Manning lights up Melton with a golden performance

Champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning joined the driver merry go round on Like A Wildfire in successful fashion in the $24,000 Golden Reign Free For All at Melton on Saturday night.

LIKE A WILDFIRE winning the Golden Reign Free For All.
LIKE A WILDFIRE winning the Golden Reign Free For All. Picture: Harness Racing Victoria

Manning made a mid-race move to sit parked outside the leader Dangerous with 1400 metres to travel as the leader was able to slow the tempo with a 31 second quarter 'breather'.

Dangerous appeared to be travelling like a winner on straightening for home however Like A Wildfire ($6) refused to yield, digging deep into his reserves of stamina to get up and score by a head in a slick 26.6 last 400 metres.

The Emma Stewart trained pacer has had different drivers at his past four starts winning with Luke McCarthy and Mark Pitt in the sulky prior to tonight's victory.

"It's my first drive on him tonight, I was lucky enough to get the steer on him and he's a lovely horse," Manning said.

Manning was suitably impressed with the nine-year old's will to win.

"He just knew where the line was, he gets a bit flat on the bends where he just gets in a little bit but then he goes again in the straight," she said.

Manning said she had concerns with Ideal Escape finishing hard along the sprint lane 

"He got his head in front and then I thought Ellen (Tormey) was going to get to me along the sprint lane, but he kept sticking his head out," she said.

The win took Like A Wildfire's stake earnings to more than $400,000.

The nicely bred John Justice trained filly Galaxy Lass was too strong for her rivals despite racing greenly in the home straight in the Charlie Bezzina Memorial 2YO Pace.

Galaxy Lass ($5) bounded clear around the home turn and straightened with a big lead, however the daughter of Bettors Delight appeared to lose concentration before holding on to score by two metres from the fast finishing Scherger That.

"She appreciate the drop in class tonight but she did her best to get beaten after clearing out and I thought she was going to stop but to her credit she got going again when she heard them," Justice said.

"She's been as good a filly as I've had for a long time," he said.

Later in the night consistent pacer Stir Me Up broke through for his maiden metropolitan win in the Hip Pocket Castlemaine Pace

Stir Me Up landed behind the leader Sweet Passion while the $3.70 favorite Hes A Meister worked forward early to lead the outside division.

Hes A Meister began to give ground around the home turn and Anthony Butt was able to pull Stir Me Up ($13) to the outside and the son of Auckland Reactor produced a stout finale to score by two metres in a mile rate of 1:53.9.

Stir Me Up is in the care of the training partnership of Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith.

Butt said Stir Me Up's task was made easier due to a favorable barrier draw.

"Getting that sort of run and getting a good drag until the top of the straight, he only needed to dash up the lane and he held them of easily," Butt said.

"They are all that even in this grade, they are all nice horses and can dash home pretty quick halves so you have to be in the right spot at the right time and have a bit of luck," he said.

Butt said Stir Me Up kept his mind on the job during the run.

"He really travelled well around the corner and sometimes he can have a little think about it up the straight, but tonight he really dug in and hit the line well," he said.