NSW trainers from Leeton, Barmah and Moama jumped the Murray River and ruled the track at Cobram Harness Racing’s meeting on Wednesday, winning five of the eight races.
But the day belonged to Glenn Sharp’s trotter Tennoeagle and Avenel trainer David Aiken; both spring boarding to the top of the 2018-19 Saddleworld Trotter of the Year and Pat Barrett’s Tyre Service Trainer of the Year Premiership ladders following success on the track.
The first on the program was an all Leeton affair with Master Jude, bred, owned and trained at Leeton by Colin Thomas, saluting in an impressive performance in Donate For Life 2YO Pace ahead of favourite Eipper, trained by Gary Gardner and reined by Jackson Painting.
Superbly reined by one of the Riverina’s talented star reinsmen Blake Jones, the two-year-old scored a maiden win in only his fourth outing to make it a quinella for the Leeton district horsemen.
Table Top’s Noela McGuffie, who is a former Cobram district resident, donated the trophy for the race in appreciation of being given a second chance to enjoy an active lifestyle as an organ recipient.
Ona Safari, reined by Damian Wilson, continued the winning ways of the NSW entries, saluting in the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace for Barmah trainer Trevor Gallaway and his wife Jill, who bred and owns the six-year-old mare.
Making a move in the back straight, the pair ran down the pacemaker All Good after the ‘red hot’ favourite faltered to storm home.
Jackson Painting lined up in the De Maria Mitsubishi Pace on King Fisher for Leeton trainer Kim Hillier, saluting ahead of stablemate Ima Regal Jet, and turning the table on cousin Blake Jones, who had beaten Jackson in the first race.
Norong horseman Mark Buckingham put an end to the Riverina dominance when he jumped in the sulky behind his Axnite, the first foal out of his mare Rutherglen Ruby.
The pair scored a brilliant win, saluting 80 in the Cobram Grain and Feed 3YO Maiden Pace and received a 16-piece dinner set, presented to Neil ‘Curly’ Hanlon on behalf of the winning owners.
Leeton horseman Pat Fiumara put his Victorian counterparts to ‘shame’ in a pillar-to-post performance in which the five-year-old gelding and his reinsman set the race tempo for the 2170m journey.
With challenges coming from all corners on the home turn, Shame To Fame kicked away to show his rivals saluted in just his third outing on the race track.
The CIF Trading Trot saw Josh Duggan in brilliant form, flick the reins on Tennoeagle, travelling two out two back at the top of the home straight; pulling out to swoop on the race leader and storm away to salute with Glenn Sharp’s talented four-year-old trotter.
The win put a smile on the trainer’s face as Tennoeagle shot to the lead position in the club’s 2018-19 Trotter of the Year premiership.
Raptors Flight NZ gave David Aiken the edge over Glenn Douglas as trainer of the year, securing valuable points for the Avenel trainer when the five-year-old gelding saluted in the Hygain Pace.
It was the five-year-old gelding’s first outing on Australian soil in a first up since joining the Aiken stable.
Invergordon’s Tania Ward had the patron’s biting their finger nails as she sizzled home from near the back of the field on an extremely brave Passion Play to almost spoil the Aiken party.
The feature race, the Jim Howes Memorial Pace, lived up to expectations with the legendary Brian Gath saluting on Better Enforce NZ for Moama trainer Tony Peacock.
With a lap and a half to run, the pair made a race move to eye ball the leader Ramblenroller.
Gath gave the six-year-old black mare full rein and the pair raced away to the judge to score a win for the trainer; the mare’s second win for three starts since crossing the Tasman.
The winner took home the canteen cutlery set, donated by Cobram Veterinary Clinic in honour of Jim Howes.
The club’s next meet is on August 22.