Monday, 4th January, 2016
By Patrick Reincke
It was on for young and old at Memorial Oval on Saturday as the trots returned for another season.
Met with a sizable crowd and perfect conditions, the five race night paved the way for an exciting season to come.
With the sun setting, the first race, the Danns of Broken Hill Pace got the night up and running.
Many were favouring Left for Ron to win the night’s opening race with a rough outsider being Artois Stone.
When the race got underway, it was Rob Wayman’s Circle Line and Don Pimm’s Riverboat Girl who showed gate speed.
The pair drew even by end of the first turn with Riverboat holding fast on the inside.
Artois Stone stuck behind the leader for most of the race but was unable to make a move when they hit the final straight.
For most of the race, Riverboat Girl led the pack with Circle Line close behind.
Rattlenhum’s charge on the outside before the final turn saw him sit close to second as they all came down the straight.
Rattlehum’s run weakened and he began to drop off.
Meanwhile, Rob Wayman finally made his move as he steered the five-year-old bay gelding ahead.
At the finish, it was Circle Line by a head followed closely by Riverboat Circle and Artois Stone with Rattenhum closing out the four.
The Kerry Halliday Memorial race was second on the docket for the night with Frank Stacey’s Captain Brannigan the winner.
It was ever so tight on the line with Ellehigh almost claiming the victory from the race leader.
At the 1300 in the early stages, Captain led way by a metre ahead of Loa Aloha on the outside.
Behind the leader in third was Ellehigh and one out, one back was Aurora Forte.
As they heard the bell, Kasey Hocking’s Casino Evil, who had trailed in second to last, made a charge of the outside making it a three way battle for third as they hit the turn.
At the 200, Captain got a burst of speed to edge away from Loa Aloha by three metres.
As they came into the home run, Captain’s lead diminished but still proved enough to fend off the advancing Loa Aloha by a nose.
A metre behind was Hocking with Casino Evil and a bit further back was Aurora Forte.
The night’s main event, the Leesa Jane McInnes Memorial, was taken out by Col Roger’s Shadow Spar who led for majority of the race.
The late scratching of Wrinkle Knutt and Cashwrangs Smoker tightened up the field ahead of the big race.
Both Shadow Spar and Mestari had sped at the start with Misperception trailing in third.
By the end of the first lap, it was Shadow Spar with Misperception on the outside with Mestari hot on the leader’s tail, Cityscape completed the top four.
When they collected the bell, it was now neck and neck between Shadow Spar and Misperception with the pacey Cityscape two out in third.
With 200 to go, Fineandsunny had taken the lead and was looking likely, second was Cityscape and Mestari and further back was Shadow Spar who was starting to look out it.
However, once the pack straightened for the last sprint, Shadow Spar’s inside run saw it roar back into first and cruise home to claim the win.
After the victory, Sunny Cliffs trainer Col Rogers said it felt good to win the Memorial race.
“It’s a great honour to win,” he said.
“I knew Leesa and Tony and the rest of the Camilleri family all my life, it’s a really good honour to win this race.”
Mr Rogers explained that he was a little worried if Shadow Spar would be able to hold on to first spot.
“He hadn’t done a lot of work (in the lead up), I think he may of been a little underdone,”
“I thought he would wear out, but all due credit to the horse, he came back strong.
“He’s done very well tonight.”
The K W & B J Gobell Pace was up next and that saw Don Pimm’s Bettatobelucky edge out Kasey Hocking and Eye Carly by a neck to win.
Jeremy Jetsetter was the pacesetter early on with Bettatobelucky hovering around fourth at the race’s halfway point.
Before approaching the first turn, Bettatobelucky made a move on the outside to put itself in with a chance on the straight.
With not long to go, Eye Carly was the frontrunner with Jeremy Jetsetter having faded away.
However, Pimm’s seven-year-old gelding stormed home in the final stages to cross the line in first.
The night was closed out with the Broken Hill Sturt Club Pace which saw Im The Mighty Judd lead for all the race.
Alpha Jet was showing promise early on and would later go on to claim third and Sweet Braveheart had a good run to take second.
At the start of the final lap, Jasperama, Alpha Jet and Sweet Braveheart were all tied for second with Judd holding the front.
It looked like being a close finish but driver Anthony Adams had no problem whatsoever guiding Judd to a very, very comfortable seven metre winning margin and bringing the night’s action to a close.