KATE Hargreaves' in-form trotter Well Defined has continued his sensational run by scoring back-to-back country cup wins at Terang on Saturday night.
Eight days after the six-year-old gelding took out the $20,000 Group 3 Ararat Trotters Cup (2570m), the son of Majestic Son and Focus On Me produced an ever better performance against a stronger field to land the $25,000 Group 3 Terang Trotters Cup (2680m).
The presence of noted Group 1 performers Pink Galahs and McLovin did little to intimidate Well Defined, who was again superbly driven by in-form Bendigo reinswoman Ellen Tormey.
The race became a battle between two as they entered the home straight, with Chris Alford aboard the Brett Lilley-trained Robbie Royale holding a few metres break on Well Defined.
That was until Tormey was able to wrest the lead with about 50m to travel as Well Defined went sailing past Robbie Royal on his way to a 2.4-metre win.
It was another feather in the cap for the Shelbourne-based training partnership of Hargreaves and Alex Ashwood, which has produced a pair of Group race wins in the past two weeks.
The young training team ended last year on a high with their maiden Group 1 win, and have started the new season just as impressively with 14 winners and 15 placings.
While those returns have Hargreaves placed fifth on the state trainer's premiership, she was quick to deflect credit to Ashwood for his work with their growing team of horses, in particular Well Defined.
"He often doesn't get a mention because I'm the trainer and Ellen has been the driver, but he does so much work with him behind the scenes," she said.
"None of this would happen without him."
Well Defined has shown a definite liking for the Terang track.
He has been beaten only once there in four starts, with his sole defeat a narrow second behind Archleo in March last year.
His maiden win at Terang was also at Group level, when he was driven by Ashwood in the 2019 Tontine Trotting Championship (2680m), a Group 3 event worth $25,000.
Hargreaves rated Saturday night's victory as arguably the best of Well Defined's 13 wins from 70 career starts.
"I think it was his best win ... I went to the races actually quite confident - a few people thought I was a bit crazy,"
"From the stand start, I knew he would get himself into a good position.
"I think it definitely showed how far he has come because the last time against Robbie Royale it was clearly just the better horse, but on Saturday night he just went past him.
"He has really improved and has taken that next step.
"Ellen got him away perfectly and got him in the right position and then pulled him out at the right time. I couldn't fault the drive at all.
"To beat the likes of McLovin, Robbie Royale and Pink Galahs is something nice to add to the resume, to be able to say you have beaten those horses.
"We're really happy with how the stable is ticking over at the moment and we're just trying to remain consistent by churning the winners out."
Well Defined, who is owned by Hargreaves in partnership with her brother Brett and his partner Brooke Palfreyman, is a likely starter in this week's $100,000 Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton.
Saturday night's first prize of $14,250 boosted Well Defined's career prize earnings to $120,036, with more than $25,000 of it earned in his last two runs.
His 2021 country cups record includes wins at Terang and Ararat and a second at Cobram in January behind the Andy Gath-trained Havehorsewilltravel.
The Hargreaves-Ashwood will again be out in force at Mildura on Wednesday night.
Among the hopes heading north are the former New South Wales and South Australian-trained pacer Redbank Rendezvous, who is having his second start for his new stable, Power Of Faith, Targaryen Hanover and Tay Tay, who will be looking to add to her tally of three wins from seven career starts.
Two of the three-year-old filly's three wins have been at the Mildura track.
Ashwood, who notched up a driving treble at last week's Mildura meeting, will have six drives in total, including two for local trainer Terry Gange, who is looking for back-to-back wins with both Mister Jimaringle and His A Dreamer.
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