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Warragul's final race meeting of the 2014/2015 Victorian harness racing season this Monday afternoon will be an intriguing one.   The Warragul Harness Racing Club annual premiership awards, presented to the leading trainer, senior and junior driver and most consistent horse, will be decided at Monday's meeting.   Some of the awards could go down to the wire with current results the closest they have been heading into the last raceday of the season for some years. Greg Sugars is engaged in an interesting battle with fellow top reinsman Chris Alford in the Driver of the Year Award. Greg leads the award, having driven three winners at last month's race meeting, however Chris is closing, and has been one of the most successful drivers in history at Warragul. Locally owned and trained trotter Stoned Again holds a one point lead in the Horse of the Year Award. With two wins and a second from three starts on the track, and a record winning time at the recent race meeting, Pearcedale's Walker family are looking for their first win in this award with their trotter. Top junior reinsman Josh Duggan holds a one point lead in the Concession Driver of the Year Award, with Zac Phillips and Vin Langdon both chances of claiming the win in this award if results fall their way on Monday. Cranbourne trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander have dominated the Trainer of the Year award since its inception in 1981 - and they go into Monday's meeting with a lead that should be big enough to claim the award again. Under the points scale, race winners receive four points, with two points for a second placing and one point awarded for a third place finish. First of eight races on Monday runs at 12:36pm with free entry for patrons.   Harness Racing Victoria  

The nation’s leading reinsman Greg Sugars and Shepparton harness racing trainer Amanda Turnbull both had winning doubles at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Turnbull produced the first two winners on the program, Copper Coast (Modern Art/Katasopos) and Oh Jonny Be Good (Mach Three/Maikona), while Sugars combined with trainer Geoff Webster to win aboard Flaming Flutter (Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot) and was victorious behind Emma Stewart-trained Goodtime Mike (Browning Blue Chip/Golden Face). Copper Coast’s win in the 2240m DNR Logistics Pace (M0) kicked off the nine-race card, driver Nathan Jack – partner of Turnbull – expertly steering the four-year-old gelding home by a whisker over Fernco Bobby G (Glenn Douglas). The winner’s stablemate Big Spook (Turnbull) ran third, the mile rate 1:57.5. Jack took Copper Coast back early from barrier three before timing his run to perfection on the last lap, diving into the one-one around the final bend before stoking up strongest in the lane (29.1secs fourth quarter after a 28.1secs run down the back, 57.2secs last half). Copper Coast is a former Queenslander who won the 2013 Paleface Adios Classic at Albion Park at two. The wraps on three-year-old stablemate Oh Jonny B Good got bigger after the colt sat three-wide with no cover (final 800m 57.3secs) and outclassed his opponents in the Decron Pace Final (C2-C3). From an inside back row draw Turnbull took the ex-Kiwi back to the rear early before improving through the last lap. Oh Jonny B Good stretched out best late to win in a rate of 1:59.5 for the 2240m journey and you get the feeling there’s plenty more improvement to come next prep. Illawong Lively (Scott Rains) from the pole ran second and Admiral Joy (Sugars) rocketed home for third. Seven-year-old Bettors Delight/Star Chaser gelding Astronaut won the Tye’s Clubbing USA Claiming Pace to give trainer/driver Jodi Quinlan a Maryborough/Melton double for the day (she scored a dashing win on Friday afternoon aboard Illawong Moonshine). Astronaut came with a sweeping sprint down the outside of the track to beat heavily backed favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) by 2.2m in a rate of 1:59.4 over the 2240m. Inky Cullen (Alex Ashwood) was third. Burrumbeet trainer/driver Michael Stanley took out the SEW-Eurodrive Pace Final over 2240m (C1) with his three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere / Giveusachance filly Soho Berlin. Stanley improved from a midfield position aboard the in-form filly (who has won three of her last four starts) at the mile. She covered plenty of territory from that point to the 1200m pole when she eventually ran to the lead. From there she paced her final three quarters in 30.1secs, 30.2secs and 29.9secs after an opening stanza of 29.7secs to rate 1:58.3, beating Sir Briggen (Mark Buckingham) by 5.5m while Olivia Rockstar (Trevor Hilson) was third. The Conect Blacks A Fake Free-for-All saw impressive five-year-old Bettors Delight/Twice As Hot entire Flaming Flutter continue his rise to stardom. This season’s Inter Dominion runner-up made it two straight fast class wins by holding Keayang Starzzz (Glen Craven) out at the end of the 1720m trip by a half-neck in 1:57.1. Sugars restrained early on Flaming Flutter as the leaders sprinted through a quick lead time before easing three-wide at the bell and whipping up to the breeze through the 32secs second quarter. Keayang Starzzz still appeared to be travelling at the home bend but Flaming Flutter simply outclassed the runner-up in the straight, dashing home in a 27.2secs final quarter after a 28.7secs third split. Consistent Exciteusinthecity ran third for Tim McLean. Brent Lilley had a double at Maryborough on Friday afternoon and backed it up with a third victory at Melton in the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup with Crusader Acey. At big odds, Anthony Butt took the Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding straight to the front early from barrier five before handing up to Best Deal Yet. This left Young Modern (Michael Stanley) parked; the heat winners 1-2 in the run. Once in front Best Deal Yet carved out some quick sectionals after a slick lead time (43.6secs), the opening splits 29.4secs and 29.5secs. Young Modern put paid to the leader at the 400m but Lierre Noir, Major Crocker and Crusader Acey were all starting to loom off softer runs. Crusader Acey finished strongest to score (third and fourth splits 28.8secs and 29.4secs) in a mile rate of 1:55.4, Young Modern battling on gamely for second to be beaten only a neck while Lierre Noir (Glen Craven) was close-up in third. Goodtime Mike gave Smythes Creek trainer Emma Stewart a victory for the night in the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace (M1) over 1720m from barrier five for in-form Sugars. Goodtime Mike did plenty of work in the run but still found the line best to defeat Artoc (Chris Alford) in second by a head, with Highview Conall third in 1:57.2. David Aiken trained and driven Earth Angel swept to victory in the Renown Silverware Pace over 1720m (M0). The Mach Three/Arty Alice five-year-old tracked the favourite Miley Rose into the lane before peeling off her back and out-sprinting her for a 3.2m success. Miley Rose was second for Gavin Lang, South Australian visitor Our Mischievious Miss holding third for Wayne Hill after giving a bold sight out in front. Earth Angel’s rate was 1:55.7. San Carlo wound up the night on a sensational note, the Mach Three/Bridge Player gelding far too good for his rivals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final for reinswoman Rebecca Bartley. by Cody Winnell  

Greg Sugars has 2000 career winners on the board after a winning double at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton today. The gun reinsman, 30, drove $1.30 shot Fake Smile to victory for trainer Ahmed Taiba in Race 2 at Geelong Harness Racing Club's Melton meeting, before scoring a minor upset in the last race aboard Paying Your Way at odds of $8 for trainer Rob O'Connell. July has been incredible for Sugars, the victory aboard Paying Your Way his 24th winner for the month. He will drive two horses tonight at Bendigo, two tomorrow at Maryborough and five at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night before we head into the final month of the harness racing calendar year. Sugars has edged clear of Queensland's Shane Graham on the 2014-15 National Drivers Premiership. Cody Winnell

Wintry conditions kept many spectators away from Monday's Warragul trots meeting, but races were still keenly contested despite the chill.   Warragul's new racing circuit passed its first wet day of racing since last year's rebuild with flying colours - despite plenty of rain over the previous couple of days the surface was turned out in excellent condition. In the second race, the KC Racing Trotters Handicap, Pearcedale horse Stoned Again lowered the track record for 2210 metres, taking one-and-a-half seconds off the previous mark set in December last year. Stoned Again, for father-daughter combination Bill and Simone Walker, has moved to the lead in the Warragul Horse of the Year award with one race meeting remaining in the current racing season. Rick Cashman, a past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, won a race on the day with Danman. At just its second race start, Danman led throughout - the horse will derive great benefit from the victory and should win more races. Danman's win was one of three on the afternoon for top reinsman Greg Sugars, who also won with first starter Ravello Rock in race one for Jayne Davies, and Almihata in the third event for Ahmed Taiba. Ahmed himself collected two winners on the day, when Admiral Joy rattled home to win the final event when driven by junior reinsman Troy McDonald. Jodi Quinlan produced a popular victory with Decorated Lady in race four, for a big syndicate of owners.   Several of them were trackside, loudly cheering the horse every step of the way down the home straight. Another popular win was that of Jean Baptiste in the seventh event for Melton trainer Lance Justice, and driver Jason Hackett. Jean Baptiste is raced by a nine-member syndicate, and was well supported in betting. Trotting returns to Warragul on Monday, August 17.   Kyle Galley  

Chris Alford probably thought he’d lost a couple of battles in the run aboard Messini in the four-year-old entires and geldings Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. For starters he tried to lead aboard the Brent Lilley-trained stallion from the pole but was crossed early by Hectorjayjay and Simone Walker drawn alongside. Secondly, once crossed and it was clear Walker was going to hand up to Major Crocker, Alford tried to angle away from the markers but couldn’t when Young Modern and Mick Stanley snared the one-one. Alford explained: “I had to make a decision how hard to go in the first 200 … when Simone got that half-length she presumed she could get across and she was going to keep going, and I thought we were going a bit too hard and thought she might think about handing up since we had gone that hard. Luckily I tried to get off the fence and Mick Stanley put me back in there thankfully, and it all worked out good after that.” Once in front Major Crocker copped too much pepper from Keayang Active, running a 43.7secs lead time and 28.5secs first quarter. When Jilliby Jagger came from near the rear and eased three and four-wide coming off the back straight Hectorjayjay made his move. Walked eased Hectorjayjay to the outside of a tiring Major Crocker and Alford and Messini followed closely. Once in the home stretch Hectorjayjay gave his trademark kick and got about 5m clear of Messini. But the former New Zealander typically wasn’t going to go down without a fight and he stuck his head down and got going, stride by stride reeling in Hectorjayjay to eventually score a half-neck win in 1:54.9 (28.6secs third and fourth quarters). “It was a great race now that we’ve won but things didn’t go exactly how we wanted them to go,” Alford said. “He’s just a great little trier. I thought his head was dragging on the ground near the line he was trying that hard. He deserved that win." Jilliby Jagger ran third for Glen Craven, while Barimah ran on well for fourth for Damian Wilson and Major Crocker battled away for fifth with Greg Sugars in the sulky. The win meant back-to-back Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series successes for Messini. The race was one of the most exciting on the strong Saturday night card. Messini is by Art Major out of Mesmerizing. Re-live Messini's win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final Cody Winnell

Cranbourne’s harness racing community has plenty to be excited about this week with two of the best locally trained horses the hot favourites to take out their respective Group 1 assignments. Exciting youngster Cruisin Around, trained by Michael Hughes, will line up in the $60,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, at Melton on Friday night. Then on Saturday night the spotlight will move to fellow local Hectorjayjay, from the Simone and Bill Walker stables, when he takes his place in the $110,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, for four-year-old entires and geldings.  Bridget Cook Read the full article at the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club's website  

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

Macho Comacho’s standing start record held him in good stead on Friday night in the Benstud Enduro at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. The six-year-old by Royal Mattjesty out of Alberts Daughter stepped swiftly from the tapes, quickly establishing a handy buffer and holding on to it for the next 2760m. Bettor Rock On camped on the $6.90 leader’s back for Greg Sugars from barrier two and poked through in the straight to finish third, just pipped in a photo finish by second-placed Metro Mike, who made an early move to be in the chair riding a comfortable first half (62.8secs) for Jason Lee. Driver Chris Alford rated the tempo perfectly aboard Macho Comacho from the Dean Braun stable, the gelding upping the ante through a 28.2secs third quarter before ripping to the line in 26.8secs (55secs last half) to give nothing else a shot. The win was Macho Comacho’s ninth career victory, all nine coming in standing start races. “It certainly helped him, getting back to the stand,” Alford said. “When he first came over here from New Zealand he had good form in some country cups." “The mobile races don’t really suit him as much.” Macho Comacho had been screaming out to win one after three straight second placings of late, all in mobile races. Getting out to a trip was also certainly no problem as he stays all day. Alford predicted Macho Comacho would be a fierce Country Cups Carnival competitor next season. The win was the first leg of a weekend treble for Braun, who teamed with reinsman Nathan Jack for a double at Cranbourne on Sunday night with well-bred two-year-old Soho Chelsea (Mach Three/Cornsilk) and talented three-year-old filly Quaint Glen (Pay Me Christian/Quantam Franco). CODY WINNELL

Last season’s Breeders Crown and Southern Cross winning gelding Major Crocker returned to the winners’ list last night at Kilmore and took a step closer to securing more harness racing silverware. The victory in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires and Geldings Fifth Heat locked in a semi-final berth for Major Crocker, who finished second in the Super Series last year to Messini. Trainer Vince Vallelonga freshened the son of Art Major/Aratusa Lass up for last night’s assignment after a below-par 10th in the TAB.com.au Rising Stars Final at Melton last month. Vallelonga reported the gelding had pulled up from that race a virus and said he felt the Group 1 winner was back to his best, though not fully wound up last night. “The only thing he probably lacks is a bit of race fitness,” Vallelonga said ahead of last night’s victory. Forced to work early through the quickest lead time of the night for the 2180-metre trip (39.7secs), Major Crocker eventually found the front ahead of polemarker The Fat Man. Greg Sugars was able to apply the brakes through the second quarter after an opening split of 30.6secs, the much needed reprieve coming via a 31.8secs second stanza. The pace went on again through the third quarter (29.2secs) as Barimah in the breeze tried to eyeball the leader. In the straight Sugars and Major Crocker kicked on strongly and held firm through a 29.2secs final quarter, The Fat Man (Chris Alford) finishing along the sprint lane to grab second, while Field Major (Troy McDonald) flashed home for third. Barimah (Damian Wilson) battled on for fourth and Okelerho Lad (Matthew Craven) ran fifth from his outside-back-row draw. The mile rate was 1:58.5. The other Super Series heat for the night was the fifth heat of the 4YO mares’ division, taken out by $1.20 favourite – and reigning series champion – My Bella Starr for trainer Adam Kelly and driver Gavin Lang. The daughter of Art Major/Badland’s Legend rated 2:00.6 to hold off Fullness Of Time (Neil McCallum) by three metres, with Indiana Angel (Rodney Petroff) third, So Demanding (Chris Alford) fourth and Petite Agee (Scott Stewart) fifth. 4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS 5th HEAT Finishing order Video replay 4YO MARES 5th HEAT Finishing order Video replay Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Greg Sugars made the trek to the Mildura harness racing meeting last night and went home with a winning double, including victory aboard one of Emma Stewart’s many talented two-year-olds, Apache Shark.   The son of Four Starzzz Shark out of Mustbeheaven took out the first heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for 2YO colts and geldings by 3m over last-start APG Consolation winner Soho Lexington.   Apache Shark ran to the lead early after initial frontrunner Fortitudo relented for the soft trip behind the $1.40 favourite.   From there it developed into a procession for the tote elect, whose lead time was a leisurely stroll – 46 seconds – and opening half of the last mile a jog, 65.9secs.   The field raced in single file until the 1200m when Michael Stanley made his move aboard Soho Lexington, which had gone back to last from the wide barrier six in the six-horse field.   Soho Lexington improved to second place and staked his claim for victory from the 400m.   But Apache Shark had too much left in the tank and was able to sprint home in 58.9secs to win his second race from three career starts and, in doing so last night secure a spot in the 2YO Super Series semi-final.   Soho Lexington battled on well for second, while Glacier Heights – a stablemate of the winner – hit the line hard on debut to snatch third with Jaimie-Lee King in the cart from a tiring Fortitudo.   The winner’s mile rate was 2:05.5.   CODY WINNELL

Kari Males and her harness racing team have sensational filly Niki No No in great order to go back-to-back in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series. A flawless start to her title defence tonight in the first of the Vicbred Super Series heats at Shepparton has the Victoria Oaks winner and last year's 2YO Super Series champ at the top of her class again. Leading driver Greg Sugars slotted Niki No No into the running line in seventh place from gate seven early before sprinting up and taking the lead off Come Cullect (David Miles) as the bell chimed. Niki No No wasn’t out to break any records once in front and, minus a short-lived raid from the chair by Yankee Showgirl at about the 300m, the daughter of Sportswriter/Benelise was never seriously challenged to win by 3.1m over a fast-finishing Soho Tokyo (Michael Stanley) in 2:01.2. Glenferrie Baby (Nathan Jack) found the line well for third, while Come Cullect battled on for fourth ahead of Shakahari (Gavin Lang) in fifth. It was Niki No No’s 10th win from 17 career starts. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots by Cody Winnell

Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars and reinsman son Greg made a winning Foray to Cranbourne on Saturday night for the Group 2 Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup. First-up since arriving in the Sugars stables just over a fortnight ago, six-year-old Foray, by Armbro Invasion out of Queen Of The Mountain, finished strongest over 2555m to defeat early leader Our Overanova and a death-seating favourite Kyvalley Blur in a track record mile rate of 2:02.4. “My expectations were that he could probably run third and that he wouldn’t beat Kyvalley Blur or Our Overanova,” trainer Sugars said. “But he was really suited by the tempo, which made it difficult for Kyvalley Blur.” Greg Sugars hardly flinched aboard Foray in the home straight, carefully levelling him up with Our Overanova before the winner got his bib in front in the shadows of the post. Foray’s trainer explained the trotter had a habit of galloping at vital stages when based in New Zealand’s South Island. “That’s why Greg nursed him a bit,” he said. Asked what Greg said post-race, Sugars replied: “That was all right, wasn’t it?” “We’re pretty happy with it. “It’s not often you win your TM0 and it’s worth $30,000.” Foray is raced by a group of owners in New Zealand with Matt and Maryanne Hickey the pair who deal closest with Sugars. The pacesetter, Our Overanova driven by John Caldow, trotted through a lead time of 72 – three seconds quicker than Keystone Del ran in last year’s Cranbourne Cup – before a first half of 63.8secs. Our Overanova was slipped a bit more rein down the back straight for a 29secs third split before a fourth quarter of 29.5secs made for a 58.5secs final half. Our Overanova finished a head behind the winner with Kyvalley Blur 8.1m off in third. by Cody Winnell

Whirily School and Showgun Thomas have taken out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic two-year-old Finals at the harness arcing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton last night.   Whirily School won the fillies’ final for trainer Emma Stewart and driver Greg Sugars as an odds-on favourite at $1.50, while Chris Alford combined with trainer Heath Redwood to take out the colts and geldings’ final with Showgun Thomas at $12 after race favourite Hellbewright galloped early and lost all chance.   Whirily School, by Courage Under Fire out of Mayhappen, found the front early from the 1720-metre start and controlled the race, jogging through a 32.7secs second quarter after an opening stanza of 29.9secs for a 62.2secs first half.   Greg Sugars had his rivals stacked up off the back after a third split of 30.7secs before the impressive young pacer extended and left his rivals paddling, dashing home in 27.4secs for a 3.3m win in a mile rate of 2:00.2.   New Romantics finished second after trailing the leader throughout from the pole, while Courageous Call moved to the breeze early and battled on for third just ahead of Swiftly Tothebeach.   Showgun Thomas, by Bettors Delight out of Forest Charm, won a roughhouse affair in the two-year-old boys’ division, Alford driving the polemarker through along the sprint lane from the leader’s back spot in the home stretch to edge out Pop The Cork (Anthony Butt) and Four Starzzz Forsa (John Justice) in a thriller.   The second horse had to survive a protest post-race from the third and fifth (That’s How Weroll) placegetters.   Showgun Thomas rated 1:57.0.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Daylesford's It Is Billy looks bound for bigger fish after Friday night's Pegasus Melton Pacing Cup win. Trained and driven by husband and wife Michael Barby and Anne-Maree Conroy, the win was It Is Billy's fourth harness racing triumph from six runs this time in. It Is Billy (by It Is I out of Glenlyon Glad) worked around to the breeze before the mile mark in tonight's 2760m stand-start race and would sit parked for the remainder of the event, as leader Comply Or Die paced opening quarters of 31 and 31.6 before they upped the ante down the back with a 29.3 third split. When Comply Or Die was put under pressure at the corner It Is Billy was clearly travelling within himself and upon straightening in-the-run players must have had him unbackable favourite. It Is Billy’s fourth quarter was 27.4 for a 2:01.8 mile rate. Bettor Rock On showed his true colours tonight, closing gamely down the outside to finish second. > Re-live It Is Billy's Melton Pacing Cup win Champion reinsman Greg Sugars took driving honours tonight with a winning double via punter’s friend Illawong Helios, who just keeps winning for trainer Ross Sugars, and improved trotting mare Heavenly Sister for horseman Ross Graham. Heavenly Sister, a daughter of Majestic Son out of US bred mare Heavens Above, took 11 goes to break her maiden status but tonight’s victory in the Garrards Trot over 1720m made it two on the trot. The Majestic was bold in second, he and Heavenly Sister engaged in a two-horse war throughout the bulk of the final lap, the winner finishing with a 2.3m winning margin in a mile rate of 1:59.4. Illawong Helios, by Majestic Son out of Shining Sun, has now won nine of her last 10 starts and 12 out of 20 all up after taking out the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot over 2240m. From the pole Greg Sugars held the front and the four-year-old mare travelled well throughout to score by 5.5m over Desert Spur in a mile rate of 2:02.0. Skippy Rascal kicked off proceedings for the night with victory in the DNR Logistics Pace over 2240m, the Julie Douglas-trained, Glenn Douglas-driven five-year-old gelding by Live Or Die out of Royal Rascal following leader Ideal Majority in the run before using the sprint lane to win by 1.6m, Ideal Majority holding on for second from Washmepockets and Lark Rise. An upset in the Renown Silverware Trot Final certainly added value to the early quaddie, Katelin Brooke taking it out for Grenville’s Gregory Moss and reinswoman Debra Wicks-Moss. Katelin Brooke finished powerfully at odds of $32 to beat Savannah Jay Jay, whose run was enormous coming from last, with Lazy Sunday hitting the line nicely for third. Katelin Brooke is an eight-year-old daughter of Earl out of Kanuka Lass. New South Wales trainer Blake Fitzpatrick was victorious in the first heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Trot. Five-year-old Earl/Pinevale Ellason mare Duchess Ella led easily from gate two before holding off Bellmac Kody and Star Gun for a neck win in a rate of 2:00.8 over 22400m. The first three horses over the line came right away from the others. The hot run of form being enjoyed by Terang’s Marg Lee continued with four-year-old Art Major/Deltas Dream gelding Keayang Active returning to the track with an impressive victory in the TAB.com.au Rising Stars Pace (first heat). Keayang Active came clear late to win by 2.3m over McRita and Upanatom. And finally Hotasel (Elsu/Hotgossip) on debut for trainer/driver John Justice finished too well in the last race, the second heat of the Rising Stars, to win from Hollywood Sign, who led, and Macho Comacho in third just ahead of Fernco Bobby G. Hotasel rated 1:59.5. - HRV Media

The pecking order amongst the three year old harness racing fillies in Victoria has become a lot clearer after Niki No No’s Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks win has again moved the Kari Males-trained filly to the top of her age group charts.   The three-year-old by Sportswriter out of Benelise thundered home along the sprint lane to claim the lion’s share of the $150,505 and the Oaks trophy in the 2240-metre race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.   Driven by reinsman Greg Sugars, Niki No ($4.40) began fast from barrier two and crossed polemarker Keayang Ebonyrose (Jason Lee, $75.30) but was herself crossed by early race favourite Makes Every Scents (Luke McCarthy, $6), who fired out from gate six.   The $2.60 favourite Delightful Lana moved up to the breeze for Dexter Dunn from gate four before Amanda Turnbull made a move aboard Glenferrie Bronte ($7), working to the chair and giving Delightful Lana cover.   After posting a lead time of 46 seconds, Makes Every Scents paced through her first and second quarters in 31.7 and 30.5secs before the mustard was added 800m out, when Glenferrie Bronte eyeballed the leader and heat winner Sudden Change (Gavin Lang, $16.40) was making her run out three-wide from the back of the field, trailed up by Morton Plains (Chris Alford, $19.70).   The third quarter was covered in 27.5secs, Niki No No enjoying a cold sit on the two pacemakers as the field swung the final bend.   Makes Every Scents carried Niki No No right to the sprint lane and once the Kari Males trained Vicbred 2YO Final winner of last season got the run it was basically game over.   The last quarter was clocked at 28.9secs, Niki No No coming away to win by 2.8 metres in a mile rate of 1:58.3, Makes Every Scents holding on for second and Glenferrie Bronte battling on gamely for third beaten 3.2m.   Morton Plains worked home gamely down the outside to be beaten 4.6m, with Miss Riviera Belle (Lauren Panella, $13.60) also hitting the line hard for fifth beaten 5.3m.   As mentioned Niki No No won the Vicbred Final as a two-year-old, and although she finished fourth in the Breeders Crown Final, it is worth noting she was the first Australian filly home on that occasion behind Kiwis Katy Perry, Joannes A Delight and Cyclone Kate.   Emma Stewart-trained filly Delight Me was unfortunately ruled out of Oaks calculations before the heats, so we’ll never know, but Niki No No’s record in big races is virtually flawless and as such a strong case can quite rightly be argued for why she is the best filly of her age group in Victoria.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Andy Gath trained a treble and his wife Kate drove all of them at yesterdays harness racing meeting at Charlton on a big day for the Long Forest husband and wife team.   True Stride (a two-year-old son of Christian Cullen/Gina Falcon), Abetta Tiny Dancer (a three-year-old filly by Bettors Delight out of Laurel Franco) and Party Boy (a four-year-old gelding by Bettors Delight out of We Love To Party) all won for Team Gath.   Abetta Tiny Dancer was impressive on debut in the Cricket Club Hotel 3YO Pace over 2100 metres.   Starting from the second row, the filly was given plenty of time to balance up for Kate Gath, settling towards the rear of the main division – with Prince Of Zanzibar the trailer after making an early break. At the bell Abetta Tiny Dancer eased three-wide and commenced her run.   But it was only upon navigating the last bend that Abetta Tiny Dancer really stamped her authority, rounding up the leaders quickly and finishing well for a four-metre win over Give Me Fifty, who ran an improved race for Keith Cotchin and Amanda Turnbull into second, with Box Lu Cove third for Glenn Douglas.   The debutant winner rated 2:00.7.   Party Boy resumed in the Charlton & District Community Bank Pace and was sent out at unbackable odds of $1.10 from barrier four.   Last time in Party Boy looked a serious racehorse in the making with three straight triumphs before being sent for a spell after an out-of-character run at Cranbourne when something was obviously awry.   But the impressive son of Bettors Delight bounced straight back today, rating 2:00.5 (last half 58.1secs) to win by 2.4 metres over a bold Jay Dee Zed, who is nearing another win, with early speedster Splendid Choice poking through for a well-beaten third placing.   True Stride opened the program with a five-metre win in the Natasa Dean 2YO Pace over the mile, the winner posting a 1:59.2 mile rate in defeating Swift Fantasy and Dallas Nikolay.   Other winners on today’s card were Karkarook and Indiana Angel, who brought up a double for trainer John Hallam and reinsman Nathan Jack, Cudgee Boy for Wayne Maher and Neil McCallum, Super Lenny for Keith and Rodney Pratt and Pink Diamond Lombo for Max Jardine and Greg Sugars.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

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