Day At The Track

Young gun returns on a High

02:37 PM 11 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Ride High,Harness racing
Ride High
Stuart McCormick photo

Ride High allayed any fears his trainer Clayton Tonkin had following a potentially taxing trial performance with an impressive return to racing on Saturday night.

In his first run back from more than a year on the sidelines, the ultra-talented four-year-old made it nine wins from 10 career starts by taking out the Group 2 COGS 4YO & 5YO Championship (2240m) at Tabcorp Park Melton.

After zipping out of barrier two, Ride High ($1.50) was given an easy time in the lead by Greg Sugars and then scorched home in a 53.7-second last half to just hold off the fast-finishing Hurricane Harley.

Tonkin, the partner of Emma Stewart who was having the first runner in his name since July 2004, said he thought Ride High might have worked too hard in a recent trial, where he and Tam Major equalled Lennytheshark’s 2040-metre Melton record.

“I thought they probably did a bit too much last week, but the money was sort of good and there wasn’t a heap of speed in the race,” Tonkin said after the win.

“It really worried me tonight the way the racing was run because nothing in the breeze or in front was (winning)… it was a bit of a swoopers' night. I was a little bit concerned being first up. The track hasn’t raced real true tonight.”

Saturday night was the first time Sugars had steered the 2018 Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings champion in a race and he liked what he saw.

“I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to sit behind a horse like this,” Sugars said.

“It doesn’t matter how good you are, it’s always hard to come up against a quality field that is already wound up when you are on the way up.

“But thankfully he had the barrier draw in his favour and got away with very steady sectionals for the first lap and was able to be too slick up the straight.”

Stewart runners filled the placings with Hurricane Harley sizzling home to be beaten just a half-neck, while stablemate Tam Major was third.

Another feature on the night was the Allied Express Cinderella Stakes (1720m, mares NR 70-120) and it was Margaret Lee’s Keayang Shekitout ($26.30) that caused a major boilover.


                                                                                     --Stuart McCormick photo

Stewart runners Berisari and Nostra Villa were both well fancied in the race, but weren’t able to fire as Keayang Shekitout sat outside the leader and toughed it out to score a narrow success.

The win was the six-year-old’s ninth in a career spanning 33 starts and was one of three winners on the card for her trainer.

Lee also scored with Iam Erik ($3.80) in the Heathglen Retirement Village Pace (1720m, 4YO and older) and Jilliby Chevy ($2.10) in the Keilor East Probus Group Pace (1720m, NR 90-105).

Jason Lee drove Iam Erik and Jilliby Chevy, while Glen Craven (Keayang Shekitout and Dance Craze, $1.10) and James Herbertson (Jodan, $34.20, and Are Doubleyou, $27.80) also celebrated winning doubles.

Dance Craze’s success came in the other Group 3 race on the card, the Apco La Coocaracha Trotters Free For All (1720m, trotting mares NR 70-120) for trainer Anton Gollino.

 

HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor

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