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Kiwi horseman Clint Ford was too angry to enjoy the fact his trotting star drew well in the A$250,000 Great Southern Star on Saturday.  Because he believes he and father Ken have been robbed of having two horses in the group one race at Melton on Saturday night and it is hard to argue with him.  Ford is the unofficial trainer and driver of Marcoola and took him to Australia for Saturday’s race along with stablemate Amaretto Sun.  But he was stunned on Tuesday morning when Harness Racing Victoria officials rang to inform him Amaretto Sun was only first emergency for the Great Southern Star and will need a scratching to make the field.  “I couldn’t believe it,” says Ford.  “I went online as soon as I could to look at what got in before him but the noms were taken down.  “But now I have seen the field I am sure he should be in there in front of at least three or four of the others.  “So I was pretty annoyed and all we can do now is hope for a scratching.”  Ford’s annoyance is understandable as 14 months ago Amaretto Sun won Australasia’s equal richest trotting race the Dominion at Addington, arguably the strongest trotting race in the Southern Hemisphere.  He suffered from soreness soon after and raced only twice more last season then struggled upon his return this season before bouncing back to form with a win in the Green Mile at Methven and more importantly a third in the group two Lyell Creek at Alexandra Park last.  But that has been rated inferior form to Victorian locals like Pizza Queen and Dance Craze, who have never won a major open class race, and while recent winners they were in inferior Victorian trot fields away from GSS favourite Tornado Valley and the Inter Dominions.  While Marcoola’s draw at barrier three for the Great Southern Star looks good the major problem is local champ and brilliant beginner Tornado Valley being drawn two, from where he looks a certain leader and clearly the horse to beat.  The news was a lot better for a host of other Kiwi reps, none more so than Another Masterpiece who looks to have the A$200,000 Victoria Derby at his mercy.  He has drawn to find the front and after an effortless heat win at Ballarat last Saturday is rated a $1.65 chance by Aussie bookies to win the classic.  Pat’s Delight has barrier two in the A$100,000 Bonanza, a big advantage over fellow NZ pacer Spankem, who has drawn the outside of the front line.  And Pukekohe trainer Steven Reid has fared well with Star Galleria (barrier three in the pacing free-for-all) and Utmost Delight (barrier four) in the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup.  Tony Herlihy, who will be at Melton to partner Temporale in the Great Southern Star, will drive Star Galleria while Greg Sugars has been engaged for Utmost Delight.   Michael Guerin

This is it….this is what we’ve been waiting for! The two best  trotters from either side of the ditch are coming head to head for the first time this season. Tornado Valley vs Marcoola. And the battle ground is TABCORP Park, Melton this Saturday night. Its leg three of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters and as it stands, they sit equal at the top of the leaderboard following their respective victories in the Inter Dominion Grand Final and the Dominion. Both have collected 100 points to date. So the winner walks away with more than bragging rights. Who will take the Gr.1 $250,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star? Will it be Tornado Valley and his relentless hard running or will the sublime speed of Marcoola be on full display? And they will have a great view of each other early after drawing ideally off the front-line; they will start side by side in the 2760m mobile start event. The Andy and Kate Gath prepared Tornado Valley has landed gate two while the Ken and Clint Ford conditioned Marcoola starts to his immediate outside in gate three. The Gath’s combined with Glenferrie Typhoon who proved triumphant in 2017. Speedy Sydney prepared performer Tough Monarch has landed the coveted inside gate and looms as the knockout runner following his effortless last start victory at TABCORP Park, Menangle. Inter Dominion runner-up Sky Petite will start from gate four for trainer Mick Stanley and young driver Ryan Duffy; the speedy mare will carry plenty of support yet again. Outstanding young horseman Anton Golino prepares both Pizza Queen (gate 5) and Dance Craze (gate 13) and both will also have plenty of support owing to their consistent form. New Zealand stars Speeding Spur (gate 7) and Temporale (gate 12) are no strangers to success on Australian soil and both return with brilliant recent form, while the barrier draws aren’t kind they will certainly make their presence felt. Speeding Spur won the Great Southern Star back in 2016. Last start E B Cochran Cup winner Save Our Pennys (gate 8) represents father/son combination of Graeme and Gavin Lang and commands respects given his ultra-consistent form surge of late. Classy mare Red Hot Tooth (gate 9), a last start winner of the George Gath at Shepparton can only improve on effort from last season when finishing at the rear of the field, the Kari Males prepared mare is more seasoned and mature commodity and appeals as a knockout hope. Veteran performer Kyvalley Blur (gate 10) is also looking to improve on last year’s effort (10th behind Sparkling Success) and is drawn to follow out behind Marcoola, the Brent Lilley prepared gelding performed well at his most recent start in the George Gath behind Red Hot Tooth. Emerging talent Big Jack Hammer (gate 11) continues to thrive on racing in the elite company this season and although the draw is unkind, the David Aiken prepared gelding can’t be completely overlooked. With defending champion Sparkling Success absent owing to injury, the depth in the field this year is outstanding with total class spread across the field. Since conditions changed in 2017, Australian trained trotters have proved victorious but will that trend continue this year? What a contest…what a race! The Great Southern Star is scheduled as race six and listed to start at 9.00pm local time.   Chris Barsby  

The barriers draws have been staged for Saturday night's harness racing four BIG Group 1s at Tabcorp Park Melton, night two of the TAB Summer Of Glory, headlined by the Woodlands Stud NZ Great Southern Star and Victoria Derby. Get yourself trackside at Tabcorp Park for one of the great trots nights. Details: Woodlands Great Southern Star Woodlands Stud Victoria Derby Ladyship Cup 4YO Bonanza Trots Media

The race trotting fans have craved is on, with Kiwi superstar Marcoola to take on Inter Dominion hero Tornado Valley.  The pair have dominated the trotting gait on either side of the Tasman this season, with Marcoola stunning in races like the Dominion, Lyell Creek and Flying Mile here before his surprise defeat after an early gallop in the National Trot at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve.  But that hasn’t deterred driver and unofficial co-trainer Clint Ford from heading to Australia to take on a rampant Tornado Valley in the A$300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 26.  Ford will take Marcoola and Amaretto Sun, both trained by his father Ken, to Victoria for the GSS and possibly the $50,000 Dullard Cup the following Saturday.  Waiting for them both there will be Tornado Valley who was unbeaten during the Inter Dominion and brilliant trotting a 1:54.1 mile at Bendigo last Saturday.  Joining the pair in the Great Southern Star will be northern trotter Speeding Spur so the week of racing in Victoria could decide who the best trotter in Australasia is.  “I’m looking forward to getting over there and it will be fun to take on Tornado Valley,” said Ford, who will drive Marcoola himself.  Stable junior driver Sheree Tomlinson is likely to partner Amaretto Sun.  While the best version of Marcoola may be stronger than Tornado Valley the latter has stunning speed and most importantly gate speed, which could give him an advantage on his home ground. Marcoola and Amaretto Sun will fly to Sydney next Saturday and then road trip to Victoria.   Michael Guerin

The reigning Great Southern Star champion, Sparkling Success, has been invited to compete in the US $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway in New York on October 13 after resuming from a five month break at Maryborough this afternoon. The six-year old son of Great Success was issued the invitation by Yonkers Raceway’s Chief Operating Officer and Vice President Bob Galterio and the Racing Secretary Steve Starr and was immediately accepted by trainer John Meade. “I’m being realistic, I’m a dairy farmer from country Victoria taking on some of the best trainers in the world, some people would say I’m no chance of winning over there but what an opportunity this is going to be,” Meade said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, my wife Mary and I have decided to sell the cows and from the end of August we won’t have to worry about milking them anymore. “I’m not someone who can sit on my backside for long so I’ll concentrate on getting the farm right and train a few horses and what better way to spend the first few months of not having to worry about milking the cows by spending some time in the USA.” Sparkling Success is expected to leave Australia on September 15 and Meade will meet the gelding on arrival. “I haven’t travelled horses before so I have a lot of talking to other trainers to do, Brent Lilley is at Maryborough today so I’ll be having a chat to him about how he got Maori Time across to Sweden in such good condition. “I wouldn’t mind having a chat to Mark Purdon at some stage as well because he travels his horses quite a fair bit so hopefully I get the chance to bump into him between now and when I leave.” Meade confirmed the short term goal will be the Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Melton, a race he beat Maori Time in last year. “The Breeders Crown race would be nice to win again, he won it narrowly last year and it is on a couple of weeks before he leaves so it fits in nicely. “I am going to stay with Jonas Czernyson while I’m in New York, Duncan McPherson from Aldebaran Park has already made contact with me and offered to help me out which is great because I haven’t dealt with too many people in America before. “If everything goes to plan in the USA I might leave Sparkling Success there until Christmas, he needs to do five weeks quarantine before he can come back to Australia, so if I brought him home straight away after Yonkers he will miss the Inter Dominion anyway, I guess it all depends on how he is going, if he is racing competitively it makes sense to stay.” Harness Racing Australia Chief Executive Andrew Kelly believes the invitation was another step forward for Australian trotting. “To have Maori Time competing in the Elitloppet and now Sparkling Success invited to the International Trot in the same calendar year should be a clear indication how much the Australian trotting industry is respected on the world stage,” Kelly said. “On another issue it is great to see as soon as an opportunity like this arises, men with international experience like Aldebaran Park’s Duncan McPherson offering their assistance to John and Mary with Sparkling Success.” Greg Hayes

Sparkling Success has arrived. He’s well and truly announced himself. And he did it on the biggest stage possible, dominating his harness racing rivals in the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight (Saturday) – the second leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. In the biggest and richest square gaiting event staged in the country, the John Meade trained and Chris Svanosio driven trotter proved too classy for his rivals in the 2760m mobile start feature defeating New Zealand raider Temporale and Hey Yo in track record time. The six-year-old Great Success gelding proved his greatness with a hard fought victory in a time of 1:58.7, eclipsing the previous mark of 1:58.8 set by last year’s victor Glenferrie Typhoon. Boasting outstanding credentials, punters kept the local star safe in the market before an aggressive Svanosio drive landed the prize. Vincennes was able to spear to the lead from a wide draw and dictated terms while race favourite Red Hot Tooth was left without cover in the early stages. Sydney trotter On Thunder Road worked forward and took up the role on the outside of the leader while Sky Petite and Sparkling Success quickly made their moves. The lead time was covered in 84.2 seconds. With Vincennes leading, Sparkling Success eventually parked outside with 1400m approximately left to run. The first half of the final mile was covered in 30.5 and 30.2 seconds. Entering the back straight, Vincennes led Sparkling Success while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo gained economical trips against the pylons. Red Hot Tooth made a solo three-wide move with Daryl Boko tracking the move, both Speeding Spur and My Tribeca sat well back in the field as the tempo quickened. The third quarter was covered in 28.8 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Sparkling Success raced clear of Vincennes while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo all found room to move and loomed as legitimate threats. But Sparkling Success wouldn’t be denied and held Temporale by 1.2 metres with another 1.7 metres back to Hey Yo in third position. The final quarter was covered in 29.9 seconds. Race favourite Red Hot Tooth wilted to finish at the rear of the field. “This is unbelievable, he won the Maori Mile two starts ago but this race easily tops that, this is the biggest race on the calendar in Australia for trotters.” A jubilant John Meade declared, a dairy farmer from Cudgee in the state’s south-west. Sparkling Success boasts an outstanding record of 15 wins from 30 starts while his earnings now exceed $360,000. The next leg of the APG Trotting Masters takes place at Melton with the running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix on March 10. Sparkling Success now joins Dominion winner Amaretto Sun as the leg winners of the 2017/18 APG Trotting Masters to date. 6 9:00pm PRYDE'S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR (GROUP 1) 2760M $300,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SPARKLING SUCCESS      Sr3 10 John Meade Chris Svanosio   $ 4.10   PRS PRU 3WM 2 SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by GREAT SUCCESS USA out of DIAMOND INSITU (CR COMMANDO USA)  Owner(s): J F Meade, M B Meade  Breeder(s): J F Meade, M B Meade 2 TEMPORALE NZ      Sr1 8 Tony Herlihy Tony Herlihy 1.2m $ 5.70   PRS PRU 5 D/F$ 3 HEY YO NZ      Fr5 5 Sonya Smith Greg Sugars 2.9m $ 48.30   PRS 3WE RES 7 SWAB 4 THE BOSS MAN      Fr1 1 Ellen Tormey Ellen Tormey 7.3m $ 47.90   PRS PRU GS 3 5 MY TRIBECA ITA      Sr4 12 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 10.2m $ 35.20   PRS 8 HO HUE 6 VINCENNES      Fr7 7 Anton Golino Jason Lee 15.3m $ 79.30   PRS GS L 1 7 DARYL BOKO FIN      Fr2 2 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 17.6m $ 25.10   PRS W2 3WLT LW 8 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Sr5 13 John Dickie Josh Dickie 24.6m $ 6.30   PRS W3 3WLT LW 9 SKY PETITE      Sr2 9 Dean Pattison Michael Stanley 27.8m $ 56.70   PRS 3WM 4 10 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Fr6 6 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 30.2m $ 11.60   PRS RAS INC W4 3WLT 11 ON THUNDER ROAD NZ      Fr4 4 Darren Hancock Darren Hancock 57.3m $ 17.70   PRS 3WE 6 BUP SD1T 12 RED HOT TOOTH      Fr3 3 Kari Males Zac Phillips 77.2m $ 3.10 fav  PRS GS W1 3WL TIRE QUER VXAR SWAB WI Scratchings   FABRICATION 11 Track Rating: Gross Time: 3:23:6 Mile Rate: 1:58:7 Lead Time: 84.2 First Quarter: 30.5 Second Quarter: 30.2 Third Quarter: 28.8 Fourth Quarter: 29.9 Margins: 1.2m x 1.7m   Chris Barsby

Talk about neighbourly rivalry. The Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star, the biggest and richest harness racing event on the Australian trotting calendar, takes places this weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton and it will stir emotions. A Trans-Tasman clash between the best trotters currently available will take place over the staying distance of 2760m under mobile start conditions, it’s the second leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. And both sides of the ditch are well represented. The host nation possess are strong team loaded with great weaponry while the Kiwis are tried and true at the elite level, plus, they have the runs on the board. First staged in 2013, all winners have originated from the Shaky Isles while three of the winners were also prepared there but an Australian trained trotter proved victorious last year. Glenferrie Typhoon, prepared by the husband and wife team of Andy and Kate Gath, defied Auckland based performer Speeding Spur of back to back triumphs when he led throughout in track record time of 1:58.8. Initially modelled on Sweden’s universally revered Elitlopp, the Great Southern Star originally featured two Group 1 heats with a final all run on the same card before being drastically altered last year with the event becoming a straight out contest. Millionaire performer Keystone Del is the other Australian trained winner of the event when prepared by Nicole Molander while Vulcan, Stent and Speeding Spur have all tasted success for New Zealand based trainers. But the locals are ready for a title defence. Classy mare Red Hot Tooth (gate 3) will command plenty of respect following her last start romp in the George Gath at Shepparton two weeks ago while My Tribeca (gate 12) and Sparkling Success (gate 10) bounce out of last week’s E B Cochran Cup from Ballarat after their one/two finish. The Boss Man (gate 1), Hey Yo (gate 5), Vincennes (gate 7) and Sky Petite (gate 9) also represent the state of Victoria while quality Sydney trained trotter On Thunder Road (gate 4) will also have plenty of support. Both Daryl Boko (Finland) and Kyvalley Blur (North America) add that cosmopolitan flavour and both have excellent claims. Daryl Boko has drawn gate 2 while Kyvalley Blur has drawn gate 6. New Zealand trained performers are both from the north island with Temporale (gate 8) and Speeding Spur (gate 13) flying the Kiwi flag, both are well known to Australians fans owing to successful previous campaigns. Fabrication (gate 11) is the listed emergency for the event. The opening leg of the APG Trotting Masters was staged back in November during Cup week in Christchurch at Addington with the running of the Gr.1 $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion which was won by outsider Amaretto Sun. Only Daryl Boko and Hey Yo will contest the Great Southern Star after starting in the Dominion. The Great Southern Star is scheduled as race six and listed to start at 9.00pm local time. Chris Barsby

Former top Kiwi trainer Tim Butt expected to be a feature race player at Melbourne’s Summer of Glory, but just not with the horse it’s turned out to be. Before a minor setback late last year, the Hunter Cup was firmly on Butt’s radar with his stable star My Field Marshal. It was such a focus, he surprised many by turning his back on the Perth Inter Dominion series. But My Field Marshal was sidelined with a minor hoof injury and a limited lead-up preparation has Butt leaning towards skipping next Saturday night’s $500,000 Hunter Cup to focus on the Miracle Mile. So now Butt’s major Melbourne hopes rest with the talented but sometimes frustrating trotter Daryl Boko in this Saturday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Great Southern Star (2760m) at Melton. Although a $16 outsider, Daryl Boko has drawn well in gate two and heads into the race an impressive last-start winner, albeit in a much weaker race at Menangle. “He’s really heading into this race and draw is a huge help,” Butt said. “We think he’s a genuine upset chance now he’s drawn so well in a pretty open race.” Given the lack of a standout trotting superstar racing on either side of ditch right now, the opening Aussie market for the Great Southern Star was $4 the field. But emerging Aussie mare Red Hot Tooth has been sensationally-backed into clear favouritism for Australasia’s richest trotting race. The Kari Males-trained mare has been crunched in from $5 to $2.70 favouritism after her sparkling last-start Group 1 George Gath win at Shepparton. Although this is clearly the next step-up against such a hot field over the longer 2760m trip and against genuine Group 1 opposition, but she did rip home in a 56.6sec last half last outing and looks the leader again this time. “I might be biased, but I think she’s the better trotter in the land right now and she gets the chance to prove it,” Red Hot Tooth’s driver Zac Phillips said. “She’s got speed, she can stay and she absolutely bolted in last time. “I was saying on radio the other day, it’s a good time to have a really nice trotter like because there isn’t a champion winning everything like say a Keystone Del was here a couple of years back.” For Phillips, teaming-up with Males and her husband Paul, makes it extra special. “Kari and Paul, along with Robbie O’Connell were the people who got me going. To win a really big Group 1 for Kari and Paul would be as good as it gets,” he said. “I can’t wait for Saturday night to give it our best shot.” Another emerging Aussie trotter Sparkling Success has eased from $4 to $4.60 second elect from gate 11. Kyvalley Blur, back from his ultra-consistent Kiwi campaign shares the line of betting with Tony Herlihy’s Temporale at $6.50. Temporale’s chances were hurt by an inside back row draw (gate eight), negating his sparkling gate speed. The other class Kiwi raider, Speeding Spur, is the best-credentialed runner in the race, but drawn outside the back row (gate 13) and under a form cloud given his recent Kiwi defeats. He is a $6.50 chance. Back to My Field Marshal and Butt said a final Hunter Cup decision would be made on Monday. “It’s unlikely, but we want to watch this weekend’s racing and wait as long as possible to see if Lazarus is definitely running,” he said. In other stable news, classy four-year-old Let It Ride will have another crack at forcing his way into the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on Saturday week. He ran way below his best when, after a midrace burn to find the lead, he wilted to finish at the rear of the field in last Saturday night’s Hondo Grattan at Menangle. “He checked-out fine after the race,” Butt said. “He was a bit disappointing, but he did burn a bit so we’ll give him another chance next week.” Adam Hamilton

The Kiwi master and his apprentice descend on Australasia's richest trotting race on Saturday and in an odd twist the apprentice has an experience edge. New Zealand's most successful ever reinsman Tony Herlihy makes his first trip to Victoria in a couple of years when he takes Rowe Cup winner Temporale to the $300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on Saturday night. On the same plane last night was Speeding Spur, who is co-trained and driven by Herlihy's long-time employee Josh Dickie. Dickie these days trains in partnership with his father John but learned to drive under Herlihy, for whom he worked for years before developing into one of the bright young lights of New Zealand harness racing. Herlihy knows all about winning major races in Victoria, having won a Hunter Cup, two Victoria Cups, an Australasian Trotting Champs, Interdom Trot Final, Breeders Crown and trained and drove Ohoka Punter to win the Victoria Derby five years ago. "I haven't been back there much since even though I'd love to because if you don't have a horse good enough those carnivals can fly by without having a runner," says Herlihy. But the last time he did campaign a horse in Victoria it was Temporale two years ago and the ultimately unsuccessful trip has paved the way for his return. "He didn't win a race over there as a 3-year-old but I think he learned a lot and it has made him a better horse since," says Herlihy. "So I am hoping it will help on this trip." Temporale has drawn the inside of the second line in the 2760m mobile and Herlihy is hoping for a searing pace to break the field open late. While his old boss hasn't been chalking up the airpoints to Melbourne lately, Dickie and Speeding Spur have campaigned there four times, winning the Great Southern Star when it was a mile two years ago and finishing second last season. He has looked shy of his best this summer when Temporale has beaten him fair and square twice but Dickie says watch out for an improved performance on Saturday night. "He needed the racing last month after being off the scene for a long time but in saying that Temporale has obviously improved," he says. "But we have gone back to working him how we used to before his leg problems and he has really sharpened up and I think you will see a different horse this week." New Zealand also has Spankem (4) and The Devils Own (13) in the Victoria Derby and Partyon (2), Delishka (4) and Piccadilly Princess (10) in the Ladyship Cup. Michael Guerin

Red Hot Tooth is the big firmer in harness racing markets for Saturday night’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton after drawing gate three for the $300,000 Group 1 trotting feature. The barrier draws for Saturday night’s features were conducted live at Harness Racing Victoria offices this morning and Red Hot Tooth pulled the three marble, while some key rivals Temporale (eight), Sparkling Success (10), My Tribeca (12) and Speeding Spur (13) drew the back line. Listen to Zac Phillips on the Trot Line “It couldn’t have worked out any better,” Phillips told “She looks the obvious early leader, and what we do from there we’ll work it out through the week.” The Boss Man was also a big winner at the draw, the Ellen Tormey trained and driven trotter drawing barrier one and no doubt eager to improve on his fifth place finish in last year’s Great Southern Star. Derby delight at draw for Code Bailey Two of the big guns for the VHRSC Victoria Derby Final drew wide for the $200,000 final with Lumineer Poster Boy in barriers six and seven respectively. Terang-trained Code Bailey, an impressive second placegetter in his heat, drew pole for the final and his chances have significantly improved as a result. Mark Purdon’s heat winner Spankem has barrier four, while stablemate The Devils Own will come out of gate 13. Golden draw for Goddess in Alabar Ladyship Cup Kerryn Manning was the big winner of the Alabar Ladyship Cup barrier draw with her two big-gun mares drawing barriers one and eight respectively. Our Golden Goddess has the plum cherry draw, while Ameretto will trail in barrier eight. Kiwi sensation Partyon is drawn alongside Our Golden Goddess, making it harder for the Purdon-trained filly to extend across the polemarker early, while another of the All Stars team, A Piccadilly Princess, has gate 10. Stars Align for showdown in 4YO Bonanza The TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza pits two-time Breeders Crown champion Our Little General against a top-quality line-up of adversaries, and the chances of Stars Align took no harm at this morning’s draw. The Dean Braun-trained pacer drew barrier three and looks likely to find the lead, while Emma Stewart-trained Our Little General will certainly get his opportunity from gate one.   $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star (Group 1) 1: The Boss Man 2: Daryl Boko 3: Red Hot Tooth 4: On Thunder Road 5: Hey Yo                             6: Kyvalley Blur                  7: Vincennes 8: Temporale 9: Sky Petite 10: Sparkling Success 11: Fabrication (Emergency) 12: My Tribeca 13: Speeding Spur   $200,000 VHRSC Victoria Derby Final (Group 1) 1: Code Bailey 2: Tam Major 3: Maraetai 4: Spankem 5: Corzin Change 6: Lumineer 7: Poster Boy 8: Major Times 9: Yankee Roller (Emergency) 10: The Brooklyn Brawler 11: Colt Thirty One 12: Little Peanut 13: The Devils Own   $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup (Group 1) 1: Our Golden Goddess 2: Partyon 3: Carlas Pixel 4: Delishka 5: Berisari 6: Shakahari (Emergency) 7: Whirily School 8: Ameretto 9: Keayang Kallisto 10: A Piccadilly Princess 11: Nikkibadwagon   $100,000 TAB Multiplier 4YO Bonanza (Group 1) 1: Our Little General 2: Gotta Go Dali Queen 3: Stars Align 4: Mustang Bart 5: Motu Meteor 6: Beach Surge 7: Jilliby Kung Fu 8: Makoa 9: Jilliby Road Runner 10: Hashtag 11: Waimac Attack   $50,000 DNR Logistics Casey Classic 1: Lennytheshark 2: San Carlo 3: Messini 4: Bernie Winkle 5: Bling It On 6: Upanatom 7: Clancys Fobwatch 8: Lets Elope 9: Last Flight In Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Often in racing, failure depends on your expectations. For most horses, especially trotters, three group race seconds in 16 days and $35,000 in stakes might sound like a handy December. But not when that horse is Speeding Spur, and trainer John Dickie is not hiding from the fact his comeback star may have lost his title as the best trotter racing in New Zealand. Speeding Spur returned from nine months on the sidelines with a huge second to a race-fit Temporale at Alexandra Park on December 15, suggesting that with champion Monbet sidelined, once Speeding Spur worked his way to peak fitness he would dominate the open class trotting scene. That has proven to be wrong. He was outpointed by Aussie veteran Kyvalley Blur at Cambridge nine days later and then was run down without an excuse by Temporale in the $100,000 National Trot at Alexandra Park on December. Three starts, three seconds, and a slipping crown. "To be honest, we were a bit surprised he got beaten in the National Trot," said Dickie, who trains Speeding Spur with son Josh. "But maybe, after so long away from racing and as a six-year-old, he simply needs more racing. "There is that, with the fitness and sharpness you can only get from racing, and also the fact these good young horses like Temporale are always going to be coming through. "So it is not easy when you have a horse who has broken down twice. But do I think he will can get better with more racing? Yes." Speeding Spur is having his workload increased for a shot at the $300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 27. He actually won it when it was a heats-and-final sprint affair two years ago before finishing second last year, when it became a 2760m mobile. It is still clearly the richest trot in the southern hemisphere and, Dickie says, a juicy target: "That ... is a huge race, so we are definitely going. But he won't have a lead-up run over there, just a trial before we go." Speeding Spur has won half his 36 starts, and $726,891, and needs only to remain sound to become a rarity, an Australasian millionaire trotter which is also a stallion prospect. He will probably be on the same plane to Melbourne as Temporale, whose trainer Tony Herlihy has decided to also go into the Great Southern Star without another run. "I was looking at Ballarat on Jan 20 but with the heat wave they have had over there I might miss that and go straight to the Great Southern Star with the Dullard Cup a week later."   Michael Guerin

Persistence and patience blended with talent to see Glenferrie Typhoon win the Pryde’s Easifeed $300,000 Great Southern Star, a super harness racing training and driving performance by Andy and Kate Gath. After a season plagued by disappointing runs, Glenferrie Typhoon’s undoubted talent spilled on to Tabcorp Park Melton with a blistering run, stopping the clock at a 1:58.0 mile rate, 1.5 seconds under the old track record. The all-the-way win gifted the $300,000 feature, the richest trotting race in Australasia, to a proud group of owners and a triumphant local stable. “It’s a huge thrill,” Andy Gath said. “I know he had the draw and everything, but he still had to do it. “I’ve always had a great affinity with the trotters and they have really emerged in Victoria, there are so many good trotters around and it’s such a great race to win and great to have it on like this with the Hunter Cup. Such a big night and it’s a huge thrill.” Sharing that delight was his wife, Kate Gath, who had been put through the ringer as Glenferrie Typhoon battled to re-find form. The Majestic Son gelding ran second in this feature last year amid an outstanding run, made all the meritorious by the fact he was suffering from a bladder stone. He resumed late in 2016 but two poor performances saw him tipped out for another spell. A sixth placing in The George Gath at Shepparton preceded a win against far more modest competition at Melton on January 30, when Glenferrie Typhoon appeared to switch off and have his considerable lead gobbled up.  “He’s done my head in over the last couple of months, I did everything I could to get him trotting,” Kate Gath said. “I haven’t conceded. I tried a few different things again on Monday and he couldn’t trot it out up the straight. I didn’t know what else to do, I know he’s got the ability and thank goodness we got it right on the night that we needed to get it right on.” From gate one Glenferrie Typhoon held off Maori Time’s advance to find the front, but the pressure was persistent with one challenger after the next coming to the breeze to press forward. Josh Dickie then guided favourite and reigning champion Speeding Spur on to Glenferrie Typhoon’s back and when they hit the straight it became a race in two. “If I got a lot of pressure I was going to play it by ear and see how I felt, but he just travelled so good the whole way I couldn’t hand handed up if I wanted too,” Kate Gath said. “When Speeding Spur got on my back I thought “oh no, this isn’t good, this wasn’t part of the plan”. “(Glenferrie Typhoon) was just travelling so well the whole way. When I got to the corner he was still travelling and I know he can get a bit hot in the straight and I thought, all right, we’re going to run now, they are going to have their chance but they are going to have to catch me.” And in the match-race between Glenferrie Typhoon and Speeding Spur it was the Victorian who held on by a half-neck. “His ability’s always been there, we know how good he is, so it’s just fantastic that he was able to get the job done tonight,” Kate Gath said. “All the owners are here, absolutely over the moon.” Sunny Ruby ran a brave third for Sam Smolenski, having been the best runner from deep to finish 9m shy of the leader. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A private workout on Monday has convinced driver Josh Dickie that Speeding Sour can defend his A$300,000 Great Southern Star title tomorrow. The five-year-old multiple group one winner has travelled to Melbourne to try and cap a remarkable comeback, as just six weeks ago Dickie and his father John had written off the summer after a six-month injury break. They changed their minds as Speeding Spur started to sharpen in his work and went to Alexandra Park last Thursday thinking if Speeding Spur performed well they would take the gamble on starting in tomorrow night’s 2760m mobile second up. Speeding Spur was a massive second off his 55m backmark and while the run sealed the trip, it was his work on Monday that boosted their confidence levels. “Because he has been away from racing for so long we found in some of his works, even last week, he was getting tired late,” admits Josh. “But Monday was different. He had that hard enough run last Thursday and it has really brought him on. “He worked like his old self on Monday and came his last 400m in times pacers don’t go on our track. “So we couldn’t be happier her and we are thrilled to have him there.” John Dickie travelled with Speeding Spur on Tuesday and was pleased with how he settled in and the three-time Derby winner has an almost perfect barrier four, from where he has a huge chance of working to the lead. In front and without insane pressure he looks incredibly hard to beat. Kiwi mares Quite A Moment and Sunny Ruby would both benefit from any early burn that turned the race into a staying test, with NSW trotter On Thunder Road the most likely to get into any sort of war with Speeding Spur. The Great Southern Star is the trotting highlight of a night where New Zealand-trained horses could start favourite in all seven races they contest, headlined by Smolda in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup. His draw of two on the second line should see him settle in front of key rival Lennytheshark and he looks a massive chance of working his way to the lead, from where it would take a special performance to beat him. His stablemate Vincent is another with a second line draw but even worse being on the inside in the A$200,000 Victoria Derby but he was so dominant in his heat last Saturday he should be able to overcome it. But the draw does raise the possibility of traffic concerns so trainer-driver Mark Purdon might need to be at his aggressive best. Purdon looks set for an effortless group one win with Lazarus in the A$100,000 Bonanza, which he is racing in because it qualifies him for the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney next week, a springboard to the Miracle Mile on February 25. And stablemate Piccadilly Princess is odd-on to win the A$100,000 Ladyship Cup, with Rocker Band’s chance dented by a poor draw, one of three on the night for trainer Barry Purdon, who also has Be Jack’s Legend (Derby) and Hug The Wind (Hunter Cup) off the second line. Chase The Dream and the unbeaten Partyon all race at Menangle tomorrow night as well, but Dream About Me has been scratched after being off peak this week, a setback not expected to damage her Ladyship Mile campaign. Closer to home New Zealand’s two best three-year-old trotters Habibi Inta and Enghien resume their rivalry in the Hambletonian at Ashburton tomorrow while tonight Cambridge cram seven races into 170 minutes tonight. Michael Guerin

Star New Zealand trotter Speeding Spur is chasing a piece of harness racing history this weekend. The Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton is the next leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series and the Auckland based star looms as the horse to beat. A relatively new race for the elite trotters, the race was first staged back in 2013 and run under a fairly radical format, the event is the richest in the southern hemisphere. Initially modelled on Sweden’s universally revered Elitlopp, the Great Southern Star originally featured two Group 1 heats with a final all run on the same programme. Both heats will be drawn randomly staged over Melton’s 1720m trip with 10 horses progressing to the decider later in the night. And the Kiwi trotters have dominated with outstanding performer Vulcan winning the inaugural series before Keystone Del, Stent and last year’s winner Speeding Spur all swept to glory. But the 2017 version has been drastically altered with the event now becoming a straight out race being staged over the staying journey of 2760m. A full field of 12 with an emergency runner drawn will chase the major prize on offer. And it’s a high quality line-up with trotters representing all parts of the globe. So, can Speeding Spur become the first trotter to claim back to back titles? Prepared by father/son combination of John and Josh Dickie, the Pegasus Spur entire has recently returned from injury and many thought the Great Southern Star would come too soon but following his excellent return last week at Alexandra Park when second, he now has a shot at further glory. Speeding Spur will start from gate five. Glenferrie Typhoon represents husband and wife partnership of Andy and Kate Gath, a runner-up last year behind Speeding Spur has drawn the inside gate and the last start winner will be looking to go one better this year. Quality New South Wales trotter On Thunder Road was luckless last week in the Dullard Cup but his winning effort two starts ago at Ballarat in the Cochran Cup gives him an excellent chance at redemption. The Darren Hancock trained and driven gelding starts from gate two. Cardigan Boko possesses a cosmopolitan flavour, bred in Sweden and trained in Perth, the flashy looking stallion starts from gate four and rates highly amongst the chances. The son of former world champion Varenne is prepared by Clive Dalton and will be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis. Another import is Daryl Boko; the former Finnish trotter is now trained in New Zealand by Tim Butt, a previous winner of this race through Vulcan. The Majestic Son gelding has drawn gate nine and will be handled by master reinsman Anthony Butt. Giant New Zealander Great Things Happen who is on loan to ace local horseman Greg Sugars also boasts strong recent form. The Love You gelding starts from gate ten. Local star The Boss Man must overcome a tricky draw of the inside of the second-line (gate 8) but the Scott Dyer trained and Ellen Tormey driven son of Bacardi Lindy boasts excellent recent form. Like Kate Gath, Tormey is hoping to become the first female driver to win the race. Classy mares Maori Time, Heavenly Sister, Quite A Moment, KD Muscles and Sunny Ruby are all chasing a slice history with a victory this weekend because no mare has ever won the Great Southern Star. All mares boast very strong credentials and loom as legitimate threats. The speedy beginner Maori Time has drawn nicely in gate three while Heavenly Sister (gate 6), Quite A Moment (gate 11), KD Muscles (gate 12) and Sunny Ruby (gate 13) may require some lady luck.   The Great Southern Star is scheduled as race six and listed to start at 8.30pm local time. Chris Barsby

A couple of weeks ago Speeding Spur wasn’t going to defend his Great Southern Star title, but now he’s an odds-on favourite. A slashing first-up run at Alexandra Park combined with an ideal draw saw the Aussie TAB install Speeding Spur a $1.80 favourite for Saturday night’s $300,000 Group 1 feature at Melton. There no doubt he has the class, but does have he the fitness in a very different Great Southern Star to the one he so magnificently won last year? Gone are the heats and final, but also gone is the one-mile trip. The Great Souithern Star is now a one-off 2760m staying test. Barrier five certainly helps Speeding Spur’s prospects, but whether he should be as short as $1.80 is big question. He does have a couple of noted speedsters drawn inside him in Maori Time (three) and WA raider Cardigan Boko (four). Maori Time may take a sit on Speeding Spur, it is very doubtful Cardigan Boko would. The draw wasn’t as kind to last week’s Group 1 Dullard Cup winner Sunny Ruby, who will start from outside the back row (gate 13) with David Butcher aboard. The other runners with Kiwi flavour are Tim Butt’s Daryl Boko (gate nine) and Quite A Moment (gate 11), who is in the care of Lance Juistice. Star Aussie On Thunder Road, who wasn’t suited by gate one last week, is much better placed from two this week and looks as a major player. The X-factor is Cardigan Boko, who ran better than his sixth indicates last week, and has the gate speed to lead or take a forward spot from barrier four. VINCENT’S hold on Victoria Derby favouritism eased after he drew the worst possible barrier for Saturday night’s $200,000 final. “The one barrier I didn’t want was eight,” trainer-driver Mark Purdon said. That’s exactly where Vincent drew, meaning it is likely Purdon will have to drag him right back at the start to avoid being bailed-up on the marker pegs. Vincent may still be too good judging by his breathtaking heat win, but he eased from $1.30 to $1.50 on the Aussie TAB and is likely to start even longer. The news wasn’t much better for the other two Kiwi finalists. Vincent’s stablemate, Motu Meteor, drew outside the back row (gate 12), while Barry Purdon’s Be Jacks Legend is off the back row (gate 10). The winners from the draw were last season’s Breeders Crown 2YO winner A Little General, who might be the leader from gate two, and last week’s luckless third-placegetter Wrappers Delight (gate one). Mark Purdon had better luck in the draws with Lazarus (gate two, $1.04) in the Group 1 4YO Bonanza and A Piccadilly Princess (gate four, $1.45) in the Group 1 Ladyship Cup. His Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me will start from outside the front row (gate seven) in the free-for-all (race seven) where he looks a league above his six rivals. Purdon also has his comeback trotter Prince Fearless in the final event on Hunter Cup after making the long trip to Boort to win the Central Victorian Trotting Championship last week. Adam Hamilton

Kiwi trotter Speeding Spur opened $1.80 favourite after drawing barrier five for the Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star, but it’s far from a chequered flag with key harness racing rivals Glenferrie Typhoon and On Thunder Road drawing inside him. The speculation ahead of the richest trotting race in Australasia followed tonight’s barrier draw at the MCG ahead of Saturday’s TAB Summer Of Glory showcase night. Andy Gath’s hope Glenferrie Typhoon, who ran second in last year’s $300,000 Group 1 feature, drew the pole and opened at $8.50 on, while Darren Hancock’s On Thunder Road drew outside him and is on the second line of betting ($3.50). But it’s a race with plenty of depth and few would discount the hopes of many, include The Boss Man (drawn 8), Quite A Moment (drawn 11) and Sunny Ruby (draw 13), who are all priced $18-plus. The VHRSC Victoria Derby was given a shake-up at the draw when Mark Purdon’s hot favourite Vincent, who was jaw-dropping in his heat win, drew barrier eight. The tricky barrier, which is sure to require Vincent to do plenty of work in the run, saw the three-year-old retain favouritism but drift to $1.40. Inside front row draws saw Victorian hopes Wrappers Delight ($9) and Our Little General ($10) rightly firm, while it’s an all-star back row featuring all three heat winners in Vincent, Be Jacks Legend and Motu Meteor as well as Emain Macha and Blue Moon Rising, who placed second in their respective heats. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017

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