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Amid all the “Kiwi this” and “New Zealand that”, which has dominated much of the Summer Of Glory conversation, harness racing trainer Brent Lilley’s strong stable is happy to wait in the shadows until show time on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Champion trotter Keystone Del will attempt to unseat New Zealand raiders Monbet and Speeding Spur in the Settle Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix. And 89 minutes later Messini will rip from barrier six to take the fight to Ohoka Punter and Smolda in the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. Lilley’s runners are among the few Australian chances at single-figure odds in the betting, and the Bolinda trainer was looking forward to having his chargers return to the grand stage. It will be familiar ground for five-time Group 1 winner Keystone Del, who Lilley said had “been going really well”. “We have kept him a little on the fresh side lately because it will be 12 or so weeks from the start (of his campaign) to the Great Southern Star and he has a very busy schedule,” he said. “He is the forgotten horse a little bit with Monbet, but it is a star-studded field.” Lilley said the attention given to the favourite was not misguided. “He’s all class Monbet. We will probably have an advantage, having been drawn inside him. “Anthony (Butt) is a very good race driver and will try and place (Keystone Del) in the running. But it is not just Monbet, it’s Glenferrie Typhoon, Arboe, Speeding Spur and Kyvalley Blur is going very well and has a good draw. “There are definitely half a dozen chances in the race. It is never ever easy and you expect to get competition, that is what it is all about. This is one of the best trotting fields we’re seen over here.” There will be no excuses from Keystone Del’s camp. “He’s ready to go. It’s so hard to always peak with all the group 1s over the next five to six weeks, but he’ll be more than competitive.” Similarly, Messini is expected to give followers a good sight in the A. G. Hunter Cup, having performed admirably in last Saturday’s showcase. “He went really good in the Victoria Cup,” Lilley said. “He made an early move, then got held up at the corner and hit the line full of running. “It was a good run and I’m looking forward to this week. The 3200m and standing start don’t hold any worries.“ Drawn sixth, Messini could well be in the mix, but there is plenty of pace inside, not the least of all being Yankee Rockstar (barrier two), Ohoka Punter (barrier three) and Smolda (barrier five). “Some of the better chances have drawn the front row. It will be interesting to see how it rolls out in the first 100m, we’ll be up among it,” Lilley said. “In an ideal world we’d step to the front and stay there, but everyone on the front row is thinking the same. “If we step good and get to the front of the field that would be great, but it’s a 3200m race and so there’s plenty of time to work into it.” by Michael Howard

Ohoka Punter’s chances of taking the Del-Re National $500,000 A. G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night from his harness racing compatriot Smolda were given a boost at tonight’s barrier draw. Tony Herlihy’s New Zealand  hope drew barrier three, inside Smolda (barrier five), for the last Hunter Cup to be run with a standing start.  Geoff Webster’s Franco Ledger took barrier one and will be joined on the front row by fellow Victorian hope Yankee Rockstar (barrier two), Ballarat’s It Is Billy (barrier four), Messini (barrier six) and Webster’s other runner, Flaming Flutter (barrier seven).  Webster said “he couldn’t be happier” with Franco Ledger, who chances were greatly boosted by the draw, hosted by the Caduceus Club at the MCG. “He’s been going quite well,” Webster said. “I drove him at Shepparton and he felt good to me, and with that run and this barrier draw he should be a good each-way chance.” Driver Anthony Butt has held the reins for Franco Ledger of late, but will steer Ohoka Punter on Saturday night. Butt said in barrier three Ohoka Punter had “drawn perfectly”. “He needed to draw the front row and it has fallen well for him,” Butt said. Adam Hamilton of TAB.com.au said the draw had made Ohoka Punter favourite at $3, after Smolda eased to $3.20. That was short-lived however and, after the first few bets all went the way of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup winner, Smolda was drawn back into $3 equal favourite. Good Form’s Jason Bonnington said Smolda wasn’t the best from the standing start and expected a lot of horses would battle for the breeze early. “We do think that Ohoka Punter will lead and that probably Smolda will find the breeze eventually,” Bonnington said.  “It is the last standing start Hunter Cup as we know and anything can happen. We can make predictions, but we really don’t know what is going to happen on the first line.”  Bonnington picked Smolda on top, while Good Form’s Blake Redden said the barrier draw had convinced him to switch and tip Ohoka Punter to win.  Del-Re National Hunter Cup barrier draw: 1 - Franco Ledger 2 - Yankee Rockstar 3 - Ohoka Punter 4 - It Is Billy 5 - Smolda 6 - Messini 7 - Flaming Flutter 8 - My Hard Copy 9 - Mossdale Conner 10 - Im Corzin Terror 11 - Five Star Anvil 12 - Franco Nelson 13 - Star Chamber 14 - Jason Rulz by Michael Howard

Whenever you see the names Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt combining with a trotter regardless of the race or harness racing venue, it always pays to give the combination plenty of respect as their great record deserves. Last night at Globe Derby Park in the $30,000 South Australian Trotters Cup, they lined up the former New Zealand trotter Leannes Boy for his first start on Australian soil and he showed he is a trotter with a big future in front of him with a tradesman like victory over a handy field. Away well from barrier two for Anthony, Leannes Boy was happy to take a trail behind stablemate Zedalite and Josh Duggan after 500 metres metres. With Josh ensuring a smart tempo in front there was no serious challengers mid race although Irish Whisper and Damien Wilson went up and sat on Zedalite's wheel. Down the back straight the last time it was pretty obvious that the two Lilley runners in  Zedalite and Leannes Boy were the two that were going to fight out the finish as few looked to run on from back in the field. Zedalite turned for home in front but Leannes Boy eased out on the bend and wore down the leader late in the piece without Anthony getting too excited in the bike. Irish Whisper fought on well for third but over 16 metres away from the first two at the finish.  Leannes Boy cut out the 2645 metres from the stand in a smart 3:24.1, a mile rate of 2:04.2 with closing sectionals of 57 and 28.4  The seven-year-old gelding by Armbro Invasion was very competitive throughout the winter and spring at both Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway against trotters such as One Over Da Moon, Paramount Dream and Prince Fearless, Leanne's Boy has the potential to be a big success in his new homeland. Harnesslink Media

The injury plagued elite grade pacer Franco Nelson is to have a change of scenery once again as he heads over to join the Victorian barn of former Kiwi driver Anthony Butt Anthony and his new partner are in the process of setting up a small boutique stable on Gavin Lang's old property and there wouldn't be a better horse to get things under way with The six year old son of Christian Cullen is lightly raced considering he was mixing it with the best at two and Anthony will be his fourth trainer to date in his stop start career. Franco Nelson had his last start for his present trainer Michael House in the $57,500 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night where he ran a very creditable third after leading easily off the gate in the hands of his soon to be regular pilot Anthony Butt who made the trip from Melbourne to drive the entire. Anthony is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be involved with a horse of the class of Franco Nelson. " He went great in the New Zealand Cup in his first run for such a long time and Dexter had no luck in the Auckland Cup, being shoved out wide at the 800 metres mark so I think you can disregard that run". " There are so many opportunities for a horse like him in Australia" " With his proven class, he shouldn't be a hard horse to place," Anthony said. Anthony is not getting ahead of himself, fully aware of all the issues that have troubled the star pacer in recent times. " I have been really lucky in having such a quality horse sent to me to train but I have a pool there which he needs so I can do a lot of the day to day work with him." " If we can get him back to his best, it could be very exciting." " I can't wait to get him home and and sort out a programme for him," said Anthony. Franco Nelson is not the only horse that has Anthony excited heading into the major cup races and series in Victoria. " I have driven Keystone Del to his last two wins since he joined Brent's barn and he has gone super both times." " I think he will be very competitive when all the big trotting races come around," Anthony said. Anthony is also hopeful of attracting some more New Zealand owned horses to his new training establishment. " It would work out great if a few more horses came over from home." " There are great opportunities here for a promising horse and I more than happy to look after any visitors as well," Anthony said. Harnesslink Media   This is a corrected version of a article Harnesslink first published on Friday 8th January 2016.

Arguably Australia's best trotter, Keystone Del will trial at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Sunday morning. Harness racing trials start at 9 am, with Keystone Del scheduled to compete in trial 6. ​Entry is free, and breakfast is available from the track kiosk. Keystone Del has recently changed stables, with Brent Lilley training, and Anthony Butt driving the gelding at his first hit-out for the new connections. Keystone Del , 1'53.9 is the winner of 30 races and has earned over $770,000 in stakes. For Trial Fields, click  here:   http://www.bhrc.com.au/trials.html

Having disturbed the red dirt that dared rest on the National Highway, Victoria's cavalcade of Perth-bound raiders may also have the quality to leave the nation's greatest pacers in their dust. David Aiken's Lennytheshark has romped to clear favourite for the Inter Dominion after a jaw dropping Smoken Up Sprint win. Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin's Philadelphia Man is on the second rung of betting, while Flaming Flutter returns to the grand Group 1 less than nine months after running second to dual winner Beautide in the March staging. But while they battle for the lead and draw a wary eye over West Australian chances, including Waylade with its 70 per cent winning strike rate, another Victorian hope lying in wait may well steal the limelight. Geoff Webster trained Franco Ledger is “an opportunist”, according to his driver Anthony Butt, who is well suited to Inter Dominion's return to a traditional format of three heats and a final, which begins Friday night at Gloucester Park. “(Franco Ledger) was a very good horse in New Zealand and has done a pretty good job since he's been here,” Butt said. “He probably won't make his own luck, but has the capability to take advantage if it falls his way.” Franco Ledger can tough it out, as seen in his brilliant last-to-second dash in the Hunter Cup when only Arden Rooney outlasted him. And in a commanding win in the Group 1 Free For All at Menangle in March, which he was entered in after being tipped out as first emergency of New South Wales' 2015 Inter Dominion. Within that may lay the dilemma for the son of Falcon Seelster in his upcoming tilt – garnering enough points from the three heats to qualify for the December 13 final. Heat one (November 27) is over 2130m at Gloucester Park, heat two (December 1) over 1609m at Bunbury and heat three (December 4) over the same distance as the final – 2536m – at Gloucester Park. “The three heats won't worry him, it is just a matter of getting early points,” Butt said. “That is always the challenge in the Inter Dominion. If he can do that, coming into the final the longer distance will really suit him.” Making matters more challenging, Franco Ledger has been drawn nine for heat one, and will start on the outside of the first line. “We have a tough battle with the wide draw. He'll more than likely go back,” Butt said. “There will be a lot of speed drawn on the inside of him. Hopefully there will be a war on at the front and he can finish strongly." “He is better over a bit of distance and if they go hard he can follow at pace and forward dash well in the last 600m.” As for those who stand in his way, Butt said the favourite – $3.20 at TAB.com.au – was unsurprising. “I definitely think Lennytheshark is the benchmark,” he said. “He has been a good horse his whole career and is going really well." “But he has got a lot of good horses behind him, including Philadelphia Man, who can be very good on his day, and Flaming Flutter, who is very professional and always gives his best." “The West Australian horses also go very well over there. It makes for a really interesting series and really competitive racing.” In Franco Ledger's favour will be the fact a four-time winner of the Inter Dominion will be driving him home. “I love it. I have been involved in a lot of Inter Dominions over the years and love the old format, which is a survival of the fittest,” Butt said.  “Not only is it the best horse that wins, but it's the toughest.” Michael Howard

Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took the honours at the Geelong trots on Tuesday, finishing the night with a stable double thanks to a pair of six-year-olds. Art Major/Endeared mare Star Crossed, first-up for the stable having her first outing since February, greeted the judge first in the Flying Brick Cider Company Pace for C1 class over 2100 metres. With stable reinsman Anthony Butt in the sulky, Star Crossed starting from the extreme draw wasn’t pushed early, settling with most of the field ahead of her as Joelissa led from gate two after the hot favourite Captain Snoozzze galloped away from gate three. Gaining a three-wide trail home in the final circuit on the back of Jimmy The Editor, Star Crossed at tote odds of $17.40 finished best to score from Jimmy The Editor and Joelissa in a mile rate of 2:00.2. Kiwi bred American Ideal/Jazz Tanner gelding Eric Clapton taking a concession for youthful Brad Chisholm who has been helping out at the camp, made a one act affair of the Relay For Life Dec 3rd Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2100 metres. Beginning fast from outside the front line, Eric Clapton ran his rivals ragged in accounting for Guggenheim (four back the markers) which death-seated for the last lap by a neck, with Bad Boy Brad (four wide last lap from near last) five metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1:57.1. Wallan’s Shinn family snared the Harness Breeders Victoria Trackbred Pace for C0 class (mares) over 1609 metres with Aurore, a four-year-old daughter of Dawn Ofa New Day and Aurelia bred and raced by Noel Shinn. Trained by Ruth and driven by son Chris, Aurore was another to begin with great zest from outside the front row to lead and was never headed, registering a 1.3-metre margin in advance of Fianna Gael which trailed from the pole and Nymeria (one/one – three wide home turn) in a rate of 1:59.5. Flowerdale part-owner/trainer/driver Ivan Antolas was successful with 4Y0 Bacardi Lindy Springhasprung  mare Aussie Beach Blond in the Corio Waste Management Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres. A winner in restricted company at Bendigo on November 7, Aussie Beach Blond from gate four was trapped in the open, before receiving cover racing for the bell when Anthony Butt sent Georgies Smile forward from mid-field to park outside the pacemaker Shiftywall which crossed to lead as the start was effected. Easing wide in the last lap, Aussie Beach Girl raced clear on turning to record an easy 12.2-metre victory over Handy That from last at the bell in a mile rate of 2:09, with Very Belle third after following the weakening leader. Drouin’s Gary and Debbie Quinlan snared the Geelong Pacing Cup 2nd January Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres with 4Y0 Sundon/Star Spangled Rama gelding Omy Son which broke his maiden status at start number 10. Driven by Nathan Jack, Omy Son settled four back along the markers from gate three, with Lilymaystorm inside him beginning best to lead. Rushing forward when the speed slackened to make an unsuccessful bid for the front running, Omy Son was then eased to drop to the back of the pacemaker. Moving off the heels of Lilymaystorm on the final bend, Omy Son was nursed to the wire in winning by 3.8 metres from the leader, with Ghent (one/one at bell) third. The mile rate 2:06.3. Perennial placegetter The Gingerbreadman finally cracked it for another victory by taking the Devcon Properties Pace for C2 class over 2100 metres in 1:59.8. Part-owned and trained by Meltonian Ian Hunter, The Gingerbreadman driven as usual by John Justice possied four back in the moving line, as the polemarker Aloha Don Ho retained the front running. When Aloha Don Ho surrendered the lead mid-race to stablemate Bettor Than Best, The Gingerbreadman was off and running three-wide racing for the bell. Despite racing wide for the remainder of the trip, The Gingerbreadman raced away in the straight to score convincingly by three metres from Glenferrie Arch which followed him home. Aloha Don Ho used the sprint lane to finish third. McArdle/Glenferrie Miss 6Y0 gelding Glenferrie College notched up his 12th victory at start number 70 when successful in the Jims Mowing Claiming Pace over 2100 metres. Trained at nearby Lara by Dean Braun, Glenferrie College driven by Chris Alford starting from inside the second line was restrained immediately the start was effected to settle at the tail of the field, with only stablemate Comply Or Die behind him after being trapped wide from gate six. Trailing Our Mels Dream forward in the last lap, Glenferrie College despite being four wide on the home turn, ran home strongly to record a 6.2-metre margin on the wire over Our Mels Dream and The Family Guy which raced in the open. The mile rate 1:58.4. Terang trainer Matthew Craven combined with Chris Svanosio to land the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over 2570 metres with smart but sometimes unreliable 8Y0 Ganymeade/Smokey Robyn gelding Hinault, who has been going great guns of late. Raced by a large group of stable supporters including veteran Terang identity Ray Payne, Hinault began safely from 30 metres and was soon racing one-one after Sundons Comet went forward at a great rate from 10 metres to cross the poleline leader Shiraz Cabernet. Not happy with the tempo through the middle stages, Hinault was set alight to assume control at the bell and from there on, the race became a procession, with Hinault coasting to the wire untouched to register a 1.8-metre victory over Sundons Comet along the sprint lane in a rate of 2:05.3. Maybelina, first-up since July, ran home nicely from four back the markers to finish third 4.1 metres away. Len Baker  

Dublin, Ireland – New Zealand’s top harness racing driver, Dexter Dunn, is having a championship season that perhaps books can be written about. Not only has Dunn emerged as one of the top young drivers in the sport, having soundly beaten the best drivers from around the globe in capturing the 2015 World Driving Championship this winter, now he is becoming an international globetrotter. Thanks to the success of fellow New Zealander Anthony Butt, Dexter Dunn is now on a whirlwind semi-working tour of the British Isles and Europe, thanks also to his success as a harness racing driver. Dunn, 25, born and raised in Christchurch, NZ, just arrived in Dublin, Ireland late Tuesday night. Prior he spent three days in both Spain and Belgium. He will be in Dublin for a week and driving at Portmarnock Raceway Saturday and Sunday in the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend. “If you told me I would be traveling throughout Europe a year ago I would not have believed you.” Dunn said. “This is all so great.” Dunn had spoken with fellow horseman Anthony Butt about Anthony’s trip to Ireland last year for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial and Butt told him what a great adventure it was. Then Dunn wins the World Driving Championship, then Butt moves his operation from New Zealand to Australia and is in such demand as a driver he cannot miss the big races in Australia and cannot make a return trip to Ireland. “The next time I see Anthony,” Dunn said, “He tells me how he cannot make it back to Ireland this coming August and that he would ask race promoted Derek Delaney if I could come over. I said I would be keen to go and within a week or so I am in contact with Derek and here I am, traveling throughout Europe. What a thrill this is.” “When I first heard back from Anthony Butt that he could not make it make here to Dublin for my brother race I was disappointed.” Said Derek Delaney. “Then Anthony suggested that Dexter Dunn and trainer Cran Dalgety might be interested in coming and they agreed to attend, it all turned around to be great. Now I have the top driver and trainer from New Zealand coming for the race weekend. Plus having George Brennan and John McDermott coming from the USA is really going to make the Vincent Delaney Memorial race weekend something special.” Dunn is already listed to drive a few horses both Saturday and Sunday at Portmarnock and more may be on the way. “It will be great to compete here,” Dunn said, “Anthony told me what good men and women these Irish, Welsh, Scottish and British drivers are and I look forward to meeting them.” But it is not all work and no play for Dexter Dunn. “I never have been to Europe before,” Dunn explained, “so I told myself I better make it a grand trip and I have. After my week in Dublin I will head to London for a few days, then over to Paris and then I have booked myself on a small cruise vacation for just 40 people in Croatia. I saw it online, contacted the people and they said they had one opening left on one of the cruises, so I took it. “So far it has been a great holiday,” Dunn added, “I had friends and family to see and visit in Spain and Belgium, but when I go to London, Paris and then Croatia, I’m on my own.” Being able to mix business with pleasure is always a good thing as this reporter can most certainly attest to! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

The $60,000 Southern Cross Finals for harness racing three year olds were held at Port Pirie last night and both the Colts/geldings and fillies divisions fell to warm favourites. Three year old colts/geldings Final Hez The One was a dominant favourite here even though he was poorly drawn at one on the second line. The well supported Blurred Lines with Mark Billinger in the bike grabbed the early lead from barrier five from another well supported runner in Officianado who settled into the trail. Danni Hill had Hez The One off the inside not long after the start but the son of Jeremes Jet settled a fair way back in the running line. Billinger was able to get away with a couple of cheap quarters in front which forced Danni to bring Hez The One forward three wide with just over a lap to go. The speed really went on from the 800 metres with the quarter down the back in 27.2 and Blurred Lines was the first to surrender passing the 500 metres mark. Danni shot Hez The One clear and he comfortably held them off for an impressive win. Officianado just as comfortably held second with Hit Maka battling on well for third. Hez The One paced the 2050 metres in 2:35.2, a mile rate of 2:01.9 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 30.4. It was the 14th win from just 23 starts for the Rebecca East trained colt and took his earnings over the $120,000 mark Three year old fillies final On paper this looked a bit like an Emma Stewart benefit and that is exactly how it turned out. Even though she drew one second line, Lovelist was a pronounced favourite while Starburst Girl the stablemate was the second favourite. The one filly that could have possibly upset the Emma Stewart pair in Whats Emma Got, blew any winning chance she had when she galloped early when being rushed off the gate. Mark Billinger worked Lovelist off the inside early in the race and grabbed the lead after 500 metres. Starburst Girl in the hands of Anthony Butt worked hard for the first 600 metres from her wide second line draw before finding the death seat outside Lovelist.  Mark Billinger was in no real hurry in front, before upping the tempo passing the 800 metres mark. At that point Danni Hill sent Whats Emma Got forward but she was posted three wide when the speed went on and was having trouble hanging on to the Stewart pair passing the 400 metres. Lovelist opened up a handy break turning in and although Starburst Girl kept coming she never looked a serious winning threat. Whats Emma Got showed real tenacity to keep going and hold third after such a hard run.  Lovelist paced the 2050 metres in 2:33.1, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 28. It was the 13th win from just 24 starts for the daughter of Always A Virgin and took her earnings over the $130,000 mark. It was a night to remember for Mark Billinger who drove the winners of three of the four $60,000 finals on offer. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing reinsman Anthony Butt has experienced great successes in New Zealand and Australia but on Saturday night, he added a new notch to his success belt. Butt took off the annual Port Pirie Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation series. In the five race series Butt tallied 46 points to score a seven point win over hometown darling Kate Gath. “It was a great night,” Butt said. “It was the first time I had been to Port Pirie, it is a good country track. “It was good to get away with the fellow guys and girls, swap a few yarns and mix socially, it is not something we are able to do normally. “To come away with a winning double and to win the series was the icing on the cake,” Butt said. The final tally was Anthony Butt 46; Kate Gath 39; Michael Bellman 34; Wayne Hill 33; Ryan Hryhorec 27; Lance Justice 21; Brad Sims 18; Lisa Miles, Scott Ewen, Mark Billinger 16; Leah Harvey 15. Butt was at his brilliant best to land the initial heat. Driving the well backed Its Me Telowie ($7.50), Butt was three back on the fence in the run but weaved his way between runners in the home straight to grab a head win from Westfiftyfour driven by Michael Bellman ($11.70) with Maarek ($7.80), Brad Sims, just over two metres away third. Ryan Hyrhorec drove his own horse Abitgoingonhere ($1.90) to an easy 12.4 metre from Kenneth The Menace ($21.70), Kate Gath, with Melegend ($10.50), Anthony Butt 3.4 metres away third. Butt brought up a winning double with an all the way win on Rockets Gem ($3.30 fav) in the third heat scoring by 3.7 metres from Stashedbytheriver ($8.30) driven by Michael Bellman with Kate Gath on Sky Tower ($3.50) 7.2 metres away third. Gath, who celebrated a birthday a day earlier, landed Pretty In Red ($2.30 fav) an all the way winner by 12 metres  in the fourth heat from Chivaleer ($56.80) driven by Wayne Hill with Anthony Butt on Accessable ($16.50) 5.5 metres away third. Wayne Hill drove the $1.20 favourite Jet To Paris to an all the way win in the fifth and final heat but had a late challenge from Lance Justice on Ima Mighty Star ( $19.20) which got to within 1.3 metres with Mark Billinger on Arfer ($10.60) nine metres away third. Port Pirie club manager Neville Thomson said it had been another successful Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation. “We thank all the drivers for giving their time to be part of the series,” Thomson said. “A good crowd attended and there were some great races.” by Graham Fischer

Port Pirie 2015 Elders Invitation Drivers Series Saturday night 20th June is one of the feature harness racing meetings in South Australia where five of the best drivers from Victoria challenge six drivers from South Australia. The series is run over four races on the night with the driver with the most points winning the title. This series has been going now for forty years and has brought together a good line up of drivers as you can see by their profiles. Ex Port Pirie driver Kate Gath is making a return, while local driver Brad Sims will be aiming to again win the series as he did in 2006 Victorians Lance Justice: Driven 2865 winners, started his career here in SA and was great supporter of Northern harness racing when he was here. Has had lots of success over the years here and in Victoria with many good horses with the best being Sokyola and Smokem up. Always loves coming back here, won this series back in the ninety’s, won the trainers and drivers premiership here in 2000 the year the new track was opened, loves talking with the locals. Anthony Butt: Formerly from New Zealand where he drove 1609 winners and now situated in Victoria where he has driven another 694 winners while coming to and fro. This is Anthony’s first time at Port Pirie and he would really like to increase on his winning tally. Will be a good draw card having someone very approachable from NZ come here Michael Bellman: Has driven 952 winners in his career, participated in this series in 2011 where he was runner up to Lisa Miles. Is currently having a great year, being fifth on the Victorian State driver’s premiership having driven ninety winners. Is prepared to travel all over the state, having had over 1000 drives in Victoria this season, and we welcome him back Kate Gath: Has driven 942 winners so far in her career, Born and raised here in Port Pirie where she won the Port Pirie Drivers Premiership in 2004. Currently having a very good season, driving 83 winners so far and sits sixth on the Victorian State Drivers Premiership. Has been a regular competitor in this series over the last ten years where she tied in first place in 2013. Family and friends are sure to cheer on Kate help increase the crowd. Lisa Miles: Has driven 498 winners in her career always puts her hand up to come here for the series where she has had good success winning in 2011where she came at a days notice and 2013. Does really well training her small team of horses but is a great who competitor and would really love win her third series going back to back. SA Drivers Ryan Hryhorec: Has currently driven 1380 winners, is a regular here at Port Pirie having won the Drivers Premiership in 2008, 2011, 2014 and currently well in front this season in the drivers premiership. Tied in first in this series in 2012 and 2013 and has driven 130 winners in SA and Victoria this coming season. Tough competitor and is sure to account himself well Mark Billinger: One of the state’s top drivers has had 1014 career driving wins has had 62 wins this season and is currently fourth on the states leading driving premiership table. Always gives his horses a great run and has a good strike rate in the sulky. Wayne Hill: He is another regular driver here at Port Pirie has had 768 career wins, is currently fifth on the state driving premiership having driven 52 winners for the season. Wayne has come through the junior ranks and is a good competitor who has been in the series before and will account himself well. Leah Harvey: Has had 666 career wins, now getting towards the veteran stage having won this series in 2002 and 2010. Was the leading driver here at Port Pirie in 2001 and 2012 so she well and truly knows her way around the track here. She has represented the region well over the years on and off the track and it would not surprise if Leah won her third series. Scott Ewen: Has driven has  660 winners throughout his career and has been a regular here at nearly every meeting over the past five years, winning the Port Pirie driving premiership in 2013. Is currently having a good season having driven 45 winners, has competed in the series for the last three years without much luck but this could be his year. Brad Sims: Has driven 86 winners in his career, was the leading young driver in 2005 here at Port Pirie and had good success in winning this Drivers Series in 2006. Has also driven many placing throughout his career, has taken a trainers licence out this season and has had success with that. With limited opportunity he has always given his drives every chance. Good luck to all the drivers competing and also to David Harding who would have been here if it was not for nasty fall that he had at Globe Derby on 8th June. by Neville Thomson, Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Related Links Fields for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015

It didn’t take long to realise harness racing trainer Brent Lilley might be in for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton. But not many could have predicted just how well the script would play out for the Bolinda horseman, who walked away from tonight's Trotters Oaks meeting with five wins – including the two feature races. It all began with five-year-old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey, who showed his last-start win at Shepparton was no fluke with victory in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m to open the program. From barrier seven reinsman Anthony Butt produced a carbon copy of his steer aboard Hollywood Sign last month when it won the Rising Stars Final, driving Crusader Acey across the field early to find the pegs before handing up to the favourite, Macho Comacho. Crusader Acey out-sprinted Macho Comacho late along the sprint lane to win by a neck in a mile rate of 1:54.1. Lilley notched a winning double in the fourth race with five-year-old Monarchy/Sun Mist mare Rosemma. The foolproof trotter dashed to the lead early from barrier five for Rodney Petroff, while stablemate and race favourite Kyvalley Pink blew its chances by galloping away. Rosemma rated 2:00.7 to hold off a fast-finishing Mister Independent by 1.1m in the Garrards Horse and Hount Trot. Lilley and Butt then snared Race 7, the TAB.com.au Pace ,with impressive gelding Lets Elope (by Real Desire out of Alta Vista), finding the lead from barrier two before staving off all comers at the finish. Lets Elope carved out splits of 30.4secs, 29.8secs, 28.5secs and 27.6secs, clocking a 1:56.4 mile rate. Punters backed Lilley and Butt in to do it again in Race 8, the night’s feature, the $60,505 Group 1 Noel Simpson Memorial Trotters Oaks. Favourite backers were grinning 2mins and 47secs after the mobile arms folded back, My Arya leading from start to finish to register a 3m win over Amarula with Little Miss Zigzag flashing home for third. The Angus Hall filly held out an early challenge from Fiery Mountain Girl to lead before getting away with a 61.3secs first half at the head of affairs. She upped the tempo down the back the last time and took the zing out of any chasers with a 28secs third quarter. Sprinting home in 29.8secs, My Arya never looked like being headed and has now won 10 of her 11 Australian starts. Her winning mile rate for tonight’s 2240m trip was 2:00.4. Lilley and Butt capped the night in Race 9 by taking out the Pryde’s Easifeed Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old trotters with Kyvalley Tinman. The son of Majestic Son/Kyvalley Kitty sat on the speed in the run before out-staying his rivals, quickly getting the better of early leader Calder Knight turning for home before seeing off a late charge by impressive filly Princess Phoenix for a 1.3m win in 2:04.2 for the 2240m journey. While Lilley made the headlines with five winners, Butt’s performance should be undersold, finishing with a metropolitan quartet of his own. In other results, Aldebaran Macha easily took out the Good Form Pace over 2240m for David and Josh Aiken, the son of Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac too good for runner-up Hez The Wild Card in 1:56.2. Anton Golino and Todd McCarthy took out the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot with rising star Arboe, who held off Vics Cheval at the finish by 3.2m. Arboe, by Love You out of Lough Neagh, has now won five of six starts and has genuine star power. Arboe rated 1:59.0 over the 2240m, Claudys Princess finishing third beaten 13.2m by the winner. Bringing up a double for Todd McCarthy was Glenferrie Hood, a pacer making a name for himself in Victoria with two straight wins here. The son of Christian Cullen/Niftey Franco found the lead from gate seven early and ran along to record a mile rate of 1:53.7, defeating Sapphire Swayze by 3.6m with Im Barney Rubble third. Shes A Runa notched her 16th win at start No.27 by taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship Final for trainer Amanda Turnbull and driver Nathan Jack. The Jeremes Jet/Runacullen mare, a four-year-old, was 7.3m too strong for Gollahman, while in-form Ithappenstobeametro stuck on gamely for third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:55.5. Trainer Dean Braun looks to have another star on his hands in the form of Wardwell, who won tonight’s Pegasus Club 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. The gelding by Mach Three out of Ohappy Daze won by 7.4m over Starwyn Jasper with Brighty Valentine third in a rate of 1:59.0. Wardwell has now won three from three and bigger races look on his agenda moving forward. David Miles and his talented four-year-old Smokey Quartz capped the night with a gutsy success over Masterofthurles, that pair racing well clear of third placegetter Thunder Fee in the last race, the 2Construct Pace Final over 1720m. Smokey Quartz and Masterofthurles were involved in a speed war early, the latter eventually holding up and Smokey Quartz dropping to the leader’s back. From there Smokey Quartz eventually got out, rounded up the early pace setter and went on to score by 2.8m in a rate of 1:56.4. Smokey Quartz is a son of the great Courage Under Fire out of Pareen. View replays of all tonight's races and get full results by Cody Winnell

Whirily School and Showgun Thomas have taken out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic two-year-old Finals at the harness arcing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last night.   Whirily School won the fillies’ final for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Greg Sugars as an odds-on favourite at $1.50, while Chris Alford combined with trainer Heath Redwood to take out the colts and geldings’ final with Showgun Thomas at $12 after race favourite Hellbewright galloped early and lost all chance.   Whirily School, by Courage Under Fire out of Mayhappen, found the front early from the 1720-metre start and controlled the race, jogging through a 32.7secs second quarter after an opening stanza of 29.9secs for a 62.2secs first half.   Greg Sugars had his rivals stacked up off the back after a third split of 30.7secs before the impressive young pacer extended and left his rivals paddling, dashing home in 27.4secs for a 3.3m win in a mile rate of 2:00.2.   New Romantics finished second after trailing the leader throughout from the pole, while Courageous Call moved to the breeze early and battled on for third just ahead of Swiftly Tothebeach.   Showgun Thomas, by Bettors Delight out of Forest Charm, won a roughhouse affair in the two-year-old boys’ division, Alford driving the polemarker through along the sprint lane from the leader’s back spot in the home stretch to edge out Pop The Cork (Anthony Butt) and Four Starzzz Forsa (John Justice) in a thriller.   The second horse had to survive a protest post-race from the third and fifth (That’s How Weroll) placegetters.   Showgun Thomas rated 1:57.0.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Brent Lilley, who dominated Saturday night's Great Southern Star harness racing program at Melton, enjoyed another big night tonight with a winning double at Bray Raceway, Ballarat. The Bolinda trainer won Races 1 and 5, combining with gun driver Anthony Butt for the pair. Flying McPocket rated 1:58.6 over 2200 metres in the Flying Horse Bistro Pace, the four-year-old McArdle / Fleets Pocket mare scoring by 2.5m over Wingofwaves at juicy odds of $11.90. Polemarker Jilliby Diablo and Greg Sugars had sufficient gate speed to hold out an early challenge from Mister McKinnon (gate five) and Michael Sullivan, the latter able to jag on to the leader’s back for the box-seat trip. Flying McPocket settled third-last in the running line as they negotiated the first 600m in 43.5. The $1.30 favourite, Our Petite Soeur, was in the breeze from virtually the get-go for Gavin Lang from gate three. Opening quarters of 30.9 and 30.4 made for a 61.3 first half, the leaders getting their chance. A 28.3 third quarter was clocked as the favourite made its move, moving up to eyeball the leader at the home turn. But when Lang asked the punter’s fancy for her maximum effort she failed to offer much resistance, Flying McPocket sprouting wings out wide. Flying McPocket showed a tremendous burst to win (last half-mile 57.2), with Wingofwaves also finding the line strongly down the outside in second place. Mister McKinnon ran third with Jilliby Diablo fourth and Our Pete Soeur fifth. The second leg of Lilley’s double came in the fifth race, Sazzasophie saluting in the Heinz and Partners 3YO Pace over 2200m in 2:01.7. The filly by Art Major from I Izz Sassy came out of gate two and was able to angle on to the back of early leader Bella Sainz (the $3.10 favourite) for a slipstream after about 100m. With Zac Phillips in the cart Bella Sainz paced the first half in 64.2, Michelle Wight aboard the death-seating Ithappensinvegas content to let her runner amble along without putting too much pressure on the pacemaker to the 500m, before trying to take closer order when Siliqua (David Murphy) made his advance three-wide-no-cover. Upping the ante through a 29.6 third quarter, Bella Sainz tried to skip clear at the top of the stretch but wasn’t able to, the inside run appearing for Sazzasophie as Ithappensinvegas worked to a narrow lead, the Lilley filly too strong in the last 50m for a 2.2m win. Ithappensinvegas showed character to dead-heat for second from the breeze at big odds, with Ears No Trouble (John Caldow) the other runner-up. Ross Creek trainer Stephen Clarke won Race 2, the T J Coutts Electrical Trotters Handicap with five-year-old Bacardi Lindy / Downsouth Rose gelding William John in a rate of 2:03.4 for the 2200m stand-start trip. Emma Stewart combined with Amanda Turnbull for victory with Starburst Girl in the R U Advertising Pace, the Art Major / Celebrity Ball filly rating 1:54.8 for the 1710m journey to beat Lucky VC by 1.9m. Debutant Time Keepa Lombo produced a peach of a debut for trainer/driver David Miles to salute in the Newington Physiotherapy 2YO Vicbred Pace, the colt by Lombo Pocket Watch out of Lady Muluka Lombo overcoming a couple of checks in running for a half-neck win over Undercover Don in 1:58.9 from the ace draw over 1710m. Zac Phillips drove Uroc Mman to a 1.7m victory as $2.80 favourite in the National Tiles Pace over 2200m, the five-year-old by Mach Three out of Executive Lady rating 1:59.4 from barrier nine. David Lewis-trained American Ideal / Atomic Fusion entire The Fat Man showed again that he’s got top-class potential with a 5.1m win over Dentona in the MDS Accounting Pace over 2200m. John Caldow drove The Fat Man to victory in a rate of 1:57.7, leading from start to finish after coming out of the two-gate. The other highly rated horse in the field, Clark Griswold, came in fourth for reinsman Matthew Craven after working to the breeze in the middle stages from the second line. And Chris Svanosio trained-and-driven four-year-old Majestic Son / Steffi Jay trotter Majestic Ess Jay won the Cantebury International Trot to close the program in a rate of 2:04.7. >> Check out all the Ballarat results and video replays by Cody Winnell

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Menangle features several great clashes and we thought we would preview them all this week with a runner by runner assessment First up is the Ladyship Mile. 1) Frith - Starts 40 -  Wins 30 - Seconds 6 -Thirds 2  -  Stakes $819,572 Frith is surprisingly only having her third lifetime start over a mile, all of which have been at Menangle with her best time to date being 1:53 We are not convinced the one draw suits her that much as say two or three as there is plenty of gate speed outside Frith and she may end up getting crossed at the start. She is a great stayer but hasn't had a run for a month so question marks remain about her race fitness but her class will take her a long way. One of Adore Me's two biggest  threats. 2) Pas Ultimate Delight - Starts - 41 - Wins 12 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $134,411 Has continued to improve since coming to Australia but this still looks a bit rich at this stage.  Does have a best time of 1:52.3 and from her draw of two we think Lauren will make a serious play for the front early but we are of the opinion Pas Ultimate Delight is better driven with a sit and we give her an outside first  four chance if she is driven like that. 3) Dynamite Denn Nee - Starts 90 - Wins 17 - Seconds 15 - Thirds 12 - Stakes $181,628  (2nd Emrg) Has been in good touch lately including a second to Frith two starts back so probably unlucky to be on the ballot but is unlikely to get a start. Rough first four player if she did. 4) Beauty Secret - Starts 54 - Wins 24 - Seconds - 9 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $ 393,451 Will come into barrier three if there are no scratchings and from there she is a real danger to the two favourites.  Has real gate speed if Gavin Lang wants to use it and can also run a big half if held up as she showed in the Robin Dundee on Miracle Mile night where she brushed home in 54 flat in front. Has the all round game to trouble the two favourites and with Gavin in the bike you just know he will give her the run that she needs. 5) Major Foxy Styx - Starts - 24 - Wins 11 - Seconds 4 - Thirds - 1  -  Stakes $197,830  Has built up a great record in Perth and stamped that form with a win in the Ladyship Cup at Melton on Hunter Cup night beating amongst others Beauty Secret.  However  she did get a dream run that night and even with the mercurial Luke McCarthy in the bike we can't see her winning the race on Sunday with the three favourites having a class edge but she is still a definite first four player for us. 6) Tact Hayleys Delight - Starts 72 - Wins 11 - Seconds 15 - Thirds - 6  -  Stakes $160,016 In career best form at the moment but from the draw we think she has a hard job to get some of this. We think she will have to go back from the draw and try to have one run at them late in the race but we can't see her rolling over the top of  the favourites and for us she is an outside place chance at best. 7) Laterron - Starts 82 - Wins 16 - Seconds 16 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $173,515 - ( 1st Emer ) Produced a great run when a handy fourth to Adore Me in the Brian Hancock Cup on Saturday night and her connections must feel slightly aggrieved to be on the ballot.  Laterron has beaten Elusive Chick home the last three times they have met and that combined with the run in the Brian Hancock Cup should have seen her make the field. Great place chance if she gains re-entry into the field. 8) Courageousnquick - Starts 42 - Wins 16 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $204,352 Quality mare who has just had two runs back from a spell but the draw has negated her biggest asset which is her blinding gate speed. We still think that Anthony Butt will press the go button early and if she happened to get the front she would present all kind of problems for Frith. Definite place chance if "Ants" can work his magic early 9) Rathmore Lady - Starts 76 - Wins 17 - Seconds 19 - Thirds 8  -  Stakes $147,976  On her day a very handy mare but is inconsistent and can throw the toys out of the cot every now and again. On her best behaviour she would be a rough first four chance but the draw and the quality of the field leads us to think she has a mountain to climb.  Not for us. 10) Pemberton Shard - Starts 55 - Wins 11 - Seconds 7 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $212 997 If there is a smokey in this years race then Pemberton Shard is it for us. A mile is maybe a touch short of her best but she is a super tough mare who needs the speed on and that's exactly what she will get on Sunday. Has struggled to cope with Adore Me in New Zealand but then again who hasn't  and has gone some great races in behind her in mares races. Dexter Dunn in the bike is a big plus and she is a big first four player for us. 11) Elusive Chick - Starts 57 - Wins 13 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $389,147 A high quality mare who was in good form earlier in the season but whose form has tapered off badly with her only placing in her last six starts a win in a five horse field just before Xmas. Throw in the draw for a mare who likes to race on the speed and we struggle to see her running in four. Not for us. 12) Adore Me - Starts 34 - Wins 25 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $1,503,429  A great racemare who has the same visitors draw as she had last year when she was beaten. The field this year is stronger in our opinion but Adore Me has gone to another level this season as well. This year the All Stars team have arrived earlier and given her a run leading into the race which is all a positive in our book. The change of driver took us by surprise a bit but Natalie has been in unbelievable form this season in New Zealand and the change is a plus not a minus in our view. Clear first pick for us even from the draw. Selections Adore Me is a clear first pick for us In the end we couldn't separate Frith and Beauty Secret for second even if logic said Frith Others to throw into multiples include Courageousnquick, Pemberton Shard, Major Foxy Styx and if you are going a bit wider Tact Hayleys Delight. Harnesslink Media

American trotter Real Babe will make her Australian harness racing debut at Shepparton on Saturday night. Prepared by Jayne Davies, Real Babe will contest the Group Three George Gath, which has attracted a stellar field. The mare has had two trials ahead of her Down Under debut, finishing second at her most recent hit-out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday. To be driven by Anthony Butt, who has partnered the daughter of Donato Hanover at both trials, Real Babe’s task has been made tough by drawing gate seven – the outside of the front row. Real Babe is here for the Great Southern Star on March 7, one of two international invitees for the series. Star local Spidergirl will resume after a five-month break for trainer David Aiken. Last season’s dominant squaregaiter, with victories in the Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown Finals, Spidergirl will begin from the inside of the second row. With quick beginner Flying Isa drawn the pole, Spidergirl is likely to enjoy the perfect trip along the pegs. In a terrific coup for the Victorian industry, all trot races at Shepparton will be broadcast live into France for wagering purposes. Harness Racing Victoria will receive a product fee for beaming the action into the world's biggest trotting market. HRV Media

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