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Ride High gifted sports' lovers another insight into his audacious talent with a dominant display at Tabcorp Park tonight. Having dropped jaws with his 25.8-second finishing burst a fortnight ago, Ride High reinforced his brilliance in the Melton City Council Sprint, with his 1:50.8 mile rate the equal third quickest ever recorded at Tabcorp Park Melton, and produced despite the cool, windy conditions and the plugs being left in. Reinswoman Kima Frenning told Trots Vision post-race “it’s a real privilege to get to drive a horse like him”. “He really is a once-in-a-lifetime horse and to be able to say I won two races on him is pretty special,” she said, having won by 13 metres from Courageous Saint after a 27.3-second first quarter and then getting home in a 53.6-second last half. “I said to (trainer) Clayton (Tonkin) before the race ‘do you want to pull the plugs to see how fast he can go?’,” she said, but again she’s didn’t need to. “It’s scary to think he’s untapped still. It’s pretty freaky. He does this in second gear. “He’s real professional, he knows where the line is and he knows when he has to race. I’m sure there was plenty more there.” RELIVE RIDE HIGH'S FINISHING BURST AND HEAR FROM KIMA POST-RACE: In a soundcloud interview Tonkin told Andrew Bensley post-race that Ride High was “an awesome specimen. He did it quite easily.” “I think you will get a real shock when (Kima) does open him up, what he can run, but we don’t want to break him down. He’s a beautiful big horse, but he’s just such a gorgeous moving horse. He gets across the ground so easily.” Tonkin told Bensley that Ride High was “the best horse I’ve put my hands, just on sheer brilliance and untapped potential”, and that he would now plot a course to the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 12. “I have to sit down and decide where I’m going to head before that. He will have a few runs to harden him up so he’s spot on (for) Vic Cup,” Tonkin said. “His work’s always brilliant, but he was on his toes more tonight. Bringing him away and getting him under lights and getting him amongst it all again, it just tightens him up every time.” HEAR THE FULL INTERVIEW OF CLAYTON TONKIN TALKING TO ANDREW BENSLEY: AndrewBensley · Clayton Tonkin   HRV - Michael Howard  

Will he or won't he? It's the question many are asking about Reactor Now's ability to measure up to metropolitan grade racing. And if you ask one of the men that knows him best, you'll get a pretty confident answer. Top driver Josh Aiken has partnered his father David's horse in its last seven-straight triumphs, which have come at Shepparton, Kilmore and Bendigo. He's been breaking the clock and winning by good margins, but now comes his biggest test since joining the Aiken stable from Michelle Wight's team last year. "You see it so often. Horses fly through their grades and they hit their mark once they get to that metro level," Josh Aiken said. "He definitely feels like the horse that is going to go on with the job. "He's blessed with a stack of gate speed, he's very tough, he's got good high-end speed and I think he's going to be a versatile horse going forward. "He's got all the right ingredients to take that next step and be a really serious horse. You live in hope as a trainer and a driver so you just hope that it happens. "I'd back him to say that he's going to take that next step and be a genuine country cups contender come summer." Reactor Now, who has won nine of 12 career races, will come from the back row in Saturday night's COGS Regional Challenge Pace Final (1720m, NR 70-79). His main rival looks to be the in-form Eureka, who has drawn in barrier four. "It's an interesting race," Aiken said. "I can probably see a situation where Streitkid crosses early and Eureka comes across and finds the running line, and hopefully I can follow Bullys Delight through and lob in a pretty handy spot, whether that's one-out one back or one-out two back. "I think it will be a pretty fast mile rate. I think it will be a good race." Aiken will be looking to Reactor Now to become one of the pin-up boys of the stable with news top-line pacers Leonidas, Bringitonhome and Ideal Star are all off to the United States on Monday to race abroad. Both Leonidas and Bringitonhome had been engaged to race at Melton, but have been scratched from their respective races due to imminent flights. Aiken said he was looking forward to his first trip back to Victorian harness racing headquarters on Saturday night. It will be the first Saturday evening program since the move away from regional racing, which started back in early April. As well as Reactor Now, Aiken will also partner Sassy Pants in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-79). TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden tackle the Tabcorp Park Melton card on SENTrack from 5.30-9.30pm on 1593AM in Melbourne, 1539AM in Sydney, 657AM in Perth, 801AM in Gosford, 96.9FM in Ingham, 99.1FM in Atherton 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 Tabcorp Park Melton, R4 N5, Ride High The outstanding pacer is on the comeback trail and appeared to be very sharp at his trial victory. He has only suffered defeat once in eleven starts to date but he has only raced twice since winning the Breeders Crown in 2018 with his latest performance being in December. He pushed forward to find the lead and dominated the trial. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R5 N6, Wobelee Put in a slashing trial performance to finish second. He settled down last of the four runners, moved away from the inside on the home turn and flew home late in a slick final half of 56.0 seconds. REPORT & REPLAY     HRV - Tim O'Connor

Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan will unleash team naughty and nice at Ballarat tonight hopeful a testing trio can bring some success. Demmler will steer Quinlan-trained horse Sportzscribe and Quinlan will steer Demmler-trained pair Fleetwood Rock and Smile Lyle, a somewhat unusual double act that Demmler said had a simple explanation. “I just drive the ones that are a bit naughty and the ones that aren’t naughty she drives,” he said. “With the injuries she’s had over time they start to catch up with you a little bit. Sportzscribe has always been one of those horses – he can pull a bit.” Otherwise they take advantage of Quinlan’s lighter weight in the sulky, a sometimes challenged assertion but not for Demmler. “No doubt it is massive,” he said. “Some agree and some disagree, but I know it’s a big plus. “I’m a big believer in the affect of weight in the cart now. All these young people coming through are light and I know Gav (Lang) was always big on his weight and watching what he ate.” They’ll be hopeful of finding the winning formula at Bray Raceway tonight. Of the trio Demmler's associated with he says Sportzscribe is the most likely winning chance ahead of Smile Lyle and Fleetwood Rock, so let’s tackle them in that order. Sportzscribe steps out of gate five in the Nextra Wendouree Pace, the lightly-raced Sportswriter four-year-old gelding has only competed twice in the past 11 months, a win at Melton on April 22 and then a fifth placing on June 20. “I got told by the trainer (Quinlan) I got lost last start, I probably went a bit earlier than I wanted too,” Demmler said. He said the four-time winner was at his best as a sit-sprinter, “but he can get off the gate”. “I will come out forward and make a decision,” he said. “He is pretty quick away when you want him to be, but you have to be careful because he can get pulling.” Marked a $4.50 chance by Good Form analyst Blake Redden, Sportzscribe is out of Bettor Abs, a three-time winner and half-sister to Our Awesome Armbro ($849,309). Demmler’s optimistic he’s a metropolitan class horse. “I thought that he would get to Melton, he’s had a few little setbacks and bad manners have let him down a little,” he said. “I think he should be able to go to town and win a M0 for sure.” Smile Lyle steps out in the last of the night – the TAB Long May We Play Pace – fresh from a short spell dating back to May 4. Demmler believes the time away has been beneficial. “The freshen up has worked pretty good, because his attitude has changed a bit since he’s been back,” Demmler said. “He trialled all right the other day and his work has been good since. A couple can go all right in it (the race), but they will know he’s there.” And finally there’s Fleetwood Rock, perhaps the one who’s given Demmler most consternation because he’s so invested, not only being the trainer but also the owner. “I paid a lot for him at the sales, probably overs, but I really liked him,” he said. “I didn’t pick him out in the book, but just kept walking past him and really liked him. He is a half to Concealment, a beautiful horse. “He unfortunately got his leg caught in a fence and did a bit of damage and we are lucky to still have him.” A three-year-old, Fleetwood Rock won on debut and has since placed twice in his following 10 starts, most recently being luckless at Melton and before that struggling for a run at tonight’s venue. “He was a bit unlucky at Ballarat, Jodi thought if she had have got through he could have won. “Drawn seven is difficult (tonight). I don’t mind him, but he’s no star. He’s got to improve to take on the good horses.” Demmler will then return to Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow with a hand in four starters including My Kiwi Mate in the Melton City Council Sprint, a race certain to draw plenty of eyes for the presence of Ride High. “It’s been a long time since (My Kiwi Mate) last won. He had the Inter Dominion, then a spell, then his first couple of runs back were not too bad,” Demmler said. “He was disappointing last start,” when he finished third but 30 metres in arrears of Ride High. “It had been a month between runs and the more racing he has the better he is. I expect him to go better than last start.” Having said that, threatening Ride High was another matter altogether. “He’s freakish. For Clayton (Tonkin) to say he’s the best horse he’s trained … he’s had some really good horses. “When Kima didn’t move and for him to beat the caliber of horses like that, no doubt he is freakish. “It didn’t give me a thrill driving against him but watching it back it does – it reminds me of the old Poppy days.”   HRV - Michael Howard

DEBUT wins don’t come any better than Utopia. The buzz Victorian baby trotter lived-up to the hype when came from off the pace to win by a staggering 82.5 metres at Shepparton yesterday (Thursday). It came little more than a week after he won a Melton trial by half the straight and co-trainer Clayton Tonkin declared him “a bit special.” In contrast to the trial where Utopia ran straight to the lead and kept going further in front, he sat third and was given plenty of time to balance up by driver Jodi Quinlan. Another debutante, Rogue Gentleman, who had some support in betting to beat Utopia, led by a big space in the middle stages, but it was clear 600m from home that Utopia had him covered. Quinlan eased Utopia off Rogue Gentleman’s back at the 500m and he rushed to the front, increasing the margin all the way home without being extended. For a two-year-old trotter having his first start, Utopia’s 2min2.6sec mile rate for the 2240m mobile was pretty slick. By comparison, the three-year-old trotters in the next race, won by the Breckon Farms-bred Kyvalley Senator, went 2min3.5sec. Utopia is superbly-bred by US trotting sire Trixton out of former talented Victorian trotting mare Gluteus Maximus, a winner of 14 races and over $100,000. This is only Gluteus Maximus’ third foal, the others have been winners Derrie Aire (seven wins, $68,730) and Kyvalley Shaunie (three wins, $28,723). Utopia shows all the qualities to become just the second trotter to win a Group 1 race for the Stewart/Tonkin team, following the immensely exciting Alpha Male. He won at Group 1 level in late 2018 and is close to a comeback. “We’ve hardly had any trotters, but a few of our owners were keen to get involved and it’s been a tremendous start,” Clayton Tonkin said. “Alpha Male could seriously be anything if we can keep him sound. He’s an absolute giant, but with so much talent it’s not funny. “And we’ve also got a good opinion of Cover Of Darkness.” Cover Of Darkness, a three-year-old, is going for this third run from as many starts in the seventh race at Ballarat tonight (Friday). Quinlan has the drive on him as well. Here’s the replay of Utopia’s debut win at Shepparton yesterday: Watch the replay here.   Adam Hamilton

How fast can he go? That's the question on the minds of many trots lovers as the countdown's on in earnest to Ride High's second-up run at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday. Despite only having had 12 career starts, the five-year-old's name already features prominently throughout the record books and he appears well-placed to add another entry to the all-time top 10 quickest final quarters in the Melton City Council Sprint, which streams on Trots Vision at 6.32pm on Saturday. Ride High hasn't put a foot wrong at trainer Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart's stable since his audacious first-up win on June 20, with Stewart saying “he’s doing everything right" and adding "he’s been working super this week”. Having already delved into his dominance in the final 800 metres, let's take a closer look at who's shone most brightly in the sprint to the line. Since the track's opening on March 2009, the top 10 quickest final quarters recorded by winners is dominated by all-the-way victories, with leaders often pinching a cheap quarter and then powering to the post, but there are a few exceptions. One thing that is assured is that Ride High stands alone at the top of the pops. Here are the top 10 final quarters recorded by winners at Tabcorp Park Melton: WINNER RACE DISTANCE DATE Q4 MR RIDE HIGH IRT BREEDERS CROWN (3YO C&Gs)  2240 25/8/18 25.7 1:55.2 RIDE HIGH VALE ROD OSBORNE PACE 1720 20/6/20 25.8 1:51.6 POSTER BOY VHRSC VICTORIA SIRES CLASSIC 2240 7/4/18 25.9 1:56.8 MILLY PEREZ TAB.COM.AU PACE 2240 6/1/17 26.0 1:57.0 MAKES EVERY SCENTS SCHWEPPES PACE 1720 24/8/18 26.1 1:55.6 MACHA CADUCEUS CLUB CUP 2240 16/2/13 26.2 1:56.1 BORN TO ROCKNROLL COGS SERVICES RISING STARS PACE (HEAT) 2240 26/1/19 26.2 1:56.8 RESTREPO HOT TO TROT 4YO BONANZA 1720 16/2/13 26.2 1:52.4 STUNNING GRIN COUGAR BOURBON PACE 1720 7/5/16 26.2 1:55.9 MOONROCK RAY 'ROCKY' BAKER MEMORIAL FFA 1720 19/1/18 26.2 1:54.8   HRV - Michael Howard  

Despite the remarkable exploits of pacer Ride High it’s getting pretty hip to be square at Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s busy stable. Their dabbling into trotting continues with today’s Shepparton debut of Utopia in the Your Sold Real Estate 2YO Trot and, like fellow Australian Premier Trotting Sale graduate and stablemate Alpha Male (pictured), the richly bred two-year-old brings a mighty reputation to his first race day. A few missteps aside Alpha Male has built himself a big reputation despite having only five starts to date and Stewart some of that extraordinary talent, witnessed in a 34-metre Group 1 win at his last start, was also on display in Utopia. “We really like this one, we rate (Utopia) pretty highly,” Stewart said of the two-year-old Trixton colt, who’s out of Nick Hooper and Paul Graydon’s mare Gluteus Maximus, a winner of $104,855 and dam of Derrie Aire ($68,730) and Kyvalley Shaunie ($28,723). “He’s not quite Alpha Male at the same stage, but he’s not far off it. They are both very similar – strong, fast and, touch wood, safe. I’ll be disappointed if he gets beaten (today).” The confidence was only fuelled by Utopia’s most recent trial, when he was a 52.5-metre winner. It was a performance that didn’t go unnoticed by Craig Rail in his Trial File, with Utopia going straight into the Blackbook having “been extremely impressive at the trials and continued his good form with a runaway victory”. As for Alpha Male, Stewart said he was nearing a race track return and would carry lofty expectations. “He is three weeks away,” he said. “He comes back easily marked, so should have a nice run coming into lower races. “If all goes well and he stays sound (the Great Southern Star) is definitely something we are aiming at.” Away from the trotters, Stewart will also today debut supremely bred Bettors Delight colt Fightnfury, a half-brother to Group 1 winning two-year-old Mirragon. “He’s found a tricky race first up,” Stewart said of the Hunter Rural 2YO Pace. “He’s no star, but is an honest horse. “As long as he runs on strong we’ll be happy. He is a nice enough horse, but not our best and definitely not our worst.” And Stewart will also have Bruce and Val Edward bred and owned filly Float On By step out today in the Alabar 3YO Pace. “She’s OK, she’s no star but she’s honest,” Stewart said. “If she gets a good trip she will be thereabouts. She will need a few things to go her way.” But the last word is reserved for the horse of the moment, Ride High, who returned with an audacious record 52.7-second final 800 metres at Melton on June 20 and will be second-up this Saturday night. “He’s doing everything right. He’s been working super this week,” Stewart said. “He has enough gate speed to come out of the gate and roll along at his own clip. When he’s towing Kima it’s not like towing anything and that’s the way that he likes 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 Tabcorp Park Melton, R4 N6, Yankee Gold Proved too good for JILLIBY DINGO in fast time and was able to beat the same pacer at the races on (June 18) where he produced a powerful display. He is out of a half sister to the great Desperate Comment (1.55.7, $1,033,065), so he is certainly bred to be a tough campaigner. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R5 N8, Lucky Pats Son Is a good beginner from the standing start and most of his best efforts in Victoria have been from starting behind the tapes. REPORT   HRV - Michael Howard  

When Lance Justice parade’s the pre-race ring at Tabcorp Park with River Patrol tonight a glance around will she fresh faces peering back. The 62-year-old veteran of more than 17,000 race starts is the only driver in the Hygain Pace, to stream at 6.27pm on Trots Vision, without a C for ‘Concession’ next to his name. “It’s pretty unique, to go out with just a group of young drivers,” Justice said. “There’s some real talent there. While they have got their concession claim it’s a chance to come in and show they have got the ability." Justice will start from the middle gate, with Connor Clarke, 17, Xavier O’Connor, 23, and Olivia Weidenbach, 18, drawn on his left and Shannon O’Sullivan, 20, Michelle Phillips, 22, and Ryan Duffy, 24, to his right. “I will be looking forward to going out with them and having a look,” Justice said. “Nothing gives me more hope than when I look around and see all the youngsters. "You can have as many good horses as you want, but its personnel coming into the sport that puts you up in lights. “They run for Michelle and Shannon, Olivia’s very quiet on the track but loud in the stalls, Connor Clarke’s a good boy. He drove one for us a couple of weeks ago and did well. Ryan got the chance to show what he could do (during regional racing) and bloomed, and Xavier’s a nice lad and got a lot of ability.” And while there will be no favors given in tonight’s $7000 pace, Justice said he was only too happy to share the lessons he’s learned in a career that’s seen him win more than $17 million for owners. “When I first started driving I had the best mentors,” he said. “A guy called Ronnie Cox, who was just a great guy and used to take great pride in teaching the young ones and then would always follow them. He did it with me and a lot of others. And another I learned a lot off was Jack Delaney. “I always thought one day I’d like to give something back if I could. I’ve spoken to some of the them about different things and they have accepted that and taken it away with them. I am always quick to hand on advice if I think it’s going to help them.” All seven starters in tonight’s second race are listed single-figure chances by Good Form analyst Blake Redden, who noted “almost every runner goes in with some winning claims”. He has The Lone Dancer on top with River Patrol the next most likely to salute, and Justice expects the nine-year-old gelding he’ll steer for trainer Albert Cefai will be at the head of affairs. “He’s got a lot of gait speed,” he said of River Patrol. “He is first up and Albert’s horses usually need a run or two. His biggest issue is he doesn’t find the line well. This is a drop in grade but and so he is a good each-way chance.” Justice will also take the reins of Majestic Jewel in the Niota Bloodstock 3YO Trotters Handicap for trainer Ron Comben. “Ronnie’s horse is a pretty nice horse who’s been trialing OK too. He is not without a chance,” he said. 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 Tabcorp Park Melton, R4 N6, Yankee Gold Proved too good for JILLIBY DINGO in fast time and was able to beat the same pacer at the races on (June 18) where he produced a powerful display. He is out of a half sister to the great Desperate Comment (1.55.7, $1,033,065), so he is certainly bred to be a tough campaigner. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R5 N8, Lucky Pats Son Is a good beginner from the standing start and most of his best efforts in Victoria have been from starting behind the tapes. REPORT!   HRV - Michael Howard  

Amid the relentless pursuit for success, David Murphy’s four-figure achievement was a rare moment to stop and reflect on just how far he’d come. Juliustigres’ victory in race one at Melton on June 20 brought up the 1000th win of Murphy’s training career some 11,127 days since his first, Lochlee Jack. “It’s a big thing,” Murphy said. “You are ticking along and don’t realise anyone is counting.” In the midst of preparing four starters for tonight’s racing at Terang, Murphy said the milestone was the result of passion and persistence. “I have never trained more than 20 at one time, have always just been a medium-sized stable, so it’s been pretty consistent,” he said. “I have been blessed. I’m a spud farmer’s son at a nice property, where dad started training as a hobby trainer. “I left school in ’86-87, we had four or five horses in work then. The rest of the family thought it was ludicrous leaving school to do this, but I had my heart set on it. To grow it from that to getting 1000 winners without a large amount of horses is a good achievement.” While he said the last eight years he’d toiled “without really good horses who could win out of turn" things had "picked up a little over the last 18 months and I have a few young ones at the moment who are looking promising”. The chase of a next big thing continues to be extremely motivating. “When you take on the job you know you are going to work every day of your life,” he said. “I do enjoy the grind, as much now as when I started. The next good one is just around the corner.” And, some 30-odd years on, he has refined his plan of attack. “I hope to get back to the sales more,” he said. “It’s a different age, you can’t wait for someone to give you the horse, you have to get the product and then get people involved.” Which is exactly what he did recently with a filly by Always B Miki out of Misty Forever, who was bred by Lyndon Turner and passed in at Melbourne’s February APG sale. “I thought she was a $30,000 filly, but she never got a bid,” Murphy said. “She was a bit immature looking and that can change a lot in a few months. I had another look at her a couple of months later and she had filled out and looks like she can run fast. “I bought her fairly cheaply and was rapt with the response I got when I advertised some shares in her on Facebook.” The as yet unnamed yearling is now beginning her journey towards the track and hopefully adding to Murphy’s win total. More immediate are the four he will float to Dalvue Raceway tonight and Murphy gave Trots Centre readers a runner-by-runner breakdown of their chances: R1 N1 Valla Raine “She is just battling away at the moment. She hasn’t gone on with things yet. She has a good barrier draw in the mares' race, but there are a few higher ranked off the back row. She has got good gait speed. Brent will try and get her to the first corner as quick as he can and then pick something to hand-up to and try and get to the top of the lane.” R3 N6 Aldebaran Leroy “Leroy’s quite a nice horse. He came to us from Beau and AJ Tindale’s because he was struggling on their bends, but I have finally got him trotting OK. I am just doing different things with his trotting between races and it would not surprise to see him jump to the front and win this, but it is a pretty quality field. I am happy I have got him trotting all the way, it’s a good start, now I’m just trying to see what makes him tick. He is definitely a top three chance if all goes well.” R4 N2 Atego Shades “This is his second start for us. He sucked us in a bit and I probably ran him too soon and should have trialled him at least once more. He probably wasn’t ready (first-up) and he knocked up and got tired. Since then he had a nice trial and is working well. From the draw he will be up in the firing line and I give him a fair chance.” R5 N6 Metro Man “He is going really well. He is at his best when he can lead, he possibly can’t, there might be a bit too much speed inside him. It might be similar to Stawell when he nearly got to the front but not quite. He’s in great order, racing well and will be up in the firing line at some stage.” 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: Terang, R3 N7, Aldebaran Tess A very smart maiden and was able to win her trial by a good margin. She backed up at Terang on Thursday when a big second behind Cover of Darkness, so she is ready to win a race. REPORT BLACKBOOKER: Terang, R3 N11, Victree Hill Hasn’t raced since striking trouble at Melton in January. He showed a lot of ability in his two starts last preparation and he might be in for a good campaign considering he won his trial by a large margin. REPORT     HRV - Michael Howard

Dan Mielicki, Simone Fisher and Matt Stewart were joined by David Moran on RSN’s Cracking the Codes for an update on one of Australasia’s premier pacers Lochinvar Art. A week after Ride High’s first-up blitz to break the Melton last-half record (52.7secs) and obliterate rivals by 28.9m in 1:51.6, Moran praised the performance of one of his biggest likely Victoria Cup adversaries come October.  “I thought he was brilliant,” he told Cracking the Codes. “You see a lot of horses run time nowadays, but you know when they are really moving. And he did that the other night. He hit the line like he had another 200 metres to go.” Moran said Lochinvar Art was a “once in a lifetime” type horse and “the perfect horse” with his mix of speed and strength. Listen to the full interview on the Cracking the Codes podcast Meanwhile, Milicki, Stewart and Fisher also paid tribute to the late Graham Salisbury, whose partnership with Subzero will forever be etched in folklore. Salisbury passed away last week. “It was such a unique pairing and it is hard to define the story, whether it was a racing story or a community story or a mental health story,” Stewart said. Mielicki recalled fond memories at the track when Salisbury went out of his way to ensure patrons, especially kids, were able to pat Subbie. “I remember when my kids were really little. Every time we were there Graham would call them over so they could pat Subzero. It wasn’t just my kids, he did it to everyone, he let everyone pat Subzero," he said.    Harness Racing Victoria

If paying tribute to a loved one can be achieved on the racetrack, then Kate Gath's stunning four-peat at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night was the perfect way to honour her late grandfather John Tee. Tee, 81, passed away on Friday after a long-running health battle and Gath was able to say goodbye with a brilliant night in the sulky at Victorian harness racing headquarters. The usually reserved Gath gave a salute to the heavens when she crossed the line first behind Arden Voyager, which made it three wins in succession by taking out the DNR Logistics East Versus West Pace. She then followed up with victory behind Plan Ce, who is trained by her father Peter Thompson and raced in family interests. Further success with stars Eureka and McLovin completed a treble for her husband Andy and capped off a huge night at the office. "(Pop) was always a person to acknowledge birthdays and stuff, so he'd always go to the racecaller who was calling and say it's so-and-sos birthday and it used to drive me mad," Gath laughed. "I hope he was watching because I think he would have been really happy that he was acknowledged in that way and with the connection we both had with the horses, it just seemed fitting really to be able to do that." Gath has fond memories of Tee, who spent more than 30 years at the Port Pirie Smelter where he worked as a leading handler of the concentrate storage bins. While it was more of a hobby and passion, Tee also had a rich history in racing both as a standardbred trainer and racecaller of all codes. He broadcast Gath's first career triumph in the sulky all the way back in 2000 with Rxplore at Whyalla, and was able to share the joy of training a horse his granddaughter was able to steer to victory. "I got home (on Saturday night) and I had like a million messages on my phone. Even from people that you forget that knew pop - everyone nearly knew him from harness racing. Even people like Lance Justice, because they were originally from South Australia, and people like Geoff Webster. "I forgot how well known he was and the amazing life that he had and career that he had as well. In harness racing, in calling racing in general. He loved the gallopers." While Gath stole the show in the gig, the performance of Anton Golino-trained squaregaiter Imsettogo was the most impressive by a horse on the night. After galloping before the start and giving her rivals a huge advantage, the four-year-old mare eventually caught the field and then managed to charge clear in the home straight to win by nearly 20m. Racing returns to Melton on Wednesday night.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Fred Crews will feel like a proud parent with simultaneous birthday parties on the go tonight, albeit with any celebrations done a safe distance from Bendigo’s Lords Raceway. The trots owner-breeder will have both Maori Mayhem and Maori About Time debut tonight, who are both out of his broodmare Happy Maori, a daughter of Sundonna and therefore a half-sister to both Maori Time (pictured) and Maori Law. Crews said it was “most unusual” to have the pair break through for their maiden starts tonight, when they will race for trainer-driver Chris Lang, “It’s always exciting to get one you have bred to the racetrack and hopefully they can get that first Vicbred payment,” Crews said. Maori About Time is aptly named for the patience it’s taken to get the five-year-old to debut, but there are high hopes for the Majestic Son mare who steps out in the last race of tonight’s program, the J & A Mazzetti Painting Trot, which streams on Trots Vision at 8.08pm. “She had two preparations with another trainer. Chris likes her and believes she is the better racehorse of the two,” Crews said.  “He thinks she will win races, how far she goes we don’t know. “We have high expectations for her, but first-up she finds a very tough race. I think Chris will just focus on getting her away safely, find a spot and see what happens in the last lap.” Sleepee is drawn on Maori About Time's direct outside, Kyvalley Kyrie on her inside and Avimore off the back row in the highly competitive, rating 46 to 55 trot. Maori About Time’s trialled three times since April 21, including most recent consecutive third placings when well beaten by talented trotter Kheiron and before that third behind Brent Lilley pair Kyvalley Barney and Fields Of Kyvalley. When beaten six metres by Kyvalley Barney, Craig Rail remarked in his Trial File column that Maori About Time “set up the speed and was an unraced trotter taking on metropolitan performers, so she did a good job to finish as close as she did”. Her half-sister Maori Mayhem, by Pegasus Spur, makes her debut in the Bendigo Powder Coating 3Y0 Trot, which streams on Trots Vision at 5.32pm. “Chris think she can win a race or two, but he doesn’t have high hopes for her reaching the level of her illustrious relation Maori Time,” Crews said. “She’s a had of number of trials, she seems to be trialling reasonably well. Her early trials she made a few mistakes, at recent trials she has been a very safe trotter and trotted very nicely. “Tomorrow is probably her first real test, she hasn’t been pushed at trial and so we will be hoping for the best.” Maori Mayhem’s had six trials since April 14 and had two second and three third placings, including finishing 80 metres clear of tonight’s likely favourite Kyvalley Surfrider on June 4, when Craig Rail noted that the latter was inconvenienced by a galloper but Maori Mayhem “was in second position throughout and was always nicely clear of the last trio”. Beyond tonight’s performances Crews has plenty to look forward to in the trotting sphere, with “two Father Patrick foals at the moment trotting around the paddock and showing exceptional form”. One is out of Pretty Penny Maori, a half-sister to tonight’s combatants Maori About Time and Maori Mayhem. Additionally, he has Swedish-based speedster Maori Time newly in foal to Readly Express, a prized progeny he shares in partnership with Aldebaran Park and Menhammer Stuteri (stud), where she is based. “A decision will be made on whether to proceed to sale or race, but my preference will be to race in Sweden.” And then there’s Maori Law, who is in the midst of a three-month break before “returning for the Great Southern Star and all the big trotting races”. 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 N3, After The Chase Was very impressive. He did enjoy the perfect run behind the leader but he moved away from the markers on the home turn and showed a terrific burst of speed to draw away and win easily. REPORT & REPLAY Bendigo, R7 N5, Sleepee Showed gate speed and was without cover early before angling across to trail the leader. She moved away from the markers with 550m remaining then sprinted quickly and dashed away from her rivals to win by a large margin. REPORT   HRV - Michael Howard

The eyes didn't lie at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with Ride High's last half lowering the benchmark for exploits at Victoria's home of the trots. Dan Mielicki's "wow" and Kima Frenning's "ridiculous" were more than justified by the numbers after the Clayton Tonkin runner's barnstorming victory in Saturday night's Vale Rod Osborne Pace. Ride High's 52.7-second last half was the quickest final 800 metres recorded at Tabcorp Park, surpassing the previous benchmark set by Chilli Palmer of 53.4 seconds set in the 2014 4YO Bonanza. Making the feat all the more formiddable was the fact Ride High was merely allowed to roll along on Saturday night and was never pressed by Frenning nor challenged by a rival, with almost 30 metres separating him from second-placed Our Step Up. "I didn't pull anything. He probably just knocked off a little bit because he didn't have anything to race," Frenning told Trots Vision post-race. "He's so competitive and such a professional, if he had something to race I'd be scared to see what he could do in the last quarter." CLICK HERE FOR RIDE HIGH "RIDICULOUS" IN BLISTERING TABCORP PARK WIN Reinforcing Ride High's prodigious talent is his stranglehold on Tabcorp Park Melton's leading last half performers despite his tender age (five), limited racing (12 starts) and that his record time was set when first-up since December. Of the top five fastest last halves at Tabcorp Park he has three of them, including the two quickest last halves over the middle distance (2240m). Here are the top 10 last halves at Tabcorp Park:  WINNER RACE DISTANCE DATE LAST HALF LEAD TIME Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 MILE RATE RIDE HIGH VALE ROD OSBORNE PACE 1720 20/06/2020 52.7 7 29.7 29.9 26.9 25.8 1:51.6 CHILLI PALMER GARRARDS 4YO BONANZA 1720 8/02/2014 53.4 7.2 29.7 28.9 26.6 26.8 1:51.5 LOCHINVAR ART ALABAR 4YO BONANZA 1720 25/01/2020 53.7 6.8 27.9 27.6 27.3 26.4 1:48.6 RIDE HIGH COGS 4YO & 5YO CHAMPIONSHIP 2240 9/11/2019 53.7 47.5 32 30.8 26.9 26.8 1:57.8 RIDE HIGH IRT BREEDERS CROWN (3YO C&G) FINAL 2240 25/08/2018 53.8 45.5 30.5 30.6 28.1 25.7 1:55.2 LAZARUS EYNESBURY VICTORIA CUP 2240 28/01/2017 53.8 44.2 30 28.6 27.4 26.4 1:52.5 HECTORJAYJAY CITY OF MELTON PLATE XXVIII 1720 3/09/2016 53.8 6.7 29 29.9 27.2 26.6 1:51.7 IDEAL SCOTT SHADOW PLAY BREEDERS CROWN (4YO E&G) HEAT 2240 11/08/2013 53.8 46.9 30.9 30.3 27.1 26.7 1:56.3 MACHA CADUCEUS CLUB CUP 2240 16/02/2013 53.9 46.6 30.1 31 27.7 26.2 1:56.1 LUMINEER RELAY FOR LIFE @ TABCORP PARK PACE 1720 4/01/2020 53.9 7.5 30.4 29.1 26.9 27 1:53.1   HRV - Michael Howard

On a night when superstar pacer Ride High stole the headlines for his breathtaking return to racing, it could be easy to forget the return of Savannah Jay Jay to the winner's list at Tabcorp Park Melton. The evergreen nine-year-old showed he will be a major player in upcoming feature races after registering his first success since May 2019 in the Woodlands Stud Trot (2240m, NR 70-120). Given a perfect drive by reinsman James Herbertson, Savannah Jay Jay tracked long odds-on favourite McLovin for much of the trip and then outgunned him in the home straight. "It's super to have him back," Herbertson said. "It was all super at the end of his last campaign and then got a bit of bad news that he'd got a couple of injuries. He's always had bad feet, (Invermay-based trainer) Stan (Cameron) said, and I thought the run had finished, but tonight the old Savannah Jay Jay ... I think he's back." Herbertson and Cameron teamed up to win their first Group 1 race with Savannah Jay Jay in the 2019 Australasian Trotting Championship and Saturday night was just the second time since that the trio had joined forces. Herbertson had been unable to keep the drive on the horse through the early stages of the regional racing model. "It was just super to be able to get back on him," he said. "We've had such a good run and hopefully it hasn't finished. Tonight has given me a big buzz. To win on him again, it means a lot." Just over half an hour later, the return of Ride High didn't disappoint. In fact, the Clayton Tonkin-trained gun's comeback would have exceeded the expectation of most. Kima Frenning had been nervous about her first drive behind the five-year-old, but barely had a moment to worry as the son of Art Major strolled home to win the Vale Rod Osborne Pace (1720m, NR 90-120) by nearly 30m. Tonkin's partner Emma Stewart had declared the horse the best in Australia when fully fit and that statement looks hard to argue based on Saturday night's display. Ride High reeled off a blistering 1:51:6 mile rate, including final quarters of 26.9 and 25.8. Stewart said the horse would be raced sparingly in the lead-up to some of the big feature races, including the Victoria Cup in October. "He'll keep ticking along and stay in work and we'll probably just pick races here and there for him," Stewart said. In an ominous sign for future rivals, Stewart believes there's still "a fair bit" of improvement to come with Ride High, who has now won 11 of 12 career starts. "There's definitely improvement there and to do what he did tonight is just a huge achievement, not only for the horse but for Clayton in getting him to perform so well... he's done a terrific job," she said. It was announced last week that the 2020 Victoria Cup will carry $300,000 in prizemoney, as will the 2021 Great Southern Star for the elite level trotters such as Savannah Jay Jay.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Ride High may have changed the Australian pacing landscape with an audacious performance in tonight's Vale Rod Osborne Pace, blazing home in a 52.7-second last half to record a stunning first up win. Race caller Dan Mielicki was running out of superlatives to thrust on to the Clayton Tonkin trained five-year-old, who produced an 11th win in only his 12th start. "He has absolutely demolished them," called Mielicki, as Ride High rattled home in 25.7 seconds to win in a 1:51.6 mile rate, despite a regulation first half over the short distance. "Now listen to this it's going to blow you away ... the last half-mile (52.7), wow. That's as fast as I've ever heard." In her first steer of the Art Major entire out of All The Magic, Kima Frenning comfortably guided the short-priced favourite to the front and when she allowed him to run for the last half he proved in a class of his own. "That was just ridiculous," Frenning said. "How easy he did that, how good he is. Still untapped, that was pretty cool. "It makes me a bit emotional. As a junior driver to get an opportunity to drive a horse like this. Obviously when you get on you just don't want to stuff up, that's what makes me a bit scared. It's super cool. I can't thank Emma (Stewart) and Clayton enough, they have done so much for me and been unreal. They're awesome." Frenning said as electrifying as Ride High was he still had plenty of improvement left in him, having been lightly raced, unchallenged and first-up since December. "I was just a passenger down the back. He's just such a professional," she said. "He just knows when to go. I couldn't hold him any slower down the back, when I let him rip he did that pretty easy. "I didn't pull anything. He probably just knocked off a little bit because he didn't have anything to race. He's so competitive and such a professional, if he had something to race I'd be scared to see what he could do in the last quarter." RELIVE RIDE HIGH'S SCINTILLATING LAST HALF COURTESY OF TROTS VISION:   HRV - Michael Howard

After notching a win and a second at Lord's Raceway within the space of three days this week, harness racing trainer Nigel Milne says Our Doreen Days has earned a few days of well-earned rest. The Goornong trainer-driver revealed it had not always been the plan to back the six-year-old gelding up over consecutive meetings, but he now has no regrets. "(Wife) Danielle does all the nominating and she nominated for that Monday race almost as a late nom because they were short of numbers, but we had already been accepted for the Wednesday as well," Milne said. "So, we ended up with two runs. "On paper, it might not have looked like a good idea. On the Monday night I was trying a bit hard ... I thought we might get that win, but it didn't come to fruition. "I've never backed a horse up before, especially off a day's rest, so I really didn't know what was going to happen. "But amazingly the horse has presented fresh and confident and it all panned out perfectly with a couple of scratchings and a small field and not getting too far back. "He is in a really good routine at the moment and he is really easy to train." Punters were obviously confident the Shadow Play gelding was up to the task in backing up, sending the Milne-trained pacer out as a $1.90 favourite on Wednesday. He duly repaid their confidence. Our Doreen Days, who recovered from a near-fatal tendon injury in 2018 to resume his racing career midway through last year, has gone on to add three wins from 27 starts to his former tally of one from 14 for the Milne family. His record through the regional racing period reads a consistent two wins, four seconds and two thirds from 10 starts for prize earnings of $15,420. With such a solid formline, it's no surprise to find Milne singing the praises of the concept and even advocating for its retention in some shape and form. "You do really appreciate the concept and the fact you are only going down the road to race. He (Our Doreen Days) knows the track well at Bendigo and he gets around it well, it's worked out perfectly," he said. "He's been a real gem for our family. "I'd certainly like it if it (regional racing) continued. "To be perfectly honest, most of the people you talk to in the industry, they see a real - not a need - but an avenue to continue regional racing. "There's been some suggestion of maybe having it just through the winter months. "When you are trying to keep people in the game, it's giving people an opportunity to earn a bit of money and keep their horses going. "You get a horse like this fellow, who wasn't overly competitive and now all of a sudden he's got that lease on life again. "All credit to Harness Racing Victoria for keeping us racing, they've been unbelievable." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today announced two of Victoria’s premier harness races, the 2020 Victoria Cup and 2021 Great Southern Star, will carry more prizemoney.   HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said the additional prizemoney for the races would be funded without change to HRV’s current stakemoney budget following New South Wales’ decision to postpone its Inter Dominion hosting until 2021. Bell also announced Australia’s premier trotting event, the Great Southern Star, would revert to its original format of two heats into a final (all over 1720 metres) on the one night and would be hosted on an all-trotting Friday night card during the 2021 Summer of Glory. “We are pleased to announce prizemoney increases to two of our major events and for the Great Southern Star to be returning to its original exciting format,” Bell said. “On the Great Southern Star changes, it is important we recognise that trotting is a huge part of HRV’s international strategy. In time, the hope is we will regularly secure international participation in the Great Southern Star as part of a series of Victorian trotting features during summer. “The Victoria Cup is a prestigious Grand Circuit pacing event. Traditionally it has been seen as our Cox Plate. We’re pleased to be able to honour the event with prizemoney more befitting its status.” It was announced last week that the Victoria Cup would remain in its October timeslot, Saturday night October 10, the night of the Caulfield Guineas meeting. The Great Southern Star will be held on a new all-trotting card at Tabcorp Park Melton on the Friday night before the A.G. Hunter Cup during the 2021 Summer of Glory. The Victoria Cup will carry $300,000 worth of prizemoney, while the Great Southern Star will be made up of two $50,000 heats into a $300,000 final.   HRV - Cody Winnell

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