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Bungaree harness racing enthusiast and newly elected Treasurer of Harness Breeders Victoria, Maurice Hanrahan, has a background in developing policies and strategies. ​He served as the Director of Policy in the Premier’s Department and worked for three Victorian Premiers in Jeff Kennett, Steve Bracks and John Brumby for seven years and also worked for Heritage Victoria as a policy and finance assessor. ​He also worked on projects at the Melbourne Showgrounds, David Hayes’s Lindsay Park stables at Euroa, and with James Cain, the son of Victorian Premier the late John Cain, at the Melbourne Ports. Now Hanrahan is using his business acumen to establish a model for breeding and racing standardbreds. ​Maurice belongs to a family steeped in harness racing. Well known clans in the Ballarat region such as the McGuigan’s, Mahar’s, Prendergast’s and Simpson’s are all relatives. ​“I grew up around horses and good stock,” Maurice said. “Now I’m hoping to get some good racing stock of our own.” Maurice’s father, Tom Hanrahan, dabbled in breeding and racing for a short time. ​His first broodmare, Tiki Belle whom he purchased off the late Andy Prendergast, left only one foal for him but Tiki Jazz (by Jazzy Spark) won a total of 15 races – including two at Moonee Valley – under the tutelage of Vin Mahar. ​Maurice himself has also experienced success as an owner. Valla Reine (by Cam’s Fool), a $5,500 buy at the APG Melbourne sale, gave him his biggest win in the Group 2 $50,000 APG Melbourne Autumn Sale Final at Melton in July 2018. Whilst by an unfashionable but handy sire in Cam’s Fool, she was selected on the basis of nice conformation and being linebred to a nice mare in Bret’s Romance. ​The Melton winner Safely Loaded (8 wins) and Blissfull Spanker (5 wins) were other handy performers part-owned by Maurice. ​Maurice, who conducts a 300 acre potato and cattle property with his wife Jacinta, and owns the Munster Arms hotel in Ballarat, has added standardbred breeder to his resume. ​He is gradually building a group of young, well bred broodmares. “We are discreetly getting together a collection of broodmares and sending them to nice stallions. They’re probably not always commercially appealing stallions but we’re looking at the winning post I suppose. ​“That’s our aim,” he stated. ​Maurice’s broodmare herd recently increased and comprises: It’s Girl Power, a 1:57.5 winner of 10 races by Christian Cullen Artistic Wish, a nice young Artistic Fella mare that was injured as a juvenile and bred by the astute Dianne and Bernie Kelly from NSW. She is a half-sister to the good winner Spring Walton  Jilliby Ebony, a 1:59.5 Artiscape half-sister to Vicbred 3YO champion Jilliby Melody Adherent, a Yankee Paco half-sister to Vicbred 2YO Final winner Master Maori and to the dams of Group 1 winners Spidergirl, Illawong Armstrong, Kinvara Sue and Pretty Majestic Annie Jones NZ, a winning McArdle mare from the family of Breeders Crown champion Flying Pocketlands and Bling it On Daisy Adele, an Artesian mare whose wins include Tas. Yearling Sale Classic and Belmont. She is a half-sister to the Jane Ellen winner El Jay’s Magic Jilliby Ebony is carrying a positive test to Lennytheshark; Adherent has produced a yearling filly by Yankee Spider; Annie Jones has dropped a two-year-old colt by American Ideal and is in-foal to For A Reason; and Daisy Adele has left a Four Starzzz Shark weanling filly. ​Another mare, Rhodium Castle, whose nine successes included the Victoria Youthful Stakes, died after foaling a colt by Shadow Play. Maurice said the progeny will all be broken in by John Murphy and trained by his brother David, one of the State’s leading professionals. ​“We’re working on a syndication model where we’ll lease the progeny of these mares,” Maurice said. “We’ll take a share and David and John Murphy will both take a share. ​“We’re working on a breed-to-race model. We’re not interested in the yearling sales.  Unless you’re really at the top end it’s a hard road to hoe. “Our model going forward is that if we breed good quality horses and give them every chance and get a number of people involved in the experience and hopefully they’ll enjoy it and keep reinvesting,” he said. ​Hanrahan is philosophical about the future of standardbred breeding. ​“Now is not to a bad time to get into breeding. I know there’s a number of challenges out there but in terms of getting a nice broodmare band together going forward and aiming to breed good horses, now is a good time. ​“I know you’ve still got to get them to the racetrack and doing everything right but I think in terms of challenging there is also opportunity in challenge,” Maurice said.   by Peter Wharton reprinted with permission of Australian Standardbred Breeders Association

The Australian Anti-Doping Authority has taken an interest in the family of Bronson Xerri and its colourful history as it investigates criminal links around the supply of anabolic steroids following the Cronulla teenager’s positive drugs test. Xerri, 19, has been provisionally stood down and is facing a suspension of up to four years after returning a positive A-sample to the banned substances exogenous testosterone, androsterone, etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol when target tested following a tip-off last November. While the doping violation is yet to be confirmed with a B sample, the attention of ASADA investigators is now very much on trying to establish whether there are criminal links to the distribution of the substances found in Xerri’s system. It was a year-long Australian Crime Commission investigation into sports, prohibited substances and organised crime that preceded the Cronulla and Essendon doping scandals in the last decade. According to a source with knowledge of ASADA's Xerri probe, there is a particular interest in the player's family. The Herald can reveal the Sharks youngster’s 28-year-old brother Troy was sentenced to an aggregate term of five years imprisonment in 2014 over drugs charges. Troy was initially one of eight men, including two teenagers, who were charged over drugs supply in south-west Sydney eight years ago. An array of illegal substances from prescription drugs including steroids, valium and xanax, ammunition and a bayonet knife were seized during raids on premises in Merrylands, Greystanes, Ermington and Granville. Police also found more than $50,000 in cash. It resulted in Troy Xerri facing Parramatta Local Court on charges of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and take part in supply of a prohibited drug. His jail term included a non-parole period of two years and six months. ASADA investigators seized Bronson Xerri’s phone briefly this week to download data from it. A call to the Xerri home on Friday went unanswered. Xerri has previously spoken of the importance of his family, which has connections to the harness racing industry, during his rapid rugby league rise. His other older brother Dylan presented him with his maiden first-grade jersey before his NRL debut last year. To read the full article in The Sydney Morning Herald click on this link.

The French stallion Orlando Vici, a winner of nine Group races and now a leading sire in France and Sweden, has the joint highest entry with three harness racing runners in this year’s Elitloppet, to be contested at Solvalla, Sweden on Sunday night (May 31). Orlando Vici’s three contestants in the ‘Sprint World Championship of Trotting’ are Chief Orlando, a seven-year-old Norwegian bred gelding, the brilliant Norwegian bred, Danish owned seven-year-old gelding Looking Superb, and the fast Swedish seven-year-old entire Racing Mange. Chief Orlando (barrier 5) and Looking Superb (7) will contest the first heat, while Racing Mange will start from the No. 6 gate in the second elimination. The three are all expected to be well in line for a Grand Final berth. Looking Superb captured the Prix Tenor de Baune in 2018 and the Prix de L’Atlantique in 2019 and finished runner-up to Belina Josselyn in the 2019 Grand Prix d’Amerique; Racing Mange has won Group races in Sweden, Denmark and Finland and is the fastest trotter in Sweden this year, while Chief Orlando has won at Group level in Finland and was narrowly beaten in last year’s Sweden Cup. Racing Mange is the fastest trotter in Sweden this year Besides his successes at the stud in Europe, Orlando Vici has made a spectacular start as a sire in Australia. In his first season he left 11 foals – now four-year-olds - and all 11 have raced, and 10 are winners.  They include the NSW Trotters Derby winner Xebec (Tr 1:58), Beau Garcon, winner of the Breeders Crown 2YO Silver), Deneuve Star (Tr 1:56.6), Just Believe Tr 1:59 (Vicbred 3YO Silver), Belltopperboy (Tr 1:59.2), the Melton winners Montpellier (Tr 1:59.8) and Brandlo Prince, and Orlando Storm (Maryborough Oaks). Orlando Vici’s frozen semen is available to breeders in Australia and New Zealand from Haras Des Trotteurs, where Love You, Quaker Jet and Volstead head a select sire list. By Peter Wharton

APG would like to take this opportunity to advise our loyal and accomplished breeders that entries into the 2020 APG NATIONAL MIXED SALE close this Sunday 31 May.    This year’s sales event will launch on Wednesday, July 22 and operates similarly (like last year) to an e-bay style online auction.  This format has been proven to provide the safest and most cost effective way to trade some of the elite Standardbred families available in this country. APG is pleased to advise that the strength of entries already received across all categories of horses (broodmares, racehorses, stallions, yearlings and weanlings) looks to have built considerably on last year’s listings. Last year’s sale produced some outstanding weanling pinhooking opportunities.  A great example of this would be lot 578 at our APG Sydney Yearling Sale which was a striking looking colt by Badlands Hanover that sold for $50,000 and was purchased for just $16,000 from the 2019 APG NATIONAL MIXED SALE. APG has already announced it won’t place a clear-cut limit on the number or quality of the horses that will ultimately make it into the sale.  However, we do want to look after the best interests of all parties involved and therefore do not wish to accept horses that may not have a reasonable chance of finding a new home (i.e we will consider both the commercial appeal of the horse and also the vendor's expectations as reflected in their nominated reserve.)   Entry Fees, Commission Rates and Sales Dates Entries for APG’s National Mixed Sale are now open, and will close on 31 May. The Entry Fee is $330 per entry. All sold lots will attract commission at the rate of 8% plus GST, whilst there will be no commission payable on passed-in lots. The auction will run from Wednesday July 22 and conclude by the Sunday July 26.   How To Enter Potential vendors are invited to submit the details for any potential entries by clicking on the link below, which will take you to the Online Entry form Once accepted, APG will issue an invoice for your entry fee(s) which needs to be paid prior to 30 June. Importantly, to ensure the smooth running of the sale, vendors will also be required to provide the following to APG prior to the commencement of the sale: Signed transfer forms;   In the case of mares that are being sold “in foal”, a vet certificate confirming that the mare is in foal (test must be performed between 1 July and the commencement date of the sale);   In the case of horses that are on agistment at a stud / agistment centre, an E-mail from the stud / agistment centre confirming that they irrevocably consent to the release of the horse from their property in the event that the horse is successfully sold at APG’s National Mixed Sale (APG will provide you with a standard e-mail for you to forward to the stud / agistment centre seeking their confirmation that they will allow the horse to be released) If vendors have any questions prior to the closing date for submitting entries, we encourage you to email deanb@apgold.com.au or call Dean on 0459 215 333. http://www.apgold.com.au/yearling-sales/enter-for-apgs-2020-national-mixed-sale/

Penny A Packet was in fine fettle in taking out the M & M Office National Tamworth Pace on Thursday afternoon at the Tamworth harness racing meeting. And for hobby trainer Russell Murray he was both happy and relieved to see the seven-year-old mare back to her best form in having a half neck win over Cronin (Maddison Simon) and Just Tommy (Sam Ison), who was 1.4 metres away third. "It is over two years since she had a win, that's a long time" Murray, who trains for his wife Rachael, stated with a confident grin. "She strained a tendon so she had twelve months off," he added. Penny A Packet picked up her last win back in June 2017 at the Tamworth Paceway and with only the one horse in his stables Murray has nursed his pride and joy back to the winner's circle. "It is something to get me out of bed of a morning - I will be 74 in November and I started in harness racing back in 1964," he reflected. "Sometimes it is a long time between wins but you just have to keep battling on." Since her third placing at Tamworth back on May 17, Penny A Packet has been displaying some good track work on her home track at the Tamworth Paceway. "She had every chance last start - they were just too good on the day but she has improved out of sight, she showed me that in her track work through the week," added Murray. "I wasn't that confident today because of the draw but everything turned out really good so I am really pleased." "She is starting to get back into gear but twelve months off is a long time. She is very consistent and she will keep that up if she can just have a little bit of luck in her races." From the seven barrier Penny A Packet was placed back on the inside running line while Commanche (Scotty-Jon Welsh) and Just Tommy (Sam Ison) headed the field into the final lap of the 1980 metre race. "I thought she would be stuck on the fence but Blake (reinsman Blake Hughes) managed to get her out at the 400 and she sprinted really well," Murray said.  All smiles: A very happy trainer Russell Murray with reinsman Blake Hughes. Photo: Julie Maughan   The inform reinsman was happy with the mares' racing performance. "She was pretty good and had a good run through and finished the race off well," said Hughes, who had to switch Penny A Packet five wide around the final turn for a sprint home to grab the race on the line. "I was three back on the pegs and got out on the turn. She is a pretty good horse to drive and she is going good." "She let down pretty good so I felt confident on the line - she did it easy." After commencing his winning streak at the meeting with Penny A Packet, Hughes went on to produce three winners for the meeting with I'm So Better for the Tony Missen stables taking out the Multiquip Transport Pace and Max Power the Furney's Stock Feeds Tamworth Pace for trainer Clayton Harmey. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. Riverina Championship winner Rocky Creed, who won the $100,000 Riverina Region Championship Final at Wagga, is a Pet Rock gelding from the same family as that which produced a top Victorian youngster in Sky Strike. Rocky Creed, a four-year-old gelding, was a winner at two and posted three wins as a three-year-old last season. By American-bred Pet Rock, a Rocknroll Hanover horse, he is out of Miss Toolern Vale (1:57.2), by Bettor’s Delight from Armbro Sunshine, by Armbro Operative from the Good Humor Man mare Sunshine Blue, a half-sister to the talented Riverina juvenile Solarious. Miss Toolern Vale, who won six races in Victoria, is also the dam of recent Wagga two-year-old winner Stravinsky (1:57). She is a half-sister to a smart juvenile in Cullen’s Crown, winner of the Victoria Sapling Stakes and MIA Breeders Plate, True Happiness 1:57.1 (SA Breeders Plate) and the Melton winner Lucky Metro (1:57.4). Other ‘black type’ performers further back in this pedigree have been Banjo Miss (Vicbred 4YO Final and Queen Of The Pacific), Bellair Park, Starzzz Of Icon and Truscott Flyer and the top trotters Truscott Steel and Bad Boy Truscott.   By He’s Watching Runner-up in the Diamond Classic as a two-year-old last season, Blockjorg downed the top three-year-olds in the Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park last Friday, including a top ranking filly in Double Expresso. Blockjorg                                                    -- Jodie Hallows photo   It was Blockjorg’s fifth success for the season and she has a bankroll of $78,621. Blockjorg has not enjoyed the best of luck during her career, but has proved herself a young pacer of great ability. By He’s Watching, and one of the first crop of the American horse to race in Australia, Blockjorg is out of Toobee Three, by Legacy Of Power (son of No Nukes) from Ozzi Miss (2:02.1), by Lucky Cam from the Maple Lanes Strike mare Niugini Gold. He’s Watching, the sire of Blockjorg, has left several smart types from his first crops in Australia and NZ. They include Private Eye, winner of the George Croxford Tribute, the metropolitan winners Born To Be Watched, Raksjameson and Experia and the Breeders Crown finalist Star Hunter.   Wolf Stride is Inter Dominion material Wolf Stride, who won the $100,000 Metropolitan Region Championship Final at Menangle and is regarded as Inter Dominion material of the highest order, is a four-year-old entire by Rock N Roll Heaven from Lilac Stride, a top racemare who took a record of 1:54.4 and earned $276,140. He is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the winners of this year’s WA Derby and Oaks in Patronus Star and Sports Package respectively. Lilac Stride was an Art Major mare from Labretta Franco NZ (1:58.5), a Fairfield Golden Easter Egg winner by Falcon Seelster from Looks The Part, a noted producer by Nero’s B B. Lilac Stride was a sister to the good Menangle winner Gypsy Stride (1:54.9), dam of the Newcastle Oaks winner Olive Stride, and a half-sister to Mister Cool Stride (1:57.2) and Miss Labretta, dam of Four Starz Pride (1:54.4). Wolf Stride ranks as a three-quarter brother to Cherry Stride (1:51.2), $128,370, who won nine races including the NSW Go Girlfriend Series. Both were bred by prominent Sydney identity Emilio Rosati.   Leading sire’s absence a loss Racing at the Qbred feature meeting at Albion Park further demonstrated the loss of Hurrikane Kingcole to breeders. With only a few representatives racing, he sired the quinella pair in the Breeders Classic for two-year-old fillies in Vanish Hanover and Talent To Spare; Tancaltra Lis, winner of the Breeders Classic Consolation for two-year-old fillies; Left A Hurrikane, who finished third in the Triad Consolation for three-year-old colts and geldings and Wannago, the third placegetter in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Classic Consolation. Fearless Faith, a winner of three races at Albion Park, Youaremy Sunshine, winner of the VHRC 3YO Classic at Melton, Venus Jujon (1:52.4), Sugarkane and Left A Hurrikane have been other recent winners from Hurrikane Kingcole’s first crops.   NSW Group 1 winner has strong bloodlines A bright future is being predicted for the Rock N Roll Heaven four-year-old Kanye Crusader, whose success in the $100,000 Hunter Region Championship Final at Newcastle was his fourth this season. Kanye Crusader, who was bred and is trained by Clayton Harmey, has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by Rock N Roll Heaven, and one of his fourth crop, Kanye Crusader is out of the Fake Left mare Khloe (1:59.2), a capable racemare who was very successful broodmare leaving four winners – all inside 1:58 – from foal foals. Khloe, who won 16 races and $58,141, was out of Concise Lass (2:02.5), by Golden Fulla from Concise, by Real Light (Light Brigade-Reality-U Scott) from Meadow Stream, by Chamfer from the Medoro mare Medopark. This family has produced some useful pacers over the years. They include cup class pacers in Medowie Prince and Just Jasper, the top racemare Rocknroll Angel, Fastnfurious (1:54.7), River Wild and others.   Up and coming youngsters Two smart young horses to win at the Qbred feature meeting at Albion Park were the three-year-old Fond Memories and the two-year-old Captains Pick, both bred and raced by Kevin Seymour and both from the same maternal family. Fond Memories, who took out the $50,660 Qbred Triad Final, is a filly by Mach Three from a fine racemare in Forever After 1:56.2 ($172,808), a winner of 20 races including the Qbred Triad 4YO Final. She ranks as a half-sister to the Qbred Triad and Breeders Classic 3YO winner Guitarzan 1:56.9 ($216,956), being by Presidential Ball from the top racemare Girl From Ipanema (1:57.6), by Vanston Hanover from the Oaks winner Goldrush Girl TT1:55.3 ($151,619), by Transport Chip from Call Girl. Captains Pick, who won the Breeders Classic Consolation, is a colt by Captaintreacherous from the dual Qbred Triad winner Charming Allie 1:53.9 ($266,329) and the first of her produce to race. By Mr Feelgood, Charming Allie is a half-sister to the champion Colt Thirty One 1:51.3 ($834,246), being out of Charm Personified, by Perfect Art from the Vanston Hanover mare Charming Reminder, a half-sister to Goldrush Girl, the third dam of Fond Memories. This family traces back to the foundation mare Lady Antrim, dam of the NZ Derby winner Croughton. Other classic winners belonging to this noted family include  Good Lookin Girl, the dual Oaks winner Cherry Cheer, Rhapsody In Red, Get In The Groove and more recently,  Fame Assured and boom four-year-old Leos Best.   Arden Voyager in top form One of the most capable young pacers racing in Victoria at present is Arden Voyager, who has quickly won his way through the classes. Arden Voyager                                                   --Stuart McCormick photo Arden Voyager has a wealth of blood to back up his claims to further promotion, being by Somebeachsomewhere from a fine racemare in Arden’s Darlin 1:57.2 ($245,829), by Bettor’s Delight from Achieve A Dream (2:01.5), by In The Pocket from the Son Of Afella mare Arden’s Dream (2:00.5), and tracing to the taproot Moonbeam (by Rothschild). Arden’s Darlin, a winner of five races and the top ranking two-year-old filly of her year, is also the dam of Celestial Arden 1:51.4 ($176,466), a prolific winner at Menangle and now competing successfully in America. The third dam, Arden’s Dream, left nine winners – including five in 2:00 - and really established the Moonbeam to some purpose. She was also the dam of the NZ Sires Stakes 2YO champion Arden Banner 1:58.4 ($114,572), the cups winners Arden’s Legacy (1:56.1) and Arden Tetrick and the exported Fantastic Dream 1:53.2 ($213,285) and Arden’s Heritage (1:52.2).   Brothers win at Bendigo It was no mean feat for the full brothers Kyvalley Senator and Kyvalley Chief to win the two trotters’ races at the Bendigo club’s recent meeting.   Both are by the Muscles Yankee horse Muscle Hill (a top sire of straight out trotters). Love Ya Doosie, the dam of Kyvalley Senator and Kyvalley Chief, was out of a capable trotter in Sheezadoosie, who took a record of 2:04.2 over 2600 metres. Besides Love Ya Doosie, she was also the dam of the champion I Can Doos It Tr 1:55.5 ($1.4 million), who won 18 races on end at one stage, and the Group winner Sno’s Big Boy Tr 1:58.4 ($215,308). Sheezadoosie was out of the American-bred mare Becalm Lobell (Tr 2:06.3), the dam of a smart trotter in Golden Blend Tr 1:55 ($305,911), Dipendra (Tr 1:58.8) and the Dream Vacation mare Big O E, who, in turn, left the Breeders Crown champion Aldebaran Ay M (Tr 1:58.8) and Aldebaran Southland (Tr 2:00.1), runner-up in the NSW Trotters Derby.   Maori Time in foal Maori Time, Australasia’s fastest ever trotting mare, has returned a positive test to the Prix d’Amerique winner and European champion Readly Express. Maori Time                                                  --Stuart McCormick photo The winner of 24 races and $420,000 in stakes, Maori Time competed in the 2018 Elitloppet in Sweden and has remained in the care of the famed Menhammar Stuteri stud since she finished racing. Maori Time won 12 times at Group level including the Bill Collins Mile in three consecutive years and took her record of 1:51.5 winning the NSW Trotters Cup in 2018.   Auckland Reactor to NSW The Mach Three horse Auckland Reactor, who had previously stood stud at Alabar Bloodstock, has been relocated to Tony Peacock’s Moama property. Auckland Reactor’s oldest stock are five-year-olds and among them are some really smart types. Chase Auckland, winner of the NZ Free-for-all, Great Northern Derby and Sires Stakes Championship, is one of this number, as is Soho Burning Love, winner of the Victoria Silver Chalice and Blossom Lady, and the highly touted three-year-old Willie Go West. Chase Auckland                                                                 --Harnesslink photo Reactor Now, joint holder of the Kilmore track record and rated one of the best young sprinters in Victoria, Delightfulreaction, a multiple Group 1 placegetter in WA, the good Melton winner Shining Oro, Gold Reactor and Gobsmacked (1:52.5) have been other Australian winners by Auckland Reactor from his first crops. Auckland Reactor has sired 67 individual winners in Australia to date this season for more than $930,000 in stakes, while in New Zealand, he is currently ranked fifth on the All Aged List and third on the five-years-old and older table.  Auckland Reactor proved himself a brilliant pacer on his day, taking a mile record of 1:52.9 and winning 32 races and $1.7 million in stakes.   by Peter Wharton  

Former world champion and US 2YO Colt of the Year He’s Watching (1:46.8), who now stands at Luke Primmer’s Tipperary Equine stud, Young (NSW), sired three ‘new’ two-year-old winners in the space of three days! Mostpeculiarmumma, a filly, started the ball rolling with a come-from-behind success at Globe Derby Park on Tuesday (May 26). The following night Hes Sweet, a two-year-old gelding, led, handed up and then outfinished his rivals at Bathurst, rating 1:57.6 over 1730 metres with a last 800 in 57.2. Jay Bracken, a two-year-old colt, completed the treble when he led from end-to-end at his second start at Penrith on Thursday night (May 28). The youngster averaged a 1:59.4 rating over 1720 metres and scored effortlessly by 9.2 metres. He’s Watching is also the sire of the promising youngster Watchmedazzle, a double winner at Shepparton earlier this month. Interestingly, Watchmedazzle, Hes Sweet and Jay Bracken are all out of daughters of Artsplace line stallions. He’s Watching’s first crop of three-year-olds includes Blockjorg (1:55.5), winner of the Group 2 $50,000 WA Diamond Classic, the unbeaten Private Eye (1:54.6), winner of the George Croxford Trubute, the Tatlow placegetter and APG finalist Star Hunter (1:57.7) and the APG 2YO Championship runner-up Magnifico To Watch (1:56).   by Peter Wharton

Having helped turn Oh Oh Noo into oh oh yes trainer Scott Rains is optimistic his latest project will also bring further cut-price joy. The reinsman debuts Babylon Bambi in tonight’s Alabar Maiden Pace at Shepparton, and while the inside back row draw will mean luck will be a player in tonight's result the trainer-driver’s optimistic the Western Terror five-year-old mare will give a good account of herself. “She’s getting better and better all the time and is definitely capable of winning races,” he said. “I just hope she handles the race pressure.” Babylon Bambi follows in the footsteps of Oh Oh Noo, who Rains and partner Emily Harris purchased cheaply last year and then enjoyed consecutive victories and a series of placings. Babylon Bambi was snapped up for $1500 via Harness Trading Ring in February off previous owner Pam Tomlin of Maitland, New South Wales. “We are always on the look-out for cheap horses who we can give a go,” Rains said. “We asked Pam to send us a couple of photos and (Babylon Bambi) looked quite correct, like a tidy little mare. Off that we paid the $1500 asking price. “She’s a Western Terror out of an Artiscape mare, that’s a pretty good start.” Purchased in February, Babylon Bambi was transported to Paul Weidenbach’s farm where “he jogged her up and put a cart on her”, and from where Rains would later collect her along with “another little horse I had spelling there at the same time, Illawong Jovial”. “I got serious with (Babylon Bambi) in March, she’s had two education runs and a trial,” he said. “She’s quite speedy and led in all three of them. “She’s got pretty good gate speed and ran the trial out quite nicely in her first go over 2150 metres, she just got run down in the straight by one of Bruce Morgan’s horses (Sweet Appeal).” In his Trial File column at thetrots.com.au, Craig Rail accredited Babylon Bambi for “setting up a reasonable speed” and running on well to finish just seven metres shy of the trial winner, with a further 120 metres back to third placed Leotardandlace. The performance booked Babylon Bambi’s ticket to a race start and, 19 days on from her Bendigo trial, she kicks off her racing career tonight at Sheparton in race two, which streams at 5.36pm on Trots Vision. “We were hoping for a front row draw, but inside the back row for a mare having her first start is not the worst draw,” Rains said. “We will just have to go with the draw and see what happens. She will need a bit of luck, but definitely has got ability.” Any success will certainly be enjoyed by the reinsman’s wider family, with Babylon Bambi owned by Rains’ mum Sharon Threadwell, brother Sean Rains and partner Ebony Harris. As for Oh Oh Noo, he is now enjoying retirement, having had 16 starts for Rains for three wins and three placings before they called it quits at the end of 2019. “He succumbed to a past injury, which is a niggle in his suspensory, so we retired him,” Rains said. “He has moved on to a lady who does trial riding and camp draughting and he seems to have taken to that like a duck to water.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Mildura, R2 N7, Pattys Delight Settled down last of the five runners and moved away from the inside with 500m remaining. She sustained a good run to finish in second. REPORT & REPLAY Shepparton, R4 N3, Aldebaran Showdown Was slowly away and lost 30m at the start but was able to give chase and found the lead at the 1600m when his stable mate ONEOUTOFTHESQUARE galloped. He then hopped and skipped and pulled his way to victory in slow time. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard

A harness racing movement that began six years ago with a simple goal to raise awareness about women's cancer has raised a record $210,000 this year. Since 2014, for six weeks through February and March the Team Teal campaign has promoted awareness about ovarian cancer and raised much-needed funds for research and support by reinswomen racing in teal driving pants. Each time a Team Teal member crosses the line first, industry bodies and their wagering partner Tabcorp each commit $200 for the campaign period. The deal delivers $400 towards programs such as the ANZGOG Research Nurse Grant Program and the Survivors Teaching Students Program for every victory. During the 2020 campaign, female drivers won 453 times (Vic 128 wins, NSW 94, Qld 75, NZ 72, WA 37, SA 32 and Tas 15). The Australian total was $136,200, and New Zealand $28,800, for a Team Teal total of $165,000. Associated fundraisers and contributions added another $55,000 to the tally. Founded by Duncan McPherson in 2014 after the loss of his wife Lyn to ovarian cancer, the campaign has grown from a modest Victorian crusade to a fundraising Australia-wide juggernaut each February and March. And for the past three years, the campaign has involved New Zealand drivers as well. For all the participants, the campaign is personal, but for inaugural Team Teal participant Jodi Quinlan, it has an added dimension. "It's no secret that my mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 10 years ago, and touch wood, she's one of the lucky ones and a survivor so far," Quinlan said. "But it's a killer disease and it creeps up on people before they realise it, so it's important to raise the awareness and raise the funds," she said. "It's been an absolute privilege to be involved. I was one of the fortunate ones initially, when we started off with a set of colors, then we went to the pants and the sulkies. To see how far it's come and what it's achieving now, with all the girls driving in teal pants, and now going global, it's really rewarding." HRV Board Member and campaign supporter Judy Rothacker paid tribute to Mr McPherson's enduring commitment to the campaign. "He is to be commended for all his work behind the scenes. It's significant money that will directly help provide care to those with cancer," she said. "Everyone has someone who has been touched by cancer and this is a cancer that has confounded experts, so it's important to find a cure." And while the campaign is all about the cause, make no mistake there is intense rivalry between the 287 Team Teal members. Long Forest reinswoman Kate Gath led the charge with 23 winners for the campaign and her Victorian counterpart Kima Frenning recorded 14 individual victories. Kate Gath "To drive a winner is always exciting, but when you're driving in the teal pants, it's just that bit extra special when you get a winner," Frenning said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It’s another mixed bag of best bets from members of the WA Trotting Media Guild for Friday night’s 10-event card at Gloucester Park. Only two tipsters - TABradio’s racecaller and form expert Hayden King and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft - have agreed on a best bet. “The $2.40 seems an outrageously good price for Ultimate Offer in the second race,” King said. “This horse is going almost ineffably well and this race shapes up perfectly. Driver Chris Voak can watch it unfold early and come around when he sees fit. Ultimate Offer looks a put-in, take-out proposition.” Havercroft agrees. “Ultimate Offer has been going beautifully in the South West and his last win was full of merit after being checked mid-race and losing ground,” Havercroft said. “He lassoed the whole field to score on that occasion and Boyanup trainer Dennis Roche should be taking the spoils home down the Forrest Highway late Friday night.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning believes Taroona Bromac can make it back-to-back wins in race seven. “Taroona Bromac has shown big  potential since being imported from New Zealand to join Greg and Skye Bond’s stable,” Manning said. “He looks back to his best form and shapes as a summer carnival prospect. The horse is yet another example of the Bonds’ astute selections from Kiwi racing.” But Manning’s assessment of the race doesn’t sit well with TABradio’s racecaller Matt Young, who has made Always An Honour in the same race as his star bet. “Always An Honour has the perfect draw, has superior speed to lead and looks to control the race and get the victory,” Young confidently predicted. Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart is keen on the returning Gran Chico in race six. “Gran Chico resumes here and I’m expecting a big preparation from this four-year-old, who we haven’t seen since the Golden Nugget,” Wishart said. “He comes up with the ace draw and should lead. When the best horses draw well they win and he should.” Longshot guru Pat Harding expects Unconditional to take out the Group 1 $100,000 2YO Fillies Diamond Classic (2130m). “So nice to see some full fields at GP this Friday night where I expect a good showing from the Greg and Skye Bond stable,” Harding said. “My best bet comes up in the feature race, where I think the Bond-trained Unconditional from barrier six can take the major prizemoney. She has been in excellent form and with Ryan Warwick driving in superlative form I think she can add the Classic to her resume.” Guild president Wayne Currall believes punters can build on their bank early doors by supporting classy filly Tiffany Rose in the opening event. “Tiffany Rose was unsuited racing in the breeze in the WA Oaks,” Currall said. “Astute trainer Mike Reed has given the filly a freshen up and I expect her to take up the running from gate two. From there Shannon Suvaljko should be able to dictate terms and Tiffany Rose should prove too good for her opposition.” VALUE BETS HAYDEN: Ideal Investment is set to be a generous price in the final event and finds a great barrier. There are plenty of speed horses amongst the line-up, including some that tend to overrace. Off a hot speed, he can get through late and zip over the top. RYAN: Gangbuster has a 29-start losing sequence, but draws the inside this week and will be up on the pace in an even field. ERNIE: Lightning Jolt possesses talent and gets his chance to display winning form again when matched against an evenly balanced field. He needs only luck in running to figure prominently. MATT: Minor Catastrophe is a smart filly, could be a solid run race and she has a good turn of foot. Keep very safe. WARREN: Runaway Three meets a handy field in the third race, but I think he will lead and give a huge sight. Forget last run when he did too much work but his two runs prior were very good. At the indicative price of $11 he is great each-way value. PAT: My value bet comes in race two with Ultimate Offer. With  three wins and two seconds from his last five starts and star reinsman Chris Voak aboard, I think he can prove good value for punters. WAYNE: Trainer Terry Ferguson collected the Group 1 WA Oaks earlier this month with Sports Package and he has a great chance of making it two Group 1s in a month with Bettor Beach Belle. The filly dead-heated for second on debut behind Always An Angel in the fastest of the three Diamond Classic heats and will appreciate her trailing draw and the services of A.C. Lewis. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good punting from home.   Wayne Currall

After a mis-firing tilt at the big time and a long road back the signs are good that things are again on track for Peter Lane’s much-loved trotter. Kheiron fronts tonight’s super-competitive open class trot well placed to leave a big impression and build on the form that saw him dial up successive wins in April. The victories were something of a drought-breaker for his trainer and driver Lane, having been his first wins in a sulky since 2014, while for Kheiron they broke a 25-race winless streak that stretched back to his 2018 Breeders Crown triumph. After the Group 2 win Kheiron was tipped out for a spell that brought him to the eve of the 2018 Inter Dominion, where he ran 12th, ninth and sixth in his three heats. “I think in hindsight he went in way underdone (to the Inter Dominion), which was a mistake and I wouldn’t do that again,” Lane said. “He had a lengthy campaign as a four-year-old and I was probably pleased just to race in the Inter Dominion. You always find the step up to open age a bit daunting, and to suddenly be against all these good horses jogging around in 57-second halves was an eye-opener for him.” He raced until March, placing four times including a narrow two-metre loss to Tornado Valley in The Knight Pistol, before Lane “tipped him out and it was the best thing I could have done”. “He actually grew as a five-year-old, but even when he came back he was still a bit out of sorts.” Three races in winter without success prompted another spell, and then he returned again to race from December last year, never finishing better than fifth in 10 starts before victories at Kilmore on April 3 and again on April 24.   “Only a couple of months ago he started to get better,” Lane said. “Coming into restricted racing gave him the chance to find form. His two wins were quite impressive.” While his most recent performance against similar caliber to tonight’s trot was an “ordinary” sixth, Lane is confident he understands what went wrong and, going on Kheiron’s May 19 trial, the Majestic Son six-year-old is ready to give something closer to his best. “I am very happy with him. He run a half in 58 at Kilmore in his trial, which was very good considering I didn’t touch him,” Lane said. It certainly wasn’t missed by Craig Rail, who in his Trial File remarked “Kheiron began brilliantly and was able to storm to the lead in the early stages. He set up a reasonable tempo and was able to dominate his rivals, winning comfortably.” It’s renewed optimism ahead of tonight’s Aldebaran Park Trot, where he will confront a quality field. “He’s racing better, but coming up against the likes of Sundons Courage and Big Jack Hammer is going to be tough,” Lane said. “I have no doubt he will perform at his best, but whether it will be good enough to beat Sundons Courage and those types of horses is another question.” He expects there will be plenty of pepper early and, from gate four, that Kheiron will be right among the action. “I will try and find the lead and expect he will run a good race,” Lane said. “It will be a fairly aggressive race. Brian (Gath) attacks, Brad Angove will probably be forward (on Sundons Courage), Chris (Svanosio) can come out quickly on (Anywhere) Hugo and I will definitely be looking for the front.” It could well be an instructive race for Lane as he plots Kheiron’s future path and decides whether in the long-term he’s best suited to box on with the big boys and girls at Tabcorp Park, or to bide his time and look for opportunities to strike against the next tier of Victorian trotting. Regardless, the trotter who’s already tipped in more than $200,000 in stakes holds a dear place in the Kilmore family’s hearts. “There are more highs than lows when you have a nice horse in your stable, and he is one of the best horse we’ve had,” Lane said. “You get very close to them. He was born the backyard, I see him more than I ever see my kids. He is very much part of the family. It is something special to be able to have a horse who you rear and race and win a couple of races with.” And when it comes time to hang up the horseshoes there’s a special place awaiting Kheiron alongside another family favourite. “He’ll retire to live with Eisenhower and they’ll be our horses forever. We visit Eisenhower twice a day where he stands with our broodmares and foals.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N2, Bye Line Raced without cover early before running to the lead at the 1700m when she blitzed her rivals for a very impressive win. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N7, Azterian May 19: Appeared to perform better when coming from off the speed a week earlier but she did show good gate speed and there was nothing wrong with her third placed effort as she set up a reasonable tempo. REPORT & REPLAY May 5: Was an eye-catching trial performance and appears to have ability. She raced without cover early, dropped back to be sixth on the markers and finished strongly out wide on the track. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Stawell, R2 N8, Treacherous Rock Was a very impressive winner after he gained a nice run on the markers (4th early then 3rd), moved away from the inside on the turn and jogged down the straight to pick up his rivals easily. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard

The exciting young trotters Zarem and Venkman, both members of international trotting star Wishing Stone's first crops, were very impressive winners at Bendigo and Shepparton respectively last week. Zarem, a four-year-old gelding, won his fifth race for the term and rated a career-best 2:00.7, while Venkman, a three-year-old filly, came from worse than midfield to post her third success. Wishing Stone has sired 10 Australian bred foals 2YO and older for five winners and a placegetter from six starters. Muscle Hill's brilliant son Elite Stride captured his second feature win in the space of a week when he won the NSW 3YO Foundation Final at Menangle last Saturday (May 23). It was his seventh success on end and he is clearly the leading 3YO trotter in the country based on wins and prizemoney. The Muscle Hill brothers Kyvalley Senator NZ (3YO) and Kyvalley Chief NZ (4YO) both saluted the judge at Bendigo, the latter hoisting a fresh lifetime mark of 1:56.4 over 1650 metres. Wishing Stone and Muscle Hill are available to breeders in Australia and New Zealand through Stallions Australasia.   By Peter Wharton

Stephen Blacker freely admits that he's been in a pretty bad place at times in his life, but harness racing has played a significant role in getting him through. "I've suffered a lot of mental health issues that's for sure, with depression and anxiety, but the horses are a great outlet," Blacker said. "My involvement with them probably goes back 15 to 20 years ago when I always had at least one with some great horsemen in Kevin Brough and Bob Mahanke," he said. "Then in later years I've worked for Mattie Craven and more recently, Aaron Dunn, at Horsham, where I've been for the past 16 months." And Blacker is certainly and deservedly enjoying success as an owner, after all, in his own words, "a few things have changed in my life". In a landmark civil case in February 2018, Blacker sued the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and two former bishops for negligence, alleging as a nine-year-old he had been raped in the small Victorian town of Mortlake. The Diocese of Ballarat eventually admitted it was aware a prolific child abuser had been abusing children as far back as 1975 and the church was forced to pay Blacker an undisclosed amount in a landmark settlement. Father Gerald Ridsdale is in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse of 65 children over 40 years. Although his legal fight is over, Blacker now supports other victims who are taking matters to the courts. But he is also now looking to his own future and planning to step up his active involvement in the sport he loves. He's shown over the years that he's more than a competent judge of quality when it comes to selecting both pacers and trotters to buy, and at the latest Terang meeting, Blacker cheered home three of his horses to victory. He combined with Dunn in getting a double with pacers Silent Major (Art Major-Hi Life Franco (Falcon Seelster) and Philadelphia Freedom (Art Major-Putting On The Glitz (Walton Hanover). His other winner was square gaiter The Summer Cat (Angus Hall-Flash And Flair (S J's Photo), which he races in partnership with trainer Michael Gadsden. And it could have easily been a Blacker "fab four" with his Maorishadow going down by a neck to Deltasun in the $12,000 Trotters Handicap. "I used to watch the New Zealand horses intently and then made a good friendship with well-known Sydney horse dealer Darrell 'dasher' Kidd. I first of all got a cheap one off him 10 to 15 years ago," Blacker said. "I'd never actually met him in person, but a few years ago I bumped into him by chance overseas. I was getting a suit made up and there was another guy doing the same. "He came up to me and said: 'You're an Aussie, which part do you come from?' And after we got talking he introduced himself-and I finally got to meet Darrell face-to-face! "Generally speaking I buy Kiwi horses that are coming out of a good yard. Mark Jones is always a seller and I got Silent Major, as well as Philadelphia Freedom, a horse that is lovely to do anything with, both from him." As youngsters, Aaron Dunn and Steve Blacker played junior football in the same team-Caramut, a small rural township in Western Victoria, near Warrnambool "I realize it might be a bit hard to visualize now, but I was our ruckman and Steve was the rover," Dunn said. "After our football days, we probably didn't catch up for over 15 years, but I talked him into working for us in December, 2018. He'd come over for three days a week, then one day he told me he'd be here bright and early on a Monday-he did that, and he's been here ever since." Blacker sends his pacers to Dunn to be trained, while the trotters go to Michael Gadsden and his partner Denbeigh Wade, who are based at Ararat. "Aaron reminds us that he has a five-from-five strike rate with first starters from NZ, but he hasn't won a Group Two race yet, which Michael achieved with Maorishadow!" Blacker said. Blacker said from a mental health point of view, the continuation of harness racing during the COVID-19 pandemic had been fantastic for him. "Usually I umpire football matches in winter and then play cricket in summer. With no football, I could have been at a loose end if it wasn't for the horses," he said. "I've also put the time to good use in ramping up my trial drives because one day I'd love to be driving in races. That's my next aim anyway." The Dunn stable has been enjoying its best-ever season with 29 wins and 33 placings, finishing in the top three nearly 50 percent of the time. "We decided to give it a real crack awhile back. We've done improvements at our training complex and the horses love the spacious 1350m track," Dunn said. "I've always prided myself on consistency and with a nice team we're able to do that. There's 14, including five owned by Steve, and in addition four unraced two-year-olds. We also operate Dunn-Ezy mobile seed cleaning and grading service, so we are pretty busy at times."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

NZB Standardbred’s highly anticipated 2020 All Age Sale saw New Zealand’s largest breeding stock go under the digital hammer on New Zealand Bloodstock’s online subsidiary platform gavelhouse.com. Despite initial COVID-19 uncertainty, the first-ever sale of its kind saw 138 lots sell for a total turnover of $1,042,310. The average reached $7,553 and the median settled at $4,550.  The confidence in the market over the past week of bidding has been reflected in the strong clearance rate, which topped the 97% threshold at the close of selling. NZB Director and Operations Manager James Jennings was delighted with the outcome of the Sale. “I think it’s a great result in light of recent and unprecedented circumstances. “The support and commitment we received from vendors was echoed by the remarkable clearance rate and their enthusiasm to meet the market. “There was a strong, international buying bench present and we are thankful for their participation in the Sale,” said Jennings. The top-priced Lot of the session was an Art Major weanling colt out of Alta Camilla (Lot 75). The colt was secured for $52,500 by Stonewall Stud’s Jill Stockman from the draft of Alabar Farms. “He is from a great family and is a very nice looking colt, we are happy to have secured him,” said Stockman. Stockman had completed her research prior to the Sale taking place. “The online bidding experience has been really good overall, it was certainly a different experience but Steve Telfer had gone to look at the horses first, so we knew exactly what we were bidding on.” First season sires were in hot-demand this evening, highlighted by Stonewall Stud’s purchase of Lot 35, a Downbytheseseaside filly out of Revere Me for $50,000 from the draft of Woodlands Stud. “She is a lovely filly and I think given her pedigree she would have made six figures had she gone through the ring next February. “She definitely ticked all the boxes for us,” said Stockman. Over the Tasman, prominent buyer Jean Feiss locked in Lot 26, another Woodlands Stud colt by Downbytheseaside out of Panforte for $26,000. Feiss was pleased with her purchase, “normally I don’t go for first season sires but I just liked the type of weanling he was, that’s what attracted me to him. “He could have been anything, I truly thought he was an outstanding weanling.” The previous owner of Vincent herself, Feiss also secured two of his offspring, Lot 44 (ex Sheza Monkee) filly and Lot 103 (ex Delightful Lover) filly for $19,000 and $26,000 respectively. “I really liked these two fillies, their breeding stood out to me as well as their exceptional type. “Overall Vincent has produced some outstanding types and I hope they are going to represent his results on the track. Feiss was pleased with the outcome of the digital format but is looking forward to getting back into the physical auction ring. “I think given the circumstances it went very well, it has been great to see vendors rewarded and buyers being able to secure good stock but I think we are all looking forward to when things can go back to normal,” said Feiss. Alabar Farms (NZ) General Manager Graeme Henley was elated with the result of his resident first season sire Vincent. “We thought the Sale went great overall, the biggest thing we were thrilled about was how Vincent’s progeny sold. “It was a great outcome for us and it was nice to see them receive the prices they deserve. “It’s been a lot of work and a bit of a roller coaster leading up to the Sale but the results we achieved today has made it all worthwhile,” commented Henley. First-time digital buyer Shane Sanderson was pleased with the simple online process on the gavelhouse.com Standardbred platform. “It was easy for me to get verified as a buyer and a good experience. I ended up purchasing Lot 59, a Rock N Roll Heaven filly from a good producing family for $20,000. I actually trained one of the half-sisters so I was pretty happy,” said Sanderson. All weanlings offered at the 2020 All Age Sale are eligible for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Series, with approximately $1million in prizemoney on offer.  If you wish to notify and enter your horse into the Series, please contact Rachel Deegan (Rachel.Deegan@nzb.co.nz or +64 3 381 0141).  To make enquiries about any Passed Lots, contact Cam Bray on +64 21 737 199. To view the full 2020 All Age Sale results on gavelhouse.com Standardbred click here. 2020 All Age Sale Statistics Aggregate  $ 1,042,310 Average  $ 7,553 Median  $ 4,550 Sold 138 Offered 142 Clearance 97%  

Last week’s three heat winners have all drawn awkwardly for Friday night’s Group 1 Diamond Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park. Unconditional, Minor Catastrophe and Always An Angel were all impressive in taking out their respective heats but will have to overcome barrier six, eight and 12 respectively. The Barry Howlett-trained Just For Love has drawn barrier one for the $100,000 feature, following her second to Always An Angel in her heat last week. Just For Love has not drawn the inside barrier in her eight starts and only has two minor placings to her record. The Mach Three filly, who finished fifth in the Sales Classic in February, looks set to get her best chance to break through for her maiden win. Bettor Beach Belle, who secured her spot in the final by dead-heating for second with Just For Love in last week’s final heat, has drawn barrier 10 as she looks to give trainer Terry Ferguson his second Group 1 triumph this month. Gary Hall Jnr has won the past three Diamond Classics with Cimorene (2017), Majorpride (2018) and Askmeilltellya (2019). He will have the task of navigating the back line draw with Always An Angel in this year’s edition. Ocean Ridge will look to score another Free-For-All win in the TABtouch Pace (2130m), where he’s drawn barrier one in the eight horse field. Chicago Bull will again take his part in the FFA event of the evening, following his win in the Members Sprint last week. Joining Ocean Ridge as additions to the FFA event are Tommy Be Good, Im Soxy and Gotta Go Gabbana, while Our Jimmy Johnstone and El Jacko are the absentees from this week’s race. Another intriguing runner on Friday’s Gloucester Park card is the Mike Reed-trained Gran Chico in the Download The TABtouch App Today Pace (2130m). Gran Chico won at his first start in Perth on November 15, before he was unplaced in both the 4YO Classic and Golden Nugget at his subsequent two starts. The four-year-old looks set to get every chance to win on his return to racing from barrier one. You can view the fields for Friday night here.   Tim Walker

Friday 29th May marks the 90th birthday of a genuine Western Australian harness racing legend in Lyle Slade Lindau and fittingly Race Four at Gloucester Park that night marks the occasion. As a child Lyle Lindau grew up next to the Golden Mile trotting track in Kalgoorlie. Born in 1930, he came to Perth as a 16yo and helped his brother John who was having success with a small team of pacers but at the time Lindau’s real love was motorcycle racing. Fortunately for harness racing Lindau decided to go through the WATA’s Reinsmans School and he commenced his training career when he leased a 3yo called Love Devine. Love Devine finished second to the champion Beau Don the first time that Lindau drove in a race. “The 100 pound cheque was the difference as I could see trotting starting to pay and I went out and sold the motorbike the next day,” Lindau recalled some years later. Without a large family stable behind him Lindau’s opportunities were limited early on but by 1963 his name began to appear on the top ten of the Perth Drivers Premiership and in the 1964/65 season he was in the top two when he was runner-up to Phil Coulson and just three wins behind the winner. He had already developed the habit of rocking in the cart and the nickname “Rocker” was to follow shortly afterwards. “It came from when I won the August Cup in 1961 with Buller Pass. He was such a big horse that the cart had a tendency to rock from side to side and I just stuck with it,” he recalled years later. The 1961 August Cup was Lindau’s first feature race win and the early association the gelding’s trainer Merv Stockden was to reap a bigger reward on New Year’s Day 1968 when they won the WA Pacing Cup with Radiant Fortune. By 1968 Lindau had already formed an association with the champion grey gelding Blue Pennant which had been trained by his Wembley neighbour Tom Charles. Blue Pennant won 26 races in Western Australia and Lindau drove him in 20 of those wins including victories in a Christmas Handicap and Easter Cup. At the 1968 Inter Dominion in New Zealand Lindau and Blue Pennant finished third behind First Lee and Holy Hal to give Western Australia its first placing in an Inter Dominion in New Zealand. All the time Lindau was establishing himself as one of the State’s finest freelance drivers he was steadily putting together a stable of smart horses and in 1968 he finished second to Jim Schrader on the Perth Trainers Premiership with 41 winners. He welcomed the introduction of increased racing opportunities for two and three year olds as they represented potential early returns. His list of quality horses is replete with the names of the State’s finest juvenile pacers however Lindau wasn’t always on the money in terms of identifying the star from a group of yearlings. Famously he chose the filly Royal Belwin ahead of the colt Mount Eden. While Royal Belwin won a couple at Gloucester Park including a heat of the Sires Produce Stakes and third in the 1970 WA Oaks she was hardly a Mount Eden. Santos Adios, a half-brother to Wee Cent won the 1972 Golden Slipper Stakes and Champagne Stakes double and Lindau won a second Golden Slipper Stakes with Watergate in 1975. Wee Cent won 14 of her 20 starts as a 2yo and 3yo including the Sapling Stakes and was placed in both the Golden Slipper Stakes and WA Derby against the colts. She went on to become one of the State’s best ever mares winning 30 races including 17 in the city. In February 1974 Wee Cent became Lindau’s third successive Fremantle Cup winner when she careered away to win by ten metres after starting a 5/2 equal favourite with Royal Force. She followed on the wins of Roscott and Dollars Double and the only other driver to win this race on three successive occasions was Gary Hall Jnr behind Im Themightyquinn in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Roscott, a full-brother to the Victorian champion Monara, won 22 races for Lindau and started favourite in the 1970 WA Pacing Cup won by Daintys Daughter in World Record time. In addition to his Fremantle Cup win Roscott won a Mount Eden Sprint and New Year Handicap and Lindau took him to Melbourne for the 1970 Inter Dominion. The flashy Tasmanian bred Typhson, who was as quick free-legged as he was with hopples, won 25 races for Lindau including a Navy Cup and a heat of the Inter Dominion at Globe Derby Park in Adelaide. Fred Kersley drove Typhson for Lindau in his Adelaide win as Lindau was recovering from surgery for an infected tonsil. He also took the $150 castoff Sign Again through into fast-class for owner Keith Green winning 22 races including the 1974 Winter Cup in the process. The horse later won a Fremantle Cup for trainer Stan Andrews and driver Alan Woodworth. Lindau’s tally of 990 winners includes one behind the 10/1 chance Atheist which Lindau drove to victory at Roosevelt Raceway in June 1976 when on a trip to America. His record of three trainers and one drivers premierships in Perth may have been better had his passion for fishing not been quite so strong and the lure of a fishing trip more often than not saw a shortened season for Lindau. He had more than his fair share of spills on the old Richmond Raceway track and they gave Lindau a couple of dubious records. On 13th June 1975 he was bouncing off the the track surface from behind Tara Del which was in the process of falling when that horse was awarded second place because her nose hadn’t hit the track when it crossed the line. In March 1974 Lindau was holding the reins of Woodland Bells when she finished a race at Richmond Raceway. What was unusual is that Lindau was sitting next to Gary Lilleyman in the cart of Gala Lady when Woodland Bells crossed the line. He had been tossed into Lilleyman’s cart after Woodland Bells was interfered with but managed to hold onto the reins. Happy Birthday Lyle – a genuine harness racing legend.   Alan Parker

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