By David Gilbert
A MELBOURNE winner one week, an Adelaide winner the next.
Life could not be sweeter for Alyce Finnis at present and even better when you consider the young Mil Lel trainer does not have a big stable, by any means.
After Art Jester gave Finnis her first Victorian metropolitan winner at Melton almost a fortnight ago, stable mate Lethal Louie returned to winning form in simple fashion at Globe Derby Park last Saturday night.
Lethal Louie had won his previous five starts before finding the opposition too hot and finishing a well beaten 10th at Melton on the same program that Art Jester saluted.
That was in a $20,000 race for three year olds and he took on far lesser company in a NR 48-55 race over 1800 metres last weekend.
Bookmakers assessed it that way too and Lethal Louie started a hot $1.50 chance at Globe Derby Park, in stark comparison to his $61 starting price seven days previous.
Those who took the short odds never had to reach for the heart tablets at any stage as driver Jayson Finnis gave Lethal Louie an easy run (one out and two back) until the 600-metre mark.
Lethal Louie quickly rounded up his rivals to score by 3.5 metres and win his ninth race from 17 starts.
A reminder for local harness racing fans who are involved with the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club’s 200 club, the windup is this Sunday afternoon from 1pm in the club bar at the Greenwald Paceway.
MILLICENT CUP THIS SUNDAY
THERE are only two cups in this region to be decided before the end of the 2022/23 racing season.
The first is this Sunday with the $32,000 Millicent Cup to be run over 2050 metres here at Glenburnie.
Then the curtain will come down early next month with the Apsley Cup meeting at Edenhope on Sunday, June 11.
When final nominations closed for the Millicent cup meeting on Wednesday, a total of 108 entries were received for the eight-race card.
It is definitely not the strongest Millicent cup field ever seen, far from it, but a change in race programming in recent times by Racing SA has a lot to do with that.
Local feature races such as the Naracoorte, Penola and Millicent cups are no longer open company events and are now lesser BenchMark rated races.
While field numbers for those cups have increased, the quality of horse competing is not nearly as strong as the likes of our better stayers (such as Farooq, Hasta La War and Clever Man) are virtually weighted out of such races.
Millicent cup weekend starts tonight in Millicent where the cup calcutta is being held for the first time in the Millicent RSL hall where various activities (apart from the calcutta) have been organised.
As we saw last year when the meeting was moved to Mount Gambier after nearly 40 years at Penola, Millicent residents rallied strongly behind their club and supported cup day extremely well.
Buses from Millicent and Beachport are bringing racegoers up for the day for what is one of the feature days for Limestone Coast racing.
Millicent trainer and Millicent Racing Club vice president Jeremy Kenny carries the hopes of his local community by having the only Millicent trained galloper (Bear Arms) in the Millicent cup.
“It would be nice if we got 15-20mm of rain in the lead up to the cup,” Kenny told The Border Watch on Wednesday.
“Teaghan Voorham rode her when she finished second to Clever Man in the cup last year and will be in the saddle on Sunday.”
Although both Bear Arms and the Mount Gambier stayer Muntham Missile currently have poor form leading into the Millicent cup, the winning chances of both will soar should the track be in the heavy rating by race time.
SERIES STILL UP FOR GRABS
SUNDAY’S Millicent cup here at Glenburnie is the final leg of the 2022/23 Limestone Coast cup series.
It is conducted on the seven cup races in the Limestone Coast and it started back in December with the Bordertown cup.
The Coonawarra cup (at Penola) in January was next followed by the Mount Gambier Summer cup, the Naracoorte cup, the Mount Gambier cup and the Penola cup.
No horse has won two of those cups this season meaning the leaderboard is rather congested going into the Millicent cup.
Clever Man leads the pack with 17 points, followed by Bossy Britches and Wild Willy (15), Master Of Zerprise (13), Dr Dee Dee (12), Rialtor & Thrill Kill (11) and Hasta La Fiorente (10).
The majority of those gallopers are in the spelling paddock and the only one entered for the Millicent cup is Hasta La Fiorente.
A win on Sunday by Hasta La Fiorente would be enough for him to clinch the series.
Owners of the winning horse of the series will collect $2,000.
Trevor White leads the trainer’s leaderboard for the series with 17 points, with Lee Creek, Michael O’Leary and the Jaensh stable all on 15 points followed by Sue Murphy (14) and Darryl Dodson (12).
Only Sue Murphy, the trainer of Hasta La Fiorente. is in the running on Sunday to topple White for the trainer’s bonus which offers up to $4,000.
SA LEADS THE WAY
IN many areas, racing in Victoria these days is a level above South Australian racing.
But, there is one area where South East racing excels in and that is the on-course information for racegoers of local races just decided.
These days, Limestone Coast racetracks boast excellent electronic semaphore boards in the infield, unlike most country tracks in western Victoria.
We are blessed here with information such as the final placings (first to sixth), the margins, times, track conditions and correct weight (or otherwise), all brilliantly illuminated on a big screen for patrons to see,
It was just the opposite at Casterton for its cup day meeting recently.
The old manual semaphore board attached to the judge’s box is still there but is not used.
Results of local races were briefly flashed on the Sky Channel screen before coverage crossed to showing races elsewhere in Australia.
Unless you could hear the public address (which was inaudible in some areas), you had little or no idea as to any information regarding the Casterton race just run.
How many on-course punters knew there was a protest in the final race and the original third placing in that race was altered to a dead heat after the judge closely examined the photo finish print?
It is believed Casterton officials were on the verge of checking out the electronic semaphore board at Penola when Covid arrived, with the idea of installing something similar, but nothing ever eventuated.