MARONG trainer Terry Gange is hoping Mister Jimaringle can snare a spot in the field for this Monday's $25,000 Central Victorian Pacing Championship (2190m) at Maryborough.
The five-year-old gelding did his chances of securing a place in the NR 56 to 66 feature no harm following a well-executed win at Charlton on Monday.
It continued a solid run of form for the son of Modern Art and the mare Caro Ella since a mishap late last year, when he was sidelined for more than a month following a bee sting in the days after his fifth at Shepparton on October 5.
He returned to action with a second at Charlton on December 12, before placing at Boort and Maryborough earlier this month ahead of Monday's eye-catching win.
It formed part of a training double for Gange, who notched a 'surprise' win earlier in the program with Happyaslarry, his first double since relocating to the Bendigo region midway through last year.
Recalling the incident that left him fearing for the health of Mister Jimaringle, Gange said the bee sting had sent the gelding into shock.
"There were heaps of canola crops out here (at Marong) at the time, so there were thousands of bees floating around and the vets think it was a bite," he said.
"He went into shock. It started on his head with all these hives and then it just went down his neck, down his back and then down his rump, while we were literally standing there watching.
"His bottom lip dropped and went all wrinkly
"To be truthful, it was actually quite frightening. There was certainly no firepower after the bee bite, so out he went."
Gange, who ended last season with 10 wins, was relieved to see Mister Jimaringle make a full recovery and be able to cap his recent solid form with a win on Monday.
The former Sunraysia trainer paid most credit for the double to in-form Bendigo driver Ellen Tormey, who continued her ultra-impressive start to the new season with a treble, including a victory aboard her own four-year-old mare Twisted Bliss.
The 31-year-old, originally from Charlton, has slickly moved to 11 wins for the month, placing her second in the state behind Greg Sugars on 13.
Gange said in just a short time, Tormey had built an amazing rapport for both Mr Jimaringle and Happyaslarry.
"I used Ellen a bit when I was up in Mildura - I don't think I've seen her drive any better than she is now or has over the last six months," he said.
"Credit to her, she does her homework and she knows exactly what (horses) she is up against and I think that's a key.
"(Mister Jimaringle) absolutely responds to her.
"When she crossed at the start (from barrier four) and then got crossed (by Ruby Wingate) ... I don't get ahead of myself ... but I thought he's going to be a chance.
"But then I suddenly thought, I don't know that he's ever been up a sprint lane before.
"I remember he ran third at Melton soon after we moved here and he went very wide and that's stuck with me.
"I don't race him at Swan Hill and of course there's no sprint lane at Mildura where we were originally from.
"So if it's not the first time, it's only the second time he's had to go up (the sprint lane).
"He's a smart horse when he can sit and sprint - more than capable."
I don't think I've seen (Ellen Tormey) drive any better than she is now or has over the last six months.- Terry Gange
An ultra-consistent pacer, Mr Jimaringle has now won seven of 61 starts and been placed 26 times, giving him a top-three finish percentage of 54 per cent.
Gange said securing a run in the Central Victorian Pacing Championship might be a tough ask, but felt Mister Jimaringle would be more than competitive on the strength of his recent form.
If Gange was in any way confident with Mister Jimaringle at Charlton, he admits he was anything but with Happyaslarry, who had not won in 10 starts since his victory at Charlton last July.
Albeit, the eight-year-old gelding has always seemed to save his best for Charlton, with two wins, a second and a fifth from his four starts at the track.
"He's not what you would call real brave ... at Boort (two starts ago) he led into the straight and was looking good, but didn't exactly show a lot the last 30 or 40m," he said.
"I had a bit of a choice of going in a longer race at Charlton, which he won, or a shorter race, where the class was way above his abilities.
"When it's a bit longer he seems to struggle a bit the last 100m.
"But again, Ellen seems to have a good relationship with him and knows his quirky little ways and I think the main thing is she makes him feel confident."
It was the son of Grinfromeartoear and Covet You's fifth career win in 111 starts.
Seven months on from making the move to Marong with wife Jacinta, Gange said they continued to be surprised by the performance of their small team.
"Happyaslarry, he was only a battler in Mildura, but he's running faster times down here than he was at Mildura," he said.
"Mister Jimaringle is definitely appreciating the bigger tracks as opposed to Mildura.
"His third at Maryborough (this month) was one of his best runs; they came home in 27:4 and it was a really good field, which is why I have nominated for Maryborough on Monday in the $25,000 race.
"I don't know whether we'll get a run, but his form is good and it would be nice to get a crack."
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