Day At The Track

The Stars Align for Dani

08:22 PM 21 May 2018 NZST
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The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star
Graham Fischer Photo

South Australia’s champion harness racing driver Danielle Hill had a very eventful Golden Nursery night at Globe Derby Park on Saturday.

Hill drove four of the six winners of the races run, plus was involved in a crash which saw the feature Golden Nursery final declared a no race and be reassigned to this week.

Hill’s night started with a win on Canada Bay, which she trains, in the Garrards Horse & Hound Entires & Geldings Pace Final (2230m).

The $3.,30 favourite, Canada Bay again had to come from near last to score a 6-1/2 metre win from Daddy Long Legs ($8.20) with Marty Major ($9.60), a metre away third.

Hill was delighted to win the final for New South Wales owner Michael Taylor.

“Michael said to start driving him quietly early and he’s now won two in a row,” Hill said.

“I was a bit worried when David Smith went forward early on Montanas Jet as I was hoping to trail him into the race.

“However, the speed stayed on and it suited Canada Bay which was able to sprint home strongly to win. He actually won the three-year-old colts & geldings version of this race last year.”

Hill then teamed with Bettorhavtime to win the Town & Country Solar Three-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Pace Final (2230m).

Trained by Heather Stevens, Bettorhavtime ($11.10) sprinted home strongly to score a neck win from Reddy Major ($7.90) with Clarenden Valour ($1.30), a half head away third.

“It wasn’t my best drive on him last week,” Hill said. “I made him do too much work and tonight, with a good tempo, he was better suited and able to get home and win.”

Stevens said the gelding had been purchased as a two-year-old from New Zealand by owner Gary McGinty.

“He wasn’t his most expensive buy but this little bloke continues to improve,” Stevens said.

“It was a great run tonight and the win was a bonus. I think it also shows he is better suited being saved for a late run rather than being up on the speed. He has shown he is not that keen about using the sprint lane.”

Hill made it a winning treble landing Bettor Party an easy winner of the Helloworld Elizabeth Dash (1385m).

Bettor Party ($2 fav) went clear with 400 metres to travel and scored by eight metres from Burnaholeinmypocket ($3.90) with Hes Novak ($17.30), 11-1/2 metres away third.

Trainer Les Harding said the winner had been a wonderful acquisition to his stable.

“He’s won 16 races since coming into the stable in December 2016 including two Port Pirie Cups, a Victor Harbor Cup and an Italian Cup.”

Hill then drove the well-fancied Mackalan in the Alabar Golden Nursery final (1800m).

However, going around the first turn, Regal Scribe, driven by Josh Holberton, crashed to the track and Mackalan had nowhere to go and also fell tipping Hill out of the sulky.

Despite feeling a bit of pain, Hill threw herself across the fallen horses to make sure they remained calm and didn’t start to thrash out which could have caused further injury.

Hill was a little sore but able to continue driving and jumped into the sulky to steer The Shooting Star ($1.20 fav) to an all the way win in the Combined Horse Transport Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace final (2230m).

The former New Zealand filly, having just her second start in over 12 months, scored a two-metre win from Bobbies Delight ($4.50) with Adrian ($26.70), 15-1/2 metres away third.

 The Shooting Star brought up a double for trainer Les Harding and is owned by Merv Butterworth.

The owner-trainer-driver combination won the 2017 version of the race with Crystal Sparkles which also came from New Zealand.

Hill made it a big 24 hours, driving three winners on the six-race Port Pirie program on Sunday.

It took her season tally to 156 wins.

Graham Fischer

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