A fairy-tale season could etch another chapter in tonight’s J A Connelly Crystal Bucket at Echuca, where pacing mare Pantzup will hunt a seventh consecutive victory.
By Always A Virgin, sire of the world’s fastest pacer Always B Miki, and out of pacing mare Evasive Moves, an APG Final placegetter, Pantzup has defied her heritage this season for trainer-driver Gavin Lang.
She is one of the many stories that will play out at Echuca tonight, where Buster Brady is favoured to win the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup and shoot to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, a remarkable feat for first-horse trainer Kima Frenning.
The night’s $35,000 feature at 9.20pm comes an hour after the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket, Echuca’s trotters’ cup, which presents Pantzup’s greatest test to her now six-race winning streak.
“King Denny, Kheiron, both went round through the recent Inter Dominion trotting section, so they are good quality horses,” Lang said. “Another runner off 10m (Endsin A Party) was the winner of the Geelong Cup this preparation as well.
“Not an easy race by any means, combined with the fact that it’s a stand, on the Echuca track, it will be an interesting race, but she is going very well and you can’t beat winning form.”
Her six wins in a row are the tail-end of eight wins from 11 starts since joining Lang’s Bacchus Marsh stable.
“We purchased her as a late three-year-old as a 14-start maiden who was a pacer,” Lang said.
“We thought we might be able to win a few races as a pacer and then move her on, but from the time she entered our stables she did nothing but show she may have been a trotter. Eleven starts later and eight wins later, it’s staggering really.
“She started this campaign as a T1 assessed horse, in other words she’d basically won one race as a trotter, and now leading into the Echuca trotters’ cup she’s now assessed T7.”
With each victory comes greater tests, but as she showed with her metropolitan win on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night last Saturday Pantzup keeps rising to every challenge.
“Each time you win it progressively gets harder,” Lang said. “Every time she goes to the track now she just keeps stepping up. It gets harder each win and this race is no exception, but you can’t do any more than win.
“I wish I could put my hand up and say what a job we have done but not really at all, we just took her on board and trained her and, as I said, she showed a propensity just to trot from day one – no special shoeing, no special gear, no anything. She’s bred to be a good pacer, she’s turned out a great trotter.”