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Connections of Buster Brady are hoping the horse has done enough this season to take home the Trots Country Cups Championship. The Kima Frenning-trained six-year-old had the harness racing world in awe with a fighting victory in Sunday's The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup (2700m) and a decision has been made to bypass the last two features on the series calendar. Buster Brady's win at the weekend has given him a huge break at the top of the championship leaderboard, but the move to skip the Mildura and Warragul cups leaves the door slightly ajar for Perspective to steal the spoils. Tim O'Brien's pacer is nine points behind Buster Brady in the standings and would need to win both cups to secure the $25,000 bonus for connections. Buster Brady's owner Luke Stokie said his horse had been nominated for the Preux Chevalier Free For All at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night and, if he starts in that race, it will be his last before a spell. "Initially we thought about going to Mildura, but we just thought it was maybe just asking a little bit too much of him given how good of a job he has done," Stokie, who shares ownership with his two brothers, said. "If he runs (on Saturday) that will probably be his last race for the season. We will probably give him three or four weeks off." Stokie is happy to tip his cap to Perspective if that horse can steal the Trots Country Cups Championship right at the death. "If Perspective can go out and do that, good on him because it would be an unbelievable effort," the 36-year-old said. "He's been running in these races throughout the whole season as well and he's acquitted himself really, really well." Stokie was full of praise for Frenning, who was given the opportunity to begin her training career with the former New Zealander. He said it was a matter of luck that Frenning landed such a good horse to be the first to race under her name. "She didn't have her trainer's licence at the time when we had Sapphire Swayze, which I claimed and was pretty much Kima's horse in the (David Aiken) stable. She looked after him and all that sort of stuff," Stokie said. "We paid $12,000 for him and I think he won three races and got claimed back for $17,000. "And then I said to her 'I'll find you another horse, but you've just got to get your trainer's licence'. "I was in the middle of purchasing a horse, the deal fell through and Buster Brady came up. "It was just pretty much the fact that the next horse I bought was going to be for her to train." Since then, it's been a dream run for the Swedish horsewoman, who has trained and driven the son of Real Desire to seven wins, including the Geelong, Cobram, Echuca, Maryborough and Horsham cups. Buster Brady's record now stands at 15 wins from 50 career starts with more than $320,000 in earnings.   Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

FORMER Kiwi Buster Brady confirmed his tag as Victoria’s Country Cups “King” with a spellbinding win in the $60,000 Group 2 Horsham Cup. The gelding is known for switching off at times in his races, but also for his staggering will to win. He showed plenty of both, but rallied courageously when it mattered to snatch a 1.5m win over talented pair Jilliby Chevy and Cant Refuse. Both had easier runs than him. Today’s Horsham Cup win followed other country cup wins at Maryborough, Echuca, Cobram and Geelong. The gelding has been a revelation for owners the Stokie Group and Kima Frenning, who is trying her hand for the first time as a trainer with Buster Brady. It was a stirring contest today, especially when Cant Refuse’s trainer-driver Matty Craven showed aggression in the middle stages, posted Buster Brady three-wide then eventually worked to the front and Buster Brady outside him. Cant Refuse pinched a break coming to the home turn and Buster Brady looked spent, while Jilliby Chevy surged through along the sprint lane. Just when it seemed Jilliby Chevy had Cant Refuse beaten and was home, Buster Brady lifted remarkably, surged and snatched the an epic win in a 1min58.7sec mile rate for the long 2700m trip. Another former Kiwi, Monty Python, made light of a 10m handicap courtesy of a superb Chris Alford drive to win the $25,000 Group 3 Horsham Trotters’ Cup. Andy Gath’s latest Kiwi import, Il Pirata, was the heavily backed favourite, but did some midrace work, trotted roughly and hung in the last 300m and was just fair in third spot. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is a real sense of timing about Major Trojan’s WA Derby campaign. In fact, barriers pending, Gary Hall Sr’s latest star has next Friday night’s Group 1 feature at his mercy. That became clear when, after three placings from his only three previous WA runs, Major Trojan finally draw well, led and thrashed his rivals in the Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was an armchair drive for Gary Hall Jr, who dictated through a dawdling 62sec middle half then zipped home in 56.2 and 27.3sec to win by 10.6m in a comfortable 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2130m. “All his runs have been fantastic and we knew he was building fitness. When he drew well this time, we knew he had the speed to use the draw and expected to him to win,” Hall Sr said. “Gaz said he did that easily and he’s right where we want him going into next week.” The main rival looks to be Kyle Harper’s exciting Franco Edward, who actually beat home Major Trojan (third) when second to Eloquent Mach at Gloucester Park two week’s back. Franco Edward stormed home from last and also looks to be building nicely. His owner Rob Watson shocked many recently when he said Franco Edward was potentially the best horse he’d had, remembering Watson also bred and races the outstanding Soho Tribeca. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THIS is shaping as one heck of a juvenile crop in Australia. Jilliby Nitro grab top seeding with his mesmerizing Gold Crown win at Bathurst last Friday. But we’ve been hearing for weeks now Be Happy Mach is the next young star out of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s barn. Be Happy Mach made the most of a lovely run to win his second race from as many starts and beat some exciting youngsters in the process in last night’s $24,000 Shakamaker Classic (1720m) at Melton. After trailing the leader and using the sprint lane, Chris Alford nursed him to a 2.9m win over the eye-catching Sanday for Andy and Kate Gath charging home for second and Kiwi-bred Hes Goneski tiring after leading for third. The only buzz youngster in the race, Soho Hamilton, was far from disgraced in fourth spot after drawing wide, being three and four wide early then doing the work outside the leader. Be Happy Mach and Jilliby Nitro are headed towards an Australian Gold showdown. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LOVEABLE young mare Miss Sangrial gave Team Brennan and stable driver Michael Grantham not only one of their biggest, but most rewarding wins at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Blowing punters away as a $51 shot, Miss Sangrial snatched a half-head win over classy former Kiwi mare Our Alfie Romeo with Lady De La Renta third and hot favourite Eden Franco fourth in the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m). “This is as good as it gets,” trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan said. “We’ve always had a good opinion of this mare, she’s a stable favourite, and to share the big win with Mickey (Grantham) is fantastic.” Another popular win on the came from Vultan Tin, who returned to form in the free-for-all for trainer Phil Costello and driver Chris Voak. The seven-year-old snatched a half-head win over Brennan’s evergreen The Bucket List with favourite Handsnwheels third in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2536m. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LAST season’s star three-year-old trotter Stress Factor will need to lift to snare a Harness Jewels invite. The Trotters’ Derby and Breeders Crown winner was moderate at best when fifth to Claudys Prince at Maryborough last Friday. He’s yet to show anything like his best form this term, casting in serious doubt a planned Kiwi raid by trainer Brent Lilley. __________________________________________________________________________________________ AS well as a Melton treble, top trainer Emma Stewart also won the feature race at Globe Derby last night. Stewart’s filly Celebrity Chef did the work outside the leader and dug deep to win the $15,000 Botra Fillies’ Classic with Jaimie-Lee King aboard for her first race start.   Adam Hamilton

The sight of wide open gates and the sound of rattling collection tins will welcome patrons to The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup meeting on Sunday March 31. "We decided to make our biggest day of the year a free event in support of our very special guest, The Naked Farmer - Ben Brooksby," explained Club President Justin Lane.  "It will be a great opportunity for our community to come together, enjoy the racing and off-track entertainment and toss in their gold coins for Ben's nominated charity, the RFDS mental health unit." What started as a bit of fun with a tasteful nude photo of Ben in "the buff" laying back in a truck load of lentils in order to educate consumers about the work that goes into putting food on their plate, has grown into a cheeky but powerful platform for raising awareness of mental health issues in the bush and providing support for the many sufferers.  Ben directs The Naked Farmer's fundraising efforts towards the RFDS mental health unit.  “I chose them because their professionals visit our remote towns and properties, providing treatment, support and mental health education for our rural communities,” he explained. Factors such as social isolation, lack of community connection and limited mental health services along with severe economic hardship caused by drought, fire and flood all contribute to the agricultural sector's over representation in Australia's (shocking) suicide rate. "Having dealt with mental health first hand, seeing others struggle with it and having family and friends take their own lives has encouraged me to stand up and help in any way I can," said Ben.  All the profits from sales of The Naked Farmer 2019 Calendar went to the RFDS together with $1 from each pair of TNF undies and hats sold. "We raised a staggering $17,228 last year and looking to build on that in 2019," Ben said. Ben will be out and about on the spacious lawns at the Horsham Racing Centre, enjoying his day out at the Cup. No doubt he'll be in for a chat and a photo or two, so make sure you get your backside trackside with your family and friends on Sunday, March 31, and chip in a couple of bucks for the RFDS and be a part of this great community event.  You never know just what might happen and what the outcome may be!   Tony Logan and Helen Friend

History will be made at The Weeky Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup on Sunday April 22nd with all adult patrons in the running to become an 'owner for a day' in a new competition being conducted by the Horsham & District Harness Racing Club. Club President Justin Lane said the Dunn-Ezy Seed Cleaning 'Owner for a Day' concept had been incorporated into the Club's flagship event to promote the sport of harness racing and encourage patrons to consider future involvement in the industry.   All members of the public attending the Cup meeting will be eligible to enter the competition, with up to 8 names drawn from the Dunn-Ezy barrel in the mounting yard at 3pm.   Each person drawn will become an official 'owner for the day', with their randomly assigned horse set to compete in an actual race later in the afternoon.   The 'owners for a day' will enjoy all the benefits experienced by actual owners attending the meeting to watch their horse compete.   They'll have access to Horsham's dedicated owners enclosure with complimentary drinks and finger food and the opportunity to meet their new trainer, driver and horse prior to the race.   When their horse scores up behind the barrier they will experience the nervous anticipation felt by owners and through the race ride the usual wave of ups and downs right to the finish line.   After the all clear is given by the chief steward the 'owner' of the winning horse pockets a cheque for $3,990 - the same amount the 'real' owner of the horse will receive.   "There are many ways people can be involved in the harness racing industry apart from being hands-on as a trainer or driver," Mr Lane said.   "Opportunities include becoming the owner of a standardbred as an individual, partner or member of a syndicate, through to simply getting involved with the club, becoming a member and volunteering on race days.   "Every sport needs grass root participants to survive and thrive and we think this new competition ticks all the boxes as far as getting the public involved," he said.   The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup meeting promises to be a great community event - in addition to the action out on the racetrack the afternoon will feature a community sulky sprint race, live music with local musician Darryn Wardle, a TAB punters club, Cup sweeps, giveaways and the giant video screen.   For the kids there's a host of free fun activities including the Pat Your Harness Hero, giveaways,competitions and the opportunity for one lucky child to win an ipad mini. Gates will open at 12.30pm.   "We strongly encourage everyone to get their backside track side on Sunday week and enjoy a great day out at the Cup said Mr Lane. " At the same time they'll have a chance to become an 'owner for a day' and maybe take home that cheque for $3,990." Tony Logan

The Weekly Advertiser has signed on as naming-rights sponsor of Horsham and District Harness Racing Club's April 22nd Horsham Pacing Cup. Pictured celebrating the partnership with the Cup are, from left, The Weekly Advertiser editor Dean Lawson, Horsham Harness Racing Club president Justin Lane, ACE Radio Horsham general manager Brendan O'Loughlin and harness-racing correspondent Tony Logan.        

Craig Demmler hopes My Kiwi Mate's days as a bridesmaid are over. The five-year-old son of Bettors Delight is blessed with ability. We've seen it in his 10 wins since joining the Demmler camp and in many of his top-level placings in the Queensland Flying Stakes, Qld Derby and the Breeders Crown Final at three. But Demmler wants those placings, many of which were eye-catching and sensational runs, to turn into Ws. "He's always been the bridesmaid, which you do get a little bit disappointed about," Demmler told Gait Speed on RSN today. "(Last start) we were just hoping the speed was on but unfortunately it wasn't, or it was early and then they backed it off, it was always going to make it very hard for him." On Sunday at Horsham in the $70,000 Horsham Pacing Cup (Group 2) My Kiwi Mate steps up to the stayer's distance, 2700 metres, to contest a leg of the 2016-17 Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship. "We know he can run the distance ... I know it's going to be a great field and they're seasoned horses, my horse isn't at this stage, but hopefully if he gets the right run he'll be thereabouts on Sunday," Demmler said. "I know when I worked with Dad (Ted Demmler) and he had Breenys Fella he always used to say to me if you travel them around the countryside ... even when you see Darren Weir talk on Racing.com, you can see with those sort of guys they say if you do travel them it can really make them into good horses. "This is why I've done that. I've always backed the horse. He's just one of those horses who seems to get better and better when you take him away and I found that in Queensland. That's why I decided to go to New Zealand. I'm just hoping each time he has a bit of a break he does get better." Hear the full interview with Craig Demmler on the Gait Speed podcast   Cody Winnell

The impressive harness racing winner of Sunday’s Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup will make his next stop at Shepparton this Saturday night. Keayang Steamer, who captured his second Horsham Cup success at the weekend (he also won the 2014 Horsham Cup), will line up in the Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup, said winning reinsman Glen Craven. The Shepparton Cup is worth $75,575 and is a Group 2 standing start race, the perfect lead-in race to one of the Summer of Glory jewels, the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup on February 6. Keayang Steamer, trained in Terang by Marg Lee, travelled well throughout in the breeze on Sunday before putting his opposition away with a lethal sprint off the back straight. He went on to win by 6.5 metres in a mile rate of 2:01.3 for the 2700-metre trip, his last 800m covered in 55.5secs. Five Star Anvil finished second from the one-one, with the two race favourites Mister Mundaka and Im Corzin Terror clocking in third and fourth. “He was travelling good… It helped that Im Corzin Terror put in a couple of rough ones on the corner,” Craven said. “He travelled good in the run and always felt strong. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on (leader Mister Mundaka) over the long trip because I was mindful of quality horses coming from behind (if we went too quick) “He’s come back in really good order. Things didn’t go quite as we would have liked up at Bathurst but hopefully he’ll keep on improving now.” Keayang Steamer has had six runs this preparation, winning the Maryborough Cup first-up and also scoring victories in the Sokyola Sprint at Melton and the Treuer Memorial (Group 2) at Bankstown, NSW. Keayang Steamer is a $16 shot for the Good Form Victoria Cup and a $13 chance for the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup with TAB.com.au. Meanwhile, trainer Dean Braun teamed with driver Nathan Purdon to take out the Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup (Group 2) on Sunday with eight-year-old squaregaiter Unico Pegasus. After settling back in the field, Unico Pegasus made his move three-wide down the back before swamping the frontrunners in the home straight to score by 5.1m in 2:05.5 for the 2700-metre standing start trip. Action Kosmos was second and Lord Liam third. >> Video replay of Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup >> Video replay of Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup WINNERS’ BREEDING/OWNERSHIP Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup UNICO PEGASUS (By Pegasus Spur out of Chiola’s Gem) Owners: A P Coniglio, P J Coniglio Breeder: Dave Gibbons Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup KEAYANG STEAMER (By Riverboat King out of Alimar Star) Owner: Levarg Racing Group Breeders: M A Lee and A C Craven   Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Emerging harness racing star Mister Mundaka will be out to maintain his stunning unbeaten record as a front runner when he lines up in the Group 2 $70,000 Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup on Sunday. The six- year -old Bettor's Delight gelding has not been beaten in 10 starts while leading since arriving at trainer Andy Gath’s stable from New Zealand 12 months ago. But he will face his toughest test at the head of affairs holding out the gun Margaret Lee trained pacer Keayang Steamer down the long Horsham home straight. Gath has opted to bypass the SA Pacing Cup in preference for the trip up the Western Highway to Horsham. “The horse didn’t really handle Globe Derby 100 percent in the Italian Cup and we thought he would be better suited around the big track at Horsham,” Gath said. “So far it’s worked out having drawn the pole, because he has shown he is very hard to get past when he has led, ” he said. Mister Mundaka has made the transition to open class in seamless fashion taking out the Popular Alm Free For All before finishing a gallant second behind Keayang Cullen at Ballarat in 1:53 after sitting parked. Keayang Steamer has returned to the race track in good style following a lengthy injury enforced lay off and driver Glen Craven expects the lightly raced seven-year-old to improve on his last start fourth behind Bling It On at Bathurst on Boxing Day. “He felt the long float trip and was a bit flat on the night but he should be back to his best at Horsham,” Craven said. The pair look set to dominate the race from their front row draws while the Dean Braun trained Im Corzin Terror appeals as the most likely to ‘spoil the party’ on the back of his gallant placing behind It Is Billy in last week’s Geelong Cup. by John Dunne

Horse lovers are in for a special treat on Sunday afternoon when Tanabi Bromac returns to the scene of his victory in the 2010 Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup to lead the field out for the 2016 edition of the $70,000 Group 2 harness racing contest.   Tanabi Bromac was retired in July 2013 after a racing career that spanned some 6 years and 107 starts.   The black gelding scored by 20 metres on debut at Bendigo as a 2YO and built the imposing record of 24 wins, 31 minor placings and stakes of $465,927.   Tanabi Bromac's victories include the Victoria Derby Final, a quartet of Country Cups at Shepparton, Wangaratta Echuca and Horsham, three wins at Melton, four at Moonee Valley and minor placings in a host of big races such as the NSW Derby, Vicbred 3YO Final, Sydney Inter Dominion Heat, Len Smith Mile and The Enduro.   Trained throughout his career by Elmore trainer Keith Cotchin, Tanabi Bromac campaigned successfully right across the nation, in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia and NSW.   But after retirement "Ernie" struggled to adapt to life in the paddock, much preferring the action around a racing stable.   The Cotchin family were well aware that he needed to be involved in something productive and stimulating and kindly offered their little champ to Shepparton horsewoman Julie Duffy for adoption and re-education.   "He's taken to his new life like a duck to water," said Julie. " I think he's going to make a great all rounder- jumping, trail riding and dressage."   Forward to Horsham on Sunday afternoon and Ernie accompanied by Julie and HERO program Manager Tanya McDermott will lead the field to a Horsham Cup victory, not in the sulky sporting the red and blue silks, but under saddle in the finest equestrian turnout.   PS. The Cotchin family gave Tanabi Bromac his stable name of "Ernie" after the popular, indigenous, television personality Ernie Dingo.   Tony Logan & Tanya McDermott

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