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Respected harness racing trainer Joe Pace admits it is getting harder to “keep a lid on the excitement” regarding promising pacer Lucky Vc. Speaking after the gelding’s victory at Ballarat last night, Pace believes Lucky Vc is capable of making his way to metropolitan company. “He is a pretty nice horse and there is a lot to like about him,” Pace said. “At this stage he just has no idea of what he is doing, but is getting better with every start. “I reckon he can win in town further down the track, but for now I will just keep taking it slowly with him and take it one run at a time. “I’ve learned all-too-well during the years you can’t plan too far ahead with horses no matter what kind of opinion you have of them.” Driven by top reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, Lucky Vc was caught three-wide early before settling outside the leader, Joelissa. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, the son of Washington Vc was untouched as he cruised to an eight-and-a-half metre win from Masterofthurles, with Citysneak a metre-and-a-half away third. “This race was for female drivers, so I booked Jodi nice and early,” Pace said. “Jodi has achieved so much in the sport, but I still feel she is somewhat underrated. “When she was establishing herself it was harder for a young girl than it is now. Jodi doesn’t get the accolades she deserves.” Covering the last half in 56.5 seconds, Lucky Vc rated 1:57.4 for the 1710 metres, taking his record to two wins and six placings from 10 starts since crossing the Tasman. “Like I said, he still doesn’t know what it’s all about, which is something Jodi also said when she came back to scale,” Pace said. “As he matures and gains experience he should be a pretty handy horse. “I will put him around next week then he will have a fortnight off before working his way slowly through the classes.” PAUL COURTS

Brent Lilley, who dominated Saturday night's Great Southern Star harness racing program at Melton, enjoyed another big night tonight with a winning double at Bray Raceway, Ballarat. The Bolinda trainer won Races 1 and 5, combining with gun driver Anthony Butt for the pair. Flying McPocket rated 1:58.6 over 2200 metres in the Flying Horse Bistro Pace, the four-year-old McArdle / Fleets Pocket mare scoring by 2.5m over Wingofwaves at juicy odds of $11.90. Polemarker Jilliby Diablo and Greg Sugars had sufficient gate speed to hold out an early challenge from Mister McKinnon (gate five) and Michael Sullivan, the latter able to jag on to the leader’s back for the box-seat trip. Flying McPocket settled third-last in the running line as they negotiated the first 600m in 43.5. The $1.30 favourite, Our Petite Soeur, was in the breeze from virtually the get-go for Gavin Lang from gate three. Opening quarters of 30.9 and 30.4 made for a 61.3 first half, the leaders getting their chance. A 28.3 third quarter was clocked as the favourite made its move, moving up to eyeball the leader at the home turn. But when Lang asked the punter’s fancy for her maximum effort she failed to offer much resistance, Flying McPocket sprouting wings out wide. Flying McPocket showed a tremendous burst to win (last half-mile 57.2), with Wingofwaves also finding the line strongly down the outside in second place. Mister McKinnon ran third with Jilliby Diablo fourth and Our Pete Soeur fifth. The second leg of Lilley’s double came in the fifth race, Sazzasophie saluting in the Heinz and Partners 3YO Pace over 2200m in 2:01.7. The filly by Art Major from I Izz Sassy came out of gate two and was able to angle on to the back of early leader Bella Sainz (the $3.10 favourite) for a slipstream after about 100m. With Zac Phillips in the cart Bella Sainz paced the first half in 64.2, Michelle Wight aboard the death-seating Ithappensinvegas content to let her runner amble along without putting too much pressure on the pacemaker to the 500m, before trying to take closer order when Siliqua (David Murphy) made his advance three-wide-no-cover. Upping the ante through a 29.6 third quarter, Bella Sainz tried to skip clear at the top of the stretch but wasn’t able to, the inside run appearing for Sazzasophie as Ithappensinvegas worked to a narrow lead, the Lilley filly too strong in the last 50m for a 2.2m win. Ithappensinvegas showed character to dead-heat for second from the breeze at big odds, with Ears No Trouble (John Caldow) the other runner-up. Ross Creek trainer Stephen Clarke won Race 2, the T J Coutts Electrical Trotters Handicap with five-year-old Bacardi Lindy / Downsouth Rose gelding William John in a rate of 2:03.4 for the 2200m stand-start trip. Emma Stewart combined with Amanda Turnbull for victory with Starburst Girl in the R U Advertising Pace, the Art Major / Celebrity Ball filly rating 1:54.8 for the 1710m journey to beat Lucky VC by 1.9m. Debutant Time Keepa Lombo produced a peach of a debut for trainer/driver David Miles to salute in the Newington Physiotherapy 2YO Vicbred Pace, the colt by Lombo Pocket Watch out of Lady Muluka Lombo overcoming a couple of checks in running for a half-neck win over Undercover Don in 1:58.9 from the ace draw over 1710m. Zac Phillips drove Uroc Mman to a 1.7m victory as $2.80 favourite in the National Tiles Pace over 2200m, the five-year-old by Mach Three out of Executive Lady rating 1:59.4 from barrier nine. David Lewis-trained American Ideal / Atomic Fusion entire The Fat Man showed again that he’s got top-class potential with a 5.1m win over Dentona in the MDS Accounting Pace over 2200m. John Caldow drove The Fat Man to victory in a rate of 1:57.7, leading from start to finish after coming out of the two-gate. The other highly rated horse in the field, Clark Griswold, came in fourth for reinsman Matthew Craven after working to the breeze in the middle stages from the second line. And Chris Svanosio trained-and-driven four-year-old Majestic Son / Steffi Jay trotter Majestic Ess Jay won the Cantebury International Trot to close the program in a rate of 2:04.7. >> Check out all the Ballarat results and video replays by Cody Winnell

It appears the latest star in one of harness racing’s most successful families was unearthed at Ballarat yesterday. Trained by power couple Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Celebrity Guest made an impressive debut, suggesting she is heading towards the top like so many of her relatives. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, the two-year-old led throughout in 1:58.2 for the 1710-metre trip when accounting for Missing Mary and Diamond Jasper. By Mach Three, the filly is the fourth winner from Celebrity Ball, which scored at four of her 15 starts. Celebrity Ball is from broodmare sensation Larrakeyah Lady, the dam of nine winners from 10 starters. Larrakeyah Lady’s foals include Safe And Sound, Massarua, Gold Rocket and The Good Times, with the latter a stablemate of Celebrity Guest. Lifeline – a daughter of Larrakeyah Lady – boasts six winners from nine starters, including Lovelist, which has won six of her 12 starts, and Punchline, which was also triumphant for Stewart and Tonkin at Ballarat. Lifeline’s daughter, Secret Life, has five winners from six starters, including Group One winners Beauty Secret and Major Secret. The clan also includes Doubter, Jazzam, Next Bonus, By My Side, Star Bonus, Lucky Punch, Quizzical, Dieing Secret, Exciteusinthecity, Firebomb, Ben Cartwright, Cyclone George and Paintball. As for Celebrity Guest she has been aimed towards key features such as the Vicbred Super Series and Australasian Breeders’ Crown. “She is a pretty nice filly, which will get better as she goes along,” Stewart said. “She is eligible for some of the better races, so that’s the way we will head and see how she goes.” PAUL COURTS

Cancelled due to heavy rain, last night’s Tontine Pacers’ Final has been rescheduled. With constant downpour making the Ballarat circuit unfit for competition, Harness Racing Victoria stewards abandoned the meeting. As such, the Tontine Final has been shifted to Sunday, February 22. The field and barrier draw will remain the same, with scratchings reinstated. The A.J. Prendergast Memorial Oaks Trial will be re-scheduled to a later date, with an announcement is expected early next week. The storm also hit Melton pretty hard, including a local creek breaking its bank. As for the world class circuit at Tabcorp Park, it has coped well with the downpour and is expected to be in top condition for tonight’s stellar meeting. Heading the action is the Inter Dominion heat, with rising star Lennytheshark the favourite from barrier three. PAUL COURTS

She might bear closer resemblance to a pony than a quality harness racing performer, but ‘pocket sized’ filly Du Vella is all class according to trainer Geoff Webster. The Kiwi-bred daughter of Courage Under Fire – known as “Mighty Mouse” during his racing days – will be a key player Friday night’s $15,000 AJ Prendergast Memorial Oaks Trial at Ballarat. Webster acknowledges his youngster faces tough opposition in the time-honoured 2200-metre event, which was first run in 1981 and has produced winners the calibre of Bellas Delight, Jadah Rose, Ashlees Babe and Jasmarilla. However, the accomplished Bannockburn horseman is confident Du Vella, which is aiming for her fourth consecutive win, can more than hold her own despite an unfashionable barrier 11 draw. “She’s a lovely filly,” Webster said.  “She only came over here from New Zealand last season and she’s going very well. “She has progressed through the grades to C2 class quite quickly and I’m really happy with the way she’s developing. She gives me every reason to think she’ll measure up against the best of her age.” The Oaks Trial provides a launching pad into a raft of features, most immediately heats of the New South Wales Oaks to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 21. The $200,000 Group One Final will be staged at the same venue on March 1 – Inter Dominion day. “New South Wales is our main target at present, so the Ballarat race will give us a better guide to her chances against the good fillies,” Webster said. “That said, she came off a quick speed to beat a smart field at Melton a couple of starts back after being held up and I do believe she’s a really nice horse. “She seems to go best when driven sit-sprint and she’s going to need to get the right run into the race from her draw, but I think she’s capable.” Webster has also qualified recent Kiwi import Angus T Jones for the second of Friday night’s features, the $30,000 Group Three Flying Horse Bistro Tontine Pacers’ Series Final, but does not fancy his chances of notching an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the prized provincial championship. Webster trained and drove Charlie Machsheen to win the race in 2013 and prepared Flaming Flutter, which was partnered to victory by Greg Sugars, in 2014. “Angus T Jones is honest, but I think he’ll struggle in that field,” Webster said. “It’s a super line-up and on paper they look like they’re better than him. “He had every chance when third in a heat of the series at Hamilton (beaten 23 metres) last start and Friday night’s opposition is stronger again so I’d say the best we can hope for is a place.” Dominant Smythes Creek training duo Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart look to have one hand on the Tontine trophy, preparing leading hopefuls Another Safari and Major Secret. Another Safari will begin from barrier three, with New South Wales Derby winner, Major Secret, to come out of 10. Ballarat Media

Write-off Beautide at your own peril.  That’s the warning from trainer-driver James Rattray after a sparkling trial win at Ballarat yesterday (Saturday).  Despite going into one of the all-time strongest Victoria Cup fields first-up for nine weeks, Rattray thinks Beautide is a major winning chance.  “It’s not just how well he went in the trial, but how well he came through it. He’s fit, he’s very, very fit,” he said.  “He’s one of the horses you can really have screwed down with trackwork and trials rather than definitely needing racing.  “In an ideal world I’d have had a lead-up run, but that wasn’t an option so I’ve really poured the work into him and I’m really happy with where’s at.  “I’m not going there thinking he needs the run. I’m going there thinking he’s a big winning chance if we get the right sort of run.”  Rattray stressed Beautide’s setbacks since the Miracle Mile had both been only minor.  “It’s not lost he’s missed a big chunk of work. He’s gotten over both bugs really quickly. He had a really good foundation of fitness before it, too,” he said.  “I know this is a heck of a strong Victoria Cup, but Beautide’s shown how good he is when he’s at his top and I think he’s very, very close to his top.”  Rattray is also thankful the Victoria Cup is a relatively short race at 2240m.  “It’s better than trying to go into a 3000m race first-up,” he said. “2240m around Melton is not much more than a sprint. He’s ready for it.”  Beautide began well in his Ballarat trial then took a sit on Emma Stewart’s high-class mare Beauty Secret. While Victoria Cup favourite Guaranteed sat back off them and was happy to follow them.  “I popped off Beauty Secret’s back and let my guy run down the home straight. They flew. I’m told they ran home in 53.3 and 26sec flat,” Rattray said.  “I just grabbed Beauty Secret by a head on the line. Gee that mare went well – she’s one to follow for sure.”  Rattray said the timing of the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion heat (February 14) would allow him to prime Beautide for the gruelling 3009m of his defence in the Inter Dominion final at Menangle on March 1. Adam Hamilton - Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

Boom pacer Messini will continue his low-ley approach to some of harness racing’s main events when he competes at Ballarat tomorrow night. Transferred to Victorian trainer Brent Lilley several weeks ago, the former New Zealander will tackle an M0-M1 Final on the Group One Pacing Cup program. Although the son of Art Major established a national record when successful in the Junior Free-For-All at Addington last month, Lilley is “in no hurry to tackle the top pacers”. Instead, Lilley will limit Messini to age-restricted events such as the Four-Year-Old Bonanza, Chariots Of Fire, Vicbred and Breeders’ Crown series. “He showed in New Zealand he is up to the top ones, but he is still only four and has got a lot of racing ahead of him,” Lilley said. “There are plenty of races for his age to keep him busy for the season. “Although the temptation is there, I’m in no hurry to tackle the top pacers when we can find great options against his own age during the rest of the season.” Despite his awkward second row draw, Messini is a clear favourite, with Lilley confident the rising star can continue his Aussie winning streak. Messini was unbeaten from five outings last term, including the Vicbred Super Series Final. The entire then scored first-up for Lilley at Cranbourne last weekend. “The draw isn’t the best and there are a few handy ones in the field, but he is good enough to overcome it,” Lilley said. “It’s not so much that he needs luck, he just can’t afford any bad luck from the back line. “After this he will have a few easy days, then work towards the Four-Year-Old Bonanza at Melton on Hunter Cup night.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander is hoping for an early house warming present at Ballarat on Saturday night. Molander has star trotter Keystone Del engaged in the V L Dullard Cup, with a win the ideal way to celebrate her move to Victoria. Molander and her family will exit New South Wales for their newly purchased Riddells Creek property next week. With the move – and her three children - keeping her busy, Molander’s husband, Dean, will head to Ballarat with Keystone Del. “It certainly would be a great way to kick off the week we move to Victoria,” Molander said. “It’d be a nice house warming gift. “It’s a busy time for us with the move and racing, so Dean will head down while I take care of things on the home front.” Despite his awkward second row draw, Keystone Del has been installed a prohibitive $1.70 favourite in his bid for an 11th consecutive victory. Fresh from his triumph in last weekend’s Bill Collins Mile, Keystone Del has “trained on well” according to Molander. “I am very happy with his condition,” Molander declared. “He has trained on well since last weekend and will be at his peak for the Dullard Cup. “The draw is not the best, but from there he can hopefully be pushed through at the start, if not, at least he hasn’t drawn on the pegs and can get into the running line early. “With My High Expectation being scratched it makes it easier also.” Following his Group One engagement, the son of Dr Ronerail will be kept fresh ahead of targets such as the Australian Grand Prix, Glenferrie Farm Challenge and Great Southern Star. PAUL COURTS

Emotions were running high for Burrumbeet harness racing trainer David Magri at Ballarat last Friday night. Registering a drought-breaking victory with Columbias Deejay, Magri experienced a father-and-son moment on two levels…firstly as a son and also as a father. As he crossed the line with the son of Bacardi Lindy, Magri’s thoughts were with his father, Charlie, who passed away in July. “Dad said all along this horse could go a bit,” Magri said. “He knew it was just a matter of him putting it together. “When we were crossing the line, Dad was the first person I thought of as I knew he was looking down and smiling.” Magri’s pride was also extended to his sons, Declan and Jasper, who the horseman named the trotter after. “The Deejay part is after my boys,” Magri said. “So the win is very much about them as well. It was an emotion and satisfying win in many ways. “That said, I told me daughter, Jamiel, the next one will be named after her, so it better also win or I’m in trouble!” Beaten for early speed from the pole, Columbias Deejay was angled away from the pegs to gain the perfect trail as Sammy Charles worked to the lead and Ruby Victory occupied the ‘death seat’. Angled three-wide leaving the back straight, Columbias Deejay was ‘nursed’ around the turn before being slipped more rein. Responding brilliantly during the latter stages, the gelding completed a two-and-a-half metre win from Sammy Charles, with Coimadai Lodge three-and-a-half metres away third. “Although he was travelling well when I pulled him out down the back, I was more concerned about keeping him balanced on the turn,” Magri declared. “I knew I had the leader covered, and once he straightened, he finished it off strongly. “Like I said, Dad really liked him from the start, but he’s still green and doesn’t know what he’s doing out there. “He’s a four-year-old, but that was only his eleventh start and should get better as he gains more experience.” Rating 2:04 for the 2200 metres, Columbias Deejay provided Magri with his first success since scoring with Myrniongfirecracker in December 2012. “It’s been a while between drinks,” Magri declared. “I reckon this bloke can win another few races, so hopefully it won’t be so long before the next win.” PAUL COURTS

It is hard enough for any harness racing competitor to win first-up from a spell. While some stars – such as Guaranteed and Elegant Image – can accomplish the feat, victories after breaks are rare in any class or gait. It’s even rarer to see a trainer produce a winner during its return from a two-year break. So to have that exact feat achieved three times on the one card is unheard of. Yet that’s what happened at Ballarat last Friday night, when two pacers and a trotter scored at their first outings since 2012! Astute mentor Colin Redwood was the first to showcase his excellent horsemanship when Spiceman won at his initial start since October 30, 2012. Driven by Ashley Matthews, Spiceman led throughout to account for Outofthefire and Ruby Victory in 2:01.1 for the 1710 metress What made the triumph even more impressive is the fact the six-year-old only had two previous starts, where he finished at the tail of the field. Wallis King then repeated the dose for trainer Beau Tindale at his first appearance since May 2012. A high-priced two-year-old, Wallis King previous start was the Australian Pacing Gold Consolation at Albion Park. Now five, the gelding set the pace from barrier five before beating Mister Eurasian and Wingofwaves. Thrilled with the effort, Tindale believes Wallis King is capable of making up for lost time providing his troubled tendons don’t cause problems. “He damaged his tendons in both front legs, with vets saying he would never race again,” Tindale said. “A lot of work, including stem cell treatment, has been put into getting him back to the races. “I don’t get nervous with my horses before the race, but I was that nervous with him I almost couldn’t watch him go around. “On class he was always going to be too good for that field, and if he can stay sound, he’ll get to metropolitan grade. “He’s pulled up fine, so now we just press on.” Heading North then rounded out the amazing occurrence for Daryl Weightman when he scored from Make A Fuss and All Honour, with Weightman’s son, Nathan, in the sulky. Another which was sidelined with tendon problems, Heading North’s absence was also extended by two broken legs. The snapped limbs, however, belonged to the Weightmans. “He did his offside front tendon and was out for a while, then not long after I had him back in work, I busted my leg, so he went back into the paddock,” Daryl explained. “Nathan decided to get his licence so he could work them up, but then he broke his leg as well, so the horse was put aside once more. “During that time, he also got a bout of sand colic, which is when the stomach is filled with sand, which made him pretty crook.” With no major plans in mind for the son of John Street North, Weightman will ease Heading North into harder targets. “If he can keep going I reckon he can win an M0,” Weightman said. “Other than that, I’ve got nothing picked out for him.” In an effort which would normally be the stand out performance of the night, Michelle Wight produced Myrniongfirecracker to win at his first start for 13 months. Leading throughout from the pole, the son of Safe And Sound also broke a 22-month drought from the winners’ circle. Keeping in with the evening’s trend, Abettorpunt and Roy George were successful at their returns from ‘traditional’ spells. PAUL COURTS

Friday night’s Laser Electrical Ballarat Lightning Mile is shaping as an exciting spectacle for harness racing fans. With $50,000 on offer – consisting of $30,000 in stake and $20,000 in bonuses – the 1609-metre sprint has assembled a strong field. The bonuses are broken down to $10,000 if the winner breaks Smoken Up’s 1:53.1 track record set in last year’s Mile and another $10,000 if Smoken Up’s state mark of 1:51.1 is lowered. The ‘swift seven’ are headed by established star Keayang Cullen and newcomer Maximan. Successful at his three starts since crossing the Tasman, Maximan has been kept fresh since his inspirational free-for-all win at Tabcorp Park Melton. On that occasion, the Andy Gath-trained gelding was headed along the home straight only to fight back to win in an effort reminiscent of Smoken Up! The stylish son of Armbro Operative will begin from barrier five, with Keayang Cullen drawn on his outside. Winner of his last seven starts, Keayang Cullen will be first-up since his Breeders’ Crown Free-For-All triumph in August. The Marg Lee-trained son of Christian Cullen trialled in sensational fashion at Ballarat last weekend, equalling the 2200-metre track record with his 1:55.4 performance. Popular identity Paul Rowse is hoping to be both the presenter and recipient of the feature’s trophy. Along with his role as Ballarat’s chief executive, Rowse is the trainer of Savesomtimetodream, which will come from gate two. A handy son of Village Jasper, Savesomtimetodream has won two of his last five starts, with two thirds also to his credit. Thanks to the generous gesture of trainer Lance Justice, Smoken Up will lead the field onto the track ahead of the Group Three event. PAUL COURTS

Recently retired harness racing champion Smoken Up is set to return to the track at Ballarat next Friday night! Unfortunately for his diehard fans, the son of Tinted Cloud won’t be competing. Instead, the multi-millionaire will lead the field out before the running of the Laser Electrical Lightning Mile. As the defending champion and track record holder, Smoken Up is the perfect ‘general’ to escort this year’s combatants onto the track according to club chief executive Paul Rowse. “We are thrilled to have Smoken Up returning this year to lead out the field,” Rowse declared. “As the defending champion and track record hold, he is the perfect benchmark for this season’s runners. “The club cannot thank Lance (Justice, trainer) enough for taking the time to bring Smoken Up to Ballarat for this. “As usual, Lance is more than happy to promote our industry through his champion, which will no doubt draw another crowd to the stalls.” Driven by Justice last year, Smoken Up sizzled around the world class venue in 1:53.1, including a 26.3-second opening quarter. Along with the $20,000 winner’s cheque, the gelding earned connections an additional $10,000 with his record-breaking performance. With the bonus being offered again – plus the fact the event is the nation’s richest open class feature for the weekend – Roswe predicts the cash could ‘go off’ once more...especially if interstate speedsters such as Suave Stuey Lombo make the trip south. “Smoken Up’s time is quick, but under the right conditions I reckon it could be broken next week,” Rowse said. “There are quick horses here in Victoria, and if speedsters like Suave Stuey Lombo were to come down, it would be very interesting.” PAUL COURTS

Talk about a tight harness finish… Last night’s Ballarat meeting was another reminder why harness racing is so exciting thanks to one of the closest finishes on record. Commonly referred to as a ’blanket finish’, the Peter McErvale Trot saw the first five runners past line separated by a two metres – including a dead-heat. Monica My Dear and Chipmont Lad shared top honours after sprinting quickly along the home straight to hit the finish locked together. Monica My Dear trailed the pacemaker before gaining an opening, while Chipmont Lad travelled two-back in the running line before coming three-wide on the final bend. Trained and driven by David Murphy, Monica My Dear is a seven-year-old daughter of former topline pacer It Is I, which was also trained by Murphy. Chipmont Lad, prepared by Bob Conroy, broke a long drought of ‘outs’ to register his first win since February 2013. As for the placegetters, Nomistakingpegasus was a short half-head away, with a half-head to Lombo Scrutinizer and a half-neck to Mygreekkalesa. The co winners rated 2:05.4 for the 2200 metres, with the last half covered in 59.8 seconds. PAUL COURTS

JUST days out from the TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day and the generosity just keeps flowing. Already a major sponsor in two areas, Alabar Bloodstock has once again increased its involvement in what has developed in Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event. One of the first to support last year’s inaugural edition, Alabar was quick to return this time to cover the costs of the foot and netballs. On top of that, the leading breeding establishment has donated a service to Grinfromeartoear as the headliner for the mega raffle. Now Alabar has joined forced with Amart Melton and Burley to deliver ‘Auckland Reactor’ soccer and footballs to the first 60 kids to attend the big day. The latest gesture also compliments the two bikes Amart Melton has donated for the lucky boy and girl who guess the correct (or closest to) amount of snakes in a jar, which will be displayed throughout the day…entry is FREE!. Not to forget prominent owner Kevin Riseley, who has generously offered to cover the cost of hiring a jumping castle for children to enjoy, or Allan McNeil, who has donated lolly bags. “Alabar, Amart, Kevin and Allan have just been so generous,” event organiser Robbie O’Connell said. “Their focus on the kids’ activities will help turn this into a massive family day, just the kind of event harness racing needs. “Now we have the dads playing footy, the mums hitting the netball court and the kids going nuts, as kids should.” Other sponsors include Tabcorp, James and son, Seelite Windows and Doors and Glenn Sharp. A fun occasion for all industry participants, Sunday’s event also has a serious side – raising valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation. That’s where a small fee of $50 for players and spectators (under 16 free) comes into play. Not only does the fee cover the costs of the games, sausage sizzle and the night’s function, it adds to the tally to aid children suffering from Neurofibromatosis. Last year’s event raised $14,000, which is outstanding considering the foundation receives just $18,000 from the government. Along with the fun and games, the function will also include a memorabilia auction. It was last year’s auction that proved to be the biggest money spinner for the cause. Paul Smart from Azuma International supplied the various pieces of memorabilia, which raised almost $8000. Smart will be back this year with “some sensational memorabilia”, so attendees better make sure their wallets are loaded! Teams from four districts – Melton (Go Blues), Ballarat, Shepparton and Bendigo – will do battle throughout the day, with the first event, a netball match, to begin at 11:30am at the Strathfieldsaye Sports Club. The first footy game is scheduled to start at noon. “The Strathfieldsaye Club has offered us free use of their grounds and facilities,” O’Connell said. They have two footy ovals and three netball courts, so it’s the perfect pl ace for us. “Last year’s day was big, but this year will be huge.” For more information please contact Robbie O'Connell on 0404 728 885. Paul Courts

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

There is an old saying in harness racing that the best will always stand up on the big occasion. Thats how it was over the weekend for the super sire Art Major with his sons and daughters in both hemispheres dominating their opposition. In the Breeders Crown semi finals at Ballarat, Art Major sired horses won five of the eight semi finals for the two and three year olds. The fields were incredibly strong but that didn't stop Art Major from making it a one sire show. Both of the 3 year old fillies semi finals fell to Art Majors with the recent Kiwi import Just Cala winning her semi final in a 1:57 mile rate while in the other semi final Quick Draft defeated Nike Franco and Barynya in a 1:57.5 mile rate and in a manner that left few excuses for the beaten division. The Art Major 2 year old colt Follow The Stars showed why he is rated the best juvenile in Australasia with a powerhouse performance in his semi final, running away over the last 400 meters to win by over four lengths with the last half in a brilliant 55.5 To wrap up the night both the 3 year old colt/geldings semi finals were won by sons of Art Major. First up Major Crocker showed his class with an all the way win in a mile rate of 1:58, with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9 which suggest he is a serious chance in the final. In the second semi final, the race was seen as a match race between Bling It On and Sky Major and thats how it turned out. Bling It On got away with some cheap sectionals mid race in front and sprinted home in 26.4 from the 400 meters but still got nailed late by Art Major's son Sky Major with the overall mile rate being 1:59.8. At Mohawk in Canada on Saturday night was one of the first stakes races for the season that were open to all comers with divisions of the Eternal Camnation for fillies. Easily the most impressive of the Eternal Camnation divisional winners was the Art Major filly Jk Shesalady who made it four from four for the season with a huge win by seven lengths in 1:53.4 Jk Shesalady now looms as one of the early favourites for the $450,000 Shes A Great Lady final on August 30th. Another highlight for Art Major recently has been his achievement in topping the $100,000,000  mark in stake earnings worldwide. The 15 year old son of Artsplace has $72.6 million in North America, $23.6 million in Australia and $4.6 million in New Zealand which are great figures for a sire with so many years still in front of him. Alabar Stud must be smiling 24/7 at the moment with the results that their premier stallion is churning out week after week.  Harnesslink Media Jk Shesalady  

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