Day At The Track
Duke Of Wellington,Harness racing

Duke Of Wellington wins Melton feature

Exciting Duke Of Wellington won tonight’s 30th renewal of the City of Melton Plate at Tabcorp Park and secured Great Western trainer-driver Kerryn Manning her second Plate success. Fifteen years had passed since Manning’s first Plate win, aboard Run Albert Run in 2004, and she declared tonight’s triumph “a big thrill” before adding she felt her four-year-old son of American Ideal was destined for big things. See bottom of article for Manning's list of $50k+ feature race wins “It’s a very nice honour roll (for the Melton Plate) and to join it is a big thrill. I think this horse can be the same as them (top-line past winners), he’s certainly got the talent but he’s still got a bit of learning to do,” she said. Perusing the honour roll of Plate champions reveals names such as Hectorjayjay, Make Mine Cullen, Melpark Major, Shakamaker, Sokyola and Tailamade Lombo just to name a few. Punters put their faith in the Duke and Manning, sending the pair out as a commanding $1.4 favourite. They rolled forward out of the gate, but War Dan ($10.70) and James Rattray found the pegs first and wouldn’t relent to the favourite. “I always thought War Dan may try to hold the front,” Manning said. “I was prepared for that.” The ensuing fight was enthralling, with first and second splits of 29.9 and 29.5 followed by a 28 third sectional and a 28.9 run home. War Dan wouldn’t lie down, but Duke Of Wellington was too classy – despite covering more ground – and held a 1.5m buffer at the wire to record a 1:54.6 mile rate. “He got a bit wobbly at the start … he over-raced quite a bit during the first lap, too. Eventually he settled at the 1200m and I was just hoping too much damage wasn’t done by then,” Manning said. Rishi ran third, with Jilliby Chevy and Somebeachshadow rounding out the top five Plate finishers. Duke Of Wellington is raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth. He has had five runs for three wins with Manning since moving to Australia after a successful New Zealand three-year-old campaign. “He’s had a little time between runs this time in, so he’s still on the way up I think,” Manning said. “His fitness is pretty good. That’ll top him off nicely.” Meanwhile, trainer Stephen Telfer combined with local reinsman John Caldow to win the Allied Express Jodi’s Babe with five-year-old Art Major mare Our Step Up, who led throughout from gate two in 1:54.0 over 1720m. Our Step Up finished 1.5m clear of Reciprocity, who was charging home for Manning in second place, with Share The Road third and Juice Brogdon fourth.  Race favourite Berisari failed to beat a runner home. Highly rated Andy Gath-trained trotter McLovin won the 2Contstruct Scotch Notch Memorial over 2240m in 2:01.0 with Kate Gath in the gig. The last-start Charlton Cup winner made it back-to-back successes by finishing 4.7m clear of stablemate Kingdom Come, with polemarker Jerichos Trumpet third and consistent Savannah Jay Jay fourth. Michael Stanley trained and drove Watch List to win the Group 3 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic in 1:55.7 over 2240m, the $5.9 second-favourite out-sprinting the $2.1 punters’ elect Crime Writer by 2.1m. Stanley sent Watch List to the front from barrier three early before handing up and using the sprint lane late. Titan Bromac finished third, 3m from the winner, with Perfect Major fourth. Driver Kima Frenning combined with trainer David Aiken to win the night’s sprint feature, the 1200m Quest for Success Stampede, with four-year-old Mach Three gelding Higherthananeagle. Predicted fireworks didn’t eventuate as Frenning found the lead easily from gate two before thoroughly dictating terms in a gross time of 1:22.2 to jog home by 8.7m over Benicio and Vinny Chase, who both followed the peg line, with Vee Rock fourth. If the sparks had flown horses in this race might have broken 80seconds. Check out the full results from tonight’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting   Kerryn Manning’s $50,000+ Feature Race Wins  1997 Australasian Trotting Championship Final $125k – Knight Pistol  1999 El Dorado Final (3YO C&G) $150k – Sky Strike  2000 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Mares) Final $100k – Jilliby Magic 2000 Chariots of Fire $200k – Lombo Rapida 2000 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Fillies) Final $100k – Jilliby Melody 2001 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Trotters) Final $50k – La Coocaracha  2001 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – La Coocaracha  2001 Australian Trotting Grand Prix $100k – La Coocaracha 2002 SA Trotters Cup $50k – La Coocaracha 2002 Australasian Trotters Championship $100k – La Coocaracha  2002 Rowe Memorial Cup, NZ $100k – La Coocaracha 2002 Legends Mile $50k – Hearts Legend 2003 Australian Pacing Gold Final (2YO C&G) $288k – Kathryn Dancer 2003 Vicbred Super Series (2YO C&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie  2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO C&G $100k – Blatant Lie 2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO Fillies $100k – Yada Yada Yada 2004 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO C&G Final $300k – Emmas Only 2004 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Broke As Usual  2004 Vicbred Super Series (2YO Fillies) Final $100k – Kinda Arty Lombo 2004 Breeders Crown (2YO C&G) Final $190k – Emmas Only 2004 Kilmore Cup $100k – True Cam 2004 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – Sammy Do Good  2005 Victoria Derby $150k – Emmas Only 2005 Vicbred Super Series (4YO E&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie 2005 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Tennotrump  2005 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotters Final $50k – Split Image 2007 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Donttellmehetrots 2007 George Johnson $50k – No More Trouble  2008 Tatlow Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $50k – Ananz 2008 Victoria Trotters Oaks $50k – Mystic Hush 2008 NSW Sires Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $100k – Ananz 2010 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies Final $300k – Leilani Lombo 2010 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Trotters) Final $50k – Mister Castleton 2015 A.G. Hunter Cup $400k – Arden Rooney  2015 Mildura Pacing Cup $50k – Arden Rooney 2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup $765k – Arden Rooney  2017 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final $50k – Imprincessgemma 2017 Breeders Crown Graduate Free for All $60k – Ameretto 2017 Norm’s Daughter $50k – Ameretto 2018 Ladyship Cup $100k – Our Golden Goddess 2018 Queen of the Pacific $100k – Ameretto 2019 City of Melton Plate $50k – Duke Of Wellington     Cody Winnell for Trots Media

Ken Ward with the Auckland Reactor weanling filly

First winning double after a 50-year wait

The Kilmore track is always going to hold a special place in the heart of long-time harness racing owner-trainer-breeder Ken Ward. Ward, who is based at Chintin, near Romsey, an hour north of Melbourne, landed a winning double at the Kilmore meeting – his first in over 50 years in the sport. “It’s certainly been a long time coming, but I don’t prepare big numbers, so I’ve probably been a little restricted,” Ward said. “I really regard harness racing as a bit like riding a ferris wheel though, and you’ve got enjoy the high-points!” Ward took out the Jet Roofing Pace with six-year-old gelding Village Skipper (Village Jasper USA-Skipper Patricia (Cam’s Trickster USA) then scored later in the program in the Kilmore Art Expo Pace Final with four-year-old gelding Jamieson Steele (Million Dollar Cam USA-Lady Jade Skipper (Safe and Sound). Both winners were handled in expert fashion by David Miles, who is in brilliant form at the moment. “It’s probably a little different than most people, but we’ve never raced a horse which we haven’t bred ourselves,” Ward explained. “I guess it’s a bit special when you go the whole journey with them, starting off with the breeding part, then watching them grow in the paddock, sorting out names, education and then getting to the track,” he said. Jamieson Steele “All of our horses originate from one mare, Bye Bye Jade (Adios Green-Pleasing (Dancer Hanover) that I got many years ago from my grandfather the late Jack McKay.” “Minyip Jack”, as he was known, was an owner and trainer, who partnered with the famous Melbourne Showgrounds trainer, Jack McKay, who ironically shared the same name, but was no relation. Despite his family involvement, Ward said his interest in the sport probably went back to when he was a young schoolboy and spent many hours watching Gisborne trainer Bernie Robinson prepare his team, headed by the smart pacer, Heroic Action. “I pretty much had the bug back then and have always loved horses,” he said. “We’re lucky because for us it’s a real family affair.  My wife Pat and I breed them, and we race them in partnership with one of our daughters Carissa, who is our eldest, and who works in payroll administration in Melbourne. Our other daughter Hailey also loves getting involved.” Village Skipper is now a four times winner, posting three of his victories this season. The gelding was responsible for a huge run at Kilmore. After settling at least 10 lengths off the lead after being caught wide early, he later went three and four wide down the back for the last time. In a war of attrition, Village Skipper got the upper hand to score. “He can hit a knee a little and there’s some maintenance needed with him, but he does put in,” Ward said. “I actually told young Jayden Barker, who works for our driver David Miles, that he could take the horse home win, lose or draw. At my age, my word is my bond so despite winning the race, Jayden now has him for 12 months. “Jayden gets a junior claim so he should have some fun with him.” Ken Ward The second leg of the memorable Ward double was recorded by Jamieson Steele, in a strong performance from a back-row draw. “It took him 18 starts to break his maiden status because he was a big, slow learner,” Ward said. “To be honest I really didn’t like the horse much at all in the early days. Then one day I took the block winkers off and put a shadow roll on and he settled down greatly,” he said. “Now he’s putting it together and learning how to follow helmets and I think he has a bright future.  This season has been quite good with two wins and three placings from seven outings.” Ward is pinning his hopes on a trio of two-year-olds, sired by Roll With Joe, Grinfromeartoear and Julius Caesar. “I also have an Auckland Reactor weanling filly out of a lovely mare in Skip On Broadway.  She looks the goods and is without doubt the best-looking horse I’ve had in 11 or 12 years,” he said. The Ward stable has produced a few handy performers over the years including Skipper Carissa, a winner of 15 races (eight of these at Moonee Valley) and 20 placings; and Haileys Skipper, who recorded 13 wins (one metropolitan) and 24 placings. “We have a 70-acre property and all of us are involved. I recently retired after working as a Lands Inspector and in the Quarantine service, so I’m full-time with the horses now,” he said. “I may have a team of four in training soon, although with winter approaching, perhaps three is the ideal number.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Female drivers at Cobram Pink Day 2018

Tickled pink with fundraiser hoodies

Cobram Harness Racing Club’s amazing Community Pink Ladies Day fundraiser is on again in May – but if you’d like one of this year’s unique promotional hoodies, the time to order is now! The energetic northern Victorian Club has raised an incredible $130,000 for charity in the 10 years since the McGrath Foundation fundraiser began. Organisers have drummed up huge community and sponsorship support and have turned the Paul Roberts Jewellers Ladies Invitational race day (this year on May 26) into one of the most popular on the region’s racing calendar. “It started because, at the time, there seemed to be a lot of people being affected by cancer, including people in harness racing, so we thought we should do something,” explained Cobram Harness Racing Club’s Margaret Watson. “It started with a fundraising dinner and raffle and it went on to become an annual event that raised about five or six thousand dollars each time with fundraising on the day and by selling raffle tickets,” she said. But Margaret said the event took on a life of its own when the invited female drivers stepped in, led by the tireless Donna Castles, about five years ago. “Donna told us it’s the drivers who get all the accolades on the day, ‘so it’s about time we got on board’ properly,” Margaret said. “That year they donated their driving fees to the McGrath Foundation.  The next year they decided to run a huge raffle and rallied around to get more than 20 prizes from sponsors,” she said. “The following year they raffled a sulky, last year they raffled a car, which was a huge effort, and this year they are doing a $3000 travel voucher and seven voucher prizes. “With their support the whole thing has taken off.” Anyone wanting raffle tickets can buy them from any of the invited female drivers up until the raceday. In addition, the girls have organised eye-catching hoodies to promote the event and to acknowledge the involvement of sponsors.  They’re $50 each, but orders and payment must be made by next Friday March 29 to either Donna Castles (0417 003 376), Juanita Breen (0418 565 310) or Margaret and Bob Watson at Cobram HRC (0409 401 189). The Sunday raceday on May 26 begins with a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of those who have lost their lives to breast cancer and in support of those being affected by the disease. The event has become a popular community and ladies’ day at the races, with everyone invited to add a touch of pink to their outfits.  “We’re thrilled that HRV has come on board this year so we can offer $10,000 in stakes for the invitation race, and hopefully that will give us full fields and a great day’s racing,” Margaret said. The female drivers on the day will be unmissable in their bright pink driver’s pants and invited drivers are: Donna Castles; Rebecca Bartley; Ellen Bartley; Juanita Breen; Monique Burnett; Rita Burnett; Laura Crossland; Kima Frenning; Abbey Turnbull; Tania Ward, Ellen Tormey; Lisa Miles and; Kylie Sugars.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Quietly Spoken,Harness racing

Quietly Spoken can go three-straight

Albion Park record holder, Quietly Spoken, can go three-straight at Queensland Harness Racing Headquarters on Saturday night. That’s the opinion of her Alberton trainer, Stephen Cini. “She’s as bright as a button and has come through her last race very well. This mare likes to race and she is no slouch. Chris Alford told the previous trainers he liked her. That was good enough for me," Cini said. “She raced in Group races at Menangle (five - placed in one) before I got her and you have to be pretty good to hold a track record at Albion Park. “Yes she can get the hatrick but the (Grant) Dixon trained and driven Our Overanova will be the toughest for her to beat. He's a very good race horse – even from 50m behind. He's had a lot of starts (139) and won 53 races. My girl has won just 12 (96 starts). "In saying that I’m expecting Brian’s mare to be right in it again," he added. Brian is Brian Dorans, the owner and breeder of Quietly Spoken. A fortnight ago (March 9) he watched his 7yo Pegasus Spur mare set a new 1660m track record for trotters at Albion Park. Starting from the ace draw she sat in behind a torrid speed and then Narissa McMullen whipped her along the passing lane to win in 1:59.4 - mile rate, a slashing 1:55.7. Her sectionals were 27.3, 30.4, 28.7, and 29.6. And even though Saturday’s $13,000 Pryde-sponsored ninth race is a 2,138m stand, Cini still needs a slick pace. "If there's speed in the race it will suit the mare. She's started from one in both of her last two starts and now starts from 10m behind, so the race is going to pan out differently for her," he said. "I won't say anything to Narissa. She knows the horse. We just have to see where the horse ends up soon after the start. "If there's a slow pace and they dawdle, then that won't suit us. Hopefully they go hard and she can get into it at the right time. If she does then she's got the stamina and speed to get past them." He said Quietly Spoken was the type of mare who liked to race week in and week out. "She's very fit and enjoys racing. Brian doesn’t enjoy spelling them for too long. He likes to race his horses,” Cini said. Quietly Spoken had her last race for Joe and Mary Rando when 13th at Menangle 2017. Cini then won first-up with her at Albion Park on December 12 of that year. Seven of her 12 wins have now been with Cini. Her siblings have also performed well. Quietly Spoken is the last of five foals out of the one race (fifth) Sundon - Champagne Girl (by Plat Du Jour) mare, Kindava Hush. Her oldest sister, the 2003 Classic Adam mare, Une De Mai won 14 races and $85,805, while foal two, the 2003 Continentalman mare, Mystic Hush won 11 races and $94,943. But none of them have gone as quick as their little sister - Cini's first track record holder. “A lot of trotters don’t possess speed. This mare has speed. She’s proven that. She will continue to race on through the Winter Carnival," he said. “She will hold her own until then but when the visitors get here she won’t be up to them. I’m working 12 at the moment and she would be in my top three or four. She’s the best trotter of the three I’ve got." Quietly Spoken beat Our Overanova by 1.3m when they both started off the front on May 9. This time Our Overanova will give the mare a 40m head-start - but write the Dixon trainee off at your own peril. Our Overanova knows all about tracks records. The 9yo Monarchy gelding holds two at Albion Park himself - including one over tonight's distance three-and-a-half years ago. The 140-race veteran went a 1:59 mile rate when trotting 2:41.8 on September 19, 2015. Then just over two years later (December 16, 2017) he went a 2:00.3 mile rate when setting a new mark of 3:20.8 for the 2,647m standing start. The bay gelding started from 40m behind that night and just got up by half-a-head. Our Overanova has won $406,404 in career stakes - Quietly Spoken: $109,132.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Kerryn Manning (pictured) can't help but have a little giggle when she talks about her stable star Duke Of Wellington. In her words, the son of American Ideal is a "big dopey thing". Despite his quirks, the lightly raced four-year-old has undeniable class and looks destined to become a regular performer at the top level. "I'm not sure how much talent he's got, but he shows quite a bit at this stage so hopefully he can keep building on that," the Great Western trainer said. "He's very large, very heavy and very dopey. "He feels like you aren't going very fast, but you are. That's a good thing..." Bought by prominent owners Merv and Meg Butterworth after nine career starts, Duke Of Wellington then claimed the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Final at Ascot Park before heading to our shores. His four Australian runs have returned two placings – including an eye-catching third in the Group 1 TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza (1720m) – and wins at his last two starts. And the most recent demolition job in the DNR Logistics Pace Final (2240m) at Tabcorp Park Melton has him a warm favourite to make it three on the trot at the same venue this Saturday night. Manning will be in the sulky for Duke Of Wellington's crack at the Group 2 City of Melton Plate XXX (2240m). "Obviously it's a fairly solid and strong field, so he's going to have to be at his best to beat them, but he certainly has a bit of a draw advantage (barrier four) on some of the better ones in it," Manning said. Looking forward, Manning and the Butterworths have plans to take the horse to some feature races in Tasmania or back home in New Zealand. It won't be an ultra busy night for Manning at headquarters tomorrow, but it could still prove a memorable one. She will drive her father's horse Reciprocity in the Group 3 Allied Express Jodie's Babe (1720m). Manning will also be at the controls of Maree Campbell's Lucinda Mac, which looks a nice chance from the good draw in the Economix Vicbred Trot (1720m). And her night should finish on a high in the last race of the program, the Atherstone Pace Final (2240m). Manning's husband Grant Campbell will drive Yankee Lincoln, which is a red-hot favourite to win the C1 only event. Manning also prepares this son of American Ideal for the Butterworth family. Tim O'Connor

For Des Hilton, last weekend's second placing in the Boort Pacing Cup was a tough pill to swallow. It looked as though Itmademyday was set to deliver his biggest training success, that was until he was mown down by Perspective in the shadows of the post. The son of Live Or Die got way out in front turning for home, but was grabbed right on the post by his rival, who got the judge's nod in a photo finish. "I thought he'd hang on," Hilton, a hobby trainer based in Swan Hill, said. "(Driver) Grant (Campbell) went early, but if he waited until the back straight he would have had others come out in front of him and he probably wouldn't have got around them. "I was happy with the run... I would have liked to have just hung on, but he didn't quite do so." Hilton, who owns and bred Itmademyday and some of his family members, said victory would have been a career highlight. The seven-year-old pacer has won 14 of his 98 starts. "I was disappointed. I thought I might have been holding my first cup, but it wasn't to be," he said. "I've won a few country races, but that would have been the biggest prizemoney win I've had. "I haven't won an M0 yet in my whole life of 35 years training, so I've got a bit to achieve before I put the cue in the rack." Hilton hasn't wasted much time getting Itmademyday back to the races, entering him for this Sunday's Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup (2423m). But a tricky draw on the outside of the front row has dampened Hilton's confidence about landing a long-awaited feature. The 69-year-old said it was likely driver Michael Bellman would have to go back from barrier six, which will make his task difficult against a high-quality field. "I'm probably going to settle at the tail of the field and the four horses on the second row would be too good for him. I think so anyway," he said. "He'd need things to go his way or a better draw and he'd have a show, but I doubt from six." Win, lose or draw on Sunday, Hilton, who now works part-time at the harness racing track in Swan Hill, has loved his time in the sport. "I like breeding them and naming them myself. I've probably got a few unusual names back among them all, but I like doing that and putting a bit of thought into it," he said. "I've had a few handy bush horses." Mark Watson-trained Brallos Pass is likely to start favourite for the $14,500 Ouyen Pacing Cup, but will face tough opposition from the likes of Flojos Gold (Ian Watson/Luke Watson) and Murranji Track (Colin Rogers/Wayne Hill). The race is part of the Trots Country Cups Championship. The series carries a $25,000 bonus for the winner, with $15,000 given to the successful owner and $10,000 to the horse's trainer. Tim O'Brien-trained Perspective, who will also line-up on Sunday, has climbed to third on the leaderboard behind Buster Brady and San Carlo following his win last weekend. The Ouyen Pacing Cup will start at 5.53pm. Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

The sight of wide open gates and the sound of rattling collection tins will welcome patrons to The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup meeting on Sunday March 31. "We decided to make our biggest day of the year a free event in support of our very special guest, The Naked Farmer - Ben Brooksby," explained Club President Justin Lane.  "It will be a great opportunity for our community to come together, enjoy the racing and off-track entertainment and toss in their gold coins for Ben's nominated charity, the RFDS mental health unit." What started as a bit of fun with a tasteful nude photo of Ben in "the buff" laying back in a truck load of lentils in order to educate consumers about the work that goes into putting food on their plate, has grown into a cheeky but powerful platform for raising awareness of mental health issues in the bush and providing support for the many sufferers.  Ben directs The Naked Farmer's fundraising efforts towards the RFDS mental health unit.  “I chose them because their professionals visit our remote towns and properties, providing treatment, support and mental health education for our rural communities,” he explained. Factors such as social isolation, lack of community connection and limited mental health services along with severe economic hardship caused by drought, fire and flood all contribute to the agricultural sector's over representation in Australia's (shocking) suicide rate. "Having dealt with mental health first hand, seeing others struggle with it and having family and friends take their own lives has encouraged me to stand up and help in any way I can," said Ben.  All the profits from sales of The Naked Farmer 2019 Calendar went to the RFDS together with $1 from each pair of TNF undies and hats sold. "We raised a staggering $17,228 last year and looking to build on that in 2019," Ben said. Ben will be out and about on the spacious lawns at the Horsham Racing Centre, enjoying his day out at the Cup. No doubt he'll be in for a chat and a photo or two, so make sure you get your backside trackside with your family and friends on Sunday, March 31, and chip in a couple of bucks for the RFDS and be a part of this great community event.  You never know just what might happen and what the outcome may be!   Tony Logan and Helen Friend

HARNESS Jewels organizers will have one eye on Bathurst this weekend. Bathurst’s huge annual Gold Crown Carnival gets underway tomorrow night and at least two young stars are on trial for trips to the Jewels at Addington on June 2. One of them, three-year-old trotter Emerald Stride, carries plenty of weight. He’s owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati, who are no strangers to the Jewels and would dearly love to win a final. Emerald Stride, winner of the famed Redwood 2YO Trot at Maryborough last season, is unbeaten in two runs this term for David Miles. He’s shooting for the hattrick against just three rivals in the Gold Coronet at Bathurst on Saturday night. Earlier in the night, NSW early juvenile pacing star Mistery Road is aiming his fourth win from as many runs for trainer John Boserio and the Frisby clan. If successful, he will be a major player in what shapes as a strong Gold Crown final Saturday week. Frisby talked with HRNZ’s Darrin Williams this week to express distinct interest in the Jewels. “We were actually talking about the Frisby’s young mare Major Occasion, who ran second in the Ladyship Mile to Our Dream About Me. They are keen to take her to the Jewels,” Williams said. “That’s when Mistery Road came up so we’ve got something extra to watch at Bathurst as well.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OVER in Perth, there has been early money for buzz Kiwi import Major Trojan to overcome a wide draw and win the $50,000 Western Gateway Pace – a key WA Derby lead-up tomorrow night. Major Trojan has been a luckless second for Team Hall in two WA runs and may have to sit parked this time outside speedy Patrickthepiranha. “He’s much fitter for the two runs and ready to do some work,” Hall Sr said.   Adam Hamilton

Members of the Shepparton Harness Racing Club were among the large contingent of harness racing devotees who attended the Nic Dewar Memorial meeting at the Young Paceway last Wednesday night. Victorian driver Brad Chisholm catapulted to the top of the pointscore ladder to claim this year's crown, winning the final two races with Abitmorebliss and Twentyeightblack. Boorowa's Codi Rauchenberger and Young's Blake Micallef finished second and third respectively after leading the series following wins in the opening two races at Shepparton. Following race five an emotional presentation was made to all drivers involved in the Nic Dewar Memorial. This was the first of what is expected to be an annual event that will be shared by both the Young and Shepparton clubs. The nine race program opened with the running of the Glen Mia Saddlery Pace over 2100m, the well supported Canberra gelding About The Attitude ($2.00) for Will Rixon was able to secure the leading position and was able to lead throughout in an impressive winning mile rate of 1:59.2. Race two was the Nic Dewar Memorial race of the night won by Abitmorebliss trained by Ellen Bartley from Coleambally. Junee postman Bruce Harpley secured a last minute start when his five year old mare Rubbies For Tash ($14) who set a new track record for the distance of 1:54.8, that win will see Bruce head for Menangle on April 13 for the very lucrative final. Attention then turned to the second heat of the Nic Dewar Memorial and local plasterer Glen Wilmot produced a very striking black Courage Under Fire gelding in the shape of Twentyeightblack ($4) to start favourite and take out the race by a convincing margin in a mile rating of 1:58.4 for the 1720m race. Long time supporter of the Young club, Peter Bullock had another welcome win with the evergreen pacer Smack Dab Shannon ($23) driven by Amy Rees in race five. Nic Dewar Memorial drivers, Dewar family members and Young Harness Racing and Harness Racing NSW officials following Wednesday night's presentation. Race six was the Club Menangle Where Horses Fly Heat over the sprint 1720 meters with Rock Bottom ($1.35) sent out a short priced favourite. Stablemate Young Cambo ($5.50) decided he was the better horse on the night by defeating Rock Bottom. The seventh race was another highlight of the night with Freddy Funk ($2.80) trained and driven by Nathan Turnbull, making a fast forward move mid-race to skip away at the bell. In race eight Miss Fifi and driver Ananda Turnbull were joined mid race by second favourite Bustling Barney ($4) who sat outside leader before applying the pressure at the 400m, eventually coming away to secure victory. The final race of the night accommodated the three year old pacers with the well supported Junee pacer Western Secret ($4.80) who firmed dramatically from $14 early fixed odds to run away in the straight capping off another top night of quality racing at the Young Paceway.  The club to conduct another meeting next Tuesday night, March 26. By Stewart Maxwell Reprinted with permission of The Young Witness

If ever there was a horse who shouldn’t have “made it”, Great Western Harness Racing trainer Michelle Wight reckons it’s her promising three-year-old Reactor Now (Auckland Reactor-Who’s Sorry Now (Western Ideal). Wight freely admits the accident-prone gelding has presented some challenges – but after two assertive wins in succession, it seems “Goose”, as he is known around the stables, might finally be repaying her dedication. “To put it bluntly, he sat on a post just before he was due to come back into work as a yearling and the injury he sustained was horrible.  We really weren’t sure he would ever race,” Wight said. And anyone who’s ever tended a serious equine injury wouldn’t dare argue. The 16-inch gash in the large muscle mass on the horse’s near side rump was deep and extremely difficult to manage.  But, over a period of four months, Wight and her husband Craig, with the assistance of their vet, managed to nurse Goose back into “one piece”. “We had a few setbacks along the way, including at one stage the internal stitches breaking open, but we got there in the end,” Wight said. But even after the prolonged recovery, the troubles weren’t over for Reactor Now. “We finally got him back into work as a two-year-old and there was another hiccup.  Because of the damage to the muscle, he was a little short in his action on that leg, which we were just working him through slowly,” Wight said. “One day he just worked a little bit lame on the leg and I got the vet to have a look and he’d somehow fractured a pastern bone. So, yes, he has been a project!” she laughed. Wight said Reactor Now’s three-year-old preparation had been necessarily and understandably slow. “We probably had him in work most of the last half of last year and have been mindful of allowing him to make a full recovery and looking after him,” she said. The gelding had his first start at Horsham in February but “got a bit excited” and proved a handful for Wight’s brother-in-law, reinsman Grant Campbell. But Campbell managed the gelding superbly when he returned to the track at Ballarat a month later, easing Reactor Now from the mobile barrier as the leaders poured on the speed.  At one stage in the first lap Campbell found himself 40 metres from the leaders, but unflustered tacked on with 1200 to go, slid into the death seat and applied the pressure.  He hit the front before the home turn and dashed away to score by 12 metres untouched. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. The pacer was just as impressive at Terang a fortnight later (March 19) when he was caught three wide early, for nearly half a lap, before working to the death-seat.  Approaching the bell, Campbell clicked the big fellow up a gear to surge to the lead.  When he pulled the plugs on the home corner, Reactor Now careered clear, eventually winning by 10 metres, with the last quarter in a sizzling 27.4 (half in 56.6). To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. “He’s always showed his potential, but he’s been a big, awkward, green fellow and he’s taken a lot of time to learn, and probably get the confidence to go fast,” Wight said. “When he’s within his comfort zone he is good, but if you push him beyond that, he can get a bit rough and break,” she said. “But in his two wins he has won well within himself and we haven’t pushed him, so we haven’t really found the bottom of him yet. I think if one came up beside him he would find a little bit because he has got a competitive streak. “It’s fair to say he’s done more than we expected at this stage.” Although horse and connections endured a torrid 18 months, Wight said Reactor Now ticked all the boxes when he was purchased after the APG Gold 2016 sale. “He’s owned by Graeme and Liz Old, their nephew Frank and his wife Robyn and their daughter Narelle Hall and her husband Steve,” she explained. “He was a bit of an afterthought at the sales because all the ones we liked were above our budget. So, at the end of the day we were looking at what had been passed in. “My husband Craig loves to go through the books and choose them from the breeding and Frank prides himself on picking them on looks.  So between the two of them they picked out Reactor Now. Reactor Now “He is a very natural athlete and pacer and even when I was long-reining him he was pacing.  But he was a big fellow and we knew he would take time – just probably not quite this much time!” But it’s no surprise Wight has managed to put the polish on “Goose”, with her reputation for finding a way with problem horses. “This group of owners are the same ones who had Frances Annie – aka ‘The Mad Trotter’,” she said. “We had a five-horse truck and she needed all the dividers out and to travel on her own just to get her to the races. Once we got there, she needed spare stalls either side of her. “Once the lease was up, the owners weren’t too keen on having her back immediately, so we have her out the back in foal (to Skyvalley).  She did test my patience, but she did win $100,000, so you never know!” Reactor Now is entered in the Group 3 Victoria Sires Classic $40,000 for three-year-olds race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Some nice horse flesh on show at Gloucester Park on Friday night with star three-year-old Patrickthepiranha and the unbeaten two-year-old filly Double Expresso set to strut their stuff. The majority of the WA Trotting Media Guild members believe both horses can keep their winning runs going. Multiple winner of the Guild’s tipping competition Stuart Lowe and the racing co-ordinator at The West Australian Ryan Havercroft are big fans of Patrickthepiranha. “My best bet is the brilliant Patrickthepiranha, who has won eight of his last nine starts,” Lowe did. “The pole draw should allow him to lead all the way here.” And Havercroft agrees. “Patrickthepiranha returned to winning form in the Sales Classic last week and has drawn to repeat the dose in The Western Gateway this Friday,” Havercroft said. “His conqueror from two starts ago, Shockwave, is not contesting this week’s feature and he looks hard to go past.” RWWA’s racing communications co-ordinator Tim Walker believes Double Expresso will keep her unbeaten record intact. “Double Expresso picks herself,” Walker said. “Small field, is the class horse and why would you want to drop off after last start. Should win.” Guild president Wayne Currall and longshot guru Pat Harding are in the Lady De La Renta camp. “This mare has been crying out for a gate,” Currall said. “She has drawn gate two over the sprint trip and with 11 wins from 30 starts could prove too classy for this lot.” Harding is even more enthusiastic. “My best bet of the night comes up in race six in Lady de la Renta,” Harding said. “I tipped her as a value bet last week and she ran second and paid $3 for the place. This week I think she can go one better. With just the short 1730 metre distance, I think Kim Prentice can bounce her to the front and lead all the way.” But the recently married Matt Young from TABradio has different thoughts. “Rocknroll Baby has the perfect draw and gets the chance to go the trip,” Young said. “The former trotter has been luckless of late. She’s my best bet for the night.” Budding racecaller Hayden King is keen on Clarenden Hustler from the pole. “Clarenden Hustler is ideally drawn considering his early brilliance,” King said. “His recent form has been excellent for the most part and should be hard to beat.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning has made Dracarys his star bet. “Dracarys looked back to her best when winning at Bunbury last start and she shapes as a leading contender for the WA Oaks in May,” Manning said. “The filly, who joined Justin Prentice’s stable after winning in New Zealand, showed quality in victories at her first five WA appearances. She was having her fourth start after a spell when leading and outclassing Bunbury rivals last Saturday week.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas has sacked Liberty Rose, who let him down again last week, and has made the consistent Handsandwheels his best. “Handsandwheels is a superb frontrunner, but he will be seen in a different role on Friday night when he starts from barrier two on the back line,” Casellas said. “However, he is also an extremely smart sit-sprinter and he’s my best bet this week when I expect him to unwind a powerful finishing burst.” VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Mister Bushido, who was a smart winner here three starts ago. He has been luckless at two runs since, but with the pole draw should get every chance to win. Ryan: Mistersandman has been running handy races from awkward draws. Drawn in barrier eight, he is bound to be at a liberal each-way quote and will be running on. Tim: Always Arjay was enormous at Narrogin last week. Can get a nice run behind the speed here and absolutely deserves a FFA win. Wayne: Mr Mojito flew home to finish fourth behind The Bucket List last week. From gate two, champion reinsman Chris Lewis should have him handily placed and he’s each-way all day for me. Pat: My value bet comes up in race eight with No.2 Waltzingwithsierra. Over the short distance I think Shannon Suvaljko will steer her home to victory. Matt: Luis Alberto has drawn to get a soft run, just needs luck over the short course to be dangerous late. Hayden: Always Arjay has a great trailing draw on what will be a good speed. He will be very hard to hold out late. Ernie: Madame Meilland, who faces strong opposition when racing first-up, has won five races and run six places in 13 Gloucester Park starts. The former Melbourne mare won three Victorian races before her transfer to WA. Ken: For value, I suggest The Art Form, a back-line runner in race three. A last-start all-the-way winner, he is also highly capable of producing a spirited final-lap spurt. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting! Wayne Currall

Keen interest surrounds the debut of the extremely well bred two-year-old Valentines Brook in the $25,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Crown Classic for colts and geldings at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Valentines Brook, trained by Mike Reed and driven by his son Mark, will begin from barrier three and is capable of a solid first-up effort. He is a half-brother to Bechers Brook, who flew home to win the Western Gateway Classic 12 months ago and then finished a head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby. Bechers Brook, also from the Reed stable, has had 21 starts for ten wins and eight placings for stakes of $152,763. Valentines Brook is also a half-brother to star pacer Our Waikiki Beach, who has earned $957,479 from 28 wins and 12 placings from 56 starts. Those pacers also are closely related to former star performers Chandon, Bollinger and Salinger. Valentines Brook, bred in Victoria, is by American stallion Rock N Roll Heaven out of the Bettors Delight mare Cyclone Betty, raced 63 times for nine wins, 18 placings and $68,186 in prizemoney. He was bought for $52,500 at the APG yearling sale in Melbourne last year by Bechers Brook’s owner Albert Walmsley. Bechers Brook is named after hugely challenging and famous fence in the English Grand National Steeplechase, held annually at Aintree. Valentines Brook is also a testing fence at Aintree, but somewhat less severe than Bechers Brook. Valentines Brook warmed up for his debut with a sound trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he was not bustled at the mobile dispatch and settled in fourth place in a field of five. After modest quarters of 32.4sec., 32.2sec. and 31.2.2sec., Valentines Brook ran home solidly and was not extended in finishing second, a half-head behind unraced two-year-old gelding The Stars Above, with a final quarter in 29sec. Reed Snr said that Valentines Brook possessed high speed but had still a lot to learn about racing. “He’s not without a chance on Friday night and he’ll improve on whatever he does,” he said. Marcotti, a son of Sportwriter, is sure to be a hot favourite, particularly after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier for Blythewood trainer Michael Brennan and talented reinsman Michael Grantham. Marcotti made a perfect debut when he set the pace from the No. 1 barrier and won from Keptain Courageous over 1609m in 1min. 57.9sec. at Bunbury three Sundays ago. He impressed in dashing over the final 400m in 27.6sec. Marcotti is well bred and is related to former top-flight pacer Another Party, who earned $888,678 from 31 wins and 42 placings from 149 starts. Another Party’s wins included the Bathurst Gold Crown for two-year-olds in March 1997, the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park on New Year’s Eve in 2000, the Fremantle Cup the following month and the Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley a few weeks later.   Ken Casellas

Talented young reinsman Bailey McDonough will be anxious to take full advantage of Clarenden Hustler’s sparkling gate speed when he drives the six-year-old from the prized No. 1 barrier in the $20,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In-form trainer Matt Scott engaged McDonough to drive Clarenden Hustler for the first time to gain a junior driver’s concession and a start in an event which has enabled the chestnut to drop significantly in class. Shannon Suvaljko has driven Clarenden Hustler, a former South Australian performer, in all his nine starts in Western Australia for two wins and two seconds. Clarenden Hustler started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker Handsandwheels in the group 2 Four and Five-Year-Old Championship over 2130m last Friday night before wilting to finish eighth behind Handsandwheels. But he will certainly appreciate racing in inferior company this week when his main dangers include Just Bet On Black, Smoldering Ashes, Luis Alberto and Aliman. Just Bet On Black, trained and driven by Dylan Egerton-Green, is in top form, but is not perfectly drawn at No. 4 on the front line. However, he has the ability to overcome this draw and prove hard to beat. He started from the No. 6 barrier when an impressive last-start winner, over 2536m last Friday week. He raced three wide early and then worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front and fighting on gamely to defeat the pacemaker Dominate The Dojo by a half-neck at a 1.58.5 rate, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 29.3sec. Two weeks before that Just Bet On Black raced in fifth position, three back on the pegs before finishing powerfully to be a neck second to James Butt at a 1.54.4 rate over 1730m, with final quarters of 28.1sec. and 28.6sec. “He’s in somewhere near career-best form,” Egerton-Green said. “It’s been a long process and, touch wood, we’ve got him right and hopefully able to string a few nice runs together.”   Ken Casellas

Busselton horseman Aaron Beckett has been rewarded for his outstanding form for owner-trainer Barry Howlett at the recent Albany carnival by gaining the drive behind the bold-striding Talktomeurmattjesty in the $25,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Free-For-All at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be the first time the 36-year-old Beckett has driven the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, who has bright prospects of winning his 13th race at his 36th start. Talktomeurmattjesty is a smart frontrunner who is sure to appreciate the distinct advantage of starting from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the 2130m event. Talktomeurmattjesty has begun from the No. 1 barrier five times over 2130m at Gloucester Park for three all-the-way victories, a second to Chicago Bull in the Stratton Cup last October and fifth behind Rocknroll Lincoln when he raced with a trail on both occasions. Beckett is hoping for a similar result this week to what he achieved when he was offered the chance to drive Dredlock Rockstar for the first time after regular reinsman Ash Markham was under suspension. That was in the Parliamentarians Cup in November 2013 when Beckett drove Dredlock Rockstar to an all-the-way win. Howlett had little hesitation in engaging Beckett this week after Beckett had landed seven winners for him at Albany last month scoring with Shadow Magic, Another Mouse and Dancing With Mach on February 1, Smart Fortune, Another Mouse and Rock Dance on February 8 and Smart Fortune on February 15. Talktomeurmattjesty, who led and won from Benhope Rulz and Naval Aviator three starts ago when he gave his rivals little chance by sprinting over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 27.2sec., will clash with four last-start winners in Handsandwheels, Vincenzo Peruggia, Major Catastrophe and Caviar Star, as well as Always Arjay, who followed a strong Gloucester Park win over Our Jimmy Johnstone and Vultan Tin with an excellent effort when a last-start second to El Jacko in the Pinjarra Cup after working hard, out three wide and then in the breeze. The Andrew de Campo-trained Handsandwheels is in top form but is not ideally drawn at No. 2 on the back line. He is a noted frontrunner, but he is also capable of sitting back in the field before unwinding a spirited finishing burst. An indication of the consistency of Handsandwheels is that he has finished out of the top four only twice from his past 29 starts. The five-year-old was not extended is leading all the way from barrier one and winning easily from Vincenzo Peruggia and Lord Willoughby in easier company last Friday night. Ten-year-old Major Catastrophe bounced back to form and ended a losing sequence of 19 when he worked hard without cover before getting up to snatch victory from hot favourite Im Soxy over 2536m last Friday night. Again, he appears most likely to do most of the bullocking work in this week’s race. Caviar Star looms as a very strong winning chance after the four-year-old trained by Gary Hall Snr has raced eight times this season for five wins and three seconds. He is favourably drawn at barrier three and should fight out the finish. Hall said that this would be a testing time for Caviar Star. “He’s up in class and is unlikely to be able to get the lead from Talktomeurmattjesty,” he said. “However, he is going well and is really strong.” Hall will also be represented by Overboard Again and Whozideawasthis, who impressed at his second outing after an absence of nine months when he finished strongly from tenth at the bell to be an eye-catching second to The Bucket List last Friday night. Vincenzo Peruggia is racing in grand style for veteran Byford trainer Tony Svilicich, with his past nine starts producing four wins and four seconds. The five-year-old warmed up for Friday night’s assignment in good style at Gloucester park on Tuesday night when he worked hard in the breeze before winning from the fast-finishing Valbonne.   Ken Casellas

Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr has lavished praise on big New Zealand-bred colt Major Trojan and has no hesitation in declaring him one of the best three-year-olds he has prepared even better than superstar $1 million champions Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull.    Hall has trained the winner of four of the past six prestigious WA Derbies and is confident Major Trojan will prove very hard to beat in the $200,000 Derby next Friday week (April 5). Major Trojan, a winner at two of his five starts in New Zealand, has finished a close second at each of his first two starts in Western Australia and Hall is confident the colt will prove hard to beat in the $50,000 Intersport Slater Gartrell Western Gateway Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I think he’s the best three-year-old I’ve trained, or maybe, the second best, behind Alta Christiano,” Hall said. “Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull were good, but as three-year-olds neither were as good as Major Trojan.” In saying that, Hall admitted that Major Trojan was far from a good thing in the Western Gateway in which he will start out wide, at barrier eight on the front line of the 2536m event. He has plenty of respect for the brilliant Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha, who will be a short-priced favourite from the prized No. 1 barrier. “I reckon that Major Trojan is the best horse in Friday night’s race and whatever beats him will win,” he said. “Regarding his strengths, he is fast and he can stay but it won’t be easy to beat Patrickthepiranha, who should get an uncontested time in front and I expect Major Trojan will be playing cat and mouse with Franco Edward. “However, Major Trojan doesn’t need a lot of luck; he can make his own luck. I think he’s the real deal. He had only nine weeks in work before last Friday night’s race and he should be starting to get close to top fitness. He should be at his peak on Derby night.” Major Trojan, who will again be handled this week by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, has plenty to live up to. The wonderful father-and-son combination has landed the winner of four of the past six Derbies, scoring with Alta Christiano (2013), Beaudiene Boaz (2015), Chicago Bull (2016) and King of Swing (2018).    Major Trojan gave a sample of his class last Friday night when he finished an unlucky second in a 2130m Derby prelude, a nose behind stablemate Eloquent Mach. He started from the inside of the back line and was three back on the pegs in fifth place at the bell, with Eloquent Mach setting a brisk pace. The final quarters then were covered in 27.7sec. and 28.4sec., with Major Trojan being held up for a clear run before he finished with a powerful burst on the inside to fail by the narrowest of margins. Six nights earlier, Major Trojan had his first start for four months when he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back in the 2100m Battle of Bunbury at Donaldson Park. He vacated that position 420m from home and sustained a spirited burst to finish a neck second to the pacemaker Eloquent Mach, with final quarters in 27.7sec. and 27.8sec. Eloquent Mach, again with Stuart McDonald in the sulky, will start from barrier two on the back line in Friday night’s race and should be prominent. The Hall stable’s third runner Robbie Easton (Micheal Ferguson) is awkwardly drawn at barrier five. “Eloquent Mach is getting better with every run and Robbie Easton is going well, but is underrated,” said Hall Snr. Patrickthepiranha, like most of his rivals this week, will be having his first start over the Derby distance of 2536m. With a marvellous record of 12 starts for nine wins, he has given every indication that the longer trip will pose no problems. He is also a splendid frontrunner, having set the pace in six of his nine victories. Dylan Egerton-Green, fresh from driving Patrickthepiranha to victory in last Friday night’s $50,000 Sales Classic, has handled the gelding in all of his 12 starts and he has high hopes of winning the Western Gateway Classic for the second year in a row after bringing the Mike Reed-trained Bechers Brook home with a dazzling burst from ninth at the bell to beat Cott Beach by a neck in last year’s classic. “It’s a great draw (No. 1) and hopefully we can take full advantage of it,” he said. “He has shown that he can roll the gate, but I don’t expect it to be an easy run for the horse. He has pulled up well after winning the Sales Classic and this will be a good test. The Derby, that’s the aim.” Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper has spaced Franco Edward’s runs in the lead up to the Derby and the American Ideal colt looms as a major player in this week’s classic as well as the Derby. Franco Edward notched his ninth win from 14 starts when he raced in the breeze for much of the journey and was inclined to overrace before finishing strongly to win a Derby prelude over 2130m three weeks ago, beating the pacemaker Eloquent Mach and Galante, who enjoyed a good run behind the pacemaker. Franco Edward has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 9) on Friday night and he will have a legion of admirers. He gave a tremendous indication of his great talent in a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning when he settled down in last place in a field of five, ten lengths from the early leader, before Harper sent him forward with a sparkling turn of speed 1100m from home. He charged to the front within 100m and careered away to win, unextended, by 27 lengths from unraced three-year-old Cordero. Ken Casellas

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Exciting Duke Of Wellington won tonight’s 30th renewal of the City of Melton Plate at Tabcorp Park and secured Great Western trainer-driver Kerryn Manning her second Plate success. Fifteen years had passed since Manning’s first Plate win, aboard Run Albert Run in 2004, and she declared tonight’s triumph “a big thrill” before adding she felt her four-year-old son of American Ideal was destined for big things. See bottom of article for Manning's list of $50k+ feature race wins “It’s a very nice honour roll (for the Melton Plate) and to join it is a big thrill. I think this horse can be the same as them (top-line past winners), he’s certainly got the talent but he’s still got a bit of learning to do,” she said. Perusing the honour roll of Plate champions reveals names such as Hectorjayjay, Make Mine Cullen, Melpark Major, Shakamaker, Sokyola and Tailamade Lombo just to name a few. Punters put their faith in the Duke and Manning, sending the pair out as a commanding $1.4 favourite. They rolled forward out of the gate, but War Dan ($10.70) and James Rattray found the pegs first and wouldn’t relent to the favourite. “I always thought War Dan may try to hold the front,” Manning said. “I was prepared for that.” The ensuing fight was enthralling, with first and second splits of 29.9 and 29.5 followed by a 28 third sectional and a 28.9 run home. War Dan wouldn’t lie down, but Duke Of Wellington was too classy – despite covering more ground – and held a 1.5m buffer at the wire to record a 1:54.6 mile rate. “He got a bit wobbly at the start … he over-raced quite a bit during the first lap, too. Eventually he settled at the 1200m and I was just hoping too much damage wasn’t done by then,” Manning said. Rishi ran third, with Jilliby Chevy and Somebeachshadow rounding out the top five Plate finishers. Duke Of Wellington is raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth. He has had five runs for three wins with Manning since moving to Australia after a successful New Zealand three-year-old campaign. “He’s had a little time between runs this time in, so he’s still on the way up I think,” Manning said. “His fitness is pretty good. That’ll top him off nicely.” Meanwhile, trainer Stephen Telfer combined with local reinsman John Caldow to win the Allied Express Jodi’s Babe with five-year-old Art Major mare Our Step Up, who led throughout from gate two in 1:54.0 over 1720m. Our Step Up finished 1.5m clear of Reciprocity, who was charging home for Manning in second place, with Share The Road third and Juice Brogdon fourth.  Race favourite Berisari failed to beat a runner home. Highly rated Andy Gath-trained trotter McLovin won the 2Contstruct Scotch Notch Memorial over 2240m in 2:01.0 with Kate Gath in the gig. The last-start Charlton Cup winner made it back-to-back successes by finishing 4.7m clear of stablemate Kingdom Come, with polemarker Jerichos Trumpet third and consistent Savannah Jay Jay fourth. Michael Stanley trained and drove Watch List to win the Group 3 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic in 1:55.7 over 2240m, the $5.9 second-favourite out-sprinting the $2.1 punters’ elect Crime Writer by 2.1m. Stanley sent Watch List to the front from barrier three early before handing up and using the sprint lane late. Titan Bromac finished third, 3m from the winner, with Perfect Major fourth. Driver Kima Frenning combined with trainer David Aiken to win the night’s sprint feature, the 1200m Quest for Success Stampede, with four-year-old Mach Three gelding Higherthananeagle. Predicted fireworks didn’t eventuate as Frenning found the lead easily from gate two before thoroughly dictating terms in a gross time of 1:22.2 to jog home by 8.7m over Benicio and Vinny Chase, who both followed the peg line, with Vee Rock fourth. If the sparks had flown horses in this race might have broken 80seconds. Check out the full results from tonight’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting   Kerryn Manning’s $50,000+ Feature Race Wins  1997 Australasian Trotting Championship Final $125k – Knight Pistol  1999 El Dorado Final (3YO C&G) $150k – Sky Strike  2000 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Mares) Final $100k – Jilliby Magic 2000 Chariots of Fire $200k – Lombo Rapida 2000 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Fillies) Final $100k – Jilliby Melody 2001 Vicbred Super Series (4YO Trotters) Final $50k – La Coocaracha  2001 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – La Coocaracha  2001 Australian Trotting Grand Prix $100k – La Coocaracha 2002 SA Trotters Cup $50k – La Coocaracha 2002 Australasian Trotters Championship $100k – La Coocaracha  2002 Rowe Memorial Cup, NZ $100k – La Coocaracha 2002 Legends Mile $50k – Hearts Legend 2003 Australian Pacing Gold Final (2YO C&G) $288k – Kathryn Dancer 2003 Vicbred Super Series (2YO C&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie  2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO C&G $100k – Blatant Lie 2003 Australian Pacing Gold 3YO Fillies $100k – Yada Yada Yada 2004 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO C&G Final $300k – Emmas Only 2004 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Broke As Usual  2004 Vicbred Super Series (2YO Fillies) Final $100k – Kinda Arty Lombo 2004 Breeders Crown (2YO C&G) Final $190k – Emmas Only 2004 Kilmore Cup $100k – True Cam 2004 Bill Collins Trotters Mile $50k – Sammy Do Good  2005 Victoria Derby $150k – Emmas Only 2005 Vicbred Super Series (4YO E&G) Final $100k – Blatant Lie 2005 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Tennotrump  2005 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotters Final $50k – Split Image 2007 Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotters Final $50k – Donttellmehetrots 2007 George Johnson $50k – No More Trouble  2008 Tatlow Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $50k – Ananz 2008 Victoria Trotters Oaks $50k – Mystic Hush 2008 NSW Sires Stakes 2YO Fillies Final $100k – Ananz 2010 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies Final $300k – Leilani Lombo 2010 Vicbred Super Series (3YO Trotters) Final $50k – Mister Castleton 2015 A.G. Hunter Cup $400k – Arden Rooney  2015 Mildura Pacing Cup $50k – Arden Rooney 2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup $765k – Arden Rooney  2017 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final $50k – Imprincessgemma 2017 Breeders Crown Graduate Free for All $60k – Ameretto 2017 Norm’s Daughter $50k – Ameretto 2018 Ladyship Cup $100k – Our Golden Goddess 2018 Queen of the Pacific $100k – Ameretto 2019 City of Melton Plate $50k – Duke Of Wellington     Cody Winnell for Trots Media
The Kilmore track is always going to hold a special place in the heart of long-time harness racing owner-trainer-breeder Ken Ward. Ward, who is based at Chintin, near Romsey, an hour north of Melbourne, landed a winning double at the Kilmore meeting – his first in over 50 years in the sport. “It’s certainly been a long time coming, but I don’t prepare big numbers, so I’ve probably been a little restricted,” Ward said. “I really regard harness racing as a bit like riding a ferris wheel though, and you’ve got enjoy the high-points!” Ward took out the Jet Roofing Pace with six-year-old gelding Village Skipper (Village Jasper USA-Skipper Patricia (Cam’s Trickster USA) then scored later in the program in the Kilmore Art Expo Pace Final with four-year-old gelding Jamieson Steele (Million Dollar Cam USA-Lady Jade Skipper (Safe and Sound). Both winners were handled in expert fashion by David Miles, who is in brilliant form at the moment. “It’s probably a little different than most people, but we’ve never raced a horse which we haven’t bred ourselves,” Ward explained. “I guess it’s a bit special when you go the whole journey with them, starting off with the breeding part, then watching them grow in the paddock, sorting out names, education and then getting to the track,” he said. Jamieson Steele “All of our horses originate from one mare, Bye Bye Jade (Adios Green-Pleasing (Dancer Hanover) that I got many years ago from my grandfather the late Jack McKay.” “Minyip Jack”, as he was known, was an owner and trainer, who partnered with the famous Melbourne Showgrounds trainer, Jack McKay, who ironically shared the same name, but was no relation. Despite his family involvement, Ward said his interest in the sport probably went back to when he was a young schoolboy and spent many hours watching Gisborne trainer Bernie Robinson prepare his team, headed by the smart pacer, Heroic Action. “I pretty much had the bug back then and have always loved horses,” he said. “We’re lucky because for us it’s a real family affair.  My wife Pat and I breed them, and we race them in partnership with one of our daughters Carissa, who is our eldest, and who works in payroll administration in Melbourne. Our other daughter Hailey also loves getting involved.” Village Skipper is now a four times winner, posting three of his victories this season. The gelding was responsible for a huge run at Kilmore. After settling at least 10 lengths off the lead after being caught wide early, he later went three and four wide down the back for the last time. In a war of attrition, Village Skipper got the upper hand to score. “He can hit a knee a little and there’s some maintenance needed with him, but he does put in,” Ward said. “I actually told young Jayden Barker, who works for our driver David Miles, that he could take the horse home win, lose or draw. At my age, my word is my bond so despite winning the race, Jayden now has him for 12 months. “Jayden gets a junior claim so he should have some fun with him.” Ken Ward The second leg of the memorable Ward double was recorded by Jamieson Steele, in a strong performance from a back-row draw. “It took him 18 starts to break his maiden status because he was a big, slow learner,” Ward said. “To be honest I really didn’t like the horse much at all in the early days. Then one day I took the block winkers off and put a shadow roll on and he settled down greatly,” he said. “Now he’s putting it together and learning how to follow helmets and I think he has a bright future.  This season has been quite good with two wins and three placings from seven outings.” Ward is pinning his hopes on a trio of two-year-olds, sired by Roll With Joe, Grinfromeartoear and Julius Caesar. “I also have an Auckland Reactor weanling filly out of a lovely mare in Skip On Broadway.  She looks the goods and is without doubt the best-looking horse I’ve had in 11 or 12 years,” he said. The Ward stable has produced a few handy performers over the years including Skipper Carissa, a winner of 15 races (eight of these at Moonee Valley) and 20 placings; and Haileys Skipper, who recorded 13 wins (one metropolitan) and 24 placings. “We have a 70-acre property and all of us are involved. I recently retired after working as a Lands Inspector and in the Quarantine service, so I’m full-time with the horses now,” he said. “I may have a team of four in training soon, although with winter approaching, perhaps three is the ideal number.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura
Cobram Harness Racing Club’s amazing Community Pink Ladies Day fundraiser is on again in May – but if you’d like one of this year’s unique promotional hoodies, the time to order is now! The energetic northern Victorian Club has raised an incredible $130,000 for charity in the 10 years since the McGrath Foundation fundraiser began. Organisers have drummed up huge community and sponsorship support and have turned the Paul Roberts Jewellers Ladies Invitational race day (this year on May 26) into one of the most popular on the region’s racing calendar. “It started because, at the time, there seemed to be a lot of people being affected by cancer, including people in harness racing, so we thought we should do something,” explained Cobram Harness Racing Club’s Margaret Watson. “It started with a fundraising dinner and raffle and it went on to become an annual event that raised about five or six thousand dollars each time with fundraising on the day and by selling raffle tickets,” she said. But Margaret said the event took on a life of its own when the invited female drivers stepped in, led by the tireless Donna Castles, about five years ago. “Donna told us it’s the drivers who get all the accolades on the day, ‘so it’s about time we got on board’ properly,” Margaret said. “That year they donated their driving fees to the McGrath Foundation.  The next year they decided to run a huge raffle and rallied around to get more than 20 prizes from sponsors,” she said. “The following year they raffled a sulky, last year they raffled a car, which was a huge effort, and this year they are doing a $3000 travel voucher and seven voucher prizes. “With their support the whole thing has taken off.” Anyone wanting raffle tickets can buy them from any of the invited female drivers up until the raceday. In addition, the girls have organised eye-catching hoodies to promote the event and to acknowledge the involvement of sponsors.  They’re $50 each, but orders and payment must be made by next Friday March 29 to either Donna Castles (0417 003 376), Juanita Breen (0418 565 310) or Margaret and Bob Watson at Cobram HRC (0409 401 189). The Sunday raceday on May 26 begins with a candle-lighting ceremony in memory of those who have lost their lives to breast cancer and in support of those being affected by the disease. The event has become a popular community and ladies’ day at the races, with everyone invited to add a touch of pink to their outfits.  “We’re thrilled that HRV has come on board this year so we can offer $10,000 in stakes for the invitation race, and hopefully that will give us full fields and a great day’s racing,” Margaret said. The female drivers on the day will be unmissable in their bright pink driver’s pants and invited drivers are: Donna Castles; Rebecca Bartley; Ellen Bartley; Juanita Breen; Monique Burnett; Rita Burnett; Laura Crossland; Kima Frenning; Abbey Turnbull; Tania Ward, Ellen Tormey; Lisa Miles and; Kylie Sugars.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura
Albion Park record holder, Quietly Spoken, can go three-straight at Queensland Harness Racing Headquarters on Saturday night. That’s the opinion of her Alberton trainer, Stephen Cini. “She’s as bright as a button and has come through her last race very well. This mare likes to race and she is no slouch. Chris Alford told the previous trainers he liked her. That was good enough for me," Cini said. “She raced in Group races at Menangle (five - placed in one) before I got her and you have to be pretty good to hold a track record at Albion Park. “Yes she can get the hatrick but the (Grant) Dixon trained and driven Our Overanova will be the toughest for her to beat. He's a very good race horse – even from 50m behind. He's had a lot of starts (139) and won 53 races. My girl has won just 12 (96 starts). "In saying that I’m expecting Brian’s mare to be right in it again," he added. Brian is Brian Dorans, the owner and breeder of Quietly Spoken. A fortnight ago (March 9) he watched his 7yo Pegasus Spur mare set a new 1660m track record for trotters at Albion Park. Starting from the ace draw she sat in behind a torrid speed and then Narissa McMullen whipped her along the passing lane to win in 1:59.4 - mile rate, a slashing 1:55.7. Her sectionals were 27.3, 30.4, 28.7, and 29.6. And even though Saturday’s $13,000 Pryde-sponsored ninth race is a 2,138m stand, Cini still needs a slick pace. "If there's speed in the race it will suit the mare. She's started from one in both of her last two starts and now starts from 10m behind, so the race is going to pan out differently for her," he said. "I won't say anything to Narissa. She knows the horse. We just have to see where the horse ends up soon after the start. "If there's a slow pace and they dawdle, then that won't suit us. Hopefully they go hard and she can get into it at the right time. If she does then she's got the stamina and speed to get past them." He said Quietly Spoken was the type of mare who liked to race week in and week out. "She's very fit and enjoys racing. Brian doesn’t enjoy spelling them for too long. He likes to race his horses,” Cini said. Quietly Spoken had her last race for Joe and Mary Rando when 13th at Menangle 2017. Cini then won first-up with her at Albion Park on December 12 of that year. Seven of her 12 wins have now been with Cini. Her siblings have also performed well. Quietly Spoken is the last of five foals out of the one race (fifth) Sundon - Champagne Girl (by Plat Du Jour) mare, Kindava Hush. Her oldest sister, the 2003 Classic Adam mare, Une De Mai won 14 races and $85,805, while foal two, the 2003 Continentalman mare, Mystic Hush won 11 races and $94,943. But none of them have gone as quick as their little sister - Cini's first track record holder. “A lot of trotters don’t possess speed. This mare has speed. She’s proven that. She will continue to race on through the Winter Carnival," he said. “She will hold her own until then but when the visitors get here she won’t be up to them. I’m working 12 at the moment and she would be in my top three or four. She’s the best trotter of the three I’ve got." Quietly Spoken beat Our Overanova by 1.3m when they both started off the front on May 9. This time Our Overanova will give the mare a 40m head-start - but write the Dixon trainee off at your own peril. Our Overanova knows all about tracks records. The 9yo Monarchy gelding holds two at Albion Park himself - including one over tonight's distance three-and-a-half years ago. The 140-race veteran went a 1:59 mile rate when trotting 2:41.8 on September 19, 2015. Then just over two years later (December 16, 2017) he went a 2:00.3 mile rate when setting a new mark of 3:20.8 for the 2,647m standing start. The bay gelding started from 40m behind that night and just got up by half-a-head. Our Overanova has won $406,404 in career stakes - Quietly Spoken: $109,132.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland
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