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One of harness racing's most promising partnerships is on the verge of reaching two significant milestones. Ken Barron and Blair Orange's first season together has been full of highlights and Change Time's victory in Sunday's Winter Cup was another exclamation mark on a season that has shattered all expectations.  With the Barron-trained Livura a winner earlier in the day at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting, the Barron-Orange combination scored a winning double. Orange now heads into Forbury Park's meeting on Thursday with 98 wins for the season. He went past the 100 mark for the first time last season with 106 winners. With Addington on Friday night and Timaru on Sunday, Orange is a strong chance to reach the century by the end of the weekend if not sooner. Barron's two winners on Sunday have taken him to 49 training wins for the season. Despite going close on a couple of occasions, on his own and in partnership with John Lischner, Barron has never reached 50 wins in a season but the West Melton trainer is certain to break the milestone before the current one is out. Orange credits getting an economical trip as the difference for Change Time who upset the field to win the Winter Cup at a $17 quote. "Finding the trail was definitely the key," Orange said. Change Time's form line was nothing to get excited about going into the Winter Cup but she has come out of the four-year-old Diamond at the Harness Jewels and some quality fields when racing in Auckland. "Last start she had to sit parked and was found wanting a bit, but she's always been better with a sit," Orange said. Change Time's win was Orange's second Winter Cup in as many weeks after he won the Marlborough version last week with Lilac Desire. The Christian Cullen mare picked up her seventh career at Rangiora but her racing days are numbered. A four-year-old mare out of Chaangerr, Change Time will head to Australia at the end of the season to be retired to the broodmare paddock. Orange will always have fond memories of the mare that brought him his 1000th driving win with her victory at Addington back in January. Talented three-year-old Bracken Ridge is another leaving the Barron stable after being sold to Perth but Orange said there was still plenty of talent in Barron's stable. Gerard O'Reilly, Ricky May and Robbie Close also drove winning doubles at the Rangiora meeting. Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope continued their standout season with three winners in the last three races of the day. The husband and wife partnership now have 66 winners for the season, just one shy of their best of 67 in 2013. Meanwhile, Dexter Dunn brought up his 200th win of the season at Forbury Park on Friday night. Dunn started the night on 196 winners and brought up the double century with his fourth win of the night with Give Me Strength. It is the fourth time he has gone past 200 winners in a season but in 2012 and 2013 he was finished on 199. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission

IT doesn't get any better than winning your first Group One on a big day's harness racing. So it was a day to savour for both leading trainer Kerry Ann Turner and young reinsman David Morris at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Turner won the NSW Breeders Challenge four-year-old entires and geldings final with Lettucerockthem while a little over half an hour later Morris saluted when he led all the way to win with Luda, in the four-year-old mares' final, also giving rookie trainer Daniel Neagoe his first Group One. Turner arrived at Tabcorp Park Menangle today "expecting" and she left over the moon with her first Group One winner safely in the bank. Lettucerockthem became the first horse to win three Breeders Challenges in successive years when he cruised home with the $100,000 Four-Year-Old colts and geldings final. It has been a long-time coming because Turner lost a Group One at this very meeting three years ago when Blissful Guy (with Robbie Morris in the sulky) was first past the post but lost the race on protest to No Ah Saint. Turner, who will have her first child in a few months, was ecstatic when Lettucerockthem was sold recently and the new owners sent the son of Art Major to her Menangle stables to train. Her partner, Robert Morris did the rest, finding the front out of the gate from nine and cruising through the first half of his last mile in 60.3 seconds. That made it mathematically impossible for short-priced favourite My General Lee, who sat back in last place and had little chance of running them down. Turning for home Morris held all the aces and clicked up with a final split in 26.6s and a last half of 53.9 to win as he liked, beating Theartofconfusion (Todd McCarthy) by 16m and the fast-finishing My General Lee (David Morris) 23m away from the winner in third place. Luda (Christian Cullen) was just as impressive in the mares' final, holding off a wall of challengers in the straight to score in 1:58.5 mile rate. David Morris obviously learned from his defeat in the previous race as he quickly found the front from the widest gate, stacked up his rivals then held them all off in the run to the line. By Michael Court, Editor-In-Chief, National Trotguide

Every day here at Harnesslink we have a look at the harness racing results from the previous day in Australia, and one relatively unheralded stallion's name has cropped up quite a bit in the last twelve months. We are referring to the son of Christian Cullen in Quick Approval who for a stallion with few progeny on the ground has done a more than a passable job. Brought back by his breeder Matthew Harris when he didn't make his $20,000 reserve at the yearling sales, Quick Approval spent most of his career in the Riverina district Good enough to win a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold at two, Quick Approval went on to be a handy performer in New South Wales with his best performance coming when he won the $30,000 Group 3 four and five year old Carnival Of Cups Classic at Dubbo where he broke the track record held by Smooth Satin. Retired with a record of 23 wins from 58 starts for stakes of $108,559 and a best time of 1:57.1, he was understandably not rushed when offered as a sire. " When he was racing I had a lot of people approach me to ask if I was thinking of standing him at stud when his racing days were over." He is such a great looking individual and performed so well on the country circuit in New South Wales that I thought he deserved his chance at stud." "However as you would expect he has never been rushed with mares," Matthew told Harnesslink this week. With his oldest crop just four years of age, Quick Approval has never had either numbers or quality in the mares he has served. His oldest crop of four year olds numbers just nine but it has already produced four winners which taking everything into account is a great result. Matthew has been a bit hamstrung in his ability to support his own stallion. "I am breeding from quite a few mares from Quick Approval's immediate family including his half sister Clever Tune 1:59.5 ($112,958) who is already the dam of the smart Reneging 1:55.1 ($117,617)." "So I can't breed any of those mares to Quick Approval which hasn't helped him at all," Matthew said. Probably the most impressive of Quick Approval's recent winners has been the two year old With Authority who blitzed a two year old field at Young on Tuesday night. It was With Authority's second win at just his fourth lifetime start.  In the previous race at Young on Tuesday night was another winner by Quick Approval the three-year-old Geronimo Beau. Everybody knows how hard it is to get established as a colonial sire these days but Quick Approval is putting some handy stats together in New South Wales which should see him serve a bigger book of mares in the coming breeding season. Harnesslink Media 

A decision to operate on an unknown injury has given harness racing star Saveapatrol a second chance. In early 2014, Saveapatrol, was one of the most promising pacers in the country but that ground to a halt when he pulled up sore after running third in the 2014 Auckland Cup behind Terror To Love and Adore Me. Initial scans on the Mark Jones trained gelding could not pin-point the problem but Jones and owner Grant Hatton elected to open up his leg in an attempt to find what was troubling the son of Christian Cullen. Surgery found a slight tear in his tendon that was too small to show up on the scans. "We're lucky we did operate otherwise we could have ended up doing much more damage," Jones said. Getting his star pacer back to the track is a huge relief for Jones. "When they go a miss like that you're never sure if you will get them back." The Canterbury trainer is especially pleased for Hatton who has been patient throughout the injury layoff. "We're lucky to have an owner like Grant who has given him the time to get him back to where he needs to be," Jones said. Fifteen months of patience will come to fruition at Alexandra Park on Friday night when the now five-year-old contests the Auckland Trotting Club's $20,000 Winter Cup. Saveapatrol has had two workouts at Rangiora and a trial at Addington in the lead up to Friday's assignment. "He seems 100 per cent sound now so we are very happy with with where he is at," Jones said. In the hands of Blair Orange, Saveapatrol will start off the 20m mark and despite the long lay off, Jones is confident of a bold showing. "I'd like to think he should be winning really, he comes in pretty good on the handicaps so he should be pretty hard to beat," Jones said. Saveapatrol is booked to board a plane for Brisbane on Monday for the the Queensland Winter Trotting Carnival. Jones said Saveapatrol would have to fail badly on Friday night to change those plans. Saveapatrol is ear-marked for four feature races worth a combined total of around $300,000 during the carnival. "When he is right with a bit of racing under his belt I think he can be a grand circuit horse," Jones said. The Queensland campaign will provide an ideal opportunity to get some quality racing under his belt before he comes back and prepares for a tilt at the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Saveapatrol's last win came in January 2014 when he beat home Terror To Love, Arden Rooney and Franco Ledger to win the Group III Invercargill Cup. Lightly raced, Saveapatrol won his first three starts and currently holds a record of ten wins and two placings from 16 starts for more than $130,000 in stakes. Saveapatrol is out of the tough mare Rondel Franco who won 37 races from 153 starts for more than $650,000 in stakes across New Zealand, Australian and America. There were plans to defend the Invercargill Cup this year but Jones pulled the pin when Saveapatrol was not quite ready. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission of the Christchurch Press

Forgotten Kiwi star Saveapatrol is ready to kick-start his harness racing career again. The Christian Cullen – Rondel Franco gelding has not raced since finishing third in the 2014 Auckland Cup behind champion pacers Terror To Love and Adore Me at Alexandra Park, Auckland. A series of niggling leg injuries has kept him away from the racetrack ever since but a return is imminent following impressive workout/trials recently in Christchurch. Prepared by former World Driving Championship winner Mark Jones, Saveapatrol resumes next week in the Thames Cup in Auckland. “It’s great to have him back; it’s been a long slow build-up for him but he’s fit and healthy right now and we’re all looking forward to having him back at the races. The plan is start him in Auckland before heading straight to Brisbane for a four start winter carnival campaign.” Jones said. Saveapatrol will tackle the Gr.2 $50,000 4 & 5yo Championship on July 11, the Gr.1 $125,000 Blacks A Fake on July 18, the Gr.3 $30,000 Patrons Purse on July 25 and the Gr.2 $50,000 Redcliffe Cup on August 1 before returning home for a New Zealand Cup preparation. A winner of 10 races from 16 starts, Saveapatrol scored impressively in his latest workout on Monday at Addington with Blair Orange taking the drive. He paced the 2600m in a mile rate of 2;02.7 while finishing off in 57.5 and 27.7 seconds. “He won comfortably and he paced his last mile and a half in 3;00 and did it very easily and Blair said he felt great. We’ve given him a number of workouts and he’s gradually increased his work load with each run. “He’s out on the beach at Woodend with Regan (Todd – stable foreman) and he’s very sound right now so we’re keen to give him his shot at some of the better races and the Queensland campaign fits his schedule perfectly. “Blair has given us a vote of confidence by declaring he’ll go anywhere to drive him, so he’s heading to Auckland and then over to Australia. He claims he’s one of the most gifted horses he’s driven and as we know, he’s driven some of the best during his time with Mark Purdon.” Saveapatrol heads to Auckland this weekend in preparation for the $20,000 Thames Winter Cup next Friday, a stand-start feature staged over 2700m. Zakspatrol, a five win pacer, will make the trip to Queensland with Saveapatrol. Both horses are raced by Grant Hatton. by Chris Barsby

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones advanced to 52 wins for the season with a winning double on the first day of the Nelson winter harness racing meeting, and another at Auckland, on Friday, June 5.   Adding to the day’s success, Woodend Beach stable foreman picked up a deserved win with Sandvik Star at Nelson, and was the caretaker trainer of upset mares mile winner Whyamibettor from Overport starter All Delight.   Mark scored back-to-back Nelson training wins reining front-running hot favourite Pomme Roy to a comfortable win in the C1 Reefton Trotting Club Mobile Pace.   He has decided not to back up the 3YO Christian Cullen-TK Swift gelding on the second day at Nelson on Sunday.   Pomme Roy held second favourite Mach Denario by a length and a half in a 2:03.9 rate for the mobile 2400m in the slushy conditions, quickening over his last 800m in 58.5s.   After winning his 2YO debut at Addington and showing early promise as a colt, Pomme Roy was gelded after losing form after racing in Auckland as a spring 3YO.   He returned to win first-up at Addington on April 23 and has been in good overall form for this preparation.   Friday’s win was a bonus C1 win for the 3YO, who remains a C1 for his next start. He has now won three of 15 career starts.   in a good sense of occasion, Blair Orange then reined stablemate Zakspatrol to a gritty neck win over the Regan Todd-trained Fleeting Grin in the C1 Mark Jones Racing Stables and Club Waimea-sponsored Pace.   Zakspatrol, who had been knocking on the door of a win in his latest racing, rallied strongly from the third line on the outer to score in 3:10.9 (2400m stand) in the conditions.   The big 4YO Art Major-Shimmering Star gelding gets his chance to step up in the C2 and faster Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Winter Cup on Sunday.   Zakspatrol was returning to the winner’s circle on Friday at his third start since being downgraded last month.   He is now the winner of five from 43 starts for $38,232.   Owner Grant Hatton shares in the ownership of both Nelson winners.   He races Zakspatrol with wife Katherine, while he co-races Pomme Roy with Chatsworth Lodge Ltd, Bob Higgins, Bill and Claude Walsh.   Katherine Hatton also races Real Torque, a 2YO Real Desire filly, with daughters, Emma, Gina and Kate.   The girls also enjoyed good success a few years earlier as co-owners of former country cups star My Man Dan.   Real Torque, a half-sister to fast North American winner Statesman (1:50.4, US, nine NZ wins) and other useful types in Monaro (seven NZ wins, 1:58.5) and WA winner Calais (two wins, 1:56, Aust), was a $10,000 Australasian Classic Yearling Sales buy.   She wasn’t hurried out of the gate first-up by Kimberly Butt in the Mitavite Mobile Pace.   Real Torque showed some toughness after being left parked and rallied well to hold Bronze Over by a neck in 2:45.5 (2:01 mile rate) for the mobile 2200m.   The leaders quickened over their last 800m in 58.3s and final 400m in 27.9s.   Jeff Scott - Mark Jones Racing Stables  -  Check site here  

It didn’t take long to realise harness racing trainer Brent Lilley might be in for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton. But not many could have predicted just how well the script would play out for the Bolinda horseman, who walked away from tonight's Trotters Oaks meeting with five wins – including the two feature races. It all began with five-year-old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey, who showed his last-start win at Shepparton was no fluke with victory in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m to open the program. From barrier seven reinsman Anthony Butt produced a carbon copy of his steer aboard Hollywood Sign last month when it won the Rising Stars Final, driving Crusader Acey across the field early to find the pegs before handing up to the favourite, Macho Comacho. Crusader Acey out-sprinted Macho Comacho late along the sprint lane to win by a neck in a mile rate of 1:54.1. Lilley notched a winning double in the fourth race with five-year-old Monarchy/Sun Mist mare Rosemma. The foolproof trotter dashed to the lead early from barrier five for Rodney Petroff, while stablemate and race favourite Kyvalley Pink blew its chances by galloping away. Rosemma rated 2:00.7 to hold off a fast-finishing Mister Independent by 1.1m in the Garrards Horse and Hount Trot. Lilley and Butt then snared Race 7, the TAB.com.au Pace ,with impressive gelding Lets Elope (by Real Desire out of Alta Vista), finding the lead from barrier two before staving off all comers at the finish. Lets Elope carved out splits of 30.4secs, 29.8secs, 28.5secs and 27.6secs, clocking a 1:56.4 mile rate. Punters backed Lilley and Butt in to do it again in Race 8, the night’s feature, the $60,505 Group 1 Noel Simpson Memorial Trotters Oaks. Favourite backers were grinning 2mins and 47secs after the mobile arms folded back, My Arya leading from start to finish to register a 3m win over Amarula with Little Miss Zigzag flashing home for third. The Angus Hall filly held out an early challenge from Fiery Mountain Girl to lead before getting away with a 61.3secs first half at the head of affairs. She upped the tempo down the back the last time and took the zing out of any chasers with a 28secs third quarter. Sprinting home in 29.8secs, My Arya never looked like being headed and has now won 10 of her 11 Australian starts. Her winning mile rate for tonight’s 2240m trip was 2:00.4. Lilley and Butt capped the night in Race 9 by taking out the Pryde’s Easifeed Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old trotters with Kyvalley Tinman. The son of Majestic Son/Kyvalley Kitty sat on the speed in the run before out-staying his rivals, quickly getting the better of early leader Calder Knight turning for home before seeing off a late charge by impressive filly Princess Phoenix for a 1.3m win in 2:04.2 for the 2240m journey. While Lilley made the headlines with five winners, Butt’s performance should be undersold, finishing with a metropolitan quartet of his own. In other results, Aldebaran Macha easily took out the Good Form Pace over 2240m for David and Josh Aiken, the son of Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac too good for runner-up Hez The Wild Card in 1:56.2. Anton Golino and Todd McCarthy took out the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot with rising star Arboe, who held off Vics Cheval at the finish by 3.2m. Arboe, by Love You out of Lough Neagh, has now won five of six starts and has genuine star power. Arboe rated 1:59.0 over the 2240m, Claudys Princess finishing third beaten 13.2m by the winner. Bringing up a double for Todd McCarthy was Glenferrie Hood, a pacer making a name for himself in Victoria with two straight wins here. The son of Christian Cullen/Niftey Franco found the lead from gate seven early and ran along to record a mile rate of 1:53.7, defeating Sapphire Swayze by 3.6m with Im Barney Rubble third. Shes A Runa notched her 16th win at start No.27 by taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship Final for trainer Amanda Turnbull and driver Nathan Jack. The Jeremes Jet/Runacullen mare, a four-year-old, was 7.3m too strong for Gollahman, while in-form Ithappenstobeametro stuck on gamely for third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:55.5. Trainer Dean Braun looks to have another star on his hands in the form of Wardwell, who won tonight’s Pegasus Club 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. The gelding by Mach Three out of Ohappy Daze won by 7.4m over Starwyn Jasper with Brighty Valentine third in a rate of 1:59.0. Wardwell has now won three from three and bigger races look on his agenda moving forward. David Miles and his talented four-year-old Smokey Quartz capped the night with a gutsy success over Masterofthurles, that pair racing well clear of third placegetter Thunder Fee in the last race, the 2Construct Pace Final over 1720m. Smokey Quartz and Masterofthurles were involved in a speed war early, the latter eventually holding up and Smokey Quartz dropping to the leader’s back. From there Smokey Quartz eventually got out, rounded up the early pace setter and went on to score by 2.8m in a rate of 1:56.4. Smokey Quartz is a son of the great Courage Under Fire out of Pareen. View replays of all tonight's races and get full results by Cody Winnell

New Zealand harness racing reinsman Adam Sanderson has been thrust into the ‘hot’ seat this weekend. But it’s a role he’s comfortable with. Leading trainer and his boss, Darrel Graham, has stepped aside and entrusted Sanderson with a key book of drives including Mafuta Vautin in the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Triad 4yo Entires and Geldings Final plus Chattanoogachoochoo (Christian Cullen) in the $20,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final. This is nothing new for the stable; Sanderson got the call-up to partner giant filly Montana Marie in the 2013 Gr.2 $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace Final and duly saluted that night. The 26yo is cool under pressure. “I’ve got some good opportunities this weekend and I’m looking forward to the challenge, Mafuta Vautin has an excellent draw while Chattanoogachoochoo has a shocking draw so it’s a mixed bag in that respect.” Sanderson said. Mafuta Vautin will start a short priced favourite after landing the inside gate and his recent form is very strong including his victory in the QBRED Breeders Classic Final on March 27. The Rollon Bigred – Ashleysplace gelding has started once since that victory and proved too good when leading throughout at Redcliffe in a heat of a Rising Stars Championship but was subsequently scratched from the final. But Graham is confident his charge is in great shape. “It wasn’t anything serious but just enough not to risk him with this race in mind and he’s trained on really well since so I’m confident he’s ready to go. The barrier draw is perfect so hopefully it’s a case of aim and shoot,” Graham said. “I’m happy to take a backseat role this weekend, Linda (wife) and I bred this horse and he’s done an amazing job winning 10 of his 14 starts and I’m looking forward to sitting in the stands with Linda and Stephanie and cheering on both Adam (Mafuta Vautin) and Brittany (My Arthur Bee) in this feature event. “Both kids are driving in good form currently and they both deserve this opportunity so I’ll be leading the cheering from the stands.” Chattanoogachoochoo scored a decisive victory in the heat of the Rising Stars on Tuesday afternoon but fellow heat winner Alleluia (Art Major) drew favourably off the front-line and will start from gate five. Connections are looking at several features in the coming weeks with the winter carnival just around the corner. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 30 May 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 30 May 2015

Former New Zealand gelding Chattanoogachoochoo is the stable star for harness racing trainer Darrel Graham. The Fernvale based horseman registered another century season as trainer yesterday (Tuesday) when his Kiwi import raced away to claim victory in a heat of the weekly Seymour Rising Stars Championship at Albion Park. It’s the third straight season the astute mentor has racked up big numbers. But he’s quick to deflect the praise. “It’s a team effort and I’m lucky to have a great support crew; my wife Linda plus Adam Sanderson and my two girls Brittany and Stephanie all provide in many ways and it’s greatly appreciated. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.” Graham said. Chattanoogachoochoo now looms as a genuine threat in Saturday’s $20,000 final but has drawn poorly yet again while main dangers Alleluia (5) and Floyd Mayweather (1) both drew favourably. Alleluia rated 1;55.3 in his heat success while Chattanoogachoochoo rated a slightly slower 1;56.6. “I’ve been really happy with the gelding by Christian Cullen since he arrived from New Zealand but we’re not having much luck with draws and luck in running. His record could easily be a lot better but the wheel will turn and we will be ready to make the most of it when it comes our way. “His best asset is his speed and he showed that with his victory yesterday, he stood the leader up a tidy start at the top of the stretch and he grabbed him pretty quickly and won comfortably. We’re going to need a genuine speed in the final and hopefully they go hard from the start which will then give us a chance of finishing off late. “He’s beaten both Alleluia and Floyd Mayweather previously so I know he’s capable but the draw is unkind. Win, lose or draw this weekend, we’re looking at the Premiers Cup with him because he’s a good stand-start horse.” The Graham family are still on a high following the success of Brittany last weekend when successful in the BOTRA Young Drivers Championship series after edging out Hayden Barnes by a solitary point. In July, Brittany heads to North America along with Trent Moffat for a month long learning experience attending some of the country’s premier racetracks and training facilities. They were announced winners of the Mercedes Benz Centenary Classic Young Achievers Award at last year’s Awards night in Brisbane. Both Darrel and Linda are likely to make the trip to the land of Stars and Stripes in support of their daughter. by Chris Barsby

Harness racing reinsman Chris Voak believes Im A Peregrine has scope for further improvement after a top runaway win at Gloucester Park on Friday. Giving Voak the first leg of a driving treble, the Elsu gelding made it look easy when he put 17 metres on his nearest rival, favourite, Jumbo Jet. ”I thought he was my best winning chance on the night,” said Voak on Tabradio. “His runs prior were really good and I thought he would win. “He had to cover ground early and it was impressive. “I didn’t have to pull the plugs or anything and after the race he could have gone another lap. “That was the most impressive thing.” The Bucket List was sent out a short-priced favourite and gave punters little cause for concern when he swept past leader Northview Cardle in the straight. The Christian Cullen gelding posted his second win for trainer Michael Brennan and bounced back after a distant third in the Narrogin Cup. Despite winning comfortably by seven metres Voak said The Bucket List was made to earn his first victory at Gloucester Park. “When you get a standout like him he can become a target for the other horses,” said Voak. “I didn’t think he would have to run the time he did to win the race. “If you look at the sectionals The Bucket List had to work that much harder. “The leader in the race was a tremendous run. “It was good to see him dig in and have his class prevail. “It was a very tough and strong effort.” Voak said there was a sense of atonement when he piloted home Delusional from an outside draw to bring up a winning treble. Voak was behind the Rich and Spoilt gelding when he ran sixth to Fully Zapped at Gloucester Park seven days earlier “A week ago he drew favourably in barrier nine and three back the fence became available, but he got held up,” said Voak. “I kicked myself all week for driving him that way and I wasn’t going to make a mistake on Friday so it was good to get a bit of retribution back for Peter Tilbrook. “He went as well as I thought he would go and showed good tough qualities to hang on in the last 50 metres.” RWWA

A very interesting barrier draw has set up an intriguing race for Friday night's $40,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes at the harness  Gloucester Park. The logical pre-post favourite Libertybelle Midfrew has come up with a tricky alley in gate six and it appears on paper as though driver Mark Reed will have to 'take his medicine' early and look for a trailing position. The outstanding daughter of Christian Cullen was an effortless winner on resumption last Friday night when only required to sprint up the last 'furlong' to record an easy win in a mile rate of 1:58.5 (last 800m 55.7) for the 2536m. "She worked beautifully this morning (Wednesday) at Gloucester Park just dashing up the last little bit. She hasn't left an oat since her first up win and besides the draw, I couldn't be happier," said conditioner Mike Reed. The winner of last year's Group 1 Golden Nugget and the previous season's Group 1 WA Oaks has been imperious since arriving in WA, notching up a record of 10 wins from 15 starts. But there will be no pushover about Friday night's race given the way the draw has fallen. Indomitable has proven herself a sit sprint mare of considerable ability this campaign and driver Clinton Hall must certainly take credit for the consistency with which the Barry Morrison trained mare is now racing. Previously a very headstrong mare with blistering gate speed, Hall's 'softly softly' approach to driving Indomitable has seen her become a potent force in any race where there is early speed. He has piloted the daughter of former WA champion Saab to a remarkable 7 wins from only 16 drives. The early speed duel between Leda McNally, Dontdoubtme and Sensational Gabby will be central to the end result. Certainly Indomitable has the speed to hold up, but it is unlikely that they will shy away from the 'sit/sprint' style of racing that has served her so well this past 12 months. However, it is likely that they will have a strong say in who crosses them in the run through the first turn. Although Leda McNally is a top flight mare at her best, it is fair to say that she has been down on that form in recent times and it may be the case that Hall doesn't consider her a viable trailing option. Dontdoubtme is a very speedy mare that is well suited to short course racing. She resumed with a tidy second to Libertybelle Midfrew last week having come from the pocket, and she looms as a handy alternative given Clinton Hall will be privy to the progress she has made since that run. Along with Libertybelle, Sensational Gabby represents the class in this race, but as ever she remains questionable when unable to find the lead. She was unable to cross from a similar gate last week and her hopes rest on master driver Chris Lewis being able to fire her out with more alacrity. Trainer of the moment Justin Prentice is represented by classy duo Bettor Dreams and The Parade. Both mares are former WA Oaks place-getters and The Parade in particular has been in stunning form of late taking out the $35,000 Race for Roses last week, on the back of her win in the $25,000 The Johnson Final two weeks earlier. Better Dreams should not be dismissed however as she boasts an 8 from 14 record over this trip, and she has drawn to pinch cheap runs from a position on the marker pegs. Jason Lincoln.

The harness racing pundits were unsure pre race who was the most likely winner of this years $200,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Pace with several runners having their supporters. The All star barn had four runners involved and all had solid support on the tote with Lazarus the best supported of those due to his front row draw of six. Motu Premier and Tim Williams led from barrier two before handing up to Lazarus and Mark Purdon after 400 metres.  Art Form and David Butcher went forward from barrier eight to sit parked giving Shandale and Maurice McKendry the one by one. Going past the 900 metres, Maurice hooked Shandale out three wide but as soon as he did the speed went on up front and Shandale was left out there for the rest of the race. Lazarus brushed down the back in 28.8 before Mark Purdon really upped the ante with a last 400 metres in 26.8 to cruise home a comfortable victory by 2 1/4 lengths over a very game Shandale who kept coming in the straight to just nose out Motu Premier for second. Like a lot of the All Star barn , Lazarus is a son of Bettors Delight and was purchased out of last years New Zealand Premier yearling sale at Christchurch for $75,000 Lazarus paced the 1950 metres in 2:21.2, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.6 and 26.8. Mark Purdon was pleased with todays run. " He has gone really well today and was still going strong at the finish." " This has been his main aim all season so its good to get him here in such good form." " We have a big opinion of him and think he will make a really nice three year old," Mark said. Lazarus is owned by Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, T G Casey and K J Riseley and was bred by G Chin and Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He is the second foal and first colt out of the Christian Cullen mare Spirit Of Beth. Lazarus has now had the six lifetime starts for five wins and a second for $178,050 in earnings. You couldn't take the smile off Maurice McKendry's face post race. " Shandale has gone super and I was rapt with his performance." " He is still pretty inexperienced and got a bit lost when I pulled him out but he has fought on really well. " The good thing is I think there is still a fair bit of improvement left in him going forward," Maurice said. With the New Zealand Sires Stakes and Harness Jewels still to come, we are in for some very exciting racing over the next three weeks. Harnesslink Media    

The last pacer to win the Victorian “Mares Triple Crown” was the harness racing star whose name adorns the sprint feature at Tabcorp Park Friday night. Make Mine Cullen, a daughter of the mighty Christian Cullen, achieved the feat in 2012, winning the Cinderella Stakes, the Ladyship Cup and the Queen of the Pacific off 20 metres. The Mares Triple Crown these days, bearing in mind it is an unofficial term, consists of the Harness Breeders (Vic) Make Mine Cullen, a $25,275 1720-metre random barrier draw sprint, the Angelique Club Cup next Friday, a preferential barrier draw race worth $25,275 over 2240m, and the jewel – the $100,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific, a stand start 2760m race on Saturday, May 23. Before Make Mine Cullen, the last mare to achieve the Triple Crown was Golden Flyin for David Aiken in 2005. Tomorrow night’s Make Mine Cullen looks a tantalising contest on paper with proven five-year-old Frith the benchmark from barrier six up against rising star four-year-old Just Cala from the pole, and stalwart top-line mares Gumdrops (barrier three), Steam Washed (barrier five) and The Good Times (barrier eight) all capable of landing the knockout blow with the right run. Frith, by Four Starzzz Shark out of Jackie Kelly, boasts an extraordinary strike rate, having won 32 of her 44 career starts for $866,572 in prizemoney. Tomorrow night Frith lines up under the tutelage of Belinda and Luke McCarthy for the first time after transferring from the stables of Bruce Harpley. “She has settled in really well,” reinsman Luke McCarthy said of tomorrow night’s $1.35 TAB fixed odds favourite. “She’s been a champion at two, three and as a four-year-old and earned over $800,000 so she’s got a great record.” Just Cala is bound for the Harness Jewels in New Zealand after securing a coveted invite, the four-year-old by Art Major out of Lilsistar a winner of two of her past three assignments. She took out the HBV Ian Daff Memorial over Steam Washed by 2.2m over 1720m in 1:55.4, using the sprint lane from behind the leader to win with a 56.5secss last half and followed that up with a 1.4m win over Lierra Noir in an M0-M1 race over 2240m in a rate of 1:58 (last half 57.5secs), coming with a strong run late. Last start in the HBV Silver Chalice Just Cala sat outside the leader throughout before going down fighting by 3.1m against rising star mare Berisari, who nominated for tomorrow night’s race but didn’t accept. Asked where he thought Frith was compared to Just Cala, McCarthy said the fact his mare was a five-year-old probably tipped the ledger in her favour. “Just that year older, she’s a bit more seasoned I’d say.” Meanwhile, Chris Shinn is going in confident about Steam Washed from gate five. The tough mare has had a superb preparation this time in with wins in the HBV Jodies Babe over Goodtime Marjie and Beauty Secret in 1:53.5 at Melton and seconds in the Terang Cup behind Arden Rooney, the Ladyship Cup behind Majorly Foxy Styx and a third behind Guaranteed and Inter Dominion placegetter Flaming Flutter in the SA Cup. “I think she’d be up there with the top ones in Victoria,” Shinn said modestly of Steam Washed. “She’s got that form around the colts too, not just the mares. “We’ve had a lot of fun with her. She always earns a cheque.” Shinn had a word of warning race favourite Frith, who would love to find the lead unchallenged. “I think mine’s going real good, she gets out of the gate good so I think if we landed the front and Frith was parked, I’d give us a good chance (of upstaging Frith),” he said. “Unless there’s been a heap of pressure on I think we’d be hard to beat if we were in front at the corner.” by Cody Winnell Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 08 May 2015 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 08 May 2015

Twelve months ago harness racing trainer Gary Quinlan celebrated a victory in the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old fillies at Tabcorp Park Menangle when Queen Of Pop scored at the odds of 30 to 1.  Mark Purdon’s filly Supersonic Miss was expected to win the rich final comfortably after annihilating her rivals in the semi final but could only finish fourth. This year’s lead up to the APG for two year old colts and geldings is eerily similar.  Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon has the raging hot favourite, Our Waikiki Beach that is yet to taste defeat and Quinlan’s entrant Most Happy Cullen is given very little chance of winning by the bookmakers. “I didn’t think Queen Of Pop was a chance of beating Supersonic Miss last year in the final and I actually thought my filly may have been better placed in the consolation but everything fell into place and we got the win in the big one,” Quinlan said. “It is the same this year, I can’t see how my horse Most Happy Cullen can turn the tables on Our Waikiki Beach but I’m happy to be in the APG anyway.” Most Happy Cullen squeezed into the final field after running fifth in Saturday night’s semi final behind Our Waikiki Beach. “We were 30 metres off the winner in the semi but to be honest I was a little bit concerned going into the race because I thought Our Waikiki Beach might lead and get a very comfortable middle half and that doesn’t suit my horse, he needs to sit on the back of a solid tempo.” “I was really pleased with Most Happy Cullen, he got a bad check on the first turn but recovered well and chased hard in that final (26.6 second) quarter.” While Quinlan will be cheering his runner home on Sunday afternoon he confirmed he does have a soft spot for Our Waikiki Beach. “Debbie and I prepared Our Waikiki Beach for the sales, we both had a lot of time for him, he would free leg on the jogger and it didn’t surprise us that he has turned out to be a nice horse.” “The horse was bred by the Fusinato family and they have been clients of ours for about 25 years and have put together a really nice band of broodmares.” The Fusinato family also retain a 50% share in Most Happy Cullen after they bred the son of Christian Cullen. “He is a full brother to Jazzam and I think with a bit of time he is going to be a really nice horse.” “It is going to be a big weekend for the stable, we’ve got two fillies in the APG semi finals on Friday night so hopefully it is a good one.” Sydney reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick will retain the drive after partnering the two year old on Saturday night in the semi final. Greg Hayes

The harness racing meeting in Hobart on Sunday night served up eight odds-on favourites on the eight-event card and had it not been for a bolter winning the fourth event it would have been a clean sweep for punters. The first three favourites saluted with all-the-way wins including the Nathan Ford-trained Supersub that made the most of the pole position to lead comfortably. It was a stroll in the park for the gelded son of Christian Cullen and it was a gun drive from novice driver Tayla Ford who has delivered some brilliant efforts in the sulky of late. Supersub was well placed in the C3-C4 event that offer a mare and novice driver concession. The gelding covered the 2090 metres in 2m.35s and clocked a mile rate of 1.59.4 and covered his last 800m in 59.3. Ford kept Supersub's mind on the job over the concluding stages because he had shown a tendency to let his mind wander in a couple of previous races. Supersub has won three and notched six second placings from his 13 starts in Tasmania with his overall record standing at nine wins and 20 minor placings from 65 starts for $62,528 in stakes. He arrived from NSW in September last year and after three unplaced efforts he has developed into a very handy pacer that has bright prospects. Peter Staples

With this years harness racing season moving into its eighth month, we thought it a good time to look at any trends in the sires charts in Australia. A quick look told us the overall sires list is little changed from the last few seasons with the same four sires once again holding sway. The leader once again is the champion sire in Bettor's Delight who holds an $800,000 lead over his arch rival Art Major with over a $2,000,000 gap back to Christian Cullen in third and another $500,000 back to Mach Three in fourth.  These four sires have been the leading quartet for a few years now and nothing has materialized in the last few seasons to suggest that is going to change any time soon. When you go to the three year old sires list the roles are reversed with Art Major holding a $150,000 lead over Bettors Delight with Sportswriter another $200,000 back in third with Somebeachsomewhere making up the top four another $80,000 back. With the leading two three year old sires in Art Major and Bettor's Delight having plenty of classic runners to represent them in the latter part of the season, the battle for three year old supremacy looks likely to be decided between these two champion sires. When you go to the two year old sires list, Art Major is once again at the head of the class followed closely by Courage Under Fire and then Rock N Roll Heaven and Rocknroll Hanover. The first season sire Rock N Roll Heaven has started to replicate his North American siring performance with five of his seven winners being fillies and he should get a further boost on that front when the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly MacKenzie lines up in the APG heat at Menangle on Saturday night. Courage Under Fire has always had the ability to throw up that outstanding youngster and he looks to have another ready made star in Don't Hold Back whose effortless win in a stunning 1:53.7 at Melton was the star turn amongst the juveniles so far this season in our opinion. As has been noted several times before, three of the four leading overall sires on the Australian sires list are based in New Zealand. It is to be hoped that one or two of the newer sires available to breeders that are based in Australia can come through in the next couple of years to challenge the Kiwi domination. Harnesslink Media 

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