Day At The Track

Talented young reinsman Bailey McDonough has given punters a good lead by choosing to drive Salacious Gossip ahead of Talkerup and Ctheballerina in the 2130m #Gottatalentau Now On Channel 7 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “From barrier five I think we’ll try to use her gate speed in a bid to lead,” he said. “I think she’s got some hope.” He said that there were excuses for her fifth behind Tajie Baby over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday of last week when she was restrained in the early stages and raced in ninth position in a field of 12 before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. “She doesn’t handle it out wide, so that’s why I’m keen to use her early speed,” said McDonough, who has driven the WA-bred five-year-old mare to victory four times for his grandfather, Bunbury trainer Frank Bonnett. Talkerup, who was driven to an all-the-way victory at Gloucester Park a month ago, will be handled by Emily Suvaljko. Talkerup will start from the No. 4 barrier. Ctheballerina, a seven-year-old trained at Lowlands by Cheyenne King-Davies, will be driven by Kyle Harper from the coveted No. 1 barrier. However, she has been out of the winning list since leading and scoring over 2090m in Hobart in October 2017. She showed a glimpse of form over 1780m at Northam last Saturday night when she ran on gamely from four back on the pegs at the bell to finish third behind Amadeo. McDonough is looking forward to driving Hot Fraternity, a stablemate of Salacious Gossip, in the 2130m Sunday Night On Seven Pace. Hot Fraternity, a seven-year-old who has a record of 54 starts for nine wins and 21 placings, will be making her first appearance for 15 months when she starts from barrier three. “He’s coming back after a suspensory injury and after four recent trials I think he’s forward enough to at least run in the first three,” McDonough said. “I was pretty happy with his latest trial (a win by four lengths over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday week). He jumped to the front and just walked early before he ran on strongly over the final 400m in 27.7sec. “From gate three on Friday night we’ll use his gate speed and try to get to the front --- and then go from there.” McDonough will also drive the Tony Svilicich-trained pair of Four Starzzz Forsa and Vincenzo Peruggia, who are drawn out wide in races three and nine, respectively. Four Starzzz Forsa, who will start from barrier eight in the Rookie New On Channel 7 Pace, impressed McDonough when he drove the six-year-old for the first time last Friday night. From the No. 1 barrier the gelding trailed the pacemaker Simba Bromac and was hampered for room in the latter stages of the race before getting clear and finishing strongly to be a close third behind Simba Bromac and Major Pocket. “Barrier eight makes it very hard over a mile,” McDonough said. “Her went super last week. He’s like a big truck and takes a while to wind up. I didn’t pull the plugs; there was not enough room until very late.”   Ken Casellas

Veteran Herne Hill trainer Kevin Keys declares that former Victorian pacer Dominate The Dojo is one of the fastest beginners in Western Australia and he says that the six-year-old has bright prospects of returning to the winning list after three seconds and two thirds at his past five starts. Dominate the Dojo is ideally drawn at the No. 2 barrier on the front line in the 1730m $20,000 The Rookie New On Channel 7 Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Seventeen hundred metres seems to be his best distance and he has his foot on the till,” he said. “The plan is to lead, and we’ll be going all out to cross the polemarker Mighty Flying Deal. We’ll be going all out to lead.” Punters will surely be influenced by the decision of champion reinsman Chris Lewis to drive Dominate The Dojo in preference to the consistent The War Nurse, a winner of eight races this season. The War Nurse, trained by Debra Lewis, wife of Chris, will be handled by Jocelyn Young from barrier seven. Dominate The Dojo arrived in Western Australia with a Victorian record of 41 starts for three wins and 19 placings. For Keys, the Art Major gelding has raced 32 times for three wins and 17 placings (11 seconds and six thirds). His three wins have been at Gloucester Park over 1730m, with rates of 1.57.4, 1.55.9 and 1.55.7. In five other starts over 1730m Dominate The Dojo has recorded two seconds, a third, a fourth and a sixth. Dominate The Dojo has a winning record of just eight per cent but placings at his past five starts behind horses of the calibre of Speed Man, Bechers Brook, Mad Robber, Zennart and Major Trojan are a strong indicator that he will be hard to beat this week. He will clash with recent winners Mighty Flying Deal (barrier one), Infinite Symbol, Bettor Reward, Four Starzzz Forsa, Ideal One and Courage Tells, but his biggest danger looms large as last season’s WA Derby winner King of Swing, who is awkwardly drawn on the inside of the back line.    King of Swing has a losing sequence of six, but he boasts a winning record of 47 per cent (17 wins from 36 starts). He was most disappointing last Friday week when he started out wide from barrier eight, raced in seventh position in the one-wide line and did not threaten danger in finishing last in a field of ten, six lengths behind the winner and pacemaker Thereugo. That followed hjs wilting ninth behind Golden State a month earlier. However, he showed good signs of a revival when he contested a 2150m trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He charged to the front after 250m and set a brisk pace, dashing over the final three quarters in 28.9sec., 29sec. and 28.2sec. to win by just under four lengths from Space Junk, rating 1.55.9.   Ken Casellas

Cracking reinsman Chris Voak, who has landed 112 winners this season, has been impressed by Beltane’s past two performances and declares the four-year-old is his brightest winning prospect at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Beltane, trained at Ravenswood by Nathan Turvey, is poorly drawn at barrier No. 8 in the Sunday Night at Seven Pace, but Voak believes the Victorian-bred gelding has the ability to overcome the awkward draw and fight out the finish. “He’s a horse on the improve and I suggest you keep following him,” Voak said. “I definitely think that he is my best chance on Friday night. In the past Beltane was a horse who didn’t travel. But Nathan changed his work before I got to drive him (at his past two starts) and now he pulls almost too hard. “We’ll probably have to go back (from the wide draw) before working into the race at the bell. He overraced a little bit in the breeze at his latest start (when third behind Ideal One and Waimac Attack at Gloucester Park last Friday night).” Voak handled Beltane for the first time two starts ago when the gelding set the pace from barrier one and won by more than five lengths from Star Armbro at Pinjarra, rating 1.56.3 over 2185m. A winner of seven races in Victoria, Beltane has under-achieved in Western Australia where his 17 starts have produced three wins and nine placings. His greatest claim to fame is that his unraced dam Lughnasadh is a half-sister to Elsu (47 starts for 27 wins, nine placings and $2,030,796) and Revonez (76 starts for 22 wins, 21 placings and $264,670). Elsu was a prolific group 1 winner and local fans will remember Revonez, a chestnut who raced five times in Western Australia in 1999 for a win in a $15,000 event at Pinjarra and a nose second placing to Paulas Mate in a Golden Nugget prelude, three starts after finishing second to Courage Under Fire in the Australian Derby at Moonee Valley.      Beltane’s toughest rival looms large as the Greg and Skye Bond-trained Waimac Attack, who has bright prospects of ending a losing sequence of 15. Waimac Attack, to be driven by Ryan Warwick, has a distinct advantage over Beltane with a most favourable draw at barrier No. 2. Waimac Attack is a consistent performer who raced without cover early and then enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing determinedly to be a neck second to the pacemaker Ideal One over 2536m last Friday night. Ken Casellas

Ocean Ridge is one of the State’s most promising pacers and he should continue another successful week for the all-conquering Greg and Skye Bond stable and ace reinsman Ryan Warwick by winning the $50,000 Channel 7 San Simeon Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The formidable combination started the week in style by scoring dashing victories at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon with Justasec and Kingslayer before The Bird Dance was a most impressive winner at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. All three New Zealand-bred pacers were racing for the first time in Australia. Ocean Ridge is a New Zealand-bred four-year-old who should carry too many guns for his rivals on Friday night when he will start from the No. 4 barrier and should be in a commanding position throughout. He made a wonderful return to racing after an injury-enforced absence of 14 months when he contested a 2692m event at Pinjarra three Mondays ago. He began from the back line and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line until he began a lightning sprint at the 800m to burst to the front 130m later and careered away to win by eight and a half lengths from Starlight Brigade, rating 1.57.8, with fast final quarters of 27.7sec. and 28.4sec. That was Ocean Ridge’s first appearance since he set the pace and won from McArdles Gem over 2185m at Pinjarra in May 2018 and it took his record to seven wins and three thirds from 15 starts. A winner at three of his ten New Zealand starts, Ocean Ridge has excelled in Western Australia with his five starts producing four wins and a splendid fourth behind King of Swing in the 2018 WA Derby. The Bonds are the leading trainers in WA this season, with 169 winners, while Warwick has been in marvellous form, landing 162 winners. While three-year-olds Justasec and The Bird Dance performed superbly, first-up, this week and five-year-old Kingslayer gave a dominant display in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra, it was not all plain sailing for the Bond camp. Four-year-old Captain Kirk was expected to win easily at his WA debut on Tuesday night, but had to be scratched from a 2536m event after injuring his nearside hind led in a mishap in his stall in the Gloucester Park birdcage. Captain Kirk bucked in his stall and got his hind leg over the dividing railing before slamming his foot into the brick wall. Warwick was quickly able to get the gelding’s leg back over the rail. Captain Kirk suffered superficial abrasions and bruising, and it is hoped that he will be able to start his Australian career within a few weeks. The Ross Olivieri-trained Space Junk should be prominent in his battle against Ocean Ridge on Friday night. He will be having his first start for five weeks and warmed up for the race with a sound trial at Byford on Sunday morning when, driven by Chris Lewis, he led for the first 250m and then led the chase after the freewheeling pacemaker King of Swing. He fought on gamely to finish second to King of Swing. Space Junk’s regular reinsman Chris Voak predicted that the gelding would have derived considerable benefit from Sunday’s trial, saying: “He chased King of Swing the whole way and finished only a couple of lengths off him. And the fact that he beat home Tommy Be Good was very good and he should be much improved off that run. “One Off Delight, with a stable change, might try to lead from the inside barrier and, hopefully, we can sit, one-one, on the back of Ocean Ridge.” One Off Delight is a noted frontrunner who led when second to Pradas Ideal Dahling over 2130m last Friday night. He has changed stables since then and is now prepared by Debra Lewis, who also has Wabi Sabi (barrier two) engaged in the race. The prospects of up-and-coming four-year-old Son of A Tiger diminished when he drew out wide at barrier eight. However, the inexperienced four-year-old has created a most favourable impression in WA where his five starts have produced three easy wins on Great Southern tracks and a creditable third behind Convert Denario and Courage Tells at Gloucester Park.   Ken Casellas

When enthusiastic harness racing hobby trainer Raymond Woods was faced with naming a young pacer, he didn't have to worry too much. Woods, who lives at picturesque Yering in the Yarra Ranges, 40 kms north-east of Melbourne CBD, was given the perfect answer, thanks to his son Jason, and granddaughters Emily and Yuki. "They'd been watching a thoroughbred race in America on YouTube and were quite taken by the way a legendary race-caller was emphasizing the name of a galloper called 'Arggghhh'," Raymond said. "So we decided to submit it in the list of our preferred names, not thinking we had any chance, and to our surprise we ended up with it," he said. And while the deeds of the American equine Arggghhh are difficult to research, his namesake in Victoria in the form of three-year-old pacing gelding is going along nicely. At his latest run at Warragul on Monday afternoon, Arggghhh (Rock N Roll Heaven-Kateeshar (Grinfromeartoear) was most impressive in taking out the Warragul Downtowner Pace for competent freelance reinsman Michael Bellman. The pacer raced wide early before slotting in outside the leader. Arggghhh enjoyed the tempo hotting up over the last half, with splits of 27.7 and 28.8, and pulled away to score convincingly by nearly 12 metres in a handy 1.56-9. "He's a nice little horse. We've made a few gear changes along the way and they're going to have a heap of fun with him," said an elated Bellman, who is nearing 100 driving wins for the season. Arggghhh goes to the line an easy winner at Warragul Arggghhh was purchased after the completion of the annual yearling sales for $18,000. "I was happy to go home with an empty float, but Jason is a farrier by trade and was a bit taken with him," Raymond said. "He decided to wander around and have a look at the horse after he was passed in, so after some negotiations we got him." The pacer has proven a good investment, having won nearly $40,000 in just 21 starts. "Jason ended up with a 50 percent share for agreeing to do all the shoeing and providing agistment - I often tell him he's the highest paid farrier in Australia!" Raymond said. "I thought the horse was a bit small, but he's grown into a nice size. He's a very laid-back type now; you could drive him on cotton. We are planning to have a Melton run on Friday week in a $10,000 3yo event so let's hope we get a good draw." Raymond, who had a career in the police force, working up to the sergeant post at Lilydale, said he first become interested in harness racing nearly 40 years ago. "I always liked having a bet, and one thing led to another, and I got to know trainer Rod Dally who had horses at the South Croydon complex," he said. "Well he put me on a horse that needed to have fast work, and absolutely frightened the daylights out of me. I had never sat behind a horse before. "But it didn't put me off because I've had one or two horses going around virtually ever since. I'm based at South Croydon which is terrific with a track of about 780metres. "I've asked people for advice and picked up things along the way. Although I really would have loved to have worked in a top stable for six months." The Woods family has enjoyed success over the years with bay mare Gumbatte (Walton Hanover-Our Regale (Lord Module) perhaps being a standout with nine wins and 20 placings back in the early 2000s. "She finished 4th in the Vicbred Super Sires 4yo Mares Group one. Jodi Quinlan drove her and she started from outside the back row. She seemed to get bad draws a fair bit," Raymond said. Arggghhh has been most promising. Apart from the recent Warragul win, he won an APG consolation at Melton and scored at Cranbourne, as well as recording eight placings. And following along in his footsteps, and in keeping with the pirate theme, is a 2yo filly named Argh Me Hearty, also owned by Raymond and Jason. Argh Me Hearty (Roll With Joe-Miss Astronomical (Astreos) was another purchased at the yearling sales and from just four starts, has recorded a win at Kilmore.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Balraj crossed the ditch without much fanfare, but it hasn’t taken long for him to become one off the buzz horses of Australia. The lightly-raced Art Major three-year-old is unbeaten in four Aussie starts and made one heck of a statement scoring at his first Menangle run yesterday (Tuesday). Balraj won by 22.4m, but it was his time which did most of the talking. The gelding’s 1min49.1sec mile was an Australasian record for a three-year-old, slicing 0.5sec off Muscle Factory’s record. Just as he did winning by what seemed the length of the home straight at Newcastle a few weeks ago, driver Robbie Morris crushed his rivals with a 26.1sec split from the 800-400m.  It’s the second time in as many starts the Shaun Simiana-trained pacer has smashed a record. His 1min50.9sec mile win at Newcastle two starts back on July 15 was an all-aged record for the track which has hosted some off the sport’s greats in the Newcastle Mile. Balraj raced just five times in NZ for trainer Steven McRae, missing a place in first three runs then showing a glimpse of his potential winning back-to-back Forbury Park races on February 21 and March 7. He was sold to Australia soon after and won his Aussie debut at Penrith by 7.1m on June 6. Since then he’s won by 25.7m at Newcastle on June 14, 55.9m again at Newcastle on July 15 and now Menangle by 22.4m   Adam Hamilton

Chris Alford notched an extraordinary 400thwin for the season, and he may have done so on a TAB Breeders Crown winner to be. The Puppet matched his 2017-18 feat, previously unprecedented in Australasia, achieving the 400-win milestone by guiding Be Happy Mach to victory in his Downbytheseaside two-year-old colts and geldings' heat. “Very fortunate to reach a milestone and great to do it on such a good little horse like this,” Alford told Trots Vision in the moments after his big win. “I’m very fortunate that I get to drive a lot of (Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s) horses. This one, he’d nearly be the pick of the two-year-olds going forward and he’s had a great year and hopefully he can top it off in the Breeders Crown.” Alford said he “never would have dreamt” of piloting this many winners when he first slid into the sulky as a teenager, having increased his career tally to 6975 and perhaps being just weeks off another significant, unprecedented milestone. “One of the owners of this horse (Be Happy Mach), Tim Bunning, was part owner of the first horse I ever won a race on, Spring Vance at Wangaratta. He’s here tonight, so it’s just like winding back the clock a few years,” Alford said. “It’s been a great season again. I’ve had great support from Emma and Clayton, and so many other trainers, even down to guys who have got one horse. Without all their help I wouldn’t be out there doing this job.”   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

It has been a case of as you were for trainer Emma Stewart’s stable, which has swept the first two nights of the TAB Breeders Crown pacing heats including unearthing another top liner. There were few surprises when Maajida and Jemstone carried their Vicbred Super Series form into the Always B Miki two-year-old fillies' heats at Bendigo last night. And it was a similar tale when Breeders Challenge winner Be Happy Mach saluted in the first Downbytheseaside heat at Shepparton tonight, but the second Stewart colt to win delivered an eye-opener. Pacifico Dream (pictured) was dominant in Kate Gath’s hands, advancing to the front and cruising to the line an eight-metre winner in only his second career start, outpointing well regarded Kiwi Perfect Stride. “Super impressive,” Gath told Trots Vision post-race. “I was impressed by his trial at Melton a couple of weeks ago and when I got the opportunity to drive him tonight I was pretty happy.” The pair marched to the front from gate five and controlled proceedings, closing out in 27.7 and 27.9-second third and final quarters for an impressive showing by the Mach Three colt, whose only other start was a second in a $7000 pace at Cranbourne on March 26. “I didn’t know where we’d end up in the run or how much gate speed he had, he just come out under his own steam and got out pretty good,” Gath said. “Once he led I thought he’d be pretty hard to beat on what I’d seen at the trial. I eased up on the line, because there was nothing near me. It’s scarily good. You’d think he’s going to have a really good hope throughout the rest of the series.” On the back of that run Pacifico Dream shortened from $21 to $6.50 for the series with, with Be Happy Mach $1.50 into $1.40 favourite having lost no friends when recording his 6.3-metre win in the first heat ahead of Kiwi Zeuss Bromac. The victory brought up reinsman Chris Alford’s 400th win, an extraordinary achievement. “I’m very fortunate that I get to drive a lot of (Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s) horses," Alford told Trots Vision. “This one, he’d nearly be the pick of the two-year-olds going forward and he’s had a great year and hopefully he can top it off in the Breeders Crown.” For more on Alford’s achievement click here. Maajida is a clear front runner in the Always B Miki two-year-old fillies' Crown, shortening from $2.50 to $2 today with in the wake of last night’s win. It was a golden night not just for Stewart but also reinsman Greg Sugars, who piloted both of the stable’s Breeders Crown heat winners. “(Maajida’s) a lovely filly to drive,” Sugars told Trots Vision. “I wouldn’t swap her for any other horse in the series. She’s a very leggy filly. You think looking at her she’s only going to get better with age as she matures and develops. That’s exciting to see what she’s doing on the track at the moment.” Maajida led from her favourable draw and when challenged late by well regarded stablemate Treasure she lifted, getting home in 26.6 seconds. The 1:57.4 mile rate was shaded by two-tenths by the following heat, when leader Jemstone applied pressure for much of the running ahead of Michael Stanley’s Iolanta and held on for a 2.3-metre win. “I had the good fortune to draw better than (Iolanta),” Sugars said. “Got the first lap pretty comfortably. As soon as I heard Mick (Stanley) coming I decided to make him chase, that was probably the difference in winning and losing tonight. She’s pretty tough this one, probably not as quick as a few of the stablemates, but she’s very game, very tough.” The TAB Breeders Crown heats continue with the Woodlands Stud three-year-old fillies heats tomorrow night at Kilmore, when host Paul Campbell will be on track to capture the first words from the winning drivers for Trots Vision. The following night the heats move to Ballarat for the IRT three-year-old colts and geldings' heats. Dave Brehaut will take the microphone to give trots fans and punters the inside word throughout the night.   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

A TOUGH draw is set to make the bid to keep Expensive Ego’s perfect record intact difficult at Albion Park on Saturday night. Undefeated from four starts, Expensive Ego is poised to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final for trainer David Thorn. To Thorn’s dismay, the two-year-old will begin from the outside of the second row. Expensive Ego’s barrier is somewhat self-inflicted after steward’s issued the son of Rock N Roll Heaven with an ‘ODM’ status during his recent Group One Qbred Triad Final victory. “His draw is not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world,” Thorn said. “The inside second or outside the front row would have been worse. “That said it has certainly made life harder for him. “He was made ODM two starts back when he won the Qbred Final, so he was always going to be drawn somewhere like that. “You never know, it may work out to be a blessing in disguise.” To be driven by Jim Douglass, Expensive Ego earned his berth in the $100,550 decider by outstaying his rivals in one of last week’s heats. Settled in the ‘death seat’ from the outside of the front line, Expensive Ego powered his way to a metre-and-a-half win from Our Balou, with Targaryen Hanover 10 metres away third. “He put in another good run in his heat,” Thorn said. “The hit out as done him good and he will be a lot sharper this week. “I will give him his last workout tomorrow, but he is feeling bright and ready to roll.” Regarding Our Balou as a major threat, Thorn is also weary of fellow New South Wales raider Toanui Spirit. One of five Grant Dixon-trained runners in the field, Our Balou will come from barrier six. Prepared by KerryAnn Morris and to be driven by her husband, Robbie, Toanui Spirit has drawn gate two. The filly was too slick in her qualifier when leading throughout from the pole. “Our Balou is the one to beat,” Thorn said. “He did well in the heat and has been consistent. “The draw brings Toanui Spirit right into it, and on her heat run, she will take some running down. “We are likely to follow through at the start, but it depends on how the race unfolds…I’ll leave it up to Jimmy.”   APG Media

Up-and-coming Victorian harness racing trainer Jess Tubbs admits she loves nothing better than being around horses - something quite the contrary to when she was growing up. "I actually disliked them big time when I was young. All my friends would be off doing fun things and I'd have to go home and care for the horses," Jess said. "It was hard work, but I guess I was born into it, so I didn't have much choice. But over the years I grew to enjoy them and love them." Jess now operates the successful Larajay Farms stable with her husband Greg Sugars at Myrniong and it would be fair to say that she is relishing being part of the industry. A recent Yarra Valley win by two-year-old gelding Illawong Mustang (Mach Three-Light In Every Day (Artiscape USA) brought up a well-deserved milestone for Jess - it was her 100th winner as a trainer. Illawong Mustang (Greg Sugars) made it two in a row with a win at Warragul on Monday "I really had no idea. But it was a pleasant surprise when a friend told me. I've held a licence for about 18 months and we have been ticking along nicely, but it's not just about me," Jess said. "Greg and I are so lucky to have his parents Ross and Kerry helping us out, along with his sister Kylie, and a few others," she said. "There's a great deal of work goes into running big stables and we're trying to keep it to 20 horses. We did get up to 30, but it was too many for us to keep a handle on it." Jess and Greg are enjoying a more than handy season - Greg (as of July 31) has driven 240 wins (365 placings) this season, with a 46% win-place strike rate. Jess combines training with being the Racing and Marketing Manager at The Meadows Greyhounds, a position she recently moved to after three years with the club. "A normal day for me starts at 5.30am because it's my job to mix feeds, then feed-up and help plan the daily training schedules," Jess said. "I'm also around for a day midweek, but it's all about teamwork and everyone does their bit." Jess and Greg enjoy a picturesque and functional setup at their property, which is about 75 kilometres north west of Melbourne. "We have a great place here - we just love it," Jess said. "We bought the property about three and a half years ago and started from scratch. We've put everything into it, and we are quite proud." Jess got to know Greg while working for Harness Racing Victoria, a position she held for 12 years. "We met at the races one day and it just went from there," she said. Jess is now following in the footsteps of her late dad, highly-respected horseman Alan, and her talented sister, former driver Amy, who now operates an agistment property. Alan died two years ago this October after enduring many years of kidney disease-related ill health. Who could forget the Alan and Amy Tubbs 2007-2013 roadshow when the pair combined with brilliant pacer Melpark Major (Iraklis-Golden Forrest (Forrest Skipper) to finish with 36 wins for $980,000? And this week Jess and Amy caught up with the old marvel Melpark Major. "He's retired at the Melton property of owners Don and Bev Smith. The horse had the biggest impact on our family that's for sure. We had a cup of tea and fed Melpark Major a heap of carrots. We all catch up quite often," Jess said. "Dad and Amy won a lot of races with him, including a Victoria Cup. If I could have one wish, I'd love to be able to add that Cup to my list." However, at the moment, Jess is focused on getting Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder-Wya Wya Macray (Pacific Fella) back into the winner's circle. "The horse was a favorite with dad but hasn't won since he passed away. The new national ratings have helped him because he had reached the point where he was non-competitive at the top level," Jess said. "I'm so determined and think I'm getting closer now that he's over a few issues."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Champion expat reinsman Anthony Butt has a word of warning for Kiwi punters as our interest in the Breeders Crown heats ramps up at Shepparton tonight. Talented juveniles Zeuss Bromac and Perfect Stride contest different heats of the male series, which has a A$300,000 final at Melton on August 24, with Butt to partner Perfect Stride. Regular reinsman Zachary Butcher is actually in Victoria and will drive Zeuss Bromac, who he trains, but Butt will drive Perfect Stride as he has become the go-to man for big-money NSW owner Emilio Rosati. Butt partnered Ultimate Stride, owned by Rosati, to win the A$50,000 Redwood Trot at Maryborough on Sunday and is engaged to partner four of the eight New Zealand reps in the Breeders Crown. “It works well for me and I hope well for the horses connections,” says Butt mater-of-factly. “Obviously I watch the racing back home very close but also do the form for over here. And I have been thrilled by the support I am getting.” While former Canterbury-based Butt rates Perfect Stride a real speedster who can shock the Aussies in his heat tonight he does say changes to the series suggest punters on horses not drawn to lead should be careful. “With the changes to the series (all heats now in Victoria) all the horses starting in those two heats are guaranteed a place in the semi final next week. “So they could be tame races because those drawn to get back might not be able to win. “A horse like Perfect Stride follows out a good beginner and should be handy on the outer but he looks best driven with a sit. “And with this heat and semi make-up and maybe not much pressure in the heats I can see him having a hard job to win, unless somebody goes hard up front.” The usual leader bias of Breeders Crown heats, and often semis, could aid Zeuss Bromac tonight because while he is in by far the stronger heat he should settle handy from a front line draw Butt will also partner Pukekohe filly Best Western in her three-year-old fillies heat at Kilmore on tomorrow night but she also faces a second line draw but more importantly series hot favourite Princess Tiffany, who has drawn barrier one.   Michael Guerin

This Saturday night see’s the fifth running of the $100,000 Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates 2-year-old Final at Albion Park with New South Wales colt Expensive Ego trained by David Thorn at Menangle heading the early betting. The colt took out heat one of the series at Albion Park last Friday defeating local horse Our Balou prepared by Grant Dixon.  Expensive Ego is undefeated in all four starts to date and last week’s heat win was fresh off his victory in the Group 1 Egmont Park Stud QBred Triad Colts and Geldings Final on the final night of the Winter Carnival.  The second heat of the series was won by another Sydneysider, filly Toanui Spirit prepared by KerryAnn Mossis and driven Robert Morris and is also based at Menangle. Toanui Spirit is by local Egmont Park based stallion Mr Feelgood and is raced by a group of owners from North Queensland. To be eligible for the 2019 Albion Park $100,000 APG Brisbane Sales race series horses needed to have been presented for sale at the 2018 APG Brisbane Sale. Previous APG BrisbaneSale Graduate winners were Georgia Grace (2015), Jossie James (2016), Pinup Boy (2017) and last year’s winner Muscle Factory. Next years APG Brisbane Sale has been scheduled for 26 January 2020.   Albion Park Media

Harness Racing SA (HRSA) advises it has successfully advocated for changes to the ratings points matrix for horses competing in races of $3,000 or less. In seeking the changes, agreed to by Harness Racing Australia, HRSA sought to better provide for the industry in South Australia and in particular the penalties accrued for races in the lower stakes range. The changes to the ratings points matrix are: The race stake threshold where horses accrue two (2) points for winning has increased from $2,500 to $3,000 The one (1) point penalty for finishing second has been removed for all races of $3,000 or less. Unplaced runners from sixth to last in race stakes of $0 - $3,000 will receive a one (1) rating point reduction These changes will take effect by 1st September 2019. HRSA believes the changes made better recognize the individuality of the industry in South Australia and they provide connections of horses with greater flexibility when placing their horses. Furthermore, there has been a change to how 2yo horses transition into the ratings system upon turning 3yo if they are rated less than 40 at the completion of their 2yo season. To view the above changes in detail, please follow the link provided below. For further information please contact: DAVID THUEN | OPERATIONS MANAGER

Ballarat based harness racing trainer Norm McVitty has enjoyed being a spectator at Maryborough's big Redwood day for a long time - but last weekend's fixture just "took the cake". "I just love the square gaiters and I guess I've been going to the Redwood for about the past 20 years," McVitty said. "I'm still in shock to be honest. About a week before I was going to again be attending as usual as an onlooker. I then I found myself going as a trainer with a horse competing for the first-time ever!" And thanks to a brilliant drive by ace reinswoman Kate Gath, the fairytale had the perfect ending. After getting Magic Owens (Great Success-African Magic (Kadabra) away quickly from the 10 metre tapes in the $9000 Carisbrook Reserve Trustees Handicap Final, Gath weaved in to settle on the back of the leader. The pair saluted at bolter odds of $44.80, courtesy of using the sprint lane and dashing to the line. McVitty, a butcher by trade, only ever trains a few at a time, but is highly regarded as an astute conditioner. "Probably a young friend Connor Clarke deserves much of the credit. He grew up around the sport and he's so keen and enthusiastic," McVitty said. "I told him to find one, something to take to the races so that he could learn on it because he's going for his driver's licence," he said. "He jumped on the phone and rang around looking for a horse to buy and fortunately come up with Magic Owens." The five-year-old trotter was previously trained by Bendigo trainer Alex Ashwood, for a Tasmanian owner. "Magic Owens ran fourth in a heat of this race late last month and qualified for the final so that was pretty exciting," McVitty said. "My family now race the horse in partnership with Connor, so it was a big thrill for all of us to be at the Redwood meeting with a horse and an even bigger one to win a race that's for sure." Norm McVitty at home with Magic Owens McVitty said he fast-worked Magic Owens with his nine-win pacer Our Sir Oliver on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to Sunday afternoon's meeting at Maryborough. "He went super. Of course, we are all kicking ourselves now that we didn't put a lot of money on him," he laughed. "Connor asked me if he could offer the drive to Kate as he's down there helping Kate and Andy any spare moment he gets. Needless-to-say Kate jumped on and I was happy because she's a lightweight and a top driver." McVitty said he had been friends with both Connor's dad Stephen and grandfather Jim for many years. "I started off training about the same time as Jim. Funnily enough the only other trotter I have ever had was named Move On Sparky and I told the owner to give it to someone else like Jim, who loved the square gaiters," McVitty said. "I didn't dislike them; I just wasn't sure how they needed to be shod. Anyway, Jim got the horse going and won eight races with it in the late 80s and early 90s." McVitty said his work as a butcher was usually 4a.m to 11a.m, which allowed him the time to train a few horses in the afternoon. "The other one I'm racing, Our Sir Oliver, was a cheapie but has turned out okay with nine wins and 14 placings. His also won last time at Maryborough (and his two previous to that) on July 15 when Darby McGuigan was the driver," he said. It certainly seems that McVitty and Maryborough go hand-in-hand at the moment!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Imperial Whiz scored the most impressive win at Monday's Warragul trots meeting, giving his rivals a start and a beating in track record time.   The four-year-old, prepared at Melton by Danny Mullan and driven by Chris Alford, came off a 60 metre handicap in the trotters event, and dashed around his rivals at the 600 metre mark to put the race quickly beyond doubt.   Racing away to win by over 15 metres, Imperial Whiz took a half second off the previous track record time. Iona trainer Michael Hughes produced Reign Maker to win the first race narrowly.   It had been a successful few days for Hughes, who recorded a winner at the Redwood Classic meeting at Maryborough the previous day, while also running second in the Classic race itself with young trotter Is That A Bid.   Reign Maker's win was the first of a driving double for reinsman Rod Petroff, who also drove Hypersonic Drive to win race four.   Ellmers Hoofing It and Live On Broadway both started almost unbackable favourites in their respective events on Monday, but did the right thing by punters in winning.   Husband and wife Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs combined to win the two-year-old race with Illawong Mustang, while the curiously named three-year-old Arggghhh took on the older horses in the final event of the day, and won easily for Croydon trainer Ray Woods and driver Michael Bellman.   Monday's program was the final one in the current Victorian racing season for Warragul - the Gippsland club now goes into recess as far as race meetings are concerned with the next fixture not until Sunday, December 22.       Kyle Galley

It was a night for the three-year-old pacers in Hobart on Sunday evening with Donny In Paris, The Shallows and Betterbsweet all recording handy victories across the nine-race card. Oatlands duo Steve Lukac and Matthew Cooper teamed up to win with Donny In Paris in the Hobart Signwriters Pace. Cooper drove a confident race from the 900-metre mark where he led up the three-wide line and proved to tough for Jocund in the home straight to win by 5.2-meters in a time of 1m 58.3s for the mile trip. Donny In Paris put up a brilliant performance when second to Betterbsweet last week, but the trainer did have one reservation going into the race. “My biggest worry going into the race was if he was going to back up after last weeks run which was a huge run, and with all due respect to the other runners, I thought the race was a drop-in class,” trainer Steve Lukac said. The gelding is sired by Rug Rat Donny, the winner of 15-races in Tasmania and was well handled by Matthew Cooper. “We will let the dust settle, he goes up four rating points after the win so we will have a look at what's coming up, his owner (Donald Hasell) lives down the Huon and they say they have a heap of good grass down there,” the winning trainer said when asked about the future plans of the pacer. Lukac only received the pacer after Paul Williams scaled back his team after a health issue, and Lukac was full of praise for the way the horse arrived in his care. “He arrived in really good order, we all know Paul Williams turns his horses out in magnificent order.” The Heath Woods trained and driven The Shallows was another handy winner earlier on in the card in the Tasmanian Veterinary Services Pace. Woods had a ten-year break from the industry and recently returned to the sport when his son Aaron indicated he wouldn’t mind getting a horse, with The Shallows being the result. “We bought him off a classified advertisement, the owner sent us a photo of him standing in a paddock with a few sheep and he looked a reasonable type, he is nicely bred on his dams side so we thought we would take a punt,” trainer-driver Heath Woods said post-race. It was the second career win at his twelfth race track appearance for the gelded son of Shadyshark Hanover, he enjoyed a lovely one-out one-back trail before asking for the supreme effort at the top of the home straight where he ran away for a 16-metre win in a mile rate of 2m 0.0s. “It has just taken him a little while to learn how to race, he has shown bits and pieces of ability but hadn’t put it together in the one hit, I think this time in he feels more like he has learned the racing caper,” Woods explained Heath has two horses in his care with an unnamed two-year-old that he and his son Aaron purchased at the Carrick Yearling Sale earlier this year. Betterbsweet (photo) was another three-year-old to win on the card when she led all the way to win the Triple M Hobart Pace to record back-to-back victories. Gareth Rattray was able to lead from the pole draw and dictated affairs to defeat Boss Major and Heza Rummage. Ben and Mark Yole once again had a night out when they teamed up for a double with The Lemondrop Kid and Popnduke. Ricky Duggan also drove a double in the sulky with Peaceful Thomas winning first-up from a short spell while Inner Light returned to the winners stall after a narrow defeat last time out. The Paul Hill trained Whos Watching Now was an impressive winner of the two-year-old event courtesy of a copybook drive from Rohan Hillier. Sunday night’s Hobart card was the second last race meeting in the state for steward Roger Brown who will take up a role with Harness Racing Victoria later this month.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing