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COMEBACK star Soho Tribeca will chase the NZ Cup, but not the Auckland Inter Dominion. The gifted pacer returns from almost a year out when he tackles next Saturday night’s Italian Cup at Melton. Trainer-driver Mick Stanley will then keep him based in Victoria, bypassing features in NSW and Queensland, to focus on an NZ Cup raid. “Obviously everything depends on how well he comes back, but you have to plan ahead and Rob (Watson, owner) I have talked through it all,” Stanley said. “The Inter Dominion, with the four runs in two weeks, just isn’t the right way to go with him after the injury he’s had. “But Rob is super, super keen on the NZ Cup and so am I. “We’re building everything around the NZ Cup at his main target this year.” But shaping plans for Soho Tribeca is just part of the exciting but challenging equation for Stanley, who boasts by his strongest stable ever. Two of his stars, Rackemup Tigerpie and Soho Burning Love, won feature races at Melton last night (Saturday). Rackemup Tigerpie’s sparkling first-up win in the free-for-all was both exciting for him and a great guide for Soho Tribeca’s progress. “They work together at home and trialled together last week where Soho Tribeca did a bit more work and Rackemup Tigerpie just edged him out,” Stanley said. “The way Rackemup won last night really gave us confidence Tribeca was right on target for next week.” Rackemup Tigerpie was first-up since finishing down the track in the Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 16. It was the end of a campaign where he raced through the grades with 11 wins, but the best run was a mighty second to Thefixer in the Ballarat Cup. Stanley drove him with confidence despite being first-up and made an early move around the field from a back row draw to sit parked for the second half of the short 1720m race. Despite doing all the work, Rackemup Tigerpie powered to the front and top of the straight and held-on well to win by 1.7m in a 1min54.7sec mile rate, including a 55.7sec last half. “The Vicbred 4YO series is next for him in a couple of weeks. Poster Boy will be a good measuring stick in that, but I’m sure this horse has comeback better than last campaign,” Stanley said. “The best part of last night’s win for me was how quickly he dropped them when I said go at the top of the straight. He couldn’t do that last time in work and it’s a great asset to have.” Rackemup Tigerpie has the Vicbred, Breeders Crown 4YO and a dip at the Victoria Cup in October to prove to Stanley he should chase the biggest open-class features next season. Just 30 minutes after Rackemup Tigerpie’s winning return, Soho Burning Love had an easier job finding the lead after the start and cruising to a dominant 5.5m win over last-start Group 1 winner and favourite Pistol Abbey in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for the 2240m. “She’s off the Vicbred 4YO mares’ series next and she’s got the Breeders Crown 4YO as well. I’d say she’d head across to Perth for their Group 1 mares’ race later in the year as well,” Stanley said.   Adam Hamilton

TWO of the “queens” of Aussie harness teamed to win South Australia’s richest race at Globe Derby last night (Saturday). Emma Stewart booked Swedish young gun Kima Frenning for exciting colt Pandering and they raced away to win the inaugural $100,000 Group 1 “The Allwood” final by 12.5m from Andy Gath’s Night Spirit. Female drivers snared the trifecta with NSW youngster Ashley Hart aboard Night Spirit and local Lisa Ryan aboard third-placed Ammicchi. __________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN claimer With Gusto has a special place in Chris Alford’s heart. Last year he gave Alford his 400th win of the that season and last Friday night he provided the champion driver’s 300th win of this season – still with almost three months of the season remaining. It moved Alford to tweet after the race: “Got to love ‘with gusto’ (sic) can find a milestone race to win, last season win 400 this season win 300, #gogussy.” Alford recently turned 51 and is driving better than ever. He sits poised on 99 career Group 1 wins. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter McLovin is issuing the challenge to Tornado Valley for the crown as stable star in Andy and Kate Gath’s barn. While Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley is out spelling, McLovin has been building quite the CV. The six-year-old’s 12 starts since joining the Gaths’ stable have returned seven wins, two seconds and two thirds. And his latest win, in last Friday night’s Bendigo Trotters’ Cup, was the best of his career. McLovin chased hard early from a 20m backmark, did all the work outside the and plunge runner Cruisin Around and powered away to win as he liked in a track record 2min0.3sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. We’ve really liked him since he got here. He’s got lots of speed for a trotter, but he really showed some toughness winning that way (at Bendigo),” driver Kate Gath said. The Gaths toyed with a Rowe Cup raid earlier this year, but the way McLovin is racing, he looks ideal to accompany Tornado Valley to the Dominion Trot and/or Auckland Inter Dominion later this year. In other stable news, the Gaths exciting three-year-old trotter Majestuoso snared his biggest win in the Group 3 Holmfield at Melton last night. The son of Majestic Son broke after the start and lost about 20m, then circled the field sit parked and rundown the leader, Georgias Pride, to win by 1.6m in a 1min59.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The big question is whether heavily-backed favourite All The Muscles was going to beat him when he switched back to the sprint late to challenge, but went into a gallop. Majestuoso struggled for manners at two and won just two of his nine runs, but has returned better and more reliable with six wins from seven runs this season so far. __________________________________________________________________________________ IT hasn’t taken long for former Kiwi driver Trent Lethaby to make an impact in Queensland. Lethaby, who had stints with Brent Mangos and Jay Abernathy, is now with one of Australia’s top trainers Grant Dixon in Queensland. And, at just his sixth drive for the new boss, he led throughout to win by a whisker aboard Rocknroll Emma at Albion Park last night (Saturday). “It’s bloody great here. I’ve been here four weeks or so, but I’m loving it,” Lethaby said. __________________________________________________________________________________ COLT Thirty One remains Queensland’s best pacer and a serious player for the upcoming Winter Carnival. As good as recent Kiwi import Northview Hustler has been winning all his three Queensland runs, Colt Thirty One has a bigger score on the board … at least for now. Grant Dixon’s four-year-old reminded everyone how good he was with a powerhouse and very quick free-for-all win at Albion Park last night (Saturday). He settled near last over the 1660m from a back row draw, but sustained a long three-wide run around the field without cover to win running away by 3.8m. And the mile rate was a blistering 1min52.9sec. Whether he can beat the interstate raiders in upcoming Group 1 races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake remains to be seen, but Colt Thirty One certainly has the sheer speed to be very dangerous with the right run. __________________________________________________________________________________ RENOWNED giant-killer Loorrim Creek barnstormed his way to another upset win in the free-for-all at Menangle last night (Saturday). The race was expected to see emerging star Ignatius return to winning form, but instead Loorrim Creek roared home to snatch a neck win over the much-improved Franco Totem with Ignatius a tiring third. Admittedly Ignatius was first-up from a freshen-up and did all the work outside leader, Letspendanitetogetha, in a solid 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2300m. Ignatius now heads to the semi-finals of the NSW Breeders Challenge on June 22 before the final eight days later and a possible Queensland winter campaign. On the same card, Victorian trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan snared the Group 3 Go Girlfriend final with their improving mare Rocknroll Pearl, who led throughout to win easily in a slick 1min52.8sec mile. And former Kiwi pacer Cullenburn made it four wins (and a second) from his five Aussie runs for Craig Cross when he paced a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2300m. __________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Aussie harness racing’s great “non-winners” is a new horse since a stable switch. As great a trainer as Gary Hall Sr is, Luis Alberto was an exasperating pacer in his care and continually found ways to go close but very rarely winning. Luis Alberto moved to the care of Debbie Lewis, wife of champion driver Chris, and has roared through the grades to win a free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was his eighth win in just 16 starts for Lewis. Luis Alberto’s latest win was a big upset as a $61 outsider against the likes of King Of Swing (sixth), My Hard Copy (fourth), Whoideawasthis (fifth) and Vultan Tin (11th) in a slick 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The win came just 30 minutes after Debbie and Chris Lewis combined to win the feature race of the night, the 4&5YO Westbred Mares’ final (2130m) with exciting Advance Attack mare The War Nurse. In other highlights of the night, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging star Ideal Liner won easily again, making it seven victories from just 10 starts. And Justin Prentice’s emerging three-year-old Know When To Run won as he liked in a good field with Gary Hall Jr aboard. __________________________________________________________________________________ BUZZ juvenile Mirragon suffered a surprise defeat when second to Youaremy Sunshine in the Youthful Stakes (1730m) at Melton last night. Touted as being the equal of any juvenile seen so far this season, Mirragon had a lovely trip and always looked the winner, but was beaten on his merits by Damian Burns’ Hurrikane Kingcole colt in a slugging finish. They paced a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

Jimmy Rattray is not fazed by the disappointing Aussie raid at the Harness Jewels. Instead, he’s excited at the prospect of attacking the NZ Cup and Auckland Inter Dominion with stable star Ignatius. But first comes the NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO series and a possible Queensland raid. “There’s no shortage of options for him, but I’ve got to work out what’s best given I’m really keen on the NZ Cup and Inter Dominion,” Rattray said. Ignatius returns from a freshen-up in the free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night, but it won’t be easy from the outside draw. “At least it’s 2300m, which helps overcome the draw. He’s really well going into it, but you always need luck from out there,” Rattray said. “He’s had those couple of runs at the smaller tracks and had bad draws, but it’s good to get back to the big track at Menangle. “He’s ready to go this week, but the run will top him off for the semis of the Breeders Challenge two weeks later.” Beyond the Breeders Challenge final on June 30, Rattray said he was weighing-up options in the Queensland Winter Carnival, which could include the Group 1 double of Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. “I have to work through whether Queensland fits and, if so, what races, but it’s all about having him right for NZ. He’ll be a five-year-old then and it’s the ideal time to tackle an Inter Dominion,” he said. “Auckland doesn’t bother me at all, he takes everything in is stride this horse. Going the other way isn’t an issue with him, he does a few laps that way quite often at home and is just a comfortable either way.” Rattray is the first trainer to public declare his NZ Cup plans, but expect many other Aussies to follow with the ideal timing just a couple of weeks before the Auckland Inter Dominion.   Adam Hamilton

THERE was certainly no panic in the Chicago Bull camp after he suffered a shock defeat at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Having just his second run back from six months out with his back injuries, the pint-sized superstar found the front from gate three and all looked rosey. But veteran stablemate Whozideawasthis, who handed-up early from the pole, peeled-off Chicago Bull’s back and easily ran past him to win by 1.6m in a brisk 1min53.6sec mile rate for 1730m. “Sure it’s a shock when think you’ve beaten Chicago Bull like that, but knowing how this horse works with him at home and goes past him, it didn’t blow me away,” driver Stuey McDonald said. “You’ve got to remember this horse is rock hard fit, has a fantastic kick of speed off a cold run and Chicago Bull is nowhere near wound-up, he’s still carrying plenty fat around his tummy after so long out.” Trainer Gary Hall Sr was philosophical after the defeat and landing the first four home in the Members Sprint itself. “It was a great result for the stable, just not the way we expected it,” he said. “Bully needs the racing. Sure we thought he’d still win, but it shows how important the next couple of runs will be to trim him down. “You can only get them so fit at home and he’s never been a great trackworker at the best of times.” Driver Gary Hall Jr only had to wait 20 minutes to bounce-back from Chicago Bull’s defeat when he partnered with trainer Justin Prentice and Kiwi-bred filly Majorpride to win the feature, the $50,000 3YO Diamond Classic (2130m). Majorpride led, looked in trouble and switched-off a few times, but rallied when needed to beat another Kiwi bred, Hello Hotshot, in a cosy 1min58sec mile rate. ________________________________________________________________________ JOT down June 15 for the comeback race of Aussie pacing star Soho Tribeca. Trainer-driver Mick Stanley has been pleased with the six-year-old since he won a Melton trial last week at his first public appearance since fracturing a leg in the Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park last July. “He’ll have another couple of trials then, all going well, I’ll run him first-up in that Italian Cup at Melton (June 15),” he said. “It’s been a long, slow haul back and you do worry if they’ll make it back at all, but so far, so good.” Stanley has ruled-out the Len Smith Mile in Sydney late next month and will also skip a Queensland Winter Campaign to stay home in Victoria. That said, rumblings continue in Western Australia about a possibly match-race later in the year between Soho Tribeca and arch-rival Chicago Bull. While it would be a fantastic PR opportunity, it will need a lot to go right to happen. ________________________________________________________________________ IT’S a real shame star Aussie three-year-old Lochinvar Art isn’t heading to the Harness Jewels, but he’s being kept busy at home. The Laura Crossland and David Moran trained colt toyed with a moderate field of older rivals at Shepparton on Monday. He then skipped across the NSW border to Wagga to make it 12 wins from just 21 starts in a qualifying heat of his next major target, the NSW Breeders Challenge. Lochinvar Art’s 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1730m is by far the quickest time run at the sprint trip around the recently redeveloped Wagga track. Beyond the Breeders Challenge, Lochinvar Art is early favourite for the Queensland Derby in July. In a season of mixed results, he looks set to get his chance to snatch Australian 3YO of the Year honours despite a string of horror draws and minor placings in the big races so far. ________________________________________________________________________ IT was the race Emma Stewart simply couldn’t lose with all six runners and star colt Centenario proved the best of them. Chris Alford took Centenario straight to the front from gate two in the Holloway Classic at Ballarat last Friday night and his chances soared when main danger, Hurricane Harley, broke for no reason outside the leader in the early stages. Alford then let Centenario roll along in slick splits and cruised to a 5.1m win in a brisk 1min53.4sec mile rate for 1700m over the outsider of the six runners, Always Fast, who trailed the leader with filly Two Time Bettor making late ground along the inside for third. Hurricane Harley lost at least 30m in his break, settled last and made some ground late for a 12.2m fifth, which was impressive given Centenario’s closing splits of 54.6 and 26.4sec. In other stable news, Stewart’s huge wrap on youngster Mirragon is certainly shining through. Gutted when a gallop in a heat cost him a berth in the Australian Gold final, Stewart quickly switched focus on a compensatory, albeit less lucrative target, the Group 2 Home Grown final. After a powerhouse heat win, Mirragon stepped-up again to thrash his rivals despite the doing all the work in last night’s $50,000 final. Insiders say Stewart rates Mirragon right alongside Australian Gold third placegetter Be Happy Mach as the stable’s top baby this crop. ________________________________________________________________________ THE margin wasn’t big, but the win was impressive by Queensland’s best pacer, Colt Thirty One, at Albion Park last night. Grant Dixon’s four-year-old made a midrace move to sit parked, given main danger Lilac Flash the one-one trail, and just held-off that pacer to win by a nose in a brisk 1min54sec mile rate for 2138m. Best driven with a sit, Colt Thirty One certainly has the talent to be a major players in the feature races at Queensland Winter Carnival for leviathan owner-breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. ________________________________________________________________________ IT’S hard to believe not that long back trotter Savannah Jay Jay went more than two years – October 14, 2016 to November 11, 2018 - and a staggering 39 races without a win. Now he’s going better than any trotter in Australia. Hobby trainer Stan Cameron has rejuvenated his eight-year-old, who made it four wins on end beating another in-form star McLovin in the Group 3 Jack Slack Memorial Trotters’ Cup at Ballarat last Friday night. It was a ripper contest with McLovin surprisingly having to sit parked outside roughie Illawong Armstrong in blazing times and Savannah Jay Jay making the most of a one-trail for drivers James Herbertson to snatch a 1.3m win. McLovin’s performance was monstrous given the 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2200m. It was just 0.3sec outside My Tribeca’s track record. ________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER Bernie Hewitt made the big Dubbo meeting his own last Friday night, jagging four of the seven winners. Those wins included the feature, the Group 3 Red Ochre Classic where he teamed with his son, former rugby league player Doug Hewitt, and emerging mare Scarlet Babe. It was the biggest win of Doug’s fledgling driving career. ________________________________________________________________________ PICKING up some media presenting work with Sky Racing in Sydney has provided a fringe benefit for Queenslander Brittany Graham. Graham, daughter of successful trainer Darrell, is making a real splash at Sky and her family sent her down one of their better horses, Franco Totem, to train in her spare time and race at Menangle. He’s won two of his past three starts, including an easy victory with Robbie Morris aboard last night (Saturday). “We always liked him at home and felt he was one of our best horses, but to have him come down here and do so well is such a thrill. I’m pinching myself,” Graham said. Also at Menangle, emerging open-class player Joes Star Of Mia staked his claim for next month’s Len Smith Mile and a Queensland winter raid with a first-up win. Driven off the pace by Amanda Turnbull, he just held-off Outrageous El by a whisker to win in a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2300m. The shock of the night came when Great Southern Star winner Dance Craze beat just one of her five rivals home as a $1.08 favourite in the Group 2 NSW 4&YO Trot. The Group 2 3YO final went to owner Emilio Rosati and trainer-driver David Miles with filly Emerald Stride over favourite and NSW Trotters’ Derby winner Xebec.   Adam Hamilton

PUNTERS think champion driver Chris Alford’s 51st birthday will be extra special at Melton on Saturday night. Alford is perched on 99 Group 1 career wins after missing out reaching the ton with minor placings in the two Australian Gold finals at Albion Park last Saturday night. But his drive in Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific at Melton – Tell Me Tales – has been smashed in from $2.60 to $1.85 favourite despite a back row draw (gate 11). And it just happens to coincide with the day Alford turns 51. “It all looks good, doesn’t it … home track, a mare I love, my birthday … I think she’s going to be very hard to beat,” Alford said. “The longer distance (2760m) will really suit her. She won so well a couple of weeks back and I watched her run last week and it was huge given the run she had. “I’m sure she’s the best mare in the race and she can make her own luck, which gives you so much confidence.” Tell Me Tales sat parked to brilliantly win the first leg of Victoria’s mares’ “triple crown” the 1720m Make Mine Cullen on May 4, then did a power of work when a fantastic third to stablemate Berisari in last week’s 2240m Angelique Club Pace at Melton. “The draw gives us a great chance of staying in front of Berisari and working forward from there. She drew well and controlled the race in front last week, the draws makes it a lot harder for her this time,” Alford said. In an astonishing example of trainer Emma Stewart’s dominance, she has five of the 12 runners, including three of the first four in betting. Her runners are: Tell Me Tales (gate 11, $1.85), Berisari (13, $5), Delight Me (three, $8.50), Pistol Abbey (four, $34) and Frankincense (two, $41). Alford actually has an outside chance of bringing up his 100th Group 1 win earlier in the night with veteran trotter Kyvalley Blur, who is a $10 shot of a 10m handicap in the $50,000 Australian Trotting Championship. Andy Gath’s former Kiwi trotter McLovin (barrier one, $2.80) is favourite from the rejuvenated Savannah Jay Jay (two, $3.20).   Adam Hamilton

IT’S almost a year since Dance Craze was a hard luck story at the Harness Jewels, but she’s had some fun back home since. Anyone who thinks a Jewels trip could be detrimental to their horse only needs to look at her to see it’s been the opposite. In 13 starts since the Jewels raid, Dance Craze has posted seven wins and four seconds. The wins include Australia’s biggest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, and she added the Group 3 La Coocaracha at Menangle last night. She’s won almost $250,000 since that Jewels trip. Dance Craze looked the class act of the La Coocaracha back against her own sex and despite drawing the outside. She sat back and blew them away late to win by an increasing 1.8m over stablemate Pizza Queen in a 1min55.6sec. Tim Butt’s emerging mare Sassy Pants did the work and ran a creditable third despite galloping across the line. _________________________________________________________________________________ INTER Dominion hero Tiger Tara is back in work and being set for the Queensland Winter Carnival. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto gave the update after his emerging pacer Persimmon won the free-for-all in strong style at Menangle last night. “He’s been back a week, so it’s still early, but Queensland is the plan with he and a few others,” Pizzuto said. _________________________________________________________________________________ “DID that just happen?” Those were the magical words from Jocelyn Young after landing her first Group 1 driving win and causing a huge upset aboard Has No Fear in last Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park. The race was supposed to be dominated by boom Kiwi import Dracarys, especially after the late scratching of major rival Balcatherine, but produced one of the “roughest” trifectas in modern feature race history. Nobody got the trifecta on the home TAB. Has No Fear was a $41 shot. The placegetters, Delightfulreaction ($101 the win) and Majorpride ($71 the win), paid $16.10 and $9.20 the place. Justin Prentice trains Dracarys, but also Has No Fear and the third-placed Majorpride. It was Young’s first Group 1 win and there were no shortage of well-wishers given Has No Fear is raced by the Pacing WA Syndicate, with many first-time owners to the sport. “It’s the first horse we syndicated when we resurrected the syndicate,” Gloucester Park CEO Mick Radley said. “This is so awesome.” That’s how Young felt. “They went hard, which suited me and I thought I had them on the home bend. She finds when they come at her,” she said. “This is absolutely a career highlight for me.” Dracarys drew inside the back row, Gary Hall Jr quickly had her into the clear and, although she had to spend some petrol to whiz around the field and take the lead, it was a shock she was spent on the home bend. She tired to finish sixth. _________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart has long felt Tell Me Tales could become Australia’s best mare. She’s well on her way judging by an utterly dominant $30,000 Group 3 Make Mine Cullen at Melton last night. Despite being three-wide early around the field from a back row draw, then sitting parked, Tell Me Tales won easily in a scorching 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1720m. It was the first leg of Victoria’s mares’ triple crown and she is very clearly the one to beat in the main leg, the Group 1 Queen Of The Pacific on what we saw last night. Steve Telfer’s Kiwi mare Our Step Up continued her fantastic Victorian form with a late-closing second, albeit being no match for the winner. Tell Me Tales record is an impressive 25 starts for 18 wins, four placings and now over $300,000. _________________________________________________________________________________ THE bubble burst on buzz Victorian filly Sleepee in the $40,000 Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Oaks. Sleepee headed into the race with five wins and a second from her six starts, grab the lead easily, dictated the terms and was still easily rundown by $26 outsider Royal Charlotte. All credit to Victorians Paul and Kari Males who made the trip to Menangle with a roughie and snared the prize with the daughter of Majestic Son. The other key runner, local Princess Kenny, galloped at the start and again on the home bend before finishing second-last. The race lost some depth when another key runner, last year’s Redwood winner Emerald Stride, was scratched. _________________________________________________________________________________ ONE-TIME budding superstar Jilliby Kung Fu is still sidelined with injury, but a few others of the “clan” are still firing. Marg Lee’s classy pair Jilliby Chevy and Jilliby Bandit both won at Melton last night. Jilliby Chevy prevailed by a whisker in the $30,000 Group 3 Country Clubs Championship final in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2240m with Jason Lee aboard. Two races later, Jason Lee took the reins on Jilliby Bandit for an all-the-way fast-class win in a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1720m.   Adam Hamilton

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

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