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Bendigo - trained pacer Resurgent Spirit’s Tasmania Cup heat win on Sunday night might have been considered an upset by many, but for his harness racing driver Alex Ashwood, the strong performance had been coming. “He did a great job. He had a good run and hit the line well,” said Ashwood of the former star youngster’s win at odds of $41. “I’m happy with how he’s recovered – it looks like he’s somewhere back to his best. “I thought he was way over the odds at $41; I thought he might have been a $10 chance to be honest.” The impressive manner of the Kate Hargreaves-trained gelding’s win has Ashwood convinced there is no reason why they cannot repeat the feat in this Saturday night’s $75,000 Tasmania Cup final in Hobart. “He’s got a great chance …. He’s got a bit of an awkward draw in barrier 12, but saying that I think the race is going to be to suit,” he said. ”There will be even more speed this week, so that will bring him right into the race.” “I feel he’s approaching peak fitness.” It’s a homecoming for both Ashwood, 24, who left Tasmania at age 17 to follow his harness racing dream, and Resurgent Spirit, who enjoyed a run of 13 straight wins at the start of his career in Hobart as a two and three-year-old. His heat win boosted the now eight-year-old record on the Hobart track to 21 wins from 30 starts.  Alex Ashwood at he and partner Kate Hargreaves' Shelbourne property. Picture: DARREN HOWE   “I try and get back once or twice a year for a couple of good races,” said Ashwood. “With the horse coming from Tassie and the owners being down here, it’s been a good result and a good reason to come home.” Formerly trained by his breeder and owner Roger Whitmore, Resurgent Spirit was transferred to his new trainer 18 months ago and is now prepared by Hargreaves and Ashwood at their Shelbourne property. Ashwood delivered full praise to Hargreaves, who combines harness racing duties with role as a teacher at Kennington Primary School, for a wonderful training performance. “She’s stuck at home working the rest of the team, while I’m down here in Tassie. In saying that she wouldn’t be able to do that without John and Timmy Mannix, they’ve been a great help,” he said. “It’s been a real good few weeks for the stable – we can’t complain.” Saturday night’s drive will be Ashwood’s first in a Tasmania Cup final and will pit him against his father Rodney aboard the Dean Braun-trained War Dan, who was third behind Resurgent Spirit in Saturday’s heat. “I know dad is excited about that …. I think he wants to beat me home more than anything at the moment,” he said. It will be a busy evening at Elwick Park for Ashwood, who will also drive Resurgent Spirit’s sister Resurgent Dream for New Norfolk trainer Whitmore in the $20,000 George Johnson and also has two drives for his training father. By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advetiser

Resurgent Spirit returned home from Victoria to storm to victory in the second heat of the Triple M Tasmania Cup on Sunday night at TAB Park Elwick in Hobart. The American Ideal-Resurgent Star eight-year-old returned to the scene of a number of his former glories as the state’s top Juvenile, to firmly throw his hat in the ring for Tasmania’s Premier harness event on next weekend’s Tasmanian Trotting Club’s ‘Super Saturday’ of racing. Resurgent Spirit, under the care of breeder and owner Roger Whitmore, enjoyed a run of 13 straight wins to begin his career as a two and three-year-old and had won 21 of 30 starts on the track going into last night’s run. Resurgent Spirit now resides in Victoria under the watchful eye of Kate Hargreaves and Alex Ashwood at their Shelbourne stables and returned to Tasmania with the Cup his mission. “It was great to have Resurgent Spirit home during the week in the lead-up to Sunday’s heat and a thrill to watch him race again but Kate and Alex do such a marvellous job with him, we know he’s in good hands, their work ethic is amazing and their attention to care for your horse is second to none, they deserve all the success in the world,” said Roger. “Alex handled Resurgent Spirit to perfection, he told me on Thursday that he wanted the back of Gavin Lang on Sicario and out sprint him late and everything went to script sprinting home powerfully to defeat the top three fancies, Sicario ($2.80), War Dan ($3.80) and Shelby Bromac ($2.30).” Resurgent Spirit flew under the radar in his heat, sent out a $41 chance but is sure to start one of the leading hopes in Saturday’s Final. “Alex is staying the week to ensure no stone is left unturned in the lead-up to the final, he looks as if he has pulled up well and I’m looking forward to taking him down to the beach, we spent a lot of time there together when he was a youngster so that will bring back some nice memories, which makes his win even more special.” Shane Yates

Trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinsman Alex Ashwood are among the next generation of up-and-comers ready to take the trotting world by storm, and they’re more than willing to bring owners who are new to the game along for the ride. The young pair, who have stable newcomer Just Seduce Me in the Woodlands Stud Pace, a $10,000 race for those classified M0 at Tabcorp Melton Park this Friday, have set up shop in Shelbourne after long apprenticeships with established industry players such as Andy and Kate Gath, Kerryn Manning and Emma Stewart. While the pair have a big vision for the future, their focus on Friday night will be on Just Seduce Me, who Ashwood said would be hard to beat if she finds the front. “She had a trial a fortnight ago at Bendigo and (has) improved a fair bit off that,” he said. “She probably needs another run under her belt but, in saying that, and going by her form over the short (distance), if she finds the front she will be very hard (to get past) as that’s where she runs her best races. Hopefully she can hold the lead.” Ashwood, 24, said the pair had built a team of 12 horses – plus “two babies” recently bought at yearling sales – a feat made easier due to the stables, previously owned by Larry Eastman, being readymade for trotters. And he said the large property had plenty of scope for future expansion. “When it was on the market we didn’t hesitate to take it because everything was pretty much done, all you had to do was move in and start training,” he said. “We are 60 acres, so we can get as big as we want, but at this stage about 20 (horses would be) a nice number.” And the pair aren’t afraid to back their judgment at the yearling sales to bring more talent – and new owners – into their stables. “I think over the past three to four years we have bought about five to six yearlings all up; we have more luck buying the young ones than buying a ready-to-go one and like to bring new people into the game,” Ashwood said. “There’s been people already in the game who have bought shares and there have been a lot of people who weren’t in the game who have bought shares as well. They enjoy it and make good friendships, it is good fun.” The pair aren’t strangers to the highs and lows the trots can dish up, with the recent return of two of their best horses – Resurgent Spirit (66 starts for 29 wins and more than $221,000 in prizemoney) and Ideally Say Yes (sixth in the APG 2YO final at Menangle last year) – prime examples.  Ashwood said Resurgent Spirit – who will go around at Swan Hill tonight – is “very close to a win”. But the short-term prospects of promising youngster Ideally Say Yes have been setback by a fractured pelvis. “I took her to Mildura to race in a three-year-old race this week and going up to the gate she did it then,” he said. “She was just below the better ones (last season) and seemed like she was getting stronger and had improved a fair bit. It was just unfortunate that she hurt herself at the wrong time.”   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

Former Tasmanian reinsman Alex Ashwood has taken the next big step in his young harness racing career by establishing himself in Bendigo. Ashwood, the son of astute Apple Isle trainer and driver Rodney Ashwood, has recently settled in Bendigo with girlfriend and trainer Kate Hargreaves, with the couple basing themselves at the Shelbourne property previously owned by former trainer Larry Eastman. It’s been a long road to Bendigo for the talented 24-year-old, who left his home state as a 17-year-old to work with the Long Forest husband and wife team of Andy and Kate Gath. An initial three-year stretch with the multiple Group 1-winning stable was followed by a stint with Dean Braun, before a return to the Gaths. Ashwood said he would be ‘forever grateful’ for the support and opportunities afforded him by the Gaths, but the time was ripe for him to branch out on his own with Hargreaves. “It’s exciting times ahead, we have a great group of owners behind us supporting us and backing us,” he said. “We just need to get the results on the board now. “(Bendigo) is a great harness racing community, it’s very central to most of the main tracks in Victoria. “We have a variety of options to place the weaker horses.” Their first three weeks at Shelbourne have produced a few placegetters, but as yet no winners. But with a few of the team’s better horses returning to action in the next few weeks, Ashwood believes a breakthrough success is close. “The year ahead, we have a couple of nice two-year-olds coming through,” he said. “We have two we are hoping qualify for the VicBred series later in the year and we can chase that Group 1 glory.” An exciting and busy settling-in period for the couple just got even busier, with Hargreaves this week returning to her full-time job as a teacher at Kennington Primary School. A typical day for the young trainer begins at Shelbourne at 5am, before a trip back into Bendigo at 7.30pm in time for a day in the classroom. Ashwood, whose busy driving schedule has taken him from Junee last Sunday, Stawell (Monday) and Bendigo (Wednesday), to Cranbourne (Thursday night) and Mildura (Friday), did not hesitate in choosing his father and Andy Gath as the biggest influences on his career in the sulky. Alex Ashwood@albieashwood Want to say a big thankyou to @apgath68 and Kate for the past 6 years. You guys have gone above and beyond for me and if it wasn't for you both I wouldn't be where I am today. You took me in as a 17 year old and made me part of the family which I'm forever grateful for. See Alex Ashwood's other Tweets   “Dad has been alongside me the whole way giving me guidance; in saying that Andy Gath has been great too,” he said. “They (the Gaths) train about 50 horses – divided between trotters and pacers – and do a wonderful job. “They are very organised and the care they give to their horses is second to none. “They pay a lot of attention to detail and they get the results.” Set on 60 acres, the couple’s training complex includes a 1280m track, two dams and 16 yards. Future plans include the addition of a water-walker, though Ashwood admits the couple are in no hurry having finally realised the dream of a place of their own. “Two years ago we only started off with one horse; I bought a horse at the yearling sales called Aldebaran Pete and then I owned a horse with Terry Stone called Mojo Major,” he said. “Then we had a horse called Drayton (who won a Gammalite Cup at Terang), who did a good job. “From there, a couple of dad’s clients from Tassie sent over a few horses over and it’s snowballed from there. “We’re getting more and more horses and more owners behind us – we’re looking forward to what the future will bring.” By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of the Bendigo Advertiser

At the height of his power Artoc was a C7-M2 assessed harness racing gelding taking on some of the cream of the Victorian trots crop. Now at age 10 the son of Artiscape out of Eileen Monica is a C2-M1 pacer, but has recaptured winning form with two victories on the trot over the past fortnight. Driven by Alex Ashwood (23 wins this season), Artoc won the Pace Final last night at Tabcorp Park Melton for local trainer Danny Mullan, who also produced runner-up Jaccka Wilco for a stable quinella (which paid $45.70 on the Victorian tote). “When they get to this age they usually don’t find the line, but his horses when they get older, it doesn’t faze them,” Ashwood said of Mullan’s training performance. “(This horse) has a great will to win, which goes a long way with these older horses.” Artoc made it 22 career wins and took his stake earnings to more than $164,000 with last night’s victory. “He’s been a great old horse for connections,” Ashwood said. “He’s raced against the best of the best, probably the last six months he’s really dropped down in grade and it has paid dividends tonight.” In his bright yellow gear, matching his racing silks and saddlecloth No.5, Artoc marched to the lead after about a quarter-mile before kicking on to hold out a challenge from Big Bang Leonard, the lead time posted at 45.4secs (nearly a second quicker than average). Stablemate Jaccka Wilco appeared to head off Artoc as they swung around the final bend. And in the straight Black Cougar looked home and hosed when he chimed in at the 100m. But Jaccka Wilco and Black Cougar ran out of steam as Artoc dug in, Ashwood getting everything out of the veteran at start No.231 to score a neck win in 2:00.1. According to the computer Mullan has trained 108 winners in his career, but it is important to note he was training when Australian trotting data moved to computers (season 1979-80), so he may have had more successes. Artoc started second-favourite tonight after winning his series heat. Race favourite Shishi finished last and underwent a vet’s examination post-race. Cody Winnell

A field of six will line up in the Terang Guineas tonight, Race 3 on a seven-race harness racing program at Dalvui Raceway. The favourite is likely to be unbeaten Dean Braun-trained filly Sparkling, who made an impression at her first preparation with two wins from two starts. The daughter of McArdle/Champagne N Diamonds produced a strong last 800m to win at Melton in November last year, rating 1:56.4 for the 1720m trip after coming from last. “She’s a nice filly,” Braun said. “Whatever she does tomorrow night she’ll improve on." Braun said there had been talk about sending Sparkling to Tasmania for the Oaks in March, which his stable won with Sudden Change. Sparkling has had three trials to prepare for her racetrack return and has drawn gate five in the six-horse field over 2180m for reinsman Alex Ashwood. The main danger is expected to be another filly in Keayang Torah, who finished fourth in a heat of the Victoria Oaks before running eighth in the final beaten 6.9m by Niki No No. Trained locally by Marg Lee, Keayang Torah has had two starts at Terang for a win and a second and has drawn barrier four. Another local in Bellas Jet, from the Matthew Craven camp, is also expected to run well despite starting from gate six. Bellas Jet has won two of her past three starts and possesses good gate speed. The remaining runners in the Terang Guineas are Wabash Avenue for in-form trainer/driver combination Sebastian and Zac Steenhuis from the pole, Slap On The Wrist for Tim Bolitho and Greg Sugars from gate two, and 18-start maiden Delta Safari for trainer Mathew Falzon and reinsman Bill Spiteri out of four. The seven-race program at Terang kicks off at 6pm. Watch Sparkling win at Tabcorp Park Melton last year. by Cody Winnell Related Links Fields for Terang, Tuesday 05 May 2015 Form guide for Terang, Tuesday 05 May 2015

Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby

At his best, Chilli Palmer one of the fastest harness racing performers in the business. His sprint is withering, and when the pace is genuine, that’s when Chilli Palmer is at his most fiery. At Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night, the Amanda Grieve-trained gelding is engaged in the 2240-metre Westburn Grant Free-for-All, in which he has drawn the pole. Talented reinsman Alex Ashwood has quickly developed a bond with Chilli Palmer, having driven the speedster to finish third in the Geelong Cup and winning the Gawler Cup. That night Chilli Palmer was driven more aggressively than usual, sustaining a long, three-wide run for the final lap before outclassing his rivals. “He was out of his comfort zone because he was driven more aggressively than usual,” Ashwood said. “We just felt dropping back to that class we were able to do that and he did it really well.’ As for his latest assignment, Ashwood predicts Savesomtimetodream to lead from barrier two before surrendering the lead to Kerryn Manning’s Hunter Cup winner Arden Rooney. This would provide Chilli Palmer with a suitable trail two-back along the pegs. “If Kez runs along a bit up front that would help,” Ashwood said. “It all comes down to the tempo early.” Manning stated Arden Rooney would most likely head to Mildura for the Cup Carnival following Friday night’s race.  “I don’t know if I can find the front, but I’ll be going forward,” Manning said. “Franco Ledger is faster than my bloke, but he also needs a bit of luck in running. “It’s a bit tricky.” HRV Media

Following his success hit-and-run mission to South Australia last night, handy harness racing performer Chilli Palmer is likely to find himself interstate again soon. The Victorian was sent across the border for the Gawler Cup, which he captured in style at Globe Derby. Pleased with the pacer’s performance, trainer Amanda Grieve has earmarked next month’s Len Smith Mile as a likely target. The Group One is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 26. No stranger to top shelf success, Chilli Palmer will only head north of the Murray River if his form warrants the trip. “If he is racing at his best we will look at tackling the Len Smith Mile with him,” Grieve said. “It will all come down to how well he is racing at the time. “He was a solid third in the Geelong Cup last week and has improved again to win the Gawler Cup. “He’s getting back to his best, which he will need to be if we take him to Sydney.” Driven by Alex Ashwood during his latest triumph, Chilli Palmer was forced to cover more ground than early settlers when racing three-wide for the majority of the feature. Despite the extra workload, the son of Elsu completed a metre-and-a-half win from The Smiler, with Glenferrie Rustler two-and-a-half metres away third. “That was a pretty nice run,” Grieve said. “He’s had to plenty of work in the run, but still proved too strong for them.” Covering the last half in 59.2 seconds, the five-year-old rated 1:58.5 for the 2645-metre journey, taking his record to 13 wins and eight placings from 29 starts. PAUL COURTS

Harness racing participants are widely-regarded as being among the most generous and that status has been proven yet again. Less than a week out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Day, a host of star reinsman have declared they will donate their earnings from a specified meeting towards the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Chris Alford and Shayne Cramp (Victoria), Luke McCarthy (New South Wales), Peter McMullen (Queensland), Ricky Duggan (Tasmania), Clint and Gary Hall junior (Western Australia) and Ryan Hryhorec (South Australia) will all ‘sport’ the foundation’s racing silks at a program of their choice and will donate all earnings from the day to the cause. On top of that, several of Victoria’s leading concession drivers have also dipped into their pockets. Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray and Zac Phillips have joined forces to make a donation. Each has “thrown in” $200, with the collective $1000 - a great compliment to the recent $5000 from James and Son and the $1000 from Arthur Fullwood. Thrilled with the Fab Five’s gesture, event organiser Robbie O’Connell stated the friendship between the talented reinsmen will end come game day. “It is a wonderful gesture from the five of them,” O’Connell said. “One top of their game fee, they have thrown in an extra $200. “They may have come together as a group for this, but they will split up into three teams on game day, so I’m sure white line fever will creep in. “No doubt they will enjoy revving each other up on the field and give the odd hip and shoulder for the sake of it.” Other industry identities to support the day include Alabar Bloodstock, which has covered the costs of the footballs and netballs as well as donating a service to Grinfromeartoear, which will be the headliner of a major raffle. A service to Union Guy donated by John Campbell is also in the mix, with connections of Red Samurai also chiming in with a service to the former handy trotter. There are also plenty of prizes for the non-breeders, including a 10 kilogram block of Cadbury chocolate, Bolinda Publishing Audio Books and a Myer voucher. Yirribee Stud has returned with mugs for the Most Valuable Player in each code, while Tabcorp is back as the football jumper sponsor and will supply jumpers for the four teams. The squads will be assembled from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo. Other sponsors include Seelite Windows and Doors, Kevin Riseley, Allan McNeil and Glenn Sharp. A small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) covers the costs of Sunday’s sausage sizzle, the games and the night’s function. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000 for the Chrildren's Tumour Foundation. Unlike 99.9 percent of auctions, Azuma International didn’t place a reserve on the items. For examples, a supplier will put a $500 reserve on a particular item, and should it sell for $550, the charity only receives $50! Azuma International, however, split the takings down the middle. Paul Courts    

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Bolinda harness racing trainer Kari Males is enjoying a blistering run of form. Males, whose two-year-old stable star Niki No No won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, had a winner on Tuesday night at Shepparton with trotter The Truth before backing it up on Wednesday afternoon with six-year-old gelding Hall Of Famer victorious at Maryborough. It means Males’ last three runners to the races have been winners. Hall Of Famer, a C6 horse, utilised the claim for junior driver Kyle Marshall in the C4-C5 Bill Davies Memorial Pace over 1690m. Marshall took the son of Blissfull Hall to the breeze early, outside pacemaker With Gusto (Daryl Douglas). At the 400m, Hall Of Famer poured the pressure on full-blast, taking the lead early in the home straight before With Gusto fought back gamely to go down by a neck. Another junior driver in Mark Pitt enjoyed a great day out at Maryborough with a winning double. Pitt piloted Yankee Strutter home in the Col and Margaret Ford Memorial 2YO Pace (Race 1) before bookending the program with victory in the last on Waltalight. Both winners were trained by Wayne Potter. Two heats of the Trustees Carisbrook Racecourse Reserve Trotters Handicap were run and won at Maryborough, with Bill Morgan trained-and-driven Gioiosa Ionica victorious in the first heat by 4.3m over William John, while Tennotrump gelding Jay Gee from the Ross Graham stable won the second heat by 8.4m with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Veteran trainer-driver Ginger Gleeson drove Sun Bird into second behind Jay Gee, the 10-year-old trotter finding some form at huge odds. Peter Manning and Greg Sugars combined with Village Jasper gelding Mixedwithajasper in the Seelite Windows and Doors 3YO Pace over 1690m, the three-year-old defeating Fremarks Ceejay by 3.7m in a mile rate of 1:57.2. Fremarks Ceejay and trainer-driver Courtney Slater bowled along freely at the front of the field for much of the race but couldn’t match the winner in the last 50m. Alan Dunsmuir-trained Western Gretel continued her strong recent form with victory in the McPhersons Printing Group Pace, defeating hot favourite Hellovaway by 3.6m. Driven a treat by young gun reinsman Alex Ashwood, Western Gretel finished too strongly for Hellovaway (Michael Sullivan), which was backing up after a gutsy seventh in the Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night. And another junior driver, Corey Bell, scored career win number 11 aboard Stunning Grin in the Happy 90th Frank Bartlett Pace over 2190m. The three-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding from the Vince Vallelonga yard prevailed by 8.1m at $1.60 in a mile rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Gavin Lang’s legion of fans found themselves in the winners’ queue three times at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. The champion reinsman piloted The Good Times, Supaliner and Classy Western to wins on the nine-race card. Emma Stewart-trained The Good Times ($1.70) kicked things off with a bang for Lang, scoring a strong win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace (2240m). Three-wide for a few strides early, Lang quickly slotted The Good Times one off the pegs back in the field as Mary Mon found the lead up front. Alina (Christopher Shinn) was first to pounce as the field swung for home with Mary Mon getting tired, but when Lang let The Good Times roll it was lights out, the five-year-old mare exploding clear for a 7.9m win in a rate of 1:57.0. Alina was plucky to hold on for second, with Union Belle getting third for Michael Bellman. Lang then combined with Riddells Creek trainer Adam Kelly aboard Supaliner ($4.40) to win the Alabar Pace over 1720m. Lance Justice-trained Magnificent Art found the front early, the heavily backed son of Art Major showing blistering gate speed. Travtiano also began well and was able to drop in behind Magnificent Art, but then he moved one off and allowed Supaliner to punch through and get first shot at the sprint lane at the finish. Magnificent Art had a good kick turning for home and gave Supaliner a perfect drag into the lane, the four-year-old Mach Three gelding relishing the opportunity once in clear air to draw away for a 4.4m win. Magnificent Art held on for second, while Peter Manning’s Boyz Torque continued getting closer to a win, running on well for third for Kerryn Manning. Lang’s third and final winner came in Race 8, the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720m aboard Classy Western at odds of $15.90. Esbee Doubleyou led from gate two for driver John Caldow with pressure coming from Jason Lee and Arr En Special midrace. The even-money favourite Highview Conall followed the leader from pole for Amanda Turnbull, while Lang took Classy Western back to last off the widest draw on the front line. Turning for home Lang took Classy Western to the outside after making ground off the back, the son of Western Terror hitting top gear in the last 150m to score a 1.3m win over Scruffy Major, who ran on well for Greg Sugars, with Highview Conall pulling out just a fair run for third. Amanda Grieve took training honours for the meeting with a winning double, the Melton trainer preparing Magical Telf ($4.90 with Alex Ashwood in the cart) to win the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m in 1:56.9 by 3.2m over hot favourite Cyrus (Matthew Craven) and La Machane (Sugars), and talented trotter Our Dreamlover to win the feature race of the night, the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final over 2240m. Our Dreamlover ($1.90) with Greg Sugars aboard sat outside early leader Mister Gunsen, the pair setting a strong tempo in the Group 2 trotting race. Our Dreamlover had raced to the lead as the field headed towards the home turn, with Mister Gunsen struggling. Sunset Invasion was warming to its task and Brief Glance emerging from well back also. But nothing was going to catch Our Dreamlover, the son of Love You notching a 10th win at start No.24, while Brief Glance (Amy Tubbs) ran on strongly for second and Sunset Invasion (Jodi Quinlan) finished third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:59.6 and his winning margin 11.7m over the second horse. Bill and Simone Walker took out the Sky Racing Wagon Apollo Trotters Free For All over 2240m with six-year-old gelding Stoned I Am ($14.40). The son of Sundon enjoyed a soft run one out and one back midrace before peeling wide in the home straight to overrun race favourite Brunelleschi by a half-head. Brunelleschi had excuses, having to do the lion’s share of the work out wide on the last lap, while Aleppo Midas finished third for Kerryn Manning. Other winners on the program were This Is Your Life ($3) in the Tabcorp Park Melton Pace Final for trainer-driver George Schembri, Keayang Cullen ($1.60) for Marg Lee and Glen Craven in the 2Construct Young Pedro Free For All over 1720m and Our Eastwood Cullen ($4.40) in the Junction Hotel Claiming Pace for Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan. FAST FACTS FROM LAST NIGHT'S MELTON MEETING * Early quaddie paid $2190 on 6-1-6-8 * Quaddie paid $328.50 on 7-9-1-3 * Best mile rate for night was Classy Western 1:56.5 in Race 8 * Most wins by driver: 3 for Gavin Lang * Most wins by trainer: 2 for Amanda Grieve * Biggest first four: $3855.30 in Race 8 on 7-9-1-3 By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

TALENTED young harness racing drivers Alex Ashwood and Dylan Ford produced only the second tie in the 28-year history of the Bullock Consulting Youngbloods Challenge series at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. The only other tie was shared by Tammy Mollross and Tamra Fawdry in 1998. It was a thrilling finish to the series with Ashwood holding a six-point lead going into the final heat. Ford partnered Livia Degerolstein into second place in the last heat to earn enough points to draw level with Ashwood who guided Elsudoku into fifth place. Ashwood is now domiciled in Victoria where he has driven 19 winners this season and is earning a reputation as one of the most promising young reinsmen in that state. Ford has gone from strength to strength since he acquired his driver's licence talking out the novice driver's premiership in Tasmania last season. He is on his way to achieving that feat again with 28 winners so far this season that also places him sixth on the overall drivers' premiership table. Ford also has just returned from NSW where he finished second in the 2014 Australasian Young Drivers' Series held in conjunction with the Inter Dominion. Justin Howlett ended the series by winning the final heat aboard Chopstix Boris for Beaconsfield trainer Rohan Hillier. Final points tally for the 2014 Youngbloods Challenge series: 46 - Dylan Ford, Alex Ashwood. 41 - Matthew Howlett. 39 - Duncan Dornauf. 35 - Nichols Brockman. 34 - Justin Howlett. 33 - Lyarna Graham. 32 - Samantha Freeman. 27 - Braden Howlett, Brady Woods. By Peter Staples

THE popular Bullock Consulting Tasmanian Youngbloods Challenge continues at Devonport tonight with the second round of heats of the six-race series to be staged on the seven-race card. Dylan Ford and Duncan Dornauf share the lead on 23 points going into the third and fourth heats tonight and Ford could hand rival driver Nichols Brockman a winner as Ford trains Cooked Books that has drawn gate three in the first of tonight's two heats while Ford will drive outsider Inner City for Northdown trainer Geoff Smith. There is not a lot of solid form around the eight runners but Cooked Books was an improved second at his most recent outing and would be hard to beat of Brockman can urge him to find the front. The second heat also comprises eight starters and it would be an ironic result of Dornauf can win on the Dylan Ford-trained Stareeshar that has drawn gate four on the front line. But the favourite should be the Scott Woods-trained Jane Grant (barrier three) that has won its past two and will be driven by Victorian-based Tasmanian reinsman Alex Ashwood. The Youngbloods Challenge series is open to all Tasmanian drivers who are aged under 23 years at the start of the 2013-14 season. Tasracing has selected 10 drivers to contest the series, Alex Ashwood, Nicholas Brockman, Duncan Dornauf, Dylan Ford, Samantha Freeman, Lyarna Graham, Braden Howlett, Justin Howlett, Matthew Howlett and Brady Woods with Taylor Ford the emergency. In races where there are less than 10 starters those drivers whop do not gain a drive will be awarded six points in accordance with the rules of the series. The final two heats will be run in Launceston on Sunday night. By Peter Staples

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