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DOVER, Del. --- Kiss Dont Bite won the 1:51.2 photo finish and was greeted by Santa Claus in the winner's circle after winning the $18,000 Mares Open Pace on Monday, December 15 at Dover Downs. After three second-place finishes in her last four starts, Vic Kirby steered Kiss Dont Bite to victory besting odds-on favorite For The Ladies N (Tim Tetrick) and Handsoffmycookie (Trace Tetrick) in the week's top distaff feature. In The Red owns the four-year-old Four Starzzz Shark-Kiss Me Once Again campaigner who won for the fifth time this year upping her bankroll to $63,680 in 2014 and $294,805 lifetime. In the $14,500 3,4&5-Year-Old Female Winners-Over sub-feature, Harvey Eisman, Bert Hocksprung and Erving Miller Stable's 11-1Twin B Heartland gave driver Marcus Miller his third win on the card when the Bettor's Delight-Twin B Intimate four-year-old roared down the lane for a 1:54.1 success, the second for trainer Nick Surick. Sophia Seelster (Corey Callahan) finished second while front-pacing McArma (Ross Wolfenden) held on for third. Marcus Miller had his biggest win night at Dover Downs making the winner's circle three times as did Vic Kirby. Tony Morgan and Allan Davis chipped in with two wins each while trainer Nick Surick and owner Ervin Miller Stables also had doubles. During this week, Wednesday and Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. The annual Dover Downs Christmas Break Week beings this Friday, Dec. 19. There is no live racing until racing resumes on Sunday, Dec. 28. There is no charge for parking or admission when visiting Dover Downs. Leading harness and thoroughbred simulcasts are featured from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight daily in the Dover Downs Race and Sports Book. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs  

TOP Tasmanian harness racing trainer Barrie Rattray had hopes for Blue Pointer last season and while he performed well he didn't quite live up to expectations. But at the TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night Blue Pointer finally delivered on the promise he showed early on by winning the $20,000 City of Launceston Cup over 2698 metres and in track record time. Blue Pointer recorded a mile rate of 1m.59.07 that smashed the previous best set by star New Zealand three-year-old Elect To Live that clocked a rate of 1m.59.7 seconds in the 2002 Australian Derby. Rattray said he was not surprised by the son of Four Starzzz Shark's win, despite starting at double figure odds, but the time was quite unexpected. "I was concerned that he might not have enough high speed but I knew that he'd stay the distance," Rattray said. "He's a horse that promised a lot as a three-year-old but didn't really deliver." "Now he's finally going like he should," the trainer said. Blue Pointer paid $12.50 but won like an odds-on chance. It was a perfect drive from the trainer's son Todd Rattray. "Todd made all the right moves at the right times - it was a great drive,' Rattray said. Todd had Blue Pointer settled three-back the fence but midrace he eased into the one-out line and made his move three-wide heading down the back straight and cruised to her front 400 metres from home. The five-year-old then staved off all challenges and went on to score by 3.9 metres from Outback Mach (Gavin Lang) with Riverboat Jasper three metres away third. The trainer is undecided as to whether he will back Blue Pointer up in next Sunday's $40,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart. "I'm not sure about taking him to the Tasmania Cup - the horse has already come a long way in a short space of time (this preparation)," he said. Blue Pointer began his racing career as a three-year-old and won five times with three in successive wins coming at the end of the 2012-13 season. He won his next two starts as a four-year-old before being sent for a four-month spell. But after three starts he was dispatched to the spelling paddock in February and didn't return to the racetrack until October. This time in he has won five from seven and recorded sub two-minute mile rates four times with his best a 1.58.3 in winning a C5-C7 pace in Hobart over 2090 metres on November 09. Peter Staples

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 27, 2014 -- The Lunch Pail powered to the front and rolled to a comfortable victory in a career-best 1:51.1, fastest in Wednesday's $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers was contested over three divisions, with Sean Liam Q and Brioni also taking $20,000 splits. Eric Ledford enjoyed a stake double behind The Lunch Pail and Sean Liam Q. The Meadows will host the championships for all eight stallion series divisions Sept. 8-9. The Lunch Pail dueled with Avalanche Hanover before grabbing the lead and allowing his rival to stalk from the pocket. But Avalanche Hanover couldn't cut into the margin late and settled for second, 1-1/2 lengths back, with Hemingway third. "I wanted to cut it with him," Ledford said. "Last time he was out here he raced really well on the front end. We got away with a pretty nice second quarter, so things worked out pretty good." Joe Holloway trains The Lunch Pail, a Yankee Cruiser-Noble Marty gelding, for Michael Ouriel. Looped while vying for the early lead, Sean Liam Q persevered and prevailed handily in 1:51.2, 2-1/2 lengths better than the rallying Stone Cold Shark. Jins Shark earned show. "We got strung out in a 26.3 quarter -- that wasn't my objective," Ledford said of the son of McArdle-Taylor Lou Q. "We were committed to the front after that. But he was pretty strong, considering the fractions." Ross Croghan conditions Sean Liam Q for Steve Stewart, Bourbon Creek Stable, Donald Robinson and Michael Robinson. Brioni competed in the Adios at The Meadows, and while he couldn't go with that crowd, he favorably impressed Mike Wilder. "Obviously, he was up against some of the toughest horses in the country, and he wasn't humiliated in any way," Wilder said. "When you get a horse like that in the stallion series, you're pretty confident you have a pretty good shot. He was push button." Buoyed by that observation, Wilder sent Brioni on a quarter-pole move that carried him to victory in 1:52.2, 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Bristol Bay. Well Said Stride completed the ticket. Robin Cruise trains the son of Four Starzzz Shark-Armbro Bahama for owner/breeder Ronald Michelon. In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Cowgirl Hall matched her own track record for older mares -- a mark she shares with Daylon Miracle -- when she scored a front-end victory in 1:52.4. ER Ellie was 8 lengths back in second, with True Day Dream third. Dave Palone drove the 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Centerfold Hall for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable. Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and Michael Rosenthal. Cowgirl Hall extended her career bankroll to $579,463. Dan Rawlings drove five winners on the 16-race card while Palone and Wilder each fashioned a triple. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday, when the card features the Tarport Effrat, a $199,980 PA Sires Stake for sophomore colt and gelding pacers with a field headlined by Adios winner McWicked. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

While relaxing in a paddock after another successful season, outstanding mare Frith is set to deliver more exciting news…well sort of! Frith’s first foal is due within the next few weeks via a surrogate mother. The youngster, which is destined to be a sales topper, is by boom sire Mach Three. “She’s out for roughly two months now, but she will still be providing us with a highlight during that time,” trainer Bruce Harpley explained. “Because she had such a long break after the Breeders’ Crown last year, Bernie and Dianne (Kelly, owners) put her in foal to Mach Three. “Now the surrogate mother is due to foal next month, so it will be interesting to see if she has a colt or filly. “If it can turn out to be anywhere near as good as its mum, then we can look forward to plenty more good times.” The unborn youngster will have a massive shadow to step out from given the extent of Frith’s feats. A daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, Frith boasts 29 wins and eight placings from 38 starts, including consecutive Breeders’ Crown Finals – the most recent coming at Tabcorp Park Melton last Sunday. With Harpley in the cart, Frith was quickly angled away from the inside of the second row to be three-wide and pushing forward at the start as Arma Xpress set the early pace. Allowed to stroll to the front during the middle stages, Frith was never fully extended on her way to a three-and-a-half metre win from The Baggy Green. From dual Breeders’ Crown winner Lady Waratah, The Baggy Green was also bred by the Kellys. After working overtime in the ‘death seat’, Im Smouldering was two metres away third. “As much as it is a thrill to win such a big race, it’s also a relief to get the job done,” Harpley said. “It can look easy on paper, but it’s never the case as you’ve still got to get out there and perform at your best. “She had to work a little more than I would have liked to find the front, but she still had plenty left at the finish. “She’s just such an ideal racehorse as she has strength, speed and brains to boot.” Covering the last half in 57.5 seconds, the four-year-old rated 1:56.6 for the 2240 metres, stretching her bankroll to $794,972. To be given “about seven weeks off”, Frith will be aimed at the major mares’ races next season beginning with the prestigious Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “I haven’t spoken to Bernie yet, but she will have about seven weeks off now,” Harpley said. “That will see her back racing about early to mid January, which gives her a couple of months racing to be ready for the Ladyship Mile. “Further down the track, I’d like to bring her back to Melton for the three main mares’ races in May, particularly the Queen of the Pacific. “She hasn’t had a crack from the stand, but I can’t see it being a problem.” Paul Courts    

Harness racing super mare Frith scored win No. 29 at start No. 38 today in the Pet Rock Breeders Crown 4YO Mares Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Punters started the day on a winning note, the Bruce Harpley trained and driven daughter of Four Starzzz Shark paying $1.40 fixed odds with the TAB. Harpley managed to overcome an inside back row draw with Frith, who took a five-race win streak into today’s final. Frith went three-wide early as West Australian Arma Xpress was trying to get away with a cheap run out in front. At about the 1500m Frith loomed up to the breeze and turning for home to get the bell Harpley took the favourite up to eyeball the leader before running past it at the 900m. Im Smouldering worked to the spot outside the leader and Arma Xpress went looking for a breather on the leader’s back. Off the back straight Frith made her move, putting her rivals to the sword and breaking their hearts as the crowd started to cheer. Frith skipped 5m clear at the top of the home stretch before holding off late challengers The Baggy Green, Im Smouldering and Courageousnquick to score by 3.5m in a rate of 1:56.6. Harpley gave an enthusiastic victory salute at the winning post, clearly thrilled to have got the job done. “She’s strong, fast, got brains – what more do you want,” Harpley said after the race. “She’s such a champion. She’s just so strong.” Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

MEADVILLE, PA-- But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." - Matthew 19:14 In all of the centuries of exegesis of that famous Biblical passage, though, no one before the horsemen on the Pennsylvania fair circuit this week would have come up with the interpretation "The two-year-olds get to race, but rain could wash out some of the three-year-old contests." Racing at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville PA this week, the local freshmen got both of their days of racing in - they haven't missed a race yet in 2014. But the three-year-old trotters were washed out on Wednesday - the third time that the sophomores have missed part or the entirety of their action, some 27 races in all so far. The 3YO pacers, though, did get to race on Thursday, so the week "batted" 75%. The sophomores that did get to work, the pacers, made the most of their opportunity, with the fastest Sire Stakes mile of the week, 2:01.1, going to the Well Said gelding Wellsaidanddone, conditioned by Mike Gillock for owner Harry Locke. Wellsaidanddone's driver Brady Brown has come into his own this summer, the 21-year-old already having won 19 races at the fairs, good for fourth place in the current standings. Driver Chris Shaw, the circuit leader, took two of the three divisions of the 3PF event, the fastest being the Four Starzzz Shark miss Allstar Morning, home in 2:02 for trainer Gerald Lee Jr. and owners Kristen and Ethan Spahn. (This division thus had two youthful winning owners in 13YO Ethan and the redoubtable 2YO Mason Shaw, whose La Fiesta also triumphed for Team Shaw.) Both of the Meadville divisional track records this past week came on the trot - remarkable considering there was only one day devoted to trotters, Monday. The freshman Muscle Massive gelding Police Navidad set that division's race record with a 2:06.2 victory in the very first race of the meet for trainer/driver Steve Schoeffel and owners Kathy and Virginia Schoeffel, Lander Stables LLC, and James Reuther. (A quirk in the Meadville books also lists the 2T male Penn Monie Mosie in this category with a 2:05.1 mile, achieved in a qualifier.) The other track trot mark came on Tuesday in the FFA event, with driver Brady Brown again prominent as he hustled the Pegasus Spur gelding Wild Ride to a 2:03 victory to rewrite the line for older trotting males. Wild Ride beat by 1/5 the former mark of S J Better Days; in the FFA pace, Rockabella posted the fastest overall mile of the week for owner/trainer/driver Roger Hammer, with the 2:00.1 time only a fifth shy of Vesuvio Grande's local mark for the older pacing male set. Tuesday's pacing freshmen contests saw three frequent winners for Team Shaw again in Victory Lane, with the Western Terror filly Tropical Terror now the winningest 2YO in North America by two after her 11th victory, this one in 2:04.4. On the colt side, Marshmallow Pulse (at 2:01.4 the fastest division winner) and Nippy both crossed the wire first for the ninth time, putting them among joint leaders for most triumphs by a baby male in 2014. Next on the PA fair schedule are stops on Tuesday and Wednesday at both Indiana and Wattsburg, with freshmen set for Tuesday and sophomores ready to go Wednesday in both settings. Let's hope that at those two stops Genesis 8:4 is more appropriate: ... and the water receded steadily from the earth. From the PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

History says there aren't too many better at dealing with "big-race presure" than New South Wales reinsman Luke McCarthy. On Saturday night McCarthy has a strong book at Ballarat’s Breeders Crown semi-finals meeting, with drives in seven of the eight semis, and he looks certain to qualify several of his stable stars for the rich Super Sunday finals program at Tabcorp Park Melton next Sunday. McCarthy’s leading Breeders Crown chance according to the markets is three-year-old filly Nike Franco, who is a $2 favourite with the TAB to take out her series final. Nike Franco is coming off a brilliant Queensland campaign that netted her connections the Tatts Gold Coast Oaks, the Group 1 Queensland Oaks and a comfortable win in the Breeders Crown heat at Albion Park when a money-back favourite last time out. McCarthy spoke confidently about Nike Franco’s chances in the three-year-old girls’ second semi-final from gate five. “I think we’d find the front. She was unbeaten in Queensland and she’s improved since then,” McCarthy said. “I think if she can find the front then she’s the horse to beat.” McCarthy also has a serious live chance in the two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown with rising star Birdy Mach. Winning his heat on Saturday night however will be tough, as New Zealand superstar Follow The Stars has drawn three while Birdy Mach will start from gate 12. “Follow The Stars would probably be the best two-year-old I’ve ever seen. I’m a big fan of his,” McCarthy said. “With Birdy Mach it will be nice for him not to have to go forward and make the pace this time from the draw. We can drive him with a sit and I’m looking forward to it. “He’s a real high-speed horse so driving him from back in the field will suit.” McCarthy also has Ominous Warning in the two-year-old colts and geldings’ section, the son of Four Starzzz Shark to begin from gate 11 in the first semi-final on Saturday night. Ominous Warning won his Breeders Crown heat at Menangle in 1:59.1 with a last half of 55.1 seconds but was only 75 per cent that day, says McCarthy. “He’s right back to his best, so almost at 100 per cent I’d say,” McCarthy said. In the two-year-old fillies’ semi-finals McCarthy will line up Smooth Showgirl and Bamako Mali in Races 2 and 6. Smooth Showgirl has drawn gate three in the first semi-final, with New Zealand star Linda Lovegrace and Vicbred Super Series champion Niki No No drawn outside her. “She’s got good speed early so it will be nice to go forward and get a prominent position early,” McCarthy said. McCarthy also sang the praises of Bamako Mali, who has drawn gate nine in her semi. “She’s just as good when driven with a sit as she is when she goes forward,” he said. But McCarthy is concerned the Kiwi fillies might have the wood on the Australians this year in the juvenile girls’ section. “I think the Kiwi fillies look pretty strong this year,” he said. Bling It On and Lettucerockthem will both carry the McCarthy polish in the three-year-old boys’ section, with Lettucerockthem drawn gate eight in the first semi-final while Bling It On will start from 10 in the second. Bling It On has run into New Zealand champion Our Sky Major in the semi, but if the promised early speed of pole horse Saloon Passage and his driver Nathan Hurst is delivered then Zac Butcher has some decisions to make aboard the series favourite. For Bling It On, a hot speed up front would play into his hands. McCarthy is looking forward to playing the race by ear, the horse’s versatility allowing the reinsman to go into the event with several plans of attack. “I’ll just see how it the race presents itself,” he said. The 10-race Ballarat meeting kicks off at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria The TAB is offering a $200,000 quaddie jackpot on the night -- for more details visit tab.com.au

VICTORIAN pacer Fon Ess Kay completed half of his Tasmanian mission at Tattersall's Park in Hobart last night when he scored a game win in the Back In Motion Pace over 2090 metres. Fon Ess Kay has only been in the care of Tasmanian trainer Rohan Hillier for about two weeks and in that time he was a first-up fourth in Hobart only a day after he arrived by boat followed by his win last night. The horse hails from the Adam Kelly stable in Victoria but the three-year-old gelding hade done no more than a few trials. "I had my mare Nola Mayhem staying at Adam's (Kelly) stables and while I was there he suggested that he might send this horse to me to try and win his two three-year-old races because he is Tasmanian bred," Hillier said. "The horse was nominated for a race in Hobart and arrived the day before the race on July 20." "Because he is Tasbred he qualifies for two bonuses for winning his first two three-year-old races so that's why he's here." "We are halfway there but I'm not sure about winning another one because there are only three meetings of the season left," he said. Fon Ess Kay (Four Starzzz Shark-Ess Kay Precious) began fairly from gate four but didn't have enough speed to cross to the fence so Hillier eased him back while Strange Conduct rolled across from gate six to lead. When the pace slackened Hillier sent his charge around the field and when the leader's driver Rod Ashwood was happy to hand Fon Ess Kay rolled to the front. Once on top Hillier set a leisurely tempo and when he called on the gelding for the big effort in the home straight he forged clear and hit the line over three metres clear of Strange Conduct with Aboycalledsu hanging on for third after circumnavigating the field midrace to race outside of the eventual winner. Fon Ess Kay clocked a mile rate of 2.03.6. Peter Staples

Allstar Rating scored the biggest victory of her career, setting the track and stakes record with lifetime mark of 1:49 in capturing the $114,175 Adioo Volo Pace for three-year-old fillies Saturday at the Meadows. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Allstar Rating got away in second place behind the quick leaving Marathon Day (Tyler Smith) to the opening quarter mile in :26.2. Gringras then quarter moved to take command. Behind them Southwind Silence had made a break and forced race favorite Gallie Bythe Beach (David Miller) wide. Miller then came on and took the lead with Gallie Bythe Beach over Allstar Rating and the cut the mile to the half in :53.2 and the three-quarters in a blistering 1:20.3. Then on the final turn, Gingras came back with Allstar Rating and blew by Gallie Bythe Beach en route to scoring a four length romp. Also Encouraging (Brett Miller) was able to come on for second place with Marathon Day third. Gallie Bythe Beach faded to fifth place. “Last week I thought she was a winner heading for home,” said Yannick Gingras of Allstar Rating, “then in the last little bit she gave up on me. Ronnie (Burke) trained her himself this week and he said to just put her in play and she would be fine. I saw David (Miller) was coming (Gallie Bythe Beach) and I wanted to cut the mile but he has a great mare so I had no trouble following them. I know how the other horses are so I took my shot and went to the lead on the final turn. I was asking her at the end so I don’t know if she had any more left but she did fine. She is a good mare.” It was a lifetime mark for Allstar Rating and the third win this year for the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark. She is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and the JJK Stables. She paid $9.40 to win. Her time of 1:49 surpassed the track record of 1:49.1 that was set in 2012 by Big McDeal and also rewrote the stakes record of 1:49.3 that was set by Major Look in 2012. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

They’re on their way. The powerful New South Wales harness racing stable of Belinda and Luke McCarthy were to the fore at Menangle on Tuesday, winning three Breeders Crown heats, and the Cobbitty yard is sure to be strongly represented at next month’s semi-finals in Victoria. Ominous Warning captured the first race at Menangle, the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Heat 6, defeating Francisco De Gore by a half-neck in a 1:59.1 mile rate with a last quarter of 26.8 seconds and a last half of 55.1. The son of Four Starzzz Shark found the lead easily early in the 2300m race before churning out comfortable early sectionals. Driver Luke McCarthy got busy on Ominous Warning late in the home straight as Francisco De Gore ascended down the outside, the $1.10 favourite holding on for a narrow win over the fast-finishing $40.10 outsider. Another few strides and the result probably went the other way, so punters won’t be sacking the second horse in a hurry. Lettucerockthem showed in Race 2, the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat 5, that he’s in seriously good form. The son of Art Major scored an easy victory, the final 5.4m winning margin not a true indicator of the dominance with which Lettucerockthem handled Tuesday’s competition. Luke McCarthy kept peeping over his shoulder time and again in the straight aboard Lettucerockthem to see Ideal Legacy’s driver hard at work, while the rest of the field might as well have been in another race. Consequently, Lettucerockthem never had to leave second gear, clocking a mile rate of 1:58.3 and a last quarter of 28.4. Flying filly Bamako Mali then gave the McCarthys a third crown heat win for the day in a blistering 1:57.9 in heat six of the two-year-old fillies’ division. McCarthy took Bamako Mali to the front at the top of lane and she dashed clear before late challengers came from all corners in the last 50m. The race commentator commented “she was no good thing” but as is her style Bamako Mali lifted when challenged and held on by a head over Ameretto with a similar distance to Butterfly Princess in third. “Someone told me it was only 0.7 seconds outside the track record,” McCarthy said (Sheezallattitude holds the two-year-old fillies’ record for the 2300m start with a 1:57.2 set in 2010). “She’s got a great will to win. The other one almost headed her. I’d say it levelled up but she fought back. She’s a great trier.” Bamako Mali has won nine of 13 starts and been placed second or third at the other four. On Ominous Warning McCarthy said the gelding had pulled up “a little bit sick” after his recent Breeders Challenge defeat. “We were disappointed not to win that,” he said. “Luckily we were able to get him right in time for yesterday. “Ominous Warning is pretty good. He was still probably a bit underdone yesterday.” McCarthy said Lettucerockthem was potentially in career-best form. “He’s probably in the best form he’s been in since he was a two-year-old,” he said. “I felt he travelled really good throughout yesterday.” Other Breeders Crown heat winners at Menangle were Saloon Passage for Nathan Hurst in the three-year-old boys’ sixth heat, winning by 10.5m in a rate of 1:55.7, and Ocean Diva for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick and driver Blake Fitzpatrick by a short half-head over Starzzzinthenight in 1:59.5 in the three-year-old fillies’ fifth heat. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Champion New South Wales mare Frith added the Harness Breeders (Vic) Jane Ellen to her list of feature race wins at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. The six-time Group 1 winner found the lead comfortably from the 2240m start before controlling the race to score by 2.6m over runner-up The Good Times, with Broadways Best rocketing home for third. Frith, a Bruce Harpley-trained daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, has now won 26 from 35 race starts. Frith’s winning mile rate was 1:56.7. She finished with a last half-mile of 55.7 after splits of 29.8, 30.2, 27.6 and 28.1. Emma Stewart’s The Good Times was given a cushy run by Gavin Lang on the back of the favourite before using the sprint lane to run second. Chris Alford steered in-form Broadways Best into third, powering down the outside late to edge out Beauty Secret, which ran fourth, while Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling wound up fifth. Frith already boasts Group 1 victories in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. She will be looking to add a second Breeders Crown success to her resume next month after taking out the three-year-old fillies’ title last year. Frith Father-son combination Ross and Greg Sugars won the first three races on Friday night’s program. Illawong Magic kicked off proceedings with a 3.7m win in the Granny Reilly Performance Mix Vicbred Trot. The seven-year-old gelding found the lead early and never looked like losing, pinching a break approaching the home bend before holding off David Van Ryn pair Paris Pepperell and Enjoy A Coldie in the home straight. The Sugars’ team then combined for success with Bettor Rock On in the first heat of the Tabcorp Park Melton Winter Championship. Punters who took the short odds for the son of Bettors Delight were surely sweating with 50m to go, as Bettor Rock On was taking forever to reel in Tandias Bromac. But the $1.10 shot poked his head in front just in time to win by the narrowest of margins. Bettor Rock On posted sectionals of 29.0, 29.9, 28.5 and 28.4, with his mile rate a slick 1:54.9. Mulgrave then made it three from three for Team Sugars, defeating Gotta Go Henry in the Alabar 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. Mulgrave won by 2.8m in a mile rate of 1:58.3. The in-form David Aiken stable absolutely dominated the Granny Reilly Sole Mate Mix Trot over 2240m, Thanesan defeating stable-mate Vics Cheval by 5.1m. Junior driver Josh Aiken, who drove his first Group 1 winner last weekend, steered the winner, while his father David drove the second horse over the line. Amanda Grieve and Chris Alford combined to win the Granny Reilly Perfect Pacer Pace over 2240m with Magical Telf, who scored a half-neck win over Teo Enteo. Long odds-on favourite Almost El Eagle took out heat two of the Winter Championship for Steve Duffy and John Caldow. Ginger Bliss made it a winning double for Josh Aiken with victory in the Granny Reilly Maintain Mix Pace over 1720m, the talented four-year-old clocking 1:55.3 to beat Exciteusinthecity by 1.2m. Ginger Bliss found the lead early and dictated terms before cranking things up in the last half-mile, with third and fourth splits of 27.7 and 27.9 for a 55.6 last half. Exciteusinthecity ran a bottler of a race for Tim McLean, while Washmepockets poked through for third for Haydon Gray. Our Twentyten showed he is right on song for the Trotters Derby with an 8.9m win in the Redwood Day 20 July 3YO Trot, the Brent Lilley-trained son of Muscles Yankee defeating runner-up One Over Da Moon and third placegetter Daenerys Targaryen. The last race on the card, the Book Now For Breeders Crown 2YO Trotters Handicap, saw Greg Sugars snare win number four for the night and gave Lilley a winning double when My Arya got the chocolates. My Arya was the only filly off 10m in the race, the daughter of Angus Hall stepping sweetly early and trotting perfectly throughout to score by 2.3m over debutant Shared Interest (Nathan Jack), who ran a crackerjack race on debut and will be winning soon, while Sheza Amason was about 20m away in third. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

MIGHTY mare Frith has given trainer-driver Bruce Harpley plenty of headaches in the past six months. "If you went and watched her work you’d wonder if she could ever win anything," grinned Harpley after the four-year-old led most of the way to win Sunday’s Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge for four-year-old mares. Plagued with the widest draw at the top of the track, Harpley made his intentions clear from the start, racing wide until he found the front after his biggest danger, Priceless Gem, went straight to the early lead. The daughter of Four Starzzz Shark then gave nothing else a chance, rating 1:57.7 for her last mile, with a scintillating last half of 54.6 seconds (splits of 27.2 and 27.4 seconds) to easily account for the fast-finishing Bold Life (Jim Douglass) and the plucky Priceless Gem (Daniel Jack). Frith’s 1:57.7 was a track record, breaking Grin For Miss’s track record of 1:58.5 set on June 14, 2014. Owner Dianne Kelly said it was a huge relief to win as Frith had given them a few concerns in recent weeks. "Breaking a track record is a bonus and there would be no-one on this track today happier than my husband Bernie and Bruce [Harpley]," said Kelly. Harpley said he was just happy to get such a great horse back from the Kellys so he could continue was has been a wonderful association. Frith has now won more than $700,000 with 25 wins from just 34 starts in an amazing career which looks far from over. Frith   By Michael Court (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

Given how well Lennytheshark is going, his rivals are probably going to need a bigger boat to stop the David Aiken-trained star's ascent at Melton on Friday night. Lennytheshark is at the top of his game leading into the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final. His trainer is thrilled with the progress of the four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, who is about $1.30 to make it six straight Tabcorp Park Melton successes in Race 11 (from gate six). “I’m rapt with how he’s going. He hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Aiken said. Lennytheshark has looked downright lethal this time in, putting his rivals to the sword time and again. His win in the Rising Stars Championship on May 16 was terrific, coming in first by over 10m in 1:55.7. At his next start in the 4YO and 5YO Championship (Group 2) he romped in again by over 10m, this time humbling a first-rate field including Inky Cullen, Chilli Palmer, Magical Telf and Restrepo in 1:56.5. At his most recent outing on June 18 in the Super Series heat, Lennytheshark beat Ginger Bliss by 1.9m with a further 10m back to top-liner Guaranteed in third. Lennytheshark was initially headed by firebrand beginner Ginger Bliss on that occasion but soon assumed the front, driver Chris Alford then putting his foot on the brake and dictating terms. Easy sectionals of 31.3, 30.7, and 30.2 allowed Lennytheshark to sprint to the line with a final quarter of 26.3, clocking a mile rate of 1:58.4 for the 2240m trip. On Friday night Lennytheshark has avoided a repeat clash with Guaranteed and Ginger Bliss, those two drawing to face each other in the other four-year-olds’ semi-final. Aiken is enjoying the ride with Lennytheshark and hopes the winner of 13 from 28 starts will go on to have a sparkling career at the very top. “The hope is that he’ll be able to go on and be a Grand Circuit performer. He’s just got so much ability. He’s a really genuine racehorse,” Aiken said. Meanwhile, Aiken has several other runners on Friday night hoping to qualify for Vicbred finals. It kicks off with two-year-olds Mammals Spark (Race 3 No.12) and Show Me The Bling (Race 4 No.13). “Mammals Spark is still in a learning process but he’s really improved,” Aiken said. “Show Me The Bling has a stack of ability. He’s probably got as much ability as anyone in the series, he just can be a little bit erratic.” In the three-year-old males’ division Aiken will have two semi-finalists in Bryce Cooper (Race 5 No.1) and Epaulette (Race 5 No.3). “I’m very happy with both of them,” Aiken said. “They’re pretty even.” Earth Angel (Race 6 No.5) will fly the Aiken flag in the four-year-old mares’ semi-final. She will be hoping to turn the tables on Our Femme Fatale, which defeated her narrowly last time out. “Her run in the heat was really good and then we just got beaten last start. And I actually think the inside might not have been that great, so that should be a good guide as to how the series is progressing.” In Race 7 Aiken has Jedi Mind (Race 7 No.5). “I was happy with his first run for us. He’s a nice horse. It’s a tough race but he should go well.” In the three-year-old girls’ division Smiling High (Race 8 No.9) will start from the back row in her bid to upstage power fillies Mindarie Priddy and Bettor Downunder. “A bit like Mammals Spark, she’s on a learning curve,” Aiken said. “But she won’t look out of place.” Wolfpack (Race 9 No. 7) has drawn awfully for Aiken in the 4YO boys’ first semi-final against stars Guaranteed and Ginger Bliss. “It will be tough from out there but he’s going really well.” Aiken has two runners engaged in the three-year-old fillies’ second semi-final – Beach Shack (Race 12 No.11) and Quick Draft (Race 12 No.9). “Quick Draft is our best three-year-old filly. She’s got a stack of ability. And Beach Shack went good in the heat.” Aiken will also have consistent four-year-old Wounded in the same race as Lennytheshark. Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The marbles have fallen the way of David Aiken ahead of Friday night's Group 2 University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship at Melton's Tabcorp Park. The Avenel trainer has two runners in the event, with Lennytheshark likely to start tote elect for driver Chris Alford after snaring the coveted pole position at this morning's barrier draw. Lennytheshark, a four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, has returned to the track in great nick this year, winning his past two starts in impressive style. Last time out at Melton he clocked a mile rate of 1:55.7 and won by over 10m, the triumph coming a week after a first-up 22.1m victory over Sapphire Swayze on May 9. Stable-mate Cold Major will start from barrier three on Friday night with Joshua Aiken in the sulky. The five-year-old Art Major horse was shooting for three wins on the trot last start against a supremely talented field, eventually having to settle for fourth behind Wartime Sweetheart, Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up. Kerryn Manning's in-form gelding Gotta Go Yanky will be looking to register his fourth win on the trot and has drawn barrier two for the Championship. The son of American Ideal was too strong for Highview Conall last time out in 1:55.5. Petstock Ballarat Cup hero Restrepo has drawn four for his resumption to racing, the Emma Stewart-trained talent to be driven by Gavin Lang. Dean Braun will have three runners in the nine-horse field, Inky Cullen (barrier five), Magical Telf (barrier seven) and Chilli Palmer (barrier nine). Daryl Douglas will drive the Allan McDonough-trained last-start Maryborough winner Classy Guy from position six, while the inside-back-row draw has gone to Michael Barby-trained, Daylesford pacer It Is Billy, to be driven by Anne-Maree Conroy. The University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship will be run at 8.14pm. Two Group 1 races highlight Friday night's card at Melton, with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for 2YO trotting fillies and 2YO trotting colts and geldings to be contested. The first race on the mammoth 11-event programme is scheduled for 5.02pm. Fields for Friday night can be found here: http://www.harness.org.au/fields.cfm?mc=MX300514 By CODY WINNELL

The number of harness racing mares served in Australasia by individual pacing stallions in the 2013/2014 season makes for some very interesting reading. The usual suspects are near the top of the list but it is surprisingly headed by the first season sire Auckland Reactor. While it was always expected that Auckland Reactor would serve a large book in New Zealand and he did with 212 mares, his book of 182 mares in Australia was larger than even his most ardent supporters would have predicted. A very realistic service fee of $3,000 certainly helped and means Auckland Reactor has been given every chance to prove himself at Stud. Shadow Play served a huge book in Australia of 295 with a further 80 in New Zealand. That was off the back of some great results with his two year olds in Canada in 2013 but those breeders will be feeling a bit anxious at the moment as his two year olds in both Australia and New Zealand are yet to make an impact. Bettors Delight continues to serve huge books with 249 in New Zealand and 125 in Australia while Art Major served similar numbers with 266 in Australia and 94 in New Zealand. Rock N Roll Heaven was well received by breeders, especially in Australia where he served 225 with a further 41 in New Zealand. Mach Three was thereabouts again with 160 in New Zealand and 99 in Australia along with American Ideal who covered 141 in New Zealand and 109 in Australia. The champion North American sire Somebeachsomewhere continued to be very well supported (by frozen semen) with 135 in Australia and 88 in New Zealand even though his progeny to date down under have not set the world on fire yet. Betterthancheddar had an excellent first year as he didn't arrive until late October yet still served 102 in Australia and 98 in New Zealand to give him a great start to his career. The surprising stat amongst the other stallions was the numbers served by champion sire Christian Cullen. He served just 83 in New Zealand and 26 in Australia. With horses of the class of Christen Me, Franco Nelson, Locharburn and Libertybelle Midfrew starring on the track one would have thought he could have easily doubled his numbers. Of the remaining New Zealand based stallions, Changeover stood out with 142 in New Zealand and 39 in Australia while newbie stallion Sir Lincoln did very well serving 114 in New Zealand and 23 in Australia to make a total of 137. Australian stallions to serve large books included Artistic Fella with 182 in Australia, Sportswriter with 155 in Australia and 17 in New Zealand, Always a Virgin with 145 in Australia and 10 in New Zealand, Courage Under Fire with 127 in Australia and 19 in New Zealand, Roll With Joe with 124 in Australia and 15 in New Zealand and Western Terror with 125 in Australia. At the other end of the spectrum, Elsu managed just 16 in New Zealand and 20 in Australia which would tend to indicate that he is nearing the end of his commercial career. MOST POPULAR SIRES IN AUSTRALASIA IN 2013/2014 STALLION                         NEW ZEALAND      AUSTRALIA       TOTAL Auckland Reactor                      212                      182                394 Shadow Play                              80                       295                375 Bettors Delight                           249                      125                374 Art Major                                    94                       266                360 Rock N Roll Heaven                    41                       225                266 Mach Three                               160                       99                 259 American Ideal                           141                     109                 250 Somebeachsomewhere                88                     135                 213 Betterthancheddar                      102                      98                 200 Artistic Fella                               -                        182                 182 Changeover                                142                      39                 181 Sportswriter                                 17                     155                172 Always A Virgin                           10                    145                 155 Courage Under Fire                      19                    127                 146 Roll With Joe                               15                    124                 139 Sir Lincoln (Lincoln Royal)            114                     23                 137 Western Terror                            -                        125                125 Grinfromeartoear                          34                     90                 124 Modern Art                                  -                       111                111 Christian Cullen                           83                       26                109 Four Starzzz Shark                      -                        109                109     When assessing the trotting stallion numbers it soon became clear that everyone was chasing Majestic Son. With 161 mares served in New Zealand and 90 in Australia for a total of 251, this son of Angus Hall looks set to dominate the trotting scene in the immediate future with such a massive numerical advantage over all his competition. Harnesslink media  

Outstanding Queensland six year old Famous Forever/Making Gold mare Forever Gold was a brilliant winner of the $25,275 Harness Breeders (Vic) Make Mine Cullen – the first leg of the huge Triple Crown Series for Mares M0 or better held over a three week period at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday, thanks to a brilliant drive by Kylie Rasmussen. Trained by Darren Weeks at Toorbul, Forever Gold starting from gate three on the second line was set alight almost immediately the start was effected in the 1720 metre feature to circle the field and park outside the pacemaker Beauty Secret (gate two) which had crossed the polemarker Baby Bling. Relaxing beautifully in the run, Forever Gold cruised up to Beauty Secret on straightening and quickly put a gap on her rivals. In quarters of 29.4, 29.4, 28.8 and 27.7 for the last 1609 metres after a lead time of 6.9 seconds, Forever Gold scored by 2.6 metres in advance of a very much in-form Gumdrops from five back the markers in a rate of 1-54.3, with Baby Bling using the sprint lane for third ahead of a disappointing Beauty Secret. Darren Weeks was thrilled with the performance in registering his first Victorian winner, while Kylie Rasmussen commented that “she was always confident throughout the race, especially on the final bend”. It was also Kylie’s first success in Victoria. On a super night of racing loaded with highlight’s, Victoria’s favourite pacer eleven year old marvel Smoken Up (Tinted Cloud/Carnlough Bay) chalked up his 73rd victory at start number 147 to win the Bold David Free For All over 1720 metres with trainer/driver Lance Justice in the sulky. Sent forward from outside the front line to assume control from Five Star Anvil (gate six), Smoken Up enjoyed an easy passage all through the race and although looking to be in trouble on straightening when both Five Star Anvil which surprisingly moved away from the inside and Chilli Palmer (three wide after a one/one passage from gate four) issued strong challenges, Smoken Up rallied as he usually does to record a fighting half neck victory from Chilli Palmer in a rate of 1-58.3 (last half 55.4 – quarter 26.9), with Five Star Anvil a neck back in third place. Quality four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Botswana entire Lennytheshark now with David Aiken at Avenel, resumed off an eleven month lay-off with an awesome display to land the second heat of the choicehotels.com.au Rising Stars Pace for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Chris Alford, Lennytheshark raced by Kevin Risely and son Martin, led throught to score by 22.1 metres in a rate of 1-56.5 (last half 55.8 – quarter 28.1) from Sapphire Swayze which faced the breeze from the bell and Astronaut. The first heat saw Melton trainer/driver Alison Chisholm’s six year old Grinfromeartoear/New York On Sunday gelding Asoka outstay his rivals after racing parked from gate six to defeat the long odds-on favourite Flaming Flutter which led from gate two, with the ever reliable Weallwantano third after racing wide in the final circuit. The mile rate 1-57.1.   Bacchus Marsh reinswoman Amy Tubbs experienced a night of “ups and downs”. After guiding Brunelleschi to a brilliant victory in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trotting Series for TM0 & TM1 class over 2240 metres, she “hit the deck” when tipped from the sulky of Blazeaway Macray in the Make Mine Cullen. Fortunately Amy suffered no injuries. The 1st Heat of the Trotting Series was taken out by seven year old Conch Deville/Smilin Eyes gelding Monsieur Deville for Shepparton’s Geoff (Marto) Martin. The $30,505 Final will be held next Friday By Len Baker (Harness Racing Victoria)

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