Shepparton trainers and drivers enjoyed their fair share of success on their home track last Saturday night.
Two doubles were among the spoils for the locals.
Steve O’Donoghue produced a training double, while drivers Bec Bartley and Nathan Jack also enjoyed dual success.
Bartley won on the O’Donoghue-trained pacers Glenferrie Bazaar and stable flagship San Carlos.
The well-bred Glenferrie Bazaar continued his fairytale story with his win in a C1 Only class race when he accounted for the Rosie Weidenbach-trained Takeachanceonharry.
Rescued at the eleventh hour from a trip to the knackery, Glenferrie Bazaar has been campaigning on NSW country tracks since winning at Shepparton on April 9 when having just his third start.
In five starts in his NSW campaign he won three races with a second and a third from five starts before returning to the O’Donoghue stable.
A five-year-old by Artsplace and owned by Bartley’s mother Christine, Glenferrie Bazaar now boasts a record of five wins and three placings from nine outings.
San Carlos has an even more impressive strike rate.
His win in the C6 or better class race at the meeting brought his record to 15 wins from 17 starts.
He again got no favours in his latest win from a wide draw, but was simply awesome destroying his rivals with a gap of more than 18m to the second placegetter in 1:56.3 mile rate time for the 2190m.
This time was not far off Glory Daze’s track record of 1:55.7 set in warm conditions in January last year.
San Carlo will attempt to win his first metropolitan race tonight at Melton and is a short priced favourite to do so.
Sharing it around
Nathan Jack’s driving double at Shepparton came courtesy of two trainers.
He opened his account on Sherkhan, trained by his father Russell, and then saluted in the final event on Albury-trained Northern Eagle in an R0 Only class race for trainer Brett Berry.
Sherkhan, a four-year-old gelding by premier sire Bettors Delight, was having only his fourth trip to the races, but had put the writing on the wall for a coming win with a second placing on the track at his previous outing.
Bolinda-based trainer Kari Males and reinsman Zac Phillips were also a dual winners at the meeting producing the first two winners on the program — Gilty Hanover ($7.30) and Larisas Advice ($16.40).
Lyon can rest easy
Kyabram trainer Graham Lyon is breathing a sigh of relief with his smart trotter Getthenet, who notched her fourth win from 19 outings when she saluted at Shepparton on Saturday.
A four-year-old daughter of the S J’s Photo’s horse Tobacco Bill, Getthenet was sent out a $2.60 favourite in the 2190m event for T1 class trotters despite not having raced before under standing start conditions.
Driven by Damian Wilson, Getthenet made a safe getaway from barrier one and camped on the pacesetter before holding out the fast-finishing veteran Dabbsey in the concluding stages.
Lyon’s relief was not so such much about handling the starting conditions, but showing something like her true form.
He said he had encountered a few hiccups getting the mare back to the track — and back on track — in this campaign but was relieved he was now winning the battle.
Getthenet goes around again today on the opening day of the Maryborough Redwood carnival.
Rockonbye to victory
Former Avenel mentor Greg Norman, now back training at Gawler in South Australia, made a triumphant return to the Goulburn Valley at Shepparton last Saturday night.
Norman came and conquered with four-year-old mare Just Rockonbye who was sent out a $2 favourite and was driven to victory by Greg Sugars in a C3-C4 class race.
Form followers would have been well aware of Just Rockonbye’s ability as the daughter of Christian Cullen had won eight consecutive races at Globe Derby, Adelaide, before her previous start on that track when she over-raced and finished sixth.
Despite peeling off a sizzling 1:54.9 mile rate for the 1690m trip in her Shepparton win Just Rockonbye had to pull out all stops to beat the Kari Males-trained and Zac Phillips driven Rockabella who was a $23 shot in trying to complete a stable treble.
Tales of success
Veteran local owner Helen Head is having a great run with a pacer she bred and part owns.
That pacer —Tell Me Tales — collected a couple of milestones when she completed successive feature wins last Friday night at Melton.
The daughter of Real Desire stallion Tell All, Tell Me Tales claimed the $20000 Tab Rewards Three Year Old Classic at Melton to follow up her win in the Vicbred Super Series final on July 8.
Emma Stewart trains Tell Me Tales who has now won six of 11 starts with two seconds and a third.
Her latest triumph took her prizemoney earnings to more than $100000 and her 1:53.1 mile rate for the 1720m trip was also a personal best.
Metro joy for Kima
A blistering start was the key to accomplished Avenel horsewoman Kima Frenning savouring her first Australian metropolitan victory last Friday night at Melton.
Despite drawing the outside of the front row in an M1 Only 1720m scamper, the Swedish reinswoman, better known for her Monte successes, was able to cross her rivals on the Emma Stewart-trained Solarsonic and then dictate terms.
But Solarsonic had to dig deep to hold off the Amanda Turnbull-trained and Nathan Jack-driven Majordan who got within a head of the winner at the finishing post.
Jack still experienced a win at the meeting partnering the Anton Golino-trained Cyclone Jetter to an all-the-way win in the $20000 Group One Lightfoot Laurels.
That’s just Growse
There was plenty of sentiment attached to a recent Shepparton win by pacer Growse.
Growse was sired by a Woods family favourite Flash Money, who is a son of the Most Happy Fella stallion, Happy Jeffrey.
While Flash Money ran his last race in 2001 after 62 starts which produced 14 wins and 26 placings, he has been a family favourite for Lancaster trainer Rod Woods and his sons during and since his racing days.
A four-year-old stallion Growse was having only his fourth start when he won at Shepparton on July 24 and since then has placed fourth at Swan Hill last week.
Flash Money has sired 25 foals with only four to race with Growse the only winner.
Sights on Derby
Colbinabbin trainer Graham McDermott has a Victoria Trotters Derby hope on Redwood Day at Maryborough on Sunday with Garshaway who upset the New Zealander President Roydon in a strong three-year-old trotters race at Melton last Friday night.
Driven by Jodi Quinlan, Garshaway led early before settling on the back of President Roydon for the final lap, and finished strongly to claim his second win.
Unfortunately for connections Garshaway drew the ‘‘grandstand’’ in Sunday’s Derby in which the Mick Blackmore-trained Claudys Prince (God give him strength and manners), a full brother of Claudys Princess, will try to better the feat of his older sister who was second in the blue riband event in the 2014.
Having a Hugo time
Shepparton horsewoman Laura Crossland completed successive wins with smart two-year-old pacer Lochinvar Hugo last week at Swan Hill.
Driven a perfectly timed race by Crossland Lochinvar Hugo finished too strongly for his rivals to follow up his win at Kilmore at his previous start on July 13.
Up to the Kilmore win, Lochinvar Hugo had placed four times in his six starts so it was only a matter of time for the wins to come.
Lochinvar Hugo, who posted a PB 1:58.7 mile rate for the 1750m trip is by successful sire Sportswriter out of the McArdle mare Shake It Up Baby, who has just the two live foals to this stage.
Harness racing has lost a couple of greats lately with the passing of former champion reinsman Kevin Newman and successful racehorse and stallion Courage Under Fire.
Newman, who was 83, had few peers as a reinsman in his prime and dominated racing on the old Harold Park track in Sydney through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s with 10 premierships and swag of other accolades.
Long-standing Goulburn Valley trots fans will remember Courage Under Fire for drawing arguably the biggest crowd of racegoers to a Shepparton meeting in January 2000.
He didn’t disappoint that night despite only three rivals prepared to take him on, chalking up his 24th successive win, which included six derbies in his three-year-old season.
I was at Moonee Valley at his next start after his Shepparton win when he was beaten for the first time by Riverina pacer Kyema Kid in an Inter Dominion heat.
It prompted racecaller Dan Mielecki to say something like ‘‘is the world coming to end?’’ when it became obvious his winning streak was about to finish.
Courage Under Fire raced 56 times for 41 wins and four seconds for almost $1.5million in prizemoney.
Known as Mighty Mouse because of his small stature, he imparted a lot of his qualities to his progeny in a highly successful career as a stallion after his racing days.
Redwood is here
The annual all-trotters Redwood carnival kicks off at Maryborough today with 10 races.
The climax to the carnival is on Sunday with the Redwood Classic for two-year-olds and Victoria Trotters Derby for three-year-olds the two blockbuster races on the card.
Shepparton races again on Tuesday night with heats of the Breeders Crown series for two-year-old fillies to feature.
Today: Maryborough (d), Melton (n).
Tomorrow: Cranbourne (n).
Sunday: Maryborough (d).
Monday: Charlton (d).
Tuesday: Shepparton (n).
Wednesday: Stawell (d), Kilmore (n).
Thursday: Ballarat (n).