Day At The Track

Vautin salutes in opening race

09:08 PM 22 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Play Up A Storm
Play Up A Storm (blue silks), trained and driven by Young's John Vautin, wins the Southwest Tractors Young Pace (2100m) at the Paceway on Tuesday night
Peter Guthrie Photo

The weather pattern became much more settled last Tuesday night with a large number of patrons taking advantage of ideal conditions to enjoy an exciting eight race harness racing program at the Young Paceway.

Local driver John Vautin continued his winning form following a narrow victory at Temora last week with the Mike Prest trained Pets Pet Rock, repeating that performance with a polished front running drive behind another Pet Rock progeny in Play Up A Storm ($2.90) in the opening race of the night.

Declared a "good thing" by many, the four-year-old gelding recorded a convincing two metre win over outsider Hardliner and the locally trained Bettorbetbig in a mile rating of 2:02.3 for the 2100 metre event.

Short priced favourite Uroc Skinny Jeans ($1.95) was unfortunately not on her best behaviour and was retired mid race in the second of the night, the eventual winner Presidentialattack ($14.00) arriving just in time after being fifth at the bell to defeat Funnily Enough for Ray Walker with To Be Feared finishing third in a winners mile rate of 2:01.7.

The winner is trained at Cartwrights Hill in Wagga by Brian Smith who bred the seven-year-old gelding that has now greeted the judge on three occasions.

Bathurst mentor Ashlee Grives took full advantage of the number one gate draw by taking the short priced favourite Overpowering ($1.35) to the lead soon after the start to hold out the locally trained Isntthatright ($8.00) and surviving a protest before the judges final pat with Bold Western finishing third in an exciting race three.

A mile rating of 1:58.4 and a margin of a short half head kept the crowd on their feet until the all clear siren sounded.

Race four resulted in another win for favourite backers when the Bathurst trained Ring The Till ($1.55) made amends for his three previous narrow defeats at Bathurst and Parkes to post a slick 1:57.5 mile rating in defeating Topsie Grinner and Arrokeefe driven by Blake Micallef for Crookwell trainer Scott Hewitt.

Noted front running driver Ross Druett continued his much rewarded style of driving with an accomplished win behind Kamwood Izzy ($21.00) in race five. Given an ideal draw and a likeable distance, many keen eyed watchers took full advantage of the long price on offer and cheered the Wagga trained pacer all the way down the straight when the six-year-old mare kicked clear to defeat another outsider in Rocknroll Ava ($21.00) and favourite Bettor Jiggle ($1.30) in a creditable mile rating of 2:02.8.

A veteran of 91 starts has now notched up 13 wins for her delighted owner.

Starting her harness racing career at the age of ten at Penrith with mini trotting, and coming from a strong harness racing family, McKayler Barnes showed her experience with another outstanding drive behind the Peter Bullock trained Shannonsideal ($1.80) in race six in holding out a determined last minute charge from first starter Turbo Tommy with another short half head margin in favour of the winner.

Temora reinsman Ray Walker again finished close up in third position with Roll A Dream ($34.00). The all clear siren was held up until the driver of the second horse had the opportunity to view the photo, all was good and placings stood.

Emma Turnbull gave Ideal Flash ($2.10) the perfect run in race seven to take home the major end of the prize.

Taking the much sought after position behind the leader and minor placegetter Jetset Star ($126.00) driven by Nathan Hoy, Ideal Flash a one metre advantage was enough to keep favourite backers happy, Uroc Baby finishing third ($21.00) after being fourth at the bell.

Another slick 1:59.6 and a second win from twenty starts was a rewarding result for trainer Wendy Turnbull.

The final race of the night was unfortunately not a pretty sight with a number of drivers intent on searching for the leading spot, some raised voices and daring drives in the early stages nearly causing an unwanted traffic jam.

When things finally sorted themselves out, the plan was clear, lead at all cost and go as fast as you can for as long as you can.

This unrehearsed plan suited the eventual winner in polemarker Tulhurst Terror ($7.50) who had only won two races from eighty one starts. Joint favourites Arama Reactor ($2.15) and Arty Pharty ($1.90) attacked each other and finished with no fuel left in the tank, only to finish second and third in that order, a head margin separating them with the winner having a two-and-a-half metre, one metre advantage at the finish.

Young will race again on Tuesday night, February 18 with the ever popular Carnival Of Cups being held on Friday night, March 13. 

By Stuart Maxwell

Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

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