Day At The Track

Shepparton in the day and Geelong at night

02:12 PM 07 Dec 2011 NZDT
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Two harness racing meetings were held on Wednesday December 7 in Victoria, with Shepparton hosting the day fixture and Geelong racing at night.

The track was on fire at Shepparton, with fast times the order of the day, with David Aiken’s Avenel barn providing three winners, including two of his own in 6-Y-0 Kiwi bred Artsplace/Pleasant Franco gelding Ina Great Place and 4-Y-0 Like A Prayer/Aspenglow mare Cold Sister.

Ina Great Place was successful in the Quest Shepparton Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2190 metres with David Moran in the sulky.

Settling three back in the running line from gate two on the second row, Ina Great Place was sent forward racing for the bell to park outside the pacemaker Macy Lila (gate four) which had worked to cross Who Broke Our Halo (gate two) in the back straight on the first occasion.

Showing plenty of staying prowess, Ina Great Place raced clear on turning to score from Who Broke Our Halo along the sprint lane in a rate of 1-57.9, with Ima Ritzi Lombo (one/one at bell) third.

Fully American bred Cold Sister was a strong victor of the Shepparton Racing Xmas Eve Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2190 metres.

With David holding the reins, Cold Sister was slowly away from the 20 metre mark, with Aussie Paco going like the wind at the head of affairs.

Moving to be three back in the moving line mid-race, Cold Sister was off and running shortly after to face the breeze at the bell, before drawing away in the last lap to score easily from Ourlittlelil which trailed the leader and Mister Jonas (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-02.7.

Laura Crossland (part of the Aiken operation) snared a long shot winner in 7-Y-0 Partywiththebigdog/Sister Bridey mare Our Maylan who coasted to the wire in the Lift N Shift Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-56.9.

Raced by mother Melinda Smith who sent the horse down from Mildura to race closer to Melbourne, Our Maylan ($21.10) was given the run of the race from the pole trailing Always Lacking (gate four) and always appeared to be travelling kindly.

Approaching the home turn, Our Maylan was eased away from the inside by David Moran (Laura’s partner) and put the race beyond doubt in a couple of strides, scoring by 6.1 metres over Always Lacking which offered little resistance, with Macray Blissbomb third off a three wide trail last lap.

On what was a great day for Avenel, neighbour Greg Norman was successful with 8-Y-0 Pacific Rocket/Larisleas Gem gelding Rocket Gem in the Neatline Homes Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres.

Driven by Nathan Jack, Rockets Gem came from last at the bell to record a runaway victory on straightening from Vintage Jag and Lord Lombo in 1-56.4.

At Geelong, Melton duo Brent Lilley (trainer) and Bob Butt (driver) captured the Choice Hotels Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres with 7-Y-0 Sundon/Speed N Luck gelding Challenge Opawa.

Coming from the 20 metre mark, Challenge Opawa began speedily to possie one/one shortly after the start, receiving the run of the race with the roughie Giddy Up Amour leading from the pole.

Easing three wide in the final circuit, Challenge Opawa ran home strongly on straightening to gain the day in advance of Apollo Nine off the back of the pacemaker, with Giddy Up Amour holding down third. The mile rate 2-05.6.

Former Kiwi reinsman Scott Phelan who has spent most of his career in harness racing attached to Barry Purdon’s Clevedon (Auckland) stable, was in the winners stall when 6-Y-0 Aces N Sevens/Summer Lace gelding Summer Ace scored in the De Grandi Cycle & Sport Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres.

Now with Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan in Parwan, Scott drove a heady race on Summer Ace trained by Demmler, never panicking at any stage after being caught in the open from gate three.

Giving chase on turning to the pacemaker Lucknpower which had crossed to lead at the bell after racing three wide, Summer Ace made a last stride dive to get up right on the wire in a rate of 1-58.5, with Ultimatebilly third.

Five year old D M Dilinger/Drimos mare Definite Girl returned to the winners list when a strong victor of the Bartlett’s Enviromental Vase Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1609 metres in 1-59.5.

Trained at Monegeetta by Lisa and David Miles, Definite Girl driven by Lisa raced in the open from the bell after being three wide from gate three, before outstaying her rivals in accounting for Jaccka Murray (three wide last lap) and the hot favourite Valiant Sue which threw away her chance when galloping wildly in the score up, coming from a distant last on settling.

Ina Great Place

Cold Sister

Our Maylan

Rocket Gem

Len BAKER

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