Ziggy Rocks edges rivals in Cherry Festival Cup

Mat Rue in the gig with Ziggy Rocks and winning connections with president of the Young Harness Racing Club David Micallef. Photo: Martin Langfield
Mat Rue in the gig with Ziggy Rocks and winning connections with president of the Young Harness Racing Club David Micallef. Photo: Martin Langfield

The prediction last week that the Bathurst trained gelding Ziggy Rocks would take home the 2019 Christy Park Cherry Festival Cup was spot on although the winning margin was again as close as in previous years.

Given the perfect sit behind the leader Maximus Red, trainer and driver Mat Rue had the $6 chance handily placed to make his move in the closing stages of the 2100m feature race to record a half neck win over Maximus Red and backmarker Deeceasar in a mile rating of 2:00.4.

The win by the Pet Rock four-year-old was his fourth from 20 starts and no doubt brought tremendous joy to his owner and long time supporter of the Young club in Daniel Cordina.

Favourite backers got off to an indifferent start when Sweet Sangria ($1.90) settled in fourth position after starting from the second line outside draw and never threatened the leaders to finished third behind outsider Pom Pay ($21) and another outsider in the locally trained Corporal Jujon ($19).

The winning margin of one-and-a-half metres and a moderate mile rating of 2:03.1 for the 2100m opening race set the scene for an exciting night of competitive racing.

The second race was a much more rewarding experience for the favourites when Cathy Brown ($1.75) lead throughout to narrowly defeat the polemarker Neverhaveiever ($41) driven by Blake Micallef for Alectown trainer Stan Townsend.

Last start winner Ideal Billy ($12) finished third after being midfield at the bell, the winning margin of a neck with only a one-and-a-half metre margin separating the placegetters certainly was an exciting finish to the second race.

Ziggy Rocks (inside) clinches the 2019 Cherry Festival Cup. Photo: Martin Langfield

Ziggy Rocks (inside) clinches the 2019 Cherry Festival Cup. Photo: Martin Langfield

Race three produced a battle of the favourites with Brobenah Boy ($3.70) producing a strong finishing burst from sixth at the bell to defeat Real Dash ($3.40), who was last at the bell, with only a neck margin in favour of the Leeton trained pacer with Long Hot Summer finishing third, again only a nose away in a mile rating of 2:00.2.

Regular visitor to the Young track, Angela Hedges again showed her driving abilities with a convincing win behind Womenwhiskeyngold ($5.50) for Forbes trainer Garry Eyre.

Second favourite for the race, Sweet Luck ($3.70) overcame an awkward draw to finish second after starting from gate 10.

With three scratchings in race six including the pre-race favourite, Murringo duo of Nathan and Garth Hoy were set to strike with the seven-year-old veteran Gosling In Flight ($41) after finishing an eye catching third at Canberra last start.

Leading the field at the bell, the gelding ran home in great style in recording his first win.

The penultimate race of the night did cause some excitement when the heavily supported polemarker Chain Reaction ($1.40) broke leaving the straight on the first occasion taking out a number of runners, this gave Our Sams Home the opportunity to set the pace, only to be run down by the 12-year-old veteran of 224 starts in Our Buller Boy ($41) in a close half neck decision with Davids Hope ($51) a similar distance away in third place.

Current mayor of the Hilltops region was on hand to see Sports Runna ($3.60) take out the final race of the night.

Trained by David Reynolds at Oberon, the daughter of Sportwriter came from midfield at the bell to finish strongly in defeating Nunya and Four Starzzz Chef.

Young Harness Racing Club continues to shine in the field of entertainment with another top night of racing at the Paceway on Tuesday night.

Racecaller Stuart Maxwell's race summaries and expert tips below:

Race one

David Druitt can produce a front running victory here with Lenas Art from gate four. Her last victory was on this track on August 16 and she will be fresh for this after finishing fourth at Wagga last time out.

Polemarker Mini Major will be suited by the distance, her last win was also on this track June 11 and was fourth at Canberra, November 25.

My Mels Place has had three starts since resuming including fourth here last start.

Fastestgirlintown early speed and gain sit from gate seven. Third last start Albury was satisfactory, winner Wagga, October 11.

  • 4 Lenas Art, 1 Mini Major, 6 My Mels Place, 7 Fastestgirlintown

Race two

Dragon Stride is knocking on the door and gets chance here following solid third at Canberra last start. Fifth at Menangle November 16 was good effort. Em Powered was convincing winner two starts back Canberra and fourth same track last start in fast time.

Another Buddy races well fresh and is resuming here from 10 week break. Great Hand is a solid performer who will be running on from a back line draw, not the roughest here.

  • 7 Dragon Stride, 6 Em Powered, 3 Another Buddy, 10 Great Hand

Race three

Renee Dale was winner this track before queried performance last start Bathurst, should improve here with luck early. Hey Suzie has only been unplaced once in last five starts and will be thereabouts over this distance.

Crime Time will come from behind but is a tough campaigner, finished fourth last start Canberra and a winner that track October 1 over similar distance. La Gesture is third up from spell and should be in the mix here.

  • 5 Renee Dale, 2 Hey Suzie, 11 Crime Time, 3 La Gesture

Race four

Man Hands has consistent form in Victoria placed three times from five starts in stronger company, watch market. Miss Gold Fortune is winner of nine races and is due for a change of luck here following fourth at Temora last start, should lead them up over this shorter distance.

Never Been Said won two starts back Canberra then close second last time out same track. Cobbity Chic has had one start since resuming when third Bathurst. Won Young May 10 prior.

  • 3 Man Hands, 2 Miss Gold Fortune, 5 Never Been Said, 1 Cobbity Chic

Race five

Promise To Rock is overdue for win following solid placings last four starts including Blayney win November 10 and second Canberra last time out. Gotta Kick is last start winner Dubbo and placed four of last five starts and from strong stable. Fiery Jerula is resuming here, unplaced recent Bathurst trials. Jo Jo Zip was fifth last start at Albury, won Bathurst August 7. Rate 1:59.8 may shine here.

  • 3 Promise To Rock, 7 Gotta Kick, 9 Fiery Jerula, 4 Jo Jo Zip

Race six

Blues Terror is not the roughest here and has consistent form of late without winning, gets chance here from ideal draw. One Tuff Melody is from an in form stable, forget last Young start, second at Temora better indicator. Bettorbetbig showed a glimpse of form when resuming to run second here last time out, may be improved by that run and gets chance here from ideal draw. Corporal Jujon surprised with eye catching second here last meeting, a repeat would not be beyond this seven-year-old veteran.

  • 4 Blues Terror, 4 One Tuff Melody, 3 Bettorbetbig, 1 Corporal Jujon

Race seven

Swooped To Safety had no luck when out of play here last start. Better than that and will be looking to make amends here. Gosling In Flight broke through here last start and could continue that winning form again here without surprising, stable firing well at the moment. Smoken Alice has improved with a third here last start in fast time. Well drawn and could be the leader here. Little Archie will be thereabouts and in with a chance.

  • 6 Swooped To safety, 9 Gosling In Flight, 1 Smoken Alice, 7 Little Archie

Race eight

Shannonsideal has the best form in the race, placed three times and is resuming fresh here. Placed four times at Bathurst and is a reliable conveyance. Monterey has had three good trials with a win at Menangle rate 1:56, in with a big chance here. Savannahs Boy was third this track two starts back and is improving, should make his mark here. Risky Roll has had two starts finishing misfield, could improve here without surprising.

  • 4 Shannonsideal, 1 Monterey, 10 Savannahs Boy, 5 Risky Roll