Crook clings to slim lead
CONOR Crook managed to hold on to his slender lead in the Youngbloods Challenge series for novice drivers after snaring a minor placing from the two heats run at Elwick yesterday.
Crook accrued 22 points from the first round of heats in Devonport last Sunday to take a three-point lead into yesterday’s two rounds.
He partnered Witch Master to fourth place in heat three and his third place aboard Frankie Falzoni for nine points was enough to keep him on top of the points table with 38.
Crook leads by a point from Troy McDonald with Lachlan Dakin six points adrift.
Dakin stayed in the hunt for the title by partnering Twenty Two Karat to an all-the-way win in the first heat at Elwick yesterday.
The Bianca Heenan-trained mare stepped straight to the front from gate two and Dakin highly rates the fouryear-old.
Twenty Two Karat led comfortably to the home turn where Dakin allowed her more rein and she slipped well clear and went on to score by almost 8m from Streetside Classic (Georgia Hayward) with Rocknroll Dancer (Wade Rattray) a similar margin away in third.
McDonald powered his way into second place overall courtesy of a clever drive aboard race favourite Couta Rocks in the fourth heat.
Couta Rocks began well from gate four but was unable to cross so McDonald eased out of the action and eventually allowed his charge to creep into the race.
Once balanced in the home straight, Couta Rocks forged clear and went on to defeat Goggo Gee Gee (Samantha Gangell) and Frankie Falzoni (Crook).
McDonald earned six points for finishing fifth aboard Krafty Boy in heat three.
The final two rounds of the series will be held in Launceston next Friday. The winner is determined on a point-score basis with 16 points allocated for first, 12 for second, nine for third, seven for fourth and six for fifth, reducing by one through to last place.