Major Stare survives protest to win Albany Cup
Talented pacer Major Stare survived a protest to win his first $20,000 GWN Albany Pacing Cup (2683m), downing red-hot favourite Galactic Star by a head in a thrilling finish to the 2018 Albany Harness Racing Club feature race last Friday night.
The Barry Howlett-trained Major Stare started a $6.50 chance on the tote and jumped well from gate two on the front line to surge to the lead for driver Lang Inwood.
The son of Art Major led as $1.60 fancy Galactic Star was sent forward soon after the start to sit outside the leader.
Major Stare was challenged on the final lap by Galactic Star, driven by Ryan Warwick, but Major Stare hung on by a head to notch one of the best wins of his career.
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Warwick lodged a protest against Major Stare, alleging interference on the final turn, but stewards dismissed the claim, saying Major Stare did move out on the final turn but they weren’t satisfied Galactic Star would have won if the interference hadn’t occurred.
As a result, Major Stare has been stood down until he completes one re-qualifying trial after being warned at his last start for a similar offence.
Major Stare ran third in the $50,000 San Simeon Final and has now won 10 of his 27 career starts.
Handsandwheels ran third for the De Campo stable, beaten by 2.2m, Mighty Major was fourth and local Mister Ardee fifth.
Howlett finished with a winning double after short-priced favourite Punters Dream won the John Barnesby Pace (2258m).
Galactic Star’s runner-up finish continued a luckless night for leading metro trainer Skye Bond at Harold Reid Paceway.
Ella Gant Player ran third in race 2 while $2.40 favourite Covered N Diamonds was checked and raced roughly at the 300m mark before finishing a disappointing sixth in race 4.
Lincs Tiger ($1.10 favourite) galloped at the start of race eight but charged back to run third, beaten by 3m, while the well-fancied My Master Of Disguise finished second in the final race.
Machine Elle and Sheez Impressive gave trainer Andrew De Campo and reinsman Aiden De Campo a winning double
Locally based trainer Matthew Saw also landed a double with Im Zuleika and October Brown to stretch his lead in the AHRC Trainers’ Premiership.
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