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Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Junior harness racing reinsman Matt Anderson got his All Stars career away to the best possible start when guiding juvenile pacer Bettor With Bourbon to victory at Rangiora today. In what was his first ever drive for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Anderson sent the Bettor's Delight two-year-old to the front from barrier three before taking a trail behind favourite Western Art. He then looked flat down the back straight but under the urgings of Anderson he picked up the bit again and finished strongly along the passing lane to down Western Art by half of a length. Livura finished a further length and a half away in third. Anderson, who only started work with All Stars a fortnight ago, took up a spot with the country's leading stable after an opening appeared as a worker and junior driver earlier this month when Purdon's sons Nathan and Michael headed away on their big OE. With the encouragement of mate Nathan, Anderson was quick to, not only take up that opening, but also notch up his first winner in the bullet proof colours. Anderson, 22, returned home to Canterbury to take up the position after spending six months in the North Island working for Purdon’s brother-in-law, leading trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Anderson said that he had learned a lot from Herlihy and had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North but he had struggled for drives during his six month stint. "I was stoked to get a good opportunity for All Stars so soon after joining the stable and was pleased that I didn't let them down," beamed Anderson post-race. "Hopefully it is the first on many for the stable." "I am really enjoying working for Mark and Natalie," he added. "They have phenomenal team around them and putting on the colours certainly gives you a lot of confidence." Anderson, who looks a natural in the sulky, does not come from a racing background but gained earlier experience in harness racing through Canterbury trainers Dean Taylor and Robbie Holmes. Matt, who won his first race aboard the Robbie Holmes trained Highview Ember at Rangiora back in August of last year, has now won seven races from just 57 drives. *Bettor With Bourbon was All Stars 21st individual two-year-old winner this season. Their 20th was Big Lucy, who was successful in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat on Saturday night. By Mitchell Robertson

Luck plays a big part in harness racing. After two runs in New Zealand where she had absolutely no luck at all, Big Lucy showed tonight (26th July) in the Breeders Crown 2 year old filly heat at Ballarat why trainer Mark Purdon holds her in such high regard. After trialing outstandingly in Canterbury prior to her debut, Big Lucy was backed off the board in her first two starts in New Zealand but had no luck in the running on either occasion. But Mark Purdon knew her potential and even after those two runs, Big Lucy was on the plane to Melbourne for the Breeders Crown series. Drawing on the second line in tonights (Saturday 26th July) Breeders Crown heat, driver Chris Alford sent Big Lucy forward early when the favourite Luvumum went rough going into the first bend. Finding the front after 500 meters, Chris Alford let Big Lucy amble through to the 800 meters mark from where he upped the tempo. Big Lucy never looked out of second gear from there, cruising home a comfortable winner. Big Lucy paced the 2200 meters in 2:45.5, a mile rate of 2:01  with closing sectionals of 58.3 and 28.1. Big Lucy is yet another Australian bred horse to win for the All Stars barn this season. Bought out of the Sydney leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sale last year for $20,000, Big Lucy is from the family imported into New Zealand from North America by Nevele R Stud. She is by noted filly sire Badlands Hanover from the McArdle mare Halcyon Franco and is her dams first foal. The grand dam is Huntress Hanover 1:58.2 who is a No Nukes half sister to the champion sire Holmes Hanover. The third dam is the champion Tar Heel mare Hazel Hanover (22 wins) who was 2 year old of her year in North America. It is a noted filly family and Big Lucy looks to have inherited all the family ability. Judging by tonights win, Big Lucy looms as a major threat in the Breeders Crown series. Big Lucy Harnesslink media

Kari Males hopes to quality two fillies for the Breeders Crown semi-finals at tonight’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Males will put the harness on Bella Sainz in the seventh heat of the two-year-old fillies' division of the Crown (Race 3 at Ballarat) and last-start Vicbred Super Series final winner Niki No No in heat eight (Race 6 on the card). Despite their obvious form differences – one being a Group 1 winner and the other boasting just one placing at Shepparton in three goes to date – Males said the two fillies worked similarly at home. “Bella Sainz is Bellas Delight’s half-sister and we’ve got a pretty good opinion of her,” Males said. “She was possibly the best one early in the piece, but obviously Niki No No has shown what she’s capable of while Bella Sainz has just taken a bit more time. “Her work at home is every bit as good as Niki No No.” Greg Sugars will drive both runners and Males is thrilled with both horses’ gate draws – both drawn gate two in their respective heats. Males said she deliberately bypassed the Tatlow Stakes with Niki No No to concentrate solely on the Breeders Crown series. “We tossed up the Tatlow and in the end decided to just focus on the Breeders Crown,” she said. “She’s gone absolutely above and beyond what we initially expected early in the piece. “Her semi-final was very gutsy. We learnt a lot about her and what she’s capable of in the Vicbred series.” Males feels Niki No No has drawn the strongest heat tomorrow night, coming up against Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl. “She’s probably drawn the strongest of the heats and we know it’s not going to be an easy race. But if we don’t win it then there’s always the repechages,” Males said. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014

The 2014 Breeders Crown promises to be bigger than ever with a huge schedule of harness racing events set to showcase Australasia's premier age-restricted pacing and trotting talent. Breeders Crown Semi Finals Saturday night 16th August at Bray Raceway, Ballarat. After a successful return to the country last year, the Breeders Crown Semi's are again hosted by the Ballarat and District Trotting Club this year. Hospitality options range from a 2 course Carvery in the Draught Room for $30; or 3 courses for $35 in the Terrace restaurant or for $40 on the Finish Post. Reserve your place by calling Paul O'Donnell on 5335 9041 or email pod@ballarattrottingclub.com.au Breeders Crown Barrier Draw Sunday 17th August Legends Café, Tabcorp Park Melton Experience all the drama and the tension of the Breeders Crown Barrier Draw. Book yourself a table in the Bistro or grab a quick bite in the Legends Café where all the action will take place. For Bistro bookings call 8746 0600. Breeders Crown Gala Dinner Thursday Night 21st August Toolern Room, Tabcorp Park Melton Fast becoming one of the social events of the year, the Breeders Crown Gala dinner is the ultimate place to be seen during Breeders Crown week. Featuring a live band and three-course dinner with beverages for just $75, you'll dance the night away in preparation for one of our greatest race days while listening to the good oil from the major players and form experts. For bookings please contact Jackie Dobson at Tabcorp Park on 8746 0604 or email jdobson@tabcorppark.com.au Breeders Crown Finals A Race Day for the Ages, Sunday 24th August Tabcorp Park Melton. Tabcorp Park comes alive for the biggest day of Group 1 racing on the calendar as the stars of the Trots battle it out for the Breeders Crown. Enjoy a premium 3-course buffet luncheon, afternoon tea and beverages in the exclusive Toolern Room for $110 or feast on the Home Straight Bistro buffet for just $75. For bookings please contact Jackie Dobson at Tabcorp Park on 8746 0604 or email jdobson@tabcorppark.com.au  

Top harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety has complete faith in his star two-year-old filly Katy Perry. That is why he has allowed her to bypass this weekend’s ABC heats for two-year-old fillies at Ballarat after what was a taxing week for the Group Two Tatlow Stakes winner. “She was a wee bit down after the flight over and having raced last week,” Dalgety said on his Kentuckiana Lodge website. “But because we started in the heat at Cambridge (second to Joanne’s A Delight, July 10) she’s eligible for a Repechage on August 6, so we’ll hold back for that,” he added. The risk in that is that if Katy Perry doesn’t win her repechage her Breeders Crown bid will come to an abrupt end, but if her dominant front running display in last week’s Tatlow Stakes at Melton is anything to go by that shouldn’t be a problem. After working through from her second-line draw, driver Dexter Dunn soon had Katy Perry up challenging for the lead. Dunn then gave her a nice run in front, holding her back to the field before releasing the hand-brake at the 200 metres, allowing the Bettor’s Delight filly to roar away for a comprehensive win. One person who will be particularly pleased with Dalgety’s decision to bypass this weekend’s round of heats for two-year-old fillies is fellow New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon, who has Big Lucy engaged in the first heat of the night. The Badlands Hanover filly, who was desperately unlucky in her first two starts when unable to find clear racing room on both occasions, has remarkably drawn one on the second-line for the third time in a row, however this time she has no horses drawn on her outside so driver Chris Alford should have no problem getting her away from the fence. From there you can expect the talented filly, who was brilliant at the trials prior to making her race debut, to prove too classy for her seven rivals and progress through to the semi-finals with no qualms. By Mitchell Robertson  

Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars has a high opinion of his in-form four-year-old Bettor Rock On. And why shouldn’t he? Since arriving Down Under from New Zealand, the son of Bettors Delight is three from three after two wins at Ballarat and one at Warragul. Bettor Rock On will contest the first of two heats of the Tabcorp Park Melton Winter Championship over 1720m on Friday night. At his most recent outing Bettor Rock On sat in the breeze to win at Ballarat over 2200m in a mile rate of 1:58.9, arguably never leaving second gear in defeating Arr En Special by 3.9m. “Under their handicapping system in New Zealand he was running into the very best too soon,” Sugars said. “We’re friends with the owners so they sent him over to us and I couldn’t be happier with having him.” In New Zealand Bettor Rock On was forced to take on the likes of top-class free-for-all gun Franco Nelson. And he wasn’t getting beaten far in those sorts of races. Bettor Rock On led and won at Warragul two starts back, beating Baccarat by 6.2m. Baccarat has since gone on to win at Kilmore, franking the form. “He’s such a lovely and relaxed racehorse and he’s very adaptable to circumstances and the tempo of any particular race,” Sugars said. “He’s also got a very good burst of speed, so there’s no real set running pattern for him, which makes the driver’s life a hell of a lot easier.” Sugars predicted Bettor Rock On would make a strong country cups horse next season. “The plan is for him to go right through the grades,” he said. The Hopetoun Park trainer has La Machane in the Harness Breeders Vic Jane Ellen on Friday night, but he admits defeating New South Welsh star Frith will be a tough task for the mare. “Last start was a shockingly slowly run race. She went 55.1 for the last half,” he said. “She’s going really well. “The bad draw makes it difficult on Friday night. Frith probably leads and history says she’ll be left alone.” The Sugars stable will also be represented by Illawong Magic in the first race, Mulgrave in the third and Quite A Moment in the seventh. Daylight Dan is an emergency in Race 8. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Kiwi-bred pacer Bettor Rock On could be a star of the future in trotting after a highly impressive victory in the Poggaharness.com Traralgon Pacing Cup last Monday afternoon. Allowed to stride away in the straight after finding the lead early in the event, Bettor Rock On had too much in ability for his rivals and pulled clear to run a fast 1:59.5 mile rate on the rain affected track. After a short-priced win at Ballarat nine days earlier, Bettor Rock On started at the almost unbackable odds of $1.10 for the win with the TAB in the Traralgon Pacing Cup. For trainer Ross Sugars and his driver son Greg, it was their first victory in the race. Greg Sugars commented at the post-race presentation that he now has a Traralgon Cup trophy to sit alongside the Warragul Cup he has at home after a win with Johnorama in 2012. Bettor Rock On won seven races in New Zealand before his owners there elected to send him across the Tasman. There is no doubt that with the professional polish of the Sugars' camp Bettor Rock On should win further races. His sire Bettors Delight also produced the second placed Cup runner, Baccarat. Greg Sugars and fellow top driver Chris Alford shared much of the spoils at the Monday meeting, and are locked in a close battle for the Warragul Drivers' Premiership with two meetings remaining in the current racing season. Sugars won earlier in the program with Dreamtime Spirit in the two-year-old. Alford also collected a double on Monday, both at long odds. Louisiana Spring and Now And Forever both got under the guard of many punters in their respective events. Evergreen 14-year-old pacer Mister Douglas won the first race of the day, at start 267. He passed the $250,000 stakemoney milestone in the process. Racing returns to Warragul on Monday, July 21.

Ballarat stock agent Bill Middleton has been involved with the greyhound industry for most of his life, but through an association with Lawrence trainer Ken Whelan was enticed to take a share in a standardbred mare named Djasker last year. Djasker, a six-year-old daughter of Wind Cries Maori and Tachometer, after winning races at two, three and four years old when in the Ross Graham stable, broke through for her first win since September 2012 when successful in the Morning Melodies Book Now Trotters Handicap at Kilmore on Saturday night. In what was the drive of the night by Daryl Douglas, Djasker stepped safely from 10m, avoiding several gallopers to settle four back in the running line with Conchs Critter showing her usual manners to pint straight to the front from barrier five. Making a lightning move to park outside the leader racing for the bell, Douglas controlled the race for the final circuit allowing Djasker to surge to the front on the final bend. Driven vigorously in the straight, Djasker held on to score by a half-head in a thrilling finish over 40m back marker Salute The Wind, with Im Anonymous close up third in a mile rate of 2:08.0 on a rain-affected track. Raced in partnership with Bill, Merna Whelan and Peter Watson, all are hopeful that Djasker will now make her way through the grades. By Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan experienced a rollercoaster ride at the track last weekend, with a brilliant winning double on Friday night at Melton followed by a fall at Ballarat 24 hours later. “I’m a bit sore,” Quinlan said of the fall from Sir Hutchy in the Kirsten New Pace, when her horse ran into the back of a fiercely galloping Bettor Downunder. Despite the bumps and bruises, Quinlan was back in the sulky during the week and has a strong book of drives this Friday night. Punters are likely to judge Quinlan's best winning chance to be Sunset Invasion in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final (Group 2) over 2240m. The five-year-old gelding by Last Sunset was the most impressive heat winner last Friday night, recording a mile rate of two minutes even and a 58.7secs last half to lead all the way and defeat Unico Pegasus by 4.9m. Despite leading throughout a week ago, Quinlan said Sunset Invasion was “better driven with a sit”. She said the Holmfield and Derby winner as a three-year-old was now ready to take the next step. “He’s a really nice horse and he’s going really well. I don’t think the draw is going to be too much of a problem on Friday night. I wouldn’t swap my bloke for anything.” Earlier on the card Quinlan will kick off her night aboard Glenferrie Dreamer, which found the line strongly first-up at Maryborough. “He’s up a long way in class but we were happy with the first-up run. Craig’s got him in this because he needs to keep him ticking over, but he’s drawn well and hopefully will run well.” Quinlan then pilots last-start winner Glenferrie College in the Alabar Pace over 1720m. The four-year-old son of Mcardle stunned most punters last time out at Maryborough when he won at $22, but Quinlan said he should never been that price. “You had to put the pen through the two runs beforehand,” Quinlan said. “His run three starts before at Melton had been terrific. He’s definitely going a lot better than his form might suggest. He ran good time the other day.” Glenferrie College went 1:55.5 with a last half in 57.1secs, finishing strongly from back in the field after sitting solo three-wide. The Quinlan/Demmler team will have two runners in the Woodlands Stud Pace, Essbee Doubleyou drawn gate two and Lombo Flashlight in five. “I was really happy with Lombo Flashlight’s first-up run. Fitness wise he’ll be improved and he certainly can win. “The other one (Essbee Doubleyou) is drawn to lead and it was a super run last time, so he should go well, too.” And the stable has Our Eastwood Cullen in the last race, the Junction Hotel Claiming Pace, drawn inside the back row. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Millionaire pacer Highview Tommy is set to try his hand at stud. And where better to do so than alongside his famous sire Bettor’s Delight at Woodlands? A natural talent right from day one, Highview Tommy was purchased out of the Ready-To-Run Sale for $200,000 after recording the quickest last half of the day. Just a few months later, under the guidance of Mark Purdon, he won the $100,000 Welcome Stakes and the $200,000 2YO Harness Jewels, which was more than enough to see him crowned New Zealand 2yo of the season in his freshman year. As a 3yo he was the winner of the Southern Supremacy Stakes, was placed second in the 3yo Sales Series Final and was placed third in the 3YO Sires Stakes Final. A resilient type, Highview Tommy remarkably won $100,000 in each racing season from the time he stepped on to the track until the end of his 7YO season. Among his career highlights was the 2012 Group One Ballarat Cup, where he came with a potent finishing burst to down the legendary Australian pacer Smoken Up and the extremely talented Sushi Sushi, who was shooting 17 straight victories. Some of his other major victories included wins in the Superstars Championship, Invercargill Cup, Franklin Cup, Manukau Summer Cup, The Pure Steel, and the Interdominion Consolation. He also placed twice in the New Zealand Cup behind none other than Terror To Love, and set a New Zealand record of 3-08.5 for a 2600 metre mobile when smashing his rivals on Cup Day of 2009. Highview Tommy raced against the best and defeated the best during his career. Included in this list are fellow sires Changeover, Stunin Cullen, and Tintin N America. They say the apple never falls far from the tree and that is definitely the case with Bettor’s Delight and Highview Tommy. Highview Tommy has inherited nearly all of his father’s characteristics including his dark colour and powerful frame. He is without a doubt his father’s son. Highview Tommy, who is out of Christian Cullen mare Baptism Of Fire, is bred on the ‘Golden cross’ which has proved potent right throughout Australasia. Others bred on this cross include Group and Listed winners Bettor’s Strike, Gold Ace, Ohoka Punter, Texican, Dancing Diamonds, Arden’s Darlin, and Pembrook’s Delight. Highview Tommy, who quickly became a ‘crowd favourite’ on the racetrack, is now set to be a ‘Breeders’ favourite’ with a service fee of NZ$3,000 plus GST or A$3,300 for the upcoming breeding season.  Woodlands Stud is also happy to confirm a price freeze for the World’s best stallion Bettor’s Delight for the 2014/15 season. His service fee will be $ 12,500 plus GST. AUD$ 13,750 GST INC.  American Ideal, who is having a big impact down under, especially in Australia, will stand at $8,000 plus GST (AUD$8,800), while Group One winning trotting stallion Pegasus Spur will stand at $3,000 plus GST (AUD$3,300). Frozen semen will again be available from Crazed for $5,000 plus GST (AUD$5,500) payable on live foal. For New Zealand inquires contact Woodlands NZ agent – Hazel van Opzeeland – nzagent@woodlandsstud.co.nz 021 595 492 or 0800 117 883 Australian inquires to Woodlands Australian Agent – Mark Hughes on 0451650707 or email markhughes@woodlandsstud.co.nz By Mitchell Robertson

The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

A small but select field will vie for the $30,505 Group 2 John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup at Ballarat tomorrow night. While only five runners will line up in the 2200m race after the scratching of Cold Sister, there are winning form lines aplenty for punters to think their way through. The expected favourite is New South Wales visitor Keystone Del from gate two. The six-year-old boasts a five-win streak and dug deep to hold off tomorrow night’s polemarker, Spidergirl, two starts back at Cranbourne. Keystone Del is tipped to find the lead again with Spidergirl most likely holding his back, making for a potential carbon copy situation from Cranbourne. Spidergirl, from the David Aiken stable with Chris Alford in the spider, has gate speed and has won three of her last four starts – including a 1.8m win over Brunelleschi in the Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton on May 2. Brunelleschi has drawn gate four tomorrow night for Amy Tubbs. The son of Tennotrump has only been unplaced four times in 24 starts with 12 wins to his name. Two starts back he overcame a wide draw to win at Melton over Sunset Invasion before a tough effort for third when forced to work in the run last time out. Aleppo Midas is drawn widest of the five runners tomorrow night and will be hoping to bounce back after throwing her chances away last start when fourth to Spidergirl after breaking in the score up. She had won three races leading into that event with victories over Cold Sister, Brunelleschi and Shes An Image. The longshot of tomorrow night’s field is likely to be five-year-old mare Waikare Sunset from the Graham McDermott stable at Nagambie. The daughter of Last Sunset finished 3.1m second to Spidergirl in the La Coocaracha Trot in April but hasn’t been able to fire in three runs since. Another highlight for patrons at Ballarat will be the running of two heats of the Young Drivers Challenge (Races 2 and 3). Rebecca Bartley made a perfect start to the series at Shepparton on Thursday night, winning the first two races after producing impressive drives. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The marbles have fallen the way of David Aiken ahead of Friday night's Group 2 University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship at Melton's Tabcorp Park. The Avenel trainer has two runners in the event, with Lennytheshark likely to start tote elect for driver Chris Alford after snaring the coveted pole position at this morning's barrier draw. Lennytheshark, a four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, has returned to the track in great nick this year, winning his past two starts in impressive style. Last time out at Melton he clocked a mile rate of 1:55.7 and won by over 10m, the triumph coming a week after a first-up 22.1m victory over Sapphire Swayze on May 9. Stable-mate Cold Major will start from barrier three on Friday night with Joshua Aiken in the sulky. The five-year-old Art Major horse was shooting for three wins on the trot last start against a supremely talented field, eventually having to settle for fourth behind Wartime Sweetheart, Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up. Kerryn Manning's in-form gelding Gotta Go Yanky will be looking to register his fourth win on the trot and has drawn barrier two for the Championship. The son of American Ideal was too strong for Highview Conall last time out in 1:55.5. Petstock Ballarat Cup hero Restrepo has drawn four for his resumption to racing, the Emma Stewart-trained talent to be driven by Gavin Lang. Dean Braun will have three runners in the nine-horse field, Inky Cullen (barrier five), Magical Telf (barrier seven) and Chilli Palmer (barrier nine). Daryl Douglas will drive the Allan McDonough-trained last-start Maryborough winner Classy Guy from position six, while the inside-back-row draw has gone to Michael Barby-trained, Daylesford pacer It Is Billy, to be driven by Anne-Maree Conroy. The University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship will be run at 8.14pm. Two Group 1 races highlight Friday night's card at Melton, with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for 2YO trotting fillies and 2YO trotting colts and geldings to be contested. The first race on the mammoth 11-event programme is scheduled for 5.02pm. Fields for Friday night can be found here: http://www.harness.org.au/fields.cfm?mc=MX300514 By CODY WINNELL

TALENTED four-year-old Tasmanian pacer Pachacuti is heading to the Breeders Crown series later this year and his trainer Barrie Rattray is confident the gelding can realise the goal. Pachacuti notched his third win for the season in the Col Saunders Memorial Brighton Cup over 2579 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last Sunday night. The four-year-old gelded son of Bettors Delight face the breeze for a short while before rolling to the front and he went on to score comfortably from Our Chain of Command and Biggernbettermax. Pachacuti clocked a mile rate of 2m.00.19 and cruised home his last half mile (800m) in 59.7 seconds. Rattray said Pachacuti was doing everything he expected at this stage of his preparation with the Ascot Gold Cup his next mission in Hobart on Sunday. "The Ascot Gold Cup looks a nice race for him so we'll head back to Hobart on Sunday," Rattray said. "But it isn't going to be easy withy his preparation for the Breeders Crown in August because there aren't many suitable races for him in Tasmania in the weeks leading up to the Breeders Crown heats," he said. Pachacuti produced some sensational runs in the 3YO Breeders Crown series last season wining a semi-final at Ballarat before he finished a game second to boom NZ three-year-old Bit Of A Legend in the Group 1 final at Melton. Since he returned from a stint in NSW with Barrie's son James, Pachacuti has won three of his four starts on home soil. By Peter Staples

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

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