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The plans of a three-year-old filly from Terang to tip out one of Australasia’s finest were given a boost when she drew gate two for Saturday night's $150,000 Nevele R  Victoria Oaks final.Matthew Craven’s pacer Im Wrongly Accused entered the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks conversation with a dash down the sprint lane at Tabcorp Park Melton in Friday night’s heats, which secured the three-year-old a place in harness racing's Nevele R  Group 1 Oaks The performance has Im Wrongly Accused shaping as a threat to Mark Purdon’s all-conquering New Zealand All Stars stable, which already has the Victoria Derby in its keeping and is looking to add the Oaks via short-priced favourite A Piccadilly Princess. Purdon’s filly won the third and final heat, following on from Heavens Trend – out of Emma Stewart’s Smythes Creek stable – who won an enthralling duel with Dancingwithsierra in the first heat, while the second heat was snaffled by Im Wrongly Accused. RELIVE ALL THE RESULTS AND RACE REPLAYS The draw did few favours for Purdon, whose filly was slated for barrier 13. Heavens Trend drew barrier three and Gary Hoban's fancied runner Dancingwithsierra barrier 12. It all bodes for a ripping race on Saturday night, when Craven's pacer will hope to emulate last week's heat, when she got the perfect sit behind favourite Celebrity Guest - who has drawn barrier one - and surprised even her own trainer-driver with how sharply she finished off. “She has improved, but is still a little bit from being fit,” Craven said. “The scratching (All In Your Hands) helped and we were able to just put her out behind the favourite.” Driver Gavin Lang drove Celebrity Guest to a 47.7 lead time, 2.3 seconds slower than the other two heats, and eased through comfortable first (31.9s) and second (30.3) quarters before they started to stretch out to get home in 55 seconds. Once the sprint lane opened Craven eased off Celebrity Guest’s back and Im Wrongly Accused did the rest. “She probably finished off better than I thought she might have been able to. I was really pleased with the run,” he said. “She had a good run and got the chance to use her really nice speed. They went slow early and it was just ideal for her.” Craven said Im Wrongly Accused would have to continue her upward trend if she was to be in the finish. “She’s had to take a step up in the heats and will have to take a step up again for the final,” he said. Michael Howard  

A pair of Queensland harness racing rookies will venture to Melbourne this week chasing gold. Following their one/two result in the Australian Pacing Gold qualifier staged at Albion Park last Tuesday, both Three Of The Best and Maestro Bellini are due to fly south to contest the semi-finals this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. In the Brisbane qualifier, Three Of The Best overpowered Maestro Bellini in the latter stages in a slick time of 1:55.0 while covering the final half in 56.6 seconds. Three Of The Best is prepared by husband and wife combination of Scott Miller​ and ,Shannon Price no strangers to success in the garden state while Maestro Bellini belongs to the Chris Petroff stable. “We’re booked on a flight on Wednesday night at this stage and that will give us a few days to settle in before racing on Saturday night. We were always keen to go and after speaking with Chris, it made sense to book the flights and travel together.” Miller said. Three Of The Best, a $45,000 purchase from the Sydney sale last year was a beaten favourite on debut when 7th behind his stablemate Statement Made after making an early error before making amends last week. Handled by Adam Sanderson, Three Of The Best sat parked outside Maestro Bellini before outstaying him over the concluding stages that was having his first start back in Brisbane following his Bathurst Gold Crown campaign. The Mach Three – Snug Harbor (by Bettors Delight) gelding has thrived following his triumph and connections are optimistic about their chances. “We’re in with a chance and the fact we’re heading south and prepared to take on this series proves we think we have a show of getting some of the good prizemoney on offer. We’ve always rated this horse from the start and he continues to improve, anything can happen in juvenile racing. “It appears to be a fairly open series with the Victorian trained performers looking the most likely with the likes of Emma Stewart and Geoff Webster both having impressive types while it’s rare for Mark Purdon to not have one of the top ranking colts. “Our guy is going to be based with Alan Tubbs and as long as he handles everything, I think we’re in with a good chance. When you break down his winning effort last week, it was very impressive and he’s trained on a treat since.” Champion reinsman Gavin Lang has been booked to drive during the Melbourne campaign. The $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final is scheduled for April 22 Chris Barsby. 

Saturday  night's Mildura Cup winner Hectorjayjay will not be aimed at the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday June 26. Trainer  David Aiken believes it is in the five-year-old gelding's best interest to be kept away from stablemate Lennytheshark this season but expects Hectorjayjay to progress to Harnesss Racings Grand Circuit level next season. The son of Dream Away has won both of his starts since joining the Aiken stable and was dominant in his most recent victory. "Hectorjayjay is a very talented horse and I don't really want to overtax him at this stage of his career so I'm going to look at the 4YO & 5YO Championship at Melton next month before getting him ready for a trip to Perth for the Inter Dominion," Aiken said. "I didn't ask too much of Lennytheshark during his five-year-old season and I think it really helps them develop into better horses at six. I'm pretty keen to keep Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark apart for the time being as well." Hectorjayjay has been driven by Gavin Lang in both of his starts for the Aiken stable. "I think Gavin is going to help make the horse, his patience will teach the horse how to race against the best ones. "He is an exciting prospect and what I was most happy about after Saturday was that Gavin said he handled the tighter track very well and that is important if he does make it to Gloucester Park for the Inter Dominion." Aiken confirmed Lennytheshark is on target to compete in the Len Smith Mile and has been back working in the water-walker. "He's been back at the water-walker for a fortnight so he'll return in pretty good condition. Ideally I'd like him to have two or three runs under his belt before going towards the Len Smith Mile." With ten boxes at the Menangle Training Centre, Aiken is keen to make a success of his new satellite stable but has no plans to relocate back to Sydney in the short-term. "Obviously there are family ties in Sydney, my mother lives over on the Northern Beaches and I've got two sisters over that way as well but at the moment I'm happy with the set-up. I'm still working through how I'm going to staff everything but the beauty of these ten boxes in Sydney is that if there is a race at Menangle that suits I can transport horses between Victoria and NSW. "Before getting the Menangle boxes I would have to speak with a Sydney trainer to see if they had room for me and it is a bit of an ask to be trying to get four or five stables off them. Plus if I want to make that group of four or five into a group of six I can." Aiken has already earmarked a Sydney trip for recent recruit Macha. The gelding was placed second in the WA Derby behind Alta Christiano in 2013 and is set to resume for his new stable. "Macha will be best suited at Menangle and he'll be doing a fair bit of racing in Sydney." Greg Hayes                    

Hectorjayjay gave his connections some carnival delight, saluting in the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup.The Group 2 harness racing  victory, which captured the bulk of the $60,325 for David Aiken’s newly acquired five-year-old, was born out of an ice cool drive from Gavin Lang to win from local hope Murranji Track, who reaffirmed his status as a four-year-old on the rise. Hectorjayjay’s second victory at Group level was also one of five victories on the night for champion reinsman Lang. VIDEO REPLAY: WATCH HECTORJAYJAY WIN AND ETCH HIS NAME ON THE COVETED CUP The night’s feature largely went to plan. As the Good Form speed map predicted, Anthony Butt shot Stunning Grin to the front and Vince Vallelonga’s five-year-old ran less keenly than Tuesday’s record-breaking heat, controlling the race with a 74.7s lead time, 2.7s slower than in heat one. Murranji Track slotted on his tail from the box seat and held that place through the final bend, with Kerryn Manning driving Ideal Success to the breeze, trailed off the pegs by Itz Dreamin Jonesy and $1.70 favourite Hectorjayjay, who Lang eased into cover from barrier five. There they would remain until the 600m mark when Ideal Success couldn’t match Stunning Grin’s pace from the breeze, slipping back and prompting Lang to peel three-wide and take Hectorjayjay to the front. Amid a 27.9 third quarter, Hectorjayjay passed Stunning Grin on the outside around the bend and was unchallenged in a 28.6 final quarter, with pegs runners Murranji Track and Manuka Man coming off Stunning Grin’s back to run into second and third respectively. The 1:57.7 mile rate was just 0.2 outside the track record Stunning Grin set four days prior. Hectorjayjay, a five-year-old gelding by Dream Away out of Sheer Finesse, now has career stakes of more than $250,000, with a 45 per cent winning strike rate from his 53 starts. The victory headlined an engaging night’s racing that brought to an end an enthralling Mildura Cups carnival and country cups circuit. Earlier in the night, Young Modern met expectations to give Lang the second of five winning drivers of the night in the Group 3 Mark Gurry & Associates Cup. After a luckless third in the heat, Young Modern carried punters favour in the final, starting at $1.70 and running accordingly with a 7m win for trainer Michael Stanley. Having been worked into the breeze from barrier 11 early in the running, despite a hefty workload Young Modern found separation on Matt Craven’s second-placed Emmanuel in the straight. The $20,048 pay day was the biggest of the five-year-old’s career since it saluted in the VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic as a three-year-old roughie in December 2013. Saturday night also featured the Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas and again the punters got it right with $1.50 chance Hickstead, which Good Form’s Jason Bonnington declared a moral in the lead-up, winning by 2.6 for trainer-driver John Justice. There was plenty of pace on early in the 2190m mobile, with Justice taking Hickstead to the lead at the mile mark and then cooling his jets over 31.3 and 30.2 first and second quarters. Justice made a break in the third quarter and while Mister Magic Man battled on gamely to run into third, it was Here He Comes that challenged, looming as Hickstead tired but ultimately having to settle for second, beaten 2.3. Michael Howard 

Hectorjayjay has pulled up a peach and is ready for a repeat dose of harness racing success at Mildura racecourse. A dominant winner of the second Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup heat while on debut for trainer David Aiken, Hectorjayjay will start favourite in Saturday night’s final despite drawing outside Stunning Grin and Ideal Success on the front row. “There were a few good runners in the other heat, so it is going to be a good race,” Aiken told RSN’s Inside Word. “I think my horse will start favourite, but there are a lot of other good horses in the race.” VIDEO: JASON BONNINGTON TAKES A LOOK AT THE MILDURA CUP NIGHT QUADDIE Outside of Hectorjayjay, none are likely to start shorter than Stunning Grin, winner of Tuesday’s first heat after a scorching start that saw Vince Vallelonga’s five-year-old stop the clock at a 1:57.5 mile rate, a track record over 2600m. In the wake of the race Vallelonga told Trots Media he had the Mildura cup in mind for Stunning Grin for some time, and while he “was not super confident we can beat Hectorjayjay”, he “can make it tough for” Aiken’s favourite. Aiken said Hectorjayjay had recovered well from his heat after a light couple of days and benefitting from driver Gavin Lang’s light hands. “Gav (Lang) looked after him good (in the heat), he is renowned for getting horses through heats and finals,” Aiken said. “I think they went two seconds slower than the first (heat), hopefully that is to our advantage.” A Group 2 Mildura cup, with its $60,325 total purse, would be a significant early return for the Aiken stable, which has only recently taken training duties of the five-year-old by Dream Away out of Sheer Finesse. “Those sort of horses are hard to come by,” Aiken said. “He has had a good career, Simone (Walker) did a great job with him and I hope I can just keep him at that level and have a bit more fun with him. “We are just learning a little about the horse now. We haven’t really got a plan after Mildura, so we just have to see how he recovers from the two runs in the week. Throughout his career he’s always been competitive against the really good ones. It’s a very good acquisition for the stable.” The Aiken stable also has Cold Major in tomorrow night’s final, a family favourite who will again be driven by David’s son Josh. “He’s drawn bad, but ... when they go hard he can compete with the better ones when things go his way,” Aiken said. “He’s got through the heat good too, so hopefully he will be good on Saturday night.” The pacing cup starts at 8.30pm and comes amid a 10-race card, which also includes the Mark Gurry and Associates Cup and the Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Mildura, Saturday 09 April 2016 Form guide for Mildura, Saturday 09 April 2016

Warragul born harness racing reinsman Gavin Lang broke a 27-year drought when he won the $30,325 Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup on Easter Sunday. In front of the biggest trots crowd seen at Logan Park for almost a decade, Lang collected his third Warragul Cup, steering Nike Bromac to a memorable victory for Lara trainer Dean Braun. Lang previously won the Warragul Cup with Copper Leopard for local trainer Noel Alexander in 1982, while he also trained and drove top mare Our Navy Lady to win the first daytime Cup run in 1989. In typical fashion, Lang drove a cool race, guiding Nike Franco between horses in the final circuit, and gaining the verdict narrowly with a well timed run down the outside of the track. He didn't panic when hemmed up between horses with a lap to go, knowing full well his horses ability would see it through despite having to come from behind on the small track. "There is a place still for these (smaller) tracks, and there's no doubt they promote competitive racing," Lang said. While having been born in Warragul, Lang has been based at Melton for over 40 years, but still competes at most Warragul meetings, and drove his five thousandth winner on the track in 2012, so the venue hold special memories for him. "Being a Warragul boy, born and bred, I'm always happy to come home here and win a race of this ilk," Lang said. Nike Franco had won over $300,000 in stakes before Sunday's Cup victory, at only her thirtieth race start. A large group of owners share in the horse, which has also won two Oaks classics in Queensland, along with feature mares' events in Melbourne and Sydney. Nike Franco appreciated a drop in grade after finishing at the rear of the field in the Kilmore Pacing Cup a week earlier. The other feature of the afternoon was the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, which attracted a strong field and was won by Illawong Helios for trainer Ross Sugars and his driver son Greg. Illawong Helios is another lightly raced horse which should continue to win good races, having collected 16 wins from only 27 starts. The win of Illawong Helios bought up three winners for the afternoon for owners Martin and Kaye Hartnett - the first time the owners had collected a treble at a race meeting. Unfortunately the Hartnett's missed their successful day owing to a family function. Top horsewoman Jodi Quinlan trained two of the Hartnett's winners, and her further success with Christian Major in the Warragul Guineas saw her collect a $1000 bonus for driving three winners on the program. Christian Major flashed home at the finish to deny local pacer Courageous Call a win in the event. Melton horseman Lance Justice produced a nice looking horse in Crockets Cullen to win the last race - Justice confidently predicting the New Zealand bred horse will win good quality races after he easily defeated his rivals. Good weather conditions drew a big crowd to the Warragul Pacing Bowl, with the car park and dining areas at capacity 40 minutes before the first race. A variety of activities kept patrons entertained throughout the day. Visitors to the course praised Warragul Harness Racing Club Manager Mark Johnson and his staff and committee for the amount of work put in to run the successful event. New Harness Racing Victoria Chairman, Dale Monteith, was also in attendance at his first race meeting since being elected to the post the previous Tuesday. Kyle Galley  

In terms of famous harness racing victories, Yankee Rockstar's $70,575 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup triumph last night will go down as one of the most memorable. For starters, the race was changed from a traditional standing start event to a mobile start race this year, and was shortened from two miles to 2690m. As a result of the changes a first class field was assembled, headlined by two-time Inter Dominion star Beautide. And as for the race itself, it exceeded all expectations as a contest with trainer Emma Stewart and driver Gavin Lang combining for the win with Yankee Rockstar. The Stewart-trained entire overhauled a brave Ohoka Punter late in the Group 2 feature with Beautide winding up in third place. Many on social media were suggesting the race was one of the best of the season so far with Glenferrie Hood making the early play, holding the front from the pole. Ohoka Punter (Anthony Butt) lobbed the breeze and Jimmy Rattray took Beautide up three-wide. Butt made his intentions clear, the chair wasn’t up for grabs, Rattray having to snag aboard Beautide before squeezing into the one-one. But shortly after grabbing some cover, Beautide was punching the breeze again as Butt pushed to the lead aboard Ohoka Punter, giving Glenferrie Hood the box seat. Registering a lead time of 77.8secs, Ohoka Punter ran along in front before a 62.6secs first half. The Shepparton Cup winning Ohoka Punter, who also recently finished second to Smolda in the Hunter Cup, got down the back in 28.9secs. Beautide, who covered ground the entire trip, was put under some pressure off the back, the early work starting to take a toll. Ohoka Punter slipped away and looked home and hosed at the top of the straight, but even if you were betting in the run you wouldn’t have put the house on at this point because he too had spent significant petrol early. Yankee Rockstar was the fresh horse on the scene, Lang guiding him into clear air out wide before the five-year-old entire by Rocknroll Hanover out of Aston Villa hit top gear. The last 400m was covered in 29.1seccs and Yankee Rockstar had a half-neck on Ohoka Punter at the finish with Beautide 4.4m off the winner in third, 1.1m ahead of Jadahson in fourth with Messini close-up in fifth. Yankee Rockstar has now won over $208,000 in stakes this season so far, with a record of 12 starts for eight wins and three placings. Stewart and Lang both ended up with four winners on the Kilmore Cup program, Stewart also successful with exciting three-year-old filly Heavens Trend (Rock N Roll Heaven/Trend Setter) winning the Kelly Sports 3YO Pace in 2:00.2 over 2180m, talented four-year-old mare Lovelist (Always A Virgin/Lifeline) in 1:55.1 over 1690m in the Doug’s Bakery Pace and impressive two-year-old debutant filly Our Celebrity (Mach Three/Celebrity Ball) in the J & A Mazzetti Sapling Stakes over 1690m in 1:57.8. Lang drove Heavens Trend, Lovelist, Yankee Rockstar and Mick Blackmore-trained Claudys Princess to victory in the McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup over 3150m from the standing start, the five-year-old Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse mare rating 2:06.8 to score a half-head win over Michael Thomas in second, with Sun Of Anarchy in third. Other winners on the night were four-year-old mare Keayang Ebonyrose (Village Jolt/Secret Twirl) in the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship 14th Heat over 1690m in 1:56.5 for trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee, five-year-old gelding Fiery Blue Chip (by Santanna Blue Chip out of Scarlet Fire) for trainer Sonya Smith and driver Anthony Butt in the Peninsula Meats Eureka Series 2nd Heat over 2180m in 2:00.6, Glory Daze for David Aiken and Josh Aiken in the Hanson Cleaning Vicbred Pace, the four-year-old mare by Bettors Delight out of Dazed And Confused rating 2:00.9 over 2180m with an all-the-way success from the pole, The Sparrow Hawk for Brent Lilley and Butt in the Momentum Gaming Pace over 2180m, the handy three-year-old gelding by Gotta Go Cullen out of Starling rating 2:01.6, and Est Est Est for Neville and Clinton Welsh in the F&M Supplies Vicbred Platinum Country Series M 2nd Heat over 2180m, the four-year-old Majestic Son/Enotheque trotting mare rating 2:07.1. The action continues today with the running of the Boort Cup meeting. Cody Winnell

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart picked up another feature race trophy tonight at Cranbourne as Yankee Rockstar took out the Group 1 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. With Gavin Lang in the sulky, five-year-old Yankee Rockstar (Rocknroll Hanover/Aston Villa) held off a fast-finishing Im Corzin Terror and a bold Messini in a thrilling finish to the 2555m race. From the extreme draw on the back row Yankee Rockstar worked around three-wide mid-race to park outside Messini, who had to work to get around initial leader Im Corzin Terror. Once they found their formation the big three (that trio clear favourites in betting) dictated the race through early splits of 31 and 32.2. It was on down the back though, Gavin Lang aboard Yankee Rockstar declaring it ‘go time’ and setting out after Messini (Chris Alford), while Im Corzin Terror (Nathan Jack) awaited his chance behind them. Im Corzin Terror paced roughly at one stage, which would prove costly as he stormed along the sprint lane making up many lengths in the stretch. Messini led into the lane but Yankee Rockstar steadily wore him down, Im Corzin Terror poking through late to grab second, with Young Modern fourth and not far away. Yankee Rockstar’s win was his 21st from 30 career starts. This season he has won a Stawell Pacing Cup in record time, two races at Melton, finished fourth in the Hunter Cup, third in the Shepparton Cup and now taken out the Cranbourne Cup. After the race the owners of Yankee Rockstar mentioned the Kilmore Pacing Cup (March 19) as a potential next target race. It was another great night for the Stewart stable, finishing with four winners: Goodtime Mike, Presidentialsecret, Yankee Rockstar and Our Little General.  by Cody Winnell

Sunday sees the running of the world’s harness racing richest race with the $1.3 million TABTouch Inter Dominion Grand Final (2536m) at Gloucester Park. Conducted over three sets of heats over varying distances (2130m, 1609m, 2536m) at two different tracks and circumferences (Gloucester Park’s 800m and Donaldson Park in Bunbury’s 960m), the series has been hailed as a return to the halcyon days of the Inters after experiments with the format. Exciting racing has been the result. By 3pm we will know the result of the all the long-term planning by connections to get their horses ready for their one shot at Inter Dominion glory. The result, however, may be known a little bit earlier than 3pm; it could be known within 500m of the start. Stephen Reed, who trains the pole marker Lovers Delight, did not attend the barrier draw function. But within minutes of the draw being conducted, Reed contacted the function by Twitter stating that he will be going forward to lead at all costs. Gary Hall Snr said that he was over the moon with drawing barrier 2 with Waylade and said that he will go forward. It will be interesting to see what James Rattray does with Devendra, who has drawn wide in barrier 8. A winner of two his three heats, the son of Bettor's Delight is very versatile and could either go back or have a crack for the early lead. If he goes forward and a speed battle ensues, that sets the race up for the likes of Lennytheshark, Philadelphia Man, My Hard Copy and Libertybelle Midfrew. Lennytheshark has been favourite for the majority of pre-race betting and like Philadelphia Man and Devendra has won two of his three heats. Early speed on it can be seen Lennytheshark slotting midfield in the moving line and being in prime position for the run home. So where does that place Philadelphia Man? Drawn barrier 4, if the speed is on he could try and slot into the field but he could be the victim of horses finding the one wide line before him. If the first 200-300m is slow, then driver Gavin Lang could go forward and try lead up the one-wide line. That will give him an undeniable chance. ROBBIE DEWAR’S SELECTIONS: 3- Lennytheshark 4- Philadelphia Man 2- Waylade 9- My Hard Copy By Robbie Dewar Reprinted with permission of the perthnow.com.au site

A late burst to win a showdown with Avonova, a well-timed run down Bunbury's modest straight to pick off Blazin N Cullen, and a run from the rear to be nosed out by leader Libertybelle Midfrew. Philadelphia Man hasn't seen a lot of breeze in the Inter Dominion heats, but has generally found the front when it matters. They are a succession of harness racing performances that sit right with trainer Emma Stewart and her partner Clayton Tonkin. “I think he's had a pretty good round of heats,” Tonkin said. “He basically hasn't had a hard run yet to be honest. Most of them have been run to suit, he got a long way back last time, which didn't work as well, but he is looking good and is sound.” Therefore a fourth run in 17 days in Sunday's final is more likely an avenue to success than a bridge too far. “I think, going in, he was probably carrying a little extra weight,” Tonkin said. “We planned it that way and now he's starting to tighten right up.” Some may view Philadelphia Man being drawn at four at Gloucester Park as being awkward. With Lovers Delight and Lennytheshark on its inside, finding the front could come at a price. In the heats Gavin Lang has successfully steered Philadelphia Man to cover and bided his time, while those that made the early running were soon mowed down. “You don't expect them to go as crazy (at the start) as they did (in the heats), but it just worked in our favour,” Tonkin said. The going will likely be willing early in Sunday's final and Philadelphia Man's connections will rely on their driver – a three-time winner of the great race – to make the right call. “Lovers Delight, Lennytheshark and even Devendra out wide will be working very hard to get the lead,” Tonkin said. “We'll leave it up to Gavin (Lang), but if the speed is on early on he could drop him in, but we could also put him in the race early. He can make his own luck and can do it tough. He's pretty versatile.” Much has been made of Philadelphia Man's long-awaited showdown with Lennytheshark. The Victorian pacers haven't met since January's Victoria Cup, when Lennytheshark hunted winner Christen Me down the sprint lane to finish second, while Philadelphia Man held ground to finish fifth. One week earlier they were first and second favourite in the Shepparton Cup, when Philadelphia Man appeared to have the cup in hand over a first-up Lennytheshark when Geoff Webster's Franco's Ledger mowed the pair down. So what's it all mean? “I just take it race by race,” Tonkin said. “Horses go in and out of form. I don't think you can get a gauge on that. “I'm happy with how our fella's going and if he gets the right run on the night he will acquit himself well.” Certainly, Tonkin believes the window is open. “I always thought he could go on to race an Inter Dominion. “I thought he would be suited to the old style of racing. And when they all dropped off, like Christen Me and Beautide, I think it's a year when he is a real chance to win.” And what a result that would be for Philadelphia Man's loyal owners, a broad Ballarat syndicate that has ridden the bumps and is now Perth-bound. “There are a heap of people in it who love the horse,” Tonkin said. “They are a real good bunch who spent a lot of money on him because of injury. “There have been a lot of setbacks and disappointments, so to even see him in an Inter Dominion final is a huge reward.” by Michael Howard

The third and last of the harness racing Inter Dominion heats at Bunbury tonight looked on paper to be the most competitive with two of the three heat winners in this heat. The ultra impressive first night winner Philadelphia Man and Gavin Lang had drawn poorly at one on the second line over the 1609 metres journey while the other first night winner  Devendra had drawn handy on the front line at barrier four. As the gates went Shane Graham sent Mach Alert forward from barrier three to grab the lead but was immediately attacked by Devendra and James Rattray and the two went to war. Neither would give an inch over the first 400 metres which was cut out in a flying 26.3 before James Rattray conceded and eased to the trail behind Mach Alert. However the damage had been done and both had done their winning chances with that mad early dash. With a lap to go Blazin N Cullen and John McCarthy looped the field to sit parked outside Mach Alert and thats how the racing order stayed until they turned for home although Gavin Lang had slid Philadelphia Man three wide at the 700 metres and was looming large as they straightened for home Blazin N Cullen pinched a length on the corner but Philadelphia Man was not to be denied and swept to the front short of the post for another impressive win. Blazin N Cullen fought gamely for second in front of a flying Flaming Flutter who flashed home late for third. A minor highlight of the race was the effort of Devendra to battle on for fifth after being involved in that early burn. Tonights win was the twenty fourth for the son of Art Major in his career and took his earnings over $520,000 mark. This heat was the slowest of the three on the night with Philadelphia Man cutting out the mile in 1:54.2 with closing sectionals of 55.9 and 27.7. It was a lovely drive by Gavin Lang who timed his run to perfection without having to really go for his horse which is so important when you are running three races at this level in a week. With Lennytheshark winning with a bit in reserve both nights, Philladelphia Man has looked the only other horse in the series on the same page and the Grand Final meeting between these two is shaping up as a beauty. Harnesslink Media

After the brilliant performance from Lennytheshark in heat 2 of the Inter Dominions tonight at Gloucester Park, it would have been a very brave man who suggested that he could be beaten in the series. However just an hour later in heat three, Philadelphia Man reminded fans on course that he was more than capable of upsetting the favourite. Allowed to come out at his own speed by driver Gavin Lang as Mach Beauty and Bettors Fire went to war early, Philadelphia Man slotted in three back in the running line through the first couple of laps. Flushed out at the 700 metres mark, Philadelphia Man quickly ranged up alongside Mach Beauty and Avonnova at the 500 metres mark. Mach Beauty stopped shortly after leaving the two experienced grand circuit campaigners to fight out the finish. The seven-year-old son of Art Major gradually wore down Avonnova for a very impressive win with Gavin Lang all smiles post race. " It's not a bad effort to sit three wide from the 700 and still wear down a tough campaigner like Avonnova." " They went so hard up front, he was always going to be a big chance to run over them late." "He was having a little bit of trouble on the bends but he should be so much better for the experience tonight," Gavin said. The third heat of the series was the quickest of the night after the early burn with the 2138 metres being cut out in 2:30.6, a mile rate of 1:53.8 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 27.8. So while Lennytheshark was brilliant in heat two, Philadelphia Man served notice in heat three that he won't go down without a huge fight. Harnesslink Media  

Congratulations to all the winners of premierships for season 2014/15, including:   Greg Sugars (State Driver)   Emma Stewart (State Trainer).   Chris Alford and Gavin Lang fought out an enthralling tie for Metropolitan Driver honours.   Consultation Forums Tonight at Bendigo marks the first of three public Consultation Forums at which HRV will present a summary of the Consultation Paper, which will eventually lead to the 2020 Strategic Plan. The Consultation Paper is currently on the website at www.hrv.org.au/general/consultation. There is also a feedback form which can be submitted direct to HRV. HRV commenced the consultation process by presenting to representatives of the following bodies on 2 September: Association of Victorian Harness Racing Country Clubs Harness Breeders Victoria Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club (representing owners) Victorian Harness Racing Trainers & Drivers Association, and Victorian Square Trotters Association We are hoping for large attendances at the forums in order to receive constructive feedback on the Paper. The remaining two public forums (commencing at 7pm) are to be held at: Shepparton Harness Racing Club - Tuesday 22 September Tabcorp Park Melton - Wednesday 23 September Breeders Crown HRV has conducted a full review of the 2015 Breeders Crown. Once again the event was a highlight on the Victorian calendar, however we have taken on board feedback from the industry following the event. There will be changes for 2016, which are currently being discussed. I am certain the heats/repechage system will be overhauled for example. The location of heats is also under review. The time of year that the Crown is held is also a topic for discussion. HRV surveyed 20 of the top trainers and drivers and not surprisingly the result was evenly divided on whether there should be a change of date. Clearly the placement of Derby's, APG, Vicbred and Breeders Crown is difficult to co-ordinate, as well as other factors such as the NZ Jewels. From a wagering perspective, across the semi-final night and finals Sunday, total turnover was $7.80m slightly down on last year's comparative $7.85m. Vicbred Since the last newsletter, we have received the full wagering details for the Vicbred Finals weekend. The breakdown is below. Pleasingly a 15% growth over the two nights, including a very strong result for the trotters on the Friday night. 2015 2014 Variance Friday night $3,451,000 $2,760,000 up 25% Saturday night $3,844,000 $3,558,000 up 8% Total Both Nights $7,295,000 $6,318,000 up 15% The numbers show that Vicbred and Breeders Crown are two very important brands for the Victorian industry. Driver Testing The HRV Integrity Department has collected a number of swab samples from competing drivers/trainers over the last week in order to maintain the safety and integrity of the sport and to ensure drivers are not affected by any illicit substances. The testing of participants ensures less risk to the safety of all competing drivers and horses. The Integrity Department has taken random samples of drivers/trainers engaged at Bendigo and Kilmore over the last week and will continue to take samples on an on-going basis. The other significant benefit in taking samples from drivers/trainers is the early detection of any issues, so that anyone detected with banned substances in their system can also be referred to welfare and support agencies in order to receive appropriate treatment to deal with their issue or illness. While on the subject of integrity, HRV has been performing increased stable inspections and swabbing at trials. Click here for article. November Trial - Preferential Barrier Draws HRV recently announced that for a trial period of one month (November), all races (other than five feature races) will have a preferential barrier draw condition placed on them. The trial is designed to encourage more competitive racing, reduce long odds on favourites, which we hope will have a positive impact on the perception of our sport and create a more attractive wagering product. HRV appreciates each Club's support of the trial. The success of the trial will be assessed and we will gladly share the result of the trial with the industry. Vale Nell Quinlan Nell, or Nan as she was affectionately known, sadly passed away at Tabcorp Park on 24 August. Nell was a great supporter of the industry and her interest flowed on to the next generations of family members. Our condolences go to Nell's children Gary, Lee and Cheryl as well as the extended Quinlan/Walker families. Pat Brooks Also sad to hear of the passing of Pat Brooks, who would have been well known to many in the Murray River region. Pat received a Distinguished Service Medal, in recognition of his efforts for the Cobram Club. Pat joined the Cobram Committee in 1963 and served as President from 1971 to 1994. He became a Life Member in 1991. First Win Congratulations to Lisa Bartley on her first win as a driver at Shepparton on 2 September behind Als Courage, beating her two sisters Rebecca and Ellen who also drove in the race. Did You Know? Hard to believe that Ellas Puppeteer won a C0 at Charlton on 14 September in a mile rate of 1.52.8, breaking the track record by over two seconds.                                                                                                         John Anderson       Harness Racing Victoria

Gippsland horse Professor Tom won a consolation of the rich Breeders Crown series at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night. Bred and owned by long serving Warragul Harness Racing Club committeeman Grant Rathjen, Professor Tom finished strongly to win. The two-year-old is trained by Drouin West's Gary and Debbie Quinlan and was driven by Gavin Lang. Professor Tom is out of the Rathjen family's former brilliant race mare Petes Dream. On Sunday afternoon another Gippsland bred, Our Waikiki Beach, extended its winning sequence to 12 in capturing the Colts and Geldings Final. Bred locally by the Fusinato family, and trained and owned in New Zealand, Our Waikiki Beach heads home undefeated in his first season of racing. Our Waikiki Beach is from the Fusinato's top mare Cyclone Betty. Pearcedale pacer Hectorjayjay, winner of the Warragul Cup earlier this year, won the Entires and Geldings feature, while Cranbourne horse Cruisin Around ran third in the trotting Colts and Geldings Final. These and other horses trained in the region look set to produce an exciting future for Gippsland harness racing.   Kyle Galley

Just when you thought that Claudys Princess couldn't  get any better, Mick Blackmore's champion mare produces a run that has you reaching yet again for the superlatives. Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton, the daughter of Bacardi Lindy really shouldn't have won after having nothing go her way in the running in the small field. Eased off the gate by driver Gavin Lang, Claudys Princess settled fourth on the inner as Edge Hill and Blake Fitzpatrick set a moderate tempo in front. With just over a lap to go Gavin eased Claudys Princess out into the running line and she began to work forward slowly. Gong past the 800 metres, Blake Fitzpatrick opened the afterburners on Edge Hill and she sizzled down the back straight in 27.7. Claudys Princess stayed in contact but the rest of the field were feeling the pinch. Across the top Gavin slotted Claudys Princess down onto Edge Hill's back to give her a short breather before recommencing battle as soon as they straightened for home. Slowly but surely, Claudys Princess hauled in Edge Hill for a memorable win against the odds. Claudys Princess trotted the 2240 metres in 2:47.5, a mile rate of 2:00.3 with closing sectionals of 57 and 29.3 which Claudys Princess would have bettered by some margin. Last nights victory was number 19 from 30 career starts for stake earnings of $310,281. The staggering statistic is she has only missed a first three finish once in her 30 lifetime starts. A lot of age group starts have trouble making the step up to free for all class as older horses but Claudys Princess looks to have all the attributes necessary to make it in the best company. Harnesslink Media

Leading harness racing trainer Emma Stewart has a clear plan for Philadelphia Man and at this stage everything is falling into place. Tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton, Philadelphia Man was settled back early by driver Gavin Lang before joining the three wide line and finding the death seat outside Marty Monkhouse with just over a lap to go. When Gavin pressed the go button as they straightened for home, the son of Art Major strode clear with ease and won easing down by over six metres from a game Flaming Flutter with an even gamer Cold Major holding on for a close third after doing a lot of work early. Philadelphia Man paced the 2240 metres in 2:42, a mile rate of 1:56.4 with closing sectionals of 57.3 and 27.9. Trainer Emma Stewart  was happy with the run as follows her plan to have Philadelphia Man at his peak for the Perth Inter-Dominion. " He needs racing to reach his peak so there is plenty of improvement in him yet." " I think the Perth Intrer-Dominions will really suit my horse with a return to the old format." " He will thrive on three runs in a week as he is a big gross type of horse so the series format is perfect for him. " The 800 metres track is no problem for him as well whereas some of his major competitors are not quite as happy on the smaller track as he is.' " He is the only one I am taking to Perth for the Inter-Dominions but I may take a couple of mares with me for those nice mares races," Emma said Philadelphia Man seems ideally suited to this years Inter-Dominion series and has all the attributes to take out the title. Harnesslink Media

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