Good vibes were overflowing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with a succession of successes that meant the world to their participants.
Tangoingwithsierra returned from a year-long break to record a fourth victory on the trot for Gary Hoban, a pick-me-up for the trainer who’s battling ill-health, before Bulletproof Boy brought the widest of grins to trainer-driver Scott Ewen’s face with a trademark last stride swoop to win at odds.
And a further layer was added to the feelgood cake when Moonshine Linda rattled down the sprint lane to win the Group 3 Woodlands Stud Carlotta’s Pride Trotters Free For All for trainer David Miles, reinsman Michael Bellman and owner-breeders Neville and Michael Pangrazio.
Bellman told Trots Vision victory in the $24,000 headliner was “a little bit” special, though the much-travelled reinsman said every win “means so much to owners and trainers”.
“There are so many great people and families,” Bellman said. “Their kids look up to you and things like that, you don’t take much notice of it at the time, but when you win a decent race and people text message and send messages … it’s pretty humbling so many people think so much of you.
“It’s just great that I can repay a bit of faith and they put up with my antics and everything. It’s a great job.”
And he certainly did a great job on Saturday night, using Moonshine Linda early from the gates and sliding to the pegs behind leader Peregrine Phoenix, who took the six-year-old Majestic Son mare to the sprint lane.
Having his first drive on the Group 1 winner, Bellman launched late and Moonshine Linda scored by 1.5 metres to register her first win since August 2019.
“We were banking on the fact that if we didn’t get across the fence Red Hot Tooth would come around (and provide us cover),” Bellman said. “When it worked out the way it did I was very happy.”
There were also welcome smiles in the Hoban camp, with owner-breeder Craig Hoban on hand to team with reinsman Greg Sugars and set Tangoingwithsierra up for a 10th career win.
Craig has stepped up his duties with trainer and his dad, Gary, battling ill-health, and Sugars told Trots Vision post-race it made victory in the Alamora Tarneit Now Selling Pace all the more special.
“I know this will mean a lot this win tonight for the Hoban family with the battle Gary’s got on his hands at the moment,” Sugars said.
“Craig and whoever’s around him at the moment are doing a terrific job with the team that they have. Every now and again you get special moments like this that mean more to us as well because you know it means so much to someone else. It’s a real positive part of our job that we get to bring so much joy to people along the way. “
The victory was something of a procession with Tangoingwithsierra defying a punting drift by cruising to the front from gate three and winning handsomely in a brisk 1:53.1 mile rate.
The win was also reward for the Hobans’ patience and persistence, with the Sportswriter mare unraced in 13 months heading into Saturday.
“She had some problems with her rear hocks,” Craig Hoban told Trots Vision. “She had to have six months off after the Victorian Oaks when she was scratched in the final, she came back, had three starts and unfortunately did the other side.
“(Another) six months off, walk for a month, jog for two months, hobble for a month and then give her a month off, and then go through the whole process (again). It’s been a long six months, but it’s worth it when you get back on track.”