Terang pacing cup triumph for trainer, driver

ECKLIN-trained pacer Keayang Cullen delivered trainer Marg Lee and driver Glen Craven the highlights of their careers by winning the Terang Pacing Cup.

The five-year-old scored a 2.1-metre victory from fast-finishing Rodrigo and Our Arlington in the $25,000 feature over 2680 metres at Terang Raceway.

The triumph at odds of $3.60 was the feel-good story of cup night and sparked jubilant celebrations.

Making the win more special was the family connections with both the horse and the Terang Harness Racing Club.

Lee is an aunt of Craven while her parents, Harold and Alice Craven, are long-time stalwarts of the club.

Harold is a life member while Alice has been ever-present at the track.

The pair were unable to be trackside on Saturday night but both trainer and driver paid tribute to them post-race.

Lee yesterday described the cup win as “pretty special”.

“There’s nothing like winning your home-town cup. I’ve won a lot of other races but this one is a highlight,” she said.

Craven was likewise still on a high yesterday.

“I don’t get very excited too often but I got a little bit excited over the line with a bit of a salute,” he said.

They compared Keayang Cullen to another Lee-trained pacer, Keayang Hanover, which won 22 races but never the Terang Pacing Cup.

Keayang Cullen has 17 wins and eight placings from 29 starts and will contest a heat of the $750,000 Inter Dominion Championship at Melton on Saturday night.

“Both have been great horses. I can’t really split them for the enjoyment I’ve got out of them,” Craven said.

“Both have been really good for me. Keayang Hanover was there for me when I first started. This bloke (Keayang Cullen) is definitely on his way to toppling him.”

A fast start from position three on the second row paved the way for the victory. Keayang Cullen was able to follow Arber out of the gates and capitalise on a gap in the front row to hit the first turn in front.

Craven was able to dictate terms from there and the gelding held firm in the straight as the placegetters charged home from mid-field.

Keayang Cullen finished in three minutes, 20 seconds and clocked quarters of 30.8, 29.9, 27.8 and 28.9.

Lee described the drive as “brilliant” and reflective of a reinsman who understands the horse. Craven said the good start was “pretty much what won us the race”.

“If we didn’t get to the front it could’ve been a totally different story,” he said. 

Terang Pacing Cup night was successful beyond the cup win for the Cravens.

Matt Craven, the older brother of Glen, drove the Peter Manning-trained Earl Harbour to victory in the $10,000 Terang Trotters Cup over 2680 metres.

The six-year-old gelding was a $2.30 favourite and won by 3.3 lengths from Illawong Magic and Enjoy A Coldie.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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