Light showers and a forecast of heavy rain to follow did not deter a large number of harness racing devotees from attending the Young Paceway last Friday afternoon.
Following a complete upgrade of the racing surface two weeks prior, in which over 250 tonnes of quality material was placed on the 787.2 metre track, stewards reported that the meeting would go ahead much to the joy of the trainers chasing the $50,000 on offer.
Racing opened with the Cordina Chicken Farms Pace 1720 metre, resulting in a win for the Peter Bullock trained four year old Swaggie Shannon ($5.40) driven by Murray Sullivan.
Coming from third at the bell, he defeated Im Captain Morgan ($3.50) and Blairmans Pride ($17.30) in a respectable 1:59.7 mile rate with a 1.5 metre margin.
Good race times continued in race two when Bernie Hewitt and Matt Rue combined to win with favourite Our Little Digger ($2.10).
He gave backers no concern when he won by a conservative 20 metres, rating 1:59 in defeating McKinley ($29.40) and the Dennis Picker trained Rave On Rabbits ($10.60).
Narrandera trainer Ellen Bartley drove a copy book race to land Dollarbill ($4.70) to victory in race three, proving too strong over the concluding stages.
He defeated Lorenzo Shannon ($20.60) and the lightly raced local pacer Arrived In Time ($28.10) for Peter Schiller and Murray Sullivan.
The mile rating of 2:02.8 was sufficient to see Dollarbill record his second race win since taking out an impressive Bathurst victory on March 21, rating 1:59.5 under the guidance of Amanda Turnbull.
Nine runners took to the track in race four following the late scratching of Kiss Cam.
The three year old event gave the Glen Wilmot trained, Tracy Lamb owned, New Zealand import Annatto ($1.40) her second win in a week.
Driven by Mark Cullen who replaced her usual driver, the Rocknroll Hanover filly was impressive in coming from a forward position to account for Regal Ashes ($5.20) and another locally trained pacer in Ma Koo Loo Hambo ($24.20) for Nathan Hoy.
Another good mile rating of 1:59.6 saw a winning margin of 3.75 metres.
The result certainly stands her in good stead if a Queensland trip is on the cards in the near future.
Race five was a NSW State Bred Breeders Challenge Pace over 1720 metres.
It resulted in a win for the Murringo trained Sportwriter four year old mare Cherry Express ($3.10) in one of the closest finishes of the night.
Another locally trained pacer in Artegra ($5.10) almost got the money after coming home strongly.
The judges margin was a head with Marys Little Rose ($8.10) filling the minors.
The 1:59.8 mile rate kept the crowd on their toes for the entire journey of the race.
One of the most consistent pacers around finally broke through for another well deserved win in race six.
Waterbug ($20.40) owned trained and driven by Mark Cullen last won a race on the Young track back in January 2015, but has been a model of consistency throughout his long career.
With a mile rating of 2:04.7, the daughter of Barnett Hanover accounted for the fast finishing Kyalla Stuart ($8.00) and Exclusive Jack ($12.10) to giving Mark a winning double.
Promising Young driver Nic Dewar produced another excellent drive to secure a win for the Rick Burnett trained eight year old gelding Diamante Maravu ($55.80) in the final race.
Diamante Maravu defeated Kyalla Dave ($7.90) and Moonlight Gambler ($6.40).
Coming from sixth at the bell, the gelding who has had 151 starts reproduced the form that saw him win at Wagga in March this year when he rated a slick 1:59.9 mile rate after being three wide at the bell.
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