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Lilley, Butt dominate at Gunbower

Harness racing competitors always tend to go better when their confidence is up, which of course, makes perfect sense. And Brent Lilley has his Bolinda team firing on all cylinders right now! Lilley took home all the silverware from Gunbower yesterday, snatching the Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup with in-form Kvintet Avenger and the Gunbower Pacing Cup with talented gelding Lets Elope. Speaking of talented ex-Kiwis, Lilley is based in Australia after moving across the Tasman, while winning reinsman Anthony can also lay claim to the title as news came through last night he would be basing himself full-time in Victoria. “He’s going to work mornings for me and he’ll do most of my stable driving,” Lilley said. “Rodney Petroff has been very good though and has done a great job for me, so we’ll still be looking after Rodney as well and Anthony is aware of that.” Butt will live in Melton with his move is yet another windfall for Victoria following last week’s announcement trainer Nicole Molander is moving from New South Wales, while James Rattray will be spend the summer in the state. A seven-year-old by Love You out of Nobes Hanover, Kvintet Avenger was simply too good in the Cup with a record-breaking performance. Successful at six of his eight Australian starts, the stallion rated 2:02.9 for the 2630-metre trip. “Anthony said he actually won quite easily and he was never worried in the run,” Lilley said. Kvintet Avenger will eventually have to tackle the might of Keystone Del, My High Expectations, but Lilley will avoid the topliners for as long as he can. “I’d rather dodge the top ones as best I can for the moment, but of course he’ll eventually have to take them on,” Lilley declared. Lilley stated the Australian Trotting Championship during the Sumer of Glory carnival would be a realistic target on the way to hopefully securing a berth in the Great Southern Star next March. Lets Elope also broke the track record with a power display of pacing. Shrugging off a 20-metre handicap, Lets Elope rated 1:57.9 to register an easy victory in the 2630-metres feature. “He had a great run. Anthony drove him a treat,” Lilley said. “We’re really looking forward to the summer with this horse. “We’ll probably now go to some metro races. He’s an M1. He wasn’t far from them in New Zealand, so it’d be no surprise to me for him to be a Hunter Cup horse.” HRV Media

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Really Feyfey win a family affair

The Justin Campbell stable has been spending plenty of time in the harness racing winners’ circle of late, but his latest victory was arguably more special than most. Really Fayfay produced a courageous effort to lead throughout the Hygain Release for fillies and mares over 1609 metres at Hobart last night. The five-year-old was given no peace for the first 400 metres when attacked for the lead by Sweet Pea Jasper, which was eventually eased to take a sit. The win was made special because it was a family affair, with the daughter of Jr Mint bred by Campbell’s parents Anne and Malcom Campbell and owned by them in partnership with the trainer. It was the Really Fayfay’s first start for almost three months and Campbell was worried she might “knock up” owing to her being taken on early in the race, but she refused to wilt over the concluding stages. Really Fayfay held a clear margin over Fuscienne, with Really Fiesty running on well for third in 2:00.2. PETER STAPLES

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New harness track passes first test

Warragul Harness Racing Club administrators have declared the $434,000 upgrade to their track a huge success. Barrier trials were conducted last Saturday, giving trainers and drivers a feel for the circuit before the official opening race meeting on Monday, December 1. Works at the track have taken place since early October. Contractors have imported a massive amount of fill and have increased the camber of the two bends to 12.5 per cent, and the two straights to four per cent in line with modern animal welfare and competitor safety requirements. Improvements and repairs to perimeter fencing and a change of the type of material used on the track have also been incorporated. While suggesting the track needs a bit of time to settle in, drivers gave the surface a “thumbs up”. Also on Monday, the club celebrates 75 years of racing. Although trotting events have been staged at the Warragul Showgrounds site since the 1890's, a Warragul and District Trotting Club was formed in 1939, and conducted its first race meeting at Logan Park on November 18 that year. After a lapse during World War II, the club reformed in 1946 and changed its name to the Warragul Harness Racing Club in 1985. With the first race due to commence at around 1:30pm, the official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place just after 1pm. Course entry will be free to ensure a big crowd to witness the start of a new era in trotting at Warragul. KYLE GALLEY

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Early Ballarat Cup champions

As part of the Harnesslink Fantasy Ballarat Pacing Cup promotion, we will aid harness racing fans with their selections by providing profiles on each of the Cup’s 44 winners. The most popular provincial event on the calendar, the Ballarat Cup is scheduled to be run on December 13, with topliners such as Beautide and defending champion, Restrepo, being aimed at the feature. During its December 9 barrier draw breakfast, the Ballarat and District Trotting Club will conduct a ‘phantom call’ of the Harnesslink Fantasy Ballarat Pacing Cup based on the field selected by our panel of experts. Panellists will submit their top 12 members from the Cup’s honour roll, with a point system to decide the final line-up. The voice of the industry - Dan Mielicki – will then ‘call’ the race to determine which Cup winner can lay claim to being the greatest of them all! Enthusiasts are also invited to submit their fantasy field via the club’s Facebook page, with the person who correctly selects the most starters in the final fantasy field - including their finishing order - to receive a $1000 bet on this year’s Cup compliments of the Flying Horse Venue and hospitality on the night. 1971 SON OF NANCY (Dick Adios – Mona Nancy) Won Ballarat Cup off 12 yards in track record 2:07 Major wins include – 1969 and ’70 Mildura Cups 1971 A G Hunter Cup   1972 – MONARA (Dignus-Woorarra) Won Ballarat Cup off 12 yards in track record 2:06.6. Major wins include – 1972 and ’73 A G Hunter Cups 1972 South Australia Cup 1972 Bendigo Cup 1972 Two Inter Dominions heats (2nd in Final) PAUL COURTS

Harness racing superstar Beautide is has been installed an odds-on favourite to retain his Miracle Mile crown at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. With the draw for the SEW-Eurodrive sponsored event conducted just moments ago, TAB responded by cutting Beautide’s price to $1.75. Earlier this week the James Rattray-trained gelding was $2.60 on Fixed Odds markets. Drawn well in barrier three, Beautide is aiming to become just the seventh Miracle Mile winner to successfully defend his crown since the Group One’s inauguration in 1967 when annexed by wonder mare, Robin Dundee. Former champion Westbrun Grant was the ground breaker with his wins in 1989 and ’90, followed by Chokin (’93-’94), Holmes D G (1999, 2000), Sokyola (’03-’04), Be Good Johnny (’05-’06) and Smoken Up (’10-’11). Village Kid is the only other dual winner of the prestigious sprint, having scored in 1986 and ’87. The Western Australian’s victories were split by Master Mood when two Miracle Miles were conducted in 1986. New Zealand star Christen Me is the second elect at $5 after receiving barrier four. A member of the Cran Dalgety stable, Christen Me was runner-up behind Beautide in last year’s edition of the Grand Circuit event. Christen Me is by 1998 Miracle Mile champion Christian Cullen, with no winner of the prestigious sprint producing a subsequent winner. On the opposite end of the scale, fellow Kiwi pacer, Terror To Love, is the rank outsider at $21 after drawing gate 10. The son of Western Terror slots into eight with the removal of the emergencies. Miracle Mile field in barrier order and TAB Fixed Odds: Easy On The Eye  $16 Avonova    $12 Beautide    $1.75 Christen Me    $5 For A Reason    $6.5 Chariot King   (2nd emerg) Guaranteed    $7.5 Suave Stuey Lombo    $12 Bettor Bet Black    (Emerg) Terror To Love    $21 PAUL COURTS

Colebrook harness racing trainer Paul Medhurst described Bona Fide Hustler as a “bargain Buy” after he notched his fifth win for connections in Hobart tonight. Bona Fide Hustler was purchased by Medhurst for $14,000 from Victorian interests about two years ago, and since arriving in Tasmania, the son of Red River Hanover has amassed about $35,000 in stakes. The six-year-old’s racing pattern these days is to drop back early and come with a barnstorming finish and that’s exactly what played out during his latest victory. With talented novice driver Samantha Freeman in the cart, Bona Fide Hustler was eased away from barrier seven as Freeman settled him in the running line towards the rear of the field. Frankie Falzoni forged his way to the lead, with the favourite Rusty Red Comet facing the breeze and travelling comfortably at the bell. With Freeman making her move at the 600-metre mark, Bona Fide Hustler quickly ranged up to the front runner. Finishing strongly along the home straight, the gelding rattled home to defeat Rusty Red Comet, with Frankie Falzoni hanging on for third. Bona Fide Hustler paid $16.90 on the Tote, but he was backed in to start at $13 with Tattsbet fixed odds. PETER STAPLES

The field for harness racing’s ultimate speed test, next week’s Miracle Mile, has been announced. Selectors finalised the line-up last night following the Cordina Sprint, which was taken out in easy fashion Suave Stuey Lombo. Thanks to his victory in the Group One, Suave Stuey Lombo gained automatic entry into the Grand Circuit event on November 29. With two positions remaining, directors at Menangle issued invites to boom Victorian, Guaranteed, and local pacer Easy On The Eye. Guaranteed and Easy On The Eye filled the placings behind defending Miracle Mile champion, Beautide, in last week’s Coca-Cola Sprint, which was won in 1:50.4. Easy On The Eye is a Shane Tritton-trained stablemate of Suave Stuey Lombo, which stopped the clock in 1:52. The trio join Avonnova, Beautide, Christen Me, For A Reason and Terror To Love in the time-honoured event. Beautide is aiming to become just the seventh Miracle Mile winner to successfully defend his crown since the feature’s inauguration in 1967 when annexed by wonder mare, Robin Dundee. Former champion Westbrun Grant was the ground breaker with his wins in 1989 and ’90, followed by Chokin (’93-’94), Holmes D G (1999, 2000), Sokyola (’03-’04), Be Good Johnny (’05-’06) and Smoken Up (’10-’11). Village Kid is the only other dual winner of the prestigious sprint, having scored in 1986 and ’87. The Western Australian’s victories were split by Master Mood when two Miracle Miles were conducted in 1986. TAB has released a Fixed Odds Market, with Beautide the pre-draw favourite at $2.40, with Christen Me the second elect at $4.50. Christen Me was runner-up behind Beautide in last year’s edition of the Miracle Mile. PAUL COURTS

Harness Racing Australia made presentations to the connections of Tasmania’s star pacers Beautide and Barynya in Launceston last Friday night. The Group One winners were recipients of awards for their efforts on the racetrack last season. Beautide was named Australian Horse of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Aged Stallion/Gelding of the Year for his outstanding feats, which include wins in the Group One Miracle Mile, Inter Dominion and Len Smith Mile. Exciting youngster Barynya won the Tasmania and Victoria Oaks, with those wins catalyst for her crown of Australian Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year. The Lloyd and Judy Whish-Wilson-owned Barynya was a deserving winner of the national title and she also was named Tasmanian Three-Year-Old of the Year. Beautide also was named Tasmanian Horse of the Year as well as New South Wales Horse of the Year. Beautide will line up as favourite as he chases consecutive Miracle Miles at Menangle on Saturday night, while Barynya is yet to resume racing. PETER STAPLES

Noted speedster Suave Stuey Lombo has sealed his position in harness racing’s premier sprint – SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile. The Shane Tritton-trained gelding joined Avonnova, Beautide, Christen Me, For A Reason and Terror To Love in the elite field with his victory in tonight’s Cordina Sprint at Menangle – home of the Miracle Mile. Selectors will announce the balance of the line-up for the November 29 showdown after assessing each contender’s prospects. As for Suave Stuey Lombo, he worked his way into the Grand Circuit event with a stylish display by leading throughout from barrier eight. Driven aggressively by Lauren Panella, Suave Stuey Lombo was pushed forward to wrestle the lead from Bettor Bet Black, which found the front from gate seven. Given a ‘breather’ during the middle stages, the son of Bettors Delight was never seriously challenged as he dashed to a soft win from Bettor Bet Black and Mark Dennis. “After he got to the front he did it pretty easily,” Tritton said. “It was a good blowout for next week’s main event.” With the final 800 metres run in a slick 54.8 seconds, Suave Stuey Lombo covered the mile in 1:52. Boasting three of the four fastest race miles during the past six months, Suave Stuey Lombo is ready to run a personal best in the Miracle Mile according to Tritton. Last September Suave Stuey Lombo trialled in an astonishing 1:49.2, with his time the second fastest recorded in Australasia and the second occasion the seven-year-old has broken the magical 1:50 mark. Dual Miracle Mile winner, Smoken Up, became the first standardbred in the Southern Hemisphere to better 1:50 when he captured the 2011 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. The son of Tinted Cloud set the benchmark with a brilliant 1:48.5 for trainer-driver, Lance Justice. Comeback pacer For A Reason stopped the clock at 1:49.4 last November, before Smoken Up did it again with his 1:49.9 three weeks later. Suave Stuey Lombo covered the mile in 1:49.6 last June. “He is in perfect condition and will be primed and ready for next week,” Tritton declared. “I’m tipping which ever horse wins the Miracle Mile they will have to better 1:50. “It won’t be a surprise is Smoken Up’s record is broken.” PAUL COURTS

Classy harness racing mare Sensational Gabby has been installed a clear favourite for next week’s Group One thanks to her victory at Gloucester Park last night. Outclassing a strong field in the Norms Daughter Classic, Sensational Gabby is clearly the one to beat in the Mares’ Classic at the same venue. The Ross Olivieri-trained pacer has been in devastating form this season, winning four of her last five starts, including the Members Sprint, Stratton Cup and Mount Eden Sprint in stylish fashion. Thrilled with the daughter of Yankee Sensation, Olivieri has set his sights on several key targets, including the Western Australia Cup. Success in the time-honoured event will see Sensational Gabby become just the 10th member of the ‘fairer sex’ to emerge triumphant at Australian Grand Circuit level since the its inception in 1976. As it stands, the elite sorority Baby Bling, Blossom Lady, Fair Clue, Ima Spicey Lombo, Kyms Girl, Murdoch Miss, Napoleon Stone, Norms Daughter and Tailamade Lombo. Fair Clue and Murdoch Miss were the ground breakers, with the duo racing their way into the history books in 1981. Fair Clue secured the Tasmanian Championship for trainer Jack Arnol, with Henry Pullen in the cart. Trained by Len Sugars and driven by reinsman-son, Ross Sugars, Murdoch Miss captured the South Australia Cup. Five years after Fair Clue’s record success, Napoleon Stone upstaged the ‘boys’ in Tassie. Trained and driven by Wayne Rattray, Napoleon Stone began from the front row to rate 1:18.6 – just two-tenths of a second outside the record. Blossom Lady joined the crew nine years later with a ‘tough as nails’ performance in the 1995 A G Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley. Driven by Anthony Butt, the daughter of Farm Timer shrugged off a 30-metre back mark to establish a track record 2:00.6 for the 3280-metre marathon. No doubt some readers are thinking Blossom Lady won two Hunter Cups for trainer Derek Jones, but her first win in 1994 was when the prestigious handicap was not a Grand Circuit event. A year later exciting Western Australia, Norms Daughter, became the toast of the industry when she scored an empathic win in the famed Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Trained by Neil Lloyd and driven by Kellie Kersley, Norms Daughter rated 1:55.6 over 1760 metres, with her time equalling the race record established by Westburn Grant in 1990. Three years later Tailamade Lombo annexed the Tasmania Pacing Championship for co-trainers Noel Alexander and Jayne Davies. Driven by Chris Alford, the daughter of Troublemaker beat Our Sir Vancelot and Anvils Star to become the third mare on the feature’s honour roll. Tailamade Lombo returned to the Apple Isle the following season to complete consecutive wins in the Group One when she accounted for Turbo Tyson and Zyuganov Leis. New Zealander Kyms Girl was the industry’s latest ‘glamour girl’ when she annxed the Treuer Memorial in 2001. Trained and driven by Colin De Filippi, the daughter of Man Around Town beat Holmes D G and Yulestar, rating 2:01.8 for the 2540 metres. Ima Spicey Lombo then became the first mare to secure the Australian Pacing Championship when triumphant at Gloucester Park in 2011. Trained by Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, Ima Spicey Lombo beat Mysta Magical Mach and Alzona in 1:56.2 for the 2100 metres. Baby Bling became the last member of the sorority when she blitzed the boys in the 2013 Miracle Mile at Menangle. The rank outsider of the field, Baby Bling covered the 1609-metre dash in 1:50.5 – just two-tenths of a second outside Smoken Up’s race record. As for Sensational Gabby’s latest triumph, she rated 1:54.4 over 1730 metres, with Libertybelle Midfew and Am Opulent filling the placings. PAUL COURTS

They are the ‘roses surrounded by thorns’, but can the two delicate harness racing flowers blossom in the Fantasy Ballarat Cup? As the Ballarat and District Trotting Club counts down to the 45th running of its flagship event, the club has joined forces with Harnesslink to conduct a Fantasy Ballarat Cup to decide which winner deserves to be crown the greatest of all. Our panel of experts will submit their top 12 members of the honour roll, with a point system to decide the final line-up. That brings us back to the original question…can two ‘flowers’ of the industry make the cut? To make matters a little clearer, My Gal Sal and Lombo Rapida are the only mares to capture the Group One. Overcoming a 12-yard handicap, My Gal Sal upstaged the boys by rating 2:06.8 in 1973, with her time just two-tenths of a second outside the track record. With the feature reverted to a mobile well before her Cup triumph, Lombo Rapida took out the 2000 edition in race record time. Lombo Rapida shaved four-tenths of a record of The Unicorn’s mark established in 1993. The final Harnesslink Fantasy Ballarat Cup field will be announced next month, with the voice of the industry - Dan Mielicki – to produce a ‘phantom call’ at the club’s traditional Barrier Draw Breakfast on December 9. Enthusiasts are also invited to submit their fantasy field via the club’s Facebook page, with the person who correctly selects the most starters in the final fantasy field - including their finishing order - to receive a $1000 bet on this year’s Cup, compliments of the Flying Horse Venue, and hospitality on the night. “Our honour roll is littered with champion pacers across four decades and no doubt there will be plenty of debate around which horses should, and should not, earn their place in the fictitious field,” club chief executive Paul Rowse explained. “I certainly don’t envy our experts and wish them well as they embark what is an arduous, but very interesting, assignment.  “We invite everyone with an interest in the trots to get behind the fantasy cup concept and test their knowledge against our experts. “It will be a lot of fun, and there’s a great prize on offer.” To help participants further, Harnesslink will produce profiles on the Cup’s 44 winners during the three weeks leading into the December 13 showdown. PAUL COURTS

A week after his older sibling’s national record performance, Mesmeric has taken a step towards his harness racing debut. From former handy mare and now top producer Mersmerizing, Mesmeric is a half-brother to boom New Zealander, Messini. Although bred in Victoria by the Caldow family, Messini was purchased by clients of champion Kiwi horseman, Mark Purdon. Last week Messini captured the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day, in a record 1:55.8 for the 2600 metres. Also bred by the Caldows, Mesmeric won his trial over 1690 metres, with record-breaking reinsman John Caldow in the cart. The three-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear is trained by Caldow’s wife, Maree. “He is still a while off racing, but he goes alright,” Caldow said. “I trialled him as a two-year-old, but he was too big, so I gelded him. “Because of his size we’ve taken our time with him. “He’ll have to improve a fair bit to be as good as his half-brother, but the raw ability is there.” With Mersmerizing recently producing a colt by Bettors Delight, the Caldows are planning to send the mare back to Art Major, with the foal to be a sister or brother to Messini. “We’ve also got a colt from her by Courage Under Fire,” Caldow said. “He just turned two and looks quite good. “She’s got a Bettors Delight foal on her now and the plan is to take her back to Art Major.” PAUL COURTS

Fairfield Harness Racing Club will celebrate its 50th Anniversary meeting with a twilight program on Sunday. Throughout the years numerous changes have occurred at the venue, with non bigger than lights being installed during the 1970s. Not long after several key races were introduced, including The Carousel, Golden Easter Egg and the J D Watts Memorial, which stills remain the club’s feature event after nearly four decades. A small of group of dedicated volunteers have kept Fairfield afloat, such as Colin Watts, who has been at Fairfield for 50 years, and President Simon Boulous, who has been there since the 1980s. These days Michelle Buckley and Toni Radburn help ‘carry the load’, while the friends of Fairfield pitch in such as Allan Brennan, Glen Pearce, Jeff Towers and Steven Collins. And, of course, club Secretary Ross Scherf who controls the operation. Seven races will be conducted on Sunday, with the first event scheduled for 5:15pm. HRNSW Media

Two of Victoria’s harness racing stars will make their Western Australian debut at Gloucester Park tonight. Top flight mare Bellas Delight will contest the Norms Daughter Classic, with talented reinsman Zac Phillips to partner the multiple feature race winner. A member of the Kari Males stable, Bellas Delight has received the visitors’ draw, which will see her begin from the inside of the second row. Successful at her last two starts, the daughter of Bettors Delight has settled into well according to Phillips, who is looking forward to the campaign across the Nullarbor. “I’m really looking forward to competing in Perth,” Phillips said. “It’s an awkward draw, especially over the short trip, but she’s in top form and will do her best again. “She’s settled in well over there and her work during the week has been solid. “It is a strong field, but with a bit of luck she will be right in the finish.” A popular driver in his home state, Phillips, unlike most of his counterparts, entered the world of harness racing with no solid ties to the industry. Widely regarded as a family-based sport, harness racing typically breeds generation after generation of participants, who usually ‘get the breaks’ thanks to their successful relatives. So to forge a successful career in the ‘game’ with no ready-made background is always going to be difficult. Although his father Lucky, has “knocked around” with astute horseman Robbie O’Connell “since they were kids”, life in a stable wasn’t a ‘given’ for Phillips. After spending the majority of his teenage years in Queensland, Phillips returned to Melbourne where he soon discovered his passion and talent for driving. “I was born in Melbourne, but spent a lot of years growing up in Queensland,” Phillips said. “Up there I didn’t have anything to do with horses, but once we moved back to Victoria and I started to go to Robbie’s with Dad, I just caught the bug. “As soon as I got my trials licence and starting getting out on the track, I knew there nothing else for me. “Robbie was insistent I had plenty of trial drives before I went anywhere near the races. His advice proved spot on as it gave me plenty of ground work during those early days.” Despite his unorthodox beginning, Phillips has wasted no time proving he belonged among the top concession drivers in the state. Although he finished unceremoniously last upon debut, Phillips quickly found his way into the winners’ circle, scoring with the O’Connell-trained Driving Withtess at Bendigo on July 14, 2012. Since his initial victory, Phillips has cut a regular path to the number one stall to cement his place among the leading concession drivers. During his first year in the sulky, Phillips registered a half century, followed by 44 wins last term. Citing a Group One triumph as his ultimate high, Phillips would like to train a small team a few years down the track. “Like everyone, I’d like to win a Group One,” Phillips declared. “Other than that, I’ve got no real goals. I just love getting out there and driving as much as possible. “Maybe a long way down the track I might look at training, but for now, I just love driving and hopefully I can keep repaying the owners and trainers for their faith by driving winners.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing fans worldwide can watch the Miracle Mile barrier draw as it unfolds on Sunday. With the remainder of the invitations to the Grand Circuit event expected to be extended on Saturday night, the draw will be conducted during the popular luncheon at Tabcorp Park Menangle the following afternoon. Officials have announced the draw will be streamed via the Trots TV section of harnessmediacentre.com.au as of 12:15. As it stands, three positions are still up for grabs with the winner of Saturday night’s Cordina Sprint guaranteed a position in the elite field. Defending champion Beautide was the first invited and will be joined in the November 29 showdown by Avonnova, For A Reason, Terror To Love and Christen Me. PAUL COURTS

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Harness racing competitors always tend to go better when their confidence is up, which of course, makes perfect sense. And Brent Lilley has his Bolinda team firing on all cylinders right now! Lilley took home all the silverware from Gunbower yesterday, snatching the Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup with in-form Kvintet Avenger and the Gunbower Pacing Cup with talented gelding Lets Elope. Speaking of talented ex-Kiwis, Lilley is based in Australia after moving across the Tasman, while winning reinsman Anthony can also lay claim to the title as news came through last night he would be basing himself full-time in Victoria. “He’s going to work mornings for me and he’ll do most of my stable driving,” Lilley said. “Rodney Petroff has been very good though and has done a great job for me, so we’ll still be looking after Rodney as well and Anthony is aware of that.” Butt will live in Melton with his move is yet another windfall for Victoria following last week’s announcement trainer Nicole Molander is moving from New South Wales, while James Rattray will be spend the summer in the state. A seven-year-old by Love You out of Nobes Hanover, Kvintet Avenger was simply too good in the Cup with a record-breaking performance. Successful at six of his eight Australian starts, the stallion rated 2:02.9 for the 2630-metre trip. “Anthony said he actually won quite easily and he was never worried in the run,” Lilley said. Kvintet Avenger will eventually have to tackle the might of Keystone Del, My High Expectations, but Lilley will avoid the topliners for as long as he can. “I’d rather dodge the top ones as best I can for the moment, but of course he’ll eventually have to take them on,” Lilley declared. Lilley stated the Australian Trotting Championship during the Sumer of Glory carnival would be a realistic target on the way to hopefully securing a berth in the Great Southern Star next March. Lets Elope also broke the track record with a power display of pacing. Shrugging off a 20-metre handicap, Lets Elope rated 1:57.9 to register an easy victory in the 2630-metres feature. “He had a great run. Anthony drove him a treat,” Lilley said. “We’re really looking forward to the summer with this horse. “We’ll probably now go to some metro races. He’s an M1. He wasn’t far from them in New Zealand, so it’d be no surprise to me for him to be a Hunter Cup horse.” HRV Media
The Justin Campbell stable has been spending plenty of time in the harness racing winners’ circle of late, but his latest victory was arguably more special than most. Really Fayfay produced a courageous effort to lead throughout the Hygain Release for fillies and mares over 1609 metres at Hobart last night. The five-year-old was given no peace for the first 400 metres when attacked for the lead by Sweet Pea Jasper, which was eventually eased to take a sit. The win was made special because it was a family affair, with the daughter of Jr Mint bred by Campbell’s parents Anne and Malcom Campbell and owned by them in partnership with the trainer. It was the Really Fayfay’s first start for almost three months and Campbell was worried she might “knock up” owing to her being taken on early in the race, but she refused to wilt over the concluding stages. Really Fayfay held a clear margin over Fuscienne, with Really Fiesty running on well for third in 2:00.2. PETER STAPLES
Warragul Harness Racing Club administrators have declared the $434,000 upgrade to their track a huge success. Barrier trials were conducted last Saturday, giving trainers and drivers a feel for the circuit before the official opening race meeting on Monday, December 1. Works at the track have taken place since early October. Contractors have imported a massive amount of fill and have increased the camber of the two bends to 12.5 per cent, and the two straights to four per cent in line with modern animal welfare and competitor safety requirements. Improvements and repairs to perimeter fencing and a change of the type of material used on the track have also been incorporated. While suggesting the track needs a bit of time to settle in, drivers gave the surface a “thumbs up”. Also on Monday, the club celebrates 75 years of racing. Although trotting events have been staged at the Warragul Showgrounds site since the 1890's, a Warragul and District Trotting Club was formed in 1939, and conducted its first race meeting at Logan Park on November 18 that year. After a lapse during World War II, the club reformed in 1946 and changed its name to the Warragul Harness Racing Club in 1985. With the first race due to commence at around 1:30pm, the official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place just after 1pm. Course entry will be free to ensure a big crowd to witness the start of a new era in trotting at Warragul. KYLE GALLEY
As part of the Harnesslink Fantasy Ballarat Pacing Cup promotion, we will aid harness racing fans with their selections by providing profiles on each of the Cup’s 44 winners. The most popular provincial event on the calendar, the Ballarat Cup is scheduled to be run on December 13, with topliners such as Beautide and defending champion, Restrepo, being aimed at the feature. During its December 9 barrier draw breakfast, the Ballarat and District Trotting Club will conduct a ‘phantom call’ of the Harnesslink Fantasy Ballarat Pacing Cup based on the field selected by our panel of experts. Panellists will submit their top 12 members from the Cup’s honour roll, with a point system to decide the final line-up. The voice of the industry - Dan Mielicki – will then ‘call’ the race to determine which Cup winner can lay claim to being the greatest of them all! Enthusiasts are also invited to submit their fantasy field via the club’s Facebook page, with the person who correctly selects the most starters in the final fantasy field - including their finishing order - to receive a $1000 bet on this year’s Cup compliments of the Flying Horse Venue and hospitality on the night. 1971 SON OF NANCY (Dick Adios – Mona Nancy) Won Ballarat Cup off 12 yards in track record 2:07 Major wins include – 1969 and ’70 Mildura Cups 1971 A G Hunter Cup   1972 – MONARA (Dignus-Woorarra) Won Ballarat Cup off 12 yards in track record 2:06.6. Major wins include – 1972 and ’73 A G Hunter Cups 1972 South Australia Cup 1972 Bendigo Cup 1972 Two Inter Dominions heats (2nd in Final) PAUL COURTS
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