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It’s not uncommon for horses to show potential not many knew they had later in life and that’s exactly what Gary Quinlan is hoping for with his talented pacer Rocknroll Pearl. Quinlan has fingers crossed that the five-year-old can emulate her mother Jazzam (pictured), which many will recall as a quality mare that went on to win 24 races and more than $230,000 in prizemoney. Rocknroll Pearl is a long way off that mark, but a promising return from a short let-up at Cranbourne on October 21 has things pointing in the right direction. Quinlan said the horse didn’t quite seem herself following a three-start Sydney campaign through June that reaped a Group 3 success and two third placings, one of which was in the Group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO Mares Final. After that, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven placed fourth and eighth in races at Melton before she was given a break. Following the freshen-up, Rocknroll Pearl produced a nice third placing at Cranbourne, hitting the line hard from three back the pegs behind winner War Dan Delight. “She looks a treat and was working really good before Cranbourne. I thought she would go good, but I hadn’t trialled her and I was just hoping I’d see what I’d seen at home,” Quinlan said. “I was pretty happy with what she did at Cranbourne and she doesn’t seem to have gone backwards since.” Rocknroll Pearl, a winner of eight races, will tackle Saturday night’s Benstud Vicbred Pace (2240m, mares NR 70-89) at Tabcorp Park Melton. The horse has drawn barrier four in the small field of eight and Quinlan said he’s happy for driver Jason Lee to roll forward from the mobile and see what opportunities present from there. And while Quinlan thinks Emma Stewart’s Nostra Villa looks the likely winner of the race on her best form, he’s confident of a good showing from his charge. “Being realistic, if the right Nostra Villa turns up it would be winning the race so I’m under no illusions how good it is,” he said. Jazzam, who won the Group 3 Ladyship Cup at Moonee Valley back in 2009, has had just one other foal reach the races. That is Dison, a winner of two races from seven career outings. “Rocknroll Pearl’s mother really came good as a four-year-old, at the same age she has,” Quinlan said. “So I’m hoping history repeats itself.” The Allied Express Sokyola Sprint - for horses rated between 90 and 120 - is the feature race on Saturday night’s card. A quality field of horses has been assembled for the $24,000 event, with the likes of Phoenix Prince (Emma Stewart), My Kiwi Mate (Craig Demmler) and Wrappers Delight (David Aiken) among the leading fancies. CLICK BELOW TO HEAR FROM TRAINER GARY QUINLAN:   HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor

Champion trotter Tornado Valley received due recognition for a wonderful season when he was named the 2018/19 Victorian Horse of the Year and Australian Trotter of the Year.   He also collected the Australian and Victorian Aged Trotter of the Year awards. During the season Tornado Valley won 11 of his 12 starts - including four at Group 1 level - and a season’s high $250,020 in stakes.   And the son of SKYVALLEY is showing no signs of slowing down! The eight-year-old gelding won twice in Free-for-all company at Melton in October – in 1:59.2 and 1:59.5 – to push his lifetime earnings over the $500,000 plateau.   SKYVALLEY himself was recognised at the Harness Breeders Awards Day at Bendigo, being awarded the 2018/19 Victorian 2YO Trotting Sire of the Year.   On the same day the Aldebaran Park bred Jaspervellabeach was named the Victorian 2YO Pacing Colt of the Year and received a Group 1 trophy as the winner of the $125,000 WA Golden Slipper.   Aldebaran Park bred five individual trotting winners in October headed up by a double at Ballarat with On Fast Forward (by SKYVALLEY) and Kyvalley Kyrie.   The highly promising three-year-old Keayang Ignite, who was bred by Aldebaran Park and sold for $15,000 at the APTS sale in 2018, won at his first two attempts by a combined total of 65 metres and looks to well in line for the Derbies and other major classics.   Hotjane Bling (by EILEAN DONON), who overcame a 20 metre handicap at Menangle, and Imahe Man (Albion Park) were other recent Aldebaran Park winners. Besides Tornado Valley and On Fast Forward, SKYVALLEY was represented by the Melton winner Flash Kyvalley, Kimmywho (Ballarat) and Spotlight The Valley (Gore, NZ).   Aldebaran Park foalings in 2019/20: Colt: Aldebaran Marty (Naked Majesty-Aldebaran Eagle) Filly: Aldebaran Brook (Excellent Boko-Southwind Frank) Filly: Aldebaran Zoe (Zhenya-Aldebaran Eagle) Filly: Aldebaran Bree (Aldebaran Breeze-Aldebaran Eagle) Colt: Aldebaran Brutus (Kyvalley Bling-Father Patrick) Colt: Aldebaran Simba (Yankee Sister-Aldebaran Eagle) Colt: Aldebaran Shaunie (Aldebaran Sunset-Love You)   Check out the photo gallery on the Aldebaran Park website.     By Peter Wharton

Powerful mother-son harness racing duo Marg and Jason Lee are kicking goals with a successful young ownership group now aligned with the Western District stable. The dynamic captain of the Brisbane Lions AFL team, Dane Zorko, and top players Darcy Gardiner, Ryan Lester and Lewis Taylor (who recently became a Sydney Swan) race a number of pacers with the Lee team. And star young reinsman Jason and his highly successful trainer mum Marg are giving their Lions mates plenty to roar about. The footballers are currently racing two horses with the Lee team, based near Terang, and both have been more than handy acquisitions. “They actually purchased the horses – Iam Erik and Yankee C J – at the same time so they are having a good ride so far,” Jason said. “Iam Erik (Shadow Play-Invigorate (Artsplace) has shown that he’s prepared to tough it out. We’ve had two wins and five placings with him from nine starts,” he said. “Yankee C J has been a model of consistency as well.” Yankee C J (American Ideal-Focussed (In The Pocket) scored first-up for his new owners at Ararat back in April. He was again successful at Hamilton in June and has posted seven placings as well in his past 11 outings. The Lees’ association with the Brisbane team mates stemmed from a lifelong friendship between Jason and Lewis Taylor. “We were school mates. We played four or five years of underage football together and Lewis actually lived with us for a bit,” Jason said. “He worked here on and off for a couple of years doing farm and stable work. Mum let him drive trackwork and put him on some of the good ones, so that’s where he got the bug! “When it was obvious that he had a bright football career, he would be off to Geelong twice a week training with the Falcons. Then it all became very hectic, but he’d still pop out once a week and help out.” Jason, a passionate Brisbane Lions supporter, said he wasn’t surprised by his friend’s AFL success. “If there was anyone I ever thought would be drafted, it was Lewis. He was just a freak on the footy field. When he was 15 or 16, he played seniors for Terang-Mortlake and won an elimination final off his own boot,” he said. “The opposition were quickly onto his outstanding talent and he’d often be tagged with two players to try and subdue him.” Taylor in 2014 edged out Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli by one vote to take the NAB AFL Rising Star Award, but Marg described him as “an absolute gem of a kid”. “He has never forgotten where he comes from and when he’s home in Mortlake, he always comes out to visit us,” Marg said. The success with the Brisbane Lions boys has also helped Marg, one of the best conditioners in the sport, to edge towards a significant milestone of her own. She’s now within a whisker of an impressive 500-winners in her stellar training career. The champion horsewoman is sitting on 496 winners and 585 placings from just over 1900 starters for an impressive $4.5 million in stake-earnings. The family-focused harness racing operation has about 30 in work at present, but also combines the horses with running a big dairy and a gravel pit. “We run about 500 cows. We have two workers who start in the dairy before us. We are up and helping with the cows at about 6.30am, and then it’s the horses. It’s a long day,” Marg said. “I don’t travel to the trots meetings like I used to. I tend to leave that these days to my boys, Jason and Paddy, and my nephew Glen Craven.” Marg (7 wins and 12 placings this season) and Jason (20 wins and 15 placings) are prominent on the harness racing tables, but youngest son Paddy is certainly a quiet achiever with 10 wins and four placings as a trainer from 16 starters this a top three strike rate of 87 percent. Marg’s husband Damien, while a loyal supporter of the horses, prefers sprint cars and trucks. Eldest son Jack shares the same interest. Marg acknowledges the tutelage of Great Western training legend, Peter Manning, but a good deal of credit for launching the family’s success must also go to her first ever winner – a chestnut mare named Melita (Whats Next-Another Jensen). Melita finished her racing with 11 wins from 30 but did her best work in the breeding barn with numerous handy performers – including the standout, the Holmes Hanover-sired Keayang Hanover with 22 wins and $173,000. Many of the horses bred and owned by the Lee family carry the moniker Keayang as part of their race name— Keayang is an historic pastoral property in the Western District, owned partly by the Lees. “It’ll be nice (to reach the 500-win milestone) but I don’t pay much attention to those things,” Marg confessed. “I really didn’t have any idea —we just keep doing our best and enjoying it along the way.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Jovial Horsham harness racing trainer-driver Aaron Dunn is usually all smiles - but at the moment he certainly has every reason. Dunn made a conscious decision a few years ago to give the sport a red hot go, and this week struck a patch of red hot form, landing three winners in the space of 24 hours. "I don't bet, but gee a few of them were at good odds," Dunn said. "Their work at home had been great and they have been racing really well, so the wins weren't complete surprises." Dunn's winning streak started at Bendigo on Tuesday night with tough five-year-old mare Marjorie Jean (Blissfull Hall-Longtan Ebony (Village Jasper), who did it hard outside the leader Millah Joy ($2.10 fav) but pulled out plenty to score easily at 15/1. Dunn said he had decided to increase the mare's workload because she puts on weight "in the blink of an eye". "She is a funny horse. Sometimes her work can be great and then she doesn't take it to the races - but she was in one heck of a mood at Bendigo which usually means she's going to go okay!" he said. And the luck rolled on when Dunn's talented three-year-old Sporty Azz won the very next event. The handy son of Sportswriter was a 6/1 chance and led from the start, packing too many guns for Rock On Playboy, the $2.20 fav. Both winners were driven to perfection by youngster Jackie Barker, who got away with a leisurely speed early on Sporty Azz, then slipped him into another gear for a 56.2 last half. Sporty Azz was bred by Aaron Dunn, out of the family's consistent race mare Madazhell, and has now won three of his past four. "Madazhell was a handy performer who just couldn't quite crack it for a win in Melbourne, but she ended up winning seven races and a heap of placings for us, so she paid her way," he said. The third winner in a superb 24 hours came in the far north-west at MIldura when Keayang Kookai (Sportswriter-Melita (Whats Next), and again, it was Barker in the sulky, rating the pacer to perfection. Jackie Barker and Keayang Kookai, which has won its last two The result was never in doubt and punters who took the short odds would have been happy a long way from home with Keayang Kookai scoring a runaway 24 metre victory. The pacer had also saluted 10 days earlier at Maryborough and that win was a good effort. "He's a bit one-paced, but we did think he would take some beating in the Mildura event." Dunn was at the Bendigo meeting, but passed up the four-hour trip north the next night to watch Keayang Kookai. "I got home from Bendigo at 2am and I was up at 5.30am baling hay. So I didn't get much sleep, then I pulled a hamstring that morning, so I was a scratching from Mildura! It would have been fantastic to be there, but I just wasn't up to it." Dunn has jumped out of the blocks this season, preparing five winners and four placings from 17 starters for nearly $23,000. He has established a terrific training complex near Horsham on 240 acres. It features a 1350 metre track with two hill runs, well fenced 50 x 30 yards with shelters and numerous paddocks. "I decided in the past few years to set it up properly-I spent a lot of time doing the paddocks because I just got sick of fixing them all the time," Dunn said. "I've been running my own mobile seed cleaning business for the past 20 years and operate three trucks. It's only seasonal, but I'm hoping to perhaps take more of a back seat soon and concentrate on the horses. "We have six well-bred broodmares and over the years we've bred our own or got one or two from the sales. Although in saying that, we haven't been too often to the sales in the past 13 or 14 years." Dunn said he still got a helping hand from his dad Barry and a friend from Mortlake in Stevie Blacker. "Stevie and I go back a long way - we played junior football together. He comes here probably three days a week," he said. "And my brother Bryan who is an owner and lives in Tasmania, picks out which races may be best suitable for each of our horses. I think he's got Melton or the coming St Arnaud Cup pencilled in for Marjorie Jean." Dunn said junior reinswoman Jackie Barker, a granddaughter of a legend of the sport, Jim Barker, was a most competent driver. "I never give her any instructions-she knows our horses and drives them well. I'm on the sidelines with a suspension at the moment, but even when I'm back I'll still be using her often," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

An audit commissioned by the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner has revealed Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) integrity processes to be “industry leading”. The 46-page report titled Audit Report into the End-to-End Management of Investigations – Review of Harness Racing Victoria outlines that HRV has made “significant improvement in integrity since around 2016-17” and declares HRV the racing “industry leader” in the areas of integrity processes and animal welfare framework. The report, which focused on investigations and enquiries – both race day and non-race day – also praised HRV’s establishment of animal welfare training programs and has recommended that the other codes “follow HRV’s lead”. “HRV sample investigations appeared to be comprehensive, conducted in accordance with policy, and fair dealings with licenced persons, including explaining rights to those accused persons,” the report states. “HRV has improved its integrity processes since around 2017 to the point where this audit finds that in terms of the requirements in this audit with respect to investigations, it is the industry leader. “HRV has taken a number of positive steps in recent years in order to promote the importance of welfare and establishment of the HRV Animal Welfare Framework Online Training Program and the Stable Inspections Framework. Requiring licenced participants to pass the online training module in order to maintain accreditation is a commendable step towards protecting animal welfare and we have recommended that the other codes follow HRV’s lead in this regard.”  HRV General Manager of Integrity Brent Fisher (pictured) praised his team and said HRV “had much to be proud of in the integrity space”. “This annual audit shows HRV is on the right track in regards to the manner in which we police the industry and I’m proud of the integrity team for the great results we’ve achieved in the last couple of years,” Mr Fisher said. HRV Interim CEO Luke Spano also praised the work of the integrity team. “This kind of recognition highlights the great improvement HRV has made in this important area in recent years and should give the industry confidence that our processes are conducted fairly and without fear or favour. I congratulate Brent and his team on their ongoing good work,” Mr Spano said.   HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Lance Justice is considering calling time on his extraordinary driving career, with upcoming steers in Bendigo’s Veterans’ Race and Wayville’s Black Friday Bash a potential swansong. Justice revealed he was “tossing up whether to hand the reins in” while talking to Paul Campbell ahead of Bendigo’s November 8 Legends Night, featuring the Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot and the Victorian Harness Racing Hall Of Fame awards. “I’ve had a pretty good run of it,” Justice said. “I’ve driven over 3000 winners, I think I’m top three or four in the state, still behind Gavin (Lang) and Chris (Alford), and Kerryn (Manning’s) there alongside me.” Justice has had 3015 victories from more than 17,000 starts, which stretch back to 1984-85 and have yielded his connections more than $17 million in stakes. “I thought about it a month ago, retiring, and thought I can’t retire until after the series at Bendigo,” Justice said. “Then Wayville rang up … and said can you come over and drive there because you won it last year. I will weigh my options up after those two nights.” Wayville, which attracted a huge crowd on return last year, will be on December 13. Bendigo’s November 8 Legends Night kicks off at 5pm with an awards night and inductions into the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. For ticket details click here. To view Lance’s full interview with Paul Campbell click here.   HRV Trots Media

Punters take heed - backing Bettor Reward in the opening event at Gloucester Park on Friday night will give you a great start to the evening’s proceedings. That’s according to several members of the WA Trotting Media Guild, who have made the Clinton Hall-trained pacer their best bet on Parliamentarians Cup night. Form expert Ken Casellas, TABradio’s form analyst Hayden King, TABradio’s racecaller Matt Young and Guild president Wayne Currall all believe champion reinsman Chris Lewis will steer Bettor Reward to an all-the-way victory. Casellas summed up the thoughts of his colleagues when assessing the merits of Bettor Reward. “Eight-year-old Bettor Reward is a speedy beginner and he should give punters a flying start to Friday night’s meeting by relishing the No. 1 barrier in race one and leading all the way over the sprint trip of 1730m,” Casellas said. “Bettor Reward has been unplaced at his past three starts since he started from barrier one and set the pace before winning by three lengths at a fast 1.52.7 rate over 1730m seven weeks ago. He’s my best bet this week to repeat the dose.” Class mare Dracarys is another horse many members of the Guild have made their star bet on the 10-event program. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, Radio Great Southern’s form analyst Warren Wishart and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft are all confident she’ll return to the track a winner. Manning’s comment echoed the thoughts of his colleagues. “Four-year-old Dracarys, looking set for victory at her first start in six months, has shown outstanding potential by notching 10 wins from 14 appearances since joining trainer Justin Prentice’s stable,” Manning said. ”The Kiwi import opened her WA account with wins at five consecutive appearances. She again struck top form last autumn, when recording four straight victories. The $125,00 Mares Classic (2536m) in December will be among her Gloucester Park summer carnival targets.” Longshot guru Pat Harding believes it could be a good night for the Michael Brennan/ Michael Grantham combination. “My best bet comes up in race two with Braeview Bondi coming out of barrier two,” Harding said. “He’s looking for three wins in a row and I think he has an excellent chance off doing just that.” VALUE BETS KEN: For value, I suggest Waltzingwithsierra in race seven in which she is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line. She is a talented sit-sprinter who is sure to be charging home at the business end of proceedings. HAYDEN: Phar From Kalahari has strung a few impressive runs together and has been assigned a cosy draw. She is a live chance, regardless of what happens. MATT: Waltzingwithsierra is getting better with every run and represents each-way value with some racing luck. WAYNE: Black Jack Zac is drawn to get the run of the race behind likely leader Bettor Party in the fourth. Can fly late at an each-way quote. ERNIE: Absolution is on an 11-run losing streak and has won only twice in his past 44 races. But he looked ready to break the drought when third at Gloucester Park on the past two Friday nights. There was plenty of merit in his $30,000 Preux Chevalier Pace effort a week ago. WARREN: Race six, No. 5 Mighty Conquerer. If the indicative price of $7 is correct then it will be Christmas in November for punters as Mighty Conqueror, despite the rise in class, looks a cups class horse and can account for his rivals. RYAN: Diamond Geezer has a habit of finding his way into the minor money often enough for him to be an each-way chance in the last. PAT: My value bet comes up in race six with the Brennan/Grantham team with The Bucket List. He is ideally placed in barrier two and although his recent form isn't that good I think he can give punters a great sight. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting   Wayne Currall

Fifteen months ago, the highly-regarded New Zealand-bred gelding American Brave broke down when having his second start in a race in Australia and harness racing fans are anxiously awaiting his return to action when he contests the Smallgoods Special Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. American Brave fractured his off hind leg, a spiral fracture above the hock, in the race in which he finished sixth behind Our Corelli at Gloucester Park in August 2018. That followed his Australian debut a month earlier when he started from barrier eight, raced wide early and then set the pace before winning by seven and a half lengths from Parisian Partygirl. “He has been in work for quite a while, but he’s still very big,” said champion trainer Gary Hall Snr. “So, he will be underdone and has drawn out wide. But he’s a class horse and hopefully his class will get him through. He is definitely going to improve with the run.” Hall is also looking for a forward showing from King of Swing, the lone back-line runner in the Mondo Doro Cup over 2130m. The five-year-old, a winner at 18 of his 46 starts, gave a fighting display last Friday week when second to Walkinshaw in a fast-run 2130m event. King of Swing challenged hard, but unsuccessfully, for the early lead and then worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front 550m from home and then being swamped by Walkinshaw, who had enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Friday night’s event will see the return to action of the highly dependable Im Soxy, who was a credit to his Bunbury trainer Brian Clemens when he raced 34 times last season for six wins, eight seconds and ten thirds. Im Soxy will be driven by Ryan Warwick from the prized No. 1 barrier. He is a good frontrunner who should prove hard to beat in an even field. The Ray Williams-trained Major Pocket will have many admirers from his favourable draw at barrier two. The six-year-old will be handled for the first time by Dylan Egerton-Green who replaces Aldo Cortopassi, who has driven the horse at his past 28 starts for six wins, ten seconds and four thirds. Cortopassi was committed to driving his own nomination Roman Aviator, who is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven. Major Pocket maintained his excellent form when he had a tough run in the breeze before getting up to snatch victory in a three-way photo finish from Carter Micheal and Mighty Santana. He rated 1.55.7 over the 2130m trip.   Ken Casellas

Eight times WA premier trainer Ross Olivieri has nine runners at Gloucester Park on Friday night, and he declares all are each-way prospects, with stable newcomer Queen Shenandoah the best winning hope, despite drawing out wide at barrier eight in the 2130m Meat Me At The Post Pace. Queen Shenandoah, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old mare, boats an impressive record of 31 starts for eight wins (one in New Zealand, four in Victoria and three in South Australia), ten seconds and two thirds for earnings of $89,639. Possessed with excellent gate speed and a noted frontrunner, Queen Shenandoah is a last-start winner at a 1.57.5 rate over 2230m at Globe Derby Park on September 14 when she finished strongly from last in a field of five at the bell to win convincingly by almost four lengths from Lochinvar Hugo. Five starts before that she set a track record when she rated 1.55.7 to win by a half-length from Delightful Mia over 1750m at Wedderburn. “All our stable runners have got solid chances on Friday night, without pointing to one,” Olivieri said. “If Queen Shenandoah (who will be driven by Chris Voak) had a good draw I’d say she would be over the line. However, from eight, she will go well and whatever she does she will improve on. She’s strong and fast.” Olivieri also predicted a strong performance from Crystal Sparkles in the Pastrami Pace over 2130m in which the mare will start from the favourable No. 2 barrier with Voak in the sulky. “She’s improving run by run and is a real good chance, a winning chance,” he said. Crystal Sparkles, a winner of 20 races from 57 starts, finished solidly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Just Rockon Bye and Our Alfie Romeo last Friday night. She looks set to fight out the finish with the speedy Tony Svilicich-trained Vincenzo Peruggia, who is in the best form of his career. Vincenzo Peruggia will be driven by Emily Suvaljko from barrier three. Olivieri said that Motu Premier was a solid each-way hope in the Parliamentarians Cup and that he was leaning towards Carerra Mach ahead of stablemate Iceenothink in the Xmas Ham Classico Pace. “Carerra Mach ran a super race last week and he’s my fancy ahead of Iceenothink (a last-start first-up winner at Pinjarra),” he said. Chief interest in this event will be the return to racing of the brilliant Justin Prentice-trained Dracarys, who will be driven by Gary Hall jnr from the No. 1 barrier. Dracarys, now a four-year-old, will be having her first start for six months. She has been most impressive in winning at 11 of her 17 starts.   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred square-gaiter Im Not Eyre gave a faultless exhibition of trotting when he coasted to victory in a 2185m mobile event at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and part-owner and trainer-driver Jocelyn Young is confident the eight-year-old can produce a similar effort in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She said that the gelding was capable of switching from a stand to a mobile without any problems and that she was hoping that the gelding would maintain his normal good behaviour in a stand in a bid to take advantage of an ideal barrier at No. 2 in the Chorizo Too Hot To Trot Handicap. “He usually steps really good,” Young said. “He’s good from any position in a race and is racing really well. Obviously, I’d like him to get to the top on Friday night which is the place to be. “Having two starts in a week should be no problem. He does have a few issues with his feet, but if he pulls up well after Monday’s win there should be no problems. I thought he still had a bit to give at the end of Monday’s race. He’s very responsive to the whip, but I try not to hit him too much. In Monday’s race, Im Not Eyre began well from barrier five and raced three wide for the first 300m before taking the lead. He was not extended in beating Upandgone and Tokyo Joe. “Looking at the opposition, Lightning Calder is the class horse, but he’s off 30 metres. Ton Tine is racing well, and Tenno Sho can improve on his first-up sixth.” Young, who has six drives on Friday night, is looking forward to driving promising five-year-old Bill Haley in the 2130m Xmas Ham Classico Pace in which he will start from an awkward barrier at No. 6. Bill Haley, prepared by Debra Lewis, made an auspicious West Australian debut at Gloucester Park three Fridays ago when he raced in seventh position before finishing determinedly to win by a length from Rock Me Over. He did not look particularly impressive, but in hindsight it was a good performance, considering that all other eight mobile events were won by the pacemaker. “I have driven him once on the track and he’s a pretty nice horse,” said Young. “There’s a couple of nice horses in the race, but I don’t think they’re better than him, providing he’s right.”       Among Young’s other drives on Friday night are Athabascan in race one and Commander Chapel in race three. Athabascan is poorly drawn at No. 7 and faces a hard task over the sprint trip of 1730m. Considerable interest will surround the return to racing of eight-year-old Commander Chapel, who will start from the outside of the back line in the 2130m What’s The Beef Pace. The gelding has raced 40 times for 13 wins, nine seconds and three thirds and this will be his first appearance since finishing second to Bettor Offer at Gloucester Park in February 2017.   Ken Casellas

Young star reinsman Michael Grantham is looking forward keenly to driving Braeview Bondi at his Gloucester Park debut, in the 2536m Coppa Kabana Pace on Friday night, declaring that the Victorian-bred five-year-old had the ability to measure up to city racing. Braeview Bondi, prepared at Blythewood by Michael Brennan, is favourably drawn at barrier two and Grantham is planning to have the gelding in the firing line throughout. “His work at home suggests he can beat horses like Robbie Easton, Robb Stark ad Absolution,” Grantham said. “The 2500m will suit him; the longer the distance, the better he goes.” Braeview Bondi has created a good impression in Western Australia, with Grantham driving him to effortless wins over 2242m at Narrogin and 2569m at Bunbury at his only two appearances in the State. “He drew the back line in both those races and made a mid-race move (to get to the front) in both,” Grantham said. “He’s been going well, and I’ve been happy with him. His two wins have been great.” Grantham plans to go forward at the start, but said he was not sure whether Shannon Suvaljko would be willing to surrender the early lead with Absolution, who will start from the No. 1 barrier. “However, I’d be quite happy to hold the breeze,” he said. “And there might be a little bit of pressure (from wider runners) early, and that could lead to us taking the lead.” Absolution, trained by Debbie Padberg, has a losing sequence of 11, but is getting close to another win after fast-finishing thirds behind talented pacers Wildwest and Ana Afreet at his past two outings. Grantham has made a flying start to the 2019-20 season and is fifth with 20 winners on the drivers’ premiership table. He has a busy night on Friday, with seven drives on the ten-event card. He is enthusiastic about the prospects of It Aint Royal and Waltzingwithsierra. It Aint Royal, trained at Pinjarra by Ed Burnham, is an eight-year-old who has managed just one win from his past 49 starts at Bunbury 13 starts ago and boasts a winning record of just eight per cent. However, several of his recent efforts for a couple of thirds and fifths have been encouraging. Drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in Friday night’s 2130m The Smallgoods Special Pace has boosted Grantham’s confidence. “He’s got brilliant gate speed and I know we’ve got Pradas Ideal Dahling (barrier five) outside of him. But I think he can win. If he doesn’t win, he’ll run second or third.” Waltzingwithsierra, trained by Katja Warwick, is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line in the Meat Me At The Post Pace over 2130m. Her effort in charging home from eighth (and last) at the bell to finish third behind Extreme Prince and Gordon over 2536m last Friday night was full of merit. She also impressed two starts before that when she finished strongly to win from Ideal Investment over 2130m. “She’s got the draw this week and I was really happy with her run last week,” Grantham said. “She is a very good sit and kick horse. I expect to be three back on the rails and if she can get off I expect her to be a great chance.”   Ken Casellas

Ryan Warwick and Morgan Woodley, who share the distinction of having driven six winners on a program in Western Australia, will clash in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Woodley, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup twice with Has The Answers (2009) and Real Life (2011) will handle noted frontrunner Argyle Red from the prized No. 1 barrier, with Warwick in the sulky behind up-and-coming star Mighty Conqueror, who has won at 14 of his 20 starts. Mighty Conqueror is more brilliant than Argyle Red and is capable of overcoming an awkward barrier at No. 5. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye was the credentials and the form to emerge triumphant and give Warwick his first win in this feature event. A win to Mighty Conqueror would cap a memorable week for Warwick, who drove all six winners on the program at Kellerberrin on Sunday before following with a double at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Fifteen years ago Greg Bond prepared Money Magnet for his win, with Colin Brown in the sulky, in the Parliamentarians Cup which was first run in 1993 and was a standing-start event for 15 years before being a mobile race for the past 11 years, with the event restricted to mares in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Mighty Conqueror gave a devasting performance to win at a 1.55.2 rate over 2130m last Friday week. He was nursed out from barrier seven and settled in sixth position before starting a three-wide run and moving into the breeze after a lap. He surged to the front 300m from home and won by four and a half lengths from the pacemaker Patrickthepiranha, with final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. Argyle Red, trained by Rob MacDonald at Pinjarra, led from barrier one and won the 1730m Mount Eden Sprint at a 1.53.8 rate last Friday week. He also started from the No. 1 barrier two starts before that when he led and won at a 1.56.7 rate over 2130m. Our Corelli (barrier four) and Motu Premier (six) are racing keenly and will have admirers. Our Corelli, a winner at eight of his past 15 starts, sat behind the pacemaker Vampiro before running on solidly to be third behind that pacer ands Ana Malak over 2130m last Friday night. Our Corelli will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis, who has won the Parliamentarians Cup a record seven times with Hilarion Star (1993), Heros Knight (1998), Our London Pride (1999), Jimmy Nail (2003), Competitive Edge (2006), Ima Spicey Lombo (2010) and Leda McNally (2015). Ross Olivieri, who prepared Heros Knight and Ima Spicey Lombo, will be pinning his faith this week on the consistent Motu Premier, who impressed in the Mount Eden Sprint when he seventh in the middle stages before sustaining a powerful three-wide finishing burst to be fourth, a mere couple of centimetres from the winner Argyle Red. “That’s the closest you’ll get to winning without running a place,” was the appraisal from a philosophical Olivieri. Michael Brennan’s wonderful veteran The Bucket List is favourably drawn at barrier two and reinsman Michael Grantham plans to slot the ten-year-old in behind Argyle Red and enjoy a comfortable passage one or two back on the pegs, giving him the opportunity to unleash his typical flashing finishing burst.   Ken Casellas

Two grass track races with deep fields headline a nine-race card that's set to thrill Yarra Valley racegoers, more than 5000 of whom are expected to file into Tuesday's showcase Melbourne Cup trots race day. For the first time in 16 years grass track racing returns to Victoria's calendar and participants have responded with enthusiasm, with a full field nominating for the United Petroleum Trotters Handicap at 12.19pm and a further 11 for the De Bortoli Trotters Handicap at 2.12pm. It's a move welcomed by Trots Clubs Victoria manager Toby McKinnon, who joined regional radio program Trots Talk last night. "The club's gone with some grass track racing which is great to see ... it will really bring the racing right out to the people," Mr McKinnon said. "They will almost be able to lean over the fence and touch the horses as they go past." The first race kicks off at 10.35am and the last at 4.10pm amid a busy national racing schedule, which centres around the Melbourne Cup at 3pm. Owing to that schedule, races one (10.35am), two (11.05am) and three (11.39am) will be on Sky 1, races four to eight will be on Sky 2 and race nine - the Ritchies IGA 3YO Pace - will only be broadcast live on Trots Vision at The exclusive final race coverage will form part of fantastic coverage on Trots Vision, with Paul Campbell engaged as track side host to deliver post-race and participant interviews throughout the day. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO ENJOY TROTS VISION'S LIVE AND FREE RACING The nine-race card is a fantastic turnout by participants, with the 84 starters double those who fronted last year (42). It follows on from a seven-race card the previous night at Terang and shares the Melbourne Cup day with Cobram and Swan Hill. "There are things happening everywhere at the moment," Mr McKinnon told Trots Talk. "On Melbourne Cup Eve Terang has their Ladies' Night down there, one of their feature nights of the year. "Then we roll into Melbourne Cup Day where Cobram have a beautiful day where the non-TAB meeting is very relaxed, with nice green grass and picnics on the lawn, Swan Hill on Melbourne Cup night and Melbourne Cup Day at Yarra Valley is probably our biggest attended event of the year with 5000 people out there. "It's just a wonderful day with all the things you would expect at a Flemington event. The Fashions on the Field and the racing and the big screens, there are just no queues - that's the beauty about it." CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE LATEST TROTS TALK EDITION     HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

All 10 winners at Mildura last night were either trained, driven or trained and driven by women. It has many times been documented that women are at the very least on a level playing field in harness racing and just about gone completely are the days of references to female drivers as “lady drivers”. As one of the industry’s leading drivers Kate Gath said in the Herald Sun last year: “I’m just a driver, I’m not a lady driver, I’m just like anyone else in the industry and that’s how it’s always been for me in my 18 years involved.” At Mildura Jill Neilson, Jackie Barker, Claire Goble and Kate Attard all either trained or drove one winner, Danielle Hill, Michelle Phillips (pictured) and Kate Hargreaves all had two winners and Sandra O’Connor trained three winners. Meanwhile, Kylie Bevington trained a runner-up and Denbeigh Wade and Ellen Tormey both drove horses into second place on the 10-race card. Currently in Victoria Emma Stewart is on top of the Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership with Jess Tubbs fourth, Kate Gath leads the Schweppes Metropolitan Drivers Premiership, with Kima Frenning third, and Stewart is second on the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership with Margaret Lee in fifth.  In the Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership five of the top 10 young drivers are women, with Kima leading overall on 35 wins, Michelle Phillips in sixth, Jackie Barker in seventh, Tayla French in eighth and Abbey Turnbull in 10th.    HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

CHAMPION driver Anthony Butt has landed the plum drive on star Aussie trotter Tough Monarch through NZ Cup Week and the Auckland Inter Dominion. Trainer Rickie Alchin, who arrived in NZ with Tough Monarch yesterday (Wednesday), said he was thrilled to have Butt aboard.  “I wanted a top Kiwi driver, one who has the score on the board in big races over here,” he said. “Anthony might be based in Sydney now, but his record in the big NZ races is outstanding. It’s great to have him driving for us.”  Butt now has drives in at least three major races during Cup Week, having already been confirmed for the Aussie-owned Line Up in the 3YO Sires Stake final.  “It was exciting to get the call-up to drive Line Up for Emilio (Rosati, owner) and now for Rickie and owners to give me the drive on Tough Monarch is terrific,” Butt said. “I’d originally planned to take Emilio’s trotter Lily Stride across, but she didn’t go well enough last Sunday at Menangle. “I’ll stay the week for the Cup, I’ve already picked up another drive during the week as well. "As far as the Inter Dominion goes, I guess I’ll stay that first week for the heats and take it from there.”  Alchin said Tough Monarch had settled well in NZ  “He handled he trip well and it’s good to get across nice an early,” he said. “As planned, he’ll go the Cup trials next week to top him off for the free-for-all on Cup Day,” he said.   by Adam Hamilton

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has a new board member in Judy Rothacker (pictured with this year's Gordon Rothacker Medal recipient Ginger Gleeson and the 2018 medallist, Dick Lee). The Minister for Racing, the Hon Martin Pakula, issued a media release confirming the appointment today.  Rothacker has been a long-time contributor to the Victorian harness racing community as an owner and breeder of horses, President of the Angelique Club and industry advocate. “I’m delighted to welcome Judy to the HRV Board and I look forward to working alongside her,” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said. “Judy is a highly respected, passionate advocate for harness racing and her experience will be extremely beneficial.” Rothacker has an extensive background in education and is passionate about preservation of harness racing history.   HRV Trots Media

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