Tontine Final: Ararat Sunday

27 May 2004
When Riverina horseman Steven Harris inspected a group of four educated but unraced horses in a paddock, one stood out from th

27 May, 2004


When Riverina horseman Steven Harris inspected a group of four educated but unraced horses in a paddock, one stood out from the crowd.


Cashel Uisce was big and gangly, and Harris readily admits that the four-year-old gelding struck him as the least likely prospect of the quartet.


¿On first sight, I didn¿t like him,¿ Harris recalled.


¿I initially picked out two horses to take on, and he wasn¿t one of them. But when the time came to pick them up, all four had been yarded and I decided I may as well put the lot on the truck,¿ he said.


Harris said although the son of Falcon Seelster did create a slightly better impression upon closer inspection, it was fate that saw him join his stable.


¿I was only really persuaded by the fact that they were all well bred, fully grown and the owner, Seamus Ford, was prepared to do me a very good deal,¿ he explained.


History now records that since being entrusted into Harris¿s care in late September last year, Cashel Uisce (pronounced ¿Ishka¿ and named after an Irish whisky) has blossomed into an exciting racehorse.


Unbeaten in seven race starts, the gelding has dominated the qualifying rounds of the Elgas Tontine Pacers¿ Series to earn favouritism for Sunday afternoon¿s $18,000 final at Ararat.


Most recently, he led throughout to secure victory in a Tontine Series semi-final at Geelong last Sunday in a 1:59.5 mile rate.


¿The first time I drove him, he was clearly the pick of the four,¿ Harris said of Cashel Uisce, adding that the horse is easily the best he has been associated with.


¿I¿ve had a close association with Darren Hancock over a number of years, and I¿ve often joked to him that this guy is my Jofess,¿ he added.


Harris said the decision to target the Tontine was a last minute change, after plans to contest the rich Carousel Series in Sydney went awry.


¿I knew I was aiming high with the Carousel because of his lack of experience, but I decided it wouldn¿t hurt to put him in a heat and see how he went.


¿But he developed a condition similar to greasy heel and we missed out,¿ he said.


¿He was wasted racing around the Riverina and when I had a look at the Victorian program, the Tontine fitted in nicely with his preparation.¿


Harris is looking forward to Sunday¿s final, and said Cashel Uisce is the type of horse who generates confidence going into a nice race.


¿I¿m not really surprised by how well he has performed, every time you sit behind him he feels like a machine.


¿But he¿s still got to win at Ararat and once he gets out of this Series, he¿ll potentially be a C6 horse which means he¿ll have to take the next step again,¿ he cautioned.


Best known as a horse breaker and pre-trainer, Harris has been campaigning a team of five horses in Victoria during his Tontine assault.


The part-time farmer made special mention of his partner Felicity and family at home in Junee who have been caring for the remainder of the team and enabled him to undertake the working holiday.


¿I¿ve had a great time, but we¿ve had some rain at home over the past week, so it looks like after Sunday I¿ll have to go back and sit on a tractor,¿ Harris lamented.


The $18,000 Elgas Tontine Series Pacers Final will be run at 3.45pm (AEST) on Sunday.





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