Cranbourne trained three-year-old filly Sharing The Love stamped herself as having a bright future with an impressive all the way win in the Robot Building Supplies 3YO Pace at Yarra Valley on Thursday afternoon.
Having just her second race start, the daughter of Mach Three and Mint Julep was set alight off the arm by driver Kima Frenning and held the lead after a spirited initial challenge by the race favourite Arakbell in an opening quarter of 27.9 seconds.
Frenning was then able to back off the tempo running through second and third stanzas of the race before stealing a break with Sharing The Love running around the final bend. Gordon Girl who had enjoyed a soft run in behind the leading brigade briefly challenged in the home straight but on the line it was Sharing The Love who prevailed by two metres with Arakbell battling on for third placing some 12 metres further astern.
The win was the first for trainer Dylan Stratford since his relocation to the Cranbourne Training Centre and whilst everything on track seemed to go to plan, the day wasn’t completely without its dramas.
“Early on race morning I got a text from Chris Alford to say he’d been suspended the night before at Ballarat and wasn’t going to be able to take the drive,” Stratford explained. “After a quick call to the managing owner we settled on Kima and then started to get ready for the races.”
“I’d arranged to float across to Yarra Valley with Terry Howard who also trains at the centre but when it came time to leave Sharing The Love refused to load. Eventually we had to let Terry go ahead so he could get to the course in time for race two. By the time we hooked up another float and got the filly on board it looked like we might be cutting it a bit fine but we made it in the finish,” Stratford said.
A former Kiwi who learned his craft working in the stables of leading NZ horsemen Tim Butt and Nigel McGrath, Stratford moved to Australia in 2017 to make his way in Victoria’s professional training ranks. He recently took up an offer from the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club to move his operation to the club’s on-course training facility and is happy with his decision so far.
“The horses have all settled in really well and are thriving in their new environment. The facilities are first class and that makes my job a whole lot easier,” Stratford said.
The Club had also facilitated the placement of a small team of horses with Stratford and local owner Kevin Lee has also placed horses in the young trainer’s care since his move.
“I’m working with some nice stock now and I’m looking forward to a successful season. I’m very grateful for the support from the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club and the other trainers at the Centre, who have been very welcoming.”
By David Scott
Photo: Claire Weston Photography