Day At The Track

Smart 3-year-old returns to winning form

05:17 AM 05 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Chris Alford
Chris Alford

Smart McArdle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle who showed outstanding potential in his two year old year has returned to harness racing form in fine fettle, making it two from two this time in by taking the 1st Heat of the George Croxford Tribute over 2170 metres at Cobram on Monday February 4.

Trained at Orrvale (Goulburn Valley) by Steven Duffy and driven by Chris Alford, Almost El Eagle from gate two trailed the pacemaker Rustys Reject which flew away from gate six before handing over the front running to Patchitupbaby mid-race which had been racing in the open.

This placed Almost El Eagle a $1.50 favourite buried in a tight pocket three back the markers leaving his supporters gasping for air.

As fortune would have it, Almost El Eagle sprouted wings along the sprint lane to register a half neck victory in advance of Rustys Reject which also used the sprint lane, with Patchitupbaby holding down third a further 2.4 metres away. The mile rate 1-59.5.

Further heats will be held at Wangaratta on March 10 and Shepparton on March 16 with the $20,000 Final at Echuca on March 22.

The George Croxford Tribute is a feature Three Year Old event held each year in memory of a former President of the Wangaratta HRC.

Norong (North East) Victoria trainer Mark Buckingham snared a double at Cobram with two 5-Y-0 geldings, Rajah Wealth (Jet Laag/Zoe Wealth) in the Jim Cox Pace for C2 class over 2170 metres and Final Flutter (Blissful Hall/Miss North) in the 1st Heat of the Vicbred Platinum Country Series M for C1 class over 1670 metres.

Rajah Wealth with Mark in the sulky possied three back in the moving line from outside the front line, before letting rip three wide solo in the last lap to join the leader Jordie Louise on the home turn.

Finishing best, Rajah Wealth defeated Jordie Louise by 3.8 metres in 1-56.7, with Secret Ruby (three back the markers) third.

Final Flutter taking a concession for Bendigo's Haydon Gray from gate three spent most of the race trailing the pacemaker Hoppy Joe outside him, before dashing away along the sprint lane to register a 1.9 metre margin in 1-59.6 over the leader and a death-seating Dobop.

Nanneella trainer/driver Greg Albert made a welcome return to the winners list after guiding 5-Y-0 Village Jasper/Macray Purple mare Purple Diva to victory in the Katunga Lucerne Mill Pace for C0 class over 1670 metres.

Spearing straight to the front from gate three, Purple Diva was never headed, accounting for Dash Board Lights which followed and Jasmin Art which raced in the open in a mile rate of 1-58.6.

Greg's previous winner had been Dusky Star on July 20, 1999.

by Len BAKER

Almost El Eagle and Chris Alford winning in 2:41.1 for the 2170m mobile:

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