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Champion New South Wales mare Frith added the Harness Breeders (Vic) Jane Ellen to her list of feature race wins at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. The six-time Group 1 winner found the lead comfortably from the 2240m start before controlling the race to score by 2.6m over runner-up The Good Times, with Broadways Best rocketing home for third. Frith, a Bruce Harpley-trained daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, has now won 26 from 35 race starts. Frith’s winning mile rate was 1:56.7. She finished with a last half-mile of 55.7 after splits of 29.8, 30.2, 27.6 and 28.1. Emma Stewart’s The Good Times was given a cushy run by Gavin Lang on the back of the favourite before using the sprint lane to run second. Chris Alford steered in-form Broadways Best into third, powering down the outside late to edge out Beauty Secret, which ran fourth, while Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling wound up fifth. Frith already boasts Group 1 victories in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. She will be looking to add a second Breeders Crown success to her resume next month after taking out the three-year-old fillies’ title last year. Frith Father-son combination Ross and Greg Sugars won the first three races on Friday night’s program. Illawong Magic kicked off proceedings with a 3.7m win in the Granny Reilly Performance Mix Vicbred Trot. The seven-year-old gelding found the lead early and never looked like losing, pinching a break approaching the home bend before holding off David Van Ryn pair Paris Pepperell and Enjoy A Coldie in the home straight. The Sugars’ team then combined for success with Bettor Rock On in the first heat of the Tabcorp Park Melton Winter Championship. Punters who took the short odds for the son of Bettors Delight were surely sweating with 50m to go, as Bettor Rock On was taking forever to reel in Tandias Bromac. But the $1.10 shot poked his head in front just in time to win by the narrowest of margins. Bettor Rock On posted sectionals of 29.0, 29.9, 28.5 and 28.4, with his mile rate a slick 1:54.9. Mulgrave then made it three from three for Team Sugars, defeating Gotta Go Henry in the Alabar 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. Mulgrave won by 2.8m in a mile rate of 1:58.3. The in-form David Aiken stable absolutely dominated the Granny Reilly Sole Mate Mix Trot over 2240m, Thanesan defeating stable-mate Vics Cheval by 5.1m. Junior driver Josh Aiken, who drove his first Group 1 winner last weekend, steered the winner, while his father David drove the second horse over the line. Amanda Grieve and Chris Alford combined to win the Granny Reilly Perfect Pacer Pace over 2240m with Magical Telf, who scored a half-neck win over Teo Enteo. Long odds-on favourite Almost El Eagle took out heat two of the Winter Championship for Steve Duffy and John Caldow. Ginger Bliss made it a winning double for Josh Aiken with victory in the Granny Reilly Maintain Mix Pace over 1720m, the talented four-year-old clocking 1:55.3 to beat Exciteusinthecity by 1.2m. Ginger Bliss found the lead early and dictated terms before cranking things up in the last half-mile, with third and fourth splits of 27.7 and 27.9 for a 55.6 last half. Exciteusinthecity ran a bottler of a race for Tim McLean, while Washmepockets poked through for third for Haydon Gray. Our Twentyten showed he is right on song for the Trotters Derby with an 8.9m win in the Redwood Day 20 July 3YO Trot, the Brent Lilley-trained son of Muscles Yankee defeating runner-up One Over Da Moon and third placegetter Daenerys Targaryen. The last race on the card, the Book Now For Breeders Crown 2YO Trotters Handicap, saw Greg Sugars snare win number four for the night and gave Lilley a winning double when My Arya got the chocolates. My Arya was the only filly off 10m in the race, the daughter of Angus Hall stepping sweetly early and trotting perfectly throughout to score by 2.3m over debutant Shared Interest (Nathan Jack), who ran a crackerjack race on debut and will be winning soon, while Sheza Amason was about 20m away in third. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Allies Mate made it two wins from two starts in impressive style at Shepparton on Tuesday night. The Jason Donohoe trained-and-driven son of Mcardle sat parked throughout in the 2190m second heat of the Congram Livestock Transport Vicbred Platinum Country Series A, dashing clear in the home straight for a 10.4m win. Despite doing the lion’s share of the work Allies Mate was cruising at the home turn, David Farrar-trained Arriens looming up strongly into second but no match for the winner. Donohoe sat quietly on Allies Mate, which was sent out second favourite behind odds-on pop Royal Hustler, and had a sustained look around at the home turn to sum up the situation. Once he flicked the reins, it was lights out for his rivals and Allies Mate broke clear to record a winning mile rate of 2:00.7 (last half in 57.6 and last quarter 27.6). Donohoe said the horse had trained on well after its first-up win and once the favourite was out of play on Tuesday night, he was confident he could get the job done. “He had trained on well after that first win. The favourite was sort of the only one I was really worried about,” the Marong trainer said. Arriens held on for second for junior driver Mark Pitt, while Black Jasmin was third for Haydon Gray. Royal Hustler galloped at the start and missed the kick badly, failing to make up ground and finishing down the track. Allies Mate became punters’ foe on debut at Bendigo last month when he defeated long odds-on favourite Kept Under Wraps at cricket score odds. On the strength of Tuesday night’s triumph, he won’t be starting at huge odds again anytime soon. Meanwhile, trainer-driver Donna Castles finally broke through for win number three with her four-year-old Lombo Mandingo mare Tennaya. Tennaya, $1.80 on Tuesday night, had endured a frustrating run of second-place finishes, coming in runner-up at six of its past seven starts. But she finally broke through, proving 2.6m too strong for nearest rival Liams Lass (Jim O’Sullivan) despite punching the breeze throughout. Tennaya ran 2:01.4 for the mile rate with a last half of 58.4. The Truth took out the Finley Bowling Club and Finley RSC Trotters Handicap at his first run back from a spell for Kari Males and Paul Males, narrowly edging out race favourite Kains Boy in the first race. Chris Lang trained and drove the winner of the second, the Kelly Grain Trot, with Aldebaran Eastwood, which started $3.10. David Aiken and son Josh Aiken combined to win the McNaughts Transport Pace over 1690m with polemarker Wounded, which led all the way to score by 1.3m over Royal Deviate. Maree Caldow and John Caldow had success in the Tuppal Hotel 3YO Pace with Lost In Bangkok, the gelding saluting by 5.9m in a rate of 1:58.3 over Arrokeefe. And Raylan Gibbins gave driver Nathan Jack victory in the Euroa Excavation Pace for trainer Melinda Thackeray. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The Emma Stewart stable has the potential to dominate this Friday night’s colossal Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Semi-Final night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Stewart has 10 runners engaged across the 12-race program, including numerous expected prepost favourites. Headlining her chances are unbeaten two-year-old filly Lovelist ($1.60) in the 2YO fillies’ second semi-final and Group 1 star Guaranteed ($1.60) in the 4YO males’ first semi-final. Since arriving on the scene with a win at Maryborough on April 7, Lovelist has won twice at Tabcorp Park Melton – including victory in the Group 2 Vicbred Home Grown Final – before a last-start 5m win at Maryborough in the Super Series 2YO Fillies second heat. “She’s our best two-year-old filly,” Stewart declared on Wednesday. “She’s done everything right. I’d expect her to get through on Friday night and then we hope she goes on to win the final. “While we don’t know exactly how good she is yet, she’d have to be right up there with the best two-year-olds we’ve trained.” Lovelist comes out of gate four on Friday in Race 10, with her main dangers expected to be highly rated David Miles-trained Diamond Castle (drawn 10) and Amanda Turnbull’s Missed By Red (gate five). Harness Racing Victoria’s popular ownership program Raceapacer owns Diamond Castle, which will have an enthusiastic group cheering her on in Friday night’s race. Stewart is confident four-year-old Guaranteed can win through to the Super Series Final but admitted to being concerned about the Chariots of Fire winner’s gate-one draw on Friday night. “I can see us being buried away back on the pegs again,” she said. “But as long as we get through to the final, that’s the main thing.” Stewart believes Ginger Bliss will lead on Friday night before handing up to something else, which would shuffle Guaranteed three back on the markers. However, if Ginger Bliss leads as expected and doesn’t hand up, Guaranteed should be able to hold its back and secure its shot at victory via the sprint lane. Another scenario would be Ginger Bliss pings out early to lead clearly and something else – maybe Classy Guy or Boyz Torque – drops in behind the leader, shuffling Guaranteed back early. Stewart said she would prefer Guaranteed to be off the markers and doing some work rather than being buried away on the inside, but added it was up to driver Gavin Lang to assess the situation on Friday night. “Gavin’s got to weigh it up,” she said. When asked about Guaranteed potentially starting near $1.60, Stewart replied: “That’s pretty short…” Stewart’s three-year-old gelding Presidentialsecret ($6.50) could be her each-way value runner for the night, the trainer spruiking the horse as one “she really likes”. “He does need a bit of luck because he’s not the strongest horse going around but I really like the way he’s working at home and if we can get into the final and then draw a nice gate, he’d be a good chance,” she said. Stewart opens the marathon program with Goodtime Marjie ($3) in the 4YO mares’ first semi-final from gate six. “She’s a really top-class mare but she can do a few things wrong,” the trainer said. “It depends which Goodtime Marjie turns up.” The daughter of Village Jasper has turned up more often than not though, winning seven of her 11 starts to date. Stewart also has a likely favourite in Race 2, the first semi-final of the 2YO fillies’ division with Licinia drawn gate three. “I like her. We’ve only had her for three starts for us and she’s won two of them. She can go forward and do some work so the gate looks ideal.” Punters also look set to put their faith in yet another Stewart runner in Race 6, the 4YO mares’ second semi-final, with Our Femme Fatale drawn gate six. “She’s the most underrated horse we’ve got, I think,” said Stewart. “You always know what you’re going to get from her; she always tries her hardest. She’s a great mare.” Our Femme Fatale sat in the death and out-toughed Earth Angel, which has drawn five on Friday night, last time out at Kilmore. In the 3YO fillies’ first semi-final Stewart will put the polish on Berisari from gate two, with Nathan Jack to take the drive. “If you’d said to me at the start of the year that she’d be one of our best fillies I’d have laughed,” Stewart said. “But she’s going really, really well, and she’s a really good show on Friday night. “Nathan drives her very well. She can go forward and do some work but she also has a sharp sprint on her, so I’m not fussed about tactics. I’ll leave it up to Nathan.” Of Hes Kinky (gate 12 for the second semi-final of the 4YO boys) Stewart said: “He’s a good sit-and-sprint horse who is up in class. He’s a chance.” And in the last race of the night Stewart will have two runners, Tuscan Breeze (John Caldow, gate two) and Bettors Package (Gavin Lang, gate 10). “We were happy with Tuscan Breeze’s first start with us. She’ll keep improving. “Bettors Package is a lovely filly. She’s only tiny but she tries her hardest and with a little bit of luck she can hopefully go very close.” By Cody Winnell

Semi-Final day of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships hosted by the St Arnaud HRC at Charlton on January 15, were impacted by scratchings resulting in small fields contesting a number of the races due to the extreme heat conditions prevailing all throughout the State. Four runners contested the first Pacers Semi, with victory going to four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze for Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stand in reinsman John Caldow. Enjoying a sweet passage trailing the leader and favourite Bushrod with both horses coming from the 10 metre mark, Sapphire Swayze when eased away from the markers in the last lap, sprinted like a gazelle to lead running into the final bend to defeat the rank outsider Red Riverbed along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Bushrod a disappointing third after hanging away from the inside in the last lap. The mile rate 2-08.3. Semi number two consisted of seven starters, with Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy’s above average four year old McCardle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle greeting the judge in 2-01.3. Driven by John Caldow, Almost El Eagle stepped cleanly from barrier three to trail the surprise pole line leader Dynamite Dude, with Boyz Talk being sent forward after a slow beginning from 10 metres to park in the open. Charging home along the sprint lane, Almost El Eagle coasted to the wire 2.9 metres in advance of Nimble Jack (one/one – three wide last lap), with Dynamite Dude weakening to finish third 2.9 metres away. The first Semi of the Trotters saw only six starters, with Junortoun trainer/driver Scott Dyer’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Oh Yes Indeed gelding The Boss man an impressive victor. Slowly away from barrier two, The Boss Man settled three back along the inside, with the favourite Unico Crown bounding straight to the front from the pole. Given an easy time by Chris Alford, Unico Crown always looked the one to beat judging on his brilliant heat performance at Bendigo. The other highly fancied candidate Quite A Moment (last season’s Breeders Crown winner) possied five back along the markers from a 30 metre backmark, moving to be one/one at the bell when The Boss Man eased away from the inside. Ambling up to Unico Crown on the home turn, The Boss Man was strong at the finish even though the margin was only a head, scoring in a rate of 2-07. Quite A Moment finished 10.1 metres away in third place. Six also contested the second Semi with the winner being Bendigo trainer David Van Ryn’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Belstar gelding Belmac Cody much to the delight of Pyramid Hill resident Teddy Carmody and partners. Driven by Haydon Gray nephew of the trainer, Belmac Cody galloped away from the pole, settling three back along the markers in a strung out field with the roughie Featherfoot Sun leading from barrier two, being trailed by 20 metre marker Man Of The World. Taken back a spot mid-race after Invasive made a lightning move from four back the markers to assume control from Man Of The World which had moved around Featherfoot Sun, Belmac Cody left the markers to race in the open at the bell. Pushed three wide in the last lap when Invasive shifted ground enabling Man Of The World to lead into the straight, Belmac Cody ran to the wire strongly to score from Man Of The World and Invasive in a mile rate of 2-07.5 Both Finals each worth $25,000 will be held at Maryborough next Monday January 20. Unfortunately several horses will miss out on a spot due to their non penalty scratching from the Semi’s due to the heat. Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

It was Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup Day on Friday December 28, with a bumper crowd of Murray River holiday makers enjoying the nine race harness racing card. Bannockburn trainer Geoff Webster having won three of the past five - Genuine Star (2008), Mister Zion (2009) and Lets Slash An Burn (2010), was looking to make it four with much travelled gelding Rakarebel, as was Melton based reinsman Greg Sugars aboard the Webster elect, after guiding Genuine Star, Lets Slash An Burn and Jaccka Clive to victory in 2011 for Avenel’s David Aiken. The $25,000 feature for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2678 metres attracted a small but quality field, with prolific winning Jaccka Clive (one of four runners from the Aiken barn) the 20 metre backmarker. Last year’s successful trainer Tim Butt made it back to back cup victories, when five year old Grinfromeartoear - Against The Wind gelding Pass Them By with John Caldow in the sulky prevailed. Beginning brilliantly from barrier four, Pass Them By pounced on the lead, with Uncle Wingnut from outside the front line moving outside him, polemarker Washmepockets trailing the leader, Rakarebel (barrier two) one/one being followed by Wartime Sweetheart and stablemate Smudge Bromac from the 10 metre mark, with Jaccka Clive last. Composed settled three back the markers, with stablemates Lovable Larrikin and Jaydens Castle trailing him. With no moves being made until the last lap, Wartime Sweetheart was eased three wide to commence a forward move, giving Jaccka Clive a ride home and Smudge Bromac working between runners. Joining Pass Them By on the final bend, Wartime Sweetheart issued a strong challenge, however Pass Them By after a relative easy trip, rallied to gain the day by a head in a punishing finish, with Washmepockets using the sprint lane for third just in advance of Composed which also made use of the inside run. Rated to perfection by Caldow in quarters of 29.6, 30.1, 28.4 and 28.5 for the last mile, Pass Them By raced by a large number of stable clients returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.5, bettering Mister Zion’s 1-59.9 by .4 seconds. The other highlight of the afternoon being the $15,000 Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup for TM0 or better class (D-H) over 2678 metres, with victory going the way of David Aiken’s all American bred seven year old Ken Warkentin - Kovel rig My High Expectations, obliterating the track record by two seconds. Well in on handicaps to start from a 20 metre backmark, My High Expectations stepped cleanly with old timer Oi You beginning best to lead from barrier three, before surrendering to the Kiwi Thanesan entering the front straight on the first occasion. Biding his time with most of the field ahead of him, My Expectations moved to be one/one mid-race when I See Icy Earl ahead of him eased away from the markers to lead up the outside division before taking cover on Bellingham from last. Taken four wide in the final circuit, My High Expectations quickly joined Thanesan on the home turn and raced away to score by 6.8 metres in a mile rate of 2-01.3 (last half 58 seconds – quarter 28.9) over Thanesan who was game in defeat, with I See Icy Earl (three wide last lap) third 5.1 metres away. It was My High Expectations 23rd victory from only 71 outings. David reaped all of the rewards, as apart from training and driving the winner, he also races him. An interesting winner on the day was nine year old Panorama - Regal Sarnel gelding Regalramapleasure for Chiltern trainer Peter Romero who despite winning eleven races (mostly in three year old and restricted events over the years), started in the C1 class Clydesdale Hotel Pace over 2170 metres thanks to the drop back system. Driven by Nathan Jack, Regalramapleasure led throughout from gate five, defeating Pelling and Smart Sista in a rate of 2-00.3 when having his first outing since Melbourne Cup Day. Videos of the two Cups are attached. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Nagambie trainer/driver Chris Lang Jnr’s 4-Y-0 Four Starzzz Shark/Emdomic mare Goldiedomic finally her maiden status, when taking out the Corio Bay Rotary Club Pace for C0 class over 1609 metres at Geelong on Tuesday October 22. Making her 19th appearance at the races, Goldiedomic led throughout from the pole to score from Shapely Hips which trailed and a death seating Hunzarella. The mile rate 1-58.3. Hopetoun Park duo Ross and Greg Sugars were successful with Kiwi bred 6-Y-0 Julius Caesar/Shamrock Bay mare Our Nancy Miles in the Vinmar Homes Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2100 metres. Given a sweet trip three back in the moving line from gate five, Our Nancy Miles was sent forward three wide racing for the bell to park outside the leader Amazing Kano for the final circuit. Drawing clear prior to the home turn, Our Nancy Miles recorded an effortless victory over Atomic Horizon (one/one) and Vinni Gambino (three back the markers) in a mile rate of 1-59.7. Melton’s Joe Borg has picked up a handy stable addition in former New Zealander Frank The Duck which greeted the judge in The James Saliba Pace for C1 class over 2100 metres. A first up Australian winner at Yarra Valley on September 30, Frank The Duck driven by John Caldow enjoyed a perfect passage one/one from gate five and when eased three wide in the final circuit, quickly put the race beyond doubt by leading into the straight and winning by 9.8 metres in 2-00.7 from Antiquities from well back to give Melton the quinella, with Me Mate Les third from mid-field. The Adam Kelly team are back on song and 4-Y-0 Badlands Hanover/Coringa Ruby gelding Rubys Bad Boy first up since June, was an impressive victor of The Ray Beckley Memorial Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2100metres. Starting from outside the 10 metre mark, Rubys Bad Boy settled well back in the field before gaining a lovely three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of The Dip from mid-field. Asked for an effort by Gavin Lang on turning, Rubys Bad Boy ran home stylishly to score from The Dip and Hellfire Angel which trailed the weakening leader Myrniong Panorama in a rate of 2-02.3.  By Len Baker  

There were plenty of celebrations at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday October 11, when much improved 6-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Giveitawhirlgirl mare Bettor Give It registered her biggest victory by taking the $20,000 Harness Breeders (Vic) Blossom Lady for Mares M0 to M3 class over 2240 metres. Raced by Bacchus Marsh residents Shannon and Megan Nixon, Bettor Give It trained at Smythes Creek by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin with John Caldow in the sulky was sent forward from gate five to assume control in the back straight on the first occasion and after being rated to perfection, kicked away on the final bend to score by 3.1 metres in a rate of 1-58.7 (last half mile 56 - quarter 27.7) over Stylish Jasper along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Shake It Mama a stablemate of the winner third off a three wide trail at the bell. Bought a few months ago as a breeding proposition, Bettor Give It has never raced better and may now make a trip to Perth for the big mares classic races to be held in the next month or so. Lisa Miles was in the winners stall at Tabcorp Park, when 7-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Krysta gelding Michael Thomas greeted the judge in the Yield Boko Trotters Mobile for TM0 class over 2240 metres. Settling a long way back in the field after starting from gate four on the second row, Michael Thomas came with a late finish out wide on straightening to blouse the pacemaker Gluteus Major in the shadows of the post, with Knapdale Girl running on late from the rear to finish third. The mile rate 2-02.6. On what's been a huge week for the Bolinda area, Kari and Paul Males snared the Woodlands Stud Trotters Mobile for TM1 to TM3 class over 1720 metres with much improved 9-Y-0 Sundon/Tender Annie gelding Tender Don. With Chris Alford in the sulky, Tender Don (gate six) moved three wide at the bell before crossing to lead the outside division for the final circuit, just lasting to defeat a game Prettylilangeleyes (three wide last lap) by a nose in 1-58.7. Brief Glance used the sprint lane from near last to finish third. Len Baker  

Oddly named former New Zealander Frank The Duck was successful in taking the Melbourne Cup Day Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres at Yarra Valley on Monday September 30 when making his first appearance on Australian soil. A winner at Addington on July 26, Frank The Duck hadn’t raced since August 23 and was sent out an almost unbackable $1.30 favourite after starting from outside the front line. Trained by Joe Borg at Melton and driven by John Caldow, Frank The Duck a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Jeremes Jet and Take Her Easy Tiger was given an easy time one/one following Lets Go Happy after being restrained at the starter released the field, with Ryans Lane (gate three) leading for Dianne Giles. Moving outside the pacemaker approaching the final bend when Lets Go Happy had dropped to the back of the leader, Frank The Duck was much too strong over the concluding stages for Ryans Lane and Lets Go Happy in a mile rate of 2-01.5. Raced by Simon Sciberras who has been a staunch stable client, Frank The Duck chalked up his 3rd victory in 15 outings. Popular Romsey trainer Leigh Miles’ 4-Y-0 Four Starzzz Shark/Norwood Abbey mare Sukhovey Wind brought up her second victory when scoring in the Oaks Day Pace for C0 class (mares) over 2150 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky, Sukhovey Wind was given an easy time one/one from gate two and when eased three wide in the last lap, finished her race off well in defeating Melegend along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with the last start Cranbourne winner Hunzarella weakening to finish third after leading. The mile rate 2-03.6. The age old adage in racing – the more you win – the better the price certainly applies to Cohuna owner Grant Lunghusen’s 4-Y-0 Browning Blue Chip/Above The Rest mare Joelles Dream who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking out the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C1 & C2 class restricted to the fairer sex over 1650 metres, paying Supertab odds of $10.60. Trained and driven by Whittlesea horseman Mark Peace, Joelles Dream starting from gate two on the second line settled three back in the moving line, before being sent forward three wide uncovered in the last lap. Asked for a supreme effort on straightening, Joelles Dream responded to the call, scoring by a half head over a death-seating Miss Fidelity in a rate of 2-01.3. Eleventh Command was a half head away in third place after leading in the closest finish of the day. Impressive Kiwi import Macho Commacho a gelded 5-Y-0 son of Royal Mattjesty and Alberts Daughter made it two from two in Australia, when greeting the judge in the Eastland Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2150 metres. Raced by prominent owners Tony and Pam Coniglio, Macho Commacho trained by Dean Braun at Lara and driven by Nathan Jack had little trouble in finding the front running from a 20 metre equal backmark, before toying with his rivals to win in a breeze from Hellfire Angel (three back the markers) along the sprint lane and The Dip (four back the markers - four wide home turn) in an unextended mile rate of  2-02.9. Sidelined Bolinda trainer Chris Alford landed the De Bortoli Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2150 metres with bonny Bettors Delight/Forest Glory 5-Y-0 mare Bellasario. Bred and raced by Jack & Nola Munnerley, Bellasario taking a concession for the stable’s Josh Duggan, led throughout from the pole to defeat Conflict Of Interest which trailed by 2.6 metres in a rate of 2-00.3, with Magical Molly third from mid-field in the running line. By Len Baker      

In Melbourne.--- From the mud, to the beach to the big stage. That is the journey that has taken Kiwi trainers Greg and Nina Hope from battling trainers on the circuit to the winners circle at Melton on Breeders Crown day yesterday. The Canterbury couple trained their first group one winner when Quite A Moment upset local hero Blitzthemcalder in the A$95,000 three-year-old trot at the ABC meeting. For the Hopes, glamour days like yesterday used to be something they watched on television from afar as they prepared a team of lower grade scrubbers but that all started to change two years ago when they dedicated themselves to beach training. That saw them quickly turn castoffs into cash and with that came some better bred horses and this season appearances at major racedays. “We used to battle around, doing a lot of pre-training for other people and something like this was just a dream,” said Greg Hope. “And it is that much more special because the owners of this filly have been with us a long time, right from the start.”
 And Hope says results like yesterday should prove to plenty of other battling trainers that their luck can turn. “Of course I admire all the top trainers but sometimes it comes down to the horses you get and because of the beach training we are getting better horses these days.” While it was their first group one, for fellow Kiwi trainer Gareth Dixon yesterday’s victory with Carpenter’s Daughter was almost a homecoming. Some of Dixon’s biggest wins have come in Australia, including two early Breeders Crown trot finals with Super Command. After a tough season in New Zealand, Dixon gave owners a reminder of his skills, peaking Carpenters Daughter for her A$100,000 final and a perfect drive from John Caldow did the rest. A mare dogged by seasonal problems, Carpenters Daughter has now sealed her future broodmare career. While punters were stunned by her win, the hottest favourite in Breeders Crown history hardly raised a sweat winning his A$175,000 three-year-old final. Kiwi colt Bit Of A Legend started the at the minimum allowed price of $1.04 on the tote and won untested by 9.5metres, driver Dexter Dunn let him cruise down the home straight after he had put 15m on his rivals at the 300m mark. While his final was decimated by withdrawals of key rivals, Bit Of A Legend has developed into a world class three-year-old and it will be interesting to see how far he goes in open class, where his pony-like size is often a disadvantage. While New Zealand owned or training horses took out four of yesterday’s nine group ones, the most hyped contest of the day went to Team McCarthy, who quinellaed the A$302,000 two-year-old male final with Bling It On and Lettucerockthem. They led and trailed and that gave no tactical chance to the Barry Purdon-trained pair of Sky Major and Maxim, who were brave in third and fourth. And earlier in the meeting Harness Jewels winner One Over Da Moon had to settle for second in the juvenile trot after coming from 30m off favourite I’m Stately. Courtesy of Michael Guerin and Harness Racing New Zealand  

The punters didn’t certianly get it right in the Group 1 Breeders Crown final for four-year-old mares as $16 chance Carpenters Daughter negated her second row draw to overhaul early leader Light In Every Day late. The classy Kiwi native was having her sixth start in Victoria this preparation, all designed around gearing her up for Super Sunday. It took a clever drive from John Caldow to pop into the three wide line early before finding the death and handing it up to odds-on favourite Cheer The Lady. When they went a blistering 27.2 third quarter, there were plenty of horses back in the ruck off the bit and as they swung for home Caldow hooked off the tiring favourites back to make a run down the centre of the track. Halfway down the straight the leader found a kick and was holding both Carpenters Daughter and sprint-laner Born Again Sassy however the eventual winner dug in and lunged in the final 50 metres. There was barely a metre separating the first three passing the post and they ran the race in a mile rate of 1:56.1 with a last half of 57.5secs. John Caldow spoke to Rob Auber on the track about the thrills of the Breeders Crown and his association with Kiwi trainer Gareth Dixon. “I always say it’s only a bad draw after the race, we drew 11 the last two years but it all worked out early,” Caldow said. “He’s a great trainer (Gareth Dixon), this is our third Breeders Crown together, he didn’t think she was quite good enough last year but he brought her over here a bit earlier this year and it worked out well. “Coming off the back and around the corner she was pretty flat so she did really well to keep on coming.” Carpenters Daughter is now a winner of 10 starts from her 41 tries and she has banked over $240,000 in prizemoney for connections. A video is attached. by Blake Redden Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria  

The Nyah Harness Racing Club hosted the May 1 Wednesday night meeting at the Swan Hill Racing Centre which featured a thrilling fast class event - the Nevele R Stud Pace for C5 or better class over 2240 metres which saw the Bruce Rose trained Port Pirie Cup winner Have A Bender (Luke Watson) do battle with the Shayne Cramp trained Ouyen Cup winner Jamies Boy (John Caldow), with Jamies Boy the victor.

Five year old Armbro Operative/Ribbons gelding Exsalont trained at Melton by Maree Caldow was successful in taking out the Bendigo Bank Pace for C1 class over 2150 metres at Lord's Raceway Bendigo on Monday April 8.

Two harness meetings were held in Victoria on Wednesday March 27 with Maryborough racing in the afternoon and Geelong at night.

The two Victorian harness meetings scheduled for Wednesday February 27 came to a sudden halt due to torrential rain coming down in bucket loads.

The Melton/Bacchus Marsh area enjoyed a profitable afternoon at Maryborough's day harness racing fixture on Thursday February 7. Maree and John Caldow were winners when 4-Y-0 Western Terror/Miss Saxony mare Rhinestone Cowgirl snared the Central Goldfields Shire Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres.

Lawrence (Creswick) based harness racing trainer Ken Whelan, one of Melbourne's top reinsmen in the seventies and eighties, was in the winners stall at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday January 31, when 4-Y-0 Artiscape/Sokissmegoodbye gelding Kisartis broke his maiden status when successful in the Toolern Engineering Supplies Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2240 metres.

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