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The success of Adelaide standardbred syndicator Bruce Cameron in the Southern Cross series continued in 2017 but produced firsts of his own which impressed champion harness racing driver Gavin Lang. Cameron’s first win on Saturday was in the Group 2 Ubet Three-Year-Old Fillies Southern Cross Final (2230m) where Perfect Look proved too strong for stablemate Our Celebrity. His second victory came in the following race when That’s Perfect led throughout to win the Group 2 Ubet Two-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Southern Cross Final (1800m). As usual, both were trained in Victoria by Emma Stewart. It was Cameron’s ninth overall winner in Southern Cross races but his first in a colts & geldings race but what took Lang’s attention was that his Saturday night winners were brother and sister, by Art Major out of the mare Perfect Life. “I’m not sure that would have happened all that often,” Lang said. “It certainly is a wonderful achievement.” Perfect Look’s victory in the Three-Year-Old Fillies final was the fourth straight success by a Cameron runner in that Southern Cross race – and his fifth overall. The first success was in 2012 with Beauty Secret, then from 2014 it has been Punch Line, Lovelist and Rocknroll Magic which have been successful. This year, Our Celebrity, with Lang in the sulky and the $1.50 favourite, was expected to follow her victory in the Two-Year-Old Fillies final last year with a win to complete the double but it was Perfect Look, driven by international reinsman Sidney Van den Brande, which proved too strong. For Van den Brande, it was his first Group success, in a career which began in Europe and has seen him work in the United States before coming to Australia. He drove the perfect race on Perfect Look ($3.70) which sat outside the leader Our Celebrity over the last lap before drawing clear to score by a metre with Canelliesparkle ($69), 20-1/2 metres away third. Our Celebrity began well from gate five but the Vince Vallelonga-trained Lisa Crocker, driven by Jayden Brewin from gate one, came away quickly to lead, and while most expected Our Celebrity to roll to the front, Brewin kept the favourite out a bit longer than her supporters would have hoped. Once in front, Lang eased the tempo markedly with a 32.8 second first quarter before improving for a 31.4 second quarter. Once the speed back off, Van den Brande took Perfect Look from the running line to sit parked and helped dictate the tempo. The pair went for home from the 600m mark with final quarters of 28.6 and 28.1 but it was Perfect Look which prevailed. Cameron said he was in a position where he couldn’t lose up the home straight. “Perfect Look was a bit of an unknown,” Cameron said. “She was a late starter and having only her fourth start. We knew she had ability and would improve and I’m happy for the owners which include Mary Hook from Orrorroo, and Sidney (Van den Brande). “Sidney was under a bit of pressure last week with his four drives, all favourites, while this week he was able to focus on just one drive, with far less pressure, and he drove superbly.” Cameron said Our Celebrity, having just her second run from a year off, found the winner just too good. That’s Perfect, a red-hot $1.45 favourite, had an easy lead with Gavin Lang in the sulky, and scored a comfortable 6-1/2 metre win from Clarenden Valour ($10.50) which trailed the winner with Tin Roof Raider ($9.40), two metres away third, after sitting parked for the entire journey. Cameron said he would see how all his Southern Cross runners came through the series before working out whether they would proceed to the Breeders Crown races. by Graham Fischer

It was quite fitting Gavin Lang and Dexter Dunn reached career milestones on the same weekend. While Dunn has re-written all the record books in NZ, Lang is widely regarded as the best driver Australia has seen. Although, the Chris Alford fans might argue the toss on that one. Lang, 58, landed his 6000th career win in typically patience and sublime style on outsider, the Emma Stewart-trained Tell Me Tales, in the Group 1 Vicbred final for 3YO fillies at Melton last night. It came just a few months after Alford became the first driver in this part of the world to hit 6000 career wins. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now,” Lang said. “I’m quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that,” Lang told harness.org,.au. While Lang has been associated with so many great stables over his stellar career, it has been Stewart and co-trainer Clayton Tonkin who have been his backbone in recent times. So much so, it was loyalty to Stewart and Tonkin which saw Lang surrender the drive on Hectorjayjay ahead of last year’s Perth Inter Dominion. The Vicbred 3YO fillies’ final was billed as a match-race between arch-rivals Petacular and Miss Graceland. Miss Graceland won the first battle by holding the lead, but soon after started to overrace badly for driver Chris Alford. Given Petacular was stuck parked as Miss Graceland charged along in slick splits in front, she too was a victim of the leader’s headstrong, self-destructive mindset. Miss Graceland stopped on the final bend, Petacular zoomed clear and looked set to win and then along came Lang on Tell Me Tales. As hard as a very brave Petacular tried to lift, Tell Me Tales fresh legs were too much and snatched victory by 1.2m in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 2240m.   Adam Hamilton

It was fittingly a Group 1 win at Tabcorp Park Melton that would see Gavin Lang join the elite harness racing group of two Southern Hemisphere winners of 6000 races as a drive. Lang won the Captain Treacherous Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies with Tell Me Tales to join Chris Alford on the magical mark. Lang said the victory was a “good feeling”, with the win all the more significant for the fact it was done representing Emma Stewart’s stable. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now,” Lang said. “I’m quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that.” The modesty belied a cracking drive that brought up the victory, with Tell Me Tales upstaging highly fancied favourites Petacular and Miss Graceland, who worked to the front but with the latter overracing it kept the door ajar for the contenders. Come the final stages it was Tell Me Tales hitting the line best to secure the bulk of the $120,000 prize. “Everything worked out well for her,” Lang said. “The barrier draw came out and (12) was not what you would have chosen if you had the choice, but you knew full well the ingredients were there that it might be a genuinely run race and when you’re drawn bad that’s what you require. “She’s progressively got better each run Emma and Clayton have had her.” The win was one of three Group 1s captured on the night by Stewart’s stable, with Poster Boy and Nostra Villa winning the two-year-old features, both with Alford in the sulky. For results and video replays of races from Tabcorp Park Melton click here. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

It was the night we had been waiting for. Emerging trainer Anton Golino and the leviathan team that is Yabby Dams has been threatening to dominate a major meeting. And it happened when they snared two Group 1s and Group 3 at Melton’s huge Vicbred “trotting finals” night last night (Friday). It started when three-year-old Muscle Mass filly Nieta posted her seventh win from just 14 starts when she sat behind main danger, Kyvalley Kyrie, and out-zipped her to win the Group 3 Vicbred Silver Trot. “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight, but I think they underestimated her speed tonight,” driver Nathan Jack told harness.org.au. Like so many of the stars of the Vicbred meeting, Nieta’s next main target is the Breeders Crown. Nieta is bred to keep improving being out of La Biscuit, a daughter of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha. Golino’s enormous depth in three-year-old trotting filly ranks was underlined when another one of his, Kinvara Sue, used the pole to lead and thrash her rivals with Jason Lee aboard in the Group 1 3YO Fillies’ Vicbred final.   Lee broke her his rivals with a 28.6sec split down the back and won by 11.1m in a 2min0.4sec mile rate for 2240m, but the effort of runner-up Margaret Ruth to carry a flat tyre most of the trip was outstanding. “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific,” Lee said about Kinvara Sue. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Pat is of course Pat Driscoll, the man, the brains and the money behind Yabby Dams. Driscoll and Golino’s treble came up when Aldebaran Eve, driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout and just held-off favourite Into The Unknown in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final. “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Lang said. Golino praised the his team at Yabby Dams, most notably former All Stars’ travelling foreman Shaun McNaulty “We are starting to get a good team of horses and people,” Golino said. “Young Shaun helps with me with the horses and does a great job.” YOUNG trotting star Wobelee stirs plenty of memories for driver and co-trainer Chris Alford. His fantastic juvenile season of six wins a second and a third from just eight starts has rekindled memories more than 20 years old for Alford. It was 1995 when Alford’s father unearthed the great juvenile trotter Noopy Kiosk, who ranks up with the best baby trotters Australia has seen. Wobelee’s fantastic record, slick times and big winners margins have drawn inevitable comparisons. Throw in the fact Wobelee is trained by Alford’s wife, Alison, and it’s been a pretty special ride this season. Wobelee made it six wins on end and snared his second Group 1 when he won the Vicbred 2YO final at Melton last night by 18.2m. Previously he’d won the Group 1 Vicbred Platinum final by 16.3m on June 3 and the Group 2 Tatlow final before that. “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Wobelee’s “dad” is brilliant but sometimes erratic trotter Down Under Muscles, who won 17 of 41 starts and $216,925 in stakes. ANTHONY Butt’s daring and aggressive driving has won him countless feature races. It proved the difference again last night when Butt surprised a few by leading and holding the front on Enrolled in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final (2240m). Many thought Butt might take the “safe” option and take a trail behind hot favourite Maori Law, however Butt had different ideas. Maori Law didn’t enjoy having to do the grunt work, broke under pressure and Enrolled powered to a 7.4m win for Butt and trainer Brent Lilley. Butt capped a double and caused the upset of the night aboard $32.10 outsider Crow Power in the Group 3 Vicbred Silver final. Other drivers to land doubles on the big night were Nathan Jack – Nieta and two-year-old filly Moonshine Linda – and Gavin Lang, who won on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun in the Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final.   Michael Guerin

The final night of the 2017 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series delivered three top-level harness racing triumphs for the Emma Stewart stable. Stewart's triple Group 1 success also saw champion reinsman Gavin Lang pick up his 6000th career winner in the sulky, aboard Tell Me Tales in the three-year-old fillies' final, upsetting favourites Petacular and Miss Graceland. Nostra Villa remained unbeaten winning the two-year-old fillies' big dance for Chris Alford before stablemate Poster Boy doubled up for the Puppet and Stewart combo with victory in the two-year-old final a race later. Without You wired her rivals in the four-year-old final, Nathan Jack flying the Lauriston Bloodstock owned four-year-old off the arm from gate seven before staving off all comers at the finish for trainer Amanda Turnbull. Jilliby Kung Fu is this year's three-year-old boys' champion for the Terang team of Marg Lee and Glen Craven. And West Australian raider Soho Tribeca overcame adversity to notch a stunning win for trainer-driver Kim Prentice in the four-year-old entires and geldings' final. For results and video replays of races from Tabcorp Park Melton click here. Below is a snapshot of what the winners had to say post-race Race 1 – Greg Sugars on Hes Okey Dokey “His manners before and during the race are really good now whereas he was a bit wayward early days. Keith’s (Cotchin) done a marvellous job to sort him out. He never runs a bad race. He’s been a bit fortunate in recent times and tonight was no exception.” Race 2 – Zac Phillips on Four Ex Dan “His first dip at free-for-all level last week and we were over the moon with his run. He chaired up and held off Maximan and It Is Billy. We were confident enough if we were aggressive early we could find the front and if he found the front he’d be a hard horse to get past.” Race 3 – Chris Alford on Nostra Villa “She just keeps getting better and better each week. Tonight was the first night she had not got to the front but she travelled really well. Nearly dropped in before the turn. Clayton said her last 50m would be her best. “She was just travelling too well. She wasn’t off the bit. She stuck her head in front and didn’t know to run right away. She did enough and that was super.” Race 3 – Anthony Curuana on Nostra Villa “Amazing. I’m still pinching myself, I still can’t believe it.” Race 4 – Chris Alford on Poster Boy “Things didn’t pan out exactly like we would have liked but he was able to get a good trail, poke around and get another good trail, had to come out a bit earlier than I would have liked but he was really good. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to lead, as soon as the gate left I could see Gavin wanted to get out hard. Just had to wait and see what happened and thankfully we got cover for a while and he got a bit of a breather. “He’s a perfect little racehorse. “Clayton always thought he was the pick of his two-year-olds this year and the way the season’s going he’s probably right.” Race 5 – Nathan Jack on Without You “Big thanks to everyone at home. Everyone that chips in, without them we wouldn’t be here tonight. We’ve had a rough trot lately, but Bill and Anne have been there the whole time. “Lauriston horses turn out looking amazing and she’s coming good at the right time.” Race 6 – Gavin Lang on Tell Me Tales “Good feeling… “Everything worked out well for her. She was good last week. Barrier draw came out and not what you would have chosen if you had the choice but you knew full well the ingredients were there that it might be a genuine run race and when you’re drawn bad that’s what you require. She’s progressively got better each run Emma and Clayton have had her. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now. Quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that." Race 6 – Emma Stewart on Tell Me Tales “This one’s quite special to us because we’ve had a good association with Mrs Head (Helen, the breeder) over the years.” Race 7 – Glen Craven on Jilliby Kung Fu “We got the draw. He’s been plagued with bad draws and he’s always had to run second fiddle to Emma and Clayton’s good horses. He’s developed into a really nice horse now and was able to get the job done. “We’ve always liked him. He took a while to get going as a young horse but every time you took him out on the track he just got better. It’s a great thrill. The amount of work everyone does at home, the hours and after hours, it’s a team effort and that’s what we’re here for.” “Jason’s (Lee) won more races on him but I drove him as a two-year-old. I went to Sydney with the Breeders Challenge horses. Jason rang me straight after his heat win and said 'he’s ready for you'. “He’s still improving and hopefully we can have a bit more success with him.” Race 7 – Marg Lee on Jilliby Kung Fu “He’s been racing really well and he was super at Kilmore and he did the same tonight sprinting over the top of them. “You can sit him in and come from behind or he can lead, he’s just a really good horse to deal with. He’s still a stallion and you wouldn’t know it.” Race 8 – Kim Prentice on Soho Tribeca “I just have to take my hat off to this horse. I wanted the second favourite to be sitting outside me for longer but it was gone turning for home. He’s an incredible horse and there’s plenty of people Id like to thank, Rob Watson, but this win goes to Mick and Gen Stanley, what they’ve helped me with the last couple of weeks has been unbelievable and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d be there. “He was 90 per cent better than last week but he’s still only 80 per cent right.” Race 9 – Michael Bellman on Whenmechief “(It has) been good to get a pick-up drive for Darren and Julie when they came across. He was a good horse in the Sunraysia and I think he ran third in a South Australian Cup last year, and he’s done a good job for them tonight.” Race 10 – Greg Sugars on Rule Of Thumb “Tim’s done a good job to get him back racing as well as he has his last couple. He showed as a two-year-old he was going to be a horse of the future, but unfortunately he’s had a few little hiccups. But they’ve got him back doing everything right and doing well. “The Nott family put a lot of money into the sport over a number of years and it’s good to see those people get the rewards.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Invercargill plumber Trevor Ryder is having a ball, especially at present, racing his quality gelding Swamp Major with some good mates as well as breeding from a select group of well-bred mares. His interest in harness racing began in the 1990s when Diamond Field was racing out of the Alan Beck Winton stables. “A friend of mine, Geoff Mollett was in the syndicate that raced him. He worked at Mico Wakefield and my company dealt with them. I started going to the races. From there Geoff and I with some other friends raced a filly called Black Rain,” said Ryder. Black Rain was well bred, being by Vance Hanover out of Cassel’s Dream. Cassel’s Dream’s second dam, Vandette was by Great Evander which left handy horses in Van Forbes (6 wins), Van Garrison (6), Cassel (8) and Heidette (9). “She (Black Rain) didn’t fulfil her promise. Went out raging favourite in both of her starts and was quickly named blocked drain.” The lack of success didn’t put the group off and they commissioned Beck to go to the yearling sales where he purchased Franco Cuisine which was by Andrel out of the Overtrick mare Chateaubriand. “He had a lot of potential but was involved in a smash at Invercargill where Beckie was catapulted up in the air. He never came back quite the same after that.” Franco Cuisine ultimately won three races from thirty six starts. Ryder said at that point he really got the racing bug and was keen to go up another notch. Star Of The Ball was identified as a yearling that Ryder and trainer Gareth Dixon were keen on buying at the Auckland sale. “I wanted to get up into that premier racing – two and three year olds racing. I thought I’d have a crack myself at buying at the sales. I got a lot of help from Peter Lagan and Sandy Yardley. Peter gave me a list of five or six yearlings and at that particular time I met up with Gareth (Gareth Dixon). We weren’t sure whether we would get her as we thought she might be above my limit.” Gareth Dixon was a Southland boy. His father Ken ‘Fast Track’ Dixon was also a plumber. Star Of The Ball by Presidential Ball out of the OK Bye mare Star Fleet was duly purchased. Ryder particularly liked the fact that Black Watch was on the pedigree page. After racing three times at two, Star Of The Ball won her first race at her second start as a three year old at the Franklin meeting at Alexandra Park. “At that point I can remember Gareth saying that she could be one of the top three year old fillies in the country that year. Unfortunately along came Molly Darling, Foreal and Mainland Banner,” he said laughing.  Star Of The Ball won four of her eighteen starts as a three year old including a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series at Ashburton running the 1609 metres in 1-56.1 “We also qualified for the Breeders Crown and that’s a trip I’ll never forget. We met John Caldow, Gavin Lang and Chris Alford (Aussie harness legends). We had a night out with a meal and few drinks and a few more drinks. She ran third in her heat and was a very unlucky sixth in the final.” Star Of The Ball ended her racing career having won eight races and was sent to Christian Cullen. The resulting foal was named Mervynstar after Ryder’s father who had passed away that same year. He was prepared for the sale by Top Notch Lodge and offered at the 2007 yearling sale in Auckland. Trevor and Linda Ryder with Pam and Lindsay Turner with Mervynstar “There was a bit of a rumour around that we might be surprised by the opening bid. It opened up at $150,000 and I just about fell off my perch. He ended up at $220,000 which was a pretty special start to the breeding game for us. It was the top lot of the sale.” The horse was bought by Clive and Rona McKay and raced out of Michael House’s stable. He was renamed Two Twenty. “He had potential but had breathing issues and he had a couple of operations.” Two Twenty won once in sixteen starts. The mare’s second foal by Bettor’s Delight was named Merv. He recorded four wins here before heading to Australia. “Because of the handicap system there was nothing really left for him in Auckland after that. He was racing against C6 and C7 horses and it got too hard. I raced him with good mates Alan and Joy Lindsay and Scott and Sue McCrea.” He was trained for the partnership (Tad Syndicate) in Australia by David Thorn and only started six times, but won four races. Ryder says members of the syndicate were lucky enough to be in Australia when he was in career best form. “The races just happened to be on the same night as the All Blacks were playing Australia. He won at Menangle in 1-53 flat which was quite good five or six years ago and the All Blacks beat Australia. That was a good trip.”  Star Of The Ball’s third foal was Macha (Mach Three). He was sold to clients of Ken Barron’s stable for $40,000 and qualified as a three year old when running second behind Arden Rooney at Rangiora. He was then on-sold to Australia and won eight races fairly quickly including a heat of the Victoria Derby beating Bit Of A Legend and Ohoka Punter. Ohoka Punter went on to win the final. Macha also ran second to Alta Christiano in the 2013 West Australian Derby. Hokuri Railrida (Mach Three) was the next foal. He won two races and is also now in Australia. “He started with Gareth and the Hokuri Syndicate who are a group of mates who go white baiting with me on the West Coast raced him. We bought him south to Murray Brown’s and on the way down he got travel sickness. Not many horses survive that but we got him racing but he didn’t show the promise he had in Auckland.” McArdle Star (McArdle) was the next colt out of Star Of The Ball. He was bought for $30,000 by Steve Thompson of Dunedin. He won his first three starts and ran fifth in Have Faith In Me’s 2015 New Zealand Derby. He won five races here before heading to Victoria where he’s won another two. The next foal was Swamp Major (Art Major).He’s raced by Trevor and his wife Linda, Alan Lindsay, Scott and Sue McCrea, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff. “Potentially he’s the best horse I’ve owned. He’s hopefully going to be back in work in May and back racing in early spring. He had an accident on the training track leading into Cup week and broke his pedal bone. In the Vero Stakes he was the only one making ground on Lazarus and Classie Brigade. Ken always said he’d like to be sitting in the back of those two horses over a short distance and see what happened.” Last season as a three year old Swamp Major won three races and was placed six times in only ten starts. “You can’t keep them all but I like to keep say, every second one and have some fun with my mates.”  The mare’s last foal of racing age is Rocknroll Star. He was bought by Michael House for $27,500 at the sales last year and sold recently in House’s two year old running sale for $75,000. He was bought by Emilio Rosati and has had a name change. He’s now called Times Stride. Star Of The Ball now resides at Kevin and Bonnie Williams Tall Tree Lodge, is in foal to Art Major and is likely to return to Bettor’s Delight. “She’s had eight colts in a row and I’m just praying for a filly.” Ryder is also breeding from Grinfromeartoear mare Selucam. She’s out of Tuapeka Pocket. She’s qualified but is unraced. “The feedback on her was always positive but she had fetlock problems. Normally I prefer to breed from mares that have had three wins or more but I decided to keep her based on the feedback I was getting from the stable.” She’s in foal to Auckland Reactor and lives locally at Macca Lodge. Another mare on the Ryder Bloodstock books is Christian Cullen mare Perfect Sensation. She won three races for Ryder when racing from the Dixon stable in Auckland. Her third dam is champion mare Hilarious Guest. “I decided I wanted a Cullen filly. She too had quite a lot of potential but she had some back and leg issues. Her first foal died and we had issues with the mare as a result of that.” Since then she’s produced a Better’s Delight colt called Bettor Sensation which was bought by Colin De Filippi and is owned by Trevor Casey. Trevor and Linda Ryder also owned a share in Falcon Seelster mare Falcon Flybye. She’s a sister to a host of winners including Flying Pocketlands, Mighty Flying Major and Mighty Flying Mac. Although they’ve opted out of the mare their names are still on four of her foals, all of whom have been winners. The best is Alotbettor (10) and Fleeting Grin (6). He also still has a share in Cher’s Magic as a part of The Watch Your Step Syndicate. Star Of The Ball’s latest yearling Ball Of Art - a full brother to Swamp Major, sold to Barry Purdon for $50,000. “Depending on our own sale we’ll be looking at getting a Bettor’s Delight filly. I’d also like to get an Art Major filly on board at some stage as well. I’m always looking at the top end. I think the odds are not in your favour if you’re at the other end of the scale.” Ryder says he likes to look after his mares and not over race them because long term he believes they will produce better foals. “Gareth did a great job in looking after Star. She only had thirty odd starts and that’s where I like it to be with breeding in mind. I don’t like the mare to be burnt out. He says he enjoys his involvement in harness racing as an owner, breeder and sponsor. “I’ve had a ball since I jumped onboard in 1990. I’ve raced a couple of nice mares in Highview Jude (9 wins) and Star of The Ball and now we’ve got Swamp (Swamp Major) and that’s in the space of just twenty five years. I probably enjoy it more (ownership) if it’s in a syndicate.” So like many southern breeders Ryder is seeing an opportunity to buy into some of the best New Zealand families, gathering around him a small group of well-bred mares. It keeps his passion alive, and combined with racing some of his horses with his mates, it’s the perfect scenario.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev kept his unbeaten record in Tasmania intact when he led throughout to win the harness racing $30,000 Cascade Draught Tasmanian Derby over 2579 metres at Luxbet Park Hobart yesterday. Scooterwillrev ($2.20 into $1.95 favourite) went onto the race with 11 wins on home soil with his only two defeats coming in feature races in Victoria last season. It was his seventh outing this time in and the Craig Hayes-trained gelding saved his best for the feature event. Ace Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang took the drive and he made the winning move early in the race when he whipped around the field three-wide to momentarily sit outside of the leader before forging to the front. Once in the lead the gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere settled well for Lang while the other well-backed commodity Usain Jolt ($4) was left to face the breeze but he was never travelling comfortably. When Lang called on Scooterwillrev for the big effort in the home straight the gelding powered clear and went on to score by 11 metres from the Todd Rattray-trained Harjeet with Victorian Laredo Torpedo ($3.40) a half-head away third. "This is a very sweet win for me and all the owners who have been enjoying a good ride leading up to this race but the way he delivered today I am so proud of him," Hayes said. "I identified this horse as having above average ability early in his career but last season he was still very immature and even now he still has a lot to learn. "We took him to Victoria for the Breeders Crown series and he ran fourth in his semi-final and had no luck in the final but the trip did him the world of good. "He has come a long way this season and if everything pans out well then we might head back to Victoria for the 3YO Vicbred series." Lang was full of praise for the gelding and suggested he would be very competitive if he ventured back to Victoria, "This horse could run around in graded races and keep winning but he is god enough to go back to Victoria and mix it with the better ones in good races because he is an above average horse," Lang said. "He's did it easy today and good horses don't appear to be running good times but that's because the just lengthen stride and this horse is a class act." Peter Staples

The fact he’s there is something of a miracle, but with a nice harness racing draw Wrappers Delight is ready to make the most of his VHRSC Victoria Derby tilt. The fancied Geoff Webster-trained Bettor's Delight will line up from gate one in Saturday’s $200,000 three-year-old Group 1 feature, with qualification a feat in itself after Wrappers Delight was checked by The Defiant when entering the final turn in last week’s heat. “He went terrific actually, he got severely check around the last corner, all but galloped and lost about five or six metres,” Webster told RSN’s Inside Word. “I thought that’s it, we’re not going to get into the Derby. “He got going again and really hit the line strongly without worrying the leaders. (I was) quite happy with that. He’s a typical Bettors Delight, thrives on the hard work in racing, hopefully he’ll go even better again this week.” CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW Wrappers Delight is listed as third favourite with TAB.com.au at $9, behind only Vincent ($1.50) and Be Jacks Legend ($7), aided by the pole draw that could give him and driver Gavin Lang an armchair ride into the race or, if he gets double-crossed, prove a poisoned chalice. “It’s a little bit tricky, he’s got good gate speed in that he can hold his own but he’s not super quick,” Webster said. “I just hope Our Little General might be able to kick up and hold the rest of them and we might be able to slot in behind him, that might be our best scenario.” That would likely give Wrappers Delight last crack at them down the sprint lane, with Our Little General and Vincent likely to be on his outside. The latter was irresistible in his heat but drawing barrier eight, behind Wrappers Delight, has created an opening. “The fact that Vincent’s drawn where he has makes it awkward for him. It’s an interesting race, but what we saw last week Vincent’s the standout.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is backing the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) in December. Starting today and continuing for the month of December, HRV will donate $500 for every winning drive by Gavin Lang and Anthony Butt to the PCFA anywhere in Australia. Butt and Lang will wear specially designed promotional silks containing the PCFA logo during December. “I’m excited to be involved with this important promotion, which aims to raise awareness and funds for vital research into a condition that touches so many people,” Butt said. “Males probably don’t pay enough attention to their health and hopefully this campaign changes the thinking of some men and gets them to see their doctor for a check-up.” PCFA State Manager John Strachan said the foundation was thrilled to be joining forces with HRV for this important campaign. “Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is excited to be partnering with Harness Racing Victoria throughout December to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer in metro and regional Victoria,” Mr Strachan said. “Prostate cancer is a significant challenge for Victorian men (1 in 4 cancers diagnosed in men will be prostate cancer) and with HRV's significant network and community reach it provides an excellent opportunity to raise vital awareness of the disease. “PCFA applauds HRV for this fantastic community awareness initiative.” The promotion will be officially launched on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton when representatives from the PCFA will attend Tabcorp Park Melton and former AFL coach and PCFA ambassador David Parkin will be interviewed. Trots Media will provide updates on the running tally of money donated to the cause via social media channels, www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria, www.twitter.com/hrvnews, and on www.hrv.org.au and www.harness.org.au More information on the PCFA at prostate.org.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Emma Stewart’s Perth Inter Dominion army is down to three. Stewart has scratched emerging star Ideal For Real, but quickly added she was committed to taking Guaranteed, Yankee Rockstar and Restrepo to Perth next month. “We really wanted to take Ideal For Real, but he was so far down the rankings we would have had to race him too much before the series to get him above the cut-off,” she said. “It’s disappointing and we thought he deserved to be ranked higher, but he can stay home now and target the big races here (Melbourne) over summer instead. Then we can look at the Miracle Mile.” Stewart was pleased with Guaranteed first start for 21 months when a distant second to Hectorjayjay in last Saturday night’s Swan Hill Cup. “He was in a no-win situation pretty straight after the start when Hectorjayjay strolled to the lead, but he came around, sat outside the leader and stuck on well,” she said. “He will improve a lot on that and now we need to pick out his next race.” Stewart still rates Guaranteed as her best hope in Perth ahead of Yankee Rockstar and Restrepo. “We think he will love the track and the style of racing over there,” she said. “He will get better with each run and should be right at his peak for the final.” Stewart went further by saying she expected stable driver Gavin Lang would stick with Guaranteed if he had to choose between her three stars. “Guaranteed has been there and done. He’ll thrive through an Inter Dominion series,” she said. Yankee Rockstar, winner of the Cranbourne and Kilmore Cups last campaign, will resume in Sunday’s Maryborough Cup. “He’s ready to go. He’s been delayed a bit by hoof abcesses, but he’s right back now,” she said. Restrepo, who was scratched from his comeback race at Melton two weeks ago, is also close to a return. “He’s another of ours who had a hoof abscess. We’ve been plagued by them, but he’s recovered and almost ready for the races.” Stewart expects to have at least one of her stars clash with Hectorjayjay in the Yarra Valley Cup on November 3.   Adam Hamilton

Trainer David Aiken loves Hectorjayjay, but he is just a little more emotionally connected to stablemate Lennytheshark. And that’s why Aiken will be at Menangle instead of Swan Hill on Saturday night. If you win an Inter Dominion, like Lennytheshark did in Perth last year, you earn than connection. “I’ll be at Menangle. I’m taking Lenny up to Sydney on Wednesday,” Aiken said. “But I’ll be watching Hector closely on TV (when he runs in Saturday night’s Swan Hill Cup).” Lennytheshark will open the campaign towards his Perth Inter Dominion title defence in the Group 3 Kevin Newman Cup (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night. He will dominate betting despite being the lone back row runner (gate 11) a field lacking any real star factor. His major rivals will be the likes of Blazin N Cullen (gate four), Freyberg (nine) and Iam Mr Brightside (10). “It’s a perfect starting point for him,” Aiken said. “I was really pleased with his trial (second to Hectorjayjay at Shepparton last Thursday) and he’s worked really well since. “He’s a horse who thrives on having his runs close together so he’ll race this week and then back-up the week after at Menangle again in another free-for-all. “Then it’s back down to Melbourne for the Smoken Up and then he heads to Perth.” Hectorjayjay returns from a freshen-up in the Swan Hill Cup which is set to see champion driver Gavin Lang have to make a big driving decision. For months people have been speculating whether Lang will stick with Hectorjayjay or switch to one of Emma Stewart and Claytin Tonkin’s stars, most probably Yankee Rockstar. “It looks like Gav will have to decide this week,” Aiken said. “It’s up to him. Of course I’d love him to stay wih Hectorjayjay because I think they are made for each other, but I’ll totally understand if he doesn’t.” Aiken’s son, Josh, is on stand-by to drive Hectorjayjay, not just at Swan Hill but in the Perth Inter Dominion as well. “We’ve known this day would come and have to have a back-up plan. Josh will take the drive if Gavin doesn’t. They (Hectorjayjay’s connections) are happy with that and have been for quite some time.” Aiken is in the amazing position of having the Aussie TAB’s $6 Inter Dominion favourite Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay, who shares the second line of betting at $6.50 with Have Faith In Me.   Adam Hamilton

Lenny or Hector?  Or both? David Aiken certainly is the latter. But the intra-stable battle between Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay should add stacks of spice to the 2016-17 Summer of Glory carnival and Perth Inter Dominion. And harness racing fans will take sides. Both Aiken-trained stars will be headline acts all season long. While reigning Inter Dom champ Lennytheshark deserves top billing for now, Hector fans are undoubtedly growing in bullishness. When Hectorjayjay scorched past Lennytheshark in the Len Smith Mile (1:50.5) during June a rivalry was born. Tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton Hectorjayjay (Dream Away-Sheer Finesse) added the City of Melton Plate to his owners’ trophy cabinet. And he did it with plenty of panache. Reinsman Gavin Lang hit the go button off the arm at the 1720-metre start and Hectorjayjay ripped across the face of the field to find the pegs first. Unlike last start when Hectorjayjay had to arc the field before getting upstaged by an unlikely vanquisher in All Eyes On Us, Lang and Hectorjayjay put the issue beyond doubt early tonight. With Maximan sitting outside him and Five Star Anvil in the trail, Hectorjayjay posted a 6.7secs lead time followed by first and second quarters of 29 and 29.9.  His third quarter was 27.2 and his fourth 26.6 – the 53.8secs final looked half a powerful statement. His 1:51.7 mile rate exquisite. In 2015-16 Hectorjayjay won eight races from 17 starts for $279k. He’s launched 16-17 on the right hoof. Five Star Anvil and Stunning Grin filled the Plate minor placings. Chris Alford took driving honours tonight with three winners, while Gavin Lang picked up a winning double in the gig and Aiken won two races as trainer. Kyvalley Blur (Chocolatier-Duo Val Car) notched a strong win in the City of Melton Scotch Notch Memorial for Brent Lilley and Nathan Jack, scoring by 2.1m over The Boss Man (Ellen Tormey), who looks to have taken the next step, and Maori Time in third for Anthony Butt. In the Battle of the Claimers heats trainers Marnie Bibby, Cheyenne King-Davies and Luke Bryant all tasted success with Ubringthedrinks (Panorama-Sorrento Star) (David Moran), Four Needed (Real Desire-For The Don) (Alex Ashwood) and Kenny Trickem (Stonebridge Regal-Alexina) respectively. Larry Eastman had five-year-old Morton Plains (Bettors Delight-Dont Answer That) back to her best with a 1:56 run in the DNR Logistics Pace to beat Michael Stanley-trained pair Soho Tokyo and Soho Berlin, while Lightning Calder (Ganymede-Miss Calder) prevailed for trainer/driver Craig Demmler in the Aldebaran Park Trot, Upanatom (Christian Cullen-Atom Queen) went 1:53.2 to win the Middy’s Industrial Laverton Pace, and talented five-year-old Mister Wickham (Julius Caesar-Bronte Jones) overcame barrier 11 to win the TAB.com.au Pace for trainer Lee Evison. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Clayton Tonkin’s declaration that he doesn’t like comparing his two top-gun harness racing fillies Rocknroll Magic and Heavens Trend is completely understandable. They’re both lovable. The Emma Stewart and Tonkin prepared three-year-olds won their respective Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO semi-finals last night at Bendigo and then drew gates one (Heavens Trend) and eight (Rocknroll Magic) for the $185,000 final. “I don’t like comparing them too much. They’re lovely horses in their own right,” Tonkin said. The barrier draw result is intriguing. Heavens Trend clearly has the advantage from the pole and TAB has reacted by installing her $1.65 favourite for next Sunday’s final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Rocknroll Magic will trail her more fancied stablemate and is currently $3 to win the final. “She’s been unbelievable. It’s been a long, long season for her and for her to run the way she ran tonight is just unbelievable,” said Craig Cameron, who bred Rocknroll Magic (by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic) and now races the filly with a big ownership group. “She’s only a tiny little horse but she’s all champ.” VIDEO: EXCITED OWNERS OF ROCKNROLL MAGIC Heavens Trend went around $1.50 favourite last night in the First Semi-Final and after punching the breeze for the first 500m Gavin Lang took her to the front at the mile, Chris Alford happy to take cover on initial leader Dancingwithsierra. After coasting through a 61.3secs first half, Lang and Heavens Trend only really quickened considerably from the quarter pole, the filly covering the last split in 26.6secs for a 1:55.9 mile rate. At the wire Heavens Trend had 7.3m to spare over Mark Purdon’s My Mackenzie, who came from three-pegs, with Rockstar Angel in third for Michael Bellman after weaving a passage from well back on the inside. Dancingwithsierra dead-heated for fourth with Whirily School, the latter, also from the Stewart yard, fighting on gamely after sitting parked for the final mile. “I thought (she) did a good job, too,” Tonkin said of Whirily School. VIDEO: CLAYTON TONKIN TALKS ABOUT HIS FILLIES Queenslander Get In The Groove, who last year won a Breeders Crown Semi, qualified for the final by finishing sixth for driver Luke McCarthy. Rocknroll Magic came from behind in the run to win her Semi-Final, Lang extricating her off the pegs from barrier eight early before settling sixth in the running line. At the 500m Lang made his move, easing wide to get within striking distance of race leader Luisanabelle Midfrew and the breezing Nikkibadwagon. In the stretch once Lang shook up the $3.20 favourite, Rocknroll Magic rounded up the leaders and scored by 1.6m in a rate of 1:56.4. The last half-mile was trekked in 56.3. MARKETS: TAB BREEDERS CROWN FIXED ODDS Nikkibadwagon was brave in second after facing the breeze throughout, while Just Rockon Bye finished third after showing blistering gate speed to lead from five before handing up to Luisanabelle Midfrew, who ran fourth. Gina Grace appreciated the pole position draw and qualified in fifth, while Ilikemillie scraped into the final by closing late for sixth. Lang revealed late last night he would drive Heavens Trend in the Crown final. "Her heat run was very good and she was good again tonight so it all augers well for next week," he said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

After producing four consecutive minor placings, smart harness racing  two-year-old filly El Jays Mystery finally delivered the goods by winning her first race in Launceston last Sunday. The Dick Eaves-trained youngster was well driver by Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang who allowed the filly to settle at the rear of the field and when he called on her for the big effort late she sprinted powerfully to the line to record a convincing win in the Cliff Robins Memorial over 1680 metres. El Jays Mystery hit the line almost three metres clear of race leader Joes Little Girl with Schouten Island that had faced the breeze throughout, just over a metre astern. It was an impressive win and one that impressed two of her owners in particular in thoroughbred trainers John Blacker and Leon Laskey. It is Blacker and Laskey's first venture into owning a standardbred and they were convinced to take shares by the filly's breeders Lyndon and Gail Menegon who also have shares in a couple of thoroughbreds trained by Blacker. El Jays Mystery (Live or Die-Lombo Anastasia) was bred by the Menegons at their Big Park Stud at Piper's River in the North of the state. The filly is a half-sister to former Tasmanian Oaks winner Barynya (X Blissfull Hall) that is now racing successfully in Queensland. Peter Staples

It was billed as the race of the harness racing series and it didn’t disappoint.  The Empire Stallions $115,000 Vicbred Super Series Final four-year-olds, on the cusp of Grand Circuit racing, dazzled under the Tabcorp Park Melton lights, none more so than Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin trained star Ideal For Real. Despite getting parked outside the Birchip Bull and reigning Victorian horse of the year Menin Gate, a noted fighter when in front, Ideal For Real packed too much punch in tonight’s Group 1 final and delivered a knockout 3.9-metre win over runner-up Tee Cee Bee Macray, who produced a super run rocketing home from the back, with Menin Gate boxing on gamely for third beaten 4.7m. Driven by “Group 1 Gavin Lang”, who notched his third top-level trophy for the evening with the victory, Ideal For Real rated 1:56.1. “We expected that’s how it would unfold in the race,” Lang said. “He cornered so well … in the straight he wanted to make a bit of a beeline to the outside … but he’s a great little racehorse and it was a great training performance from Emma and Clayton.” Ideal For Real (by American Ideal out of Tamara Hall) started from gate five and notched his fifth straight success this time in from five starts. Ideal For Real has now won 11 of 19 starts for almost $300,000 in stakes. And the future for the powerful pacer is bright, according to Lang. “With the four-year-olds their next step is the Grand Circuit racing next year so it’s harder as we go along but I’m quite sure this little guy will take that step,” he said. “He had too much speed for his own good when he was young. When you would show him a little bit of daylight he would try and go from A to B too quickly. He wasn’t sort of ready for that and he had a couple of little issues early as you can see now the team have turned him into a great little racehorse.” Stewart said the stable would take a cautious approach to Grand Circuit racing for Ideal For Real. “He’s a nervous sort of horse so we’ll take him slow," she said. “He’s a lovely horse and I think the second horse (Tee Cee Bee Macray) is a terrific horse too so I look forward to those clashes in the future." Lang drove four Group 1 winners tonight, all four legs of the quaddie.  Ideal For Real was bred by Bruce Edward of Durham Park.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

You won’t see too many performances in harness racing more impressive than what Delight Me produced tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton to win the Empire Stallions $115,000 Vicbred Super Series four-year-old mares’ final. The powerful daughter of Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk sat wide for basically the entire trip before putting her opposition away in the straight to claim Group 1 glory. For the mare’s driver, Gavin Lang, the victory was his fourth Group 1 for the night – and fifth across both nights of the Vicbred finals after guiding Sparkling Success home last night. “There won’t be too many pats on the back for me for that drive,” Lang said post-race. “Andrew Peace a few years ago, I said to him, 'You didn’t drive that one too well, Andrew' and he said, 'well, nobody’s going to know because it won'. “That one didn’t pan out like we hoped but like I say the horse obviously trained to the minute. She’s a special horse really to do what she had to do to win.” Lang drove all four Group 1 quaddie leg winners tonight – Rocknroll Magic, Dont Hold Back, Ideal For Real and Delight Me. He also finished second in the two-year-old fillies’ final aboard Perfect Sense. “People often say ‘that was a good win’ and I always say ‘all wins are good, just that some are better’,” Lang said. “Nights like this are what it’s all about though. It’s not about quantity it’s about the quality of the race you win. “I’m fortunate to drive for the right stables, good horses, and it’s very satisfying but I don’t get too far ahead of myself because I know I’m only as good as the horses I drive.” Delight Me produced a slick 1:55.3 mile rate despite covering extra territory, with stablemate  Starburst Girl (Mark Pitt) finishing 4m away in second place and Paul Campbell-trained Miss Dreamin (Kerryn Manning) producing a huge run for third at big odds. Delight Me was bred by Rob Watson and is raced by John Clements. Stewart spoke Delight Me being a personal favourite, adding: "It's been a great night and it was great to see Michael Stanley get a Group 1 too, so it was a good night for Ballarat".  On the run of Delight Me, Stewart said: “I was very worried early on, she had a torrid run, but it just shows you how good she is." Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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