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When leading harness racing reinswoman Danielle Hill started season 2016-2017 she stated a goal was to improve her status as a trainer. Four winners over two nights at Globe Derby Park on the weekend took her tally to 44 for the season and she sits in fourth place on the SA Trainers premiership behind Ryan Hryhorec (70), the training partnership of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain (50) and Les Harding (48). Her tally might have more but for a virus slowing down her stable for several months earlier this year. To the end of March, Hill had 31 winners to sit second on the premiership but lack of runners saw fellow trainers go past. On Friday, the South-East-owned Missy Deyo ($1 fav) scored an all the way win in the Ubet Pace (1800m) beating Markleigh Fireball ($72.50) by two metres with Cyclone Mach ($17.40) a half-head away third. “She wasn’t impressive tonight,” Hill said. “I am finding she doesn’t like float trips, even though my stables are not that far away, unless she has a travelling companion. “She came by herself tonight and maybe that is why she wasn’t at the peak of her game.” On Saturday night, Hill produced Ricks Shadow, Hez A Chance and Arber in consecutive races to land a treble. Ricks Shadow ($1.80 fav) led throughout in the PFD Food Services Pace (1800m) to score by a metre from Smooth Delight ($8.30) with Ace To Play ($6.80), 2-1/2 metres away third. “I was glad she was able to win for her new owners,” Hill said. “The mare was purchased from Jake Webster and Aaron Bain last month and has had three runs previously and picked up a cheque each time but it was great to win for them tonight.” Hill made it a double when Hez A Chance ($1.30 fav), also led throughout to win the Schweppes Australia Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m) by 6-1/2 metres from I Wanna Rocknroll ($18.20) with Priddy Sporty ($10.30), 10-1/2 metres away third. Hez A Chance is also owned in the South-East and normally prepared by Bec East. The three-year-old came to Adelaide for the Southern Cross series but Bec left the gelding with Danielle Hill to try and win his breeders’ bonus – and it only took the one start. “He’ll be on the float back to Bec on Monday,” Hill said. “Actually, I understand he is for sale and as his is lightly assessed could be a nice purchase for someone looking for a winner.” The treble came courtesy of the former talented young pacer Arber. Now a 10-year-old, Arber was bred and is owned by Phil Nott, who sent him to South Australia to extend his racing career. The $2.50 favourite, Arber came from near last to score a 2-1/2 metre win in the BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies Claiming Pace (1800m) from Sir Julian ($6.50) which trailed him for much of the race with Machtwister ($6.10), a long neck away third. “The owner has a $15,000 claiming price on him and I’m, sure it won’t decrease,” Hill said. “He’s a lovely old horse enjoying a new lease on life here in Adelaide. I believe the owner really doesn’t want to lose him but just wants to see him performing positively.” Hill drove all three winners and she will land back-to-back driving premierships currently sitting on 154 winners – 31 clear of Ryan Hryhorec. by Graham Fischer

Tough pacer Bettor Party picked up his third cup in South Australia with an impressive, and easy harness racing victory, in the 2017 UBET Victor Harbor Pacing Cup (2160m) before an excellent crowd on Easter Sunday. A well backed $3.10 favourite, Bettor Party came around the field to sit outside the leader before sprinting away at the top of the home straight to win untouched by seven metres. Driver Danielle Hill sat quiet over the final stages as the WA-owned pacer added the Victor Harbor Cup to his trophy collection alongside the Kadina and Gawler Cups. For trainer Les Harding it was his first Victor Harbor Cup win and he now puts Bettor Party in the top echelon of horses he has trained. Harding has always felt ill-fated Zanardi, a winner of 16 races in just over 12 months of racing for the stable was the best but acknowledges Bettor Party is really making an impression. The seven-year-old has now won five races from just 12 starts since coming into his stable from Western Australia where he is still owned. “To be honest David (son David Harding, stable foreman) deserves all the credit because I have never sat behind him,” Harding said. “We each have our own horses which we work and David took Bettor Party when he came into the stable.” Bettor Party came away quickly from gate six but driver Danielle Hill said she was a bit concerned when there was plenty of early speed. “I was out wide and there was plenty of pressure,” Hill said. “Fortunately, I was able to go forward along the back and get to the spot outside the leader (Oceans Predator). “He travelled really well and basically pulled his way to the front coming off the back and once in the home straight I knew he wouldn’t be caught.” Adam Cartwright ($3.40) came from last to grab second by a nose from Smiling Crest ($38.70). Bettor Party broke the track record rating 1:57.9 to better the previous best of 1:59.0 recorded by Glenferrie Hustler on December 26, 2013. The winner ran final quarters of 28.2 and 28.7 off the front making it impossible for Adam Cartwright to win after giving away a 30 metre start down the back straight. Harding said he would just look for local races for Bettor Party. “As well as he is going, it is a tough contract going to Victoria to take on their horses on their tracks,” he said. “We took him to Mildura for the Cup and he found it too tough taking on Major Crocker.” by Graham Fischer

Star South Australian trotter Rejuvenation lived up to his name with a sensational harness racing victory in the 2017 Fred Jones Trotters Cup (2645m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night. Trained by Ray Goble, at Grace Plains, the nine-year-old Rejuvenation ($2.40 fav) came off a 50-metre handicap to score a thrilling photo-finish head win from Bold Law ($6.70) with SA Trotters Cup hero Pocketfullofcash ($3.60), 3-1/2 metres away third. “It (Fred Jones Trotters Cup) is a race I wanted to win,” Goble said. “The race was created about five years ago, and because I drove a lot for Fred it was a race I put on the bucket list. “He was a wonderful man for harness racing, and in particular the squaregaiter, so the win is pretty special.” Goble said he felt Rejuvenation was going as well as at any stage of his career. “I’m not sure why because as horses get older you expect them to get progressively slower, but he is now running times better than at any time in his career and to come off 50 metres was a wonderful effort.” Driven by Danielle Hill, Rejuvenation settled last in the field of eight with co-backmarker Pocketfullofcash heading quickly around the field to sit parked outside the leader Tendaho. The staying event took shape when Bold Law, which had been one-out, one-back, came wide with 500 metres to travel to put pressure on the leaders with Hill trailing up on the eventual winner. Trainer-driver Paul Fidge asked Pocketfullofcash to go for home with 300 metres to travel and he dashed away with what looked to be a winning break but with 100 metres left to travel, he suddenly “hit the brick wall” and started to stop. Bold Law, under hard driving by Michael Smith, rallied and with Rejuvenation now alongside, the pair gathered in Pocketfullofcash with 50 metres to travel and the pair went stride for stride in the race to the post. On the line, Rejuvenation had his head in front of the gallant Bold Law. The gelding by Winds Cries Maori has been a wonderful performer in South Australia but paid the penalty for his wins by being virtually handicapped out of local racing and Goble sent her to Victoria for a campaign during the middle of last year. Even in Victoria, the star trotter found the handicaps against him according to Goble. “Even though he wasn’t as severely handicapped, the winners were running 57 second last halves making it impossible for those at the tail of the field to make ground. “His finishing positions show he was being well beaten but his own times were still quite good. “I brought him home for the SA features and he has been going really well and the Fred Jones win was very timely.” Goble said because the gelding came off 50 metres to win, an extra penalty would make it even harder to win going forward. The trainer said Rejuvenation would most likely have his next run in the 2017 Hambeltonian Trotters Cup (2645m) at the Gawler Gold Cup meeting at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, March 11. Graham Fischer

It took only three runs for top trotter Rejuvenation to return to the winning list in South Australia. At Globe Derby Park on Saturday night, Rejuvenation ($11.40) came off a 40-metre handicap for harness racing driver Danielle Hill to score a long head win in the Lion Pty Ltd Trotters Discretionary (2230m) beating Our Solar Flare ($19.70) with Emilys Vacation ($10.20), a metre away third. It was a fantastic effort by the nine-year-old who sprinted powerfully in the home straight and scored despite wanting to hang in close to home. Trainer Ray Goble was delighted to have his favourite back in winning form. “I have been happy with the way he is going but felt it might be too much of an ask coming off 40 metres,” Goble said. “I sent him to Victoria last year because of a lack of races and the fact he was basically being handicapped out of the ones he could contest. “Now he was won again I will have to look at what to do with him. “I might freshen him up and get him ready for the major races during March and April such as the Fred Jones, Hambeltonian and Gramel.” Bred locally by David Shammall, Rejuvenation has been a wonderful trotter for owner Angela Goble winning 30 races from just 97 starts. Graham Fischer

Champion South Australian harness racing participant Danielle Hill said she was “extremely proud” to have been named the winner of the inaugural Jim Hurley Medal. “I had a fantastic 2015-2016 season and winning the Jim Hurley Medal was definitely the icing on the cake,” Hill said. Hill drove an incredible 209 winners to win the South Australian Drivers’ premiership and trained 33 winners in the 2015-2016 season. Harness Racing South Australia introduced the Jim Hurley Medal last season to recognise a trainer and/or driver who has performed at a consistently high level throughout the season. Votes are awarded at the end of each meeting. In the Hurley medal, Hill polled 107 votes to win by four from Ryan Hryhorec (103) with Wayne Hill on 91 in third place. Hill said she had the utmost respect for Jim Hurley who passed away aged 90 in March, 2015. “Growing up in harness racing I had the utmost respect for Mr Hurley,” Hill said. “I actually had a few drives for him and found him to be a wonderful man. To be still training and shoeing his own horses up to his passing was amazing and his record as a trainer and driver speaks for itself – he is a legend of harness racing.” Hill said to have won the drivers’ premiership had been a goal which was now ticked off her bucket list. “To be honest it was something I was proud to achieve as a person, not as a female. While it is nice to be recognised as achieving as a woman, it was great to win the premiership as myself.” Hill said she had been aware of the naming of the winner of the Jim Hurley medal at the Harness Racing South Australia awards day at the Grange Golf Club but had not thought too much about winning it. “I knew I had had a great season but when I saw the top 10, I thought everyone would have been a worthy winner and it was a surprise when my name was called out. To have won the inaugural Jim Hurley Medal will always be something special in my career.” Hill said she it was highly unlikely she would reach the driving heights of last season “I don’t think I will be chasing to drive as many winners this season. I love training and my emphasis has switched this season as I try to build a strong team of horses. I’m not sure I will be going to as many meetings as I did last season. Lis Tureen, Cheap Tint and Rocktellz give me a good base but it is hard to find horses to increase your quality.”   Jim Hurley Jim Hurley had a career in harness racing spanning more than 50 years. Affectionately known as ‘Gentleman Jim’ Hurley was happy to help anyone seeking information right through to his passing aged 90 in March, 2015. Hurley won more than 1000 races, including being an owner of 1964 Inter Dominion winner, Minuteman. Trained and driven by his brother Eric, Minuteman was part-owned by Jim, his brother and their sister, Phyllis. In January 2015, Hurley trained Heza Presidente to compete in the South Australia Cup, a race Minuteman captured in 1966. In the 1984 series at Globe Derby Park, Hurley had his own Inter Dominion finalist in Guvs Pride and won a heat and a consolation with The Rattler. by Graham Fischer Complete 2015/16 Season Jim Hurley Votes

There is no-one better placed to comment of driver Danielle Hill’s achievement of driving 200 winners in the 2015/2016 harness racing season than her partner David Harding. Harding, a three-time 200-plus winner, knows the time, effort and sacrifices needed to reach the tally, especially in South Australia where there are only three meetings a week, some of which are at Mount Gambier. After a treble at Port Pirie, Hill went into Saturday night’s meeting at Globe Derby Park on 199 wins – 197 in South Australia plus one each in Tasmania and Victoria. Hill won on Lost In Bangkok, The Stork and Springfield Oflynn to break through the 200 mark. Lost In Bangkok brought up the 200 nationally, then Springfield Oflynn capped the night by giving her 200 wins in South Australia. “To reach 200 is a wonderful effort,” Harding said. “It requires a lot of hard work, plenty of sacrifices and a lot of luck. “What makes it even more remarkable for Dani is that she has had to overcome the loss of an eye. “I have seen how she has worked to learn how to walk again, just do things we take for granted with two eyes, then learn how to drive a car, and eventually get back into a cart. “I am in admiration of how she is back driving and handling the pressure of racing, and able to be so successful. “Dani loves horses, they love her, and they travel for her and the results prove it.” Hill said the 200 winners had been her own personal goal pre-season. “I didn’t make it known publicly but joked with Wayne (her brother),” Hill said. “He said he wanted to drive 100 winners (which he has done) and I said I wanted 200 and he told me I was greedy. “I am proud of my achievement but I have had a wonderful team behind me that helped me reach the milestone. “That goes back to the surgeons, rehab people and more recently the trainers who have been prepared to let me drive their horses. One of my first calls this week will be to the staff at rehab centre who got me going after losing the eye.” Dani’s ability was well known as in 2009 at the Gold Coast she landed the Australasian Young Drivers Championship beating a group of drivers including present day stars such as Dexter Dunn, Nathan Williamson, and Amanda Turnbull. But her whole world changed on a Monday afternoon, May 17 in 2010 at Globe Derby Park when Puaxtacy crashed to the track which resulted in the loss of her right eye plus facial fractures to her cheek, jaw and nose. She also suffered bleeding to the brain. Her injuries eventually healed but despite a lot of hard work, surgeons couldn’t repair the break of the optic nerve to the brain. Out of adversity came a treasure. During her recovery time, Dani and David celebrated the arrival of a daughter Brooke who was on course on Saturday night to celebrate the milestone. Hill is the 20th reinsperson in Australia to have reached 200 in a season, and just the third female, following Kerryn Manning and Amanda Turnbull. She currently sits fourth on the national driver’s premiership. by Graham Fischer

The race is on for the inaugural Jim Hurley Medal. Star harness racing reinswoman Danielle Hill has regained the lead from rival Ryan Hryhorec following the counting of votes to the end of May. Harness Racing South Australia has honoured legendary South Australian trainer-driver Jim Hurley by introducing a medal for a trainer or driver who performs consistently at a high level throughout the racing season. David Thuen, Racing Operations Manager, said the medal was decided by votes cast at each meeting. Voting is conducted on all SA harness racing TAB meetings by a panel of three who have been selected by Harness Racing South Australia. Each panel member allocates points based on what they consider to be the three best training or driving performances at each meeting, not necessarily winning performances. Three points is allocated to what is considered by each panel member to be the best performance at the meeting, two points for second best and one point for third. Mr Thuen said no figures would be released but the obvious inference is that the figures must be close with Hill leading early, Hryhorec taking the front running, now Hill back in front. He said no further updates would be released until the winner is announced at the South Australian Horse of the Year function later this year. The medal is named after Jim Hurley, who was an accomplished trainer, driver and owner for more than 50 years and a legend of harness racing, still training at age 90 until his passing in March. With more than 1000 winners, the 1964 Inter Dominion winner Minuteman was his greatest highlight as an owner. It is good to note that young drivers Michael Smith and Josh Holberton have made the leaderboard. The Jim Hurley leaderboard is at the end of May: Danielle Hill, Ryan Hryhorec, Wayne Hill, Mark Billinger, Scott Ewen, Jayson Finnis, Ken Rogers, Darren Billinger, Les Harding, Michael Smith and Josh Holberton. Graham Fischer

Top South Australian harness racing reinswoman Danielle Hill achieved a career-best five wins at a meeting at Globe Derby Park on Monday, June 6. Hill was successful on Presidentmach ($1.10 fav), Outback Madge ($1.60 fav), Cromac Jamie ($2.50 fav), The Stork ($1.10 fav) and Amightyfinehorse ($2.60). “I had driven four winners about 13 or 14 times so to get to five was quite a thrill,” Hill said. “Going into the meeting I thought I could have a good day but never start thinking about actual numbers because the unexpected can always happen. No matter the price, the horse has to perform and everything needs to go right. “Actually I need to thank the owners and trainers for putting me on such nice horses. If I wasn’t driving winners I would be letting them down.” Hill is having a career-best season with 160 winners so far in South Australia for the 2015-2016 season and the prospects of 200 winners is realistic with her current strike rate. Her previous best was 135 wins last season. The season ends on August 30 so there is still two months and three weeks left for a total of 36 meetings. Hill continues to rewrite the record books and her efforts are a tribute to her ability and courage. In 2009, she landed the Australasian Young Drivers Championship during the Inter Dominion at the Gold Coast but her whole world changed on a Monday afternoon, May 17 in 2010 at Globe Derby Park when Puaxtacy crashed to the track which resulted in the loss of her right eye plus facial fractures to her cheek, jaw and nose. She also suffered bleeding to the brain. Her injuries eventually healed but despite a lot of hard work, surgeons couldn’t repair the break of the optic nerve to the brain. Despite losing the sight of an eye, Hill, 31, made a comeback to driving and has continually bettered her own records. In November last year, Hill was recognised with the Tanya Denver Award for courage and sportsmanship at the Sports SA awards at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Wednesday night. Her brother Wayne is also having his most successful season and took his South Australian tally to 91 wins on Monday with a victory on Daddy Long Legs ($1.50 fav). He also has had four winners in Victoria for a tally of 95 as he closes in on 100 wins. At Victor Harbor on December 28 last year Hill equalled the Australian best of six winners at a meeting. The brother and sister having a friendly rivalry and Dani Hill said Wayne had congratulated her on Monday but was aware he still had that six in a day to have the best. Graham Fischer

South Australian harness racing trainer Robert Caruso has had great success with horses sourced from highly-respected and successful Queensland trainer Stuart Hunter and on Saturday night Holme On The River by Riverboat King out of Wheres Holme added to that record. A well backed $3.60 chance, Holme On The River, driven by Dani Hill, led throughout for a long head win in the Trotsguide.Com.Au Pace (1800m). The $3 favourite Bianca Tang, trained by Hill’s father Gary, and driven by her brother Wayne, finished second, 12 metres in front of Giddy Up ($18.60). “I reckon I have bought upwards of 20 horses from Stuart over the years,” Caruso said. “And they have all paid their way so it has been a winning formula. “When Stuart rang to say he had to have a clearance sale and he thought Holme On The River and Modern Chic would be suited here in Adelaide I didn’t hesitate to buy them. “Holme On The River had his first run for me last week and was over 2230m in his first run for more than a month and found the trip a bit far. Tonight, he was back to the 1800m and fitter so I thought he would be a good chance.” Caruso paid just $5000 and picked up $4257 on Saturday night so the seven-year-old has nearly repaid his purchase price. What impressed the trainer was Holme On The River’s winning mile rate of 1:57.2. “He went quick,” Caruso said. “I thought when he came here he might just be a claimer, but maybe I will have to re-assess.” After a comfortable 31.1 first quarter Holme On The River reeled off final sectionals of 29.2, 28,7 and 29.5. Bianca Tang, which had gone to sit parked, was outsprinted from the 600 metre mark and while Holme On The River had had enough over the final 50 metres, he had established a big enough lead to hold off Bianca Tang which was coming again. Later in the night, Modern Chic ran third in the Clay And Mineral Sales Pacers Discretionary (2230m) to indicated she will also pay her way in South Australia.  Graham Fischer

Star South Australian reinswomen Danielle Hill is delighted to have been chosen to represent South Australia in the 2015 Australian Harness Racing Drivers Championship to be held in Launceston, Tasmania on Sunday, November 15 “I drove in Tassie in a Young Drivers Championship and just loved it down there,” Hill said. Hill and Ryan Hyrhorec have been chosen to represent South Australia with South Australia’s leading driver of 2014-15 David Harding unavailable as he recovers from injury. “It is going to be a wonderful challenge to compete against the best drivers from around Australia,” she said. “You look at the names and it will be an honour to compete in a series with them. “It will be both daunting and exciting.” Hill, 31, said she had loved competing in four Australian Young Drivers Series around Australia, one of which she won in 2009 at the Gold Coast in Queensland, but said this would be another step up. The star reinswoman said she thrived on challenges and testing herself and this would be an ultimate experience. Hill, a brilliant driver early in her career, was involved in an horrific fall at Globe Derby Park in 2010 when she lost an eye but has fought back and last season drove a career-best 135 wins in a season. Already this season she is leading the drivers’ table with 22 wins. “I expect a lot of myself when I drive, and I am hard on myself, so I work hard and put in the effort.” In the young driver series Hill competed against the likes of star New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn and Australia’s driving wizard Amanda Turnbull but said this series would top those series. Established in 2014 with the inaugural Championships being held in Adelaide, the series is contested by nominated representatives from each of the six state controlling bodies for harness racing in Australia. Two drivers from each state (12 drivers in total) will contest six races for points to decide the winning driver. South Australia’s other representative Ryan Hryhorec drove in the inaugural series in Adelaide. “I finished out the back last year, hopefully I can be more competitive this time,” Hryhorec said. “It is a great honour to represent your state and I’m looking forward to it. “I actually drove in a young drivers series in Tassie, back in 1996 I think, so it will be good to go back.” Harness Racing Australia chief executive officer Andrew Kelly said he was delighted that Launceston would host the 2015 event.  “In only its second year, the Australian Driving Championship has already succeeded in filling an important industry role – bringing together the best drivers from each state to compete for the title of Australian Driving Champion,” he said. “One of the things I particularly like about this concept is the opportunity for owners and trainers to meet and interact with the best drivers in Australia. “These conversations allow participants to pick up hints or even tips about how a horse might be driven in future, tinkering with gear or just a general chat.” by Graham Fischer

Quality pacer Mark Dennis proved a noted betting drift was of no consequence at he bounced back to winning form at the harness racing meeting at Globe Derby Park in the Samuel Smith and Sons Pace (2230m). Back from two Melton runs, Mark Dennis, drifted from $1.70 to start $2 favourite, but led throughout from gate six to score a two metre win from Pub Blitz ($4.20) with Grand Cru ($10.90) three metres away third. “I should have waited instead of taking the $1.75,” owner Paul Nobes said. “He has been a great horse for us, and keeps delivering." “He still is only seven, he just seems older I guess because he has had 123 starts.” When the field was declared, it looked like Mark Dennis would have a good battle with Some Kinda Tactics but when that horse was a race day scratching, it was thought the former would be long odds on. But he kept drifting when markets opened getting out to $2. Driver Danielle Hill had a short battle to take the lead but once in front was able to control the race on Mark Dennis. The gelding, trained by Lance Holberton, had a comfortable first half then came home in 28.9 and 28.0 to win easily. Nobes said he was still checking the race programs for Melton and suggested a trip back to Melbourne was always an option if he could find a suitable race. Mark Dennis’ record is now 28 wins and 31placings from those 123 starts earning $212,000 in stakes. Graham Fischer

South Australia’s leading female harness racing driver Danielle Hill celebrated her birthday on Saturday night by driving four winners on the seven-race card. It was the 13th time Hill has landed four winners at a meeting but one of the most special was Lis Tureen, a mare she also trains. Hill’s other winners were Nothing In Between, Ole Sun and Sound System. “I really like this mare,” Hill said, “and I think she really has a good future and can go through the classes. “Even though Winterfeel beat her at her previous two runs I wasn’t disappointed. “He is more seasoned and she is still on the way up. “What I like about her is that she has gate speed, but just settles so well so can race anywhere in a field, and is tough as well and do a bit of work.” Hill took over the training of Lis Tureen after her partner David Harding was seriously injured in a fall earlier in the year. “She just finished up with me, and I’m glad she did.” Lis Tureen was a short-priced $1.40 favourite in the Harnessnews.com.au Pace (1800m) and gave her backers no cause for concern speeding to front and having a comfortable time in front before sprinting away to score by five metres from Hardly A Grin ($5.20) with Solanum Dulcamara ($19.40) five and a half metres away third. Hill said Lis Tureen could be a bit feisty off track but once she went onto the track was a perfect lady. by Graham Fischer

The $60,000 Southern Cross Finals for harness racing three year olds were held at Port Pirie last night and both the Colts/geldings and fillies divisions fell to warm favourites. Three year old colts/geldings Final Hez The One was a dominant favourite here even though he was poorly drawn at one on the second line. The well supported Blurred Lines with Mark Billinger in the bike grabbed the early lead from barrier five from another well supported runner in Officianado who settled into the trail. Danni Hill had Hez The One off the inside not long after the start but the son of Jeremes Jet settled a fair way back in the running line. Billinger was able to get away with a couple of cheap quarters in front which forced Danni to bring Hez The One forward three wide with just over a lap to go. The speed really went on from the 800 metres with the quarter down the back in 27.2 and Blurred Lines was the first to surrender passing the 500 metres mark. Danni shot Hez The One clear and he comfortably held them off for an impressive win. Officianado just as comfortably held second with Hit Maka battling on well for third. Hez The One paced the 2050 metres in 2:35.2, a mile rate of 2:01.9 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 30.4. It was the 14th win from just 23 starts for the Rebecca East trained colt and took his earnings over the $120,000 mark Three year old fillies final On paper this looked a bit like an Emma Stewart benefit and that is exactly how it turned out. Even though she drew one second line, Lovelist was a pronounced favourite while Starburst Girl the stablemate was the second favourite. The one filly that could have possibly upset the Emma Stewart pair in Whats Emma Got, blew any winning chance she had when she galloped early when being rushed off the gate. Mark Billinger worked Lovelist off the inside early in the race and grabbed the lead after 500 metres. Starburst Girl in the hands of Anthony Butt worked hard for the first 600 metres from her wide second line draw before finding the death seat outside Lovelist.  Mark Billinger was in no real hurry in front, before upping the tempo passing the 800 metres mark. At that point Danni Hill sent Whats Emma Got forward but she was posted three wide when the speed went on and was having trouble hanging on to the Stewart pair passing the 400 metres. Lovelist opened up a handy break turning in and although Starburst Girl kept coming she never looked a serious winning threat. Whats Emma Got showed real tenacity to keep going and hold third after such a hard run.  Lovelist paced the 2050 metres in 2:33.1, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 28. It was the 13th win from just 24 starts for the daughter of Always A Virgin and took her earnings over the $130,000 mark. It was a night to remember for Mark Billinger who drove the winners of three of the four $60,000 finals on offer. Harnesslink Media  

Last night Port Pirie stepped onto harness racing's big stage when it hosted this years finals of the $60,000 Southern Cross series. The two year old finals were like chalk and cheese with the fillies looking a one horse race while the colts and gelding section looked a lot more even. South Australian reinsman Mark Billinger was the star of the show winning both two year old finals Two year old colt/geldings final  The two best horses here on paper both drew poorly and as a result the race was thrown wide open. The Art Major gelding Rap Artist drew three on the second line while the Mach Three gelding  Presidentmach drew five on the second line which really evened up the contest. The Big Show from barrier three lead early while trainer / driver Mark Billinger followed him through from the second line with Rap Artist but was left parked out three wide for over 600 metres before finding the death seat. Danni Hill settled Presidentmach back early but took off three wide with a lap to go and ranged up outside the leaders at the 400 metres mark. As they turned for home The Big Show still had the front but was grabbed by a very game Rap Artist 50 metres out who then just held off an equally game Presidentmach who just kept coming. To make it more interesting, Jumping Jolt flashed late for a very close third just in front of The Big Show who battled on gamely. The mile was cut out in 1:58.3 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 30.1. It was a great race with the first two home putting up huge efforts. Two year old fillies final On paper this looked a one horse affair and thats how it panned out. The Rock N Roll Heaven filly Rocknroll Magic from the Emma Stewart barn drew beautifully at barrier three and driver Mark Billinger let her work to the front under her own steam after 300 metres and from there it was a one horse show. Given her head by Mark at the 500 metres mark, Rocnkroll Magic raced away and won easing down by a huge 23 metres. The Rocknroll Hanover filly Rockfromcork ran home well along the inner for second in front of the Union Guy filly, Little Miss Piggy who battled on for third but the winner was in a class of her own She paced the mile in a smart 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 29.1 and won with a lot in hand. The task of Rocknroll Magic was made a touch easier when stablemate and second favourite Celebrity Guest was involved in an early skirmish which extinguished her chances. Rocknroll Magic has now won eight from eleven in her debut season and looks a filly of the highest class. Harnesslink Media  

South-Eastern pacers dominated the two semi-finals (2230m) of the Southern Cross Series for three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings at Globe Derby Park. Hez The One, trained by Rebecca East at Heywood, was an easy winner of the first semi-final while Jax Navaro, trained by Barry Finnis at Glencoe, impressed in his narrow victory in the second semi-final. A well backed $2.30 favourite, Hez The One, driven by Danielle Hill, came from midfield with a lap to go to dash clear down the back straight and win easily by 14 metres from Officianado ($6.20), trained by Finnis, with Loanshark ($22.80) a metre and a half away third. East was delighted with the win and believes the three-year-old is still on the improve. “We have found a few minor things which we have worked on and he certainly appears to going better,” East said. “He had been a bit of a query at the end of races over tonight’s distance but I felt he was a lot stronger and after making a long run kept going.” Hill agreed. “I really didn’t want to go too early but he wanted to go and I was wary about getting a cart into the race,” Hill said. “When he went forward he just wanted to keep going and even though we went in front a long way out I kept roaring at him up the home straight and he was strong to the line.” Driver Jayson Finnis proved himself a good judge when Jax Navaro won the second semi-final. A week earlier after leading throughout on Jax Navaro, Finnis said the gelding would be better with a sit, and so it proved. A $2.50 chance, Jax Navaro came from near last to cut down Blurred Lines ($1.90 fav) by a half head with The Reprisal ($56) 20 metres away third. “He settled a lot better back in the field because he does still get a bit keen in the preliminary,” Finnis said. “When I asked him to improve he sprinted quickly but I wasn’t sure I could catch the leader (Blurred Lines) because it had had a good run in front.” But Jax Navaro responded to grab Blurred Lines in the shadow of the post. Graham Fischer

A three-year-old harness racing fillies’ Southern Cross semi-final produced a race that will remain in the memories of patrons and punters for an eternity. Victorian Lovelist, trained by Emma Stewart, was a $1.30 favourite in the first semi-final with South Australia’s star Whats Emma Got ($3.90) the only other runner considered a hope. Danielle Hill, on Whats Emma Got, was determined to lead from gate three and found the front but Mark Billinger, on Lovelist from gate five was quickly alongside and the pair simply ‘went for it’ for the entire 2230 metres. Hill believed her chance of beating the favourite was to lead, and Billinger knew that he couldn’t just sit parked and hoped to outsprint the SA star- so it was on. The first two quarters were identical 29.7, then the ante was upped again with a 29.5 third. The pair were side-by-side, with everyone waiting to see which filly would crack, and neither did. Picking the winner was impossible as first one, then the other, looked to be gaining a narrow advantage. Like two prize fighters, both Lovelist and Whats Emma Got were out on their feet up the home straight and came home in 33 – but were still side by side. In the shadows of the post Whats Emma Got looked to have a narrow advantage but right on the line Lovelist gave a final burst to score by a half head. Third placegetter Call Her Julie was 68.5 metres away third! Syndicate manager Bruce Cameron was in awe of both fillies. “What a race,” he said. “It was great to win but what a wonderful filly is the runner-up." “Lovelist knows she has had a race." “Mark (Billinger) said he thought he would have to be outside the leader and said he would put the pressure on because it would be near impossible to outsprint her after a comfortable lead – but I didn’t expect such a great match race.” The second semi-final saw another winner for trainer Emma Stewart with Starburst Girl, another Cameron syndicated filly, also a $1 favourite leading throughout to score a 12 metre win. She scored from Your Place or Mine ($26) with Linvel Ann ($13.60) four metres away third. This time driver Mark Billinger was able to cruise early with a 31.6 first quarter, then steadily increase the tempo with 30.5, 29.2 and 28.6 sections to win easily. For all the obvious quality of Starburst Girl, her effort was mundane after the first semi-final. But what it does is set the stage for an exciting final. Graham Fischer

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