Monbet

Magical season continues for Monbet

It was his race to lose. This was the scenario facing brilliant Canterbury trotter Monbet tonight (Friday) at Alexandra Park, Auckland as he faced the harness racing starter in the Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Canam Rowe Cup, the final leg of the 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series. Following his breathtaking victory last week in the ANZAC Cup and the sad season ending injury to his arch rival Speeding Spur, punters installed the Greg and Nina Hope trained gelding as an unbackable favourite in the North Island’s biggest trotting feature. And he didn’t disappoint. Starting from the inside of the second-line in the 3200m stand start feature, champion reinsman Ricky May wasted little time soon after a safe beginning to put the big striding Love You gelding into a forward position. Taking off at the 2000m mark, Monbet whistled around the field before taking control with 1700m left to run. Thereafter, it was a procession. The lead time was covered in 2:07.5. May allowed Monbet to stride boldly in front while rivals jostled for positions as they battled for second prize. Monbet covered the final mile in sectionals of 31.6, 29.8, 28.4 and 29 seconds. In the home straight, Monbet raced away and scored a dominant victory with a winning margin of 3 ½ lengths over Valmagne while a further 2 ½ lengths back to Queen Kenny in third. The race time was 4:06.3 with a mile rate of 2:03.8. It was his sixth Group One triumph this season. Monbet also becomes the first four-year-old to win the feature since Special Pride who scored back in 1980. The victory provided May with his second victory in the Rowe Cup after scoring aboard with Highwood back in 1988 while it was a first for the Hope’s. While recording back to back victories in APG Trotting Masters events during the past week, Speeding Spur will claim the title after amassing 220points throughout the season while Monbet will finish as the runner-up with 203 points. But with the Gr.1 $NZ100,000 Ruby on Jewels day at Cambridge on June 4 at his mercy, it may be enough to secure both National Horse and Trotter of the Year awards. A fitting result for a magical season if successful. Only time will tell. Chris Barsby

Tim McLean and Exciteusinthecity

The Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All

Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton Terang once again proved a town rich in trots horsepower. Harness racing trainer Darren Cole, based in the western Victorian town, produced classy seven-year-old Exciteusinthecity first-up to win the Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All over 1720 metres. Rated perfectly by driver Tim McLean, Exciteusinthecity punched through from the pole gate to hold out fast starter Maximan early, withstood a challenge from It Is Billy at the bell and went on to score a gritty win by a metre in a mile rate of 1:55.7. The Metropolitan gelding joins guns such as Lennytheshark (2015) and Smoken Up (2009) on the Captain Sandy FFA honour roll. Not giving much away in his post-race interview, reinsman McLean said leading was the key to unlocking success for the gelding by Metropolitan out of Safely Kept mare Excite. “He loves getting to the front. He fought well to hold them off (tonight),” he said. When asked what was next for the 2014 Casey Classic and Gammalite winner, McLean borrowed a line from an old coaching manual. “We’ll just take it one race at a time.” Exciteusinthecity has now won 20 races, his stakemoney exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. VIDEO: EXCITEUSINTHECITY WINS THE ALABAR CAPTAIN SANDY FFA McLean has piloted the pacer to eight city victories. It Is Billy finished second to Exciteusinthecity, his vocal fan club appreciative of the Michael Barby-trained pacer’s efforts – cheering him hard with a lap to run and giving him another cheer post-race, while Metro Mike ran third. Dalvui Raceway Terang will host a seven-race program on Tuesday night, featuring the running of the 2016 Terang Guineas. McLean will be chasing another feature victory in that race aboard The Big Show, but Im Wrongly Accused from the Terang stable of Matthew Craven, exciting Sebastopol-trained King Of Rocknroll and Group 1 winning local Jilliby Jitterbug – one of five Marg Lee Terang-trained runners on the program – will all draw support from punters. Cody Winnell

Whats Emma Got

Fuller team hopeful more success in store

Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Luke and Belinda McCarthy

McCarthy stable reaches milestone

Luke and Belinda McCarthy are one of the strongest partnerships in Australian harness racing. The McCarthy stable trained its 1000th winner on Wednesday night at Bathurst when Bullet Stride scored. It is a milestone that the couple are proud of with Luke training 440 of the winners and Belinda the remaining 560. Luke began training in the 2002/03 season with Belinda taking over in 2012/13. The stable enjoyed its best season in 2011/12 when training 217 winners. The Cobbitty property where the McCarthy's call home is state of the art and Luke confirmed they had pumped a lot of money into it. "Everything we have earned since we have moved to Sydney has gone straight into the property and when we reached the milestone it makes all of the hard work worthwhile," Luke McCarthy said. "The stable is well represented at Menangle this Saturday night and hopefully we can have a good night with so many big races being run." The McCarthy stable will have three runners in the Group 2 Carousel with Kept Under Wraps the leading chance. "Kept Under Wraps has been set for this race and while he has drawn awkwardly I'll be looking to get off the inside as soon as possible and from there I will look to put him into the race. Admiral Bronski has hit his straps at the right time and looks well placed off the front row. "Tintinara needs to keep on improving but I think she has done a good job since she has arrived from New Zealand. From her draw she will need a bit of luck and a solid speed. I think Cyclone Kate and Alotbettor are the two horse to beat." Frith will compete in the Bulli Pacers Cup and McCarthy is expecting another solid performance. "She just keeps on improving, her run last start was super and she is on target for a trip to Melbourne for the Queen Of The Pacific. The plan is to take her to the Newcastle Mile and then that will give us two weeks to have her right for Melbourne. "I am driving She Envy for David Aiken in the Australian Pacing Gold final, she needs to be at her best and have a bit of luck to win it but she is an improving filly and I don't think she will be all that far away at the finish. High Rolling has got a nice draw but I think Petacular seems to be the forgotten horse in the race, she was very impressive last week in the semi final." Greg Hayes

He is the voice of the gallops in northern New South Wales but a passion for harness racing will see Anthony Collins behind the binoculars at Inverell's Carnival Of Cups meeting this Sunday. The seed for Collins' harness racing passion was planted many years ago at the Warwick Show and despite growing up on a property with thoroughbreds he was determined to become involved in harness racing from then on. After speaking with countless people and reading as many books as he could get his hands on, Collins immersed himself in harness racing and spent a lot of time with renowned horse chiropractor and horseman Gordon McCrae learning the finer points of training. Collins had his first starter in 2004 and celebrated his maiden victory as a trainer on New Years' Day 2005 with a pacer called Regal Drum. He drove his first winner soon after and although he no longer holds a trainers or drivers licence he plans on getting them back next season. "I have been very busy with race calling and travelling between tracks has taken up a lot of my free time," Collins said. "I'm also the President of the Darling Downs Harness Racing Club that formerly raced at Toowoomba and now race at Warwick on Fathers' Day each year." From the time Collins was in the fifth grade he dreamed of being a race caller and his idol growing up was the former Toowoomba broadcaster Pat O'Shea. O'Shea recently passed away and Collins was given the opportunity to call the Toowoomba races. "Pat O'Shea was an idol of mine and I think he was an idol of many young kids growing up around Toowoomba that wanted to get involved in sports broadcasting. He had a huge influence on the region. "I can remember as a kid I would hear him on his breakfast radio show before he would head out and call the Toowoomba trots and then go back in and read the sports news at the local television channel. Then on the weekend he would go out to call the races and the footy, he was just a local legend." Collins called harness racing at Rocklea before its demise and also called a few galloping meetings at tracks like Dalby and Warwick. He was also calling the non-tab harness racing at Redcliffe on a Saturday before it ceased in 2012. "When the non-tab meetings stopped at Redcliffe it put a big hole in the number of meetings I was calling each month and I had basically gone from a part time caller to a casual one. Out of the blue I received a call from Sky Racing's Rod Gallegos and he asked if I was available to call the Bangalow Cup meeting at Ballina on October 1. "I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and was soon given the chance to call other tracks like Lismore and Murwillumbah. I had been working as a furniture salesman but calling races was something that I really wanted to do." It didn't take long for Collins to establish himself as a caller and he now is employed on a full-time basis by Sky Racing and that's how the opportunity to call Inverell arose. "Andrew Bensley rang me recently and asked if I would be interested in calling the Carnival Of Cups meeting at Inverell, I normally make the trip to all of the Carnival Of Cups in northern NSW and strap for the Weidemann stable." "I jumped at the chance, I have actually raced horses at Inverell before without much success so it will great to be back there on Sunday in a different role." At only 29 years of age, Collins is a long way from giving up calling but he is keen to be involved in racing administration later on in his career. "You can't call forever and I would like to work in administration at some stage, I really enjoy my role as President of the Darling Downs." When asked what he prefers to call - whether it is gallops or harness racing, his answer is very diplomatic. "I have been asked this recently and my answer is the same. I don't care what I am calling as long as I am calling races." The first at Inverell on Sunday afternoon is due to begin at 12:06pm. Greg Hayes

The harness racing drivers selected for this year’s NSW Rising Stars have been announced with the cream of the up and coming talent in New South Wales competing over a series of heats run throughout the state.  The drivers will gather at the offices of HRNSW on Monday June 20 before competing in a ten heat series at Young, Bathurst, Penrith, Newcastle and Tabcorp Park Menangle. The competing drivers are: Ellen Rixon Metropolitan Martelle Maguire Metropolitan Ellen Bartley South West & Riverina Jason Grimson South West & Riverina Mitch Turnbull Western Districts Tom Pay Western Districts James Harding Hunter Brad Elder Hunter Tom Ison North West STILL TO BE ANNOUNCED Western Australia The NSW Rising Stars selection criteria can be read in full by clicking here. It is important to note that to be eligible for the series drivers must be under the age of 23 prior to the start of the racing season, can’t compete in more than two series unless returning as the defending champion and must have driven less than 100 winners at the start of the current season. The Rising Stars gives junior drivers from all parts of the state the chance to spend a week together building friendships while enjoying the competition on the track.  As a group they will meet with the Chairman Of Stewards Graham Loch for an information session and will also undertake some media training with Media Manager Greg Hayes.  The Rising Stars will also get the opportunity to attend a game of football and will be attending the second day of the HRNSW Conference on Saturday June 25 before competing at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Alabar Breeders Challenge Day the following day. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny congratulated all of the selected drivers and wished them the best of luck. “When you look back at this series over the years, so many of our top drivers in New South Wales competed in this series at some stage,” Dumesny said. “It also gives these young drivers a chance to meet one another and build friendships that will last a lifetime, a lot of planning goes into the Rising Stars series and I am sure they will enjoy all of the activities that have been scheduled. “I would like to make special mention of Jack Trainor, last year’s Rising Stars winner, who has decided to relinquish his spot this year to allow another driver to compete.  Jack has competed in 2014 and 2015 and would like to see another junior driver given the opportunity to compete in this series in his place.” Greg Hayes

The third series of the 2015/16 Garrard’s Junior Concession Driver Challenge is about to get under way. The following harness racing drivers (listed in no particular order) have been selected to compete in the third series. Drivers for the Series: Michael Grantham Stuart McDonald Maddison Brown Lauren Jones Micheal Ferguson Madeleine Young Kristy Sheehy               Letitia Barron Jocelyn Young Deni Roberts Mitchell Miller Bailey McDonough Aimee-Lee Wood – Emergency 1 Amy Baxter – Emergency 2 The first heat will take place at Bunbury on Saturday 7 May before heading to Pinjarra on Monday 9 May for heat two. The drivers will then head up the hill to Northam on Thursday 19 May for heat three before the series will be decided at Gloucester Park on Tuesday 24 May. After the completion of series two we saw Stuart McDonald take the lead from Series One winner Jocelyn Young. Kristy Sheehy has had another consistent season with finishing second in both series, leaving her in hot pursuit of McDonald. Once again we thank Garrard’s for their generous sponsorship, making this series possible. The winner of each heat in series three will receive a $250 voucher to Garrard’s and the series three winner will receive a $500 voucher and trophy. All the Drivers now have their eyes on the main prize which will see the overall winner from 2015/16 go to NSW to represent WA in the NSW Rising Stars Series and be named the Garrard’s Junior Concession Driver Challenge Champion for this season. 15/16 Garrard's Concession Driver Challenge Standings Driver Series 1 Series 2 Total McDonald, S A (Stuart) 26 25 51 Sheehy, K S (Kristy) 24 24 48 Young, J A (Jocelyn) 27 15 42 Grantham, M P (Michael) 14 27 41 Barron, L (Letitia) 22 15 37 Jones, L C (Lauren) 19 17 36 Roberts, D M (Deni) 9 20 29 Brown, M K (Maddison) 17 10 27 McDonough, B L (Bailey) 9 18 27 Ferguson, M B (Micheal) 11 14 25 Miller, M C (Mitchell) 14 9 23 Wood, A M (Aimee-Lee) 12 5 17

Bangholme trots lifer Georgina Coram continues to taste that winning feeling through her harness racing six-year-old bay mare, whose winning streak has refuelled expectations of a six-figure career. Fiftyshadesofbrown added a victory at Cranbourne on Tuesday to her success at Warragul on April 18, rewarding Cranbourne South trainer-driver Allan Lousada and owner-breeder Coram. “I’m having a ball with her,” Coram said. “You don’t give up on the mares, they keep coming around.” Aged 56, Coram has had a life spent in the sport. She is the granddaughter of Ben Coram – trainer of 1937 Inter Dominion winner Dans Son – and daughter of trainers Rosemary and Lloyd Coram, with the latter sadly passing when Georgina was just 15.  “I probably would have gone on to be a driver myself, but couldn’t because of the circumstances,” she said. “But I have continued breeding and have always had horses involved.”  Coram has a 900m track at Bangholme and said she had “bred and raised plenty of babies”, and added “I don’t know anything else”. “I get up at 5.30, seven days a week and work them before going to work. It’s just what I do.” At present the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club life member is training The Sharp Shooter, she has Fiftyshadesofbrown with Lousada and a yearling with Euroa trainer Cameron Maggs, while Wills Son is among those she has leased and who is racing with Paul Burt at Albury. It is Fiftyshadeofbrown who is presently filling her with most joy, having saluted twice in Victoria’s east in the past month, enjoying the results Coram has long thought within her reach. “My heart was set on racing her in the Group 1 races early and she run third in the Vicbred final and I was over the moon,” she said. “But it really did flatten her for a long time. It has taken her a long while to get back in.” The six-year-old trotter has amassed 86 starts that have yielded 37 placings, including wins number nine and 10 this April.  “You always need a bit of luck in racing. We are just past $70,000 in stakes and believe we can get to the $100,000 mark.” Coram said there was plenty of fight in mare yet, expecting at least a further 12 months of racing before tipping Fiftyshadesofbrown towards a career in montes. Michael Howard

Slick Chapel, a $30,000 bargain from New Zealand, will reappear after an absence of five and a half months at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he should prove one of the best bets on the ten-event harness racing program when he starts from the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Australian Visa Specialists Pace over 2130m. The Mach Three six-year-old, trained by Gary Hall sen., is a talented frontrunner and Clint Hall will be aiming for an all-the-way victory. “His fitness is a bit of a worry, but he’s working quite well and should prove hard to beat,” Hall sen. said. “He’ll roll along and whatever sits outside of him will have a bit of pain. He’s had a lot of leg problems, but he has none at the moment.” Injuries have restricted Slick Chapel to 29 starts in Western Australia in just less than four years --- for 12 wins, seven placings and stakes of $133,353, a good return for his $30,000 purchase price. Slick Chapel has not raced since he started from  the No. 8 barrier and was restrained to the rear before sustaining a powerful three-wide burst which carried him to victory over Change Stride at a 1.56.2 rate over 2130m at Gloucester Park last November. Adding further interest to the race will be the return of American Ideal five-year-old Billies A Star, who will be driven for trainer Michael Brennan by Michael Grantham from the inside of the back line. Billies A Star, a winner of 11 races from only 25 starts, has not raced since finishing last behind Lovers Delight and Lennytheshark in an interdominion championship heat at Gloucester Park on December 4. He has not been produced in recent trials, but is capable of a bold showing from his favourable draw. Four-year-old Ima Connoisseur is well drawn at barrier two and he is sure to be prominent. He led from barrier four last week when a close second to stablemate Denny Crane over 2130m. He possesses sparkling gate speed, but it is doubtful whether he will be able to cross Slick Chapel. Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016

New South Wales Rising Stars defending champion Jack Trainor has offered up his position in this year's harness racing series to another junior driver. The 21-year-old admitted it was a tough decision to make and he has thoroughly enjoyed competing in the series over the past two years but believed it was the right thing to do. "Through participating in the Rising Stars I was able to meet a lot of people and it helped further my career as a driver," Trainor said. "I am fortunate enough to have been able to establish myself as a junior driver, I have a number of drives each week at different tracks and also get the opportunity to compete in some of the feature races in Sydney. I would like to see my spot given to a driver who is younger and would use the opportunity to further their career as I have been able to do in the past two years." Trainor confirmed his success in the series last year increased his number of opportunities and believes the quality of the drivers that have competed previously proves what a success the Rising Stars has been. "Amanda Turnbull, Robbie Morris, Lauren Panella and Chris Geary have all competed in the Rising Stars and they are some of the best drivers in NSW. The series gives young drivers from across NSW a chance to meet and compete with one another, it really is a grouse week. "In 2014 I represented the Newcastle region, last year I was selected to represent the metropolitan area and after winning the series it opened up a lot more opportunities for me." Recently Trainor has started working for Blake Fitzpatrick and is enjoying working with a number of quality trotters. "I have worked for stables before that have had one or two trotters but working for Blake is something different because he has a number of high quality trotters. It is something new for me and I really like it. "Working for Blake has also helped me with my driving because while you have to ask for his feedback he is always happy to give you some advice and he is one of the top of drivers in Australia." Ten drivers are selected to compete in the NSW Rising Stars series each year. The defending champion and a Western Australian representative are normally automatic selections with the remainder of the junior drivers picked from across the state. The list of drivers competing in this year's Rising Stars series will be announced later today. Greg Hayes

Following last year’s acquisition of former Victoria Police detective Brent Fisher to the role of Investigations and Compliance Manager, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) continues to invest in the important area of integrity. The HRV Integrity Unit has been further bolstered by the recent appointments of Lola Grech, Neal Conder and Russell Anderson to the investigations team. Ms Grech brings a wealth of knowledge in this important area garnered through her previous role as an analyst at the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner. Ms Grech was also previously employed with Victoria Police as an analyst where she worked in the Homicide Squad, Asian Squad and other workgroups within Crime Command. Mr Conder is HRV’s former Chairman of Stewards. His experience in that role and his previous training in the specialist area of investigations are expected to vastly benefit the HRV Integrity Unit. Mr Anderson, a Detective Sergeant with Victoria Police who possesses over 30 years policing experience, will also be a great addition to the HRV team. Mr Anderson has a strong integrity and investigative background spending his last 10 years in the police force at Professional Standards Command. The new personnel follow other integrity enhancements at HRV in recent times with new investigative equipment and wagering analysis support and expertise providing the Integrity Unit with important tools to safeguard the industry. HRV General Manager Integrity Andy Rogers is overseeing the expansion of the Unit and says: “The additional highly skilled staff members and expenditure will enable the HRV Integrity Unit to conduct even more proactive investigations in its efforts to ensure a level playing field for all.” HRV CEO John Anderson says: “Harness Racing Victoria has responded to recent external review recommendations in bolstering equipment and resources in the integrity department. Over the past 12 months all three codes of racing have invested heavily in advancing integrity measures. HRV’s Integrity Council has supported management’s request to enhance the investigative unit to be more proactive.” Harness Racing Victoria

Leading Canberra trainer Michael Hawke knows Modern Maestro is facing the biggest test of his short career. On Saturday night Modern Maestro will line up in the $50,000 Group 2 Carousel at Tabcorp Park Menangle and will travel up the Hume Highway during the afternoon. The harness racing four year old gelding has won nine of his eleven starts - the two defeats coming when the horse has travelled to Sydney. Hawke has been proud of Modern Maestro in both defeats and is expecting the son of Modern Art to put in another solid performance this weekend. "His first defeat came at Menangle, he charged home and ran fourth but not everything was right with him and he bounced straight back at his next start," Hawke said. "When he ran second at Penrith in the heat of the Carousel I thought he was outstanding. The lead time was fast and he really made Kept Under Wraps work for the win and while there would have been a fair bit of improvement in the McCarthy trained horse, I think it proved that my bloke isn't too far away." Modern Maestro holds the track record for the 2170 metres at Canberra suggesting the 2300 metres on Saturday night will not be a concern. "His versatility is one of his biggest attributes, he tries very hard and he'll have no problems handling the 2300 metres. As a result of his assessment he was always going to draw well and I think when you draw well in big races you have to make use of the good gate. "We'll go forward early and try to get to the marker pegs, it makes it hard when you settle in the running line because there will be a lot of moves in the middle stages and the horses racing off the pegs could end up near the tail of the field." Hawke's daughter Melissa will drive the gelding in what will be the biggest race of her career. "I'm sure she'll be nervous but young kids just deal with nerves and once they get out on the track she'll be fine. I'm worse than her, I get very nervous and I like to watch the race by myself. "Melissa and Fred (Modern Maestro) get on so well together. He is a really good natured animal but he doesn't like getting beaten." Modern Maestro is raced by a group of people including Wayne and Joy Gowland, Sue and Andrew Marbrow and Mark Lees. "Wayne is a great bloke and his mother Joy has a share in the horse. Andrew Marbrow works for Wayne and he and his wife are in their first horse and Mark Lees is a good family friend of Wayne's. They are a great group of people to go racing with. "I was speaking with Wayne and he would be wrapped if Modern Maestro could finish in the top four. I really think he will be a better horse in twelve months once he has had the opportunity to go to Menangle constantly." The Lands Legal Carousel is race seven at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night and is scheduled to begin at 7:24pm. Greg Hayes

Michael Stanley’s Burrumbeet stable is well positioned to strike gold in Saturday night’s $322,000 Group 1 for harness racing fillies. The trainer-driver has qualified Petacular and Soho Angel for the Australian Pacing Gold final at Tabcorp Park Menangle, after both delivered outstanding semi-final performances. They’ve been disadvantaged by the draw for Saturday night’s mile, drawn sixth (Petacular) and eighth (Soho Angel) when emergencies are excluded, outside short-priced runners Emma Stewart-trained Perfect Sense (barrier two), Queensland hope Park Life (barrier one) and Shane Tritton’s favourite High Rolling (barrier three). CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB'S FIXED ODDS FOR THE APG FINAL But that hasn’t dulled Stanley’s enthusiasm for his two-year-olds. Petacular, a winner at three of her four starts, has cruised through the APG heat and semi-final, leading in both and clearing out to win without much urging. “We’ve always had a really good opinion of Petacular and she’s been developing nicely with each run,” Stanley said. “There are plenty of horses that show promise that get to race day and don’t deliver, it is good that she has shown she can put it together on the race track. In the heat and semi she has been able to get two soft runs and improved each time.” Soho Angel, on the other hand, was taken north with more gentle expectation, but Stanley said “since she got up here to New South Wales she has really thrived". “I think if she had have got a clear run early she would have won her semi-final,” he said. “She is getting better every time she goes to the races. She’s got a wide barrier and will go back. She probably needs them to go hard and if they do and she gets the right run into it she will be coming. With the big straight here at Menangle we can use that speed she’s got.” Petacular’s route to the finish line is not so set in stone. Despite having led or faced the breeze in all four starts, a challenge for the lead from barrier six could come at a cost. Stanley will take the reins and said he’d respond to the opportunities that present. “The favourite runners got the better of the draw, but if (Petacular) takes the next step I am really confident she can go close,” he said. “She’s got real gate speed. High Rolling is fast out and they have put it out there that they will lead and turn it into a staying test. Petacular can settle early and make a move mid-race, or if they are going fast I can sit up on her. She’s a very versatile filly.” David Aiken’s Avenel stable will also have two representatives contest the APG final, with She Envy, who finished second in both her heat and semi-final, to start from barrier five and Jiggy Rhythm from barrier eight. A host of Victorians will also feature in the $50,000 consolation final, including Peter Manning’s Toolern Art Miss and Rocknroll Baby, Dean Braun’s Carlas Pixel, Vince Vallelonga’s All Done Up and Geoff Webster’s Intrusive. Stanley’s assault on the night doesn’t begin and end with the APG final. He has Young Modern drawn barrier two in the Group 2 Lands Legal Carousel Final, worth $50,000, and Stanley said with cover “he will hit the line really well”. Fellow Victorian trainer Vince Vallelonga has Stunning Grin drawn in barrier one. Our Overnova will contest the Group 3 Michael Gamble Bulli Trotters Cup, and Stanley said the gelding had been luckless in his three starts at Menangle but was “training really well and if she is on her best behaviour she can win it”.  And Kurahaupo Gambler, who Stanley said had been “hitting the line really well”, will contest the Tab.com.au Pace in race two to kick off a big day for the stable. by Michael Howard

The Traralgon Pacing Cup is one of the highlights of an eight-race harness racing meeting at Warragul this Monday afternoon. Run each year by Warragul Harness Racing Club to recognise two decades of racing in the Latrobe Valley (1975 to 1995), the pacing cup has attracted eight starters. Champion reinsman Chris Alford drives Mister Manhattan in Monday's race in an effort to win his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup. He won the event at Traralgon in 1990 and has won three of the cup races run at Warragul since it was reintroduced in 2006. Alford also drove the last race winner on the old Traralgon circuit. The Traralgon Pacing Cup runs at 3:33pm. The main race on Monday's card is the Ken Miller Memorial, constructed from qualifying heats at Warragul on April 18. Sir Liberty looks particularly hard to beat from barrier two, however a strong contingent of local horses have qualified for the event and they are all keen to win the race named in honour of a Warragul trots stalwart. Lara trainer Dean Braun has half the field engaged in the main two-year-old event, with three of the six starters from his stable. Although the field is small, it will be an interesting race to kick off proceedings on Monday at 12:35pm. The last race of the day could be a good betting contest, with a number of in-form, up and coming horses set to do battle. Over the sprint journey on the tight Pacing Bowl, luck in running will play a part in the result of this race. Kyle Galley Fields for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016 Form guide for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016

Outstanding Bettor's Delight filly Dodolicious fared poorly in drawing the outside barrier (No. 9) in the $18,000 harness racing WA Oaks prelude over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night, but she has the class to overcome this disadvantage. She warmed up for this week’s assignment with a sound effort in winning a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Handled by her race driver Ryan Warwick she dashed over the final quarters in 28.5sec. and 28sec. and beat The Spinster by a nose at a 1.58.2 rate. The $150,000 WA Oaks will be decided over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday week is sure to be a clear-cut favourite after her first 17 starts have produced ten wins and six seconds. She started from the back line and was always well back before finishing eighth behind Chicago Bull in the WA Derby last Friday week. That was her first outing since she gave a splendid performance to finish second behind the brilliant Our Dream About Me in the New South Wales Oaks at Menangle on February 28. She has raced superbly throughout her brief career for Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond. The Spinster, to be driven by Kim Prentice for Millenden trainer Sonia Zucchiatti, will start from the No. 5 barrier on the front line. She shows good promise, with her seven starts producing three wins and three thirds. Dame Puissant, a filly by Tintin In America, will start from barrier two on the back line for trainer-reinsman Robbie Williams. She has already qualified for a start in the Oaks final by winning a prelude in fine style last Friday week. She trailed the pacemaker Sheer Rocknroll before finishing strongly to win from the fast-finishing Madame Croupier, who impressed in coming from seventh at the bell. Madame Croupier was disappointing when she was favourite at 6/4 on and finished fourth behind Nina Jane over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night. She was restrained from a wide barrier and raced wide in the final circuit. But she cannot be discounted from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night. Trainer Gary Hall sen. said that Madame Croupier would be far better suited by leading in this week’s race. “However, I consider my other runner Dior Mia More has stronger claims,” he said. “She’s a pretty good horse and is quite exciting. I’ve freshened her up a bit since she finished third to Dame Puissant last Friday week and she’s definitely improved since then.” Adding plenty of interest to Friday night’s prelude will be the presence of New Zealand-bred Bettors Delight fillies My Platinum Belle and Maia Maguire, who are prepared at Boyanup by Justin Prentice. My Platinum Belle finished strongly to win at her Australian debut when she beat Scoobys Delight over 1730m at a 1.56.3 rate over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week. She was a winner in New Zealand two starts earlier. She will start from barrier three on the front line. Maia Maguire, who will start out wide at barrier seven, is a last-start winner over 1950m at Addington on February 12. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is hoping for strong performances from his three runners, Sheer Rocknroll (outside of the back line), Machine Elle (barrier six) and Charged To The Max (inside of the back line). Ken Casellas Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 29 April 2016

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It was his race to lose. This was the scenario facing brilliant Canterbury trotter Monbet tonight (Friday) at Alexandra Park, Auckland as he faced the harness racing starter in the Gr.1 $NZ150,000 Canam Rowe Cup, the final leg of the 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series. Following his breathtaking victory last week in the ANZAC Cup and the sad season ending injury to his arch rival Speeding Spur, punters installed the Greg and Nina Hope trained gelding as an unbackable favourite in the North Island’s biggest trotting feature. And he didn’t disappoint. Starting from the inside of the second-line in the 3200m stand start feature, champion reinsman Ricky May wasted little time soon after a safe beginning to put the big striding Love You gelding into a forward position. Taking off at the 2000m mark, Monbet whistled around the field before taking control with 1700m left to run. Thereafter, it was a procession. The lead time was covered in 2:07.5. May allowed Monbet to stride boldly in front while rivals jostled for positions as they battled for second prize. Monbet covered the final mile in sectionals of 31.6, 29.8, 28.4 and 29 seconds. In the home straight, Monbet raced away and scored a dominant victory with a winning margin of 3 ½ lengths over Valmagne while a further 2 ½ lengths back to Queen Kenny in third. The race time was 4:06.3 with a mile rate of 2:03.8. It was his sixth Group One triumph this season. Monbet also becomes the first four-year-old to win the feature since Special Pride who scored back in 1980. The victory provided May with his second victory in the Rowe Cup after scoring aboard with Highwood back in 1988 while it was a first for the Hope’s. While recording back to back victories in APG Trotting Masters events during the past week, Speeding Spur will claim the title after amassing 220points throughout the season while Monbet will finish as the runner-up with 203 points. But with the Gr.1 $NZ100,000 Ruby on Jewels day at Cambridge on June 4 at his mercy, it may be enough to secure both National Horse and Trotter of the Year awards. A fitting result for a magical season if successful. Only time will tell. Chris Barsby
Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton Terang once again proved a town rich in trots horsepower. Harness racing trainer Darren Cole, based in the western Victorian town, produced classy seven-year-old Exciteusinthecity first-up to win the Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All over 1720 metres. Rated perfectly by driver Tim McLean, Exciteusinthecity punched through from the pole gate to hold out fast starter Maximan early, withstood a challenge from It Is Billy at the bell and went on to score a gritty win by a metre in a mile rate of 1:55.7. The Metropolitan gelding joins guns such as Lennytheshark (2015) and Smoken Up (2009) on the Captain Sandy FFA honour roll. Not giving much away in his post-race interview, reinsman McLean said leading was the key to unlocking success for the gelding by Metropolitan out of Safely Kept mare Excite. “He loves getting to the front. He fought well to hold them off (tonight),” he said. When asked what was next for the 2014 Casey Classic and Gammalite winner, McLean borrowed a line from an old coaching manual. “We’ll just take it one race at a time.” Exciteusinthecity has now won 20 races, his stakemoney exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. VIDEO: EXCITEUSINTHECITY WINS THE ALABAR CAPTAIN SANDY FFA McLean has piloted the pacer to eight city victories. It Is Billy finished second to Exciteusinthecity, his vocal fan club appreciative of the Michael Barby-trained pacer’s efforts – cheering him hard with a lap to run and giving him another cheer post-race, while Metro Mike ran third. Dalvui Raceway Terang will host a seven-race program on Tuesday night, featuring the running of the 2016 Terang Guineas. McLean will be chasing another feature victory in that race aboard The Big Show, but Im Wrongly Accused from the Terang stable of Matthew Craven, exciting Sebastopol-trained King Of Rocknroll and Group 1 winning local Jilliby Jitterbug – one of five Marg Lee Terang-trained runners on the program – will all draw support from punters. Cody Winnell
Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
Luke and Belinda McCarthy are one of the strongest partnerships in Australian harness racing. The McCarthy stable trained its 1000th winner on Wednesday night at Bathurst when Bullet Stride scored. It is a milestone that the couple are proud of with Luke training 440 of the winners and Belinda the remaining 560. Luke began training in the 2002/03 season with Belinda taking over in 2012/13. The stable enjoyed its best season in 2011/12 when training 217 winners. The Cobbitty property where the McCarthy's call home is state of the art and Luke confirmed they had pumped a lot of money into it. "Everything we have earned since we have moved to Sydney has gone straight into the property and when we reached the milestone it makes all of the hard work worthwhile," Luke McCarthy said. "The stable is well represented at Menangle this Saturday night and hopefully we can have a good night with so many big races being run." The McCarthy stable will have three runners in the Group 2 Carousel with Kept Under Wraps the leading chance. "Kept Under Wraps has been set for this race and while he has drawn awkwardly I'll be looking to get off the inside as soon as possible and from there I will look to put him into the race. Admiral Bronski has hit his straps at the right time and looks well placed off the front row. "Tintinara needs to keep on improving but I think she has done a good job since she has arrived from New Zealand. From her draw she will need a bit of luck and a solid speed. I think Cyclone Kate and Alotbettor are the two horse to beat." Frith will compete in the Bulli Pacers Cup and McCarthy is expecting another solid performance. "She just keeps on improving, her run last start was super and she is on target for a trip to Melbourne for the Queen Of The Pacific. The plan is to take her to the Newcastle Mile and then that will give us two weeks to have her right for Melbourne. "I am driving She Envy for David Aiken in the Australian Pacing Gold final, she needs to be at her best and have a bit of luck to win it but she is an improving filly and I don't think she will be all that far away at the finish. High Rolling has got a nice draw but I think Petacular seems to be the forgotten horse in the race, she was very impressive last week in the semi final." Greg Hayes
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