyz Torque finished with great determination in the straight to score from Lombo Krista Bella along the sprint lane after trailing the front runner for the last lap after Blissful Bird dropped out sharply at the winning post with a lap to travel, with One Wise Man weakening slightly to finish third.
In recording his 5th victory, Boyz Torque returned a mile rate of 2-01.6.
Usually the Manning’s play a big hand at Stawell meetings and Monday was no different with Kerryn landing the Barham Insurance Agencies Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1780 metres with in-form 5-Y-0 Metropolitan/Liberty Print gelding Kickittochris in a mile rate of 1-57.9.
Heading off the pole marker Peaces Of You inside him heading into the back straight on the first occasion, Kickittochris led virtually throughout in defeating Peaces Of You and Bronze Destiny which trailed the pair.It was Kickittochris’ 10th victory in 38 outings.
Shelbourne (Bendigo) part-owner/trainer Col Latter’s 10-Y-0 Astreos/Aires And Graces gelding Greek To Me who has been in several stables since first gracing the track, was a giant victor of the Fosters Mensland Claiming Pace over 2175 metres when making his 129th race appearance.
Trapped three wide from the extreme draw, reinsman Jason Lee persisted in going forward to eventually park outside the pacemaker Highview Spirit, before crossing to lead at the bell.
Kicking away in the final circuit, Greek To Me appeared as though he was a sitting target for those back in the field, especially the $2.90 favourite Waterhorse which had been given a quiet passage at the rear of the field from gate two on the second line, before coming with a strong finish three wide approaching the final bend.
Despite doing all of the work, Greek To Me (claiming price $9,000) kept on going to score by 1.3 metres in a rate of 1-59.6, with the roughie Cullen Hanover 13.8 metres away in third place.
Western District (Tarrington) trainer Robert Barker made a long awaited return to the winners list, when 4-Y-0Metropolitan/Private Affair mare Graceful Affair greeted the judge in the Magdala Motor Lodge Pace for C0 class (mares) over 2175 metres, paying Supertab odds of $40.40.
Driven by nephew Rod Barker, Graceful Affair was driven to perfection by settling three back the markers after starting from outside the front row.
Angling into the clear to be outside the pacemaker Artois Stone on the home turn, Graceful Affair at start number 16, gained the day by 4.5 metres in a rate of 2-04.1 over Artois Stone and Joolz Art from mid-field.
Popular Balliang (Bacchus Marsh) trainer/driver Ginger Gleeson did punters no favours when 10-Y-0 Sundon/Stickler gelding Sun Bird snared the Bertori & Co Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2175 metres.
Raced by Ginge and wife Chris, Sun Bird from the 10 metre mark was given a lovely trip trailing the leader Lochlee Jacob from the same handicap.
Joining Lochlee Jacob on the home turn, Sun Bird $31.60 was too strong over the concluding stages for Peter Manning’s Safe Leone from mid-field in the moving line, with Earl Of Charity (one/one at bell) third. The mile rate a leisurely 2-09.5.
By Len Baker