THE curtain has fallen on yet another Gold Rush Carnival at the Bendigo greyhounds and the first post-COVID carnival proved successful yet again both on off the track.
Easter Sunday's attendance was in line with some of the biggest Easter Sunday roll-ups in many years with hundreds of families enjoying the magnificent weather, family activities and outstanding greyhound racing action.
The flagship of the carnival, the Jarrod Larkin Concreting Gold Rush Maiden has a reputation for kick-starting the careers of top-line chasers and the 2022 edition could prove to the best producing series yet.
Regally-bred sprinter Aston Exceed, a half brother to superstar Aston Rupee by the champ Fernando Bale, was sent to the boxes an odds on favourite for the rich final after two scintillating performances to win his heat and final.
From box one, the Kel Greenough trained punters' pick was not as cleanly away as he was in the first two rounds but soon hit top speed to set up a commanding lead through the bend and raced away for a dominant 6 1/4 length win in a flying 23.495.
While the sky is the limit for Aston Exceed, it will pay to follow all of the finalists from Sunday's run off in the future as they showed plenty of ability throughout the series to make the final and some will no doubt go to the next level once they contest races over more ground.
A Group 1 quality field lined up for the Grays Bendigo Stayers Cup with rising star Collinda Patty holding favouritism over dual Group 1 winner Jarick Bale.
After finding trouble when trying to cross from the wide alley, Collinda Patty backers were left wondering what if, but those with the veteran stayer Jarick Bale were on good terms with themselves as he strode to the lead into the back straight and put the race beyond doubt mid race.
Jarick Bale held a three-length advantage to put yet another trophy in his cabinet as he returned to form after several below his best performances interstate recently.
Lara trainer Brooke Ennis appeared to have a mortgage on the Ag Tyres & Wheels Easter Cup with kennel-mates Barooga Smoke and Old News the two favourites ahead of local sprinter Money Owes.
Barooga Smoke missed the start and received a checkered passage in the early stages and, as the field tightly bunched coming out of the first turn, it allowed the wide running Old News to circle the field and maintain moment throughout the second half of the race to hold off the challenge of Money Owes to claim the 2022 cup.
Capping off another successful carnival for owner Ray Borda, Aston Salma took out the Peter Brown Custom Homes Belle of Bendigo final in terrific fashion, clocking 23.664 for trainer Graeme Jose.
The local training team Daniel and Bev Pell took out the Hanrahan Plumbing Beau of Bendigo final after Rigg used the rails draw to perfection and saluting in 23.751.
After a hectic schedule of seven race meetings in eleven days the Bendigo club now has a week without racing before resuming the normal Wednesday-Friday racing schedule the week after.
The next lot of features at the track will come during the Winter Carnival in June and July.
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