Honours were shared at The Creek on Saturday night, with Angus Garrard and Narissa McMullen both claiming driving doubles.
Narissa also shared the training honours, claiming a winning double thanks to wins by Merry Dancer and Arco, with Shane Graham securing a double thanks to wins by Turn It Up and Lord Zarias.
It was a quiet night by normal standards for the State’s leading trainer tonight at The Creek, Grant Dixon represented by seven runners on the ten-race card.
However, Dixon started the night with success courtesy of a perfectly timed drive aboard Blackjack Bart for owner GSM Racing – (Greg and Sharon Mitchell).
Easing the six-year-old off the gate, Dixon had the gelding positioned in deep field against the markers and seemingly needing plenty of factors in his favour.
Still last with 250-metres to travel, Dixon got Blackjack Bart to the outside and the son of Art Major let down strongly, charging home down the outside fence to claim victory.
Race favourite, Argyle for Angus Garrard looked to have the race in his keeping after a tough effort when sitting parked, however was collared by Blackjack Bart in the last stride.
In claiming the qualifying victory, the gelding recorded his ninth career success from 81 starts, the 1.55.7 winning rate shaving 0.1 off his previous best.
After a quartet of winners on Friday, Nathan Dawson did not waste long in getting back into the winner’s enclosure, leading throughout in race 2 to claim the Garrards Up to NR70 Final.
Forming a strong association with trainer Jack Butler in recent months, Dawson led throughout aboard the Sweet Lou three-year-old for Butler.
Sent out as the favourite, Lous Dream was able to hold the lead through a 27.7 opening quarter, backing it off in the second split with a 30.4 breather.
Dialling it up again down the back stretch with a 27.3 split, the three-year-old was able to hold them off a passing lane challenge from Machg Daddy.
The gelding has looked above average, stretching his record to six wins from 12 starts with Butler not setting any firm plans.
“We’ll just try to run him through his grades, he’s been an honest little fellow and does what he has to do and goes out to do his job” Butler said.
Shane Graham prepared three runners in the Cattlewash at Trump Bloodstock Open Pace and scooped the pool, completing a winning trifecta.
It was the Group 1 winner Turn It Up first past the post, Shane taking the drive on the eight-year-old veteran which made light work of the outside front-line alley.
With his electric gate speed, Graham had the gelding in front before they had turned out of the home straight and once in control was able to amble through a 60.7 opening half.
Marching down the back in 28.5, the race turned into a sprint home and Turn It Up finished them off in 27.3 to claim an effortless victory.
The fence was the place to be and that’s where Graham’s three runners positioned, Rock Bottom holding second place after racing in the trail throughout for driver Leonard Cain.
L L Cool J which started from inside the second line and with Kelli Dawson taking the reins, the seven-year-old held position to claim third place and complete the Graham trifecta.
Graham was able to claim a training double, Lord Zarias making full use of the inside gate and the concession claim of Paige Bevan to claim the AQWA Constructions Band 5 Pace.
Owned by the Mick Boots managed Boots Properties, the win gave Boots a race-to-race double after So Sirius secured victory in race 5 for Brendan Barnes and Gemma Hewitt.
Lord Zarias was urged through early by Bevan to hold the front and with a steady opening quarter of 28.7 followed by a second stanza in 30.6, the race was developing into a sprint home.
From the front, Lord Zarias was never in danger, running a closing half of 55.7 to score an effortless victory, his third success here at The Creek.
Stopping the clock with a winning mile rate of 1.54.8, the win gave the gelding a new PB on his resume.
Changeover secured a siring double when Merry Dancer claimed victory in the Changeover at Burwood Stud mare’s qualifying pace, just one race later.
Trained and driven by Narissa McMullen, the five-year-old was never in danger after leading off the arm and securing a winning margin of 4.7 metres.
In the Changeover at Burwood Stud Mare’s Open Pace, it was a Ron Sallis trained quinella with Might As Well sprinting strongly to defeat Miss Mucho.
Angus Garrard had the drive aboard the winner, angling away from the inside to settle in the running line.
Narissa McMullen was aboard the runner-up, Miss Mucho, with both mare’s owned by Stacey Sallis.
After finishing second in the Open Mare’s Pace, Narissa bounced back to claim a driving and training double with another all the way victory, this time with Arco.
A mare that has been in great form but unable to convert her efforts to victory, the daughter of Shadow Play was able to lead throughout for the win, Brendan Barnes finishing second aboard Rolled In Gold.
It was a winning double for owners Aaron Bain Racing, sharing in the ownership of Arco and Merry Dancer and a big night overall for Bain, with Wheres The Gold claiming the South Australian Cup at Globe Derby earlier in the night.
The last race of the night saw Tam Oshanter give his chances of making the Inter Dominion later in the year a timely boost.
Safely away from the front tape, the Matt Crone trained square gaiter worked his way to the front and once in control was allowed to roll along in front by driver Angus Garrard.
Call Me Trouble loomed strongly between turns, but Tam Oshanter responded strongly in the stretch and was able to hold on and claim victory, recording a winning margin of over 6 metres.
Ranked at 51 in the latest Inter Dominion Rankings, the win will enhance his chances of forcing his way into the top 24.