A Shepparton pacer who has not figured well in a feature race draw this weekend is the Clive Dalton’s John Of Arc.
A brilliant and upset winner of the Sokyola Sprint at Melton on November 25, John Of Arc has come up with barrier seven — outside the front row — in tomorrow tonight’s $30000 Geelong Pacing Cup.
On his last effort he is not out of the race in which the rising star, the Emma Stewart-trained Shadow Sax, looks the one to beat after claiming the Stawell Cup last weekend in effortless style and drawing barrier three in tomorrow night’s showdown.
Aggression pays off
A change of driving tactics did the trick for the Russell Jack-trained Colleens Medley at Echuca last week.
Jack indicated to stewards before the race the daughter of Badlands Hanover would be driven more aggressively at the start of the C1 only class race and this eventuated with the seven-year-old mare, under the guidance of Nathan Jack, spearing to the front at barrier rise and never being headed.
With the favourite Iconic Valour ruining her chance with an early gallop and never being a threat, Colleens Medley cruised home a clear winner over the Simon Turnbull-trained and driven outsider Rosas First, with the Rosie-Paul Weidenbach team filling the minor placing with Zipping Elmore in a district trifecta.
Colleens Medley was not loafing either, with her fifth race win from 29 race starts being achieved in a slick 1:56.9 mile rate time, which was not far off the track record for the 1755m trip at Echuca and the quickest run on the 10-event card.
Cole turns into gold
Kyabram hobby trainer Willy Cole produced Sprockets for a first-up win at Echuca.
Sprockets, raced by Cole and his partner Belinda Johnstone, had not stepped out since September 21 when he finished fourth at Shepparton after top five finishes in his past six starts leading into Echuca race.
Cole brought the son of Pass The Mustard with a well-timed run in the straight to beat Frankie Da Thumper, driven by Nathan Jack, with the Tony Peacock-trained and Brian Gath-driven One For Granny filling the minor placing.
Sprockets is lightly raced with just 16 starts, which have produced two wins and two minor placings.
Another win at Echuca that had a Kyabram flavour was achieved by pacer Winkanditsover for Shepparton trainer Steve Duffy and his reinsman son, Ryan.
Owned by Kyabram sporting personalities Peter Hall, Rob Whitford, Tony Hansen and John Lilford, Winkanditsover was having his first start for Duffy after a brief, but unsuccessful South Australian campaign.
But the money was there to say the six-year-old son of Passmaster Hanover could win the race, being supported into odds-on favouritism.
And punters who put their money where their mouth is certainly had some stressful moments with Winkanditsover going off stride early, but he then produced a brilliant performance to still get up and win.
Trainers from outside the northern area never got a look-in at Echuca last week, with Rochester horseman Mark Thompson taking the trainers honours again with another double in a meeting where every winner was prepared by a Goulburn Valley trainer.
Following on from recent meetings at Shepparton where he produced the same two winners at two separate meetings, Thompson repeated the feat at Echuca — with two different pacers.
At the Shepparton meetings he won with Weeks End and Ideal Eagle, while at Echuca Artiklate Miss and Times A Bonus produced the dual success.
Bendigo reinsman Todd Matthews drove both pacers to their Echuca wins.
Artikulate Miss was a $4.50 chance, while Times A Bonus paid a healthy $15.90 for the win.
Artikulate Miss has won five of 37 starts with eight minor placings, while Times A Bonus has saluted 12 times with 17 minor placings, which have netted more than $66000 in stake money.
Kains still able
Brian King, Mark Pitt, Noel Tyndall, Scott Stewart and Greg Lewis were the other district trainers who also geared up winners at Echuca.
King won the trot with the ageing warhorse Kains Boy, who again saluted through his outstanding standing start manners.
The nine-year-old was quickly parked on the pace by reinswoman Kima Frenning and was too good for his rivals over the concluding stages at the juicy odds of 20-1.
Kains Boy broke a run of 27 starts away from the winners circle and showed he can still be a force under the right conditions.
The veteran was having his 163rd start, which have produced 11 wins and 44 minor placings for stake earnings of more than $77000.
Shepparton horseman Mark Pitt produced the first starter Loyola Trios for the easiest win of the night.
A three-year-old son of Mach Three out of the winning Art Major mare Karinda Gem, Loyola Trios made a mess of his rivals, beating the runner-up Weeks End by nearly 19m in smart mile rate time of 1:57.8 for the 2160m trip.
Punters were well aware of some impressive trial form Loyola Trios had produced and he was an odds-on chance to make a winning debut.
Congupna horseman Stewart got the chocolates with Travelnpastyou, who had chalked up his previous win on the same track six starts previously back in April.
Travelnpastyou is lightly raced, but has five wins to his credit from just 16 starts.
Nathalia horseman Tyndall harnessed his first winner in his return to the training ranks, winning with the four-year-old Crocodile Kid, who was driven by Josh Duggan to win a CO only class race in easy fashion.
Stanhope horseman Lewis completed the clean sweep for district trainers with Advanced Warefare, who was driven to his maiden win by leading reinsman Greg Sugars.
Advanced Warfare was a $1.60 chance and never gave his supporters any anxious moments with a decisive victory.
Aiken in form
Avenel horseman Josh Aiken has had another big week in the sulky, highlighted with a double at Melton last Friday night.
One of his winners was the promising He Can Fly, who streeted his rivals in a C6 or better class.
He Can Fly has won seven of his 11 starts since joining the David Aiken stable and his latest win has taken his record to 12 wins and 11 minor placings from 35 starts.
Josh Aiken’s other win at Melton was on the Frank Offer-trained Off The Radar, who claimed a C0-C1 class race and his third career win from 13 starts.
Aiken’s Melton wins came the day after he had partnered Waimac Attack to victory in a C1 only class race at Maryborough.
A four-year-old son of Mach Three, Waimac Attack won by a big space to chalk up his fifth win — there have also been seven minor placings — from just the 14 starts.
Aiken chalked up another winner at Shepparton on Wednesday night when he won scored on the Laura Crossland-trained Hashtag.
Crossland killing it
Another week — and more Laura Crossland winners.
The Shepparton horsewoman’s run of success this season has continued with a winner at Geelong last Thursday and another at Shepparton on Wednesday night.
At Geelong, smart trotter The Male Model got the job done for Crossland, beating the French-bred Anton Golino-trained Destinee Jenilou.
A four-year-old son of Muscle Mass out of the Sundon mare Ashley Sunset, who had one win from one start, The Male Model returned a PB mile rate of 2:01.4 in winning over the 2100m trip.
The Male Model, who is owned by breakers Zac Cornwell and Matt Sinclair and prominent NSW trainer Shane Tritton, is building an impressive record with four wins in six starts since joining the Crossland stable.
Crossland employed concession reinsman Josh Aiken for Hashtag’s assignment at Shepparton on Wednesday night and with a perfectly judged drive was a runaway winner.
Crossland has produced the winners of 22 races this season and sits sixth on the state trainers premiership with the best strike rate.
Jack gets treble
While northern district trainers won every race at Echuca last week, it was a similar scenario at Shepparton on Wednesday night with all but one winner on the monster 11-event card being prepared by Goulburn Valley trainers.
Reinsman Nathan Jack was the star of the meeting with three winners, while last start Echuca winners Artikulate Lass and trotter Kains Boy were in the winners circle again.
More on that meeting in next week’s Sulky Shorts.
Racing returns to Frank Ryan Raceway at Echuca next Wednesday night with heat of the Vicbred Platinum Country series to feature at the meeting.
Tonight: Bendigo (n).
Tomorrow: Geelong Cup (n).
Sunday: Kilmore (t).
Monday: Melton (n).
Tuesday: Echuca (n).
Wednesday: Mildura (n).
Thursday: Bendigo (n).
Friday: Yarra Valley (d), Ballarat (n).