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The biggest sponsorship signing in the Mildura Harness Racing Club’s history has the vibrant club looking positively to the future. The club secured a lucrative one-year deal with the Euston Club and Resort, a bowling and recreation club midway between Mildura and Swan Hill, with the agreement sweetened by the option to extend to three years. Harness racing is thriving in Mildura with up to 110 horses engaged at recent meetings and some of the State’s most competitive racing. The club is renowned for its annual three-year carnival and Chief Executive Officer Michelle McGinty-Wilson said the new sponsorship arrangement underlines the strong growth occurring at the north-west Victorian club. “The Euston Club will have naming rights to the first race of every Mildura Harness meeting, including over the Cup Carnival, beginning with Race 1 the Euston Club Pace at tonight’s Sunraysia Cup meeting,” Ms McGinty-Wilson said. “The Euston Club and Resort will also have the naming rights to the 2019 Sunraysia Cup tonight,” she said. “It’s a great vote of confidence that we’re able to get big new sponsors on board because they’re noticing how healthy the sport of harness racing is in our region, and they want to get involved.” The Euston Club’s Chief Executive Officer Ray Jones said it was a good business decision for the club to team up with harness racing in Mildura. “We’re a strongly growing business and it is imperative for us to be steering our sponsorship dollars into areas where exposure will be growing,” he said. “As a result, it was an easy decision for us to partner with Mildura Harness Racing Club and we’re pleased to be part of the future growth of the sport in the region.” Ms McGinty-Wilson said the club was also working on additional sponsorship partnerships, as it worked to leverage the sport’s vitality in Mildura. “We’re in a unique situation where we have one of the strongest local horse populations in regional Victoria, but we’re also attracting large numbers of horses from South Australia and southern Victoria to race here,” Ms McGinty-Wilson said. “The industry is strong, and the racing is exciting, and that gives us a great opportunity to reach out to our local community and get more engagement from sponsors,” she said. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to bring people back to the track so they can enjoy the unique racing experience we offer at every meeting here at Mildura.”   HRV Trots Media

Journeyman harness racing trainer Vince Vallelonga isn't afraid to head five or six hours down the highway if he thinks he has a winner. Vallelonga, based at Bolinda, 60 kilometres north of Melbourne, has been a frequent-and successful-competitor in the far north west of the State, particularly over the past month. "I grew up in the Mildura area and have some great memories from there - besides, my parents Joe and Anne still live up there so it's nice to catch up with them," he said. Vallelonga and his foreman and reinsman Ross Payne have been in sensational form landing seven winners and a few placegetters at the last four Mildura meetings. The most recent fixture last Friday was by far their best with three wins apiece. Vallelonga was successful with Melinka (Shadow Play-Luva Rum Ball (Presidential Ball); Fire Safe (Courage Under Fire-Talk Safely (Safely Kept) and Staley (Bettors Delight-Left In Paris (Life Sign). Payne partnered the first two for his boss but opted for race favorite Gobsmacked in the 3yo event. He's sure to cop some ribbing this week as while Gobsmacked was not on his best behavior and broke in the score-up, Staley was always well positioned by catch driver Boris Devcic and "got the chocolates" in fine style for Vallelonga at 20/1. But Payne picked up an outside drive earlier and was victorious with Coolncalm (Changeover-Mini Bonus (Armbro Operative) in the Park Douglas Printing Pace for Ouyen trainer Malcolm Retallick. Much of the Vallelonga stable success at Mildura has been due to the efforts of Melinka and Fire Safe with six wins and two minor placings between them. "I just can't heap enough praise on Fire Safe who has been a life saver for us. She has kept the ship afloat since I had my accident when I snapped a femur (thigh bone) and fractured a hip," Vallelonga said. "My partner Elizabeth Ferrinda and I paid $12,000 for the horse at the Sydney sales, which has proved to be a bargain buy. But Fire Safe does owe me as she was the one that knocked me over causing my injuries on July 17 last year! "Without the support of Elizabeth, Ross and a few others, I doubt that the stable would be operating." Vallelonga grew up with two sisters and a brother at his parents' vineyard on the outskirts of Mildura. When he was a teenager, every school holidays would be spent mainly at Rochester, where his two uncles, astute trainers Neil and Frank Cavallaro were then based. "I learnt so much during those early days and I still remember the first horse they put me on to jog. It was named Egyptian Byrd," he said. "I got a trainer's licence when I was 16 or 17 and a neighbor of my parents' property let me put a track on his land. It just went from there." Apart from a brief stint in his early 20s when Vince ran a pizza shop with his brother Mario, he's always been involved with the horses. "When I was cooking pizzas, the late Vin Knight had one of my horses in Don't Bug Me. He told me to take the next day off and get to Maryborough trots. The horse won and I didn't get home for two days! There were some good times back then. "But looking back it has been fun. I had time at Mildura and Euston with Eric Anderson, then I was out on my own at Hattah and Yaapeet, the latter pottering around with just a few horses while I was growing pigs. I later spent 18 months with Peter Tonkin at Ballarat and over three years with Lance Justice, so I have some outstanding mentors." Vallelonga enjoyed success with a good bunch of owners at Sam Godino's property at Riddells Creek, before taking his biggest step up six year ago. He joined forces with Archie Anastasiou and the pair transformed a 130-acre sheep property at Bolinda into a picturesque training complex featuring an 1100m sand track and a 1200m track for fast work. "There's 18 in work at present, but we can always find room for more." Vallelonga said he was fortunate to have the expertise of ex-Kiwi horseman Ross Payne. "He's a true professional and he's got a wealth of experience having worked for the Purdon stables in New Zealand," he said. "I saw Ross's work ethic first-hand because he was at our place when he was the Purdons' travelling foreman at one stage. "He stayed for a month and drove a few winners for me too, so when I heard he was keen to call Australia home, I wanted to have him here. "But it wasn't that easy - I reckon he ignored my calls for more than six months! But I finally got him on board and we're lucky to have a tremendous working relationship."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Young Armstrong harness racing trainer Leroy O’Brien is the first to admit that a small amount of luck has gone a long way. But whether it’s been good fortune, hard work or perhaps an eye for detail, 27 year old O’Brien and his father and co-trainer Danny have been certainly reaping the rewards. Their latest success was courtesy of super-impressive Im Sir Blake (Alta Christiano NZ-Jupiters Darling (Dream Away) in the $25,000 Mitavite Northern Region Championship at Mildura last Thursday. The pacer, driven by Kerryn Manning (her second success in the feature event) was awesome in winning by 20 metres in 1.58-3. Click here for the race replay of the Northern Region Championship  “It’s a five-hour road trip to Mildura, but we’re not complaining because we’ve gone up there three times and come home with three winners,” O’Brien said. Im Sir Blake was a touch unlucky not to go through the Championship series undefeated. He was awesome in winning his first heat at Swan Hill late last month, and then galloped across the line at the next round of heats at Ouyen, only to be relegated from first to second. O’Brien paid the bargain price of $4000 for Im Sir Blake as a yearling at a Shepparton All-aged mixed sale – the same sale where two years earlier he snapped up a then-unraced Imprincessgemma for a rock-bottom “$900 plus GST”. “The filly caught my eye just in the way she carried herself and Im Sir Blake looked like a well-gaited type,” Leroy said. “We are very lucky to have some horses with so much ability.” Imprincessgemma (Village Jolt-Melody Strike (In The Pocket), raced by Leroy and his mum Sharryn, has won 11 from 25 starts for $107,000. Im Sir Blake, owned by Leroy and his dad Danny, has won seven for $58,000. Their other stable racehorse is Michelle Wonson-owned 2yo trotter Molly’s Purse, a recent winner of the $30,000 Group Two NSW trot final at Menangle. “I have to be honest and say we’ve had some nice offers to buy Im Sir Blake, but it’s sort of a lifetime thing with him,” O’Brien said. “My dad deserves the horse and does most of the work with him. Im Sir Blake waits at the gate for him – they’re really the best of mates,” he said. “I’d probably rate the horse as the best I’ve ever had although a trotter we had, Suave Jay, equalled the Mildura track record a couple of years ago and he went okay. “But Im Sir Blake is super quick and can do a bit of work. He’s a lovely little fella and I think we’ll now aim him at the upcoming Sires.” O’Brien said the horse was named after his sister Kirsty’s oldest child, Blake, while her daughter Gemma comes into play in Imprincessgemma. The father and son training partnership has been “on fire” this season with 15 wins and nine placings from 29 starts, for $106,000 in stakes. It’s a real family affair as Danny, a mental health nurse, and Leroy, a plumber, do as much as possible at the stables before heading off to work. Mum Sharryn, a disability support worker, is, according to Leroy, the backbone. “Mum feeds up and helps out wherever she can, and my fiancée Kristy also does a great job. You just need that massive support to keep ticking along,” he said. Leroy and Kristy recently became engaged and nine weeks ago welcomed son Tommy into their lives. “You could say that it’s all happening,” Leroy said laughing. “I suppose we’ve fallen on our feet with a lot of good luck, but you still have to put in the work for the success to keep coming,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Passionate St Kilda AFL football club fan Noel Watson, of Swan Hill, is hoping his four-year-old harness racing pacer Artistic Saint will kick a winning goal in the $25,000 Northern Region Championship final at Mildura on Thursday. And Artistic Saint (Art Official-Anna Rachelle NZ (In The Pocket USA) is sure to be prominent following impressive qualifying heat wins recently at Swan Hill and Ouyen. "I have never had a horse good enough to be in this feature event over the years so it's quite a thrill," Watson said. "Artistic Saint was a replacement horse from Alabar Farms. When one of my foals died they offered to help us out which was nice," he said. "I got a list to choose from and I can't remember what I paid, but it wasn't much. I opted for him because the dam had left some speedy types, rather than strength. "But the funny part is that Artistic Saint races totally different to that as he showed at Ouyen on Sunday. It was a grinding, never-say-die victory so it was really pleasing." Watson is well-known in the far north-west region of Victoria. He is a keen harness racing breeder-owner-trainer and joint vice-president of the Swan Hill Trotting Club as well as dabbling in thoroughbred training. In addition, he takes on many media duties, with perhaps his most recognized being a local football broadcaster, a job he's done now for 33 years. And somewhere in between all of that, Watson conducts a successful business in his hometown, Watson Real Estate. As well as those eye-catching colors, resplendent with Saints logo, many of Watson's horses over the years have also carried the 'Saint' prefix with notable performers including Saint Flash (27 wins 43 placings $285,000), Saint Stormy (11 wins 45 placings $88,000) and Saint Babe (9 wins 17 placings $38,000. There's also been Saints Blaze, Bee, Grace, Breeny, Belle, Lisa, Zeus, Win, Tiny, Phoebe and Theory. "I think I've been a mad St Kilda footy fan for as long as I can remember. Even back at Primary School when I was the captain, I was fanatical about the Saints," Watson said. "No-one in my family was football-orientated, but you have got to stick with them. I try and get down to Melbourne to watch them early in the season before my football-calling duties begin at home." Watson said one of his favorite memories footy-wise was being allowed into the St Kilda footy rooms on match day. "My daughter Alexandra was at Uni studying myotherapy and doing some work for the club, so I was able to get in and that was exciting. She later did nursing and has gone on to be a doctor," he said. Artistic Saint has now had just three starts back from a long spell, and the let-up appears to be paying dividends thanks to the patience of trainer Glenn Douglas, of Bendigo. "The horse developed a nasty habit of galloping, sometimes sadly when he was in a position to win! He got stood down by stewards for his behavior in November and I suggested to Glenn that we give him a short spell," he said. "Glenn was admanant that we should give him a bit of extra time off and he's come back flying with a third and two wins. There's no doubt we will need an ounce of luck in the final coming from the back row, but you've got to be in it to win it!" Watson will also be cheering for Torrid Saint (Shadow Play-Torridon (Safely Kept) who has drawn the five alley in the Ray and Grace Hepworth Memorial 3YO Pace Final. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

Several in-form stables are targeting one of country Victoria's richest harness racing series for lowly-assessed pacers. The 2019 Mitavite Northern Region Championship, hosted by far north-west sister clubs Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura, gets underway tonight (Wednesday May 22) for C1 to C2 horses. The first round of qualifying heats at Swan Hill boasts representatives from the Shepparton-based stables of Laura Crossland-David Moran and Amanda Turnbull, as well as Glenn Douglas and Chris Svanosio of Bendigo; Leroy and Danny O'Brien of Armstrong; and Melton-based Rob O'Connell. Link: Swan Hill Fields https://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/race-fields/?mc=FD220519 The spotlight then moves to Ouyen on June 2 with a second round of heats, going into a $25,000 final at Mildura on June 6. Douglas, who has won the championship several times in the past, said he always hopes to have an ideal runner up and going for the series each year. "You really don't get these sorts of races for this class of horse - they just don't come along very often," he said. "There's terrific stakemoney up for offer right through the three meetings and the big bonus is the final is worth $25,000 but the winner takes only a country penalty," he said. "The first three heats have attracted some nice horses, who are sure to go onto bigger things. The Swan Hill track is big and spacious so I think there could be some quick times recorded there." Douglas always enjoys heading north from his central Victorian base because he spent four years in the Northern Region in the late 1990s. His career was kick-started training horses for Eric and Heather Anderson, the parents of his wife Julie, who were at the time based in the Robinvale-Euston district. "We had some good times up there before we all up and moved to our present training complex at Bendigo. It just made sense to come down here because there's less travel and we're much closer to many more tracks," he said. Douglas has former Kiwi pacer Dublin Street in the first heat. He said while the mare was honest, she was going to have to produce her very best as The Brooklyn Brawler (David Moran) and Think About Me (Brad Chisholm) were full of class. "This will be a measuring stick for our horse, that's for sure," Douglas said. His next runner is Artistic Saint in the second qualifying heat, owned by enthusiastic Swan Hill horseman and club vice-President Noel Watson. "I'd love to get the money for Noel because he'd be over the moon with a hometown victory. I'll be wearing Noel's race colors, the colors of his beloved St Kilda Football Club, so that would be another reason for him to get excited," Douglas said. "I've actually got a bit of an opinion about this horse. His first start back after five or six months off when he finished third was enormous. "It was a super run because they went quick. He had a few things go wrong in his previous preparation, but they appear to be behind him now, thankfully." The third heat should see smart youngster Im Sir Blake continue on his winning way. World champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning has big wraps on the O'Brien-trained horse, who was sensational in winning during the recent Mildura Pacing Cup carnival. "He's just below the very best going around in Victoria - he's a lovely little fella and I thoroughly enjoy driving him," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Bendigo harness racing horseman Gary Donaldson will never forget a dramatic incident 12 months ago when one of his horses bolted onto a busy highway and was hit by a car. “It might be a year ago, but I can recall every bit of it like it was yesterday, and when I look back on it, I still don’t know how she survived,” Donaldson said. Not only did five-year-old mare Live Like A Royal (Stonebridge Regal USA-Live Your Life (Life Sign USA) survive and get back to racing, but she’s incredibly won four of her past 14 starts. “She is a great little horse who gets out onto the track and tries her heart out. Remarkably she hasn’t put in a bad run since that horrible accident,” Donaldson said. On that fateful day of April 26 last year, Donaldson had been galloping Live Like A Royal at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway. “A sulky shaft snapped, and I got tipped out of the cart. The mare took off in fright and headed back to the stables on the McIvor Highway,” Donaldson said. “It was about 8.45am which is peak-hour traffic and she went straight across the highway where a guy hit her travelling at about 70 kilometres an hour. “When I got there, the poor guy driving the car was more concerned about the horse than his vehicle. She flipped up in the air when he hit her and landed on the bonnet. “I can honestly say I expected the worst when I saw the damaged car and the horse lying in the gutter with some of her stomach hanging out. A lot of people had gathered about to try and help, which was nice.” Donaldson said he was surprised when Live Like A Royal “jumped up to her feet after giving her head stall a bit of a tug”. “I was sure she’d have a broken leg or something, but she seemed sound and walked off. She was bleeding heavily, but wasn’t distressed at all,” he said. After a short walk back to his Junortoun stables, Donaldson put the horse in a float and drove to the Bendigo Equine Hospital at nearby White Hills.  The mare was given pain killers immediately and went into surgery within 45 minutes. “The vet said it was critical to carry out the operation as quickly as possible because the longer it’s left, the skin becomes less supple,” he said. “I think they ended up putting in 80 stitches and staples later. They were just awesome at the Equine Hospital. “We then had her home in a stable for six weeks to treat her and keep an eye on her wounds then we let her out to graze in one of our paddocks, before putting her out on agistment.” Donaldson said all the owners checked often on the horse and were elated that she was saved. “They were hoping she still might be a breeding proposition, but all that changed when the lady from the agistment farm rang and told us she was running around in a full gallop with not a worry in the world,” he said. “I told the owners I’d give the horse another chance at the races, but if I wasn’t happy, then that was it and she’d be retired. But Donaldson always had one issue in the back of his mind – would the sight of cars prove the mare’s nemesis? “For a few weeks we tried her out by jogging her around the stables with cars parked everywhere. We even drove them near her and past her to test her out and they just didn’t seem to worry her at all, which was incredible, really,” he said. “From then on we really didn’t take any short cuts and just trained her like one of the others. It amazed me that she just went on like she had previously. There was no lameness, she steered well and was eating up.” On her racetrack return, Live Like A Royal took just four starts to get the winning feeling back – at the Bendigo track where the unfortunate sequence of events unfolded five months prior. She’s since scored another win at Bendigo, and was an impressive Mildura winner on Friday, making it two-on-the-trot in the northern region having scored eight days earlier at Swan Hill. After mustering speed from the pole and holding the lead at Mildura, punters who took the short odds would have been very happy with themselves. Live Like A Royal, sent out a $1.70 favorite, posted splits of 31, 32, 30 and 29.4 to cruise to an easy 7m win in the C1 class event. To watch a video replay of this race click on this link For Donaldson, a trip to Mildura is always somewhat of a “home coming” after doing a 12-month stint working at a bank in the city back in the late 1970s. “I began in Charlton and then got transferred to Mildura. I remember helping the late Fred Peterson with his team of horses when I was in Sunraysia and he had a few that went okay,” he said. Since leaving the bank, Donaldson has operated businesses in Central Victoria in addition to training a team of horses. He currently has nine in work – although that’s likely to be reduced in future, with the pending sale of his property. Donaldson said the Live Like A Royal story was one of the most emotional, but also the most satisfying, in his time in the sport. “It was a long road in nursing her back to good health, but she has certainly repaid us now,” he said. “Since the day of the accident, I have had people coming up to me all the time, in the shopping centre or anywhere, to ask how ‘the horse that got hit by the car’ is going? “It got plenty of media coverage at the time and Live Like A Royal now has her own band of supporters which is great.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

After two-and-a-half years at the helm of Mildura Harness Racing Club, popular chief executive Tim Scala has handed over the reins. When Scala arrived from Perth, he brought a host of new ideas with him and this vision has further cemented the far north west Victorian club as one of the best around. Scala has put his stamp on one of Victoria’s most progressive clubs, and the wider industry during his time.  But there’s every reason to expect the club will continue on its innovative pathway, with his former understudy Michelle McGinty-Wilson stepping up to the CEO’s post. McGinty-Wilson, an experienced administrator and passionate harness racing participant, describes the role, without hesitation, as her “dream job”. “I am just so excited – it feels like the perfect fit because I’ve been on the other side of the fence, as an owner, a trainer, a stablehand, and it’s a lot different to being in here in the administrative side,” she said. “I’m in the lucky position of having a life-time involvement in the sport, but also having spent 22 years in the insurance industry, which has given me the administrative skills I need for this role.” McGinty-Wilson’s family has strong connection to the Sunraysia area.  Her father Tom McGinty was a trainer in Mildura in the 1960s, before moving across the State to Shepparton, then the Yarra Valley to pursue cattle farming. Tom’s brothers Brian, Gary and Bob McGinty followed him into the sport, and Brian’s son Jason, who Michelle describes as “like a brother”, is a well-known Mildura trainer. “I always loved the horses and I worked part-time as a vet nurse while I was still at school,” McGinty Wilson said. “Even when Dad wasn’t training horses, we would still go to Moonee Valley most weekends to watch the horses. Then 15 or 16 years ago Uncle Brian and I bought a handful of New Zealand horses and raced them together,” she said. “I had wanted to be a vet nurse, but there weren’t too many job opportunities, and I found myself in insurance, first in reception, then working my way up,” she said. From then on it was insurance for 22 years in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, with Michelle eventually reaching the position of Senior Account Executive and Risk Manager.  “But mum and dad moved back up to Mildura three years ago, and the time was right for Ian and I and our children and we followed,” she said. Her “apprenticeship” as the club’s promotions and marketing manager has seen her working alongside Scala for the past two years, and Scala says that will have provided his successor with a clear insight into the demands of the job. “I thoroughly enjoyed the job – and it is a big job - but Michelle has all the skills she needs and great insight into the big picture,” Scala said. “For me, it’s been a fantastic experience, and we’ve achieved a lot, but I had the backing of a very good committee,” Scala said. “Without that support and of course the valued assistance from a willing band of volunteers, we wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near what we have done. “The club is in a great position where people want to join and importantly, want to be involved. And that all means a healthy environment for a club and a sport to prosper.” Scala, himself, had returned to his home-region to take up the role at Mildura.  His wife, Isabel, grew up in Murrayville and met Tim, a Swan Hill lad who was working in the local bank and playing football for Murrayville (including in two Murrayville Premiership sides). A promotion in Isabel’s work resulted in the couple again relocating, this time to Melbourne, immediately after completion of the recent annual three-night Mildura Pacing Cup. The continued success of the carnival is understandably a highlight for Scala, but it’s the innovations the club has introduced in the past two years that give him most satisfaction. “The double-seated sulky racing was one of our committee’s ideas.  It had been around as a concept, but involving members of the public under actual race conditions, has been just so successful and a great experience and talking point for people,” he said. “It gives people a first-hand chance to feel what it’s like to sit behind a pacer – it’s a ‘tick off the bucket list’.  They go behind the mobile, there are three other horses in the race and they get a video to remember. “We were the founder of what is probably a unique novelty event, but now South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania are also right into it. We also loan the carts to our sister clubs at Swan Hill and Ouyen to conduct the races. “The driver’s invitational series where they drive and then dress up in a Fashions on the Field contest for an overseas holiday, was a great innovation. The crowd really get into it. “Then there’s the State of Origin night, involving past greats from the AFL, which looks certain to be an annual event, and the Italian night was another success story.” Scala said he believed changing the trials from a weeknight to Sunday mornings had brought racing people together and participants back to the club. “It’s a social get-together and more and more new faces have turned up. They watch the trials and enjoy a cooked breakfast and it’s turned what was a bit of a drag for people into a social event,” he said. Scala, along with club president Alan Lister, took part in a fight Motor Neurone Disease event last October, a charity drive for Neale Daniher, something that was close to Scala’s heart. “I lost my father to that horrible disease. It was also a bit personal because I went to Trinity College with Neale,” Scala said. “The charity drive, which we did in the club mobile barrier vehicle, was an inspirational few days for everyone involved.” The former Mildura trots boss labelled the Ian Watson-trained pacer Flo Jos Gold as his favorite local horse, while SA reinsman Wayne Hill is his most admired driver. “Wayne is always prepared.  You never see him when he’s not studying the form guide or reading over a racebook.” Asked if there was one thing he could change, what would it be? Scala didn’t hesitate and said a perfect world would be Mildura programming its own races with greater input from trainers. While Scala has moved on from his Mildura post, he won’t be lost to harness racing, retaining his executive role at Country Trots Victoria, where he’s treasurer. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Young Bendigo harness racing reinswoman Michelle Phillips landed her maiden double at the Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival last week -but had to wait two nights to celebrate.   Phillips and her partner, talented horseman Shaun McNaulty, got home from Mildura to their stables at Marong at 3am after the second night of the carnival on Thursday, and, not surprisingly, weren’t in the mood to put their party pants on!   “It sounds crazy, but I suggested to Michelle that we could head back to Mildura for the Cup final on the Saturday night and do some celebrating then!” McNaulty said.   “Michelle decided it was a perfect idea so that’s what we did – and it was a huge night, combined with a few drinks, of course, and the karaoke at the track after the last,” he said.   “We have already booked our accommodation and stabling for the three-night carnival next year!”   The stable double was also momentous for McNaulty, as it was the first time he’d brought his own team to race at Mildura.   “I’d been to the trots there years ago with my brother, and I’d always had an ambition to race during the carnival,” he said.   The McNaulty-Phillips combination landed their winning double in consecutive races, with Gobsmacked (Auckland Reactor-Respected (Art Major) and It’s All Business (Sportswriter USA-In The White House NZ (Presidential Ball USA).   They also ran third in the Mildura Trotters Cup with their consistent square gaiter Fratellino (Monarchy USA-Solar Fire NZ (Yankee Reb USA), the winner being Endsin A Party, driven by Phillips’ boss Chris Svanosio for trainer Brad Stevens.   McNaulty said three-year-old gelding Gobsmacked always had ability, but just wasn’t putting it together.   “He may have just turned the corner now because that’s two wins in his past three starts,” he said.   “I thought the drive was brilliant by Michelle - I’m very proud.”   Phillips comes from a family background with horses, with her grandfather, Max, a Clerk of the Course in Gippsland for many years.   She is a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre at Warragul and was awarded the inaugural HRV-Community College Gippsland Trots Internship in 2016. The internship gave Phillips 12 months of experience across the industry and in leading stables, which she is now putting into practice.   The runaway win by Its All Business in the 3YO Pace was reward for patience for McNaulty.   “We’ve had our share of problems with him lately, but I have to admit that I’ve got a lot of time for the colt,” he said.   “He showed exceptional ability from day one when he got beaten last season at Bendigo in a 2YO race running a tick over 1.54.   “I would have loved to have contested the Sydney derby with the horse, simply to gain some experience. In hindsight he probably would have been lucky to qualify, but it would have done him the world of good.   “Anyway the timing wasn’t right as he had a bit of a bunged-up knee and I’ve really only just got the swelling down.”   McNaulty has his pair of in-form runners competing at Kilmore on Thursday, while trotter Fratellino will contest the $14,500 Eddie Edison Memorial Trotters Cup at Warragul on Sunday.   “Fratellino is the leader by eight points on the Country Cup Trotters Championship so that’s a big bonus if he could hang and grab that,” McNaulty said.   “We’ll be out there trying our best, that’s for sure!” he said.   But if Fratellino does get the job done, hopefully the pair can find somewhere a little closer to home to celebrate!     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Victoria’s premier female drivers appear to hold the keys to this Saturday night’s $60,000 Mildura Pacing Cup Final after dominating last night’s heats.   The Mildura Pacing Cup is the only event on Victoria’s country cups circuit to be run in a carnival format, with Tuesday night’s heats over 2600 metres, followed by a Saturday night final over the same distance.   Great Western pacer Reciprocity (Panspacificflight-Weka Lass (Badlands Hanover), driven by Kerryn Manning for her father Peter, scored an emphatic win in the first heat, over Perspective and South Australian Bulletproof Boy.   In the second, Shepparton pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry), for driver Bec Bartley, ground out a narrow death-seat victory over leader Brallos Pass, driven by Ellen Tormey, with the pair 28 metres clear of their nearest rival, Emain Macha.   Barring accident or incident, Saturday night’s final is effectively at the mercy of the three accomplished reinswomen – and it’s shaping as an intriguing battle.   Reciprocity’s victory was comprehensive – and dispelled any doubts astute mentor Peter Manning had about the mare’s ability to handle the 805-metre Mildura circuit.   The five-year-old sat back in the early stages from her barrier eight draw. She was then sent three wide by Kerryn at the bell, then careered around the final turn at Mildura four and five wide, with all the confidence in the world, posting 2:00.4 for the journey.   “That was going to be the test – whether she would handle the track or not. We’ve found she does,so that’s all we needed to know,” Manning said.   With only five days between heats and finals, and with another night of racing on Thursday night, trainers often relocate to the remote Sunraysia region for the week, but Kerryn Manning said   Reciprocity would be home in her paddock by the early hours of Wednesday morning.   “She travelled up really well on her own, and we thought it’d be best to get her home again,” Manning said.   “She did an awesome job for us tonight, everything we wanted, so we’ll just hope for one better on Saturday.” Kerryn Manning and her father Peter with Reciprocity, winner of the first heat Reciprocity is owned by Henry Campbell and came to the Manning stable from the Tamworth region. Since arriving late last year, she’s chalked up seven wins, including an MO and the Group 3 VHRSC Metro Pace Final, in Victoria. But the Group 2 Mildura Pacing Cup would be her biggest win. “I’d trained a couple of horses for a fellow up at Tamworth and he was the one who recommended to Henry that he send the horse down,” Peter Manning said. “We’re pretty glad he did. She has improved in leaps and bounds, particularly in the past couple of months. “She used to hop along a bit and we’ve done some work on her feet and let her hopples out and she’s just thrived on the sandy track at our place. “She’s a very smart horse.” In the second heat, Shepparton pair Brallos Pass (trained by Mark Watson) and San Carlo (trained by Stephen O’Donoghue) always looked the key chances on paper, and that proved to be the case, with only a head margin separating the pair at the post. Brallos Pass was sent forward by Ellen Tormey from his extreme outside (barrier six) draw, and early leader Lucky Lombo (Zac Phillips) was content to hand up. As Tormey crossed to the lead, Bartley, who had come from barrier eight, made a forward move to “death seat” outside Brallos Pass. With a lap to go, San Carlo strode up alongside Brallos Pass, and the two went to war down the back straight. "I wanted to be alongside Ellen as we got around the final corner, because I thought if she pinched a break on me, I might not be able to get it back – but I thought San Carlo would be tough enough if we were on terms,” Bartley said. She was right – but only just. San Carlo raised a final effort on the line to score narrowly from a gallant Brallos Pass.   An elated Bec Bartley after Heat Two of the Mildura Pacing Cup   Bartley and San Carlo are spending the Cup week in Mildura, with Bartley super-keen to go one better this year, after finishing runner up last year to Im the Boss (with Shakahari).   “San Carlo has pulled up really well after the race, and he’s settled in nicely where we are staying,” Bartley said.   “He’ll have a day off tomorrow and then he’ll just have a jog leading up to the final. I’ve got no doubt he’ll handle the two close runs.   “We don’t have too many problems with him these days. He’s such a seasoned horse now. He eats everything you put in front of him and come Saturday I think he’ll be jumping out of his skin.”   The full list of 11 qualifiers includes one local horse, Brocks Territory trained by Luke Watson. Other qualifiers are Assassinator, Lucky Lombo, Bulletproof Boy, Ideal World, Perspective, Brallos Pass, Resurgent Spirit, Emain Macha, Reciprocity and San Carlo.   San Carlo looks likely to draw the extreme outside of the back row for Saturday night’s final, with Reciprocity right next door on his inside. Brallos Pass may face a tricky assignment, with an inside back row barrier draw if all qualifiers accept.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

MILDURA harness racing trainer David Vozlic couldn’t believe his luck when he was offered not one, but two former Broken Hill horses to train.   “Both my partner Naomi and I used to keep asking owner Darren Pollard, who has a pet shop in the town, to send down his C1 pacer Euston Flyer to us when the (10-meeting summer) Broken Hill season finished,” Vozlic said.   “We’d noticed that Euston Flyer had heaps of ability and we thought he would certainly be suited down in Mildura,” he said.   “So when Darren relented, not only did we get Euston Flyer, but probably a much nicer other horse he owned in Goodboy Cowboy.   “We honestly didn’t think for a minute that we’d be lucky enough to get the “cowboy” – he was a nice tagalong surprise.”   So when Vozlic scanned the Mildura programs and couldn’t find a suitable race for Goodboy Cowboy, a trip south to Maryborough (again hosting a Charlton meeting) was pencilled in last Thursday afternoon.   “The bottom line was the horse would have drawn the back row at our home track, and he and Somedan (a stablemate who also made the trip) were going to be close in off the front line at Maryborough,” Vozlic said.   And after starting from the favorable three alley, Goodboy Cowboy (Tell All USA-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot NZ), driven a treat by Jack Laugher, caused a boilover to claim the Thank You Bendigo Bank Pace in a slick 1.55-7.   After slotting across beautifully Goodboy Cowboy settled in the one out line and two back. Laugher would have later had a wry smile as one of the leaders galloped approaching the bell and he moved up one spot to the perfect one-one.   Stablemate Somedan (Matt Horsnell), who started from the two-alley, was then in the death-seat, but travelling well.   Into the home stretch, favorite punters were happy with themselves as leader and $1.60 favorite Micrometeor (Grant Campbell) looked like an all- the-way winner.   However, Goodboy Cowboy sprinted hard to score a narrow neck win over the favorite, with Somedan three metres away in third spot. The winner was 50/1 on fixed odds and paid $37 on the tote. “I gave Goodboy Cowboy and Euston Flyer a week off after they arrived as they were super fit,” Vozlic said.   “After we decided on the Maryborough run, we opted to trial them both at Mildura four days before the race and we’re glad we did, because they needed the hit out,” he said.   David and Naomi with Goodboy Cowboy “Goodboy Cowboy caught our eye a few times. He beat one of ours in Headmaster when he won his CO at Mildura a good while ago and then at last year’s Cup Carnival he went huge when he led and scorched home in 28.2 and 27.4, beating a smart one in King Solomon.   “Then this season at Broken Hill he won two races and went super both times.”   Vozlic himself had a sensational time at the ‘Hill, claiming both the trainers’ and drivers’ premierships. His stable faced the starter on 39 occasions to post 14 wins and 16 placings.   “We were at every meeting, but my owners were happy to race up there,” he said.   “If you are going to run a professional stable from here, you just have to be prepared to travel and find races that suit.”   Vozlic said his interest in harness racing stemmed from following his older brother Andrew to the Mildura region.   “We used to find ourselves around horses, but there was not really any family involvement in the sport. We grew up at Gisborne and used to share farm in tobacco at Myrtleford, and then sugar cane in Cairns,” he said.   “Later I spent time working for Ron ‘Tubby’ Peace, who was probably the greatest influence, although there were also good times with Kevin Murray, Lance Justice and Mildura trainers (the late) Brian Cumming and Greg Pardo.   “When I was with Justice it was during the exciting era of superstar Sokyola.   “But Tubby was really old school and at that time he was flying. He won both the Melbourne and Sydney Premierships in the early ‘90s, which would be just about unthinkable these days.   “I was lucky he showed a huge amount of confidence in me when I was really only just learning. I had to take out my licence so that I could spend the last three months of the season based at Bankstown with a team of four and that contributed to him winning the training title.”   Vozlic, who has 17 in work, is enjoying a successful season.   “It’s hard work, but when the results come it makes it so much easier for both of us,” he said.   “We’re lucky to get great help from the kids because when you’re training a full team it’s a big commitment. “   David with partner Naomi and children  Lola (11) and Olivia (7), with Muffy the stable dog!   And while Goodboy Cowboy has vindicated Vozlic’s sharp eye for a winner, the pressure will be on lightly-raced gelding Euston Flyer (Gotta Go Cullect-Second Best Friend (Albert Albert) when he lines up in the Female Drivers Challenge event at Mildura on Thursday night.   Hoofnote: Euston Flyer was a nice trial winner at the track on Sunday morning.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Mildura Harness Racing caller Craig Rail said it all when he described a 42-metre victory by talented youngster Classic Reactor as “making a mess of them”. “He’s put a gap on them...absolutely blitzed them to win easily,” Rail commented. The win by Classic Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Bella Caballo (Safely Kept) was one of the most impressive seen for a long time at the far north-west Victorian circuit. And Classic Reactor’s stellar performance on Tuesday night was also a pleasant surprise for trainer Andrew Stenhouse and reinsman Dwayne Locke, of Merbein South. “Leading up to the race, he worked the best he ever has at home,” Stenhouse said. “We were just hoping he might take that to the racetrack and perhaps earn some place money – but in the end it was fantastic for both of us because we really didn’t expect a win.” However Classic Reactor had put “the writing on the wall” at his previous outing when a close-up sixth at Ouyen after doing all of the bullocking work outside the leader. To watch a video replay of the race click on this link. Credit must go to Stenhouse and Locke who have shown a great deal of perseverance with the three-year-old. “We got him as a yearling, just after he had been broken-in,” Stenhouse said. “It’s certainly been a long haul, but Dwayne has done the majority of the work. He just decided early days to make Classic Reactor his project,” he said. “We did a lot of short preparations with him, including one cut short last year after he curbed a hock. “But he was a bit of a rogue as well and seemed to settle down after we took the block winkers and headcheck off.” Stenhouse paid tribute to South Australian equine therapist Gary Ridings, in getting the horse “right”. “I would say that Gary played a key role with his shock wave and acupuncture work, because the horse gets tight across his back.  It’s made a huge difference to him.” Stenhouse said Classic Reactor also appeared to be enjoying a lighter work load. “We used to work him over 2400 metres with a galloping pacemaker in Jacknwal.  We retired Jacknwal because he lost his keenness to race after he got cleaned up a few times,” he said. “So, since Jacknwal retired, the furthest we probably go now would be 2000 metres. “His shoeing has also been sorted out and now he has a ton of confidence. In the early days he was cross-firing and brushing a knee, and we’ve actually taken off the go-straights now, and he’s appreciated it.” Reinsman Dwayne Locke was content to ease Classic Reactor at the start in the Mildura 3YO Pace, but moments later got the shock of his life when the horse galloped at some shadows on the track. “I just wasn’t expecting it and luckily he was quick to get pacing again. Fortunately, we still landed in the one-one sit which was nice,” Locke said. With the leaders in Always A Celebrity and Caulonia Arty bowling along, Classic Reactor appeared well-suited by the pace. When Locke changed gears down the back straight, his charge swept to the lead and left his rivals standing. “I didn’t realize that I’d shot so far in front turning into the home straight,” Locke said. Classic Reactor scored officially by 42.6 metres from American Beau (Ray Slater) with a further 1.8 metres to Calgary Bay (Wayne Hill). The mile rate was a handy 2.01 for 2190m. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Andrew Stenhouse and reinsman Dwayne Locke with Classic Reactor The winner is owned by Locke in partnership with Terry Cahill, of Ballarat, and Cahill’s nephew Danny Nicholson. Cahill has been in horses all his life and as well as a breeder, he buys youngsters from the sales. Locke said his association with Cahill went back to when he was working with Peter and Kerryn Manning, of Great Western. “I think Terry gave me a few drives when I was younger,” he said. “He has also sent us up a few horses over the years including Count The Aces, who won four races in 14 starts for us, and Pride of Opal – he’s a good owner to have.” “It was a pretty satisfying win, because it’s been a bit of a journey with this horse. The win was a good reason to have a few beers to celebrate and to watch the race replay a few times!” The Stenhouse-Locke stable has just the one racehorse in training at present, but this will soon change with another Auckland Reactor-sired pacer in Powerhouse Rock due to resume training soon. Stenhouse said the four-year-old was a half-brother to former fast class performer, Road to Rock, a winner of 14 races with 34 placings for over $130,000. Road To Rock was raced by Locke’s family and provided him with an amazing run of success as a junior driver.  Road to Rock began racing in 2011, as a three-year-old, winning 10 of his first 20 starts. *Pin up pacer of the Victorian northern region, Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket USA) continued on his merry winning way at the Mildura meeting. After beginning a bit scratchy and finding himself in an awkward position three back on the pegs, driver Simon Jardine, was cool as a cucumber as he waited for his opportunity. That nearly came down the back straight for the final time when a needle-eye opening appeared for a split second. “It would have been touch and go because there wasn’t really enough room to push out,” trainer Murray Jardine said. “Anyway, Simon backed himself and after looking to shift out over the concluding stages, he was super quick to see an inside passage and dived on it.” Mallee Reactor burst through in sensational fashion to post his eighth win from just nine starts. To watch a video replay of this race click on this link. The gelding’s next assignment will be the $14,000 Mildura Guineas on Saturday, April 13, the final night of the 2019 Pacing Cup carnival. Other meetings will be held during the carnival on Tuesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 11. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A father and son harness racing combination from the small north west Victorian township of Ouyen teamed up with boom sire Auckland Reactor to steal the limelight in spectacular fashion at Mildura on Wednesday night. Astute horseman Murray Jardine produced highly-talented Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor NZ-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) and Ian Raymond (Auckland Reactor NZ-Black Dress (Village Jasper) to post an eye-catching double. Both winners were handled by his reinsman son Simon, who drove copybook races to get “the chocolates” on the short-priced fancies. “I’m really enjoying it at the moment because dad has them flying,” a jubilant Simon said. “They’re the only two by Auckland Reactors in our stable, and we are now wishing we had a few more,” he said. “They are two nice horses and we aren’t rushing them, just bringing them along slowly and picking out suitable races in our area as we go. “I don’t know if dad will be tempted in a few months to make a trip south to Melton or not, but I reckon he should certainly think about it.” Mallee Reactor was at least 40 metres off the leaders in the early stages of the opening race on the Mildura program, the DNR Logistics Pace for C1 class pacers, after being caught wide and snagged back to second last. Come On Elvis and Friends set a blistering pace with a sharp lead time, followed by quick opening quarters of 28.6 and 29.7 secs. “I was actually wondering when they were going to ease up because they certainly weren’t waiting for anyone,” Simon said. Friends, a well-backed second-favorite, was pulled up out of the race with broken gear with a little over a lap to go, but Denbeigh Wade still kept her foot on the accelerator with Come On Elvis, recording closing splits of 29 and 29.6 secs. Mallee Reactor, three wide and three back with a lap to go, appeared to be cruising. And this was certainly the case, because when Jardine launched down the back straight, they charged to the lead on the home corner for a super win. While the mile rate of 1.56-4 was a few seconds outside the track record, it’s rarely posted by C1 class competitors on the not-so-spacious 805 metre Mildura circuit. “I think I might have made a bit of an error in running Mallee Reactor at Mildura on December 28 when it was so hot,” Murray said. “His next run about 10 days later when he got third was okay but he wasn’t as sharp as he could have been,” he said. “In saying that, I’m not taking anything away from the two who beat us. They were very good on the night.” Mallee Reactor now has the awesome career record of seven starts for six wins and a third placing for over $21,000. He will race at the Ouyen Cup meeting on Sunday week, March 24, then Mildura on April 2 with his major assignment, the $14,000 Mildura Guineas, on Mildura Pacing Cup night, April 13. The second leg of the Team Jardine/Auckland Reactor double came via four-year-old gelding Ian Raymond, who took out the Tasco Petroleum Pace, also for C1 horses. The pacer, raced by popular Ouyen identity Helen Chisholm, was bred by Helen along with her late brother Ian Raymond, hence the name. “He was always travelling comfortably and dug deep when I asked him for an effort,” Simon said. Ian Raymond lobbed in the sweet seat from the wide six draw and did look the winner a long way from home. After zipping out three wide at the bell, the gelding worked past the leaders on the home corner and cruised to the line with plenty in the tank. Former SA junior driver Jayden Brewin, now based in Victoria, drove a well-deserved double at Mildura, with Cashwrangs Smoker (Chief Marty-Glassawyne (Sports Town) and Ned’s Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Winter Rose (In The Pocket). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The popular veteran of Victoria’s northern region harness racing region, Wrinkle Knutt, has again given his younger rivals a pacing lesson with another win on his home track. Courtesy of a gem of a drive by leading reinswoman Kerryn Manning, the 13-year-old scored by two metres at Mildura – a result that blew most punters out of the water! Wrinkle Knutt (Safely Kept-Styx Mistress (In The Pocket USA) won at 50/1 in the Tenderprint Australia Pace last Friday, his 17th victory in a racing career now spanning more than a decade. Trainer Jason McGinty said the veteran, with a total of 323 starts (17 wins and 66 placings for $120,000) beside his name, just loves going to the races. “We actually decided to retire him a while ago and he went around in the double-seated sulky exhibition events at Mildura for a win and a third,” McGinty said. “I hadn’t changed his daily routine – he was still getting fed, trained and shod the same as when he was racing,” he said. “I was still preparing him as a race-horse, and one day just out of the blue I decided to nominate him for a Mildura meeting. I got into trouble with my wife Natasha, because she’d thought his time was up when we made the decision, and he’d only been retired a few weeks! “But he hasn’t any issues at all and thoroughly enjoys competing and Natasha’s happy to have him back at the races. “He’s such a lovely old fella and I really like him probably because he’s no fuss – each day he just does whatever I ask of him in his training and then he happily goes back in his paddock.” Wrinkle Knutt is owned by Natasha and sons Josh, Sam and Wil. The McGinty family has raced Wrinkle Knutt in all but 15 starts of his career starts. “Ballarat trainer Rob McCartney had him early on and after running five placings from 15 starts, he decided to sell him. I think we paid $3000 or $4000 for him so he’s certainly paid his way,” McGinty said. The Victorian “drop back rule”, which allows horses to go back a class if they don’t win in 10 starts, has undoubtedly enabled Wrinkle Knutt’s extended racing career. “He put two or three wins together a few years ago and was down to a C5 so that would have nearly ended him, but the drop back rule has been the greatest thing for longevity of horses,” McGinty said. “We have had a few milestones set for his retirement, like $100,000 in stakes and 300 race starts – but we’ve passed both of those, so we’ll keep plodding along while he’s fit and healthy.” Over the years, of the many drivers engaged to drive Wrinkle Knutt, the most successful has been Ellen Tormey, of Bendigo, with six wins; followed by McGinty with four; Bec Bartley and Jake Kerridge two apiece, and Josh Puckeridge, Andrew Vozlic and now Kerryn Manning with one win each. “As for a long-term investment, he’s been a damn good one...we just wish a few more like him would come along!” McGinty said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Mildura Harness Racing Club has announced a new major Pacing Cup Carnival Sponsorship deal in local fuel distributor TASCO Petroleum. The three-year deal is the largest that the harness club has secured in its history and promises to provide the club with the support needed to improve its Pacing Cup Carnival. Mildura Harness Racing Club CEO Tim Scala said "the Club is thrilled to have secured a local sponsor for our Cup Carnival and we thank Ross Lake and his staff for their support". "The Carnival will be bigger than ever this year with new attractions including a Mechanical Bull Ride and The Optus Movie Van," Mr Scala said. "We also have a new major sponsor for the Cup race previously known as the Mark Gurry and Associates Cup, which will now be known as the Tenderprint Australia Cup. Malcolm Campbell has generously supported the Carnival and the Club and also sponsors the winning post." The Club also wished to thanks the generous support of Park Douglas Printing, which have sponsored our Cup Carnival for over 20 years. "Shane Smith and his family have been very big supporters of our Carnival and we thank them for their continued support of our Club, as has Mark Gurry in over 20 years of his sponsorship as well," Mr Scala said. This years’ Cup Carnival begins on Tuesday April 9 with heats of the TASCO Petroleum Cup and the Tenderprint Australia Cup. The Thursday night (April 11) will see the Ladies and Men’s Invitation race and Fashion on the Field Event as well as the Seelite Windows and Doors Trotters Cup. The Pacing Cup will then be held on Saturday April 13 and many great races will attract a huge crowd. Tickets are available for all events from the Club on (03) 5023 2454. Mildura Harness Racing Club

AN on-course veterinarian at this week’s Mildura Harness Racing Club’s meeting has moved to allay concerns about the welfare of horses due to extreme heat. The club pushed back the start time for the first race to 7.30pm when the temper­ature was still 41.6C and the mercury failed to drop below 35C until well into the eight-race meeting. Mildura GP Gerald Murphy described a decision to proceed with the meeting on Tuesday – which recorded a maximum daytime temperature of 45.8C – as “totally ­unacceptable”. By Allan Murphy Reprinted with permission of The Sunraysia Daily

Harness racing trainer David Jack confesses that he’s not a real fan of hot, uncomfortable summer weather, but he put that aside to make a successful hit-and-run visit to Mildura this week. “I reckon I changed my mind at least a half dozen times as to whether I was going to be brave enough to make the 500km road trip in the searing heat,” Jack said. The mercury was forecast to reach 45 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, and trainers are permitted to scratch without penalty if the forecast temperature is predicted at 38 degrees or higher. However, the professional harness racing trainer-driver, based at Euroa in Victoria’s cooler north-east region, decided that the feature event was ideal for his pacer Deeceeten. After leaving at 12.30pm to make the six-hour trek north west, Jack was actually still traveling on the road when Mildura reached its maximum temperature for the day at 5pm, a blistering 45.5 degrees (in the old terms 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit). “Fortunately, Deeceeten is an excellent traveller and that’s probably another thing that tipped the scales to do the trip,” Jack said. “We stopped at Swan Hill to give him a drink and check he was okay, and then continued on when we found him to be happy and relaxed. “I reckon we become a bit spoilt with the air conditioners in the car.  But horses seem to handle heat and I do think it’s humidity that can knock them about. “After arriving at the Mildura track, we gave him a long soaking under the cold hose and he was fine.” And Deeceeten (Rocknroll Hanover-Lombo Pow Wow (Million To One, USA) didn’t give those who took the short odds one moment of concern with an impressive all-the-way victory in the $10,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinium Country Series H Final. Jack virtually had a stroll in the park, with Deeceeten coasting in 30.6, 31.8, 29.7 and 29.3 over the 1790m journey. The winner was bred by Jack’s step brother Bill H. Thorn and the dam, Lombo Pow Wow, would be remembered by many for her deeds on the racetrack. The mare had 47 starts for 10 wins and 11 placings. David Jack races Deeceeten in partnership with his wife Anne. “I thought we’d placed him well and to come up with the number two saddlecloth helped out heaps,” Jack said. “We did some research and believe that we’ve only ever raced at Mildura on one other occasion —-and it wasn’t memorable as we finished 4th or 5th.” Deeceeten has now had only eight starts, but amazingly they have been in three different States. The gelding began his career in spectacular fashion with consecutive 2yo wins at South Australia’s Globe Derby Park, in Adelaide. “Bill, who bred him, lives over that way so it was fitting for the him to make his debut there,” Jack said. After four starts in 2016, the pacer was tipped out owing to some niggling problems. He came back two years later and was runner-up on two occasions at Leeton, NSW, then saluted at Swan Hill prior to the Mildura victory. Jack said they would have normally travelled home the following day after the races but with high temperatures forecast in the north west, decided it was best to travel in the cool of the night. “He is a very honest horse, but can go better than he shows at the races – hopefully the penny will drop soon,” Jack said. Other long distance travellers to make hot (but successful) trips to the Mildura meeting included Zac Steenhuis, of Portillo (936km round trip) near Ballarat who got a double with Jules Peach and Our Summer Bay; David Smith, of Salisbury, SA (734km trip) who was successful with Glider; and Aaron Bain, of Gawler, SA (690km trip), who got the money with Rocknroll Legend. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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