Allies Mate made it two wins from two starts in impressive style at Shepparton on Tuesday night.
The Jason Donohoe trained-and-driven son of Mcardle sat parked throughout in the 2190m second heat of the Congram Livestock Transport Vicbred Platinum Country Series A, dashing clear in the home straight for a 10.4m win.
Despite doing the lion’s share of the work Allies Mate was cruising at the home turn, David Farrar-trained Arriens looming up strongly into second but no match for the winner.
Donohoe sat quietly on Allies Mate, which was sent out second favourite behind odds-on pop Royal Hustler, and had a sustained look around at the home turn to sum up the situation.
Once he flicked the reins, it was lights out for his rivals and Allies Mate broke clear to record a winning mile rate of 2:00.7 (last half in 57.6 and last quarter 27.6).
Donohoe said the horse had trained on well after its first-up win and once the favourite was out of play on Tuesday night, he was confident he could get the job done.
“He had trained on well after that first win. The favourite was sort of the only one I was really worried about,” the Marong trainer said.
Arriens held on for second for junior driver Mark Pitt, while Black Jasmin was third for Haydon Gray.
Royal Hustler galloped at the start and missed the kick badly, failing to make up ground and finishing down the track.
Allies Mate became punters’ foe on debut at Bendigo last month when he defeated long odds-on favourite Kept Under Wraps at cricket score odds.
On the strength of Tuesday night’s triumph, he won’t be starting at huge odds again anytime soon.
Meanwhile, trainer-driver Donna Castles finally broke through for win number three with her four-year-old Lombo Mandingo mare Tennaya.
Tennaya, $1.80 on Tuesday night, had endured a frustrating run of second-place finishes, coming in runner-up at six of its past seven starts.
But she finally broke through, proving 2.6m too strong for nearest rival Liams Lass (Jim O’Sullivan) despite punching the breeze throughout.
Tennaya ran 2:01.4 for the mile rate with a last half of 58.4.
The Truth took out the Finley Bowling Club and Finley RSC Trotters Handicap at his first run back from a spell for Kari Males and Paul Males, narrowly edging out race favourite Kains Boy in the first race.
Chris Lang trained and drove the winner of the second, the Kelly Grain Trot, with Aldebaran Eastwood, which started $3.10.
David Aiken and son Josh Aiken combined to win the McNaughts Transport Pace over 1690m with polemarker Wounded, which led all the way to score by 1.3m over Royal Deviate.
Maree Caldow and John Caldow had success in the Tuppal Hotel 3YO Pace with Lost In Bangkok, the gelding saluting by 5.9m in a rate of 1:58.3 over Arrokeefe.
And Raylan Gibbins gave driver Nathan Jack victory in the Euroa Excavation Pace for trainer Melinda Thackeray.
by Cody Winnell
Harness Racing Victoria