FORMER Terang horse owner John Heffernan is celebrating Breeders’ Crown Series success with enterprising trotter Im Stately.
Im Stately scored a four-metre triumph in the $158,000 race for two-year-olds over 2240 metres at Melton on Sunday.
The win earned connections a cool $95,000 and brought to an end a breakout season from the colt.
Im Stately, a colt by Majestic Son out of Shadows, has won eight races and placed second three other times since March.
Heffernan, 67, and these days an East Keilor resident, said the win was the highlight of his years as a horse owner.
“I’ve had a share in a few horses when I was younger but they weren’t much good,” he said.
“This would be the highlight without a doubt. I’ve got good mates in the horse too, which makes a difference.”
Heffernan said trainer/driver David Jack would spell Im Stately until early next year.
“He’s won eight out of 11 in his first year and he’s gone out to the paddock now. We’ve had a lot of fun with him,” he said.
“He’ll be in the paddock until Christmas. David, the trainer, is going to map out a three-year-old program for him.
“It’ll depend where he starts but he’s got plenty of time to get (Im Stately) ready for that.”
Im Stately, a $1.70 favourite, started the final out of gate four.
He hit the front early but failed to settle for Jack. New Zealand hope One Over Da Moon sat behind Im Stately and had his chance to pinch the win using the sprint lane in the straight. But Im Stately managed to extend his advantage over the closing stages. Jack said he was rapt with the triumph.
He said Im Stately had a big season ahead in 2014 “if we don’t run into any unforeseen circumstances”.
“It was great to win it, naturally. It’s a group 1 race and they’re hard to win,” he said. “He was clearly the best two-year-old in Austraila and the two best two-year-olds in New Zealand came over, so he’s got to rate as good as any in Australasia.”
The south-west was well represented at Melton on Sunday.
Maorisfavouritesun, trained and driven by John Meade, finished second in the final for four-year-old trotters.
The Marg Lee-trained pacer Keayang Steamer was third in the final for four-year-old pacers.