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.
A former priest and teacher at St Colman's in Shepparton has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student in 1970.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Echuca Lion Ken Walter has been presented with the International President’s Medal.
Rochester Tigers take on Rochester United today in the Goulburn Murray Cricket Twenty20 match.
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Two primary school students have been among just 25 in Victoria to be awarded the Prime Ministers NAIDOC Medal.
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Pre-schools in Heathcote and Colbinabbin will benefit from grants announced last week.
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Further redundancies at Victoria’s largest rural water corporation, Goulburn-Murray Water, are possible, with more efficiency reviews being carried out.
Rotary's inaugural Community Policing Award goes to Detective Leading Senior Constable Jenny Parker for her work above and beyond her duties working with victims of sexual abuse.
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