SA TROTS- Not a bad start to the season for Hryhorec

The domination of Ryan Hryhorec in South Australian harness racing was on display at Globe Derby Park last Sunday training four winners, including the two Cup features, along with driving three.

It capped off a big weekend for Hryhorec who, on the Friday night, was awarded the prestigious Jim Hurley Medal at the annual Harness Racing South Australia awards night celebrating the 2023 season.

The Jim Hurley Medal was first presented for the 2015/16 season, for a trainer or driver who performed consistently at a high level during a season, and Friday’s win was Hryhorec’s fourth success.

Sunday’s meeting had been scheduled to be held at Kapunda as the club’s feature meeting of the year, but with the heatwave conditions in South Australia, Harness Racing South Australia made the call to shift the meeting to Globe Derby Park to enable the meeting to be run at night, under lights, and in slightly cooler conditions.

The Kapunda Harness Racing Club will be allocated a date later in the year to enable it to conduct its feature races.

Sunday’s features were dominated by Hryhorec who trains at Reeves Plains.

He drove Lord Zarias to victory in the Ladbrokes Pacing Cup (2645m), then trained Regal Attire which won the Ladbrokes Trotters Cup (2645m) when driven by Gaita Pullicino.

Hryhorec also trained and drove Thunder Wing and Moops to victories in supporting races.

Lord Zarias ($2) trailed Artillery ($1.90 fav) throughout in the Ladbrokes Pacing Cup before dashing up the sprint lane to grab a half neck victory.

The result reversed the positions in the Italian Cup on February 17 and the pair will now clash again in the Gawler Cup (2550m) on Sunday, March 24.

A 40-metre handicap proved no issue for the in-form Regal Attire which stretched its winning run to four with a dashing victory in the Ladbrokes Trotters Cup (2645m).

Driver Gaita Pullicino allowed the six-year-old to catch the field on the first lap, then allowed him to trot around and find the front and dictate the tempo for the remainder of the race.

Regal Attire ($1.50) cruised home nine metres clear of Cyclone S Adams ($6.50) with Aldebaran Dexta ($4.60), a stablemate of the winner, 2-1/2 metres away third.

Hryhorec said the winner would now head to the Hambletonian (2550m) at Gawler on March 24 where he may be asked to give 50 metres to the front markers.

“The handicapper will eventually catch up to him,” Hryhorec said.

“The small field (of six) suited him tonight with not much traffic to get around.

“But if he goes back to 50 metres and there is a field of 10 or 12 runners, it will make his job a lot harder at Gawler, but there is no doubt he is an outstanding trotter.

“Last year I had C K Spur which dominated in South Australia, but Regal Attire is a much better horse.”

Thunder Wing ($2 into $1.75 fav) led throughout in the Bianco Reinforcing Trotters Handicap (2230m) for Hryhorec while Moops ($1.30 fav) sat parked before taking out the 2024 Team Teal Country Graduation Series (heat 3) over 1800 metres.

Virginia trainer Kerry Green has been a popular figure in harness racing for several decades but on Saturday night provided her first metropolitan quinella when Giftedfromtheheart ($2.70 fav) held off stablemate Giant Jackson ($12) in the #Raceforresearch Pace (1800m).

Partner Phil Westbury said it was unusual for the stable to have two horses in one race, but it was a big thrill to supply the quinella.

“Both horses are going really well so it was no surprise, but it was a great effort,” Westbury said.

Bettor Be Lively ($4.80) took his career stakes past the $200,000 mark with a victory in the Angle Vale Hardware & Fodder Pace (2230m).

Owned and trained by Peta Brown at Bagot Well, Bettor Be Lively, a 10-year-old, has collected $203,832 winning 20 races with 48 placings from 180 starts.

The gelding was driven by the trainer’s son Nick, who took an early trail before using the sprint lane to dash through and scored a 4-1/2 metre win from Butter Cup ($3.50 fav) with Treacherous Luck ($6.50), 3-1/2 metres away third.

“He is going as well as ever,” Brown said.

“He won well here in February, then had no luck at his subsequent two runs from awkward draws.

“Coming from gate two tonight, I thought he could lead, or at least sit second, and the race developed as I thought.

“Coming off the back he was really travelling, and I knew he would be hard to hold out.”

One of the drives of the night came from Ken Rogers who landed Oh Sweet Creature a narrow, but impressive, winner of the Vale Neville Thomson Pace (1800m).

Trained at Buchfelde by Jason Booth, Oh Sweet Creature ($2.50) looked in trouble when caught between runners on the final lap, but Rogers found an opening and the five-year-old sprinted brilliantly to grab a half head win in an exciting finish.

Wayne Hill had driven a great race on Trouble Looming ($2.30 fav), leading and dashing for home but Oh Sweet Creature proved too strong at the finish with Boss Major ($9.50) using the sprint lane to be a short half head away third.

HRSA Media

Photo: Walter Bulyga