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Tomorrow sees the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka and the first of the Auckland Reactor weanlings to go through the sale ring. There are seven catalogued and we plan to review them all before the sale. Lot 88 - An Auckland Reactor filly from Tragically Hip This filly is from the Beach Towel mare Tragically Hip and as such is bred on the same cross as the two winners the mare has already produced in Hip Hop Anvil 1:55.6 ($138,122) and Shot From The Hip 1:57.5 ($44,750). Both of those winners are by Mach Three as is Auckland Reactor. The Mach Three / Beach Towel cross has been very successful worldwide with the most notable horse bred on that cross being Somebeachsomewhere 1:46.8 ($3,221,299) while in New Zealand it has produced horses like Sir Lincoln 1:54 ($663,601) The second dam Penelope Pitstop 1:59 won twice but the only foal she produced was Tragically Hip. The third dam is the smart Windshied Wiper mare Tac Wind 1:57.1 ($77,223) who left six winners at stud including the high class mare Flash Tactics 1:56p ($84,830) who the Southland Oaks at three. At stud Flash Tactics has left such smart types as Same Kinda Tactics 1:57.4 ($178,666) and Scare Tactics 1:51.4 ($115,669). This is the maternal family closely associated with the late Derek Dynes who had a huge amount of success with the "Tactics" maternal family for over fifty years. It is a maternal family noted for producing plenty of very smart fillies and mares. The filly in question is very much like a lot of the other Auckland Reactor weanlings we have reviewed in that she is very correct and has nice clean hocks. Lot 88 looks a nice cut of a filly to us and she certainly has the bloodlines behind her to be a successful racing proposition Harnesslink Media

Tomorrow at the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka we will see the first weanlings by Auckland Reactor go under the hammer. There are seven in the catalogue and we plan to review them all before the sale. Lot 85 - A colt by Auckland Reactor from Tirol's Sallance. Tirol's Sallance 1:58.4 ($84,654) was an outstanding two year old winning the $99,750 Caduceus Club Classic and running second in the $81,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final for fillies. Tirol's Sallance only had a handful of starts at three and four due to various issues but as her two year old record shows she was top class. To date she has produced four foals three years old or older for three qualifiers and two winners including the smart filly Serene Lady 1:59.8 ($38,154). Tirol's Sallance is from the talented racemare Innsbruck (4 wins) and apart from Tirol's Sallance has also left the very smart filly Sovereign Faith 1:53.5 ($72,234) and Tirol's Ziray ($43,285)  Tirol's Ziray's first foal is the very talented Pachacuti 1:56.3 ($185,064) The third dam is Saucy Wave who won twelve races as a two and three year old in Australasia and has left six winners at stud including the smart juvenile Smooth Wave (9 wins) and the speedy mare Go Cracker Go 1:54 ($87,418) while her daughters have produced such talented types as Conte Cristo 1:56 ($246,703) and Conte Centovalli 1:57.5 ($228,443). This family has been a great source of juvenile talent over a long period and continues to produce precocious youngsters. The colt in question is an October foal and like all of the Auckland Reactors we have seen to date he is very correct and has nice clean hocks. He stands over a bit of ground and should develop into a lovely yearling. With his mother being such a smart two year old and being from a maternal family that is renowned for leaving early horses, this colt has all the ingredients to get up and run early. Harnesslink Media

This Wednesdays All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka features seven weanlings from the first crop of the former superstar pacer Auckland Reactor. We plan to preview them all before the sale. Lot 55 - An Auckland Reactor colt from Make It Hot Make It Hot has three foals three years or older so far for two qualifiers and one winner in the form of the outstanding Elsu gelding Chilli Palmer 1:51.5 ($252,863) who has done a great job in Australia. The second dam is the former outstanding two and three year old Fake Spirit 1:58.1 ($184,368) who from just three live foals produced the smart pacer Ultimate Player 1:57.1 ($75,119) The third dam is the smart racemare Whata Spirit (4 wins) who left eight winners including such smart types as Thats The Spirit 1:54.9 ($134,334), Family Spirit 1:52.4 ($120,312), Rum Ball 1:58.7 ($77,631) and Holm's Spirit ($50,323) who is already the dam of four winners including Springsteen 1:59.3 ($110,725) This is the other side of the famed Black Watch family and it has been churning out quality winners for just as long as its famous relative. The colt himself is typical of a lot of the Auckland Reactors we have seen to date in that he is a very correct individual with nice clean hocks which is a major plus for us when looking at weanlings. The colt has quite a bit of presence about him and we would not be surprised if he was the highest priced of the Auckland Reactor weanlings on Wednesday. Harnesslink Media

This weeks All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka includes the first batch of Auckland Reactor weanlings to go under the hammer and we plan to review the seven weanlings in the catalogue. One that took our eye looking at the pedigree pages was Lot 42 and this is how we view the weanling in question. Lot 42 - An Auckland Reactor colt from Gemside  Gemside is a 1:57.1 daughter of the leading pacing broodmare sire In The Pocket who has produced four foals old enough to race (including a two year old) to date for three qualifiers and two smart winners in Artzone  1:54.5 ($ 147,265) and the filly Jeremes Gem 1:56.9 (4 wins) Gemside is a full sister to Gem Power who is the dam of last seasons talented three year old filly in Ideal Power 1:56.4 ($62,247). Gemside and Gem Power are both from the former high class racemare in Kurahaupo Gem 1:56 .2 (7 wins) who as the prefix "Kurahaupo" suggests is from the brilliant maternal family that came to the fore when this colts third dam Donna Eden started churning out those high class colts and fillies thirty years ago. The winners haven't stopped coming ever since and include such top liners as Kurahaupo Kruzar 1:50.1 ($393,944), Eridanus 1:51.3 ($176,972), Kurahaupo Diamond 1:53 ($174,474) and Kurahaupo Lord ($160,092) to name just a few. The weanling is a late November foal  and a touch behind the other weanlings we have reviewed but like all of the Auckland Reactors we have reviewed to date, he is very correct and has very clean legs which is something we really look for when inspecting weanlings. To us he looks a nice type who should furnish into a lovely yearling and going by his pedigree he has every chance of making a racehorse. Harnesslink Media

This weeks All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka sees the first of the weanlings by Auckland Reactor go through the ring. There are seven first crop weanlings by the former superstar in the catalogue and we plan to review them all prior to the sale. Lot 37 - Filly by Auckland Reactor from Drums Of Time This filly is the fifth foal from the smart Falcon Seelster racemare in Drums Of Time 1:58.6 (3wins) and she is doing a good job at stud with her first four foals including a two year old all qualified and two have already won races. Drums Of Time is a half sister to Off Beat 1:59.7 who left the outstanding racemare Hot Shoe Shuffle 1:57.9 who won fourteen races and $295,011 and has gone on and done a great job in the broodmare barn with credits such as Glenferrie Shuffle 1:57 ($279,839), Jivin Cullen 1:54 ($147,652) and Joshua Mac ($129,163). Off Beat has also produced the very smart In The Pocket gelding Iwasborntoboogy 1:50.2 who has won $277,289 in North America. The third dam Berndon Star won four races and left eight winners at stud including the talented duo of Leftamillion 1:53.2 ($181,327) and Vanyana 1:57.7 ($107,250) and Berndon Star was a full sister to the brilliant age group pacer Smooth Falcon 1:57.7 who won 14 races from just 20 starts The fourth dam Tata Matapo was a half sister to none other than the champion broodmare Black Watch. So the filly lacks nothing on pedigree and as you can see from the photo she is a lovely individual as well. This is the third Auckland Reactor we have reviewed and one thing that stands out for us is what good legged weanlings they are. That is a big plus going forward in our opinion and a tick in the positive column for the stallion. Harnesslink Media 

This week at the All Aged harness racing sale at Karaka we will see the first of the Auckland Reactors to go through a sale ring in Australasia. We thought we would have a look at  some of the Auckland Reactors on offer this Wednesday (May 20th). The first lot we are going to have a look at is Lot 18 who is a filly by Auckland Reactor from Amazing Luck This filly is the seventh foal from the imported Camluck mare Amazing Luck 1:56 who raced in New Zealand Her first four foals were all fillies of which two were winners including Shezaluckydreamer 1:56.4 ($86,080) while an unraced daughter of Amazing Luck in Sheza Gem is the dam of the talented Mr Franklin (5 wins) ($46,223) Amazing Luck comes from a prolific North American family and she is closely related to such standouts as Florida Boy 1:49.6 ($599,148) and Me And My Baby 1:51 ($607,841) As you can see from the photo, the weanling filly is a very correct individual. A bit like Auckland Reactor himself, she looks a nice type and we quite like what we see in the photo. There has been a lot of positive comment around the traps about the Auckland Reactor weanlings and if she is typical of his stock you can see why. For the catalogue click here. Auckland Reactor winning The New Brighton Cup Harnesslink Media

Mark Purdon probably had at least two harness racing lessons well learned  in mind when he bought Northern Velocity at the 2014 Premier Sale for $72,500.   The first  was learning from past successes. The other was to never leave a sale early.   Northern Velocity was the second last lot at the end of a long sale at Addington but Mark found the time to buy her for Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb, a decision they can hardly be regretting at this stage of the filly's development.   She certainly showed Mark enough by the summer that he went back to this year's sale and bought her full sister Tachydar (it was late in the sale too) at what might turn out to be a bargain price of $60,000.   Although Auckland Reactor and Fly Like An Eagle have been standout runners for the stable in the past, Mark is rarely without a Mach Three filly.   They can be difficult as many fillies can and they have their off days but the records are littered with age group filly stars by Mach Three and all leading stables need to have at least one in the mix.   Apart from their individual appeal, usually the most important factor with Mark in his final analysis, the pedigree cross of Northern Velocity must have  jumped out saying "pick me" when Mark and Natalie were studying the catalogue.   The Mach Three-Falcon Seelster cross which the filly carries has already proven a winner for All Stars.   Fly Like An Eagle is an obvious standout but the ill-fated Fiery Falcon won a Harness Jewels  and Millwood Meg while not outstanding on the track here later landed a West Australian Oaks and was another filly bred on this cross trained by All Stars (among others).   There are several other well known successes with this cross the best known recently being Venus Serena, one of the best fillies seen out in a long time.   "I went largely on type with her but I was certainly aware of that that cross had done for us in the past and it was a factor in my thinking" Mark says of his purchase.   The success of this cross is not a real surprise.   In fact the success of Falcon Seelster  mares crossed with Direct Scooter line stallions in general is no real surprise (the cross with Christian Cullen has been notably  successful) because Falcon Seelster is what counts for an "outcross " stallion in modern times.   He has no direct crosses of the Meadow Skipper line of Hal Dale nor the modern lines of Volomite through Direct Scooter.   In fact Falcon Seelster's pedigree looks like something which would have been extremely fashionable about 1970 -which is no bad thing.   It is full of Adios/Tar Heel crosses, Hal Dale/Volomite and even the Scotland/Volomite cross which was the foundation for the magical U Scott/Light Brigade cross 60 years ago in this country.   It might be claimed that Mach Three  gives them that high  speed and Falcon Seelster adds some old fashioned toughness.   Like many successful juvenile horses these days it seems Northern Velocity traces to a trotting influence in Beverly's Song whose notable foals beside Enna Gee were the fine trotters Mighty Dollar and especially Logan Cheval bred respectively by the Clark brothers Leicester and Tom.   Enna Gee a tough staying mare trained by Robin Butt and co-owned by him left three particularly smart pacers in Panyan,a  big success in Australia where he was placed in a Hunter Cup, age group black type winner, Rare Charm and Pathfinder who won the Group Two DB Superstar Final as a four year old after a light career to that point.   He broke down in Australia after one start.   While this family goes back to Topsy and has had its share of success, a lot of it has been in recent times.   Best known is Pembrook Benny, a half brother to Northern Velocity and the winner of over $1m, Pembrook Caesar a talented mare which won the Group Three Ladyship Cup at Melton for Jodi Quinlan in 2013, and Holme Fire,winner of both a Sires Stakes and a Nevele R filly heat.   All are from Northern Franco an unraced (though qualified) mare whose dam Natural Appeal took a 1.59 mark when that meant more than it does now who left nine winners at stud from 10 to race.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable

The breeders involved in harness racing in Australasia have access in 2014 to the leading sires in the world but just three North American sires continue to dominate our breeding scene at the moment and they are Art Major, Bettor's Delight and Mach Three. Australia Art Major stands in Australia and is completely dominant on the stakes money charts in that country due in no small part to the large numerical advantage he holds over his two main opponents. The charts below show quite clearly the advantage he has.  Art Major   4 year olds - 167                   3 year olds - 129                   2 year olds - 153  Bettors Delight                    4 year olds - 56                    3 year olds - 84                    2 year olds - 74 Mach Three                    4 year olds - 53                    3 year olds - 33                    2 year olds - 49 As you can see Art Major has a huge advantage and thats what you see every time you go to the track. You see Art Majors everywhere and that reinforces the message that he is on top. But the big numbers are only important if the stallion can deliver elite level racehorses and Art Major can do that in spades as he has shown over many years. New Zealand Skip across the Tasman to the home of both Bettors Delight and Mach Three and you get a completely different picture, again entirely due to foal numbers. Bettors Delight is completely dominant there on the stake money won list due in the main to huge books which have given him huge foal numbers most years. He is extremely fertile and has the added bonus of being a great filly sire as well The charts below show that huge advantage Bettors Delight has numbers wise over Art Major and Mach Three. Bettors Delight                   4 year olds - 117                   3 year olds - 234                   2 year olds - 220 Art Major                   4 years old - 98                   3 year olds - 87                   2 year olds - 49 Mach Three                   4 year olds - 160                   3 year olds - 77                   2 year olds - 94 Last years three year old season in New Zealand was different from normal in so much as Mach Three had more foals than either Bettors Delight or Art Major for the first time in living memory. The result was that Mach Three won the 3 year olds stake money list  quite comfortably from Bettors Delight and Art Major which proves once again that foal numbers do matter when it comes to winning sire premierships Now plenty of sires are trying to break the dominance of the big three and the latest is Sportswriter. He met the first requirement for all new stallions trying to dislodge the top three in that he had the largest crop of 2 year olds with 155 of any sire in Australia last season and he did leave 33 winners from his first crop. But when it came to the big money races, the Art Majors and Bettors Delights scooped up most of the money. So a good start for Sportswriter but not up with the big boys yet. Another stallion who has been given a big chance to join the big boys in Australia is Shadow Play who served a huge book of 295 mares last season in Australia and a further 80 in New Zealand on the back of a great first season in North America. His first crop of two year olds in Australasia were good last season without being brilliant so the jury is still out as to weather he can challenge the big three. Rock N Roll Heaven served a book of 215 mares in his first year at stud in Australia and a further 52 in New Zealand so his first crop which are two year olds in the current season will be watched with great interest. His North American results in the super tough New York Sires Stakes have been very good so the signs so far are positive. Auckland Reactor is another stallion who has been handed an opportunity to join the big three serving 212 mares in New Zealand and 182 in Australia in his first season at stud. With that number of mares, Auckland Reactor needs to make a big slash right from the start or else he will be discarded quickly. As it stands the big three continue to dominate but one thing is very clear. To compete with the Art Majors, Bettors Delights and Mach Threes is never going to be easy as they are world class sires who perform in both hemispheres. For any new sire to challenge the dominance of the three established top sires, he needs a book of mares of a comparable size and quality to what they regularly serve or he is really going to struggle. Harnesslink Media

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

Dubbo Harness Racing Club has announced the line-up for its stallion service auction. Thanks to the generosity of some of New South Wales’, Victoria’s and New Zealand’s leading breeding establishments, the club has secured services to several outstanding stallions. On offer are Shadyshark Hanover thanks to Goodtime Lodge, Art Official or Auckland Reactor courtesy of Alabar, Live Or Die and Mcardle from Nevele R Stud, Robin Hood via Yirribee and American Ideal, which resides at Woodlands Stud. All money raised goes directly into prizemoney, which has seen events such as the club’s flagship feature - Red Ochre Mares’ Classic – elevated to Group status. The tender opens on Monday, September 9 and closes at 5pm on Monday, September 16, 2014. Bids can be placed via the club’s site and clicking on ‘Trading Ring’ or by contacting Brett Wrigley on 0407 995 930 and Lester Hoy on 0457 647 919. The club has extended a “huge thank you” to the studs for their generosity, which is a driving force behind the growth of the local industry. PAUL COURTS

Its that time of the year again for harness racing breeders as the first foals from last seasons matings are starting to arrive all over New Zealand. It is an exciting time for breeding enthusiasts as foals by a lot of the first season sires hit the ground for the first time. One sire creating a bit of a buzz  leading into the breeding season is Auckland Reactor who served a huge  book of 394 mares in Australia and New Zealand in his first year at stud in 2013/2014. It is therefore highly appropriate that the first foal by Auckland Reactor to be born in New Zealand has been bred by an Australian, Harvey Kaplan. Harvey Kaplan has been on a fantastic ride in the last few years with Baby Bling 1:50.5, ($853,890)  Bling It On 1:51.7 ($711,122) and Nike Franco 1:52.6 ($158,891) just three of his better performers and he has the honour of breeding the first live foal by Auckland Reactor. The dam of the first foal is the unraced 5 year old Jereme's Jet mare in Jet Spirit who is the fifth foal from the talented racemare Holm's Spirit ($50,325) The first four foals from Holm's Spirit are Jasper The Ghost 1:55.2 ($60,345)  The White House 1:56 ($62,568)  Western Spirit 1:59.1 ($61,535) and Springsteen 1:59.5 ($103,917) so she has done a fine job at stud. Holm's Spirit is a half sister to Fake Spirit 1:59.8 ($184,368)  That's The Spirit 1:54.9 ($134,334)  Family Spirit 1:52.2 ($111,227) and Rum Ball 1:58.7 ($77,631) so the pedigree has plenty of talented horses up close to Jet Spirit. This maternal family is the other branch of the brilliant Black Watch family made famous by Sandy and Jan Yardley. It is a maternal family that continues to go from strength to strength and is highly prized on both sides of the Tasman. The colt foal in the photo is only a day old and if that's the type of foal Auckland Reactor is going to throw at stud then there will be a lot of happy breeders in Australasia. Harnesslink Media

Former harness racing star Auckland Reactor is handing out the proverbial ‘cigar’ after becoming a father. The champion pacer’s first child, a masculine child, was born in New Zealand yesterday, with Australian-based owner-breeder Harvey Kaplan “thrilled with the new arrival”. Auckland Reactor needs no introduction as a multiple Group One winner for outstanding Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon. A bold striding son of Mach Three, Auckland Reactor was an instant sensation after making a winning debut at Timaru in September 2007. The colt then completed 17 consecutive victories, including three Group Ones and four Group Twos, before suffering his first defeat when second in the Four-Year-Old Futurity. Auckland Reactor bounced back to win his next three outings, including the Group One Auckland Cup. Making a smooth transition to the top echelon, Auckland Reactor won an addition three Group Ones before being retired to stud with an impressive record of 32 wins and three placings from 53 starts for earnings of $ $1,837,043. Just as he was on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor became an immediate sensation in the breeding barn where he served just under 400 mares, including 186 in Australia for Alabar Bloodstock. As for his son, from unraced mare Jet Spirit, Kaplan is hopeful the day-old youngster can eventually match his famous dad’s feats on the track. “I’m stoked to have a colt by Auckland Reactor,” Kaplan said. “Jet Spirit was the first mare served, and as it turns out, she was the first to foal. “Auckland Reactor was a super, super racehorse and I’ll be thrilled if this young bloke can be anywhere near as good as his old man. “I’m always keen to support colonial stallions which fit the bill and Auckland Reactor ticked all the boxes as he had speed, stamina, a great record and bloodlines. “I will be sending another mare or two back to him.” As for the new arrival’s name, Kaplan is calling upon readers for suggestions…of course, Paul would be a great start! “If anyone reading this has any ideas, I’m open to suggestions,” Kaplan said. “Please send in your comment and I’ll certainly give them some serious thought.” PAUL COURTS

It was a case of mixed emotions at Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event – TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day – at Bendigo yesterday. As a high, the Melton girls cleaned up in the Aldebaran Netball Cup, but on the downside, the Melton fellas were smashed on the Tabcorp footy field. Melton is yet to win from four starts…the only team still waiting to enjoy a taste glory! On the opposite end of the scale, the skill and agility of the netballers placed them in a class of their own as they rocketed to success. Multiple Group One winning reinswoman Kate Gath was the recipient of the Yirribee Stud Most Valuable Player Award. Gath’s football counterpart was Heath Barton, who enjoyed double success as a member of the triumphant Shepparton squad. After dispensing of Ballarat in the opener, Shepparton then accounted for defending champions, Bendigo, to hold the Tabcorp Premiership Cup aloft. Tobey Courts,11, earned an honourable mention after booting four goals, including three against Ballarat. Away from the fun and games, the event had a serious side – raising awareness and valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. Thrilled with the wide spread involvement, organiser Robbie O’Connell declared both ‘goals’ were achieved by the 500-strong crowd. “The amount of publicity this day has generated has certainly helped raising the awareness of the cause,” O’Connell said. “Anyone in harness racing would have to have been living in a cave not to have known about the day and what it’s all about. “And I’m thrilled to say we eclipsed last year’s total and even bettered our target amount in money raised. After $14,000 last year we were hoping for $20,000 this time, but we’re sitting on $22,000 at the moment. “Everyone involved, be it sponsor, helper, player or spectator can hold their heads up high…well, except for the Melton footy team!” There were also plenty of fun activities for the kids throughout the afternoon, as they enjoyed the jumping castle, little athletics competition and the free Auckland Reactor soccer and footballs thanks to Alabar Bloodstock. Alexa Astin and Will Janky were big winners after scoring bikes thanks to Amart Sports Melton by guessing the amount of snakes in a jar. “I couldn’t believe Alexa guessed the exact amount,” O’Connell said. “I thought I was clever not making it an obvious amount like 125 or 120, so I left it at 123. “According to Alexa’s dad her guess was simple, she counted them one, two, three, so he wrote that down! “Overall if was a terrific day, everyone had fun and we achieved our goals thanks to the sponsors, the helpers and every person who came and participated in the spirit of it all.” PAUL COURTS

JUST days out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day and the generosity just keeps flowing. Already a major sponsor in two areas, Alabar Bloodstock has once again increased its involvement in what has developed in Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event. One of the first to support last year’s inaugural edition, Alabar was quick to return this time to cover the costs of the foot and netballs. On top of that, the leading breeding establishment has donated a service to Grinfromeartoear as the headliner for the mega raffle. Now Alabar has joined forced with Amart Melton and Burley to deliver ‘Auckland Reactor’ soccer and footballs to the first 60 kids to attend the big day. The latest gesture also compliments the two bikes Amart Melton has donated for the lucky boy and girl who guess the correct (or closest to) amount of snakes in a jar, which will be displayed throughout the day…entry is FREE!. Not to forget prominent owner Kevin Riseley, who has generously offered to cover the cost of hiring a jumping castle for children to enjoy, or Allan McNeil, who has donated lolly bags. “Alabar, Amart, Kevin and Allan have just been so generous,” event organiser Robbie O’Connell said. “Their focus on the kids’ activities will help turn this into a massive family day, just the kind of event harness racing needs. “Now we have the dads playing footy, the mums hitting the netball court and the kids going nuts, as kids should.” Other sponsors include Tabcorp, James and son, Seelite Windows and Doors and Glenn Sharp. A fun occasion for all industry participants, Sunday’s event also has a serious side – raising valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. That’s where a small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) comes into play. Not only does the fee cover the costs of the games, sausage sizzle and the night’s function, it adds to the tally to aid children suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives just $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000. Smart will be back this year with “some sensational memorabilia”, so attendees better make sure their wallets are loaded! Teams from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo – will do battle throughout the day, with the first event, a netball match, to begin at 11:30am at the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club. The first footy game is scheduled to start at noon. “The Strathfieldsaye Club has offered us free use of their grounds and facilities,” O’Connell said. They have two footy ovals and three netball courts, so it’s the perfect pl ace for us. “Last year’s day was big, but this year will be huge.” For more information please contact Robbie O'Connell on 0404 728 885. Paul Courts

On Sunday SA BOTRA will host their annual fundraiser "Xmas in July" to be held at the Globe Derby this Sunday starting at noon with the special guest of honor being champion New Zealand reinsman Anthony Butt. Hall of Famer Butt, who has achieved most things in the sport of harness racing including New Zealand, Auckland, Hunter, Rowe Cups and four Inter Dominion finals in a stellar career to date.  Butt, will be interviewed by race caller Jim Jacques in what should be great entertainment. Also during the afternoon you will have a chance to bid on one of nine stallion services that will go under the hammer and in that line up is some of Australia’s most sort after sires: Auckland Reactor, Smiling Shard, Lombo Pocket Watch, Gotta Go Cullect, Western Edition, Tiz A Masterpiece, Art Official, Elsu BG’s Folly, Cullen’s Legacy and Artesian. Tickets are just $40 and includes a three-course meal so please contact Lois Randall on 0402978424. by Gary Newton   

Stylish gelding Isaiah Artois has the $125,000 Golden Slipper on July 18 firmly in his sights after giving a bold frontrunning display to score a decisive victory in a drama-filled International Health Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. All honours were with Isaiah Artois, third favourite at 15/2 who was produced in great shape by Byford trainer David Thompson and was driven with aggression and confidence by Colin Brown. But there was a sad tale of woe, with the 2/1 on favourite The Odd Lover having his off-side sulky tyre punctured 100m after the start. In Nyrobi overraced badly when the mobile barrier released the field and Gary Hall jun. had a hectic time trying to settle the youngster who was virtually uncontrollable. Hall had a battle in trying to steer In Nyrobi as he attempted to guide him towards the outside fence. As he desperately tried to manoeuvre In Nyrobi away from behind The Odd Lover (racing three wide) In Nyrobi's near front leg clipped the wheel of The Odd Lover's sulky. Kim Prentice then dashed The Odd Lover forward to move into the breeze after 550m. Mister Atomic had galloped at the start and Morgan Woodley sent Nitro Lad into the lead before Isaiah Artois surged to the front after 200m. Punters realised that there was a serious problem when Prentice took a sustained look at The Odd Lover's off-side sulky wheel as the field raced down the front straight to receive the bell. The tyre was flattened, but stayed on the rim. However, the tube had become loose and had become wrapped around the axel. The Odd Lover, under the massive disadvantage of having to pull his disabled sulky, began to wilt half-way down the back straight in the final circuit and as Prentice was easing him back towards the rear approaching the home turn The Odd Lover was tightened and broke into a gallop. He finished 105m behind the winner in eleventh position. Steve Johnson, the breeder and owner of Isaiah Artois, was delighted with the victory and paid tribute to the professional care of Thompson and his wife Karen as well as the skill of Brown. "We came here tonight expecting that the Odd Lover would be extremely hard to beat," he said. "And I feel a little bit sorry for Kim Prentice, having to carry a flat tyre." After a reasonable lead time of 37.7sec., Isaiah Artois had the luxury of coasting through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.4sec. before covering the next quarters in 29.4sec., 29.8sec. and 30.1sec. He rated 1.59.7 over the 2130m and defeated 11/2 second fancy Artillery Major by a length, with almost a length to Kasey Kahne (15/1) in third place. Artillery Major finished solidly from fifth on the pegs at the bell and Kasey Kahne came from seventh with a lap to travel. Isaiah Artois has had six starts for four wins and two thirds for stakes of $74,698. He is by Art Major and is the second foal out of Endless Journey (by American stallion Die Laughing) who had nine starts in Western Australia as a two and three-year-old in 2006 and 2007 for two minor placings and stakes of $2560. Endless Journey is a half-sister to Like A Dame, the dam of top-flight seven-year-old David Hercules, who had set the pace and beaten Im Themightyquinn 30 minutes before the win of Isaiah Artois in the Pearl. Endless Journey is out of Victorian-bred mare Hold Tight, whose five winners included Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in March 1994. Fake Embrace earned $240,249 from 37 wins and 40 placings from 178 starts. David Hercules claims a mighty scalp In ancient times the mythical Greek divine hero Hercules was famous for his strength and was acclaimed for slaying, bare-handed, the ferocious Nemean lion, a vicious monster who was considered indestructible. The modern-day Hercules appeared in the form of David Hercules at Gloucester Park on Friday night when his victim was Australasia's greatest pacer Im Themightyquinn. Im Themightyquinn was considered a certainty by most pundits, but he had his colours lowered by David Hercules, who proved too speedy for his illustrious rival in the 2130m KA Cleans And Flushes Pace. David Hercules, resuming after a spell, charged straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he relished his pacemaking role before beating Im Themightyquinn by just over two lengths, with Dundee Three finishing strongly from seventh on the pegs at the bell to be 10m away in third place. Im Themightyquinn, favourite at 2/1 on, started from barrier three and raced without cover for the first 550m before Toretto assumed the position in the breeze. Morgan Woodley rated David Hercules perfectly, and after opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 29.1sec. the West Australian-bred seven-year-old gave his rivals very little chance by sprinting brilliantly over the final two quarters in 27.3sec. and 27.6sec. Im Themightyquinn, driven for the first time in a race by Clint Hall, started a three-wide move towards the end of the back straight in the final circuit. He finished solidly, but found the task beyond him. Woodley admitted he was more than pleasantly surprised at the splendid first-up performance from David Hercules, a clear second favourite at 5/2 at his first appearance for just over three months. "He exceeded my expectations," he said. "I went out thinking that if I could pinch an easy time early he might have a good chance of finishing close with Im Themightyquinn. My suspicion was that Im Themightyquinn, with race fitness under his belt and the way he has been racing in such a rich vein of form, would prove a little bit too good for us. "The lead time (37.6sec.) and the leisurely first quarter (30.9sec.) allowed me to be really up tempo from the 1200m and make it very hard for anything from behind. He certainly did exceed my expectations and I was very happy with him and the most positive thing to come out of it is that I think that he will improve. "I believe it was the winning move, sprinting the third quarter in 27.3sec. It wasn't premeditated, it wasn't a plan; it just seemed like the right thing to do. So I rolled the dice and threw caution to the wind down the back straight and tried to pinch a good break. "As we turned into the back straight the last time I had a look over my shoulder and saw that Im Themightyquinn still hadn't pulled out off the back of Toretto, and I thought, well now's my chance. If I can pinch a couple of lengths here and he has to be going sideways while I'm going forward, well I can really make a race of it. "Fortunately David Thompson had the horse right, and this made my drive look good. A lot of times you can try things like that, but if the horse isn't up to the mark they will wilt over the final stages and you will have egg on your face. So credit is due to David for having the horse so forward. "David Hercules ran out a little bit in the home straight, but that is not something that's of great concern. If it was the first time he had done it, then I would be worried. It seems to be quite a consistent thing with him. He has raced with block blinkers on from time to time and, who knows, moving forward, it might be the case that he goes back and has some form of eye-wear to keep him a little more focused and straight. "He's quite a large horse and I think that some of this is probably because he is running too quickly for his frame. Im Themightyquinn is pint-sized compared to David Hercules." David Hercules, owned by David Botha and Jeneen Johnson, has amassed $820,304 in prizemoney from 30 wins and 31 placings from 88 starts. The Parade, a model of consistency A wide barrier did not prove a disadvantage for talented filly The Parade, who maintained her wonderful consistency when she sustained a powerful burst from last to win the 1730m Electromix-Electrolytes And Sweat Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Despite her excellent form, including her second to the brilliant Libertybelle Midfrew in the WA Oaks last month, many punters overlooked her claims and she started at a gift price of 7/1 from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice wisely restrained The Parade back to last at the start, while polemarker and 5/4 on favourite Harper Grace was put under plenty of early pressure, first from Maddy White (5/1) and then Jungle Jewel (8/1). This resulted in a fast opening quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec. After a second section in 30.1sec., Harper Grace led from Jungle Jewel at the bell, with My Samantha Jane (11/1) next on the pegs and Maddy White in the one-out, one-back position. Prentice started a three-wide move 950m from home and The Parade sustained a strong burst to take the lead with 250m to travel. The final sections went by in 28.9sec. and 29.8sec. and the winner rated a slick 1.56.3. She won by 2m from My Samantha Jane, with 5m to Maddy White in third place. Harper Grace weakened to finish fourth. The Parade has earned $108,144 from seven wins and eight placings from 20 starts. She is by American stallion Real Desire and is the first foal out of unraced Badlands Hanover mare Hearty Lass, whose dam Atomic Lass produced former champion Auckland Reactor (53 starts for 32 wins, four placings and $1,837,043) and Taihape Tickler, who had 113 starts for 19 wins, 19 placings and $183,919. The Parade's win completed a double for Prentice, who was successful earlier in the night with the Ken Kirke-trained The Pacing Priest. Finbar Abbey and Arousing win for Olivieri and Voak Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Finbar Abbey, who holds the unique distinction of being the only horse to have won a race in Australia in which outstanding four-year-old Alta Christiano tasted defeat, gave Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak the first leg of a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he finished strongly to win the 2503m Ironvita Blood And Oxygen Handicap. The pair completed the double when Arousing was successful in the second qualifying heat of the Neutra Syrup Netralises And Removes Lombardo Pace. Finbar Abbey, a 4/1 chance, began speedily from the 10m mark, and after racing wide early, slotted in to the one-out, one-back position, with Bartowski setting the pace from Gallileo in the breeze. Shardons Rocket, the 30m backmarker, surged forward, three wide, in the first lap before eventually getting to the front 1270m from home. This relegated Finbar Abbey to sixth in the one-wide line, but Voak remained patient before he switched Finbar Abbey three wide at the 600m mark. Finbar Abbey dashed to the front 50m from the post and won by a length from 5/1 chance Ohoka Courage, who was eighth at the bell and followed the last-lap three-wide run of the winner. Heez Orl Black, the 6/4 favourite, who moved to the breeze 950m from home, wilted to fifth. Finbar Abbey, who won the 2902m Easter Cup from Polak and Alta Christiano on April 17, has flourished under Olivieri's care and looks set for further successes. The eight-year-old has had 105 starts for 15 wins and 24 placings for stakes of $127,281. He had 63 starts in New Zealand for five wins and 14 placings before arriving in Australia. Arousing, second fancy at 4/1, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier when she set a moderate early pace before covering the final 800m in 57.5sec. to beat 5/4 favourite Jungle Genie by one and a half lengths. This ended a losing sequence of nine and boosted her earnings to $102,696 from ten wins and 24 placings from 92 starts. Jungle Genie was not suited by the dawdling pace and did a good job to come from seventh at the bell. Olivieri and Voak kept up the good work at Gloucester Park on Saturday night when 5/2 chance Hes Ritehererightnow finished strongly to win a 2503m stand from Ardens Southee. Elson and Young strike purple patch Owner-trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Kim Young completed a wonderfully successful week when they combined to score an upset victory with 44/1 outsider Reuben Brogden in the2536m Min-A-Vit Racing And Breeding Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This followed wins with two-year-old Mister Ardee and three-year-old Class of Tara at Pinjarra on Monday and two-year-old Arturus at Gloucester Park on Tuesday. Reuben Brogden, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, started from the outside of the back line and he was last in the field of 12 after a lap before storming home from the rear at the bell to snatch a last-stride victory by a head from 5/4 favourite Slick Chapel, with Vapour (9/4) a close third after appearing certain to win when he led clearly on the home turn. Polemarker Im Terrific set the pace until Lauren Jones sent Vapour (sixth at the bell) to the front at the 400m mark. Gary Hall jun. then issued a spirited challenge with Slick Chapel, who had followed Vapour's three-wide run in the final circuit. Vapour began to wilt in the closing stages and was overhauled by Reuben Brogden and Slick Chapel. The final 800m was covered in 59.5sec. and Reuben Brogden rated 1.58.4. Young drove vigorously in the home straight and earned a $400 fine from the stewards for an incorrect whip action. Reuben Brogden, who finished third to Im Victorious in the Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park in December 2012, has been lightly raced and his win on Friday night improved his record to 36 starts for 14 wins and ten placings for stakes of $114,936. The son of American stallion Real Desire, Reuben Brogden was placed twice from three starts in New Zealand in October 2011 before coming to WA. He is the first foal out of Presidential Ball mare Ruby Choozday, who had eight starts for one win, two placings and $5970. Spectacular debut by Spectactular New Zealand-bred five-year-old Spectactular, a standing-start specialist in his home country with five wins in stands, revealed sparkling early speed from behind the mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night when made an impressive Australian debut with an effortless victory in the 2130m Mecworma And Bot Worming Paste Pathway Pace. Produced in fine fettle by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., Spectactular, hot favourite at 3/1 on, gave Gary Hall jun. an armchair drive as he bowled along in front before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win by just over four lengths from polemarker Kristoff, who had trailed him throughout. Spectactular rated 1.57.4 to improve his record to nine wins and six placings from 37 starts for stakes of $64,862. By Christian Cullen, he is the eighth foal out of New York Motoring mare Tact Hayley, who was placed at five of her 11 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Halls maintain their dominance with two trebles The all-conquering combination of master trainer Gary Hall sen. and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. maintained their outstanding form with another three winners at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They were successful with Black Aquila (5/2), Spectactular (3/1 on) and My Hard Copy (2/1 on) and then they combined with another treble at Gloucester Park on Saturday night, scoring with Massive Attack, VC Manoeuvre and Soho Lennon. Black Aquila, a newcomer to the Hall stable, gave a powerful display to win the 1730m Protexin Multi Strain Probiotic Pace from Desirable Guy and Roy Bolt. He started from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving into the breeze outside the pacemaker Roy Bolt. Black Aquila moved on terms with the leader 450m from home before taking a clear lead 150m later and racing away to score by a length and a half at a 1.56.8 rate after the final 800m was covered in a slick 57.3sec. Owned by Michael Young, Courtney Burch and John Young, Black Aquila showed early promise when he won the group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in April 2011 when he defeated Polak and El Machine. The son of Totally Ruthless, he is bred to be a good winner. He is the first foal out of the unraced Il Vicolo mare My Date With Destiny, whose dam Baltic Flight produced Baltic Eagle, whose 40 starts produced 21 wins, seven placings and stakes of $746,980. Baltic Eagle's wins included the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup and interdominion championship in Christchurch early in 2003, the FTC Members Sprint in November 2003 and the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park in December 2004. New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Hard Copy maintained his outstanding form when he was untroubled to set the pace and win easily from strong-finishing stablemate Our Arlington and Black Pontiac in the 1730m Horsport Rehydration And Recovery Pace. My Hard Copy set a cracking pace and reeled off quarters in 28.4sec., 28.9sec., 29sec. and 27.9sec. He now has earned $146,047 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. The Pacing Priest prevails A pre-emptive strike by reinsman Justin Prentice paid dividends when he guided the injury-plagued The Pacing Priest to a narrow victory in a punishing finish to the 2503m Sootha Nerves And Stress Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The well-supported New Zealand-bred eight-year-old (9/2) started from the inside of the 10m line and settled down in tenth position on the pegs before Prentice seized the initiative by dashing the gelding forward, three wide, after 750m to move outside the pacemaker Turbo Gold (40/1) with 1450m to travel. Prentice was content to leave The Pacing Priest in the breeze until he urged the gelding forward to take the lead 250m from home. The Pacing Priest then fought on doggedly to score by a metre from 9/2 chance Bubbles And Bling, who came from 11th at the bell and followed the three-wide run of Trojan Bromac before going four wide at the 300m mark and finishing strongly. Turbo Gold held on to finish third. The Pacing Priest, who is trained at West Swan by Ken Kirke, ended a losing sequence of ten and improved his record to 45 starts for ten wins, 13 placings and $110,451 in prizemoney. by Ken Casellas  

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