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Tonight at Ballarat in the second Australasian Breeders Crown semi final for three year old fillies, Australian harness racing fans got their first look at New Zealands best three year filly in The Orange Agent who has been in stunning form all season. Starting from barrier four after a scratching, The Orange Agent and regular pilot Maurice McKendry were caught four wide into the first corner but Maurice continued to press on and reached the front after 400 metres. From that point on it was just a matter of what she would win by as Maurice dropped the speed appreciably after the early burn. Passing the 800 metres Maurice upped the tempo and scooted the quarter down the back in 27.6 with Start Dreaming and Barry Purdon looming up outside The Orange Agent passing the 400 metres mark. Maurice gave her a bit more reign and she brushed home in a brilliant 26.9 to win comfortably from a very game Start Dreaming with Soho Tokyo holding on well for third after breezing the whole race. It was the daughter of American Ideal 15th win at just start 21 and took her earning to $371,512. The Orange Agent paced the 2200 metres in 2:42.4, a mile rate of 1:58.8 with electric closing sectionals of 54.5 and 26.9. Tonights race was a perfect lead in for The Orange Agent heading into nexts week Breeders Crown final and she will be terribly hard to beat regardless of where she draws. The two obvious dangers are Ameretto, who won the first semi final in impressive fashion and Start Dreaming who has been placed behind The Orange Agent several times this season already. Harnesslink Media

The clash of two of the best harness racing three year olds in Australia was one of the many highlights of tonights Australasian Breeders Crown semi final meeting at Ballarat. Follow The Stars with Mark Purdon in the bike drew barrier two, a spot inside the brilliant Menin Gate driven by regular pilot Chris Alford. However Mark Purdon was not keen to get into a duel this week with Menin Gate after the son of Art Major missed a run last week and was keen to take a trail this week with a view to the final next Sunday. And that is exactly how it panned out early with Follow The Stars leading early before taking a trail behind Menin Gate after 200 metres. Robbie Morris aboard Hes Lightfingered quickly moved around to sit on Menin Gate's wheel and that was the order up front for the rest of the race. Menin Gate really upped the ante from the 800 metres and the leading three cut away from the rest of the field passing the 400 metres. Follow The Stars looked to have plenty to offer in the trail as they turned for home but with no passing lane at Ballarat, he had no where to go as Hes Lightfingered kept him pocketed. It wasn't until the leading trio got inside the final 100 metres that Follow The Stars pushed his way out and flew late to only go under by half a neck to Menin Gate. Hes Lightfingered showed real courage to stick on well for a great third. Menin Gate, a son of Somebeachsomewhere paced the 2200 metres in 2:39.6, a mile rate of 1:56.8 with smart closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27.8. The three year old colts and geldings final looks to be one race next Sunday where the barrier draw will play a big part in the outcome with both Sluggem and Hes Lighfingered a chance to push Menin Gate and Follow The Stars with a draw to suit. Harnesslink Media  

Star harness racing two year old Our Waikiki Beach was at microscopic odds to make it eleven straight in his semi final of the Australasian Breeders Crown for colts and geldings at Ballarat tonight and he didn't disappoint. The upstanding Australian bred but New Zealand owned and trained son of Somebeachsomewhere had drawn perfectly at barrier 4  and driver Mark Purdon didn't rush him early as Zee Dana with Nathan Jack in the bike burnt the gate from barrier 7 to lead early before taking a trail behind Waikiki Beach after 400 metres. Mark Purdon kept up a solid tempo without breaking any track records and everybody was still in touch with the hot favourite at the 400 metres mark. Mark Purdon gave his charge a little bit more rein as they straightened and he quickly shot clear and coasted down to the line an easy winner. The son of Tintin In America in Zee Dana battled on well for second after his early burn while Catcha Lefty (Village Jasper) made ground late for third. Mark Purdon was all smiles post race. " He was a bit fresh tonight and a bit keen so he will definitely improve off tonights run." " He felt really good and strong tonight so I am very happy heading into the final," Mark said When asked to compare Our Waikiki Beach with some of the other great two year olds he has trained Mark Purdon gave a very qualified reply. " I wouldn't say Our Waikiki Beach is the best two year old I have trained but he is right up there with the best ones I have had," Mark said On tonights performance It is hard to see how they beat Waikiki Beach in the Breeders Crown final next Sunday. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing enthusiasts on both sides of the Tasman couldn't wait for the showdown this evening at Ballarat in a Breeder's Crown semi-final between the star Australian two year old filly Heavens Trend and her brilliant New Zealand counterpart, Dream About Me. Heavens Trend, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven drew the coveted barrier one over the 2200 metres while the daughter of Bettor's Delight, Dream About Me drew awkwardly at barrier three on the second line. The first surprise was at the start where Heavens Trend was beaten for early speed. Gavin Lang had her quickly off the markers and let her work her way to the front after 500 metres. Mark Purdon meanwhile had maneuvered Dream About Me through the traffic and slotted onto the back of Heavens Trend early and then got cover from Jilliby Jitterbug when that filly came around to sit outside of Heaven's Trend. Passing the 400 metres mark, Gavin Lang said go and Heavens Trend put a wee gap between her and the opposition with Mark Purdon coming in to it three wide with Dream About Me. We looked set up for a tight finish when all of a sudden Heavens Trend veered sideways with 120 metres to go and lost all momentum and any winning chance. It was very reminiscent of her run at Albion Park two starts ago where she did exactly the same thing. Dream About Me swept on bye with minimal urging from Mark Purdon and went on for a comfortable win from a smart finisher in the Shadow Play filly Zibibbo who was one of the rank outsiders in the field at $139 to one while the Bettor's Delight filly Soho Madeleine made ground late for third. Dream About Me paced the 2200 metres in 2:40.7, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with smart closing sectionals of 55.8 and 27.4. Dream About Me is now unbeaten in seven lifetime starts and took her stake earnings to $229,632. Regardless of where she draws in the final, Dream About Me is now the filly they all have to beat. Harnesslink Media

The Race to Royalty hots up this Saturday Night when we head off to the harness racing meeting at Bray Raceway in Ballarat for all the Semi-Finals of the Australasian Breeders Crown. Its shapes up as a fabulous night of racing as Harness Racing’s brightest young stars take centre stage. As has been the norm over the past couple of years it shapes as another fascinating Australia vs New Zealand war and leading the charge for the locals is none other than Emma Stewart. She has 7 runners across the semi-finals and the outstanding Whereibylong in the Graduate free for all. The first of their runners in the Semi’s is Celebrity Guest in Race 2, she has drawn awkwardly outside of the back row. Speaking to trainer Emma’s Partner Clayton Tonkin he said that she might face a task ask from where she is drawn “she has a nice turn of foot and she is a nice little filly but she sort of needed a bit better barrier draw to be in the mix.” The brilliant filly Heavens Trend and Whirily School go around in Race 3 and they come up against a unbeaten super Kiwi from the All-Stars stable in Our Dream about Me. It should be a cracking race but Tonkin, although wary of Our Dream About Me, is confident Heavens Trend will be hard to beat. “The NZ horse has massive wraps and is a super filly, but our filly is as good a filly as we’d hope and we have the barrier draw over them which makes it an advantage but it will be a good test.” Whirily School has drawn awkwardly and Tonkin thinks that will make the job pretty tough, “she has done a good job this season but I think against these sorts of fillies she needed a bit better barrier draw but she will still run a good race” Their next runner on a massive night for the stable is Starburst Girl in the 3yo fillies division. Drawn gate 4 up against last year’s 2yo winner Katy Perry, Tonkin is quietly confident she can run a nice race. “She is going good actually, she has had a big season and has a good turn of foot, she hasn’t got a bad barrier draw and I think she will run a pretty good race.” The 1st semi of the 2yo C&Gs series sees the Vicbred winner Shadow Sax take on Born to RocknRoll and Tonkin has been highly impressed with this son of Shadow Play and nominates him as the pick of the night. "“I really like him as a horse, he hasn’t drawn real good but he is a great racehorse, he can go forward driven tough, you can drive him with a sit as he is real versatile." "I think he will go really good and I reckon he is our best hope for the night” In Race 8 the Mares Graduate Free For All and Whereibylong will be mighty hard to beat. A winner of the 2yo fillies division of the Breeders Crown two seasons ago she has gradually got better at each of her 3 runs back from a long spell and was quite awesome winning all the way last start. “She has 3 runs back now to sharpen her up, she has another good draw over the mile so makes it a big advantage but she is getting back to where she needs to be.” In the last of the Semis Stewart has 2 fillies engaged with Tonkin clearly heading towards Lovelist as his better chance but concedes both his runners will find it a hard ask taking on the New Zealand superstar Our Orange Agent. “Lovelist has a good barrier draw so if she can find the back of the good NZ horse hopefully she weighs in and The Stunning One has come back from a long spell where she had an injury but she is going to be right up against it from where she is drawn” Other highlights of the night include the NZ star Our Waikiki Beach trying it make it 11 straight in Race 4 at 7.02pm and the clash of Menin Gate and Follow the Stars in Race 7 at 8.30pm. It will be a bumper night and the first of 10 kicks off at 5.27pm. Matthew Jackson

Ballarat & District Trotting Club is gearing up for one of the biggest Breeders Crown Semi-Final nights in living memory this Saturday night (August 22) at the harness racing meeting at  Bray Raceway. On the track the action is expected to be fierce with anticipation building towards Australasia's biggest futurity's series. Long renown as perhaps even more exciting than Super Sunday just over a week later, Saturday night will see the clash of some of the southern hemisphere's best horses as they battle it out to earn their right to progress. Star three-year-old's Follow The Stars and Menin Gate are on a collision course while the best two-year-old fillies in the land, Heavens Trend and Our Dream About Me will also go head-to-head. The season defining clashes don't end there with The Orange Agent putting her title on the line as one of the best Kiwi fillies to emerge in the past decade. In addition to a huge night of racing, the club is also providing plenty of on-course entertainment with the assistance of the Victorian Government's Raceday Attraction Program. Headlining the attractions are Will & Steve 'the Gourmet Pommies' Champions of My Kitchen Rules 2015 who will deliver a live cooking demonstration And patrons will have the chance to win be on track for your chance to win a Webber BBQ/Accessories + a premium meat pack. As if that wasn't excitement enough, the Sportsmans' Panel featuring the Goodform Punters Club Challenge will see the TAB's Jaimee Rogers going head to head with Harness Racing Victoria's own Blake Redden in a Beauty and the Beast match-up. Entry is just $20 a ticket - pick a team or choose both for more chances to win big on the Trots. Jaimee and Blake will be joined on stage by esteemed industry participants, including winner drivers and trainers throughout the night. Action starts at 5.25pm. PAUL ROWSE  BALLARAT & DISTRICT TROTTING CLUB 

Pinjarra harness racing trainer Michael Brennan has completed arrangement for exciting gelding Nathans Courage to travel to Victoria to contest the rich Breeders Crown for two-year-old colts and geldings. Brennan will accompany Nathans Courage on a flight from Perth next Tuesday week and Chris Voak will drive the son of Courage Under Fire in a semi-final of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat the following Saturday night. Brennan is hopeful that Nathans Courage, a stylish all-the-way winner at Gloucester Park at his only two starts, will qualify to run in the $288,000 final at Melton on Sunday August 30. "He should go well," Brennan said. "He's a lovely little horse, a professional racehorse and he's so relaxed." Two of Nathans Courage's most serious rivals appear to be Our Waikiki Beach and Zee Dana. Our Waikiki Beach, trained by New Zealander Mark Purdon, is unbeaten at his ten starts and has amassed $324,081. He sped over the final quarters in 27.1sec. and 27.8sec. and rated 1.56.3 when he scored a four-length victory in a heat of the Breeders Crown over 2300m at Menangle on July 21. He won the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold, covering the 1609m journey in 1.54.3 at Menangle in April and he won the 1609m NSW Breeders Challenge final in 1.53.7 at Menangle in June. Zee Dana notched his second win from three starts when he sat behind the pacemaker and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win a heat of the Breeders Crown at a 1.58 rate over 2190m at Shepparton on Tuesday night. Ken Casellas

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

Four Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heats will be run and won at Ballarat tonight as the harness racing two-year-old trotters begin their journey. Home Grown Classic winners Princess Phoenix and Charlie Runkle have drawn gates two and one respectively in their races, Princess Phoenix from the David Aiken stable expected to be very hard to beat in the fillies’ heat. Aiken said Princess Phoenix boasted speed, which many two-year-old trotting fillies aren’t able to show until later in their careers. “We’re very happy with what she’s done so far,” Aiken said. “She was good against the boys last start and she showed she’s got good speed home when she won before that. “That speed will hold her in good stead moving forward.” Charlie Runkle ran in the Tatlow Stakes on June 5 after galloping badly early. He lost plenty of ground but picked up again late to charge to the line for to run third beaten 3.4m by Kyvalley Tinman. The latter trotter has drawn gate two, outside Charlie Runkle, here for the in-form Brent Lilley/Anthony Butt combination. But there are potential stars aplenty in the field with Shetland, Skyflyer, Calder Knight, Sundons Courage and Cruisin Around making it basically a who’s who of the 2YO male trot class. Race 4 at Ballarat sees a field of six go around in the 4YO Mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series fourth heat. Quick Draft was ultra-impressive running second to Berisari last time out at Bendigo, producing some blistering closing sectionals. She’s drawn gate five here. Also in the field are So Demanding from the pole, Blitzsuzy, Longtan Bliss, Milady Denver and the very much in-form Lucky Metro. Heat four of the 2YO Colts and Geldings Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series is Race 5 with Heath Redwood pair Iconic Valor and Showgun Thomas both expected to figure prominently. TUESDAY NIGHT @ BALLARAT Race 1: 2YO Trotting Fillies 1st Heat Race 2: 2YO Trotting Colts & Geldings 1st Heat Race 4: 4YO Mares 4th Heat Race 5: 2YO Colts & Geldings 4th Heat Cody Winnell  

Lovelist is into the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semis after winning tonight’s (Wednesday 3rd June) harness racing heat at Ballarat. The filly from the Emma Stewart camp, with Gavin Lang aboard, proved 2.7 metres too good for runner-up Morton Plains (Larry Eastman and Chris Alford) in a mile rate of 1:59 for the 2200m trip. Lovelist found plenty late and produced third and fourth quarters of 28.1secs and 27.9secs after an opening half of 61.6secs and a lead time of 45.1secs. Morton Plains made a bold bid for victory down the back straight the final time, launching strongly to tackle the frontrunner. But Lovelist fought back and the two battled out the remainder of the race, drawing clear of third placegetter Diamond Castle (David Miles) and Keayang Ebonyrose (Marg Lee and Glen Craven) in fourth. Lovelist is by US sire Always A Virgin out of Classic Garry mare Lifeline. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots >> Find out more about how the Super Series works CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

Art Major filly Kira Jo hasn’t had much luck this preparation and unfortunately for trainer Vivian Tomren the run of misfortune appears to have extended to the barrier draw for tomorrow night’s fourth race at the harness racing meeting at Ballarat. Kira Jo has drawn barrier 11 in the 12-horse field for the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series (3YO Fillies) and will have to be pretty good to overrun the likes of Morton Plains (barrier two), Lovelist (four) and Keayang Ebonyrose (12). Kira Jo resumed this time in at Cranbourne, her home track, on April 27 and ran into a dead-end on her way to a fast-finishing fourth behind Wemen Sporty. Second-up she drew wide on the front row at Maryborough, went back and couldn’t make up the necessary ground after a slow early tempo. She then tackled the Argent 3YO Classic at Melton but didn’t fire after initially getting caught without cover before being shuffled four-back the running line off a mediocre early tempo. And at her most recent outing Kira Jo drew SR3 at Yarra Valley and three-pegged it before making up some ground along the sprint lane. Tomren says the daughter of smart mare Jasper Jo is working well at home but will need luck from the draw tomorrow night. “She is working a fair bit better now and we’re quite happy with her,” she said. “Hopefully she can qualify. We decided to run her in this heat because it gave us the option of running at Maryborough (next Thursday).” Tomren said Kira Jo wouldn’t prove to be a one-dimensional sit-sprinter but circumstances of late have required her to be driven cold early in her races. It’ll be the same tomorrow night and Tomren is hopeful the frontrunners will burn along. “If they go quickly up front then that’ll help,” she said. “When she won that good race (the Group 2 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 3YO Fillies Final) she did work three-wide that night and raced tough.” On that occasion Kira Jo just held out Snip Of Grand when both were at big odds. Interestingly Snip Of Grand was barrier seven that night and Kira Jo was 11 (exactly the same barriers as they are tomorrow night at Ballarat). They will also both be good odds. Hamilton trainer David Lewis has two runners in the race, impressive last-start Horsham winner Mistressofillusion (by Jeremes Jet out of Whodyou Wantmetobe) and Mygirljo (by Jeremes Jet out of Lewisienna Jo). Ben Krahe's market 1 – Charlies System: $21 2 – Morton Plains $5 3 – Mistressofillusion $12 4 – Lovelist $2.20 5 – Bee Bee Elle $101 6 – Glenferrie Blade $6.50 7 – Snip Of Grand $12 8 – Diamond Castle $10 9 – Juliustigres $51 10 – Mygirljo $26 11 – Kira Jo $21 12 – Keayang Ebonyrose $8 Cody Winnell  

The Culture produced an explosive burst when it mattered most at the harness racing meeting at Ballarat last night to win heat one of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for three-year-old colts and geldings.   Trainer/driver Matthew Craven said before the race he didn’t have the son of Major In Art/Henin Hardenne “as wound up” as he’d like for a tilt at big guns such as Menin Gate and Jilliby Royal, but he need not have worried because his pacer romped in by 4.5m.   Driver Glen Craven had Jilliby Royal in front to the home turn in the 2200m race with Victoria Derby winner and $1.30 favourite Menin Gate already under pressure in the chair.   Jilliby Royal covered the first half of the last mile in 60.6secs and produced a 28.2secs third quarter when Chris Alford started to ask Menin Gate for his effort.   Justbritell (Kerryn Manning) was on the leader’s back, while The Culture – who eased all the way out to $21.20 on the tote, an extraordinary price given his form lines around Jewels fourth placegetter Burnaholeinmypocket – was three back along the markers and seemingly in no man’s land.   But in the straight, Jilliby Royal started getting weary as Justbritell made his run, The Culture able to burst along the pegs to hit the lead and score what was in the end a pretty soft win.   The last quarter was clocked at 28.1secs but the winner’s final fraction was closer to 27.   "I'm going to have to take him back off the gate at the start because he can't be up over-racing outside horses of that calibre at this stage," Craven had said leading up to the race.   Mission accomplished. He summed it up well and The Culture balanced up early, settled perfectly and produced the type of burst you'd expect from a top-line three-year-old.   With five wins now from seven goes the sky looks the limit for The Culture.   Justbritell, who has been an ultra-consistent performer for trainer Terry Young, ran second, while Jilliby Royal was third beaten 5.4m.   Menin Gate finished fourth, while Jodis Choice (Jodi Quinlan) was fifth and Chief Safari (Michael Stanley) lost his chance at the start with a bad getaway to come in tailed off.   Cody Winnell

Reigning Victoria Derby champion Menin Gate takes on rising stars Chief Safari, Jilliby Royal and The Culture at the harness racing meeeting at Ballarat tonight as the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts and Geldings section gets under way.   Rounding out the six-horse field in tonight's heat are handy pacers Justbritell and Jodis Choice, the race a tantalising puzzle for punters to piece together.   Trainer/driver Matthew Craven believes his son of Major In Art/Henin Hardenne, The Culture, has a big future and can play a huge role in the Super Series.   But Craven added that tonight is very much only a small step in a bigger Vicbred journey. And he’s not going in overly confident by any stretch.   “To me he didn’t do anything brilliant (first-up at Hamilton) but it was good he got the job done,” Craven said.   “To be honest he’s probably not as wound up as I’d like. He’s drawn gate seven … it’s going to be hard.   “I’m going to have to take him back off the gate at the start because he can’t be up over-racing outside horses of that calibre at this stage.   “Menin Gate and Jilliby Royal have had Derby preparations   Class carried The Culture home at Hamilton on May 20 in a C1 over 2160m, defeating Royal Safari by 1.1m.   The Culture twice beat home Burnaholeinmypocket earlier this year, form that reads well given that horse went on to run fourth in the New Zealand Harness Jewels.   But Menin Gate is the horse to beat, no doubt, the Larry Eastman-trained gelding by Somebeachsomewhere out of Dreams Of Heaven a winner of seven of his 10 starts, finishing second on the three other occasions.   Menin Gate is coming off a thrilling second at Ballarat in the Colin and Heather Holloway 3YO Classic when beaten a short half-head by My Kiwi Mate in 1:53.7 over a mile.   Jilliby Gate was involved in an early battle for the front in that race, which produced a blistering opening stanza of 26.8secs.   Show Me The Bling, who went stride for stride with Jilliby Royal through that early burn finished sixth beaten 34.2m while Glen Craven’s horse battled on strongly to be beaten six metres.   Driver Kerryn Manning gets the Terry Young-trained son of Courage Under Fire/Soho Artemis, Justbritell, out very swiftly and she’ll again be holding a forward spot here from gate one.   Michael Stanley has his team firing on all cylinders and he’s also got an exciting proposition here in Chief Safari – by Safari out of Podium Princess.   Chief Safari won his first three starts in style before a first-up second to Mrs Devine this time in after punching the breeze throughout.   Jodis Choice is from the Craig Demmler camp at Parwan and will be driven by Jodi Quinlan. The colt by Four Starzzz Shark out of Petousa is coming off a 1:58.6 win at Maryborough from barrier seven.   Odds setter Ben Krahe has priced Menin Gate at $1.5 favourite from Jilliby Royal at $4.5, with Jodis Choice and The Culture on the next line at $6.5. Justbritell and Chief Safari are $12 outsiders.   CODY WINNELL

Bray Raceway in Ballarat is the place to be this Saturday night. The harness racing club will host a 10-event card of harness racing featuring the John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup (Group 3) and rising star Hectorjayjay in the fast-class race. Club Chief Executive Paul Rowse said there were still dining spots available in the acclaimed Terrace Restaurant, which is always a great way to spend a night at the trots – especially when the nights are wintry. “We’ve got a couple of hundred booked already but there’s still room for more,” Rowse said. The first race on Saturday is scheduled to jump at 5.31pm, an early start meaning the last will be run at 10pm. Revellers looking to rejoice their winnings however can kick on after the last in the always popular Flying Horse Bistro, with live music and a party atmosphere through until 1am. “Punters can come and watch the Richmond versus Essendon game on one of the many TV screens or they can listen to some great live music and celebrate any winnings they’ve made throughout the night,” Rowse said. This year’s John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup sees a quality field of eight in the 2200-metre race, with Brent Lilley-trained Kyvalley Blur (Chocolatier) expected to prove hardest to beat. Kyvalley Blur sat in the breeze and fought on doggedly in the Cranbourne Trotters Cup last time out, Lilley explaining that the death seat probably wasn’t his go. “He was probably a wee bit upside down because he’s normally a sit-sprinter,” Lilley said. “Be he still ran a good race and he’d be my best chance on the night.” Punters might also pay to keep a close eye on Lilley’s runner in Race 6, Saratoga, who is first-up in Australia after crossing from New Zealand. “He’s been here about a month and he has good form in New Zealand and should prove hard to beat,” Lilley said. “Aldebaran Southland is probably his biggest danger.” >> Visit the Ballarat and District Trotting Club for information on how to book a dining package or for other details ahead of Saturday night by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The victory of My Kiwi Mate in the harness racing Holloway Classic at Ballarat last week proved two important things. Firstly, he proved he can match it with the best of his age group after taking down last start Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate in a scintillating time of 1;53.7. And secondly, he underlined the faith that his connections have in him after purchasing the Bettors Delight – Classic Nymph gelding earlier this year. Purchased by John Fitzgerald and placed in the care of Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan, My Kiwi Mate shapes nicely following three impressive starts on Australian soil to date. My Kiwi Mate scored impressively first-up at Kilmore on April 29 before running an encouraging third behind Jewels qualified pacers Follow The Stars and Burnaholeinmypocket in the Reg Withers Classic at Kilmore. His victory last Friday came as no surprise to his connections. “We think a fair bit of this horse and we weren’t shocked that he was able to run down a horse like Menin Gate. We think he can match it with most three-year-olds going around at the moment and we’ll give him his chance to prove that.” Demmler said. Connections are now looking at winter carnival campaign in Queensland during the month of July. Sunshine state targets include the Gr.1 $100,000 Nursery Fly on July4, the Gr.3 $40,000 Gold Coast Derby on July 11 and the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18. All feature events will be staged at Albion Park. “He deserves his chance to head north and tackle those feature races and the carnival looks really good with great prizemoney on offer so we’re keen to head up and take our shot. “We’ve got to make sure he holds his form and stays healthy, he will have another run or two down here and then we will make the trip. He keeps improving all the time and his form proves that, he’s a talented type and he proved that as soon as he entered our stable. “I’m sure the Brisbane features will attract plenty of likely types but I’m confident our guy will measure up with the best of them. It won’t be easy with that sort of prizemoney up for grabs but I’m looking forward to the challenge while keen to take in some warmer weather.” My Kiwi Mate was formerly prepared by Brian ‘Bunty’ Hughes in Auckland. by Chris Barsby

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

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