Harness racing returns to Ararat with a seven-event program tonight, starting at 6.33pm and ending at 9.31pm, drawing the curtain on the club's 2018-19 season.
Local horseman Michael Bellman has just two drives on the card, partnering first starter Wenthestarzzzaline (8) for Lockington trainer Ted Jepsen in the third event and the roughie, Vetness (7) for Western District trainer David Sweatman in race five.
Jepsen races Wenthestarzzzaline on lease from Michael's parents Neville and D'Arne, who bred the mare from former handy performer Chelsea Hanover.
In the same race, Speedstar Queen (3) resumes for Armstrong trainer Brooke Hansen. The 4YO daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven (US) and Mach Miss Montoya (NZ) hasn't raced since December 2016 when she botched the start and trailed the field.
At the other end of the spectrum, polemarker Flaming Lucky will line up up for its 52nd career run, still eeking to notch up victory no. 1 for the Ainsworth stable and owner Natasha Raven.
Bellman also has Witzend engaged in the fourth event, $7000 TAB Vic Pace over the sprint trip of 1790 metres. The rising 10YO and track record holder gets into the NR 56-66 event courtesy of a claim, with concession driver Daniel Hull having just his third drive in a race.
Steam Punk (4) will step out red-hot favourite with Kerryn Manning in the sulky in a race that should see plenty of early speed, with the likes of Sassyola (3) Lance Justice, All Starzzz Megan (5) Greg Sugars and Whats The Catch (6) Brad Chisholm eager to find the lead.
Punters should scout wide in the third leg of their quaddie, the $7000 Ararat Concrete Trotters Handicap with in-form Allawart Bob (8), Keepthedream (1), Scottish Sardius (10) and Penelope (4) resuming from their recent battle at Horsham.
Also in the mix is lightly raced Great Western 4YO gelding Down Under Earl (6), fresh from a solid last-start second at Maryborough for trainer Phillip Giles.
The final event for the night sees 12YO gelding Gnotuk (6) line up for his 188th career outing with Jason Lee taking the reins for trainer David Phillips. The pacer has always performed well on the Ararat circuit and should be right in the thick of it at the finish. Full fields: www.harness.org.au
Last return: $27.10 @ Horsham Trots
Best bet: R4 No 4 Steam Punk $6 win
Value bet: R1 No 8 Shark Luck $3 eachway
Flexi bet: Box quinella R7 Nos 1,6,7 spend $8
Terang (N) Tuesday 20th; Swan Hill (N) Wednesday 21st; Melton (N) Breeders Crown Finals, Saturday 24th; Horsham (D) Monday 26th & Stawell (D) September 1.