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A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Andy Gath’s rising star two-year-old Padrisimo has been scratched from tomorrow night’s Breeders Crown heats at Shepparton. Gath told Harness Racing Victoria this morning the horse would be scoped and is possibly suffering a cold, which is the affliction that ruled him out of the Harness Jewels in New Zealand earlier this year. “It is bad luck but you’ve just got to put the horse first,” Gath said. Birdy Mach spearheads the line-up for the three Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and geldings heats at Shepparton. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s colt will line up in gate four in heat 11 of the series (Race 7 at Shepparton), hoping to bounce back after a shock defeat in the Tatlow Stakes last start. Birdy Mach took a two-from-two record into the Tatlow and was heavily backed before having his colours lowered by Kept Under Wraps. Team McCarthy has huge wraps on the son of Mach Three though, and if he can reproduce his Sydney form he will be very hard to beat. Kept Under Wraps is back for another crack though and has drawn pole in his bid to beat Birdy Mach again. The Brent Lilley trained son of Bettors Delight will be driven by in-form reinsman Greg Sugars and another victory would thrust him to the top of betting calculations for the Crown finals. Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket will contest the same heat as Birdy Mach but is drawn seven and will find it tough, his trainer says. “He’s a very quality racehorse but the way the numbers have fallen realistically there’s no way he can run in the first two,” Gath said. “But we’re not too deterred because realistically the first five or six in the repechage can usually make their way into the final.” The first of the three heats tomorrow will feature Vicbred Super Series champion Feeling Arty. Trainer-driver Cameron Maggs is hoping Feeling Arty can bounce back after dropping out badly in the Tatlow last time out. “I followed through OK last time but I just couldn’t get in unfortunately and when they run those times it makes it tough,” Maggs said. “I was a bit disappointed. His recovery wasn’t real good on the night but he ate up afterwards and has worked good since.” Maggs said although Feeling Arty led throughout his Vicbred campaign the horse had previously raced off the speed. “I’ll probably have to follow through again … but the only time he’s led in his races are in those Vicbred races,” he said. “He can sit in behind them and come with a run at the finish if he needs to race that way.” By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

As the countdown to Smoken Up’s farewell race at Tabcorp Park Melton continues, Harness Racing Victoria has announced it will rename a race in the champion pacer’s honour. The Legends, previously named The Legends Mile, will become The Smoken Up Sprint (to be run on November 7) to honour the Lance Justice-trained superstar pacer’s career. Smoken Up is a 13-time Group 1 winner who still holds the record for the fastest milerate in Australasia – 1:48.5. A winner of 73 races from 150 starts, Smoken Up’s achievements have thrust harness racing into mainstream and social media channels. The winner of over $3.6 million in stakemoney is to have his final ever racetrack start at his home track, Tabcorp Park Melton, in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6. HRV CEO John Anderson said renaming a race such as The Legends in Smoken Up’s honour made sense due to the horse’s phenomenal record at sprint trips – having won four Len Smith Miles and two Miracle Miles, as well as a bevy of other short-course features. “The Smoken Up Sprint will commemorate the wonderful career of the Lance Justice trained pacer, whose achievements on the racetrack have captivated audiences throughout Australasia,” Mr Anderson said. “Smoken Up is a Victorian harness racing icon and renaming The Legends in his honour will acknowledge that into the future. “To illustrate the changing nature of engaging with the public, Smoken Up has generated an enormous following on social media which has enhanced his appeal.” Smoken Up has his own Facebook page, with fans kept abreast of the horse’s life at home as well as his on-track performances. HRV will celebrate Smoken Up’s farewell with a special Smoken Up Race Night at the September 6 meeting. The night will feature a special Smoken Up video package on the big screen, souvenir racebook, rug presentation, Smoken Up poster and mini-flag giveaways and more. Full details will be announced in coming weeks. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Chris Alford took a 10-win lead in the metropolitan drivers’ premiership – and won his 264th race for the Victorian season – last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford drove a winning double to take his state premiership buffer to a whopping 69 wins over second-placed Greg Sugars (195) with Gavin Lang in third on 179. Craig Demmler-trained Blitzthemcalder opened Alford’s account last night with victory in the first race on the card, the Aldebaran Park Trot. Alford steered the long odds-on favourite to the lead early from outside the front row, the four-year-old then running his rivals into the ground to score a 16m win. Alford doubled up in Race 8 with Tandias Bromac saluting by nearly three metres for trainer Amanda Grieve. Tandias Bromac clocked a winning mile rate of 1:55.5 over the 1720m sprint trip. The in-form father-son team of Ross and Greg Sugars collected the night’s black-type event, the Harness Breeders (Vic) Lightfoot Laurels, with four-year-old trotter Quite A Moment. Quite A Moment caught the spot behind the leader’s back early when Paris Pepperell ran to the lead before being pocketed three-markers when Vics Cheval took the lead at the bell. Sugars angled Quite A Moment into the sprint lane in the home straight before the mare sprinted sharply to overhaul Shes An Image, who came with a run out wide, and Vics Cheval, who battled on for third. Maximan (Andy and Kate Gath) and Exciteusinthecity (Darren Cole and Tim McLean) took out the two heats of the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup. Maximan clocked a winning mile rate of 1:57.2 in his short-half-head win over Beauty Secret, while Exciteusinthecity found the lead from gate two and ran 1:56.2 in winning, ripping down the back straight in 27.6 before recording a last half mile of 55.9 seconds. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Kari Males hopes to quality two fillies for the Breeders Crown semi-finals at tonight’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Males will put the harness on Bella Sainz in the seventh heat of the two-year-old fillies' division of the Crown (Race 3 at Ballarat) and last-start Vicbred Super Series final winner Niki No No in heat eight (Race 6 on the card). Despite their obvious form differences – one being a Group 1 winner and the other boasting just one placing at Shepparton in three goes to date – Males said the two fillies worked similarly at home. “Bella Sainz is Bellas Delight’s half-sister and we’ve got a pretty good opinion of her,” Males said. “She was possibly the best one early in the piece, but obviously Niki No No has shown what she’s capable of while Bella Sainz has just taken a bit more time. “Her work at home is every bit as good as Niki No No.” Greg Sugars will drive both runners and Males is thrilled with both horses’ gate draws – both drawn gate two in their respective heats. Males said she deliberately bypassed the Tatlow Stakes with Niki No No to concentrate solely on the Breeders Crown series. “We tossed up the Tatlow and in the end decided to just focus on the Breeders Crown,” she said. “She’s gone absolutely above and beyond what we initially expected early in the piece. “Her semi-final was very gutsy. We learnt a lot about her and what she’s capable of in the Vicbred series.” Males feels Niki No No has drawn the strongest heat tomorrow night, coming up against Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl. “She’s probably drawn the strongest of the heats and we know it’s not going to be an easy race. But if we don’t win it then there’s always the repechages,” Males said. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014

Kerryn Manning fired for three wins at the Terang trots on Tuesday night. The Great Western reinswoman won the second, third and fifth events aboard Jetcraft, Red Nigel and Jaccka Lonny on a foggy night at the track. Jaccka Lonny was first-up for the Manning yard since joining from New Zealand, the four-year-old son of Mcardle too strong despite working hard on the last lap. Manning took the gelding straight back to last early in the 2180m Tiz A Masterpiece C2-C3 Pace before easing three-wide at about the 900m. The ex-Kiwi made his move down the back straight the final time, ranging up to the leaders strongly. Despite sitting three-wide approaching the bend and being driven along, Jaccka Lonny had more fight than his adversaries and overpowered them in the home stretch for an impressive triumph. Jaccka Lonny’s winning mile rate was 2:00.7 with a last half-mile of 59.4 seconds. Other drivers to score multiple successes at Terang were local Matthew Craven, who kicked home a winning double aboard Volatile Girl in the Squires Supermarket Vicbred Pace over 1680m and smart colt Clark Griswold in the Western Edition Pace, and Chris Alford, who guided Baccarat to a last-stride win over Desdon Murruffy in the Dick and Anne Box Pace over 1680m and Hurricane Stride to a half-head win in the Shadyshark Hanover Pace. The other winner for the night went to leading local trainer Marg Lee for leading local reinsman Jason Lee, Keayang Ebonyrose saluting in the first – the Silvan Ridge Business Advisers 2YO Pace. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

They’re on their way. The powerful New South Wales harness racing stable of Belinda and Luke McCarthy were to the fore at Menangle on Tuesday, winning three Breeders Crown heats, and the Cobbitty yard is sure to be strongly represented at next month’s semi-finals in Victoria. Ominous Warning captured the first race at Menangle, the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Heat 6, defeating Francisco De Gore by a half-neck in a 1:59.1 mile rate with a last quarter of 26.8 seconds and a last half of 55.1. The son of Four Starzzz Shark found the lead easily early in the 2300m race before churning out comfortable early sectionals. Driver Luke McCarthy got busy on Ominous Warning late in the home straight as Francisco De Gore ascended down the outside, the $1.10 favourite holding on for a narrow win over the fast-finishing $40.10 outsider. Another few strides and the result probably went the other way, so punters won’t be sacking the second horse in a hurry. Lettucerockthem showed in Race 2, the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat 5, that he’s in seriously good form. The son of Art Major scored an easy victory, the final 5.4m winning margin not a true indicator of the dominance with which Lettucerockthem handled Tuesday’s competition. Luke McCarthy kept peeping over his shoulder time and again in the straight aboard Lettucerockthem to see Ideal Legacy’s driver hard at work, while the rest of the field might as well have been in another race. Consequently, Lettucerockthem never had to leave second gear, clocking a mile rate of 1:58.3 and a last quarter of 28.4. Flying filly Bamako Mali then gave the McCarthys a third crown heat win for the day in a blistering 1:57.9 in heat six of the two-year-old fillies’ division. McCarthy took Bamako Mali to the front at the top of lane and she dashed clear before late challengers came from all corners in the last 50m. The race commentator commented “she was no good thing” but as is her style Bamako Mali lifted when challenged and held on by a head over Ameretto with a similar distance to Butterfly Princess in third. “Someone told me it was only 0.7 seconds outside the track record,” McCarthy said (Sheezallattitude holds the two-year-old fillies’ record for the 2300m start with a 1:57.2 set in 2010). “She’s got a great will to win. The other one almost headed her. I’d say it levelled up but she fought back. She’s a great trier.” Bamako Mali has won nine of 13 starts and been placed second or third at the other four. On Ominous Warning McCarthy said the gelding had pulled up “a little bit sick” after his recent Breeders Challenge defeat. “We were disappointed not to win that,” he said. “Luckily we were able to get him right in time for yesterday. “Ominous Warning is pretty good. He was still probably a bit underdone yesterday.” McCarthy said Lettucerockthem was potentially in career-best form. “He’s probably in the best form he’s been in since he was a two-year-old,” he said. “I felt he travelled really good throughout yesterday.” Other Breeders Crown heat winners at Menangle were Saloon Passage for Nathan Hurst in the three-year-old boys’ sixth heat, winning by 10.5m in a rate of 1:55.7, and Ocean Diva for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick and driver Blake Fitzpatrick by a short half-head over Starzzzinthenight in 1:59.5 in the three-year-old fillies’ fifth heat. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Harness racing trainer Alison Chisholm believes Asoka’s fourth placing behind The Good Times last Saturday night was the six-year-old gelding’s best run in recent memory. “He’s performed well but I’ve always felt there’s been a bit left,” trainer-driver Chisholm said. “He tends to want to just race the horse next to him. The other night he tried really hard the whole way and it was probably the best run I can remember from him. “You can’t insult him. He’s quite a playful horse. Everything’s a bit of a game to him and he’s real character. “If he had his mind on being a real racehorse then he could have won more races.” Asoka is a 14-time winner from 79 starts with prizemoney of $141,081. This season he’s won two from 23 and placed 14 times for $32,894. “He’s always been pretty consistent,” Chisholm said. Asoka has been racing forward of late but Chisholm said she would elect to slot in behind the speed it the early pacemakers went lickety-split in Friday night's second heat of the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup (Race 7) “A lot depends on the tempo of a race. He appreciates following a good tempo. I think from the draw (gate six) we can roll forward. “Last time we got caught out over the 1700m but it’s a lot different over the 2200m.”  Chisholm’s other runner on Friday night will be Apollo Thirteen in the Empire Stallions 4YO Pace. Apollo Thirteen has won five of his 20 starts. “I’ve only had him for about three weeks and I haven’t gotten him 100 per cent. I thought this would be a nice race for him but he’s a work in progress,” she said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

They say you can’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It seems the same can be said for horses. For Group 1 winning mare Pressplay, punters who wrote her off as inconsistent must have felt as though they’d been kicked in the shins when she won the Vicbred Super Series final earlier this month at big odds. Pressplay has never lacked in ability, says trainer Rebecca Cartwright, but the horse’s feet have not been the same since she trod on a nail. “Some of her runs might have looked a bit disappointing on paper but if you knew the horse you’d know in some of those races it was like she was running on a hot tin roof,” Cartwright said. Farrier Stephen Said, who has been in harness racing a long time, has played an integral role behind the scenes with Pressplay. Due to her hoof ailment shoeing the mare is problematic, but Stephen’s persistence has paid off in spades, Cartwright said. “He did the most amazing job with her. Stephen really cared and made particular sets of shoes for her … her feet had never been as perfect as he got them heading into the Vicbred Final.” Doreen-based Cartwright bred Pressplay and raced her mother, Miss Superb. “It was just so humbling (to win the Group 1). We’ve been in the game a long time and to breed one and then to win a Group 1 with that horse was just amazing,” she said. “Craig (Rebecca’s partner) should take a lot of the credit for the win. He’s done a wonderful job with her and has always loved her.” Pressplay has drawn gate six in the Pet Rock Pace Final (Race 2) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with Amanda Turnbull, who has become the horse’s regular reinswoman after guiding her to Group 1 success, taking the reins. “It’s a bugger of a draw,” Cartwright said. “I don’t really know at this stage. I’m going to have to sit down and look at all the runners and work it out.” Cartwright said Pressplay was a “dead-set sit-sprinter”, so making her own luck in running can be tricky. But in terms of ability, Cartwright always knew Pressplay had at least one big-race win in her. “Her first run in the (Vicbred) heat was a good one. Then she ran a super race in the semi-final. We always said she could win a big race she just need a little bit of luck,” Cartwright said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing fans have a soft spot for Master Kiesey – and why wouldn’t you? The 13-year-old won his 19th race on Saturday at Maryborough’s non-TAB meeting, defeating Ballan Road by 3.4m in a rate of 2:08.9 over 2190m. Driven by Grant Campbell, Master Kiesey stepped superbly and led from start to finish at start number 310. “He’s been a great horse for us,” trainer Brian Kiesey said. “He’s as sound as a bell and he’s enjoying life and enjoying his races. He still gets around all the yearlings at home and gives them hell,” he quipped. Kiesey said Master Kiesey would race on next season as a 14-year-old. “We don’t knock him about. You never see him get hit with the whip. He eats well and he loves his racing,” he said. Kiesey said his philosophy was to give horses plenty of time to find their feet before taking them to the racetrack. He pointed to a trotter he is working with at the moment who has been in work for three years but is yet to race. “She’s never been to the track. When I first got her she was a lunatic. But now she’s easy to drive and she’s going to be pretty good when we get her to the racetrack.” He also mentioned Apple Beach, which he acquired from the Jayne Davies stable before turning her into a trotter. “I’ve just had to teach her to trot,” he said. “That’s what this season is all about. Next season will be about her winning races. “It took 18 months to get Apple Beach going, but now she’s leading and getting away nicely in races.” Despite her poor strike rate (one win from 50 starts), optimistic Kiesey says punters should keep following the daughter of Life Sign. “She’s the best horse I’ve had in 35 years. Next year it’ll be about her winning races.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Melton trainer Ross Sugars' run of form continued on Sunday at the famous Redwood Carnival meeting at Maryborough. Sugars trained the winner of the 2690-metre Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, Illawong Helios, which overpowered hot favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten in the last 200m. Ross said driver – and his son – Greg Sugars delivered a “10 out of 10” drive aboard Illawong Helios, finding the back of Claudys Princess early before tracking Our Twentyten off the back and peeling three-wide into the lane the final time. “They were all running on empty in the straight,” Ross Sugars said. “It was a very slow last quarter (32 seconds). It was the first go for all of them at that kind of distance and it was just a case of those at the front having done more work, which allowed us to be that little bit stronger in the straight. “Our filly keeps on trying and she just found the line a bit better because of the way the race was run. That was the difference.” Sugars said heading down the back the last time he started thinking his filly was capable of at least running a place. “I even thought ‘don’t tell me she’s going to win’,” he said. Sugars said Claudys Princess, which finished runner-up in the Derby 1.7m behind Illawong Helios, was still the best three-year-old filly in the business and said her run on Sunday was enormous. But it was Illawong Helios’s day, the daughter of Majestic Son breaking a run of three consecutive second-place finishes in the Oaks and two Vicbred Super Series races. Illawong Helios set a new race record with his winning mile rate of 2:01.6 eclipsing the mark set by Blitzthemcalder last year by 0.3secs. She will now head to the Breeders Crown. Illawong Helios paid $23 on the tote. Sugars, who said he was not a betting man, admitted if he was an odds watcher he'd have moved at that price. "She was an 8-1 to 10-1 chance, I thought. Those odds were enormous," he said. Another trotter from the Sugars stable, four-year-old mare Quite A Moment, also won on Redwood day, taking out the John Slack Memorial Trotters Handicap over 2190m. Quite A Moment recorded a 58-second last half to score by 1.9m over Lord Liam, last year’s three-year-old trotters’ Breeders Crown champion hitting her straps ahead of this year’s series. “She’s done a really good job in the last 12 months. She’ll have a run or two and then she’ll be back in the Breeders Crown for the four-year-olds’ race.” On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton Sugars-trained Bettor Rock On made it five starts Down Under for five wins. The former New Zealander sat parked in the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final before sprinting up down the back in 27.8secs and skipping clear of early leader Essbee Doubleyou in a 28.4-second last quarter to win in a rate of 1:54.4. “He’s done the job and won five in a row,” Sugars said. “We’ll give him a break now and then prepare him for the new season and target some country cups. The Kilmore Cup (October 26) would be an aim. He’s a very good stand-start horse.” Sugars said the brilliant Youranut (Vicbred Super Series 4YO Final winner last year) was back in work and would resume racing in the next month or so. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Sydney pacer Freyberg ran the race of his life to upstage Smoken Up at the Lance Justice trained superstar’s New South Wales farewell run on Saturday night. The Victorian champion fired out of gate seven to find the lead early with a 26.1-second first quarter while Freyberg jumped straight on to Smoken Up’s back. Justice was able to give Smoken Up a breather in the middle stages before stoking him up rounding the final bend. Smoken Up kicked on like he’s done so many times before over the 1609m journey he’s come to call his own at Menangle and looked home for all money with 100m to go before Freyberg saw daylight. Once the Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding got to the outside he sprouted wings to pip Smoken Up on the post by a head in a mile rate of 1:51.7. Smoken Up will head to Globe Derby, South Australia, next month for his final run at the venue where he’s won four Group 1 SA Cups. Then he will cap his career with a farewell run at Tabcorp Park Melton – likely to be in September in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6 – where all racing fans will be able to salute the superstar one final time at his home track. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia) Freyberg  

After seeing Katy Perry roar at her Australian debut at Melton on Saturday night, the local two-year-old fillies' Breeders Crown contingent must be a tad jittery. At her most recent start before the weekend's Tatlow Stakes win at Tabcorp Park, Katy Perry came in second behind Joanne’s A Delight in a Breeders Crown heat in New Zealand. Joanne’s A Delight is headed Down Under along with another filly in Linda Lovegrace to contest the Breeders Crown. They finished second and third behind Supersonic Miss on Harness Jewels Day and were considered ahead of Katy Perry in Breeders Crown pecking order before Saturday night. So the Aussies it would seem might need to find a few metres. Katy Perry defeated highly rated Soho Tokyo by 2.5 metres on Saturday night, working to the lead early despite a back-row draw and comfortably holding off all late challengers. But who's to say Australia's leading Crown contender has already been seen? Maybe there’s a yet-to-race filly capable of grabbing headlines between now and Breeders Crown finals. Watch this space. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Filly Illawong Helios upstaged the two punters’ favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten to take out the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough on Sunday. In front of a big crowd, Greg Sugars gave Illawong Helios, who is trained by Greg's father Ross Sugars, the perfect run in transit in the Group 1 race before overpowering star filly Claudys Princess and colt Our Twentyten in the home straight. It was a Derby for the ages, with pressure up front right from the start of the 2690m event. Claudys Princess (Gavin Lang) dashed to the lead at the bell before Chris Alford attacked aboard Our Twentyten down the back straight. All the while Sugars was biding his time with Illawong Helios and when they swung into the straight he popped out three-wide to stake his claim. The trio battled it out up the lane with Illawong Helios eventually prevailing victorious, the daughter of Majestic Son scoring by 1.7m over Claudys Princess, with Our Twentyten third another metre away. Asdenro’s run was valiant, the early leader battling on well despite the strong tempo throughout to finish fourth. One Over Da Moon over-raced early and weakened out to finish well back, while Imamenace had no luck whatsoever early and finished second-last. The mile rate for the Derby was 2:01.6. Illawong Helios By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Brilliant trotter Eljaykay Phoenix is this year’s Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic champion. The son of Sundon from the all-conquering David Aiken yard made it six wins from seven starts in the $50,505 Group 1 event on Sunday at Maryborough. Runner-up My Arya made a race of it though, the New Zealand two-year-old champ getting within a neck of Eljaykay Phoenix at the end of the 2190m journey. The pair finished 12.5m clear of third placegetter Endsino and will both be leading contenders come Breeders Crown finals time next month. Sunday’s victory was junior driver Josh Aiken’s second Group 1 triumph after he won on Eljaykay Phoenix in the Vicbred Super Series final recently for his first. Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead early in the Redwood before coming home in a last half-mile of 58.7secs. My Arya and Mark Purdon used the sprint lane to close on the winner late, while Endsino for Andy and Kate Gath worekd home strongly for third after travelling three back the markers. Fabrication finished fourth and Sheza Amason finished fifth. The well-backed Twice As Much had a day to forget, galloping twice in running to finish tailed off last. Eljaykay Phoenix By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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