Smythes Creek (Ballarat) trainer Emma Stewart and freelance Bacchus Marsh reinsman Gavin Lang each recorded doubles at Saturday's Cranbourne fixture, Stewart with two six year olds - Mister Sheedy in the Tintin In America Pace for C6 or better class over 2080 metres and Tara Toplady the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza for C4 & C5 class (mares) over 1609 metres, while Lang was successful aboard Gatesys Girl in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres and Flaxton Filly in the Bayside Group Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Mister Sheedy a gelded son of Presidential Ball and Intoxicating driven by Michael Stanley, was surprisingly able to head off the favourite Astronaut shortly after the start from gate five and after an easy time, proved too strong for Astronaut along the sprint lane in a rate of 1-59.4 (last half 56.9 - quarter 28.3), with the Cranbourne specialist Stylish Jasper close up in third place after following the pair. Bettors Delight/Perfect Passion mare Tara Toplady taking a concession for reinswoman Jaimie-Lee King, was a big winner of her race after being trapped three wide from gate four and eventually working to the lead at the bell. Joined by Arber for the final circuit, the pair raced away approaching the home turn with the race to themselves, with Tara Toplady giving plenty to hold a margin of a neck on the wire. Jasmine Sheffield (one/one) was 8.2 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.9. Smart 5-Y-0 Conch Deville/Glamor Loch mare Gatesys Girl is good when she's on her game and was at Cranbourne with a tough victory in a mile rate of 2-07.4. Trained in Gippsland at Longwarry by Michael Hughes, Gatesys Girl stepped cleanly from a 10 metre handicap, with Lang having no hesitation is sending her forward to park outside the pole line leader Mallee Trapper. Appearing to be under pressure on the final bend with the leader holding a clear margin, Gatesys Girl rallied under desperate driving to score by a head right on the wire in a rate of 2-07.4. The 40 metre backmarker Earl Or Nothing ran on late from last to finish third. Eight year old Village Jasper/Turn To Gold mare Flaxton Filly which had recorded 6 wins from 86 outings prior to the race, was given a cosy trip three back on the marker line from inside the second row, with the heavily supported Obama leading from gate four with Monique Burnett in the sulky for trainer Maree Caldow. Extricated into the clear on straightening, Flaxton Filly came with a brilliant burst of speed to register a runaway victory in advance of Obama which offered no resistance, with Zoomba third after racing in the open. The mile rate 1-59.8. Lara trainer Dean Braun made it three from three with recent stable addition Sals Mo in the Ade Turf Equipment Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres. Beginning with a wing on every foot for Nathan Jack from gate five, Sals Mo was untroubled to lead throughout, winning by 9.6 metres in a rate of 1-58 from Conflict Of Interest (one/two) and Courageous Spirit which trailed the winner. A five year old Art Major/Dream Chaser gelding, Sals Mo is the 6th winner from the dam, the most noticeable being 18 race winner Detriot Dan (By Oil Burner). Len Baker
Kevin Ford and Will Atone won’t necessarily have their backs against the wall come the last race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night having been marked the $3.20 second favourite. But their journey to Victorian trotting HQ is a tale that surely has underdog written all over it. The squaregaiting son of Conch Deville has only had four starts in his entire life. Rewind five months and he was only just making his debut as a seven-year-old. It’s rare to see a horse emerge after so many years of failing to make it to the track, but a handful of encouraging trials back in 2010 meant his trainer couldn’t yet give up on him. “He’s broken a few pedal bones, which is what has held him back,” Ford said. “He did it just after he qualified at Maryborough so he was out for 12 months and when we brought him back in he did the same pedal bone in a different spot so he was out for another 12 months.” The luck of breaking the same bone in a different place may have seemed almost uncanny but then Ford had to face another challenge. After finding out the horse had sustained a non-healing fracture he was forced to have a screw inserted in his leg which subsequently was infected and all but spelled the end of his career before it had ever began. “He was pretty much going to be finished then but Ian said ‘we’ll take the screw out and see what happens’ and I started working him two or three months after that,” Ford said. “We’ve sort of rolled from of disaster to another but he worked up nice when I had Allrumour at the same stage and he always worked a bit better than her and she won a few races before she broke down.” With the issues averted, they finally made it to the racetrack and albeit fleetingly, Will Atone has started to put together the potential he has always shown. After being narrowly run down on debut, he galloped at his next start but managed to pick himself up for fourth. A strong second two starts ago was followed by a break-out win at Ballarat just over a week ago. And now the task doesn’t get any easier at Melton on Friday. Drawn the second line, it will be a new test for Ford and the eight-year-old “He’s still pretty green and learning. I don’t trial him very much so if he holds together he should improve with the racing,” he said. “We haven’t drawn the second row before but I think he’ll end up being a tougher horse, he just doesn’t have that hardness into him yet.” by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria
Former Ballarat Trotting Club Secretary/Manager Colin Holloway returned to the scene of his greatest triumphs when 4-Y-0 Live Or Die /Inclination gelding Excuse To Live greeted the judge in the Seniors Starquest 10/10 Pace for C0 class over 1710 metres at Bray Raceway on Tuesday September 17, returning a slick mile rate of 1-57 Raced by Colin, wife Heather and son Brett, Excuse To Live trained by Colin and driven by Brett, settled three back in the moving line from gate two, before being pushed back a spot when Daryl Douglas urged Desiring Kate forward three wide at the bell after being trapped wide from the outset after starting from outside the front line. Latching to the back of Crazy Dave ahead of him three wide in the final circuit, Excuse To Live received a lovely trail home and when taken wide in the straight, finished strongly to defeat Crazy Dave by 3.6 metres, with the roughie Chesney (death-one/one at bell) third. Excuse To Live was bred by former HRV Board member Peter Bourke. It was welcome back to the winners stall for Campbells Creek trainer/driver Kevin Ford when lightly raced 8-Y-0 Conch Deville /Wringing Wet gelding Will Atone scored in the Diamond Rewards Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2200 metres. Raced by Kevin and mother Kath who was victorious in winning both the 1988 and 1992 Australasian Trotters Championships aboard Fair Tally and Penny Brown, Will Atone making only his fourth appearance at the races led throughout from gate three, scoring by 1.9 metres in advance of Ballan Road which trailed and Ifu Seek The Luck which moved outside the winner approaching the home turn after a one/one trip. The mile rate 2-04.7. Rocknroll Hanover /Aston Villa colt Yankee Rockstar raced by a large syndicate under the banner of Peter Tonkin Racing Syndicate No 3 and Lauriston Bloodstock Pty Ltd, had an effortless victory in the Flying Horse Bistro 3-Y-0 Pace over 1710 metres. Touted by many as a star of the future, Yankee Rockstar trained at Smythes Creek by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin was second up since February and with Michael Stanley in the sulky, led throughout from gate six, coasting to the wire 9.9 metres ahead of Ideal Majority which trailed sticking to his guns well, with Eliseos Falcon third 8.4 metres away after racing in the open. The mile rate 1-56.2. Five year old Armbro Operative /Sexy Lexy Whitby entire Black Caprice chalked up his eighth success in 35 outings, when victorious in the Laser Electrical Pace for C2 class over 1710 metres in a rate of 1-56.2. Trained at Bacchus Marsh by Alan Tubbs and driven by daughter Amy, Black Caprice from gate two was able to cross the red-hot favourite Goodtime Veejay inside him at the start who immediately moved away from the markers to race outside him. With Amy making the favourite chase hard a long way from home, Black Caprice held a handy margin on the final bend, maintaining a 6.3 metre buffer on reaching the wire. Future Operator (one/one) finished third. Len Baker
The mandatory two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday May 29, with Charlton in Central Victoria racing during the afternoon and Geelong holding the night time fixture.
Two harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday May 9 - Wedderburn holding the day fixture at Maryborough and Ballarat racing at night.
The second night of the Mildura Cup Carnival on Thursday April 11 was highlighted by two trotting races which are only held once a year in Sunraysia.
With temperatures around 37 degrees, those in attendance at Charlton certainly braved the extreme heat to witness some exciting harness racing.
The ever popular Cobram harness racing meeting situated on the Victorian/NSW border, raced on Wednesday January 16, with most races going to the nearby Shepparton area.
Heats of the harness racing two year old classic "The Lombo" were held at Shepparton on Tuesday January 8, two for each sex over 1690 metres.
Hopetoun Park (Bacchus Marsh) trainer Ross Sugars has 9-Y-0 Artsplace/Nyanjee gelding Veranjee airborne at present, chalking up three wins in succession including the second of two feature harness racing country cups, by taking out the $30,000 (Group 3) Stawell Florist Lillies & Lattes Restaurant Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2590 metres at Stawell on Sunday November 2.
Melton based reinsman John Caldow was responsible for the "drive of the night" aboard Red River Hanover/Radiant Rhythm gelding Radiant River in the Brett Collins Refrigeration 3-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres at the Wangaratta Harness Racing Club fixture held at Shepparton on Tuesday August 14.
Popular Elmore harness racing trainer Frank Barac knocked quaddie punters for a six after winning the final leg - the Jack Hunter Memorial Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2160 metres at Frank Ryan Raceway Echuca on Tuesday May 15 with $26.10 chance Madam Altissimo who turned in a best ever performance.
Further heats of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series were held at Bray Raceway Ballarat on Saturday May 5, this time for harness racing Four Year Old Trotters and Four Year Old Entires & Geldings of the pacing variety, all over 2200 metres.
One of Australasia's oldest trotting records went by the wayside during the Aldebaran Park Girls On Fire, a new time trial harness racing series held at Lord's Raceway, Bendigo last Sunday night (February 19).
The Kilmore HRC conducted a restricted harness racing meeting on Wednesday January 25 which was well patronised.
A great day's racing was held by the progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club on Sunday, featuring the $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better Class over 2700 metres taken out by Maryborough & Yarra Valley Cup winner Glenferrie Alexis.