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Talented pacer Resurgent Spirit added the Brighton Cup (2579m) to his long list of harness racing feature race wins with a game effort at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit, fresh from his Ascot Gold Cup win a week earlier, faced the breeze for the last 1000 metres but defied the tough task to emerge triumphant over the fast-finishing Remember Joe with race leader Macho Comacho hanging on or third ahead of the favourite Mister Lennox. The Roger Whitmore-trained five-year-old gelding by American Ideal has won six and notched five minor placings from 14 outings this season for about $45,000 with his overall statistics of 24 wins and 10 minor placings from 43 starts for over $175,000 in stakes more impressive. Connections are contemplating an interstate trip for the gelding as the number of suitable races in Tasmania at this time of the year are dwindling. The gelding set a modern day record of the most number of consecutive wins from debut by a juvenile when he accrued 13 wins in succession as a two and early three-year-old of which nine were at two and included the Sweepstakes and Dandy Patch heats and finals. He won at his first four three-year-old starts but fell short in the Tasmanian Derby in which he finished a game third behind New Zealand-bred gelding Outrageous El from the Victorian stable of Adam Kelly. Resurgent Spirit ventured interstate to Victoria for the Breeders Crown 3YO series but he didn't handle the boat trip and finished down the track in a semi-final and then was last of nine in the Consolation final. Whitmore nursed his stable star back to health and given the way he has won three of his last four starts the gelding could make an impact if connections do decide to give him another chance on the mainland. Peter Staples

The American Ideal gelding Bigtown Hero, still having the 1:48.1 fastest clocking in 2016 North American harness racing (though it had been tied six minutes earlier by Artistic Major at The Meadowlands), was extended to hold off potential Pocono Pike pocket rocket Bettors' Edge in the $20,000 feature Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but "Bigtown," the even-money favorite, proved the bettors' hero as he held off his inside foe to win by a head in 1:49.2.   Driver Simon Allard sent the victorious veteran, who took his record of 1:47.3 here at Pocono two years ago, to the lead past a 26.1 quarter cut by $1.8M-winner Bettor's Edge, and took the field through middle splits of 54.1 and 1:21.4. Bigtown Hero looked strong, and driver Allard looked confident, into the stretch, but Bettor's Edge showed his class as he dug in late to try to rally past the favorite, with his gallant effort coming up just a bit shy. Simon's brother Rene, the meet's leading driver, conditions the winner of over $440,000 for Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin. A race after the feature, George Napolitano Jr. guided his fourth winner of the Pocono card, and his eighth of the day, with a frontstepping victory with Utah Beach, putting a new 1:52.4 mark on the horse. George posted four wins on the special Preakness afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia, leaving after the tenth race to make the trek to Pocono - which proved to be a good decision, as "GNap" swept the Pocono early double. After the eleventh at Pocono, Napolitano's scorecard for the day stood at 20-8-5-4, good for a UDR of .606 on the day. George Napolitano Jr. wound up with five wins on the Pocono card Saturday, and thus added with his four at Philly in the afternoon, he had a 9-winner day. George Nap's final victory, in race 13 of the 14-race card, was by a nose with the trotter Mandela Blue Chip, who earned a new mark of 1:53.4 in edging Upfront Billy -- driven by George's brother Anthony.   For the day for George:   PHL    10-4-3-2-.633 (he left Phl early, and won the DD at PcD for his trouble) PCD    14-5-2-4-.532 OVERALL    24-9-5-6-.574   ...   The Ron Burke Stable's 1-2-3 finishes in the recent $561,500 Pennsylvania Classic Final all return to Pocono tomorrow night (Sunday) for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, and the three will all be going in separate divisions. Check Six, the 1:50.4 Classic Final winner, starts from post two in the 10th race; second-place JK Will Power has post six in the fifth race split; and third finisher Big Top Hanover drew post five for Sunday's fourth race.   ... Finally ... There were 13 claims on the Saturday card at Pocono ... and the 13th one came in a conditioned race! Lucky Mass had been entered in a claimer and was subsequently scratched, and according to the rules the trotter was thus eligible to be haltered out of tonight's race for the previous race's $12,500 tag. Owner Ken Tisa put up the check, and Lucky Mass will be racing out of a new barn in his next start after finishing fifth Saturday.   PHHA / Pocono    

Ray Faithful will be entering uncharted Harness Racing territory when he unleashes his exciting free legger, The Big Boss, at Addington next Saturday (21 May). “Having a free legged pacer, for me its just unique,” said Faithful, who has won 12 races at Addington with seven different horses, including a group one, but they've all warn hopples. He said tried them on The Big Boss throughout his development but in the end decided he was better without them. That was never better illustrated than at Ascot Park on Diamonds Day when ran his rivals off their feet, shaving more than a second off Highview Tommy's Southland record for a 2700 metre mobile. The American Ideal gelding  stopped the clock at 3:18.2 and immediately after the race Faithful said he'd be set for a $20,000 C1 and C2 four year old and older stand on 21 May. About three weeks after the Invercargill race, Faithful had the Big Boss at the Winton Workouts and described his run as “pretty good”. Credited with running the 2400 metre trip from behind the mobile in 3:01.9, Faithful said The Big Boss was timed to go his last mile in 1:56, last half in 54.5, quarter in 26.5 and went pretty nice. The Big Boss is raced by Northern Southland enthusiasts Ken (Scotty) Scott, David (Noddy) Orr and and Orr's new wife Jane, previously Jane Pritchard. Orr said that when he was president of the Northern Southland Club, media personality Johnny Turner – also from Northern Southland - referred to Orr as the big boss. The name appealed to Scott who said “that sounds like a pretty good name for the horse”. Scott had previously had success with the likes of Pump Action and Hellboy, and with Pumped Up who was trained by Dave Jones of Rakaia for two of his wins. Through his ongoing association with Jones, Scott got to see The Big Boss as a foal when his breeder Ray Ancich was selling. “He wanted the foal, I bought into it, and he said if I pay the transport I can have the mare,” Orr said. “Jane got her share as a birthday present (on 28 March 2012).” Orr found out later that his second cousin, the late Ronnie West of Balfour, had bred Petronella, fourth dam of The Big Boss. Faithful said his ongoing involvement began when The Big Boss was weaned. He recalled him in a paddock at Orrs with three or four others and seeing him pace free legged and keeping up with his mates who were galloping. Orr recalls Faithful staying with him one stormy night when The Big Boss was three and noticing next morning he was on the wrong side of the fence. “There had been strikes of lightning, he had a big gash in his knee, we got the the vets but it couldn't be stitched,” said Orr, who along with Jane had to attend to the wound daily for the next two to three months until it closed up. “He got sour on us and didn't like us in the end. We were using manuka honey but he kept licking it off so we had to use another rub. You can still see a bit if a scar.” Faithful finally gave up on hopples when The Big Boss wouldn't stretch out. “He had a long hopple buy just wasn't comfortable, 67 inches was too tight,” Faithful revealed. The Big Boss finally made it to the workouts just before Christmas last year and had his first trial on 8 January at Winton. Sent out free legged, he galloped just before the mobile pulled away. “It cost him about 90 metres but he won so I knew he was good,” said Faithful, who resisted pressure to put hopples on for his next trial. Instead, he took the reins himself. The result was an all the way win. Like his Addington mission, The first start of The Big Boss was from a stand. He went away safely, Faithful hopes the same will apply next week but knows its not a given. His previous Addington wins have been Preiswert - 1993 & 1996, Imperiora – 1996: twice & 1997, Tartan Lady -1999 (group one New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes), Feverish 1999, English Elegance - 2000: three times, Asdean - 2004, and Lord Forbes - 2008. Mac Henry

Talented open class pacer Resurgent Spirit gave his harness racing rivals a pacing lesson at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday when he led all the way to win the $10,000 Ascot Gold Cup over 2579 metres. It was the American Ideal gelding's fourth win of the season from eight starts but it took his overall record to 24 wins from 47 outings with 10 minor placings thrown in for good measure. The former star juvenile stepped cleanly from the front line of the standing start to lead comfortably while one of the joint back markers Macho Comacho (Mark Yole) was sent around the field early to keep the leader company. But when driver James Austin released the reins on Resurgent Spirit ($2 fav) the Roger Whitmore-trained gelding forged clear and went on to score by almost three metres from Macho Comacho with Easter Cup winner Riverboat Jasper two metres away third. Resurgent Spirit was unbeaten as a two-year-old from nine starts and he won his first four starts as a three-year-old having his colours lowered for the first time in the 2014 Tasmanian Derby won by New Zealand gelding Outrageous El. Peter Staples

Harness racing driver Mark MacDonald was the star of the show Saturday night, sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 co-featured Open Handicaps with favored Great Vintage (Pace, $5.30) and Obrigado (Trot, $8.20). Great Vintage, assigned post position No. 2, two-moved around Texican N (Jordan Stratton), then set sail on his appointed rounds (:27.4, 56.3, 1:24.2, season-matching 1:52). The people's choice eventually disposed of a first-up Bettor Rock On N (Dan Dube), then took a three-quarter length lead into the lane. He fended off an inside bid of Texican N by half-length in 1:52. Artistic Major (Brent Holland) rallied very well for third, with Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett) and Atta Boy Dan (George Brennan) settling for the remainder. For Great Vintage, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk, it was his third win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $220.50. As for Obrigado, he did his damage-from assigned post No. 5-from first-up. Away six, he saw Luminosity (Brennan) lead through intervals of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.1. It was Luminosity holding a short lead into the lane, but Obrigado was relentless. He keep at it, whipping Luminosity by a length in 1:54.2. Homicide Hunter (Stratton) was third, with tepid 5-2 choice Major Athens (Brian Sears) and Allerage Star (Pat Lachance) earning the minor moolah. For second choice Obrigado, an 6-year-old Boy Band gelding co-owned by (trainer) Paul Kelley, Linwood Higgins, SRF Stable and Stable 45, it was his first win in a pair of '16 tries. The exacta paid $33.60, the triple returned $179 and superfecta paid $579. Saturday's $30,000 Preferred Handicap Pace was won by Machtu N (Steve Smith, $7.70) in a night's-best 1:50.4 for a first North American victory. Frank Drucker  

While favorites K J's Caroline ($4.20) and Its Payday Friday ($3.40) held sway on the lead in their respective $9,000 featured events on Saturday (May 14) evening at Tioga Downs, it was Shesgotthebeat ($32.40) who stole the show, springing a 15-1 upset to sweep her preliminary legs of the Gail's Diner Late Closing Series for the harness racing 3-year-old pacing fillies.   The first $7,500 division of the Gail's Diner preliminary saw first-round winners Shesgotthebeat and Heavenly Bet square off, with 1-9 favorite Heavenly Bet (Scott Coulter) doing the heavy lifting through the middle half. After drafting intently, Jim Meittinis angled Shesgotthebeat off the pegs at head-stretch, dueling to a length victory in 1:55.1 over good going. Heavenly Bet was a vanquished favorite in the end, yet still 3-1/2 lengths clear of Ghost Runner (Tom Jackson), who chased in vain for third.   Shesgotthebeat, a 3-year-old daughter of American Ideal, is trained by Edward Hart for the Seafood Delight Stable, Kristie Leigh Farm, Inc., and Joseph Betro.   The other Gail's Diner division saw Stirling Electra ($10.80) duel with Winners Over (Dan Clements) for the entirety of the far turn, gutting out a half-length 1:57.3 victory under Corey Braden. Trainer Jennifer Davis co-owns the Roll With Joe filly with Joyce Nowicki.   In the co-featured $9,000 top-level trot and distaff pace, Its Payday Friday and K J's Caroline proved victorious while favored. Its Payday Friday, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding, held the first-over Prairie Fortune at bay for a 1:55.3 score. Owner Dan Clements handled the driving duties for trainer Ronnie Morales. The top mares pace saw K J's Caroline make all the pace, edging clear of Asset Management for a four-length triumph in 1:55.1. Jim Taggart, Jr. drove the 6-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare for trainer Gary Messenger.   The 50¢ Pick 5 was not hit, resulting in a $323 carryover to Sunday (May 15) afternoon's card. The first of 13 races is due off at 1:30 p.m. EDT.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Spreester made the decisive move entering the final turn and had just enough to prevail in Monday's harness racing $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. With Show Runner on an easy lead and no outside flow developing, Aaron Merriman was content to save ground with Spreester until late in the mile. When the 5-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Rodeo Spree attacked from third, she edged past Show Runner and found the wire a nose ahead of Medusa, who was narrowing the gap in the Lightning Lane, scoring in 1:52.4. Show Runner saved show. Bill Bercury trains Spreester, who extended her career bankroll to $461,671, for Renee Bercury. Tony Hall and Merriman each piloted three winners on the 14-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Fireyourguns ($2.30) proved once again that he's a high caliber pacer after putting away the field in Buffalo Raceway's $10,000 Open on Saturday night (May 7). Driven by Mike Caprio, Fireyourguns went gate-to-wire in 1:52.2, the fastest mile of the harness racing meet in beating Knocking Around by a non-threatening length.   Starting from the seven post, Fireyourguns was tested a bit to reach the top just before the quarter pole, but did so in a brisk 27.1.   Knocking Around (David McNeight III) was first over and appeared to have a chance to pull the upset in the stretch, but Fireyourguns went 27.4 in the last panel to turn back that challenge. Western Alumni (Todd Cummings) finished in third.   Co-owned by Trainer Terence McClory along with Jennifer and Robert Lowe, Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover) has captured three of five starts in 2016, earning $17,125. It moved the seven-year-old gelding's lifetime winnings to $321,466.   The card was also highlighted by five finals of the Championship Claiming Series.   In the $5,000-$7,000 claiming pacers with a purse of $10,800, Beechwood Wayne (Drew Monti) pulled a $14,80 surprise in a seasonal best 1:57.0. The $8,000-$10,000 pacing category worth $14,000 saw Urgently (Monti) taking the win in 1:56.2 and returning $6.10. Finally in the $12,500-$15,000 pacing bracket with a purse of $15,600, That Horse J D (Billy Davis Jr.) equaled his lifetime mark of 1:55.1 in blowing away the field by 6-1/4 lengths. He returned $4.10 on the $2 investment.   There were two trotting finals contested with Chrome Finish (Ray Fisher Jr.) victorious in the $4,000-$5,500 range to grab the lion's share of the $10,000 pool. Chrome Finish covered the mile in 1:59.4 and paid $8.50. Then in the $14,800 championship race for trotters in the $8,000-$12,500 division, Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) notched the win in 1:58.0 and paid $2.40.   Monti led the driver's statistics with a triple while Shawn McDonough, Beback Jr. and Fisher Jr. each had doubles. Trainers Ryan Swift and Mark Laidlaw each had a pair of winners.   Racing will continue on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. with an 11-race program set.   For more information including upcoming promotions, race replays, results and the latest news, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway  

Handy 3yo pacer Ideal World will be looking to “go one better” tonight after a string of 2nd placings for trainer Derek Balle. In his last 6 starts, the American Ideal colt has finished 2nd in 5th of those, while the other run was a handy 8th in the Northern Derby behind Lazarus. Owner A J McIntosh won’t be too bothered though, with those five 2nd placings coming at Alexandra Park at Auckland Trotting Club meetings, Ideal World has picked up a staggering $17,053.00. While he has only won the one race,  the first foal out of handy race mare World Of Dreams has earned just over $31,000.00 from just the 14 starts which has produced 1 win 6 seconds and a 3rd, while he has also ran 3 fourths. Interesting enough the only two times he has finished outside of the first 4 have been the Northern Derby (8th) and the Yearling Sales Final (6th). Ideal World is rated a $2.00 (Fixed Odds) favourite in a small but talented field which includes the Paul Court trained Cable Beach who will be improved from his fresh up run last week, while Cambridge trainer Mike Berger has his nice 3yo Max Phactor engaged from a wide draw. Ideal World's last start 2nd. Earlier on in the night Josh and John Dickie will line up Change The Rulz. Up from Canterbury, the 4yo Changeover mare was a recent workout winner and although drawn wide is a mare with plenty of ability. Last start she was only 2 lengths behind Rocker Band in a quick time and even from the outside drawn does look tough to roll. Change The Rulz last start 4th. Andrew Fitzgerald

Former Grand Circuit winner Ideal Scott made a timely return to the harness racing winners circle yesterday (Tuesday). The big striding American Ideal – Tuapeka Wings gelding led throughout to score in the Noel and Chris Denning Pace over 1660m at Albion Park in a time of 1:53.2 defeating former glamour juvenile Majestic Mach and iron tough pacer Destreos. Ideal Scott posted sectionals of 27.9, 30.2, 27.4 and 27.8 seconds. Now prepared locally by Ian Gurney, the return to form comes at the right with the 2016 Brisbane winter carnival just around the corner. During the month of July, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club will play host to a raft of feature open class events highlighted by the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake. “He went great and I expected him to perform well following his first-up run for me a few weeks back, he’s training well and hopefully he can return to that type of form that saw him collect the QPC a few years back. He’s a top horse who has been plagued by injury setbacks over time.” Gurney said. Ironically, it was first victory since claiming the $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship back in 2013 at Albion Park. But amazingly, he’s only faced the starter 10 times since his latest win before yesterday’s triumph. Ideal Scott certainly adds plenty of depth to local free-for-all ranks plus he adds another dimension to the Gurney stable that already features dual Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova and the richly talented Mach Alert. Both horses were unplaced behind Ideal Scott yesterday; it was the first run since their Perth Campaign last year. “I was thrilled with both Nova and Mach; given how the race unfolded and where they were drawn, I thought they hit the line as good as anything in that race and they probably weren’t entitled to get as close as they did at the line. “All three horses will continue to improve and the winter carnival is what we’re looking at, that’s the main focus right now. We have other options like the Newcastle Mile and the Len Smith Mile in Sydney coming up but we’ll just play those races by ear currently. “We won the Sunshine Sprint last year with Nova and we’ll be trying to win it again this year while the Blacks A Fake is the jewel in the crown, that’s the race I want the most.” Another addition to the Gurney stable this week is the arrival of talented young horseman Nathan Purdon. The son of champion horseman Mark returns to the sunshine state after stints in Perth and Melbourne recently. Chris Barsby

Fireyourguns ($2.60) had a full arsenal ready to go in the $10,000 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway but the harness racing 7-year-old gelding never had to re-load in cruising off to an easy 4-1/2 length victory over China Dream in a seasonal best 1:53.4 on Saturday night (April 23).   Being assigned the eight post, the only work driver Mike Caprio had to do with Fireyourguns was get to the top. Once clearing for the lead just past the opening quarter of 27.2, it was clear sailing the rest of the way home.   Fireyourguns covered the half in 55.4 and felt no resistance on the second circuit in easily drawing away from the other seven competitors. The lone issue was for the minor spoils and that went to China Dream (Drew Monti) who grabbed second and Beach Hero (Shawn McDonough) who took third.   Co-owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe along with trainer Terence McClory, it was the second win of the season in three starts for Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover). It moved his seasonal earnings to $10,000 and $314,341 lifetime.   Todd Cummings finished the night with three wins in the sulky while Jim McNeight, Monti and David McNeight III all doubled. Trainers Rose Russo and JD Perrin each conditioned two winners.   Racing will continue on Wednesday evening with an 11-race program set for 5 p.m. The card is expected to mark the return of three-time defending Buffalo Raceway driver's champion Kevin Cummings who was sidelined with a broken arm suffered in an off-track mishap. He is tentatively scheduled to drive in 10 races.   For more information including race replays, results, the latest news and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway    

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 22 - A surprising mid-stretch break by the 1/2 favourite shook things up in the opening leg of the Princess Series Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A compact group of six three-year-old pacing fillies squared off in the $20,000 first round of the Princess. Ken Sucee trainee Shes Lights Out entered Friday's first leg two for two to start 2016 and the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was appropriately made the public's choice. American Curves and driver Sylvain Filion floated out to the lead and posted an opening-quarter of :28.1, while Shes Lights Out paced along in third. Paul MacDonell sent the favourite to the front in the second-quarter and posted a half-mile clocking of :56.2. Shes Lights Out led the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4 and appeared to be well on her way to a third consecutive victory. However, the favourite made a costly break approaching the final-eighth and American Curves inherited the lead and finished the job in 1:53.3. Party In Rome finished a length and a quarter back in second, while Westluckycam edged out Never Any Doubt for third. Shes Lights Out paced across the wire in fifth. A daughter of American Ideal, American Curves was making her second start of the season Friday after a 1:54.3 victory last week. Murray Brethour trains and co-owns the sophomore pacing filly, who made just two starts as a rookie. American Curves increased her career earnings to $17,900 in her fourth career start for owners Brethour, Doug Millard, John and Jim Fielding and Kevin McKinlay. She paid $9.30 to win. In order to be eligible to the Princess, the three-year-old pacing fillies had to be non-winners of $100,000 in 2015. The second leg of the Princess will take place next Friday (April 29). Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Fireyourguns made his 2016 seasonal debut at Buffalo Raceway a successful one as he went gate-to-wire in the $10,000 Open Pace to score an easy 1-1/4 length victory over Youwillwishyouhad in 1:54.2 over the fast track on Saturday night (April 16).   Being assigned the eight post, Fireyourguns ($5.40) and driver Mike Caprio went right to the lead and never looked back in posting fractions of 28.1, 57.3 and 1:26.2. A final split of 28.0 was more than enough to hold off any challenges from Youwillwishyouhad (Todd Cummings) and third place finisher Babe's I Scoot (Ray Fisher Jr.).   Trained and co-owned by Terence McClory along with Jennifer and Robert Lowe, it was just the second start of the season for Fireyourguns (American Ideal-Villa Hanover). He finished eighth at Pocono Downs on April 9 to kick off his 2016 campaign.   Fireyourguns holds the all-time Buffalo Raceway track record of 1:52.0 set last season. The 7-year-old gelding won 11 of 18 races in 2015, earning $84,220. This victory puts his lifetime winnings at $309,341.   Todd Cummings posted a driving triple on the night while Fisher Jr. and David McNeight III each notched doubles. Trainer JD Perrin, fresh off five wins on Friday evening, added three more on Saturday night.   Racing will resume on Wednesday night with an 11-race program slated for 5 p.m.   Fore more information including the latest news, race results, replays and upcoming promotions, go to   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Talented open class pacer Resurgent Spirit delivered arguably his best effort of the season when he powered his way to victory in the $10,000 Metropolitan Cup over 2579 metres at UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night. Resurgent Spirit was coming off a game second to Riverboat jasper in the $40,000 Harness Racing's Group 3 Easter Cup two weeks earlier but despite such outstanding form he was sent around at the lucrative price of $3.80 in a more suitable mobile event. Vande Velde showed good early speed to lead from the pole position but when driver James Austin sent Resurgent Spirit around the field to have a look for the lead Vande Velde's trainer-driver Christian Salter obliged to take the trail. The well-backed favourite Pachacuti ($2.50) settled near the rear in the one-out line from his wide second-row draw but when he was called on to improve in the back straight the last time he failed to improve. But when Austin released the reins nearing the home turn the Roger Whitmore-trained five-year-old gelding sped clear and had no trouble fending off his rivals in the home straight. Resurgent Spirit went on to score by over seven metres from Mister Lennox that ran on gamely after enjoying the one-out-one-back sit with Crusader Acey a close-up third. Melolyn ran on well but could have finished closer had he not been shut away three and four-back the fence for most of the race. It was Resurgent Spirit's fifth win from 12 starts this season with his only blemish coming in the Hobart Pacing Cup in January when ninth in a field of 12 but other than that he has won or been placed in 10 of his other 11 starts and finished no further back that fourth. The American Ideal gelding has amassed career prizemoney of $164,106 from his 41 starts courtesy of 23 wins and 10 minor placings. Peter Staples

Ideal Success may trek a path travelled previously by star harness racing stablemate Arden Rooney and head to Mildura in search of Group 2 glory. Last night’s record-breaking Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup winner could be headed north for the annual Sunraysia feature, the stable confirmed at Ararat. The five-year-old gelding, who last season set a record for number of country cup wins in New Zealand with five, has now pocketed cup victories at Ouyen and Ararat since joining the Kerryn Manning stable at Great Western. The son of American Ideal/Maheer Glen has in fact won three from three since donning the red and blue stars. “This is really special,” Manning told course MC Rob Auber post-race. “He’s such a safe beginner. He began very well tonight.” His standing start manners certainly held Ideal Success in great stead last night, making light work of the 10-metre impost in the space of about 100m before pushing on to the front. Punters who backed the ex-Kiwi into $2.80 would have been pretty comfortable with their investment from there as Ideal Success’s main danger, Almost El Eagle, lobbed the one-one. Ideal Success put a lead time of 76secs behind him before two identical 30.5secs opening splits for a 61secs first half at the bell. Manning then launched into action, upping the pressure with a 27.5 third quarter. Star Of Dionysis, who breezed throughout, started to struggle after pulling early and gave ground, which did Almost El Eagle no favours as Steam Washed battled on three-wide. Ideal Success’s stablemate The Noble Steed, who is having a super season, peeled off the favourite’s back with Grant Campbell in the cart to launch its claim at the corner, while Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) angled wider and ran on. But Manning and Ideal Success were having none of it, the champion reinswoman clearly elated with the win as her latest stable star crossed the post 2.9 metres clear, Weallwantano finishing on for second and The Noble Steed third, well clear of Delight Brigade in fourth. And in winning Ideal Success posted a track record mile rate of 2:00.5, which will never be broken as the race will become a mobile start event from next year. Representing the stable at the post-race presentation Grant Campbell thanked the club for putting on a terrific night and the sponsors for their support. He also made special mention of the stable’s “great staff” for their hard work. If Ideal Success does go on to Mildura Manning will be chasing a third victory in the Cup there after previous victories behind Go Charles in 2001 and Arden Rooney last season. Cody Winnell

American Girl (Trace Tetrick) ran her Miami Valley Raceway win streak to three by winning the $20,000 Mares Open pace on Friday (March 25) for the second consecutive week; while upstart Jackie’s Rocket (Brady Galliers) pulled a mild harness racing upset in the $20,000 championship leg of the Herb Coven Jr. Memorial series. For the second straight week American Girl benefitted from a pocket ride behind Native Dream (John DeLong), collaring the pacesetter in the stretch to produce a repeat one-two finish from seven days ago with the exacta returning a surprisingly handsome $28.80.  Although A Little Starstruk and Igottafeelinfran each took a shot going first-up at the leaders during the midsection of the race,  the runnerup and eventual winner were charted first and second at each of the quarter mile substations, clocked in :27, :56 and 1:23.3 before American Girl stopped the clock in 1:52.1.  Owned by Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt, the seven-year-old daughter of Art’s Chip now has amassed 32 victories and $628,188 in earnings.  She has earned over $40,000 in eight seasonal starts at Miami Valley for conditioner Tyler George. The Herb Coven Jr. Memorial, one of nine series honoring ‘Lebanon Legends’ of years gone by, featured distaff pacers who were non-winners four pari-mutuel races or $30,000 at the time of nomination.  Jackie’s Rocket, a four-year-old American Ideal mare, pulled a mild upset with her usual impressive late-closing kick.  Twenty year old driver-trainer Brady Galliers, who also co-owns with his parents as Galliers Racing LLC, was content to sit seventh in the early going as Powered By Pink and favored Crystal Falls slugged it out up front through a :26.2 opening quarter.  Still seventh at the :55.2 half, Galliers waited until the three-quarters pole in 1:24 to swing three-wide for a sustained sprint to the wire in 1:53.4. The series finale featured a spirited stretch drive with six mares in contention.  Each of the first five finishers was one-half length apart at the wire with Jackie’s Rocket getting the nod over Do U Mind (Josh Sutton), Swinging Cami (Jeremy Smith), Gray Shadow (Kyle Ater) and Miss Princess Leah (Chris Page).  The $10,000 winner’s share was the largest purse Brady Galliers has captured in his young career and was particularly gratifying behind a horse he acquired as a “free” unraced throw-in in a three-horse acquisition two years ago. ·                            *                   *                        *                *                           * Miami Valley Raceway has announced a change in its starting time for the Wednesday, March 30 qualifying races to 12:00 noon.   This one-week only starting time change was necessary to allow time for necessary plumbing changes in all the paddock bath stalls to be completed without missing a race date. Gregg Keidel

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