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Perhaps the greater chapter thus far was etched in the fairy-tale story of the season when Pantzup added a Group 1 to her stunning blitz of the trotting ranks. Trainer-driver Gavin Lang’s pacing-bred mare savaged the line to outpoint a game Aldebaran Kiri and clinch the $50,000 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Final, Pantzup’s finest moment after previously winning the Group 2 Vicbred Platinum crown and running second in the Vicbred four-year-old trot. “She’s a freak of nature really,” said Lang. “Bought her as a 14-start maiden pacer and she just goes from strength to strength.” That strength had Pantzup well positioned to take care of the race’s happenings, beginning with favourite Into The Unknown going off stride early and Aldebaran Kiri shooting through off the back row, first trailing up Princess Mila and then carrying on to lead. “I expected that Aldebaran Kiri may do that, she has great speed and one of my plans was that she may do that and when I saw her poking through, all of a sudden I was out in  no man’s land but was lucky to slot back in … one off the fence,” Lang said. “Aldebaran Kiri made it a genuine race which was good – suits this one because she, at this stage of her career, probably a nice horse that doesn’t have the point-to-point speed of a lot of the other trotters at this stage. While they were trucking it really suited her good.” Stuart McCormick photo And she showed that, advancing from the running line to mow down all challengers in the straight and record a 2.3m win from Aldebaran Kiri, with Moonshine Linda a close third. “The honour roll of this race, she doesn’t really deserve a place amongst them I wouldn’t have thought but you can’t do any more than she has done,” Lang said. “It’s hard to know, going forward, whether she can get any better, but she probably doesn’t have too and I don’t care if she does because she’s done a great job.” Earlier the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Silver Series Final saw Amore De Frere all-powerful in an impressive all-the-way win ahead of stablemate Parisian Amore, with the placings filled out by a fast-finishing Fatouche for Donna Castles. “She’s probably still not doing everything right, but the team at home are working hard,” winning reinsman Jason Lee said. “I know (owner) Pat Driscoll and (trainer) Anton Golino have got a pretty big opinion of her. She’s not doing every right at the moment but she’s still winning, she’s a pretty smart horse.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Two of the season’s greater trots tales added further chapters to their unlikely stories with feature victories at Echuca on Friday night. Gavin Lang’s average pacer turned top-line trotter Pantzup continues to take everything in her path, with the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket a seventh straight and ninth career victory after the mare showed her might against open class types. And Kima Frenning’s rapid rise in Victoria’s ranks continued unabated with her debut training project, Buster Brady, launched to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship with victory in the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. “It’s crazy,” Frenning said post-race after her former Kiwi produced a fifth win and third country cup in his ninth Australian start. “To train a horse like him, to come here and win a race like this, it’s very exciting and I can’t thank everyone around me enough. “He was really good tonight. He’s a really nice horse and he does it pretty easy when he wants too.” Off the second row Frenning advanced three-wide for much of the first lap before taking the front, from where Buster Brady was too strong in the straight, saluting by seven metres from Shadow Reign and Gottashopearly. The victory would have brought more delight for Luke Stokie and his fellow owners, with Buster Brady now a point clear of San Carlo in the Trots Country Cups Championship, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. Only an hour earlier Pantzup entered the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship race when he scooped up the Crystal Bucket, a winning streak that has surprised even the most experienced and successful of trainer-drivers. “She’s amazing really,” Lang said “It’s well documented that we bought her cheaply as a pacer to win a couple of races and then probably flick her on, but she showed she had a propensity to trot from day one that she entered the stable. “I’d like to be able to say I did this and did that, but I haven’t done nothing – I’ve just trained her and fed her and she’s done the rest. “I’ve been in the game for a long long time, my Dad’s had plenty of trotters, I’ve had a couple of nice ones in the past, but every time I drive home from the races with this one I just shake my head because I can’t believe what she does. It’s a great story.” Drawn off 10m in the standing start, Pantzup advanced to the breeze with a lap and a half to go and found the front when leader Als Law dropped out about 500m from home. A 29-second final quarter was enough to keep all challengers at bay and salute by 5.4 from Fratellino, who picked up valuable points to leapfrog King Denny and take the lead in the $10,000 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

A fairy-tale season could etch another chapter in tonight’s J A Connelly Crystal Bucket at Echuca, where pacing mare Pantzup will hunt a seventh consecutive victory. By Always A Virgin, sire of the world’s fastest pacer Always B Miki, and out of pacing mare Evasive Moves, an APG Final placegetter, Pantzup has defied her heritage this season for trainer-driver Gavin Lang. She is one of the many stories that will play out at Echuca tonight, where Buster Brady is favoured to win the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup and shoot to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, a remarkable feat for first-horse trainer Kima Frenning. The night’s $35,000 feature at 9.20pm comes an hour after the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket, Echuca’s trotters’ cup, which presents Pantzup’s greatest test to her now six-race winning streak. “King Denny, Kheiron, both went round through the recent Inter Dominion trotting section, so they are good quality horses,” Lang said. “Another runner off 10m (Endsin A Party) was the winner of the Geelong Cup this preparation as well. “Not an easy race by any means, combined with the fact that it’s a stand, on the Echuca track, it will be an interesting race, but she is going very well and you can’t beat winning form.” Her six wins in a row are the tail-end of eight wins from 11 starts since joining Lang’s Bacchus Marsh stable. “We purchased her as a late three-year-old as a 14-start maiden who was a pacer,” Lang said. “We thought we might be able to win a few races as a pacer and then move her on, but from the time she entered our stables she did nothing but show she may have been a trotter. Eleven starts later and eight wins later, it’s staggering really. “She started this campaign as a T1 assessed horse, in other words she’d basically won one race as a trotter, and now leading into the Echuca trotters’ cup she’s now assessed T7.” With each victory comes greater tests, but as she showed with her metropolitan win on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night last Saturday Pantzup keeps rising to every challenge. “Each time you win it progressively gets harder,” Lang said. “Every time she goes to the track now she just keeps stepping up. It gets harder each win and this race is no exception, but you can’t do any more than win. “I wish I could put my hand up and say what a job we have done but not really at all, we just took her on board and trained her and, as I said, she showed a propensity just to trot from day one – no special shoeing, no special gear, no anything. She’s bred to be a good pacer, she’s turned out a great trotter.” Michael Howard for Trots Media

A “good grounding” has Deltasun poised to develop into one of Victoria’s premier open-age harness racing trotting stars. Winning reinsman Gavin Lang said the five-year-old son of Tennotrump had “been in the top echelon as a two-year-old and in the top three or four as a three-year-old”. Lang added: “as a four-year-old he went missing a little bit but still did a good job. He’s had a good foundation.” Trained by gun horseman Terry Young of Ararat – a former jockey – Deltasun is now a 16-time winner and tonight’s 1:55.8 win took his stake earnings over $200,000. It’s a considerable achievement that will be celebrated by connections and Lang spoke glowingly of the fact tonight’s quinella at Tabcorp Park Melton was fought out between grassroots stables. “Up the straight I was fighting the race out with Savannah Jay Jay and the people who train him (Stan Cameron) are small-time trainers, as are Terry and Carol Young and their son Peter,” he said. “When I hit the line I thought I’d just hung on. Sometimes you get disappointed if you get beat, but I would not have been too disappointed tonight if they’d won. That’s what it’s all about – the small people make this industry what it is. “Terry and his family own him, so there’s never any pressure on how I drive him. I’ve been lucky enough to just look after him a little bit and it’s paying dividends.” To watch the video click here. Savannah Jay Jay has been a model of consistency of late without winning, only once finishing out of the top five in his past 11 starts. Tonight he was beaten a half-head for driver Neil McCallum, while Fabrication finished third for John Caldow and David Abrahamson. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Save Our Pennys got a well-deserved first taste of sweet success this campaign with a comprehensive all-the-way win in the harness racing E B Cochran Trotters Cup. With driver Gavin Lang’s trotter having been valiant in Tornado Valley’s shadow, finishing second in five of his previous six starts, Save Our Pennys enjoyed the freedom of his main foe’s absence to dominate the $30,000 Group 2 on PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup night. It was the perfect tune-up for next Saturday night’s showcase Woodlands Great Southern Star, the $250,000 Group 1 that's Australia’s richest trotting race. “He’s an old marvel really,” said Lang. “Dad (Graeme) always said he’d win a good race, but he’s won three or four now. “His behaviour before the race tonight was a bit like a two-year-old, not like an eight-year-old who’s had 50-odd starts. He’s a great horse, just trots, as you can see no gear on him, no head check, no nothing. He’s just a great horse to have around.” Save Our Pennys won by 5.2m from Dance Craze who boxed on well to finish ahead of Yabby Dam stablemate Pizza Queen, with the winner holding all at bay with his 56-second last 800m amid a 1:59.8 mile rate. “Once Tornado Valley didn’t turn up it opened the race up a bit and then we were fortunate to come up with the right barrier. Made our own luck tonight, because he’s been a bit of a bridesmaid lately behind Tornado Valley, but that’s OK, I’ll cop that. “He deserved that win. Dad and mum will be very happy and I will be back in the will now that I have got a win on board.” The focus quickly turns to night two of the TAB Summer Of Glory, when Kiwis Marcoola and Speeding Spur travel to Tabcorp Park to take on TAB Inter Dominion winner Tornado Valley and a host of challengers hoping to flip the trotting landscape. “Tornado Valley has got the record on the board,” Lang said. “The opposition is always hopeful (that they can turn the tables) one day. He’s a great horse from the front of the field or the back of the field. “Horses like (Save Our Pennys) can never be discounted. He’s got great manners and a great will to win. There’s three or four Kiwis coming over for the Great Southern Star. It will be a Trans-Tasman race for sure, Tornado Valley’s probably not going to get it all his own way. It will be a great event.” To watch the video click on this link. Trots Media - Michael Howard ID18 5 8:30pm E B COCHRAN TROTTERS CUP (GROUP 2) 2200M $30,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SAVE OUR PENNYS      Fr4 4 Graeme Lang Gavin Lang   $ 1.80 fav  GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 7 by SAFELY KEPT USA out of TUPENNY BIT (SUNDON USA)  Owner(s): G A Lang, R J Sleep, Estate of G Lucas, J Glavas  Breeder(s): Bromfield Park Pty Ltd 2 DANCE CRAZE      Fr5 5 Anton Golino Rodney Petroff 5.20 $ 4.30   PRS 3WE OLM 2 SCT 3 PIZZA QUEEN USA      Fr3 3 Anton Golino Mark Purdon 8.10 $ 9.20   PRS GS 4 4 BIG JACK HAMMER      Sr1 8 David Aiken Kima Frenning 8.30 $ 17.70   PRS 5 HUE CTS D/F$ 5 SAVANNAH JAY JAY      Fr1 1 Stan Cameron Neil McCallum 9.20 $ 36.10   GS L SLE 3 6 SKY PETITE      Fr7 7 Michael Stanley Ryan Duffy 9.40 $ 8.00   RAS 10 3WL 7 DELTASUN      Fr2 2 Terry Young Kerryn Manning 13.70 $ 17.40   PRS 6 8 FABRICATION      Fr6 6 David Abrahams John Caldow 15.50 $ 53.90   RAS 8 Scratchings All started Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:43:8 Mile Rate: 1:59:8 Lead Time: 44.1 First Quarter: 32.1 Second Quarter: 31 Third Quarter: 28.7 Fourth Quarter: 27.9 Margins: 5.2m x 2.9m    

Master reinsman Gavin Lang predicts that bigger and better things could be on the horizon for victorious Kiwi harness racing raider Im Pats Delight, winner of the Shepparton Gold Cup on Saturday night. “I honestly believe we are yet to see the best of him – I think he has the makings of a grand circuit horse next season,” Lang said. Im Pats Delight (Bettors Delight-Righteous Franco) prepared at Christchurch, NZ, by highly successful trainer Cran Dalgety, showed his customary courage to dig deep late in the $60,000 Group Two feature event, run over the marathon journey of 2690 metres. At the finish, you could have thrown a blanket over the first four (to use a favorite racecallers’ description) with Im Pats Delight holding on by a metre from Our Triple Play, who nosed out Our Uncle Sam.  Sentimental hometown favorite San Carlo was a close-up fourth. With the Tim Butt-trained Let It Ride zooming along out in front and San Carlo (Bec Bartley) on the outside cutting the breeze, Lang supporters could have been excused for having big smiles in the early stages with “Pat” perfectly placed in the one-one. The leading brigade slipped into overdrive over the second last quarter in 27.6, with Let It Ride the first to surrender. San Carlo worked to the lead then was collared by Our Uncle Sam who launched wide from the back. But it was Im Pats Delight who swooped to take the honors, courtesy of another classic timed-to-perfection Lang drive.    The final 400m saw the survival of the fittest, being run in 29.6s. But in fairness, the mile rate for the staying trip of 1.56-2 was just .01 of a second outside the track record held by recent Inter Dominion series competitor Im The Boss, set on April 28 last year. Lang said his association with Dalgety “goes back a long time”. “I enjoy driving for him, because you know the horses are going to the races in prime condition,” Lang said. The combination has enjoyed considerable success over the years with talented pacers coming to mind including London Legend who ended up a M10 and C15. It was the second Victorian win for Im Pats Delight during this campaign, having won a heat of last month’s Inter Dominion at Ballarat in a career best of 1.52-2 for 1710m. Lang said while the horse held his own during the series, the tough runs eventually caught up with the four-year-old. He said Dalgety freshened “Pat” up after the series. “The horse had a nice hit-out in a Melton trial on the Tuesday prior to Shepparton, running a close-up third to Cruz Bromac and we knew that would have done him the world of good.” Lang, now back in the training ranks based at Bacchus Marsh, is also having a good season as a trainer. “My wife Meagan and I decided we could do around 12 to 13 between us,” he said. “But with a few winners we quickly found we were up to 18 and that meant employing staff, but we’re thoroughly enjoying it.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Owner Matt McLellan has just one wish for 2019. He wants to return for the Brisbane winter Carnival in July at Albion Park. Naturally, he wants to be part of the action again with his millionaire pacer Hectorjayjay. His memories are so joyous and so vivid, he’s often reliving the glory days when his brilliant pacer took the state’s biggest events. Back in 2016, Hectorjayjay produced one of the greatest performances of all time when he came from a near impossible position to win the Sunshine Sprint before going down as favourite a week later in the Blacks A Fake on a rain sodden track. He returned the following year and won both features, sublime efforts of both occasions. “There’s no doubt Brisbane holds a lot of special memories for me and the guys that race Hector, we’ve been lucky enough to win so many good races but his Brisbane efforts just stand out for me. It’s a great track nestled amongst a fascinating backdrop and the people are so great up there, I really look forward to getting there as much as possible.” McLellan said. As fate would have it, things have turned sour with Hectorjayjay developing some major injury setbacks which ultimately cost him a chance of returning to Brisbane last year. After enjoying so much success with star trainer David Aiken, he was transferred to Gavin Lang where he left with a perfect record after winning his only start for the master horseman when triumphant in the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore last June before going amiss again. Nowadays, Hectorjayjay is based with Ecklin South horseman Mattie Craven who makes full use of the nearby Warnambool beaches. And the signs of improvement are looking better each and every day. “His latest scan, which occurred days prior to Christmas, was really encouraging and it’s given us a lot of confidence moving forward with him. “We can now increase his workload but we’re not going to overdo it with him, rather than pushing him for a race like the Miracle Mile, I’d rather wait and be ready for Brisbane and make sure he’s proper ready. “If we can return to Brisbane and win those two big races again, that would just be absolutely amazing, a dream come true for me personally and hopefully we can get that opportunity.” The Brisbane winter carnival takes place at Albion Park throughout the month of July and the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is the final leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. Racing Queensland has recently announced some cash bonuses for horses aiming at the staying feature. Last year, Mattie Craven enjoyed tremendous results throughout the carnival after claiming both the Queensland Derby (Master Moonlite) and Queensland Trotters Cup (Our Dreamlover). Chris Barsby

Top horseman Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there on Sunday. Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul. His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (who he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger. Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event. That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race. Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess. For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers' premiership on the Gippsland track. Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title. Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent. The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley  

Top harness racing driver Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there yesterday afternoon.   Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul.   His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (which he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger.   Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event.   That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race.   Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess.   For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers premiership on the Gippsland track.   Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title.   Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent.   The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley

Champion driver Gavin Lang secured gate three for both his 2018 TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting drives at this morning's barrier draw. Held at Zinc Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, the TAB ID18 Barrier Draw and Breakfast of Champions attracted plenty of guests and grabbed the attention of morning commuters in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Lang, who pilots impressive Kiwi Im Pats Delight in the pacing grand final and trotter Save Our Pennys in the trotting decider, has two live chances on the biggest stage of all. The master reinsman said both horses were progressing well through the ID18 series to date but would have to step it up again to secure harness racing's holy grail. Save Our Pennys heads into the trotting decider a $14 shot after finishing second in all his qualifying heats behind the raging ID18 favourite Tornado Valley. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven a lot of very good trotters in my career and I would have been prepared to say this one’s not a patch on any of those ones, especially the three Inter Dominion winners,” Lang said when asked about the recent progress of the seven-year-old. “But I must say he’s really exceeded my expectations (through ID18).” Lang also said Save Our Pennys’ fitness was improving each run after his first-up second off a 30-metre handicap in the Geelong Trotting Cup. “He got beaten on his merits at Geelong and I thought if he improves 10 per cent from that in the first of the Inter Dominion heats I’d be pleased. I wasn’t expecting him to come out and run second,” Lang said. “He’s improved each run through this series and three seconds is more than I would have expected. “The distance of the final (2760m) is no burden for him and he’s just an old-fashioned horse who puts his head down and gets on with it. He’s got a great demeanour.” Cran Dalgety-trained Im Pats Delight is a four-year-old New Zealand pacer, who has gone from strength to strength through the heat rounds. “It’s a daunting task for a four-year-old to contest an Inter Dominion series but he is very mature and he seems to be getting through each run well,” Lang said. Meanwhile, Nat Rasmussen has chosen Cruz Bromac as her ID18 drive in the pacing final with partner Mark Purdon picking up the reins aboard fancied stablemate Spankem. Click here for the ID18 final fields   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Three-time TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship winner Gavin Lang has outlined his ID18 chances ahead of Saturday night's first round of harness racing heats. From his Darley stables, Lang said his trotter, Save Our Pennys, had "a couple of minor setbacks" this campaign before an encouraging second when first-up last Saturday night in the Yabby Dam Racing McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup. "He'll improve, which he'll need too because he's stepping up to another level come round one Saturday night," Lang said. "If he improves a bit from one run to the next hopefully he can make the final." Lang also spoke about his pacing hopes Im Pats Delight and Mister Wickham, who he'll steer for trainers Cran Dalgety and Lee Evison respectively, and who he hopes might provide his first Inter Dominion pacing crown. "People speak about it and I've thought about it and, yeah, sure, it would be great to achieve it," Lang said. "As a kid, an Inter Dominion was basically the goal going forward if you were a driver. Haven't been able to achieve it yet, there's been probably greater drivers than me that haven't been able to achieve it - if it happens it happens." CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW: ID18 Trots Media - Michael Howard  

Gavin Lang will be looking to continue his stunning training strike rate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight when he gears up three runners in the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship Final. The champion reinsman said My Kiwi Lady, My Cash and Solid As A Rock had strong form leading into the Group 3 race over 1720m. “They have been racing well; (it’s a) tough race, of course but they have earnt their spot,” he said. While Lang will drive six-year-old mare My Cash, who has won her last three, he says “it doesn’t necessarily mean she has the best chance”. “She is by a stallion called Mach Three and the progeny can be a little bit headstrong as a rule – she’s no exception,” he said. “Probably on paper she is the pick of my three horses but, like I say, she is a little bit different (and) knowing her little tricks is probably an advantage, hence the reason why I have chosen to drive her.” Lang’s training record – 3403 starters since 1979-80 for 727 wins – speaks for itself, although personal circumstances led to a hiatus of horses running under his name (official records show he trained just the one starter from 2003-04). But he was never completely out of the training game. “I used to assist Brent Lilley when he first came out from NZ and then Adam Kelly,” he said. “(Then), through a little bit of pressure from long-time clients and owners and schoolfriends I grew up with, they sort of pressured me into training again in my own right.” Since dipping his toe back into training in 2016-17, Lang has scored 40 winners from 107 starts. “Even when I trained in the past one thing I was always pretty proud of was the strike rate I have always had with my horses; me and my wife Megan, we are fortunate to have a good band of owners and a reasonable band of horses,” he said. “It is a tough game and if I am going to take a horse to the races I want to be taking one that has a reasonable chance if things go our way, because I have been around as long as I have I am sick of going around there just for the fun of it; it doesn’t pay the bills.” Lang will be hoping his impressive strike rate continues into next month’s TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, where he will gear up Save Our Pennys – who resumes in Saturday night’s Yabby Dam Racing McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup at Geelong – and drive Maori Law. “(Save Our Pennys) form last time in was sort of impeccable (but) he had a little setback at the start of this preparation, so his return to the track has been delayed,” Lang said. “Resuming this weekend (is) not ideal (as) you would have liked to probably be a little bit further advanced going into a series like the Inter Dominion, but he is very honest and never makes an error so, given that, he is a chance of making it through to the final. “Maori Law has a very good record; same deal with him, he was pretty plain at his last start probably about four weeks ago and hasn’t been seen since but has been trialing up pretty well, so he’s good enough to get through to the final as well. “As far as the pacing ranks go, I don’t even know if I have a drive yet but, as I have always found, if you have got a licence you just never know what is around the corner.”   Shaun Campbell Trots Media

SIDELINED star Hectorjayjay won’t be ready in time for the Melbourne Inter Dominion. New trainer Matty Craven had hoped the multiple Group 1 winner was on target with his latest comeback, but scans during this week proved a setback. “One part of the tendon has healed well, but the other part needs more time,” he said. “He had some more PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment and will go back into his box. “We’ll get him scanned again in eight weeks and if it looks ready, we’ll step his work up again. “So that’s obviously the end of the Inter Dominion and anything this year. Probably the Miracle Mile as well. “But this is really the last shot we’re going to have at getting him back, so we won’t take any risks or rush anything.” Hectorjayjay first went amiss after his career-best win in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park last July. His only run since came on June 21 this year where he won easily at Kilmore, but then sustained another tendon injury when trained by Gavin Lang. He was transferred to Craven soon after so he could mix beach training at Warrnambool into his rehabilitation program. Adam Hamilton

Bendigo trainer-driver Chris Svanosio's whirlwind season could ascend to an even greater tier when the talented horseman brings a strong hand to Maryborough for Sunday's trotting showcase. The two-day Redwood Carnival peaks with Sunday's Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at 3.47pm, when Svanosio will present two genuine chances in the $75,000 age classic. He will take the reins of well-drawn Kyvalley Finn and also trains Anywhere Hugo, the fancied and well-bred three-year-old who last month gifted Svanosio his first Group 1 as a trainer when winning the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series final. "Anywhere Hugo won a Group 1 a little while ago, so it's good to have him back and up again in the Derby on Sunday," Svanosio told Gait Speed today. The gelding by Majestic Son has won five of his 18 starts and been in the top three on 11 occasions, including when he placed third in last Saturday's SBG Accountants 3YO Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton. On that occasion Anywhere Hugo was slow away and has paid the price, with stewards placing the gelding out of the draw, which will have him start from gate 13. "I was very happy with his run," Svanosio said. "Being drawn out the back doesn't matter too much, it's a long trip, so (driver) Gavin (Lang) can keep out of trouble early and I'm sure he will be running home hard at the finish. "When you look at his sectional times (last start), Anywhere Hugo has run the quickest last mile and just kept running home the last 400 out three wide. He pulled up terrific, so I'm sure he will be fitter on Sunday." As mentioned, Svanosio will also field Kyvalley Finn in the Derby. "Anywhere Hugo's got a little bit more ability than Kyvalley Finn, but Kyvalley Finn just tries his hardest every time and he hasn't had a lot of luck in the bigger races with the draw," Svanosio said, before Kyvalley Finn was blessed with gate two for Saturday's Derby. "(From a good draw) he can get a nice trip up near them and I'm sure he will be finishing off pretty good. He's always pretty honest." It could be a big day for the 36-year-old, who will also take the reins of Group 1 winning trotter Sparkling Success. He is first up from a spell on Sunday in the Peter Egan Bi-Rite Electrical Trotters Free For All. It's an important outing for his Warrnambool trainer-owner-breeder John Meade, with Sparkling Success bound for a ground-breaking trip to the US to contest the International Trot at New York's Yonkers Raceway. "With going to the US in mind, (John Meade's) happy with how he's come up," Svanosio said. "He's had a few trials and will kick off on Sunday in the free for all. All going good he will have a couple of runs and is due to head to America mid-September." Michael Howard for Trots Media

REPORTS of Hectorjayjay’s retirement now seem premature. In an exciting twist, the superstar’s latest injury setback is not as severe as first feared and optimism is now high around a racetrack return, possibly in time for the Inter Dominion late this year. Managing-owner Matt McLellan said the past few weeks had been a whirlwind of emotions, but he the diagnosis of renowned Ballarat vet Ian Fulton had turned the tide. “Of course you think, ‘oh no, it’s probably over now’ as soon as you hear he’s had another setback. Especially after just one race back from a year out,” he said. “But when we got him to the Ballarat clinic they said he had an acute tear to his suspensory (ligament), but there were no issues with the old injury.” In a nutshell, the diagnosis was quite positive. Hectorjayjay was treated immediately, confined to a box for a few weeks and can resume rehabilitation in the next week or so. But the latest setback, along with Hectyorjay’s injury history, created a problem. “We had to find a new trainer for him,” McLellan said. “It’s a shame because Gavin (Lang) did such a great job getting him back to win that Kilmore race for us first-up, but Gavin said given the ligament setbacks the horse would be better suited to someone who trained on a beach. “There aren’t a lot of those around, but we did the homework and landed on Matty Craven.” Hectorjayjay has been with Craven for the past couple of weeks and will be scanned again next week with a review to resuming full training. “There’s still a way to go, but it’s exciting to think there is now serious hope of him returning to racing and fairly soon,” McLellan said. “We obviously want him back and the sport needs him to with so many of our big names being retired, going over to the US or going amiss like Soho Tribeca recently. “We’d love to have him back for the Inter Dominion and we’ll know about the possibility of that in the next month or so.” Adam Hamiton

GAVIN Lang’s rollercoaster week took another twist when he wound back the clock and snared a Group 1 Vicbred trotting double at Melton last night. Lang was on cloud nine after Hectorjayjay’s winning return at Kilmore last Saturday night, but in the dumps just a couple of days later when it was revealed the comeback star has aggravated the injury which sidelined him for a year.  But, like all great sportsman, Lang stayed focused and drove like an inspired man last night.  His first win came when he both trained and drove recent stable addition Moonshine Linda to snatch victory late over hot favourite Pretty Majestic in the $90,000 3YO Trotting Fillies’ final.  It was Lang’s biggest training triumph and continued his phenomenal strike since returning to training ranks earlier this year.  Lang then teamed with popular young horseman Chris “Snooze” Svanosio and Anywhere Hugo to win the 3YO Trotters’ Colts and Geldings final.  It was Svanosio’s first Group 1 training win, but he missed the drive as he instead took the reins on stablemate Kyvalley Finn, who ran fourth.  “I didn’t know until well after the line my other horse had won, I was so busy driving Kyvalley Finn to the line. It’s a heck of a thrill,” Svanosio said.  Anywhere Hugo lifted late to gun-down buzz trotter Wobelee, who overraced throughout, pinched a big break at the top of the straight, but just couldn’t find enough late for a desperate and clearly frustrated Chris Alford.  Anywhere Hugo’s win followed success in the Holmfield earlier this season and put him ahead of Wobelee, at least on performances, so far this season.  The gelding is raced by renowned vet Dr Alastair MacLean and his daughter, Elizabeth.  _________________________________________________________________________________ THE growing force that is Yabby Dams, Pat Driscoll and Anton Golino flexed its muscle again last night.  The team landed two of the Vicbred Group 1 finals: the 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings with Always Ready (driven by Nathan Jack) and the 4YO Trotting Mares’ with Kinvara Sue (driven by Jason Lee).  They went so close to a Group 1 treble when Pretty Majestic led and looked the winner until Moonshine Linda charged home and snatched victory by 1.1m.  Golino did train a treble for the night with his brilliant mare Dance Craze barely raising a sweat in the opening race, winning by 7.2m.  It was her second win from as many starts back home after a luckless third in the Harness Jewels final and took her career record to 10 wins from just 14 starts.  “She’s just never been really sound this mare. She’s done a great job. She’s got so much speed,” Golino said.  _________________________________________________________________________________ ANTHONY Butt joined the Group 1 party last night when two-year-old filly Fear The Yankee showed perfect manners to win her Vicbred final.  While seven of the 11 finalists made mistakes, the Shane Gallagher-trained Fear The Yankee began well, found herself in front and found plenty to hold-off the fast-finishing Sleepee.  _________________________________________________________________________________ CHRIS Alford jagged one of the Group 1’s last night, but just not with the trotter most expected.  Wobelee was the spruik trotter of the night, but had to be content with second in his final.  Alford’s win came aboard Peter Lane’s Kheiron, who won the 4YO Mares’ final in a desperate three-way go ahead of Next Thru and Illawong Byron.   Adam Hamilton

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