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What an exciting conveyance four year old Artistic Fella/Marilyn Macray gelding Macterra Lad is - chalking up his 8th harness racing victory in only 13 outings by taking the Dimension Homes Pace for C5 & C6 class over 1710 metres at Bray Raceway Ballarat on Tuesday. Bred by former Harness Breeders (Vic) Secretary Ian Kitchin, Macterra Lad trained at Bacchus Marsh by Alan Tubbs for Mount Gambier owner Michael McQuade and driven by daughter Amy Tubbs has developed into the ultimate racehorse after being so green in the early part of his career. Starting from the pole, Macterra Lad showed plenty of speed as the mobile gate sped away, leading easily and from there on, the race became a procession. Kicking clear halfway up the running, Macterra Lad scored virtually untouched by 3.5 metres over Crazy Dave (gate two) which trailed, with No Bettertime (four wide home turn from last) 1.5 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.4 (last half 56.6 – quarter 27.7. Macterra Lad should have no difficulty in going through the grades and is Cup class material. Consistent five year old Blissful Hall/Childers Elite gelding Masterofthurles finally cracked it for a win when successful in the Creswick RSL Light Horse Troop Pace for C1 class over 1710 metres. Trained in the Western District at Childers Cove by Ange McDowall, Masterofthurles driven by Matty Craven settled three back in the moving line from gate two on the second line, with Ducale Bromac (gate four) leading. Moving forward three wide in the final circuit, Masterofthurles was inconvenienced on straightening when Royal Icing after coming off the back of the leader ran all over the place like a drunken sailor, however after regaining his composure,  Masterofthurles out wide scored by a half head in a tricky finish from pole marker DoyouseewhatIsee along the markers from three back the inside. Khaleesi finish third from mid-field in the running line. The mile rate 1-56.1. Lightly raced, Masterofthurles registered his second victory in 23 race appearances and first since February last year at Stawell. The McDowall’s are related to the all conquering Craven family. When Shelbourne (Bendigo) trainer Larry Eastman’s team hit their straps they are worth following and Village Jolt/Sunrose Mary gelding Sunrose Village broke his maiden status at start number four when greeting the judge in the T J Coutts Electrical 3-Y-0 Pace over 2200 metres, much to the delight of Nyah owner/breeder Robert Dacey. Driven by Chris Alford, Sunrose Village led from gate three and was never out of second gear, coasting to the wire 3.1 metres in advance of Regal Ambition (three wide last lap from last) in a mile rate of 2-00.3. Chirpy Chuckles which followed the winner from the pole finished third. Huntly (Bendigo) trainer/driver Anthony Crossland’s in-form Love You/Sun Goddess four year old gelding Dieu De Lamour snared the G & D Air Conditioning and Mechanical Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2200 metres. Enjoying a sweet one/one passage after being crossed from the pole, Dieu De Lamour sprinted sharply to lead on the home turn, defying all challengers to gain the day by 1.3 metres from Alabamas Invasion (three back the markers) and Girls Go First (one/three) in a mile rate of 2-03.2. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria Click here to read the Vicbred heats wrap from last night

Pompano Beach, FL...June 13, 2015...No Bad Dreams, given a picture perfect drive by Bruce Ranger, gave his harness racing competition a nightmare of sorts on Saturday night at Pompano Park, virtually wiring a classy field in the $9,500 Winner's Over Pace in 1:52.1.   The four year-old son of Dream Away, trained by 81 year-old Marc Aubin for Dan and Jacalyn Boddie, earned his seventh win of the year in 11 starts, defeating Raji's Blue Line, handled by Ben McNeil, by a half length.   Northern Companion and driver Tom Sells teamed up to be third while Who's Your Maddy finished fourth. G P S Legacy made a miscue early on and picked up the nickel in the quintet.   No Bad Dreams, leaving from the advantageous five post, zipped out of the gate and joined Raji's Blue Line around the first turn with No Bad Dreams assuming the lead shortly thereafter and clocking an opening panel of :27.2.   With positions remaining stagnant through the next quarter, Ranger was able to rate his charge through a :29.4 panel, reaching the half in :57.1. On the backside, Ranger chirped once to No Bad Dreams and he was off on a :27.4 tangent and then sealed the deal with a :27.1 finale.   In a post race interview, Ranger said, "Last week, Ben's horse (Raji's Blue Line) cut some hellish fractions so I was hoping he wouldn't try that again and opt for a two hold trip. Once I got to the half in :57 and change, I felt very confident that No Bad Dreams could go all the way from there. He's a very nice horse...VERY nice!"   In winning for the 10th time career-wise, No Bad Dreams pushed his lifetime earnings to $43,962--$29,310 this year in only 11 starts.   As the 2 to 5 favorite, No Bad Dreams rewarded his many followers with a $2.80 mutuel.   That win, incidentally, proved to be a "double" for trainer Aubin and the Boddie's, as their Abreathofreshart captured the opener on the Saturday card in a conditioned pace in 1:52, a new lifetime mark. This four year-old son of Artistic Fella also wired his foes, using a :27.4 finale to pin a defeat measuring 1 3/4 lengths on Histoire Eternelle, handled by Dan Harvey. Zavan was third for Andy Santeramo after applying some pressure on the leader around the final turn.   As the 3 to 5 favorite, Abreathofreshart paid $3.40 to win.   The track also hosted the Chris Valkanoff Memorial Pace, honoring one of the most respected owners at the track who passed away some months ago.   Ranger also won that one, too, guiding Twenty Four Carrot Racing and Ciro Gentile's Freeneasy Hanover to his 25th lifetime win--2nd this year--in 1:51.2.   The Jim Mc Donald trainee, a seven year-old son of Western Ideal, also was a gate to wire winner, clocking panels of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.1 along the way for the win measuring nearly four lengths.   He, too, was the overwhelming favorite--1 to 5 on the board--and returned $2.60 to win.   After the event, the vast number of friends and family gathered in the winner's circle celebrating Mr. Valkanoff's life.   Racing continues Wednesday night at Pompano Park with post time set at 7:30 p.m.   by John Berry for Pompano Park      

McTiny's Hope and Artful Impulse were victorious in their respective $9,700 trotting and pacing feature events hosted by Pompano Park on Wednesday night. Mc Tiny's Hope, flawlessly handled by Ben McNeil and fresh off a wire-to-wire 1:54.1 win in her "Winner's Over Trot" a week ago, used the exact same strategy this night, zipping to the front in the early stages of the mile before clocking soft early panels of :28.4 and :58 before really getting down to business with a :27.4 third quarter and :28.4 finale to pin a 2 1/2 length defeat on On The Tab (Bruce Ranger) in 1:54.3. Gold Savage (Mickey McNichol), away third in the early going, stayed in that position the entire route, finding himself 3 1/2 lengths away on the line with My Revenuer and Tug River Dylan net in the sextet. In a post race interview, driver Ben Mc Neil said, "Prior to this race tonight, this mare's two best performances were on the front end, so I decided not to tinker with success and sent her again. When we got away with that rated half, I felt really confident she could go all the way. All I did was whistle at her entering the backside and off she went on her own. This was a pretty solid group of horses in here, so I am very proud of her performance tonight." Trained by brother Jack Mc Neil III for Ellen Mc Neil, this seven year-old daughter of CR Excalibur won for the fifth time this season--26th lifetime--to send her seasonal bounty to $39,996, surpassing her earnings for all of last season in 32 starts. She's banked $148,770 lifetime to go along with a Meadowlands mark of 1:53.3. As the 2 to 5 favorite, Mc Tiny's Hope returned $2.80 to win. In the companion event for pacing mares, Artful Impulse, superbly handled by Andy Santeramo, wired her foes in 1:53.3, holding off the late surging Goldstar Rockette (Mickey Mc Nichol) by three parts of a length with the fast closing Mach Me Not (Bruce Ranger) third. Taylor B Swift and Keystone Christa picked up the final two awards in the septet. Artful Impulse, trained by Jim Mc Donald for the Twenty Four Carrot Racing stable, was on the engine from her outside eight post when the gate opened and briefly engaged Taylor B Swift for the lead before securing it around the opening turn and clocking an initial quarter timed in :27.3. In the lane the first go-around, driver Rob Hoffman sent his charge, Lady Ideal, on the prowl but that strategy backfired as Artful Impulse kept her at bay through a :56.2 half. Nary a challenge developed as Santeramo blitzed his way through a :28.1 third panel, turning for home with a comfortable lead and securing it all the way home with a :29 finale. After the race, Santeramo related, "She (Artful Impulse) seems to do her best work on or near the front, so I sent her winging and she responded like she usually does. When I saw Rob's mare (Lady Ideal) coming after me, it was a little too late to yield, so I just kept on truckin'. This is a quality mare that is trained by a great trainer, so I thought she'd have enough left to get home...and she did!" The win was number four of the semester for the four year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, sending her 2015 earnings to $29,875 and $120,120 lifetime. As second choice in the betting, Artful Impulse paid $9.20 to win, keying a 8-4-7--2-3 Super Hi-5 payout of $304.44 to multiple winners for their 20 cent investment. The Super Hi-5 carryover into the next racing program, Saturday, is $4,134.22. The training win for Mc Donald was one of four on the night as Dominum Deo ($3.20-Ranger) took the "Winner's Over" 2 trot in 1:55.4, American Superman ($8.00-Ranger) grabbed a conditioned Trot and The Muscler ($9.00-Andy Santeramo) reported home first in a conditioned-optional claiming trot. Post time for Saturday's card is 7:30 with a Winner's Over Pace sharing the spotlight with three events featuring the visiting amateur drivers from Spain. John Berry 

Tuesday trots in Victoria were held at the harness arcing meeting at Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley and Long Forest trainer Andy Gath produced a nice Art Major/Our Southern Rose colt by the name of Battle Born to land the Saddleworld Shepparton 2-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres when having his first start at the races.   Driven by wife Kate, Battle Born from gate six was taken back to the rear of the field, with polemarker Herehecomes retaining the lead and the well supported favourite Emiliana (Nathan Jack) going forward from outside the front line to park in the open giving another first starter Anything For Love one/one cover.   Despite making the final bend four wide, Battle Born ran home stylishly to record a runaway 1.4 metre victory over Anything For Love and Herehecomes in a mile rate of 2-01.1.   Aucklander Mark Burley who has seen a fair bit of Australia’s east coast recently having campaigned in NSW and now in Victoria, was successful in taking the DPR Insurance Brokers Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres with a filly by the name of Little Miss Zigzag who is to start in the Victoria Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday.   Settling three back in the moving line from gate two on the second row, the daughter of Love You and Meander With Earl was sent forward shortly after the start to stride past the leader Illawong Sunny (gate six) which had crossed Aldebaran Hest (gate four).   Travelling beautifully, Little Miss Zigzag gave her rivals the slip on the home turn to register an easy 8.9 metre victory in advance of a death-seating Im Havinaball and Illawaong Sunny, returning a mile rate of 2-04.5.   Popular Huntly (Bendigo) trainer Barry Quigley combined with Chris Alford aboard six year old Mach Three/Janoela Star mare Sukovia to greet the judge in the Betta Home Living Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Taking advantage of a mares concession, Sukovia led most the way from gate three to defeat the hot favourite Glory Daze (gate five) by a neck which raced in the open from the bell after a poor beginning, with polemarker Sailors Sweetheart 6.6 metres away after leading out and taking a trail. The mile rate 2-00.2.   Avenel duo David and Josh Aiken have a great record at their home track and four year old Somebeachsomewhere/Arty Alice mare Beach Shack raced by Brendan James’ BFJ Bloodstock Trust brought up two wins in succession when victorious in the Neatline Homes Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres.   Racing outside the pacemaker Party Boy inside her, Beach Shack (gate four) prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the leader in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Holdonsu (three back the markers) finished 1.8 metres away in third place.   The Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for Four Year Old Entires and Geldings (Heat 1) went the way of Bacchus Marsh trainer Alan Tubbs’ potential top liner Macterra Lad in a rate of 1-59.4.   Driven by daughter Amy, Macterra Lad a gelded son of Artistic Fella and Marilyn Macray raced outside the pacemaker Bryce Copper all of the way from gate five to outstay his rivals and score by a nose in advance of the heavily supported Young Modern and Sketch Me (one/three).   Macterra Lad bred by Ian Kitchin and raced by Mount Gambier’s Michael McQuade brought up his 7th success in 12 race appearances.   The Empire Stllions Vicbred Super Series for Three Year Old Fillies (Heat 1) was taken out by quality Sportswriter/Benelise filly Niki No No, much to the delight of locally based Benstud Standardbreds.   Trained at Bolinda by Kari Males and driven by regular reinsman Greg Sugars (the state’s leading driver), Niki No No wasn’t involved in the early speed from outside the front row, easing to possie three back in the moving line.   Urged forward three wide approaching the bell, the Victoria Oaks winner was surprisingly able to slide past the leader Come Cullect (gate three) which had crossed Glenferrie Baby (gate four) and proceeded to lead for the rest of the journey, accounting for Soho Tokyo (one/two – three wide home turn) and Glenferrie Baby in a rate of 2-01.2.   Invergordon trainer Stuart Govers and local concessional reinsman Riley Fortin are proving to be a formidable combination and once again joined forces to land the Shepparton BMW Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres with improving five year old Blissful Hall/Cheryls Fancy gelding Ramblenroller in a mile rate of 1-56.8.   Starting from the extreme draw, Ramblenroller raced by father Max ran home strongly from a mid-field passage to gain the day by 1.5 metres from a death-seating Lagoon Beach (gate five), with Calcavado running on late out wide to finish third.   Lockington breeder/owner/trainer Shane Pangrazio combined with Avenel based Mark Pitt to snare the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres with Safari/Wahini Elle 4-Y-0 mare Safari Beach in a mile rate of 2-00.8.   Trapped wide from outside the front line, Pitt had no option but to go back at the start and settle at the tail of the field.   Trailing home both Pushinupdaisies and Miss Tanami three wide in the final circuit, Safari Beach finished best to blouse Miss Tanami by a head right on the wire.   The pacemaker Highly Persuasive was 4.5 metres away in third place after having every possible chance.   Len Baker

JUNE 2, 2015 – Everything came together for three-year-old pacing gelding Maracasso at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening as the John Williamson trainee earned his first ever harness racing victory in an $18,000 Grassroots division. After sitting third through fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:23.2, Maracasso burst out of the pack in the stretch and reeled in pacesetter Mac Raider to earn the nose victory in 1:53. “The horse needed a trip and he got lucky enough to get one,” said driver Jody Jamieson after the race. “If you’re going to break your maiden, it’s better to be in a stake race than anywhere else.” Trainer Williamson of Waterdown and Daniel Haist of Ridgeville share ownership of Maracasso and Jamieson was pleased to engineer the win for the longtime partners. “They’ve both been in the business, both partners, for a long, long time. They’ve had moderate success, but maybe this horse is their OSS horse for the year,” said the driver. Maracasso made two starts in the Grassroots program last season, finishing third and sixth, and the Lis Mara son had two sophomore starts under his belt heading into Tuesday’s contest. “I actually raced him last year, and he was really immature,” noted Moffat resident Jamieson. “He’s still fairly immature, but he definitely got the right division and he raced well.” Maracasso bested fan favourite Mac Raider, owned by Leonard Gamble of Etobicoke, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph and Don MacDonald and David Kryway of Amherstburg, and Regal Sight in the fourth of seven Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first division was captured by Mr Carrotts and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, who circled the Mohawk Racetrack oval in 1:52.2 for trainer Murray Brethour and owner-breeder Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton. The win was the first of the season for the Mach Three gelding, but his fifth straight top three result. Sportswriter son Windsong Lightning stepped to the quickest victory of the seven Grassroots divisions, halting the Mohawk teletimer at 1:51.3. Guelph resident James MacDonald engineered the win for trainer David Menary of Cambridge and owners Terry De Matteo of Stoney Creek, and Mark Searles and 648885 Ontario Limited of Caledonia. Milton resident Randy Waples piloted Artful Way to a 1:51.4 score in the third split for trainer, owner and breeder Bob McIntosh of Windsor. The Artistic Fella son edged out favourite Naturescape to score his second straight victory. Mach Code earned his first win of the season in the seventh race, cruising home a five length winner in rein to Guelph resident Doug McNair. The leading Ontario Sires Stakes reinsman in 2014, McNair steered Mach Code to the 1:52.2 win for trainer Jeffrey Thomson, who shares ownership of the Mach Three – Early Dismissal homebred with Lori Thomson of Chesley. Driver Mario Baillargeon of Acton captured the last two divisions, guiding Tell All son Myhoneytellsall to a 1:53 win for trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus and owner-breeders M & S Racing Stable Inc. of Rockwood, and then returning to the winner’s circle with HP Bushido Dragjet. Owned by breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer’s Cliff, QC, HP Bushido Dragjet is trained by Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood. The Jeremes Jet son earned the head victory over favourite York Seelster in a clocking of 1:53.3. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on June 21, while Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack this week with six Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting colts on Thursday and two Gold Series divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday evening. Post time for both events is 7:25 pm.  

Macterra Lad stepped up again tonight, taking on a couple of proven metropolitan harness racing class performers and beating them at their own game in the first heat of the 4YO entires and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series. Trained by Alan Tubbs and driven by daughter Amy, Macterra Lad notched his seventh win from 12 starts after sitting outside leader Bryce Cooper throughout before holding off late closer Young Modern (Michael Stanley) by a short half-head at the finish of the 2190m trip. Sketch Me (Mark Pitt) powered home for third, edging out Bryce Cooper (Josh Aiken) for the final podium spot with the remainder of the beaten brigade finishing well back. The winner is by Artistic Fella out of Marilyn Macray and rated 1:59.4. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Jodi Quinlan produced a stellar drive and My Kiwi Mate did his bit with a scintillating run to take out the Colin and Heather Holloway 3YO Classic tonight Friday 22nd of May at Bray Raceway, Ballarat. The Craig Demmler-trained former New Zealand pacer went within 0.6 seconds of the track record held by Smoken Up and Abettorpunt over the mile, the three-year-old's winning time a brilliant 1:53.7. The tempo was breakneck early, Show Me The Bling challenging Jilliby Royal hard for the front and eventually finding it. But the early burn would prove detrimental to both the pacesetters, a 26.8secs first quarter setting things up for the backmarkers. The leader was able to ease the pace between the 1200-800m, clocking 30.6secs for the second split before the foot went down again up the back stretch (28.4secs third quarter). Victoria Derby winner and race favourite Menin Gate stalked the leaders before running to the front at the 600m for driver Chris Alford. Padrisimo and Kate Gath looked a chance off the back, looming up on the outside of Menin Gate and working into second before the fresh horse on the scene, My Kiwi Mate, peeled around three-wide to stake his claim. In the straight My Kiwi Mate chased down Menin Gate, the son of Bettors Delight/Classic Nymph sprinting home in 27.9secs to win by a short half-head. Jilliby Royal lifted himself off the canvas to run third, beaten 6m, a valiant performance, while filly Morton Plains hit the line hard for fourth and Padrisimo was close-up behind her in fifth. Show Me The Bling weakened out of the money to run sixth while Mister Wickham wasn’t himself and came in tailed off. Double for Team Tubbs Father/daughter team Alan and Amy Tubbs combined for a winning double at Ballarat. Impressive three-year-old Million Dollar Cam/Im Making Waves gelding Milliondollar Wave took out the Active Electrical Collingwood & Morwell Pace over 2200m in 1:58.1, holding off Starzzz Of Icon and Gavin Lang by 6.5m with a 21m margin back to Thanknbonnie in third. Team Tubbs backed it up in Race 7, the Nextra Wendouree Newsagency Pace over 1710m, four-year-old Artistic Fella/Marilyn Macray gelding Macterra Lad explosive in the straight to take the prize. From the wide alley Amy Tubbs took the gelding back to last early. Turning for home Macterra Lad was eased to the outside and once he hit top gear there was no stopping him, the $2.70 race second-favourite overpowering Citysneak (Glen Craven) and Hes Just Rusty (Kate Gath) for a head win in 1:57.4 (last quarter 28.2secs). Other winners were Lifes Tough (So Thats Life / Illawong Lily) for Brooke Sadler in the Active Electrical Bendigo & Moorabbin Pace Final in a rate of 1:57.4, Yeah Right (Whatagain / Belles N Roses) for Laura Crossland and David Moran in the Active Electrical Thomastown & Bayswater Claiming Pace in 1:58.8 over 2200m, Paris Pepperell (Armbro Variable / Pepperell Mistal) for David Van Ryn and Haydon Gray in the Gullock Plumbing Trot over 2200m in a rate of 2:02.2, Keayang Starzzz (Four Starzzz Shark / Sayaka) in the 2200m Active Electrical Distributors Pace in 2:01.2 for Marg Lee and Jason Lee, Jilliby Jagger (Grinfromeartoear / Jilliby Ruby) for Glen Craven in the P.F.D. Food Services Pace over 2200m in 1:57.9, and Vapar Grin (Grinfromeartoear / Armbro Affair) in the Active Electrical Geelong & Shepparton Pace over 1710m in 1:56.1 for Ashleigh Herbertson and Matthew Craven. VIDEO: Re-live the 2015 Colin and Heather Holloway 3YO Classic by Cody Winnell

Artful Impulse and Count Speed reined supreme in their respective co-featured events at the harness racing meeting at Pompano Park on Wednesday night. Artful Impulse, off at 9 to 1 and patiently handled by Andy Santeramo, kicked things off in the $8,500 "Winners Over Handicap" for pacing mares by shocking the 1 to 20 favorite, Senorita Santanna, driven by Wally Hennessey, in 1:52.4. Winbak Heavenly, with Tom Sells in the bike, finished third while the only other starter in the event, Mach Me Not, finished fourth. Cheap N Easy was a late scratch in the opener, reducing the field to four. As the Hummer wings opened, Artful Impulse and Senorita Santanna left together and engaged in a duel for the first eighth before "Impulse" yielded to the "Senorita," the latter taking the field to an opening quarter in :26.4 with Winbak Heavenly content to stay in third and Mach Me Not already about five lengths away as the trailer. Positions remained stagnant through a half in :56.2 with Senorita Santanna picking up the pace a bit on the backside. reaching the third station in 1:24.4 and with a clear lead turning for home. Once they straightened away, Artful Impulse left the coziness of her pocket and began gnawing away at the leader, drawing on even terms a sixteenth out and edging to the lead near the wire--the winning margin a half length. In a post race interview, driver Andy Santeramo said, "Jimmy (trainer Mc Donald) said she had gate speed and I figured the only way I had a chance of upsetting Wally's (Hennessey) mare (Senorita Santanna) was to leave with mine and try to take a little sting out of her early. " "I thought Wally got away from us a little bit on the far turn but my mare responded very nicely when it counted. She must've come her last quarter under :28--(actually :27.4). Big mile." For Artful Impulse, a four year-old daughter of Artistic Fella owned by Twenty Four Carrot Racing, it was her third win of the year in 17 starts, good for $22,900 this semester. She's banked $113,145 lifetime. As third choice in the betting, Artful Impulse returned $20.20 to win. Count Speed never had an anxious moment as Wally Hennessey guided this six year-old Majestic Son gelding to a handy win--his fifth in a row--over stablemate Verdi, driven by Walter Ross, Jr., in 1:54.4 in the $8,500 "Winners Over" Handicap Trot. My Revenuer, with Tom Sells in the bike, used his typical late rally to finish third while Jailhouse Jessica finished fourth. Adenium picked up the nickel in the sextet. It was Count Speed flashing his usual alacrity as the gate sprung and, after a brief battle with Adenium, took command and led through opening panels of :28 and :57.3. Just short of that second marker, Jailhouse Jessica, fifth early on, began her sprint forward as did Verdi, away last in the early going but now following "Jessica's" live cover. With the pace beginning to pick up three-eighths out, Count Speed maintained a clear lead with Jailhouse Jessica a bit more than a length away, Adenium holding the third spot near the pylons and Verdi fanning widest of all through three-quarters in 1:26.2. In the lane, Hennessey sat confidently as Count Speed gave him a :28.2 sprint to the wire, stopping the clock in that aforementioned 1:54.4. After the race, Hennessey said, "this horse is very sharp right now...super sharp." "He just seems to do what he has to do to get to the wire first." "I was a little surprised to see his stablemate (Verdi) charging into second as he was stepping up to the big time for the first time." Both Count Speed and Verdi are trained by Dan Hennessey for owners Paul and Patricia O'Neil. Count Speed now owns a 5-0-1 scorecard in seven starts with earnings of $21,470. He's won 24 times during his career with a bankroll of $219,870. As the "talk of the tote-board" at 3 to 5, Count Speed returned $3.20 to his many faithful. Finally, in Wednesday's Super Hi-5, the 5-6-8-4-7 winning combo produced 22 winning 20 cent tickets pushing the carryover for Saturday night over $197,000. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Reported by John Berry for Pompano Park    

An action-packed second leg of the harness racing Youthful series was the Doug McNair show Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A pair of seven-horse $15,000 divisions took place in the second and final preliminary leg of the Youthful series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first division of the evening featured a matchup between round one winners Dialamara and Legion Of Boom. The public put their support behind Dialamara, as the Patrick Fletcher trainee was sent off as the 1/2 favourite, while Legion Of Boom was the second-choice at 5/2. Driver Sylvain Filion wasted no time putting Dialamara on the front-end and the pair were able to control the tempo down to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair were situated second-over around the final turn, but still several lengths off the leader as they turned for home. In the stretch, Legion Of Boom blasted down the centre of the racetrack and would pace by an all-out Dialamara to win by half a length in 1:53.4. Giovanni finished third, while Pantheon Hanover rounded out the Superfecta. A son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is co-owned by driver Doug McNair and is trained by his father, Gregg. Equus Standardbreds Inc. rounds out the ownership of the gelding pacer. Legion Of Boom now has a record of four wins from seven starts in his first season on the track. The leg two victory pushes his bankroll over $49,000 and his clocking of 1:53.4 knocks a full-second off his previous career-mark. A $2 win ticket on Legion Of Boom returned $7.10 to win. Legion Of Boom The second leg of the Youthful took place five-races later on the card and by that time snowy conditions had taken over the Toronto oval. American Rock and McNair would take the second division at 2/1 to give the reinsman a round two sweep. A son of Rocknroll Hanover, American Rock came first up in the second-quarter and overtook the lead just past the mid-way point from Nobettorplacetobe. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, American Rock and McNair would hold off their rivals in the lane to score the victory by a length over Nobettorplacetobe in 1:54.1. Team Captain came off second-over cover to finish third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. American Rock is trained by Ben Wallace for owner Brad Grant and now has four wins from seven starts in 2015. The sophomore pacer was purchased by his connections during the Meadowlands Mixed Sale in January. American Rock, who finished second in last week's opening leg, now has earnings of over $38,000. He paid $6.30 to win. American Rock In order to be eligible to the Youthful Series, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The $37,000 Youthful final will take place next Saturday (April 11) at Mohawk Racetrack. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, March 28 - Sophomore pacing colts took centre-stage Saturday night at Woodbine for the first leg of the Youthful series. A solid harness racing group of 21 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $15,000 divisions for the opening round of the three-week series event. Fresh off his win in the WEGZ series last Saturday, Dialamara kept the momentum rolling with a 1:52.3 victory in the first division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dialamara got away early in fifth and would jump into the outer flow down the backstretch. American Rock, the 9/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter. Around the final turn, Dialamara got right up along side the favourite to set up a stretch battle. In the lane, Dialamara was able to forge past American Rock in deep stretch to win by a head. Team Captain finished third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara now has four wins from seven starts this season for trainer Patrick Fletcher. The first leg triumph increases the sophomore's career bankroll to over $92,000 for owner John Lamers. The 1:52.3 clocking lowers Dialamara's career-mark by more than a second. He returned $8.40 to win. In the second division, Legion Of Boom dug deep in the stretch to hold off his rivals and score a 1:55.1 victory. Driven and co-owned by Doug McNair, Legion Of Boom was put right on the front immediately by McNair. After cutting out fractions of :28.1 and :57.1, Legion Of Boom was confronted first up by Pantheon Hanover. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Legion Of Boom squared off with Pantheon Hanover in the stretch and would show plenty of grit to hold off his rival and get the job done. Giovanni took the place spot, while fourth went to Nobettorplacetobe. A three-year-old son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair for his son Doug, who co-owns with Equus Standardbreds Inc. The sophomore pacer now has three wins from six starts in his first season of racing. The winner's share of the purse increases his bankroll to over $41,000. Legion Of Boom's victory was one of four winning steers for driver Doug McNair on the card. The McNair trainee returned $4.80 to win. In order to be eligible to the Youthful, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The second round of the Youthful series will take place next Saturday (April 4). For full results from tonight's card click here. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 21 - Ontario sired four-year-olds were the main attraction Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in a pair of harness racing winter series finals. The $45,000 Ontario Boys final for four-year-old pacers and the 44,600 Ontario Girls final for four-year-old pacing mares were co-main events on Saturday night's 11-race card. All eyes were on heavy favourite Nirvana Seelster in the Ontario Boys final, as he went for the series sweep. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster sprinted out quickly to the front to grab his usual spot on the lead and would cruise along in control cutting out fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.4 In the stretch, Nirvana Seelster continued to pace strong and was never in any danger of surrendering his lead. He posted a final-quarter of :27.4 to score a length and a quarter victory in 1:52.3. Ideal Jet got up to finish second, while Kindofabigdeal took the show spot. A son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The four-year-old pacer swept the Ontario Boys series by winning each leg on the front-end. Nirvana Seelster now has three wins from seven starts this year and ten career victories overall. The winner's share of the purse pushes his career bankroll over $145,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $2.80 to win. Nirvana Seelster In the Ontario Girls final, Artistic Fusion was sent off as the heavy 2/5 favourite and did not disappoint winning in 1:53.4. A first-half battle saw a parked out Regally Ready finally clear to the front before the half ahead of Performing Art. However, Jack Moiseyev wasted no time charging Bet Ya up from fourth to overtake the lead from Regally Ready at the half in :55. Meanwhile, Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion paced along fourth and made a first-over move on the way to the final turn. Artistic Fusion and Bet Ya would slug it out past the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion powered by Bet Ya and paced on to the win the Ontario Girls final by a length and a half. A hard-closing Jakardez got up for second, while Bet Ya finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion captured the first leg of the series, but then saw her four-race win streak snapped in last week's second leg by Bet Ya. The series finale victory improves her record to five wins from six starts in 2015. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and now has an Ontario Girls title to go along her Blizzard series triumph a month ago. Artistic Fusion now has 11 career victories and earnings of over $142,000. She paid $2.90 to win. Artistic Fusion In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys and Girls series, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 in 2014 as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 20 - Legion Of Boom pulled off a mild harness racing upset to win The Count B series final Friday night at Woodbine. A field of ten three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the $43,800 finale of the three-week series event. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair left from the rail at 9/1 and got away fifth entering the first turn. As the field neared the half, McNair sent Legion Of Boom first up, allowing the 4/5 favourite Conversation Boy to pick up second-over cover. Legion Of Boom wasted no time charging first up and cleared to the front before the final turn. Conversation Boy, who was left without cover first up, made a break around the final turn spoiling his chances. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, Legion Of Boom had to dig deep in the stretch to hold off several rivals and score a half-length victory in 1:54.4. Dialamara finished second, while Nobettorplacetobe and His Boy Elroy finished third and fourth respectively. A gelding son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair and now has two wins in the first five starts of his career. The victory is extra sweet for driver Doug McNair, as he shares ownership of the gelding with Equus Standardbreds Inc. Legion Of Boom now has career earnings of $34,830. The clocking of 1:54.4 knocked close to two-seconds off his previous career mark. Legion Of Boom returned $20.20 to win. In order to be eligible to The Count B series, the three-year-old colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Legion Of Boom Mark McKelvie

Last time New South Wales’ leading harness racing trainer Shane Tritton trekked south to Victoria in search of Group One glory he found it via Marty Monkhouser. Driven by partner Lauren Panella, the Tritton-trained Marty Monkhouser completed a stylish win in the Breeders Crown Final. The Tritton/Panella combo has dominated the local scene this season, with Panella the leading with 86 wins from 232 drives and Tritton on top of the trainers’ ladder with 93 wins from 352. The pair also leads the metropolitan premiership tables – Panella with 18 winners from 90 starts and Tritton with 18 triumphs from 133 starts. On Saturday night the power pair return to Tabcorp Park Melton in search of more top-level success when Easy On The Eye contests the A G Hunter Cup and Artistic Flite takes his place in the Victoria Derby. Easy On The Eye is fresh from his Goulburn Cup success in 1:57.2, covering the last half 56.9. The son of Christian Cullen hasn’t been in top form since joining Team Tritton, securing a berth in last year’s Miracle Mile after running third in the Group 1 Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint behind Beautide and Guaranteed. “We’re really happy with him,” Tritton said. “He was running at Grand Circuit level and performing quite well in New Zealand and is building up a nice reputation in Australia. We’re pretty optimistic.” Easy On The Eye is a long-shot with the TAB $41 after drawing wide in eight. Artistic Flite burst into Derby calculations with an astonishing mid-week 63.4-metre Newcastle win two starts back. Although the son of Artistic Fella could only run fourth in his Derby heat last weekend, Tritton stated the colt is “worth another chance”. “He was probably asked to do a bit too much that night,” Tritton said. “It was a windy night and not a lot of horses in the chair went real well. “The plan will be to come out quick and get to the pegs first. That gives you a chance.” Artistic Flite has drawn better in gate four as opposed to his inside the back row position last week. Tritton and Panella will also combine with Yayas Hotspot in the Four-Year-Old Bonanza and Chance, which is emergency for the Harness Breeders Victoria Ladyship Cup. HRV Media

The Pacific Fella stallion Artistic Fella has now reached the crossroads in his siring career in both hemispheres and he badly needs to lift his numbers or else harness racing breeders will quickly leave him on the shelf. North America Artistic Fella started well enough with his first crop in North America with the two year olds showing enough to suggest that they would be stakes horses at three. And while they were better it wasn't to the extent most had expected and his reputation took a bit of a hit. That first crop in North America numbered 98 foals and to date as early four year olds they have won $1,753,900. Fifty one have won with eight taking a sub 1:53 mark with the best winners to date being Porsche Seelster 1:54 ($168,144) and Regil Meg 1:53 ($119,298) The second crop numbered just 55 foals and raced in North America in 2014 as two year olds and to say they were very disappointing is being kind. The best performer from the second crop to date is Little Miss Artist 1:55.1 ($35,520) while the next best is Faithful Friend 1:55.2 ($16,905) To date thirteen of that crop have been winners and stakes earned total $179,973. The performance of the first crop meant his foal numbers have dropped even further in North America with this years two year olds numbering just 28, with his yearling crop also numbering just 28. Comment  Not a bad start but failed to kick on and is on borrowed time as far as his future as a sire goes. His second crop were poor last season and he badly needs a couple of flagbearers quickly or his days are numbered as a sire in North America. Australia In Australia Artistic Fella's first crop numbered just 80 foals and he started in good fashion. His flagbearer was the brilliant filly Mindarie Priddy 1:53.8 ($284,659) while others of note were Kimba Bay 1:57.5 ($118,490), Artistic Copper 1:59.1 ($99,807) and Majestic Amy 1:59.4 ($87,530) As of today that first crop has won $855,642 which is a reasonable start but the problem for Artistic Fella is only twenty two of that first crop have won a race as of today which equates to a percentage of winners to live foals of just 27.5% which is way off the pace of  todays leading sires. The second crop in Australia numbered just 56 which raced as two year olds last season. Again Artistic Fella was able to produce a high class individual in Artistic Flight 1:57 ($170,094) but again his numbers are not that flash. Half way through their three year old season, the winners to foal percentage is a very low 16.07% His second best horse from his second crop is Leonardos Son 2:07.3 ($15,490) and to date Artistic Fella has just nine winners from the fifty six foals who have earned a total of $273,920) to date. It is way to early to comment on this seasons two year olds but Artistic Fella has 67 two year olds and to date has had one winner in Sultan Fella 2:03.3 ($4520) Off the back of his good start with his first crop, Artistic Fella has his biggest crop on the ground as foals this season with 97 registered to date. Comment Has left a top horse from each of his first two crops in Australia and a few other handy horses from his first crop as well. His problem is well and truly his number of overall winners in relation to his number of foals. A winners to live foals percentage of just 27.5% from his first crop who are now half way through their four year old season is way short of what all his major competition are achieving and has to be lifted substantially or breeders will turn off the son of Pacific Fella. A winners to live foals percentage from his second crop of just 16.07% is further evidence that he badly needs to lift his overall numbers. New Zealand Has just six live foals which are two year olds this season. Overview Has done a better job in the Southern Hemisphere with a couple of outstanding youngsters but his overall numbers are very poor. Has shown he can leave that elite individual but it is all negated if his overall numbers don't compare to those of all his competitors. Needs to lift those numbers in the next twelve months or his future as a sire is in doubt in both hemispheres. Harnesslink Media

In the spring of 2011 a young Jake McGeechan confidently announced to his father Michael that the newly born Artistic Fella and Kahlea Mac colt was the best of their 2011 foals. With a likely future in the sport, Jake never came to realise the progress of the colt born on family's property 'Highland Pride' as he was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision outside Crookwell in the early hours of Friday morning 30th November, 2012. For Michael McGeechan, his involvement in harness racing and standardbred breeding began in the late 1990's, and it was only natural that Jake would follow. McGeechan's first purchase was Smooth Jes who he owned with his brother John. Following a successful racing career, the mare produced a number of winners including the Miracle Mile champion Divisive and also the unraced Kahlea Mac. Michael also purchased in-foal mares Maputo that produced the Pacing Gold winner Burling Game in 2000 and Blanc De Noir who foaled the sub 1:50 horse Highland Pride who went on to win in excess of $400,000 in the US. McGeechan mostly sells the foals he breeds, but out of those retained for racing he claims the best to date as being Susie Oneill. Michael is now hoping the 2011 selection by Jake can take over the mantle. "I don't know how he did it, but Jake could pick them the moment they were born" said Michael. In 2005, the then 9 year old had chosen Shes All Lady as their best and she went on to win more than $65,000 in prize money, and in the process recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8. "He wasn't born into the horses but he had a way with them" explained Michael. "We ended up keeping all of the 2011 foals and they have been named after Jake." At Jake's funeral the Adam Brand hit Hell Of A Ride was played; it symbolised the McGeechans' year and became a natural choice for the Kahlea Mac colt. Trained by Ian Wilson at Menangle, One Hell Of A Ride has drawn 9 in the first of the $20,505 heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby. Whilst he may be on the second row, One Hell Of A Ride comes out behind fellow New South Welshman Aztec Bromac who possess good early speed. "It's the weakest of the three heats, so we have a chance" said McGeechan who is hoping the colt Jake selected as the best can continue the ride they are experiencing. Also heading south this week is Crookwell born Brad Hewitt. The young gun harness racing trainer now based at Goulburn will be campaigning the talented Spare Me Days. A last start winner at Goulburn on the 19th January, Spare Me Days was bred by Hewitt and is the first foal of Tolnikie, a Nikalong Shadow mare who was bred and originally owned and raced by Brad's grandfather, the late Tom Hewitt of Wheeo. With the colt carrying Tom's favourite exclamation as his racing name, Spare Me Days has drawn barrier 3 in what is doubtless the hardest of the three heats being decided Saturday night. Lining up alongside the Hewitt runner is last season's champion two year old and Breeders Crown final winner Follow The Stars, the Simpson Memorial winner My Field Marshal and the Cran Dalgety trained Art Union who last start defeated the star open class pacer Border Control. "It's the hardest heat of all but we have drawn the 3 gate so it gives us a chance" said Hewitt, who is enjoying his best season ever as a trainer and driver. "I've only ever had one or two in training before but we have kicked off this season really well" said Hewitt who has recently scored feature race wins with Sweet Molly OShea and Im Jay Tee who snatched a last stride win in Monday's $18,600 Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Rose. "He (Im Jay Tee) went really good at Goulburn, it was his first run in a month and just got there". Positioned perfectly in the one by one, Hewitt came with a well-timed run to claim victory on the line from the Belinda McCarthy trained pair of Mister Bling and Epaulette. Im Jay Tee will accompany Spare Me Days to Melbourne and is lining up in race 5 at Ballarat on Friday evening which is a heat of the Country Clubs Championships. by Mark Croatto  

TORONTO, January 23 - The first two stake finals of 2015 took place Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack and it was the Sylvain Filion show. The veteran harness racing reinsman could be poised for another big year, as he took home both the $45,000 Snowshoe Series and $40,000 Blizzard Series finales. The Snowshoe Series final appeared to be wide-open on paper, as seven different horses won divisions during the first two legs. Kindofabigdeal and Filion came into Friday's final as the most consistent horse in the ten-horse field and left with another big effort. The Richard Moreau trainee got the cue to leave hard from Filion and sprinted out to the quick lead, but was quickly challenged for the front by A Boy Named Suuzz. Filion allowed the outside challenger to clear and got a perfect two-hole trip for Kindofabigdeal. Kindofabigdeal sat patiently in the pocket until Filion made his move at the top of the lane. In the stretch, Kindofabigdeal overtook the lead by the eighth-pole and paced away to win in 1:53.3. Bad Bug came on late to make it close and finish second by half a length, while A Boy Named Suuzz held on to hit the board in third. A four-year-old son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal has been on a roll over the last few months at Woodbine, but has recently been unable to come through in series finals. The Moreau trainee won a leg of the Autumn Series, but finished second in the November final. Last month, Kindofabigdeal won the opening two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third as the favourite in the Boxing Day finale. The series final victory Friday gives the pacer seven career wins from 13 starts and pushes his bankroll over $88,000 for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. Kindofabigdeal paid $5.70. Kindofabigdeal In the Blizzard Series final, heavy favourite Artistic Fusion completed the series sweep with a 1:54.4 victory. Trained by Joe Agostino, Artistic Fusion and Filion got away in fourth and came first up down the backstretch to challenge the leader A Fearless Affair. Those two mares would battle side-by-side past the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, but Artistic Fusion was too much to handle for A Fearless Affair in the lane. Artistic Fusion wasted no time leaving her rivals behind and cruised home to win by 2 ¾ lengths. Badlands Love got up for second, while A Fearless Affair dug in to finish third. A four-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion has been firing on all cylinders over the last few months in series action. The Agostino trainee won the Autumn Series final in November, finished second in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day and has now swept the Blizzard Series. Artistic Fusion surpassed the $100,000 mark in career earnings with her eighth career win Friday night for owner Mike Foote. She returned $2.60 to win. Artistic Fusion Mark McKelvie

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