Gowleys glory as Growlers gives him his first Metro winner

The sustained speed effort of Hanging Fire at Globe Derby Park on Saturday resulted in a breath-taking victory in the Bargain Steel Centre Pace (2230m).

Hanging Fire, trained at Naracoorte by Greg Scholefield, and driven by Gaita Pullicino, rated a sizzling 1:55.6 for the trip, only 1:2 outside the track record set by Guaranteed when it won the 2015 SA Cup.

The four-year-old defied a surprising betting drift from $2.05 to $3.10 to lead throughout and win comfortably.

Hanging Fire led throughout and was never challenged in scoring by 6-1/2 metres from Clarenden Envoy ($13) which chased him throughout with Wrangler ($10), five metres away third.

The gelding is the quickest beginner from a mobile in South Australia and has no trouble leading from any barrier, then just keeps running.

He has won seven of his last nine starts, the last four in a row, and both his defeats were seconds.

Scholefield agreed Hanging Fire was continuing to improve.

“I believe he is enjoying my training routine,” Scholefield said.

“I am a great believer in routine and feeding horses properly.

“He is a great eater. We got home about 3 o’clock on Sunday morning and he went looking for his feed and cleaned out the bin.”

Scholefield said he was training Hanging Fire much like his former star Emain Macha.

“He loves his galloping. Not so keen on being hoppled and only does what he has to, but really enjoys galloping.”

The trainer this week will sit down to map out a plan for Hanging Fire.

“I will have to see if he is qualified for a standing start, and if not, set about rectifying that situation.

“I will also look at the programs for both Adelaide and Melbourne.”

One trainer who enjoyed his first metropolitan winner was Wayne Gowley.

Growlers Last ($23) leading throughout in the #stepuptobreastcancer Pace (1800m) was a reason to celebrate.

Gowley brought his family from North Queensland to South Australia “about 30 years ago” and it has taken this long for his first metropolitan success.

“I have had a few placings, and wins during the week, but this is my first metro win,” Gowley said.

“My daughter Cheryl (Herman) has had a couple of Saturday wins, but this is my first.”

Growlers Last was perfectly rated by reinsman Kevin Weidenbach to score by 2-1/2 metres from Celestial Topaz ($10) with Major Reason ($4), a half a metre away third.

Gowley was also impressed by the professionalism of Weidenbach.

“Kevin texted me during the week and asked if Corey (Johnson) chose to drive Celestial Topaz, then could he be considered for the drive on my bloke.

“When Corey opted to stay with the runner-up, I was happy to give Kevin the opportunity and he drove superbly.”

Gowley said Growlers Last and Little Growl were both bred by himself and the late Peter Biddell.

“When Peter passed away, I inherited the pair and have had a lot of fun with them.”

Trainer Mario Borg prepared the trifecta in the Hygain Claiming Pace (1800m).

Harry Ovens ($2.70) proved too strong scoring by three metres from Soho Tsunami ($15) with Rebel With A Grin ($34), two metres away third.

The winner was driven by Gaita Pullicino, Kevin Weidenbach on the runner-up while Borg was in the sulky of the third placegetter.

“He is a good bread and butter horse,” Pullicino said.

“He has nice speed and is tough and gives his all.

“When he came forward and was able to get outside the leader, I thought he would be hard to beat.”

Pullicino brought up a double later in the evening winning on Hanging Fire.


Photo Walter Bulyga