Tasmania’s harness racing raids on the mainland of late have been swift and decisive.
And trainer Dick Eaves, whose filly Barynya tasted Group 1 success at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last Friday night in the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks, hopes the Apple Isle’s imposing recent form can stand up for at least another few months as he targets Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown riches.
Barynya, a Blissful Hall filly, upstaged hot favourite Nike Franco (fourth) and David Miles’ rising star Mindarie Priddy (second) to capture the $101,047 winner’s cheque in the Oaks.
The triumph was another boon for Tasmanian harness racing after Beautide’s successes in the Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and Len Smith Mile.
Eaves, 69, described Barynya’s win as a career highlight and heaped praise on driver Rohan Hillier, who, he said, had played a key role in teaching the filly to race.
“Rohan has just been unbelievable with her. He’s done a top job turning her into a racehorse on the track,” he said.
“The other night the only thing that concerned me a little bit was getting into the passing lane as she’d never gone left. I did a lot of work with her during the week and I just said to him ‘make sure you don’t jerk her in there too hard’. He did a pretty good job.”
Barynya is enjoying a freshen up in the paddock this week before hitting top gear once again in the lead-up to the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series starting next month.
Eaves will be hoping his star filly has adapted to travel better than she did in the lead-up to the Victoria Oaks heats, when she became dehydrated on the trip to Victoria.
“She was meant to be travelling over with some other horses but they didn’t turn up so she ended up making the trip over on her own,” Eaves said.
“When she’s travelling on her own she just paws and digs. I think she just sweated out all the way.”
But if she can put those travel issues behind her, and Friday night’s win suggests she has, the Tassie flyer looks set to take Eaves and connections on a thrilling journey.
“It’s going to be an enjoyable ride,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mark Purdon’s star two-year-old Follow The Stars kept his unblemished record intact last Friday with a sizzling 13.6m win in the Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Colts and Geldings Final.
The Art Major colt sat outside early leader Mach Doro before obliterating his rivals from the 400m point, romping clear in the home straight for the easiest of wins in a mile rate of 1:54.1.
Follow The Stars boasts six wins from six starts.
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria