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Eclipse in a photo finish: Kilmore Pacing Cup

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

By Len Baker

The biggest crowd in ages turned up at Kilmore on a balmy night on Friday to witness the running of the 2023 Jet Roofing Group Two Kilmore Pacing Cup.

There appeared to be only four possible chances in the 2690-metre race – Act Now, Rock N Roll Doo, Better Eclipse and, to a lesser extent, Curley James and Treachery.

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The victor was Better Eclipse, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars.

Away fast from the pole to lead, $2.70 favourite Act Now was untroubled to retain the front running with Better Eclipse, $3.90, from inside the second line trailing him.

To the surprise of most watching, Michael Stanley elected to restrain Rock N Roll Doo, $4.60, to the rear when the position outside the leader was up for grabs.

Given a comfortable time, Act Now looked the one to beat a long way from home, however when Greg Sugars and Better Eclipse eased off his back on the final bend, he was too strong at the finish to greet the judge a half head in advance of Beyond Delight, which used the sprint lane for second.

Act Now was a most disappointing third, in advance of Narutac Prince, in a leader-dominated race.

To the dismay of punters, Rock N Roll Doo was never put into the race, coming in fifth after being given little chance.

In quarters of 30.9, 29.5, 29.7 and 26.8 after a lead time of 81.7 seconds, Better Eclipse returned a mile rate of 1-58.8, which was .4 seconds outside Soho Tribeca’s 1-56 track record set in 2018.

Raced by Antoinette Bajada, Better Eclipse has recorded 16 wins and 25 placings from 52 outings for stakes of $824,170.

The other feature on the program was the 3150-metre $25,000 MC Labour Kilmore Trotters Cup going the way of Riddell co-trainers Chris Lang and Sonia Mahar’s five-year-old Orlando Vici-Belle Galleon gelding Ollivici.

Ollivici spent most of the race at the rear after stablemate Bullion Harry and made a swift mid-race move to cross the leader Zarem.

One Over All also made a fast move two laps out to tackle for the lead only to go off stride when about to draw clear taking care of his chances.

Cruising up to race outside Bullion Harry for the final circuit, Ollivici’s class told at the finish as he gained the day by 2.3 metres over Bullion Harry, with Zarem holding third 8.2 metres back. The mile rate 2-03.5.

In the $20,000 7-Eleven Cup, over 2180 metres, Andy Gath’s ex-Kiwi five-year-old Sweet Lou-Eagles In My Pocket gelding Outlaw Man was successful.

Outlaw Man, driven by Kate Gath, was outstanding in his victory after going forward from gate five to park outside the pacemaker Captain Bellasario, which raced extremely fierce throughout.

Racing to the front on turning, Outlaw Man safely held a margin to score by 2.3 metres from La Captain, which ran home well when clear.

Interest Free, when extricated four-wide on the final bend, was third 1.7 metres back. The mile rate a slick 1-54.2.

Raced by a large syndicate of well-known harness people headed by Ralph Woods, Outlaw Man has done a big job since crossing the Tasman.

The elation was deafening following the victory of six-year-old Andover Hall-Starcus mare Naked Ambition, driven by Nagambie’s Cameron Maggs, in the 2180 metre O’Brien Electrical Trotters Mobile.

Trained by Chiltern’s Peter Romero and part-owned by Georgina Coram and Bronwyn Burns, Naked Ambition led out from gate three before taking a trail on the raging hot favourite Dichotomy, who after a slow beginning from the pole went forward to assume control.

Coming away from the inside on turning, Naked Ambition at odd of $41.00 raced clear to score easily by 5.8 metres from Dichotomy and Jakarta. The mile rate 2-01.9

The 2180-metre C and M Build Group Pace went to six-year-old American Ideal-Whos Escaped gelding Ideal Escape for Strathfieldaye’s Julie Douglas.

Another all the way winner was Rakero Rebel, a Kiwi-bred four-year-old, in the TAB Pace over 2180 metres for the Tubbs/Sugars team, accounting for Norms Lady, which trailed and Captains Queen in a rate of 1-57.

Locally-trained six-year-old Sweet Lou-Tricky Girl gelding Jeremy Wells, sent punters home happy when saluting the judge in the 2180-metre J and A Mazzetti Pace.

The Ben Yole trained gelding, driven by Taylor Youl, came from mid-field to race outside the pacemaker Captain Maastricht from the bell and score by four metres in advance of Ooh Ah Listah and Classic Angelina. The mile rate 1-59.4.

Kilmore’s next harness meeting is on Thursday.

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