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Anthony Butt admitted to being “pleasantly surprised” with his latest Breeders Crown win aboard Kyvalley Kyrie. Butt teamed with another former Kiwi horseman, Brent Lilley, to score the upset of Breeders Crown Super Sunday when Kyvalley Kyrie led throughout as a $43.40 shot. It was just the filly’s second win from 11 starts in a busy first season of racing. “That’s one we didn’t expect, but she picked the right day to do it all right and she really had to earn the win, too,” Butt said. “Once I found the front the challengers came at me, but I really wanted to hold the lead because I knew she’d keep whacking away. Even if she didn’t win, I thought she could run a big race in front.” Kyvalley Kyrie copped plenty of early pressure from the hot favourite Our Regal Love, but just kept finding in a race run upside down. The mile rate was a solid 2min1.7sec for the 2240m, but they ground home the closing quarter in 31.1sec. “They all had their chance to run her down,” Butt said. Butt heaped praise on Lilley’s training performance. “Lil has to get the credit. Although we’ve always like this filly, she was plain last start and he was able to turn her around when it mattered,” he said. Our Regal Love, who grabbed the one-one trail after an unsuccessful challenge for the lead, rallied again in the home straight, but couldn’t rundown the leader. She finished second. Adam Hamilton

Some harness racing people might say Our Twentyten is a tad underrated. The dual Breeders Crown winner paid $10.10 on the Victorian tote tonight defeating Blue Sky Commander ($2fav) and Sky Petite ($3.30) in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. Afterwards trainer Brent Lilley declared more Breeders Crown riches were being sought with the Breeders Crown Open a target. Steered to perfection by Rodney Petroff, who has developed a great affinity with the son of Muscles Yankee/Regal Volo, Our Twentyten got his head in front right at the wire in the 2240-metre race. Petroff drove confidently out of the gate, pushing through a gap from a back-row draw before working to the breeze and eventually grabbing one-one cover when Sky Petite (Steven Duffy) obliged. Miracle set the tempo despite an outside-front-row draw, Josh Duggan taking the gelding to the front where he reeled off 31.4, 32.1 and 28.4 splits between the mile and the quarter pole. VIDEO REPLAY: Our Twentyten takes out the Winter Trotters Cup Sky Petite and Blue Sky Commander (Kerryn Manning) placed bold bids for victory approaching the home turn but they must have heard Our Twentyten’s hoof beats in hot pursuit. Blue Sky Commander got the better of Sky Petite at the 100m, but Our Twentyten made up the required half-length he needed to get the win inside the final 50m. “He’ll have to meet the better performed horses in the Breeders Crown but he got it (the Breeders Crown) as a three- and four-year-old,” Lilley said. His winning mile rate tonight was 1:59.3, the last quarter covered in 29secs. Blue Sky Commander was gutsy in second, while Sky Petite hung on for third just ahead of Lightning Calder and Savannah Jay Jay. Cody Winnell

Champion trotter Keystone Del is just one phone call away from heading to the US for the $US1 million International Trot at Yonkers in New York on October 16.  Trainer Brent Lilley said he expected to hear confirmation of an invite in coming days.  “We are keen, but the officials over there have been waiting for the Elitlopp (run Sunday night in Sweden) before issuing any invites,” Lilley said.  “Michael Taranto and Andrew Kelly have been doing the legwork from Australia for us and they say there’s a spot for a horse from down here and Keystone Del is the one they want.  “The owners have left the decision to me and I think we should give it a go.  “The timing works well, he’s going as well as ever and Yonkers is the sort of track which will suit this horse, providing he draws well.”  Despite being a rising nine-year-old, Keystone Del has raced 14 times this season for 12 wins and a third. This season alone he’s earned almost $300,000.  The latest win came in the Group 2 Jack Slack Trotters’ Cup (2200m) last night (Saturday). He’s now won 40 of his 63 starts.  Driver Anthony Butt took Keystone Del to the front from gate four, controlled the tempo through a 62.3sec middle half then finished-off in 57.2 and 27.1sec to easily hold-off his main danger Stoned I Am and win by 6.9m.  “If the invite comes through this week, we’ll give him a bit of a break then bring him back and set him for the trip,” Lilley said.  “We can get over there about three weeks before the race and if there’s a race at Yonkers the week before the big one, we’d be keen to give him a lead-up run there.” Adam Hamilton

The sales topper at the 2016 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held today Sunday the 13th of March in Melbourne is destined for the Brent Lilley harness racing stable. A colt by Majestic Son (sire of two-year-old Group 1 two-year-old winners Im Stately, Daenarys Targaryen and One Over Da Moon) out of proven producer Pinevale Ellason (Duchess Ella, Ruby Pinevale and All Star Angus) sold for $47,000 to Jim Connelly and will join the powerful Lilley yard. “Really pleased we got him,” Lilley said. “We had a good look around and thought he was the pick of the sale. On type obviously and breeding, he ticks both boxes.” Seller Terry Forster was “rapt” with the result. “We’re delighted with the result. It’ll keep the wheels turning,” he said. “We were hoping we’d go close to topping the sale because of the breeding and the progeny that this mare has had.” Preparer Pauleen Thomson was also thrilled with the result and she had an extra special day because two of the yearlings she prepared were among the top three priced sales of the day. Thomson prepared Lot 10, the sales topper, and Lot 13, a colt by Majestic Son out of Cloud Chaser which sold for $36,000. “I’m absolutely rapt. I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “He’s always been a really nice colt,” Thomson said of the Majestic Son/Pinevale Ellason colt. “He’s got a beautiful nature, no problems at all, just a really nice natured animal.” The second highest priced sale was Lot 31, a bay colt by Aldebaran Park first season sire Yield Boko out of Joyces Choice, prepared by Haley Toulmin. It went for $40,000. This year’s sale average was $14,900, up from last year’s average of $12,900 (an increase of about 7.5 per cent). 2016 Sale Results               Lot Sire Dam Sex Sales Price Purchaser Reserve 1 Bacardi Lindy Enjoy A Champers Filly Withdrawn N/A N/A 2 Pegasus Spur Its Billie Holiday Colt Passed In N/A $10,000 3 Fling It Black Curlew Filly Passed In N/A $15,000 4 Skyvalley Im Sonialeelee Filly $6,000 G Conroy   5 Angus Hall Petite Flair Filly $8,000 I Nicholas   6 Yankee Spider Maori Azolla Colt Passed In N/A $12,000 7 Imperial Count Icantremember Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 8 Skyvalley Aldebaran Deegan Colt $9,500 A Ashwood   9 Majestic Son Missgoodytwoshoes Filly $14,500 L Fitzpatrick   10 Majestic Son Pinevale Ellason Colt $47,000 KPC Racing   11 Brylin Boyz Shez Allrighty Colt $8,000 S Thompson   12 The Pres Miriama Filly $6,000 Z Cauchi   13 Majestic Son Cloud Chaser Colt $36,000 M Caldow   14 Yield Boko Kyvalley Bling Colt $9,000 L Justice   15 Lucky Chucky Charlotte Galleon Colt $13,000 J Knight   16 CR Commando Kano Classic Colt Passed In N/A $15,000 17 Yield Boko Aldebaran Crumpet Colt $15,000 Y Males   18 Majestic Son Singing Creek Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 19 Tennotrump Eagles Image Colt $8,000 P Mellington   20 Yield Boko Aldebaran Queenie Filly $19,000 D Scott   21 Majestic Son Ostensibly Colt Passed In N/A $10,000 22 Angus Hall Idoido Colt Passed In N/A $35,000 23 Muscle Hill Aftanoondelite Colt Passed In N/A $50,000 24 Yield Boko Aldebaran Revenue Filly $12,000 N Shinn   25 Majestic Son Missy Calder Filly Withdrawn N/A N/A 26 Pegasus Spur Lover Or Loser Colt $8,000 A Alchin   27 Bad Boy Truscott Poet Laureate Filly $10,000 C Murphy   28 Yield Boko Aldebaran Sunset Colt $16,000 M Taranto   29 Angus Hall Running Pinevale Gelding $13,000 I Caruana   30 Muscle Hill Starcus Colt $22,000 B Lilley   31 Yield Boko Joyces Choice Colt $40,000 G Webster   32 Bacardi Lindy Ima Tartan Tease Filly $15,000 W Agostino   33 Majestic Son Maori Road Filly $31,000 Raceapacer   34 Yield Boko Countess Angela Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 35 Angus Hall Flash And Flair Colt $27,000 M Craven   36 Down Under Muscles Dodo Rocket Filly $30,000 D Aiken   37 Armbro Invasion Betty Cuthbert Filly $8,000 S Cameron   38 Yield Boko Bromac Aldebaran Filly $9,000 D Aitkin   39 Framework Pepperell Dargent Filly $4,000 F Cauchi   40 Majestic Son Lindys Two Step Filly $9,000 B Edwards   41 Kyvalley Blur Aldebaran Hall Colt $15,000 M Craven   42 Yield Boko Notnow Itstooearly Colt Withdrawn N/A N/A 43 Down Under Muscles Elite Action Colt $4,500 Veritas Holdings   44 Yankee Spider Lunar Landing Colt Passed In N/A $50,000 45 Bacardi Lindy Cruzenthepacific Filly $10,000 E Tormey   46 Yield Boko Maori Lindy Colt $11,500 MC Family Trust   47 Bacardi Lindy Docmelfi Filly $11,000 M Taranto   48 Armbro Variable La Cousu Colt $15,000 A Gath   49 Yankee Spider Stand On Me Filly $10,000 J Shelley   50 Down Under Muscles Melpark Sunrise Filly $12,000 T Bradley   51 Skyvalley Aldebaran Pearl Colt $8,000 Tonn Pty Ltd       Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters continues this weekend. With two legs of the five race harness racing series already decided, it’s now make or break time as we head into in the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday. A heat/final concept staged on the SAME night staged over the 1720m distance. And holding the whip hand is evergreen trotter Keystone Del, a co-leader in the Trotting Masters after his dominant display in the Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Melton last month. Regarded as Australia’s best trotter, the winner of the Great Southern Star two years ago heads into this year’s series in peak form yet again following his effortless victory in track record time last week at Cranbourne in the Gr.1 $50,000 Aldebaran Park The Knight Pistol. Keystone Del rated 1:56.1 for the 1609m event. Now prepared by master trainer Brent Lilley, the Dr Ronerail gelding has won 5 of his 6 starts since joining the stable and has landed the inside gate in his qualifying heat. Boom Kiwi trotter Speeding Spur looms as his biggest threat but must overcome gate six but his recent form is sensational highlighted by his victory last week at Alexandra Park where he overcame a 50m handicap which followed his monstrous performance in the Grand Prix when beaten narrowly by Keystone Del. Prepared by father/son combination of John and Josh Dickie, Speeding Spur is a proven big race performer in Melbourne. Other chances include Kyvalley Blur, Our Overanova, Leannes Boy and Daryl Boko. In the opening heat, the Andy and Kate Gath prepared Glenferrie Typhoon looms as the hardest to beat after landing the inside gate. Glenferrie Typhoon has won 3 of his 5 races this year with breaks made in the other two including last week at Cranbourne in The Knight Pistol behind Keystone Del. Two starts ago, the Majestic Son gelding smashed the track record in the Maori Mile at Bendigo when leading throughout in a time of 1:54.4. Star mare Claudys Princess chased valiantly when runner-up to Glenferrie Typhoon on that occasion and looms as a legitimate threat again this week. Prepared by Mick Blackmore, Claudys Princess was responsible for an excellent effort in the Gr.1 Trotters Cup at TABCORP Park, Menangle last start after making a break in the final lap before regrouping to finish off well when fifth behind On Thunder Road. Others that warrant respect in the opening heat include Maori Time, Super Zeck, Quite A Moment and Son Of Sonoko. The $50,000 qualifying heats will be staged as races 3 and 4 while the $300,000 final is scheduled as race 9 on the program. Hoofnote; the opening leg of the Trotting Masters was the Dominion staged at Addington in November and was won by Master Lavros. by Chris Barsby

Australia’s best trotter, Keystone Del, may be bound for the US. Harness racing trainer Brent Lilley said the Yonkers International would be an intriguing option should the opportunity present for the eight-year-old, who looks hard to beat in next weekend’s Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton. Lilley made the comment after Keystone Del smashed the track record at Cranbourne over the mile in tonight’s Group 1 Aldebaran Park Knight Pistol for driver Anthony Butt. KEYSTONE DEL SCORCHES RIVALS IN THE KNIGHT PISTOL Straight to the breeze from barrier four outside race leader Arboe, barrier two, Keystone Del powered home in 1:56.1 by 11.1m over stablemate Kyvalley Blur (Nathan Jack), with the flying Super Zeck into third for Darren Cole and John Caldow. Arboe finished fourth. Keystone Del boasts 35 wins from his 57 starts to date for stake earnings fast approaching $1million. by Cody Winnell

Amid all the “Kiwi this” and “New Zealand that”, which has dominated much of the Summer Of Glory conversation, harness racing trainer Brent Lilley’s strong stable is happy to wait in the shadows until show time on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Champion trotter Keystone Del will attempt to unseat New Zealand raiders Monbet and Speeding Spur in the Settle Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix. And 89 minutes later Messini will rip from barrier six to take the fight to Ohoka Punter and Smolda in the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. Lilley’s runners are among the few Australian chances at single-figure odds in the betting, and the Bolinda trainer was looking forward to having his chargers return to the grand stage. It will be familiar ground for five-time Group 1 winner Keystone Del, who Lilley said had “been going really well”. “We have kept him a little on the fresh side lately because it will be 12 or so weeks from the start (of his campaign) to the Great Southern Star and he has a very busy schedule,” he said. “He is the forgotten horse a little bit with Monbet, but it is a star-studded field.” Lilley said the attention given to the favourite was not misguided. “He’s all class Monbet. We will probably have an advantage, having been drawn inside him. “Anthony (Butt) is a very good race driver and will try and place (Keystone Del) in the running. But it is not just Monbet, it’s Glenferrie Typhoon, Arboe, Speeding Spur and Kyvalley Blur is going very well and has a good draw. “There are definitely half a dozen chances in the race. It is never ever easy and you expect to get competition, that is what it is all about. This is one of the best trotting fields we’re seen over here.” There will be no excuses from Keystone Del’s camp. “He’s ready to go. It’s so hard to always peak with all the group 1s over the next five to six weeks, but he’ll be more than competitive.” Similarly, Messini is expected to give followers a good sight in the A. G. Hunter Cup, having performed admirably in last Saturday’s showcase. “He went really good in the Victoria Cup,” Lilley said. “He made an early move, then got held up at the corner and hit the line full of running. “It was a good run and I’m looking forward to this week. The 3200m and standing start don’t hold any worries.“ Drawn sixth, Messini could well be in the mix, but there is plenty of pace inside, not the least of all being Yankee Rockstar (barrier two), Ohoka Punter (barrier three) and Smolda (barrier five). “Some of the better chances have drawn the front row. It will be interesting to see how it rolls out in the first 100m, we’ll be up among it,” Lilley said. “In an ideal world we’d step to the front and stay there, but everyone on the front row is thinking the same. “If we step good and get to the front of the field that would be great, but it’s a 3200m race and so there’s plenty of time to work into it.” by Michael Howard

The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters heats back up again this weekend. And it heads to Australia for the first time this season with the running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix over 2240m at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday night. After first being staged in 2001 and won by star mare La Coocaracha, this race was made famous after champion trotter Sundons Gift made it his own when successful on four straight occasions (2007-10). Following the success of Master Lavros in the Dominion at Addington last November, the opening leg of the 2015/16 Trotting Masters, an all-star cast has been assembled this weekend in the mobile start feature. Many believe this is THE feature this weekend. With a perfect blend of proven against unproven, a reputation will be enhanced dramatically with victory. Australia’s best trotter Keystone Del is aiming at redemption after being forced to play the runners-up role last season with star Kiwi Stent proving victorious while his win streak of six straight wins came to an abrupt ending last start at Shepparton at the hands of emerging star Glenferrie Typhoon, a rival again this weekend. After a recent switch to the leading stables of Brent Lilley, Keystone Del will start from gate three with champion reinsman Anthony Butt booked to take the drive. Glenferrie Typhoon proved his recent Shepparton track record thumping was no fluke with another stunning victory last week in the Aldebaran Park Melton Trotters Cup for in-form husband and wife combination of Andy and Kate Gath. The New Zealand bred gelding will be looking for his third straight victory and will start from the inside gate. Also carrying the ‘Glenferrie’ moniker is the Belinda McCarthy trained Glenferrie Dreamer who chased home Monbet last week in the Australasian Trotting Championship Final. The Sydney trained trotter will appreciate the mobile start and will leave from gate five. Young Kiwi stars Monbet and Speeding Spur both contain ‘X factor’ coupled with explosive qualities and both command enormous respect. The four-year-old phenomenon’s are both unbeaten at Melton and will provide New Zealand with an excellent chance of maintaining the recent kiwi dominance in the feature. Monbet starts from gate four while Speeding Spur starts from gate six. Classy mares Arboe and Habibti will take their shot despite both coming off crushing defeats at their most recent starts. On each occasion, they felt the full fury of Monbet. The Anton Golino prepared Arboe starts from gate two while the Adam Kelly trained Habibti must overcome gate seven, the outside gate. American bred trotter Kyvalley Blur, aka ‘Mr Consistency’ is a proven big race performer at Melton and boasts excellent recent form with placing’s at his past eight starts. The Chocolatier stallion has drawn gate eight, the sole second-line runner. The Grand Prix will be a cracking event, it’s race 5 on the program and timed to start at 8.03pm local time. by Chris Barsby

This Saturday night’s $75,575 Shepparton Gold Cup has attracted an outstanding harness racing line-up and one of the main acts of the race is the Brent Lilley trained Messini. Now back in Australia after a fruitful New Zealand Cup campaign, which culminated in him running a brave fifth in the cup before backing up with a third in the New Zealand Free For All three days later, Lilley said the horse had come back in terrific order. “He had two weeks out after cup week but he has come back in fine fettle. He had a trial at Geelong last week and trialled lovely so I couldn’t be happier with him," he said. Although not overly experienced from behind the tapes having only five starts out of the stand, Lilley believes the standing start conditions of Saturday night’s race will not pose any problems “He has had a bit of practice at the standing starts and every time he begins quicker and quicker. He probably began a wee bit too good for himself in the NZ Cup which left him parked outside Arden Rooney," Lilley said. He has drawn a little awkwardly in five but Lilley is confident he can step away fast and find the lead. “He doesn’t have to lead but from the draw if he can make a good beginning and jump in front then he likes to roll along at a good pace, but I’ll leave that up to Chris (Alford). I’m confident he will begin quickly anyway.” It is a tremendous field to do battle Saturday night with a host of super pacers engaged to tackle Messini including Yankee Rockstar, Ohoka Punter, Hectorjayjay, Barimah and Keayang Steamer. It will be a bumper night of racing as the #RoadToGlory continues with a big 10-race program kicking off at 6.28pm. by Matt Jackson Harness Racing Victoria

Whenever you see the names Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt combining with a trotter regardless of the race or harness racing venue, it always pays to give the combination plenty of respect as their great record deserves. Last night at Globe Derby Park in the $30,000 South Australian Trotters Cup, they lined up the former New Zealand trotter Leannes Boy for his first start on Australian soil and he showed he is a trotter with a big future in front of him with a tradesman like victory over a handy field. Away well from barrier two for Anthony, Leannes Boy was happy to take a trail behind stablemate Zedalite and Josh Duggan after 500 metres metres. With Josh ensuring a smart tempo in front there was no serious challengers mid race although Irish Whisper and Damien Wilson went up and sat on Zedalite's wheel. Down the back straight the last time it was pretty obvious that the two Lilley runners in  Zedalite and Leannes Boy were the two that were going to fight out the finish as few looked to run on from back in the field. Zedalite turned for home in front but Leannes Boy eased out on the bend and wore down the leader late in the piece without Anthony getting too excited in the bike. Irish Whisper fought on well for third but over 16 metres away from the first two at the finish.  Leannes Boy cut out the 2645 metres from the stand in a smart 3:24.1, a mile rate of 2:04.2 with closing sectionals of 57 and 28.4  The seven-year-old gelding by Armbro Invasion was very competitive throughout the winter and spring at both Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway against trotters such as One Over Da Moon, Paramount Dream and Prince Fearless, Leanne's Boy has the potential to be a big success in his new homeland. Harnesslink Media

The injury plagued elite grade pacer Franco Nelson is to have a change of scenery once again as he heads over to join the Victorian barn of former Kiwi driver Anthony Butt Anthony and his new partner are in the process of setting up a small boutique stable on Gavin Lang's old property and there wouldn't be a better horse to get things under way with The six year old son of Christian Cullen is lightly raced considering he was mixing it with the best at two and Anthony will be his fourth trainer to date in his stop start career. Franco Nelson had his last start for his present trainer Michael House in the $57,500 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night where he ran a very creditable third after leading easily off the gate in the hands of his soon to be regular pilot Anthony Butt who made the trip from Melbourne to drive the entire. Anthony is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be involved with a horse of the class of Franco Nelson. " He went great in the New Zealand Cup in his first run for such a long time and Dexter had no luck in the Auckland Cup, being shoved out wide at the 800 metres mark so I think you can disregard that run". " There are so many opportunities for a horse like him in Australia" " With his proven class, he shouldn't be a hard horse to place," Anthony said. Anthony is not getting ahead of himself, fully aware of all the issues that have troubled the star pacer in recent times. " I have been really lucky in having such a quality horse sent to me to train but I have a pool there which he needs so I can do a lot of the day to day work with him." " If we can get him back to his best, it could be very exciting." " I can't wait to get him home and and sort out a programme for him," said Anthony. Franco Nelson is not the only horse that has Anthony excited heading into the major cup races and series in Victoria. " I have driven Keystone Del to his last two wins since he joined Brent's barn and he has gone super both times." " I think he will be very competitive when all the big trotting races come around," Anthony said. Anthony is also hopeful of attracting some more New Zealand owned horses to his new training establishment. " It would work out great if a few more horses came over from home." " There are great opportunities here for a promising horse and I more than happy to look after any visitors as well," Anthony said. Harnesslink Media   This is a corrected version of a article Harnesslink first published on Friday 8th January 2016.

Talented Tasmanian-born reinsman Josh Duggan celebrated the biggest win of his career when he partnered Victorian pacer Lets Elope to an emphatic harness racing victory in the $40.000 UBET Tasmania Cup in Hobart yesterday. The Brent Lilley-trained gelding was given the run of the race by Duggan who had the seven-year-old settled just beyond midfield in the one-out line and poised to pounce when the leaders started to feel the pressure in the back straight the last time. Duggan eased his charge out four-wide to make his run 500 metres from home but he had the well-backed Star Chamber (Nathan Ford) breathing down his neck. But when Lets Elope hit the front Duggan called on the gelding for the supreme effort and he had delivered the goods to go on and hit the line seven metres clear of Star Chamber with outsider Outback Mach almost 109 metres away third. Duggan, 23, is the son of star Tasmanian reinsman Ricky Duggan and his wife Linda. Instead of staying in Tasmania to follow in his father's footsteps he opted to venture to Victoria six years ago to try and carve a career from the industry. "I wasn't going to come home for Christmas this year until Brett Lilley asked if I'd drive this horse here in Tassie for two starts," Duggan said. "He was second in Launceston last week but he had to do it tough and was beaten by Star Chamber but the roles were reversed today and it was our turn." "You hope to win a lot bigger races but it is really special to come home and win the state's biggest event at my first drive in the race." "When the others in front of us had done so much hard work I knew my horse would be hard to beat and that Star Chamber would be the only danger." "But in the home straight my horse was strong and finished it off like a good horse," he said. Duggan has worked for Chris and Alice Alford since he arrived in Victoria in 2009 and at the start of this season he outdrove his novice driver's claim. "I've been working for Chris and Alice (Alford) for six years now and without their support I wouldn't be where I am today in this industry," he said. Peter Staples

Arguably Australia's best trotter, Keystone Del will trial at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Sunday morning. Harness racing trials start at 9 am, with Keystone Del scheduled to compete in trial 6. ‚ÄčEntry is free, and breakfast is available from the track kiosk. Keystone Del has recently changed stables, with Brent Lilley training, and Anthony Butt driving the gelding at his first hit-out for the new connections. Keystone Del , 1'53.9 is the winner of 30 races and has earned over $770,000 in stakes. For Trial Fields, click  here:

Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took the honours at the Geelong trots on Tuesday, finishing the night with a stable double thanks to a pair of six-year-olds. Art Major/Endeared mare Star Crossed, first-up for the stable having her first outing since February, greeted the judge first in the Flying Brick Cider Company Pace for C1 class over 2100 metres. With stable reinsman Anthony Butt in the sulky, Star Crossed starting from the extreme draw wasn’t pushed early, settling with most of the field ahead of her as Joelissa led from gate two after the hot favourite Captain Snoozzze galloped away from gate three. Gaining a three-wide trail home in the final circuit on the back of Jimmy The Editor, Star Crossed at tote odds of $17.40 finished best to score from Jimmy The Editor and Joelissa in a mile rate of 2:00.2. Kiwi bred American Ideal/Jazz Tanner gelding Eric Clapton taking a concession for youthful Brad Chisholm who has been helping out at the camp, made a one act affair of the Relay For Life Dec 3rd Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2100 metres. Beginning fast from outside the front line, Eric Clapton ran his rivals ragged in accounting for Guggenheim (four back the markers) which death-seated for the last lap by a neck, with Bad Boy Brad (four wide last lap from near last) five metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1:57.1. Wallan’s Shinn family snared the Harness Breeders Victoria Trackbred Pace for C0 class (mares) over 1609 metres with Aurore, a four-year-old daughter of Dawn Ofa New Day and Aurelia bred and raced by Noel Shinn. Trained by Ruth and driven by son Chris, Aurore was another to begin with great zest from outside the front row to lead and was never headed, registering a 1.3-metre margin in advance of Fianna Gael which trailed from the pole and Nymeria (one/one – three wide home turn) in a rate of 1:59.5. Flowerdale part-owner/trainer/driver Ivan Antolas was successful with 4Y0 Bacardi Lindy Springhasprung  mare Aussie Beach Blond in the Corio Waste Management Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres. A winner in restricted company at Bendigo on November 7, Aussie Beach Blond from gate four was trapped in the open, before receiving cover racing for the bell when Anthony Butt sent Georgies Smile forward from mid-field to park outside the pacemaker Shiftywall which crossed to lead as the start was effected. Easing wide in the last lap, Aussie Beach Girl raced clear on turning to record an easy 12.2-metre victory over Handy That from last at the bell in a mile rate of 2:09, with Very Belle third after following the weakening leader. Drouin’s Gary and Debbie Quinlan snared the Geelong Pacing Cup 2nd January Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres with 4Y0 Sundon/Star Spangled Rama gelding Omy Son which broke his maiden status at start number 10. Driven by Nathan Jack, Omy Son settled four back along the markers from gate three, with Lilymaystorm inside him beginning best to lead. Rushing forward when the speed slackened to make an unsuccessful bid for the front running, Omy Son was then eased to drop to the back of the pacemaker. Moving off the heels of Lilymaystorm on the final bend, Omy Son was nursed to the wire in winning by 3.8 metres from the leader, with Ghent (one/one at bell) third. The mile rate 2:06.3. Perennial placegetter The Gingerbreadman finally cracked it for another victory by taking the Devcon Properties Pace for C2 class over 2100 metres in 1:59.8. Part-owned and trained by Meltonian Ian Hunter, The Gingerbreadman driven as usual by John Justice possied four back in the moving line, as the polemarker Aloha Don Ho retained the front running. When Aloha Don Ho surrendered the lead mid-race to stablemate Bettor Than Best, The Gingerbreadman was off and running three-wide racing for the bell. Despite racing wide for the remainder of the trip, The Gingerbreadman raced away in the straight to score convincingly by three metres from Glenferrie Arch which followed him home. Aloha Don Ho used the sprint lane to finish third. McArdle/Glenferrie Miss 6Y0 gelding Glenferrie College notched up his 12th victory at start number 70 when successful in the Jims Mowing Claiming Pace over 2100 metres. Trained at nearby Lara by Dean Braun, Glenferrie College driven by Chris Alford starting from inside the second line was restrained immediately the start was effected to settle at the tail of the field, with only stablemate Comply Or Die behind him after being trapped wide from gate six. Trailing Our Mels Dream forward in the last lap, Glenferrie College despite being four wide on the home turn, ran home strongly to record a 6.2-metre margin on the wire over Our Mels Dream and The Family Guy which raced in the open. The mile rate 1:58.4. Terang trainer Matthew Craven combined with Chris Svanosio to land the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over 2570 metres with smart but sometimes unreliable 8Y0 Ganymeade/Smokey Robyn gelding Hinault, who has been going great guns of late. Raced by a large group of stable supporters including veteran Terang identity Ray Payne, Hinault began safely from 30 metres and was soon racing one-one after Sundons Comet went forward at a great rate from 10 metres to cross the poleline leader Shiraz Cabernet. Not happy with the tempo through the middle stages, Hinault was set alight to assume control at the bell and from there on, the race became a procession, with Hinault coasting to the wire untouched to register a 1.8-metre victory over Sundons Comet along the sprint lane in a rate of 2:05.3. Maybelina, first-up since July, ran home nicely from four back the markers to finish third 4.1 metres away. Len Baker  

Chris Alford probably thought he’d lost a couple of battles in the run aboard Messini in the four-year-old entires and geldings Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. For starters he tried to lead aboard the Brent Lilley-trained stallion from the pole but was crossed early by Hectorjayjay and Simone Walker drawn alongside. Secondly, once crossed and it was clear Walker was going to hand up to Major Crocker, Alford tried to angle away from the markers but couldn’t when Young Modern and Mick Stanley snared the one-one. Alford explained: “I had to make a decision how hard to go in the first 200 … when Simone got that half-length she presumed she could get across and she was going to keep going, and I thought we were going a bit too hard and thought she might think about handing up since we had gone that hard. Luckily I tried to get off the fence and Mick Stanley put me back in there thankfully, and it all worked out good after that.” Once in front Major Crocker copped too much pepper from Keayang Active, running a 43.7secs lead time and 28.5secs first quarter. When Jilliby Jagger came from near the rear and eased three and four-wide coming off the back straight Hectorjayjay made his move. Walked eased Hectorjayjay to the outside of a tiring Major Crocker and Alford and Messini followed closely. Once in the home stretch Hectorjayjay gave his trademark kick and got about 5m clear of Messini. But the former New Zealander typically wasn’t going to go down without a fight and he stuck his head down and got going, stride by stride reeling in Hectorjayjay to eventually score a half-neck win in 1:54.9 (28.6secs third and fourth quarters). “It was a great race now that we’ve won but things didn’t go exactly how we wanted them to go,” Alford said. “He’s just a great little trier. I thought his head was dragging on the ground near the line he was trying that hard. He deserved that win." Jilliby Jagger ran third for Glen Craven, while Barimah ran on well for fourth for Damian Wilson and Major Crocker battled away for fifth with Greg Sugars in the sulky. The win meant back-to-back Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series successes for Messini. The race was one of the most exciting on the strong Saturday night card. Messini is by Art Major out of Mesmerizing. Re-live Messini's win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final Cody Winnell

Harness racing Group 1 trebles are almost unheard of. And when they do occur, the feat is usually reserved for the rich, powerful, multinational-type stables. But Shelbourne horseman Larry Eastman lived the fairy-tale on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, winning three Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Eastman’s stable-star three-year-olds Menin Gate and Morton Plains won their age group’s male and female finals respectively before Milly Perez scored a boil-over in the four-year-old mares’ decider. All three were driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, who also picked up the four-year-old entires and geldings’ final with Messini for trainer Brent Lilley to finish with a Group 1 quartet. An emotional Eastman paid tribute to his wife, Lynette. “I’m feeling pretty good (but) I’m rapt for Lynette, my wife,” he told the large crowd, who braved a chilly night out for one of the best nights of harness racing seen in recent times. “(She’s) the best horse on the farm by a long way… works daylight until dark every day. “Whilst people probably think it’s my expertise or whatever it’s not, she’s got a good eye for a horse and she’s really good at what she does as well.” Eastman, clearly elated, had nothing but praise for Alford. “We’ve been great friends for a long time and he’s really pulled them out tonight for us,” he said. “… It makes all the difference. We use these guys because they are the best and on big nights like tonight it counts.” Morton Plains (Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That) brought up the first of Eastman’s trio of treats for the evening. The filly took the lead off early frontrunner Niki No No with a mile to run in their Group 1 final over 2240m. A 30.2secs first quarter had the Eastman backers feeling good and a second split of 30.6secs was   comfortable. Off the back Morton Plains looked to have the better of death-seating Lovelist, while driver Greg Sugars sat quietly aboard Niki No No behind the leader awaiting his opportunity along the sprint lane. But Morton Plains kicked strongly at the top of the stretch, Niki No No unable to peg back the leader who kept finding to win by four metres, Niki No No holding on to second and Vapar Grin running third. “The Birchip boys who own Menin Gate, most are in this filly as well. A couple of them are in Morton Plains that weren’t in Menin Gate … they get their thrills tonight. I’m really pleased for them,” Eastman said. “These guys have been in for the long haul … I mean the Lowry boys have been in this industry for years and years and they’ve put their hard-earned in. “Their farming enterprise didn’t have a very good year last year and until it rains this year they’re on a sticky wicket again. For those people and the farming community at Birchip (the win) really gives the town a bit of a buzz.” Eastman made it a three-year-olds’ clean sweep in Race 7 with Somebeachsomewhere/Dreams Of Heaven gelding Menin Gate in the colts’ and geldings’ final. The Victoria Derby champion from earlier in the season began fast from the pole to lead and was never headed, the inside-back-row Mister Wickham finishing second after following the winner all the way and Follow The Stars running third for Anthony Butt and Mark Purdon. Menin Gate rated 1:55.6 for the 2240m trip, sprinting home in 56.1secs. “He was switched on tonight, not like last week,” Alford said. “Once he was able to hold the front pretty comfortable I knew he’d run a strong last mile and was going to be hard for the horses off the fence and thankfully he kept going.” While he was no doubt confident both his three-year-olds would be competitive, Eastman certainly had his doubts about Milly Perez. “When Col Moore texted to say he’d pulled barrier 13 out I just thought `well that’s the end of the road for Milly’, because last week if you watch the tapes she went unbelievable ... we just were hoping for a barrier,” he said. “This little mare’s blessed with a really good turn of foot and I just thought from 13 we’d be too far back.” Eastman and Alford needed for there to be some speed on early. Their wish was Josh Aiken and Nathan Jack’s command. Crossed early by Shes A Runa, Jack took race favourite and polemarker Berisari quickly away from the pegs out of the straight the first time to run to the front. But Aiken and Quick Draft swiftly built up momentum and declared war on the long odds-on favourite, the pair engaging in a two-horse war to the mile marker before finally Quick Draft was forced to relent. The lead time of 42.9secs was electric and Jack quickly applied the brakes in a bid to give Berisari some respite with opening quarters of 30.3secs and 31.9secs. The pressure went on again down the back with a 29.1secs third split as Barynya and John Caldow made their move and got by Berisari. But Alford and Milly Perez, who were last at the 800m, followed Barynya into the action before peeling around her in the home straight. Once she stretched out Milly Perez dashed right away from her rivals, the Four Starzzz Shark/Alta Calypso bay winning by 13m over Beach Shack (David Aiken), Barynya holding down third. Lucky Metro was fourth for Charlie Borg, while Berisari battled away bravely to run fifth – a big run given her adversary Quick Draft came in tailed off. “We needed some genuine tempo and thanks to a couple of guys out there tonight it was game on and she reaped the reward,” Eastman said of Milly Perez. Meanwhile, Eastman also had high praise for the Vicbred program and highlighted the importance of the scheme to the Victorian industry. “Vicbred needs more and more pumped into it day in and day out,” he said. “Let’s look after our home base, that’s where these guys get the benefits. “We need to look after Victoria. That’s where we put our hard yakka in.” The Vicbred program pays out well over $9 million in stakes and bonuses to eligible horses and the series’ goal is to strengthen opportunities for Victorian-bred standardbreds. As for the trip home to Birchip for Eastman’s owners, it’ll no doubt be an enjoyable ride. Cody Winnell VIDEOS Menin Gate won his Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Morton Plains won her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Milly Perez won her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final

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