Day At The Track

Paragon Minda sets example

03:56 PM 08 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Contestants line-up for the Alabar HERO Series final at Bendigo.
Contestants line-up for the Alabar HERO Series final at Bendigo.

A trots standardbred who never quite made it to the race track has claimed the Alabar HERO Series title in a watershed day for the life after a harness racing venture.

Paragon Minda, a 2010 By Xample gelding out of Minda Luck, turned her 2017 honour of being Best Newcomer into Overall Winner in the 2018 series, which had its final at Bendigo on Sunday.

The richest and most sought-after standardbred showing competition in Victoria was lauded by the Victorian Agricultural Society for peaking interest in the event, having produced the biggest class of the prestigious two-day staging.

Some 25 entrants, of which eight had been rehomed through the HERO program, presented before the three-person judging panel, which included leading trots trainer-driver Kerryn Manning.

“Yesterday's event was an extraordinary success and a wonderful promotion for standardbred life after racing,” HERO manager Tanya McDermott said.

“The camaraderie among competitors was a highlight and the blossoming partnership between HERO and the Victorian Agricultural Society is very exciting.”

Sponsored by Alabar and supported by the Angelique Club, the event gifted $1000 to the Overall Winner, $500 to the Runner-Up and $500 to the Best Newcomer (retired within the previous two years).

Winner Paragon Minda was one of three finalists for Goulburn Valley standardbred devotee Rachel Stephenson, with Rebecca Farran the winning rider.

“I was lucky enough for my gelding to win this fabulous award this year,” Ms Stephenson said. “I truly enjoyed every moment.

“I want to thank the riders and congratulate them for the level of sportsmanship they all displayed. It honestly felt like a big group of friends catching up and supporting each other. The atmosphere was amazing.”

2017 winner Equity Wizzbang, show name Maxwell Smart, finished runner-up this year for owner Eboni Knights and rider Mel Lampard, while Best Newcomer was captured by Squiggymaguire for South Australian owner/rider Lesa van Uitert.

A 2009 son of Our Sir Vancelot, Squiggymaguire won three of 53 starts for trainer Brad Costello before being placed with Lesa via the HRV HERO Program.

For more details about the HERO program go to www.hrvhero.com.au.

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