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Churchgoers in a small northern Victorian town were treated to something a little different yesterday - a belated chance to cheer home a harness racing winner from Ararat! When Ted and Faye Jepsen, of Lockington, headed to their regular Sunday church service, they thought fellow parishioners may enjoy sharing their recent success with five-year-old mare Wenthestarzzzaline. "We took along the DVD of the race replay and after the service when we sit around for a chat and coffee, we played it. There was about 20 churchgoers there and they loved it," Ted, 84, said. "It's a wonder it's not worn out - it's been played over and over. I had to get up at 6.30 am and go and jog her before church, but I'm not complaining, we're still on a high," he said. Wenthestarzzzaline (Four Starzzz Shark-Chelsea Hanover (Walton Hanover) gave the Jepsen's a taste of success at her race debut in the Club Committee Maiden Pace at Ararat last Wednesday night. Competent freelance reinsman Michael Bellman decided against any early speed battles from the wide seven alley, preferring to make a forward move when the field settled. He then zipped around three wide and charged to the lead. With easy splits of 31.8 and 32.8, the tempo was sure to hot up over the last half. Long odds-on favorite Myzarmi (Greg Sugars) enjoyed the one-one sit and moved forward in the last lap to join Wenthestarzzzaline. The pair had a ding dong battle, with Bellman getting his charge to lift on the line for the narrowest of wins. Wenthestarzzzaline was broken in by Bellman. His parents Neville and D'Arne bred the pacer. The dam Chelsea Hanover was also owned and raced by the family and was a consistent performer in the 2000s, winning 10 races for $46,000. "We were looking for a horse to train and Michael said he had the ideal one at home in a paddock. He had got her up and going, but she got some skin off her legs so that's when she went out," Ted said. "I think Michael intended to get back to her. However, he had owners, so their horses naturally got preference." The Jepsens gave the mare a solid grounding prior to her maiden race start with half a dozen trials. "I like to drive our horses at the trials, so I get a feel of them first-hand. We also make a 54km round trip each day to Elmore to work on the track down there because our place is only on a few acres," Ted said. "It means a fair bit of work, but both Faye and myself reckon it keeps us young. I often joke I'm a 21 going on to 85 next November. "I did tell Michael if he could get to the front in the race, they'd find it hard to run her down because she's a tough customer. The whole family, including two granddaughters who never bet, all won a bit of money, so everyone is happy. "She is quite a valuable horse and we've looked after her. Once I worked out she needed pacifiers and a shadow roll, we noticed a huge difference. "After the races we kicked on with the Bellmans and it was a late night. I think we got to bed at 2am!" Ted Jepsen with Wenthestarzzzaline after her Ararat success The Jepsens lived at Gisborne for 39 years before heading to Lockington a little over nine years ago. They've been long-time keen harness racing supporters, enjoying their share of success. They recorded some exciting wins with Epona Sunshine (The Unicorn-Manwarra Sunshine) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s with Ted and Alan Mizzi being successful drivers. "She held the track record at Bendigo for a while. I remember one night at Ararat she went great and won - the trophy was eight slabs of beer. I'm not big on beer, but a guy living down the road from us got merry quite a few times!" It was a big week for the popular couple, as apart from the race win, Faye celebrated her 80th birthday two days earlier.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Good natured Ararat harness racing owner-trainer Ross Healy says he's the best of friends again with his racemare Tarara Jill. The five-year-old square gaiter, who Healy describes as a horse with "not much patience", recently put him in hospital overnight after they got tangled up prior to a race at Bendigo. But six days later at Stawell, Tarara Jill (Allawart Ray-Hickory Trick (Yankee Reb USA) got the money, courtesy of a super Michael Bellman drive. "I'm pretty sure it was her way of saying sorry," Healy joked. The Bendigo accident happened as Healy was leading Tarara Jill from the stabling area to the marshalling yard. As he let the horse go, she spun sideways and stood on his foot. "Then the shaft got me a ripper causing me to lose my balance and I stumbled backwards, landing flat on my back," he said. "She is one of those types which you have to be very careful with all the time, and I am, but in saying that, she's still bowled me over a few times. "I'm starting to think I'm like accident-prone Frank Spencer in the TV sit-com 'Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em' - I just seem to be in the wrong place all the time!" Healy said he wasn't allowed to move after the accident until the ambulance arrived at the track. "So it was a bit embarrassing, but thankfully I had a Wilson Medical Group member monitoring me and keeping me calm before I went off to hospital," he said. "A lot of good people helped out. I've always said harness racing is a big 'Neighborhood Watch' at its best! We're out there competing against each other, but when people get into strife, support comes from everywhere." Tarara Jill ran a creditable fifth at Bendigo, her first run back from a short spell. "Our daughter Cherelle drove home with the horse and float that night, while my wife Sue was at the hospital with me," Healy said. "On our way home the next day, we talked about backing Tarara Jill up quickly at Stawell as an experiment." And the hunch paid off. After beginning brilliantly from the 10-metre handicap, driver Michael Bellman was in front a short time later. Appearing under siege with 400 metres to go, Tarara Jill dug deep to fight off all challengers and score a strong win. The Tarara in the mare's name comes from Ararat spelt backwards and the mare is raced by Ross, Sue, their daughter and "number one strapper" Cherelle, and son Dale. Healy, who is track curator at Ararat, got involved in the sport over 35 years ago when working on the railways with Neville Bellman, father of trainer-driver Michael. "I used to go out to Neville's and clean the boxes and do other jobs around the stables. Then later on he stuck a form under my nose and told me to sign it - it was a lease agreement for a horse," he said. "I told him I couldn't afford it because we were putting kids through school at the time. Neville wouldn't listen and just said 'you keep doing what you've been doing for me and you have a share'. "To say that we got spoilt would be a big understatement as the horse was Good Lookin Byrd, which went onto win 15 races and 28 placings for about $140,000. "So, of course, we then got the bug and went in some others and had fun. It was around 2002 when (Daylesford horsewoman) Anne Maree Conroy urged me to get my own trainer's licence-so I've been doing it ever since." Healy said it was a real family affair with wife Sue in charge of breeding bloodlines, daughter Cherelle doing jog work and stable-hand duties, while son Dale helps out when work permits. "We have two other girls who aren't into it, but are doing well in their own careers," he said. Healy will be sidelined for between eight and 12 weeks, having a knee replacement next Monday. "And before you ask, it was nothing to do with Tarara Jill - I've been waiting two years for this operation!"   Terry gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Veteran Ararat harness racing trainer Terry Young has been enjoying the highs of the sport in recent years with an enviable streak of success – but he’s also recently experienced the lows first hand.   Young, 77, who puts the polish on classy square-gaiter Deltasun (Tennotrump-Deltasu (Elsu NZ), had a fall at his hometown track and dislocated his collarbone.   “I was working a two-year-old named Premonition and he shied and spun back in the opposite direction,” Young explained.   “I just wasn’t ready for it because it’s just not part of his make-up,” he said.   “So while the horse trotted back to the stabling area to my wife Carol, I was sprawled on the track with my arm twisted up around behind my back.   “I popped the collarbone right out. The doctors put it back okay but told me I’m out of action for at least the next six weeks.   Young said he had already been toying with the idea of giving Deltasun, a winner of 17 races and 15 placings for $225,000, a short let-up.   “When I had the track mishap, that made the decision for me to spell him, and I’ve tossed the other three out for a break as well,” he said.   In just three seasons of racing, Deltasun has stamped himself as one of Victoria’s most consistent square-gaiters, winning seven races at TABcorp Park Melton, including the 3YO Vicbred final.   “He’s never far away, because he’s got outstanding manners and he’s very well gaited,” Young said.   “We have had a fantastic time with him because he’s won two Group One races and a few GroupThrees.”   Terry and Carol were especially thrilled to win the Central Victorian Trotters Championship and then the rich Tontine series early last year.   “Even more so because we aimed him specifically for those two events. It doesn’t happen all that often, when everything just goes right, but it’s great when it does!” Young said.   Deltasun with PT Young, Gavin Lang and Terry and Carol Young (Courtesy Tabcorp Park Racing)   He paid tribute to the stable’s main driver Gavin Lang.   “He’s been a major part in making the horse into a true racehorse. He’s outstanding with young ones and he’s taught me how to look after a good horse,” Young said.   “Just little things, like we never work Deltasun against another horse in trackwork because he just fires up and you can’t hold him.”   Deltasun, driven by Gavin Lang (Courtesy Wimmera Mail Times)   Young was a jockey as a youngster, and a respected one at that, landing country winners as well as a city win at Caulfield in 1956 for Jerry Tye, a Chinese trainer.   “The gallops were always hotly contested, and you know I was never thrown off or injured during the years I was involved. But my weight increased, and I was forced to give away race riding,” he said.   Young moved to Ararat in 1960 to be closer to his parents who lived near Port Fairy.   “Dad was a shearer and neither of them had an interest in horses. I worked as a roustabout in the shearing sheds and rode trackwork as well,” he said.   “And that was how I met Carol at an early morning trackwork session. She had ponies and her father Mick King was one of the first harness racing trainers in Ararat.   “Carol was virtually riding ponies before she could walk, and she could have easily carved out a career as a jockey if females were allowed back then.   “She was an excellent rider and had an uncanny way with horses, and she still does to this day. Along with being a hard worker and great support to me.”   Young was introduced to harness racing by Carol’s father Mick and didn’t take long to adjust. He won at the old Horsham showgrounds at his very first drive on Chalambar.   “The horse was probably classes above them, I think, but the gaps just opened up everywhere I went, and I thought how easy is this?!   “I was soon brought back to earth by the head steward, Mr Rowse who gave me a huge lecture, saying I didn’t display much control. I did admit that I was loose reining, but I’ve never forgotten that spray.”   When his interest in harness racing began to wane, Young opted for a break, turning his interest in the 1980s to running.   “I enjoyed that and was lucky enough to win the veterans event (restricted to runners over 40) at the Stawell Gift,” he said.   But his interest in harness racing became rekindled and Young found himself driving to Peter Manning’s place at Great Western to help out.   “I’ve now probably been doing that for the past 20 years or so and I’ve learnt so much from Peter and the team out there. Peter is always ready to give you a hand or some advice,” he said.   “I used to help work Tennotrumps and he was just a lovely horse. I decided to take our mare Deltasu to him when he stood as a stallion and I’m pretty glad I did because the result was Deltasun!”   Young uses the Manning track most days, trucking his small team out there.   And to add to the family flavor, son Peter (PT as he’s known) attends most meetings with his dad.   A talented jockey, PT was lured to Melbourne by astute trainer Jim Moloney.   “He couldn’t hack it in the city, like a lot of country fellas find out, but he had a successful career around the bush,” Young said.   “I asked him to come to the trots with me one day, and he was a bit undecided. Now he’s nearly the first in the car! He drives to the meetings which suits me perfectly,” he said.   “His wife Alison is right into the breeding and ownership side of it, so between the family we’ve got most parts of the industry covered. An old friend in Terry Cahill is also a breeder.”   Young intends to enjoy his enforced short break, despite counting down the days until he’s back doing what he loves.   “I’m still a bit dirty on myself for getting tipped out and hurt,” he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Effervescent young Hamilton harness racing driver Jackie Barker enjoys every winner she can land, but every so often there’s a special one.   One of those memorable moments came at Ararat last Sunday night when Jackie led all the way with 20/1 long shot The Suspect (Safari-Kiriah Keys (Keystone Gondola USA) to take out the Alan Woods & Son Contractors Pace.   It wasn’t the long odds that were notable, but that the winner was trained by Jackie’s pop, legendary horseman 84-year-old Jim Barker.   “Winning a race for my pop means the most to me. It’s very special and we’ve been lucky to get a few winners together this season,” the 23-year-old said.   “This one was awesome because the race panned out the way I thought it would and we didn’t have to burn to get to the top,” Jackie said.   “The horse mostly ruins his chances because he over races very badly. I had a plan to try and lead and then just hope for the best. He still pulled, but not as bad as he can.”   The Suspect is an eight-year-old gelding owned by Michael Lawlor and Barker rated the pacer well at the head of affairs with even quarters of 29.3, 29.9, 30.9 and 32.9.   Jackie Barker and The Suspect           photo- Ararat Harness Racing Club   Jackie said there was excitement and jubilation after the race about the pacer’s first win from 39 attempts — the only disappointment was pop, Jim, wasn’t at the track.   “He was at home watching it on television. He hurt his back on the farm a while ago and it’s causing him a fair bit of pain. And I can tell you that he’s so sick of it,” Jackie said.   “The Suspect is so frustrating because he works brilliantly at home and can run so well. Nothing we’ve got beats him and in every other way he’s such a happy horse.   “We’ve tried heaps of pulling gear on him, but if he doesn’t appreciate it, he gets the sulks and that’s it.”   The Suspect was the first leg of a winning double for Jackie, with the second winner coming courtesy of the Barry Finnis-trained Beat The Drums (Modern Art USA-Highview Congo (McArdle USA) in the Latus Jewellers Ararat Pace.   Jackie Barker and Beat The Drums                        photo- Ararat Harness Racing Club   Starting a short-priced favorite, the four-year-old mare coasted along out in front and recorded an easy five-metre win over Okanes Devil, with a further six metres back to Flaming Lucky.   “There were a few others in the race that I was worried about, but Beat The Drums did it nicely,” Jackie said.   “I enjoy driving for the Finnis stable because they don’t put any pressure on me and virtually just send me out there knowing that I’ll be doing my very best,” she said.   “I started driving for them at Mt Gambier, and I did okay so they now use me as their second string driver, which is awesome. “I also get to use my junior concessional claim as well.”   The double has Jackie well within striking distance of a career 100 wins.   “I think I’m now up to 93, so fingers crossed that I land a few more soon and get to that century milestone.”   The Barker stable operates from Jim’s 100-acre property, with a team of 20 in work.   “Many of them are young ones and I think dad may have broken in eight or nine this season, so we are really looking at finding a few good horses for the future,” Jackie said.   “Thankfully I don’t have to battle with dad for the drives because he gives me most of the opportunities. I have found it awfully hard to pick up many outside drives, but really appreciate the trainers who stick with me.”   A harness racing career was always on the cards for Jackie, who was desperate to follow in the footsteps of pop, Jim, and her father Rod, who is also well-known in harness racing circles, not only for his breaking-in of youngsters, but also as a handy freelance reinsman.   “I was wanting to get stuck into the horses as soon as possible, but mum stood firm and wouldn’t let me until after I’d finished Year 12,” Jackie said.   “I had actually done all my trials drives in readiness to get my driver’s licence by the time school ended.   “There was a university spot for me in animal science which would have eventually led to becoming a veterinary surgeon. I was half-hearted about it and had a gap year...then another!   “When I was into harness racing, I deferred. I may have enjoyed being a vet, but the costs and years of university study to get there were daunting.   “Besides I’m really a country girl, who loves just being around family in Hamilton.”   But if enthusiasm and hard work is the recipe to get near the top of her chosen sport, Jackie Barker is a certainty to do that in years to come.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The East Grampians Health Service Cranks and Defibrillators will take their bikes to the trots this month. The two teams are in training for the annual Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay, a 525-kilometre relay from Swan Hill to Port Fairy in April. The teams are aiming to raise $25,000 to assist with the purchase of a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre at EGHS and one of their major fundraisers will be a trots meeting at the Ararat Harness Racing Club on Thursday, February 16. Team members will attend the twilight Murray to Moyne Race Meeting and they will be out and about the track selling raffle tickets and shaking donation tins. Racegoers can also make a gold coin donation at the gate. The team has also sold race names to local businesses for the seven-race event as part of their fundraising. “East Grampians Health Service has been participating in the Murray to Moyne Relay for many years and has raised thousands of dollars to purchase equipment for the health service in that time,” EGHS community liaison officer Jodie Holwell said. “This year the teams are helping to raise funds for a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre, which will enable clients to attend community events and go on outings as part of their activities’ program. “The teams are training twice a week for the gruelling relay, which will start at Swan Hill on April 1 and finish at Port Fairy on April 2. “The teams develop great camaraderie and work hard together not only in training and riding, but in running a number of fundraising events in the lead up to the relay. They are great ambassadors for the health service.” Ararat club president Tony Bond said all were welcome to come along for a great night of trots racing action and help to raise funds for the Patricia Hinchey Centre’s new bus. “The Ararat Harness Racing Club is very pleased to be able to support the East Grampians Health Service again this year by hosting a race meeting for the Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay fundraising team,” Mr Bond said. “We hope to see the Ararat community at the track on Thursday night and encourage them to dig deep for a great cause.” Meanwhile, the #TeamTeal campaign will continue at Ararat, the national trots initiative raising important funds for the Women’s Cancer Foundation through donations for every winner driven by a female driver until March 12. Women drivers in the trots are wearing teal driving pants for the length of the campaign and Harness Racing Victoria and TAB.com.au are each donating $200 per win, meaning $400 goes to the Foundation for every Victorian #TeamTeal winner. Last month Harness Racing Victoria donated $12,500 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia via a similar campaign. HRV and TAB.com.au are also raising funds for the Good Friday Appeal via the Good Friday Appeal Charity Tipoff on its weekly Trots Talk show, aired across Victoria. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017 Form guide for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017

Lemnos trained four-year-old gelding Shared Interest is set to make a welcome return to the harness racing track at Ararat tonight in the first heat of the Pegasus Spur @ Woodlands Tontine Trotters Series.   Shared Interest showed ability in his five outings as a two-year-old, including a gallant second to Eljaykay Phoenix in the rich Breeders Crown Final of 2014. Five days later he notched up an 18-metre victory at Melton and looked set for a bright future.   “Then he did a suspensory and didn’t race at all as a three-year-old,” explained trainer Russell Jack. “It’s been a long and slow road back to full recovery but hopefully it will be worth the time and effort.”   Two solid trials at Shepparton in early February showed Jack his charge was finally ready for a return to the pressure of racing.   “The Tontine happened to come up at the right time for the horse,” he said. “It’s always been a nice race but he certainly hasn’t been rushed into it.   “We were taking him to the trials again last weekend but they were called off because of the heat.   “It wasn’t a worry ‘though, with Nathan and Amanda here there’s always plenty of horses to work with so his fitness won’t be an issue tonight.”   Owners of the heat winners at Ararat and Terang on March 9 will receive an inscribed rug donated by Woodlands Stud, New Zealand.   Top points earners from the heats will then assemble at Horsham to contest the $20.5k Group 3 Pegasus Spur @ Woodlands Tontine Trotters Series Final on Labour Day holiday Monday March 14th.   The Tontine Trotters Series is jointly conducted by the South West Zone Clubs (Ararat, Ballarat, Geelong, Hamilton, Horsham, Stawell & Terang) with the inaugural Final taken out by Vivanover (Keith Allen) at Stawell in 1985.   Tony Logan

Punters betting on the Ararat trots on Tuesday were subjected to a number of rough results, resulting in the TAB Quaddie paying a massive dividend of $31,107.80 for a one dollar outlay. Leg one – the Chally’s Bar & Bistro Concessional Driver Of The Year for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres going the way of $46.50 chance LongTan Bliss guaranteeing a healthy payout regardless of what the other legs presented. Trained at Concongella (Stawell) by Owen Martin, Longtan Bliss (Blissful Hall/Longtan Ebony) taking a concession for son-in-law Michael Sullivan settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second line, with the speedy Our Bedrock taking over from gate four. Sent forward three-wide solo in the final circuit, Longtan Bliss outstayed his rivals to score by a half-head in a thrilling finish over Lynden Abbey which gained a late split after spending most of the race along the markers, with Gnotuk a gutsy third after facing the breeze 1.2 metres away. The mile rate 2-00.5. The second leg – The Jason Bond Memorial Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres saw $2.70 favourite Im Intense (Four Starzzz Shark/Oh Ren Ishi) successful for Melton’s Beau Tindale with Jason Lee in the sulky taking a concession. Trapped in the open from gate three, Im Intense gained cover at the expense of Pelling at the bell and when eased wide on straightening, put the race beyond doubt in a couple of bounds to register a 6.4-metre victory from Doyouseewhatisee which followed the winner throughout. Mac Department finished third after using the sprint lane off the back of the weakening leader Frosty Orielly. The mile rate 2-00.8.  The Peter Manning trained and Jason Lee driven Union Guy/Miss Incline 7-Y-0 gelding Garabaldi Union returned to form in the third leg – the Ararat HRC Horse Of The Year Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2195 metres, paying $34.90. Bred and raced by former HRV Board member Peter Bourke, Garabaldi Union led virtually throughout from gate two, rallying after appearing to be a spent force approaching the home turn when the runner-up Farmersandtradies seemed to have his measure. Showing terrific fighting qualities, Garabaldi Union prevailed by a half-neck, with Our Supreme Guy a neck away in third place after easing three wide in the straight. The mile rate 2-00.1. Eight-year-old Washington VC/Relentless Lady gelding Electric Ollie gave Beau Tindale a double and Jason Lee a treble when a huge victor of leg four – the Victorian Police Service Blue Ribbon Foundation Claiming Pace over 2195 metres in a rate of 1-58.1. Trapped wide from gate six, Lee pressed forward to assume control and Electric Ollie careered away in the last lap to blitz his rivals by 36.9 metres in advance of Our Mels Dream from last to give the stable the quinella. Accountability was a further 13.5 metres away in third place after a mid-field passage. The opening event on the program went to local owner/trainer/driver Emma Hamblin’s 8-Y-0 Village Lasper/Ive Got Rhythm gelding Broadway Classic. Moving the wide from mid-field at the bell after starting from gate three on the second line, Broadway Classic joined the pacemaker Babalaas Jack on the home turn and proved far too strong over the concluding stages, scoring by 2.6 metres in 2-00.5 over Babalaas Jack and Sassy Man which ran on late fron mid-field along the markers. Armstrong dup Brooke Hansen (trainer) and Leroy O’Brien (driver) combined to land the R & L Emerson Trainer Of The Year Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres with ex-trotter Illawong Dreamtime, a 5-Y-0 gelded son of Grinfromeartoear and Illawong Dream. Raced by Tim O’Brien, Illawong Dreamtime led throughout from gate two and after being rated to perfection by the local plumber, ran out a 5.7-metre victor over Showem Shifty which trailed and Shadow Of Fortune which faced the open for the last lap. The mile rate 2-03.3. Hamilton trainer David Lewis snared the Sgt John McNally Memorial Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres with 4-Y-0 Jeremes Jet/Frosty Mattina mare Ennaellie in a rate of 2-04.8. With stable reinsman John Caldow in the sulky, Ennaellie starting from gate six was trapped three wide before set alight shortly after the start to take over and from there on, the issue was never in doubt, scoring by 6.5 metres from a death-seating Audaz Bonita and Vision And Courage which trailed the winner after leading out from gate four. Octogenarian Daylesford trainer Bob Conroy combined with son Glenn to land the Dr John Brennan Trotter Of The Year Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2165 metres with 30 metre backmarker Button Brigade in a mile rate of 2-05. Driven patiently, Button Brigade moved to possie three back along the markers after a number of runners went off stride, with Bee Are Dee running along at the head of affairs. Extricated to be three wide running into the final bend, Button Brigade (Band Of Chips/Red Buttons) was too strong over the concluding stages to register a 14.6 metre margin over the Glenn Sharp (Longlea) stablemates Tella Tall Tale from a mile back and Spud which faced the breeze. It was Button Brigade’s 12th success in 154 outings. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Ballarat based Jaimie-Lee King had the last laugh on her rivals when four year old Major In Art/Laughing Meadow gelding Major Laugh blitzed his rivals in the Fishers IGA Pace at the Arrat trots on Tuesday. Trained at Smythes Creek by “boss” Emma Stewart, Major Laugh raced and driven by Jaimie-Lee starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with polemarker Under Your Thumb kept honest all through the race by the favourite Four Starzzz Fella outside him. Send forward four wide in the last lap, Major Laugh followed Zermanion three wide in the back straight, before sprinting like a gazelle four wide to lead on the home turn, scoring by 9.5 metres over Our Sir Ivanhoe along the sprint lane after trailing the pacemaker and being held up at a vital stage, with Nobetterthanthis (one/one) third. The mile rate was 1-58.1. A winner at Mildura on June 3 when making his Victorian debut after racing mostly around the Hunter Valley, Major Laugh returned a mile rate of 1-58.1. Two relatively unknown participants of the sport were successful on the night – Bunkers Hill (Ballarat) based owner/trainer Alan Holman combining with Zac Steenhuis to land the Hygain Feeds Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres with $61.80 chance Blude Master and Gordon’s Larry Lynch the Eastick Homes Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres with Graceful Art at $40.60. Blude Master a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Bludegirl having start number 23 and first since April 2014 after taking a lift, was taken back at the start from outside the front row to settle at the tail of the field. Under pressure in the final circuit to follow Extra three wide, Blude Master hard driven gradually made ground and when Go Betweens four wide outside him joined in approaching the home turn, grabbed the bit and went with him to set sail after the leader Blissful Spanker. In a race than changed complexion over the concluding stages, Blude Master prevailed by a nose from Go Betweens in a mile rate of 2-01.7, with Blissful Spanker 1.6 metres away in third place.  Five year old Metropolitan/Private Affair mare Graceful Affair trained by Larry Lynch racing under the banner of Lynch Harness Horses, possied mid-field in the running line from the extreme draw with local Michael Bellman in the sulky. Held up in the last lap with horses all around her as the leaders Our Bedrock and Bellas Jet kicked clear appearing to have the race to themselves, Graceful Affair came with a withering burst of speed down the centre of the track to score by 1.2 metres over Bellas Jet which raced in the open for the majority of the journey, dropping in for a breather approaching the home turn. Saab Magic flashed home late from three back the markers after also being held up prior to the home turn to be 1.5 metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1-59.4. Great Western’s Peter Manning combined with Glen Craven aboard 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Precious Delight gelding Precious Cullen to snare the Ararat RSL Red Poppy Bistro Pace for C0 class over 2195 metres in 1-59.2. Sent forward three wide out of gate four to cross Space Keeper running into the first turn, Precious Cullen coming off a fifth at Horsham on June 17 when badly held up on debut, ran his rivals ragged in defeating Mister Untouchable which faced the breeze for the final circuit, with Eyesrromin (four wide last lap) third.  Huntly (Bendigo) trainer/driver Anthony Crossland has Kiwi bred 4-Y-0 Love You/Sun Goddess gelding Dieu De Lamour racing in peak form, bringing up his third victory in the last four starts by taking the Ararat Vet Clinic Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2195 metres. Biding his time four back in the moving line from the extreme draw, Dieu De Lamour when eased three wide in the last lap exploded to the front prior to the home turn, scoring by a huge 56.5 metres in 2-03.3 over Copa Comaida which led from the pole, with Truscott Sun 5.8 metres away in third place after racing in the open for most of the trip. Terang’s Matty Craven experiencing his best season ever, had an armchair drive aboard Grinfromeartoear/Classic Malibu five year old gelding Roy George in the AME System Pace for C4 to C6 class over 1790 metres, leading all of the way from gate two in accounting for Xavier Jack which trailed and Myrniongfirecracker (one/three) in a rate of 1-58.8. The winning margin was 11.8 metres. Burrumbeet trainer Ash Herbertson took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan aboard in-form 6-Y-0 Metropolitan/Ellovalooka mare Metrofromelle to capture the David O Jones Mitre 10 Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2195 metres. Settling three back in the running line from a solo second line draw, Metrofromelle was soon off and running to park outside the pacemaker Forced Out (gate two) where Duggan was content to dictate the tempo. Taking a slender lead on the final bend, Metrofromelle outstayed her rivals to score by a neck over Our Supreme Guy along the sprint lane after following Forced Out who finished 2.9 metres away in third place. Great Western trainer Brad Hunt who assists at Peter Manning’s stable, was successful with Grinfromeartoear/Big Time Babe gelding If The Mood Suits in the E. W. Bulte Timber & Hardware 3-Y-0 Pace over 2195 metres when making his third appearance at the races. Driven by Glen Craven, If The Mood Suits (gate six) was restrained as gate sped away, going back to the tail of the field. Still a long way off the leader Katsina which had crossed the pacemaker Second Hands approaching the home turn, If The Mood Suits came from the clouds on straightening to record a 1.4 metre victory in advance of Sisulu Success (one/three – three wide last lap) and Lavish Smile (one/two) in a rate of 2-02.7. Perhaps the biggest winner of the night was Gotta Go Cullect/Princess Of Stars colt Rockstar Confusion on debut for Armstrong duo Brooke Hansen and Tim O’Brien in the Chally’s Bar & Bistro 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2195 metres. Driven by Maryborough’s Ash Matthews, Rockstar Confusion although rocky in the score-up, led from the pole only to gallop running into the first turn appearing to throw away any chance of figuring in the finish, which allowed Uwouldntbelieverit to take over. Still a mile off the leader Strazeele which had crossed to lead for the final circuit, Rockstar Confusion showed a terrific turn of speed in the last lap to get close to the front runner on straightening and in a ding-dong duel all the way up the running, gained the judge’s nod by a half head in 2-05.7. Hanging On A Dream finished 35.6 metres away in third place off a mid-field passage. Len Baker  

At his 10th country cup start this season, Road To Rock won his second trophy.   The Keith Cotchin trained seven-year-old edged out Macho Comacho in a thrilling finish to Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup – adding the victory to his feature race CV alongside his St Arnaud Cup triumph earlier this season.   The gelded son of Village Jasper/Diva La Diva ran to the front after Macho Comacho and Ardle McArdle both held interim leads early.   Ardle McArdle stepped strongly from seven to tackle early leader Macho Comacho out of three, working to the front when Macho Comacho galloped.   Macho Comacho (Chris Alford) quickly got back into stride and hooked off the markers to retake control at the head of affairs, Nathan Jack then seizing the initiative to grab the front aboard Road To Rock when Macho Comacho slowed, which pocketed Ardle McArdle (Amanda Turnbull) three-pegs.   Reigning Ararat Cup winner Savesomtimetodream with Jodi Quinlan aboard then made his move to work to the breeze, giving 2013 Ararat Cup winner Jukebox Music (Glenn Douglas) one-one cover.   Kotare Roland (Neil McCallum) was four-back the markers, Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) on his back, with Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips), Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley) and Farmersntradies (Michael Sullivan) in the running line, while Narra Operative (Kerryn Manning) was second-last and Arber (Gavin Lang) made an uncharacteristic bad getaway and settled at the back of the field.   Road To Rock comfortably navigated the opening half of the last mile (31.4 and 30.4 for a 61.8 half) before Jack upped the ante when challenged by Savesomtimetodream down the back.   Road To Rock was still travelling well to the home turn though, shaking off the reigning champ’s challenge with a 28.8 third split.   In the home straight Macho Comacho angled into the sprint lane and charged hard, while Hilltop Hustler and Ardle McArdle were winding up out wide.   But the leader dug deep, Road To Rock holding off all the challengers to score a victory by a head over Macho Comacho, with Hilltop Hustler up for third beaten 3.5 metres.   The winner got home in 29.2 for a 2:02.9 mile rate (last half 58).   Ardle McArdle ran fourth while Kotare Roland showed he was working back into some kind of form with an eye-catching fifth beaten 7.5 metres.   Savesomtimetodream weakened out of the action late to finish sixth beaten 8.2 metres, with Weallwantano heading up the rest in seventh place.   Earlier in the evening father and son Neville and Clinton Welsh combined for victory in the Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup with consistent six-year-old Sundon/Wheels To Go gelding Wildenstein, who led and rated 2:07.2 for the 2570-metre trip.   Wildenstein defeated Death Defying by 3.3 metres with Maorisfavouritesun third.   Meanwhile, trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Gavin Lang combined with Our Petite Soeur to take out the Angelique Club Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship (18th heat) by 2.3m over So Demanding with Graceful Affair third.   ROAD TO ROCK’S COUNTRY CUPS RECORD Ararat Cup 1st Echuca Cup 3rd Boort Cup 4th Wangaratta Cup 2nd Stawell Cup 2nd Gunbower Cup 2nd St Arnaud Cup 1st Maryborough Cup 6th Kilmore Cup 8th Swan Hill Cup 2nd   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

Michael Stanley’s Hilltop Hustler looks well-placed in Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup. The Redan five-year-old gelding will come out of barrier nine in the 2570-metre race, which carries stake money of $25,505. Hilltop Hustler won at Horsham two starts back in the $8505 O’Keefe before a game third off a 20- metre handicap in the Boort Pacing Cup on March 15. “At Boort he pinned the ears back and had a real crack,” said Stanley, who trains and drives Hilltop Hustler. “He’s a tough little bugger. He leaves everything out on the track … He should be hard to beat.” Hilltop Hustler is a winner of 12 races from 52 starts for stake earnings of $107,626. He has placed on a further 13 occasions. At about this time last year he won the Warragul Pacing Cup defeating Lovable Larrikin by 1.3 metres and Savesomtimetodream by seven off equal marks. The latter, trained by Paul Rowse at Ross Creek, has to spot Hilltop Hustler 10 metres from the stand start conditions at Ararat. “It’s not going to be easy from the second row but he’s working as good as ever,” Stanley said of his runner. “It’s an even sort of field.” Stanley withdrew Hilltop Hustler from a recent Melton meeting because the pacer had a virus. But a round of antibiotics has cleared up the charge’s ailment and he’s expected to be fit and firing for the Ararat feature. Twelve horses have accepted for the Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, which will be run at 10pm. Club secretary Lloyd Grice said former AFL player turned RSN radio host Mick McGuane would be on-course master of ceremonies at Ararat, filing roving reports over the microphone and helping run the punters’ club. “It’ll be great having Mick there,” Grice said. Patrons can purchase punters’ club tickets for $10 and they essentially can’t lose, because everyone who purchases a $10 ticket will receive a $10 TAB voucher. “You’ve got your money back before there’s even been a race won,” Grice said. The club has organised plenty of children’s activities but the club is hoping to attract a mix of patrons including families, punters and people just keen for a great social outing. “There’ll be plenty for the families but there will be plenty for everyone,” Grice said. “We’re hoping to get a great crowd for the Easter Saturday meeting. “We’ll even have the Easter Bunny there handing out some goodies for the kids.” A $1000 TAB voucher will be won on the night via Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition with patrons simply having to post a “selfie” on to facebook.com/trotselfies with the most creative entry taking the coin. The 10-race card gets under way at 6.25pm with the last at 11pm. The Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup will also be held at 8.30pm with in-form Death Defying sure to prove hard to beat with Nathan Jack in the sulky for trainer Kari Males. The Ararat Cup meeting is a leg of the TAB Trots Country Cups Carnival.  CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER  

Locals Greg Fleming (Wood Wood) and Vince Costa (Woorinen) gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about at the Nyah meeting at Swan Hill on Thursday. Fleming’s smart four-year-old Totally Ruthless/Tiny Gigi gelding Oils Jay Bee won the Swan Hill Prostate Support Group Pace over 2240m in a rate of 2:00.3. Driven by Ellen Tormey, Oils Jay Bee settled three back in the moving line from gate three, with polemarker Magic Attack holding the lead for Jim O’Sullivan. Gaining a three-wide trail home on the back of Thesonofgeorgia, Oils Jay Bee passed that horse stylishly at the end to win by 1.3m, while Kilbirnie North snared third place. Madis Mate, first-up for the Costa team, was ultra-impressive in his Freemasons Swan Hill Lodge 2YO Pace win over 1609m. With Ararat’s Michael Bellman aboard, Madis Mate was taken back to last from outside the front row before moving to the one-out-one-back position approaching the home turn. Once clear in the straight, Madis Mate sprouted wings to score by 1.7m over first-starter Times A Bonus, with another debut runner Trentleigh finishing third in a mile rate of 1:57.8. The Costa stable made it a double when well-performed 5YO gelding Blissful Hart won the C2-C4 Pace over 2240m. With Mick Bellman again in the sulky, Blissful Hart spent most of the race three back along the marker line after starting from inside the second line. Coming away from the inside approaching the home turn to be three-wide on the bend, Blissful Hart was too strong at the finish for the leader Miss Toolern Vale in a rate of 1:59.7, winning by 1.1 metres. Virginia Lightning finished third after following the pacemaker. By Len Baker (Harness Ra

Allendale East  harness racing trainer David Kemp enjoyed a red letter day at Hamilton this afternoon with a winning double. Kemp’s ultra-consistent five-year-old gelding Arr En Special took out the PDF Food Services Pace to give the trainer the first leg of his winning double, narrowly holding out hot favourite Flaming Hero after an excellent drive from talented young reinsman Jason Lee. Kemp’s mare, Forced Out, then prevailed from pole in the last race, the Logical Property Services Pace, again with Lee the winning reinsman. Kerryn Manning also drove a winning double on the program, opening with two-year-old gelding Jereme Jetsetter in the first, the Hunt’s Auto Spaces 2YO Pace, for trainer Peter Manning, before taking out the fourth race, the Ward’s Jewellers Ladies Challenge Pace aboard Kankkunen for Burrumbeet trainer Kati Gunn, over Sir Dasher Dee for Marnie Bibby and Tara Tom for Jamie-Lee King. In other races, Lovable Nick won the Alexandra House Trotters Handicap at big odds over Brian Kiesey-trained pair Candy Digger and Master Kiesey in second and third. Lovable Nick won by 4.6m in a mile rate of 2:04.3. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to win the Trevor Krause 3YO Pace over 1660m, defeating runner-up In The Trenches by a head, with 5m back to Goodtime Blackie in third place. The mile rate was 1:56.2 with the last half in 58.8secs. Matthew Craven took out the Graham and Mary Torbet Memorial Pace over 1660m with seven-year-old mare Shards Of Ice. Craven, who rarely misses a win at a Hamilton meeting, settled his $34 shot three back along the pegs before bursting through in the sprint lane for a barnstorming win. The mare ran a slick mile rate of 1:53.9. Drumborg’s Kevin Brough combined with Ararat driver Michael Bellman to win the Judith Astbury Pace with Modern Art four-year-old mare Just Like Elle. She scored by 2.6m over Whisper Away, with Sign No More in third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.4. Harness racing heads to Kilmore tomorrow night for a huge 10-event card, with the first race at 5.05pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Local Woorinen co-trainers Joe Costa and son Vince each provided a winner at the Nyah harness racing meeting held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre last Thursday. Joe landed the open class feature of the evening – the tab.com.au Pace for C6 or better class over 1609 metres with ultra-consistent Life Sign / Edna June five year old gelding Life Of Ted in a slashing mile rate of 1-56.7. Leading out from gate two, Life Of Ted was rated to perfection by Ararat’s Michael Bellman who does the bulk of the stable driving and kicked clear on straightening to score by 1.3 metres in advance of Shayne Cramp’s Washington Heritage (one/one – three wide home turn), with Well Oiled Lombo third after trailing the winner from the pole. Life Of Ted has recorded 10 wins (five this season) from 64 race appearances. Vince Costa’s very much in-form Dream Away / Royal Beach Girl four year old gelding Beachstar brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the choicehotels.com.au Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 1-57. Again with Bellman in the sulky, Beachstar was trapped three wide from gate three, before crossing the polemarker Terre T entering the back straight on the first occasion. Given no peace by Shayne Cramp aboard Changing Code which moved from last to join him, the pair went head and head a long way from home, with Cramp trying to outstay the pacemaker. In quarters of 30, 30.1, a sizzling 26.8 and 30.8 for the last mile, Changing Code was the first to crack, allowing Beachstar to race clear on the final bend, with Terry T giving chase. Although out on his feet halfway up the running, Beachstar kept on giving to score by a meritorious three metres over Double Happy (three back the markers) which ran home nicely when finally extricated into the clear, with Terry T a further half metre away in third place.   Budding superstar Vee Rock made it four from four with another outstanding performance to capture the 2nd Heat of the $7,505 Sky Racing Vicbred Platinum Country Series Q for C1 class over 2240 metres. A winner of the first heat held at Mildura the previous Friday, Vee Rock kicked up from the pole, before reinsman Mark Lee elected to hand over the front running to the second elect Illawong Fantasia drawn next to him. Immediately eased away from the inside not wanting to risk a pocket, Vee Rock then challenged for the lead and was allowed to cross and lead all within the space of a lap. Cruising for the remainder of the journey, Vee Rock coasted to the wire 15.3 metres in advance of Philtra Phella off a three wide trail approaching the home turn, with Illawong Fantasia a disappointing third. The mile rate 1-58. Bred by Swan Hill’s Mick Cirillo and Anne-Maree Short, Vee Rock trained at Cardross by Frank Merceica is a four year old gelded son of Universal Rock and Annie Teaghan and will be the logical favourite in the rich $10.275 Final to be held at Mildura next Wednesday. Len Baker Victoria Harness Racing

Six year old Village Jasper/Cultured Lombo gelding Savesomtimetodream landed his third country cup for the season, when successful in the $25,505 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2570 metres at Ararat in the heart of the Western District on Saturday March 5.   Raced by Ballarat Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse and partners, Savesomtimetodream which already had captured both the Yarra Valley and Gunbower Cups, began smoothly from a solo10 metre mark to possie one/one on the back of the roughie Farmersntradies, with Narra Operative (barrier five) going forward after a tardy start to race in the open after competing a lap.   Jodi Quinlan then set Savesomtimetodream forward three wide to tackle the leaders (favourite) Jadahson (barrier three) and Narra Operative (barrier five), parking outside the leader mid-race.   Applying plenty of pressure to Jadahson in the final circuit, Savesomtimetodream outstayed his rivals to record a courageous 1.6 metre victory over Jadahson, with Arber (three back the markers) using the sprint lane for third.   The well supported polemarker Inky Cullen galloped away from the pole, while equal 20 metre backmarker Our Blackbird with Arber, settled at the rear from a 20 metre handicap, before moving three wide racing for the bell, with Inky Cullen following.   In quarters of 31.7. 31.1, 28.9 and 28.8 for the final mile, Savesomtimetodream returned a mile rate of 2-04.6, well outside the track record of 2-01.1 set by 2010 winner I Am Sam.   Race sponsor John Hawke on behalf of Renown Silverware has sponsored the Ararat Pacing Cup for the last 20 years.    Supplementing the program was the $10,505 Clive Reed Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2570 metres which was a blow out for punters with $73.70 rank outsider Idle Suntime scoring for Great Western trainer/driver Michelle Wight (formerly Michelle Manning).   Settling on the back of the leader Im Whitney (barrier three) from the pole, Idle Suntime sailed through along the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.8 metres in advance of Im Whitney which hung rather badly on the final bend, with Wildenstein (three back the markers) running his usual honest race for third. The mile rate 2-07.6.   A six year old gelded son of Sundon and Foreign Interest, Idle Suntime chalked up his 10th victory from 67 outings.   The country cup scene moves to Sunraysia next week, with the Mildura Pacing Cup being held next Saturday. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

Wednesday night trotting was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre when the Nyah HRC conducted a neat seven event card, highlighted by the running of the $25,505 Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final for C1 & C2 class over 2240 metres which contested the heats and Semi-Finals held at Mildura on March 6 and 12. Mildura’s Shayne Cramp (Victoria’s leading trainer of last season) held a strong hand with four of the 12 runners in the final and snared the quinella with four year old Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac gelding Aldebaran Macha defeating Changing Code in a rate of 1-57. Driven by Nathan Jack, Aldebaran Machastarting from gate three on the second line settled a mile off the Lake Boga leader Gollahman (gate four). In a race where the position outside the leader chopped and changed several times as three of the Cramp runners took turns to face the breeze, Aldebaran Macha latched to the back of Beach Star from four back in the running line at the bell which originally parked outside the leader as the start was effected. Gaining a lovely ride home, Aldebaran Macha after an easy time raced to the front halfway up the running and in a punishing finish, held off Changing Code from mid-field by a half neck in a thrilling finale, with Beachstar  a game third after leading on turning. Wood Wood owner/breeder/trainer Greg Fleming does a grand job with his small team and captured the Ray & Grace Hepworth Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace Final over 2240 metres with Armbro Operative/Highly Rated gelding Rate Highly, giving the locals something to cheer about. Driven by Ararat’s Mick Bellman, Rate Highly possied three back in the moving line form gate six, with Dawson Street leading from gate three. Taken three wide in the final circuit, Rate Highly ran home stylishly to gain the day in advance of Billy Mack which raced in the open from the bell, with Glitzy Gal running home late from last to finish third. The mile rate 1-58.9. The wraps were huge on the first starter Midnitedelite in the Courage Under Fire 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres and the Bettors Delight/Aimee Sheffield colt on debut didn’t let his supporters down. Trained at Elmore by Keith Cotchin and driven by Bendigo based Scott Dyer, Midnitedelite led throughout from the pole to easily account for Justbritell which raced outside him in a rate of 1-57.9. Will Cooper(one/three – three wide last lap) finished third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

The Ararat Harness Racing Club has been devastated by what members have described as 'wanton destruction'. Offenders broke into the bar area of the club sometime between midnight and 5am on Sunday and caused more than $22,000 damage, which included destroying two large fridges - tipping one over - and badly damaging a third, as well as strewing cans and bottles of drinks across the floor and destroying much of the stock. To read the full article written by Jodie Holwell click on this link.  

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