Day At The Track

Young Drivers Series takes place in Victoria

01:38 PM 17 Apr 2013 NZST
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Josh Duggan
Josh Duggan

There were two harness racing meetings held in Victoria on Wednesday April 17 with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Bendigo at night, the highlight being heats of the 2013 Goulburn Valley & Central Victoria Young Drivers Challenge.

They featured Rebecca Bartley, Monique Burnett, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Ellen Tormey and Zac Phillips representing Victoria, Aiden De Campo (W-A), Amanda Turnbull (NSW), Todd Rattray (Tas), Matthew Smith and Jayson Finnis (S-A).

The opening heat for C0 class over 1690 metres was taken out by "Bec" Bartley aboard the Junee visitor Great Investment trained by Trevor White.

Settling well back in the field from gate two on the second line, Great Investment a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Grinfromeartoear and Lombo Glad Rags (four wide home turn) ran home strongly to defeat Guggenheim which raced in the open from the bell after a tough first lap, with Now And Forever third after leading. The mile rate 1-57.

Heat two for C1 class over 2190 metres was taken out by Josh Duggan who piloted the Danny Thackeray (Euroa) trained 4-Y-0 Art Major/Posh Jaccka mare Kensington Palace in a rate of 2-00.1.

Starting from gate three on the second line, Kensington Palace possied with most of the field ahead of her with Stuck Up leading from gate four.

Setting off three wide solo in the final circuit, Kensington Palace showed plenty of courage on straightening to score from a death-seating Captain Scott and Trottin Rossco which followed the winner throughout.

Nagambie's Chris Lang recovering after a nasty accident when kicked in the face during trackwork, landed the Happy 19th Nicole Boyington Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 2190 metres with fully American bred Cantab hall/Benedicta Jet 4-Y-0 mare Aldebaran Turnpike with Chris Alford in the sulky.

Given an easy time one/one from gate five, Aldebaran Turnpike was badly held up in the final circuit with Kyrellant and Star Style around her and Arctic Wolf which had been in the open giving ground.

Still held up as the leader Sunset Tour went for home on straightening looking all over a winner, Aldebaran Turnpike when finally extricated into the clear, sprouted wings to register a half head victory in 2-03.1, with Kyrellant third.

Marong trainer Danny Curran has enjoyed plenty of success over the years and snared the W B Hunter Pace for C1 & C2 class (mares) over 2190 metres with Saabrina Miss, a 4-Y-0 daughter of Saab and In The Bank.

Raced by lifetime friends Leo and Kath Noonan, Saabrina Miss with Ellen Tormey in the sulky led out from gate four, before taking a trail on the heavily supported Dobop which was driven with plenty of aggression by Nathan Jack from outside the front row to lead.

After a cosy trip, Saabrina Miss used the sprint lane to draw away over the concluding stages in defeating Smooth Sister (three back the markers) and Dobop in a rate of 2-00.7.

Ellen Tormey was to chalk up a driving double when the Mark Thompson (Rochester) trained 4-Y-0 Real Desire/Zora Paree gelding Drunken Desire led throughout from the pole to easily take the Happy 21st Michael Boyington Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1690 metres, scoring by 5.6 metres in a slick 1-57.1 over Statelyness which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail and Classic Icon (one/one).

Bec Bartley also brought up a driving double after guiding Hayden to win the Alabar 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres for Alfredtown trainer Jake Stockton.

It was interesting to note that the majority of winners at Shepparton were four year olds.

At Bendigo, Heat three of the Young Drivers Series for C2 class over 2150 metres went the way of 5-Y-0 Western Terror/Da Ji Opal mare Secret Ruby and in doing so, brought up a hat-trick of wins.

Trained on the track by Paul Tonkin and driven by Ellen Tormey, Secret Ruby taking a mares concession was eased from outside the front row to settle mid-field in the running line, with the outsider Sunrise Panorama a surprise leader from gate three.

Sent forward uncovered in the final circuit, Secret Ruby exploded away on straightening to score by 10.4 metres in advance of Satisfied Grin off a three wide double trail home, with Wealthy Warrior third after following the winner. The mile rate 2-02.4.

Heat four (C1 class) saw tough 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Special Code gelding Damascus Road successful for Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo with Bec Bartley in the sulky.

Spending most of the 2150 metres in the breeze from gate three, Damascus Road outstayed his rivals to register a 2.4 metre victory over Tannissa (three back the markers) and Knapdale Guy (one/two - three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-00.7.

After the first day's racing, it appears that the girls are going to fight out the series - the final rounds of heats being held at Maryborough today.

Avenel trainer David Aiken's very smart Lis Mara/Triple Franco three year old gelding Our Warwick Lad made a one act affair of the Win News Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres at Bendigo.

Driven by Nathan Jack, Our Warwick Lad was driven for speed from outside the front line, leading throughout to account for Rubys Bad Boy which raced outside him from the bell by 8.8 metres, With Gusto (one/one last lap) finished third after racing parked for the first half of the race. The mile rate 1-59.5.

Tooleen trainer/driver Jim Morrissey's 7-Y-0 Band Of Chips/Megan Alto mare Toscano finally broke her maiden status after 21 tries, when successful in the Ted Manton Memorial Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 1650 metres in a rate of 2-04.4.

Starting from gate two, Toscano was assisted by Atego Road inside her galloping away, resulting in her leading throughout to gain the day ahead of Shea Keystone which trailed, with Nicky Newky third after following the pair.

Great Investment

Kensington Palace

Aldebaran Turnpike

Saabrina Miss

Drunken Desire


Secret Ruby

Damascus Road

Our Warwick Lad


by Len BAKER

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