Perfect conditions for a harness racing greeted the large crowd attending the 2016 Young Cherry Festival Cup meeting last Friday.
With a competitive seven-race program that included the $12,240 Cherry Festival Cup, racing was once again exciting and entertaining. The opening event of the night saw a win for the John Vautin-trained Think It Through ($8) who came from third at the bell to defeat Classy Pasage ($6.10) and the more fancied Steve Turnbull-trained Jet Laag mare Stellagrey ($4.50). With only a half-head margin both ways, it was an exciting finish, the winning mile rate of 2:00.2 and a final quarter of 29.9 was sufficient to claim the prize for connections of the winner who is from the producing mare Salix, the dam of Ultimate Art who has himself collected just under $500,000 in prizemoney in his career.
Favourite backers were back in good voice in race two when the John O'Shea-trained and driven Vergels Girl ($3.20) came from second to beat early leader Shirvanee ($4.10) and third favourite Karinya Mully ($4.40) in a tight finish. The judge declared a nose victory to the five-year-old Always A Virgin mare who last won on this very same track in August when she rated 1:59.6 over a similar distance. The mile rating of 2:00.1 again was a good result for the mare who has now won eight races in her 25-start career. The first of the short priced favourites stepped out in race three in the shape of the March Three gelding Greenngold ($1.50) for Amanda Turnbull. The locally-trained The Champ Is Here ($3.40) for Jason Grimson set the pace early but was relegated to third with the Leigh Davis trained Rays Choice ($17.20) splitting the pair, Greennngold recording a 5½ metre head victory and a head separating the minor placings in another close finish. The winner is from the good mare The Baggy Green and has now won three races from just 14 starts that includes a recent Blayney win in convincing style. Shane Hillier made the long trip from the Riverina town of Yanco to claim victory in race four with his five- year-old gelding Corrinya Conman ($13.90) defeating the short priced War Dan Apollo ($2) and the Gregory Coney trained Bright And Sunny ($8.80) driven by Madi Young. Leading at the bell, the winner was able to hold off a last-minute attempt by the favourite to claim the prize but the son of Mister Big held on to record a four metre win and a mile rating of 1:57.1 for the 1720 metre fast class event. The feature race on the programme, the 2016 Young Cherry Festival Cup was certainly a crowd pleaser with a capacity field facing the starter for the 2100 metre $12,240 feature race of the night. - To Page 13
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