NEIL Day was just thankful to pass the finish post in one piece. The veteran driver was robbed of a chance of victory and placed in an immediate danger when his carriage became partially disconnected from the horse during the fifth race at the Paceway on Monday.
He and race favourite Wandary Splash, a filly owned by a syndicate including Olympian Glenn Turner, were forced to settle for a dead heat second.
And count their lucky stars further mishap failed to unfold.
While a busted carriage shaft doesn’t happen every day, it’s not an entirely rare occurrence.
“It’s happened to me before and there’s not a lot you can do,” Day explained.
“The tip became separated from the rest of the shaft… You just have to distribute the weight onto one side.”
Day, unlike many of the punters present on Monday, doesn’t believe the misfortune cost him the race.
“I don’t think it hindered my chances. We probably wouldn’t have beaten the winner,” he said.
“It might have cost us (outright) second, but it’s all part of the racing game.”
Day, meantime, received some consolation when he collected the following race with Yabba Dabba Doo.
The bizarre race five finish was the only hiccup for the Harness Racing Club, which began a month-long string of events with heats of the Tom Hewitt Memorial Trophy and trials for the Australasian Young Drivers Championship.
Up-and-comers Josh Dicker and Chris Voak claimed the heats of the Young Drivers Championships, and established trainer-driver Peter Rixon the first of the Tom Hewitt Memorial trials.
Local driver Brad Hewitt denied his dad David to win the second of the Tom Hewitt Memorial Heats with successful gelding Eclipser.
The Tom Hewitt Memorial will be conducted at the Paceway on Monday. Racing continues with a tier three meet on March 28, followed by the Carnival of Cups – a fixture that includes the $30,000 Frank and Edna Day Memorial and $18,000 Goulburn Soldiers Club Rose Pace – on Easter Sunday, March 31.