Shepparton horseman David Moran claimed his second Group One triumph as a reinsman when Pistol Abbey produced a boilover win in the $100000 Benstud Queen Of The Pacific Pace at Melton last Saturday night.
A 50/1 shot and one of the least fancied of the five Emma Stewart-trained runners in the mares race, Pistol Abbey joined Lochinvar Art to become Moran’s second Group One victor.
Moran had his first drive on Pistol Abbey the previous week and frankly admitted he was hopeful at best that if he got the right run he could sneak into a placing.
‘‘It all fell into place on the night and she won, so it was really good,’’ Moran said reflecting on the win.
The win was the start of a big night at Melton for Moran which stretched into the day meeting at Shepparton on Monday.
Moran completed his driving double at Melton on promising three-year-old Art Major filly Vena May in the $24000 Argent Three Year Old Classic with a perfect drive.
It was a particularly satisfying win as Moran trains Vena May in partnership with Laura Crossland.
The pacer’s owners include local trots legend Rod Booker.
Vena May has now won four races with four seconds from 11 starts with her career still in front of her.
At Shepparton Moran kept the winning momentum going from Melton, driving a treble which included another win with the brilliant three-year-old Lochinvar Art who he trains in partnership with Crossland.
Lochinvar Art, who was having his first start since claiming the Group One Bathurst Gold Chalice for three-year-old colts and geldings on March 29, was just too classy for his rivals.
Lochinvar Art was using the race as a final hit-out for a heat of the lucrative NSW Breeders Challenge series to be run today at Wagga where he has drawn barrier four.
Moran is also driving Breeders Challenge runners for top Victorian trainers Stewart and Andy Gath.
Moran’s other two winners at Shepparton were Mamas New Dude in a three-year-old event and Starsbythebeach in a two-year-old race.
Mamas New Dude was having his fourth start for the Moran-Crossland team, having won two races when previously prepared by Stewart.
Starsbythebeach, prepared by Arcadia horseman Patrick Ryan, was overdue for a win.
He had notched four top four finishes from six previous starts.
Apart from the Moran driving treble Shepparton and district horsemen had their share of success at the meeting.
Glenn Freeman produced the favourite Ballterra to win in a C0 Only class race and Eddie Tappe was successful winning a C1 Only class event with Im Monica.
Some great moments
Another Shepparton horseman content with his weekend was Russell Jack.
Saturday night was his night to shine.
Jack was at Port Pirie in South Australia with the Amanda Turnbull-trained and driven Catch A Moment who scored an effortless all-the-way in the Group Two $50000 Southern Cross colts and geldings final.
That was a sweet win, but no doubt he was even more pleased with the effort of the two-year-old trotting filly he trains, Jaxnme, who proved too good for her rivals in the $50000 Group One Home Grown Classic final for two-year-old trotting fillies at Melton.
Reinsman Gavin Lang weaved the daughter of boom sire Andover Hall through the field early to take up the front running and she was never in danger of being run down after that.
The promising filly has had three starts for two wins and a third.
That’s the spirit
Patience is a vital necessity in the harness racing game and Girgarre trainer Kevin Covington is now being rewarded for his persistence.
Covington puts the polish on trotter Bacardi Wood, who opened his winning account last Sunday at Kilmore.
Bacardi Wood had put the writing on the wall for a coming win at his previous start when a bold second at Bendigo the previous week when leading to within the shadows of the post when driven by Gary Pekin.
Neil Caldwell was back in the sulky for Kilmore when Bacardi Wood settled on the back of the pacemaker Like A Sunbeam and was too strong for his rivals at the finish.
Despite being a five-year-old it was only Bacardi Wood’s eighth trip to the races — all of these starts have been since Christmas — and Covington admits he has had to be patient and tolerant with the trotter to get him where he is at the moment.
‘‘He hasn’t got any high speed, but he can keep up a solid pace for a long way,’’ Covington said.
Bacardi Wood is well bred being by successful sire Bacardi Lindy out of the Wagon Apollo mare Madiskita who was a winner of six races.
Bacardi Wood wasn’t the only winner trained in the Goulburn Valley who won at Kilmore.
In another demonstration of patience, Phelingood Philtra saluted for the first time in 26 starts for Byrneside trainer-driver Damian Wilson.
Phelingood Philtra did it in style too with nearly 14m to spare at the finishing line over the runner-up.
Fresh Prince of Melton
Kyabram-trained trotter Claudys Prince notched his first metropolitan class win with a tough staying performance at Melton last Saturday night.
Driven by John Caldow, the Prince, a full-brother of the multi Group One-winning mare Claudys Princess, was caught outside the leader War Spirit for the entire 2240m trip, but had his nose in front at the finishing post.
It was his fifth win from 10 starts this season and the 11th of his 44 starts, so his trainer Mick Blackmore is doing a top job with him.
As owners and breeders of the five-year-old, Eva and I are pretty happy with him, particularly considering we refused an offer of $23000 at the yearling sales to sell him.
We brought him home to race him ourselves and he has now has won close to $100000.
I’m having a bit of trouble tracking where it’s gone, but Eva has her suspicions.
Good with the bad
Kyabram trainer Brent Thomson took pacer Sheer Modern to Maryborough on May 9 with high expectations of winning.
These hopes were literally deflated when the sulky Sheer Modern was pulling sustained a puncture which resulted in the pacer having to be pulled out of his race.
Fast forward a week to the same track last week and the memories of seven days earlier were all but forgotten.
Sheer Modern, driven by John Caldow, spaced his rivals to notch his fifth win in 22 starts.
Cobram to turn pink
Plenty on for northern Victorian trots fans in the next week.
Cobram stages its mega annual Community Pink Ladies fund raising meeting in support of the McGrath Foundation on Sunday and Shepparton stages a meeting on Thursday night.
Cobram has a lot on offer with action and entertainment on and off the track to cater for all age groups.
Cobram Secondary College jazz band, a cricketers sulky relay, a super slide and a mechanical bucking bull are sure to prove popular.
Feature event on the 10-race card is the $10000 Invitation Lady Drivers Pace for C1 Only class pacers which has drawn a capacity field of 12 starters and an emergency.
The meeting has an early start with the first race at 11.02am and the final event at 4.29pm.
Today: Ballarat (n).
Tomorrow: Melton (n).
Sunday: Cobram (d).
Monday: Warragul (d).
Tuesday: Bendigo (n).
Wednesday: Melton (d), Ararat (n).
Thursday: Maryborough (d), Shepparton (n).