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Valley Courtney clocks personal best in Trillium triumph
September 11, 2008
By Sandra Snyder

GLOUCESTER, ON — John Bax trainees swept the top two spots in the quickest of three $23,000 Trillium Series divisions at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Thursday evening, with Valley Courtney clocking the 1:58.3 victory over stablemate Gaelic Mistress.

The pair were sent off as the favourites in Race 9, and through the early going Steven Sills settled Valley Courtney in fourth spot on the rail, while Stephen Byron positioned Gaelic Mistress in sixth. The Striking Sahbra daughters continued to sit comfortably in the middle of the pack as Ms Naughty roared out to a :27.3 opening quarter and reached the :57.3 half four lengths ahead of the field.

While Sills and Valley Courtney remained on the rail behind the pacesetter through the 1:27.4 three-quarters, Byron sent Gaelic Mistress up the outside behind a string of challengers, and at the top of the stretch the duo were sitting second and third. A solid finishing kick propelled Valley Courtney down the stretch to her second straight victory, while Gaelic Mistress crossed the wire third, but was placed ahead to second when racing officials ruled that Ms Naughty had caused interference in the early stages of the race. Grammy Hall was elevated from fourth to third.

The 1:58.3 triumph peeled almost two full seconds off Valley Courtney’s former personal best and boosted her record to four wins, one third and $49,170 in earnings through 11 sophomore starts.

Peterborough resident Bax trains Valley Courtney for his partner Harry Locke of Oshawa and conditions Gaelic Mistress for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Wooden Lissen Stable of Port Perry, Venture K Stable of Lindsay and Lewis Palmer of Oshawa.

In the first Trillium split Jayporthasitall recovered from an early break to score a one length victory in 2:00.1. Mark Steacy and Travelin Supergirl carved fractions of :28.3, :59.1 and 1:29, but had to settle for second, one-half length ahead of another John Bax trainee, Grammy Hall.

Another daughter of Striking Sahbra, Jayporthasitall was also making her second straight appearance in the winner’s circle after capturing a Sept. 5 overnight at Grand River Raceway. Through 15 starts this season the Dan Creighton trainee has logged seven wins, two seconds and earnings of $65,850. Creighton trains the half-sister to $326,069 winner Jayport Express for his partners in the Danterra Racing Stable of Strathroy.

The other Trillium Series division saw last year’s Gold Series standout Torch return to the winner’s circle for the first time since Sept. 22, 2007. The Kadabra miss has struggled to recapture the magic of her two-year-old campaign this season, recording just one second and two thirds in nine starts prior to Thursday’s outing.

Trainer Carl Jamieson guided Torch to the victory, firing her off the wings from Post 7 and sailing through fractions of :28.3, :59.3 and 1:29.4 en route to the one and a half length victory in 2:00.3. World Premiere and Random Solution closed hard to finish second and third.

Princeton resident Jamieson shares ownership on Torch with Ken Henwood of Mississauga.

The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Trillium Series season on Nov. 3 at Woodbine Racetrack, but fans can catch the Grassroots regulars in action at Georgian Downs on Sept. 23 and the Gold Series fillies at Flamboro Downs on Sept. 17. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Thursday, Sept. 25 with Gold Elimination action for the lightning fast three-year-old pacing colts.

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