Ballarat club thrilled with successful Cup meeting

23 January 2016 | Michael Howard
A big crowd watching the action on Ballarat Cup Night at Bray Raceway tonight.

A big crowd watching the action on Ballarat Cup Night at Bray Raceway tonight.

Full stands were treated to an unforgettable record-breaking night at the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, where the New Zealand raiders lit Bray Raceway.

 Victoria Derby favourite Lazarus, champion trotter Monbet and Cup winner Smolda stole the limelight, with the latter two smashing track records.

Smolda won a captivating Cup showdown with Inter Dominion winner Lennytheshark, which will have punters eagerly awaiting a return bout in the Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton next Saturday.

Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse said the “club’s rapt” with the night’s proceedings.

 “It’s been a great turnout and we’ve seen some excellent racing,” Mr Rowse said. “We’re very happy with how the night’s turned out.

 “The derby heats have added a bit of class to the night and we’ve seen a great horse win the cup.

“We haven’t had the (derby) for a few years, we’ve missed them. The crowd come out to see the good horses.

 “I remember when Lazarus got to the front of the straight the crowd were roaring. They don’t get to see that too often, even the Lennytheshark-Smolda duel up the straight, the crowd were well involved.”

 And there were plenty on course to rattle the stands.

“We always say if we sell out of racebooks it’s always a good sign, and I think we sold out about race four, which is unusual at a harness meet these days,” Mr Rowse said.

 “Looking at the crowd that came out to watch Smolda in the cup, they were lined fairly deep and we got probably 420 diners book, another 100 sponsors in the committee room as well, so it’s great to be able to feed 500 people sit down meals.”

Those that attended also left with their racing appetite well serviced.

 “It always helps to have a Mark Purdon horse in the cup. It’s a quality horse Smolda,” Mr Rowse said.

 “Lennytheshark was brave, he just had a bit of trouble getting around that last corner and once he straightened up he gave it everything.

 “I’m sure whatever he did at the Ballarat Cup tonight he’ll improve on it next week.

 “The night’s gone pretty well without a hassle. It was a good result and we move into harness racing’s Vic Cup and Hunter Cup and it’s been a great lead-in.”

>> Read about Smolda's PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup win

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