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Warragul trotter Miss Intense is chasing a feature race win this Saturday night. The seven-year-old mare, having just her tenth race start, will compete in the $20,000 Breed For Speed Silver Series Final at Melton for trainer Jenni Lewis and driver Greg Sugars. Miss Intense has stuck a rich vein of form since returning to racing in November. After successive wins at Geelong and Melton, Miss Intense produced an eye catching second in a heat of the Silver Series at Bendigo recently, and is sure to give her supporters a sight in Saturday night's race. In many ways the story of Miss Intense is similar to that of Lewis' former top trotter of a decade ago, Billy Royle. Both horses are out of the mare Ivy Jean, and both suddenly found considerable racetrack success as older horses - Billy Royle won one race from his first 26 starts but ended up going on to win several feature races, and compete in an InterDominion series, as an older horse. While this weekend's race is the biggest test to date for Miss Intense, she is in the best form of her career at the right time, and has earned an opportunity in the feature event. Saturday's meeting is a major fundraiser for the Women's Cancer foundation.   Kyle Galley  

Young Victorian reins man Mark Pitt gave a salute to the stars as he scored an amazing harness racing win in tonight's John Gibson Memorial New South Wales Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Shepparton reinsman brought Shez All Rock with a burst of speed up the inside running to win by three metres from Soho Burning Love (Greg Sugars) in a world record equalling time of 2:50.4 with the plucky Nostra Villa (Chris Alford) clinging on for third. Pitt drove a patient race with the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, settling in about seventh spot and biding his time until the field hit the home running. The charges looked to be coming from out wide and just as it looked as if Soho Burning Love and Nostra Villa would fight out the finish Pitt and Shez All Rock appeared from nowhere up the pegs for an amazing win. Now Victorian-based, Pitt showed his delight to be back in his former home state with a mighty flourish of the whip as he crossed the line for a win he rated among the best of his career. "This was always going to be a tricky race but she had a good trip tonight and god the job done," said Pitt. "It's always good when you come away from home and win a race like this and go home with a trophy, it's really special. "I have to thank Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin for all the help they have given me with this horse and I also think Mum and Dad deserve some of the credit too. Without them none of this would be possible.       3 7:17pm JOHN GIBSON MEMORIAL NSW OAKS (GROUP 1) 2400M $200,000 3YO Fillies. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SHEZ ALL ROCK      Fr4 5 Mark Pitt Mark Pitt   $ 4.80       BROWN FILLY 3 by ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN USA out of JUST IRISH LOCH NZ (MACH THREE CA)  Owner(s): I D Pitt, L M Pitt  Breeder(s): G F (George) Tennent 2 SOHO BURNING LOVE      Fr10 11 Michael Stanley Greg Sugars 3.2m $ 13.20     3 NOSTRA VILLA      Fr7 8 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 7.5m $ 2.70 fav    4 CALLMEQUEENBEE      Fr8 9 Gemma Rue Mat Rue 9.1m $ 95.30     5 MY SWEETCHILLIPHILLY NZ      Fr6 7 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 9.3m $ 35.70     6 WAR DAN BAD GIRL      Fr5 6 Steve Turnbull Nathan Jack 9.5m $ 42.30     7 FAME ASSURED      Fr3 4 Grant Dixon Grant Dixon 10.4m $ 4.60     8 IMPRINCESSGEMMA      Fr1 2 Emma Stewart Luke McCarthy 21.7m $ 6.30     9 IDEAL PLEASURE NZ      Fr2 3 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Natalie Rasmussen 22.5m $ 16.10     10 MACEY JAYDE      Fr9 10 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 29.8m $ 46.20     Scratchings   REDBANK ADDI 1 PROPHESY 12 Track Rating: Gross Time: 2:50:4 Mile Rate: 1:54:3 Lead Time: 54.9 First Quarter: 29.3 Second Quarter: 30.1 Third Quarter: 27.8 Fourth Quarter: 28.3 Margins: 3.2m x 4.3m   Sean Vella  

Top harness racing driver Greg Sugars drove two of the six winners at Monday's Warragul trots meeting. The impressive three-year-old pacer Joe Nien, and Bright Shadow were driven to victory by Sugars, who has narrowed the gap between himself and Chris Alford in the race for the Warragul drivers' premiership. Alford was also in the winners' circle on Monday, when Gippsland pacer Courageous Call scored a narrow victory in a finish where less than three metres separated the first five horses across the line. The victory was a consolation for the top reinsman, who was lucky to escape injury when Sentimental Life struck trouble in the third event. The mare choked down and dropped out of the race with a circuit to travel, and crashed to the track as Alford steered the horse to the outside fence. Connections had a few anxious moments as track officials worked to remove the sulky and gear from Sentimental Life, however the eight-year-old slowly got back up and was taken from the track. Alford became the first reinsperson to crash during a race at Warragul since the refurbished track was reopened just over three years ago, a good indication of how safe the Pacing Bowl is. Visiting trainers were in the money on Monday, with Bright Shadow (Allan McDonough), The Loustar (Phillip Walters) and Joelissa (Richard Caruana) all successful. Monday's meeting was a quiet one on course, however Warragul trots officials anticipate a much larger attendance for the next race meeting, the 60th running of the Warragul Pacing Cup, on Easter Sunday, April 1st. Kyle Galley  

Hosting students on work experience or Structured Work Place Learning (SWL) provides staff of the Bendigo Harness Training Centre with some of their most rewarding experiences, says the centre's Executive Officer Vicki Moro. This year the centre has hosted a SWL student from Bendigo Senior Secondary College for a week and two students from local schools for one week during work experience placement. "The Training Centre has really enjoyed having Stacie and other work experience students here learning with us," Ms Moro told Trots Media. Work experience student Stacie Carbone took the opportunity to share her thoughts on being involved in the trots industry for a week and write about her future career ambitions. My name is Stacie Carbone. I am 15 years old and come from Axedale, just out of Bendigo. I go to school at Bendigo South East College and play footy for a girls' under-18 team. I have been around horses all of my life. My dad and grandparents train and drive horses. My grandpa, Vin, and dad, Mick, have taught me so much over the years about working horses. My dad and pa only train a few horses at the moment and do it as a hobby. I have been involved in pony trots for the last five years. I wanted to work with horses and learn new things from different people, which is why I wanted to do work experience at the Harness Training Centre Bendigo. I had also heard that all the people at the centre are great to learn from and have very good experience around horses. That is definitely true! The best thing I have learnt so far is how to read an Australian Standardbred freeze brand. The best thing I have seen is how much the horses get cared for and how well they are treated. The facilities and environment are great. Oh, and learning to remove and tack on a shoe with the centre's farrier, Nathan Monk, was pretty good too! My plan is to become an equine vet nurse and an equine AI technician. I also plan to go for my C Grade drivers' licence and then train a few of my own horses down the track. My favourite driver is Greg Sugars but I like to watch Kerryn Manning too. My favourite horse would be Lennytheshark at the moment. If you, or someone you know, would like to participate in a similar placement please contact Vicki Moro at HRTC Bendigo on 0447 032 770 or vicki.moro@hrtcbendigo.com.au   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  

Leading reinsman Greg Sugars has fond memories of Albion Park. And with good reason. The last time the Victorian based driver headed to the famed Breakfast Creek racetrack, he walked away with the state’s biggest event. Sugars answered an ‘SOS’ call from trainer Ian Gurney and took the winning drive behind Our Hi Jinx in the 2015 Gr.1 $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship. The race was discontinued following that edition. But now Sugars returns to the Sunshine State chasing the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship, the final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season. He will partner star pacer Major Crocker in the 2680m feature. “I’m looking forward to heading back to Brisbane this weekend and I think we’ve got an excellent chance, his draw is ideal and his form is very good so hopefully we can land the prize.” Sugars said. Major Crocker has drawn gate three but will start from two if the emergency doesn’t secure a start. The Art Major gelding hasn’t started since finishing a close-up 7th behind My Field Marshal in the Len Smith Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on June 25. Sugars, a winner of 34 Group One races believes the Vince Vallelonga trainee is ready to land his biggest prize yet. And he set to play an intriguing role given his early speed; will he hold the lead or take the trail behind race favourite Tiger Tara? “We’ve got options and I’ll discuss it with Vince before the race. He didn’t have much room last start in Sydney and the gap between runs won’t bother him, I know Vince believes spacing his runs as he gets a little older is best for him now. “Some of his best efforts have been when he’s fresh up, we should end up in a good position from the draw and the distance will suit him. He ran very well in this event last year. “Tiger Tara looks hardest to best from his draw while the Aiken runners (Lennytheshark & Hectorjayjay) will be tough to beat plus My Field Marshal, he’s the form horse of the Australian winter and he looked very good last week.” Earlier this season, Major Crocker finished second behind New Zealand star Lazarus in the Victoria Cup at Melton. Major Crocker is rated as a $16 chance with UBET. Hoofnote; Only Gavin Lang, Chris Alford, Luke McCarthy, Gary Hall Jnr and Mark Purdon have driven more Group One winners in Australia than Sugars. Chris Barsby

Champion harness racing reinsman Greg Sugars returned to South Australia on Friday night and left with the first prize of the Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation from the Port Pirie meeting. Sugars landed only one winner – Ultimate Won for Port Pirie trainer Lyndon Hall – but with consistency, was able to grab a win with a third place on Weaponry in the sixth and final heat. He picked up seven points to go to 44 points while hometown favourite Kate Gath only picked up two points on Timansi to finish with 41. Ken Rogers was back in third on 37 points. Sugars, who was a leading driver at Port Pirie early in his career before moving to Victoria, said he was delighted with the win. “It was great that I was able to accept the invitation to drive in the series and to win was a bonus,” Sugars said. “The Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation has been a popular event ever since I took up driving and to take part and win is great. Sugars upset hometown heroine Kate Gath who always drives well at Port Pirie and was a co-winner of the Invitation in 2013 with Ryan Hryhorec and was outright winner in 2016. Heat one of the Elders Insurance Invitation went to Hez Declan, driven by Ken Rogers for Port Pirie trainer Michael Dennis. An $11.80 chance, Hez Declan scored by a head from Wills ($7), driven by Michael Bellman, with Pure Theatre ($2.90 fav), partnered by Wayne Hill 6-1/2 metres away third. The ‘Queen of Port Pirie’ Kate Gath scored an all-the-way win for trainer Tyson Linke on Reil Quick ($7.40) in heat two. Reil Quick scored easily by 6-1/2 metres from Sir Julian ($7.10), driven by Leah Harvey, with Hes Just Rusty ($9.60), partnered by Danielle Hill, 2-1/2 metres away third. Linke said he had recently freshened the six-year-old mare and believed she would continue to hold her winning form. An aggressive Sugars went forward on Ultimate Won ($17) in heat three to grab the lead from gate four and battled on strongly to score a metre win from Flaming Sheffield ($22.50), driven by Lance Justice while Wayne Hill had little luck on the $1.40 favourite Live For Peace which was a metre away third. Ultimate Won is trained by Lyndon Hall who said he was confident the three-year-old would continue to improve. Reinsman Ken Rogers landed a winning double, as did trainer Tyson Linke, when Queen of Sharkz ($1.20 fav) scored a brilliant 27-1/2 metre win in heat four of the Elders Insurance Invitation series. The four-year-old mare landed her fourth successive victory in defeating Habanero ($11.30), driven by Greg Sugars, with Coast Patrol ($14.90), partnered by Leah Harvey, four metres away third. Kath Gath landed a driving double when Big Behemoth ($1.30 fav) scored an easy all-the-way win in heat five. Trained by Leah Harvey in Kadina, Big Behemoth scored by eight metres from Little Miss Piggy ($9.40), driven by Wayne Hill, with Michael Bellman third on Timeless Jasper ($22.90), a neck away. Teenage reinsman Jayden Brewin got a late call up to the series replacing Ryan Hryhorec who had to withdraw through family issues and made the most of the opportunity with a half-neck win on Marzzz Barzzz Bazz ($3.20) for Kadina trainer Mick Darling. Manonthemoon ($4.40) finished strongly to finish second for driver Leah Harvey with Weaponry ($3.90), driven by Greg Sugars, 1-1/2 metres away third. Final points score was: Greg Sugars 44; Kate Gath 41; Ken Rogers 37; Wayne Hill, Leah Harvey 33; Danielle Hill 29; Jayden Brewin 28; Michael Bellman 27; Lance Justice 25; Aaron Bain 15. Graham Fischer

Victorian trained harness racing two-year-olds claimed the opening heats of the 2017 Alabar Breeders Challenge series at Wagga on Tuesday night. The favourite Little Peanut won the colts and geldings division in smart fashion for trainer-driver Greg Sugars while Sounds Of Terror caused an upset taking out the fillies heat for Anton Golino and local driver Cameron Hart. Sugars was in a similar predicament a few years ago when he guided the then rising star Sushi Sushi to victory in a Breeders Challenge heat at Wagga. Little Peanut is one of three pacers he trains himself in between his busy driving schedule. “He is no Sushi Sushi but a nice two-year-old who will go on to the semi finals at Menangle,” Sugars said. Little Peanut is raced by a group of five who hail from Newcastle and Grafton. The owners also raced and bred the winner’s half-brother, Youranut, who won 14 races. Little Peanut settled in fifth place and when asked to extend gathered in Sword And Shield for his third win from five starts. Although second past the finish line, Sword And Shield was relegated to third when Stone Cracker’s driver David Hewitt lodged a successful protest. Sounds Of Terror made the six hour trip from Cardigan in Victoria worth the effort when she claimed her first win at her third start. The fillies’ heat looked in the keeping of the favourite Man Hands until she galloped at the 300 metres presenting a run through for Sounds Of Terror. The winner is owned and was bred by Yabby Dam Farms which races a large number of trotters and fewer pacers. Sounds Of Terror provided Junee reinsman Cameron Hart with his biggest career victory in the $15,000 race. He was impressed with the manner the youngster extended when called on. “She finished off really well. We had a bit of luck when the favourite galloped but she was travelling well at the time and won nicely,” he said. by Graeme White

Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February.  The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.”  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Gavin Smith said he would have never brought Great Things Happen back to New Zealand if he didn’t think he could win the ANZAC and Rowe Cups. The Love You-Calamity Gal gelding arrived in Auckland this morning (Thursday) and was then was floated to Robert Dunn's stable at Pukekohe. Smith was due to fly up early this afternoon to drive the 5-year-old bay in Friday's Group One $100,000 ANZAC Cup at Alexandra Park. "The original plan was to spell him back here (Kaiapoi) and then get him ready for the Dominion in November, but when I saw that some of the good ones like Monbet, Speeding Spur and Master Lavros weren't lining up I thought these two Group Ones were well within his grasp," Smith said. The North Canterbury trainer, driver said the plan all along was to ease Great Things Happen into the open class trotting ranks with easier assignments in Australia. "He's had seven races over there with Greg Sugars and won four of them. Greg has done a good job. I'm really looking forward to his next two Alexandra Park starts. "He's racing well and it would be a dream to train and drive the winner of an ANZAC Cup or Rowe Cup. I've always loved trotters and the Dominion and Rowe Cup have always been high on my bucket list," said Smith. Great Things Happen goes into Friday's 2200m Free-For-All with an easy 12-metre victory in last Sunday's Group Three $20,000 Warragul Trotters Cup. He was the $1.50 hot favourite and drew seven of nine in that 2,627m stand. He has drawn 10 on Friday. "It's not the draw I wanted. If they can hold up it would be a nice draw, but he's a free-going trotter who likes to bowl along. I don't think Alexandra Park will be a problem because he has raced there before," said Smith. “I wouldn’t be lining him up if I didn’t think he could win on both nights,” he stressed. Great Things Happen has had one race at 'The Park' for a two-length third behind Quite A Moment (Ricky May) and Bordeaux (Dexter Dunn) in the Group One $80,000 National Trot last New Year's Eve. He has also won twice from three starts over the 2200m mobile. Great Things Happen has had 11 wins from his 24 career starts and placed in five others for $107,597 in stakes. He has won his last two Australian races and on February 23 he nailed the Group Three $25,000 Tontine Trotting Championship from 40m behind. His National Trot placing is his best New Zealand performance in a Group race so far. “He’s a very exciting trotter and is probably a couple of months away from footing it with the absolute top-liners. The ANZAC and Rowe Cups were never part of his plan until the guns withdrew. “This time next year I expect him to be right up there with the best trotters in New Zealand and Australia. After next Friday’s Rowe Cup I will take him home to the spelling paddock,” Smith said. The first three runners in the ANZAC Cup will be guaranteed a start in the Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup on Friday week (April 28). Great Things Happen is owned by Ted Edwards and Sara Smith. Edwards also bred him with Gary Edwards. Duane Ranger

On what was a great day for local trotting trainers, Gippsland pacer Mister Wickham won the harness racing Easter Sunday's $30,000 Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup. The third of three winners for ace reinsman Greg Sugars, Mister Wickham's very was a popular one enjoyed by the biggest crowd to witness a trots meeting at Warragul for many years. A happy syndicate of owners share in the success of Mister Wickham, trained at Longwarry by Lee Evison, who has tried for many years to win his major hometown race. Only six horses faced the starter after the race morning scratching of leading chance Im Corzin Terror. Well rated by Sugars, Mister Wickham (by Julius Caesar) scored his seventeenth victory from only 38 starts, and has earned connections close to $180,000 in stakes. Sugars also drove Beau Reve to win the opening race of the day, before later winning the other feature race of the afternoon, the $20,000 Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup with Great Things Happen. Amazingly, Sugars has driven four of the last six Warragul Trotters Cup winners. He also trains Great Things Happen, owned in New Zealand, and a winner of eleven races from only 24 starts. Gippsland horseman Gary Quinlan had a large number of runners at the Cup day meeting, and enjoyed a fair deal of success, collecting three wins. Scruffy Marshall emulated his older brother Scruffy Major by winning the Warragul Guineas, while Courageous Call and Emiliana also won on the day. Those three horses were driven by Chris Alford, who himself collected a fourth race win with Stone Of Destiny. Rockbank horse Brandons Price won the Trotters Handicap , for trainer Glen Davies and driver Craig Demmler. Patrons enjoyed a variety of activities which complimented the racing action, and fine weather conditions helped draw such a big attendance. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials appear as though they will rewarded with more Sunday race dates in the new financial year, in order to increase awareness of the sport in Gippsland on the back of the success of the Easter Sunday event. Kyle Galley

A 1:56.3 run in last night’s Tabcorp Park Melton VHRSC Sires Classic (Group 3) saw Emain Macha further enhance his race record and give Naracoorte harness racing trainer Greg Scholefield a metro feature trophy. Scholefield has, in recent times, boasted one of the strongest strike rates in the sport and Emain Macha is his stable star, with stake earnings of over $107,000 after last night’s win, which was his 13th at start No.17. Emain Macha initially had a crack for the front but was held out by both polemarker Misterfreeze and Rocknroll Icon from gate two. Reinsman Greg Sugars slotted three-year-old gelding by Safari into third position on the pegs, following Chris Alford on Rocknroll Icon and Emmett Brosnan aboard pacesetter Misterfreeze. Inside the final mile Alford took Rocknroll Icon to the lead and at the 1200m Sugars angled Emain Macha away from the markers. You wanted to be on one or the other. Off the back the final time, Rocknroll Icon tried to pinch the race but Emain Macha always had the leader in his sights. At the home bend – after a 28.4 third split – Emain Macha swept to the front and opened up over the final 100m for a 4.3m win, sprinting home in 28.1secs. Rocknroll Icon finished second and Albarock ran his usual honest race in third. Meanwhile, Andy and Kate Gath finished with a winning treble at Melton, taking out the City of Melton Stampede with Armbro Operative-Clifton Beauty gelding Maximan, the Western Base Vicbred Pace over 1720m with Major In Art-Henin Hardenne five-year-old gelding The Culture, and the Choose Atherstone Pace Final over 2240m with four-year-old Courage Under Fire-Village Glow gelding Firenglow. Maximan added his name to the Stampede honour roll, the annual six-furlong dash at Melton seeing the Gath gelding edge out perennial fast-finisher Tee Cee Bee Macray by a half-head in a time of 1:23.5. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A champion horse from Victoria’s west swept up the prized Terang Co-Op Pacing Cup with a gutsy run that delighted his proud harness racing connections. Flaming Flutter has gifted plenty of joy to owners Neil Richmond, Margaret Allen and Ron Anderson and they savoured that winning feeling again on Saturday, when their old boy found some of his finer form to beat off a tough field. “It just feels fantastic,” Mr Richmond said. “He’s been a great little horse for us. He’s now a seven-year-old, but I thought he looked really nice in the stall and I thought he’d run a really big race. “When he got caught three-wide I thought, ‘this is going to be tough now’, he just fought on well at the finish. It’s just fantastic.” Driver Greg Sugars showed patience in the run, leading Flaming Flutter forward from the wide draw and advancing three-wide before slotting in on the outside with about 2000m to go, while My Kiwi Mate advanced to the lead. Come the last 150m it was a race in two as Sugars set after Jodi Quinlan, gobbling up My Kiwi Mate’s lead to win by 2m in a 1:56.4 mile rate. “It’s a bit of a home town victory for a few of the connections and to have them here tonight just makes it all extra special,” Sugars said. “He’s just been a fantastic horse for connections and a great earner right throughout his career.” The win has the Bettor's Delight entire zeroing in on $700,000 in career prizemoney and reaffirms his return to form. Long a fighter, Flaming Flutter’s campaign had stuttered a little when he returned mid last year and a tilt at the 2016 Perth Inter Dominion didn’t reach the same heights of his previous dual placings. He stayed over in Perth and was soon back in the winners’ circle before returning to Bannockburn trainer Geoff Webster. “His trip across to Western Australia has probably done him the world of good,” Sugars said. “He is a stallion and being in the one place for a long time, sometimes they need a bit of a wakeup call and a bit of a change up and I think the couple of runs he spent in Perth with Ross Oliveiri really did the trick. “He had him firing really well there towards the end of his Western Australia campaign and sent him back to Geoffrey in fantastic order. “It’s a big pat on the back for the job he’s done as well as Geoffrey and everyone out at Bannockburn. They do a wonderful job.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Auckland Reactor is on the board as a sire after Gotta React took the honors in the two year old race at the Kilmore harness racing meeting last night. Showing plenty of determination and heart, Gotta React made up late ground in the home straight and won by a half head with the plugs still in. Trained by Leigh Miles for South Australian trainer Scott Ewen and breeder Charles Okmasich and driven by Greg Sugars, Gotta React is the first foal of the Live Or Die mare Gotcha who is out of the Vance Hanover mare Harp. Charles Okmasich and his family made the long trip over from South Australia to watch Gotta React win at his first start.  Gotta React is now on his way back to race in South Australia and to be trained by Scott Ewen and will possibly be a starter in the Kindergarten series at Globe Derby Park. On the other side of the Tasman,‚Äč Auckland Reactor was represented by a very impressive qualifier last week at Addington. Miss Ethel Sunshine defeated some nice two-year-olds in exciting fashion. The progressive daughter of Auckland Reactor made a midrace move to take the lead and then proceeded to sprint home in 57.9 and win easily. She will now head towards the New Zealand Sires Stakes. With plenty of qualifiers already, the winners will continue to flow for Auckland Reactor in the months to come.

Tasmanian two-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev qualified for a berth in next Sunday's $280,000 Group 1 Breeders Crown final when he finished a game fifth in his harness racing semi-final at Bendigo on Saturday night. Scooterwillrev, prepared at Stowport by Craig Hayes, went into the semi-final undefeated from six starts in his home state but he had to contend with an outside back-row draw at his first start interstate. The gelding was driven by Greg Sugars and finished 10.8 metres from the winner Our Little General ($4.30) from the Emma Stewart stable with kiwi colt Pacing Major second as the $1.70 favourite. Scooterwillrev has drawn the inside of the second row in the final at Melton next Sunday and if the pole marker Scotlynn Beach doesn't gain a start as the emergency then the Tasmanian will follow out the likely favourite Tingara Beach (2). Miss Graceland was bred in Tasmania by Rick and Naomi Hinds and she secured her place in the 2TO Fillies final with a game second in her semi-final. Miss Graceland, trained by Emma Stewart and to be driven by Gavin Lang, has drawn gate four on the front line in the final. Three-year-old filly Nikkibadwagon that is owned by Tasmanians Robert Groenewegen, Bryan Dunn and Nic Bauld, clinched her berth in the 3YO Fillies final with a gallant second in her semi-final. Peter Staples

Persistence was rewarded when Lord Monaloo broke through to win the Hygrain Tabcorp Park Melton Cup, delivering a first Group victory for harness racing trainer Kylie Sugars. Lord Monaloo appears bound for a spell and then a giant country cups campaign after cashing in on his potential for connections in the $30,575 feature, which he won for driver Greg Sugars by 1.1m from favourite Major Star and Lets Elope. The Group level win has been a long-time coming for owners Darrell, Raelee and Graham Brook and Kylie Sugars, who nursed Lord Monaloo back from a suspensory injury in April last year, which put his career in jeopardy. “He was a horse that showed a lot of promise early and after the injury (it was unclear) if he would get back to his very best but on that run tonight he is pretty close to it,” brother Greg said. “Full credit to Kylie and the horse, they are doing a terrific job.” The seven-year-old gelding by It Is I returned at Melton on May 21 after a 16-month spell and progressively improved, breaking through in an MO on July 2 before winning again in the city one week later. A third placing in the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup heat comfortably qualified him for tonight’s final, when from gate 11 Greg Sugars was happy to bide his time, sitting third last at the bell before moving three-wide and finding cover into the race behind second-favourite Lets Elope. Phil Monty set the pace up front inside Major Star, who boxed on well for Kate Gath, but it was Lord Monaloo who swept out four-wide and overran them all to win the Group 3 and register a third victory in four starts.  “It’s been a very long, slow process. Just every run I’ve had a feeling he is getting a little bit better each time,” Greg said. “He has kept on improving.” And there appears more to come, with the seven-year-old now seemingly placed to fulfil his potential as a country cups horse.  “That’s what we sort of had him aimed at last time before he injured himself,” Greg said. “He has done a magnificent job, it has been a long and winding road to get to this point. “I would imagine he would have a little freshen up now, he deserves a little break, and we will look at the timing but the country cups circuit is not too far away. So a freshen up and then we will get him ready for then.” Michael Howard

The heartache of 2015 made all the more glorious the ecstasy of 2016 for the connections of Cruisin Around, who won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series at Tabcorp Park Melton for harness racing three-year-old colts and geldings. In Greg Sugars’ hands the trotter overcome favourite Sundons Courage to win for Cranbourne trainer Michael Hughes and a merry band of Cranbourne owners. Among them was Bill Hutchison, who said it was the “greatest night of my life in harness racing”. “There’s no greater fun than owning a horse with blokes like this,” Hutchison said. “Cranbourne blokes, I’ve been on the committee about three or four years down there now, we got together ... this is sensational.” The gelding by Bacardi Lindy out of Cloud Chaser was beaten 2.6m into second by Chris Angove-trained Sundons Courage in the two-year-old Vicbred race last year, a fact not lost on his owners. “We had unfinished business and we got there tonight, and he proved he’s the best of them,” Hutchison said. Having started the back row, Sugars had Cruisin Around one-out three-back mid-race before drawing three-wide down the back straight to chase leader Sundons Courage, driven by Chris Alford. “Always a little bit of a concern with the two main dangers obviously going to settle down a fair way in front of us,” Sugars said. “Drawn the back row we had to rely on a little bit of luck at some stage, but that meant that we didn’t spend any petrol earlier.” Sugars tried to join the front runners at the turn but Sundons Courage remained strong out front. “When Chrissy kicked and I just got to his wheel I was flat out and he seemed to be going well on the leader, I wasn’t confident I was going to pick him up,” Sugars said. But the last 50m was all Cruisin Around.  “They had to do a bit of work to find the front in Sundons Courage and we got off relatively easy, lobbed within a couple of lengths and that was probably the difference over the last 150m,” Sugars said. “Halfway up the straight this horse really dug deep and I felt him lift and Sundons Courage probably just felt the pinch for that early work and (Cruisin Around) was strong to the finish.  “There’s not much between those two, as we’ve seen they have fought out quite a few finishes, not only this preparation but last season as well. “It’s good to turn the tables on him in the Vicbred when I thought we had the race shot to pieces last year. Really pleased for this group of owners, the horse did a terrific job. Full credit to (trainer) Mick (Hughes), he had him in tip-top order this whole campaign.” A 29.6 last quarter sealed a 2:00.3 winning mile rate for Cruisin Around and a terrific result for Hughes. “It was special. We just missed out last year as a two-year-old when Sundons Courage just got him on the line,” Hughes said. “This time we reversed the tables and it was a good effort, great drive by Greg. “Last prep he gave me a few headaches but this time in he has been really good. He was very immature last time in but he has sort of grown half a brain this time, put it all together and he has the record on the board.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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