Harness racing under the lights makes a welcome return to Ararat tonight, with a strong card of nine events commencing at 6.00 pm and the "lucky last" at 10.04 pm.
It is the first meeting to be staged at RT White Raceway since Cup night in February, with the Club's March fixture being abandoned when CV19 first reared its ugly head.
District stables are well represented in all events but face strong opposition from the "visitors", led by trainers Emma Stewart, Adam Kelly,
Ajay& Beau Tindale, Matty Craven, Courtney Slater & Rebecca East.
The meeting will be conducted under strict CV protocols in front of only participants and officials. Harness fans can follow at the action live and free on their device at Trots Vision and will find full fields, form guide, punting plan and gear changes at harness.org.au
Former Brimpaen, now Geelong district owner Clarrie Hamilton has long raced his horses with Hamilton trainer Jim Barker and last week "the boys" celebrated a victory with Creative Lad at Charlton.
The veteran of 109 starts was driven by Barker's grand-daughter Jackie and captured the $7000 GMG Financial Group Pace over 1609 metres, in a mile rate of 1-58.6.
In a blanket finish, with barely a length separating the first six horses at the post, all honours were with the winner which had raced outside the leader throughout.
Creative Lad showed plenty of fight over the final stages to score by a neck from Gracie Cullen (Michael Bellman), with Surbiton Hartbreak (Jayden Brewin) a half-head away in third place.
Start number twelve proved lucky for rising 6yo gelding Straight Up and Stawell owner/trainer Chris Blake at Bendigo last week when the pacer notched up his first career victory.
Drawn the inside of the second row at the start of the 1650 metre dash and settling at the tail of the field, driver Chris Svanosio bided his time until the 400 metre mark before asking Straight Up for an effort.
The son of Modern Art USA and Problem Solved finished full of running down the home stretch and scored by three metres in a rate of 1:58.2.
Straight Up is raced by the McLean, Bennett & Blake families and it would have been an extra thrill for connections, with Blake also the trainer of Problem Solved during her six win career.
It was great to see Mattie Craven's in-form squaregaiter Gus An Maori take out the $20,000 IRT Australia Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters FFA at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night.
The 8yo son of Angus Hall USA and star trotting mare Sumthingaboutmaori was driven a treat by Sofia Arvidsson to notch up its 16th win from 78 starts for the Lewis/Healy clan.
Eased three wide from three back the pegs approaching the home turn, Gus An Maori and flashed home late to nab the long odds-on favourite Dance Craze (Jason Lee) by a head with Sundons Courage (Ryan Duffy) a further 4 metres away in third place.
They're off @ Ararat (N) Wednesday 25th, Terang (N) Tuesday 1st December; Charlton (D) Thursday 3rd and Stawell (D) Monday 7th.
West Side Wimmera Wally
Best bet: R7 No 1 Just Be Yourself $5 win
Value bet: R6 No 1 She Will Wantano $2 win $4 place
Flexi bet: R1 box quinella Nos. 1,2 &9 spend $9
Last return: $9.60 @ Horsham Trots