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Successful Shepparton-based harness racing trainer-driver David Moran has every reason to be excited as he looks toward the next few weeks with his boutique stable. Champion grand circuit pacer Lochinvar Art is probably a fortnight away from heading to the trials, while highly talented youngsters Lochinvar Chief and Patsbeachstorm could be seen as early as next week. "I really couldn't be happier with those three. I just can't wait to get back at the races again with them," Moran said. "Artie (Lochinvar Art) had nearly four weeks off and he's returned in really good order. I was pleased that while he was out spelling this time, he didn't get too big. He can be a good doer," he said. "But he usually comes to hand very quickly because he's such an athletic type. At this stage, the plan is to send him around at the Shepparton trials in about two weeks-and then play it by ear as far as targeting some races." Warners Bay NSW businessman Kevin Gordon paid $29,000 for Lochinvar Art (Modern Art-Ponder In Paris (Ponder) after Moran selected the horse at a ready-to-run sale in Sydney. Gordon, the owner of Multicam Routing Systems, is well known for his roles in greyhound racing, but has had pacers "on the side" since the 1970s. Lochinvar Art has won five of his eight starts this season-with his biggest scalp being the Group One $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on February 22. A fortnight later he was so gallant in defeat when runner-up to King Of Swing (Luke McCarthy) in the $1M Miracle Mile in a blistering 1.48. Group One $200,000 Chariots Of Fire Moran then kept the four-year-old ticking over while he waited for a clearer picture as to the impact on racing of the developing coronavirus pandemic. Lochinvar Art raced at his home track on April 21 and May 1 for two strong wins. In the latter of those, Artie established a new track record of 1.53-2 along the way, before the four-year-old was sent to the spelling paddock. His career record now stands at 17 wins, 12 seconds and four thirds from 36 starts for $669,000. "It all became a little hard with COVID, with some of the features being put on hold. It was great that we were able to keep racing, but I couldn't see any real top races for him, so I probably had no option than to give him a break," Moran said. Lightly-raced two-year-olds in Lochinvar Chief (Captaintreacherous - Always a Target(Always a Virgin) and Patsbeachstorm (Somebeachsomewhere -Charissa Tee (Sportswriter) showed enormous potential in their first race campaigns earlier this year. "We got Patsbeachstorm out of the Melbourne sales last year. He's raced by Shaun Kelly, along with some of his family and friends. I think he will develop into a real nice horse," Moran said. "The other one in Lochinvar Chief is owned by Kevin Gordon as well, and he's all ready to go. This horse was great in all of his five starts, but I do think that he will make a better three-year-old. Patsbeachstorm defeated the 'chief' when they clashed in their racing debuts. But then in their next start, the roles were reversed. "There's 10 in work at the moment and I plan to keep it around that number. A casual worker comes to the stables which is terrific, but I'm actually in the process of trying to find a full-time worker," Moran said. While the stable has been relatively quiet of late, Moran still has an impressive driving strike rate this season-finishing in the top three placings at 48%. His stats read: 43 wins and 62 placings from 217 starts for $651,000. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

One of the real excitement machines in Australian harness racing returned to the action at the weekend and gave a clear message that he's again going to be a major player. Four-year-old stallion Lochinvar Art (Modern Art-Ponder In Paris (Ponder) was first-up for four months but cruised home for trainer-driver David Moran to score nicely in the G3 $35,000 Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup. "We were very pleased because the Cup was over the longer distance of 2678 metres and the horse had only been to the trials on one occasion," owner Kevin Gordon said. "David had hoped to get at least another trial under his belt, but they got called off. So, with more racing, he will strip fitter and it won't be long before we see the very best of him," Gordon said. "The horse had a hard campaign last season and has returned bigger and stronger from a decent spell. We've picked out a few nice races for him and can't wait." Gordon said he spoke with Moran prior to the Cobram Cup, and they agreed on a plan to allow Sicario (Chris Alford) to go to the front and sit on his back. "We were just then hoping that we could outsprint them. He certainly showed a super turn of speed and David is hoping he can continue to drive him like that this campaign," he said. Ella Moran tries on the winner’s garland                                (Cobram HRC Photograph) Sicario was returning to racing after competing honorably in the recent NZ InterDominion series with a fourth in the final round of heats and seventh (beaten 15m) in the final. His Cobram cup second was solid after being rated to perfection by Alford. Following splits of 30.2, 30.4 and 28.2, Alford went for home on the corner. Moran was able to shift off the pegs and packed too many guns in the run to the line, winning by six metres with third placegetter Pick Up Line, the only mare in the field, a further nine metres away. Gordon, who rates Moran up there with the best horsemen of our country, paid $29,000 for Lochinvar Art. "David selected him as a yearling and I will admit that we've had some attractive offers at times. But we'd rather have the horse and enjoy the excitement of racing him," Gordon said. "He will most likely have his next start in the Shepparton Gold Cup and then the Group One Bonanza later in the month." Lochinvar Art now has the impressive record of 13 wins and 15 placings from 29 starts for over $331,000 in stakes. The only time he's been unplaced in a sparkling career was fifth (beaten four metres) in the Crown 3yo C & G final at Melton last August-his last run before going for a spell. While the Sydney-based Gordon and his wife Leonie have owned pacers since the late 70s, he is also known for his roles in greyhound racing. He won the Group One Paws of Thunder with Lochinvar Meadow and was also a member of the NSW Greyhound Industry Alliance that took on the State Government over the State's greyhound racing ban. The ban was announced in July, 2016, to come into effect the next year, in response to allegations of widespread cruelty. But lobbying by the Alliance helped broker an agreement for the ban to be overturned several months later. The first pacer owned by the couple was Lochinvar Girl, trained by Vic Frost, who now lives at Sleepy Hollow on the Tweed coast. "She won quite a few feature races including 14 at Harold Park," Gordon said. "We have raced a great number since including the Darren Binskin-trained Our Crown Lady who ended up getting sold to America," he said. "She also provided Lauren Panella (now Tritton) with her first metro winner at Menangle."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Skillful harness racing reinsman David Moran, is hot property at the moment. Moran, based at Kialla, near Shepparton, landed a winning treble at his home track on Monday and four days later was at his very best with a bag of four winners at Wagga Wagga. "To be honest they all did look to be strong chances on paper at Wagga, but we've probably all learnt not to get ahead of ourselves in this caper!" Moran said. "It all worked out okay this time and I think I have been lucky enough to get four previously at Wagga, Leeton and Shepparton," he said. Moran's Shepparton meeting got off to a flying start with the boom youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA), trained by Moran with partner Laura Crossland, cruising to victory in a tick over 1.57 for 2190m. A relative newcomer to their stable, Mamas New Dude (Western Terror USA-Shake It Mama (Mach Three), looked good in bringing up Moran's second winner, taking out the Alabar 3YO Pace. To complete the trio of winners, Moran then piloted the Patrick Ryan-prepared Starsbythebeach (Somebeachsomewhere USA-Maid For You Lombo (Sportswriter USA) to take out the BMW 2yo Pace. (Bendigo conditioner Glenn Douglas, who has his team absolutely up-and-about at the moment, shared the honors with Moran at Shepparton-also landing a treble.) Moran said he was pleased the way Lochinvar Art went about his business. "He had a bit up his sleeve and it was his first start back after taking out the Gold Chalice Final at Bathurst about seven weeks ago," he said. "We're aiming him for the Breeders Challenge semi-finals and final at Menangle next month, so we are on target. "We chose the Breeders Challenge rather than the prestigious IRT Harness Jewels in Addington, NZ, next Saturday because over there we would have come up against a 'handy horseman' by the name of Mark Purdon!" Moran was the punter's pal in his trip over the border to Wagga Wagga on Thursday, duly getting the prize on three favorites and a second-favorite. It was again none other than the Kevin Gordon-owned flying machine Lochinvar Art, getting the ball rolling, zipping over the 1740m trip in 1.53-8. Moran then landed a double for the powerful Stewart/Tonkin team at Ballarat with Victoria Brew (Sportswriter USA-Charlotte Brew NZ (Mach Three) and Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson (Perfect Art). His fourth for the day was for Victorian Gippsland co-trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan, of Drouin, in Rocknroll Pearl (Rock N Roll Heaven-Jazzam (Christian Cullen NZ). "It's nice to pick up a few drives for Emma and Clayton and it's good to do okay for them and stay in the mix because they have a lot of horses going around," Moran said. Moran's four-win efforts are not his best, though - he joined a select group of drivers in March, 2015, when he bagged five winners at a meeting. "That was exciting, and I remember it well because it was the Albury Pacing Cup meeting and I won five of the eight races on the card," he said. The in-form driver is also enjoying a great season as a trainer, with his partner and co-trainer Laura Crossland. The training partnership was formalised recently and has 11 wins, 16 placings from 44 starts. "Laura is a bit under-rated as a driver, because the horses do run for her," Moran said. "I'm always happy to watch her take the reins and I do think it's a bit surprising that more trainers don't use her services," he said. Demonstrating the commitment required of today's professional reinsmen, after driving at Wagga, Moran caught a plane to Shepparton and then drove his car to the Ballarat meeting that night. "The fairytale unfortunately didn't continue - I had one drive and didn't do any good as the horse jumped a shadow and ended up back in fifth spot in the 3yo Classic," he said. Moran, who has been at Kialla for eight or nine years, got involved in harness racing through well-known and highly successful trainer-driver David Aiken, of Avenel. "I grew up with his son David junior. We were best mates as kids," he said. "It was a natural transition to start with the Aiken stable once I finished school."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura      

Shepparton harness racing team Laura Crossland and David Moran have made a golden start to their official training partnership. The couple have shared the load of training a growing team at Kialla for many years, but they landed their biggest winner, their first Group One success, just two days after the joint training arrangement was formalized. Stable star Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA - Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA) made a one act affair of the $104,000 Bathurst Gold Chalice Final for colts and geldings at Bathurst on Friday night. “He absolutely deserved that win as he’s had some terrible barrier draws and bad luck in some of his other big races,” Crossland said. “There’s no doubt that the horse could have claimed a big scalp prior to this, but I guess that’s racing and you’ve got to take the good with the bad. “The Bathurst feature race looked really suitable on paper and we thought, without getting ahead of ourselves, that it was his chance to win a Group One.” Lochinvar Art and David Moran (Ashlea Brennan Photo) There was also gold for another Victorian stable, with the strong Margaret Lee team taking home the Tooheys New Gold Crown Group One Final. Unbeaten colt Jilliby Nitro (Bettors Delight-Kiewa Valley (Safely Kept) scored impressively in the two-year-old colts and geldings event, brilliantly handled by young Jason Lee. Jilliby Nitro posted a career-best in 1:53-8 (including quarters of 27.4 and 27.6) in his dominant all-the-way victory. While Moran and Lochinvar Art headed off to Bathurst, Crossland stayed home to look after the couple’s other 12 stable representatives. “It was certainly a bit different sitting home with our kids watching the race on television, that’s for sure,” Crossland said. “I would have loved being there, but you can’t just jump up and go to where you want to because there’s always work to be done at home. “And besides we have four runners at the Wagga meeting tomorrow (Sunday) and that means leaving Shepparton at 7am.” Crossland admitted that she had a celebration after the race with a few beers. “David was fairly ecstatic and probably a bit relieved as well. And it was not only great for us, but also our owner in Kevin Gordon, who’s from Sydney,” he said. “Kevin has been fantastic. The Chalice is a prestigious race and we are rapt to be able to get that win for him.” Lochinvar Art and all the winning connections Connections have decided against a New Zealand trip to Auckland to contest the $150,000 Jewels. “Our plan is to stay at home and chase the Breeders Challenge in Sydney as well as all the Sires events in Melbourne,” Crossland said. “We thoroughly enjoy any long trips to Sydney because they go out of their way to look after you. They really know how to spoil you. “Lochinvar Art will now have a freshen-up in the paddock. We were in two minds about that, though, because he thrives so much on racing.” Moran got the perfect score of 10 out of 10 for his drive at Bathurst, which just had “brilliant” written all over it. Lochinvar Art After starting from the inside back row draw, Moran was off the pegs in a flash. The leaders rolled along at a steady clip, posting a first half of 58.1, with Lochinvar Art settling second last. Moran made a three wide move coming to the bell to sit outside leader and main rival in Shoobee Doo (Amanda Turnbull).  With 400 metres to go, it was evident Lochinvar Art was full of running with the fuel gauge of a few of his rivals sitting on orange. Moran released his stranglehold and immediately put two lengths on the field, with final splits of 28.1 and 28 seconds. Lochinvar Art, courtesy of four slaps of the rein on his rump, won by 12 metres from College Chapel with a further four metres to Straddie. The overall mile rate for 2260m was 1.54-5. Laura Crossland and David Moran “We got to know Kevin after a horse named Smo (McArdle-Laurent Perrier NZ (Sokys Atom) was sent to us. I think (Menangle trainer) Darren Binskin had him for a while and we ended up with him,” Crossland said. “Smo was actually one of my favorite horses. He was one of the nicest horses you could have, with a beautiful nature. “We won six races with him and then he went to WA. He ended up winning 13 with 15 placings for nearly $110,000.” The Crossland/Moran partnership has since prepared such horses for Kevin Gordon as Lochinvar Delight, Lochinvar Hugo and of course, the stable star Lochinvar Art. Kevin Gordon and Lochinvar Art “Kevin’s got greyhounds as well, but he’s got the harness racing bug for sure with a two-year-old going nicely and a recent purchase of a yearling,” Crossland said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura    

A plan hatched over a month ago to target a rich New South Wales Riverina race saw one of the most spine-tingling harness racing performances seen at Leeton by a two-year-old, on Tuesday night. Young successful harness racing duo David Moran and Laura Crossland headed from their Shepparton base to travel nearly four hours up the highway to Leeton for the $30,000 Breeders Plate Group 3 this week with their unbeaten youngster The Tiger Army (Sportswriter-Scottish Glamour (Elsu). And the colt didn’t let them down with a phenomenal display of his ability. “My heart was racing when we got tangled up with a few of the other horses just after the start and lost valuable ground, but he’s such a lovely horse he just wanted to win,” driver Crossland said. Settling near the rear of the field after the skirmish and at least 50 metres off the lead, Crossland gradually made up her ground to move three wide approaching the bell. “I wasn’t really concerned because he still felt full of running,” she said. Crossland simply changed gears down the back straight and in the blink of an eye The Tiger Army launched wide and dashed to the front to score an unbelievable win. “We actually sat down with the owners after winning the first two-year-old event of the season at Maryborough on December 21 and it was tossed around that we might target the Breeders Plate,” she said. “Then when we won at Kilmore about a fortnight later it was unanimous that we head to Leeton for the series.” After a heat win of the rich series on January 11, it was a confident “army” of followers who travelled to watch the final. The Tiger Army (known as Frank the Tank) has a perfect record of four starts for four wins for over $29,000. And there’s an opportunity to purchase his Captaintreacherous half-brother at the Melbourne APG sale on Sunday (lot 115). Crossland, Moran and some stable owners ventured to last year’s sale after looking over the catalogue. “The ones we picked out were going for too much money,” Crossland said. “One of our owners, Peter Lawlor, and David were looking out the back where some were waiting to be paraded into the sale ring, and thankfully, spotted a Sportswriter colt (The Tiger Army) bred by Lauriston Bloodstock. “Then when he came out into the ring, he looked amazing, so we ended up with him for about $16,000.” Crossland said The Tiger Army was like a seasoned horse from day one and was broken in by experienced horseman Doc Wilson, of Ardmona. “He’s just perfect.  He doesn’t wear a headcheck, he’s in an open bridle and no knee boots,” she said. “In the early days he wanted to get up and go a bit too much, but when he settled down, we knew he would make an early two-year-old.” The rising star is now taking a well-earnt spell before his next campaign is mapped out. “It’s really exciting. He’s eligible for all the feature series and with some natural improvement, we are sure there’s fun times ahead,” Crossland said. His race name seemed reasonably obvious, but just to clarify... Sure enough, the majority of the owners are Richmond Football Club supporters in the Australian Football League competition. But in a strange twist, David and Peter - the two who picked out the pacer- barrack for Essendon (known as the Bombers). So surely, in recognition of their uncanny ability to select a good one, it could have carried the name of an Essendon star like Daniher, Fantasia, Saad or Heppell. “That was never going to happen. It just had to have something to do with the Tigers and a few of us are now wishing we had opted for ‘Dusty’ in honor of our superstar player Dusty Martin,” Crossland, a staunch Richmond fan, said. The Crossland-Moran team has 12 in work, with several more to come back in the next few weeks. Last season they prepared 61 winners, while this season is also ticking along okay with 17 wins, 15 placings from 40 starters. They use an 800metre track, nearby to the Shepparton Paceway, to prepare their team. Speedy three-year-old Lochinvar Art, who ran a brave third to Muscle Factory in the Victorian Derby Final at Melton last Saturday, is likely to contest the NSW Derby in February-March. *Hoofnote: 3yo filly Vena May (Art Major-Tara Royale (Live Or Die) and 5yo mare Share The Road (TinTin In America-High Tops Hanover (Western Hanover) gave Crossland a training double at Bendigo last night. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered charges issued against licensed trainer-driver David Moran under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 216 and 187(2) relating to the nomination of ‘Alla Art’ to race at Ballarat on 19 April 2017.  AHRR 216 states: A person whether alone or in association with others shall not fraudulently or improperly nominate or start a horse in a race.  AHRR 187(2) states: A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. It was alleged that Mr Moran, as representative for trainer Laura Crossland, improperly nominated the horse ‘Alla Art’ for the Ballarat race on 19 April 2017 for the purpose of ensuring the race went ahead and knowing that ‘Alla Art’ was injured and would not start in that race. Mr Moran was also charged with giving false evidence during the investigation.  Mr Moran pleaded guilty to both charges and the HRV RAD Board heard submissions regarding penalty.  After considering penalty submissions relating to AHRR 216, which included recent comparable penalties, Mr Moran’s offence record and the seriousness of this particular offence, Mr Moran was issued with a fine of $2000.  In relation to the charge under AHRR 187(2), the HRV RAD Board considered that the false evidence was later acknowledged and was followed by an admission of the facts. Mr Moran was fined the sum of $500 on this charge. HRV RAD Board – David Moran Harness Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board 

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued two charges against licensed Trainer-Driver David Moran under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 216 and 187(2) in relation to the nomination of ‘Alla Art’ on 13 April 2017. Charge 1 - Rule 216: A person whether alone or in association with others shall not fraudulently or improperly nominate or start a horse in a race. It is alleged that on the On 13 April 2017, Mr Moran nominated the horse ‘Alla Art’ to race at the Ballarat harness racing meeting scheduled for 19 April 2017 when at that time ‘Alla Art’ had suffered an injury and was unfit to compete in a race. Charge 2 - Rule 187(2): A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of this charge are that on 20 April 2017, Mr Moran provided false and misleading evidence to HRV Stewards during the course of their investigation. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an Inquiry today into the betting activities of licensed Trainer and Driver Mr David Moran, including a bet placed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Meeting on 30 January 2015, a race in which Mr Moran was engaged as a driver. Mr Moran again appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including telephone records was entered into evidence. Further evidence was also taken from Ms Laura Crossland (via telephone. Mr Moran was issued with two (2) charges pursuant to Rule 173 (1) & (3) which states: 173. (1)  A driver shall not bet in a race in which the driver participates.  (3)  A driver who fails to comply with any provision of this rule is guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charges issued against Mr Moran are as follows: On 15 January 2015, Mr Moran placed a bet via the Wagering Operator Tabcorp, on BENOAH which competed in Race 6 at the Wagga Harness Meeting on that day. Mr Moran drove that horse and the bet to win was $50. On 30 January 2015, Mr Moran placed a bet via the Wagering Operator Tabcorp, on SMO, a horse trained and driven by his partner Ms Laura Crossland, which competed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Meeting on that day. The bet to win was $50 and Mr Moran drove MAJOR JULES in that race. Mr Moran pleaded guilty to the charge relating to 30 January 2015 and the charge relating to the 15 January 2015 was found proven by the Stewards. In respect of the charge relating to 15 January 2015, Mr Moran was fined the amount of $500. In respect of the charge relating to 30 January 2015, Mr Moran was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence from midnight 28 July 2015.  In determining penalty, Stewards took all circumstances of this matter into consideration and were mindful of Mr Moran’s licence history, personal subjective facts including personal and financial hardships and Mr Moran’s guilty plea in respect of the matter relating to 30 January 2015. Reid Sanders

Talented harness racing driver David Moran enjoyed his most successful night in the sulky when he won five of the eight races at Albury’s Carnival Of Cups meeting last Saturday.  Moran had driven four winners at a meeting previously, and while proud of his achievement, thought it could have been even better. “I have driven four winners at a meeting three times before,” Moran said. “I did it at Wagga not that long ago and I’ve also had four at Leeton and Shepparton, but to get five on the one card was my best. “I went to the meeting at Albury and I thought I could get four and with a bit of luck maybe one or two more. “I thought Grand Anse was one of my better drives on the night in the String Of Pearls and she just didn’t handle the track but it was still a great night.” Two of Moran’s winners were for leading horsewoman Amanda Turnbull, with both Chumlee and Hes Okey Dokey were very impressive. “It was good to get a couple of drives for Amandaand Nathan (Jack), they were in Sydney at the APG sales on Saturday and then had the races at Menangle on Sunday,” Moran explained. “I was just helping out and they will be back doing the driving, but getting a couple of winners for them means that next time they are away I might get the chance to drive a few more.” Another feature meeting will be run this Saturday night at Wagga and Moran expects to be driving at the meeting. “Yeah I’m based near Shepparton and have been doing a lot of travelling lately,” Moran said. “Probably a little too much, but you have to do what you have to do. “With the Wagga Cup meeting this Saturday night I will be back over the border by the looks of it.” I’m working a team of around 10 horses, it is enough to keep us busy.” HRNSW Media

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards commenced an inquiry yesterday into the betting activities of licensed trainer and driver Mr David Moran This included a bet placed in Race 4 at the Leeton Harness Race on 30 January 2015, a race in which Mr Moran was engaged as a driver. Mr Moran appeared and gave evidence at the inquiry. Additional evidence including Mr Moran’s betting records and race results were also entered into evidence. The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed to allow further investigations to be conducted by HRNSW Stewards. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Rising-star reinswoman Amanda Turnbull combined with New South Wales harness racing trainer Dennis Picker to win the first semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old fillies tonight at Ballarat with Just Cala. The daughter of Art Major defeated Spicy Stride by 7.1 metres in a mile rate of 1:57.0, while Ocean Diva ran third for Blake Fitzpatrick and Somedreamsomewhere ran fourth for Daryl Douglas. Just Cala had put the writing on the wall at her previous start when she came from an awkward position to rattle home and run second behind Rocknroll Arden. Just Cala The second semi-final of the Bettors Delight @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old  fillies saw a major upset – with $1.20 favourite Nike Franco missing a place at Ballarat tonight. The Belinda McCarthy trained filly galloped early and lost ground, which meant she had to use up a bit more petrol than first planned to find the lead. Once there Nike Franco was able to get away with a 30.5-second first quarter and a 32.1-second second split, but after they sprinted up down the back straight driver Luke McCarthy was starting to wind her up as Quick Draft and Barynya were on the march. In the home straight Quick Draft finished the strongest for Chris Alford, delivering in-form trainer David Aiken the win, with Tasmanian filly Barynya second (beaten 1.6 metres) and David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina battling on well for third after leading early. Nike Franco ran fourth. The mile rate was 1:57.2, with the last half 55.6 seconds. Quick Draft by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Whereibylong scored a seemingly effortless win in heat eight of the Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies’ series at Bendigo on last night. Driven by Gavin Lang for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Whereibylong finished over eight metres clear of runner-up Our Santa Catalina in a rate of 1:58.6. Whereibylong finished off in a last half-mile of 56 seconds, running her opponents ragged despite not leaving second gear, says Tonkin. “Gavin never had to pull the plugs,” Tonkin said. “I’d actually say it was a soft run.” Whereibylong dominated the recent Breeders Challenge series at Menangle, romping home in the Group 1 final by almost seven metres after proving too good in the heat and semi-final. The fact she seems completely adept on the sometimes tricky Menangle track was a big tick, said Tonkin, and should bode well for her in coming seasons. “She’s a great filly. She came through Sydney really well. “She’ll definitely (go on to) race in open class.” Already a Breeders Crown champion (as a two-year-old), Whereibylong has had 13 wins and three minor placings from 21 starts for prizemoney of $340,457. David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina boxed on for second after working in the breeze, while Charlie Wootton trained Madison Louise finished third for driver Greg Sugars. The other three-year-old fillies’ Crown heat last night was taken out by David Aiken trained Quick Draft for driver Chris Alford. Quick Draft, which started $1.30 on the tote, romped home by 12.1 metres despite working three-wide early and punching the breeze thereafter. Her winning mile rate was 1:58.0 with a last half of 57.8 seconds. Tuscan Breeze ran second for Stewart/Tonkin and Lang, while Kiss Kenny was third beaten 24.1m for trainer Greg Hansen and driver Danielle Lewis. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Friday night was a red letter affair for the Aikens. David Aiken, head of the Avenel operation, trained two Group 1 winners on the opening night of the Vicbred Super Series finals carnival at Tabcorp Park, while his son, Josh, drove his first Group 1 winner aboard the stable’s rising star Eljaykay Phoenix. The 21-year-old looked totally undaunted against drivers several years his senior, taking Eljaykay Phoenix to the front early, and not panicking when headed by Jodi Quinlan aboard Illawong Armstrong with a lap to go in the two-year-old male trotters’ final. The pair stayed one-two for the remainder of the race, with Eljaykay Phoenix proving 5.4m too strong in a mile rate of 2:03.8. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn,” the young driver said after the race. “That’s just unreal. I can’t explain how good it feels.” David Aiken then made it two Group 1s for the night with four-year-old Spidergirl capping her domination of the futurity series after previously taking out the two- and three-year-old titles. Chris Alford took Spidergirl to the front early and was never headed, the long odds-on favourite beating second favourite Paris Pepperell by 7.3m, with the rest of the field more than 20m away. Meanwhile, favourite punters were on song for most of the night with seven of the 10 races going their way. Claudys Princess was one of those, the Mick Blackmore-trained three-year-old filly saluting by 2.2m over Illawong Helios in her Super Series final. The win was Claudys Princess’s ninth from 12 starts and Blackmore will now have to seriously consider taking her to the Derby on Redwood Day. “She’ll tell us,” he said when asked about what was next for the daughter of Bacardi Lindy. Winning reinsman Gavin Lang was thrilled with the success. “While there are a lot of people at the top of the tree who deserve the accolades they get, there are a lot of people down the other end who really make our industry what it is,” he said. “You don’t have to be a millionaire.” New South Welsh visitor Vincennes wasn’t the favourite but was well-supported before taking out the four-year-old males’ trotters final. And with six races being beamed live into France for wagering and broadcast last night, there’s a fair chance the French punters took the omen and made him favourite. Trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick delivered a copybook drive aboard Vincennes to defeat punters’ fancy Blitzthemcalder by 2.5m. Blitzthemcalder sat in the breeze mid-race and took the lead on the home turn, but Vincennes had momentum up after securing an economical trip four-back in the running line. Vincennes’ winning mile rate was 2:00.0, coming home in a last half-mile of 58.2secs. Andy Gath’s young trotter Endsino, driven by Kate Gath, started a short-priced favourite and showed she has a bright future by winning the two-year-old fillies’ trotters’ final. Endsino was over 12m too strong for her nearest rival, Shesa Amason, who gave cheek from her pole draw. The other Group 1 victor for the night was long-shot Imamenace for hobby trainer Peter Cormican and reinsman Greg Sugars. Imamenace sat outside race leader Spidergrace before getting the better of the David Moran-trained horse after a stirring battle in the home straight. Despite reinswoman Laura Crossland throwing everything at Spidergrace, Imamenace proved the tougher horse on the night. Alford finished with driving honours on the night, the Spidergirl victory coming after the champion horseman won on Triumphant Monarch in the first race. Amy Tubbs trained-and-driven Brunelleschi won the inaugural Group 3 Noopy Kisok Trotters Free For All, while Sonofanearl won the Aldebaran Park Monte despite a 20m handicap for rider Riina Maattanen. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

It might only have been her second win from 14 starts, but if she can repeat today’s performance at Tabcorp Park Melton, many more triumphs are in store for Basil Dooley-trained Sweet Wise. The four-year-old Allendale mare by Totally Ruthless out of Little Trouble had no trouble whatsoever finding the lead early, pinging off the arm at the 1720m start in the Jim's Mowing AU Facebook Pace. From there driver Greg Sugars controlled proceedings, Sweet Wise kicking clear turning for home to race clear for a 13.2m win in a rate of 1:57.2. Meanwhile, Spidergrace looked a star in the making with a 9.4m win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings second heat. The gelding, trained by David Moran and driven by Laura Crossland, showed strong pace early and led before racing clear off the back for a comfortable victory. Savannah Jay Jay ran on well to get second, while Tiavon’s Dream was third after slightly missing the start due to a break in the score-up. Polemarker Miracle, who was well in the market, finished fifth after getting shuffled back along the pegs early. Speaking of potential stars in the making, Lance Justice might have unveiled another one in Phil Monty. The four-year-old gelding has not put a foot wrong since joining the Justice stable from New Zealand, with  strong wins at Charlton and Maryborough before today’s impressive 1.9m victory. Justice took Phil Monty to the front from gate one and controlled the speed perfectly before bringing him home in 55.9secs for the last half-mile to register a winning mile rate of 2:00.5. In the Jim’s Mowing Trotters’ Handicap eight-year-old gelding Xanderxav scored an upset victory for trainer Linton Power with David Moran in the cart. The son of former superstar trotter Wagon Apollo stepped well from the tapes to lead unchallenged. Brief Glance made an early move to get to the breeze, while favourite Blitzthemcalder was driven patiently from his 20m handicap. Turning for home Brief Glance challenged Xanderxav, but the leader responded and simply couldn’t be headed. Lleyton H battled on strongly for third at big odds, Lucky Twenty Three ending up fourth and Blitzthemcalder fifth. In the Jim's Mowing 131 546 Pace, eight-year-old mare Broadways Best turned back the clock for an impressive half-neck win over Lance Justice pair Machin Out and Im Barney Rubble. Chris Alford took the Shannon McLean-trained feature race specialist to the breeze with a lightning move mid-race, sitting outside early leader Blazeaway Macray. Greg Sugars then had his go, whipping Villagem around the field and dashing to the lead. But Broadways Best was too strong at the business end, out-staying her rivals in a mile rate of 1:59.5. The 3YO Trotting Fillies’ Vicbred Super Series second heat was taken out by Ross Graham’s Monkey Bones squaregaiter Four Lillies with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Four Lillies won by a comfortable 14.9m over Lindy Vale, with Sister Of Sonoko another 8.1m away in third place. Other winners for the meeting were Nobetterthanthis in the Harness Breeders Vic Pace over 2240m for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, which scored a head win over What A Sheila in 2:03.8, while Gaita Pullicino’s three-year-old gelding Blackwarrior was too tough for his rivals in the Corio Waste Management 3YO Pace, winning by 1.2m over Vinny Chase with a further 24.2m away to Macworthy in third. Pullicino had earlier finished fourth aboard Lovable Larrikin, which showed a win was not far off when he rattled home out wide behind Broadways Best. by Cody Winnell

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