Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton once again was serving up rough results at Tara Raceway last Sunday when Cullquin Nikki took the Klaassens Contractors Feature Grade Five time honours with a dashing display in the first of the two 512 metre heats.
Away well from box seven, the brindle bitch was in front going into the back straight and from then on never looked in any danger of defeat, eventually running out a 3½ length winner over Southwood Trump while Ernest Bale and Shore’s Last also made their way through to Sunday’s $2175 final when running third and fourth.
Cullquin Nikki’s winning time of 29.97 seconds was a far cry from her last 512 metre win in April when she recorded 30.52 seconds in a time-graded race. And it was a win that came on the back of three middle-distance runs over 600 metres last month.
Her win, at the nice odds of $23, continued Ashton’s run of longshot winners at Tara Raceway this year. In fact, Cullquin Nikki was a $26 chance when winning her first race for the trainer over 400 metres back in early April.
And then last month he was successful on the same day with Lady Vixyma and Carrara Lad who were both around the $50 mark.
By Nolen out of seven-race winner Shiraz Monelli, Cullquin Nikki was bred and is owned at Rushworth by Peter Cullie and Shara Quinlan who won with her at Ballarat over 545 metres last October before Ashton took over her training duties in February, in the interim winning three races and taking his Tara Raceway tally this year to nine.
The 37 kilogram Southwood Trump, who last won at Tara Raceway in February for Mortlake trainer Peter Crawley, was always on the pace from box one while Ernest Bale had no luck on the first turn before just holding out Shore’s Last in the run home.
Swift Limes, now trained locally by Peter “Spider” Whitehead, and Nicole Stanley’s Turbo Road pretty well went stride for stride for much of the second heat, Swift Limes eventually gaining the verdict by a bob of the head in 30.33 seconds.
A son of Swift Fancy x Which Class, Swift Limes has now won three races at Tara Raceway from only seven starts and being a September 2015 whelping should be right in the mix come August’s Winter Classic.
Spring’s Over worked home well to finish a 1¾ length third while Valoshore, an older half-sister to Shore’s Last, made up a stack of ground to grab fourth spot and also qualify for Sunday’s final.
And following Tuesday’s box draw, Ernest Bale looks to have drawn ideally in the one – a box he’s raced from on 11 occasions for four wins and five minor placings.
A short-priced favourite from box eight in last Sunday’s heat, the Barry Shepheard trained winner of more than $100,000 had been racing for the first time in 12 months and as such should be improved by the run.
QUICK TIMES RUN OVER 600 METRES
Col’s Wallett and Cryer’s Plugger had last Sunday’s South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (600 m) virtually to themselves a long way from home.
Mind you, after the winning time was posted it probably wasn’t all that surprising considering Col’s Wallett had bowled along in front before stopping the clock in near-record time of 35.03 seconds while Cryer’s Plugger ran 35.16 seconds – the second-fastest this year – when being beaten by 1¾ lengths.
Trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, Col’s Wallett’s time was the fastest run over the middle-distance journey at Tara Raceway since Paraphernalia broke Unsub Andy’s 35.04 seconds record in October last year when clocking 34.99 seconds.
Raced by the Foridds Syndicate, comprising Bluey Forsyth and Brian Riddle, Col’s Wallett was the second leg of a litter double for connections after Rowchester Star earlier in the day won the ClassicBet Mixed Stake (400 m) in 23.19 seconds.
And later Stanley continued on her winning way when Fiorelli Rose scored a quick 29.72 seconds win over the promising Zuma Creek in the Produce Store Free For All (512 m), giving her trainer a treble and taking her number of Tara Raceway wins this year to 55.
The stage is now set for an interesting clash at Tara Raceway on Sunday when Col’s Wallett (box three) and the Jeff Guy trained Paraphernalia (six) meet in the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (600 m).
Paraphernalia raced at Tara Raceway last Friday when he was too strong for kennelmate Frac Geek over 512 metres in a best of day 29.91 seconds.
Guy holds a strong hand in the race as he also has Brazen Blue and You Can Jive engaged in boxes one and seven after they fought out the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (600 m) last Friday with the former winning by 4½ lengths in a handy 35.42 seconds.