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Gippsland horse Professor Tom won a consolation of the rich Breeders Crown series at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night. Bred and owned by long serving Warragul Harness Racing Club committeeman Grant Rathjen, Professor Tom finished strongly to win. The two-year-old is trained by Drouin West's Gary and Debbie Quinlan and was driven by Gavin Lang. Professor Tom is out of the Rathjen family's former brilliant race mare Petes Dream. On Sunday afternoon another Gippsland bred, Our Waikiki Beach, extended its winning sequence to 12 in capturing the Colts and Geldings Final. Bred locally by the Fusinato family, and trained and owned in New Zealand, Our Waikiki Beach heads home undefeated in his first season of racing. Our Waikiki Beach is from the Fusinato's top mare Cyclone Betty. Pearcedale pacer Hectorjayjay, winner of the Warragul Cup earlier this year, won the Entires and Geldings feature, while Cranbourne horse Cruisin Around ran third in the trotting Colts and Geldings Final. These and other horses trained in the region look set to produce an exciting future for Gippsland harness racing.   Kyle Galley

Drouin harness racing co-trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan were successful in taking out the Hygain 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres at Tuesday’s Cranbourne fixture with Bettors Delight/Modern Girl filly Magical Delight. Driven by Chris Alford,  Magical Delight having her seventh appearance at the races showed plenty of speed from gate six to lead, before being restrained to take a trail on Maree Caldow’s well supported Courage Under Fire colt Madeeba which started outside her. After a cosy passage, Magical Delight used the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in the thrilling finish after the pair drew clear of their rivals in the straight. Pablo Santanna (one/two – three wide at bell) finished third 13.2 metres in arrears of the winner. The mile rate was 1-59. Lemnos (Goulburn Valley) based Amanda Turnbull who spends many hours travelling backward and forward to her home town of Bathurst on a regular basis, combined with partner Nathan Jack to land a training double at the meeting with two Kiwi breds – boom Mach Three/Maikona colt Oh Jonny B Good the Condo’s Horse Transport Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres and Monarchy/Amanda’s Gem 4-Y-0 mare Beta Hanoverdakash the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2110 metres. Oh Jonny B Good driven by Amanda, a prohibitive $1.40 favourite, was eased from inside the second row to settle at the rear, with speedy gelding Terra Beau leading from gate three. Following Lucky VC three wide at the bell which crossed to be in the open for the last lap before striding clear on the final bend, Oh Jonny Be Good joined Lucky VC on turning, with the pair moving away to fight out the finish. Gaining the upper hand as the winning post came into view, Oh Jonny B Good scored by a comfortable 5.8 metre margin in 1-59.6, with Holdonsu 4.5 metres away in third place after following the winner home. Beta Hanoverdakash pinged straight to the front from the pole and after being rated a treat by Nathan, was never headed in accounting for Soh Filthy Rich (barrier four) which trailed by 4.9 metres. Always Treasure was 7.2 metres away in third place after following the pair. The mile rate was 2-08.3. Beautifully bred Grinfromeartoear/Counterfiet Girl gelding Fake Smile made it two from two when greeting the judge in the Blue Hills Rise 3-Y-0 Pace over 2080 metres with Greg Sugars in the sulky. Raced by Paul Sequenzia who had so much success with multiple Derby winner Sushi Sushi, Fake Smile trained at Sunbury by Ahmed Taiba  settled four back in the moving line from gate three on the second line, with Lombo Medlyn Miss flying away from outside the front line to lead. Moving forward three wide uncovered at the bell, Fake Smile crossed to lead the outside division in the back straight, but was pushed three wide again approaching the home turn after the leader hung off the track allowing Blue Chipped to obtain an inside passage momentarily. Dashing to the front on straightening, Fake Smile registered an easy 3.8 metre victory in advance of Another Broadway (one/one last lap) and Dependlebury (one/two) in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Whittlesea trainer Charlie Farrugia and reinsman nephew Darren Zahra have enjoyed a fruitful season with a handy limited team and snared the Devilish Smile @ Elderslie Farm Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres with Major Minor, a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Gay And Bright in a rate of 2-00.6. Given a sweet trip from the pole trailing the heavily backed Ian Dornauf trained Royal Shootout (gate three), Major Minor angled into the clear on turning to just hold on by a half head from sprint laner Village Me (four back the markers) and Royal Shootout in a slugging finish. The Caldow’s made amends for Madeeba’s narrow defeat earlier in the night when Bettors Delight/Millwood Touche filly Millwood Brandy scored in the Decron Pace for C0 class over 2080 metres. Sent forward from gate four to cross Bay Tint (gate two) shortly after the start, John Caldow elected to allow Phantom Rockstar (gate five) which had been three wide to assume control hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Enjoying a charmed passage, Millwood Brandy used the sprint lane to register a 3.9 metre victory over Phantom Rockstar and Lombo Idle Belief third after racing in the open from last for the final circuit. The mile rate was 2-02.8. Melton trainer Beau Tindale’s Sportswriter/Full Pleasure 3-Y-0 gelding Egodan chalked up his fifth success (four this season), when victorious in the Hyland Harness Colours Pace for C1 class over 2080 metres. With regular reinsman Rod Petroff in the sulky, Egodan settled with most of the field ahead of him after starting from the extreme draw, with Amanda Turnbull’s Airbournemagic circling the field from gate four on the second line to lead. Set alight racing for the bell, Egodan led for the last lap in defeating Cullen Regent from mid-field and Airbournemagic in a mile rate of 2-01. The margins being 6.1 X 4.8 metres. Melton mentor Lance Justice presently sidelined with a nasty heel injury after being involved in a freak accident at Geelong the week before, landed the Seelite Windows & Doors Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1609 metres with ex-Kiwi 5-Y-0 Sands A Flyin/Zwish gelding Phil Monty much to the delight of the large number of stable clients who share in the ownership. Driven by the stable’s Jason Hackett, Phil Monty was revved up from gate six to lead and allowed to bowl, ran his rivals ragged to score by 7.6 metres from Blitzsuzy off a three wide trail on the back of the third placegetter United Legacy. The mile rate was 1-59.1. Len Baker

Rothacker is a name sononymous with Bendigo and Bridgewater trainer/driver Peter Rothacker son of Inter Dominion winning father Eric, landed a stable double at the Wangaratta HRC fixture held at Shepparton on Thursday January 23, taking both trotting events - Windy Big scoring in the Park View Motor Inn Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres and Gazoline the Frascia’s Steel & Belting Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over the same journey. Windy Big a seven year old gelded son of Wind Cries Maori and Wendy Robyn starting from gate four on the second line was given plenty of time to find his feet, settling with only Prettygirl Lassie behind him, with Unsolved Mystery leading from gate three. Eased three wide racing for the bell, Windy Big was momentarily pushed four wide when Bill Morgan came out aboard Gioiosa Ionica from four back in the moving line, with Rothacker easing for a three wide trail. Taken wide on straightening, Windy Big charged home to score by 6.1 metres in a mile rate of 2-05.3 from Yankee Mara which followed the pacemaker and Prettygirl Lassie, chalking up his third victory in 29 outings. Ten year old Classic Adam/Sues Shadow gelding Gazoline a bold front runner, raced in the open from the 10 metre mark outside the speedy Conchs Critter (barrier three), before taking control mid-race. Challenged strongly by Dabbsey approaching the final bend, Gazoline kicked clear at the straight entrance and after being driven vigorously as the winning post loomed, held on the score by 1.8 metres in 2-04.9 over Conchs Critter and Wildenstein (one/one last lap). An honest horse who always gives his best, Gazoline recorded his 12th success in 126 race appearances. Both horses are raced by Peter and wife Dianne. Quality five year old Art Major/Magic Music gelding Scruffy Major returned to the winners list by taking the Porter Plant Hire Country Clubs Championship for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres at Shepparton. Trained in Gippsland at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan for Debbie’s parents octogenarians Gordon and June who bred him, Scruffy Major had little difficulty in leading from the pole with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Pressured mid-race by the roughie Bon Jovi which was pulling extremely hard, Douglas elected to let him go racing for the bell aiming to make use of the sprint lane on turning and that’s exactly what happened, with Scruffy Major sailing home to score untouched by 3.5 metres in advance of Fiery Count which followed him throughout in a rate of 1-58.7. Bon Jovi held on to finish third .3 metres away. It was Scruffy Major’s 12th victory in 28 outings. The Quinlan’s also notched up a double, with Countdown (Nathan Jack) greeting the judge in the Essential Living Curtains & Blinds Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Trafalgar trotting trainer Chris Hunter didn't have much time to celebrate the win of his horse Dawn Tears at Yarra Valley last Thursday afternoon. By evening, he and his family were implementing plans to protect their propertly from a bushfire at nearby Westbury, which came within approximately two kilometres of his stables. Courtesy of the generosity of fellow local harness owners and trainers, some 25 horses were evacuated from the Hunter property on Thursday night. The horses were taken to the Warragul harness racing track and the Drouin West property of Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who themselves survived the 2009 Black Saturday fires. Along with Dawn Tears, the Hunter family also has such valuable racing stock as Slancio, Stuck In Second, Live In Doubt and Village Cruiser, all race winners. The horses will remain away from the property until such time as the all clear is given. As of Friday afternoon, the Hunter's were anxiously awaiting further advice on what the weather would do, regarding wind direction, and where that would take the fire after it flared again in the Friday heat. Some 20 fire trucks, assisted by waterbombing aircraft, have been battling the flames since the fire was sparked by lightning strikes overnight on Wednesday. Once the fire is under control, Chris and his reinsman son Glenn will be able to reflect on Dawn Tears win last week. Despite the stifling heat, Dawn Tears produced a brilliant winning performance after some recent unlucky runs. Although the mare has only won two races from 34 starts, she has earned connections minor prizemoney on a further 15 occasions, so with a little more luck her winning ratio could have been greater. Dawn Tears is by a trotting sire, however her mum was a pacer. Golden Teardrops was a multiple race winner for the Hunter's some 10 years ago. Capping off a good day for local trainers at the Yarra Valley meeting was a race-to-race double for trainer Michael Hughes, who has recently shifted his stable from Longwarry North to Cranbourne.    

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

Drouin West pacer Scruffy Major (pictured) is chasing a rare feat in Sunday's (March 31) $25,000 Warragul Pacing Cup. Six weeks ago the horse returned to rharness acing against one win pacers at Cranbourne.

Four year old Art Major/Magic Music gelding Scruffy Major was successful in taking the $20,000 Imagination Play Eastern Challenge Final at Yarra Valley on Monday March 25 for C3 & C4 class which qualified in the heats held at Warragul, Cranbourne and Kilmore during the month. Trained by Drouin based harness racing trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan, Scruffy Major bred and raced by Debbie's parents Gordon and June Turner came out running from gate four to lead for Daryl Douglas, surprisingly crossing the odds-on favourite and polemaker Flaming Flutter in the 2150 metre feature.

Astute Gippsland (Drouin) harness racing co-trainers Gary & Debbie Quinlan enjoyed a great afternoon at their home track Cranbourne on Wednesday February 20, providing a stable double.

A strong card of harness racing will be held at Warragul on Thursday afternoon (May 24). The Trotters Handicap will provide plenty of interest, with local mare Drop Of Paradise heading the entries in what is expected to be a capacity field.

After several years of trying, Bendigo harness racing trainer Glenn Douglas won his first Rapidvite Warragul Pacing Cup yesterday with Jukebox Music.

Bendigo was the venue for Saturday (April 7) harness racing in Victoria, with a mammoth 12 event program taking place highlighted by four first round heats of the Australian Pacing Gold for Two Year Old Fillies over 1650 metres, all dominated by favourites.

Popular Cranbourne was the venue for Thursday harness racing with most winners coming from the other side of the Yarra Valley. Former South Australian Hombre Higgins which started his career in Victoria, was successful in the Schweppes Claiming Pace over 2080 metres.

Top reinswoman Jodi Quinlan collected four winners at the Warragul harness racing program on Monday afternoon (May 22). Quinlan's quartet were Gentle Force, Mach Robyn, Duck And Run and Red Hot Special. Mach Robyn's victory on debut in the two-year-old was a most impressive one. The horse met with strong support from TAB punters to start favourite and should win further races after narrowly defeating local pacer Ymbro Toto.

The harness racing career of top Gippsland mare Jazzam is officially over. After an unplaced effort at Melton on May 13, connections have decided to retire the mare to the breeding barn. One of the best horses to come out of Gippsland, Jazzam will become a mum later in the year after previously participating in an embryo transfer program.

One of the strongest harness racing fields in recent memory will contest the $25,000 Rapidvite Warragul Pacing Cup on Easter Sunday afternoon (April 24). Local pacing mare Jazzam is attempting to create history by becoming the first horse to win the race twice. But she will face a 20-metre handicap in the standing start race, and a field that includes worthy competitors from across the state.

Breeders and owners of Vicbred eligible horses have been the big winners under Harness Racing Victoria' Vicbred program in 2011. Up to the end of February 2011, Vicbred win bonuses of $1.2m had been paid out ($65,000 over budget) and breeder bonuses of almost $400,000 have been paid out, which is also $65,000 above the original budget.

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