Messini to go for glory again

January 10, 2018

Messini, driven by Chris Alford, wins the Bendigo Petstock Cup on Saturday (January 6) night.

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Messini will be given another shot at Group One glory.

Following Messini’s Group Two success in the Bendigo Petstock Cup on Saturday, trainer Brent Lilley revealed his plans of heading interstate with the son of Art Major.

Lilley has earmarked the South Australian Cup as the seven-year-old’s next target, with the time honoured event heading a super card at Globe Derby on Saturday night.

Messini is raced by two former Seymour residents in Gary (Sadie) Dowling and John Wilkinson — both Dowling and Wilkinson played cricket, football and tennis in Seymour for a number of years.

Joining them in the ownership of Messini is Peter Males, a builder from Bolinda, and well-known Echuca sportsman Rob Owen.

To add to the Seymour touch Messini is trained by former Kiwi Brent Lilley who started his harness career in Australia working for Seymour horseman Graeme Morgan.

Dowling and Wilkinson have enjoyed a lot of on-track success during the years with horses of the calibre of Newsbreaker and Blue and Royal, both trained by Morgan.

They now have a number of horses in training with Lilley.

Dowling said Lilley trains out of his own facilities in Bolinda and he had a stellar season just gone, training 112 winners.

‘‘We have had Messini since he was a yearling, having been picked out of the sales for us by Jean Fiess,’’ Dowling said.

‘‘He started out with Mark Purdon in New Zealand before we brought him over here,’’ he said.

‘‘He is an outstanding entire who has struggled to reach his full potential because of a series of niggling injuries,’’ he said.

‘‘But Brent Lilley has done an amazing job of managing that and it is a credit to him that we have been able to enjoy so much success with Messini.

‘‘The trip to Adelaide will be exciting, Messini ran fourth there last year, but with a $100000 purse it is a race that will attract a lot of good horses.’’

Dowling said they were still waiting to choose a driver for the weekend.

He said as the Shepparton Gold Cup is also being run Saturday night some of the leading drivers, including Chris Alford who drove him at Bendigo, are still working out where they will be on the day.

Messini is no stranger to top-shelf success, with the stallion triumphant in two Vicbred Super Series Finals.

‘‘We’ll be going over to South Australia next,’’ Lilley said. ‘‘It’s an ideal target for him.

‘‘He didn’t have much luck in the race last year, but still finished a strong fourth behind Smolda in track record time.

‘‘He’s in terrific form, and with a bit of luck this time, will be very hard to beat.’’

Driven by Chris Alford during his latest triumph, Messini enjoyed the run of the race in the coveted one-one before sprinting to a 5.5m win from Mister Wickham, with Bad Billy 7m away in third.

‘‘After getting a run like that he was always going to finish strongly,’’ Lilley said.

‘‘He’s just a genuine, consistent racehorse, which gives his all each time he races. It would be nice to have a stable full of horses just like him.’’

In winning the Bendigo Petstock Cup Messini racked up his 25th win to date and took his stake earnings to $656000.

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