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Once a year the square gaiters take pride of place at Mildura as part of the Pacing Cup Carnival and Thursday April 10 was the night this year, with Kiwi bred four year old Monarchy/Sunny Gem gelding Unico Crown scoring a brilliant all of the way victory in the $14,505 Seelite Windows & Doors Mildura Trotters Cup for T5 or better class over 2600 metres. Trained at Lara by Dean Braun and driven by the stable’s number one reinsman Chris Alford, Unico Crown began smoothly from the pole to lead and rated to perfection around the tight circuit, ran out an easy 7.7 metre victor in advance of Sandys Boy which trailed, making no impression in the run home, with Monte specialist Motu Young Jacob a further 2.7 metres back in third place from a 20 metre handicap after racing mid-field in the moving line. With quarters of 31.1, 31.1, 31.2 and 29.9 for the last 1609 metres, Unico Crown returned a mile rate of 2-05.5, well outside Si Capisco’s track record of 2-03.3 set in 2012. Unico Crown has made only one blemish since crossing the Tasman, when unable to handle the tiny Boort track in the Boort Trotting Cup. Earlier in the evening the VSTA Trotters Handicap for T0 to T4 class over 2190 metres was taken out by the Brent Lilley (Bolinda) trained and Lance Justice driven in-form five year old gelding Like It Chilled, a son of Sundon and Rite Effort. Raced by Bruce and Margaret Dalton, Like It Chilled coming from a solo 20 metre backmark settled six back along the markers, with the South Australian visitor Buff Orpington leading out from from the pole before going off stride entering the straight on the first occasion which allowed The Final Cut to take over. Set alight racing for the bell, Like It Chilled was able to stride clear when the leader galloped with a circuit to travel. Travelling easily, Like It Chilled coasted to the wire by 18 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.4 over Candy Digger which was always handy, with Featherfoot Sun another S-A raider third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

Just a day after it was announced that Great Southern Star winner Keystone Del will tackle the upcoming Triple Crown at Alexandra Park, news has come through that gun Victorian four-year-old Chilli Palmer is also likely to be at the meeting. The Group One winning four-year-old, who was educated here in New Zealand by Terry and Glenys Chmiel, is likely to compete in both the New Zealand Messenger and the Taylor Mile according to his trainer Dean Braun, who is no stranger to campaigning horses in the north. Braun, who has risen to stardom in the training ranks in recent years, enjoyed success with another former Kiwi in Mustang Mach in the 2012 NZ Messenger, meaning that the Victorian trainer knows exactly what to expect if and when his star Elsu gelding touches down in Auckland. This information is sure to thrill Auckland Trotting Club officials, who have already confirmed that the Brent Lilley trained Zedalite will be in Auckland during April.   Meanwhile, top driver Dexter Dunn, who has now driven seven consecutive centuries, reined home his 100th winner for the season when victorious aboard Marchesa at Wingatui today. By Mitchell Robertson  

Bray Raceway Ballarat was the venue for Monday harness racing and with the Great Southern Star only a matter of five days away, it was appropriate for the trotters to take centre stage and that they did, with four of the nine races programmed for them. Impressive Wind Cries Maori/Tachometer gelding Glintintheeye trained at Bolinda by Brent Lilley made it two from two when successful in the Porter Industries 2-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 1710 metres. Driven once again by Chris Alford, Glintintheeye coming from 10 metres avoided a number of gallopers on the first turn, settling four back along the markers, with Welkin Park leading from barrier two for Graeme Whittle. Moving to trail the pacemaker at the bell, Glintintheeye joined Welkin Park in the run along the back straight to stride clear on the home turn, assisted by Welkin Park galloping. Cruising to the wire, Glintintheeye scored by 12.7 metres from Welkin Park which got going again, with Trade Wind (four back the markers at bell) a further 14 metres away in third place. The mile rate 2-10.7 Very smart Armbro Variable/Maoris Lass colt Asdenro brought up four wins in succession by taking the Windmill AG Vicbred Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2200 metres in a rate of 2-02.6. Trained at Maiden Gully (Bendigo) by David Van Ryn, Asdenro driven by stable reinsman (nephew) Haydon Gray led throughout from gate four to account for the roughie Brisharlo (three back the markers) which gave the leader a scare on turning when moving up swiftly to issue a challenge. Tiroroa Tom ran on late from mid-field for third. Being St Patricks Day, the Guinness would have been flowing after the Tanya Daniels The Good Guys Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 2200 metres, as Dunnstown brothers John and David Murphy snared the quinella, with Tommy Kay (Mick Stanley) defeating Monica My Dear (Glenn Conroy) by the shortest possible margin. Sent forward from outside the front line to join the pole line leader Im Anonymous in the back straight on the first occasion, Tommy Kay trained by John showed a great deal of courage to score in a thrilling finish, while Monica My Dear may have been the unlucky runner, as she was badly held up on the back of the leader before gaining a late split in the shadows of the post to just fail. Im Anonymous weakened to finish third 1.7 metres away. The mile rate 2-05.2. The Laser Electrical Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 2200 metres saw Nagambie maestro Chris Lang in the winners stall, when talented Dream Vacation/Invasions Pride four year old gelding Lord Liam greeted the judge much to the delight of owner/breeders Richard and Pauline Matthews. Trained and driven by Chris, Lord Liam had little difficulty in retaining the inside running from the pole and despite being covered by a hard pulling Frances Annie from the bell, was never really let go in defeating the last start Ballarat winner Happy Hombre which trailed by 4.1 metres in a rate of 2-02.4. Frances Annie fought on extremely well to finish third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Maryborough in Central Victoria - home of the trotter held a 10 event card on Monday December 23 which featured no less than five events devoted to the squaregaiter. Redwood winner Daenerys Targaryen returned to the winners list in the Highland Heavy Games 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Now in the care of Brent Lilley at Bolinda, Daenerys Targaryen with Greg Sugars in the sulky wasn't pushed at the start from gate six, before striding clear to lead for the majority of the trip, defeating Sister Of Sonoko (one/one at bell) from near last by 2.4 metres, with the first starter Maybelina using the sprint lane from four back the markers to finish third. The mile rate 2-06.4. St Arnaud trainer Brian Kiesey provided an upset result when six year old Life Sign/Abby Beach mare Apple Beach scored in the Showstoppers @ Princess Park New Years Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres, paying Supertab odds of $59.00. Driven by Michael Bellman, Apple Beach having her first outing in almost 12 months (January 7 2013), galloped away from the extreme draw settling at the tail of the field along with The Yankee Clipper which was badly away and Pride Of Sundon who was slow to begin, with the hot favourite Rosemma leading from gate three. Still last prior to the home turn, Apple Beach produced a barnstorming finish out wide to blouse Rosemma by a head in 2-08.1 which surrendered to Pride Of Sundon mid-race before easing off his back on turning. Tommy Kay (three back the markers at bell) used the sprint lane to finish third. The Highland Dancing Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres went the way of five year old Goodboytruscott/Truscott Photo gelding Loveyougoodboy for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove. Trotting faultlessly on this occasion after making several mistakes in recent outings, Loveyougoodboy starting from a 40 metre equal backmark with Im Demimondaine, was immediately sent forward by Josh Duggan to park outside the front line pacemaker Kingofthedesert. Taking care of the leader approaching the home turn with Im Demimondaine issuing a challenge, Loveyougoodboy prevailed by 3.9 metres in a rate of 2-05.4, with A Stylish Jewel (three back the markers) third. Sutton Grange trainer Ross Graham's improving Zooma/ImaBarbie Girl five year old gelding Brother Of Sonoko broke his maiden status at start number six, when successful in the Side Show Alley New Years Day Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-05.1. Given a lovely trip one/one from gate two for Daryl Douglas with the hot favourite Hachashaq leading from the pole, Brother Of Sonoko when eased three wide on the final bend, raced clear on straightening to record an easy 8.3 metre victory in advance of My Turn My Turn from last, with Redcavier third after following the winner throughout. Seven year old Grinfromeartoear/Hyclass Souix mare Paparazzi Snapshot recorded her 8th victory in 54 outings by taking the Chieftain Andy Brumby Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Starting from the 40 metre mark after taking a mares concession, Paparazzi Snapshot with Kerryn Manning in the sulky, wasn't bustled in the early stages, settling at the rear of the field as the polemarker Mygreekkalesa stepped to the front at barrier rise. Moving three wide in the last lap, Paparazzi Snapshot proved much too strong for Gluteus Major off a three wide trail last lap and Idle Suntime which followed the pair home. The mile rate 2-04.3. By Len Baker                                                            

The Gunbower HRC held their once a year annual Cup Day on Sunday November 24 – with the Gunbower Family Hotel sponsored $12,000 Gunbower Pacing Cup for C5 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2630 metres going the way of six year old Village Jasper/Cultured Lombo gelding Savesomtimetodream, much to the delight of a host of Ballarat owners headed by Ballarat Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. Trained at Ross Creek by Paul, Savesomtimetodream driven by Jodi Quinlan began beautifully from inside the 10-metre mark which was actually the pole as there were no front runners to lead, before being crossed by Glenn Douglas’ Boort Cup winner of last season Daylight Dan racing into the first turn. Jodi Quinlan immediately moved away from the inside to change spots with Daylight Dan as the 30 metre backmarker Smudge Bromac was set alight by Nathan Jack to comfortably park outside the leader. With the quick tempo of the last half mile, those back in the field had difficulty in making ground allowing those up front to fight out the finish. In quarters of 31.8, 31.6, 29.1 and 28.2, Savesomtimetodream defied all challengers to score by 2.1 metres over a game Smudge Bromac in a mile rate of 2-01.5. Narra Operative one/one finished a creditable third after a cosy passage, with Thats Mister Ali running on late to finish fourth.. Racing at the elite level for most of his career, Savesomtimtodream coming off a gallant second to Kid Coconut after facing the breeze at Tabcorp Park Melton eight days earlier when first up since June,  registered his 13th victory in 38 outings. The $10,000 Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2630 metres supplemented the eight race program, which saw former smart juvenile Zedalite successful for Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley with Melton based Rod Petroff in the sulky. Stepping safely from barrier five, Zedalite first up since August was sent forward to cross the polemarker Im Demimondaine, before handing over the front running role to the 20 metre backmarker Cold Sister approaching the bell. When Gavin Lang vacated the prime one/one position with the well supported Lightning Joy to park outside the favourite at the bell, the pair of quality runners appeared to have the race to themselves. Locked together on straightening with Trappers Puzzle easing three wide from the one/one after racing parked for the first circuit, Lightning Joy momentarily hit the front with Trappers Puzzle in hot pursuit and Zedalite poised to use the sprint lane. Finishing best, Zedalite gained the day by a half head in a thrilling finish over Trappers Puzzle which ran the race of his life, with Lightning Joy a head away in third place in advance of Cold Sister. The mile rate 2-04.2. A five-year-old gelded son of Zooma and Rememberance Day bred and raced by Broomfield (Creswick region) residents David (Davo) Davidson and wife Beth, Zedalite has fronted the starter on 58 occasions for 18 victories. The novelty event of the afternoon – the Echuca Steel Gunbower Hot Lap for C2 & C3 class over 1390 metres, was taken out by the Glenn Douglas trained and driven ex-Kiwi five year old Falcon Seelster/Duomo Bromac gelding Conflict Of Interest in a mile rate of 1-56.1, leading all of the way from gate three to account for Shifty Shivas (one/two) which gained a late split halfway up the running, with Life Of Ted (one/two) snatching third out wide on the track. Len Baker

Speedy trotting mare Escapee will head to Victoria next month to join the barn of ex-pat kiwi trainer Brent Lilley, where her owner Trevor Casey thinks she will be suited to the rich sprint races. But, first she will attempt to gain Group One glory in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day. “The Trotting-Free-For-All is the sole aim, as she will not be backing up in the Dominion,” said Casey. “We tried that last year and it’s fair to say it didn’t exactly pan out,” he added. Casey said that the dual Derby winner was not suited to two mile racing, which rules out New Zealand’s two biggest trotting races – The Dominion & the Rowe Cup. “Mark (Purdon) has done a great job with her, but he agrees she is much better suited over there where she can race over sprint distances for at least $20,000 most weeks. Escapee is booked to fly out the Tuesday after Cup Day. Her first two aims are the Bill Collins Mile (7/12/13) and the Dullard Trotters’ Cup (14/12/13), which are both worth $50,000. “Both of those races are from a mobile start, which also suits her,” stated Casey. Casey said that Purdon will be going over to drive her in her first two starts. “After those two races there is the Australasian Trotting Championship and The Great Southern Star, so there is definitely plenty coming up for her.” But before that, Escapee will look to get back to her best form at Addington this Friday night, after a late gallop cost her running at least a place in Monday’s Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile. “She got the speed wobbles at Ashburton and starting touching herself in behind, which she can do on occasions,” said Casey. “Mark has since made a shoeing change so hopefully that will rectify the problem for both Friday and the Trotting Free-For-All,” he added. Casey also has last season’s New Zealand Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year Daenerys Targaryen in work with Lilley. “I decided to leave her over there after the Breeders’ Crown. She comes back a maiden over there, whereas here she would be a C3,” Casey concluded. By Mitchell Robertson

Racing is a funny game. You can argue there is more to it than just the luck of the draw on most occasions, but even connections of Rosalie Bay would happily admit that things fell their way in the Breeders Crown final for four-year-old trotters. After galloping on the first take, Rosalie Bay checked Shakamond who not only tipped Bec Bartley out of the cart, but continued to gallop wildly around the field causing a no-race. When the runners had been vetted and Bartley was on her feet, the race was re-run and instead of galloping, Rosalie Bay shot off the arm as the first race leader, Shes An Image, made a mistake. The changing of fortunes paved the way for Rosalie Bay to hand up to stablemate Zedalite and sprint-lane to victory in an impressive performance. Moarisfavouritesun, despite racing roughly in the concluding stages, charged down the centre of the track to grab second from the early leader Zedalite. Greg Sugars, who jumped behind Rosalie Bay due to the fact that, in a twist of fate, regular driver Chris Alford chose to drive Shes An Image, spoke about how luck plays a part when speaking to Rob Auber post-race. "Even though we had a bit of a mishap the first time we got to pull up a bit earlier than the others so i said to Lills (Brent Lilley, trainer) i thought we might have a little bit up our sleeve," Sugars joked. "I wasn't sure where we would end upW we thought we'd come across with Shes An Image and probably get shuffled back in the running line but once she was out of play and we found the front it was a logical option to hand up because you knew Zedalite would carry you a long way." The well-backed favourite for the race, Brunellschi, had a three-wide trail early in the last lap before going solo round the home turn but he was unable to sprint as quickly as the eventual trifecta. The margins were just over one-metre by just under one-metre in a mile rate of 2:01.4. The last half came in 58.5 with Rosalie Bay now a winner of six from 14 in Australia. A video is attached. by Blake Redden Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

The progressive Maryborough HRC renowned for their love of the trotter, held a compact nine event program on Wednesday August 14, featuring four races for the squaregaiters. Local trainer/driver Mark Hayes snared the Freemantle Stock Feeds 2-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2190 metres with Bacardi Lindy/Fiduciary gelding Bacardi Breeze, paying Supertab odds of $40.20. Beginning brilliantly from barrier six to lead, Bacardi Breeze was restrained to follow Playboys Dream which moved around him hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Given a lovely trip, Bacardi Breeze eased to the outside on the home turn, surging clear on straightening to score by 6.4 metres in advance of the first starter Girls Go First (three back the markers), with Playboys Dream weakening to finish third. Raced by Mark and Sue Hayes, Bacardi Breeze returned a mile rate of 2-08.8. The Michael & Catherine Tarranto 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres went the way of Red River Hanover/Dreamworks gelding Redy To Race for Maiden Gully (Bendigo) trainer David Van Ryn and nephew reinsman Haydon Gray. Given an easy time from gate six trailing the pacemaker Super Zeck inside him, Redy To Race used the sprint lane to perfection, defeating the heavily backed Nico Serrano which raced in the open from the bell by 2.1 metres in a rate of 2-04.4. Secret Kiss ran on late from three back in the moving line to finish third. Ex-Kiwi 6-Y-0 Brylin Boyz /Star Of Pernod gelding Heza Boy Star was successful in the Stock & Land Trotters Handicap for T3 or better class over 2190 metres. Trained and driven by Chris Lang (Jnr) at Nagambie, Heza Boy Star stepped  sweetly from the 10 metre mark to settle one/one, with the rank outsider Adams Crown leading from barrier two. Not happy with the tempo, Lang eased Heza Boy Star around Buntys Bass to control the race which no doubt proved the winning move. Pouring on the pressure approaching the home turn, Heza Boy Star dashed away on straightening to score a 3.2 metre victory over Cameos Moment (three wide last lap) off the back of the third placegetter Im Demimondaine. The mile rate 2-04.8. The PJ’S Timber & Hardware/Primes Discount Store 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres was taken out by Tatura trainer David Abrahams’ Dream Vacation/Why Worry filly I Dreamt It with Nathan Jack in the sulky. Starting from gate three on the second row, I Dreamt It settled in the second half of the field, with the Sydney visitor Dew Drop Girl leading from the pole. Set alight racing for the bell, I Dreamt It led for the final circuit in defeating Dew Drop Girl which held her ground, going down by 2.6 metres in a rate of 2-07.8, with Desert Spur running on late from mid-field in the moving line for third. Six year old trotter Abbotshall upstaged the pacers in the Waste Not Stockfeeds Pacers Handicap for C0 class over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-04.2. Trained at Bolinda by Brent Lilley, Abbotshall a gelded son of Armbro Invasion and Second Guess began safely from barrier five on the second line to possie three back in the moving line after another trotter Maoris Pocket outside the leader Its A Miss went off stride in the back straight on the first occasion. Trailing Pacific Maddi ahead of him three wide into the final bend, Abbotshall ran home strongly to gain the day from Kaka Point Coast which followed him throughout, with Pacific Maddi holding down third after leading into the straight. Videos of all the races are attached. Len Baker  

Victorian harness racing trainer Brent Lilley continued his successful raid on Tasmanian harness racing with a winning double at Mowbray last week. His promising two-year-old Hand Of The King led all the way for an easy win in the opening race and later in the night his three-year-old gelding Under Cover Bettor made it two wins from two starts in the state. The trainer’s success wasn’t restricted to Launceston, as five minutes after Hand Of The King won, he picked up another race at Cranbourne. Hand Of The King ran second at his first start in Tasmania seven days earlier but there was never any doubt he was going to make amends after Rohan Hadley took him straight to the front from the pole. He comfortably held out The Pix and Smart Fraulein. Hadley described it as a very soft win and told Lilley that the gelding felt a lot sharper than he did the previous week. “The driver didn’t have to pull the blinds or the plugs so the horse had a bit in reserve,” Lilley said. Lilley’s good run continued in Hobart last Sunday night where his seven-year-old Hostile Grins (Go For Grins- Hostile Waters) scored an impressive win in a C5-6 over 2090 metres at Tattersall’s Park. Hostile Grins was taken off the gate by driver Ricky Duggan but he had the gelding in the coveted one-out-one-back position after raveling 500 metres. Hostile Grins was eased three-wide leaving the back straight the last time and had the leaders covered at the to of the home straight. When Duggan called on his charge for the big effort he quickly put the end result beyond doubt and went on to score by nine metres from Jilliby Rio with Cesta La Vie five metres astern. by Peter Staples    

Thursday June 20 was a terrific day for Bolinda harness racing trainer Brent Lilley who brought up three winners for the day - a double at Charlton in the afternoon and one Geelong in the evening.

Courageousnquick is certainly living up to her name, having already won 10 from 17 with over $110,000 in the bank for her harness racing connections.

Bolinda harness racing trainer Paul Males was victorious with 7-Y-0 Brioso Hanover/All Fire N Ace mare Dusty Smiles in the True Value Solar Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres at Shepparton on Tuesday April 23.

The above average harness racing 19-win pacer Talaspring was put down earlier this month after battling an infection. The Badlands Hanover mare, who won $235,305 in New Zealand and Victoria, was just 6-years-old.

Canterbury harness racing driver Bob Butt described his first win back in New Zealand, at his first drive since returning, as only he could.

Former Kiwi harness racing trainer Brent Lilley now based at Bolinda in the Macedon Ranges District, landed both heats of the C0 class event over 2100 metres at the Birchip Graduation class meeting held at Charlton on Thursday February 21, Crusader Acey taking the the Birchip Hotel Pace and Lavra Florence the Living's Hardware Pace, both horses driven by Melton's Rod Petroff.

Australasian Breeders Crown Grand Final Day is only 12 days away, with the feature afternoon of harness racing taking place at Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday August 19.

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