Callaghan and Hewitt get the chocolates over Easter

Not To Be Denied (outside) winning the Riverina Championships Mares Final.

Not To Be Denied (outside) winning the Riverina Championships Mares Final. Photo by Stephen Hunt

THE Easter break proved to be hugely successful for two of harness racing’s best.

Within 24-hours, drivers Jack Callaghan and Brad Hewitt captured feature races both at Bathurst on Saturday night and Wagga on Sunday afternoon.

The pair dominated on the big stage, sharing the honour of taking out the Group 1 Finals at Bathurst and the Riverina Championships Finals at Wagga.

Callaghan rated Fox Dan to perfection in front to take out the $150,000 Gold Crown aboard the talented Clayton Tonkin-trained colt, before nosing out his boss Luke McCarthy to claim the $100,000 Riverina Championships Mares FInal with Not To Be Denied.

The win by Not To Be Denied proved to be pretty special as the runner up, Eye Keep Smiling gave McCarthy and owner Jackie Gibson the quinella in the feature.

“This is exactly what we are in the game for,” an excited Callaghan explained.

“You sometimes make sacrifices to drive at every opportunity so that you can hopefully get the chance to participate in these big races, and when you are fortunate enough to win them, it is a massive thrill.”

“I am extremely humbled to have the support of some great owners and trainers who afford me opportunities to drive their talented horses.”

And it was very much the same storyline for Hewitt.

Hewitt won the Gold Tiara at Bathurst with emerging superstar Bittersweet who started as one of the shortest-priced favourites in the rich classic’s long history.

It was Hewitt’s first feature race win as a trainer-driver at the Bathurst Carnival and gave Forbes based owner-breeders Denise and Phil Thurston their biggest win to date.

Hewitt then backed up to produce a copybook drive in Riverina Championships Entires and Geldings Final with Extreme Sea.

That win was a real family affair as the gelding is trained by his father David who bred, and part owns him with Brad’s mother Maree.

Extreme Sea was only having his seventh career start which has the Hewitt family excited over what the future may bring.

Earlier in the day, Hewitt was also won the Wagga Pacers Cup with Bluto who rated a slick 1:53.3 in the process.


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