Local driver makes Mark

Local driver makes Mark

Local driver Mark Phillips claimed his second Mount Gambier Harness Gold Cup on Saturday night, guiding Hez All Rock to glory.

Phillips claimed the Matthews Petroleum Mount Gambier Pacing Gold Cup on his way to a driving double at the Greenwald Paceway.

The four-year-old Hez All Rock, owned by Denis Howard and trained by Bec East, had his 38th start on Saturday night, and made the most of the opportunity, beating Mikicool with Brent Howard onboard across the line with Sea Flyer driven by Jackie Barker third.

Jayson Finnis guided My Purple Patch home for fourth.

After winning the cup, Phillips said he was delighted that trainer East had put her faith in himand also paid tribute to his winning horse.

“Bec has got the horse flying at the moment, he was a horse on the up coming into this, I know he was more lowly rated than a few of the others but we got the good draw and his win last Sunday was pretty good and he’s pretty tough so it was always going to suit him,” Phillips said.

“We just had to get the right run.

“I was pretty rapt when the fields came out and I saw my name down on that. I thought this was pretty good from the pole and I’m just rapt they supported me, so I really thank them for that.”

Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club president Simon Phillips said this year’s gold cup was a huge success for the club.

“The crowd was up on previous years and probably the best numbers we have seen in five years,” he said.

“We were very happy with the crowd, the weather was perfect and there was plenty of entertainment for everyone.

“Everyone just seemed in a really good mood because it was a really good vibe.

“We rely on the cup meeting for most of our finances for a lot of the year but we still have a few meetings to come so hopefully people had a really good time and they will keep coming back.

“It was great to see Bec East who is a huge supporter of our club get her first cup winner as a trainer and it was good to see my cousin Mark win the cup for the second year in a row.”

The Gold Cup capped off a huge weekend of celebrations for the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Association, which also held its annual Calcutta the night prior.

The evening also featured the 2023 end of season awards with Jackie Barker named leading driver and Bec East leading trainer.

Majorholenmypocket was declared the leading three-year-old, and Zion Franco the most improved from four-year-old or older.

Majorholenmypocket was also named horse of the year, while Barry Carraill was presented with the recognition award.

Best presented horses at the cup were Royal Speech, Glorious Finale and Hez All Rock.

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