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Popular couple Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan enjoyed an influx of winners across two meetings yesterday. The duo registered a double at Yarra Valley during the afternoon before backing up with a treble Geelong in the evening. Demmler finished with a training treble and a driving success, while Quinlan chalked up a training winner and three driving victories. Glenferrie Blade and Blacknbrown led the way at Yarra Valley, with the former prepared by Demmler and partnered by Quinlan to score in 1:58.4 over 1650 metres. Demmler then trained and drove Blacknbrown to upset the favourite, Queen Of Pop in 1:58.3 for the 1650-metre trip. Heading to Geelong, Quinlan drove Desert Flyer for local trainer, Danny Norris, with the trotter scoring in 2:03.8 over 2100 metres. Quinlan captured consecutive races when she trained and drove Sir Macs Man to cover the mile in 1:59.1. Demmler and Quinlan then joined forces to emerge triumphant with Glenferrie Arch, which led throughout to account for Masterofthurles and Awesome Mattjesty in 1:58.2. HRV Media

Things just didn’t work out for Glen Craven, Keayang Steamer and the punters who took the short odds about the Terang trained star at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. (August 8th)  Keayang Steamer was a heavily tried favourite, starting $1.50, in the Swift Signs Pace at Tabcorp Park Melton but could only muster a fifth-place finish from his inside back-row draw. Pre-race Craven declared he would be looking to get off the pegs at all costs. “I’m not interested in getting locked up on the fence,” he said. But that's precisely what eventuated. The pacer who beat Smoken Up home to claim the Horsham Cup last campaign was wedged three back along the pegs at the bell. Early on Exciteusinthecity found the lead for junior driver Tim McLean from gate three, easily crossing Hall Of Famer and La Machane. Composed got going early to work around to the breeze from his second-line draw, but Keayang Steamer was not able to get one-off and had to punch through to trail Hall Of Famer. Exciteusinthecity, trained by Darren Cole, was able to get away with 31.6secs and 30.3secs first and second quarters of the last mile, setting the five-year-old gelding up to sprint home in 56.1secs and record his second win in three starts. Hall Of Famer capitalised on a beaut trip behind the leader by running second, albeit beaten 5.6 metres by the winner, while Composed battled on gamely for third. Keayang Steamer (fifth) came in behind fast-finishing Kotare Rowland (fourth) and will need to improve significantly second-up to topple his highly regarded stablemate, Keayang Cullen, in the Breeders Crown Graduate Cup on August 24 should they both head in that direction. Meanwhile, Alison Chisholm enjoyed a red-letter evening with a winning double. The Melton trainer/driver drove Three Pints to victory in the GBL Property Consultants Vicbred Pace (Race 3) before scoring aboard stable star Asoka in the Del-Re National Food Group Pace (Race 5). New Zealand champion Our Sky Major proved far too strong for his maiden-metropolitan rivals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Pace. The Barry Purdon trained three-year-old son of Art Major is here for the Breeders Crown but enjoyed an easy hit-out at Melton, scoring by 3.7 metres over Wolfpack, with Philtra Phella third. Driver Craig Demmler took Our Sky Major back at the start and he was the best part of 40 metres off the lead at one point over the 1720-metre sprint trip. Down the back the last time Our Sky Major made his move, reinsman Craid Demmler easing the two-time Harness Jewels champion three-wide. Sprinting up with a 28.1secs third quarter, Our Sky Major quickly put the leaders away and shot clear early in the straight to record a 3.7-metre triumph in a mile rate of 2:02.5. Another Kiwi pacer to put her best foot forward was Mark Purdon trained two-year-old Big Lucy, who won the VHRSC 2YO Pace over 1720 metres. Chris Alford, who took driving honours for the night with a winning treble, was content to sit outside early leader Yankee Showgirl before taking Big Lucy 1.2 metres clear over Wegottarocketmachine at the finish, with Yankee Showgirl boxing on for third in a rate of 1:55.7. Alford’s other two winners were aboard ultra-consistent trotter Blitzthemcalder in the Renown Silverware Trot for trainer Craig Demmler, and long odds-on favourite Upanatom in the Mediatec Pace Final for trainer Amanda Grieve. Blitzthemcalder worked his way to the lead mid-race in the trot before outshining Sunset Invasion in the run to the line to score a two-metre win in a rate of 2:00.2. Blitzthemcalder is arguably racing in career-best form. Upanatom did plenty of work to find the lead early in his race, but the son of Christian Cullen still proved panels ahead of his rivals – getting home by 4.1 metres over runner-up Pas Mate, who hit the line hard, and third placegetter Eyes On The Sky. Other winners at Melton were Rostevarren, for trainer Ross Graham and driver Daryl Douglas, in the Geoff and Lorraine Barnes Trot over 1720 metres, Road To Rock, for trainer Keith Cotchin and driver Greg Sugars, in the University Food Group Pacers Handicap over 2240m, and Michael Stanley trained-and-driven Young Modern in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 2240 metres.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

The two premier pacers on tonight’s Tabcorp Park Melton program have both landed the despised gate eight draw, but the philosophies of their drivers could not be more different. In race four, highly touted Kiwi three-year-old Our Sky Major will continue his Breeders Crown campaign in what is a fairly moderate metropolitan maiden. Craig Demmler, who will take the reins behind the dual Harness Jewels winner for master trainer Barry Purdon, said his hand might be forced by the inside back-line draw. “At the end of the day you can’t do too much about the draw. You don’t want to be three back on the markers, but that may happen,” Demmler said. “Barry’s pretty happy with how he’s going. He’s a class above this field. No other horse in the race can run home in 54(sec). “The draw does make it very interesting though.” In stark contrast, Glen Craven, who will steer Keayang Steamer at his first run back from a break in the Swift Signs Pace, race seven, said gate eight would provide few obstacles for his rising star. “I’m not interested in getting locked up on the fence,” the gun young reinsman said. “A lot will depend on the tempo of the race, but I won’t be scared to sit back and come with a run if that’s how it pans out.” If everything goes to plan, Keayang Steamer will have a date with his superstar stablemate, Keayang Cullen, in the Breeders Crown Graduate Free-For-All at Melton on August 22. Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 08 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 08 August 2014 Harness Racing Victoria Media  

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

Blake Fitzpatrick is confident his trotter Vincennes can measure up on Saturday night at Cranbourne in the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO entires’ and geldings’ series. “We’ve always had a pretty good opinion of him,” Fitzpatrick said. “He ran a really good race last time (second beaten 1.1m by Blitzthemcalder). He’s done a great job for us up here in Sydney.” Vincennes had won six of his previous seven starts before the last-start second and Fitzpatrick says the son of Ganymede and Showmethemaori had trained on strongly. “He was first-up at Melton so he’s worked better since that run.” Vincennes will start from inside the back row behind polemarker Glenferrie Dreamer from the Craig Demmler stable. “It’s a little bit awkward, but if Glenferrie Dreamer doesn’t come out quickly enough we’ll be looking to get off the fence,” Fitzpatrick said. In the second heat of the 4YO trotting mares’ Super Series the long odds-on favourite will be pole runner Maori Time from the powerful Chris Lang yard. “It looks a winnable race,” Lang said. “Obviously the main fillies Spidergirl and Paris Pepperell aren’t there.” Lang said Maori Time, Paris Pepperell and other mares in the 4YO division were a few rungs below Spidergirl. “I don’t think there’s another mare in the country on a par with Spidergirl at this point,” he said. “She’s got to be considered one of the best trotters in Australia.” Maori Time ran third to Spidergirl last time out, while Paris Pepperell finished second in the same race. They spaced the rest of the field by 40m. There will be extra incentive for trainers to win Race 2 at Cranbourne, the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza Pace. The winning trainer of the race will go into an end-of-season draw for a trip for two to one of the world’s premier harness racing events. For more details on the Trainers Bonanza, visit the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club website. The first race at Cranbourne begins at 5.22pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Spidergirl was sublime winning last night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO mares’ trotting heat, putting her adversaries on notice with a track record run. The David Aiken-trained daughter of Yankee Spider sat in the breeze outside Maori Time as they opened the last mile with two 30-second quarters. Down the back it was clear the winner would come from the leading trio, with Maori Time in front, Paris Pepperell camped on its back and Spidergirl in the breeze. The third quarter was posted in 29.2 as Chris Alford on Spidergirl said “go”, putting Maori Time to the sword, while Paris Pepperell could not have asked for a better chance to run down the eventual winner but still had to settle for second. Spidergirl finished off in 29.6, posting a record-breaking mile rate of 1:57.8, bettering the previous 2240m mobile trot mark set in 2011 by Miss Warbucks. Paris Pepperell was 10.5m off the winner, while Maori Time was a further 13.5m behind in third place. The win was one of four successes for Alford last night, the champion reinsman also guiding Koten Blosem Lombo to victory in the Bendigo Bank Pace, and taking out the final two Super Series heats of the night aboard Lennytheshark and Blitzthemcalder. Billed as a match race between Aiken’s brilliant pacer Lennytheshark and Emma Stewart-trained multiple Group 1 winner Guaranteed, the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO entires’ and geldings’ second heat didn’t go 100 per cent to script. Instead of Lenny and Guaranteed fighting out the finish, John Nicholson-trained Ginger Bliss finished second after pinging away from gate seven to lead first-up over the 2240m journey. Ginger Bliss was just 1.9m off Lennytheshark at the finish, while Guaranteed was almost 9m away in third place. Lennytheshark took the lead off Ginger Bliss early, relegating Guaranteed and Gavin Lang three back along the pegs. Alford dictated terms up front before upping the ante approaching the home bend to record a last half-mile of 56.5 after a fourth quarter of 26.3. The winner’s mile rate was 1:58.4. Sapphire Swayze ran fourth, while Boyz Torque was a further 10m behind him in fifth position. The 4YO trotting entires’ and geldings’ heat was taken out by highly talented Blitzthemcalder from the Craig Demmler stable. Blitzthemcalder hustled through along the inside from its gate two draw early and held off fast-finishing New South Wales trotter Vincennes in the home straight for a 1.1m win. Basil Knight was 13.3m off the winner in third place, while Steal A Sixpence made up many lengths late to run fourth. The winner’s mile rate was 2:00.6. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

If there was just one horse that represents everything the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star stands for, then it’s got to be local contender Blitzthemcalder. He is young and brazen, bold and elegant, and he has the high speed required to trot at a rapid pace over the 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. But for all the bravado he has lacked a polish throughout his career. Like a juvenile delinquent he has gone off the rails on occasion. Now under the care of Craig Demmler, his time to stand up has arrived this Saturday night in the Great Southern Star. Drawn a perfect barrier in two, his lack of early gate speed won’t crush his chances as they might have if he drew in barrier one – or even out wide. Coming off an unusual preparation, he will be having just his second run since early February in the $50,000 first elimination heat. “He had a break after running second to Aleppo Midas and he did that well that we thought we better bring him in but he is forward enough on to run well, he had a trial on Saturday and went well,” Demmler said. “You’d like to have a little more time to prepare him in an ideal world but he is close enough to the mark. “He is a four-year-old who has been too good for his own age group and it can take a season to get used to racing these horses so I think whatever he does this time in he should take another step next year.” His advantage as a younger horse was evident as he swept all before him, claiming Group 1’s with ridiculous ease in record times. But as that advantage has been whittled down, Demmler will now rely on a more rounded squaregaiter as they take the step towards the Grand Circuit of trotting. “He came out with the pacers in a trial recently  and we’ve just been working on his gate speed and his manners but he is never going to be blistering out,” he said. “Chris has the option but I think Aleppo Midas we’ll lead and we will be out in the open. I think he is capable of doing it though.” As to the question of whether or not he can back up and compete twice in one night, it’s something that his new trainer doesn’t even have to think about. Noted for his ability to cruise at a high speed, Demmler is quickly learning that he is a pretty cool customer in all departments. “If he does make the final he is going to be a horse that suits backing up. I just couldn’t believe after his last run he came in and his heart was 74 and he wouldn’t even blow a candle out,” he said. “The only thing against him is that when they are running steady times the whole way if you have a horse like Stent sitting off you then they can beat you with high speed. “In saying that if we can take a bit of gas out of them then that might be the best way we can beat them.” Blitzthemcalder is a $3.80 chance to win his heat with TAB fixed odds while his all-in price for the final has remained steady since opening at $8. By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Three major players have been named in the Australian team for the Glenferrie Farm Trotters Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 2. Headlining the list is in-form trotter My High Expectations. The North American-bred rig has won his last five starts which includes the Australasian Trotting Championship, The George Gath and the Maori Mile. Joining him is fellow Victorian Blitzthemcalder, who has recently changed stables and is now in the hands of Craig Demmler. Blitzthemcalder has won four of his six starts this season, including the Horsham Cup, and finished second-placed on the other two occasions. The third trotter named for the Australian team is the NSW-trained Keystone Del. Conditioned by former Kiwi Nicole Moldander, Keystone Del will be out to defend his title after winning last year’s $200,000 feature in 1:56.3. Keystone Del bounced back this season winning four of his eight starts which also included his eye-catching third in the V L Dullard Cup to Habibti. Another two horses are yet to be named for the Australian team along with one reserve. Team New Zealand: The Irish Whisper Master Lavros Stent Vulcan The Fiery Ginga For further information telephone NSWHRC racing manager David Wonson on 0438 398 251.  

Parwan trainer Craig Demmler will be relying on a dual Glenferrie attack on Friday night’s Tontine Finals at Bray Raceway. It’s shaping up as a massive few months for the experienced horseman, having just secured one of Australasia’s brightest – and most enigmatic – young trotters in Blitzthemcalder. But the focus will immediately land on Ballarat and with the Tontine Series’ often a pointer to future stars of the sport, Demmler will send the exciting Glenferrie EJ to the pacing version of the finals with five wins from her last six. “She did all the work the other day and hit the front and she probably just knocked off a little bit late and the other horse just came out wide and nabbed us right on the post,” Demmler said. “They’ll know she’s there on Friday night and I’m sure she will only get better too. That defeat may have been her first in almost 12 months, but for much of that she was laid up in the paddock. Having always shown ability, Demmler admits that she was actually on the verge of going straight to the top as a juvenile.  “There wasn’t much between her and (Breeders Crown winner) Glenferrie Shuffle as younger horses but it’s just good to have two horses like that in the stable,” he said. “She’s been through hell and back really, she was off the scene for six months after having a mishap at the trials one day but she’s actually come back really well.” The other Glenferrie to grace the track on Friday will be Typhoon. Forming part of a lethal three-year-old crop of trotters last season, which included new stablemate Blitzthemcalder, they were unanimously touted as the best group of the modern era. Having returned in style with a brave second first-up, the signs are positive for the progeny of exciting stallion Majestic Son. It doesn’t get any easier this week though, with Demmler having to take on the very same horse who defeated him in the heat, Unico Crown. “He went super first-up, I’ve always liked him but last year was his first year of racing. He went out for a spell and he’s come back a bit stronger which I was hoping he would,” he said. “He did a good job to sit outside Dean’s horse but I think on Friday night he will have a bit of a task again because that horse is drawn inside us again but I’m sure we’ll take benefit from the first run.” It’s often noted that leaping from age-restricted racing to the open class isn’t the easiest transition. With that in the back of his mind, Demmler isn’t setting overly lofty ambitions however he believes that ‘Typhoon’ has all the attributes needed to take the step up. “He’s pretty right, he’s good from a stand and he’s got good manners so that sort of helps him,” he said. “It was a race I targeted a long time ago thinking he was probably good enough; to do what he did in one year, I think he should be able to go through his classes pretty quickly.” The other news to emerge from the stable is that Blitzthemcalder will have his first run for the team next Friday night in a TM0-1 race at Tabcorp Park Melton before heading to Sydney for the Chambers Challenge on Inter Dominion day. By Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)

It was a brilliant Barry Purdon quinella that marked the 100th year since the first ever running of the harness racing Victorian Derby. In a tactically brilliant move Craig Demmler switch Our Sky Major - a noted leader - off the pegs in the opening stages to take the lead off his stablemate - a noted sit sprinter. From there the McCarthy army enforced the pace through the middle stages with Bling It On finding the chair and Lettucrockthem in the one by one. But a lack of mid-race pressure told the story of the race as Our Maxim was produced along the sprint lane to claim the $200,000 classic in gritty fashion. A winner of over $340,000 in prizemoney now, Barry Purdon has never been willing to split his two rising stable stars and the VHRSC Victoria Derby proved just why. Our Sky Major clung on for second in a mile rate of 1:56.0 with the last half coming in 54.2 seconds while Yayas Hot Spot shot along the pegs to claim third to complete an all New Zealand bred trifecta. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

Former New Zealander Unico Crown was again the victor in Heat Two of the prestigious Tontine Series for Trotters T0 or better class over 2590 metres at Stawell on Monday February 3. A winner of the first round heat at Geelong on January 27, Unico Crown was again eligible to compete due to a paucity of numbers accepting for the race and scored in almost identical fashion. Trained at Lara by Dean Braun and driven by Chris Alford, Unico Crown as he did at Geelong began swiftly from the 10-metre mark to lead and was never headed, defeating Craig Demmler’s smart gelding Glenferrie Typhoon which raced outside him for the majority of the trip when first up since August, going down by 3.6 metres in a rate of 2-08.9, with Will Atone (20 metres) 44.1 metres away in third place after making a mistake hitting the back straight on the final occasion. Unico Crown four year old gelded son of Monarchy and Sunny Gem will now head to the $7,000 Semi-Finals to be conducted at Terang this Sunday, with the $30,000 Final to take place at Ballarat on February 14. Last season’s very smart Yankee Spider/Rockolina gelding Miracle resumed in the Grampians Estate 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap  over 2175 metres and as expected was untroubled to score. Trained and driven by Bolinda’s Chris Alford for owner Dolores Murphy, Miracle an almost faultless trotter, led throughout from the pole, winning with something in hand over Bacardi Breeze which trailed, moving to the outside on turning to fail by 1.5 metres in a rate of 2-10.8. No Trumps No Glory (three back along the markers last lap was a further 16.5 metres away in third spot. Miracle hadn’t been seen since finishing fourth in The Redwood at Maryborough on July 14. Mingbool (Mount Gambier) trainer/driver David Drury has a terrific strike rate when he crosses the border and landed the Renown Silverware Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres with four year old Blissful Hall/Art For Art Sake gelding Big Gorilla. Driven with aggression from gate two, Big Gorilla led throughout to record a 4.8 metre victory in 1-59.4 over Evil Trickster which raced outside him, with Jerry Marshall (one/one) dropping down to use the sprint lane on straightening to finish third 1.8 metres away. Heywood co-trainers Kevin Brough and Bec East have their team firing on all fours at present and snared the Brian Gunnell Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace over 1780 metres with ever reliable Total Truth/Mama Tembu gelding Always Wantano in a rate of 2-00.8. Starting from the extreme draw, driver Matt Craven sent Always Wantano forward from near last racing for the bell to park outside the pacemaker My Mach Scooter for the final circuit. Gaining the upper hand on straightening, Always Wantano scored by 3.4 metres in advance of Bungalally Boy which trailed the leader easing wide on turning, with My Mach Scooter weakening to finish third a head away. The Kaye Matthews Tribute a C1 class race over 2175 metres named in honour of the late Kaye Matthews an administrator with the club for a number of years, went the way of Long Forest trainer Andy Gath’s most consistent Mach Three/Fingers Crossed four year old mare Lems Cameo. Driven by wife Kate, Lems Cameo (gate four) made an unsuccessful bid for the front running as the mobile gate pulled away, but couldn’t head off Sorority Sister (gate two). Gaining cover shortly after when Cullen Time moved to race in the open, Lems Cameo enjoyed a perfect passage. Easing three wide in the last lap, Lems Cameo sprinted sharply to lead on the home turn, before racing away to record a 12.8 metre victory from Franco Seelster from last off a three wide trail in the final circuit, with Additallup flying home late for third after being shuffled back from three back the markers when Beau Ciel ahead of him was held up for a clear passage. The mile rate 2-02.7. Childers Cove duo Ange and Clare McDowell made a long awaited return to the winners list, when four year old Blissful Hall/Childers Elite gelding Masterofthurles (unplaced in six starts prior) greeted the judge in the Mussett Upholstery Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Despite racing without cover from gate three for the entire trip, Masterofthurles outstayed his rivals in defeating Glenway Hustler which led and Rose Devine (one/one) in a rate of 2-01. Great Western’s Michelle Wight was victorious with Armbro Operative/If Iseeyouinheaven five year old mare Shanira in the Pyrenees Smallgoods Pace for C1 class over 1780 metres. Given every opportunity one/one from gate five, Shanira when eased three wide at the straight entrance, finished best to score by a half neck over a death-seating Khaleesi and Tipperary Seelster which led in a rate of 2-01. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Two meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday December 5, with Geelong racing in the afternoon and Nyah at Swan Hill in the evening. At Geelong, Terang owner/trainer Darren Cole produced a nice juvenile by the name of Spot Ona Shadow to land the Bartletts Enviromental 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres when all runners were making their race debut. With young Tim McLean in the sulky, Spot Ona Shadow a gelded son of Shadow Play and Charlotte Church began with great zest from gate five to lead throughout in accounting for Stitchintime which raced outside him 13.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.6, with Captain Bronze (oneone) third. Beautifully bred Bettors Delight/Top Tempo four year old mare Musical Delight a former outstanding youngster, had an easy 13 metre victory in the Chas Cole Cellars Pace forC0 class over 2100 metres. Trained at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, Musical Delight unbackable at $1.10, led throughout for reinsman Nathan Jack to score untouched in advance of Shes His Story and Bye Bye Luv Lombo in a rate of 2-02.4. Winning nine from 14 outings, Musical Delight has stake earnings in excess of $234,000. Exciting Hawkesdale (Western District) four year old Blissful Hall/Weona Rena entire Bliss Man brought up four wins in succession when victorious in the Your Business name Here Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2100 metres in a mile rate of 1-59.4. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Bliss Man trained by Graham Gee for wife Christine, had little trouble leading from the pole and was always travelling under a tight grip. Given an inch of rein approaching the home turn, Bliss Man bounded away to record a 13.2 metre margin last half 56.7 - quarter 28.6 ahead of Nimble Jack along the sprint lane from last, with Amazing Kano third after racing in the open. Highly talented four year old Art Major/Maikona mare Glenferrie EJ is starting to show the potential she was touted with and made it two from two this time in when successful in the Zilco Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Trained at Parwan by Craig Demmler for Peter Chambers' Glenferrie Farm Pty Ltd, Glenferrie EJ from gate two was beaten for speed by Antiquities (gate five), with Jodi Quinlan immediately easing around her to take over the front running role. After that, it was a procession as Glenferrie EJ coasted to the wire to score by 4.7 metres untouched from the in-form Bit Of A Babe from mid-field, with Howcomewhynot third. The mile rate 1-58.1. At Swan Hill, Echuca trainer Wayne Lear took the honours by providing a stable double - Seven year old Royal Mattjesty/My Halo Broke gelding Who Broke Our Halo in the Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Sandstorm FJ Pace for C2 class over 1609 metres and four year old Artesian/Glimpse mare Philotes in Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Crystal Pearl Pace for C0 class (mares) over the same journey. Who Broke Our Halo (Rebecca Bartley) settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, before moving forward three wide solo in the last lap. Sustaining the run, Who Broke Our Halo was too strong over the concluding stages for the heavily supported local Cashisking along the sprint lane from three back the markers last lap, with On Fire Within third after facing the breeze before assuming control at the bell. The mile rate 1-56.3. Philotes (Daryl Douglas) spent the first lap in the open from outside the front row, before gaining cover when Madsisteritis came away from behind the leader In Theory heading into the back straight on the final occasion. Taken three wide approaching the home turn, Philotes ran home strongly to gain the day over Maarek (one/one) and Shes A Spy along the sprint lane (three back at bell) in a rate of 1-58. Lightly raced, it was Philotes 4th race appearance. Kerryn Manning snared the Swan Hill Kia Honey Bee Cerato SLI Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres with Metropolitan/Liberty Print five year old gelding Kickittochris in a rate of 1-57.9. Starting from the extreme draw, Kickittochris spent most of the race at the rear of the field, before latching to the back of Run Forrest ahead of him at the bell, with the Shane Cramp trained Queen Mab at the head of affairs. Eased four wide on the final bend, Kickittochris put the race beyond doubt in a few strides as he exploded away to record a 2.6 metre victory over the local hope Life Of Ted which followed him home. Ezee Duzit Lombo finished third after a chequered passage just off the speed. Avenel's Wayne Potter made the trip to Swan Hill with happy results, when heavily backed five year old Armbro Operative/The Milky Way gelding Teo Enteo captured the Swan Hill Toyota Dark Furnace Kluger Pace for C6 or better class over 2240 metres. Driven by Nathan Jack, Teo Enteo first up since July possied one/one from gate two on the second line, with Kerryn Manning's Jaccka Luke leading from gate three. Easing three wide approaching the home turn, Teo Enteo sprinted brilliantly to join Jaccka Luke on turning, with the pair going head and head to the wire, with Teo Enteo prevailing by a neck in 1-58.1. Centonic (one/three - three wide last lap) finished third. Len Baker      

The Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star was hailed as an outstanding success in its inaugural season but the momentum behind the southern hemisphere squaregaiting extravaganza only grew stronger with the announcement of an additional prize money boost in July. With stakes increasing to $400,000 ($50,000 for each elimination heat and $300,000 for the final), the first qualification race of the new season will be run and won this weekend. The winner of the D J Alexander Memorial at Albion Park on Saturday night will be exempt from ballot come Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night, guaranteeing themselves a place in the elimination heats if they choose to nominate. And in-form ex-Victorian trotter Rainbow Jay Jay could well be a likely type to take up the challenge with current trainer Rickie Alchin already expressing a desire to target some of the Victorian feature races towards the end of the calendar year. With the next round of qualifications less than seven days away, Tabcorp Park Melton, the home of the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star, hosted international star Jean-Étienne Dubois last Friday night. Notwithstanding his 40 plus European Group 1 victories, Dubois is most famous for training and driving Cocktail Jet to victory in the two biggest trotting races in the world, the Prix d’Amerique in France and the Elitloppet in Sweden, both in 1996. Cocktail Jet has gone on to be one of the leading stallions in the world and has sired over 20 individual Group 1 winners. Also at Tabcorp Park Melton on the night was French Driver, and Monté rider, Joann Lagarde. Lagarde, who has had success in France, is now working with Craig Demmler at the Glenferrie Farm Stables and is available to take not only rides in Monté races but also drives in races. While on the theme of the internationalisation of trotting, Chris Lang Sr has reported this week that Yield Boko has settled in well at Aldebaran Park and is currently in light work as he builds up to the 2014 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star. The Champion Swedish trotter is currently serving mares in Australia and he has been a hit with local breeders according to Lang. “He’s proving very popular in the breeding barn so we are probably not going to see him on the track before Christmas,” Lang said. “He looks a million dollars and his health and overall attitude is very good. He is the real deal, in my opinion he would be as good a horse that has ever been brought out here, particularly from the northern hemisphere.” However Tim Butt might have something to say about that with recent stable acquisition, and Danish Derby winner, Peak settling into New Zealand along with two other horses from Europe. Butt has already suggested Peak will be set for the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star along with last year’s winner Vulcan. “Peak has settled in great and we are likely to trial him in the next few weeks. He has already shown us a little bit so he will be set for the Great Southern Star,” Butt said. “There’s a chance they will start during New Zealand Cup week and then we will just take them all from there.” The second-ever Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star will be run on March 22 and for more information you can visit the website at Blake Redden [Harness Racing Victoria]  

SUPER SUNDAY SET TO SIZZLE The cream of pacing and trotting talent from Australia and New Zealand will converge on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday to contest the season’s grand finale. Harnesslink’s Len Baker looks at this marvellous Breeders Crown Grand Final Day program. THREE YEAR OLD FILLIES Champion NSW filly Frith (3) appears to have a mortgage on this race – a brilliant beginner, Frith will pounce on the lead and good luck to those trying to run her down. Plenty of place chances with Rogers Passion (1) drawn to get the run of the race on her back, while Im Smouldering (5) is likely to go forward in the early stages, then may look for cover. The Kiwi Safedra (9) will be better for her first up effort last week and is a strong place chance along with Our Femme Fatale (4), Delightful Christian (8), Getya Wings Out (11) and Montana Marie (12) who will find it much harder than her all the way Semi Final victory. (3) FRITH, (9) Safedra, (5) Im Smouldering, (1) Rogers Passion TWO YEAR OLD TROTTERS Four main chances here in a clash between Australia and New Zealand. Im Stately (4) is racing in great form for David Jack and was unlucky when beaten by Daenerys Targaryen (1) in The Redwood after giving that filly a tidy start. Claudys Princess (7) is a filly with a future, but the draw is no help, while the Harness Jewels victor One Over Da Moon (12) is fresh for this assignment and will be primed for victory. Plenty of place chances with Guiltless (2), Four Lillies (3), and Dell Boy (8) a must for multiple players. (4) IM STATELY, (12) One Over Da Moon, (1) Daenerys Targaryen, (7) Claudys Princess FOUR YEAR OLD TROTTERS Only three winning hopes here – Shes An Image (4), Rosalee Bay (5) and Brunelleschi (9). Shes An Image appears a certain leader and will take plenty of running down, however Brunelleschi got very close last Sunday after giving away a tidy start. Rosalee Bay was driven a treat to win her Semi after striding clear at the bell. Place chances to the ever reliable Zedalite (2), Maorisfavouritesun (6) and the very inexperienced Shakamond (12) who will need plenty of luck from the extreme draw. (9) BRUNELLESCHI, (4) Shes An Image, (5) Rosalee Bay, (2) Zedalite THREE YEAR OLD TROTTERS A great clash between outstanding colt Blitzthemcalder (6) and in-form pair Our Dreamlover (9) and Quite A Moment (10) who appear to have an edge on their rivals. Should he do everything right, Blitzthemcalder is definitely the one to beat, but should he make a mistake, Our Dreamlover who has been airborne in recent outings can salute. Kiwi Quite A Moment has also been in superb form since crossing the Tasman and is peaking at the right time. Looking for a blow-out, The Boss Man (1) and Spidergirl (2) are the ones most likely, while Lord Liam (4), Fiftyshadesofbrown (8) Invasive (13) and the Craig Demmler trained pair Glenferrie Dreamer (11) and Glenferrie Typhoon (12) are genuine place hopes. (6) BLITZTHEMCALDER, (9) Our Dreamlover, (10) Quite A Moment, (1) The Boss Man TWO YEAR OLD FILLIES NSW hope Majestic Amy (2) was ultra impressive in her Semi Final victory after over racing three back the markers and looks the yardstick here. Whereibelong (9) should have finished a lot closer in her Semi after locking wheels on the final bend which probably cost her victory. Our Petite Soeur (3) just weakened over the final stages after leading in the Semi won by Majestic Amy and may go better here if able to lead once again. Te Amo Bromac (8) is never far away but having difficulty in winning after being given every opportunity in recent runs, however Mark Purdon can never be underestimated in these big races. Place hopes to Freedom Is (1) and Quick Draft (11). (2) MAJESTIC AMY, (9) Whereibelong, (3) Our Petite Soeur, (8) Te Amo Bromac FOUR YEAR OLD ENTIRES & GELDINGS The barrier draw has fallen into place for Ideal Scott (2) who will start from the pole if the emergency Freemason comes out. A dominant winner on Sunday after finding the lead, Ideal Scott appears to be the leader again and will take no end of running down. Heza Presidente (4) was strong in his death-seat victory and will be hard to hold out, while Besotted (5) was very strong in finishing third to Ideal Scott after racing in the open. Keayang Steamer (8) is the ultimate racehorse drawn to get a lovely trip following Ideal Scott and will use the sprint lane to advantage over the concluding stages. Restrepo (9) trailed Ideal Scott, making no impression at the finish, but may place in things go his way. (2) IDEAL SCOTT, (8) Keayang Steamer, (5) Besotted, (4) Heza Presidente TWO YEAR OLD COLTS & GELDINGS Team McCartney looks like controlling this race with three of the main chances in Bling It On (1), All Eyes On Us (2) and Lettucerockthem (5), however Barry Purdon’s pair Our Sky Major (9) and Our Maxim (12) are both in the mix despite bad draws. Bling It On found the lead mid-race when defeating Our Maxim which raced outside him for the last lap at Ballarat, Lettucerockthem trailed all the way winner Our Sky Major in his Semi, with All Eyes On Us finishing third after racing in the open. Messini (4) is very consistent but may lack the class of his rivals here and Hezarealgem (8) from inside the second row can place should Bling It On hold the lead as can Major Secret (3) off a cosy passage. (5) LETTUCEROCKTHEM, (1) Bling It On, (3) All Eyes On Us, (9) Our Sky Major 4-Y-0 MARES Barry Purdon’s Cheer The Lady (10) couldn’t have been more impressive when blowing her rivals away off a three wide trail last Sunday and is looking to record back to back Breeders Crown victories after winning the two year old section last year. Glenn Douglas has done a wonderful job with Born Again Sassy (1) this season who will be given every opportunity by brother Daryl at the head of affairs. Dean Braun’s Im Living The Dream (5) ran home strongly to finish third in her Semi behind Born Again Sassy, but it’s hard to see her troubling Cheer The Lady. Major Bonus ((8) led throughout to score from Real Bonus (one/one), but will find it more difficult from inside the second line. Ourbellabro was strong in finishing third to Major Bonus after breezing, while Carpenters Daughter (11) had every chance when second to Cheer The Lady, as did Real Bonus (4) when second to Major Bonus. Light In Every Day (7) was game in defeat behind Born Again Sassy from the breeze and La Machine (12) can never be under estimated should the speed be on. (10) CHEER THE LADY, (1) Born Again Sassy, (5) Im Living TheDream, (12) La Machane 3-Y-0 COLTS & GELDINGS Cran Dalgety’s Bit Of A Legend (5) has yards on the opposition here and will be at an almost unbackable quote to repeat his 2-Y-0 victory of last season. Plenty of place chances for trifecta and first four players though with Must Be Nice (2), Echeveria (3), Almost El Eagle (4), Major Calipso (10), Ginger Bliss (11), Pachacuti (12) and Nowitzki (13) all in the mix. Pachacuti was strong in his defeat of Modern Max and Blissful Guy at Ballarat after breezing, while Nowitzki was game in finishing second to Bit Of A Legend after also racing in the open. (5) BIT OF A LEGEND, (10) Major Calipso, (12) Pachacuti, (2) Must Be Nice Len Baker  

Maryborough home of "The Redwood" hosted Thursday afternoon harness racing featuring Repechage's of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Series 16 for both Two and Three Year Old Trotters, all over 2190 metres. Redwood winner Daenerys Targaryen a daughter of Majestic Son and Niamey trained and driven by Mark Purdon snared the 1st Repechage for Two Year Olds. Given a sweet trip one/one from the extreme draw, Daenerys Targaryen eased three wide approaching the home turn and as expected, finished best to score from the pacemaker Guiltless in a rate of 2-05.2, with Asdenro third after racing in the open. The second Two Year Old Repechage went the way of Sutton Grange trainer Ross Graham's most consistent Monkey Bones/The Wallflower filly Four Lillies in a rate of 2-05.4. Driven by Daryl Douglas, Four Lillies scorched away from gate six to lead effortlessly, just lasting to register a nose victory over the favourite Dell Boy which trailed from the pole before easing outside the winner on the final bend. Coimadai Lodge finished third from three back in the running line. Repechage One for the Three Year Olds was taken out by Lara trainer Dean Braun's very smart former Kiwi Love You/ Dreamlands Nancy gelding Our Dreamlover. Handled by stable reinsman Chris Alford. Our Dreamlover enjoyed a cosy passage one/one from gate three, with Lance Justice's Invasive leading from gate four.  Taken three wide on the final bend, Our Dreamlover had to pull out all stops to overhaul Invasive in the shadows of the post to register a 1.9 metre margin in a rate of 1-59.9. The Boss Man battled on gamely to finish third (6.4 metres away) after facing the breeze. Parwan duo Craig Demmler (trainer) and Jodi Quinlan (driver) captured the Second Repechage with speedy Dream Vacation/Adelas Dash colt Glenferrie Dreamer, leading throughout from gate four to easily account for Lord Liam (one/one) by 2.3 metres in a rate of 2-04.1, with Fiftyshadesofbrown running her usual honest race for third after following the winner from the pole. Len Baker  

It was a day that saw the potential stars of the sport move straight to the top of trotting circles at Carisbrook Raceway, Maryborough. Heats of the Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown continued and the big guns stamped their authority on each category with future champions of the gait Im Stately, Blitzthemcalder and Spidergirl all safely through. Blitzthemcalder was the first to put his reputation to the test, and punters supported his cause, backing him into the $1.04 tote favourite as the arm folded back. He wasn’t the quickest to begin but he was able to use his customary mid-race power to control the race by heading off the leaders going down the back the first time. From there he simply needed to stay in gait to take the qualifier and he did it with aplomb, scoring by over three metres from the brave Glenferrie Dreamer, who had the sit on his back, and Invasive who wasn’t far behind the quinella. The mile rate of 2:01.0 was the quickest of any heat on the day and the winner charged home in a last half of 58.9. Im Stately was next up and he didn’t disappoint. Backed from $1.20 into $1.15 with TAB fixed odds prior to the jump, he bullied his way to the front then took a mid-race breather before showing why he is considered the next big thing. Ripping home in a 57.3 last half, he dashed clear of Dell Boy and Guiltless by close to 20 metres in a mile rate of 2:02.1. Odds-on favourite Daenerys Targaryen looked to blow any chance she had at the start of the next heat for three-year-old squaregaiters. But, with the leaders merely ambling early, she tacked on to the field and sat parked outside second-favourite Claudys Princess mid-race. The latter being a Vicbred Super Series Champion just under a month ago, was able to hold the favourite in the run to line, finding plenty when she looked to be beaten in the lane. Capping just her fourth lifetime start, the daughter of Bacardi Lindy has proven that with the right run, she is a better than blowout hope of figuring in the finish against her more fancied male rivals come Breeders Crown day. Shining Monarch loomed up halfway down the stretch and looked the winner but couldn’t match the quinella as they booted clear again on the line. The winner ran a slower mile rate of 2:07.4, mostly owing to the muddling early pace, and came home in a last half of 60.8. Glenferrie Typhoon made it two favourites in a row to go under in the next heat as he got the better of Our Dreamlover. The Craig Demmler-trained gelding found the lead from barrier five and managed to hold Our Dreamlover who sat parked for much of the race. With a margin of just under two metres separating the quinella, Pride Of Sundon was a further 60 metres away in third. The winner completed a mile rate of 2:01.1 with a 57.3 last half indicative of the sprint that broke most of the field up at the finish. The final heat on the card, again for the three-year-old’s, saw the last third of the Power Trio roll home in another impressive victory. That is of course Spidergirl and she did it in style, biding her time from the second row. When Chris Alford cut her loose off the back the final time she ranged up to leader The Boss Man and put paid to him halfway up the straight, racing on to score by just over four metres. The Boss Man held down second comfortably from Fiftyshadesofbrown and Lochaber who both battled away valiantly. Second-favourite Steal A Sixpence had to do much of the work sitting parked in the run but couldn’t match it with the contenders at the quarter pole. The filly ran as good a time as any of the heats with the mile-rate recorded in 2:01.3 and the quickest last half of the squaregaiting races in 57.2. All roads now lead to Tabcorp Park Melton on August 18 for what could be one of squaregaiting’s landmark days in Victoria.       by Blake Redden       Haness Racing Victoria  

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