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A filly purchased for less than $1000 at a Shepparton harness racing dispersal sale has netted 25-year-old Armstrong trainer Leroy O’Brien his biggest thrill in the trots. Imprincessgemma (Village Jolt-Melody Stride) didn’t even fetch four figures at the Shepparton sale, O’Brien explaining he paid “$900 plus GST” for the filly. Tonight she won the $50,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, netting O’Brien and his mum, co-owner Sharryn, $25,000. “This was really special,” O’Brien said. “This one we owned ourselves, this was only her second lifetime win. She is really special to us. She’s named after my niece by my Mum. She really is one of our favourites.” Driven by Kerryn Manning tonight, Imprincessgemma took the lead early off Hakuna and once in front never looked like losing. She paced a 1:54.8 mile rate, her last half-mile split up in 28.8 and 28.4secs. “She carried herself well (at the sale),” O’Brien said when asked what had caught his eye at Shepparton. “Melody Stride was from the Stride family and Village Jolt was a fairly new sire when we purchased her. She was just very cheap and I thought she was definitely worth a go. “Me and my dad (Danny) actually went up there to buy a trotting mare in foal, but it went a little bit too dear. I had an eye for her (Imprincessgemma), so I had to ring mum to transfer some money so I could buy her. I had no money but I liked the horse.” O’Brien is positive he wants to make a full-time go of the trots. “I really do. I’m a plumber by trade, but I’ve done my time with the business and put that aside to have a real good go with the horses. There’s nothing better than waking up and working with them. I love them to bits. I really want to make it in the future and have a real good crack at it while I can. And I’ll give it 110 per cent, that’s for sure.” O’Brien also adds that the trots operation is very much a family project. “My mum gets up at daylight and gets out there with her nighty on, she loves it. It’s a massive team effort. Dad does a great job too and my girlfriend Kristy helps out along the lines too. I’ve got massive support from my family.” Manning was full of merit for O’Brien post-race. “She’s a lovely horse to drive and Leroy does a great job with his horses. He knows them very well and he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” she said. O’Brien returned the praise. “I put Kerryn on tonight because I wanted to put the best on to give her every chance. And you can’t beat Kerryn Manning.” Meanwhile, in the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic trotting finals Wobelee (Down Under Muscles-Tupenny Bit) and Viksun (Fling It-Summerline) won the male and female divisions respectively. Wobelee is trained by Alison Alford and was driven by husband Chris, whose fans tonight donned #Puppet6000 t-shirts to celebrate Alford’s recent 6000th winner in the gig. “I’m very proud of this little fella,” Alford said. “He’s normally really well-mannered but he went for a little bit of a canter in the score-up, which scared me, but once he found the front he was going to be hard to beat.” Wobelee rated 2:00.8 to score by 6.5m over Whizzbang Dan, with Chissy in third. Viksun won the fillies’ final in 2:01.2 for trainer Billy Muscat and driver Michael Muscat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Twenty-one years after delivering harness racing trainer John Ryan success aboard Barunah Bay in the Cobram Cup, champion reinsman Chris Alford drove his 6000th winner on another of Ryan’s horses, this time Diamond Grace at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford needed three winners at the start of today to become the first driver in the southern hemisphere to reach the 6000-win mark, and it took him until the last race to cap a winning treble with his family on-course to celebrate. “Alison and the kids wanted to be there so after the first win I rang her and said you getter get Sam from school. I thought I had a few chances late in the day. For a moment there it looked as though it was going to have to wait until tomorrow, but it was a huge thrill to achieve it on a horse trained by John Ryan,” Alford said. The champion reinsman, who turns 49 later this week, said achieving the milestone was “extremely satisfying”, adding, “I’m privileged to get to drive so many good horses. I can’t make bad horses win”. Very much at the top of his game, Alford is leading the national drivers’ premiership by a huge margin this year and his drives have netted over $2.5 million in stake earnings. Included among those wins is this season’s Group 1 Miracle Mile aboard one of Alford’s modern day – and all-time – favourites, Lennytheshark. CHECK OUT TROTS MEDIA'S #PUPPET6000 CELEBRATION VIDEO Alford’s association with Lenny, the 2015 Inter Dominion champion, is legendary but so is his connection with Golden Reign, Tailamade Lombo and a host of other topliners. Alford has been swamped with messages of congratulations from fans and his fellow participants on social media, but is taking the time to soak up the win with his family before delving into the latest word on the tweet. “We’re just heading for a pub meal and I can see there’s been a bit of talk on social media. It’ll be good to catch up on it later,” Alford said. Alford achieved the 5000-win milestone in November 2013. Already some pundits are looking towards 7000. And that journey starts tomorrow night at Kilmore where Alford has six drives. On Saturday night Alford will take time out to meet fans and sign souvenir #Puppet6000 t-shirts at Tabcorp Park Melton on Benstud Queen of the Pacific night. Funds from the sale of the t-shirts, $10 and available at the race night office, will be donated to Alford’s chosen charity, the Children’s Tumour Foundation.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing of trainer and driver Howard Taylor at the weekend. Howard featured on Len Baker’s Harness Review program on January 23. Click here to listen to that program (the interview begins 52mins 59secs in). Howard was renowned for driving winners at many tracks across Australia, mentioning in his January interview on radio that he drove winners “at 84 different tracks around Australia”. Today Howard prepared trotting mare Celtic Rose to run in Race 3 at Tabcorp Park Melton and the horse will race under his name for driver Josh Duggan. HRV will advise funeral details of Howard when they come to hand and extends condolences to friends and family. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Not since Make Mine Cullen in 2012 has a mare completed the Mares’ Triple Crown. But a record-breaking win in the Alabar Angelique Club Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night has star Kiwi mare The Orange Agent within one win of completing the rare harness racing treble. The Brian Hughes-trained five-year-old smashed the clock, rating 1:53.7 – a new race record – to score by almost 10m over a game Milly Perez in the 2240m Group 3. Driven by Chris Alford, whose winning double at Melton moved him within three of the 6000-victory milestone, The Orange Agent (American Ideal-Lady Fingers) gapped the opposition to add the Angelique Club Cup to the Alabar Make Mine Cullen silverware she won last week. The next target will come next Saturday night, the $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific, the jewel of the Mares’ Triple Crown. “The fast lead time certainly took the sting out of some of the leaders,” Alford said of last night’s win. “She felt amazing. She just strode up, she was just travelling that hard around the last turn. She was just charging." The early speed came from New South Wales trained Rakarazor, who found the lead from the top of the track early doors and ripped through the first 630m in 43.6secs. The tempo never cooled with Rakarazor then pacing the first half of her last mile in 58.9secs before a 28.4secs third quarter. She couldn’t maintain the rage. Alford let The Orange Agent do what she does best around the final bend and in the blink of an eye she put the pacemakers away. A bold Milly Perez ran on to get second for driver John Caldow, her effort probably one of the best of her career in defeat, while Bettor Downunder for Michael Stanley scorched home for third at big odds. The Orange Agent finished off with a 27.4secs final split despite having sat three-wide throughout the last lap. So now on to this week.  Can anyone turn the tables on The Orange Agent? It’ll be tough. But connections of Milly Perez and Bettor Downunder would have been thrilled with the performances of their mares. Both savaged the line and should appreciate the 2760-metre trip, while Dennis Picker-trained Onlykidding was solid in fourth and Rocker Band found the line well out wide for fifth. You can put Heavens Trend into the forgive file from the Angelique Club Cup. She came in tailed off last after striking trouble around the final bend, while classy Mark Purdon-trained Our Golden Goddess compounded to finish 10th after parking in the chair. She is better than that. The eye-catcher was Shakahari, who was bowled over around the final bend before picking up and flashing to the line in seventh place. She should have finished much closer and could spring a surprise next weekend for Bec Bartley and Stephen O’Donoghue. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Harness Racing Victoria Own the Moment website currently has five horses being advertised to potential racehorse owners. The Own the Moment website is an online space to promote ownership to people wanting to get involved in the exciting world of trots ownership, and also, importantly, is a site for trots trainers to advertise legal syndication opportunities and to promote their business at no cost. Terang’s Matthew Craven is the first trainer to take advantage of this service offered by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), syndicating a Rock N Roll Heaven/Localize yearling colt via the Available Horses page, as well as an Art Major/Soaring Franco yearling colt. Additionally, horses are available to be raced with Long Forrest trainer Andy Gath (a Bettors Delight/Shes Artistic yearling colt), Avenel’s Josh Aiken (a Western Ideal/Christa yearling colt) and Cranbourne’s Mick Hughes (a Lucky Chucky/Karamboo yearling trotting filly) all with the Raceapacer syndicate. “I encourage trainers to take advantage of this free service to enhance their business and attract vital new owners to our industry,” HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister said. “We will actively promote this service through social, digital and traditional media marketing. And importantly if trainers work with us to develop these syndication opportunities they can rest assured that they are not breaching any Victorian syndication laws.” Full product disclosure statements (PDS) can be viewed by clicking through to the Own the Moment website. Click here to view the Available Horses section Trainers wishing to get involved in syndicating a horse can contact HRV’s Tori Glenister on 03 9214 0699 or email tglenister@hrv.org.au Owners who want information on how to get involved in trots ownership can visit trotsownthemoment.com.au or contact Tori. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Two regally related harness racing fillies will take winning form into next Saturday night’s $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold fillies final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Tonight’s lead-up APG Semi-Finals at Victorian metro trots headquarters saw Fiore Stride and Molly Kelly do their families proud, both victorious ahead of the big dance. Fiore Stride, whose dam Under The Mattress is best known for producing superstar Smolda, went 1:57.7 and defeated Mark Purdon-trained Just Makemine Diamonds tonight for reinsman John Caldow. “She travelled nice in the run. The leader (Just Makemine Diamonds) was knocking off and not concentrating and to (Fiore Stride’s) credit she out-stayed them,” Caldow said. Owner Emilio Rosati was on course at Melton to see his latest star stride to victory and the Cobbitty team behind the daughter of Art Major have reason to take confidence into next week. But standing in the way of the Sydneysider capturing ‘belle of the ball’ status is Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart, whose two rising star fillies fought out the first of tonight’s Semi-Finals in a quicker time of 1:56.5. Frith’s full-sister, Molly Kelly, by Four Starzzz Shark out of Jackie Kelly, defeated stablemate Nostra Beach in the finish by a head for reinsman Chris Alford. And Alford drew comparisons between the fledgling filly and her mighty millionaire older sister. “She’s a big raw girl … she’s like Frith in her early days. She used to gawk around a bit when Bruce used to drive her and this one’s a lot like her, so hopefully she can go on to have a career like she did,” Alford said. “The run should do her good for next week.” Alford had the choice of drive between Molly Kelly and Nostra Beach tonight and said the barrier draw was probably the only thing that gave Molly the nod.  “Clayton (Tonkin) couldn’t separate them in trackwork but the draw probably helped me (make the decision),” he said. Callmequeenbee ran third behind the Stewart stablemates in the first Semi, while Passions Delight, who was supreme in her heat win when holding the lead and copping pressure throughout, tonight was crossed early and finished third after travelling in the box seat throughout.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced Acting Legal Counsel John Briffa and Acting General Manager – Commercial Ryan Stanaway have been appointed to their positions permanently. Stanaway, who has been in the GM Commercial role since November last year, has an extensive industry background in the wagering and racing space. Briffa has been in the General Counsel role since November last year has been influencing a range of matters at HRV, including club governance. “Ryan and John are important members of the HRV team and I am looking forward to continuing to work with both of them as we guide the industry into the future,” HRV CEO David Martin said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Angela McDowell's flying two-year-old colt Lumineer can't be beaten in Saturday night's harness racing $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. That's the verdict of Trots Media's Cody Winnell, who sprouted confidence in the unbeaten Sportswriter colt during last night's Trots On Tuesday radio segment on SEN 1116AM. "I'd put a line through all of them, they are not getting anywhere near Lumineer," Winnell said. "There was absolute daylight between Lumineer and the rest of the field and there is no way any of those runners are turning the tables on Lumineer in the final. "And if you take a line back through that Higherthananeagle heat (when Lumineer sat outside and beat him), I don't see anything from the other semi-final going anywhere near him. It will go around, it will win easily, because it's the best two-year-old I've seen for a while." Listen in to Winnell and Michael Howard's podcast, which can be heard from about 11pm every Tuesday on SEN 1116AM. Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 28 April 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 28 April 2017

Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February.  The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.”  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board has announced all Group 2 and 3 Victorian country pacing cup races will be run as preferential barrier draw (PBD) events in season 2017-18. Wagering analysis of the 2016-17 country cups circuit revealed a 3.9% increase in wagering on pacing cups compared to the season prior. This increase came despite a 24.7% YoY decline in wagering for the Shepparton Cup, which transitioned from a standing start handicapped event to a non-handicapped random barrier draw (RBD) race. Hectorjayjay started a $1.20 favourite for the Shepparton Cup. In October 2016, the HRV Board agreed to discontinue standing starts in pacing races for a six-month trial period. Analysis of wagering data indicates a widening gap between mobile starts and standing starts, with mobiles now generating 30% more wagering per race compared to a standing start. That gap expands when comparing standing starts to mobile starts for two-year-old races and lower class $3500 races. Based on this analysis, the HRV Board made the decision to keep all country cup pacing races as mobile start events but with PBD handicapping applied to all Group 2 and 3 races. This is to reduce short-priced favourites and maximise revenue returns to the industry. Speaking on RSN’s Gait Speed this week, HRV CEO David Martin said: In regards to country pacing cups, “There’s been quite a degree of debate between standing starts versus mobiles and really what it comes down to is you’re moving from a handicapping system to a non-handicapping system. I think with the introduction of preferential barrier draws across all Group 3 and Group 2 cups we reintroduce a handicapping system in a different form.” Click here to listen to HRV CEO David Martin’s extended interview on RSN’s Gait Speed Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

She has a commanding record but it is fair to say six-year-old harness racing mare Bettor Downunder is really only now starting to show her full potential. The Bettor's Delight mare notched her 11th win last night in the Group 3 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup with Michael Stanley in the sulky, and her trainer, Wayne Ronan, is eyeing bigger fish in coming weeks. A series of mares’ features at Tabcorp Park Melton, unofficially referred to as ‘the mares’ Triple Crown’, culminates in the $100,000 Group 1 Benstud Queen of the Pacific on May 20. That is Bettor Downunder’s short-term Grand Final. “She showed against A Piccadilly Princess in January (that she was up with the best mares in the country),” Ronan said after last night’s win around the 811-metre Ararat circuit in a rate of 1:58.8 for the 2195m trip. “(But) I’ll be honest,” Ronan added. “The way she’s gone this time in, even Michael made the quote last week, if the mare last week turned up to that race he’s certain she would have beaten A Piccadilly Princess.” “Now, you can sit her up, you pull the plugs and she’ll let go. The last two weeks have shown that with Mick sitting in the death and when he pulls the plugs you see there’s something there.” Stanley was full of praise for Ronan. “All credit to Wayne, he’s done a great job with her,” he said. “The Queen of the Pacific will be her target and she will acquit herself well. “Tonight we were able to control the race (from the breeze) and I was able to pinch a good break on Milly Perez when we needed to.” Stanley sent Bettor Downunder to the front approaching the final bend while Milly Perez ran wide to launch her customary final dash from back in the field. Despite Milly Perez savaging the line, Bettor Downunder had pinched the race-winning break and scored by 1.8m. “He drove her sensational,” Ronan said of Stanley’s steer. “He burnt them on the bend.” For Ronan, who trains at Glen Park and whose profession as a chiropractor sees him travelling away from home regularly, the training of Bettor Downunder is a family affair. “My son Connor, he’s 17, I go to Queensland fortnightly for work so he works the horses while I’m away. It’s great to have confidence where you can say, 'can you work a horse in 3.20 or 4.30' and he’ll be within 0.2 of a second,” he said. “My daughter Teanna helps out too, so it’s satisfying that it’s a family thing. Dad’s virtually given me the run of the roost with the breeding and what stallions to go to. He’s always saying ‘when are we going to get money out of it?’ Now it’s good to see we’re reaping the rewards. It’s great.” Bettor Downunder has come a long way since being the mare who would either win by a huge space or break connections’ hearts with misbehaviour bringing her undone. Ronan says he is thankful Gordon Rothacker Medal recipient Carl O’Dwyer has been able to assist in shoeing Bettor Downunder, which has turned things around. “She’s a little bit offset in the front knees. When she was hitting the ground she was putting all the pressure on the inside heels, so I took her over to Carl’s and we got her reshod and left the heel off the ground and put a pad under. She seems a lot more comfortable now,” he said. “I’m glad he took my phone call.” Ronan is hopeful that Bettor Downunder’s bad luck is well and truly a thing of the past. “It’s a great thrill. I’m breeding to try and sell horses … and to get her back and get her up and running and showing her true potential is just fantastic.” Milly Perez finished second, picking up two points in the Trots Country Championship, which left her shy of ladder leader Im Corzin Terror. It means Im Corzin Terror, from the Dean Braun stable, will pocket the $25,000 Trots Country Cups championship regardless of his finishing position in today’s Warragul Pacing Cup. Beach Boy Adios finished third from fourth-placed Perspective at Ararat, with local Jivin Cullen in fifth place. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Tonight’s Good Friday Appeal Sulky Race at Tabcorp Park Melton was a huge success. The Trots community gathered to support a group of harness racing  drivers who replaced horses, pulling the sulkies which were driven by children of participants. All the kids described the how much fun the race was as they ‘drove’ up the Melton straight over 100m in front of the crowd. VIDEO: Check out the colour and excitement of the Sulky Race at Melton Tabcorp Park’s Troy Anderson won the race, with an excited young Blake McDonough in the sulky. “It’s all about bragging rights when it comes to these things, so pretty happy to get the result in the end," Anderson said. “I looked over about half way down the straight and thought I might be able to pull up but actually had to start digging a bit deeper.” Asked what was his favourite bit, Blake McDonough replied: “going fast!”. “It was good fun for a good cause. I'm not too sure (Troy) was in his class. He looks like an AFL footballer against the drivers, so I think we might check what class he is, he might be a free-for-aller against the maidens today," Josh Aiken, who finished second, said. Hayley Fino, in Aiken’s sulky, said “when I saw Troy coming from the outside I was like, that’s it, we don’t have it”. The night doubled as the trots’ community’s annual Good Friday Appeal fundraiser, with the Fino family playing a driving role in setting up the event. Tomorrow, Rachael and Jason Fino will appear on Channel 7’s Good Friday Appeal coverage along with son Nathan, where the amount raised by the trots’ community will be revealed. Click here to donate via the Trots Good Friday Appeal page Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Charlton trots club was thrilled to again host the Dja Dja Wurrung people at the annual Dja Dja Wurrung Cup Day yesterday. As a gesture of thanks for permission granted to build the club's training facility, now a great asset to the club, this day has evolved into one of friendship and mutual respect. "With 40 representatives of the Dja Dja Wurrung People on-course to participate in the day, it was a great testament to the growing relationship between the two groups," club secretary Andrea O'Gorman said. "In a day of many positives perhaps the most important was the commitment made to work even closer together to develop this day into a showcase of the best that the club and the Dja Dja Wurrung People have to offer." Damien Burns and Village Tango won the Dja Dja Wurrung Cup in a mile rate of 1:56.9, defeating runner-up Nuggetpan by 7.5 metres. The club also welcomed Women's Cancer Foundation Teal Campaign founder Duncan McPherson on-course to accept the $2829 that was raised to support ovarian cancer research on Charlton Cup Day. The successful 'Bubbles in the Bush' campaign, which was sponsored by St. John Of God Bendigo Hospital, saw 104 ladies dig deep to support the cause. Rodney Carter, representing the Dja Dja Wurrung People, generously stepped forward on the day to announce they also would like to donate $1000 to the Women's Cancer Foundation. And so a new relationship was formed. It was with great pride that local and former president of the Charlton club Frank McGrath was given the honour of opening the new 'Milly Perez Bar' at the club. As a long-time supporter of trots and a passionate 'Charltonian', Frank was humbled to have this recognition given his super mare after her stirring win in the Charlton Cup in February. For more trots news visit www.trotscountry.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

In late 2016, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board engaged an external consultant to identify opportunities for efficiency improvement and to create new revenue streams.  Following on from that and his own appointment in January 2017, HRV CEO David Martin has continued to consult the industry in order to establish its strategic direction through the challenges faced.  One of those challenges is HRV’s increasing costs and declining revenues, which are impacting profitability and HRV’s ability to fulfil its role in the industry.  Therefore, HRV recently made changes to reduce operational costs and align the organisation’s resources with the key strategic themes. “As the governing body, it is vital that HRV has a sustainable financial model by which it operates.  HRV lost money in 2015/16 and will do so again this year, so the Board and I needed to make some difficult decisions.  We are very mindful of the impact of these changes on individuals and have offered support wherever possible,” Mr Martin said. Going forward, HRV will focus on a combination of ‘functional strategies’ such as Marketing & Wagering, Finance, People, Racing, Legal and Integrity, and concurrently work with the industry on ‘Stakeholder Strategies’ for each of Owners, Breeders, Trainers & Drivers, Clubs, Punters and Government & Public.  In all areas, decisions need to be based on putting the industry first. Mr Martin advised that: “The intent is for the two sets of functional and stakeholder strategies to be integrated, jointly owned and reviewed as implementation occurs.  Within this framework we have identified four key strategies that are vital for improving the future of our industry, namely Racing Product, Race Programming, Major Sponsorships and the Melton Masterplan.  We have already seen an uplift in field sizes and races per meeting as a result of changes to race programming and handicapping.  We have a long journey ahead to build the industry we all want, so it is important that we work together through difficult times to overcome the external challenges the industry faces.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The rise of Red Hot Tooth continues. The four-year-old harness racing mare stunned a field of older, more experienced rivals to take out last night’s Haras Des Trotteurs Australasian Trotting Championship at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trainer Kari Males has had confidence in Red Hot Tooth the whole way through, nominating the daughter of Yankee Paco-Karaka Tooth for a potential Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star berth over summer. Last night, with regular driver Zac Phillips in the gig, Red Hot Tooth produced a faultless display from the standing start conditions to rate 2:01.0 for a comfortable 6.2m win over fellow mares Sky Petite (five-year-old) and Illawong Helios (six) in the $50,000 Group 1 over 2760m. The win was Phillips’ third Group 1 triumph in the last month. WATCH RED HOT TOOTH'S GROUP 1 WIN AT MELTON “It’s funny how it works. It takes a long time to get one and then I get three in a few weeks,” Phillips said. “She’s such a great trier. I was talking to Paul (Males) during the week and he said ‘if she trots to the front just go fast enough that they can’t go near you’. “The art of training is setting horses for races like this and Paul and Kari have done a great job with that over the years. No one works harder than them.” Red Hot Tooth booted well clear at the home bend and produced final splits of 28.8 and 28.4. She completed the marathon trip in 3mins 27.5secs. Race favourite On Thunder Road finished 10th, while two other horses well in commission that finished back in the field were Sunny Ruby (eighth) and Cruisin Around (11th). “I just can’t speak highly enough of her… she’s just a little superstar,” a clearly elated Kari Males said post-race. The win was Males’ 250th career victory. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Petacular and Shezallapples won their Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks heats at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Touted as the best harness racing filly of her age in Victoria, Petacular notched her 12th win at start No.17 in a mile rate of 1:56.3 to take out her heat and will start a short-priced favourite in next Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 Final at Melton. Tonight's heats showed it will be no procession, however, for the Burrumbeet filly from Michael Stanley’s stable. Sydneysider Shezallapples looked strong winning the second heat, albeit in a slower time of 1:57.7. Trained by David Thorn, Shezallapples (Sportswriter), like Petacular (Somebeachsomewhere), was a Group 1 winner at two via the Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle. Driven by Jim Douglass, Shezallapples controlled the Oaks heat once in front. She had 5m to spare over Sanna Cruza in the finish, the latter handing up the lead to the winner early, while Keayang Secret finished third for Jason Lee. Emma Stewart-trained Miss Graceland finished second to Petacular last night, beaten 2.3m, but driver Chris Alford was pleased with the run and tweeted post-race his filly could potentially turn the tables on the favourite in the big dance. “I thought Miss Graceland went super, hopefully draw better next week and reverse result,” he wrote. If Miss Graceland does defeat Petacular it will be the first time she’s ever been able to do it, the head-to-head record between the pair reading six-zip in favour of Petacular for now. Flying Moth, Beach Garden and Our Lady Madonna rounded out the top six in heat two, while Anybeach Anywhere, Sheza Sharpie, Nomi Malone and Angel In White finished third to sixth in the first heat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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