Search Results
1 to 16 of 311
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

With two months of the harness racing season remaining, the national driver’s premiership title is up for grabs with several contenders still in the mix. Leading the way is Victorian based reinsman Greg Sugars with 200 wins on the board and he holds a two win lead over Queensland based Shane Graham. Fellow Victorians Gavin Lang (189) and Nathan Jack (183) sit next and well within striking distance. Sugars landed his 200th winner on Saturday at Shepparton aboard the Leigh Miles prepared Be Good Juddy. Last season, Sugars finished third behind Chris Alford (298) and Amanda Turnbull (219) with 218 winners. Graham finished 12th with 164 winners. Double century seasons are nothing new for Sugars who has now surpassed the mark in five of the last six seasons. His highest tally of wins in a single season came in the 2012/13 term with 258 victories. Graham is yet to register a double century season. He has posted ten century seasons previously. Interestingly, star Kiwi reinsman Dexter Dunn registered his 200th winner on Friday night at Forbury Park when successful behind Give Me Strength. It is the fourth time he has reached that figure in a season with his best tally, 220 in the 2010-11 season. He has also 199 wins in two seasons. He won 206 in NZ last season. The final two months of the season in Australia offers plenty of feature racing, this weekend, the rich Vicbred Super Series Finals at TABCORP Park, Melton take place while the opening night of the winter carnival gets underway in Brisbane at Albion Park. Both Sugars and Graham will figure prominently. This is a race that looks set to go right down to the wire, so strap yourself in and follow the action closely in the months of July and August. Chris Barsby

The  harness racing $125,000 NSW Pepper Tree Farm Breeders Challenge finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle bring the best of the best together and the first big final to go today was the race for the two year old filliesl. Heavens Trend was a dominating favourite after four wins in a row, the last of them in an Australian record time of 1:52.1. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven had drawn nicely at barrier three while the main opposition in Our Golden Goddess had drawn wider at barrier six. As the gates folded, Mark Purdon driving Our Golden Goddeess threw caution to the wind and charged out to try to grab an early lead. Gavin Lang in the bike behind Heaven's Trend was having none of it and the two favourites charged through ther first quarter in 26.1 with Heavens Trend holding the front. When the half was reached in just over 55, a few were struggling with the pace but it was clear a long way out that Heavens Trend was in cruise control. As they straightened for home Gavin Lang gave her a bit of rein and Heavens Trend strode clear for an emphatic victory with Gavin sitting quite as in the bike. Hot Shot Woman dashed home late for second to continue her string of second placings with Boundtobemad edging out a game Our Golden Goddess for third. Heavens Trend paced the mile in 1:52.9 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 28.9. Emma Stewart is the trainer. Heavens Trend is from the first Australian crop of Rock N Roll Heaven 1:47.6 ($2,774,478) and is a daughter of the former outstanding race filly Trend Setter 1:55.6 ($199,414). The second placegetter Hot Shot Woman is by Rocknroll Hanover and must be the biggest stake earning maiden in Australasia with todays placing taking her well over the $100,000 mark. The main aim now for Heavens Trend is the Breeders Crown at Melton at the end of August where she will meet the unbeaten New Zealand champion Dream About Me and that should be a race well worth going to see. Harnesslink Media

Emma Stewart keeps putting Smythes Creek on the map. Victoria’s leading harness racing trainer scored a winning quartet on Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final night last night at Tabcorp Park Melton and set herself up for a big grand final night next Saturday. On the strength of the semi-final results Stewart looks set to walk away with at least some grand final silverware, four-year-old mare Berisari expected to lead the charge after her dominant display last night. The night's success for Team Stewart began early with Always A Virgin/Lifeline filly Lovelist taking the first race on the 12-event program, the three-year-old fillies’ first semi-final. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Lovelist powered home by 2.5 metres over reigning Vicbred champion Niki No No (Greg Sugars) with Vapar Grin (Matthew Craven) third in a mile rate for the 2240-metre trip of 1:58.6. Stewart then teamed with Sugars to win Race 4, the two-year-old fillies’ first semi-final, with Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen youngster Whirily School, who won by 2.1m win over Drumborg’s Just Wantano (Craven), with Lang piloting Heirloom Angel into third place 10.6m behind the winner. Whirily School, already a Group 2 winner via the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final last month, worked her way to the lead 1800m out before rating 1:59.9 in victory last night. Stewart’s next winner was another two-year-old filly, this time impressive Rock N Roll Heaven/All The Magic bay Rocknroll Magic, who led from the pole and held off a late challenge by Soho Madeleine (Luke McCarthy) to score by a head in 2:02.4. Rounding out the night for Stewart was $1.10 favourite Berisari – by local sire Safari, who Stewart trained, out of Beris Holmes – winning the last race, the second of the four-year-old mares’ semis, by almost eight metres in 1:56.8. Stewart’s other qualifiers for Super Series finals were Apache Shark (fourth in the first semi-final of the two-year-old colts and geldings), Ideal For Real, who ran second to Follow The Stars in their three-year-old colts and geldings’ semi and Shadow Sax, whose superb second to Christmas Jolt in the two-year-old colts and geldings semi has him well-placed for Group 1 success next week. Click here to view the full Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final results Cody Winnell

Memories of the late and great doyen of the Melbourne Showgrounds – Gordon Rothacker were revived at Shepparton trots on Wednesday, when Gotta Go Cullect/Wendy Anne filly Heirloom Angel greeted the judge on debut in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for harness racing Two Year Old Fillies over 2190 metres. Bred and raced by Gordon’s daughter Judy and granddaughter Kate, Heirloom Angel trained at Doreen by Craig Turnbull and driven by Gavin Lang carrying the famous Rothacker colours of Red with a Dark Blue V, led throughout from the pole to impressively account for Jovial Jurno Lombo (three back the markers) by 5.5 metres, with Rockstar Angel ((one/one – three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 2-03.4. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Two year old filly Heavens Trend had harness racing statisticians checking the history books after her dominant performance at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night when she won a semi final of the Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge rating 1:52.1 for the mile. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven shaved two seconds off the Australasian record for a two year old filly previously held by the Mark Purdon trained Supersonic Miss.  Incredibly no three year old fillies have ever run faster in Australia.   Heavens Trend’s time is half a second faster than the three year old fillies' mile record held jointly by Courageous Annie and Nike Franco at 1:52.6. Driver Gavin Lang was impressed and believes the Emma Stewart trained filly could be a star. “The performance was impressive, it is a bit scary to think what she could run on a warm night,” said Lang. “I gave up seven drives at Melton on Saturday night to drive at Menangle but I’m yet to pull the earplugs on this one and for a filly to run 1:52.1 is very exciting.” Heavens Trend led from barrier two and raced through the first quarter in 27.3. “One of her greatest attributes is that speed off the arm, she’s just a natural, a free flowing filly that likes to go about her work and I think she’ll dominate for some time. “She felt like she was doing it in second gear, she was away from home and in the new surroundings was probably a little bit keener than normal but that’s what she is capable of.” Heavens Trend will next race in the Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge final on Sunday June 28. “I don’t know about whether she is the best two year old I’ve ever driven, I’d have to go back through the records to work that out but I don’t know that I’ve driven a quicker one.” Greg Hayes

Rocknroll Magic overcame an outside back row draw to win the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for harness racing 2YO Fillies third heat on Friday night at Kilmore. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic drew away to win by 9.8 metres over Our Odette in the 2180-metre race, rating 2:01.5. Gavin Lang drove the winner, who is trained by Emma Stewart at Smythes Creek. Odds-on race favourite Dancingwithsierra finished last but was clearly not 100 per cent and was stood down pending an endoscopic report. Meanwhile, two heats of the three-year-old fillies Super Series were run on the night with David Aiken and son Josh Aiken combining with Glory Daze in the third heat, winning from the pole in 2:02.0, defeating Brighty Valentine by a half-head, and Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl taking out the fourth heat for reinsman Nathan Jack in a rate of 1:57.3, holding out Boadiceas Fury by a half-head. 2YO FILLIES 3rd HEAT Finishing order Video replay 3YO FILLIES 3rd HEAT Finishing order Video replay 3YO FILLIES 4th HEAT Finishing order Video replay Cody Winnell

Lovelist is into the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semis after winning tonight’s (Wednesday 3rd June) harness racing heat at Ballarat. The filly from the Emma Stewart camp, with Gavin Lang aboard, proved 2.7 metres too good for runner-up Morton Plains (Larry Eastman and Chris Alford) in a mile rate of 1:59 for the 2200m trip. Lovelist found plenty late and produced third and fourth quarters of 28.1secs and 27.9secs after an opening half of 61.6secs and a lead time of 45.1secs. Morton Plains made a bold bid for victory down the back straight the final time, launching strongly to tackle the frontrunner. But Lovelist fought back and the two battled out the remainder of the race, drawing clear of third placegetter Diamond Castle (David Miles) and Keayang Ebonyrose (Marg Lee and Glen Craven) in fourth. Lovelist is by US sire Always A Virgin out of Classic Garry mare Lifeline. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots >> Find out more about how the Super Series works CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA

Veteran Tasmanian harness racing trainer Paul Hill celebrated one of his best nights at the races when his talented two-year-olds Hillview Jake and Chica Bella won their respective 2YO Sweepstakes finals over 1609 metres at UBET Park Hobart last night. Hillview Jake also set a new state mile rate record when he stopped the clock at 1.57.83 which carved six-tenths of a second off the previous best set by Make A Memory in April 2008. And to make it a perfect night Hill's smart filly Chica Bella demolished her opposition to win the Sweepstakes fillies division. "This is a night I'll remember for a long time," Hill said. While Chica Bella was impressive the night belonged to Hillview Jake that settled fourth off a hot pace set by Riley Major and Pockets of Courage with that pair relentless in their pursuit of the lead, clocking a sizzling 26.4 for the first quarter (400m). When the pace slackened at the half-way mark Hillview Jake's driver Gavin Lang seized the opportunity and urged Hillview Jake ($2.70) forward to face the breeze outside of the leader Riley Major ($2.40). Origin Cronk ($14) was poised behind the leader and when Hillview Jake lobbed outside the leader it gave Pockets of Courage ($6.50) much needed cover in the one-out line. Riley Major and Hillview Jake slipped clear nearing the home turn the last time while Duggan eased Origin Cronk off the fence and appeared to have plenty to offer. But when Lang asked Hillview Jake for the supreme effort the gelded son of Cardmaster Hanover dug deep and forged clear and go on and score comfortably from Origin Cronk with Riley Major tiring to finish third ahead of outsider Rockin An Runnin. "This win means a hell of a lot to me for so many reasons," Hill said. "He is such a lovely horse to work with and whatever I ask of him he delivers. He's just a treat to train," he said. Lang said Hillview Jake was the "real deal". "This horse is quite advanced for a two-year-old and he showed me a lot more about himself tonight. He is quite a talent," he said. Chica Bella raced outside of the leader Shadow Blue that set a modest tempo and they cleared out nearing the home turn. But when her driver Ricky Duggan asked for the big effort she responded brilliantly and burst clear to go on and win by seven metres from Shadow Blue with Angelina Rainbow third ahead of Twentythreered. Chica Bella is unbeaten from four starts this preparation and is likely to dominate the remaining fillies features. "The Cardmaster Hanover filly is very smart and while not in the same league as Hillview Jake she is all class," Hill said. Peter Staples

2011 Queen of the Pacific harness arcing champion Life Inthefastlane produced her first winner as a broodmare last night at Tabcorp Park Melton with three-year-old filly Ebonyallstarzzz saluting for John Yeomans and Gavin Lang.   Ebonyallstarzzz, whose sire is obviously Four Starzzz Shark, rated 1:59.1 to win over 1720m in the TAB.com.au 3YO Pace at odds of $3.30, defeating Lils Angel by 7.8m.   Life Inthefastlane is by Life Sign out of Indigenous and won 18 races from 74 starts for $264,566 in stakes.   She defeated Pacific Playgirl by 4.3m in the 2011 Queen of the Pacific to score her maiden Group 1 success, but she had finished third the 2009 Victoria Oaks and the 2009 APG Final on the Gold Coast.   Ebonyallstarzzz’s win was one of two for trainer Yeomans on the night, the stable also successful in the last race, the Del-Re National Food Group Trot over 2240m with homebred Im Havinaball (Presidential Ball/Starlitestarbright) saluting over Trottn The Catwalk.   - HRV Media

Three Victorian harness racing stalwarts shared the spoils at Cranbourne yesterday.   Chris Alford, Gavin Lang and Lance Justice are synonymous with success and yesterday the three horseman were at it again with winning doubles.   Alford kicked off proceedings with a win to his mare Pipe Me Home (Framework USA/ Our Shady Lady) breaking her maiden status with a 2.1-metre victory over Lazy Sunday in the Aldebaran Park Trot (1st Heat) over 2080 metres.   From the pole Pipe Me Home sat behind leader Lazy Sunday in the run before using the sprint lane to gain the spoils in a rate of 2:04.6 at odds of $3.90 at career start No.3 . The $2.80 favourite Jimbo Johnson blew his chances by galloping away at his Australian debut.   Whittlesea trainer Charlie Farrugia combined with driver Darren Pace to land victory in Race 2, the Decron Horse Care Pace, with five-year-old Attorney General/Gay And Bright gelding Major Minor leading all the way in the 2080-metre race for a 2.9m win over Arma Augustus in a rate of 2:02.7.   Favourite punters trying to lift themselves off the canvas after the first were poleaxed again, this time even-money shot Mikoney Courage breaking gear early and having to be pulled up.   Lang’s first winner was also the first leg of a winning double for Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart as four-year-old mare Our Petite Soeur (Grinfromeartoear USA/Aluring) scored a 1.6-metre triumph over Partnersinvancelot in the Ade Turf Equipment Pace over 2080m.   Sent out a prohibitive favourite at $1.10, Our Petite Soeur ran to the lead early and was never headed, rating 2:01.9.   Justice’s first leg of a winning double came in Race 4, the Trios After The Last Pace over 2080m with five-year-old JR Mint USA/Higher Calling mare Blacks A Beauty dashing home from barrier two.   The $2.80 shot held off $1.90 favourite Jambiani at the finish and rated 2:00.7, sprinting through her final 800m in 58.2secs after a 62.7secs first half.   Next up the hugely successful Stewart/Lang combo was victorious again in the Seelite Windows & Doors Pace over 2080m, ultra-talented four-year-old entire Major Secret notching his 14th win at start No.26.   The last-start Mark Gurry and Associates Cup winner at Mildura got the job done again, this time by 2.5m over Nowitzki in a mile rate of 1:58.9.   Major Secret (Art Major USA/Secret Life) has now won four of his past five starts and his prize money is zooming towards $300,000.   Justice delivered again in Race 6 with honest five-year-old Extreme Three CA/Sacajawea gelding Jean Baptiste overcoming a back-row draw for a 6.1m over 1609m.   Jean Baptiste defied a betting drift and paid $5.10 as he defeated Liculia and early leader and race favourite Lanista in a rate of 1:58.5.   Alford was back in the winners’ stall after Race 7, the Hyland Sportswear Pace, guiding outsider Mister Rufus (Young Rufus/Exotic Flash) to a 1.9m win over Phil Monty in a rate of 2:02.2.   Trained by Frank Cauchi at Parwan, eight-year-old Mister Rufus put the writing on the wall with a last-start third at Melton but still paid $31.20 today and fattened the quaddie dividend.   Romsey’s Leigh Miles finished the meeting victorious with three-year-old Sportswriter USA/Wemen Wendymae colt Wemen Sporty scoring a 1.1m win over Phantom Rockstar.   Wemen Sporty, driven by Greg Sugars, finished strongly and recorded a 2:02.1 mile rate.   The quaddie paid $2,543.80 and followers of Good Form might be shouting Blake Redden a drink after he landed it at goodform.trot.com.au for a full unit.   - HRV Media

Kerryn Manning and Arden Rooney captured Cup No.4 this season as the former Kiwi gelding scored his seventh straight harness racing win in Saturday night’s Group 2 Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup. The brilliant son of leading sire Bettors Delight, who leads Art Major and Christian Cullen on the national top-20 sires table, ran to the lead inside the 1200m before coming right away for a 16.4-metre success in the 2600m, $50,275 feature. Manning piloted Arden Rooney, who started $1.60, an absolute treat – keeping him out of the early trouble when Hotasel galloped and unsettled the field – before dictating the second quarter (32.2secs) and then sprinting home in 56.4secs (28.5secs and 27.9secs third and fourth splits). The winner rated 1:58.6 – his mile rate second only to Safari's in 2007 in the race's record books. >> Arden Rooney takes out yet another cup Hotasel, driven by Simon Jardine, ran second from his pole draw at $43.20, hitting the line hard in the final 50m. His run was encouraging given he galloped early, while Major Crocker led from two before trailing Arden Rooney and battled on for third at odds of $7.20. Lets Elope ran fourth, Beachstar was brave in fifth and Uncle Wingnut was also courageous after a tough run to finish sixth. Of the beaten brigade Chilli Palmer had no luck in transit, working double-time in the run after getting caught wide around the galloping Hotasel early, while Franco Ledger was also inconvenienced early and failed to run on late. The Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas went to Glenferrie Bunter (Somebeachsomewhere/Laugh Out Loud) for trainer/driver Ryan Hryhorec, who took the colt to the lead early. The winner got away with a 31.3secs first quarter before pacing through the second split in 30.3secs. Glenferrie Bunter upped the tempo significantly down the back, racing well clear with a 28.3secs third stanza, and when he headed down the side it was game over for rivals – the South Australian pacer in a world of his own. Coming home with a 28.7secs final quarter (57secs last half) Glenferrie Bunter scored by 42.9 metres. It felt like an eternity waiting for the second horse to clock in, Big Shot Bob working home at $16 for Greg Sugars, with Riley James also hitting the line strongly for Michael Bellman at $15.10 in third. >> Re-live Glenferrie Bunter's enormous Mildura Guineas win Emma Stewart and Gavin Lang combined to take out the annual Mark Gurry & Associates Cup with four-year-old Art Major entire Major Secret, who defeated runner-up Sapphire Swayze by 4.9 metres. From the pole, Major Secret started $1.30 with the bookies and controlled the race with a winning mile rate of 1:59.9. Ryan Hryhorec took driving honours on Cup night with a winning double courtesy of the abovementioned Guineas triumph and victory on Franck Mercieca-trained Vee Rock – by Universal Rock out of Sands A Flyin Kiwi mare Annie Teaghan – in the Loddon Valley Stud Free-for-All at $13.80. Boris Devcic finished with a training double, Captain Under Fire (Courage Under Fire/Awakemecate) taking out the Mallee Bearings Pace at $6.40 and striking gelding Soho Jagger (Art Major/Chip And Gale) causing a boil-over in the Mildura Working Man’s Club Pace Final over 2190m, winning at $55.20. Other winners were Freds A Safari (by previous Mildura Cup winner and race record holder Safari out of Monaloo) in the DNR Logistics Pace, Barnbougle Jack in the Mildura Rural City Council Pace for Ken Tippett (the gelding by Gotta Go Cullect out of Phoebe Mae), Outback Hall (Blissful Hall out of Stoneridge Connie) for Damian Wilson and Tim Mortlock at $18 in the Sunraysia Daily Pace, and Bettors Delight/Morcheeba five-year-old Angus T Jones for Geoff Webster in the Zilzie Wines Pace. Art Major and Bettors Delight, like they’ve done on numerous prior occasions, shared the breeding honours on the night, each notching a winning double. The Mildura quaddie paid $328.80 (get full TAB results) by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

At his 10th country cup start this season, Road To Rock won his second trophy.   The Keith Cotchin trained seven-year-old edged out Macho Comacho in a thrilling finish to Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup – adding the victory to his feature race CV alongside his St Arnaud Cup triumph earlier this season.   The gelded son of Village Jasper/Diva La Diva ran to the front after Macho Comacho and Ardle McArdle both held interim leads early.   Ardle McArdle stepped strongly from seven to tackle early leader Macho Comacho out of three, working to the front when Macho Comacho galloped.   Macho Comacho (Chris Alford) quickly got back into stride and hooked off the markers to retake control at the head of affairs, Nathan Jack then seizing the initiative to grab the front aboard Road To Rock when Macho Comacho slowed, which pocketed Ardle McArdle (Amanda Turnbull) three-pegs.   Reigning Ararat Cup winner Savesomtimetodream with Jodi Quinlan aboard then made his move to work to the breeze, giving 2013 Ararat Cup winner Jukebox Music (Glenn Douglas) one-one cover.   Kotare Roland (Neil McCallum) was four-back the markers, Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) on his back, with Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips), Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley) and Farmersntradies (Michael Sullivan) in the running line, while Narra Operative (Kerryn Manning) was second-last and Arber (Gavin Lang) made an uncharacteristic bad getaway and settled at the back of the field.   Road To Rock comfortably navigated the opening half of the last mile (31.4 and 30.4 for a 61.8 half) before Jack upped the ante when challenged by Savesomtimetodream down the back.   Road To Rock was still travelling well to the home turn though, shaking off the reigning champ’s challenge with a 28.8 third split.   In the home straight Macho Comacho angled into the sprint lane and charged hard, while Hilltop Hustler and Ardle McArdle were winding up out wide.   But the leader dug deep, Road To Rock holding off all the challengers to score a victory by a head over Macho Comacho, with Hilltop Hustler up for third beaten 3.5 metres.   The winner got home in 29.2 for a 2:02.9 mile rate (last half 58).   Ardle McArdle ran fourth while Kotare Roland showed he was working back into some kind of form with an eye-catching fifth beaten 7.5 metres.   Savesomtimetodream weakened out of the action late to finish sixth beaten 8.2 metres, with Weallwantano heading up the rest in seventh place.   Earlier in the evening father and son Neville and Clinton Welsh combined for victory in the Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup with consistent six-year-old Sundon/Wheels To Go gelding Wildenstein, who led and rated 2:07.2 for the 2570-metre trip.   Wildenstein defeated Death Defying by 3.3 metres with Maorisfavouritesun third.   Meanwhile, trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Gavin Lang combined with Our Petite Soeur to take out the Angelique Club Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship (18th heat) by 2.3m over So Demanding with Graceful Affair third.   ROAD TO ROCK’S COUNTRY CUPS RECORD Ararat Cup 1st Echuca Cup 3rd Boort Cup 4th Wangaratta Cup 2nd Stawell Cup 2nd Gunbower Cup 2nd St Arnaud Cup 1st Maryborough Cup 6th Kilmore Cup 8th Swan Hill Cup 2nd   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

Well bred two-year-old pacer Hillview Jake gave New Norfolk harness racing trainer Paul Hill successive wins in the Island Block & Paving Golden Slipper (1680m) when he led throughout to take out the prestigious juvenile event at The TOTE Racing Centre in Launceston tonight. With champion Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the Sulky, Hillview Jake ($3.50) showed good early speed to lead from gate three after a stoush with the odds-on favourite Soho Shanghai ($1.50) and they cleared out from the rest nearing the home turn the last time. The son of Cardmaster Hanover was always travelling like the winner and had no trouble holding the favourite at bay all the way up the home straight. The mile rate for the 1680 metres was a  good 2:00.1 Hill won the race last year with Jerrys Jet that he says is the best two-year-old he has ever trained. "Hillview Jake is not as good as Jerrys Jet was at this stage of his racing career but he's the next best I've ever trained," Hill said. "His work through the week was outstanding and I told Gavin (Lang) that if he led tonight they wouldn't beat him and that's how it panned out," he said. Lang was upbeat about the two-year-old's future. "He is quite a big horse that did what he had to do to win tonight," Lang said. "I had to burn him up early to lead but he came back to me quickly and was very strong on the line so I'd say he has a future," he said. Peter Staples    

Gallant harness racing gelding Motu Crusader is on target to win consecutive Easter Cups following his impressive heat win at Launceston last Sunday night. Motu Crusader over came off a 40-metre handicap to score in style, suggesting he has lost none of the power he showed to win last year’s Easter Cup. With Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, the eight-year-old stepped well and made up ground gradually before unleashing a powerful sprint to emerge triumphant over Riverboat Jasper and rising talent Ardlussa Express. Trainer Zeke Slater was thrilled with Motu Crusader’s effort. “If I had have been asked two weeks ago whether the horse was going as well as last year I would have said no, but in the past week he has come on really well and tonight he showed me he’s back to where he needs to be to win another Easter Cup,” Slater said. Motu Crusader dead-heated for second in his heat last year before going on to win the Final convincingly. The remaining Easter Cup heat was won by Victorian-owned gelding Rule Like A King, which is being prepared for the feature by Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. Driven by Hillier, Rule Like A King rolled to the front soon after the start, and when challenged along the home straight, he had no trouble fending off his rivals. The son of Mach Three scored comfortably from another Victorian, Outrageous El, with Tasmanian Cup winner Star Chamber third. PETER STAPLES

After failed attempts in 2012 and 2013 to contest the Great Southern Star highly-credentialed American squaregaiter Imperial Count will finally make his Australian harness racing debut at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Raced by prominent owner Neven Botica, Imperial Count will debut for the David Aiken camp in the race named after Botica’s former champion, the Aldebaran Park Sundons Gift Trotters Free-for-All over 2240 metres. Imperial Count is a seven-year-old stallion by Angus Hall from Miss Imperial and boasts a rate of 1:53.2 in North America. The 17-time winner has had one start in the Southern Hemisphere, finishing last behind Sheemon in September 2014 when he bled and was stood down afterwards. Aiken has given the trotter three trials, but says he will most likely need the run. “His trials have been really good. We’ll see how he goes but he’ll need the racing,” Aiken said. “At home he works like a nice horse and he’s great to have around the place.” It was reported in October 2013 that Imperial Count could line up in the 2014 Great Southern Star after missing the 2013 series due to a “last-minute hiccup”. He stood at Lemon Tree Stud in Shepparton for a season before joining the Aiken camp at Avenel. Aiken’s latest stable acquisition will start from gate seven and gives the trainer two former Americans in the Group 3 trot, the other being My High Expectations, which will begin barrier 10. Master reinsman Gavin Lang will steer Imperial Count, with David to take the reins on My High Expectations. HRV Media

Harness racing’s recently-crowned World Champion reinsman Dexter Dunn will be competing in the time-honoured Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers’ Championship at Horsham on Monday. Dunn, who was presented with the World Championship trophy at Menangle last Sunday, will be contesting his fourth Noel Smith Series having won in 2012 and 2013. Defending champion Gavin Lang, one of four Victorian representatives, will be attempting to win a record fifth title. As it stands, Lang shares the record with Daryl Douglas. Chris Alford, who along with Lang is the only reinsman to win more than 5000 races in the Southern Hemisphere, is chasing his third victory. Greg Sugars and Kate Gath complete the Victorian contingent. This is the eighth time the Noel Smith Memorial has featured representatives from every state, the fourth to also include a Kiwi, and not surprisingly the is recognised as Australasia’s premier driving tournament. Fresh from last weekend’s Inter Dominion victory with Beautide, James Rattray will make the trip from New South Wales, Colin Brown will cross the Nullarbor from Western Australia, Ryan Hryhorec will jumper the border from South Australia, while Rohan Hillier will journey over Bass Strait from Tasmania. Queensland's Bart Cockburn, who engineered a major upset with Majestic Mach over Avonnova in Queensland’s Inter Dominion heat last month will complete the line-up. Incredibly the 10 drivers have cumulative 20,085 wins and more than $151.4million in prizemoney. They will be competing over four races for a $1500 travel brochure, while fans on course will also have the opportunity to be matched to a driver and win accommodation packages. First prize is at Deeluxe Riverspa Moama, second is the Melbourne Parkview, third is Elm Tree Warrnambool and there is also one for Victoria’s trotting home, Tabcorp Park Melton. The Championship recognises the contribution of the late Noel Smith, a Wimmera icon who was dedicated to harness racing at grassroots level. Along with the popular series, the program includes the Trotters’ Tontine Final and The O’Keeffe. JOHN PECK

1 to 16 of 311
1 2 3 4 5 Next »