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Harness racing trainer David Jack confesses that he’s not a real fan of hot, uncomfortable summer weather, but he put that aside to make a successful hit-and-run visit to Mildura this week. “I reckon I changed my mind at least a half dozen times as to whether I was going to be brave enough to make the 500km road trip in the searing heat,” Jack said. The mercury was forecast to reach 45 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, and trainers are permitted to scratch without penalty if the forecast temperature is predicted at 38 degrees or higher. However, the professional harness racing trainer-driver, based at Euroa in Victoria’s cooler north-east region, decided that the feature event was ideal for his pacer Deeceeten. After leaving at 12.30pm to make the six-hour trek north west, Jack was actually still traveling on the road when Mildura reached its maximum temperature for the day at 5pm, a blistering 45.5 degrees (in the old terms 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit). “Fortunately, Deeceeten is an excellent traveller and that’s probably another thing that tipped the scales to do the trip,” Jack said. “We stopped at Swan Hill to give him a drink and check he was okay, and then continued on when we found him to be happy and relaxed. “I reckon we become a bit spoilt with the air conditioners in the car.  But horses seem to handle heat and I do think it’s humidity that can knock them about. “After arriving at the Mildura track, we gave him a long soaking under the cold hose and he was fine.” And Deeceeten (Rocknroll Hanover-Lombo Pow Wow (Million To One, USA) didn’t give those who took the short odds one moment of concern with an impressive all-the-way victory in the $10,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinium Country Series H Final. Jack virtually had a stroll in the park, with Deeceeten coasting in 30.6, 31.8, 29.7 and 29.3 over the 1790m journey. The winner was bred by Jack’s step brother Bill H. Thorn and the dam, Lombo Pow Wow, would be remembered by many for her deeds on the racetrack. The mare had 47 starts for 10 wins and 11 placings. David Jack races Deeceeten in partnership with his wife Anne. “I thought we’d placed him well and to come up with the number two saddlecloth helped out heaps,” Jack said. “We did some research and believe that we’ve only ever raced at Mildura on one other occasion —-and it wasn’t memorable as we finished 4th or 5th.” Deeceeten has now had only eight starts, but amazingly they have been in three different States. The gelding began his career in spectacular fashion with consecutive 2yo wins at South Australia’s Globe Derby Park, in Adelaide. “Bill, who bred him, lives over that way so it was fitting for the him to make his debut there,” Jack said. After four starts in 2016, the pacer was tipped out owing to some niggling problems. He came back two years later and was runner-up on two occasions at Leeton, NSW, then saluted at Swan Hill prior to the Mildura victory. Jack said they would have normally travelled home the following day after the races but with high temperatures forecast in the north west, decided it was best to travel in the cool of the night. “He is a very honest horse, but can go better than he shows at the races – hopefully the penny will drop soon,” Jack said. Other long distance travellers to make hot (but successful) trips to the Mildura meeting included Zac Steenhuis, of Portillo (936km round trip) near Ballarat who got a double with Jules Peach and Our Summer Bay; David Smith, of Salisbury, SA (734km trip) who was successful with Glider; and Aaron Bain, of Gawler, SA (690km trip), who got the money with Rocknroll Legend. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Call Me Hector extended a perfect start to his harness racing career by taking out the second of the MIA Breeders Plate heats on Monday night. After a dominant win at Ballarat on debut, the David Jack-trained colt made it two wins from as many starts at Leeton. Overcoming some early issues behind the barrier gate, when he got caught a long way off the rest of the field, Call Me Hector ($1.10 fav) went around the field early and the son of Art Major was never headed. He went on to defeat Ray Walker’s Our Mach Jack ($29.90) by 4.8 metres with Man Hands ($12.00) a further half head away in third. It was another pleasing effort according his trainer-driver. “He went good and I think you can only win your heat,” Jack said. “It was a bit scratchy at the start with a couple of gallopers and things like that. “He didn’t knock himself around, but I was pretty happy with the way he went all the same.” Call Me Hector clocked a mile rate of 2:01.5.   While it was far from the 30-metre victory on debut, the Euroa horseman was unperturbed by the margin this time around. “You don’t want to be winning by 30 metres all the time,” Jack said. “That is just the way racing is some times. “You don’t go out there to see how fast you can go, you go out there to win.” The barrier draw for Sunday’s $40,000 final will be released on Wednesday. Jack has qualified two for the final, with Tygerphinn finishing third in the earlier heat. He was also pleased with his efforts after only being beaten six metres in a faster run race. “He went good too,” Jack said. “He’s an honest little fella.” His nephew Cameron Maggs drove Call Me Hector when the pair met at Ballarat and Jack said no decision had been made about who would drive each horse in the final. Meanwhile, Rob The Bank set a new track record earlier in the night. After a fast early speed, Rob The Bank stormed around the field to better a track record that has stood for almost five years. Rob The Bank ($3.40) hadn’t been placed in his last five starts, but found conditions that suited. The Shane Hillier-trained gelding eclipsed the 1:56.6 record Dash Of Class from January 2012 when he clocked a mile rate of 1:56.5. He defeated Navajo Rocky ($7.60) by 10.6 metres with the third-placed Lombo Hallmark ($7.80) a further 36.4 metres back. By Courtney Rees Reprinted with permission of The Daily Advertiser

Four-year-old Euroa trotter Im Stately won his second Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series harness racing trophy at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, two years after he won his first as a two-year-old. The David Jack-trained son of Majestic Son/Shadows started long odds-on despite his barrier-seven draw in the four-year-old entires and geldings' trotting final and didn't give his backers reason to worry. Jack, who also drove the stallion, sat three-wide early as the leaders sorted their order out. With about 1300 metres to run Im Stately made his move, Jack taking him to the lead from initial frontrunner Law Legend. Once in front Im Stately kept a good gap between himself and his challengers, eventually finishing 4.8 metres clear of runner-up Maybetothemax (Nathan Jack) with Savannah Jay Jay running third for Neil McCallum beaten 5.8m. The winner’s closing splits were 29.9secs and 30.2secs, his mile rate 2:01.5. Ultra-talented Im Stately has now won 13 races from 19 career starts. Watch Im Stately win the 4YO Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Trotting Entires & Geldings Final Cody Winnell

BOTRA Golden Nursery Final night, while damped by the weather, still had a good crowd gathered to see some of the best 2 year old colts & geldings do battle in the harness racing final.   Both Hez The One and Blackntan went into the $25,000 final undefeated but it was Hez The One e (by Jeremy's Jet out of Summer Fairytale -by California Cam) who found the front early and led all the way while his main rival and short priced favourite Blackntan eyeballed Hez The One for a greater part of the race. The pressure was on all the way but when Blackntan began to tire it was left to The Dapper Don and Hilltop Delight to issue strong challenges. In the drive to the line Hez The One mustered every last ounce of courage he had to give. He managed to hold on to take the prize. On the line his lead had been reduced to 1m but that was more than enough to hold his unbeaten mantle.   Hez The One is trained by the very affable Rebecca East. Hez The One is owned and was bred by Graham Cole. Mr. G. F. McDonald is also listed as a part owner of Hez The One.   Hez The One looks set for bigger and brighter things and he certainly looks to have a lot of upside about him.   The fillies ALABAR Golden Nursery Final was taken out by Victorian Call Her Julie trained and driven by David Jack, (by Lombo Pocket Watch out of Lady Jillet Lombo by Mach Three)..   Throughout the race Call Her Julie was tracked by the highly fancied, Emma Stewart trained Secret Agenda. Call Her Julie and Secret Agenda waged a two horse war from the 300m mark but Call Her Julie held sway with Sazee and Caroline Bay who galloped out of the gate making up many lengths as did Unveiled who put in an outstanding effort to finish close up to third and fourth place getters. Unveiled lost a mountain of ground soon after the start, and was tailed off at the very least, 60m. At the end of the race Unveiled was in the chasing group of horses, 30m behind the winner.   Gary Newton      

Local unbeaten harness racing two year old Blackntan treated his rivals with contempt in winning his heat of the BOTRA Golden Nursery at Betezy Park Globe Derby on Friday night.   Blackntan drew the back line but driver Mark Billinger drove the odds on favourite through to be in the running line going out of the straight the first time, but then elected to take off and go to the breeze where he was able to contract the race outside leader Teddy Jasper.   Billinger poured on the pressure down the back the last time and the son of Always A Virgin raced away to win untouched by 11 meters it was his first run since winning the Kindergarten Stakes in February.   Trained by John Hill at Globe Derby Blackntan is the only horse Hill has in his yard, Hill pick the youngest as a yearling at local breeder Viv Clark property, Hill had the choice of two and went with Blackntan and his judgment has proved to be spot on as the gelding has now strung together four wins from his only four starts.   The other colts & gelding heat of the BOTRA Golden Nursery went to south east trained Hez The One a son of Jeremes Jet who had won at his only two previous starts at Victor Harbour and Mount Gambier. Driver David Harding put the colt into the race early when he moved around from last from his backline draw to get outside the leader Amightyfinehorse with odds on pop Lombo Del Rosso pocketed on his inside on the final turn the Amightyfinehorse broke for no apparent reason when it looked the winner at the time, Lombo Del Rosso was checked at the point, that left Hez The One with a six meter break on the corner and he held that margin to the line to win from the favourite.   The fillies heats went to Amen an Art Major filly who led all the way to win by 22 meters and the final heat to Victorian trained filly Call Her Julie a daughter Lombo Pocket Watch trained and driven by David Jack Gary Newton    

Im Stately did what many expected when he trotted to the top and continued to grind his rivals into the ground in a gruelling test of strength for the two-year-old squaregaiters. As the rise and rise of the breed only grows, Im Stately comprises one of the driving factors behind the success of the gait. His natural style is almost hypnotic and despite One Over Da Moon looming up to his sulky entering the straight, he found plenty and kicked away to win by four metres with a further 15 metres back to Bad Habbott in third. Claudys Princess battled on bravely in fourth but was no match for the trifecta in the run to the line. The David Jack-trained victor ran his first three quarters in 30.7secs, 30secs and 29.5 seconds to string the field behind him right out and the tactics were more a thing of necessity according to his trainer. “I wasn’t altogether that happy, it’s pretty windy and he got a bit keen and overraced. I thought I was better off to let him stride than to fight me but he got the job done,” Jack said to Rob Auber on the track following the win. “I heard him (One Over Da Moon) coming and I thought he’ll want be good because this guy doesn’t stop, he gets tired but he won’t stop. “This is very special; it’s the icing on the cake of a long season. You have to be lucky to have a horse with this horse’s ability but you have to keep them up for a long a season as well but he’ll be going for a spell now.” Im Stately has now won nine from 12 this season including similarly impressive wins in the Tatlow Stakes and Vicbred Super Series final. The mile rate was completed in 2:02.0 by Blake Redden Courtesy of 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  

Blitzthemcalder has taken the squaregaiting scene by storm in the last 18 months – and still is – but he has quirks that have seen him gallop on numerous occasions. If you could then imagine moulding a horse to be everything that Blitzthemcalder is, just a little more tractable, you may well have the perfect trotter. If that’s the case then David Jack must have imagined in the right way because before him has appeared one of the most exciting juvenile’s in recent years. Im Stately has all the x-factor that Blitzthemcalder showed in his two-year-old season but so far without the kinks in his armour. He isn’t Black Caviar; he has been defeated. That’s not to say he isn’t building a similarly imposing record either, from 10 starts he has won seven and finished second in the other three, all by narrow margins. By the time Super Sunday arrives it will be almost three weeks since his last run, a crushing win in his Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown heat, and that is problematic for Jack because he knows just how much his trotter thrives on racing. Noting that he can more than handle working with pacers at home – and fast ones at that – he sent him around in a trial against the pacers at Shepparton on August 8. “We wanted to give him a bit of a workout because he thrives on the racing. It was a pretty solid trial, there was no jiggy-jogging because being a T7 heat winner we couldn’t find a suitable race for him,” Jack said. “Coming into Sunday I think I’ve got him as good as I’ve ever had him. “He went very good at Maryborough (heat), I was very happy with his run; he just seems to be doing everything right, he’s strong at the right time of year.” It’s a notion his rivals wouldn’t be keen to deal with. But it’s unavoidable, that on the biggest day of the year, they could be running into a runaway freight train. That’s not to say they can’t beat him, in fact polemarker Daenerys Targaryen is one of the few horses to defeat him in a race and Jack rates her as one of the greatest dangers. TAB fixed odds have been betting on the final since Monday and Im Stately has been backed to the exclusion of all others, firming from $1.80 into $1.60. One Over Da Moon is steady at $3.60 while Daenerys Targaryen remains the only other horse under double figures at $4. For the colt by Majestic Son however, the trail has been blazed and following Blitzthemcalder’s New Zealand success this season Jack is considering a similar path, which would make his charge just the second ever three-year-old squaregaiter to traverse the southern hemisphere. But first he will take one step closer at Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as he aims to win his second Group 1 of the year. by Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)

Very smart Majestic Son/Shadows colt Im Stately made amends for a close second to Kiwi raider Daenerys Targaryen in The Redwood at Maryborough eight days earlier, by taking the $10,000 Maori Legend at Stawell on Monday July 22.Trained and driven by Euroa's David Jack who also holds a share of him, Im Stately making his 9th appearance at the races was given plenty of time to balance after starting solo from the second line in the feature event being held as a mobile start for the first time since its inception, settling at the tail of the field. Gradually making ground mid-race to be poised one/one following Asdenro with David Aiken's Bad Habbott a former Kiwi leading from gate four, Jack waited patiently until approaching the final bend, when Im Stately was eased three wide to give chase to the leader who after being driven brilliantly by Daryl Douglas, tried to gain a break on the hot favourite. Moving on terms halfway up the running, Im Stately's quality told over the concluding stages as he drew away to record a 5.9 metre victory over Bad Habbott in a rate of 2-07 (last half 60.3 - quarter 29.9), with Kapitan Claire running home late from four back the markers to finish third a further 8.5 metres back. Seven year old Artiscape/Eileen Monica gelding Artoc is presently racing in career best form and brought up a hat-trick of wins when greeting the judge in the Norton Ford Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres at Stawell when making his 107th race appearance. Driven by Daryl Douglas for part-owner/trainer Danny Mullan from Melton, Artoc starting from the extreme draw settled four back in the moving line, with the heavily supported Narree Belle from the in-form Ross Sugars barn leading easily from the pole. Commencing a forward move three wide uncovered racing for the bell, Artoc was left on a limb for the remainder of the journey, with Narree Belle appearing to have the race in her keeping at the straight entrance as Greg Sugars went for home. Under vigorous driving in the straight, Artoc responded to nab Narree Belle in the shadows of the post to record a 1.3 metre victory in a mile rate of 2-00.6, with Lucky Dave (three back the markers) using the sprint lane for third. by Len Baker

If Redwood Day was a massive harness racing event last year when rising star Blitzthemcalder strolled into town for the feature race of the carnival, then this Sunday has to be one better.

A total of $850,000 in stakes was up for grabs at Tabcorp Park Melton over two night's of harness racing last weekend, with the running of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for two, three and four year olds.

Woorinen harness racing trainer Vince Costa's impressive ex-Kiwi 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Paula's Way gelding Uncle Wingnut chalked up his 7th victory from 20 outings, when successful in the BR & C Agents Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2170 metres at Thursday's Nyah harness fixture.

Harness racing trainer Keith Cotchin's smart 4-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Milady Sheffield mare Gottahavasheffield resumed with an easy victory in the Harcorp Produce Pace (1st Division) for C0 class over 2190 metres at the Shepparton Restricted meeting held on Wednesday February 1.

The Judicial Control Authority (JCA) today (Thursday 10 December) released its decision on the charges put against Cambridge harness racing driver Philip Butcher for his drive on Awesome Armbro on Friday November 13 in the Group One Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All (FFA) at Addington Raceway.

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