Day At The Track

Lang follows his dreams to Terang

12:17 AM 11 Feb 2011 NZDT
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Gavin Lang
Gavin Lang
Peter Staples Photo

Having steered both horses to Group 1 glory, champion Victorian harness racing driver Gavin Lang was understandably torn when forced to choose between Village Of Dreams and Captain Joy as his drive in Saturday night's $25,000 Terang and District Co-Op Pacing Cup.

Winning five times at the elite behind Captain Joy during his brilliant two and three-year-old campaigns and once aboard Village Of Dreams (2009 Australian Derby) - on paper, the decision appears difficult but clear.

But with the latter horse leading the Melton Saddlery Victorian Country Cups Championship and the former not quite racing at the peak of his powers, the superstar pilot has opted to follow the form in the 2680-metre mobile feature and stick with Village Of Dreams.

“It certainly was a hard decision, knowing which one to drive,” Lang said.

“Not only because both horses have been good to me, but both camps have been good to me – and you do like to be loyal to that whenever you can.”

“But Village Of Dreams has been in great nick of late and he should be in this race up to his ears, so I’m very happy to be on him.”

Despite Captain Joy’s dominance over his fellow five-year-old during their classic season at three, Peter Tonkin’s super son of Village Jasper has certainly taken the next step this season, finishing top four in both the Ballarat and Hunter Cups at his previous two starts.

That followed another Group 1 placing in the Tasmania Cup at Hobart and a brilliant Wedderburn Cup win which solidified his growing reputation as one of the Choice Hotels Country Cup circuit’s newest stars.

But in spite of his chosen charge’s outstanding recent form, Lang concedes that both the horse he left behind and a host of other quality runners, including Hung Jury (two), Georgetown (four) and Mister Swinger (10) will ensure their task is not an easy one on Saturday night.

“It’s fair to say that he (Village Of Dreams) is back in grade a bit here from the Ballarat Cup and the Hunter Cup – two Group 1 races – and I look forward to being able to drive him a little more forcefully as a result,” the 1983 Terang Cup winning driver revealed.

“But I’m always mindful not to underestimate the opposition in any race, let alone the Terang Cup.

“You only have to go back through the horses who’ve won it in previous years to see what a quality race it is, so I’ll be giving my rivals their dues in the race, you don’t have to worry about that. It won’t be any walk in the park.”

Terang Cup fact file

  • 2011 marks the 40th edition of the Terang Cup which was first run in 1947, but has endured a series of hiatus’ over the past 64 years.
  • The fastest ever winner of the Cup was Sir Galvinator who rated 1:58.4 in winning the 2007 renewal of the race.
  • The most notable past champions are Sokyola (2003, 2005) and four-time Inter Dominion winner Blacks A Fake (2006).
  • Sokyola is one of only two multiple winners of the race, the other being Jim O’Sullivan’s Our Brenray who won three in a row from 1991-93.
  • The Terang Cup will be officially known as the Terang and District Co-Op Pacing Cup in 2011 and will be run for total prizemoney of $25,000.
  • The 2680-metre Terang Cup is one of few Victorian Country Cups to be run under mobile conditions, having done so since 1987.

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