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Relief is the word used by harness racing trainer Justin Brewin to describe the win of Major Crocker at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. “It is a big honour to be asked to train a Grand Circuit performer and to get a win at his first run for me is a relief,” Brewin said. “It would have been nice to be a bit bigger margin, but a win is a win.” A red-hot favourite at $1.30 in the DPR Insurance Brokers Pace (2230m), Major Crocker arrived right on the line for driver Jayden Brewin to score a short-half-head win from Futurist ($11.80) which wouldn’t go down without a fight with Tezz Khora ($21.60), a similar margin away third in an exciting finish. “He just wants to win,” declared breeder and managing owner Gary Crocker. “He was in front for the first time right on the line. He doesn’t like being beaten.” But trainer Justin Brewin has other issues to deal with this week in the lead up to the Group 1 $100,000 SA Pacing Cup (2645m) at Globe Derby Park. Major Crocker struck himself during the race with some nicks on a hind leg which will mean plenty of beach for the seven-year-old leading up to the Cup. Coming from gate 11, Jayden Brewin deliberately sat a little wide after gate release to ensure a clear run around the first turn and it proved smart as Braeview Bomber ($54.60) went into a gallop early from the inside causing a few issues. Darren Billinger, on Futurist, saw the opportunity to press on from gate five and find the lead, and it wasn’t long until Brewin brought Major Crocker around to sit parked to try and control the race. As it was the Major’s first run for a month, and with a view to the Cup, Brewin wanted to give his drive as easy a run as he could which suited Billinger on the leader with 31.0 and 30.7 second quarters of the last 1600 metres. Futurist increased the speed off the back and Major Crocker was left a little flat-footed. With Billinger driving hard, Futurist looked to be holding Major Crocker which refused to give in and kept coming while Tezz Khora, which had a great run in transit, came wide to join in. The trio sprinted hard and fast up the home straight but the Major saluted in the last bound. Formerly trained in Victoria by Vince Vallelonga, Major Crocker was transferred to Brewin with the SA Cup as a major target. A Cup win would be emotional for Crocker, currently a Harness Racing South Australia director, who was raised at Port Pirie and developed his passion for the sport at the northern circuit. He has developed into a successful owner-breeder through his Walk Proud Pty Ltd, with Major Crocker the flag-bearer. Graham Fischer

South Australia’s top two-year-old of 2016/2017 made the step up to his three-year-old year with a dashing harness racing victory in the 2017 Ubet St Leger (2230m) at Globe Derby Park. After a defeat a week earlier as an odds-on favourite, Bulletproof Boy started at the generous odds of $5.10 from gate one and dashed up the sprint lane to score a 2-1/2 metre win from Culzean Castle ($12.70) with its stablemate The Deal ($25.60), two metres away third. Trainer-driver Scott Ewen was delighted with the classic victory. “I’ll be heading to Mildura this week to try and pick up his Vic bonus before running in the South Australian Derby at Globe Derby Park on January 13,” Ewen said. “Last week he led, and I don’t really think he is a leader. I didn’t drive him as well as maybe I could have but tonight it worked out beautifully as he took the sit and got to come through on the sprint lane.” Ewen went one better than his father Barry, who passed away several months ago. Ewen snr ran second in the 1986 St Leger with Swing Parade behind the very good Jeremiah Weed. “Tonight’s win will be a great tonic for my longtime client ‘Chook’ Okmasich. “He’s doing it a bit tough at present but I’m sure he will have watched the race on Sky Channel and very happy. He said if we run in the Derby he’ll try to make it to the track so that is now our goal.” Don’t Tell William, trained by Toby Ryan and driven by his wife Lisa, started a red-hot $1.40 favourite. As expected, the gelding led comfortably from gate three with Ewen sitting on his back on Bulletproof Boy. Trainer Greg Norman had three runners in the St Leger – The Deal, Culzean Castle and Fiery Mac. He drove The Deal which, from gate five, found himself parked and with a lap to go moved up to challenge the favourite. The pair went head-to-head down the back and on the home turn The Deal stuck his head in front and Don’t Tell William started to struggle. Bulletproof Boy accelerated along the sprint lane and it was left to Culzean Castle to run home from second last but he never looked a chance of catching the winner. The Deal held on well for third with Don’t Tell William fading to fifth. The favourite didn’t handle the step up from 1800m to 22230m. A week earlier, over the shorter trip, he had given Bulletproof Boy a 30-metre start and cut him down with a brilliant sprint. Bulletproof Boy won the Lordship Stakes last season after an eye-catching fourth in the Southern Cross final behind That’s Perfect. He is building an impressive form profile with six wins and seven placings from just 16 starts with fourths at his other three runs. Graham Fischer

Top South Australian harness racing participant Danielle Hill has often stated she enjoys training a winner more than she does love driving them. Fellow trainer Peter Bain, from Gawler,  is a fan of Hill’s ability to have her standardbreds perform at their best. Bain’s mother Val, and son Aaron, own Hilltop Lilliana, an impressive winner at Globe Derby Park for Hill. “Aaron and I had Hilltop Lilliana, which was bred by Mum, in our stable early on,” Bain said. “We knew she had talent but really struggled to get her to perform on the track. We won one race with her but generally couldn’t not get her to perform. “While I have known Dani and her Dad Gary for a long time, I had never had any association from a racing viewpoint until earlier this year. “In August I decided to book Dani for Hilltop Rose and she had immediate success and my respect for her grew so with our issues with ‘Lily’ I said to Mum, and Aaron why not give Dani a chance with her and already she has had two wins and three placings from just six starts. “She has done a marvellous job with the mare.” On Saturday, Hilltop Lilliana ($5.90) dashed away to score an 11-1/2 metre win in the DPR Insurance Brokers Pace (1800m) beating Promise At Dawn ($20.60) with red-hot $1.70 favourite Wroxton Steel, 3-1/2 metres away third. “The best wins are often those you don’t expect,” Hill said. “I thought she would run well but didn’t think she could win. “Pre-race I thought she might not be in a good mood as she was trying to kick me out of the bike but once we started to score up she switched to race mode. “She can over-race but tonight settled beautifully. “When I asked her to go forward and sit parked a lap out, she didn’t fire up but really wanted to race. “I sent her for home 400 metres out and she raced away and won well.” Hill said Hilltop Lilliana was a training challenge. “She has ability but also has an attitude and it is a matter of trying to get into her head. Hopefully we are winning the battle.” Graham Fischer

Harness racing trainer Ray Goble was delighted to win a second Fred Jones Trotters Cup (2645m) with his outstanding trotter Rejuvenation at Globe Derby Park. Goble, who trains at Reeves Plains, was a longtime friend of the late Fred Jones who was a passionate harness racing supporter and a lover of the squaregaiter. In a quirk of programming, it was the second Fred Jones Trotters Cup in 2017, the first being in February, and Rejuvenation has won them both. Courtesy of an outstanding drive by Ryan Hryhorec on Saturday, Rejuvenation ($11.50) sprinted sharply up the home straight to score by 4-1/2 metres from Rocknroll Baby ($2.10 fav) with its stablemate Al Bundy ($3.50), two metres away third. Rejuvenation came off a 40-metre handicap in the field of seven but began brilliantly and Hryhorec had the 10-year-old second on settling down behind the leader Truscott Hall. With such a cozy run, the veteran was always going to take beating and so it proved. “Fred Jones was a wonderful man for the sport,” Goble said. “He was a key person in ensuring the squaregaiter had a place in South Australia. “Back in the 1980s, Mon Max was proving virtually unbeatable in mobile events and running out of opposition so Fred, who was on the control board at the time, made sure the country clubs ran standing start events to give more participants a chance and so trotters races survived. “It is fitting that a trotters cup has been programmed in his honour.” Goble said Jones also owned horses and raced a multiple winner with him called Another Report. Jones’ nephews Brad and Matt were on course to present the Cup and it was also revealed that another of Jones’ friends, media star Bruce McAvaney, each year, pays for a horse rug to be presented to the winning connections. For Hryhorec, it was his 25th winning drive on Rejuvenation, and according to Goble, perhaps his best. “The horse has never begun as quick and for Ryan to have him in behind the leader on settling down was simply amazing. When that happened, I started to believe a win was possible.” Goble said the gelding, owned by his wife Angela, had been a wonderful trotter. “Tonight was his 34th win and takes his stakes past $160,000. “Handicaps have made it tough in recent months, but he rarely fails to bring home a cheque, even if he doesn’t win.” Included in his wins are the 2015 South Australian Trotters Cup and the 2015 Hambeltonian. Goble said Rejuvenation would go on the Cups trail in South Australia over the next few months with one major goal being the Group 2 $30,000 SA Trotters Cup (2645m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, January 13. While all honours were with the winner, the runs of the placegetters, both trained at Two Wells by Greg Norman were enormous and full of merit. Runner-up Rocknroll Baby, which only switched from pacing to trotting about 12 months ago, reverted to old habits at the start pacing away which forced driver Jock Dunlop to make her break and when she got back into a trot was some 50 metres behind the field. Her effort to finish second was outstanding. Third placed Al Bundy came off a 70-metre handicap and was forced to race wide over the last lap but kept coming and did a good job. Only five days earlier he had run a track record at Globe Derby Park so that may have taken the edge off him over the final stages, but he still ran well. By Graham Fischer

The win of Barrow Street at Globe Derby Park on Saturday was another tick for Port Pirie trainer Waylon Hornhardt as he attempts to build his training career. Sent out at $12.90, Barrow Street, driven by Wayne Hill, scored a one metre win in the O’Brien’s Meats ‘Hotshots Night’ Claiming Pace (1385m) beating Maywyns Zephyr ($6.20) with stablemate Bobby Fabulous ($2.80 fav), 5-1/2 metres away third. Hornhardt was retrenched earlier in the year so decided to have a shot at becoming a professional trainer. From a team of one or two, he now has 10 horses in work. Hornhardt said he had been reluctant to take over Barrow Street but owner Chis Neilson had been very persistent. “I was getting too many horses which were about the same class, so it was very hard to place them without having clashes as was the case tonight with Barrow Street and Bobby Fabulous,” Hornhardt said. “Wayne drove him beautifully tonight, trailing the leader then coming off around the home turn and he proved too strong. “When I first took him over I thought Barrow Street might struggle as his work was poor, but Chris kept saying not to despair because the horse did have plenty of talent, and he was right. “A week later he really picked up and tonight’s win was not unexpected.” Hornhardt said Bobby Fabulous also had run well and was another in-form pacer. “He is a bit one-paced and always was going to have a tough job from gate 10 but kept coming.” Neilson was a bit worried that having put a $5000 claiming price on Barrow Street, the nine-year-old might have been picked up and was relieved he wasn’t. He hopes to have the gelding racing for the country cups circuit in the new year. “Barrow Street loves the stand starts and will be well suited,” he said. Graham Fischer

South Australia’s leading trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec is flying. Hryhorec opened December with a driving treble and training a winning double at Globe Derby Park, then a week later repeated the effort on ‘Hotshots Night’. He started the night with a win on Addarichone for trainer Errol Johnson, then trained and drove Doubledipofheaven and Hellfire Pass to victory. The wins saw him leading the SA Drivers premiership with 37 wins, three clear of Wayne Hill, and also at the head of the SA Trainers premiership with 17 wins, three clear of the now defunct partnership of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain. The trainer believes both Doubledipofheaven and Hellfire Pass can continue their winning form. A well backed $2.40 favourite, Doubledipofheaven sprinted strongly to win the Adelaide Equine Salt Therapy Pace (1385m) by a metre from Make Mine Joe ($2.90) with Sallywynda ($5.60), 4-1/2 metres away third. The victory was the result of a classic drive by Hryhorec. He came out quickly from gate three on Doubledipofheaven but found Sallywynda pushing through from gate one. With Make Mine Joe in gate eight failing to hold the back of the leader, Hryhorec dropped his drive into the fence to have the perfect trail. As the field sprinted up past the 600 metre mark, he came off the back of Sallywynda rather than wait for the sprint lane. “I did think about staying inside because I knew it would be holding Make Mine Joe up on my back,” Hryhorec said. “But I backed myself to be able to outsprint him and it proved a good decision.” Hryhorec said he was very happy with the five-year-old which is owned by his partner Kerri Stauwer. “His form was okay earlier in the year, but I didn’t think he was really running through the line. “However, his last two wins have been an improvement and now he is hitting the line strongly. “There is no doubt he is best when not used up early because he has a super sprint.” Hellfire Pass ($2.90) led throughout from gate four in the Equissage Pace (1385m) to score by four metres from That Said ($1.70 fav) with Starzzz Princess ($5.80), eight metres away third. Despite the fact the race was over a short trip, Hryhorec was able to get away with a pedestrian 32 second first quarter before coming home in 29.7 and 28.1 to win comfortably. “I think he is going to be a nice horse,” Hryhorec said. “He was one of Paul’s (Brumby) dear buys – he cost $3000.” Hellfire Pass has now won three races from just nine starts earning just under $10,000. Graham Fischer

Teenage reinswoman Kaela Hryhorec put herself into South Australia’s top 10 harness racing drivers with a double at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Hryhorec, 17, drove Itz Sportz Torque and Jakarras Ace to victory, both trained by her uncle Ryan Hryhorec. The wins gave the teenager seven wins for the season and propelled her into 10th spot on the SA Drivers premiership. Hryhorec showed some skill to land each winner. Itz Sportz Torque ($2.60 fav) scored a 32-1/2 metre win in the Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic Pace (2230m) beating Ingoodnik ($4) with Signs From Above ($9), seven metres away third. A slight gear malfunction early saw Itz Sportz Torque fire up as Hryhorec took the five-year-old to lead early. Hryhorec tried to restrain him but the horse was keen to go, so rather than fight him, she let him get into a comfortable rhythm. Itz Sportz Torque bowled along well clear and showed no signs of stopping and his rivals got sick of chasing. Trainer Ryan Hryhorec believes the gelding can keep going through his classes. “He’s a nice horse,” Hryhorec said. “He is a good stayer and loved getting out over a bit of a trip. “He has been racing well over 1800 metres, but he will be better suited over 2230 metres, we just don’t have enough over that trip.” Itz Sportz Torque was bred and is owned by Ian Corazzol who lives in Queensland. “Ian is a great owner and lets me do what I want with the horse and hopefully he’ll be celebrating a few more wins over the next few months.” Jakarras Ace ($2.40 fav) came from last to win the Toby Ryan Pace (1800m) for the state’s young/concession drivers by a metre from Blue Beach Angel ($6.20, James Clark) with Sallywynda ($15.70, Brodie Webster), six metres away third. Hryhorec settled at the tail of field with Jakarras Ace before bringing him wide going into the back straight and the four-year-old rounded up his rivals to win well. Trainer Ryan Hryhorec said the four-year-old was another horse capable of going through the grades. “Kaela drove him as a sit-sprinter tonight and that is not really his go,” Hryhorec said. “He did a top job to win but credit to Kaela, she summed up the opposition and got it right.” Kaela Hryhorec said she had a strong passion for harness racing. The teenager is doing work placement with Globe Derby Park trainer Ray Holberton and is loving it. “With Ray hurting his foot about a month ago I have had to step up to help with the training,” Hryhorec said. “It has been busy and interesting working with young horses as well as the older ones. “Ray has also been great going through each of my drives and telling me where he thought I had done well, or not, even with the wins. “He has been fantastic, and I believe my driving is improving.” Graham Fischer

Top South Australian freelance harness racing reinsman Wayne Hill landed the first three winners at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Hill partnered the Leah Harvey-trained pair of Hard Rock Shannon and Big Behemoth and split them with a photo-finish win on Lookofalegend for trainer Luke O’Neill. Hill was relieved with a Saturday night treble. “I’ve been driving winners at Port Pirie, at Globe Derby Park on Monday, as well as at Mildura, but this is my best Saturday night result for a while,” Hill said. Hill led throughout on the Harvey-runners then sprint-laned on Lookofalegend. “Hard Rock Shannon has been racing really well for Leah and when he led I thought he would be hard to beat,” Hill said. “He came home in a 58.4 second last half and won easily. “I was surprised Big Behemoth had such an easy time and he really was always going to win. “He settled a lot better tonight and raced well. He is capable of going through the classes.” Hill had to use all his experience to get Lookofalegend home. The six-year-old settled second behind Power Of Attorney. “Getting to the home turn I could see Ona Rocky Beach sprinting hard out wide, so I had to try and get through before the sprint lane. “Michael (Harding) on the leader drifted a bit away from the inside so I drove through to get some momentum up before the sprint lane.” The ploy worked as Lookofalegend dashed through to grab a head win from Ona Rocky Beach with Power Of Attorney fading to finish third. Hill revealed he was going to try and become a regular driver at Mildura meetings. “With just five meetings a fortnight in Adelaide and Pirie, I have decided to see if I can pick up regular books at Mildura. “If I can get four drives I’ll go because it makes the trip worthwhile, anything less and I’ll stay home.” Hill said he had seven drives on the eight-race Mildura program on Tuesday. “It gives me a chance to expand my profile and drive more winners. Hopefully I can pick up a sit behind a few promising horses.” Graham Fischer

Harness racing trainer Leah Harvey, from Kadina, had pretty much the perfect result at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Harvey took three horses to the track and came away with two wins and a second. Two of her horses, Hard Rock Shannon and Chasing A Win clashed in the opening event, the Diamonds Forever Night Pace (1800m), and they ran the quinella. Hard Rock Shannon ($5.50) led throughout from gate three to score a seven-metre win from the fast-finishing Chasing A Win ($23.40) with the $1.80 favourite Itz Sportz Torque, two metres away third. Two races later, in the Ubet Pace (1800m), Big Behemoth ($2 fav) led throughout to score a 4-1/2 metre win from Blue Beach Angel ($6.80) with Doubledipofheaven ($3.60), 12 metres away third. Both her winners were driven by Wayne Hill. Harvey said the only way the night could have been better would have been if the first pair had dead-heated for first. “I’m not complaining, it was a good night,” Harvey said. “The first two are such beautiful horses – very easy to work with. “Big Behemoth is the best horse of the trio but doesn’t have the best temperament and because of his size can be a lot of hard work.” Hard Rock Shannon came into Harvey’s stable from Port Augusta trainer Ash Holtham. “Ash asked me to take him for a while because he thought the horse had more ability than he was showing. “Mick (Darling) worked on his shoes and I did a bit of work on his back and he hasn’t looked back. “His first win (on October 23 at Globe Derby Park) was enormous and I love showing it to anyone who didn’t see the race.” Hard Rock Shannon was travelling well midfield with just over a lap to go when he was checked, broke and lost ground but recovered to round up his rivals and win. “He had no luck in two subsequent runs but ran well and tonight when he was able to lead I thought he would be hard to beat. “The winner rated 1:58.4 so Chasing A Win to come from near last and run second was a fabulous run. “They are going very well.” Harvey was delighted with Big Behemoth’s win. “I have started putting ear plugs on him which is quite a tough job, but they worked, and he settled really well rather than trying to just go out and race. “Because he is so big, I have to get a box to stand on to put the plugs in. Early on he resented them, so I didn’t worry but I tried again during trackwork this week, then again tonight and he is happy to have them in.” Big Behemoth was never challenged on Saturday and had the race won a long way from home. Harvey believes he will be even better suited when he runs against the better horses in fast-run events. Graham Fischer

Popular harness racing Gawler owner Alan McDonald, had successful Saturday, capped by The Nature Boy winning the UBET Spring Challenge Final (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. “Everyone got money,” McDonald said. “I had to go to the Kapunda Rodeo because I had seven of my kids competing,” McDonald said. “They all came away with money and The Nature Boy’s win was the icing on the cake. “I ducked down the pub to watch the race on Sky.” The Nature Boy ($5.80), trained and driven by David Smith, scored a two-metre win from the fast-finishing Goodsie ($42) with Doubledipofheaven ($3.90), a similar margin away third. Smith admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the win. “He is just such a good horse,” Smith said. “I got caught wide early and covered ground for longer than I would have liked. That was the first time I thought he couldn’t win.” Eventually, as expected, Smith was able to work The Nature Boy around to sit parked outside the leader Royal Safari ($2.60 fav). But the favourite had had its own issues and had to work itself early to find the lead. As he does, Smith kept The Nature Boy running along and the gelding eventually worked to the lead coming off the back. “Hitting the front on the home turn, I again thought I would be a sitting shot, with one of the others sprinting home too strongly.” Doubledipofheaven, a five-year-old with a quick sprint, did in fact loom up on straightening but came to the end of his run and The Nature Boy kept giving. On the line, the Smith-driven pacer had outstayed his rivals to take out the Spring Challenge with Goodsie finishing fast to snatch second but never look a winning chance. McDonald said he had thought of talking with Smith about giving the winner a break but asked why he would when the gelding was racing so well. “David has him fitter than he has ever been, and he is going fantastic.” Graham Fischer

Teenage harness racing tyro Jayden Brewin brought up his 100th career win at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Brewin landed a double on the Shane Young-trained pair of Ona Rocky Beach and Maywyns Zephyr to reach the milestone. It certainly wasn’t a case of the ‘nervous 90s’ for Brewin as he drove six winners in 24 hours to reach the magical 100. Brewin, 17, must surely been one of, if not, the quickest drivers to reach the mark. He only began driving in July last year and landed his first winner, The Octagon, on July 18. A football injury sidelined him until October, so, in reality, he has driven 99 winners in about 13 months, an amazing strike rate for such a young driver. Brewin’s development in the sport takes another turn this week with the teenager spending time with the top Victorian stable of Emma Stewart. On Saturday, it was trainer Shane Young who enabled him to come away with a double. Ona Rocky Beach ($2.15 into $1.80 fav), led throughout from gate two in the DPR Insurance Brokers Claiming Pace (1800m). Brewin went for home with 300 metres to travel and Ona Rocky Beach dashed away to win by 3-1/2 metres from Power Of Attorney ($4.40) with Zedaguy ($8.40), 31 metres away third. The nine-year-old veteran rated a brilliant 1:55.8. “Wow,” said Shane Young, “I didn’t expect that. “I was sure I had him going well but never expected him to go so quick. “There is no doubt he has the ability. I think they paid about $80,000 when he was purchased from New Zealand, but he has had two heart issues, so we have to face reality he probably is only one race from retirement. “If I thought he wasn’t right, he would be retired but, at the moment, he seems to be pretty good.” Maywyns Zephyr made it a double landing some good bets firming from $1.80 into $1.40 favourite, in the Hygain Micrspeed Claiming Pace (1800m). Coming from gate six, Brewin went back early before letting him dash up coming off the back and Maywyns Zephyr sprinted clear to win by 13-1/2 metres from Anvil Gav ($14.40), with Glenlochar ($33.10), 7-1/2 metres away third. “He’s been racing really well in tougher fields, so I thought he was well placed tonight,” Young said. “Jayden drove him like he was the best horse and the result was an easy win.” Graham Fischer

Champion South Australian reinswoman Danielle Hill landed her 1300th harness racing winner when scoring on the Tyson Linke-trained Little Foo in the Ubet Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. “I thought it was coming up but didn’t know my exact figure,” Hill said. “I’m proud to reach that mark. It is a significant figure, but now I’m ready to add to it.” Hill didn’t take long to build on the number driving the last two winners at Globe Derby Park – My Man Dan and Flash Angus. Little Foo ($5.70) sat second on the fence from gate one behind Glenisla ($17.20) which led from barrier two. Hill waited until the home straight to make her run letting the seven-year-old dash up the sprint lane scoring by 2-1/2 metres from Glenisla with Topnotch Mach ($30.20) following the winner through to grab third, five metres away. Linke said Little Foo was a favourite of his sister Tara-Shae who shares ownership with him. “The mare has a bit of ‘small horse’ syndrome and carries a nickname of Angry Ant,” Linke said. “She can be hard to get along with at times, but Tara-Shae is always on hand to give her a cuddle.” Linke said Little Foo would continue to race on to try and build on her record of 12 wins and 26 placings from 71 starts. Saturday’s win took her stake earnings past $50,000. Hill made it a double bringing My Man Dan ($1.90 fav) from midfield to score a 2-1/2 metre win in Lion Dairy & Drinks Claiming Pace (1800m). Arnoux ($6.20), which led, held on to finish second a short half head in front of Just Read My Mind ($18). Part-owner-trainer Rob Caruso said he thought the winner might be in trouble mid-race but paid credit to Hill for timing the gelding’s run to perfection. Hill’s treble came up on Flash Angus, winner of the DPR Insurance Brokers Trotters Mobile (2230m). Having his first start for trainer Luke O’Neill, Flash Angus ($4.60) trotted away quickly from gate eight and led throughout to beat Truscott Hall ($2.40 fav), a stablemate of the winner, with Illawong Peppa ($10.80), 1-1/2 metres away third. “The horse in gate one didn’t score up, so I had a clear run through,” Hill said. “Flash Angus trotted away quickly and I was able to push through and grab the lead and he won comfortably.” Graham Fischer

Teenage reinsman Jayden Brewin capped an amazing 2016-2017 harness racing season by taking out Saturday night’s G O Silke Plate (1800m) at Globe Derby Park – the ‘grand final’ for South Australia’s junior and concession drivers. Brewin finished the season with 62 winners – 55 in SA and seven in Victoria, an incredible achievement for the 17-year-old in his first full season of driving. South Australia has produced a series of outstanding reinspeople this century including Kate Gath, Greg Sugars, David Harding Danielle and Wayne Hill, who were all highly successful juniors, but they couldn’t match Brewin’s tally in their first season. Brewin drove the three-year-old Make Mine Joe in the Silke Plate for owners Paul and Judy Nobes and trainer Lance Holberton. He took Make Mine Joe ($10) to the front from gate two and rated him perfectly for a three-metre win from Marty Major ($10, Shane Turner) with Ace To Play ($24, Michael Smith), 2-1/2 metres away third. “This is a race I wanted to win,” Brewin said. “It is a feature race for junior drivers with a lot of history. “I would have loved to drive in the Silke Plate last year but was sidelined with a broken collarbone from a football injury. “I didn’t know Graeme Silke (after whom the race is named) but Dad (Justin) told me all about him and he must have been a great character. “It is something I will never see now, a punter taking on a ring of bookmakers, but it was great that he tried to promote junior drivers. Dad said he actually had a drive for Graeme.” Brewin said he was amazed he had such a successful season. “I have to thank the owners and trainers who gave me the chances. It all started with Dad who has been my strongest supporter and adviser.” Greg Sugars, who has made the move to Victoria to become one of Australia’s top reinsman, paid tribute to Brewin. “I certainly didn’t drive that many winners in my first season,” Sugars said, “My breakout season was my second. “It is a wonderful effort to drive 62 winners, especially without a major stable backing him, and obviously trainers have had faith in him to give him the opportunities.” Brewin, said he had given himself a benchmark. “I have to come back in the new season to try and improve on that figure. It will be good to have my concession back but I know I have to continue to work very hard.” Part-owner Nobes was delighted with Make Mine Joe’s win. “He was going okay as a colt but we made the decision to geld him and I’m sure he will be better for the cut. “Only a three-year-old, I thought he did a great job against the older horses and rated 1:58.4. Justin rated him perfectly and no doubt slowing for a 31.4 second quarter was crucial in victory.” by Graham Fischer

South Australian husband-and-wife Trevor and Christine Scadden have been breeding standardbreds for more than 50 years and continue to have an incredible winning strike rate. Their first horse, Uncle Remus was a Group 2 winner back in the 1970s, and on Saturday, Saphirique, which they bred, took out the Group 2 UBETSouthern Cross Two-Year-Old Fillies final (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Saphirique is owned in the United States by Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks and is trained in Victoria by Nicole Molander. Driven by champion reinsman Gavin Lang, Saphirique ($2.40 fav), sat outside the speed for the last lap before drawing clear in the home straight to score by 2-1/2 metres from Rigaleto Pegasus ($5.30) with Girls In Charge ($99.30), a metre away third. Coming from the inside of the second row, Lang took advantage of a first turn scrimmage which put the well backed $2.60 chance Strelitzia out of the race to come off the fence band put his filly into the running line. Molander said the filly had been very tired when she returned home and would go for a break. “She has done a great job in her first preparation and won a Group 2 race and I’m sure she will come back a lot stronger as a three-year-old,” Molander said. “She’s won four races from 11 starts and collected more than $67,000 in stakes so we couldn’t ask for more.” Molander revealed she only recently met the owners Messrs Banks and Hanover for the first time. “They came down to Australia via New Zealand to look at their investments and took in a couple of meetings but had to go home before the Southern Cross series. “I have five of their horses in training and another five yearlings coming through.” Molander paid tribute to star SA trainer-driver Danielle Hill, and her family. “It is wonderful to have struck up a working relationship with Dani. She took Saphirique home after the semi and looked after her for me for the final. “We sent Breach The Beach over earlier in the year to gain some confidence and he won a Gawler Derby for Dani before he was sold. “Dani does a wonderful job and I will certainly look at the option of sending horses across to gain experience and develop a winning attitude.” Trevor Scadden revealed he had a yearling full sister to Saphirique which would go to the sales next year. by Graham Fischer

There is no doubt the Southern Cross story of the night at Globe Derby Park was the win by Somebeachsomegift in the Group 2 UBET Southern Cross Three-Year-Old Colts & Geldings harness racing final (2230m). It was the first Group success for driver Megan Gee, breeder Viv Clark, and part-owner John Hill but he only knew the result by text message as he was being transported to hospital by ambulance after suffering angina pains. For trainer Jill Neilson, it was her second Southern Cross win, but after 14 years, following Leftem For Dead’s success in the 2003 Three-Year-Old Fillies final. A $35.70 chance, Somebeachsomegift came from back in the field with a strong run to score a 1-1/2 metre win from Brohart ($65.80) with Clarenden Hustler ($20.90), a similar margin away third. Heavily backed favourite Stars Of Courage ($2.60 into $1.40) worked to lead but faded up the home straight to finish fifth. Neilson was happy to deflect the praise for the success of Somebeachsomegift to Megan Gee who works for her stable. “He is Megan’s horse,” Neilson said, “she spends pretty much all day with him. “He is a very big horse but is pretty much scared of his own shadow, and Megan is always calming him, saying ‘I’ve got your back, mate’.” Gee, who took 24 hours to appreciate the significance of the victory, said she loved ‘the big horse’. “John, who is a trainer himself, didn’t get along with the horse early on as he probably didn’t have the time to be with him, and said I could have a go,” Gee said. “I always seem to be attracted to problem horses, and was happy to take a lease with John, and brought up him up to Jill’s stable. “Jill saw my love for the horse and was happy to let me try to get him going and from the first time I was able to get him going thought he would be something special. “He is still a big boofhead and can get upset over the smallest thing but is improving.” Gee said she was pleased with Somebeachsomegift’s semi-final fifth but knew the job would be ahead when he drew gate 11 in the final. However, she had the three-year-old away quickly and he settled one-out, four back off a quick early tempo. Gee made a winning move with as lap to go when she came three wide and put the gelding into race before challenging Stars Of Courage 300m out and taking the lead in the home straight. Somebeachsomegift kept running and although the placegetters were coming home strongly, they never looked like taking victory. Gee said she was very happy for Viv Clark and John Hill. “Viv is a fantastic breeder and has had plenty of winners and thoroughly deserved a Group winner while John has given me driving opportunities and gave me the chance to work with Somebeachsomegift. “I was shocked and sorry to hear he was on his way to hospital when the race was being run. I hope he has a speedy recovery. “For Jill, who has been a close friend and wonderful supporter since I came into harness racing, it was fabulous to give her a second Southern Cross win.” Gee said Somebeachsomegift might have just one more run before going for a spell. In a shock, Gee said she might also be taking a break. “I have been working seven-days-a-week for a few years. I don’t mind hard work but I know in myself I need a break so while the horse is having a spell I might take the opportunity to get away from the industry for a while to re-evaluate my goals. “I’m sure when he comes back into training, I’ll be ready to have his back again.” Gee has had her most successful season in 2016-2017 driving 18 winners and she currently sits fourth on the SA Female Drivers table behind Dani Hill, Lisa Ryan and Kaela Hryhorec. by Graham Fischer

A standardbred pacer who was only 10 minutes from a likely horrific death will, on Saturday night, at Globe Derby Park, pace for victory in one of South Australia’s juvenile classics. Clarenden Valour, owned and trained by Claire Goble, will come from gate one in the $50,000 Group Two 2017 UBET Two-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Southern Cross final (1800m). However, if not for the courage, and care, of Goble and her partner Dennis Lyle who run Clarenden Standardbreds at Wasleys, the story could be completely different with the two-year-old escaping being badly burnt which almost certainly would have cost his life. On the morning of November 25, 2015, Clarenden Valour, had just turned one, and was happy living with one other horse in an eight-acre paddock, covered in grass two feet high, on the Clarenden property. It was a hot day with strong winds gusting between 50-90 kmh. Around noon, at Pinery, in the Lower Mid North of South Australia, some 40km from Wasleys, a fire started fanned by the strong winds. Dennis Lyle said he was aware of the fire but never thought it would reach his property. “As the reports saying the fire was in fact blowing our way, Claire came home from her work at Trinity College and we decided to bring the horses in to a laneway area between the paddocks where the racehorses were kept and there was no undergrowth,” Lyle said. “Clarenden Valour had been handled but not broken in and proved hard to catch. “The horses weren’t helped by the strong winds which had the trees bending in the breeze and a shade cloth breaking loose and flapping about. It seemed like we were about there for an hour but it was probably only about 20 minutes but we finally got them where we wanted.” Lyle said a worker from a nearby piggery saw he and Goble were home and drove into their property and warned them the fire was only 10 minutes away and coming fast. Goble got into her car and drove away but Lyle went back into the house to grab something. “I was only in for a few minutes but when I came out the fire had taken to the trees which lined our driveway making it impossible to drive out so I went back inside and waited. It was the scariest time of my life.” Thick smoke blanketed Clarenden Standardbreds as the fire roared through, with flames reported as being 25 feet high. “I couldn’t see anything through the smoke except for red embers from the fire. After 20 minutes, the smoke started to clear and I could go outside to see the damage. “Trees, and our hay shed, were burning, the fences were gone but fortunately, our house and stable paddocks were okay and so too were the horses in the laneway. Had we not moved them, I fear they would be been badly burnt as the paddock was burnt to the ground. “The smoke did badly affect the horses’ eyes but luckily our vet Toby Ryan came later in the day to treat them.” Lyle said Clarenden Valour had been taken to the property of Peter Ashby to recuperate while Clarenden Hustler, which is in the Group 2 $50,000 Ubet Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Southern Cross final (2230m) on Saturday, had been in the stables and he went to David Battye’s farm. Clarenden Valour has emerged as one of the state’s better two-year-olds with two wins and four placings from nine starts. The gelding was the fastest of the three Ubet Southern Cross heat winners last Friday at Globe Derby Park and will start from gate one in the final with Wayne Hill to drive. UBETmarkets have Clarenden Valour quoted as a $9 chance with the favourite the Emma Stewart-trained That’s Perfect, which will come from gate two, at $1.40. Lyle, a keen form student, said he believed Clarenden Valour was drawn to run well. “I believe last week proved his best chance is to sit on the speed and from gate one he should get a good trail. Whether he is good enough we will find out on Saturday.” Graham Fischer

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