Vicbred Super Series Semi Finals completed

05:06 AM 28 Jun 2014 NZST
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Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series
Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series
Lennytheshark
Guaranteed
Diamond Castle
Barynya
Berisari
Virgil Hilts
Niko No No
Messini
Courageousnquick
Morior Invictus
Im Smouldering
Hectorjay
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Lennytheshark looks to have a stranglehold on the harness racing Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO entires and geldings’ series after a commanding semi-final win.

The David Aiken-trained rising superstar produced a stunning performance on Friday night at Tabcorp Park Melton to obliterate his rivals in his semi, beating the second horse over the line, Valley Of Diamonds, by 13.7m.

Reinsman Chris Alford took the son of Four Starzzz Shark to the lead midrace after initially easing to midfield early from his gate-six draw.

Once in front, Lennytheshark was eyeballed by Smart Major until the home turn when Alford and the favourite broke the Forbes-trained pacer’s resistance.

In the straight, Lennytheshark let down like a champion, putting daylight on a handy batch of four-year-olds for a memorable win in a mile rate of 1:58.5.

While he has shown a tendency to lay out in the home straight in recent starts, Lennytheshark hasn’t had many horses to keep him company in the latter part of his races as they simply can’t keep up.

The other 4YO boys’ semi-final was taken out by Lennytheshark’s arch enemy Guaranteed – considered by most punters to be the only horse capable of landing the knockout blow to the favourite in next Saturday night’s grand final.

The Emma Stewart-trained son of Artsplace overhauled Ginger Bliss in the home straight for a 9.9m win in a mile rate of 1:58.2.

Gavin Lang produced another typically masterful drive aboard the winner, extricating it from a four-back-the-pegs position early after the horse was shuffled back with no speed from its pole draw.

From there, Lang got cover out three-wide before making a sharp run towards pacy Ginger Bliss on turning for home.

Guaranteed packed too big a punch in the stretch, Ginger Bliss battling on strongly for second, with Three Pints snaring third.

The eye-catcher from the race was Boyz Torque, which made up enormous ground along the inside in the last 100m to finish fourth.

Diamond Castle – raced by Harness Racing Victoria ownership program Raceapacer – scored a 1.8m win over Missed By Red in a rate of 2:02.2 in the second semi-final for 2YO fillies.

Trained and driven by David Miles, Diamond Castle was having just her second start after a debut second at Ballarat first-up.

The daughter of Art Major settled well back in the field with $1.20 favourite Lovelist finding the lead comfortably.

But at the business end the roles were reversed, with Diamond Castle finishing too well to get the win. Lovelist ran third.

Talented Kari Males-trained Niki No No captured the other 2YO fillies’ semi-final, Greg Sugars steering the daughter of Sportswriter to victory.

Niki No No did plenty of work early and recorded a winning mile rate of 1:59.8, with Yankee Showgirl second and Our Star Dust third.

Courageousnquick scored an impressive start-to-finish win in the 4YO mares’ second semi-final, holding off Mcrita, Union Belle and the fast-finishing Pressplay in the home straight.

Trained by Brent Lilley and driven by Kyle Marshall, Courageousnquick held out Earth Angel to find the lead at the start before seeing off all challengers in the home straight at the finish for a neck win in a rate of 2:00.4.

The other 4YO mares’ semi went to Im Smouldering for Doreen trainer John Yeomans, who teamed with Gavin Lang.

Im Smouldering’s winning margin was 2m and his mile rate 1:56.7.

The 2YO colts and geldings’ semi-finals were taken out by Virgil Hilts at big odds for trainer-driver Lisa Miles and Major Invictus for trainer/driver Michael Stanley.

Hectorjayjay (for the in-form Bill and Simone Walker team) and Messini (Brent Lilley and Chris Alford) took out the 3YO colts’ and geldings’ semis, while Berisari (Emma Stewart and Nathan Jack) and Tasmanian star Barynya (Dick Eaves and Rohan Hillier) won the 3YO fillies’ races.

Friday night's races were held in windy conditions.

Videos of all races are attached above.

The Super Series grand final nights will be held this Friday (for the trotters) and Saturday (pacers).

Twelve Group 1 races will be contested across the two-day carnival of meetings.

by Cody Winnell

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