PETER Rippon couldn’t remember the last time he’d driven in a race – let alone won one.
However, the Bendemeer trainer, who has allowed wife Cindy to do all the driving in recent years, was forced to return to the gig at Tamworth Paceway on Thursday with Cindy suspended and duly saluted when Lifeandglory won the Family Hotel Pace (1609m) in a good mile rate of 2:01.3.
“I can’t remember the last time I drove,” Rippon said as he unbuckled his little five-year-old mare’s gear.
“I might have had a couple of drives since Cindy started driving them all.”
Rippon has lost none of his toughness though and won the race when he carved out a hot 27.6secs first quarter to ensure he retained the lead.
Robert Clement and Glenferrie Sunrise had taken Rippon on but he refused to buckle and Clement was forced to hand up and slot in behind.
“I was able to give her an easy second quarter,” Rippon said of what became a 33.5secs 400m stroll.
“Last time she’d sat three wide and ran fourth beaten about 6m running 1:59 something. If I’d have given up to Clemmo she’d probably have got caught wide again.”
So he refused to yield and when gifted with an easy second quarter was able to cruise home in 30.7 sec and 29.5sec quarters to a 4.5m win from consistent Place Of Gold (Chris Shepherdson) and Glenferrie Sunrise.
The win in the second heat of the C1-C3 series wins the daughter of Life Sign a start in the $7000 Final on Gold Nugget night at the Paceway on January 16.
Whether or not she runs will be decided at some stage by Rippon.
“I’ll see how she goes,” he said.
“It’s 13 days away.”
While she won the second heat Lifes A Flyer was the fastest qualifier for the C1-C3 Final when the Dean Chapple trained and driven gelding won the Longyard Hotel pace in a mile rate of 1:59.1.
Ken Natty’s Jedi Superstar then won the third heat, the Good Companions Hotel Pace in an MR of 1:59.2 while On Command won the fourth heat, the The Pub Group Pace in 1:59.4.
Peter Hedges drove On Command for Guy Chapple giving him a running double after he also partnered Jedi Superstar in his seventh career win for Ken Natty in the previous race.
o Tamworth Harness Racing Club race again on Wednesday, January 16 with their Gold Nugget TAB night meeting part of their Golden Guitar Carnival continuing on Sunday, January 20 (twilight) and Thursday, January 24 (night).
The January 20 meetings includes the Golden Guitar heats whilst the Thursday, January 24 meeting is highlighted by the Golden Guitar Final.