Bendigo abuzz as champ Lenny commits to pacing cup

09 February 2016 | Michael Howard
Fresh from victory in the Good Form Victoria Cup, Lennytheshark and Chris Alford will team up at Bendigo on Saturday.

Fresh from victory in the Good Form Victoria Cup, Lennytheshark and Chris Alford will team up at Bendigo on Saturday.

With the biggest name in Australian pacing on his way, Saturday’s PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup is the talk of the town.

 Lennytheshark’s nomination for the Group 2 $60,000 showcase has further elevated Bendigo Harness Racing Club’s calendar highlight, says marketing manager Brendan Baker.

 “Since we tweeted (that Lenny was coming) and put it on Facebook we have had good momentum and a number of people have called up chasing details,” Baker said.

 “People around the course and up and down the street are all talking about Lennytheshark. He’s the best horse in the country at the moment, so it’s been huge for the club.”

 Lennytheshark drew barrier five for the cup – the eighth race on a 10-race program – and is fresh from following his Inter Dominion win with victory in last month’s Good Form Victoria Cup.

“To give the people from the Bendigo area, up to Swan Hill and Echuca – people will come a long way – a look at Lenny is a big plus for the club,” Baker said.

 “He’s turned into a real people’s horse, which is all steering in the right direction for the club and Bendigo.”

 But, Baker said, this was not the Lenny show, it’s the pacing cup, and the superstar seven-year-old was but one of many coveting the prize.

“You’ve still got Franco Ledger, a C22, HectorjayjJay a C17, Im Corzin Terror who won the cup a few years ago,” he said.

 “They will not just hand it to Lenny on a plate. It is a Group 2 worth more than $60,000 and they will make him work for it.”

 Lords Raceway will also feature a grand contest in the seventh race, the Aldebaran Park 2016 Maori Mile.

 Introduced to the card as a $20,000 race in 2010, the mile’s importance has quickly snowballed.

 “It’s grown from strength to strength since its inception and we are very happy it was elevated to Group 1 status this year,” Baker said.

And, with the winner also gaining an automatic invitation to the Great Southern Star’s elimination heats, the race carries a field befitting its status.

“We’ve got last year’s winner in Maori Time back to defend her title,” Baker said.

 “Glenferrie Typhoon, Andy and Kate Gath’s horse, is in great form, and local hope Claudys Princess is racing well. There is the New Zealand horse Quite A Moment and Anton Golino’s Duchess Ella.”

Off the track the club will also have many offerings for what Baker called “our biggest day of the year”.

 “All year round you build up to your pacing cup,” he said.

“Last year was the first time for this new management team. We learned a lot.

“There are a few areas we were lacking in, particularly children’s activities, and now there will be a kids’ zone and lots of food operators. It will be 34 or 35 degrees on Saturday and should be magnificent.”


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