Day At The Track

West Wyalong’s award-winning Standing Start Final

08:39 AM 28 Mar 2017 NZDT
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West Wyalong Harness Racing Club
West Wyalong Harness Racing Club

Harness racing heats for West Wyalong’s award-winning Standing Start Final will be held next week in Dubbo and Wagga.

Trainers and drivers are reminded of the need to qualify in a standing start trial prior to be eligible for the Bolt Sulky Innovations Standing Start Series valued at $16,000.

Heats will be held at Dubbo on Wednesday April 5 and Wagga on Friday April 7, while the third heat is at West Wyalong on Easter Saturday, April 15, with the final at West Wyalong’s Carnival of Cups on Sunday April 23.

As well as $7,420 prizemoney up for grabs, and $1000 cash for the winning driver, trainers will be vying for the latest $7,600 Insain Bolt sulky thanks to major sponsor Bolt Sulky Innovations who has joined West Wyalong Harness Racing Club (WWHRC) to make the event possible.

Trainers and drivers are welcome to trial one of the innovative sulkies at the Dubbo and Wagga heats or at the Carnival of Cups meeting.

The sulky can be used in a race, with several people trialling it recently at Penrith to try and confirm the claims that the Australian designed-and-built sulky has turned 50 to one long shots into winners.

Company director Joe Watkins says it’s the pivoting shaft that gives horses the advantage: “particularly in the turns where direct tracking ability without fishtailing and zero torsional forces greatly assists with balance and speed," he said.

WWHRC President Ray Moore welcomed the new sponsor, saying the Club was thrilled to be able to continue to offer the Standing Start Series, after last year’s inaugural event proved a major draw card for competitors.

Moore said the final was expected to be a great spectacle for the crowd once again as horses being handicapped according to their grade, gives every entrant the opportunity to win, and usually means a close finish.  

Bathurst trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull’s Oh Jonny B Good, overcame a 70m handicap to win last year’s edition by 1.7 metres just beating a CO contender.

The favourite Sporty Spook, who won the Wagga and West Wyalong heats, had to start off a 60m but was forced to run an exhausting race three wide and finished last.  

”This exciting race almost saw the front marker Seenohearnospeakno get away with the chocolates, and this is what provides the spectacle where the favourite can run last, the pole marker almost gets home and the winner is forced to run four and five wide on the home turn to catch the leaders,” said Moore.

The standing start series is already attracting plenty of interest with Amanda Turnbull mentioning at Young Carnival of Cups recently that she’s planning to return for a chance at another sulky and brother Mitch, who has been driving exceptionally well lately, says he’s also interested.

The inaugural standing start event was introduced last year thanks to the assistance of Dubbo and Wagga Clubs who are on board again.

“We put a lot of work into the event as a way of building up the program for our Carnival of Cups for both competitors and spectators,” said Moore.

And the work paid off when the Club won the Harness Racing NSW Innovation Award for introducing the race to the program in an attempt to grow the race meeting.

“It’s an exciting addition to our Carnival of Cups program that we hoped would prove a success,” said Moore.

“West Wyalong only runs two race meetings a year but the track is in excellent condition and the racing is expected to be of high quality.

“Small clubs like ours have to put in the extra yards to stay viable and keep our meetings on the annual racing calendar.”

The nine race program is expected to attract a lot of interest after last year attracting 170 nominations.

Races include the $12,240 S and C Clubs Pacers Cup (C4-C7) and two $10,000 Menangle heats. The lead up event on Easter Saturday April 15 is a restricted event, with heats for the standing start as well as C0- C1 four-year-old heats.

By Melanie Sincock

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