Shezaball scorches to line in Southern Belle series
Winning performances by Shezaball and her half-sister Southern Delight and The Fiery Ginga's track record were highlights at the Ascot Park harness meeting yesterday.
Shezaball set a strong pace in the final heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series, cutting out the 1700m (mobile) in a 1min 56.2sec mile rate and sprinting the last 800m in 56.5. Reinsman Tim Williams didn't expect the overall time to be a slick 2:2.8, which was 1.1sec outside the mares' record posted by Hannah in the same race two years ago.
''I didn't think we were going that quick,'' Williams said.
''With her speed, I think she's better coming from behind.''
Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams has Shezaball in mint condition for the $20,000 series final at Winton on March 16.
''She took a while to come up (this season) and had a couple of unlucky runs, not getting a go,'' Adams said.
South Port chief executive Mark O'Connor and wife Pauline share the ownership of Shezaball with Stu and Bronwyn Perkins, of Invercargill, and Owen Shaw, of Queenstown.
The O'Connors and The 19th Hole Syndicate own Shezaball's half-sister, Southern Delight, winner of the Homestead Cobb and Co Pace. Williams said Southern Delight shook her head when grit hit her face during the race.
The Fiery Ginga broke the trotters' open track record for 2700m (stand) when winning off the back mark of 60m in the Elmwood Catering Handicap. His time of 3:27.8 took 0.5sec off Young Pointer's 2003 record.
The Mosgiel gelding might trial at Addington before leaving for an Australian campaign on February 27. His Australian race schedule is: the A$200,000 Chambers Challenge Trot at Menangle, Sydney, on March 3, and three races at Melton in Melbourne, A$50,000 The Knight Pistol on March 8, A$125,000 Australian Trotting Grand Prix on March 15 and Great Southern Star Series on March 23.
Heats (A$50,000) and final (A$250,000) of the Southern Star are held on the same day.
In form 4-year-old Windermere Lad came from the trail to win the Ascot Park Hotel Pace.
Driver Matthew Williamson notice improvement in the Live Or Die gelding following the combination's win at Wyndham a fortnight earlier.
''He was more on the job than he was the other day,'' Williamson said.
''He's a year away from being a really nice horse.''
Invercargill trainer Murray Faul will race Windermere Lad at Gore on March 10 as a lead into the $25,000 Caduceus Club of Southland Autumn Futurity Pace at Ascot Park 13 days later.
Ballindooley backed up from his success at Forbury Park on January 31 with victory in the $10,000 ILT Foundation Summer Cup yesterday
The Southland Times