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The Tip Top Grandpa story encapsulates so much we love about this great game, harness racing. The 10-year-old trotter today won his third race, taking out the Niota Bloodstock Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton.  While 10-year-olds winning races in the trots is not a rarity, this fella didn’t debut until he turned 10 last September. Trained, bred and owned by veteran horseman Charlie Farrugia, 80, Tip Top Grandpa has been a revelation since the team decided to give him another shot at making the track. Previously they had tried at him as a much younger horse, at age 3 and 4, but it wasn't to be. Until it was. Winning driver Darren Zahra explained on Trots Vision that Tip Top Grandpa had just been living life on the property and enjoying himself as one of Farrugia’s several pet horses. “They’re all his pets,” Zahra told hosts Dan Mielicki and Rob Auber today. “If you told him he had a slow one he wouldn’t believe you. They’re all good horses to him.” Such love for the standardbred is also not a rarity in the game, but to be reminded of it again in such a way as today’s win at Tabcorp Park Melton is something to capture. Tip Top Grandpa is out of a mare by Tip Top Prince who never raced, and Grandpa is her first and only foal. Hear more from Zahra post-race below.    HRV - Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced two of Victoria’s premier harness races, the 2020 Victoria Cup and 2021 Great Southern Star, will carry more prizemoney.   HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said the additional prizemoney for the races would be funded without change to HRV’s current stakemoney budget following New South Wales’ decision to postpone its Inter Dominion hosting until 2021. Bell also announced Australia’s premier trotting event, the Great Southern Star, would revert to its original format of two heats into a final (all over 1720 metres) on the one night and would be hosted on an all-trotting Friday night card during the 2021 Summer of Glory. “We are pleased to announce prizemoney increases to two of our major events and for the Great Southern Star to be returning to its original exciting format,” Bell said. “On the Great Southern Star changes, it is important we recognise that trotting is a huge part of HRV’s international strategy. In time, the hope is we will regularly secure international participation in the Great Southern Star as part of a series of Victorian trotting features during summer. “The Victoria Cup is a prestigious Grand Circuit pacing event. Traditionally it has been seen as our Cox Plate. We’re pleased to be able to honour the event with prizemoney more befitting its status.” It was announced last week that the Victoria Cup would remain in its October timeslot, Saturday night October 10, the night of the Caulfield Guineas meeting. The Great Southern Star will be held on a new all-trotting card at Tabcorp Park Melton on the Friday night before the A.G. Hunter Cup during the 2021 Summer of Glory. The Victoria Cup will carry $300,000 worth of prizemoney, while the Great Southern Star will be made up of two $50,000 heats into a $300,000 final.   HRV - Cody Winnell

On today's edition of SENTrack's Talking Trots on Track host Jason Bonnington put a question to Victoria’s leading trainer: “At his best is Ride High the best horse in the country?” Emma Stewart, partner of Ride High’s trainer Clayton Tonkin, simply responded “yes”. And that’s the news we wanted to hear ahead of the star five-year-old’s return in the $20,000 Vale Rod Osborne Pace at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Stewart was full of praise for the son of Art Major, who boasts 10 wins from his 11 starts to date with a 1:55.2 best mark at Melton over 2240m, a 53.7sec last 800m at Melton over 2240m in the 4&5yo Championship, and a 25.7sec last 400m explosion in the three-year-old Breeders Crown Final of 2018. “It’s really exciting to have him back,” Stewart said. Listen to the full podcast of the interview below. Watch Ride High's recent Ballarat trial win below.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Victorian harness racing is tonight mourning a dear industry friend after the passing of Rod Osborne. Mr Osborne died peacefully today aged 86 after a lengthy battle with illness. He is survived by wife Helen, daughters Catherine and Marilyn and son Craig. During his first role at HRV, now CEO Dayle Brown worked closely with Mr Osborne on a number of integrity matters. “Rod was a great mentor and support to many stewards. I personally had the opportunity to work alongside Rod on many occasions and he will be very sadly missed,” Mr Brown said. “On behalf of HRV sincere condolences are extended to Rod’s wife, Helen, daughters Catherine and Marilyn, and son, Craig during this difficult time.” Last year Mr Osborne was bestowed with HRV’s Distinguished Services Award for his long and valuable contribution to the industry. HRV General Manager of Integrity, Brent Fisher, knew Mr Osborne well and paid tribute to a dear friend and valued colleague. “Rod was such a proud man and someone of the highest integrity,” Mr Fisher said. “He provided exemplary service on the former HRV Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board for nearly 10 years. He also went out of his way to be supportive and to encourage stewards in their duties. Rod was very obliging with his time and an extremely knowledgeable man. He could quote rules in the rule book verbatim like some people could sing pop songs.” Mr Osborne was also a former successful driver in his own right and won many races. That knowledge and experience no doubt assisted him enormously in his transition to steward. “Receiving the HRV Distinguished Service Award last year was such a proud moment for Rod and the joy on his face when presented that award with his wife of 63 years Helen was a magic moment,” Mr Fisher said. Click here to read Brent Fisher's January Integrity Matters Q&A with Rod Osborne   HRV - Cody Winnell

As Victorian harness racing prepares for the return of metropolitan and feature racing from July 1, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will increase stakemoney at Friday and Saturday meetings on June 19-20 and 26-27. The idea is designed to thank participants for their support of the regional setup, which has been in place since early April, and prepare punters for a return to metro racing. “At the Shepparton meetings on Friday June 19 and 26 and the Melton meetings on Saturday June 20 and 27 we’ll have a ‘metro style’ card,” HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said. “We’ll have over $100,000 in stakemoney up for grabs at each of those four meetings – so $400,000 in stakemoney across the four programs. “We will be programming three $20,000 races on each of those cards, which will help to stimulate the active horse population as we look to roll out of the regions on July 1.” Meanwhile, Victoria’s time-honoured Mares’ Triple Crown will this year be recognised officially with HRV naming the series in honour of a long-time industry stalwart. The Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown will launch with the Make Mine Cullen Pace on August 22, before continuing with the Angelique Club Pace on August 29, and culminating with the $100,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific on September 5. And should a mare this year complete the Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown by winning all three races, as The Orange Agent did in 2017, a bonus of $20,000 will be paid to winning connections. A $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the mare which accumulates the most points throughout the three-race series. The announcement comes as HRV today unveiled its feature race program for July and August. “We’re pleased to be able to announce the features for July and August and within the next fortnight we’ll unveil the remainder of the Victorian feature race calendar,” HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said. “I’m aware there are questions regarding the popular Redwood Classic day. I can confirm that event will be rescheduled to a later date this year, but all will be revealed in coming days.” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith acknowledged the “outstanding” contribution Elizabeth Clarke (pictured) has made to harness racing in Victoria. “Elizabeth has given a lifetime of service to this industry and we’re pleased to unveil the Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown,” Mr Monteith said. “Elizabeth was a fantastic HRV Board member with a strong focus on corporate governance principles, financial management and integrity functions. As I have stated previously her empathy for the participants and business acumen was second to none.” Among other roles, Clarke has served on the HRV Integrity Council, the Harness Racing Advisory Council, the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board and the Terang Harness Racing Club.   HRV - Cody Winnell

'The maestro of Melton' Dan Mielicki produced another virtuoso performance as Harness Racing Victoria's morning trots trial roared to life at Tabcorp Park today. Mielicki, the voice of harness racing in Victoria, delivered one of the more memorable calls as the rain fell at Melton – referencing a classic Seinfeld racing line in Race 3. Rather than tell you what was said, check it out for yourself below in the video! The morning trots are being beamed around Australia via Sky Racing and into the United States for wagering and viewing on Saturday mornings for a three-week trial period. The US folk would undoubtedly have appreciated the Seinfeld line and will be looking forward to the next two Saturday morning Aus time (Friday night US) programs. Michael “King” Cole and Greg “The Candyman” Sugars took driving honours on the seven-race card with winning doubles.   HRV - Cody Winnell

About his in-form pacer Betternbetter, Keith Cotchin is circumspect. The Elmore horseman would be forgiven for being up and about and declaring big things for the impressive son of Betterthancheddar after his third straight win last night at Bendigo. But on his jet, Cotchin’s jets remained cool. “He seems to be coming back to some sort of form,” he told today's Trots Review. “The horse seems to have matured and is really starting to race with that keenness again to find the line.” Driven by Tayla French, 23, whose star is on the rise, Betternbetter (pictured) is three-from-three. “She’s done a great job,” Cotchin said. “She’s a nice girl and she’s been under a bit of pressure with him being an odds-on favourite. And it’s hard when you say you don’t want to be whizzing around to the death and that. She’s done a great job and has really clicked with him.” There is little doubt French’s star is on the rise. At Betternbetter’s last couple of wins the 23-year-old has remained ultra-composed and been able to extricate the pacer from tricky positions in the run. “I’m rapt for her,” Cotchin said. “She’s a good driver and this will give her a good kick-along.” During region-raced racing Cotchin said he would take it “day by day” with Betternbetter. “As far as medical and soundness viewpoints go the horse is fine and there’s no reason we can’t keep racing but we probably won’t do a lot until the regions open up again,” he said. “He’s a hard horse to rate because he’s just a very average track-worker and doesn’t set the world on fire, but when he goes to the races he goes to another level and that showed again last night. “Hopefully he’ll keep going through the classes. He is exciting.” Last night’s win takes Betternbetter’s record to 11 wins from 22 starts for over $75,000 in stakes. French finished with a winning double after earlier success aboard Joeys Hangover for her dad, trainer Terry French, in the Illusion Emblems Digital Printing Service Pace to open the program. Other winners were Lola Devereux in the North West Ag Services Trot, Mascott in the Share Media Trot, Ringer Russ in the Sheahan Plumbing Pace, Gobsmacked in the Bendigo Party Hire Pace, Ozzie Battler in the J L King & Co Pace, and Our Doreen Days in the Yorkshire Park Standardbreds Pace. Meanwhile at Shepparton Josh Aiken piloted a winning treble aboard Watchmedazzle in the Central Tyre Service 2YO Pace, Joonior Brown in the Your Sold Real Estate Pace and Janjuc in the Barastoc Pace. David Moran finished with a winning double aboard Santa Casa Beach in the Hunter Rural 3YO Pace and RNR Windemere in the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace. Other winners were Fullofmischief in the Alabar Maiden, Royal Admiral in the Cottrell Electrical Maiden and Rockin In Memphis in the Neatline Homes Pace.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants   Ballarat tonight Race 2 – Ballarat Mazda 2YO Pace Dougs Babe (2yo filly by Western Terror out of Dougs Courage, trained and driven by Geoff Webster) First foal from a 23-time winning daughter of Courage Under Fire.   Platinum Sparkle (2yo filly by Bettors Delight out of Bollinger Baby, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Jodi Quinlan) Full-sister to five-time winning Bossanova Bay, out of Christian Cullen mare who won 10 races and $67k in stakemoney.   Tuppence (2yo gelding by Lincoln Royal out of Star Crossed, trained by Geoff Webster and driven by David Murphy) Out of a daughter of Art Major, who won 12 races from 36 starts. This is her first foal.   Tough Tilly (2yo filly by Captaintreacherous out of Beninjurd, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Kate Gath) Out of Art Major mare Beninjurd, this girl’s a half-sister to star juvenile Centenario and Somedan.   Act Now (2yo colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of Mollys Ideal, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by John Caldow) First foal to the races from a daughter of American Ideal.   Sumomentsomewhere (2yo gelding by Somebeachsomewhere out of Special Moments, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars) First foal from three-time winning daughter of Bettors Delight.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Victorian Harness Racing Club (VHRC) are pleased to announce a significant new media partnership. HRV’s live digital streaming service Trots Vision will broadcast The Parade Ring sponsored by the VHRC – Victorian harness racing’s preeminent club for trots owners – at every Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday night meeting. The VHRC also joins the RSN family through this HRV partnership with the long-time weekly trots show Gait Speed now sponsored by the VHRC. “The VHRC is firmly committed to working alongside HRV to add value to our industry and promote the great game wherever possible,” VHRC’s Rob Auber said. “Trots Vision is a wonderful media platform which provides great value for owners and participants who cannot be at the track and now they are able to see their horse in The Parade Ring brought to you by VHRC. “We are also thrilled to align our VHRC brand to RSN’s Gait Speed program, which can be heard every Monday on RSN Central with Gareth Hall. Dan Mielicki and I are regulars on that show and we’re looking forward to continuing to bring great stories to life for the benefit of the listeners and the industry. “We are honoured to partner with HRV and this will be the first of many exciting VHRC projects. We hope all owners and industry lovers will support our club with its membership initiatives for 2020-21 and we’re confident the harness industry will only grow if we are prepared to all support each other and pull in the one direction.” HRV General Manager of Marketing Andrew English welcomed the new partnership and spoke highly of the role VHRC has played over many years. “The VHRC has been an integral part of the Victorian trots industry for a long time and HRV is excited to extend this partnership to encompass two of our key media brands in The Parade Ring on Trots Vision and Gait Speed on RSN,” English said. “I congratulate the VHRC team, and Rob Auber in particular, not only for the exemplary work he does as one of our hosts on Trots Vision, but also for the way in which he is working so effectively in his role with the VHRC and for the greater good of our industry as a whole. “HRV is thrilled to be working so closely with the VHRC to develop our mutual vision, which will only strengthen the entire harness racing industry for many years to come.”   HRV - Cody Winnell

Long-time harness racing aficionado Ken Whelan was back in the winners’ stall yesterday at Ballarat trots. The astute horseman produced four-year-old trotter Charlie Walker to win the TAB, Long May We Play Trot. Driven by John Caldow, Charlie Walker (pictured) settled three back on the fence from the pole as a 50-1 shot in Well Deserved set the pace. Turning for home Caldow was angling for runs, and when Well Deserved galloped he was able to steer around that horse and manoeuvre into the gap for a narrow triumph. The victory was win No.1 for Charlie Walker at his 12th start, but there’s no doubting his ability, showing several glimpses of a breakthrough before yesterday. “When I broke him in, I thought he’d be really smart because he could skip over the ground pretty good without asking him to run and he’s never been a silly horse,” Whelan said. “He is a bit hesitant to do something new on the racetrack and he shies a bit, but I think he’ll make a nice racehorse.” And Whelan would know. The horsemanship history among his family goes back generations. His father’s parents and grandparents had the “cabs and coaches” business at Maryborough dating back to the goldrush days. “They would tell me that they often would carry 50 or 60 miners pulled by eight horses in hand and my father drove the cabs from the station as a boy and the hearse to the cemetery,” Whelan said. Whelan’s father, Bill Whelan, “WJ”, trained horses successfully over many years, picking up club premierships at tracks like Maryborough, St Arnaud, Charlton and Ouyen and having periods of dominance at the Showgrounds during the 1960s. “We had nice horses back then. I think we had about five horses go to free-for-all company. We had Doxa Joe too, who was the fastest Australian bred horse ever to go America at the time, named after the Doxa Youth Centre at Malmsbury and its founder Father Joe Giacobbe,” Whelan said. “Geoff McDonald was very friendly with him and he bred Doxa Joe and Robin Guy. We had them both. Doxa Joe was sold to American and went 1:53.0.” Ken and his father had an enormous setback in 1985 after the central Victorian bushfire, which started in Avoca, burnt out their property. “I shifted to Smeaton, which is now Lawrence, and started up,” Ken said. Some of his best winners along the way since have been Gerry Leigh, Kenfig Boy and Puhinui Jim “They were handy horses. Puhinui Jim was first class but he had a bad accident one night at Moonee Valley and only ever won one race after that. He won 18 or 19 races from about 24 starts and broke two minutes most times he went around,” he said. In September of 1995 Whelan broke his back in a race fall when at the peak of his powers, having won multiple club premierships in the weeks leading up to that accident. “I crushed vertebrae and was in lot of trouble for a long time. I still wear a brace. A horse fell on top of me upside down on the cart,” he said. Whelan also explained that long-time harness figure Len Baker and his father raced numerous horses with the family over the years. Asked about his best memories, Whelan said a win of Roman Chapel one night at Globe Derby was “pretty special” driving for Trevor Spry. But those wins such as Charlie Walker are the most satisfying. “When you break one in, get him going and then train him, it doesn’t matter what race it is, that is the greatest pleasure you get,” Whelan said. One of Charlie Walker’s owners, Geoff Walker, has a grandfather whose second name is Charlie, Ken explained, adding “he was going to call him something ridiculous and my wife, Merna, said, ‘Why don’t you just call him Charlie Walker?’ So that’s how he got his name.” Other winners at Ballarat were Indigo Dancer (A Rocknroll Dance-Tauto Jane) for Ricky Ryan and Caldow, Ofortuna (Majestic Son-Fortunate Phoenix) for Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan, Better Boppa (Betterthancheddar-C C Bopper) for Emmett and Richard Brosnan, Jobells Image (Always A Virgin-Arts Image) for Emma Stewart and Greg Sugars, Abouttime (Art Major-Limerick Star) for Stewart and Sugars, Im A Denny Too (Art Major-Pricillas Girl) for Dennis Grieve and Sugars, and Pradason (Shadow Play-Stylish Jasper) for trainer-driver Allan McDonough. At Shepparton last night the winners were Santa Casa Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Lombo Sleek Street) for Russell Jack and David Moran, Hateitwhenyourrite (Lucky Chucky-Adhesive) for David Abrahams and Brent Thomson, Well Well (Well Said-Johnola Babe) for Rosemarie and Paul Weidenbach, Hanover Sunshine (All Speed Hanover-Beverley Button) for Mark Buckingham, Sofala (Safari-Sass And Bling) for Donna Castles, Blingittothemax (Art Major-Alldatglittersisgold) for David and Josh Aiken, Alta Mach (Mach Three-Alta Vista) for Shayne Eeles, and Golden Sand (Somebeachsomewhere-Fususi) for trainer-driver Laura Crossland. First-Starter Form A quick guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1 Keilah (3yo filly by Art Major out of Shakeilah, trained by Luke Stapleton and driven by Alex Ashwood) Out of a Bendigo debutant winning daughter of In The Pocket, who has already produced 13-time winner Thatswhatisaid (by Well Said) and I Will Rock You (by Rock N Roll Heaven). They went 1:51.4 and 1:52.5 respectively. The mare has a 100% strike rate for her foals to the races, so that suggests there’s a win in this girl at some stage. Roxy Royale (3yo filly by Pet Rock out of Baroda Bess, trained and driven by Ross Graham) This filly is out of an unraced Armbro Operative mare, who has so far produced Animated (1:53.6, 21 wins from 103 starts and still racing well) and Sports Bounty (eight wins, 1:55.5).   Race 2 Tellmesumthingirl (3yo filly by Julius Caesar out of Parisian Operative, trained and driven by Dylan Marshall) This filly is from a one-time winning daughter of Armbro Operative who has not yet produced a foal to the races.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Balmoral trainer Janet Exell is happily carrying on a family dynasty started by her grandfather, Arthur, and carried on by her father, Ken.  Ken trained in the Wimmera town of Goroke for years, as did Arthur, but when he passed away three years ago Janet took out her trainer's licence and continued the family's green silk colours.  Last night five-year-old trotting gelding Show Me The Moolah, trained by Janet, won the Southwest Conveyancing Trotters Handicap over 2180m with Jason Ainsworth in the sulky.   Janet, who also has show horses that she takes around the country for competition, now has five in work and has won eight races since taking up her trots licence in 2016-17. “My dad passed away three years ago and that’s when I decided I’d take out my trainer’s licence,” Janet said. “I’d always worked horses with him ever since I was big enough to be able to hold the reins. I got my licence because I wanted to keep his colours going because he got those when he was 16 in 1949.” Show Me The Moolah has now won three races for Janet this year, and that number could be higher as the son of Allawart Ray – a Wimmera trotter who actually contested an Inter Dominion at Harold Park and ran third behind Pride of Petite in a heat of the 1998 Australasian Trotting Championship – has made mistakes at his two runs between those wins. Janet said Show Me The Moolah was “a difficult animal”. “He’s really anxious. He pulls hard. Even at home I try and keep him relaxed but he just wants to go flat out the whole time. I have broken in many, many, many harness horses in my time and he is the slowest and dumbest learner I’ve ever had,” she said. “I’ve persisted because I always knew he had talent, but he’s tested my patience to the nth degree. I used to spend all my times at the trials getting off a bar. He’d break, break, break, break. “But I’ve tried to do things differently at home to settle him down. And Jason (Ainsworth) is a lovely fella and he’s been listening. He’s a great guy. “Ray Holbertson has also been a huge help. Since my father passed away Ray has helped me so much.” But the penny appears to be dropping with Show Me The Moolah. “I used to get frustrated and upset. I knew he was fast and could do good things. He hasn’t actually been put under any real pressure yet,” Janet said. Janet’s other trotter, Keepthedream, which ran third to Show Me The Moolah last night, will be retired to a breeding career at the end of the season. “She’s been so reliable, the ‘beautiful redhead’,” she said. “She’s off to stud at the end of the season and will go to Great Success.” Kolovos scored success first-up for Aaron Dunn, the latest of Stevie Blacker’s stable acquisitions – a Bettors Delight gelding out of New Zealand, in the Warrnambool Hydraulics Pace. Kolovos rated 2:01.7 to defeat Sporty Culture as a short-priced favourite. Peter and Kerryn Manning combined to win the Cervus Equipment Terang 2YO Pace with Alta Christiano filly Jaziah, which rated 1:56.7 to upstage Keayang Kamikaze by 2.4m. Dunn and Blacker doubled up in the Mt Noorat Freighters 3YO Pace with three-year-old Art Major colt Silent Major upstaging Kowalski Analysis in 1:59.6. Impressive Shadow Play colt Troubadour continued his rise with victory in the Morsbearings Pace for trainer Jeff McLean. Driven by son Tim, Troubadour showed enormous depth to lift off the canvas from the home turn for a 1.9m win in the breeze over Jilliby Galwaygirl in 2:00.1. Trotter Travel Bug took out the Terang Co-Op Rural Store Handicap over 2180m from the stand for Jason McNaulty and James Herbertson. The four-year-old Dream Vacation gelding defeated champion Sparkling Success by 4.7m, the latter starting from a 40-metre handicap, with the winner off 20m. Driver Sofia Arvidsson produced a peach of a steer aboard Crime Writer to take out the Phonse Hickey Memorial Plate for trainer Matthew Craven. Initially leading, Crime Writer took cover when Jackie Barker made a dashing move aboard Im Sir Blake with a lap to go. Crime Writer sprinted sharply up the lane late to score a 3m win over Stroke Of Luck in 1:58.4. Jilliby Sylvester took out the last race, the Goodtime Lodge Pace, for Marg Lee and Jason Lee by a short half-head in 1:56.1 over Rollova. Trainer Brent Lilley was the dominant force at Kilmore last night, training four winners. Lilley produced Here Comes Kyvalley to claim the MC Labour 2YO Trotters Handicap, Robbie Royale to win the Kilmore Trackside Trot, Kyvalley Clichy to capture the North Central Review Trot, and talented fast-class pacer Sicario for success in the Momentum Gaming Pace. Three of the four winners were driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, with Brad Chisholm aboard Kyvalley Clichy. Charlie Farrugia and Darren Zahra combined to win the Beraldo Coffee Pace by a head to open the program, the eight-year-old son of Safari narrowly defeating Lola Montez. Express Beauty won the Bendigo Club 3YO Pace for in-form trainer-driver David Miles, the daughter of Art Major well too good for her rivals in 1:58.1. Red White An Bloom won the Jet Roofing 3YO Trot for trainer-driver Chris Lang by a neck over Van Sank, while Nota Replica for Lisa Miles was victorious in the C & M Build Group Pace.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s debutants Ballarat Today Race 2 Beautiful Woman (3yo filly by Art Major out of Kabbalah Karen B, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Greg Sugars) Beautifully bred daughter of nine-time winning Western Terror mare, who has produced Our Little General (78 starts, 25 wins, 1:49.8, $685k) and Kasbah Kid (53 starts, 14 wins, 1:54.3, $155k). Beautiful Woman is a full-sister to Kasbah Kid.   Shepparton Tonight Race 3 Payup Orleave (4yo gelding by Live Or Die out of Orta Be Ruthless, trained by Shane Pangrazio and driven by Josh Aiken) Out of a 19-time winning mare from 54 starts, this debutant is a half-sister to Weeks End (51 starts, 14 wins, 1:56.8, $84k), Ruthless Armbro (15 wins from 84 starts, 1:53.2, $87k) and Ortabe Good who won three races. Macwrecker (5yo gelding by Grinfromeartoear out of Illawong Katrina, trained by Fiona Widdup and driven by David Moran) Out of a maiden mare, who was a daughter of Presidential Ball. The dam has produced one to the races, Illawong Knight, who won two races.   HRV - Cody Winnell

For the first time ever Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria will host Saturday morning trots and dogs meetings from May 9. Victorian harness and greyhound meetings will feature on Saturday mornings for an initial three-week period from May 9-23. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO Dayle Brown and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) CEO Alan Clayton issued a joint statement to announce the news this morning. “Saturday morning racing presents an important strategic opportunity for our racing codes. The additional race meetings will provide extra earning potential for our hard-working participants and enable our products to reach new audiences during a period when people are hungry for sporting entertainment. We thank our Victorian Racing Industry (VRI) partners and Tabcorp for backing this initiative and welcome the initial three-week arrangement. Each of these meetings will be thoroughly reviewed from a wagering, broadcast and brand perspective. This will help guide our future strategy regarding Saturday morning racing. We are also pleased to be working so collaboratively on this project.” Tabcorp Park Melton will host the three Saturday morning trots meetings, while the greyhound meetings will be held Ballarat, May 9 and May 16, and Shepparton, May 23.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Four more winners to Alex Ashwood has him leading driver of the Central Region by two after last night’s Bendigo trots at Lord’s Raceway. From six drives Ashwood scooped the four wins plus two thirds. It means Ashwood has a winning strike rate of over 30 per cent under the regional model. The first of the quartet last night came aboard Trevor Patching-trained seven-year-old Julius Caesar mare Pippa One Two, who was lining up for just her second start after an almost four-year layoff in the first race, the Charlton & District Community Bank Maiden Pace. Pippa and Ashwood had to fight hard though to overcome early leader Will He Star, who refused to lie down in the straight under the urging of Shannon O’Sullivan, the $23 outsider only beaten a head at the post. Ray Cross and Rodney Lakey combined for a winner in the Illusion Emblems Digital Printing Service 3YO Trot, with Imperial Count filly Countess Chiron overhauling odds-on favourite Lotta Fuss late for a 4.9m win. Ashwood combined with partner Kate Hargreaves to claim the Bush’s Produce 3YO Pace with Pet Rock filly Wicked Azz (pictured), scoring by 1.1m over Lets Make Tracks, who made a sustained bid for victory around the outside for Mick Carbone. Ashwood’s treble came in the fourth, the Gold Central Victoria Trotters Handicap, aboard Kent Harpley-trained Belltopperboy, which drew clear of Delarose late for a 7.7m win. Trevor Patching brought up a training double as Ashwood made it four in the TLC Carpentry Pace, seven-year-old gelding Busters Grin proving a neck too good for short-priced favourite Exciter in the first leg of the quaddie. Veteran reinsman Brian Gath continued his terrific affinity with Ross Graham-trained Nephew Of Sonoko, winning his second straight race aboard the four-year-old in the Oxley Feed Mill Trotters Handicap. Gath sent Nephew Of Sonoko to the front via a dashing mid-race move and the son of Danny Bouchea always travelled strongly from there, drawing clear at the finish to rate 2:02.2 over 2150m to score by 9m over Well Defined, with Aleppo Murphy in third. The brilliant form of Ace Duigan continued in the Bendigo Sky Boat Centre Pace, with Shannon O’Sullivan guiding the Michael Mannix-trained eight-year-old to an all-the-way win. Ace Duigan has won three and placed four of his last eight starts, including two wins on the spin. Last night he rated 1:56.3 over 2150m to defeat The High Roller by 7m with Belittled in third. Clarenden Dazzler, trained and driven by Glenn Douglas, completed the program with victory in the Northern Rivers Equine Veterinary Clinic Pace, scoring by a half-neck over Von Ponder in 1:59.0. Meanwhile, yesterday’s daytime trots spotlight was on Tabcorp Park Melton where John Justice picked up a training/driving double. Talented four-year-old trotter Hatchback saluted for Justice in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap in 2:04.8 from the stand over 2240m, defeating Ginger Gleeson’s consistent tryer Majestic Eyes by 3m. That win capped a race-to-race double for Justice, who also won the Pryde’s EasiFeed 3YO Pace with Long Weekend, which bolted home by 8.4m over Matts Delight in 1:57.8. Rhys Nicholson took out the first race, the DNR Logistics Pace, aboard John McCullagh-trained Art Major mare Yannarie, the four-year-old scoring by 14m over Luv Me Or Hate Me in 2:01.8. Trotter Carnera appreciated a drop in grade to take out the Dynamic Print Group Trotters Handicap for trainer-driver Lance Justice, saluting by 2.6m over Celtic Rose in 2:04.7 from the stand. Michael Cole’s four-year-old gelding Auckland Red won the third, the Allied Express Pace, in 1:56.3, defeating David Murphy’s Ghostly Silence by 7.1m. Anne-Maree Conroy-trained Querencia won the Talking Trots on SENTrack Trot, Race 4, with Glenn Conroy in the sulky. The four-year-old son of Andover Hall charged home to overhaul Im Notta Trotter, who produced a bold frontrunning display for Brooke Sadler only to be nabbed late. Well-backed Speedy Mach won the Beraldo Coffee Pace for trainer Chris Mifsud and driver Joe Pace, while the meeting finished with a long-shot victory to Tiwanaku in the TAB, Long May We Play Pace, for trainer Steve Zammit and reinsman Luke Tabone.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today's trots debut runners  Kilmore Tonight Race 2: Pepperberry (3yo filly by Major Bronski out of Rock Melody, trained and driven by Monique Burnett) Out of a two-time winning daughter of Pacific Rocket, this filly is a half to one-time winner Have No Choice. Broadway And Fifth (3yo filly by Art Major out of Broadway Play, trained by Shannon McLean and driven by Chris Alford) Out of the brilliant Safely Kept mare Broadway Play (65 starts, 20 wins, $173k, 1:57.3), this filly is a full sister to Live On Broadway (10 wins from 12 starts). Comfortable trial winner at Cranbourne on April 18.   Race 3 Im Josephine (2yo filly by Im Stately out of Spannerintheworks, trained and driven by Joe Attard) Out of a two-time winning daughter of Safely Kept, Im Josephine is a half-sister to talented 13-time winning trotter Ten Spanners. Whos The Man (2yo gelding by Angus Hall out of Oh Yes Indeed, trained and driven by Chris Svanosio) Out of eight-time winning daughter of Sundon Oh Yes Indeed, who has produced six impressive winners, including Earl Of Stanton (10 wins from 155 starts, $64k, 2:03.6), My Mate Mal (14 wins, 164 starts, $73k, 2:05.6), The Boss Man (20 wins from 82 starts, $265k, 1:58.6) and Anywhere Hugo (9 wins from 39 starts, $146k, 1:57.8). Aldebaran My (2yo filly by Father Patrick out of Aldebaran Daisy) Out of an eight-time winning daughter of Eilean Donon. This is her second foal. Sovereign Tiger (2yo gelding by Majestic Son out of Dawn Tears) Out of a six-time winning daughter of Earl. This debutant is her first foal. Granddam was Golden Teardrops, who threw six-time winner Dawn Tears and four-time winner Sovereign Minx.     HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

The Lord’s Raceway story was Rod Lakey last night, the resuming reinsman who, after 14 years out of the sulky, has not missed a beat since his racetrack return earlier this month. Lakey’s winning double last night came aboard two long-shots, and he is quickly making a name for himself as someone who can land the knockout blow aboard unwanted commodities in the betting. The first winner came in the opener, the World’s Best Hoof Oil Pace, aboard Tiza Nightmare for trainer Shane Organ (pictured absolutely dominating his rivals!). Tiza Nightmare, a nine-year-old son of Tiz A Masterpiece, drew away for a 13.7-metre win in a mile rate of 1:59.2 over 2150m. Lakey then struck in the seventh race, the Aldebaran Park Trot, aboard Ray Cross-trained Honey Please. The $29 shot upstaged $2.4 favourite Zarem in a rate of 2:00.8. Jayden Brewin and Ellen Tormey also drove winning doubles on the card. Brewin steered three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding Adam Crocker to a 1.9m win over All Whitey Then in 1:54.7 over 1650m, before doubling up a race later aboard smart mare Leigha Miller – a Gary Donaldson-trained daughter of Art Major. Tormey’s successes came aboard Wicked Azz for trainer Kate Hargreaves, the three-year-old Pet Rock filly upstaging stablemate Naamark by a head in 1:56.2 over 1650m, and Courageous Saint at odds in the Schweppes Pace for trainer Glenn Douglas. Meanwhile, Betternbetter took out the Alabar Bloodstock Pace for trainer Keith Cotchin and talented young driver Tayla French, while Paying Your Way captured the Great Ocean Road Real Estate Pace for trainer Daryl Pace and driver Matt Gath.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Kilmore Tonight Race 4 Jo Rocks (2yo filly by Pet Rock out of Our Ruby Banner, trained by David Miles and driven by Jayden Barker) Jo Rocks is out of 10-time winning mare Our Ruby Banner, who pocketed $101k and rated 1:54.0. She is Our Ruby Banner’s first foal to the races. Our Ruby Banner was a half-sister to multiple winners Dudley Poplar and Mister XJ. Holi Starzzz (2yo filly by Four Starzzz Shark out of Paintball, trained and driven by David Miles). Holi Starzzz is the third foal to the races from well-performed Art Major mare Paintball. Holi Starzzz is a half-sister to The Pantheist, who has won four from 13 for David Miles, and also Balterra. Paintball won 11 races from 55 starts and finished fourth in the 2011 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final behind Secret Desire, La Machane and Blazeaway Macray. Asante Sana (2yo filly by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Creation, trained by Alison Alford and driven by Chris Alford) A half-sister to Braeview Bondi, Asante Sana is out of Caprock mare Universal First, whose progeny included Lils Dream.   Thetrots.com.au - Cody Winnell

Shane Hall is celebrating everything about last night’s win aboard Dynamic Diesel (pictured) in the Schweppes 2YO & 3YO Trotters Handicap at Bendigo because “you never know when the next one’s coming”. For Hall, 53, it was just his second win as a driver but 18th as a trainer. “It’s pretty special to be able to breed the horse, train the horse and drive your own horse, so I enjoy every moment and celebrate every win,” he said. Dynamic Diesel stepped superbly from the 30-metre tape last night, running to the front and absorbing plenty of pressure from Countess Chiron in the run before holding off Quaker Maker late to clock a 2:08.2 rate for the standing start success. “My bloke was doing it pretty easily and I knew he’d stick on,” Hall said. “He’d been trialling well and I didn’t have to move on him much at the end. I just had to keep talking to him.” While observers may at first glance assume the pressure Rod Lakey put on aboard Countess Chiron at the bell may have made it harder for Dynamic Diesel to win, Hall believes it actually helped. “It wasn’t until Lakey came up that my boy started wanting to go. He can be a fizzy sort of horse and he races better with another horse beside him, so it actually did him a favour. Early when he was out in front he nearly switched off a little bit. As the race wen on he just got better and better and felt more comfortable in himself,” he said. Hall admitted getting “nervous as … anything” in the lead-up to a race he’s to drive him but said once in the cart he’s fine. “I only drive my own horses and it was great to get my second win. And the horse picks up the bonus which keeps the cogs turning,” he said. Meanwhile, legendary reinsman Brian Gath was back in the winners’ stall last night at Bendigo after taking out the Aldebaran Park Trot aboard Nephew Of Sonoko. The four-year-old gelding from the stables of Ross Graham has prodigious ability but seemingly also a strong mind of his own, which has many times brought him undone on race day. But for B.R. Gath, who has driven Nephew Of Sonoko at his past two starts for a second placing and now a win, the son of Danny Bouchea has looked only the professional. Last night’s win was 75-year-old’s Gath’s fourth this season, having previously driven seven winners in seasons 2017-18 and 18-19, which followed eight in 16-17. If you go back to 2006-07, Gath drove 163 winners from 774 starters for a ridiculously good strike rate of 21 per cent. ‘Comeback kid’ Lakey drove a double courtesy of Lynne Mercieca-prepared Art Finest in the Best Accounting & Audit Pace and Hashtag for trainer Shaun McNaulty in the Garrards Horse & Hound Pace. Trish McVeigh trained and driven Angus Bromac finished second to Art Finest, McVeigh almost nailing her first winner in the sulky since season 2014-15. She has only driven 11 times in that five-year period. For the trivia buffs, her last win was aboard the then five-year-old Angus Bromac at Albion Park on September 1, 2014. And Glenn Douglas and Ellen Tormey combined for a winning double via Torrid Saint in the Max Bakery & Café Pace and Elegant Jewel in the Yabby Dam Racing Pace. David Murphy took driving honours at Tabcorp Park Melton yesterday with four-year-old Romany Brown successful in the COGS Pace for trainer John Murphy, and Karlene Tindale-trained Ammichhi winning the Talking Trots on SENTrack 3YO Pace. Today’s double-header kicks off with Shepparton trots before tonight the spotlight turns to Kilmore. Check out Trots Centre for a detailed preview. First-Starter Form for Today A look at those horses making their debut today at the trots…   Shepparton Race 1 Romances (3yo filly by Yankee Boy out of The Secret Dance) Dam was a US-born two-time winner in Queensland by Keep It A Secret. This is her first foal to race. Registered a confidence-boosting win at the Shepparton trials in a leisurely rate of 2:17.0 in March.  More recently was second in 2:05.8 beaten 20m by Sultan Sass. Trained and driven by Cameron Maggs.   Race 2 Watchmedazzle (2yo gelding by Hes Watching out of Shoom Shoom) Second foal to race from the Grinfromeartoear mare who was unraced. Granddam was African Dancer, who won 21 races and produced several winners, including Prophesy (13 wins from 66 starts, 1:53.2 and $131k), Redbank Blaze (18 wins from 111 starts, 1:51.2 and $230k), Bamako Mali (13 wins from 33 starts, 1:55.6, $259k) and Shezallatitude (11 wins from 23 starts, 1:55.1 and $252k). Trained and driven by David Aiken. More detail in the Trial File extract below via Craig Rail.   Upright (2yo colt by Art Major out of Pretty Interest) Second foal to race from this mare, who also produced Interest Me (3 wins from 11 starts to date). Granddam was Pretty Smooth, mother of Anvil Vance, a 17-time winner for $450k in stakemoney, Anvil Vance was a fast-class star and placed third in the 1998 A.G. Hunter Cup behind Try A Fluke and Sovereign Hill. Trained by Steve Duffy, driven by Bec Bartley, won a recent trial, which is detailed below via Craig Rail’s Trial File.   Giannis Ay Macray (2yo gelding by Grinfromeartoear out of Macray Rosewood) Bred by well-respected breeder Ian Kitchin, this gelding is out of a Rustler Hanover mare who didn’t race but several of her siblings did for moderate success. Also referenced in the below extract from most recent trial. Trained and driven by Justin Torney.         Race 3 Gallifrey Direct (3yo gelding by Changeover out of Oliveleven) Dam was a three-time winner by Kinney Hanover and a half-sister to two other winners, Sharman (9 wins from 102 starts, 2:00.1, $47k) and Kankkunen (11 wins from 94 starts, 1:55.9, $55k). Trained and driven by Luke Bryant. Trialled OK for fifth at Bendigo on 30 March.   Jukebox Jet (3yo gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Beautifulsmile) This horse’s mother raced 10 times for two wins and five minors. This is her first foal. Trained by Peter Hall and driven by Ryan Sanderson. Has trialled at least seven times during the past 12 months with three minor placings but no wins.   Kilmore Race 1 Split Ear (3yo gelding by Night Of The Stars out of Voce) From a Red River Hanover mare who won six races from 50 goes. One of just two foals by Night of the Stars, who won nine races and is a son of Christian Cullen. Trained by Brent Lilley and driven by Chris Alford. Showed strong gate speed in recent trial and fought on bravely to be overhauled late by Theultimate, who is showing terrific promise, and they rated 2:01.6 with a 58.1 last half.   Ideal Cullect (3yo gelding by Big Jim out of Cullectakiss) First foal from unraced Gotta Go Cullect mare. Trained by Don Gee, driven by Rod Petroff. Ran fifth in Shepparton trial on March 17.   Race 3 Hotel Kyvalley (2yo colt by Father Patrick out of Lindys Two Step) From a four-time winning daughter of Muscles Yankee, who has also produced Glenferrie Belle (9 wins from 67 starts, 2:00.9, $59k) and Morgan Mylee, a three-time winning squaregaiter who showed promise as a youngster by winning an Oaks Trial and placing fifth in the Breed for Speed Bronze. Trained by Brent Lilley and driven by Chris Alford. Sure to be well-educated in this camp off the back of several trials. If you check out the Search function at the trots.com.au (see magnifying glass under teal ribbon at home page) and type in a horse’s name, you can view all of Craig Rail’s Trial File commentary about each horse. That would be handy for this fella.   Here Comes Kyvalley (2yo colt by Muscle Mass out of Nice One Kenny) From two-time winning Sundon mare, this guy is a half-brother to Princess Kenny, which has already amassed eight wins from 19 starts. Produced a solid second placing in a recent trial. Trained by Brent Lilley, driven by Josh Duggan.   Kyvalley Heist (2yo colt by Muscle Mass out of U Dream) Dam is a two-time winning daughter of Love You. This is her first foal. Granddam was Galleons Dream, who produced the brilliant Galleons Sunset (14 wins from 50 starts, 1:58.9, $315k), winner of the 2008 Inter Dominion Grand Final as well as the Bill Collins Trotters Mile. Has trialled twice for a fourth and a second. Another trained by Brent Lilley, driven by Brad Chisholm.   Watch And Act (2yo gelding by Skyvalley out of Misty Elle) First foal from unraced Pegasus Spur mare. Granddam produced Frances Annie, a 15-time winner who earnt over $100k in stakemoney. Comes to the races with the benefit of four trials and under the guidance of trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, who is doing a stellar job with trotters.   HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO Dayle Brown (pictured) says Victorian harness racing will come out of the current COVID-19 pandemic a stronger, more united and resilient industry. Speaking on the inaugural Trots Media CEO Pod, Brown said HRV’s business model was “changing exponentially each day” and he praised industry participants and stakeholders for “rallying together”. “We are one in this,” Brown said. “We are going to come through this as a much greater and stronger industry. This gives us the opportunity in a really dire set of circumstances to reimagine what harness racing is.” Listen to the full podcast here or via your favourite podcast app by searching for ‘Trots Media’.     HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Smynanna Mickey’s Tasco Petroleum Pace win at Mildura last night capped driver Danny Weinert’s first career double. And the Merbein horseman is predicting bigger things for the four-year-old mare (pictured second from left), trained by Chris Smythe, who upstaged the most seasoned horses in the region to register her sixth career win. In the interview conducted for Trots Media's new Trots Review column, Weinert spoke of the positive impression the mare had made on him.  “She’s actually a very nice horse but she’s still learning to adjust to the tempo against that class,” he said. “But she’s gone from racing against the old C1s and C2s to suddenly racing against the best horses we’ve got. “It wasn’t long ago she was racing against one I had called Crowbar Johnson, all of a sudden it’s Murranji Track and horses like that.” From gate one last night, Smynanna Mickey allowed Causenfriction to run to the lead early, and the subsequent lead time was posted at 40.7 seconds (half a second outside the record, reported race caller Luke Humphreys). The heat didn’t dissipate for the following 1200m either, Causenfriction posting a 29.5 first quarter, a 29 second and 29.4 third split. With about 1000m to go Murranji Track made his move to try to eyeball the leader – but the blistering second stanza saw reinsman Allan MacDonald urging the veteran fast-class pacer to get on terms. All the while Weinert sat patiently on the backs of the pacemakers as the trio broke well clear of the peloton down the back straight. “Coming around that final corner I was thinking, had she had enough or was she just bludging? She was just bludging,” Weinert said. Just as he eased the mare to the outside of the lead horses, Weinert had to click up Smynanna Mickey and she found enough to grind home best in a 31.6 last quarter. “To drive her, you think this horse has no idea what she’s doing … she just switches off in the run and you do have to wake her up a bit, but as a four-year-old, to be beating those horses, she’s doing a great job. She’s got upside, a catchy name, a good temperament and she’s only had 15 starts. “She makes her own luck. As Chris said last night, he’d like to see her driven cold off the gate. And I used her off the gate for a short distance, but she still got home all right.” In the previous race, the One Stop Wholesaler Pace, Weinert combined with trainer Andrew Vozlic to win with six-year-old Euston Flyer. “I thought he was my winner for the night. I had to beat Twobobjack, who I drove last week, and I thought should have won. I thought ‘if I can out-drive him and get the right run then we could win’ and we got the luck," Weinert said. “He’s got a good turn of speed for a couple of hundred metres. He sprints really well and can take advantage of an opening when the run comes.” Weinert had eight drives and said he was “unlucky not to finish with three wins” as Bezzaboma was beaten a head by Graceful Art in the Tankard Dental Pace (Race 4). Fair to say he’s enjoying the region-based racing model. “I think the best part of it is there’s money staying in the region. We can’t be lucky like this all the time and we know we can’t live in a bubble, but it’s just going great for local horses, local people and that’s fantastic for trotting,” he said. Meanwhile, Sandra O’Connor notched just her second career winner as a driver – and first since Ohokas Cullen in May 2014 – when she piloted Trooper Mossman home in the Gateway Pace. It was career win number 145 for O’Connor as a trainer. Reinsman Reece Moore continued his region-based racing dominance in the Sunraysia with a winning double, victorious aboard Rhyflective in the Park Douglas Printing Pace, for 85-year-old trainer Laurie Callick, and Mister Jimaringle for trainer Terry Gange.   Ashwood, Tormey dominate  At Bendigo yesterday the Alex Ashwood show rolled on big time. Ashwood finished with four winners from the eight-race card, one more win than Ellen Tormey, who secured a winning treble, with Glenn Douglas the other winning reinsman at Lord’s. Busters Grin brought up the first of Ashwood’s successes in the Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers Pace for trainer Trevor Patching in Race 1. The gun reinsman then followed with victories aboard Belltopperboy for Kent Harpley in the Sheahan Plumbing Trot, Well Defined for Kate Hargreaves in the Bendigo Sky Boat Centre Trot, and Above Average for Justin Brewin in the Race Services Pace.   Today's trots The spotlight turns to Headquarters today for a daytime Tabcorp Park Melton meeting kicking off at 1.18pm, with Lord’s Raceway firing up again tonight for an additional Bendigo meeting.   First-timers Melton Race 5: Union Boss (4yo entire by Union Guy out of Torrential Hannah) Yet to see much to get excited about at the trials. His dam was a 10-time winner with over $50k in stakemoney. This fella is a half-brother to Flying Hannah, who won five races and rated 1:56.1 when winning at Bendigo in 2018.   Bendigo Race 3: Barbs Gift (2yo filly trotter by Bacardi Lindy out of Catchya Taddy) Another who hasn't done much at the trials. She’s the first foal of Catchya Taddy to get to the races.   HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

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