Enter the "iron" horse.They don't make them any more durable than harness racing’s modern day pacing wonder, Destreos. The 14-year-old gelding has endeared himself to fans around the country owing to his relentless appetite for competition and never say die attitude. A veteran of an amazing 445 starts, the Ken Rattray and Sally Stingel prepared pacer and much loved family member is set to enter another exclusive list.His next victory will register his century of triumphs, thereby joining the household name of Paleface Adios (108 wins) and Central Queensland 1980’s star Cane Smoke with 120 on the board as the only pacers in the Southern Hemisphere to win more than 100 races.He has raced during an era of absolute superstars which includes Blacks A Fake, Im Themightyquinn, Smoken Up, Mr Feelgood, Be Good Johnny, Washakie, Flashing Red and Slipnslide among many others. Destreos is living proof of the old adage, "there's no place like home", and, as he holds the record for most wins (73), with 100 placings for gravy, from 321 starts at Albion Park, the metropolitan venue for harness racing in the Sunshine State, he is certainly King of The Hill there.
Destreos has raced at Albion Park, Gold Coast, Redcliffe, Menangle, Bathurst, Dubbo and Newcastle plus Alexandra Park and Cambridge in New Zealand.
A number of drivers have partnered “Dex” including Kelli Dawson, Scott Kunde, Darrel Graham, Bruce Birch, Ray Law, Ricky Thurlow, Mathew Neilson, Shane Graham, Luke McCarthy, Hayden Barnes, Simon Jones, Gareth Rattray, Ricky Duggan and Rattray himself. Dawson is a clear leader with victories.The lightweight driver has posted 57 victories behind the marvel, 54 of those coming at Albion Park. "Dexter" as he is known at Camp Rattray, has amassed some $807,683 over his long career. It has been all hard slog, with his biggest victory coming at Albion Park via the 2012 Gr.3 $30,000 Be Good Johnny Sprint.
Now based in the aptly named Flowery Gully in Tasmania, Destreos picked up win no.99 at Launceston on January 12 and shoots for the century this weekend, again at Launceston, where he starts in the Carlton Draught Open Pace over 2200m with Kelli Dawson booked to drive and will start from gate 6 in the field of six.Since being based in Tasmania, the Astreos gelding has raced at Launceston, Hobart and Carrick. “It’s going to be an exciting day,” Trainer Rattray said about the possible momentous occasion. “To win 100 races with the same horse, that’s some type of effort because it takes a heck of lot of durability, determination and desire among other things to reach that mark".
Destreos, in a lot of ways, takes us back 100 years to the stallion Single G, who was known as "The Horse That Time Forgot". On the Grand Circuit, at the age of 16 years, Single G was racing and beating the grandsons of pacers he had beaten in his 3yo season. A son of Single G , Bill B, stood in New Zealand in the early 1940's siring, among numerous winners, Single Direct, Inter Dominion Champion at Adelaide in 1949.
Yet another distant early warning. It is just 63 days to the Easter Sunday Fun Day race meeting. Marburg is about to enter the realm of hosting a major sponsored event, based loosely on the original Rocklea "Pot Of Gold" series and run under standing start conditions for C0 to C5 pacers with fronts for the heats assigned according to numbers of nominations in each class. 10 metre handicaps per class with no mares or driver concessions allowed,and random barrier draw within class. Standing starts will be the major focus at Marburg unofficial trials, with the club making every effort to ensure that all intending runners are competent at the tapes prior to the heats, which will, if possible, comprise the entire program on Saturday 24/03/2018. It would do punters the world of good to attend the Saturday morning trials to see just how safe their prospects are under race conditions. Trials commence at 8.00am.
Next week we bring you a happy story. This will cover the third "Re-invention of Steven Alexander Clements", a man who has first hand experience in the ups and downs of harness racing as an owner/breeder. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. They don't get any tougher, nor any more optimistic than S.A. Clements. To import a stallion, have it die after two seasons, leaving stats which tell you that 52 of his progeny have faced the starter to date for 47 individual winners, shows considerable moral fibre to saddle up for the third round!!
Wednesday night saw the sudden passing of Bob McCardle, principal of Bromac Lodge, one of New Zealand's top harness breeding operations. Originally a Taswegian, BM made his mark in NZ, firstly at Nevele R Stud. Described by another breeder as "a very nice bloke, who was able to make a handsome living from the harness horse trade alone", Bob McCardle was regarded as without peer in breeding and marketing of the standarbred!!
Big hitting drivers to the fore this week, with Nathan Dawson nosing out Pete McMullen seven winners to six. A triple dead heat on the trainers board with Chantal Turpin, Ron Sallis and Darrell Graham landing three big ones apiece. Most pleasing, Pale Bear Boo for Mitchell Dawson with brother Nathan in the cart. Ipswich factor 29/40..
Resultsville Albion Park 19/01.. Gina Mach (Trent Dawson).. Zalta (Gary Whitaker for Brad Connelly).. Fire An Ice (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost).. The Harlem Hammer (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee).. Gotta Glow (Adam Sanderson for Darrell graham).. Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).. Firebby (Danielle McMullen for Christina Monte).. Albion Park 20/01.. Cheval Zeppenology (Hayden Barnes for Jason Carkeet).. Betterbeperfect (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin).. Glenferrie Hood (Pete McMullen for Wayne Graham).. Yankee Strutter (Matt Elkins for Max Towns).. Montana Falcon (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham).. Cotton Cold Candy (Pete McMullen for Jason Carkeet).. Our Dainty Lady (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham).. Albion Park 23/01.. Raesawinner (Nathan Dawson for Tess Neaves).. Crowning Glory (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins).. Rate Highly (Danielle McMullen for Steve Cini).. Firebby (Danielle McMullen for Christina Monte).. Charms On A Roll (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin)..Redcliffe 24/01.. Oscars Glory (Pete McMullen for john McMullen).. Vintage Dream (Nathan Dawson for Daren Garrard).. Pale Bear Boo (Nathan Dawson for Mitchell Dawson).. Calcavado (Gary Whitaker for Ron Sallis).. Miss Positivity (Pete McMullen for Josh Moore).. Redcliffe 25/01.. Corageous Leo (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith).. Ruato Bay (Matt Elkins for Ron Sallis).. The Black Flash (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith).. Tarin Kowt (Nathan Dawson for Ron Sallis).. What A Flight (Nathan Dawson for Gary Gerrard)..