RISING KIWI STAR GIVES MASTER REINSMAN HIS FOURTH SHEPPARTON CUP VICTORY AFTER ENJOYING SOFT TRIP
A copybook Gavin Lang drive on the favourite Im Pats Delight earned him his fourth Shepparton Gold Cup on Saturday night.
Lang was able to get the New Zealand pacer into a one-one sit for most of the 2690 m trip and Im Pats Delight beat NSW pacers Our Triple Play and Our Uncle Sam in a thrilling finish.
The Cran Dalgety-prepared son of Bettors Delight prevailed by 1.3 m from 30-1 shot Our Triple Play in 1:56.2 mile rate time, which was just 0.1 second outside the track record the David Aiken-trained and Kima Frenning-driven Im The Boss set last year.
The Goulburn Valley hopes in the $60 000 Group Two race, San Carlo and Share The Road, had no luck.
Reinswoman Bec Bartley made an unsuccessful bid for the lead early on San Carlo, a $4.40 chance, with Let It Ride, the $3.50 second favourite, but then was left facing the breeze for the entire trip.
The effort told in the home straight and San Carlo finished fourth, but still only 10 m from the winner in another commendable effort given the circumstances.
The Laura Crossland-trained and driven Share The Road bungled the start and was never a factor.
The disappointment of the race was the well-fancied and welldrawn Tim Butt-trained and Anthony Butt-driven Let It Ride, who made the frontrunning, but was the first horse beaten and finished last.
Let It Ride also ended veteran Flaming Flutter’s cup bid, dragging that pacer back through the field when he punctured getting off the back straight the last time.
Lang, who also won the cup on the locally-trained pacer Unique Icon on 2002, the Elmore-trained Tanabi Bromac in 2010 and Our White Knight in 2013, said Im Pats Delight was a nice horse, but still a year away from being a genuine top-liner.
A reputed seven-figure sum to buy Im Pats Delight was rejected in November before the pacer campaigned in the Inter Dominion, where he was a finalist, finishing fifth to runaway winner Tiger Tara.
At four years of age, he was the youngest pacer in Saturday night’s race.
● The other feature on the card, The George Gath, went to the heavily supported Red Hot Tooth for Bolinda trainer Kari Males and reinsman Zac Phillips.
The six-year-old mare got the perfect run in the trotters race on the back of the pacemaker Big Jack Hammer and was able to sprint lane to victory over the gallant veteran Kyvalley Blur, with Big Jack Hammer holding on to third spot.
Shepparton-owned Sky Petite, who was in an early burn for the lead, battled on well for fourth.
Shepparton club officials were happy with the crowd, given the meeting started in 40°C heat.
But a cool southerly swept in after race two and tempered things down and made for pleasant viewing for the rest of the night. ● More on the meeting in Sulky Shorts in Friday’s News.