Dexter Dunn with Cran Dalgety and Murray Howard

Dunn delivers in Victoria Cup

The 2015 TAB Victoria Cup came down to ‘gate speed’. The 2240m feature harness racing sprint at TABCORP Park, Melton was taken out by New Zealand star Christen Me who blasted the gate to lead before running away with the $400,000 feature defeating Lennytheshark and Adore Me. The victory also sends Christen Me to a clear lead in the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit race, a title he claimed last season. All pre-race talk centred on Beautide, running from gate three and expected to lead from his favourable alley but the mighty pacer was tackling the event on the fresh side, having not raced since the Miracle Mile on November 29 in Sydney. But champion reinsman Dexter Dunn rolled the dice and charged hard off the gate with Christen Me and led comfortably while Beautide got away in third place. The decisive tactics from Dunn proved to be a masterstroke. The lead time was covered in 45.3 seconds. In-form pacer Philadelphia Man quickly rushed around the outside to race without cover before his stablemate Guaranteed made his move to park outside the leader. With early moves being made, Beautide was soon shuffled back in the pack, racing midfield. The first half was covered in 30.4 and 30.3 as Dunn continued to deal with Christen Me in front. Beautide was flushed out three-wide when champion mare Adore Me commenced her run but the pressure soon hit fever pitch as they entered the back straight for the final time. Christen Me traveled strongly with Guaranteed matching while Beautide was hustled along deeper on the track. The third quarter was covered in 27 seconds. At the top of the straight, Christen Me had sailed away from his rivals while Lennytheshark went back to the passing lane and Adore Me started to charge wider on the track. At the end, Christen Me scored easily by 2 metres with a further 3.5 metres back to Adore Me in third. The last section was also recorded in 27 seconds. The overall time was 2;40.0 and the winning milerate was 1;55.0. “I was actually surprised how easy I got over at the start; he travelled so easily and rounding the home turn he felt like he was jogging. He’s going better than ever and it’s a credit to everyone involved with the horse.” Winning driver Dexter Dunn declared. The victory also continues the love affair Christen Me has with Australian racing, the Christian Cullen – Splendid Dreams gelding is yet to miss a place in 10 starts on Aussie soil. Already this season, Christen Me has claimed the Miracle Mile, NZ Free-For-All, Bendigo Cup and now the Victoria Cup. Next week, Christen Me will attempt to defend his title in the Gr.1 $400,000 Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup. For Dunn and trainer Cran Dalgety, it is their second Victoria triumph together following their success in 2009 with Bettors Strike. Dalgety also prepared Desperate Comment who scored back to back victories in 1996/97. Christen Me now has 210 points in the race to be crowned Grand Circuit champion with three legs remaining; his nearest rival is For A Reason with 150 points. by Chris Barsby

Ciskei (inside)

Ciskei wins the Carrick Cup

Underrated pacer Ciskei powered his way to an impressive win in the Carrick Cup on Saturday to make it back-to-back wins in the feature race for harness racing premier trainer Barrie Rattray. With trainer's son Todd in the sulky, the Bettors Delight gelding began brilliantly from the standing start to settle outside of the leader and when Gareth Rattray sent his charge Driller Mac around the field to attack for the lead about 1600m out, Todd Rattray urged Ciskei forward tom assume control in front and the pair matched motors to the home turn. Ciskei kicked clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a powerful finish from Whisper Jet (Zeke Slater) to defeat that horse by a nose with the well backed Vande Velde (Christian Salter) a head away third. It was a popular win as Ciskei was well backed to win the New Norfolk Cup on Australia Day but he broke gait at a crucial stage of the race that may have cost him victory. "He's racing very well and should have won the New Norfolk Cup," Rattray said. "He was jogging going down the back straight when I think he got onto his bumpers and broke." "But the Carrick Cup was always his main aim so it's mission accomplished," he said. It was the trainer second success in as many years having won the 2014 edition with Devendra that went on to win the Devonport Cup. Devendra eventually made his way to the James Rattray stable in NSW where he performed brilliantly winning multiple races at Menangle and while Barrie is hopeful that might happen with Ciskei, he isn't counting on it. Peter Staples

Mick Burles wins the celebrity Pony Trot at Carrick on Cup Day

Burles shines in the sulky

Longford thoroughbred trainer Mick Burles was in the limelight during the spring carnival with his star galloper The Cleaner and he was back in the spotlight with another code at the Carrick Pacing Club's harness racing cup meeting on Saturday in Tasmania. Burles agreed to participate in a celebrity pony race and sporting The Cleaner's colours the wily horseman emerged triumphant aboard a little grey pony Burles nicknamed the Grey Flash. Burles emerged triumphant in a field of 10 that included apprentices Hayley McCarthy, Georgie Catania and Kyle Maskiell along with leading trainer Scott Brunton who almost got tipped out of the cart soon after the start. "The pony they gave me to drive ran last in the two children's races they put on before the celebrity race but maybe he was just getting warmed up for me," Burles said. "It was a great bit of fun and club is to be congratulated for putting something like this on for the crowd." "The crowd was huge and probably at least as big as the mob that went to the Longford Cup on New Year's Day," he said. Another novelty event was the ridden event with leading Tasmanian apprentice Ismail Toker emerging triumphant in a field of five. Peter Staples    

Beautide+(James+Rattray+after+a+win+at+Menangle.jpg

Inter champ stood down

Hopes of securing consecutive wins in harness racing’s pinnacle event - Inter Dominion – are in tatters for Beautide’s connections. Following a series of setbacks, which kept the gelding away from the races for nine weeks, Beautide has been stood down by stewards pending a vet’s examination. Stewards took the action following Beautide’s unplaced effort in last night’s Victoria Cup as the $4.30 second favourite, having been the favourite from the time of the barrier draw until half-hour before the Group One. Although the James Rattray-trained pacer cast a plate during the run, he appeared lacklustre from the time the mobile released the field. Upon returning to scale, it was discovered Beautide was “making a respiratory noise”, which led to stewards standing the son of Bettors Delight down until cleared by a vet. Beautide is scheduled to compete in an Inter Dominion heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 14. The TAB.com.au Final is due to be conducted at the same venue on March 1. PAUL COURTS

New Zealand harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety used a cliché to analyse the situation with Bit Of A Legend, but his point was clear. “It’s time to sink or swim.” That’s how Dalgety referred to the remainder of Bit Of A Legend’s season, which will involve several clashes at the elite level. Following the stallion’s success in last night’s The Pure Steel at Tabcorp Park Melton, Dalgety has aimed Bit Of A Legend at Saturday night’s A G Hunter Cup. The son of Bettors Delight will then tackle a heat of the Inter Dominion the following week, with connections hoping he will qualify for the Final, which is scheduled to be run at Menangle on March 1. “He is at that point now where it’s time to sink or swim,” Dalgety declared. “Now I will throw him in the deep end, and if he swims then great, and if he doesn’t, then we know he’s not good enough. “I’m not expecting him to win at his first crack against the big boys, but he has to show he can compete moving forward.” Driven by Dexter Dunn during his latest triumph, Bit Of A Legend trailed the leader, Uncle Wingnut, before finishing along the sprint lane to account for Smudge Bromac and the pacemaker. “He got a great trip and made the most of it,” Dalgety said. “I’m pleased with where he is at and now we will head to the Hunter Cup with him.” Covering the last half in 55.1 seconds, Bit Of A Legend rated 2:03.5 for the 2760-metre stand, stretching his record to 20 wins and 14 placings from 49 starts. PAUL COURTS

Punters who backed talented harness racing filly Fuscienne at Tattersall’s Park Hobart today were probably contemplating turning their betting tickets into confetti when the field swung for home. The heavily-backed Charlie James ($4.50 into $2) led comfortably, and when driver Ricky Duggan gave him more rein turning for home, he sped clear and looked to have a winning lead halfway along the home straight. Fuscienne, driven by Todd Rattray, settled last and didn’t improve until well into the back straight.  She was still a long way off the leader 200 metres out, but under strong driving, she slipped into overdrive and got up in the last bound to defeat Charlie James by a half-neck, while Note Worthy Lombo worked home well to grab third, but over 13 metres astern. Fuscienne drifted in the market when the big money arrived for Charlie James with her opening price of $1.60 drifting to start at $2.85 fixed odds and $3.10 on the TOTE. It was her second win from six starts, and while she is unlikely to ever reach the heights of her half-brother Beautide, she could measure up to the feats achieved by some other siblings. Fuscienne is also related to Death And Taxes (15 wins), Acutabovetherest (14 wins), Ashura (seven wins), I Pity The Fool (11 wins) and Ashkalina (14 wins). By Major In Art, Fuscienne’s dam Gorse Bush has produced nine foals and all have won. PETER STAPLES

Boom New Zealand pacer Christen Me is a firm favourite in his quest to join an elite harness racing fraternity. Within moments of the star’s brilliant Victoria Cup win at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, TAB reacted by cutting Christen Me’s quote for next week’s A G Hunter Cup to $3.60 on Fixed odds. Earlier this week Christen Me was on the third line of betting at $6. The Cran Dalgety-trained gelding is aiming to become just the fifth champion to successfully defend his crown since the time-honoured event’s inauguration in 1949. Springfield Globe was the ground breaker in 1961 and ’62, followed by Monara in 1973 and ’74, Pure Steel in ’77 and ’78 and Blossom Lady in ’94 and ’95. Minuteman Man is the only other dual winner having scored in 1964 and ’66, while Pure Steel also boasts a third triumph thanks to his 1980 success. Thrilled with Christen Me’s form, Dalgety is confident the six-year-old can complete consecutive Hunter Cup wins. “I couldn’t be happier with him,” Dalgety said. “He has pulled up a treat from tonight’s run and is ready to go again. “The draw will play a role in next week’s Hunter Cup, but I’m going into this even more confident with him than last year.” As for his latest win, Christen Me began brilliantly to lead from barrier six, with driver Dexter Dunn maintaining a steady tempo as Guaranteed worked at his wheel. Slipped more rein along the back straight, Christen Me was never in danger of defeat as he cruised to a two-metre win from Lennytheshark, which trailed the pacemaker throughout. After gaining a three-wide trail at the bell, Adore Me was three-and-a-half metres away third. “From six, going back at the start wasn’t really an option, so I thought I’d chance my arm and come out looking for the lead,” Dunn said. “Down the back he was travelling so well and when I turned for home I knew I had them covered.” Covering the last half in 54 seconds, the son of Christian Cullen – which finished third in the 2000 edition of the feature - rated 1:55 for the 2240 metres. Christen Me provided Dalgety his fourth win in the Grand Circuit event, having prepared Desperate Comment in 1996 and ’97 and Bettor Strike in 2009. The latter was driven by Dunn. PAUL COURTS

Master reinsman Gavin Lang proved to be a ladies’ man by scoring with four females at last night’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Driving in vintage form, Lang provided prominent trainer Emma Stewart with a winning quartet – all members of the ‘fairer sex’! Lang’s evening kicked off with promising youngster Lovelist, which outclassed her rivals in 1:58.5 over 2200 metres. After leading with ease from barrier two, Lovelist scored by there-and-a-half metres from Union Alley, with Smooth Showgirl a head away third. By Always A Virgin, the filly is from broodmare gem Lifeline, making her an ‘Aunt’ to another of Lang’s winners, Beauty Secret. A daughter of Armbro Operative, Beauty Secret is from Secret Life, which is from Lifeline. Also leading throughout, Beauty Secret accounted for her stablemate, The Good Times and National Service. Rating 1:57.8 for the 2200 metres, the six-year-old has won five of her last six starts, taking her record to 24 wins and 12 placings from 52 outings. No stranger to Group One glory, Beauty Secret has been aimed at the Ladyship Mile, which is scheduled to be run at Menangle on March 1 – TAB.com.au Inter Dominion day. Also bred to be a star, Delight Me did just that with favourite punters when she was untouched to score from Awesome Mattjesty and Thunder Fee. Unbeaten from four starts this campaign, Delight Me is by Bettors Delight from Group One winner, Cornsilk. Stewart has set the three-year-old towards various majors, including the New South Wales Oaks, which is also due to be run on Inter Dominion day. Lang and Stewart rounded out their quartet with Bettors Package, which cruised to an eye-catching victory from Modern Hitch and Bazzas Art. Successful at four of her five starts for the term, Bettors Package will continue to make her way through the grades ahead of the Vicbred Super Series later in the season. PAUL COURTS

The cross of Somebeachsomewhere over a mare by Bettor’s Delight is one of the most potent in North America today. Ultimate Beachboy 1:48.6 ($313,880), Bahama Blue 1:51 ($141,658), Tempster Hanover 1:50.4 ($134,749) and Misssomebeach Blue 1:52.6 ($121,800) are just a few examples of this ‘magical’ mating. There’s only one yearling in the Australian Pacing Gold sale at Oaklands Junction on Sunday carrying this cross of blood…Lot 118, a strongly built, long striding bay colt by Somebeachsomewhere from Molly’s Lucky Star, an American-bred daughter of Bettor’s Delight. The youngster of part of the powerful draft of Bruce Edward’s Durham Park Standardbreds, Durham Lead, near Ballarat, being offered at the sale. He is the second foal and the first colt out of the imported Molly’s Lucky Star, who won 15 races, earned $96,700 and took a mark of 1:54.4.  A half-sister to three $100,000 winners and seven sub 1:56 performers, Molly’s Lucky Star hails from the immediate family of world record holder and successful sire Pacific Fella 1:48.4 ($1,064,631), Pacific Renegade 1:49.2 ($746,247) and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Doubleshotascotch 1:51 ($692,491). The Somebeachsomewhere colt is eligible for Breeders Crown, Vicbred and Vicbred Platinum. A photo, video and pedigree of the colt is available at www.durhampark.com.au PETER WHARTON

Lex Crosby got a touch emotional last Saturday night when his impressive three year old harness racing filly Read About Lexy took out the $40,800 Group 3 J L Raith Memorial at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Read About Lexy is from the breed that his late father Jim brought into over 60 years ago and it has been in the Crosby family ever since. Lex was very philosophical when talking about his filly earlier in the week. " There have been plenty of ups and downs over the years but it has been a good family to us over a long period." " Read About Lexy is the eight generation of this family that we have bred since Dad brought Winter Like over sixty years ago and I did get a bit emotional when she won the other night" Lex said. Lex is not surprised that Read About Lexy is so talented as her dam Lexy's Laughing showed plenty of ability in a short career. " She was a smart two year old but only had nine starts before she broke a fetlock and we had to have it pinned and retire her. "She won a race and run a few placings so I am not surprised she has left a good one," Lex said. Read About Lexy has been the model of consistency her whole career with Saturday night's win being her seventh to date alongside eight placings from just sixteen lifetime starts and took her lifetime earnings over the $100,000 mark. Lex has Read About Lexy's  programme mapped out going forward. "She can have a run in a C0-C1 at Menangle in a fortnight and then straight into the Oaks heats on the 21st February," Lex said. Lex is a big fan of Read About Lexy's sire Sportswriter. "From the moment I saw him in the flesh, I just had to have one." " He is such a magnificent looking stallion" " This year I bred Lexy's Laughing, her full sister Lexy's All Ears and their dam Lexy Lobell all to Sportswriter." "I just love the stallion," Lex said. Read About Lexy looks poised to give Lex plenty more thrills as all the major fillies races roll around in the next three months. Harnesslink Media   

RACING AND DISCIPLINARY BOARD BRIAN COLLIS QC, Chairman - MR BRENT FISHER EXTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS - ROBERT (GINGER) GLEESON DECISION - WEDNESDAY 28 JANUARY 2015 MR N MURRAY appeared on behalf of the HRV Stewards -MR GLEESON appeared on his own behalf The Board finds on the balance of probabilities that the decision of Mr Gleeson at or about the 1600 metre mark of race 6 at Geelong on 1 January 2015, to persist in driving the horse forward without giving him respite at that particular point and in particular given the previous starts that the horse had had on the 21st of December and the 30th of December of 2014, was an error of judgment. Given his experience of over 45 years we are satisfied that on the balance of probabilities it was a culpable or blameworthy error of judgment and that in the circumstances Mr Gleeson did not take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure that the horse Explosiveness was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the field. So we dismiss the appeal with respect to conviction. The appeal against severity of sentence is also dismissed. Mr Gleeson had an excellent record over many years and the degree of culpability on this occasion was at the low level. However, he now only drives approximately twice a week and the penalty imposed was consistent with other penalties imposed for this offence. Accordingly you will be suspended from driving for a period of four weeks commencing at midnight tomorrow night on the 29th of January 2015. Harness Racing Victoria Racing And Disciplinary Board

Harness racing driver Tom Buchanan speaks to Matt Young about his drives over the weekend leading into next Tuesday's race meeting at Gloucester Park. Gloucester Park TV  

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) 247 and 204 against Mr Michael Doltoff. ARHR 247 reads: A person attending before the Controlling Body its members or employees, the Stewards, officials, or at any proceeding under these rules, shall not speak or behave in a malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper manner. ARHR 204 reads: A person shall not carry out the duties of a stablehand on a racecourse unless that person holds a trainer’s, driver’s or stablehand's licence. The charge under ARHR 247 related to the conduct of Mr Doltoff towards stewards when he attended before them at Tabcorp Park Melton on 20 December 2014. The charge under ARHR 204 related to Mr Doltoff carrying out duties of a stablehand by acting as the authorized representative of trainer Susan Hunter during the course of several race meetings when not the holder of a licence Mr Doltoff pleaded not guilty to the charges and after considering submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $2000 for the breach of ARHR 247 and $400 under ARHR 204. The $400 fine imposed for the ARHR 204 breach was wholly suspended and not payable unless Mr Doltoff breaches a related rule within a 12 month period. In handing down the penalty to Mr Doltoff, the HRV RAD Board took into account Mr Doltoff’s overall good record in his 30 years in the industry and his apology to the stewards. The HRV RAD Board also noted that the integrity of harness racing had to be upheld at all times and the need for consistency of penalties. Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under the Australian Rules of Harness Racing (ARHR) against licensed trainer/driver Mr Chris Lang Jnr. Mr Lang was charged under ARHR 216 which reads: A person whether alone or in association with others shall not fraudulently or improperly nominate or start a horse in a race. The charge related to the nomination and scratching of Heza Boy Star NZ from the ‘Aldebaran Park Monte Championship’ at Melton on 31 December 2014. Mr Lang pleaded guilty to the charge and after considering submissions regarding penalty, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $1500. In handing down the penalty to Mr Lang, the HRV RAD Board took into account Mr Lang’s guilty plea and forthrightness during the investigation, Mr Lang’s clear record in regard to these matters over his 12 year involvement in the industry and Mr Lang’s submission that it was his support of monte races that had led him to breach the Rules of Harness Racing. The HRV RAD Board also noted that the integrity of harness racing had to be held up at all times and the need for consistency of penalties. Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.

The West Australian harness racing community will be attached to the radio and television this Saturday night as David Hercules competes in the Group 1, Victorian Pacing Cup worth a massive $400,000. Trainer Dave Thompson spoke to the TABradio team about his assault on the Victoria Cup at Melton this Saturday night. “The horse went over on Wednesday night, he seems as bright as a button, went for a jog and everything’s great” Thompson said.   Having drawn nine, Thompson stated that it was one of his more preferred avenues leading into the race, whilst relishing the challenge of the opposition. “We just have to hope for the best because class wise it’s a step up, it’s probably the best group I’ve seen assembled together for a long long time” he added. After a brilliant performance in the WA Pacing Cup, seeing a narrow defeat to the swooping My Hard Copy, Thompson seemingly is not one to look in the rear-view mirror, but basking in the moment. “Some people are saying this is going to be one of the best races ever, so to have one of the runners in it, just makes me so proud of the horse” said Thompson. “I’m just so lucky to be involved with him” he added. “I’m even going to try and enjoy this one! Normally I just end up getting too wound up… we just have to sit back and enjoy it”. David Hercules runs in the Victorian Cup at Melton, race starting at 6:32pm WST, covered extensively on TABradio and seen on Sky Racing.  If you weren't on-course for the $400,000 Western Australian Pacing Cup, or even if you were, do yourself a favour and take a look at one the most dramatic WA Pacing Cup's ever seen at Gloucester Park.   Racing and Wagering Western Australia

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The 2015 TAB Victoria Cup came down to ‘gate speed’. The 2240m feature harness racing sprint at TABCORP Park, Melton was taken out by New Zealand star Christen Me who blasted the gate to lead before running away with the $400,000 feature defeating Lennytheshark and Adore Me. The victory also sends Christen Me to a clear lead in the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit race, a title he claimed last season. All pre-race talk centred on Beautide, running from gate three and expected to lead from his favourable alley but the mighty pacer was tackling the event on the fresh side, having not raced since the Miracle Mile on November 29 in Sydney. But champion reinsman Dexter Dunn rolled the dice and charged hard off the gate with Christen Me and led comfortably while Beautide got away in third place. The decisive tactics from Dunn proved to be a masterstroke. The lead time was covered in 45.3 seconds. In-form pacer Philadelphia Man quickly rushed around the outside to race without cover before his stablemate Guaranteed made his move to park outside the leader. With early moves being made, Beautide was soon shuffled back in the pack, racing midfield. The first half was covered in 30.4 and 30.3 as Dunn continued to deal with Christen Me in front. Beautide was flushed out three-wide when champion mare Adore Me commenced her run but the pressure soon hit fever pitch as they entered the back straight for the final time. Christen Me traveled strongly with Guaranteed matching while Beautide was hustled along deeper on the track. The third quarter was covered in 27 seconds. At the top of the straight, Christen Me had sailed away from his rivals while Lennytheshark went back to the passing lane and Adore Me started to charge wider on the track. At the end, Christen Me scored easily by 2 metres with a further 3.5 metres back to Adore Me in third. The last section was also recorded in 27 seconds. The overall time was 2;40.0 and the winning milerate was 1;55.0. “I was actually surprised how easy I got over at the start; he travelled so easily and rounding the home turn he felt like he was jogging. He’s going better than ever and it’s a credit to everyone involved with the horse.” Winning driver Dexter Dunn declared. The victory also continues the love affair Christen Me has with Australian racing, the Christian Cullen – Splendid Dreams gelding is yet to miss a place in 10 starts on Aussie soil. Already this season, Christen Me has claimed the Miracle Mile, NZ Free-For-All, Bendigo Cup and now the Victoria Cup. Next week, Christen Me will attempt to defend his title in the Gr.1 $400,000 Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup. For Dunn and trainer Cran Dalgety, it is their second Victoria triumph together following their success in 2009 with Bettors Strike. Dalgety also prepared Desperate Comment who scored back to back victories in 1996/97. Christen Me now has 210 points in the race to be crowned Grand Circuit champion with three legs remaining; his nearest rival is For A Reason with 150 points. by Chris Barsby
Underrated pacer Ciskei powered his way to an impressive win in the Carrick Cup on Saturday to make it back-to-back wins in the feature race for harness racing premier trainer Barrie Rattray. With trainer's son Todd in the sulky, the Bettors Delight gelding began brilliantly from the standing start to settle outside of the leader and when Gareth Rattray sent his charge Driller Mac around the field to attack for the lead about 1600m out, Todd Rattray urged Ciskei forward tom assume control in front and the pair matched motors to the home turn. Ciskei kicked clear and had enough in reserve to stave off a powerful finish from Whisper Jet (Zeke Slater) to defeat that horse by a nose with the well backed Vande Velde (Christian Salter) a head away third. It was a popular win as Ciskei was well backed to win the New Norfolk Cup on Australia Day but he broke gait at a crucial stage of the race that may have cost him victory. "He's racing very well and should have won the New Norfolk Cup," Rattray said. "He was jogging going down the back straight when I think he got onto his bumpers and broke." "But the Carrick Cup was always his main aim so it's mission accomplished," he said. It was the trainer second success in as many years having won the 2014 edition with Devendra that went on to win the Devonport Cup. Devendra eventually made his way to the James Rattray stable in NSW where he performed brilliantly winning multiple races at Menangle and while Barrie is hopeful that might happen with Ciskei, he isn't counting on it. Peter Staples
Longford thoroughbred trainer Mick Burles was in the limelight during the spring carnival with his star galloper The Cleaner and he was back in the spotlight with another code at the Carrick Pacing Club's harness racing cup meeting on Saturday in Tasmania. Burles agreed to participate in a celebrity pony race and sporting The Cleaner's colours the wily horseman emerged triumphant aboard a little grey pony Burles nicknamed the Grey Flash. Burles emerged triumphant in a field of 10 that included apprentices Hayley McCarthy, Georgie Catania and Kyle Maskiell along with leading trainer Scott Brunton who almost got tipped out of the cart soon after the start. "The pony they gave me to drive ran last in the two children's races they put on before the celebrity race but maybe he was just getting warmed up for me," Burles said. "It was a great bit of fun and club is to be congratulated for putting something like this on for the crowd." "The crowd was huge and probably at least as big as the mob that went to the Longford Cup on New Year's Day," he said. Another novelty event was the ridden event with leading Tasmanian apprentice Ismail Toker emerging triumphant in a field of five. Peter Staples    
Hopes of securing consecutive wins in harness racing’s pinnacle event - Inter Dominion – are in tatters for Beautide’s connections. Following a series of setbacks, which kept the gelding away from the races for nine weeks, Beautide has been stood down by stewards pending a vet’s examination. Stewards took the action following Beautide’s unplaced effort in last night’s Victoria Cup as the $4.30 second favourite, having been the favourite from the time of the barrier draw until half-hour before the Group One. Although the James Rattray-trained pacer cast a plate during the run, he appeared lacklustre from the time the mobile released the field. Upon returning to scale, it was discovered Beautide was “making a respiratory noise”, which led to stewards standing the son of Bettors Delight down until cleared by a vet. Beautide is scheduled to compete in an Inter Dominion heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 14. The TAB.com.au Final is due to be conducted at the same venue on March 1. PAUL COURTS
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