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Journeyman gelding Wardan Express gave a bold front-running exhibition to score an impressive harness racing win in the $35,000 Group 3 Hamilton Pacing Cup. Trainer-driver Matt Craven speared the five-year-old (Art Major-Benelise (Vintner) to the head of affairs and he showed his rivals a clean pair of heels, setting a new track record along the way. “He’s been going really well with consistent performances against some pretty handy ones,” a jubilant Craven said. “I guess the longer 2660m trip was somewhat of a question mark, but I wasn’t really concerned when I checked back on some of his races in the past. “A few of his runs were over a bit of distance in the Breeders Crown, Sires Stakes and Derby feature events and against top company.” Craven certainly wasn’t waiting for anyone in the cup, allowing Wardan Express to slide along at a steady clip. The sectional times of 28.5, 29.3, 27.9 and 28 tell the tale, eclipsing the previous track record held by superstar Cruz Bromac. Wardan Express is raced by AD Investments Pty Ltd, along with Warren Viney, of Tasmania. The combination races many horses and Wargan Express carried the Viney race colors to victory yesterday. After starting his career with the Tindale stable at Melton, the gelding then had stints with Amanda Turnbull, Russell and Nathan Jack, Kevin Pizzuto and Gary Hall snr before finding his way to the Craven stable at south Ecklin, near Terang. Craven hasn’t mapped out a race program for the exciting pacer, who has now won eight races for him, but he did hint a trip to Menangle could be on the cards. After the cup win, the popular horseman paid tribute to his many stable helpers, including girlfriend Sofia, foreman Craig McKinnis, and his parents Helen and Peter. “It’s impossible to do it properly without help when you have a big team,” Craven said. “Mum does the lunches each day for everyone, while dad does the joggers and he’s even having a race drive for me on a 2yo on Wednesday. They are both huge supporters of the stable.” And while the Hamilton Cup win was a first for Craven, he admitted there were no big celebrations when they drove one and a half hours back home. “We had to be up early and on the road to Shepparton to look at some yearlings that are entered for the coming sales,” he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

The trainer of today's Matthews Petroleum Group three $30,000 Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Bad Billy is daring to dream with his harness racing stable star. Gary Lawlor, based at Camperdown, is likely to set Bad Billy for a tilt at the Inter Dominion in Victoria this year after the six-year-old rated 1:57.5 to overhaul gun mare Berisari for a 1.6-metre win in today's feature. “He can run home in 54, so he’s a serious racehorse,” Lawlor said.  “We always knew he’d be a better horse over 2600m. Now he’s had three starts over 2600m for a second in the Stawell Cup, third in the Bendigo Cup and won here.” Today's win made it five wins from five starts at Hamilton for Bad Billy a son of Badlands Hanover, who clearly relishes one of the state's fastest tracks. “He’s more of a speed horse this grade,” winning reinsman Jason Lee said. “Today he showed though he can do a bit of work. He probably hasn’t been able to do that against the absolute elite yet, but I just thought today talking to the boys before the race we might have to do a little bit of work to find the right position.” Lee drove a masterful race, making his move to the breeze early before Berisari circled the field to give Bad Billy one-one cover. Berisari’s driver Chris Alford, a four-time Hamilton Pacing Cup winner (Justa Jomahl in 1992, Earlsplace Ego 2003, Lady Lisa 2004 and Cruz Bromac last year), made a bold bid for victory at the home turn when he moved the Emma Stewart-trained mare to a clear lead.  And it all but worked out perfectly, but for Bad Billy's trademark late fortitude, which came to the fore at the tail end of a 27.2secs last quarter (55.7secs last half).  Bad Billy In glorious sunshine the excited connections hoisted the cup aloft, while Lee scored a glistening watch donated by local legend Peter Hyde.  It was the 50th watch donated by Mr Hyde to the Hamilton Cup winning driver, and Lee was clearly grateful for the generous gesture. "Well done young man," Mr Hyde said. Pre-race the local trots supporter had thought he was going to be giving another watch to Alford. "I think it might be Chris ... he's already got a few though!" he said. Lawlor said Bad Billy may have one more run or head to the paddock for a spell after being “up for 12 months”. “He’s won $150,000 in that time, so that’s pretty good,” he said. “He’s never ever disappointed me, not once. He always finishes off with his last 100m the best whether he wins or not. And as far as I can remember there’s never been a horse really pass him in the last 200m.” Rather than rush Bad Billy to this level before his time, the Lawlor camp has been selective with the gelding’s strategy. Lawlor explained “because we own him we don’t have to answer to anyone, so we can do what we like, which makes a big difference.” Berisari boxed on solidly to run a clear second today, while Mustang Bart enjoyed an economical trip for Gavin Lang on the pegs and captured third. Both Alford and Emma Stewart snared winning trebles. Anne-Maree Conroy won the Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup aboard Mick Barby-trained Regal Pepperell. A history of Metro success Lawlor is no stranger to metropolitan success in Victorian trots. He’s trained a winner at the Showgrounds, several at Moonee Valley and also success at Tabcorp Park Melton. “When I was 19 I trained Abbe Pete to win at the Showgrounds ... my father (Joe) had a champion in those days Heytesbury Meadow. He was one of the best of his time,” Gary explained. Among the Lawlor winners at Moonee Valley was Hellas Boy, who contested a Hamilton Cup for the family operation. “He won 15 races or so. He was a really good horse. I also had Paul Michael and Bert Butler," he said. Interestingly Lawlor’s equine nous was not exclusive to one code. He enjoyed three years of success training in the gallops. “I trained an Avoca Cup winner and a couple of other cup winners,” he said. “I think I had about 33 winners in three years, so that was quite good. Galloping was good because the kids were teenagers but they grew up got married and took off so I focused on the trots.” Key to the success of the Lawlor harness stable are his sons Darryl and Brian. Both are hands-on, Darryl and Gary making the decisions regarding the programming and training of Bad Billy, while Brian is an A Grade farrier. “He shoes them all," Gary said of Brian. "He was taught by Ron King and Ron King shod 12 Melbourne Cup winners. He was our next-door neighbour, so we’ve got a bit of knowledge there." The team recently retired exciting mare Lagertha and sent her to stallion Captain Treacherous. “She could have won a heap more but I said to Darryl ‘wouldn’t a colt out of her be much better to train’. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The $400,000 Group 1 Eynesbury Victoria Cup is the next scheduled stop for exciting harness racing five-year-old Cruz Bromac after his all-the-way Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup win yesterday. Moments after his 4.7-metre victory over gun mare Berisari in the south-west Victoria club’s annual pacing feature, Braun said  Cruz Bromac (Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender) would be set for the Summer of Glory’s night one jewel on Saturday, January 28, at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Chris Alford, Cruz Bromac toyed with his rivals yesterday to lead from barrier three, delivering Braun back-to-back Hamilton Cups, the Lara horseman having won the race last year with Im Corzin Terror. Cruz Bromac rated 1:57.3 for the 2660-metre trip, reeling off sectionals of 30.4secs, 30.3secs, 27.5secs and 27.3secs. Braun said Cruz Bromac, a winner of 12 of his 21 starts for stakemoney in excess of $152,000, was still learning the caper at the top level but was an exciting prospect moving forward. “I’ve always said I’ve got a big opinion of him,” Braun said. “He’s still got plenty to learn. He’s a big baby out there. He’s very immature and plays around.” Alford said Cruz Bromac travelled sweetly in the run yesterday and added he was confident Cruz Bromac would continue to improve as he matures. “If you have a look through the other runners in the field today they’ve all had plenty of starts, but he’s only had 21. He’s still learning. He’s untapped really at this level and he’ll keep getting better.” Yesterday’s win moved Cruz Bromac into outright third place on the $25,000 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship ladder, two points behind Hectorjayjay and one behind Major Secret. The winner of the Trots Country Cups Championship at the end of the Country Cups season picks up $25,000, with $15,000 going to the winning connections and $10,000 to the winning trainer. Six-year-old mare Berisari from the Emma Stewart stable was game in second place yesterday and will likely head towards the $100,000 Alabar Ladyship Cup on Hunter Cup Night (which doubles as a qualifier for the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle). Idea Success was beaten 7.9m by the winner in third place for reinsman Grant Campbell, that six-year-old from the Kerryn Manning camp at Great Western now in equal fourth place for the Trots Country Cups Championship on six points. Meanwhile, Matthew Craven prepared El Paco (Yankee Paco-Kellybrooke) scored a tough win in the Mountain View Stud Hamilton Trotters Cup over 2660m. Driven by Glen Craven, El Paco moved to the breeze in the early stages of the race outside favourite and stablemate Uncas. El Paco softened up the leader during the third quarter, applying the pressure for a 28.1secs split, and kicked to a clear lead at the top of the straight before fending off fast-finishing Zedalite (Rod Petroff) in second, with Ainthatrightmacca third beaten 4.1 for Denbeigh Wade. “This is a terrific result for the stable and I’m really thankful for the whole team and the work they put in,” Matt Craven said post-race. “(El Paco) had run a nice race off 30m in Adelaide last week but wasn’t able to get the job done there, so to win today and for mum to own this one is pretty special.” El Paco is likely to head to Sydney to contest the NSW carnival features, with Craven saying “he is probably just a rung below the really top ones in Victoria”. The Hamilton Club slashed admission costs and had local market traders on track in a bid to attract new people to their big day. It worked, a strong crowd enjoying the action throughout the eight-race card, with plenty of positive feedback coming from happy patrons. The Trots Country Cups spotlight turns to Ballarat now for the running of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night. Check out http://www.trotscountry.com.au/ for the videos. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

“You’d struggle to get a faster harness racing track than Hamilton in the country at the moment,” said Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup winning reinsman Greg Sugars today. After Im Corzin Terror rated 1:57.7 (29.9, 29.7, 27.8 and 27.5 splits) Sugars said the times “were a credit to the track staff”. “The track is first class – they’ve done a great job,” he said. Mick Turner oversees the Hamilton track and is both passionate and highly regarded by his peers in the sport. Club president Paul Lewis paid homage to Turner and his helpers and said it was “great to see the quality of the horses” in the Hamilton Cup today, with the field getting stronger every year. Meanwhile, Lewis also paid tribute to Peter Hyde, a long-time supporter of the trots in Hamilton. Hyde has missed only one AGM in almost 50 years and is a regular on cup day, having donated a watch to the winning driver of the cup for many years. Sugars picked up his second watch from Hyde today – he also won the Hamilton Cup in 2013 aboard Our Arlington. “It’s a real honour to receive this from Peter. He’s been a great supporter of the club for a long time. It is amazing longevity and people like Peter are really important to the industry," Sugars said. Hyde was presented with a plaque in recognition of his services at the club president’s luncheon. “This was a really great genuine surprise,” he remarked. “I’ve been here a long time. The club’s had its ups and downs but it’s really on the up right now.” Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Im Corzin Terror added a sixth Victorian country cup to his harness racing resume on Sunday at Hamilton in Victoria’s south-west. In front of a bumper crowd the eight-year-old Dean Braun-trained pacer overcame a 20-metre handicap to win the Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup over 2660m in fast time. Im Corzin Terror’s mile rate of 1:57.7 was just 0.3secs outside Restrepo’s track record mark set last year. Driven by Greg Sugars, Im Corzin Terror made his move with over a lap to go, moving to the breeze outside leader Keayang Cullen – the favourites 1-2 at the bell. When Sugars pushed the button Im Corzin Terror put Keayang Cullen to the sword and no other challengers emerged thereafter, Im Corzin Terror cruising to the line to score a 7.5m win over Tasmanian longshot The Majority, who benefited from a ripper Mark Yole drive, with Charlie Machsheen a bold third for Craig Demmler. “He felt like a winner a long, long way out,” Sugars said. “He was the best performed horse in the race today and over the trip. I was always pretty confident.” Im Corzin Terror will head towards the A.G. Hunter Cup but could still line up in next weekend’s Ballarat Cup. He’s the reigning cup champion at Bray Raceway. He has won cups at Hamilton, Ballarat, Terang, Bendigo, and twice at Maryborough. The Majority ran a mighty race at big odds in second place, trailing the leader Keayang Cullen before jumping on to the back of Im Corzin Terror at the home corner. Charlie Machsheen loomed large at the top of the straight and ended up third, 8.8m behind the winner, while Macho Comacho – a stablemate of the winner – ran fourth and the well-backed Jadahson was sixth. Keayang Cullen finished last with punters keeping an eye on the veterinarian’s report to see if that brings an explanation. Earlier on the card Emma Stewart-trained Kingofthestars (Sportswriter/Kirrilee Joy) took out the Western District Employment Agency 3YO Pace with Nathan Jack in the sulky. The colt rated 1:56.5 and won by 8.1m over Soho Madeleine. Kingofthestars will head towards the Victoria Derby. >> Video – relive Im Corzin Terror’s ultra-impressive Hamilton Pacing Cup win WINNERS’ BREEDING/OWNERSHIP Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup IM CORZIN TERROR (By Western Terror out of Corzanello) Owner: Pauline McColgan Breeders: C. McGowan, J L Smolenski, D J Smolenski. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Reigning Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup winning harness racing trainer Emma Stewart has a double shot at the title this Sunday. The Smythes Creek star will line up two runners in the $30,575, 2660-metre Group 3 feature – part of the Road to Glory ahead of the TAB.com.au Summer of Glory – with Jadahson and Presidentialsecret both taking winning form into the race. Both horses have won two races on the trot with leading reinsmen Chris Alford (Jadahson) and Nathan Jack (Presidentialsecret) to drive the pair. Asked if either horse could replicate Restrepo’s record-breaking Hamilton Cup procession last year, Stewart’s response was obviously predictable. “I don’t think so!” “They might be able to win it but they won’t be able to do what he did.” Jadahson is drawn barrier three on Sunday for three-time Hamilton Cup winning driver Alford (Justa Jomahl 1992, Earlsplace Ego 2003 and Lady Lisa 2004) and Stewart is hopeful he can step well and set the tempo to suit himself. “As long as he brings his manners he’s in good form,” Stewart said. On Presidentialsecret Stewart said: “He has a tricky draw (barrier eight) but he’s going well.” One of Stewart’s Victoria Derby bound three-year-olds, Kingofthestars, has the extreme draw in Race 2, the Western District Employment Agency 3YO Pace over 2160m for reinsman Jack. “He’s a lovely horse. He won well last week and he’ll be targeted towards the Derby,” the trainer confirmed. A key challenger in cup markets on Sunday will hail from the Matthew Craven stable in Desdon Murruffy, a last-start Melton M1-M2 winner in 1:56.2 (last half 55secs) over 2240m. The Craven team has been flying of late, winning 13 races between December 1 and January 14 – including seven wins between January 1 and January 14. Craven said Desdon Murruffy was a good each-way chance in the cup but was a “take on trust” proposition at the stand start. “The key to his chances are he’s got to get away,” Craven said. “He completely bombed his first go at the standing start and at home he’s hit and miss. He’s in terrific form though.” A horse that is no stranger to the Hamilton track is polemarker Arber, who has lined up in the Cup three times for a second in 2012, third in 2013 and eighth in 2014. In-form The Majority makes the trek across from Tasmania for the Cup, former local driver turned Tassie star Mark Yole also returning home for the day to pilot the Matthew Dwyer trained six-year-old, who has run 1-2 seven times out of nine from behind the tapes. Local trainer Kevin Brough, who won the Cup in 1997 with Chase A Rainbow, has Weallwantano lining up from barrier four for reinsman Chris Svanosio. Weallwantano finished down the track last time out at Melton but won there three starts back over Charlie Machsheen, who has barrier five on Sunday for trainer/driver Craig Demmler. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan will combine with five-year-old Ideal Majority in the Cup, drawn seven, while Lara's Dean Braun has two key chances in Macho Comacho (barrier nine) and the high-class stayer Im Corzin Terror off 20 metres for top driver Greg Sugars. Im Corzin Terror ran on well in both the Geelong and Horsham Cups leading into Sunday and is ready to win. Alongside Im Corzin Terror on the back mark is the lightning quick Keayang Cullen, who won the Ballarat Lightning Mile two starts back in 1:53.3. Cody Winnell Fields for Hamilton, Sunday 17 January 2016 Form guide for Hamilton, Sunday 17 January 2016

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