Agent Frost ran on strongly for second with the unlucky Jamraan finishing in third placing. The win of Duragal gave jockey Kane Harris his fourth straight winner for the day. His other winners were Purple Zar at $4-00, Promotion at $5-00 and Salsa Club at $5-00.
Results for Balnarring. View the days happenings at the Gallery.
GREAT DAYS AT THE HIGH COUNTRY PICNICS by John Kennedy
Race meetings can be cancelled whilst in progress for a variety of reasons.
But the cancellation of the 133rd consecutive annual meeting of the Omeo District Racing Club at the picturesque Hinnomunjie race course in the high country between Benambra and Omeo last weekend will go down in history as the first meeting ever abandoned due to a plane crash.
Chief Stipe Greg Lee had no hesitation in calling the meeting off after race 4 when the power was lost and a power line dangled dangerously over the home straight.
Only minutes earlier an Italian designed Tecnam ultra light aircraft engaged in a fly over and customary lolly drop for the kids on track had caught a wheel and strut in the power line causing it to flip, crash and then quickly explode in flames adjacent to the home turn.
The pilot and his passenger managed to get out of the aircraft only seconds before it exploded and burned.
Assisted by two patrons who were nearby they escaped both with second degree burns and the pilot with a badly broken leg which necessitated their subsequent transport to the Alfred Hospital by a Medivac helicopter.
Before this accident the days racing had seen a double landed by husband and wife team Rob and Karen Gillahan from Ensay.
Their home bred horse Lord Ensay took out the maiden and three races later their Urban Gypsy made it two on end each by four lengths having won previously at the Canni Creek picnics at Buchan by the same margin on Black Saturday.
For Rob Gillahan who is a shearer and farm manager at Ensay it was his first double after nine years of training.
But his wife Karen has regularly landed doubles at the bush picnics and was to do so again on the Monday at the Tambo Valley Racing Club meeting at Swifts Creek.
1. Rob and Karen Gillahan celebrate their Urban Gypsy's second four length victory at the bush picnics.
2. The Tecnam ultra light aircraft burns fiercely at the top of the home straight at Hinnonmunjie.
3. The Manning family with 47 year old picnic veteran Reg Manning on top celebrate Warrigal Toms second victory in two races.
On Monday the racing action in the high country shifts down the Great Alpine Road to Swifts Creek.
Karen Gillahan who had ridden a double at the previous year’s meeting landed another with wins Urban Gypsy taking out another four length win in the Swifts Creek Cup and two races later winning a 1600 metres handicap on Go Zam.
But the performance of the day went to 9 year old gelding Warrrigal Tom owned and trained by the Manning family at Maffra.
Tom won the 1650 metre heat of the picnic middle distance series never being headed and winning by five lengths.
Saddled up again two races later in the 1000 metre last race of the day and with the impost of 70.5 kgs after a 1 kg penalty he won again by a length after leading all the way.
Ridden to his first victory by Leigh Taylor he was ridden in the sprint by his 47 year old part owner and long time high country hoop Reg Manning.
Reg said he was just having a ride to keep his eye in.
After all in his career he has won no less than 16 Swift s Creek Cups.
If you have never had a March long week end visit to the Hinnomunjie and Swifts Creek picnic tracks north of Bairnsdale I can highly recommend it.
It’s simply a great weekend away in the spectacular alpine country side.
The fields at an average of about five at both meetings were good for the bush picnics.
Three bookies fielded on the locals and interstate and the crowds at both meetings which have been under threat of closure by the City focussed racing hierarchy were well over the 1,000 mark.
So just plan to go next year.
Plane crashes are not likely to be on the agenda again!
Full results for Hinnomunjie and Swifts Creek.
Next week we return to Yea for their Cup meeting which generally attracts strong fields.
Good luck on the punt,