SA TROTS - Lord Zarias reins supreme in the Port Pirie Regional Council Pacing Cup

For Reeves Plains trainer-driver, Ryan Hryhorec, all’s well that ends well in the case of talented pacer Lord Zarias.

After a roller coaster week of emotions, Hryhorec drove Lord Zarias ($4.60) to a one metre victory in the $25,000 Port Pirie Regional Council Pacing Cup (2530m) on Saturday.

In winning, he outsprinted arch-rival Artillery ($1.80 fav) up the Port Pirie home straight.

It is the fourth time since February 17 the pair have run the quinella in a feature race and the scorecard is now two-all.

The drama for Hryhorec began at Victor Harbor on Martch 31 when the gelding had to be eased down when 10th behind Artillery in that club’s Cup and the trainer reported the horse had a viral infection.

Lord Zarias was treated and improved but a week before Port Pirie, Hryhorec worked the horse and said he was well below the standard expected.

“I said to Kerry (his wife) we would work him again on Tuesday, and he needed to do a lot better to warrant going to Pirie,” Hryhorec said.

“Kerry drove him on Tuesday, and while there was improvement, it still wasn’t as good as we would have liked.

“When he drew the front row, and because it was a $25,000 race, we decided to roll the dice and he did continue to improve as the week went on.

“A demonstration of the ups and downs of training is that our star trotter Regal Attire worked brilliantly on Tuesday, then on Wednesday was crook with a high temperature and had to be scratched.”

Hryhorec also made a significant gear change to Lord Zarias adding a rogue’s hood.

“I didn’t think I would be able to cross Culture King which was drawn inside us but with the gear addition, Lord Zarias flew the gate and was able to lead.

“When Paul (Cavallaro) came up on Artillery, rather than get into a battle and because of the issues we had been having, I decided to let him go to the front and hope my horse would be good enough to outsprint him like he did at Globe Derby last month.”

Cavallaro was able to record quite moderate sectionals before trying to put the race away with a 27.2 second third quarter when others were trying to make runs from back in the field.

Hryhorec said the decision proved correct and Lord Zarias was able to dash through and claim victory as they came home with a 29 second final quarter.

He said he would see how the gelding came through the race but was leaning towards giving him a short break before working towards the South Australian Cup later in the year.

The $20,000 Aldebaran Park Port Pirie Trotters Cup (2530m) produced an exciting finish.

Uncle Louis ($4.60) “got up off the canvas” to take out the feature.

Trained by Mario Borg and driven by Gaita Pullicino, Uncle Louis, which had come off a 10-metre handicap, went to the lead off the back straight but was quickly challenged.

My Used To Be ($2.25 fav), driven by Wayne Hill for co-trainers Jill Neilson and Katie Wilson, and starting from a 30-metre handicap, looked the winner when he trotted up and actually went past Uncle Louis by a metre.

Under Pullicino’s urgings, Uncle Louis lifted and came back to grab a half head victory.

The nine-year-old was originally trained in South Australia by Paul Cavallaro and had very good success in early 2023.

However, his form dropped away and he went on the market at the end of February this year and was purchased by Tony Pullicino.

Uncle Louis has been steadily improving his form under new trainer Mario Borg and Saturday’s win was the ultimate return for the stable.


Story HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga