Protests almost always divide opinions and Expensive Ego being stripped of another big win certainly did that at Melton last Saturday night.
In a quick Twitter poll I ran yesterday, 42 per cent agreed with the stewards’ decision, 40 per cent disagreed and 18 per cent said it was a “50/50” call.
LET’S have the same again, please.
That was one heck of a weekend of feature race, starting with yet another stirring WA feature and rolling into a PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup for the ages.
But what makes it even more exciting is the racing calendar paves the way for a repeat in just under two weeks.
LET’S not sell short the enormity of challenge confronting David Moran and Lochinvar Art.
In the moments after his terrific first-up second at Shepparton, it was easy to assume he will pick-up where he left off almost a year.
We all want it, but it’s not a given.
LET your mind wander ahead a little to February 26.
They are scoring up for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle, the new girl on the scene Ladies In Red is coming up, there’s the defending champ Stylish Memphis for Jack Trainor, now Anthony Butt is getting the queen-bee Amazing Dream up to the gate, Maajida and Spellbound are just about ready as well.
AS we roll into a new year with a real buzz back around Australia’s harness racing industry, I spent some time thinking about my wish list for 2022.
Take a look and share your thoughts.
Christmas comes early for harness fans with Wednesday night’s stellar Vicbred semi-finals meeting.
It’s an epic 12-race card – all Vicbred semis – at Melton.
It’s hard to pick one standout highlight, but a couple of the marquee races are:
As New South Wales officials handed over the Inter Dominion hosting baton to Harness Racing Victoria for next year, it was fitting to reflect on what a triumph this year’s series had been for Victorians.
I don’t think many could have predicted the massive influence Victorian owned and/or trained horses had across the two weeks in NSW.
Capped, of course, by the Victorian owned, trained and driven Maori Law winning the trotting final and Victorian-owned Boncel Benjamin landing the pacing final in a huge upset and after a dramatic, history-making protest.
THE Victorian raiders can be proud of their efforts going into the Inter Dominion finals at Menangle on Saturday night.
Seven of the 12 trotting finalists are trained in Victoria, including the first four in betting ahead of tonight’s barrier draw from 7.30pm on Sky Thoroughbrd Central.
Our finalists in betting order are The Penny Drops, Pink Galahs, Maori Law, Majestic Man, Lotamuscle, Kyvalley Chief and Just Believe. The first emergency, Aldebaran Crescent, is also a Victorian.
It has certainly been a contrasting start to this NSW Inter Dominion.
Gun driver David Moran did a little fist-pump to himself as he watched the NSW Inter Dominion heats at Wodonga’s Stump Hotel on Saturday night.
Moran is waiting in the wings to dial-up the Victorian flavour in the series to another level.
THE Breeders Crown was built to unearth the stars of the future and boy did it deliver this year.
Pause and think back to what we witnessed, starting with the unbelievable win of Honolua Bay in the opening race. I can’t recall a pacer doing what he did at Melton, considering the times and ground he covered in that last lap. He could be anything.
STUNNING New Zealand Cup winner Copy That’s odds of tackling the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup are shortening by the day thanks to the polarising WA Premier Mark McGowan.
Copy That’s Victorian-based owner Merv Butterworth makes no secret of the fact his preferred plan is to tackle the big Fremantle and WA Pacing Cup double at Gloucester Park early next year.
THERE might not be any Australian raiders in tomorrow’s NZ Cup, but there’s certainly a strong Aussie flavour to the great race.
Two of the biggest guns in the race, the two favourites Self Assured and Copy That, are owned in Victoria.
Defending champ Self Assured is the latest superstar raced by Jean Feiss, while leviathan owners Merv and Meg Butterworth race Copy That.
FINDING another Ride High is something Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin may never do, but they look to have a potential superstar in Honolua Bay.
WHO is the pacing princess of Australasia?
Of all the exciting racing looming in next month’s Breeders Crown, the must-watch is the battle for supremacy in this epic crop of three-year-old fillies.
When it was confirmed Bettor Twist was crossing the ditch, the Kiwis declared she would sweep all before her, given she was a six-time Group 1 winner, looked out of this world winning the Harness Jewels and was up with the best fillies they’d seen in the modern era.
NOW the dust has settled, it’s time to reflect on the Victoria Cup Carnival.
What a remarkable success it was given all the challenges of COVID and what’s even more exciting is the potential for it to go another level next year.
It still feels a bit weird to say the carnival was at Bendigo, not our home at Melton, but all the whispers and intel suggest it certainly didn’t hurt betting turnover. The dogs are barking some monstrous figures.
And I’m sure it also felt weird for the successful trainers and drivers who didn’t have that important, deserved extra layer of excitement of fans, owners, family and friends cheering trackside. That’s something we all miss, a lot.
VICTORIA Cup night should be a time to celebrate the game we love and that’s exactly what it was at Bendigo last Saturday night.
In the end, it proved a night to enjoy and, in some cases, reminisce on some of the most successful mainstays of our passionate harness racing state.
The Victoria Cup is five days away, but we could know the result just after 7pm tonight.
MOVING countries to chase your dream is one thing, but doing it and emerging from the shadows of a champion father is something else.
That’s what 2021 has been all about for Nathan Purdon.
When you carry the most famous surname in this part of the harness racing world, it has as many challenges as it does advantages. Expectations are high, but so is the pressure.
DAVID Moran knows the importance of looking ahead and not back in this game.
It would’ve been pretty easy to sulk a little when his stable star Lochinvar Art was sidelined indefinitely in his prime and then have NSW Derby winner Patsbeachstorm mysteriously and frustratingly lose his mojo.
But Moran has kept his focus and the opportunities are flowing, big time.