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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

Super sire Bettor's Delight is developing a name for himself in the harness racing squaregaiting community. On Thunder Road, by Bettor's Delight out of Holmes Hanover mare All The Way Home, took his lifetime record to 23 wins from 50 starts at Tabcorp Park Melton last night with victory in the Group 3 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free for All. The Darren Hancock trained-and-driven six-year-old ran to the lead from his gate 10 draw inside the final mile in the 2240m trot before comfortably holding Maori Time (Anthony Butt) by 3.4m at the finish posting a mile rate of 1:57.4. Coming off the back frontrunner On Thunder Road and Maori Time raced clear of the rest of the field, Maori Time glued to the back of the race leader. Hancock asked On Thunder Road to go a fair way from home and the New South Welsh trotter found plenty, while Maori Time could only chase gamely to finish a clear second. VIDEO: On Thunder Road wins the Sumthingaboutmaori at Melton Maori Time’s stablemate from Brent Lilley's Bolinda yard, Kyvalley Blur, ran on as he usually does and finished third 8.8m behind the winner. Already a Group 1 winner – after his Trotters Cup victory on Miracle Mile day at Menangle – On Thunder Road’s stake earnings are now nudging $240,000. Earlier this year Bettors Delight sired Three-Year-Old Ruby Trot winner Donegal Bettorgretch at New Zealand's Harness Jewels race day. Bettor's Delight leads the Australian sires’ overall chart with 316 wins from 5427 starts and 479 starters for an average prizemoney per starter of $19,609. On rankings by average prizemoney per starter Bettor's Delight is second overall behind American Ideal, whose progeny average $20,737. Bettors Delight’s progeny have had almost four times more starts than American Ideal’s. Illawong Helios ran on for fourth last night in the Sumthingaboutmaori, while punters who put their faith in Super Zeck ($6.50 fourth-favourite) were left feeling flat, that horse racing well below the form he showed when powering away with the Noopy Kiosk title on July 1. Last night he ran last beaten 62.4m. Cody Winnell

The rise of exciting four-year-old My Kiwi Mate continued at Tabcorp Park Melton last night when the Craig Demmler-trained gelding captured the harness racing Decron Winter Championship Final. Working hard to find the front for the first 600m of the 1720m contest, long odds-on favourite My Kiwi Mate eventually arrested the lead off plucky polemarker The Dapper Don. Tonight’s 7.1secs lead time was 0.2secs above average and the first quarter of the final mile was a sharp 28secs, followed by a 29.4secs second split. My Kiwi Mate’s last half-mile was trekked in 55.4secs (28.4secs and 27secs) and his winning mile rate was 1:52.2 (1.4secs off Cold Major’s track record). The victory was the first leg of a winning double for Parwan reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, who later guided Lucky Lombo home in the Ride the Redwood Rattler Pace for trainer Graham McDermott. My Kiwi Mate’s first place cheque of $20,048 took his stake earnings in excess of $213,000 and, given the quality of Victoria’s four-year-old ranks – highlighted in the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series by Ideal For Real, Tee Cee Bee Macray and Menin Gate, some ripping clashes await. The Group 2 male four-year-old Breeders Crown Championship on Super Sunday August 28 could be a marketer’s dream should the stars align. Meanwhile, the second placegetter behind My Kiwi Mate last night, The Dapper Don, looks a good thing in an M0 in the not-too-distant future. Irymple trainer Boris Devcic quite simply has this four-year-old Julius Caesar gelding flying and to get within a half-neck of a proven Group 1 performer in 1:52.2 – and with momentum up at the line – punters will be queuing up to back him if he lobs a good draw in a similar class race next time. Third placegetter Pepe Bromac from the Isabelle Walsh camp chased hard for third while Macha did all the work from his back-row draw and was only beaten 11.8m in fourth. VIDEO: Re-live My Kiwi Mate taking out the Decron Winter Championship Final  Cody Winnell

Soho Angel scored a well-deserved harness racing victory in tonight’s $50,575 Renown Silverware Tatlow Stakes at  Tabcorp Park Melton. The win gave Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley his second two-year-old fillies’ feature race triumph in a fortnight after Petacular’s Vicbred Super Series success earlier this month. Soho Angel (Bettor's Delight/Soho Champagne) ran third in the Vicbred final but was supreme tonight from gate three in an action-packed race that saw three horses involved in a bad fall and driver Zac Phillips taken to hospital for scans on his arm. Four Be Two (Phillips) and Jiggy Rhythm (Josh Aiken) locked wheels down the side the final time, and as they were trying to unhook from one another Arm A Princess (Jason Lee) took a tumble while travelling ahead of them. The resultant tangle saw the trio of drivers catapulted to the track. Lee and Aiken were cleared by medical staff to fulfil their remaining drives, but Phillips was taken to hospital with a suspected arm injury. All horses got to their feet and were walked off the track but Arm A Princess was transferred to Werribee Equine Hospital for tests. Meanwhile, Soho Angel bolted clear of her rivals at the top of the straight and went on to score by 3.6m over a fast-finishing Miss Dangerfield (Greg Sugars) with Perfect Sense (Mark Pitt) third in a mile rate of 1:58.7. A member of owner-breeder Rob Watson’s Soho team, Soho Angel now boasts four wins from 10 starts for stake money approaching $100,000. New South Wales husband and wife team Shane and Lauren Tritton combined to win the Apco Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings with their rising star Blue Moon Rising (Santanna Blue Chip/Lady Moonlight). Now a winner of six of seven lifetime starts, Blue Moon Rising led and defied all comers from the pole to score a 7.7m win over fast-finishing Our Little General (Pitt), with Manly Mach (Greg Sugars) third in a 1:56.7 mile rate. “He’s not paid up for anything so it’s good to get a win like this,” Lauren Tritton said post-race. “All the horses who have won the big races at home he’s beaten them.” Tritton said Blue Moon Rising would go to the paddock for a spell before “coming back bigger and better as a three-year-old”. Cody Winnell

Some harness racing people might say Our Twentyten is a tad underrated. The dual Breeders Crown winner paid $10.10 on the Victorian tote tonight defeating Blue Sky Commander ($2fav) and Sky Petite ($3.30) in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. Afterwards trainer Brent Lilley declared more Breeders Crown riches were being sought with the Breeders Crown Open a target. Steered to perfection by Rodney Petroff, who has developed a great affinity with the son of Muscles Yankee/Regal Volo, Our Twentyten got his head in front right at the wire in the 2240-metre race. Petroff drove confidently out of the gate, pushing through a gap from a back-row draw before working to the breeze and eventually grabbing one-one cover when Sky Petite (Steven Duffy) obliged. Miracle set the tempo despite an outside-front-row draw, Josh Duggan taking the gelding to the front where he reeled off 31.4, 32.1 and 28.4 splits between the mile and the quarter pole. VIDEO REPLAY: Our Twentyten takes out the Winter Trotters Cup Sky Petite and Blue Sky Commander (Kerryn Manning) placed bold bids for victory approaching the home turn but they must have heard Our Twentyten’s hoof beats in hot pursuit. Blue Sky Commander got the better of Sky Petite at the 100m, but Our Twentyten made up the required half-length he needed to get the win inside the final 50m. “He’ll have to meet the better performed horses in the Breeders Crown but he got it (the Breeders Crown) as a three- and four-year-old,” Lilley said. His winning mile rate tonight was 1:59.3, the last quarter covered in 29secs. Blue Sky Commander was gutsy in second, while Sky Petite hung on for third just ahead of Lightning Calder and Savannah Jay Jay. Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced that long-serving Chief Executive John Anderson is to leave HRV effective from 15 July 2016. The recently appointed Board and Mr Anderson have worked collaboratively in arriving at this decision. The HRV Board will now embark on a rigorous search for a new CEO to assist the Board in implementing a new direction for harness racing in Victoria. While this process is undertaken Ms Kay Rundle has been appointed to the Interim CEO role. Ms Rundle brings a wealth of Chief Executive experience, having served in that capacity with Maribyrnong, Greater Geelong and Port Philip councils. Her expertise in change management, strategic planning and governance and established links across government will assist the HRV Board to position the industry for the future. The Board wishes to pay tribute to Mr Anderson for his major contributions to harness racing in Victoria over nearly 13 years during which time many significant milestones were achieved. Some of the legacies left by Mr Anderson will include: The purchase of a large parcel of land in Melton, to create Victorian harness racing’s first ever home Overseeing the construction of the $50-million-dollar entertainment complex on a portion of that land The significant enhancement of the Vicbred Scheme, including the successful new Super Series format The introduction of the lucrative Vicbred Platinum incentive scheme The strategic enhancement and development of the trotting gait in Victoria which leads Australian harness racing The extraordinary growth in international export of Victorian product overseas with new revenues generated therefrom Significant additional investment in the critical area of Integrity Services The improvement in Victoria’s feature race programs including the hugely successful Breeders Crown, Summer of Glory and Vicbred finals meetings Furthering the interests of harness racing by serving on the TABCORP JV Management Committee for the duration of his term as Chief Executive. The investment in Victorian Regional infrastructure, including the rebuilding of many of Victoria’s premier harness tracks to modern standards which also encompassed horse welfare needs. The establishment of the HERO Program for the re-training and re-homing of retired race horses. Both Mr Anderson and the HRV Board believe that now is the right time for change given the significant renewal of the HRV Board earlier in 2016. Mr Anderson wishes to record that he gave his full commitment to the industry which he loves over a sustained period and advised the Board that he has enjoyed every moment of his involvement with HRV. HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said: “John should be immensely proud of his contribution to what has been achieved during his tenure”. John Anderson said: “I leave knowing that HRV is well placed to capitalize upon many of the opportunities identified in the industry’s strategic plan with a new and engaged Board. “The future of harness racing is secure particularly with the development of the expansive land owned by HRV in Melton. Other arrangements are in place to ensure the sport’s long term survival. “I will not be leaving the industry entirely as I can now look forward to actively participating in the future as a spectator, owner, and maybe even one day as a breeder. “I would also like to record my appreciation for the friendships and support I have received over the years from HRV staff and many industry participants and stake holders. I wish the industry well!” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Endsino became a two-time Group 1 winner tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton courtesy of a stellar Kate Gath drive in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Trotting Mares Final for harness racing four-year-olds. After leading from the pole, Gath handed up at the mile to Aldebaran Deebee, which snookered Endsino’s main danger Sky Petite three-back on the pegs. “It wasn’t that hard, I think most people would have done the same,” Gath said. “It’s pretty simple … if we hold the front Sky Petite goes straight past us, so at some stage we had to find a horse to hand up to. I had a good look around and Aldebaran Deebee is a pretty good horse to follow. I handed up to her at Maryborough on a different horse and she got to the line well, so I thought she was a good choice … with the draw and the run we were just able to win and that’s fantastic.” Endsino (Angus Hall/Jauriol), trained by Gath’s husband Andy, out-sprinted Aldebaran Deebee (Chris Svanosio) up the straight and rated 2:01.7 (last half-mile covered in 60.7) to win by a half-neck, with Val Gardena (Greg Sugars) third and Sky Petite (John Caldow) an unlucky fourth. “She’s been a great horse, she’s already earnt $130,000 before tonight so the money they can make (trotters in Victoria) is terrific. We are so lucky to have her.” Endsino is the third Group 1 winner tonight that graduated from the Pryde’s Easifeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale. She is raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto and Gennaro Sposato. Endsino won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final as a two-year-old in 2014. “She’s funny she come back quite good but her last couple of starts she’s been getting pretty fired up. She wasn’t too bad but she seems to be going through a bit of a growth spurt, so maybe that’s taking its toll on her,” Gath said. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Press mentions of John Meade can now preface the respected Cudgee horseman’s name with “Group 1 winning harness racing trainer”. His homebred four-year-old gelding Sparkling Success, a son of Great Success out of Diamond Insitu, produced a last-stride dive tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton to edge out Jodi Quinlan’s Illawong Armstrong in the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series four-year-old trotting entires and geldings final. Driven by Gavin Lang, who is certainly no stranger to top-level glory, Sparkling Success angled behind Illawong Armstrong from barrier two after the polemarker led early. Lang was full of praise for Meade. “I take my hat off to John and his family,” he said. “They don’t train a great number of horses and this guy and the guy he’s got in the next race (Diamond Wes) are the first two foals of the dam, so for a guy that only trains a few horses it’s a great effort on his behalf.” Illawong Armstrong travelled along boldly in the lead, covering the lead time in 45.9secs the first half of the final mile in 62.3secs and his third quarter in 29.5secs. At the home corner Illawong Armstrong pinched what looked a winning break on Sparkling Success, but the south-western squaregaiter found another gear and produced a winning lunge right on the wire to score by a nostril after a 29.3secs final quarter – the mile rate 2mins flat. RE-LIVE SPARKLING SUCCESS WINNING VICBRED GLORY “My bloke had to dig deep to get over (Illawong Armstrong),” Lang said. Meade was absolutely stoked. “It’s just a thrill. This win will mean something for us … it will do something for us. I’ll wake up in the morning and I won’t be tired.” Kyvalley Boomerang (Anthony Butt) ran on well for third, beaten 19.7m, with Save Our Pennys fourth and Bring The Action fifth.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has received a copy of the Review of the Integrity Structures of the Victorian Racing Industry undertaken by Paul Bittar. The Review, and its recommendations, will be forwarded to the HRV Board for discussion at the next meeting. READ THE GOVERNMENT'S MEDIA RELEASE HERE “I note the Minister for Racing has accepted the recommendations in principle, so HRV looks forward to working with the Minister and his office on the detail associated with the recommendations,” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said. “HRV remains committed to integrity being a high priority during the consultation period." Cody Winnell

The post-race interview videos with all of the winning drivers from Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night are online now at Trots Media's YouTube channel. Interviews this week:  Gavin Lang winning on Brighty Valentine in the DNR Logistics Vicbred Pace Mark Pitt winning on Starburst Girl in the Join The Pegasus Club Pace John Caldow winning on Super Zeck in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot Final Josh Aiken winning on Marylebone in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Fillies Final Jason Lee winning on Presidentialsecret in the MACHRA Melton Pacing Cup Mark Pitt winning on Gumdrops in the Angelique Club Cup Chris Alford winning on Starofsahara in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Colts and Geldings Final Kate Gath winning on K D Muscles in the TAB.com.au Trot Cody Winnell

The winning harness racing drivers from Saturday night's card at Tabcorp Park Melton share their thoughts post-race. This week's videos are: Zac Phillips on Mister Hairy Maclary in the DNR Logistics Pace   Emmett Brosnan on Mach Doro in the E. K. Bray Country Clubs Cup Final   Greg Sugars on Duchess Ella winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot (1st Heat)   Alex Ashwood on Artoc winning the TAB.com.au Pace Final   Jodi Quinlan on Adam Cartwright winning the Country Clubs Championship Final   Mark Pitt on Gumdrops winning the Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen   Michael Bellman on Stunning Grin winning the Cougar Bourbon Pace   Gavin Lang on Hectorjayjay winning the Bold David Free for All   John Caldow on Super Zeck winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot (2nd Heat)   Jason Lee on Easter Jolt winning the Pridmore Electrics 2YO Pace Cody Winnell 

At the height of his power Artoc was a C7-M2 assessed harness racing gelding taking on some of the cream of the Victorian trots crop. Now at age 10 the son of Artiscape out of Eileen Monica is a C2-M1 pacer, but has recaptured winning form with two victories on the trot over the past fortnight. Driven by Alex Ashwood (23 wins this season), Artoc won the TAB.com.au Pace Final last night at Tabcorp Park Melton for local trainer Danny Mullan, who also produced runner-up Jaccka Wilco for a stable quinella (which paid $45.70 on the Victorian tote). “When they get to this age they usually don’t find the line, but his horses when they get older, it doesn’t faze them,” Ashwood said of Mullan’s training performance. “(This horse) has a great will to win, which goes a long way with these older horses.” Artoc made it 22 career wins and took his stake earnings to more than $164,000 with last night’s victory. “He’s been a great old horse for connections,” Ashwood said. “He’s raced against the best of the best, probably the last six months he’s really dropped down in grade and it has paid dividends tonight.” In his bright yellow gear, matching his racing silks and saddlecloth No.5, Artoc marched to the lead after about a quarter-mile before kicking on to hold out a challenge from Big Bang Leonard, the lead time posted at 45.4secs (nearly a second quicker than average). Stablemate Jaccka Wilco appeared to head off Artoc as they swung around the final bend. And in the straight Black Cougar looked home and hosed when he chimed in at the 100m. But Jaccka Wilco and Black Cougar ran out of steam as Artoc dug in, Ashwood getting everything out of the veteran at start No.231 to score a neck win in 2:00.1. According to the computer Mullan has trained 108 winners in his career, but it is important to note he was training when Australian trotting data moved to computers (season 1979-80), so he may have had more successes. Artoc started second-favourite tonight after winning his series heat. Race favourite Shishi finished last and underwent a vet’s examination post-race. Cody Winnell

Harness racing's flashy grey Adam Cartwright produced a barnstorming finish to win last night’s Country Clubs Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old by Ponder out of Lombo Regalia (a daughter of Jet Laag) bloused runner-up Emmanuel and race favourite Murranji Track to score a thrilling victory by a half-neck in a rate of 1:56.4 over 2240m. Amazingly at the 100m though, Adam Cartwright was last. Quinlan eased the South Australian from the Greg Norman stable to the extreme outside and when he hit top gear Adam Cartwright savaged the line, grabbing victory in the shadows of the post. Last time out at Shepparton Adam Cartwright pulled hard and almost choked down, finishing fifth, but he settled much better last night from his second-row draw and benefited from a solid tempo up front. “He over-raced last start … but tonight he settled much better,” Quinlan said. “Greg was very happy with him leading in the race. He said if he settles he’ll run a really good race, and Greg’s always been a good trainer so you’ve got to respect his horses.” WATCH ADAM CARTWRIGHT GO FROM LAST TO FIRST Norman has trained 418 winners in a 30-year trots career, with punters sure to remember some of his stable stars such as Ti Vogliobene, Indicative, Preferential and prolific winner Rosco Robust. Quinlan said Adam Cartwright had overcome several injuries and last night’s win as “a real credit to Greg”. Emmanuel finished second for Matthew Craven after sprinting early to find the lead from gate four, while Sunraysia star Murranji Track finished close-up third, just ahead of Stagger Lee and Animated. Connections said Adam Cartwright would now go to the Strathalbyn Cup, where he will clash with another recent South Australian Melton winner in Whats Emma Got. Cody Winnell

Gun mare Gumdrops remains undefeated since joining the Emma Stewart harness racing stable with victory last night in the Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen at Tabcorp Park Melton. The 2014 Queen of the Pacific champion, who also won aged mare of the year in 2014 at the Victorian industry awards, picked up her 18th career victory in the 1720-metre Make Mine Cullen in a mile rate of 1:53.1. She did it in true Gumdrops fashion, coming from near last at the home bend before an electric final 200-metre dash wide in the Tabcorp Park straight. The eight-year-old by Western Terror out of Awesome Powers hit top gear and chewed up the ground, motoring by the tiring My Willow and grabbing Milly Perez and Quick Draft on the line for a short half-head win. Gumdrops has only been at the Smythes Creek stable for two runs and has won them both, tonight’s win following a Decron Westburn Grant Free-for-All win in April when she went 1:55.2 over 2240m. It is just the third time in her career that Gumdrops has been able to register successive wins. WATCH GUMDROPS POWER HOME IN THE MAKE MINE CULLEN Given the final half-mile last night was covered in 56.1 – and Gumdrops came from last – her sectionals would have been supersonic. “She was really great tonight. I thought she might not be able to pick them up but she proved that she could,” winning reinsman Mark Pitt said. Pitt has piloted Gumdrops to both her wins this time in. “It’s a good feeling,” he said when asked how it felt to zoom over the top of a quality field of mares to win. “I thought being back there it was going to be pretty hard because I thought they were going to run a bit of time up front, but she proved she is getting back to her best.” Larry Eastman’s talented five-year-old Milly Perez was game in defeat running second, while Quick Draft covered plenty of ground but still got past early pacesetter My Willow in the run to the line to finish third. My Willow’s early splits of 29.2, 28.2 and 28.4 appeared to bring her undone, the $1.50 favourite wilting at the finish to run fourth. But she was only beaten 2m. Once mighty mare Steam Washed finished well back in ninth place of the 10, and the Shinn camp will be hoping the longer mares’ races will see her recapture form. The mares’ circuit continues next Friday night at Melton with the running of the Group 3 Angelique Club Cup, followed a week later by the $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific over 2760m. Cody Winnell

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