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Australian trotters are getting faster every year as a result of smarter breeding and modern training techniques. And the fact the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough field gets better every year is a direct correlation to Australia’s burgeoning passion for the squaregaiter. David Aiken-trained Eljaykay Phoenix is the favourite for Sunday’s $50,505 two-year-old Classic despite a second-row draw (gate 10) in the stand-start race. The standing start will be relatively new to most of the runners, who have been contesting mobile-start races of late as they look to etch their names among the country’s leading juvenile trotting ranks in races such as the Vicbred Super Series. Eljaykay Phoenix won the colts and geldings’ Super Series final with panache, comfortably accounting for runner-up Illawong Helios and third placegetter Black Valley – both of whom he meets again on Sunday. Eljaykay Phoenix has won five out of six starts but interestingly his only defeat has come at his only stand-start race. New Zealand’s champion two-year-old trotter My Arya has drawn gate one on Sunday, the Brent Lilley-trained, Mark Purdon-driven daughter of Angus Hall out to follow in the footsteps of previous Redwood filly winners Lady Thor (1987), Truscott Dawn (1995), Lacey Truscott (1997), Petite Morley (1998), Jauriol (2004), Elusive Charm (2009), Maidstone Miss (2011) and Daenarys Targaryen (2013). My Arya comfortably won her Australian debut race at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last weekend off a 10m handicap in a stand-start race. Early money has come for New South Wales raider Twice As Much, which is unbeaten in two runs to date at Menangle and will be driven by gun reinsman Luke McCarthy. Twice As Much opened $12 and had shortened into $8 as of Thursday with TAB fixed odds. Andy Gath has two runners entered in this year’s Redwood, impressive last-start Super Series fillies’ winner Endsino, which has drawn gate eight and will be driven by Kate Gath, and Naked Majesty, which will start from gate five for John Caldow. “It’s a bit of a tricky draw for Endsino and being a filly taking on the boys is always a bit hard,” Gath said of Endsino, whose mother Jauriol is a past Redwood champion. “These races can be about being in the right place at the right time. If you trot the best on the day you’re always a chance. “Naked Majesty bombed the start last time but she went really good after that. If she gets away good, there’s probably not much between my two.” Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan will start Illawong Armstrong in the Classic, the impressive gelding finishing second to Eljaykay Phoenix in the Super Series Final. Illawong Armstrong has won four of six starts and Quinlan has a huge opinion of him, but his manners can be a worry. If he trots, he’s a huge chance. The Redwood Classic is Race 5 on Saturday’s Maryborough program and is scheduled to start at 2.06pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Christian Cullen gelding Upanatom continued working his way through the grades with a 19.3m win at Yarra Valley on Monday. The former New Zealander from the Amanda Grieve yard is undefeated in four starts since arriving Down Under and has won six out of nine overall. Chris Alford piloted the four-year-old in Monday’s victory and, oh boy, didn’t this pacer look a cut above his rivals. (Access Yarra Valley Monday replays here) From gate seven Upanatom charged straight to the lead clearly despite Alford hardly moving a muscle. Recording the fastest lead time of the day from the 2150m start, 38.3secs, Upanatom came home with a 58.6secs last half to score by a huge margin. It was an armchair ride for Alford all the way in fact, as even late in the race he hardly had to call on his charge. The winner’s mile rate was 1:59.1. Five of the eight races at Yarra Valley were won by favourites, with Im Anonymous scoring by a head off a 20m handicap in the yarravalleyracing.com.au Trotters Handicap over 2150m at $3.30, Game We Play winning his second race from four starts at $1.70 in the United Petroleum 3YO Pace, Pushkin getting up by a head at $1.30 for Adam Kelly/Gavin Lang in the De Bortoli Pace over 2150m, and $3.50 elect Our Horizon scoring by 6m in the Yarra Valley Forklifting Claiming Pace for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. Other winners were Ourboyjay for Daryl Douglas, which out-bobbed Glenferrie Bunter by a half-head in the Yarra Ranges Tourism 2YO Pace over 1650m, Onemorelaugh in the Spring Packages Online 3YO Pace, which gave Lang a driving double, and outsider Lets Go Happy for Mark Peace in the Lilydale Instant Lawn Pace over 1650m. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Friday night was a red letter affair for the Aikens. David Aiken, head of the Avenel operation, trained two Group 1 winners on the opening night of the Vicbred Super Series finals carnival at Tabcorp Park, while his son, Josh, drove his first Group 1 winner aboard the stable’s rising star Eljaykay Phoenix. The 21-year-old looked totally undaunted against drivers several years his senior, taking Eljaykay Phoenix to the front early, and not panicking when headed by Jodi Quinlan aboard Illawong Armstrong with a lap to go in the two-year-old male trotters’ final. The pair stayed one-two for the remainder of the race, with Eljaykay Phoenix proving 5.4m too strong in a mile rate of 2:03.8. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn,” the young driver said after the race. “That’s just unreal. I can’t explain how good it feels.” David Aiken then made it two Group 1s for the night with four-year-old Spidergirl capping her domination of the futurity series after previously taking out the two- and three-year-old titles. Chris Alford took Spidergirl to the front early and was never headed, the long odds-on favourite beating second favourite Paris Pepperell by 7.3m, with the rest of the field more than 20m away. Meanwhile, favourite punters were on song for most of the night with seven of the 10 races going their way. Claudys Princess was one of those, the Mick Blackmore-trained three-year-old filly saluting by 2.2m over Illawong Helios in her Super Series final. The win was Claudys Princess’s ninth from 12 starts and Blackmore will now have to seriously consider taking her to the Derby on Redwood Day. “She’ll tell us,” he said when asked about what was next for the daughter of Bacardi Lindy. Winning reinsman Gavin Lang was thrilled with the success. “While there are a lot of people at the top of the tree who deserve the accolades they get, there are a lot of people down the other end who really make our industry what it is,” he said. “You don’t have to be a millionaire.” New South Welsh visitor Vincennes wasn’t the favourite but was well-supported before taking out the four-year-old males’ trotters final. And with six races being beamed live into France for wagering and broadcast last night, there’s a fair chance the French punters took the omen and made him favourite. Trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick delivered a copybook drive aboard Vincennes to defeat punters’ fancy Blitzthemcalder by 2.5m. Blitzthemcalder sat in the breeze mid-race and took the lead on the home turn, but Vincennes had momentum up after securing an economical trip four-back in the running line. Vincennes’ winning mile rate was 2:00.0, coming home in a last half-mile of 58.2secs. Andy Gath’s young trotter Endsino, driven by Kate Gath, started a short-priced favourite and showed she has a bright future by winning the two-year-old fillies’ trotters’ final. Endsino was over 12m too strong for her nearest rival, Shesa Amason, who gave cheek from her pole draw. The other Group 1 victor for the night was long-shot Imamenace for hobby trainer Peter Cormican and reinsman Greg Sugars. Imamenace sat outside race leader Spidergrace before getting the better of the David Moran-trained horse after a stirring battle in the home straight. Despite reinswoman Laura Crossland throwing everything at Spidergrace, Imamenace proved the tougher horse on the night. Alford finished with driving honours on the night, the Spidergirl victory coming after the champion horseman won on Triumphant Monarch in the first race. Amy Tubbs trained-and-driven Brunelleschi won the inaugural Group 3 Noopy Kisok Trotters Free For All, while Sonofanearl won the Aldebaran Park Monte despite a 20m handicap for rider Riina Maattanen. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing driver Chris Alford has his second win for the night and David Aiken already has two Group 1 winners as a trainer. The pair combined with gun four-year-old Spidergirl to win the 4YO mares’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. Spidergirl, which started $1.10 favourite on the tote, led and never looked like being beaten as she completed a Super Series clean sweep, having taken out the two- and three-year-old finals in the past two years. “Not many can win it at two, three and four but she deserves it,” Alford said. “She’s a beauty. “She was pretty relaxed tonight. Once we were in front it was going to take an extraordinary one to beat her.” Try as she might, runner-up Paris Pepperell couldn’t produce that extraordinary performance but was still game in second place for David Van Ryn and Hayden Gray, while Danny Norris-trained Desert Spur finished third for driver Jodi Quinlan. Owner Martin Riseley from Sheron Park said it was “fantastic to complete the full book” of Vicbred wins, heaping praise on his mare. Riseley said he was looking forward to his rising superstar pacer Lennytheshark competing tomorrow night in the 4YO pacers’ final, but suggested the $1.45 odds on offer about him might be a bit short against a rival like Guaranteed. “Against a great adversary like Guaranteed he’s certainly very short odds,” he said. Spidergirl clocked a winning mile rate of 2:01.8. Spidergirl by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing Junior driver Josh Aiken has joined the Group 1 club. The 21-year-old produced the sort of drive you’d expect from someone many years his senior to land the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Eljaykay Phoenix, trained by Josh's dad David, who looks set for a big two nights of Super Series racing, started $1.35 and worked to the front early before handing up to Jodi Quinlan aboard Illawong Armstrong at the bell. Illawong Armstrong, a clear second favourite in the race, then slowed the pace and his backers would have had their fingers crossed that he could stay in his gait throughout – because he’s developed a nasty little habit of breaking stride in the run. But tonight it wasn’t his manners that cost Illawong Armstrong victory; it was that Eljaykay Phoenix was too strong, winning by 5.4m in a mile rate of 2:03.8. Aiken took Eljaykay Phoenix to the front early in the home stretch and, while Illawong Armstrong battled on valiantly for second, all honours were with the winner. Aiken gave a victory salute as he crossed the line, clearly a moment he won’t forget. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn,” he said. “That’s just unreal. I can explain how good it feels.” Eljaykay Phoenix has now won five of his six starts. Ever-consistent Black Valley was third for Rebecca Bartley, beaten 9.9m, and they came well away from the fourth placed runner Majestic Jess. by Cody Winnell

Avenel harness racing trainer David Aiken was the big winner at Tuesday morning’s barrier draw for the 2014 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series grand finals. Aiken, who has qualified several of his big-name stars for the Tabcorp Park Melton Friday/Saturday grand final night double-header, would have been smiling to hear about Eljaykay Phoenix drawing gate two for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings’ final, Spidergirl drawing gate two for the four-year-old trotting mares’ final, Jedi Mind snaring gate one in the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final and Lennytheshark coming up with gate four in the four-year-old entires and geldings’ final. The four-year-old entires and geldings' final (to be run at 9pm on Saturday night) will see champion pacers Lennytheshark and Guaranteed lock horns. Both comfortably won their Vicbred semi-finals last Friday night and Guaranteed’s back-row draw (gate nine) won’t be any problem at all for the Emma Stewart-trained star, which gets back early. Ginger Bliss won’t be able to utilise his greatest weapon – blistering gate speed – as he is drawn inside the back row behind pole horse Boyz Torque, which is likely to be overtaken by Lennytheshark early. Trainer David Miles had mixed feelings about Tuesday morning’s barrier draw, his star three-year-old filly Mindarie Priddy snaring gate five in her final, which should allow her to find the lead and dictate terms, while his two-year-old Diamond Castle – raced by Harness Racing Victoria’s successful ownership scheme Raceapacer – drew gate 13 for her final. “Mindarie Priddy looks like she might be able to find the top and if she does she’ll be hard to beat from there,” Miles said. “She worked the best I’ve seen her work this morning, so she’s flying. “Diamond Castle is a bit of a one-trick pony at this stage, a real sit-sprinter. “We’ll have to spot them 40m at some stage so it will be hard but we’ll just have to see what happens.” Most punters think Eljaykay Phoenix and Illawong Armstrong have the two-year-old colts and geldings’ trotters’ final between them. While the Aiken-trained youngster got the luck at the barrier draw – and Illawong Armstrong was out of the draw and thus has to start from gate 12 – trainer Jodi Quinlan would still be confident about her horse’s chances given it has won four on the trot in dominant fashion. Spidergirl will be a short-priced favourite in the four-year-old trotting mares’ final, punters surely including the Aiken-trained superstar in all their multi-bets after she came up with the plum gate two at the barrier draw. For the full fields and barrier positions for Friday/Saturday night visit harness.org.au or facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria Dining packages are still available for this weekend's meetings. Click on the banner below for details on how to book. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

It might only have been her second win from 14 starts, but if she can repeat today’s performance at Tabcorp Park Melton, many more triumphs are in store for Basil Dooley-trained Sweet Wise. The four-year-old Allendale mare by Totally Ruthless out of Little Trouble had no trouble whatsoever finding the lead early, pinging off the arm at the 1720m start in the Jim's Mowing AU Facebook Pace. From there driver Greg Sugars controlled proceedings, Sweet Wise kicking clear turning for home to race clear for a 13.2m win in a rate of 1:57.2. Meanwhile, Spidergrace looked a star in the making with a 9.4m win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings second heat. The gelding, trained by David Moran and driven by Laura Crossland, showed strong pace early and led before racing clear off the back for a comfortable victory. Savannah Jay Jay ran on well to get second, while Tiavon’s Dream was third after slightly missing the start due to a break in the score-up. Polemarker Miracle, who was well in the market, finished fifth after getting shuffled back along the pegs early. Speaking of potential stars in the making, Lance Justice might have unveiled another one in Phil Monty. The four-year-old gelding has not put a foot wrong since joining the Justice stable from New Zealand, with  strong wins at Charlton and Maryborough before today’s impressive 1.9m victory. Justice took Phil Monty to the front from gate one and controlled the speed perfectly before bringing him home in 55.9secs for the last half-mile to register a winning mile rate of 2:00.5. In the Jim’s Mowing Trotters’ Handicap eight-year-old gelding Xanderxav scored an upset victory for trainer Linton Power with David Moran in the cart. The son of former superstar trotter Wagon Apollo stepped well from the tapes to lead unchallenged. Brief Glance made an early move to get to the breeze, while favourite Blitzthemcalder was driven patiently from his 20m handicap. Turning for home Brief Glance challenged Xanderxav, but the leader responded and simply couldn’t be headed. Lleyton H battled on strongly for third at big odds, Lucky Twenty Three ending up fourth and Blitzthemcalder fifth. In the Jim's Mowing 131 546 Pace, eight-year-old mare Broadways Best turned back the clock for an impressive half-neck win over Lance Justice pair Machin Out and Im Barney Rubble. Chris Alford took the Shannon McLean-trained feature race specialist to the breeze with a lightning move mid-race, sitting outside early leader Blazeaway Macray. Greg Sugars then had his go, whipping Villagem around the field and dashing to the lead. But Broadways Best was too strong at the business end, out-staying her rivals in a mile rate of 1:59.5. The 3YO Trotting Fillies’ Vicbred Super Series second heat was taken out by Ross Graham’s Monkey Bones squaregaiter Four Lillies with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Four Lillies won by a comfortable 14.9m over Lindy Vale, with Sister Of Sonoko another 8.1m away in third place. Other winners for the meeting were Nobetterthanthis in the Harness Breeders Vic Pace over 2240m for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, which scored a head win over What A Sheila in 2:03.8, while Gaita Pullicino’s three-year-old gelding Blackwarrior was too tough for his rivals in the Corio Waste Management 3YO Pace, winning by 1.2m over Vinny Chase with a further 24.2m away to Macworthy in third. Pullicino had earlier finished fourth aboard Lovable Larrikin, which showed a win was not far off when he rattled home out wide behind Broadways Best. by Cody Winnell

Pinup filly Claudys Princess will be chasing a seventh successive victory when she steps out in the first race at Maryborough on Thursday. Mick Blackmore-trained Claudys Princess is coming off a Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Trotters Oaks win at Melton, where she pocketed connections $40,298 with a 2.2m win over Illawong Helios in a mile rate of 2:01.4. The lucrative Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series is seeing some of harness racing’s biggest stars hitting country tracks right across Victoria in their bid to qualify for a spot in the July 4-July 5 grand finals at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Claudys Princess will be hoping to continue her winning form in the first heat of the 3YO trotting fillies’ Super Series, which kicks off the Maryborough program at 12.15pm. Illawong Helios, from the Ross Sugars stable, has drawn gate one alongside Claudys Princess (two) for Thursday’s race, while Jodi Quinlan-trained Illawong Moonshine usually fires out of the blocks and should be serving it up to any potential frontrunners early from gate five. The 3YO trotting colts and geldings will contest their heat in Race 4 at Maryborough. Guiltless, which finished runner-up to One Over Da Moon in the VHRSC Holmfield last start, the highly talented Asdenro and in-form Tiavons Dream are among those in action. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan experienced a rollercoaster ride at the track last weekend, with a brilliant winning double on Friday night at Melton followed by a fall at Ballarat 24 hours later. “I’m a bit sore,” Quinlan said of the fall from Sir Hutchy in the Kirsten New Pace, when her horse ran into the back of a fiercely galloping Bettor Downunder. Despite the bumps and bruises, Quinlan was back in the sulky during the week and has a strong book of drives this Friday night. Punters are likely to judge Quinlan's best winning chance to be Sunset Invasion in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final (Group 2) over 2240m. The five-year-old gelding by Last Sunset was the most impressive heat winner last Friday night, recording a mile rate of two minutes even and a 58.7secs last half to lead all the way and defeat Unico Pegasus by 4.9m. Despite leading throughout a week ago, Quinlan said Sunset Invasion was “better driven with a sit”. She said the Holmfield and Derby winner as a three-year-old was now ready to take the next step. “He’s a really nice horse and he’s going really well. I don’t think the draw is going to be too much of a problem on Friday night. I wouldn’t swap my bloke for anything.” Earlier on the card Quinlan will kick off her night aboard Glenferrie Dreamer, which found the line strongly first-up at Maryborough. “He’s up a long way in class but we were happy with the first-up run. Craig’s got him in this because he needs to keep him ticking over, but he’s drawn well and hopefully will run well.” Quinlan then pilots last-start winner Glenferrie College in the Alabar Pace over 1720m. The four-year-old son of Mcardle stunned most punters last time out at Maryborough when he won at $22, but Quinlan said he should never been that price. “You had to put the pen through the two runs beforehand,” Quinlan said. “His run three starts before at Melton had been terrific. He’s definitely going a lot better than his form might suggest. He ran good time the other day.” Glenferrie College went 1:55.5 with a last half in 57.1secs, finishing strongly from back in the field after sitting solo three-wide. The Quinlan/Demmler team will have two runners in the Woodlands Stud Pace, Essbee Doubleyou drawn gate two and Lombo Flashlight in five. “I was really happy with Lombo Flashlight’s first-up run. Fitness wise he’ll be improved and he certainly can win. “The other one (Essbee Doubleyou) is drawn to lead and it was a super run last time, so he should go well, too.” And the stable has Our Eastwood Cullen in the last race, the Junction Hotel Claiming Pace, drawn inside the back row. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Parwan’s Jodi Quinlan took driving honours at Tabcorp Park Melton last night with a winning double. Sunset Invasion kicked off proceedings with victory in Race 1, the first heat of the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup, the long odds-on favourite scoring a comfortable win over Unico Pegasus and Stephen John in a mile rate of two minutes even. Two races later Quinlan produced a perfectly timed drive aboard Valley Of Diamonds to upset heavily backed favourite Garibaldi in the $10,000 Guaranteed First 4 Pools Pace over 2240m. The second heat of the Trotters Cup went to Brief Glance for Bacchus Marsh father-daughter team Alan and Amy Tubbs. The six-year-old gelding sat three-wide for the last lap, clocked a mile rate of 2:01.7 and came home in a last half-mile of 58.9secs, scoring a tough half-neck win over Mister Gunsen, with odds-on favourite Our Dreamlover third. Hamilton trainer David Lewis and reinsman Matthew Craven combined for victory in the Tabcorp Park Melton Pace over 1720m with Amajorjo, a talented five-year-old by Art major out of smart mare Jolaura, getting home by 7.9m over Magical Telf, with Discrimination a further 1.4m away in third. The winner’s mile rate was a slick 1:55.1, the last half covered in 55.9secs. Punters copped a blow when $33.20 shot Kotare Rowland saluted victorious in the Vermont Panels Enduro over 2760m for trainer Geoff Webster and driver Emmett Brosnan. Brosnan drove a patient race aboard the five-year-old son of Julius Caesar, coming from well back along the pegs to get up in the last hop over race favourite Five Star Anvil, while Our Blackbird ran a good race for third after getting checked early. Lite Jagermeister returned to her best form with victory in the Tab.com.au Pace over 2240m, the Riddells Creek-trained chestnut mare from the Adam Kelly stable proving 3.2m too strong for long-shot Amazing Kano, who never shirked the issue in the home straight and was brave in defeat, wihle Essbee Doubleyou ran on well for third. The Renown Silverware Pace Final wrapped up the night with Ken Whelan’s five-year-old gelding Kisartis scoring his first win since last July with a half-head victory over Mary Mon. The even-money favourite Suerte finished third, with the winner’s mile rate 2:00.2.   FAST FACTS FROM LAST NIGHT'S MELTON MEETING * Quaddie paid $6991 on numbers 9-7-1-2 * Early quaddie paid $898.10 on numbers 6-9-6-9 * Fastest mile rate: Amajorjo 1:55.1 * Most wins by driver: Jodi Quinlan (2) By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Last year 26-year-old Christchurch-born Amanda Grieve returned to Australia after serving an 'apprenticeship' with master NZ horseman Tony Herlihy. Last night at Lord's Raceway Bendigo, Grieve let everyone know she was in business as a trainer, harnessing up her first race winner, Tandias Bromac in the Empire Stallions Super Series 4yo Vicbred mares, 1st heat. The Thompson Bloodstock owned daughter of Art Major that stems from the same family as Bendigo great Mother Courage led all the way to win the Stakes heat impressively for driver Chris Alford in a MR of 1.58.1 for the 2150 metre distance. Glenferrie Shuffle (Jodi Quinlan) charged home for second with Im Smouldering in third place. But the night belonged to former Dean Braun stable employee Grieve, a young lady described by Herlihy who was her boss and mentor for 8 years as "one of his most valued workers. "Grieve has had plenty of good teachers including her father Paul and and on leaving school she had a good grounding with Paul Fitzpatrick in New South Wales and with (Uncle) Dennis Wilson. Greive went to NZ to watch Elsu win the 2005 Inter Dominion at Alexandra Park and got a job with Herlihy where she had many highlights working at his Ardmore barn.  "I got to work with so many good horses like Western Dream, Ohoka Punter and of course One Over Kenny. She was my favourite," Grieve told harnesslink.  Grieve did a lot of the behind-the-scenes work with One Over Kenny and rated her second Rowe Cup win as a career highlight. "She was also the first trotting mare to win $1 million. I loved that horse. I'll never forget her," Grieve said.  Grieve has also worked as a starter's assistant for six years and on premier nights can be seen leading the horses back into the bird cage.  Grieve prefers training to driving but she has had seven drives without saluting. Her father Paul trained eight winners in seven seasons between 1984 and 1998. Mum Katie and dad, Paul are proud as punch about their daughter's success. " Dad & I are very proud of you," Katie Grieve posted on facebook after the win. Meanwhile, recently licenced trainer Amanda Turnbull also notched up her first winner last week. Turnbull, New South Wales’ leading driver, took out the Dunlop Super Dealer Pace at Charlton last Monday with four-year-old Highview Conall. By David Alfred (Bendigo Harness Racing)

Kyabram harness racing trainer Mick Blackmore was going to have some celebratory burgers on the way home after his Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Victoria Trotters Oaks win at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last night. “I’ll stop in at McDonalds,” an elated Blackmore said, nominating “two quarter pounders” as his menu favourites. Blackmore’s star filly Claudys Princess was the belle of the ball at the meeting, the striking three-year-old registering her second Group 1 victory after a sublime drive from master reinsman Gavin Lang. The daughter of Bacardi Lindy was sent wide off the back straight the final time in a bid to make ground on tearaway leader Illawong Moonshine (Jodi Quinlan) and the challenging Illawong Helios (Greg Sugars), Claudys Princess was running on but still had a lot of ground to make up. She was 12m behind the two leaders down the side before Lang revealed his ace – steering Claudys Princess left, cutting the corner and saving enormous ground before bursting to the lead along the inside for a 2.2m win. Punters were cheering as Claudys Princess crossed the line in first, the $1.50 favourite making it 10 wins from 13 starts. Blackmore was full of praise for the legendary Lang. Asked if he was worried with 600m to go, the trainer replied: “That wasn’t my worry, it was Gavin’s worry… but if you leave it in his hands, it comes off more often than not. He’ll take the shortest way home all the time.” Ross Sugars-trained Illawong Helios battled on gamely for second, while $144 outsider My Account gave Maribyrnong trainer David Beer a huge thrill in flashing home for third. They went out in a lead time of 46.8 and came home in a mile rate of 2:01.4 for the Oaks, with the last half covered in 59.9. Claudys Princess’s next goal will be the Vicbred Super Series. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Sound the alarm because the Shark has well and truly arrived. Punters had already been warned of course – the wraps on the David Aiken-trained horse were enormous before last night’s University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship, following a powerful win first up when he donkey licked his rivals earlier this month. Heavily backed since fixed odds opened midweek, Lennytheshark started $2.10 but had been odds-on. The punters nailed it. From the pole draw, Lennytheshark cruised to the lead almost unchallenged for driver Chris Alford early and nothing wanted to take him on until the bell. Emma Stewart star Restrepo, which was first up from a spell, launched his claim as the bell sounded and improved to the breeze. Down the back, Dean Braun’s rising star Chilli Palmer started his move with an audacious burst as Lennytheshark quickened up front. Turning for home though and the Shark attacked, Lenny skipping clear and powering further away late to eventually score by a substantial 10.3m. Braun trained the second, third and fourth horses over the line – Inky Cullen, Chilli Palmer and Magical Telf – while Restrepo dropped out to finish seventh. The mile rate was 1:56.5. Meanwhile, two young trotters became Group 1 winners via the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series. In the fillies’ final it was Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven Royal Treat too strong. The Majestic Son filly utilized the sprint lane in the home straight to defeat Meadow Valley Road, with Neville Welsh-trained Est Est Est third. Illawong Armstrong prevailed in the colts and geldings’ final for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, defeating Black Valley and Bring The Action. Champion reinsman Chris Alford took driving honours for the night with a winning treble, while Rebecca Bartley’s amazing run in the Young Drivers Challenge continued, winning the third race of the series after collecting the first two at Shepparton on Thursday night. Last night Bartley steered Smiling Spirit home at cricket score odds of $54.30. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Six year old Village Jasper/Cultured Lombo gelding Savesomtimetodream landed his third country cup for the season, when successful in the $25,505 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2570 metres at Ararat in the heart of the Western District on Saturday March 5.   Raced by Ballarat Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse and partners, Savesomtimetodream which already had captured both the Yarra Valley and Gunbower Cups, began smoothly from a solo10 metre mark to possie one/one on the back of the roughie Farmersntradies, with Narra Operative (barrier five) going forward after a tardy start to race in the open after competing a lap.   Jodi Quinlan then set Savesomtimetodream forward three wide to tackle the leaders (favourite) Jadahson (barrier three) and Narra Operative (barrier five), parking outside the leader mid-race.   Applying plenty of pressure to Jadahson in the final circuit, Savesomtimetodream outstayed his rivals to record a courageous 1.6 metre victory over Jadahson, with Arber (three back the markers) using the sprint lane for third.   The well supported polemarker Inky Cullen galloped away from the pole, while equal 20 metre backmarker Our Blackbird with Arber, settled at the rear from a 20 metre handicap, before moving three wide racing for the bell, with Inky Cullen following.   In quarters of 31.7. 31.1, 28.9 and 28.8 for the final mile, Savesomtimetodream returned a mile rate of 2-04.6, well outside the track record of 2-01.1 set by 2010 winner I Am Sam.   Race sponsor John Hawke on behalf of Renown Silverware has sponsored the Ararat Pacing Cup for the last 20 years.    Supplementing the program was the $10,505 Clive Reed Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2570 metres which was a blow out for punters with $73.70 rank outsider Idle Suntime scoring for Great Western trainer/driver Michelle Wight (formerly Michelle Manning).   Settling on the back of the leader Im Whitney (barrier three) from the pole, Idle Suntime sailed through along the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.8 metres in advance of Im Whitney which hung rather badly on the final bend, with Wildenstein (three back the markers) running his usual honest race for third. The mile rate 2-07.6.   A six year old gelded son of Sundon and Foreign Interest, Idle Suntime chalked up his 10th victory from 67 outings.   The country cup scene moves to Sunraysia next week, with the Mildura Pacing Cup being held next Saturday. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

The promotion for the female driver’s to wear TEAL driving pants in March to promote awareness of OVARIAN CANCER has been a major success with the girls booting home a total of 61 winners. March was highlighted by the massive night at Tabcorp Park where over $80,000 was raised for the WOMEN’S CANCER FOUNDATION in conjunction with Girls Night Out and the PRYDE’S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR. The leading female driver for the month was WCF Ambassador Jodi Quinlan with seven wins, closely followed by a group of four drivers with six winners – Kerryn Manning, Alison Chisholm, Kate Gath and Rebecca Bartley. For further information or to donate to the fantastic cause please go to http://www.womenscancerfoundation.org.au/ By HRV Media

Thursday night harness racing was held at Kilmore with most classes catered for in an entertaining eight event card. Former Kiwi trainer/driver Warren Cochrane now based at Bagshot in Central Victoria, brought up victory number three with much improved four year old Mach Three / Executive Lady gelding Uroc Mman in the VHRSC Pace (Heat 2) for C1 class over 2180 metres at Kilmore on Thursday. Given the run of the race from inside the second row trailing the pole line pacemaker The Major League, Uroc Mman finished hard along the sprint lane to gain the day over the leader in a rate of 2-00.1. Rogers Joy (three back the markers) finished third. Axedale trainer/driver Mick Carbone’s New Zealand bred Mach Three / Vermillion five year old gelding Master Pip overcame a 30 metre backmark to land the Harness Thursday Trackside Treats Pacers Handicap for C1 class over 2150 metres. Stepping safely, Master Pip gradually made ground to be one/two mid-race, before moving a spot closer when the heavily backed Miss Toolern Vale crossed the leader Forever Arma at the bell leaving Sunrise Lady in the open. Taken three wide in the last lap to be outside the leader on the home turn, Master Pip gained the upper hand shortly after, holding a 4.5 meter margin to the wire in accounting for Miss Toolern Vale and Forever Arma in a rate of 2-02. Parwan trainer Geoff Walker combined with Jodi Quinlan to capture the Catch It To Kilmore 2-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 1660 metres with Muscle Hill / Adellas Dash filly Glenferrie Burn. Making her third race appearance, Glenferrie Burn raced by Peter Chambers’ Glenferrie Farms Pty Ltd was safely away from barrier four, settling four back along the markers, before moving to be one/one in the final circuit following her stablemate Glenferrie Belle. Easing three wide on the final bend, Glenferrie Burn ran home stylishly to score by 3.2 metres in a slick rate of 2-07.2 for the babies over Mister Oz which did everything right to lead, with Glenferrie Belle third. Melton’s Alison Chisholm snared the www.facebook.com/kilmoreracing Claiming Pace over 2180 metres with Kiwi bred six year old Falcon Seelster / Mustang Sally gelding Jaccka Murphy. Trapped outside the pole line pacemaker Jaccka Tom from gate three in the early stages, Jaccka Murphy was driven with aggression to take over and once in front relaxed beautifully after spending plenty of petrol. Kicking clear on straightening, Jaccka Murphy defeated Summer Ace which raced outside him from the bell, giving the Melton district the quinella, with Jaccka Tom holding down third. The mile rate 2-00.8. Long Forest duo Andy and Kate Gath brought up victory number eleven with honest It Is I/Shot Of Sugar four year old entire Quadentate in the Kilmore Timber Hardware Mitre 10 Pace for C5 & C7 class over 2180 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Starting from the extreme draw, Quadentate settled four back in the running line, with Salem leading from gate four. Commencing a forward move three wide solo at the bell, Quadentate gradually made ground on the leaders before finishing his race off well to score from Nimble Jack along the sprint lane after trailing the front runner. Artoc (three back the markers – four wide home turn) finished third. by Len Baker Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

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