Day At The Track

Smooth sailing for Michelle

07:48 AM 15 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Aleppo Murphy,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

Michelle Eastman is thriving in her new role with the Maryborough Harness Racing Club, but hasn’t let the job get in the way of her passion for training.

Eastman, who took over as secretary of the club just a couple of months ago, will prepare Aleppo Murphy for his second start back from a long spell at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night.

The son of Sundon has endured a string of issues that have seen him only race once since late May, having produced a solid fifth in the Yarra Valley Trotters Cup last week.

“We were happy with that because he was first-up for six or seven months and he’d never been over that distance (2650m) before,” Eastman said.

“He only just got pipped by Tornado Valley, Save Our Pennys and Magicool and they are all good horses. We are hoping for a lot of improvement this week.”

Aleppo Murphy, a winner of eight races, will start off the 10-metre mark in Friday night’s DNR Logistics Trotters Handicap (2240m, NR 70-120) for in-form driver James Herbertson.

“We have changed a few things with him. We don’t have a headcheck on him anymore, which he used to really resent. We felt that it made him trot better, so this time in we have taken the headcheck off and he has been putting his head down and doesn’t seem to be so fractious before the start,” said Eastman, who trains from Shelbourne.

“If James can get him away well - he is going to be out on his own because he is out of the draw - and baring incidents, he should not be far away.”

Eastman said she was “absolutely loving” her new full-time position with Maryborough, which she took over from club stalwart Les Chapman.

“It’s such a different role to what I’ve ever had. I’m just enjoying the real change (from) being in the finance sector most of my life,” she said.

“It’s really good. I’m always surrounded by people, got a great team of volunteers and really starting to make some changes.”

While Eastman’s focus will be on the opening race on Friday, many punters will be looking to the feature events on the card.

Two heats of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship (1720m, NR 70-79) have drawn good fields, with runners vying for a place in the $30,000 final at Melton on November 22.

There is also two Group 3 events - the Garrards Popular Alm Free For All (2240m, NR 90-120) and the Alderbaran Park Lenin Trotters Free For All (2240m, NR 80-120).

The nine-race card kicks off from 6.18pm.

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HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor

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