16 May 2014 - Huntly trainer Darren Manton steered home his first ever winner and his horse 7yo Prettyboyearl also won its first race at Ballarat last Saturday night. Manton, a trainer and father of young driver Ash and junior Pony Trot driver Joe was having only his 13th career drive and in his own words "silenced some critics" with the Ballarat Pony Trots Victoria Trot victory. Problem horse and late bloomer Prettyboyearl scored by more than 6 metres from Herecomeskayla (Jim O'Sullivan) after overcoming a break at the start and having to race outside the leader. "He (Prettyboyearl) has been a bit of a handful," Manton said. "I've been driving him and some of my others horses in trials to try and sort them out, but the only way to find out what's really going wrong is to drive them in a race." "This horse has taken three years so he has been a project." Prettyboyearl was having just his sixth race start and started at odds of $3.00. Manton who was in earthmoving full time before taking ill in recent years decided to get his drivers licence last year. "I just didn't have the time or couldn't commit to driving when I was working full time," he said. It was fitting that Manton won his first race in the Pony Trots Victoria sponsored trotting race as the Manton family are great Pony Trot supporters. Darren's wife Debbie, his mum Marg and sons Ash and Joe all play a role in the success of Victoria's Pony Trots.
2 May 2014 - Bendigo trained trotter Queens Vacation closed the Ballarat meeting last night with a bang, winning the last race on the card by more than 50 metres. The mare driven by Chris Alford did plenty wrong early in the race but motored away from her opposition on the final lap. Trained by Paul Campbell at Maiden Gully, Queens Vacation, a 4yo by Dream Vacation, broke at the start, raced fiercely, hung out in the straight the first time and then withstood a protest before being posted as the winner. The winning margin was officially 50.4 metres and most punters who backed the $1.50 favourite would have struggled to recall another horse winning by such a big margin having to withstand an objection. But, with good reason the driver of 80-1 shot Long Story Short protested on the grounds his horse was inconvenienced. Consideration was given by the stewards to a protest lodged by John Kelly, trainer/driver of 2nd placegetter Long Story Short, alleging that the eventual winner Queens Vacation (Chris Alford) had gained an advantage and caused interference to Long Story Short when it galloped shortly after the start. Upon consideration of the evidence tendered by both drivers and the available replays it was established that when Queens Vacation broke it had maintained its ground initially for a short distance, when its driver was having difficulty restraining the mare, before Queens Vacation ultimately lost ground thereafter before returning to its correct gait as Stewards could not be satisfied that Queens Vacation had gained an advantage to the detriment of any other runner, bearing in mind the 50m margin between Queens Vacation (1st) and Long Story Short (2nd) , the protest was dismissed and All Clear given on the Judge’s numbers. Given that the winner galloped for the first 200m of the race and still settled in the middle of the field the protest was justified under the rules of racing.
Bendigo Winners at Maryborough and Shepparton
From Len Baker’s Sulky Snippets
Maryborough: October 20
Popular Huntly trainer Barry Quigley was successful with 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/Urban Scooter mare Shes Even Cooler in the Waste Not Stockfeeders Pace for R0 & R1 class over 1690 metres.
Driven by Daryl Douglas, Shes Even Cooler led out from gate four, before allowing Prosperous Lobo to take over from outside the front line.
Easing outside the pacemaker on the final bend, Shes Even Cooler prevailed by 4.7 metres in a rate of 1-58.4.
Shelbourne’s Lynette Eastman was also a winner on the day, when 5-Y-0 Sealed N Delivered/Wide Glide mare Thanknbonnie greeted the judge in the Maryborough Gold Cup Nov 2nd Pace (Heat 1) for C1 class over 2190 metres.
With veteran Bendigonian Brian Gath holding the reins, Thanknbonnie (gate three) was given a beaut trip one/one and when taken three wide at the straight entrance, finished strongly to defeat a death-seating Soho Idol by 2.6 metres in a rate of 1-59.9.
At The Wangaratta meeting held at Shepparton on Thursday October 23, , Goornong’s Peter Salathiel provided a long shot winner in Girlsnpearls which paid a Supertab dividend of $34.30.
Landing one/one from gate four in the Linger A While Bed & Breakfast Wangaratta 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres, Girlsnpearls dropped down to follow the leader and hot favourite Antrim Bay racing for the bell.
Using the sprint lane, Girlsnpears a daughter of Armbro Operative and Global Village ran home strongly to register a half neck victory over Upwardly.
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