Day At The Track
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Mildura Cup postponed, Bendigo moved

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) advises this week’s Mildura Cup has been postponed. The decision was made to discourage participant travel throughout Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Mildura meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday night has now been cancelled. Thursday’s Bendigo meeting has been moved to Tuesday night. Trainers are reminded that those nominated at Bendigo not wishing to accept have the option to scratch by 8.30am tomorrow morning. Wednesday’s meetings at Stawell and Shepparton will go ahead as scheduled. HRV will tomorrow morning provide a more detailed view of how the racing calendar will look from Thursday onward. HRV's Trots Media

SENTrack

Pop-up station's first rights partner

Harness Racing Victoria has moved quickly to be part of SENTrack, becoming the ‘pop-up’ station’s first rights partner. Crocmedia launched SENTrack today in support of Australia’s racing, harness and greyhound industries - while those sports are still able to operate under COVID-19 guidelines. Harness Racing Victoria chief executive Dayle Brown said the code was thrilled to be part of SENTrack. “We are excited to be a founding partner in the launch of SENTrack, Australia’s newest audio and digital racing platform,” Brown said. “HRV has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Crocmedia, with programs such as Off the Bench and Trots Talk delivering trots media content throughout all parts of Victoria. “This extension of that relationship with one of Australia’s preeminent sports content innovators gains us new opportunities to boldly promote our content, including race broadcasts, stories, news and views, colour and fun projected nationally to new audiences. “This launch of three pop-up stations is a great start and we’re confident it will be celebrated by our audience and will help us tell the sport’s stories and grow our reach for years to come.” Crocmedia Chief Executive Officer, Craig Hutchison welcomed Harness Racing Victoria to SENTrack. “Harness racing is a vibrant part of our sporting fabric and we are honoured to support the hard-working industry participants who – like others - have been tremendously resilient during this challenging time,” Hutchison said. “At a time when fans are starved of sport due to COVID-19, it’s great to shine a light on the sport to increase community interest and mainstream appeal,” he added. Harness racing directly contributes $380m in economic value and 5,000 plus jobs to Victoria. There are 48 harness racing clubs across Victoria that employ trainers, drivers, stablehands, veterinarians, track maintenance personnel, country club officials, judges and many more. Catch all the action of the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton including the $24,000 IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic tonight on SENTrack in Melbourne on 1377 SEN+; in Perth on the 657 AM frequency; in Wollongong, NSW, on 1575 AM and via the SEN app.  

Cool Water Paddy,Harness racing

Open class pacers set to fly

The heats of northern Tasmania’s premier harness race, the Ladbrokes Easter Cup is just a week away, and many contenders for that series will line up at the Ladbrokes Racing Centre in Launceston tonight in the $12,000 Launceston Mile. The intriguing runner in the race is exciting pacer Cool Water Paddy who takes on the open class pacers for the first time in his career. The Juanita McKenzie-trained pacer has won nine of his 13 starts, with eight of those wins coming at his past eight efforts. Ricky Duggan has driven the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona in every start, and he is looking forward to seeing how the pacer takes the next step in his career. “He is a nice little horse, but he is stepping up to a few of the big guns this week, so it will be interesting to see how he can match up against them,” said driver Ricky Duggan when speaking on Tasracing’s From The Stables Podcast. Only seven horses will contest the race where Duggan believes the pacer will get every chance to get a good guide going forward.  “He has drawn the pole over the mile, so he has drawn good enough to get a good guide on how he is going to measure up with them,” said Duggan. The one slight query punters have is if Cool Water Paddy can hold the lead early with several horses in the race possessing good gate speed and Duggan is hopeful the pacer can hold up from the good draw. “I think he has (the speed early), he has drawn the backline a lot in his career and we have never drawn the front-row much to ask him to run the gate, on the few occasions I have asked him to come out he has come out pretty good,” said Duggan. Duggan has won more races than any other driver in Tasmanian Harness Racing history, and he is on the verge of driving 1700 winners, he currently sits on 1697 victories. Some of Cool Water Paddy’s rivals tonight include the Matthew Cooper-trained and driven Call Me Hector. A winner of 17 races, Call Me Hector holds the mantle of the state’s fastest pacer when he recorded a mile rate of 1m 54.3s in Hobart last September. The Art Major gelding loves to lead and bowl along in front in his races and coming back in distance to the sprint trip will suit the pacer whose most recent win was at the home of Victorian harness racing, Melton, in January. Illegal Immigrant is another strong chance in the race, and the Troy Hillier-trained and driven pacer has a good record over the distance, with three starts for two wins and one placing over the distance. You have to go back to September of 2018 to find the last time the pacer contested a race over the sprint trip when he flew around Melton in 1m 55.2s, he has high speed, and the small field suits his chances along with Call Me Hector in the race it will ensure the race is run at a handy tempo. The other highlight on the Launceston card is the $12,000 Launceston Belmont for the two-year-old fillies. The Ben Yole-trained Written In Silk is the race favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.85. Written In Silk, was a $20,000 purchase at last year’s Carrick Harness Yearling Sale and she has won two trials in preparation for her race track debut tonight. Fields for all races have been restricted to 10-horses to accommodate the Tasmanian Government’s directives regarding managing the spread of COVID-19. Horses that raced in Hobart on Friday were the first balloted followed by those with the lowest field selection points till a field of 10 was reached. Racing starts at 17:23.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

GOLD Crown Bathurst,Harness racing

Bathurst Gold Crown wrap

STAR filly Dr Susan added some serious Kiwi flavour to Bathurst’s huge Gold Crown night, but not without a scare. Just as she did in the Victoria Oaks, the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained filly galloped in the score-up and caused a false start. Thankfully, she got everything right in the Victoria Oaks and did the same at take-two at Bathurst when she surged through from the pole to hold the lead. That was effectively the race because driver Anthony Butt then rated things to his own terms in front then fended off a challenge from Amelia Rose and later Vincenzina to win easily. It’s continued a fantastic Aussie campaign for Dr Susan (Bettors Delight - Safredra - Mach Three). Her eight runs over here have netted six wins, a second and a fourth. She’s earned over $200,000 during the raid. Butt just missed a Group 1 double when former Kiwi pacer Perfect Stride was just edged-out by the much-improved Focus Stride in the Gold Chalice for three-year-old colts and geldings. It continued Perfect Stride’s frustrating run of minor placings in major races after his Victoria and NSW Derby placings. Perfect Stride had to burn to hold the front, copped some midrace pressure and was out-slugged by Focus Stride in slick 1: 55.7sec mile rate for 2260m. It was a big result for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati, who owns the first two. Focus Stride (Art Major - Sparkling Stride - Christian Cullen), trained and driven in Victoria by David Miles, managed just one placings from 11 runs as a two-year-old, but has gone to a new level this term with seven starts netting six wins and a second. Miles put the improvement down to having Focus Stride gelded. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos won last November’s NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac he threw Mark Purdon in the air after the race. He’s have done the same with the first person he saw if Covid-19 restrictions didn’t keep him away from Bathurst last night to watch his two-year-old filly Joanna win the Group 1 Gold Tiara final. “This is a fairytale come true,” he said. “Bathurst means so much to me. I won a consolation with one of the first horses I ever bought, Jodila in 2012 and I’ve gone back every year trying to win one of the big ones. “Add to it we’ve named this filly after Joanna (Danny’s wife) and it’s just the most amazing feeling.” Joanna led, copped plenty of midrace pressure from a headstrong Orchid Stride, and just kept finding to win in fantastic style for driver Amanda Turnbull and trainer Emma Stewart. Such was the pressure, Joanna (Somebeachsomewhere - Replem - Dream Away) took a full second off the class record with a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1730m. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli’s fairytale ride continued at Bathurst last night. Portelli was on cloud nine after his Bettors Delight colt Tasty Delight scored an upset win in the Group 2 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on March 7. It took him three weeks to raise the bar. Tasty Delight overcome a tricky draw and the hardest run in the race to win the Group 1 Gold Crown final. Hot favourite Lochinvar Chief led and dictated, but just when he looked set for victory, he started to wilt and Tasty Delight raised another effort after sitting parked. Tasty Delight grabbed victory right on the line from Lochinvar Chief with Clayton Tonkin’s Idyllic roaring home from a mile back for an eye-catching third.   By Adam Hamilton

A showcase night for Ryan Duffy and a double for his mate Mick Stanley took the headlines as racing returned to Tabcorp Park Melton. Duffy entered with three drives and made them all count, saluting on Shoshone Brave, Sundons Courage and Kasbah Kid, while Stanley extended his stellar season with two-year-olds as Bar Room Banta took the honours in the IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic. Every winning moment was enjoyed on Trots Chat, which debuted tonight as an accompaniment to Trots Vision. Here's a wrap of the winning moments: Race One: DNR Logistics Pace Who got up? Shoshone Brave (Isabel Walsh/Ryan Duffy) What happened? Shoshone Brave from the inside gate found leader's back behind Cocosfella. They found separation at the last bend and Shoshone Brave won handsomely. Ryan Duffy: "He did what he set out to do today. He showed in the end he was the best horse in the race and finished off that way."   Race Two: VHRC Carlotta's Pride Trotters Free For All Who got up? Red Hot Tooth (Kari Males/Kerryn Manning) What happened? Red Hot Tooth cruised on to I Am Pegasus' back out of the gates and then advanced to the breeze with little trouble. Comfortably accounted for Auntie Poppy in the straight to show her class in a comfortable win. Kerryn Manning: "I'm pleased to actually win a race on her, been so close so many times. She's a horse who gives everything every time. She got into another gear when she found the straight and just tries her best."   Race Three: TAB Multiplier Trotters Handicap Who got up? Sundons Courage (Brad Angove/Ryan Duffy). What happened? Nothing, and then everything. Father Christmas put them to sleep early with Izmok tucked nicely on his back, before Anywhere Hugo led up the three-wide line ahead of Sundons Courage and Majestuoso, with the latter two bristling late to try and mow down the fresh front runners. Majestuoso got his nose in front in the dying stages only to gallop with a few metres to run and being relegated, with second-placed Sundons Courage instead claiming the win. Majestuoso was relegated to third, with Izmok elevated from third to second. Owing to the protest there was no post-race interview.   Race Four: IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic Who got up? Bar Room Banta (Michael Stanley) What happened? Bar Room Banta held out Jilliby Retro's early challenge to lead and cleared out as they entered the home straight. Keayang Kamikaze was the best of those running on but Bar Room Banta proved much too good, winning by 10 metres.   Race Five: Hygain Captain Sandy Free For All Who got up? Kasbah Kid (Geoff Webster/Ryan Duffy) What happened? Ryan Duffy made it a third salute from five outings with Kasbah Kid tucking behind Forty Thieves out of the gates. The pace stayed honest as Born To Rocknroll ran along in the breeze and when the sprint lane opened Kasbah Kid was ready to pounce. Ryan Duffy: "It's always good to get the support of the trainers and getting the opportunity to drive horses like this is something you dream of being able to do."   Race Six: Allied Express 3YO Classic Who got up? Keayang Jackie (Marg Lee/Glen Craven) What happened? Maajida worked to the lead ahead of Soho Gloria Jane, which meant she parked her main danger - Its Beaujolais - for the last lap. The Emma Stewart runner looked to be cruising at the final turn but paid for her early effort as the pack swarmed, with Keayang Jackie saluting for a third win from as many starts. Glen Craven: "She's a lovely filly. She's got really high speed. She's a better sit-sprinter, and with a smaller field we were able to get a good trail and she was able to do the job up the straight."   Race Seven: Alabar Pace Who got up? American Zest (Michael Stanley) What happened? It was a procession early as Kualoa led with no pressure until the final turn. While Idealsomemagic loomed large on her back, it was American Zest who finished off the best from the one-one to salute ahead of the four-year-old mare, with Repeat After Me running well into third.   Race Eight: Apco Service Stations Pace Who got up? Ellmers Hoofing It (Amanda Turnbull/James Herbertson) What happened? The punters came late and got plenty as Ellmers Hoofing It mowed down leader Blingittothemax late. The latter had worked to the front in the early stages and led for all but the closing stages, with James Herbertson swooping in late to win. James Herbertson: "Lucky to get off the pegs there at the start and we just had to make it a dash home, which we were able too."   HRV Trots Media

Zeke Slater always has his eye out for a bargain buy, and last night in Hobart he was in the winner’s stall with Victoria Pass who was stepping out for his first start for the Slater stable. The seven-year-old was well supported in early markets before easing out to $15 when scoring in the Ladbrokes Park Pace. From the wide draw, the pacer raced three-wide and three-back over the final 1200 metres of the race, which was a surprise to trainer Zeke Slater. “I didn’t think he would get that far back,” said trainer Zeke Slater after the race who explained that the pre-race plans with driver Todd Rattray were thrown out of the window mid-race. “Todd commenced his move at about the 1300m, and I told him to be the first to go, but they all came out in front of him so he couldn’t do much about that,” said the winning trainer. “He is not a fast horse, but he is strong, he is a pretty laid-back dude around the stables, but when he gets out on the racetrack, he wants to go,” explained Slater about his recent stable purchase. “Eddie Murdoch had a few on the market, and I ended up buying three off him … I had a few people keen to get involved, and this guy has owners from different parts of Australia and New Zealand,” explained Slater. “There are no immediate plans. Hopefully, we keep racing, and we will just pick a race out for him,” he added. The win of Victoria Pass was the first leg of a training double for Slater who scored later in the night with Capitallee in the Triple M Hobart Pace. The gelding had won two of his four previous races but was a beaten favourite in Launceston the week prior. “It was my fault for his poor effort in Launceston last start, I flattened him in trackwork before that race,” said the trainer. From barrier two driver Troy McDonald took the gelded son of Mach Three straight to the lead where he scored a two-metre win over Betterthanfetta. “He probably needs a break, but with the potential shutdown I will keep pressing on with him,” said the trainer. “With his good gate speed, he should pick up couple more,” added Slater. Punters were on the ball early with Dyslexic ending a run of second placings in the Cascade Draught Pace for three-year-old’s. The pacer was well handled by Rodney Ashwood for Victorian trainer Kate Hargreaves. Trainer Kate Hargraves was delighted with the win. “I was wrapt with his performance as were his owners,” she said. Given the current travel restrictions in place the pacer will remain in Tasmania. “He will have a light week and then we will look for something for him in the next few weeks, he’s staying in Tassie for now as its too hard to bring him back with everything going on,” added Hargreaves.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Trainer Mr. Lang Inwood (JUST A HORSE) RWWA Stewards yesterday conducted the inquiry into a report received from RWWA Senior Investigator Mr. Geoff Johnson in relation to an allegation that on Tuesday 17th March 2020, Mr. Johnson observed Harness Trainer Mr. Lang Inwood at his registered training premises stomach tubing JUST A HORSE which was nominated, and engaged to race in Race 5 at Gloucester Park, that evening. After hearing evidence from Mr. Johnson, Mr. Inwood and RWWA Manager Veterinary Services Dr. J Medd, Stewards issued the following charges: Charge 1 – RWWA Harness Rule of Racing 193 - Stomach tubing, atomisers and other devices The particulars of the charge being that on Tuesday 17th March 2020, Mr. Inwood, at his registered training premises, did stomach tube the pacer JUST A HORSE, which was nominated to compete in Race 5 at Gloucester Park that evening. Charge 2 – RWWA Harness Rule of Racing 196C – Administering Substances The particulars of the charge being that on Tuesday 17th March 2020, Mr. Inwood did, at his registered training premises, administer the alkalinising agent “Neutralizer” (sodium citrate) by way of stomach tube to the pacer JUST A HORSE on the same day it was scheduled to race at Gloucester Park in Race 5, and accordingly did administer an alkalinising agent contrary to sub-rule (1) of HR196C. Mr. Inwood pleaded guilty to both charges, and after hearing submissions on penalty, the matter was adjourned to enable Stewards to determine penalty. The suspension of Mr. Inwood’s licences to train and drive applied as of 17th March 2020, pending outcome of the inquiry, continues to apply.   Media Contact: Lauren Prater RWWA Public Relations Manager P: 08 9445 5168 / M: 0488 904 723 E: lauren.prater@rwwa.com.au

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has moved quickly to be part of SENTrack, becoming the ‘pop-up’ station’s first rights partner. Crocmedia launched SENTrack today in support of Australia’s racing, harness and greyhound industries - while those sports are still able to operate under COVID-19 guidelines. HRV chief executive Dayle Brown said the code was thrilled to be part of SENTrack. “We are excited to be a founding partner in the launch of SENTrack, Australia’s newest audio and digital racing platform,” Brown said. “HRV has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Crocmedia, with programs such as Off the Bench and Trots Talk delivering trots media content throughout all parts of Victoria. “This extension of that relationship with one of Australia’s preeminent sports content innovators gains us new opportunities to boldly promote our content, including race broadcasts, stories, news and views, colour and fun projected nationally to new audiences. “This launch of three pop-up stations is a great start and we’re confident it will be celebrated by our audience and will help us tell the sport’s stories and grow our reach for years to come.” Crocmedia Chief Executive Officer, Craig Hutchison welcomed Harness Racing Victoria to SENTrack. “Harness racing is a vibrant part of our sporting fabric and we are honoured to support the hard-working industry participants who – like others - have been tremendously resilient during this challenging time,” Hutchison said. “At a time when fans are starved of sport due to COVID-19, it’s great to shine a light on the sport to increase community interest and mainstream appeal,” he added. Harness racing directly contributes $380m in economic value and 5,000 plus jobs to Victoria. There are 48 harness racing clubs across Victoria that employ trainers, drivers, stablehands, veterinarians, track maintenance personnel, country club officials, judges and many more. Catch all the action of the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton including the $24,000 IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic tonight on SENTrack in Melbourne on 1377 SEN+; in Perth on the 657 AM frequency; in Wollongong, NSW, on 1575 AM and via the SEN app. LISTEN TO DAYLE BROWN TALK TO GERARD WHATELEY ON SENTRACK:   Harness Racing Victoria

Effective immediately. HRNSW advises that the following requirements relate to all harness meetings:   Each person seeking entry to a venue MUST complete the Infectious Disease Declaration form and provide this form at the point of entry to the venue- NO DECLARATION NO ENTRY; As part of the Infectious Disease Declaration Form, all persons will be required to sign a release and waiver agreement indemnifying HRNSW and the relevant harness racing Club.   HRNSW Declaration Form and Australian Government Department of Health Facts Sheet   To facilitate seamless entry to the venue, it is desirable that the form is completed prior to attending each venue. All licensed participants are required to produce their physical harness racing licence cards or electronic version prior to entry to the venue being granted- NO LICENCE NO ENTRY;   Trainers are limited to ONE (1) stablehand- Upon application to HRNSW an exception may apply in the case of a Trainer with three (3) or more horses entered at a race meeting;   Trainers are required to provide the details of ALL stablehands for each race meeting to HRNSW prior to 10.30am, two (2) days before each race meeting;   Participants MUST leave the track immediately after fulfilling their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules;   For further information on this matter contact: Integrity Manager Michael Prentice or Chairman of Stewards Grant Adams  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au (02) 9722 6600 gadams@hrnsw.com.au (02) 9722 6600  

Racing’s welcomed return at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight not only brings short-term relief but may also provide a platform for the long-term if Chris Alford’s book of drives are any gauge. The Schweppes Metropolitan Drivers Premiership leader has enjoyed two Group 1 wins with both Kualoa and I Am Pegasus, and tonight the once star three-year-olds continue their evolution as they progress to the open-age ranks. This is particularly the case for Kualoa, the Emma Stewart-trained mare who has won 13 of her 19 starts to date and more than $300,000 in stakes, and steps out in the Alabar Pace at 9.05pm an even money favourite with the TAB.com.au. The short price is despite a couple of question marks, with Kualoa first up since July 6 and taking her first steps in a transition that will define her future. “It is always hard when they come up from three-year-old into open age,” Alford said. “It’s the toughness of it. In their age group when they are better than the others you can give them a breather here and there. When you are up against the best open age horses the pressure is on from the get go.” Alford thinks that may well be the case for Kualoa tonight, with the mare drawn gate one, so well positioned to push for the lead but also susceptible to early pressure. “I’m not sure if she will hold the front,” Alford said. “Vandanta could be the problem, but she does get out pretty good.  “She’s a quality mare. She had one trial six weeks or so ago and felt really good. I’m sure she’s the best horse in the race, but she is first up in a long time and am sure she will improve for the run.” Courtesy of victory in the Group 1 Breed For Speed final in February, I Am Pegasus has had a more substantial into tonight’s test, the Group 3 VHRC Carlottas Pride Trotters Free For All. But the Joe Vassallo-trained trotter also comes in with question marks, having been pulled up last start after being squeezed early in running and racing roughly. Alford said it was the result of a wider concern. “She seems to have a lot of trouble off the second row,” he said, a fate she’ll have to deal with again tonight, being drawn in gate nine as a result of her out of the draw status. “Last run at Melton she was out control when they got away and she got squeezed up. “We have done a bit of work and hopefully that settles her down a bit. If she settles she is just as good with a sit as she is out in front, we just haven’t seen it yet.” Alford’s remaining drives include Vouchers for trainer Jess Tubbs in the Allied Express 3YO Classic, who he said was “pretty good at Cranbourne running a mile in 1:55 and did it easy”. But Alford said Tubbs’ husband, Greg Sugars, “would know her better than me” and he’s chosen to keep the steer on brilliant filly Maajida. Alford will also steer Stewart’s Born To Rocknroll in the Hygain Captain Sandy Free For All, noting “his first run was plan when he was second, but his Charlton Cup run was really good and he is getting back on track”. And finally Freddy Funk in the first, the DNR Logistics Pace, who he said was a “bit out of his grade”.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

The Central Victorian community of Avenel is perhaps best known as the hometown of one of our most famous bush rangers - but the town's pin up boy of harness racing is also as "game as Ned Kelly". The town's famous bushranger terrorised country Victoria in the late 1800s, and the Avenel-based gelding Reactor Now (Auckland Reactor-Who's Sorry Now (Western Ideal) now seems to be following the same path, but with his eye on even greater deeds. Father-and-son combination David Aiken and his reinsman son Josh have produced the gelding for three eye-catching wins from four outings. At his most recent race start at Kilmore, the four-year-old sat parked outside the leader and then ran away from his rivals to win by 22 metres-setting a new track record along the way of 1.53-4. The time shaved .01 of a second off the previous best performance, set back in October of 2014, by former Scott Stewart-trained champion Bitobliss, a winner of 24 races and nearly $500k. Click here to watch the race. And at his two starts prior to venturing to Kilmore, Reactor Now set tongues wagging at Shepparton. On the first occasion he spread-eagled the field with a 33.3 metre win on February 27, following up with a more "sedate" 2.9 metre victory a fortnight later. Click here to watch the 27th February race. Click here to watch the 13th March race. Reactor Now has five wins from eight lifetime starts for earnings of $21,450. He's without doubt a magnificent looking horse destined for bigger things. He was fortuitously purchased after the APG Gold 2016 sale by Graeme and Liz Old, their nephew Frank and his wife Robyn, and their daughter Narelle Hall and husband Steve. The deal was sealed when the group decided to go looking at what had been passed in at the end of the day. Reactor Now was purchased with the input of Craig Wight, husband of well-known Great Western trainer-driver Michelle, who is a keen student on breeding, and Frank who prides himself on picking them on looks. The gelding made his debut in February of last year and after giving Wight's brother-in-law, reinsman Grant Campbell a tough time through being over excited, got around, albeit unplaced and 27 metres from the winner. Reactor Now was back at the track a month later and showed his better qualities with a strong win at Ballarat after being "a mile" off them in the first lap. He then continued on his winning way 13 days later at Terang with a sub-two-minute mile rate. The pacer was far from disgraced when fifth (beaten 11m) in the VHRSC Vic Sires Classic at Melton in 1.55-7 and was then sent for a spell. Reactor Now is undoubtedly destined to be one of the smart ones from a fine crop of Auckland Reactor progeny of his season. Auckland Reactor now has 149 individual winners with more than $4 million in earnings in Australia and New Zealand combined. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Dr Susan has become that filly with the habit of being in the right place at the right time. Today that right place is NOT in New Zealand. The Cran Dalgety-Nathan Purdon trained filly is a red hot favourite to give Kiwi harness fans something to smile about in the A$100,000 Gold Bracelet Final at Bathurst tonight (9.50pm NZ time). Which is pretty much how 2020 has gone for her: right place, right time. She left New Zealand soon after her Sires’ Stakes third to Amazing Dream on December 31, an ambitious call considering she wasn’t one of the leading fillies in the country and an extended Australian campaign is anything but cheap. But it has proved to be a masterstroke by the Canterbury trainers as Dr Susan has kept improving and kept getting the right draws. After an easy win at Menangle to kick off her Australian campaign she followed a Victoria Oaks heat second with a win in the classic. That was largely due to drawing better than arch rival Stylish Memphis and leading throughout, although not without a score-up gallop that caused a false start. She then returned to Menangle to win her NSW Oaks heat before a brave but luckless run in the Final, won by Stylish Memphis. And while the latter headed home to New Zealand and ultimately the spelling paddock along with almost every other horse in this country Dr Susan stayed in Australia where harness racing continues for now. Just to continue her theme of being in the the right place at the right time, she has barrier one in her three-year-old fillies final tonight and driver Anthony is supremely confident of another major win. “She has been quite remarkable since she got here,” says Butt. “She has just got better and better and she hasn’t even looked like getting tired. She is loving it and to be honest she really should win again. “She has good gate speed and I think she will lead all the way.” While New Zealand harness racing fans don’t have a whole heap to get enthused about at home it is still gratifying to see our horses winning serious races in Australia, even if is does leave us more than a touch envious. And Butt could combine with another of those when Perfect Stride contests the A$100,000 Gold Chalice Final for three-year-old boys (10.53pm NZ time). He has been consistent in both the Vic and NSW Derby series over the last two months and also gets the ace draw tonight. “He has good gate speed so will go close to leading but there is a bit of speed outside him from Crunch Time so if he crossed up things might get a little more interesting. “But I still think he is the best horse here.” Butts realises how lucky Australian harness racing is to be continuing with all his friends back home sidelined and he says the protocol measures there are being strictly adhered to. “We realise we have a roll to play and I can see us breaking into regions and a place like Menangle will be ideal for one-track racing two or three times a week so we can keep racing going without the risks of travelling. “So we are hoping we can race on through.”   Michael Guerin

The trots are on so it's time to put everything else out of our minds and focus on the action on track this weekend. That is the promise of this week's Grand Circuit podcast led by Cody Winnell and Blake Redden as they delve into the Melton card for tomorrow night. The boys also discuss some exciting announcements in the space of trots coverage in the coming days. CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN:   HRV Trots Media

In the heart of the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday the IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic will prompt the most nerves, as some talented and well-bred two-year-olds take their first racing steps. Let’s take a deep dive into who they are, where they’ve come from and what they’ve done thus far, before settling in for the $24,000 Classic at 7.32pm tomorrow. Every race, including interviews and analysis, will be able to be enjoyed live and free on Trots Vision. Major Angel (trainer Russell Jack, driver Josh Duggan) The American Ideal colt is out of Art Major broodmare Mattie Angel, a winner of one race from only five starts who’s had two progeny race – Rockon Angel (35 starts, 7 wins, $28,903 stakes) and Gracie Angel (6 starts, 3 win, $35,253 in stakes). Like Major Angel, all were bred and owned by Lemnos resident Ronald Angel, with tonight being his latest colt’s second start after opening $4 on debut at Shepparton on March 13, when he showed good early speed to lead from gate two before allowing favourite, Ozzie Playboy, to advance and provide cover. He lost some touch over the back straight as the leaders accelerated but ran the race out well to run third. In his only previous trial, at Kilmore on March 3, he would run third, four metres behind Brent Lilley’s Island Fire Dance (unraced) and a head behind Rita Burnett’s Twisted Bliss (two fifth placings from two starts). Bar Room Banta (trainer-driver Michael Stanley) The A Rocknroll Dance colt is out of Christian Cullen mare Jerada Dance, a winner of four of her 19 starts and $23,420 in stake money. Bar Room Banta is her sixth foal, with Jeradas Delight (by Bettors Delight) the most successful of her progeny, having won nine races and $70,160 in stakes from her 37 starts and qualifying for her 2018 Breeders Crown three-year-old final when she ran seventh, finishing 32 metres in arears of winner Speak No Evil. Bred by Roselands’ Ray Cahill and on-sold to Brendan and Anne Maree James of BFJ Bloodstock, he ran second on debut at Kilmore on March 12 after starting $1.50 favourite, when he advanced from gate six to find the back of leader Blitzern. The latter had it easy out front and then zipped home in a 27-second final quarter, with Bar Room Banta hitting the line well to be beaten only 2.4 metres with an almost 20-metre gap back to third. It followed a February 22 trial at Ballarat when Bar Room Banta won by eight metres from stablemate Pantaloon, who has since gone on and won its only start by 10 metres at Echuca. Their trial caught the eye of Craig Rail, who put Bar Room Banta into his Trial File Blackbook, noting the colt “was extremely impressive in scoring. He gained a nice run behind the leader and accelerated beautifully in the home straight to win in fast time”. Sheffield Peak (trainer-driver Rita Burnett) An early debutant when third at Kilmore on January 2 beaten 55 metres by Ultimate Exclusive, Sheffield Peak then returned to run seventh at Maryborough, having broken when advancing three wide. The Artspeak colt is out of Staffordshire Park mare Chloe Sheffield, whose second foal Nathans Courage (by Courage Under Fire) was second in the 2016 Golden Nugget and won the 2017 Night Of Thunder, one of 12 wins and $153,984 in stakes. Snapped up for $20,000 at the 2019 APG sale, Sheffield Peak’s most recent trial was a third placing at Melton on March 10, when she finished 7.5 metres behind Sahara Storm and Jilliby Retro but ahead of winning two-year-old Momentslikethese. Captain Oh Captain (trainer Amanda Turnbull, driver James Herbertson) Making its debut, the Captaintreacherous colt is the second foal and the first to race for mare Artistic Gal (by Artistic Fella), who was a three-time winner and a half-sister to Obahma Joy ($180,618), Kingofthestars ($111,279) and Make Mine Joe ($95,060). Bred by Galthorn Farm, he drew a final bid of $60,000 at the 2019 Melbourne APG sale and makes his race debut after running second in his Shepparton trial on March 10, when beaten a short-half-head by unraced Spring In His Step. In Craig Rail's Trial File, he noted "Captain Oh Captain began well to get to the markers first, took cover behind Spring In His Step and was almost able to get up on the line". Keayang Kamikaze (trainer Marg Lee, driver Jason Lee) Another debutant, the Bettors Delight colt fetched $120,000 at the 2019 Sydney APG sale, having been snapped up by trainer Marg Lee in partnership with the successful Levarg Racing Group. He is out of Libertybelle Midfrew, a brilliant Christian Cullen mare whose 51 starts produced 19 wins and $640,497 in stakes, including winning two Western Australia Group 1s in 2014 - the Oaks and then the Golden Nugget - and then qualifying for a start in the 2015 Inter Dominion Final when ninth, 17 metres behind winner Lennytheshark. Keayang Kamikaze’s only trial produced a second placing, finishing a half-neck behind unraced three-year-old stablemate Keayang Kruezer, a performance that booked a ticket into Craig Rail’s Trial File Blackbook. Rail noted “both horses obviously showed ability with the final quarter being run in a sizzling 27.2 seconds”. Treacherous Rock (trainer Freddy Taiba, driver Greg Sugars) This Captaintreacherous debutant is the latest in a long line of nice types out of La Saint (by Panorama), who won eight of her 37 starts before producing eight race-winning foals. That succession kicked off with prolific Saint William, whose 321 starts would yield 64 wins and $798,759 in stakes, and included 2012 two-year-old Breeders Challenge winner No Ah Saint ($232,035).  A $45,000 purchase at Sydney’s 2019 APG sale, Treacherous Rock’s only trial was a second (1.5 metres behind Sayitaintso Joe) at Melton on March 16 when, according to Craig Rail’s Trial File, he “tried to lead throughout and was nabbed right on the line”. Jilliby Retro (trainer Marg Lee, driver Glen Craven) Punters didn’t miss him when Jilliby Retro debuted at Terang on March 18 and he rewarded them, working to the front from gate three in a quick lead time and sustaining pressure from Jaziah throughout before winning in a 1:57.5 mile rate over the short distance. That followed two second placings in trials at Geelong on March 2 (beaten a head by Something Bettor) and at Melton on March 10 (beaten a half-head by Sahara Storm). By Bettors Delight out of Christian Cullen mare Charlotte Church ($86,280), Jilliby Retro is a full-brother to Vicbred winner, Breeders Crown placegetter and Inter Dominion finalist Wrappers Delight ($414,224) and a half to Group 3 winner Watch List, pedigree that saw him fetch $85,000 at the 2019 Sydney APG Sales. Pantaloon (trainer Michael Stanley, driver Ryan Duffy) Stanley Stables dropped $35,000 on this Somebeachsomewhere colt at the 2019 Sydney APG sales and the ownership group has already recouped 10 per cent back in winnings after Pantaloon won on debut at Echuca on March 3. Sitting in the breeze on debut, the doors opened for Pantaloon when heading into the final turn the leader (Lay The Smackdown) galloped and those trailing were inconvenienced, with Pantaloon getting home in a 29-second final quarter to win by 10 metres. By Somebeachsomewhere, Pantaloon is the first foal out of The Final Frontier ($30,263), who is a half-sister to Aspiring Artist ($170,307), Rap Artist ($108,041) and Major Exclusive ($92,295), the latter a winner of 11 of his 40 starts including the 2019 South Australian Derby. Pantaloon was an eye-catcher at his trials, winning first up at Melton on February 11 and then running second to stablemate Bar Room Banta at Ballarat on February 22, when Craig Rail noted in his Trial File that Pantaloon set up “the genuine tempo”. JASON BONNINGTON'S GOODFORM ANALYSIS FOR THE IRT AUSTRALIA SHAKAMAKER CLASSIC: There are so many angles in play for this Shakamaker Classic that it’s not unreasonable to feel like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix when assessing the form. Markets will obviously provide a significant guide with the first-starters engaged but the two most exciting youngsters to this form analyst’s eye are BAR ROOM BANTA (2) and CAPTAIN OH CAPTAIN (4). BAR ROOM BANTA (2) was beaten in moderate time on debut but somehow made ground in a freakish final quarter for juveniles and his trial at Ballarat prior to that was something to behold. He narrowly gets the nod over Captain Treacherous debutante CAPTAIN OH CAPTAIN (4) who also looked special in his Shepparton preliminary. The biggest watch runner for markets is KEAYANG KAMIKAZE (5) who debuts here on the back of a Terang trial win and is bred deep in the purple being by Bettors Delight and out of a multiple Group1-winning mare in Libertybelle Midfrew but that’s far from the end of the story given JILLIBY RETRO (7) and PANTALOON (8) have already got the job done on raceday. Whatever transpires this will be a serious form race for the future.     HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

Blackjackhanover may have only been placed in two of his last 28 starts, but the gelded son of Cardmaster Hanover finally gets his chance to bounce back into the winner’s list when he lines up in the Tas Equine Veterinary Services Pace at Ladbrokes Park in Hobart tonight. The Campbell Watt trained pacer has won 10 of his 126 starts and has been placed on a further 35 occasions. Tonight, the pacer will contest a race for horses that are rated between 50 to 59 for trainers who trained ten or less winners last season. It is a big drop in class from contesting the states premier race, the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup, at his most recent start where he finished 16 metres behind Ryley Major where the trainer was pleased with the run. “I was thrilled with him in that race, Smiley (Paul Hill) said he had plenty of horse left going over the line,” said trainer Campbell Watt. One concern in tonight’s race for the trainer is the outside of the front-row draw in the 2090-metre event. “If he drew in a bit closer he would have been a good thing I would have thought, I still think he can win from out there, it’s no point going back, he is a go-forward horse, and he can get on the bit at times,” said the Mt. Seymour based trainer who has once again given the driving responsibilities to Malcom Jones who uses his five-point concession claim tonight. “He will do all my driving now, I would have let him drive him in the Tasmania Cup but the powers to be wouldn’t let him, he is a well-mannered kid and drives good,” said the trainer. Watt at 70 years of age has three horses in work with his wife Pam who is an integral part of his stable, he and Pam have recently stopped breeding horses as in Campbell’s words “age is catching up to us.” Blackjackhanover is rated a $4.50 chance with Ladbrokes behind the Taylor Ford-trained duo Ashleys Angel and The Thug at $4.40. Ford spoke about their chances on the From The Stables Podcast. Tonight’s meeting will be televised on Sky Racing 1 and TasracingTV’s live Stream with the first race set down for 18:40. Once again, the meeting will be closed to the public with only harness racing licence holders and essential race day personal allowed entry to the track.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) advises this week’s Mildura Cup has been postponed. The decision was made to discourage participant travel throughout Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Mildura meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday night has now been cancelled. Thursday’s Bendigo meeting has been moved to Tuesday night. Trainers are reminded that those nominated at Bendigo not wishing to accept have the option to scratch by 8.30am tomorrow morning. Wednesday’s meetings at Stawell and Shepparton will go ahead as scheduled. HRV will tomorrow morning provide a more detailed view of how the racing calendar will look from Thursday onward. HRV's Trots Media
Harness Racing Victoria has moved quickly to be part of SENTrack, becoming the ‘pop-up’ station’s first rights partner. Crocmedia launched SENTrack today in support of Australia’s racing, harness and greyhound industries - while those sports are still able to operate under COVID-19 guidelines. Harness Racing Victoria chief executive Dayle Brown said the code was thrilled to be part of SENTrack. “We are excited to be a founding partner in the launch of SENTrack, Australia’s newest audio and digital racing platform,” Brown said. “HRV has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Crocmedia, with programs such as Off the Bench and Trots Talk delivering trots media content throughout all parts of Victoria. “This extension of that relationship with one of Australia’s preeminent sports content innovators gains us new opportunities to boldly promote our content, including race broadcasts, stories, news and views, colour and fun projected nationally to new audiences. “This launch of three pop-up stations is a great start and we’re confident it will be celebrated by our audience and will help us tell the sport’s stories and grow our reach for years to come.” Crocmedia Chief Executive Officer, Craig Hutchison welcomed Harness Racing Victoria to SENTrack. “Harness racing is a vibrant part of our sporting fabric and we are honoured to support the hard-working industry participants who – like others - have been tremendously resilient during this challenging time,” Hutchison said. “At a time when fans are starved of sport due to COVID-19, it’s great to shine a light on the sport to increase community interest and mainstream appeal,” he added. Harness racing directly contributes $380m in economic value and 5,000 plus jobs to Victoria. There are 48 harness racing clubs across Victoria that employ trainers, drivers, stablehands, veterinarians, track maintenance personnel, country club officials, judges and many more. Catch all the action of the eight-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton including the $24,000 IRT Australia Shakamaker Classic tonight on SENTrack in Melbourne on 1377 SEN+; in Perth on the 657 AM frequency; in Wollongong, NSW, on 1575 AM and via the SEN app.  
The heats of northern Tasmania’s premier harness race, the Ladbrokes Easter Cup is just a week away, and many contenders for that series will line up at the Ladbrokes Racing Centre in Launceston tonight in the $12,000 Launceston Mile. The intriguing runner in the race is exciting pacer Cool Water Paddy who takes on the open class pacers for the first time in his career. The Juanita McKenzie-trained pacer has won nine of his 13 starts, with eight of those wins coming at his past eight efforts. Ricky Duggan has driven the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona in every start, and he is looking forward to seeing how the pacer takes the next step in his career. “He is a nice little horse, but he is stepping up to a few of the big guns this week, so it will be interesting to see how he can match up against them,” said driver Ricky Duggan when speaking on Tasracing’s From The Stables Podcast. Only seven horses will contest the race where Duggan believes the pacer will get every chance to get a good guide going forward.  “He has drawn the pole over the mile, so he has drawn good enough to get a good guide on how he is going to measure up with them,” said Duggan. The one slight query punters have is if Cool Water Paddy can hold the lead early with several horses in the race possessing good gate speed and Duggan is hopeful the pacer can hold up from the good draw. “I think he has (the speed early), he has drawn the backline a lot in his career and we have never drawn the front-row much to ask him to run the gate, on the few occasions I have asked him to come out he has come out pretty good,” said Duggan. Duggan has won more races than any other driver in Tasmanian Harness Racing history, and he is on the verge of driving 1700 winners, he currently sits on 1697 victories. Some of Cool Water Paddy’s rivals tonight include the Matthew Cooper-trained and driven Call Me Hector. A winner of 17 races, Call Me Hector holds the mantle of the state’s fastest pacer when he recorded a mile rate of 1m 54.3s in Hobart last September. The Art Major gelding loves to lead and bowl along in front in his races and coming back in distance to the sprint trip will suit the pacer whose most recent win was at the home of Victorian harness racing, Melton, in January. Illegal Immigrant is another strong chance in the race, and the Troy Hillier-trained and driven pacer has a good record over the distance, with three starts for two wins and one placing over the distance. You have to go back to September of 2018 to find the last time the pacer contested a race over the sprint trip when he flew around Melton in 1m 55.2s, he has high speed, and the small field suits his chances along with Call Me Hector in the race it will ensure the race is run at a handy tempo. The other highlight on the Launceston card is the $12,000 Launceston Belmont for the two-year-old fillies. The Ben Yole-trained Written In Silk is the race favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.85. Written In Silk, was a $20,000 purchase at last year’s Carrick Harness Yearling Sale and she has won two trials in preparation for her race track debut tonight. Fields for all races have been restricted to 10-horses to accommodate the Tasmanian Government’s directives regarding managing the spread of COVID-19. Horses that raced in Hobart on Friday were the first balloted followed by those with the lowest field selection points till a field of 10 was reached. Racing starts at 17:23.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing
STAR filly Dr Susan added some serious Kiwi flavour to Bathurst’s huge Gold Crown night, but not without a scare. Just as she did in the Victoria Oaks, the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon-trained filly galloped in the score-up and caused a false start. Thankfully, she got everything right in the Victoria Oaks and did the same at take-two at Bathurst when she surged through from the pole to hold the lead. That was effectively the race because driver Anthony Butt then rated things to his own terms in front then fended off a challenge from Amelia Rose and later Vincenzina to win easily. It’s continued a fantastic Aussie campaign for Dr Susan (Bettors Delight - Safredra - Mach Three). Her eight runs over here have netted six wins, a second and a fourth. She’s earned over $200,000 during the raid. Butt just missed a Group 1 double when former Kiwi pacer Perfect Stride was just edged-out by the much-improved Focus Stride in the Gold Chalice for three-year-old colts and geldings. It continued Perfect Stride’s frustrating run of minor placings in major races after his Victoria and NSW Derby placings. Perfect Stride had to burn to hold the front, copped some midrace pressure and was out-slugged by Focus Stride in slick 1: 55.7sec mile rate for 2260m. It was a big result for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati, who owns the first two. Focus Stride (Art Major - Sparkling Stride - Christian Cullen), trained and driven in Victoria by David Miles, managed just one placings from 11 runs as a two-year-old, but has gone to a new level this term with seven starts netting six wins and a second. Miles put the improvement down to having Focus Stride gelded. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos won last November’s NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac he threw Mark Purdon in the air after the race. He’s have done the same with the first person he saw if Covid-19 restrictions didn’t keep him away from Bathurst last night to watch his two-year-old filly Joanna win the Group 1 Gold Tiara final. “This is a fairytale come true,” he said. “Bathurst means so much to me. I won a consolation with one of the first horses I ever bought, Jodila in 2012 and I’ve gone back every year trying to win one of the big ones. “Add to it we’ve named this filly after Joanna (Danny’s wife) and it’s just the most amazing feeling.” Joanna led, copped plenty of midrace pressure from a headstrong Orchid Stride, and just kept finding to win in fantastic style for driver Amanda Turnbull and trainer Emma Stewart. Such was the pressure, Joanna (Somebeachsomewhere - Replem - Dream Away) took a full second off the class record with a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1730m. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ BRIAN Portelli’s fairytale ride continued at Bathurst last night. Portelli was on cloud nine after his Bettors Delight colt Tasty Delight scored an upset win in the Group 2 Sapling Stakes at Menangle on March 7. It took him three weeks to raise the bar. Tasty Delight overcome a tricky draw and the hardest run in the race to win the Group 1 Gold Crown final. Hot favourite Lochinvar Chief led and dictated, but just when he looked set for victory, he started to wilt and Tasty Delight raised another effort after sitting parked. Tasty Delight grabbed victory right on the line from Lochinvar Chief with Clayton Tonkin’s Idyllic roaring home from a mile back for an eye-catching third.   By Adam Hamilton
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