Finley-owned two year-old Eljaykay Phoenix claimed the Vicbred Super Series Group 1 Final on Friday night.July 9, 2014 4:00am
Local harness racing followers have a new hero to cheer for with the emergence of two-year-old trotting star Eljaykay Phoenix.
The athletic son of trotting sire Sundon is raced by local butchers Ashley Haynes and Chris Shaw in partnership with friends Brian and Ted Payne.
The group celebrated its biggest win in the sport on Friday night when Eljaykay Phoenix won the Vicbred Super Series Group 1 Final for two year-old trotting colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park, Melton.
The owners have raced and bred horses for several years and the win on Friday night capped what has been a long journey from humble beginnings.
Eljaykay Phoenix has now won five of his six starts with his only defeat a narrow second at his debut run in early April.
Named after local identity Louis John Koschel (LJK), the horse has now amassed more than $77,000 in career earnings.
Friday night’s win was also a first for the horse’s driver, Josh Aiken.
The young pilot was having his first Group 1 race drive and showed nerves of steel during an exciting race.
Finding the lead after half a lap, a serious challenge was laid down by second favourite Illawong Armstrong as the runners reached the bell lap.
So much so that Eljaykay Phoenix relinquished the lead to the well-bred opponent.
Undeterred, Aiken steered the little gelding to the outside, rounding the home turn to race to the front and claim victory in the $60,000 feature race.
A flourish of the whip showed the excitement of the 21 year-old driver’s big win. The horse is trained by his father, David Aiken, at Avenel in central Victoria.
Eljaykay Phoenix, which started as a $1.30 favourite on Friday night, will have its next run in the time-honoured Redwood Classic on Sunday, July 20.
After that, a tilt at the rich Australasian Breeders Crown series will conclude what has already been an outstanding freshman season for Finley’s newest star.
The facilitator of a new program to help empower women with a disability to become leaders in the community says it is time to stand up.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The second annual Bonnie and Clyde Rods, Rats and Rides Festival fired up at Tatura Park at the weekend (April 11-12), drawing thousands of petrol heads and rockabilly music lovers to Tatura.
Leitchville-Gunbower claimed honours in its A grade showdown against Lockington-Bamawm United yesterday, 53-31.
Hundreds rose early for Dawn Services across the district on Saturday to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
The Deniliquin Domestic Violence Liaison Committee hosted a community lunch at the ‘Rocket Park’ on Thursday to celebrate the launch of its new banner.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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