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There was a surprise nomination in this Sunday Canola Cup Heats at Eugowra with talented trotting mare Iona Grinner taking on the pacers to try and secure a spot in the lucrative $30,000 harness racing final. After all Iona Grinner is pacing bred, however, after two starts as a pacer she has been tried as a trotter ever since and has been successful. And even though she can pace, trainer Troy Williams confirmed that the daughter of Grinfromeartoear will be going around as a trotter in the qualifier. "It will be a trial for her," Williams said. "I don't usually like trialling my horses and now that she is up in class she will have to go to Menangle when they are running 1:55 so thought this may be a different option. "I plan on travelling with her a bit this season to Queensland, South Australia and Victoria so thought it wouldn't hurt to put her around at Eugowra to get her ready for the smaller tracks." Originally from Dubbo, Williams has always been drawn to the Canola Cup. "I've always wanted to have a horse in it and now I do," Williams said. "You have to be in it to win it and I think she is tough enough. "She won't go back to being a pacer, she doesn't pace well. "I've nominated her for a few pacing races as a trotter but they haven't stood up and I love the Eugowra program so thought why not. "I'm looking forward to it." Iona Grinner has won 11 races and placed as many times in 44 starts with her best winning mile rate trotted in 1:56.2. The five-year-old is one of 37 horses looking to qualify for the Lexus of Parramatta Canola Cup (2100m) at Eugowra's Carnival of Cups meeting on October 3. The Group Three is the richest C0 event in Australia. It kicks off the 2016/17 TAB.COM.AU Carnival of Cups Series. Click here to see the Carnival of Cups calendar. AMANDA RANDO

It has been some time in the making, but it feels like a whirlwind. Harness Racing trainer Donna Lewis’ aptly named three-year-old trotter Into The Unknown burst into the limelight with a blazing Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat, winning amid a stacked field to enter Friday night’s Group 1 final the favourite. “This is by far the most important race I have had a horse in,” Lewis said. “I had a runner in the semis of the Vicbred pacing years ago, and have had trotters before but only one got to the races. “Her being pacing bred and me not having much experience with trotters, we are learning as we go along.” There is plenty experience in her favour. The daughter of famed trainer Peter Manning, Lewis worked for trainer Graeme Lang for about four years before working with Harness Racing Victoria for about eight years in registrations and racing. She stepped away to pursue a family with husband and trainer Dean Lewis, who is now a full-time farrier, but continued training. Donna Lewis’ stable was once 10 horses strong, but with family commitments she likes to limit it to two or three and at present Into The Unknown is her only horse racing. The filly by Grinfromeartoear out of Dolly Jasper came into Lewis’ stable to be broken as a pacer. “Russell Hockham bred her. Two years ago when she was a weanling I got her, Shadow Sax and Spirituality,” Lewis said. “I had had Into The Unknown’s mum (Dolly Jasper) and her mum’s mum (Navy Girl), basically the whole family. Russell kept Shadow Sax, I trained Spirituality and said I’d love to lease Into The Unknown. “She broke into pace, but when she was pacing she wasn’t very good at it. I got Clarrie Hamilton, a friend of mine, to drive her and left the hobbles off her. She trotted and he said “I think she might make a trotter”. We left the hobbles off her and she run along really well.” Into The Unknown’s first taste of the track came as a two-year-old trialling at Bacchus Marsh on July 11, 2015, when was fourth of four starters. “She had two trials, on the first one she ran well but broke once and the second one she broke at every turn,” Lewis said. “I put her in the paddock, then the next time she was worse, so I put her in the paddock again and hoped that would fix things. “When she came out the next time she put every foot right.” She trialled twice in May of this year, then placed fourth on debut at Bendigo when up against the boys in a three-year-old trot, which had her start her second race as favourite at Ararat when she placed second on June 8. Next stop was the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Bendigo on June 22. “She did everything right before I went to Bendigo,” Lewis said. “I think she had the hardest of the heats. I thought that if she qualified for the final you would have to think she was going well and deserves to be there. “When she came up the back straight I thought it looks like she might qualify, and then she went straight past them.” Driver Kerryn Manning placed Into The Unknown in the breeze going around the back straight for the last time, and then with a 28.8 last quarter she blew away Rift Valley ($2.90) and leader Princess Phoenix ($1.80 fav) to win by 3.1m. And suddenly expectations are high. “We are still feeling our way of how much work we need to give her. She is just being her usual self,” Lewis said. “She has never done anything to inspire confidence at home. I have to growl at her all the time to get her to do anything like fast work speed. She just does it so easy.  “Now I feel like I can’t do any more. We will see what happens, I just hope that she goes around like she has the previous weeks.” Michael Howard

Top young Victorian Harness Racing horseman Matthew Craven is heading to Queensland. The emerging star is keen to chase Group One glory in both the Queensland Oaks and Derby with a pair of richly talented ex-kiwi pacers in Im Wrongly Accused and Kimani. And he’s heading north next week. Im Wrongly Accused has already shown her class by winning a heat of the Victoria Oaks earlier this season while Kimani is yet to race on Australian soil following his purchase from the stables of Barry Purdon recently. “The Queensland winter carnival has been on my radar for some time and I think I’ve got the right horses to head north with, the filly has proven she can compete with the best while Kimani is very talented and the Derby was an obvious target.” Craven said. Winning a Derby classic has proven elusive so far this season for Craven with another former kiwi pacer in Cant Refuse coming up short in the Victoria, New South Wales and West Australian features. Cant Refuse finished as a runner-up in the Sydney feature while running a close fourth in the other two events. Kimani is a son of super sire Bettors Delight out of the former champion filly Lizzie Maguire and gave a glimpse of his ability with a stylish trial at Terang last Sunday. Kimani rated 1:55.7 for the 2180m workout and scored by a widening margin. “I was very happy with the effort in the trial last weekend and he’ll improve on that obviously because that’s the first serious hit-out I’ve given to date. He had a good blow following the trial but he’s come through it in good style. “I’m keen to start him in a ‘CO’ event at Albion Park next week before pushing to the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby features. He’s pretty good and I’m looking forward to starting him up there.” Despite her scratching today (Wednesday), Im Wrongly Accused remains on target for the Queensland campaign. The Bettors Delight filly was ruled out owing to a hoof abscess and Craven wasn’t prepared to take any risks. “It’s not a major issue but I wasn’t prepared to take any chances, we’ll get it sorted and she’ll be ready for the Gold Coast Oaks on Saturday week. “This filly possesses very good speed and the pattern of racing up there should suit her ideally, these features have been earmarked for some time.” Another in-form pacer making the trip north is Roy George, an impressive last winner last night (Tuesday) at Ballarat. The Grinfromeartoear six-year-old has won 10 of his 15 starts including 7 of his past 8 starts. Craven is considering a $20,000 Rising Stars Championship series for the talented gelding. Chris Barsby

Tee Cee Bee Macray’s emergence as a four-year-old of significant talent was only enhanced with a commanding win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, which will have the gelding a short price for next week’s final. Heats one and two of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace, which is restricted to M0, saw the Alan Tubbs trained gelding confirm his class, coming from the back of the field to rally five-wide and run past a couple of smart types with plenty in the tank. “It was a genuinely run race, which she probably still needed that to some degree with where we settled,” driver Greg Sugars said. “Having said that, he did have a pretty good class edge on most of his rivals. He did the job nicely in the end.” SEE THE FULL RESULTS AND REPLAYS FROM FRIDAY NIGHT'S RACING Colin Rogers’ well-rated Merbein flyer Murranji Track again gave a good account of himself, facing the breeze outside Gollahgirl and while others faded the tough Grinfromeartoear gelding pressed on to run into second, getting to the line strongly to outpoint third-placed Niki No No. Their strong performances have earned them tickets to return to Tabcorp Park Melton next Friday night for the metropolitan pace final, where they will confront heat one winner Miss Dreamin. Kerryn Manning pulled all the right reins on Paul Campbell’s four-year-old mare, showing gate speed to take the lead on Miss Dreamin before allowing favourite Fake Smile to slide to the front mid-race while she took leader’s back. Come the sprint lane Miss Dreamin was hitting the line hard and had enough in the bank to win a photo finish, with just a half-head separating the winner from second-placed Masterofthurles, another half-head to third-placed Fake Smile, while Marg Lee’s Keayang Ebonyrose was a close fourth. “She went really nice,” Manning said of the mare by Lis Mara out of Karamea Dreamin. “I had the option of holding the favourite (Fake Smile) out, but she was always going to get a good trip (in the box seat) and she does sprint lane quite well we thought. “She just got there on the line, but did well. You couldn’t ask for much better really. She just keeps stepping up and has again tonight. Obviously the final will be a little harder, but she is well in it now.” Michael Doltoff trained Fake Smile, who had won eight of nine starts leading into tonight, will only be better for the run having been first up from a spell. A tantalising showdown against Tee Cee Bee Macray awaits, having last met in in February’s Group 1 Nestle Professional 4YO Bonanza, when Tee Cee Bee Macray placed third and Fake Smile fourth behind Tact Tate and Itz Bettor To Win. On Friday night the good times also rolled on for Horsham father-and-son team trainer Barry and driver Aaron Dunn. Leading in they had produced five consecutive wins and while the succession was broken when Little Lyn was unable to overcome her awkward draw in her keenly contested race, Nikkibadwagon only further enhanced her reputation. Having driven his first Melton winner only one week earlier, Aaron Dunn snapped up number two when his three-year-old filly won the University Meat 3YO Pace, having been three-wide for much of the last lap before letting down in the straight to outpace $3.30 favourite Rockstar Angel. “I (went) a bit earlier than I would have liked,” Dunn said, having been surprised Hu Hu R U crossed Dancingwithsierra to take the breeze, which left Nikkibadwagon exposed three-wide. “At least we were able get a bit of a breather down the back straight.” A 30.6 second quarter rolled into a 29.5 third quarter as Nikkibadwagon joined the front runners and ultimately scored a 3.2m win. “She’s got a lot of depth and she can really sprint home.” Milly Perez, for Marong trainer Larry Eastman, also produced another eye-catching performance, winning the Matt Laing’s Bucks Pace with Chris Alford in the sulky. A 12th career win increased the Four Starzzz Shark’s mare’s winnings to almost $200,000, with Milly Perez proving too good after having sat with cover until the last time down the back straight, when she popped out and wore her rivals down. “She’s going super,” Alford said. “I thought tonight we would get a nice easy run without doing much, but we had to come out pretty early and she was still travelling really well around the turn and picked up in the straight.” Shes Just a Delight, trained and driven by Kerryn Manning, ran on well to claim second, 3.5m in arrears of the winner. While most races largely went to script, many punters were bundled out of the quaddie when Classy Western made every post a winner to claim the Cougar Bourbon Pace for trainer-driver Allan McDonough. It was the well-respected seven-year-old’s first placing in 17 races, with the frenetic early lead time (43.9) set by a pulling Savesometimetodream, while Matt Craven’s Changing Code loomed forward from a middling start. At the back of the field Classy Western sat in wait, tailing Lets Elope into the race three-wide. As the leaders faded, Lets Elope worked clear, releasing Classy Western for a backmarkers battle down the straight and it was the Western Terror gelding who snapped up the win. “He’s been going terrific all this season really,” McDonough said. “Tonight the lead time was good and I was able to get a good cart into the race.” In other races, Nathan Jack drove a double, claiming the first – the DNR Logistics Pace – with David Abrahams trained Fabrication (Dream Vacation/Figment), and the tab.com.au pace final for Wayne Potter’s impressive three-year-old Itz Billy Hillis (Bettors Delight/Itz Got The Giggles), who has won four of his six starts. Geoff Webster produced a double of a different kind, training the first two placegetters in the Join The Pegasus Club Pace Final. Webster drove Mach Doro (Mach Three/Three Eagles) to clip stablemate Kotare York (Mach Three/Kotare Yoyo) by a head. Tenno Dance (Tennotrump/Disco Dance) won the Aldebaran Park Trot for Strathfieldsaye trainer Glenn Sharp and Bolinda driver Josh Duggan, and Black Valley (Skyvalley/Black Curlew) wrapped up the night by winning the VHRSC The Owners Voice Trot Final for Kyabram trainer Robert Shellie and Shepparton driver Rebecca Bartley. “Everything went good tonight,” Bartley said. “He travelled really well and got the job done.” Michael Howard

Tonight’s harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway sees Noel Kennard’s "GoHarness" syndication brand unveil a new Syndicate. The GoHarness team have been a revelation to the industry and currently have four different syndicates up and running, and pride themselves on the fact that every horse they have taken to the races has been successful on at least one occasion. That record doesn't look like disappearing anytime soon with their latest syndication horse Franco Saxon set to debut in race 2 at Addington tonight. Purchased off Spreydon Lodge several weeks ago, the 3yo Live Or Die gelding was a handy recent trial winner at Ashburton for trainer/driver Jonny Cox. "I have plenty of time for him, he's a lovely relaxed horse and he pleased me with his trial. He arrived in wonderful condition from Steven McRae (Spreydon Lodge) so we've just had to keep him ticking over" said Jonny. "The draw isn't a great help, especially over 1950m but if the luck goes our way I wouldn't be surprised if he won" Franco Saxon is owned by the "Staxofun syndicate" and there are still shares available. Astro Boy also resumes for GoHarness and Cox at Rangiora on Sunday. "He came to the end of it last time, so we spelled him and he has come back really well. He's had a couple of workouts and trials to get ready for this, he actually missed away at the trials the other day but usually he's a good beginner. From the front line he should get a nice enough trip and be thereabouts" said Cox. Astro Boy races for the “Double The Fun” Syndicate who also raced Western Art who unfortunately picked up a career ending injury. At his best Western Art was a handy winner of the Nelson Cup at the club’s early January meeting. Another recently set up was the “Buy, Race and Sell” Syndicate. Involving 50 shares with just the one lump sum payment, which the GoHarness name have become well known for, the Syndicate looks to win a few races with each horse first before hopefully flicking them on for a tidy profit. All horses for the Buy, Race and Sell syndicate are trained by Ken Barron. Barron currently has Order Online and Regal Grin in work for the GoHarness team. Order Online was a handy maiden winner at the start of the month and provided an instant return for Syndicate members after only having purchased the 3yo Washington VC gelding off Clark Barron a few weeks earlier. Regal Grin finished 2nd at the trials last week and the son of Grinfromeartoear is defiantly one to look out for over the next few weeks. Andrew Fitzgerald

Two big harness racing stables venture to Forbury Park tonight, each with a debut runner. The Barron/Orange team combine with 3yo Grinfromeartoear filly Sweet Alice, while she hasn’t been spectacular at the trials and workouts; her owners the Prospero No 1 Syndicate have been on fire lately. She draws a handy barrier in 4 and you would expect Orange to have her racing handy. Opened $3.50 FF Her main danger looks to be Baileys Rock for West Melton trainer Cran Dalgety. The 2yo Bettor’s Delight gelding won a trial at Addington on Monday and with the aid of Dexter Dunn he was opened at $1.95 FF by the NZ TAB. Suggested bet: Quinella 4 & 8 Race 3 becomes just a field of 7 with a few scratchings. Jerry Fitz (Opened $2.00 FF) has the form on the board and has drawn well in barrier 2. He has high gate speed and you would expect him to be out front, rolling over the 2200m trip for Matthew Williamson. It feels like the sort of race that the old boy Motu Speedy Star (Opened $9.50 FF) could pop up in. He’s on the verge of turning 12, but has put in some handy efforts lately. While Eja Patron ($5.50 FF) trials well but hasn’t been able to bring that form to the race track. If the real Eja Patron turned up it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the winners circle (It would certainly make this reporter a happy man!) Suggest bet: Trifecta – 2/3,6/3,4,6 Race6 throws up an even junior driver’s field but I think there is one worth having a decent crack at. Shards Halo ($6.50FF) was massive in defeat last start; she had no luck being 3 wide for most of the race but she never gave up the fight. Williamson sticks with her which is a good sign and even from a tricky back row draw she looks a great bet. Suggest bet: Shards Halo – Win Spirit Of Chronos shouldn’t be paying $21 FF, he galloped late last week when he had the race all but won. He’s tough to run down in front and that is where I expect Kim Butt to have the 9yo Western Terror gelding. Butt would have had the choice between him and the stablemate. Her staying on his guy has to be a push for punters. Beyond Belief ($2.10) looks the horse for quinella punters; the 4yo mare has been in great form and gets another nice draw to work with. Suggest bet: Quinella 2 & 5   Andrew Fitzgerald

Weedon’s based trainer Nigel McGrath has set his sights on the Harness Jewels with smart 3yo Ears Burning. Well supported by punters at Addington today, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt didn’t disappoint his followers with a dominate win in the 7th race of the afternoon. “He’s won really nicely; we had to burn around to find the front but he was strong after that. There is a super series race for him next week and then hopefully a jewels start” said McGrath. Currently 12th on the Jewels leader board , Ears Burning will drop back to 13th with the return of the All Stars runner Chase The Dream who is making his way back to New Zealand after competing in the WA Derby. The Super Series race Nigel refers to is the C0 and Faster Mobile pace which Ears Burning sneaks into, while it is a preferential barrier draw meaning he will pick up an average draw, there wouldn’t be many, if any horses to fall into those conditions that are going as good as he is. Meanwhile, McGraths star colt and Jewels leader Classie Brigade has had a wee freshen up and is preparing well for his Jewels challenge. “He will have one trial and go to the Jewels” said McGrath. Ears Burning Great Things Happen put pay to a handy trot field today when he boomed up the passing lane for trainer/driver Gavin Smith. Today’s victory was the Love You geldings 5th in a row and 7th career win, and pushed him up to 18th in the Jewels standings, just under $3,000.00 shy of the 12th placed, Greg/Nina Hope trained Everybody Knows. Owned by E J Edwards and Sara Smith, Great Things Happens was the first foal out of 7 win S J’s Photo mare Calamity Gal, who was trained by Gavin for her last two career starts. Today’s winning time of 3.17.4 was impressive, but so was the run of runner up Harriet Of Mot, who’s amended time from her 30m back mark was 3.16.4 and put the writing on the wall for the 4yo mare to be very competitive at the Harness Jewels. Her performance capped off a great day for Noel Kennard’s GoHarness Syndication’s brand when recent purchase Order Online won for trainer Ken Barron and the GoHarness Buy Race & Sell Syndicate. The 3yo Washington VC gelding was purchased out of the Clark Barron stable earlier last month and delivered a great mothers day victory for some owners. GoHarness always have shares available so don’t hesitate to get in contact with them, their details can be found at www.goharness.co.nz. Great Things Happen Order Online Andrew Fitzgerald

The King of the Sunraysia – Murranji Track – gets his chance to shine under the harness racing metro lights at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday night. The Colin Rogers-trained gem will contest the Group 3 Country Clubs Championship Final (Race 5) on a 10-event card. Rogers makes no secret of the fact he rates Murranji Track as the best he’s ever trained. “I’ve had a couple of handy horses over the years. Surstromming (Murranji Track’s granddam) won the Australian Gold in 1999 but he is the best horse I have ever trained,” he said. Runner-up in the Mildura Cup in early April, the Grinfromeartoear gelding turned in a brilliant win at Bendigo in a heat of this series and Rogers is confident he will back up well in the final. “It would have been nice to have drawn the front row on Saturday night but it is better than seven or eight I suppose. And he should get a good follow-through early. He is the perfect racehorse in that he can sit, sprint but also do some work if need be.” Admitting Murranji Track is “not the best traveller”, Rogers added the 1000-kilmometre round trip will be made more often if his charge can keep justifying his faith. “If he can keep travelling well I will keep sending him down,” he said. “He probably won’t do much more racing this season. He is only a four-year-old, so he will run Saturday night and then I’ll wait for the Vicbred series before sending him for a spell.” Matt Jackson Harness Racing Victoria Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016

Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Hectorjayjay was superb last night on debut for the David Aiken harness racing stable, winning his Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup heat with a last half of 56.1 seconds. Hectorjayjay rated 1:59.3 to defeat local Murranji Track by 9.8m as the annual Sunraysia carnival got under way to an action-packed start. While Hectorjayjay is likely to start a hot favourite for Saturday night’s Group 2 final, it was last night’s other heat winner, Stunning Grin, who broke the track record courtesy of a 1:57.5 mile-rate scorcher around the half-mile circuit. Trainer Vince Vallelonga was understandably thrilled with the performance of his five-year-old gelded son of Grinfromeartoear out of Rosalee Hanover. “I’ve had the Mildura Cup in my mind for him for a while,” he said. “I thought it was important he got to the fence first because he’d never been around Mildura before and if he got to the fence I thought he’d handle it. “Normally the horse flies the gate then drops the bit nicely. Last night he was hitting the wheel and that’s why he was taking off in patches… he’d hit the wheel again and away he goes. But we’ll fix that up for the weekend. “It was a real credit to the horse that after charging like that, which was out of character, he was able to finish it off so well. Even Anthony Butt said he was entitled not to finish it off like he did.” Stunning Grin has drawn gate three for the $60,325 final on Saturday night, outside Murranji Track and Itz Dreamin Jonesy. “Murranji Track has plenty of speed but it handed up last night and I think it would be in its best interests to hand up in the final,” Vallelonga said. “I’m not super confident we can beat Hectorjayjay… that horse doesn’t have to lead to win, but I figure in front he can run a quick half and make it tough for Hectorjayjay. Even before the track was done up I remember real good horses going up to Mildura and getting beat. It’s a very competitive track because people have to make moves. You’ve got to put your horse in the race.” Country cups specialist Ideal Success, who broke the track record securing the silverware at Ararat recently, has drawn barrier five for Kerryn Manning. Melton 1720m record-holder Cold Major will start from barrier 11 under the preferential barrier draw conditions, with recent Terang track record-breaker Glenferrie Hood drawn nine, inside prolific country cups performer Uncle Wingnut. View the fields for Saturday night’s Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup Final  Cody Winnell

Every time harness racing trainer Colin Rogers asks his four-year-old– the best horse’s he’s trained – to give a little more, Murranji Track responds. And so, after three open class wins on the trot, the trainer from Mildura’s outskirts will prepare his gelding for tonight’s Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup Pacing heat en route to Saturday’s final. “It’s a bit of a challenge,” Rogers said. “It’s a rise in grade for him, but every time he is asked to step up he does. “He was a C4 and then a C5 and then he was up to open competition and won his first three starts. He will be there (at the business end). My first intent was to wait until he was a five-year-old (before entering the Mildura cup), but he is the best horse I’ve ever had.” Murranji Track will have to finish first five in a competitive heat to get a start in Saturday’s cup, but has been aided by being drawn the one among an eight-horse field, which includes Hectorjayjay having his first start in David Aiken’s stable. “He has seldom drawn the front,” Rogers said. “His first start in the open grade was from the front and he showed good gate sped and at the end ran 56 (seconds).” That was February 24 when Emma Hamblin drove Murranji Track to a 3m win when $1.80 favourite, with the gelding by Grinfromeartoear out of Jennas Beach Girl showing good gate speed. A similar start should have Murranji Track well placed to either lead or take the sit and have strong claims to qualify for the final, which Rogers said was tonight’s primary objective.  “We might drive him a bit conservative. He’ll be up there though, and he will be there to win it, but we are also looking to get him into the final,” Rogers said. While the stakes are high, not much will be foreign to Murranji Track, who was 12 wins from his 25 starts, of which 21 have been at Mildura.  “The main reason the horse has been racing here is because he has been a bastard of a traveller. He just about kicks the float to bits whenever he travels,” Rogers said. “At least when he runs at Mildura he has only got 10 minutes to knock himself around.” It’s hoped that as the gelding matures that will ease, sooner rather than later ideally with plans to have him chase the four-year-old Vicbred series. For now the focus remains closer to home. “It would be nice to win or run a place in the Mildura Cup. I had a runner (Panorama Drive) run third in the heat and fifth in the final a few years back (2011), but this horse is twice as good as he was.” Michael Howard Fields for Mildura, Tuesday 05 April 2016 Form guide for Mildura, Tuesday 05 April 2016

Harness racing trainer driver Lisa Miles drove a winning double last night at Tabcorp Park Melton from just two starters. Miles’ evergreen trotter Michael Thomas (9G, Malabar Maple/Krysta) won the Haras Des Trotteurs Handicap and stablemate Virgil Hilts (4G, Grinfromeartoear / Telern Hilda) took the Goldacres Pacers Handicap. Michael Thomas’ win was his 12th from 69 starts and brought the nine-year-old within $8000 of the $100,000 career stakes mark. VIDEO: MICHAEL THOMAS TAKES OUT THE TROT AT MELTON The 2013 Maryborough Trotters Cup winner stepped best from pole to lead in the 2760-metre trip, Miles able to control the race to suit when left unchallenged throughout. Michael Thomas was well-tried in betting, into $4 late, the writing on the wall after an eye-catching run last time out. He rated 2:06.2. Race favourite The Boss Man ($2.70) finished 6.1m behind the winner in second, while Leannes Boy was third. Virgil Hilts’ win was nearly a carbon copy of Michael Thomas’, stepping best from behind the tapes to lead, controlling proceedings and kicking strongly at the finish. The four-year-old started $5.30 and held off Trison ($3.10) and fast-finishing Chestervale Jet ($30.40) in a mile rate of 2:01.6. RESULTS OF ALL RACES FACEBOOK PHOTO GALLERY OF ALL WINNERS Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

When talented pacer Wingatui Dew first arrived at the harness racing stables of Grant Hodges at Bridport on the North-East Coast of Tasmania the expectations weren't high, in fact the owners were just hoping a change of environment would ignite the potential the horse showed at an early age. At the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston last night Wingatui Dew notched his eighth win for Hodges to keep intact his unbeaten record in Tasmania. It is an outstanding feat for any horse to win three races in succession but to be unbeaten after eight outings is exceptional. "It's funny how some horses take to a change of environment and it's pretty clear that Wingatui Dew is one of those horses," Hodges said. "He has just thrived since he came to Tassie. "From the first time we trialled him I thought he might win a few but every time we've raised the bar he's stepped up and delivered. "He has always drawn well and in all of his eight wins he has either led or raced in the death. "Nothing has fully tested this horse yet so we don't know whether we've found the bottom of him," he said. Hodges has ruled out a start in the Easter Cup at the end of March so he is pawing over the racing calendar looking for a suitable M0 race in Melbourne. "In the next few weeks there is pretty much nothing for him here in Tasmania so we will more than likely target at M0 at Melton and take it from there," Hodges said. Wingatui Dew is owned by one of Hodges' good friends Steve Carter in partnership with John Starr from NSW. The gelding has won $36,000 in prizemoney in Tasmania to take his career earnings to almost $50,000 but Hodges is confident the gelded son of Grinfromeartoear is capable of winning at least that much again. Peter Staples

Rakauhauka harness racing trainer Clark Barron was unsure about which of his two inform runners was the better winning chance in the SBS Pace at Ascot Park today in Invercargill.   In one corner stood the the Panspacificflight gelding Southern Pursuit who had won his last three races in the manner of a horse headed to the best grades.   In the other corner stood the Grinfromeartoear gelding All Jokes Aside who had won three of his last four in just as impressive fashion as his stablemate.   Clark opted for All Jokes Aside on the driving front with Brent Barclay taking the drive behind Southern Pursuit.   Southern Pursuit jumped to an early lead from barrier five before Clark worked All Jokes Aside around the field and took over after 800 metres.   Not long after Statham and Nathan Williamson moved up to sit on All Jokes Aside wheel and the battle was on.   Head to head from the half mile, the two paced the final bend together and settled down to battle it out.   Statham looked to momentarily put his nose in front before All Jokes Aside nudged back in front and grabbed a narrow advantage he was never to relinquish.   Statham was equally game in holding second after sitting parked the whole way in his first start in 10 weeks while Southern Pursuit got home well late to run third after having trouble with his first experience of the passing lane which tricked him up a touch.   All Jokes Aside paced the 2200 metres in a very sharp 2:40.9, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with closing sectionals of 57.2 and 28.9.   Clark was suitably impressed with his charge's performance.   “He got a good run through early but I had to use him a fair bit to get to the front.”   “I thought I was in a bit of trouble on the corner but he just won't lie down.”   “They can get up beside him but it is damn hard to get past,” Clark said.   Clark was a touch unsure as to where to from here with All Jokes Aside.   “I suppose we will have to see how he handles the standing starts now.”   “I think he will cope with them but we won't know until we line him up on raceday, “ Clark said.   Nathan Williamson was thrilled with the run of the second placed Statham.   “That was his first run since Cup day in November and his condition gave out late but he has gone super.”   “He will derive huge benefit from the run and he should be in for a big campaign this time in,” Nathan said.   All Jokes Aside is just another of the southern trained four year olds who are creating such a big impression this season and looks far from finished winning judging by today's effort.     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Ben Yole has made a brilliant start to the season and that he keeps building on his successful team suggests he could emerge as Tasmania's premier mentor by season's end. At UBET Park Hobart on Sunday night Yole added another win to his tally when Happy Schnapps led throughout to win the UBET Pace over 2090 meters with talented novice driver Taylor Ford in the sulky. Despite being well placed in the C2-C3 event Happy Schnapps started at the lucrative price of $5.10. Yole said Happy Schnapps had been going well enough to suggest the five-year-old gelding would make his presence felt and in the end the son of Grinfromeartoear made a one-act affair of the race scoring by over four metres from Soo Special with Laforce 1-1/2 metres away third. The win took Yole's season tally to 32 to be 10 clear of his nearest rival Nathan Ford. The trainer's younger brother Mark Yole has capitalised on the stable's success to be the state's leading driver on 26 wins and well clear of Ricky Duggan (15) and the injured Gareth Rattray (14). Peter Staples  

Bridport harness racing trainer Grant Hodges is eyeing off a trip to Melbourne with his in-form gelding Wingatui Dew following the five-year-old gelding's fifth win in succession since arriving in Tasmania three months ago. Wingatui Dew led throughout at his first four attempts for Hodges but at the UBET Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night the gelding had to do it tough by facing the breeze but it proved a mere blimp on the radar for the son of Grinfromeartoear. Smart mare Licinia showed her customary early speed to lead from gate three and while driver Erin Hollaway aboard Wingatui Dew issued a short-lived challenge she ended up being content to allow her charge to face the breeze. The pair matched motors to the well in to the home straight the last time but when Hollaway called on her charge for the supreme effort he was up to the task and forged clear to defeat Licinia by almost four metres with Onemorelaugh a further 2.4 metres astern. "The owners paid good money for this horse as a tried horse in New Zealand but when he couldn't cut it at the main meetings so he ended up at the mid-weeks," Hodges said. "They were also having difficulty keeping the weight on him so since he's been with me I've kept him fresh and tried to space his runs," he said. Wingatui Dew has won his way through the grades in Tasmania and is now a C4 horse. "The general idea is to get him to the best level we can here in Tassie and then slip across the water to Melbourne and try and win an M0,"Hodges said. Peter Staples      

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