A TERRIFIC first month and a half of the 2021 season for two of Bendigo's biggest harness racing stables continued to produce success at Geelong on Tuesday night.
Currently second in the state trainer's premiership standings, Alex Ashwood notched up his 17th training win of the season following an easy victory by the impressive debutant Playnice.
The four-year-old Auckland Reactor gelding, owned by Heathcote's Terry French, went straight to the front and from there was rarely troubled in winning over the 2100m trip by a convincing 11.5m, ahead of the Jason Ainsworth-trained and driven Story To Tell with Its A Good Feeling back in third.
It was the 27-year-old Ashwood's third straight winner following a double at Warragul on Monday with Sumbeach Art and Loyola Golf and his sixth winner from his last eight runners.
The purple patch kicked off with a double at Mildura last Wednesday night with Miss Social Media and Simon and continued with a victory to Beach Wreck, owned by Tayla French, at Kilmore on Friday night.
After adding another winner at Maryborough on Wednesday courtesy of the in-form five-year-old mare Malinjang (four wins in a row), Ashwood now has 18 winners for the season and 17 placings from 53 starters and has only missed a top-three finish three times from his last 13 runners.
Meanwhile, a win for Ross Graham with the seven-year-old gelding Tophut Johny at Geelong gave the Sutton Grange trainer his second win in four days following the success of Major Manbar at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.
It was the son of Mr Feelgood and the mare Jesse Grant's 10th career win in 68 starts and his eighth victory since coming under the care of Leigh or Ross Graham in December of 2020.
He previously won three straight at Kilmore, Ballarat and Bendigo last April and May.
Graham was able to add to his impressive win-place strike rate (three wins and four placings from his last 13 starters) with a win to Reigning Lillies and a second with Roxy Royale at Maryborough on Wednesday.
One of those placings was with Nephew Of Sonoko at Melton on Saturday night.
Read more: Major Manbar shows his class at Melton
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