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Drouin harness racing co-trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan were successful in taking out the Hygain 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres at Tuesday’s Cranbourne fixture with Bettors Delight/Modern Girl filly Magical Delight. Driven by Chris Alford,  Magical Delight having her seventh appearance at the races showed plenty of speed from gate six to lead, before being restrained to take a trail on Maree Caldow’s well supported Courage Under Fire colt Madeeba which started outside her. After a cosy passage, Magical Delight used the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in the thrilling finish after the pair drew clear of their rivals in the straight. Pablo Santanna (one/two – three wide at bell) finished third 13.2 metres in arrears of the winner. The mile rate was 1-59. Lemnos (Goulburn Valley) based Amanda Turnbull who spends many hours travelling backward and forward to her home town of Bathurst on a regular basis, combined with partner Nathan Jack to land a training double at the meeting with two Kiwi breds – boom Mach Three/Maikona colt Oh Jonny B Good the Condo’s Horse Transport Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres and Monarchy/Amanda’s Gem 4-Y-0 mare Beta Hanoverdakash the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2110 metres. Oh Jonny B Good driven by Amanda, a prohibitive $1.40 favourite, was eased from inside the second row to settle at the rear, with speedy gelding Terra Beau leading from gate three. Following Lucky VC three wide at the bell which crossed to be in the open for the last lap before striding clear on the final bend, Oh Jonny Be Good joined Lucky VC on turning, with the pair moving away to fight out the finish. Gaining the upper hand as the winning post came into view, Oh Jonny B Good scored by a comfortable 5.8 metre margin in 1-59.6, with Holdonsu 4.5 metres away in third place after following the winner home. Beta Hanoverdakash pinged straight to the front from the pole and after being rated a treat by Nathan, was never headed in accounting for Soh Filthy Rich (barrier four) which trailed by 4.9 metres. Always Treasure was 7.2 metres away in third place after following the pair. The mile rate was 2-08.3. Beautifully bred Grinfromeartoear/Counterfiet Girl gelding Fake Smile made it two from two when greeting the judge in the Blue Hills Rise 3-Y-0 Pace over 2080 metres with Greg Sugars in the sulky. Raced by Paul Sequenzia who had so much success with multiple Derby winner Sushi Sushi, Fake Smile trained at Sunbury by Ahmed Taiba  settled four back in the moving line from gate three on the second line, with Lombo Medlyn Miss flying away from outside the front line to lead. Moving forward three wide uncovered at the bell, Fake Smile crossed to lead the outside division in the back straight, but was pushed three wide again approaching the home turn after the leader hung off the track allowing Blue Chipped to obtain an inside passage momentarily. Dashing to the front on straightening, Fake Smile registered an easy 3.8 metre victory in advance of Another Broadway (one/one last lap) and Dependlebury (one/two) in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Whittlesea trainer Charlie Farrugia and reinsman nephew Darren Zahra have enjoyed a fruitful season with a handy limited team and snared the Devilish Smile @ Elderslie Farm Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres with Major Minor, a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Gay And Bright in a rate of 2-00.6. Given a sweet trip from the pole trailing the heavily backed Ian Dornauf trained Royal Shootout (gate three), Major Minor angled into the clear on turning to just hold on by a half head from sprint laner Village Me (four back the markers) and Royal Shootout in a slugging finish. The Caldow’s made amends for Madeeba’s narrow defeat earlier in the night when Bettors Delight/Millwood Touche filly Millwood Brandy scored in the Decron Pace for C0 class over 2080 metres. Sent forward from gate four to cross Bay Tint (gate two) shortly after the start, John Caldow elected to allow Phantom Rockstar (gate five) which had been three wide to assume control hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Enjoying a charmed passage, Millwood Brandy used the sprint lane to register a 3.9 metre victory over Phantom Rockstar and Lombo Idle Belief third after racing in the open from last for the final circuit. The mile rate was 2-02.8. Melton trainer Beau Tindale’s Sportswriter/Full Pleasure 3-Y-0 gelding Egodan chalked up his fifth success (four this season), when victorious in the Hyland Harness Colours Pace for C1 class over 2080 metres. With regular reinsman Rod Petroff in the sulky, Egodan settled with most of the field ahead of him after starting from the extreme draw, with Amanda Turnbull’s Airbournemagic circling the field from gate four on the second line to lead. Set alight racing for the bell, Egodan led for the last lap in defeating Cullen Regent from mid-field and Airbournemagic in a mile rate of 2-01. The margins being 6.1 X 4.8 metres. Melton mentor Lance Justice presently sidelined with a nasty heel injury after being involved in a freak accident at Geelong the week before, landed the Seelite Windows & Doors Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1609 metres with ex-Kiwi 5-Y-0 Sands A Flyin/Zwish gelding Phil Monty much to the delight of the large number of stable clients who share in the ownership. Driven by the stable’s Jason Hackett, Phil Monty was revved up from gate six to lead and allowed to bowl, ran his rivals ragged to score by 7.6 metres from Blitzsuzy off a three wide trail on the back of the third placegetter United Legacy. The mile rate was 1-59.1. Len Baker

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr Chris Alford.  ARHR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Alford related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Stormed Out’ after it won Race 5, the ‘Bendigo Bank Pace’, at Geelong on 8 April 2015. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain the prohibited substance phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone. The Racing Science Centre in Queensland reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. Mr Alford pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Alford. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered the nature of the substance involved, other previous cases involving the substance in Victoria, Mr Alford’s evidence of administering 10 ml of the substance in a therapeutic manner almost 8 full days prior to the relevant race and his expectation that the substance would be eliminated in such a time period, Mr Alford’s early guilty plea and co-operation throughout the investigation, Mr Alford’s excellent record throughout his lifetime involvement in the industry and a number of references supplied in support of Mr Alford’s character. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a fine of $3000. The HRV RAD Board also imposed a $200 fine upon Mr Alford after he pleaded guilty to breaching ARHR 190(1)(b) in that he had forgotten to record the relevant administration of phenylbutazone in his log book as the administration occurred late at night after returning from the races on 31 March 2015 and the log book was not present at the time of the administration owing to it being used by another stable member at the time for accounting purposes. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Stormed Out' be disqualified from Race 5 at Geelong on 8 April 2015 and that the finishing places be amended accordingly. Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

The 2015 Albion Park winter carnival came to a dramatic close on Saturday night. On a program that boasted four Group One features with strong prizemoney attached and a majority of leading trainers and drivers from around the southern hemisphere represented, harness racing fans were set for a huge night of entertainment. And they got what they were asking for. Brilliant Victorian three-year-old Menin Gate added to his impressive list of feature race victories this season by winning the $150,000 Queensland Derby when leading throughout defeating a gallant My Kiwi Mate and Queensland Oaks victor Fight For Glory in the 2680m feature. Sent straight to the lead by his reinsman Chris Alford from his ideal draw, the $1.40 favourite scored decisively in a time of 1;57.9. He covered his final mile in splits of 30.5, 30.1, 27.9 & 27.6 seconds. Prepared by Larry Eastman, the big striding gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere has now claimed the Victoria, Gold Coast and Queensland Derby’s plus the Vicbred Super Series Final this term. Menin Gate Comeback pacer Philadelphia Man gave his loyal army of supporters plenty to cheer about when he proved too classy for his rivals winning the $125,000 UBET Blacks A Fake. Having only his second run back from a lengthy break, the Emma Stewart prepared Art Major entire worked hard early before finding the lead at the 1800m from local mare Forever Gold. After being perfectly rated by Gavin Lang, the $2.10 favourite scored a convincing victory from a brave Forever Gold while Avonnova fought strongly to hold third placing. The 2680m open-class feature was covered in a mile rate of 1;56.8. The last mile was covered in splits of 31.4, 29.9, 27.6 & 27.7 seconds. Philadelphia Man is now unbeaten in two runs back this campaign while providing Stewart with her biggest victory in the sunshine state. Philadelphia Man Most expected the Victorians to claim the $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final with the brilliant Heavens Trend, but her erratic behavior cost her victory. Improving local filly Special Moment ($35.10) caused a boilover downing Sweet As Candy and Aussie Vista in a mile rate of 1;58.0. The victory provided another feature race victory for Shannon Price and Scott Miller plus winning reinsman Brad Cowen during this carnival. Passing the 400m marker, Heavens Trend raced to the lead from Get In The Groove but raced greenly before ultimately galloping which left Trista Dixon (Get in The Groove) unseated while Covert Beauty and her driver Mark Dux crashed to the track. All horses and drivers involved in the incident were ok. Special Moment In the $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo colts and geldings Final, the fast finishing burst from Leos Best ($8.60) proved too much for his rivals in the 1660m feature event. Leos Best, trained and driven by Grant Dixon, forced clear of an early pocket and relished a strong speed to defeat Roarn and Catcha Lefty in a career best time of 1;54.8. The Cammibest gelding has now claimed two feature events this season after winning the Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Classic last month. And the Gr.2 $50,000 Landfill Logistics 4yo Championship was taken out in brilliant fashion by New South Wales mare Sweet Molly Oshea ($11.80) for trainer Blake Hewitt and winning reinsman Gavin Lang. After racing without cover, the Mach Three mare proved too strong for Alleluia and Bling It On in a race record time of 1;54.7 for the 2138m journey. Club officials were thrilled with the big crowd in attendance to conclude a strong carnival.  

Odds-on favourite Keystone Del gave harness racing punters who took $1.30 a scare in last night’s Group 3 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free for All at Tabcorp Park Melton when he galloped early. The seven-year-old son of Dr Ronerail from Flipside lost about 80m when he broke up coming out of the straight the first time. But by the time had left the back straight, so slow were they going up front that Keystone Del had made up his lost ground and run to the lead for driver Chris Alford. Once in front the top-notch squaregaiter, arguably the best in the business, controlled the small field of six with quarters of 32.3secs, 33.4secs, 29.6secs and a fourth quarter of 27.9secs to win by 3.8m over stablemate Lord Liam in a rate of 2:03.0 for the 2240m trip. Stoned I Am finished third beaten 9.1m for Simone Walker. In other results last night, Best Deal Yet (Bettors Delight/Bonnie Deal) won the 2240m DNR Logistics M0 Pace for Alison Chisholm, leading all the way from gate four in a rate of 1:58.5, defeating runner-up Copper Coast by 4m. Vince Vallelonga-trained Major Crocker (Art Major/Aratusa Lass) sat parked in the 1720m Soho Standardbreds Winter Championship Final for reinsman Greg Sugars in 1:53.9, defeating in-form Beachstar by 1.9m. David Aiken trained-and-driven Vics Cheval (Yankee Boy/Vics Lady) proved too strong in the Garrards Horse and Hound Trot over 2240m, winning by 18.9m in 2:00.1 over second-placed The Majestic. Rising star Flaming Flutter (Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot) won the Our Maestro Free for All by 3.2m over Keayang Starzzz in a rate of 1:57.7 for the 2240m trip. Driven by Greg Sugars for trainer Geoff Webster, Flaming Flutter led from start to finish. Bamako Malo (Art Major/African Dancer) took out the Harness Breeders Victoria 3YO Classic over 1720m by 2.3m over a gusty Soho Tokyo in 1:55.9. Driven by Amanda Turnbull for trainer Belinda McCarthy, Bamako Mali found the lead while Soho Tokyo moved around to sit parked at the bell. Five-year-old mare Lierre Noir (Bettors Delight/Saabette) saluted in the Olympus Feeds Pace over 1720m for trainer/driver Amy Tubbs. From the pole, Tubbs took early cover behind long odds-on shot El Jays Magic before overpowering the Tasmanian mare in the home straight for a 1.8m victory in 1:55.0. To finish the evening Chris Svanosio produced a stellar drive aboard Matthew Craven-trained Desdon Murruffy to win the TAB.com.au Pace over 2240m. From gate three Svanosio took the five-year-old Modern Art/Spellmaker stallion back to the rear of the field early and he was actually detached mid-race. At the home turn he was still in a seemingly impossible position before steaming home along the pegs to grab Electric Ollie in the shadows of the post for a head win in a rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell

Advantage Menin Gate. The Larry Eastman-trained pacer – Victoria’s newest “people’s horse” – yesterday drew a plum gate for Saturday night’s Group 1 Queensland Derby at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park, giving him an early victory against his biggest dangers. The Victoria Derby, Vicbred Super Series and last-start Gold Coast Derby winner will come out of gate two in the $150,000, 2680-metre three-year-old classic, and TAB fixed odds bookies have reacted by installing him a prohibitive $1.40-into-$1.35 favourite. “I’m happy,” Eastman said of the barrier draw, which also saw stablemate filly Morton Plains draw gate nine – following Menin Gate out early. Eastman, who hadn’t trained a Group 1 winner prior to this season but now has four of them, said he was “stoked” with Menin Gate’s win at Albion Park last weekend in 1:55.1 (54.7). “He’s really come on,” the trainer said, pointing out a patient, carefully planned preparation was paying dividends." “We stayed home from Sydney (the New South Wales Derby) and gave him five weeks out instead because he’s a big, immature horse." “That’s made a real difference.” Any question marks over the son of Somebeachsomewhere’s gate speed have disappeared in recent times, Eastman’s addition of block blinkers to the gelding sharpening him right up. “He’s been coming off the arm really good since we changed his head gear around,” Eastman said. Menin Gate wore the block blinkers and won as a two-year-old and is clearly relishing them now. Meanwhile, Menin Gate’s Birchip owners are rejoicing in the success of the “Birchip Bull”, as he is also known. In fact the whole town is. Local priest Father Eugene even halted his service last weekend temporarily to inform the congregation: “Menin Gate just won”. The people erupted in applause. “He is the people’s horse, I suppose,” Eastman acknowledged. “He’s got that ring about him now and it’s good for him and it’s good for the sport.” Morton Plains will be driven by Gavin Lang on Saturday night and is a $21 shot early with the TAB. “She went really good (last Saturday night in the Queensland Oaks when second)." "She is probably nearing the end of this preparation,” Eastman said. “If things happen and if someone goes crazy and turns it into a last-man-standing affair, then she can run into it." “She lives in Menin Gate’s shadow a bit, but if I didn’t have Menin Gate I’d still be absolutely stoked to just have her.” Other Victorians in the Derby are Craig Demmler-trained My Kiwi Mate (Jodi Quinlan to drive) from gate seven, who is in ripping form and will be strong late over what looks a suitable trip, Burnaholeinmypocket from the Andy Gath yard (Kate Gath to drive), who ran below-par last weekend but was a Group 1 winner the start prior to that, and consistent Mister Wickham for trainer Lee Evison and driver Greg Sugars (gate 12). Cody Winnell

The $40,000 Gold Coast Derby at tonights harness racing meeting at Albion Park looked a bit of a gimme for the brilliant Menin Gate after he drew perfectly at barrier two and thats exactly how it played out as the big free going son of Somebeachsomewhere dealt to the field in the manner of a budding champion. Sent straight to the front by regular reinsman Chris Alford, Menin Gate applied the pressure a long way out and had them all in trouble well before the corner. Kate Gath sent Burnaholeinmypocket around to sit parked at the 1500 metres mark giving the other favoured runner Hug The Wind with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike a great sit in the one by one. However Burnaholeinmypocket punctured badly at the 500 metres and Hug The Wind showed little when asked for a big effort by Natalie at the 400 metres mark, running on for a so so fourth. It was left to Spare Me Days to flash home brilliantly from well back for a great second in front of a very game My Kiwi Mate who after being wide for most of the last lap fought on bravely for a top third. Menin Gate paced the 2138 metres in a very smart 2:33, a mile rate of 1:55.1 with sensational closing sectionals of 54.7 and 27.3 It was the eight win of the season for Menin Gate and his second Derby after his success in the Victoria Derby in early February. Menin Gate treated the opposition with disdain tonight and it is hard to see how they beat him in next weeks Queensland Derby. Harnesslink Media 

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

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

Reina Danzante became a harness racing Group 1 winner at just her fourth trip to the races tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. The well-bred daughter of Armbro Invasion out of former champion mare La Coocaracha enjoyed a comfortable run in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Fillies Final before bursting through late to defeat Sky Petite. Driven by Chris Alford for trainer Nicole Molander, Reina Danzante began well but was crossed by Sheza Amason and Rebecca Bartley. Reigning Vicbred Super Series champion Endsino was caught without cover for the trip after getting a good run through from her second-line draw, Alford able to sit quietly until the home straight. Sky Petite (Steve Duffy) made a strong run turning for home and almost looked the winner, but Alford and Reina Danzante fired up late to get the victory by 2.4 metres, with Val Gardena (Chris Svanosio) rattling home out wide for third. “She’s come in leaps and bounds since she came down,” Alford said. “They (Nicole and Dean Molander) do a good job with their horses. They don’t have a big team but they’re all pretty spot-on.” Donski finished fourth and Zaire Diva fifth. Watch Reina Danzante win her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Chris Alford under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Stormed Out was presented to race at Geelong on 8 April 2015 by Mr Alford whilst not free of the prohibited substance phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone. HRV Stewards have issued a further charge under ARHR 190B(1)(b) which requires trainers to keep and maintain a log book recording all treatment administered to horses in their care. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.                                                        AND HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed NSW trainer Mr Michael Day (Jnr) under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. It is alleged that the horse Fake Art was presented to race at Cobram on 7 May 2015 whilst not free of alkalinizing agents, a prohibited substance when evidenced by the presence of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) at a concentration in excess of 36 millimoles per litre in plasma. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

Although Bart Lightning is having his first race start in the Glenview Park Trotters Handicap at Warragul on Monday, the harness racing seven-year-old is already well and truly familiar with the racetrack surroundings. For the last 18 months, Bart Lightning by the SJ's Photo horse Zooma has served his apprenticeship as a teaching horse for the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. Between sixty and seventy students have gained their initial experience at driving behind Bart Lightning, either on their own, or in the Centre's double seater sulky. A perfect, placid teaching horse, Bart Lightning is the first point of contact for new students, as they learn about the sport of trotting, including unfamiliar subjects such as gearing up of horses, training methods and trackwork. "He's always been for everyone, for their first contact," GHTC trainer Jenni Lewis said. "He's not the bravest horse around, but he is the most trustworthy and versatile." Since arriving at the Centre via part-owner/breeder Trevor Brown in July 2013, Bart Lightning has done countless laps of the Warragul Pacing Bowl. But it is only now that Jenni has the confidence to place the horse in a race. Bart Lightning made a mistake in a barrier trial at Warragul last Saturday, but did win a trial on the track the previous week. Local horseman Gary Quinlan has been steering Bart Lightning in his recent trials, helping the horse build his confidence. Jenni would have sought the services of Gary for the race drive on Monday, however he gave away race driving some years ago. Top horseman Chris Alford will take the reins on Monday. Ironically, Bart Lightning's stablemate, Golden Phaeton, also aged seven, will too make his race debut in Monday's event. Although she is not going into the race overwhelmed with confidence about the chances of the two horses, Jenni is pleased that the Centre has trotters at the races again, as it has been a couple of years since a squaregaiting horse has sported the stable's silks. Over the last decade, horses such as Selsdon and Drop Of Paradise (both winners of Horse of the Year at Warragul), have been among the best trotters produced by the Centre. An influx of student enrolments in recent times has seen the numbers of horses at the Centre increase. Recent additions to the barn include fast class pacer Mediation, and youngster Mystic Castle. Currently there are 20 full-time students enrolled at the Warragul facility, with a further 15 secondary school students participating in the once-a-week VET in Schools program. Many students past and present will be on track on Monday to see the pair of trotters compete. Meanwhile, the Traralgon Pacing Cup is the highlight on a bumper nine-event card on Monday. The race recognises the twenty-year history of the trotting sport at Traralgon, and runs at 3:02pm. Longwarry pacer McNiven looks well placed in the event, after a solid effort in winning a barrier trial at Warragul in fast time last Saturday. Champion reinsman Chris Alford trains and drives Stormed Out, and Chris is in pursuit of his fifth winning drive in a Traralgon Pacing Cup. Chris drove the last race winner on the old Traralgon track. Such has been the response from trainers to Monday's card, the first race will run at the early time of 11:42am to accommodate the big program. Strong entries have been received for all races on the day with 93 horses drawn across the nine events. Picture attached of Bart Lightning in training mode at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre at Warragul.   Kyle Galley

Macho Comacho’s standing start record held him in good stead on Friday night in the Benstud Enduro at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. The six-year-old by Royal Mattjesty out of Alberts Daughter stepped swiftly from the tapes, quickly establishing a handy buffer and holding on to it for the next 2760m. Bettor Rock On camped on the $6.90 leader’s back for Greg Sugars from barrier two and poked through in the straight to finish third, just pipped in a photo finish by second-placed Metro Mike, who made an early move to be in the chair riding a comfortable first half (62.8secs) for Jason Lee. Driver Chris Alford rated the tempo perfectly aboard Macho Comacho from the Dean Braun stable, the gelding upping the ante through a 28.2secs third quarter before ripping to the line in 26.8secs (55secs last half) to give nothing else a shot. The win was Macho Comacho’s ninth career victory, all nine coming in standing start races. “It certainly helped him, getting back to the stand,” Alford said. “When he first came over here from New Zealand he had good form in some country cups." “The mobile races don’t really suit him as much.” Macho Comacho had been screaming out to win one after three straight second placings of late, all in mobile races. Getting out to a trip was also certainly no problem as he stays all day. Alford predicted Macho Comacho would be a fierce Country Cups Carnival competitor next season. The win was the first leg of a weekend treble for Braun, who teamed with reinsman Nathan Jack for a double at Cranbourne on Sunday night with well-bred two-year-old Soho Chelsea (Mach Three/Cornsilk) and talented three-year-old filly Quaint Glen (Pay Me Christian/Quantam Franco). CODY WINNELL

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander and champion reinsman Chris Alford finished with winning trebles at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Friday the 29th of May. To find out how many trebles Alford has had on a metropolitan race night it would take significant trawling through the archives, so I’ll have to take it on notice and put it on the to-do list. For now, let’s just say he’s probably had more trebles than the world's No.1 dart thrower. For Molander, her stable is on fire and tonight she wasn’t just enjoying success with the squaregaiters, which she’s famous for producing, but a lightly-raced pacer by the name of Dream Fulfilled, who impressively took the first race. The Bettors Delight/For Dear Life gelding won the DNR Logistics Pace Final with Rodney Petroff in the cart, who finished with a winning double of his own. A son of a former NSW Oaks winner and an APG winner and runner-up, Dream Fulfilled made up for a luckless last-start sixth at Bendigo with an all-the-way victory over 2240m. He carved out a 61.2 first half, quickened marginally through the third section (29.5) and sprinted home in 28.4 to rate 1:58.0 flat for a 2.8-metre win over polemarker Dependlebury (Anthony Butt) and third placegetter Snip Of Grand (Adrian Douglas). A top drive by Charlie Borg ensured in-form four-year-old mare Lucky Metro success in the Garrards Pace Final over 2240m for trainer Douglas Adams. The Metropolitan/Armbro Sunshine mare went super in her heat from a good draw, but had to overcome barrier 13 tonight. No problem. Lucky Metro cruised around early three- and four-wide to get to the breeze before out-staying early leader Five Star Belle, a brave Bushi and Nobetterthanthis in the finish. Bushi (Lance Justice) was a head behind the winner at the end with Nobetterthanthis (Michael Bellman sprint-laning for third in a mile rate of 1:58.3. Molander’s second winner for the evening came via impressive four-year-old Muscle Mass/Invasions Pride gelding Sammy Charles, who won the Alabar Vicbred Trot over 1720m despite an outside back-row alley. With Alford in the gig, Sammy Charles held off a fast-finishing Star Style (Gavin Lang) to score by 1.9m in 2:01.1. Alford took the half-brother to Let Me Thru and Lord Liam around the field three-wide to the home turn before staving off the late comers at the business end. Star Style’s run was nearly as impressive as his flashy mane, while third placegetter Opia and Monique Burnett are knocking on the door of another victory. Follow. Four-year-old mare Shes A Runa is well on song for this year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series after defeating Barimah in tonight’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship First Heat. Crossed early by Damian Wilson aboard Barimah, Alford sat Shes A Runa (Jeremes Jet/Runacullen) behind the leader before bursting through along the sprint lane in the home run for a 2.3m win in 1:58.2. The Family Guy was third for Gavin Lang. Taswegian star Barynya captured the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace over 2240m for trainer Dick Eaves and Gavin Lang, the daughter of Blissfull Hall/Lombo Anastasia holding the lead from the pole and repelling fierce challenges from Spitfire Rose (Greg Sugars) and Washmepockets (Emmett Brosnan), who dead-heated for second. Keayang Active, who started favourite, ran fourth after sitting parked in the breeze throughout and weakening late. The winner's rate was 1:57.1. Alford was at it again in the sixth race, the Garrard’s Horse and Hound Trot over 2240m with in-form Monorail giving Molander three winners for the evening. The six-year-old gelding by Dr Ronerail out of Globe Trotter used the shortcuts to win along the sprint lane after sitting behind race leader Mister Independent, holding off Star Gun (Matthew Craven) by a half-head with Maybelina (Lang) pipping Mister Independent (Michael Bellman) for third. The winner rated two minutes flat. Reinsman Jason Lee continued his affinity with Metro Mike, winning his fourth race aboard the Metropolitan/Tuscan Skies six-year-old from the Emma Stewart stable in Race 7, the VHRMA Young Pedro Free for All. Despite drawing gate seven over the short-course 1720m trip, Metro Mike worked forward and proved too strong for his rivals, veteran Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken) battling on for second and Exciteusinthecity finding the line nicely in third for Tim McLean. The winner went 1:54.5. Consistent five-year-old McArdle/Jarita mare McRita won the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship, Race 8, for trainer/driver Petroff. From the pole, McRita came out swiftly before handing up to Ithappenstobeametro, who flew out of gate seven. A slick lead time of 44.1 seemed to set it up for the swoopers, but they never really turned up and McRita was able to finish on strongly from behind the leader – using the sprint lane to advantage for a 4.6m win, Ithappenstobeametro running a big race for second, while My Bella Starr snatched third for Gavin Lang. McRita rated 1:56.3. King of the claimers Composed (Our Sir Vancelot/Troys Dream) took out the Teddy Boomgardt Claiming Pace over 2240m for trainer David Aiken and son reinsman Josh Aiken. The lone runner on the back row, Composed made his move mid-race, dashing around to run to the lead. Livin It Lovin It (Petroff), shooting for five straight wins tonight, had initially led from barrier seven but handed up when Composed came hunting. In the home straight Livin It Lovin It took it up to Composed, but the leader packed too much punch, holding on by 2.3m. Our Mels Dream, a stablemate of Livin It Lovin It from the Beau Tindale yard, ran third with Lisa Miles in the cart. The winner clocked a mile rate of 1:56.7. Capping the night was Fabrication (Dream Vacation/Figment) taking out the Olympus Feeds 3YO Vicbred Trot for trainer David Abrahams and driver David Murphy. Fabrication scored by 6.1m over Donski (Tony Mallia), who ran on well, and Belts (Bellman) in third, the winner’s mile rate 2:02.3. Tomorrow night’s harness racing heads to Bray Raceway, Ballarat, with the John Slack Memorial Ballarat Trotters Cup the feature event on what looks an exciting card. Cody Winnell

Lennytheshark made it back-to-back 4YO & 5YO harness racing Championship wins last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Only two horses had ever done it before, the great mare Tailamade Lombo and modern day superstar Smoken Up – and Lenny displayed true champion qualities last night after scorching through a 27.6 secs second quarter and a 29.3secs third split, forced to work overtime to find the top when he came hunting at the bell. Anthony Butt (Major Secret) had been riding the breeze outside race leader Bryce Cooper and he wasn’t eager to simply let Lenny cruise by. Chris Alford had to go full-throttle well before he’d envisaged and Lennytheshark finally got to the front turning out of the straight the final time. Desperately in need of some reprieve Alford applied the brakes in a bid to save Lenny up for one final burst to the wire. Off the back Major Secret hit the wall and Hectorjayjay and Simone Walker arose three-wide to stake their claim. Hectorjayjay clearly headed the Shark on the bend but you got the feeling there was another twist in the tale as Alford got to work. Although the pair went stride for stride in the early part of the home run, and logic suggested this would be Hectorjayjay’s night, the Shark was not going to be culled without one hell of a fight. The son of Four Starzzz Shark rallied and stuck his head back in front, Hectorjayjay valiant but simply not able to match his rival. Chilli Palmer was the one final hurdle Lennytheshark had to clear as the powerful pacer thundered down the centre of the track late and got past Hectorjayjay. But he couldn’t nab Lenny, falling 1.2m short. The winner rated 1:55.9 after a 27.3 third quarter. “The speed was slow early so I had to make a decision and when I went I went quick,” Alford said. “Anthony Butt kicked up, which made things a bit awkward for me. “Hectorjayjay probably got 2m on me on the corner … but being as good as Lenny is he dug deep.” Hectorjayjay held on for third with Hotasel (Simon Jardine) working home with Upanatom for fourth and fifth. The win was Lennytheshark’s 19th from 38 starts. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Lennytheshark will become just the third horse to win the University Meat 4YO & 5YO Championship twice if he can overcome a back-row draw in Saturday night’s harness racing Group 2 at Tabcorp Park Melton. The David Aiken-trained five-year-old has drawn gate nine in an 11-horse field after the scratching of Sydneysider Yayas Hotspot and will be hot favourite in the 2240-metre, $50,505 race. To be driven by Chris Alford, the son of Four Starzzz Shark out of Botswana will follow out noted fast beginner Hectorjayjay early, which should be ideal. Lennytheshark ticks all the form boxes, with a last-start win in the Golden Reign (1:57.4) defeating flying It Is Billy. That followed a third in the Len Smith Mile at Menangle behind Smolda and Beautide in 1:50.6. If successful in his title defence in the race, Lennytheshark will join two modern day harness racing greats in Tailamade Lombo and Smoken Up as back-to-back winners of the event. The 4YO & 5YO Championship is scheduled to run at 7.27pm. VIDEO: Lennytheshark notches his 18th career victory in last week's Golden Reign FFA VIDEO: See how Lenny did it last year CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Whirily School and Showgun Thomas have taken out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic two-year-old Finals at the harness arcing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last night.   Whirily School won the fillies’ final for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Greg Sugars as an odds-on favourite at $1.50, while Chris Alford combined with trainer Heath Redwood to take out the colts and geldings’ final with Showgun Thomas at $12 after race favourite Hellbewright galloped early and lost all chance.   Whirily School, by Courage Under Fire out of Mayhappen, found the front early from the 1720-metre start and controlled the race, jogging through a 32.7secs second quarter after an opening stanza of 29.9secs for a 62.2secs first half.   Greg Sugars had his rivals stacked up off the back after a third split of 30.7secs before the impressive young pacer extended and left his rivals paddling, dashing home in 27.4secs for a 3.3m win in a mile rate of 2:00.2.   New Romantics finished second after trailing the leader throughout from the pole, while Courageous Call moved to the breeze early and battled on for third just ahead of Swiftly Tothebeach.   Showgun Thomas, by Bettors Delight out of Forest Charm, won a roughhouse affair in the two-year-old boys’ division, Alford driving the polemarker through along the sprint lane from the leader’s back spot in the home stretch to edge out Pop The Cork (Anthony Butt) and Four Starzzz Forsa (John Justice) in a thriller.   The second horse had to survive a protest post-race from the third and fifth (That’s How Weroll) placegetters.   Showgun Thomas rated 1:57.0.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

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