The $9000 Barooga Sports Club Pace and Plate lived up to expectations at Cobram Harness Racing’s Remembrance Day meeting.
In what proved to be a thriller, the Undera-trained Starry Mach, piloted by Josh Duggan, backed up his heat win in the Barooga Sports Club Pace on Melbourne Cup Day to chalk up his third win from five starts for owner/trainer Glenn Freeman and Mooroopna publican Trevor Forsyth.
In a crowded finish, the four-year-old gelding scored by a neck ahead of Dealmaker, trained by Russell Jack, in a nifty 1:55.6 for the 1670 m sprint; the last half being in a scorching 56.9.
The plate final was equally as thrilling when the Avenel-trained Lunar Delight also backed up her win in the heat of the Barooga Sports Club Plate.
Brilliantly reined by Josh Aiken for his father’s stable, the pair ran down tearaway leader, the Glenn Freeman-trained Park Life in the shadows of the post to deny the Undera trainer a ‘çlean sweep’ of the Barooga Sports Club Finals.
The Riverina visitor Fairy Tinkerbell NZ started favourite, but the four-year-old mare jeopardised her chances when she galloped at the start leaving the Aiken faithful to collect on their $6.40 chance.
On a day when veterans were remembered, trackside there were some courageous performances on the track, none less than the Invergordon trained Shark Port.
With many punters jumping on board, the Ian Ward-trained eight-year-old gelding did not disappoint, piloting the field in a pillar-to-post performance at the skillful hands of the young talented concession reinsman Jordan Seary to prevail ahead of Steven Duffy duo Spring Delight and Interest Me, sizzling home in 27.2 and chalking up his fifth win from 15 starts in the Charlie Foster Memorial Pace.
Shark Port’s successful return to the track after being sidelined for four years through injury has been a revelation for Ian and Tania Ward, having won three races and not missed a placing in his past seven starts.
While a few NSW trainers ‘hopped’ the border, the only winner was Gary Gardner, stabled at Griffith, with Eipper in the first on the program, The Diggers 3YO Pace.
Men From The River Bends Pace followed where four-year-old gelding Slingshot, having previously campaigned in NSW, scored for trainer Wayne Potter in his fourth outing for the Avenel stable; the win proving to be the first of a driving double for Ellen Tormey.
The lightly-raced Rockon Locksley, having his seventh start delivered the good news for co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley, who are in New Zealand preparing San Carlo for his tilt at this year’s Inter-dominion later in the month, with a dashing all the way performance to salute in the Remembrance Day Tribute.
Driven to perfection by the Tormey, young driver from Bendigo, the win also delivered her with a brilliant driving double for the afternoon.
The race meeting was filled with great stories of triumph over adversity; the return of Miss McManus to the race track as a trotter was no exception.
Having her first start as a trotter after 65 starts as a pacer, the eight-year-old put on a faultless display for her new Tongala-based trainer Michael Watt and reinsman Damian Wilson to score for delighted Echuca-Moama trots stalwarts Norm and Joan Visca in a slick 2:02.6 for the 2170 m journey in the Cliff Robinson Memorial Trot.
The club thanked the Barooga Sports Club for its sponsorship for the finals of the pace and plate, the support of the Cobram-Barooga RSL and the Robinson family.
With some breathing space for a few weeks, the club will be gearing up for its premier event in the new year - the Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup and the CMCU Trotters Cobram Cup - when some of Victoria’s and NSW’s top pacers and trotters are expected to line up in these prestigious races.