SA TROTS -Wrap up by Fisch
Talented young reinsman Corey Johnson landed a treble on his venture to Saturday’s Mount Gambier Cup meeting.
Johnson was among a group of city-based trainers and drivers who made the trip south for Mount Gambier’s biggest night each year.
The star concession driver won the opening event on Aunty Ethal for Globe Derby Park trainer Robin Maguire, picked up the Trotters Cup on Barhoon for his father, Penfield Gardens-based Lane Johnson, then brought up the treble on veteran pacer Celestial Daybreak for Two Wells mentor Shane Loone.
“I had driven there previously but never had a winner,” Johnson said.
“On Saturday I was able to find the lead on all three and they were good enough to win.
“It was a great night, and it is always a buzz to drive in front of a big crowd.”
Aunty Ethal ($2.30) scored by 12.3 metres in the Baxter Hire Trotters Handicap (2190m).
“She began well off her 10 metre handicap and I was able to find the lead quickly,” Johnson said.
“We always wanted to be in front of the favourite Perseveranse ($1.90) and when she led, I was pretty confident.”
Johnson was able to record a slow first quarter (33 seconds) of the last 1600 metres, then set a good tempo for the rest of the race to win comfortably.
From barrier one, Barhoon ($11.60) stepped nicely in the 2023 Canny Ever Mount Gambier Trotters Cup (2580m) and was able to lead throughout.
Credit to Barhoon, she was attacked several times during the race but held out every challenge to win.
Well driven by Johnson, the mare scored by 3.6 metres from Icicle ($3.70) with Glorious Finale (25.60), five metres away third.
“She is a very good mare, and I believe, she can get better,” Johnson said.
“I had to hold her together around the tight turns and she was definitely more comfortable in the straights.
“The favourite came up to challenge me on the home turn when it was obvious, I was trying to hold her together.
“But he galloped trying to put the pressure on and we were able to scoot away in the home straight.”
Barhoon won two races for trainer Aaron Bain last year before being transferred to Lane Johnson in September.
“Saturday was her second win for us and it was nice to pick up a feature.
“We will bring her back to Adelaide and run her in the country cups over the next month.”
Johnson brought up his hat trick on veteran Celestial Daybreak in the Bendigo Community Bank Mount Gambier & District Pace (2190m).
Sent out at $11.30, the 11-year-old, found the front from gate four after an early tussle.
Once in front, Johnson slowed the tempo to a walk with a 34.1 second first quarter of the last 1600 metres.
“Once I got left alone with such a slow speed, he was always going to be hard to beat.
“He really has been an ATM for his connections.
“That was his 48th win, he is racing superbly for Shane (Loone).
“He came home in sub-30 second quarters for the last 800 metres, and around the Mount he was always going to be very hard to catch.”
Celestial Daybreak scored by 6.9 metres from Presidential Art ($2 fav) with Martin Magic ($11.50), seven metres away third.
The 2023 Matthews Petroleum Mount Gambier Gold Cup (2590m) produced an upset result with Springfield Affair ($86.70) scoring by a short half head from Sea Lover ($4.90) with Royal Speech ($11.70)a half neck away third in an exciting finish.
The winner is trained by Kevin Von Duve at Glencoe and was driven by Mark Phillips.
Victorian trainer Rebecca East, a regular visitor to South Australia, took out the 2023 HRSA Mount Gambier Country Pacing Cup (2190m) with Julius Shadow.
Driven by Jackie Barker, Julius Shadow ($2.30 fav) won by a head from Aladdin ($5.30) with Modern Bliss ($9.80), 11.7 metres away third.
The big meeting this weekend will be at Kapunda on Sunday, March 12 with the Kapunda Pacing Cup and the Kapunda Trotters Cup.
Story Graham Fischer
Photo SA Botra