The count towards harness racing reinswoman Jodi Quinlan's mighty milestone - 2000 winning drives - initiated more than two decades ago with a swoop down the straight on the first day of winter. It was June 1, 1992, when trainer Gary Quinlan’s six-year-old gelding by Windshield Wiper led a concession driver on to Cranbourne’s course to tackle the Sky Channel Stakes. Zephyr Lad had placed only once in his last eight starts and was a 20/1 pop, having drawn the outside of the front row, with the 2/1 favourite Five Ply, trained and driven by trots legend Ted Demmler, among those on his inside. For some it was just another manic Monday, for Zephyr Lad’s 17-year-old reinswoman it was a nerve-racking opportunity. “I used to get terribly nervous when I first started,” Jodi Quinlan said. “The first winner was very nerve-racking. I think I was sitting in the one-one and just happened to get out around the turn at Cranbourne and sprint home. It was a really close finish.” A short-half-head separated Zephyr Lad from Lord Of Rohan, but it was enough for Quinlan to break her duck in just her fifth start. “I was that nervous, it was all a bit overwhelming at the time.” It was the only victory Zephyr Lad would produce in his last 23 starts, despite also passing through the hands of renowned drivers Chris Alford, Gavin Lang, Brian Gath, Ross Sugars and Matthew Harding. Also notably, Zephyr Lad was not only trained by Quinlan’s uncle Gary but part-owned by her grandfather Alby, an insight into the outstanding family support that gave her an initial leg up. “Mum and dad had gallopers and I lost my father just before I turned 15 and went into trotters because that was what was available to me,” Quinlan said. “My uncle Geoff Walker took me under his wing early on and carted me all over the country side to drive Highland Bomber. “Geoff was the one who was prepared to put me on early doors. He was a very good horseman, really good at breaking them in. He was the one who stuck up for me early on.” And Quinlan is also quick to credit uncle Gary, who gave her opportunities on key drives, exposure that would fast-track her career. That included Our Millers Road, who Quinlan said “really ran for me”. “(Our Millers Road) was the first one who got me out there at the Valley. My two uncles and mum have been the backbone of where I got too today,” she said. “I obtained a lot of outside drives from (Our Millers Road) and that helped me outdrive my claim. As much as Geoff started me off and got me going, my time as the stable driver for Gary for many years gave me that next step and led to me moving to Melton and starting out on my own.” Quinlan’s opportunities enjoyed a steady incline, peaking in 2002-03 when she would drive 990 starters for 162 winners and 258 placegetters. Her greatest win would come in the following November when she piloted Sokyola to the $550,000 SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile for trainer Lance Justice. “I look at it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Quinlan said. “(Owner) Colin Croft was the reason I drove Sokyola, he promised one day that he would put me on a good horse and it just happened to be Sokyola. You have to pinch yourself even now to think that I’ve won a Miracle Mile.” They are now milestones amid a milestone, having carried Quinlan to 2000 wins last Wednesday when steering her three-year-old colt, Somebeachshadow, to victory by a head at Kilmore. It was a formidable achievement some 25 seasons in the making. “Im proud of the achievement that I’ve been able to do that,” Quinlan said. “I’m very lucky to have had so much support. I’m the one who gets all the accolades and the one who drives them, but it has taken a lot of dirt and tears to get to this stage and you need the support of a lot of people in the industry.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)
HOW fast can our two-year-olds go? The mind boggles after watching Shane Tritton’s latest buzz juvenile Divine State smashed the clock in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Sapling Stakes (1609m) at Menangle. The son of former star Kiwi pacer Tintin In America worked his way to the lead and scorched a 1min51.6sec mile to thrash a strong field. He left the previously unbeaten Thisbeachrighthere, who trailed him, 12.8m away in second spot. The splits were 27.3, 29.1, 28.3 and 26.9sec and that was after and during the rain coming down. Divine State’s mile took 0.5sec off the previous Australasian 2YO mile race record held jointly by Lettucerockthem and Heavens Trend. “There was lots of talk about how good a few others were in the race, but I told everyone I’d be devastated if anything beat us because I know how good he is,” Tritton said. “I worked him the other day with Katy Perry, who is going well and very quick, and she couldn’t get near him.” Divine State is being set for next month’s Bathurst Gold Crown. THE intimidating shadow of Dream About Me looms large, but her stablemate A Piccadilly Princess could not be going better heading into next Saturday night’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile. Of all of A Piccadilly Princess’ big wins, her most impressive came in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Classic (1609m) at Menangle. That’s because she never stopped working and still thrashed a good field. A Piccadilly Princess was out three-wide for much of the first half, which the leader Millwood Liberty ran in a blistering 54.9sec. Purdon worked around to sit parked and never panicked before pushing the button and zooming away from her rivals at the top of the straight. They came at her late, but the win was awesome in a 1min51.5sec mile … and during driving rain. This Ladyship has plenty of depth with the A Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me joined by the likes of Cyclone Kate, Frith and others. It will just another highlight on what promises to be a magical Miracle Mile night. FORMER Kiwi pacer My Kiwi Mate scored the most important win of his career in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (2650m). It’s not the biggest race he’s been in, but it marked his leap from exciting talent against his own age group to a serious open-class force. The previous week co-trainer and driver Jodi Quinlan tried to lead throughout on My Kiwi Mate in the Terang Cup, but was nabbed late by a rejuvenated Flaming Flutter. My Kiwi Mate and Quinlan turned the tables at Bendigo. This time it was Flaming Flutter who sat parked, raced to the lead, but was unable to hold-off My Kiwi Mate’s big finishing burst in a very sharp 1min56.2sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. “Gee he deserved that one,” remarked co-trainer Craig Demmler after the win. My Kiwi Mate’s greatest asset is his sit-sprinting ability and, judging by Bendigo, it is going to take him a long way in his open-class career. The logical next step is the Cranbourne Cup on March 3. Flaming Flutter showed his Terang Cup was a genuine return to form by doing all the work and fighting on gamely for second at Bendigo. The disappointment was heavily-backed former topliner Guaranteed, who did some work at times, but faded late to finish 15m from the winner in sixth spot. A big plunge on former Kiwi pacer Messini ($41 into $7.50) went astray when he led, but was spent on the home turn and only beat one rival home. CLASSY Kiwi trotting mare Sunny Ruby is loving her time in Australia. And trainer Sam Smolenski’s decision to leave her in Victoria after a slashing third in the Great Southern Star paid immediate dividends with victory in the $50,000 Group 2 Maori Mile at Bendigo last Friday night. She’s raced here three times this trip for two wins, a third and earned $87,000. Sunny Ruby, now in the care of Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt, took advantage of hot favourite Glenferrie Typhoon’s enigmatic manners to win at Bendigo. Glenferrie Typhoon, winner of the Great Southern Star, was crunched from $1.90 into $1.50 and led, but never looked as though he was trotting comfortable. Driver Kate Gath nursed as long as she could in front, but he broke stride coming to the final bend and lost all chance. Anthony Butt drove with great poise and patience and Sunny Ruby did the rest, storming home to win without being extended by 2.3m in a slick 1min56.1sec mile. IT was a good ripping night at the office for the Greg and Skye Bond barn at Gloucester Park last Friday. They combined with stable driver Ryan Warwick to cause a minor upset in the $50,000 Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) – a key WA Derby lead-up – with Rock Diamonds, a son of Rocknroll Hanover. In a driving finish, Rock Diamonds beat a gallant Maczaffair by a whisker in a 1min57.7sec mile rate. The disappointment was hot favourite Im Rockaria, who did plenty of work and sat parked, but tired late to beat only two rivals home. Team Bond also won the fast-class race, the $50,000 RWWA Cup (2536m) with classy former Kiwi pacer Our Jimmy Johnstone, who landed a big plunge ($3 into $2.40). The race was effectively over once Our Jimmy Johnstone found the lead and he cruised to 7.3m win over Bronze Seeker. The other buzz horse in the race was Im Full Of Excuses, but he just battled into fourth spot. Team Bond won four races on the night, the other two coming with Bettor Offer in race five and Our Regal Ideal in the eighth event. LOST in the wash-up of another huge weekend was yet another win by the remarkable old fella Destreos. The Ken Rattray-trained former Kiwi pacer lifted after looking beaten numerous times to post his 92nd career win – from a staggering 419 starts – at Albion Park last Tuesday. And he led throughout for driver Kelli Dawson to pace a slick 1min53.3sec mile rate for 1660m as well. Destreos is nicknamed “King of the Creek” because his amazing record at Queensland’s harness home, Albion Park. He raced there 306 times for 69 wins. COULD Clover Mac be the new K D Muscles? Just as K D Muscles struggled for wins in NZ and thrived when she came to Andy and Kate Gath’s Aussie barn, Clover Mac has started the same way. Clover Mac ran second at her first Aussie run, but has since won three on end. It was the seven-year-old’s latest win at Melton last night (Saturdau) which looked most exciting. Kate Gath extricated her from a pocket before the home bend and once in daylight she exploded past the leaders to win running away by 8.2m in a slick 2min0.2sec mile rate for the 2240m standing start. She left classy trotters like Conon Bridge and My Tribeca standing. Adam Hamilton
Pending RAD Board Hearing – Rohan Hillier - Harness Racing Victoria Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Rohan Hillier under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Ryley Major was presented to race at Melton on 7 July 2016 by Mr Hillier when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Pending RAD Board Hearing – Jodi Quinlan HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Ms Jodi Quinlan under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse Sky Majesty was presented to race at Bendigo on 22 June 2016 by Ms Quinlan when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed. Pending RAD Board Hearing – Andrew Gath HRV Stewards have issued a charge against licensed trainer Mr Andrew Gath under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1) which provides: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances It is alleged that the horse K D Muscles NZ was presented to race at Horsham on 14 March 2016 by Mr Gath when not free of arsenic, a prohibited substance when evidenced by a concentration above the allowable threshold. The charge will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.
Classy trotter Illawong Byron is due for a spell, probably overdue, says harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. But the Parwan horsewoman also says she’s never trained a horse with his constitution and she is hopeful the Redwood Classic winner can produce another grand performance on Breeders Crown Day. TAB.com.au has installed Illawong Byron $1.60 favourite to win the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown Final on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings from gate two after his impressive heat win at Maryborough last week. “He was definitely not right in the Vicbred Final (when finishing second) and he took a couple of weeks to get over that,” Quinlan said. MARKETS: ILLAWONG BYRON IS $1.6 FOR THE BREEDERS CROWN AT TAB.COM.AU “He bounced back with a really good run in the Redwood and then he was probably even better in the heat last week. I just hope he didn’t run his race a week early. He'll go for a good break after Sunday.” Quinlan makes the point Illawong Byron has had a long season, literally given he ran in the very first two-year-old trot of the 2015-16 season. “I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like his.” Raced and bred by Martin and Kaye Hartnett, Illawong Byron – by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush – has won seven races from 11 starts and looks a shoe-in for Victorian two-year-old male trotter of the year. Quinlan has repeatedly expressed her appreciation for the Hartnetts, who she says are very loyal and supportive. “They’ve been fantastic supporters of mine through good times and bad and they put a lot of money into the game, so they deserve every success they get,” Quinlan said. VIDEO: ILLAWONG BYRON WINS THE REDWOOD CLASSIC AT MARYBOROUGH Mark Purdon-trained Custodian ($2.90 with TAB) has drawn barrier nine and will trail Illawong Byron out. “With Custodian following me I’ll probably have to do a bit to hold the front,” Quinlan said. Quinlan also puts the polish on three-year-old trotting filly Sky Majesty in the Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Final (Race 1) on Sunday. Raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto, Rob Merola and Sam Godino Sky Majesty has drawn gate six and is a $61 outsider according to TAB.com.au. “She has had a fantastic year but she just can’t snag a decent barrier in a big race. From the draw Wilmas Mate looks unbeatable on paper, but they are three-year-old trotters so anything can happen.” Already a Breeders Crown winner in the sulky behind Ladyinred in 2005, Quinlan said the day held a special place in her heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Breeders Crown as a driver. If I could win one as a trainer that would definitely be special.” BOOK NOW: SECURE YOUR BREEDERS CROWN DINING PACKAGE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016
Harness racing trainer / driver Jodi Quinlan and two of her biggest fans, Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, picked up the win they wanted most today at Maryborough. In front of a huge crowd Quinlan guided two-year-old gelding Illawong Byron to a memorable victory in the $50,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. “This is very special to be standing here on this stage,” she said. “I’ve always said with this horse that this is the race I wanted to win.” Illawong Byron’s owner, Dr Hartnett, whose wife Kaye bred the horse, concurred. “This is the one we always wanted. We’re very pleased with Illawong Byron,” he said. Illawong Byron (Muscle Mass-Illawong Blush) began like a pro from the 2190-metre stand start to lead from outside the front row. Once in front Quinlan rated the Tatlow Stakes winner and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series runner-up a treat, Illawong Byron notching a 63.3 first half before taking the sting out of her rivals down the back (28.8secs). It was a winning move. “His manners today were the best they have ever been. We ran that quarter down the back and got them off the bit,” Quinlan said. Illawong Byron then held off a late challenge by Mark Purdon’s odds-on favourite Custodian, digging deep to score by a half-neck with Quinlan drawing a rapturous applause from the crowd. The final quarter was trotted in 29.3secs for a mile rate of 2:04.4. Our Regal Love for Nicole Molander and Chris Alford ran third, beaten 15m, while Lance Justice guided Carnera to fourth at huge odds ahead of Truscott Hall. Quinlan mooted a long-range plan for one of Australasia’s rising star squaregaiters. “He’s very immature and with a bit of extra size about him in 12 months I hope we’re back here at Maryborough for the Derby,” she said. Quinlan also thanked Illawong Byron’s owners for their ongoing support. “Martin and Kaye have always been fantastic support for me. They’re 100 per cent behind me no matter what.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
Check out the winning harness racing drivers’ immediate reactions after their success at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Jodi Quinlan and Lauren Tritton both picked up a winning double, while Michael Stanley continued his run of form with two-year-old fillies by taking out the Tatlow Stakes aboard Soho Angel. Rodney Petroff won the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final aboard Our Twentyten, the dual Breeders Crown winner defeating Blue Sky Commander and Sky Petite, who are both talented four-year-olds. See the winning driver interviews here Trots Media
The rise of exciting four-year-old My Kiwi Mate continued at Tabcorp Park Melton last night when the Craig Demmler-trained gelding captured the harness racing Decron Winter Championship Final. Working hard to find the front for the first 600m of the 1720m contest, long odds-on favourite My Kiwi Mate eventually arrested the lead off plucky polemarker The Dapper Don. Tonight’s 7.1secs lead time was 0.2secs above average and the first quarter of the final mile was a sharp 28secs, followed by a 29.4secs second split. My Kiwi Mate’s last half-mile was trekked in 55.4secs (28.4secs and 27secs) and his winning mile rate was 1:52.2 (1.4secs off Cold Major’s track record). The victory was the first leg of a winning double for Parwan reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, who later guided Lucky Lombo home in the Ride the Redwood Rattler Pace for trainer Graham McDermott. My Kiwi Mate’s first place cheque of $20,048 took his stake earnings in excess of $213,000 and, given the quality of Victoria’s four-year-old ranks – highlighted in the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series by Ideal For Real, Tee Cee Bee Macray and Menin Gate, some ripping clashes await. The Group 2 male four-year-old Breeders Crown Championship on Super Sunday August 28 could be a marketer’s dream should the stars align. Meanwhile, the second placegetter behind My Kiwi Mate last night, The Dapper Don, looks a good thing in an M0 in the not-too-distant future. Irymple trainer Boris Devcic quite simply has this four-year-old Julius Caesar gelding flying and to get within a half-neck of a proven Group 1 performer in 1:52.2 – and with momentum up at the line – punters will be queuing up to back him if he lobs a good draw in a similar class race next time. Third placegetter Pepe Bromac from the Isabelle Walsh camp chased hard for third while Macha did all the work from his back-row draw and was only beaten 11.8m in fourth. VIDEO: Re-live My Kiwi Mate taking out the Decron Winter Championship Final Cody Winnell
Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention. Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.” Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland 13: Imahe Man (ODM) Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell
Illawong Armstrong produced an extraordinary run in last year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old final for harness racing trotting colts and geldings. Twelve months have passed since the son of Dream Vacation/Figment blew the start and was tailed off in the Vicbred final before making enormous ground late to finish third, and trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan has the gelding absolutely flying. Illawong Armstrong, a member of owner Dr Martin Hartnett’s ‘Illawong squad’, romped home in his Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Maryborough yesterday, defeating runner-up Belts by 23.5m in a mile rate of 2:04.5. And the news only got better for the Illawong team tonight with Armstrong drawing the pole for next Friday night’s Final. He has to be hard to beat from there. In driving rain yesterday Illawong Armstrong looked every bit the professional, Quinlan going easy on the prodigious talent who, but for his poor manners last season, arguably could already boast two Group 1 wins – producing two of the biggest runs you’ll ever see in defeat in the Vicbred and Breeders Crown finals. “He had a good run. His manners were really good,” Quinlan said of his most recent outing. “He got a lovely, easy trip out front and I expect him to do that, he is an above-average horse. “He’s probably the best horse I have put a bridle on. Unfortunately it hasn’t been an ideal preparation because he got really sick, but we have made the most of the time we have had.” Quinlan said Illawong Armstrong’s Maryborough win will have him peaked fitness-wise for next Friday night’s Group 1 final. “He really needed the (heat) run,” she said. “He’s not really a natural leader, and has an exceptional sprint, but if he draws to run at the front then he can do that.” John Meade-trained Sparkling Success won the other Vicbred four-year-old trotting males’ heat, defeating fast-finishing Kyvalley Boomerang by a short half-head. Sparkling Success (Great Success/Diamond Insitu) has drawn right alongside the expected favourite in gate two. Driven by Gavin Lang, Sparkling Success enjoyed the perfect run behind leader Eljaykay Phoenix and got the better of that horse when it galloped halfway up the straight. Kyvalley Boomerang flashed home late, while Save Our Pennys picked up third from last year’s Vicbred two-year-old reigning champion Eljaykay Phoenix. Draw for Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires/Geldings Final 1: Illawong Armstrong 2: Sparkling Success 3: Wake Up Wilbur 4: Eljaykay Phoenix 5: Akotiri 6: Save Our Pennys 7: Kyvalley Boomerang 8: Well Deserved 9: The Third Son 10: Spud 11: Belts 12: Bring The Action (ODM) 13: Fabrication (ODM) EM Cody Winnell
The big names in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings trotters' division have drawn the front row and are en route to a formiddable showdown in next Friday night's harness racing final. At Tabcorp Park Melton on the Super Series semi-final night for pacers, the trotters' barrier draw saw Deltasun claim the pole mark and Illawong Byron draw barrier six, giving a relatively direct route into their next big showdown. Fillies heat winners Yankee Redback (barrier two) and Illawong Shimmer (barrier five) also both drew the first row. Illawong Byron’s standing was only reaffirmed at last Tuesday night's heats at Ballarat when the two-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush dominated and won by 41.6m. Showing gate speed from barrier six, the result was never in doubt for Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. “I am very happy with him,” Quinlan said. “I was a little disappointed that he overraced, but he has always shown above average ability and I couldn’t be happier with him on that score, he is a classy animal.” Quinlan partly attributed Illawong Byron’s overracing to the gelding coming to the end of a very impressive campaign. “He is still quite green. He is a fairly reliable two-year-old trotter, but he probably overraces and in an ideal world he would probably go to the paddock, but he has a few important races to run yet,” she said. The other colts and geldings heat was won by Deltasun (Tennotrump/Deltasu), a $1.04 favourite who took the honours by 14.6m for Ararat trainer Terry Young and Bacchus Marsh driver Gavin Lang. “There’s no doubt the horse to beat is Deltasun and the barrier will be important," Quinlan said. "But (Illawong Byron) is a good, versatile horse and can also run well from behind.” While it could be argued the colts and geldings shapes as a two-horse race, the two-year-old fillies presents as much more open. Ross Sugars’ Illawong Shimmer (Muscle Mass/Shining Sun) was impressive in leading and winning the first heat by 3.4m from Maree and John Caldow’s hope Valsue. But heat two proved more open, particularly once Anton Golino’s $1.60 favourite Sval Queen broke in the running. Yankee Redback, the only horse in hobby trainer Michael Scandolera’s Kilmore stable, took advantage, with driver Michael Bellman drawing her off leader Kyvalley Kyrie’s back to win by 7.7m. “She had a lot of luck. I thought she was about the third or fourth best horse in the race, but the others galloped and she didn’t,” Scandolera said. “She has beautiful manners. She’s just a natural. “When we broke her in she had a lot of fire, and still has a lot of fire. She’s a very intelligent horse and I let her do her own thing.” Scandolera said if things fell Yankee Redback’s way in the final she could take advantage. “She goes away very quick and very safely, and if she leads she can make her own race, but if she doesn’t and has to go back she can still go all right.” Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings 1: Deltasun 2: Prosthesis 3: Bootleg Bert 4: Kheiron 5: Me Pat Malone (emg) 6: Illawong Byron 7: Endsin A Party 8: Needabacardi 9: Aldebaran Pirate 10: Carnera 11: Just Oscar 12: Red Rustler (ODM) Two-year-old fillies 1: White House Sweet 2: Yankee Redback 3: Ten Spanners 4: Watts Up Rainbow 5: Illawong Shimmer 6: Star In Sight 7: Downtown Miss 8: Kyvalley Kyrie 9: Derrie Aire 10: Midnightpinevale (ODM) 11: Myrniong Rainbow (ODM) 12: Betty Hall (ODM) 13: Valsue (ODM)
Harness racing's flashy grey Adam Cartwright produced a barnstorming finish to win last night’s Country Clubs Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old by Ponder out of Lombo Regalia (a daughter of Jet Laag) bloused runner-up Emmanuel and race favourite Murranji Track to score a thrilling victory by a half-neck in a rate of 1:56.4 over 2240m. Amazingly at the 100m though, Adam Cartwright was last. Quinlan eased the South Australian from the Greg Norman stable to the extreme outside and when he hit top gear Adam Cartwright savaged the line, grabbing victory in the shadows of the post. Last time out at Shepparton Adam Cartwright pulled hard and almost choked down, finishing fifth, but he settled much better last night from his second-row draw and benefited from a solid tempo up front. “He over-raced last start … but tonight he settled much better,” Quinlan said. “Greg was very happy with him leading in the race. He said if he settles he’ll run a really good race, and Greg’s always been a good trainer so you’ve got to respect his horses.” WATCH ADAM CARTWRIGHT GO FROM LAST TO FIRST Norman has trained 418 winners in a 30-year trots career, with punters sure to remember some of his stable stars such as Ti Vogliobene, Indicative, Preferential and prolific winner Rosco Robust. Quinlan said Adam Cartwright had overcome several injuries and last night’s win as “a real credit to Greg”. Emmanuel finished second for Matthew Craven after sprinting early to find the lead from gate four, while Sunraysia star Murranji Track finished close-up third, just ahead of Stagger Lee and Animated. Connections said Adam Cartwright would now go to the Strathalbyn Cup, where he will clash with another recent South Australian Melton winner in Whats Emma Got. Cody Winnell
2yo Trotter ILLAWONG BYRON has been officially invited and has accepted an invitation to compete in the 2yo Ruby at the Cambridge Harness Jewels. Set to race this Friday night at Kilmore, trainer Jodi Quinlan reports that her charge will improve with the run under his belt. Illawong Byron will then head to a heat and hopefully final of the platinum series prior to the Jewels. All going well he will head to Cambridge and become the 4th Australian invited to compete on one of New Zealand's biggest days. Illawong Byron joins Arms Of An Angel, Heza Bromac and My Kiwi Mate as the current Australian invites and continues the amazing run of Muscle Mass, who's young prodigy has been performing exceptionally this season. Andrew Fitzgerald
My Kiwi Mate’s second in the Messenger Pace on Friday has earned him a shot at an even richer target. The Victorian-trained pacer has won the Australian invite to the $150,000 male four-year-old division of the Harness Jewels at Cambridge on June 4. Trainer Craig Demmler has accepted the invite from Harness Racing New Zealand and My Kiwi Mate will now remain in New Zealand, stabled with Barry Purdon until the giant group one day. My Kiwi Mate joins Arms Of An Angel and Heza Bromac as confirmed Australian invites for the Jewels and can be expected to open second favourite behind Field Marshal for his division when that market is released this week. The rangy gelding was formerly trained in New Zealand by Brian Hughes but was sold to clients of the Demmler stable as a late three-year-old, going on to finish second in the Queensland Derby. He has had a limited four-year-old campaign and was a strong fifth after sitting parked in the Taylor Mile two starts ago. He then came from well back to finish second to Field Marshal in the Messenger on Friday. Most importantly he has show good gate speed in some of his Australian races so with a good draw could be a major threat around Cambridge. Harness Racing New Zealand has been looking very strongly at the recent three and four-year-old trotting races in Australia, with the potential for invites in those divisions this week. Courtesy of Michael Guerin
Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) conducted an inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine were detected in the urine sample taken from ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG following race 7, the BULLI HRC NSW TROTTERS DERBY (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. Ms Quinlan appeared at the inquiry and on submission Stewards permitted representation by Mr Hammond, a solicitor. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Don Colantonio were presented. Evidence was also taken from Ms Quinlan regarding the training of ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG, her husbandry practices and circumstances leading up to the race. Mr Hammond provided evidence from veterinarian, Dr Andrew Clarke, on behalf of Ms Quinlan. Ms Quinlan pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG to race not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Quinlan was disqualified for a period of 3 months to commence immediately. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Ms Quinlan’s 1st offence for a Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s guilty plea;Class 3 Prohibited Substance;Ms Quinlan’s unblemished disciplinary record in twenty-five years as a licensed person and other personal subjective facts, including ambassadorial roles. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG was disqualified from the abovementioned race. The race in question Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government.
The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) has advised HRNSW that Chlorpheniramine and Desmethyl Chlorpheniramine have been detected in the urine sample taken from Illawong Armstrong following race 7, the Bulli HRC NSW Trotters Derby (GROUP 1) (2400 metres) conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday 30 May 2015. The “B” sample has been confirmed by Racing Analytical Services LTD (RASL) in Victoria. Trainer Ms J. Quinlan has been advised. An Inquiry has been scheduled for 11am on Wednesday 30 September 2015. Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 31 racing clubs across the State. HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders
The hard working staff and students of the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre were rewarded for their efforts with not one, but two winners at last Sunday night's Cranbourne meeting. Mystic Castle, driven by Jodi Quinlan, appreciated a good barrier draw in winning the third race. Just over half an hour later, the celebrations went into overdrive when Break A Wrist, with Lisa Miles in the sulky, claimed a narrow victory in the fourth event. Mystic Castle and Break A Wrist both collected their first wins in the process, and it was the first double for the Centre, and for horse trainer and Centre co-ordinator Jenni Lewis. The Gippsland Harness Training Centre is administered by Community College Gippsland and the Warragul and District Light Harness Club, and operates from facilities at the Warragul harness race track. Established in 1997, the Centre is currently overseeing a record enrolment of students who learn all aspects of the training and education of horses in a racing stable environment. Longwarry pacer Ymbro Toto was another local winner on the program for trainer Lee Evison. The horse was also driven by Jodi Quinlan, one of four winning drives for Jodi at the meeting. Kyle Galley