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Bray Raceway in Ballarat is the place to be this Saturday night. The harness racing club will host a 10-event card of harness racing featuring the John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup (Group 3) and rising star Hectorjayjay in the fast-class race. Club Chief Executive Paul Rowse said there were still dining spots available in the acclaimed Terrace Restaurant, which is always a great way to spend a night at the trots – especially when the nights are wintry. “We’ve got a couple of hundred booked already but there’s still room for more,” Rowse said. The first race on Saturday is scheduled to jump at 5.31pm, an early start meaning the last will be run at 10pm. Revellers looking to rejoice their winnings however can kick on after the last in the always popular Flying Horse Bistro, with live music and a party atmosphere through until 1am. “Punters can come and watch the Richmond versus Essendon game on one of the many TV screens or they can listen to some great live music and celebrate any winnings they’ve made throughout the night,” Rowse said. This year’s John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup sees a quality field of eight in the 2200-metre race, with Brent Lilley-trained Kyvalley Blur (Chocolatier) expected to prove hardest to beat. Kyvalley Blur sat in the breeze and fought on doggedly in the Cranbourne Trotters Cup last time out, Lilley explaining that the death seat probably wasn’t his go. “He was probably a wee bit upside down because he’s normally a sit-sprinter,” Lilley said. “Be he still ran a good race and he’d be my best chance on the night.” Punters might also pay to keep a close eye on Lilley’s runner in Race 6, Saratoga, who is first-up in Australia after crossing from New Zealand. “He’s been here about a month and he has good form in New Zealand and should prove hard to beat,” Lilley said. “Aldebaran Southland is probably his biggest danger.” >> Visit the Ballarat and District Trotting Club for information on how to book a dining package or for other details ahead of Saturday night by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The New South Wales Trotting Oaks was run at last Saturday nights harness racing meeting at Menangle and as expected Arya produced a polished display to take out the Group  1 feature. Trevor Casey must be racking up those frequent flyer miles points as he once again crossed the Tasman to watch one of his star trotters compete and he was duly rewarded when Arya showed that manners are just as important as ability and luckily she has got big dollops of both. The minor highlight of the race was the run of the Italian bred filly My Tribeca who put up a huge performance after getting badly checked at the start. Bred to northern hemisphere time, My Tribeca was only born on the 14th of May 2012 so was barely a three year old on Saturday night and was only having her second lifetime start which adds even more merit to the run. Both Arya and My Tribeca now head to the Victorian Trotting Oaks on Saturday week and the rematch should be worth going a long way to see. Greg Hayes spoke to the connections of both horses post race. Harnesslink Media   

New Zealander Trevor Casey is enjoying a lot of success with his team of harness racing horses both sides of the Tasman. The popular owner has 30 horses including Australasia's best trotter Stent, leading two year olds Our Waikiki Beach and Lazarus and Saturday night's NSW Trotters Oaks winner My Arya. Saturday night's victory meant a lot to Casey as he bred the talented daughter of Angus Hall. "I did breed her and she's the only daughter that Belle Galleon (Stent's mother) has had and I certainly will be retaining her as a broodmare at the end of her career," said Casey. "I raised her right from day dot, watched her grow up, then saw her get broken in and have since watched her all the way through." Casey chose to target the New South Wales Trotters Oaks rather than the NZ Harness Jewels after a narrow defeat in the Menangle feature twelve months ago. "My Arya could have got into the Harness Jewels and she would have been a show but I wanted to win the NSW Oaks because I ran second last year with Daenerys Targaryen and I wanted to come back and have another go at it and we were successful." "We won't be coming back for the NSW Trotters Derby next week, the Victorian Oaks is the week after which means she would have to race four weeks in a row and I just don't think that's fair on her." While at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night Casey took the opportunity to speak with club officials about Stent returning to race on the 1400 metre track. "Stent will be back, I actually said to the team here tonight I'd like to see a mile race here for the open trotters again, I would really love to see the horse at Menangle over the mile again because I think he could go 1:52.0." My Arya's trainer Brent Lilley was excited with the victory and thought her manners took her a long way. "She's proved over here she's the best trotting filly at the moment but I thought the run of the second horse (My Tribeca) was great, My Arya has got manners but the gap between her and the rest is definitely closing," said Lilley. "In saying all that, we still wouldn't swap her for any of them, so after the Victorian Trotters Oaks she will head towards the Breeders Crown and then spell." Greg Hayes

There are only five TAB Carnival Of Cups meetings remaining this season however a number of horses still remain in contention to be crowned the series' leading pacer. With $5,000 on offer to the horse's owners, some trainers will look to compete at the remaining harness racing meetings in a bid to secure vital points. Every winner at a Carnival of Cups meeting receives three points, the runner up gets two points while third picks up one. Hollywood Sign set up a healthy lead after winning races at four meetings and placing third at another for trainer Trevor White but has since been sold and now is prepared by Victorian horseman Brent Lilley. The son of Life Sign has a three point lead over five pacers including Eugowra's Canola Cup winner Holm Three. Snoop Stride will compete at Cootamundra on Sunday afternoon and should the son of Stonebridge Regal win the final event he will join Hollywood Sign on thirteen points. The Turnbull family dominate the trainers and drivers points tables with Steve more than 100 points clear of his nearest rival in the training division while Amanda has a 42 point lead over her father in the leading driver tally.   LEADING HORSE HOLLYWOOD SIGN 13 HOLM THREE 10 MOUSE IN THE HOUSE 10 READ ABOUT LEXY 10 RISEANDRISEAGAIN 10 SNOOP STRIDE 10* DENISES LEGACY 9* MITHRYS MAGIC 9 STRATHLACHLAN ANDY 9* LEXUS ON THE BEACH 8 PEPPERALL 8 SOKYS BIGBULLET 8* STENING 8* *racing at Cootamundra this Sunday       LEADING TRAINER A S TURNBULL 145 S J SNUDDEN 41 S P TRITTON 36 B J HEWITT 33 D M HEWITT 22     LEADING DRIVER A J TURNBULL 85 A S TURNBULL 43 C R BELL 35 D N MORAN 32 B J HEWITT 27   Greg Hayes

Exciting New Zealand youngster My Arya continues to thrive on the Australian conditions. Sent across the Tasman to be prepared by Victorian harness racing horseman Brent Lilley, My Arya extended her Aussie winning streak to seven – including six wins this season.   Having competed on the mainland during the summer, My Arya returned to the Shaky Isles where she registered a placing from three starts.   Back with Lilley for the past fortnight, My Arya was triumphant in track record time at Cranbourne during the weekend.   “She went terrific,” Lilley declared. “Anthony Butt never had to move and said she was never out of second gear.   “To do it that easily and in record time is a super effort. She’s a very classy filly, which is going to be hard to beat in all the fillies’ race for the remainder of the season.”   Leading throughout from barrier six, My Arya cruised to a 12-and-a-half metre triumph from Glenferrie Burn, with Hush Your Majesty four-and-a-half.   “The draw wasn’t the best, but I knew she had class on her side,” Lilley said. “In the end she did it so easily, which was great to see.”   With the final 800 metres run in 58.5 seconds, the daughter of Angus Hall covered the mile in 1:58.5, slicing six-tenths of a second off Kyvalley Blur’s track record.   Set to give My Arya “a few easy days”, Lilley plans to take the three-year-old to Tabcorp Park Menangle for Saturday night’s New South Wales Trotters’ Oaks.   “She’ll have a few easy days given she’s done a bit of travelling to New Zealand and back, but we will head up the Hume with her for the Oaks on the weekend,” Lilley said.   “After that I’ll aim her at the Victoria Oaks before deciding on whether to put her in the Derby on Redwood Day.   “She also has the Breeders’ Crown at the end of the season, so I will make a decision on the Derby when the time comes.”           *** Paul Courts

Victorian pacer Messini is the second Australian invited to contest New Zealand’s Harness Racing Jewels meeting at Ashburton on May 30. The Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major raced in last season’s Jewels last season, before winning the Vicbred Super Series Final, then returning to New Zealand to establish a national 2600-metre mobile record on New Zealand Cup Day. Messini was formerly trained by Mark Purdon. “We are thrilled with the invite and the owners are chuffed,” Lilley declared. “He will be the first horse to wear the Aussie colours made for the Jewels. “We wanted to go to the Jewels, and because he raced so well at the Cup Carnival, he already had some qualifying dollars, but this takes the pressure off.” The Shane Tritton-trained Salty Robyn was invited to contest the two-year-old Jewels earlier this month. Harness Racing NZ plans to invite an Australian to contest each of the nine Jewels divisions. HRV Media

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

Victorian harness racing trainer Brent Lilley will have one of the busiest days of his career this Sunday as he prepares seven runners for Group One events at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  While Lilley does not have a runner in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion he will be represented in five of the remaining six Group Ones “In the past I have had two or three runners in Group One races on one day, but to get seven horses through to Group Ones is an achievement I am very proud of,” Lilley said. “There are no strong favourites in my seven, but there are a few that might surprise if they get the right run, so I’m just hoping for a little bit of luck on Sunday.” Four-year-old Messini qualified for the Chariots Of Fire after finishing second to Bling It On in the Hondo Grattan Stakes when only a neck behind the winner. “Messini has drawn out wide, but he is flying,” Lilley declared. “The big thing with him will be luck in transit, and while he has got it all ahead of him from the draw, he is right in the zone at the moment. “He has a very good turn of foot and Chris (Alford, driver) will have plenty of options.” Three-year-old filly Rebel Diamond will take her position in the NSW Oaks after finishing second in her heat last Saturday night. “Rebel Diamond is a funny horse,” Lilley said. “She is one of those horses that gets beaten in races where you think she can’t get beaten and then pulls out a strong performance in a race where there is a lot of depth. “She did a good job on Saturday night and has drawn very well on Sunday, so she should get the right trip throughout the race.” Courageousnquick will compete in the Ladyship Mile and Lilley believes his mare has the early speed to cross her rivals. “She’s only had two runs back after a six-month break and she has been great in both of those runs,” Lilley said. “Courageousnquick is electric off the gate and in the past has come off the arm like she was clipped to it. “If she comes out hard I think she can cross Frith and the inside will be the place to be with Adore Me in the race.” Sluggem qualified for the NSW Derby by charging home for fourth in the heat won by Hug The Wind. “His effort was really good because he got checked,” Lilley said “He is still pretty green, but has a good motor and I think he will be a better horse in six or 12 months.” Lilley has three runners in the Trotters Standing Start – Zedalite, Kvintet Avenger and Kyvalley Blur. “Zedalite is the best stayer of my three and he will be suited by the stand and the long trip,” Lilley said. “He’s had a few niggling issues but he is better now.” HRNSW Media

Promising filly All Under Control lived up to her name in last Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite going into the Group One as a maiden, and one of the outsiders as $40.90, All Under Control was never in danger of being beaten. Impressed with the trotter’s performance, trainer Brent Lilley will aim All Under Control towards features such as the Victoria Oaks and Vicbred Super Series. “She’s still got to improve a fair bit, but she goes along well,” Lilley said. “I will wait until her next start or two to see if this was a one off or if she can keep producing those kinds of runs. “There is a bit to like about her on this run, especially the way she responded when Anthony (Butt, driver) showed her the whip. “He gave her one crack up the straight to keep her mind on the job and she found a bit like good horses so.” After travelling midfield from the outside of the front row, All Under Control completed a metre-and-a-half win from Casa Fundada, with Zaire Diva a half-head away third. “I went into the race thinking she was a rough chance, but she really put in,” Lilley said. “On that run, and with a bit of improvement as she gains experience, I’ll have a look at races like the Oaks and Sires’ Stake.” Covering the last half in 60.6 seconds, the daughter of Majestic Son rated 2:02 for the 1720 metres. PAUL COURTS

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

Exciting harness racing prospect Lets Elope is favoured to win the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup on Friday. The Brent Lilley-trained pacer is coming off wins at Gunbower and Melton and will start from the second row in the 2650-metre feature. Lilley has a high opinion of Lets Elope, suggesting after his Gunbower Cup win that a race like the A G Hunter Cup may not be out of the question. The Grand Circuit gem is part of Harness Racing Victoria’s Summer of Glory and is scheduled to be run at Melton on February 7 Lets Elope has opened $1.75 with TAB fixed odds markets to be clear favourite ahead of Jadahson from the Emma Stewart camp and Keith Cotchin-trained Road To Rock at $7.50. For those looking for better odds about Lets Elope, the six-year-old has also opened at $301 with the TAB to win next year’s Inter Dominion. The Always Fresh Yarra Valley Trotters’ Cup is the other feature race on the program, with another Lilley-trained performer - Kvintet Avenger - rated $1.70 with the TAB. Paris Pepperell ($4) and Kyvalley Blur ($4.80) are next best according to the market, with Action Kosmos the other runner under double figure odds at $9. The first race on Yarra Valley Cup day is scheduled to start at 1.01pm, with the meeting kicking off a huge weekend of Victorian trots. St Arnaud will host a meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, with a huge Ballarat Pacing Cup card the following evening and the Wedderburn Pacing Cup on Sunday. HRV Media

Generations of families being successful in harness racing is quite common in this industry and the one name at the top of that pile is the one tracing to Wes Butt. The list is way too long to compile here but one of the latest from this trotting dynasty to branch out on his own is Bob Butt. Son of the 2006 and 2007 premiership winning trainers David and Catherine Butt, Bob has been around horses all his life. Bob first got serious about a future in harness racing while still at school. " I use to help Nigel McGrath out after school and that confirmed to me that I wanted to do this for a career," Bob told Harnesslink recently. After Bob left school, he went and worked for Cran Dalgety for 18 months before heading north and working for legendary trainer Barry Purdon for just on two years. " It was great going and working for trainers like Cran and Barry." "You learn so much from them,especially all those little things that can make all the difference,"Bob said Returning home to his parents establishment at Woodend Beach after his stint at Barry Purdon's, Bob was only home a short time before being offered an opportunity to travel to Australia to work for the former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley in Melbourne. "I always wanted to have a look at the Australian scene so i didn't twice about taking the offer to work for Brent" "Brent put me on a lot of nice horses while I was with him and I ended up driving over 80 winners in my time there," Bob said. Returning to New Zealand about 18 months ago , Bob began working for his parents with their team while training one or two of his own account. This season Bob thought it was time to take up training on his own account and is working ten from  boxes he is renting from his parents. He hopes to slowly builds up his team numbers and has the capacity to handle quite a few more. "The facilities are as good as you can get so there are no excuses." "They lack for nothing here," he said Bob has taken over the distinctive colours made famous by his grand - father Robin Butt of green with white sleaves which were carried by such stars as Locarno (Miracle Mile) and Camelot (New Zealand Cup)  The smart qualifier Bettor Be Smooth is the most promising horse in the stable at the moment but Bob has high hopes for a couple of 2 year olds that he is training and found it hard to split them. "I really like both of them to be honest." "There is an Art Official colt out of Honey Babe and a Rocknroll Hanover colt out of Special Rose and they both go pretty good," he said. Expectations are always high for young trainers like Bob when your family is a house hold name in the industry and that can sometimes be hard to overcome. However with over 200 winners as a driver in Australasia and seven winners in his brief training career to date along with the thorough grounding he has undertaken, Bob looks well placed to add another layer to the Butt family harness racing dynasty. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing competitors always tend to go better when their confidence is up, which of course, makes perfect sense. And Brent Lilley has his Bolinda team firing on all cylinders right now! Lilley took home all the silverware from Gunbower yesterday, snatching the Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup with in-form Kvintet Avenger and the Gunbower Pacing Cup with talented gelding Lets Elope. Speaking of talented ex-Kiwis, Lilley is based in Australia after moving across the Tasman, while winning reinsman Anthony can also lay claim to the title as news came through last night he would be basing himself full-time in Victoria. “He’s going to work mornings for me and he’ll do most of my stable driving,” Lilley said. “Rodney Petroff has been very good though and has done a great job for me, so we’ll still be looking after Rodney as well and Anthony is aware of that.” Butt will live in Melton with his move is yet another windfall for Victoria following last week’s announcement trainer Nicole Molander is moving from New South Wales, while James Rattray will be spend the summer in the state. A seven-year-old by Love You out of Nobes Hanover, Kvintet Avenger was simply too good in the Cup with a record-breaking performance. Successful at six of his eight Australian starts, the stallion rated 2:02.9 for the 2630-metre trip. “Anthony said he actually won quite easily and he was never worried in the run,” Lilley said. Kvintet Avenger will eventually have to tackle the might of Keystone Del, My High Expectations, but Lilley will avoid the topliners for as long as he can. “I’d rather dodge the top ones as best I can for the moment, but of course he’ll eventually have to take them on,” Lilley declared. Lilley stated the Australian Trotting Championship during the Sumer of Glory carnival would be a realistic target on the way to hopefully securing a berth in the Great Southern Star next March. Kvintet Avenger Lets Elope also broke the track record with a power display of pacing. Shrugging off a 20-metre handicap, Lets Elope rated 1:57.9 to register an easy victory in the 2630-metres feature. “He had a great run. Anthony drove him a treat,” Lilley said. “We’re really looking forward to the summer with this horse. “We’ll probably now go to some metro races. He’s an M1. He wasn’t far from them in New Zealand, so it’d be no surprise to me for him to be a Hunter Cup horse.” Lets Elope HRV Media

Young Waikato driver Kyle Marshall has started the harness racing season in fine style and has shown a real ability in the bike for such a young driver. Everyone knows how hard it is to break into the winners circle when you are starting out but Kyle is making a real habit out of it and has a lot of astute judges sitting up and taking notice. Kyle has been around horses most of his life but got keen on harness racing at a young age. " I got involved with Kidz Kartz pretty early and I have had the bug ever since." "After that I use to help out at John Dickie's after school and on weekends and that confirmed to me that this is what I wanted to do," Kyle told Harnesslink this week. Getting his junior driving licence in the 2010/2011 season, Kyle went winless in his first season before driving five winners in his second season. In the 2012/2013 season  Kyle continued to improve and racked up 10 wins but before the end of that season he made the decision to go to Australia to learn from one of the best. " I spent 18 months with Brent Lilley and I can't thank him enough for all the help and advice he gave me while I was there." "I think I came back a better driver thanks to Brent's advice and help," Kyle said. Returning to New Zealand this season Kyle has already racked up six winners and is the leading North Island based junior driver at this stage of the year. One win stands out for Kyle since his return from Australia.  "I drove Unmissuble to win for my father at Manawatu which was a big thrill." "We brought her as a weanling for $400 and have taken her right through to winning a race so it was a special day" "She was unlucky at Cambridge last Sunday and is not without a chance at Alexandra Park on Friday night," he said. Kyle knows he wouldn't be where he is today without the support of his family. "Dad took out a licence to help me early on and the whole family have become involved in the ownership side to help me get more drives. I wouldn't be having the success I"m having if it wasn't for them," he said.  Kyle, who helps his father David out with his small team at Cambridge, hopes one day to go into partnership with his father. " That would be special to train in partnership with dad," he said. With his great start to the season Kyle has his sights set on the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championships "To qualify is the first aim but like everyone else I really would love to win it," he said. To succeed in harness racing today, you usually need a deep long term family connection to the industry or be attached to one of the leading stables. Kyle has managed to succeed without either and looks to have a big future in the sport he loves. Harnesslink Media

New Zealand pacer Lets Elope will make his debut for Victorian-based harness racing trainer Brent Lilley on Sunday. Sent to Lilley to take advantage of the local handicapping system, Lets Elope is engaged in the St Arnaud Cup. Despite the gelding’s 20-metre handicap, Lilley is confident Lets Elope can begin his Australian career on a winning note. “He has settled in really well and I’m looking forward to starting him on Sunday,” Lilley said. “He was open class in New Zealand, but over here he is still an M1, so his owners gave me a call and asked to send him over. “Sunday’s Cup is the ideal race to start him off in and he’s the one to beat.” Following his provincial engagement, Lets Elope is likely to follow the country cup circuit this campaign, with Lilley positive the son of Real Desire can become a strong feature race contender. “Down the track I reckon he can be competitive in the better races,” Lilley said. “For now, I will just pick races as they come along and let him work through the grades. “He is pretty reliable from the stand and is good from the mobile, so there are plenty of options. “I’ll certainly be looking at the country cups with him.” From Alta Vista, the six-year-old is a half-brother to top performer Five Star Anvil, which is no stranger to country cup glory, having captured the 2013 Mildura Cup. PAUL COURTS

Yesterday’s ‘Valley Vibe’ meeting at Yarra Valley saw about 5000 patrons on course for Melbourne Cup Day of harness racing action. Club manager Brett Shambrook naturally hailed the event a success, with pristine weather conditions and a magnificent family atmosphere making it a great spectacle for racegoers. “It was a really good crowd, I’d say about 5000 people,” Shambrook said. “It was about on a par with the year before. “We had 700 kids roll through the gates, so there was a great family presence and just a really good vibe at the meeting.” More than 180 contestants took part in the Fashions on the Field events, while punters were well catered for with six bookmakers on course and TAB tote facilities in operation. “The feedback was really positive,” Shambrook said. “The comments were that it was a great atmosphere, a really good vibe. “We had the Yarra Valley Food Group on course, so local produce of all varieties was available. We also had the cocktail bar, which was very successful.” The Valley Vibe Silent Disco initiative also proved popular, attracting young racegoers trackside. The club is now gearing up for tomorrow’s Oaks Day meeting, which is bound to attract another strong gathering. “The cocktail bar will be in operation again and we’re looking forward to a great day’s racing here at the Yarra Valley trots,” Shambrook said. As for the racing, reinsman Greg Sugars took driving honours with a winning treble behind Die Hard Demon, Somedreamsomewhere and Wemen Sporty. Trainer Brent Lilley registered double via Sun Of Anarchy and Motu Prince Of Peru. HRV Media

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