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The relentless front-running display from Arden Voyager highlighted a stunning Saturday for reinswoman Kate Gath, who snared six winners across the double-header of meetings at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Prepared by Gath's trainer-husband Andy at their Long Forest base, the former New Zealand pacer produced a brilliant all-the-way victory in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 79-89). He ran quarters of 29, 28.9, 28.1 and 28.8 seconds and recorded a of 1:55:2 mile rate on a wet Tabcorp Park Melton track. It was a breathtaking performance from the four-year-old, who has now won three of his past four starts at the circuit. Gath could hardly believe her horse was able to fight off all challengers after working so hard during the early stages of the race. "I haven't had one pull that hard for a while and I just thought in the run that he is pulling himself into the ground," she told Trots Vision. "I was really concerned, but I didn't know he could do that. "It was a really good field and he just shouldn't have been able to hold on against those sort of horses." Watch the race here. Gath said the stable had really liked the son of Somebeachsomewhere when he was purchased as a three-year-old from overseas, but he had gone "off the boil" for a period of time until recapturing his best over the past couple of months. "Obviously now his last three or four runs he's finally showing us what we knew was always there," she said. Arden Voyager's success was one of four for Gath on the Melton night program and followed a double from the morning meeting. Gath's heroics in the sulky came soon after a four-peat at Ballarat last Tuesday night and included the successful return of Group 1-winning trotter McLovin - who took out the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120) - and was another of Andy Gath's four winners for the day. An effortless triumph from Emma Stewart's star pacer Poster Boy was among the highlights on Saturday, as was the big victory by promising Jess Tubbs-trained trotter Overandout. Driver Greg Sugars was almost sent crashing through the outside fence when the four-year-old squargaiter veered abruptly over the concluding stages of the Beraldo Coffee Trot (1720m, 4YO and older) but still managed to prevail by close to 30m. Sugars said he thought the horse had taken exception to something flashing on the semaphore board located on the inside of the track near the winning post. "He is a keen watcher of Trots Vision when he is at home not racing and I think he just wanted to head over to here to where we are now to talk to you Rob," Sugars joked with host Rob Auber during a post-race interview. First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: CPO Cafe Carisbrook 3YO Pace N8 Thump (3YO Village Jolt gelding out of Umi; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

All drivers at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night will wear black armbands in honour of legendary horseman Graeme Lang, who died after a battle with illness earlier this week. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Chairman Dale Monteith said the industry was deeply saddened to have lost Graeme so soon after his son Gavin’s passing last month. “Graeme and Gavin are legendary figures in harness racing and their loss is being felt by all in our industry. This is an extremely hard time for the family and for all who knew Graeme and Gavin, and I want to extend sincerest condolences on behalf of all at Harness Racing Victoria,” Mr Monteith said. HRV CEO Dayle Brown also issued condolences to the family, adding that HRV would look to officially honour Graeme and Gavin in the future. “We are exploring a number of options to respectfully honour the enormous contribution both Gavin and Graeme have made to harness racing,” Mr Brown said. “I want to pass on sincere condolences to the Lang family during this very difficult time. We will be working with the family to ensure any tribute is in line with their wishes.”   Harness Racing Victoria

Having averaged 32 drives a week in his previous two seasons, the 83 starts Chris Alford’s had since April 2 haven’t quite scratched the itch. The East division’s leading reinsman, who’s had 27 wins since the move to region-based racing, shy of only Inner West driver Greg Sugars’ 33, is looking forward to Monday’s transition to three regions, when his East region swells to encompass Shepparton and Bendigo. Even more enticing is the targeted return to metropolitan racing from July 1, with Alford hopeful of reuniting with the many owners, trainers and horses who have on course for a fifth consecutive Victorian drivers’ premiership. “Everyone in their region has their drivers and whether they leave them on or there will be opportunities will be something to see,” Alford said. “I’ll have to gradually rebuild again. It’s like being suspended for a month or so.” On the flipside, Alford said more relaxed schedule had meant “I don’t feel as mentally worn out as I usually am, but there is always plenty to do when you have got a farm and two kids who are home schooling”. But before the gates open next week, when the East races five times beginning with Bendigo on Monday, there is work to do, with Alford having a steer in every race at Kilmore tonight. He kicks off for trainer John McGillivray with Lotakevi in the OFR FM Pace, which streams at 5.37pm on Trots Vision. “He was not too bad at Kilmore last time when he was third and led and got hammered all the way and stuck on pretty good,” Alford said. “He has to be up the front to do his best. He’s pretty consistent, not a lot of ability, but has a good draw and if he leads he will be in the money.” Alford will then pilot Magical for trainer Brent Lilley in the next, the Buds And Branches Florist 3YO Trotters Handicap, hopeful of repeating the Angus Hall filly’s last start win. “She seems to be getting better and better and more confident,” he said, but noting she runs into a few good ones tonight. “The way he is going Kyvalley Shaunie looks the hardest to beat. Is That A Bid doesn’t seem to be gong quite as well as last season, and Powderkeg seems in the same boat.” Next stop is the Beraldo Coffee 2YO & 3YO Pace and Alford expects seniority is unlikely to shine. He will steer Barbados Babe, one of two Joe Farrugia three-year-old runners who have drawn outside the front row. “He hasn’t done a lot to this stage and is drawn wide, but he will keep battling away. I think the two-year-olds look handy and difficult to beat.” Trainer Peter Peacock has booked Alford for the Jet Roofing Pace, where the Puppet will steer Charisma King in the last of the early quaddie legs. “He seems to be battling. Ran a place or two a fair while back, but will have to improve to figure.” He has more optimism for Geoff Walker trained Rock On Playboy, who’s been priced at long odds in the MC Labour Pace, where he will start from gate 10. “He’s been racing OK without much luck from bad draws. He’s not a bad horse if things go his way,” Alford said. “Hopefully there will be a bit of speed on because he can hit the line pretty good.” And then there’s Son Of A Whiz, a promising three-year-old Angus Hall trotter who’s won three of seven since joining Brent Lilley’s camp including his only run this spell. He’ll start from gate five in the North Central Review Trot and Alford said “he’s by far my best chance”. “He had a good run and did it pretty comfortably last start. He’s got good gait speed, so he may roll along and find the front,” he said. “(Main danger) Emerald Stride is struggling a little at the moment and galloped at its last start, so it will have to be at the top of its game to win.” Post-interview Alford also picked up the steer on Chris Lang’s last-start winner Arts Dash, who Craig Rail’s marked a $3.60 chance to win the TAB Long May We Play Pace. And then Alford’s night ends with another Lilley-trained entrant, Shady Jess, in the Kilmore Trackside 3YO Pace. “She had a couple of trials and improved a bit from the first to the second one. She can run a place, but hard to see her beating Atlantis or Safe Jewels.” 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: Kilmore, R1 N4, ALBERIA Produced a good trial performance even without considering his assessment (NR44, the winner Starlight Safari is a NR55). He settled down in fourth position, started to pick up ground in the back straight and finished determinedly out wider off the track. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Shepparton, R5 N3, 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

Trackside cheers are something of a distant memory due to closed racecourses but there have still been plenty of ownership thrills for trainer Gary Donaldson’s many connections. Pacers Bendigo has rattled off four wins since the April 2 transition to region-based racing, with the diligent work of syndicate members helping cut through social isolation. “Alan Prentice has done a great job,” trainer Gary Donaldson said. “He keeps in contact with all the members and sends emails every second day following their progress. “We chat about two days before they race and I give my ideas about what I think their chances are. Thank God the horses are going good and we have had four wins since region-based racing started, including two in one night, which was a lot of fun. "It’s a shame they can’t be on track, but they are all used to now watching the races on thetrots.com.au. It would be a bit like living in Siberia if the team was not going so good.” The winners have included Rockz Arnt Pets, who along with Leigha Miller won on the first night (April 3) of the Central region's racing. For the first time since that win the gelding races tonight for Donaldson and Pacers Bendigo in the Helloworld Travel Golden Square Pace, the seventh race on the program that streams at 8.21pm on Trots Vision. “He has drawn awkwardly and is first up from a little break,” Donaldson said. “He’s a chance, because he’s a good, little, honest horse and has done a good job, but he probably needs the run. Whatever he does (tonight) he will improve on.” What’s also certain is that there will be plenty of eyes on the four-year-old Pet Rock gelding, with both Pacers Bendigo 1 and 2 among the ownership throng. “Alan and I started Pacers Bendigo in ’92 or ’93 – I used to buy a lot from New Zealand and had success with some smart horses,” Donaldson said. “That ran through to ’96-’97, we had a break and then HRV circulated to clubs that they’d like each of them to kick off a syndicate. “Noel Ridge reeled in Alan Prentice and all the trainers at Bendigo were asked to submit horses they could offer up with the possibility of syndication. I popped a couple of offers in and fortunately they were picked up.” While the “well-bred horse” first offered didn’t reach the lofty heights hoped of it, Donaldson soon made amends for the syndicate with Regal Ambition, “who did a good job” and got the ball rolling. Now the syndicate has a share of six horses. “It’s about a third of the stable. It is not about money for me, but it’s about bringing new people into harness racing," Donaldson said. “Pacers Bendigo has brought in between 25 to 30 people who have never owned a horse before, probably half have never been to harness racing before. And they are absolutely loving it.” 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: Mildura, R8 N5, GOVINNI Hasn’t raced in Victoria since December 2016 and has been in Queensland for the past few seasons. He was very impressive at his trial victory where he settled down last early, came out three horses wide at the 600m mark and rushed straight past his rivals, scoring by an ever increasing 40m. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Michael Howard  

Brooke Wilkins introduced herself to Victorian harness racing in the best possible fashion on Saturday night with victory at her very first drive since moving to the state. The former Sydneysider recently joined the powerful Emma Stewart stable and partnered the yard's six-year-old horse Somewhere Secret to an all-the-way victory in the Alabar Pace (1720m, NR 80-89) at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was a memorable triumph for the 22-year-old, who only shifted to Victoria to work for Stewart a few months ago and had rarely been seen in the sulky during recent years. "It was good to start off with a winner. I haven't driven in a race for a long time so it's good to be back," Wilkins said. "It's very special. He's a lovely horse around the stables, he's good to do anything with and it's good to get that win for Emma and Clayton (Tonkin)." Wilkins has a rich harness racing background with her grandfather Bill and father David both having been trainers. Bill was perhaps best known as caretaker of champion pacer Cardigan Bay during his career. Wilkins said she was loving her time in Victoria working for the state's premier training complex. "It's quite an experience driving so many Group 1 winners in one day - it's just crazy," she said. "They've got a great team out there and great horses and it's a really good environment." Somewhere Secret has now won 11 of his 22 career starts for more than $80,000 in prizemoney. Like the previous weekend, racing was conducted at Melton in the morning and then the evening on Saturday. Across the day's 15 races, Stewart collected five winners while Greg Sugars took driving honours with four victories. Another major highlight was the third installment of the Eureka versus Rocknroll Ronnie rivalry. With the ledger sitting at one apiece from their two recent Melton battles, it was Andy Gath-trained Eureka that took a lead in the showdown with a tough win in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (1720m, NR 70-79). "They keep turning the tables on each other and I'm surprised at that time (1:53:7)," driver Kate Gath said. "I think he's tough and tonight we just went around, kept running and thought we would see what happens. We had nothing to lose and he was very good." The success was one of two for Andy Gath on the night after Explicit Castle scored victory in somewhat unusual circumstances. Generally regarded as a key piece of gear for pacers, the hopples were taken off the horse for the DNR Logistics Pace (2240m, 4YO and older) and it helped the horse score his first win since February. For the third weekend in a row, a morning meeting will be held before the regular night card next Saturday as the industry continues its trial of the new early timeslot. TROTS VISION: HEAR FROM SATURDAY NIGHT'S WINNING DRIVERS IN ALL CLEAR First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: Swift Freight Maiden 3YO Pace N3 Magic Smile (3YO Grinfromeartoear gelding out of Cobargo Magic; trainer John McDermott, driver Scott Raines): Fourth foal out of 13-time winning What's Next mare, whose siblings are yet to taste success. N9Jet Jockey (3YO Art Major gelding out of Eilish Mary; trainer Gary Dolandson, driver Jayden Brewin). Four-time winning Exotic Earl mare's most prolific progeny was Regal Ambition, winner of 13 of 146 starts and more than $100,000 in stakes.   HRV - Tim O'Connor  

The last few months have been filled with many firsts for up-and-coming star Connor Clarke and this Saturday will provide yet another. While the young reinsman has had over 30 drives and five winners, the 17-year-old is yet to take on the task of partnering a squaregaiter under race conditions. That will change when he gets in the sulky behind Brian Kiesey-trained Gentleman Sir in the Breckon Farms Trot (2240m, NR 61 to 74) at Tabcorp Park Melton. "I'd like to drive a few more trotters and eventually drive a trotting winner - that's probably my closest goal," Clarke said. "I've driven a few at the trials for Glenn Sharp, but not in a race yet. This is my first race drive on a trotter. "The pacers are a bit more naturally held to their gait so you can swing them a bit more and rush them a bit more and that sort of thing. "Where trotters you have got to be real patient, hold them through their gait and always have a hold of their mouth to keep them more fluent in their gait. Just keeping them trotting is the main thing." Gentleman Sir looks outclassed in the field of six, but it will be a good learning experience for Clarke, who has a great book of drives across the double-header of Melton meetings. The Ross Creek-based youngster feels he is building confidence with more and more exposure to races. "I'm getting more comfortable and confident as I go through the drives," he said. "I'm learning each race and taking it as it comes really." Clarke scored three winners across last weekend's meetings at Tabcorp Park and looks well placed to at least equal that feat again on Saturday. On top of the steer on Gentleman Sir, he has locked in a couple of drives from the powerful Emma Stewart stable, including Firerockfireroll in the early card and Like A Wildfire in the evening program. He will join forces with father Stephen's horses Monsieur Delacour and Miss Mcgonagall, as well as Ted Caruana's Lets Go Better and Allan McDonough's Pradason. And his best of the seven drives? Probably Firerockfireroll. "It's a hard pick, there's a lot of nice chances," Clarke said. "It's a good problem to have, but I reckon Firerockfireroll is my best chance in the last of the day. "They've got a really high opinion back in the camp with him. He's still a little bit green, but he should roll to the top as well and be able to dictate and be too quick for them at the end." The Saturday morning meeting runs from 8.30am to 10.45am, with the evening timeslot between 4.52pm and 8.30pm. 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, Act Now Broke at the start and lost approximately 30m, tacked onto the group at the 1100m mark and finished off strongly for second. It was a big performance and he obviously has a promising future. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R1 N4, Sumomentsomewhere Was able to take out the trial by trailing the leader and using the sprint lane. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R7 N8, 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 BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (NIGHT), R3 N3, Beautiful Woman April 17: 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 April 9: Settled three back on the inside and finished on strongly for a game victory. The final sectionals were fast and she is nicely bred so she appears to be very promising. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Tim O'Connor

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

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