Western District runners shine at Hamilton

07:00 AM 05 Dec 2011 NZDT
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Driver Greg Sugars
Driver Greg Sugars - interviewed by Greg O'Connor

Small fields were the order of the day at Hamilton harness racing on Monday December 5, however the racing was keen throughout the afternoon where Western District runners prevailed.

McKenzies Creek (Horsham) trainer Barry Dunn is no stranger to Hamilton meetings and landed the Hamilton Sign Co. Pace for C0 class over 1660 metres with 4-Y-0 Modern Art/Regards mare Modern McKenzie who broke her maiden status at start number 13 in a mile rate of 1-58.5.

Driven by son Aaron, Modern McKenzie was given an easy time from gate two following the well supported Cruisin Luxury outside him, before dashing home along the sprint lane to score from Fremarksflauntit out wide off a three wide trail last lap on the back of stablemate Fremarksuel, with Cruisin Luxury third.

Great Western’s Warren Bird loves the trotters and snared the www.choicehotels.com.au Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres with 6-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Chiolas Luck gelding Looks A Moral who turned out to be on this occasion.

Driven by Greg Sugars, Looks A Moral coming from a 30 metre handicap settled five back along the markers, with the speedy Earl Of Charity heading the field from barrier three on the 10 metre line (there were no front markers).

Moving to race in the open approaching the bell, Looks A Moral was very strong over the concluding stages in defying all challengers in defeating Master Kiesey which shifted down to the sprint lane from three back in the moving line last lap, with the favourite Jilliby Flipper (one/one bell after a bad beginning) third. The mile rate 2-05.3.

Ararat’s Terry Young made it two from two this time in with Art Major/Nukelyn gelding Majorflex in the Ian McLeod Veterinary Services 3-Y-0 Pace over 2160 metres, returning a mile rate of 2-00.4.

Driven again by Kerryn Manning, Majorflex which scored a Horsham a week earlier, was restrained from gate six to possie three back in the moving line, before moving three wide solo in the final circuit.

Joining the pacemakers Blissful Elmo and Modern Scooter on the home turn, Majorflex finished his race off well to gain the day in advance of the favourite Scarred which followed him home, with Modern Scooter battling away strongly for third.

Navarre trainer/driver Marnie Bibby was successful in taking the Hamilton Walkers Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with 5-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Weona Miss gelding Giveusagrin in a slick 1-57.8.

Settling three back in the moving line from gate five, Giveusagrin made the home turn four wide, before finishing on to defeat the leader and favourite Grand Slam Miss which didn’t get it easy, with Please Yourself running his usual honest race for third after being three wide in the final circuit from last at the bell.

Smart 5-Y-0 Artiscape/Diplomatic Lover gelding Jilliby Ablett was an impressive victor of the Grand Central Hotel Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres.

First up since April, Jilliby Ablett trained at Terang by Marg Lee and driven with confidence by young son Jason, raced in the open from gate five throughout the journey, before outstaying his rivals to score from the leader He Did It Again and Tres Hombres (three wide home turn) in a rate of 2-00.2.

The Astbury Family Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres saw victory go the way of Peter Manning’s ex-Kiwi 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Milagro mare Christian Melody who keeps on going from strength to strength, chalking up six wins in succession and seven overall.

With regular reinsman Matt Craven in the sulky, Christian Melody was three wide from gate four rounding the first turn, before crossing the pole marker and last start Horsham winner Hellovaparty in the back straight on the first occasion.

At this stage Kerryn Manning sent the odds-on favourite Our Blackbird to race in the open, not allowing the leader to have her own way.

Joined by Our Blackbird on the home turn, Christian Melody raced away on straightening to score easily in a fast 1-57.6 from Our Blackbird, with Lucksonmyside (four wide home turn) third.

A problem pacer in her home land not completing the course on a number of occasions, Peter has worked wonders with her and attributes putting heavy trotting shoes in front the reason why.

The Marg/Jason Lee combination were to bring up a double when in-form Rustler Hanover/Jilliby Magic 5-Y-0 gelding Jilliby Rusty scored in the Melton Saddlery Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres.

Taking a concession, Jilliby Rusty from gate two was immediately angled to the back of the pole marker Lucys Pride, enjoying the run of the race throughout.

With Lucys Pride still in front on straightening, Jilliby Rusty made full advantage of the sprint lane to draw away over the concluding stages in defeating Extricate (one/one – three wide home turn) and Lucys Pride in a rate of 1-58.1.

Len BAKER

Modern McKenzie:

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