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Harness Racing aficionados will be licking their lips at the thought of next Saturday night’s four-year-old entires and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final after tonight’s semis and barrier draw. Heat winners Ideal For Real and Tee Cee Bee Macray have drawn five and 13 respectively, while reigning Vicbred champ and horse of the year Menin Gate, a fierce warrior when in front, has drawn well in barrier three. Murranji Track in gate two has good gate speed and can run along also, so he will surely create headaches for speed mappers. Tee Cee Bee Macray was ultra-impressive in winning his heat tonight, and while barrier 13 is never ideal, he does his best work when winding up with a big finish. Trained by Alan Tubbs, Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder/Way Mya Macray) sprinted powerfully through the final 400m to overhaul pacemaker Solarsonic in the run to the line. Driven by Greg Sugars, Tee Cee Bee Macray rated 1:56.9. “There’s a lot of depth in the (four-year-old) field … but he’s very fast,” Sugars said. “He’s a very good horse.” The win clearly meant plenty for the Tubbs team, who received plenty of congratulations trackside. Ideal For Real (American Ideal/Tamara Hall) was also super-impressive, the Emma Stewart-trained star winning its 10th race from 18 starts with a 1:56.2 run to score by 14.2m over runner-up Sevens Hope with Mister Wickham third. Despite the ease of the win and the high expectations being placed on Ideal For Real, Lang said the entire still had a bit to learn. “He’s got to learn to go straight or he’ll have to cover more ground than the others … he’ll get beat doing that,” he said. “He’s got a good record but it won’t be an easy race next week.” The continued dominance of the Emma Stewart stable was on full display in the four-year-old mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals tonight. The Smythes Creek trainer qualified five mares for next Saturday night’s final, giving her almost half the field. Stewart-trained Starburst Girl (barrier two for the final), Brighty Valentine (three), Lovelist (seven), Delight Me (nine) and Stay And Play (11) will all line up in the big dance. Delight Me (Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk) impressively won her semi-final with Gavin Lang in the sulky, defeating stablemates Lovelist and Starburst Girl in the first semi-final, working wide in the run before finding the line strongly. Stay And Play (Live Or Die/Play Ball) posted a mile rate of 1:56.2 in her 8.3m win over Snip Of Grand in the second semi-final, with third placegetter Brighty Valentine also hailing from the Stewart stable.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Mares Final barrier draw 1: Diamond Castle 2: Starburst Girl 3: Brighty Valentine 4: Soho Tokyo 5: Boadiceas Fury 6: Snip Of Grand 7: Lovelist 8: Glory Daze 9: Delight Me 10: Morton Plains 11: Stay And Play 12: Keayang Mercedes (em) 13: Miss Dreaming Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires & Geldings Final barrier draw 1: Repeat After Me 2: Murranji Track 3: Menin Gate 4: Sevens Hope 5: Ideal For Real 6: Lucky Lombo 7: Mister Wickham 8: Solarsonic 9: Stagger Lee 10: Soynwasabi 11: Rule Of Thumb (em) 12: Blacknbrown 13: Tee Cee Bee Macray ............................................................................................................................................................................... Tingira Beach has emerged a frontrunner in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series' two-year-old colts and geldings for New South Wales team Shane and Lauren Tritton, dominating his semi-final and drawing well. Things only got better for the Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Western Tingira after he won his class's second semi-final by 12.9m, having then drawn barrier four in the final. Conversely, fellow semi-final winner Jilliby Kung Fu will start from barrier 12 and will have to do things the hard way in the final on Saturday, July 2. Lauren Tritton, driver of Tingira Beach, warned there was more improvement to come from her colt, who found the front and comfortably beat highly-fancied Victorians Our Little General and Wrappers Delight into second and third place. “(Tingira Beach) is still really green, he still had a look around, but tonight he raced a lot better," Tritton said post-win. "He still had a good look around in the race and was on and off the bit. Next week he might run a bit better and could get the best of them." Tritton said Tingira Beach's favourable draw, albeit with Geoff Webster's Wrappers Delight inside her, would not be a huge factor. “He’s very versatile and the barrier doesn’t really mean much too him," Tritton said. "He hasn’t got that much gate speed in him, it’s always good to draw a good barrier but that’s not much of a worry.” It could be a worry for Jilliby Kung Fu, though the talented Terang colt is only too happy to run them down from behind. In his semi-final, Jilliby Kung Fu found the front and, though he “gets a bit lonely out there on his own”, according to driver Jason Lee, he had enough of a buffer to win by 2.5m from Geoff Webster’s fast-finishing Misterfreeze. The two-year-old colt by Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, trained at Terang by Marg Lee, produced a fifth win in 10 starts when from barrier 10 he looped the field to find the front. “I think he’s a better chaser and I probably got a bit of itchy feet and thought I should jump around to the front, but he didn’t really want to go on with the job,” Jason Lee said. “He had a little bit left in the tank.” Misterfreeze kept him close company at Tabcorp Park Melton in the semi-finals and Somebeachshadow, trained by Craig Demmler and driven by Jodi Quinlan, surprised with a third placing having started a $59 shot.   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings pacers 1: Wrappers Delight 2: Ruthless Armbro 3: Misterfreeze 4: Tingira Beach 5: Form Analyst (emg) 6: Island Specialmajor 7: Canada Bay 8: Our Little General 9: Bundy Playboy 10: Albarock 11: Somebeachshadow 12: Jilliby Kung Fu 13: Classic Maker (ODM) Cody Winnell & Michael Howard

Twelve months after his extraordinary domination of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, picking up a Group 1 three-peat, Shelbourne harness racing trainer Larry Eastman says he could only dream of achieving similar this time around. "It brings back a bit of deja vu but up until this time last year of course we'd only won the one Group 1 race, so we're under no illusions. To be honest I was just happy we were a part of it last year," Eastman said. The horseman takes three horses into tomorrow night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, in-form gelding Iceenothink and reigning Vicbred champs Morton Plains and Menin Gate. Speaking firstly about last season’s star three-year-old and Victorian Horse of the Year, Menin Gate, Eastman is pleased with the recent progress of the classy son of Somebeachsomewhere/Dreams Of Heaven. “All the signs are good. Everything’s gone to plan so far,” he said. “I liken it to this time last year. He was a shade off his top, then into the semi, then at his top for the final.” Menin Gate is $3 second-favourite with TAB.com.au for Race 7 at Melton tomorrow night, with Alan Tubbs-trained Tee Cee Bee Macray ($2.20 favourite) and Emma Stewart-trained Solarsonic ($3.50) also among the market’s top contenders. Menin Gate, who at three won the Breeders Crown and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals, the Queensland and Gold Coast derbies and the Victoria Derby, is usually an on-pace runner and he takes a power of beating when he finds the front. Tomorrow night he’s drawn gate 10. Quizzed for his view on tactics Eastman replied: “It’s all tempo-related, but I obviously just leave it up to Chris Alford.” At both his runs this time in Menin Gate has finished second, behind Solarsonic and then Ideal For Real last start. CHECK OUT ALL THE FIXED ODDS FOR VICBRED SEMI-FINAL NIGHT Eastman’s talented son of Art Major/Decethree Lombo, Iceenothink, will fly the stable flag in the male three-year-old division this year, drawing gate four for tomorrow night’s second semi-final (Race 5). “He’s been a bit of an unassuming horse, just gradually progressing along. He’s a nice three-year-old and he’s shown the signs that he can go on to another level, too,” said Eastman. “He’ll just keep on getting better and I think he’ll make a very handy four-year-old.” Eastman’s other runner, Morton Plains (Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That), goes into her four-year-old mares’ first semi-final with just one run this time in under her belt. She finished third in her Super Series heat at Shepparton on June 17, 3.3m behind Vapar Grin. “I was rapt with her run at Shepparton. She raced a bit fresh but was really strong to the line. It’s a big ask going into this with just the one run but she had trialled up before the first-up run and she’s on the way up.” Cody Winnell

Its been a seven month absence from the track, but talented three year old Franco Cristiano looks set to make a winning return on day one at Blenheim tomorrow for Harness Racing Trainer Robert Dunn. Good enough to win a Sires Stakes heat in the spring, Franco Cristiano was well supported in the final on Cup Day. However, after blowing to bits soon after the start, he would take no part in the Group One feature, won outstandingly by Lazarus. Shortly after this, Franco Cristiano headed north to Pukekohe under Robert's tutelage. However, very soon things began to unravel for the talented Bettor's Delight 3yr old. He had been a bit off in his work and Robert's worst fears were realised when after a scan, a hairline fracture of the pastern was revealed. After a successful surgery, he returned to the beach nearly three months ago and has been given plenty of time as he makes his progress back to the track. It was a winning turn at last week's Ashburton trials that told John that all was well and that it was time to get back to the track. "He was pretty impressive alright and just jogged it in some pretty quick sectionals." The news gets even better for his very patient connections. "He does seem a very different racehorse this time in and is definitely a lot more settled. Of course you never know until you get to the races though," said John. While the TAB have him installed the shortest of favourites in the early markets at $1.10, John said that first up, he must be some sort of risk. "Celestial Arden is in good form and is race fit, so we will need to be near enough to get the win." Win or lose, plans are a bit up in the air past tomorrow. "We are no certainty to go around again on Sunday. We will see how he is after the race, how he eats up and that sort of thing, but we won't be taking any risks with him." When assessing the rest of the team's chances tomorrow, John was a little frustrated by some of the draws and felt that perhaps their chances will be better on day two. "I really liked Mr Preston, but we have had to pull him out after he pulled up sore yesterday. Blood And Whisky is probably one of the best chances after Franco Cristiano. While he broke at the trials last week, I have made a couple of gear adjustments since then. He seems a nice type and should get one pretty quickly. Then later in the day, Highview Freddy and Graduate Under Fire should both go good races. They have both been near enough."Ex And when asked where things sit in terms of the much talked about premiership race, John was quite philosophical about things. "Realistically we will need to get a few wins this weekend if we are any chance. We will just keep on doing what we are doing and either way it has been a great season." Robert Dunn Trotting Stables

Top young Victorian Harness Racing horseman Matthew Craven is heading to Queensland. The emerging star is keen to chase Group One glory in both the Queensland Oaks and Derby with a pair of richly talented ex-kiwi pacers in Im Wrongly Accused and Kimani. And he’s heading north next week. Im Wrongly Accused has already shown her class by winning a heat of the Victoria Oaks earlier this season while Kimani is yet to race on Australian soil following his purchase from the stables of Barry Purdon recently. “The Queensland winter carnival has been on my radar for some time and I think I’ve got the right horses to head north with, the filly has proven she can compete with the best while Kimani is very talented and the Derby was an obvious target.” Craven said. Winning a Derby classic has proven elusive so far this season for Craven with another former kiwi pacer in Cant Refuse coming up short in the Victoria, New South Wales and West Australian features. Cant Refuse finished as a runner-up in the Sydney feature while running a close fourth in the other two events. Kimani is a son of super sire Bettors Delight out of the former champion filly Lizzie Maguire and gave a glimpse of his ability with a stylish trial at Terang last Sunday. Kimani rated 1:55.7 for the 2180m workout and scored by a widening margin. “I was very happy with the effort in the trial last weekend and he’ll improve on that obviously because that’s the first serious hit-out I’ve given to date. He had a good blow following the trial but he’s come through it in good style. “I’m keen to start him in a ‘CO’ event at Albion Park next week before pushing to the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby features. He’s pretty good and I’m looking forward to starting him up there.” Despite her scratching today (Wednesday), Im Wrongly Accused remains on target for the Queensland campaign. The Bettors Delight filly was ruled out owing to a hoof abscess and Craven wasn’t prepared to take any risks. “It’s not a major issue but I wasn’t prepared to take any chances, we’ll get it sorted and she’ll be ready for the Gold Coast Oaks on Saturday week. “This filly possesses very good speed and the pattern of racing up there should suit her ideally, these features have been earmarked for some time.” Another in-form pacer making the trip north is Roy George, an impressive last winner last night (Tuesday) at Ballarat. The Grinfromeartoear six-year-old has won 10 of his 15 starts including 7 of his past 8 starts. Craven is considering a $20,000 Rising Stars Championship series for the talented gelding. Chris Barsby

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Medusa brought her gaudy resume to the Meadowlands Friday night and passed a stern harness racing test with flying colors, taking on a deep field and winning the $25,000 featured Fillies and Mares Open in a lifetime-best 1:49.3. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight, who came to town riding a two-race win streak at the Meadows (Pa.), displayed her usual early speed and paced past the quarter in :26.3. She then yielded the top - something she had not done during either one of her previous two starts - as Lovineveryminute, who won this race a week ago, took the field past the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 while Medusa lurked in the pocket. Lovineveryminute weakened in midstretch as Medusa sprinted up the rail to record a 1¾-length win over 17-1 longshot Inittowinafortune. Gweneeee J was third. Totally Rusty, the 2-1 favorite, was never closer than seventh and finished last in the field of eight. Medusa paid $13.80 to win as the third choice in the wagering for driver Brett Miller, trainer Andrew Federico Jr. and owners Randall Bendis and Thomas Pollack. She's now won nine of 18 starts this year and banked just over $128,000. CARRY ON: The Big M's two 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five wagers have carryovers that continue to expand and both will be up for grabs on the next program. The fifth-race wager now sports a carryover of $17,598.95 while the 11th race version's jackpot has now ballooned to $257,678.38. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Matt Kakaley knows there are harness racing fans that respect and appreciate All Bets Off and what the pacer has accomplished in his career. Still, he would like to see that group grow in numbers. He hopes to create some new followers on Sunday when he drives All Bets Off in the $179,000 Roll With Joe Stakes at Tioga Downs. All Bets Off, a multiple-stakes-winner of $1.86 million in lifetime purses, will start the Roll With Joe from post No. 1 as part of a four-horse entry from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. "I love that horse," Kakaley said. "You hear about all the big horses that they talk about in the older division this year, and how great it's going to be, and his name never gets brought up. I don't think that's fair to the horse because he deserves it. He's raced good every start this year. I think everyone kind of figures he's a little track horse, but I think he deserves a mention with those top free-for-allers. "There are some people that give him some recognition, but I think he'll win a couple big ones this year and set the record straight." Kakaley has driven All Bets Off for the majority of his career and won a number of top stakes with the now 5-year-old stallion. All Bets Off's list of victories include the 2013 Matron, 2014 Messenger, Milstein Memorial, and Art Rooney, and the 2015 Confederation Cup and Prix d'Ete. This year, All Bets Off has won three of 11 races and hit the board a total of nine times. He finished second from post eight in the Battle of Lake Erie, losing to 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, and second in the Levy Series championship to New Zealand-bred Bit Of A Legend. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Bit Of A Legend are the two top-ranked horses in the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. In addition, All Bets Off was a troubled-trip fourth in the Molson Pace, where he was beaten by 1-1/2 lengths despite a :26.3 last quarter-mile. "He's been big for me," Kakaley said. "I've won a lot of big races with him and he's put me in the national spotlight. He's given me some thrills, that's for sure. He's special to me." One of All Bets Off's best efforts this season came over a sloppy track in an upper-level conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All Bets Off was last at the halfway point before launching a three-wide move on the final turn and getting to the front by mid-stretch. He won by 2-1/4 lengths over Bigtown Hero in 1:50.2 on May 14. "Just the way he did it and the way he felt that night, I knew he was getting sharp," Kakaley said. "You don't win from fourth over at Pocono, three wide on the last turn, against those horses. It just doesn't happen. "I think he's in career form right now and that start kind of proved it to me, how good he is. He was ready to get going and take on the big dogs, I think. He's just a handy little horse and I can do anything I want with him." All Bets Off and entry mates Take It Back Terry, Limelight Beach, and Always At My Place are 8-5 on the morning line for the Roll With Joe. The field also includes Rockeyed Optimist, State Treasurer, and McWicked. A son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope, All Bets Off is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. "He's been super," Kakaley said about All Bets Off. "I'm looking forward to him being good again Sunday." by Ken Weingartner

JUNE 16, 2016 - Driver Sylvain Filion, the reigning Lampman Cup title holder, is off to another quick start in the Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing program, padding his early season lead with a pair of Grassroots victories at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. Filion opened the program, which featured six $18,000 divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, with a sharp 1:51.4 win aboard Spirit Shadow. "I didn't know him at all," said Filion of the first-time OSS starter. "I know the trainer, he's a buddy of mine, Jacques Dupont, and he said he liked him. I just went with my feeling and he left the gate real good, and then we got covered up by the favourite and when I moved him down the lane he just exploded. That was a nice surprise, I didn't really expect that." Leaving from Post 8, Filion rolled Spirit Shadow to the front before the :27 opening quarter, but quickly picked up cover from Vegas Dream who led the field to the :56 half and 1:25 three-quarters. Able to slip out of the pocket in the stretch, Spirit Shadow laid down a :26.2 final quarter to claim the Grassroots trophy. Vegas Dream settled for second, with Chalk Player earning the third-place finisher's share. Unraced at two, the Shadow Play son now has four wins and two thirds in eight sophomore outings for Dupont and owner Denis Goyette of Laval, QC. Filion's second victory came in the third division with Xpert Bayama, who controlled the tempo en route to a 1:51.2 score over last year's Grassroots champion St Lads Moonwalk. Solo Story finished well behind the duelling leaders in third. "I thought he was a little flat last time he raced and Stephane (Larocque) told me he done some vet work on him and he was much better tonight," noted Filion, a three-time OSS driving champion. "I could feel in the post parade he was livelier, and he was way more aggressive, so I just turned him loose and he responded well." Also unraced at two, Xpert Bayama improved his record to three wins and one second in six starts for trainer Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON and owner-breeder Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. The Up The Credit son took three full seconds off his personal best with Thursday's effort. Another three-time Lampman Cup winner, Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson, also scored a Grassroots driving double at Mohawk on Thursday, guiding Continual Hanover to a win in the second division and Imsporty to victory in the fifth. Jamieson put Continual Hanover on the front just past the sharp :26.3 opening quarter put up by Filion and Azul Pool, but was immediately challenged by Baddestnbestest. Both Jamieson and Filion quickly circled out around the longshot leader, with Continual Hanover grabbing the rail by the :55.3 half. Azul Pool pressed hard through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, but Continual Hanover stayed game to secure the two length victory in 1:52.2. Tango Star sprinted home to be second, leaving Azul Pool to settle for third. "I really couldn't have driven Continual (Hanover) much worse in his first start of the year," admitted Jamieson. "I used him too many times and he still bailed me out with a great performance. I've always thought he is barely a notch lower than the Gold division." Jamieson steers Continual Hanover for owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON and piloted the colt to a Gold Series win and two Grassroots division wins last season. The Bettor's Delight son boosted his lifetime earnings to $117,400 with Thursday's win, his sixth in 13 lifetime starts. Staring from Post 1 with Imsporty in the fifth division, Jamieson settled the Sportswriter son on the rail early and waited until the final turn to take aim on the leaders. On top by just over three lengths at the three-quarter pole, Imsporty stayed game to the wire and earned his first Grassroots trophy with a 1:52.2 effort. Speedling and Daylight Rush completed the top three. "Imsporty is a super little guy," said Jamieson, who steers the gelding for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON, and Thomas Kyron of Toronto. "He's always had lots of talent, but he just hasn't had a lot of luck. Hopefully this win tonight has ended that string of luck and started a new one." The other two Grassroots divisions went to New Talent and Piranha. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell steered New Talent to his first OSS win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON. The Mach Three son stopped the teletimer at 1:51.2, besting Derecho and Bad Gamer. Driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON used a come-from-behind strategy to guide Piranha to a 1:52 win for trainer Raymond Farmer and owner-breeder John Turigliatto of Temperance, MI. The Badlands Hanover son reeled in Red Dog Saloon and B Fast Eddie with a :26.3 final quarter. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will return to Mohawk Racetrack on July 1 for their second Grassroots start. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at the Campbellville oval this week as the three-year-old pacing fillies kick off their Grassroots season on Friday, June 17. The fillies will be featured in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10, with the first race going postward at 7:30 pm. Ontario Racing

Harness Racing trainer/driver Darren Hancock is preparing a hit and run mission with his outstanding square gaiter, On Thunder Road, in The Wagon Apollo Trotters Free For All. It is the main trotting feature on Saturday night's card at Tabcorp Park Melton, which will also feature the Del-Re National Italian Cup. Hancock said the Group 1-winning son of Bettors Delight would acquit himself well and was happy he had missed taking on champ Keystone Del “It looks a good race for him," Hancock said. "It is a good field, but he will go all right against them, I think. With Keystone Del not in the race I think we have a strong chance.” On Thunder Road was beaten on Tuesday at Menangle as a short-priced favourite, when he galloped close to the line, but Hancock said he had an excuse for the defeat. “The gallop was unusual for him but they ran home in 27.5. He takes a lot of flattening out to go, so they probably just sprinted up a bit quick for him,” he said. A lack of suitable races for On Thunder Road in New South Wales prompted Hancock to make the trek down the Hume Highway. “It will be a one-off for him. There are no trotter races in his class this month, so I thought I would bring him down and have a run.” It is only a small field but it is jam-packed full of quality and Hancock knows it won't be an easy task “The horse drawn next to me, Kyvalley Blur, and Andy Gath’s horse Elegant Image both go good, although are first-up. From the draw (barrier four) I can put (On Thunder Road) in the race.” Matt Jackson

The rain kept coming and so did the winners for Kaiapoi based Harness Racing Driver/Trainer Gavin Smith. For the past few days Smith has watched his good mates Robert and John Dunn's team dominate. The Dunn's picked up trebles at Forbury on Thursday, Nelson on Friday and Auckland on Friday night. Not to be out done, Smith also picked up a double on the first day of Nelson Harness Racing Club's annual two day winter meeting with his own runner Alison Stokke and the Bruce Hutton trained Ideal Arden. And by the end on of racing on Sunday, there was only one person people on course were talking about, and that was Smith. After dominating the 9 card meeting with 4 driving win's which included 2 training wins. Alison Stokke, a 3yo Bettor's Delight filly, put the writing on the wall for Friday's maiden victory with a strong 2nd at Ashburton 5 days earlier. Making a flying from the tapes, Smith had the filly who is owned by his wife Sara and J Chin, out front and running along nicely before handing up to Sam Ottley and 2nd favourite Glenferrie Classic with 1400m to run. It all nearly turned to disaster though when Glenferrie Classic galloped in front, causing Alison Stokke to break for several strides before Smith was able to get her back down into a pace. With the galloper safely negotiated, Gavin asked his charge for a full effort and cleared out to win by 1 ½ lengths over Bobby M (Robbie Close) and Cullen's Bardon (Stephen McNally). Although it was the drives on Ideal Arden in the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude and Cup that had most people impressed. Using the American Ideal gelding's stand start speed to lead out on both occasions, Smith then handed up to the Robert Dunn trained Highview Freddy, who is well known as a front runner. From there on it was just a matter of Smith extracting the Bruce Hutton trained 6yo to either the inside or the outside of the leading and zipping away. Ideal Arden was the only runner to record a win on both days of the meeting. Smith started off his Sunday morning with a well deserved win aboard It's How You Use It who is trained by former stable employee Lawrence McCormick. The 5yo mare by Diedre Don recorded her maiden victory at start number 18 for owners, J T Morrison, A J Morrison, M J Gallagher, A Palmer, Mrs J E Lowe and Lawrence himself. Smith also recorded wins with pacer Melanie Ohara, who galloped on the first day but thanks to a change in bit was a strong maiden winner. While He's Like The Wind put up a improved performance after galloping late on day one to record win number three of his career. Andrew Fitzgerald

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 11... Betting Line and Boston Red Rocks head into Saturday's $1-million Pepsi North America Cup final after defeating the finest harness racing three-year-old pacers on the continent in a pair of eliminations, Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Betting Line used a first-over trip to capture the first $50,000 elimination in 1:49.1. The Casie Coleman-trainee, who was the 8-5 second choice, tracked from fifth in the early going then made a bid for lead at the midway point as Lyons Snyder took the field to the quarter in :27.2, half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.2. Into the stretch, Lyons Snyder veered off the rail and gave a pocket-sitting Racing Hill room to sneak up the inside, but Betting Line was on the outside and used a :26.2 final quarter kick to breeze by his rivals and score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Lyons Snyder finished second, while Racing Hill was third. Also advancing is fourth-place finisher Control The Moment and Beast Mode, who finished fifth. "I have been fortunate enough to have some unbelievably great horses over the years, but he never usually gets a good trip," Coleman added. "I don't know why, but he always seems to not be in the right place and he just keeps digging--first-over, on front with tough fractions from way off, like he's done it every way. I can't wait to get that second-over toe into it coming down the lane." Betting Line notches his third victory of the season from four outings and ninth lifetime triumph. With the win, the son of Bettor's Delight and Heathers Western lifts his career earnings to $619,922 for owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington. Betting Line paid $5, $3.20 and $2.40, combining with Lyons Synder ($4.10, $3.50) for a $15.10 (6-4) exactor. A 6-4-9 (Racing Hill, $8) triactor returned a $120.40, while a $1 Superfecta [6-4-9-3 (Control The Moment)] was worth $205.40. Betting Line In the second elimination, the Steve Elliott pupil Boston Red Rocks used an off-the-pace trip to win by half a length in 1:50.3. Boston Red Rocks and driver Tim Tetrick followed from fourth as Nvestment Bluechip posted the opening panel in :26.4 and Nocturnal Bluechip clocked the half in :54.4. While the sophomores were passing the three-quarter marker in 1:22.4, Boston Red Rocks had advanced first-up and was stalking Nocturnal Bluechip from second. When the pacers entered the stretch, Boston Red Rocks, the 3-5 favourite, struck the front and held off a late surge from Big Top Hanover, who finished second and third-place finisher Michaels Victory. Magnum J, who went from last to fourth and fifth-place finisher Manhattan Beach also advance to the final. "I'm a firm believer in this horse," said Tetrick. "I know he's a nice horse. Every time he got beat, he got beat by a head, a nose. He got beat, but he raced good enough to win. Just horses sitting in the pocket beat him. He's a little lazy and he kind of loses focus sometimes and you got to stay after him, but he got the job done. He finds ways to win so that's what I like about him." Boston Red Rocks scored his second triumph of the season from four outings and sixth career victory. With the win, the son of the late Rocknroll Hanover and McGibson lifts his career earnings to $735,418 for Floridinans Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Boston Red Rocks paid $3.50, $2.80 and $2.10, combining with Big Top Hanover ($5.60, $3.10) for a $15.70 (2-6) exactor. A 2-6-5 (Michaels Victory, $3.20) triactor returned a $53, while a $1 Superfecta [2-6-5-9 (Magnum J)] was worth $221.60. Boston Red Rocks The top five finishers in each $50,000 elimination advance to the 33rd edition of the $1-million final on Saturday, June 18. Each winner earns his connections the right to select a post position before the balance of field is drawn at a press conference on Tuesday. $1-million Pepsi North America Cup starters in no particular order; Betting Line by Bettor's Delight Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover Big Top Hanover by Western Ideal Lyons Snyder by Well Said Michaels Victory by Rocknroll Hanover Racing Hill by Roll With Joe Magnum J by Big Jim Control The Moment by Well Said Manhatten Beach by Somebeachsomewhere Beast Mode by Rock N Roll Heaven Mark McKelvie

Geoff Webster’s talented colts cut through the winter chill to register an Empire Vicbred Super Series double in the heats, with Misterfreeze and Wrappers Delight both first past the post. On a big first night of the series at Bendigo, class came to the fore in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ heats with Webster’s well-bred Bannockburn boys joining talented Terang two-year-old Jilliby Kung Fu and Emma Stewart’s contender Our Little General as heat winners. “(Wrappers Delight) is just a little bit better than (Misterfreeze),” was Webster’s typically frank assessment of his charges’ efforts. “(Misterfreeze) is just a real genuine racehorse, but (Wrappers Delight) has just a bit more class about him.” More will be learned in the series semi-final night at Tabcorp Park Melton on June 24 and, all going well, the July 2 final. But for now Webster can rest assured he has a strong hand. CLICK HERE FOR THE RESULTS AND REPLAYS FROM ALL THE NIGHT ONE HEATS Wrappers Delight, by Bettors Delight out of Charlotte Church, led from the pole mark and controlled the race to win by a neck, narrowly holding off Emma Stewart’s eye-catching Solid As A Rock, who Gavin Lang drove a treat to cut the corner and almost pinch it from the back of the field. “He’s a really nice little two-year-old,” Webster said of Wrappers Delight, who won for owners Dominic Martello and Douglas Webster. “He needed that run, he hasn’t run for a while. I was quite happy, he found the line quite good.  “He’s a typical Bettors Delight, he’s just lovely to have around the place. They’re good racehorses. The manners are fantastic. He’s a big horse for a Bettors, he’s not tall but he’s very thick. He should make a very nice horse later on as well.” Stablemate Misterfreeze, by Alabar Farms’ Art Major out of Trammell, won his heat – the fourth and final - by a head from Bundy Playboy, who Webster trailed around the final bend and won the swoop down the straight ahead of Paddy Lee’s first starter and Kevin Brough’s Canada Bay, with leader and favourite Lochinvar Delight a 3m beaten fourth. “They have all gone around in the mid 1:58s (mile rate) and that’s what (Misterfreeze) went, so considering (the weather) tonight it was good,” Webster said. Misterfreeze won for owners Dominic Martello, Josh Nelms, Peter and Zilla O’Shea, and Harvey, Shelley, Jordan and Ashleigh Kaplan. There were also some pretty chuffed owners in the Jilliby Kung Fu camp, with Terang mother-and-son Marg (trainer) and Jason (driver) Lee’s two-year-old producing the biggest win of the night, a 14m romp in the first colts and geldings heat. By Empire Stallions’ Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, Jason Lee put Jilliby Kung Fu into the race at the bell when taking the death seat and come the straight leader and favourite Starofsahara faded while Jilliby Kung Fu cleared out around the bend and that was all she wrote. Winning for the Levarg Racing Group in a 1:57.3 mile rate, by some way the quickest of the heats, Jilliby Kung Fu won comfortably from Andy Gath’s second-placed Macchiato. “He’s a lovely horse, he’s very versatile,” Lee said. “That’s what I love about him the most and he’ll be ready for Glen (Craven) when he’s ready to jump back on. He still hasn’t really grown into himself. As soon as he hits the front he just sort of backs off and waits for them a little bit, he did that again tonight.  I think he will get better with time, but we will just have to wait and see. He is going good at the moment.” Joining him in the winners’ circle was Our Little General, the winner of five of seven starts and favourite in the night’s third heat for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Gavin Lang. Lang found cover for the terrific little sit-sprinter, who is by Mach Three out of Kabbalah Karen B, placing Our Little General in the box seat behind Amanda Turnbull’s leader Wardan Express. When the sprint lane opened Lang got to work and Our Little General hit the line a head in front of Shane Tritton’s Tingira Beach, who was super impressive having done a power of work. “They were going pretty leisurely in the middle stages and a pretty good last half, so to make up three or four metres in the straight was a pretty good effort really,” Lang said of Our Little General. “I was able to put him on the back of one and that’s probably the key to him. If he had have been left in the open maybe he might not have settled so good, but he is only a little guy this one and he is a great little racehorse and hence the reason he has such a good record.” Michael Howard

Michael Stanley’s two-year-old fillies again showed their Group 1 potential, with Soho Angel and Petacular building on outstanding debut seasons with harness racing victories in Saturday night’s Empire Vicbred Super Series heats at Bendigo. Having both been prominent in the $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final, the pair look certain to be in this celebrated Victorian series all the way to the July 2 Group 1 finals, with Soho Angel registering a 3m win in heat two and Petacular running down previously unbeaten Our Celebrity to win heat three by a neck. That trio, in addition to the key combatants in the thrilling first heat, when Perfect Sense won a ripping battle with Keayang Secret to kick-start the series in style, emerged as leading lights in the field, and will be among those to front for semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton on June 24. “She’s a gutsy little trier and we love her,” Stanley said of Soho Angel after she claimed heat two, using the sprint lane to outpace leader Mammals Magic and win in a 1:59.9 mile rate. “She’s a beautiful little Bettor's Delight, there’s no fuss about her.” And Soho Angel, who is out of Soho Champagne and owned by Robert Watson, will only improve, Stanley said. “The barrier helped and she probably was a little bit underdone, because  she did have a good freshen up after that APG series,” he said. “I think she is a very good chance (to win the series). “She’s probably not fully wound up, she hasn’t done a lot of work since the APGs, so we have a good break until the semi-finals to get a bit more work into her. I’m sure that she will race very well through the rest of the series.” And similar goes for Petacular, who is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Ideal Priority. She had to do plenty of work to claim her heat win, having improved three-wide mid-race from barrier seven to take the death seat and then rounded highly-rated Our Celebrity at the bend to win a final straight showdown by a head. “This filly’s a different filly to (Soho Angel),” Stanley said. “She does have a fair bit of depth to her.  She hasn’t had a great preparation before tonight after the APG and she will hopefully only improve on what she did tonight. “You’ve got to have bit of versatility and depth in your horses and I’m sure that she does have that.” Dean Braun-trained Carlas Pixel, driven by Greg Sugars, boxed on well down the sprint lane to place a close third in the heat. One of the night’s key showdowns came in the first heat, when Perfect Sense and Keayang Secret separated themselves from the field to run first and second. Perfect Sense, Emma Stewart’s Art Major filly who has placed in all five starts including a second in the $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final, led from the pole mark and as expect Jason Lee placed Keayang Secret on to her tail from gate eight. There they remained until the final straight, where Keayang Secret (Always A Virgin/Feel The Magic), trained by Marg Lee from Terang, challenged the front marker but had to ultimately settle for second, with their 27.4 last quarter creating a 1:59.3 mile rate and a 23m gap to third-placed Atusa. The last of the heat winners brought the biggest surprise for punters when $17.20 shot Gilty Hanover won for Bolinda trainer Kari Males and driver Greg Sugars. The filly, by Rocknroll Hanover out of Gilt Bromac, burst through down the sprint lane to win in 2:01.4 mile rate.  “She has only had a couple of starts and is still learning about the racing caper, but she showed a bit of promise at the trials and in those starts,” Sugars said. “It wasn’t completely out of the equation to see her in the finish, but she put in a really good performance tonight. “This is the first time I have driven her. She’s not a 100 per cent tractable racehorse yet, so whatever she does now is probably a bonus. The thing about babies and their racing, they can improve so much in a short period of time, so the more times she goes around and sits in the field and gets runs like that where she hits the line, it’s only going to do her confidence the world of good and she will be a better racehorse because of it.” Michael Howard

Cambridge based Harness Racing Trainer Jo Stevens has a great chance to pick up her first career training win, when she lines up On The Razzle in Race 1 at Alexandra Park tonight. The 8yo Bettor's Delight gelding is to be handled by Jo's partner Dylan Ferguson and will start off the 10m mark. “He needs some luck in the running and some speed up front would suit him perfectly. He's a good each way chance” said Ferguson. Race 2 sees the Mark Jones trained Aymar get her chance to break maidens. The 3yo Real Desire filly has been in super form of late, including a 2nd behind recent jewels winner Partyon 3 starts ago. That form should see her as a leading chance from the ace barrier, although her manners can be suspect early on. These first few races have plenty of nice form in them including Bevan's Cullen in Race 3. An ex Purdon/Rasmussen runner, the 3yo Christian Cullen gelding was super first up for Robert Dunn last week, and has drawn well for tonights assignment. The stable are obviously on the look out for his penalty free 3yo win before that end of the season, so if he wasn't to win tonight, he would be one to follow over the following month. Fast forward to Race 9 and we see the clash of the night, Sunny Ruby vs Le Reveur. While the former was disappointing in the jewels, she is well know for her high speed. If the Sam Smolenski trained mare was to get a perfect run into the race, her sprint could see her rolling right over the top of them. Le Reveur was super in defeat behind Monbet in the jewels and draws well in barrier 3 for Bob Butt, while Royal Shine who is also trained by Sam Smolenski was another who was super at the jewels before being disqualified for breaking too long. If he was to bring his manner, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him storming up the Alexandra Park straight for driver Dexter Dunn. On The Razzle Bevan's Cullen Royal Shine - Le Reveur - Sunny Ruby Aymar Andrew Fitzgerald

WASHINGTON, PA, June 6, 2016 -- Medusa coasted to her second straight victory Monday at The Meadows when she cut a comfortable 56.1 first half and scored in 1:50.3 in the $18,000 harness racing filly & mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace. With the field reduced to five by a scratch, Medusa and Tony Hall felt no pressure until Spreester challenged first up past the three-quarters. By then, the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Mythical had the mile well in hand, as she held off Set Me Up in the Lightning Lane by a length. Spreester finished third. Randy Bendis trains Medusa, who vaulted over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, and owns with Tom Pollack. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Successful harness racing owners Emilio and Mary Rosati have raced some very talented horses around the world. When questioned about the best horse he has owned he quickly answers Excel Stride, but the gelding's ranking could be under threat due to the emergence of impressive American filly Blue Moon Stride. The Mark Harder trained filly won the $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes Final at the Meadowlands over the weekend and Rosati believes this is just the beginning for the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. "I spoke to her driver Andy McCarthy after the win and he told me she cruised home and he never touched her, I think she might be something special," Rosati said. "She ran 1:50 and two fifths at her run prior and Andy told me he thought she could have broken 1:50 if he had asked her to. She is staked for a lot of big races over there and Pocono will be her next stop." Blue Moon Stride's dam is Classic Star, a full sister to superstar sire Bettor's Delight and Rosati was very keen to buy into the family. "They don't come much better bred than her, it is an interesting story because she had a full sister go through the sales before I bought her. I looked at the full sister but I wasn't 100% happy with her confirmation and she ended up going for $120,000 at auction. "When Mr Perretti died the family sold all of his horses including the weanlings so I rang Mark Harder about the weanling. He went and had a look at her and told me she was very small but very correct, I was very keen to buy into the family so I told Mark to go and buy her." Harder purchased the weanling filly at auction and contacted Rosati to pass on the good news. "When Mark rang he told me he had purchased her but I was shocked when he told me the price, I couldn't believe it when he said he only paid $27,000 for her. The Americans just don't like buying weanlings, they like to see the yearlings stride out and because she was small I think that's why I got her so cheap. "I sent her straight to a farm that I have sent horses to before where the grass is up to the horses' knees and told them to take care of her. She continued to grow and she is now the best part of 16 hands." Rosati is hoping to see Blue Moon Stride compete in Delaware and Lexington. "I'd love to see her race in the Jugette and then go to the Red Mile, if that was the case Mary and I would go over to watch her. "We aren't going to Canada, she picked up an allergy when she went last year and while there are some nice races there for her, it took too long for her to get over the problems last season." Blue Moon Stride was a tall lean two year old but has developed as an early three year old. "She really filled out and has matured a lot, if she stays sounds then who knows where she may end up, I'd like to bring her to Sydney to race in the 2018 Miracle Mile but there is a lot to happen between now and then." "She hasn't done as much as Excel Stride did yet but she has the potential to be my best." Rosati confirmed the filly will end up coming to Australia whether it is to race or breed. "All of my broodmares are here in Australia so at some stage she will be here too. I'd love to see her come here and race but when I bought her I wanted to buy into the family and her bloodlines are so good that I'm excited by what she could do as a broodmare." Greg Hayes

What a day for champion harness racing sire Bettor's Delight, not only has he sired the winner of three pacing jewels winners, he is also the sire of Donegal Bettorgretch who was victorious in the Harness Jewels $100,000 Group 1 Sovereignty 3YO Ruby Trot. “Even with the favourite galloping, I still felt this fella was travelling better than him and would have won anyway. It's a great result for Murray Boyd and Cran.” said Dexter Dunn. Those comments from our leading driver, Dexter Dunn, say it all, after the Cran Dalgety trained trotter recorded her first Group 1 victory. “If you had said to me 10 or so years ago when I started out that I would be training trotters I would have scoffed and laughed at you. Bloody things I thought! I once said, if you ever see me racing or breeding trotters, shoot me – and now look at me, I've got one of the favourites for the Jewels” Boyd said. Donegal Bettorgretch took her earnings to just over $80,000, from 13 starts. Winning Time & Margin: 1-57.00MR, with a ¾ lengths back to Wilma's Mate in 2nd and 3 ½ lengths back to Conon Bridge in 3rd. Donegal Bettorgretch Andrew Fitzgerald  

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