Returning to Service, 10-year-old is flying ahead of Charlton Cup

25 February 2016
by Michael Howard
National Service will attempt to win a second country cup for the Lane family on Sunday.

National Service will attempt to win a second country cup for the Lane family on Sunday.

Charlton’s showcase race could give a trotting family an unforgettable win with an old favourite.

National Service has returned from the brink of retirement to flash home and win in his last two starts, giving his Horsham owners the confidence to steer it to Sunday’s Charlton and District Community Bank 2016 Charlton Pacing Cup.


Justin Lane shares ownership of National Service with wife Jo and parents Kevin and Lesley, who have been there from the start having bred and raised the horse.

It was with a heavy heart that they contemplated retirement about this time last year for the then nine-year-old after National Service tore his hind suspensory.

“Being the age that he is we intended to retire him,” Justin said. “But dad said jog him up and give him one more go, because you are a long time retired.”

Lane oversaw a patient recovery of jogging and resting before he returned National Service on January 16 in the Shepparton BMW Pace, where he loomed up to the leaders from three wide only to tire in the straight and finish 17m last.

The fade didn’t deter the loyal owners and they returned the gelding to Grant Campbell and Kerryn Manning’s stable, where he again showed plenty of cheek.

“He is a bit of a funny horse, not many at the stable at Kerryn and Grant’s get along with him all that well, he has a few quirky habits, but it’s good to see him come back.”

Justin, president at Horsham Harness Racing Club, has a particularly close affinity with National Service, winner of the 2014 Hamilton Pacing Cup.

Not only did he breed the horse, but he trained it to nine wins from its debut in December 2008 until December 2012 before handing the reins to Campbell and Manning to “see how they can improve him and get the best out of him”.

Though age 10 and off a lengthy lay-off the best may yet be to come for the gelding out of Legacy Of Power and Muckinbar Miss given his last start performance at Swan Hill.

“He’s had three runs back after 12 months off and his last two races have been very good, particularly at Swan Hill where he shouldn’t have won from where he was,” Justin said.

On that occasion National Service came from five-wide and well back to mow down the leaders at Swan Hill, which featured a 27.1 final quarter. National Service’s last 400m was likely not much more than 26 seconds despite curling wide.

That has boosted confidence in the camp ahead of Charlton.

“He’s been good at the country cups in the past and, going on those two runs, we thought we’d give him a shot at another cup," Lane said.

"The Swan Hill sectionals were scintillating. With the right run he’s as good as any other horse in the field.

“It will be up to Grant, but we won’t be planning anything too silly on the day. He will drive him for a bit of luck. It’s a bit of a buzz to have a horse good enough to run in any cup.”

And the family fun will continue on the race day, with National Service’s half-brother Polar Opposite, trained by Lane, to run in race three.

“He’s had three wins and a place from his last five starts, so there are promising signs.”


Charlton Pacing Cup Honour Roll

1982    $2,000    Brahms Lullaby (Rex Kerr) FT    2250m    SS    2:07.1    
1983    $3,000    Bank Buster (Daryl Nioa) 10m    2250m    SS    2:06.2    
1988    $9,000    Scamp Racer (Gavin Lang) FT    2250m    SS    2:05.3    
1989    $9,000    Tuned In (Ted Demmler) FT    2250m    SS    2:05.7    
1990    $6,000    Rufus Young Blood (Dick Lee) FT    2240m    MS    2:01.6    
1990    $6,000    Lord Greystoke (Joe Borg) 10m    2250m    SS    2:05.0    
1991    $6,000    Franco Gold NZ (Jim O'Sullivan) FT    2240m    MS    2:07.0    
1992    $3,500    Imprimartar (Neil McCallum) 30m    2250m    SS    2:04.5    
1993    $4,500    Our Brenray (Jim O'Sullivan) FT    2240m    MS    2:01.5    
1994    $5,000    Its Nero's Fiddle NZ (Stephen Dove) 10m    2680m    SS    2:06.0    
1995    $6,000    Mister McKinzie (Gavin Lang) FT    2250m    MS    2:04.3    
1996    $7,000    Coco's Dream NZ (Lou Austin) 30m    2680m    SS    2:04.7    
1997    $10,000    Ryans Day NZ (Ahmed Taiba) FT    2680m    MS    2:03.6    
1998    $10,000    Low Bronze (Julian Jobe) FT    2645m    MS    2:05.2    
1999    $10,000    Rosco Robust (Graeme Morgan) FT    2645m    MS    2:03.5    
2000    $12,000    Show Of Hands (John F Ryan) FT    2625m    MS    2:04.6    
2001    $8,000    Loaded Hog NZ (Andrew Vozlic) FT    2625m    MS    2:02.3    
2002    $8,000    Jilliby Magic (Kerryn Manning) 10m    2650m    SS    2:02.5    
2003    $15,000    The Good Guy (Grant Campbell) FT    2650m    SS    2:02.6    
2004    $15,000    Sir Romulus (Matthew Craven) 10m    2650m    SS    2:03.2    
2005    $15,000    Cool Chip NZ (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    SS    2:04.0    
2006    $20,000    Poppys Boy (Stuart Govers) FT    2570m    SS    2:03.2    
2007    $20,000    Blakey (John Justice) FT    2570m    SS    2:02.2    
2008    $20,000    Road To Rainbow (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    SS    2:02.1    
2009    $20,000    Ohoka Utah NZ (Lance Justice) FT    2570m    SS    2:03.9    
2010    $25,000    Just Wal (Damian Wilson) FT    2570m    SS    2:01.0    
2011    $25,000    Our Hillview Gold NZ (Daryl Douglas) FT    2570m    MS    2:01.5    
2012    $25,000    Abettorpunt (Caleb Lewis) FT    2570m    MS    1:59.8    
2013    $25,000    Uncle Wingnut NZ (Michael Bellman) FT    2570m    MS    1:59.8    
2014    $25,000    Five Star Anvil NZ (Gavin Lang) FT    2570m    MS    2:00.7    
2015    $25,505    Barynya (John Caldow) FT    2570m    MS    1:56.5

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