South Australia’s premier reinswomanwas the queen of on Saturday winning four races – half of the harness racing program.
Her first win was on Our Front Page for trainer Heather Stevens, she then scored on Our Jericho for Les Harding, her own pacer Nicol Shard made it three, then the Luke O’Neill-trained Truscott Hall made it four.
It is the 25th time Hill has driven four winners at a meeting. The first was at Gawler on October 24, 2003, and before Saturday, the most recent was on July 31 last year.
Our Front Page, a former New Zealand filly, was purchased by Gary McGinty late last year and has now won two of three starts since coming to Globe Derby Park trainer Heather Stevens.
From gate five in the Allwood Stud SA Yearling Sale February 11 3YO Pace (1800m), Hill opted to go back early, and the three-year-old filly settled at the tail of the field but when the $2.20 favourite The Deal, driven by trainer Greg Norman, opted to go forward three-wide from midfield, Hill latched onto his back.
The Deal took Our Front Page ($10.40) right into the race and on the home turn, The Quick Shadow ($4.20) went to the front but the favourite was alongside to challenge.
Hill brought Our Front Page wide and the filly sprinted sharply to win by 1-1/2 metres from The Quick Shadow which fought on well and The Deal was a half-head away third.
“She was going to win a long way out,” Hill said. “Heather has made a few small gear changes and the filly travelled beautifully. They are going to have a lot of fun with her.”
Our Jericho made it a double when the quality pacer scored an easy win in the DPR Insurance Brokers Pace (1800m).
A well backed $1.60 favourite, Our Jericho, trained by Les Harding, scored a two-metre win from Lookofalegend ($6.50) with Whenmechief ($15.30), a half head away third.
The eight-year-old, owned by prominent owner Merv Butterworth, came to Harding’s stable recently and had his first run in the SA Cup a week earlier when an eye-catching fourth to Shadow Sax.
Coming from gate nine, Our Jericho sat back early before Hill came three wide with a lap to go and the gelding drew clear off the back to win comfortably.
Our Jericho rated a fast 1:55.0 and gives Harding a strong presence in fast-class SA races as he also has the smart Bettor Party.
Hill’s treble was on Nicol Shard, which farewelled Australia, with a super win.
The four-year-old is headed to the United States to join the stable of her owners Mark Hanover and Gordon Banks.
Nicol Shard ($1.40 fav) rated 1:56.2 in scoring a 12-1/2 metre win in the PFD Food Services Pace (1800m) from Marty Major ($20.70) with It’s Me Telowie ($20.90), a half head away third.
From gate five, Hill went forward to find the lead and the gelding was never troubled and went to the line untouched.
“It is sad, but that was his last run for me,” Hill said. “The owners spoke to me through the week and they want to take him to their stable in America.
“I feel there is still plenty of improvement in him and I know he could go a long way here in Australia, but the reality is he was always only going to be in my stable for a short while.
“The good news is the owners had said they will send me a replacement, a three-year-old filly who they said will be a more than worthy substitute.”
Hill has trained just two horses for Mark Hanover and Gordon Banks, Breach The Beach and Nicol Shard, and won 11 of 12 races with the pair. She also looked after Southern Cross Two-Year-Old fillies winner Saphirique for them last year when the filly was trained by Nicole Molander.
It is reported Saphirique will be joining Nicol Shard on the US flight.
The fourth winner was squaregaiter Truscott Hall which took out the Hopkins Saddlery Trotters Mobile (2230m).
Truscott Hall ($9.80) led throughout for trainer Luke O’Neill to beat stablemate Stuey D ($11.70) by a half head with Nico Serrano ($17.20), 20-1/2 metres away third.
O’Neill, a master trainer of squaregaiters, was delighted with the result.
“He’s a hard horse to beat when he leads,” O’Neill said.
“When Stuey D settled one-out, one-back, I knew he would be in the finish and it was a great result.”
Favourite was the smart trotter Rocknroll Baby at $1.70.
Trainer-driver Greg Norman allowed the filly to safely trot away from the mobile settling a clear last but had her ready to strike going into the back straight, but the mare went off stride and lost all chance about 600 metres from the finish.