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Australian Pacing Gold graduate Messini will be given another shot at Group One glory. Following Messini’s Group Two $60,000 Bendigo Pacing Cup success last night, harness racing trainer Brent Lilley revealed his plans of heading interstate with the son of Art Major. Lilley has earmarked the South Australian Cup as the seven-year-old’s next target, with the time honoured event headling a super card at Globe Derby on Saturday night. Messini is no stranger to top-shelf success, with the stallion triumphant in two Vicbred Super Series Finals.  “We’ll be going over to South Australia next for the Cup,” Lilley said. “It’s an ideal target for him. “He didn’t have much in the race last year, but still finished a strong fourth behind Smolda in track record time. “He’s in terrific form, and with a bit of luck this time, will be very hard to beat.” Driven by Chris Alford during his latest triumph, Messini enjoyed the run of the race in the coveted one-one before sprinting to a five-and-a-half metre win from Mister Wickham, with Bad Billy seven metres away third. “After getting a run like that he was always going to finish strongly,” Lilley said. “He’s just a genuine, consistent racehorse, which gives his all each time he races. It would be nice to have a stable full of horses just like him.” Messini now has earnings of over $656,000 lifetime. APG Media

Art Major is quite simply one of the greatest harness racing sires in the world today. He continually sires both high class fillies and colts. Today's statistics show that he has produced world-wide progeny earnings of just over $170,000,000. He is the sire of the fastest ever two-year-old in both Australia and New Zealand. Without any doubt Art Major is one of the world’s most commercial sires today. He has been Australian leading juvenile sire six times. There are only four yearling fillies in this year's Australasian Classic Yearling Sale by Art Major that are out of mares by the freakish champion sire Bettor's Delight. The best performed mare in this group is the Group 1 placed and Group 3 winning mare Rozelski 1:57.3 ($179,798). Rozelski was unfortunate to have been born the same year as champion mare Adore Me 1:47.7 ($1,677,032) who dominated her class. Rozelski is the dam of Lot 5, Dragon Tattoo the second filly of it's dam, both by Art Major. The first foal, has been retained to race by a Breckon Farms Syndicate and is showing promise and likely to race as a 2-year-old. Dragon Tattoo's second dam is Highview Hazel (1.57.5, 2 wins, $15,705) who is the dam of two winners and a full-sister to Highview Fella (1.51.8, 34 wins, $365,701) and a half-sister to Highview Mystery (1.59.7, 2 wins, $12,525). This is the family of Trikala (1.52.5, 23 wins, $166,115), Michael Thomas (1.59.9, 12 wins, $102,184, incl Vic Maryborough Trotters Cup), Four Jesters (1.58, 3 wins, $23,620), Highview Ana (1.56.7, 17 wins, $153,062), Highview Sign (1.57.9, $47,764), etc. Rozelski winning a Heat of the Sire Stakes Rozelski running second to champion mare Adore Me in a Heat of the Sire Stakes Breckon Farms have a second yearling by Art Major out of a Bettor's Delight mare but this one is a colt and is one of only two colts in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale by Art Major out of a Bettor's Delight mare. This yearling is Lot 115, Harvey Specter by Art Major out of Delightful Dale. This colt is a full brother to the very smart Shandale ($286,505) who made the Final of the recent $1.1 million Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. Harvey Specter's third dam is the brilliant 1995-96 2yo Pacing Filly of the Year and Group 1 winner Megaera. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. To view the entire Breckon Farms yearlings click on this link. Australasian Classic - Sale of the Century Harnesslink Media.  

Whether harness racing at Vernon Downs or at Saratoga Casino Hotel, JK Panache (Art Major) has been a force in the Open Pace for the last several years. On Saturday night, the Dave Dewhurst-trained eight year old toughed out a first-over journey to record his eighth victory of the season. The classy pacer took a couple months off this summer and returned in August at Vernon where he rattled off two wins and a second in his three comeback tries. In his return to the Spa on Saturday, JK Panache was the 3-2 betting favorite in the $18,000 feature and was driven by Shawn Gray. After the first quarter went in a quick 27 seconds, the half was paced in 56 seconds and at that point, JK Panache made his move. He served as live cover for Givenupdreaming (Billy Dobson) and they, in tandem, cleared the leader and turned for home separated by just a half length. They took their battle right to the wire where JK Panache proved to be too tough in a mile paced in 1:52.4. Givenupdreaming was the runner-up while longshot Respectable Dream (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot. The Saturday win for JK Panache was just his second in the local Open this year and his first since back in early May. Live racing continues at the Spa on Sunday afternoon with a matinee that kicks off at 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

Up and coming five-year-old Shandale is unbeaten at his two outings over 1730m and harness racing reinsman Shannon Suvaljko is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can maintain his grand form in sprints by winning the $22,000 Book Your Harness Racing Travel World Interdominion Package Now Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shandale, trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed, chalked up his 12th win from 39 starts when he worked hard, three wide early and then in the breeze, before beating the pacemaker Mach Time over 2130m last Friday night. He steps up in class when he begins from barrier four on the front line on Friday night, but Suvaljko declared that the Art Major gelding, who is being set for the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship series in November and December, will maintain a steady rate of improvement. “He’ll be hard and fit for 1730m; he’s a gross horse and he will continue to improve,” he said. “He’s on the way up and is definitely an Inters contender. “At his first-up run two starts ago, he drew wide in a good field over 2536m. So, we drove him back (in the field) and nothing hit the line better than him (in coming from 12th at the bell and finishing seventh behind Jambiani). “Then, last week, in an easier field, we put him in the race and he showed his class (racing three wide early and then without cover) before winning from Mach Time. I think he’s definitely the one to beat this week. “Before he went out for a spell early in May he rated 1.53.8 when he raced in the breeze and won from Eyre Crusher over 1730m. I reckon he wasn’t going as good then as he is now. On Friday night, I’ll be happy to sit outside Ideal Tyson if he holds the lead from the inside barrier. We won’t be handing up to anything. “I’m not sure whether Ideal Tyson will be able to hold the lead. I think that Courage Tells (barrier two) or Dredlock Rockstar (No. 3) are capable of crossing to the front.” Aiden De Campo will again drive Ideal Tyson for trainer Gary Elson and he said that he would be keen to win the start and then set the pace with the powerful five-year-old. “The barrier certainly helps him in this class and, hopefully, he’s got enough speed to hold up,” De Campo said. “And if he leads, he’ll give a good show. His latest run, when three back on the fence before running on to be third to Shandale last week, was probably his best run in this prep. “Ideal Tyson is a big, tough rolling horse and nothing will out-tough him if he’s in front. I consider that the only way he can be beaten is if something crosses him early.” Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr has a strong hand in Friday night’s race in which he will be represented by American Boy, Norvic Nightowl and Ideal Alice. Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr will drive Ideal Alice from the outside barrier (No. 9), Lauren Jones will handle American Boy and Stuart McDonald will drive Norvic Nightowl. Hall Snr is keen on the prospects of Ideal Alice, the only mare in the race, and declares her an good each-way prospect. American Boy and Norvic Nightowl are each resuming after a spell, but are capable of a bold first-up showing. “American Boy is going well and will be a chance,” said Hall Snr. “Norvic Nightowl has not raced for 15 months. He has recovered from a bowed tendon and probably will need the run.” Ideal Alice certainly looms as a major player. Her recent form is outstanding. She ran on strongly from last at the bell in a field of six to finish an excellent third behind Run Oneover and Our Jimmy Johnstone over 2130m last Friday night. That followed a win and two placings from her three previous outings. Ken Casellas

Obvious Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) and Roaring To Go (Brett Miller) each captured a leg of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for harness racing sophomore pacing fillies at Tioga Downs Monday afternoon (September 4). Obvious Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) would win the first division of the NYSS ($60,200). Tequilla Monday (Brett Miller) would control all the early fractions :27.1, :55.0, 1:22.1. Obvious Blue Chip ($4.40), who won the Empire Breeders Classic two weeks ago, came out of the pocket at the top of the stretch and blew by to win in 1:50.2. Tequilla Monday (American Ideal) would hang on for second, Artrageous (Mark MacDonald) finished third. Obvious Blue Chip, who is owned by NFG Racing Stable with Stephen Klunowski and trained by Mark Steacy, would win for the fifth time this year. Roaring To Go (Art Major) would take the second division of the NYSS ($61,300). Clear Idea (Mark MacDonald) laid down all the early fractions :27.3, :56.3, 1:24.1. Roaring To Go ($6.80) would follow in the pocket the whole way. Planet Rock (Jason Bartlett) would come up first over to battle for the lead at the top of the stretch. Roaring To Go, who is owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, would come out of the pocket and go three wide charging to the front to win for the ninth time in her career, getting the mile in 1:51.4. Planet Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven) would finish second. Clear Idea (American Ideal) had to settle for third. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 8) at 6:50 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Tioga Downs

New season, new hope. That’s the approach harness racing connections will adopt for former New Zealand pacer Watch Pulp Fiction following his dominant victory in the UBET Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Art Major entire recorded a mile rate of 1:55.2 for the 2138m event. But it was only his third victory from 19 starts on Australian soil following his purchase last season for a hefty price. It was his second victory at Albion Park while he scored at Tabcorp Park Menangle back in February earlier this year. There have been glimpses along the way but the frustration continues to build. “Obviously he hasn’t been easy to sort out and we haven’t seen the best of him since he’s been in our care but we keep working with him and trying different things. He felt great the other night and was suited by a genuine speed; he was really strong through the line.” Trainer/driver Chantal Turpin said. Upon his arrival in November last year, expectations were there to match his price tag and his campaign started well following his eye-catching effort in the Gr.2 $50,000 Gold Coast Cup when fourth behind Avonnova in a time of 1:53.3 for 2138m. An easy victory at his next start at Albion Park indicated he would be a great companion for his stablemate Mattgregor who was being readied for a Chariots of Fire campaign in Sydney. It was anything but. Watch Pulp Fiction managed one victory from six starts before returning to Brisbane where his inconsistent form continued leading into and during the winter carnival. “We couldn’t get two good runs out of him and it proved very frustrating, the efforts weren’t bad but we expected more from him. His work at home was good and he looked in terrific order but he just couldn’t get any consistency going. “Before his start on Saturday, Pete (McMullen – husband) and I went back to square one and changed things around with him and that appears to have worked because he was very genuine, probably the best he’s felt. “We’ll just keep ticking him over in the coming weeks and then we might look at a Victorian campaign in November when Mattgregor heads south. That’s the plan at this stage but that will depend on his form and performances.” Meanwhile, Mattgregor is back in work and building towards his next campaign which will take in the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton on November 11. by Chris Barsby

JK Panache and harness racing driver Chris Lems go gate to wire to win the $7,500 feature at Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 26). JK Panache (Art Major) would charge out of the gate and control all the times, :27.1, :56.0, 1:23.2, 1:51.0. The 7 year-old who is owned by Phiilip Hale and Trainer David Dewhurst, would be tough in the stretch holding off the late charge of Oh My Joepa (John Macdonald). Oh My Joepa would finish second with Calvin B (Truman Gale) finishing third. JK Panache ($3.10) would win for the seventh time this season. He would notch his 53rd win. Truman Gale and Jimmy Whittemore would each win a couple on the night. Gale would first win with The Time To Win ($2.90). Winning easily by six lengths in 1:54.4. His second win was with Stonebridge Bonus ($11.60) in 1:54.0. Whittemore went to the winners circle with Skip Jive ($12.20), who won in 1:52.4. His second win was with Arsenal ($5.80) in 1:52.3 Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 31) at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs

JK Panache with harness racing driver Chris Lems at the controls, wins the Saturday night (August 19) featured pace at Vernon Downs. Golden Gun (Josh Kinney) would lead them to the first quarter in :26.3. Oh My Joepa (John Macdonald) would then takeover hitting the half in :56.0 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. JK Panache (Art Major), who is owned by Phillip Hale and trainer David Dewhurst, would make a late bid to fly right by to win in 1:52.2. Oh My Joepa (Rocknroll Hanover) would hang on for second best. Energy Shakes (Jimmy Whittemore) would finish third. JK Panache ($5.10) won for the sixth time this year. The 8 year-old gelding now has 52 lifetime wins. The best race of the night featured the top two drivers. John MacDonald and Dragon Fever (Dragon Again) battled Chris Lems (Somebeachsomewhere) all the way down the stretch. In the end Dragon Fever ($9.80) would win by a nose. Chris Lems would win two other races on the night. He would win with Golden Brit (American Ideal), going gate-to-wire, holding off a late charge by McDan (Josh Kinney). Golden Brit paid $15.80 for the win. His third win of the night came with Pramatic Life ($17.80). Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 24) starting at 6:45 p.m. For more information go to John Horne for Vernon Downs        

Quick Draft A (Art Major) came from off the pace to record a victory in the Friday night harness racing feature at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Al Annunziata-trained mare has dabbled in the local Open for fillies and mares this year even prevailing in one back in February but the Australian-bred has done most of her winning when in a class similar to the one she competed in on Friday. Quick Draft A went off at odds of 4-1 in the $10,500 feature for distaffers and got a second over journey in a race that saw fast first half fractions of 27 and 55.1. The race's favorite Gracie's Parade (Jordan Derue) got shuffled back before shaking loose late and by that time, Quick Draft A had hit the line first. The win time of 1:53 matched the lifetime mark of the seven year old mare who was piloted to the victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr. Gracie's Parade finished second in her local debut while Robin J (Brian Cross) came on for third. Quick Draft A paid $10.20 in what was her third win of the season. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post. Mike Sardella

Star harness racing filly Nostra Villa remained unbeaten last night at Shepparton and will take an imposing seven-from-seven career record into TAB Breeders Crown semi-final night at Bendigo on August 19. Driven by Chris Alford, Emma Stewart-trained Nostra Villa (Art Major-Crystal Journey) had no trouble running to the lead after 500m when initial leader Amelias Courage took the trail. Once in control the $1.40 starting price for Nostra Villa appeared overs, especially after a 33.9secs first quarter and 31.2secs second split (65.1 first half). Nostra Villa only had to marginally increase the tempo down the back (29.9 third quarter) before sprinting up at the finish (27.2) and holding Amelias Courage at bay by 3.2m at the wire. Her winning mile rate of 2:01.8 was Nostra Villa’s slowest career triumph so far. Amelias Courage has finished second to Nostra Villa now on three occasions and will be hoping to turn the tables in coming weeks as the Race to Royalty riches increase through the Semis at Bendigo on August 19 and the Super Sunday finals on Sunday August 27 at Tabcorp Park Melton. Dougs Kitty finished third but was beaten 18.5m from three-the-pegs, while Gwendalion ran fourth and was the first horse off the pegs over the line. Bill Trembath trained and driven Hows The Memory (Mach Three-Distant Memory) captured tonight’s second Breeders Crown heat, upsetting the $1.10 favourite Nostra Beach by a half-neck in 2:01.1. After trailing the favourite throughout, the Leeton-trained filly extended in style up the home straight and made it three straight odds-on defeats for Nostra Beach. Loveyoubabe finished third, with Angel Of Arts fourth. And Kiwi raider Our Bettor Joy (Bettors Delight-Joyfulbelle) won the final heat tonight for trainer Cran Dalgety and reinsman Anthony Butt. Race favourite Molly Kelly led with Our Bettor Joy stalking on the fence. The leader carved out comfortable fractions of 32.6secs, 31secs and 30.8secs before the fillies flew up the straight in 27.5secs. Our Bettor Joy rated 2:02.3. Passions Delight finished third after racing three-pegs throughout, while Art Series boxed on from the chair for fourth. Don’t miss securing your Super Sunday Breeders Crown dining space, book today Breeders Crown Heats this Week August 9 Kilmore (Victoria) 2YO pacing colts and geldings Thursday August 10 Ballarat (Victoria) 3YO pacing fillies Friday August 11 Bendigo (Victoria) 3YO pacing colts and geldings   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Courtly Choice (Art Major) matched the track record for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts on Wednesday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel as he prevailed impressively in New York Sire Stakes competition. Canadian trainer Blake Macintosh brought Courtly Choice south to compete in New York for the first time and the freshman had the daunting task of overcoming post position eight in his debut in stakes competition. Mark Macdonald piloted the two year old and wound up pulling him first over after finding a spot midpack in the early going. Courtly Choice overpowered the race's favorite before kicking away late to win in 1:53.1, a time that matched the track record set for freshmen in NY Sire Stakes competition in 2015 by Joe Larry Curly. Courtly Choice was dismissed at odds of 17-1 and returned a hearty $37.40 to win in his division of the $42,025 NYSS on Wednesday. Locally-based gelding Jersey Jim (Artiscape) was another who soared to a first-over victory in Sire Stakes competition on Wednesday as the Perry Simser-trained freshman scored in 1:54.1 with Jimmy Devaux in the sulky. First over was the trip de jour on Wednesday as Jimtastic (Art Major) was yet another Sire Stakes winner to score via the first over journey as the Andrew Harris-trained two year old cruised to an open length victory in 1:54.1 with Jason Bartlett in the sulky. In fact, of the four winners of the $42,025 races on Wednesday, only Paprike Blue Chip (Roll With Joe) prevailed with a journey other than first over. The John Butenschoen trainee parlayed the pocket trip to his first career Sire Stakes score, stopping the timer in 1:55 with Jim Morrill Jr sitting behind. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Friday, July 28, 2017--Yonkers Raceway Friday night (July 28th) offered up the $167,499 New York Sire Stakes Mike Cohen Pace for 3-year-old fillies. A trio of equally-parsed ($55,833) six-horse fields comprised the event, which again honored the memory of the former publicity director of both Yonkers Raceway and NBC Sports. Any number of Cohen family and friends joined in for the winner's circle presentations, with just one public choice returning for the meet-and-greet. Roaring to Go (Brett Miller, $3.40) won the evening's final event in a night's-fastest 1:52.4. From the pole, she retook from Planet Rock (Dan Dube), then had few issues (:27.4, :57, 1:24.4). She owned a 2¼-length lead into the lane and a comfy length-and-a-quarter at the wire. Touchamatic (George Brennan) was a second-up second, with Artrageous (Jordan Stratton) a first-up third. For Roaring to Go, a daughter of Art Major owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, it was her first win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $9.50, with the triple returning $33. One of the faster frosh a year ago (she crossed the line first in last season's final of the New York Sire Stakes, but was set down for a pylon violation), Roaring to Go has won eight of her 21 career starts. "She was sick in the (last season's) Breeders Crown, and she never really recovered," Miller said. "Before that, I thought she was as talented as anyone in her division.. "Tonight, she was very good...not quite the way she was last season, but close." Friday's opening NYSS event saw Clear Idea (Brennan, $13.80) stalk 1-10 fave Tequila Monday (Brian Sears), then pick her off in the passing lane by a desperate nose. Candlelight Dinner (Miller) was a charging third, beaten just three-quarters of a length. From post No. 2, Clear Idea saw Tequila Monday set unpressured intervals of :27, 56.1 and 1:25.1. She had a length-and-a-half lead in and out of the final turn, only to get snapped on the money in 1:53.1. For second choice Clear Idea, an American Ideal miss co-owned by (trainer) Blake MacIntosh and Hutt Racing, it was her seventh win (five consecutive, fourth in NYSS) in 13 '17 tries. The exacta paid $17.60, with the triple returning $121. The second statebred grouping saw the longest shots on the boards, 26-1 Gurl Band K (Dan Dube) and 15-1 Winsun Brooklyn (Pat Lachance), roll home first and second, respectively, in 1:56.1. The latter won the battle, dueling 3-5 pace-setter World Apart (Jason Bartlett) into submission after that one couldn't hold sway (:27.4, 57.4, 1:26.4) despite pokey fraction. A reserved--from post No. 3--Gurl Band K, a seasonal 0-fer entering the evening, was fifth in the stretch before winning by 2½ widening lengths. Marquesa Seelster (Stratton) was third as World Apart tired to fifth. For sixth choice Gurl Band K, a Rock N Roll Heaven homebred ma'am owned by Robert Key and trained by Andrew Harris, it was that first win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $402, with the triple returning $1,885. Friday night's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Betabcool (Bartlett, $9.80) in 1:52.4. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

The rub of the green hasn’t gone the way of the Kiwi’s leading into the 2017 Brisbane harness racing winter carnival. Brilliant open class mare The Orange Agent was ruled out earlier this month owing to a hairline fracture of the fetlock joint which was quickly followed by the news that star filly Spanish Armada was out of the Oaks features with a leg bump. And the news goes from bad to worse. Giant pacer Hughie Green is the latest casualty after suffering a cracked pedal bone to his offside front yesterday (Thursday). Naturally, trainer/driver John Cremin was left gutted by the news. “He was out having a canter and just ticking over nicely for his assignment this weekend and he took an awkward step and I knew straight away it wasn’t good. Once the vet arrived, he confirmed the worst news possible.” A dejected Cremin said. Hughie Green has been luckless in his past two starts but was heavily favoured to bounce back this weekend at Albion Park after drawing the inside gate in the Listed $25,500 Mr Feelgood Open Pace. The Art Major gelding was being set for the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint next week followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake the following week. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for managing owner John Green given he shares in the ownership of both Hughie Green and The Orange Agent. The Orange Agent was being set for the same features. “Greeny has been around long enough to know that it can be a fickle game and unfortunately the timing couldn’t be worse, it’s just shocking luck. “I know he was looking forward to having both compete in the upcoming features and suddenly, he’s left with no representation. “He’s overseas currently and this is not the news I wanted to pass on, we’re looking at least twelve months on the sidelines at this early stage.” Since arriving from New Zealand, Hughie Green has won 4 of his 10 starts while winning 3 from 6 at Albion Park. Millionaire Bling It On and the regally bred Rocker Band are other casualties of the carnival. The chances of New Zealand pacers landing feature race glory still remain high through the deeds of outstanding three-year-old fillies Delightful Memphis and Partyon in the Queensland Oaks while The More The Better looms as the horse to beat for the Queensland Derby on July 15. Chris Barsby

The harness racing fans turned out in force to see what was hailed as a match-race. But feature-race specialists Tim Butt and Anthony Butt spoiled the party when five-year-old My Field Marshall scored a race-record win in today's $100,000 Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The son of former champion mare Foreal, by Art Major scored an amazing win in the Group One feature, nailing another surprise packet Mach Doro near the line to score in 1:50.2, breaking Hectorjayjay's race record set last year. The plucky Lennytheshark raced outside the leader Hectorjayjay and held on manfully to take third place, but had no answer to the sprint of the first two placegetters in the straight. Part-owner of My Field Marshall Syd Brown said he had looked at the list of previous winners including the likes of Smoken Up (four times), Changeover, Beautide, Smolda and Hectorjayjay and said he dreamt of just having a horse good enough to compete against the Grand Circuit stars. The rest was left to the Butt brothers . . trainer Tim has been in Sydney for almost a month preparing the Christchurch pacer for his shot at glory while Anthony, who is now domiciled in Melbourne, he has become one of that state's leading reinsman with a string of winners. But Anthony admitted this might be his biggest win on the Menangle circuit and was certainly something special against some of the best horses in Australasia. Hectorjayjay (Josh Aiken) showed his normal extraordinary turn of foot to easily find the front in the 1609m sprint while Lennytheshark (Chris Alford) never shirked the task and gradually made his way around the field to sit outside of his stablemate for most of the race. Turning for home it became obvious 'Hector' couldn't shake off his stablemate, but that didn't matter as first Mach Doro and then My Field Marshall made their moves out wide. Butt had something in hand as he easily picked up his rivals to score in 1:50.2 after sectionals of 26.9s, 29.4s, 26.8 and home in 27.1 for a win that stunned most of those present - except the Butts, who knew they had a horse that was up to the task. . . . and one whose name will look quite at home in the record books beside some of the greats of the sport. Amanda Zammit  

He's been hailed as the next Lazarus . . . and the greatest three-year-old pacer in Australasia. And this afternoon at Tabcorp Park Menangle Vincent proved just that as he cruised to an Australasian record 1:50.2 mile win in the Breeders Challenge final for harness racing three-year-old colts and geldings. The Art Major-Kept For Pleasure colt gave Mark Purdon his lone Group One for the day when he beat a plucky Atomic Red with outsider Joes Star Of Mia third. Some suspected Vincent might be vulnerable after he had to pull out all stops to hold off Pretty Hot and Jakes Sportswriter in his Breeders Challenge semi-final the previous week, when he rated 1:51 to score by just a metre with Luke McCarthy in the bike. Yet Purdon admitted Vincent needed that run and would be improved out of sight for the $153,000 final against some of the best three-year-olds in the land. As usual, he was right as Vincent showed he would easily fit into the big pair of shoes that Lazarus currently fills for Purdon's All Stars New Zealand stable. He easily ran down pacemaker Atomic Red in the straight to win almost untouched after splits of 26.2, 29s, 27.6s, 27.4s for a 1:50.2 mile rate, breaking stablemate Our Waikiki Beach's record of 1:50.6 posted early last year. So impressive was Vincent both in appearance and talent that this three-year-old already looks to be Purdon's next New Zealand Cup winner . . . after Lazarus steps down from the podium, of course. Vincent * Earlier the three-year-old fillies' Breeders Challenge final saw another minor upset, of sorts . . . albeit a historic one when Georges Plans [Bathurst] trainer-driver Bernie Hewitt broke through for his first Group One success when Royal Story scored. The draw told the story of the race when Royal Story (Always A Virgin) was quick to find the front from gate four and defied all attempts to run her down. Once again it was the two second-row runners Don't Think Twice and Shezallapples that had to do it tough if they were to beat Royal Story, who was well found in the betting as the $5 second favourite. "We'd never send our horses anywhere else," said owner Gary Meredith. "We call Royal Story 'Big Girl' around the stables but this is actually our 20th win with them as owners and we couldn't be happier with the way we've been treated." Hewitt was naturally ecstatic with his breakthrough win. "We put a lot of work into working with juveniles and to come here and win a race like this makes it all worthwhile," he said. "But just to be able to train and drive a filly likes this is a great thrill and today she showed us how good she is. "A lot of people in our stable can take some of the credit for this - mostly my wife Cathy who holds us all together and makes wins like this all the more worthwhile." Don't Think Twice had to do it tough from the second row and failed by a mere half-head from running down Royal Story after racing three-wide earlier in the race as young trainer-driver Jason Grimson sought to put him into the action. In contrast, last year's two-year-old fillies' winner Shezallapples settled near last and, similar to 2016, came with a flashing finish 1.4m away in third place in a 1:53 mile rate. Royal Story Amanda Zammit

Classy mare Joys A Babe has stamped her ticket to the big dance. And the big dance takes place on July 15, the final night of the 2017 Brisbane harness racing winter carnival with the running of the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake – the final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season. Prepared by leading trainer Grant Dixon and driven by his wife Trista, the Art Major mare used the inside draw to full advantage to claim the Listed $25,500 Wondais Mate at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Joys A Babe showed speed from the inside draw before handing over to the in-form Kept Under Wraps before using the Egmont Park Stud sprintlane over the concluding stages in a time of 1:53.1. The 1660m sprint feature was covered in 27.1, 29.7, 27.9 and 28.6 seconds. Joys A Babe ($2.90 fav) was able to run down Kept Under Wraps ($3.90) while Majestic Major ($10) battled into third placing. “We got a good run from the draw and she was able to finish off nicely in the straight, her form is really solid at the moment.” Winning driver Trista Dixon said. It was the 6th time the pair has combined to win at Albion Park. The winner of tonight’s feature is exempt from ballot from the Blacks A Fake in three week’s time. Bred and raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, Joys A Babe has now won 30 races while banking more than $360,000 in stakes. The Art Major – Joy To Behold six-year-old has won 24 races at headquarters. The unlucky runner of the event was former New Zealand pacer Hughie Green who never saw any daylight over the concluding stages after starting from the outside of the second-line. In the end, Hughie Green finished at the rear of the field. Next week, the 2017 Brisbane winter carnival officially commences with a number of features including the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood is the feature, the open class event is likely to attract a high quality field which will be staged over the 2138m. Other highlights include the Gr.3 $30,000 Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4yo Championship, the Gr.3 $30,000 Premiers Cup and the Listed $25,000 Egmont Park Stud Provincial Oaks. Chris Barsby

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