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Ryan Warwick, who has taken an early lead in the drivers’ premiership for the 2017-18 season, has given harness racing punters a strong lead by choosing to drive Idealindiamonds in preference to smart stablemates Messi and Bettor Not Bitter in the $25,000 Warwick final over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Idealindiamonds (American Ideal), trained at Forrestdale by Skye Bond, has won at his first two appearances in Australia and has an imposing record of ten wins from 20 starts. The six-year-old will start from barrier four on the front line, with Messi at No. 1 and Bettor Not Bitter at No. 6. Colin Brown has been engaged to handle four-year-old Messi, a speedy beginner and talented frontrunner who is likely to take plenty of catching. Michael Blakemore will drive Bettor Not Bitter, a winner at ten of his 34 starts. Warwick, whose first 39 drives this season have produced 19 wins and ten placings, is likely to make use of the excellent early speed possessed by Idealindiamonds. Whether the stallion can outgun Messi and get to an early lead is problematic. However, Idealindiamonds is tough and is capable of working hard without cover, just as he did when a winner over Our Zak Whitby at Gloucester Park two starts ago. Chris Lewis has decided to stick with the Ed Dewar-trained Our Zak Whitby, with the drive behind consistent mare Sea Me Smile, trained by Lewis’s wife Debra going to Clint Hall. Our Zak Whitby is in top form and Lewis said that the four-year-old would still be a major player despite drawing the back line. Our Zak Whitby warmed up for this week’s feature event in grand style with a superb frontrunning performance last Friday night when he won by three lengths from Whozideawasthis. Lewis agreed that Our Zak Whitby was a brilliant frontrunner, but he said that a back-line draw would not prevent the horse from winning. “Starting from No. 2 on the back line is not too bad a draw,” he said. “He can produce a very good late sprint and he’s definitely not out of it.” Whozideawasthis, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, is racing keenly and his nine WA starts have produced one win, six seconds, a third and a fourth. The seven-year-old will start from the inside of the back line and should gain an ideal run behind Messi. Livura finished strongly when third behind Our Zak Whitby and Whozideawasthis last week, but he faces a tougher test this week from the outside of the front line. Part-owner and trainer-reinsman Nathan Turvey said that the wide barrier would make things extremely difficult for Livura, who has raced 64 times for 17 wins and 27 placings. The Andrew de Campo-trained Cest Lheure finished strongly to win from the pacemaker Sea Me Smile last Friday night. He fared poorly in the barrier draw and will start out wide at No. 8, with Dylan Egerton-Green in the sulky, replacing Aiden de Campo, who is in Melbourne. Ken Casellas

Youaremycandygirl went to the front and never looked back en route to a 40-1 harness racing stunner in the $500,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes. The Ron Burke trained filly bested seven other two-year-old pacing fillies in a sizzling 1:50.4. Driver Louis Philippe Roy opted to blast the daughter of American Ideal out from post-eight and secured the front through a :26.4 opening-quarter. Kendall Seelster, the 4/5 favourite, left from the rail and got the two-hole trip. Youaremycandygirl rolled along through fractions of :55 and 1:23 to lead by a length and a half turning for home. The outer-flow developed at the half, but didn't advance right away, which stalled star filly Percy Blue Chip at the back. In the stretch, Youaremycandygirl showed plenty of determination and stormed home in :27.4 to score by a length and a quarter over Kendall Seelster. Come See The Show finished third, while Percy Blue Chip came from last to finish fourth. "Going into the last turn she did the same as the first turn and put in some bad steps and I couldn't let her go that much," said Roy following the race. "I had a lot of horse in the last turn and I said if I can just get her to go around the last turn she'll be hard to beat. "Behind the gate I was planning to race her from behind, but I changed my mind pretty quick because no one was leaving inside of me." Owned by W. Donovan, Youaremycandygirl did not enter Saturday's contest with the record of a 40-1 shot. The Burke trainee was three for five competing in New York Sires Stakes events. A $150,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, Youaremycandygirl earnings soar to $331,545 following her victory Saturday. The combination of Roy and Burke has found success this season at Mohawk and the reinsman is grateful for the opportunity he's received from the sport's leading trainer. "I'm really thankful to him. I don't even know if I've ever talked to him, but he puts a lot of confidence in me and I really appreciate it. The whole team, his brother too, I really appreciate it." A $2 win ticket on Youaremycandygirl returned $82.70, $17.10 and $6.30. The $2 Exacta with Kendall Seelster ($2.90, $2.40) paid $178.00, while the $1 Trifecta including Come See The Show ($3.80) paid $510.80. The $1 Superfecta with Percy Blue Chip returned $1,582.05. Youaremycandygirl Mark McKelvie

Batavia, NY---After tasting defeat for the first time this year at Batavia Downs last week, Fireyourguns rebounded in a big way as he routed the best local pacers in the $10,500 Open Handicap harness racing feature on Saturday night (Sept. 2). After getting parked three-deep leaving for almost a quarter of a mile, Fireyourguns (Jim Morrill Jr.) finally cleared and took the front before the first bend and then never looked back from there. He was loose on the lead the whole journey, gapping the chasing Southwind Torque (Ray Fisher Jr.) by as much as three lengths as the trailers merely scrambled to keep up. When the race passed three-quarters in 1:23.3, Morrill was content with how things were going and merely fed some line, leaned back and watched as Fireyourguns took it home by himself to win by a comfortable two-lengths in 1:53. It was the 54th lifetime win in only 119 starts for Fireyourguns ($3.10) who now has $381,706 on his card. Robert and Jennifer Lowe own the 8-year-old gelded son of American Ideal in partnership with Terence Mc Clory who does the training. In the secondary featured $9,000 Open II pace, Focus Power (Drew Monti) led every step of the way, posting three quick :28 and change quarters before flying home in :27.3 to put away the field in 1:53 flat, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. The win was the sixth of the year for Focus Power ($5.80) who now has earned $68,845 in 2017. James Caradori owns the Shadow Play progeny and Darrin Monti trains him. Jim Morrill Jr. drove a grand slam on Saturday while Kevin Cummings, John Cummings Jr. and Larry Stalbaum each had two winners during the night. Trainer Kim Asher also had two winners sent out from her barn. Racing resume at Batavia Downs on Monday afternoon (Sept. 4) for the big Labor Day matinee program that features the annual driver's bicycle race.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 11, 2017 - A pocketed Jag Out (Brent Holland, $18.60) proved best Friday night (Aug. 11th), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $55,000 filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away alertly from post position No. 4, Jag Out made the first lead, then gave it up to HP Sissy (Dan Dube) before a :27.2 opening quarter-mile. It was a :56.3 intermission before Freeze Out (Joe Bongiorno) moved first, from sixth. He then was relegated to a poor tow from just-over-even-money favorite Darlinonthebeach (Brian Sears). That one did nothing for the back markers as HP Sissy found a 1:24.4 three-quarters. 'Sissy' owned a length-and-a-half lead in the lane, but Jag Out moved out and moved by. The margin was a neck in a season's-best 1:53.2. Betabcool (George Brennan) offered good pace on both ends of the mile to grab second, with HP Sissy, Arielle Lynn (Eric Goodell) and Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton) settled for the remainder. Darlinonthebeach wound up sixth. For sixth choice Jag Out, a 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned owned by (trainer) Nick Surick, J L Benson Stable and Bert Hochsprung, it was her fourth win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $85.50, the triple returned $601 and the superfecta paid a palindromic $2,552. Jag Out A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Aug. 12th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,485.47.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Batavia, NY---Despite winning the distaff feature at Batavia Downs last week, Kruella was overlooked this week in lieu of two ship-in harness racing entries from Vernon Downs. But after a furious stretch drive late, Kruella sent the interlopers packing as she won the $9,500 fillies and mares Open pace at Batavia on Wednesday night (Aug. 2). The heavily favored Vernon invader Little Santamonica (Shawn McDonough) out-left Vernon cohort All Charged Up (Larry Stalbaum) off the gate and went right for the lead, rushing the girls to a :27.3 quarter. With the field standing pat behind her, McDonough backed the half off to :57.1 and it looked like everything was going their way. As the race went up the backstretch, All Charged Up pulled from second and was followed by Susie's Delight (Ray Fisher Jr.) and Kruella (Kevin Cummings). The outer flow continued to advance around the turn and drew even with the front-runner at the top of the stretch. At that point Cummings tipped Kruella three-deep but was still three-lengths off the leader. With five horses spread across the track and all the drivers applying heavy urging, Kruella closed like a jet on the grandstand side and proved to be the best, winning by a length in 1:54.2. It was the third win in a row and of the year for Kruella ($14.60) who registered a new lifetime mark with the 1:54.2 clocking. The 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal and Villa Hanover is owned by Two Gals Stable LLC and is trained by Jineen Simone. In the $8,500 fillies and mares Open II, Jolt Of Jo (Dave McNeight III) got a perfect two-hole trip behind Voltina (John Cummings Jr.) before popping the pocket at the top of the lane and pacing away to a length victory in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner. Jolt Of Jo ($26.60) if owned by R. Lewis Hauber and is trained by Jim Graham. Larry Stalbaum had a driving triple as Shawn McDonough won the last two races on the card. Trainer Kim Asher also had three wins on the night. With a silent auction, patron contributions and horsemen donating their win percentages from the night, the fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester was able to raise in excess of $9,500. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 4) with post time set at 6 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 28, 2017--Yonkers Raceway Friday night (July 28th) offered up the $167,499 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-old fillies. A trio of equally-parsed ($55,833) six-horse fields comprised the event, which again honored the memory of the former publicity director of both Yonkers Raceway and NBC Sports. Any number of Cohen family and friends joined in for the winner's circle presentations, with just one public choice returning for the meet-and-greet. Roaring to Go (Brett Miller, $3.40) won the evening's final event in a night's-fastest 1:52.4. From the pole, she retook from Planet Rock (Dan Dube), then had few issues (:27.4, :57, 1:24.4). She owned a 2¼-length lead into the lane and a comfy length-and-a-quarter at the wire. Touchamatic (George Brennan) was a second-up second, with Artrageous (Jordan Stratton) a first-up third. For Roaring to Go, a daughter of Art Major owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, it was her first win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $9.50, with the triple returning $33. One of the faster frosh a year ago (she crossed the line first in last season's final of the New York Sire Stakes, but was set down for a pylon violation), Roaring to Go has won eight of her 21 career starts. "She was sick in the (last season's) Breeders Crown, and she never really recovered," Miller said. "Before that, I thought she was as talented as anyone in her division.. "Tonight, she was very good...not quite the way she was last season, but close." Friday's opening NYSS event saw Clear Idea (Brennan, $13.80) stalk 1-10 fave Tequila Monday (Brian Sears), then pick her off in the passing lane by a desperate nose. Candlelight Dinner (Miller) was a charging third, beaten just three-quarters of a length. From post No. 2, Clear Idea saw Tequila Monday set unpressured intervals of :27, 56.1 and 1:25.1. She had a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, only to get snapped on the money in 1:53.1. For second choice Clear Idea, an American Ideal miss co-owned by (trainer) Blake MacIntosh and Hutt Racing, it was her seventh win (five consecutive, fourth in NYSS) in 13 '17 tries. The exacta paid $17.60, with the triple returning $121. The second statebred grouping saw the longest shots on the boards, 26-1 Gurl Band K (Dan Dube) and 15-1 Winsun Brooklyn (Pat Lachance), roll home first and second, respectively, in 1:56.1. The latter won the battle, dueling 3-5 pace-setter World Apart (Jason Bartlett) into submission after that one couldn't hold sway (:27.4, 57.4, 1:26.4) despite pokey fraction. A reserved--from post No. 3--Gurl Band K, a seasonal 0-fer entering the evening, was fifth in the stretch before winning by 2½ widening lengths. Marquesa Seelster (Stratton) was third as World Apart tired to fifth. For sixth choice Gurl Band K, a Rock N Roll Heaven homebred ma'am owned by Robert Key and trained by Andrew Harris, it was that first win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $402, with the triple returning $1,885. Friday night's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Betabcool (Bartlett, $9.80) in 1:52.4. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Youaremycandygirl (American Ideal) was the star of the New York Sire Stakes on Tuesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Ron Burke-trained filly was the pocket-sitter in her $40,425 division of the Sire Stakes for two year old pacing fillies. Driver Yannick Gingras was aggressive and popped the pocket on the favored leader heading to three quarters. It proved to be the winning move as Youaremycandygirl powered into a lead she would not relinquish. The freshman filly broke her maiden in 1:54.1, a time that was just a fifth of a second off the track record for two year old pacing fillies. Favorites scored stakes wins in the other three divisions as All On Top Hanover (Betterthancheddar) and Marcus Miller prevailed in 1:55 while Alexis Faith (American Ideal) gave Gingras a driving double scoring in 1:55.3 in her debut in the NY Sire Stakes. Odds-on favorite Hurrikane Shorty (Art Major) wrapped up the evening with a wire to wire win in 1:55 with Jim Marohn Jr. in the sulky. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Wednesday night with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

Exciting Perth pacer Soho Tribeca is the latest addition to the Brisbane harness racing winter carnival. But it will be a hit/run mission for the Kim Prentice trained four-year-old. The Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake on July 15 at Albion Park has been penciled in as the sole target before returning home to the west. Currently based in Victoria, the American Ideal entire is competing for the Vicbred Super Series and scored a dominant victory last Friday night at Ballarat and will again take a power of beating in this week’s semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Soho Tribeca has drawn the ace in Friday night’s event. “Rob (Watson – owner) and I have held talks about this race in Queensland and it fits into his schedule nicely, it’s programmed for a week after the Vicbred final but there’s still plenty of logistics to consider, we’ve got to get through this series first and remain in good order.” Prentice said. Since relocating to the stable of Prentice, Soho Tribeca has quickly elevated himself into one of the country’s premier pacers and that was evident earlier this season with a number of outstanding efforts. Soho Tribeca captured the Gr.1 $200,000 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park on December 9 before running two cracking races in the Gr.1 $300,000 Fremantle Cup and the Gr.1 $450,000 WA Pacing Cup in January. He was second in the Fremantle Cup while third in the WA Pacing Cup; both events were won by Chicago Bull. “He’s racing in very strong form and he’s a very good horse, both of his runs following a break this campaign has been very good and hopefully he can do it again this weekend. “We’ve had good draws in both races to date in Melbourne so hopefully our luck hasn’t run out just yet. We need to look into a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane but he’s going home for another short let-up once he returns home before being set for the Inter Dominion later this year. “I know he’s good enough to compete with the very best and he’ll have to be when he starts in the Inter Dominion so this is a good opportunity for him. It’s one race at a time but plans are certainly in place.” Prentice is no stranger to good horses and Inter Dominion glory having prepared 2003 winner Baltic Eagle while taking several drives behind Im Themightyquinn throughout his career. But Prentice is yet to race at Albion Park, in fact, the only time he’s been trackside was during the 2001 Inter Dominion series as a spectator. Soho Tribeca is raced by his breeder, Robert Watson and has won 13 of his 37 starts to date while banking more than $360,000. The Albion Park winter carnival officially starts this weekend before reaching its climax on July 15. Chris Barsby

YONKERS, NY, Friday, June 23, 2017 - Freeze Out (George Brennan, $13.60) did just that to her harness racing rivals Friday night (June 23rd), administering a beating in Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. The field was pared to seven after Betabcool N was scratched-lame after the post parade. Away an early second from became post position No. 2, Freeze Out found herself third after last week's victress, I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley), two-moved to the lead. Settled though early intervals of :27.1 and :55.3, Freeze Out challenged and conquered down the backside the second time. She ground down 'Diamonds' well before a 1:23.3 three-quarters, slapping a half-dozen length on the lasses in and out of the final turn. The final margin was a wrapped-up three lengths in life-best 1:52. Jewel Lehigh A (Dan Dube) did get into second, with Lispatty (Mark MacDonald) third. Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Hidden Land (Brian Sears) rounded out the payees, while the 9-10 fave I Said Diamonds walked home sixth. For fifth choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Ricky and Sean Bucci, it was her eighth win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $199, the triple returned $991 and the superfecta paid $2,347. Freeze Out A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (June 24th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,660.17.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Veteran harness racing trainer Paul Hill reaffirmed his status as the king of the kids when he snared the feature two-year-old double at Luxbet Park Hobart in Tasmania last night. Hill prepared star filly Ideal Bliss to win his third consecutive Group 3 Evicus Stakes final and his handy colt Feelin Dusty led throughout to give Hill his second Dandy Patch from the past three editions. "I've been very fortunate to have had some very talented young horses in my care in recent years and I'm hoping this isn't the end of my good run," Hill said. "Ideal Bliss is a very good filly and I have no doubt she will develop into a very good three-year-old." "I also have a decent opinion of Feelin Dusty and when he drew gate two I rated him a top chance of winning even though the raps were big on Todd Rattray's horse (Izaha). "When Ricky (Duggan) was able to lead and not spend too much early on Feelin Dusty I was confident my horse would be very hard to beat and that's how it panned out." Ideal Bliss, owned and bred by Charlie and Connie Beadman, was sent out the $1.40 favourite despite drawing the inside of the second row. However, her driver Rohan Hillier snagged her out the back at the start to ensure he could find a spot in the one-out line while Inwil ($8) showed good speed to lead. Hillier sent Ideal Bliss  (American Ideal-Blissfull Grace) around the field at the bell and when he moved alongside the leader at the top of the home straight she forged clear but had to pull out all stops to fend off Inwil that made a late charge with Jeanette Barry a close-up third. Feelin Dusty ($2.30fav) showed brilliantly gate speed to easily hold the front in the Dandy Patch while Run Wick ($11) faced the breeze with Izaha ($2.40) on its back enjoying the one-out-one-back position. But a lap out and unhappy with the modest tempo Rattray sent Izaha up to face the breeze and put some pressure on the leader and they singled out to fight out the finish. Feelin Dusty responded when Duggan called on the gelded son Mr Feelgood for the big effort and he went on to score by over 10 metres from Izaha with Pezzamystic over 15 metres away third. Peter Staples

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fireyourguns had just two starts to begin his 2017 season and in both attempts, well, he fired blanks. But in Buffalo Raceway's $9,000 Open II Pace on Saturday night (June 10), Fireyourguns had a full arsenal and easily gunned down the harness racing field in 1:53.0 over the fast track.   With fifth and seventh place finishes to begin the year, Fireyourguns, who holds the Buffalo Raceway all-time track record of 1:52.0 set in 2015, never looked back in going gate-to-wire. He handily defeated Western Alumni by a comfortable 1-1/4 lengths.   Able to reach the lead off the starting gate, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) set fractions of 27.3, 56.3 and 1:25.0. Those fractions were more than enough to take the starch out of the rest of the field in the stretch as Fireyourguns ($4.00) strolled to the victory. Western Alumni (Todd Cummings) took second with Sir Ziggy's Z Tam (Ray Fisher Jr.) finishing in third.   It was the 49th win in 109 lifetime starts for the 8-year-old gelded Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover). Co-owned by trainer Terence McClory and Robert and Jennifer Lowe, Fireyourguns now has earned $351,556 lifetime.   Fisher Jr. and Beback Jr. each completed the night with three victories while Jim Morrill Jr. and Larry Stalbaum doubled. Trainers James Clouser Jr. and Maria Rice had triples.   Racing will continue on Wednesday night at Buffalo Raceway with 12 races scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Mister Daytona N (Mike Simons)  won the Tioga Downs Open Pace ($12,000) on Sunday afternoon (June 4).  Simons who is the leading harness racing driver so far this season guided Mister Daytona N (American Ideal) to the outside at the three-quarter mark.  Mr Daytona N ($4.40), who is owned by Albert Abdala III and trained by SImons would wear down front running Deetzy (Jim Taggart Jr.) in the stretch to win in 1:51.4.  Americanprimetime (Rick Dane Jr. would finish third. Simons had a driving double on the day putting his total to 26 wins on the season.  Jim Marohn Jr.  won three races on the day.  Race two he would score with Free Love ($8.10), race four he led Winyard Hanover ($2.70) to victory, and race 10 he piloted Nicholas Ryan ($7.70) to a win. A "Long" weekend at Tioga Downs.  Jeff Long, trainer, driver, and owner had great start to the month of June.  On Friday night he piloted Yoooukilis ($16.20) to pay dirt.  The 6 year-old Ken Warkentin gelding went gate to wire in 157.0.  Long, a Endicott, NY native had two wins on Saturday night.  He guided Tidquist ($8.60) to victory taking the 5 year-old Conway Hall gelding gate to wire in 1:55.2.  His second win of the evening came with Oh No Three O.  Trained by Paul Long for owner Charlene Long, the 10 year-old Ken Warkentin gelding trotted past favorite McKenzie's Star (Fern Paquet Jr.) in the stretch.  Oh No Three Oh ($6.90) came home in 1:54.4. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday Night (June 9) at 6:50.  On Sunday afternoon (June 11) the Grand Circuit returns to Tioga Downs with the third of the Graduate Series for 4yo pacers and trotters. For more information please go to John Horne for Tioga Downs

Hunter Cup champion Bling It On is ready to go again. The $1.5 million earner is being primed for several upcoming harness racing features in the coming weeks culminating in the final leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series, the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. But before heading north, the Sydney trained star will target the Gr.3 $30,000 Golden Mile on June 10 followed by the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile two weeks later, both events will be staged at TABCORP Park, Menangle. The Brisbane winter carnival targets are the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 8 followed by the Blacks A Fake. And success in the Blacks A Fake will see him crowned the 2016/17 Grand Circuit champion. “That’s something that we’re definitely aware of given he’s got a stud career in front of him, being crowned the Grand Circuit champion is an added bonus for his long term value. He needs to win the Blacks A Fake to land the title.” Regular driver Luke McCarthy said. Bling It On hasn’t raced since finishing 6th in the Miracle Mile behind Lennytheshark in 1:49.2 on February 25. But a private workout yesterday (Wednesday) at Menangle has proven that he’s ready for the upcoming campaign. A public trial next week has now been scheduled. “Originally he was going to trial this week but the volume of races plus trials this week at Menangle forced our hand, we gave him a good hit-out yesterday and he’s going to trial next week. He worked really well and felt very comfortable. “He enjoyed his break but his training indicates he’s in really good order, he’ll have a good trial next week and then we’re likely to go into the Golden Mile fresh-up. “The main target is the Brisbane feature, they’re going to be really strong races with the likes of Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay but I know Yank (Bling It On) is capable. We’ve beaten Lenny twice this season so we know we can match him.” Both victories over Lennytheshark have come via 1000m tracks – Melton and Bunbury. Bling It On beat Lennytheshark in the Smoken Up Sprint and in a heat of the Inter Dominion. The American Ideal entire has won 10 of his 15 starts at Albion Park, a track which also measures 1000m. The Queensland winter carnival officially starts on June 2 and reaches its climax on July 15. Chris Barsby

The Orange Agent capped an extraordinary three weeks of harness racing with a dominant win in the Benstud Queen Of The Pacific completing her clean sweep of the Mares Triple Crown. In Chris Alford’s hands the five-year-old American Ideal mare was again in a class of her own, sweeping to the front early in the $100,000 feature and being unchallenged amid a class group of challengers. “She’s just a perfect racehorse,” Alford said of The Orange Agent, who is trained by New Zealand’s Brian Hughes. “Great to drive, just does everything that you ask.” In fact, she was in such a class of her own Alford said the $1.04 favourite almost drifted off in the night’s feature. “She was just jogging around the home turn tonight,” he said. “She just sort of switched off a little bit when she got away, but once she found the front she was going to be very hard to beat. “If she had something to run with her tonight she would have won as easy as she did last week, but she just got a little lost in front. She’s beaten Grand Circuit horses before and wouldn’t disgrace herself in the really good races.” The victory came on the back of success in the Alabar sponsored Group 3 titles Make Mine Cullen and Angelique Club Cup, a succession of three victories in three weeks that ranged from 1720m through to tonight’s 2760m staying test. Not for the first time it was the New Zealand visitors who departed with a big chunk of the change from tonight’s racing, with My Field Marshall winning a survival of the fittest in the $75,000 4YO and 5YO Championship. The Tim Butt trained five-year-old is facing a crucial campaign according to driver Anthony Butt and tonight’s bold showing, when he come with a well-timed burst to mow down a tiring field, was encouraging reaffirmation of the Art Major entire’s elite talent. “Tim’s hoping he’s going to turn into a Grand Circuit horse,” Anthony Butt said. “This is perhaps going to be the make or break for him, he’s had some health issues over the past. He’s got the ability, it’s just getting his health right and Tim’s done a great job so far of doing that.” Tonight’s Group 2 was a certainly a fitness test, with the interchanging frontrunners running a record 41.7-second lead time. While Dont Hold Back, Egodan, Spare Me Days and Mattgregor all contributed to that early pace, Butt was happy to wait at the tail of the field. “Tonight they set it up for him and he was good enough to capitalise,” Butt said. “It was working out really good. I thought there were plenty of horses in no man’s land, I thought there was going to be a bit of speed with no real dominant horse in the race.” My Field Marshall hooked on to the back of Burnaholeinmypocket in the final lap, advancing steadily while Kerryn Manning placed Mr Mojito brilliantly to pinch a break on the field. At 200m to go some 20m separated My Field Marshall from a tiring Mr Mojito and by 100m that margin had halved, with the Kiwi clipping brave Mattgregor and third-placed Mr Mojito in the dying stages to take the honours. “He’s just a lovely horse, he can do anything. He can lead, he’s very adaptable, he can sit in the field, he’s a high speed horse.” And more wins are likely to come. “Tim just took him along quietly this year. He’s doing all his races now at a tough level, he has to race against the best and you don’t always win,” Butt said. “He’ll have a wee campaign over here and he should be a nice horse in the spring again. I think they are going to move on to the Len Smith Mile, it’s just a matter of how they get there. I think they are going to stay down here for a race in between. While he keeps going like that he will stay on.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Milky Way Rae (American Ideal) had little difficulty handling the step up in the harness racing company on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Heidi Rohr trainee was coming off a win in the conditional ranks when she stepped up into the $13,000 Fillies and Mares Open on Friday night. Billy Dobson has become the regular pilot for the four year old mare whose early speed is her best asset. Flashing that speed in the feature, Milky Way Rae made the lead in a 26.4 first quarter and sizzled through a half in 55.4. Feeling just mild pressure before reaching the top of the stretch, the talented distaffer faced a host of challengers in the lane but proved to be up to the task. Milky Way Rae stopped the timer in a seasonal best 1:53.1 to record her third win of the season, two of which came in the Open. Godiva Seelster (Shawn Gray) was the runner-up in the Friday feature while Her Own Land (Mark Beckwith) closed for third behind the 4-1 shot winner. Dobson and Rohr teamed up for another victory on the card as pacing mare Keene Olivia (Always A Virgin) recorded her second consecutive win despite being parked the entire first half of the mile before drawing off to prevail in 1:53.4. Live racing continues on Saturday evening with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Not since Make Mine Cullen in 2012 has a mare completed the Mares’ Triple Crown. But a record-breaking win in the Alabar Angelique Club Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night has star Kiwi mare The Orange Agent within one win of completing the rare harness racing treble. The Brian Hughes-trained five-year-old smashed the clock, rating 1:53.7 – a new race record – to score by almost 10m over a game Milly Perez in the 2240m Group 3. Driven by Chris Alford, whose winning double at Melton moved him within three of the 6000-victory milestone, The Orange Agent (American Ideal-Lady Fingers) gapped the opposition to add the Angelique Club Cup to the Alabar Make Mine Cullen silverware she won last week. The next target will come next Saturday night, the $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific, the jewel of the Mares’ Triple Crown. “The fast lead time certainly took the sting out of some of the leaders,” Alford said of last night’s win. “She felt amazing. She just strode up, she was just travelling that hard around the last turn. She was just charging." The early speed came from New South Wales trained Rakarazor, who found the lead from the top of the track early doors and ripped through the first 630m in 43.6secs. The tempo never cooled with Rakarazor then pacing the first half of her last mile in 58.9secs before a 28.4secs third quarter. She couldn’t maintain the rage. Alford let The Orange Agent do what she does best around the final bend and in the blink of an eye she put the pacemakers away. A bold Milly Perez ran on to get second for driver John Caldow, her effort probably one of the best of her career in defeat, while Bettor Downunder for Michael Stanley scorched home for third at big odds. The Orange Agent finished off with a 27.4secs final split despite having sat three-wide throughout the last lap. So now on to this week.  Can anyone turn the tables on The Orange Agent? It’ll be tough. But connections of Milly Perez and Bettor Downunder would have been thrilled with the performances of their mares. Both savaged the line and should appreciate the 2760-metre trip, while Dennis Picker-trained Onlykidding was solid in fourth and Rocker Band found the line well out wide for fifth. You can put Heavens Trend into the forgive file from the Angelique Club Cup. She came in tailed off last after striking trouble around the final bend, while classy Mark Purdon-trained Our Golden Goddess compounded to finish 10th after parking in the chair. She is better than that. The eye-catcher was Shakahari, who was bowled over around the final bend before picking up and flashing to the line in seventh place. She should have finished much closer and could spring a surprise next weekend for Bec Bartley and Stephen O’Donoghue. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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