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Owner Matt McLellan has just one wish for 2019. He wants to return for the Brisbane winter Carnival in July at Albion Park. Naturally, he wants to be part of the action again with his millionaire pacer Hectorjayjay. His memories are so joyous and so vivid, he’s often reliving the glory days when his brilliant pacer took the state’s biggest events. Back in 2016, Hectorjayjay produced one of the greatest performances of all time when he came from a near impossible position to win the Sunshine Sprint before going down as favourite a week later in the Blacks A Fake on a rain sodden track. He returned the following year and won both features, sublime efforts of both occasions. “There’s no doubt Brisbane holds a lot of special memories for me and the guys that race Hector, we’ve been lucky enough to win so many good races but his Brisbane efforts just stand out for me. It’s a great track nestled amongst a fascinating backdrop and the people are so great up there, I really look forward to getting there as much as possible.” McLellan said. As fate would have it, things have turned sour with Hectorjayjay developing some major injury setbacks which ultimately cost him a chance of returning to Brisbane last year. After enjoying so much success with star trainer David Aiken, he was transferred to Gavin Lang where he left with a perfect record after winning his only start for the master horseman when triumphant in the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore last June before going amiss again. Nowadays, Hectorjayjay is based with Ecklin South horseman Mattie Craven who makes full use of the nearby Warnambool beaches. And the signs of improvement are looking better each and every day. “His latest scan, which occurred days prior to Christmas, was really encouraging and it’s given us a lot of confidence moving forward with him. “We can now increase his workload but we’re not going to overdo it with him, rather than pushing him for a race like the Miracle Mile, I’d rather wait and be ready for Brisbane and make sure he’s proper ready. “If we can return to Brisbane and win those two big races again, that would just be absolutely amazing, a dream come true for me personally and hopefully we can get that opportunity.” The Brisbane winter carnival takes place at Albion Park throughout the month of July and the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is the final leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. Racing Queensland has recently announced some cash bonuses for horses aiming at the staying feature. Last year, Mattie Craven enjoyed tremendous results throughout the carnival after claiming both the Queensland Derby (Master Moonlite) and Queensland Trotters Cup (Our Dreamlover). Chris Barsby

AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase Malcolms Rhythm will have to beat older more experienced rivals to maintain his perfect start to the season. Set to contest a C2 in Kilmore, the son of Art Major purchase is chasing his sixth win of the term. Trainer David Aiken is using the 2180-metre event as “tune up” for next week’s Victoria Derby heats. Qualifiers of Australia’s oldest classic will be conducted as part of the strong Ballarat Pacing Cup program. To be driven by Kima Frenning, Malcolms Rhythm will begin from gate five in the six-horse field. “This should be a nice tune up for next week’s Derby heats,” Aiken said. “He is ticking along nicely and will be hard to beat despite the draw. “It will be nice if he can keep his winning run going before we head to Ballarat. “Hopefully he will do well in the Derby series, but it is hard to know where he sits among the three-year-olds at this stage.” Citing Blackenreid as the one to beat, Aiken also rates Imapest as a threat. Successful at two of his last three starts, Blackenreid has drawn gate six, with Imapest to come from four. “Blackenreid will definitely be the hardest to beat for Cotchy (trainer Keith Cotchin),” Aiken said. “Imapest is also in good form and can’t be taken lightly.”   APG Media

TWO of the major Inter Dominion players – trotter Tornado Valley and pacer Shadow Sax - had easy warm-up wins at Melton last Friday night. The first was Inter Dominion trotting favourite Tornado Valley, who effortlessly made it 13 wins from his past 15 starts. He’s the $3 favourite on the Aussie TAB for the trotting final from Kiwi star Speeding Spur at $3.80. Kate Gath took Tornado Valley straight to the front from gate three, cruised through a 62sec middle half and really just sprinted a 28.2sec to win hard-held by four metres in the Group 3 Lenin Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m). The fact Kyvalley Blur performed so well in his two NZ Cup Week runs last week speaks volumes for Tornado Valley’s form given he’s been easily beating that horse in Victoria of late. Shadow Sax and San Carlo clashed in the Group 3 Popular Alm free-for-all (2240m), but it proved a fizzer. Shadow Sax cruised to the lead, while San Carlo was three pegs and that was the race. Driver Chris Alford dictated terms in front and ripped home in 54.7 and 26.9sec to win easily on Shadow Sax, while San Carlo only saw daylight late and charged home for second. The Emma Stewart-trained Shadow Sax has won his past two on end from good draws and boasts 23 wins from just 37 career wins. _________________________________________________________________________________________ TOP WA trainers Greg and Skye Bond will make a final decision this week on a Melbourne Inter Dominion raid. The Bonds have set last year’s finalists Galactic Star and the emerging Vampiro for the series, but have travel concerns. “If they stick with this requirement to be in Melbourne five days before the first round of heats, then we won’t go,” Greg Bond said. Galactic Star, who finished fifth to Lazarus in last year’s final, has returned with wins at his two starts after a let-up. The latest win came in strong style at Gloucester Park last Friday night where Ryan Warwick gave him a lovely one-one trail and he scored by 3.4m in a 1min54.2sec mile rate for 1730m. It was part of a big night for Team Bond, who also won the $50,000 4YO Championship with the exciting former Kiwi, Mighty Conqueror. The son of American Ideal won three of his four NZ runs before heading to Team Bond where’s easily won all four starts. But it was last Friday’s win which stamped him as a major Golden Nugget player. Mighty Conqueror won a blazing 200m sprint for the lead at the start then copped plenty of midrace heat from Golden State – who finished a distant last – and still held-off the classy Bechors Brook to win easily by 7.7m. His 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2130m was just 1.0sec outside Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. “We thought he could make a Nugget horse and he keeps stepping-up,” Bond said. Team Bond already has a major Nugget hopeful in buzz Kiwi import Ana Malak, who makes his debut for the stable at Pinjarra tomorrow (Monday). Another winner of note last Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting was former star Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem, who overcame a wide draw to score easily for father/son Mike and Mark Reed. It will be interesting to see if they throw the now fiur-year-old mare in against the “boys” in the Nugget. _________________________________________________________________________________________ LET It Ride looks right on target for the Inter Dominion despite being beaten at Menangle last night. Anthony Butt drove the Group 1 Blacks A Fake winner more aggressively from the outside draw at his third run from a spell and Let It Ride ran a mighty race in slick time. He did all the work outside the leader and was in front until the emerging Ellmers Image nabbed him in the last 50m. They went a 1min49.9sec mile. Ellmers Image’s win gives Amanda Turnbull two good Inter Dominion heat drives, the other being Joes Star Of Mia, trained by her father Steve. The other feature race at Menangle, the Group 3 Sue Kelly Stakes for mares’, went to the flying Village Witch in a 1min50.9sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________________________ THE rise and rise of young Swede Kima Frenning continues to build momentum. Frenning has enjoyed a stellar 2018 through her relationship with open-class pacing stars Wrappers Delight and Im The Boss. And Wrappers Delight gives her a serious chance of winning the Inter Dominion final. Frenning scored another career first when former classy Kiwi pacer Buster Brady won easily at Cranbourne last night. It was Frenning’s first win as a trainer in her own right. _________________________________________________________________________________________ DAVID Aiken thinks his recent stable addition Big Jack Hammer won’t be out of his depth in the Inter Dominion trotting series. The six-year-old, raced in the same interests as Aiken’s leading Inter Dominion pacing hope Wrappers Delight, looked sharp winning at Melton last Friday night. It was just his second run for Aiken. Big Jack Hammer was backed for plenty on debut for Aiken in the Yarra Valley Trotters’ Cup, but made a mess of the start and caught the eye making up loads of ground afterwards. His manners were much better from the mobile start last Friday, pushing forward from gate five to find the front and never looking in danger. The eye-catching run came from runner-up Aleppo Murphy, who galloped at the start, lost at least 30-40m, but flew home to get within 3.3m of the winner. The flop was Inter Dominion hopeful Magicool, who went into the race with nine wins and two seconds from 11 starts, but weakened after sitting parked to finish almost 30m away in seventh spot.   Adam Hamilton

HAVING enjoyed a stellar 2017/18 season, Australian Pacing Gold purchases are ready for the new round of majors. Lead by Shez All Rock, APG stars captured an incredible 21 Group Ones last term. Making her debut at the beginning of the season, Shez All Rock became the southern hemisphere’s premier three-year-old filly by annexing four Group Ones. An $11,000 Melbourne buy, Shez All Rock boasts an impeccable record of 10 wins and a second from 11 starts for earnings of $426,350. Along with the top shelf wins, APG graduates secured 17 Group Twos. With the first pair of Group Twos of 2018/19 scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, APG stock are again among the contenders. Successful in their heats, Malcolms Rhythm and Zoliver will be joined in the colts’ and geldings’ division of the Home Grown Classic by Catch A Moment and Explicit Castle, Malcolms Rhythm is the $2 favourite for trainer David Aiken from barrier four. In the fillies’ Final APG buys Divine Diva, Posh Accent, Siedra Caleb, Tiger Storm and Tina Calls will battle for bragging rights. Winner of her heat, Tiger Storm is the leading candidate of the quintet despite drawing the second row.   APG Media

The intrigue ahead of the three-year-old IRT Breeders Crown Grand Final was akin to the goings on in Canberra this week, but there can only be one winner in any power struggle. And tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton rising superstar Ride High produced a lethal mix of ridiculous speed, ironclad strength and versatility to blow away his rivals in the race touted by many in the lead-up as “the best Crown contest in years”. “He’s done it with ease,” beamed winning reinsman Mark Pitt (pictured winning tonight on Hurricane Harley) aboard the Emma Stewart-trained colt affectionately known by stable name ‘Chainsaw’ and a son of megastar Alabar stallion Art Major. “He’s only lightly raced and every time he goes out there he just keeps getting better and better.” If a good drive is “a peach” then Pitt produced punnets – making a lighting move seven furlongs out to arrest control from Queenslander Grant Dixon aboard polemarker Colt Thirty One. Once Dixon relented, and Poster Boy and Ignatius – two of the race’s big guns – lagged back and didn’t pour on the mustard, Pitt was riding high. “I was a little bit surprised there weren’t a lot of challenges but the tempo was very genuine and I suppose it made it hard for the backmarkers,” Pitt said. Ride High notched a mile rate of 1:55.2. Colt Thirty One held on for second, with Poster Boy third. Earlier, another Art Major young star Our Princess Tiffany made it nine wins from nine career starts for New Zealand champion trainer Mark Purdon. Our Princess Tiffany twinkled under the Melton lights, parking outside boom filly Kualoa and finding gears at the finish when the others had simply nothing in reserve to take the Always B Miki at Alabar two-year-old fillies’ final. “She was very courageous and full credit to her. She took quite a bit out of herself over-racing, which surprised me a bit. Down the back I just let her roll so we got down the back pretty good. We were off the bit at the quarter, but it just survival of the fittest,” Purdon said. Our Princess Tiffany went 1:55.3, with Kualoa a brave second and Enchanted Stride third. Wrappers Delight continued marching towards an Inter Dominion 2018 campaign, blowing away a strong line-up in the Hygain four-year-old Crown final. Driven by Kima Frenning – the former Swedish monte rider who now boasts a huge Australian fan base – Wrappers Delight dominated to score by almost 10m. “I just have got absolutely no words,” Frenning said. “I’m just shaking my head. I’m so grateful that I get to drive him and Aiks (trainer David Aiken) has done an amazing job with this horse to get him where he is today. It’s been such a cool ride to be on.” To kick off the night – in glorious winter sunshine – Kiwi Stress Factor remained unbeaten on Australian soil with victory in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for in-form trainer Brent Lilley and champion driver Chris Alford. Stress Factor dictated in front to beat Anywhere Hugo and Kyvalley Finn in 2:00.4. Alford went back-to-back in the second race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting Fillies’ Final, courtesy of Sleepee – trained and owned by wife Alison. “Colin was kind enough to give us the opportunity to lease (Sleepee) and mum jumped in and took a share with me. It’s a little surreal, I never thought I’d own one, I always wanted to own one, and I said to Chris on Thursday I’m starting to get a bit nervous. He said I could have told you that on Monday.” Our Show Gait captured the three-year-old trotting fillies’ final for NZ trainer Regan Todd and Purdon, rating 2:01.2 to defeat Moonshine Linda. The two-year-old pacing final lived up to the hype, with Emma Stewart training the quinella as Hurricane Harley finished like a whirlwind to defeat Centenario to deliver driver Pitt the crown. “… He really dug deep and deserved to win,” Stewart said of the performance. Speak No Evil extended her winning streak to six in the Woodlands three-year-old fillies’ final – another win for Stewart/Alford – holding off Angel Of Arts in second and My Harmony Blue in third. “She’s had an amazing season really, winning this and winning Vicbred and an unlucky second in the Oaks as well,” Alford told Trots Vision. “You can’t ask much more.” Kyvalley Clichy secured Alford his fourth crown for the evening but in controversial circumstances, having to withstand a protest from runner-up Kate Gath aboard Dream Mastar after the winner broke stride in the run to the post. “I’m extremely happy. This is a race I’ve been very fortunate in over the last 18 years. I’m just very lucky and hope the luck continues,” said winning owner Jim Connelly. Dean Braun-trained Carlas Pixel showed she had classes on her rivals in the Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown four-year-old mares’ final, thoroughly dominating. Driven by Pitt – who won three crowns tonight – Carlas Pixel had to work to find the front early but had plenty left at the finish to score by almost 7m over runner-up Cherry Stride in 1:54.2. “She’s a fantastic mare. Every time we have taken her out she’s just got better and better,” Braun told Trots Vision. “She’s just got an amazing constitution, she never really gets sick. She’s just one of those horses; she’s a pleasure to train and the owners are really, really good people. She’s a star. She’s got a motor as big as herself.” Cody Winnell

The hopples will come off Lennytheshark for the last time Saturday night in a final on-track farewell to the two-time Victorian Horse of the Year, who is bound for stud duties at Empire Stallions. The champion son of Four Starzzz Shark will parade before race three at Tabcorp Park Melton on Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series pacing finals night. It will be a fitting send-off for Lennytheshark, who placed in the Vicbred Super Series as a two and three-year-old and won as a four-year-old. The latter triumph was the second of his seven career Group 1s, which would also include the 2016 Inter Dominion, 2017 Miracle Mile and 2016 and 2017 Victoria Cups. Co-owner Martin Riseley said “he would have loved him to keep racing, but the time was right” for a stud career. “He didn’t have to prove anything more to us and now I’m looking forward to little Lennys running around,” Mr Riseley said. “If he can leave some quality little progeny that will be great and I look forward to seeing them on the track.” Having won 39 of his 82 starts, Lennytheshark was only the sixth Australasian pacer to top $3 million in earnings and won a lot of hearts along the way for his will to win and unique racing style. Fans have been invited to soak up his final trot up the Tabcorp Park Melton straight on Saturday night, which will precede a presentation. “It will be an enormous time, because he’s been such a good horse to so many people and it will be great to see him farewelled like that,” Riseley said. “He raced through age racing as a two, three and four-year-old before reaching the pinnacle and there will be a lot of horses there Saturday night who will be hoping to emulate him.” Riseley said Lennytheshark had already attracted significant interest from breeders. “The initial inquiries have been really good and (Empire Stallions principal) David James is excited about having the horse there,” he said. “He looks like he might have a good opportunity to prove himself.” He said Lennytheshark had long been linked to Empire, which stands Lennytheshark’s sire and leased part of Riseley’s farm when Mr James and Donna Egan established the stud in Australia. “It is also nice to have him not too far from home (Shepparton), and for (trainer) David (Aiken) to be nearby as well and able to visit Lenny.” Mr James said Empire was “very excited to be standing Lennytheshark this season”. “We have followed his career with great enthusiasm and cheered him on every step of the way. His credentials are second to none and we believe that he will have wide appeal to breeders.” CLICK HERE FOR EMPIRE STALLIONS ANNOUNCEMENT   Michael Howard

ON Monday 30 April 2018, Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an Inquiry into reports received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that O-desmethylvenlafaxine had been detected in the post-race urine samples taken from the following horses: MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 7 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 7 October 2017; MAORISFAVOURITESUN following its win in Race 9 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 11 November 2017; CHARLIE MACHSHEEN following its win in Race 8 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday 14 November 2017 The ‘B’ samples were confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. O-desmethylvenlafaxine was not detected in the control samples. Mr Aiken appeared at the Inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment. Mrs Colleen Aiken, a licensed stablehand, was also present and provided evidence as a representative of Mr Aiken’s stable and as an owner of the horse MAORISFAVOURITESUN. In addition, licensed stablehand Mr Malcolm Locke was present and provided evidence to the Inquiry. A number of documents were entered into evidence at the Inquiry including the Certificates of Analysis in relation to each of the post-race urine samples and a number of exhibits obtained by HRNSW Stewards, including the analytical results for recycled water samples obtained from the paddock utilised by Mr Aiken within the Menangle Park Training Centre. HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott, was also present and provided evidence to the Inquiry that the presence of O-desmethylvenlafaxine detected in the urine samples had resulted from contamination within the stable environment. HRNSW Stewards issued three (3) charges against Mr Aiken and Mr Locke pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2), (3) & (4) as follows: AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence. (3)  If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. (4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were each found guilty of those charges and provided submissions in relation to the matter of penalty. The Inquiry was adjourned for Stewards to determine the matter of penalty. On 21 May 2018, Mr Aiken was informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of four (4) months for each offence. The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Aiken’s licence history, offence record, training record during a 42-year involvement in the harness racing industry; Mr Aiken’s personal subjective facts; Mr Aiken’s prior prohibited substance offence in 2000; Mr Aiken’s not guilty plea. On that date, Mr Locke was also informed by written decision that HRNSW Stewards had imposed a period of disqualification of six (6) months for each offence. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; The circumstances of this matter including evidence of Dr Wainscott in relation to contamination; Class 2 Prohibited Substance; Mr Locke’s licence history and offence record; No previous prohibited substance matters; Mr Locke’s personal subjective facts; Mr Locke’s not guilty plea. Due to the fact that Mr Aiken and Mr Locke were informed of the first sample irregularity following the date of the second sample having been obtained and on the same day that the third sample was obtained, Stewards ordered that the three (3) periods of disqualification be served concurrently. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MAORISFAVOURITESUN and CHARLIE MACHSHEEN were disqualified from the abovementioned races. Mr Aiken and Mr Locke have lodged appeals against these decisions. Mr Aiken has been granted a Stay of Proceedings by the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal.   MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 • GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •

A shock first-up defeat has only fuelled Chris Alford’s desire to not only tackle the Harness Jewels, but win it with his superstar young trotter Wobelee. Wobelee’s 12-race winning streak came to an end when he found the lead early, but could not hold-off the winning sprint lane burst of former Kiwi trotter Scallywag Sam at Kilmore last Friday night. It wasn’t the lead-up fans expected going to Sydney for Saturday night’s $40,000 Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Derby at Menangle. “We’re confident he’ll be right this week. We’d been a bit behind with him going into Kilmore and he needed the run. It’ll bring him along nicely for Menangle,” Alford said. Wobelee is the Aussie TAB’s $1.80 favourite from gate six against a field lacking any real star power at Menangle. “There’s a group of locals, who don’t usually measure up, and Wobelee has had the measure of the other Victorians headed by One Muscle Hill,” Alford said. Speculation emerged after Wobelee’s first-up defeat that the Jewels trip could be in jeopardy, but Alford quickly dismissed it. “Nothing has changed. He’s going across. We’ve got everything in place,” Alford said. “He’s got the race in Sydney this week, comes home and then the plan goes to Auckland the Thursday before the Jewels.” Alford’s commitment with Wobelee at Menangle means he will again miss driving one of his favourites, champion old-timer Lennytheshark, at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Lennytheshark returned from a break with an epic second after doing all the work behind much-improved stablemate Im The Boss in the Shepparton Cup on April 28. David Aiken drove him at Shepparton and is expected to take the reins again from gate seven against a moderate bunch at Cranbourne. The race is sure to help shape Aiken’s mind around a possible Sydney trip for next month’s Len Smith Mile and even a Queensland Winter Carnival raid. Adam Hamilton

Since being claimed for just $11,000, Im The Boss has secured harness racing connections in excess of $111,000 in seven months. The six-year-old’s remarkable rise continued at Shepparton last night in the $50,000 Group 11 Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup as the curtain came down on a successful 2017-18 Victorian Trots Country Cups Championship. Im The Boss set a new Shepparton record for the 2690m trip, the David Aiken-trained pacer overhauling champion stablemate Lennytheshark in the shadows of the post for a 1.5m win in a blistering mile rate of 1:56.1. An elated Swedish monte rider turned reinswoman Kima Frenning couldn’t speak higher of her champ post-race. “I just don’t know what to say,” she said. “To be able to run down a horse like Lennytheshark on a horse we claimed for $11,000 … he’s just the biggest fighter of all time. I’ve never driven a horse who tries as hard as him. It’s ridiculous.” Expected by many to be in front shortly after the start, Frenning’s plan A was thrown out of the cart when Nathan Jack and Cruz Bromac crossed from gate seven. Im The Boss trailed Cruz Bromac in the box seat until just inside the 400m when Lennytheshark, who had been punching the breeze for the previous mile, was driven to the front by David Aiken. Im The Boss got off the pegs and tracked his more celebrated stablemate – who literally had a huge tent full of supporters cheering him on – until the home straight when Frenning peeled to the outside. To use a cliché, Lennytheshark was as brave as Lennytheshark, fighting on like Lennytheshark right to the wire. But in the last 50m his death-seating efforts took effect and Im The Boss capitalised. The last quarter was in fact the slowest section of the race at 30.8secs, a rip-roaring 27.1secs down the back ensuring it game-on a fair way out. “I’m shaking my head. Even from Mildura, I was very edgy coming on to the track tonight – it’s always very nerve-racking against the good horses. You just hope you’re good enough and this horse does not stop trying,” Frenning said. And so the Inter Dominion discussion begins. With Victoria hosting the big dance for the first time in 10 years, it’s expected Im The Boss will target the riches. Since joining the Aiken camp in September last year, the six-year-old by Major In Art (out of Golden Navajo) has shown he’s adept at backing up. He won the Cobram Cup two days after his previous start, and followed a track record-breaking Mildura Cup heat win with a brutal victory in the Group 2 Final four days later. Meanwhile, Lennytheshark lost no admirers whatsoever. In fact, the superstar reached another career milestone, taking his career earnings past the $3 million mark by finishing second. Brallos Pass ran a super race for third, with Ellen Tormey in the sulky, narrowly defeating Cruz Bromac. Earlier Rickie Alchin trained and drove Tough Monarch to win the Alabar Shepparton Trotters Cup by 12.3m over runner-up Regal Pepperell, with Father Christmas third in 2:02.9. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

THE Harness Jewels remains very much “front and square” in the minds of the Jilliby Kung team. Although the Chariots of Fire winner and Miracle Mile placegetter is yet to be officially invited to the Jewels, it looks a formality if trainer Marg Lee and the team want it. “The Jewels is the plan at this stage,” driver Jason Lee said. “I’d say he’s three weeks or so away from a race. “We need to race the big boys to get better and for the spectacle of the game.” What a great attitude and what a coup it would be for Cambridge. Jilliby Kung Fu hasn’t raced since his fantastic second to My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile on February 24. With Custodian invited and Jilliby Kung Fu, Wobelee and Carlas Pixel surely soon to follow. Then a bunch of others chasing invites, this will take the Aussie presence at the Jewels to a new level. Yes I’m biased, but surely this is the year an Aussie wins a Jewels final for the first time. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ AGEING champ Lennytheshark will try to break the $3 million stakemoney barrier without a lead-up race. Connections had hoped to run at Bendigo last Friday night, but the race was scrapped so will have to settle for a trial on Tuesday. “Sure we’d have loved a race, but he’s got a great first-up record and ‘Aikey’ (David Aiken) will have him ready for a race like this,” part-owner Martin Riseley said. It will be an emotional night with Lennytheshark needing just $4915 to reach $3 million with his 79 starts netting 39 wins and 30 placings so far. “We’ve had this planned for a long time. The chance to chase a milestone like this at his and Aikey’s home track is so exciting,” Riseley said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ANDY Gath admits an Addington raid in November is tempting, but first he wants to win a Group 1 at home with his new stable star Tornado Valley. The former Kiwi trotter made it six wins on end when he did the work and won as he liked in a slick 1min56sec mile rate for 1720m in the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton last night. Gath’s immediate target is the $50,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship at Melton on May 19. “We loved him the first time we worked him, but the best part is he just keeps getting better and better in his work and he’s thriving on racing just about every week,” Gath said. “Other than the Australasian Champs next month there’s nothing big for him, but if he can just keep picking off these free-for-alls it’s money in the bank.” Tornado Valley has already banked more than $120,000 from just nine Aussie runs for Gath. Asked about NZ, Gath said: “We did think about the Anzac and Rowe Cups. We like to travel with out horses for the right races, so the Dominion is definitely an option later in the year.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER buzz Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem lost fans in defeat in yet another WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park. It’s the third prelude of the Oaks (final run on May 5) she has contested and after a second and a win, she had to settle for a close and brave third in last Friday night’s race. Gary Hall Sr’s classy filly Liberty Rose was crossed at the start, re-took the lead, and then dictated through a 62.9sec middle split before dashing home in 56.0 and 27.7sec to win from another former Kiwi, Purest Silk. Our Angel Of Harlem settled well back and had to sustain a long three-wide run without cover in the sprint home, so to get within 3.4m was a big effort. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ IF Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel doesn’t tackle the Harness Jewels then Shane Tritton’s former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter would be a strong second pick. The four-year-old made it eight wins from just 11 Aussie runs when she blasted to the front in a 26.5sec opening quarter and found plenty late to win in a 1min52.5sec mile at Menangle on Saturday night. Tritton and wife Lauren have made it clear they’d love a Jewels invite. The feature race at Menangle was the Group 2 Bulli Trotters’ Cup which was won by former Kiwi veteran Sundons Comet, now in the Joe Rando barn and driven by David Morris. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart has a staggering four finalists in the $300,000 Australian Gold final for colts and geldings. Centenario, Hurricane Harley and Hardhitter all won their heats at Melton last Friday week. Then Fourbigmen, who was a well-held third to Hurricane Harley in his heat, lifted for a powerhouse repechage win at Melton last night. Amazingly, Chris Alford drove all four to win their qualifiers. Fourbigmen’s improvement didn’t surprise the stable who have always said he is as good as any of their stellar juvenile crop on ability, but is still raw and developing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ OUR Waikiki Beach’s baby brother Bechers Brook is doing the family proud. While Our Waikiki Beach was a superstar from day one, the raw and tough Bechers Brook is getting better with every run. He just missed winning the WA Derby when a close second to King Of Swing on April 6, then narrowly but impressively won at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Bechers Brook has raced just 13 times for seven wins, four placings and almost $120,000. “I like him. He’s really strong. It didn’t surprise me he ran so well in the Derby,” Reed said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ CANBERRA Raiders captain Jarrod Crocker loves his harness racing and classy pacer Our Triple Play is rewarding his passion. Our Triple Play continued his golden season with another feature win, the Group 3 Sydney Cup, at Bankstown last Friday night. The Brad Hewitt-trained and driven four-year-old had already won the time-honoured Inter City Pace final at Maitland and Wagga Cup this season. He’s won six races this term for almost $76,000 in earning to take his career record to 41 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $141,720 in stakemoney. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ NO doubt the news of Hectorjayjay’s switch from David Aiken to Gavin Lang’s stable turned a few heads. Lang hasn’t trained many horses for the past decade or so,  but now has an exciting team of “10 or 12” in work. One of them, recent Kiwi import My Cash, made it two very impressive Aussie wins from as many starts with a dominant display at Bendigo last Friday night. Despite sitting parked in solid times, My Cash left her rivals standing to win by 10.2m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2150m. All going well, Hectorjayjay could have his first start for Lang as soon as early June.   Adam Hamilton

AT last there is some great news in pacing’s open-class ranks. It’s a tough few months with horses like Vincent retiring, stars like Heaven Rocks and Have Faith In Me leaving our shores and questions marks on Lazarus’s racing future. But one of the sport’s absolute stars, the brilliant Hectorjayjay, is just weeks away from a comeback. The millionaire pacer hasn’t raced since sustaining a suspensory ligament injury after the biggest and best win of his career in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. Managing-owner Matt McLellan hopes Hectorjayjay could be back to defend that title. “It’s been a long road, but we are getting to the business end now,” he said. “He’s had PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatment, a full body scan and several extra targeted scans, four different vets go over him and eight months of rehab. “The past few months he’s been with Peter Clarke on the water-walker. “He’s been back in work for three weeks, will have another month with Peter and then head to the stables to decide when he can race again. “I’d love to think he’ll be back for a few lead-up runs in Victoria and then head to Queensland, but that’s the aim more than anything definite.” Champion driver Gavin Lang will be Hectorjayjay’s new trainer, mainly because he is Melton-based and much closer to McLellan’s home. “This horse is special to me and I want to see him regularly. I’ve had a long association with Gavin, he knows this horse so well and he’s 45mins from my place rather than two hours or so to David (Aiken’s) stables,” McClellan said. “David has done such a fantastic job with the horse, but this is last roll of the dice with Hectorjayjay and there are no guarantees he will make it back. The signs are good, but I want to be close to him to see him often as I can and stay right across his progress. “I also want to give special mention to the huge input Josh Aiken and Kima Frenning had when the horse was at the Aiken stable.” Lang has driven Hectorjayjay 12 times for eight wins – including the 2016 Group 1 Len Smith Mile and Group 2 Sunshine Sprint – three seconds and a luckless fifth. Hectorjayjay’s record sits at 79 starts for 42 wins, 21 placings and $1,143,907 in stakemoney.   Adam Hamilton

He’s the forgotten horse of Saturday night’s $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Yet veteran Lennytheshark, the oldest horse in the race, cannot be completely written off, despite being listed as a $21 shot in the eight-horse harness racing field. He is the defending champion and his trainer David Aiken wouldn’t swap his stable star for any other horse in the race and issued a reminder ‘Lenny’ was going as well as ever. “He is meeting the new kids on the block this season, but he is feeling terrific and is ready to do it all again,” Aiken said. “I still wouldn't swap him for any other runner. “I just finished working him an hour ago and he is going as well as ever.” Despite his defeat last week, Lennytheshark earned an invitation into the Grand Circuit event as the defending champion, with Aiken confident the son of Four Starzzz Shark could still join a select group of consecutive Miracle Mile winners. Victory will see Lennytheshark become just the seventh titleholder to successfully defend his crown since the prestigious sprint began in 1967. Westburn Grant led the way win consecutive wins in 1989 and 90, followed by Chokin (1993 and ‘94), Holmes D G (1999 and 2000), Sokyola (2003 and ‘04), Be Good Johnny (2005 and ‘06) and Smoken Up (2010 and ‘11). Lennytheshark has drawn barrier seven, but moves into six when the emergency comes out. “I was just looking at the sectionals from last week again and he got home in 53 seconds after doing a bit of work early,” Aiken said. “He went quicker last week than he did the year before when he won.” Aiken agreed that the draw hadn’t helped but suggested punters would leave him out at their peril as he was in good enough shape to win. The former Sydney premiership-winning trainer cited Soho Tribeca as the horse to beat, but said he also rated My Field Marshal as one who could spring an upset. Soho Tribeca has drawn gate seven while My Field Marshal will come from four. Soho Tribeca is a $3.20 second elect, while My Field Marshal is sitting on $10. Lazarus heads the betting market at $2.40 despite drawing the outside of the front row. “Soho Tribeca should be favourite as I reckon he is the one to beat,” Aiken said. “That said, I can see My Field Marshal getting a really good run from the draw, which brings him right into it.” Michael Court

Avenel pacer Im The Boss has provided harness racing Swedish reinswoman Kima Frenning with her biggest win in Australia by taking Sunday’s Group 3 $30,000 Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup. Just when the favourite Major Secret was being hailed the winner halfway down the straight, the David Aiken trained Im The Boss rallied to snatch victory by a head in the last couple of strides in a thrilling climax to the 2678m marathon. Hickstead filled the minor placing while another of the local hopes, the Steve O’Donoghue trained and Bec Bartley driven mare Shakahari ran an honest race to finish fourth. The win was a bonus because the Harnes Racing Victoria vet was still tossing up half an hour before the first race as to whether he would cancel the meeting because of the 40°C-plus weather. But he didn’t and the rest was history for the Avenel-based trainer and driver. The first four placegetters raced on the pegs throughout the trip with only the leader and runner-up changing positions at the finishing line. Second favourite Milly Perez put some life into the race when she moved to the death seat mid-race but she was gone with 400m to run and finished second last. Driver of Major Secret, Mark Pitt, put the handle bars down at the start from outside the second row to take up the front running and leave punters, who had supported the Emma Stewart trained Art Major seven-year-old into a $1.90 favourite, on good terms with themselves before Im The Boss spoilt the party at the death knock. Frenning, who has been driving regularly with consistent success since March last year, was confident Im The Boss could run down Major Secret even though he had opened up what seemed a winning break around the home turn. ‘‘He never stops trying and he is a very tough horse,” Frenning said, describing the win as her biggest since arriving here and ‘‘up there’’ with her most memorable moments in the sulky. Im The Boss deserved his win, breaking a run of four consecutive seconds in the process to have his biggest payday, collecting $17000 for connections with the 15th win of his 73-start career. Frenning has driven Im The Boss in 12 of its past 13 starts since David Aiken took over the training of the six-year-old Art Major gelding and has now won four races on the pacer. But a Shepparton Cup appearance this Saturday night is not on his agenda because he has gone to the water walker for a week to freshen before plans for his next assignment are made. ‘‘As soon as the race started we lobbed in a good place just behind the leaders and throughout the race I thought he felt really good,’’ Frenning said. ‘‘As we came off the bend and into the straight I was sure we had the favourite covered but they weren’t going to give up,’’ she said. ‘‘But we got our head in front with about 50m to go and my horse wasn’t going to stop. ‘‘He is a super consistent horse and he has been a big part of my good season and I have also been given a lot of good horses to work with, giving me plenty of opportunity and I am really grateful for that.’’ Last season, which finished at the end of August, she had 12 winners. So far this season she already has 15. Reprinted with permission of The Telegraph  

Lazarus will be a hot favourite to land his first heat win of the Perth Inter Dominion series at Gloucester Park on Friday night. After two gallant seconds so far, Lazarus has landed the easiest of Friday night’s three heats and should control the race despite a wide draw (gate seven). He will also relish the step-up to 2536m. Lazarus won’t have to contend with any of the other big guns of the series with the likes of Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, Tiger Tara and Lennytheshark also drawn different heats. Speedster Yayas Hot Spot drew directly outside Lazarus in gate eight, but it’s likely Mark Purdon will get serious on his stable star at the start to hone his gate speed ahead of a possible good draw in the final. Lazarus did all the chasing outside winner Tiger Tara when second in a record-smashing 1min52.3sec mile rate for 2100m at Bunbury last night (Tuesday). It took 1.5sec off the record. Lazarus’ stablemate Have Faith In Me is one of his rivals on Friday, but is out of contention for a final berth. He’s drawn the outside (gate nine). Lazarus will relish the 2536m. He’s had 13 starts at 2400m or further for 11 wins, a second in the Ballarat Cup and 3rdf in the Avon City Ford Cup. Tiger Tara faces an even harder challenge now he’s drawn (gate six) outside local star Chicago Bull (gate one) in the first of Friday night’s heats. Chicago Bull looks certain to hold the front and has proven unbeatable when leading during his Aussie career. Tiger Tara will likely have to sit outside the leader as he did when second to Lennytheshark on opening night. Emerging local Shandale needs big points to make the final, but could get his chance from gate five against Chicago Bull and Tiger Tara. The second of Friday night’s heats shapes as the best of the series so far with San Carlo drawn one against Lennytheshark (gate seven) and Soho Tribeca the outside (nine). “The draw wouldn’t worry him if he was at his top,” Lennytheshark’s driver Chris Alford said. “I’m backing him to bounce back on Friday. I’m sure David (Aiken, trainer) will have him right. “He definitely ran a bit below his best at Bunbury, but he’s bounced-back before. “David’s getting a precautionary blood test done so we will know more after that, but Lenny’s a smart horse and maybe some of the memories of last year at Bunbury when he first felt the hoof injury came back to him last night.” Lazarus is a $2.80 favourite on the Aussie TAB from Soho Tribeca at $3. Then comes Chicago Bull ($4.50), Lennytheshark ($8) and Tiger Tara ($9). The field for the Grand Final will decided after Friday night’s heats with the barrier draw held on Sunday. Adam Hamilton

Lennytheshark, brilliant harness racing winner of the Inter Dominion championship in Perth two years ago, is still racing with youthful enthusiasm as an eight-year-old and looks a certainty in the second heat of the Choices Flooring Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night.     He has no difficulty in handling the tight 805m circuit at Gloucester Park where he has appeared five times for three wins and two seconds. Trainer David Aiken and reinsman Chris Alford are looking confidently to Lennytheshark winning in the opening set of qualifying heats for the third successive year. The handsome stallion is unbeaten in his current campaign of three starts, making most of the pace in all three wins, scoring decisive victories over My Field Marshal in the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton (rating 1.51.9 over 1720m), beating Ameretto and Tiger Tara in the 2240m Victoria Cup at a 1.53.2 rate at Melton and smashing the track record when he rated 1.55.4 in defeating My Field Marshal in the Yarra Valley Cup over 2650m. Lennytheshark is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and Alford should be able to send him to an early lead, with the drivers of his inside runners Majordan (Luke McCarthy) and Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) expected to be happy to enjoy handy runs on the pegs behind the champion. Voak said that he expected Vultan Tin (a runaway winner in considerably weaker company over 2536m two starts ago) to slot in three back on the pegs and was hopeful that the Phil Costello-trained six-year-old would finish in the top four or five. Tiger Tara (barrier seven) and Motu Premier (No. 9) have excellent place prospects. Tiger Tara, to be driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Kevin Pizzuto, is in splendid form and his past 19 starts have produced 11 wins and five placings. He has won twice and been placed three times from his five starts in his current campaign. Tiger Tara dashed to the lead 100m after the start and set a brisk pace when a neck second to Ultimate Machete in the $234,000 Group 1 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday. That followed his outstanding third behind Lazarus and Jacks Legend in the 3200m $800,000 New Zealand Cup three days earlier when he worked hard in the breeze, broke into a gallop 800m from home and lost four lengths in dropping back to eighth before recovering to run on from seventh with 200m to travel. Before his two excellent New Zealand runs, Tiger Tara had worked hard, three wide and then in the breeze, at his two previous outings before scoring in fine style over 1609m at Menangle, with times of 1.51.3 and 1.51.8. Motu Premier, to be handled by dual Inter Dominion winning driver Chris Lewis for trainer Ross Olivieri, fared badly in the draw and faces a very difficult task from the outside in the field of nine.           “It looks tough from out there,” said Lewis. “But I expect Motu Premier to perform well in the series.” Gary Hall Jnr said that Ohoka Punter also faced a difficult assignment from barrier six. “However, if he draws to lead in the remaining heats he will prove hard to catch,” he said. An interesting runner is the Greg Bond-trained nine-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who has not raced for seven weeks, since finishing a well-beaten 11th behind Shandale at Gloucester Park. That followed a close-up second to Run Oneover at his previous outing, five weeks earlier.   Ken Casellas

THE old boy seems to be getting quicker.  At least that’s what the clock says about the great Lennytheshark.  David Aiken’s eight-year-old smashed the clock despite showing his wayward and wobbling racing ways again in today’s $30,000 Group 3 Yarra Valley Cup – his last lead-up run to the start of the Perth Inter Dominion on November 24. Lennytheshark paced the marathon 2650m trip in a scorching 1min55.3sec mile rate. It smashed the previous track record of 2min0.1sec set by retired star Restrepo in last year’s Cup. Most remarkably, Lennytheshark roared home his last two splits in 26.9 and 27.3sec. It was his third sparkling victory from as many starts this campaign. Knowing he had his main rival, My Field Marshal, parked outside him, driver Chris Alford poured on the pressure down the back straight. As he so often does, Lennytheshark wobbled, hung-out, drifted-in and looked oh so wayward at times. But he was simply a class above them and won by 3.9m. Driver Anthony Butt had to make a midrace move from a trail to sit parked on My Field Marshal once Alford had found the lead and was able to dictate. My Field Marshal never looked like winning, but ran yet another gallant race for second. He’ll be glad to see Lennytheshark head west as My Field Marshal stays in Victoria for some other country cups. Talented sit-sprinter Tee Cee Bee Macray sustained a booming three-wide run around them in those blistering closing splits and ran one of his best races for a close third. And former Kiwi stayer Messini, who returned to form winning the Swan Hill Cup at his previous run, franked that form with a strong fourth. Adam Hamilton

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