Road to success for country cups gun

The Ararat Pacing Cup presentation with Elizabeth Clarke Board Member, Tony Bond Ararat President, Driver Nathan Jack, Owner Graham Locke, Trainer Keith Cotchin, Vaughn Lynch Operations Manager and John Hawk. The Keith Cotchin-trained Road to Rock wins the 2015 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup on Saturday night with Nathan Jack at the helm. Picture: PETER PICKERING

AT his 10th country cup start this season Road To Rock won his second trophy last weekend at the Ararat Harness Racing Club’s biggest meeting of the year.

The Keith Cotchin-trained seven-year-old edged out Macho Comacho in a thrilling finish to the Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup adding the victory to his feature race CV, alongside a St Arnaud Cup triumph earlier this season.

The gelded son of Village Jasper/Diva La Diva ran to the front at the Russell T White Raceway after Macho Comacho and Ardle McArdle both held interim leads early.

Ardle McArdle stepped strongly from seven to tackle early leader Macho Comacho out of three, working to the front when Macho Comacho galloped.

Macho Comacho (Chris Alford) quickly got back into stride and hooked off the markers to re-take control at the head of affairs, before Nathan Jack seized the initiative to grab the front aboard Road To Rock when the leader slowed, which pocketed Ardle McArdle (Amanda Turnbull) three-pegs.

Reigning Ararat Pacing Cup winner Savesomtimetodream, with Jodi Quinlan aboard, then made his move to work to the breeze, giving 2013 winner Jukebox Music (Glenn Douglas) one-one cover.

Kotare Roland (Neil McCallum) was four-back the markers, Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) on his back, with Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips), Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley) and Farmersntradies (Michael Sullivan) in the running line. Narra Operative (Kerryn Manning) was second-last and Arber (Gavin Lang) made an uncharacteristic bad getaway and settled at the back of the field.

Road To Rock comfortably navigated the opening half of the last mile (31.4 and 30.4 for a 61.8 half) before Jack upped the ante when challenged by Savesomtimetodream down the back.

Road To Rock was still travelling well to the home turn though, shaking off the reigning champ’s challenge with a 28.8 third split.

In the home straight Macho Comacho angled into the sprint lane and charged hard, while Hilltop Hustler and Ardle McArdle were winding up out wide.

But the leader dug deep, Road To Rock holding off all the challengers to score a victory by a head over Macho Comacho, with Hilltop Hustler up for third beaten 3.5 metres.

The winner got home in 29.2 for a 2:02.9 mile rate (last half 58).

Ardle McArdle ran fourth while Kotare Roland showed he was working back into some kind of form with an eye-catching fifth beaten 7.5 metres.

Savesomtimetodream weakened out of the action late to finish sixth, beaten 8.2 metres, with Weallwantano heading up the rest in seventh place.

– Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria

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