Harness racing driver Ellen Tormey produced an absolute pearler of a drive aboard Miss Fisher to land the Elite Horse Transport Trot on Tuesday night at Shepparton. In fact, so impressed was long-time harness racing stalwart Bill Glover that he phoned this scribe to sing her praises. Check out the video replay and it’s not hard to see what impressed Bill so immensely. Tormey made all the right calls, avoided plenty of troublesome situations and guided the five-year-old daughter of Tennotrump/Miss Laura Loo to a 5.4-metre triumph. “She was back in the score-up 10 metres and horses 2 and 3 both break. She keeps her horse trotting – and it’s a risky trotter at the best of times – then 60 yards down she has to avoid another one galloping. Then at the 500 she’s one-by-three and Doc (Wilson) pulls three-wide on Illawong Red, Leannes Legacy gets put four-wide and she pokes through the middle. Then she eases out five-wide at the corner. At the 175 Leannes Legacy gallops and I reckon brushes her, but Ellen gets around it and the horse comes away,” was how Glover recalled the drive. “I’d say that was about the best drive I’ve seen without using sprint lanes or anything, on a trotter where you can’t make those sharp moves. It was just a wonderful drive,” he added. The win provided Pompapiel’s John Davidson with his first victory as a trainer in 13 years. “John’s done a great job with her and it was his first win in a fair while, so that was really nice. They’re the wins that really make it worthwhile,” Tormey said. Davidson raced the smart mare Passionfruit in the 1980s. Tormey humbly played down her drive, but said she had felt reasonably confident Miss Fisher would run a big race. “She’d trialled really well on the Monday when I drove her but the key was that she just stayed trotting,” she said. “I knew she had enough speed but I just had to try and eliminate the risk. “She wasn’t trotting smooth in the score-up so I just allowed her to settle and I also knew the ones in front had a habit of doing things wrong. “Around the first turn one galloped and I went to go around it and it went wider, but I eventually got around it. “There was one that knocked me over the start before (Leannes Legacy) so I wanted to get off its back as quickly as I could at the end.” Leannes Legacy mustn’t like Tormey much because she very nearly cost her victory in the straight on Tuesday by galloping again. But Tormey and Miss Fisher avoided the hiccup and coasted home out wide. Tormey made it two wins in two nights last night at Bendigo driving Sheer Strength to victory for trainer and partner Scott Dyer. “He’s quite a nice horse,” she said of the four-year-old son of Shadow Play/Kateeshar. “He’s won seven out of 17 now. He races good over a mile.” Tormey, whose father John is also a trainer, said the stable had bred quite a few young horses in recent years and they were looking forward to finding the next “good one”. “Hopefully there are some nice ones. You always strive to get a good one,” she said. Tormey would also welcome more opportunities in the gig. “I’m realistic. I know it works after you lose your claim,” she said. “You find you have your good runs … but if I’m not getting the opportunities I’m also happy enough to stay at home and keep working on the younger ones.” Given her form, Tormey can expect to pick up a few more drives in coming weeks. Cody Winnell
Last summer’s champion Arden Rooney needs to improve Friday night in the My Lightning Blue Free for All at Melton for harness racing trainer Kerryn Manning to be confident he’d be a good show at cups time in New Zealand. The Hunter Cup winner has not flattered at either run to date this time in, finishing eighth beaten 17.6 metres in the Gammalite first-up over 2760m (off a 40m handicap) and sixth of seven in the Preux Chevalier Free for All over 2240m, beaten 24.5m by Franco Ledger after sitting in the breeze. But 2014 Gordon Rothacker medallist Manning changed Arden Rooney’s training regime following his most recent run. “I put the hopples on him at home because I thought I had to try something,” she said. “His work’s been really good. The horse looks super. “I probably had him 85 per cent before the first-up run, but he had an impossible task from the handicap and the times they ran that night. “Second-up I thought he was more like 95 per cent but he just got tired. He’d had enough by the home bend.” Arden Rooney will start from barrier seven on Friday night over 1720m, a distance range he’s never won at. He’ll face opposition such as Philadelphia Man (1-52.6 best mile rate overall and 1-53.4 best mile rate over trip at Melton) and Franco Ledger (1-53.7 best rate over 1720m). Philadelphia Man is the lone runner off the second row on Friday night, while Franco Ledger will come out of gate six. The battle for early supremacy over the short course looks intriguing with Arber (one), Exciteusinthecity (three) and Major Crocker (four) all likely to be handy and potentially wanting to hold the front if they can find the markers first. So what does Manning hope to do aboard Arden Rooney from her draw out in the cheap seats? “I think most of that front line would let him go if we put enough pressure on,” she said. “He came out pretty good last time.” Arden Rooney won last year's Kakoura Cup and is likely to cross the Tasman in coming weeks to defend the crown before heading to the NZ Trotting Cup in November. by Cody Winnell
Glenferrie Typhoon's force is looking more and more powerful every time he steps out of late. The Andy Gath trained trotter, who won Friday night’s Bacardi Lindy Trot in easy fashion, looks destined for bigger and better things. The six-year-old by Majestic Son out of Cyclone Vance now boasts back-to-back wins at Melton and next year’s Great Southern Star is potentially on the radar. After working hard three-wide for the first half a kilometre, Glenferrie Typhoon eventually found the top, giving early pacesetter Action Kosmos a trail in the 2240-metre race. Once in front driver Kate Gath applied the brakes and the gelding trotted through his first and second quarters in 32secs and 31.3secs, sprinting up down the back to get Action Kosmos off the bit and chasing (29.3secs) before blasting clear seemingly under a hold in the home straight to score by 10.8 metres in a mile rate of 1-58.9 (last quarter 27.6secs). Action Kosmos held on for second place, defiantly withstanding the challenge of Cold Sister in third. Later on the card Ellas Puppeteer beat Iceobar in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series C Final. The four-year-old gelding by Shadow Play out of Smiley Ella, who smashed the track record at Charlton leading into Friday night’s race, rated 1-53.7 over 1720 metres from his inside-back-row draw. Trainer/driver Michael Stanley kept Ellas Puppeteer out of trouble early, going back to last before cruising around the field to assume control at the bell. Iceobar trailed and stuck on gamely thereafter but was no match for the winner. Ellas Puppeteer now boasts three wins from five starts and looks to have a sparkling metro career in front of him. by Cody Winnell >> Replays and results from Friday night's Melton trots.
The Puppet, Chris Alford, is not in town at the harness racing meeting at Melton tomorrow night but The Puppeteer sure will be. Ellas Puppeteer, who set chins wagging and people scouring the record books with a 1-52.8 win at Charlton last time out, will line up in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series C Final. It is Race 10 at 10.40pm but punters will want to stay up late to see what eventuates. Ellas Puppeteer has had four starts for two wins and two seconds, the four-year-old gelding winning his last two with ease – his most recent win in track record time at Charlton. At his most recent triumph Ellas Puppeteer was parked outside leader Iceobar throughout before pulling clear for a mighty win by 12.4 metres, Stanley expertly pulling the strings. “It’s interesting because everyone has said that to me,” the reinsman said when asked about driving the gelding along coming around the home turn last time out. “On the track though, in the race it always felt like I had the leader covered.” Ellas Puppeteer is superbly bred, by top sire Shadow Play out of Smiley Ella, who the Stanleys raced for two wins from five starts. Smiley Ella won a Vicbred Super Series heat at two defeating Glenferrie Inn by 6.6 metres in 2-01.5 but bowed a tendon and only raced twice more after a lengthy stint on the sidelines. Smiley Ella’s dam, Exotic Strike, was also trained by the Stanley stable and won $171,945 in stakes – including victory in the rich Australian Pacing Gold Final at Moonee Valley in 2000. Ellas Puppeteer is also a half-brother to Arms Of Ink, who won two from two last year before also injuring a leg. His scans are all clear now and he’ll return to the track soon. As for Ellas Puppeteer he’s a C1, but not for long. “We think he can measure up (to the top-class four-year-olds)." :To be honest, the horse has got that much improvement in him,” Stanley said. “Once he develops a bit of gate speed he’ll be a lot better." "He’s learning how to race more every time.” Drawing eight behind likely pacemaker Iceobar from the pole is not ideal, Stanley freely admits. “It’s a hard one,” he said. “Dad and I were talking about it last night and he’s of the view that you take the luck out of it and come off the fence." "I think Iceobar would probably hold the lead." “But at the end of the day the horse (Ellas Puppeteer) has a long future and will win better races than this.” Cody Winnell
As he did at two, Christmas Jolt (3G, Village Jolt/Christmas Cullen) has made a winning start to his three-year-old harness racing campaign. The Peter Manning trained pacer notched his eighth win at start 19 last night at Echuca, defeating a small field in the 2QN Radio 3YO Pace over 2160 metres. Working to the lead in the front straight the first time, Christmas Jolt (driven by Kerryn Manning) paced his last mile in 2mins 1.7secs courtesy of a slow 63.7secs first half before coming home in 58secs. Last season Christmas Jolt exploded on to the scene with five wins at his first six starts, including victories in the Premiere Stakes and a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold at Melton. He went on to win a semi-final of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series by 5m over eventual Vicbred and Tatlow Stakes winner Shadow Sax. He won six races overall as a two-year-old, Peter Manning even declaring him potentially the best youngster he’d ever trained. So far at three he’s won in 1-59.2 at Ballarat over 1710m and in 2mins tonight at Echuca. Meanwhile, Secret Agenda (4M, Secret Life/Live Or Die) broke through for her first win at start No.14. A full-sister to Perfect Life (fourth in a Vicbred Super Series Final at four and third in HBV Silver Chalice) and half-sister to Victoria Oaks winner Beauty Secret and two-time Group 1 winner Major Secret, Secret Agenda is a blueblood. Trained by Emma Stewart at Smythes Creek, John Caldow guided the mare home in 2-01.4 in the Echuca New Year's Day Night Meeting Pace over 2160m Cody Winnell
Who needs the little white wedding chapel when the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club is offering up its committee room on a Saturday night? Guests for Wayne Thornton’s 60th birthday bash at the weekend had a night at the trots like no other, eventually finding out the shindig was actually to be his wedding to fiancée Monika. “The staff were amazing. They kept it a secret because it was to be a surprise. I can’t speak highly enough of everyone involved at the club,” Wayne said. The happy couple had planned the night for about three months, even securing the services of celebrity celebrant Greg Evans – famous for hosting TV show Perfect Match. “My wife said, ‘If we’re going to get married we should get Greg’,” Wayne explained. “He was so much fun – very laidback, which was just what we were after.” The idea came about after Wayne’s sons bought him a mobile barrier ride at the club via a Red Balloon promotion. “I’ve always been a racing fan in general,” Wayne said. “The mobile barrier ride was great. The club actually gave us a couple more, so my son and son-in-law both got a go. I couldn’t believe how the horses nudged the gate at the start. The starter was terrific explaining things and the driver was fantastic, too.” Wayne said his guests were shocked when it came time for the ceremony. “A few of the girls said they thought they knew it but everyone was yelling and screaming. “We’ll definitely be coming back to the trots. “It’s a great place since they’ve done it up. It was just superb. Even the bar staff, I can’t thank the club enough.” Want to ride in the Hot Seat at the trots? CODY WINNELL
After bookending the harness racing program at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with a couple of his stable favourites, South Australian horseman Robert Caruso is confident of further Victorian success this coming weekend. Caruso-trained horses won two heats of the Battle of the Claimers, Paleface Jasper (11G Village Jasper/My Paleface Navajo) taking the first in 1:55.7 and My Man Dan (10G Pacific Rocket/Fullabubbles) heat four in 1:56.9. Both were driven by Chris Alford, who finished with a winning treble for the night. “I brought them over a month ago and thought they’d go well but things just didn’t quite work out,” Caruso said. “Dan didn’t travel for whatever reason last time. I changed up a few things and that seemed to work. And Paleface had to work too hard.” Paleface Jasper ran to the lead after about 500m and dictated terms from there, race favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) coming around to the breeze through a 30.1secs second quarter. At the home turn both the first and second horses were put to pressure but Paleface Jasper wasn’t going to be denied, fighting on doggedly to score by a half-neck. “I knew if Jasper got to the front he’d be a hard horse to beat,” Caruso said. Ten races later it was Caruso and Alford to the fore again with My Man Dan, who, like his other successful stablemate is a former Queensland pacer. My Man Dan was driven off the pace, one-out and two back, before easing three-wide at the 600m. At the home corner My Man Dan loomed up to hit the front with Ballochbuie (Greg Sugars) and My Elusive Dream (Alison Chisholm) joining in four- and five-wide. The three engaged in a cracking tussle up the stretch but My Man Dan found enough to win, the last quarter run in 28.2secs. “He was just a jump and charge horse up in Queensland but I always thought a horse with that much speed has to be able to come from behind,” Caruso said. “We changed things up a bit and he’s won four of his last six, so he’s got a few extra strings to his bow.” Mighty Mav (5G Town Champion/Shes A Dancer), trained by Matthew Craven and driven by Chris Svanosio, and Inky Cullen (Christian Cullen/Inky Lady), trained by Dean Braun and driven by Alex Ashwood, were the other Battle of the Claimers heat winners on Saturday night. Mighty Mav went 1:56.6 and Inky Cullen posted a rate of 1:55.8. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria >> Video: Paleface Jasper too strong >> Video: My Man Dan overpowers his rivals
Cold Major (7G Art Major/Van Gold) is headed west for the Perth Inter Dominion later this year after his Group 3 Casey Classic win on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. The 21-time winner (64: 21-7-7, $208,494) dashed along the sprint lane to upstage Geoff Webster’s fast-class stable stars Flaming Flutter (1.9m away second) and Franco Ledger (beaten 3.3m in third) over 1720m in a rate of 1:53.2. The time was Cold Major’s best in 10 goes at the trip. Trained by David Aiken at Avenel, Cold Major was steered by regular reinsman Josh Aiken and paid odds of $14.20, knocking those punters who stood out $1.10 shot Philadelphia Man (fifth) in the final leg of the quaddie. Philadelphia Man paced to the front early and reeled off opening splits of 28.3secs and 29.7secs after a 7.4secs lead time. Flaming Flutter (Greg Sugars) put the heat on Philadelphia Man from the chair down the back (28.1secs third quarter) and when Gavin Lang asked the favourite for his effort in the stretch he found little. Flaming Flutter stuck on valiantly for second with stablemate Franco Ledger (Anthony Butt) third after a one-one trip. Five Star Anvil (Chris Alford) got through for fourth ahead of the long odds-on favourite. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities with Philadelphia Man, but stewards tweeted Saturday night they would follow up with the Emma Stewart stable during the week to see how the horse pulled up. >> Cold Major takes out the Group 3 Casey Classic at Melton Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria
HRV has today released the "Harness Racing Victoria Strategic Plan 2020 Consultation Paper" which will be the blueprint to take Victorian harness racing into the future. The plan is designed to revitalise harness racing in Victoria and create a dynamic and world class industry that will serve as a national and global leader. The plan will cover such key issues as integrity and animal welfare, horse population, innovation of the racing product, wagering, industry participation and growth, marketing and communications to name a few. HRV Chairman Ken Latta PSM said: "For the Plan to achieve its objectives the input, ideas and support of the industry is critical." Mr Latta invites all participants passionate about harness racing to become involved. HRV proposes to engage widely and embark on a rigorous consultation process to discuss the plan. In the coming month HRV will: * Hold sessions with formal industry consultation groups * Conduct forums with participants across Victoria * Receive feedback via written submissions Harness racing makes a significant contribution to the social fabric of Victoria and currently contributes $422 million to the Victorian economy, $226 million in household wages and is responsible for the employment of 4000 FTE jobs. With fresh ideas and industry input the 2020 Plan will ensure that harness racing continues to make its mark in Victoria well into the future. The timetable for the consultation process is: * Release of Consultation Paper - August 27 * Stakeholders consultation and forums to take place during September 2015 * Written submissions close September 30, 2015 * Strategic Plan 2020 released late 2015 The consultation forums will be conducted at the following locations, commencing at 7pm: * Bendigo Harness Racing Club September 15 * Shepparton Harness Racing Club September 22 * Tabcorp Park Melton September 23 To access the Harness Racing Victoria Strategic Plan 2020 Consultation Paper and written submissions form click here CODY WINNELL, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER
Barrier Draws to decide Breeders Crown Fate The chances of runners in next Sunday's TAB Australasian Breeders Crown Finals will be hugely impacted by the all-important Barrier Draws next Monday 24 August, to be conducted in the Legends Cafe© at Tabcorp Park Melton. Coinciding with the Tabcorp Park race meeting, the Barrier Draw action gets underway after Race 3 from 2.30pm where host Cody Winnell and the Good Form team of Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will dissect and analyse the fields for the 2 year olds. The action continues after Race 4 from 3.10pm as the team turn their attention to the 3 year olds. Entry is free and the Legends Cafe© Tabcorp Parkwill be serving an extensive selection of meals throughout the afternoon. TAB Breeders Crown Barrier Draws From 2.30pm, Monday August 24 Legends Cafe©, Tabcorp Park - 2 Ferris Road, Melton After Race 3 - 2.35pm 2YO TROTTING FILLIES 2YO TROTTING COLTS 2YO PACING FILLIES 2YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS AFTER RACE 4 - 3.10pm 3YO TROTTING FILLIES 3YO TROTTING COLTS 3YO PACING FILLIES 3YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS TONY ISING MARKETING MANAGER
The Race to Royalty has been electric so far with action-packed TAB Breeders Crown heat racing throwing up more questions than answers, with some upset results along the way. It will make the Ballarat semi-final night action unmissable of course as we build towards the crescendo at Tabcorp Park Melton on Super Sunday August 30. For now though, let's turn our focus to tonight at Melton and we've got 10 races on the card. And make sure you check out TAB.com.au's Metropolitan Drivers Markets where Gavin Lang, Chris Alford and Greg Sugars look set for a cracking premiership battle that should go to the wire. – Cody Winnell (Manager Communications and Media, HRV) By Jason Bonnington There's no sugar coating the fact that tonight's programme would be as tough as any I have analysed since taking over the metropolitan form guides at Tabcorp Park Melton. The downside is that the racing could be wild, woolly and unpredictable; the upside is that the racing could be wild, woolly and unpredictable! Despite her wide draw and arduous campaign I'm putting most of my eggs tonight in the Quick Draft basket given I've one-outed her in all of our quads and also isolated her in my only money race. If she goes under we're left with our value plays to ensure we keep the "Good Form" rolling from the past few weeks. Check out Jason Bonnington's Game Plan We're #TippingForTeal at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Follow the leader board each week to see how much money will be donated to the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute after Feb 28, next year. $20 Flexi Trifectas Race 8 7/ 3/ 1,2,5,8 $15 for 375% 7/ 1,2,5,8 / 3 $5 for 125% Place All-Up Race 5 No.1 Gotta Go Yankee into Race 7 No. 1 Lierre Noir $10 Each-Way Race 5 No. 11 Aldebaran Macha Flexi Quaddie 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9/ 1,3,4,8,11/ 1,5,7/ 5,7 for 8.33% It'll be CAT AND MOUSE tonight at Melton into Race 3 and 4 so we'll go a$20 running double Trottn The Catwalk into Our Danger Mouse Tough week last week unfortunately and as a result we've had NO CHANGE to the tally board. Let's see if we can get a bit extra coin this weekend. New season club memberships on sale now The access-all-meetings Trots Card – Victorian harness racing’s must-have card for owners and fans – is a key component of the 2015-16 club membership packages. Club membership packages are on sale now for season 2015-16, with prices ranging from $25-$100 and clubs offering a variety of different entitlements for members.
Three short-priced favourites lined up in tonight’s three-year-old colts and geldings’ Breeders Crown heats at Bendigo. But only punters who cashed out after just one leg – My Kiwi Mate ($1.30) winning Race 1 – walked away with more loot than what they set out with. Andy Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket upstaged Menin Gate by the slightest of margins in the second of the night’s heats, while $1.30 pop Ideal For Real came in sixth in Race 5, Lexus On The Beach instead scooping the prize from Egodan. My Kiwi Mate (Bettors Delight/Classic Nymph) took out the ninth heat of the IRT Breeders Crown Series 17, the Craig Demmler-trained former Kiwi holding off runner-up Rule Of Thumb by just a short half-head. The runner-up charged late, but My Kiwi Mate, driven by Jodi Quinlan, did enough, holding on in a 1:58.5 mile rate. Rule Of Thumb (Greg Sugars) was probably unlucky, held up at a vital stage, while Madis Mate finished third for Michael Bellman. Burnaholeinmypocket moved straight through to the semis with his heat victory, the son of Bettors Delight/Kelly Maguire from the Andy Gath stable with Kate Gath in the sulky upstaging Queensland and Victorian Derby winner Menin Gate by a short half-head in 1:56.7. Chumlee (Amanda Turnbull) ran third. Bathurst colt Lexus On The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere/Panoramic Lady) took out the 11th Breeders Crown heat for trainer Steve Turnbull and reinswoman Amanda Turnbull, scoring a 4.4-metre win over Egodan from the Beau Tindale camp with Rod Petroff in the cart, while Sluggem (Anthony Butt) came in third. Lexus On The Beach showed plenty of dash early, ran to the front and kept on running, rating 1:56.2 for an all-the-way win. Ideal For Real galloped late and never raced like the New South Wales Derby winner punters know. by Cody Winnell >> RE-LIVE THE ACTION My Kiwi Mate holds on ... just! Burnaholeinmypocket upstages Menin Gate Lexus On The Beach grabs the win
The unveiling of Harness Education & Re-homing Opportunities (HERO) has brought to fruition one of Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) most pressing priorities. The much anticipated project will deliver unprecedented life after racing avenues for retired standardbreds and elevates Victoria to the forefront of animal welfare innovation within the harness racing industry. HERO is being financed jointly by HRV and the Andrews State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. HRV CEO John Anderson said horse welfare was a critical component of any vibrant and healthy racing industry. “We already have in place a number of broad strategies to manage the care and wellbeing of our horse population, principally under the banner of racing and integrity,” Anderson said. “HRV acknowledges, however, that a key inclusion within a comprehensive and appropriate welfare program is providing an alternate life for standardbreds no longer racing. “We are excited to be partnering with the State Government and sincerely appreciate the support of Racing Minister Martin Pakula MP whose backing is integral to HERO’s success.” Anderson said that through the research and development of HERO, HRV had noted there is already significant work undertaken in horse re-education and re-homing across the harness racing industry. “What’s lacking is central co-ordination of the many initiatives in place, accompanied by widespread, positive publicity of the fantastic stories which are evolving – at present, largely behind the scenes,” he said. HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch will oversee the HERO Project. “There are some incredibly dedicated, talented and passionate people working very hard to secure positive outcomes for standardbreds which, for a myriad of different reasons, are not suitable for racing,” Lynch said. “HERO will both acknowledge and support these people, and provide the information and resources to generate increased opportunities for a greater number of retired horses to find a purposeful, long term future in retirement.” Tanya McDermott, an advocate for life after racing, will manage the implementation of HERO. Her role includes: The development of a registration program for re-trainers to ensure a consistent, professional standard of care and re-education for off-the-track standardbreds. Managing the flow of retired horses through liaison with owners, trainers and breeders. This will include educating harness industry participants about the options available for horses that are no longer suitable for racing. Coordinating placement with the most appropriate re-trainer, assessing each horse’s individual qualities and attributes with a view to maximising its potential beyond the racetrack. Managing and advising on the placement of horses that are unsuitable for riding. Managing the transition of horses between harness trainers, re-trainers and end purchasers. Promoting and advertising HERO through traditional, electronic and social media outlets. Managing a register of re-homed horses, and the de-registration of standardbreds once theycease to be actively utilised within the harness racing industry. HRV will work in parallel with a nationwide de-registration system presently being developed by Harness Racing Australia. Providing information, advice and guidance to suitably skilled/experienced people who wish to become standardbred re-trainers. Reinforcing and developing relationships with organisations such as the Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of Victoria, the Horse Riding Clubs Association of Victoria, Pony Clubs Victoria, Equestrian Australia, the Royal Agricultural Show Society of Victoria, the Australian Carriage Driving Society and the Australian Trail Horse Riders Association, to build the profile of and promote standardbreds as pleasure horses and create increased opportunities for standardbred riders. “Standardbreds make the most fantastic pleasure horses,” McDermott said. “Thanks largely to the efforts of Kathleen Mullan and MF Hollywood (who contested the prestigious Garryowen), the breed is more widely accepted in equestrian circles than ever before and while there is still some work to be done to break down traditional biases, the number of people willing to consider a Standardbred as a riding horse is growing daily. “I have been fortunate through my work in the media to build a terrific rapport with industry participants in Victoria and I already have a wide network of owners and trainers whom I work with to assist in placing horses at the conclusion of their racing career. “HERO will elevate Victoria’s re-education and placement activities to an exciting new level and I’m enormously grateful for the opportunity to spearhead the project.” For more information on HERO visit us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/HRVHERO or Twitter @HRVHERO. CODY WINNELL
Harness Racing Victoria's (HRV) decision to extend the mares' class lift to two and three-year-olds will bolster the racing opportunities afforded to fillies and mares in Victoria from 1 September, 2015. "It's a great initiative for owners of fillies," Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club president and racehorse owner Emmy Mazzetti said. "This combined with recent Victorian stakes increases for fillies and mares' races will keep fillies and mares in the racing population for longer." The changes will result in fillies being able to utilise the lift to race against the colts. Prominent owner/breeder Shannon Nixon also welcomed the changes. "I think it's terrific. It will increase the appeal for fillies and mares right through from the yearling sales, and will help keep fillies and mares racing where it might not have been considered viable in the past," Nixon said. "It's great news for people who race fillies and mares." HRV announced recently prizemoney for fillies and mares' country front races would increase by $1000 a race from season 2015-16. The fillies and mares' prizemoney announcement came as HRV declared Victorian stakemoney would exceed $40 million for the first time. Cody Winnell
Master harness racing trainer Mark Purdon became a two-time Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic winner today at Maryborough. Purdon’s rising star filly High Gait produced a flawless performance in the 2190-metre stand-start Group 1 to score a 2.7-metre win in a mile rate of 2:06.3. High Gait is by Muscles Yankee out of quality producer Regal Volo. She is a full-sister to Breeders Crown winner Our Twentyten. High Gait’s 65secs first half set the filly up to dash home. She got home in 58.4secs, holding off runner-up Missandei comfortably with Sundons Courage third. High Gait has won six races from seven starts, her only defeat coming when second in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton. by Cody Winnell
The nation’s leading reinsman Greg Sugars and Shepparton harness racing trainer Amanda Turnbull both had winning doubles at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Turnbull produced the first two winners on the program, Copper Coast (Modern Art/Katasopos) and Oh Jonny Be Good (Mach Three/Maikona), while Sugars combined with trainer Geoff Webster to win aboard Flaming Flutter (Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot) and was victorious behind Emma Stewart-trained Goodtime Mike (Browning Blue Chip/Golden Face). Copper Coast’s win in the 2240m DNR Logistics Pace (M0) kicked off the nine-race card, driver Nathan Jack – partner of Turnbull – expertly steering the four-year-old gelding home by a whisker over Fernco Bobby G (Glenn Douglas). The winner’s stablemate Big Spook (Turnbull) ran third, the mile rate 1:57.5. Jack took Copper Coast back early from barrier three before timing his run to perfection on the last lap, diving into the one-one around the final bend before stoking up strongest in the lane (29.1secs fourth quarter after a 28.1secs run down the back, 57.2secs last half). Copper Coast is a former Queenslander who won the 2013 Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park at two. The wraps on three-year-old stablemate Oh Jonny B Good got bigger after the colt sat three-wide with no cover (final 800m 57.3secs) and outclassed his opponents in the Decron Pace Final (C2-C3). From an inside back row draw Turnbull took the ex-Kiwi back to the rear early before improving through the last lap. Oh Jonny B Good stretched out best late to win in a rate of 1:59.5 for the 2240m journey and you get the feeling there’s plenty more improvement to come next prep. Illawong Lively (Scott Rains) from the pole ran second and Admiral Joy (Sugars) rocketed home for third. Seven-year-old Bettors Delight/Star Chaser gelding Astronaut won the Tye’s Clubbing USA Claiming Pace to give trainer/driver Jodi Quinlan a Maryborough/Melton double for the day (she scored a dashing win on Friday afternoon aboard Illawong Moonshine). Astronaut came with a sweeping sprint down the outside of the track to beat heavily backed favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) by 2.2m in a rate of 1:59.4 over the 2240m. Inky Cullen (Alex Ashwood) was third. Burrumbeet trainer/driver Michael Stanley took out the SEW-Eurodrive Pace Final over 2240m (C1) with his three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere / Giveusachance filly Soho Berlin. Stanley improved from a midfield position aboard the in-form filly (who has won three of her last four starts) at the mile. She covered plenty of territory from that point to the 1200m pole when she eventually ran to the lead. From there she paced her final three quarters in 30.1secs, 30.2secs and 29.9secs after an opening stanza of 29.7secs to rate 1:58.3, beating Sir Briggen (Mark Buckingham) by 5.5m while Olivia Rockstar (Trevor Hilson) was third. The Conect Blacks A Fake Free-for-All saw impressive five-year-old Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot entire Flaming Flutter continue his rise to stardom. This season’s Inter Dominion runner-up made it two straight fast class wins by holding Keayang Starzzz (Glen Craven) out at the end of the 1720m trip by a half-neck in 1:57.1. Sugars restrained early on Flaming Flutter as the leaders sprinted through a quick lead time before easing three-wide at the bell and whipping up to the breeze through the 32secs second quarter. Keayang Starzzz still appeared to be travelling at the home bend but Flaming Flutter simply outclassed the runner-up in the straight, dashing home in a 27.2secs final quarter after a 28.7secs third split. Consistent Exciteusinthecity ran third for Tim McLean. Brent Lilley had a double at Maryborough on Friday afternoon and backed it up with a third victory at Melton in the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup with Crusader Acey. At big odds, Anthony Butt took the Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding straight to the front early from barrier five before handing up to Best Deal Yet. This left Young Modern (Michael Stanley) parked; the heat winners 1-2 in the run. Once in front Best Deal Yet carved out some quick sectionals after a slick lead time (43.6secs), the opening splits 29.4secs and 29.5secs. Young Modern put paid to the leader at the 400m but Lierre Noir, Major Crocker and Crusader Acey were all starting to loom off softer runs. Crusader Acey finished strongest to score (third and fourth splits 28.8secs and 29.4secs) in a mile rate of 1:55.4, Young Modern battling on gamely for second to be beaten only a neck while Lierre Noir (Glen Craven) was close-up in third. Goodtime Mike gave Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart a victory for the night in the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace (M1) over 1720m from barrier five for in-form Sugars. Goodtime Mike did plenty of work in the run but still found the line best to defeat Artoc (Chris Alford) in second by a head, with Highview Conall third in 1:57.2. David Aiken trained and driven Earth Angel swept to victory in the Renown Silverware Pace over 1720m (M0). The Mach Three/Arty Alice five-year-old tracked the favourite Miley Rose into the lane before peeling off her back and out-sprinting her for a 3.2m success. Miley Rose was second for Gavin Lang, South Australian visitor Our Mischievious Miss holding third for Wayne Hill after giving a bold sight out in front. Earth Angel’s rate was 1:55.7. San Carlo wound up the night on a sensational note, the Mach Three/Bridge Player gelding far too good for his rivals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final for reinswoman Rebecca Bartley. by Cody Winnell