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Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton program shapes as a tantalising prelude to the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup to be run Saturday week. The Group 2 TAB Smoken Up Sprint, a race named in honour of the mighty Lance Justice-trained champion, will feature the modern-day pin-up pacer in Ride High who, despite drawing the extreme gate 11 over the 1720m, opened prohibitively short with TAB at $1.25 before easing to $1.33. Ride High (pictured), aka 'Chainsaw', has only tasted defeat once in his 17-start career to date. And since that gutsy third in the Vicbred Super Series three-year-old final of July 7, 2018, the brilliant son of Art Major has built a picket-fence of 11 straight successes.  And if he can overcome the alley and take his winning run to a dozen with victory on Saturday night, Ride High will only strengthen his hold on market top billing for the $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. PODCAST: CODY WINNELL AND ANDREW BENSLEY DISCUSS THE FIELDS Among his rivals on Saturday night, New South Wales visitor Cruz, a winner of 27 of his 77 starts, shapes as an interesting contender. The speedster boasts a career-best 1:49.9 mark at Menangle and is drawn to take full advantage of his early gate speed in barrier two. With four wins from his last five starts, including twice upstaging Queensland wonder horse Colt Thirty One, the six-year-old son of American Ideal from the Craig Cross camp has never raced better. South-west Victoria's latest star pacer, Code Bailey, has drawn gate seven for his return, the Marg Lee-trained Bendigo and Terang Cup winner first-up since finishing sixth in the Miracle Mile.                   Another highlight on Saturday night will be the Allied Express Jane Ellen Pace over 2240m, which has attracted a sterling line-up of mares. Group 1 winners Kualoa, Dr Susan, Goodtime Heaven and No Win No Feed will all contest the $30,000 event.                And the Aldebaran Park Chris Howe Trotters Free for All brings together a star-studded line-up of trotters, with Tornado Valley, Sparkling Success, Dance Craze and Sammy Showdown among the key contestants.                     HRV - Cody Winnell

Storm Cloud steps out at Shepparton on Saturday night and the exciting five-year-old will be out to maintain a higher than 50 per cent winning record. The son of power producer Cloud Chaser has won six from 11 starts thus far with a 2:00.1 best mile rate to date. Purchased for $36,000 as ‘lucky for some’ Lot 13 in the 2016 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale (APTS), the son of Majestic Son has already pocketed connections $32,514 in stakemoney. Should Storm Cloud and young reinsman Brad Chisholm trot to victory in the Your Sold Real Estate Trot (Race 9) on Saturday, the $5700 first prize cheque will push the trotter into the black. Since joining the powerful Brent Lilley stable Storm Cloud has only tasted defeat once in five starts – that loss coming last time out at Ballarat when fresh-up off a month’s break. Storm Cloud has dominated some talented squaregaiters along the way, too, including Is That A Bid, Royal Charlotte, Powderkeg, Barhoon and Kyvalley Kyrie who have all been left in his wake during recent months. Storm Cloud is the third foal of eight-time winning mare Cloud Chaser, who threw dual Group 1 winner Cruisin Around in 2011. To win on Saturday night Storm Cloud will have to outpunch phenom Cracker Jet, a winner of four out of seven to date, and a small but select filed of flair, which also features Zarem – a graduate of the 2017 APTS. Zarem fetched a bargain $9000 as Lot 63 but has won $54,180 in stakes. Meanwhile, Saturday night’s win of Hotjane Bling at Menangle took the Eilean Donon mare to No.10 on the overall APTS graduates’ earning chart. Trained and driven by Brian Portelli, Hotjane Bling’s career tally stands at $112,970 with 13 wins from 60 starts. Hotjane Bling was purchased for a meagre $9000 at the 2015 APTS. The most recent victory sets the scene for a cracking contest this Saturday night at Menangle where the new No.10 APTS earner will take on the trotter immediately above her on the earners’ list, Agent Maori.   APTS graduates in action in coming days are:   Wednesday August 12 TIP TOP EURASIAN @ STAWELL (Race 3) KYVALLEY CATWALK @ STAWELL (Race 3) ALDEBARAN ROCKY @ STAWELL (Race 3) BACARDI CHARDY @ STAWELL (Race 3) DICKO DIXON @ STAWELL (Race 3) Thursday August 13 RULES DONT APPLY @ BALLARAT (Race 1) KEAYANG LIVANA @ BALLARAT (Race 2) FEAR NOT @ BALLARAT (Race 2) GUS AN MAORI @ BALLARAT (Race 2) THE GIRLS GOTFLAIR @ BALLARAT (Race 7) Friday August 14 JADE NIEN @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) CAPTAIN MCCRAW @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) ALDEBARAN STEVIE @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) Saturday August 15 GREG THE GREAT @ ALBION PARK (Race 10) AGENT MAORI @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 7) HOTJANE BLING @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 7) MARVELLOUS MAX @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) STORM CLOUD @ SHEPPARTON (Race 9) ZAREM @ SHEPPARTON (Race 9)     Visit the new-look APTS website for more information on the annual APTS sale, including Harness Racing Victoria's special 'sales day special', which sees yearlings purchased eligible for the industry leading Vicbred program, the Need for Speed series and the Breeders Crown for just $1000 – a saving of over $500. Earlier this year the Victorian Harness Racing Club announced it had signed a partnership with the APTS and Australian Pacing Gold which will deliver up to $900,000 in financial benefits shared between owners and trainers of APTS purchases.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Australasian Premier Trotting Sale 2013 graduate Agent Maori will line up for start No.148 at Menangle today. The eight-year-old gelding by Federal Flex out of Windsongs Maori has enjoyed a terrific career, which kicked off as a two-year-old. He is now ninth on the all-time list of APTS graduate earners. The juvenile quickly made an impact for trainer Ross Graham, winning his first two starts in 2014 before taking out a heat of the Foundation series at Menangle as a three-year-old, going on to run second in the $16,000 Final behind Fiery Mountain Girl. Agent Maori finished in the top-five money at 11 of his first 12 starts, winning five of those races and finishing fifth in the Group 1 New South Wales Trotters Derby. From July 31 to September 11 in 2018, Agent Maori won five races from seven starts – including a career-best 1:55.8 victory over The Male Model. In more recent times Agent Maori has placed at eight of his last 10 starts and is knocking on the door after a last-start second behind Major Thomas on Saturday night. Agent Maori’s record stands at 147 starts for 13 wins and 36 minor placings – for prizemoney of over $121,000. One of the secrets of trots ownership is the durability of the standardbred. You simply get more fun for your buck as most trotters when fit and in work can back up far more often than thoroughbreds. The best example of this in the business is mighty mare Fear Not – the fifth highest-earning APTS graduate. Fear Not (pictured below by Stuart McCormick) was purchased early at APTS 2014 – Lot 1 in fact – and she went for a song to Glenn Conroy for just $4000. The daughter of Skyvalley-Aldebaran Maori has gone on to earn $161,935 from 192 starts. On Thursday she lines up at Ballarat in Race 6. Fear Not is the queen of consistency. She has won seven races, placed second or third on 60 occasions and placed either fourth or fifth a further 73 times. So, 140 times out of 192 Fear Not has finished top-five. Bonny as. All the best to this week’s APTS graduates, a list of which you can view below this article. Note, this list updates daily and will continue to update as more fields are drawn. APTS graduates in action in coming days are:   Tuesday July 28 MELPARK MAGIC @ ALBION PARK (Race 2) ALDEBARAN LEROY @ BENDIGO (Race 2) KYVALLEY KYRIE @ BENDIGO (Race 2) KYVALLEY CATWALK @ BENDIGO (Race 4) ALDEBARAN CRESCENT @ BENDIGO (Race 6) GAP YEAR @ GLOUCESTER PARK (Race 6) HAMMERS LAW @ GLOUCESTER PARK (Race 6) JADE NIEN @ KILMORE (Race 1) QUICK WITTED @ KILMORE (Race 5) HEY LISTEN @ KILMORE (Race 6) COME AT ME @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 1) DO BALL @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 1) AGENT MAORI @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 3) Wednesday July 29 BLACK CAT CLAW @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) MISS TIPSY @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) ALDEBARAN ROCKY @ STAWELL (Race 5) DICKO DIXON @ STAWELL (Race 5) Thursday July 30 GLENGARRIFF @ BALLARAT (Race 2) CALEDONIAN SPIRIT @ BALLARAT (Race 2) ALDEBARAN KNOX @ BALLARAT (Race 2) THE GIRLS GOTFLAIR @ BALLARAT (Race 6) THE SUMMER CAT @ BALLARAT (Race 6) FEAR NOT @ BALLARAT (Race 6) Friday July 31 HATCHBACK @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 8) Saturday August 01 BALL PARK @ BENDIGO (Race 2) MARVELLOUS MAX @ BENDIGO (Race 7) MAR PACIFICO @ BENDIGO (Race 7) HOTJANE BLING @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 8) Visit the new-look APTS website for more information on the annual APTS sale, including Harness Racing Victoria's special 'sales day special', which sees yearlings purchased eligible for the industry leading Vicbred program, the Need for Speed series and the Breeders Crown for just $1000 – a saving of over $500. Earlier this year the Victorian Harness Racing Club announced it had signed a partnership with the APTS and Australian Pacing Gold which will deliver up to $900,000 in financial benefits shared between owners and trainers of APTS purchases.   HRV - Cody Winnell

The Australasian Premier Trotting Sale continues to deliver quality trotting yearlings. APTS graduates are racing throughout Australia pretty much every day, showcasing the standardbred's durability, and the mile rates for trotters are getting faster and faster. This week's graduates in action include Aldebaran Knox at Ballarat tomorrow night, a striking and muscular son of Muscle Hill out of Sundon mare Kyvalley Aldebaran, who topped the 2018 sale price ladder with $90,000 shelled out to purchase the good-looker.  Aldebaran Knox impressed at his first preparation for trainer-driver Matthew Craven, scoring a powerful victory on debut at Maryborough when he swept clear of his rivals late for a 10.8-metre win.  The colt finished second in his Aldebaran Park Home Grown Classic heat before not bringing his best manners to the final, galloping twice but still managing to finish in fifth place before heading for a spell.  Another headline act will be Fox Force Five tonight at Terang, who resumes from over a year off for trainer-driver David Murphy. Fox Force Five is a daughter of Yankee Spider out of Yankee Paco mare Motu Vee.   As a two- and three-year-old Fox Force Five collected over $36,500 in stake money and showed plenty of x-factor in among some occasional patchy manners. It will be interesting to see how forward she is tonight.  APTS graduates in action in coming days are:  Wednesday 22 July Aldebaran Rocky @ Terang Black Cat Claw @ Shepparton Caledonian Spirit @ Terang Fox Force Five @ Terang Gus An Maori @ Terang (pictured right by Stuart McCormick) Keayang Livana @ Terang Thursday 23 July Aldebaran Knox @ Ballarat (pictured above by Stuart McCormick in the APTS 2018 sales ring) The Girlsgotflair @ Ballarat Van Sank @ Ballarat Victree Hill @ Ballarat Friday 24 July Hatchback @ Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday 25 July Agent Maori @ Menangle Ball Park @ Shepparton Greg The Great @ Albion Park Hotjane Bling @ Menangle Kyvalley Clichy @ Shepparton (pictured right by Stuart McCormick) Mar Pacifico @ Shepparton Melpark Major @ Albion Park Morgan Mylee @ Shepparton Needabacardi @ Shepparton Tam Oshanter @ Shepparton Sunday 26 July Irene Rose @ Bendigo My Mate Yankee @ Bendigo   Visit the new-look APTS website for more information on the annual APTS sale, including Harness Racing Victoria's special 'sales day special', which sees yearlings purchased eligible for the industry leading Vicbred program, the Need for Speed series and the Breeders Crown for just $1000 – a saving of over $500. Earlier this year the Victorian Harness Racing Club announced it had signed a partnership with the APTS and Australian Pacing Gold which will deliver up to $900,000 in financial benefits shared between owners and trainers of APTS purchases.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Racing is today mourning the sudden passing of an industry doyen in Rob Gaylard at age 70. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith paid tribute to “a close friend”. “I’ve known Rob for the best part of 30 years and have had the pleasure of working with him at Flemington and in harness racing. Before that I knew him at Caulfield as well. I enjoyed his company. We enjoyed talking about horses and racing and life in general,” Monteith said. “He’s just a wonderful person to be involved with and we’re so blessed to have had him in harness racing with Channel 31 and the promotion of the sport he provided.” Gaylard’s genuine love of horses shone through in his various media work. His intimate equine knowledge and passion transcended racing. “He loved all horse breeds. He and his wife Karen had carriage horses and he’d help prepare them and look after them. In more recent times of course he looked after Chautauqua at his property. He was very passionate about life after racing. He was extremely proud of his daughter (Casey) being involved too and her work in the media,” Monteith said. CEO Dayle Brown also had a long association with Gaylard dating back to 1996 and his first stint at HRV. Brown would go on to work closely with Gaylard at Racing Victoria and witnessed firsthand the esteem in which Gaylard was held with young participants. “Rob and I go back to 1996 when I first started at Harness Racing Victoria. I remember fondly him anchoring the Channel 31 coverage alongside Rob Auber, Bill Hutchison and others. Those are great memories of Rob’s media work. “I worked more closely with him at RVL when he was there performing media training for the apprentice jockeys,” Brown said. “He was extremely passionate about that role and the apprentices would hang off every word. For young participants making their way through the industry, Rob was their go-to man. “He will be very, very sorely missed.” Gaylard has also conducted media training for HRV participants. Both Monteith and Brown highlighted Gaylard’s “unassuming” personality. “He knew everyone in racing by name and always greeted them with a big smile and a handshake. He knew both codes and the people within the codes so well. He didn’t use people. He gave as good as he got in terms of interaction and it was always a pleasure to have a chat with him,” Monteith said. “We’d often talk in the mounting yard at Flemington. We always had time for one another.” Just last year Gaylard hosted the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame night and this year’s TAB Summer of Glory at Tabcorp Park Melton. Tabcorp Park General Manager Gayle Harvey also paid tribute to Gaylard. “Rob was a lovely man. He often hosted major events here for us and was just a wonderful person to deal with. This is a very sad day and my thoughts are with his family,” Harvey said. HRV and Tabcorp Park extend deepest sympathies to Gaylard’s wife, Karen, his daughter, Casey, and their family.   HRV - Cody Winnell

The Tip Top Grandpa story encapsulates so much we love about this great game, harness racing. The 10-year-old trotter today won his third race, taking out the Niota Bloodstock Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton.  While 10-year-olds winning races in the trots is not a rarity, this fella didn’t debut until he turned 10 last September. Trained, bred and owned by veteran horseman Charlie Farrugia, 80, Tip Top Grandpa has been a revelation since the team decided to give him another shot at making the track. Previously they had tried at him as a much younger horse, at age 3 and 4, but it wasn't to be. Until it was. Winning driver Darren Zahra explained on Trots Vision that Tip Top Grandpa had just been living life on the property and enjoying himself as one of Farrugia’s several pet horses. “They’re all his pets,” Zahra told hosts Dan Mielicki and Rob Auber today. “If you told him he had a slow one he wouldn’t believe you. They’re all good horses to him.” Such love for the standardbred is also not a rarity in the game, but to be reminded of it again in such a way as today’s win at Tabcorp Park Melton is something to capture. Tip Top Grandpa is out of a mare by Tip Top Prince who never raced, and Grandpa is her first and only foal. Hear more from Zahra post-race below.    HRV - Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced two of Victoria’s premier harness races, the 2020 Victoria Cup and 2021 Great Southern Star, will carry more prizemoney.   HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said the additional prizemoney for the races would be funded without change to HRV’s current stakemoney budget following New South Wales’ decision to postpone its Inter Dominion hosting until 2021. Bell also announced Australia’s premier trotting event, the Great Southern Star, would revert to its original format of two heats into a final (all over 1720 metres) on the one night and would be hosted on an all-trotting Friday night card during the 2021 Summer of Glory. “We are pleased to announce prizemoney increases to two of our major events and for the Great Southern Star to be returning to its original exciting format,” Bell said. “On the Great Southern Star changes, it is important we recognise that trotting is a huge part of HRV’s international strategy. In time, the hope is we will regularly secure international participation in the Great Southern Star as part of a series of Victorian trotting features during summer. “The Victoria Cup is a prestigious Grand Circuit pacing event. Traditionally it has been seen as our Cox Plate. We’re pleased to be able to honour the event with prizemoney more befitting its status.” It was announced last week that the Victoria Cup would remain in its October timeslot, Saturday night October 10, the night of the Caulfield Guineas meeting. The Great Southern Star will be held on a new all-trotting card at Tabcorp Park Melton on the Friday night before the A.G. Hunter Cup during the 2021 Summer of Glory. The Victoria Cup will carry $300,000 worth of prizemoney, while the Great Southern Star will be made up of two $50,000 heats into a $300,000 final.   HRV - Cody Winnell

On today's edition of SENTrack's Talking Trots on Track host Jason Bonnington put a question to Victoria’s leading trainer: “At his best is Ride High the best horse in the country?” Emma Stewart, partner of Ride High’s trainer Clayton Tonkin, simply responded “yes”. And that’s the news we wanted to hear ahead of the star five-year-old’s return in the $20,000 Vale Rod Osborne Pace at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Stewart was full of praise for the son of Art Major, who boasts 10 wins from his 11 starts to date with a 1:55.2 best mark at Melton over 2240m, a 53.7sec last 800m at Melton over 2240m in the 4&5yo Championship, and a 25.7sec last 400m explosion in the three-year-old Breeders Crown Final of 2018. “It’s really exciting to have him back,” Stewart said. Listen to the full podcast of the interview below. Watch Ride High's recent Ballarat trial win below.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Victorian harness racing is tonight mourning a dear industry friend after the passing of Rod Osborne. Mr Osborne died peacefully today aged 86 after a lengthy battle with illness. He is survived by wife Helen, daughters Catherine and Marilyn and son Craig. During his first role at HRV, now CEO Dayle Brown worked closely with Mr Osborne on a number of integrity matters. “Rod was a great mentor and support to many stewards. I personally had the opportunity to work alongside Rod on many occasions and he will be very sadly missed,” Mr Brown said. “On behalf of HRV sincere condolences are extended to Rod’s wife, Helen, daughters Catherine and Marilyn, and son, Craig during this difficult time.” Last year Mr Osborne was bestowed with HRV’s Distinguished Services Award for his long and valuable contribution to the industry. HRV General Manager of Integrity, Brent Fisher, knew Mr Osborne well and paid tribute to a dear friend and valued colleague. “Rod was such a proud man and someone of the highest integrity,” Mr Fisher said. “He provided exemplary service on the former HRV Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board for nearly 10 years. He also went out of his way to be supportive and to encourage stewards in their duties. Rod was very obliging with his time and an extremely knowledgeable man. He could quote rules in the rule book verbatim like some people could sing pop songs.” Mr Osborne was also a former successful driver in his own right and won many races. That knowledge and experience no doubt assisted him enormously in his transition to steward. “Receiving the HRV Distinguished Service Award last year was such a proud moment for Rod and the joy on his face when presented that award with his wife of 63 years Helen was a magic moment,” Mr Fisher said. Click here to read Brent Fisher's January Integrity Matters Q&A with Rod Osborne   HRV - Cody Winnell

As Victorian harness racing prepares for the return of metropolitan and feature racing from July 1, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will increase stakemoney at Friday and Saturday meetings on June 19-20 and 26-27. The idea is designed to thank participants for their support of the regional setup, which has been in place since early April, and prepare punters for a return to metro racing. “At the Shepparton meetings on Friday June 19 and 26 and the Melton meetings on Saturday June 20 and 27 we’ll have a ‘metro style’ card,” HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said. “We’ll have over $100,000 in stakemoney up for grabs at each of those four meetings – so $400,000 in stakemoney across the four programs. “We will be programming three $20,000 races on each of those cards, which will help to stimulate the active horse population as we look to roll out of the regions on July 1.” Meanwhile, Victoria’s time-honoured Mares’ Triple Crown will this year be recognised officially with HRV naming the series in honour of a long-time industry stalwart. The Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown will launch with the Make Mine Cullen Pace on August 22, before continuing with the Angelique Club Pace on August 29, and culminating with the $100,000 Group 1 Queen of the Pacific on September 5. And should a mare this year complete the Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown by winning all three races, as The Orange Agent did in 2017, a bonus of $20,000 will be paid to winning connections. A $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the mare which accumulates the most points throughout the three-race series. The announcement comes as HRV today unveiled its feature race program for July and August. “We’re pleased to be able to announce the features for July and August and within the next fortnight we’ll unveil the remainder of the Victorian feature race calendar,” HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said. “I’m aware there are questions regarding the popular Redwood Classic day. I can confirm that event will be rescheduled to a later date this year, but all will be revealed in coming days.” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith acknowledged the “outstanding” contribution Elizabeth Clarke (pictured) has made to harness racing in Victoria. “Elizabeth has given a lifetime of service to this industry and we’re pleased to unveil the Elizabeth Clarke Mares’ Triple Crown,” Mr Monteith said. “Elizabeth was a fantastic HRV Board member with a strong focus on corporate governance principles, financial management and integrity functions. As I have stated previously her empathy for the participants and business acumen was second to none.” Among other roles, Clarke has served on the HRV Integrity Council, the Harness Racing Advisory Council, the Racing and Appeals Disciplinary Board and the Terang Harness Racing Club.   HRV - Cody Winnell

'The maestro of Melton' Dan Mielicki produced another virtuoso performance as Harness Racing Victoria's morning trots trial roared to life at Tabcorp Park today. Mielicki, the voice of harness racing in Victoria, delivered one of the more memorable calls as the rain fell at Melton – referencing a classic Seinfeld racing line in Race 3. Rather than tell you what was said, check it out for yourself below in the video! The morning trots are being beamed around Australia via Sky Racing and into the United States for wagering and viewing on Saturday mornings for a three-week trial period. The US folk would undoubtedly have appreciated the Seinfeld line and will be looking forward to the next two Saturday morning Aus time (Friday night US) programs. Michael “King” Cole and Greg “The Candyman” Sugars took driving honours on the seven-race card with winning doubles.   HRV - Cody Winnell

About his in-form pacer Betternbetter, Keith Cotchin is circumspect. The Elmore horseman would be forgiven for being up and about and declaring big things for the impressive son of Betterthancheddar after his third straight win last night at Bendigo. But on his jet, Cotchin’s jets remained cool. “He seems to be coming back to some sort of form,” he told today's Trots Review. “The horse seems to have matured and is really starting to race with that keenness again to find the line.” Driven by Tayla French, 23, whose star is on the rise, Betternbetter (pictured) is three-from-three. “She’s done a great job,” Cotchin said. “She’s a nice girl and she’s been under a bit of pressure with him being an odds-on favourite. And it’s hard when you say you don’t want to be whizzing around to the death and that. She’s done a great job and has really clicked with him.” There is little doubt French’s star is on the rise. At Betternbetter’s last couple of wins the 23-year-old has remained ultra-composed and been able to extricate the pacer from tricky positions in the run. “I’m rapt for her,” Cotchin said. “She’s a good driver and this will give her a good kick-along.” During region-raced racing Cotchin said he would take it “day by day” with Betternbetter. “As far as medical and soundness viewpoints go the horse is fine and there’s no reason we can’t keep racing but we probably won’t do a lot until the regions open up again,” he said. “He’s a hard horse to rate because he’s just a very average track-worker and doesn’t set the world on fire, but when he goes to the races he goes to another level and that showed again last night. “Hopefully he’ll keep going through the classes. He is exciting.” Last night’s win takes Betternbetter’s record to 11 wins from 22 starts for over $75,000 in stakes. French finished with a winning double after earlier success aboard Joeys Hangover for her dad, trainer Terry French, in the Illusion Emblems Digital Printing Service Pace to open the program. Other winners were Lola Devereux in the North West Ag Services Trot, Mascott in the Share Media Trot, Ringer Russ in the Sheahan Plumbing Pace, Gobsmacked in the Bendigo Party Hire Pace, Ozzie Battler in the J L King & Co Pace, and Our Doreen Days in the Yorkshire Park Standardbreds Pace. Meanwhile at Shepparton Josh Aiken piloted a winning treble aboard Watchmedazzle in the Central Tyre Service 2YO Pace, Joonior Brown in the Your Sold Real Estate Pace and Janjuc in the Barastoc Pace. David Moran finished with a winning double aboard Santa Casa Beach in the Hunter Rural 3YO Pace and RNR Windemere in the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace. Other winners were Fullofmischief in the Alabar Maiden, Royal Admiral in the Cottrell Electrical Maiden and Rockin In Memphis in the Neatline Homes Pace.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants   Ballarat tonight Race 2 – Ballarat Mazda 2YO Pace Dougs Babe (2yo filly by Western Terror out of Dougs Courage, trained and driven by Geoff Webster) First foal from a 23-time winning daughter of Courage Under Fire.   Platinum Sparkle (2yo filly by Bettors Delight out of Bollinger Baby, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Jodi Quinlan) Full-sister to five-time winning Bossanova Bay, out of Christian Cullen mare who won 10 races and $67k in stakemoney.   Tuppence (2yo gelding by Lincoln Royal out of Star Crossed, trained by Geoff Webster and driven by David Murphy) Out of a daughter of Art Major, who won 12 races from 36 starts. This is her first foal.   Tough Tilly (2yo filly by Captaintreacherous out of Beninjurd, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Kate Gath) Out of Art Major mare Beninjurd, this girl’s a half-sister to star juvenile Centenario and Somedan.   Act Now (2yo colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of Mollys Ideal, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by John Caldow) First foal to the races from a daughter of American Ideal.   Sumomentsomewhere (2yo gelding by Somebeachsomewhere out of Special Moments, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars) First foal from three-time winning daughter of Bettors Delight.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Victorian Harness Racing Club (VHRC) are pleased to announce a significant new media partnership. HRV’s live digital streaming service Trots Vision will broadcast The Parade Ring sponsored by the VHRC – Victorian harness racing’s preeminent club for trots owners – at every Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday night meeting. The VHRC also joins the RSN family through this HRV partnership with the long-time weekly trots show Gait Speed now sponsored by the VHRC. “The VHRC is firmly committed to working alongside HRV to add value to our industry and promote the great game wherever possible,” VHRC’s Rob Auber said. “Trots Vision is a wonderful media platform which provides great value for owners and participants who cannot be at the track and now they are able to see their horse in The Parade Ring brought to you by VHRC. “We are also thrilled to align our VHRC brand to RSN’s Gait Speed program, which can be heard every Monday on RSN Central with Gareth Hall. Dan Mielicki and I are regulars on that show and we’re looking forward to continuing to bring great stories to life for the benefit of the listeners and the industry. “We are honoured to partner with HRV and this will be the first of many exciting VHRC projects. We hope all owners and industry lovers will support our club with its membership initiatives for 2020-21 and we’re confident the harness industry will only grow if we are prepared to all support each other and pull in the one direction.” HRV General Manager of Marketing Andrew English welcomed the new partnership and spoke highly of the role VHRC has played over many years. “The VHRC has been an integral part of the Victorian trots industry for a long time and HRV is excited to extend this partnership to encompass two of our key media brands in The Parade Ring on Trots Vision and Gait Speed on RSN,” English said. “I congratulate the VHRC team, and Rob Auber in particular, not only for the exemplary work he does as one of our hosts on Trots Vision, but also for the way in which he is working so effectively in his role with the VHRC and for the greater good of our industry as a whole. “HRV is thrilled to be working so closely with the VHRC to develop our mutual vision, which will only strengthen the entire harness racing industry for many years to come.”   HRV - Cody Winnell

Long-time harness racing aficionado Ken Whelan was back in the winners’ stall yesterday at Ballarat trots. The astute horseman produced four-year-old trotter Charlie Walker to win the TAB, Long May We Play Trot. Driven by John Caldow, Charlie Walker (pictured) settled three back on the fence from the pole as a 50-1 shot in Well Deserved set the pace. Turning for home Caldow was angling for runs, and when Well Deserved galloped he was able to steer around that horse and manoeuvre into the gap for a narrow triumph. The victory was win No.1 for Charlie Walker at his 12th start, but there’s no doubting his ability, showing several glimpses of a breakthrough before yesterday. “When I broke him in, I thought he’d be really smart because he could skip over the ground pretty good without asking him to run and he’s never been a silly horse,” Whelan said. “He is a bit hesitant to do something new on the racetrack and he shies a bit, but I think he’ll make a nice racehorse.” And Whelan would know. The horsemanship history among his family goes back generations. His father’s parents and grandparents had the “cabs and coaches” business at Maryborough dating back to the goldrush days. “They would tell me that they often would carry 50 or 60 miners pulled by eight horses in hand and my father drove the cabs from the station as a boy and the hearse to the cemetery,” Whelan said. Whelan’s father, Bill Whelan, “WJ”, trained horses successfully over many years, picking up club premierships at tracks like Maryborough, St Arnaud, Charlton and Ouyen and having periods of dominance at the Showgrounds during the 1960s. “We had nice horses back then. I think we had about five horses go to free-for-all company. We had Doxa Joe too, who was the fastest Australian bred horse ever to go America at the time, named after the Doxa Youth Centre at Malmsbury and its founder Father Joe Giacobbe,” Whelan said. “Geoff McDonald was very friendly with him and he bred Doxa Joe and Robin Guy. We had them both. Doxa Joe was sold to American and went 1:53.0.” Ken and his father had an enormous setback in 1985 after the central Victorian bushfire, which started in Avoca, burnt out their property. “I shifted to Smeaton, which is now Lawrence, and started up,” Ken said. Some of his best winners along the way since have been Gerry Leigh, Kenfig Boy and Puhinui Jim “They were handy horses. Puhinui Jim was first class but he had a bad accident one night at Moonee Valley and only ever won one race after that. He won 18 or 19 races from about 24 starts and broke two minutes most times he went around,” he said. In September of 1995 Whelan broke his back in a race fall when at the peak of his powers, having won multiple club premierships in the weeks leading up to that accident. “I crushed vertebrae and was in lot of trouble for a long time. I still wear a brace. A horse fell on top of me upside down on the cart,” he said. Whelan also explained that long-time harness figure Len Baker and his father raced numerous horses with the family over the years. Asked about his best memories, Whelan said a win of Roman Chapel one night at Globe Derby was “pretty special” driving for Trevor Spry. But those wins such as Charlie Walker are the most satisfying. “When you break one in, get him going and then train him, it doesn’t matter what race it is, that is the greatest pleasure you get,” Whelan said. One of Charlie Walker’s owners, Geoff Walker, has a grandfather whose second name is Charlie, Ken explained, adding “he was going to call him something ridiculous and my wife, Merna, said, ‘Why don’t you just call him Charlie Walker?’ So that’s how he got his name.” Other winners at Ballarat were Indigo Dancer (A Rocknroll Dance-Tauto Jane) for Ricky Ryan and Caldow, Ofortuna (Majestic Son-Fortunate Phoenix) for Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan, Better Boppa (Betterthancheddar-C C Bopper) for Emmett and Richard Brosnan, Jobells Image (Always A Virgin-Arts Image) for Emma Stewart and Greg Sugars, Abouttime (Art Major-Limerick Star) for Stewart and Sugars, Im A Denny Too (Art Major-Pricillas Girl) for Dennis Grieve and Sugars, and Pradason (Shadow Play-Stylish Jasper) for trainer-driver Allan McDonough. At Shepparton last night the winners were Santa Casa Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Lombo Sleek Street) for Russell Jack and David Moran, Hateitwhenyourrite (Lucky Chucky-Adhesive) for David Abrahams and Brent Thomson, Well Well (Well Said-Johnola Babe) for Rosemarie and Paul Weidenbach, Hanover Sunshine (All Speed Hanover-Beverley Button) for Mark Buckingham, Sofala (Safari-Sass And Bling) for Donna Castles, Blingittothemax (Art Major-Alldatglittersisgold) for David and Josh Aiken, Alta Mach (Mach Three-Alta Vista) for Shayne Eeles, and Golden Sand (Somebeachsomewhere-Fususi) for trainer-driver Laura Crossland. First-Starter Form A quick guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1 Keilah (3yo filly by Art Major out of Shakeilah, trained by Luke Stapleton and driven by Alex Ashwood) Out of a Bendigo debutant winning daughter of In The Pocket, who has already produced 13-time winner Thatswhatisaid (by Well Said) and I Will Rock You (by Rock N Roll Heaven). They went 1:51.4 and 1:52.5 respectively. The mare has a 100% strike rate for her foals to the races, so that suggests there’s a win in this girl at some stage. Roxy Royale (3yo filly by Pet Rock out of Baroda Bess, trained and driven by Ross Graham) This filly is out of an unraced Armbro Operative mare, who has so far produced Animated (1:53.6, 21 wins from 103 starts and still racing well) and Sports Bounty (eight wins, 1:55.5).   Race 2 Tellmesumthingirl (3yo filly by Julius Caesar out of Parisian Operative, trained and driven by Dylan Marshall) This filly is from a one-time winning daughter of Armbro Operative who has not yet produced a foal to the races.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Balmoral trainer Janet Exell is happily carrying on a family dynasty started by her grandfather, Arthur, and carried on by her father, Ken.  Ken trained in the Wimmera town of Goroke for years, as did Arthur, but when he passed away three years ago Janet took out her trainer's licence and continued the family's green silk colours.  Last night five-year-old trotting gelding Show Me The Moolah, trained by Janet, won the Southwest Conveyancing Trotters Handicap over 2180m with Jason Ainsworth in the sulky.   Janet, who also has show horses that she takes around the country for competition, now has five in work and has won eight races since taking up her trots licence in 2016-17. “My dad passed away three years ago and that’s when I decided I’d take out my trainer’s licence,” Janet said. “I’d always worked horses with him ever since I was big enough to be able to hold the reins. I got my licence because I wanted to keep his colours going because he got those when he was 16 in 1949.” Show Me The Moolah has now won three races for Janet this year, and that number could be higher as the son of Allawart Ray – a Wimmera trotter who actually contested an Inter Dominion at Harold Park and ran third behind Pride of Petite in a heat of the 1998 Australasian Trotting Championship – has made mistakes at his two runs between those wins. Janet said Show Me The Moolah was “a difficult animal”. “He’s really anxious. He pulls hard. Even at home I try and keep him relaxed but he just wants to go flat out the whole time. I have broken in many, many, many harness horses in my time and he is the slowest and dumbest learner I’ve ever had,” she said. “I’ve persisted because I always knew he had talent, but he’s tested my patience to the nth degree. I used to spend all my times at the trials getting off a bar. He’d break, break, break, break. “But I’ve tried to do things differently at home to settle him down. And Jason (Ainsworth) is a lovely fella and he’s been listening. He’s a great guy. “Ray Holbertson has also been a huge help. Since my father passed away Ray has helped me so much.” But the penny appears to be dropping with Show Me The Moolah. “I used to get frustrated and upset. I knew he was fast and could do good things. He hasn’t actually been put under any real pressure yet,” Janet said. Janet’s other trotter, Keepthedream, which ran third to Show Me The Moolah last night, will be retired to a breeding career at the end of the season. “She’s been so reliable, the ‘beautiful redhead’,” she said. “She’s off to stud at the end of the season and will go to Great Success.” Kolovos scored success first-up for Aaron Dunn, the latest of Stevie Blacker’s stable acquisitions – a Bettors Delight gelding out of New Zealand, in the Warrnambool Hydraulics Pace. Kolovos rated 2:01.7 to defeat Sporty Culture as a short-priced favourite. Peter and Kerryn Manning combined to win the Cervus Equipment Terang 2YO Pace with Alta Christiano filly Jaziah, which rated 1:56.7 to upstage Keayang Kamikaze by 2.4m. Dunn and Blacker doubled up in the Mt Noorat Freighters 3YO Pace with three-year-old Art Major colt Silent Major upstaging Kowalski Analysis in 1:59.6. Impressive Shadow Play colt Troubadour continued his rise with victory in the Morsbearings Pace for trainer Jeff McLean. Driven by son Tim, Troubadour showed enormous depth to lift off the canvas from the home turn for a 1.9m win in the breeze over Jilliby Galwaygirl in 2:00.1. Trotter Travel Bug took out the Terang Co-Op Rural Store Handicap over 2180m from the stand for Jason McNaulty and James Herbertson. The four-year-old Dream Vacation gelding defeated champion Sparkling Success by 4.7m, the latter starting from a 40-metre handicap, with the winner off 20m. Driver Sofia Arvidsson produced a peach of a steer aboard Crime Writer to take out the Phonse Hickey Memorial Plate for trainer Matthew Craven. Initially leading, Crime Writer took cover when Jackie Barker made a dashing move aboard Im Sir Blake with a lap to go. Crime Writer sprinted sharply up the lane late to score a 3m win over Stroke Of Luck in 1:58.4. Jilliby Sylvester took out the last race, the Goodtime Lodge Pace, for Marg Lee and Jason Lee by a short half-head in 1:56.1 over Rollova. Trainer Brent Lilley was the dominant force at Kilmore last night, training four winners. Lilley produced Here Comes Kyvalley to claim the MC Labour 2YO Trotters Handicap, Robbie Royale to win the Kilmore Trackside Trot, Kyvalley Clichy to capture the North Central Review Trot, and talented fast-class pacer Sicario for success in the Momentum Gaming Pace. Three of the four winners were driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, with Brad Chisholm aboard Kyvalley Clichy. Charlie Farrugia and Darren Zahra combined to win the Beraldo Coffee Pace by a head to open the program, the eight-year-old son of Safari narrowly defeating Lola Montez. Express Beauty won the Bendigo Club 3YO Pace for in-form trainer-driver David Miles, the daughter of Art Major well too good for her rivals in 1:58.1. Red White An Bloom won the Jet Roofing 3YO Trot for trainer-driver Chris Lang by a neck over Van Sank, while Nota Replica for Lisa Miles was victorious in the C & M Build Group Pace.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s debutants Ballarat Today Race 2 Beautiful Woman (3yo filly by Art Major out of Kabbalah Karen B, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Greg Sugars) Beautifully bred daughter of nine-time winning Western Terror mare, who has produced Our Little General (78 starts, 25 wins, 1:49.8, $685k) and Kasbah Kid (53 starts, 14 wins, 1:54.3, $155k). Beautiful Woman is a full-sister to Kasbah Kid.   Shepparton Tonight Race 3 Payup Orleave (4yo gelding by Live Or Die out of Orta Be Ruthless, trained by Shane Pangrazio and driven by Josh Aiken) Out of a 19-time winning mare from 54 starts, this debutant is a half-sister to Weeks End (51 starts, 14 wins, 1:56.8, $84k), Ruthless Armbro (15 wins from 84 starts, 1:53.2, $87k) and Ortabe Good who won three races. Macwrecker (5yo gelding by Grinfromeartoear out of Illawong Katrina, trained by Fiona Widdup and driven by David Moran) Out of a maiden mare, who was a daughter of Presidential Ball. The dam has produced one to the races, Illawong Knight, who won two races.   HRV - Cody Winnell

For the first time ever Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria will host Saturday morning trots and dogs meetings from May 9. Victorian harness and greyhound meetings will feature on Saturday mornings for an initial three-week period from May 9-23. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO Dayle Brown and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) CEO Alan Clayton issued a joint statement to announce the news this morning. “Saturday morning racing presents an important strategic opportunity for our racing codes. The additional race meetings will provide extra earning potential for our hard-working participants and enable our products to reach new audiences during a period when people are hungry for sporting entertainment. We thank our Victorian Racing Industry (VRI) partners and Tabcorp for backing this initiative and welcome the initial three-week arrangement. Each of these meetings will be thoroughly reviewed from a wagering, broadcast and brand perspective. This will help guide our future strategy regarding Saturday morning racing. We are also pleased to be working so collaboratively on this project.” Tabcorp Park Melton will host the three Saturday morning trots meetings, while the greyhound meetings will be held Ballarat, May 9 and May 16, and Shepparton, May 23.   HRV - Cody Winnell

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