Trotting returned to Friday night at Phoenix Park in Port Pirie to much fanfare. The first race, with the track in good condition, featured the return of the Rocky music as the horses entered the track. This was an idea from young race caller Jim Jacques.
It was good to have the return of Jim. A couple of weeks ago he had been laid up with laryngitis and we really missed his race calling.
Batman Bart closed as favourite in the first race, the Henry Osborne Fodder Store Pace, and went from the second position behind the Mobile Start.
It was Rhyflective driven by Jayden Brewin who took the lead. Jayden, who had won the Driver’s Invitation Series of late and was hoping for a successful evening as it was his eighteenth birthday.
Batman Bart took to the outside of the leader and battled with Gotango for that outside position. Racing three wide for some time, Dani Hill had to eventually concede, let Batman Bart take the spot, and dropped to fourth position.
Position remained pretty much unchanged until into the straight coming up to the bell, when it could be seen that Rhyflective was struggling a bit and Brewin was doing his best, working on him.
However, down the back straight he had responded to some alteration in his gear, and found a bit of a boost. In to the front straight and Gotango let loose, coming four wide, passing all in her mix with Batman Bart spent.
Towards the line and Dani Hill had a quick look over her shoulder to see if any threat in the sprint lane had been looming. Weaponry, which had sat waiting his chance got through had run second and Rhyflective did run third.
The second event on the programme , “Fly Like An Eagle” pace had seen Bettorhavtime, a three year old gelding, start as favourite. As they had got underway, Dani Hill had given him a bit of a tickle up and he got over Willie Hays to take the lead.
Willie Hays in my opinion is a little horse to watch, but just my opinion. Tom Clarke had seemed happy to sit in behind Bettorhavtime for the time being.
That’s Macs Girl had galloped as they approached the back bend and had lost quite a bit of ground. At the bell, Bettorhavtime sat in the lead looking quite comfortable and Dani would have been looking for a double from the first two races.
In the back straight, Wells Crest had made an almighty charge around the field finding his seat in the fourth spot. At this stage of the race Luckless had galloped, interfering with Forty Five Degrees.
Dani was holding onto Bettahavtime into the bottom bend, saving what he had let for the run to the line. Which he certainly did have, running away at the finish to win by six metres.
Willie Hays had finished in second spot with Mason Jon third. After the charge made by Wells Crest, he failed to fill a place. Backwards, with no form at all behind it, had started at favourite.
But as the field got under way in the 1609 metre Lauke Mills Pace, it had been Atomic Blue Chip who had shown the most dash with Backwards hot on his tail.
Atomic Blue chip had taken the lead and held that lead into the bell. Down the back straight he had skipped away, probably about eight metres and it had looked like he was home and hose.
However, as they came into the home straight, Atomic Blue Chip had begun to stagger and when Backwards had got to the outside it was all over. Backwards ran over the top of Atomic Blue Chip and Reactabelle had come in third.
Mile rate had been timed at 1.59.1. The Kevin Schrader Memorial was next. This was a race ran over 1609 meters also and a race for R6 class or better. Kevin Schrader had been a dedicated member of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club and it was wonderful that his family was sponsoring this race.
Montana Jet had started as favourite and started from the third position. Final Champion, a real chance, had been a scratching. Big Behemoth had streaked to the lead with rate Highly tucking in on his back..
Big Behemoth had maintained the lead throughout the race with very little movement. Montana Jet was happy to sit, facing the breeze. With 400 metres to the post, it was Big Behemoth and Montana Jet but from somewhere had come Quadentate and Rate Highly had got through in the sprint lane.
It had been Big Behemoth’s night, having led the whole race. Quadentate had got up to second spot with Rate Highly getting through for third position. An embroidered rug was presented by the Schrader family to driver, Lisa Ryan. A lovely tribute.
Trained by Wayne Brodie, Any Suggestions was just back after a spell and had been driven by Brodie Webster with Nykea Courage having closed at $2.90 favourite. My Apache Gold, starting from barrier four was thought to have great gate speed and may have been a danger at the start.
But it had been Any Suggestions who had burst from Barrier six and had taken the lead with Nykea Courage taking the seat behind and Promise At Dawn facing the breeze. There was not much movement through the field with Any Suggestions holding its lead throughout. His lead had extended to almost fifteen metres.
Nykea Courage had held his own finishing in second positon, Glacier heights had run on to finish third with a mile rate of 1.59.9. The last race on the programme had been the Hopkins Saddlery ace a 106.9 metres event for C1 to C2 horses.
Starting at $2.40 favourite, High Class Lady had been driven by Wayne Hill. As the barrier moved away from them Jackmichaels had the speed to hold but it was High Class Lady who had chased him down and sat even.
Barney Fella had tucked in behind the leader. Whether Barney Fella had just been clipped or not, he is a distinctly light bay colour and certainly stands out. The field remained fairly unchanged and Hez Declan had been seen racing down the back straight with his mouth wide open. Into the straight, it was Jackmichaels, High Class lady, Barney fella fighting it out with Chasing a win. Barney Fella took the honours with Antaeus Blue Chip second and Chasing a Win, in third.