GREAT Western harness racing trainer Peter Manning has had some marvellous times with mares.
There has been the brilliant Sheza Mona, Pelicanrama and Ballarat Pacing Cup winner Lombo Rapida in the mid and late 1990s, to name a few.
In the past decade he has had no mare more durable than Ananz, which won 30 races for more than $500,000 in stakes.
She also had the distinction of racing after becoming a mother, with the use of a surrogate mare.
Ananz made her last racetrack appearance in October 2012 before going to stud. She died while foaling in the spring, with her foal also lost.
While Ananz is gone, her first foal Zhana is proving a handy racing proposition in his own right in the care of Manning.
He has won six races and will be out to add to this tally in the Diamond Rewards C2 Pace, 1710m, in Ballarat tonight.
The three-year-old appears well-placed, too, with four wins this season and coming off a last-start fifth in the South Australian Derby on Saturday.
It is no easy task backing up so quickly, but Manning’s charges have traditionally been tough.
His toughest opposition could come from a NZ import trained and driven by his daughter Kerryn.
Ardlussa Express is making his Australian debut and is yet another ex-Kiwi raced by prolific owner Merv Butterworth.
Ballarat and District Trotting Club has programmed seven races for the last meeting before the Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday, January 25.
PETER Tonkin tasted success at one of his favourite tracks on Sunday.
The Fire Within ($1.40 favourite) saluted for the Smythes Creek trainer in the time-honoured Border Cup, 2160m, at Hamilton.
A four-year-old by champion sire Christian Cullen, The Fire Within qualified for the final after winning a heat at Mt Gambier on January 7.
That was part of a memorable double for Tonkin.
He also won with three-year-old Mad Robber ($3.80), giving Tonkin his first win with a progeny of one of his all-time great pacers Robin Hood – winner of the 2006 Ballarat Cup and 2007 Victoria Cup in a highly distinguished career.
BUANGOR trainer Julian Jobe was also in the winners’ circle at Hamilton, with Cobargo Jack ($1.70 favourite).
The Village Jasper six-year-old rated a smart 1:55.2 after leading in a C1 pace, 1660m.
SPRINGBANK-based Damien Simpson produced Fearless Courage ($11) for a second career win in a C0 pace, 1720, at Melton on Friday night.