Day At The Track

Provincial Victorian round up with Len Baker

01:22 AM 28 Mar 2009 NZDT
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Bendigo Harness Racing Club

Bendigo March 26. Champion Nagambie trainer Chris Lang won his 'own' race at the Bendigo day meeting. Lang and his son, Chris junior, combined to win the Aldebaran Park Handicap with promising trotter Kyvalley Mac ($3.20).

Starting off a 20 metre handicap, the Earl gelding was sent forward three-wide in the middle stages to race upsides with Astra Nomis, who was setting a solid tempo in front.

After gaining the upper hand near the home turn, Kyvalley Mac braved fought off the challenges of Master In Command and Delphi Rose in the straight.

The mile rate for the 2650 metre stand was 2:04.4.

The win completed a double for Lang junior. Earlier in the day he piloted the Bill Morgan trained gelding Northern Danjaro ($4.90) to a convincing win in the C5-C6 race.

However, Bolinda reinsman Chris Alford took the driving honours on the day with a winning treble.

Alford won the opening two races with Celevale Lombo ($3.70), trained by Shane Gallagher, and trotter Imamusclesyankee ($6.60) which he prepares himself. He completed the treble with the ‘claimer' Summer Dreaming ($8.10) for Leigh Miles.

Imamusclesyankee, who registered his first win at his eleventh attempt, is undoubtedly one of the best-bred trotters in commission. By the US champion Muscles Yankee, he ranks as a half-brother to the exported Group 1 winners A Touch Of Flair, Son Of Flair and Mighty Maori.

Terang March 26

Northern Gem and Lightning McCool, a pair of talented three-year-olds, provided the highlights of Terang's March meeting.

Lightning McCool ($1.50 fav.), the SA St Leger winner and Victoria Derby finalist, led throughout in the Ken Pocock Memorial. Despite mid-race pressure from Dance With Armbro, the Miles McCool gelding stole a march on his rivals on the home turn and held off the fast finishing Hellovaparty.

It was his 13th win from 21 starts and boosted his stake earnings to almost $90,000.

Meanwhile, Northern Gem ($4.50) came from absolute last to win the Noir Rover Terang Guineas (2180 metres).

The New Zealand-bred son of Northern Luck gained a three-wide trail in the last lap, but was still spotting the leaders a tidy start approaching the home turn.

Switched four-wide by Kerryn Manning, Northern Gem unleashed a paralysing finishing burst down the outside of the track to nab the sprint-laning Mach Twain in the last bound.

The mile rate was 2:00.8, with the last half in a blazing 57.7 seconds.

Northern Gem has won three of his seven starts since joining the Peter Manning barn in January. He looks capable of taking a far tighter mark.

The Safely Kept gelding Longtan Spur ($2.90) hoisted the fastest time of the night - 1:57.4 - in leading throughout for a clear-cut win in the final event.

Warragul March 27

Champion driver Daryl Douglas, back from a holiday in Queensland, book-ended the Warragul day meeting.

Douglas won the opening race with two-year-old Jorg Is Best ($33.30) and the last with three-year-old Rowan Direct ($1.20 fav.). The latter was very impressive.

Pinging straight to the front, the Courage Under Fire gelding, who was having his first start on Australian soil, never gave his supporters any cause for concern, winning by a conservative 16 metres.

In rating a smart 2:01.2 for the 2205 metres, the Allan McDonough-trained Rowan Direct carved out the final ‘half' in 58.5 seconds.

Likewise, Jorg Is Best, an Artesian first-starter, led from end-to-end. The gelding is owned by the Royal Flush Group (of Bus To Harland fame) and trained by Jeremy Quinlan.

Trainer Dean Braun and driver Greg Sugars landed the winners of consecutive races, Gypsy Franco ($1.70 fav.) and Waiona ($1.30 fav.). Both were bred in New Zealand.

Kilmore March 27

Last year's Victoria Derby winner Tanabi Bromac made a one-act affair of the Vin Knight Memorial at Kilmore.

Starting favourite at $1.30, the Live Or Die gelding gave Greg Sugars an armchair drive in the vanguard, running the middle half in 65.5 seconds.

He then sprinted home in 56.8 (28.5 and 28.3) to leave his rivals struggling in his wake.

It gave Sugars a winning treble on the day and completed a training double for Elmore horseman Keith Cotchin. Promising mare Lady Octavia ($2.60 fav.), driven by Leigh Sutton, won the 7-Eleven Cup for C1 class.

Lady Octavia was the first of a winning double for premier Christian Cullen, who also produced Just Callme Cullen ($2.60), one of two winners on the card for in-form reinsman Scott Dyer.

Dyer also scored with Bay Torrent ($4.30) in the C3-C5 race.

Talented three-year-old Garnet River ($4.10) avenged his defeat by Village Of Dreams ($1.50 fav.) in the Geelong Guineas a month ago with a decisive win in the Reg Withers Kilmore Classic.

Showing blazing gate speed, the Red River Hanover gelding was able to dictate the terms in front and the issue was never really in doubt.

Producing a 56.2 seconds closing half, Garnet River (Glenn Hunter) was untroubled in the run home to beat Village Of Dreams by seven metres.


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