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In-form harness racing mare Starzzz Of Icon has earned herself a trip south. Connections of the speedy mare are heading to Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night following back to back victories at Albion Park in recent weeks. Prepared by Melissa Gillies and her husband Keith, Starzzz Of Icon will take her place in the American Night June 3 Ladyship Pace over the 1609m where she will start from gate 7. Leading reinsman David Morris take the drive replacing regular driver Trent Dawson, Melissa’s brother. But he feels confident the mare can maintain her excellent form. “After going back to back I think she has proven that she is capable of matching it down there, her biggest asset is her gate speed so that should hold her in good shape.” Dawson said. Since being purchased from Victoria, Starzzz Of Icon has proven to be a great money-spinner with the promise of plenty more to come. Boasting 5 victories from 14 starts at Albion Park, the Four Starzzz Shark has now broken through the $100,000 barrier in career earnings. “She’s a beautiful mare to drive and that gate speed is a weapon, both Melissa and Keith have done an excellent job with the mare and she’s still on the way up although it’s getting a little harder now. “She profiles well for Menangle because of her gate speed, they took Beaver down there for his ‘MO’ and his racing pattern is the complete opposite of this mare so I’m expecting this mare to perform well. In the end, Beaver won at Menangle so that’s a positive reminder that this mare can do the same with luck. “Last week, we really had to burn off the gate before handing over and she finished off really via the sprintlane, I thought there was plenty of merit in that performance. After scanning the field this weekend, there are a number of horses with good form but hopefully she can get a piece of it.” Work commitments have restricted Dawson heading south to partner the mare again this weekend. The mare is scheduled to leave today (Thursday). Starzzz Of Icon is raced by Melissa & Keith Gillies, Jack Carmichael, Jason & Ivan Neuendorff, Renee Tomac, Chris Bassingthwaighthe plus Scott & Tyler Davis. Chris Barsby

The Trots Country Cups Championship has been blown open with Milly Perez scorching the Mildura straight to remain within reach of the $25,000 harness racing crown. Larry Eastman’s mighty mare mowed down Major Crocker (second) and Brallos Pass (third) to win the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup, moving within three points of the season-long championship with two cups to run. Im Corzin Terror, Milly Perez and Cardon Merger are among the likely starters for Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, with the Group 3 $30,000 showdown further fuelled by the championship implications. Cranbourne Cup winner Im Corzin Terror holds a three-point lead from Milly Perez (Mildura and Charlton cups) and Cardon Merger (Boort and St Arnaud cups), with four points gifted to a win, two points to second and one point to third in each of the season’s 25 country cups. Saturday night’s Ararat feature precedes Sunday’s Warragul Bowl Pacing Cup, the last of the country cups season. Eastman said his six-year-old Four Starzzz Shark mare was well positioned for Ararat, having pulled up “fine” from Mildura, where she followed a second placing in last Tuesday’s heat with victory in Saturday’s final. “She’s is full steam ahead for Ararat,” Eastman said, adding the championship prizemoney offered for the first time was a big lure. Of the $25,000, $15,000 will be awarded to the winning horse’s owner and $10,000 to the trainer. Milly Perez’s career earnings blew past the $300,000 mark for owner Frank McGrath with Saturday night’s triumph, having been driven a treat by John Caldow, who placed her from gate nine on Murranji Track’s back in the outside line. Major Crocker advanced from last to join Brallos Pass and create a talented front line, which stretched the field with a 27.6 third quarter that dissolved any attempts to create a third row. Caldow waited until the approach to the final bend to guide Milly Perez three wide and come the straight he gradually wore down the leaders to win by a neck from Major Crocker with Brallos Pass 1.8m back in third. “It was a good race and a great carnival,” Eastman said. “The 800m tracks always make for more exciting racing. I was a Mallee boy and it was good to go back and win this one. She showed again that she is among the top mares in this country.” After Saturday night’s Ararat Cup Milly Perez will get a chance to further prove her standing against the nation’s leading mares in the $100,000 Queen Of The Pacific on May 20, when she will attempt to better last year’s second placing to Nike Franco. “She’s right there, right in the top bunch of mares and her high speed is what does it for her, it’s what sets her apart.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Tataria (Four Starzzz Shark) cruised to victory in the harness racing feature on the Thursday matinee card at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Melissa Beckwith-trained mare prevailed last week in her second local start while competing in the $10,000 claiming level and was up in company this week to compete in the $9,500 feature for distaffers. Tataria got the pocket trip behind the race's favorite, class-dropping Milky Way Rae (Billy Dobson). The favorite faltered a bit late and Tataria cruised by in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.1 over a track labeled sloppy. Longshot Post Time Terror (Phil Fluet) came on for second while Milky Way Rae had to settle for the show spot. Tataria, who was driven to victory by Mark Beckwith, paid $5.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $25.60 and $56, respectively. Live racing continues on Friday evening with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Classy pacer Shannonsablast is headed north. Louth Park trainer/driver Darren Elder has begun the trek north bound for Brisbane today (Thursday) with his harness racing ‘stable star’ who starts this Saturday night at Albion Park. Given the current weather warnings in place for much of south-east Queensland, hopefully it will be a trouble free trip. Shannonsablast has drawn the inside gate in the Egmont Park Stud Sprint Lane Open Pace over the sprint distance of 1660m. But whatever the result – win, lose or draw – he will remain in Queensland in preparation for the upcoming Brisbane winter carnival. Elder will have his good friend Mark Dux take over the preparation of the Four Starzzz Shark gelding. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about for some time and I believe it’s the right move to make for a couple of reasons. He’s getting a little older and a change in scenery and training may reignite his form while the Brisbane carnival is looming and having him based there rather making long road trips make sense also.” Elder said. The main targets for Shannonsablast during the winter carnival will be the Gr.2 $50,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 8 followed by the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake a week later. Shannonsablast scored a narrow victory on Tuesday night at his home track of Newcastle in a time of 1:55.0. While the winning margin wasn’t great, Elder was pleased with the effort. “He’s probably entitled to win easier than what he did the other night but he won and that will prove a good confidence boost for him. He’s come through the race well and I think we’ve got a good chance again this weekend. “I’ve always stated he doesn’t go his best races when he leads, he’s much better chasing so I wouldn’t read too much into his victory the other night. Having him based in Brisbane will hopefully prove beneficial as we aim towards the better races in July.” With 22 victories to his credit and earnings close to $300,000, the seven-year-old will be a welcome addition to the local open class ranks. His biggest victory came via the Gr.3 $31,800 Nick Robin FFA at TABCORP Park, Menangle last year while he competed during the 2015 Inter Dominion Series at Gloucester Park in Perth. He has a ‘PB’ time of 1:51.6 at Menangle in 2015 when handled by champion North American reinsman Tim Tetrick. Shannonsablast is yet to win in six starts to date at Albion Park. The Dux stable are no strangers to genuine open class stars having prepared the likes of Benefactor, Hes The Loner, Maximillion, Sunset Candios, Saucy Legend and many others. Chris Barsby

As veteran Wagga Wagga breeder Bernie Kelly looks across his paddock and watches the harness racing mare Frith as she grazes he naturally reflects on all her great wins. Frith gave Kelly and his wife Dianne many memorable moments during her racing career and now they are hoping the seven-year-old mare can continue this success in the breeding barn. "She is certainly the best horse we've bred," Kelly said. "We've had some good ones over the years but she has won the most money. "She had some sensational wins but her win in the Oaks over in Western Australia was very good. "They took her on early and then another horse tried to take her on late but she was just too good for them." That was Frith's third Group 1 win and the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark had plenty more to come. Upon retiring this week, Frith won eight Group 1 races. She leaves the racetrack with a record of 39 wins and 14 placings in 63 starts. Remarkably only finishing unplaced 10 times in her career, Frith pocketed $1,180,345 in prizemoney since beginning her racing career as a two-year-old in 2012. And in the standardbred world this has made her the second richest Australian bred mare in history and the fourth richest mare of all time across Australasia.* However, the curtain closed on this type of success for Frith last Monday. "She had a bit of soreness in her leg and we didn't want anything to happen to her in a race, we wanted her to retire sound so we decided to pull the pin on her racing career," Kelly said. "She arrived at our property on Monday and has been out in the paddock since. "We considered putting her in foal this season but things didn't work out as we planned and we decided to give her another go at racing. "We had a service to Captaintreachourous ready to go and that's still there so I guess he will be the sire we put her in foal to next time. "She should make a lovely broodmare, well I'm hoping she does as I'm not getting any younger, I'll be 80 in June." Ironically just as Frith hangs up the hopples her full-sister, two-year-old Molly Kelly, won on debut at Wagga last Friday. Frith's Group 1 victories were the Bathurst Gold Tiara, the Victoria Oaks, the WA Oaks, the Breeders Challenge Final as a three and four-year-old as well as the Breeders Crown at the age of three and then at the age of four. Frith's last Group 1 win was in the 2016 Ladyship Mile. Thanks for the memories Frith. *Facts sourced from the Harness Racing Australia All Time Richest Stakes Winners   AMANDA RANDO

Victorian pacer Lennytheshark scored a thrilling harness racing victory in last night's (Saturday) Gr.1 $750,000 Ainsworth Gaming Technology Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle, and the 50th edition of Australasia’s premier speed test. A runner-up last year, Lennytheshark ($5.50) sat without cover in the 1609m contest before holding off Smolda ($10.20) by a half-head margin with race favourite Lazarus ($2.20) a further two metres away in third in a time of 1:49.1. The breakdown was 24.8, 30.3, 28.2 and 25.9 seconds. The time was well outside of the race record set last year by Have Faith In Me at 1:47.5. It was the first victory for Lennytheshark on the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The victory was also the first since Smoken Up back in 2010 where the winner of the Miracle Mile has sat without cover – a first over crush! Lennytheshark becomes the 10th pacer to claim the Miracle Mile/Inter Dominion double joining the likes of Beautide, Smooth Satin, Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Our Maestro, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Young Quinn and Hondo Grattan. It was the 22nd victory in the event by a stallion, the Four Starzzz Shark – Botswana entire becoming the first since the mighty Christian Cullen proved successful back in 1998. And Lennytheshark now becomes the highest earning stallion in the southern hemisphere with earnings of $2,560,890 eclipsing Terror To Love. The overall record belongs to the incomparable Queensland champion Blacks A Fake with $4,575,456. The victory provided both trainer David Aiken and driver Chris Alford with their maiden success in the great race. For Alford, he has now claimed the Australian Grand Slam with victories in the Inter Dominion, Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Miracle Mile. Alford joins Natalie Rasmussen, Chris Lewis, Barry Perkins and Brian Gath as winners of the Big 4! It was his fifth drive in the Miracle Mile following placings previously with Golden Reign (1994 – Chokin), Tailamade Lombo (1998 – Christian Cullen, 2000 – Holmes D G) and Lennytheshark last year when second behind Have Faith In Me. The early burn was set-up by Hectorjayjay who charged across the face the field to lead from the wide draw while Smolda attempted to go with him from his inside draw. The 24.8 opening split is the fastest opening quarter in a Miracle Mile. Hectorjayjay led the way with Lennytheshark parked outside him while Lazarus worked into a one wide trail. As the field hit the half way point, the second quarter was timed in 30.3 seconds. Hectorjayjay continued to lead his stablemate Lennytheshark while the All Stars team of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen lurked dangerously. Smolda was sitting behind Hectorjayjay, Lazarus in the one out, one back trail while Our Waikiki Beach tracked Lazarus. As the field passed the 400m mark, the third quarter was timed in 28.2 with Hectorjayjay still in front while the moves were being made behind him. In the straight, Lennytheshark raced to the front while Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach loomed on his outside and Smolda probed for an inside run. Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark failed to surrender and fought off his rivals. The last 400m timed in 25.9 seconds. “He’s an unbelievable horse.” Alford said. I’m so proud of him and he deserves this victory. “He gets the job done, I wasn’t sure at the 100m or 50m mark but he wouldn’t give in.” Lennytheshark is owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin. The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place in the sunshine state with the running of the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. The latest points table for the APG Grand Circuit; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 140 Chris Barsby

A nose cost Lennytheshark victory in last year’s Miracle Mile when Australia’s most popular harness racing pacer was beaten by Have Faith In Me. So that probably made revenge all the more sweeter at Tabcorp Park @ Club Menangle tonight when Lennytheshark prevailed by that barest possible margin, beating Mark Purdon’s trio of Smolda, Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach in the $750,000 Group One Ainsworth Miracle Mile . . . the 50th running of the elite invitation-only race. It was an emotional reinsman Chris Alford who returned after ‘Lenny’ broke the magical 1:50 mark, rating 1:49.2 in a fabulous finish that capped off a great night of harness racing before a massive crowd at the south-western Sydney circuit. Alford has run several placings in Miracle Miles with some great horses like Golden Reign and Tailamade Lombo but will be talking about Lennytheshark’s greatness for the rest of his days after a victory that defied the critics. Trainer David Aiken was just as overcome by this horse’s incredible victory. “He’s had his problems this horse and my name may be in the racebook as the trainer but I can tell you this is very much a team effort,” said Aiken. “I’m originally a Sydney boy and I’ve been going to the Miracle Mile since I was eight or nine years old and I never really dreamed I would have a horse good enough to win it. “This horse is just a dream. He’s has leg issues and he had a foot injury in Perth but we’ve continued to swim him and get him right and tonight he showed what he can do. He’s a freak.” Turning for home the crowd was on its feet as four great horses fought it out tooth and nail and despite Purdon’s trio  giving it everything, Lennytheshark refused to yield as he added the Miracle Mile to his Inter Dominion and a string of other great victories. Lennytheshark is by Four Starzzz Shark from the Albert Albert mare Botswana. He is now the richest pacer ever in Australasia with over $2.56 million in the bank. Amanda Zammit  

After ending last season with a Group One win to his name 10-time winner Charlaval looks set to have another big harness racing season ahead of him. With the Chariots Of Fire the main aim for the four-year-old, connections are undecided if he will trial or race next according to the gelding's regular reinsman Robbie Morris. Charlaval has won his two trials back this preparation. "He's trialled twice now and has had two good hit-outs but Kerry (KerryAnn Turner-trainer) is still undecided if she will give him another trial or just race him," Morris said. "He trialled nicely at Menangle on Tuesday - he led and was a bit docile in front waiting for the other horses but hit the line well." Charlaval rated 1:55.4 in his most recent trial and when ready to make his debut for the season will be assessed as a C6. "He is a good horse and has earned the right to have this assessment," Morris said. "Being that grade won't affect him as he is usually driven back with a sit and if they go 1:50 or 1:51, the harder they go the better for him. "The Chariots is the real aim with him but he is eligible for the Breeders Challenge and Breeders Crown also so he has a big season ahead." Charlaval won a Breeders Challenge Final last season in a career best mile rate of 1:51.9. The son of Four Starzzz Shark has a record of 10 wins and 11 second placings in 29 starts and earnings of $199,025 AMANDA RANDO

Over the next couple of weeks we will feature the top ranked harness racing contenders for the 2016 Australasian Inter Dominion $1.8 million pacing series in Perth, Western Australia starting Friday 25th November at the Gloucester Park. The Championship will comprise three (3) rounds of Qualifying Heats,(3 Heats of 10 Horses)  Heats..$75,000 ..Final consists of top 10 horses..$1.1 Million final.. The Inter Dominion Ranking system shall determine those horses which shall participate in the Qualifying Heats of the Championship. Click this link for full race terms & conditions.. So the first contender to be featured is the number one ranked ..LENNYTHESHARK... The 7 year old entire son of Four Starzzz Shark out of the Albert Albert mare Botswana is the reigning Inter Dominion champion. His career record currently is.. 53 starts..29 Wins..15 Seconds & 5 Thirds..Prizemoney..$1,927,390  and a best time of 1:49.9. Feature race wins include.. 2016  Good Form Victoria Cup $400,000.. 2015  Tabtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final ..$1,300,000.. 2014  Empire Stallions VSS Final ..$110,000 .. 2013 New South Wales 3 year old Derby..$200,000..etc..etc.. Lennys dam..Botswana has had 7 foals.6 raced..4 winners including Lenny and his 2 half brothers...Led Suitcase ..{$261,395} &  Blissfull Boy.{ $241,970} both sired  by Blissfull Hall. Lennytheshark is a descendant from the maternal colonial breed  the A4 - Lady Ostic family.. This maternal family is littered with classic winners including.. Albert Kelly  by Albert Albert - 1:57.2 - $322,320 Greg Kelly  by Presidential Ball - 1:56.4 - $345,150 Frith  by Four Starzzz Shark - 1:50.1 - $1,145,345 Macca Kelly by Mach Three - 1:51.1 - $235,972 McRaes Mate  by Albert Albert - 1:51.8 - US $482,053 Midnight Dylan  by Mach Three - 1:51.8 - US $289,925  Lady Waratah by Walton Hanover - 1:59.5 - $564,770 Classic Garry 1978  by Garry Rowan - 1:54.9TT - $152,550 Royal Verdict by Dawn of a New Day - 1:53.5 - $537,522 Lagoon Lady 1996  by Troublemaker - 1:57.3 - $203,183 Vansumic  by Village Jasper - 1:52.1 - $268,649 Mother Courage 1995  by Stoneridge Scooter - 1:56.9 - $462,520 Tandias Courage 1997  by Stoneridge Scooter - 1:53.6US - $305,236 Lord Marques 1992  by Armbro Aussie - 1:52.8US - $214,830 Penny Veejay 2000  by Village Jasper - 1:54 - $387,114 La Machane  by Bettors Delight - 1:54.6 $335,268 Bullion Bill 2000  by Albert Albert - 1:51.0US $321,165 Nolarama 1998  by Panorama - 1:56.8 $221,500 ..etc..etc.. Click this link for Lennythesharks six generation pedigree. Click this link for the Inter Dominion 4th & final Rankings released. Standardbred Breeding On Facebook. StandardBred And Breeding For All

Falling Starzzz has been unlucky when second at her past two starts and she is ready to break through for her first win at her fifth start after drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the Book Your Perth Interdominion Hospitality Packages Now Pace for harness racing three-year-old Westbred fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night.        A win would give Capel trainer-reinsman Ash Markham a welcome change of fortune in the city, with his most recent Gloucester Park success on a Friday night being when he landed a double with Dredlock Rockstar and Mon Lillies on April 15. Falling Starzzz raced in eighth position before finishing fast to be a half-head second to Hy Fyfe over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. At her previous outing, over 2130m at Gloucester Park the previous Monday, she raced behind the pacemaker Trubluwaussie and was hampered for clear room in the home straight when a close second to Hoylakes Next Lady. “She was terribly unlucky at Pinjarra on Monday when a gear malfunction probably cost her victory,” Markham said. “The head check clip broke about 400 to 500m from home and she’s definitely a horse who needs all her gear to remain intact. “She’s got a pretty high head check and she really does need it for her balance. She has had only four starts and is still learning what it’s all about. She’s been a work in progress, but is getting better and has definitely got wins ahead of her. “Falling Starzzz has yet to lead in a race, but she led in a trial quite a while ago. She has reasonable gate speed and we’ll be trying to hold up. We’ll be rolling the dice to get the job done.” Falling Starzzz who is by Four Starzzz Shark was bred and is owned by Dean and Reece Kaptein, of Busselton, and is closely related to several winners, including former top-flight performer Beefy T, whose wins included the 1995 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park and the 1996 Chariots of Fire at Harold Park. He also finished third behind Norms Daughter and Il Vicolo in the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park. The Kapteins also own Im Bella Jay, who has earned $186,709 from nine wins and 11 placings from 44 starts. Her wins included the group 1 Westbred Classics for two-year-old fillies and three-year-old fillies in 2013 and 2014. Chief rivals for Falling Starzzz appear to be Delightful Days (a Bunbury winner in June and placed twice at Narrogin later in that month), Bettor Bling (a winner twice as a two-year-old, but placed only once from 12 starts as a three-year-old), Melimac and Gunna Get Lucky. Ken Casellas

Ladyship Mile winner Frith will be having her last start for the season in Saturday night's harness racing Group Three Sky Racing Adore Me Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Having had a spectacular term so far, connections are undecided on what path Frith's career will take on the other side of this spell. Making the decision to continue racing or send her to the breeding barn will not come easy, considering she has just had one of her best seasons to date. Frith has won multiple Group races this season and as a result catapulted her earnings past $1.1million, a feat only four other mares in the Southern Hemisphere have achieved before. And driver Luke McCarthy agrees. "It's hard for the owners to decide what to do with her because her form has been very strong this season," McCarthy said. "She has been up for a long time and will definitely earn this spell after Saturday night." Former trainer-driver Bruce Harpley echoed McCarthy's thoughts. "Frith has just been unbelievable this season," Harpley said. "She started this preparation over in Perth . . . she had a hit-out with me on the Saturday, was on the plane Sunday and won a feature race the following Friday! "You just shake your head with what she is capable of and that's why she has won more than $1million." Frith was bred and is owned by Harpley's mother and father-in-law, Dianne and Bernie Kelly. "Bernie is turning 80 next year so how many foals will he watch race if they don't put Frith in foal soon?" Harpley said. "It's a tough decision to make and luckily there is a bit of time before it comes to making it." Hoping to end her season on a winning note, the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark is one of the early fancies with TAB Fixed Odds for tomorrow night's feature. With the scratching of Ameretto, the John McCarthy-trained Cyclone Kate is the favourite at $1.75. TAB.COM.AU Fixed Odds - Adore Me Stakes DEADLY MERRYWOOD $101.00 ABBEY CULLEN $14 TACT HAYLEYS DELIGHT $12 MILLWOOD LIBERTY $10 BON ACCORD GAL $61 MODERN DANCER $41 CYCLONE KATE $1.75 OCEAN DIVA $31 BETABCOOL $12 FRITH $2.80 Amanda Rando

Bradley O’Keefe is trying to forge a career in harness racing and at Globe Derby Park last Saturday night landed his first winner as a trainer. Dark Aly, which O’Keefe also drive, and a despised $42.50 outsider, dashed up the sprint lane to grab a long neck win in the Just Wrecking Toyotas Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m). O’Keefe, 28, is from a strong Victorian harness racing family. “My grandfather Jim was a trainer, my father Laurie is as well, my brother Kieran in a driver and my mum Dianne is the racing manager at the Terang Harness Racing Club,” O’Keefe said. Employment as a fitter and turner at the Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide brought O’Keefe to Adelaide and he joined up with Globe Derby trainer Bronte Giorgio to get his ‘fix’ for harness racing. “I have to thank Bronte, and his wife Maxine, for their help – they have been an adopted family for me in AdelaIde.” Dark Aly was O’Keefe’s fourth as a driver, his first being Broadway Harry in a concession/junior drivers race in December last year with the others being Giddy Up Gray and the Bronte Giorgio-trained Saint Lilliana. The three-year-old is a true O’Keefe family affair. “A wonderful friend of the family, Geoffrey Tieman, gave Dark Aly’s dam Jane Isobel to my brothers Jason, Phillip, Kieran and myself to breed from and Dark Aly is her first foal but unfortunately he has passed and isn’t around to see the win. “Aminah, a two-year-old sister, finished unplaced at Melton on Friday night in a Super Series semi-final and she now has a weanling filly to Four Starzzz Shark,” he said. O’Keefe had a positive start on Dark Aly from gate three and he was able to cross behind Hapenny which had led from gate four. “Even though he had the perfect trail for the sprint lane I still wasn’t confident of victory,” O’Keefe said. “Wayne Hill set a slow tempo on the leader and my horse is not the type to sprint quickly off a slow speed but the tempo picked up down the back and once he got into the sprint lane he wound up and was able to grab a win. “It was a great thrill to have my first win as a trainer.” Heavily backed favourite Charissa Tee ($2.10 into $1.60) sat parked outside Hapenny ($10.90) and held on for second two metres in front of the leader who held on for third. Graham Fischer

Several upsets at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday afternoon left harness racing punters reeling and history confirmed the average priced winner was more than $10 longer at any of the corresponding meetings since the track first opened in 2008. Menangle has always hosted a feature meeting on the final Sunday in June and with NSW Breeders Challenge finals conducted, favourites historically have performed well. Here are the statistics from previous years Year / No. of Races / No. of Successful Favs / Average Priced Winner 2008 / 9 / 4 / $7.22 2009 / 8 / 4 / $5.51 2010 / 8 / 4 / $4.51 2011 / 9 / 4 / $2.93 2012 / 10 / 4 / $7.15 2013 / 11 / 7 / $3.53 2014 / 11 / 4 / $7.07 2015 / 10 / 6 / $3.51 2016 / 11 / 1 / $17.34 The only favourite to win on Sunday was two year old trotter Empire Bay trained by Blake Fitzpatrick. Five odds-on favourites were beaten including Bacardi Hurricane ($1.70), Glenferrie Burn ($1.30), Ameretto ($1.30), Dont Think Twice ($1.70) and Lennytheshark ($1.40). Other beaten favourites include Heavens Trend ($2.00), Arma The Gun ($2.10), Three Of The Best ($2.60) and Spare Me Days ($3.80) while $2.90 equal favourites Jilliby Jagger and Lumos both suffered defeat in a heat of the Rising Stars. The only trainer to enjoy multiple winners at the meeting was Steve Turnbull who trained two year old gelding Conviction and four year old gelding Mouse In The House to win the respective Group 1 finals. Only one stallion sired two winners with Four Starzzz Shark the sire of Charlaval and Mouse In The House. The longest priced winner of the afternoon was two year old filly Shezallapples, she returned $91.20 for the win while another four winners were longer than $10 in the market. Greg Hayes

Harness Racing aficionados will be licking their lips at the thought of next Saturday night’s four-year-old entires and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final after tonight’s semis and barrier draw. Heat winners Ideal For Real and Tee Cee Bee Macray have drawn five and 13 respectively, while reigning Vicbred champ and horse of the year Menin Gate, a fierce warrior when in front, has drawn well in barrier three. Murranji Track in gate two has good gate speed and can run along also, so he will surely create headaches for speed mappers. Tee Cee Bee Macray was ultra-impressive in winning his heat tonight, and while barrier 13 is never ideal, he does his best work when winding up with a big finish. Trained by Alan Tubbs, Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder/Way Mya Macray) sprinted powerfully through the final 400m to overhaul pacemaker Solarsonic in the run to the line. Driven by Greg Sugars, Tee Cee Bee Macray rated 1:56.9. “There’s a lot of depth in the (four-year-old) field … but he’s very fast,” Sugars said. “He’s a very good horse.” The win clearly meant plenty for the Tubbs team, who received plenty of congratulations trackside. Ideal For Real (American Ideal/Tamara Hall) was also super-impressive, the Emma Stewart-trained star winning its 10th race from 18 starts with a 1:56.2 run to score by 14.2m over runner-up Sevens Hope with Mister Wickham third. Despite the ease of the win and the high expectations being placed on Ideal For Real, Lang said the entire still had a bit to learn. “He’s got to learn to go straight or he’ll have to cover more ground than the others … he’ll get beat doing that,” he said. “He’s got a good record but it won’t be an easy race next week.” The continued dominance of the Emma Stewart stable was on full display in the four-year-old mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals tonight. The Smythes Creek trainer qualified five mares for next Saturday night’s final, giving her almost half the field. Stewart-trained Starburst Girl (barrier two for the final), Brighty Valentine (three), Lovelist (seven), Delight Me (nine) and Stay And Play (11) will all line up in the big dance. Delight Me (Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk) impressively won her semi-final with Gavin Lang in the sulky, defeating stablemates Lovelist and Starburst Girl in the first semi-final, working wide in the run before finding the line strongly. Stay And Play (Live Or Die/Play Ball) posted a mile rate of 1:56.2 in her 8.3m win over Snip Of Grand in the second semi-final, with third placegetter Brighty Valentine also hailing from the Stewart stable.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Mares Final barrier draw 1: Diamond Castle 2: Starburst Girl 3: Brighty Valentine 4: Soho Tokyo 5: Boadiceas Fury 6: Snip Of Grand 7: Lovelist 8: Glory Daze 9: Delight Me 10: Morton Plains 11: Stay And Play 12: Keayang Mercedes (em) 13: Miss Dreaming Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires & Geldings Final barrier draw 1: Repeat After Me 2: Murranji Track 3: Menin Gate 4: Sevens Hope 5: Ideal For Real 6: Lucky Lombo 7: Mister Wickham 8: Solarsonic 9: Stagger Lee 10: Soynwasabi 11: Rule Of Thumb (em) 12: Blacknbrown 13: Tee Cee Bee Macray ............................................................................................................................................................................... Tingira Beach has emerged a frontrunner in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series' two-year-old colts and geldings for New South Wales team Shane and Lauren Tritton, dominating his semi-final and drawing well. Things only got better for the Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Western Tingira after he won his class's second semi-final by 12.9m, having then drawn barrier four in the final. Conversely, fellow semi-final winner Jilliby Kung Fu will start from barrier 12 and will have to do things the hard way in the final on Saturday, July 2. Lauren Tritton, driver of Tingira Beach, warned there was more improvement to come from her colt, who found the front and comfortably beat highly-fancied Victorians Our Little General and Wrappers Delight into second and third place. “(Tingira Beach) is still really green, he still had a look around, but tonight he raced a lot better," Tritton said post-win. "He still had a good look around in the race and was on and off the bit. Next week he might run a bit better and could get the best of them." Tritton said Tingira Beach's favourable draw, albeit with Geoff Webster's Wrappers Delight inside her, would not be a huge factor. “He’s very versatile and the barrier doesn’t really mean much too him," Tritton said. "He hasn’t got that much gate speed in him, it’s always good to draw a good barrier but that’s not much of a worry.” It could be a worry for Jilliby Kung Fu, though the talented Terang colt is only too happy to run them down from behind. In his semi-final, Jilliby Kung Fu found the front and, though he “gets a bit lonely out there on his own”, according to driver Jason Lee, he had enough of a buffer to win by 2.5m from Geoff Webster’s fast-finishing Misterfreeze. The two-year-old colt by Four Starzzz Shark out of Slip Slop Slap, trained at Terang by Marg Lee, produced a fifth win in 10 starts when from barrier 10 he looped the field to find the front. “I think he’s a better chaser and I probably got a bit of itchy feet and thought I should jump around to the front, but he didn’t really want to go on with the job,” Jason Lee said. “He had a little bit left in the tank.” Misterfreeze kept him close company at Tabcorp Park Melton in the semi-finals and Somebeachshadow, trained by Craig Demmler and driven by Jodi Quinlan, surprised with a third placing having started a $59 shot.   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings pacers 1: Wrappers Delight 2: Ruthless Armbro 3: Misterfreeze 4: Tingira Beach 5: Form Analyst (emg) 6: Island Specialmajor 7: Canada Bay 8: Our Little General 9: Bundy Playboy 10: Albarock 11: Somebeachshadow 12: Jilliby Kung Fu 13: Classic Maker (ODM) Cody Winnell & Michael Howard

Nichols, N.Y. -- Kimberly Silpath's Four Hour Nap ($7.20) used a :57.2 middle half to her advantage in Friday (June 17) evening's $9,000 Mares Open 2 Pace at Tioga Downs, edging clear of her five harness racing rivals for a 1:52.4 triumph after controlling the terms throughout.   Mike Merton made all the pace with the 6-year-old Four Starzzz Shark mare, dueling with Asset Management (Fern Paquet, Jr.) on approach to the first turn and clearing through a :26.4 first quarter before backing the pace down. Four Hour Nap faced no real challenges en route to her 17th career win, sprinting clear at head-stretch and posting a 2-3/4 length victory over pocket rival Asset Management. Pompano invader Goldstar Rockette (Corey Braden) circled four-wide in the stretch, rallying from last to take third in her local debut.   Rick Dane, Jr. trains Four Hour Nap, who scored her second win of the meet.   Scott Coulter and Dan Clements led all drivers with two wins each on the nine-race card.   Ostriches and camels returned to Tioga Downs after a three-year hiatus, taking part in two non-wagering 100-yard sprints before a sizable on-track crowd.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Saturday (June 18), with the first of 10 races due off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Training and driving combination Kerry Ann Turner and Robbie Morris admit it has been a different week with their talented three year old Charlaval leading into Saturday's Alabar Breeders Challenge semi finals. With so much hype around Our Waikiki Beach and the expectation that he would win the Group 1 final on Sunday June 26, Charlaval was only expected to be a realistic place chance in the series. However with drama surrounding Our Waikiki Beach and his late nomination leading to the Mark Purdon trained gelding being named second emergency in both of the semi finals, Morris believes there are now nine possible winning hopes including Charlaval. Should Our Waikiki Beach squeeze into the series with two scratchings, the son of Somebeachsomewhere will regain his spot as the likely series winner and Morris is feeling for Purdon and the unbeaten gelding's owners. "Nominating late is something that happens to all stables and you never like seeing it," Morris said. "I feel for Mark and the team, Our Waikiki Beach is the best horse in the series, his record speaks for itself and there is still a chance he could get into the semi finals but we have to treat everything as we normally would, the show must go on." Charlaval won the Simpson Memorial in January when he ran 1:52.3 and since then has recorded four more victories including a heat of the Alabar Breeders Challenge at Newcastle. "He qualified for the semi finals as a two year old and unfortunately finished seventh in his semi final, hopefully this year he will progress through to the final because I think if Our Waikiki Beach doesn't get a start then the final will be wide open. "He's come on as a three year old and I think he really took the next step when he won the Simpson Memorial. His Breeders Challenge heat win at Newcastle was very good too because he has never been a genuine leader but still managed to get the job done. "Charlaval ran second behind Arma The Gun in a heat at Menangle but he drew the inside of the second row and Brad Hewitt drove a perfect race to win. My bloke was only going three quarter pace for the majority of the race and it was the perfect lead up to Saturday night." The son of Four Starzzz Shark is raced by Daniel Cordina and the Turner and Morris combination have qualified a horse raced by Cordina for a Breeders Challenge final in the past. "Blissfull Guy was a great horse for Daniel and Kerry Ann, I drove him in the two and three year old finals of the Breeders Challenge and he placed in both of them. "Daniel is a great supporter of both of us and it would great to see him get another runner in a Group 1 event." Morris will drive the gelding aggressively on Saturday night from the good draw. "With the emergencies out we will come out of gate four and he has got pretty good gate speed so I think I can get across at the start. "In previous years the three year old series has been over the longer trip of 2400 metres but this year the race is back to the mile. I like the longer races because the mile racing tends to be less forgiving. Over the short trip, gate speed and barriers are vital." Charlaval will compete in the first of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi Finals for three year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20pm. Greg Hayes

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