Search Results
1 to 16 of 73
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

With several key harness racing targets on his schedule, Kvintet Avenger will be out to create a slice of history this summer. Carving an impressive Australian career, Kvintet Avenger has been aimed at features such as the V L Dullard Cup, Australasian Trotting Championship and Great Southern Star by trainer Brent Lilley. Success in any top shelf event will see Kvintet Avenger become the first European-bred performer to enjoy Group One success ‘Down Under’. “Races like the Dullard Cup and Great Southern Star are the aim, but he has to keep improving first,” Lilley declared. “That said, he has done everything asked of him so far and gives every indication there is more to come. “With the way he is progressing I can’t see any reason why he won’t make his way into that company and prove competitive.” Boasting four wins and a second from five local starts, Kvintet Avenger’s latest triumph came in Saturday night’s Swan Hill Trotters’ Cup. Driven confidently by Rodney Petroff, the son of Love You began well from his 10-metre mark to settle in the ‘death seat’ as Neville Vaughan worked to the lead. Striding to the front along the break straight as Neville Vaughan broke gait, Kvintet Avenger cruised to a strong two-and-a-half metre win from Wildenstein, with Monsieur Deville nine metres away third. “That was another good run from him,” Lilley said. “I wasn’t concerned about him sitting outside the leader as he is pretty strong. “Down the back when he rolled to the front I knew they wouldn’t catch him and Rodney just let him stride to the line as he pleased.” Originally purchased along with two other squaregaiters by clients of New Zealand trainer Tim Butt, Kvintet Avenger was then transferred to Lilley. “He’s a nice type…a really lovely horse,” Lilley said. “Tim bought three from Scandinavia, including him, but he didn’t work out as expected, so Tim sent him over here to see if I can get him straightened out. “He’s come along really well and should keep improving as he goes along.” PAUL COURTS

Former European trotter Kvintet Avenger is enjoying his harness racing career Down Under. Originally purchased along with two other squaregaiters by clients of New Zealand trainer Tim Butt, Kvintet Avenger has since been transferred to Victorian mentor Brent Lilley. Thriving under the Aussie conditions, Kvintet Avenger has won his two Southern Hemisphere starts in stylish fashion, including Kilmore last night. Pleased with the stallion’s progress, Lilley expects Kvintet Avenger to progress through the grades at a steady tempo. “He’s a nice type…a really lovely horse,” Lilley said. “Tim bought three from Scandinavia, including him, but he didn’t work out as expected, so Tim sent him over here to see if I can get him straightened out. “He’s come along really well, and if he can progress as expected, I’ll be looking at some of the better races down the track.” Driven by Rodney Petroff, Kvintet Avenger was caught three-wide from barrier six before working his way to the front during the middle stages. Never in danger of being run down, the son of Love You completed a three-and-a-half metre win from The Majestic, with Wildenstein five-and-a-half metres away third. “He did it very easy,” Lilley declared. “Rodney didn’t have to move on him and he’s gone to the line with plenty up his sleeve.” Set to make his metropolitan debut at Tabcorp Park Melton next week, Kvintet Avenger is being readied for events such as the V L Dullard Cup at Ballarat on December 13. “I’ll put him in a TM0 next week and see how he goes,” Lilley said. “Races like the Dullard Cup and even Great Southern Star are the aim, but he has to keep improving first. “That said, he has done everything asked of him so far and gives every indication there is more to come.” PAUL COURTS

Harness racing driver Mark Purdon has paid tribute to Brent Lilley after winning the Pegasus Spur @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Final with Our Twentyten. The Kiwi horseman, who has driven three Group 1 winners today at Tabcorp Park Melton, said Lilley had done a super job with Our Twentyten, who is by Muscles Yankee out of Regal Volo. “Credit to Brent,” he said. “He’s got him absolutely spot on for today and he’s done a fantastic job.” Our Twentyten started $1.70 favourite on the tote but had his work cut out for him rounding the home turn when pole marker and pacesetter Bad Habbott, who ran a mighty race, kicked clear. Purdon took Our Twentyten back behind the leader at the final bend before peeling out again and overpowering the Russell Commens trained son of Sundon in the last 150m. “He tested me on the corner and I dropped in but by the time we straightened up he felt good again,” said Purdon. Lilley said he was thrilled to notch the Group 1. “He’s done a super job since we’ve had him. I’m grateful to Mark for the opportunity,” he said. “He’ll go for a well-deserved spell now.” Asdenro ran third for Haydon Gray, while Master Hugh was fourth for Chris Svanosio. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Melton has drawn great fields throughout most of the divisions and the 3 year old trotters are no exception. 3 Year Old Trotters Breeders Crown Final Unlike the two year old trotters where the fillies and colts are separated, at three they are all thrown in together which is a real shame. The other disappointing thing in this years three year old final is the absence of the top Kiwi three year old trotters such as King Denny and Majestic Time but I suppose you can't be everywhere in a long season. In our view in this years final there are really only four winning chances and we deal with those one by one. First up is Our Twentyten who has drawn nicely at barrier four. A serious contender in the classics in New Zealand before his sale to Australia to clients of Brent Lilley, Our Twentyten has quickly established himself as one of the best three year old trotters  in his adopted land. His previous trainer Mark Purdon takes the drive on Sunday which in our view is another tick for Our Twentyten. Our Twentyten does have real gate speed and we expect Mark Purdon to try to grab the lead early and dictate the tempo of the race. The big danger is undoubtedly Claudys Princess who has drawn awkwardly at two on the second line. She has finished either first or second in all of her 13 starts at three and a lot of those starts have been at Group or Listed level. The danger is Claudys Princess is not in complete control of her own destiny from the second line but with the master Gavin Lang in the bike she can overcome the draw. Her last win over Asdenro was an arrogant performance which shows she is right at the top of her game at the moment.  The enigma of the race is without doubt the Kiwi  One Over Da Moon who has drawn barrier five and who has been in the Chris Lang barn for a couple of months now. When he is good he is very good and when he is bad he is awful about sums up One Over Da Moon. Can throw the toys out at times such as the Redwood Classic where he just self destructed and he did the same thing in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand as well but there is no doubting the ability is there. One Over Da Moon was eased out of the gate the last time he raced at  Maryborough before finding the front and that was due to the fact he can over race if you chase him out of the gate which makes his job at  Group One level that much harder. The last of the quartet we fancy is Asdenro who has drawn barrier three. Asdenro has finished in the first three in 11 of 13 starts at three but has been unable to win since he starting racing in the Group and Listed races. He is competitive but just half a length off the top trotters in this division. Asdenro is a free going type who likes to lead but that tends to make him a sitting duck for the likes of Our Twentyten and Claudys Princess who have such high speed. If he burns the gate in trying to hold out Our Twentyten then in our view he can't win the final as the favoured pair have that small class edge. His best chance of winning this race is if the two favourites go to war and he runs over the top of them late in the piece.  SELECTIONS This is a very close call but we think the draw gives Our Twentyten the edge over Claudys Princess but there is not much in it. One Over Da Moon needs to bring his "A' game to be a chance and we think the other two are going just a touch better than him at the moment although his class will always make him a threat. Asdenro needs a few things to happen for him to win but the determination is certainly there. Throw in Bad Habbott, Four Lillies and Lightning Calder for first fours Harnesslink Media

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Most of the Kiwi trainers of this weekends Breeders Crown semi final runners will sleep well tonight after the fields for the harness racing meeting at Ballarat on Saturday night (August 16th) were released this afternoon. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen must have wondered what they had done to get such great draws with their two main chances on Saturday night. Follow The Stars has drawn beautifully at barrier three in his semi in which his main dangers in Birdy Mach and Field Marshall have both drawn awkwardly on the second line. Linda Lovegrace, who created such a big impression on her Australian debut when narrowly going down to Follow The Stars last weekend, has drawn a lovely gate at four in her semi with her main opposition Niki No No drawn outside her at five. Another Kiwi Cyclone Kate has drawn two on the second line in the same heat which is a draw that really suits her as she is much better coming off a horses back.  If the ballot comes out in the second semi final for 2 year old fillies, then Big Lucy from the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen barn will start from three and the Cran Dalgety trained Kate Perry from four which should give both a big show of qualifying for the final. Joannes A Delight is one of the few Kiwis to have drawn badly at four on the second line in the same heat but she showed in New Zealand she is a high class filly who can do a lot of work in her races so it wouldn't pay to discount her chances even from the draw. Barry Purdon's star 3 year old Sky Major has drawn a great gate at three in the second semi final for the 3 year old colts and geldings with the likely favourite for that division Bling It On awkwardly drawn at three on the second line which makes for a very intriguing contest. Kept Under Wraps from the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen barn has drawn at two on the second line in the first semi final for 2 year old colts and geldings with most of the serious competition in this semi drawn wide on the front line so it is hard to know how it will pan out but Kept Under Wraps still looks the horse they all have to beat. Messini has been another in the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rrasmussen barn all season until they sent him to Brent Lilley to race in the Victorian Sires Stakes series and it is still in Brent's colours heading into this weekends semi final for 3 year old colts and geldings where from his barrier draw of two he should be terribly hard to beat. All in all the Kiwis would have to very pleased with how the draws have panned out and a finals berth now looks a possibility for most of them. Harnesslink Media

Maryborough was a happy hunting ground for trainer Andy Gath today – the Long Forest harness racing horseman qualifying two horses for the two-year-old trotting fillies Breeders Crown final. Gath’s rising stars Endsino (by Angus Hall out of Jauriol) and Naked Majesty (by Majestic Son out of Starcus) both saluted in their crown heats, with Andy’s wife Kate driving both winners. Endsino started long odds-on in her heat and never looked like getting rolled, leading all the way in a mile rate of 2:04.2 to score a 7.7-metre win over Glenferrie Burn. Naked Majesty won by 3.3m in her heat, overpowering early leader Meadow Valley Road late in the race. Gath sat quietly aboard Naked Majesty behind the leader, the filly peeling to the outside in the stretch to win in a rate 2:05.7. Fabrication recorded a half-neck win in the second heat of the two-year-old colts and geldings crown, defying a fierce challenge from runner-up Kyvalley Boomerang in the home stretch. Driven by Daryl Douglas for Tatura trainer David Abrahams, Fabrication found the front early and controlled the race before Kyvalley Boomerang launched his claim late. Kyvalley Boomerang got on terms with the leader 100 metres from home but it wasn’t to be, the early leader kicking on gamely to earn a ticket into the crown final. King of the trotters, Chris Lang, prevailed victorious with One Over Da Moon in the three-year-old trotters second heat. The colt by Majestic Son cruised around the field early to find the lead before going to the line with a 2.1-metre advantage over runner-up Four Lillies, with underrated Coimadai Lodge hitting the line hard out wide for third. Shared Interest announced himself a major player in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ division with a comfortable heat win over race favourite Eljaykay Phoenix. Driven by Nathan Jack, Shared Interest cruised up to the long odds-on elect at the 400m, eventually peeling into the sprint lane to shoot clear for a 3.3m win. Eljaykay Phoenix battled on for second, but has clearly come back to his rivals somewhat after dominating throughout the Vicbred Super Series, while Illawong Armstrong was third beaten 22.1m. Our Twentyten took out the final Breeders Crown heat for the day, the Brent Lilley trained and Rodney Petroff driven son of Muscles Yankee 3.7 metres too strong for Claudys Princess in their three-year-olds heat. Filly Claudys Princess punched the breeze throughout and battled on gamely for second, while Asdenro secured a beaut run on the leader’s back and was a clear third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Thursday’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting belonged to Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stable reinsman Gavin Lang, Kelly chalking up a stable treble and Lang a driving quartet. Four-year-old Mach Three/Going Royce gelding Pushkin was first to greet the judge in the SEW-Eurodrive Pace for R2 to R4 class over 2240 metres. Trapped in the open from gate three in the early stages, Pushkin extended to cross the surprise pacemaker Danish King and Pushkin enjoyed a sweet time at the head of affairs. Kicking clear at the straight entrance, Pushkin just lasted from a flying Jeans Mattjesty, which had been at the tail of the field for most of the trip, scoring by a nose in a rate of 2:06.5, with Voce (one/one – three wide home turn) an eye-catching third when first-up since April. Kiwi-bred Art Major/Strathrowan filly Dazzling Arded was next to come along in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 1720 metres. First-up since June and on debut in Australia, Dazzling Arden starting from gate two on the second line raced three-wide for most of the trip, with the polemarker Shes Pinkalicious retaining the front running. Showing plenty of intestinal fortitude, Dazzling Arden outstayed her rivals to record a 2.8-metre victory in 2:01.5 over the first-starter Kristy Ann Hanover along the sprint lane after trailing the leader. Richly Deserved (four-wide home turn) from last looked a big chance on straightening and finished third. Ex-Sunraysia seven-year-old gelding Eyes On The Sky, having his first outing since May 2013, was a tough victor of the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Making his first appearance for the stable, Eyes On The Sky a son of D M Dilinger and Gipsy Belle who’s most recent victory had been at Mildura on May 26, 2013 raced in the open from gate five, proving too strong over the concluding stages for Pas Mate (one/two – three wide home turn) which joined him halfway up the running appearing to be going better, with Bucksaroo third after following the runner up throughout. The mile rate 2:05.1. Lang was the “punters pal” on the day, also snaring the Pegasus Club 3Y0 Pace over 1720 metres aboard the Sue Hunter (Melton) trained Kenneth J/Artistic Dash gelding Kool Kenny. Given a beaut trip one/one from gate five, Kool Kenny was switched to the sprint lane on straightening, scoring by a half-neck from Gowan Loch, which led from the pole, and Daddywho (three back the markers) The mile rate 2:00.6. It was a great day for the Macedon Ranges district with Kyneton duo Greg and Steve Leight taking the Aldebaran Park 3Y0 Trotters Handicap over 2240 metres with Lawman/Kellybrooke gelding Law Legend, leading all of the way from barrier two, accounting for Eureka Encounter and Fire To Rain in a rate of 2:12.3 in appalling conditions. Four-year-old Britewell/Jenola Bay gelding Our St Pierre gave Bolinda’s Brent Lilley another winner for the week when successful in the tab.com.au Trotters Handicap for TRO & TR1 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 2:09.5. With Chris Alford in the spider, Our St Pierre starting from the 10 metre mark settled six back along the markers, with Atego Turbo beginning like a rocket from outside 10 metres to lead. Moving to be one/one racing for the bell, Our St Pierre was eased three wide on the final bend and finished strongly to gain the day in advance of Our Elvis which moved to face the breeze at the bell before striding clear on the home turn. Only One Aussie which trailed the weakening pacemaker finished third. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

Messini’s rise to harness racing stardom continued last night at Bendigo. The pacer, whose racing style is to keep his head low, stick his neck out and storm forward like a bullying gridiron hulk barging through would-be tacklers, never looked like getting beat. With Chris Alford in the sulky for trainer Brent Lilley, Messini came home with a 57-second last half to score a 4.6-metre victory in the ninth heat of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old colts and geldings. The high-class son of Art Major led from gate three and toyed with his rivals, only Glen Craven’s lightly raced Jilliby Jagger able to get within a bull’s roar of the winner at the end, the Terang pacer 4.6m behind in second. With a 1:57.5 mile rate – easily the quickest of the three Crown heats on the night – Messini looks cherry ripe for the semi-finals, with a decision to be made regarding whether the pacer remains with Lilley for the business end of the series or heads back to Lilley’s close mate and New Zealand’s leading trainer, Mark Purdon. Purdon sent Messini and Kept Under Wraps to Lilley for the lead-up to the Breeders Crown and Lilley has both horses firing on all cylinders. Messini Other heat winners last night were Will Mach My Word for trainer Geoff Webster with Emmett Brosnan in the chair, the son of Mach Three leading from go to whoa, and Dream Away gelding Hectorjayjay for Bill and Simone Walker, which scored by over 12m in a rate of 2:00.4 in the last race on the card. Will Mach My Word Hectorjayjay by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Champion juvenile Follow The Stars has had to bow to stablemate Linda Lovegrace in their final public outing before heading to Australia for the Breeders Crown. And their trainer Mark Purdon wasn’t surprised. The pair have A$650,000 worth of ABC races ahead of them in the next month and warmed up for their trip to Victoria by finishing only a nose apart at the Ashburton trials on Tuesday. The fact the filly could even keep up with Follow The Stars, who has looked freakish this juvenile season, might surprise some but Purdon says Linda Lovegrace has been a huge improver. “She is definitely a better filly now than say Jewels time,” said Purdon. “She is the one from our team that has really gone on in leaps and bounds.”
 Purdon is also happy with Follow The Stars, who hasn’t raced since being knocked out of the Jewels, his only defeat. Both juveniles won their ABC heats at Addington in walkovers. They will fly out to Melbourne next week with Follow The Stars likely to race in Victoria before the pair contests ABC semi-finals at Ballarat on August 16. They will be joined in Purdon’s care by Arya, Kept Under Wraps and Iceobar, but Vicbred Final-winning three-year-old Messini may stay with ex-pat trainer Brent Lilley, who has been looking after most of Purdon’s Victorian team in the last month. Lilley trained Kept Under Wraps to beat Australia’s best juvenile Birdy Mach in an ABC heat at Shepparton on Tuesday night, suggesting Purdon may have the two favourites for the juvenile division. Purdon says his main NZ Cup hopes Smolda and Adore Me look great, with Smolda only a month away for the trials whereas Adore Me, because she raced later into the season, will not start until October. By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Andy Gath’s rising star two-year-old Padrisimo has been scratched from tomorrow night’s Breeders Crown heats at Shepparton. Gath told Harness Racing Victoria this morning the horse would be scoped and is possibly suffering a cold, which is the affliction that ruled him out of the Harness Jewels in New Zealand earlier this year. “It is bad luck but you’ve just got to put the horse first,” Gath said. Birdy Mach spearheads the line-up for the three Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and geldings heats at Shepparton. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s colt will line up in gate four in heat 11 of the series (Race 7 at Shepparton), hoping to bounce back after a shock defeat in the Tatlow Stakes last start. Birdy Mach took a two-from-two record into the Tatlow and was heavily backed before having his colours lowered by Kept Under Wraps. Team McCarthy has huge wraps on the son of Mach Three though, and if he can reproduce his Sydney form he will be very hard to beat. Kept Under Wraps is back for another crack though and has drawn pole in his bid to beat Birdy Mach again. The Brent Lilley trained son of Bettors Delight will be driven by in-form reinsman Greg Sugars and another victory would thrust him to the top of betting calculations for the Crown finals. Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket will contest the same heat as Birdy Mach but is drawn seven and will find it tough, his trainer says. “He’s a very quality racehorse but the way the numbers have fallen realistically there’s no way he can run in the first two,” Gath said. “But we’re not too deterred because realistically the first five or six in the repechage can usually make their way into the final.” The first of the three heats tomorrow will feature Vicbred Super Series champion Feeling Arty. Trainer-driver Cameron Maggs is hoping Feeling Arty can bounce back after dropping out badly in the Tatlow last time out. “I followed through OK last time but I just couldn’t get in unfortunately and when they run those times it makes it tough,” Maggs said. “I was a bit disappointed. His recovery wasn’t real good on the night but he ate up afterwards and has worked good since.” Maggs said although Feeling Arty led throughout his Vicbred campaign the horse had previously raced off the speed. “I’ll probably have to follow through again … but the only time he’s led in his races are in those Vicbred races,” he said. “He can sit in behind them and come with a run at the finish if he needs to race that way.” By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Simon McMullan has decided to end his junior driving days on a high. The 25-year-old Franklin horseman steered Take A Hint to victory on co-trainer David Butcher’s 50th birthday at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday night – and then said that’s his race-day driving was all done and dusted. “Who knows I might return to the sulky one day, say if I lease a trotter and have to drive him, but that’s it for now. “I certainly won’t be driving as an open horseman next year. I want to concentrate on one thing at a time. I’m in a privileged position working for Steven and I want to keep improving as a trainer. “That’s where my focus is now,” McMullan said. Take A Hint won the last race of the season at Cambridge. He and McMullan sat in the trail and then pounced to win the $7,000 Fairview Motors Mobile for C2-C4 pacers. They won by three quarters of a length pacing the 2200m mobile in a slick 2:42.8 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.5 and 29.8 seconds. The black Washington V C gelding won with a 1:59 mile rate. It was the 4-year-old’s fifth win in 28 starts. He was the third favourite and paid $8 to win. “He’s a nice horse. Not many pacers can go 2:42 and that tells me he’s got a couple of wins left in him yet. “It’s a drive I won’t forget in a while,” McMullan said. Pukekohe-based McMullan has driven 55 winners since taking out his licence in 2008. He’s also placed 130 times from his 648 starts, and won $428,521 in stakes. Training-wise he has won 29 races and just over $360,000 since joining forces with Reid at the start of the season. They finished 19th on the national training premiership. But McMullan has been with ‘The Reid Man’ for eight years now. “Steven had no right to make me a partner in his stable at the start of the season. He has rewarded me for my loyalty to him and for that I’m extremely grateful. “That’s why I want to give the driving away. I want to repay Steven’s faith in me and keep doing my best and learning from him,” McMullan said. McMullan’s first training wins came via Roger Ramjet and Sweet Jane in races one and four at Alexandra Park on August 16. McMullan was educated at Burnside High School and has worked for Brent Lilley, Brendon Hill and Doug Gale prior to coming to Reid’s Pukekohe stable. His work ethic soon ensured he was stable foreman before being promoted to a partner on August 1. Reid and McMullan are working a team of about 25 out of the Franklin Trotting Club’s complex on Station Road. “We’ve got some nice young horses coming through the ranks. Potentially I think our rising 3-year-old Art Major colt - Zennart is the most promising racehorse we have got. He won really well first-up at Alexandra Park on Friday. “My ambition is to train a Group One winner next season. Hopefully some of the younger horses or perhaps Unforgiving can do that for us,” McMullan said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Two of the better two year olds from the current harness racing season in Kept Under Wraps 1:57.1 ($81,903) and Birdy Mac 1:53.8 ($15,855) fought out a thrilling finish to the Tatlow Stakes for two year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park at Melton recently. It was a great race between two very talented horses with the ring craft of Kept Under Wraps helping him just overcome the raw talent of Birdy Mach. The racing public haven't had to wait long for the rematch with both horses lining up in the same  Breeders Crown heat  for two year old colts and geldings at Shepparton tomorrow night Tuesday the 29th of July. The Brent Lilley trained Kept Under Wraps has drawn the ace on the front line which will give driver Greg Sugars plenty of options with Birdy Mac also drawn well at four on the front line. Driver Luke McCarthy may try to use Birdy Mac's gate speed to grab the front so there could be plenty of fireworks early on. However it plays out both of these lovely two year olds should progress to the Breeders Crown semis and final where they will come up against the likes of Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($272,010). Both Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac have the breeding to match their performance. Kept Under Wraps was brought out of the Sydney leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sales last year for just $18,000 by Kiwi trainer, Mark Purdon. A son of champion sire Bettors Delight, Kept Under Wraps is from a half sister to Genuine Number 1:53.6 ($190,112). The grand dam Classic Figure is a full sister to Saab 1:57.1 ($577,197)  Talladega 1:57.8 ($411,680) and Saabella 1:59.2 ($205,745) while the third dam is none other than the former Australian Broodmare Of the Year in Soky's Number. Birdy Mac was bred by one of Australia's leading  breeders in Robert Watson from Western Australia. A son of outstanding sire Mach Three, Birdy Mac is from the young Art Major mare in Pixel Perfect. The dam is a half sister to the former outstanding pacer in Village Gem 1:52.1 ($587,403) and a full sister to the smart Manellina 1:56.9 ($97,625). Both of these very smart two year olds look to have big futures ahead of them and tomorrows night clash should be the first of many over the next few years. Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac in the Tatlow Harnesslink media    

Harness racing owner Kevin Riseley confirmed last week that Lennytheshark is out of Breeders Crown contention this year, owners preferring to give the classy four-year-old a spell before chasing summer riches. But Riseley and fellow connections of two-year-old Bettors Delight colt Kept Under Wraps have a serious live Crown chance after the Brent Lilley-trained youngster upstaged boom Sydneysider Birdy Mach in the $50,505 Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Kept Under Wraps, driven by Greg Sugars, raced one-out, one-back for the bulk of the journey while Birdy Mach ran along in front for Todd McCarthy in the 2240m race. The Sydney colt, which started $1.60 favourite after two blistering wins to start its career at Menangle, found the lead easily early with no one willing to challenge. This allowed last-start Vicbred Super Series winner Feeling Arty to dash to the death chair for Cameron Maggs, which gave the eventual winner cover in the running line. When Birdy Mach pinched a 10m lead coming off the back straight Sugars sent Kept Under Wraps out after him, while Iceobar, from the Brent Lilley yard with Mark Purdon in the spider, followed into the race stylishly. In the straight Birdy Mach led, Iceobar used the sprint lane and Kept Under Wraps came down the outside. Birdy Mach kept on kicking but Kept Under Wraps had more in the tank and nailed the early leader on the line to win by 1.1m, while Iceobar was a further 3.5m away in third place. The winning mile rate was 1:57.1 with a fourth quarter of 29.3secs and a last half of 58.3. Kept Under Wraps now boasts four wins from six starts. Kept Under Wraps The $50,505 Group 2 fillies’ Tatlow Stakes went to New Zealand star Katy Perry, who scored by 2.5m over Michael Stanley-trained Soho Tokyo, while Read About Lexy was third for Bernie Hewitt. Katy Perry, who started from the back row, whipped around the field early for reinsman Dexter Dunn before taking the lead and holding off all comers late. Katy Perry clocked a winning mile rate of 1:59.4 with a last half of 57.2. Katy Perry Earlier on the program Messini continued his dominance of the Victorian three-year-old ranks with a 5.5m win over Epaulette in the A Rocknroll Dance The Graduate. Despite starting from gate 13, Chris Alford guided the Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major home in a mile rate of 1:56.5. Bettor Rock On remained unbeaten in five Australian runs with victory in Race 8, the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final for in-form father-son combo Ross and Greg Sugars. Bettor Rock On scored by 3.5m over the 1720m trip in a rate of 1:54.4 (last half 56.2) to defeat Essbee Doubleyou in second and Tandias Bromac in third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Australian trotters are getting faster every year as a result of smarter breeding and modern training techniques. And the fact the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough field gets better every year is a direct correlation to Australia’s burgeoning passion for the squaregaiter. David Aiken-trained Eljaykay Phoenix is the favourite for Sunday’s $50,505 two-year-old Classic despite a second-row draw (gate 10) in the stand-start race. The standing start will be relatively new to most of the runners, who have been contesting mobile-start races of late as they look to etch their names among the country’s leading juvenile trotting ranks in races such as the Vicbred Super Series. Eljaykay Phoenix won the colts and geldings’ Super Series final with panache, comfortably accounting for runner-up Illawong Helios and third placegetter Black Valley – both of whom he meets again on Sunday. Eljaykay Phoenix has won five out of six starts but interestingly his only defeat has come at his only stand-start race. New Zealand’s champion two-year-old trotter My Arya has drawn gate one on Sunday, the Brent Lilley-trained, Mark Purdon-driven daughter of Angus Hall out to follow in the footsteps of previous Redwood filly winners Lady Thor (1987), Truscott Dawn (1995), Lacey Truscott (1997), Petite Morley (1998), Jauriol (2004), Elusive Charm (2009), Maidstone Miss (2011) and Daenarys Targaryen (2013). My Arya comfortably won her Australian debut race at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last weekend off a 10m handicap in a stand-start race. Early money has come for New South Wales raider Twice As Much, which is unbeaten in two runs to date at Menangle and will be driven by gun reinsman Luke McCarthy. Twice As Much opened $12 and had shortened into $8 as of Thursday with TAB fixed odds. Andy Gath has two runners entered in this year’s Redwood, impressive last-start Super Series fillies’ winner Endsino, which has drawn gate eight and will be driven by Kate Gath, and Naked Majesty, which will start from gate five for John Caldow. “It’s a bit of a tricky draw for Endsino and being a filly taking on the boys is always a bit hard,” Gath said of Endsino, whose mother Jauriol is a past Redwood champion. “These races can be about being in the right place at the right time. If you trot the best on the day you’re always a chance. “Naked Majesty bombed the start last time but she went really good after that. If she gets away good, there’s probably not much between my two.” Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan will start Illawong Armstrong in the Classic, the impressive gelding finishing second to Eljaykay Phoenix in the Super Series Final. Illawong Armstrong has won four of six starts and Quinlan has a huge opinion of him, but his manners can be a worry. If he trots, he’s a huge chance. The Redwood Classic is Race 5 on Saturday’s Maryborough program and is scheduled to start at 2.06pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

1 to 16 of 73
1 2 3 4 5 Next »