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AS is so often the case, Mark Purdon is the key player heading into tonight's huge Melton meeting. Purdon co-trains and/or drives favourites in four of the five major races on the night, including the All Stars’ two most exciting horses Self Assured and Oscar Bonavena. Self Assured has firmed from $1.50 into $1.30 with the Aussie TAB for the Group 1 4YO Bonanza, while Oscar Bonavena has been $1.85 into $1.65 for the Group 1 Dullard Trotters’ Cup. His other key players are: Stylish Memphis ($2.50 favourite in the Victoria Oaks) and Thefixer ($1.65 favourite in the Casey Classic). It looks a dominant hand, but but none of the four races are straight-forward on paper. “Self Assured has come through that huge run at Ballarat really well, but it looks like he’ll have to sit outside Lochinvar Art. He’ll still be very hard to beat,” Purdon said. “It’s hard to see how Oscar’s race will play out because there’s six off the front and six off the back, but he’s very well going into it. I think he’s also learnt a lot from the National Trot defeat and will be a better horse for it.” And barrier 13 has certainly presented a big challenge for Stylish Memphis, who Purdon has been caretaker trainer of and will drive in the Oaks. “It looks like Dr Susan will go straight to the front and if she gets it easy, she’ll be hard to run down,” he said. “Ideally I’d like to drive my filly to come with one run because she’s so fast, but that will depend on the tempo. I don’t want to have to put her into the race too early because she can get keen outside them, as she showed last week,” Purdon said. Even Thefixer has drawn the back row (gate nine) and although he has class over most of his rivals, it won’t be easy against fellow Kiwis Triple Eight (gate seven), Mach Shard (10) and locals like the luckless Ballarat Cup runner Rackemup Tigerpie (two), My Kiwi Mate (six) and in-form NSW visitor Cash N Flow (eight).   By Adam Hamilton

Clayton Harmey will look to Straddie to give him a Menangle Country Series Final victory on Saturday night to back up the biggest win of his harness racing training career. Harmey won the $50,000 Group 2 Golden Guitar with Wet My Whistle on Thursday night at Tamworth to continue a flying start to the season for the Nulkaba trainer. He could land another big win with Straddie, a last-start Country series heat winner at Newcastle, when he contests the $19,999 Menangle final from gate three. "He was going to the Golden Guitar, but when they put the conditions on, his grade wasn't high enough, so we found that race," Harmey said of the heat win. "He were lucky as well because he had no trial, but he went good and won pretty well. [Driver] Todd McCarthy's on tomorrow night and the owners are pretty confident so hopefully he runs well, which I think he should. He's a good horse and he's placed in group races." He also several chances at Newcastle on Saturday night. He believed Major Mondo was his best hope at the meeting, in race seven, a heat of the NSW Rewards Series. "This is his week," he said. "He's back down in his own grade. His run was good last week, he came from back in the field and made good ground, so he's a good hope." He also has leading chances Always A Secret and Western Heir in race four. "Always A Secret has the advantage there just because of the barrier draw," he said. Shez Got Bling (race one) and Portalegre (two) are last-start winners for Harmey, while Classy Trim (three) and Choisir Damour (nine) have the benefit of gate one. At Menangle, Harmey also has Chevrons Reward in race 10. The mare has two wins and five seconds since a distant last at Menangle in August. She also tailed off last in her other Menangle appearance for Harmey. "She's been racing really well and the draw [in seven] doesn't bother me," he said. "The issue with her and Menangle bothers me. "She's raced and beaten horses who have gone to Menangle and competed, but every time I take her there she hasn't gone or she's done things wrong." Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald  

Word came today that one of the real pioneers of the Harness Racing Breeding Industry in Australia had passed away. Alan Playford Galloway died suddenly on Thursday 23rd January at his home in Coffs Harbour , NSW at the age of 92. It was Alan [Snr] and his wife Barbara that commenced the now famous world wide Breeding name of ALABAR  [a combination of the first three letters of their Christian names]. Alan was a rugged Aussie Rules footballer in his younger days in Adelaide playing at the highest level in the SANFL and representing his State. He also served in the SA Mounted Police Force for a number of years before taking early retirement and purchasing a dairy farm at Mt Barker in the Adelaide hills in the 1950’s. Along with the farm came a Standardbred broodmare, Stormy Princess and so Alan and Barbara quickly became Harness Racing participants. Stepping Chief, Trainer Hanover and Golden Adios were the first three stallions that Alan took under his wing and during this time three children arrived to join the Galloway clan  -  Julie [now deceased], Alan Jnr and Greer. Alan Jnr relocated the Alabar home to Echuca, Victoria in 1979 and the rest is history, as they say, with the ALABAR name and brand at the forefront of Standardbred breeding worldwide. Alan [Snr] never let his age slow him down  -  he loved fast cars , yachts , planes and had an uncanny knack of reading Harness Racing pedigrees. It was just two days before his passing that he circulated a list of Yearlings, recommending that his son Alan purchase at the Melbourne Yearling Sales on 2nd February. He was also planning on flying to Melbourne to watch the ALABAR syndicated horse Chase Auckland take on his rivals in the prestigious Hunter Cup. Alan was preceded in death by his daughter Julie and is survived by his wife Barbara , children Alan and Greer and grandchildren  Thomas and Brooke. A full obituary will follow next week. John Coffey

Congratulations on a terrific 2019-20 harness racing breeding season. The whole team at Empire would like to thank all our clients for choosing the World Class Sires on offer at Empire Stallions this breeding season; we look forward to seeing lots of healthy foals on the ground come September. Of course it's now sales season, and as always, we will be putting out a comprehensive guide to the lots on offer by Empire sires across the Australian Pacing Gold yearling drafts, starting below with these lots on offer at the Brisbane sale on Sunday 26 January - including the first BETTING LINE yearlings to go under the hammer in Australia. For those chasing a quick return from their sales purchases it's worth noting the Captaintreacherous topped the USA 2YO Pacing Money Winning Sires table for 2019 with his progeny earning over $4.4M, and Somebeachsomewhere in second with $3.2M - over a million dollars ahead of the next sires on the list, which include Pet Rock ($1.01M).                                                                 Lot 1 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS colt (from Famous Forever mare)                                                                                             Lot 6 BETTING LINE colt (from Christian Cullen mare)                                                                                             Lot 8 BETTING LINE colt (from Bookmaker mare)                                                                                             Lot 24 WESTERN TERROR colt (from Flightpath mare)                                                                                             Lot 33 CAPTAINTREACHEROUS filly (from Rock N Roll Heaven mare)                                                                                             Lot 37 SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE filly (from Courage Under Fire mare)                                                                                                                                                                                         Lot 3 BETTING LINE filly (from Major In Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 7 SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE colt (from Bettors Delight mare)                                                                                             Lot 13 BETTING LINE colt   (from Perfect Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 26 PET ROCK filly (from Perfect Art mare)                                                                                             Lot 35 BETTING LINE colt (from Art Major mare)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Click the Sale Logo to see the full Brisbane catalogue and all the pedigrees.   Best of luck to all our consignors - we genuinely appreciate your ongoing support!                                                                                                                                                                                                     317 Tarcombe Road AVENEL VIC 3664 AUSTRALIA p 03 5796 2122    f 03 5796 2137 Australian sales - Les Joslin 0410 414 671 

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North American every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Third WA Cup winner by American Ideal   Mighty Conqueror, winner of the $450,000 Western Australian Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park, is the third winner of WA’s premier race sired by the Western Ideal horse American Ideal. Earlier winners by him were Soho Tribeca (2018) and My Hard Copy (2015 and 2016). A five-year-old gelding, Mighty Conqueror has developed some good form since being shipped from NZ at the outset of his four-year-old campaign. He has won 13 races in WA including the WA 4YO Championship, Easter Cup and the Pat Cranley Memorial.   He has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by American Ideal, Mighty Conqueror is out of the Presidential Ball mare Ballroom Babe (1:56.2), whose dam, Soky’s Lass (by Soky’s Atom), was a half-sister to the Franklin Cup winner Vance Glory 1:54 ($218,844), Star Motoring (Cambridge Cup), Star Glory 1:54.2 ($128,329) and to Shardon’s Lass, the dam of the Fremantle Cup winner Shardons Aflyin ($500,651).   Mighty Conqueror                                            --Hamilton Content Creators photo   Ballroom Babe, the dam of Mighty Conqueror, won seven races and at the stud left five winners including Beckinsale (10 wins) and Young Conqueror (7 wins) and is the grand-dam of the promising Victorian three-year-old filly She Will Rock, a winner of three of her six starts to date.   Other top pacers further back in this pedigree were Christopher Vance, Luxury Liner, Surprise Package and Napoleon.     Close relatives win at Melton   Mota Mate and The Fortunate Son, who won consecutive races at Melton last Friday, both belong to the same family.   Mota Mate, the winner of the Vicbred Platinum Country Series Final, is a four-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding out of the noted producer Gemfire, by Torado Hanover from Gold Mistress, by Golden Money Maker from Madame Han.   While The Fortunate Son is a six-year-old gelding by Roll With Joe from Island Dreamer, by Island Fantasy from Dream Chaser, by Classic Garry from Dreamwood, a Lumber Dream half sister to Gold Mistress, the grand-dam of Mota Mate.   This line has been bred from extensively by Goulburn Valley breeder Helen Head and her late husband, Graham, and includes the ‘Cups King’ Safari, the sire of crack racemare Berisari, who won on the same night at Melton.       Sub 1:50 double for Bettor’s Delight   Bettor’s Delight was credited with two new sub 1:50 winners on the same night at Menangle. Wrangler NZ, a six-year-old gelding, won in 1:48.8, while Bettor Enforce NZ, a seven-year-old mare, scored in 1:48.9.   Wrangler, who was bred by Ken and Anne-Maree Spicer, ranks as a brother to the NZ Derby winner Sheriff, being out of Jen Marie (2:01.2), by Christian Cullen from the Falcon Seelster mare Inspiring Dash (1:59), the dam of the outstanding racemare Venus Serena 1:52.1 ($796,397), the Group 1 winner Rona Lorraine ($133,268) and Cracka Stride 1:52.4 ($112,036).   Bred by Ben and Karen Calder, Bettor Enforce, who has won 12 races and almost $140,000 in stakes, is the first produce of Their Excuse (TT1:59), by Falcon Seelster from the Live Or Die mare Last Excuse, a sister to the dual N Z Cup winner Just An Excuse.     APG Brisbane sale on Sunday   The Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale will be held at Albion Park on Sunday. The entry totals 41 yearlings and breeders from Queensland and NSW are represented.   The yearlings include some royally bred youngsters with some top class racemares such as Forever Gold, Courageous Annie, October Original, Catwalk Beauty, Dont Break My Ark, Pacific Jaccka, Victree Bonita, Paris Pepperell, and others.   There’s half-brothers to a host of smart performers including Colt Thirty One, Sally Fletcher, Forever Gold, Pinup Boy and Sheeza GNP and half-sisters to Rock With Sam, Clintal Do and Hedges Avenue.   A feature of the sale will be the first crop of well credentialled sires Betting Line, Always B Miki, Racing Hill and trotter Sebastian K.       Double for NZ broodmare   The In The Pocket mare Tricky Woman left winners in both hemispheres on the same day last week.   Bettor Trix, a five-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare, won a $US16,000 race in a career-best 1:51.6 at Dover Downs, Delaware, while her younger brother Copperfield posted his second win from only seven starts at Timaru.     A smart racemare in her own right, Tricky Woman has left other winners in Bettor To Be Tricky (1:56), a winner of 11 races and $86,315, and Wat A Woman (1:59.4).   Tricky Woman ranks as a half-sister to Scuse Me (1:53.5), the Group winning dam of Adore Me, Have Faith In Me, Imagine Me, and so on.     Eye-catching win   The highlight of the Geelong midweek meeting was turned in by the three-year-old debutant Private Eye, who broke stride in the last lap and gave the leaders a tidy start.   With 400 metres to run he was still 15 metres from the leaders, and his chance could have been written off. But Private Eye, after recovering his gait, was switched to the outside and stormed home to win by almost a length.   Watch the replay here!   Private Eye’s performance was an amazing one in every respect. He is a son of the American Ideal horse He’s Watching, a top colt pacer and who now stands at Alabar Bloodstock in NZ.   Oh Eye See (1:54.5), the dam of Private Eye, was Armbro Operative mare from Grace Robinson, who proved a great broodmare. She left nine sub 2:00 winners, four $100,000 earners and three Group 1 winners from 10 foals to race.       Won SA St Leger   When he won the $14,000 St Leger at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, Hesashark scored his fourth success on end, and he is entitled to be rated as this season’s top three-year-old in South Australia.   From 12 lifetime starts he has won seven times and been three times placed for $30,000 in stakes.   Hesashark is a gelding sired by the Cam’s Card Shark horse Shadyshark Hanover, who is now standing in North America. He is out of Goodtime Katie, an unraced mare by Grinfromeartoear from the Life Sign mare Lifes Just Magic, the dam of the cup class pacer Idealsomemagic and the Menangle winner Goodtime Slater ($103,888).   Hesashark was bred by Ian and Judi Slater, of the Goodtime Lodge stud, near Colac (Vic.) and was sold as a yearling at the South Australian sales.     By Soho Valencia   Soho Valencia, a well performed Art Major horse from a top broodmare in Benelise, by Vintner, and who is now at the stud in NSW, was represented by his first winner recently in the three-year-old filly Trioli.   She led all the way at Dubbo and has won two of her four starts.   Soho Valencia has been only lightly patronised at the stud and from nine foals in his first crop he has produced a winner and a placegetter from three starters.   Trioli, who is the first foal of the Julius Caesar mare Lily Rapido, belongs to the same family as Royal Three and Mister Langus, two of NSW’s most outstanding colt pacers of the 1980’s.       A real Doozzie!   Doolittle Doozzie, who won her third race for the season at Redcliffe and has now won six races, is one of the best four-year-old mares in Queensland at present.   A product of the Redcliffe Yearling Sale, she has earned $23,280 from only 19 starts. By the Rocknroll Hanover horse Pet Rock and one of his first crop, she is out of the classics winner Cha Ching Chaching (1:56.2), a half-sister to four winners including Irockmyworld 1:57 ($91,881) and the good Tasmanian pacer Vander Jenkins.   Doolittle Doozzie was bred by Burwood Stud, one of Queensland’s leading nurseries who stand Cha Ching Chaching’s sire, Cammibest, and the former NZ superstar Changeover, now making his mark as a sire.     Promising three-year-old trotter   Elite Stride, a runaway winner on debut at the midweek Melton meeting, is a three-year-old trotting colt of all-American parentage.   Bred and raced by Emilio and Mary Rosati, he was got by Muscle Hill from Real Babe, an American bred mare by the Andover Hall horse Donato Hanover. Real Babe, who took a record of 1:52.4 as a five-year-old, was bought by the Rosati’s for $200,000 at a Harrisburg mixed sale in 2013.   She finished up with a stake tally of $386,103.   Real Babe’s dam, Housethatruthbuilt (by Muscles Yankee), won 13 races including the Breeders Crown and Kentucky Futurity and $1.1 million in stakes and was the top three year-old filly of her year.   Elite Stride promises to do this fine family further credit.     Top racemare remembered   Memories of the top racemare of the 2010’s, Shake It Mama, came flooding back with the runaway win of the three-year-old Cool Rocking Daddy at Cobram.   Shake It Mama   A gelding by A Rocknroll Dance, he is the second produce of Shake It Mama, a Mach Three mare whose first offspring, Mamas New Dude (by Western Terror) won twice in December.   Shake It Mama, who was bred and raced by David Sheppard, won 15 races including the Bathurst Gold Tiara and Australian Oaks and $257,588 in stakes. She was a half-sister to the Group winner Fususi 1:59.2 ($180,305) and the Fake Left mare Pyrites (1:57.9), the dam of the Breeders Crown Silver winner Bettor Be Gold (1:52.8) and the Albion Park winner Golden Year (1:54.7).       by Peter Wharton

It took lively Victorian trainer-driver Richie Caruana only 84.3 seconds to recently tick a big item off his harness racing bucket list. After 30 years in the sport, Caruana's handy pacer Off The Radar (Grinfromeartoear-Mattsbabe (Safely Kept) became his first metropolitan-class winner, and the Rockbank horseman couldn't have been happier. Off The Radar took out the $20,000 third heat of Harness Racing Victoria's summer feature the Mercury 80 - a series (formerly known as the Stampede) run over the super sprint distance of 1200 metres. Now on Saturday night at Melton, the pair have drawn the three alley (out of two with the scratching of the emergency) in the G2 $50,000 final. Caruana can't wait to be part of the action, and it will undoubtedly be a high-point of his harness racing career. "I became a trainer in my own right after my Uncle Grazio passed away in 1988 and I just love the horses, but it is becoming harder. Everything is dearer, especially the feed and management, but I just love it, and this is a real kick-along," he said. "I like the sport, but I really just have a passion for being around horses and I'm looking forward to the final bit time - what he's done for us here has just been a bonus. "I thought he was a bit of a chance, because he had been going along OK, but things panned out in the heat for us and he did the job. "We won't look past the final just yet, but whatever happens, he's probably earned himself a short let-up. He's a bit of a fat horse though, so I won't give him too long!" The helter-skelter format isn't necessarily to purists' liking, but it certainly suited Caruana and his seven-year-old stallion. Starting from barrier five, Caruana eased Off The Radar out of the early contest, then enjoyed a nice run in transit in the one-out-two-back position. Caruana moved out on the corner for a run three and four wide, and Off The Radar did the rest, scoring by three metres over race favorite Call Me Hector, who also qualifies for the final. Caruana always has a "few in work", but with youngsters and a couple of "project horses" in the team, Off The Radar is currently his only horse at the races. "I've trained a lot of horses over the years, but he's definitely the best one I've had so far - tracks are quicker now days of course, but he's certainly given me one of the biggest thrills I've had in racing," the elated trainer said. "He's a bit of a hard horse to work out. He's a stallion, but a gentle horse, and if you had to work him you wouldn't want to, he's just so lazy and laid back," he said. "He loves what he's doing at the races, but to work him at home, you'd really never have any idea what he's capable of." Off The Radar is a winner of 10 races from his 62 starts and was bred by the late Dennis Offer. The pacer's former trainer Frank Offer handed training responsibilities to Caruana just over six months ago.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Spreyton trainer Chris “Slim” Aylett will be hoping five-year-old gelding War Dan Star can put an end to several hard-luck stories when he lines up in the Elders Insurance Launceston Pace tonight at the combined harness and greyhound race meeting in Launceston. War Dan Star hasn’t won since 30 December 2018 when he led all the way to win by 14 metres at Carrick Park. The gelded son of Western Terror has been placed in five of his 11 starts this season including being defeated a head in a heat of the North West Plate in Burnie on 20 December before being defeated a half-head in the $12,000 final in Devonport on Boxing Night three starts ago. “I have been happy with the way he has been finishing off his races his last four starts,” said trainer Chris Aylett ahead of tonight’s race. “We had a couple of good draws in a couple of standing start races but it is a nice change to get an inside draw in a mobile start race that’s for sure,” said Aylett about the pacer that has drawn inside barrier five in a mobile start race on two occasions in his last 15 mobile start races. War Dan Star arrived in the Aylett stable as a two-year-old who had been placed in one of his four starts and is part-owned by a close family friend of the Aylett’s, Warren Viney. “Warren has been a close friend of the family for a long time, he pretty much grew up next to Mum,” explained Aylett who juggles training around running his excavations business. Aylett was keen to point out the pacers best form is when he is able to lead. “He has led in two of his four wins,” he said. “When he last won at Carrick, he went super so he can do it that way if driver Gareth (Rattray) desires,” added the trainer. “I don’t tell Gareth what to do that’s for sure,” said the Spreyton based trainer. War Dan Star opened the $3.20 favourite this morning on the Tasracing Offical Price over Ima Birubi Boy at $4.40 with last start winner Iden Forest on the third line of betting at $5.00. The first of 15 races on the dual code meeting commences at 16:07 with the first harness event scheduled to jump at 17:48. Race one of the greyhound card will be on Sky Racing 1 with all remaining races on Sky Racing 2 like always all races will be shown on TasracingTV’s Live Stream.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

When trainer Matt Cooper received a phone call back in April last year, he never expected what would unfold over the next eight months. In 2003 Cooper made the decision to buy a property in the middle of Tasmania at Oatlands as he always had the passion to one day become involved in harness racing. At that time Cooper was employed by TOTE Tasmania working in the race day control offices, a job which he enjoyed because of the involvement in racing. “It was a job I loved as it was about horse racing,” said Cooper. “When the government made the decision to sell the Tote to Tatts about 10 years ago my job was made redundant, so I became a sub-contractor for Greg Worlsey transport as a courier driver, and it’s the job I still do today along with my life partner Chantal,” recalled Cooper looking back on what initially took him away from racing. It was a good friend of Coopers in driver Justin Campbell that brought him back into the racing game and started down the path he is on today. “A good mate of mine Justin Campbell asked me to go and give him a hand in the early days and without his guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today. “That led to me purchasing my first horse which was Just Say. He was only a battler but that’s when the racing bug really kicked in,” Cooper said looking back on his first purchase that never recorded a career win from 26 starts. Cooper’s next couple of purchases didn’t bring much more success, but his passion for the sport never waned. “Then along came the well named Inthedoghouse who ran a few placings which was good to get a few cheques along with Mes Elsu. Those three pacers taught me so much about the harness racing game and I knew then it wouldn’t be easy, but I was passionate and that’s all that mattered.” In 2016 persistence finally paid off for Cooper with his first winner delivered by Onemorelaugh. “I saw Onemorelaugh for sale for $4,000 and I made the decision to purchase him and on the 8 January all my dreams came true as he became my first winner as a driver and a trainer which is something that I will never forget,” said Cooper with pride. That win got the ball rolling as the prizemoney was used to fuel additional purchases as it so often does. “With the prizemoney from that win I decided to buy a horse called Call her Julie from Ben Yole who had her for sale for $2,000”. That purchase price would prove to be a bargain, with the mare going on to win 12 races with the crowning glory coming in 2018 when she was named Tasmanian Mare of the Year. “She was able to win first-up which was a huge thrill and she continued to go through her classes, reaching open company, winning 12 races and close to $100,000,” Cooper said looking back on the first star of his stable. Call Her Julie put the name Matt Cooper on the map which led to him receiving a phone call about Julie’s brother, Call Me Hector. “I received a phone call in April last year from David Jack who formerly trained Julie, he had her full brother in Call Me Hector who had shown ability in his two and three-year-old days. “David asked me if I was interested in leasing Hector as he was going in for some knee operations and he would be out of action for a while. Before he finished asking, I said yes, I’ll arrange the transport as soon as possible. I got off the phone and I couldn’t believe my luck,” recalled Cooper reflecting on a conversation he had with his partner Chantal at the time. Call Her Julie’s career came to an end as she went off to foal to star stallion Betting Line but with her full brother to look after, Cooper couldn’t have been happier. Call Me Hector had his first start for Cooper on 9 May over 1609 metres in Hobart. “I was confident he would run a good race but when he sat parked and rated 1:57 and beat some handy types I thought how lucky I am to get another very nice horse,” said Cooper about the son of Art Major who was sent out $3.50 at his first Tasmanian start. Call Me Hector went on to win four out of his next six starts with the Golden Mile his biggest win. He now has eight wins in Tasmania with numerous placings behind the state’s best pacer Ryley Major. Cooper then looked interstate at options for his pacer and set Hector for the Mercury80 series at Melton over the short trip of 1200 metres due to his quickness. “He is quick, and I thought it would suit him and it would give me the opportunity to not be racing Ryley. “I rang Justin (Campbell) who had relocated to Victoria over 12 months prior to see if I could send Hector over to him, and of course he said send him over,” said Cooper on the Victorian campaign. With Cooper being a concession driver, Campbell had to take over the driving duties for his first Victorian start where he was sent out a big price over 2678 metres at Cobram. “He was a bit out of his depth first-up in the Cobram Cup but still ran a big race as he was wide the last lap. “He then started in a heat of the Mercury80 where he was three wide the trip and only got run down late which qualified him for the final,” advised Cooper. It was last week that Cooper found a more suitable race over the 1720 metre trip which was right up Call Me Hector’s alley. Hector drew barrier four which was ideal as he would bully his way to the lead and with his normal racing pattern run them a long at a solid clip. He was always in control and when Justin Campbell went for him at the top of the straight, he looked home but over the concluding stages he had to call on all his fighting qualities to hold off a couple that flashed home from back in the field. That win in Victorian metropolitan company was a triumph for Cooper and Campbell that they rarely thought may have happened, particularly in the early days. “It’s amazing to think that a hobby trainer from Oatlands who has been self-taught could win a metro race at Melton and give us both career highlights as it was both of our first metro winners,” said Cooper on a journey that doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. Call Me Hector lines up on Saturday night in the final of the Group 2 $50,000 Mercury80 over the 1200m trip which is no doubt his toughest test to date. He has drawn wide (8) and has three Emma Stewart-trained runners drawn to his inside, so he will need plenty of luck to come his way, but one thing is for sure he will be there giving a 110%. The wild man from Oatlands as Matty Cooper is affectionally known as will be there cheering on his star who he calls Hector the Cheque Collector. It could be the biggest cheque of all if he happens to salute the judge first. Matty is greatly appreciative of everybody who sent him well wishes last week after Hector’s win. He loves the industry and will be involved for as long as he can put a bridle on a horse. Let’s Go Hector!   Jamie Cockshutt for Tasracing

It’s a virtual smorgasbord for punters at Gloucester Park on Friday night with seven different best bets - two of them in the same race - from WA Trotting Media Guild members. Guild president Wayne Currall gets the ball rolling in the opening event where his best for the night, Golden State, starts out in gate seven from the 2536m start. “Golden State has had four runs back since a five-month spell and should be cherry ripe to deliver the goods,” Currall said. “He drops appreciably in class in this race and I’m hoping driver Michael Grantham uses the horse’s speed from the mobile to take up the early running. If Golden State finds the front his nine rivals will find it very hard to run him down.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning is keen on Crocodile Kid in race three. “Crocodile Kid provides the rare example of a pacer that can be declared as best bet only one week after running last,” Manning said. “But he endured a tough run in the breeze last Friday night and now gate one has swung the odds back in his favour. A winner of 13 races, he deserves to break through for another victory after twice running second by a head at Gloucester Park in recent weeks.” Next cab off the rank is TABradio’s Matt Young, who has opted for Mighty Santana in race four as his star bet. “Mighty Santana has been racing very well and can do his fair share of work,” Young said. “I expect him to be too strong for his rivals.” The Longshot King, Pat Harding, steps up to the plate next and the man who has won the Guild’s longest-priced winner competition for several years in a row, predicts pre-post favourite Ocean Ridge will take out the $50,000 The West Australian Nights of Thunder Final (1730m). “On what should be a very competitive night of racing, my best bet comes up in the sixth race, the feature Nights of Thunder Final,” Harding said. “I think Ocean Ridge from barrier three is the one to follow. After an excellent win last week, I think he can give punters more joy and make it two in a row.” Veteran journalist Ken Casellas, who this week penned a moving tribute to Joe Petricevich, 97, who passed away on the eve of the WA Pacing Cup, has come up with the aptly named Sameplace Sametime in the tribute race for the late trainer. Not surprisingly, Mr Casellas - Kenny to his mates - gave a wink and a nod to the heavens when he nominated Sameplace Sametime as his star bet in the Vale Joe Petricevich Pace (2130m). Kenny explains. “There’s plenty of value at Gloucester Park on Friday night and I’m suggesting as my best bet Sameplace Sametime, a Kevin Charles-trained mare with a losing sequence of 15,” he said. “The five-year-old is sure to appreciate a favourable draw at No. 2 on the front line and she should be prominent throughout.” But TABradio’s Hayden King took the losing-sequences theory to another level when he settled on Leftrightgoodnight as his best bet in the same race. The Sonia Zucchiatti-trained 10-year-old gelding hasn’t saluted in more than 40 races, but that hasn’t deterred King. “Leftrightgoodnight has really run into some form recently and he is drawn to secure a delicate run behind the leader,” King said. “Daylight is likely to come and he can outgun them late.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft rounds out the night with Howard Hughes as his best. “Howard Hughes has impressed at two Pinjarra outings since arriving from New Zealand and appears a likely WA Derby candidate,” Havercroft said. “It is hard to see any of his rivals in this being able to stop his undefeated local record from continuing.“ VALUE BETS WAYNE: Mister Ardee should get out to a juicy price in the fourth event. He’s been about the place of late and just needs a quick pace to rocket home. ERNIE: Mandy Joan impressed when clearly winning a Byford trial last Sunday and looks capable of a big first-up run despite having drawn gate 12. The mare, who last raced in August, has won three Gloucester Park events. MATT: Leftrightgoodnight has a beautiful draw and with an ounce of luck will have last crack at them. The old boy is capable of winning. PAT: My value bet comes up in race nine the trotters event. I believe Spud coming out of barrier No.5 is long overdue for a win. He has been about the place in his last few races, but gets his chance to record a much-needed victory. KEN: For value, I suggest Mandy Joan in the Im Themightyquinnfinal. The David Thompson-trained mare will be at juicy odds from the outside of the back line at her first appearance after a spell. She has impressed with convincing wins in Byford trials on the past two Sunday mornings. HAYDEN: Im Full Of Excuses won't be too short and he is drawn to trail the leader in the FFA. He has proven formidable from this position before and he seems to be really hitting his straps recently. He will be hard to beat. RYAN: You Gotta Have Faith has been thereabouts at recent outings and loves being out in front. The draw brings him right into calculations. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here.   Wayne Currall

“This looks like a real good race for him,” declared Darling Downs trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi when assessing Theo Aviator’s prospects from barrier five in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Theo Aviator, a smart four-year-old who has raced 38 times for 13 wins and 11 placings, has worked hard in the breeze at his past two starts for a close fifth behind Convert Denario over 1730m and a fighting second to the pacemaker As Happy As Larry over 2536m last Friday night. “It is a big drop in class for him this week and I give him a good chance of winning,” said Cortopassi. “Racing in the breeze doesn’t worry him; he actually likes it. That’s why the big four-year-old races suited him because they were run up-tempo, and he gets into a rhythm and he can hold a rhythm. When they go slow, he mixes his gait a bit and takes a bit to get going. “We’ll be going forward and if they want to hold us out, so be it. Naturally, you’d love to lead. But I’d also be happy to park him in the breeze. However, whoever is going to lead is going to have to earn it.” Cortopassi will also be represented in Friday night’s race by five-year-old Naval Aviator, who will be driven by Dylan Egerton-Green from the inside of the back line. Naval Aviator has been unplaced at his past nine starts, with Cortopassi admitting that the horse had been disappointing in recent outings. “So, I’ve changed his training a bit to try to freshen him and get some speed back in him,” he said. “He missed last Friday night’s meeting and hopefully this week he will be a bit sharper.”     Cortopassi, who drove promising mare Aly Shar to an impressive all-the-way victory for Byford trainer John Oldroyd at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening, is looking forward to handling for the first time Oldroyd’s seven-year-old gelding Lightning Jolt from barrier three in the Perth Plasterboard Centre Pace over 2130m.  “Lightning Jolt’s two runs since a spell have been really good and he’s got the gate speed to come across with them early,” Cortopassi said. “We’ll come off the gate and see what happens. If he can’t get the front, he should be able to get a good trail in the moving line.” Star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr has chosen to drive Ideal Liner in preference to Fremantle Cup winner Caviar Star in the Ray Duffy Memorial over 2536m. Ideal Liner will start from barrier three and Caviar Star will start from the No. 6 barrier for Stuart McDonald. Hall said that the two five-year-olds trained by his father Gary Hall Snr were capable of winning in the seven-horse field, with tactics by all runners behind the polemarker and likely pacemaker Talktomeurmattjesty sure to play a significant part in the outcome. Ideal Liner, a winner at 12 of his 21 starts, raced in sixth position, one-out and two-back before finishing determinedly, out five wide in the closing stages, when second to Im Full of Excuses over 2130m last Friday night. “I thought he was a little disappointing last week,” said Hall Jnr. “But he probably didn’t get enough time to really wind up. He can win this week and so can Caviar Star.”   Ken Casellas

Inexperienced New Zealand-bred colt Howard Hughes is poised to notch his third victory in the space of 14 days by proving the master of his eight rivals in the Mondo Doro Smallgoods Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A victory for the Greg and Skye Bond-trained three-year-old would enhance his prospects in the $200,000 WA Derby on April 3. He arrived in Western Australia on January 3 after his two starts in New Zealand produced an easy win over 2000m at Addington on October 18 and a head second over 1980m on November 12 on the same track. On his debut Howard Hughes, driven by Blair Orange, started out wide at barrier eight on a heavy rain-affected track. After settling in fourth position five lengths from the early leader, he dashed forward to take the lead 1150m from home before winning by just under two lengths from four-year-old The Guild at a 2.2.4 rate. Then, at his next start, he was not bustled early from out wide at barrier seven by reinsman Anthony Butt and after settling in fifth place he moved to the breeze after 450m outside the pacemaker Tiebreaker before getting to the front 500m from home and fighting on grimly when a head second to Ascalabus, who rated 1.56.6 over 1980m. He led from barrier two, and though at a disadvantage when the hopple shortener cord wrapped around the hopple, he was untroubled to win by more than four lengths from Lord Rosco at a 1.58.6 rate over 2185m at Pinjarra last Monday week. Then, at Pinjarra on Monday, he began speedily from the No. 6 barrier, but was unable to wrest the early lead from the polemarker Tyron Terranova. He then obtained a perfect trail in the one-out, one-back position before finishing powerfully to win by 5m from Tyron Terranova, with a final quarter in 27.3sec. Howard Hughes in the 11th and last foal out of the Falcon Seelster mare Heavenly Franco and is closely related to the Holmes Hanover gelding Franco Hat Trick, who won the 1998 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park before a successful career in America and retiring with stakes of $659,210. Howard Hughes is also related to Franco Heir, the winner of the New South Wales Derby in May 2001. On Friday night Howard Hughes, to be handled by leading reinsman Ryan Warwick, will start from barrier five. Among his rivals are Tiffany Rose, trainer Justin Prentice’s talented gelding Manning, Coolup trainer Kristy Elson’s smart quartet of Jasperbellabeach, Secret Operation, My Agera and Telk Tayte and Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Shane Young’s promising gelding Longreach Bay, who resumed after a spell in style with a strong-finishing and easy victory over 2242m at Narrogin on Sunday. Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is looking forward to Tiffany Rose, the only filly in the race, tackling the seven colts and geldings. She will start from the outside in the field of nine and certainly has the ability to beat her male rivals. “Unfortunately, there are no races for fillies and we want to get her ready for the New South Wales Oaks,” said Reed. “So, we decided to test her against the colts and geldings this week. “After this race Tiffany Rose will contest the $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic on February 7 before travelling by air to Sydney for the $200,000 NSW Oaks on February 29. Then she will return to Perth, have a freshen up and then get ready for the $150,000 WA Oaks on May 1.” Star Sydney reinsman Luke McCarthy will handle Tiffany Rose in the NSW Oaks, with Reed explaining: “He trains there, he knows the track and he knows the opposition.” Michael Grantham has driven Tiffany Rose in her six starts in WA for five wins and a last-start third behind Double Expresso and Suing You over 21230m at Gloucester Park last Friday week when she charged home from last at the bell and finished a half-length from the winner. “It’s a good field on Friday night,” Reed said. “I believe she’s up to it. She is very good and can beat the boys. I clocked her at 54.6sec. for the last half and she was still coming on the line.”   Ken Casellas

New Zealand-bred five-year-old Golden State has been unplaced at his four appearances since resuming from a spell, has finished sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth in four attempts over 2536m, he has led in eight of his 12 wins in a 34-start career and has drawn awkwardly out wide at barrier seven in the 2536m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. These are hardly the credentials one is seeking when assessing the horse’s winning prospects. However, astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed is confident that Golden State will bounce back to top form and give punters a flying start in race one on an interesting ten-event program. “He’s going good but has had no luck at all since resuming from a spell,” said Reed. “A couple of times he didn’t get clear (runs) and last week he was most unlucky when seventh behind Im Full of Excuses (when he trailed the pacemaker Talktomeurmattjesty and Michael Grantham was unable to obtain a clear passage in the final stages behind the wilting Talktomeurmattjesty). “Michael said that Golden State definitely would have run second if he was able to get into the clear. He said the horse was bolting on the line.” This week Golden State meets weaker opposition than he has met at his four runs since a spell and Reed declared that racing over 2536m would not be a problem, saying: “The distance won’t worry him; he relaxes in his races. “Golden State has good gate speed and can also come from behind. I’ll leave the tactics up to Michael and Albert (owner Albert Walmsley). Over 2500m, Michael can get Golden State to settle before sending him forward.” Though Golden State will appreciate not having to contend with quality pacers of the calibre of Caviar Star, Bill Haley, Herrick Roosevelt, Convert Denario, Im Full of Excuses and Ideal Liner, he is sure to meet strong opposition from in-form pacers Pick My Pocket, Jimmy Mack, As Happy As Larry and Quick Stride. Chris Lewis has given punters a good lead by opting to drive the Ross Olivieri-trained Jimmy Mack (barrier eight) in preference to the Justin Prentice-trained Pick My Pocket (barrier six). Lewis has driven Pick My Pocket at her past two starts for a fast-finishing second to Fake News over 1730m and an all-the-way win at a 1.56.8 rate over 2130m. Gary Hall jnr will handle Pick My Pocket this week, with Prentice engaging Dylan Egerton-Green for the polemarker and last start all-the-way winner Quick Stride. Thirteen-year-old Maximum Demand will start from barrier three but faces much tougher opposition than he did at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening when he finished strongly from last at the bell to win easily from the pacemaker Donegal Art Chokin over 2536m.   Ken Casellas

Those who want to see much-hyped speed freak Oscar Bonavena in the flesh will want to get track side for Nights 2 and 3 of the TAB Summer of Glory, with Mark Purdon’s trotter earmarked as the centrepiece of a US campaign. The four-year-old Kiwi makes his Australian debut at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday in the DNR Logistics V L Dullard Trotters Cup before a tilt at the $250,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star on February 1. Purdon sat with Paul Campbell this week for the latest edition of Tooth Be Told and said the Majestic Son entire could be All Stars Racing’s ticket to the land of Stars and Stripes. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s probably having a horse like Oscar Bonavena, who looks pretty exciting and he’s got the speed of a pacer, which you do need to take on the best over there,” Purdon said. “He’s part owned in America by Chris Ryder. I think it’s something I don’t want to put off, I’d like to do it and see how we go. It’s just something I would like to do for six or eight months and see how it works out.” Purdon said plans were for a partial relocation in 2021, while continuing his Australasian operation with co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, but there were many moving parts including the rise and rise of Oscar Bonavena. “I think this season will make (Oscar). He needs to be better than probably what he is to take on the best over there, but I think he will be capable,” he said. Should all go well, Purdon said, Sweden’s Elitloppet could follow. “He would have to perform when he got (to the US) and hopefully get an invitation from there, but that would be part of my thinking.” CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW:   HRV Trots Media

Ryan Warwick, the State’s leading reinsman, is hoping for a change of fortune in The West Australian Nights of Thunder final at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drives the talented Ocean Ridge in the $50,000 Group 2 event. Ocean Ridge gave a bold frontrunning display and was not extended in winning a qualifying heat at a 1.53.5 rate over 1730m last Friday night and Warwick is expected to make a strong bid to again set the pace after the New Zealand-bred five-year-old drew favourably at barrier No. 3. Warwick has experienced little luck in the Nights of Thunder with pacers trained by Greg and Skye Bond in recent years. In the 2015 final Warwick drove the 6/4 favourite Our Jimmy Johnstone, who started from barrier six, raced three wide before getting to the breeze after 500m and then wilting to finish sixth behind Soho Lennon. In 2016 he drove 2/1 favourite Phoenix Warrior from barrier one when the horse broke into a gallop in the early stages and dropped back to the rear before finishing last behind Mohegan Sun. A year later, Warwick’s drive Bettor Offer was a 48/1 outsider from barrier seven. Bettor Offer enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, and finished third behind the pacemaker Nathans Courage and American Boy. Warwick did not have a drive in the 2018 final, and last year he handled 11/8 favourite Bettor Aim from the outside (No. 9) barrier. Bettor Aim, who had scored a runaway victory at a sizzling 1.52.4 rate in a qualifying heat, was trapped wide early and was restrained to the rear before starting a three-wide move 1000m from home and moving to fourth at the bell. But the four-year-old sustained a flat tyre at the 600m mark and faded to finish last behind Benhope Rulz. This year the Bonds have given Ocean Ridge an ideal preparation for the Nights of Thunder, with the Mach Three gelding having had 11 starts in this campaign for three wins and four seconds. A winner three times over 1950m at Addington as a three-year-old, Ocean Ridge is a smart frontrunner, with five of his seven wins in Western Australia coming after he has set the pace. The Nights of Thunder has been run 13 times and the event has been dominated by champion trainer Gary Hall Snr and the Bond camp. Hall has been successful five times with Tealsby Karita (2007), Hokonui Ben (2013), Soho Lennon (2015), Mohegan Sun (2016) and Benhope Rulz (2019). Hall-trained pacers Indian Giver and American Boy have notched second placings and Rowchester and Machtu (twice) have finished in third place. Greg Bond prepared Quick Draw McCaw when Colin Brown drove the 13/2 chance to an all-the-way win (from barrier five) over Glitzy Miss in 2008. And Greg and Skye Bond combined with Brown to win the event in 2012 with Ohokas Bondy, a 13/2 chance from barrier seven who finished strongly to defeat stablemate Dundee Three. The fastest time in the three heats was recorded by the Hall-trained Fake News, who raced in the one-out, one-back position before surging to the front with 350m to travel and winning by one and a half lengths from James Butt, with Dracarys a half-head away in third place. Fake News, to be driven by Stuart McDonald, fared badly in the random draw and faces a stern task from the outside barrier in the field of nine. Adding to the degree of difficulty facing Fake News is that no mare has won the Nights of Thunder. Gary Hall Jnr will handle the other four-year-old mare, Dracarys, in this week’s event in which she has drawn out wide at barrier eight. Dracarys started from barrier seven in her qualifying heat and performed strongly, finishing determinedly, three wide, from sixth at the bell to be third behind Fake News and James Butt. “The draw makes things quite tough for Dracarys and Fake News,” said Hall. “I intend to drop Dracarys in and use her speed late. Fake News is flying, but both mares are likely to struggle.” James Butt, to be driven by Chris Voak from barrier six for trainer Ross Olivieri, will have many admirers following his eye-catching performance last week when he started from barrier eight and sustained a spirited burst from eighth at the bell to finish second to Fake News. At his previous outing James Butt finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be second to Hy Leexciting over 2130m. Olivieri won the 2009 Nights of Thunder when Chris Lewis brought 9/1 chance Davisons Destiny home with a devastating late burst to score a narrow victory over the pacemaker Indian Giver. Lewis has been engaged by veteran owner-trainer John Ellis to handle consistent six-year-old Black Jack Zac, who has a losing sequence of 21, but is handily drawn at barrier No. 2. Michael Grantham will again be in the sulky behind the Craig Saligari-trained Bob Wheel, who will start from barrier one. Bob Wheel also started from the No. 1 barrier in a heat last week when he set the pace and faded to sixth behind Fake News.   Ken Casellas

Oatlands trainer Matthew Cooper tasted metropolitan success at Melton last Friday evening when his pacer Call Me Hector led all the way to score in a $20,000 event in a slick mile rate of 1m 55.2s with former Tasmanian Justin Cambpell in the sulky. Closer to home the first two-year-old race of the season was held in Launceston on Friday which was won by Yeah Mate before we headed to Devonport on Friday where there were many highlights. This week we have a combined harness and greyhound meeting in Launceston on Friday night, the last meeting of the season on King Island Saturday before a great afternoon’s action in Hobart on Sunday. The Stars Yeah Mate – the Paul Ashwood-trained, Mick Maxfield owned and bred pacer was able to win on debut in the Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes, the first two-year-old race of the season in Launceston last Friday. Driven by Rohan Hillier, the gelded son of Western Terror was able to sit one-out and one-back before peeling three-wide at the top of the home straight to score by 5.3 metres in a mile rate of 2m 0.3s. Vouvray Beach – the Rodney Ashwood-trained pacer was able to lead all the way in Devonport on Sunday to score in the Ladbrokes Mares Incentive after burning the candle at both ends of the race. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere is starting to wind down her racing career as she is currently in foal to Betting Line. Somedan – recorded back to back victories when he led all the way in the Roberts Rural Pace, the field saw many that would be on a path to the Devonport Cup with Somedan able to defeat $91.00 outsider and stablemate Perfect Mach by a short half head with Poker Storm 7.9 metres away third. Somedan was driven by Troy McDonald and was one of five-weekend winners for trainer Ben Yole. Geoff Smith – left the Devonport card on Sunday with a training double. Laid Back Kenny scored a 20.4-metre victory in the S & M Horse Transport Pace with Conor Crook in the sulky before Chris Be Quick defeated Midair Meltdown by a short half-head in the Collins Homes Pace which was a stable quinella for Smith. Marc Butler – trained the first winner on the card at both the Launceston and Devonport meetings. Beachboy Butch recorded back to back wins in Launceston on Friday with A Spanish Dance winning first up in his care in Devonport on Sunday by 13.4 metres in a handy mile rate of 2m 0.3s, both winners were driven by Ricky Duggan. Multiple Winners Launceston – Friday evening Ben Yole – training double; Rocknroll Music and Just Say Go, Taylor Ford – double; drove Just Say Go and trained Ark Fury. King Island – Saturday afternoon Graeme Keeley – training double; Stevie Jolt and Ruffalo. Devonport – Sunday evening Ricky Duggan – driving double; A Spanish Dance and Vouvray Beach, Geoff Smith – training double; Laid Back Kenny and Chris Be Quick, Ben Yole – training treble; Frostyflyer, Someday and Coveffe Hustler. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Launceston – Friday evening Beachboy Butch 55.24s, Witch Master 56.07s, Southern Gnp 56.32s, Alaphilippe 56.46s and Jimmy De Panda 57.52s. Devonport – Sunday evening A Spanish Dance 58.00s, Ready To Fire 58.02s, Chilla Breeze 58.25s, Illegal Immigrant 58.44s and Hafter 58.50s. Tasracing Official Price Launceston – Friday evening Hit’s: Just Say Go $9.00 into $7.50 and Ark Fury $7.00 into $6.00. Defied The Drift: Beachboy Butch $3.40 out to $5.00, Iden Forest $4.20 out to $5.00, Yeah Mate $4.40 out to $4.80, Rocknroll Music $7.50 out to $10.00 and Paint The Wind $4.80 out to $5.50. Missed: Raffaello $31.00 into $18.00, Alaphilippe $14.00 into $7.00, Rainbow Phoenix $5.50 into $4.20, Rocknovertime $4.40 into $3.30, Im Full Tilt $6.50 into $5.00, Cardinal Spec $12.00 into $8.50 and Sermac $3.00 into $2.50. Devonport – Sunday evening Hit’s: A Spanish Dance $4.60 into $2.70 and Frostyflyer $4.20 into $2.70. Defied The Drift: Chris Be Quick $8.50 out to $14.00. Missed: Mostly Spirit $15.00 into $10.00, Tarleton Riley $18.00 into $10.00, The Lemondrop Kid $9.00 into $7.50, Goggo Gee Gee $15.00 into $10.00, Perfect Mach $151.00 into $81.00, Blackbird Power $41.00 into $17.00, Just Say Go $5.00 into $3.60, War Dan Star $4.80 into $4.00 and Blossom Grant $4.00 into $3.60. Trial File Carrick Park – Monday evening The Rohan Hadley-trained, Rohan Hillier driven Believe In Forever recorded the quickest winning mile rate of the night when he scored a two-metre victory in a rating 64 to 86 trial. Believe In Forever, a gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven rated 2m 2.8s after racing behind the leader at the bell to hold off All Style Sammy and Border Cross. Hadley drove Secluded Beach, a stablemate to Believe In Forever who broke gear in the trial and finished some 40 metres behind the winner. Other winners included; Im Barney Rubble 2m 13.7s, Ima Birubi Boy 2m 12.3s, De Marco Beach 2m 17.1s, Machbev 2m 19.7s, The New Man 2m 6.8s, Jimmy Smalls 2m 6.7s and Tisu Spirit 2m 6.1s. Week Ahead The Launceston Pacing Club and Launceston Greyhound Racing Club will stage a combined race meeting on Friday night with seven pacing races to be staged on Sky Racing 2. The first harness event kicks off at 17:48. On Saturday afternoon the King Island Racing Club will stage their last meeting of the season with two harness races and five thoroughbred races making up the seven-race card. Sunday afternoon the action turns to Hobart with the Top Of The Town Bakery New Norfolk Pacing Cup, Toreace Flying Mile, E C Plunkett Memorial and the Art Meeker Memorial Matron Stakes all $12,000 features on the program that commences at 13:24. The meeting will feature a hosted live stream service on TasracingTV. Interstate at metropolitan venues some of our Tasmanian representatives include the last start Melton winner Call Me Hector who lines up in the Group 2 Mercury 80 Final over 1200 metres in Melton on Saturday night, which is the middle night of the Summer Of Glory carnival. Owned and trained by Matthew Cooper of Oatlands, Call Me Hector will start from barrier seven in the event that is due to start at 19:33. Melton – Saturday night Race 4 (Group 2) Horse 8 Call Me Hector, Race 5 (Group 1) Horse 7 Max Delight. Menangle – Saturday night  Race 3 Horse 9 No Apachemee, Race 8 (Group 3) horse 3 Harjeet and Horse 9 Ignatius.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

A big, bullocking colt may well form the frontline in the Victorian resistance as the raiders threaten to again claim the prized Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby. Youaremy Sunshine's gate five draw has him well placed for a forward running for trainer-driver Damien Burns, but with New Zealand-turned-New South Wales race favourite Line Up (for Anthony Butt) and Queensland hope Governor Jujon (for Grant Dixon) drawn on his inside, the task is tall to reverse the trend. Victorians have only won their three-year-old classic twice in the last eight years, with Our Little General saluting for Emma Stewart in 2017 and Menin Gate in 2015. Along with polemarker Soho Hamilton ($11 with, Pacifico Dream ($11) and Mirragon ($13), Youaremy Sunshine ($21) is among those next best in the market. "We think he's (close to his peak), definitely," Burns told Trots Talk. "Going into the heat we had a week without a race and we probably thought he was going in a little underdone, even though he had a bit of racing. From the heat and with this week he should be as good as we could get him." Youraremy Sunshine was third in his heat, bustling in the breeze as is often his way but unable to make ground on leader Pacifico Dream in the closing stages. "The race was a bit of a funny one, there was no pressure on whatsoever, it was literally only a 500-metre sprint." Burns said. "My bloke, his legs couldn't go any faster, he ran quite strong to the line, I just couldn't pick up any ground on the leader. Things will definitely be different this week. "They are funny, heats, the main thing is to qualify. You definitely want to win it if you can, but the pressure's on and if you miss you can be made to look a bit silly." There will be no thinking about tomorrow in Saturday night's $200,000 final and Burns is optimistic about using his mid front-row draw to advantage. "It's a funny draw, there's a lot worse draws there. It gives us a couple of options," he said. "He has got high speed and we haven't used it to date, when you are in the big one, a faint heart never won a fair lady. We may light him up early and have a go. "If we don't do that I can see him probably running similar to the way he has been, except it won't be a 500-metre sprint home in the Final, it will be a survival of the fittest that's for sure." CLICK BELOW TO TUNE IN TO TROTS TALK:   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

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