Day At The Track

TORONTO, January 15, 2019 - The 2018 season was a very busy and exciting year on and off the track for Woodbine Entertainment. "Reflecting back on the year that was, it's remarkable to think of all that was accomplished and started in 2018," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "Our efforts have positioned us well to continue to tackle our challenges head on as we remain laser-focused on our sole mandate of sustaining and growing the horse racing industry in Ontario." Here's a look at the past 12 months: Off the Track Off the racetrack, Woodbine Entertainment made significant investment in the sport, executed its single breed strategy by moving harness racing to Mohawk Park exclusively, secured real estate opportunities that will sustain the horse racing industry for decades, continued its focus on people and culture at Woodbine Entertainment, unveiled a new logo and brand identity and so much more. Here are a few key highlights: In 2018, Woodbine transitioned all Standardbred racing to Woodbine Mohawk Park for year-round harness racing. The 2019 season, which just started on January 5, will mark the first time in its history that the Standardbred meet will be held exclusively at Mohawk Park. To accommodate year-round racing at Mohawk Park, Woodbine invested $10 million to winterize the facilities. It has also committed another $6 million to expand the paddock to improve the experience for horsepeople while also being able to host premier harness racing events like the 2019 Breeders Crown. In Toronto, Woodbine invested $9 million to install a state-of-the-art, 7-furlong inner turf track that will open in Spring 2019. For the second consecutive year, Woodbine Entertainment was certified as a Great Place to Work®. Woodbine also hired 713 new employees, more than double from the previous year. Woodbine welcomed new casino operation partners at both of its racetracks. At Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, construction has started to pave the way for the full construction project that will see a casino resort developed, which will include a brand-new gaming pavilion, a concert venue and trackside hotel on 33 acres of Woodbine property. In 2018, Woodbine Entertainment acted on its commitment to be industry leaders to ensure the long-term viability, sustainability and growth of horse racing in Ontario. One example of that was Woodbine Entertainment undertaking the need to operate Ontario Racing Management, the execution arm of Ontario Racing, which is the independent governing body of horse racing throughout the Province. This required an investment of nearly $5 million in 2018 and will require an ongoing financial commitment and dedicated resources moving forward. New Deals with Associations At the end of the 2018 Thoroughbred meet, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario (HBPA) and Woodbine Entertainment jointly announced a new four-year agreement in principle that includes an additional $18 million in guaranteed purses and a minimum commitment of $4 million in capital investment in Thoroughbred racing over the course of the agreement. That was followed by an agreement in principle between the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) and Woodbine Entertainment on a new five-year racing deal that provides an additional $15 million in purses and commits a minimum of $5 million in capital investment in Standardbred racing over the course of the agreement. "Reaching new deals with both HBPA and COSA provides the industry, and especially breeders, with the certainty and confidence moving forward to invest in the breeding of horses in Ontario," said Lawson. "This is particularly important to our industry as increasing local horse supply and labour remain key factors in successfully growing horse racing at Woodbine and throughout the entire industry." Thoroughbred Racing and Wagering Despite the Thoroughbred season producing a record "all-sources" handle of $533,268,900, marking a 5.8 per cent increase over the previous year's total, home market wagering was down 3 per cent in 2018. The record handle was largely driven by strong growth of 9.2 per cent in the U.S. markets. There were 132 race cards in 2018 with one cancellation. That amounted to 1,257 races and an average field size of 8.25.The 2018 Thoroughbred meet was highlighted by record-breaking race days for its signature events, The Queen's Plate, Ricoh Woodbine Mile and Pattison Canadian International. Standardbred Racing and Wagering Woodbine's 2018 Standardbred season, contested between Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Park, produced a steady and industry-leading "all-sources" handle of $332,208,097.41.The 2018 season consisted of 219 cards and 2,282 races. The average per-race handle came in at $145,577.61.The average field size per race was 8.7. Woodbine Entertainment secured a deal with the Hambletonian Society to host the $6 million (USD) Breeders Crown at Mohawk Park in 2019. "Overall, our wagering metrics remain healthy, but we are not without our challenges," said Lawson. "We need to continue to invest and market our product to drive wagering here at home, while seizing the opportunity we are seeing South of the border with more and more horse players wagering on Woodbine races remotely. This is a testament to the quality of our product and brand." Opening day for the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season, consisting of 133 race dates, is scheduled for April 20. Standardbred racing resumed on January 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, which will host race cards four days a week with post times set for 7:10 p.m. each Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park

Afternoon trotting action at Paris-Vincennes saw the Gr. III monte Prix de Roubaix (purse 80,000€, 2175meters, 10 starters) contested with the red-hot 5/10 favorite Daytona Jet scoring clocked in 1.12kr.   The six-year old daughter of Goetmals Wood-Run For Jet won the fourth time in her last six outings, those victories all in monte events, and all with Mlle. Mathilde Collet in the irons.   Stephane Meunier trains the winner for owner Ecurie du Londel and she was bred by Jean Etienne Dubois.   Daytona Jet recorded her eighth career win in 43 starts now for 305,210€ earned. 6.1/1 Cash du Rib (7g Ready Cash-Quille Castelets) took second for Mlle. Clara Dersoir and trainer J.L.Cl. Dersoir. Third went to 11/1 Barry de Courtison (8g Quirky Jet) with Louis Jublot up. LeTrot photo   LeTrot photo   The card also included the day’s Quinte+ Prix de Brionne (purse 45,000€, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) and that produced an exact order Q+ payoff of 68,019.20€ to the four holders of winning tickets.   The winner was 1.12.7kr timed and 6.5/1 odds Calou Renardiere (7g Lets Go Along-Rosee Renardiere) handled by Eric Raffin for owner/trainer J.M. Baudouin, his 12 th career victory in 40 career trotting starts, now for 177,730€ earned. Second was the 29/1 outside Angle Of Attack (7g Scarlet Knight-Magyare Turgot) with Dominik Locqueneux at the lines for trainer Robert Bergh and owner Roland Wiksten. 7.9/1 Champion Dore (7g Prince Gede) took the third check for his owner/trainer/driver Matthieu Abrivard.   The final pair to the finish were 10/1 Canolar (7g Jet Fortuna) with Franck Nivard up and 2.4/1 Tellmeastory (7g Zola Boko) reined by Bjorn Goop.   LeTrot photo   A nice group of five-year old monte performers contested the Prix de Charbourg (purse 35,000€, 2175 meters, 16 starters). In that one the 4/1 Eole du Phenix (5m Qwerty-Velanda du Rabutin) came from nearly last to first along the pegs to win for jockey Mme. Camille Levesque, trainer Thomas Levesque and owner Ecurie Pierre Levesque timed in 1.12.9kr.   Eole du Phenix won for the third time in his career and increased life earnings to 65,340€. The 3/1 Evening Quick (5g Magnificent Rodney) finished second for Adrien Lamy and Ecurie Quick Star, with 16/1 Éclair Desbois taking the third check with jockey Benjamin Rochard aboard.   As the Prix d’Amerique is now less than two weeks away there are 11 horses that earned automatic invites from their performances in the six qualifying races. Those invitees are Bird Parker, Bahia Quesnot, Carat Williams,   Looking Superb, Eridan, Bold Eagle, Readly Express, Uza Josselyn, Delia du Pommereux, Belina Josselyn, and Davidson du Pont. Recent training news indicates that Propulsion is back to training well following an illness and Italy’s Timone EK, after a weak performance in SWE, will not seek the Amerique.   Thomas H. Hicks

Marcus Melander's name will be on the U.S. Harness Writers Association's 2018 Rising Star Award, but the 27-year-old trainer says the recognition extends beyond one person. "It's a great accomplishment, but it's not really just my award," Melander said. "It's my whole barn. If I didn't have all these people working with me, I wouldn't do any good. That's why we've been having success; it's a lot because of them. We have a good team. And then you need to have owners that support you. That's very important, too. I'm lucky to have owners that support me a hundred percent." Melander, who joined Nancy Johansson as the only trainers to receive the Rising Star Award in the past 20 years, saw his stable earn $2.86 million in purses last year, good enough to finish 15th among all trainers in North America despite having the fifth-fewest starts (219) among all trainers in the top 50. His top horse was undefeated male trotter Gimpanzee, who saw his 9-for-9 campaign at age 2 rewarded with the division's Dan Patch Award. Gimpanzee's victories for owners Anders Ström's Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable included the Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes championship. Melander's stable also saw 2-year-old male trotter Green Manalishi S win the William Wellwood Memorial and finish second in both the Breeders Crown and Peter Haughton Memorial. Another male 2-year-old trotter, Greenshoe, won the New Jersey Sire Stakes title. "We had a really good year, especially with the 2-year-olds," Melander sad. "We didn't have that many 3-year-olds, but the 2-year-olds did great." In addition, older trotters Cruzado Dela Noche and Crazy Wow -- both July additions to Melander's stable -- posted top Grand Circuit triumphs, with Cruzado Dela Noche capturing the Yonkers International Trot and Crazy Wow the Maple Leaf Trot. Those wins came at odds of 30-1 and 31-1, respectively. "We had a little luck getting Crazy Wow and Cruzado Dela Noche in the middle of the summer," Melander said. "You've got to have a little luck in the races, but both those horses raced great on those particular days." Melander, who employs a staff of a dozen people, enters 2019 with 60 horses in training and is looking to build off last year's success. "(Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S) are doing very good," Melander said. "I brought them back in early December so they've been training for over a month now. They filled out very nicely. They're probably going to grow a little bit more during the winter. I'm very happy with how they're feeling so far." Greenshoe, Gerry, and Demon Onthe Hill add depth to Melander's group of male 3-year-old trotters. Greenshoe was limited to four starts last year because of immaturity and sickness while Gerry and Demon Onthe Hill both were winners on the Pennsylvania-stakes circuit. "Hopefully (Greenshoe) will mature more during the winter and develop a little bit too," Melander said. "He's a very fast horse, probably the fastest of any of my horses out of the 3-year-olds, but he was a little too anxious last year. He's been very quiet here at home. He's doing good. I couldn't be any happier with him at this moment. We'll see in three months. "The 3-year-old colts look really good. Gerry was a really good horse last year and Demon Onthe Hill is a nice horse too. He might be a little bit under the best, best ones, but I think we have at least four of them that could be top Grand Circuit horses." Among Melander's 2-year-olds are two high-priced female trotters, Fifty Cent Piece (who sold for $500,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale) and Bellareina Dolce ($400,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale). Both are owned by Lennart Agren's S R F Stables. Melander, the nephew of trainer Stefan Melander, came to the U.S. from Sweden less than six years ago and worked for trainer Jimmy Takter before starting his own stable in late 2014. He is based in New Egypt, N.J., at a farm that was home previously to each the legendary Stanley Dancer and Continental Farms stables. He got his first Grand Circuit win in 2016 with trotter Long Tom, who was a 2-year-old at the time. The following year, Long Tom was joined by 3-year-old Enterprise and 2-year-old Fourth Dimension in adding to Melander's Grand Circuit resume. Fourth Dimension, who was injured last year and retired, ended 2017 as the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "We built (the stable) up, no rush really," Melander said. "The first year we had 10 horses, then 25, then 40 to 45 and now we have 60. And you get better horses. It really started that year we got Long Tom and Enterprise. They had success. And then we had Fourth Dimension. Those horses really put you on the map. "Everything has been developing great, really. I'm still developing too. I still have things to learn, it will come with age. Hopefully I've got many years left in this sport." Melander will be among the honorees at the U.S. Trotting Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet on Feb. 24 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., at which time Trotter, Pacer and Horse of the Year will be revealed. For more information about the resort and banquet visit the U.S. Trotting Association's website.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com @harnessracenews @HarnessKenW      

With a winning double at yesterday’s Pinjarra meeting trainer Gary Hall Snr brought up his 2900th win as a trainer courtesy of Caviar Star in the last race. Hall, the most successful trainer in WA Pacing Cup history, trained his first winner with Plebette at Collie on 5th March 1971 and the first of  2159 city winners with Tobaree at Gloucester Park on 16th September 1972. Hall will gear up his 58th starter in a WA Pacing Cup when Runrunjimmydunn starts in Friday night’s big race. He has already trained a remarkable 11 winners of the State’s major race courtesy of The Falcon Strike (3 wins), Im Themightyquinn (3 wins), My Hard Copy (2 wins), Chicago Bull, Hokonui Ben and Tealsby Karita. Even more remarkable is that those 11 wins have come in the last 17 seasons and Hall has also had eight placings in the race since The Falcon Strike brought up Hall’s first win in the race in 2002. For the record Gary Hall’s first runner in a WA Pacing Cup was the stallion Zakara which finished 4th behind Westburn Grant, Franco Ice and Imprimartar on 3 January, 1992 in what will always be remembered as the most emotional win in the 106 year history of the race. The story of that WA Pacing Cup, A Summer of Frost and Ice, won producer/commentator John Hunt a Joseph Coulter Award in 1993. While his son Gary Hall Jnr won’t be behind Runrunjimmydunn on Friday night, Hall Jnr has an undeniable chance of recording his eighth win in the WA Pacing Cup when he takes the reins of the Justin Prentice trained Rocknroll Lincoln which has drawn well in barrier two inside the pre-post favourite My Field Marshal. Hall Jnr will be having his 18th drive in the race and will be out to eclipse the Cup record seven winners tally he presently shares with former champion reinsman Phil Coulson. Hall Jnr’s seven WA Pacing Cup wins have come behind The Falcon Strike (3), Im Themightyquinn (2), Chicago Bull and Tealsby Karita while Coulson’s seven winners in 22 Cup drives came per medium of Pure Steel (3), Lord Mina, Color Glo, Gammalite and Village Kid. Coulson may well have won eight WA Pacing Cups had it not been for a stewards decision to refuse him the choice of drives on his two stable runners in the 1965 WA Cup. Coulson trained both Hycraft and Pacing Lawn and the Chairman of Stewards Don Thomas refused to allow Coulson to drive Hycraft as no other driver had ever sat behind the sprint sensation Pacing Lawn whereas Hycraft had been driven by other drivers. Ironically Don Thomas was Phil Coulson’s uncle but the family ties meant nothing when it came to his job as Chairman of Stewards. (see hoofnote) As history records Hycraft, with Laurie Robinson at the reins, downed the champion Mercedes in the shadows of the post after the pair staged a veritable dogfight up the Gloucester Park straight. Coulson watched on some distance back as Pacing Lawn finished third. HOOFNOTE: Don Thomas has one WA Pacing Cup record which will never be broken. He was just 15 years of age when he drove Adonaldson into 18th place in the WA Pacing Cup on Boxing Night 1935 for his father, trainer Fred Thomas. He is the youngest person to drive in the race. Don was one of three Thomas brothers who drove in the Cup that year with Charlie winning the race with the Harry Moran trained Connie Glo and John Thomas driving his own nomination Nelson Pronto. In addition two of Don Thomas’s brothers-in-law in Arthur Hough and Charlie Coulson drove Huon Pic and Con Derby respectively in the 1935 Cup. Coincidentally Con Derby was a three-quarter brother to the winner Connie Glo and the brother and sister came to WA after each had won a Victoria Derby.   Alan Parker

Burrumbeet professional harness racing trainer-driver Mick Stanley is looking forward to some big Victorian feature events over the next fortnight, with a team that is racing chock full of confidence. The Stanley big guns are being aimed at the $110,000 Group One Ballarat Pacing Cup on Saturday night and the $100,000 Ladyship Cup at Melton on January 26. “Everything is ticking along okay and with an ounce of luck we should be thereabouts,” Stanley said. Rackemup Tigerpie (Rock N Roll Heaven-Victoria Street) has drawn the nine alley in the prestigious Ballarat Cup, while brilliant mare Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor-Soho Bordeaux) is being set for the Ladyship Cup. The Ballarat Cup’s attracted a cracker field, with superstars from the Purdon-Rasmussen stable in Cruz Bromac and Thefixer, but plenty of depth with Delight Me, Buster Brady and NSW representatives in Our Triple Play, Salty Robyn and Our Uncle Sam. “Our fella in Rackemup Tigerpie is lightly raced with just 27 starts, but it will be a great experience for him,” Stanley said. The four-year-old has certainly got into his rhythm over the past eight months racking up 11 wins from 15 runs, including at Melton, Ballarat, Cranbourne, Terang and Gunbower and headlined by several victories with some authority. The gelding is bred and raced by Mick’s father Ian, who’s been involved in breeding, owning and training for many years, and he would have been understandably chuffed at Rackemup Tigerpie’s powerhouse display in winning the Gunbower Cup in race record time. Michael Stanley The recent race form and trackwork at home of awesome mare Soho Burning Love also has Mick eagerly awaiting her next assignments. He has pencilled in the Ladyship Cup and all going well there, the pair will then head to the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 2. “I’m not getting ahead of myself, but the winner of the Melton Ladyship gains an automatic run at Menangle, so that would be ideal,” Mick said. Owned by one of our most successful breeders in Rob Watson, of Perth, Soho Burning Love has impressed with three from three after resuming from a short let-up. “She is right on top of her game at the moment and it will be great to have her racing again in a bit over a week,” Mick said. The mare has faced the starter on 33 occasions for 10 wins and 14 placings for over $185,000 in the bank. The Stanley team, prepared at a picturesque property just outside of Ballarat, has 30 in work. “Things are really good at the moment with a handy team,” he said. “Nearly half of them are two-year-olds and Rob, who is our number one client, is quite excited by the potential ahead.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

MILTON, January 14, 2019 - P L Jill scored an impressive harness racing victory in her jump up to the $34,000 Preferred Trot on Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The six-year-old mare came first-up on the far turn and kept on powering in the lane to defeat eight-talented rivals in 1:54.3 for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Ben Baillargeon. An early-battle saw Dancer Hall ignore the two-hole to move around to the lead going into the first-turn, while rival Dunbar Hall was close to the top on the outside with eyes for the lead. Dancer Hall posted a :28.2 opener before surrendering the lead to Dunbar Hall, who led the field up to the half in :57.1. P L Jill and Filion moved out from fourth at the half to start a first-up bid. Dunbar Hall held a narrow lead over P L Jill at three-quarters in 1:26.2 but made a break as he reached the third marker. After inheriting the lead turning for home, P L Jill took care of business with a :28 last-quarter to hold off runner-up Dancer Hall at the rail by half a length. Free Willy Hanover rallied from last with a :27 final-quarter to finish third, while B Yoyo was fourth. P L Jill was making the move up to the Preferred on Monday off a strong victory in a $22,000 event on January 7. The daughter of Kadabra was making her fifth start for trainer Baillargeon and collected her 17th career victory. The Baillargeon barn has now won the Preferred in consecutive weeks, as Musical Rhythm, who finished fifth to P L Jill on Monday, captured last week's edition. Owned by breeder Prince Lee Acres along with Jill Coleman and Alan Christensen, P L Jill's two for two start to 2019 brings her career earnings to $250,833. Her only other attempt at the Woodbine Preferred prior to Monday was a fifth-place finish on December 4, 2017. A $2 win ticket on P L Jill returned $9.60. P L Jill Live racing resumes Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click this link - Monday Results – Woodbine Mohawk Park. Replay available at www.YouTube.com/WoodbineReplays (Race 8) Mark McKelvie

The Barrier Draw has been conducted for the 2019 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup worth $450,000 at Gloucester Park this Friday night. Last week’s Fremantle Cup winner and Australasia’s fastest pacer, My Field Marshal has once again fared well, drawing barrier three. The Tim Butt trained star should retain favouritism to win the big Western Australian double. The Justin Prentice trained and Gary Hall Jr driven Rocknroll Lincoln will start from an ideal barrier in two with the only mare in the field Maczaffair drawing the coveted rails ally. Once again, despite having six runners, the Greg and Skye Bond Stable were without luck with the majority of their runners drawing the outside of the front line. Galactic Star in seven, Vampiro in eight and Our Jimmy Johnstone out in nine, with El Jacko inside of the back line (10) and Saying Grace on his immediate outside in barrier eleven. Popular local pacer, Vultan Tin has drawn the outside of the back line in barrier 12.   The Barrier draw for the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup for 2019 is as follows; Maczaffair Rocknroll Lincoln My Field Marshal Our Max Phactor Runrunjimmydunn Im Full Of Excuses Galactic Star Vampiro Our Jimmy Johnstone El Jacko Saying Grace Vultan Tin Gotta Go Gabbana (1st Emg) Mitch Maguire (2nd Emg) The first race scheduled for 5.50pm WA time, with the $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing set to jump as race five at 7.55 WA time. There is live trackside entertainment all night and tables are still available for bookings in our premier restaurant The Beau Rivage. To book contact Gloucester Park on 9323 3530.  Gloucester Park

A suspect is facing charges after releasing more than a dozen harness racing horses from the Stark County Fairgrounds. More than a dozen racehorses roamed the city’s west side early Monday morning after a man let the animals out of a barn at the Stark County Fairgrounds, police said. One of the horses later died after falling into the icy water at Meyers Lake. Canton Township firefighters tried to rescue the animal, but it drowned before it could be reached. Police and firefighters from several area departments, assisted by volunteers, managed to round up 14 other horses that were released and wandering area streets. Horses let loose from Stark County Fairgrounds, roam through Canton Dale Klick, president of the Stark County Agricultural Society, which operates the fairgrounds, said the 14 horses were returned to the barn and were seen by a veterinarian. Area trainers and owners board horses at the fairgrounds and use the track for training. The animals released Monday morning are harness racing horses that run at Northfield Park. Police arrested Jonathan D. Ford, 28, who formerly lived in Canton and now has a Mansfield address, on charges of breaking and entering, disrupting public service, inducing panic and possession of drugs. Police said Ford had two different types of marijuana when he was apprehended. He was taken to the Stark County Jail. Canton police haven’t determined why Ford released the horses, said Lt. Dennis Garren, public information officer. Police were called to the fairgrounds just before 5:30 p.m. and told the horses had been released. Ford was still on the property. Responding officers said Ford told them the horses wanted or needed to be freed. The horses ran through the neighborhood, police said. Officers and firefighters worked to keep the animals away from main streets, according to police reports. Perry Township police and firefighters and Canton Township firefighters helped with the effort. According to police, it took nearly two hours to get back to the barn. ShaneandRachel Taylor I took this video about 6am heading east on 12th to 13th St.. Just past Myers Lake. Did not want to turn light on camera. They already seemed pretty spooked. Facebook. Commented on The Canton Repository / CantonRep.com's public post Canton Township Fire Department’s water rescue team was called around 7:30 a.m. when a resident reported seeing an animal struggling in Meyers Lake. Firefighters arrived to find the horse swimming about 100 yards off shore. Assistant Chief Rick Morabito said thick ice near the shore made it difficult for the rescue team to get into the water quickly. The horse was treading and moving farther from shore as the rescue team reached open water. Morabito said the team was about 20 yards away when the animal went under. By Edd Pritchard  Reprinted with permission of the GateHouse Media Ohio  Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com On Twitter: @epritchardREP

A Putnam Township harness racing family lost all their horses in a barn fire Sunday morning. Putnam Township Fire Chief Greg Amburgey tells WHMI that his department was called out at about 6:15am to the barn located on property at Hinchey and Burgess Roads. Upon arrival, Amburgey says they found the structure fully engulfed in flames. They immediately began pouring water onto the barn, but it was a complete loss, including the seven horses inside. Amburgey says firefighters had to wake up horse’s owners and that the call was made by a neighbor after they heard an explosion, which was likely a propane tank kept inside the barn. The structure was a complete loss. He says a cause is unknown at this point, but it doesn’t appear to involve foul play. There were no other injuries. The Hamburg, Unadilla and Howell fire departments assisted at the scene of the fire, while Dexter firefighters covered the Putnam Township station. (JK) Reprinted with permission of www.whmi.com According to www.harnessracing.com longtime Michigan horsewoman Ann Russell and her daughter, Erin Spychala, lost their entire stable in the early-morning barn fire on Sunday morning (Jan. 13) in Pinckney, Mich. The fire was reported around 5 a.m. and killed all seven horses in the barn, including five Standardbred racehorses, one broodmare and a riding pony. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Russell and Spychala. To go to the GoFundMe page and donate please click here. www.harnessracing.com    

Tuesday’s Quinte+ was at Paris-Vincennes in the Prix du Limousin (purse 54,000€, 2850 meters, 18 starters) with victory earned by the 11/1 outsider Cerenzo Turbo (7m Ganymede-Poesie de Vigne) handled by Franck Nivard for breeder/owner Ecurie Turbo and trainer Philippe Billard. Race time was 1.13.8kr for the now nine-time career winner in 43 starts. The 9/10 favorite Cetus de Tilou (7g Pagalor) was second for driver Eric Raffin and trainer J-M Baudouin. Third was 32/1 odds Ce Retour d’Oscar (7g Le Retour) for driver J.Ph. Monclin. The top five was completed by 18/1 Cuba Libre (7g Nahar de bevel) and 9/1 Cash du Rib (7g Ready Cash), with the exact order Q+ payoff being 8,538€ for the 2€ wager. The previous day the Q+ was also at Vincennes in the Prix de L’Aveyron (purse 54,000€, 2850 meters, 17 starters). Comete Leman (7f Neptune Leman-Cellboum Leman) scored timed in 1.14.4kr with Franck Nivard up for owner/trainer Y.L. LeBezvuet, the winner’s seventh life victory in 44 starts. 33/1 Ballina d’Ourville (8f Quaker Jet-Orsina) took second for Matthieu Abrivard. 94/1 Chira Julry (7f Roc Meslois) was next for Adrien Lamy, ahead of 40/1 Bayahibe des Vents (8f Queso Manchego) and 23/1 Coral Sea (7f Niky) that completed the top five and this collection of longshots created an exact order payoff of 75,424€. Comete Leman On the same card 1.7/1 favorite Foxtrot Sea (4m Olitro-Vezia) took the Prix de Croissanville (purse 56,000€, 2850 meters, 10 starters) clocked in 1.15.2kr for his sixth career win in only 10 starts. 8.6/1 Free Rider (4m Love You) was second for Benoit Robin and third was 2.8/1 second choice Flambeau Royal (4m Look de Star) reined by J-M Bazire. Foxtrot Sea At Mons Ghlin on Tuesday a group of veteran classmasters battled in the Prix Eurotierce BE (purse 7,200€, 2850 meters, 13 starters) with victory to 3.1/1 Ustinof de Vivier (11g Look de Star-Melba du Vivier) timed in 1.14.2kr and reined by Piet Van Pollaert for Union Stable. This top trotteur, bred by Jean Yves Lecuyer, won for the 45th time in a 117 race career now for 1,125,670€ earned. 8.5/1 Vivo Perlei (10g Olimede) was second ahead of 27/1 Truman Dairpet (12g Biesolo), a winner of over 687,000€. The 4/5 favorite Titty Jepson (7f Varenne) and 44/1 Ultimate du Rib (11g Dahir de Prelong), a winner of over 547,000€, completed the top five. Ustinof de Vivier Thomas H. Hicks    

This Friday night will witness the 106th consecutive running of the WA Pacing Cup since the race was first run on 27th December 1913 as the WA Trotting Cup. Only the New Zealand Cup, which was first run in 1904, has a longer history in terms of races run for pacers anywhere in the world. In fact a couple of trotters started in the WA Cup in the early days when it was a regular occurrence for trotters and pacers to compete against each other. The race was run at Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) ground track between 1913 and 1928 before moving across the road to the course now known as Gloucester Park where it was first run on 28th December 1929. The 1929 edition of the Cup was won by the New Zealand bred gelding Taurekareka for trainer/driver Dave Michael. The 2019 Tabtouch WA Pacing Cup will be the 90th running of the race at Australia’s premier harness racing track. Tim and Anthony Butt looking to go one better in 2019 In the 2007 WA Pacing Cup the Tim Butt trained and Anthony Butt driven Flashing Red finished second to Tealsby Karalta and the duo will be looking to go one better this year with their Fremantle Cup winner My Field Marshal. Flashing Red is one of only four New Zealand Cup winners to have started in a WA Pacing Cup. Flashing Red won the 2006 and 2007 New Zealand Cup and started in the WA Cup in those same years. Steel Jaw won the New Zealand Cup in 1983 before finishing sixth behind Preux Chevalier in the 1984 WA Cup while Trusty Scot won the 1978 New Zealand Cup before he finished sixth to Pure Steel in the 1979 WA Cup. The first New Zealand Cup winner to contest a WA Cup was the Australian bred Sheik which stunned the Kiwis when he took out the 1924 edition of their flagship race. Sheik finished fifth in the 1929 WA Cup won by Taurekareka and while he didn’t win the Cup he did win three races in Perth before retiring to stud in WA where he sired the mare Queens Gift which took out the 1942 WA Cup. Only two winners of a WA Cup have managed to sire a winner of the WA Cup. The New Zealand bred Bintravis won the race in 1949 and then sired the dual WA Cup winner Radiant Oro which took out the race in 1969 and 1971. The 1938 WA Cup winner Kolect sired the 1941 WA Cup winner Kolrock during a break from his racing career which began in 1932 and ended in 1940. Kolect not only sired a WA Pacing Cup winner but he is the only WA Cup winner produced by a mare which won the Cup. WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Kola Girl won the 1918 WA Cup and her first foal was Kolect. Kolect was a son of Vin Direct which competed against Kola Girl in the 1925 Australasian Championship at the WACA ground. Vin Direct not only sired a WA Cup winner but he also sired the dam of WA Racing Industry Hall of Fame inductee Beau Don which won the Cup in successive seasons 1952/53 and 1953/54. Maczaffair out to break long drought Still looking for room in the home straight of last Friday’s Fremantle Cup, the connections of the 5yo Mach Three mare Maczaffair will be hoping the additional 400 metres of the 2019 WA Pacing Cup will see a few more openings appear in the last lap this week. Maczaffair has a 47 year hoodoo to overcome as the last mare to win a WA Pacing Cup was Pyramus on 1st January 1972 which incidentally was the last year the race was run as a standing start. Pyramus was the 19th mare to win the State’s major harness race and she was part of a cluster of three wins by mares in six years as she followed the efforts of Color Glo (1967) and Daintys Daughter (1970). After mares won 12 of the first 22 runnings of the Cup (1913 – 1935) there have only been seven mares win the race in the past 82 years. First family of the WA Pacing Cup When Fred Thomas started the Huon Jnr gelding Wally M in the first WA Pacing Cup in 1913 he began what was to become a remarkable family record in the State’s major harness race. Fred and Francis Thomas had eight children, three boys and five girls who grew up surrounded by horses as their father was both a trainer of Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. Fred trained the 1911 Railway Stakes winner Apple Charlotte and in 1920 he trained a WA Pacing Cup winner in Harold Rose. Six of the eight Thomas children either rode or drove winners on the track: Pearl Thomas (b 1899) – won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Athol Robertson who was a prominent trainer/driver and later a WATA Committeeman Charles Thomas (b 1900) – highly successful trainer/driver with 260 winners in Perth including four WA Pacing Cups Ruby Thomas (b 1903) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA and later married Gordon Bradford who drove some 33 winners in WA Hilda Thomas (b 1905) – outstanding driver of winners at the WACA and an even better equestrienne who won events at the Royal Sydney Show and Perth Royal Show. She married trainer/driver Charles Coulson and their son Phil Coulson drove more than 1100 winners including an Inter Dominion with Binshaw and seven WA Pacing Cups Lella Thomas (b 1908) – didn’t win a race but married Arthur Hough and their son Fred Hough drove 512 winners and trained and drove the champion Frosty Nelson John Thomas (b 1911) – drove some 106 winners including a Fremantle Cup Ivy Thomas (b 1913) - won a Lady Riders race at the WACA Don Thomas (by 1919) – drove 165 winners including a WA Pacing Cup winner in Buller Pass and he later became WATA Chairman of Stewards and officiated at three Inter Dominions between 1962 and 1974. All up the Thomas family trained a total of 22 starters in a WA Pacing Cup for eight winners in Harold Rose (1920 Fred Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Hycraft (1965 Phil Coulson), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson) and Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson). Members of the Thomas family had a total of 61 drives in a WA Pacing Cup for a truly remarkable 13 wins comprising Harold Rose (1920 Charlie Thomas), Black Childe (1924 Charlie Thomas), Connie Glo (1935 Charlie Thomas), Lulu Mick (1938 Charlie Thomas), Frosty Nelson (1955 Fred Hough), Buller Pass (1959 Don Thomas), Lord Mina (1966 Phil Coulson), Color Glo (1967 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1977 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1978 Phil Coulson), Pure Steel (1979 Phil Coulson), Gammalite (1983 Phil Coulson) and Village Kid (1985 Phil Coulson).   Alan Parker

The Southern Bred Southern Reared breeding group received a real boost on Friday night when two horses bred by the group quinellaed the Group One $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in Perth. My Field Marshal bred by Syd and Shona Brown of Mosgiel won the race by 1.2 metres, beating Galactic Star which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge in Lawrence. Some talk beforehand asserted that My Field Marshal wasn’t a true stayer but part owner Syd Brown was quick to dismiss it. And the Art Major entire proved that he can definitely stay, giving a dominating performance in front. “People make talk like that. You ask any good trainer or driver they’ll tell you that a sub 1-50 mile horse (like My Field Marshal) can’t do that (run a fast mile) unless they can stay,” he said. Trained by ex-pat Tim Butt and driven by his brother Anthony, Brown says their comments after the run were very positive. “They were thrilled. They did expect him to improve on his first run up and they’re confident that he can improve on that run again.” The win was My Field Marshal’s twenty sixth, elevated his stakes to close to 1.5 million dollars and he gets a chance to add to that tally in this Friday’s $450,000 Group One West Australia Cup on the same track. Brown has a three quarter brother to My Field Marshal entered in next month’s NZB Standardbred Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He’s by Art Major out of Washington VC mare Ednalea which is a full-sister to Foreal the dam of My Field Marshal. “He’s just a strong Art Major colt. He’s not too big, not too small and he’s very wide in the front with a good strong head but people need to look at that themselves rather than hear an owner tell them that.” SBSR horses have won the Fremantle Cup three times in the last four years with Chicago Bull winning the race in 2017 and Beaudiene Boaz in 2016. Another SBSR horse I’m Themightyquinn won the race in 2011. Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and Chicago Bull in 2017 won the prized Gloucester Park double: the Fremantle and West Australia Cup. Meanwhile former Southlander Graham Cooney bred two of the winners at the Bay Of Plenty Harness meeting at Te Aroha yesterday. Cooney now resides in Tauranga and he bred Misty Memory and Comic Book Hero which are both out of Deja Vous. Both horses were originally trained by Hamish Hunter at Ryal Bush. He won two races with each horse. Comic Book Hero is now trained by Ray Darby at Patumahoe while Misty Memories is trained at Tuapaki by Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins.   Bruce Stewart

Next week the harness racing shuttle stallions that are standing in New Zealand and Australia are about to leave for their cold North America stallion farms to begin the North American breeding season that starts on February the 15th. Stallions on this flight are Bettor's Delight, American Ideal, Sweet Lou, Downbytheseaside, He's Watching, Sportswriter, Always B Miki, Sunshine Beach, A Rocknroll Dance, What The Hill, Shadow Play, Betterthancheddar, Roll With Joe, Creatine, Betting Line, Well Said, Huntsville, Pet Rock. It is unbelievable how the stud business has changed over the last 10 years and to think that the biggest percentage of mares bred in New Zealand and Australia are now in foal to these shuttle stallions. In the inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019, 75 of the 145 yearlings on offer 75 are by these shuttle stallions on this flight. You have to add in Art Major (that was a shuttle stallion), Mach Three (a shuttle stallion recently deceased) and Rock N Roll Heaven (was a shuttle stallion at that time) the total becomes 109 of the 145 yearlings on offer. Then if you add in the frozen semen stallions that are represented in this sale, Muscle Hill, Muscle Mass, Love You, Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous, Quaker Jet, the total is 132 of the 145 yearlings on offer. Down to the National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Christchurch and the situation is similar. There are a total of 256 yearlings on offer at this sale. 125 of those yearlings are by shuttle stallions on the flight next week. You have to add in Art Major (that was a shuttle stallion), Mach Three (a shuttle stallion recently deceased) and Rock N Roll Heaven (was a shuttle stallion at that time) the total becomes that number increases to 175 of those yearlings on offer. Then if you add in the frozen semen stallions that are represented in this sale, Andover Hall, Angus Hall, Captaintreacherous, Father Patrick, Love You, Master Glide, Muscle Hill, Muscle Mass, Orlando Vici, Quaker Jet, Sebastian K, Somebeachsomewhere, Trixton and Windsong Espoir, the total is 243 of the 256 yearlings on offer. Therefore 375 yearlings in this year's New Zealand Sale from the 401 entered are by shuttle stallions on this next week, previous shuttle stallions no longer shuttling and frozen semen imported into New Zealand. Now at the APG Sales in Australia the shuttle stallions are represented by 199 yearlings on offer from the shuttle stallions on the flight next week. You have to add in Art Major (that was a shuttle stallion), Mach Three (a shuttle stallion recently deceased) and Rock N Roll Heaven (was a shuttle stallion at that time) the total becomes 323 of the 691 yearlings on offer. Then if you add in the frozen semen stallions that are represented in this APG sale that number becomes 462 of the 691 yearlings on offer. Shuttle stallions and now frozen semen stallions progeny almost completely dominate the yearling sales this year. Bettor's Delight has the most numbers for sale in the yearling sales this year. He also has become the most fertile horse in the history of harness racing with having bred just over 8,000 mares to date throughout the world. Now at the age of 21 years Bettor's Delight has bred 2,610 mares in North America over the past 17 seasons that has resulted in 1,889 foals born to date. In New Zealand Bettor's Delight has bred 3,362 mares prior to this current season for 2,364 live foals to date. In Australia Bettor's Delight has bred 1,790 mares prior to this current season for 1,062 live foals to date. In the inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019, Breckon Farms have five outstanding Bettor's Delight colts on offer. Lot 23 - High Flying Harry Video Lot 23 - High Flying Harry This is the third foal from the Black Type Mach Three mare HIGH SOCIETY GAL (p.3, 1.57.7, 4 wins, $18,737), who is a sister to Group 3 placed (MY) CHACHINGCHACHING (p.2, 1.56.6, 1.51.6, 15 wins, $175,474), RING THE TILL(1.57.4, 6 wins, $31,085) and Group 1 placed Smart Fortune (1 win in as a 2yo in the first Young Guns Ht, $24,593). 2nd Dam is the race winner and Group 1 placed Affairs Of State, who is a half-sister to 5 winners and has produced 5 winners from 6 starters thus far and is the granddam of (HEZA) HEAD HONCHO (p.2, 1.55.8f, 1.53.7f, 5 wins, $58,371). 3rd Dam is Champion mare UNDER COVER LOVER, a Million Dollar earning international Group 1 winner, who is the dam of 6 winners incl Group 1 placed and Listed winner (MY) EXOTIC LOVER (1.59.5, 2 wins, $110,336), who in turn is the dam of Group 2 winner and 2-time Group 1 placed MATCH IN HEAVEN (p.2, 1.53.7, 1.50.9, 19 wins, $289,579).  This is the family of Million Dollar earner, Harness Jewels winner and 5-time Group 1 winner BETTOR COVER LOVER (1.53.8; 17 wins, $917,703), the Group 3 winner THE ODD LOVER (p.2, 1.56.1, 12 wins, $117,681), etc. Lot 58 - Pace N Pride Video Lot 58 - Pace N Pride This colt is a full-brother to NEVER SAY NEVER (1.50m, 18 wins, $236,728) and RUBY ROSE (p.3, 1.59.8, 1 win, $26,536) and a half-brother to THE THUG (1.59.7f, 4 wins, $34,343). From the Group 2 placed Christian Cullen mare MAID IN SPLENDOUR (p.3, 1.56.1, 4 wins, $61,825), who is a half-sister to Group 3 winner and Group 2 placed DIAMONDS N FUR (p.3, 1.59.8f, 1:54.5, 22 wins, $231,399), (KEAYANG) GLITZY GAL (p.3, 1.58.2, 1.57.5, 5 wins, $35,164), Sign In Gold (2.01.4, 12 wins, $61,352), Golden Delight (2.00.5, 7 wins, $45,210) and DIAMONDS N CASH (p.3, 1.59.6, 1.57.8f, 9 wins, $81,099). 2nd dam is the Holmes Hanover mare DIAMONDS N GOLD (1.56.5, 5 wins, $37,883) who is the dam of 10 to race for 10 winners and this is the family of 5-time Group 1 winner and Millionaire pacer DESPERATE COMMENT (1.55.7, 28 wins, $1,033,065), Group 1 placed SMARTEST REMARK (1.58.3, 10 wins, $93,197), CHANCE (1.52.5m, 17 wins, $154,858) and Group 1 winner BETTORS ICON (p.2, 2.00.3, 1 win at 2, $63,540). Lot 75 - Meetmeinsorrento Video Lot 75 - Meetmeinsorrento Lot 112 - Maybe Video Lot 112 - Maybe From a qualified Artsplace mare who is already the dam of a Black Type winner CRYSTAL SPARKLES (p.3, 1.58.4f, 1.56.9, 14 wins, $68,889) and Mathew James (p.3, 2.01, 1 start 1 win, $5,775) and who is a half-sister to 6 winners incl 3-time Group 1 & Group 2 winner and 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year who set a NZ Record LAURAELLA (p.2, 1.55.9, 10 wins, $649,946), 3-time Group 1 placed THE MUSKEG EXPRESS (p.2, 1.59.4, 2 wins, $111,331), THE PACMAN (1.54, 21 wins, $157,058), ESTILO (p.3, 1.58.6, 1.54.1, 13 wins, $84,611) and SMILING STUNNER (p.3, 1.59.4, 1.53.6, 4 wins, $21,420). 2nd Dam BLACK MAIRE (p.3, 1.59.8, 4 wins, $39,981) is a Falcon Seelster mare who is the dam of 7 winners and is a half-sister to 6 winners, out of CORBIE (p.3, 1.57.2, 2 wins, $16,535) who is the dam of AGIOS NIKOLAOS(1.52.2m, 8 NZ wins, $192,178) and the dam of (IM) METICULOUS (p.2, 1.55.6, 10 wins, $109,067). Closely related to 2-time Group 1 placed EXPRESS STRIDE (1.49m, 14 wins $262,831) and Listed Classic winner ARMAZEM (1.54.7m, 11 wins, $84,640).  A strong Jewels performing family descending from BLACK WATCH. Lot 132 - Bettor Call Me Video Lot 132 - Bettor Call Me This is the first foal from a qualified Artsplace mare who is from the Group 1 placed DALE ELINOR (p.3, 1.59.8, TT 1.57.2, 4 wins, $60,985), who is a half-sister to PENTHOUSE PETE (1.54.2, 17 wins, $134,030). The 2nd dam DALE ELINOR is the graddam of Group 2 winner and Group 1 placed SHANDALE (p.3, 1.55.3, 1.53.7h, 14 wins, $305,028), (SO) BOBS YOUR UNCLE (1.59h, 4 wins, $22,885) and SHANDANCE (p.3, 1.56.5m, 6 wins, $39,086). 3rd dam is Group 1, 2-time Group 2 & Group 3 winner and 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year MEGAERA (p.2, 1.58.5, 1.56.8, 8 wins, $250,646), who is a half-sister to IL GUSTO (1.55, 3 NZ wins, $19,555), 2-time Group 2 winner and 2-time Group 1 placed REBA LORD (1.56, 17 wins, $367,385), Group 2 & Group 3 placed REBA NERO (2.00.4, 5 wins, $29,161), etc and is the granddam of Group 1 & 2 winner, Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final winner and Australian 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year KATY PERRY (p.2, 1.57.8f, p.3, 1.53.6, 1.51.1, 23 wins, $517,733) and Group 3 & Listed winner CASH N FLOW (p.2, 1.58.1, 1.56.3, 12 wins, $175,541). Harnesslink Media

Master reinsman Gavin Lang predicts that bigger and better things could be on the horizon for victorious Kiwi harness racing raider Im Pats Delight, winner of the Shepparton Gold Cup on Saturday night. “I honestly believe we are yet to see the best of him – I think he has the makings of a grand circuit horse next season,” Lang said. Im Pats Delight (Bettors Delight-Righteous Franco) prepared at Christchurch, NZ, by highly successful trainer Cran Dalgety, showed his customary courage to dig deep late in the $60,000 Group Two feature event, run over the marathon journey of 2690 metres. At the finish, you could have thrown a blanket over the first four (to use a favorite racecallers’ description) with Im Pats Delight holding on by a metre from Our Triple Play, who nosed out Our Uncle Sam.  Sentimental hometown favorite San Carlo was a close-up fourth. With the Tim Butt-trained Let It Ride zooming along out in front and San Carlo (Bec Bartley) on the outside cutting the breeze, Lang supporters could have been excused for having big smiles in the early stages with “Pat” perfectly placed in the one-one. The leading brigade slipped into overdrive over the second last quarter in 27.6, with Let It Ride the first to surrender. San Carlo worked to the lead then was collared by Our Uncle Sam who launched wide from the back. But it was Im Pats Delight who swooped to take the honors, courtesy of another classic timed-to-perfection Lang drive.    The final 400m saw the survival of the fittest, being run in 29.6s. But in fairness, the mile rate for the staying trip of 1.56-2 was just .01 of a second outside the track record held by recent Inter Dominion series competitor Im The Boss, set on April 28 last year. Lang said his association with Dalgety “goes back a long time”. “I enjoy driving for him, because you know the horses are going to the races in prime condition,” Lang said. The combination has enjoyed considerable success over the years with talented pacers coming to mind including London Legend who ended up a M10 and C15. It was the second Victorian win for Im Pats Delight during this campaign, having won a heat of last month’s Inter Dominion at Ballarat in a career best of 1.52-2 for 1710m. Lang said while the horse held his own during the series, the tough runs eventually caught up with the four-year-old. He said Dalgety freshened “Pat” up after the series. “The horse had a nice hit-out in a Melton trial on the Tuesday prior to Shepparton, running a close-up third to Cruz Bromac and we knew that would have done him the world of good.” Lang, now back in the training ranks based at Bacchus Marsh, is also having a good season as a trainer. “My wife Meagan and I decided we could do around 12 to 13 between us,” he said. “But with a few winners we quickly found we were up to 18 and that meant employing staff, but we’re thoroughly enjoying it.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Journeyman gelding Wardan Express gave a bold front-running exhibition to score an impressive harness racing win in the $35,000 Group 3 Hamilton Pacing Cup. Trainer-driver Matt Craven speared the five-year-old (Art Major-Benelise (Vintner) to the head of affairs and he showed his rivals a clean pair of heels, setting a new track record along the way. “He’s been going really well with consistent performances against some pretty handy ones,” a jubilant Craven said. “I guess the longer 2660m trip was somewhat of a question mark, but I wasn’t really concerned when I checked back on some of his races in the past. “A few of his runs were over a bit of distance in the Breeders Crown, Sires Stakes and Derby feature events and against top company.” Craven certainly wasn’t waiting for anyone in the cup, allowing Wardan Express to slide along at a steady clip. The sectional times of 28.5, 29.3, 27.9 and 28 tell the tale, eclipsing the previous track record held by superstar Cruz Bromac. Wardan Express is raced by AD Investments Pty Ltd, along with Warren Viney, of Tasmania. The combination races many horses and Wargan Express carried the Viney race colors to victory yesterday. After starting his career with the Tindale stable at Melton, the gelding then had stints with Amanda Turnbull, Russell and Nathan Jack, Kevin Pizzuto and Gary Hall snr before finding his way to the Craven stable at south Ecklin, near Terang. Craven hasn’t mapped out a race program for the exciting pacer, who has now won eight races for him, but he did hint a trip to Menangle could be on the cards. After the cup win, the popular horseman paid tribute to his many stable helpers, including girlfriend Sofia, foreman Craig McKinnis, and his parents Helen and Peter. “It’s impossible to do it properly without help when you have a big team,” Craven said. “Mum does the lunches each day for everyone, while dad does the joggers and he’s even having a race drive for me on a 2yo on Wednesday. They are both huge supporters of the stable.” And while the Hamilton Cup win was a first for Craven, he admitted there were no big celebrations when they drove one and a half hours back home. “We had to be up early and on the road to Shepparton to look at some yearlings that are entered for the coming sales,” he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

IN a shock twist Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara won’t tackle Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup. He’s the second big name in the space of just a few hours to pull out of Victoria’s biggest country cup. It follows Cran Dalgety’s decision to skip Ballarat and wait another week for the $100,000 Group 1 4YO Bonanza with Shepparton Cup winner Im Pats Delight. Tiger Tara was a clear prepost favourite for Ballarat before Pizzuto revealed his change of plans. “He’s right where I want him and I don’t want to have to take him down to Melbourne twice or have to leave him there for the time between Ballarat and the Hunter Cup,” he said. “I’ve got lots on at home with Majordan getting ready for the Miracle Mile and Picard for the Chariots Of Fire. I’m not just a one-horse trainer. “He doesn’t need to race at Ballarat. He’s very fit and I can sharpen him at home before the Hunter Cup.” Tiger Tara stepped-out for the first time since his stunning Melbourne Inter Dominion win when he toyed with a moderate field at Menangle last night. Todd McCarthy worked to the front and let Tiger Tara roll for a scorching 1min53.8sec mile rate iver the longer 2300m trip. He closed off in 54.2 and 26.6sec. With Tiger Tara and Im Pats Delight, the All Stars’ trio of Cruz Bromac, Thefixer and Spankem should dominate Ballarat.   Adam Hamilton