Day At The Track
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CONSISTENT pacer That Said is in a strong position to keep his solid form for the season going at Globe Derby on Saturday night. Fresh from his win at the same venue a fortnight ago, That Said has drawn barrier five in the opening race on the card for trainer Jill Neilson. Although she referred to the draw as “tricky”, Neilson believes the son of Well Said is capable of making his presence felt. “He is racing really well with a pair of wins and four placings from his eight starts this time in,” Neilson said. “I’m very happy with the way he is racing and working and expect him to put in another good run. “It will be tricky from five, but he is ready to run his honest race and with the right run will be thereabouts.” Citing Our Surrogate as the one to beat, Neilson also rates the gelding’s stablemate Carmy Dan as a major chance. “Our Surrogate looks like a nice type for Aaron Bain,” Neilson said. “It has drawn well in three and is the one to beat. “Carmy Dan, which is also trained by Aaron, also looks pretty handy and will no doubt do well even from the second row.” With no major plans in mind for the gelding, Neilson will continue to find suitable targets for That Said as he works his way through the grades. “I haven’t got anything set out,’ Neilson said. “Just get past this run and look for the next race. “Keep playing it by ear and see how he goes.” HRSA

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

Prominent owner-breeder Geoff Easom and harness racing trainer Jill Neilson had a perfect early Christmas present when Force Ten Gale won the Maughan Thiem Ford Xmas Specials Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. The victory was a fitting reward for the time and patience Neilson has put into the Art Major seven-year-old. Force Ten Gale damaged a suspensory after racing in July 2015 – that was only his sixth run back after being sidelined for 10 months. On Saturday night, Force Ten Gale ($12.50) looked beaten but lifted over the final stages under Wayne Hill’s driving, to score a neck win from Justa Working Guy ($16.20) with Arrokeefe ($1.80 fav) a fast finishing third, three metres away. “It has been a long process,” Neilson said. “We’d give him a break and bring him back only to be told he was only 70% right, then another break, and up to 72%, in and out several more times then eventually 100%. “He’s such a relaxed horse and a pleasure to worth with so I’m just as happy for him.” “What just happened?” asked winning reinsman Wayne Hill. Hill took Force Ten Gale to sit parked outside the leader Its Bedlam but his chances looked shot when Ace To Play and Justa Working Guy raced past and he was back to fifth. The reinsman kept working on the seven-year-old and Force Ten Gale lifted and came wide again and raced on strongly to score. Neilson said the gelding was very one-paced but was always a chance when races were run to suit. by Graham Fischer

A phone call to Mildura trainer Kate Attard resulted in Modern Madam scoring an all-the-way win in the Trotsguide.Com.Au Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. In a race restricted to junior drivers, Modern Madam ($3.60) was taken straight to the front by Josh Holberton to score an easy 12 metre win from The Octagon ($8.40) driven by Aaron Bain with Rip It Up Sister ($6.50) with Bradley O’Keefe in the sulky nine metres away third. Trainer Jill Neilson said Kate Attard had done a wonderful job with the mare over the past few months. “When Modern Madam came back I was struggling a bit with her so I rang Kate and said tell me what you were doing with her, track work, feed, everything,” Neilson said. “She did and as soon as I changed her routine she picked up and I have to thank her for tonight’s win. “Josh did a great job, he did exactly as I asked, and I couldn’t be happier.” Bred and owned by Geoff Easom’s Wyndown Stud, Modern Madam won two races in South Australia for Neilson before heading to the Mildura stables of Kate Attard for another two wins before returning to Adelaide. “She really flew the gates,” Holberton said. “I did have to drive her a bit to make sure I crossed the inside runners but I was able to get away with first quarters of 31.3 and 30.5. “She was travelling so well down the back I decided to go for home off the back and she was never in any danger.” Graham Fischer  

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