Owners Ian and Mary Campbell will be hoping for another joyous trip to Melton after their travels last weekend ended in huge celebration thanks to a shock harness racing victory from beloved gelding Cemetery Bay (Live Or Die).
The Sunraysia pacer won the second heat of the Sulky.App – The Future Of Form Metropolitan Pace at a closing price of $61 and will return to Victorian harness racing headquarters for the $30,000 final this Saturday night.
Alex Ashwood had only taken over as trainer of the horse in the days leading up to the success, but had offered a level of confidence to the Campbells that he would run a great race in his first trip to Melton.
“I can’t take all the credit, the horse only arrived about six days ago,” Ashwood told TrotsVision in the moments after the victory.
“Ian’s done a wonderful job with the horse. Every preparation he’s come back from a spell, he’s always got a little bit stronger and he was always getting better.”
Ian Campbell has prepared the horse throughout much of his career, with all six of his wins prior to Saturday night coming at the home track of Mildura.
But the most recent of those had been back in June of last year, with Cemetery Bay’s losing sequence sitting at 15 before the weekend’s long-odds triumph.
“He’s been going quite good at Mildura. He’s had bad draws and not had any luck going his way,” Ashwood said.
“He’s been three or four fence, getting out late and dashing home, so that was no surprise at all (he finished so strongly on Saturday night).
“The way he felt during the week when he arrived, if he had a good trip – which he did – he was going to be right there in the finish.”
For all of Saturday night’s interviews, click here.
Ashwood will be in the sulky when Cemetery Bay starts from gate five in Saturday night’s final, with fellow heat winner Beach Memories drawn outside the back row for Emma Stewart and Mark Pitt.
The Sulky.App – The Future Of Form Metropolitan Pace Final is the seventh event on the 10-race card, with each carrying a $1500 First 4 Jackpot on SuperTAB.
Dan Mielicki will be in the tower to call all of the action as Rob Auber, Steve Cleave and Kirsten Graham host the wall-to-wall coverage on TrotsVision.
For complete race entries, click here.
by Tim O’Connor, for Harness Racing Victoria