Day At The Track

Australia's fastest pacer Hectorjyayjay is primed to smash the clock. Driver Josh Aiken just hopes that’s quick enough to win Saturday night’s Miracle Mile. Aiken has cast aside the initial disappointment of yet another bad barrier to focus on the main positive – Hectorjayjay is as good as he can possibly be for the most suitable feature race on the calendar for him. “Of course we’d have loved a better draw, but it is what it is and at least he’s off the front row this time so he can use his gate speed,” Aiken said. “I don’t think it’s a given he’s the leader, but if the form plays out like last week, Yayas Hot Spot should be across those inside really quickly and I’ll come across with him. “Hector did get off the gate really quickly last week and he’s shown before he can muster lots of speed from those wider draws.” Aiken was thrilled with Hectorjayjay’s qualifying win last week and said the fact it was really just a 400m dash home actually suited his preparation. “He had a hard run in the Victoria Cup after finding the early trouble so we spent a lot of time freshening him up after that. It meant he needed the run last week,” he said. “I know it was a $100,000 Group 1 race last week, but we were all so focused on this week it felt like a heat and so it was about get as easy a run as possible, which is why I drove him so conservatively and was happy to let it be a dash down the home straight. “If I find the front this week it will be different, not just for me, but for everyone else. You can sure there won’t be any slow quarters. “But Hector is ready now. That run topped him off. I think he can get down to that 1min47sec zone and I base that on the fact he’s gone 1min51sec for the sprint trip at Melton and 1min53sec around Gloucester Park. Menangle is so much quicker. “If I find the front, I know I have to make those away from the markers really work hard, especially around that final bend. “This has always been the race we’ve thought best suits him of all the really big races and we’ve got him right where we want for it.” Hectorjayjay remains a $3.80 second favourite on the Aussie TAB behind Lazarus at $2.60. Next come Bling It On and Lennytheshark at $6 and Smolda at $6.50. Adam Hamilton

On 20 and 21 February 2017, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard the application for review of Mr Joe Bajada in regard to the decision of the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board of 14 September 2016 to impose various penalties upon Mr Bajada regarding breaches of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). The details of the HRV RAD Board hearing of 14 September 2016 can be viewed here. Mr Bajada entered a plea of not guilty to all charges at the RAD Board hearing and maintained that plea at the VCAT review hearing. Background The rule breaches related to an inspection of the registered stable of Mr Bajada by HRV Stewards on 29 April 2016. The inspection revealed Mr Bajada to be in direct possession of stomach tubing equipment in proximity to the horse Major Calipso which was engaged to race at Tabcorp Park Melton later that day. A series of blood samples were taken from Major Calipso and another horse on the property, namely Arts Professor, throughout the evening of 29 April 2016. The observations of the Stewards during the stable inspection along with the results of the blood samples provided the basis for a charge issued against Mr Bajada under AHRR 193(1) (Charge 1), which states: A person shall not attempt to stomach tube or stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event. Mr Bajada was also issued with a charge under AHRR 190B (Charge 3) which states: A trainer shall at all times keep and maintain a log book The particulars of that charge detailed that Mr Bajada’s log book failed to record sufficient information as required by the provisions of this rule. A further charge was issued under AHRR 90A(2.9) (Charge 4), that states: The holder of a trainer’s licence shall ensure that all persons carrying out the duties of a stable hand are licensed as stable hands. This charge related to the presence of Mr Raymond Apap at the stables of Mr Bajada, assisting in the washing, grooming and preparation of Major Calipso. An alternate charge (Charge 2) was withdrawn by HRV Stewards pending Charge 1 being proven. The penalties imposed by the HRV RAD Board on 14 September 2016 were as follows: Charge 1 - AHRR 193(1) – 12 month disqualification Charge 3 - AHRR 190B - $250 fine Charge 4 - AHRR 90A(2.9) - $200 fine VCAT Hearing On 14 September 2016, Mr Bajada applied to the VCAT for a review of the decision of the RAD Board of that day and was granted a stay of all the penalties imposed. At the VCAT Hearing on 20 and 21 February 2017, the presiding member Vice President Judge Harbison heard evidence from HRV Senior Steward Kylie Harrison, Veterinary Consultant Dr Richard Cust, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra, Mr Bajada himself, Mr Raymond Apap and Dr Andrew Clarke. After considering the evidence presented Her Honour found Mr Bajada guilty of all relevant charges. Submissions in relation to penalty included the seriousness of the offence; the effect of such offences on the integrity of the harness racing industry; Mr Bajada’s personal circumstances; and his involvement in the industry since the date of the offence. Upon consideration of these submissions Her Honour ordered that the decision of the HRV RAD Board of 14 September 2016 be set aside and imposed penalties as follows: Charge 1 - AHRR 193(1) – 12 month disqualification, to commence at 1 January 2017. Charge 2 – Lapses on conviction of Charge 1 Charge 3 - AHRR 190B - $100 fine Charge 4 - AHRR 90A(2.9) - $100 fine

Stewards’ Report – Harness Racing Trainer – Ashlee Neilson Date – 15 February 2017 Panel – N. Torpey; P. Zimmermann & J. Hackett Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the analysts finding regarding the Total Carbon Dioxide concentration found in the pre-race blood sample taken from Mach Cullen (NZ) prior to the horse competing in Race 5 at Albion Park on 18 October 2016. Mach Cullen (NZ) was trained for this event by Ms Ashlee Neilson. After taking evidence from Ms Neilson and Dr K. Caldwell as the Manager, Veterinary Services at the Racing Science Centre, Stewards charged Ashlee Neilson with the contravention of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 196A which reads: “A person shall not administer or cause to be administered to a horse any prohibited substance For the purpose of affecting the performance or behaviour of a horse in a race or of preventing its starting in a race or Which is detected in any sample taken from such horse prior to or following the running of a race.” Ms Neilson pleaded guilty to the charge. In determining an appropriate penalty, amongst other things, Stewards considered the following: Ms Neilson’s personal and financial situation; The particular circumstances of the case; The guilty plea entered; The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing; After considering penalties applied in recent comparable matters Stewards disqualified Ashlee Neilson for a period of 6 months effective immediately. Acting under the provisions of AHRR. 195 Mach Cullen NZ was disqualified from Race 5 at Albion Park on 18 October 2016 and the placings amended accordingly. Ms Neilson was advised of her rights of an Internal Review

Stewards’ Report – Harness Racing Trainer – Rachel Scott Date – 15 February 2017 Panel – N. Torpey; P. Zimmermann & J. Hackett Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the analysts finding regarding the elevated Total Carbon Dioxide concentration levels found in the pre-race blood samples taken from Major Command prior to the horse competing in Race 2 at Albion Park on 19 November 2016 and Race 4 at Albion Park on 22 November 2016. Major Command was trained for both events by Ms Rachel Scott. After taking evidence from Ms Scott and Dr K. Caldwell as the Manager, Veterinary Services at the Racing Science Centre, Stewards issued the following two (2) charges against Rachel Scott pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 193(3) which reads: “A person shall not administer or allow or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in the race.” Specifics of the charges being: That Rachel Scott did administer or allow or cause to be administered medication, namely an alkalinising agent to Major Command on 19 November 2016 prior to it running on that day. That Rachel Scott did administer or allow or cause to be administered medication, namely an alkalinising agent to Major Command on 22 November 2016 prior to it running on that day. After carefully considering the evidence Stewards determined that both charges had been established to a reasonable satisfaction and found Ms Scott guilty on both charges. In determining the matter of guilt Stewards were of the opinion that the only creditable explanation for the elevated TCO2 levels detected in both samples was as a result of the administration of an alkalinising agent on race day. When assessing an appropriate penalty in each case Stewards acknowledged that the levels in both samples did not give rise to a positive finding. In determining an appropriate penalty, amongst other things, Stewards considered the following: Ms Scott’s personal and financial situation; The particular circumstances of each case; The need for a penalty to serve as a deterrent to illustrate that drug free racing is of paramount importance to the integrity of harness racing; After considering penalties applied in recent comparable matters Stewards fined Rachel Scott the sum of $4,000 on each charge. Acting under the provisions of AHRR. 195 Major Command was disqualified from Race 2 at Albion Park on 19 November 2016 and from Race 4 at Albion Park on 22 November 2016. Ms Scott was advised of her rights of an Internal Review

They are Queenslanders through and through but sporting stars Gorden Tallis and Chris Lynn were quite happy to get their first harness racing win on New South Wales' soil. Tallis, a former Australian rugby league player, and Lynn, an Australian cricketer, are proud owners of the pacer Lynnsanity who won on debut at Bathurst last Sunday. The close friends were ecstatic with their colt's performance, living up to his $1.60 favouritism. "It was great to watch but as a punter I was a bit disappointed with his price," Lynn joked. "A win is a win and is doesn't matter if it is at home or away. "I'm up in Noosa for the Pink Stumps Day, a fundraiser for the McGrath Foundation, and I realised the race was coming up as I was driving so I pulled into the pub and watched 10 minutes of Sky Racing." And Lynn did not make it too obvious in his surroundings that he was a winning owner. "I was pretty quiet to be honest because I didn't want to let everyone know in the pub what was happening," he said. Named after the hashtag associated with Lynn, Lynnsanity the two-year-old pacer, is trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton who purchased the son of Mr Feelgood at the Ready2Run Sale. And at his first race appearance he rated the mile in 1:59.6. "We're very happy," Lynn said. "I also gave part of my share to my Mum and also Gorden Tallis who is a great friend of mine. "It's nice to enjoy the experience with a couple of your closer mates . . . that's what it's all about. "I can definitely see myself getting the harness racing bug. "I'm always keen to learn about a new product and it will be nice to get to a harness racing meeting soon." All it took was one email for Lynn and Tallis to become involved with the pacing version of Lynnsanity. "Shane (Tritton) emailed my manager saying he was naming a horse after me and when a share was offered I jumped at the opportunity," Lynn said. "I've owned a couple of greyhounds and always loved my horse racing and a punt. "It's also pretty cool to be recognised from another industry and if my status can help harness racing while increase the exposure of cricket, everyone is a winner." Lynnsanity is being aimed at the upcoming Bathurst Gold Crown series and is also eligible for the New South Wales Breeders Challenge. AMANDA RANDO

HARNESS Racing New South Wales advises that the Retention Facility will be utilised for all horses, including emergencies, entered in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday (February 25). Horses engaged in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile must be presented at the Facility at Menangle prior to midday on Thursday, February 23. All trainers with horses entered for this race have been notified by HRNSW of the requirements for the presentation of their respective horses at the Retention Facility. Horses will remain under the supervision of HRNSW until released to the raceday stables two hours prior to the race.   To arrange an interview or for further information please contact:   MCIAHEL PRENRICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER   (02) 9722 6600 or mprentice@hrnsw.com.au     GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS   (02) 9722 6600 or gloch@hrnsw.com.au     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES      

Reinsman Luke McCarthy is one happy man. He believes his drive in this Saturday night's 50th Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle could not have been given a better draw. McCarthy will partner Bling It On, who is currently the third favourite with TAB Fixed Odds at $6 after drawing barrier three for the $750,000 sprint test. Bling It On will actually come out of gate two if the second emergency Major Crocker is not needed. "That's the perfect draw for him," McCarthy said. "He will be able to settle right on the speed." Unlike last Saturday night's Miracle Mile prelude where Bling It On was forced to do all of the work outside the leader and ultimately finished fifth, McCarthy will be looking for an easier run this Saturday night. "That really isn't his go but we had to work into the race at some stage," McCarthy said. "I thought he held on well and it was his first run in a fortnight so he will probably be better for it. "Drawn well in the Miracle Mile we won't have to do as much work with him hopefully." Bling It On, an A.G. Hunter Cup winner two starts ago, worked forward in that Grand Circuit feature before McCarthy handed the lead over to Mark Purdon and his pacer Smolda. And it could be a similar scenario this Saturday night, however, it could be a different Purdon runner that takes the lead. The top New Zealand conditioner has a three-pronged attack in the feature with Smolda drawing gate one, Our Waikiki Beach in barrier four and Lazarus in barrier eight. However, McCarthy believes a horse outside of the Purdon trifecta will dictate the terms early. "Hectorjayjay (barrier 10) has the gatespeed to cross and that makes him a threat," McCarthy said. "I still say Lazarus is the main danger but Hector ran a great race to win his Miracle Mile qualifier while Lenny (Lennytheshark) went super the other night as well and seems to be back to his best." Bling It On is trained by McCarthy's father John, who also prepares the talented mare Frith who has also drawn well for her feature assault at Menangle on Saturday night. Frith has drawn barrier two for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile, a race she won last year. "That's a super draw for her," McCarthy said. "I was really happy with her first up run and she will be a lot fitter for it."   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES                  

Harnesslink’s award winning columnist, Sydney Weaver, is set to go on another world adventure starting this week. Last August it was Ireland and now she’s headed to Australia. Weaver, along with her parents, Lisa and Don, will be enjoying the trip of a lifetime down under, compliments of a host of sponsors making this “dream come true” for the Weaver’s. “I am truly blessed to be going on this trip,” Weaver said. “It’s the trip of a lifetime. It is hard to put into words my excitement, joy and gratitude. Being able to go to Australia is a dream come true!” The sports leading breeders, owners and trainers, many of whom met Sydney for the first time in Ireland, were enchanted by the young women’s enthusiasm for harness racing and her passion to achieve whatever goals she set for herself despite having Cerebral Palsy. Led by Alan Galloway of Alabar Farms, Sydney Weaver and family will be spending three weeks in Australia, sponsored in part by Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farm, A Rocknroll Dance Syndicate, Nevele R Stud, Blue Chip Farm, Pepper Tree Farm (Art Major’s owners), the owners of Auckland Reactor and Joe Bellino and the owners of Rock N Roll Heaven (Pepper Tree Farm and Alabar).  "Sydney is a very inspirational person," Said Alabar's Alan Galloway. "When I first met her in Ireland I was just blown away by her enthusiasm for Harness Racing. I just knew we had to help her come down to Australia. This trip will enable her and her parents, Don and Lisa, to see some of the best horses and racing in the World. We can't thank our fellow stallion owners enough for their support as well."  Once Sydney arrives in Sydney, the funs gets started right away as she will be attending the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle Park in New South Wales this Saturday, February 25. Her trip will also feature attending the APG Sydney Yearling Sales, the Lyn McPherson Memorial Night at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 11, tours of Alabar Farm, the training facilities of Andy Gath and Emma Stewart in Victoria, Aldebaran Park in Victoria plus getting to visit Tanya McDermott, who is the manager of Harness Racing Victoria’s HERO (Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities) operations. “To think that soon I am leaving on a grand adventure still feels surreal.” Weaver explained. “I have so much to look forward to, but I am most looking forward to meeting new friends and getting to meet those who I have connected with on social media.” Of course, Sydney will be posting daily on her great adventure to Australia. By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

Kiwi superstar Dexter Dunn has snared the pick-up drive on Motu Meteor in Saturday night’s NSW Derby. It was a case of “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” with Dunn putting his own hand up for drive to owner Merv Butterworth during a chance phone call late yesterday. “I was talking to Blair Orange on the way home from Gore about one of my horses and Dexter was in the car with him,” Butterworth said. “Blair said Dexter wanted me to know he was keen to drive Meteor if we hadn’t already locked in a driver. “I told him I’d discuss it with Mark (Purdon) and get back to him. Mark said Dexter would suit the horse ideally so we booked him.” Motu Meteor has been a big improver during his Aussie campaign with four starts netting three wins and a second in the Victoria Derby. “He’s maturing and becoming a better racehorse with every start,” Butterworth said. “We’ve been so pleased it wasn’t a surprise to us that he was able to sit outside Our Little General and beat him the other night. “That’s despite Our Little General coming out under him about three times in the run.” Motu Meteor’s improvement has prompted change of plans beyond the NSW Derby final. “We’ve now decided to send him back across to Auckland for the Northern Derby,” Butterworth said. “After that he’ll head back to Victoria and join Kerryn (Manning) and Grant’s (Campbell) stable.” Motu Meteor is one of the All Stars’ three Derby runners with Mark Purdon on Vincent and Natalie Rasmussen aboard Ultimate Machete. Adam Hamilton   Vincent’s dominant heat win combined with Ultimate Machete’s shock defeat has seen a reversal in prepost favouritism for the final with Vincent now the standout.

On 13 February 2017 the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board considered four (4) charges issued against unlicensed person Daryl Douglas under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 187(3), 187(2), 231(1)(d) and 91(1)(a) which provides: 187(3) 187(2) A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. 231(1) A person shall not:- (d) abuse anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry or otherwise having a connection with it. 91(1) Subject to sub-rule (4) a person shall not carry on an activity regulated by licence – (a) if that person is not the holder of a current licence. The charges issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Douglas related to a stable inspection conducted by HRV Stewards at the registered training establishment of licensed trainer Ms Emma Stewart on 9 November 2016 and Mr Douglas’s conduct during this stable inspection. Mr Douglas pleaded not guilty to all charges. Following the hearing on 13 February 2017, Mr Douglas and the HRV Stewards were invited to provide further submissions, if required, in regards to any relevant matters. These submissions were due by 3pm Thursday 16 February 2017. No further submissions were provided by either party. The HRV RAD Board found Mr Douglas guilty of charges 1, 2 and 4 and imposed a penalty of a 12 month disqualification commencing 4pm 16 February 2017.

The barrier draw for the Group 1 New South Wales Derby has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. The Mark Purdon trio Vincent, Motu Meteor and Ultimate Machete have all drawn the front row while 2400m world record holder Atomic Red has drawn wide in barrier nine. See full field for the $200,000 classic that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25). RBD. 2400m. MS.         1--1r1  VINCENT, by Art Major - Mark Purdon 3C7 FT 2--312 OUR LITTLE GENERAL, by Mach Three - Chris Alford 3C1 FT 3--515  MAXENTIUS, by Mach Three - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT Em 1 4--214  HES MY MATE, by Passmaster Hanover - Mitchell Reese 3C2 FT 5--121 MOTU METEOR NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 6--213 OUR TRIPLE PLAY NZ, by Shadow Play - Brad Hewitt 3C1 FT 7--113 ULTIMATE MACHETE NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 8--432  ASTRIDE, by Somebeachsomewhere - Luke McCarthy 3C0 FT 9--s11  ATOMIC RED, by Rocknroll Hanover - Amanda Turnbull 3C2 FT 10--124  PRETTY HOT, by Courage Under Fire - Bernie Hewitt 3C1 FT ----------------------------------Second Row-------------------------- 11-553 WARDAN EXPRESS, by Art Major - Amanda Turnbull 3C1 FT 12--522  CONVICTION, by For A Reason - Amanda Turnbull 3C0 FT 13--114  REDBANK BLAZE, by Rocknroll Hanover - KerryAnn Turner 3C4 FT 14--s15  ROLL WITH ME, by Roll With Joe - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT ODM Em 2 AMANDA RANDO

The barrier draw for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. Defending champion Frith has drawn barrier two while top New Zealand mares Our Dream About Me and A Piccadilly Princess have drawn barriers nine and 10 respectively. See full field for the $200,000 feature that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25).             1--925 BETTORTHANSPECIAL, by Bettor's Delight - C13 M0 FT 2--3s3 FRITH, by Four Starzzz Shark - Luke McCarthy C29 M14 FT 3--211 ROCKER BAND NZ, by Rocknroll Hanover - Zac Butcher C10 M4 FT 4--8s2 AMERETTO, by Million Dollar Cam - Ashlee Grives C11 M2 FT 5--821 CYCLONE KATE NZ, by Mach Three - John McCarthy C10 M6 FT 6--134 MY LUCKY BELLE NZ, by Gotta Go Cullect - Chris Alford C6 M0 FT 7--524 DU VELLA NZ, by Courage Under Fire - Jim Douglass C8 M1 FT 8--674 MISTRESSOFILLUSION, by Jereme's Jet - Todd McCarthy C6 M1 FT 9--111 OUR DREAM ABOUT ME NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon C9 M4 FT 10--121 A PICCADILLY PRINCESS NZ,  by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon C10 M4 FT -----------------------------------------------------------------Second Row----------------------------------------------------------------- 11--183 SALLY FLETCHER, by American Ideal - Gavin Fitzpatrick C8 M2 FT 12-257 TACT HAYLEYS DELIGHT NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Pete McMullen C6 M2 FT Em 1 13--760 HELENS BONUS, by Grinfromeartoear - Blake Fitzpatrick C6 M1 FT Em 2 Amanda Rando  

The barrier draw for the Group 1 New South Wales Oaks has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. Early fancies Partyon and Petacular have both drawn the second row. See full field for the $200,000 classic that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25). RBD. 2400m. MS.           1--512                   TAKARA TRUFFLE NZ,  by American Ideal - Mitchell Reese 2--245                  SANNA CRUZA, by Art Major - Josh Aiken (C) 3--124                  ROYAL STORY, by Always A Virgin - Bernie Hewitt  4--237                  MISS AMI SLOY, by Art Major - Vincent Langdon Em 1 5--s22                    MISS GRACELAND, by Rocknroll Hanover -  Chris Alford  6--117                   SHARTIN NZ, by Tintin In America - Luke McCarthy  Em 2 7--475                  WESTERN JEWELS, by Always A Virgin - Adam Sanderson 8--334                  TAYLORS REASON, by For A Reason - Bernie Hewitt 9--s16                  SHEZALLAPPLES, by Sportswriter - Jim Douglass 10--213                DONT THINK TWICE, by Armbro Operative - Jason Grimson (C)  --------------------------Second Row---------------------- 11--111                 PARTYON NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 12--353                 ELIZA DUSHKU NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Amanda Turnbull  13--226                 ANGEL IN WHITE NZ, by Santanna Blue Chip - Chris Geary (C) 14--211                 PETACULAR, by Somebeachsomewhere - Michael Stanley  Amanda Rando

Bad Boy Brad’s ascension continued on Saturday night in front of a large harness racing crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the 2017 Exclusive Homes Maltese Cup. The Diane Giles trained six-year-old produced a withering sprint for driver Lance Justice to capture the silverware in a stirring four-way finish, with first through to fourth separated by not much more than a long head. The Gunbower Cup winner has already won six races from 21 starts this season, Bad Boy Brad’s assessment climbing from C7-M0 to M3-C12. Video: Re-live Bad Boy Brad's Maltese Cup win Bad Boy Brad (Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe) rated 1:54.1 to overhaul south-west Victorian pair Jivin Cullen (trained by Brad Hunt and driven by Glen Craven) in a photo finish officially by a half-head, with a head further back to Roy George (Matthew Craven) and another head to Upanatom (David Aiken/Mark Pitt) in fourth. Bad Boy Brad launched late down the outside against a 27.7 last quarter and a 28 secs third split and looks destined for bigger assignments again. Long Forest husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath secured a winning double and three second placings for the night, successful with trotters Clover Mac (Dream Vacation-Clover Lass) in the SEW Eurodrive Trotters Handicap in 2:00.3 from the 2240-metre standing start and Posseidon (Fling It-Maori Acacia) in the Rayner Real Estate 3YO Trot over 1720m in 1:59.8. Click here to view all results from Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Click here to listen to the winning drivers on HRV YouTube  Cody Winnell

HOW fast can our two-year-olds go? The mind boggles after watching Shane Tritton’s latest buzz juvenile Divine State smashed the clock in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Sapling Stakes (1609m) at Menangle. The son of former star Kiwi pacer Tintin In America worked his way to the lead and scorched a 1min51.6sec mile to thrash a strong field. He left the previously unbeaten Thisbeachrighthere, who trailed him, 12.8m away in second spot. The splits were 27.3, 29.1, 28.3 and 26.9sec and that was after and during the rain coming down. Divine State’s mile took 0.5sec off the previous Australasian 2YO mile race record held jointly by Lettucerockthem and Heavens Trend. “There was lots of talk about how good a few others were in the race, but I told everyone I’d be devastated if anything beat us because I know how good he is,” Tritton said. “I worked him the other day with Katy Perry, who is going well and very quick, and she couldn’t get near him.” Divine State is being set for next month’s Bathurst Gold Crown. THE intimidating shadow of Dream About Me looms large, but her stablemate A Piccadilly Princess could not be going better heading into next Saturday night’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile. Of all of A Piccadilly Princess’ big wins, her most impressive came in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Classic (1609m) at Menangle. That’s because she never stopped working and still thrashed a good field. A Piccadilly Princess was out three-wide for much of the first half, which the leader Millwood Liberty ran in a blistering 54.9sec. Purdon worked around to sit parked and never panicked before pushing the button and zooming away from her rivals at the top of the straight. They came at her late, but the win was awesome in a 1min51.5sec mile … and during driving rain. This Ladyship has plenty of depth with the A Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me joined by the likes of Cyclone Kate, Frith and others. It will just another highlight on what promises to be a magical Miracle Mile night. FORMER Kiwi pacer My Kiwi Mate scored the most important win of his career in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m). It’s not the biggest race he’s been in, but it marked his leap from exciting talent against his own age group to a serious open-class force. The previous week co-trainer and driver Jodi Quinlan tried to lead throughout on My Kiwi Mate in the Terang Cup, but was nabbed late by a rejuvenated Flaming Flutter. My Kiwi Mate and Quinlan turned the tables at Bendigo. This time it was Flaming Flutter who sat parked, raced to the lead, but was unable to hold-off My Kiwi Mate’s big finishing burst in a very sharp 1min56.2sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. “Gee he deserved that one,” remarked co-trainer Craig Demmler after the win. My Kiwi Mate’s greatest asset is his sit-sprinting ability and, judging by Bendigo, it is going to take him a long way in his open-class career. The logical next step is the Cranbourne Cup on March 3. Flaming Flutter showed his Terang Cup was a genuine return to form by doing all the work and fighting on gamely for second at Bendigo. The disappointment was heavily-backed former topliner Guaranteed, who did some work at times, but faded late to finish 15m from the winner in sixth spot. A big plunge on former Kiwi pacer Messini ($41 into $7.50) went astray when he led, but was spent on the home turn and only beat one rival home. CLASSY Kiwi trotting mare Sunny Ruby is loving her time in Australia. And trainer Sam Smolenski’s decision to leave her in Victoria after a slashing third in the Great Southern Star paid immediate dividends with victory in the $50,000 Group 2 Maori Mile at Bendigo last Friday night. She’s raced here three times this trip for two wins, a third and earned $87,000. Sunny Ruby, now in the care of Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt, took advantage of hot favourite Glenferrie Typhoon’s enigmatic manners to win at Bendigo. Glenferrie Typhoon, winner of the Great Southern Star, was crunched from $1.90 into $1.50 and led, but never looked as though he was trotting comfortable. Driver Kate Gath nursed as long as she could in front, but he broke stride coming to the final bend and lost all chance. Anthony Butt drove with great poise and patience and Sunny Ruby did the rest, storming home to win without being extended by 2.3m in a slick 1min56.1sec mile. IT was a good ripping night at the office for the Greg and Skye Bond barn at Gloucester Park last Friday. They combined with stable driver Ryan Warwick to cause a minor upset in the $50,000 Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) – a key WA Derby lead-up – with Rock Diamonds, a son of Rocknroll Hanover. In a driving finish, Rock Diamonds beat a gallant Maczaffair by a whisker in a 1min57.7sec mile rate. The disappointment was hot favourite Im Rockaria, who did plenty of work and sat parked, but tired late to beat only two rivals home. Team Bond also won the fast-class race, the $50,000 RWWA Cup (2536m) with classy former Kiwi pacer Our Jimmy Johnstone, who landed a big plunge ($3 into $2.40). The race was effectively over once Our Jimmy Johnstone found the lead and he cruised to 7.3m win over Bronze Seeker. The other buzz horse in the race was Im Full Of Excuses, but he just battled into fourth spot. Team Bond won four races on the night, the other two coming with Bettor Offer in race five and Our Regal Ideal in the eighth event. LOST in the wash-up of another huge weekend was yet another win by the remarkable old fella Destreos. The Ken Rattray-trained former Kiwi pacer lifted after looking beaten numerous times to post his 92nd career win – from a staggering 419 starts – at Albion Park last Tuesday. And he led throughout for driver Kelli Dawson to pace a slick 1min53.3sec mile rate for 1660m as well. Destreos is nicknamed “King of the Creek” because his amazing record at Queensland’s harness home, Albion Park. He raced there 306 times for 69 wins. COULD Clover Mac be the new K D Muscles? Just as K D Muscles struggled for wins in NZ and thrived when she came to Andy and Kate Gath’s Aussie barn, Clover Mac has started the same way. Clover Mac ran second at her first Aussie run, but has since won three on end. It was the seven-year-old’s latest win at Melton last night (Saturdau) which looked most exciting. Kate Gath extricated her from a pocket before the home bend and once in daylight she exploded past the leaders to win running away by 8.2m in a slick 2min0.2sec mile rate for the 2240m standing start. She left classy trotters like Conon Bridge and My Tribeca standing. Adam Hamilton

Star Kiwi filly Parrtyon may not even start favourite in the NSW Oaks.  That sounds amazing given she is unbeaten in eight runs with victories including the Breeders Crown and Harness Jewels finals.  But the filly who ran a game second to her in the Breeders Crown final – Victoria’s Petacular – looks to have at least closed the gap from that last clash five months ago.  On face value, Petacular was at least as impressive winning her heat of the NSW Oaks last night as Partyon was in the second heat.  Some pre-draw Aussie markets for the Oaks final have them equal favourites.  They were contrasting wins with Petacular leading throughout in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2400m, while Parrtyon came around the field from near last to sit parked in the middle stages and post a 1min57.5sec mile rate.  In Parrtyon’s case, the race was set up for her when the leaders went a 55.9sec lead time while she sat back relaxing.  To give you perspective. The lead times in the three Derby heats over 2400m were 58.7sec (Motu Meteor), 56.4sec (Atomic Red) and 59.5sec (Vincent).  Petacular went a 59.8sec lead time.  Parrtyon’s closing splits from outside the leader were 59.1 and 28.4sec.  Petacular went 54.3 and 27.5sec.  So much is going to depend on tomorrow’s draw at noon (NZ time) with both fillies have good gate speed.  If there is an upset, it could come from the big and raw Miss Graceland, who ran a six-metre second to Petacular and looks likely to imorove on the run being just second-up.  Adam Hamilton