All roads Sunday lead to Lord Nelson Park at St Arnaud for the running of the 2019 editions of the pacing and trotters cups. Both feature events have drawn cracking fields and give promise of great racing and a host of possible outcomes.
Heading the lineup in the $14,500 Weirs IGA Pacing Cup are star Narracoorte trained gelding Emain Macha, lightly raced and highly promising recent Melton winner in a slick time A Fair Ol Dance, former NSW pacer Kerford Road and the up-and-coming Great Westerner, Rupert of Lincoln. Driving tactics over the middle journey of 2150 metres around the tighter St Arnaud circuit will play as big a part in the result as the raw ability of the equine athletes.
The standing start BSL - St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup sees classy mare Pantzup returning to the track as the 30 metre backmarker after a short let-up. Pantzup is a recent addition to the Kerryn Manning stable as former trainer Gavin Lang continues his battle with cancer. The standing start tapes hold no fears for Pantzup, with two victories and a solid second to Tough Monarch in the Coulter Crown at Melton coming from her only three attempts. Connections of Jerichos Trumpet, Fratellino and Mass Destruction will look to add another country cup trophy to their mantelpiece, while the former Kiwis War Spirit and Gentleman Sir are also proven over the staying trip of 2520 metres.
The Horsham HRC last Friday night held their annual dinner for committee, staff, volunteers and sponsors.
Terang horseman Matty Craven captured his first Betta Home Living leading trainer award and in doing so joined Jim Barker and Kerryn Manning as the only trainers to also feature on the club's leading driver list.
Stawell owner Steve West collected the Nat's Rug & Harness horse of the year award with his 5-year-old-mare Marjorie Jean posting four victories on the Horsham circuit for trainer Owen Martin during the season.
Kerryn Manning added yet another Claire Weston Photography Horsham driver of the season award to the trophy cabinet and no doubt has driven the most winners on the 1000m track at the racing centre.
Lexton driver James Herbertson took out the Conways "Greg Smith Memorial" concession driver of the year award. With driving commitments in Shepparton his father Ash collected the award on his behalf.
Balmoral trainer Janet Exell took out the Cruisers Carwash Local Trainer strike rate award and joined her late father Ken on the honour roll. The family's emerald green silks have been a part of trotting in the Wimmera for more than 70 years.
Kevin and Lesley Lane were presented with a service award by Chairman Robbie Connelly in recognition of their many hours of "behind the scenes" contribution to the club.
Horsham HRC has also won Harness Racing Victoria's best presented venue award 2018-19 in their category of clubs conducting 15 meetings per season. Horsham track staff Gordon Hughes, Jimmy Hibberd and Colin Hill with Jo Cross (CEO) and Robbie Connelly (chairman) showed off the award at the dinner. Vicky McClure (West Side Manager) was absent.
At: St. Arnaud (D) Cup Meeting, Sunday; Hamilton (D) Wednesday November 13th; Horsham (D) Thursday 21st; Mt. Gambier (D) Sunday 25th & Stawell (D) Cup meeting, Sunday December 1st.\
Last return: $8.80 @ Horsham gallops
Best bet: R1 Beekeacee $4 eachway
Value bet: R7 No2 Vuitton $3 eachway
Multi bet: R6 box quinella Nos. 5,6,9,11 spend $6