By David Gilbert
A HOLIDAY by the sea topped off with a city winner.
What more could a country trainer wish for?
Everything panned out perfectly for local trainer Peter Hardacre last weekend when he took the family for a beach side holiday in Adelaide.
Surprisingly, Damascus Moment was his only runner for the weekend – just up the road at Gawler – and the mare put the icing on the cake for the trip away by taking out the 1100-metre BM 60 handicap.
Earlier in her career Damascus Moment had won four of her first seven races, including a victory at city level in November, 2019 at Morphettville.
Last Saturday was her first win since to make it five wins from 13 career runs at her fourth run this preparation.
“She is one dimensional and has to be rated well which apprentice Sophie Logan did to perfection,“ Hardacre stated as he lazed by the pool.
“Sophie has not had a lot of rides for me but has ridden a few winners and her three-kilogram claim certainly helped.“
Damascus Moment defied a betting drift ($4.80-$6) to score by more than a length and had the race in her keeping when Logan kicked her clear at the top of the straight.
The five-year-old mare is raced by her breeder Ian Perkins along with fellow Naracoorte mate Bill Moorhouse, some clients in Adelaide and Melbourne as well as Wayne Glynn from Mount Gambier.
As for Damascus Moment’s next assignment, Hardacre is spending some of his leisure time on holiday perusing the racing calendar.
“It is hard to place her at the moment and I’m struggling to find a suitable race,” he said.
“It may be back at Morphettville in a 1050-metre race in early February.“
Hardacre currently has 20 horses in work at his Yahl stables adding, “that is my status quo and there are another five being pre trained at present who will come into work when others are sent for a spell.“
Also enjoying success at Gawler was local apprentice Jacob Opperman who won his second metropolitan race on the Michael Hickmott trained Cotillion.
NEW FACE MOST WELCOME
THERE is a new rider in the region and it comes at a most opportune time with a couple of jockeys sidelined through injury.
Sonja Wiseman is based at Casterton and recently arrived in the western Victorian town with her partner and former cross country jockey Tommy Logan.
Wiseman has ridden extensively in the Northern Territory and Queensland and is picking up plenty of work riding track work here at Glenburnie.
She made her local debut with two rides at Bordertown on Wednesday.
Local apprentice Libby Halliday has been joined on the injury list by Geoff O’Loughlin who only returned to race riding late last year following a 10-year absence.
“I have torn abdominal muscles and I felt it come on a fortnight ago at Penola,“ O’Loughlin said.
“It didn’t get any better and I am now looking at a hernia operation which has a recovery period of eight weeks.“
FIRST RUNNER TONIGHT
LOCAL lad Zac Pearson has had some success as an owner over the years with some pacers, notably with The Cullector.
Now, he has branched out and taken out a trainer’s licence and will have his first runner here at the Greenwald Paceway tonight.
“We paid $8,000 for The Cullector and he has won around $30,000 for us,“ Pearson told The Border Watch this week.
“I helped out trainers Steve Fennell and Marg Lees and it was suggested I get a trainer’s licence.“
That eventuated and Ponderosa Andrew will be his debut runner in race six tonight.
At a time when South Australian harness racing is crying out for young blood to be involved in the game, Pearson has stepped up and helped answer the call.
At 23 years of age, that makes Pearson the youngest harness trainer – by a fair bit – in the Limestone Coast.
“I purchased Ponderosa Andrew through the internet from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and he arrived here late last year,” he said.
“He was a bit lean after the long trip so I gave him six weeks off and he ran third in a trial here last Tuesday week.
“Brent Howard has been driving him in fast work but is committed to his father’s horse in the same race and Matthew Horsnell from Terang will be in the sulky.
“Ponderosa Andrew is the only horse I have at present in the stable and eventually I will look at having a few more.“
Tonight’s meeting is another co-share meeting with Port Pirie, with the first local race at 7.57pm and the last at 9.28pm.
Another relative newcomer to local harness racing is driver Lochie Cook who is based at Terang.
Cook only has the one drive but comes here in hot form following a double late in the program at Stawell on Monday.
In the opening race, the consistent Royal Speech and the first-starter Smooth Techy from the David Drury stable stand out as the main chances.
A good draw (1) will see Seal The Destiny as a major fancy in the NR 43 pace, with the Cheryl Jacob trained Keayang Trumpet, a winner at the last meeting here, as the obvious threat.
The pole marker Tuesday’s Edition and the Barry Finnis trained Pebble Sands, also a winner at the previous meeting here in track record time, appeal as the main hopes in the feature race, the NR 51-58 pace.
The barrier draw in the NR 50 pace gives She Will Wantano (2) a grand opportunity to regain winning form in a small field where the in-form Burning Hot has drawn the outside barrier (5).
Local trainer David Drury took two runners to Stawell on Monday with undeniable chances but neither fired a shot.
However, Drury’ did have a winner as a driver for Balmoral trainer Janet Exell on Princess Alexandra in the NR 50 pace.
EXPECTATIONS HIGH FOR CUP DAY
GIVEN good weather, Naracoorte Racing Club officials have high hopes of a most successful Naracoorte cup day meeting on Sunday, February 7.
Bruce Jaensch, in his final term as president of the club said it is normally a big weekend for Naracoorte with the annual Taste festival prior to cup day.
“Because of COVID, the Taste festival has been cancelled this year and we are hopeful that the community will focus their attention on the Naracoorte cup meeting,“ he said.
Attractions on the day include fashions on the field, the Coopers marquee (tickets are still available from the club) and the Pimms wine bar.
Bus transport will be available from the Naracoorte town square before and after the races.
BOTH HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE
THE two Limestone Coast trained winners at Murray Bridge on Australia Day caught the eye with impressive efforts.
Both Three Tears and Good Girl Bella fronted up as last-start winners (at Murray Bridge and Stawell respectively) and produced the goods again.
Despite sitting three wide, the Peter Hardacre trained Three Tears ($2.50 fav.) handled the jump from maiden grade to BM 58 grade with ease for apprentice Scarlet So.
Then the Jeff Searle trained Good Girl Bella ($3.20) spaced her rivals in the concluding stages of the BM 54 handicap to score by more than seven lengths with in-form apprentice Sophie Logan in the saddle.
Tonight: Mount Gambier trots from 7.57pm; Sunday, February 7: Naracoorte gallops (cup).