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Allendale East  harness racing trainer David Kemp enjoyed a red letter day at Hamilton this afternoon with a winning double. Kemp’s ultra-consistent five-year-old gelding Arr En Special took out the PDF Food Services Pace to give the trainer the first leg of his winning double, narrowly holding out hot favourite Flaming Hero after an excellent drive from talented young reinsman Jason Lee. Kemp’s mare, Forced Out, then prevailed from pole in the last race, the Logical Property Services Pace, again with Lee the winning reinsman. Kerryn Manning also drove a winning double on the program, opening with two-year-old gelding Jereme Jetsetter in the first, the Hunt’s Auto Spaces 2YO Pace, for trainer Peter Manning, before taking out the fourth race, the Ward’s Jewellers Ladies Challenge Pace aboard Kankkunen for Burrumbeet trainer Kati Gunn, over Sir Dasher Dee for Marnie Bibby and Tara Tom for Jamie-Lee King. In other races, Lovable Nick won the Alexandra House Trotters Handicap at big odds over Brian Kiesey-trained pair Candy Digger and Master Kiesey in second and third. Lovable Nick won by 4.6m in a mile rate of 2:04.3. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to win the Trevor Krause 3YO Pace over 1660m, defeating runner-up In The Trenches by a head, with 5m back to Goodtime Blackie in third place. The mile rate was 1:56.2 with the last half in 58.8secs. Matthew Craven took out the Graham and Mary Torbet Memorial Pace over 1660m with seven-year-old mare Shards Of Ice. Craven, who rarely misses a win at a Hamilton meeting, settled his $34 shot three back along the pegs before bursting through in the sprint lane for a barnstorming win. The mare ran a slick mile rate of 1:53.9. Drumborg’s Kevin Brough combined with Ararat driver Michael Bellman to win the Judith Astbury Pace with Modern Art four-year-old mare Just Like Elle. She scored by 2.6m over Whisper Away, with Sign No More in third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.4. Harness racing heads to Kilmore tomorrow night for a huge 10-event card, with the first race at 5.05pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Ultra consistent pint sized six year old Western Terror/Awesome Flowers mare Gumdrops was rewarded for her consistency by brilliantly taking the $100,000 (Group 1) Pegasus Club Queen Of The Pacific, a designated race for Mares M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2760 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday. Having her first standing start attempt, Gumdrops stepped safely from barrier four as starter Todd Matthews released the field, as did Bluecolla Tigerpie to lead from outside the front line along with Steam Washed (barrier five) who pressed forward to assume control leaving Gumdrops momentarily in the open. Queenslander Forever Gold also making her standing start debut began swiftly from 10 metres, with Kylie Rasmussen immediately sending her forward to race in the open giving Gumdrop the sit she was looking for. Born Again Sassy (barrier two on the second line) slotted in beautifully trailing Gumdrops, being followed by Broadways Best and Carpenters Daughter which had missed the start. No changes were made until Luke McCarthy commenced a forward move three wide solo from the rear with 20 metre backmarker Baby Bling racing for the bell, being trailed by Vansumic ahead of her after being tardily away from the second line. Extricated into the clear on the home turn, Gumdrops sprinted sharply to challenge Steam Washed halfway up the running and following a deafening roar from all of her supporters which would have done credit to a Melbourne Cup crowd, drew clear to record a 5.1 metre victory over a game Steam Washed, with The Good Times using the sprint lane from three back the markers to finish third 12.5 metres away ahead of Carpenters Daughter and Baby Bling. Raced by Coimadai (Melton District) residents Ron and Connie Mallia along with trainer Steve Zammit who is based at the Mallia property, Gumdrops recorded a mile rate of 1-59.4 (last half mile 57.6 – quarter 28.9) which is only .3 seconds outside Our Sixpence’s race record set last year. It was the 11th time that Gumdrops has greeted the judge in only 41 outings, taking her earnings to $143,105. Steve Zammit was lost for words immediately following the event saying “he could not believe what had happened” in giving him his biggest win in the sport. On a night full of highlights, the $50,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2-Y-0 Fillies Final went to the Emma Stewart trained and Gavin Lang driven Lovelist, a daughter of Always A Virgin and Lifeline. Gifted the lead racing for the bell by stablemate Licinia, Lovelist coasted to the wire 4.4 metres in advance of the roughies Starzzz Of Icon and Union Ally in a mile rate of 1-58.                                                                               Lara trainer Dean Braun’s outstanding Kiwi bred four year old Elsu/Make It Hot gelding Chilli Palmer showed he is on target for next week’s $50,000 Four and Five Year Old Championship with a devastating victory in the Pace for M1 & M2 class over 2240 metres, giving young Terang teenager Jason Lee a thrill he will never forget. Settling a “mile” off the leader Amajorjoe, Chilii Palmer taking a concession, reeled off a brilliant last quarter smashing the clock to blouse the dead-heaters Machin Out and Composed in a mile rate of 1-56.7.    Nathan Jack took driving honours with a treble – apart from Gumdrops, Tezz Khora trained by father Russell in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series N Final for C1 class over 1720 metres and giant killer Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken) the Captain Sandy Free For All over 1720 metres, defeating Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up in 1-54.5. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

It’s fair to say yesterday’s meeting at Hamilton was a family affair. The first race was won by Glen Craven aboard his aunties horse Salute Branch, before his brother Matthew (Craven) took over and won the next four in a row. Matt also finished second in a further three races on the eight race card. “It’s probably my best day ever as far as wins go,” enthused Matthew Craven. “I’ve won four races at Mount Gambier and Horsham before but I have never finished so many seconds as well,” he added. Craven’s four victories were for four different trainers. “The first race that I won on the card was for a fella (P Ralph), who I have known for a long time that doesn’t train many horses. So it was great to win a race for him as he is a top bloke,” said Craven. “And my other three victorious were all for trainers that have supported me a lot in the past, he added. But it didn’t stop their either as Matthew’s brother Glen was successful again in a later race, while his cousin Jason Lee also made a trip to the winners circle, giving the family seven wins out of just eight races. “Gavin Lang spoiled the party and beat me in the last race,” quipped Craven, who could have just as easily won five races on the card. “I had the option to drive Citysneak, but I gave the drive up to Glen (Craven) so I could drive I Wantano and he beat me a half-head the buggar,” laughed Craven. “But overall it was a great day for the whole family. There is no doubt about that,” he concluded.   By Mitchell Robertson

Jason Lees could not believe his luck when he won a share in a pacer called Only One Slim about twelve months ago. Lees and good friend David Shacallis had bought one ticket each in the raffle to win a share in the horse and had agreed to go 'halves' should they be lucky enough to be drawn out. "I was there at the draw and it was actually Dave's ticket that got drawn out but we have been having an absolute ball over the past twelve months, it has been fantastic," Lees said. "David and I couldn't get to the races last week at Penrith and wouldn't you know he got up and won and it is only the second time since I've had him that I have missed him run." Lees had never owned a pacer before and believes it has been a great introduction into the sport. "I have always been a punter but have never had one before and the night it won for the first time for us was like Christmas, I've never been so excited." "I'd love to see him win a race at Menangle, that would be an absolute dream. He actually won a race there before we got him, if he could do that it would be very special for me." Trainer Blake Fitzpatrick has been very approachable for the first time owner and has made the experience all the more enjoyable. "My daughter is 9 years old and she lives in Queensland but when she comes down to spend some time with me I get onto the phone and ring Blake and he is always quick to invite us out there to his stable and makes us feel welcome when we arrive." "When he won I remember giving her a ring and she was just as excited as I was, she loves going out to the stables and giving the horse a pat." By Greg Hayes Harness Racing New South Wales  

Terang trainer Marg Lee snared the quinella in the Terang Co-Op Free For All for C9 or better class horses over 2200 metres at the Terang HRC fixture held at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday with stable superstars Keayang Steamer and Keayang Cullen. In what was a heady drive by nephew Glen Craven, Keayang Steamer starting from the extreme draw was sent forward early in the race to park outside Keayang Cullen which exploded away from outside the front row with Jason Lee in the sulky. Content to allow “Cullen” to dictate the terms in quarters of 31.1, 29.6, 28.3 and 28 for the last mile, “Steamer” moved on terms with his stablemate on the final bend, before outstaying him to score impressively by 3.1 metres in a rate of 1-56.5. Old timer Melpark Major in search of cracking the one million dollar stake barrier, moved a step closer by finishing third 5.1 metres away. Keayang Steamer was victorious in winning the Horsham Cup on January 5, while Keayang Cullen finished second in the Hamilton Cup on January 12. On what was a “night of nights” for the Craven family, Matt Craven was successful aboard Hamilton trainer David Lewis’ American Ideal/Atomic Fusion colt The Fat Man in the Terang Harness Racing Club Silver Vase for Three year olds 3C0 to 3C2 class over 2240 metres. Having his first outing since last July, The Fat Man raced by David and Terry Lewis led throughout from gate two, running his rivals ragged to score by 9.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.4 over Stormy Lecture and Gotta Go Henry. By Len Baker courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

An Introduction From The CEO It has been a week of scorching heat and I thank those participants who have braved the conditions. A reminder of HRV's Heat Policy, which specifies that when temperatures are forecast to be over 38 degrees, trainers may scratch before 8.30am without penalty. HRV has also moved day meetings through the week to earlier timeslots and shifted night meetings back to avoid the hottest part of the day. Stewards at meetings have been monitoring the condition of horses and personnel. Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews Premier on the Spot The float carrying 4yo Art Major Colt Arts Professor was involved in a nasty accident on the Ring Road, heading to Yarra Valley (January 16). One of the first on the scene was Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine. Dr Napthine, a qualified vet, stopped to render assistance. He reported to HRV that apart from some scratches, the horse was in good condition. Click here for a photo of the Premier inspecting Arts Professor. Wagering - 6 months to December 31 We have now completed the first half of the financial year, so it is opportune to share some of the key indicators. HRV's revenue and stakemoney are dependent totally on wagering on harness racing. Over the past couple of years we have seen a significant shift in the way punters bet on our product. Only as recent as five years ago, the Joint Venture arrangement with Tabcorp was virtually the single source of HRV wagering revenue. The betting with Tabcorp was all 'parimutuel' betting - the traditional form of tote betting. In recent times there has been a material shift away from the parimutuel form of betting. Unfortunately the products increasing in popularity do not provide the higher returns to the industry. Any shift away from parimutuel tote betting to other forms of betting will provide lower marginal returns. These products are: "Fixed Odds" betting with Tabcorp; Corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. HRV has fought hard to ensure all corporate bookmakers pay a fair return to the industry. Despite the shift to fixed odds (Tabcorp) and the corporates providing a lesser return to the industry than the traditional parimutuel, it is clearly the market responding to punter preference. The diminishing size of parimutuel pools is a concern to HRV. HRV has made representation to Tabcorp to merge the pools with NSW to provide pool size and encourage betting back into the pools. For the six months ended December 2013, some key indicators, compared to the same period in 2012: Revenue from Tabcorp 'Parimutuel' ↓11.9% Revenue from Tabcorp 'Fixed Odds' ↑146.3% Combined Tabcorp Revenue ↓1% Revenue from Corporate Bookmakers ↑50% The Gross Turnover numbers for six months are: Tabcorp Parimutuel $205 million Tabcorp Fixed Odds $55 million Corporates $87 million Our market share of Tabcorp Revenue is slightly up on last year. At the commencement of the year HRV budgeted for a profit of $1.6 million. To the end of December we are not forecasting any material variation to that figure by the end of June. Raising The Standards There are a number of people and groups doing a fantastic job in caring for, and placing horses post their racing career. We remember Kathleen Mullan and 'James' participating in the Garryowen and the horses from the Northern Standardbred Riding Group leading the Bendigo Parade, for example. In particular I draw your attention to the work being done by Nicole Tassone at 'Raising the Standards'. With State Government and HRV support, Nicole is doing a great job giving standardbreds a second chance after their racing career is over. There are some awesome stories of horses being cared for at Raising The Standards and then moving on to another life. I recommend that you 'Like" the Raising the Standards Facebook page or go to to read some of the heart-warming stories. Cranbourne Training Centre David Scott is retiring from his position as Chief Executive at Cranbourne at the end of January. We wish David well in his retirement, particularly in his continued breeding interests. One of David's major legacies will be the establishment of the Cranbourne Training Centre. Attracting joint State Government, HRV and Cranbourne Club funding, the project has proved to be an overwhelming success and a blueprint for future expansion around Victoria. I am pleased to hear that with two new trainers taking up residence late in 2013, the centre is fully occupied. I am equally pleased for David that he can leave knowing that his efforts have been rewarded with a barn full of horses and many winners. Vale Keith McGowan HRV was shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of radio legend and harness racing devotee Keith McGowan. Keith was fanatical about the trots.A prolific breeder and owner, he was a regular attendee at the track, whether it be a feature or regional weekday meeting. His last trotter Simon Tappertit, which he raced in partnership with fellow 3AW legends Ross Stevenson and Tony Leonard, won 14 races. Always one for a quirky horse name, among Keith's other successful horses were Dick Swiveller (14 wins) and Comedy of Eros (15 wins). Keith's highly successful radio career spanned 54 years, the last 21 as host of the 3AW overnight shift. Our condolences to his family, including his son Nathan, HRV's Racing Manager. Barry Garbutt HRV was also saddened to learn of the peaceful passing of Barry Garbutt on New Year's Eve. Barry held a trainer/driver license for many years and was associated with some very good horses - most recently Sunset Invasion. Barry fitted the description "colourful" character - instantly recognisable at Melton with his large cowboy hat and, on big occasions, his pink suit. Milestones Congratulations to Cassandra Troon who drove her first winner in a race at Kilmore on New Year's Day behind Armbro Higgens. She combined with the same horse a week later at the same venue for her second win. I witnessed Tania Ward drive her second winner behind Nuggets brother at Echuca on New Year's Night. I neglected to congratulate her on her first winner as a driver behind What A Fine Fella in June 2013 at Cobram. Rising star Jason Lee drove his 100th winner in late December behind Keayang Starzz at Terang. His cousin Matt Craven is closing in on 500 winners. This week at Kilmore (January 15) Chris Alford added to his milestone when he became the first driver in Australia to driver 100 winners for the season - the 13th quickest century in history. Did You Know? Gordon Rothacker Medallist Graeme Lang drove his first winner since July 2011 when he won on 3yo trotter Maybelina at Tabcorp Park on January 10.

CENTRAL VICTORIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTINUE AT MARYBOROUGH Heats three of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships continued at the Wedderburn HRC fixture held at Maryborough on Monday January 6, with Sapphire Swayze taking the C2 or better class pacers division over 2190 metres and Mallee Trapper the T0 or better class trotters over 2690 metres. Four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze was ultra impressive in his victory, returning a mile rate of 2-01.6 for the standing stat event. Trained by Adam Kelly at his new Riddell complex, Sapphire Swayze first up since June with stable reinsman Gavin Lang aboard, stepped cleanly from 10 metres to settle four back along the markers in a strung out field, with pole marker Whata Avenue pouncing straight to the front as the tapes released. Easing away from the inside to park in the open racing for the bell, Sapphire Swayze in a twinkling of an eye exploded to the front in the back straight with the race safely in his keeping. With Lang just sitting there in the straight, Sapphie Swayze coasted to the wire 4.8 metres in advance of Whata Avenue who struck to her task well, with Boyz Torque (three wide last lap) a further 10 metres away in third place after a tardy beginning. Popular Portarlington trainer Gary Bailey a devoted follower of the squaregaiter, received a boost when home bred six year old Wind Cries Maori/Trappers Girl gelding snared the trotters division. Driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, Mallee Trapper was quick to begin from a 30 metre handicap, going forward to surprisingly arrest the lead away from the last start Melton winner Invasive at the judge on the first occasion. Rated to perfection, Mallee Trapper defied all challengers to defeat the co 50 metre backmarker Loveyougoodboy (three wide last lap) by 1.1 metres, with Invasive a disappointing third after having every chance along the sprint lane a half head away in third place. The mile rate 2-05.8. Gary has been recuperating from a more than painful knee operation. Semi-Finals will be held at the St Arnaud HRC meeting at Charlton on Wednesday January 15, with the Finals at Maryborough five days later on Monday January 20. One of the highlights of the day was the victory of exciting Blissful Hall/Weona Rena four year old entire Bliss Man in the Wedderburn Motel Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1690 metres. Trained in the western part of the state at Hawkesdale (Hamilton District) by Graham Gee for wife Christine, Bliss Man again taking a concession for Terang’s Jason Lee was quickly away from inside the second line to press forward and park outside the pacemaker Aleppo Tiger (gate two). Pouring on the pressure in the last lap, Bliss Man cruised to the front on the final bend to score by 4.9 metres in a rate of 1-55.6 over Our Eastwood Cullen (four wide last lap) from near last, with Aleppo Tiger holding down third 3 metres away. It was Bliss Man’s 9th victory in 15 race appearances, the last six in succession. By Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Four year old Live Or Die/Inclination gelding Excuse To Live had everything go right for a change when successful in the $6,000 Community Day Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres at the Stawell HRC meeting conducted on Monday December 30 for those which qualified in the heats held at Terang on Sunday December 22 Trained at Sebastopol (Ballarat) by Colin Holloway and raced by the Holloway family (Colin, wife Heather and son Brett) who drove the horse, Excuse To Live led throughout from the pole to defeat the raging hot favourite Keayang Starzzz from near last by a half neck in 1-57.1, with Dancing Feet running home late from a mile back to finish third. Excuse To Live rarely has any luck in his races and probably should have finished closer in many of them. Popular Sebastian owners Garry and Brenda Jackson finished the year on a high note, when their honest five year old Pegasus Spur/Cassies Miss mare Mosquito Spur landed in the Stawell Windows & Glass Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2175 metres. Trained and driven by Garry, Mosquito Spur began with a wing on every foot from the 10 metre mark to cross Family Decision shortly after the start, with her task being made easier when all of the favoured runners were badly away. Bowling along at her leisure, Mosquito Spur although shortening stride over the concluding stages, scored by 2.5 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.9 over Frances Annie which they away all chance at the start and was meritorious in making up many lengths to get so close at the finish. Rough Voyage (three back the markers) was third. Melton breeder/owner/trainer Charlie DeBono's Safari/Living Angel gelding Another Safari snared the 2nd Heat of the Stawell Veterinary Clinic Platinum Country Series I for Three Year Olds over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-00.5. Driven by Zac Phillips, Another Safari had little difficulty in leading from the pole, just lasting to defeat Always Wantano along the sprint lane after trailing by a half neck, with Notjustanotherlombo (one/one - three wide home turn) third a neck away after racing roughly prior to the post. Another Safari's mother Living Angel a multiple cup winning mare, won the Stawell Pacing Cup in 2001. Peter Manning kept his Stawell record intact by winning the Gold Reef Clothing Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with in-form Art Major/Ananz filly Znana. With daughter Kerryn in the sulky, Znana led throughout from the pole to defeat her stablemate Additallup which raced outside her by 3.4 metres, with Amberlu Angus (one/one) third. The mile rate an easy 2-04.8. It was Znana's sixth victory. Armstrong trainer Brook Hansen's beautifully bred four year old Blissful Hall/My Cherie gelding Blessed IsThe Boy broke his maiden status at start number 12 when successful in the Carey Covers Pace for C0 class over 2175 metres, returning a mile rate of 2-01.7. Driven by Kerryn Manning, Blessed Is The Boy starting from the extreme draw commenced a forward move from last racing for the bell, being accommodated by the favourite Fearless Courage coming out ahead of him from three back in the running line. Making the final bend very wide, Blessed Is The Boy rattled home at a great rate to blouse the leader Urban Shadow by a half head in a tricky finish, with Onlyeconomyclass third after switching down to the sprint lane from mid-field on turning. Another four year old winner on the day was Jet Laag/Pandoras Reign gelding Pandoras Jet for Marong part-owner/trainer Col Latter in the Stawell farm Supplies Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Driven by Terang based "whiz kid" Jason Lee, Pandoras Jet showed blistering speed out of gate four to cross the pole marker Peters Ace on the first turn, defying all challengers to score in a rate of 2-00.7 from Peters Ace which used the sprint lane to no avail and Sir Dasher Dee which followed the pair. Former HRV Board member Peter Bourke now Chairman of Australian Pacing Gold, enjoyed a day of days at Stawell as apart from breeding the main race winner Excuse To Live, also bred and races Garabaldi Union the victor of the Hygain Feeds Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres. Trained by Peter Manning at Great Western, Garabaldi Union a five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding which has been on fire of late, possied three back in the moving line from gate five, with Secret Ruby leading from the pole being shadowed by Metrofromelle. Easing three wide racing for the bell, Garabaldi Union showed plenty of staying prowess to wear down both Suerte (one/one) which shifted down to the sprint lane on straightening by a head and a game Metrofromelle in a mile rate 1-58.3. This is my final column for HARNESSLINK - thank you for all the support over the years and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014. Len Baker                                      

Monday trotting was held at Hamilton in the South West of the state on Monday December 16 and what a day it was for Ararat based Emma Hamblin who registered her first win as a trainer, when seven year old Keystone Salute/Downsouth Soon gelding Trappers Puzzle greeted the judge in the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Also driven by Emma originally from NSW, Trappers Puzzle started from a daunting 70 metre backmark, but as there were no front markers, actually gave the leaders 60. Naturally settling at the tail of the field with the red-hot favourite Weregonnarock (10 metres) taking over from old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start, Trappers Puzzle gained a lovely one/one trail in the final circuit when Idle Suntime came away from four back the markers ahead of him. Looming large on straightening, Trappers Puzzle raced clear in the shadows of the post to score by 10.1 metres in advance of Weregonnarock which gave nothing, with Idle Suntime third after making a break in the last lap. In winning, Trappers Puzzle bred and raced by squaregaiting devotee Gary Bailey returned a new track record mile rate of 2-02.3. Hawkesdale trainer Graham Gee's four year old BlissfulHall/Weena Rena entire Bliss Man continued his rapid rise through the classes when successful in the Taylor Motors Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1660 metres. Again taking a concession for Jason Lee, Bliss Man led throughout from the pole to street his rivals by 25.6 metres in a new track record of 1-54.1 over Alta Antonio which raced in the open for the last lap. Mosquito Flyer finished third 5.8 metres away. Bungaree's Julian Jobe combined with Greg Sugars to land the Alexandra House Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres with Cobargo Jack, a six year old gelded son of Village Jasper and Jewell Of Cobargo raced by wife Alison. Beginning swiftly from gate two, Cobargo Jack coasted at the head of affairs to record a comfortable 7.3 metre margin in advance of Ruby Heart which faced the breeze, with Latoya Lass (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.6. Mount Gambier (Glencoe) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis snared the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with last start Globe Derby Park winner Paris To Berlin, a beautifully bred four year old gelding by Falcon Seelster from the good producer Roses In Paris a smart racemare herself. Despite racing in the open from gate three outside the heavily backed Jilliby Mac inside him, Paris To Berlin after dropping to trail the leader into the straight, finished strongly to score by 1.4 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 over The Jiggler (one/four - three wide last lap) and Jilliby Mac which got very tired over the concluding stages. The Finnis' were to make it two for the day when four year old Courage Under Fire/Surfing Queen gelding Flaming Hero scored in the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres. Starting from the extreme draw, Flaming Hero possied near last in the running line, with the favourite Beau Ciel beginning fast from gate four to lead. Latching to the back of Tres Hombre ahead of him at the bell for a ride home, Flaming Hero when taken wide on turning, finished all over the top of his rivals to defeat a game Mayorofshinetown to give Mount Gambier the quinella, with Beau Ciel a disappointing third. The mile rate 2-00.4. Blacks A Fake's seven year old half brother The Avoca Flyer (Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover), trained by Peter Manning and taking a lift for Jason Lee, ran his rivals ragged from outside the front row in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres. Always travelling under a tight rein, The Avoca Flyer scored by 1.4metres from the fast finishing Magical Bazz off a three wide trail from mid-field in the last lap. Mister Huxtable although very wide on the home turn, finished third. The mile rate 1-56.2. Jason Lee was to chalk up three for the afternoon after guiding border hopper Dagati Image to victory for Yahi trainer David Phillips in the Choice Hotels Pace Final for R0 class over 1660 metres which qualified in the heats held at Mount Gambier on December 8. Burning away from gate five, Dagati Image a 4-Y-0 gelding by Tinted Cloud from Cassels Atom led throughout to win in a breeze from Just Like Elle which trailed and Wings Of Delight (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-58.5. By Len Baker                                                        

Great Western's Manning family - father Peter and daughters Kerryn and Michelle may have created history at the nearby Ararat HRC fixture held on Tuesday December 10, by winning every race on the six event card. Peter prepared four winners Sunnyandcher, Znana, Rinashi and Valentino Rustler, Kerryn drove three Sunnyandcher, Znana and Suerte which she also trains, while Michelle scored aboard Shanira for herself and Rinashi. Seven year old ex-Kiwi mare Sunnyandcher a daughter of Sundon and Cherourwishes who at times can be a little risky, was successful in the Bricklayers Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2165 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from a 20 metre handicap, Sunnyandcher was sent forward three wide solo in the back straight on the final occasion to give chase to the leaders. Finishing determinedly, Sunnyandcher proved too strong for the ever reliable Stunning Jasper which raced outside the pacemaker Family Decision before leading into the straight, with Mister Beckham (one/one) third. The mile rate 2-06.7. Art Major/Ananz filly Znana brought up a hat-trick by taking out the Plumbers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 2-01.7, much to the delight of Adelaide's Cormack family who also race Sunnyandcher. Speeding across the face of the field from outside the front line to lead, Znana treated her rivals with contempt, scoring by 4.5 metres over The Jiggler which led out from gate two before handing over to the winner. Onlyeconomyclass ran on late from mid-field to finish in third place. Former Kiwi six year old gelding Suerte (Falcon Seelster/Atomist) opened his Australian account by easily taking the Plasterers Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres. Making his third appearance on Australian soil, Suerte was never in any danger, leading throughout from gate three to register a 11.6 metre victory in advance of Thewaytolive which trailed from the pole, with Mayorshinetown third after racing in the open. The surprise winner of the evening was 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/If Iseeyouinheaven mare Shanira in the Earthworks Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres. Starting from gate two on the second line, Shanira enjoyed a cosy trip, with the well supported Viva Courage burning to the front from gate three. Sent forward three wide in the approach to the final bend, Shanira ran on gamely to gain the day by 1.9 metres over the pacemaker in a rate of 2-01.7, with Mystic Soldier (three back the markers) 12.9 metres away in third place. Four year old Town Champion/Epona Sunshine mare Rinashi was tough in her 1.8 metre victory of the Engineers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres. Despite racing parked from gate five outside Artois Stone (gate three) from the outset, Rinashi surged to the front in the last lap and defied a strong challenge from Peters Ace all the way up the running. Shalamint which trailed the weakening front runner finished third 5.3 metres away. Tough as teak six year old Rustler Hanover/Cuddle Me Good gelding Valentino Rustler registered his 4th victory in 69 outings by winning the Builders Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 1-59.5. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Valentino Rustler momentarily settled one/one from gate two with the pole marker Spiral Jet leading from Gnotuk (gate four). One the tempo slowed, Valentino Rustler was eased three wide to assume control racing for the bell and from that point, the race was as good as over. Racing clear on the home turn, Valentino Rustler was untroubled to score by 9.3 metres over Our Burning Desire (three back the markers) and Garabaldi Union (one/one) a stablemate of the winner. Len Baker  

Two meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday December 5, with Geelong racing in the afternoon and Nyah at Swan Hill in the evening. At Geelong, Terang owner/trainer Darren Cole produced a nice juvenile by the name of Spot Ona Shadow to land the Bartletts Enviromental 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres when all runners were making their race debut. With young Tim McLean in the sulky, Spot Ona Shadow a gelded son of Shadow Play and Charlotte Church began with great zest from gate five to lead throughout in accounting for Stitchintime which raced outside him 13.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.6, with Captain Bronze (oneone) third. Beautifully bred Bettors Delight/Top Tempo four year old mare Musical Delight a former outstanding youngster, had an easy 13 metre victory in the Chas Cole Cellars Pace forC0 class over 2100 metres. Trained at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, Musical Delight unbackable at $1.10, led throughout for reinsman Nathan Jack to score untouched in advance of Shes His Story and Bye Bye Luv Lombo in a rate of 2-02.4. Winning nine from 14 outings, Musical Delight has stake earnings in excess of $234,000. Exciting Hawkesdale (Western District) four year old Blissful Hall/Weona Rena entire Bliss Man brought up four wins in succession when victorious in the Your Business name Here Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2100 metres in a mile rate of 1-59.4. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Bliss Man trained by Graham Gee for wife Christine, had little trouble leading from the pole and was always travelling under a tight grip. Given an inch of rein approaching the home turn, Bliss Man bounded away to record a 13.2 metre margin last half 56.7 - quarter 28.6 ahead of Nimble Jack along the sprint lane from last, with Amazing Kano third after racing in the open. Highly talented four year old Art Major/Maikona mare Glenferrie EJ is starting to show the potential she was touted with and made it two from two this time in when successful in the Zilco Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Trained at Parwan by Craig Demmler for Peter Chambers' Glenferrie Farm Pty Ltd, Glenferrie EJ from gate two was beaten for speed by Antiquities (gate five), with Jodi Quinlan immediately easing around her to take over the front running role. After that, it was a procession as Glenferrie EJ coasted to the wire to score by 4.7 metres untouched from the in-form Bit Of A Babe from mid-field, with Howcomewhynot third. The mile rate 1-58.1. At Swan Hill, Echuca trainer Wayne Lear took the honours by providing a stable double - Seven year old Royal Mattjesty/My Halo Broke gelding Who Broke Our Halo in the Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Sandstorm FJ Pace for C2 class over 1609 metres and four year old Artesian/Glimpse mare Philotes in Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Crystal Pearl Pace for C0 class (mares) over the same journey. Who Broke Our Halo (Rebecca Bartley) settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, before moving forward three wide solo in the last lap. Sustaining the run, Who Broke Our Halo was too strong over the concluding stages for the heavily supported local Cashisking along the sprint lane from three back the markers last lap, with On Fire Within third after facing the breeze before assuming control at the bell. The mile rate 1-56.3. Philotes (Daryl Douglas) spent the first lap in the open from outside the front row, before gaining cover when Madsisteritis came away from behind the leader In Theory heading into the back straight on the final occasion. Taken three wide approaching the home turn, Philotes ran home strongly to gain the day over Maarek (one/one) and Shes A Spy along the sprint lane (three back at bell) in a rate of 1-58. Lightly raced, it was Philotes 4th race appearance. Kerryn Manning snared the Swan Hill Kia Honey Bee Cerato SLI Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres with Metropolitan/Liberty Print five year old gelding Kickittochris in a rate of 1-57.9. Starting from the extreme draw, Kickittochris spent most of the race at the rear of the field, before latching to the back of Run Forrest ahead of him at the bell, with the Shane Cramp trained Queen Mab at the head of affairs. Eased four wide on the final bend, Kickittochris put the race beyond doubt in a few strides as he exploded away to record a 2.6 metre victory over the local hope Life Of Ted which followed him home. Ezee Duzit Lombo finished third after a chequered passage just off the speed. Avenel's Wayne Potter made the trip to Swan Hill with happy results, when heavily backed five year old Armbro Operative/The Milky Way gelding Teo Enteo captured the Swan Hill Toyota Dark Furnace Kluger Pace for C6 or better class over 2240 metres. Driven by Nathan Jack, Teo Enteo first up since July possied one/one from gate two on the second line, with Kerryn Manning's Jaccka Luke leading from gate three. Easing three wide approaching the home turn, Teo Enteo sprinted brilliantly to join Jaccka Luke on turning, with the pair going head and head to the wire, with Teo Enteo prevailing by a neck in 1-58.1. Centonic (one/three - three wide last lap) finished third. Len Baker      

Peter Manning’s Armbro Invasion/Free Rider 3-Y-0 gelding Weregonnarock brought up four wins in a row by taking out the Seelite Windows & Doors Vicbred Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres at Maryborough on Friday November 22, but not before giving his supporters heart flutters. In what was a superb performance, Weregonnarock galloped away from the pole as the start was effected settling a long last, with Thekiwikid working to the front. Commencing a forward move three wide racing for the bell, Weregonnarock was left on a limb until he exploded to the front on the final bend and raced away to record a brilliant 18.6 metre victory in advance of Ships Shui (three back the markers) and Ballan Road from mid-field in a rate of 2-03. Western District (Hawkesdale) trainer Graham Gee’s very smart Blissful Hall/Weona Rena 4-Y-0 entire Bliss Man chalked up his 6th victory when successful in the Redpath Tyres & Battery Service Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres. Taking a concession for Terang young gun Jason Lee, Bliss Man was sent forward from outside the front row to lead for the majority of the trip in easily accounting for Zedaguy which trailed after leading out, with Rosy Ogrady Lombo (one/one) last lap third. The mile rate 1-55.1. Jason was to finish the day with a double after piloting cousin Matt Craven’s Kiwi bred 5-Y-0 Real Desire/Explosive Franco gelding Dont Tell Jim to victory in the Bristol Hill Motor Inn Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres. First up since July, Dont Tell Jim enjoyed a cosy passage on the back of the leader Rapid Art Beat after the favourite Bettor Move galloped in the back straight on the first occasion. \Using the sprint lane, Dont Tell Jim sailed to the front in the shadows of the post to score from the pacemaker and a death-seating Exsalont in a rate of 2-00.6. Congupna trainer Danny Ferris has a potential top liner in Bacardi Lindy/Strapon filly Barefoot Sally who made it two from three when successful in the Yield Boko @ Aldebaran Park 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Driven by Chris Lang (Jnr), Barefoot Sally starting solo on the second row, possied one/one trailing the favourite Spidergrace (gate six) which shadowed the pacemaker Riegle Deception (gate four). Easing wide on straightening as Spidergrace got the better of the leader, Barefoot Sally ran home stylishly to register a 1.2 metre victory over Spidergrace, with Rumbaron third after trailing the front runner. The mile rate 2-03.8. Eight year old Dream Vacation/Maori Princess gelding Maori Vacation snared the Red Samurai Trotters Handicap for T3 or better class over 2190 metres for veteran Stanhope trainer Malcolm Shaw. Driven by Gavin Lang, Maori Vacation first up since August settled mid-field in the moving line after starting from 20 metres, with old timer Kingofthedesert leading from the pole. Set alight three wide racing for the bell, Maori Vacation had little difficulty in parking outside the leader and was always travelling kindly. Surging to the front approaching the home turn, Maori Vacation had plenty in hand at the finish, winning by 1.7 metres from Balletto (four wide home turn after a bad beginning) and Imagunnadogood (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-06. The Adam Kelly/Gavin Lang (Coimadai) combination were successful with Kiwi bred 6-Y-0 In The Pocket/Lite Jade mare Lite Jagermeister in the Maryborough & District Advertiser Pace for C5 & C6 class over 1690 metres. Taking advantage of a mares concession, Lite Jagermeister (gate four) was sent forward to obtain the front running racing for the bell off the pole marker Night Affair. Travelling smoothly for the rest of the journey, Lite Jagermeister coasted to the wire 5.3 metres in advance of Night Affair in a rate of 1-56.3, with The Unionist (three wide last lap from last) running home strongly for third. Len Baker

Ararat has always been a happy hunting ground for nearby Great Western trainer Peter Manning and the Manning family and it certainly was on Wednesday October 23 when Peter chalked up three winners and daughters Michelle and Kerryn one training winner each, while Kerryn drove a winning double. The first of Peter’s treble was former Kiwi bred 7-Y-0 Sundon/Cherourwishes mare Sunnyandcher in the G. Ferguson Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2195 metres. Driven by Kerryn, Sunnyandcher starting outside the front row possied three back in the moving line, with The Final Cut leading from gate three. When Safe Leone another Manning runner surged past the leader in the last lap, Sunnyandcher was in hot pursuit making the final bend three wide, with Gavlenn Sunset (one/one) in the centre. Finishing best, Sunnyandcher scored by 6.6 metres from Gavlenn Sunset in a rate of 2-06.1, with Candy Digger (three back the markers) third. It was Sunnyandcher’s 4th victory in 51 outings. Iron 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Hot Reaction gelding Boyz Torque having his 7th start for the season and 56 overall, was once again a tough winner when successful in the Spiller Family Sprint Series Final for C1 class over 1790 metres which qualified in the heats held at the same track on October 13. Driven by Terang young gun Jason Lee for Peter, Boys Torque was trapped three wide out of gate three, before parking outside the leader Big Gorilla. Keeping the pressure on throughout, Boyz Torque outstayed Big Gorilla to record a 8.5 metre victory in advance of Big Gorilla who is probably better off with a sit. Peter Manning’s second stringer Additallup (three wide last lap from the rear) finished third. The mile rate 1-59.6. Five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding Garabaldi Union made it three for the stable when victorious in the Benson Catering Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres with Terang’s Matt Craven in the sulky. Bred and raced by former HRV Board member Peter Bourke, Garabaldi Union was sent forward from gate five, working hard to park outside the 10-Y-0 pacemaker Vinnies Jet. Taking over approaching the home turn, Garabaldi Union showed tremendous fighting qualities to come again after being headed by the more fancied stablemate Armbro Speedster halfway up the running to gain the day by 1.6 metres in a rate of 2-01.8, with Graceful Affair 18.8 metres away in third place after always being handy. Kerryn Manning snared the Bill Sutton Claiming Pace over 2195 metres with 6-Y-0 Live Or Die/Chipover gelding Waterhorse in a rate of 2-00 even. Restrained from outside the front row to settle closer to last than first, Waterhorse ran home strongly wide in the last lap to defeat a game Cowboy Cadillac which moved to face the breeze mid-race by a neck in a punishing finish. Keeper Of The Fire (one/one) finished in third place. Michelle Manning’s smart 4-Y-0 Four Starzzz Shark/Tarlilia entire Jackabeams made it two from two when successful in the Mark Smith Pace Final for C0 class over 1790 metres. A winner of his heat on debut, Jackabeams driven by Kerryn led virtually throughout from gate three, accounting for a death-seating Modern Chic which went down fighting by 1.5 metres in 2-00.2, with Xbolt (one/one) third. On a night of multiple victories, Matt Craven continued his stellar season by driving a treble and Burrumbeet trainer Ashleigh Herbertson prepared a double. Matt’s other winners were Citysneak in the C. Dunn Vicbred Platinum Country Series F (1st Heat) for C0 class over 2195 metres and BlissfulKisses in the Life Members Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres, both trained by Herbertson. Citysneak a 4-Y-0 Metropolitan/Sneak Peak mare starting from the pole, broke her maiden status at start number eleven after using the sprint lane from three back the markers to blouse Michelle Manning’s Aheadofhistime which led by a head in 2-01.4, with Susie Badland third after following the pacemaker. Six year old Blissful Hall/Ebony And Ice mare Blissful Kisses was given a lovely passage one/one from inside the second row following the favourite The Red Opal, before being switched down to the markers approaching the home turn and using the sprint lane to score by 2.5 metres in 1-59.7 over The Red Opal which battled away gamely. Peter Manning’s Valentino Rustler (one/three) finished third after looking a big chance out wide approaching the final bend. By Len Baker  

At Bray Raceway Ballarat on Thursday, Great Western’s Peter Manning snared the Laser Electrical Pace for C1 class over 2200 metres with 6-Y-0 Rustler Hanover/Cuddle Me Good gelding Valentino Rustler. Taking a concession for Terang teenager Jason Lee, Valentino Rustler was slowly away from the pole, settling mid-field along the markers, but was immediately eased away from the inside to move forward and park outside the pacemaker Dance With Mia. Controlling the race, Valentino Rustler put pay to the leader along the back straight on the final occasion, holding a margin on the final bend. Although tackled by Ultimate Tycoon and Absolootmagic in the home running, Valentino Rustler kept on giving to score a strong victory over Absolootmagic and Ultimate Tycoon in a mile rate of 1-59.2. Jason was to chalk up a driving double after piloting the in-form Stephen Clarke (Ross Creek) trained 5-Y-0 Die Laughing/Fleur Delacour mare Isabelle Delacour to a virtual all of the way victory in the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C1 & C2 class mares over 1710 metres, defeating Metrofromelle and Modern Hitch in 1-57.5. Daylesford duo Bob Conroy and daughter Anne-Maree scored a well overdue victory with ever reliable S J’s Photo/Patrice Pernod mare Mother Nature in the Join Diamond Rewards Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 2200 metres at Ballarat. Showing no speed at all from gate six, Mother Nature settled at the tail of the field, with Lovable Nick (gate five) crossing Glenn Conroy’s Drop Us A Line (gate two) to lead. Run at a swift tempo, It could be clearly seen in the last lap that Mother Nature would be in the finish judging by her most recent runs if luck went her way and it did. After Drop Us A Line surged clear in the straight, Mother Nature after weaving in-between runners was extricated into the clear and finished with a wet sail to gain the day by two metres running away over Drop Us A Line in a Conroy quinella, with the rank outsider Kadabra Dynasty (five back the markers) using inside runs to finish third. The mile rate 2-04.5. Parwan father and son – David & Brad Barnes were giant killers on the night at Ballarat, when 6-Y-0 Falcon Seelster/Crown Defender gelding Coltrane Bromac got the chocolates in the Ferndale Confectionery Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres in a rate of 1-58.3. Given a lovely trip by Brad three back along the markers after Goodtime Veejay had arrested the lead from One Wise Man, Coltrane Bromac was eased to lead the outside division in the back straight on the final occasion, proving too strong over the concluding stages to gain the day in advance of Extricate from near last, with Goodtime Veejay weakening to finish third. It was Coltrane Bromac’s 8th victory in 72 race appearances. Len Baker

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