Upset \’Victa-ry’ in SA Group 3

\"\"Caption: Distance Championship winner Bedrock Fred with (from left) Gavin Harris, Stewart Barber, Michael Ceravolo, Cherylee Barber and Shaun Mathieson. (Photo: KURT DONSBERG)

KURT DONSBERG’s South Australian roundup

The Howard Ashton is one of only five Group 3 races on the SA Racing calendar and is named after one of only three South Australians currently in the AGRA Hall of Fame.

It was previously raced as the SA Breeders Plate but was renamed in 2013 to recognise Howard’s contribution to racing in South Australia.

The series, run over three weeks, is for SA Bred dogs and this year saw the entire field – including the reserves – come from only three litters, which must be a first.

Fancied runners Jack’s Well and Time Strike are littermates, Dashing Wilma and Bedrock Fred are littermates and all six “Victa” dogs came from the Fernando Bale x Victa Victoria litter.

Jack’s Well has taken all before him of late and was sent out as the public elect at $2.40, but it was a roughie in Victa Haydn that would ultimately prove successful.

Starting at $15, Victa Haydn went up with the lids and missed the start – an error that set him up perfectly when the leaders ran off on the first bend giving him a saloon run along the rail. Down the back he reeled in littermate Victa Daryl and from there it was a clear run to the line to take out the feature.

Speaking after the win, trainer Tony Rasmussen was all praise for his charge.

“I thought the one dog might run off on the first corner, maybe not as much as he did, but it opened right up for a couple of our dogs and they used it to their advantage,” he said.

“This has been a real team effort with so many involved in rearing this litter and getting them all to the track. There’s been countless hours of driving, trialling, and racing. Razza Racing isn’t just myself and Lisa. It’s Tara and Lachie too, plus our nieces and the Schadow’s daughters too that have all been a massive, massive help along the way.”

The winner is raced by the My Four Girls syndicate – made up of the daughters of Ron Schadow who bred the litter with wife Joan.

I also got the good oil from syndicate member Susan after the race.

“Dad and Joan would be thrilled. It’s been such a long journey for them and Dad and Howard are such good mates. We thought (Victa) Grosso and Haydn were our best chances and it turned out that way,” she said.

“It’s been a really tough week for Dad as Victoria (the dam Victa Victoria) hasn’t been well at all, but this will really put a smile on their faces”.

Since the running of the Howard Ashton Final Susan messaged me and gave me the news that Victa Victoria sadly passed away.

“She was a great dog for us, not just on the track but at home too. Her and Dad had plenty of good times together and she passed on Dad’s 87th birthday. She won’t ever be forgotten and we hope that her litter running now keep going like they are and win their Mum the SA Broodbitch of the year,” she said.

Murray Bridge records continue to fall

With Angle Park still under redevelopment, the cream of the crop in SA have been racing at Gawler and Murray Bridge….and the race records have dropped like flies in a mist of Aeroguard.

Craggy Island lined up over the 395 metres. At $1.12 there was plenty of expectation that he’d win but he didn’t just win…. he brained them. The previous best over the shortest trip at Murray Bridge was 21:90 set by Road Travelled in August 2019, and Craggy Island had that covered running a scintillating 21:76.

Speaking with trainer Ray Fewings after the race, he wasn’t too surprised by the run.

“With a smaller field and a perfect balmy night, I thought he was a big chance to break the record. He’s been trialling really well and he was really set for tonight’s race,” he said.

If that wasn’t enough, six races later we copped another one. The 530 metre record was only recently knocked off by Agent Hamish when he ran a blistering 29:50 and we all thought that would take some beating.

Enter Fantastic Shell who said: “Hold my beer, lads!”

The January 2018 Barcia Bale x Fantastic Dotty girl put on a clinic. She started odds-on and as soon as the lids went up she was in front. Around the home bend she kicked away to win by 6.5 lengths and set a new mark of 29:48.

The recently added 680 metre trip has also been getting quicker. We had been wondering how long it would take before the 39 second barrier would be conquered and we didn’t have to wait long. The current best time is 38:63 set by Fantastic Radley on June 10. Racing rules don’t recognise records until the distance has been raced for six months so until about October this year nothing’s official but bragging rights are still well in play.

Bedrock Fred’s Distance Championship

The 2021 Distance Championship was run and won at Murray Bridge on May 27.

A pretty smart field was assembled after two heats the previous week and one of the early favourites was Bedrock Fred. He ran second in his heat behind Fantastic Radley and the two combatants looked set to figure in the finish….and they did just that.

Jumping from the two box Freddy was able to lead with Radley in from the seven in close quarters. Running as predicted the tow skirted away from the rest of the field to fight it out with Bedrock Fred saluting from a very fast-finishing Radley with third place to Shadow Burner a further nine lengths away.

The win gave Cherylee Barber her biggest success to date and she was all praise for her boy.

“We thought he could lead and if he di we were just hoping he could hold on, which he did. I’m so proud of him,” she said.

Bedrock Fred showed his versatility in his next few starts, making the Group 3 Howard Ashton Final over the shorter 531m trip and is now in sunny Queensland under the guidance of Tony Brett who will look to put the polish on the big fella when he tackles the 2021 TAB Queensland Cup over the 710 metre journey.

“We spoke with Gavin Harris who bred Bedrock Fred about the Queensland Cup. He’d sent Luna Jinx up to Tony Brett in 2015 and 2016 and was quite successful, so we made the call and Tony was happy to take him on,” said Cherylee.

“We just hope he does his best against some of the best stayers in the country.”

Aston Olenna wins Straight Track Cup

Aston Olenna (potentially named after old love from Game of Thrones – I\’m not sure) proved too strong for his rivals in the 2021 Straight track Cup Final.

Lining up for just his eighth race start, and third belt up the straight, ‘Wolfy,’ the very handsome January 2019 son of Aston Bolero x Aston Selena, was sent out as favourite for the feature final.

Jumping from the three box he came out well and with a lack of speed up the inside he had plenty of room to get into his rhythm, find his mojo and take off! With 150m to go of the 350m trip he really extended and showed that long gait he has and drew away from the second elect in Shavano to win comfortably

He stopped the clock in 18:87 and collected his first rug and trophy.

After the race, winning trainer Dave Peckham gave me a few words.

\”We\’ve had him for about five months now. He wasn\’t really chasing too hard when he first came over but he\’s really getting into it now and starting to show a bit. He\’s still a big puppy though, just a bit immature still,” he said.

Dave was also very thankful to owner Ray Borda for the chance and all his helping hands down at Mt Gambier.

\”I have to really thank Ray for sending me the dog. I also have to thank all the help I get back home. It\’s a team effort with Bourne Kennels. We have a lot of dogs and a lot of pups. There\’s a lot of driving to do as well. I couldn\’t do it without them,” he said.

We\’ll see what the future holds for ‘Wolfy’ but with the National Straight Track Championship recently announced with Capalaba, Healesville, Richmond and Murray Bridge, there\’s every chance this big fella might have this series firmly in his sights.

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