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SHANE Tritton is someone who walks it like he talks it. Tritton is often outspoken about pre-race tactics and delivers on what he says. That’s why he giggled to himself when some doubted his vow “300 per cent My Alpha Rock will be holding the lead if he can” in the opening heat of the Inter Dominion pacing series at Melton on Saturday night. “Of course we want to lead. He’s won all his races leading or sitting parked. Why wouldn’t anyone think we would want to look for a soft option after drawing barrier one. We’re there to win, not run second or third,” Tritton said. “Not only will he hold the lead if we can, but we will bowl along. That’s his style, he’s a free-runner this horse. It’s how he goes best. “I think he’s the one to beat if he leads. I can’t see how they’ll get past him.” By “they”, Tritton is referring to two of the big guns of the series in Tiger Tara (gate four) and Wrappers Delight (two) in the strongest of the opening round pacing heats. If My Alpha Rock holds the front, this heat as all the ingredients of a seriously heated contest. Wrappers Delight is sure to try for the front and can get fired-up, while Tiger Tara only knows one way and he’s sure to be right up in the firing line. It could bring zippy Kiwi four-year-old Im Pats Delight ($7.50) into the mix from a good trailing draw (gate nine) with Gavin Lang aboard. Punters, buoyed by Tritton’s confidence, have backed My Alpha Rock from from $4.40 into $3.40. Tiger Tara has eased from $2.60 to $3.10, while Wrappers Delight has been $2.90 to $3.20. Tritton also holds the key to the second pacing heat with Franco Nelson (gate two), who has eased from a crazy $2.30 opening price to $2.60. “This is his chance with such a great draw to compared to his main dangers. I’m as keen as anyone to see how he measures up. He’ll be very hard to beat if he can find the front,” Tritton said. The support has been for star Victorian pair San Carlo (gate 10, $5 to $4.20) and Shadow Sax (gate 10, $7 to $6) despite their back row draws. Mach Doro has also firmed from $7 to $6 from the pole. Other chances in that strong second heat include WA raider Galactic Star (gate four, $9.50) and emerging NSW talent Ellmers Image (gate three, $10). The third pacing heat is a all about Cruz Bromac as far as betting goes with the All Stars’ NZ free-for-all winner firming from, $1.50 to $1.28 given he looks the leader from gate four. Plenty of eyes will be on Let It Ride as well, but he will need from lots of luck from an inside back row draw (gate eight). _________________________________________________________________________________ AUSSIE punters have unleashed on the two big guns of the trotting series to win their heats. In the opening heat, Australia’s best hope Tornado Valley – the $2.60 favourite for the final – has been crunched from $1.70 into $1.45. Kiwi star Speeding Spur is even shorter at $1.28 (in from $1.35) in the second heat after drawing to find the lead in the weakest of the heats from gate two. Tornado Valley’s trainer Andy Gath found himself having to dismiss “rumours” the star trotter was under an injury cloud. “Not sure where the rumours originate from that Tornado Valley is under an ‘injury cloud’. I can assure you that I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment. Admittedly he had a foot abscess some weeks ago, but (he’s) good as gold now,” Gath tweeted. Tornado Valley is drawn wide on the front row (gate six), but has plenty of gate speed and and is sure to press for the front from the likes of Wilmas Mate (one), Tough Monarch (two) and Alderbeck (four). Speeding Spur’s heat lacks depth, he possesses early speed and gate two give him every chance to lead, control the race and win as he likes. Adam Hamilton

KIWI trainers can breath a little easier with Australia’s top trotter Tornado Valley staying home instead of raiding Cup Week in Christchurch. Trainer Andy Gath and owner Norm Jenkin tossed the decision around for two days after Tornado Valley’s stunning Cranbourne win last Saturday night. “In the end, we’ve decided to stay home,” Gath said. “The two major reasons are he’s not a good traveller and it’s a big trip from Melbourne to Sydney by road then fly to Christchurch. And we’ve also got an Inter Dominion and the Great Southern Star still to come in our own backyard. “He travelled a better to Cranbourne (about two hours from Gath’s Long Forest stable last weekend), but it’s a lot bigger ask getting him across Christchurch. “You know me, I love to tackle the best races anywhere when we’ve got the right horse, but this time we’re better staying home and focusing on the Inter Dominion given it’s just around the corner.” Tornado Valley made it 12 wins from just 16 Aussie starts for Gath when he produced a career-best performance in the Group 3 Chris Howe Trotters’ Cup (2555m) at Cranbourne last Saturday night. Best known as a front-of-the-field horse, the gelding showed his versatility by sitting back and coming with a big, sustained run in the last lap to blow away many of Victoria’s best trotters. His speed blitz including a privately-time 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and powered clear to win by 13.5m over talented mare Sky Petite and top class veteran Kyvalley Blur. “We were thrilled with him. He’s come back really well. He had to do plenty of work in the last lap, but he ran away from them in the end. And that’s saying something given how well Kyvalley Blur has been going,” Gath said. Kyvalley Blur ran another solid race for third and his Christchurch raid remains on target. Adam Hamilton

The Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup kicks off a bold new era Thursday night and has drawn one of the more open editions of the race in recent memory. The Group 2 showpiece will be the 55th running of one of Australia’s greatest races, which will be race seven on the card and the first of 25 cups in the 2018-19 Trots Country Cups Championship. Andy Gath is one of three trainers with two runners in the field, preparing Burnaholeinmypocket and Three Ways, while Glenn Douglas has readied Bernie Winkle and Shortys Mate and David Aiken Im The Boss and Audi Hare. The cup's preferential barrier draw was arranged on prizemoney earned in the last four starts, which hasn’t advantaged Gath with Three Ways, who has been racing very consistently, drawn the back row and Burnaholeinmypocket outside the front row. The latter looks to be getting back towards peak form and might well deliver Gath's second Kilmore Cup, which True Cam won in 2004 when beating Sokyola. He said Kate Gath would drive Three Ways and, in Alex Ashwood's absence, it would be a pick of the available drivers, with leading lights Chris Alford, Gavin Lang and John Caldow among those seemingly yet to have a designated drive. “I like the concept of the barrier draw being done on the last four starts prizemoney, rather than the metro class, and it should prove to be a good point of where you’re at rather than a historical metro class form," Gath said. “The draw probably hurts Burnaholeinmypocket, he has had bad draws most of his life and this is the third time in a row he has drawn the outside of the front row, so it’s not ideal. "But it’s not a fast front row, he has got really good gate speed. We didn’t come out quick on him the other night as we knew he had no chance of crossing Audi Hare or Love Ina Chevy, but he does run the gate pretty quick and I think it is probably a race where he will probably come out pretty solid and try and get a forward position. “He has run over the distance (2690m) a couple of times before and has gone average, but both of them were on really hot days and he has a bit of a breathing issue. When it is really hot he doesn’t perform at his best. He has probably got an each-way hope, it’s a pretty even race." The stable considers its main chance to be Three Ways, who draws the second row, so tactics will likely differ to recent runs. “We know from the draw he is not going to lead, obviously, but sitting off the speed he has put in some really good runs and he won a race at Ballarat in nearly track record time with a cold sit against Hughie Green," Gath said. “I don’t think any of them, maybe apart from My Kiwi Mate, could probably make their own luck and win. I think (Three Ways) is going to have to have a bit of luck from that draw and if things go right he is a winning chance at the top of his game." Gath said Three Ways had gotten stronger as he got older and was handling his workload better, but in regards to the longer distance, "you don’t know until you go over it”. “His 2200m record is pretty good, but if it’s like last year - a last man standing affair when there wasn’t many in it - we don’t really know. He will probably be driven with a sit, but we’ll drive to tempo." Gath also shared his thoughts on his Cup rivals. “I thought My Kiwi Mate was really good last start when he won, he is a Bendigo Cup winner, he is a very seasoned and well performed horse at this level, but he is not the only one. "Bettermatch was fantastic when he won at Menangle, as it looked like he’d just joined in, but how you line up his form coming off a long spell and in this race is pretty hard to say. "Obviously Im The Boss is a proven country cups horse too, but he is first-up, so it’s going to be pretty tough for him to win this type of race." Gath has two more runners on the night in the classy Star Of Memphis in race six and the very progressive Diamonds N Cash, a half-brother to former top class stablemate Diamonds N Furs. “Unfortunately in the 4YO & 5YO Championship Star Of Memphis galloped and knocked his tendon and bruised it really bad and kept him off the scene for virtually 12 months. He has always been a good horse, again he has drawn eight, but in saying that he has probably drawn behind the eventual leader, Makes Every Scents, which obviously brings him into the race in a pretty even field. “(Diamonds N Cash) has done a really good job since he's been here, he is a horse that only started racing as a three-year-old in New Zealand, so this is virtually his first racing preparation. “Win, lose or draw he’ll go for a bit of a break after this race and then get him ready for the 4YO & 5YO Championship on November 10. He has a really good future and we’ll put him away after this run and give him a bit of a break and hopefully he develops into a Chariots Of Fire horse down the track." The other feature on the night is the Group 3 McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup, the only race left in Victoria run over more than 3000m, where Father Christmas has opened a $2.80 favourite with TAB fixed odds over Margaret Ruth ($3.80), Majestic Ess Jay ($5), Destinée Jenilou ($6) and Kyvalley Barney ($6.50). This race kicks off the 2018/19 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship. Luke Humphreys’ Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup Preview 1 BERNIE WINKLE ($81 TAB.com.au fixed odds): Consistent type that very rarely runs a bad race. Had absolutely no luck at Mildura two starts back before down the field on Saturday night at Melton. Will find a few too good but should get every chance from the gate one draw. Trainer Glenn Douglas has won the race twice with Bold Cruiser in 2008 and Make Mine Cullen in 2010. 2 SHORTYS MATE ($151): Stablemate to Bernie Winkle who was fourth behind two rivals at Melton on Saturday night. Racing ok but outclassed. 3 BAD BILLY ($17): Has been racing well without winning and will be hoping to enjoy an economical run here. Did win the Hamilton Cup in January over a similar distance. 4 MAGICAL MARN ($10): Renowned for his barnstorming finish, which got him past the post first in multiple races during the winter at Melton. If anything, should be starting to come into his own even more now being a five-year-old. Hasn’t won for a while but has been racing respectfully. 5 BLACKBIRD POWER (EMG $151): Emergency runner but if he gained a start he could finish in the first half of the field as he has been racing well in Sydney. Formerly prepared by Ross Sugars, now in New South Wales with Gavin Kelly. 6 IM THE BOSS ($5): Multiple Cup winner last season at Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton including a narrow second to Cruz Bromac at Warragul. Personally surprised to see him open favourite as he was a bit disappointing towards the end of last campaign. He was a little bit disappointing in my eyes in his second trial back. Tactics will be interesting from the draw. Trainer David Aiken won the race in 2017 with Lennytheshark. 7 BURNAHOLEINMYPOCKET ($18): One of two Andy Gath runners that can race very well but also on occasions poorly. Has been very good in his last couple of runs including a two-race stint at Mildura for two wins, which definitely would’ve got his confidence up. He produced a marvellous trial at Melton on August 28 when beating Magical Marn in 1:53.8 leading all the way. Was then a very good third in The Gammalite behind My Kiwi Mate and Magical Marn from a poor draw and has run respectfully at Swan Hill and Melton since when sitting outside the leader on both occasions. Poor draw and two runs over this distance range have produced down the track finishes in the 2015 Queensland Derby and 2017 Maryborough Gold Cup. In good form though and can’t be dismissed. 8 KEEP ON ROCKING ($34): Could be the roughie of the race. Likely to enjoy a very economical run on the pegs and has been racing in good form. Won after getting it way too easy at Melton last Saturday and that was unlucky not to be a second consecutive win as he was run down very late the week before. 9 MY KIWI MATE ($2.70): Former Bendigo Cup winner in 2017 and second in this race to Lennytheshark in 2017, making him the only horse in the field to have run in this race before. Absolutely brilliant win in The Gammalite when running down Magical Marn after having no luck early and passing every single horse out very wide in the final 400 meters. On that run without a shadow of a doubt is the one to beat here and there is already good support for him on TAB Fixed Odds. Ted Demmler, the father of trainer/driver Craig Demmler, won the race in 1984 on Raging Bull. 10 THREE WAYS ($31): Another one that looks juicy overs despite drawing poorly. If you go back through his form he has run in the placings in Group 1 races behind Lazarus, including a second in the 2016 Derby. His last two wins have been when he led and enjoyed very easy runs and that is unlikely to be the case here. Have always thought he is a better stayer than sprinter, however, and that could go in his advantage late. 11 BETTERMATCH ($4.80): Tim Butt trained New South Wales raider who is the winner of 11 from 13 including his last five, all of them in good time at Wagga, Young and Menangle. Formerly trained by Colin Thomas before being purchased by the Butt stable and on his debut for them stormed down the outside to win at Menangle in 1:50.4. This since has subsequently raised the eyes of many and made him a possible aspirant for races such as the New Zealand Trotting Cup. However this particular race will answer a lot of questions, one of mine being he has never in his life started over a distance further than 1800 meters. Tim Butt is a great staying trainer, however, this will be a completely different experience for this lightly-raced six-year-old compared to previous wins. 12 ELLMERS IMAGE ($4.80): The other raider from New South Wales in the field prepared and driven by Amanda Turnbull. Has been racing very consistently up at Menangle and had two very deserving wins in the Group 3 Mount Eden Stakes and an absolutely brilliant M1 win in 1:50.7 just under two weeks ago. A bit like his fellow NSW raider this will be a completely different race and the barrier draw hasn’t helped, but can’t knock his last couple of runs. 13 AUDI HARE ($31): Remarkably despite winning the Group 2 Breeders Crown Free For All over the Breeders Crown meeting pops up at $31 for this, with that reason obviously being due to the barrier draw. Had a trial earlier this month where he ran very well and was not disgraced at Melton last Saturday when caught late by Love Ina Chevy. Will need the correct run into it. Selections: 9 My Kiwi Mate 10 Three Ways 4 Magical Marn 8 Keep On Rocking   Luke Humphreys Trots Media

ALL the talk is about Chicago Bull, but another top Aussie is also being set for a New Zealand Cup Week raid. Top Victorian trainer Andy Gath this week unveiled plans for his star trotter Tornado Valley tackle races on both Tuesday and Friday at Addington. Tornado Valley is back in work and not far of returning from a break following his amazing first campaign with Gath which netted 10 wins a second and a third from just 14 starts. The former Kiwi roared through the grades to win a Group 1 race another eight races at Group 3 level. “We liked him as soon as we got him, but he still surprised us how well he handled every new challenge we asked of him,” Gath said. “It’s good to have been able to give him that break ahead of all the big race at the end of the year.” Tornado Valley’s meteoric rise through the ranks saw him sit alongside Australia’s best trotters when he was spelled after a third at Melton on July 21. “His first big target is the Bill Collins Mile on Victoria Cup night (October 13),” Gath said. “Then it’s over to NZ all going well. We’ve had NZ in mind for quite a while because he’s from there and the money is good for those races. “He showed last time in work he could match it with the best.” The Group 1 Dominion Handicap is Tornado Valley’s major Kiwi target and Gath is no stranger to winning big NZ trotting races, albeit a while back now when he won the 2002 Rowe Cup with the brilliant mare La Coocaracha. Beyond the NZ trip, Tornado Valley looms as the one of the key players in the reinstated Inter Dominion trotting series during the Melbourne Inter Dominion in December. In other stable news, Gath and his wife Kate have high hopes for their exciting recent Kiwi import Diamonds N Cash. One of their many horses raced by Norm Jenkin of Flashing Red fame, Diamonds N Cash was bought from Ken Breckon and the John Dunn stable and his five Aussie runs for the Gaths have been most encouraging. “We threw him in the deep end because it was Breeders Crown time and to finish second in that three-year-old final, which was the strongest Crown final I can recall for many years, was terrific,” Andy Gath said. Diamonds N Cash dropped back in grade and humbled a handy field at Ballarat last Wednesday night, sitting parked, but still dashing home in 55.3sec to win easily. “Gee he felt fantastic,” Kate Gath said. “He’s pacing better every run he has for us and the other night is as sharp as he’s been. “I think he’ll measure-up to the really good ones in time. “He’s only a C3 now so we pick our way through the classes then look at the bigger four-year-old races later in the season.”   Adam Hamilton

THE Harness Jewels remains very much “front and square” in the minds of the Jilliby Kung team. Although the Chariots of Fire winner and Miracle Mile placegetter is yet to be officially invited to the Jewels, it looks a formality if trainer Marg Lee and the team want it. “The Jewels is the plan at this stage,” driver Jason Lee said. “I’d say he’s three weeks or so away from a race. “We need to race the big boys to get better and for the spectacle of the game.” What a great attitude and what a coup it would be for Cambridge. Jilliby Kung Fu hasn’t raced since his fantastic second to My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile on February 24. With Custodian invited and Jilliby Kung Fu, Wobelee and Carlas Pixel surely soon to follow. Then a bunch of others chasing invites, this will take the Aussie presence at the Jewels to a new level. Yes I’m biased, but surely this is the year an Aussie wins a Jewels final for the first time. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ AGEING champ Lennytheshark will try to break the $3 million stakemoney barrier without a lead-up race. Connections had hoped to run at Bendigo last Friday night, but the race was scrapped so will have to settle for a trial on Tuesday. “Sure we’d have loved a race, but he’s got a great first-up record and ‘Aikey’ (David Aiken) will have him ready for a race like this,” part-owner Martin Riseley said. It will be an emotional night with Lennytheshark needing just $4915 to reach $3 million with his 79 starts netting 39 wins and 30 placings so far. “We’ve had this planned for a long time. The chance to chase a milestone like this at his and Aikey’s home track is so exciting,” Riseley said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ANDY Gath admits an Addington raid in November is tempting, but first he wants to win a Group 1 at home with his new stable star Tornado Valley. The former Kiwi trotter made it six wins on end when he did the work and won as he liked in a slick 1min56sec mile rate for 1720m in the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton last night. Gath’s immediate target is the $50,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship at Melton on May 19. “We loved him the first time we worked him, but the best part is he just keeps getting better and better in his work and he’s thriving on racing just about every week,” Gath said. “Other than the Australasian Champs next month there’s nothing big for him, but if he can just keep picking off these free-for-alls it’s money in the bank.” Tornado Valley has already banked more than $120,000 from just nine Aussie runs for Gath. Asked about NZ, Gath said: “We did think about the Anzac and Rowe Cups. We like to travel with out horses for the right races, so the Dominion is definitely an option later in the year.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER buzz Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem lost fans in defeat in yet another WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park. It’s the third prelude of the Oaks (final run on May 5) she has contested and after a second and a win, she had to settle for a close and brave third in last Friday night’s race. Gary Hall Sr’s classy filly Liberty Rose was crossed at the start, re-took the lead, and then dictated through a 62.9sec middle split before dashing home in 56.0 and 27.7sec to win from another former Kiwi, Purest Silk. Our Angel Of Harlem settled well back and had to sustain a long three-wide run without cover in the sprint home, so to get within 3.4m was a big effort. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ IF Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel doesn’t tackle the Harness Jewels then Shane Tritton’s former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter would be a strong second pick. The four-year-old made it eight wins from just 11 Aussie runs when she blasted to the front in a 26.5sec opening quarter and found plenty late to win in a 1min52.5sec mile at Menangle on Saturday night. Tritton and wife Lauren have made it clear they’d love a Jewels invite. The feature race at Menangle was the Group 2 Bulli Trotters’ Cup which was won by former Kiwi veteran Sundons Comet, now in the Joe Rando barn and driven by David Morris. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart has a staggering four finalists in the $300,000 Australian Gold final for colts and geldings. Centenario, Hurricane Harley and Hardhitter all won their heats at Melton last Friday week. Then Fourbigmen, who was a well-held third to Hurricane Harley in his heat, lifted for a powerhouse repechage win at Melton last night. Amazingly, Chris Alford drove all four to win their qualifiers. Fourbigmen’s improvement didn’t surprise the stable who have always said he is as good as any of their stellar juvenile crop on ability, but is still raw and developing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ OUR Waikiki Beach’s baby brother Bechers Brook is doing the family proud. While Our Waikiki Beach was a superstar from day one, the raw and tough Bechers Brook is getting better with every run. He just missed winning the WA Derby when a close second to King Of Swing on April 6, then narrowly but impressively won at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Bechers Brook has raced just 13 times for seven wins, four placings and almost $120,000. “I like him. He’s really strong. It didn’t surprise me he ran so well in the Derby,” Reed said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ CANBERRA Raiders captain Jarrod Crocker loves his harness racing and classy pacer Our Triple Play is rewarding his passion. Our Triple Play continued his golden season with another feature win, the Group 3 Sydney Cup, at Bankstown last Friday night. The Brad Hewitt-trained and driven four-year-old had already won the time-honoured Inter City Pace final at Maitland and Wagga Cup this season. He’s won six races this term for almost $76,000 in earning to take his career record to 41 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $141,720 in stakemoney. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ NO doubt the news of Hectorjayjay’s switch from David Aiken to Gavin Lang’s stable turned a few heads. Lang hasn’t trained many horses for the past decade or so,  but now has an exciting team of “10 or 12” in work. One of them, recent Kiwi import My Cash, made it two very impressive Aussie wins from as many starts with a dominant display at Bendigo last Friday night. Despite sitting parked in solid times, My Cash left her rivals standing to win by 10.2m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2150m. All going well, Hectorjayjay could have his first start for Lang as soon as early June.   Adam Hamilton

Lightning Mile night at Ballarat was billed as a showdown between rising star Moonrock and a most talented field in the night’s harness racing feature but most left the track talking about an entirely different race. It wasn’t the flying mile but the standard sprint trip of 1710 metres where the sparks were flying with progressive gelding Beach Surge smashing the track record in an indomitable display. Rushing the gate in a 27.8sec first quarter, there was no stopping as they ran even fractions for each quarter of the final mile. In a twist of fate the previous track record holder was also owned by Richard Matthews with The Culture holding a benchmark of 1:53.0. That was well and truly bettered by the four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere as he stopped the clock in 1:51.7. The win had more than a few people singing the praises of Beach Surge on social media with it becoming clear he’s a star on the rise in his own right. Trainer Andy Gath is happy to let his horse do the talking in the short-term at least. “What he did last night was pretty exceptional,” Gath said. “We know he is really well-bred and he does have the right attributes. “He is a big strong horse; he is well gaited and has early speed.” All that and more was on show when he burnt early and still had the plugs in when crossing the line a tear away victor. Being in his last year of age-restricted racing there is the obvious lure of throwing him into the deep-end but that will very much be dependent on just what the landscape looks like in a month or two. “Ultimate Machete and Vincent are at the head of a pretty smart crop of four-year-old’s,” Gath said. “It does make it tough when that’s the level you have to measure up to but we would probably look at a race like the Bonanza because it’s in our backyard.” Any further than that right now may just be pie in the sky. The Long Forrest horseman noting that he can still get excited on raceday and isn’t the best traveler. There is however a lot of water to go under the bridge before a race like the Chariots Of Fire rolls around and plenty can change. For now though, Beach Surge will tackle a $10,000 C2-3 at Kilmore Friday night where he has drawn the front row and looks the horse to beat again. “It’s probably not ideal backing him up quickly after the last win but the race is there and he seems well,” Gath said. Blake Redden

Talented open class performer Mister Mundaka is switching states. And he’s set to add further spice to the changing landscape of the Brisbane free-for-all ranks in the coming weeks and months. Proven performers Avonnova and Ultimate Art still set the standard and have the runs on the board while Major Cam continues to develop into a serious challenger. Exciting four-year-olds Leos Best and Mattgregor also seem certain open class stars in the making. Previously prepared by leading Victorian trainer Andy Gath, the speedy Bettors Delight gelding will now transfer to the Tamborine stables of Brad Connelly. “After discussing it with Jeroen (Nieuwenburg – owner), we’ve decided to send him north where he can have access to the water walker on a daily basis, he’s battled a few little issues over the past twelve months and that treatment should help him greatly.” Gath said. Just recently, Nieuwenburg installed a water walker at the Tamborine property and results have been immediate through the likes of his trotters Mr Mayfly, Ivanov and Rostevarren among others. Mister Mundaka hasn’t raced since September 29, 2016 when fifth behind Five Star Anvil and Ohoka Punter at TABCORP Park, Melton in the My Lightning Blue FFA. The former New Zealand pacer has won 12 of his 20 starts on Australian soil including the Gr.3 Tontine Championship Final at Ballarat plus the Gr.3 Popular Alm FFA at Melton. Last week, Mister Mundaka finished third in a trial behind My Kiwi Mate and Three Ways at Melton in a time of 2:02.7 for the 2240m. “He’s been such a great performer for my stable since arriving; he had excuses first-up at Maryborough before winning his next seven starts. “His best asset is his gate speed and he loves to keep fighting when he’s in front, he’s a very hard horse to get past once he’s in front. He beat a lot of tidy horses on many occasions. “He obviously needed the trial last week and will keep improving, hopefully he can return to his best form and the racing style should suit him up there.” Mister Mundaka has won 17 from 43 while banking more than $156,000 in stakes. Chris Barsby

Exciting former Kiwi Van Mara (Lis Mara-Van Seraa) can overcome his extreme draw at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night, says harness racing trainer Andy Gath. Speaking with Nadia Horne on RSN Friday morning, Gath spoke glowingly of his four-year-old, who is two-for-two since joining the Kate and Andy team. “He had really good form in New Zealand. It tapered off a little bit before he came over to us but he’s a horse we have a pretty big opinion of,” Gath said. Van Mara, to be driven by Andy's wife, Kate, starts from outside the second row in the DNR Logistics Pace Final (Race 2) at 5.55pm. “He can do it tough if he has to,” Gath said. “And he’s got good speed, even if he’s back in the field. He’s a horse that we think is going to develop into a pretty nice horse. He’ll be fighting out the finish.” Gath has always had an eye on Van Mara and always expressed interest in purchasing the gelding. “Finally he came down to a price I was comfortable at and I was fortunate enough to be able to get him in the stable,” the Long Forest horseman said. GET THE INSIDE WORD FROM ANDY GATH Meanwhile, TAB.com.au has a projected Quaddie pool of $125,000 ($20,000) jackpot tomorrow night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Sign up to receive your GoodForm Game Plan delivered hot off the press daily from our dedicated team of form analysts.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Saturday night’s monte at Tabcorp Park Melton will be a star-studded affair after harness racing trainers Andy Gath and Ross Sugars elected to stick saddles on two of their leading trotters. Gath will run Group 1 placegetter K D Muscles in the $14,000 Aldebaran Park Monte Championship, the first time the trainer of almost 9600 starters has entered the saddled racing. The 87th monte run in Victoria will also mark Sugars’ first participation in the class since Illawong Magic contested four montes between May and July in 2014. “There is always a bit of apprehension, but I expect both to benefit from their first go in the monte,” Sugars said. “It’s something completely different in their training. It’s like taking a horse who has always been training on the track and you take it swimming and it gets a different outlet and some new lease on life. It doesn’t work for all, but for most it will.” The trainers arrive at the monte from different perspectives. For Sugars it’s a chance to freshen Illawong Helios and possibly extend his season, having had 12 starts since January 23. For Gath it’s a chance to give K D Muscles, owned by Norm Jenkin, a hit-out in a race that doesn’t also feature another Jenkin’s runner. “She has the same owner as Clover Mac who is in for Ballarat's (John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup) on Friday night and instead of doubling up we will take advantage of the $14,000 race on Saturday to avoid the clash,” Gath said. “(K D Muscles) hadn’t run under a saddle before Monday morning. Michelle (Phillips) did half-a-dozen laps on her and then she trialled on Monday night and handled it well. She ran good time.” Beyond that the jury is out. It’s expected the talented trotter will be competitive with the likes of Conon Bridge, Brent Lilley’s Breeders Crown winner who’s a veteran of four montes, and Vics Cheval, David Aiken’s trotter who returns to the montes for the first time since 2016 when she won three races under saddle. “It’s a little hard to know what affect it will have,” Gath said. “We will see how she recovers from having carried weight on her back instead of a sulky. “I thought she trialled good under saddle and she will have Ben Aubron riding her and he is quite experienced. I think she will acquit herself well.” Sugars has little apprehension about throwing Illawong Helios into the championship, the calendar’s richest mobile start monte. “Both her and K D Muscles I think will perform really well,” Sugars said. “The short-course will suit them and I think it will be a very good race between Conon Bridge, K D Muscles and Illawong Helios. “This has come at the right time (for Illawong Helios). She had progressed well this campaign and then levelled out.” Sugars said putting Illawong Helios into a monte had “always been in the back of the mind”, having trained her under saddle “three or four times” last October before she was put out for a spell. “It might keep her in work longer and if she benefits I won’t just race her in montes but put her back in normal racing,” Sugars said. “It might get a few others thinking about it and having a go, because the monte racing has definitely improved as better horses have taken to it.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 27 May 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 27 May 2017

Speedy pacer Tenacious One has been sold and will do his future harness racing in the United States. The Queensland owned gelding looks an ideal fit for the hard and fast North American scene given his style of racing. A graduate of the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales, the Mach Three – Miss Astronomical youngster was purchased by the Brisbane based Brendan McMullen. Tenacious One commenced his career in Victoria with trainer Andy Gath where he managed to win 2 of his 11 starts before being switched to the Queensland stables of Donny Smith. Under the tutelage of Smith, Tenacious One showed his true potential where he won his first 6 starts, all at Albion Park and all in fast time. In 23 starts in the Sunshine State, Tenacious One won 11 races and took a career best time of 1:51.6 – the Albion Park track record belongs to the incomparable champion Im Themightyquinn at 1:50.8. Tenacious One won 13 from 34 while being minor placed on a further 11 occasions while banking in excess of $76,000. The deal was negotiated through highly respected agent Frank Ranaldi. Another talented pacer that will join Tenacious One on the flight north is Iam Mr Brightside, a former member of the Kerryann Turner/Robbie Morris Sydney stables. The Julius Caesar gelding has won 22 races from 86 starts while banking more than $325,000 in prizemoney. His biggest victory came via the 2014 Gr.3 $40,000 Simpson Memorial at Menangle in a time of 1:51.6 while being placed in many other feature events. Both Tenacious One and Iam Mr Brightside will do their future racing in the state of New York. Recent results for Ranaldi in North America have been very solid highlighted by the success of former Victorian mare Shes Just A Delight. The New Zealand bred mare raced with distinction from the stables of Kerryn Manning before her sale. Shes Just A Delight won a division of the famed Matchmaker series at Yonkers Raceway overnight (Friday) in a time of 1:53.0 on the half mile oval. Since arriving in North America, Shes Just A Delight has won 13 of her 15 starts. The Matchmaker Final is scheduled for April 22.   Chris Barsby

Persistence and patience blended with talent to see Glenferrie Typhoon win the Pryde’s Easifeed $300,000 Great Southern Star, a super harness racing training and driving performance by Andy and Kate Gath. After a season plagued by disappointing runs, Glenferrie Typhoon’s undoubted talent spilled on to Tabcorp Park Melton with a blistering run, stopping the clock at a 1:58.0 mile rate, 1.5 seconds under the old track record. The all-the-way win gifted the $300,000 feature, the richest trotting race in Australasia, to a proud group of owners and a triumphant local stable. “It’s a huge thrill,” Andy Gath said. “I know he had the draw and everything, but he still had to do it. “I’ve always had a great affinity with the trotters and they have really emerged in Victoria, there are so many good trotters around and it’s such a great race to win and great to have it on like this with the Hunter Cup. Such a big night and it’s a huge thrill.” Sharing that delight was his wife, Kate Gath, who had been put through the ringer as Glenferrie Typhoon battled to re-find form. The Majestic Son gelding ran second in this feature last year amid an outstanding run, made all the meritorious by the fact he was suffering from a bladder stone. He resumed late in 2016 but two poor performances saw him tipped out for another spell. A sixth placing in The George Gath at Shepparton preceded a win against far more modest competition at Melton on January 30, when Glenferrie Typhoon appeared to switch off and have his considerable lead gobbled up.  “He’s done my head in over the last couple of months, I did everything I could to get him trotting,” Kate Gath said. “I haven’t conceded. I tried a few different things again on Monday and he couldn’t trot it out up the straight. I didn’t know what else to do, I know he’s got the ability and thank goodness we got it right on the night that we needed to get it right on.” From gate one Glenferrie Typhoon held off Maori Time’s advance to find the front, but the pressure was persistent with one challenger after the next coming to the breeze to press forward. Josh Dickie then guided favourite and reigning champion Speeding Spur on to Glenferrie Typhoon’s back and when they hit the straight it became a race in two. “If I got a lot of pressure I was going to play it by ear and see how I felt, but he just travelled so good the whole way I couldn’t hand handed up if I wanted too,” Kate Gath said. “When Speeding Spur got on my back I thought “oh no, this isn’t good, this wasn’t part of the plan”. “(Glenferrie Typhoon) was just travelling so well the whole way. When I got to the corner he was still travelling and I know he can get a bit hot in the straight and I thought, all right, we’re going to run now, they are going to have their chance but they are going to have to catch me.” And in the match-race between Glenferrie Typhoon and Speeding Spur it was the Victorian who held on by a half-neck. “His ability’s always been there, we know how good he is, so it’s just fantastic that he was able to get the job done tonight,” Kate Gath said. “All the owners are here, absolutely over the moon.” Sunny Ruby ran a brave third for Sam Smolenski, having been the best runner from deep to finish 9m shy of the leader. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Pending RAD Board Hearing – Rohan Hillier - Harness Racing Victoria Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Rohan Hillier under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Ryley Major was presented to race at Melton on 7 July 2016 by Mr Hillier when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Jodi Quinlan HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Ms Jodi Quinlan under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Sky Majesty was presented to race at Bendigo on 22 June 2016 by Ms Quinlan when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.   Pending RAD Board Hearing – Andrew Gath HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Andrew Gath under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse K D Muscles NZ was presented to race at Horsham on 14 March 2016 by Mr Gath when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.  

K D Muscles proved her toughness yesterday at Gunbower when she scooped up a second harness racing win in three days, having won at Melton on Friday and then Sunday’s Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup over 2630m. The Muscle Mass six-year-old mare, who lead throughout in Friday night’s Haras Des Trotteurs Trot, received a penalty from her Melton win and in the Cup started outside of the 20m mark, instead of the inside. After stepping safely, she worked forward into the box seat before Kate Gath came three-wide at the bell. After pressuring 2015 winner Dead Cat Bounce at the 1200m, K D Muscles found the lead but copped pressure from Aleppo Sunrise and Tenno Dance. In Gath’s hands she found some breathing space with a 28.2 third quarter, holding off second-placed  Aleppo Sunrise in the straight to win by 6.1m in a 2:03.4 mile rate. Trainer Andy Gath heaped praise on his “really nice mare”. “She has a good turn of speed with a really good gait about her,” Gath said. “(She) has come a long way in a short space of time since we’ve had her, and just about every run she has had has been pretty good. “She’s a really strongly built mare with a really good constitution and recovers well all the time, so she’s a perfect racehorse really”. New Zealand born K D Muscles, who was bred by Grant Beckett, joined the Gath stable in February this year. “She came on the market, took a lot of persuading for my owner, Norm Jenkin, to buy as she only had the one win in New Zealand and he was put off by that a bit, but she was up against nice horses,” Gath said. “We were able to purchase her for a pretty reasonable price and she’s earned some nice money since and she has more to offer.” Gath mentioned her next run is likely to come at Melton on Saturday week in a TM1-M3 mobile in favour of the The Weekly Advertiser Stawell Trotters Cup the following day. Gath’s other runners  at Gunbower were Star Of Dionysis in the Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup, who finished last as an odds-on favourite, and Yackandandah, who finished third in the Easy Ride Sulky Gunbower Club Pace. “At this stage Star Of Dionysis has pulled up all right, there are no alarm bells going off to say there’s something wrong, but maybe the hot weather got to him,” Gath said. “Yackandandah had to come quite wide and I was happy with him, he’s a good honest horse.”  Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Caretaker harness racing trainer John Dunn was gobsmacked when he saw the field for Franco Cristiano’s  Breeders Crown “warm-up” race at Melton on Saturday night. And it’s no wonder when you consider the city “maiden” race (M0) boasts last season’s triple Derby winner Menin Gate (gate four) and this season’s superstar three-year-old Our Waikiki Beach (gate nine). Franco Cristiano has gate 10. “It’s going to be a good indicator of where we are at, that’s for sure,” Dunn said. “I don’t expect to beat Waikiki Beach or Menin Gate, but I’d love to be hitting the line strongly behind them.” Franco Cristiano arrived at Andy Gath’s stables near Melton last week, has settled in well and had a low-key trial around the Melton track yesterday (Tuesday). “He did what I wanted and he’s got a few wee tricks still, so getting a look around the track in the trial and again in a race this week will help,” Dunn said. “In the trial he drew five, drifted back then I went to the death, but sat back off the leader (Highview Ruler) and got within a length or so of the winner at the finish (running second).” Highview Ruler won by the 2240m trial in a 2min1.5sec mile rate and finished off in 56.3 and 27.6sec with Franco Cristiano. “He badly needed the run so the trial and this week’s race will bring him on nicely ahead of the semi-final (of the Breeders Crown),” Dunn said. Dunn said Franco Cristiano had always displayed enormous talent and was still maturing. “He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot and he’s getting better all the time,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll be competitive in the Crown and it’s great for his owners, a good group of people from Ashburton, to be have him across here being a part of it.” Dunn will take the reins himself this week in what will be just his second drive in a race at Melton. “The only other one was Franco Nelson in the Hunter Cup (running sixth) in 2014,” he said. Although (Our) Waikiki Beach will be a warm favourite, he will face a big challenge to beat former Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate if the finds the lead from gate four over the 1720m sprint trip around Melton. The other highlight of the Melton meeting is Hectorjayjay’s return from a freshen-up in the Minuteman free-for-all (2240m). He will be a clear favourite despite a wide draw (gate six) and quality rivals like: Chilli Palmer (one), Messini (two), Flaming Flutter (seven) and Major Crocker (10).   Adam Hamilton

Endsino became a two-time Group 1 winner tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton courtesy of a stellar Kate Gath drive in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Trotting Mares Final for harness racing four-year-olds. After leading from the pole, Gath handed up at the mile to Aldebaran Deebee, which snookered Endsino’s main danger Sky Petite three-back on the pegs. “It wasn’t that hard, I think most people would have done the same,” Gath said. “It’s pretty simple … if we hold the front Sky Petite goes straight past us, so at some stage we had to find a horse to hand up to. I had a good look around and Aldebaran Deebee is a pretty good horse to follow. I handed up to her at Maryborough on a different horse and she got to the line well, so I thought she was a good choice … with the draw and the run we were just able to win and that’s fantastic.” Endsino (Angus Hall/Jauriol), trained by Gath’s husband Andy, out-sprinted Aldebaran Deebee (Chris Svanosio) up the straight and rated 2:01.7 (last half-mile covered in 60.7) to win by a half-neck, with Val Gardena (Greg Sugars) third and Sky Petite (John Caldow) an unlucky fourth. “She’s been a great horse, she’s already earnt $130,000 before tonight so the money they can make (trotters in Victoria) is terrific. We are so lucky to have her.” Endsino is the third Group 1 winner tonight that graduated from the Pryde’s Easifeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale. She is raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto and Gennaro Sposato. Endsino won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final as a two-year-old in 2014. “She’s funny she come back quite good but her last couple of starts she’s been getting pretty fired up. She wasn’t too bad but she seems to be going through a bit of a growth spurt, so maybe that’s taking its toll on her,” Gath said. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Each week, Queensland Harness Racing commentator Chris Barsby does a ring around and gets the inside info on a big list of Australasian based runners. Queensland trainer/driver Darrell Graham heads back to a specialist on Monday, his broken leg is healing well. Champion Perth trainer Gary Hall headed for operation on his hand next Monday. Has constant swelling. He will be out of action for a couple of weeks Talented Sydney trotter Cyclone Lucky Seven headed to Menangle trials next week for trainer Alex Alchin. - Last start was mid march. Star pacers for Shane Tritton, Arms Of An Angel & Salty Robyn both back doing pace work. No set plans for either speed machine. Last start Group 1 runner Three Of The Best is back in Queensland, starts Friday week in Breeders crown heat, decisions to be made after that. In-form couple Nathan Jack and Amanda Turnbull arrive in Queensland next week with 3 runners. Fcee, Neon Sky & Eye See Diamonds. Reigning Australian Driver of the Year Shane Graham, already has over 200 winners this season and celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Millionaire mare Frith will have one more start before a well-deserved break. Starts Saturday week in the Adore Me mares event at Menangle. Top Goulburn horseman Brad Hewitt arrives in Brisbane today with his winter carnival team headed by Spare Me Days. Talented 3yo Stanley Ross Robyn has also made the trek north and will start in both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics. Victorian trainer Andy Gath will make final decision on Three Ways & possible Queensland Derby trip after he starts next Tuesday at Bendigo. Birthday celebrations today for Gareth Hall – he's planning a big party in Brisbane next week when he cheers home Hectorjayjay. Good race tomorrow at Albion Park when Queensland Derby aspirants Kimani (Matt Craven) & Mattgregor (Chantal Turpin) clash. Smart pacer My Kiwi Mate is headed to the Winter Championship series next week at Melton. Good trial this week after NZ Campaign. Despite an impressive trial this week, former Kiwi 3yo He Can Fly will remain in Sydney. Connections were eyeing Queensland Derby Last start Group 2 Breeders Classic winner Maestro Bellini is bang on target for Qbred triad Final on July 16. Starts new week. North American speedster Hurrikane Kingcole is facing a battle to make a successful comeback down under. Team McCarthy working overtime. Plans remain intact for SA Derby winner Brallos Pass to head north for Queensland Derby on July 16. Faces poor draw in Group 1 Vicbred Final this week Chris Barsby

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