Pink Galahs shines

Matt Craven was reluctant to throw his top trotting filly Pink Galahs into the deep end on Saturday night, but after making one heck of a splash, he’s now surely eyeing some of the state’s top features with confidence.

The three-year-old made it four successive victories this preparation with a sprint-lane success at Bendigo and it appears the sky is the limit with the daughter of Skyvalley, which has now won eight of 13 career runs.

“I was very apprehensive coming into tonight,” Craven admitted post-race.

“It’s a little, tiny three-year-old filly taking on horses that have been racing against open company… free-for-all horses.

“I felt it was a huge step for her tonight. The thing that she had on her side was the barrier draw, but even then the pressure is different in this sort of company.”

Craven confirmed there are some bold plans for the horse, which has placed at the elite level earlier in her career.

“The idea is the Oaks and the Vicbred are her grand finals. But she has to, and she is, learning all the time and she’s been a much better racehorse this preparation,” the Ecklin South trainer-driver said.

“Although tonight she was quite keen, she’s been much more relaxed and the main thing was to get some racing into her to teach her some race craft.

“It’s a big ask against these horses, but we felt we had to race these horses and be competitive to be thinking that we’re a chance in those bigger races.”

Pink Galahs’ co-owner Caleb Lewis is married to Laura (nee Healy), who is the daughter of Bryan and granddaughter of Ric. The Healy family bred Maori Miss, the mare who instigated arguably Australia’s most famous trotting breeding line which includes the famed Maori’s Idol but also Maori Mia, the great-great granddam of Pink Galahs.

It was another squaregaiter that produced one of the highlights during Saturday night’s Bendigo meeting, which replaced the originally scheduled Melton card.

Andy Gath-trained import C K Spur scored victory at his first Australian start, finishing too strong for his rivals despite a tough run.

The son of Pegasus Spur was well tried in New Zealand, having had 48 starts for nine wins and more than $130,000 in stakes. Saturday night was his first racetrack appearance since a down-the-track finish at Cambridge in January.

Gath’s wife Kate, who drove the horse to victory, forecast more from the six-year-old in upcoming races.

“He didn’t eat as well as we would have liked when he initially arrived, for a few days,” she said.

“Then he did and he does now. He’s a guts now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a little bit of improvement in him next time he steps out.”

While racing was switched from Melton to Bendigo on Saturday, Victorian harness racing headquarters was back in action on Sunday afternoon with an eight-event card.