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Queen of the Pacific + Jewels + More TAB Jackpots

The Group 1 Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific is a standing start marathon for harness racing mares over 2760 metres and will be the feature event on tomorrow night's card of metro harness racing at Tabcorp Park Melton. The mighty Frith is the early favourite but there has been strong support with fixed odds players for Emma Stewart's rising star Berisari to cause the upset. Meanwhile reigning champion Gumdrops has been specked at big odds. Can she go back to back? In the University Meat 4YO & 5YO Championship Lennytheshark is aiming to become only the third pacer after Tailamade Lombo and Smoken Up to win the Group 2 event at age 4 and then again at age 5. David Aiken has him primed to do it but he'll get fierce competition from the likes of Hectorjayjay and Chilli Palmer. There are also two Group 1 2YO Trot races in the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series on the program. In the colts and geldings division the favoured pair are Sundons Courage and Cruisin Around, while the fillies' race is wide-open with a host of live chances according to the market. Don't miss the Victorians racing in Sydney at Menangle tomorrow night in the NSW Trotters Derby and the La Coocaracha. And best of luck if you're having a punt! - Cody Winnell (Media Manager, HRV)   Harness Jewels barrier draws conducted   It's never quite the stuff of champagne until you've actually won the race, but Amanda Turnbull and her stable would have been chuffed with step one of their New Zealand Harness Jewels journey, receiving some good news out of the barrier draws. Just Cala, who will race as simply "Cala" in NZ, snared gate two for the 4YO Diamond event, while Turnbull's three-year-old Glenferrie Bronte will come out of gate four in the 3YO fillies Diamond. "I can't wait to get over there," Turnbull said. The news wasn't so good for the Andy and Kate Gath camp though, their talented gelding Burnaholeinmypocket to start from the widest draw on the front line, barrier nine, in his race. Despite the early setback though trainer Gath remained upbeat, saying the whole team was looking forward to the race day and was thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Australia at the prestigious event. Click here to read the full story     Weekend Trots Preview Berisari the mare most wanted by early punters Berisari has been backed with fixed odds markets to win the Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific tomorrow night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Fans of Frith meanwhile will be rubbing their hands together as the champion mare's price drifts. Will she touch even money?  Click here to read the full story Fast Fact: Nathan Jack has driven 1456 career winners.  Angove chasing Group 1 double at Melton With only two horses in work at his Muckleford camp, trainer Chris Angove would achieve quite a remarkable feat if he were able to secure a Group 1 winning double at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. Click here to read the full story Fast Fact: Aerial Scott won the first Inter Dominion Trotting Championship in 1948 for driver Bob Young. The race was run over 16 furlongs (3200 metres).     Exotic Nights - $20,000 Quaddie Jackpot HRV and TAB's Melton Exotic Nights campaign rolls on tomorrow night at at Tabcorp Park Melton. For the month of May, place an exotics bet on any night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton with your TAB Rewards card and you’ll score double TAB Rewards points. Additionally there will be $20,000 Vic TAB Quaddie Jackpots on every night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton during May. So get trackside and have a crack, visit your local TAB outlet, bet via the TAB app or online at tab.com.au   Country Run of the Week Liculia drew barrier seven in the Just Me Patsy Pace at Shepparton on Tuesday and was given not much chance, according to the punters, the four-year-old mare starting at huge odds of $25.10. Allowed to drift back to the rear early by reinsman Greg Sugars, Liculia sat patiently until the gaps opened in the home straight before launching into the sprint lane and finishing powerfully to upstage runner-up Game We Play and third placegetter Last Issue. The victory kept trainer Ross Sugars' strong run of form going and earned the mare a Country Run of the Week title. To nominate a Country Run of the Week jump onto Twitter and tweet @HRVnews with the hashtage #Trots.  Click the image for a replay of the Country Run of the Week   Media Centre Podcast: Gait Speed with Jason Bonnington & Blake Redden (RSN Tuesday) Podcast: Inside Word with Cody Winnell (RSN, Winners, Thursday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Preview with Jason Bonnington (RSN Friday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Review with Jason Bonnington (RSN, Winners) Podcast: Harness Review with Len Baker (Melton 97.9FM Monday) Podcast: HRV GM of Operations Vaughn Lynch (RSN, Racing Ahead) Podcast: Onefortysevenseven with Brett Coffey & Shannon Nixon Podcast: Melton Preview Podcast, Jason Bonnington & Cody Winnell RSN Carnival (Friday) Newsletter: Subscribe to the Harness Breeders Vic Online Newsletter here Print: Check out Melton Leader's harness racing column in their digital edition Video: Tabcorp Park Trial replays via HRV Youtube Video: Andy Gath's 3YO pacer Padrisimo has some fun with his traffic cone Check out the latest Victorian trots news in the HRV Newsroom     Tweet Talk If your Tweet appears in this column, you'll receive a $50 TAB betting voucher. So start tweeting and remember the hashtag #Trots  and add @HRVnews to make it easier for us to see!     

Kim Prentice

Gloucester Park preview with Jason Lincoln

The first race at Gloucester Park on Friday night has drawn together a handy harness racing field of 3yo’s and the Kim Prentice trained Our Black Diamonds looks well placed to take advantage of his best barrier draw yet. The son of Bettors Delight only made his debut in January of this year when taking out a 3yo MS Pace at Northam in great style despite beginning badly and breaking gait during the race. Prentice then gave punters an insight into what he thought of the gelding when at only his second start he elected to take on the likes of Beaudine Boaz and Kiwi Legend in a Derby prelude. After racing on the pegs for the duration Our Black Diamonds closed well to be beaten only 10m in a 1:54.9 mile rate. The horse was then knocked out of running in another WA Derby prelude, before Prentice took him back to Northam for further re-education. Despite a back row draw over the minimum 1780m journey he overcame a tough run to score impressively in 1:57.4. That earned him another trip to town and on face value he appeared quite disappointing when only 7th of 9 in a similar race here two weeks ago. He was forced to do a small amount of work early on that occasion before finding cover and not finishing the race off as strongly in a quick 1:55.1. He has drawn much better this Friday night and appears the likely leader, which would present him with his best opportunity yet to show his wares in town. The dangers appear likely to come from Mynameiskenny, Ima Connoisseur and Captain Oats. Mynameiskenny is from the astute John Oldroyd yard which has been enjoying a stellar run in recent times. Although resuming from a slight lay off, the son of Village Jolt was in terrific form before the break and he has drawn to advantage despite not having trialed in preparation for this event. Ima Connoisseur hasn’t drawn well once again but he will surely relish the drop back to racing his own age group, whilst Captain Oats has improved significantly since joining Justin Prentice and he remains a winning hope notwithstanding the worst barrier draw in the race. Tyrone Group Pace M3+ Star mare Libertybelle Midfrew will again be the star attraction at Gloucester Park this Friday Night as trainer Mike Reed continues her introduction to ‘fast class’. The rising 5yo daughter of Christian Cullen asserted her authority over a similar field at Gloucester Park on the 8th of May. On that occasion she drew perfectly in barrier one whereas this Friday she has drawn outside the back-line in eleven. She was able to handle a similarly tricky gate last Friday night in winning the WASBA Breeders Stakes where she drew barrier five over the sharp 1730m trip. Whilst on paper barrier five doesn’t look that precarious a starting position, Libertybelle Midfrew was drawn outside of a fast front-line and regular driver Mark Reed was forced to check out of the early speed battle. Reed was able to catch a trail home at the bell when Justin Prentice made his move on The Parade, and he will no doubt be looking to employ similar tactics here. Central to her chances will be the result of the early burn for the lead. Notabadexcuse has drawn perfectly outside of renowned sit and sprinter Danieljohn and he looks the most likely to set the pace. His recent form has been ‘below the required’, but it is worth noting that premier reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has jumped back aboard having not driven the horse in his past seven starts. Former kiwi Our Jimmy Johnstone is the other likely pacesetter in the event. The rising 7yo son of P Forty Seven was a 1:53.7 winner over this course and distance during the heats of the Nights Of Thunder series from the breeze, and Colin Brown appears likely to employ the same tactics here. ‘Jimmy’ is coming off a record breaking win at Pinjarra last start where he made light of the 70m handicap to score by a neck over Chevayo in a smashing 1:57.8 for the 2631SS. He now comes back to the minimum trip and you suspect connections will rely on fitness and stamina to outstay rivals on Friday night. Fremantle Cup placegetter Copagrin has come up with a useful barrier draw in eight. Driver Kyle Harper will be content to follow the pegs from the outset and hope that a strong pace can break the field up, ensuring he can find clear running late on. Pure Steel Qualifying Heat 3 Nights Of Thunder winner Soho Lennon resumes from a spell on Friday night looking to establish himself amongst the stars of the Gary Hall Snr stable. The rising 5yo son of Mach Three looked very progressive last campaign taking out nine wins from eighteen starts including the Group 2 $50,000 Nights Of Thunder Final defeating In The Perfect Storm and Machtu. As such he was nominated for the Fremantle Cup series, eventually making the consolation and finishing down the track. A win against moderate opposition followed that before his campaign was ended after running unplaced in the $25,000 Im Themightyquinn FFA. Soho Lennon has not trialed in preparation for Friday night’s race, however it is not unusual for the stable to produce them in this manner.  Hall Snr has a proven ability to produce them ‘race fit’ first up from a spell and the awkward barrier position arguably presents itself as more of a problem for backers of Soho Lennon. Former Victorian Must Be Nice has drawn gate 1 and it is likely connections will want to hold the front should he be quick enough. He is likely to be tested by Mein Guy, The Court Jester and/or Ohoka Squire in the early stages so Hall Jnr may be presented with an opportunity to work away from the pegline on Soho Lennon should he so desire. In any case, Must Be Nice has shown reasonable form since arriving in WA and would present as one of the main dangers to Soho Lennon, especially if he can hold the lead. He was an M0 winner at Melton before joining the stable of Debbie Padburg and his last start 11th of 12 can be dismissed as he hung in and broke on that occasion. He has since trialed to the stable’s satisfaction and ace reinsman Chris Voak will take the steer. McLoughlin Butchers Conditioned Pace M1+ Arguably the most interesting race of the night is the M1 or better standing start event where rising star Heez On Fire tackles the very classy Lovers Delight. Heez On Fire has been a ‘talking horse’ since his 2yo days but trainer Rod Oliver has plotted a slow and steady course with the son of Courage Under Fire. The rising 6yo has graced the track on just 29 occasions in what has been a very patient build up to fast class racing for the dual Group 2 winner. With his star pacer now assessed as an M4, Oliver has fewer options available and has had to resort to a standing start contest to continue on with the horse’s education and introduction to fast class racing. Blessed with a terrific turn of foot, Heez On Fire is certain to be one of the big players in the feature races over the coming months and continuing on towards November’s Inter Dominion Series. While Heez On Fire continues on his inevitable rise up the ranks, another horse is continuing to re-establish his reputation as one of the more talented horses in the state. A year younger than Heez On Fire, Lovers Delight made an immediate impression on WA race goers when debuting for Ross Oliveri back in 2011. Only 4 starts later he was running 3rd in the WA Derby, and he came back as a 4yo to further enhance his reputation by placing in both the McInerney Ford and the 4yo Championship. But after three more runs the horse was badly injured and not seen on a racetrack for 2 years. When he was seen again it was for a new trainer in Andrew De Campo. De Campo was able to coax a Group 3 success in the Harvey Cup out of the then 5yo but after a handful more wins the horse was back to the paddock. When he was again ready to resume it would be with another trainer – Stephen Reed. Reed has built a solid reputation with bad-legged horses and in Lovers Delight he has found a willing subject. The son of all conquering Bettors Delight has won 4 of 6 since joining his new mentor including wins in the $40,000 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park, and last start in the $30,000 Narrogin Cup defeating Our Jimmy Johnstone. Lovers Delight would seem to hold a small advantage over Heez On Fire this Friday night due to the fact that he is more experienced than his younger rival from this mode of start, and despite this they will start from the same mark of 20m. by Jason Lincoln

Lennytheshark wins last year's 4YO & 5YO Championship

Lenny chasing rare feat in Championship

Lennytheshark will become just the third horse to win the University Meat 4YO & 5YO Championship twice if he can overcome a back-row draw in Saturday night’s harness racing Group 2 at Tabcorp Park Melton. The David Aiken-trained five-year-old has drawn gate nine in an 11-horse field after the scratching of Sydneysider Yayas Hotspot and will be hot favourite in the 2240-metre, $50,505 race. To be driven by Chris Alford, the son of Four Starzzz Shark out of Botswana will follow out noted fast beginner Hectorjayjay early, which should be ideal. Lennytheshark ticks all the form boxes, with a last-start win in the Golden Reign (1:57.4) defeating flying It Is Billy. That followed a third in the Len Smith Mile at Menangle behind Smolda and Beautide in 1:50.6. If successful in his title defence in the race, Lennytheshark will join two modern day harness racing greats in Tailamade Lombo and Smoken Up as back-to-back winners of the event. The 4YO & 5YO Championship is scheduled to run at 7.27pm. VIDEO: Lennytheshark notches his 18th career victory in last week's Golden Reign FFA VIDEO: See how Lenny did it last year CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Berisari and Nathan Jack win the Angelique Club Cup at Melton last week

Will it be "Queen B" in mares' Group 1?

As the curtain falls on the harness racing career of one of Emma Stewart’s high-class mares in Victoria Oaks winner Beauty Secret, the Smythes Creek trainer has another one whose star is very much on the rise. Four-year-old Berisari has won all three of her assignments this preparation, including a last-start 3.5-metre triumph over Bettor Downunder in the Angelique Club Cup at Melton last Friday night. On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton the daughter of Safari will be having her 20th race start and be shooting for an 11th victory in the $100,000 Group 1 Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific over 2760 metres. “She’s in great form,” driver Nathan Jack said. “She’s a real professional. We haven’t had to get serious with her yet this time. We haven’t had to pull the plugs but she’s beaten plenty of good ones. She’s really in the zone.” Berisari has drawn barrier four in Saturday night’s mares’ classic, a field of 12 to go around in the stand start race. “The stand start is the query, but she’s a laid-back mare and she’s in a good camp,” Jack said. Berisari opened $3 with TAB fixed odds but quickly trimmed into $2.7, while odds-on favourite Frith has eased from her opening quote of $1.75 to $1.85. Reigning race champion Gumdrops will be an outsider on Saturday night but has been specked in early fixed odds betting. Beauty Secret, meanwhile, goes out a 24-time winner from 56 starts, the daughter of Armbro Operative/Secret Life having earned connections $425,921 during a glistening racing career. VIDEO: Beauty Secret’s 2012 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks Final victory at Tabcorp Park Melton VIDEO: Berisari winning last week’s Angelique Club Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton ODDS: TAB's fixed odds market for Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Thursday 21st May 2015 - Bankstown Harness Racing and Agricultural Society president Les Bentley will look to boost prize money for the club’s flagship race, the M.H Treuer Memorial, after winning a lengthy court battle.  Bentley confirmed a court ruling meant the club would receive more than $1 million from the Bankstown Trotting and Recreational Club. “We have been working on this case since 2010, it has been a long haul but it is a great result for Bankstown with the news that we will receive $1.1 million in back rent up until today (Thursday),” said Bentley. “We are also entitled to interest on that money which goes back to May 2010 and we were awarded full legal costs and they are somewhere in the vicinity of $400,000 so it a great result for the Bankstown Paceway.” Bentley praised the solicitors involved in the legal action. “The team at Thurlow Fisher did a marvellous job and they need to be thanked for all of their hard work, we have two weeks to submit our costs to the judge and he will then order the Bankstown Trotting and Recreational Club to pay the amount within 28 days. “The good news for the Bankstown Paceway is that we can pay our debts and they have been growing because of this matter and then we can look to boost prize money.” Plans include lifting the prize money for the Treuer Memorial to $120,000. “The committee has discussed lifting the money and are looking to make it a race for three year olds rather than for the open horses and that proposal will be submitted to HRNSW soon. “We are hoping to introduce a few Gr. 3 races to our calendar as well.”    Greg Hayes

Harness Racing Victoria CEO John Anderson today responded to the Racing Integrity Commissioner’s report into the 2014 Ballarat Pacing Cup.   The report has been delivered to the Racing Minister, the Hon Martin Pakula MP.   The Racing Integrity Commissioner made eight recommendations and listed 20 findings in his report.   The recommendations were as follows:-   1: That HRV immediately restore the dedicated position of Compliance Steward.    2: That HRV introduce a training process that provides all Stewards with skills and knowledge in compliance.    3: That HRV introduce a requirement that Stewards’ Panels at all race meetings consist of a minimum of four Stewards, one of which is the dedicated compliance steward.    4: That HRV introduce a requirement that integrity officials, not only Stewards, but also others that come under the ‘General Manager Integrity’ organisational structure such as industry liaison/licensing and investigations, be required to maintain an official work diary.    5: That HRV amend the Rules of Racing to introduce the requirement that participants must advise of a change to their sulkies.   6: That HRV urge HRA to introduce a requirement that every new sulky that is purchased or obtained for use in Harness Racing, is, prior to its use in racing, subject to testing which includes measuring of the width of a sulky to ensure that the sulky conforms to the ‘Sulky Standard’.    7: That HRV commission a review of the Rules of Racing relating to Stewards’ powers and the powers of the controlling body with a view to eliminating lack of clarity and understanding.    8: That this Government reconsider my previous recommendation to amend the Racing Act 1958 to establish an independent body with responsibility for integrity across the three codes and remove such responsibility from the controlling bodies. (See Recommendation 11, 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing dated 23 January 2013).   Mr Anderson advised that HRV supports recommendations 1 to 7 and will work with the various bodies to implement.   In relation to Recommendation 8, Mr Anderson stated HRV had responded to the Racing Minister on this matter following Dale Monteith’s recent report on the Audit of HRV.   Mr Anderson said: “HRV welcomes the advice from the Minister that there will be a consultative process with all three codes regarding future racing industry integrity arrangements. The Board looks forward to participating in the Minister’s review where it will further articulate its views that integrity should remain a function of each controlling body.    HRV also remains open to exploring ways that the three codes can work together to achieve economies of scale and scope to achieve the best outcome for the racing industry overall.”   CODY WINNELL   COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

There are only five TAB Carnival Of Cups meetings remaining this season however a number of horses still remain in contention to be crowned the series' leading pacer. With $5,000 on offer to the horse's owners, some trainers will look to compete at the remaining harness racing meetings in a bid to secure vital points. Every winner at a Carnival of Cups meeting receives three points, the runner up gets two points while third picks up one. Hollywood Sign set up a healthy lead after winning races at four meetings and placing third at another for trainer Trevor White but has since been sold and now is prepared by Victorian horseman Brent Lilley. The son of Life Sign has a three point lead over five pacers including Eugowra's Canola Cup winner Holm Three. Snoop Stride will compete at Cootamundra on Sunday afternoon and should the son of Stonebridge Regal win the final event he will join Hollywood Sign on thirteen points. The Turnbull family dominate the trainers and drivers points tables with Steve more than 100 points clear of his nearest rival in the training division while Amanda has a 42 point lead over her father in the leading driver tally.   LEADING HORSE HOLLYWOOD SIGN 13 HOLM THREE 10 MOUSE IN THE HOUSE 10 READ ABOUT LEXY 10 RISEANDRISEAGAIN 10 SNOOP STRIDE 10* DENISES LEGACY 9* MITHRYS MAGIC 9 STRATHLACHLAN ANDY 9* LEXUS ON THE BEACH 8 PEPPERALL 8 SOKYS BIGBULLET 8* STENING 8* *racing at Cootamundra this Sunday       LEADING TRAINER A S TURNBULL 145 S J SNUDDEN 41 S P TRITTON 36 B J HEWITT 33 D M HEWITT 22     LEADING DRIVER A J TURNBULL 85 A S TURNBULL 43 C R BELL 35 D N MORAN 32 B J HEWITT 27   Greg Hayes

Commissioner delivers Report regarding the Special Inquiry into the late scratching of horses from the 2014 (Harness Racing) Ballarat Pacing Cup. The Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, has delivered to the Minister for Racing and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), a Report on his Special Inquiry into the late scratching of six out of 10 horses from the Harness Racing Victoria Ballarat Pacing Cup on 13 December 2014.  The Inquiry was conducted at the request of both the Minister and HRV, seeking answers to specific questions regarding the circumstances of the late scratching of horses in the Group 1 Ballarat Pacing Cup (Race 7) following detection by Stewards of noncompliant (oversized width) US style sulkies that the Stewards' Panel prohibited from racing that evening.  The Commissioner's comprehensive investigation involved his use of 'Board of Inquiry' powers to compel attendance of witnesses, including HRV officials and racing industry participants, to answer questions under oath and produce documents.   The Commissioner’s report outlines his findings based on evidence obtained in the Inquiry and eight recommendations for both the harness industry and Government (set out in Attachment 1 below).  The Commissioner found that there was no evidence prior to the race meeting that non-compliant sulkies were being used in Victoria and therefore, it was reasonable for the Stewards to think that oversized sulkies would not be an issue at the race meeting. Nor did the Commissioner find evidence that the non-compliant sulkies were ordered by trainers or drivers to be manufactured contrary to the ‘Sulky Standards’ or that the sulkies were later modified to exceed the 'Sulky Standards'.  The decision of the Stewards' Panel was either questioned or challenged during the race meeting by both participants and HRV management, who entered the Stewards’ Room a number of times encouraging the Stewards to reconsider their decision. Despite these approaches, the Stewards' Panel maintained its decision, but afforded the participants the opportunity to swap sulkies.  The Commissioner determined that the Stewards' Panel took the correct course of action, in accordance with the Rules of Racing, in prohibiting the use of sulkies that breached the Rules.  Sal Perna RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER To contact the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, call 8684 7776; fax 8684 7778; email enquiries@racingintegrity.vic.gov.au or contact the Racing Integrity Hotline on 1300 227 225. www.racingintegrity.vic.gov.au ATTACHMENT 1 Commissioner’s Findings The Commissioner made the following findings in his report: 1. HRV Stewards first became aware of a potential issue with oversized sulkies on Wednesday 10 December 2014, following advice from Harness Racing Australia (HRA) of a complaint regarding their possible use and requesting HRV Stewards to measure sulkies at future race meetings. 2. HRV Stewards had not been provided with any evidence prior to the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on 13 December 2014 that noncompliant (oversized) sulkies were being used in Victoria and as such there was no reason for the Stewards to think that oversized sulkies would be an issue at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting.    3. There was an industry assumption that the US-based manufacturer of the sulkies, the Australian sulky distributor, the sulky owners (HRV registered trainers and drivers) and the Stewards, would all ensure that the sulkies complied with the Rules of Racing and the ‘Sulky Standards’(i.e. a maximum width of 1300mm). However, what was identified, was that little, if any, compliance checking was conducted by any of those parties. 4. The UFO model sulky was approved for use in Australia by Harness Racing Australia (HRA) in October 2012 following an extensive testing program required. The UFO ‘Aussie Alien’ model sulky (a non-offset variation) was approved by HRA in July 2014 without similar testing. 5. The first known order of an ‘Aussie Alien’ in Victoria, later determined to be oversized, was 20 March 2014. That sulky was subsequently used in numerous races and until it was measured at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting. 6. There is no evidence that the non-compliant sulkies were ordered by trainers or drivers to be manufactured contrary to the Sulky Standards or that the sulkies were later modified to exceed the 'Sulky Standards'. 7. Following HRV receipt of the HRA advice on 10 December 2014, regarding their potential use, the HRV Chairman of Stewards immediately directed the HRV 'Compliance Steward' to measure sulkies at future race meetings and report back to him. 8. Only one HRV Steward has dedicated ‘Compliance Steward’ responsibilities, including the checking of sulkies against the ‘Sulky Standards’. However, over time that Compliance Steward has performed most of his duties as a member of the Stewards’ Panel at race meetings. 9. The first race meeting at which the Compliance Steward was rostered following the HRA advice of 10 December 2014, was at Tabcorp Park, Melton on 11 December 2014. Whilst the Compliance Steward was rostered on the Stewards’ Panel, he nonetheless examined US-style sulkies. All measured sulkies complied with the Sulky Standards (1300mm width). 10. The first confirmation of the use of a non-compliant sulky was at the Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on 13 December 2014 when the Compliance Steward (while rostered on a Stewards' Panel) commenced measuring sulkies prior to Race 1 at approximately 6.30pm. The first UFO ‘Aussie Alien’ examined was measured at 1350mm, thereby exceeding the approved width of 1300mm in the ‘Sulky Standards’. The next two UFO ‘Aussie Aliens also measured at 1350mm. All three affected trainers/drivers were subject to a unanimous ruling of the Stewards that there was no discretion under the Rules of Racing and the ‘Sulky Standards’ to permit oversized sulkies to be used. The three affected trainers/drivers sourced replacement sulkies and took part in Race 1. 11. Prior to Race 2, six more sulkies were measured. Five were found to be compliant (including an ‘Aussie Alien’) but another ’Aussie Alien’ was found to be oversized (1350mm). 12. After Race 2 (7.00pm), a further four sulkies were measured, one of which, a ‘Dooza’ brand sulky, measured at 1325mm. 13. The Stewards' Panel issued no formal communication to participants or generally on the basis that their decision not to permit non-compliant sulkies would be common knowledge through participants talking to each other or seeing horses return to the ‘horse movement area’ to swap sulkies. 14. The decision of the Stewards' Panel continued to be either questioned or challenged during the race meeting by both participants and HRV management who entered the Stewards’ Room a number of times encouraging the Stewards to reconsider their decision. At one point HRV management advised the Stewards that they were considering overruling the Stewards' Panel. Despite these approaches, the Stewards' Panel maintained its decision, but afforded the participants the opportunity to swap sulkies. 15. As a result of the Stewards’ advice to trainers and drivers that the decision not to allow non-compliant sulkies would not be changed, at 8.53pm two trainers chose to withdraw their horses from the Pacing Cup due to start at 9.32pm. One trainer (Emma Stewart) had four runners in the Cup and the other (David Aiken) had two runners. Whilst the official records will indicate that these four horses were ‘scratched’, the fact is that they were ‘withdrawn’. As a consequence of the six ‘scratchings’, four horses were left to compete in the Group 1 Race. Both trainers, who had become aware of issues with oversized sulkies earlier that evening, cited a number of reasons why they would not, or could not, swap sulkies. 16. A total of 20 sulkies were checked on the evening of the Ballarat Pacing Cup race meeting. Seven were detected as non-compliant (oversized in width). Six were UFO ‘Aussie Aliens’ (1350mm) and one was a ‘Dooza’(1325mm). 18. Both legally and operationally, the Stewards could not have permitted the use of the oversized sulkies. The ‘Sulky Standard’ is clear and prescriptive and the relevant Rule allows for no discretion. Accordingly, the Stewards' Panel took the correct course of action, in accordance with the Rules of Racing, in prohibiting the use of sulkies that breached the Rules. 19. There was a lack of (timely) communication to participants by the Stewards and/or HRV management in relation to the Stewards’ detection of non-compliant sulkies and decision to prohibit same. 20. There is a lack of clarity and understanding of the Rules of Racing relevant to the powers of the Stewards and HRV as a ‘Controlling Body’.  Commissioner’s Recommendations The Commissioner has made the following eight Recommendations as a result of this Special Inquiry and Findings: Recommendation 1 - That HRV immediately restore the dedicated position of Compliance Steward. Recommendation 2 - That HRV introduce a training process that provides all Stewards with skills and knowledge in compliance. Recommendation 3 - That HRV introduce a requirement that Stewards’ Panels at all race meetings consist of a minimum of four Stewards, one of which is the dedicated compliance steward. Recommendation 4 - That HRV introduce a requirement that integrity officials, not only Stewards, but also others that come under the ‘General Manager Integrity’ organisational structure such as industry liaison/licensing and investigations, be required to maintain an official work diary. Recommendation 5 - That HRV amend the Rules of Racing to introduce the requirement that participants must advise of a change to their sulkies. Recommendation 6 - That HRV urge HRA to introduce a requirement that every new sulky that is purchased or obtained for use in Harness Racing, is, prior to its use in racing, subject to testing which includes measuring of the width of a sulky to ensure that the sulky conforms to the ‘Sulky Standard’. Recommendation 7 - That HRV commission a review of the Rules of Racing relating to Stewards’ powers and the powers of the controlling body with a view to eliminating lack of clarity and understanding. Recommendation 8 - That this Government reconsider my previous recommendation to amend the Racing Act 1958 to establish an independent body with responsibility for integrity across the three codes and remove such responsibility from the controlling bodies. (See Recommendation 11, 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing dated 23 January 2013). Paul Stevens Manager Integrity Operations          

Strathlachlan Andy and Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding will hit the road this weekend for Sunday's Carnival Of Cups harness racing meeting at Cootamundra. The son of Blissfull Hall does all of his fast work on Birubi Beach but will travel more than 1180 kilometres on his return trip to the Riverina this weekend. "All of my horses do their fast work at the beach, they can jog at home and I take the babies to the track but the majority of the time they are on the sand," said Harding. "Strathlachlan Andy is a good traveller so the long trip to Cootamundra won't worry him and I will leave on Saturday so it will give us plenty of time to get there for Sunday." Strathlachlan Andy will compete in Cootamundra's South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup, the feature event on the eight race programme. The five year old has won seven of his last nine starts and despite drawing the back row does look hard to beat. "There is no doubt that he is getting stronger and he has been driven more aggressively this season but he is still a better horse when he is sat up. "James (Harding) is going to drive him again on Sunday, he has got a good record on him." Harding spent some time in America when James headed across to work for a leading trainer. "When James was in the USA I went over and spent some time watching Jimmy Takter and how he trains and I have brought back some of the ideas and I think it has made an improvement to my team. "I'm working eight at the moment and there are a couple of young ones there as well so there is enough to keep me busy." Harding is mindful that Strathlachlan Andy has had a long preparation and is considering a spell. "I'll see how he pulls up after Sunday but he is still only assessed M0 so I might take him to Queensland for a couple of races before giving him a break. "I can then bring him up again and concentrate on racing him at Menangle in M0 races next preparation." Stathlachlan Andy is looking to win his fourth Carnival Of Cups event for the season after winning at Tamworth, Narrabri and Armidale and is well placed to be crowned the leading horse for the series and win his owner a further $5,000. The South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup is race seven and is scheduled to begin at 3:44pm. Greg Hayes

On Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March 2015, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards continued inquiries into reports received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute (NMI) that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in the following horses trained at the relevant time by Mr Dean McDowell and Mr Neil Day; CHEVALS CHARLIE (Mr Dean McDowell) following its win in race 2, the Schweppes 30th Anniversary Pace (1740 metres) conducted at BBX Bankstown on 28 February 2014. THE TWILIGHTDANCER (Mr Dean McDowell) following its win in race 3, the Australasian Young Drivers Championship Heat Eight (2140 metres) conducted at BBX Bankstown on 28 February 2014 BENZI MARSH ( Mr Neil Day) following its win in race 5, the Final Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Championship (1710 metres) conducted at Goulburn on 24 February 2014   Consequently, HRNSW Stewards issued charges against both Mr McDowell and Mr Day pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 187 (1) for failing to attend an inquiry in accordance with a direction issued by the Stewards. On 16 March 2015, Mr Murphy filed submissions in response to the charge on behalf of both Mr McDowell and Mr Day. The Stewards, in separate decisions delivered in writing on 26 March 2015, found the charge issued against each of Mr McDowell and Mr Day pursuant to Rule 187 (1) proven. On 2 April 2015, joint submissions on penalty were filed with HRNSW by legal representatives for Mr McDowell and Mr Day. On 6 May 2015, the Stewards handed down written reasons for their decisions as to penalty . Mr McDowell was issued with a disqualification of 3 years and 6 months, which is to commence at the expiry of his current period of disqualification which was imposed on 12 March 2015. Mr Day was issued with a disqualification of 3 years and 3 months which is to commence at the expiry of his current period of disqualification which was imposed on 13 March 2015. Both Mr McDowell and Mr Day have lodged appeals with the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal against the decision of the Stewards . No application for a stay has been made. A full copy of the Stewards’ decisions of 26 March 2015 and 6 May 2015 can be found at the following links: Mr Neil Day & Mr Dean McDowell Penalty Decision Mr Dean McDowell Stewards Decision Mr Neil Day Stewards Decision Rules 187(1), provides: A person who is directed to do so by the Stewards shall attend an inquiry or investigation convened or conducted by them. Harness Racing NSW is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Reid Sanders Position: Chief Operating Officer Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email: rsanders@hrnsw.com.au

Casey Owen worked horses on Tuesday morning and studied law in the afternoon but still found time to drive her first winner when Badewitz scored in the final race at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  Twenty two year old Owen has been involved in harness racing for only two years but has already built a strong passion for the sport. “I grew up in Casino and moved to Brisbane and always liked animals but had never dreamed of working with horses until a few years ago,” said Owen. “I went to London for a year and worked in a law firm over there but really used the time to do some travelling and when I came home to Australia I needed to find a job as quickly as possible.” One of Casey’s best friends is related to the McCarthy family and it was through that connection she got her first start in the industry. “My friend is a cousin of the McCarthys and when I needed a job she asked Todd if he knew of any work that was going and he said that Queensland trainer Shawn Grimsey was looking for a stablehand. “I worked for Shawn for about a year and then Daryl Crapper and Todd heard Ian Wilson was looking for a worker so I made the move to Sydney.” Casey had to learn how to drive track work when she arrived in Sydney but quickly made the decision that she wanted to try her hand at race driving and had her first drive on March 26 this year. “It was really nice to get a win on the board because I had been beaten narrowly in a couple of races and I was wondering when that first win was going to come. “Before the race on Tuesday I thought he was up in grade a bit and if he picked up a cheque he would have done a good job for the stable.” After racing four back on the marker pegs Badewitz stuck to the inside in the straight and zoomed through to record a 1:53.4 victory. “I drive him at home so I know him pretty well and I wanted to make sure he was ready to go in case there was a gap and all of the horses in front moved away from the inside. “I just needed Robbie’s (Morris) horse to shift off the pegs and when it rolled out there was enough room for Badewitz and he is a very quick horse when he sees a hole.” Casey is in the second year of her law degree and while harness racing may have to become a smaller part of her life in the future she confirmed she would always like to be involved in the sport. “At some stage I guess it will have to take a back seat but I’ve been bitten by the bug and I really love the horses, I’d love to have a few of my own in the future but I guess only time will tell.” Greg Hayes  

Twenty-three year old harness racing driver Caris Hamilton-Smith is drawn to bring up her second win in the 2014/15 Garrard’s Concession Drivers Challenge when she takes the reins behind the David Thompson trained Lombo Supremo at Northam tomorrow night. Hamilton-Smith will be having just her 28th drive for the season and eight of her previous 27 drives have come in Garrard’s Challenge races. The Garrard’s Challenge is designed to provide greater driving opportunities for the next generation of reinsmen and reinswomen. Lombo Supremo is ideally drawn in barrier three and at his only previous start at Northam earlier this season he led throughout from barrier two and won by the best part of 15 metres over the 2190 metre distance of tomorrow’s race. Hamilton-Smith’s only race win came behind Themightynadal in a heat of the Garrard’s Challenge at Pinjarra on January 5th. The fourth and final leg of the 2014/15 Garrard’s Concession Drivers Challenge Series Three will be run at Bunbury on Saturday night and last season’s winner Kristy Sheehy (61 points), Maddison Brown (59 points) and Cody Wallrodt (55 points) appear to have the title race to themselves. There are ten points available for a win, eight for second and seven for third and the leading trio’s closest rival has 38 points. Kristy Sheehy will drive the Ross Olivieri trained Awesome Desire at Northam and Art Of Illusion for Steve DeCampo at Bunbury. Maddison Brown will drive Blissntheblack for trainer Merv Jupp at Northam and the Terry Atkins trained Helushka at Bunbury. Cody Wallrodt doesn’t have a drive at Northam after his drive Ya Dreamin was scratched and he will receive four points for this missed drive, unless Jocelyn Young fails to obtain a medical clearance tomorrow morning following her fall at Pinjarra on Monday in which case he would pick up the drive on Hez The Artisan. Wallrodt will drive pole-marker Jasper Rox for trainer Kevin Egerton-Green in the race at Bunbury. The winner of Series Three will receive a $500 Garrard’s voucher plus a trophy while the overall Challenge winner will receive $2,000 cash plus trophy and the opportunity to represent Western Australian in the NSW Rising Stars Series next month. POINTS SERIES THREE 2014/15 GARRARD’S CONCESSION DRIVERS CHALLENGE   BUNBURY PINJARRA Total McDonough, B L (Bailey) 6 8 14 Sheehy, K S (Kristy) 4 10 14 Wallrodt, C L (Cody) 10 3 13 McDonald, S A (Stuart) 3 7 10 Chabros, B A (Bronson) 5 4 9 Ferguson, M B (Micheal) 7 2 9 Miller, M C (Mitchell) 8 1 9 Jones, L C (Lauren) 1 6 7 Brown, M K (Maddison) 1 5 6 Hamilton-Smith, C M (Caris) 2 1 3 Green, B E (Brayden) 1 1 2 Justins, J R (Jack) 1 0 1 OVERALL POINTS 2014/15 GARRARDS CONCESSION DRIVERS CHALLENGE   SERIES 1 SERIES 2 SERIES 3 Total Sheehy, K S (Kristy) 23 24 14 61 Brown, M K (Maddison) 29 24 6 59 Wallrodt, C L (Cody) 18 24 13 55 Grantham, M P (Michael) 26 12 0 38 Ferguson, M B (Micheal) 10 17 9 36 Barron, L (Letitia) 17 18 0 35 Jones, L C (Lauren) 22 4 7 33 McDonald, S A (Stuart) 20 0 10 30 Hamilton-Smith, C M (Caris) 8 18 3 29 Justins, J R (Jack) 14 12 1 27 McDonough, B L (Bailey) 0 12 14 26 Chabros, B A (Bronson) 13 0 9 22 King-Davies, C P (Cheyenne) 0 17 0 17 Green, B E (Brayden) 6 8 2 16 Miller, M C (Mitchell) 0 3 9 12 Foster, C L (Chienoa) 0 9 0 9 Matthew, H J (Harley) 7 0 0 7 by Alan Parker

Every Queensland harness racing fan remembers the deeds of Be Good Johnny. In fact, most involved in harness racing know the name of Be Good Johnny. A dual Miracle Mile champion who amassed more than a million dollars during a highly decorated career from the stables of John McCarthy. He was a true modern day great. Now, there’s another pacer that carries a similar name that could be headed to sunny Queensland for the winter carnival features during the month of July at Albion Park. His name is Oh Jonny B Good. A New Zealand bred colt now based in the stables of outstanding couple Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack at their Shepparton base. The Mach Three – Maikona three-year-old created a huge impression when successful first-up at Bendigo on May 12 when he scored by an ever expanding margin and created a new track for 2150m with a mile rate of 1;54.9. In many ways, his speed that night brought back memories of Be Good Johnny. Now connections are looking at their feature race options. Oh Jonny B Good starts again this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Melton in the Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centre Final but where he heads after that is unknown. But options seem endless. “We’re still in the mix with the New Zealand Jewels because he currently ranked 16th and if things fall our way, we would definitely head back because we already have Glenferrie Bronte and Just Cala heading over. If we don’t make the cut off, the Queensland Derby looms as a logical target for him.” Jack said. The Gr.1 $NZ150,000 KPMG Private Enterprise Emerald will be staged at Ashburton on Saturday May 30. The Queensland winter carnival offers plenty including the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18, the Gr.1 $100,000 Nursery Fly on July 4 and the Gr.3 $40,000 Gold Coast Derby on July 11. “It’s nice to have options and Queensland definitely makes strong appeal, I don’t think we could do both trips but it’s unlikely we’ll make the field for the Jewels in New Zealand so Queensland is looking likely at this stage. He’s got to hold his form because it won’t be easy up there. When he first arrived we weren’t overly impressed but as it turns out, he’s just a really bad track worker because he was excellent winning first-up and there should be further improvement to come from him. If New Zealand doesn’t eventuate, we’ll look at the E K Bray Country Clubs Cups series next before heading north to Brisbane. He’s a nice horse in the making and his form in New Zealand backs that up, he’s raced some of their best over there and performed well so we’re prepared to give him his chance.” Currently, Nathan Jack sits third on the Victorian Drivers Premiership with 146 victories while Amanda Turnbull is ranked fifth on the Victorian Trainers Premiership 53 winners. With Amanda still driving regularly in her home state of New South Wales for her father Steve, she is ranked second in the driver’s premiership with 89 winners. by Chris Barsby

Frith has provided her Wagga Wagga owners Bernie and Di Kelly with some great harness racing memories during her successful career. Bernie Kelly trained Frith as a two year old before the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark was transferred to Bruce Harpley at three. Kelly has watched Frith win a number of Gr. 1 races but admitted that he is more nervous this week in the lead up to the Queen Of The Pacific at Melton than he has been in the past. "I don't get nervous before the big races normally but this time it is totally different, I'm very nervous and I can't really work out why I am feeling this way," said Kelly. "On Saturday night I will be sitting in my comfy seat at home watching the races on my television and cheering for her, I haven't had many conversations with Mark Purdon or Luke McCarthy since she left Bruce's stable but in the couple of chats I've had they seem happy with her." Kelly confirmed he was shocked when Harpley contacted him after the Renshaw Cup at Penrith and mentioned a change of stable for the multiple feature race winner. "It was a major surprise for me, I don't know what happened in that traffic jam on the way up to Penrith but it made his mind up for him, he made the decision and after Bruce did such a good job with Frith I respected what he was saying." "I still haven't really discussed a long term plan with Mark Purdon about what races she will target, there was some discussion that she would have a break after the Queen Of The Pacific but that was a while ago so I'm unsure what will happen after Saturday night." "Whether she has a break that'll be up to Mark now but I don't care if he looks to leave her in Australia either." Frith has never raced from the stand but did win a trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle recently. "Bruce is really confident she will step safely, he doesn't think you could get her to gallop away and while he never gave her a run in a standing start race he did give her a lot of practice at home." "She has done such a marvellous job during her career, it is going to be a big step for her to go to that next level against the best but I'm looking forward to seeing her race on after Saturday night." Kelly has two relations to Frith at home and is hoping their bloodlines will take them a long way. "I've got a half sister to Frith by Tell All and she has just been broken in, I really like her but I'm not one of those people who gets too excited early, I like to see what they can do once they are ready to trial." "There's a full sister to Frith there as well, she is just a weanling at the moment but I think I will keep her rather than take her to the sales." The Queen Of The Pacific is race seven at Melton on Saturday night and is scheduled to begin at 8:30pm. Greg Hayes - Harness Racing New South Wales

RWWA Stewards yesterday (May 18th) completed their deliberations and determined the matters of penalty in respect of the pleas of guilt to the charges previously issued against harness racing trainer Mr Shane Young at the inquiry conducted on 12 May 2015, as follows: Charge 1 - Under HRR190(1) - presented ALFA QUEEN to race in race 5 at Narrogin on Thursday 19 March 2015, where it raced and finished first, not free of the prohibited substance Heptaminol - A fine of $5000 Charge 2 - Under HRR190B(1) - did fail to comply with the provisions of rule 190B(1) in that he did not keep and maintain a log book recording all details of treatment administered to horses in his care - A fine of $300 Charge 3 - Under HRR190A(4) - on Friday 10 April 2015 had in his possession at his stable premises a 20ml bottle of the anabolic androgenic steroid Stanazol and a 20ml bottle of the anabolic androgenic steroid Testosterone both of which contained an amount of the substance as labelled - A fine of $1000 Charge 4 - Under HRR193(3) - administered 20ml of the medication Tripart to ALFA QUEEN on 19 March 2015 prior to that mare racing at Narrogin that day - A fine of $2000 When considering penalty in relation to the charges the Stewards took into account as appropriate: Mr Young’s very good record over a considerable number of years The professional manner in which Mr Young conducted himself during the investigation and inquiry into this matter The acknowledgement of all four offences The question of the totality of all fines Previous cases involving the presence of Heptaminol in a horse in a race Previous cases involving the administration of a medication on the day of a race The fact that Anabolic Analgesic Steroids are banned substances under the rules of both Harness and Thoroughbred racing The need for deterrence both general and specific Acting under HRR195 ALFA QUEEN has been disqualified from winning race 5 the Kilkenny Westbred Fillies and Mares MS (Pace) at Narrogin on 19 March 2015 and the placings amended as follows: 1st NIGHTWATCH LADY 2nd MISS ABIGAIL 3rd LUCKY DREW 4th DISCO GEMINI 5th FOREVER REMEMBERED Mark Kemp - Integrity Operations Co-ordinator  

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The Group 1 Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific is a standing start marathon for harness racing mares over 2760 metres and will be the feature event on tomorrow night's card of metro harness racing at Tabcorp Park Melton. The mighty Frith is the early favourite but there has been strong support with fixed odds players for Emma Stewart's rising star Berisari to cause the upset. Meanwhile reigning champion Gumdrops has been specked at big odds. Can she go back to back? In the University Meat 4YO & 5YO Championship Lennytheshark is aiming to become only the third pacer after Tailamade Lombo and Smoken Up to win the Group 2 event at age 4 and then again at age 5. David Aiken has him primed to do it but he'll get fierce competition from the likes of Hectorjayjay and Chilli Palmer. There are also two Group 1 2YO Trot races in the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series on the program. In the colts and geldings division the favoured pair are Sundons Courage and Cruisin Around, while the fillies' race is wide-open with a host of live chances according to the market. Don't miss the Victorians racing in Sydney at Menangle tomorrow night in the NSW Trotters Derby and the La Coocaracha. And best of luck if you're having a punt! - Cody Winnell (Media Manager, HRV)   Harness Jewels barrier draws conducted   It's never quite the stuff of champagne until you've actually won the race, but Amanda Turnbull and her stable would have been chuffed with step one of their New Zealand Harness Jewels journey, receiving some good news out of the barrier draws. Just Cala, who will race as simply "Cala" in NZ, snared gate two for the 4YO Diamond event, while Turnbull's three-year-old Glenferrie Bronte will come out of gate four in the 3YO fillies Diamond. "I can't wait to get over there," Turnbull said. The news wasn't so good for the Andy and Kate Gath camp though, their talented gelding Burnaholeinmypocket to start from the widest draw on the front line, barrier nine, in his race. Despite the early setback though trainer Gath remained upbeat, saying the whole team was looking forward to the race day and was thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Australia at the prestigious event. Click here to read the full story     Weekend Trots Preview Berisari the mare most wanted by early punters Berisari has been backed with fixed odds markets to win the Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific tomorrow night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Fans of Frith meanwhile will be rubbing their hands together as the champion mare's price drifts. Will she touch even money?  Click here to read the full story Fast Fact: Nathan Jack has driven 1456 career winners.  Angove chasing Group 1 double at Melton With only two horses in work at his Muckleford camp, trainer Chris Angove would achieve quite a remarkable feat if he were able to secure a Group 1 winning double at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. Click here to read the full story Fast Fact: Aerial Scott won the first Inter Dominion Trotting Championship in 1948 for driver Bob Young. The race was run over 16 furlongs (3200 metres).     Exotic Nights - $20,000 Quaddie Jackpot HRV and TAB's Melton Exotic Nights campaign rolls on tomorrow night at at Tabcorp Park Melton. For the month of May, place an exotics bet on any night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton with your TAB Rewards card and you’ll score double TAB Rewards points. Additionally there will be $20,000 Vic TAB Quaddie Jackpots on every night meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton during May. So get trackside and have a crack, visit your local TAB outlet, bet via the TAB app or online at tab.com.au   Country Run of the Week Liculia drew barrier seven in the Just Me Patsy Pace at Shepparton on Tuesday and was given not much chance, according to the punters, the four-year-old mare starting at huge odds of $25.10. Allowed to drift back to the rear early by reinsman Greg Sugars, Liculia sat patiently until the gaps opened in the home straight before launching into the sprint lane and finishing powerfully to upstage runner-up Game We Play and third placegetter Last Issue. The victory kept trainer Ross Sugars' strong run of form going and earned the mare a Country Run of the Week title. To nominate a Country Run of the Week jump onto Twitter and tweet @HRVnews with the hashtage #Trots.  Click the image for a replay of the Country Run of the Week   Media Centre Podcast: Gait Speed with Jason Bonnington & Blake Redden (RSN Tuesday) Podcast: Inside Word with Cody Winnell (RSN, Winners, Thursday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Preview with Jason Bonnington (RSN Friday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Review with Jason Bonnington (RSN, Winners) Podcast: Harness Review with Len Baker (Melton 97.9FM Monday) Podcast: HRV GM of Operations Vaughn Lynch (RSN, Racing Ahead) Podcast: Onefortysevenseven with Brett Coffey & Shannon Nixon Podcast: Melton Preview Podcast, Jason Bonnington & Cody Winnell RSN Carnival (Friday) Newsletter: Subscribe to the Harness Breeders Vic Online Newsletter here Print: Check out Melton Leader's harness racing column in their digital edition Video: Tabcorp Park Trial replays via HRV Youtube Video: Andy Gath's 3YO pacer Padrisimo has some fun with his traffic cone Check out the latest Victorian trots news in the HRV Newsroom     Tweet Talk If your Tweet appears in this column, you'll receive a $50 TAB betting voucher. So start tweeting and remember the hashtag #Trots  and add @HRVnews to make it easier for us to see!     
The first race at Gloucester Park on Friday night has drawn together a handy harness racing field of 3yo’s and the Kim Prentice trained Our Black Diamonds looks well placed to take advantage of his best barrier draw yet. The son of Bettors Delight only made his debut in January of this year when taking out a 3yo MS Pace at Northam in great style despite beginning badly and breaking gait during the race. Prentice then gave punters an insight into what he thought of the gelding when at only his second start he elected to take on the likes of Beaudine Boaz and Kiwi Legend in a Derby prelude. After racing on the pegs for the duration Our Black Diamonds closed well to be beaten only 10m in a 1:54.9 mile rate. The horse was then knocked out of running in another WA Derby prelude, before Prentice took him back to Northam for further re-education. Despite a back row draw over the minimum 1780m journey he overcame a tough run to score impressively in 1:57.4. That earned him another trip to town and on face value he appeared quite disappointing when only 7th of 9 in a similar race here two weeks ago. He was forced to do a small amount of work early on that occasion before finding cover and not finishing the race off as strongly in a quick 1:55.1. He has drawn much better this Friday night and appears the likely leader, which would present him with his best opportunity yet to show his wares in town. The dangers appear likely to come from Mynameiskenny, Ima Connoisseur and Captain Oats. Mynameiskenny is from the astute John Oldroyd yard which has been enjoying a stellar run in recent times. Although resuming from a slight lay off, the son of Village Jolt was in terrific form before the break and he has drawn to advantage despite not having trialed in preparation for this event. Ima Connoisseur hasn’t drawn well once again but he will surely relish the drop back to racing his own age group, whilst Captain Oats has improved significantly since joining Justin Prentice and he remains a winning hope notwithstanding the worst barrier draw in the race. Tyrone Group Pace M3+ Star mare Libertybelle Midfrew will again be the star attraction at Gloucester Park this Friday Night as trainer Mike Reed continues her introduction to ‘fast class’. The rising 5yo daughter of Christian Cullen asserted her authority over a similar field at Gloucester Park on the 8th of May. On that occasion she drew perfectly in barrier one whereas this Friday she has drawn outside the back-line in eleven. She was able to handle a similarly tricky gate last Friday night in winning the WASBA Breeders Stakes where she drew barrier five over the sharp 1730m trip. Whilst on paper barrier five doesn’t look that precarious a starting position, Libertybelle Midfrew was drawn outside of a fast front-line and regular driver Mark Reed was forced to check out of the early speed battle. Reed was able to catch a trail home at the bell when Justin Prentice made his move on The Parade, and he will no doubt be looking to employ similar tactics here. Central to her chances will be the result of the early burn for the lead. Notabadexcuse has drawn perfectly outside of renowned sit and sprinter Danieljohn and he looks the most likely to set the pace. His recent form has been ‘below the required’, but it is worth noting that premier reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has jumped back aboard having not driven the horse in his past seven starts. Former kiwi Our Jimmy Johnstone is the other likely pacesetter in the event. The rising 7yo son of P Forty Seven was a 1:53.7 winner over this course and distance during the heats of the Nights Of Thunder series from the breeze, and Colin Brown appears likely to employ the same tactics here. ‘Jimmy’ is coming off a record breaking win at Pinjarra last start where he made light of the 70m handicap to score by a neck over Chevayo in a smashing 1:57.8 for the 2631SS. He now comes back to the minimum trip and you suspect connections will rely on fitness and stamina to outstay rivals on Friday night. Fremantle Cup placegetter Copagrin has come up with a useful barrier draw in eight. Driver Kyle Harper will be content to follow the pegs from the outset and hope that a strong pace can break the field up, ensuring he can find clear running late on. Pure Steel Qualifying Heat 3 Nights Of Thunder winner Soho Lennon resumes from a spell on Friday night looking to establish himself amongst the stars of the Gary Hall Snr stable. The rising 5yo son of Mach Three looked very progressive last campaign taking out nine wins from eighteen starts including the Group 2 $50,000 Nights Of Thunder Final defeating In The Perfect Storm and Machtu. As such he was nominated for the Fremantle Cup series, eventually making the consolation and finishing down the track. A win against moderate opposition followed that before his campaign was ended after running unplaced in the $25,000 Im Themightyquinn FFA. Soho Lennon has not trialed in preparation for Friday night’s race, however it is not unusual for the stable to produce them in this manner.  Hall Snr has a proven ability to produce them ‘race fit’ first up from a spell and the awkward barrier position arguably presents itself as more of a problem for backers of Soho Lennon. Former Victorian Must Be Nice has drawn gate 1 and it is likely connections will want to hold the front should he be quick enough. He is likely to be tested by Mein Guy, The Court Jester and/or Ohoka Squire in the early stages so Hall Jnr may be presented with an opportunity to work away from the pegline on Soho Lennon should he so desire. In any case, Must Be Nice has shown reasonable form since arriving in WA and would present as one of the main dangers to Soho Lennon, especially if he can hold the lead. He was an M0 winner at Melton before joining the stable of Debbie Padburg and his last start 11th of 12 can be dismissed as he hung in and broke on that occasion. He has since trialed to the stable’s satisfaction and ace reinsman Chris Voak will take the steer. McLoughlin Butchers Conditioned Pace M1+ Arguably the most interesting race of the night is the M1 or better standing start event where rising star Heez On Fire tackles the very classy Lovers Delight. Heez On Fire has been a ‘talking horse’ since his 2yo days but trainer Rod Oliver has plotted a slow and steady course with the son of Courage Under Fire. The rising 6yo has graced the track on just 29 occasions in what has been a very patient build up to fast class racing for the dual Group 2 winner. With his star pacer now assessed as an M4, Oliver has fewer options available and has had to resort to a standing start contest to continue on with the horse’s education and introduction to fast class racing. Blessed with a terrific turn of foot, Heez On Fire is certain to be one of the big players in the feature races over the coming months and continuing on towards November’s Inter Dominion Series. While Heez On Fire continues on his inevitable rise up the ranks, another horse is continuing to re-establish his reputation as one of the more talented horses in the state. A year younger than Heez On Fire, Lovers Delight made an immediate impression on WA race goers when debuting for Ross Oliveri back in 2011. Only 4 starts later he was running 3rd in the WA Derby, and he came back as a 4yo to further enhance his reputation by placing in both the McInerney Ford and the 4yo Championship. But after three more runs the horse was badly injured and not seen on a racetrack for 2 years. When he was seen again it was for a new trainer in Andrew De Campo. De Campo was able to coax a Group 3 success in the Harvey Cup out of the then 5yo but after a handful more wins the horse was back to the paddock. When he was again ready to resume it would be with another trainer – Stephen Reed. Reed has built a solid reputation with bad-legged horses and in Lovers Delight he has found a willing subject. The son of all conquering Bettors Delight has won 4 of 6 since joining his new mentor including wins in the $40,000 Easter Cup at Gloucester Park, and last start in the $30,000 Narrogin Cup defeating Our Jimmy Johnstone. Lovers Delight would seem to hold a small advantage over Heez On Fire this Friday night due to the fact that he is more experienced than his younger rival from this mode of start, and despite this they will start from the same mark of 20m. by Jason Lincoln
Lennytheshark will become just the third horse to win the University Meat 4YO & 5YO Championship twice if he can overcome a back-row draw in Saturday night’s harness racing Group 2 at Tabcorp Park Melton. The David Aiken-trained five-year-old has drawn gate nine in an 11-horse field after the scratching of Sydneysider Yayas Hotspot and will be hot favourite in the 2240-metre, $50,505 race. To be driven by Chris Alford, the son of Four Starzzz Shark out of Botswana will follow out noted fast beginner Hectorjayjay early, which should be ideal. Lennytheshark ticks all the form boxes, with a last-start win in the Golden Reign (1:57.4) defeating flying It Is Billy. That followed a third in the Len Smith Mile at Menangle behind Smolda and Beautide in 1:50.6. If successful in his title defence in the race, Lennytheshark will join two modern day harness racing greats in Tailamade Lombo and Smoken Up as back-to-back winners of the event. The 4YO & 5YO Championship is scheduled to run at 7.27pm. VIDEO: Lennytheshark notches his 18th career victory in last week's Golden Reign FFA VIDEO: See how Lenny did it last year CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER
As the curtain falls on the harness racing career of one of Emma Stewart’s high-class mares in Victoria Oaks winner Beauty Secret, the Smythes Creek trainer has another one whose star is very much on the rise. Four-year-old Berisari has won all three of her assignments this preparation, including a last-start 3.5-metre triumph over Bettor Downunder in the Angelique Club Cup at Melton last Friday night. On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton the daughter of Safari will be having her 20th race start and be shooting for an 11th victory in the $100,000 Group 1 Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific over 2760 metres. “She’s in great form,” driver Nathan Jack said. “She’s a real professional. We haven’t had to get serious with her yet this time. We haven’t had to pull the plugs but she’s beaten plenty of good ones. She’s really in the zone.” Berisari has drawn barrier four in Saturday night’s mares’ classic, a field of 12 to go around in the stand start race. “The stand start is the query, but she’s a laid-back mare and she’s in a good camp,” Jack said. Berisari opened $3 with TAB fixed odds but quickly trimmed into $2.7, while odds-on favourite Frith has eased from her opening quote of $1.75 to $1.85. Reigning race champion Gumdrops will be an outsider on Saturday night but has been specked in early fixed odds betting. Beauty Secret, meanwhile, goes out a 24-time winner from 56 starts, the daughter of Armbro Operative/Secret Life having earned connections $425,921 during a glistening racing career. VIDEO: Beauty Secret’s 2012 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks Final victory at Tabcorp Park Melton VIDEO: Berisari winning last week’s Angelique Club Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton ODDS: TAB's fixed odds market for Pegasus Club Queen of the Pacific CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER
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