Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:   Pacers 2004/2005 Season
Leg 5:  M H Treuer Memorial   2004/2005Results   Points
             4/12/2004  Bankstown, NSW  2540m  Mobile Start  $100,000
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Having seen recent Treuer Memorials turn into leader dominated affairs, aggressive tactics by most reinsmen at Bankstown Saturday night led to the 2004 Treuer becoming one of the most exciting legs of a Grand Circuit in years. 

Eight horses were spread across the track racing for the line. The photo finished showed outsider Camlach (Neil Day) getting through one-off the rails had beaten Smooth Satin (Steve Turnbull) by the narrowest of margins with Mister D G NZ (Anthony Butt) third. Only two metres separated the first six across the line.  

Such was the constant changing of positions during the event that favourite and polemarker, the highly touted Kiwi 4yo gelding Roman Gladiator NZ, was actually the widest of them all at the finish. Regular reinsman Colin De Filippi missed the meeting, attending a wedding back in New Zealand. Co-trainer Robin Swain had driven the horse to four wins from four drives earlier in its career, he was to discover that racing at the half mile tight circuit at Bankstown is a different proposition. 

Apart from Hobart’s 750m circumference, Bankstown at 805m is the tightest track on the Australasian Grand Circuit, seen as providing an advantage for leaders. It was this perception that set the stage for drivers not wanting to race back in the second half of the field. The result – non-stop action as pacer after pacer went around to improve their position.  

Camlach (Western Hanover (US)-Overlite) is trained at Goulburn by Neil Day, who drove the horse for luck. The 5yo stallion is essentially a sit-and-sprint pacer. After the victory, Day explained that his original plan from gate six was to ease back at the start. “But when there was some interference at the start caused by Cobbity Classic, I was able to slot my horse into the field.” Day then put his horse on the fence behind the leader and remained there until late in the event. 

Sokyola NZ

As expected, WA owned and NSW trained Sand Pebbles began fast to take up the lead for young reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick, with Mister D G NZ and Hexus also beginning well. Anthony Butt was quick to give up the one-out one-back position on Mister D G NZ to rush around to lead the outside division. He would be the second of five horses that would occupy the ‘death’ at some stage during the race. 

Cobbity Classic, flying the Queensland flag, was the next to go forward to race outside of second favourite Sand Pebbles. No sooner had this new order been established than Double Identity was stoked up from well back in the field. It sprinted sharply to take over leading the outside division, with Rollon Bigred making its move, and then Smooth Satin also trying to get into the act. 

When Perth’s Buck The Odds tried to go forward, it was caught out four wide at the bell, but at least it was getting a trail into the race! 

Down the back straight the final time Day could be seen trying to find a way off the back of the leader. An opening came none too soon, as within a breath or two, Sand Pebbles suddenly shortened stride. The WA mare surprisingly failed to run out the journey, knocking up to beat only one home. 

With some 30 to 40 metres from the line, trotsgoers were not sure where to look for the winner. But just as many were about to acclaim Smooth Satin the top honours (and the course commentator did), Camlach poked its nose through much closer to the rails, where it gained the victory in what was a desperately close finish.  

Camlach had been winless in its six starts this season. Its previous win was on a trip north to Brisbane at Albion Park on August 14. It later started favourite in the Queensland Championship but knocked up when making its move too far from home that night. The stallion is raced by its breeder, Colin Charlwood. After Saturday night’s win Charlwood pointed out how his mare Overlite is currently in foal to Christian Cullen NZ, winner of the 1998 Treuer Memorial.  

The decision by Day to place his horse away on the rails behind Sand Pebbles turned out to be the winning move. Apart from Sand Pebbles striving to lead throughout and being given little peace, Camlach was probably the only one in the field not to be engaged in the shuffling up that constantly went on. 

There were several good runs from the beaten brigade. The effort of Roman Gladiator NZ should be completely forgotten as it had no luck. If Cobbity Classic had been an unknown outside of Queensland prior to winning the Queensland Championship, its effort in finishing fourth has underlined its ability. Mister D G NZ ran its usual honest race, as did Rollon Bigred, while Smooth Satin seems right back to something like the form he showed two and three years ago when a stylish winner on the Grand Circuit. 

A number of stables after Leg 5 of the Grand Circuit expressed their enthusiasm to now go on to Melbourne seeking a start in the Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley on December 18. Awaiting them will be the outstanding Kiwi Just An Excuse NZ. It has been preparing itself for this major race in the splendid facilities of Ladyship Lodge, arguably now the showpiece of Australia’s standardbred stables. It is a 12-minute drive to the beach at Torquay.  


All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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