A family favourite put retirement talks on the backburner with a barnstorming run in the harness racing Traralgon Pacing Cup at Warragul. Pressplay has long been held in special regard at Daisy Hill Racing, a Doreen farm that Rebecca Cartwright oversees with her husband, Craig Turnbull, for trots and gallops owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford, whose success includes the 2010 Melbourne Cup with Americain. Owned and bred by Cartwright, the six-year-old has mustered almost $140,000 in stakes across her 55 starts, which have yielded 31 placings including 12 wins. Most prominent among them was the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for four-year-olds in 2014, which garnered $66,550 for the stable. “She’s been a good little mare,” Cartwright said. “She was our first Group 1 winner when she won the Super Series.” It was the career that almost never happened after a freak injury struck the previous year. “She pierced her pedal bone when she was a three-year-old. She had lost a shoe in the paddock and stood on a nail,” Cartwright said. “She has had problems with her feet ever since and has had to be managed.” This has long been viewed as the pacer’s final season before she is sent to the breeding barn, a decision that was almost fast-tracked when Pressplay ran poorly when beaten by 54m at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 1. “She pulled up really distressed. Her action was really different on the night and we were not sure why,” Cartwright said. “It was back to the drawing board. We thought it may have been her last run and that it was time to retire her, but her track work was sensational, so we thought we would take her to trial and test her.” In the trial Pressplay ran third behind Hokonui Ben and Show Heeza Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 26. “She got through the trial pretty good and so we found a decent run for her in the Traralgon Cup.” Raced at Warragul Harness Racing Club, Turnbull eased Pressplay to the rear of the cup field from barrier five while Shifty Shivas and Show Heza Classic poured on the pace at the front. Turnbull showed patience, waiting until the approach to the final bend before setting Pressplay three-wide to try and run down the leader. “The speed was on in front and that’s how she needs it. She’s a real sit-sprinter,” Cartwright said. “She come with a big run and was really strong on the line. She doesn’t really have a chance to win at the turn, and if she had have run into fourth or even sixth I would have been so excited. But she just kept coming. “When she won it we were very excited. She is only a little mare but has a big burst of speed.” Cartwright said she “pulled up as well as she ever had” and they planned a “couple more races” for her, including at Shepparton on Wednesday. Michael Howard
Local harness racing trainer Michael Hughes prepared five-year-old mare Narreeva to win the Ken Miller Memorial race at Warragul's trotting meeting on Monday afternoon. In a keen contest Narreeva stormed home out wide to grab victory from Comigal and Temporal Join. The mare is bred and raced by veteran Narre Warren horseman Arthur Fullwood and is a recent addition to the Hughes stable. Narreeva bought up three winning drives for the afternoon for top horseman Greg Sugars, who won earlier in the day with Manly Mach and Betterman Stride. Melton trainer Brett Cargill had his name selected as the winner of a new Dooza Engineering racing sulky, from trainers who had a starter in the Miller Memorial event. Cargill was lucky enough to win the same lucky draw two years ago. Co-feature at Monday's meeting was the Traralgon Pacing Cup, where another exciting contest saw Pressplay grab victory in a keen finish. Trained at Doreen by Rebecca Cartwright and driven by Craig Turnbull, Pressplay has recorded 12 wins from 55 starts. Locally owned and trained filly Courageous Call scored an easy win in the fourth race. Coming off a sixth placing in the recent Victoria Oaks, Courageous Call appreciated a significant drop in class, and led all the way for trainer Gary Quinlan and driver Anthony Butt. She has won connections almost $29,000 in stakes with three wins and five minor placings from only 11 starts. Two other popular winners on the day were Mister Gunsen for trainer-driver Paul Grech in an eventful Trotters Handicap, and Change Of Address, which recorded a third win in succession when taking out the last race. Despite cold, windy conditions, a good crowd was on hand for the eight race program at the Warragul Pacing Bowl. Kyle Galley
Memories of the late and great doyen of the Melbourne Showgrounds – Gordon Rothacker were revived at Shepparton trots on Wednesday, when Gotta Go Cullect/Wendy Anne filly Heirloom Angel greeted the judge on debut in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for harness racing Two Year Old Fillies over 2190 metres. Bred and raced by Gordon’s daughter Judy and granddaughter Kate, Heirloom Angel trained at Doreen by Craig Turnbull and driven by Gavin Lang carrying the famous Rothacker colours of Red with a Dark Blue V, led throughout from the pole to impressively account for Jovial Jurno Lombo (three back the markers) by 5.5 metres, with Rockstar Angel ((one/one – three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 2-03.4. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria
Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria
Doreen's Craig Turnbull combined withharness racing driver Chris Alford to land the Kilmore Cup Sunday Pace for C1 class (mares) over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday October 26 with Charlotte Two, a 5-Y-0 daughter of Live Or Die and Polly's Atom, making it two from two this time in.
Two mandatory harness racing meetings were held in provincial Victoria on Wednesday June 27, Maryborough in Central Victoria conducting the day fixture and Terang in the Western District racing at night.
The Cranbourne Harness Racing Club (always a popular spot with bayside residents), held a neat eight event card on Thursday (October 17) , with favourite punters not enjoying a profitable night. One favourite that did salute the judge was 4-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Tender Is The Knight gelding Atomic Horizon for Melton's Michael Hughes in the Rosemary Coram Pace for C0 class over 2080 metres.
Three trotting events were held on the eight strong harness racing card at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Tuesday October 25. The Freedom Tanks Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2150 metres was taken out by 10-Y-0 Extrovert/Geechar gelding Mister Jonas, much to the delight of the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre Management which race him.
Further heats of the harness racing Australasian Breeders Crown Series 13 continued at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Wednesday July 27, with three heats for Three Year Old fillies over 2150 metres taking place. Heat 8 was a blackout for punters, with Graeme and Gavin Lang combining to score with $15.10 chance Livia Degerolstein (Live Or Die/Estelle Bromac).