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Harness racing trainer-driver John Newberry has made a stunning return from serious injury, winning tonight at Bendigo aboard Diamond Ace in the CV Batteries Pace. Wife Maree, who tonight stayed home to feed the horses while John and son Matt attended the Bendigo trots, was yet to speak to John about the win but said her husband would be thrilled to have achieved victory aboard "his favourite horse" at his first drive back since fracturing vertebrae and suffering head injuries in a race fall at Shepparton in late June. “He had head injuries and suffered fractures to T2 through to T9 vertebrae,” Maree said. “The main worry was the head injury because he was unconscious for eight minutes. He had short-term memory loss.” John spent the night in Shepparton Hospital before being flown to Royal Melbourne where he spent the next week. Once discharged John struggled with being stuck at home. “He was back in the sulky within a week. After about three days at home he wandered to the stables,” Maree said. “But it was at least a month before he started to do the trip to the track and back. Now he’s back driving jog teams and fast work.” Diamond Ace scored tonight over 2150m by 2.9m over Animated in the C5-C7 CV Batteries Pace, suggesting a country cups campaign could be on the cards for the six-year-old by Extreme Three out of Diamond Cove. “That’s his favourite horse so that will always stick in his mind I’m sure,” Maree said. Maree said son Matt, 22, who drove Thrilling Jolt into third place in the TAB Fixed Odds On-Course Pace tonight, was also enjoying his training and driving. “He’s going well but he’d love to be able to get a few more drives,” she said. “He’s got a trotter that he bred that is not far off called All Hall. He’s a half-brother to Just Call Me Earl and The Majestic.” The Newberry family is based at Bunbartha, almost 20 minutes out of Shepparton. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing on Saturday of long-time industry stalwart Brian Frawley, at age 82. Mr Frawley is the father of recently appointed HRV Board Member Danny Frawley. He enjoyed considerable success as a trainer, including multiple Moonee Valley winners Noble Man, Evarestis and Grumpy Ole Man, as well as other classy performers in Lahaina and Noble Gent. Mr Frawley served on the Committee of the Ballarat & District Trotting Club for in excess of 35 years, leading the club as President from 1981 to 1986 and being awarded Life Membership in 1988. His greatest moment in the sport came when Vanderport, a horse he part-owned, ran 2nd to Village Kid in the 1986 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park in Queensland, when driven by his daughter Anne. READ THE BALLARAT COURIER'S TRIBUTE TO BRIAN FRAWLEY HRV extends its sincere condolences to his wife Shirley, their six children and the extended Frawley family. Mr Frawley’s funeral will be held at 10.30am on Wednesday at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Sturt Street, Ballarat.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

American commentators found his nickname amusing and were full of praise for Chris “The Puppet” Alford’s feats on the track at the annual Little Brown Jug harness racing meeting this morning. The champion reinsman piloted Beach Memories (Somebeachsomewhere-Allamerican Memoir) for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr from gate seven in the final race of Jug day after finishing third 24 hours prior aboard St Lads Maggie Mae at the annual Delaware County Fair carnival. Pre-race the commentators mentioned how Alford was known as “the Puppet” back home Down Under and acknowledged the champion driver's achievements.  A large crowd was on track at the Jug, some suggesting about 40,000, while many more tuned into websites for a live stream of the action.  Alford has a strong relationship with many of the US reinsmen, forged off the back of Harness Racing Victoria's successful International All Star Series earlier this year. In the last race on Jug day Alford went forward aboard Beach Memories but was not able to find the lead. He eventually jumped on to the pylons, to use an American term, and landed in the pocket before finishing fifth. The winner of the race went 1:53 (splits 26.3/55.2/1:24/1:53). Betting Line won this year's Little Brown Jug in a super-slick 1:49 mile rate. Follow @ChrisAlford5000 on Twitter for updates. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Despite two Group 1 triumphs in the three top-flight open-age mares’ races on the 2015-16 national harness racing calendar Victorian pacer Nike Franco failed to take the Australian Aged Pacing Mare of the Year gong in the recent national awards. The brilliant daughter of Mcardle gets her chance to atone however at the Victorian industry awards night at Crown’s Palladium on Gordon Rothacker Medal Night, Sunday November 6. The gala event will celebrate the high achievers of season 2016-17 across all Horse of the Year categories, as well as the leading trainers, drivers and the Victorian country clubs and administrators. Harvey Kaplan, who is among the Nike Franco ownership, said the mare’s connections were excited about this year’s Rothacker Medal night. “We’re really looking forward to it. I think it’s a great idea to have the night return to the city and at a salubrious venue such as the Palladium. We’re looking forward to celebrating the top-line horses throughout the evening,” he said. Kaplan said Dean Braun-trained Nike Franco achieved an enormous amount in season 2015-16 and the team was immensely proud of her work. “There were only three Group 1 open-age mares’ races nationally and Nike Franco won two of them and placed third in the other. She won over the longer trip, the shorter trip, in Western Australia. She also defeated the boys in the Warragul Cup in track record time,” he said. “She had a great season and we had a lot of fun with her. We were very proud of her performances.” The prestigious Gordon Rothacker Medal will be awarded to a long-time industry achiever on the night, while the Pearl Kelly Award and the Distinguished Service Medal will also be presented. Bruce Morgan took out last year’s Rothacker Medal, following on from Kerryn Manning in 2014. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS TO ROTHACKER MEDAL NIGHT @ THE PALLADIUM Gordon Rothacker Medal Honour Roll 2002: Ian McCallum 2003: Geoff Hill 2004: Jim Barker 2005: Ron Pocock 2006: Matt Donaldson 2007: Peter Manning 2008: Bruce & Elizabeth Clarke 2009: Les Chapman 2010: Arthur Graham 2011: Ted Demmler 2012: Neville Welsh 2013: Graeme Lang 2014: Kerryn Manning 2015: Bruce Morgan Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The finalists for Victorian Horse of the Year Awards have today been released by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV). This year there are 16 categories plus the overall Victorian Horse of the Year award. A panel of 10 people comprising trots form analysts and media are voting on the awards, which will be announced at the annual Gordon Rothacker Medal Night on Sunday, November 6, at Crown Palladium in the City. Book your spot at the Gordon Rothacker Medal This year’s finalists in each section are listed below.   2YO PACING FILLIES Our Celebrity Perfect Sense Petacular Soho Angel   2YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS Jilliby Kung Fu Our Little General The Storm Inside Wrappers Delight   3YO PACING FILLIES Dancingwithsierra Heavens Trend Nikkibadwagon Rocknroll Magic   3YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS Brallos Pass Dont Hold Back Iceenothink Soho Tribeca   4YO PACING MARES Delight Me Lovelist Starburst Girl Stay And Play   4YO PACING ENTIRES & GELDINGS Ideal For Real Solarsonic Tact Tate Tee Cee Bee Macray   AGED PACING MARE Beach Shack Berisari Gumdrops Milly Perez Nike Franco Quick Draft   AGED PACING ENTIRES & GELDINGS Arden Rooney Flaming Flutter Hectorjayjay Lennytheshark Yankee Rockstar   2YO TROTTING FILLIES Betty Hall Kyvalley Kyrie Our Regal Love Illawong Shimmer   2YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS Deltasun Illawong Byron Needabacardi Eyrish Mist   3YO TROTTING FILLIES Aldebaran Eve High Gait Pizza Queen Princess Phoenix Red Hot Tooth   3YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS Ball Park Big Jack Hammer Cruisin Around Sundons Courage   4YO TROTTING MARES Aldebaran Deebee Endsino Val Gardena Sky Petite   4YO TROTTING ENTIRES & GELDINGS Blue Sky Commander Illawong Armstrong Kyvalley Boomerang Sparkling Success   AGED TROTTING MARES Barefoot Sally Claudys Princess Maori Time Illawong Helios   AGED TROTTING ENTIRES & GELDINGS Glenferrie Typhoon Keystone Del Super Zeck Kyvalley Blur   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Paul Weidenbach is enjoying life back in familiar territory. And he was a proud man at Cobram last Monday when his harness racing reinsman son, Kevin Jr., drove his third stable double for the season and 22nd winner for the season. Kev Jr. reined consistent mare Felicity Funkhousa and Takeachanceonharry to wins in consecutive races on the monster 10-race card. Felicity Funkhousa took the fast class C4-C5 event honours in an all-the-way win while Takeachanceonharry was too good for his rivals in a 1670m dash, overcoming a second row draw and posting a meeting-best 1.55.5 mile rate.  Both pacers are trained by Kevin Jr’s mother and Paul’s wife Rosie. Life is panning out pretty well for the Weidenbach family since their move to Wahring from Kilmore three months ago after purchasing the training establishment of Chris and Sharon Lang. The property had been up for sale since the Langs severed their ties with the industry two years ago. Paul and Rosie and children Kevin Jr, Billy, Daniel, and Olivia now run the property and have been enjoying their share of success in the short time they have been there. ‘‘I’d been at Kilmore for 24 years and it’s getting a bit like Melbourne these days so we decided to head north where it’s a bit quieter,’’ Paul reflected. And ‘north’ is where Paul cut his teeth in the trots game. His father Kevin and mother Marlene ran Festival Lodge at Harston for several years, but Paul was the only one of their children who followed them into the harness racing game. Kevin Sr has even had the Paul and Rosie’s oldest son named after him. Pre-training and breaking have been Paul’s bread and butter in the industry and the family still finds time to work - with the help of Rosie and children and Olivia Burgess - 20 to 30 horses at most times. ‘‘We have had about 30 winners since Christmas so we are happy with that but pre training and breaking is our biggest go. ‘‘We are currently doing a lot of this (pre training and breaking) for Ross Sugars. ‘‘Lance and John Justice have also been great supporters of ours over the years with their young horses. ‘‘Some years we broke in to 90-120 horses and we average about 60 these days,’’ added Paul. The Weidenbachs also offer broodmare agistment at their 223 acres property which now boasts three training tracks. ‘‘We have added a 1000m straight track to the other two tracks which were on the property when Chris and Sharon had it and we have also put in 100 metres length swimming pool.    You get the feeling the Weidenbachs won’t be going anywhere anytime now that they have made the former Langs property their new home. ‘‘It was all set up very well by the Langs and apart from making a few additions to suit us it’s got everything we need and want,’’ added Paul.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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

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