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Conon Bridge defeated Cyclone Chief by a metre to claim Group 1 glory in the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Trotters Final at Melton’s Super Sunday program. The Paul Nairn-trained son of Raffaello Ambrosio/Diedre’s Girl survived a protest from the second horse, with the winner veering inwards in the home straight. However, stewards couldn’t be satisfied that the interference cost Cyclone Chief the race and the first horse over the line held his position, much to the relief of the favourite punters. Bob Butt drove the winner and Todd MacFarlane was aboard the second horse. Conon Bridge started $1.40 and led throughout from the pole, his winning mile rate 2:03.9. Cruisin Around ran a mighty race for trainer Michael Hughes and driver Greg Sugars to finish third, while Sundons Courage was fourth from three back along the pegs, running on well after a slow early pace up front. Reina Danzante goes all the way in fillies' final Reina Danzante won her second Group 1 for trainer Nicole Molander and driver Chris Alford with an all-the-way triumph in today’s IMV Technologies Breeders Cown Final for 3YO trotting fillies. The daughter of Armbro Invasion out of champion mare La Coocaracha led from barrier four to score by a neck in a mile rate of 2:00.9, Glenferrie Burn running on for second and My Arya finishing third. “Nicole and Dean (Molander) have done a super job,” Alford said. “Two Group 1s has been great and she should only get better too.” Once in front Reina Danzante posted a 31.4secs first quarter before a 29.4 second split. Reina Danzante got home in 58.7secs. Reina Danzante won the Vicbred Super Series earlier this season. by Cody Winnell

Reina Danzante became a harness racing Group 1 winner at just her fourth trip to the races tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. The well-bred daughter of Armbro Invasion out of former champion mare La Coocaracha enjoyed a comfortable run in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Fillies Final before bursting through late to defeat Sky Petite. Driven by Chris Alford for trainer Nicole Molander, Reina Danzante began well but was crossed by Sheza Amason and Rebecca Bartley. Reigning Vicbred Super Series champion Endsino was caught without cover for the trip after getting a good run through from her second-line draw, Alford able to sit quietly until the home straight. Sky Petite (Steve Duffy) made a strong run turning for home and almost looked the winner, but Alford and Reina Danzante fired up late to get the victory by 2.4 metres, with Val Gardena (Chris Svanosio) rattling home out wide for third. “She’s come in leaps and bounds since she came down,” Alford said. “They (Nicole and Dean Molander) do a good job with their horses. They don’t have a big team but they’re all pretty spot-on.” Donski finished fourth and Zaire Diva fifth. Watch Reina Danzante win her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

It is quickly coming around to that point of the New Zealand harness racing season where we start to hand out the gongs for best performed in each age group and gait divisions. Harnesslink thought we would do a review of each of the categories with our view on where the contenders sit. Here is our review of the 4 year old trotting mares division 1) Poppymalda - 2015 Season:  10 starts,    4 wins,    1 seconds,    2 thirds,    Lt $34,613 Lovely Armbro Invasion mare who just seemed to get better as the season went on. Has a few strings to her claim for this division when you look at the stats. She won the most money during the season for a four year old trotting mare  as well as the most races for a four year old trotting mare. She saved her best for last when she was an outstanding third in the Harness Jewels, storming home for third to King Denny after being badly held up on the last corner and was the first mare home in the Group 1 fixture. 2) Majestic Time - 2015 Season:    11 starts,    3 wins,    2 seconds,    2 thirds,    Lt $27,416 High class Majestic Son mare at her best but didn't look at her best at times during the season. Threw the toys out of the cot a couple of times which added to the feeling she wasn't 100% right. Several good runs during the season but not as sharp as she was at three. Her two gallops at the Harness Jewels for no apparent reason typified her season for us. 3) All Royal Gal - 2015 Season:  14 starts,  2 wins,    3 seconds,    1 thirds,    Lt $27,757 Always looked a nice mare in the making and the daughter of Monarchy hit a purple patch of form late in the season where she looked very smart. Had her chance in the Harness Jewels after working to get handy early from the second row but just battled in the straight. Placed behind some smart horses such as Monbet during the season but just not consistent enough. Selection After weighing everything up we went for Poppymalda for the following reasons over Majestic Time. *She won the most money in this division *She won the most races in this division *First mare home in the Harness Jewels from this division. Harnesslink Media 

Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars and reinsman son Greg made a winning Foray to Cranbourne on Saturday night for the Group 2 Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup. First-up since arriving in the Sugars stables just over a fortnight ago, six-year-old Foray, by Armbro Invasion out of Queen Of The Mountain, finished strongest over 2555m to defeat early leader Our Overanova and a death-seating favourite Kyvalley Blur in a track record mile rate of 2:02.4. “My expectations were that he could probably run third and that he wouldn’t beat Kyvalley Blur or Our Overanova,” trainer Sugars said. “But he was really suited by the tempo, which made it difficult for Kyvalley Blur.” Greg Sugars hardly flinched aboard Foray in the home straight, carefully levelling him up with Our Overanova before the winner got his bib in front in the shadows of the post. Foray’s trainer explained the trotter had a habit of galloping at vital stages when based in New Zealand’s South Island. “That’s why Greg nursed him a bit,” he said. Asked what Greg said post-race, Sugars replied: “That was all right, wasn’t it?” “We’re pretty happy with it. “It’s not often you win your TM0 and it’s worth $30,000.” Foray is raced by a group of owners in New Zealand with Matt and Maryanne Hickey the pair who deal closest with Sugars. The pacesetter, Our Overanova driven by John Caldow, trotted through a lead time of 72 – three seconds quicker than Keystone Del ran in last year’s Cranbourne Cup – before a first half of 63.8secs. Our Overanova was slipped a bit more rein down the back straight for a 29secs third split before a fourth quarter of 29.5secs made for a 58.5secs final half. Our Overanova finished a head behind the winner with Kyvalley Blur 8.1m off in third. by Cody Winnell

Nathan Williamson has been on fire since the Gore meeting just after Xmas and Saturday at  Invercargill was another stellar day for the young harness racing trainer. Nathan added another four training wins to the resume which took him up to eleven wins since Xmas while he has also driven sixteen winners in the same period. Nathan also reached another milestone yesterday when Splash Cola won the first race with that win notching up his 500th success in the sulky. Given out by Nathan as his best drive for the meeting in the Harnesslink weekly ringaround, Spash Cola won like a horse with a big future. Nathan though wasn't entirely happy with the mare's performance. "She has still got a fair bit to learn" "She didn't trot that well early but got better the further she went" " With a bit more experience I think she can go a long way," Nathan said. The second of Nathan's quartet for the day was the smart American Ideal three year old Tas Man Bromac who took 3.4 seconds off the old track for 2700 metres from a stand by a three year old when he streaked away for an easy win by 3 1/2 lengths in 3:22, a mile rate of 2:00.4. The mark was also 1.6 seconds inside the old New Zealand record for the distance set in 1999 by Seafield Raider Registering his fifth win from just nine starts, the colt is obviously well above average and Nathan was confident going into the race. "The trip away to Addington last week did him the world of good" "He was working great before the trip north but has worked better again since his return." "He is just such a lovely horse to do anything with" "Our longterm aim with him is the Southern Supremacy but he will still need to keep improving to match it with the likes of Pulp Fiction," Nathan said.  The third of Nathan's winners was the three year old Changeover gelding Cool Changes who improved from a first up fourth to take out the maiden 2200 metres mobile in a style that suggested that there are a few more in store. Nathan has a bit of time for the inexperienced gelding. " He is one of those horses that you have to keep after a bit." "He is a real lazy laid back kind of character but he keeps going." " He doesn't have real high speed but can still run time due to his strength, Nathan said. The fourth and last of Nathan's winners was the very smart Armbro Invasion mare Poppymalda who came from a long way off them at the 600 metres mark to grab Queen Kenny close to home and notch up win number three at just her seventh start. Nathan was thrilled with her performance. " She just keeps getting better and better."  " She was timed to trot her last 800 metres in 56.4 and that was after being out three wide so it was a great run. "Our longterm aim is the Harness Jewels at Ashburton and with that in mind we thought we might take her up to Addington this week for the experience," Nathan said. Nathan is having a stellar season to date training wise with twenty five wins in the bank and he is well on the way to beating his season's best of thirty five wins set in 2013. Nathan knew at the start of the season that he had a good team around him. " I kind of  figured we might be in for a big season but we did lose a couple of our most promising horses early on to injury  but other horses in the stable have preformed better than we thought so we haven't felt the loss of those horses as much as I thought we would. " Nathan said. Nathan, who has been driving for just ten years has quickly matured into a leading driver on the New Zealand harness racing scene, having already won five Southland driving premierships. Nathan continues to go from strength to strength and it looks a given that his stature in the industry will continue to rise in the coming years. Harnesslink Media   

A brave and what looked like a successful bid to get Armbro Demon to the New Zealand Cup meeting and beyond came to an end midweek when the mare developed suspensory problems. Mark Purdon was philosophical about the injury. "She suddenly developed a problem which I thought might be a suspensory and she also had a smaller problem in the other leg. (Vet) Bill Bishop confirmed that is what it was and it means she has been retired. We found out she had had a suspensory problem before having a long spell and unfortunately it has returned'' Armbro Demon caused something of a sensation winning at the Cup meeting three years ago in only her third win up from a spell for owner-trainer Chris McLeod. She trotted the 3200m in a sensational 4.05.8 winning easily. She has only had two starts in nearly three years since having suffered an injury in 2012 and her career stands at five wins from only 10 starts. Chris, who had put so much time into the Armbro Invasion mare, agreed to lease her out for one more try for a race career and it wasn't a well kept secret around the All Stars stable that her ability  had made a deep impression at Rolleston. Armbro Demon had a few tricks to play on the unwary but she had gradually adapted well to a big stable atmosphere. Word of her ability must have leaked out because there were substantial bets placed on her in the Dominion Handicap especially in all up betting. Courtesy Of All Star Racing

Breeding wise Poppymalda has a lot to recommend her. By champion harness racing trotting sire Armbro Invasion, Pollymalda is from the Sundon mare In The Sun who is a full sister to the former standout trotter Sundowner Bay 18 wins ($259,856). In The Sun is also a half sister to the dam of the brilliant Enthusiast 1:59.5 ($90,585) who won 11 races as a two and three year old, Inspire 9 wins ($147,468) including the Group One Rowe Cup and Call You Later, 9 wins $73,174. The great race mare Framalda (22 wins) is another standout trotter close up in the pedigree. So it should be no surprise that Poppymalda looks to have inherited all of the family ability. Having just her second lifetime start last night at Forbury, she was sent out a short priced favourite even though she drew the outside of the second line. That was due in no small part to her huge run on debut where she lost a 100 meters early but still finished a close up sixth. Last night she settled last of the bunch before coming out with a round to go to work forward to the death. She remained there until they turned for home where she shot clear with driver Nathan Williamson sitting as quiet as a church mouse as she cruised to the line,an easy winner. The stock of Armbro Invasion are noted for getting better with age so Poppymalda looks to have a big future ahead of her if her first two runs are anything to go by. Poppymalda Harnesslink media

Champion trotter Stig has been retired for approximately the third time but this time his trainer Paul Nairn is all but certain there will be no fairytale comeback story. “He is more likely to be seen at the Ellesmere show in October competing in the hack class than back on a racetrack,” says the eleven year-old gelding’s legendary trainer, Paul Nairn. “He has been offloading which has caused him to go in a hind suspensory,” advised Nairn. “He is still relatively sound but he would definitely need a spell and it is not easy to bring back an eleven-year-old gelding,” he added. “And I think he has earned his retirement, don’t you?” The war horse who stole the hearts of harness racing fans across Australasia will now live out his days as a riding hack for Stacy Whatuira, who works for Nairn at his Leeston base. When asked what Stig’s greatest attributes were, Nairn was quick to highlight his toughness and huge will to win. “When he was right he was just such a tremendous stayer,” said Nairn. “He simply had no bottom to him.” “The race that will always stand out for me is his Dominion Handicap win in 2008. I think Darren Tyquin called the race that day and it was a tremendous call. He was last and looped the field four wide and was simply too good. For those of you who can’t remember that day, Darren Tyquin’s words were: “Super Stig. Have a look at a real champion go. He is the best trotter in New Zealand and his name is Stig!” Sadly, just four months after this, Stig went amiss and after the gelding went sore again while being jogged up by co-owner Tim Butt, the son of Armbro Invasion was officially retired. But, somehow, through the deeds of a champion horse and a champion trainer, Stig made it back to the races in February of 2012 to start a campaign which saw him win the Rowe Cup in December in what was one of the most emotional victories ever seen at Alexandra Park. “He was doing the dual sulkies out at Lindsay Kerslake’s place and he seemed sound so I decided to give him another go,” recalls Nairn. “I’m certainly glad I did now,” he laughed. “His Rowe Cup win was an absolute fairytale and is definitely the race that stands out alongside his Dominion victory.” “If he had have had a sound career he could have been absolutely anything,” Nairn concluded. Nairn said he would like to pay thanks to his vet Lindsay Colwell, who has been an instrumental part of the second half of Stig’s career, as well as David Butt, who did a wonderful job of driving the gelding throughout his career. Nairn also thanked co-owner Jim Boyd, who became famous for his post-race songs, which included the hit single ‘Stigey boy’. “I think I need to thank Jim as he annoyed Tim (Butt) so much that Tim got sick of him and decided to offload him, as well as Stig, on to me,” Nairn quipped. Stig fact file: lifetime starts: 63 wins: 23 seconds: 12 thirds: 6 Stakes: $855,096 Sire: Armbro Invasion Dam: Naraya (Gekoj) Owners:  T G Butt, Mrs Andrea Butt, J S Boyd, Mrs R I Boyd, R G Thomas, Ms J A Gordon Group One wins: New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All, Dominion Handicap, National Trot, Rowe Cup, Great Southern Star heat. By Mitchell Robertson    

Armbro Invasion, one the greatest ever trotting sires to stand in the Southern hemisphere, died as the result of a heart attack at Stonegate Farm, Nathalia (Vic.) on Thursday night (February 27). He was aged 27 years. A son of supersire Speedy Crown and the world champion racemare Delmegan, Armbro Invasion has been represented by more than 30 Group 1 or Listed winners and his stock have won in excess of $10-million.   Heading his list of winners is the millionaire trotter Take A Moment, who has won a record thirteen Group 1 events including two Inter Dominion finals and was twice named NZ Trotter of the Year. Other top square-gaiters sired by Armbro Invasion include the Dominion Handicap and Rowe Cup winner Stig ($838,359), the Inter Dominion heat winners Major Decision ($350,826), Glenbogle ($336,638), Kawarau Invasion ($276,584), Raydon ($273,656), Aquinas ($202,158), Strathfield Jack ($172,450), Motu Young Jacob ($171,588) and others in Lanson, Romper Stomper, Opal Invasion and Braig. Armbro Invasion later became a leading broodmare sire of trotters with his daughters producing two Breeders Crown champions in Let Me Thru and Elegant Image, the Victoria Derby winner Sunset Invasion, Charlemagne (NZ Jewels), the Vicbred champion Miss Bullion and other smart performers in Conquer All, Armed Guard, In Pursuit, Boizel, Cilla’s Earl and Wildenstein. by Peter Wharton, for  

Group 1 winning mare Quite A Moment ended a frustrating run of minor placings to post a near record victory at Lord's Raceway last night. The daughter Quite Easy had posted four seconds and two third placings this season from six starts before last night's win. "Finally," driver Greg Sugars said as he returned to get the all clear from Steward Barry Delaney. Trained by Greg's father Ross, Quite A Moment has won almost $140,000 winning 8 races from 33 race starts including the Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown 3yo Trot Group 1 final at Melton last August. In the Skyvalley Trot (2150m) at Bendigo, Sugars had Quite A Moment in cruise control striding along in front to dominate the race from start to finish. The mare strolled to the line posting a 2.00.3 mile rate, just outside Skyvalley's 2008 record of 1.59. In the Harness Breeders Victoria Trot (1650m) favourite Secret Kiss. trained and driven by Paul Males just held on to beat Queens Vacation (Glenn Douglas). The Armbro Invasion mare won by a neck in a 2.00.8 mile rate. Majestic Son filly Majestic Grace was far to good for its opposition in the Aldebaran Yankee 3yo Trot (1650m). The Mick Blackmore trained trotter won by 7 metres in a 1.59.7 rate and was driven by Chris Alford. Bendigo’s next race meeting on Saturday 8 March 2014 features the Gold and Silver heats of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Series. With the winner’s progressing to the Breed for Speed Finals at Tabcorp Park’s Great Southern Star race meeting on 22 March 2014. By David Alfred (Harness Racing Australia)

One of Alexandra Park’s most frequent patrons and founder of the Anzus Standardbred Agency passed away in Te Aroha last Sunday night. John Coll of Morrinsville was 66. John, a prolific breeder and owner, was renowned for the ‘Springfield’ name. He also pioneered the shuttling of American standardbreds to New Zealand in 1991. John Geiger, of Geiger Bloodstock, bought his company two years later. John’s foundation shuttle stallions were In The Pocket and WRH, a full brother to Ok Bye, who was named after the legendary American trainer driver W.R. (Billy) Haughton. He was a committee member of the Morrinsville Trotting Club and was a past president of the Waitaki Trotting Club. His friend Malcolm Mulligan who travelled to and from Morrinsville to Alexandra Park more than 100 times, said John was an avid trotting fan. “He was a die-hard fan of harness racing, especially the squaregaiters. He really loved breeding from Armbro Invasion. “He was extremely knowledgeable when it came to trotting bloodlines. What he didn’t know about them wasn’t worth knowing. “He sat at his same little seat every week at ‘The Park’. The place won’t be the same without him,” Mulligan said. John was born in Southland and farmed sheep, beef and crops in Pleasant Point before moving north to Morrinsville in 1990. The best horse he bred was the 10-win ($94,320) Brylin Boyz gelding Springfield Hero. Other horses of note were Springfield Yankee (10 wins - $58,960), Springfield Master (7 wins - $34,211), Springfield Rocket (4 wins - $20,688). Springfield Countess, who won six races and $28,250, finished third behind Chipaluck and Maddie in the 1985 Group One New Zealand Oaks for 3yo fillies. John also bred Adios Springfield (1:53.8) – the fastest son of Sharvid Adios. He also had success in Australia, the best being his Sundon – Make No Mistake gelding named Springfield Alonzo. He won eight of his 52 starts and placed 11 times for $41,881. He also recorded a 1:58.6 mile when winning at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 14 2012. John also briefly owned Speedy Summit before selling him to Australia. That son of Speedy Crown later raced in the United States. John’s latest claim to fame is the promising Armbro Invasion gelding, Foray. That 5-year-old trotter has won five of his 18 starts, including a last start Manawatu win (February 6) for Woodville trainer Mathew Hickey. John’s death notice read: Coll, John Gilbert. – Passed away peacefully at the Te Aroha Community Hospital, after a courageous battle. Loved father of Robert of Pleasant Point. John was the dearly loved eldest son of the late Daniel McLaughlin and Kathleen Cyrilla Coll. He was the loved brother and brother-in-law of Cedric (Timaru), Alwyn and Sue (Christchurch), Gerard and Sue (Cheviot), and Pat and Donna (Timaru). Also a much loved uncle and great-uncle. A funeral service for John will be held at St Patrick's Catholic Church, 625 Alexandra Street, Te Awamutu, on Wednesday February 12,at 1.30pm, followed by private cremation. All communications please to the Coll Family, c/- PO Box 137, Te Awamutu. By Duane Ranger

Imagine putting your shoes on back-to-front and then being asked to stretch out better than what you ever have. That’s exactly what West Melton trainer Ken Ford asked of his trotter Rebma just prior to attacking the two-day Nelson meeting at Richmond Park on Friday (January 3) and Sunday (January 5). Ford, who does a lot of his own shoeing, got his mate and Rolleston horseman Derek Jones to turn Rebma’s shoes right around. Result – two easy wins on both days of the meeting. “Derek has done a great job shoeing him. The horse did have a quarter crack and now that problem seems to be behind him. I was very impressed with his runs at Nelson. The reverse shoeing did the trick alright,” said Ford, who watched the meeting on TV from his Canterbury home. Ford’s daughter Amanda Tomlinson took four racehorses, seven Kidz Kartz ponies, and three children north to attend both the Nelson and Blenheim meetings. She also did the driving behind Rebma on both days. Up until Rebma’s two Nelson wins, the 5-year-old gelding had won three of his 31 starts. Ford said a mix of both shoeing and maturity had ensured Rebma’s fourth and fifth career wins. “He’s a son of Armbro Invasion, so he was always going to take time. I think he has the potential to be a Rowe Cup or Dominion horse one day. I’m not saying he can win those races, but he’s certainly got the potential to line up in those big Group One events,” Ford said. Both days Tomlinson quietly worked Rebma into his races and then cruised past his opposition to win by 1-1/2 lengths and 4-1/2 lengths respectively. On day one Rebma won the $8,000 Maxi C1 and faster trot in 3:06.7 (2400m stand), trotting his last 800m and 400m sectionals in 58.8 and 29.6 seconds. His winning mile rate was 2:05.1. Then on day two the gentle bay cleaned up the $8,000 Nelson Building Society C1 and faster trot in 3:58 even (3000m stand). He sprinted home in 61 and 32 and scored with a 2:07.6 mile rate. He started from 10m behind on Friday and then 30m on Sunday. “He’s such a lovely horse to have around. You can do anything with him. He’s so kind and gentle that even the kids can fast work him at home. We love having him around. His lovely nature makes him a bit special,” Ford said. Rebma is ‘Amber’ spelt backwards. He was named after Tomlinson’s champion equestrian horse, which competed with Tomlinson in several New Zealand Show Jumping Championships. “She was killed the night Rebma was born. The old girl was 36. That was sad but this fella has proved to be a worthy replacement,” said Ford. Rebma will race at the Waterlea meeting in Blenheim this Friday and Sunday before returning to his Canterbury base. He is owned and was bred by Ford and Tomlinson. For the record: Forty three-year-old Tomlinson, who was an accomplished equestrian rider before venturing into harness racing, also played open side flanker for New Zealand in the first ever Women’s Rugby World Cup. Her daughter, Kerryn has won two New Zealand Kidz Kartz Cups, including this season’s edition of the great little miniature pony race. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Peter Manning’s Armbro Invasion/Free Rider 3-Y-0 gelding Weregonnarock brought up four wins in a row by taking out the Seelite Windows & Doors Vicbred Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres at Maryborough on Friday November 22, but not before giving his supporters heart flutters. In what was a superb performance, Weregonnarock galloped away from the pole as the start was effected settling a long last, with Thekiwikid working to the front. Commencing a forward move three wide racing for the bell, Weregonnarock was left on a limb until he exploded to the front on the final bend and raced away to record a brilliant 18.6 metre victory in advance of Ships Shui (three back the markers) and Ballan Road from mid-field in a rate of 2-03. Western District (Hawkesdale) trainer Graham Gee’s very smart Blissful Hall/Weona Rena 4-Y-0 entire Bliss Man chalked up his 6th victory when successful in the Redpath Tyres & Battery Service Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres. Taking a concession for Terang young gun Jason Lee, Bliss Man was sent forward from outside the front row to lead for the majority of the trip in easily accounting for Zedaguy which trailed after leading out, with Rosy Ogrady Lombo (one/one) last lap third. The mile rate 1-55.1. Jason was to finish the day with a double after piloting cousin Matt Craven’s Kiwi bred 5-Y-0 Real Desire/Explosive Franco gelding Dont Tell Jim to victory in the Bristol Hill Motor Inn Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres. First up since July, Dont Tell Jim enjoyed a cosy passage on the back of the leader Rapid Art Beat after the favourite Bettor Move galloped in the back straight on the first occasion. \Using the sprint lane, Dont Tell Jim sailed to the front in the shadows of the post to score from the pacemaker and a death-seating Exsalont in a rate of 2-00.6. Congupna trainer Danny Ferris has a potential top liner in Bacardi Lindy/Strapon filly Barefoot Sally who made it two from three when successful in the Yield Boko @ Aldebaran Park 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Driven by Chris Lang (Jnr), Barefoot Sally starting solo on the second row, possied one/one trailing the favourite Spidergrace (gate six) which shadowed the pacemaker Riegle Deception (gate four). Easing wide on straightening as Spidergrace got the better of the leader, Barefoot Sally ran home stylishly to register a 1.2 metre victory over Spidergrace, with Rumbaron third after trailing the front runner. The mile rate 2-03.8. Eight year old Dream Vacation/Maori Princess gelding Maori Vacation snared the Red Samurai Trotters Handicap for T3 or better class over 2190 metres for veteran Stanhope trainer Malcolm Shaw. Driven by Gavin Lang, Maori Vacation first up since August settled mid-field in the moving line after starting from 20 metres, with old timer Kingofthedesert leading from the pole. Set alight three wide racing for the bell, Maori Vacation had little difficulty in parking outside the leader and was always travelling kindly. Surging to the front approaching the home turn, Maori Vacation had plenty in hand at the finish, winning by 1.7 metres from Balletto (four wide home turn after a bad beginning) and Imagunnadogood (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-06. The Adam Kelly/Gavin Lang (Coimadai) combination were successful with Kiwi bred 6-Y-0 In The Pocket/Lite Jade mare Lite Jagermeister in the Maryborough & District Advertiser Pace for C5 & C6 class over 1690 metres. Taking advantage of a mares concession, Lite Jagermeister (gate four) was sent forward to obtain the front running racing for the bell off the pole marker Night Affair. Travelling smoothly for the rest of the journey, Lite Jagermeister coasted to the wire 5.3 metres in advance of Night Affair in a rate of 1-56.3, with The Unionist (three wide last lap from last) running home strongly for third. Len Baker

Great Western trainer Peter Manning’s promising Armbro Invasion/Free Rider gelding Weregonnarock after three consecutive seconds, finally cracked it for a victory when successful in the Oktoberfest At Lord’s Raceway 19 October 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres at Bendigo on Wednesday October 2. Driven by daughter Kerryn, Weregonnarock led throughout from barrier two to score by a nose over her nemesis Dell Boy which trailed after coming from a 20 metre backmark (Dell Boy had beaten him on the last two occasions), with Girls Go First a gap away in third place. The mile rate 2-07.6. Wahring’s Daniel Jack was successful with Mach Three/Shards A Flyin filly Shards Secret who greeted the judge in the Johnny Tee Bendigo Horse Of The Year 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres. Making her second race appearance, Shards Secret was driven with plenty of vigour from the pole to hold out all challengers at the start and was never headed, defeating Stunning Grin (one/one) which switched to the sprint lane on turning and the hot favourite Eliseos Falcon which had a torrid passage outside the winner. The mile rate 1-59.2. Nagambie’s Chris Lang (Jnr) is making a name for himself, especially with the trotters and landed the Flying It At Springvale Stud Castlemaine Trotters Mobile for T2 to T4 class over 2150 metres with former Kiwi Lysenko. Sent forward from gate four to park outside the speedy pacemaker Mister Gunsen, Lysenko a 6-Y-0 gelded son of Sundon and Dispride outstayed his rivals to score a strong victory over Just Call Me Earl along the sprint lane from three back the markers and Im Demimondaine which trailed the leader, moving away from the markers to be one/one on straightening. The mile rate 2-02.2. Avenel trainer Wayne Potter combined with Shepparton’s Nathan Jack to land the Chris Alford Premier Driver Pace for C2 class over 2150 metres with 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/Eve Of Eden mare Tombstone Eden in a rate of 1-59.2. Taken back off the gate from barrier six to settle with most of the field ahead of her, Tombstone Eden gained a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Fergus Mactavish in the final circuit and when taken four wide at the straight entrance, rushed home at a great rate to score from a death-seating Drivingwithtess and Dusty Smiles which led. Another Avenel winner of the night was consistent 4-Y-0 P Forty Seven/Our Lifes A Ball gelding Luke Hobbs for David Aiken in the Haydon Gray Premier Concession Driver Pace for C1 class over 1650 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Luke Hobbs led for most of the journey in accounting for Who Broke Our Halo which moved to face the breeze, with Gohardorgohome third after leading out from gate three, before taking a trail on the winner. The mile rate 1-59.4. By Len Baker  

Victorian trotting was held at Kilmore on Thursday September 19, with three of the seven events on the card being for the squairgaiters. Four year old Armbro Variable/Maoris Dream mare Bella Cheval registered her third victory in 13 race appearances when successful in the George & Win Brosnan Memorial Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class (mares) over 2180 metres. Trained by Sutton Grange (Bendigo District) mentor Ross Graham, Bella Cheval with Daryl Douglas in the sulky led throughout from the pole, streeting her rivals to score by 16 metres in 2-05.5 from Charliesbaby along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Packed Up Early third after following the winner. The Last Chance To Buy Club 200 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres saw smart Armbro Invasion/Belle Kiri gelding Dell Boy bring up a hat-trick of wins. Trained at Diggers Rest by Carlo Corso and driven by veteran Peter Wells,Dell Boy began brilliantly from the 10 metre mark to trail the running pole line leader Weregonnarock and was always travelling kindly. Eased outside Weregonnarock on the final bend, Dell Boy ran to the wire strongly to score a comfortable 5.6 metre victory in 2-06.3 over the leader, with Girls Go First running home late from five back the markers to finish third. Very honest 6-Y-0 Wind Cries Maori/Salute The Rain gelding Salute The Wind chalked up victory number seven when greeting the judge in the Down Under Muscles Standing At Eldarin Park Trotters Mobile for T2 to T4 class over 2180 metres. Trained and driven by Echuca/Moama's Ron Gilligan, Salute The Wind enjoyed the run of the race one/one from gate four, with the speedy beginner Mister Gunsen flying away from gate two to assume control, a role he relishes. Although momentarily pocketed in the last lap when Chipmont Lad made a short lived three wide forward move, Salute The Wind when taken into the clear on straightening, motored to the post out wide to nab Mister Gunsen in the last stride ( a head the winning margin). Conchs Critter finished third after trailing the winner. The mile rate 2-03.4.  Whittlesea trainer/driver Mark Peace has a promising mare by the name of Joelles Dream which brought up two wins in a row by taking the Mr Rental Thomastown Pace for C1 class (mares) over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-59.9. Unable to cross the speedy Statelyness (gate five), Joelles Dream (gate three) was trapped in the open until Linga Longa Lass circled the field from near last to join the leader at the bell. Given a breather for the final circuit, Joelles Dream a 4-Y-0 daughter of Browning Blue Chip and Above The Rest when taken wide on straightening, ran home stylishly to score by 8.1 metres over Isabelle Delacour along the sprint lane after following the leader, with Three Gold Bars (one/two - three wide last lap) third. Len Baker

Stig could race until he’s 14 according to co-owner Jim Boyd. For now trainer Paul Nairn is just taking one race at a time with the 2012-2013 Trotter-of-the-Year. The 11-year-old gelding makes his return to racing at Addington This Friday night (September 6) in the $12,000 Sims Metals Handicap Trot. Stig will start from the 30m mark. “This will be his lead-up to the Ordeal Cup. He’s pretty sound at the moment. Any little niggles he’s had in the past certainly haven’t got any worse. “We’ve had no hiccups in his preparation so there’s no reason why he can’t carry on from where he left off last season. He’s certainly showing no signs of his age or soreness,” Nairn said. “And he’s still got that will to win which is encouraging,” he added. Nairn said Stig was in the same condition as what he was this time last year, but was starting his racing a month earlier. He said he would be better for the run but his natural talent would take him close to winning. The more seasoned fellow 30m back-markers The Fiery Ginga and Sovereignty will be toughest for Stig to beat. The son of Armbro Invasion started last season with a second behind Sovereignty at Addington on October 5 and then went on to win six of his 12 starts and $227,029 – including the Rowe Cup in May. Now the winner of 23 of his 53 starts and $816,486 Stig is looking to make amends of his second behind I Can Doosit in last year’s Dominion. His Hamilton based co-owner Boyd, who is renowned for writing and then singing a song about Stig after each of his victories, said he was set to put pen to paper again this season. “I wrote one when he won Trotter-of-the-Year and I also wrote one when he won the Rowe Cup. I’m getting one ready for the Dominion,” Boyd said. Nairn has won two Rowe Cups with Inspire in 2006 and Stig this year. He will have a three-pronged attack on the Group Ones this year with Dr Hook and Raydon also representing the stable. “Dr Hook is also coming along nicely and Raydon was sent to us from up north from Matt Hickey and is progressing well. We should see him at the end of the month,” Nairn said. As for another Australia mission with Stig, Nairn replied: “I’m playing that one by ear. There are not many 2700 races over there and he would have to line up in sprint races against much younger horses. “There’s also not as much money on offer over there for the trotters as what there is here. We’ll attack the Dominion and then head north for the racing at Alexandra Park and Cambridge again. We worry about Australia then,” Nairn said. As for Boyd: “I just want to keep writing songs about him,” Boyd said. Stig is also owned by Tim and Andrea Butt, Mrs R.I. Boyd, R.G. Thomas, and Mrs J.A. Gordon. He was bred by Jessleigh Harness Bloodstock. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

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