YOUNG Bendigo trainer Shaun McNaulty and reinswoman Michelle Phillips have shared plenty of the spotlight on night two of the Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival.
The pair celebrated a winning race-to-race double with Gobsmacked and the heavily fancied It's All Business on Thursday night's 10-race card at City Oval Paceway.
.It was a splendid training and driving performance by the couple, who have patiently worked their horses into solid form.
Gobsmacked and It's All Business are not just stable-mates, but also paddock buddies.
It was the second win in three starts for the three-year-old gelding Gobsmacked ($6.40), who previously won on Ouyen Cup day on March 24, before running eighth at Shepparton in stronger company earlier this month.
The double was sealed with a brilliant front-running drive by Phillips aboard the improving three-year-old It's All Business ($1.80 favourite), who put 22.6 metres on his nearest rival he's An Artist in one of the night's more convincing victories.
It was the second career win from nine starts for the colt, who had been racing in higher grades, and a big thrill for Phillips, who earlier in the night showed style of a different nature with a third placing in the fashion on the fields judging.
"He felt awesome ... coming out of the gate I was a bit concerned coming from three wide, but it sorted itself out," Phillips told Trots Vision.
"I was pretty happy with his efforts. He'll have a good day off tomorrow and we will start again the next day.
"As a two-year-old we honestly thought Gobsmacked was going to be the better horse, but he's stepped up to the plate.
"His last run at Melton we weren't quite happy with him and we took him to the vets and ended up having to have a sinus operation.
"It's taken him a while to get him back to his top two-year-old form, but he's definitely stepped up."
Phllips and McNaulty nearly made it a treble with last year's Stawell Trotters Cup winner Fratellino, who finished third behind the fellow Bendigo-trained gelding Endsin A Party in the night's feature event, the $14,500 Mildura Trotters Cup (2600m).
The cup win was a remarkable triumph for his Bendigo trainer Brad Stevens and also driver Chris Svanosio, who was still feeling the effects of a kick to his face from one of his stable stars Dontouch The Duco on Wednesday morning.
"Yesterday morning I wasn't going too well, I didn't think I'd be here tonight .... I had blood dripping out everywhere and my lip was about twice the size it is now," he said.
"But I was keen to come and drive this horse for Brad, he's a great mate of mine and well all get on well and work the horses together."
It was the second cup win for Endsin A Party, who won the McNamara Trotters Cup at Geelong last November.
Svanosio admitted to a little luck in the run, after the short-priced favourite Claudy's Prince ($1.40) blew his chances by galloping early in the race.
"That helped, he's obviously been flying and was the main one to beat, but there were still some good horses around him," he said.
"Belts and Fratellino have been going terrific in the country cups and the Tasmanian invader (Trump's Golden Boy), but this fellow was good enough to out stay them in the finish."
A triumphant night for the Bendigonians was kick-started by Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Douglas, who won the opening race - the Female Drivers Challenge - with The Cobblers Piece.
It was back-to-back wins for the five-year-old gelding, who was driven by Ros Rolfe, after his recent win on Horsham Cup day.
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