Racing identities to be honoured at memorial race day

ABSOLUTELY Awesome can make it a special day all round for the Mahar family at Ballarat harness races today.

Ballarat and District Trotting Club is again remembering past contributors to the sport with its memorial race day at Bray Raceway.

Among those with races named in their honour are the late Mick Mahar and his son Tom.

The Mick and Tom Mahar Memorial Trotters Handicap, 2200m, is the sixth event on an eight-race day program – a rare daytime meeting for the BDTC.

Des Mahar, another son of Mick Mahar, can provide the perfect lead-in to the Mahar Memorial Trot by landing the money with Absolutely Awesome in the Bob Freeman Memorial C1 Pace, 1710m.

Mahar prepares the lightly raced four-year-old mare out of his Redan stable, which is walking distance from Bray Raceway.

Not surprisingly, Absolutely Awesome has of late been racing exclusively at the track.

Her only win came four starts ago on November 10.

She has continued to race well with two seconds and a last-start fourth, good enough form to suggest she can win again this afternoon.

Her biggest obstacle could be finding a suitable run from outside the front row, but if anyone is capable of doing that it is leading driver Jodi Quinlan.

Ringtripleowe and Go El Zhar loom as the biggest threats.

Go El Zhar is part of a strong hand for Hopetoun Park trainer Ross Sugars.

Sugars is experiencing a resurgence as the mentor of an extensive team bred and raced by veteran horseman Arthur Fullwood.

This has included a string of wins by Gunbower and Stawell Cups winner Veranjee and an emerging Majestic Reign.

Spearheaded by American Muscle, Sugars has had his share of success in Ballarat this season to be second to Emma Stewart in the BDTC trainers’ premiership.

Go El Zhar is one of five starters for Sugars today.

First-starter Narree Belle kicks off his day in the Keith Bray Memorial C0 Pace, 1710m, and is followed by Illawong Joyful first-up in the Kevin Foley Memorial Three-Year-Old Pace, 1710m, Go El Zhar and then a returning Illawong Magic in the Mahar Memorial Trot and Viatross in the Len Fulton Memorial C3-C4 Pace, 2200m.

Stewart’s Smythes Creek stable has just the one runner.

Our Missionary Man will be an odds-on favourite in the Keith Bray Memorial.

The three-year-old has four wins in five starts and should add to the winning tally.

TODAY’S race meeting is part of a state government-backed statewide “Colts and Fillies @ The Flicks” harness racing series.

Ballarat is one of eight venues running a special children’s holiday program, featuring the movie The Adventures of Tin Tin on the big screen after the last event.

Youngsters going on-course before 5pm will receive food and drink vouchers and a chance to win a Nintendo Wii.

david.brehaut@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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