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One of harness racing’s modern-day greats will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight with the running of the Sundons Gift Free-For-All. Climbing the ranks to become Australasia’s premier squaregaiter, Sundons Gift set records seemingly at will before his retirement in 2012. Connections attempted an ill-fated comeback in 2013, but those four starts are best forgotten! Prepared by astute trainer Chris Lang, Sundons Gift was initially retired with 41 wins from 82 starts, with 10 seconds, six thirds and earnings of $1,272,264 also to his credit. The gelding’s ‘comeback’ netted a second. Not only is he the richest Australian-trained trotter, Sundons Gift captured a record 10 Group Ones, including an amazing four consecutive victories in the Australian Grand Prix. “When he got here he’d had seven starts in New Zealand for no wins, so I didn’t expect that much from him,” Lang admitted. “Then as I began to work him, he just felt like a good horse and I was waiting for the wheels to fall off at some stage. “Then as he started racing he was a bit erratic, but never stopped improving. “If you’d told me what he was going to achieve I would have thought you were dreaming. “The funny part about it is I’d never met or spoken to Neven Botica when the horse turned up. “It was Michael Doltoff who recommended our stable and organised for him to come here and the only thing I knew about him was when he arrived and his rug had Bernie on it, so he just became Bernie to us.” Despite his impressive haul, Lang rates one of Sundons Gift’s defeats as his biggest highlight. “For me his biggest legacy is his trip to Europe,” Lang declared. “He finished sixth in the Elitlopp, but it was his presence there and the publicity generated that helped lift not only our stable, but the local industry onto an international stage.” On the topic of international interest, tonight’s event will mark the Aussie debut of American trotter, Imperial Count. Ironically, the stallion is also owned by Botica, who sent the son of Angus Hall to leading trainer David Aiken. Aiken has given the trotter three trials, but stated he will “need the run”. “His trials have been really good. We’ll see how he goes but he’ll need the racing,” Aiken said. “At home he works like a nice horse and he’s great to have around the place.” Imperial Count will begin from barrier seven. PAUL COURTS

Maori Time produced a harness racing scintillating track-record run to end Keystone Del’s winning streak and take the $32,275  Aldebaran Park Maori Mile at Bendigo tonight Saturday the 17th of January. Trained and driven by masterful educator of squaregaiters Chris Lang, Maori Time, a five-year-old mare by Pegasus Spur out of Sundonna, took off at the 800m employing catch-me-if-you-can tactics – and her rivals couldn’t. She had led from the pole draw but when she hit top gear mid-race, no one was going to nab her. A 28secs third quarter saw Maori Time skip clear as Keystone Del began to paddle as he pursued the frontrunner. Elegant Image (Kate Gath for trainer Andy Gath) tracked the winner and finished on well for second, Keystone Del (Blake Fitzpatrick for trainer Nicole Molander) battling away in third place. The winner’s mile rate of 1:55.6 set a new track record over the 1650m trip at Bendigo. Stoned I Am ran well for fourth and Realmein was a nice fifth after not having much luck in the last lap. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has joined Patumahoe’s Geoff Small as NZ’s most successful trainers of Group One Breeders Crown Final winners after Katy Perry’s hard fought success in last Sunday’s $A297,000 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton. Both have achieved five Breeders Crown Final successes in the specialised two-four age group categories, just one ahead of NZ’s premier trainer Mark Purdon. Cran Dalgety’s growing list of ABC Grand Final winners is: Sparks A Flyin (2001 3YO fillies), Smiling Shard (2009 2YO colts/geldings), Bit Of A Legend (2012-13 3YO colts/geldings) and Katy Perry (2014 2YO fillies). Former world champion driver Mark Jones partnered Sparks A Flyin. Current NZ champion Dexter Dunn has driven the stable runners since 2009. The Kentuckiana Lodge mentor is challenging as NZ’s most successful trainer at the Breeders Crown, taking into account his additional three Grand Final seconds _ Smiling Shard (2010 3YO colts/geldings), Onlyforyou (2012 2YO fillies) and Bit Of A Legend (2014 4YO entires/geldings). Northern-based, but Canterbury-raised Geoff Small, set the early pace among the Kiwis. Small’s ABC Pacing Grand Final winners are: Pullover Brown (2003 3YO Fillies), Changeover (2007 3YO Colts/geldings), Tintin In America (2009 3YO Colts/geldings), De Lovely (2010 3YO Fillies) and Cowgirls N Indians (2011 2YO Fillies). He also has a Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA (open class race) to his credit, with All Tiger in 2009. Recuperating Cambridge driver David Butcher has partnered all but one of Small’s ABC winners. Templeton driver Anthony Butt partnered Pullover Brown for her ABC win after also driving her to win the NZ Oaks that season.  Anthony Butt, a close second driving Joanne’s A Delight in last Sunday’s 2YO Fillies Final, also won the 1998 ABC 3YO Fillies Final driving Under Cover Lover, Mark Purdon, who gained early ABC Final training successes with Galleons Assassin (2005 2YO trot) and Fly Like An Eagle (2012 3YO colts/geldings), doubled his quota when (My) Ayra (2YO fillies trot) and Follow The Stars (2YO colts/geldings) delivered last Sunday. His additional driving win with (Our) Twentyten (who he formerly trained) in the 3YO trot final on Sunday, makes him jointly NZ’s top driver in the 2-4YO age group catergories, with David Butcher, who besides the Small-trained winners, also reined Miami H to win the 2010 3YO trot final for trainers Derek Balle and Owen Gillies. Victorian trotting training master Chris Lang is the most successful Breeders Crown trainer with seven wins. His successes, all in ABC trot finals, are: Kyvalley Road (2002-03 2 & 3YO trot), Right Interest (2006 3YO trot), Skyvalley (2008-09 3 & 4YO trot) and Let Me Thru (2009-10 3 & 4YO trot). Lang has also added three Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA wins, a race for open class trotters, with former champ, Sundons Gift (2007-08 & 2010). Lang’s brother, champion Victorian reinsman Gavin, although winless at the Breeders Crown this year, remains the most successful driver in Breeders Crown Finals, with 10 successes. Courtsey Of Cran Dalgety Racing

Champion trainer Chris Lang has announced he will retire from harness racing once his property is sold at auction on October 17. The leading trainer, a pioneer in in the Australian trotting industry, has made the decision to concentrate on his health as he battles Raynaud's Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels affecting his hands. Lang, 54, told Harness Racing Victoria media this morning he was shattered to have to step away from the sport, but said he was making the tough call for the betterment of his long-term health. “Basically it’s a decision that was forced upon me,” Lang said. “I’ve had a few minor health issues over the last few years, with pneumonia and a lung infection, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and basically I have little ongoing issues that are minor now but because of the lifestyle I lead can lead to far more major issues later on. “I have Raynaud’s Disease, which affects the circulation in my hand, especially during the winters. “At the present time it’s very minor but it has the potential to develop into a far more life-changing condition if I don’t go and try to get it fixed now.” While shattered to have to make the call, Lang said he was determined to pull the pin while he still had some say in the matter and said he won’t rule out returning to training in future. “I’m going to make the decision while it’s still my decision to a degree rather than wait until I’ve got no other option,” he said. “This is possibly just a hiatus for me rather than a retirement. “If I’m able to go away now and get this sorted out then who knows what will happen in the future?” Lang has informed his owners of his decision and stressed it was “business as usual” until his property in Nagambie is sold at auction. Lang, who has developed his property from bare land to a state-of-the-art harness racing training mecca, said he was disappointed to be selling the venue. “When we shifted there about 21 odd years ago it was a bare paddock and to build it into something that Sharon and I are so immensely proud of, I always envisaged being carried out of there in a wooden box to be honest. “We’ve always said though that we want to do the right thing and we feel this is the right thing as hard as it is.” Lang has been an indomitable force in Australian trotting circles for many years. He won the 2009 and 2010 Inter Dominion finals with the glorious squaregaiter Sundons Gift and consequently earned an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. “That was an amazing achievement, really,” Lang said. “Going over there (to Sweden) was in my opinion the greatest experience because it was life-changing. “We brought a whole lot of knowledge back with us from that trip.” Lang, whose other stable champions have included Kyvalley Road, Skyvalley, Let Me Thru, National Interest, Jauriol and Lester Scot, said he remembers attending the Shepparton trials with his trotters and being the only trainer there with squaregaiters. “Now 40 to 50 per cent of horses at those trials are trotters,” he said. “It’s actually amazed me how far trotting has come since then in Australia. I’d like to say I sat back and could see it happening, but that wouldn’t be true. It really has amazed me.” Lang will continue training and driving horses until his property has been sold and said he would likely remain in the sport as an owner afterwards, but he was yet to make a decision on that. He said it would be up to his individual owners to decide how they wanted to handle the transition. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Eljaykay Phoenix completed the Vicbred Super Series/Breeders Crown harness racing double with a strong win in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ final today at Tabcorp Park Melton. Despite strong backing coming late for second favourite Shared Interest, which defeated Eljaykay Phoenix last time out, the David Aiken trained son of Sundon assumed the front early and never looked back. No one wanted to take on Eljaykay Phoenix mid race, allowing driver Josh Aiken to thoroughly control the pace. Shared Interest sat behind the leader, while the stablemate of the winner, Hadrians Phoenix, worked to the breeze. Late in the race Primz Luck and Illawong Armstrong made their moves out wide, but the pacemakers had had things too easy up front and they were always going to kick on. Eljaykay Phoenix scored by 3.5m over Shared Interest, who used the sprint lane late, while Kyvalley Boomerang ran third for Chris Lang. “It’s just great to see. It’s a great way to finish the season,” David Aiken said. The winner’s mile rate was 2:04.7 with a last half in 58.5 seconds. Aiken has the long odds-on favourite in the next race, the 4YO Breeders Crown Trot Final, Spidergirl. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Melton has drawn great fields throughout most of the divisions and the 3 year old trotters are no exception. 3 Year Old Trotters Breeders Crown Final Unlike the two year old trotters where the fillies and colts are separated, at three they are all thrown in together which is a real shame. The other disappointing thing in this years three year old final is the absence of the top Kiwi three year old trotters such as King Denny and Majestic Time but I suppose you can't be everywhere in a long season. In our view in this years final there are really only four winning chances and we deal with those one by one. First up is Our Twentyten who has drawn nicely at barrier four. A serious contender in the classics in New Zealand before his sale to Australia to clients of Brent Lilley, Our Twentyten has quickly established himself as one of the best three year old trotters  in his adopted land. His previous trainer Mark Purdon takes the drive on Sunday which in our view is another tick for Our Twentyten. Our Twentyten does have real gate speed and we expect Mark Purdon to try to grab the lead early and dictate the tempo of the race. The big danger is undoubtedly Claudys Princess who has drawn awkwardly at two on the second line. She has finished either first or second in all of her 13 starts at three and a lot of those starts have been at Group or Listed level. The danger is Claudys Princess is not in complete control of her own destiny from the second line but with the master Gavin Lang in the bike she can overcome the draw. Her last win over Asdenro was an arrogant performance which shows she is right at the top of her game at the moment.  The enigma of the race is without doubt the Kiwi  One Over Da Moon who has drawn barrier five and who has been in the Chris Lang barn for a couple of months now. When he is good he is very good and when he is bad he is awful about sums up One Over Da Moon. Can throw the toys out at times such as the Redwood Classic where he just self destructed and he did the same thing in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand as well but there is no doubting the ability is there. One Over Da Moon was eased out of the gate the last time he raced at  Maryborough before finding the front and that was due to the fact he can over race if you chase him out of the gate which makes his job at  Group One level that much harder. The last of the quartet we fancy is Asdenro who has drawn barrier three. Asdenro has finished in the first three in 11 of 13 starts at three but has been unable to win since he starting racing in the Group and Listed races. He is competitive but just half a length off the top trotters in this division. Asdenro is a free going type who likes to lead but that tends to make him a sitting duck for the likes of Our Twentyten and Claudys Princess who have such high speed. If he burns the gate in trying to hold out Our Twentyten then in our view he can't win the final as the favoured pair have that small class edge. His best chance of winning this race is if the two favourites go to war and he runs over the top of them late in the piece.  SELECTIONS This is a very close call but we think the draw gives Our Twentyten the edge over Claudys Princess but there is not much in it. One Over Da Moon needs to bring his "A' game to be a chance and we think the other two are going just a touch better than him at the moment although his class will always make him a threat. Asdenro needs a few things to happen for him to win but the determination is certainly there. Throw in Bad Habbott, Four Lillies and Lightning Calder for first fours Harnesslink Media

Maryborough was a happy hunting ground for trainer Andy Gath today – the Long Forest harness racing horseman qualifying two horses for the two-year-old trotting fillies Breeders Crown final. Gath’s rising stars Endsino (by Angus Hall out of Jauriol) and Naked Majesty (by Majestic Son out of Starcus) both saluted in their crown heats, with Andy’s wife Kate driving both winners. Endsino started long odds-on in her heat and never looked like getting rolled, leading all the way in a mile rate of 2:04.2 to score a 7.7-metre win over Glenferrie Burn. Naked Majesty won by 3.3m in her heat, overpowering early leader Meadow Valley Road late in the race. Gath sat quietly aboard Naked Majesty behind the leader, the filly peeling to the outside in the stretch to win in a rate 2:05.7. Fabrication recorded a half-neck win in the second heat of the two-year-old colts and geldings crown, defying a fierce challenge from runner-up Kyvalley Boomerang in the home stretch. Driven by Daryl Douglas for Tatura trainer David Abrahams, Fabrication found the front early and controlled the race before Kyvalley Boomerang launched his claim late. Kyvalley Boomerang got on terms with the leader 100 metres from home but it wasn’t to be, the early leader kicking on gamely to earn a ticket into the crown final. King of the trotters, Chris Lang, prevailed victorious with One Over Da Moon in the three-year-old trotters second heat. The colt by Majestic Son cruised around the field early to find the lead before going to the line with a 2.1-metre advantage over runner-up Four Lillies, with underrated Coimadai Lodge hitting the line hard out wide for third. Shared Interest announced himself a major player in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ division with a comfortable heat win over race favourite Eljaykay Phoenix. Driven by Nathan Jack, Shared Interest cruised up to the long odds-on elect at the 400m, eventually peeling into the sprint lane to shoot clear for a 3.3m win. Eljaykay Phoenix battled on for second, but has clearly come back to his rivals somewhat after dominating throughout the Vicbred Super Series, while Illawong Armstrong was third beaten 22.1m. Our Twentyten took out the final Breeders Crown heat for the day, the Brent Lilley trained and Rodney Petroff driven son of Muscles Yankee 3.7 metres too strong for Claudys Princess in their three-year-olds heat. Filly Claudys Princess punched the breeze throughout and battled on gamely for second, while Asdenro secured a beaut run on the leader’s back and was a clear third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Allies Mate made it two wins from two starts in impressive style at Shepparton on Tuesday night. The Jason Donohoe trained-and-driven son of Mcardle sat parked throughout in the 2190m second heat of the Congram Livestock Transport Vicbred Platinum Country Series A, dashing clear in the home straight for a 10.4m win. Despite doing the lion’s share of the work Allies Mate was cruising at the home turn, David Farrar-trained Arriens looming up strongly into second but no match for the winner. Donohoe sat quietly on Allies Mate, which was sent out second favourite behind odds-on pop Royal Hustler, and had a sustained look around at the home turn to sum up the situation. Once he flicked the reins, it was lights out for his rivals and Allies Mate broke clear to record a winning mile rate of 2:00.7 (last half in 57.6 and last quarter 27.6). Donohoe said the horse had trained on well after its first-up win and once the favourite was out of play on Tuesday night, he was confident he could get the job done. “He had trained on well after that first win. The favourite was sort of the only one I was really worried about,” the Marong trainer said. Arriens held on for second for junior driver Mark Pitt, while Black Jasmin was third for Haydon Gray. Royal Hustler galloped at the start and missed the kick badly, failing to make up ground and finishing down the track. Allies Mate became punters’ foe on debut at Bendigo last month when he defeated long odds-on favourite Kept Under Wraps at cricket score odds. On the strength of Tuesday night’s triumph, he won’t be starting at huge odds again anytime soon. Meanwhile, trainer-driver Donna Castles finally broke through for win number three with her four-year-old Lombo Mandingo mare Tennaya. Tennaya, $1.80 on Tuesday night, had endured a frustrating run of second-place finishes, coming in runner-up at six of its past seven starts. But she finally broke through, proving 2.6m too strong for nearest rival Liams Lass (Jim O’Sullivan) despite punching the breeze throughout. Tennaya ran 2:01.4 for the mile rate with a last half of 58.4. The Truth took out the Finley Bowling Club and Finley RSC Trotters Handicap at his first run back from a spell for Kari Males and Paul Males, narrowly edging out race favourite Kains Boy in the first race. Chris Lang trained and drove the winner of the second, the Kelly Grain Trot, with Aldebaran Eastwood, which started $3.10. David Aiken and son Josh Aiken combined to win the McNaughts Transport Pace over 1690m with polemarker Wounded, which led all the way to score by 1.3m over Royal Deviate. Maree Caldow and John Caldow had success in the Tuppal Hotel 3YO Pace with Lost In Bangkok, the gelding saluting by 5.9m in a rate of 1:58.3 over Arrokeefe. And Raylan Gibbins gave driver Nathan Jack victory in the Euroa Excavation Pace for trainer Melinda Thackeray. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

It must be hard at the moment for harness racing owners Lex and Heather Williams to stop smiling as their golden run continues on both sides of the Tasman. Last night at Melton One Over Da Moon won again  for trainer driver Chris Lang in a 2:00.8 mile rate for 1720 meters as he continued his preparation for the Victorian Trotting Derby. That was the icing on the cake after their Angus Hall two year old trotting filly Petite One gave a handy field of older trotters a start and a beating on debut at Addington last night. Dropping out to last early from her bad draw, Petite One was sent forward three wide by her trainer driver Mark Purdon with 1200 meters to run before eventually getting up outside the leader Strathfield Son with 700 meters to run. From there she sprinted strongly once they turned for home, putting the issue beyond doubt in a few strides. Mark Purdon hardly moved in the bike as Petite One went to the line with plenty in reserve. Petite One covered the 1950 meters in 2;30 with closing sectionals of 60.4 and 29.5 , an impressive run in the bitterly cold conditions. When you look at the pedigree of Petite One it is little wonder she is so talented. Not only is she by the great Canadian trotting sire Angus Hall but her dam is the very talented Sundon mare Petite Sunset (7 wins)($115,070) and her grand-dam is none other than the champion trotting mare Pride Of Petite (35 wins) ($811,816). The manner of Petite One's victory last night would suggest that it might not be the last time she brings a smile to Lex and Heather's faces. Petite One One Over Da Moon winning last night in Melbourne Harnesslink media    

Rosedale Farm , in conjunction with Aldebaran Park Australia are excited to announce Swedish Three and Four Year old Breeders Crown Champion, Yield Boko ( Viking Kronos – Ouzo Boko ) will be available to New Zealand breeders in the 2014/15 breeding season. The winner of 22 from 50 race starts, stakes earnings of more the AUD$800,000 and a fastest lifetime mark of 1.55.1 over 2140m, Yield Boko boasts credentials which rank him as one of the greatest trotters ever to be available to breeders in this part of the world. Leading Australian trotting trainer Chris Lang says “He (Yield Boko) was a very good horse, I followed his career and he competed well in the best races against the best horses going around.” “The bottom line is this is just great for the industry, more and more people are taking an interest in what we are doing down under.” Aldebaran Park’s Duncan McPherson added “ For Australiasian breeders ,Yield Boko represents a remarkable opportunity to access bloodlines never before available and we at Aldebaran Park are delighted to be part of making that opportunity possible.” Semen to New Zealand will be strictly limited and breeders are advised they will need to book early. Yield Boko will stand for a fee of $4000 plus gst. For more information: go to www.aldebaranpark.com Harness Racing New Zealand

Blake Fitzpatrick is confident his trotter Vincennes can measure up on Saturday night at Cranbourne in the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO entires’ and geldings’ series. “We’ve always had a pretty good opinion of him,” Fitzpatrick said. “He ran a really good race last time (second beaten 1.1m by Blitzthemcalder). He’s done a great job for us up here in Sydney.” Vincennes had won six of his previous seven starts before the last-start second and Fitzpatrick says the son of Ganymede and Showmethemaori had trained on strongly. “He was first-up at Melton so he’s worked better since that run.” Vincennes will start from inside the back row behind polemarker Glenferrie Dreamer from the Craig Demmler stable. “It’s a little bit awkward, but if Glenferrie Dreamer doesn’t come out quickly enough we’ll be looking to get off the fence,” Fitzpatrick said. In the second heat of the 4YO trotting mares’ Super Series the long odds-on favourite will be pole runner Maori Time from the powerful Chris Lang yard. “It looks a winnable race,” Lang said. “Obviously the main fillies Spidergirl and Paris Pepperell aren’t there.” Lang said Maori Time, Paris Pepperell and other mares in the 4YO division were a few rungs below Spidergirl. “I don’t think there’s another mare in the country on a par with Spidergirl at this point,” he said. “She’s got to be considered one of the best trotters in Australia.” Maori Time ran third to Spidergirl last time out, while Paris Pepperell finished second in the same race. They spaced the rest of the field by 40m. There will be extra incentive for trainers to win Race 2 at Cranbourne, the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza Pace. The winning trainer of the race will go into an end-of-season draw for a trip for two to one of the world’s premier harness racing events. For more details on the Trainers Bonanza, visit the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club website. The first race at Cranbourne begins at 5.22pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

When Laura Crossland’s father’s truck broke down and he wandered into a property to seek a hand, who would have thought it would result in David Moran and Crossland securing top trotter Spidergrace for their stable? “He had a truck break down and was stranded in the middle of nowhere, so he walked into a property and the bloke there (Mick Grace) had a few trucks and some horses,” Moran said. “He got talking about them and the bloke said they were trotters. So he told the bloke that his daughter trained a few trotters and (Mick) sent it down to us.” Spidergrace has now had 14 starts for six wins and two minor placings and will be right in the market for the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Thursday at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Spidergrace, by Yankee Spider out of a Red Coach Glory mare called Rockolina, has picked up $38,078 in stake earnings and is rated a $6 third favourite on Thursday behind equal favourites Miracle and Tiavons Dream ($2.20). Moran said Crossland would drive Spidergrace like the best horse in the race. “We’ll push forward and have a look for the lead I’d imagine and if Miracle doesn’t want to hand up we’ll sit outside him,” he said. Spidergrace’s Holmfield run last start was enormous, finishing sixth of eight beaten 16.1m after breaking due to running into the back of a rapidly tiring Our Twentyten at about the 400m. Crossland got off the back of the leader when Our Twentyten made his move and shot past pacemaker Asdenro, but then things turned pear-shaped. If the favourite had kept up his momentum until the home straight, Crossland would have been lauded for a genius drive. But he didn’t and consequently Spidergrace galloped and lost his winning chance. “Laura said he was travelling the best he’d ever travelled in the run, and she made the right move coming off when she did,” Moran said. “She was involved in a bit of a duel with Chris Lang at that point and she was probably more concentrating on that than the one in front. It was just one of those things.” Showing enormous character for a three-year-old trotter, Spidergrace got back into his gait and finished strongly in the straight, passing two runners in the run to the line to finish sixth of eight. “That was a really good sign,” Moran said. “A lot of young ones turn it up after a copping a break like that, but he got going again and it was really good to see.” There are two Super Series heats on Thursday’s program, with the three-year-old trotting fillies to have their second heat in Race 2. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Lex and Heather Williams now have two Homfield trophies sitting side-by-side in their living room. One of them was won by One Over Kenny in 2005 and the other by her son One Over Da Moon at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. “It’s pretty cool that he managed to win the same race his mother did,” said co-owner and breeder, Lex Williams, who travelled over to Australia to watch him race on Friday. “It definitely was a huge thrill,” he added. One Over Da Moon is being trained by Chris Lang during his Australian Campaign. Lang also did the driving on the three-year-old Majestic Son colt on Friday. “He is on a round trip and will return to Paul Nairn after the Australasian Breeders Crown,” advised Williams. One Over Da Moon was given a nice run in the one-one by Chris Lang, before coming three-wide around the final bend and powering away to win by 2.4 metres over Guiltless and Daenerys Targaryen , who also found the line well. Favourite Twentyten faded to finish last after racing parked outside the leader. “Chris Lang said he may be small but he doesn’t feel it when you are sitting behind him,” said Williams. Although Williams and wife Heather were at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday to soak up the atmosphere, he was extremely disappointed that the race wasn’t televised back in New Zealand. “There were three horses with Kiwi connections in the race, so I think it is absolutely disgraceful that the race wasn’t shown live,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson

Chris Lang's standing as king of the trotters remains well and truly intact after victory in last night’s Group 2 VHRSC Holmfield at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Nagambie trainer-driver guided his newest stable gun One Over Da Moon to a 2.4m win in the 1720m race for three-year-old trotters, the winning mile rate of 1:59.4 the fastest of the colt’s career so far. Formerly trained in New Zealand by Paul Nairn, One Over Da Moon – a New Zealand Harness Jewels champion as a two-year-old who galloped out of contention in the three-year-old Jewels ranks last month – was back to his best last night. The winner started at $3.70 on the tote after the majority of punters sided with last-start New South Wales Trotters Derby winner Our Twentyten as their top Holmfield pick, backing him into $1.70. Off the back straight, favourite punters might have been forgiven for heading to the queue early as Our Twentyten whizzed past early pacemaker Asdenro, which had given a bold sight. But just 200m later things had changed dramatically. Turning for home Our Twentyten was gone, dropping back through the field dramatically in the home straight to wind up last. Guiltless rattled home to run second for Daryl Douglas, while Our Twentyten’s stablemate Daenerys Targaryen, driven by Greg Sugars, used the sprint lane to finish third, ahead of a bold Asdenro, which kept on kicking to run fourth for Haydon Gray. Another trotter it might pay to keep an eye on out of the race is Spidergrace, which lost considerable ground when it galloped approaching the home turn before balancing up once more and making up many lengths in the straight to beat two home. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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