There were fireworks on and off the track last Friday night with the 2018 Young Cherry Festival in full swing and the running of the Trimch Refrigeration Cherry Festival Cup at the Young Paceway adding to the excitement of the night.
An early start to the meeting coupled with a one hour interval for the popular fireworks display midway through the extended ten race programme certainly added to the overall entertainment factor for the Cherry Capital visitors and locals alike.
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Georges Plains trainer and driver Bernie Hewitt had certainly set his sights on another Young feature race win following the collection of the prize in 2014 with Passion For Aces and with a favourable gate two had one hand firmly on the trophy when Mackeral was given a dream run behind the resuming Arma The Gun.
In a time lasting a little longer than a corresponding interstate well publicised boxing match, (1:57.0) Mackeral came from third at the bell adding his claim with a final two quarters of 28.8/28.8 to record a 2 ½ metre win over Ned Pepper who desperately needed a sprint lane, with Arma The Gun filling the minor placing.
Racing opened with the resuming Dennis Picker trained Don't Call Me ($6:00) returning from the spelling paddock to circle the field at the bell after sitting eighth mid race to defeat a very determined and well driven Our Sams Home (Jimmy Brown) with a close neck margin advantage and a mile rating of 1:58.3.
Third over the line being Love At First Bite some 25 meters away. Race two continued to provide fast times with the well supported Pocket Of Terror ($1.25) posting a 12 meter win over Brooklyns Best and I’m Quite American in a smart 1:56.7 mile rating. The winner trained by Kevin Hayes and driven by Blake Jones went into the race with excellent recent form and has now won five races in a relatively short career.
Long time Cowra trainer Colin Fliedner signalled a win is not to far away when Gold Onyx ran second at Canberra recently and his assumption was spot on when he gave Jimmy Brown the responsibility to claim the prize when Gold Onyx ($2.30) led throughout with a mile rating of 1:59.1 and final quarters of 28.5 and 29.9.
Junee postman Bruce Harpley set Innocent Crocker ($1.60) a solid task to keep finding something in the straight to grab early leader Camelot Speedstar in the final stages of the race to claim victory in another exciting encounter that left Ill Be A Lady to claim third money in race four.
A winning mile rate of 1:59.4 and a margin of 1½ metres was just enough to give the six year old mare her fifth race win from forty four starts. Gemma and Mat Rue combined in race five with last start Dubbo winner The Restauranteur ($6;00) who literally slipped under the radar to lead throughout from gate one in defeating the well supported Prince Potter ($3.10) and the nine year old lightly raced Great Hand for Trevor (Our Sir Vancelot) Allamby.
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The winner and placegetters certainly brought the crowd ti life with a finishing margin of a head each way and a mile rating of 2:00.4. Blake Jones collected his second winners check for the night when Random Task ($3.60) took full advantage of the one back outside trail to run home with a 29.9 final quarter ahead of Saucy Dreams and back marker claimer Willbe Doc.
The winner had recorded a disappointing tenth at Griffith last start following an impressive win the start previously at the same venue and his win on this track elevated the gelding to now a winner of five races.
With almost an hour to re group and settle, the remaining patrons were given an opportunity to see a promising young pacer, Mister Donald ($1.90) present a polished display of front running capabilities by comfortably defeating Firey Jerula and Hit The Track in race eight.
A 1:57.4 mile rating, under a tight hold was an impressive performance by the Junee trained Falcon Seelster three year old who has won two races from only five starts both as a two year old and three year old, certainly a pacer with a bright future.
Veteran followers of the light harness sport were quickly scrambling for their record books when the grandson of the late Lou Prest (Michael Frost owner) drove a perfectly timed race with Sports Street ($7:00) in race nine.
Driving for Leeton trainer Symes, he drove a copybook race to get the Sportwriter five year old over the line with a one metre advantage over Kellys Ideal and $2.80 favourite Traces Of Tara who looked the winner fifty meters from home.
Temora reinsman Ray Walker had a Jeff Horn plan to put the opposition away early by jumping to the front from the start and delivering the knock out blow with a 15½ metre victory with Tubbee Tee ($2.70) over Zoes Regal and Courageous Ways in the final race of the night.
Tubbee Tee is from a previous Cherry Festival Cup winner in Safely Scootin (2004) and was bred by Eric Basham of Young certainly a fitting conclusion to another fantastic night of racing in the Cherry Capital.