Day At The Track

Bec and San Carlo the toast of Mildura

12:28 PM 14 Apr 2019 NZST
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Jubilant Bec Bartley and the Mildura Pacing Cup trophy,Harness racing
Jubilant Bec Bartley and the Mildura Pacing Cup trophy
Popular pint-sized Shepparton harness racing driver Bec Bartley, 27, stood tall at last night’s Mildura Pacing Cup.
 
Bartley showed poise and the utmost trust in eight-year-old gelding San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry) to take the spoils in the $60,000 Group Two Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup Final.
 
“He really is a once in a lifetime horse – even though he was a bit of a problem child in his early days,” Bartley said.
 
The talented horsewoman was well aware San Carlo was primed and super fit for the big occasion and wasn’t afraid to put her confidence in him on the line.
 
“I decided if the chance came to get to the front in the early stages, I was going to put him in the race there and then,” an elated Bartley said.
 
“And from that point he felt as good as he ever has in his races – he seemed to relax, but he was strong and switched on. I was pretty confident that we were going to take some running down.”
 
A hectic first lap in the feature event saw the lead change three times. Lucky Lombo led early, then Emain Macha assumed control before San Carlo powered to the head of affairs.
 
It was then up to World champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning to keep some spice in the cup, and she wasted no time in accelerating around to the death-seat with second top fancy Reciprocity.
 
Bartley admitted afterwards that she had “a brief moment of anxiety” when she thought Wayne Hill, driver of Emain Macha, was going to hold her out and not hand up the lead.
 
“I was mindful that we’d had a pretty hard run winning the qualifying heat on the Tuesday night, and he’d seemed to pull up well, but I didn’t want to be working overtime if I could help it,” she said.
 
But Bartley had no reason for concern, as it turned out, rating the big-striding gelding to perfection with splits of 31, 30.6, 28.8 and 28.2 for a super mile rate of 1.58-5 for the gruelling 2600 metre trip.
 
On the home corner it was left to Reciprocity to lift, along with perhaps Emain Macha, but the honors were clearly with San Carlo who held a five-metre advantage over the other pair.
 

Bec Bartley gives the victory salute as she crosses the line with San Carlo

 
Kerryn Manning, who ran third with Reciprocity, said all honors were with San Carlo.
 
“He’s a very good horse. The home straight was slightly too long for me,” she said with her trademark smile.
 
Victorious trainer Stephen O’Donoghue, who pencilled in the Mildura Cup as a target for his charge a few months ago, said it had been a long journey with San Carlo.
 
It’s well documented that O’Donoghue and Bartley spent countless months trying to get the horse educated and pacing properly.
 
“I think he was a five-year-old when we finally got him going,” an emotional O’Donoghue said.
“My name is in the racebook as the official trainer, but it’s a credit to Bec that we are here through her hard work and dedication.
 
“He’s a special horse. We are very lucky.”
 
O’Donoghue said he started coming to Mildura for the Cup carnival about 10 years ago. 
 
“It’s a really good excuse for a holiday by the river,” he said.
 
“But this is what we’ve always wanted to do, to win the cup and we came close last year with Shakahari so it’s great to get there this year.”
 
San Carlo was owned by Jack Eichhorn who followed the pacer everywhere up until his death last year. Jack’s children Michael (who accepted the cup), John, Maureen and their families now race the superstar.
 

San Carlo trainer Steve O’Donoghue, Mildura Harness Racing Club President Alan Lister, driver Bec Bartley, owners representative Michael Eichhorn and Bec’s grandfather, John Bartley

 
Bartley said she always held Mildura close to her heart after competing at the track many times as a junior driver.
 
“I’ve got a lot of friends down here and tonight is special because my grandfather (John Bartley) has been down from Broken Hill all week with me,” she said.
 
The Mildura Cup victory was San Carlo’s fourth this season, having won the Cranbourne Gold Cup, and Bendigo and Yarra Valley Pacing Cups.
Bartley said that providing the pacer pulled up okay, his next mission would be the $35,000 Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup on Easter Sunday.
 

San Carlo and Bec Bartley return to scale
 
Another feature event on the program was the Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas. Kerryn Manning bounced back into the winner’s circle with a masterful drive on I’m Sir Blake, trained by the O’Brien team at Ararat.
 
Manning slotted I’m Sir Blake into the one-one spot beautifully mid-race, then waited her chance over the concluding stages. The pacer posted an impressive 18m win over the talented local youngster Mallee Reactor in 1.58-7.
 
“He’s a lovely little fella and I felt he had a bit of class on his side tonight,” Manning said.
 
“I would probably rate him just below the very best going around in Victoria at the moment.”
 
Driving honors for the night went to Bartley and talented youngster Darby McGuigan who shared winning doubles.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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