Day At The Track

Hot hand guides Hector to ripping Cup win

04:06 PM 09 Apr 2016 NZST
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Matt McLellan
Co-owner Matt McLellan celebrates Hectorjayjay's Mildura Pacing Cup win.

Hectorjayjay gave his connections some carnival delight, saluting in the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup.The Group 2 harness racing  victory, which captured the bulk of the $60,325 for David Aiken’s newly acquired five-year-old, was born out of an ice cool drive from Gavin Lang to win from local hope Murranji Track, who reaffirmed his status as a four-year-old on the rise.

Hectorjayjay’s second victory at Group level was also one of five victories on the night for champion reinsman Lang.

VIDEO REPLAY: WATCH HECTORJAYJAY WIN AND ETCH HIS NAME ON THE COVETED CUP

The night’s feature largely went to plan. As the Good Form speed map predicted, Anthony Butt shot Stunning Grin to the front and Vince Vallelonga’s five-year-old ran less keenly than Tuesday’s record-breaking heat, controlling the race with a 74.7s lead time, 2.7s slower than in heat one.

Murranji Track slotted on his tail from the box seat and held that place through the final bend, with Kerryn Manning driving Ideal Success to the breeze, trailed off the pegs by Itz Dreamin Jonesy and $1.70 favourite Hectorjayjay, who Lang eased into cover from barrier five.

There they would remain until the 600m mark when Ideal Success couldn’t match Stunning Grin’s pace from the breeze, slipping back and prompting Lang to peel three-wide and take Hectorjayjay to the front.

Amid a 27.9 third quarter, Hectorjayjay passed Stunning Grin on the outside around the bend and was unchallenged in a 28.6 final quarter, with pegs runners Murranji Track and Manuka Man coming off Stunning Grin’s back to run into second and third respectively. The 1:57.7 mile rate was just 0.2 outside the track record Stunning Grin set four days prior.

Hectorjayjay, a five-year-old gelding by Dream Away out of Sheer Finesse, now has career stakes of more than $250,000, with a 45 per cent winning strike rate from his 53 starts.

The victory headlined an engaging night’s racing that brought to an end an enthralling Mildura Cups carnival and country cups circuit.

Earlier in the night, Young Modern met expectations to give Lang the second of five winning drivers of the night in the Group 3 Mark Gurry & Associates Cup. After a luckless third in the heat, Young Modern carried punters favour in the final, starting at $1.70 and running accordingly with a 7m win for trainer Michael Stanley.

Having been worked into the breeze from barrier 11 early in the running, despite a hefty workload Young Modern found separation on Matt Craven’s second-placed Emmanuel in the straight. The $20,048 pay day was the biggest of the five-year-old’s career since it saluted in the VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic as a three-year-old roughie in December 2013.

Saturday night also featured the Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas and again the punters got it right with $1.50 chance Hickstead, which Good Form’s Jason Bonnington declared a moral in the lead-up, winning by 2.6 for trainer-driver John Justice.

There was plenty of pace on early in the 2190m mobile, with Justice taking Hickstead to the lead at the mile mark and then cooling his jets over 31.3 and 30.2 first and second quarters. Justice made a break in the third quarter and while Mister Magic Man battled on gamely to run into third, it was Here He Comes that challenged, looming as Hickstead tired but ultimately having to settle for second, beaten 2.3.

Michael Howard 

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