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Aiken to represent Big V

Talented harness racing participant Josh Aiken will represent Victoria in the 2015 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. The series is scheduled to be held in May in New Zealand, with the opening heat in Cambridge on the 7th. Open to drivers under 25 at the beginning of the Australian or New Zealand racing seasons, the series will be spread across four race meetings. Aiken will compete against drivers from each Australian state and four from New Zealand, along with defending champion, Andre Poutama. Thrilled to represent his state, Aiken stated he is keen to pit his skills against a host of the Southern Hemisphere’s rising stars. “It’s obviously a big privilege to be chosen at all, but the junior drivers are very strong at the moment,” Aiken declared.  “I’ve never driven in New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to everything, including driving on new tracks. “Dad (leading horseman, David) still talks about the drivers’ series he has been in.  I’m going to have the time of my life.” PAUL COURTS

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Maiden had Group One All Under Control

Promising filly All Under Control lived up to her name in last Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite going into the Group One as a maiden, and one of the outsiders as $40.90, All Under Control was never in danger of being beaten. Impressed with the trotter’s performance, trainer Brent Lilley will aim All Under Control towards features such as the Victoria Oaks and Vicbred Super Series. “She’s still got to improve a fair bit, but she goes along well,” Lilley said. “I will wait until her next start or two to see if this was a one off or if she can keep producing those kinds of runs. “There is a bit to like about her on this run, especially the way she responded when Anthony (Butt, driver) showed her the whip. “He gave her one crack up the straight to keep her mind on the job and she found a bit like good horses so.” After travelling midfield from the outside of the front row, All Under Control completed a metre-and-a-half win from Casa Fundada, with Zaire Diva a half-head away third. “I went into the race thinking she was a rough chance, but she really put in,” Lilley said. “On that run, and with a bit of improvement as she gains experience, I’ll have a look at races like the Oaks and Sires’ Stake.” Covering the last half in 60.6 seconds, the daughter of Majestic Son rated 2:02 for the 1720 metres. PAUL COURTS

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Aiken aiming high with Group One winner

While he won’t try to reach quite as high with Aimforthemoon, harness racing trainer David Aiken will chase several major targets with the promising youngster. A well-bred trotter, Aimforthemoon has been set for features such as the various Derbys and Vicbred Super Series. “He is capable of competing in the main races this season, but he will have to improve as he goes along,” Aiken said. “He’s only had a handful of starts and is still a little green, but the ability is there. “If he progresses as expected as he keeps racing, then I’ll have a look at the Derbys.” Driven by leading reinsman Chris Alford at Tabcorp Park Melton last Saturday night, Aimforthemoon broke his maiden in the Group One Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic. Caught there-wide from barrier six, the gelding worked to the lead as Illawong Cognac was eased to take a trail. Forced to dig deep during the latter stages, Aimforthemoon staved off a determined Bad Boy Leroy to score by a head, with Well Deserved nine metres away third. “He got close at the end, but he showed plenty of fight,” Aiken said. “Like I said, he still has to improve with experience, but the ability is there.” Covering the last half in 60.2 seconds, the three-year-old rated 2:03 for the 1720 metres, taking his record to a win and a placing from five starts for earnings of $30,313. Bred and owned by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park, Aimforthemoon is by Angus Hall from former top filly, Right Interest. Successful in the 2006 Breeders’ Crown, Right Interest also captured the Hankook Tyres Plate and Darrell Alexander Memorial. From broodmare gem Late Withdrawal, Right Interest is a half-sister to Group One winners National Interest and Magic Interest. PAUL COURTS

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Nathan Ford's greatest moment in racing

Exciting pacer Star Chamber gave young Tasmanian trainer-driver Nathan Ford his greatest moment in harness racing with an empathic win in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart yesterday. So impressed with the win, Ford suggested he will head to the Group One A G Hunter Cup in Melbourne in February. Star Chamber landed in Ford’s stables about this time last year and he declared six months later the gelding would win feature and Group races while in his care. Today his prediction was realised and stamped the flashy chestnut as one of the brightest prospects in the state. It was an emotional Ford who was brought to tears when asked to describe his biggest win. And when his father Scott Ford, who has won just about every feature race in Tasmania except the Cup, arrived to congratulate his son, he was unable to hold back the tears. Star Chamber began well from the pole, but was crossed by the in-form Blue Pointer, which led with ease from barrier two. The $1.20 favourite Im Corzin Terror was held back at the start to settle near the rear and when Chris Alford made his move just over a lap from home, he was forced to sit three-wide until they were well into the home turn the last time. Blue Pointer had a kick at the top of the straight, with Im Corzin Terror under extreme pressure to overhaul the leader, but when Ford eased Star Chamber off the pegs to challenge, the son of Our Sir Vancelot stormed home to win easily from Im Corzin Terror and Blue Pointer. Star Chamber rated 1:57.8 for the 2579-metre trip, with the last half covered in 58.63 seconds. PETER STAPLES

Harness racing trainer Zane Medhurst has been waiting a while for his nine-year-old Luke Peter to win another race and it finally happened at his 100th start in Hobart yesterday. Luke Peter cruised to a comfortable victory in the Des and Kay Logan Memorial Pace over 2090 metres, which is the consolation of the Eric Reece Memorial. The Luke Peter hit the line five metres clear of Luke Thomas, with the favourite Olivers Mare a metre away third. “He’s been a good old horse for us and it was so good to see him win a half decent race,” Medhurst said. “He didn’t have any luck in a heat of the Eric Reece, but dropping back to be against horses that didn’t make that Final he was always going to be a chance. “It was a great drive by Nathan (Ford) who was positive on him early, and when he turned for home with such a big lead, I knew he would win.” Luke Peter suffered a tendon injury about two years ago, but Medhurst was able to nurse the son of Pacific Rocket back to health. “We took our time bringing him back to racing after he did a tendon and he’s shown no sign of any problem with the leg since he’s been back, but we do manage him well,” Medhurst said. Medhurst’s son David was killed in a car accident last year, so very win is dedicated to him. “I can’t help but wonder if Dave was looking down over us today and helped out a bit,” Medhurst said. Luke Peter had not won a race since Australia Day. “It’s been almost a year since this horse has won but he's been able to pick up a lot of placings to help pay his way,” Medhurst said. Luke Peter has started 100 times for nine wins and 20 placings for $45,000 in stakes. PETER STAPLES

Talented Tasmanian mare Spitfire Rose made it a clean sweep for the locals when she powered home to score a convincing win in the prestigious George Johnson mares’ classic at Tattersall's Park in Hobart yesterday. Spitfire Rose started at the lucrative price of $12 (fixed), with in-form Victorian mare Tandias Bromac from the Amanda Grieve stable the $1.50 favourite. The winner was driven by Gavin Lang, who admitted the victory was a bit special because of the circumstances surrounding how he came to drive the daughter of Jeremes Jet. Spitfire Rose is trained by Rohan Hadley, who also usually drives her in races, but when he became Ill a few weeks ago he called on Lang to make the trip across Bass Strait for the drive. “Rohan isn’t travelling too well at the minute, so I came across to drive here and she did a wonderful job,” Lang said. Spitfire Rose faced the breeze from the outset ahead of Tandias Bromac which landed on her back in the one-one. But Tandias Bromac’s driver Chris Alford was unhappy with the speed set by El Jays Magic, so he took off two laps from home to assume control. This left Spitfire Rose still facing the breeze, but it was short-lived when Whisper Jet obliged by sweeping around them three-wide to occupy the ‘death seat’. Turning for home Tandias Bromac burst clear, but when Lang eased Spitfire Rose three-wide to make her charge, she powered home to beat the favourite 10 metres, with El Jays Magic three metre away third. Hadley was at the track, but not physically well enough to venture down to the presentation area. “This was a great win by the mare and I’m thankful for Gavin for answering the call,” Hadley said. “She's a very good mare that deserved to win a good race and there's none better than this in Tasmania.” Hadley stated there were no specific plans to target any interstate races with Spitfire Rose, which has won 10 and been placed 12 times from 34 starts for close to $70,000 in stakes. Spitfire Rose began her career in New South Wales where she was winless from nine outings, but notched three placings at Penrith and one at Menangle. She joined Hadley's stable in July last year, but was retired from the race at her first start in the state but made amends at her subsequent outing at the same venue a week later. She travelled to Victoria for the Four-Year-Old Breeders’ Crown series and was third in her heat behind Cenosilocophobia, but suffered an injury and was sent for a spell. This latest assignment was her second this time in, having finished third first-up in the Mother of Pearl in Launceston on November 30. PETER STAPLES

Despite his last start defeat, harness racing star Beautide is the early favourite for Victoria’s two Grand Circuit events with TAB Fixed Odds. Nominations for the Victoria and A G Hunter Cups were released, with the reigning Inter Dominion champion heading the market. Second behind Christen Me in last month’s Miracle Mile, Beautide is favoured to beat the Kiwi beginning with the Victoria Cup on January 31 and again the following week. The James Rattray-trained gelding is $4 for the state’s premier mobile event and $5 in Australia’s most prestigious handicap. Rattray has yet to commit to a Hunter Cup start. Christen Me is on the third line of betting at $7 in both Cups despite being the defending Hunter Cup champion. Last season’s Victoria Cup hero, For A Reason, is $14 in his title defence, with boom local, Guaranteed, the best of the locals at $6. Guaranteed is also the second elect for the Hunter Cup at $6, equal with New Zealand Cup winner, Adore Me. PAUL COURTS VICTORIA CUP $4 Beautide $6 Guaranteed $7 Christen Me, Terror To Love $9 Adore Me $10 Philadelphia Man $14 For A Reason, Keayang Cullen $18 Im Corzin Terror $21 Restrepo $26 David Hercules $31 or better others   HUNTER CUP $5 Beautide $6 Adore Me, Guaranteed $7 Christen Me, Terror To Love $11 Philadelphia Man $14 For A Reason, Im Corzin Terror $21 Arden Rooney, Keayang Cullen, Restrepo, The Gold Ace $26 David Hercules $31 or better others

Top Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang has always had success when driving in Tasmania and he showed why he is considered one of harness racing’s best with a superb display behind Rusty Red Comet in Hobart today. The Eric Jacobson-trained gelding was backed in to start the $2.10 favourite and it was Lang’s patience that ensured the four-year-old emerged triumphant. Vander Jenkins ($10 into $8) showed good early speed to find the front, while Smokin Mustard $14) faced the breeze and the well-tried Frankie Falzoni ($9) trailed the leader from the pole. Lang settled Rusty Red Comet in the rear half of the field in the one-out line and he waited until entering the back straight the last time to make his move three and four-wide. The well-backed second favourite Major Callum was sent around the field to face the breeze with over a lap remaining and he looked the winner turning for home. But when Lang called on Rusty Red Comet to deliver the goods, the son of Riverboat King found that bit extra Lang is often able to extricate from his charges to emerge triumphant. Rusty Red Comet hit the line three metres clear of Major Callum, with Frankie Falzoni a metre away third. PETER STAPLES

Broodmare gem Monaloo completed a rare harness racing feat last night. Boasting a perfect strike rate as a matron, Monaloo produced a pair of winners in the space of a couple of hours. Even more impressive is the fact the dam’s progeny were successful in two states. Promising pacer Freds A Safari kicked started proceedings when triumphant at Globe Derby for trainer-driver Darren Billinger. Rating 1:59.6 for the 1800 metres, the four-year-old continued his unbeaten run from three outings this season. By Safari, the feature race winner extended his record to 10 wins and eight placings from 25 starts. Lord Monaloo then matched his half-brother’s feat when victorious at Shepparton for astute horsewoman Kylie Sugars. Driven by Sugars’ brother, Greg, Lord Monaloo enjoyed a three-wide trail during the latter stages before scoring in 1:56.8 over 2190 metres. Racing in consistent fashion this term, the son of It Is I has notched three wins and three placings from six starts for an overall tally of 22 wins and 24 placings from 59 starts. Monaloo next foals is an unraced two-year-old daughter by It Is I. PAUL COURTS

Defending champions For A Reason and Christen Me are among the record nominations for Victorian harness racing’s two Grand Circuit events. Scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31, the Victoria Cup has attracted 58 nominations, headed by New South Wales competitor For A Reason. A member of the powerful Belinda McCarthy stable, For A Reason captured last season’s edition when driven by the trainer’s reinsman-husband, Luke. Miracle Mile placegetter, Guaranteed, heads the locals prospects, with the list including reigning Inter Dominion title holder Beautide, last week’s Ballarat Cup winner, Im Corzin Terror, and recent Cranbourne Cup winner, Terror To Love. Christen Me will also contest the mobile event before backing-up for his A G Hunter Cup defence a week later. A member of the Cran Dalgerty stable, Christen Me fifth pacer to successfully defend his crown in Australia’s premier handicap. Springfield Globe was the ground breaker in 1961 and ’62, followed by Monara in ’73 and ’74, Pure Steel in ’77 and ’78 and Blossom Lady in ’94 and ’95. Pure Steel was also triumphant in 1980 to be the only triple champion. Minuteman is the only other dual winner, having captured the time-honoured event in 1964 and ’66. Thanks to his Kilmore Cup victory last October, Guaranteed is exempt from ballot, with the remainder of the 70 nominations via for a place in the elite field. PAUL COURTS TAB.COM.AU VICTORIA CUP NOMINATIONS Falco Peregrinus Macha Artoc Bit Of A Legend Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Comply Or Die Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Cold Major Come On Frank Guaranteed Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP NOMINATIONS Bushrod Falco Peregrinus Macha Macho Comacho Rule Like A King Star Chamber Yayas Hot Spot Artoc Bio Marinus Bit Of A Legend Classy Western Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Washmepockets Comply Or Die Dynamite Dude Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Marty Monkhouser Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Guaranteed Kotare Roland Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Blucolla Tigerpie Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Smudge Bromac Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Jaccka Clive Saucy Legend Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger Tiger Tara

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at www.stallionsphere.com This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Stallion Review – YANKEE CRUISER – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Yankee Cruiser 1:49.3s ($1,457,346). AU: You're only as good as your last win - We have all heard the adage "you are only as good as your last win." Well, it would appear at least one well-known trainer has come to realise this to be true. NZ: 1000 wins and hardly a murmur - One thing that we struggle with in the harness racing game in New Zealand is how we treat our superstars of the sport. In any other sport they shower there stars with awards and public recognition when they achieve something special. Drop your foot and pay the fine - Last week Harnesslink featured its most controversial article ever. Thousands of views and hundreds of comments, both pro and con, on the David Miller interview about dropping his foot in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs. Insider Access archive available - Following requests from our readers in relation to previous editions of Insider Access, we are providing a link for those looking to catch up on some news they missed. Simply click here and delve through the archives as Insider Access and Harnesslink continue to lead the way in providing the latest news from around the world. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Despite promising harness racing mare My Bella Starr’s triumphant return to racing at Cranbourne last night, connections will “play it cool for now”. Sent for a spell following her Vicbred Super Series success last July, My Bella Starr outclassed her rivals over 2080 metres. Pleased with the pacer’s performance, trainer Adam Kelly stated My Bella Starr will be eased through the grades as she works towards her title defence. Should the daughter of Art Major exceed early expectations, Kelly will alter his plans to include the Ladyship Mile at Menangle in March. “She has come back well, but we are play it cool for now,” Kelly said. “You can’t get excited on one run back from a spell. “She’s comeback in great shape and shouldn’t have any trouble getting through the grades. “Whether she measures up to the top mares only time will tell, but realistically that was only her first run as a four-year-old and she’s got a long way to go yet. “At this stage the Sires’ later in the season will be her main aim.” As for her latest triumph, My Bella Starr trailed the leader, Discrimination, before finishing along the sprint lane to account for Machin Out and Whata Avenue. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, My Bella Starr rated 1:58.8, with the final 800 meters covered in 57 seconds. PAUL COURTS

Leading harness racing trainer Amanda Grieve is hoping for a pair of early Christmas presents at Hobart on Sunday. Grieve has made the trip across Bass Strait for two of the Apple Isle’s premier events – Tasmania Cup and The George Johnson. Talented pacer Im Corzin Terror will contest the Cup, with handy mare Tandias Bromac in the latter feature. “It would be nice if Christmas could come early,” Grieve said. “They are suitable targets and both runners will prove hard to beat. “With a bit of luck we Santa will smile upon us a few days in advance.” Despite his second row draw, Im Corzin Terror is the one to beat in the former Grand Circuit race. Fresh from his success in last weekend’s dismal Ballarat Cup, the son of Western Terror will thrive on the drop in class according to Grieve. “It is down on class on what he has been racing against,” Grieve said. “He’s good enough to overcome the draw and I expect him to be hard to beat. “He also likes the longer trip, so the 2579 metres will really suit him. “He’s come through Ballarat just fine as you would expect on the run he had.” Tandias Bromac will also begin from the second row, with Grieve stating the five-year-old’s run at Ballarat should be overlooked. On that occasion, the daughter of Art Major was unplaced in open company. “She just never got into it at Ballarat, so you may as well forget she went around,” Grieve said. “Before that she did well in Sydney despite the fact she didn’t travel as well as I would have liked. “She has settled in better in Tasmania and will be ready for this. “It’s also a drop in class for her and she will be right in the finish.” While a busy schedule has been mapped out for Im Corzin Terror, Tandias Bromac will enjoy a Christmas holiday. “Im Corzin Terror will race pretty much every week in January,” Grieve said. “He has his Bendigo Cup defence, the Shepparton, Victoria and Hunter Cups. “If we bypass any, it will be Shepparton. “At this stage, I will give Tandias Bromac a wee break and get her ready for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney in March on Inter Dominion day.” PAUL COURTS

Effective from 1 January 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales will commence a state wide Sulky Recovery Scheme (SRS) which will cover both sulkies and wheels in races only. This follows a considerable period of consultation with stakeholder groups, in particular the former UHRA secretary Wally Mann. To assist with this process, every sulky used in races in NSW is required to be assessed by HRNSW and tagged with a unique ID number. The inspections and tagging will commence immediately and it shall be the responsibility of the sulky owner to ensure that they present their sulky to a HRNSW representative to be inspected and tagged. A compulsory fee of $5 per starter will be charged to the trainer, and this will cover the sulky and wheel from the time they enter the parade ring until they exit the track. For information of the SRS please visit http://www.harnessmediacentre.com.au/industry-integrity/hrnsw-sulky-recovery-scheme- or www.harnessmediacentre.com.au HRNSW Media

While he doesn’t prepare as many horses as he once did, veteran trainer Ange Pace can boast to having harness racing’s best pacer in his stable! A multiple feature race winning horseman, Pace’s property has become the Victorian base for reigning Inter Dominion champion, Beautide. Ready to campaign the star in the state during the next couple of months, trainer James Rattray “has set up shop” at the Melton establishment, with Pace enjoying he company. “Dad (Barrie) stayed here when he was in Victoria last, so I rang Ange and asked if I could train from there when in Victoria,” Rattray said. “Ange has a pretty good set up and it is central to the main tracks, especially Melton, which is less than 10 minutes down the road.” Pace’s place is no stranger to quality horseflesh, with the astute mentor preparing handy types such as Gozo Heritage, Artlimond and Demiliner. Gozo Heritage captured the 1999 Breeders’ Crown with Pace’s son, Ray, in the sulky. “I’ve had a few good horses over the years and enjoyed my time in harness racing,” Pace said. “I don’t train as many as I used to, but I still enjoy having one or two around as a hobby.” A horse lover for as long as he can remember, Pace believes he has a unique understand of equines – he knows what it is like to be one. Before anyone draws the wrong conclusion, Pace’s understanding of horses stems from the fact he has first-hand knowledge of the hard work involved in lugging a cart around… giving him a mutual understanding for his equine counterparts. As a child in his native land of Malta – the island of Gozo to be exact – Pace’s first job was to act as the ‘horse’ for the business he and his older brother, John, conducted. The two young entrepreneurs, aged 14 and 11, travelled between villages selling bric-a-brac to help support their large family. With John steering the company vehicle, Ange was forced to pull the cart loaded with various items. “I was the horse, or donkey, as I was called then,” Ange recalled. “John and I would travel around selling glasses, buttons, pots, anything we could. “I can certainly relate to horses because of that. It was a tough life, I started working at 12, but we did whatever we had to do to look after each other.” Pace’s first foray into harness racing came via his father, who raced horses through the streets of their village on Sundays. “It was a great atmosphere and a time to relax,” Pace said. “People would race horses and donkeys, some with carts, some without, even bareback. “It’s still done today in a lesser extent at festivals and so on.” At the tender age of 12, Pace started working as a stonecutter, a profession he mastered for five years until migrating to Australia by himself via a 35-day boat trip in 1953. It didn’t take long for Pace to become attracted to the Australian way of life, or harness racing. In fact, with legendary trainer Alf Simons close by, it was only a matter of time before Pace was a regular at his stable. “I was at Alf’s place as often as I could be to help out, but I never got paid,” Pace said. “I just liked being there and I worked for Alf for about seven years.” Eventually obtaining his trainer’s licence, Pace’s first winner was Irish Lace, a mare which raced her way to metropolitan class at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds. “Jimmy Harning, who is one of the all-time best horse breakers, told me ‘you break her in and I’ll teach you,” Pace said. “She was an unraced four-year-old and won 16 races for us. I have been training ever since and have enjoyed every minute of it.” PAUL COURTS

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Talented harness racing participant Josh Aiken will represent Victoria in the 2015 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. The series is scheduled to be held in May in New Zealand, with the opening heat in Cambridge on the 7th. Open to drivers under 25 at the beginning of the Australian or New Zealand racing seasons, the series will be spread across four race meetings. Aiken will compete against drivers from each Australian state and four from New Zealand, along with defending champion, Andre Poutama. Thrilled to represent his state, Aiken stated he is keen to pit his skills against a host of the Southern Hemisphere’s rising stars. “It’s obviously a big privilege to be chosen at all, but the junior drivers are very strong at the moment,” Aiken declared.  “I’ve never driven in New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to everything, including driving on new tracks. “Dad (leading horseman, David) still talks about the drivers’ series he has been in.  I’m going to have the time of my life.” PAUL COURTS
Promising filly All Under Control lived up to her name in last Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite going into the Group One as a maiden, and one of the outsiders as $40.90, All Under Control was never in danger of being beaten. Impressed with the trotter’s performance, trainer Brent Lilley will aim All Under Control towards features such as the Victoria Oaks and Vicbred Super Series. “She’s still got to improve a fair bit, but she goes along well,” Lilley said. “I will wait until her next start or two to see if this was a one off or if she can keep producing those kinds of runs. “There is a bit to like about her on this run, especially the way she responded when Anthony (Butt, driver) showed her the whip. “He gave her one crack up the straight to keep her mind on the job and she found a bit like good horses so.” After travelling midfield from the outside of the front row, All Under Control completed a metre-and-a-half win from Casa Fundada, with Zaire Diva a half-head away third. “I went into the race thinking she was a rough chance, but she really put in,” Lilley said. “On that run, and with a bit of improvement as she gains experience, I’ll have a look at races like the Oaks and Sires’ Stake.” Covering the last half in 60.6 seconds, the daughter of Majestic Son rated 2:02 for the 1720 metres. PAUL COURTS
While he won’t try to reach quite as high with Aimforthemoon, harness racing trainer David Aiken will chase several major targets with the promising youngster. A well-bred trotter, Aimforthemoon has been set for features such as the various Derbys and Vicbred Super Series. “He is capable of competing in the main races this season, but he will have to improve as he goes along,” Aiken said. “He’s only had a handful of starts and is still a little green, but the ability is there. “If he progresses as expected as he keeps racing, then I’ll have a look at the Derbys.” Driven by leading reinsman Chris Alford at Tabcorp Park Melton last Saturday night, Aimforthemoon broke his maiden in the Group One Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic. Caught there-wide from barrier six, the gelding worked to the lead as Illawong Cognac was eased to take a trail. Forced to dig deep during the latter stages, Aimforthemoon staved off a determined Bad Boy Leroy to score by a head, with Well Deserved nine metres away third. “He got close at the end, but he showed plenty of fight,” Aiken said. “Like I said, he still has to improve with experience, but the ability is there.” Covering the last half in 60.2 seconds, the three-year-old rated 2:03 for the 1720 metres, taking his record to a win and a placing from five starts for earnings of $30,313. Bred and owned by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park, Aimforthemoon is by Angus Hall from former top filly, Right Interest. Successful in the 2006 Breeders’ Crown, Right Interest also captured the Hankook Tyres Plate and Darrell Alexander Memorial. From broodmare gem Late Withdrawal, Right Interest is a half-sister to Group One winners National Interest and Magic Interest. PAUL COURTS
Exciting pacer Star Chamber gave young Tasmanian trainer-driver Nathan Ford his greatest moment in harness racing with an empathic win in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart yesterday. So impressed with the win, Ford suggested he will head to the Group One A G Hunter Cup in Melbourne in February. Star Chamber landed in Ford’s stables about this time last year and he declared six months later the gelding would win feature and Group races while in his care. Today his prediction was realised and stamped the flashy chestnut as one of the brightest prospects in the state. It was an emotional Ford who was brought to tears when asked to describe his biggest win. And when his father Scott Ford, who has won just about every feature race in Tasmania except the Cup, arrived to congratulate his son, he was unable to hold back the tears. Star Chamber began well from the pole, but was crossed by the in-form Blue Pointer, which led with ease from barrier two. The $1.20 favourite Im Corzin Terror was held back at the start to settle near the rear and when Chris Alford made his move just over a lap from home, he was forced to sit three-wide until they were well into the home turn the last time. Blue Pointer had a kick at the top of the straight, with Im Corzin Terror under extreme pressure to overhaul the leader, but when Ford eased Star Chamber off the pegs to challenge, the son of Our Sir Vancelot stormed home to win easily from Im Corzin Terror and Blue Pointer. Star Chamber rated 1:57.8 for the 2579-metre trip, with the last half covered in 58.63 seconds. PETER STAPLES
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