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Leading Victorian harness racing trainer Emma Stewart claimed consecutive New South Wales Derby victories thanks to Ideal For Real’s gutsy performance at Tabcorp Park Menangle just moments ago. Outstaying his rivals with master reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, Ideal For Real follows on from Major Secret’s success last season. Naturally thrilled with the performance, Stewart will give the son of American Ideal a short break before embarking on another feature race campaign. “To win this race two years in a row is a great thrill,” Stewart declared. “Major Secret went terrific last year and now Ideal For Real has put in a huge ran. “It was tight at the finish, but I knew he’d got there in time. “He will go home now for a short spell, then we will get him revved up again for some of the majors later in the season.” Matching strides with the leader, Hug The Wind, along the home straight, Ideal For Real grabbed the front in the last stride to score by a half-head, with Sporty Spook seven metres away third. In an amazing performance from both stables, Stewart and New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon has filled the quinella in the first three Group Ones of the day. Purdon captured the New South Wales Oaks with Fight For Glory and the Ladyship Mile with Adore Me, while Stewart finished second with Delight Me and Beauty Secret. “Yeah it is good to turn the tables on Mark and win one of the Group Ones,” Stewart said. PAUL COURTS

Most harness racing pundits previewing this afternoons New South Wales Derby saw it as a two horse war with Hug The Wind from barrier one preferred over Ideal For Real who had landed the dreaded barrier of nine. The early races had the All Star barn runners on fire with Fight For Glory and Adore Me both being brilliant winners and punters thought the streak would continue in the Derby making Hug The Wind a clear favourite. Sporty Spook flew the gate as he can and grabbed the early lead while Natalie Rasmussen let Hug The Wind find his feet early before sending him forward to the lead. Gavin Lang on Ideal For Real settled second last in the running line early while the other well supported runner in Art Union with Dexter Dunn in the bike was parked outside the leader. With just over a lap to go Gavin Lang sent Ideal For Real around the field and he landed in the death seat outside Hug The Wind with 1100 metres to go. Natalie held the leader back to the field in the quarter down the back in 28.1 before going for broke as they turned for home. Gavin Lang never panicked and slowly but surely got to Hug The Wind with Ideal For Real nailing him by half a head in the last stride. What made the victory even meritorious was the last quarter was cut out in a blistering 25.8 Sporty Spooky fought on for third just in front of Art Union. The Emma Stewart trained colt is an all American bred being by American Ideal from the imported Real Desire mare in Tamara Hall. Noted previously for his high speed off a sit, Ideal For Real showed today that he has developed an all round game as the season has progressed. Harnesslink Media

The first of the features on harness racings big day at Menangle today was the New South Wales Oaks and all week it was touted as a two horse war between Delight Me and Fight For Glory. Both of these runners had been super impressive in the heats last week but the draw had treated Delight Me really well with her drawing barrier one where as Fight For Glory had been given the visitors draw of eleven. The pair were even money earlier in the week but as we got closer to the race the money continued to come for Fight For Glory and she started the favourite today. As expected Delightful Lana and Dexter Dunn flew the gate and grabbed an early lead from barrier nine with Makes Every Scents and Luke McCarthy settling into the trail. Delight Me and Gavin Lang were slow out from barrier one while Fight For Glory and Natalie Rasmussen came out fast and ended up in the death seat early with Delight Me getting onto her back. After 600 metres Natalie pushed the go button and surged to the front but not before Dexter made her work for it. That left Delight Me parked and Natalie kept Fight For Glory running making Delight Me's job even harder.  Passing the 800 metres mark Natalie gave Fight For Glory her head and she roared down the back in 27.2 with Delight Me and Delightful Lana starting to feel the pinch a bit. Just when you would think Fight For Glory would be vulnerable she paced away from her competition with another quarter of 27.2 to win with a breathtaking performance. Delight Me fought on gamely for second with Delightful Lana fighting just as strongly for third with Smooth Showgirl finishing on late for fourth. Not only was the performance of Fight For Glory to win from barrier nine super impressive but her overall time of 2:50.3 was a new race record to boot. Fight For Glory is a daughter of Art Major from the former New Zealand record holder Breath Of Life 1:56.9 ($109,034) and has hit a purple patch of form with todays victory her fourth in a row. Harnesslink Media  

The holy grail of harness racing in Australasia has always been the Inter Dominion series until some brightspark changed the format three years ago and shifted the date. What we have been left with since then is a series that is a shadow of what it use to be and due to its timing it is devoid of most of the major players on the Grand Circuit in Australasia. The outstanding Beautide is back to defend his title against a field severely weakened by withdrawals or no shows. Still Beautide can only beat what is placed in front of him and barring accidents that is exactly what he will do tomorrow afternoon. So here is our runner by runner preview of the Inter-Dominion Grand Final. 1) Lennytheshark - Starts 33 - Wins 16 - Seconds 10 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $468,,550 A genuine Grand Circuit horse who has come back at five in great touch. From the draw he can make his own luck but hard to see how going to war with Beautide will help his winning chances. Second looks his for the taking from the draw but not if he gets sucked into a arm wrestle with Beautide. The likely winner if anything goes wrong with the hot favourite so include in all bets. 2) Blazin N Cullen - Starts - 55 - Wins 15 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $199,672 Surprisingly given a wildcard even though he only ran fourth in the weakest heat in the series. Did run second in the Gold Coast Cup and fourth in the Queensland Pacing Championship but both fields only had two genuine Grand Circuit horses involved in For A Reason and Avonnova so hard to give those results any weight in our view. Too many here going better so not for us 3) Flaming Flutter - Starts - 47 - Wins 16 - Seconds 10 - Thirds 8  -  Stakes $267, 395 In our view Flaming Flutter is in career best form and has run some great races this campaign. Has been racing regularly since August but he seems to be thriving on the long campaign. Really good sixth in the Hunter Cup followed by second in his heat to Lennytheshark shows us that Flaming Flutter from his handy draw is ready to run the race of his life tomorrow. A definite trifecta and first four player for us. 4) Ultimate Art - Starts 44 - Wins 19 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $305,753 Won the supplementary heat which was the weakest heat in our view and only after getting every possible advantage during the running. He is very honest but too many here have the class edge in our view. Not for us 5) Beautide -  Starts 71 - Wins 43 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $1,562, 212 Just a class above this field. When right he only has two challengers on the Grand Circuit in Christen Me and Adore Me and with neither of them here this is his for the taking. Had a few issues leading into the Victoria Cup but heat win showed he was back to his best when he absolutely bolted in. Barring accidents Beautide just wins. 6) I'm Corzin Terror - Starts 66 - Wins 18 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $329,982 Ran tough third in the Melton heat but  still hasn't convinced us that he is a player here That was the first show of form for a few runs after a poor tenth in the Victoria Cup and an ok seventh in the Hunter Cup. Gavin Lang is a notable help in the bike but still only an outside first four chance for us. 7) Monifieth - Starts 59 - Wins 17 - Seconds 8 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $249,363 Ran a good third to Beautide in his heat but was a fair way from the first two. Very competitive at the level just below the Grand Circuit but a few here would seem to have his measure in our view. Even though he is as honest as they come, we struggle to see him being a player in the final. Not for us. 8) Majestic Mach - Starts 49 - Wins 32 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $731, 354 Former outstanding two and three year old who has found the transition to the Grand Circuit a lot harder. Did go really well in his heat in Brisbane but we are convinced the reason for that was the manner in which he was driven. For once he was driven with a sit and as a result he rounded the race off really well. This track suits that style of racing but not convinced that is how he will be driven. Driven cold Majestic Mach is an outside trifecta and first four player 9) Terror To Love - Starts 73 - Wins 31 - Seconds 16 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $2,353,353 The enigma of the field in every sense. If the real Terror To Love fronted tomorrow then Beautide would have some serious competition. But he has a terrible record at Menangle for a horse of his ability and to make matters worse he appears to be several lengths off his best at the moment. A career worst run in the Hunter Cup followed by a battling third in his heat against horses he would normally beat easily tells us that he will struggle tomorrow. Not for us. 10) David Hercules - Starts 99 - Wins 37 - Seconds 17 - Thirds 15  -  Stakes $1,189,419 Old warhorse from the west who has had a new lease of life this season now I'm Themightyquinn is not around in Perth. Sound sixth in the Victoria Cup in his only start in the east this season although he did race three back on the inner the whole trip. Draw makes it really tough for him but has more ability than quite a few here. Track will suit but needs to be driven cold in our opinion to come into play for trifecta and first four players at big odds. 11) For A Reason - Starts 50 - Wins 27 - Seconds 9 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $1,046,240 One of only two horses in this field that we think could possibly trouble Beautide if the favourite was to strike big trouble during the running. He is a proven Grand Circuit performer and followed an unlucky seventh in the Victoria Cup with a good second to Beautide in his heat. Was clear of the rest of the chasing pack that night and from one on the second line he should get a very economical run on Lennytheshark's back. Goes his best races with one run at them and drawn to get just that run. Major player for quinella, trifecta and first four takers. 12) Easy On The Eye - Starts 58 - Wins 17 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 10  -  Stakes $433,250 Only run of any note for us in this campaign was his good run for third in the Hunter Cup over 3280 metres so distance shouldn't be a worry you would think. However did get a beautiful run that night three pegs and draw here makes his task a huge one In New Zealand he had a reputation as a sprinter and was favoured over trips a lot shorter  than tomorrows. Run over in his heat over 2400 metres and that confirmed to us that he will struggle to be a major player here. Not for us. 13) Avonnova - Starts 121 - Wins 41 - Seconds 23 - Thirds 12  -  Stakes $588,569 Very under rated horse who has hardly put a foot wrong all season except when Shane Graham  had a brain fart in the Miracle Mile and went crazy early. Second line draw means he can stay out of the early speed duels for once and that gives him a place chance in our view. Tough as teak and track and distance will suit down to the ground. Trifecta and first four player for us. 14) Teo Enteo - Starts 62 - Wins 18 - Seconds 14 - Thirds 7  -  Stakes $217,827 Has had just a passable season at best and just battled into fourth in his heat. Stronger field and poor draw makes this mission impossible for him. Best we can see him finishing is midfield so not for us. 15) Franco Ledger (1st Emerg) - Starts 74 - Wins 22 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $546,553 A combination of events led to him not getting one of the wildcard entries and it was nothing to do with the racing performances of Franco Ledger. It is a real shame because the track is perfect for his style of racing and he would have been a big trifecta and first four player in our opinion. If he somehow makes it into the race through a late scratching, then you need to include him in all your multis. 16) Wartime Sweetheart - Starts 135 - Wins 21 - Seconds 17 - Thirds 14  -  Stakes $268,376 Really hard to see her being competitive even if she did make it back into the field. Operates well at the level beneath the Grand Circuit but this is a bit rich for her. Not for us. SELECTIONS  Barring accidents Beautide appears to have a mortgage on the race. He made a real statement in his heat and looks yards better than the rest. Second is a toss up between Lennytheshark and For A Reason and we couldn't separate them. After that it gets real interesting and for trifectas and first fours we would include Flaming Flutter, David Hercules and Avonnova. For those wanting a wider coverage add in Im Corzin Terror and Majestic Mach. Harnesslink Media

We continue our previews of harness racings big day at Menangle Inter Dominion day on Sunday and this time the focus is on the three year olds in the New South Wales Derby.  New South Wales Derby 1) Hug The Wind - Starts 12 - Wins 5 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $202,234 One real classy three year old who has the draw to dominate this race. Won his heat from the death seat in what was his first run for seven weeks so natural improvement makes him very hard to beat. Has real gate speed as he showed at Auckland on New Year's eve and the all round game to take advantage of his draw. Natalie is driving in super touch at the moment so this combination looks terribly hard to beat. 2) Kilcullen - Starts 10 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 0  -  Stakes $48,173 Kilcullen has been disappointing in the main when lined up against the better three year olds. Kilcullen was poor in his heat of the Victorian Derby from barrier two and although he death seated for the last round in his Derby heat last Saturday, the first three got away on him the last bit. Doesn't look to get off the gate at all in his races so two draw is not a big positive Not for us. 3) Art Union - Starts 21 - Wins 12 - Seconds 5 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $130,555 Was a touch down on his best in his heat last week in our opinion. At his best he would have won that heat from in front but was under pressure a fair way out. Does have an all round game and great trainer/driver combination in his corner so can turn it around. Hard to see him beating Hug The Wind but big chance to run the quinella and a must have for trifecta and first four takers. 4) Burnaholeinmypocket - Starts 9 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes $29,252 (2nd Emerg) He had only had one run this season leading into his heat last Saturday night and he didn't do himself any favours by over racing badly through the first 800 metres. Never left the inner in getting home well for sixth in a fast run last quarter and hard to see how he could improve enough to be a player in this even if he made it back into the field from the ballot. Not for us. 5) Sluggem - Starts 6 - Wins 2 - Seconds 1 - Thirds  -  Stakes $15,898 Very inexperienced horse but does have a big future. Settled last in his heat and made ground stylishly late in the piece. Formerly with the All Star barn in New Zealand and showed plenty of ticker when winning for them at Auckland at Xmas time. Hasn't got the all round game yet to challenge a few here but will be running on. Outside first four player for us. 6) Lets Cut Loose - Starts 11 - Wins 2 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $18,854 He had nine starts in New Zealand before coming to Australia and none of them were in top three year old company which raises questions for us. He had the run of the race last week on Hug The Wind's back but couldn't stay with him in the straight after drawing barrier one which doesn't instill confidence either. Harder draw and field this week in the Derby means we struggle to see him as a major player. Not for us 7) Corporal Luna - Starts 15 - Wins 6 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $34,582 Built up a strong record in Queensland but was only ok in his Derby heat last Saturday night at Menangle. Didn't take advantage of his barrier draw of two and ended up four back on the inner and even though he ran home well in a quick last quarter, he was still a fair way from the winner. Stronger field and worst draw makes it mission impossible in our view. Not for us 8) Sporty Spook - Starts 17 - Wins 9 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $83,050 Showed blinding gate speed to lead from barrier nine last week but did badly check a horse coming across which the driver copped three weeks for. Fought on well when clear so plenty of merit in the run for us. Plenty of gate speed inside him in the Derby so not sure same strategy of burning the gate will work this week. First four chance if driven a bit more conservatively this week in our view. 9) Padrisimo - Starts 10 - Wins 6 - Seconds 2 - Thirds 0  -  Stakes $75,505 High class colt who has not had the ideal preparation for a gruelling 2400 metres. His run in the heats last Saturday night was his first for nine weeks and only his third in eleven months which makes it very hard to see him being a major player here. Should have improved bigtime with the run but too many questions remain in our view. Not for us 10) Ideal For Real - Starts 9 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $52,185 Not the draw his connections would have been hoping for. Does pocess blinding speed if held up for one run as he showed in his Derby heat last Saturday night and in his heat of the Victorian Derby before that. Gavin Lang is just the man to get this American bred colt the run he needs but he is going to need Hug The Wind to have a run from hell to get him home over the top of that horse from barrier nine in our opinion. A winning chance and a must for quinella, trifecta and first four takers.  11) Aztec Bromac - Starts 8 - Wins 4 - Seconds 1 - Thirds 1  -  Stakes If this horse had drawn better he would be a huge trifecta and first four player. Won his Victoria Derby heat beating Ideal For Real before being flattened in the final. Pushed Hug The Wind for a long way in his heat and was well clear of the pack in second. Draw makes it hard but we have a lot of time for this horse. Definite trifecta and first four player even from the draw. 12) Spare Me Days - Starts 14 - Wins 6 - Seconds 0 - Thirds 5  -  Stakes $98,940 (1st Emerg) Picked a bad time in his Derby heat to run off on the last bend costing himself a couple of lengths which cost him his starting spot in the Derby. From the draw and on last weeks run, he would be up against it in our opinion if he did make it back into the field. Has a great overall record but not for us in this field  Selections Hard to go past Hug The Wind in one for us The danger is undoubtedly Ideal For Real This two look a wee bit better than the rest of the field on last weeks runs. The horses to make up the trifectas and first fours are Art Union, Sluggem, Sporty Spook and Aztec Bromac   Harnesslink Media    

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Menangle features several great clashes and we thought we would preview them all this week with a runner by runner assessment First up is the Ladyship Mile. 1) Frith - Starts 40 -  Wins 30 - Seconds 6 -Thirds 2  -  Stakes $819,572 Frith is surprisingly only having her third lifetime start over a mile, all of which have been at Menangle with her best time to date being 1:53 We are not convinced the one draw suits her that much as say two or three as there is plenty of gate speed outside Frith and she may end up getting crossed at the start. She is a great stayer but hasn't had a run for a month so question marks remain about her race fitness but her class will take her a long way. One of Adore Me's two biggest  threats. 2) Pas Ultimate Delight - Starts - 41 - Wins 12 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 6  -  Stakes $134,411 Has continued to improve since coming to Australia but this still looks a bit rich at this stage.  Does have a best time of 1:52.3 and from her draw of two we think Lauren will make a serious play for the front early but we are of the opinion Pas Ultimate Delight is better driven with a sit and we give her an outside first  four chance if she is driven like that. 3) Dynamite Denn Nee - Starts 90 - Wins 17 - Seconds 15 - Thirds 12 - Stakes $181,628  (2nd Emrg) Has been in good touch lately including a second to Frith two starts back so probably unlucky to be on the ballot but is unlikely to get a start. Rough first four player if she did. 4) Beauty Secret - Starts 54 - Wins 24 - Seconds - 9 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $ 393,451 Will come into barrier three if there are no scratchings and from there she is a real danger to the two favourites.  Has real gate speed if Gavin Lang wants to use it and can also run a big half if held up as she showed in the Robin Dundee on Miracle Mile night where she brushed home in 54 flat in front. Has the all round game to trouble the two favourites and with Gavin in the bike you just know he will give her the run that she needs. 5) Major Foxy Styx - Starts - 24 - Wins 11 - Seconds 4 - Thirds - 1  -  Stakes $197,830  Has built up a great record in Perth and stamped that form with a win in the Ladyship Cup at Melton on Hunter Cup night beating amongst others Beauty Secret.  However  she did get a dream run that night and even with the mercurial Luke McCarthy in the bike we can't see her winning the race on Sunday with the three favourites having a class edge but she is still a definite first four player for us. 6) Tact Hayleys Delight - Starts 72 - Wins 11 - Seconds 15 - Thirds - 6  -  Stakes $160,016 In career best form at the moment but from the draw we think she has a hard job to get some of this. We think she will have to go back from the draw and try to have one run at them late in the race but we can't see her rolling over the top of  the favourites and for us she is an outside place chance at best. 7) Laterron - Starts 82 - Wins 16 - Seconds 16 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $173,515 - ( 1st Emer ) Produced a great run when a handy fourth to Adore Me in the Brian Hancock Cup on Saturday night and her connections must feel slightly aggrieved to be on the ballot.  Laterron has beaten Elusive Chick home the last three times they have met and that combined with the run in the Brian Hancock Cup should have seen her make the field. Great place chance if she gains re-entry into the field. 8) Courageousnquick - Starts 42 - Wins 16 - Seconds 6 - Thirds 4  -  Stakes $204,352 Quality mare who has just had two runs back from a spell but the draw has negated her biggest asset which is her blinding gate speed. We still think that Anthony Butt will press the go button early and if she happened to get the front she would present all kind of problems for Frith. Definite place chance if "Ants" can work his magic early 9) Rathmore Lady - Starts 76 - Wins 17 - Seconds 19 - Thirds 8  -  Stakes $147,976  On her day a very handy mare but is inconsistent and can throw the toys out of the cot every now and again. On her best behaviour she would be a rough first four chance but the draw and the quality of the field leads us to think she has a mountain to climb.  Not for us. 10) Pemberton Shard - Starts 55 - Wins 11 - Seconds 7 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $212 997 If there is a smokey in this years race then Pemberton Shard is it for us. A mile is maybe a touch short of her best but she is a super tough mare who needs the speed on and that's exactly what she will get on Sunday. Has struggled to cope with Adore Me in New Zealand but then again who hasn't  and has gone some great races in behind her in mares races. Dexter Dunn in the bike is a big plus and she is a big first four player for us. 11) Elusive Chick - Starts 57 - Wins 13 - Seconds 11 - Thirds 11  -  Stakes $389,147 A high quality mare who was in good form earlier in the season but whose form has tapered off badly with her only placing in her last six starts a win in a five horse field just before Xmas. Throw in the draw for a mare who likes to race on the speed and we struggle to see her running in four. Not for us. 12) Adore Me - Starts 34 - Wins 25 - Seconds 4 - Thirds 2  -  Stakes $1,503,429  A great racemare who has the same visitors draw as she had last year when she was beaten. The field this year is stronger in our opinion but Adore Me has gone to another level this season as well. This year the All Stars team have arrived earlier and given her a run leading into the race which is all a positive in our book. The change of driver took us by surprise a bit but Natalie has been in unbelievable form this season in New Zealand and the change is a plus not a minus in our view. Clear first pick for us even from the draw. Selections Adore Me is a clear first pick for us In the end we couldn't separate Frith and Beauty Secret for second even if logic said Frith Others to throw into multiples include Courageousnquick, Pemberton Shard, Major Foxy Styx and if you are going a bit wider Tact Hayleys Delight. Harnesslink Media

Sky Racing’s Andrew Bensley is normally the person holding the microphone and asking the winning harness racing connections how they feel after a big race victory. However this Sunday afternoon he is hoping he is the one being asked the questions.  Bensley is the part owner of Yankee Rockstar and the talented four year old will line up in the Gr. 1 FORM 700 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. While Bensley feels no nerves before conducting important interviews with racing royalty, he admits there will be a ‘few butterflies’ this weekend. “I’m normally pretty quiet when I watch Yankee Rockstar race and let it all unfold but I did get a little bit excited last start in the Bonanza because I knew that if he won that race, he qualified for the Chariots,” Bensley said. “I rode him home from the 100 metre mark that night and this weekend’s race is a much bigger one.” Yankee Rockstar has drawn barrier eight but will move into gate seven if the emergencies fail to get a start. “We would have loved to have drawn a barrier so he is going to need a lot of luck from where he has drawn, especially considering Bling It On has drawn inside him.” “The best thing about his Bonanza win was when Gavin Lang put one on his tail in the straight he knuckled down and found a little bit more, because up until then he hadn’t really been in many situations where he has had to find under pressure.” Bensley will be trackside at Menangle on Sunday afternoon with his beloved Stetson hat. “My Stetson was an amazing gift from an amazing lady in Gai Waterhouse and I know that she likes to see me wearing it because she told me to make sure that I had it on if Yankee Rockstar won at Melton so I know she will be watching on Sunday.” “I love harness racing, I am in a syndicate with Tim Bunning and we have five horses, I had a horse many years ago called Dunme Dough that did a good job but I’m really enjoying being back in the sport again as an owner.” The Inter Dominion 2015 is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: Name: Greg Hayes Position: Media Coordinator Phone: (02) 9722 6600 Email: ghayes@hrnsw.com.au Related Links Fields for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Sunday 01 March 2015 Form guide for Nswhrc at Tabcorp Pk Menangle, Sunday 01 March 2015

The old adage in harness racing of breeding the best to the best to get the best was never more evident than in the win of Delight Me in the first New South Wales Oaks heat at Menangle tonight. They don't come any better bred than Delight Me with the daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight having the former great racemare Cornsilk 1:52 ($555,046) as her dam. The Emma Stewart trained filly was settled midfield in the running line by leading reinsman Gavin Lang and there she stayed until the 600 metres mark where Gavin tipped her three wide. Looming up to the leaders on the corner, Delight Me quickly put the issue beyond doubt and didn't have to be driven out to record a stylish victory. Delight Me won with so much ease that it is hard to see any of the minor placegetters in this heat playing a major part in the New South Wales Oaks on Sunday week. Delight Me paced the 2400 metres in a quick 2:54.1, a mile rate of 1:56.7 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.9 Cornsilk was purchased by leading Western Australian breeder Robert Watson while still in North America and brought back to Australia to breed from. It is a very expensive excercise to undertake and following her return Robert has sold all her progeny through the yearling sales and in our view deserves any success that comes his way. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing pundits only wanted one horse tonight in the second heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle. Art Union was expected to be too strong from barrier four and punters would have been happy with themselves after 500 metres when driver Dexter Dunn let the son of Art Major slide to the lead without having to really use him. Sporty Spook after an early burn from barrier nine to grab the lead settled into a lovely trail on Art Union's back with Kilcullen working to the death and in the process giving Ideal For Real a lovely sit in the one by one. Dexter held the favourite back to the field until the corner where he set him alight but it was to no avail as Ideal For Real and Gavin Lang just burned him with raw speed as he went straight  past him half way down the Menangle straight and kept going to the line for a very impressive win. Art Union fought on gamely for second just in front of Sporty Spook while Kilcullen was much improved in holding on for fourth after doing the most work in the race. Trained by Emma Stewart the American Ideal colt  paced the 2400 metres in 2:54.7, a mile rate of 1:57.2 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.4.  When Ideal For Real gets the kind of run he did tonight he can be lethal over the last 400 metres as he showed recently with a huge finish for second in his heat of the Victoria Derby. With Gavin Lang in the bike Ideal For Real will lack nothing in the driver department on Sunday week and looms as a major win chance if he can get the kind of run he did tonight. Harnesslink Media

Along with being the favourite, Yankee Rockstar was harness racing’s omen bet of the weekend when he competed at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. A member of the powerful Emma Stewart / Clayton Tonkin stable, Yankee Rockstar captured one of the feature events on the card – The Bonanza. What made the victory fitting is the fact the son of Rocknroll Hanover is part-owned by media identity, Andrew Bensley – also known as Hoss. Bensley received the nickname due to his likeness of actor Dan Blocker, better known for his character ‘Hoss’ on the long-running television series Bonanza! “About 20 years ago Damian Oliver pointed out I look like Dan Blocker and the name Hoss has stuck since,” Bensley said. “It dropped away for a while, but it is back stronger than ever now and looks like it will stick. “I guess with me being known as Hoss and the name of the race, it all worked out as an omen for us.” Bensley, complete with Stetson, was trackside to watch Yankee Rockstar account for Hectorjayjay and Yayas Hot Spot Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Yankee Rockstar led throughout, rating 1:52.4 for the 1720-metre trip. “Gai Waterhouse bought me the hat last December and now my co-owners want me to wear it every time he races,” Benlsey said. “They feel the hat may be a good luck piece, so I will wear it with pride.” Bensley’s Stetson – along with Yankee Rockstar - is set to make its next appearance at Menangle on March 1 – TAB.com.au Inter Domininion day. “With his Bonanza win he is guaranteed a berth in the Chariots Of Fire, so that’s where he is heading,” Bensley said. “I didn’t get a chance to speak to Emma or Clayton after the race, so at this stage I don’t know if he will have another run before then. “Either way, my hat and I will be at Menangle for the Chariots and cheering him on.” PAUL COURTS

Master reinsman Gavin Lang proved to be a ladies’ man by scoring with four females at last night’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Driving in vintage form, Lang provided prominent trainer Emma Stewart with a winning quartet – all members of the ‘fairer sex’! Lang’s evening kicked off with promising youngster Lovelist, which outclassed her rivals in 1:58.5 over 2200 metres. After leading with ease from barrier two, Lovelist scored by there-and-a-half metres from Union Alley, with Smooth Showgirl a head away third. By Always A Virgin, the filly is from broodmare gem Lifeline, making her an ‘Aunt’ to another of Lang’s winners, Beauty Secret. A daughter of Armbro Operative, Beauty Secret is from Secret Life, which is from Lifeline. Also leading throughout, Beauty Secret accounted for her stablemate, The Good Times and National Service. Rating 1:57.8 for the 2200 metres, the six-year-old has won five of her last six starts, taking her record to 24 wins and 12 placings from 52 outings. No stranger to Group One glory, Beauty Secret has been aimed at the Ladyship Mile, which is scheduled to be run at Menangle on March 1 – TAB.com.au Inter Dominion day. Also bred to be a star, Delight Me did just that with favourite punters when she was untouched to score from Awesome Mattjesty and Thunder Fee. Unbeaten from four starts this campaign, Delight Me is by Bettors Delight from Group One winner, Cornsilk. Stewart has set the three-year-old towards various majors, including the New South Wales Oaks, which is also due to be run on Inter Dominion day. Lang and Stewart rounded out their quartet with Bettors Package, which cruised to an eye-catching victory from Modern Hitch and Bazzas Art. Successful at four of her five starts for the term, Bettors Package will continue to make her way through the grades ahead of the Vicbred Super Series later in the season. PAUL COURTS

Master reinsman Gavin Lang has answered one of the biggest harness racing questions of the weekend. As the number one driver for the Emma Stewart stable, Lang had a choice between three runners in tomorrow night’s $400,000 Victoria Cup and has made his decision. Lang’s options where Phildadelphia Man from barrier four, Guaranteed from 10 and Restrepo from 13. After waiting until the trio had their final workout ahead of the Grand Circuit gem, Lang has selected Guaranteed, which he has driven to four wins and two placings from six starts this season. Guaranteed has been kept fresh since his brilliant victory in the South Australia Cup three weeks ago. Talented reinsman Nathan Jack will partner Philadelphia Man, which had his winning sequence broken when a fighting second in last Saturday’s Shepparton Cup. Heading into the provincial feature, Philadelphia Man had won his previous 11 starts. Greg Sugars will take the reins behind Restrepo, which was a class above his rivals in the Hamilton Cup a fortnight ago. With Lang in the cart, Restrepo shrugged off a 30-metre handicap to score in track record time. Guaranteed is the second favourite at $4.80 behind Beautide, which is sitting on $3.20 despite being first-up for nine weeks. Philadelphia Man, along with Christen Me, is on $6, with Restrepo one of the outsiders at $41. Such is the depth of the field, defending champion, For A Reason, is also $41 after drawing awkwardly in gate 11. PAUL COURTS

Master reinsman Gavin Lang is the favourite to be the winning Inter Dominion driver. In the latest TAB ‘novelty market’ for the time-honoured Championship, Lang is at $3.80 to secure the Final, which could shape as ‘overs’ considering the horseflesh Lang has at his disposal. Lang is the main stable driver for trainer Emma Stewart, who has Guaranteed, Philadelphia Man and Restrepo engaged in the prestigious series. The TAB.com.au Inter Dominion Final is scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Menangle on March 1. Lang is yet to enjoy victory in the Pacers’ Final, but has won three Trotters’ Finals – scoring with True Roman in 1988, Game Bid 2002 and Sumthingaboutmaori in ’04. “Our bookies have installed Gavin as favourite to secure one of the few remaining majors that he has yet to win,” Georgiou said. “Lang has been known as one of the best drivers of the last generation and still commands respect among his much younger rivals. “It would be fitting if he could finally lift an Inter Dominion Pacing Grand trophy.” PAUL COURTS Inter Dominion Winning Driver Gavin Lang                     $3.80  James Rattray              $4  Dexter Dunn                $5  Ricky May                     $7  Any Other Driver         $10  Chris Alford                  $10  Luke McCarthy            $10  Grant Dixon                 $21  Lauren Panella            $21  Shane Graham            $21

“Watch out Guaranteed and Philadelphia Man, because he's back,” said Gavin Lang after driving Restrepo to a breathtaking Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win on Sunday. Lang would know; he’s driven all three of the Emma Stewart trained big guns to feature race success in recent weeks. So for Restrepo’s large travelling throng of owners from Portland, Lang’s words in his cup presentation speech must have been music to the ears ahead of the TAB.com.au Summer of Glory on January 31 and February 7. Last season’s Ballarat Cup winner took off with a lap to go and muscled his way to the front before running his rivals ragged with sustained power, leaving the deepest Hamilton Cup field in recent memory paddling in his wake. As a result of Sunday's win the TAB slashed Restrepo's Hunter Cup odds from $21 to $12. Lang spoke of his affinity with Restrepo, having driven the six-year-old son of Art Major/Shes Innocent at his first 42 racetrack starts before swapping to Philadelphia Man, which defeated Restrepo to win the Horsham Pacing Cup last weekend. “It was good to get back on today,” Lang said. The champion reinsman spoke of the satisfaction he got from driving in big races and thanked the large crowd in attendance at Hamilton for creating such a strong atmosphere. Restrepo won by 21.4m over Kerryn Manning trained-and-driven Arden Rooney, who has placed in both country cup runs since making his Australian debut last weekend. And Arber finished third for trainer Tim Bolitho and reinsman Greg Sugars, that pacer’s third Hamilton Cup minor placing. But it was all honours to the winner, who slashed 1.4secs off the previous track record with a 1:57.4 mile rate over the 2660-metre stand-start trip. Restrepo covered his last half-mile in 56.8secs, Lang taking the entire to the lead at the bell. Once in front Restrepo put on one of the most powerful displays ever seen at Hamilton, sticking his neck out and breaking his adversaries’ hearts as the trots won new fans. People who had not previously seen harness racing watched in awe as Restrepo did his thing. Post-race it was clear the sport had won new fans thanks to the cup winner’s display. Of the beaten brigade Arden Rooney tried valiantly and will continue to improve in his new Great Western surrounds, Arber went enormous at big odds, Cut For An Ace ditto, Flaming Hero showed he will win a country cup sooner or later with a strong fifth and veteran Villagem was best of the rest. Local favourite Abettorpunt struggled into 10th place after a tough run, while Blucolla Tigerpie (11th) and Jadahson (12th) raced on the pace but weakened well out of calculations from the 500m. Restrepo’s win was one of four successes for Stewart at Hamilton on Cup Day, her other winners Starburst Girl in Race 4, Vanderley in Race 5 and Bettors Package in the last. Lang drove three of the winners, while Nathan Jack scored on the impressive Vanderley. The Fat Man saluted for local trainer David Lewis in Race 2, the Mountain View Stud Pace, the four-year-old by American Ideal out of Atomic Fusion romping in by almost 17m over 2160m in a rate of 1:59.1. David Drury’s great run of form continued when Go Betweens notched his third win from 28 starts – and second straight success – in the Alexandra House Border Cup Final over 1660m in a rate of 1:59.1. Drury almost made it a winning double when Kyms Boy loomed ominously behind long odds-on favourite Jilliby Jagger in the WDEA Pace, but the latter packed too much punch to score by 5.1m in 1:59.1. The other winner for the day was impressive debutant trotter Franco Jaeger for driver Chris Alford, which held off Lady Mackendon in the PFD Trotters Handicap. Cody Winnell - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria  

Talented Tasmanian mare Spitfire Rose made it a clean sweep for the locals when she powered home to score a convincing win in the prestigious George Johnson mares’ classic at Tattersall's Park in Hobart yesterday. Spitfire Rose started at the lucrative price of $12 (fixed), with in-form Victorian mare Tandias Bromac from the Amanda Grieve stable the $1.50 favourite. The winner was driven by Gavin Lang, who admitted the victory was a bit special because of the circumstances surrounding how he came to drive the daughter of Jeremes Jet. Spitfire Rose is trained by Rohan Hadley, who also usually drives her in races, but when he became Ill a few weeks ago he called on Lang to make the trip across Bass Strait for the drive. “Rohan isn’t travelling too well at the minute, so I came across to drive here and she did a wonderful job,” Lang said. Spitfire Rose faced the breeze from the outset ahead of Tandias Bromac which landed on her back in the one-one. But Tandias Bromac’s driver Chris Alford was unhappy with the speed set by El Jays Magic, so he took off two laps from home to assume control. This left Spitfire Rose still facing the breeze, but it was short-lived when Whisper Jet obliged by sweeping around them three-wide to occupy the ‘death seat’. Turning for home Tandias Bromac burst clear, but when Lang eased Spitfire Rose three-wide to make her charge, she powered home to beat the favourite 10 metres, with El Jays Magic three metre away third. Hadley was at the track, but not physically well enough to venture down to the presentation area. “This was a great win by the mare and I’m thankful for Gavin for answering the call,” Hadley said. “She's a very good mare that deserved to win a good race and there's none better than this in Tasmania.” Hadley stated there were no specific plans to target any interstate races with Spitfire Rose, which has won 10 and been placed 12 times from 34 starts for close to $70,000 in stakes. Spitfire Rose began her career in New South Wales where she was winless from nine outings, but notched three placings at Penrith and one at Menangle. She joined Hadley's stable in July last year, but was retired from the race at her first start in the state but made amends at her subsequent outing at the same venue a week later. She travelled to Victoria for the Four-Year-Old Breeders’ Crown series and was third in her heat behind Cenosilocophobia, but suffered an injury and was sent for a spell. This latest assignment was her second this time in, having finished third first-up in the Mother of Pearl in Launceston on November 30. PETER STAPLES

Top Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang has always had success when driving in Tasmania and he showed why he is considered one of harness racing’s best with a superb display behind Rusty Red Comet in Hobart today. The Eric Jacobson-trained gelding was backed in to start the $2.10 favourite and it was Lang’s patience that ensured the four-year-old emerged triumphant. Vander Jenkins ($10 into $8) showed good early speed to find the front, while Smokin Mustard $14) faced the breeze and the well-tried Frankie Falzoni ($9) trailed the leader from the pole. Lang settled Rusty Red Comet in the rear half of the field in the one-out line and he waited until entering the back straight the last time to make his move three and four-wide. The well-backed second favourite Major Callum was sent around the field to face the breeze with over a lap remaining and he looked the winner turning for home. But when Lang called on Rusty Red Comet to deliver the goods, the son of Riverboat King found that bit extra Lang is often able to extricate from his charges to emerge triumphant. Rusty Red Comet hit the line three metres clear of Major Callum, with Frankie Falzoni a metre away third. PETER STAPLES

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