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    A DECISIVE move laid the platform for a commanding victory as San Carlo and reinswoman Rebecca Bartley launched the Trots Country Pacing Championship in... Stunning return to launch Country Cups Circuit

    A DECISIVE move laid the platform for a commanding victory as San Carlo and reinswoman Rebecca Bartley launched the Trots Country Pacing Championship in fine style.

    The Kilmore Pacing Cup winning moment came with two laps to go when Bartley guided San Carlo from the rear of the field to the breeze, daring to challenge Buster Brady for the front of the running line and from there ‘Murray’ was able to dictate and the claim the bulk of the $80,000 cup stakes.

    The victory was also a warning shot for his rivals ahead of the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 12, with connections confirming that will be San Carlo’s next major stop before a New Zealand campaign.

    It promises to be an extraordinary start to Australasia’s Grand Circuit season with competition for places tight, particularly after Cruz Bromac and The Storm Inside also both saluted on the Kilmore undercard tonight and flagged an intent to chase a Victoria Cup.

    But for now the want for future glories can wait as Bartley and co-trainer Stephen O’Donoghue bask in the success of a Kilmore Cup, a prize the latter said he hadn’t dared dream of.

    “I was just happy to have a runner in the cup to be honest, that was the biggest thrill,” O’Donoghue told Trots Vision. “I didn’t expect to win tonight, honest to God that was the furthest thing from my mind. I just thought we get through the race, hopefully he pulls up well and we go from there but to run 27.2 down the back and still fight on – huge thrill.”

    O’Donoghue gave plenty of credit to training partner and reinswoman Bartley.

    “I think this horse has made her as far as her confidence and realising that she can hold her own in that class of drivers,” he said. “The last two years she’s taken the next step, thanks to San Carlo really, he’s given her that confidence and belief in herself.”

    Bartley has piloted San Carlo for all 49 of his starts which have produced 29 wins, none richer than tonight’s.

    “To be honest I knew he’d go good but I didn’t know if he could win it or not, that was a really big thrill, really big surprise,” Bartley said.

    Despite San Carlo being first up from a spell Bartley showed little hesitation in thrusting the nine-year-old into the throng mid-race, advancing to the breeze in what would prove the decisive move.

    “He’s been working really good at home and we thought he might have needed the run,” Bartley said.

    “When Buster was there and it felt like they were (going) slow I thought, ‘oh, I’m not going to do any good back here so I may as well give it a go’. It was a surprise that Kima (Frenning) handed up, which was really good, he was really on the charge, he was on the bit.

    “He was quite fresh in the warm up and I thought I would have had trouble holding him, but he relaxed pretty good. When we hit the front and I sort of looked at the TV (big screen) and we had cleared away and I couldn’t believe it.”

    There were also plenty of smiles in the Cruisin Around camp after he grabbed the early ascendancy in the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship with a well-timed win in the MC Labour Kilmore Trotters Cup, having been placed perfectly by reinsman Chris Alford and produced a winning burst to register 3.2-metre win.

    Cruisin Around found Magicool’s back in the running line off the standing start and it would prove the perfect platform for the sprint home, with the Brent Lilley trained trotter winning by just over three metres from placegetters Magicool and Maori Law.

    “He raced nice tonight, slotted in nice and early on the back of the favourite who carted him everywhere he needed to go,” Alford told Trots Vision.

    “He might not be up with the Tornado Valleys and them, but in these sort of races (he) can do a little bit of work as well. He was good tonight and hopefully that gives them a bit of confidence.”


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