Day At The Track

Treble for Grant Cullen at Corbiewood opener

02:32 AM 26 May 2016 NZST
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Evenwooddancinjess, harness racing
Grant Cullen driving his second winner on the day, Evenwooddancinjess
Bill Cardno photo

Bannockburm, Scotland - Grant Cullen kick-started the 2016 season in the same fashion as he finished last season when winning the first three races at Corbiewood, Bannockburn, on Sunday 22nd May at the Scottish season's opening meet.

Cullen, who signed off the 2015 season with a narrow defeat in the British Driver's Championship, took the first race on the debutant with Ontop Accountable for owner Bobby Rowan and trained by his father, leading Scottish trainer Paul Cullen.

After a messy start to the race, the winner found its rhythm towards the latter stages and came with a strong challenge three wide to pass leaders Coalford Mystery and Epona Star coming home.

Race 1

1st Ontop Accountable (The Preacher Pan-Accountable Joe) - G Cullen

2nd Epona Star (Hasty Hall-Pirnielodge Epona) - J H Nicholson

3rd Coalford Mystery (Wolfdancer Mindale-Coalford Surprise) - G Drysdale

5 Ran Time: 2.08.43 Dist: 1/2L & 3L

The second race was for a combination of maidens and novices. My Left Foot in the hands of George Drysdale blasted to the front straight past the maidens from his 10-yard handicap trail and set the pace until inside the final quarter when Evenwoodancinjess (Grant Cullen), who had raced from off the pace, came with a well-timed challenge to take up the running and win going away impressively.

Mayrita, who faltered when making her own challenge within the last quarter, managed to regain her stride to finish third.

Race 2

1st Evenwooddancinjess (The Firepan-I'm The Last) - G Cullen

2nd My Left Foot (The Firepan-Slim Shady) - G Drysdale

3rd Mayrita (The Firepan-Minerva) - W Drysdale

6 Ran Time: 2.06.40 Dist: 5L & 3L

Cullen's third victory in a row came in the form of I Can Dream which featured the tightest finish of the day with a blanket of runners crossing the line together.

Sureamhasty (William Greenhorn) showed tremendous gate speed to go 6 lengths clear at the start; Evenwood Ruthless (Gordon Gilvear), who found himself towards the rear of the pack and parked early, rushed up the field to challenge the leader and in doing so found space on the rail in second.

However, as the race progressed, I Can Dream came with a challenge, effectively denying Evenwood Ruthless racing room. As the field turned for home, Sureamhasty looked to be in a commanding position however I Can Dream dug in to get up in the shadow of the post, giving Grant his third on the bounce.

Race 3

1st I Can Dream (Dream Work-Boldron Tory) - G Cullen

2nd Sureamhasty (Hasty Hall-Suream Smart) - W Greenhorn

3rd Evenwood Ruthless (The Firepan-Bird's Decision) - G Gilvear

6 Ran Time: 2.06.97 Dist: Head & 1/2L

The fourth race featured a selection of Grade 1, 2 and 3 horses. Young Stephen, in the hands of John Smart, led out from pole position and set good fractions throughout, hitting the half mile in 1.02.1 and coming home unchallenged to post the fastest time of the day.

Eastern Terrer (Leo Arnett) and Hawthorns Maggie (Ross Leary) ran credibly to finish second and third respectively for their novice drivers.

Race 4

1st Young Stephen (Daylon Alert-Dark Velvet) - J Smart

2nd Eastern Terrer (Hasty Hall-Cherchez La Femme) - L Arnett

3rd Hawthorns Maggie (Coalford Art-Dot Comm) - R Leary

6 Ran Time: 2.03.63 Dist: 4L & 1 1/2L

The penultimate race saw a victory for C Class driver Gary Logan driving his own Ayr Pandemic.

Logan, who has previously scored once with this mare, took advantage of a two-grade (20 yard) lift under the new handicap system as a novice driver, and the decision paid off as she notched up her first victory since 2014. Silver Alert (John Henry Nicholson) looked a threat as the horses turned for home however Ayr Pandemic stayed on to win comfortably.

Race 5

1st Ayr Pandemic (Daylon Alert-Poudine Du Pan) - G Logan

2nd Silver Alert (Daylon Alert- Castle Hill B G) - J H Nicholson

3rd Reverend Run (The Preacher Pan-Lyons Flum) - G Cullen

7 Ran Time: 2.04.69 Dist: 3L & 2L

In the final race, Bayrigg Millionayr (Richard Thomson) led from the gate in his preferred style of racing and looked comfortable in front throughout.

Camden Massino (William Drysdale) challenged briefly at the three quarters but was unable to pass the long-time leader who sprinted away.

Jasper Hill (John Henry Nicholson) ran on for second with Camden Massino finishing third. This is the sixth consecutive season that Bayrigg Millionayr has visited the winner's circle, having started his career as a two year old.

Race 6

1st Bayrigg Millionayr (Genghis Pan-Ayr Millennium) - R Thomson

2nd Jasper Hill (Village Jasper-Eyes Wide Open) - J H Nicholson

3rd Camden Massino (Art Major-Sheeza Sakra) - W Drysdale

5 Ran Time: 2.04.14 Dist: 1 1/4L & 3 1/2L

The next meeting at Corbiewood Stadium is Friday 3rd June. First race 7.30pm.

By Sarah Thomas, for Harnesslink

 

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