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Harness racing prominent breeder-owner Pat Driscoll knocked down the three top-priced lots at the second Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 23. Driscoll, who trades as Yabby Dam Farms, pocketed a cool $119,000 for his three-strong draft including the sale topping colt at $41,000, a son of USA superstar Muscle Hill out of the Malabar Maple mare Calder Luck, a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Calder Sensation, Calder Image and Bella Cheval. The handsome youngster was bought for a syndicate by John and Maree Caldow, who developed and trained Calder Sensation, a winner of 16 races and $142,762. An Angus Hall colt out of Maori’s Dream, the grand-dam of the top priced lot, realised the second highest price of $40,000. He was knocked down to Romsey trainer Chris Alford on behalf of stable clients Phil Walshe and Craig Nott. While another of the Muscle Hill progeny, a colt from the USA bred Let’s Be Happy, the dam of Bathurst Gold Coronet winner Verbier, was garnered by Christchurch trainer Tim Butt for $38,000. Two Angus Hall youngsters, one out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step (1:57.4) and the other from the useful Sundon mare Pinevale Ellason, realised $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. Majestic Son, a leading sire of juvenile trotters, had three head sell including a gelding out of the R C’s Dee Jay mare Howdoudo, the dam of Vicbred champion Split Image, which was haltered by Chris Lang Jnr for $30,000. Two Majestic Son colts out of strong New Zealand-bred mares from Harness Breeders Vic committeeman Gerard Moloney’s draft sold for $22,000 and $20,000. Former local champion Skyvalley was the sire of the highest priced filly Aldebaran Eve, out of the Victoria Oaks winner Aldebaran Dream, consigned by Aldebaran Park and sold for $18,000, while a Skyvalley colt from the 2YO and 3YO Trotter of the Year Jauriol realised $20,000. Running Pinevale, also a Victoria Oaks champion, was represented by her second foal, a colt by NZ-based import The Pres, who was knocked down for $22,000. Of the 36 lots offered, 31 were sold for an average price of $16,359, up almost 25 percent on last year. by Peter Wharton

The Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold, Silver and Bronze harness racing series’ have become one of the key facets of Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night and it only solidified its place in 2014. Spidergirl stole the show in a brilliant display in the Gold Final, handling her rivals with ease in a speedy mile rate of 1:56.8. Drawn outside the second row, she was forced to work mid-race to the breeze before handing that position over to her stablemate Vics Cheval. In a race changes Death Defying found the front in the opening stages before handing over to Quite A Moment who in turn allowed Shes An Image to stride clear. In the burn off the back Spidergirl re-emerged into the running line and loomed up to hit the front at the top of the straight. Charging clear from firstly Waikare Patricia who came into the race three-wide and then Josephine Jones who was running home. Spidergirl went on to win the Group 2 by 2.5 metres from Josephine Jones with Quite A Moment sneaking up along the pegs into third. The last half came in 58.1secs. Maori Time may have shown during her three-year-old season that she was first class, but her return to take on the older mares through the Lyn McPherson Breed For Speed Silver series has cemented hers as a mare on the rise. Drawn barrier four, she trotted to the front and turned it on, rating 1:58.8 for the mile. With major danger Queens Vacation enjoying the run behind the leader throughout, it appeared a battle was ready to erupt heading to the corner but Chris Lang’s six-time winner put it beyond doubt. Cruising home by 3.1 metres, Maori Time finished off in a 57.9secs last half and took her prizemoney past the $60,000 level. The Bronze final was taken to odds-on favourite Dizzyinterest who outclassed her rivals from the chair. In a mile rate of 2:00.5, she made amends for her mistake in the heat, going on to score from Nomistakingpegasus by 3.9 metres. The sprint trip was conquered in even quarters of 29.2secs, 30.9secs, 30.8secs and 30.3secs. A strong competitor through her three-year-old season, the David Aiken-trained mare showed she is back to her best and read to race through her classes after capturing the $10,000 final. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

The Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star has arrived. With a plethora of international stars in town, the scene is set for the harness racing $400,000 heat and final series to be run tomorrow night. Australasia's best trotters will converge on Tabcorp Park Melton for a memorable night of squaregaiting.   The Game Plan for Great Southern Star Night  with Jason Bonnington @jasonbonnington Best Roughie ($10 x $30) Josephine Jones (Race 8 no. 1) $16/$3.22 TAB Fixed Odds The Money Races Race 5 4/ 2,9/ 2,8,9. $40 gets 1000% 4/ 2,9/ 3,5,6,10. $24 gets 300% 2,9/ 4/ 2,8,9. $12 gets 300% 2,9/ 4/ 3,5,6,10. $4 gets 50% Race 6 6/ 4,5/ 4,5,9. $40 gets 1000% 6/ 4,5/ 2,3,7,8. $24 gets 300% 4,5/ 6/ 4,5,9. $12 gets 300% 4,5/ 9/ 2,3,7,8. $4 gets 50% The EARLY Quads (x4 for $120) 4,8/ 11/ 1/ 1,3,6. $45 gets 750% 4,8/ 11/ 2,3/ 1,3,6. $30 gets 250% 4,8/ 1,2/ 1/ 1,3,6. $30 gets 250% 6,11/ 11/ 1/ 1,3,6. $15 gets 250% The Quads (x5 for $120) 4/ 6/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $34 gets 566.67% 4/ 6/ 2,3/ 1,10. $8 gets 200% 4/ 6/ 1,4,5,7,10/ 3,6,11. $30 gets 200% 4/ 4,5/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $24 gets 200% 2,9/ 6/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $24 gets 200% Visit the Good Form Site here   Early Quaddie Jackpot On Great Southern Star TAB.com.au have supported the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star with gusto, announcing earlier in the week a $25,000 Jackpot on the Early Quaddie. The innovative new bet type has already captured punters attention and with the huge bonus money rolling into the two Great Southern Star heats, the Early Quaddie is expected to explode this week. Click here to read more. Calder Has Eyes On Southern Star Blitz If there was just one horse that represents everything the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star stands for, then it's got to be local contender Blitzthemcalder. He is young and brazen, bold and elegant, and he has the high speed required to trot at a rapid pace over the 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. Click here to read more. International Trotting Ambassadors Down Under HRV's international ambassadors have well and truly arrived for the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton and with them they have brought world-wide coverage to Victoria's newest flagship trotting race. Chantal Sutherland and Corey Callahan have already excelled in their fields - Sutherland a star US jockey and Callahan the leading reinsman in the states this season. And joining them is Jonas Czernyson, one of the young guns of the training scene in North America. Click here to read more. Lang Has Podium Positions Covered Nagambie trainer Chris Lang could walk away with gold, silver and bronze at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Saturday night. Lang takes a strong hand into Australia's trotting night of nights, including live chances in all three of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Series finals. Click here to read more.   adies Landing Plenty Of Winners In Teal Team Teal has taken over March in the trotting world with the exciting promotion involving all the female drivers in Victoria wearing TEAL DRIVING TROUSERS to increase awareness in Ovarian Cancer. The female drivers have done the cause proud driving 34 winners to date in March with just over a week left. Click here to read more. Gath Has Stars In Her Eyes The Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star is still in its infant state but after making waves on the international stage in its inaugural year 12 months ago, the scene is set for another classic. With the prizemoney for the final topped up to $300,000, taking the entire series to $400,000, it has already become the most sought after trotting race in the southern hemisphere. Click here to read more. Danny Frawley And Brian Gath Headline Echuca Cup The $25,000 Echuca Cup is upon us with a long list of stars descending on the state's north tonight. The announcements are coming thick and fast with Danny Frawley and Brian Gath ambassadors for the event. Click here to read more. Like us Follow us Visit us Copyright © 2014 Harness Racing Victoria, All rights reserved.

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

The trotting super stable of Chris Lang will take a two-pronged attack into Saturday night’s Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Lang will put the polish on six-year-olds Kyvalley Blur and I See Icy Earl in the Group 1, $100,000 feature over 2240m, with Lang to pilot the former and Greg Sugars to steer the latter. The Nagambie trainer takes high expectations into the race, with Kyvalley Blur ready to recapture the form that saw him topple expected favourite My High Expectations in December. While the David Aiken-trained seven-year-old has dominated recent feature races and deserves to go into the race as the popular elect, Lang shed some light on Kyvalley Blur’s seemingly flat form line. “He had been suffering from a virus but his last run was much better,” he said. “His last run he probably needed the run a bit, so I’d expect he can make the improvement. The virus does explain why he looked a bit disappointing for a while there.” Lang cited the Aldebaran Bill Collins Mile result at Cranbourne in December when asked about My High Expectations. On that occasion Kyvalley Blur won, while Elegant Image finished second. “He deserves top billing,” Lang said of My High Expectations. “And my bloke probably lacks a bit of match practice too at the moment. “With the virus I’d always prefer it in February rather than March, so that’s a good thing.” I See Icy Earl has been racing well of late but has drawn the second row for Saturday night. But Lang is adamant the poor draw won’t worry him too much: “He’s not the sort of horse who can utilise a good draw. He’s a bit one-dimensional in that he’s just a sit-sprinter. “He’s going very, very well. He beat Elegant Image two runs back and he beat Blitzthemcalder four runs ago. So he’s got some big scalps. It will be hard from back there though, it always is.” Lang said leading reinsman Chris Alford, who has driven Kyvalley Blur at most of his runs this preparation, elected to drive Boizel on Saturday night. “He thought it’d be best if I drove Kyvalley Blur,” he said. “I put him on when I was injured and I just stuck with him.” by Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The ultimate test of speed and stamina – the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Trotting Series restricted to mares over 1609 metres commenced at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Saturday March 8, with both the Silver and Gold heats taking place. Considering the association that Duncan McPherson and his family have had with the Lang stable over the years, it was appropriate that trotting maestro Chris Lang was going to dominate on the night winning both races. Without doubt, the Gold Heat was the highlight  – the victor being five year old Shes An Image bred and raced by the Humphrey’s from Melton. Beginning brilliantly from outside the front line, Shes An Image almost crossed the well tried Quite A Moment (gate two) as the mobile gate pulled away, however Greg Sugars was able to retain the inside running approaching the first turn, with Shes An Image being restrained to immediately take a trail on her back. Kerryn Manning aboard the local hope Aleppo Midas (gate three on the second line) was off and running prior to the bell and joined Quite A Moment with a lap to travel. With the two favourites engaging in a two horse war along the back straight, the pace was a cracker with neither giving an inch. Just as Aleppo Midas was being hailed the winner in the shadows of the post, Shes An Image a daughter of Last Sunset and Joyces Choice sprouted wings along the sprint lane to score by a head in a tricky finish, with Quite A Moment 1.3 metres away in third place. With splits of 28.9, 30.5, 28.5 and 29.6, Shes An Image returned a mile rate of 1-57.4. The Silver heat going the way of long odds-on favourite Maori Time ($1.40), a well performed daughter of Pegasus Spur and Sundonna bred and raced by Fred Crews which goes back to the famous Maoris Idol dynasty. Not bustled from gate four with Im Anonymous leading from gate two, Maori Time ambled to the breeze, before taking over at the bell. Always in control, Chris allowed Maori Time to cruise to the wire, scoring by 1.4 metres only from Queens Vacation (three back the markers) and Canadian Dream (four back) in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Further heats including the Bronze, will be conducted at Shepparton on Friday March 14. Finals are held on Saturday 22 March - Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star & Girls' Night Out at Tabcorp Park Melton. Videos attached of both races Len Baker Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

A very strong second day of the NZ Premier Yearling Sale has seen an overall lift in turnover of $600,000 on last year, with a total of $6.1 million dollars worth of bloodstock passing through the ring over the two days. The average was also well up, rising 10% to $24,536, which came down to the large number of lots which sold within the $30-$90K bracket. “There wasn’t as many $100,000 plus yearlings as there has been in years gone by, but the middle to top market was very strong,” said PGG Wrightson’s Rachel Deegan. However, there were still four yearlings that reached the heights of six-figures, including Motu Premier, who was the top lot on the second day. The stunning colt, which was perhaps the surprise package of the entire sale, is a Bettor’s Delight out of a race winning In The Pocket half-sister to Motu Treasure. He accumulated $100,000 for his Motu Lodge Stud vendors and was sold to the bid of huge Australasian owners Merv & Meg Butterworth. The second highest lot of the day was Lipstickonyourcollar, a Rock N Roll Heaven half-brother to Libertybelle Midfrew, who was also been sold. He was purchased by Emilio & Maria Rosati for $95,000. “It’s been a bitter-sweet couple of days for us with Liberybelle Midfrew sold as well, but at least we know they are both going to good homes,” said Charlotte Mooney. “Libertybelle has been purchased by clients of Mike Reed in Western Australia, while Lipstickonyourcollar will be trained by Tony Herlihy.” Mooney said that they have a two-year-old full-sister to Libertybelle Midfrew called Lollapaloosa Midfrew who is shaping up well at the stables of Nigel McGrath. Meanwhile, the top trotting lot of the day, Hall Pass (Angus Hall – Inda Cata) was purchased by Chris Lang of Aldebaran Lodge. To View full results from the Premier Sale click here. By Mitchell Robertson

If you were looking for a Monte on harness racing Victoria Derby night then it could have turned out to be in the ridden trot race and Lysenko. Ridden patiently by Australian Monte Queen Haley Toulmin, Lysenko waited for the early burn then produced inside the final lap to demolish her rivals by 30 metres. Early leader, and Monte King, Motu Young Jacob was pressured mid-race and stuck on bravely for third but was never a threat in the lane. Kyvalley Rap ran on into second for Chris Lang Snr. in a time of 2:03.2 with the last half coming in 63.3secs. Haley Toulmin (23) now has a 10 point lead in the race to a Scandinavian trip for the leading rider of the series with Darly Douglas (13) next best. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

The Group 3 Glenferrie Farm Melton Trotters Cup was won by Zedalite thanks to a brilliant drive by Rodney Petroff. Settling three back on the pegs from his pole mark, Petroff weaved some magic to get his runner clear in the straight and charge after Kyvalley Blur and Waikare Patricia as both Waikare Aristocrat and Josephine Jones made late runs. The winner was backing up from his Hamilton Trotters Cup mid-weed but again proved too good for his rivals in the step up in grade. He held Waikare Aristocrat by three metres with Josephine Jones less than a metre away in third. The mile rate was 2:00.1 with the last half coming in 59.2secs. The winner has tasted success 20 times from his 64 starts. The Group 2 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trotting Mares Championship was the final race of the program but it provided an intriguing eye to the future with lightly raced four-year-old mare Maori Time taking the prize. The Chris Lang-trained mare found the front in the early stages and pinched a cheap quarter early in the last mile before running home in 27.8secs. Formerly a Victoria Oaks placegetter, Maori Time roared clear of her rivals with Paris Pepperell the only serious threat. In the end the odds-on favourite won by 2.5 metres with almost 20 metres back to third. The mile was recorded in 1:59.0 with Death Defying running into third. By Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)

Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night draws ever closer and with it brings a plethora of trots action to suit every enthusiast. Three trot races are on the card, and, as is customary, trotting royalty in the form of the Chris Lang stables is well represented. The Group 1 Chiko Australasian Trotting Championship has developed into a fascinating race in the past couple of weeks with boom Dean Braun colt Blitzthemcalder having his colours lowered by a short-half-head in the first heat of the race at Ballarat by the Chris Lang trained I See Icy Earl. “That was arguably the best run of his career so far; we were really happy with him.” Lang said. “The distance (of Saturday night’s race – 2760m) really suits him.  He couldn’t be drawn better; he’s not that quick off the gates.” Regular driver Greg Sugars will again take the reins. When queried about why Lang no longer drives the horse, he produces a surprisingly generous response. “Greg drove him when I was sick and knocked back a lot of other drives for him so I think it’s only fair that he keeps the drive now,” he said. Despite I See Icy Earl’s current excellent form, Chris sees the David Aiken trained My High Expectations as the horse to beat. He’s in a better position to know than most; My High Expectations faced the Lang trained Kyvalley Blur in the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile (Group 2) at Bendigo recently with the two American bred trotters fighting out a thrilling finish in which the former prevailed by a neck. The lightly raced Kyvalley Blur will sidestep the Trotting Championship in favour of the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Cup (Group 3) over 2240m from a mobile start. “I just didn’t want to start him two weeks in a row over that distance,” the Nagambie-based trainer explains. “He’s only young really, and he’s bred to Northern Hemisphere time so he’s younger still. We’re saving him for the Great Southern Star (at Melton on March 22nd).” Lang goes on to say that Kyvalley Blur will first travel to Tabcorp Park Menangle to compete in the Chambers Challenge trotting event to be held on Inter Dominion Day on March 2. Taking her place in the same event is three time Group One winning mare Shes An Image, who is first up from August 2013 and will “need the run” according to her trainer, but perhaps her class and the good draw will see her run into a place. Shes An Image will instead be set for the Breed For Speed Gold Series Final over 1720m on Great Southern Star day. Rounding out the quartet of Lang runners for the day will be the lightly raced Pegasus Spur mare Maori Time. “She’s a big filly so we’ve taken our time with her but she’s above average.  I think she’s a winning chance even though this is a step up in class for her.” And when a superstar trotting trainer like Chris Lang is talking about trotting horses in trotting races, it pays to sit up and take notice. by Lucy McCormick (Harness Racing AU)

The Ballarat Trotting Club’s feature harness racing event for the season – the $175,00 (Group 1) Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup for M0 class over 2710 metres, was held at Bray Raceway in front of a enthusiastic crowd on Saturday January 25 – the victor being five year old Art Major / Shes Innocent entire Restrepo for Smythes Creek co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Favourite backers gasped with horror at the start when Keayang Cullen began with a wing on every foot from gate five to cross the heavily supported Cranbourne and Shepparton Cups winner The Gold Ace who tried to muster from the pole. Despite Luke McCarthy trying to came away from the inside to tackle the leader, Lance Justice drove tight with the crowd favourite Smoken Up (gate four) to hold him in a pocket, before crossing to take over entering the front straight on the first occasion. This shuffled The Gold Ace to three back the markers, with Abettorpunt after following The Gold Ace being relegated to five back along the markers. The race changed complexion two laps out with Caribbean Blaster coming away from the markers, as did The Gold Ace who moved to face the breeze, while Christen Me was also sent forward to park in the open along the back straight approaching the bell. Racing for the bell, it was Smoken Up leading from Keayang Cullen, Christen Me in the open being followed by Caribbean Blaster, with Abettorpund moving to three back on the inside. At this stage Gavin Lang eased Restrepo from mid-field in the running line to improve three wide. There was more drama approaching the home turn, when Smoken Up shifted away from the inside allowing Keayang Cullen to gain an inside run forcing Christen Me three wide and Restrepo four wide. Smoken Up then rolled back to the markers on the final bend checking Keayang Cullen, with Christen Me taking over and Restrepo giving chase, with both The Gold Ace and Caribbean Blaster revved up to make ground. Kicking clear on turning, Christen Me looked all over a winner, however a vigorous Gavin Lang hammered Restrepo to the wire, gaining the day in a thrilling finish by a half head from Christen Me, with Caribbean Blaster a half head away in third place. Smoken Up finished fourth with Keayang Cullen fifth and Abettorpunt again having no luck in finishing sixth. Following the race, a protest by Glen Craven (Keayang Cullen) against Smoken Up for interference on the home turn was upheld. With quarters of 29.5, 31.3, 28.2 and 28.1 for the last mile, Restrepo returned a mile rate of 1-56.8, taking .5 of a second off Stunin Cullen’s record set in 2011. Other highlights of the evening were The Pure Steel, a Discretionary Handicapped event for M0 class over 2710 metres and two heats of the Australasian Trotting Championship for TM0 or better class over the same distance. Last year’s A.G. Hunter Cup victor seven year old Mach Three / Dancing On Winds gelding Mah Sish showed he was on target again for next week’s big race when successful over Im Corzin Terror and Jadahson in 2-00.4, leading for the majority of the journey. Heat one of the Australasian Trotters Championship was taken out by six year old Earl / Cinders gelding I See Icy Earl for squaregaiting whiz Chris Lang and reinsman Greg Sugars. Given a sweet passage one/one for most of the journey, I See Icy Earl bloused the hot favourite Blitzthemcalder right on the wire by a nose in a tricky finish, with ever reliable mare Cold Sister third. The mile rate 2-03.4. Heat two went the way of David Aiken’s in-form Ken Warkentin / Kovel rig My High Expectation who blitzed his rivals after a slow beginning in a rate of 2-03.6, defeating the backmarker Mister Zion which raced outside him for the last half of the journey, with Empire Earl third. The $50,000 Final will be held at Melton next Saturday. Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Defending champion Keystone Del is among the list of horses being considered for the Australian team for the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2. With five Australian trotters and as many from New Zealand to be invited to contest the $200,000 Group One, the Nicole Molander-trained gelding is one of nine that could possibly line-up for what already looks to be a strong Australian team. Others dominate in the minds of selectors include the David Aiken-trained duo My High Expectations and Cold Sister as well as star squaregaiter Blitzthemcalder. Kyvalley Blur who is trained by master trotting conditioner Chris Lang senior, former pacer Mister Zion as well as Elegant Image, Aleppo Midas and Stoned I Am are considerations also. While the Australian team will be finalised in the coming weeks following the results of races, the New Zealand representatives have been selected. The New Zealand team being selected early to allow for travel are Dullard Cup winner Habibti, Danish Derby winner Peak, Anzac Cup victor Stent, Hellers Dominion winner Master Lavros and recent National Trot winner Irish Whisper. Three reserves have been added to the team being Vulcan, The Fiery Ginga and Sovereignty who could be called upon if neccessary. Team New Zealand: Master Lavros (trainer Mark Jones) Stent (trainer Colin De Filippi) Peak (trainer Tim Butt) Irish Whisper (trainer Tony Herlihy) Habibti (trainer David Butt) Reserves Vulcan (trainer Tim Butt) The Fiery Ginga (trainer Alan Clark) Sovereignty (Trainer Sean McCaffrey) Team Australia*: My High Expectations (trainer David Aiken) Kyvalley Blur (trainer Chris Lang) Mister Zion (trainer Geoff Webster) Keystone Del (trainer Nicole Molander) Elegant Image (trainer Andy Gath) Blitzthemcalder (trainer Dean Braun) Aleppo Midas (trainer Michael Eastman) Cold Sister (trainer David Aiken) Stoned I Am (trainer Bill Walker) *Five to be selected and one reserve

Trotter My High Expectations is on track for another tilt at the Great Southern Star, connections hoping he can go two better than when he ran third in the inaugural running of the feature race last year. The David Aiken trained-and-driven seven-year-old, who was bred in the US, took out last Saturday night's Group 2 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile at Bendigo, holding off heavily-backed runner-up Kyvalley Blur despite doing the bulk of work in the run. Aiken was understandably thrilled with the performance, My High Expectations forced to punch the breeze for most of the journey with Kyvalley Blur enjoying the perfect slipstream on his back. "He deserved it," the Avenel horseman said of his trotter's 24th career win. "I'm really happy that he's been able to carry on from last season. "When I had Kyvalley behind me in the run I got a bit worried. "It was probably always going to end up that way, but I was able to duck down the pegs pretty quickly when I got past Junior's (Chris Lang's) horse at the home turn (Im Ready Set), so that helped." My High Expectations had a neck margin on the line, with Kyvalley Blur finishing hard for second, the pair putting a 12.2m gap on the rest of the field headed by third-placed Empire Earl. The winner stopped the clock in 2:00.9, with a mile-rate of 1:57.9. Aiken said the March 22 Great Southern Star Final remained the main aim, suggesting the week-to-week lead-up races to the big dance at Melton's Tabcorp Park would suit his charge. "Everything rolls along one week to another with the lead-up runs, but he's showed that's no problem," he said. "We'll definitely go to Ballarat (after contesting the Group 3, $20,000 George Gath at Shepparton on Saturday night) for the Australasian Trotting Championship heats and we'll see how he gets through that. And of course there's the big Glenferrie Farm Challenge up in Sydney as well. "That's the race he got a late invitation to last year and he ran a really good race (to finish fifth). Aiken's other Maori Mile runner, Cold Sister, finished fifth after being caught wide from outside the front row at the start and having to ease back to last before copping a check from the galloping Aleppo Midas at the home corner. "Nathan (Jack) was really happy with her run. He said if she didn't get checked at the turn she probably runs third," he said. "It was a real shame she drew wide because those short-course races are her go." By Cody Winnell (Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria)

Big weekend of Harness Racing in South Australia this week commencing with heats of the Mount Gambier Gold Cup preludes with eight of the horses from the preludes qualifying for the $12,000 Cup on January 25. The Cup is a standing start this year with for C1 to C5 class pacers under special handicapping conditions.   Also on the card is the $6,500 Mount Gambier Trotters Cup which has drawn a small be talented field including two runners from the Chris Lang stable in Lysenko who recently won a Monte race at Globe Derby and Andy's Favourite.   Action then swings to headquarters on Saturday night with the first appearance of the juvenile pacers in the Nevele R Stud 2yo Pace with seven runners lining up. Six of them are facing the starter for the first time with only Waitpinga Tiger, who raced out of his class at Victor Harbour on Boxing Day has graced the race track before.   The other race of interest will a heat of the SA Young Drivers Series with the state's best young talent on show.   Kupunda will host its first meeting of the season Sunday with a C5 and better Dash to be run over 980 meters. Included in this field is Mark Dennis who is coming off a start in the SA Cup last week.   The six event program commences at 5.23pm with the final race at 7.27pm.   Gary Newton      

Mildura trained pacer Timeless Era rounded out his SA Cup preparation with a strong win in the Tattsbet Summer Carnival Free For All on Saturday night at Globe Derby Park, driven like the best horse in the race by David Harding who put the Globe Derby specialist into the race with a three wide move in the middle stages to get outside the leader Mark Dennis before the bell, Harding then applied pressure from that point on and the son of Modern Art did not let him down.   His mile rate of 1.56.9 was one of the fastest ever run at Globe Derby Park over the 2230 meters, in fact it was just .5 of a second outside Franco Heir track record, Lark Rise who sat three back on the fence ran on well to claim second spot from the race leader Mark Dennis.   With random draw based on life time earnings in next weeks $125,000 Group 1 SA Cup Timeless Era looks likely to draw the front line and if the marbles roll his way and he draws inside barrier four will prove very hard to beat as likely visitors in Smoken Up, Abettorpunt and co will draw the second line. Nominations and acceptances for the SA Cup close Monday with the public barrier draw to be conducted in the Bistro at Globe Derby Park on Tuesday at 1pm.   The other main event on the program the $10,000 SA St Leger for the 3 year olds was taken out by Paua Fella trained by Kevin Brough at Mt Gambier and driven by Matthew Craven it was a race to race double for the pair after being successful on Four Stazz Fella. Race favourite Adam Cartwright broke as the mobile pulled away and has been placed out of the draw denting his chances in next week's SA Derby.   Driving honours on the first night of the Summer Carnival went to David Harding who scored with Classic Tycoon, Timeless Era and also won the trotters event with Lleyton H, while Haley Toulmin won her second Monte Race at Betezy Park Globe Derby with a clever ride on the Chris Lang trained Lysenko who sat just off the pace to run down pace maker Chuck Wagon to win by 4.5 meters.   Gary Newton      

First night of the SA Cup carnival swings into action Saturday night at Betezy Park Globe Derby with the running of the Tattsbet Summer Carnival Free For All and Italian Cup victor Timeless Era despite having his first run in over a month here and although drawn poorly he will be hard to beat with his form when last at the races excellent having won his past three starts on end including the $10,000 Italian Cup over Harrison Maguire. His overall record in SA is super having won 5 from 8 and he will take a power of beating. Mark Dennis record when leading is outstanding and looks the one to beat, this is a lead up race to next Saturday's harness racing  $125,000 SA Cup.   The $10,000 SA St Leger is a traditional lead up to next week's SA Derby with last seasons Victorian Tatlow winner That's Rite has drawn wide but looks the one to beat with the Peter Manning trained Adam Cartwright   In other events there looks to be two stand outs on the program, Mildura visitor Dontdoubtme from barrier 4 in race 5 picks herself here having shown good ability since arriving from New Zealand winning all four starts including a big win in the $25,000 Golden Chalice at Melton last start, and Doug's Courage who is shooting for seven on end should have little trouble sending favourite punters home on a winning note by winning the last race.   The ever popular Monte will conduct interest with the in form Chuck Wagon taking on the Chris Lang trained Lysneko and Telern Tiger.   The SA Cup barrier draw will be held in the Bistro at Globe Derby Tuesday at 1pm with draw be conducted the six lowest prize money earners will be randomly drawn barriers 1 to 6 with the 5 highest earner's random drawn 7 to 11.   Gary Newton      

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