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Kialla trainer-driver David Moran enjoyed a winning double with two of his in-form pacers last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both The Baggy Green (a four-year-old mare by Art Major out of Lady Waratah) and Our Santa Catalina (a three-year-old filly by Rocknroll Hanover out of San Sophia) carried their strong Breeders Crown form into last night's meeting and both recorded strong victories. The Baggy Green, who ran second to Frith in the four-year-old mares’ Breeders Crown Final last time out, found the back of early leader Earth Angel last night used the sprint lane at the finish to wind up for a 2.3-metre victory in the Alabar Pace, Race 1, over 1720 metres. Earth Angel led for Josh Aiken with Isabelle Delacour (Jason Lee) parking in the breeze after a failed attack for the front. Glenferrie EJ (Jodi Quinlan) ran second after a sustained run three-wide, while Earth Angel boxed on gamely for third. The Baggy Green started at $2.20, kicking the night off on a winning note for punters. Moran’s second winner came up in Race 4, the Harness Breeders Vic 3YO Classic over 1720 metres. He drove Our Santa Catalina, who scored an upset win over last-start Group 1 winner Just Cala (Amanda Turnbull) by 1.8 metres, with Madison Louise (Chris Alford) third. With 1200 metres to go Moran and Our Santa Catalina eased three-wide from the one-out-one-back spot and moved to the breeze outside race leader Dazzling Arden. At this stage Turnbull had the $1.40 favourite Just Cala in last position. Down the back, though, Turnbull started her move, taking the Dennis Picker trained filly around the field three-wide. But the leaders quickened up with middle sectionals of 29.9 and 28.4, Just Cala forced to work hard for the bulk of the final lap. Once the field straightened up for the run to the judge, Our Santa Catalina shook off Dazzling Arden and then hit the line in a 27.8 final quarter. Just Cala simply didn’t have the firepower at the finish as Our Santa Catalina – who ran third in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Ballarat two starts back – showed enormous grit in the run to the line. Our Santa Catalina has now won seven of 20 starts. Leading reinsman Nathan Jack was the other driver to pick up a winning double last night, piloting Bad Habbott to a 2.7-metre triumph in the Home Timber and Hardware Melton 3YO Trot for trainer Russell Commens before finishing the program aboard Shared Interest, the Russell Jack trained gelded son of Angus Hall obliterating his rivals by 18.1 metres in the Haley Toulmin 2YO Trot over 1720 metres. Other winners on the card were Action Kosmos for Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan in the Tab.com.au Trot and Game We Play in the Empire Stallions 3YO Pace Final for trainer-driver Craig Turnbull, the son of Courage Under Fire too strong as the long odds-on favourite in the race Karkarooc who finished a well-beaten seventh. In-form mare Tandias Bromac won the Pet Rock Pace for trainer Amanda Grieve and driver Chris Alford while the Michael Stanley trained and driven Young Modern won the Woodlands Stud Pace over 1720 metres. Gumdrops won for trainer Steve Zammit and driver Rodney Petroff in the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 Sept Pace, and the Chris Lang trained and driven Lord Liam won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The Victorian harness racing spotlight turns to Cranbourne tonight (Saturday) with the first of 11 races at 5.35pm. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

The rise of Keayang Cullen continued at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with an easy Minuteman Free-For-All win. It was billed as a potential showdown between Keayang Cullen and ageing superstar Smoken Up but the old warrior just wasn’t able to go with the Terang terminator, who gave none of his rivals a chance in a flawless start-to-finish triumph. Driven by young up-and-coming reinsman Jason Lee, whose cool-under-pressure style has him touted as one of the sport’s stars of the future, Marg Lee trained Keayang Cullen pinged to the front from gate one in the 2240-metre event. Lance Justice took Smoken Up around fast starter Exciteusinthecity (Tim McLean) early to park outside the leader, while Chris Alford angled second-favourite Magical Telf behind Keayang Cullen from gate two. Not much changed for the next 1400 metres as Keayang Cullen carved out first and second sectionals of 31.6 and 29.5, setting himself up for a dash home in the last 800m. Smoken Up always sat back just slightly in the run, not eyeballing the leader and attacking at the bell from the chair as was once his caper. Keayang Cullen was running some good time in the last 1200 metres though, sprinting down the back in 28.3 to get Smoken Up – an impressive last-start Globe Derby winner – off the bit. When the leader swung the home bend it was clear he had Smoken Up’s measure, but the two-time Miracle Mile superstar – and Australasian mile rate record holder with a 1:48.5 mark – kept on giving his all. Exciteusinthecity emerged down the outside in the final 150 metres, while Magical Telf had every conceivable chance to run down Keayang Cullen but couldn’t despite an economical drive by Alford. Keayang Cullen kicked home in 27.4, recording a last half-mile time of 55.7 seconds to win by 3.2 metres, with Exciteusinthecity running second – he’s racing in career-best form – and Magical Telf third. Teo Enteo never looked a winning threat but ran on fairly for fourth, while Jack In Flight was fifth of the seven ahead of Smoken Up, who beat only outsider Our White Knight to the line. Leading up to last night’s race Jason Lee said he would love for Keayang Cullen to get a crack at the Miracle Mile in Sydney next season. Given his picket fence form line and utter domination of the current free-for-all crop in Victoria, the Terang star’s invite is surely in the mail. Smoken Up meanwhile will have his send-off at Tabcorp Park Melton on September 6 in the Casey Classic, where he will be hoping to draw an inside barrier and to be given the chance to race where he does best - out in front. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Friday night’s Minuteman Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton is shaping as a classic battle. Keayang Cullen has won five straight races and has drawn the pole for the 2240-metre race, while 11-year-old Smoken Up – on his farewell tour – is coming off a cracking win at Globe Derby in Adelaide. With both horses boasting noteworthy speed off the arm, the sparks looks set to fly early in what should prove an intriguing battle. Trainer/driver Lance Justice has at times been lambasted in social media for having the audacity to pin such tags as “certainty” on his stable superstar along the journey. Justice often publicly suggested his horse could sit outside other champions and run them into submission. Often he was right. Smoken Up boasts a 74-win career from 151 starts for stake winnings of in excess of $3.6 million. Justice’s confident style has had to be toned down in recent times as the burden of age crept up on Smoken up. But what if the barriers were reversed this Friday night and Smoken Up had the pole with Keayang Cullen to come out gate six? “If you reverse the draw then one thing I can tell you is he (Keayang Cullen) couldn’t sit outside Smoken Up and beat him, I don’t care what you say,” Justice said. As it stands, Keayang Cullen defeated Smoken Up a month ago in the Melton City Council Sprint over 1720m. The Marg Lee trained six-year-old led from gate five that night, while Smoken Up came from wide on the second line. The margin between the two pacers at the finish was a substantial though not huge 10.5 metres. Jason Lee, who will drive Keayang Cullen on Friday night, has full faith in his charge, who he says can hopefully measure up in the Miracle Mile should he get the opportunity next season. “Just to get a start in that race firstly would be pretty special,” Lee said. Lee is well aware he takes the form horse into Friday night’s race and, tactically, he’s confident of holding the front no matter what Smoken Up – or the dark horse in Exciteusinthecity – can serve up when the mobile speeds away. “Nah, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he would consider allowing Smoken Up to work to the lead. “He’s going to cop pressure in good races so I think we’ll just try to hold the front at all costs.” Exciteusinthecity has pinged out at his last two impressive wins in town but will find this a different kettle of fish. Driver Tim McLean is likely to try and find some cover. While Keayang Cullen is a highly skilled frontrunner, Lee pointed out his charge has been able to come from behind in past races – highlighting his February Inter Dominion heat win when he sprinted sharply in the home straight after being behind the leader in the run. But none of that is expected to matter on Friday night, as Lee is adamant he won’t be handing up. Justice admits he has very little chance, if any, of finding the lead this week so is resigned to sitting parked. “He’s pulled up enormous since Adelaide when he was half-a-second outside the track record -- I can see him sitting outside Keayang Cullen and giving him some curry,” Justice said. “He’s 100 per cent right now. I wanted to give him this run before his finale as I didn’t want him to have such a big break going into that race (September 6, the Casey Classic). “Keayang Cullen led and beat him first-up at Melton, but he’s running into a much fitter Smoken Up this time. “He’ll run a huge race.” If there are fireworks early, expect champion reinsman Chris Alford to be grinning like a Cheshire cat aboard Magical Telf, who from gate two is likely to jump behind Keayang Cullen for a cheap run. Making up the field are Jack In Flight from gate three, Teo Enteo from gate four and Our White Knight in the cheap seats draw (gate seven). Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

There have been plenty of Jillibys and Keayangs which have been successful over the years coming out of the Terang harness racing training establishment of Marg Lee, Peter Craven, Jason Lee and Glen Craven, and another potential top-liner by the name of Jilliby Master showed what a bright future he has by toying with his rivals in the Permewans Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres at Hamilton on Wednesday. Trained and driven by Glen Craven, Jilliby Master was sent forward from gate five, but was unable to head off The Fire Within (gate three) resulting in him being left facing the open. Eventually crossing over at the bell, Jilliby Master careered away to register a most impressive 4.6-metre victory in advance of brother Matt’s Faraway Man from last with a circuit to travel, with Misschinoise (four back the markers at bell) again running her usual honest race to finish third. The mile rate 1:57.5. The Western District usually supplies a number of winners at most Hamilton meetings and leading reinsman Mattie Craven was successful with four-year-old Badlands Hanover/Susie Sheffield mare Susie Badland in the Angelique Club Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres when having her first outing for the stable. Given every opportunity to figure in the finish one/one from gate three, Susie Badland ran on best to blouse the pacemaker What A Sheila by 4.3 metres in a rate of 2:02.5. Floral Touch battled on strongly to finish third after facing the breeze. Great Western’s Kerryn Manning landed the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with former Kiwi five-year-old mare Supa Slick in a rate of 2:02.1. Making her second appearance since December 2012, Supa Slick was sent forward from gate five to take over the front running role from the polemarker Ima Little Tycoon and was never headed, just lasting to gain a head decision over Ime Little Tycoon along the sprint lane, with Tres Hombres (three-wide last lap from the rear) third. A daughter of Washington Vc and Supamodel, Supa Slick can be purchased for a paltry $1000 from a claimer at Bendigo this Saturday. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria

The form from last weekend's Tabcorp Park Melton Cup heats carried through to the series final last night. Maximan and Exciteusinthecity, both heat winners, finished one-two in the 2240-metre final last night with Kate Gath piloting Andy Gath trained Maximan to a 4.8-metre win in 1:56.8. Maximan led from gate three with Exciteusinthecity straight to the breeze for Tim McLean from four. From the back row Ginger Bliss carved through early to be one-one but then galloped and was retired from the race. The two pacemakers dictated terms before Maximan upped the ante down the back stretch and had Exciteusinthecity being driven along at the home bend. The chasing brigade of swoopers tried valiantly in the home straight but Maximan pulled out plenty, while Exciteusinthecity fended off the late challengers to finish second. Emma Stewart trained pair Metro Mike and The Good Times clocked in third and fourth. David Aiken's My High Expectations took the win in the Group 3 Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free for All over 2240m earlier in the night, the seven-year-old defeating Sunset Invasion by 2.4m in 1:59.1. The Aiken stable had a winning double on the night, with eight-year-old Falcon Seelster horse Smudge Bromac taking out the Homestead Stud Claiming Pace with Josh Aiken in the cart. Meanwhile, Terang star Keayang Cullen continued his winning form by capturing the Blacks A Fake Free for All over 1720m with Jason Lee aboard. The six-year-old son of Christian Cullen has now won five straight races and his winning mile rate of 1:53.8 is the quickest he’s gone since his Inter Dominion heat win at Melton in February. Cody Winnell      

Kerryn Manning fired for three wins at the Terang trots on Tuesday night. The Great Western reinswoman won the second, third and fifth events aboard Jetcraft, Red Nigel and Jaccka Lonny on a foggy night at the track. Jaccka Lonny was first-up for the Manning yard since joining from New Zealand, the four-year-old son of Mcardle too strong despite working hard on the last lap. Manning took the gelding straight back to last early in the 2180m Tiz A Masterpiece C2-C3 Pace before easing three-wide at about the 900m. The ex-Kiwi made his move down the back straight the final time, ranging up to the leaders strongly. Despite sitting three-wide approaching the bend and being driven along, Jaccka Lonny had more fight than his adversaries and overpowered them in the home stretch for an impressive triumph. Jaccka Lonny’s winning mile rate was 2:00.7 with a last half-mile of 59.4 seconds. Other drivers to score multiple successes at Terang were local Matthew Craven, who kicked home a winning double aboard Volatile Girl in the Squires Supermarket Vicbred Pace over 1680m and smart colt Clark Griswold in the Western Edition Pace, and Chris Alford, who guided Baccarat to a last-stride win over Desdon Murruffy in the Dick and Anne Box Pace over 1680m and Hurricane Stride to a half-head win in the Shadyshark Hanover Pace. The other winner for the night went to leading local trainer Marg Lee for leading local reinsman Jason Lee, Keayang Ebonyrose saluting in the first – the Silvan Ridge Business Advisers 2YO Pace. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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 TAB.com.au 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

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