SA TROTS -Wrap up by Fisch
Never doubt the passion of professional harness racing people as 2022 Jim Hurley Medal winner Ryan Hryhorec proved when driving tough pacer Assassinator to victory at Kapunda on Sunday.
Before a good holiday crowd, the Kapunda Harness Racing Club conducted its’ annual Cups day meeting and Hryhorec landed the 2023 Mantina Quarries Kapunda Pacing Cup (2610m) for Virginia part-owner-trainer Chris Nicol.
It is not the first time the trio have combine for a major Cup win, taking out the 2020 Victor Harbor Pacing Cup.
On Sunday, when he knew Assassinator had the Cup won, Hryhorec punched the air with his whip to celebrate the win.
“I am an emotional person, and after a tough week it was good to land the Cup for Chris (Nicol) and his family,” Hryhorec said.
“Assassinator has been a good horse to me as I won a Victor Harbor Cup on him, and back in January I won at Globe Derby Park on him at $101.
“I knew he was going to be in the finish when I was able to get a cart into the race on the back of Culture King.
“When he went forward three wide with a lap to go it ensured the leaders were under pressure and the race would suit a swooper, and that was Assassinator.”
Trainer Chris Nicol was full of praise for the winner.
“He is now 11 years old and going better than ever,” Nicol said.
“He is rarely far away and has now won three races this year.
“I bought him, and another horse Straight Thru Blue from Perth trainer Ross Olivieri in early 2018 and they have been excellent investments.”
The early part of the Cup went as expected with Maharajah ($3,80) pushing through to hold the lead from top mare Dancing Finn ($3.30 fav) which was forced to sit parked.
Gawler driver Greg Rogers, on Culture King ($17.70) came three wide with a lap to go and the pressure was on.
It was left to Assassinator ($10) to charge down the outside over the final stages to win by 2-1/2 metres from Culture King with Van Mara ($11.30), three metres away third.
Nicol said Assassinator would now run in the Gawler Pacing Cup (2550m) at Gawler on Monday, March 27.
The 2023 J T Johnson & Sons Kapunda Trotters Cup (2610m) went to Uncle Louis, part-owned by boom Port Adelaide recruit Jason Horne-Francis.
The footballer made the trip to Kapunda to see his trotter come from last to win the Cup.
Uncle Louis ($7.30), is trained by Paul Cavallaro and was driven by his sister Angela Chapman.
He won by 1-1/2 metres from the Aaron Bain-trained Peakz Luck ($5.30) with Barhoon ($10.20), two metres away third.
“Ange and I discussed not going too early and using his sprint,” Cavallaro said.
“I have to admit I thought we had missed the bus but Ange knew what she was doing and the horse won super.
“It is Jason’s first ownership in the trots and he can’t believe his luck with Uncle Louis winning four of his past five starts.”
Uncle Louis will now contest the Gawler Hambletonian Trotters Cup (2550m) at Gawler on Monday, March 27.
Another driver happy to win was veteran Gaita Pullicino who also had the crowd cheering with a whip flourish close to home when Balmoral Hall won the Dick and Janet White Memorial Trot (2200m).
The $2 favourite, Balmoral Hall, trained by Todd Weidenbach, ran down the leader Piesridingshotgun ($5.30) to score by 4-1/2 metres.
Gawler trainer Aaron Bain won the Thorn-Clarke Wines Country Graduation Series, heat two, with Roll With Eunice.
A red hot $1.10 favourite, Roll With Eunice, driven by Wayne Hill, has now won all three starts for Bain.
For Hill, it was the first of a winning treble as he also drove Spearhead to victory in the Light Regional Council Pace (1800m), then took out the final event, the Nutrien Beaton Agenci.es Pace (2200m) on Better Beontoit for Globe Derby Park trainer Heather Stevens.
Spearhead completed a good 24 hours for Penfield trainer Jill Neilson who had a double at Globe Derby Park on Saturday with Honeybun and Just Chai.
Angle Vale trainer-driver Dean Girardi has done a good job with Sporty Frank, an easy winner of the Kapunda Rodeo November 18 Pace (1800m).
Sporty Frank ($7.30) settled midfield before coming with a sweeping run to score by 3-1/2 metres from Giant Jackson ($1.80 fav).
Gawler residents should mark Monday, March 27 in their calendar as the local harness racing club will conduct their feature meeting for 2023.
Story Graham Fischer