SA TROTS - Childers Road is the gift that keeps on giving

Childers Road is the gift that keeps on giving.

The nine-year-old won his second race in a row at Globe Derby Park on Saturday scoring a courageous victory in the Clay & Mineral Pace (1800m).

Driven by Gaita Pullicino, Childers Road ($3.20 fav) raced outside the lead and looked beaten when the sprint went on as rivals looked to have his measure.

But, under the urgings of his veteran driver, the gelding lifted and pushed through to score a metre win from Celestial Daybreak ($14 into $7.50) which had led, with Giant Jackson ($19) a head away third.

Childers Road now has two wins and a second from four starts this year, after recording six wins and 14 placings last season.

Penfield trainer Todd Weidenbach said he thought victory might be gone as the field came off the back straight.

“I knew he wouldn’t give up and would come again in the straight but thought some of the others might have the momentum to beat him,” Weidenbach said.

“Gaita knows him well and kept at him and he rallied and won.

Childers Road is owned by Weidenbach, his partner Rhea Ward, Mel Seal-Kittel, Andrew Smith and Brad Lees.

“I am not taking much credit for the win, that should go to Mel (Seal-Kittel) who comes out every day to work him.”

Weidenbach is very busy running his business, Todd’s Complete Garden Maintenance & Gardening, and only has time to train a few harness horses.

“We purchased Childers Road from Waylon Hornhardt late in 2022, I gave him a few runs then sent him to Aaron Coad in Mildura before he returned to Jason Booth in March last year.

“In September I took him back to train and Mel offered to give me a hand with his training and now she comes out to my stables each day, and she does deserve all the credit.

Seal-Kittel said she was enjoying the hands-on work with Childers Road, and also giving Weidenbach a hand at the stables.

“I did have a trainer’s licence a few years ago and have sounded out the stewards about getting it back but there is nothing definite,” she said.

“For the present, I am happy helping Todd and working with Childers Road, he is a real trier, just gives his all.”

Seal-Kittel is a hard worker in the harness industry being on the committee of the South Australian Breeders Owners Trainers Association and has become a popular member of Piranha Media’s Pacing Podcast which attracts an extensive viewing audience.

She was already in good spirits gearing up Childers Road because in the previous race, her son Jason (Chicken) Kittel produced an excellent drive to win on Steam Cleaned for Globe Derby Park trainer Bronte Giorgio.

Kittel, 20, is a concession driver with plenty of potential and Steam Cleaned from his 31st winner after beginning his driving career in 2021.

Specked from $34 into $26, Steam Cleaned appreciated good speed in the Download The TAB App Pace (2230m) and finished powerfully to score by four metres from Budding Caesar ($7) with Lifeisbutadream ($2.50 fav), a head away third.

Bettor Be Lively ($31) and Our Major Jack ($4.60) disputed the early lead with the former holding the inside and they ran a 29.2 second first quarter of the last 1600 metres before easing up slightly for a 30.2 second next quarter.

Anthony Robinson, driving the favourite Lifeisbutadream went early in the back straight on the last lap trying to go from one-out, one-back to find the front but Bettor Be Lively kept pushing through for a 29.1 second third quarter.

The leaders got tired over the final 100 metres and Kittel sailed down the outside to win on Steam Cleaned.

Trainer Bronte Giorgio said he thought his pacer would be in the finish from a long way out.

“He just loves the 2230 metres, and when the pressure was on up front, I knew he would take holding out,” Giorgio said.

Reeves Plains trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec continued his brilliant form driving four winners, two for himself, and two for Globe Derby Park trainer Luke O’Neill.

From a back row draw, Hryhorec drove superbly to have the O’Neill-trained Kivici in a perfect position in the run before making a winning run in the Skyvalley @ Aldebaran Park Trotters Mobile (2230m).

Kivici ($5.50) scored by three metres from Balmoral Hall ($3.60 fav) with Lord Chancellor ($26) two metres away third.

He then found the front on O’Neill’s Joshing Oliver ($7) in the 2024 Southern Stars Yearling Sale February 11 Pace (1800m) and rated him perfectly to win by 7-1/2 metres from Giftedfromtheheart ($3.30 fav) with Mariahs Shadow ($26), a short half head away third.

Hryhorec stepped Premonition ($2.90 fav) away brilliantly in the Hygain Regain Pacers Handicap (2230m) and the gelding led throughout to win by two metres from Bullys Delight ($34) with Mister Fortunia ($81), 12 metres away third.

He brought up his fourth win on Sugarpova ($3.50) which finished powerfully in the North East Group Pace (1800m) to win by two metres from Sunshine Ray ($15) with Hereforagoodtime ($8) three metres away third.


Story: HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga