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Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Part-time trainer Dan Costello, a full-time worker at the Harvey Beef company, achieved his greatest success in harness racing when indefatigable veteran Vultan Tin scored a thrilling last-stride victory in the $50,000 group 2 Mondo Doro Governor’s Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

This gave the 41-year-old Costello his fifth training success, and only his second at Gloucester Park — when he prepared and drove 10/1 chance Our Business to a neck victory over Drought Buster in an M0 event on October 12, 2001.

Fittingly, Vultan Tin broke a 12-month drought and ended a losing sequence of 20, with his previous success being in the Narrogin Cup in March last year.

“Now for the Bunbury Cup next Saturday night,” said Costello. “He will be cherry ripe, and a win will take his earnings past the one million dollar mark.”

Competition will be fierce in the $50,000 Bunbury Cup at Donaldson Park, but Vultan Tin is sure to make a bold bid for victory to join the elite group of West Australian-owned pacers in the millionaire club, which includes such outstanding performers as The Falcon Strike, Washakie, Has The Answers, Lombo Pocket Watch, Im Themightyquinn, David Hercules, My Hard Copy, Chicago Bull and King Of Swing.

Ten-year-old Vultan Tin, bred and owned by Costello’s parents Phil and Denise, has amassed $988,884 in prizemoney from 30 wins and 50 placings. He was driven for only the second time by 27-year-old Mitch Miller, and Vultan Tin’s victory left Chris Voak with mixed emotions.

Voak, one of twelve drivers to have handled Vultan Tin, had enjoyed great success with the hardy gelding, having driven him 93 times for 18 wins, 15 seconds and seven thirds.

Voak drove the $1.16 favourite Papinik on Friday night when the brilliant, lightly-raced pacer set a fast pace when he was inclined to overrace. Vultan Tin, the only runner on the back line in the field of ten, enjoyed the perfect run behind the pacemaker before Miller eased him off the pegs on the home turn.

Vultan Tin, second favourite at $10.60, finished with great determination to get up and beat Papinik in the final desperate stride to snatch victory by a nose, rating 1.54.3 over the 2130m.

This gave Miller his second group success, following his easy all-the-way victory with Flametree in the group 3 Gold Bracelet the previous Friday night.

“From barrier ten it was a good opportunity for Vultan Tin to have a nice easy run for a change,” said Miller. “His run when eighth in the Pinjarra Cup last week didn’t look that great, but he felt terrific. He is usually a bit dour and tough, but he was quite sharp.

“I wasn’t expecting to win tonight. Papinik is a class horse, but the way things worked out, with the leader getting fired up, suited us down to the ground.”

Costello has trained Vultan Tin for only his past four starts — after his father had handed over the reins because he was not fully vaccinated, which prevented him from attending race meetings. Dan Costello’s previous win as a trainer before Friday night came when Stuart McDonald drove Outrider to victory at Pinjarra on May 18, 2020.

Phil and Denise Costello bred Vultan Tin, who is by American sire Dawn Ofa New Day and is the first foal (and only one to have raced) from Ellevarrac, a mare bred by Phil, who won once (by a head at Pinjarra in 2008) from 30 starts. Costello also bred Ellevarrac’s dam Carravelle, who failed to win a race from 17 starts.

A highlight of Vultan Tin’s career was his fourth placing in the 2017 Interdominion championship final behind Lazarus, Chicago Bull and Tiger Tara in December 2017 when he finished ahead of such stars as Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark.

He also won the WA Pacing Cup in December 2020, beating Chicago Bull, won the Narrogin Cup in 2017 and 2021 and the Pinjarra Cup in 2021.