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Harness racing back in full for Wimmera clubs


Harness Racing Victoria will draw the curtain on the COVID-19 region-based racing model, with plans to resume racing on all 28 Victorian tracks from July 13.

During the 12-day transition period, race meetings will remain at the nine tracks presently in use but with horses, trainers and drivers free to move around the state to compete.

This month will also see the return of metropolitan class racing to Melton with the $24,000 Noopy Kiosk Trotters FFA, $25,000 Regional Challenge Pace Final and $24,000 Melton Sprint topping the bill on Saturday night’s card of harness action.

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HRV’s tweak to earlier plans means Horsham’s return to racing on July 8 is placed on hold, with the meeting now at Stawell.

HRV is yet to finalise race dates for August.

Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman, meanwhile, landed a winning double at Stawell and took his season’s COVID-19-interrupted tally to 78 and sixth place on a Victorian premiership list.

Bellman led all the way aboard Wanted Lady in the 52-56 pace for Armstrong trainer Brooke Hansen over the 2180-metre distance.

It was the seventh career victory for the five-year-old mare but her first over any distance in excess of 1790 metres and came courtesy of a perfectly rated, front-running drive by Bellman.

Wanted Lady found the lead easily from gate two and was allowed to cruise casually through the early part of the contest. Bellman gave her more rein at the bell and a 28.9-second quarter took the sting out of a couple of contenders.

Wanted Lady boxed on stoutly over the final 150 metres and scored by a head from Zuko Dream – Xavier O’Connor – in a rate of 1:59.6.

Earlier in the afternoon, Bellman combined with Ross Creek owner-trainer Katrina Fitzpatrick to take out a trotters handicap with four-year-old bay gelding Dream Over.

The son of Andover Hall, US, stepped away safely when the tapes were released and worked to the lead after travelling 250 metres. 

When in front, Bellman set a moderate tempo and a final last quarter in 30 seconds was enough to stave off Balmoral’s Show Me The Moolah and Murtoa’s Allawart Bob.

Anakie trainer Tim Bolito and leading reinsman Greg Sugars combined to land a winning double at the Stawell fixture with Change Of Plans in a 1785-metre pace and Cornish Smuggler in a 2180-metre pace.

Change Of Plans notched up her first career victory at her 32nd attempt after enjoying a soft ride on the back of the leader for the majority of the sprint trip. 

The four-year-old mare proved too strong on the line holding a clear three-metre margin over runner-up Jewell Of Safari – Jackie Barker.

Stablemate Cornish Smuggler had to work extra hard in the early part of her contest to find the lead and then showed plenty of fight up the home stretch to score from Gracie Cullen – Mick Bellman.

It was the third from 22 starts for the four-year-old gelded son of Betterthancheddar, USA. 

The entire July 1, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!