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Victoria's most prolific trainer of trotters, Anton Golino, has won Australia’s richest trotting classic, the $250,000 Woodlands Great Southern Star, with a mare that pedigree buffs would say was always destined for harness racing greatness. Blueblood Dance Craze, a daughter of champion trotter and brilliant producer Muscle Hill out of another superstar performer in La Coocaracha, was a minute back in the run but sprinted furiously up the Tabcorp Park Melton straight at the end of the 2760m journey to capture the Group 1. The five-year-old raced clear of Kiwi star Temporale for a 1.4-metre win in a 1:58.8 mile rate, with Michael Stanley-trained Sky Petite backing up her TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final placing with another Classic podium finish tonight. Winning driver Mark Purdon was ecstatic to be involved with Golino’s greatest win thus far. “He does a great job and I’m thrilled to be involved with this win,” Purdon said. Golino was over the moon. “This is a dream come true,” he said before honouring his biggest backer Pat Driscoll and his passionate and hard-working team of staff. “He’s an amazing person and he deserves this more than anyone,” Golino said of Driscoll. The win gave Purdon a double Group 1 half-hour of power after he guided Dean Braun-trained mare Carlas Pixel to a barnstorming victory in the Schweppes Ladyship Cup. Of the rest, odds-on race favourite Marcoola only beat one runner home, finishing second last for Ken and Clint Ford, while Red Hot Tooth and Tough Monarch both performed strongly finishing fourth and fifth respectively. To watch the video click here. ID18 champ Tornado Valley was scratched from the GSS this morning when a long odds-on favourite. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

A “good grounding” has Deltasun poised to develop into one of Victoria’s premier open-age harness racing trotting stars. Winning reinsman Gavin Lang said the five-year-old son of Tennotrump had “been in the top echelon as a two-year-old and in the top three or four as a three-year-old”. Lang added: “as a four-year-old he went missing a little bit but still did a good job. He’s had a good foundation.” Trained by gun horseman Terry Young of Ararat – a former jockey – Deltasun is now a 16-time winner and tonight’s 1:55.8 win took his stake earnings over $200,000. It’s a considerable achievement that will be celebrated by connections and Lang spoke glowingly of the fact tonight’s quinella at Tabcorp Park Melton was fought out between grassroots stables. “Up the straight I was fighting the race out with Savannah Jay Jay and the people who train him (Stan Cameron) are small-time trainers, as are Terry and Carol Young and their son Peter,” he said. “When I hit the line I thought I’d just hung on. Sometimes you get disappointed if you get beat, but I would not have been too disappointed tonight if they’d won. That’s what it’s all about – the small people make this industry what it is. “Terry and his family own him, so there’s never any pressure on how I drive him. I’ve been lucky enough to just look after him a little bit and it’s paying dividends.” To watch the video click here. Savannah Jay Jay has been a model of consistency of late without winning, only once finishing out of the top five in his past 11 starts. Tonight he was beaten a half-head for driver Neil McCallum, while Fabrication finished third for John Caldow and David Abrahamson. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Poster Boy may have delivered harness racing trots promoters just that. The gun four-year-old upstaged more seasoned opposition in Spankem and Im Pats Delight – both ID18 contenders last month – in tonight’s Group 1 TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza at Tabcorp Park Melton. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Aston Villa took his exemplary record to 16 wins from 23 starts courtesy of the 1:52.8 victory, finishing a metre clear of All Stars star Spankem, with Kerryn Manning trained and driven former Kiwi Duke Of Wellington emerging strongly late to run third, ahead of Im Pats Delight. “That was super. We had a good run but Pats Delight and Spankem are pretty seasoned,” winning reinsman Chris Alford said of the Emma Stewart-prepared pacer. “They raced in the Inter… he’s first-up tonight, to do that was pretty special.” Stewart was stoked. “He’s a terrific horse,” the leading trainer said. “He’s my favourite and always has been. Great effort by him tonight … I’m really proud of him.” Tonight’s triumph assures Poster Boy a spot in the upcoming New South Wales four-year-old classic, the Chariots of Fire. An interesting stat, Poster Boy – a son of Somebeachsomewhere – is a half-brother to Stewart’s earlier winner, Born To Rocknroll, a son of Rocknroll Hanover. Both are raced and were bred by Lauriston Bloodstock. To watch the video click here. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Hurricane Harley is the harness racing favourite pre-draw with TAB for next Saturday night’s Group 1 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby following the heats tonight at Ballarat. Trainer Emma Stewart’s reigning Breeders Crown champ was completely untroubled around Bray Raceway, his 2.6-metre win not a wholly accurate depiction of his dominance. Driver Amanda Turnbull didn’t need to move aboard the powerful son of Bettors Delight in the home straight, Hurricane Harley striding out with the swagger and authority of a champion wrestler inside the final furlong. Hurricane Harley rated 1:56.8 and covered his last 800m in 56.5 (27.1 last split). Stablemate Hardhitter ran second, with Malcolms Rhythm third. It was a familiar tale in the second Derby heat as the All Stars’ team of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon produced Im Another Masterpiece for victory (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick). Rasmussen’s drive was worthy of a headline. It was a masterclass performance aboard the son of Bettors Delight. After handing up early to Lauren Tritton aboard Muscle Factory, Rasmussen camped behind the leader until the bell when she shimmied into the clear to breeze the last lap. The move posted a key rival Centenario, advancing three-wide, on a limb for the final kilometre and secured Lochinvar Art one-one cover. “You don’t come all this way to be unlucky,” Rasmussen said. “You have to run top-three and I wasn’t going to run a nice hard-held fourth on the fence. “(It was a) Nice win for him and the run should tighten him up a little bit more.” Im Another Masterpiece finished 2.9m clear of Muscle Factory in 1:55.9. David Aiken trained and driven Max Delight (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick) made it a Bettors Delight Derby heats clean sweep, taking out the final qualifier courtesy of a controlled front-running steer. “He’s a nice horse on the way up and he’s got great speed. It’ll be a different story next week, but we really like him and wouldn’t swap him for a few in the race,” Aiken said. “He’s fast. His A to B speed is really quick but he doesn’t have to lead, he can come off cover and sprint really well.” Max Delight’s winning mile rate was the slowest of the night at 2:00.4, but his last 400m (26.5) was electric. The top four finishers in each Derby heat qualify for the final, with Demon Delight (fastest fifth) the emergency.   Results Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (1st Heat) 1st: Hurricane Harley by Bettor's Delight         Emma Stewart     Amanda Turnbull 2nd: Hardhitter by Mach Three                         Emma Stewart     Chris Alford 3rd: Malcolms Rhythm by Art Major                 David Aiken          Kima Frenning 4th: Arggghhh by Rock N Roll Heaven            Craig Demmler     Craig Demmler 5th: Our Millionaire by Million Dollar Cam        Emma Stewart     Sidney Van Den Brande MR: 1:56.8 To watch the video of Hurricane Harley click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (2nd Heat) 1st: Im Another Masterpiece by Bettor's Delight        Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen   Natalie Rasmussen 2nd: Muscle Factory by Roll With Joe                       Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton          Lauren Tritton 3rd: Lochinvar Art by Modern Art                               Laura Crossland                                 David Moran 4th: Crime Writer by Sportswriter                               Matthew Craven                               Matthew Craven 5th: Demon Delight by Bettor's Delight                      Emma Stewart                                   Gavin Lang MR: 1:55.9 To watch the video of Im Another Masterpiece click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (3rd Heat) 1st: Max Delight by Bettor's Delight                   David Aiken                                   David Aiken 2nd: Perfect Major by Art Major                         Emma Stewart                               Amanda Turnbull 3rd: Petes Big Jim by Big Jim                            Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton         Lauren Tritton 4th: War Dan Delight by Bettor's Delight            Dean Braun                                   Greg Sugars 5th: Supreme Dominator  by Bettor's Delight     Barry Purdon                                 Mark Purdon MR: 2:00.4 To watch the video of Max Delight click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell ID18

Trainer Matthew Craven says he certainly wasn’t “expecting” Wardan Express would win Sunday’s Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup, but he also wasn’t exactly surprised. “I thought he’d run a good race,” he said. “He’s been in consistent form now for a while.” Wardan Express broke the track record for the 2660m start at Hamilton, rating 1:55.2, leading all the way under Craven’s guidance to win by 4.9m over Tough Call. After using his gate speed to take the lead early, Wardan Express maintained a strong enough tempo throughout to keep his rivals at bay – producing 28.5, 29.3, 27.9 and 28 quarters. “It probably looks like he’s at his best over the sprint trips when you look at it, but it was never something that I was worried about because some of his really good runs have been in good races like the Breeders Crown and the Derby over the longer trip,” Craven said. “I’m not sure (over which distance he’d be better suited) but he may be a fraction superior over the short.” Wardan Express’s gate speed holds him in good stead in whatever he contests, Craven said. “The ability to keep putting himself at a spot at the front of the field certainly puts you in the race,” he said. Winning a Hamilton Cup is almost a hometown win, said Craven, who explained Hamilton was “his other home track”. “We trial there, I grew up going there, I have a lot owners in Hamilton, we really do treat it as our local club other than Terang,” he said. Craven congratulated the club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) for supporting the concept of a sprint race feature at Hamilton. The club announced last week it would run the inaugural Glen Myles Memorial Mile on Sunday March 3. “Since they’ve made a concentrated effort on putting plenty of water on to the track it’s much kinder to the horses and conducive to fast times,” Craven said. “Once the water gets right in the horses travel really kindly on it and it enables them to run time. “I think with the right support the club will see a sub-1:50 winner at some stage. Mick Turner (the trackman) does a great job. “I’d like to see free for all races and mares races, trotters, all over the mile at Hamilton.” Meanwhile, local footy club Hamilton Kangaroos claimed just under $320 from HRV's GoodForm Grassroots Gold program and also won the inaugural South West Charity Cup, which will raise important funds for the Maddie Riewoldt's Vision foundation.    Trots Media - Cody Winnell

A decision by French wagering organisation Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) to significantly limit international simulcasting of Australian and US racing into France means participants racing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Monday nights in January and February will finish earlier than expected. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has rescheduled its Monday night race programs to better suit participants and local punters on January 7, 14, 21, 28, and February 4 and 11. It was reported earlier this month that the PMU would significantly reduce its international simulcasting in 2019 after six years of decline in overall horse racing betting turnover in France.   Cody Winnell

Tiger Tara’s TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night capped an extraordinary year for harness racing trainer Kevin Pizzuto and his family. In August the New South Wales horseman was involved in a serious road accident, which could have cost him and his horses their lives. Aboard the float that day were Tiger Tara and three stablemates, with Pizzuto in the driver’s seat. Another driver ran through a stop sign and a collision was unavoidable. The resultant impact fractured the horseman’s sternum and ribs, tore his ligaments in both arms as the steering wheel shattered in two, and left him with hidden scars every time he thought of taking the road again. But bloodied and broken that day, Pizzuto’s thoughts were only on his horses. “My driver came and got the horses which I’d gotten off the float … and then I went to hospital,” Pizzuto said. “He (Tiger Tara) was lying down up the front of the float and I thought he’d broken his back. I was shattered. I had blood coming out everywhere, but when he got up, my heart, yeah ... just relief.” Two months after the accident Tiger Tara pummelled his rivals in the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Then, in November he produced one of the gutsiest runner-up efforts in modern times when second in the Group 1 New Zealand Cup. “I’ve always said he’s the toughest horse in the land… I knew he was good, but last night, that was something else,” Pizzuto said of the ID18 win. “I’ve had him better than I’ve ever had him, this prep. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve pulled ourselves up and that was amazing.” Tiger Tara, with gun reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, took up the front-running role early in Saturday night’s Grand Circuit decider and went on to break rivals’ hearts off the back with an unforgettable 26.3secs third quarter. The son of Bettors Delight got up the lane in 27.9 to rate 1:53.9 over the 2760m trip, McCarthy’s winning salute encapsulating the glory in a snap. And the final twist, Pizzuto’s daughter Courtney accepted Mikey Hawli’s marriage proposal on track in front of the huge crowd after the victory. Courtney said yes, and so did Kev. “He had to ask me first,” Pizzuto said. “The horses were scoring up... I was praying we’d win after that. He’s a good bloke and a hard worker.” Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Champion driver Gavin Lang secured gate three for both his 2018 TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting drives at this morning's barrier draw. Held at Zinc Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, the TAB ID18 Barrier Draw and Breakfast of Champions attracted plenty of guests and grabbed the attention of morning commuters in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Lang, who pilots impressive Kiwi Im Pats Delight in the pacing grand final and trotter Save Our Pennys in the trotting decider, has two live chances on the biggest stage of all. The master reinsman said both horses were progressing well through the ID18 series to date but would have to step it up again to secure harness racing's holy grail. Save Our Pennys heads into the trotting decider a $14 shot after finishing second in all his qualifying heats behind the raging ID18 favourite Tornado Valley. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven a lot of very good trotters in my career and I would have been prepared to say this one’s not a patch on any of those ones, especially the three Inter Dominion winners,” Lang said when asked about the recent progress of the seven-year-old. “But I must say he’s really exceeded my expectations (through ID18).” Lang also said Save Our Pennys’ fitness was improving each run after his first-up second off a 30-metre handicap in the Geelong Trotting Cup. “He got beaten on his merits at Geelong and I thought if he improves 10 per cent from that in the first of the Inter Dominion heats I’d be pleased. I wasn’t expecting him to come out and run second,” Lang said. “He’s improved each run through this series and three seconds is more than I would have expected. “The distance of the final (2760m) is no burden for him and he’s just an old-fashioned horse who puts his head down and gets on with it. He’s got a great demeanour.” Cran Dalgety-trained Im Pats Delight is a four-year-old New Zealand pacer, who has gone from strength to strength through the heat rounds. “It’s a daunting task for a four-year-old to contest an Inter Dominion series but he is very mature and he seems to be getting through each run well,” Lang said. Meanwhile, Nat Rasmussen has chosen Cruz Bromac as her ID18 drive in the pacing final with partner Mark Purdon picking up the reins aboard fancied stablemate Spankem. Click here for the ID18 final fields   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Back in 2005, Chris Frisby realised one of his major harness racing dreams. His talented son of Fake Left, Dinki Di, a family-bred gelding, won the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst. “For 18 years I have been trying to win this race,” Frisby said at the time. “I knew Shirley a long time before that and she was just a lovely, lovely lady.” Thirteen years later and Frisby still recalls fondly that victory, but says a TAB Inter Dominion start is challenging that day as a personal harness highlight. His five-year-old gelding Our Uncle Sam last night jumped into the ID18 pacing final courtesy of a slashing second behind Tiger Tara in the third-round heat at Cranbourne. “I’m so rapt. I have to slap myself in the face to tell if it’s real,” he said. “You always dream of an Inter Dominion runner. “I’ve always said Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup, Derbies, Oaks and the Shirley Turnbull Memorial are the races I want to win. “The last one some may not have heard of, but I won it with Dinki Di and that was probably my biggest thrill. We smashed the track record and it was a race I always wanted to win.” Our Uncle Sam qualified for the TAB ID18 final by running fourth on opening night at Melton, seven at Ballarat when covering ground throughout and a fast-finishing second on night three. Frisby's son Anthony drives the horse. And another stride and he probably would have pipped Tiger Tara at the weekend. “I might have took my head off and put a pumpkin on, but I’ve always thought that we’d be a chance in the Inter Dominion with the right run,” Frisby said. “He’s going good enough and I don’t think I’ve ever had him any better than he is now. He’s made the jump, but you always need luck in running.” Check out the full list of ID18 standings Trots Media - Cody Winnell

The morning after three of his horses secured berths in TAB Inter Dominion grand finals, passionate trots owner Dom Martello is both dreaming of an ID18 trophy and studying pedigrees for future sales. “I bought all these horses as yearlings,” he says proudly, pointing at the fact that last night and this morning he’s been delving into the breeding and studying the type of horses like Spankem as he plans for future members of his equine Hammer team. Martello will attend tomorrow morning’s TAB ID18 barrier draws at Zinc, Federation Square, where he’ll be hoping to draw successful gates for his two pacers, Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro, and his trotting star Big Jack Hammer for Saturday night’s grand finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Martello said Wrappers Delight had especially been taking him on the ride of his life in recent times, the David Aiken-trained pacer securing feature wins such as the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, the Hygain Breeders Crown Championship, TAB Smoken Up Sprint and Cogs Services 4YO & 5YO Championship. “Wrappers in particular has been going through the dream list and ticking them off one by one, but this race (the Inter Dominion) is different,” Martello said. “I feel like if you win a race like the Inter Dominion then you go down in history. This is one race that you actually dare to dream.” Martello reserved special praise for young driver Kima Frenning (pictured above with Wrappers Delight by Ashlea Brennan), who has piloted both Wrappers Delight and Big Jack Hammer throughout their ID18 heats and helped secure both grand final berths. “One thing I especially like about Kima Frenning is she doesn’t have an ego. She’s hard working, positive and has talent. People like that just need a chance,” he said. Mach Doro is trained by Craig Cross and driven by star Sydney based reinsman Luke McCarthy. Tomorrow’s barrier draw will be live on Sky Racing 1, RSN and Sky Sports Radio from 9am, hosted by Greg Hayes and Adam Hamilton. From 6am until 10am RSN will broadcast live from Federation Square for the ID18 event, with roving panels and guests, including a half-hour Super Panel from 9.30am of Michael Felgate, Dan Mielicki, Jason Bonnington, Andy Gath and Adam Hamilton deep-diving into the form for the deciders. Head to the banks of the Yarra near Zinc to check out the show live, which will also feature HRV HERO ambassadors.  Check out the final TAB ID18 Standings   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Laura Crossland-trained three-year-old Lochinvar Art made a stunning return to the racetrack tonight in the Caduceus Club 3YO Cup at Cranbourne. The son of Modern Art covered ground early before making ground from the back, racing home to a 3.9m win in a mile rate of 1:55.9, upstaging $1.40 favourite Demon Delight. As a result TAB.com.au slashed his Victoria Derby price from $31 into $10. “I’m not really a big one for getting too confident and he was first-up tonight … he’s pretty forward, but whatever he does tonight he’ll take lot out of it,” Moran said. “He’s probably one of the best horses I’ve driven. I thought he was really, really good tonight.” Lochinvar Art, a son of Modern Art, won six of nine races as a two-year-old, including feature wins in the Benstud Youthful Stakes, the Alabar Tatlow and an Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi-Final. He was desperately unlucky in the Group 1 Breeders Challenge Final when held up behind Hardhitter. “In the early days he had a lot of high speed. He was so fast it wasn’t funny,” Moran said. “His will to win is unbelievable.” Quizzed about why the team decided not to make a late payment for the Breeders Crown at two, Moran explained they wanted to ensure the horse’s future was protected. “He was up for a long time and I think you can go to the well too many times,” he said. “A lot of people probably worry about money. But if you want a good horse in the long run, you probably have to put that aside a little bit.”   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Cranbourne hobby trainer Rick Cashman doesn’t have a TAB Inter Dominion runner tomorrow night, but if he wins the metro maiden (Race 1) with his gelding Dansbro, it’ll feel as good as a Group 1. “It’d be a huge thrill for three reasons,” Cashman said. “Firstly it’s at my home track. Secondly the fact that it’s an M0, that’d be an absolute dream. Thirdly, it’s Inter Dominion night and will be in front of a crowd.” Cashman is based at Cranbourne Training Centre, where harness trainers are based on-course with access to state of the art facilities and a knowledgeable training community. “It’s great, everyone there helps each other out,” Cashman said. Re-live Rick Cashman's winning salute from last month  Cashman has trained 15 winners and driven three in his career to date. In the sulky aboard Rosanna Raider, his most recent winner, Cashman gave one of the great salutes as he crossed the finishing line. “If you’re going to do it you have to do it properly,” he said. Cody Winnell Trots Media

When Shadow Sax was withdrawn from the harness racing TAB Inter Dominion pacing series, leaving champion reinsman Chris Alford with just one horse for all of ID18, in hindsight, Kyvalley Blur’s chances probably improved. The Puppet’s a genius, and the trotter everyone probably thought was pushing uphill following a lacklustre Round 1 performance quickly silenced his knockers. Kyvalley Blur launched from a seemingly impossible position mid-race to take out the second-round trotting heat at Ballarat over the sprint trip of 1710m in 1:55.6 by 1.7m over Big Jack Hammer, with Sky Petite third. And there’s improvement to come, says Alford: “If he stays like tonight he’ll go better again on Saturday from what Lills (trainer Brent Lilley) said. He’ll need a draw in the final, but if he gets it he will be right there.” Tornado Valley prevailed in the other trotting heat, rating 1:56.1 and scorching home in a 27-second final quarter for Kate and Andy Gath. With gate speed to burn – and another gear when required late in the piece – Tornado Valley seemingly has it all. Save Our Pennys was excellent again for Gavin Lang, finishing second, while Speeding Spur boxed on for third after parking throughout. In the pacing section Wrappers Delight delivered the hammer blow to his rivals for driver Kima Frenning and trainer David Aiken, going all the way from the pole in 1:53.6 to defeat Tiger Tara and Spankem. “This series is really going to suit him and he’s proved that tonight again. I think he’ll just keep on improving. David (Aiken) is doing such a good job with him,” Frenning said. The third horse, Spankem, was enormous, breaking the clock from back in the field for the All-Stars stable. Cran Dalgety produced Im Pats Delight for a comfortable win with Gavin Lang in the bike, scoring by 3.7m over Cant Refuse – whose owners in the stands were absolutely thrilled with the performance of Matthew Craven’s star – while Im The Boss was a gritty third. And Cruz Bromac has launched in the betting charts with his stablemate Spankem, both into $4, after he effortlessly won his second-round heat with Nat Rasmussen in the gig. For full results and videos click here Trots Media - Cody Winnell More TAB ID18 Round 2 coverage Kate's loving Tornado Valley Nat's delicious dilemma  Blake Redden breaks down the trot heats

Harness Racing driver Kate Gath admits to not having too many favourites. “It’s hard to be one of my favourites,” the champion reinswoman said after Tornado Valley’s scintillating 1:56.1 win tonight at Ballarat in Round 2 of the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship. Tornado Valley showed gate speed at the start to muscle his way to the top and hot speed late as he ripped home in 27 seconds for the last 400m. “This fella is up there now,” she said, naming gun pacers About To Rock and Caribbean Blaster as her two favourites so far. “Only time will tell though if he can catch the other two.” TAB shortened Tornado Valley into $2 from $2.1 following tonight’s win. To watch the video replay click on this link                   5 8:02pm TAB INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMPIONSHIP (2ND ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 2) (GROUP 3) 1710M $20,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TORNADO VALLEY NZ      Fr7 7 Andy Gath Kate Gath   $ 2.20   PRS GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 7 by SKYVALLEY NZ out of BEGIN (NZ) ()  Owner(s): N R (Norm) Jenkin  Breeder(s): P L Gaugler, T M McMillan 2 SAVE OUR PENNYS      Fr2 2 Gavin Lang Gavin Lang 2.10 $ 9.80   GS 3 USL SWAB 3 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Fr5 5 J W Dickie, J I Dickie Josh Dickie 2.60 $ 2.10 fav  PRS GS OLT 2 4 TOUGH MONARCH      Sr3 10 Rickie Alchin Rickie Alchin 8.60 $ 18.40   10 3WL 5 RED HOT TOOTH      Sr2 9 Kari Males Zac Phillips 9.20 $ 22.30   PRS 5 6 ROMPERS MONARCHY NZ      Fr6 6 J A Rando, M J Rando David Morris 10.10 $ 98.90   PRS PH 4 7 FATHER CHRISTMAS NZ      Fr3 3 Brent Lilley Greg Sugars 12.40 $ 58.50   PRU 8 8 ALDERBECK NZ      Fr4 4 Phil Williamson Anthony Butt 13.30 $ 84.30   6 9 KHEIRON      Sr1 8 Peter Lane Chris Lang 17.00 $ 114.00   PRS 9 10 OUR TWENTYTEN NZ      Fr1 1 Brent Lilley Rodney Petroff 23.20 $ 101.00   PRS 7 CMP Scratchings   CRUISIN AROUND 11 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:03:3 Mile Rate: 1:56:1 Lead Time: 6.7 First Quarter: 29 Second Quarter: 31.2 Third Quarter: 29.4 Fourth Quarter: 27 Margins: 2.1m x HD   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

At picturesque Yarra Valley racecourse today, Shepparton pacer San Carlo (pictured right, by Nikkita Ross) took another mighty step towards scaling the TAB Inter Dominion pinnacle. The brilliant eight-year-old dazzled as he sat parked outside one of the toughest horses in the caper in the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup before scooting clear in the last 200m for an emphatic win. San Carlo’s driver, Bec Bartley, only needed to gently flick the reins when she wanted her charge to go, and go he did, the pair romping home by 4.8 metres as Hickstead ran the race of his life in second place and early leader Im The Boss battled into third. “He took himself to the front, and as soon as I pulled the plugs he took off,” Bartley said of the 1:56.8 win. “He was so strong right to the line. We’re super happy with him.” Today’s win came at just his third run back from a spell and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue has San Carlo on track to peak during ID18, which kicks off on Saturday night December 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was 12 days ago that San Carlo fiercely fended off Tiger Tara in the Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. That pacer is a serious player in the New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday. So it is little wonder TAB today slashed San Carlo’s ID18 price from $10 this morning into $7 by early evening. San Carlo was ranked No.6 at the most recent ID18 rankings released on October 31 after initially being No.14 when nominations closed. When the fourth and final rankings are revealed on Wednesday November 21, he’ll be higher again. Read more here   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Three-time Inter Dominion winning trainer Chris Lang is hoping to make his long-awaited return from a spell next week. It has been three years and eight months since Lang last graced the track, stepping away from the sport he loves in 2015 after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. A masterful horseman, the now Riddells Creek based 58-year-old trained Galleons Sunset to win trotting’s greatest prize in 2008, and scored back-to-back ID successes with Sundons Gift in 2009 and 2010. In a nutshell, Lang was diagnosed with a mishmash of medical conditions – scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and Reynaud’s Syndrome. “It’s a connective tissue disease,” Lang said. “I was hoping by stepping away from the driving it might resolve the issue, but it has stayed the same. It hasn’t gotten any better, but hasn’t gotten any worse. “I’m hoping I can manage myself a bit better this time.” The lengthy spell has revitalised the charismatic trots man. And if desire, skill and a fiercely competitive spirit mean anything, it won’t be long before Lang’s name is once again being etched on Group 1 trotting honour rolls.  “The hunger’s really good. The three years off has been a great thing for me,” he said. “Sometimes an extended spell can change a horse, and it’s certainly changed how I feel. I’ve got fresh eyes, a fresh outlook … everything is new again.” The prospect of training quality trotters excites Lang. He has 10 horses in work, including Next Thru for owner and friend Richard Matthews. That horse is a half-brother to Let Me Thru, who Lang trained for Matthews to win six Group 1s between 2009 and 2011 – including the $150,000 Australasian Trotting Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Additionally Lang also has smart mare Derrie Aire and untapped CR Commander colt Miyabomba – a half-brother to Cobram Cup winner Quillabamba and a full sibling to 2011 Victoria Trotters Oaks runner-up Moyabamba – in his stables. All going well, Miyabomba will be Lang’s first runner at Kilmore next Wednesday. “I’ve had to have 15 trial drives because of the extended break and I’ll wrap those up this weekend,” Lang said. “The goal now is to win another three Inter Dominions.”   Cody Winnell

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