Local trainer Dylan Stratford enjoyed a successful afternoon at Cranbourne on Sunday afternoon with the expat Kiwi landing his first training quinella in the third race on the program, the Aldebaran Park Trot. Stratford was represented by three-year-olds Scootin Around and Goober who fought out a thrilling finish in the race which saw Scootin Around prevail by a half-head over his brave stablemate.
Scootin Around was successful when first up at Melton in late September but had been luckless in two subsequent outings heading into Sunday’s assignment. The giant gelding’s prospects weren’t helped by his draw on the outside of the front line but punters still rallied around the son of Bacardi Lindy and Redneck and he went into the race a well-supported third favourite.
Driver Zac Phillips allowed Scootin Around to work forward off the arm at the start of the 2,080m trip and unsuccessfully challenged for the lead heading into the back straight on the first occasion. But in a master stroke Phillips was able to angle his charge into the position on the pegs behind Hades Sky in the lead and from there Scootin Around always looked to be travelling well.
For his part, Goober made a mid-race move to sit parked outside the lead for the last 1,200m and ran to the top as the field straightened for the run in. A recent addition to the Stratford team, Goober looked the winner for a large part of the long Cranbourne home straight but was nabbed in the last 50 metres by Scootin Around who took full advantage of his trailing position in the run before making his winning run deep in the Sprint Lane.
Stratford was understandably pleased to mark off another small first in his fledgling training career.
“It was a little bit unexpected really, not because I didn’t think they were good enough but because they both had awkward draws,” Stratford said after the event. “But both drives were point perfect and Zac and Lisa gave my horses every chance in the race.”
“I was really happy to quinella the race. As my numbers start to build and the younger stock start to coming through to the races the stable is starting to gain some momentum. And that’s really exciting.”
“I’m looking forward to the next few months.”
Stratford is now planning on giving both Scootin Around and Goober one more start ahead of the heats of the rich Breeders Crown Series at Maryborough on the 12th November.
“I’m not sure that either of the boys is up to making the Crown final but I think they could acquit themselves well in the $20,000 Silver race of the series if they get a run.”
Whilst undecided at this stage, Stratford expects that one or both of his three-year-olds will have their lead-in to the Breeders Crown in a race at the next Cranbourne meeting on Tuesday 27th October.
By David Scott
Photo: Claire Weston Photography