Things just didn’t work out for Glen Craven, Keayang Steamer and the punters who took the short odds about the Terang trained star at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. (August 8th)
Keayang Steamer was a heavily tried favourite, starting $1.50, in the Swift Signs Pace at Tabcorp Park Melton but could only muster a fifth-place finish from his inside back-row draw.
Pre-race Craven declared he would be looking to get off the pegs at all costs. “I’m not interested in getting locked up on the fence,” he said.
But that's precisely what eventuated. The pacer who beat Smoken Up home to claim the Horsham Cup last campaign was wedged three back along the pegs at the bell.
Early on Exciteusinthecity found the lead for junior driver Tim McLean from gate three, easily crossing Hall Of Famer and La Machane.
Composed got going early to work around to the breeze from his second-line draw, but Keayang Steamer was not able to get one-off and had to punch through to trail Hall Of Famer.
Exciteusinthecity, trained by Darren Cole, was able to get away with 31.6secs and 30.3secs first and second quarters of the last mile, setting the five-year-old gelding up to sprint home in 56.1secs and record his second win in three starts.
Hall Of Famer capitalised on a beaut trip behind the leader by running second, albeit beaten 5.6 metres by the winner, while Composed battled on gamely for third.
Keayang Steamer (fifth) came in behind fast-finishing Kotare Rowland (fourth) and will need to improve significantly second-up to topple his highly regarded stablemate, Keayang Cullen, in the Breeders Crown Graduate Cup on August 24 should they both head in that direction.
Meanwhile, Alison Chisholm enjoyed a red-letter evening with a winning double.
The Melton trainer/driver drove Three Pints to victory in the GBL Property Consultants Vicbred Pace (Race 3) before scoring aboard stable star Asoka in the Del-Re National Food Group Pace (Race 5).
New Zealand champion Our Sky Major proved far too strong for his maiden-metropolitan rivals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Pace.
The Barry Purdon trained three-year-old son of Art Major is here for the Breeders Crown but enjoyed an easy hit-out at Melton, scoring by 3.7 metres over Wolfpack, with Philtra Phella third.
Driver Craig Demmler took Our Sky Major back at the start and he was the best part of 40 metres off the lead at one point over the 1720-metre sprint trip.
Down the back the last time Our Sky Major made his move, reinsman Craid Demmler easing the two-time Harness Jewels champion three-wide.
Sprinting up with a 28.1secs third quarter, Our Sky Major quickly put the leaders away and shot clear early in the straight to record a 3.7-metre triumph in a mile rate of 2:02.5.
Another Kiwi pacer to put her best foot forward was Mark Purdon trained two-year-old Big Lucy, who won the VHRSC 2YO Pace over 1720 metres.
Chris Alford, who took driving honours for the night with a winning treble, was content to sit outside early leader Yankee Showgirl before taking Big Lucy 1.2 metres clear over Wegottarocketmachine at the finish, with Yankee Showgirl boxing on for third in a rate of 1:55.7.
Alford’s other two winners were aboard ultra-consistent trotter Blitzthemcalder in the Renown Silverware Trot for trainer Craig Demmler, and long odds-on favourite Upanatom in the Mediatec Pace Final for trainer Amanda Grieve.
Blitzthemcalder worked his way to the lead mid-race in the trot before outshining Sunset Invasion in the run to the line to score a two-metre win in a rate of 2:00.2.
Blitzthemcalder is arguably racing in career-best form.
Upanatom did plenty of work to find the lead early in his race, but the son of Christian Cullen still proved panels ahead of his rivals – getting home by 4.1 metres over runner-up Pas Mate, who hit the line hard, and third placegetter Eyes On The Sky.
Other winners at Melton were Rostevarren, for trainer Ross Graham and driver Daryl Douglas, in the Geoff and Lorraine Barnes Trot over 1720 metres, Road To Rock, for trainer Keith Cotchin and driver Greg Sugars, in the University Food Group Pacers Handicap over 2240m, and Michael Stanley trained-and-driven Young Modern in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 2240 metres.
Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria