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It was the night we had been waiting for. Emerging trainer Anton Golino and the leviathan team that is Yabby Dams has been threatening to dominate a major meeting. And it happened when they snared two Group 1s and Group 3 at Melton’s huge Vicbred “trotting finals” night last night (Friday). It started when three-year-old Muscle Mass filly Nieta posted her seventh win from just 14 starts when she sat behind main danger, Kyvalley Kyrie, and out-zipped her to win the Group 3 Vicbred Silver Trot. “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight, but I think they underestimated her speed tonight,” driver Nathan Jack told harness.org.au. Like so many of the stars of the Vicbred meeting, Nieta’s next main target is the Breeders Crown. Nieta is bred to keep improving being out of La Biscuit, a daughter of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha. Golino’s enormous depth in three-year-old trotting filly ranks was underlined when another one of his, Kinvara Sue, used the pole to lead and thrash her rivals with Jason Lee aboard in the Group 1 3YO Fillies’ Vicbred final.   Lee broke her his rivals with a 28.6sec split down the back and won by 11.1m in a 2min0.4sec mile rate for 2240m, but the effort of runner-up Margaret Ruth to carry a flat tyre most of the trip was outstanding. “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific,” Lee said about Kinvara Sue. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Pat is of course Pat Driscoll, the man, the brains and the money behind Yabby Dams. Driscoll and Golino’s treble came up when Aldebaran Eve, driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout and just held-off favourite Into The Unknown in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final. “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Lang said. Golino praised the his team at Yabby Dams, most notably former All Stars’ travelling foreman Shaun McNaulty “We are starting to get a good team of horses and people,” Golino said. “Young Shaun helps with me with the horses and does a great job.” YOUNG trotting star Wobelee stirs plenty of memories for driver and co-trainer Chris Alford. His fantastic juvenile season of six wins a second and a third from just eight starts has rekindled memories more than 20 years old for Alford. It was 1995 when Alford’s father unearthed the great juvenile trotter Noopy Kiosk, who ranks up with the best baby trotters Australia has seen. Wobelee’s fantastic record, slick times and big winners margins have drawn inevitable comparisons. Throw in the fact Wobelee is trained by Alford’s wife, Alison, and it’s been a pretty special ride this season. Wobelee made it six wins on end and snared his second Group 1 when he won the Vicbred 2YO final at Melton last night by 18.2m. Previously he’d won the Group 1 Vicbred Platinum final by 16.3m on June 3 and the Group 2 Tatlow final before that. “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Wobelee’s “dad” is brilliant but sometimes erratic trotter Down Under Muscles, who won 17 of 41 starts and $216,925 in stakes. ANTHONY Butt’s daring and aggressive driving has won him countless feature races. It proved the difference again last night when Butt surprised a few by leading and holding the front on Enrolled in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final (2240m). Many thought Butt might take the “safe” option and take a trail behind hot favourite Maori Law, however Butt had different ideas. Maori Law didn’t enjoy having to do the grunt work, broke under pressure and Enrolled powered to a 7.4m win for Butt and trainer Brent Lilley. Butt capped a double and caused the upset of the night aboard $32.10 outsider Crow Power in the Group 3 Vicbred Silver final. Other drivers to land doubles on the big night were Nathan Jack – Nieta and two-year-old filly Moonshine Linda – and Gavin Lang, who won on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun in the Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final.   Michael Guerin

A terrific Zac Phillips drive and a terrific horse combined to win a heck of a race for Anton Golino’s trotting team, adding the Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks to the mantelpiece. Only a fortnight after claiming the New South Wales equivalent, Une Belle Allure was advanced from a difficult draw to produce a ripping win by 1.9m from brave maiden Four Walls. “She’s just keeps getting better and better as the days go by,” Phillips said. “To the team at Anton’s, they have done a great job with this filly. She’s had her fair share of problems over the last few months and hasn’t been trotting the best. To get her right on a night like tonight is a real credit to them.” An early war between Kinvara Sue and Kyvalley Kyrie not only saw the latter break but the former – a heavily-backed $1.95 favourite – unsettled and appearing to overrace early. Phillips had placed three-back the outside from the widest back row draw and advanced on the final lap to sit outside Kinvara Sue, with Une Belle Allure soon claiming the front as her stablemate tired. Matt Craven’s Four Walls was the best of the challenges and loomed likely come the final straight, but Une Belle Allure had all the answers and claimed the Group 1 $60,000 prize. “She had to do a bit of work and was a bit of a sitting shot for those back in the field, but to her credit she just kept digging deep and I still don’t think we have found the bottom of her,” Phillips said. “Anton’s always had the opinion that she’s pretty good, it just took a little while for the penny to drop. He was patient enough with her and is starting to reap the rewards of that now.” It’s also great reward for the investment of Yabby Dam Farms' Pat Driscoll, owner and breeder of Une Belle Allure. “It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious event,” Mr Driscoll said. “As a breeder, you really dream of winning these types of races, it’s fantastic to have such a terrific filly. I’m really blessed.” Read about the other winners from Melton Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Victorian trained harness racing two-year-olds claimed the opening heats of the 2017 Alabar Breeders Challenge series at Wagga on Tuesday night. The favourite Little Peanut won the colts and geldings division in smart fashion for trainer-driver Greg Sugars while Sounds Of Terror caused an upset taking out the fillies heat for Anton Golino and local driver Cameron Hart. Sugars was in a similar predicament a few years ago when he guided the then rising star Sushi Sushi to victory in a Breeders Challenge heat at Wagga. Little Peanut is one of three pacers he trains himself in between his busy driving schedule. “He is no Sushi Sushi but a nice two-year-old who will go on to the semi finals at Menangle,” Sugars said. Little Peanut is raced by a group of five who hail from Newcastle and Grafton. The owners also raced and bred the winner’s half-brother, Youranut, who won 14 races. Little Peanut settled in fifth place and when asked to extend gathered in Sword And Shield for his third win from five starts. Although second past the finish line, Sword And Shield was relegated to third when Stone Cracker’s driver David Hewitt lodged a successful protest. Sounds Of Terror made the six hour trip from Cardigan in Victoria worth the effort when she claimed her first win at her third start. The fillies’ heat looked in the keeping of the favourite Man Hands until she galloped at the 300 metres presenting a run through for Sounds Of Terror. The winner is owned and was bred by Yabby Dam Farms which races a large number of trotters and fewer pacers. Sounds Of Terror provided Junee reinsman Cameron Hart with his biggest career victory in the $15,000 race. He was impressed with the manner the youngster extended when called on. “She finished off really well. We had a bit of luck when the favourite galloped but she was travelling well at the time and won nicely,” he said. by Graeme White

Zac Phillips is one of the most popular young drivers in Australia and now he’s one of the most wanted as well. Phillips broke through for his first Group 1 win on Une Belle Allure at Melton last Saturday night and found the perfect way to celebrate … with another Group 1 win 30 minutes later on Red Hot Tooth later. Then, just for good measure, he backed-up to add the Wangaratta Cup aboard Four Ex Dan yesterday (Sunday). “It’s unbelievable. I’m still pinching myself,” Phillips said. “To win three big races across the weekend for the three stables who most support me is pretty special.” Although Une Belle Allure’s Need For Speed Princess final was Phillips’ first Group 1 win, he said Red Hot Tooth’s Group 1 Breed For Speed Gold final victory was “as good as it gets.” “Of course your first Group 1 is amazing, but to team up with Paul and Kari (Males) for that Group 1 with Red Hot Tooth was extra special because they have been there supporting me and giving me opportunities since I first started driving as a 16 year-old,” Phillips said. Rewarding loyalty also gave an extra edge to Four Ex Dan’s Wangaratta Cup win. “Adam (Kelly, Four Ex Dan’s trainer) is who I worked for when I first started out and his support has been there all the way through,” Phillips said. Sentimentality aside, it was Une Belle Allure’s win which was the most important in Phillips’ career. That’s because the three-year-old filly is part of the Yabby Dams “army” with trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll. With a lavish farm full of regally-bred young trotters, Yabby Dams is poised to dominating trotting ranks. “I’m good mates with Todd Matthews (who works for Yabby Dams) and he put in a word for me a while back, which led to me getting a few drives for them,” Phillips said. “They are already a big force and only going to get much bigger with the stock they have.” Une Belle Allure, one of a staggering six of the 10 runners Golino trained in the race, camped on the leaders, got into the clear on the home bend and nabbed favourite and stablemate Dance Craze to win by nose. Golino trained the first four home with Nieta third and My Chimera fourth. Adam Hamilton

A big camp’s investment and a young man’s persistence both paid off with Une Belle Allure claiming the $60,000 IRT Need For Speed Prince Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The victory delivered harness racing driver Zac Phillips his first Group 1 success less than a week after his 21st birthday and capped a dominant performance by trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms. Having qualified six for the $60,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies, Golino’s crew preceded to fill the first four placings with Une Belle Allure winning by a half-head from favourite Dance Craze, with Nieta 5.7m back in third and My Chimera claiming fourth. “It’s a great thrill,” Golino said. “We worked hard for this, it was a big night, we had a lot of horses in it. It doesn’t always mean that you get the job done, this is satisfying.” That it was his Angus Hall three-year-old who saluted was no surprise to Golino. “I thought she was our best last year as a two-year-old. She had a horrible prep, a few things went wrong, she got sick, she got kicked. We sort of rushed her there and she didn’t probably perform as well as we thought she could. “She’s come back super this season and she’s shown that again tonight.” Phillips guided Une Belle Allure to the front from gate three with Diz Luck on his outside when they settled before Dance Craze joined him at the bell. A 32.3 second quarter sured up the leaders’ control of the race and after a 29.8 third quarter they would have plenty left in the final straight. Dance Craze loomed in Gavin Lang’s hands but Une Belle Allure fought on and when they hit the line a half-head was enough to give Phillips his crowning moment. “It’s a massive thrill. I’ve dreamt of winning a Group 1 for as long as I can remember and to do it on trotting’s night of nights, it really means a lot to me,” Phillips said. “To Anton and the team, for them to give me the opportunity, I really can’t explain how grateful I am to them. “It just shows the quality of people they are, they do a great job with their team and put a lot into the sport.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing trainer Anton Golino baulks at the thought of ranking his three-year-old trotting fillies, but he is categorical on one point. Dance Craze is his best. The Cardigan horseman dominated the heats of the Need for Speed Princess at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, finishing first and second in both. But it was the run of fourth placed Dance Craze in heat one that caught the eye most, the daughter of champion mare La Coocaracha and super sire Muscle Hill producing an enormous performance after missing the start. “It was a massive run,” Golino said. “A little bit of interference leading up to the gait was enough to put her off last night, which was unfortunate. “She is the best of them (my fillies) though. I think she can develop into a really, really good horse.” Dance Craze charged to the line behind stablemates Nieta and My Chimera, who ran 1-2, with Iona Spider for trainer Shane Hall and driver Jodi Quinlan winding up third after leading. Nieta rated 1:58.1 winning for Nathan Jack, finishing a head in front of My Chimera (Zac Phillips), the pair storming to the line together. “She showed a world of ability as a two-year-old and this time in has really learnt to settle. It’s a credit to Gavin (Lang) who drives for us in the trials. He’s really got her to settle and that’s helped her a lot,” Golino said of Nieta. “We’re very lucky Gavin is able to educate these horses for us in the trials and teach them to be racehorses. “Nathan said last night if anything Nieta was a bit lazy, which is good because she was not pulling. “My Chimera has surprised us a little bit. She tied up badly at Ballarat and didn’t want to go at all, really. Then, since winning at Charlton she hasn’t put a foot wrong.” Heat two was another Golino special with Une Belle Allure (Angus Hall-Glenferrie Unixa) producing a 1:56.9 rate first-up to overhaul impressive newbie Ima Bourbon Girl by 1.6m. Driven by Zac Phillips, who finished with a winning double after piloting Majestic Moves (Majestic Son-Kwik Kiss) home at big odds in the Aldebaran Park Handicap, Une Belle Allure looked every bit the beautiful mover as she boomed down the outside. Having just her second start, Ima Bourbon Girl (Sam Bourbon-Lough Neagh) led from gate four for Gavin Lang. Diz Luck finished third for trainer-driver Gavin Smith from the pole. The Group 1 IRT Need for Speed Princess Final will be run on Saturday night, March 11, part of a huge four Group 1 program. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The internationalisation of Victorian harness racing entered a new phase at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday when renowned French reinsman and trainer, Jean-Etienne Dubois, guided the horse he bred and owns to victory. A winner of famous French race the Prix d’Amerique and Sweden’s Elitloppet, Dubois made his Australian debut driving My Tribeca to victory in Saturday night’s Benstud Standardbreds Trot. It was the Italian bred five-year-old’s first open-age metropolitan win and she did it with ease, doing plenty of work in the run but still cruising to a 12m win. “It’s always easy when you get the better horse,” Dubois said post-race. “She was perfect. Pulling a bit hard, but she’s very good, you can’t do much better than that.” SEE JEAN-ETIENNE DUBOIS' POST-RACE INTERVIEW Throwing the keys to Dubois also gifted great joy to My Tribeca’s trainer, Anton Golino. “That was probably, to this day, one of the biggest highlights of my career,” Golino said. “He’s an idol to me. I worked for his father (Jean-Pierre Dubois) and he is probably regarded as the greatest horseman in the world, and Jean-Etienne is about his equal. "It was more than I could dream of. We’ve become great friends and it was a privilege for me. I really enjoyed it.” Dubois, now based at Mittagong in New South Wales, said he felt at home on the track. “It’s always good when you win,” he said. “It’s a nice track. It looks very much like the track we have in Sweden or up in Europe, bit different to our track in France, but it’s a good track.” Plenty more joy appears in their path, with My Tribeca developing nicely. “She is just learning to be a better racehorse,” Golino said. “She’s only four by actual breeding age, having been Northern Hemisphere bred, and has only had 13 starts so she is still a baby. “We know she’s very good, but are still wary about how far we push her. They are racehorses, they have got to race, but we don’t want to over race her.” The temptation could be great to point My Tribeca towards summer’s headline trots races, including the Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. With Kiwis Speeding Spur and Monbet ruled out and Keystone Del having challenges this campaign, the Group 1 $300,000 prize is calling. “There is a window with a few having dropped off, but once you get to that level it’s hard, they are all good horses,” Golino said. The French connection continues at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic trotting heats will be broadcast into France. The greater exposure will continue on Monday nights up until February 13, and then further select nights will follow with 80 races to be broadcast into France in 2017. WATCH MY TRIBECA'S WIN IN FULL VIEW Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016

The return of Tee Cee Bee Macray highlights Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton harness racing program. The Alan Tubbs-trained five-year-old contests the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Pace over 2240 metres, first-up since an unlucky second to arch rival Ideal For Real in the Breckon Farms Breeders Crown Final. The Aldebaran Park Trot features K D Muscles, who is in terrific form but will face a stiff test against The Boss Man, who was terrific in defeat last weekend. But the most enthralling news story on the card could be the booking of Jean-Etienne Dubois to pilot Italian bred My Tribeca in the Benstud Standardbreds Trot. Dubois bred the five-year-old Goetmals Wood-Image mare and races her in the stables of Cardigan’s Anton Golino. The Frenchman has won 1500 races as a trainer and has more than 1200 victories in the cart and in saddle in mounted events. His biggest success came in 1996 when he trained and drove Coktail Jet to win the world’s biggest race, the Prix d’Amérique for legendary French thoroughbred and trotting owner Daniel Wildenstein. “It’s pretty exciting,” Golino said. “He is a great driver who has won an Elitloppet, a Prix d’Amérique, his won just about every major race in Europe and has trained multiple champions including Coktail Jet but also had Quaker Jet and The Best Madrik, who stand at Haras des Trotteurs. “I’ve asked him a couple of times if he would come down and drive and he was never really interested and recently he said I’ll come down and we’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure if he’ll continue to drive her (My Tribeca) after this but we’ll see what happens … it’s a privilege to have him drive her.” It will be Dubois’s first Australian drive. Golino’s association with the Dubois family is well documented. During his stint in France he worked for Dubois’ father, Jean-Pierre Dubois. “Pat (Driscoll) and Jean-Étienne Dubois are great friends and through the stallions such as Love You and the horse we had out here last year, Used To Me, we’ve become good friends and it’s been a great opportunity, and also for breeding in this country,” Golino said. My Tribeca goes into Saturday night’s contest off a down-the-track result after galloping last week. “She was a bit stirred up and a bit fresh and drawing on the inside didn’t help her. It’s better if she has horses either side of her.” The first of nine races on Saturday kicks off at 6:30pm. by Luke Humphreys Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016

An emerging trotting powerhouse fired its first shot in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, with Aldebaran Eve winning the three-year-old fillies’ final at Tabcorp Park Melton Friday night for harness racing trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll. Having established Yabby Dam Farms at Cardigan, near Ballarat, Driscoll and Golino won with the filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Dream, who Greg Sugars put into the box seat from barrier one and had the most tickets left in the straight. “It’s a real thrill for Pat and Anton to score a winner in the Vicbred series, their first since setting up and moving down to Victoria,” Sugars said. “They are a terrific outfit and great group of people, not only those two but all the workers around them. It’s a privilege to be associated with them.” Golino said he “appreciated” the win “a lot”, lauding “all my staff and Greg for such a great drive”. Aldebaran Eve was steered to the leader’s back from barrier one, with favourite Into The Unknown taking the breeze outside the leader, second favourite Princess Phoenix. Come the final straight and Into The Unknown found the challenge too much, enabling Aldebaran Eve to peel off the leader’s back and run a 29.8 final quarter to win by 1.7m in a 2:00.6 mile rate. “She’s a nice little filly, she’s getting better with every start and we said after the heat we just need a good draw, one would be nice and that’s what she got and that’s what won us the race.” The win came as something of a surprise for the stable, with Sugars admitting this one had “probably been at the bottom of the list” of the Yabby Dams crew. For owner Driscoll, it made victory all the sweeter. “It’s quite a thrill,” he said. “A bit unexpected, because she was probably the least of the runners we have here tonight. It was a great drive by Greg and a wonderful training performance by Anton.” Michael Howard Harnes Racing Victora

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have today conducted an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the horse Dance Craze being presented and subsequently scratched from its engagement in Trial 15 at the Tabcorp Park Melton trials on 10 May 2016. After taking evidence from HRV Steward Ms Amy Glide and Mr Anton Golino, trainer of Dance Craze, it was established that Mr Golino had inadvertently presented the horse Miss Manitoba, which was unnamed at the time, to start in the aforementioned trial. HRV Stewards subsequently issued Mr Golino with a charge, to which he pleaded guilty to, under the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule 273(7) which states: “A person shall ensure that the correct horse is presented to start in a race.” After hearing submissions on penalty Stewards imposed a fine of $500 upon Mr Golino. In assessing penalty Stewards were mindful of Mr Golino’s forthright evidence, cooperation during this matter, immediate guilty plea and his evidence that processes have been put in place within his stable to prevent a reoccurrence. Stewards also took into account this occurred at a trial and the horse was scratched prior to competing. HRV

Harness Racing Trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll combined to win Saturday night’s NSW Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle with talented filly Pizza Queen.  The daughter of Credit Winner was purchased from the 2014 Harrisburg Sale for $100,000 and produced a big upset as she ran down short priced favourite High Gait in the shadows of the winning post. Golino had three runners in the NSW Oaks and Pizza Queen was the longest priced filly of his trio. “I thought she would need a good trip to win but in saying that she has always had ability and she did run second and third behind High Gait in the heats of the Need For Speed,” Golino said. “I wasn’t overly confident or anything but I thought she’d be in the finish with the right run.  Her work in the lead up to the Oaks was great and she had come on a fair bit in the last fortnight.” Pizza Queen is out of top race mare Armbro Domino.  She won $275,000 during her career on the track and was sold for $260,000 after the birth of her first foal in 2008. “Pizza Queen is beautifully bred, she’s by Credit Winner, he is a great sire in America and he stands in New York.  Her mother performed very well on the track.” “Noel Daley picked her out for us from Harrisburg, he did all the research and he got it right so we’re very happy.” While Golino has decided to keep fourth-placed finisher Courchevel in Sydney for next Saturday night’s NSW Trotters Derby, Pizza Queen and Dream Island will return to Victoria. “They’ll both come home for the Victorian Oaks, they left Sydney on Monday.  Courchevel’s run was really good on Saturday night, she got a little bit too far back but she got home well and hit the line strongly. “Courchevel is awkwardly gaited, she’s got a lot of ability when she does everything right.  She’s had a few little niggling issues, we’re starting to get on top of them but I think she’ll develop into a very nice mare next season.” Golino confirmed he has enjoyed the transition from New South Wales to Victoria. “Yes I’m loving it, there are plenty of racetracks to pick from.  The farm is coming along very well and full credit must go to Pat Driscoll because he has worked his butt off to get this place up and going. “We’re getting there slowly, it’s been a good time here so far but winter’s coming up and I’m definitely not looking forward to that.” Greg Hayes

Twelve months ago Harness Racing trainer Anton Golino’s My Tribeca finished second in the NSW Trotters Oaks behind the Brent Lilley prepared My Arya.  The effort by My Tribeca to finish just over two metres in arrears of the winner was even more remarkable considering the daughter of Goetmals Wood was bred to the Northern Hemisphere season and therefore was more than six months younger than My Arya. Fast forward to this Saturday night’s 2016 NSW Trotters Oaks and Golino is back to try and win the event this year with a three pronged attack.  Interestingly, two of Golino’s three runners have been bred to Northern Hemisphere time and are a lot younger than their main rivals. Unbeaten filly Dream Island actually only turned three on April 29 and is more than six months younger than race favourite High Gait.  Golino confirmed the difference is significant and it may mean the difference between winning and losing. “Dream Island is a beautiful big filly and in time I think she is going to develop into something very special but she is giving away a lot in age to Mark Purdon’s filly (High Gait),” Golino said. “She has shown me enough to warrant making the trip from Victoria to Sydney and even the trip away from home will be an important part of her development.  If this race was run in six months time Dream Island would be my best chance because she would have had more time to mature but Courchevel is a lot further along.” Pizza Queen was foaled on 23 February 2013 and doesn’t give away as much in age but is still learning what racing is all about. “Pizza Queen has come on a lot in the last few weeks which has been very encouraging.  To be honest she hasn’t had the greatest preparation but everything seems to be working for her a lot better now than it was, so it will be interesting to see how she performs on Saturday night. “The third of my runners Courchevel has got plenty of ability but she hasn’t got the greatest manners and it has been a tricky time recently getting her to trot fluently.  I’m starting to iron her out and I think once she learns to do everything right there is going to be a lot of improvement with her as well.” Golino confirmed Courchevel may stay in Sydney for the NSW Trotters Derby next week should she perform well in the Trotters Oaks. “Look that is the plan at this stage but we just have to see how she goes this weekend.  If she does everything right then I’d like to see her compete in the Derby as well.” With commitments at Melton on Saturday night, Golino will not be making the trip to Sydney. “I have some runners at Melton including two in the Platinum Vicbred two year old fillies final.  Nieta has a touch more talent than Sval Queen but Sval Queen has terrific manners and is a ready-made racehorse. “They’re hard to split and they are both good fillies that can go on and do a very good job.”   Greg Hayes

Trainer Anton Golino will hold a strong hand when the gates open for the $50,000 Group 1 trotting final for two-year-old fillies. The Cardigan trainer’s fillies Nieta and Sval Queen won their Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic heats at Shepparton last Wednesday, booking qualification for the May 21 final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both were debutants for Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms, whose investment in trots racing continues to garner great dividends. Golino, who trains exclusively for Driscoll, said Wednesday night’s results were pleasing after the fillies met their first race-day test. “You can never be overly confident with two-year-old trotters,” Golino said. That included Nieta, who started the first heat a short-price and he said while she had “definitely shown she can go a little bit, she is obviously still learning the caper”. “I thought it pretty brave taking the $1.70 for a two-year-old trotter at her first start.” But in Greg Sugars’ calm hands Nieta never missed a beat, finding the front from barrier one and finding separation when the moment arrived. “(Greg) let her come out of the gate on her own, she had an easy middle half and she ran it out on her own stead,” Golino said. “She won it fairly handy. It was a good way to start.” The task was greater for Sval Queen in heat two, with Anthony Butt having to punch the breeze for much of the running. “Sval Queen did it tough. She had to sit in the death seat the trip and the fact that she could do that made me real happy with her.” From cover, favourite Illawong Shimmer loomed up late but Sval Queen had the answers to win by 2.2m and reward her trainer’s faith. “Nieta’s probably a little bit more talented, but Sval Queen has better manners,” he said. “She’s a readymade racehorse and has been from day one. I am probably more confident with Sval Queen if anything. She was impressive, it was very workmanlike.” The promising fillies will only enhance owner Driscoll’s dominance in the category. “Pat’s very passionate, hard working and does a lot of research on pedigrees,” Golino said. “He’s choosing the right stallions, having gone down the path of French stallions, and is seeing a lot of benefit from that. He deserves all the success he gets.” Michael Howard

Tonight will serve up the best trots race Melbourne has seen “in a long time”, says the harness racing trainer of local hope Arboe. Anton Golino said Monbet’s decision to stay on and chase the $100,000 prizemoney in the Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton had added further fuel to the fire. Great Australian trotter Keystone Del will be second-up from a spell and eager to add to his Group 1 haul tonight, while in-form Glenferrie Typhoon has drawn barrier one and is expected to use its gate speed to lead. New Zealand raider Speeding Spur, which beat Monbet in April last year, and Kyvalley Blur are also rated highly and will be pressing. “It’s a cracking field,” Golino said. “It’s as good a trots field as I’ve seen for a long time here. “Monbet’s a star. He’s definitely a top horse, but this will be his biggest test. He’s beat up open horses in New Zealand, he’s obviously the benchmark right now.” Trainer Greg Hope said it was “astounding” what Monbet was doing at age four, having set alight the Summer Of Glory with a barnstorming win in the APCO Australasian Trotting Championship. “Most horses, when they are racing at the top level, need a bit of age on them really, but he’s stepped up at a young age,” Hope told RSN. “I think he can (take improvement into tonight). I think he’s going to need too, Speeding Spur is coming and Keystone Del and there’s going to be a battle up there.” Among those kept tight in the market is Andy Gath’s Glenferrie Typhon, an in-form horse in an in-form trainer. “His last two runs have been career best runs, and maybe this one will have to top them,” Gath said. “It’s a great field. We were helped by the barrier draw and he has pretty good gate speed.” Gath said Glenferrie Typhoon had matured nicely into the quality horse he knew he had the ability to become, but would face his toughest test tonight. Golino’s chance, Arboe, has been somewhat forgotten after a disappointing Australasian Trotting Championships, when expectations it would take the fight to Monbet fizzled in the first heat. Golino said Arboe “got a little fierce” in the lead-up, which affected her airways. “Hopefully it’s something we can just forget about and put a line through it. She is back to herself, training well,” he said. “She’s had nine starts and these horses are hardened, seasoned racehorses. Ability is not the question, but it is a tough challenge for her.” Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 06 February 2016

Prominent New Zealand harness racing breeder Grant Beckett is a big fan of French stallion Sam Bourbon and jumped at the chance to once again breed to the popular French stallion when his semen was reintroduced to New Zealand by Haras des Trotteurs this season. “I was firstly attracted by his looks, he is a stunning horse,” says Beckett, who breeds both rams and standardbreds at his farm in Cheviot. Becket breeds for the sales from six or seven predominantly trotting mares each year and has produced the likes of Group I winner Quite A Moment and the good winners Duke Of The Moment, Phoebe Revival, Hot Chocolate Tart, KD Hall, KD Muscles, Phoebe Gladiator, Phoebe Sunset and Twice As Much – a sub 2 minute son of Sam Bourbon. Originally named KD Bourbon, the colt was bought at the 2013 Premier yearling sales in Christchurch by legendary French breeder Jean Pierre Dubois and Australian trainer Anton Golino for $25,000. “Seeing the ‘Godfather of Trotting Trainers’, J P Dubois as a part owner of a horse I bred gives me a great thrill,” admits Beckett. “Just a shame we didn't have anyone bidding against him on sale day.  They promptly changed his name to Twice As Much, obviously what they thought they were going to have to pay.” Precocious, like his sire, Twice As Much won the Listed NSW 2YO Breeders Challenge and is currently spelling at Anton Golino's new premises at Ballarat before embarking on his 4YO campaign. Beckett also has a full sister to the colt out of his good mare Kazzle Dazzle called KD Spirit who he says has her dad’s good looks and has just had a growth spurt. Both Twice As Much and KD Spirit have wonderful temperaments says Beckett. “I love the fact Sam Bourbon is by super sire Goetmals Wood out of a broodmare gem Etta Extra, amazingly she has two Elitloppet winners Dimitria and dual winner Roquepine very close up in her pedigree, this with the addition of Stars Pride and Speedy Crown. “Goetmals Wood also has Caprior in his pedigree, supposedly he had a heart like Phar Lap. I also was sent a DVD of him racing which really got me hooked on him, in a couple of races he had to work two and three times and still won impressively.” Sam Bourbon’s price was and still is attractive, says Beckett. “Originally $2500 when he stood in France for 14,000 euros. Even at his new price ($3000 + GST) he is terrific value considering he is now a top line proven sire in France. “ A classical performer on the racetrack himself, Sam Bourbon displayed early speed and  was second in both the  Criterium des Jeunes (Group I) and the Prix Championnat Européen des 3 ans (European 3YO Championship) ( Group I) and third in the intergenerational Prix de l'Etoile ( Group I). He also won the Group II Prix Jules Thibault. A tall, elegant, athletic horse, Sam Bourbon has passed his early speed and athleticsm to his progeny such as outstanding daughter Combattante, who was the first filly home when third in the recent blue riband Criterium des 3 Ans after earlier winning the Group II Prix Reina du Corta, in which another Sam Bourbon filly, Cylee Nevele, was third. Sam Bourbon has been one of the top five leading sires of 2YO trotters in each of his three crops and was fifth in the just completed 2YO season earnings. Harnesslink Media

French import Used To Me made his long awaited Australian debut in the Ted Manton Memorial Trotters Handicap at Bendigo last night, and it was a winning start. Trained by Anton Golino and driven by Greg Sugars, Used To Me stepped cleanly from his 20-metre handicap in the 2150-metre race before making a three-deep move from four-back the running at the bell. Class prevailed at the finish with Used To Me cruising past the early pacesetters and recording a 4.3-metre win, Sugars allowing him to coast to the line virtually untouched. “He did what he had to do,” Sugars said. “It was his first time at the stand conditions and he handled that well.” Used To Me was granted an international invitation to contest the 2015 Great Southern Star before injury scuppered his preparation. Whether or not the now eight-year-old would be up to that level after recovering from injury remains to be seen and Sugars said the team was “taking it one race at a time, at this stage”. “I’m sure they’ll be hopeful of getting more wins and competing in better races than last night, but the important thing at this stage is he’s back on track.” Given Used To Me’s journey back to the racetrack Sugars admitted to feeling some relief after last night’s win. The stallion’s winning mile rate was 2:01.2 with the last half-mile completed in 59.7secs.  Cody Winnell  

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