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The finish line to the Race to Royalty has arrived. Eight Group 1 races are been contested today at Tabcorp Park Melton for the annual TAB Breeders Crown Finals Day with huge prizemoney on offer and a big harness racing crowd is in attendance. Race 1 - Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Fillies Final By Cody Winnell WILMAS MATE (Pegasus Spur-Mybrotherwasastar) is the first Group 1 Breeders Crown champion of the day at Tabcorp Park Melton. Punters backed the Paul Nairn-trained three-year-old filly into $1.55 fixed with TAB.com.au and she didn’t disappoint, taking out the Haras Des Trotteurs sponsored three-year-old trotting fillies final in memorable fashion. Moving to the chair from back in the field in the running line when the bell chimed, reinsman David Butt aboard Wilmas Mate put the pressure to leader High Gait down the back with a 27.8secs third split the result. High Gait rallied fiercely with Chris Alford in the gig.  That filly initially worked to the lead after Aldebaran Ay M found the pegs early and handed up. High Gait posted a 45.5secs lead time and opening splits of 29.9 and 30.4. Down the back it became a race in two as the class fillies gapped their rivals. Shades of Bonecrusher/Our Waverley Star ensued. Or we could compare it to Terror To Love/Christen Me at Cranbourne. High Gait lifted and fought right to the wire but Wilmas Mate always just had her measure, scoring by 1m with a 29.6secs last quarter for a swift 1:57.3 mile rate for the 2240-metre journey. “She got a bit pully down the back, probably not wanting to go so quick but Chris was making a bit of noise wanting to go,” Butt said. “It’s great to win a race like this. She’s a great filly.” That’s 13 wins from 25 starts now for Wilmas Mate, whose earnings skyrocket to almost quarter of a million dollars on the back of today’s win. Sky Majesty (Jodi Quinlan) ran a super race for third. She's had a great season and her run today was full of merit, while Aldebaran Eve was fourth.  Courchevel and Princess Phoenix galloped early and left their chances at the gate. Video replay  Race 2 - Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting Fillies Final By Cody Winnell KYVALLEY Kyrie (Angus Hall-Aldebaran Maori) has upstaged her rivals in the Aldebaran Park two-year-old trotting fillies Breeders Crown Final at huge odds. Driven to the lead early by Anthony Butt from barrier six, Kyvalley Kyrie defied all comers at $41 at TAB.com.au to score by 3.2m in a mile rate of 2:01.7. “I’ve always had a lot of faith in this filly,” Butt said post race. “It was a great training performance by Brent (Lilley) as she performed pretty average last start. “If I handed up I was handing someone the race, so I was keen to hold the lead today.” Kyvalley Kyrie opened her final mile with a 31.2 quarter before middle splits of 29.7 and 29.8. She got up the straight in 31.1 and had 3.2m to spare over Our Regal Love (Chris Alford), who had her chance in second, with Iona Spider finishing with a venomous burst to be 3.8m off the winner in third after missing the start for Jodi Quinlan and Shane Hall. That was a huge run. Derrie Aire also produced a big effort for fourth for Amy Tubbs, while Sval Queen finished fifth. Nieta galloped, a horror start to the day for Anton Golino/Greg Sugars, with two favourites missing away to start the day. On to the third. Race 3 - Aldebaran Park 2YO Trotting Colts/Geldings Final By Cody Winnell CUSTODIAN (Muscle Mass-Maia) is Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon’s first Crown star of the day. The gelded son of Muscle Mass was backed off the map in markets across the country, into $1.9 on the tote and $2.1 fixed with TAB.com.au, displacing Illawong Byron as favourite. The winning move was made just prior the mile when Purdon took Custodian around the field and attacked early leader Illawong Byron, who started from pole. Illawong Byron, who has been an absolute model of consistency all season, made a rare mistake and jumped off stride, gifting Custodian the front. To Illawong Byron’s credit he got back down and trotting and by the end of the race had made up good ground to finish a creditable fifth. Eyrish Mist finished second beaten 3.6m for Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt, who are having a good day themselves, while Claudys Prince was gallant in third for Mick Blackmore and Gavin Lang, just holding off Kheiron, who also ran another bottler for Peter Lane and Chris Alford. “He trotted beautifully today,” Purdon said of Custodian, who rated 2:00.7 in winning. “He behaved himself really well. “Jodi’s unfortunately galloped and the race looked to be between the two horses on paper.” Results Video replay Race 4 - IRT Breeders Crown 3YO pacing Colts/Geldings final By Michael Howard THEY threw everything at him including Iceenothink but Mark Purdon’s super Somebeachsomewhere three-year-old, Our Waikiki Beach, held on to win the Group 1 and reaffirm his status. The track’s class record was smashed as they rattled from start to finish, with Our Waikiki Beach recording its 23rd win from 24 starts by claiming the IRT Breeders Crown final for three-year-old colts and geldings. “He’s a champion,” Purdon said. “He can’t do any more than he’s done, he just keep delivering.” It was anything but easy for the $1.04 favourite, who found the lead from the gates but a procession of challenges took the breeze, with fellow Kiwi Franco Cristiano pouring on the pressure with Dexter Dunn holding the reins. A blistering 27.9 first quarter followed a 45.1 lead time and Purdon was concerned.   “He had to burn hard early to hold the top. Even from a lap out they were really humming,” Purdon said. “With a lap to go, I’m not sure what speed we were going, but we were going better than 30 seconds for a quarter. I knew we were going real hard and we couldn’t maintain that for the whole lap.” A 28.8 second quarter was followed by a 28.9 third and come the final straight the early challenges had faded but Iceenothink burst wide, Match In Heaven poured down the sprint lane and Rock In America loomed. In a 28.0 final quarter Our Waikiki Beach held off all challenges for a 1m win, with Match In Heaven second for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick and driver Blake Fitzpatrick. The 1:54.0 mile rate was only 0.8 outside Keayang Cullen’s track record and 0.4 under the class record. “It wasn’t an easy race but full credit to the horse, he really dug deep,” Purdon said. Results Video replay Race 5 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO fillies By Michael Howard IT didn’t all go to script but Emma Stewart’s stable etched its name on a 2016 Breeders Crown trophy when Rocknroll Magic rattled home to win the three-year-old fillies final. The expected playbook – favourite Heavens Trend leads, stablemate Rocknroll Magic sits on her back and they work the rest out in the straight – was torn up when Mark Purdon’s My Mackenzie flew the gates. That placed Gavin Lang leader’s back on Heavens Trend and Chris Alford and Rocknroll Magic buried away three-back on the pegs, and a huge crowd held their breath awaiting the final straight. “Preferably we would have been behind the leader, but when My Mackenzie came out so quick Gavin wasn’t able to get off the fence and do a retake because it was just going a bit too hard,” Alford said. “I was sort of happy, because we were rolling along pretty strong.” After a 59.9 first half and a 28.4 third quarter, My Mackenzie still had plenty left in the tank, with Heavens Trend urging off his back before the sprint lane but unable to open up in the straight. That left the sprint lane for Rocknroll Magic, but still My Mackenzie pressed on and it was only in the dying moments that Chris Alford found the front and recorded a memorable victory. A 27.5 final quarter would see the Owners Enclosure erupte as Rocknroll Magic’s huge loyal following in raptures. “At the top of the straight she was sort of flat out, flat out. She is only little but she just keeps giving,” Alford said. “Fifty metres out she wasn’t going to get there and then she just stuck her head out and hit the line. “She went from fifth to first in about the space of that last 50m, she’s done a great job.” Rockstar Angel ran third for trainer David Aiken and driver Michael Bellman. The first two home are both by Rock N Roll Heaven. Results Video replay   Race 6 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 2YO colts and geldings final By Michael Howard A RAPT Chris Alford and the horse that typifies his determination, Our Little General, produced a brilliant Breeders Crown win. The Mach Three colt just kept on chugging while all the favourites battled around him, with Tingira Beach having a torrid time for Shane and Lauren Tritton’s and Mark Purdon’s Pacing Major looming but then fading. “He’s a great little horse,” Alford said. “He’s only small, but he is all heart. He drives like a little car: He goes forward and drops the bit, goes forward and drops the bit. He still had a great kick at the top of the straight and he well deserved that win.” Tritton was unable to hold the front with Tingira Beach on the polemarker and $1.60 favourite, with Big Gun Johnny sweeping to the front. This pricked Alford’s interest. “I thought Big Gun Johnny had crossed and I thought that’s a great opportunity for me to get the front again like last week,” Alford said. Tingira Beach then galloped twice in the running, falling back along the pegs and out of contention. “I’m not too sure what happened with Lauren, whether she was going where these was no room or Matty hadn’t quite crossed, we’ll just have to leave that up to the stewards,” Alford said. “Once she was out of the race it changed the complexion a bit and then I thought I would get the front, but Colin McDowell’s horse (Sunset Zeus) just took charge and I just had to sit their patiently and wait for his horse to slow down a little bit so we could make a move.” Alford took the front and was soon joined by Purdon’s well-backed Art Major colt, Pacing Major. “I was really worried when Pacing Major got outside him so early, I thought if he puts the gas on down the back I’d nearly have to let him go,” Alford said. “Little General, he just kept chugging away and Mark’s horse was sort of gone off the back, so I was pretty confident as we straightened and then when I let him go he really kicked.” Our Little General hit the line first, 4.9m clear of Astride who had a big run for the McCarthy camp after being unsettled by a galloping Tingira Beach, with Wrappers Delight third for trainer Geoff Webster and driver Gavin Lang. Results Video replay   Race 7 - Alabar Breeders Crown Series two-year-old fillies final By Michael Howard HE came, he saw and, despite one hell of a run from Petacular, he conquered. Mark Purdon’s stable claimed a third Breeders Crown for the day, winning the two-year-old fillies with his talented Bettor's Delight filly, Partyon, who retained her unbeaten record with a blistering Group 1 win. Partyon stopped the clock at 1:54.4, some 1.8 seconds quicker than the track’s previous distance record for this class, having survived a battle with Michael Stanley’s brave Burrumbeet filly Petacular. “She’s done a great job. She is a beautiful filly and you just can’t fault her record,” Purdon said. “She’s been great from the time she stepped out to cap it off today.” The Kiwi reinsman and trainer steered Partyon to the front from barrier seven. “(Partyon’s) got good gate speed, although in saying that we didn’t cross them by much and we were going early,” he said. Petacular joined her mid-race, with Gavin Lang tucking well-rated Miss Graceland on leader’s back. “I was a little bit worried, because (Partyon) was really getting plenty of pressure, and I was worried how Gavin was going on my back,” Purdon said. “She just stuck to her task all the way up the straight.” Petacular fought on superbly but, having sat in the breeze for much of the running, didn’t have the fuel tickets to win after a 27.5 third quarter, with Partyon winning by 3.1m from Petacular and My Casino Belle finishing off well to claim third. Results Video replay   Race 8 - Breckon Farms Breeders Crown four-year-old entires and geldings By Michael Howard Ideal For Real (American Ideal) reaffirmed his status as a racehorse to be reckoned with, dominating the four-year-old entires and geldings Group 2 final. Emma Stewart notched up her third win to match Mark Purdon’s mighty haul, claiming the Breckon Farms Breeders Crown Championship by 6m when Ideal For Real produced an all-the-way win. “It is a pretty serious little horse this one,” Lang said. Ideal For Real flew the gate from barrier five, with his main rival, Tee Cee Bee Macray, tucked away at the rear of the field from his wide second row draw. “He’s showed a little bit of gate speed today, which he hasn’t had to use much in the past,” Lang said. “He come off the arm pretty good and got a good position, eventually found the front and got it done pretty easy.” Ideal For Real separated from the pack before they reached the straight and the margin only swelled until a late surge when the win was well in hand. Greg Sugars warmed Tee Cee Bee Macray up at the turn and the star swooper stormed home down the straight, but Ideal For Real’s advantage was too great and he hung on to win by 6m, with $195-shot Egodan only a half-neck further back in third for Vince Vallelonga. Results Video replay   Race 9 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for three-year-old colts and geldings By Michael Howard THEY did it on Vicbred night and served up another dose on Breeders Crown night – the Cranbourne crew’s Cruisin Around stood alone when the moment mattered most. The three-year-old Bacardi Lindy trotter stood up to test one, survive the onslaught out of the gate, and driver Greg Sugars kept enough petrol tickets in the bank to steer Michael Hughes’ gelding to a memorable 5.6m win. “There was a lot of pressure on me to get out of the gate and stay in one piece and thankfully he rose to the occasion for me,” Sugars said. Cruisin Around’s rival, Sundons Courage, was ever present for trainer Chris and owner Brad Angove, but despite Chris Alford’s best efforts in the breeze he couldn’t claw back the gap and Cruisin Around held on to win by 5.6m. Sugars gave much of the credit to trainer Michael Hughes. “I’ve driven a few horses for Mick (Hughes). He does do a very good job,” Sugars said. “An important way to measure a trainer’s ability, they might not always have the best horses going around, but if they can run consistently week-in week-out to their ability, that’s all you can ask for from a trainer. “That’s Michael Hughes to a T. Everytime you step out on one of his horses you know it’s going to run a good race.” Temporale ran third for trainer-driver Tony Herlihy, with Maori Law reaffirming his talent for trainer Bill Morgan, placing fourth.  Results Video replay Race 10 - Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown Championship four-year-old mares By Michael Howard Chris Alford drove Lovelist (Always A Virgin) to victory to cap a brilliant night’s racing with a win in the last, which has seen him draw level in the SBG Accountants Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership. Lang and Alford, who tied for the award last year, are level at 47 wins apiece with the winner to be decided at Wednesday night’s Breeders Crown silver series races. “At the start of the day I thought my best two drives were (trotters) High Gait and Our Regal Love, and they both ran great but weren’t quite good enough on the day, and then you get a bit depressed,” Alford said. “But it’s been a great day, three wins and a couple of seconds and a couple of fourths. These horses are unreal, they are just like driving machines, they never let you down.” In Delight Me, Lang was driving the $1.60 favourite in the Group 2 championship for four-year-old mares, but Delight Me was always going to have to do plenty from her back row draw and she tailed the field for much of the running. Conversely, Lovelist enjoyed cover to sit mid-race early, and then improved on Keayang Mercedes’ back mid-race before rolling all the way to the front well before the bell, and by the time that rang Delight Me had moved from the back to take the breeze. Alford stole a march at the last bend and Delight Me couldn’t go with the leader, with only second-placegetter Cyclone Kate making ground as Lovelist recorded a 4.7m win. “We had a little bit of luck earlier. She got in nicely in midfield, when the speed backed off I took the opportunity to get around and once she found the front she just slipped into another gear,” Alford said. “With Delight Me outside you never know how confident you can be but she felt really good going around the last bend and when I asked her she kicked away really well.” Results Video replay

Trots owners will receive the royal treatment at TAB Breeders Crown Super Sunday this weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton. The VIP owners’ enclosure will see owners, trainers and drivers congregating in luxurious surrounds, talking trots, cheering on their charge and watching the Race to Royalty trackside. “Elevating the ownership experience is a key theme for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV),” said HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister. “Owners are obviously such an important part of the industry. Racing a horse is fun and exciting, so the owners’ VIP enclosure is another way for connections to ‘Own the Moment’ on race day. “The enclosure is located between the Legends Café and the Sports Bar so our owners are looked after with some of the best views in the house.” AFL star Josh Jenkins is HRV’s TAB Breeders Crown ambassador this year. A racehorse owner himself, Jenkins will be in the owners’ enclosure throughout the day socialising. “Since I became interested in the trots, attending Breeders Crown day has been a goal,” Jenkins said. “The trots has quickly developed into a passion of mine and to be on track Sunday will be great fun.” Owners with a horse racing on Sunday can pick up their owners’ pack, which includes their VIP enclosure ticket for them and a guest, at the race day office. Finger food, scrumptious Breeders Crown cupcakes, decadent chocolates and Champagne will be just some of offerings in the owners’ enclosure. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Classy trotter Illawong Byron is due for a spell, probably overdue, says harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. But the Parwan horsewoman also says she’s never trained a horse with his constitution and she is hopeful the Redwood Classic winner can produce another grand performance on Breeders Crown Day. TAB.com.au has installed Illawong Byron $1.60 favourite to win the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown Final on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings from gate two after his impressive heat win at Maryborough last week. “He was definitely not right in the Vicbred Final (when finishing second) and he took a couple of weeks to get over that,” Quinlan said. MARKETS: ILLAWONG BYRON IS $1.6 FOR THE BREEDERS CROWN AT TAB.COM.AU “He bounced back with a really good run in the Redwood and then he was probably even better in the heat last week. I just hope he didn’t run his race a week early. He'll go for a good break after Sunday.” Quinlan makes the point Illawong Byron has had a long season, literally given he ran in the very first two-year-old trot of the 2015-16 season. “I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like his.” Raced and bred by Martin and Kaye Hartnett, Illawong Byron – by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush – has won seven races from 11 starts and looks a shoe-in for Victorian two-year-old male trotter of the year. Quinlan has repeatedly expressed her appreciation for the Hartnetts, who she says are very loyal and supportive. “They’ve been fantastic supporters of mine through good times and bad and they put a lot of money into the game, so they deserve every success they get,” Quinlan said. VIDEO: ILLAWONG BYRON WINS THE REDWOOD CLASSIC AT MARYBOROUGH Mark Purdon-trained Custodian ($2.90 with TAB) has drawn barrier nine and will trail Illawong Byron out. “With Custodian following me I’ll probably have to do a bit to hold the front,” Quinlan said. Quinlan also puts the polish on three-year-old trotting filly Sky Majesty in the Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Final (Race 1) on Sunday. Raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto, Rob Merola and Sam Godino Sky Majesty has drawn gate six and is a $61 outsider according to TAB.com.au. “She has had a fantastic year but she just can’t snag a decent barrier in a big race. From the draw Wilmas Mate looks unbeatable on paper, but they are three-year-old trotters so anything can happen.” Already a Breeders Crown winner in the sulky behind Ladyinred in 2005, Quinlan said the day held a special place in her heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Breeders Crown as a driver. If I could win one as a trainer that would definitely be special.” BOOK NOW: SECURE YOUR BREEDERS CROWN DINING PACKAGE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016

Unbeaten Partyon will improve into the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Final after her Semi-Final win, said harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon last night at Bendigo. After finishing 1.4m ahead of runner-up My Casino Belle in the first Semi-Final for the two-year-old pacing fillies in 1:58.5, Partyon was installed $1.75 fixed odds favourite with TAB.com.au for next Sunday’s Group 1 final at Tabcorp Park Melton. “She was quite casual actually. I think she will be better with the run under her belt and she was busy looking at everything with the new track and new surroundings,” Purdon said. “She’ll be spot on for the final.” VIDEO: MARK PURDON TALKS ABOUT PARTYON AFTER WINNING SEMI Partyon, by Bettor's Delight out of Beach Parade and unbeaten in four starts, began from barrier 11 last night at Lord’s Raceway but wasted little time getting into the race, Purdon pushing her forward to find the lead after 300 metres. Once in front there were very few moves made in the run and Partyon dictated terms before dashing up the straight with a 27.2 final quarter to hold off a valiant My Casino Belle for Brad Hewitt. But while Partyon, who won the 2YO Diamond at the New Zealand Harness Jewels meeting in June, is all the rage for the Final Victorians Petacular and Miss Graceland will be far from easy-beats next Sunday. Michael Stanley trained Petacular in particular has had a super season with eight wins – including victory in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final – from 10 starts for over $160,000 in stakes. MARKETS: TAB FIXED ODDS BREEDERS CROWN MARKETS Last night she was at the top of her game once again, taking out her Semi-Final by 4m over Emma Stewart trained Miss Graceland in 1:57.7. Driven by Chris Alford, Petacular overcame a barrier 11 draw, circling the field to assume control at the mile. VIDEO: PETACULAR GRABS ANOTHER WIN, THIS TIME IN SEMI-FINAL Miss Graceland, who started from barrier 13 last night, moved to second at the 500m before dropping on to Petacular’s back for a breather turning for home. Those two dashed right away from the rest of the field and the winner never looked in any serious danger, scoring by 4m with third-placed Miss Dangerfield coming in 23.9m behind the winner. Petacular, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Ideal Priority, drew poorly for the Final resulting in TAB.com.au putting her up as a $5 third favourite, with Miss Graceland drawing well in gate four for the Final opening at $3.50. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The money has come for Petacular to win tomorrow night’s Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ second harness racing semi-final at Bendigo. The Michael Stanley-trained daughter of Somebeachsomewhere is already seven-time winner from nine starts and has a win and a third to her name at Group 1 level. Petacular took out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final last month at Tabcorp Park Melton in 1:58.0 from the breeze. Despite a gate 11 draw tomorrow night at Bendigo, Petacular is into $1.55 to win her Breeders Crown semi with TAB reporting an $1800 win bet at $1.7 during the week. TAB also reported significant win bets had come for Shane Tritton-trained Tingira Beach to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and geldings’ first semi-final from the pole and Franco Christiano to take out the IRT Breeders Crown three-year-old colts and geldings’ first semi-final from barrier four. At longer odds support has come for Michael Doltoff-trained Rock Of America ($6 to $5.5) in the three-year-old boys’ first semi-final, and there has been a good early go for Barry Dunn-trained Nikkibadwagon ($4/$3.8/$3.5) to win the three-year-old fillies’ second semi-final from barrier six. TAB fixed odds markets are open for all tomorrow night’s semi-finals and all-in markets are available for next Sunday August 28’s TAB Breeders Crown pacing finals. Video: Good Form’s Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Semi-Final Preview Video: Good Form’s Breeders Crown 2YO Colts/Geldings Preview Video: Good Form’s Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Preview Video: Good Form’s Breeders Crown 3YO Colts/Geldings Preview Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The harness racing starters for the 2016 TAB Breeders Crown two-year-old and three-year-old trotters finals are complete with line-ups to be finalised at tomorrow night’s barrier draws in Bendigo. The trotting heats were conducted at Maryborough on Wednesday with the pacing semi-finals to be held at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo from 5.33pm tomorrow night. Tomorrow night’s barrier draws will be covered live across Harness Racing Vitoria’s media channels @HRVnews on Twitter and Facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria TAB will be releasing fixed odds final markets on the Breeders Crown finals soon after completion of barrier draws tomorrow night. All-in markets are currently open and can be accessed here. Breeders Crown Trotting Starters 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings ALEPPO MURPHY BIG JACK HAMMER CONON BRIDGE NZ CRUISIN AROUND ENROLLED HUDSON BAY MAORI LAW SKYFLYER SUN VALLEY ROAD SUNDONS COURAGE TEMPORALE NZ WAR DAN DESTROYER KYVALLEY TINMAN (1st Em) 3YO Trotting Fillies ALDEBARAN AY M NZ ALDEBARAN EVE COURCHEVEL NZ FEAR NOT HIGH GAIT NZ ILLAWONG BLISS PRINCESS PHOENIX SKY MAJESTY SOCIAL FIREBALL THE COOLER WILMAS MATE NZ 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings CLARKES HILL CLAUDYS PRINCE CUSTODIAN NZ EMPIRE BAY ENDSIN A PARTY EYRISH MIST NZ ILLAWONG BYRON JUST OSCAR KHEIRON MANO DE DIOS RED RUSTLER SHANG FANG SWORD 2YO Trotting Fillies BETTY HALL DERRIE AIRE GARSTON GIRL IONA SPIDER KYVALLEY KYRIE MIDNIGHTATPINEVALE NIETA OUR REGAL LOVE NZ SVAL QUEEN TEN SPANNERS UNE BELLE ALLURE VALSUE ILLAWONG SHIMMER (1st Em) Breeders Crown draws to be held amid owners' celebrations Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

With just over a fortnight of harness racing left in season 2015-16 little separates two of Victoria’s gun young drivers in the battle for the Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership. Terang's Jason Lee holds the slenderest of leads in his bid for three straight concession titles, one win ahead of Mark Pitt. Pitt returns from a two-week suspension tomorrow and has three drives at Shepparton on Thursday for the strong Wayne Potter camp. Lee has up to six drives at home track Terang on Wednesday night. Lee has 104 wins from 532 drives this season, while Pitt has piloted 103 winners from 383 starts. Josh Aiken is one win ahead of the injured Zac Phillips for the final concession drivers’ podium spot. Chris Alford has a stranglehold on the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership with 270 wins from 1310 drives before today’s Maryborough meeting, 41 wins clear of Greg Sugars on 229, while Gavin Lang is third on 168. The SBG Accountants Metropolitan Drivers Premiership tells a slightly different story with Lang on 44 wins, five clear of Alford and Sugars level-pegging on 39. The Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership sees Smythes Creek’s Emma Stewart dominating on 181 wins before today, clear of Andy Gath in second on 105 wins and Brent Lilley in third on 100. Stewart also leads the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership on 61 wins from 191 starts, with David Aiken second on that chart with 25 wins and Lilley third on 22. In the breeding ranks super stallion Art Major leads the overall chart on 208 wins from 1417 races, with arch rival Bettors Delight second on 179 wins from 1173 runners. Courage Under Fire is third on 134 wins, with Grinfromeartoear and Mach Three next on 121 wins each. Muscle Mass and Art Major are equal on the two-year-old sires tally with 15 wins apiece. Courage Under Fire holds a one-win advantage on the three-year-old table with 52 wins, just ahead of Art Major, while Rock N Roll Heaven is third. Safely Kept holds a comfortable lead on the Broodmare Sires Premiership with 154 wins from 1376 races, Holmes Hanover in second on 116 and Armbro Operative third on 115. Skyvalley is enjoying a strong season in the trotting ranks with 77 wins from 387 races to overall table, 17 clear of Sundon with Majestic Son third on 57. Sundon is leading the Trotting Broodmare Sires Premiership on 105 wins, well clear of Safely Kept on 47 and Keystone Salute on 37, while Skyvalley is winning the Juvenile Trotting Sires Premiership on 22 wins from 142 races, with Muscle Mass second on 15 wins and The Pres third on 11. Follow all the Victorian premierships Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A second Group 1 race for mares will be added to the Victorian trots racing calendar for 2017. The Ladyship Cup will be elevated to Group 1 status and carry a $100,000 purse during the rich Summer of Glory carnival. The Ladyship Cup winning horse will also receive an invitation to the New South Wales’ Group 1 Ladyship Mile. “The decision to elevate the Ladyship Cup is in line with HRV’s ongoing emphasis on ensuring mares receive racing opportunities so they remain in our racing population for longer,” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said. “Keeping our top mares racing will ultimately stimulate the depth of Victoria's broodmare ranks when those horses retire to the breeding barn. "The HRV Board intends to review opportunities for fillies and mares in general, including providing additional races set aside for them. Such a strategy will complement our move to provide additional group races for fillies and mares." The Ladyship Cup joins the Queen of the Pacific (2760 metres) in May as Victoria’s mares-only Group 1 races. “The Group 1 prizemoney and the fact the winning horse receives an invitation to the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle should see plenty of good mares up and going for the Summer of Glory,” Mr Monteith said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing trainer / driver Jodi Quinlan and two of her biggest fans, Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, picked up the win they wanted most today at Maryborough. In front of a huge crowd Quinlan guided two-year-old gelding Illawong Byron to a memorable victory in the $50,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. “This is very special to be standing here on this stage,” she said. “I’ve always said with this horse that this is the race I wanted to win.” Illawong Byron’s owner, Dr Hartnett, whose wife Kaye bred the horse, concurred. “This is the one we always wanted. We’re very pleased with Illawong Byron,” he said. Illawong Byron (Muscle Mass-Illawong Blush) began like a pro from the 2190-metre stand start to lead from outside the front row. Once in front Quinlan rated the Tatlow Stakes winner and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series runner-up a treat, Illawong Byron notching a 63.3 first half before taking the sting out of her rivals down the back (28.8secs). It was a winning move. “His manners today were the best they have ever been. We ran that quarter down the back and  got them off the bit,” Quinlan said. Illawong Byron then held off a late challenge by Mark Purdon’s odds-on favourite Custodian, digging deep to score by a half-neck with Quinlan drawing a rapturous applause from the crowd. The final quarter was trotted in 29.3secs for a mile rate of 2:04.4. Our Regal Love for Nicole Molander and Chris Alford ran third, beaten 15m, while Lance Justice guided Carnera to fourth at huge odds ahead of Truscott Hall. Quinlan mooted a long-range plan for one of Australasia’s rising star squaregaiters. “He’s very immature and with a bit of extra size about him in 12 months I hope we’re back here at Maryborough for the Derby,” she said. Quinlan also thanked Illawong Byron’s owners for their ongoing support. “Martin and Kaye have always been fantastic support for me. They’re 100 per cent behind me no matter what.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Breeders Crown 2016 is shaping as Goliath versus Goliath in more than one division. Mark Purdon’s Allstars camp is always the talk of the town in August, but Emma Stewart’s 2015-16 domination of the home-ground harness racing ranks is unwavering. Tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton Stewart’s Smythes Creek operation drew the headlines for the umpteenth time this season, notching a winning treble courtesy of stable stars Delight Me and Ideal For Real, and up-and-comer Stay And Play. Both Delight Me and Ideal For Real look early favourites for their respective four-year-old Breeders Crown categories. Heavens Trend and Rocknroll Magic are both logical top picks in the three-year-old fillies, which gives Stewart three of the six pacing Breeders Crown favourites at this stage in the Race of the Royalty. WIN A $10,000 TROTS BET, BREEDERS CROWN SKY BOX PACKAGE + 2 NIGHTS @ CROWN Meanwhile, Purdon’s here with plenty of firepower and the Allstars look to have the other three pacing division favourites in Our Waikiki Beach (three-year-old males), Partyon (two-year-old fillies) and Pacing Major (two-year-old colts and geldings). Last year Purdon pocketed three Crowns on Super Sunday while Stewart won one. This year the battle of the two power barns of Australasia certainly looks closer. Stewart combined with the state’s leading metro driver, Gavin Lang, for a double tonight, the Ice Man hitting 43 victories for the season, five clear of the Candyman Greg Sugars and the Puppet Chris Alford. Delight Me (Bettor's Delight-Cornsilk) cruised to a 1.5-metre win in the Benstud Standardbreds Pace, controlling the race from the 1100m after working to the front. She got home in 55.6secs to beat stablemate Miley Rose. That’s 11 out of 13 now for Delight Me. Is she Australia’s best mare? It’s an intriguing discussion. And fans of New South Wales pair Frith and Arms Of An Angel won’t be taking a backward step at this stage. Note, I’d include Nike Franco among Australia’s best too, but she has reportedly been sold to the US for a substantial sum and will continue her racing career there in coming weeks. Ideal For Real (American Ideal-Tamara Hall) went back to the rear early in the Cougar Bourbon Pace tonight, but the $1.04 polemarker rounded up his rivals and ran away for an easy 10.8-metre win over Phil Monty in 1:55.7. Stay And Play (Live Or Die-Play Ball) won Heat 2 of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship over 2240m for Stewart and Alford in 1:56.6 over Metrofromelle by 7.1m, while Snip Of Grand for Sebastopol’s Alex and Adrian Douglas won the other heat in 1:57.3 by 1.9m over Royal Hustler. Stallion honours for the night went to Shadow Play with a winning double courtesy of The Shady One (Shadow Play-Demi Plie) in the Rayner Real Estate Pace Final for Wayne Potter and John Caldow (1:58.4, 2240m) and Irish Player (Shadow Play-Hula Gold) for Mario Azzapardi and Charlie Borg in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final (2:01.2, 2240m). Kotare York (Mach Three-Kotare Yoyo) took the 1720m SEW-Eurodrive 4YO Pace for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in 1:59.5, and Stunning Grin (Grinfromeartoear-Rosalee Hanover) won the Exclusive Homes Pace over 1720m for Vince Vallelonga and Michael Bellman in 1:54.2. An eight-race card awaits at Bray Raceway Ballarat tomorrow night before Sunday's dual Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Day at Maryborough. Cody Winnell

Kima Frenning leads Haley Toulmin on the Aldebaran Park Monte Rider’s Premiership ahead of Sunday’s harness racing Redwood Carnival at Maryborough. The Thompson Timber Saddlery and Grain Maffra Monte sees a field of eight engaged with Frenning hoping to extend her buffer on the ladder aboard Alison Alford-trained Miracle, while Toulmin will be hoping to bridge the gap aboard Majestic Ess Jay for trainer Graham McDermott. Both those runners will start from 30m handicaps, alongside Star Gun for trainer Matthew Craven and Hamilton based reinswoman Jackie Barker. Ben Aubron is third on the riders’ premiership and the Frenchman will pilot Dabbsey for Baddaginnie trainer Margaret Davies on Sunday. The monte kicks off a huge day of trotting at Maryborough with 10 races on the card, highlighted by the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic for two-year-olds and the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby for three-year-olds. Both races carry Group 1 status. Tickets for the Redwood Rattler are selling fast but will be on sale until midday Thursday. Click here to book your seat aboard the train, which leaves Southern Cross 8.25am before stopping at Melton (9.02am), Bacchus Marsh at 9.16am and Ballarat at 10.15am.   MONTE RIDER STANDINGS Kima Frenning 35 Haley Toulmin 30 Ben Aubron 27 Warren Cochrane 23 Emma Hamblin 11 Jackie Barker 11 Paul Hamblin 11 Malin Hammarskjold 10 Kylee Paull 9 Michael Quadara 1   MONTE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS Horse No. of Wins Cold Crusher 2 Gidah 2 Lightning Calder 2 Majestic Ess Jay 2 My High Expectations USA 2 Star Gun 2 Stoned I Am 2 Miracle 2 Cold Sister USA 1 Heza Boy Star NZ 1 Unico Crown NZ 1 Valley Ess Jay 1 Waikare Aviator 1 Dabbsey 1 Empire Earl NZ 1 Boundary Row 1   MONTE TRAINER PREMIERSHIP Trainer No. of Wins David Aiken 6 Graham McDermott 4 Matthew Craven 3 Alison Alford 3 Craig Demmler 2 Glenn Sharp 2 Simone Walker 2 Dean Braun 2 Margaret Davies 1   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Maryborough, Sunday 07 August 2016 Form guide for Maryborough, Sunday 07 August 2016

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced programming changes to two of its time-honoured feature races, the City of Melton Plate and the Casey Classic. HRV believes the national industry calendar will benefit from the changes, which sees the Casey Classic become a Group 2, $50,000 four and five-year-old race to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, November 12, while the City of Melton Plate will become a Group 3, $30,000 M0 or better free for all on Saturday, September 3. Effectively the previous race conditions and stakemoney for the Melton Plate have been reassigned to the Casey Classic and moved from October to November, while the Casey Classic conditions have been reassigned to the September Melton Plate. “Our hope is that the Casey Classic will provide a perfect lead-in option to the Western Australian feature races with the 4YO Championship (Group 2, $50,000) on November 25, the McInerney Classic (Group 1, $125,000) on December 2 and the 4YO Golden Nugget (Group 1, $200,000) on December 9 all to be run at Gloucester Park,” HRV GM Operations Vaughn Lynch said. “It is all of our responsibility to think industry first and take a national approach when making changes to our state calendar and these changes will hopefully maximise the earning potential for participants who are about to embark on a trip west.” Mr Lynch said the Melton Plate was moved to September to satisfy the specific timing requirements of long-time Melton Plate sponsor, the City of Melton. The City of Melton’s association with the Melton Plate dates back to the race’s inception. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Members of the Victorian Square Trotters Association  (VSTA) will be racing for bonuses at all harness racing over Maryborough’s Redwood Carnival (Friday and Sunday). Bonuses are available to owners, trainers and drivers who are financial members of the VSTA for season 2015-16, subject to the following: Horses owned by multiple owners (2 or more) at least 2 of the owners must be financial members for the horse to be eligible for the owners bonus. Trainers and drivers must also be members for them to be available for their bonuses. The VSTA bonuses are as follows: Friday August 5 A $200 bonus (provided by the Maryborough Harness Racing Club and Victorian Square Trotters Association) is available to the connections of all winners provided they are 2015/16 financial members of the Victorian Square Trotters Association. A $50 bonus is also available to the winning trainer and driver if they are 2015/16 financial members of the Victorian Square Trotters Association. Sunday August 7 A $400 bonus (provided by the Maryborough Harness Racing Club and Victorian Square Trotters Association) is available to the connections of all winners provided they are 2015/16 financial members of the Victorian Square Trotters Association. A $100 bonus is also available to the winning trainer and driver if they are 2015/16 financial members of the Victorian Square Trotters Association. The membership renewal table will be at Maryborough on both Friday and Sunday for membership for the 2015/16 or 2016/17 season. The membership form will be marked clearly. Memberships purchased over the weekend will be placed in the draw for a Redwood package and an afternoon tea on Redwood Day. A current list of members is available under the Membership menu at www.victrotters.com. Please inform VSTA secretary Ian White (vicsquaretrotters@hotmail.com) if not up to date. Also please check your details when you renew your membership so that we can communicate with you. (An exciting new concept is on the radar for the 2016/17 season). Membership can be purchased at the Redwood Carnival or by emailing vicsquaretrotters@hotmail.com Cody Winnell 

A colourful night at the Ballarat trots in winter has potentially converted hundreds of people into harness racing industry enthusiasts. Ballarat and District Trotting Club Chief Executive Paul Rowse described the atmosphere at Bray Raceway as “amazing” on Tuesday night as club sponsor PETstock held its annual conference at the race meeting. Hundreds of colourfully dressed PETstock employees were thrilled with the night’s action, the club reporting on-course turnover and bar and restaurant sales through the roof. Rowse said $24,000 was turned over on-course, up from the usual average of about $10,000 at this time of year, while $10,000 went through the bar. “You’d be lucky to two or three grand normally through the bar on a Tuesday night in winter,” Rowse said. The club also served 320 meals. PETstock Managing Director David Young, who with a group of colleagues is part-owner of recent Group 1 winning filly Petacular, spoke of the exhilaration the ownership group is having with the Michael Stanley trained pacer. "It's been absolutely awesome with Petacular," Young said.  "All the work mates involved are really thoroughly enjoying it and I think there's a bit of regret from the ones who didn't initially want to be in it, given how well she's going." Young said PETstock was enjoying its association with the Ballarat club and added Tuesday night was a fantastic way for staff from all over Australia and New Zealand to catch up. "We had a competition throughout the night where we were all divided up into teams and so in each race the teams were cheering for their horse. It was an awesome scene. And it sounds like a lot of the crew didn't mind a punt because the on-course turnover was well up," he said. Rowse said Young was constantly keen to promote ownership and plenty of the PETstock crew on track were eager to either buy a second horse after the Petacular experience or take their first step into racehorse ownership. “The night showed that if you put in that little bit extra effort then people will leave having had a positive experience and hopefully we’ve got 300 converts to our club and the sport,” Rowse said. “What would otherwise have been a cold, quiet night at the trots turned into a fantastic night full of colour and hopefully we’ll all benefit as an industry from it.” Rowse thanked both Shepparton and Terang clubs for agreeing to calendar changes which allowed Ballarat to race on the night of PETstock’s conference. “The moral is if any club has the potential to attract a big audience or put on a special night then work together with other clubs to make it happen. We’d be willing to do the same if clubs approached us. It’s about collaboration for the betterment of the industry. We were very thankful that Shepparton and Terang were good enough to help us out.” The night was also saw the club utilise electronic betting terminals (EBTs) for the first time, Rowse saying he believed the club was the first non-dual-code racing club to utilise them. About $3000 was turned over through the EBTs. Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) Blake Redden was also on hand running a punter’s club, which the colourful PETstock crew – each attendee came dressed in bright colours representing their state – lapped up. The club also ran mobile barrier rides between all races giving attendees a close-up view of the action. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Saturday night proved a good one for Alabar's Sportswriter with feature harness racing wins at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Tabcorp Park Melton. Sportswriter progeny won four races at the two venues, two wins at each, including a pair of Group 3s. Niki No No (Sportswriter-Benelise) notched win No.14 of her career, delighting connections including Melton on-course MC and trots media personality Rob Auber. The four-year-old mare captured the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace (Group 3) for trainer Kari Males, benefiting from a master Greg Sugars drive. Sugars, who is third on the SBG Accountants Metropolitan Drivers Premiership, second on the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership and third on the National Drivers Premiership, has driven Niki No No to all her victories. On Saturday night from the pole he trailed leader Starzzz Of Icon before switching to the outside instead of the sprint lane in the straight, Niki No No balancing up and sprinting past Snip Of Grand for a narrow win in a 1:57.9 rate over 2240m. Niki No No won the 4YO Mares Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Bronze Final earlier this month and has saluted in four races from 13 starts this season. Among Niki No No’s 14 career victories are an Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Fillies Final (Group 1) at two and a Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks (Group 1) at three. VIDEO: NIKI NO NO TAKES THE EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED PLATINUM PACE Later on the Melton program Burrumbeet horseman Michael Stanley continued his strong form by taking out the VHRSC Graduate with Spiritwriter (Sportswriter-Striking Spirit) in 1:59.4. The three-year-old gelding is raced by the burgeoning Go Racing group, whose members include Sky’s Gareth Hall and Dave Stanley. Spiritwriter crossed smart polemarker Stuover out of the straight the first time in the 2240m event and Stanley controlled the remainder of the race. VIDEO: SPIRITWRITER WINS THE VHRSC GRADUATE Now a six-time winner from 17 starts, Spiritwriter possesses a sharp sprint. He got home in 55.8s on Saturday night after a 62.8s opening half. And Stanley hardly moved a muscle, Stuover getting within a neck of the winner at the finish. At Menangle Shezallapples (Sportswriter-Apple Sorbet) looked first class, last month’s Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge (Group 1) winning two-year-old filly out-punching race favourite Manly Mach from the chair over the mile in 1:54.3 for reinsman Jimmy Douglass and trainer David Thorn in the Garrards Horse and Hound Ready2Run Sales Stakes (Group 3). Shezallapples And ex-Victorian Egodan (Sportswriter-Full Pleasure) won the Sweet Lou Woodlands Stud Pace for Kevin Pizzuto and Nathan Jack, the four-year-old gelding clocking 1:53.5 to notch a 10th career victory at start number 30 for owners AD Investments. Egodan Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will honour the state’s most experienced stand-start pacer of season 2015-16 with the running of the Hollys Miss Molly Pacers Handicap at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday, August 4. The fan favourite grey mare (by Jet Laag out of Panorama mare Lombo Luvbird) notched her 25th career win at Kilmore yesterday in superb fashion, providing locally based trainer-driver Robbie Walters and his family with a huge thrill. This season Hollys Miss Molly has contested 23 stand-start races, 10 more than any other horse. “We always like to win, but on the home track where we train every day, and being win number 25, it was a bit extra special,” Walters said. “My wife (Caroline) works at the local hospital and she ducked out for 10 minutes to watch her race. We love her. “She’s a mare we picked up for $4000 at the yearling sales (Alabar Blue Ribbon Sales) and she’s won 25 races and over $140,000. The win meant a lot to the whole family. If you can’t celebrate a 25th win when can you celebrate?” A catchy name, the fact everyone loves a grey and that she’s a lovably consistent performer on the race track means Hollys Miss Molly boasts a loyal fan base. But the six-year-old’s following increased markedly recently when the warm-natured mare visited a local nursing home in Kilmore. Caroline works at the centre and asked Robbie if the horse was quiet enough to visit. She certainly was. Hollys Miss Molly’s behaviour while inside the nursing home lunchroom was exemplary, gently allowing patrons the opportunity to have a pat and a chat with her. “There was one woman who apparently doesn’t talk at all, but she lit up when she saw the horse. She was patting her and cuddling her, and talked for the first time in years,” Robbie said. Hollys Miss Molly’s stake earnings stand at $142,851 with 47 minor placings alongside her 25 victories from 176 starts. She is expected to be stepping out in the race named in her honour at Melton on August 4. Walters said Hollys Miss Molly might get her opportunity to become a mum next season. Check out the August-September Harness Racer Magazine for more on Hollys Miss Molly's nursing home visit in an article by Lucy McCormick Cody Winnell

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