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Fans will have to wait longer for the first clash between Aussie pacing megastars Ride High and Lochinvar Art. While connections of both were committed to racing against each other at Ballarat on Saturday night, they scared-off other rivals. Harness Racing Victoria had said it would not run the race unless it attracted at least five but preferably six runners. Nominations were extended from late yesterday until today (Tuesday), but HRV said it still didn’t get sufficient acceptors. It’s a huge blow given the broad anticipation and massive PR opportunity it promised the sport. And, going ahead, it creates a huge dilemma because it is unlikely many other rivals would to tackle both Ride High and Lochinvar Art when they next nominate for the same race. Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran now has a major problem.  “Looks like it’ll be a month between runs for him now,” he said. “He’s not eligible for a race at Shepparton next weekend and the week after it’s Terang, which is on the other side of the state from my stables and I’m not taking him all that way for a $20,000 race. “It’s surprising they wouldn’t run the race this week with just three or four horses because they talked so much about wanting a match race with just the two of us. “And I’ve been in small fields with others horses of mine in Victoria in the past.” Ride High will also have to go a month between runs with Terang on September 12 his next racing option. His last run was his 15th win from just 16 starts at Shepparton on August 15, Adding to the frustrations for connections of Ride High and Lochinvar Art is the ongoing, COVID-19 driven uncertainty around whether the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup will go ahead as planned at Melton on October 10. Victoria’s Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions aren’t due to end until, at the earliest, September 13. HRV has said it wants to stick with October 10 for the Victoria Cup, but wouldn’t be in a position to give a genuine update until mid-September. And HRV’s GM of Racing, Stephen Bell, has said they would not go ahead on October 10 unless key interstate horses, trainers and drivers were able to get to Victoria for the race.   by Adam Hamilton

IT’S on! The clash harness fans have been waiting for between two of Australia’s brightest pacing stars, Ride High and Lochinvar Art, will happen when they meet for the first time at Ballarat on Saturday night. Ride High’s trainer Clayton Tonkin confirmed his stable gun would chase his 16th win from just 17 starts in a 2200m free-for-all at Ballarat. And, in a surprise twist, Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran confirmed this morning, somewhat reluctantly, he would also back-up his Chariots Of Fire winner because of a lack of other suitable options. Lochinvar Art bounced-back from a shock defeat two weeks earlier when he trounced a handy field at Bendigo on Saturday night, cruising away to win by more than 10m in slick times. “He felt a different horse this time, he did it so easily and felt really sharp,” Moran said. “He’s still building, but that was a relief and shows he’s back on track.” But Moran conceded meeting Ride High this week was not ideal. “He’ll have a fitness edge on us this week,” he said. “But we have to meet at some stage and I haven’t got many option because my horse isn’t eligible for the Shepparton race (in two weeks) and then the week after that it’s Terang and I’m not taking him all the way from home (Shepparton) to Terang for a $20,000 race. “I’ve thought it over for a day or so and I have to bite the bullet and go this week even though Ride High will have that edge on us. “I have to look at his overall preparation, not just one race. Hopefully this will just be the first of many times we meet Ride High over the next year or so.” Tonkin seemed unfazed at the prospect of clashing with Lochinvar Art. “We’re going to Ballarat this week so if Lochinvar Art does as well, then we’ll see him there,” he said.   Adam Hamilton

Ballarat and District Trotting Club will pioneer a new Victorian region-based harness racing model on Thursday. The club will run an eight-race day-time meeting based on programming which limits travel for trainers and drivers in line with public health recommendations to slow the spread of CODIV-19 virus. The state has been divided into six regions, with Ballarat and Melton tracks making up the inner-west. Only horses trained within the region and drivers who live in it can take part at Bray Raceway and Melton. Dunnstown trainer David Murphy and Myrniong-based Jess Tubbs have the biggest representation in Ballarat with five starters each. Murphy is also in demand as a driver, with six engagements. He begins his day with Meet Michaelangelo in the Ballarat Veterinary Practice Trot, 2200m - a winner at Bray Raceway two starts ago. Meanwhile, Matt Maguire, a relative newcomer to Victoria, will give two starters their first outings for his stable in Ballarat. Kraze, formerly trained by Scott Stewart, lines up in the Ballarat Commercial Laundry 3yo Trot, 2200m, and promising type Blue Sparkler is first-up in the Ballarat Sound Trotters' Handicap, 2200m. Blue Sparkler had three wins in four starts for Emma Stewart late last year, with the 4yo not racing since November. Based at Melton, Maguire is previously from South Australia and the early part of his career with leading trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec. By David Brehaut Reprinted with permission of The Courier

Great depth in the three-year-old grade has the TAB Breeders Crown building to what’s certain to be a spectacular crescendo, but for now this is the story of the Hurricane. Tonight’s IRT three-year-old colts and geldings’ heats spotlight was stolen by Emma Stewart’s extraordinarily talented Hurricane Harley, who looked back to his brilliant best in not only holding at bay Lochinvar Art to produce an all-the-way win, but crushing the track record in the process. The class has few tougher than Laura Crossland and David Moran’s Lochinvar Art, but reinsman Chris Alford, fresh from notching his 400th win of the season two nights prior, made it a true staying test and his Lauriston Bloodstock owned and bred colt answered every call. Hurricane Harley reeled off quarters of 28.7, 28.5, 27.1 and 28.2 seconds for a 1:54.2 mile rate, some 1.1 seconds under Form Analyst’s age-track record and only half-a-second outside Rocknroll Icon’s all-age record for the 2200m at Ballarat. "I knew we were racing pretty strong all the way and he had a good kick at the top of the straight," Alford said of Hurricane Harley. "It's a good run on a cold night. "David forced the speed a bit ... I just wanted to try and keep Lochinvar Art back on my wheel so Harley didn't feel any pressure and, even though we were going hard he still travelled really well. "(Hurricane Harley) was first up since the sires stakes, he hadn't had a run in a little while, so I'm sure that run will do him good the world of good heading forward." The time was a stark contrast to the night’s third and final heat, which capped the first week of Breeders Crown pacing with a stunning seventh victory for the Stewart stable out of nine heats. Three of those have been in the hands of Kate Gath including Demon Delight, with Gath and her talented Bettors Delight colt racing without pressure for much of the event and containing their main rival – Max Delight – on their back. With no threat of a sprint lane at Ballarat, Gath followed a 45.8-second lead time with a 95-second first three quarters, which set up a cruisy dash up the straight for a 1.9-metre victory from New South Wales entrant Pitch Perfect. “He got a good draw tonight and we were able to use that,” Gath told TrotsVision post-race. “With a horse like Max Delight (on our back), he’s very fast, although my guy’s very fast as well. It was a really nice little dash up the straight and he ran good.” While Max Delight was ultimately caged in for David Aiken and Kima Frenning and had to settle for fourth, the seas parted for trainer-driver Matt Craven to top a tactically superb drive and victory for his entrant, Crime Writer, in the second heat. Craven worked forward from gate four, crossing favourite Jesse Duke and slotting in behind the polemarker and leader Always Fast, booking himself an armchair ride to the final straight. “We got a bit lucky there,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race. “The position was still available when we were able to get outside the leader and just tuck him back in for a lovely trail.” Perfect Major advanced to the breeze and Jesse Duke welcomed the cover, but a 27.8-second third quarter by Always Fast provided some separation in the field and enabled Crime Writer to slip out at the final turn, work past the leader and hold off fast-finishing Out To Play to record a memorable win at odds. “He was able to gain clear running at the top of the straight and he just ground it out nice, so it’s very pleasing for all involved,” Craven said. “He’s been a terrific horse from day dot, to have him being able to run consistently in these type of races, hopefully we can run another nice race next week and if we can end up in the final I’ll be more than happy.” The pacing semi-finals fire up at Bendigo on August 17, which will also feature the all-important barrier draws for the August 24 pacing and trotting finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Gath said the luck of the draw would have a huge bearing on who ultimately got to ride in the victory carriage on finals night. “I think for any of those horses, they are all so good, so it’s going to come down to whoever gets the best run can probably win the race,” she said. “(Demon Delight) sat in the death in the Vicbred and it was a terrific run, (but) I don’t think any of these horses will be able to sit in the death in the Breeders Crown and win against the horses they are going to be against. Really, draws are crucial to your winning chances.”   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

Surprise packet Savannah Jay Jay will be hoping to carve another fairytale chapter tomorrow night when the low-flying eight-year-old trotter zeroes in on Ballarat's trotting cup. The John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup, at 8.40pm at Bray Raceway, is the penultimate race of the Maori's Idol Trotting Championship, in which Shaun McNaulty's Fratellino has an unassailable lead. Savannah Jay Jay can jump to equal third with victory tomorrow night, which would add to his earlier success in November's St Arnaud Cup and, of course, last Saturday's Schweppes Australasian Trotting Championship win, which delivered trainer Stan Cameron and reinsman James Herbertson their maiden Group 1. "I had no idea that he could run the whole journey out," Cameron told RSN 927's program One Out One Back. "I thought, if he got a bit of cover he would have been right, but right up to the end I was right up on my toes I tell you. The horse just kept on fighting and fighting and fighting to the end." Savannah Jay Jay was priced a $2.25 chance at the for the John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup, a win that would mean the world to Cameron. "I had a fair bit to do with John years ago," he said. "John used to always get a ride down to the start on the side of the cart, he used to always say 'you need to do this, you need to do that'. I picked up a fair few pointers off him over the years. He was a great bloke."   HRV Trots Media

When harness racing trainer-driver David Murphy and his wife Erin took a young trotter to the sales and it was passed in, they weren’t the slightest disappointed in returning home with it. Murphy, a highly respected trainer-driver based at Ballarat, put a $10,000 reserve on the Yankee Spider-sired filly, but the top bid fell way short, at $6,500. Now the couple are smiling all the way to the bank as Fox Force Five (Yankee Spider-Motu Vee (Yankee Paco) shapes up as a bright prospect for the stable.  Murphy bounced the three-year-old filly to the lead at Ballarat on Tuesday night in the Eureka Lending Group Trot and it was virtually a case of “it’s all over, red rover” from that point. Fox Force Five trotted faultlessly in 33, 32.4, 29 and 28.9 for 2.03-6 (2200m) and won nicely – well, like a warm $1.40 favorite should! Click here for a video replay “I probably didn’t have much to worry about as she felt great and she did it comfortably,” Murphy said. “That was her third win from 17 starts and she is a terrific little earner. I think the worst she has ever finished in her races is fifth spot,” he said. “We are aiming her later on for all the group races. There will be some smart ones in those features, but we won’t be disgraced.” Murphy said he trained Motu Vee, the dam of Yankee Spider, who didn’t make it to the races. “We got her to the trials a few times, but she kept having trouble on the bends.,” he said. “I persevered for a long time because her dam, Motu Avrill was a nine times winner. She won six in New Zealand and then two at Cranbourne and one at Moonee Valley for over $78,000. “When I finally did give up, the owner said he didn’t want her back, so we decided to get her in foal. Yankee Spider was leaving some winners at the time, so that was where she headed.” Murphy was most keen on Fox Force Five when she was being broken in. “I certainly had a bit of an opinion of her, and as a two-year-old, her trials were very good,” he said. “But at the races she would make mistakes which was annoying. But she did show enough ability to keep with them and be up with the best. “Some of those early race starts were at Melton and she was never beaten by huge margins. “After four placings she broke through for a win at Kilmore last August, so we tipped her out. She then got the money when we brought her back to the track at Melton in January and a handful of nice runs led up to the win at Ballarat.” Murphy said he now he is facing a small dilemma regarding the square gaiter. “She is at that awkward growing stage, so we’ll have to sit down and work out if we press on or not,” he said. The Murphy stable has a team of 20 in work at present. Other recent winners include Me Pat Malone (Ballarat) and Ima Showgirl (two wins at Geelong), while some youngsters are bringing smiles of anticipation. “There’s a two-year-old by Village Jolt that goes along okay as well as a couple of others, so things are picking up again,” he said. “We dropped off the pace with a bit of lull there for a while, but the past 18 months have been better, so things are looking up again.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Justin Baker has quickly become attached to the Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable. The 42-year-old has enjoyed plenty of success since joining the ownership ranks in recent times and is hoping one of his newest acquisitions can debut in winning fashion this Friday night at Ballarat. The well-bred Pandering, who is a half-brother to $500,000-winning US pacer Panmunjom, heads to the races with some good trial form under his belt. Pandering, who will be driven by Chris Alford in the Cervus Sunshine 2YO Pace (1710m), is being targeted at the Group 1 Allwood Stud SA Sale Classic Final. "Really the aim was to buy a horse to support the sale and then hopefully try and get a runner in the Allwood race in June," Baker said. "That Adelaide race is just a really good one in terms of where it sits in the program." While there are Group 1 aspirations for the son of Courage Under Fire, Baker isn't going over the top with his expectations. "He's a pretty natural two-year-old. He just does everything right," Baker said. "We think he's going to be a nice two-year-old. I'm not sure where he sits in the pecking order down there (at the Cardigan stables) and that's obviously an Emma and Clayton thing. I generally don't ask them, but I think he's going to make a nice two-year-old. "He's just really well gaited. I think doing it all right at this stage as a two-year-old is a big part of it, so I reckon he'll go pretty well." Baker's first real taste of success came with the ultra-talented The Storm Inside. That horse collected the Group 1 Australian Pacing Gold Final before being crowned the 2YO Pacing Colts/Geldings Horse of the Year in 2016. "It has really gone from there," Baker said. "I get along really well with (Emma and Clayton), I love spending time with them and their records speak for themselves. "We've probably bought 15 or 20 horses with them in the last three or four years." Surely the most exciting of those is gifted trotter Alpha Male, who is already a dual winner at the elite level and is being set for the IRT Harness Jewels in New Zealand later this year. "It's a heck of a lot of fun with those guys and spending time with them outside of the races is also really good fun," Baker said. "They're great mates of mine and they make it all the more worthwhile from our perspective." Baker has never achieved a winning double on the same program, but looks a chance of securing a treble at Friday night's meeting. He also has ownership of Stewart-trained pacers Concealment and Phoenix Prince, which look well placed on their home track.   Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

Hurricane Harley is the harness racing favourite pre-draw with TAB for next Saturday night’s Group 1 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby following the heats tonight at Ballarat. Trainer Emma Stewart’s reigning Breeders Crown champ was completely untroubled around Bray Raceway, his 2.6-metre win not a wholly accurate depiction of his dominance. Driver Amanda Turnbull didn’t need to move aboard the powerful son of Bettors Delight in the home straight, Hurricane Harley striding out with the swagger and authority of a champion wrestler inside the final furlong. Hurricane Harley rated 1:56.8 and covered his last 800m in 56.5 (27.1 last split). Stablemate Hardhitter ran second, with Malcolms Rhythm third. It was a familiar tale in the second Derby heat as the All Stars’ team of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon produced Im Another Masterpiece for victory (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick). Rasmussen’s drive was worthy of a headline. It was a masterclass performance aboard the son of Bettors Delight. After handing up early to Lauren Tritton aboard Muscle Factory, Rasmussen camped behind the leader until the bell when she shimmied into the clear to breeze the last lap. The move posted a key rival Centenario, advancing three-wide, on a limb for the final kilometre and secured Lochinvar Art one-one cover. “You don’t come all this way to be unlucky,” Rasmussen said. “You have to run top-three and I wasn’t going to run a nice hard-held fourth on the fence. “(It was a) Nice win for him and the run should tighten him up a little bit more.” Im Another Masterpiece finished 2.9m clear of Muscle Factory in 1:55.9. David Aiken trained and driven Max Delight (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick) made it a Bettors Delight Derby heats clean sweep, taking out the final qualifier courtesy of a controlled front-running steer. “He’s a nice horse on the way up and he’s got great speed. It’ll be a different story next week, but we really like him and wouldn’t swap him for a few in the race,” Aiken said. “He’s fast. His A to B speed is really quick but he doesn’t have to lead, he can come off cover and sprint really well.” Max Delight’s winning mile rate was the slowest of the night at 2:00.4, but his last 400m (26.5) was electric. The top four finishers in each Derby heat qualify for the final, with Demon Delight (fastest fifth) the emergency.   Results Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (1st Heat) 1st: Hurricane Harley by Bettor's Delight         Emma Stewart     Amanda Turnbull 2nd: Hardhitter by Mach Three                         Emma Stewart     Chris Alford 3rd: Malcolms Rhythm by Art Major                 David Aiken          Kima Frenning 4th: Arggghhh by Rock N Roll Heaven            Craig Demmler     Craig Demmler 5th: Our Millionaire by Million Dollar Cam        Emma Stewart     Sidney Van Den Brande MR: 1:56.8 To watch the video of Hurricane Harley click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (2nd Heat) 1st: Im Another Masterpiece by Bettor's Delight        Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen   Natalie Rasmussen 2nd: Muscle Factory by Roll With Joe                       Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton          Lauren Tritton 3rd: Lochinvar Art by Modern Art                               Laura Crossland                                 David Moran 4th: Crime Writer by Sportswriter                               Matthew Craven                               Matthew Craven 5th: Demon Delight by Bettor's Delight                      Emma Stewart                                   Gavin Lang MR: 1:55.9 To watch the video of Im Another Masterpiece click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (3rd Heat) 1st: Max Delight by Bettor's Delight                   David Aiken                                   David Aiken 2nd: Perfect Major by Art Major                         Emma Stewart                               Amanda Turnbull 3rd: Petes Big Jim by Big Jim                            Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton         Lauren Tritton 4th: War Dan Delight by Bettor's Delight            Dean Braun                                   Greg Sugars 5th: Supreme Dominator  by Bettor's Delight     Barry Purdon                                 Mark Purdon MR: 2:00.4 To watch the video of Max Delight click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell ID18

Save Our Pennys got a well-deserved first taste of sweet success this campaign with a comprehensive all-the-way win in the harness racing E B Cochran Trotters Cup. With driver Gavin Lang’s trotter having been valiant in Tornado Valley’s shadow, finishing second in five of his previous six starts, Save Our Pennys enjoyed the freedom of his main foe’s absence to dominate the $30,000 Group 2 on PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup night. It was the perfect tune-up for next Saturday night’s showcase Woodlands Great Southern Star, the $250,000 Group 1 that's Australia’s richest trotting race. “He’s an old marvel really,” said Lang. “Dad (Graeme) always said he’d win a good race, but he’s won three or four now. “His behaviour before the race tonight was a bit like a two-year-old, not like an eight-year-old who’s had 50-odd starts. He’s a great horse, just trots, as you can see no gear on him, no head check, no nothing. He’s just a great horse to have around.” Save Our Pennys won by 5.2m from Dance Craze who boxed on well to finish ahead of Yabby Dam stablemate Pizza Queen, with the winner holding all at bay with his 56-second last 800m amid a 1:59.8 mile rate. “Once Tornado Valley didn’t turn up it opened the race up a bit and then we were fortunate to come up with the right barrier. Made our own luck tonight, because he’s been a bit of a bridesmaid lately behind Tornado Valley, but that’s OK, I’ll cop that. “He deserved that win. Dad and mum will be very happy and I will be back in the will now that I have got a win on board.” The focus quickly turns to night two of the TAB Summer Of Glory, when Kiwis Marcoola and Speeding Spur travel to Tabcorp Park to take on TAB Inter Dominion winner Tornado Valley and a host of challengers hoping to flip the trotting landscape. “Tornado Valley has got the record on the board,” Lang said. “The opposition is always hopeful (that they can turn the tables) one day. He’s a great horse from the front of the field or the back of the field. “Horses like (Save Our Pennys) can never be discounted. He’s got great manners and a great will to win. There’s three or four Kiwis coming over for the Great Southern Star. It will be a Trans-Tasman race for sure, Tornado Valley’s probably not going to get it all his own way. It will be a great event.” To watch the video click on this link. Trots Media - Michael Howard ID18 5 8:30pm E B COCHRAN TROTTERS CUP (GROUP 2) 2200M $30,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SAVE OUR PENNYS      Fr4 4 Graeme Lang Gavin Lang   $ 1.80 fav  GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 7 by SAFELY KEPT USA out of TUPENNY BIT (SUNDON USA)  Owner(s): G A Lang, R J Sleep, Estate of G Lucas, J Glavas  Breeder(s): Bromfield Park Pty Ltd 2 DANCE CRAZE      Fr5 5 Anton Golino Rodney Petroff 5.20 $ 4.30   PRS 3WE OLM 2 SCT 3 PIZZA QUEEN USA      Fr3 3 Anton Golino Mark Purdon 8.10 $ 9.20   PRS GS 4 4 BIG JACK HAMMER      Sr1 8 David Aiken Kima Frenning 8.30 $ 17.70   PRS 5 HUE CTS D/F$ 5 SAVANNAH JAY JAY      Fr1 1 Stan Cameron Neil McCallum 9.20 $ 36.10   GS L SLE 3 6 SKY PETITE      Fr7 7 Michael Stanley Ryan Duffy 9.40 $ 8.00   RAS 10 3WL 7 DELTASUN      Fr2 2 Terry Young Kerryn Manning 13.70 $ 17.40   PRS 6 8 FABRICATION      Fr6 6 David Abrahams John Caldow 15.50 $ 53.90   RAS 8 Scratchings All started Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:43:8 Mile Rate: 1:59:8 Lead Time: 44.1 First Quarter: 32.1 Second Quarter: 31 Third Quarter: 28.7 Fourth Quarter: 27.9 Margins: 5.2m x 2.9m    

LAUREN Tritton sat behind the fastest three-year-old pacer to ever grace a track in Australasia just recently. And now the top reinswoman is excited to see what Muscle Factory can produce against some of the nation’s best at Ballarat on Saturday night. Muscle Factory set a southern hemisphere record when clocking 1:49.6 in the Simpson Memorial at Menangle a fortnight ago. And on Saturday night south of the border the colt faces his next challenge in a heat of the Victoria Derby. “I’m really excited to see what Muscle can do against the best of them,” said Tritton. “It’s hard not to declare a horse that just won in 1:49. “I’m not worried about the smaller track either as we saw what he did at Albion Park.” However, there is an element Tritton is concerned about. “It is the hardest heat but we’ve drawn accordingly,” said Tritton. “It’s still going to be tough facing the locals on their home turf . . . some of those horses have been raised on that track their whole life so they have that advantage.” Some of those dangers include Lochinvar Art and Australian Pacing Gold winner Centenario. Meanwhile, the $1.65 TAB Fixed Odds favourite is the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Im Another Masterpiece. Tritton does not have to face the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen combination in her other Victoria Derby heat with Petes Big Jim. The gelding is a $15 chance behind the $2.50 elect Max Delight and the Menangle Park horsewoman is full of praise of her drive’s latest effort at his local track. Petes Big Jim finished fourth to Muscle Factory in the scintillating Simpson Memorial. “He went into that race 50/50 after being sore and tender on his feet and he is only a little horse but has a heart of gold to push through and go as well as he did,” said Tritton. “He went 1:50 himself and I’ll drive him conservative now as he steps up with the big boys.” ‘Team Tritton’ will be represented on home soil at Menangle on Saturday night as well with seven runners nominated. This includes Tritton’s two recent Inter Dominion campaigners My Alpha Rock and Maximan. “Maximan and Alpha are super since the trip to Victoria,” said Tritton. “We private trialled them around Menangle and they worked the mile in 1:51. “It’s not easy for them coming back to racing in that grade but we are happy with how they have come back after their campaign.” Tritton trains her team of horses with her husband Shane Tritton and they have trained 264 winners since starting their partnership in the 2016/17 season.   Some fun facts: Mile Records – Australasian: HRA’s Milestones – Pacers   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

STAR Kiwi pacer Im Pats Delight won’t back-up in the $100,000 Group 1 Ballarat Cup this weekend. Just 18 hours after his hard-fought $60,000 Group 2 Shepparton Cup win last night, trainer Cran Dalgety confirmed he would wait another week and tackle the Group 1 4YO Bonanza. “It’s about trying to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire,” Dalgety said. “We’d love to go to Ballarat, but we can’t run in everything with all the races so close together.” Dalgety said it was Gavin Lang’s amazing drive rather than Im Pats Delight’s work which won at Shepparton. “We know how good Gavin is and that was a Gavin Lang special,” he said. “You definitely want Gavin in your corner. “He didn’t cover an extra inch off ground than he needed to and made all the right moves when it mattered.” In a race of attrition, Im Pats Delight just did enough to get past a gallant Our Uncle Sam (third) and hold-off a big finish from Our Triple Play (second). Buzz pacer San Carlo sat parked in slick times and tired late for fourth in a smart 1min56.2sec mile rate for the long 2690m trip. _______________________________________________________________________________ WHIRLWIND is the best way to describe Tim Butt’s weekend. It started with the high of My Field Marshal’s superb Fremantle Cup win and continued when new stable addition Cheesy Fingers brilliantly won the Raith Memorial at Menangle. But the low came when another stable star, Let It Ride, went awfully in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup after leading and stopping to a walk. Butt has scrapped Ballarat and Hunter Cup plans and is taking Let It Ride back to his Menangle base to try and resurrect him for the Miracle Mile. “He overraced and basically choked-down,” Butt said. “It looked bad and he did stop very quickly, but he pulled-up well so that’s a relief.” Cheesy Fingers, having her first start for Butt after only landing in Sydney from NZ the day before, led throughout for stand-in driver Jimmy Rattray. “Credit to Brian Hughes, who trained her up well in NZ. It was a big effort to arrive the day before and go out and run a 1min50.3sec mile. She’s a very nice filly,” Butt said. Cheesy Fingers, a half-sister to The Orange Agent, had to dig deep to fight off a very brave Soho Nolita, who ran a mighty for second after sitting parked in such quick time. Butt said the NSW Oaks was next logical target ahead of features like the Victoria Oaks and Breeders Crown deeper into the season. _______________________________________________________________________________ A KEY scratching and gun drive helped classy trotting mare Red Hot Tooth successfully defend her Group 3 George Gath crown at Shepparton last night. When outsider Its No Dark Yet was scratched from gate one it moved the likely leader Big Jack Hammer into the pole and meant Red Hot Tooth followed him out. So astute punters unleashed, backing Red Hot Tooth from as much as $14 into $3.50 and she saluted after trailing Big Jack Hammer throughout and sprint-laning to win by 1.2m in a 1min59.8sec mile rate for 2190m. Veteran star Kyvalley Blur ran well for second, while Big Jack Hammer held on for third. Inter Dominion runner-up Sky Petite had to park throughout and a sizzling 27.6sec split down the back straight saw her weaken late for fourth. It’s clear Tornado Valley, who runs in the Cochran Cup at Ballarat next Saturday night, has the measure of those who fought-out The George Gath. So the interest centres on Kiwi raiders Marcoola and Speeding Spur to spice up the Group 1 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 26. _______________________________________________________________________________ KIWI visitor Hail Christian is enjoying his time in Sydney. Paul Court’s emerging pacer snared his most important Sydney win yet when, courtesy of a superb Blake Fitzpatrick drive, he easily won an MO at Menangle last night. Hail Christian began well from the outside draw, dropped in behind leader Alpine Stride and finished too strongly to win easily in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2300m. It was a sprint home with splits of 55.2 and 28.3sec. He’s won three of his four Aussie runs. _______________________________________________________________________________ POPULAR South Australian pacer Emain Macha won his 24th race from just 37 starts in the Italian Cup at Globe Derby last night. And he’s won four of his past. Greg Schofield’s five-year-old looked a class above his rivals and won accordingly, by 9.3m in a 1min59.2sec mile rate for 2230m.   Adam Hamilton

Paddy Lee snapped up maximum points as the concession drivers kicked off their series at Boort on Monday. He steered Keayang Goddess to victory for trainer Marg Lee in the Harness Racing Training Centre Bendigo Concession Drivers Pace, winning by a neck from reinswoman Michelle Phillips steering Cranky Franky.  The result has given us the following series standings: Paddy Lee 12 Michelle Phillips 10 Shannon O’Sullivan 9 Tommy Hill 8 Maddie Ray 7 Tayla French 6 Abbey Turnbull 5. There are three more heats in the series, with the next at Maryborough on January 17 followed by Wedderburn on January 20 and Charlton on January 31. The concession driver accumulating the most points across the five-race series will win the Central Victorian Concession Drivers Championship Trophy, as well as a $500 cash prize from the series sponsor, the Harness Racing Training Centre Bendigo.  There will also be $1500 random cash prize available to all trainers who provided horses for the concession races across the five-race series, again courtesy of the Harness Racing Training Centre Bendigo. Paul Campbell spoke with some of the participants and looked ahead to Team Teal, which begins in February and raises money for the Women's Cancer Foundation. Video link click here! The Trots

Ballarat played host to the second round heats over 1710 metres of the Inter Dominion on Tuesday December 4, where favourites prevailed in most races. PACERS: HEAT ONE David Aiken’s much improved 5Y0 Bettors Delight-Charlotte Church gelding Wrappers Delight (Kima Frenning), a short priced $1.80 chance, made full advantage of his pole line draw to lead throughout in a rate of 1-53.6 (last half 53.9 – quarter 26.1) to account for a game Tiger Tara which after starting from the extreme draw moved outside him off a three wide trail on the back of San Carlo at the bell by 1.2 metres, with first night heat winner Spankem (one/two at bell) closing late for a fast finishing third 1.1 metres back in third place after following Our Uncle Sam home three wide in the last lap. Maximan was fourth .3 metres away after trailing the winner and using the sprint lane, while San Carlo was a shade disappointing when fifth 4.9 metres off the winner when following Tiger Tara in the final circuit. HEAT TWO: Kiwi Im Pats Delight ($1.40), a 4Y0 Bettors Delight-Righteous Franco entire trained in Christchurch by Cran Dalgety and driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout from gate two in registering a soft 3.7 metre margin in advance of Cant Refuse (three back the markers) which flashed home when extricated from a pocket in the straight, Im The Boss (gate five) was strong when third a half head away after racing exposed, a half head in advance of Bad Billy which trailed the winner. In a last half of 55.5 – quarter 26.7, Im Pats Delight returned a slashing mile rate of 1-52.2. Franco Nelson (one/one – three wide last lap) was fifth 5.5 metres back just in advance of Joes Star Of Mia which followed him all of the way. HEAT THREE: First round heat winner Cruz Bromac ($1.60) continued his outstanding form with an easy 2.8 metre victory in 1-53.5 (half 55.9 – quarter 26.3). Driven by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen for the All Stars Team,  Cruz Bromac wasn’t pushed at the start from gate four on the second line settling at the tail of the field as Audi Hare (gate two) and Mach Doro (gate five) engaged in a two horse war for the front running with Audi Hare winning out. When Galactic Star (another first round winner) went forward from the extreme draw at the start to park in the open racing for the bell, Cruz Bromac was set alight to race uncovered for the last lap. Sustaining the run, Cruz Bromac was too strong in the straight, scoring by 2.8 metres from Audi Hare which battled on courageously, with Galactic Star closing late after being extricated into the clear halfway up the running third a head away. Mach Doro (three back the markers was fourth and Mattgregor fifth after trailing the winner from outside the front line.  A 7Y0 Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender gelding, Cruz Bromac registered his 19th success from 36 outings. TROTTERS – HEAT ONE: Dominion Handicap runner-up Kyvalley Blur ($6.90) returned to form after a dismal eighth to Tornado Valley on the first night to blouse his rivals by 1.7 metres in an exciting finish where five horses crossed the wire with 4.8 metres between them. Trained by Brent Lilley and driven by Chris Alford, Kyvalley Blur starting from the extreme draw settled well back in the field as Sky Petite (gate two) was able to cross Fabrication on her inside, with Illawong Armstrong (gate 3) outside the pair to eventually take control as Enrolled (gate 4) moved forward to occupy the spot outside the leader racing for the bell. Fabrication galloped shortly after the start putting himself out of business. Big Jack Hammer (one/one from gate five) eased three wide approaching the final bend to issue a challenge, while Monty Python from mid-field was four wide on straightening. Weaving in-between runners in the last lap to be four back approaching the home turn, Kyvalley Blur was extricated five wide in the straight and finished full of running to defeat Big Jack Hammer by 1.7 metres, with Sky Petite using the sprint lane to be a half neck back in third place 1.2 metres ahead of Enrolled and Kingdom Come (three back the markers). Hot favourite Maori Law was never a chance after getting buried four back the markers from inside the second line, breaking in the straight when cramped for room. A ever-reliable all American bred 11Y0 gelding by Chocolatier from Duo Val Car raced by Jim Connelly, Kyvalley Blur chalked up his 29th victory from 119 outings, returning a mile rate of 1-55.6 (last half 57.5 – quarter 28.9). HEAT TWO: There were divided opinions as to which of the two favourites would lead, with Speeding Spur ($2.10 gate five) and Tornado Valley ($2.20 from outside the front row) both brilliant beginners, but it was Tornado Valley which exploded away to cross Save Our Pennys (gate two) which led out momentarily from his ideal draw. This left Speeding Spur in the open with Rompers Monarchy (one/one), Red Hot Tooth (three back the markers) and Alderbeck three back in the moving line. Racing down the back straight on the final occasion the leading three chances drew away from their rivals, with Tornado Valley gaining a slight margin on turning. Not done with, Speeding Spur rallied in the straight, with Save Our Pennys using the sprint lane to issue a challenge, however Tornado Valley held a margin to the wire for Andy and Kate Gath to score by 2.1 metres over Save Our Pennys, with Speeding Spur a head away in third place. Tough Monarch (three wide last lap from last) was fourth six metres off Speeding Spur in fourth place. In a last half mile of 56.4 – quarter 27, Tornado Valley returned a mile rate of 1-56.1. The all important third and final round of heats over the longer trip of 2555 metres will be held at Cranbourne on Saturday.   Harness Racing Australia

A huge decision sits on the shoulders of the Inter Dominion harness racing queen and three wins in Natalie Rasmussen is unclear of one of the biggest decisions she may have to make this year: Spankem or Cruz Bromac. The All Stars pair are $4 co-favourites after two nights of TAB Inter Dominion, repeating their eye-catching first-up efforts at Tabcorp Park with a pair of impressive performances on a brilliant night’s racing at Ballarat. Having just saluted in the last of the night’s ID18 heats with Cruz Bromac Rasmussen told Sky Racing’s Jason Bonnington choosing her drive on December 15’s Inter Dominion finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton was a “out of the hat” decision. “They’re both beautiful horses,” Rasmussen said. “They both have strength and they are both tough.” Cruz Bromac was ultra-impressive in overcoming his back row draw to round up leader Audi Hare and hold off fast finishing Galactic Star to salute in 1:53.5. “That was a lovely run for him,” Rasmussen said. “He hit the line good. Last week was a good confidence builder and tonight ever better. I just went to the line nice and kind with him.” Excitement is clearly building and its shared by another renowned driver, Gavin Lang, whose Kiwi is also flying. Having caught the drive of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety’s Im Pats Delight, Lang couldn’t help but dream that the trophy missing on his shelf – a Pacing Inter Dominion – might be within arm’s length after tonight’s heat win. “I would love to win it, but it’s only run once a year and a very very hard race to win, so hopefully this might be my time,” Lang said. Racing continues with Saturday night’s third round of TAB Inter Dominion heats. Get track side and lap it up via For full results and videos click here   Trots Media - Michael Howard

Harness Racing driver Kate Gath admits to not having too many favourites. “It’s hard to be one of my favourites,” the champion reinswoman said after Tornado Valley’s scintillating 1:56.1 win tonight at Ballarat in Round 2 of the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship. Tornado Valley showed gate speed at the start to muscle his way to the top and hot speed late as he ripped home in 27 seconds for the last 400m. “This fella is up there now,” she said, naming gun pacers About To Rock and Caribbean Blaster as her two favourites so far. “Only time will tell though if he can catch the other two.” TAB shortened Tornado Valley into $2 from $2.1 following tonight’s win. To watch the video replay click on this link                   5 8:02pm TAB INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMPIONSHIP (2ND ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 2) (GROUP 3) 1710M $20,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TORNADO VALLEY NZ      Fr7 7 Andy Gath Kate Gath   $ 2.20   PRS GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 7 by SKYVALLEY NZ out of BEGIN (NZ) ()  Owner(s): N R (Norm) Jenkin  Breeder(s): P L Gaugler, T M McMillan 2 SAVE OUR PENNYS      Fr2 2 Gavin Lang Gavin Lang 2.10 $ 9.80   GS 3 USL SWAB 3 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Fr5 5 J W Dickie, J I Dickie Josh Dickie 2.60 $ 2.10 fav  PRS GS OLT 2 4 TOUGH MONARCH      Sr3 10 Rickie Alchin Rickie Alchin 8.60 $ 18.40   10 3WL 5 RED HOT TOOTH      Sr2 9 Kari Males Zac Phillips 9.20 $ 22.30   PRS 5 6 ROMPERS MONARCHY NZ      Fr6 6 J A Rando, M J Rando David Morris 10.10 $ 98.90   PRS PH 4 7 FATHER CHRISTMAS NZ      Fr3 3 Brent Lilley Greg Sugars 12.40 $ 58.50   PRU 8 8 ALDERBECK NZ      Fr4 4 Phil Williamson Anthony Butt 13.30 $ 84.30   6 9 KHEIRON      Sr1 8 Peter Lane Chris Lang 17.00 $ 114.00   PRS 9 10 OUR TWENTYTEN NZ      Fr1 1 Brent Lilley Rodney Petroff 23.20 $ 101.00   PRS 7 CMP Scratchings   CRUISIN AROUND 11 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:03:3 Mile Rate: 1:56:1 Lead Time: 6.7 First Quarter: 29 Second Quarter: 31.2 Third Quarter: 29.4 Fourth Quarter: 27 Margins: 2.1m x HD   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

The man behind Kiwi trotting star Speeding Spur says he is as interested as everybody else to find out how the first mega clash of the series unfolds at Ballarat tonight.  Because trainer-driver Josh Dickie admits he doesn’t know whether he can beat leading Aussie hope Tornado Valley as the series moves into the second round of heats.  New Zealand-trained horses won three of the Inter Dominion heats on the opening night at Melton on Saturday, with Cruz Bromac and Spankem impressive in their pacing events and Speeding Spur dominant in his trotting one.  But while the Kiwi pacers will be favoured in two of the three pacing heats over the 1710m mobile at Ballarat tonight, the second trotting heat could be the clash of the night.   Speeding Spur and Tornado Valley were so impressive winning their first night heats it is hard to envisage one of the pair not winning the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday week and punters get a sneak preview of that tonight.  While some would like to see the pair, who completely dominate the market for the final, kept apart until then to create suspense, that wouldn’t be fair on their rivals.  So they clash in the second trotting heat at 10.02pm (NZ time) tonight, with Speeding Spur having a potentially big advantage drawing barrier five while Tornado Valley will start from the outside of the front line at seven.  Both have gate speed, Tornado Valley’s probably slightly higher after his steady diet of Australian racing, but co-trainer Dickie knows what he has to do to beat his key rival.  “Obviously I want to stay in front of him from the draw,” admits Dickie.  “I think I can because my horse has good gate speed and we couldn’t have been happier with how he won on Saturday.  “He has been working really well, felt great in the race and I think his below par effort in the Dominion (two starts ago) was just an off day. “He has always loved it over here and seems happy to be back so we are confident.”The Dickies, Josh and his father John, are getting to see plenty of Tornado Valley as he is trained by Andy Gath, with who Speeding Spur is always stabled when he races in Victoria.  “He (Tornado Valley) is a lovely horse and we are no good thing to beat him,” says Dickie.  “So I suppose we are a bit like everybody else, keen to see how they match up against each other.  “But we have the advantage at the start and we will be doing our best to use it.”  Every Inter Dominion needs a wow race to set up the rest of the carnival and the early battle of the trotting series favourites could be just that, even though it will be hardly definitive as a Grand Final guide, with that group one next week over 2760m and the final’s draw probably just as important.  After tonight’s sprint heats it looks likely all three New Zealanders in the pacing series would have won at least one heat with It’s Pats Delight, who finished a brave second to Spankem on Saturday, drawn to get maximum points in his heat at 11pm. His task has been aided further by one-time series favourite Shadow Sax, who was drawn in the same heat as I’m Pats Delight, being scratched from tonight and the remainder of the series after pulling up sore after Saturday.  Cruz Bromac is a hot favourite in his heat, the final one tonight, but his $1.45 fixed odds price seems awfully short considering his second line draw.  “It is never easy to win sprint races off the second line because you really need them to slow up in the middle stages to get into the race otherwise you have to come wide late,” said trainer-driver Natalie Rasmussen.  So while he is vying for final favouritism, Cruz Bromac is too short to be betting big on tonight with luck such a factor.  Spankem races in the toughest heat of the night at 10.32pm (NZ time) and he would need to produce something special to win as he not only faces a second line draw but high class opponents in Wrappers Delight, San Carlo and Tiger Tara. Michael Guerin

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