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When the Lee family and friends purchased Code Bailey, it was with aspirations that the pacer could become a harness racing topliner. On Friday night at Lord's Raceway, the five-year-old fulfilled those lofty hopes with a dominant win in the $70,000 Group 2 Bendigo Pacing Cup. Trained at Terang by Margaret Lee, and driven by son Jason, Code Bailey withstood plenty of pressure up front to deliver a new track record performance. The official margin was 12.9 metres to the Emma Stewart-trained Phoenix Prince, with a brave San Carlo, who was aiming for back-to-back cup wins, able to hang on for third ahead of Maryborough and Yarra Valley cups winner Code Black. To watch the video replay click on this link. It was a proud moment for Jason Lee, whose only previous drive in the Bendigo Pacing Cup produced a third aboard Bad Billy, in the 2018 race won by Messini. He was quick to laud the son of Christian Cullen's tenacity and ability to dispel the doubters after accounting for a crack cup field. "There was probably a few unknowns coming in, but to be honest, from our point of view, we were pretty confident that if we could find the front we were were going to be very tough to beat. And even if he didn't he was going to run a great race," Lee said. "When we purchased the horse, what we were aiming at was the top level. "His first preparation he was good without being great, but he's had a spell and he's come back an absolute lion." Testament to Code Bailey's courage and ability, he was able to outstay one of the biggest and strongest cup fields in many years, while stepping up in grade. Third up from a spell and coming off a win at Melton, Lee was convinced the gelding could withstand the big race pressure. "First up he absolutely broke the clock, came from last and chased an absolutely highly-rated, freak of a horse (Ride High), who has all before him at the moment, and last start he just worked around, sat parked and jogged up the straight to win," he said. "He's probably had a bit of a different form line to some of the others coming in, but we were confident. "It was a really good field; it was probably his first look at the really big boys in open class level. "I know it's hard to make ground from out wide, but every horse had their chance with the work he (Code Bailey) had to do, so all credit to our bloke, he was awesome. "I think he can race at the very top level in those open class races; we just need to keep him sound and happy. "If we can do that, on that performance, there's no reason why we can't get him to the top level." Lee said the $110,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup on January 18 was just one option open to connections going forward. He described the win as special on several fronts, with the horse being trained by mum Margaret and owned by family and friends, including former Brisbane Lions team-mates Lewis Taylor (now with Sydney) and Darcy Gardiner. Special praise was reserved for popular stable hand Lochie Cook, whose efforts since joining the Lee team were rewarded with him being awarded a part-share in Code Bailey. "Lochie is someone, who came from no background in the (racing) game - he worked in the numbers room at the local track at Terang," he said. "I didn't know him that well, but knew his family. We got to get know him better working in the numbers room and one day he started doing a bit of work for us at the stable after school.  Jason Lee "Now he wants to be a professional driver. From the last 15 or 16 months he's gone from never having driven a horse to driving in trials. "He is one of the hardest working kids I know and if anyone is going to make it in the game, it's going to be him. "He was working so hard that we felt we needed to give him a reward, so we gave him a share in the horse. He's a very happy lad tonight." By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Rising star Victorian reinsman Jason Lee put his emotions aside momentarily early this week to do what he does best - and that's land harness racing winners. Lee gathered his composure and showed his outstanding qualities with a bag of four winners and two second placings at Terang on Tuesday night. It was only three days after his good friend Tony Chisholm, 69, of nearby Camperdown, lost his long battle with throat cancer, while Lee found out on the morning of the Terang meeting that his 56-year-old Uncle "Darky" Lee had died. "It's felt like a week from hell, that's for sure. It's been a terrible time," Lee said. "Uncle Darky, that's who everyone called him, was one of my dad's three brothers and he was a gem of a bloke. Everyone knew him for working to help the disadvantaged and he wasn't big into the trots, but he'd often turn up to sell car raffle tickets for the school," Lee said. Lee said he became friends with Tony Chisholm about seven years ago when he drove a horse for him at the trials. "Tony was probably like another uncle to me and then became a great friend with our family. He would come around home to do fast work and despite all the hardships he had in his life, he would always have a smile," Lee said. In what was probably the perfect script, the first of four victories for Lee at Terang was with Batman Barry, a two-year-old that Chisholm had bred and trained up until losing his fight. HRV stewards permitted Batman Barry (Big Jim USA-The Black Queen (Aces N Sevens) to race under his late trainer's name and carry his familiar green, white diamond and gold sleeve colors for one last time. Lee was quick to zoom to the head of affairs and then rated the pacer to a nicety with splits of 30, 30.2, 29.6 and 28.5 for a 1.57-9 mile rate. "It was a fantastic result and now mum (astute trainer Margaret Lee) has taken over the horse, which was Tony's wish," he said. The young reinsman has been going gangbusters for the past few seasons and has an impressive 50 percent strike rate of starters to top three placings. His four winners at Terang this week was one short of his personal best - a memorable five winners, also at Terang, back in February, 2015. Apart from Batman Barry, Lee was successful on Tuesday with Wantano (Shadow Play-Mama Tembu (Albert Albert), trained by Rebecca East; Searover (Cullens Hope-Mosquito Flyer (Partywiththebigdog), trained by Greg Howard; and Jilliby Babavska (Sundon-La Tonneralla (Continentialman), trained by his brother, Paddy Lee. Jason could have been forgiven for bypassing the Terang meeting, with the week the family had. "I did think about that at one stage, but what do you do...stay home and sit on the couch? I did think I could be in for a big night and it all turned out okay and that was nice - but to put it into perspective, if it didn't work out, so be it," Lee said. Although one of Jason's uncles Keiran (Lee), has been an owner, his father Damien's other two brothers, Brendan and Darky were not close followers of harness racing. "The harness racing involvement and passion is more on the side of my mum," Jason said. "But Nanna Jill (Lee) keeps the family ticking along together. She is just an inspiration. "Nanna lost poppy (Tom) a few years ago, but she still works on the farm and does the milking. She's just unbelievable the way in which she can keep going," he said. Lee said the family currently had a team of between 25 and 30 horses in work. "I think a few youngsters may have got their shoes taken off and turned out during the week. It's been a bit hectic," he said. Now the family is trying to regroup and focus on Sunday's monster meeting at Sydney's Tabcorp Park Menangle where they have four runners. Jason will steer Jilliby Nitro in the $125,000 Art Major NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo colts and geldings final and Jilliby Bandit in the $100,000 G1 TAB Len Smith Mile. Glen Craven has been booked to drive Keayang Jackie in the $125,000 2yo fillies G1 and Keayang Liberty in the $150,000 3yo fillies feature. "The horses have been up there this week and apart from settling in well, the reports are they have impressed in their work," Lee said. It's a huge day on the racing calendar, and there's nothing surer the talented youngster would love to add to his already impressive 91 winners for the season on the big stage Sunday. "We all like to aim for the century and I've done it a bit over the past few years. Hopefully the weekend turns out to be special for us," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

An emotional Jason Lee celebrated the record breaking win of Kimani in the 2018 Baxter Hire & Sales Mount Gambier Gold Cup (2580m). In winning, the Matthew Craven-trained Kimani, became the first horse to win two Mount Gambier Cups but it was the elation showed by Lee which had the crowd cheering. Halfway down the straight when victory was virtually guaranteed, Lee started waving his whip in salute. Kimani ($11.40) scored by 17-1/2 metres from Okelerho Lad ($128) with Emain Macha ($1.50 fav), 3-1/2 metres away third. “The win was for my Nan and Pop (Alice and Matthew Craven),” Lee said. “When I was very young Nan and Pop would often bring me to the trots here, Nan said they had the best steak sandwiches, and they still do. “When I started driving it was on my bucket list to drive a Mount Gambier Cup winner and tonight I was able to do it.” For Matthew Craven it brought up a treble of Cup wins in consecutive years winning with Smoken Pump Action in 2016 with his father Peter in the sulky, then last year with Kimani with Chris Svanosio driving. Craven said it was likely that Kimani would now be heading to Western Australia to join the Gary Hall stable. “He’s a good stand start and mobile horse and they have good stakemoney on offer in WA,” Craven said. “I think a change of scenery might help his career and be good for the owners. “Kimani is a nice horse but just finding it a bit tough in Victoria and that is why a new environment might help him regain his best form. “On Saturday, I knew his barrier manners would ensure he was competitive but after the heats thought with even luck, Emain Macha or Bee Gees Bandit might be too good. “As it happened they didn’t have any luck early and Kimani was good enough to win. “It was a great drive by Jason, he is a gun. “I was at a wedding but I knew all my horses were in good hands with Jason in the sulky and so it proved.” Apart from Kimani, Lee also won on All Perfection and Nova’s Delight for Craven to give the trainer a treble plus landed Keayang Starzz in the Ubet Pacing Cup for his mother Margaret. The favourites were involved in an early incident. Bee Gees Bandit ($3.10) galloped at the start and collided with Emain Macha which had stepped away safely and costing him valuable ground and forcing him to settle at the tail of the field. Rod Barker went forward on Emain Macha midrace, but Lee saw him coming and came out in front and sprinted to the front leaving the favourite parked. Once in front, Lee rated Kimani perfectly and he was too strong at the finish. Graham Fischer

Jason Lee will go to work at Menangle on Saturday night for a smile on his face. Because sitting behind speed machine Jilliby Kung Fu in the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile will be payback time. “As a teenager being involved in harness racing I missed a lot of birthday parties, nights out with my mates and things like that hoping one day I would get to the top,” says the 22-year-old Victorian. “I never thought I’d be driving in a Miracle Mile at this age, not even a few weeks ago. “So to be in the middle of it will be special and I am going to enjoy it. “I have been really busy this week but I have also allowed myself the chance to think that we are going to the big dance and smile about it. I mean, it is the Miracle Mile after all.” The big dance is even more special for Lee because Jilliby Kung Fu is a family horse, trained by his mother Marg in a set-up where parents, uncles and cousins all pitch in to help. Jilliby Kung Fu was racing in the Victoria intermediate grade just six weeks ago and Lee was happy to make the Chariots Of Fire on February 10. Once there the young gun pair crossed their rivals easily and paced a 1:48.8 mile, earning them not only an invite to Saturday night’s race but plenty of respect. The plan on Saturday night is to come out humming — a Lee special — and give Jilliby Kung Fu a chance of crossing to the lead. If he does that he could cap a fairytale rise to the top of the pacing world. “We are going there to give him his shot, because you never know when you will get back to this level. “But we also know how good these horses are. We have all seen Lazarus and what a freak he is and I even think a horse like My Field Marshal could be the smoky in the race.” The Miracle Mile is just one of six group ones at Saturday night’s mega meeting, including both the NSW Derby and Oaks. Smart customer Jilliby Kung Fu at full stretch. Picture: Stuart McCormick By Michael Guerin Reprinted with permission of The Daily Telegraph

Stunning Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu is pushing on to the Miracle Mile. While some might be intimidated by the thought of taking on the rampaging Lazarus, Jilliby Kung Fu’s trainer Marg Lee sees it differently. “It’s a great opportunity, one we may never get again,” she said. “He’s the best horse we’ve had, Jason (Lee, driver) said that a few weeks back, and we might never get another good enough to run in a Miracle Mile. “Providing he comes through that (Chariots) win well over the next few days, we’ll take him back to Menangle for the Miracle Mile. “He’s really blossomed as a horse this campaign. He’s so big and strong now. He’s ready for it.” The clock says Jilliby Kung Fu is up to the challenge as well. He posted a 1min48.8sec mile leading throughout to win last night’s Chariots Of Fire, capped by closing splits of 53.2 and 26.6sec. That 1min48.8sec matched the race record set by Have Faith In Me in 2016. He then backed-up to win the Miracle Mile. Lazarus went 1min49sec winning last year’s Chariots and finished third to Lennytheshark in the Miracle Mile. Jilliby Kung Fu put the writing on the wall for his Chariots win when he sat parked and so brutally won the Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton two weeks ago. “When he did that, we knew he’d be hard to beat in the Chariots. Horses don’t do what he did in the Bonanza,” Lee said. “He’s just kept getting better and stronger each season. “I think back to late in his two-year-old season. We still had the Breeders Crown to come, but Noel Alexander told me he thought the horse looked a bit special and if it was his, he’d miss the Crown. “We thought about what he said and did that. We gave him a longer break instead and I think it’s helped him develop into the horse he is now.” Jilliby Kung Fu blasted off the gate from barrier seven to lead in the blink of an eye, but copped constant pressure from classy young stayer Atomic Red through a 55.6sec first half.                      All the while, Tim Butt’s classy speedster Let it Ride was getting the gun sit behind the leader. When Let It Ride saw daylight at the top of the straight, he came at Jilliby Kung Fu quickly, but the Victorian found plenty to win by 1.3m with Atomic Red another 7.3m away in third spot. Adam Hamilton

Next stop is the Victoria Derby heats for Australia’s buzz three-year-old Lumineer. The colt made it two wins from as many starts this campaign and stretched his unbeaten record to seven runs with another dominant display in last Friday night’s $20,000 VHRSC 3YO Classic (2240m) at Melton. He was surprisingly eased to the rear at the start from gate four, but driver Jason Lee made a lightning midrace move around them to take the front and won as he liked by 10.4m in a cosy 1min57.4sec mile rate. Lumineer ripped home in 55sec and 27.1sec under his own steam. “He can get fired up, so we didn’t want to use him off the gate this early in his campaign. Jason said he relaxed well coming back off the gate and then got the lead easily when he made his move,” trainer Ange McDowall said. “We know he’s got the gate speed when want to use it, but you don’t want to everu time with a horse who can get a bit keen.” McDowall said the run definitely sharpened-up Lumineer again. “He still had a good blow afterwards, so I’m glad he got a good hitout and we’ve had the two lead-in runs to the (Derby) heats.” The Derby heats are at Ballarat on Saturday week with the final at Melton on January 27. Although unbeaten Kiwi Chase Auckland won’t be there, McDowall still knows the enormity of the task ahead. “There are so many nice three-year-olds around. Poster Boy came back with a good win, I like the Queensland horse Colt Thirty One a lot and then there are the Kiwis as well,” she said. Poster Boy, regarded as Emma Stewart’s top Derby hope, opened his season with a soft Bendigo win last Saturday night. It proved little after he found the lead cheaply and only dashed-up the last 400m in 27.8sec to win by 9.6m.   _____________________________________________________________________________   It's been a golden few weeks for Brent Lilley. And it’s been a couple his veterans leading the charge in Kyvalley Blur across in NZ and now Messini back home. Messini landed yet another major win, this time as an outsider, when he outstayed a handy field in last Saturday night’s $60,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m) in a 1min57.7sec mile rate. It was a fascinating race which sparked plenty of post-race stewards’ questions when favourites Ideal For Real and Moonrock duelled for the front for 400m. The effort took its toll on both with Moonrock finishing fourth and Ideal For Real, first-up for 16 months, wilting very badly to finishing last. Stewards queried Gavin Lang and Anthony Butt’s tactics on Ideal For Real and Moonrock respectively.   _____________________________________________________________________________   Popular Victorian driver Chris Svanosio confidently and correctly predicted his first Group 1 win at Bendigo. Svanosio spoke glowingly about Sparkling Success’ chances in a pre-race on-track interview and the John Meade trotter delivered with a dominant win in a scorching track record 1min53.9sec in the Group 1 Maori Mile. “He’s always shown so much potential and he’s really matured now,” Svanosio said. “That was some sort of win.” Reigning Great Southern Star champ Glenferrie Typhoon led in slick times, but looked under pressure when he broke and Sparkling Success powered clear. Sparkling Success won by 6.9m over Sonya Smith’s talented former Kiwi trotter Hey Yo with Vincennes in third spot.   _____________________________________________________________________________   It will be interesting to see whether NSW trainer Darren Elder heads to the Victoria Derby heats with Bright Energy. The emerging son of Western Terror impressively won the Group 3 Simpson Memorial at Menangle last Saturday night, which is a tradtional lead-up race for NSW-based raiders ahead of the Victoria Derby. It was a hotly contested 1min52sec mile with Shane Tritton’s Divine State bowling along front, before tiring late for fourth. Mark Jones’ Kiwi pacer Life Lavros was backed into favourite, but worked hard and dropped-out to finish last. The hardluck story was Amanda Turnbull’s lighly-raced War Dan – a brother to Victoria Cup winner Caribbean Blaster – who ran into plenty of traffic issues in sixth spot.   _____________________________________________________________________________   Tim Butt’s Menangle stable continues to build momentum. Veteran former Scandinavian trotter Daryl Boko returned to his best form for the the most dominant of wins at Menangle last Saturday night. Despite sitting parked for driver Chris Geary, the eight-year-old powered clear to win by 10.5m in a 1min55.2sec mile.   _____________________________________________________________________________   So who is the stable star of the powerhouse KerryAnn Turner/Robbie Morris barn? Aztec Bromac grabbed the tag with a hugely successful Queensland spring campaign, but Charlaval has clearly gone to the next level in recent weeks. Fresh from upstaging Bling It On at Bathurst on Boxing Night, Charlaval dominantly won the Menangle free-for-all in a slick 1min51.3sec mile last Saturday night. Classy Kiwi pacer No Doctor Needed, back for another stint with Paul Fitzpatrick, caught the eye with a terrific second placing.   Adam Hamilton

The Perth Inter Dominion if off the agenda for My Field Marshal. Trainer Tim Butt confirmed he would keep the classy former Kiwi pacer in Victoria for a string of races before relocating to Sydney where he will soon set-up his base at Menangle. “We just don’t think the four races in two weeks, especially with a couple being longer races, will suit him,” he said. “He’s had his issues with the wind operation and we’re better to space his races and target the shorter races as well.” Meanwhile, Butt’s exciting four-year-old Let It Ride steps out again at Cranbourne tomorrow (Tuesday). “He’ll have this run, then another at Cranbourne before that 4&5YO Championship at Melton next month,” Butt said. Butt confirmed he would share a barn with Ashlee Grives at Menangle. Grives has formed a partnership with Kiwi horseman Mark Jones, who will rotate horses from NZ to her Menangle barn to increase racing opoportunities. “I’ve got Rocker Band, Delightful Memphis and Whittaker here now and they aren’t far off racing,” Grives said. ____________________________________________________________________________________ JIMMY O’Sullivan landed one of Aussie harness racing’s biggest accolades when crowd the Gordon Rothacker Medallist last night (Sunday). The Kiwi-born horseman, who now lives in Queensland, is best known for his 1987 Christchurch Inter Dominion and NZ Cup wins with My Lightning Blue. O’Sullivan’s other stars included the likes of Quite Famous, Its Motor Power, Our Brenray and Margaret Shannon. On the same night, Lennythshark edged-out stablemate Hectorjayjay in a very tight vote for Victorian Horse of the Year honours. ____________________________________________________________________________________ THE stirring clash between Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca wasn’t the only big talking point at Gloucester Park last Friday night. A veteran former NSW pacer called Sokys Bigbullet set tongues wagging with the most breathtaking of WA debuts for new trainer Tony Svilicich. Svilicich is the man who worked such wonders with veteran stars Mysta Magical Mach and Has The Answers. Word was out Sokys Bigbullet would run well, but he did more than that. He scored the most dominant wins and stamped himself as a potential feature race player. The big striding eight-year-old, who won 19 of his 80 starts in NSW, led and driver Colin Brown just let him roll. Instead of tiring, he just ran a handle field of rivals ragged and won by almost 10m in a flying 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2130m. The mile rate was just 1.9sec outside Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. ____________________________________________________________________________________ NO wonder they call him the whiz kid. Victoria’s top young driver Jason Lee etched yet another milestone into his bounty when he drove half the card – four of the eight winners – at Melton last Friday night. The wins included emerging mare Keayang Kallisto for his mum, Marg Lee, in the feature race, the Blossom Lady for mares. Lee surprised some by leading and opting to park hot favourite Carlas Pixel then stave her off late to win by a half-neck in a slick 1min56.9sec mile rate for 2240m. They ripped home in 55.6 and 27.5sec. Just as satisfying to Lee was another win for his mum when veteran and stable favourite Keayang Steamer returned to winning form in race eight. Just for good measure, the nine-year-old posted a flying 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1720m. Keayang Steamer has been plagued by injuries since looking an emerging superstar when he beat Smoken Up in the 2014 Horsham Cup. Lee’s other wins came aboard Peter Manning’s trotting mare Garston Girl in race three and Bad Billy in race four. Adam Hamilton

It was the night we had been waiting for. Emerging trainer Anton Golino and the leviathan team that is Yabby Dams has been threatening to dominate a major meeting. And it happened when they snared two Group 1s and Group 3 at Melton’s huge Vicbred “trotting finals” night last night (Friday). It started when three-year-old Muscle Mass filly Nieta posted her seventh win from just 14 starts when she sat behind main danger, Kyvalley Kyrie, and out-zipped her to win the Group 3 Vicbred Silver Trot. “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight, but I think they underestimated her speed tonight,” driver Nathan Jack told Like so many of the stars of the Vicbred meeting, Nieta’s next main target is the Breeders Crown. Nieta is bred to keep improving being out of La Biscuit, a daughter of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha. Golino’s enormous depth in three-year-old trotting filly ranks was underlined when another one of his, Kinvara Sue, used the pole to lead and thrash her rivals with Jason Lee aboard in the Group 1 3YO Fillies’ Vicbred final.   Lee broke her his rivals with a 28.6sec split down the back and won by 11.1m in a 2min0.4sec mile rate for 2240m, but the effort of runner-up Margaret Ruth to carry a flat tyre most of the trip was outstanding. “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific,” Lee said about Kinvara Sue. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Pat is of course Pat Driscoll, the man, the brains and the money behind Yabby Dams. Driscoll and Golino’s treble came up when Aldebaran Eve, driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout and just held-off favourite Into The Unknown in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final. “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Lang said. Golino praised the his team at Yabby Dams, most notably former All Stars’ travelling foreman Shaun McNaulty “We are starting to get a good team of horses and people,” Golino said. “Young Shaun helps with me with the horses and does a great job.” YOUNG trotting star Wobelee stirs plenty of memories for driver and co-trainer Chris Alford. His fantastic juvenile season of six wins a second and a third from just eight starts has rekindled memories more than 20 years old for Alford. It was 1995 when Alford’s father unearthed the great juvenile trotter Noopy Kiosk, who ranks up with the best baby trotters Australia has seen. Wobelee’s fantastic record, slick times and big winners margins have drawn inevitable comparisons. Throw in the fact Wobelee is trained by Alford’s wife, Alison, and it’s been a pretty special ride this season. Wobelee made it six wins on end and snared his second Group 1 when he won the Vicbred 2YO final at Melton last night by 18.2m. Previously he’d won the Group 1 Vicbred Platinum final by 16.3m on June 3 and the Group 2 Tatlow final before that. “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Wobelee’s “dad” is brilliant but sometimes erratic trotter Down Under Muscles, who won 17 of 41 starts and $216,925 in stakes. ANTHONY Butt’s daring and aggressive driving has won him countless feature races. It proved the difference again last night when Butt surprised a few by leading and holding the front on Enrolled in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final (2240m). Many thought Butt might take the “safe” option and take a trail behind hot favourite Maori Law, however Butt had different ideas. Maori Law didn’t enjoy having to do the grunt work, broke under pressure and Enrolled powered to a 7.4m win for Butt and trainer Brent Lilley. Butt capped a double and caused the upset of the night aboard $32.10 outsider Crow Power in the Group 3 Vicbred Silver final. Other drivers to land doubles on the big night were Nathan Jack – Nieta and two-year-old filly Moonshine Linda – and Gavin Lang, who won on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun in the Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final.   Michael Guerin

A dairy farmer from Victoria’s remote western districts looms as the biggest hurdle to the rampaging All Stars’ barn winning another major Australian race. In one of the sport’s most enchanting stories for many years, hobby trainer Ange McDowall as unearthed the most exciting of juvenile pacers in Lumineer. Although Ange herself is playing things down – we’ll tell your more about why that is later – the rest of the Aussie harness community is buzzing about the talent Lumineer has displayed in his four wins from as many starts so far. The latest of those came when he led throughout to win seemingly in second gear in a 1min52.5sec mile in his semi-final of the rich Australian Gold series at Menangle last Saturday night. While many horses can get a little lost around the huge 1400m track at Menangle the first time, Lumineer whizzed around it, sight unseen, as though it was his own backyard. He reeled-off splits of 27.3, 30.0, 28.0 and 27.2sec with young gun driver Jason Lee sitting against him. It compared to the 1min54.3sec the All Stars’ latest gun juvenile, Sicario, posted winning the second semi. Albeit he sat parked and also looked as though he could’ve gone much quicker. He will need to against Lumineer in this Saturday night’s final. Lumineer’s first sign of being something special came at his third start when, in a heat of the Australian Gold, he sat parked outside Fly Like An Eagle’s brother, Higherthananeagle, and lifted after looking beaten to win in a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1720m around Melton. For McDowall the exciting signs were there a lot earlier, but she’s been scarred bad luck with the other two best horses she’s had and still wants to keep a lid on things. Well, as much as she can. “We’re a dairy farming family on a property about 20mins from Warrnambool, but we also dabble in the horses. We’ve got three at the moment and although I’m the training, it’s a family thing. My sisters Clare and Theresa help out a lot. As do Mum (Louise) and Dad (Brian),” she said. “The time we spend with the horses we probably should be spending on the cows, but all love the horses as well.” The McDowalls thought they had found a really serious horse in 2015 when Hellbewright won two of his first three starts. “He looked really promising, but he needed to have an operation and died of complications with the anaesthetic,” Ange recalled. “We’ve had our share of bad luck, that’s for sure.” More bad luck came last year when their improving pacer Masterofthurles succumbed to a career-ending injury. “He went from a C1 to C6 in one campaign which gave us a thill,” Ange said. “With the history we’ve had, you can see why the first thing I do each morning is pop into Lumineer’s box just to make sure he’s OK and has eaten-up, etc.” Part of his training routine is regular trips to the popular Lady Bay beach in Warrnambool – where so many of champion thoroughbred trainer Darren Weir’s horses are trained. “He loves it. I see all the gallopers in there. You can swim the horses around off the back of row boats,” Ange said. It’s helped quickly mature Lumineer from a raw talent to quite the pro. “It’s happened pretty quickly. I remember his first trial when Jason (Lee, driver) really had his hands full. The horse went left, went right and was so green,” Ange said. Lee was an easy choice as driver, not just because he’s such a prodigious talent, but he’s also part of the family, literally. Lee’s grandmother was Alice McDowall before marrying into the Craven family. So Jason is Ange’s second cousin. McDowall remembers “falling for” Lumineer when first saw him a video ahead of the Australian Gold sales. “He had real presence as I watched him and being out of a Rocknroll Hanover mare was another big plus. I was thrilled when we got him for $30,000, which is about mid-range I guess,” she said. There has been a lot of speculation about big offers for Lumineer, but McDowall wanted to set the record straight. “I’m bloody annoyed actually. We haven’t knocked-back any big offers, despite what you might have read,” she said. “There haven’t been any genuine offers we have even considered. “That’s not to say he’s not for sale. We’re not like that, we would consider a genuine offer, but for now we’re just looking ahead to the week and hoping he can keep going the way he is and stay sound.” McDowall opted to stay on-course at the Menangle stables between the semi and this week’s final. “It’s hard to replicate the training set-up we have at home because it’s quite different, especially with the time he spends at the beach, but there is an aqua walker here and he does seem to have settled in really well,” she said. Adam Hamilton

Terang's harness racing driver Jason Lee picked up two third placings to kick off this year's Australian Young Drivers Championship in Perth. Coinciding with the Inter Dominion series, the Championship pits the best young drivers from across Australia and New Zealand in a 10-race series, which continues today at Pinjarra. Kiwi Robbie Close is in front after three races on 36 points, while New South Welshman Todd McCarthy is on 29 points, five clear of Lee in third on 24. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AYDC LEADER BOARD Lee’s dominance in Victoria has seen him collect the Alabar Concession Young Driver of the Year award for the past three seasons in succession.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Terang’s Jason Lee is now a three-time Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership winner. The 21-year-old gun harness racing reinsman had his best season in 2015-16 with 117 wins nationally taking his career tally to 330. And with his victory in the concession drivers’ premiership Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced Lee will be the state’s representative at the 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC). “To win the Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership three times in a row is a remarkable feat and Jason will certainly do Victoria proud at the Australasian Young Drivers Championship,” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said. The AYDC is one of the initiatives at this year’s Inter Dominion in Perth with 10 drivers from across Australasia, including four from New Zealand and one each from the six Australian trots states, to compete in a series of 10 races across six meetings in Western Australia. The contest to be crowned the Australasian champion will begin on December 2 and culminate on Inter Dominion Grand Final night on December 9. Lee joins Robbie Close, defending champion from NZ, hometown hero Stuart McDonald (WA), NSW’s Todd McCarthy, SA’s Jayson Finnis, Tassie’s Wade Rattray, Qld’s Nathan Dawson, and Kiwis Brad Williamson (South Island), Kyle Marshall (North Island) and Matt Anderson in the AYDC. MORE ON THE 2016 AYDC Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

With just over a fortnight of harness racing left in season 2015-16 little separates two of Victoria’s gun young drivers in the battle for the Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership. Terang's Jason Lee holds the slenderest of leads in his bid for three straight concession titles, one win ahead of Mark Pitt. Pitt returns from a two-week suspension tomorrow and has three drives at Shepparton on Thursday for the strong Wayne Potter camp. Lee has up to six drives at home track Terang on Wednesday night. Lee has 104 wins from 532 drives this season, while Pitt has piloted 103 winners from 383 starts. Josh Aiken is one win ahead of the injured Zac Phillips for the final concession drivers’ podium spot. Chris Alford has a stranglehold on the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership with 270 wins from 1310 drives before today’s Maryborough meeting, 41 wins clear of Greg Sugars on 229, while Gavin Lang is third on 168. The SBG Accountants Metropolitan Drivers Premiership tells a slightly different story with Lang on 44 wins, five clear of Alford and Sugars level-pegging on 39. The Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership sees Smythes Creek’s Emma Stewart dominating on 181 wins before today, clear of Andy Gath in second on 105 wins and Brent Lilley in third on 100. Stewart also leads the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership on 61 wins from 191 starts, with David Aiken second on that chart with 25 wins and Lilley third on 22. In the breeding ranks super stallion Art Major leads the overall chart on 208 wins from 1417 races, with arch rival Bettors Delight second on 179 wins from 1173 runners. Courage Under Fire is third on 134 wins, with Grinfromeartoear and Mach Three next on 121 wins each. Muscle Mass and Art Major are equal on the two-year-old sires tally with 15 wins apiece. Courage Under Fire holds a one-win advantage on the three-year-old table with 52 wins, just ahead of Art Major, while Rock N Roll Heaven is third. Safely Kept holds a comfortable lead on the Broodmare Sires Premiership with 154 wins from 1376 races, Holmes Hanover in second on 116 and Armbro Operative third on 115. Skyvalley is enjoying a strong season in the trotting ranks with 77 wins from 387 races to overall table, 17 clear of Sundon with Majestic Son third on 57. Sundon is leading the Trotting Broodmare Sires Premiership on 105 wins, well clear of Safely Kept on 47 and Keystone Salute on 37, while Skyvalley is winning the Juvenile Trotting Sires Premiership on 22 wins from 142 races, with Muscle Mass second on 15 wins and The Pres third on 11. Follow all the Victorian premierships Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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

The annual Central Victorian Young Harness Racing Drivers' Challenge will take place across five races next month from July 8-9. Horses will be randomly allocated to a driver from the following list of invitees - Josh Aiken, Aaron Bain (SA), Josh Duggan, Dylan Egerton-Green (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Haydon Gray, Jason Lee, Todd McCarthy (NSW), Zac Phillips and Amy Rees (Qld). The series kicks off with two races at Shepparton on July 8 and continues the following day with two races at Maryborough and one at Ballarat. Shepparton Harness Racing Club racing and operations manager Ian McDonald is looking forward to the series of races. "The quality of participants is the key. To have not only the five leading young drivers in Victoria but the five best from outside Victoria is fantastic," he said. "To have them all in the one forum is a real bonus." Horses which win races involved in the series will not incur a handicapping penalty. CODY WINNELL 

Having a penchant for footy and the trots is not rare, being adept with both reins or Sherrin in hand is somewhat rarer. But tonight at Terang there are at least two drivers who could comfortably represent their respective states with aplomb in a trots participants' footy State of Origin match. Jason Lee could pull on the Big V, the Terang driver a member of Nirranda footy club. He actually played three quarters against Timboon earlier this year before heading to Melton to drive in a Group 1 race - which he won - aboard Jilliby Jitterbug. For South Australia, Brent Howard would get a jumper; the Mt Gambier trots man a former Western Border Football League medallist (in 2004) and a crack midfielder for WBFL powerhouse South Gambier. He booted three goals last weekend as he and his teammates celebrated their 10-year premiership reunion. TRIVIA time, Question: Who has played in four Western Border Football League grand finals winning two premierships represented the WBFL in six interleague games, won a Western Border Medal and best and fairest awards at two different clubs? Oh, he's also now won a Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club Gold Cup? ANSWER: Brent Howard. CODY WINNELL

The unbridled glee shown by Jason Lee on Saturday night after winning a Group 1 race perfectly exemplified what harness racing is about. Passion, excitement, enthusiasm. Lee ticked each box with his victory salute aboard Jilliby Jitterbug in the closing stages of the Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Melton.  There was no doubt a sense of achievement for the gun reinsman, winning aboard a filly trained by his mother Marg at the family's Terang property. About 12 months ago Lee said he would love to one day win an Inter Dominion when asked about his ultimate goal. But then, in the same sentence, he quickly adjusted his answer to say “actually any Group 1 win. Or a Terang Cup" would be his idea of living the dream in the trots. Lee, like all his family, lives and breathes harness racing and many within the sport think his name could potentially, in time, go down as one of the greats. This win was an important step on that trajectory, evident by the public celebration as Jilliby Jitterbug crossed the line victorious. Relief too must have been an ingredient in that victory salute because plans A, B and C were thrown out the window for Lee as soon as the mobile barrier arms folded back. Polemarker Hazels Girl was touted as the race leader, expected to come out humming tonight and Jilliby Jitterbug, drawn inside-back-row, looked the likely beneficiary. After all, the leader’s back – and indeed behind Hazels Girl – was exactly the situation where the Terang pacer and Lee found themselves one week ago in the APG semi-final before using the sprint lane and unveiling a powerful burst to win. But when the starter said go tonight Hazels Girl broke into a gallop, losing her chance at finding the top and forcing Jilliby Jitterbug to go right back to last. Over the short-course 1720m trip at Melton, this is never ideal. Lee though remained calm under pressure, allowing the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven time to balance up before easing three-deep with 1200m to go and latching on to the back of Hot Shot Woman and Gavin Lang, who would provide a beautiful three-wide cart-up. When leader Three Squared swung off the back straight the final time, Hot Shot Woman had worked to the breeze, which left Jilliby Jitterbug to manoeuvre the sweeping run for home three-wide without cover. In the stretch nor Three Squared or Hot Shot Woman were going to go down without a valiant tussle, but Jilliby Jitterbug had their measure and came clear to score a super-impressive victory. Late in the straight Lee looked left, right, left once more time and when it was clearly mission accomplished, it was party time. Jilliby Jitterbug won by 3.8 metres in a mile rate of 1:56.5 with the sectionals clocked at 29.4, 30.4, 27.8 and 29.3. The winner is out of Keppel Bay, whose dam Nickel Castle is a proven producer, and she is also related to Cold Major, who took out the Bold David Free-for-All on Saturday night to give trainer David Aiken one of his four victories for the evening. Of the beaten brigade in the APG Final Hot Shot Woman was bold for trainer Daniel Neagoe, comfortably holding down second despite covering plenty of ground in the run, while Three Squared improved on her semi-final fifth to finish third, beaten 11.6m. Magical Delight ran on OK for fourth, Lettuce Reign likewise for fifth from a tough draw, while heavily backed favourite Zaras Delight finished sixth after racing handy throughout. Jilliby Jitterbug is raced by the Levarg Racing Group. Relive Jilliby Jitterbug's thrilling APG Fillies Final win - HRV Media

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