27 June 2013 - They say the good horses reach their peak at the same time every year. On Wednesday night at Bendigo Sun of Sonoko well and truly gave a lot of weight to this theory winning the 3yo C & G trotting heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series brilliantly.
The winner of the Redwood Classic, around this time last year the Ross Graham trained and reined Sun Of Sonoko was back to his brilliant best coming with a rush in the home straight to beat Invasive (Lance Justice) by almost 14 metres with the South Australian trained Solar Spirit (Greg Sugars) taking third place. Bred and raced by local horsemen Ross and Leigh Graham Sun Of Sonoko bounced back after failing at three starts in NSW and at his last two Victorian starts to make his opponents look second rate. The Sundon gelding rated a career best 2:01.4 for the final mile of the 2150 metres. This time last year Sun Of Sonoko was a star juvenile winning the Tatlow and Redwood Classic. The trotters victories since the impressive juvenile season have been well spaced.
5 March 2013 - Champion Strathfieldsaye driver Daryl Douglas has his name back in the race form guide for Wednesday night’s race meeting at Kilmore, almost two and a half months after a nasty race fall at Ballarat put him out of action.
Douglas’ recovery from the broken eye sockets and shattered jaws received in the Boxing Day fall was much slower than he would have liked but he is now confident that he is spot on for his return and he has taken four drives at Kilmore. Douglas was back in the sulky with a few drives resulting in two second placings at the Bendigo trials on Sunday and after getting that fitness test out of the way he was keen to push the “go button” to get back to the races. He will team with his brother, leading trainer Glenn and Anderson Racing for his return on Rogers Joy, one of the favourites in the John Caldow stables 3yo Vicbred Pace, race two at Kilmore. He also has two other drives for the Glenn Douglas stable on Brigadier Scott and Daylight Dan in the Heats of the Eastern Challenge and will round out the night driving Statelyness for Terry French in the Cheryl Smith Memorial Pace. On paper, Douglas best chance of a winning return appears to be the very smart Daylight Dan which was ironically the first leg of a winning double at Yarra Valley for team Douglas on the day of Daryl’s Ballarat accident. Daylight Dan held the good form through January and February and ran the race of his life when third to the brilliant Restrepo in the Central Victorian Pacing Championship Final at Charlton on 20 January. - David Aldred
22 February 2013 – Huntly-owned mare Prettylilangeleyes will attempt to go one better than her 2012 result in Sunday’s Aldebaran Park Girls On Fire Time Trials at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway.
Last year Prettylilangeleyes scorched around the 1609 metre Bendigo metric mile to clock a staggering career best 1:55.7 but was pipped as the overall winner when New Zealander, Dealornodeal set a new Australasian mare’s record of 1:55.5. “Our mare still can lay claim to the title as the fastest Australian-bred trotting mare,” proud owner Darren Manton said. “And her trainer Russell Thomspon said she is on fire at the moment, bucking her brand off, so bring on Sunday.” A victory in the Girls On Fire would elevate Prettylilangeleyes past the $100,000 in earnings. The Classic Adam mare has won 15 races from 147 starts. Prettylilangeleyes, to be driven by Nathan Jack is one of six contenders in the second edition of the Girls On Fire, which was a big success at its inaugural running last year. The series heralds the unofficial start of a huge month of trotting in Victoria which will culminate with the Final of the Group 2 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed for Trotting mares and the inaugural Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star, a unique international trot with elimination heats and a final on the same day at Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 23 March. There will be no betting on the Girls On Fire on Sunday but Prettylilangeleyes will have a big fan following to run the fastest time. Her opposition is very handy though so it will be a keenly contested event. David Aiken has two starters Sultry Lady and his star trotter Cold Sister, both USA breds. Cold Sister is already a qualifier for the Great Southern Star, winning the 2012 Breed For Speed Gold Series Final. Her fastest mile rate is 1:57.2. Sparks Ignite trotted a career best 1:57.7 mile rate over 1720 metres to win on a lightning fast track at Tabcorp Park Melton last Saturday night. Her trainer and driver Lisa Miles looks like she has the Wydown Stud owned Spark Ignite back to her best form but she will have the task of setting the bench mark on Sunday. Sparks Ignite which has raced 46 times for nine wins and 26 top three prize money cheques will be the first of six mares to race the clock in the $5000 contest which kicks shortly after 2:00pm. The winner of the Girls On Fire will also receive a stallion service to Aldebaran Park’s trotting stud Skyvalley. Other mares racing the clock are the very fast Huntly trained Our Dolly Would (Anthony Crossland) which is racing in great form and David Murphy’s Ballarat trained five-year-old Kilmainham. The other main TAB races scheduled on the card include the Jack Caldow Memorial 3yo Vicbred Pace and the Warehouse Sales Bracelet Heats. The Caldow’s have an undeniable chance of winning the family race with their Bettors Delight filly, Snow Cone. The 3yo trained by Maree Caldow and to be driven by John Caldow finished third at Geelong on 13 February. In her 2yo season Snow Cone won two races from 12 starts. Glenn Douglas’ Rogers Joy is likely to start as the Jack Caldow race favourite. In the Warehouse Sales Bracelet Heats, Broadways Classic and Ponder in Paris look the two top chances. In heat one, Broadway Classic is first up for Andy Gath and looks ready to run a race after trialling well at Melton and Geelong in the past few weeks, and in heat two Ponder In Paris broke gear first up from a break at Yarra Valley and was retired but since then she has won impressively at Kilmore in all-the-way fashion and finished a game second to Classic Bliss. The first race at Lord’s Raceway on Sunday is 1:59pm. - David Aldred
7 February 2013 - Daryl Douglas has been out of the cart since a fall on Boxing Day just over six weeks ago, however he is recovering steadily, now reaching a point where it won’t be long before we see him back in the sulky.
The champion reinsman spoke to RSN this morning about the trials and tribulations on his road to recovery. “It’s going slowly, I’m all but there; I’ve got to go back to the doctor today and hopefully I will get the all clear to drive,” Douglas said. He won’t be going in blind however, admitting he decided to have a hit-out recently to prepare himself and see how far along his injuries have come. “I had a little test yesterday to see how the jarring would go driving horses around home and I’m still not 100%,” Douglas said. “I drove the first one and it was bearable but then I got on the second one and I thought it wouldn’t want to get any worse than that; then a lap into the third one I had to pull up stumps. “Whether it’s a week or a fortnight, it will at least be one week. I have no worries hopping back in and going again.” The fall itself was traumatic to say the least, leaving Douglas with a raft of injuries which have kept him on the sidelines for much of the summer. “At the time the fall was very harmless, I was going to get up and walk away from it but the horse behind me went right to try and miss me, but the more he went right the more I rolled underneath him,” he said. “As soon as it hit me it was lights out, the next thing I know I woke up in hospital. “I ended up with a broken eye socket, my jaw on both sides and shattered between my nose and mouth. They thought they would have to operate but luckily enough everything was still in the right spot so they’ve allowed it to heal by itself. “The last six weeks all I could eat was weet-bix, scrambled eggs, rice and custard; that was about it. I couldn’t chew anything; I can chew now but nothing too hard.” With life slowly returning to normality for Douglas he will be a force to be reckoned with when he returns to the track. To listen to the full audio when Daryl chatted with Adam White and Mick McGuane on RSN’s Breakfast program simply click here. - Blake Reddan
16 January 2013 - Young Junortoun harness racing trainer and driver Chris Svanosio could write a unique new chapter in the history of the time-honoured Warehouse Central Victorian Championships, hosted by the Boort Club at Charlton on Sunday.
Fifty-three years ago Miracle Echo, a pacer trained by Ken Wills and driven by Rod Osborne won the first ever Central Victorian Championship at Echuca. Ironically Svanosio trains his horses from the same property that Wills trained Miracle Echo. Ken Will's son Laurie said today that Miracle Echo is the only CV championship winner to come from the Star Hill stables and it would be great if Chris could add another to the record on Sunday. "Dad preferred to train the pacers, so a CV Trotting Championship would definitely be a first for the stable," Wills said. Svanosio will start his improving trotter Tiroroa Idol in the $30,000 Group 2 trotting race and he gives his honest performer a real chance of collecting a prize. "There might be a couple better than him in the race, but my horse is honest and they won't want to do anything wrong," he said. In the last couple of months Tiroroa Idol has come of age with two race victories at Bendigo. The best performed son of the Angus Hall stallion Framework, Tiroroa Idol graduated to the CV final with a tough heat victory at Bendigo on 7 January. "He got caught in the death early, then I was able to sprint lane home, so the run was very good, very tough," Svanosio said. Tiroroa Idol thrives on hard yakka and its that toughness that Svanosio believes gives him a top chance to train and drive his first ever Group race winner. "He is a gross doer, you cannot be easy on him and I have to keep the work up to him," Svanosio said. "At Tabcorp Park recently he raced three wide early and just got run down on the line, he is improving all the time and he is now trotting really good." Svanosio gave Tiroroa Idol a trial on Monday night at Bendigo and four-year-old gelding won that too. On Sunday he takes on a bit of class and Svanosio named Chris Lang's Kyvalley Rap, the winner of four of six starts and Geoff Webster's Tendaho, also the winner of four races, as the two toughest to beat. Tiroroa Idol will start from a 10 metre handicap in the final. The first race at Charlton on Sunday is set to run at 5:17pm, the Warehouse Sales CV Trotting Championship final is race five at 7:06pm and the Group 2 $30,000 Warehouse Sales CV Pacing Championship final is race seven at 7:54pm. In the Pacing Final Emma Stewart's brilliant Restrepo, to be driven by Gavin Lang has a daunting task from a 20 metre handicap. Local trainer Glenn Douglas has up and comer Daylight Dan on the front line. Daylight Dan the winner of his last four starts in a row will be driven by Chris Alford. Kiwi Chris Butt drives Bendigo pacing heat winner My Temudjin in the Pacing final and Ruth Shinn's Steam Washed is an exciting candidate. The Central Victorian Pacing Championship is one of the most sought after prizes on the Victorian Country harness racing calendar. First conducted in 1960 for a stake of 400 pounds the status of the race has grown over the years, with many of Victoria’s finest horsemen successful in winning the event which has been held annually throughout Central Victoria. Great horses from the past including Charles Armagh (1962 - Ken Pocock), You Crovottie 1964 – Bill Davies), Lord Setay (1966 – Dick Benger) and Honest Reward (1968 – Ralph Ford) have had their name etched into the history books by winning the race, with noted reins persons Ted Demmler, Noel Shinn, Clinton Welsh, Max Wishart, Brian Gath, John Caldow, Lance Justice, Kerryn Manning, Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Bruce Clarke all piloting winners as the race progressed through the ages. It was decided to include the Central Victorian Trotting Championships into the mix in 1984, with Admiral Aaron (John Koek) being the inaugural victor. The stature of this race will continue to be part and parcel of the Victorian Country Harness Racing scene for many years to come.- David Aldred
15 January 2013 - Julie Douglas, the wife of leading trainer Glenn Douglas returned to the saddle at the official trials at Lord's Raceway last night.
Julie rode in a two horse Monte trial in front of the stewards to get her ticket to ride in her first Monte race at Ballarat on Ballarat Cup night, 25 January. Riding 7yo gelding Trottn On The Ritz, trained at Ballarat by Keith Douglas, Julie won the trial beating accomplished Monte performer Shea Keystone, ridden by Maree Campbell. - David Aldred
Sushi Sushi - Greg Sugars
13 January 2013 - There was nothing fishy about Sushi Sushi’s return to form in last night’s Group 2 $50,000 PETStock Bendigo Pacing Cup. In fact, even with the tricky draw and last start eighth, albeit in the Victoria Cup, punters latched on to an old crowd favourite in what proved to be another success story in his distinguished career.
The win notched up win number 27 for the Freddy Taiba trained gelding which included an historic run that paralleled Black Caviar’s streak. It was a night for the sentimental fans with Smoken Up taking out the Group 2 South Australia Pacing Cup in what was a sensational ten-minute window for the sport. The PETStock Bendigo Pacing Cup was run minutes later and it proved just as memorable with Sushi Sushi nailing Mah Sish on the corner. Auckland Reactor loomed as the big danger however it wasn’t to be with the son of Art Major finding plenty as Mah Sish fought back for second. Greg Sugars, driving Sushi Sushi, found himself in a nice trailing run early before hooking three-wide down the back straight on the final time, and from there he cruised up to the leaders and never looked in doubt as they ran for home. The race was filled with drama with second favourite Mustang Mach choking down during the run and falling with less than a lap remaining, changing the complexion of the race. Highview Tommy led them up early however was under pressure from a fair way out, leaving his stable mate and race favourite Auckland Reactor nowhere to go as the other two race favourites made their run. Natalie Rasmussen eventually extricated her pacer from the fence and had enough time to chase the leaders but couldn’t bridge the gap. The race was run in an a mile rate of 1:58.2 however they ripped home the last half in 54.7 with the last quarter in a blistering 26.9.In the other main race of the night at Bendigo My Escapee stamped herself as a top-class trotting mare when disposing of her opposition in the Group 2 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile with ease that belied the final margin.
The record books will read a margin of a head over the $1.70 favourite, I Didn’t Do It, however her barnstorming finish was something to behold as she sprinted down the extreme outside of the track. It was the finishing burst of a mare that has plenty more to give. With 24 starts under her belt in her homeland of NZ the sky now appears the limit for My Escape who can only firm Mark Purdon’s stranglehold on the Australian harness features this year. I Didn’t Do it lost no admirers, after working hard to find the early lead, he continued to carve out quick sectionals with Aleppo Sunrise pouring the pressure on for much of the race. As they turned for home he appeared to have a little left in the tank and shot away with Cold Sister coming off his back to look the only danger. However they didn’t count on My Escapee who simply shot past them late. The winner completed the race in a mile rate of 1:57.4.- HRV
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