KYABRAM Pacing Cup night turned into a 'super Sunday' for Bendigo's harness racing fraternity.
Bendigo trainers or drivers had a hand in six of the 11 winners decided at the Shepparton Harness Racing Club track, with Junortoun-based Chris Svanosio leading the way with a training win and driving double aboard his own horse Major Manbar and the Matthew Higgins-trained Elmore mare Elenna.
There were also wins to trainers Glenn Douglas with the four-year-old mare Dublin Street, Bruce Morgan (Bonus Play), Gary Donaldson (Rocks Arnt Pets) and Scott Rains (Oh Oh Noo).
Svanosio's win in the final race aboard Major Manbar put the lid on an up-down week for the trainer-driver, who drove the Brad Stevens-trained Endsin A Party to victory in the Mildura Trotters Cup on Thursday night, 24 hours after he was injured when kicked in the face by one of his own horses at home.
"All the cuts are healing up, I was a bit unlucky just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I have got out of it alright," he said.
"It happened Wednesday morning, but I got a couple of winners Thursday night and a couple Sunday night, which makes things better.
"Major Manbar has got a fair bit of ability, but his first two runs he didn't get things quite right. Thankfully he put it all together and was too good for them."
The three-year-old counts among his owners a group of Collingwood footballers, including Jeremy Howe, Josh Thomas and Steele Sidebottom, whose cousin, former Mitiamo ruckman Mitch Sidebottom manages the syndicate.
A terrific front-running drive from Svanosio enabled the four-year-old Elenna to break through for her maiden win at career start number 16.
Trainer Higgins, who has only a small team of horses stabled at Elmore, described the mare as a 'late starter'.
"She never did any three-year-old racing, somewhere along the line she was left until a later age," he said.
"I broke her in and sent her home again and she's came back for a refresher course and went home again.
"This time she's stayed and had a long crack at it and is coping well enough.
"She's a nervy horse, who's done some things wrong at the track, but her confidence is growing and she is getting better."
Higgins, who has split time out on his own as a trainer for more than 10 years, with breaking-in horses and working at other stables, said he was happy to fly the flag for Elmore and was full of praise for the winning drive from Svanosio.
"I've only started using him recently - I've had Chris Alford on a few but he's hard to get on," he said.
"I'd rather keep one on rather than changing drivers all the time and give them a chance to get to know the horse and learn what they are capable of.
"Chris is doing a great job."
Meanwhile, Dublin Street gave Strathfieldsaye-based Douglas his 57th training win of the season, while for Heathcote-based Rains, stable newcomer Oh Oh Noo was his first.
Donaldson looks to have a potentially exciting three-year-old on his hands with Rocks Arnt Pets
The gelding broke through for his first win at start number seven, with Rodney Petroff in the sulky. It followed a pair of placings at Shepparton and Ballarat in his previous two starts.
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