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Having watched every moment of his gelding’s growth and shared it with good friends, Mark Buckingham is exacting every bit of joy out of his trots involvement and hopes to do so again at Shepparton at 9.10pm. That’s when Axinite will step out in the Cottrell Electrical Pace, with the lightly raced Roll With Joe gelding pursuing a third victory in his past four starts for his trainer. “He’s maturing, he’s developing into a nice little racehorse,” Buckingham said. “He’s very professional and a very honest horse.” As is the way for the Norong trainer, Axinite is a shared commodity, with Buckingham having bred and now raced him with Michael Arthurson and Colin Boldt. “They are good mates and friends and are very positive about the sport,” he said, with the co-owners having also had a share in Rutherglen Ruby, a mare Buckingham purchased as a yearling who had a productive career of her own. “There were a lot of first time owners involved and we had a lot of fun with her,” Buckingham said of the five-time winning Modern Art mare. “I raced her as a two-year-old and she raced in the semis of the two-year-old Vicbred the night Melton opened. It was a great thrill to get there that night. “She came back as a three-year-old and won her first three starts. She was a really honest race mare, she had speed, but unfortunately injury curtailed her racing career. “She was sent to the breeding barn, her first foal (Rubys Shadow) won five races, the next filly (Rubys Swan) had bad luck, and then Axinite. She’s had a further three since.” Axinite entered the world on November 3, 2016, at Buckingham’s Norong property. “We do all our AI (artificial insemination) here if we can, so they are conceived here, born in the front paddock. I rared him, broke him in. He has been here from day one. It is a great thrill to be able to do the work and have a nice horse.” Axinite has produced four wins from his 12 starts, including two this campaign and a victory in New South Wales’ Breeders Challenge heats last July. “He’s just a real nice honest racehorse, never really puts in a bad run,” Buckingham said. “He has had a bit of bad luck, but that’s racing, 98 per cent of the time he’s a nice horse to sit behind because he tries hard, has a bit of speed and a bit of bottom.” He comes into tonight’s pace off a last start fifth, when he broke in the early stages after clipping a rival wheel, misfortune that followed two previous wins, courtesy in part to “a couple of lovely drives by Ryan (Sanderson)”. Tonight he runs into a very nice horse in David Aiken’s likely favourite Reactor Now, who is first up since March 19 when he produced a dominant 23-metre win at Kilmore, a third victory on the trot. Reactor Now has drawn gate nine, directly outside Axinite who’s inside the back row. “It’s going to take a lot to keep up with (Reactor Now). It is a difficult draw. (Axinite) is probably going to need luck to get amongst it. Hopefully he can keep improving. He is only lightly raced and still learning.” Buckingham will also race Brie, who steps out in the first, the Hunter Rural Maiden Pace. Tonight marks the mare’s 24th start for a syndicate of about 30, which includes many first-time owners and “a lot of locals”. She’s having her fifth start for the stable and Buckingham said “she just has to be in the right spot at the right time”. “She still has her Vicbred bonus in her, so if we are lucky enough to pick it up that would be great for the owners. As much as it’s fantastic to win races, just having a horse racing gives people something to look forward to. “They can’t all be superstars. On her track work she’s probably a little more honest, but when the pressure’s on she can be a bit intimidated. The owners are involved from a social point of view and and we just hope she can be competitive.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Shepparton, R4 N5, American Sweethart Was an impressive winner of the third trial. She began quickly from barrier six and stormed across the face of the field to lead then proceeded in running along at a genuine tempo. She ran her rivals off their legs and won by a big margin. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard

US racing fans will be treated to a harness racing delight this Friday night (EDT time in the US) when their mates Downunder in Australia serve up a seven-race card. Beamed out of Australia’s racing capital, Melbourne, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has taken a cross-country collaborative approach to the meeting’s promotion. The meeting will be held on Saturday morning Australian time, with the first race at the local time of 8.30am.  Streamed via Skyracingworld.com, the coverage will be easily accessible throughout the US from 6.30pm (EDT) on Friday.  The fields are brimming with horses from America’s leading stallions, including Bettor’s Delight, Somebeachsomewhere and Mach Three, and HRV CEO Dayle Brown said it was a chance to shine an international spotlight on the sport. “These Saturday morning meetings in Australia provide an important opportunity us to showcase a wonderful product to new audiences abroad,” HRV CEO Dayle Brown said. “The US market is hungry for new product, especially now, and we’re in a position to be able to provide that thanks to our Victorian Racing Industry partners and our broadcast partner Sky Racing. “We’re excited about the next fortnight of Saturday morning Melbourne harness meetings – Friday night US time – and the early signs are that the Americans are thoroughly enjoying the Downunder experience.” The card begins with a two-year-old pace featuring two horses from Australia’s leading trainer Emma Stewart, those being Bettors Delight filly Platinum Sparkle and Act Now, a Somebeachsomewhere colt of out American Ideal mare Mollys Ideal. That race precedes a three-year-old trot, with progeny of Muscle Hill and Crazed, and the meeting then concludes at 8.45pm (EDT) with the Empire Stallions Pace, when lightly-raced Art Major three-year-old Pur Dan chases a first win on Australian soil. Leading Victorian drivers Greg Sugars, Kate Gath, Jodi Quinlan and John Caldow will be among those chasing success, alongside young driving sensation Connor Clarke, with the rookie fresh from a treble last Saturday only two days after his 17th birthday. Bringing all the action into your living rooms will be Dan Mielicki, Australia’s leading race caller, whose broadcast credentials encompass Melbourne Cups, Cox Plates and Inter Dominions and is renowned for his peerless accuracy in dissecting close finishes. Check out the fields for Melbourne harness racing Friday night (EDT)       Harness Racing Victoria

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced the appointment of new board members for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV). Professor Jack Anderson, an expert in sports law and integrity matters, has been appointed to the HRV board for a three-year term. Lisa Tripodi is the newest board member of the GRV board, appointed also for three years, recommended by more than 20 years’ experience in accounting, assurance services and risk management. Ms Tripodi is an independent audit committee member for seven councils across Victoria and the Victorian Institute of Training. Previous clients have included the Victorian Department of Justice and the Victorian Planning Authority. Through her role as partner for accounting and assurance services at Oakton Consulting (now NTT), Ms Tripodi has audit committee experience with GRV and a strong understanding of the greyhound racing industry. Prof. Anderson is a Director of Sports Law Studies at the Melbourne Law School and an arbitrator with the National Sports Tribunal and the International Amateur Athletics Federation. He serves as an ethics commissioner with the International Tennis Federation, a disciplinary tribunal member with Football Federation Victoria and a member of Basketball Australia’s National Integrity Advisory Group. Harness racing and greyhound racing have continued without crowds in Victoria through the coronavirus pandemic under strict biosecurity protocols including health checks for participants entering meetings. As noted by Minister for Racing Martin Pakula “Jack Anderson’s expertise in sports law and integrity matters will be a great asset to harness racing and the operations of the HRV board.” “Lisa Tripodi brings extensive knowledge of greyhound racing to the GRV board along with valuable professional expertise.” Minister for Racing

The Jack’s Folly Mobile Pace may not have been a race for the ages, but it meant plenty to Terang reinsman Tim McLean, whose eye was caught by the horse who came fourth. Racing for Brent Mangos at Alexandra Park on November 22, the Shadow Play five-year-old sat three back on the pegs and ground on gamely in the straight to improve to fourth, finishing just 4.3 metres off Barry Purdon’s winner Havtime. With the latter’s credits including a Group 1 2YO Fillies win and almost $300,000 in stakes, McLean was confident fourth-placed Troubador’s form would translate to wins back home and so with a syndicate of owners made the leap. “I thought he was a pretty nice horse when he came over, he had been racing against high quality over there,” McLean said. “He hadn’t had many starts and was racing against Group 1 horses and only getting beaten by a few metres.” Three months on since the February purchase and the signs have been encouraging for Tim and dad/trainer Jeff McLean, with Troubador producing four wins and a third from his five starts. “He has definitely lived up to expectations and probably gone a bit above,” Tim McLean said. That’s despite receiving few favors in the run, with Troubador having had to wrestle to the lead from wide gates on three occasion or, in the other two, sit parked and do plenty of work. What that has revealed is a now trademark toughness, which McLean will likely call on when they pair again for tonight’s Goodtime Lodge Pace at Terang. “He’s super tough, he just doesn’t give up,” McLean said. “I think he’s gotten better and better. We have a hill track at home and working up hill seems to suit him. “He wants to run, but then when he gets in the stalls he just falls asleep. He doesn’t waste any energy.” Tonight will likely prove another test to Troubador’s ascent, with Kerryn Manning’s well-rated Glenavril King and Aaron Dunn’s Silent Major also in the field. Both are last-start winners and likely to provide a tough test over the middle distance. McLean said a good result may well earn Troubador a holiday before they eye a crack at metropolitan racing, which Harness Racing Victoria announced yesterday was flagged for return from July 1. “If he can win another race we will probably give him a let up,” McLean said. “He has done a pretty good job this time in, and we will give him three weeks to a month off. I think he’s a metro horse, I don’t know how far he will get but he has earned his go.” Troubador is one of four steers McLean has tonight. He also shared with Trots Centre his thoughts on the others: R4 N5 Lifeasweknowit (trained by Jeff McLean) “She will find it a bit tricky. She was a bit flat at Stawell last start, but was better at Terang. She is down in grade and will be a show if she brings her best.” R5 N3 Show Me The Moolah (trained by Janet Exell) “He is a nice trotter. If he begins well early he will be somewhere around the mark, but this is a step up in grade. R7 N5 Tuesdays Edition (trained by Rebecca East) “Goes good, but is first up and will probably benefit from the run.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Bendigo, R3 N9, Imnopumpkin A handy horse when racing at his best form and finished second in the George Croxford Tribute when he was last in work. He was able to lead throughout and took out the third trial with plenty in reserve. REPORT & REPLAY Terang, R3 N4, Allwatfunjingles Trialled nicely for an unraced trotter taking on proven winners and finished a close up third. REPORT   HRV - Michael Howard

A baptism of fire continues for a bright young Group 1 winner but trainer-driver Paul Males is optimistic his fresh-faced mare is ready to put her best foot forward. Royal Charlotte, winner of both the Victorian and New South Wales Oaks last season, has enjoyed few favors in Victoria’s East region as she steps into open age racing, colliding with quality and quantity from the Brent Lilley, Chris Svanosio, David Miles and Mick Hughes stables. That will be the case again tonight when she contests the OKR 98.3FM Trot, streamed at 8.29pm on Trots Vision, but with the gate one draw, some recent exposure at this class and gear adjustments Males enters tonight optimistic. “I would have liked to have been in a bit lesser class coming through, having gone from three-year-old fillies’ grade to open grade,” Males said. “But if all goes well and she handles the track, and if she’s on their back at the top of the straight, she’ll get home good.” Handling the track is no small part of the equation, with her trainer believing that’s been her “biggest problem” this campaign. “She’s not handling Kilmore, whether it’s a looser surface, she’s just not getting around the last corner that great,” he said. “We have made a few gear changes because she was hanging in.” If they reap dividends he expects “she’ll go close” and considers her among the better winning chance of the six that he and wife Kari Males send to Kilmore tonight. The other horse most likely is Kari's returning pacer Good Guy Mach, who Paul said “has been trialling good against a lot higher rated horses. He is drawn inside the second row, so if gets a good run he will go pretty good.” Kari has also prepared two first starters, who will contest the Jet Roofing 2YO & 3YO Pace, in Le Belle Bijoux and Segesta. The former is an Art Major filly who’s the first foal out of brilliant mare Bellas Delight. Her 70 starts yielded 20 wins and $442,523, including Vicbred and Breeders Crown success. Paul believes there's good reason to think the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. “She’s going pretty good. She paces a little like her mother, she’s a really good going horse, pretty strong, loves her work. She has a bright future,” he said. Her four trials have produced a third and three fourths, and “she has kept improving all the time”. “She’ll run a good race, but she might not beat the three-year-olds.” The mixed age race has has three two-year-olds and five three-year-olds competing, including Kari’s other debutant Segesta, a Roll With Joe filly out of five-time winner Lettucesomewhere. “She’s quite a nice horse. She has taken a bit of time through her own fault, having hurt herself in the paddock and at a trial, but she’s had no problems this time in.” The camp will also ferry Hedge Your Bet to Kilmore, who will contest the last but will likely find this grade a tall challenge, and Paul’s own first starter Dream Sweetly. The Sweet Lou filly is out of Trammell, the three-time winning dam of Misterfreeze and Snow Cone, and was snapped up for $21,000 at the 2018 Australian Pacing Gold sales. “She seems to have good ability. She’s just a nice looking horse,” he said. “She has been a bit slow maturing. She was a bit open in her knees and is a pretty big horse. “Her first couple of trials she hung in a little bit, but we have straightened her up and she was good her last trial. I’ll drive her quiet, slot her in somewhere and let the race unfold.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Ballarat, R1 N1, Euryphaessa May 8: The pleasing part about the performance of EURYPHAESSA was she concentrated throughout the entire trip after having several indiscretions when being a long way in front over the past few weeks. REPORT May 1: Is an extremely talented filly but she has done a bit wrong at her past two trial attempts. She wanted to pull up and head back to the stables turning out of the front straight when a long way clear. She may concentrate better when there are horses around her. At her past two trials she has stepped quickly and established a big lead before making errors mid-race. REPORT & REPLAY February 14: Jumped in front but galloped one hundred metres after the start and lost approximately 40m. She did a lot of chasing and finished a game third. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Kilmore, R7 N7, Our Kings Landing A smart former New Zealand trotter, which is now being prepared by trainer Brent Lilley and created a big impression in winning his trial. He produced a booming finish out wide on the track from last to win. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Kilmore, R8 N3, Chateaubriant Has been very good at the trials over the past few weeks and he scored by a large margin. He broke stride momentarily at the start before pushing forward and finding the lead with 1700m remaining. He rolled along at a genuine tempo and continued to build on his lead in the final circuit. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard

Harness Racing Victoria has announced an increase in field sizes from eight to 10 runners a race from this Thursday. In response to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic, HRV last month tightened field sizes to eight and entered a region-based racing model to protect the industry. The first easing of those restrictions was announced on Monday. HRV general manager of racing Stephen Bell praised the industry for its co-operative approach, which has positioned the sport to continue racing and start thinking about a return to normal racing. "We'll be taking a phased approach out of the region-based racing model and an announcement is expected later this week," Bell said. "From Thursday onward field sizes will be lifted to 10 horses a race. "We've had an extreme number of ballots since the commencement of region-based racing, so we're really glad to now be in a position to increase that to 10. "We've done a lot of hard work to keep racing in the last two months and we don't want to let that go to waste by rushing too quickly back to normal." Race meetings will continue to be conducted with only essential personnel on track, while temperature checks and physical distancing measures will also continue. The first meeting to operate with increased field sizes will be run at Bendigo's Lord's Raceway on Thursday, followed by Terang later in the the day.   By Kieran Iles   Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Things may not yet be situation normal on the Victorian circuit but there is still much being learned, including for trainers like David Aiken who have been there, done that many times over. Aiken takes a team of four to Shepparton tonight, a float haul that will include a two-year-old work in progress and three pacers who make up a considerable portion of tonight’s open class pacing race. While Leonidas has missed a start owing to being first emergency, stablemates Roll With It, Ideal Star (pictured) and Bringitonhome will step out in the Your Sold Real Estate Pace, which streams on Trots Vision at 9.16pm. Bringitonhome will be having its first Australian start, having had 35 starts in New Zealand for Regan Todd, which yielded seven wins, five placings and $60,636 in stakes. Like Leonidas, he’s been snapped up by New York’s Steven Finklestein of Jesmeral Stable bound for a US career, but because pandemic limitations have delayed their trip across the Pacific he has his Australian debut for Aiken tonight. “His first two trials I didn’t think were overly impressive, but he trialled a bit better last time and is a nice horse,” Aiken said. “His work has been really good, he seems to have a bit of speed, we will know more after (tonight).” Josh Aiken will take the reins of Bringitonhome from gate two, with stablemate Roll With It to start on his outside for concession driver Ryan Sanderson. “If he gets the run he likes he can finish off good,” Aiken said. “I don’t think he is a winning chance, but he is definitely a place chance if he gets it run to suit.” Aiken himself will take the reins of Ideal Star from inside the back row, with the American Ideal five-year-old having his third start for the stable since being purchased by Todd Stone after 23 starts for Tim Butt that produced seven wins. In Aiken’s care Ideal Star's two runs have produced a win and a third placing, beaten last start only by Victorian record holder Lochinvar Art and flying stablemate Leonidas. “He’s got a good record,” Aiken said. “He came up for sale and wasn’t a lot of money so the owner bought him. He’s got really good speed, is a very fast horse. He will definitely be finishing off.” And as for first emergency Leonidas, who didn’t get a start, Aiken is hopeful we will see plenty more of him before his US adventure, adding “I’d be upset if we don’t get to have him for six months”. “He is only a four-year-old. I felt if he had have been on Lochinvar Art’s helmet he wouldn’t have finished far off him (last week),” he said. “If he (got) a run he’d be the best horse in this field, and there are some very good horses.” There will also be plenty of interest in Aiken’s two-year-old Watchmedazzle, who contests tonight’s Central Tyre Service 2YO Pace. He said the Hes Watching gelding, whose dam Shoom Shoom is a half to Bamako Mali ($259,309), Redbank Blaze ($230,855) and Prophesy ($132,636), had “been really good manners wise leading up to his first race” on April 16 but things soon went array. “He overraced really badly, which is out of character for him,” Aiken said. “He was out of control and I think the occasion got to him. “You’ve got to really look after them for the following week. We would have been real worried if he didn’t do the right thing the following week, but he got through it well.” In his return bout Watchmedazzle settled well, first on to the pegs and then in the running line, before showing an impressive burst in the straight to win by 4.3 metres for his large group of owners. “He raced like we thought he would last week. He is no world beater, but he is a really nice horse, got a good turn of foot.” The hope is for more of the same tonight, but Aiken is wary the talent around him, He has a high opinion of trainer Isabel Walsh’s Viva La Rock, who “had two good trial wins” before getting really keen on debut. “I’m tipping they let him roll along (tonight) over the 1700.” He also thinks highly of Cashflow Cassie and noted “there is a fair bit of speed there”, anticipating Josh Aiken will be able to “slot in” on Watchmedazzle. “Hopefully they go quick early and he can use his pace at the end. It is all about education at the moment.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.     The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Shepparton, R3 N2, Covered Kylie Produced a game third at Shepparton in her latest race track appearance and was impressive at the trials so she appears to be ready to win a race. She showed good gate speed to lead and won untroubled, seemingly with plenty in reserve. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced field sizes would increase from eight to 10 runners a race from Thursday. Last month HRV tightened field sizes to eight and entered a region-based racing model to protect the industry against the developing COVID-19 situation. HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell praised the industry for its cooperative approach, which has positioned the sport to continue racing and start thinking about a return to normal racing. “We’ll be taking a phased approach out of the region-based racing model and an announcement is expected later this week,” Bell said. “From Thursday onward field sizes will be lifted to 10 horses a race. We’ve had an extreme number of ballots since the commencement of region-based racing, so we’re really glad to now be in a position to increase that to 10. “We’ve done a lot of hard work to keep racing in the last two months and we don’t want to let that go to waste by rushing too quickly back to normal.” Race meetings will continue to be conducted with only essential personnel on track, while temperature checks and physical distancing measures will also continue.     Harness Racing Victoria

Emma Stewart scored seven winners at two meetings across 12 hours as Saturday's Tabcorp Park Melton double-header proved a major hit. Talented youngster Beautiful Woman kicked off the brand new morning timeslot with victory for the Cardigan trainer before smart veteran Freddy Funk completed the seven-peat with success in the last event of the night card. There were a host of winners in between for Stewart, but none were as slick as Major Times, who recorded the fastest winning mile rate of the day's 15 races. Taken straight to the lead by reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old was never headed in the Alabar Pace (1720m, NR 90 to 120) on his way to a comfortable win in 1:53.5. The triumph was his 15th in a 36-start career that has netted nearly $200,000 for connections. "He went well last week and Clayton (Tonkin) thought he had trained on from that run and thought he was a chance of really pressing forward and finding the front," Quinlan said. "He got that nice breather the second quarter, so he was able to rip home the last two." Major Times' stablemates Like A Wildfire, Rocknroll Ronnie and Freddy Funk helped complete the Stewart quaddie on Saturday night after Beautiful Woman, Abouttime and Mirragon all saluted in the morning. Connor Clarke and Greg Sugars were the most prolific of the reinsmen across the two cards with three winners each. The early meeting was beamed live to the United States and broadcaster Dan Mielicki was quick to get the new audience on side with a memorable call of Kaudo's victory in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 46 to 55). As trainer-driver Michael Cole surged to the lead in the wet conditions, Mielicki roared "oh this baby loves the slop, eats the slop! His father was a mudder, his mother was a mudder and Kaudo charges clear and wins easily!" Of course, Milecki was referencing the famous Seinfeld episode, which includes a similar line. The victory was the first leg of a race-to-race double for Cole, who also scored with Trevean in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (1720m, 4YO and older NR 47 to 51). Harness Racing Victoria General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said early indications were that punters didn’t mind an early start with "turnover at a level we hoped for". "I haven’t got the numbers from the USA just yet but our correspondent has indicated it was well received," Bell said. "Fifteen races at headquarters on a day was a challenge for all involved but everyone, including staff and participants, did an amazing job to put on a great show." Melton is host to another Saturday double-header next weekend, with a morning meeting followed by an evening program.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

APG is proud of its status as an industry-owned, not-for-profit organisation that is wholly dedicated to the Australian harness racing industry. APG supported the industry through the Equine Influenza crisis in 2007/8, and is once again here to help strengthen, support and rebuild confidence in the harness racing industry post COVID-19. When Equine Influenza hit in 2007, APG stepped up, incurring $200,000 of expenses on behalf of vendors and purchasers, arranging vaccinations, bio-security protocols and post-sale quarantine facilities to ensure that vendors had an avenue to sell their yearlings and to enable buyers to purchase with confidence. Now, in response to the potential impact of COVID-19 and other external factors, APG is preparing to step forward once again to ensure that its 2021 Yearling Sales remain the best avenue for both sellers and buyers, offering exceptional yearlings backed by Australia’s richest race series. "We are in the process of finalising our Terms and Conditions for both our Sales and Race Series, but we remain committed to our philosophy of bringing the sales and races to you," APG General Manager David Boydell said. "Vendors will have the opportunity to sell in their home state, while buyers will have the opportunity to compete in Australia’s richest and most prestigious sales series without incurring expensive interstate travel costs. "APG will be excited to open nominations for our Sales as soon as we have all the regulatory approvals in place from the State Controlling Bodies, enabling us to provide a full disclosure of the details of our Race Series. "Rest assured, however, that our State-based approach to our Race Series will continue with Victoria and NSW set to race for over $1million across the 2yo and 3yo divisions, with each State to host their own Group 1 2yo and 3yo Finals, with separate divisions for Colts and Fillies. "Trotters will also be exceptionally well catered for, with our APTS 3yo Race Series set to culminate with a pair Group One finals, featuring separate divisions for Colts and Fillies." Entries for APG’s 2021 Sales will open later this month, with a due date of 30 June. Online entry will be available via APG’s website – www.apgold.com.au   Harness Racing Victoria

'The maestro of Melton' Dan Mielicki produced another virtuoso performance as Harness Racing Victoria's morning trots trial roared to life at Tabcorp Park today. Mielicki, the voice of harness racing in Victoria, delivered one of the more memorable calls as the rain fell at Melton – referencing a classic Seinfeld racing line in Race 3. Rather than tell you what was said, check it out for yourself below in the video! The morning trots are being beamed around Australia via Sky Racing and into the United States for wagering and viewing on Saturday mornings for a three-week trial period. The US folk would undoubtedly have appreciated the Seinfeld line and will be looking forward to the next two Saturday morning Aus time (Friday night US) programs. Michael “King” Cole and Greg “The Candyman” Sugars took driving honours on the seven-race card with winning doubles.   HRV - Cody Winnell

With her first runner at 9.15am and the last at 8.30pm, trainer Maree Caldow's day will be more than a little unusual, but being trackside at Tabcorp Park Melton near her vast trots 'family' is a welcome support. Along with husband John, the Caldows are close friends of Meagan Lang and her late husband, brilliant reinsman Gavin. Their training bases are only a short drive apart and Maree said she had a deep feeling of sadness that would be with her for some time. "I just walk in to Melton and look over where he had his horses and just feel sad. There's just going to be a sadness and emptiness for a long time," she said. "He's a hero to so many. John grew up idolising him and (has) then been best mates with him. It's just really, really sad." John will be well-placed a pay tribute to Lang today on the track, with all four horses having tricky draws and likely to be kept quiet for a late pounce in true Group 1 Gav style. The Caldows quartet are evenly split across Melton's morning and night sessions, and while Maree said "it's going to be an early start for sure on Saturday, but if that's where the punters are going to be following us, we've got to go where we've got to go". Today is the first of three weeks Melton will host Saturday morning meetings, with racing to run from 8.30am to 10.45am and then resume at 5.03pm for the night session. Plenty will be tuning in on Trots Vision and Sky Racing throughout today, in addition to the US audience taking in the Saturday morning racing, and among those sure to be watching the coverage during covid-19 trackside restrictions will be the many connections of the Caldow entrants. "The hardest thing for us is we miss our owners. We've got wonderful owners that come and watch their horses race all the time," she said. "I do try to Facetime and send photos and videos, but not having them there is not the same." Maree will prepare Meziah for the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 46 to 55) and Ian Raymond for the Empire Stallions Pace (1720m, NR 52 to 55) in the morning Melton meeting before returning to the track in the evening with Bye Bye Barbie for the Allied Express Pace (1720m, mares NR 57 to 69) and Our Sportscaster for the Hyland Racing Colours Pace (2240m, NR 70 to 77). Here are her thoughts on her four runners for Trots Centre: Morning: R3 N9 Meziah: "He's been going quite well, three thirds in his last five starts, so he's been thereabouts. He's got a following through draw, sometimes with trotters you don't know what's going to happen in front of you, but he's got a good chance if he does everything right." R5 N8 Ian Raymond: "I think he's got a good show. Same again, he's got a following through draw, the one (Itsokbeingbetter) hopefully if it can hold up we will get a good run on its back. He was really pleasing last start, his owners up in Ouyen, they are the sort of people who would come all the time to watch their horse. They will be watching with pride and it would be awesome if he could get the winner for them." Night: R2 N6 Bye Bye Barbie: "It's a bloody tough field. There are some really nice mares around at the moment. She's drawn awkwardly in six, we have jut got to hope that John can slot in their somewhere and she's the sort of girl that can come off the speed and with a bit of luck she could do her best. She always tries her best. Hopefully the speed's on and she's doing her best at the end." R8 N7 Our Sportscaster: "He won four starts, he's been going really good - last two (starts were) seconds. He does go good when the speed's on, drawn seven he will probably have to go back. There are some nice hores in it, Two Times Bettor and some pretty handy ones, so hopefully someone puts a bit of speed on and Our Sportscaster will be coming home at the end as well." TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will guide listeners through the wins, near-misses and opportunities with a Talking Trots on SEN Track double, running from 9-11am and 5.30-9.30pm. Aired on SEN 1116AM and 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong, you can also click here to listen live online and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R1 N1, Beautiful Woman Settled behind the leader, moved around to find the front at the 1400m and took cover shortly afterwards. She came to the outside on the home turn and dashed to a big victory. REPORT BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R7 N2, Pur Dan A smart former New Zealander that is now with trainer Amanda Grieve. He settled last of the five, ran up behind the pack in the straight and went to the line absolutely jogging with no clear run. He is worth following. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Patience is proving a virtue for Geoff Lucas’s Mildura team, which is hitting the line with vigor late and producing rewarding results. Despite having only had seven starters in 2019-20, courtesy of Without Hesitation (five starts) and recent addition Bernie Winkle (two), the trainer is on the cusp of his second most stakes won in a season, having missed a place only once. Bernie Winkle, a long-time Glenn Douglas favourite, has gone two from two since joining Lucas in mid-April, while opportunist mare Without Hesitation has also been a North West region eye-catcher since the introduction of region-based racing. Having recently crossed from Noel Cameron, Lucas said Without Hesitation was “still learning to race”, but had taken her opportunities of late with three seconds and a win among her last five starts. “She is always a chance, but has to have a few things go her way,” Lucas said. “I think she will only get better after her next spell.” A sit-sprinter with a brisk finish, Lucas said the stable planned to mix things up in today’s Tenderprint Australia Pace, which will stream on Trots Vision at 3.13pm. Without Hesitation will start from gate one and will be called on to give a bit more than the modest tactical speed she’s shown to date. “We have never pushed her from the gate, we probably will (today),” Lucas said. “She’s never led in a race, I would like to have a crack at leading or being on the back of the leader. She’s really a sit-sprinter, but I am keen to see what happens.” It’s a notable change of tactics not just for horse but her co-owner/trainer, with Lucas noting “she has always been doing her best work at the end of races, that’s how I like it, I don’t like to see them pushed early”. It’s a preference that’s also been evident in the stable’s latest addition, Bernie Winkle. A career stakes winner of $260,147, the seven-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding’s 23rd and 24th wins have come since the move to the Sunraysia, where Lucas has been keen for the veteran to be put to sleep early and then unleashed for a withering run. The results have been more than encouraging, with a nine-metre win on April 24 preceding the five-metre win on May 1. “When he came here I said to (owner) Eric (Anderson) I wanted to drive him really quietly,” Lucas said. “Before his first start he had only been at my place a week and I didn’t even know (driver) Shane Smith, but we only have about 15 drivers in Mildura and I asked him if he’d drive Bernie Winkle. Now he won’t get off it.” Lucas believes Bernie Winkle may be benefitting from the softer sand of his home training track – owned by Andrew Stenhouse and Dwayne Locke – and the short trip to the Mildura racecourse, adding “Eric’s a strong believer that the horse never travels all that well”. Drawn inside the back row in tonight’s Sunraysia Security Protective Services Pace, Lucas expects Bernie Winkle’s chances will again be somewhat reliant on the tempo set by others, with Boris Devcic’s Augustus Jack and Vinny Chase prominent on the front row and front-running horse Murranji Track drawn on Bernie Winkle's outside. “It will be interesting to see Boris’s tactics up front,” Lucas said. “We will be somewhere near last and hope there is a bit of speed in the race, wind him up towards the end and hopefully we are somewhere close to them.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.       HRV - Michael Howard

Group 1 Gav will eternally overlook the trots after Victorian harness racing photographer Claire Weston initiated the purchase of and named a star in honour of late reinsman Gavin Lang. A piece by Weston, published at thetrots.com.au's tribute wall, revealed the purchase of a star in the Scorpius constellation (right ascension: 16h51m51.76s, declination: -26°52'25.8"). Weston named the star 'Group 1 Gav' with Star Registry, having said she was "shattered" by Lang's passing and "looked to the sky and whispered rest in peace Superstar". "I felt you were up there somewhere looking down on all your loved ones, friends, colleagues and the harness community who loved and looked up to you," Weston wrote. "It was at this moment an idea hit me: GAVIN DESERVES HIS OWN STAR! I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to the 'Greatest of All Time' than a star for those that you left behind to share, a space to search for you to just say 'hi' or a 'we miss you'." CLICK HERE TO READ THE TRIBUTE WALL AND LEAVE YOUR OWN DEDICATION   HRV

Chris Svanosio is eager to not be distracted by what might be, preferring to stay in the present as he prepares a talented team for tonight’s Kilmore trots. Svanosio will have his third start since taking over as trainer-driver of Bruce Morgan’s highly touted pacer Bonus Play, who will share the convoy to Kilmore with promising two-year-old trotters Watch And Act and Whos The Man, and in-form pair Delightful Mia and Brandlo Prince. “(Bonus Play) came to me to hopefully be racing at Melton each week in metro races, that hasn’t quite worked out yet, but hopefully that’s where he will be in a couple of months’ time,” Svanosio told Trots Talk. “He had no luck last time, there was a bit of an incident on the first bend, he got run into and had a flat tyre, so that was just a forget run. I was rapt with his first-up run and he seems good this week, it’s a bit of a test for him but he should go pretty good.” Bonus Play contests tonight’s Kilmore Men’s Shed Pace, to stream at 8pm on Trots Vision, along with stablemate Delightful Mia. The Shadow Play gelding carried huge wraps amid a three-year-old season that produced five wins, but now at age five and some 55 weeks since his last victory the gloss, for some, may have worn off. Not for Svanosio. “I’m just looking forward to the future, hopefully there’s a few wins ahead for him,” Svanosio said. “He’s a magnificent looking horse, he’s a magnificent pacer, he’s got a lot of ability. Hopefully we can get a bit of consistent racing into him. We are not making big plans, we’re just worrying about Kilmore for a start.” Victory tonight will be hard-earned, with War Dan and Professor Tom expected to dominate betting, while Bonus Play's stablemate Delightful Mia, to be steered by Lisa Miles, is also likely to earn support. “Delightful Mia’s just racing consistently and working into a bit of fitness,” Svanosio said. “She might be able to find the top and over the mile that’s always been one of her strengths.” The following race on the card is the Claire Western Photography Trot, when Svanosio has gelding Brandlo Prince, who’s gone two-from-two since joining the stable on lease from Yabby Dam Farms. He faces a stern test tonight, with Lisa Miles’ Powderkeg, Brent Lilley’s Storm Cloud and Michael Hughes’ Is That A Bid among the challengers in a race that further reinforces the strength of trotting in the East region. “Brandlo Prince has got three or four trotters that look like metro trotters to go around against, but he’s won both his races for us and been terrific both times, so hopefully he can get the cash again.” Svanosio’s other involvement is having a pair step out in the Fiberprotect From Hygaine 2YO Trotters Handicap, with Skyvalley gelding Watch And Act and Angus Hall gelding Whos The Man having both placed in their previous starts. “You do a lot of work with them, getting them educated and watching them develop. I was rapt with both of them last week at Kilmore,” he said. “Whos The Man did a terrific job his first start, stepped away and went around and found the front. Got a bit lost out in front, but he was very good. And Watch And Act definitely improved from his first run. “They are going good, but they have a couple of good ones in their race (tonight), Aldebaran Zeus and Here Comes Kyvalley both look like very smart horses, so it will be a fair test for them.” While Svanosio has an eye to the future with both, he’s also adamant on what is the immediate task at hand. “We’re out here to win races, I’m hoping they can win (tonight), but realistically if they can have a few runs and get a bit of experience, then maybe they have a little of a break and we might be able to aim at the sires races or Redwoods if they are programmed and everything gets back to normal,” he said. “It’s a bit hard to make too long term a plan, they are going good, they have improved, we will be trying to win (tonight) with them.” TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   HRV - Michael Howard

About his in-form pacer Betternbetter, Keith Cotchin is circumspect. The Elmore horseman would be forgiven for being up and about and declaring big things for the impressive son of Betterthancheddar after his third straight win last night at Bendigo. But on his jet, Cotchin’s jets remained cool. “He seems to be coming back to some sort of form,” he told today's Trots Review. “The horse seems to have matured and is really starting to race with that keenness again to find the line.” Driven by Tayla French, 23, whose star is on the rise, Betternbetter (pictured) is three-from-three. “She’s done a great job,” Cotchin said. “She’s a nice girl and she’s been under a bit of pressure with him being an odds-on favourite. And it’s hard when you say you don’t want to be whizzing around to the death and that. She’s done a great job and has really clicked with him.” There is little doubt French’s star is on the rise. At Betternbetter’s last couple of wins the 23-year-old has remained ultra-composed and been able to extricate the pacer from tricky positions in the run. “I’m rapt for her,” Cotchin said. “She’s a good driver and this will give her a good kick-along.” During region-raced racing Cotchin said he would take it “day by day” with Betternbetter. “As far as medical and soundness viewpoints go the horse is fine and there’s no reason we can’t keep racing but we probably won’t do a lot until the regions open up again,” he said. “He’s a hard horse to rate because he’s just a very average track-worker and doesn’t set the world on fire, but when he goes to the races he goes to another level and that showed again last night. “Hopefully he’ll keep going through the classes. He is exciting.” Last night’s win takes Betternbetter’s record to 11 wins from 22 starts for over $75,000 in stakes. French finished with a winning double after earlier success aboard Joeys Hangover for her dad, trainer Terry French, in the Illusion Emblems Digital Printing Service Pace to open the program. Other winners were Lola Devereux in the North West Ag Services Trot, Mascott in the Share Media Trot, Ringer Russ in the Sheahan Plumbing Pace, Gobsmacked in the Bendigo Party Hire Pace, Ozzie Battler in the J L King & Co Pace, and Our Doreen Days in the Yorkshire Park Standardbreds Pace. Meanwhile at Shepparton Josh Aiken piloted a winning treble aboard Watchmedazzle in the Central Tyre Service 2YO Pace, Joonior Brown in the Your Sold Real Estate Pace and Janjuc in the Barastoc Pace. David Moran finished with a winning double aboard Santa Casa Beach in the Hunter Rural 3YO Pace and RNR Windemere in the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace. Other winners were Fullofmischief in the Alabar Maiden, Royal Admiral in the Cottrell Electrical Maiden and Rockin In Memphis in the Neatline Homes Pace.   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants   Ballarat tonight Race 2 – Ballarat Mazda 2YO Pace Dougs Babe (2yo filly by Western Terror out of Dougs Courage, trained and driven by Geoff Webster) First foal from a 23-time winning daughter of Courage Under Fire.   Platinum Sparkle (2yo filly by Bettors Delight out of Bollinger Baby, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Jodi Quinlan) Full-sister to five-time winning Bossanova Bay, out of Christian Cullen mare who won 10 races and $67k in stakemoney.   Tuppence (2yo gelding by Lincoln Royal out of Star Crossed, trained by Geoff Webster and driven by David Murphy) Out of a daughter of Art Major, who won 12 races from 36 starts. This is her first foal.   Tough Tilly (2yo filly by Captaintreacherous out of Beninjurd, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Kate Gath) Out of Art Major mare Beninjurd, this girl’s a half-sister to star juvenile Centenario and Somedan.   Act Now (2yo colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of Mollys Ideal, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by John Caldow) First foal to the races from a daughter of American Ideal.   Sumomentsomewhere (2yo gelding by Somebeachsomewhere out of Special Moments, trained by Jess Tubbs and driven by Greg Sugars) First foal from three-time winning daughter of Bettors Delight.   HRV - Cody Winnell

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