Riverina filly Shes A Runa caused a massive upset when taking out the Form 700 New South Wales $200,000 Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. The daughter of Jeremes Jet was given a gun run by local reinsman Jarrod Alchin behind the leader, the highly-fancied My Willow, and obtained an inside run to take out the Group One in 1:59.1. At odds of $25.50, Shes A Runa held out the fast-finishing Ocean Diva ($55.70), who was a half-head away in second with early leader My Willow a little over a metre away in third. The second favourite Nike Franco struck trouble in the home straight when locked between runners and driver Chris Alford did his best to control the filly and not let her fall. Subsequently the pair finished last. High-priced winners seem to be the order of the day with Little Red Cloud taking out the first at $18.70 and stablemate Essbee Doubleyou winning the second at juicy odds of $19.60 with the NSW TAB. Harness Racing NSW
With 7 Group 1 races this Sunday afternoon, the overall meeting is clearly the best day of harness racing in the southern hemisphere. For the code of harness racing it is what Victoria Derby Day is for the gallops. The best of the best racing against one another for stacks of prize money. Horses, trainers and drivers have come from all parts of Australia and New Zealand to have a horse compete on the day is a feat for any participant. The 'jewel in the crown' is clearly the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion, it will be race 7 and will be run at 3:40pm. The barrier draw looks set to enhance the spectacle and now everyone is hoping that Mother Nature plays her role and the rain stays away. If it remains dry I am expecting the horses off the back row to prove hardest to beat. With Mach Beauty and Keayang Cullen drawn well on the front row I expect there to be an early speed battle and while the fire should die down pretty quickly the early burn should help those run on horses. I like For A Reason, Belinda McCarthy opted to miss the Hunter Cup and concentrate on the Inter Dominion which is a plus. He was scintillating at Goulburn and while beaten at his two subsequent runs, with the right run he has a devastating turn of speed. He looks set to stalk Beautide throughout and he is clearly the hardest horse to beat. His versatility is a huge advantage and James Rattray has the option of making a move midrace should he deem it necessary. Im Victorious will be in front of his main dangers early and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gary Hall Jnr try and get off the pegs early in the race while Smolda might land in a good position early despite a wide front row draw. The best roughie is Seel N Print, he is flying at the moment and is a very good stayer. Of the other chances Restrepo might be suited out of the fireworks early and has proved his toughness in Victoria. While the best Terror To Love would be ultra competitive, will we see the best of him on Sunday and Caribbean Blaster could be set to cover some territory from his wide draw. The first Gr. 1 of the afternoon is the NSW Oaks. Nike Franco has drawn gate one and that isn't ideal but Chris Alford will be off the pegs and her toughness will take her a long way. She is still green and when she learns what the racing caper is all about she will be even better. Hardest to beat is the kiwi filly My Willow, she will be better for her first look at Menangle last week while the Victorian fillies Quick Draft, Mindarie Priddy and Whereibylong are all hopes. The best roughie is the NSW trained Shes A Runa. The Ladyship Mile has attracted the best mare from New Zealand in Adore Me but the visitors draw gives her rivals some small hope of an upset. Baby Bling is a Miracle Mile winner that hit the line strongly last week against the boys and she is the best local hope to upset the favourite. There are plenty of trifecta and first four chances including Steam Washed after three straight wins including a scorching 1:53.3 win at Melton last start, Elusive Chick has drawn well and could be dangerous should she settle close to the leaders with her quick sprint while the form around Leda McNally in WA is very strong but the draw is a concern. The NSW Derby market is dominated by Bling It On and while with the right run he could blow his rivals away I am happy to take the each way odds being offered about Yayas Hotspot. The Shane Tritton three year old is back to his best after going off the boil late last year and I would expect him to go for an all the way win this week after handing up the lead in the heat. Hardest to beat is the McCarthy pair Bling It On and Allblack Stride while Isaiah and Iam Mr Brightside have small winning hopes as well. Last year's Chariots Of Fire has turned out to be one of the form races of the season with Smolda, Restrepo, Mach Beauty and Im Victorious all coming out of that race and into this year's Inter Dominion. There is depth across the board but with plenty of early speed in the race I'm tipping Guaranteed to prove too strong. He stormed home last week to win the Paleface Adios and he loves racing on the big Menangle track having only tasted defeat once on the circuit in his career. There are plenty of other chances though, Franco Nelson, Elios, Border Control, Chilli Palmer and Nowitzki all could be in the finish with the right run. The Bohemia Crystal FFA sees Jivin Cullen arrive from New Zealand with some solid form behind Terror To Love and Smolda and he looks the leading chance in a tough race. Im Corzin Terror has been racing well in Victoria and won the Terang Cup last week and if he turns up at his best he looks to be the main danger. Mah Sish is clearly not the horse he was a year ago but his form is not as bad as it reads on paper while Ardghal is a hope, he will be an even better horse in twelve months time and should blossom from the experience racing the better horses. Abettorpunt was very brave at Terang as well and can win at his best. The Glenferrie Farm Challenge for the trotters sees the battle of the Anzacs and after a surprise win last year I think the Australian's can make it another win in the series. My High Expectations is in the best form of his career and has performed extremely well at Menangle in the past. Last year's winner Keystone Del has drawn terribly but is in great form while Stent and Master Lavros look to be the best of the visitors. My best bet of the day is Yayas Hotspot in the NSW Derby but it looks to be one of those meetings that if you can find just one or two winners in the ten races then you should go home a winner. Don't forget you will see all the action on Sky Racing1 from 11am with a full preview of the meeting. Harness racing just doesn't get any better, enjoy your Sunday afternoon! Greg Hayes - SKY Racing Harness Racing NSW Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales | 22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200 T: 02 9722 6600| F: 02 85805792 | E: email@example.com| W: www.hrnsw.com.au & www.trotstv.com.au Warning to recipients: This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.
Group 1 winning mare Quite A Moment ended a frustrating run of minor placings to post a near record victory at Lord's Raceway last night. The daughter Quite Easy had posted four seconds and two third placings this season from six starts before last night's win. "Finally," driver Greg Sugars said as he returned to get the all clear from Steward Barry Delaney. Trained by Greg's father Ross, Quite A Moment has won almost $140,000 winning 8 races from 33 race starts including the Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown 3yo Trot Group 1 final at Melton last August. In the Skyvalley Trot (2150m) at Bendigo, Sugars had Quite A Moment in cruise control striding along in front to dominate the race from start to finish. The mare strolled to the line posting a 2.00.3 mile rate, just outside Skyvalley's 2008 record of 1.59. In the Harness Breeders Victoria Trot (1650m) favourite Secret Kiss. trained and driven by Paul Males just held on to beat Queens Vacation (Glenn Douglas). The Armbro Invasion mare won by a neck in a 2.00.8 mile rate. Majestic Son filly Majestic Grace was far to good for its opposition in the Aldebaran Yankee 3yo Trot (1650m). The Mick Blackmore trained trotter won by 7 metres in a 1.59.7 rate and was driven by Chris Alford. Bendigo’s next race meeting on Saturday 8 March 2014 features the Gold and Silver heats of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Series. With the winner’s progressing to the Breed for Speed Finals at Tabcorp Park’s Great Southern Star race meeting on 22 March 2014. By David Alfred (Harness Racing Australia)
The Form 700 NSW Oaks is shaping as a showdown between New Zealand and Victoria after their two hotshots drew perfectly for tomorrow week’s $200,000 final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Victorian Nike Franco (Chris Alford) and My Willow (Natalie Rasmussen) staged a two-horse donnybrook over the concluding stages before Nike Franco hung on to win heat two of the NSW Oaks preludes at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. But Chris Alford had to drive desperately on the daughter of McArdle to hold off My Willow, although stewards entered a protest for possible interference to the runner-up over the concluding stages, which was dismissed after a half-hour hearing. Alford was also successful in heat one of the Oaks when Quick Draft ran down Mindarie Priddy in the shadows of the post to score an exciting win, leaving Alford with the perfect problem – which filly to drive in the final. Final field for the Form 700 NSW Oaks is: Nike Franco My Willow Mindarie Priddy Shes A Runa Whereibylong Red Hot Toddy Quick Draft Joys A Babe (EM2) Spicy Stride Distant Memory Bettors Package (EM1) Ocean Diva Harness Racing New South Wales ARGENT STAKES FORM 700 NSW OAKS HEAT ONE FRITH FORM 700 NSW OAKS HEAT TWO
Former New Zealander Unico Crown was again the victor in Heat Two of the prestigious Tontine Series for Trotters T0 or better class over 2590 metres at Stawell on Monday February 3. A winner of the first round heat at Geelong on January 27, Unico Crown was again eligible to compete due to a paucity of numbers accepting for the race and scored in almost identical fashion. Trained at Lara by Dean Braun and driven by Chris Alford, Unico Crown as he did at Geelong began swiftly from the 10-metre mark to lead and was never headed, defeating Craig Demmler’s smart gelding Glenferrie Typhoon which raced outside him for the majority of the trip when first up since August, going down by 3.6 metres in a rate of 2-08.9, with Will Atone (20 metres) 44.1 metres away in third place after making a mistake hitting the back straight on the final occasion. Unico Crown four year old gelded son of Monarchy and Sunny Gem will now head to the $7,000 Semi-Finals to be conducted at Terang this Sunday, with the $30,000 Final to take place at Ballarat on February 14. Last season’s very smart Yankee Spider/Rockolina gelding Miracle resumed in the Grampians Estate 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2175 metres and as expected was untroubled to score. Trained and driven by Bolinda’s Chris Alford for owner Dolores Murphy, Miracle an almost faultless trotter, led throughout from the pole, winning with something in hand over Bacardi Breeze which trailed, moving to the outside on turning to fail by 1.5 metres in a rate of 2-10.8. No Trumps No Glory (three back along the markers last lap was a further 16.5 metres away in third spot. Miracle hadn’t been seen since finishing fourth in The Redwood at Maryborough on July 14. Mingbool (Mount Gambier) trainer/driver David Drury has a terrific strike rate when he crosses the border and landed the Renown Silverware Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres with four year old Blissful Hall/Art For Art Sake gelding Big Gorilla. Driven with aggression from gate two, Big Gorilla led throughout to record a 4.8 metre victory in 1-59.4 over Evil Trickster which raced outside him, with Jerry Marshall (one/one) dropping down to use the sprint lane on straightening to finish third 1.8 metres away. Heywood co-trainers Kevin Brough and Bec East have their team firing on all fours at present and snared the Brian Gunnell Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace over 1780 metres with ever reliable Total Truth/Mama Tembu gelding Always Wantano in a rate of 2-00.8. Starting from the extreme draw, driver Matt Craven sent Always Wantano forward from near last racing for the bell to park outside the pacemaker My Mach Scooter for the final circuit. Gaining the upper hand on straightening, Always Wantano scored by 3.4 metres in advance of Bungalally Boy which trailed the leader easing wide on turning, with My Mach Scooter weakening to finish third a head away. The Kaye Matthews Tribute a C1 class race over 2175 metres named in honour of the late Kaye Matthews an administrator with the club for a number of years, went the way of Long Forest trainer Andy Gath’s most consistent Mach Three/Fingers Crossed four year old mare Lems Cameo. Driven by wife Kate, Lems Cameo (gate four) made an unsuccessful bid for the front running as the mobile gate pulled away, but couldn’t head off Sorority Sister (gate two). Gaining cover shortly after when Cullen Time moved to race in the open, Lems Cameo enjoyed a perfect passage. Easing three wide in the last lap, Lems Cameo sprinted sharply to lead on the home turn, before racing away to record a 12.8 metre victory from Franco Seelster from last off a three wide trail in the final circuit, with Additallup flying home late for third after being shuffled back from three back the markers when Beau Ciel ahead of him was held up for a clear passage. The mile rate 2-02.7. Childers Cove duo Ange and Clare McDowell made a long awaited return to the winners list, when four year old Blissful Hall/Childers Elite gelding Masterofthurles (unplaced in six starts prior) greeted the judge in the Mussett Upholstery Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Despite racing without cover from gate three for the entire trip, Masterofthurles outstayed his rivals in defeating Glenway Hustler which led and Rose Devine (one/one) in a rate of 2-01. Great Western’s Michelle Wight was victorious with Armbro Operative/If Iseeyouinheaven five year old mare Shanira in the Pyrenees Smallgoods Pace for C1 class over 1780 metres. Given every opportunity one/one from gate five, Shanira when eased three wide at the straight entrance, finished best to score by a half neck over a death-seating Khaleesi and Tipperary Seelster which led in a rate of 2-01. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
Semi-Final day of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships hosted by the St Arnaud HRC at Charlton on January 15, were impacted by scratchings resulting in small fields contesting a number of the races due to the extreme heat conditions prevailing all throughout the State. Four runners contested the first Pacers Semi, with victory going to four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze for Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stand in reinsman John Caldow. Enjoying a sweet passage trailing the leader and favourite Bushrod with both horses coming from the 10 metre mark, Sapphire Swayze when eased away from the markers in the last lap, sprinted like a gazelle to lead running into the final bend to defeat the rank outsider Red Riverbed along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Bushrod a disappointing third after hanging away from the inside in the last lap. The mile rate 2-08.3. Semi number two consisted of seven starters, with Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy’s above average four year old McCardle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle greeting the judge in 2-01.3. Driven by John Caldow, Almost El Eagle stepped cleanly from barrier three to trail the surprise pole line leader Dynamite Dude, with Boyz Talk being sent forward after a slow beginning from 10 metres to park in the open. Charging home along the sprint lane, Almost El Eagle coasted to the wire 2.9 metres in advance of Nimble Jack (one/one – three wide last lap), with Dynamite Dude weakening to finish third 2.9 metres away. The first Semi of the Trotters saw only six starters, with Junortoun trainer/driver Scott Dyer’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Oh Yes Indeed gelding The Boss man an impressive victor. Slowly away from barrier two, The Boss Man settled three back along the inside, with the favourite Unico Crown bounding straight to the front from the pole. Given an easy time by Chris Alford, Unico Crown always looked the one to beat judging on his brilliant heat performance at Bendigo. The other highly fancied candidate Quite A Moment (last season’s Breeders Crown winner) possied five back along the markers from a 30 metre backmark, moving to be one/one at the bell when The Boss Man eased away from the inside. Ambling up to Unico Crown on the home turn, The Boss Man was strong at the finish even though the margin was only a head, scoring in a rate of 2-07. Quite A Moment finished 10.1 metres away in third place. Six also contested the second Semi with the winner being Bendigo trainer David Van Ryn’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Belstar gelding Belmac Cody much to the delight of Pyramid Hill resident Teddy Carmody and partners. Driven by Haydon Gray nephew of the trainer, Belmac Cody galloped away from the pole, settling three back along the markers in a strung out field with the roughie Featherfoot Sun leading from barrier two, being trailed by 20 metre marker Man Of The World. Taken back a spot mid-race after Invasive made a lightning move from four back the markers to assume control from Man Of The World which had moved around Featherfoot Sun, Belmac Cody left the markers to race in the open at the bell. Pushed three wide in the last lap when Invasive shifted ground enabling Man Of The World to lead into the straight, Belmac Cody ran to the wire strongly to score from Man Of The World and Invasive in a mile rate of 2-07.5 Both Finals each worth $25,000 will be held at Maryborough next Monday January 20. Unfortunately several horses will miss out on a spot due to their non penalty scratching from the Semi’s due to the heat. Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria
An Introduction From The CEO It has been a week of scorching heat and I thank those participants who have braved the conditions. A reminder of HRV's Heat Policy, which specifies that when temperatures are forecast to be over 38 degrees, trainers may scratch before 8.30am without penalty. HRV has also moved day meetings through the week to earlier timeslots and shifted night meetings back to avoid the hottest part of the day. Stewards at meetings have been monitoring the condition of horses and personnel. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Premier on the Spot The float carrying 4yo Art Major Colt Arts Professor was involved in a nasty accident on the Ring Road, heading to Yarra Valley (January 16). One of the first on the scene was Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine. Dr Napthine, a qualified vet, stopped to render assistance. He reported to HRV that apart from some scratches, the horse was in good condition. Click here for a photo of the Premier inspecting Arts Professor. Wagering - 6 months to December 31 We have now completed the first half of the financial year, so it is opportune to share some of the key indicators. HRV's revenue and stakemoney are dependent totally on wagering on harness racing. Over the past couple of years we have seen a significant shift in the way punters bet on our product. Only as recent as five years ago, the Joint Venture arrangement with Tabcorp was virtually the single source of HRV wagering revenue. The betting with Tabcorp was all 'parimutuel' betting - the traditional form of tote betting. In recent times there has been a material shift away from the parimutuel form of betting. Unfortunately the products increasing in popularity do not provide the higher returns to the industry. Any shift away from parimutuel tote betting to other forms of betting will provide lower marginal returns. These products are: "Fixed Odds" betting with Tabcorp; Corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. HRV has fought hard to ensure all corporate bookmakers pay a fair return to the industry. Despite the shift to fixed odds (Tabcorp) and the corporates providing a lesser return to the industry than the traditional parimutuel, it is clearly the market responding to punter preference. The diminishing size of parimutuel pools is a concern to HRV. HRV has made representation to Tabcorp to merge the pools with NSW to provide pool size and encourage betting back into the pools. For the six months ended December 2013, some key indicators, compared to the same period in 2012: Revenue from Tabcorp 'Parimutuel' â†“11.9% Revenue from Tabcorp 'Fixed Odds' â†‘146.3% Combined Tabcorp Revenue â†“1% Revenue from Corporate Bookmakers â†‘50% The Gross Turnover numbers for six months are: Tabcorp Parimutuel $205 million Tabcorp Fixed Odds $55 million Corporates $87 million Our market share of Tabcorp Revenue is slightly up on last year. At the commencement of the year HRV budgeted for a profit of $1.6 million. To the end of December we are not forecasting any material variation to that figure by the end of June. Raising The Standards There are a number of people and groups doing a fantastic job in caring for, and placing horses post their racing career. We remember Kathleen Mullan and 'James' participating in the Garryowen and the horses from the Northern Standardbred Riding Group leading the Bendigo Parade, for example. In particular I draw your attention to the work being done by Nicole Tassone at 'Raising the Standards'. With State Government and HRV support, Nicole is doing a great job giving standardbreds a second chance after their racing career is over. There are some awesome stories of horses being cared for at Raising The Standards and then moving on to another life. I recommend that you 'Like" the Raising the Standards Facebook page or go to www.raisingthestandards.com.au to read some of the heart-warming stories. Cranbourne Training Centre David Scott is retiring from his position as Chief Executive at Cranbourne at the end of January. We wish David well in his retirement, particularly in his continued breeding interests. One of David's major legacies will be the establishment of the Cranbourne Training Centre. Attracting joint State Government, HRV and Cranbourne Club funding, the project has proved to be an overwhelming success and a blueprint for future expansion around Victoria. I am pleased to hear that with two new trainers taking up residence late in 2013, the centre is fully occupied. I am equally pleased for David that he can leave knowing that his efforts have been rewarded with a barn full of horses and many winners. Vale Keith McGowan HRV was shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of radio legend and harness racing devotee Keith McGowan. Keith was fanatical about the trots.A prolific breeder and owner, he was a regular attendee at the track, whether it be a feature or regional weekday meeting. His last trotter Simon Tappertit, which he raced in partnership with fellow 3AW legends Ross Stevenson and Tony Leonard, won 14 races. Always one for a quirky horse name, among Keith's other successful horses were Dick Swiveller (14 wins) and Comedy of Eros (15 wins). Keith's highly successful radio career spanned 54 years, the last 21 as host of the 3AW overnight shift. Our condolences to his family, including his son Nathan, HRV's Racing Manager. Barry Garbutt HRV was also saddened to learn of the peaceful passing of Barry Garbutt on New Year's Eve. Barry held a trainer/driver license for many years and was associated with some very good horses - most recently Sunset Invasion. Barry fitted the description "colourful" character - instantly recognisable at Melton with his large cowboy hat and, on big occasions, his pink suit. Milestones Congratulations to Cassandra Troon who drove her first winner in a race at Kilmore on New Year's Day behind Armbro Higgens. She combined with the same horse a week later at the same venue for her second win. I witnessed Tania Ward drive her second winner behind Nuggets brother at Echuca on New Year's Night. I neglected to congratulate her on her first winner as a driver behind What A Fine Fella in June 2013 at Cobram. Rising star Jason Lee drove his 100th winner in late December behind Keayang Starzz at Terang. His cousin Matt Craven is closing in on 500 winners. This week at Kilmore (January 15) Chris Alford added to his milestone when he became the first driver in Australia to driver 100 winners for the season - the 13th quickest century in history. Did You Know? Gordon Rothacker Medallist Graeme Lang drove his first winner since July 2011 when he won on 3yo trotter Maybelina at Tabcorp Park on January 10.
Talented Dean Braun trained gelding I’m Corzin Terror NZ showed that the only thing he has been lacking in recent runs was his share of luck; he got just that in the Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup on Saturday night and used it to full advantage. Having been narrowly beaten in both the Yarra Valley and Tasmania Cups before more recently running an unlucky fourth in the Horsham Cup, the emphatic fifteen-metre victory in the $50,000 Group Two event was well deserved. Stable mate Mustang Mach NZ, brilliant out of the gates, led early but shortly after the start Im Corzin Terror challenged for the lead and Mustang Mach NZ, with Ellen Tormey in the sulky, was happy to take the trail behind the leader. Kiwi star Mah Sish NZ worked up to sit outside the leader. With the tempo of the race being beautifully dictated in front by Chris Alford, with a lap to travel favourite Bitobliss made a move to speed the race to his advantage. But this was Im Corzin Terror’s night; on the home turn he was given free rein and he sprinted impressively to win easily in a mile rate of 1:57.7, two seconds outside champion Safari’s record of 1:55.7. Warhorse Wartime Sweetheart NZ extricated himself too late from three back on the pegs to chase him home and run second for David Aiken, with Uncle Wingnut NZ flashing home for third. $2.50 favourite Bitobliss faded to run tenth. Earlier in the night, the two American bred favourites fought out the finish of the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile, with the David Aiken trained My High Expectations USA scoring a well deserved win over Kyvalley Blur USA in a quick mile rate. The Monte race was won by the dynamic combination of Motu Young Jacob NZ and rider Daryl Douglas, who went to the front shortly after the start and was never headed from there. Kyvalley Rap ran second for French rider Yoann Lagarde, and jumps jockey Paul Hamblin had mixed fortunes with an indifferent start but ran on well for fourth. by Lucy McCormick
The ever progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club conducted a sensational race day program on Sunday January 5th, highlighted by the running of the $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2700 metres and what a race it was with the victor being five year old Riverboat King / Alimar Star gelding Keayang Steamer for Terang trainer Marg Lee, nephew Glen Craven and the Craven family. Although small in numbers, the field attracted a tremendous array of talent headed by champion Smoken Up, along with last year’s Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish, outstanding gelding Abettorpunt and potential stars Keayang Steamer, Magical Telf, and Im Corzin Terror. Mah Sish was best to begin from the pole from Hugo Play (gate two) with Smoken Up (gate six) three wide pushing forward to assume control running into the first turn. Keayang Steamer (gate five) was trapped wide, with Glen Craven having no option but to press forward to occupy the position outside the leader. The pattern of the race didn’t alter until the final circuit when Hugo Play eased three wide to challenge the leaders, while at the same stage Keayang Steamer immediately and surprisingly strode past Smoken Up with Glen thinking to himself that he had gone for home too early. Although unable to pass Smoken Up completely, Keayang Steamer held a 4.7 metre margin to the wire, with Hugo Play running the race of his life to finish 3.6 metres in arrears of the pair in third place. With quarters of 31.1, 31, 28.8 and 28.7 for the last mile, Keayang Steamer returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.8 for the journey. The additional highlight of the day being the $15,000 Conch Deville HorshamTrotters Cup for TM0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2700 metres which saw brilliant four year old Metropolitan / Like A Calder entire Blitzthemcalder thrill the crowd with a tremendous performance to snare the major prize, Bred and raced by Rick Burchell, Blitzthemcalder trained at Lara by Dean Braun with regular reinsman Chris Alford in the sulky, was very slow to begin from the pole, giving the tearaway leader Si Capisco up to 50 metres start at one stage, with both Allaward Ugo and the Kiwi Thanesan which both galloped early putting themselves out of business. Commencing a forward move racing for the bell, it was easily seen that Blitzthemcalder was going to round his rivals up with ease as the tempo in which the race was run suited him to perfection. Not bustled to make ground in a hurry, Blitzthemcalder strode effortlessly to the front on the home turn and careered away to score by an official margin of 35 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.9 (last half 64.1 – quarter 33) in advance of Lightning Joy (three back the markers – one/one last lap) and Trappers Puzzle (one/two) which recovered after an early gallop. The mile rate being only .9 of a second outside Sir Gondola’s race record set in 2005. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria
Horsham Cup day is this Sunday and it looks set to be a sensational afternoon of harness racing action and entertainment. With a temperature of 23 degrees forecast, an outstanding racing program, along with plenty of on course entertainment provided by the club, there is something for everyone. The Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup (Group 2) will be the highlight of a fantastic program, with Australian pacing superstar and three-time millionaire Smoken Up taking his place in the field. Coming off an incredible last start victory in the Laser Electrical Lightning Mile (Group 3), in which he earned a $10,000 bonus for breaking the track record in a mile rate of 1:53.1. ‘Trigger’ will be primed and ready for action and trainer/driver Lance Justice certainly won’t die wondering when he lays his cards on the table. His rivals will not be making it easy for the champ however, with the Tim Butt trained 2013 Del Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup (Group 1) hero Mah Sish taking his place from pole position. Mah Sish showed he was back to his best with a great effort behind Smoken Up at Ballarat on Boxing night. Driver Anthony Butt certainly won’t be handing things to Smoken Up & Lance Justice on a platter – the wily Kiwi’s know they too have a gun racehorse and have their eyes firmly planted on the hefty winner’s cheque and glittering gold Cup. Apart from last season’s Hunter Cup victory, Mah Sish won a heat of the Inter in Sydney, finished 2nd behind Im Themightyquinn in the Final, downed Sushi Sushi in the Ballarat Pacing Cup and got within a length of Caribbean Blaster in the Victoria Cup – enough said. Our main local hope, Abettorpunt, was bred by the Lewis family - Terry is Vice President and Life Member of the Horsham Club. “Our draw could have been kinder but you take what you get” Terry explained. “We’re hoping for some fireworks early from Mah Sish, Smoken Up and maybe Keayang Steamer. Punter’s work this week has been as good as its ever been and we’re expecting him to run a big race.” Abettorpunt is ready to take the next step into the big time. A quick look at the form guide shows his outstanding record of 21 wins, 19 minors & $306,000 from just 51 starts. Punter’s recent form of a 2nd to Beautide in the Newcastle Mile, 3rd behind Smoken Up in the Cordina Sprint, 2nd to The Gold Ace at Menangle and a victory at Melton prior to Xmas are credentials enough to win on Sunday. The all-conquering Dean Braun – Chris Alford team could well have the Cup wildcard on Sunday with the former Kiwi pacer Im Corzin Terror. Solid recent performances in the Cranbourne Cup, Yarra Valley Cup and Tasmania Cup entitle the 6yo gelding to our utmost respect. HORSHAM IS HOT TO TROT SUNDAY ! By Lucy McCormick (HRV) & Tony Logan
The Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup is almost upon us and there’s not a great deal of holiday rest for our hard working trainers and drivers. Toiling particularly hard under the summer sun will be Avenel trainer/driver David Aiken. With a large team of nine runners engaged for the day, Aiken will have his work cut out right at the business end of the day, with four competitors in the Cup itself. Stepping out for start number one hundred and two and conceding twenty metres from the standing start is nine-year-old gelding Jaccka Clive. A winner of over $480,000 in career prize money and beaten narrowly by Mah Sish in this year’s Del-Re National Food Group A G Hunter Cup, Jaccka Clive is a winner of the 2011 Cobram Pacing Cup and will be doing his utmost to add another to his trophy cabinet. Having his first start for over a month, Jaccka Clive should be fresh and ready to perform at his best at Cobram. Lining up 10 metres in front of Jaccka Clive is stable mate and last start Melton winner Smudge Bromac, to be driven by Nathan Jack. A veteran of one hundred and thirty three starts, Smudge Bromac has been extremely consistent over the last two months of his racing career and looks set to be a danger on Friday. To be partnered by the boss himself is six-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding Wartime Sweetheart. Winner of the Sew-Eurodrive Popular Alm (Group 3) two starts ago beating a quality field including Melpark Major, Mah Sish and Broadways Best, Wartime Sweetheart is a quality pacer who will make his presence felt in the $25,000 Cobram Cup. Rounding out the Aiken team is seven-year-old gelding Composed, to be driven off the front row by champion driver Chris Alford, who has been enjoying a purple patch of form over the last few months. In a quality field for the 2014 Cobram Pacing Cup, the Aiken outfit has a strong chance of taking it out with four out of the 10 runners vying for the prize. by Lucy McCormick for HRV
TASMANIAN trainer Zeke Slater celebrated back-to-back wins in the prestigious $40,000 Tasmania Cup when his gallant seven-year-old pacer Moto Crusader stormed home to beat the favourite in a photo-finish at Tattersall's Park today. Dapper Dana showed great acceleration to lead from the pole position but a lap further out and the favourite Im Corzin Terror assumed that mantle and looked to be in control when the field wheeled for home the last time. But that's when ace driver Gareth Rattray called on Moto Crusader to unleash and the gelding quickly put himself in contention and powered home to grab victory in the last few strides. Moto Crusader scored by a head from the Dean Braun-trained Im Corzin Terror (Chris Alford) with Our Chain of Command motoring home to finish third but 7-1/2 metres from the runner-up. Moto Crusader has been back in the care of Slater for a while but the gelding's run in the City of Launceston Cup last week was too bad to be true. He finished fourth in a field of seven and beaten over 15 metres when sent out a long odds-on favourite. But Slater said he was confident before this latest assignment that the horse had improved enough to be at his best for today's race, although punters did not share his views as the horse was sent around a $22 outsider. Listen to what trainer Zeke Slater had to say about Moto Crusader's latest Tasmania Cup win. Peter Staples
Top Victorian harness trainer Dean Braun is no stranger to winning feature races in Tasmania and on Sunday night he looks like adding another cup to the burgeoning content in his trophy cabinet. Braun will hitch up the favourite Im Corzin Terror in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup over 2579 metres. Im Corzin Terror has been racing in the silk department in Victoria of late placing in the $100,000 Group 1 Cranbourne Cup behind The Gold Ace and Terrorway two starts back and he followed up last week with a second to Savesomtimetodream in the $25,000 Yarra Valley Cup over 2650 metres. Im Corzin Terror has drawn gate three on the front line on Sunday night so should his driver Chris Alford push forward and successfully find the lead the race could be all over bar the shouting. Braun also has entered Mustang Mach that finished seventh in the Yarra Valley Cup but only 3.2 metres behind his stablemate. The only other interstate invader in the Michael Stanley-trained Queenslander Western Mail that comes of a last-start fifth behind Slick Bromac in the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night and prior to that he was ninth at Gunbower when first-up from a three-month spell. Ransom Olds led up from gate one last Sunday night in the City of Launceston Cup and from gate two he should have enough early speed to contend for that spot again but he has Dappa Dana on his inside and if this young gun can muster enough speed from the pole he could hold them all out. Dappa Dana loomed to win the City of Launceston Cup last Sunday night but just when it looked as if he would mow down his rivals he galloped for no apparent reason and driver Ricky Duggan had to take hold and he was retired from the race. Rohan Hillier will take the reins on Dappa Dana on Sunday night while Duggan will resume his association with the in-form stablemate Our Chan of Command that comes of a last-start win in a free-for-all over 2090 metres in Hobart two weeks ago that followed an emphatic win in the Cannonball Charge over 1609 metres at the same track on November 24. Our Chain of Command (barrier six) is a nine-year-old but he is racing like a much younger horse. Slick Bromac surprised everyone except his trainer last Sunday when he won the City of Launceston Cup and while he looks outclassed here he will be a chance if the race is sun to suit with a strong pace on and he can get cover. By Peter Staples
A meticulous long-range plan, carefully-mapped out by Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack returned handsome dividends when the lightly-raced Nowitzki scored an impressive victory in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A sizzling start paved the way for the Art Major four-year-old who burst straight to the front from barrier two and set a solid pace before winning by 2m from 43/1 outsider Smokey The Bandit, with 29/1 chance Heez On Fire charging home from the rear to be third, just ahead of the even-money favourite Chilli Palmer. The win was the culmination of Jack's plan to bring the gelding from Victoria to Western Australia early in September. This was to give Nowitzki every opportunity to become acclimatised to the local conditions. Nowitzki spent two months at Pinjarra before making his WA debut, when he was surprisingly beaten into second place by Our Boy Su in a city M0-class event on November 8. He then led from the No. 1 barrier and won the $50,000 Retravision Four-Year-Old Championship from Mexicano before starting from the outside of the front line and finishing ninth behind Chilli Palmer in the McInerney Ford Classic. A $100,000 yearling, Nowitzki has earned $207,925 from his nine wins and five placings from 18 starts and he looks certain to develop into a quality grand circuit performer. Nowitzki was a $6.80 chance on the tote, with polemarker Chilli Palmer, the brilliant last-to-first winner of the McInerney Ford Classic a fortnight earlier, all the rage at evens from the prized No. 1 barrier. Jack stole a march on his rivals when Nowitzki revealed sparkling early speed to charge straight past Chilli Palmer and into the lead when the mobile barrier released the 12 runners in the 2536m journey. Condrieu began speedily from barrier six and quickly moved into the breeze, while Chilli Palmer settled down in sixth position before Chris Alford eased him off the pegs and into the one-wide line. It was while Chilli Palmer was struggling to muster early speed that Ashleigh Markham urged Smokey The Bandit forward from barrier two on the second line to get into the prime position behind the pacemaker. Nowitzki relaxed after his early burst of speed and was able to coast through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.3sec. before sprinting the next three quarters in 28.5sec., 28.4sec. and 29sec. He rated 1.57.5. Bit Of A Legend (13/4) was sixth after a lap in the one-wide line, and was being followed by Chilli Palmer. Bit Of A Legend started a three-wide move with about 1100m to travel and again he was followed by Chilli Palmer. However, Nowitzki showed no signs of weakening and it was left to the unheralded Smokey The Bandit to issue the only serious challenge in the home straight. Jack threw the kitchen sink at Nowitzki and he was suspended from driving for 14 days for an improper whip action in the home straight. The stewards also fine him $200 for loose reining --- for throwing the reins extravagantly as the gelding charged towards the finishing post. Markham was fined $400 for an incorrect whip action. "I have a very high opinion of Nowitzki and wasn't really concerned during the race," Jack said. "You go out there and try to beat one horse (Chilli Palmer) and you often come unstuck and something else beats you. That's racing and, thankfully, that wasn't the case tonight. He now has earned a spell." Nowitzki is the sixth foal out of the Armbro Operative mare Full Pleasure, who had 26 starts in 2001 and 2002 for three wins in NSW and seven in Victoria for earnings of $106,496. Full Pleasure's first six foals are all winners (of a total of 75 races), with her second foal Kept For Pleasure having 37 starts for 19 wins, ten placings and $542,343 and Lebron earning $155,084 from 22 wins and Its My Pleasure winning 14 races and $141,908. CORTOPASSI MAKES THE MOST OF CHANCE DRIVE BEHIND HEZ THE BART MAN New Zealand-bred eight-year-old Hez The Bart Man bounced back to form with a vengeance when he sustained a powerful three-wide burst to win the 2130m Jayden Barber Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to end an eight-month drought and snap a losing sequence of 16. A 27/1 tote outsider, he was driven for the first time by Aldo Cortopassi, who brought the gelding home with a spirited three-wide burst from fourth at the bell to a decisive one-length win over stablemate Red Salute (24/1). This gave Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri a quinella result. The stable's No. 1 reinsman Chris Lewis had the choice of driving either horse and when he chose last-start winner Red Salute it gave Cortopassi the chance of handling Hez the Bart Man. Western Cullen was a hot favourite at 2/1 on from the No. 1 barrier. As expected, he set the pace, and even after a slow first quarter of the final mile in 31.2sec. he wilted over the final 400m to finish sixth. Hez The Bart Man hit the front 320m from home and he won from Red Salute, who finished with admirable determination. Courage Tells, who trailed the pacemaker, finished third. The final 800m was covered in 56.3sec. and the winner rated a slick 1.56.2 to take his record to 56 starts for 11 wins, 21 placings and $125,333 in stakes. "I knew there was going to be a lot of early speed and we got a really good trip into the race," Cortopassi said. "He toughed it out really good. As soon as I got the plugs out and gave him a cut with the whip he levelled out and knew where the line was." J WALKER EXCELS AT FIRST OUTING FOR THREE MONTHS Young Henley Brook trainer Robbie Williams predicted more wins for New Zealand-bred gelding J Walker after driving the seven-year-old to a splendid first-up victory in the 2503m Russky the Bandit Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I've got a bit of an opinion of this bloke," he said after J Walker, a 7/1 chance off the back mark of 20m, had thundered home from last in the middle stages and from eighth at the bell to win easily from the pacemaker Bobby Teal (12/1) and 13/1 chance Turnpike Cruiser, who rattled home from last with a lap to travel. J Walker, who hit the front 120m from home, was making his first appearance for three months and his win broke a losing sequence of nine. "He's had a few little niggles, so we put him out in the paddock," Williams said. "And now he seems to be over them. My only concern tonight was that I thought he was a little bit big in condition." J Walker now moves to an M3 classification and looks capable of advancing to a tighter mark. He has raced 80 times for 16 wins, 19 placings for $149,926 in prizemoney. His win on Friday night completed a double for Williams, who had been successful earlier in the night with Franco Torres. COOL JOHNNY SPARKLES ON HIS RETURN TO RACING Cool Johnny, a lightly-raced five-year-old prepared at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, reappeared at Gloucester Park at Gloucester Park on Friday night after an absence of 11 weeks and he surprised reinsman Colin Brown with the ease of his victory. "I can't say that his trackwork has been exceptional. But he certainly lifted tonight," Brown said. "The barrier draw (No. 1) certainly helped." Cool Johnny was solidly supported and started at 7/4. He was smartest into stride and after quarters of 30.1sec. and 30.8sec., he sprinted over the final sections in 29.7sec. and 28.3sec. He rated 1.58.4 and defeated What God Knows (13/2) by just under four lengths. Soho Redford, who raced in the breeze, fought on grandly to be third. Soho Highroller (7/4) was popular with punters, but he was trapped three wide all the way before wilting from third at the bell to sixth. It was a fine effort. "Ã had a good look at the 400m and a few of them were struggling," Brown said. "We appeared to be travelling okay, so I dashed him away. The last thing you want to do is to get run over by something sprinting over the top. He finished it off well." Cool Johnny won once from three starts in New Zealand now has a record of 22 starts for nine wins and three placings for stakes of $48,904. MENELAUS OF SPARTA SHINING UNDER SMITH'S GUIDANCE Kenwick trainer Brett Smith made a wise decision three months ago when he claimed six-year-old Menelaus of Sparta for $10,000 on behalf of his mother Jenny and a few friends. Menelaus of Sparta has flourished under Smith's care and he maintained his excellent form when he stormed home from the rear in the middle stages to score an easy victory in the 2130m David Cairo and Jamie Congerton Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This took his record for Smith to 12 starts for five wins and two placings for $33,715 in stakes and his overall record to 17 wins, 19 placings and $111,346 from 74 starts. Smith is serving a term of suspension for causing interference and this created an opportunity for Morgan Woodley to drive Menelaus of Sparta for the first time. "All credit to Brett," Woodley said. "He has got this horse absolutely flying at the moment. He's been a revelation under his training. Tonight he's got the perfect run into the race. From the 1200m to the 400m they've run that half in 58.2sec. before the final quarter was run in 29sec. That was right up this horse's alley. He can let down realty well and he showed that tonight." Menelaus of Sparta started at the handsome odds of 14/1, mainly because most punters pinned their faith in veteran Pembrook Henry from the No. 1 barrier. Dylan Egerton-Green jumped Pembrook Henry in front, but the gelding was placed under heavy pressure when Absolute Cool paced strongly in the breeze. Rojen Cruz rattled home from last in the middle stages to be second, one length behind Menelaus of Sparta and Pembrook Henry did well to finish third, with Absolute Cool in fourth place. WILLIAMS BRINGS FRANCO TORRES (33/1) HOME WITH A POWERFUL BURST Robbie Williams made the most of the opportunity to drive Franco Torres in the Happy Birthday Ryan Berti Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Shannon Suvaljko, the No. 1 driver for the Debbie Padberg stable, opted to drive the Mike Reed-trained Taiaha. Taiaha was a solidly-supported 2/1 favourite from the No. 1 barrier, while Franco Torres was a 33/1 outsider, going into the 2130m event with a losing sequence of 11. Taiaha set the pace, while Williams, driving Franco Torres for the first time, was content to keep his horse in sixth position in the one-wide line. Wrongly Accused worked hard in the breeze before getting to the front with 400m to travel. However, Franco Torres sprinted home strongly over the final quarter in a28.6sec. to burst to the front in the closing stages to beat Wrongly Accused by just over a length. Bet Your Life came from three back on the pegs to be third, a nose ahead of Corza Commotion, who finished powerfully from ninth (on the pegs) at the bell. Taiaha faded to finish last in the field of 12. The New Zealand-bred Franco Torres has earned $77,624 from ten wins and 17 placings from 63 starts. EGERTON-GREEN LANDS BLACKNSWEET ADDA AT HANDSOM ODDS Young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green maintained his splendid form in the sulky when he brought 13/1 chance Blacknsweet Adda home with a strong burst to win the V. and K. Congerton Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Herne Hill Trainer Kevin Keys engaged Egerton-Green to drive the four-year-old for the first time and it proved to be a wise decision with Egerton-Green trailing the pacemaker Miss Tee Dawn until he urged Blacknsweet Adda forward approaching the home turn. Miss Tee Dawn, driven by ace New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn, was showing signs of weakening and Blacknsweet Adda hit the front 90m from the post before winning by just over a length from Pure Empathy, who sizzled home out five wide after being last in the middle stages and tenth at the bell. Blacknsweet Adda ended a losing run of seven and took her record to five wins and seven placings from 28 starts for stakes of $43,090. SOHO MONZA BRERAKS THROUGH AFTER A SUCCESSION OF MINOR PLACINGS Five-year-old Soho Monza was rewarded for his consistency when he broke through for an overdue win at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Pacific Fella gelding, bred and owned by Rob Watson, had been placed at eight of his past 13 starts since winning at Northam early in July. He drew the prized No. 1 barrier and was favourite at 10/9 on. Hopeland trainer Kim Prentice set Soho Monza the task of leading all the way and the gelding responded in fine style, sprinting over the final two 400m sections in 28.8sec. and 28.7sec. to win by 2m from veteran pacer Cometao, who fought on grandly after racing without cover. Mister Roberto ran on from seven and last at the bell to be third. Soho Monza is the first foal out of the Perfect Art mare Spic And Spangled, who raced only five times for two wins at Kalgoorlie in October-November 2006. The Victorian-bred Spangled Black, the great granddam of Soho Monza, had 64 starts in the 1980s for 12 wins, 18 placings and $64,114. HERBIES DREAM GIVES PADBERG THE FIRST LEG OF A DOUBLE Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg's recent run of successes continued at full tilt at Gloucester Park on Friday night when she landed a double --- with Herbies Dream and Franco Torres. This followed her good night at Northam on Thursday evening when she had four starters for a win with Hez Got The Nod, seconds with Sir Ricky and Alta Onassis and a third with Big Bad Wolf. The New Zealand-bred Herbies Dream was an 8/1 chance and Shannon Suvaljko made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier by setting the pace and winning by just under a length from Grand Cru (who trailed the leader throughout), with the 5/4 favourite Notabadexcuse a half-head away in third place. Notabadexcuse raced in fifth position before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He fought on doggedly at his first start for leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and should pay to follow. Herbies Dream raced 22 times in New Zealand for three wins and seven times in New South Wales for one win before arriving in Western Australia where his four starts have produced one win. HOT HOLIDAY NEVER GETS TIRED, SAYS SKALECKI Hot Holiday, who broke three times in running when a distant eighth behind Earl Harbour in a race at Gloucester Park last Friday week, was on his best behaviour when he trotted faultlessly and scored an effortless victory in the 2130m Kyle and Dozer Trot on Friday night. After the race Skalecki said that the Natalie Duffy-trained seven-year-old had been at a disadvantage the previous week because he had raced without front shoes. "He has gone super tonight," Skalecki said. "He went round without front shoes last week and that made it a bit difficult. Tonight we were pretty confident. That's where he likes it, outside the leader. "He doesn't like chasing too hard, but once he's up there (in the breeze) he'll just grind all day. He never gets tired and he'll just fight." Prince Eddie (5/2) set the pace and Skalecki was quite happy to have Hot Holiday, the 2/1 favourite, in the breeze. Hot Holiday forged to the front 420m from home and raced Away to score by four lengths from Backas Cobber, who ran on from the rear. Hot Holiday has raced 60 times for 15 wins, 16 placings and stakes of $130,849. by Ken Casellas
Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford was successful at his home track Frank Ryan Raceway Echuca on Tuesday December 3, when more than handy four year old Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn scored in the Christies Welding Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from gate four on the second line, Kamwood Dawn was set alight three wide approaching the bell and with a sharp turn of speed, crossed the pacemaker Billy Branach to lead for the final circuit. Holding a slender margin at the straight entrance, Kamwood Dawn defied all challengers to register a 1.2 metre victory over the heavily supported Final Flutter which moved outside her on the final bend after an easy time, with Billy Branach battling away gamely for third. The mile rate 1-59.4. It was Kamwood Girl's 3rd victory in 28 outings. Kilmore's Bruce Kennedy always sends his horses out looking a picture and four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Krisney mare Krisney Girl rewarded him by taking the Add Print Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-01.4 with Chris Alford in the sulky. Starting from gate two on the second line, Krisney Girl had most of the field ahead of her for the first lap, before gaining a lovely three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of the Riverina visitor Donated which was backed for plenty, with the pair joining the pacemaker Direct Art on the home turn. Given full rein on turning, Krisney Girl prevailed by 1.9 metres from Donated and Direct Art which led for the final circuit after racing outside Miss Wong Sue for the first half of the journey. Kyneton part-owner/trainer Tony Trimboli's Earl/Arnees Sensation six year old gelding Arctic Wolf snared his 6th victory in 89 race appearances, when successful in the Wandana Standardbreds Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2530 metres. With regular reinsman Tony Xiriha handling the ribbons, Arctic Wolf from the 10 metre mark was unable to cross Featherfoot Sun shortly after the start, being restrained for a perfect trail. Easing into the open approaching the bell, Xiriha put the foot to the floor to lead for the final circuit and in a punishing finish, just held on from Doctor Sam which failed by a nose and Featherfoot Sun in a mile rate of 2-07.8. Speedy Kilmore mare Modern Mary chalked up her 8th victory when greeting the judge in the $5,500 Echuca Moama Storage Moama Pacing Cup for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Trained by Julie Mifsud and driven by sister-in-law Rita Burnett, Modern Mary a five year old daughter of Modern Art and Marys Girl first up since August, began like a rocket from outside the front line to lead running into the first turn and after being rated a treat, held too many guns at the finish for the hot favourite Gangster Boy which trailed, moving outside her on the final bend, with Fergus McCool (threeback the markers) third. The mile rate 1-59.4. Melton trainer "Honest" Robbie O'Connell combined with stable apprentice Zac Phillips to land the Moama Bowling Club Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with eight year old E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel. Given a beaut passage three back along the markers from gate two on the second line, Juke Kartel was eased to be one/one approaching the final bend and when taken three wide on turning, ran home strongly to score by 6.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.7 from Brother Rabbit which trailed the weakening leader and third placed Transaction. Juke Kartel was also a winner at the previous Echuca meeting on October 1. Ever reliable nine year old Peace of Art/Bubblegum mare Bubble Art always races well at this time of year, bringing up her 13th victory by taking the Choicehotels.com.au Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1755 metres much to the delight of Wallaloo East (Stawell) trainer/driver Troy Raven and the Raven family. Using a mares concession, Bubble Art starting from the pole was given a sweet trip on the back of the leader and favourite Lookatime Philo next to her, which crossed after racing roughly at the start. Easing wide on straightening, Bubble Art despite shifting out, gained the day by a half neck over Goldiedomic along the sprint lane off her back, with Scottish Glamour (one/one - three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Marong trainer Trevor Patching has been a regular competitor at Echuca over the years and snared the Bendigo Bank Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with lightly raced 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in a rate of 2-03.2. Given the run of the race from the pole following Foyer (gate five), Sherpa Star making his 11th race appearance was eased away from the markers by Nathan Jack on the home turn and finished best to gain the day by 2.5 metres in advance of Foyer and Thelove Child (three back the markers). Serpentine trainer Robert Rothacker joined forces with Daryl Douglas to capture the Echuca Cup 21 March Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with five year old Art Major/Rachelanne mare Policious. Having her 9th outing and second for the season, Policious from gate three on the second line settled well back in the field, making ground at the bell trailing the well backed Thankbonnie three wide. Dropping in for a breather in the final circuit as Thankbonnie applied pressure to the pacemaker Pascarma, striding clear approaching the home turn, Policious issued an immediate challenge on turning and raced clear over the concluding stages to score from Pascarma which came again, with Miss Tanami running on late to cut Thankbonnie out of third. The mile rate 2-02.6. Robert gained all the spoils as he is the breeder/owner/trainer. Benalla trainer Jason Ross combined with Nathan Jack aboard 4-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Flighty Lisa mare The Hen House to land the New Years Night Hot To Trot Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres, leading virtually throughout from gate four in defeating Brown Rice and Katie Lively in a rate of 2-01.7. By Len Baker
The Bendigo trotting fixture held on Thursday November 28 belonged to the Goulburn Valley and Bendigo area who provided five of the eight winners on program, with Bunbartha horseman John Newberry taking the honours after providing a stable double. First to come along was talented Earl/Shine On Alisha six year old gelding Just Call Me Earl in the CV Batteries Strath Village Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2150 metres. Starting from a 20 metre equal backmark, Just Call Me Earl bided his time mid-field with Man Of The World (barrier four) working to the front after travelling a couple of hundred metres. Easing three wide in the final circuit, Newberry in what was “the drive of the night” switched Just Call Me Earl down to the sprint lane, before finishing strongly to defeat Man Of The World and Jusamirel which raced rough on more than one occasion. The mile rate 2-05.1. Raced by the Newberry family, Just Call Me Earl has fronted the starter on 63 occasions for nine wins. Leg two came about when lightly raced four year old Monarchy/Shine On Alisha gelding The Majestic scored in the Freedom Tanks Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 1650 metres in a mile rate 2-02.2. A surprisingly short priced even money favourite, The Majestic (gate two) settled three back in the moving line and driven with the patience of Jobe, was taken four wide on the final bend before putting the race away with ease, defeating Brother Of Sonoko and Ballan Road which led. Echuca/Moama trainer Shane Gilligan four year old Northern Luck/Soap Box mare Mary Mon returned to form when successful in the Bendigo Cup Eve Cocktail Party 10 January Pace for C2 class over 1650 metres. Taking a concession, Mary Mon driven by son Tom was restrained to the rear of the field from gate six prior to gaining a three wide trail in the last lap on the back of both Johnny Tee and Flyin Indi Air. Despite making the home turn very wide, Mary Mon a half sister to the smart juvenile Lady Belladonna finished all over the top of her rivals to score from Flying Indi Air and Johnny Tee in a rate of 1-57. Charlton’s Mark Boyle has Blissful Hall/Lensmare six year old gelding Xbolt racing at the top of his game, landing the Christmas @ Lord’s Raceway 12 December Pace for C0 class over 1650 metres. With Neil McCallumin the sulky, Xbolt began swiftly from gate five to lead throughout in a rate of 1-58.6, defeating The Muse which raced outside him, with the hot favourite Heathbern Star running on late when extricated clear of a pocket three back the markers to finish third. Shelbourne trainer Larry Eastman’s above average Northern Luck/Decethree Lombo five year old mare Lombo Cloud Nine treated her rivals with contempt in the N.Y.E Party @ Lord’s Raceway 31 December Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2150 metres with Chris Alford in the sulky. Sent forward from outside the front row to settle three back in the moving line, Alford was off and running in the back straight on the first occasion to be surprisingly handed the lead on a platter from the last start Ballarat winner Tere T. Travelling under double wraps for the rest of the journey, Lombo Cloud Nine coasted to the wire 6 metres in advance of Tere T and Nimble Jack (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-00.2 to record her 10th victory in 42 starts. Astute Avenel trainer/driver Ian Mongomery provided a smart first starter by the name of Captain Under Fire to blitz his rivals in the Bendigo Bank 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres, leading throughout from the pole in accounting for Notjustanothalombo (three back the markers) by 22.7 metres in a rate of 2-00.9. Braeview Bomber finished third after racing in the open. Bolinda trainer/driver Lisa Miles also provided a winner on debut when four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Sassy Stoneridge mare Denim Npearls greeted the judge in the Victorian Equine Group Pace for C0 class over 1650 metres. Taken back from gate two as the start was effected, Denim Npearls possied three back in the moving line, before unleashing a powerful burst out wide on straightening to impressively gain the day over Majestic Swan which led and Imsosweetaboucha which followed the winner home in the final circuit. The mile rate 1-58.7. By Len Baker