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One of the greatest trotters produced in Australasia has been put down as a result of old age. True Roman – Victoria’s most successful metropolitan performer – was put down at the ripe age of 34. While recently-retired gelding Smoken Up has been celebrated as the state’s leading city pacer with 33 wins, his record fell short of True Roman’s 35 victories at Moonee Valley. True Roman’s tally consists of an incredible 34 metro and one country success. Better yet, his country win was in a pacers’ event! The squaregaiter’s crowning moment came in the 1988 Trotters’ Inter Dominion. A pacing-bred son of True Duane and Romanda, True Roman was trained by astute horseman Graeme Johannesen after being purchased by cand close friend, Roger Dalton, from Ron Pocock, who originally bought the youngster at a Sydney yearling sale in 1981. Sixth upon debut at a Wedderburn non-TAB meeting, True Roman broke his maiden status at his fourth outing when driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang. That was the beginning of a formidable partnership, with Lang partnering True Roman to top shelf triumphs such as the Australasian Trotters’ Championship, two V L Dullard Cups, two South Australia Trotters’ Cups, four Cochran Cups, three Freestone Cups, three Chris Howe Cups and two Grand Slam Finals during the next nine seasons. Lang was also in the cart when True Roman accounted for Fair Tally and Simon Katz in the Moonee Valley Inter Dominion Final to complete a clean sweep of the time-honoured Championship. Like Smoken Up, True Roman was still performing solidly as a ‘greybeard’ before being retired as an 11-year-old with record earnings of $530,732 thanks to his 73 wins and 36 placings from 137 starts. PAUL COURTS

No matter which way you look at it, harness racing in Victoria was the big loser tonight. In what has been described as a “totally unprofessionalism”, Harness Racing Victoria stewards have prevented several trainers from using their UFO sulkies, which led to a host of scratchings - including six of the 10 runners in the Group One Ballarat Cup. While the vast majority of participants accept the specific sulkies fail to meet Harness Racing Australia specifications, it is the handling of the situation which has infuriated trainers, drivers and owners alike. Despite being made aware of the use of the specific sulkies, which are five centimetres wider than permitted, earlier in the week, HRV stewards failed to notify trainers ahead of the popular meeting. In fact, stipes began measuring the sulkies after horses entered the parade ring for the first event. “We were here about an hour before the first, but the stewards decided to check the sulkies after we were in the parade ring,” trainer Marg Lee declared. “It is an absolute disgrace. “My horse (More Than Modern) was uncomfortable in the replacement sulky, was hitting the wheel, and as such, got fired up which cost him the chance to race truly. “You bust your gut working horses to get to the races and then cop this…is there any wonder why people are getting out of the game?” Widely-regarded as the finest reinsman produced in Australasia, Gavin Lang lashed out at stewards for their lack of foresight and handling of the situation. “Stewards wonder there is no respect coming from participants when they do things like this,” Lang said. “They knew they were going to do this, but never told us. “I’m very disillusioned with the process and it’s another case of the stewards being on one side of the fence and we’re on another. “It is ridiculous…is there any other industry in the world where they don’t go through the due process before making these calls?” Prominent trainer Emma Stewart’s four Ballarat Cup entrants were scratched from the Group One – including the favourite Guaranteed - which has left her contemplating legal action. “This is beyond a joke,” Stewart declared. “This is why Victoria is so far behind the rest of Australia. “We won the last race at Melton last night using one of these sulkies, then find out once we get here we can’t use it tonight. “If they had of told us during the week we could have made some arrangements…There will definitely be legal action.” Leading trainer David Aiken had Cold Sister scratched from the Group One V L Dullard Cup, while Thanesan contested the feature only to race out of his comfort zone. “If the sulkies are too wide, fair enough, but they knew about this days ago and decide to tell us tonight at the track, it is unprofessional,” Aiken said. “Thanesan raced in one of the sulkies a week ago and was perfect, tonight he was bolting for Gavin as he kept hitting the wheel.” Chief steward Neal Conder confirmed he was aware of the issue with the sulkies earlier in the week, stating he had ordered inspections last Thursday. “I was informed by HRA during the week of concerns some UFO sulkies were wider than allowable,” Conder said. “I informed our steward who looks after gear that when next at races to measure the sulkies. “He measured them Thursday and there was no issue, then we measured them before the first race tonight and found that some weren’t compliant with the HRA specifications. “Trainers were only told tonight. We didn’t expect given the results on Thursday to find any that were outside regulations. “We are bound by HRA specifications and it is our job to ensure that our participants adhere to those standards.” HRV chief executive John Anderson stated he is “disappointed with the communication” between the stewards and participants, having only become aware of the situation upon his arrival at Ballarat. Stewards report directly to the integrity council, and it would be up to the integrity council to advise on ways to improve processes around communication between stewards and participants HRV has also stated it will work closely with Ballarat on a way to compensate patrons who attended tonight’s meeting. Ballarat’s chief executive Paul Rowse revealed patrons were asking for refunds within minutes of the six Cup scratchings. For the record, handy pacer Im Corzin Terror caused a minor upset in the four-horse field when he upstaged the $1.10 favourite, Terror To Love, in 1:59.7 for the 2710-metre trip. - PAUL COURTS

Master reinsman Gavin Lang has opted to stick with exciting harness racing performer Guaranteed in Saturday night’s Ballarat Cup. Lang elected to drive the rising star ahead of stablemates Philadelphia Man, Beauty Secret and Restrepo, which he combined with to capture last season’s edition of the Group One. It is the first time in 41 starts Lang won’t be in the sulky behind Restrepo. He has also been the regular driver of the other three this season. The four are trained by partners Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. A last-start third behind Christen Me and Beautide in the Miracle Mile, Guaranteed is the early favourite at $2.20 after drawing well in barrier four. Stating the decision was “hard to make”, Lang believes Guaranteed is poised to add another top shelf victory to his impressive record. “Some people will look at having four good driving options in a race like this as a good spot to be in, but personally, I don’t enjoy hoping off horses, but it’s something that you have to do at times,” Lang said. “In an ideal world Emma and Clayton would prefer to have them all in different races, but that’s not how it works and there are times they will clash. “From the draw, Guaranteed is going to be very hard to beat, as are each of Emma and Clayton’s horses.” Although he will drive Guaranteed this weekend, Lang is no certainty to stick with the son of Artsplace every time he clashes with his talented stablemates. “No doubt if Restrepo can get back to the form we know he is capable of and Guaranteed and Philadelphia Man hold their form choosing between them could be an ongoing problem and draws will play a role in my decision,” Lang said. PAUL COURTS

Promising harness racing performer Yankee Rockstar earned an interstate trip with his win at Melton last night. To be more precise, Yankee Rockstar will head to Menangle for next week’s Mount Eden Championship heat, with the bid of qualifying for the Final on November 29 – Miracle Mile night. Co-trainer Emma Stewart confirmed the trek across the Murray as reliant on Yankee Rockstar’s latest outing, in which he performed stylishly. Stewart, who prepares her team with partner, Clayton Tonkin, is no stranger to Mount Eden Championship success, having captured last year’s edition with boom pacer, Guaranteed. “Although he won his first two starts this time in, he wasn’t overly impressive,” Stewart said. “We’ve had the Mount Eden series in mind for him, but were waiting to see how he went tonight. “He’s done a top job and now will be heading to Sydney next week.” Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Yankee Rockstar was given time to settle from his second row draw before being sent forward three-wide to test the leader, Motu Prince Of Peru , from the ‘death seat’. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, the talented son of Rocknroll Hanover cruised to an impressive 11-and-a-half metre win from Supreme Genes, with Motu Prince Of Peru a metre-and-a-half away third. “He’s a very nice type and was always going to be hard to beat despite the draw,” Stewart said. “Although he worked in the breeze, he just did it so easy up the straight and won with a bit up his sleeve.” Covering the last half in 56.9 seconds, the entire rated 1:56.7 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to an imposing 10 wins and two placings from 13 starts. The four-year-old’s success was the opening leg of a double for Stewart, Tonkin and Lang who combined to score with Metro Mike. Also overcoming a back row draw, the son of Metropolitan accounted for Our Burning Desire and Hes Kinky in 1:55.7 for the 2240 metres. With no major plans in mind for the six-year-old, the top training partners will select suitable targets as they become available. PAUL COURTS

Boom harness racing performer Guaranteed will venture into new territory on Saturday night. Arguably Australia’s most exciting prospect, the Emma Stewart-trained star is engaged in the Nyah Cup at Swan Hill. As such, Guaranteed will make his standing start debut, in which he will come off a 10-metre handicap. Boasting 21 wins and eight placings from 31 mobile outings, Guaranteed can complete a successful beginning to his career behind the tapes according to Stewart. “We’ve got no doubt he will handle it just fine,” Stewart said. “He’s had plenty of practice at home and goes away safely. “I’m not saying he rockets out, but he begins without any problems, which is all is needed. “We all know it can be a different scenario at the races, but he’s a pretty level headed type.” To be drive by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Guaranteed is one of two runners Stewart has in the Group Three. The leading horsewoman, who co-trains her team with Clayton Tonkin, will also be represented by Johnny Quid. First-up from a 10-week break at Melton last week, Johnny Quid scored an eye-catching victory over 1720 metres. The son of Modern Art has had one outing from the tapes, which saw him finish fifth in last season’s Ouyen Cup won by Copthewrath. “He is another which hasn’t had a lot of standing start experience, but we can’t see it being a problem,” Stewart said. “Like Guaranteed he has had plenty practice at home and goes away cleanly.” Following their 2790-metre engagement, Guaranteed and Johnny Quid will be aimed towards the Kilmore Cup on October 26. One of the most popular events on the calendar, the Kilmore Cup is a discretionary handicap conducted over a marathon 3150 metres. PAUL COURTS

Harness racing’s excitement machine, Guaranteed, faces an arduous first-up task at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Returning from a 13-week break, Guaranteed is engaged in the popular Melton Plate for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Not only has the son of Artsplace drawn awkwardly in barrier six, the $50,505 feature has attracted a solid field of up-and-comers. Disappointed with the draw, Stewart remains positive Guaranteed can mark his comeback with a victory. “The draw isn’t the best, but that’s racing,” Stewart said. “From there, once the mobile pulls away, it’s all up to Gavin (Lang, driver). “Like all horses coming back from a spell, he is still fresh, but his work has been terrific and he has also trialled well. “We’ve got no doubt he will play a big role in the finish.” Citing Bettor Rock On as the main danger, Stewart believes Upanatom is the interesting runner, with Young Modern also to be treated with respect. Unbeaten from six Australian starts, Bettor Rock On will begin from the outside of the front line for astute mentor Ross Sugars. The classy son of Bettors Delight was a first-up winner at the same venue a fortnight ago. Prepared by Amanda Grieve, Upanatom is another former Kiwi which has made a splash since crossing the Tasman. Making a rapid transition through the country grades, the son of Christian Cullen has won eight of his nine Aussie starts. To begin from gate four, Upanatom finished second behind Glenferrie Ej in his first run from a five-week break at Geelong last Thursday. One of two Michael Stanley-trained runners, Young Modern has been in sensational form, winning his last five starts. By Modern Art, the gelding will be joined on the second line by his stablemate, Hilltop Hustler. “There are some very nice types in the field,” Stewart said. “Although the draw hasn’t been the best to him either, Bettor Rock On is the one to beat.” PAUL COURTS

While the focus will be firmly on Smoken Up on Saturday night, it seems appropriate that another of harness racing’s superstars will also be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton. One of the great pacers of the modern era, Smoken Up is having his 143rd and last start for trainer Lance Justice in what is the end of a sensational career for the evergreen 12-year-old. Successful at 15 tracks across Australasia – collecting 13 Group Ones along the way – Smoken Up is aiming for a fairytale ending to his career as he chases his 34th win in town. The gelding’s 33 triumphs break down to 12 at Moonee Valley and 21 at Melton, making the son of Tinted Cloud Victoria’s most successful metropolitan pacer. Victory this weekend will see Smoken Up fall one short of True Roman’s ‘all-comers’ record in town. Among the best trotters produced in the Southern Hemisphere, True Roman won an amazing 35 races at the Valley. True Roman’s tally consists of an incredible 34 metro and one country success. Better yet, his country win was in a pacers’ event! The squaregaiter’s crowning moment came in the 1988 Trotters’ Inter Dominion, which has led to this weekend’s True Roman Free-For-All as part of the Melbourne-based/Victorian-trained Inter Dominion winners’ features. A pacing-bred son of True Duane and Romanda, True Roman was trained by astute horseman Graeme Johannesen after being purchased by Johannesen and close friend, Roger Dalton, from Ron Pocock, who originally bought the youngster at a Sydney yearling sale in 1981. Sixth upon debut at a Wedderburn non-TAB meeting, True Roman broke his maiden status at his fourth outing when driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang. That was the beginning of a formidable partnership, with Lang partnering True Roman to top shelf triumphs such as the Australasian Trotters’ Championship, two V L Dullard Cups, two South Australia Trotters’ Cups, four Cochran Cups, three Freestone Cups, three Chris Howe Cups and two Grand Slam Finals during the next nine seasons. Lang was also in the cart when True Roman accounted for Fair Tally and Simon Katz in the Moonee Valley Inter Dominion Final to complete a clean sweep of the time-honoured Championship. Like Smoken Up, True Roman was still performing solidly as a ‘greybeard’ before being retired as an 11-year-old with record earnings of $530,732 thanks to his 73 wins and 36 placings from 137 starts. As for this weekend’s event in True Roman’s honour, top trotter My High Expectations is the one to beat for trainer David Aiken despite drawing wide in barrier six. The American-bred son of Ken Warkentin has been kept fresh since his second in town on August 15, which followed a pair of impressive wins. - PAUL COURTS

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Another one of Harnesslink's previews for the big day of harness racing at Melton on Sunday. First up this time it is the turn of the 4 year old mares. Breeders Crown 4 Year Old Mares Final One mare stands head and shoulders above the rest here and that of course is the outstanding racemare Frith. The winner of 28 races as well as 8 placings from just 37 starts, Frith has a major obstacle in her way to claim win number 29. Frith has drawn one on the second row and is going to need divine intervention at some point in the race if she is to add another trophy to the cabinet. The tactics here are all important but we feel Bruce Harpley may drop Frith back early to try to get away from the inside running line. If Frith can get off the inner in the first lap then she is still the horse to beat but the draw has definitely brought her right back to the field. Just as clearly second pick for us is the super consistent Im Smouldering who has only missed a placing four times in 42 starts. She has the master Gavin Lang in the bike and the draw of five is perfect for her. Im Smouldering will definitely work her way forward and has the all round game to win this race.  After those two mares it becomes a very even contest but we always like to stick with the proven class performers and that's what we have done here. Our Femme Fatale from barrier one is a major player but she will want to take a sit because if she leads she is a sitting duck for Frith. Who she hands up to is the big question but Arma Express looks the logical choice. The Western Australian Arma Express will definitely have a look for the lead from barrier three for her trainer /driver Donald Harper. Arma Express has only had two runs back from a long spell so should have derived further improvement from her gutsy run in the heat last Sunday. The other mare we like is Couageousnquick but her draw of six makes this a difficult ask for the talented mare. Chris Alford in the bike is a big plus and she is a major player here with the run to suit. SELECTIONS Even from the draw we are still drawn back to Frith. She is one hell of a racemare and with any kind of luck Frith will notch win number 29 on Sunday. The danger for us is undoubtedly Im Smouldering who looks back to her best after her tough run for second to Frith last Sunday in the heat. After that we think that Our Femme Fatale, Arma Express and Courageousnquick all have the talent to play a part in the finish. First four players should add The Baggy Green and Cenosilocophobia to the mix as cover. Breeders Crown 4 year Old Colts/Geldings Final The old saying that form is temporary and class is permanent is apt in the case of the outstanding four year old Bit Of A Legend. Sent to Perth in December last year for the Golden Nugget, the trip turned into a nightmare for  Bit Of A Legend and he returned to New Zealand with his tail between his legs. Nursed back to full fitness by Cran Dalgety, Bit Of A Legend had his first start back from the Perth disaster at Melton last Sunday in a Breeders Crown heat. Wide early and then parked there after, Bit Of A Legend just absolutely blew them away when Dexter Dunn asked him to run at the 400 meters mark. He should take a huge amount of improvement out of his first run for over nine months and even from six on the second row Bit Of A Legend is first pick for us.  The obvious danger is Chilli Palmer who has drawn at barrier five on the front line. He likes to launch off a horses back and is not renowned for doing it tough but he does have a lightning sprint if held up for that one run. Chilli Palmer will go back at the start and look for that slingshot run at them late in the piece. The Tasmanian Pachacuti has really been in the zone lately but faces his stiffest test from four on the second line. Still a major player and can rough it but the draw has hurt his winning prospects in our view.. The winner should come from those three runners we have previewed. The next two after the leading trio are Marty Monkhouser and Lettucefib who could both run in three with a run to suit. SELECTIONS  Bit Of A Legend is shooting for his third Breeders Crown title on Sunday and we think he will bag number three. A combination of a great horse, trainer and driver means Bit Of A Legend picks himself in our view. Chilli Palmer is a clear second pick as he has beaten Guaranteed and Smoken Up this season so he has all the ability in the world. The only negative is his racing style but as he has shown in the past he can overcome that. Pachacuti has won ten of his last eleven and winning can become a habit. His trainer Barrie Rattray is top class and Pachacuti will be primed to run the race of his life on Sunday. Marty Monkhouser and Lettucefib are the next two runners we like while first four players should include Flaming Flutter and Lochinver as cover. Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day on Sunday at Melton has drawn great fields throughout most of the divisions and the 3 year old trotters are no exception. 3 Year Old Trotters Breeders Crown Final Unlike the two year old trotters where the fillies and colts are separated, at three they are all thrown in together which is a real shame. The other disappointing thing in this years three year old final is the absence of the top Kiwi three year old trotters such as King Denny and Majestic Time but I suppose you can't be everywhere in a long season. In our view in this years final there are really only four winning chances and we deal with those one by one. First up is Our Twentyten who has drawn nicely at barrier four. A serious contender in the classics in New Zealand before his sale to Australia to clients of Brent Lilley, Our Twentyten has quickly established himself as one of the best three year old trotters  in his adopted land. His previous trainer Mark Purdon takes the drive on Sunday which in our view is another tick for Our Twentyten. Our Twentyten does have real gate speed and we expect Mark Purdon to try to grab the lead early and dictate the tempo of the race. The big danger is undoubtedly Claudys Princess who has drawn awkwardly at two on the second line. She has finished either first or second in all of her 13 starts at three and a lot of those starts have been at Group or Listed level. The danger is Claudys Princess is not in complete control of her own destiny from the second line but with the master Gavin Lang in the bike she can overcome the draw. Her last win over Asdenro was an arrogant performance which shows she is right at the top of her game at the moment.  The enigma of the race is without doubt the Kiwi  One Over Da Moon who has drawn barrier five and who has been in the Chris Lang barn for a couple of months now. When he is good he is very good and when he is bad he is awful about sums up One Over Da Moon. Can throw the toys out at times such as the Redwood Classic where he just self destructed and he did the same thing in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand as well but there is no doubting the ability is there. One Over Da Moon was eased out of the gate the last time he raced at  Maryborough before finding the front and that was due to the fact he can over race if you chase him out of the gate which makes his job at  Group One level that much harder. The last of the quartet we fancy is Asdenro who has drawn barrier three. Asdenro has finished in the first three in 11 of 13 starts at three but has been unable to win since he starting racing in the Group and Listed races. He is competitive but just half a length off the top trotters in this division. Asdenro is a free going type who likes to lead but that tends to make him a sitting duck for the likes of Our Twentyten and Claudys Princess who have such high speed. If he burns the gate in trying to hold out Our Twentyten then in our view he can't win the final as the favoured pair have that small class edge. His best chance of winning this race is if the two favourites go to war and he runs over the top of them late in the piece.  SELECTIONS This is a very close call but we think the draw gives Our Twentyten the edge over Claudys Princess but there is not much in it. One Over Da Moon needs to bring his "A' game to be a chance and we think the other two are going just a touch better than him at the moment although his class will always make him a threat. Asdenro needs a few things to happen for him to win but the determination is certainly there. Throw in Bad Habbott, Four Lillies and Lightning Calder for first fours Harnesslink Media

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Thursday’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting belonged to Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stable reinsman Gavin Lang, Kelly chalking up a stable treble and Lang a driving quartet. Four-year-old Mach Three/Going Royce gelding Pushkin was first to greet the judge in the SEW-Eurodrive Pace for R2 to R4 class over 2240 metres. Trapped in the open from gate three in the early stages, Pushkin extended to cross the surprise pacemaker Danish King and Pushkin enjoyed a sweet time at the head of affairs. Kicking clear at the straight entrance, Pushkin just lasted from a flying Jeans Mattjesty, which had been at the tail of the field for most of the trip, scoring by a nose in a rate of 2:06.5, with Voce (one/one – three wide home turn) an eye-catching third when first-up since April. Kiwi-bred Art Major/Strathrowan filly Dazzling Arded was next to come along in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 1720 metres. First-up since June and on debut in Australia, Dazzling Arden starting from gate two on the second line raced three-wide for most of the trip, with the polemarker Shes Pinkalicious retaining the front running. Showing plenty of intestinal fortitude, Dazzling Arden outstayed her rivals to record a 2.8-metre victory in 2:01.5 over the first-starter Kristy Ann Hanover along the sprint lane after trailing the leader. Richly Deserved (four-wide home turn) from last looked a big chance on straightening and finished third. Ex-Sunraysia seven-year-old gelding Eyes On The Sky, having his first outing since May 2013, was a tough victor of the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Making his first appearance for the stable, Eyes On The Sky a son of D M Dilinger and Gipsy Belle who’s most recent victory had been at Mildura on May 26, 2013 raced in the open from gate five, proving too strong over the concluding stages for Pas Mate (one/two – three wide home turn) which joined him halfway up the running appearing to be going better, with Bucksaroo third after following the runner up throughout. The mile rate 2:05.1. Lang was the “punters pal” on the day, also snaring the Pegasus Club 3Y0 Pace over 1720 metres aboard the Sue Hunter (Melton) trained Kenneth J/Artistic Dash gelding Kool Kenny. Given a beaut trip one/one from gate five, Kool Kenny was switched to the sprint lane on straightening, scoring by a half-neck from Gowan Loch, which led from the pole, and Daddywho (three back the markers) The mile rate 2:00.6. It was a great day for the Macedon Ranges district with Kyneton duo Greg and Steve Leight taking the Aldebaran Park 3Y0 Trotters Handicap over 2240 metres with Lawman/Kellybrooke gelding Law Legend, leading all of the way from barrier two, accounting for Eureka Encounter and Fire To Rain in a rate of 2:12.3 in appalling conditions. Four-year-old Britewell/Jenola Bay gelding Our St Pierre gave Bolinda’s Brent Lilley another winner for the week when successful in the tab.com.au Trotters Handicap for TRO & TR1 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 2:09.5. With Chris Alford in the spider, Our St Pierre starting from the 10 metre mark settled six back along the markers, with Atego Turbo beginning like a rocket from outside 10 metres to lead. Moving to be one/one racing for the bell, Our St Pierre was eased three wide on the final bend and finished strongly to gain the day in advance of Our Elvis which moved to face the breeze at the bell before striding clear on the home turn. Only One Aussie which trailed the weakening pacemaker finished third. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

Whereibylong scored a seemingly effortless win in heat eight of the Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies’ series at Bendigo on last night. Driven by Gavin Lang for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Whereibylong finished over eight metres clear of runner-up Our Santa Catalina in a rate of 1:58.6. Whereibylong finished off in a last half-mile of 56 seconds, running her opponents ragged despite not leaving second gear, says Tonkin. “Gavin never had to pull the plugs,” Tonkin said. “I’d actually say it was a soft run.” Whereibylong dominated the recent Breeders Challenge series at Menangle, romping home in the Group 1 final by almost seven metres after proving too good in the heat and semi-final. The fact she seems completely adept on the sometimes tricky Menangle track was a big tick, said Tonkin, and should bode well for her in coming seasons. “She’s a great filly. She came through Sydney really well. “She’ll definitely (go on to) race in open class.” Already a Breeders Crown champion (as a two-year-old), Whereibylong has had 13 wins and three minor placings from 21 starts for prizemoney of $340,457. David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina boxed on for second after working in the breeze, while Charlie Wootton trained Madison Louise finished third for driver Greg Sugars. The other three-year-old fillies’ Crown heat last night was taken out by David Aiken trained Quick Draft for driver Chris Alford. Quick Draft, which started $1.30 on the tote, romped home by 12.1 metres despite working three-wide early and punching the breeze thereafter. Her winning mile rate was 1:58.0 with a last half of 57.8 seconds. Tuscan Breeze ran second for Stewart/Tonkin and Lang, while Kiss Kenny was third beaten 24.1m for trainer Greg Hansen and driver Danielle Lewis. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Chris Alford took a 10-win lead in the metropolitan drivers’ premiership – and won his 264th race for the Victorian season – last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford drove a winning double to take his state premiership buffer to a whopping 69 wins over second-placed Greg Sugars (195) with Gavin Lang in third on 179. Craig Demmler-trained Blitzthemcalder opened Alford’s account last night with victory in the first race on the card, the Aldebaran Park Trot. Alford steered the long odds-on favourite to the lead early from outside the front row, the four-year-old then running his rivals into the ground to score a 16m win. Alford doubled up in Race 8 with Tandias Bromac saluting by nearly three metres for trainer Amanda Grieve. Tandias Bromac clocked a winning mile rate of 1:55.5 over the 1720m sprint trip. The in-form father-son team of Ross and Greg Sugars collected the night’s black-type event, the Harness Breeders (Vic) Lightfoot Laurels, with four-year-old trotter Quite A Moment. Quite A Moment caught the spot behind the leader’s back early when Paris Pepperell ran to the lead before being pocketed three-markers when Vics Cheval took the lead at the bell. Sugars angled Quite A Moment into the sprint lane in the home straight before the mare sprinted sharply to overhaul Shes An Image, who came with a run out wide, and Vics Cheval, who battled on for third. Maximan (Andy and Kate Gath) and Exciteusinthecity (Darren Cole and Tim McLean) took out the two heats of the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup. Maximan clocked a winning mile rate of 1:57.2 in his short-half-head win over Beauty Secret, while Exciteusinthecity found the lead from gate two and ran 1:56.2 in winning, ripping down the back straight in 27.6 before recording a last half mile of 55.9 seconds. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Filly Illawong Helios upstaged the two punters’ favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten to take out the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough on Sunday. In front of a big crowd, Greg Sugars gave Illawong Helios, who is trained by Greg's father Ross Sugars, the perfect run in transit in the Group 1 race before overpowering star filly Claudys Princess and colt Our Twentyten in the home straight. It was a Derby for the ages, with pressure up front right from the start of the 2690m event. Claudys Princess (Gavin Lang) dashed to the lead at the bell before Chris Alford attacked aboard Our Twentyten down the back straight. All the while Sugars was biding his time with Illawong Helios and when they swung into the straight he popped out three-wide to stake his claim. The trio battled it out up the lane with Illawong Helios eventually prevailing victorious, the daughter of Majestic Son scoring by 1.7m over Claudys Princess, with Our Twentyten third another metre away. Asdenro’s run was valiant, the early leader battling on well despite the strong tempo throughout to finish fourth. One Over Da Moon over-raced early and weakened out to finish well back, while Imamenace had no luck whatsoever early and finished second-last. The mile rate for the Derby was 2:01.6. Illawong Helios By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

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