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Harness racing fans have a soft spot for Master Kiesey – and why wouldn’t you? The 13-year-old won his 19th race on Saturday at Maryborough’s non-TAB meeting, defeating Ballan Road by 3.4m in a rate of 2:08.9 over 2190m. Driven by Grant Campbell, Master Kiesey stepped superbly and led from start to finish at start number 310. “He’s been a great horse for us,” trainer Brian Kiesey said. “He’s as sound as a bell and he’s enjoying life and enjoying his races. He still gets around all the yearlings at home and gives them hell,” he quipped. Kiesey said Master Kiesey would race on next season as a 14-year-old. “We don’t knock him about. You never see him get hit with the whip. He eats well and he loves his racing,” he said. Kiesey said his philosophy was to give horses plenty of time to find their feet before taking them to the racetrack. He pointed to a trotter he is working with at the moment who has been in work for three years but is yet to race. “She’s never been to the track. When I first got her she was a lunatic. But now she’s easy to drive and she’s going to be pretty good when we get her to the racetrack.” He also mentioned Apple Beach, which he acquired from the Jayne Davies stable before turning her into a trotter. “I’ve just had to teach her to trot,” he said. “That’s what this season is all about. Next season will be about her winning races. “It took 18 months to get Apple Beach going, but now she’s leading and getting away nicely in races.” Despite her poor strike rate (one win from 50 starts), optimistic Kiesey says punters should keep following the daughter of Life Sign. “She’s the best horse I’ve had in 35 years. Next year it’ll be about her winning races.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

An entertaining card of racing was staged by the Warragul Harness Racing Club on Monday afternoon.   Alan Ryan was awarded Life Membership of the Warragul club at a special presntation. Alan has been involved with the club for around 40 years - he served 15 years as club Treasurer, and has recently retired after 26 years manning the "main gate" at race meetings. He recalled a period when the club raced at night and had eight gatekeepers on the payroll to cope with admitting big crowds and parking dozens of vehicles.   Local horses had some success on Monday, with veteran Iona trainer Des Kelly back in the winners list when Mor Laag led all the way. The horse had performed well in barrier trials at Logan Park recently for driver Vincent Langdon, and some smart bets were landed at the odds of 12/1.   Trafalgar trotter Slancio came from a handicap mark to win the Alf Martin Memorial Trotters Handicap for driver Glenn Hunter and his trainer father Chris.   Melton horseman Lance Justice was back in Victoria after a quick visit to Sydney over the weekend. He landed a double at Warragul with Lots More Art and V C Devil.   Reinsman Chris Alford drove Gonski to victory for owner John McLeish and Clyde trainer Jayne Davies. With a little more luck, Alford could have had a red letter day, as he also drove four minor placegetters on the seven race card.   Gippsland Harness Training Centre graduate Dani Lewis drove the talented Bangholme filly Kiss Kenny to a comfortable victory in the opening race.   Special guests of the club at the meeting on Monday were the National Servicemen's Association for their annual day at the trots.   Racing returns to Warragul on Monday, August 11. By Kylie Galley

Mister Douglas is a modern day marvel. The rising 15-year-old registered his 33rd career win on Monday, victorious at Warragul in the Warragul Country Club Claiming Pace over 2205m. Raced by Joanne Justice and Ron Taylor, Mister Douglas – trained by Joanne at the property of reinsman brother John in Toolern Vale – tried valiantly to lead from pole before having to hand up to heavily supported favourite Jetshawjoe. Given a cosy passage, Mister Douglas was eased away from the markers approaching the home turn to lead on straightening. Although shifting ground late, the 14-year-old scored by a half-neck over Flyin Interstate, with Cowboy Cadillac in third in a mile rate of 2:00.4. Corey Bell, who drove Cowboy Cadillac, protested against the winner but this was quickly dismissed. Chris Alford and Greg Sugars shared driving honours for the meeting, each with a double. Alford won aboard self-trained Louisiana Spring and Now And Forever for trainer Jayne Davies. Sugars partnered both Dreamtime Spirit and Bettor Rock On, which took out the feature – the Traralgon Pacing Cup – for father Ross.

Superb trotting filly Claudys Princess edged out Illawong Helios in the first heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for 3YO trotting fillies today at Maryborough. The Mick Blackmore-trained star, who last start won the Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Trotters Oaks, went 2:02.4 with a last half of 61.5 to defeat the Ross Sugars-trained runner-up by a half-neck. Gavin Lang didn’t bustle Claudys Princess early and allowed her to balance up three back on the pegs, following Illawong Helios, which had the back of race leader Illawong Moonshine. Turning for home Illawong Moonshine had run her race and was quickly gathered up by Illawong Helios, but once the sprint lane opened up Claudys Princess darted through with a successful late winning bid. Sister Of Sonoko ran third for Ross Graham, while Kapitan Claire from the Sugars yard with Kylie Sugars in the sulky ran fourth. Claudys Princess has now won 11 races from 14 starts. Later on the card top three-year-old trotter Asdenro won the boys’ Vicbred heat by 3.9m over Guiltless. Haydon Gray took the David Van Ryn-trained son of Armbro Variable to the front early from gate five, holding off all challengers late to score over David Abrahams-trained Guiltless, with Alan Tubbs-trained Drunken Maniac finishing on for third. Savannah Jay Jay put some value into first fours with Neil McCallum guiding the Stan Cameron-trained gelding into fourth place despite a scratchy beginning. Favourite Holdonsu made it seven wins from 16 starts with victory in the Vicbred 3YO males’ pacers heat at Maryborough, the Jayne Davies-trained, Rodney Petroff-driven son of Elsu scoring a head win over Jedi Mind from the David Aiken stable, with Time Capsule coming in third. My Bella Starr captured the 3YO pacing fillies’ Vicbred heat for trainer Adam Kelly and Gavin Lang in Race 8. The daughter of Art Major/Badlands Legend went 1:59.8 and prevailed by 1.6m over runner-up Distant Memory, who had made the trip south from New South Wales for trainer-driver Kerry-Ann Turner, with Phil Chircop-trained The System Black getting third-place prize money for driver Petroff. Lang capped off a winning treble in the last race on the program, the Vicbred seventh heat of the 3YO colts and geldings, aboard Presidentialsecret for Emma Stewart. The Presidential Ball gelding prevailed by 4.4m over Young Modern for Michael Stanley, while Lisa Miles guided Su You Too into third place. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Harness racing returns to Warragul on Monday afternoon for an eight-race program starting at 12:21pm. Highlight is the Poggaharness.com Traralgon Pacing Cup over 2205 metres. Top reinsman Chris Alford will be out to win the Cup for the fourth time. He won the race once when harness racing was held at Traralgon, and has won three of the eight editions of the Cup held at Warragul since 2006, including last year with Inky Cullen. Alford drives Baccarat, one of two horses in the event for Clyde trainer Jayne Davies. Gippsland trainers have a strong hand in Monday's seven horse field, with Apollo Thirteen (Michael Hughes) and Stuck In Second (Glenn Hunter) also competing. The first two races on Monday boast some of the oldest and most competitive horses in Victoria. Fourteen-year-old Mister Douglas will be lining up for start 267 in race one, while in the second event, 13-year-old trotter Master Kiesey will be having race number 302. His stablemate Candy Digger also competes, having start 253. Local pacers are also set to compete across the events on Monday, and patrons will be admitted free to the meeting. Kyle Galley

A win aboard Baccarat (Bettors Delight -Tyalla) for Jayne Davies at Tabcorp Park Melton last night has won the 2014 Harness Racing Training Centre Rising Stars Young Drivers Series for Stawell’s Kate Hargreaves. Coming from three back on the markers Hargreaves used the sprint lane to steer home Baccarat to win in a MR: 2:00.1. "Hargreaves thanked the BHRC, and HRTC for giving her and the other young drivers the opportunity to compete and especially drive at Tabcorp Park. "I've only driven one race here before and to win here is fantastic," Kate said. Hargreaves had her Melton win and two third placings at Bendigo and Maryborough to top the leader board in the three races series with 27 points. Zeb Lewis was the series runner up with 25 points and Toby Ainsworth in third with 21 points. The BHRC, HRTC and Tabcorp Park congratulate all of the drivers who competed in the Rising Stars Series. We hope to see the competitors in action at our tracks many times in the years ahead. Jayne Davies won the $1000 HRTC Trainers random Draw and in a big night for the stable Baccarat's owners won the $1000 HRTC Owners random draw. by David Aldred

Divas Delight secured a berth in the Eric Reece Memorial final by leading all-the-way win in a heat over 2090 metres at Tattersall's Park in Hobart on Sunday night. The Barrie Rattray-trained gelding has been a model of consistency without winning this season notching consecutive placings from his four outings this time in. But driver Todd Rattray used the four-year-old gelding's speed from the mobile to cross from gate five and from there on he led his rivals a merry chase. Divas Delight (Bettors Delight-Draw Card) cruised to the line to score by over six metres from Cardinal Dreamer that trained the leader throughout with Saloon In Sight almost three metres away third. "He got to the front tonight and that's made all the difference," said trainer Barrie Rattray. "You can't say he hasn't been consistent this time in but he has always been a very honest little fella," he said. The Eric Reece Memorial wasn't specifically targeted by the trainer. "This race just came along at the right time for him but it is definitely a race that every trainer and owner wants to win because it is named after a politician who was described as a person for the battlers." "It is definitely one race that everyone wants to win," Rattray said. Driver Todd Rattray said his charge was always travelling like a winner. "Once we led it was probably always going to be a matter of how far," the driver said. "He has been racing well and deserved to win," he said. The second heat was won by the Rod Burgess-trained Notimetothink that was resuming from a lengthy spell. The gelding was partnered by Rohan Hillier who allowed him to face the breeze throughout and he defied the tough run top hold on and score by metre from Reallyimaterminata with Podarkes a nose away third. It was a tough effort by the Rod Burgess-trained gelding that was having his first start since April. The third heat was taken out by Mighty Boy Coconut that also resuming from a lengthy spell. It was the Nathan Ford-trained five-year-old's first outing since June but he made the most of the inside draw (1) to lead and when Ford released the brakes at the top of the home straight he sped clear and hit the line about 20 metres clear of Gothic rage that trailed the winner throughout with Angkristy third just in advance of interstate invader me Mate Les that is prepared at Clyde by Jayne Davies. The final heat was won by Mes Elsu (Elsu-One For Me) that also led all the way although the margin was nowhere near as convincing at Mighty Boy Coconut's. Mes Elsu had a battle for the early lead with Little Miss Feral but when that mare broke stride it left Ricky Duggan's charge to stroll to the lead. Mes Elsu set a solid tempo and when challenged strongly in the home straight the Juanita McKenzie-trained six-year-old gelding found enough to hold out Rorybeebellows and Gun Filly. The Eric Reece Memorial final will be held in a fortnight at Tattersall's Park.  

For the first time in over two decades, a horse trained from outside the Gippsland region has won the Warragul Horse of the Year award. Based on performances during the 2012/2013 racing season, which ran from September to August, Lara pacer Inky Cullen was declared the winner. One member of a team that provided trainer Dean Braun with an outstanding season of success, Inky Cullen won three out of three at the Logan Park circuit, including the Traralgon Pacing Cup in June. The last time a non-Gippsland trained horse won the title was in season 1991/1992, when trotter Green Cape was successful. Trainer of the year was Cranbourne horsewoman Jayne Davies. Jayne and partner Noel Alexander have between them dominated this award since it was introduced in 1980/1981, with more than 15 wins. Leading driver for the season was again Chris Alford, who enjoyed a stellar season statewide. Chris drove Inky Cullen in the Traralgon Cup victory, and has won the Warragul Driver of the Year award over 10 times, and is second only to Ted Demmler who won the award on 20 occasions. Joshua Duggan scored his first win in the Concession Driver of the Year award, which recognises the talent of relative newcomers to the driving ranks. Awards presentations will take place at the next Warragul meeting on Monday, December 2.  

Leading Victorian reinsman Chris Alford showed why he is considered one of the best Australia has to offer, with a brilliant display aboard 5-Y-0 Sundon/Geena Hest mare Maidstone Miss (winner of the 2011 Redwood Classic) in the Lilydale Instant Lawn Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2150 metres at Yarra Valley on Monday September 9. Trained at Clyde (Cranbourne) by owner Jayne Davies with whom Alford has had a long association winning many feature events over the years including the 1995 (Christchurch) Inter Dominion with Golden Reign, it was a classic Alford exhibition to greet the judge. Adopting “catch me if you can” tactics after beginning brilliantly to pounce in front from outside the front line, Alford summed the race up to a nicety, setting his rivals the task of chasing Maidstone Miss all through the race. Showing no signs of stopping, Maidstone Miss scored by 24.1 metres in advance of the hot favourite El Paco off a 40 metre backmark, with My Name Is Earl a further 15 metres away in third place. The mile rate 2-06. Cranbourne trainer Hugh Cathels’ 6-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Star Chaser gelding Astronaut was a tough winner of the De Bortoli Pace for C5 & C6 class over 2150 metres in 2-00.1. Driven on this occasion by Lisa Miles, Astronaut was trapped four wide from outside the front row, before being restrained to the rear of the field, with Franco Jackson retaining the lead from the pole. When Vinni Gambino ahead of him made a mid-race forward move, Astronaut immediately latched to his back, before parking outside the pacemaker for the final half of the journey. Under a tight rein approaching the final bend, Astronaut gained the upper hand on turning and raced clear to register a most impressive 5.6 metre victory over Franco Jackson, with Vinni Gambino third after switching down to the sprint lane on turning. Raced by Hugh and Lorraine Cathels, Astronaut a half brother to multiple winners Our Maid Marianne and Safari, has fronted the starter on 77 occasions, winning 14 times. by Len Baker  

Further heats of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series were held at two venues in Victoria on Wednesday June 19 - Yarra Valley hosting the 3rd Heat for Three Year Old Colts & Geldings and the 3rd and 4th Heats for Four Year Old Entires & Geldings all over 2150 metres in the afternoon, while Bendigo presented the 5th & 6th Heats for both Two Year Olds over 2150 metres at the night session.

Often the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series can make or break a season. Many horses come from strong Group 1 formlines and prove they are still dominant in their categories, while others come from far-flung country regions to stake their claim in the month-long series.

Monday (August 6) harness racing was held at Yarra Valley - one of Victoria's premier wine growing districts, which featured a compact eight event card.

Almost 12 months to the day champion pacer Sushi Sushi showed his hraness racing greatness winning at Wagga, another pacing star will race at Wagga on Friday (June 8).

Further heats of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series catering for several categories continued during the week.

Top Victorians Mr Nickel for trainer Dean Braun and Soho Valencia from the powerful Jayne Davies harness racing stable have both been nominated for this Friday night's $200,000 Group One Sky Racing Derby at Gloucester Park.

Clyde harness racing trainer Jayne Davies collected two of the six winners at Monday's (March 19) Warragul harness racing meeting. Davies trained the quinella in the third race when Now And Forever defeated its more fancied stablemate Baccarat, while Passions Promise won the last race.

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