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Premier reinsman Gavin Lang came out in support of standing-start races after winning the Easter Cup at Mowbray on Saturday night. Lang said he would like to see them reintroduced in Victoria where there have been no standing starts for pacers since the start of the 2017-18 season. "I believe there is still a place for them, especially at this level where you are dealing with readymade racehorses," the trainer-driver said. Harness Racing Victoria made its contentious decision to scrap stands after an extensive review of the format from both a wagering and an image perspective. "On both counts, the board has viewed standing start races as harmful to the viability of the industry," chief executive John Anderson said at the time. Prominent media commentator Adam Hamilton supported the decision, saying "standing starts have served the sport well through history but have passed their use-by date." There's been no suggestion, not in public anyway, that Tasracing has ever considered following suit. Opinions will always be divided but standing starts still have a strong body of support among diehard harness racing followers. Punters know the risks involved when they bet on stands. So the only real problem is their potential to seriously delay the start of races which can lead to them being 'flicked' by Sky Channel. But plenty of mobile races run late as well, as was the case on Saturday night for some reason. Although Franco Tristan was Lang's fifth Easter Cup winner, it was the first time he's won it from a standing start. Franco Tiger, Northern Brewer, Here Comes David and Jonells Son all won when it was a mobile free-for-all.   By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

Star Victorian pacer San Carlo deserves to win a Group 1 race and is set to be given another three chances to do over the next few months. Trainer Steve O’Donoghue said it was “very likely” his classy veteran would chase the Len Smith Mile at the end of June and then the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake during Albion Park’s Winter Carnival. San Carlo followed a dominant Mildura Cup win with a comfortable Warragul Cup victory last Sunday. It was a one-act affair with driver Bec Bartley working to the front, rolling along and ripping home in 55.6 and 27.4sec to win by 3.2m in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for the long 2627m trip. The slow-maturing eight-year-old boasts 28 wins from just 48 starts along with nine placings and almost $500,000 in earnings. Buzz former Kiwi four-year-old Ana Malak looked San Carlo’s only real danger on paper at Warragul, but found the task of sitting outside him for the last 1400m simply too much. He tired late for fourth. It was the Golden Nugget winner’s  second run for caretaker trainer Dean Braun after he dropped back staggeringly in grade to win first-up from a spell at Stawell six days earlier. Ana Malak is sure to keep improving, having just raced twice for Braun since the Group 1 Golden Nugget for part-owners and trainers Greg and Skye Bond last December. “We’ll see how he goes in Victoria with Dean (Braun, trainer) for a while then bring him back home,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ For the umpteenth time in his stellar career, Gavin Lang’s drive made all the different in a feature. Lang, recently sidelined with a bout of shingles, was at his aggressive and tactical best in a desperate first 100m of the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmanian Easter Cup (2698m). Ultimately, somehow staying in front of major rival Ryley Major won Lang and his former Kiwi pacer Franco Tristan the race. Lang went on to find the lead, dictate the terms and win by 1.1m over a gallant Scooterwillrev, who sat parked. But Ryley Major should’ve won. He was buried four pegs, got clear too late and stormed home for a close third. If not for Lang’s genius early, Ryley Major’s trainer-driver Rohan Hillier would almost certainly have found the lead and won as he liked. Franco Tristan has been ultra-consistent since coming to Lang’s barn from NZ with 16 starts netting si wins, seven seconds, two thirds and now almost $90,000 in stakemoney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trainer Andy Gath said some the practice at home the Alexandra Park direction of racing ended a planned Anzac and Rowe Cup raid. “He just wasn’t comfortable going that way, certainly not enough for take him overseas,” Gath said. “We’d love to have gone, you know I love chasing the big races when we’ve got the right horse.” McLovin was beaten but far from disgraced after striking early trouble in the Uncle Petrika Sprint (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night. He gave the leaders almost 50m start once they’d settled and ran on well for third behind rejuvenated and very much in-form Savannah Jay Jay, who ran down classy mare Red Hot Tooth in a slick 1min55sec mile rate. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Emerging NSW stayer Ellmers Image had to be content with winning the consolation of last year’s Melbourne Inter Dominion. But he’s gone to another level since and will surely tackle the Auckland series late this year. Amanda Turnbull’s gelding sat parked and beat Majordan in a 1min49.6sec mile at Menangle then out-stayed a hot field in last Thursday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The mile rate was a blazing 1min56.7sec for 2565m around the tight, old-school circuit. Buzz pacer Ignatius ran a close and excellent second at his first run back from a let-up, while classy recent Kiwi import Sicario was third. The trio look set to meet again in this week’s Group 2 Treuer Memorial – a former Grand Circuit race – at Bankstown. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trevor Casey’s former Kiwi filly Dracarys looks a standout for the Group 1 WA Oaks. Champion driver Gary Hall Jr has been talking her up for many weeks and she again showed why be thrashing a good field in a prelude of the Oaks at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Hall Jr worked around the field from a back row draw to find the lead midrace and kept rolling. Dracarys won as she liked in a brisk 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2138m, capped by closing splits of 56.6 and 28.5sec. The daughter of Bettors Delight won one of her three NZ starts before Casey sent her to Justin Prentice in WA and she’s posted another 10 wins and two placings in her 13 starts in WA. On the same card last Friday, American Ideal gelding Mighty Conqueror underlined his potential with a narrow but big win in the $50,000 Group 2 Easter Cup. Greg and Skye Bond’s four-year-old came from a 20m handicap, worked around to lead and just staved-off a big late surge from As Happy As Larry to win by a nose. “We think he’s got so much potential,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. “If you talk to Ryan (Warwick, driver), he just loves the horse and thinks he’s still developing with every run. “He’s had a big campaign so he’s out a spell now with the hope he’ll come back and take the next step.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ One of Australia’s most exciting mares Share The Road died suddenly in trackwork last Tuesday. The Kiwi-bred daughter of Tintin In America, who boasted nine wins and 11 placings from just 28 starts, was due to resume for new trainer Matty Craven at Melton last night (Saturday). “We assume it was a heart attack. She went onto the track, went 100m, collapsed and died,” owner Zac Cornell said. “It’s devastating because she had so much potential and we just switched her to Matty for a change-up to try and get a bit more speed back into her.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Could Majestuoso be the trotter to test the freakish Alpha Male in the major Aussie three-year-old trotting features? There’s no doubt the speedy son of Majestic Son has the talent, as evidenced by his five wins from just six starts this season. The latest came after a massive scare when Majestuoso was cruising to an easy Ballarat win last Tuesday night before galloping at the 400m, but getting going again in time to win easily. Majestuoso showed talent but galloped so often last season, but, generally his manners have been much better this campaign. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Queensland veteran Glenferrie Hood deserves a mention for topping $100,000 in earnings in free-for-all ranks so far this season. The much-travelled nine-year-old made it nine wins from just 19 starts for the term – his best strike rate of any season in his career – when he overcame a wide draw and stormed around the field to win at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Wayne Graham-trained gelding has won 42 races and is closing in on $500,000 in career earnings.   Adam Hamilton

IF you’re a fan of the NZ Cup, then make sure you tune in a race at Penrith in suburban Sydney on Thursday night. One of Australia’s most exciting young pacers Ignatius kick-starts a campaign which will see him tackle the NZ Cup and then the Auckland Inter Dominion. “We’re very keen on the NZ Cup, especially with the Inters starting just a couple of weeks later,” trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray said. “Plus, Gareth (Rattray, Jimmy’s brother) gave him a few standing-start runs back in Tassie and he really handled it well.” Ignatius won his Chariots Of Fire lead-up then drew poorly in the big one itself and finished down the track. He’s been freshened since. “He’s been working well at home, pleased with a strong trial win in 1min53sec and change last Tuesday and he’s ready to go,” Rattray said. “The problem we have at Penrith is the draw. Inside the back around that tight track could be tricky. “But the time I took him to Penrith he went as good as he ever has in any race, anywhere. It was an amazing win, so I know he loves the little track.” Ignatius has opened $3 second elect on the Aussie TAB with the older and in-form Ellmers Image $2.80 favourite from outside the back row. This Renshaw Cup is a ripper with other class runners including Brent Lilley’s recent Kiwi import Sicario (gate five, $5) and Kevin Pizzuto’s Harness Jewels hopeful Picard (six, $5). Beyond Penrith, Ignatius will head to the one-time Grand Circuit race – the $65,000 Group 2 Treuer Memorial – at Bankstown on April 26. “Then it’s into the Breeders Challenge series before we decide on whether to take him to Queensland for their winter features or rest him and focus just on NZ. He could do both,” Rattray said. “He really enjoyed that little freshen-up after the Chariots and it’s exciting to have him back racing again.”   Adam Hamilton

THE two biggest names in Aussie pacing are close to comeback races. This season’s open-class ranks were cruelled when firstly Soho Tribeca and then Chicago Bull were sidelined with serious injuries. But the pair are at the same stage of comeback preparations and only three to four weeks away from the racetrack. “All is going well at this stage. He’s about a month away, so the Len Smith is a big chance. We’d love to get there,” Soho Tribeca’s trainer-driver Stanley said. Hall Sr said: “Chicago Bull sounds like he’s at about the same stage as Soho Tribeca. He’ll be ready for a trial in three weeks or so.” There is talk about a possible Gloucester Park match race, but Stanley said his sole target for now was the Group 1 Len Smith Mile on June 30. That said, owner Rob Watson is a big picture man and will ultimately call the shots on where Soho Tribeca heads. “There’s a lot to consider and get through, but it would be amazing for the sport if a match-race happened,” Watson said. “I’d love to see and would certainly throw some money behind it.” _____________________________________________________________________________ EXCITING former Kiwi trotter McLovin capped his preparation for a return “home” with an easy Melton win last night. The Andy and Kate Gath-trained six-year-old will now head to Auckland for the Anzac and Rowe Cups. McLovin worked to the front, dictated terms and won the $24,000 Group 3 Sundons Gift Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m). He’s won six of seven starts since being bought by Norm Jenkin and joining the Gaths. _____________________________________________________________________________ FORMER young Kiwi star Ana Malak is seeing plenty of Australia. The four-year-old made a huge splash, including winning the Group 1 Golden Nugget, in his first Aussie campaign in WA for trainers Greg and Skye Bond. Worried by his handicap status in WA, the Bonds negotiated with Victorian trainer Dean Braun to take Ana Malak for a stint in Victoria. Braun has set his sights on more travel, this time to Tasmania for the $75,000 Easter Cup at Launceston on April 20. As soon as word got out Ana Malak was being set for the race, he was installed a $3 favourite. It promises to be a strong race with other mainlanders like Kerryn Manning’s exciting four-year-old Duke Of Wellington and recent Charlton Cup winner Cant Refuse are others being set for a Tassie raid. Ana Malak won four of six NZ starts before being unbeaten in three runs for the Bonds. The son of Bettors Delight hasn’t raced since winning the Nugget at Gloucester Park on December 14. _____________________________________________________________________________ COULD exciting juvenile colt Pandering be a “sneaky” for the Harness Jewels? The son of Courage Under Fire won on debut for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin by 35.5m at Ballarat last Friday and is raced by Justin Baker, the managing owner of brilliant three-year-old trotter Alpha Male. Stewart is on record as saying if, as expected, Alpha Male heads to the Jewels she would like to take one or two juvenile pacers with the trotter to Addington. Stewart also has Victoria’s best juvenile so far this season, Be Happy Mach. Another Ballarat winner going places after a sparkling win last Friday is Andy and Kate Gath’s three-year-old trotter Majestuoso. It’s clear he’s in the top few trotters of his age in Australia after posting his fourth win of the season and scoring by 20.3m. _____________________________________________________________________________ ELLMERS Image showed he has the potential to take the next step with a gritty win in blazing time at Menangle last night. Trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull gave him a crack at the Melbourne Inter Dominion last year, but he just battled through the heats before brilliantly winning the consolation. Ellmers Image also ran a strong second to the classy Our Uncle Sam in the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal on Miracle Mile night. Last night he made a midrace move to sit parked outside the speedy Majordan, who did work hard in a 26.1sec opening quarter from a wide draw. The pair hit the line together with the photo showing a nostril margin to Ellmers Image in a 1min49.6sec mile. Former Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow was third. The win was Ellmers Image’s 14th from 52 starts and edged him close to $170,000 in earnings. Another winner of note at Menangle was former Great Southern Star winner Glenferrie Typhoon, who won his first race since being bought from Western Australia. Glenferrie Typhoon reached the top for Andy and Kate Gath before connections took him to WA for a stint. Now a nine-year-old with trainer Roy Roots Jr, Glenferrie Typhoon posted his 32nd win in a 1min59sec mile rate for 2300m. It was his first win since last October.   by Adam Hamilton

FORMER Kiwi Buster Brady confirmed his tag as Victoria’s Country Cups “King” with a spellbinding win in the $60,000 Group 2 Horsham Cup. The gelding is known for switching off at times in his races, but also for his staggering will to win. He showed plenty of both, but rallied courageously when it mattered to snatch a 1.5m win over talented pair Jilliby Chevy and Cant Refuse. Both had easier runs than him. Today’s Horsham Cup win followed other country cup wins at Maryborough, Echuca, Cobram and Geelong. The gelding has been a revelation for owners the Stokie Group and Kima Frenning, who is trying her hand for the first time as a trainer with Buster Brady. It was a stirring contest today, especially when Cant Refuse’s trainer-driver Matty Craven showed aggression in the middle stages, posted Buster Brady three-wide then eventually worked to the front and Buster Brady outside him. Cant Refuse pinched a break coming to the home turn and Buster Brady looked spent, while Jilliby Chevy surged through along the sprint lane. Just when it seemed Jilliby Chevy had Cant Refuse beaten and was home, Buster Brady lifted remarkably, surged and snatched the an epic win in a 1min58.7sec mile rate for the long 2700m trip. Another former Kiwi, Monty Python, made light of a 10m handicap courtesy of a superb Chris Alford drive to win the $25,000 Group 3 Horsham Trotters’ Cup. Andy Gath’s latest Kiwi import, Il Pirata, was the heavily backed favourite, but did some midrace work, trotted roughly and hung in the last 300m and was just fair in third spot. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is a real sense of timing about Major Trojan’s WA Derby campaign. In fact, barriers pending, Gary Hall Sr’s latest star has next Friday night’s Group 1 feature at his mercy. That became clear when, after three placings from his only three previous WA runs, Major Trojan finally draw well, led and thrashed his rivals in the Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was an armchair drive for Gary Hall Jr, who dictated through a dawdling 62sec middle half then zipped home in 56.2 and 27.3sec to win by 10.6m in a comfortable 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2130m. “All his runs have been fantastic and we knew he was building fitness. When he drew well this time, we knew he had the speed to use the draw and expected to him to win,” Hall Sr said. “Gaz said he did that easily and he’s right where we want him going into next week.” The main rival looks to be Kyle Harper’s exciting Franco Edward, who actually beat home Major Trojan (third) when second to Eloquent Mach at Gloucester Park two week’s back. Franco Edward stormed home from last and also looks to be building nicely. His owner Rob Watson shocked many recently when he said Franco Edward was potentially the best horse he’d had, remembering Watson also bred and races the outstanding Soho Tribeca. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THIS is shaping as one heck of a juvenile crop in Australia. Jilliby Nitro grab top seeding with his mesmerizing Gold Crown win at Bathurst last Friday. But we’ve been hearing for weeks now Be Happy Mach is the next young star out of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s barn. Be Happy Mach made the most of a lovely run to win his second race from as many starts and beat some exciting youngsters in the process in last night’s $24,000 Shakamaker Classic (1720m) at Melton. After trailing the leader and using the sprint lane, Chris Alford nursed him to a 2.9m win over the eye-catching Sanday for Andy and Kate Gath charging home for second and Kiwi-bred Hes Goneski tiring after leading for third. The only buzz youngster in the race, Soho Hamilton, was far from disgraced in fourth spot after drawing wide, being three and four wide early then doing the work outside the leader. Be Happy Mach and Jilliby Nitro are headed towards an Australian Gold showdown. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LOVEABLE young mare Miss Sangrial gave Team Brennan and stable driver Michael Grantham not only one of their biggest, but most rewarding wins at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Blowing punters away as a $51 shot, Miss Sangrial snatched a half-head win over classy former Kiwi mare Our Alfie Romeo with Lady De La Renta third and hot favourite Eden Franco fourth in the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m). “This is as good as it gets,” trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan said. “We’ve always had a good opinion of this mare, she’s a stable favourite, and to share the big win with Mickey (Grantham) is fantastic.” Another popular win on the came from Vultan Tin, who returned to form in the free-for-all for trainer Phil Costello and driver Chris Voak. The seven-year-old snatched a half-head win over Brennan’s evergreen The Bucket List with favourite Handsnwheels third in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2536m. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LAST season’s star three-year-old trotter Stress Factor will need to lift to snare a Harness Jewels invite. The Trotters’ Derby and Breeders Crown winner was moderate at best when fifth to Claudys Prince at Maryborough last Friday. He’s yet to show anything like his best form this term, casting in serious doubt a planned Kiwi raid by trainer Brent Lilley. __________________________________________________________________________________________ AS well as a Melton treble, top trainer Emma Stewart also won the feature race at Globe Derby last night. Stewart’s filly Celebrity Chef did the work outside the leader and dug deep to win the $15,000 Botra Fillies’ Classic with Jaimie-Lee King aboard for her first race start.   Adam Hamilton

HARNESS Jewels organizers will have one eye on Bathurst this weekend. Bathurst’s huge annual Gold Crown Carnival gets underway tomorrow night and at least two young stars are on trial for trips to the Jewels at Addington on June 2. One of them, three-year-old trotter Emerald Stride, carries plenty of weight. He’s owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati, who are no strangers to the Jewels and would dearly love to win a final. Emerald Stride, winner of the famed Redwood 2YO Trot at Maryborough last season, is unbeaten in two runs this term for David Miles. He’s shooting for the hattrick against just three rivals in the Gold Coronet at Bathurst on Saturday night. Earlier in the night, NSW early juvenile pacing star Mistery Road is aiming his fourth win from as many runs for trainer John Boserio and the Frisby clan. If successful, he will be a major player in what shapes as a strong Gold Crown final Saturday week. Frisby talked with HRNZ’s Darrin Williams this week to express distinct interest in the Jewels. “We were actually talking about the Frisby’s young mare Major Occasion, who ran second in the Ladyship Mile to Our Dream About Me. They are keen to take her to the Jewels,” Williams said. “That’s when Mistery Road came up so we’ve got something extra to watch at Bathurst as well.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OVER in Perth, there has been early money for buzz Kiwi import Major Trojan to overcome a wide draw and win the $50,000 Western Gateway Pace – a key WA Derby lead-up tomorrow night. Major Trojan has been a luckless second for Team Hall in two WA runs and may have to sit parked this time outside speedy Patrickthepiranha. “He’s much fitter for the two runs and ready to do some work,” Hall Sr said.   Adam Hamilton

Harness racing has some great families, but exciting juvenile Soho Hamilton certainly comes from one of the best. The American Ideal colt, who turned so many heads with his sparkling Terang debut win last night, is a brother to sidelined superstar Soho Tribeca. But it goes much further. Being out of the amazing producer Pixel Perfect, he is also a half-brother to one of Australia’s best mares Carlas Pixel (19 wins, $480,128). Pixel Perfect’s had five foals to race, all winners. They others being: Birdy Mach (24 wins, $222,041), last year’s Australian 2YO fillies’ winner Soho Nolita (five wins, $191,840) and Perfect Mach (16 wins, $144,323). She’s owned by leviathan WA-based breeder Rob Watson, who also races Soho Hamilton with family and friends. “I listened from London. He’s got freakish talent this guy, but is still very green. It’s hugely exciting,” Watson said, Trainer-driver Mick Stanley was as much relieved as excited after Soho Hamilton blazed a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1680m after scorching through opening splits of 27.7 and 28.7sec. “We’ve always know the talent is there, but the greenness was our worry in a good field from a wide draw,” he said. “He did so much early, then almost lost it on the home bend when he veered four and five wide, but the best part for me was how he was able to refocus and still win easily.” Soho Hamilton’s target, like half-sister Soho Nolita last year, is the Australian Gold, albeit he will have to travel to Brisbane’s Albion Park to win it this year. And if you like his name, he is only partly-named after your author. “Hamilton is a combination of names and places. I know so many Hamiltons, it was the first street I lived on, seeing the musical Hamilton in New York tomorrow and now it seems we have a good horse called Hamilton,” Watson said. But his stable name, according to Stanley, is “Adam”. “The important part is I’ve named him after you at home. Like I said, he’s a natural talent, but will be a lot better in future,” he said. He’s also part-owned by star Adelaide Crows AFL football player Josh Jenkins, a close friend of Stanley’s. Adam Hamilton

A WORKOUT the Auckland-way of going is all that stands between former Kiwi trotter McLovin and an Anzac/Rowe Cup raid. Trainer Andy Gath admitted a mix of relief and excitement when McLovin bounced-back to winning form and smashed the clock at Melton last Saturday night. It made a lie of his flop seven days earlier and took his Aussie record with Gath to three wins from four starts. “He beat a good field and ran time. He’s very smart,” Gath said. “We’d almost shelved Auckland after the previous run, but he’s put his hand up again for sure. “He’s certainly good enough to take. We know he’ll be competitive. One of the races is a mobile, the other a stand. He’s now won two of each for us.” Gath said McLovin had come through Saturday’s win well. “We’ve got the time to give him another run here,” he said. “As far as a decision on Auckland goes, that hinges on when we try working him that direction at home. If he handles it, we’ll head across.” Interestingly, McLovin tends to hang out a little in his Aussie races so he could actually be even more comfortable going the opposite direction. The other upside of an Auckland trip now is the experience ahead of heading back for the Inter Dominion series at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the reigning Inter Dominion winner and stablemate Tornado Valley is out spelling. Team Gath’s huge recent success with trotters looks set to continue with them adding another former Kiwi, Il Pirata, to the stable. The eight-year-old son of Love You only won seven races from 75 NZ starts, but did run another 31 placings and – in recent times – has been up against hot opposition. Il Pirata’s last-start run was a close second to emerging star Sundees Son on March 3. “His form certainly reads well. Yes he’s a veteran and hasn’t actually won that many races, but he’s run lots of placings. I guess what we’ll find out is how genuine he is once he starts racing over here,” Gath said.   Adam Hamilton

A LIFE ban and possible criminal charges await a lunatic who threw his shoe at the field in the feature race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. As the runners in the $50,000 Group 2 Sales’ Classic neared the winning post with a lap to go, a young man threw a shoe at the leader, Shockwave, but miraculously the field was not disrupted. It could so easily have caused a fall and harm to horses and drivers. Gloucester Park Operations Manager Tony Williamson said two shoes were throw onto the track and one hit the sulky of a horse. “We called the police, they’ve taken their details and they are fairly well know young guys here in Perth who play footy. The stewards are taking it from here,” he said. “One of the young men will be banned. What he did was ridiculous and dangerous.” The race was won by emerging star Patrickthepiranha, who had a lovely sit on a hot speed and just scored by a head. It wasn’t the only big three-year-old race on the night. The other saw Gary Hall Sr’s pair Eloquent Mach just stave-off boom Kiwi import Major Trojan by a nose in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. They both look serious WA Derby players. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ GARY Hall Sr can’t hide his excitement, Not only is his sidelined champion Chicago Bull back in work, but the hopples went on this week. “So far so good. He’s back quicker than we thought, but it was a guess. They hadn’t seem injuries like his,” he said. “You don’t get many like this guy and his season came to an end so abruptly. It’s great to have him back. “There’s no rush from here. Just a long, steady build-up to get his fitness and confidence then back to races.” Chicago Bull had a freakish reaction to an injection, flipped and badly damaged his back the day after an Alexandra Park win took him into NZ Cup favourite last October. Chicago Bull’s arch-rival, Soho Tribeca, is also back in rehab work, but a long way off racing. “He looks great, but has just started some slow pace work. Hopefully he makes it back when he’s ready,” trainer-driver Mick Stanley said. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ INTERESTING to see Golden Nugget winner and highly-rated former Kiwi pacer Ana Malak switch stables, albeit briefly. The young star won the Nugget for Greg and Skye Bond, but is back in work with Dean Braun for a campaign. “It’s just for this campaign to see what he can do over there,” Bond said. “He’s a free-for-all horse now in Perth or just a M2/C7 in Victoria so there’s more opportunities for him over there.” Ana Malak finished a soft third in a Geelong trial on March 4, indicating he was still a way away from racing. The entire has raced just nine times for seven wins, two placings and $237,499. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER classy Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow is gradually finding his mojo for the Craig Cross/McCarthy team. The six-year-old former All Stars’ gelding made the most of a lovely Luke McCarthy drive to win the Menangle free-for-all in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m last Friday night. Cash N Flow worked to the front, but McCarthy was content to take a sit on his brother, Todd, aboard race favourite Majordan. Cash N Flow then took an inside run to score by 2.7m over the talented Ellmers Image with Majordan another five metres away in third spot. Menangle’s other feature, the $50,000 Group 2 Tatlow 2YO, produced a stirring finish with favourite Mistery Road, a son of Mr Feelgood, snatching a half-head win over Krafty Bart in a 1min54.4sec mile. Mistery Road’s driver Anthony Frisby teamed with much-improved mare Major Occasion for arguably the win of the night in race three. The four-year-old ran right up to her huge second to Our Dream About Me in the Group 1 Ladyship Mile when she did all the worked and won in a 1min50.6sec mile last Friday. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ THE good babies are starting to emerge in Australia. At Bendigo last Thursday, Marg Lee unleashed nicely-bred colt Jilliby Nitro, a daughter of Bettors Delight out of Safely Kept mare Kiewa Valley. Kiewa Valley, a winner of seven races, has just the one foal to race, Rockmemama (21 starts, seven wins and $148,860), including the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ final. Off the back of a sharp Geelong trial win, Jilliby Nitro packed too much speed for his rivals to win by 2.2m in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 1650m. At Horsham last Monday, Emma Stewart unleashed her highly-rated colt Be Happy Mach for an impressive win from off the speed. Chris Alford had to dodge traffic and come deep in the last lap, but Be Happy Mach still clocked a private 56.2sec last half out deep to win by 3.4m in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1700m. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ STILL on babies and I’m honoured to have a superbly-bred one named after me having its first run at Terang on Tuesday. Soho Hamilton, a brother to Soho Tribeca and half to Carlas Pixel and Soho Nolita, is trained and driven by Mick Stanley and owned and bred by Rob Watson. “Hopefully he does you proud,” Stanley said. “His stable name is Adam. He’s showing plenty of talent, but I can’t help but think whatever he does this year he’ll be a better three-year-old.” Watson said: “Mate we only name the good ones after good people. I think this bloke goes nearly as good as you.” ______________________________________________________________________________________________ AUSTRALIA has so many iconic country cups and Broken Hill’s version is certainly one of them. About as remote a venue as you can get, a big crowd packed Broken Hill and watched respected SA horseman Greg Norman’s gelding The Deal thrash his rivals in the $14,000 feature last Friday night.   Adam Hamilton

IT’S that time of year again. Aussie trainers are starting to cast their mind towards possible NZ Harness Jewels raids. And leading the way is Australia’s exciting three-year-old Lochinvar Art and trained Laura Crossland. “We’re very keen,” she said. “He’s had no luck with draws all season and kept running big races.” Lochinvar Art followed a third in the Victoria Derby with a third in the NSW Derby. Both from awful barriers. “We’ve spoken with Darrin Williams and said how much we’d love the Aussie invite,” Crossland added. Kiwi trainer Mark Jones and his Aussie partner, Aaron Goadsby, are just as keen to get an Aussie invite with their juvenile filly Lulu Le Mans, who followed a third against the boys in the Sapling Stakes with a second in the Pink Bonnet last Saturday night. “She’s the right sort of filly and not really paid-up for anything else,” Goadsby said. “Ideally we’d get the invite early, take her to Auckland and race her in the Aussies colours in the lead-up races.” Powerhouse trotting team Yabby Dams is considering four-year-old Amour De Frere for the Jewels. Trainer Anton Golino said she was the right sort of mare with similar speed to stablemate Dance Craze, who finished a luckless third in last year’s Jewels 4YO mares’ trot. She went on to win the Group 1 Great Southern Star a few weeks back. “Amour De Frere would be ideal if I can get her spot on, which can be a challenge. We’re definitely looking at it,” Golino said. Amour De Frere made it seven wins from just 18 starts when she led throughout to win the Group 2 Breed For Speed Silver final at Melton in a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1720m last Saturday night.   Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton has outlined his torrid battle with bowel cancer in a must-listen Racing Pulse segment, with the Victorian trots journalist urging all to stay tuned to their bodies and seek medical advice. In the wake of successful surgery and the all-clear from surgeons, the TAB Head Of Media Communications stepped through his challenging but successful battle with bowel cancer with RSN 927's Michael Felgate this morning. "Tremendously pleased to get the all clear," Hamilton said. "A couple of weeks back from the operation and, really, only a couple of weeks away from consigning this to a deep, dark chapter, but one that has just been a chapter along the way and will be history." Hamilton detailed the diagnosis, treatment and surgery, lauding the work of medical professionals at Epworth and Peter McCallum Cancer Centre. “The surgeon is cutting edge – his name is Satish Warrier, he basically said from the start it looks relatively advanced, but I’ve got this, I’ve seen examples like this before and if we go through the process, round of chemo over six to eight weeks, a break, then another round of chemo and radiation together over another six weeks I think that will make a huge impact on it. Ideal world is you fall into the 15 per cent of people who are cured or treated properly by those treatments and then when we open you up and take out the affected areas the cancer is gone. “I count myself as absolutely being in that incredibly lucky category because that’s exactly what happened when they opened me up on the 23rd of Feb, they took out the affected section of the bowel, which had a lot of scarring, they took out the supportive wall alongside of the bowel, which he was worried it had started to move into, and they took out five accompanying lymph nodes down the side of that wall as well." Hamilton urged all to listen to their bodies and proactively seek check-ups, in particular a colonscopy from age 40. “What has shone through out of the people I have spoken to through the process, 40 is the new 50 with bowel cancer. Well done to the Government sending out the test at 50, but it’s so slow growing starting out with polyps and then developing into radical cells and then developing into cancers. The surgeon said I may well have had mine five to eight years, starting from a very small, irregular cell in a polyp developing into a clear, functioning cancer. If I had have had a test done in my early 40s I probably wouldn’t have had the issues that I had to deal with.” Click to watch the video here   Trots Media

AUSTRALASIA’S champion pacer Tiger Tara will headline a trio of Miracle Mile hopefuls Kevin Pizzuto will run at Menangle next Saturday night. Pizzuto confirmed star speedster Majordan and his Chariots of Fire fifth placegetter Picard would also tackle one of the Miracle Mile qualifiers this week. “Picard’s come through the Chariots and he’ll be fitter for the run as well. He’s going around this week again for sure,” Pizzuto said. “He did all the work and was only beaten five metres. I know he’ll be better for it.” Majordan’s turbulent campaign took a crucial turn for the better when he did everything right and blasted away a good field, headed by NZ Cup winner Thefixer, at Menangle last Saturday night. Pizzuto reaffirmed what he’s been saying for months that Majordan rates right along Tiger Tara as a Miracle Mile prospect. “Tiger Tara’s got all the form on the board, but over a mile at Menangle, Majordan is right at home,” he said. “He’s been a bit fresh and doing things wrong. I’ve changed his bit, got some more work into him and he won really well the other night. “I can assure you he’ll keep getting better now. When he’s galloped in this races, he’s missed the hitout. Last night will bring him on a lot more.” So what about Tiger Tara and his quest to complete a total dominance of our biggest races by winning the Miracle Mile? “He’s well. Really well. He his work was fantastic on Saturday and he’ll another strong workout at Bankstown this week,” Pizzuto said. “I’m glad now I skipped Newcastle and gave him a few quiet days after the Hunter Cup. “He’s freshened-up well and with a mile run under his belt this week, he’ll be absolutely spot-on on for the (Miracle) Mile.” The latest Aussie TAB Miracle Mile market shows Pizzuto’s key role with Tiger Tara $3.60 favourite, Majordan $7 third elect and Picard at $21. Adam Hamilton

EVEN without Spankem, the powerhouse All Stars stable has qualified three runners for Australia’s biggest four-year-old feature. Chase Auckland, Ashley Locaz and All You Need If Faith will fly the stable flag in next Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Chariots Of Fire (1609m) at Menangle. They might have the numbers, but they don’t have the pre-draw favourite with Tasmania’s Ignatius, a stablemate of dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide, holding that billing. Ignatius did what most thought impossible and sat outside Chase Auckland to win last night’s Group 2 Paleface Adios at Menangle. The closing splits were mindblowing. Ignatius was able to run a 53.2 last half and 26.5sec closing quarter to edge-out Chase Auckland by a half-neck with star Victorian raider Rackemup Tigerpie third after sitting behind the leader. All You Need Is Faith qualified by running fourth, While Chase Auckland has improved at his three Sydney runs back from a long injury-enforced spell and will be better again for the final, Ignatius went out of this world. He has to be the testing material in the Chariots judging by that win. Remembering he was only second-up after a spell as well. “We were thrilled with the way he hit the line when a bit underdone in the Hondo Grattan first-up and the run brought him on,” trainer-driver Jimmy Rattray said. “He was ready to do a bit more work this time, so I went forward from the draw. To sit outside them and win was pretty impressive.” Another key player will be star Victorian Poster Boy, who qualified via his 4YO Bonanza win at Melton, and sharpened-up with an easy Melton win last night. Picard, who disappointed slightly when rundown on a wet track in last Friday’s Newcastle Mile, and Ashley Locaz are also right in contention on the strength of their Hondo Grattan runs. The pre-draw Aussie TAB market has Ignatius at $2.50 from: Chase Auckland ($3), Ashley Locaz ($4.20), Poster Boy ($6.50), Picard ($8) and Rackemup Tigerpie ($16).   Adam Hamilton

SUCH is the aura around Ultimate Sniper, you could hear the sigh of relief when Mark Purdon said his Sydney trip was off. Leading the charge was top local trainer Shane Tritton, who has the now logical NSW Derby favourite Muscle Factory. Remembering Ultimate Sniper was a $1.70 favourite for the NSW Derby in Aussie prepost markets before Purdon ruled him out today (Thursday). Instead, Purdon said the All Stars’ Victoria Derby runner-up Im Anothermasterpiece was staying in Australia to tackle the NSW Derby. He was quickly added to betting markets as equal favourite with Muscle Factory, who beat him in the Victoria Derby. “It’s certainly helps us not having Ultimate Sniper coming after what’s he done in NZ. Maybe we scared him off,” Tritton smiled. Ultimate Sniper was the second big name All Stars’ horse to defect from Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles this week. Earlier, Inter Dominion finalists Spankem, the long-time Chariots of Fire favourite, was scratched from Saturday night’s Paleface Adios owing to a virus. He’s heading home. It’s a huge weekend in NSW ahead with the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on Friday night and the Paleface Adios at Menangle on Saturday night. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto holds the key at Newcastle with defending champion Majordan (gate three, $1.40) and exciting four-year-old Picard (gate four, $3.30). “I can’t split them. Picard is absolutely flying and Majordan is on the way up. They’re two great changes,” he said. In Picard’s case, a win would create a dilemma because the conditions of the Newcastle Mile state the winner cannot race again before the Miracle Mile. However, because Picard was already qualified for the Chariots before accepting to race at Newcastle, it’s different for him. HRNSW has told Pizzuto that Picard cannot run in both the Chariots and Miracle Mile if he wins at Newcastle. “I have to tell them by 9am Monday which race I’m going to. Even if I go to the Chariots and Picard wins that, he’s not allowed to run in the Miracle. It’s crazy,” he said. Despite Spankem’s scratching, the All Stars still holds the key to the Paleface Adios at Menangle with comeback star Chase Auckland $1.90 favourite from gate two. They also have $13 All U Need Is Faith from gate nine. Much interest centres on Tasmanian star Ignatius, who smashed the clock first-up in the Hondo Grattan last week and will be fitter. He’s a $3 shot despite a wide draw (gate 10).   Adam Hamilton

TIGER Tara is poised to cap a truly remarkable season with victory in Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup. He’s already won the Inter Dominion final and Victoria Cup as well as producing one of the great runs in defeat when a monstrous second to Thefixer in the NZ Cup. Now, courtesy of an almost perfect draw, Tiger Tara is the Aussie TAB’s $1.55 favourite for the Hunter Cup. And judging by how easily he’s won those two others “majors” at Melton this season, it would be a brave person to tip against him. Adding to Tiger Tara’s superb gate three is fact three of his major rivals – the three Kiwis in the race – all drew the back row: Cruz Bromac (nine), Star Galleria (10) and Thefixer (11). Had NZ and Ballarat Cup winner Thefixer drawn well, he would have been favourite. Instead he’s a $7 shot from outside the back row. The way the marbles fell, Inter Dominion runner-up Our Uncle Sam looms as Tiger Tara’s biggest danger. Most see him using gate one to sit on Tiger Tara and he was quickly backed from $7 into $5 after the draw. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto was thrilled with Tiger Tara’s draw. “You beauty. It’s a great draw,” he said. Asked where Tiger Tara was at compared to his stunningly dominant Inter Dominion win back on December 15, Pizzuto declared: “At least on par.” Tiger Tara was having his final workout at Menangle this morning (Wednesday) then being floated down to Melbourne tomorrow. HUNTER CUP DRAW Front row: Our Uncle Sam ($5), Flaming Flutter ($151), Tiger Tara ($1.55), Buster Brady ($21), Raukapuka Ruler ($41), San Carlo ($21), Cant Refuse ($151). Back row: Wrappers Delight ($21), Cruz Bromac ($10), Star Galleria ($13), Thefixer ($7).   Adam Hamilton

KIWI raider Im Another Masterpiece's stranglehold on Victoria Derby favouritism tightened after he drew best of the big guns for Saturday night's feature. The All Stars' lone Derby runner looked fantastic winning the fastest of the three heats last week and will start from gate four in the final if emergency Demon Delight (gate one) doesn't gain a start. Despite the depth of the race, the Aussie TAB has Im Another Masterpiece a commanding $1.70 favourite with major rival Hurricane Harley at $5.50 from the back row (gate nine). The other key players like Muscle Factory (gate six), Max Delight (seven) and Lochinvar Art (10) drew worse than the favourite. The smokey could be ex-All Star pacer War Dan Delight, who smashed the clock from last to finish fourth in his heat last week with a 54sec last half. He's drawn gate two and will get the pole if Demon Delight doesn't get a berth. Im Pats Delight is early favourite from gate two in a strong Group 1 4YO Bonanza. Fellow Kiwi Inter Dominion contestant Spankem will need some luck from outside the front (gate seven), while other key runners are Emma Stewart's Poster Boy, first-up from gate four, and last week's slashing Ballarat Cup runner Rackemup Tigerpie has gate eight. The big guns all drew superbly for the much-anticipated Group 1 Great Southern Star. Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley snared gate two and looks the leader with Tough Monarch on his inside. Kiwi star Marcoola is right next to Tornado Valley in gate three and will be suited by the testing 2760m trip. Speeding Spur has the task ahead from outside the front, gate seven. Astonishingly, another Kiwi Ameretto Sun missed a berth and is only first emergency in gate six. The other Kiwi, Temporale, will need luck from the back row (gate 12). In the open Group 1 Ladyship Cup, Soho Burning Love (gate one) and Tell Me Tales (two) hold the key, Steven Reid's classy mare Utmost Delight is right in the mix from gate four, while Juice Brogden is next door in barrier three. Reid's stable hero Star Galleria warms up for next week's Hunter Cup the Casey Classic this week. He's a huge chance from gate three, but has likely leader and main threat Wrappers Delight in barrier two.   Adam Hamilton

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