Day At The Track
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There have been some highs and some lows for two of the glamour girls of the All Stars pacing team this week. While last season’s champion filly Princess Tiffany has been sidelined and will miss one of her richest targets of the season, stablemate Dream About Me’s chances of winning Monday’s Auckland Trotting Cup may been boosted by a near perfect draw. Princess Tiffany will miss the $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park’s huge twilight meeting on Monday as she struggles with what is believed to be a problem in her hocks, although co-trainer Mark Purdon expects she will be back for some of the bigger three-year-old fillies races later in the season. Still after suffering the first two defeats of her career this month and then missing Monday’s race, her classic season has hardly started how her connections would have wanted. Dream About Me has been in outstanding form and will now be locked in a battle for Auckland Cup favouritism after drawing the middle of the front line for the great race. Dream About Me is looking to add Monday’s Cup to the one she won two seasons ago and with her usually reliable standing start manners she has a slight advantage over stablemate and favouritism rival Turn It Up, who has drawn directly outside her. Turn It Up is a veteran of only eight starts and would rank as one of the most amazing winning stories in the proud history of the Cup if he can trump Dream About Me in the $250,000 race, which goes at 8.08pm local time on a programme that starts at 3.15pm. Another of the day’s hotpots in Ultimate Machete has drawn the potentially awkward ace draw in his $200,000 Sales Series Pace and while he may not have the natural gate speed to hold the lead with a fast beginner drawn directly outside him, the small second line should aid him and he will be many punters multi anchor for the day. Marcoola will be odds-on on the $100,000 National Trot even after drawing wide on the front line, especially after several of his key rivals galloped at different stages of the Flying Mile at Cambridge on Christmas Eve. Last season’s National Trot winner Temporale returned to winning form in the Cambridge sprint and with the draws now emerges as the threat to Marcoola, if there is such a thing in open class trotting at the moment. Michael Guerin  

“It has been a pleasure to be involved, an honour to be invited and amazing to be able to win,” and with that harness racing driver Kerryn Manning accepted the first International All Star Series title. The Victorian champion sealed the series with a seventh placing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, when the 22nd and final race was held among Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night. Her success and accumulated 165.5 points also helped The Vics eclipse The World team 719 to 712, despite New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn (158) and US driver Brett Miller (152.5) enjoying outstanding weeks to fill out the minor placings. “I started slow but got a bit of momentum up as the week went on and have had a very good week,” Manning said. In fact the Great Western trainer-driver was last on the leaderboard after day one with 15 points, but a victory at Echuca on Tuesday on day two and three second placings at Maryborough on day three soon had Manning back in contention. Two victories on both days four (Ballarat) and five (Bendigo) gave Manning a 10.5-point lead over Dunn heading into the final day, which would prove unassailable. “It has been fun and exciting and I’ve met a lot of great people,” Manning said. “The visitors are just lovely people and the locals have been one happy family, I suppose you could call it, especially on that bus we go around on. “It’s been a highlight all week and it’s sad that it’s finished but I think I’m required back at home so I better head home and do some work.” HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch said the series had been a terrific showcase of outstanding drivers from local and abroad and of the state’s country clubs. “We’ve seen a treat of racing,” Lynch said. “I’d like to thank everyone who took part, and their lovely partners, and commend them on what a fantastic week it has been.” Manning said the series could not have been such an amazing journey without the support of many. “I’d like to thank all the trainers who put horses in for us to drive and all the tracks that hosted,” she said. “They put on a great show for us every day we travelled around and they made it most enjoyable.” International All Star Series day seven leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 165.5, Dexter Dunn 158, Brett Miller 152.5, Greg Sugars 150, Chris Alford 145.5, Yannick Gingras 143.5, Jason Lee 140.5, Anthony Butt 130.5, Corey Callahan 127.5, Gavin Lang 117.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 719, The World 712. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

A second successive winning double has harness racing driver Kerryn Manning perched atop the International All Star Series leaderboard, with only Dexter Dunn and Brett Miller a mathematical chance to unseat her. Manning has amassed 161.5 points to lead Dunn by 10.5, with Miller third on 150.5. To claim the crown Dunn or Miller would have to win, claiming the 14 points, and have Manning finish ninth (two points) or 10th (one). Manning has been drawn to drive Majestic Grace from barrier three in tomorrow's 22nd and final race of the series, which will take place at Tabcorp Park Melton at 8.32pm. Miller will start outside Manning in barrier four with Rostevarren and Dunn has Matt Craven's Star Gun from barrier seven. Good Form analyst Jason Bonnington said it was a "difficult race with several winning hopes", but he placed Cyclone Lucky Seven (Greg Sugars) on top from Uncas (Chris Alford), Heza Boy Star (Gavin Lang) and Manning's Majestic Grace. Manning led Dunn by a point going into the final day and her stranglehold on the competition was born from winning the 19th race with Animated and the 21st race with Peking Duck. There's no stopping Kerryn Manning "It's just fun to be involved, it's an honour to be chosen and it's great to be in front." Animated was a $1.90 favourite and the Ross Graham-trained four-year-old was driven accordingly by Manning, who took the gelding to the front and then held her ground on the straight to win by 3.9m from Keayang Ebonyrose (Brett Miller) and Sluggem (Greg Sugars). Kerryn back on top Race 21 was even more conclusive for Manning and Peking Duck, who shot to the front from barrier one and raced keenly throughout, drawing clear down the straight to salute by almost 12m. Birthyday boy Anthony Butt finished second with Arrokeefe and Gavin Lang was third with Mister Hairy Maclary. Earlier, in race 17, Brett Miller began day five of the series in the same fashion as he'd finished day four, with a win, this time with My Sophisticated Lady. Trainer Jarrod Pace's three-year-old filly broke its maiden status in Miller's hands, with the $3.50 favourite saluting from Rockabella Starz (Dexter Dunn) and Albietta (Yannick Gingras). The race was a dominant result for the World team, which filled the top five placings to leave the Vics languishing and surrendering their series lead. Miller makes it two on the trot But that domination by the world was fleeting, with Victorian drivers winning all other races. Race 18 was claimed by Terang's Jason Lee, who was three back the pegs but when Chris Alford drew Boundary Row out to challenge leader and favourite Yannick Gingras on Endsino the sprint lane opened for Lee and he shot Uwouldntbelieveit into contention. Michelle Wight's four-year-old gelding pinched it on the line when it had appeared in Endsino's keeping, with Rumbaron finishing strongly for Corey Callahan to take third ahead of Alford. Lee sprints to a well timed win Like Lee, Greg Sugars hadn't tasted success since night one despite consistently being around the mark and, like Lee, that all changed tonight. Sugars drove with aggression and confidence on Repeat After Me, going three wide early down the backstretch to circle those in front and then gradually drew away from leader, Jason Lee with Machli, to win by 5.3m. The Candyman can Earlier in the day The next and final stop is Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. International All Star Series day six leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 161.5, Dexter Dunn 151, Brett Miller 150.5, Chris Alford 140.5, Yannick Gingras 138, Greg Sugars 136, Jason Lee 131.5, Corey Callahan 121.5, Anthony Butt 119.5, Gavin Lang 114.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 684, The World 680.5. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 March 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 March 2016

Harness racing drivers Kerryn Manning and Chris Alford led a Victorian surge on day four of the International All Star Series at Ballarat, overturning The World’s advantage. Manning drove a treble, including two series victories, and Alford was at his consistent best producing  a win, two thirds and a fourth to position himself as the night's leading pointscorer. The headlines belonged to Manning, who not only ended the day on top of the leaderboard but wiped almost a second off a track record with her all-the-way win driving trainer Matt Craven’s The Culture. The World weren’t without their shining moments. US contestant Corey Callahan had his best day yet, amassing 32 points that included two placings, and his compatriot Brett Miller produced another long-shot winner for an overjoyed group of owners. Miller brings joy to trainer The day was more difficult for Yannick Gingras (16 points) and Dexter Dunn (23.5 points), who entered the day respective $2.50 and $2.60 favourites. Dunn lost his lead on the series to Manning by a point, with the latter’s golden day continuing in race two – the first of the day’s All Stars series races – when she guided Brent Lilley’s Kyvalley Boomerang to victory. “He got knocked over early and I thought that was it for me, but to his credit he picked himself up and did a good job,” Manning said. Dexter Dunn (Zaire Diva) and Chris Alford (Glenferrie Belle) finished second and third, beaten to the post by Manning who cut the corner, found a gap and then set down wide with a swooping finish. Kerryn Manning's interview post her houdini act Race 14 of the series followed and this time it was all Alford behind Game On Bro, which shot to the lead and never looked back. The fast pace had the pack swooping late, but the Sebastian Steenhuis-trained gelding by Courage Under Fire out off Presidential Rose had enough in the tank to hit the line. “The horse was a bit keen and you’ve just got to drive them,” Alford said. “I tried to keep rating him as slow as I could without strangling him and he was good enough to go on with the job.” Jason Lee almost pinched it with Watchmaka Lombo, while Corey Callahan drove Carseblue into third. Chris Alford finding the Ballarat chill to his liking There was plenty of excitement ahead of the series 15th race, and it didn’t disappoint. Fresh off a second in the Terang Co-Op Pacing Cup and not long since running a 1:51.6 mile at Tabcorp Park Melton, Matt Craven’s The Culture is gaining a loyal following and Kerryn Manning only added to that goodwill. Manning steered The Culture to his front running role from barrier seven and while Chris Alford put highly-fancied Star Of Dionysis on his back, The Culture had too much in the straight. Corey Callahan drove Royal Hustler into second, the $19.10 chance beaten only 4.1m by The Culture who finished in a 1:53.0 mile rate, stripping 0.7 of a second of Saab Quality’s 1710m record set in 2013. Alford finished 2.4m further back in third. “He’s a lovely horse, he actually did that really easy,” Manning said. “The track’s really fast tonight and he probably could have broken that by more.” Kerryn Manning dares dream of a series win after Culture dominates The form book was thrown out for the 16th All Stars race – the last for the day – with three longshots filling the placings in a trifecta worth almost $13,000. Greg Sugars looked as though he had almost pinched it when he moved Cee Goddess to the front and drew clear, only to have Brett Miller draw Premier Rose off his back to take the $36 shot to victory for trainer Ken Tippet. “Anything can happen in a horse race and that right there proved it,” Miller said. “In fact my horse was very good, for the odds being that big, my horse was very good.” Brett Miller's review of a job well done The day began with #trotsallstars taking in historic Sovereign Hill And then the Allstars ventured to a Ballarat Wildlife Park for a cuddle Next stop will be Bendigo on Friday before Saturday’s finale at Tabcorp Park Melton. International All Star Series day four leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 122.5, Dexter Dunn 121.5, Chris Alford 114, Brett Miller 112.5, Yannick Gingras 104.5, Greg Sugars 104, Jason Lee 95.5, Corey Callahan 93, Gavin Lang 87.5, Anthony Butt 82.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 523.5, The World 514. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing driver Dexter Dunn has taken a stranglehold on the International All Star Series with a magnificent Wednesday at Maryborough in Victoria Australia.  Victories in the day’s opening two series races and a third in the last propelled the Kiwi 9.5 points clear of the competition on the leaderboard and helped wrestle the series back into the World’s favour. But the Vics also had their moments, with ultra-consistent Kerryn Manning finishing third in three of today’s four races to be the day’s top point scorer and shoot to outright third on the leaderboard. By day’s end and after 12 of the series 22 races, Yannick Gingras replaced Chris Alford as the favourite with the TAB to win the award, with Alford blowing out to $6.50 after a luckless day in the sulky. The last race winner, Gingras, who sits second at the end of day three, was tightened in to $2.50 favourite, just inside Dunn ($2.60). Dunn has been at the forefront throughout the series, sitting second after day one at Tabcorp Park Melton and day two at Echuca, when he was only one point in arrears of Alford. But, with four seconds and a third to his credit, it wasn’t until race nine that the 26-year-old New Zealander was first past the post.  “I got on a trotter with a bit of form, it was pretty easy to drive really, so I just sat there and it did all the work,” a modest Dunn told Corey Callahan after the race in a @TrotsAllStars interview. Watch Corey Callahan interview Dexter Dunn in the wake of his first win. The 'it' Dunn refers to was Suave Taj, a four-year-old gelding for trainer Leroy O’Brien. Dunn shot the $1.70 favourite to the front from barrier seven and it never looked troubled, with only Brett Miller (US) driving Akotiri remaining in earshot while the next closest (Anthony Butt with Rumspringer) was a further 22m in arears. The stars second race on Wednesday was a little more willing, and it appeared to be in Gingras’ grasp before his tiring gelding, Brent Lilley-trained Kyvalley Barney, broke in the final 50m to enable Dunn to swoop in and win with Sonetto. Jason Lee took to the #trotsallstars mic to quiz Dunn on win number 2 The Ross Graham-trained mare held off a fast-finishing Tobylin for Kerryn Manning, who claimed second ahead of Gingras, beaten only a head. Second would be the theme of Manning’s day, having replicated that placing in the day’s third and fourth races. In the third Gavin Lang put his favourite, Sparkling Success, into cover until Kerryn Manning moved Very Belle to the lead, leaving Lang facing the breeze. There they remained to the final bend, when Sparkling Success gradually overcome Very Belle to claim a second win in succession for the gelding and his trainer/owner John Meade.  “Today he never felt like doing a thing wrong,” Lang said of Sparkling Success. “He was the best horse on paper and that was the way it turned out.” Brett Miller picks Gavin Langs brain post Sparkling Success's win Manning again found the front deep into the home straight in the last series race of the day, but this time it was Gingras who swooped in, using the Maryborough sprint line to career away with six-year-old mare Sweet Wise. “She felt good and it made my job easy,” Gingras said. Trainer Basil Dooley’s $4.10 shot won by 3.9m from Lisandros (Manning), with Dexter Dunn driving Rule Of Thumb to third to reassert his authority at the top of the leaderboard. The day began for the International All Stars with a trip to the historic Maryborough railway station, where Central Goldfields Shire Mayor Geoff Lovett oversaw a warm welcome. The #trotsallstars enjoyed the grand Maryborough tour Next stop will be Ballarat's Bray Raceway on Thursday. International All Star Series day three leaderboard:  Dexter Dunn 98 points, Yannick Gingras 88.5, Kerryn Manning 85.5, Brett Miller 83, Greg Sugars 81, Chris Alford 75, Gavin Lang 71.5, Jason Lee 71, Corey Callahan 61, Anthony Butt 60. Overall leaderboard: World 390.5, Victoria 384.   Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

US superstar harness racing driver Brett Miller broke his duck on Australian soil and then made it two on the trot for good measure. Miller was the toast of the town when the International All Star Series rolled into Echuca for night two, smashing a track record while claiming victory in the final two races of the night to catapult from equal second-last on the series leaderboard to third. Consistent Victorian Chris Alford tops the leaderboard, boosted by his victory in the sixth leg of the series with an all-the-way win driving Dreamtime Spirit, who withstood a wave of late swoopers. And Kerryn Manning took the first of the day – the fifth in the All Stars series – winning in teal on International Women’s Day with Millwood Pink Lady. Kerryn Manning Miller turned his week around in the series’ seventh race, after A Few Dollars More trainer Neville Pangrazio assured him he could race the mare with confidence, despite having only her second start after a ninth placing at Melton more than 12 months prior. “The trainer told me the horse I had been driving had been off for some time and that he had been trialling real good,” Miller said. “He said ‘have you won a race here yet?’ I said ‘no’, and he said ‘you are going to win your first one here’.” From barrier one Miller shot A Few Dollars More to the lead, and when compatriot Corey Callahan guided Uwillneva Get This past him, Miller was happy to take the box seat. A Few Dollars More then dashed clear from the final corner to win by 5.7m for an overjoyed group of owners, with Callahan holding second and Jason Lee guiding Kadaminy to third. The International All Stars wow Echuca kids with All Star cards Miller said his confidence was fuelled by the win, and when Michael Mannix – trainer of his race eight drive Ace Duigan – told him the horse could be lazy, well that was music to Miller’s ears. “I always felt like in my career I always do best with lazy horses,” Miller said. “Going into the last race I had a lot of confidence of winning that race. It took me a long time to make the front, but as soon as he made the front the horse was real comfortable and I thought to myself this horse has got a shot to win now.” Miller led Ace Duigan through a frenetic 37.9 lead time. “Before I got over, I thought ‘uh oh’, this is going to be suicide here. As soon as I crossed over my horse’s ears went up, he looked around, and my experience with racehorses is that when they do that that means they are doing it very easy.” Ace Duigan just kept on giving, finishing his track record breaking 1:57.2 mile with a 29.4 final quarter that saw him win by 6.8m from a blanket finish, with Alford claiming second driving Wheres Bub. The thrilling racing capped a memorable day for the International All Stars, who toured horse stud Alabar Farms, savoured some fine local fare at Morrison’s Riverview winery and restaurant and then hit the lanes for some tenpin bowling. Tenpin bowling  and a visit to Alabar Farm The International All Star Series rolls on to Maryborough next, with races nine to 12 at 1.52pm, 2.48pm, 3.18pm and 4.18pm. International All Star Series day two leaderboard:  Chris Alford 61 points, Dexter Dunn 60, Brett Miller 58, Yannick Gingras 56, Jason Lee 56, Greg Sugars 55.5, Kerryn Manning 46.5, Corey Callahan 46, Gavin Lang 41, Anthony Butt 33. Overall leaderboard:Victoria 260, World 253. Michael Howard

The Green Hornet (Yannick Gingras) has shot to the top of the leaderboard after a thrilling first day of the harness racing International All Star Series. US superstar Yannick Gingras drove victories in his first two starts on Australian soil and then followed up with a bold run in the last race to steal the limelight on day one. But it wasn’t all an international flavour, with Terang young gun Jason Lee claiming one for the Vics in race three on Yackandandah and then Greg Sugars winning the fourth and last, romping home late with Wardwell to overpower Gingras’ Captain Bronzie. The six-meet series, which starts and ends at Tabcorp Park Melton around meets at Echuca, Maryborough, Ballarat and Bendigo, began with Gingras driving Michael Stanley’s promising threeyear-old Spiritwriter to a thrilling win. Spiritwriter ran down a bold drive by Gavin Lang aboard Blackbird Power, who appeared to have pinched the race. “I thought I was coming second down the stretch, I always felt Gavin had it but asked the horse for a little bit more and it ran great,” Gingras said. Gingras then followed up with a 10m win on Fiery Blue Chip in race two, with Comigal (Dexter Dunn) and Illawong Bella (third) filling the placings. His run was broken when Lee, still a concession driver and the series’ youngest competitor, claimed the third race aboard Yackandandah, with ultraconsistent Dexter Dunn (New Zealand) finishing second driving Zalta and Victorian Chris Alford third on Jaccka Wilco. “I can sort of relax now,” Lee joked, having cracked through for a win. He said he felt lucky to have been picked for the event and been exposed to such champion drivers. The last race provided another ripping showdown, with Greg Sugars mowing down Gingras to salute on Wardwell, a third win for Sugars on the day having won the opening two races on the card, which were not part of the series. Gingras said he found the racing more comfortable than expected, noting with a wry smile “I was near the front as usual, so things didn’t really feel much different to home”. Harness Racing Victoria chief executive John Anderson said to be “in the presence of such greatness was quite an honour,” with the Victoria and World teams combining for 40,000 wins collectively. The racing followed a visit from Melton Specialist School students, who had superstar cards and caps signed by the drivers and were overjoyed by a visit from Captain Joy. Now retired, Captain Joy won more than $1 million in its career and is cared for by Susan Hunter through HRV’s HERO Program, which re-educates retired racehorses. International All Star Series day one leaderboard: Yannick Gingras 42 Dexter Dunn 33 Chris Alford 31 Jason Lee 30 Greg Sugars 27.5 Brett Miller 21 Gavin Lang 20.5 Corey Callahan 19 Anthony Butt 18 Kerryn Manning 15   Overall leaderboard:  World 133,  Victoria 124.    Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

Some of the best harness racing drivers in the world will be driving at tracks throughout Victoria next week in the inaugural International All Star Series. Trainers note, the internationals, Yannick Gingras, Corey Callahan, Brett Miller, Anthony Butt and Dexter Dunn, and the star locals, Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Kerryn Manning, Greg Sugars and Jason Lee, will all be available for drives at the following meetings: Tabcorp Park Melton Monday, March 7 Echuca, Tuesday, March 8 Maryborough, Wednesday, March 9 Ballarat, Thursday, March 10 Bendigo, Friday, March 11 Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday, March 12 Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Some of the best drivers from around the world will converge on Victoria next March for the inaugural International All Star Series conducted by Harness Racing Victoria. Five local drivers will represent Victoria on tracks right across the state, while five star international reinsmen will make up the World Team. The series will culminate on Great Southern Star night at Tabcorp Park Melton (Saturday, March 12). HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch is excited about the new series, which will cast an international spotlight on Victorian harness racing across “International Week”. “We’re pumped to have some of the best drivers in the world heading Down Under to compete in the International All Star Series,” Mr Lynch said. “And I expect the Victorian stars will be holding their own, too, led by world record reinswoman and the first woman to ever win a New Zealand Trotting Cup Kerryn Manning.” Representing Victoria will be Chris Alford and Gavin Lang (over 5000 wins each), Greg Sugars (over 2000 wins), Kerryn Manning (world record reinswoman) and Jason Lee (two-time Concession Driver of the Year). The World team will be made up of New Zealand pair Dexter Dunn (current World Driving Champion) and Anthony Butt (seven-time A. G. Hunter Cup winner), Canada’s Yannick Gingras (the No.1 driver in the USA and the biggest name in the sport worldwide) and leading US drivers Brett Miller and Corey Callahan. “This is going to be great. I’m so excited to be heading to Victoria for the first International All Star Series,” Gingras said. “There will be no holds barred out there and I’m really looking forward to getting on track, as I imagine all the guys will be.” The International All Star Series will see the stars trek from Melton on Monday March 7 to Echuca on Tuesday night March 8. Then it will be off to Maryborough for Wednesday March 9, Ballarat on Thursday night March 10 and the action turns to Bendigo on Friday night March 11. There will be four International All Star Series races on each night except the final meeting, the Great Southern Star, when there will be one. In addition to attending the trots around Victoria the drivers will also be getting involved in a range of community events, sending the harness racing message to the masses. “The Victorian industry will garner worldwide attention from this series,” HRV CEO John Anderson said. “It will engage young people right across the state and trots fans will be able to meet their heroes in person, which will be great for the promotion of the industry. “Providing country clubs with the opportunity to showcase the world’s best is also a key component and one that I’m sure the clubs involved will embrace enthusiastically.” All the competing drivers will be wearing personalised silks, which they helped design themselves to reflect their personalities. All of the races will be penalty free and trainers’ incentives will also be offered. HRV acknowledges the important State Government funding this project has received as part of the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. >> Click here for the International All Star Series Media Information PDF file Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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