1st Jan: Sam Godino’s Skyvalley - Wrath Of Rosie filly Hades Sky was an all of the way winner of the Melbourne Transformers New Years Night 3Y0 Trotters Mobile at Echuca giving him a great start to the new year. Bred and raced by Sam and wife Sharon, Hades Sky trained and driven by Kyneton’s Tony Xiriha pounced on the lead from gate three and was never headed, scoring by a 10.1 metre margin over rank outsider Full Of Herself (three back the markers) and Majestic Time (one/one). The mile rate 2-04.8.
8th Jan: President Emmy Mazzetti shared in a winner when 5Y0 Shadow Play - Swanline mare Silent Growl (John Caldow) scored in the COGS Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. Raced in partnership with Val Morgan wife of club member Bruce, Silent Growl (gate 4) angled to be three back on the markers as pole marker Wonder Force led. Extricated from the inside in plenty of time to make the final bend three wide, Silent Growl ran home nicely to register a 3.5 metre margin in advance of Byalla Boy along the sprint lane which bloused the weakening pacemaker by a head for second after trailing. The mile rate 1-59.2.
12th Jan: Rob Merola and Sam Golino share the ownership of in-form 5Y0 Skyvalley - Mystic Hush mare Sky Majesty which snared the 2240 metre Yabby Dam Racing Trotters Handicap for TM0 or better class at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trained and driven by Shepparton (Kialla) horsewoman Laura Crossland, Sky Majesty began best from barrier two to lead, before taking a trail on roughie Any Old Way which rushed forward from mid-field to assume control at the bell. Using the sprint lane, Sky Majesty nosed out the leader right on the wire in a tricky finish, with Carnera who also raced by the pair 4.7 metres away in third place after racing parked for the final circuit. The mile rate 2-04.7.
Helen Dobson was also a winner at Melton that night when very honest Shady Shark Hanover -T he Milky Way 4Y0 mare Shady Secret led for the majority of the trip from gate three in the APG February Sales Vicbred Pace for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres. Trained at Myrniong by Jess Tubbs and husband Greg Sugars who handled the reins, Shady Secret defied all challengers to register a neck decision in 1-59.8 over a sprint laning Rockabella Starz which flew away from outside the front line to lead momentarily, with Nikkibadwagon 2.5 metres back in third place after racing exposed.
17th Jan: Peter Judd’s 4Y0 Bettors Delight - Mach And Me mare Perfectly Imperfect greeted the judge in the C0 class Working Man’s Club Pace over 1790 metres at Mildura. Trained in Adelaide by Justin Brewin and driven by son Jayden, Perfectly Imperfect (gate 4) did all of the work in the race parked outside the pole line pacemaker Valstrepo, proving too strong at the finish to record a half head victory in a rate of 2-01 over the leader after a ding-dong duel all the way up the running. Sheza Sportsgirl (one/one) was 3.6 metres away in third place.
18th Jan: There would have been jubilation galore at Cranbourne after the Peter Watkinson part-owned Four Starzzz Shark - Sahara Miss 4Y0 gelding Starofsahara scored a nose victory in the 1609 metre Decron Pace for C1 class at Cranbourne. Trained at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, Starofsahara (Chris Alford) starting from the extreme draw settled well back in the field as Anybeach Anywhere led from gate six. Gaining a three wide trail home in the back straight on the final occasion following Stone Of Destiny, Starofsahara when taken to the centre of the track on turning, showed a great fighting spirit to nab Stone Of Destiny right on the wire in a tricky finish, with Anybeach Anywhere 1.6 metres back in third place. The mile rate 1-58.2.
19th Jan: There were certainly some “happy chappies” at Tabcorp Park Melton when 5Y0 Bacardi Lindy - Cloud Chaser gelding Cruisin Around did exactly that when returning to his best to snare the $16,000 Yabby Dam Racing Trotters Mobile for TMO-TM1 class over 2240 metres in 2-01.6. Prepared by Mick Hughes at the Cranbourne Training Complex, Cruisin Around raced by a large syndicate which include club members Rob Molloy and Bill Hutchison with regular reinsman Greg Sugars in the bike, led throughout from gate four to register an untouched 10 metre margin in advance of Savannah Jay Jay and Tiavons Dream.
Kevin Riseley shared in two winners in two days - 4Y0 Art Major - Nosotros entire Stars Align (Chris Alford) taking the 1720 metre M0 class MX5 Group Vicbred Pace at Tabcorp Park on January 19 and 5Y0 Rock N Roll Heaven-Mendelico gelding Heaven Rocks the $100,000 (Group 1) Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup over 2710 metres at Bray Raceway the night after.
Stars Align trained at Lara by Dean Braun first up since August, coasted to the wire 11.2 metres in advance of Willem and Lombo Idle Belief after leading in a slick 1-54.5, while Heaven Rocks was on his best behaviour with “All Stars” co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen in the sulky to lead throughout in accounting for Lennytheshark (also partly raced by Riseley) by a half neck in 1-55.9 after trailing. Shadow Sax (one/one – outside the winner home turn) was third 8 metres away.
27th Jan: Evergreen Four Starzzz Shark - Botswana 8Y0 entire Lennytheshark registered his 39th victory in 76 outings, when successful in the $50,000 (Group 2) Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton, giving Kevin Riseley yet another winner for the month. Trained by David Aiken, Lennytheshark (Chris Alford) led throughout from the pole to easily account for Bling It On by 8.5 metres in a rate of 1-52.7 for the 2240 metre trip. San Carlo was third 1.6 metres away after facing the open.