Shepparton trainer Steve O’Donoghue is seething over his classy mare Shakahari being virtually overlooked for Saturday night’s Canadian Club mares race at Menangle.
Shakahari has been named as a second emergency for the race, so has to rely on two scratchings to get a run.
The Nathan Jack-trained Without You has been included in the field, but is expected to miss the race and go around at Melton tonight, but Shakahari, also entered at Melton, needs another scratching to get a spot in the Menangle field, which is a qualifying race for the $200000 Mares Miracle Mile tomorrow night week.
O’Donoghue’s main beef about Shakahari being named a second emergency is that a C3 and M0 class pacer, Angel In White, has been named the first emergency and will take her place in the field with the scratching of Without You.
‘‘How could they put her (Angel In White) ahead of us. We are C6 and M1 class pacer. I don’t normally complain, but I’m not happy about this and I’ve told them so.’’ O’Donoghue said.
District trainers and drivers will be chasing some big spoils tomorrow night at Menangle.
Class pacers Lennytheshark and San Carlo are chasing a berth in the Miracle Mile the following weekend, but have no favours again in their respective barrier draws.
Lenny is coming from barrier nine in the $100000 Allied Express Transport Sprint over the 1609m trip, while San Carlo has drawn barrier eight in the other Miracle Mile qualifier, the $100000 Canadian Club Sprint.
Jack will line up War Dan in the third heat of the NSW Derby in which David Aiken also has a runner, Higherthananeagle, in the first heat.
Another Shepparton horseman Mark Pitt is also tackling a heat of the NSW Oaks with Shez All Rock.
Meteor falls into place
The Echuca Pacing Cup went to script last Saturday night.
As form analysts predicted the Kerryn Manning-trained and driven Motu Meteor would take the lead from barrier two, his main danger Shakahari would get the run of the race on his back and these two pacers would fight out the finish of the $30000, 2560m event.
That’s exactly how it transpired.
Once Motu Meteor found the front the race was virtually over.
The Steve O’Donoghue-trained and Bec Bartley-driven Shakahari tried valiantly in the straight with a sprint lane run to try and collar the $1.40 favourite, but it was never going to happen.
Motu Meteor, a four-year-old son of premier sire Bettors Delight, had more than 2m to spare over Shakahari on the finishing line with the third favourite Code Black filling the minor placing in a finish that punters got right.
Motu Meteor rated a respectable 1:59.9 for the testing trip which never threatened the track record of 1:57.1 set by Stormfortheboys in winning last year’s cup.
But Motu Meteor’s last half in a scorching 55.9 was probably as quick as any pacer has produced for final sectionals over that distance on the Frank Ryan Raceway.
The win lifted Motu Meteor’s earnings to more than $200000 from 29 starts which have produced 11 wins and 11 minor placings.
Petite has fast feet
Backmarker Sky Petite claimed her second straight $12000 J A Connelly Crystal Bucket last Saturday night at Echuca after a perfectly judged race by Shepparton reinsman Ryan Duffy.
The diminutive Dean Pattison-trained mare came off a 40m handicap to beat front marker Kyvalley Boomerang and last-start Wangaratta Trotters Cup winner Forestspider who came from the 10m strand.
Not only did Sky Petite give a start and a beating to all of her rivals, she broke her own track record for the 2530m with a slick 2:03.9 performance.
She previously held the record of 2:04.1 in winning the same race last year.
It was the six-year-old Skyvalley mare’s 19th win and her second country cup win this season, having also won the Gunbower Trotters Cup in November.
Coming home quickly
The Steve O’Donoghue-Bec Bartley team might just have missed out on winning the Echuca Pacing Cup, but it wasn’t a winless meeting for the successful Shepparton combination.
The duo struck in the opening event with the aptly named She Keeps Coming who did precisely that to run down the hot favourite Gone Too Far in a $10000 C1-C2 event.
From an inside second row draw Bartley was able to hold the back of Gone Too Far, who led, at barrier rise, and once in the home straight She Keeps Coming got clear to run down the favourite.
She Keeps Coming, who is by Art Major out of the Christian Cullen mare Cullens Ace, doesn’t win out of turn, but is honest with her 20 starts to date yielding three wins and eight minor placings.
Call Me a winner
Euroa horseman David Jack is back doing something he has been good at during the years — training and driving winners.
In a top training feat Jack produced Art Major colt Call Me Hector to win the Moama Storage Three-Year-Old Pace at the Echuca Cup meeting.
Jack used the young pacer’s barrier draw to lead throughout in the 1755m race to beat the favourite Art Of Valor and Ozzie Major with some slick final sectionals.
Call Me Hector had not stepped out in a race since last March when he contested the Bathurst Gold Crown series in which he made the consolation final.
A winner of his first two races at Ballarat and a heat of the Breeders Plate at Leeton as a two-year-old, Call Me Hector has a famous half brother — Lombo Pocket Watch, a winner of 45 races and more than $1.5 million in prizemoney.
Call Me Hector’s win came on top of another Jack-trained and driven winner, trotter Princess Mila won at Melton the previous Monday night.
It was her second win with four minor placings from 12 outings.
Princess Mila is by Majestic Son out of the Maoris Idol mare Zhari Belle who has left the extra smart Daquiri, Sundons Promise and Zharis Idol, who is a full sister to Princess Mila.
Roll turns form around
A fading finish to fifth at his previous start two nights earlier at Bendigo didn’t deter punters from supporting the Russ Thomson-trained and Josh Aiken-driven Letsrockletsroll into favouritism in the Echuca Ladies Committee Pace for C0 Only class pacers at Echuca.
The four-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven didn’t disappoint those who backed him into a $1.90 chance.
Purchased by the late Col Dixon and raced by his estate and his wife Marilyn Letsrockletsroll was given the run of the race on the back of the pacemaker and debutant Here Comes Sharkie and then sprint laned to victory over the Bruce Rose-trained Threepeat and Fremarksgonzo.
Letsrockletsroll was having only his 10th start which have produced five second placings and two wins.
Mal’s Faith rewarded
He’ll never be as good as his half sister, but Test Of Faith rewarded his connections for their faith and perseverance when he claimed the Laser Electrical Echuca Moama Trotters Cup last Saturday night at Echuca.
Veteran Stanhope horseman Mal Shaw trains the seven-year-old who didn’t start racing until he was six and has had only 14 starts.
Possessed with good standing manners and driven for the second time by premier reinsman Chris Alford, Test Of Faith made the most of a front row barrier draw and led throughout to beat the Mark Lee-trained and Stacey Towers driven 30m-marker Nica Macdonon and Tell A Tall Tale.
Test Of Faith’s biggest claim to fame is that he is out of the Maoris Idol mare Maori Princess who is also the dam of one of Australia’s best female trotters Sumthingaboutmaori, who has an Inter Dominion triumph on her resume.
Wink gets the nod
Kyabram-owned pacer Winkanditsover continues to impress with another dominant performance winning the Bendigo Bank Pace for C3-C5 class pacers at Echuca.
Finding the front early from barrier three, Winkanditsover, put his rivals to sword in the final stages to beat the runner-up Rocking by more than 10m with Yerrington Bob filling the minor placing.
Shepparton trainer Steve Duffy has certainly found the key to the pacer who has had eight starts since returning to Victoria after a brief and winless campaign in South Australia and has not finished further back than fourth.
Leading all the way at Echuca, the six-year-old son of Passmaster has now saluted four times with two seconds, a third and a fourth since Duffy took over the pacer’s training.
Ryan Duffy, the trainer’s son, has been in the sulky for all eight of his recent outings.
Kyabram mates Peter Hall, Rob Whitford, Tony Hansen and John Lilford own and race Winkanditsover who is building a good record with six wins and nine placings from 22 starts.
Perfect for Castles
You can’t keep a good woman — or a good horse — down as Donna Castles and pacer Peter Perfect displayed winning the Tiffany Murray Memorial Pace at Echuca.
The Brent Lilley-trained Peter Perfect looked the most talented pacer in the race with punters agreeing, sending him out a $1.40 favourite.
Castles was able to drive Peter Perfect like a good horse and although parked outside the pacemaker Krisney Symbol throughout the 2160m trip he was able to get his head out on the line and get the chocolates.
Win is an Asset
Lancaster trainer Fiona Widdup didn’t take long to secure a win with former Tasmanian-trained pacer Our Triple Asset.
Having only his second start for Widdup and driven by Chris Alford, Our Triple Asset led for most of the way in a 1650m dash last week at Bendigo to record his second win from 14 starts.
His other win came at Devonport in Tasmania on November 9.
Prior to stepping out at Bendigo Our Triple Asset had had just the one outing for Widdup when he was pulled up after a tyre had punctured on the sulky when contesting a race at Wangaratta on January 25.
A good Weeks wages
Rochester-trained Weeks End completed a hat-trick of wins when she claimed a C1 class race on Tuesday night at Swan Hill.
The Mark Thompson-trained grey daughter of Jet Laag also gave her rivals a start in age as she is only a three-year-old.
But with Michael Bellman in the sulky she was far too classy for older rivals with her 1:58.2 mile rate for the 2240m trip the best in her six wins from 16 starts.
Weeks End started her three-race victory spree at Swan Hill on January 1 and then won at her next start on January 22 before her latest win.
Shepparton reinsman Ryan Duffy also experienced success at the meeting, partnering the Michael Stanley-trained Alessa to a dominant win in a C2-C4 class event.
A nine times winner from 34 starts, Alessa was having her first race start since May.
Today: Melton (n).
Tomorrow: Terang Cup (n).
Sunday: Yarra Valley (d).
Monday: Maryborough (d).
Tuesday: Mildura (n).
Wednesday: Bendigo (n).
Thursday: Shepparton (d), Cranbourne (n).