by Terry Neil
FRESH from a winning double the previous week, John O’Shea again took driving honours with a treble at Wednesday night ‘s Group One Feeds Paceway meeting.
And with just three drives for the night, that was a 100 per cent pass rate.
What A Jolt ($3.70, for Lester Hewitt ) backed up from his debut win last week to again lead throughout in a 3CO/3C1 sprint, slipping in a sharp 27.6s third quarter en route to 56.2s final half.
” He went even a bit better tonight, and I was pretty surprised to see the time for that third quarter because he seemed to be travelling well within himself,” was the report from a driver who’s a pretty hard marker but who nevertheless seemed impressed.
The runs of Spike Robyn NZ, which fought right to the finish after doing all the work outside the lead, and fast-finishing Hez All Courage, were very impressive. The form from this race should stand up strongly.
Bertie Francis ($6.10, for Mike Watson ) came out of the two gate in a C2-backed sprint but in a frantic shuffle-up in the early stages was planted three-wide before O’Shea put an end to that situation by working to the lead.
He didn’t relinquish it either, quickening to a 57.6s last half for an easy win, from trailer Lyka Version and Poppy Cee.
Then in race six, the 2260 metres fast-class, on a night where the State-Of-Origin decider kept the crowd decidedly small, O’Shea completed his hat-trick with the omen runner Beetson ($9.10, for Peter Trevor-Jones.
O’Shea dictated the race beautifully, keeping a tempo strong enough in the early stages to keep everyone in their positions, then increasing it gradually with each quarter – a last half of 56.2s – to run out an easy winner from Holdonsu and Tulhurst Ace, in an impressive 1:56.6 rate.
Beetson and O’Shea had combined for Group One glory in the 2010 Gold Crown, and now, after re-establishing that connection all these years later, they’ve struck a purple patch, with three wins from their three most recent outings.
If he managed to take his eyes off that footie game for a brief moment, Artie would have been pretty proud of his namesake, the winner now of $360K.
Feature race on Wednesday ‘s card was a heat of the Harness Breeders NSW “Go Girlfriend ” series.
Amanda Turnbull started two mares new to her stable, with Tact Rousey NZ, the little sister to her Bohemia Crystal FFA winner and favourite horse Tact Tate, starting a prohibitive odds-on after a recent Bathurst trial outing.
After leading from the pole, she handed up when Mat Rue came searching for the lead with Lucy Lamb, and with Rue setting a remarkably even tempo – three quarters in 29.0s and another in 28.9s – she bided her time waiting for the sprint lane, and then burst away for a brilliant debut that justified the prohibitive quote.
Her other debutant Quaint Glen NZ ran a nice race from the death for third, with Fullon Boundary Row, for Steve Turnbull, splitting them for second.
The Art Major daughter looks to be the real deal and will be strongly fancied in the $30K final at Menangle, following the Wagga, Bathurst, Penrith and Newcastle heats.
Other winners at the meeting:
Hallycould ($3.00 favourite, Mat Rue for Andrew Hall ) in the first of two C0 sprints, showing improved manners to lead throughout, quickening over the final half in 57.2s, and the only winner all night to sport predominately blue colours!
Head And Shoulders ($1.90 favourite, Mitch Turnbull for Steve), all-the-way in the second C0 race, for the night ‘s easiest win and the first of a double for Mitchell, in a welcome return to his home track.
Sportygal ($4.90) completed that double in the final 2260 metres C1/C2 event, a tough effort sitting outside the lead before prevailing in a desperate finish from Lethal Promise and Taylor Hood.
Interestingly, both of Mitchell’s winners raced unhoppled, something of a trend these days, and not surprisingly, Mitchell’s all in favour of it.
If Beetson’s victory on Origin night was appropriate, so too was the win of Swaggie Shannon ($21.60, Aaron Garaty for Peter Bullock) in the C3/C4 Shannon Springs Pace, sponsored by his owners the Rayngold Syndicate.
While My Lucky Belle and leader Regal Ashes put the foot down in a 27.4s third quarter, Garaty was content to bide his time towards the tail of the field, saving Swaggie Shannon for one dash at them, and his sprint was timed to perfection, earning the Bathurst RSL Drive-of -the – Night award from racecaller Mitch Manners.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
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