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When star Victorian harness racing reinsman John Caldow set off up the highway to the Shepparton meeting on Friday night, he was entitled to believe he had a few nice drives. “I must admit that on paper I really did think I could do okay - but I have to be honest and say I wasn’t counting on landing five winners!” a jubilant Caldow said. “It was just one of those nights where you think this might happen, or that could be the case, and then it just all goes to plan and falls into place,” he said. “Absolutely amazing, but hell it was heaps of fun.” The quintet of wins was a first for the freelance reinsman, who, with wife Maree, has a training complex at Melton. “I did get five in total once before, but I couldn’t count it as such – one winner at Maryborough in the afternoon and then four that night at a Melton fixture,” he said. “I have actually had four a fair few times. But the prospect of five at one meeting has probably never entered my head.” The popular reinsman said Shepparton had been something of a happy hunting ground for him in recent seasons. “I’ve been getting heaps of support from trainers up that way and I really enjoy driving on the track. Besides I have lots of friends in the area so it’s great to get up there and see them as well.” The Caldow winning run started with Keith Cotchin four-year-old Karlos (Sportwriter-Kept For Pleasure (Safely Kept). To watch the video replay of Karlos click here. Then it was an all-the-way win with Sheer Modern (Shadyshark Hanover-Modern Society (Modern Art) for Brent Thomson. To watch the video replay of Sheer Modern click here. After being runner-up in the next, Caldow bounced back for wife Maree when successful with Meziah (Bettors Delight-Mesmerizing (Our Sir Vancelot). To watch the video replay of Meziah click here. He then scored a surprise win with $28 long shot Jackson Square (Bacardi Lindy-Front And Square (Yentls Image) in the Trotters Cup, landing the prize for Mick Blackmore. To watch the video replay of Jackson Square click here. Caldow’s fifth winner kept it an enjoyable family night, providing Maree with a training double courtesy of impressive 2YO colt Andover Sun (Andover Hall-Solar Flash (Sundon USA) in the Abrahams Trotters Classic. To watch the video replay of Andover Sun click here. And for Caldow followers wondering the outcome for a $10 all up bet on Caldow’s five winners?  A handsome $42,077 would have been the result . Landing winners is certainly nothing new for Caldow, who is up there with the best of them. He has driven more than 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions. And no-one would begrudge him his success (despite perhaps the one flaw in his make-up, some may say, of being a fanatical Collingwood supporter in the AFL!). After a horrific road accident in the 1980s claimed the life of his older brother Peter and severely injured his father Jack at Boundary Bend in Victoria’s far north west, John was given the task of running the stables, then located at Echuca. “I was only 13 years old at the time and I now sometimes look back on it and wonder how I did it,” he said. “Mum had to get special leave from the Education Department so I could quit school and takeover the stable duties of preparing a team of 12 horses. “But I couldn’t have done it without the help of a lot of people.  Probably the one who stood out was Russ Thomson, who had a set-up near Moama at the time, but many others gave us a hand. “I can remember having a team of 20 in work when I was 16 years old as that’s when I applied to get a trots driver’s licence.” The Caldow family relocated to Melton in early 2000 and John has continued to cement himself as one of the true success stories of the industry. Caldow said he was certain to remember his quintet of winners in years to come. “It was actually a huge two days as I went to the football the previous night at the MCG with Glenn Douglas, Mick Stanley and some other diehard Collingwood fans and we got a win over the Bombers,” he said. “You could say I’m on a bit of a roll…!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It has taken John Caldow more than 30 years – and 26,215 races – to land an Inter Dominion final drive. After tomorrow night the veteran Melton reinsman will have driven in two. Caldow will pilot Wilmas Mate in the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship Grand Final at Tabcorp Park just after 9pm before taking the reins behind Cash N Flow in the pacers’ final at 9.45pm. Wilmas Mate (gate 12) and Cash N Flow (gate 13) have copped horror draws, but bad luck hasn’t dampened Caldow’s mood. “I have been to a lot of the Inter Dominions; if I haven’t been there I have certainly been watching them,” Caldow said. “It is a race everyone wants to win, unfortunately we have drawn bad but it is nice to be in it anyway.” Caldow said he was expecting the finals to be intriguing affairs, especially the pacers. “I think it is going to be a great race; the one (Galactic Star) will hold up for starters and who he decides to hand up (the lead) to, or whether he decides to (hand up) or not, will be interesting,” he said. “The draw has brought everyone in with a winning chance so there is going to be a lot of moves for that reason. “Gavin (Lang) has drawn 3 (on Im Pats Delight) and he will be going forward. The speed will be on early with everyone looking for their positions." Caldow said he would “be out the back watching it all unfold”. “I imagine I will be going the short cuts and seeing what happens. I need them to go mad to give him any possible chance, especially early,” he said. In the trotters’ final, Caldow said he expected Speeding Spur to make favourite Tornado Spur’s bid for the lead harder than he had been accustomed to in the heats. “I am sure the one (Speeding Spur) will get out a lot quicker this time after getting crossed at Ballarat and they will be going hard,” he said. “Wilmas Mate is going OK, she seems to be getting better with each race. (We’ll) need it to be a true, good staying race to give her any chance whatsoever.” Caldow, who has driven more than 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions, said ID18 was only the second Inter Dominion he had been involved in. “I won a heat in Perth (in 2004) with Mister D G and we had Nolarama in the (same) series,” he said. “But I have never driven in a final so I am looking forward to it.”   Shaun Campbell

New Zealand filly Sociable is chasing back to back feature race victories. Fresh from her success last start in the Redcliffe Oaks on June 8, the Andrew Stuart trained three-year-old is the favourite to win Saturday night’s Gr.3 $30,540 Egmont Park Stud South East Oaks at Albion Park. The fillies feature is the final lead-up to next week’s classic, the Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Oaks. Sociable will start from gate two this weekend and Stuart is confident of another forward showing but is mindful she will be at her absolute peak the following week. “We’ve had a month between runs and I haven’t given her a trial but the draw is a major plus, so far so good with draws in Brisbane and it makes a big difference. After Redcliffe, she got a little sick but has bounced back well in the past fortnight and her work this week has been solid.” Stuart said. While punters could walk with caution given the break between runs and a slight setback, it hasn’t dinted their confidence given the good draw. Sociable is listed as the punters elect at $2.10 with UBET. Ace reinsman Luke McCarthy replaces regular pilot John Caldow owing to the rich Vicbred Finals in Melbourne this weekend and Stuart believes his filly is the horse to beat. “When John advised he was staying in Melbourne this weekend, I jumped at the opportunity to engage Luke and I’m confident she can repeat what she did at Redcliffe. Being on the fresh side doesn’t concern me because she’s a naturally athletic filly who takes good care of herself. “The barrier is a massive win because she looks the leader and she’s capable of running a good final half so that it makes it tough for her rivals, the Grant Dixon trained fillies loom as the biggest threat, they’re all classy types with great records. “Whatever my filly does this weekend, I know there is more improvement to come for next week and this run will top her off nicely. Our plan all along was to win an Oaks feature and gain some black type, so far so good but the job is not complete yet.” Last season, the New Zealand trained Partyon proved successful in the South East Provincial Oaks. Since 2010, New Zealand bred fillies have won this feature. And the last six Queensland Oaks winners have been New Zealand bred fillies. Chris Barsby

It may have been an all-too familiar sight for rivals at Maryborough today when reinsman Chris Alford and his two-year-old trotter produced an eye-catching win. Sleepee kicked off the Vicbred Super Series Aldebaran Park trotting heats at Maryborough on Monday with a romp from seventh at the bend to first at the line, with Alison and Chris Alford’s red-and-white silks making it impossible to avoid comparisons to last year's two-year-old Victorian trotter of the year Wobelee. Winner of the Redwood Classic at this track a little under 12 months ago, Wobelee’s owner-breeder Colin Murphy also bred Sleepee, who he has since leased to Alison and her mum, Vicki Woodhouse. Making her debut Sleepee was backed into $2.50 favourite for today’s opening heat and, after a quiet run at the back of the field, hit the line to win by a half-neck from Michael Hughes’ entrant Gatesys Alley. “It was a very big surprise,” Chris Alford told Trots Vision post-race. “She’s been trotting OK at the trials without showing a lot, but she sprinted home really well today, which will keep the wife and the mother-in-law very happy.” Expectations for the big filly, who is by Dejarmbro out of Safely Safely, were kept low-key despite the impressive win. “Hopefully she’s just a nice little racehorse and can pick up some prizemoney along the way,” Alford said. The remaining Aldebaran Park fillies' heat was won by Mario Magri’s polemarker and race favourite Georgias Pride, who beat Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic winner Fear The Yankee by a half-head. “She’s a lovely filly,” Georgias Pride’s reinsman John Caldow told Trots Vision post-race. “A natural two-year-old, she’s great to drive.” Today’s leading performers will advance to the VSS trotting finals at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday July 6, as will the victors of today’s colts and geldings heats. The first of those was claimed by Anton Golino’s Always Ready in Nathan Jack’s hands, having sat in in the breeze for the last lap and won by 6.8m from Zarem. It sets up a ripping final, with David Jack’s Home Grown Platinum winner Moreton Bay looming large having advanced to four wins from seven starts with today’s comfortable victory by 15.4m over Dream Mastar in the last heat. “Wide draw and I was quite happy with him,” Jack told Trots Vision. “He’s a big fella and he probably should be a better horse next year. He’s going on ability, not the manners yet that will come with it.” The Aledbaran Park Vicbred Super Series trotting heats continue tomorrow night at Bendigo when the three-year-olds step out, with the four-year-olds to follow at Geelong on Thursday. Michael Howard

John Caldow was at his top-class best at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, the champion reinsman guiding four winners home on the 11-race harness racing card. The Melton reinsman has driven over 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions and has 3616 victories on the books all up. Last night he drove a winning double for Junortoun horseman Bruce Morgan (Believe In Forever in the Allied Express 3YO Pace and Silent Growl in the Cogs Pace 2nd Heat). Caldow and Morgan are a proven winning combination. LISTEN TO JOHN CALDOW ON THE TROT LINE “It was great to get a double for Bruce. We’ve been together for a lot of years now. Probably 20-odd years … and he’s had a few health issues last year and it’s really good for him to bounce back and get a couple of winners,” Caldow today told the Trot Line. Also among Caldow’s winners last night was Anton Golino-trained Fiery Mountain Girl, too strong for Jay Pe De in the Aldebaran Park Trot, and Maree Caldow-trained Madeeba in the HRTC Bendigo Pace. The Caldows raced Madeeba’s mother, Mesmerizing, who won 19 races and $180,000 in stakemoney on the track and has produced four winners as a broodmare thus far, including champion Messini (whose Bendigo Cup win at the weekend took his stake earnings to over $656,000). Caldow said he had a two-year-old full-brother to Messini (by Art Major) at home who was showing plenty of promise. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Invercargill plumber Trevor Ryder is having a ball, especially at present, racing his quality gelding Swamp Major with some good mates as well as breeding from a select group of well-bred mares. His interest in harness racing began in the 1990s when Diamond Field was racing out of the Alan Beck Winton stables. “A friend of mine, Geoff Mollett was in the syndicate that raced him. He worked at Mico Wakefield and my company dealt with them. I started going to the races. From there Geoff and I with some other friends raced a filly called Black Rain,” said Ryder. Black Rain was well bred, being by Vance Hanover out of Cassel’s Dream. Cassel’s Dream’s second dam, Vandette was by Great Evander which left handy horses in Van Forbes (6 wins), Van Garrison (6), Cassel (8) and Heidette (9). “She (Black Rain) didn’t fulfil her promise. Went out raging favourite in both of her starts and was quickly named blocked drain.” The lack of success didn’t put the group off and they commissioned Beck to go to the yearling sales where he purchased Franco Cuisine which was by Andrel out of the Overtrick mare Chateaubriand. “He had a lot of potential but was involved in a smash at Invercargill where Beckie was catapulted up in the air. He never came back quite the same after that.” Franco Cuisine ultimately won three races from thirty six starts. Ryder said at that point he really got the racing bug and was keen to go up another notch. Star Of The Ball was identified as a yearling that Ryder and trainer Gareth Dixon were keen on buying at the Auckland sale. “I wanted to get up into that premier racing – two and three year olds racing. I thought I’d have a crack myself at buying at the sales. I got a lot of help from Peter Lagan and Sandy Yardley. Peter gave me a list of five or six yearlings and at that particular time I met up with Gareth (Gareth Dixon). We weren’t sure whether we would get her as we thought she might be above my limit.” Gareth Dixon was a Southland boy. His father Ken ‘Fast Track’ Dixon was also a plumber. Star Of The Ball by Presidential Ball out of the OK Bye mare Star Fleet was duly purchased. Ryder particularly liked the fact that Black Watch was on the pedigree page. After racing three times at two, Star Of The Ball won her first race at her second start as a three year old at the Franklin meeting at Alexandra Park. “At that point I can remember Gareth saying that she could be one of the top three year old fillies in the country that year. Unfortunately along came Molly Darling, Foreal and Mainland Banner,” he said laughing.  Star Of The Ball won four of her eighteen starts as a three year old including a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series at Ashburton running the 1609 metres in 1-56.1 “We also qualified for the Breeders Crown and that’s a trip I’ll never forget. We met John Caldow, Gavin Lang and Chris Alford (Aussie harness legends). We had a night out with a meal and few drinks and a few more drinks. She ran third in her heat and was a very unlucky sixth in the final.” Star Of The Ball ended her racing career having won eight races and was sent to Christian Cullen. The resulting foal was named Mervynstar after Ryder’s father who had passed away that same year. He was prepared for the sale by Top Notch Lodge and offered at the 2007 yearling sale in Auckland. Trevor and Linda Ryder with Pam and Lindsay Turner with Mervynstar “There was a bit of a rumour around that we might be surprised by the opening bid. It opened up at $150,000 and I just about fell off my perch. He ended up at $220,000 which was a pretty special start to the breeding game for us. It was the top lot of the sale.” The horse was bought by Clive and Rona McKay and raced out of Michael House’s stable. He was renamed Two Twenty. “He had potential but had breathing issues and he had a couple of operations.” Two Twenty won once in sixteen starts. The mare’s second foal by Bettor’s Delight was named Merv. He recorded four wins here before heading to Australia. “Because of the handicap system there was nothing really left for him in Auckland after that. He was racing against C6 and C7 horses and it got too hard. I raced him with good mates Alan and Joy Lindsay and Scott and Sue McCrea.” He was trained for the partnership (Tad Syndicate) in Australia by David Thorn and only started six times, but won four races. Ryder says members of the syndicate were lucky enough to be in Australia when he was in career best form. “The races just happened to be on the same night as the All Blacks were playing Australia. He won at Menangle in 1-53 flat which was quite good five or six years ago and the All Blacks beat Australia. That was a good trip.”  Star Of The Ball’s third foal was Macha (Mach Three). He was sold to clients of Ken Barron’s stable for $40,000 and qualified as a three year old when running second behind Arden Rooney at Rangiora. He was then on-sold to Australia and won eight races fairly quickly including a heat of the Victoria Derby beating Bit Of A Legend and Ohoka Punter. Ohoka Punter went on to win the final. Macha also ran second to Alta Christiano in the 2013 West Australian Derby. Hokuri Railrida (Mach Three) was the next foal. He won two races and is also now in Australia. “He started with Gareth and the Hokuri Syndicate who are a group of mates who go white baiting with me on the West Coast raced him. We bought him south to Murray Brown’s and on the way down he got travel sickness. Not many horses survive that but we got him racing but he didn’t show the promise he had in Auckland.” McArdle Star (McArdle) was the next colt out of Star Of The Ball. He was bought for $30,000 by Steve Thompson of Dunedin. He won his first three starts and ran fifth in Have Faith In Me’s 2015 New Zealand Derby. He won five races here before heading to Victoria where he’s won another two. The next foal was Swamp Major (Art Major).He’s raced by Trevor and his wife Linda, Alan Lindsay, Scott and Sue McCrea, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff. “Potentially he’s the best horse I’ve owned. He’s hopefully going to be back in work in May and back racing in early spring. He had an accident on the training track leading into Cup week and broke his pedal bone. In the Vero Stakes he was the only one making ground on Lazarus and Classie Brigade. Ken always said he’d like to be sitting in the back of those two horses over a short distance and see what happened.” Last season as a three year old Swamp Major won three races and was placed six times in only ten starts. “You can’t keep them all but I like to keep say, every second one and have some fun with my mates.”  The mare’s last foal of racing age is Rocknroll Star. He was bought by Michael House for $27,500 at the sales last year and sold recently in House’s two year old running sale for $75,000. He was bought by Emilio Rosati and has had a name change. He’s now called Times Stride. Star Of The Ball now resides at Kevin and Bonnie Williams Tall Tree Lodge, is in foal to Art Major and is likely to return to Bettor’s Delight. “She’s had eight colts in a row and I’m just praying for a filly.” Ryder is also breeding from Grinfromeartoear mare Selucam. She’s out of Tuapeka Pocket. She’s qualified but is unraced. “The feedback on her was always positive but she had fetlock problems. Normally I prefer to breed from mares that have had three wins or more but I decided to keep her based on the feedback I was getting from the stable.” She’s in foal to Auckland Reactor and lives locally at Macca Lodge. Another mare on the Ryder Bloodstock books is Christian Cullen mare Perfect Sensation. She won three races for Ryder when racing from the Dixon stable in Auckland. Her third dam is champion mare Hilarious Guest. “I decided I wanted a Cullen filly. She too had quite a lot of potential but she had some back and leg issues. Her first foal died and we had issues with the mare as a result of that.” Since then she’s produced a Better’s Delight colt called Bettor Sensation which was bought by Colin De Filippi and is owned by Trevor Casey. Trevor and Linda Ryder also owned a share in Falcon Seelster mare Falcon Flybye. She’s a sister to a host of winners including Flying Pocketlands, Mighty Flying Major and Mighty Flying Mac. Although they’ve opted out of the mare their names are still on four of her foals, all of whom have been winners. The best is Alotbettor (10) and Fleeting Grin (6). He also still has a share in Cher’s Magic as a part of The Watch Your Step Syndicate. Star Of The Ball’s latest yearling Ball Of Art - a full brother to Swamp Major, sold to Barry Purdon for $50,000. “Depending on our own sale we’ll be looking at getting a Bettor’s Delight filly. I’d also like to get an Art Major filly on board at some stage as well. I’m always looking at the top end. I think the odds are not in your favour if you’re at the other end of the scale.” Ryder says he likes to look after his mares and not over race them because long term he believes they will produce better foals. “Gareth did a great job in looking after Star. She only had thirty odd starts and that’s where I like it to be with breeding in mind. I don’t like the mare to be burnt out. He says he enjoys his involvement in harness racing as an owner, breeder and sponsor. “I’ve had a ball since I jumped onboard in 1990. I’ve raced a couple of nice mares in Highview Jude (9 wins) and Star of The Ball and now we’ve got Swamp (Swamp Major) and that’s in the space of just twenty five years. I probably enjoy it more (ownership) if it’s in a syndicate.” So like many southern breeders Ryder is seeing an opportunity to buy into some of the best New Zealand families, gathering around him a small group of well-bred mares. It keeps his passion alive, and combined with racing some of his horses with his mates, it’s the perfect scenario.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Milly Perez will carry the hopes of Shelbourne harness racing trainer Larry Eastman in Friday night's $75,000 Group 2 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. The last-start Charlton Pacing Cup winner comes out of gate 10 in the time-honoured Cranbourne feature race with in-form reinsman John Caldow in the sulky. Caldow is 10th on the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership with 39 wins this season. He is no stranger to Cranbourne Cup success, winning the race in 1997 with Golden Reign off 50 metres from a standing start. "She's a sit-sprint little mare and the long trip doesn't seem to worry her. If she gets on the back of the right one she'll be there at the end," Eastman told Trots Talk this week. Milly Perez is an $11 outsider in the 12-horse field, with Flaming Flutter $2.3 favourite with TAB.com.au from six-time metro winner Maximan ($4.2), last-start Bendigo Cup winner My Kiwi Mate ($4.4) and multiple country cups winner Im Corzin Terror ($8), who ran second to Yankee Rockstar in this race last year. The Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup boasts an illustrious honour roll with the past three winners being The Gold Ace, Terror To Love and Yankee Rockstar.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Cranbourne, Friday 03 March 2017 Form guide for Cranbourne, Friday 03 March 2017

Harness racing legend Lance Justice led his Australian team to victory in yesterdays American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge at invercargill. The competition pits teams of reinsmen from Australia, the North Island and South Island against each other in five heats with an individual and teams title up for grabs. In the previous two years the North Island had been victorious but after a strong start by the South Island in this year's competition the Australians hit the front when they scored the trifecta in the second heat and were never headed. Justice led the way with a tally of 25 points to take the Individual Trophy. He was ably backed up by John Caldow on 20 points with Lisa Miles and David Murphy adding a further ten points to amass a total of 55 points to record Australia's first win in the Challenge. Zac Butcher equalled Caldow's 20 points to be the equal second highest point scorer on the day but his North Island team mates, Joshua Dickie, Scott Phelan and David Butcher could only muster a further 9 points between them to finish last of the three teams. The South Islanders were very consistent with Nathan Williamson gathering 14 points, Ricky May and Blair Orange 12 each and Clark Barron 8 to finish runners-up on 46 points.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Bruce Stewart

Australia appears to hold a strong hand in early races of the American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge at Ascot Park on Sunday, with the South Island well placed for a good finish. John Caldow has good prospects in the first three heats, Lisa Miles in the first two, while Lance Justice looks likely to make an impression in the second and third. Together with David Murphy, they make up the Australian team. Third of three in all previous runnings of the series, Australia has a real chance this year of turning around those disappointing results. Clark Barron has been drafted in to the South Island team to replace Dexter Dunn and joins Ricky May, Blair Orange and Nathan Williamson. Orange and Williamson have good drives in heat four while three of them have real chances in the final heat. Zac and David Butcher, Josh Dickie and Scott Phelan represent the north which has won both previous challenges. The team may not have enough firepower this year for a three-peat although Dickie and Zac Butcher should contribute in the middle stages with Phelan probably striking late. Points will be awarded on the basis of 10, seven, five, three and one for first to fifth respectively. Heat One - race two - Southland Bred Highview Tommy Pace Massive run from Frank The Tank at Addington last time suggests he'll give Lisa Miles the perfect start. At her best, Bettor Enforce could do it for Joshua Dickie. Off-colour when beaten favourite at Addington last time but satisfactory trial on Wednesday. Art Exhibit is back with the Lees, having performed well for them last season. She gives Clark Barron a good chance of early points. A big first-up effort last week from Roxy Dale makes her a chance for John Caldow. Heat Two - race four - Adore Me in foal to Sweet Lou Pace From a good draw and with Lance Justice aboard, this should be River Patrol's day. Canterbury visitor Absolutely Delighted is in good form and ran home well last week. Another good drive for Lisa Miles and a likely Australian one-two. The well-bred Western Delight hasn't drawn well for John Caldow but based on her Wyndham win is capable of making it an Australian one-two-three. From a handy draw, Nightmarch would only have to race up to the same level as last week to put Blair Orange on the scoreboard. Heat Three - race five - Pegasus Spur 'Fresh not Frozen' Trot Phil Williamson produces more trotting winners in the south than anyone else and the recent results of Astral Ruler make him a top chance for John Caldow. Sundons Flyer led most of the way in her resuming race last week and will be improved. With Ricky May in the sulky expect another good run.  Jackofdiamonds has been prominent in her recent outings and should ensure Lance Justice makes another contribution to the Australian tally. Zac Butcher is aboard Spotlight The Valley who is right up to the class of this field and capable of a top four finish.  Heat Four- race seven – Sweet Lou's First Weanling $80k Pace Three Hundy looked everywhere for a run last week before finding one and just missing. Drawn better this week so gives Nathan Williamson a big chance at maximum points in what is the most even of the five heats. From the ace and with the help of Blair Orange, Jimmy Nga could continue the impressive start to his career. Navajo Art beat everyone but Mach's Back when on debut last week. A handy draw and Zac Butcher should see him in the money again. A Smart Excuse and Joshua Dickie, Cullens Avenue and Lisa Miles, and Trendys Bad Girl with Clark Barron are others to be considered. Heat Five - race eight - American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Pace Rakarolla only needs to go close to reproducing his Addington performance to give Scott Phelan maximum points here. McKenzie Mara was slightly disappointing last week but continues to go close and should give Ricky May a decent number of points. Bonnie Medley impressed at Wyndham, coming home over the top of them to win a mile in 1:55.3. Nathan Williamson will give her every opportunity to repeat. A high number draw won't assist It Ain't the Money but he's got a good motor and top driver in Blair Orange.  Milehigh Magic didn't everything right when winning from a stand last week. Will find this tougher but gives David Murphy a good chance for points. Mac Henry

David Murphy from Ballarat in Victoria is the addition to the Australian team for the American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge at Ascot Park on Sunday week (27 November). He joins John Caldow, Lance Justice and Lisa Miles from the 2015 team and takes the place of Kerryn Manning. Zac and David Butcher are returning for the North Island team but Peter Ferguson and Maurice McKendry have been replaced by Josh Dickie and Scott Phelan. The South Island representatives remain unchanged, being Dexter Dunn, Ricky May, Blair Orange and Nathan Williamson. Five of the 10 races have been set aside for the invited drivers, a handicap trot and four mobile start paces: C1 to C2 2700 metres handicap trot  C0 mobile (four old and older) 2200 metres C1 mobile (four old and older) 2200 metres C1 mobile (four old and older) 2700 metres C2 to C3 mobile (four old and older) 2700 metres The North won last year's challenge with the South Island runner-up and Australia third.   Mac Henry

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)

Local horses scored most of the wins at the well attended Warragul harness racing meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Longwarry trainer Lee Evison collected two race wins for a host of happy owners - with Expectagrin which scored its first race victory, and the talented pacer Mister Wickham. Fellow Gippsland horseman Gary Quinlan was also in the winners' circle on the program with Ymbro Toto, which led throughout in her victory, giving ace reinsman Greg Sugars a driving double. Veteran Croydon horseman Mario Stella has long supported Warragul's meetings, and made the trip across a successful one when he landed a double with Feel The Buzz (driven by Matt Ablett) and Greenough (Zac Phillips). Clyde trainer Jayne Davies was another local to collect a victory with Mister Clooney in race eight when driven by Chris Alford. Melton couple Maree and John Caldow combined to win the Gippsland Business Centre Pace with Art Mistress, defeating locals Sahara Sunrise and Fairest Fella. John Caldow accepted a trophy on behalf of the race sponsors, who held their Christmas break-up at the trots. After the race Caldow claimed the Warragul track as "the best little track around", given the work undertaken to enhance the condition of the track surface and camber in recent times. Veteran Bendigo horseman Brian Gath had his first drive at Warragul for some time, and landed victory with Aitutaki. Gath also praised the quality of the revamped Warragul track after the race, saying that while the track has always been of good quality, the renovation works undertaken 12 months ago have taken the course to another level. Trainer/driver Lisa Miles bought home Tiavons Dream to a narrow victory in the Trotters Handicap - the square gaiters turned in a great exhibition of faultless trotting which was well received by the crowd. Wednesday's raceday introduced plenty of new people to trotting and there was a great atmosphere on track. Strong entries produced nine races with competitors coming from far and wide for a quality program. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials will be hoping to repeat the success at their next raceday on Tuesday afternoon, January 19.   Kyle Galley

Almost El Eagle’s Weirs Supa IGA St Arnaud Pacing Cup win yesterday was about as eye-catching as wins get. From five back on the pegs at the home turn, the Steven Duffy trained six-year-old sprouted wings, reinsman John Caldow steering him through needle-eye gaps for a last-stride victory. “The horses three and four back on the fence both went to the sprint lane, which gave me a good run through,” Caldow said. “I could see it opening up before I got there. It doesn’t always work like that of course. The horse was in great order for the race. Steve had set him for the cup.” Caldow said he was confident Almost El Eagle, who had bumped into Yankee Rockstar at his two previous runs before yesterday, was travelling like a winner at the corner but after a tardy beginning from the tapes he had his work cut out for him. “I didn’t give him any chance at all,” Duffy said when asked how he was feeling at the final corner. “I thought if he got a gap he might be able to run on and get fourth or fifth and at least pick up some prizemoney. “It was a 10-out-of-10 drive.” Duffy had set the son of Mcardle/Nuclearaccelerator for the St Arnaud feature and plans to back him up this Sunday in the Gunbower Pacing Cup before aiming him at Cobram’s cup in December. “He’s a great little horse. He’s got the best nature you could ever ask for and he won the Lombo as a two-year-old and is still winning races now. I think that was his 19th win at the weekend, so he’s been a ripper of a horse,” Duffy said. “He’s not a big, strong horse, but he’s probably 25-30kg heavier now than ever so he’s getting stronger. You hope that strength keeps building up and if you’re lucky enough he might be able to be just short of the better ones.”   Almost El Eagle’s winning mile rate was 2:01.6. The clock on his last 150m would be interesting.   IRISH WHISPER WINS TROTTERS CUP Heavily backed Irish Whisper won the St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup to bring up a race-to-race double for Moama trainer Tony Peacock and reinsman Damian Wilson. The eight-year-old son of Sundon/Little Contessa stepped cleanly from his 30m handicap and moved three-wide solo for the last lap, out-staying his rivals in a rate of 2:05.6 for a 3.2m win over favourite Dead Cat Bounce. “We haven’t had him long but he’d gone all right at the trials. He’s beaten Stent twice. We knew he was going good and he’d run a good race,” Peacock said. Peacock also heaped praise on Wilson’s drive. “Brilliant. He does a great job. I’ve always got nothing but confidence in him when I send him to the races.” The Gunbower Trotters Cup is next on the agenda for Irish Whisper. Cody Winnell

The Victorians were the stars of the harness racing show at Globe Derby on Saturday Night, with trainer David Lewis and driver John Caldow combining for a winning double, on the eight race program. With only a small team in work, the Lewis stable has made many successful trips to Adelaide over a long period of time, with stable star Abettorpunt making many appearances over the years, including wins in the 2012 Italian Cup, as well as a win the a heat of the Breeders Crown back in 2011, where interestingly he beat former star grand circuit pacer Caribbean Blaster. No the doubt the biggest win for the stable, at Globe Derby Park, in the past was back in 2009 where there talented filly Lewisienna Jo scored an upset result in the Group 1 SA Oaks, getting up right on the line to defeat star juvenile filly Ananz. Saturday night continued the stables impressive strike rate, with both runners saluting. The first of them was in race 2 on the program, the Paceway Restaurant 3yo pace, with improving filly Ennaellie. Well supported on UBet, she was sent out as a warm favourite at $2.10, having been in good form at her past few runs in Country Victoria, and meeting a field lacking depth on Saturday, she certainly looked very hard to beat. Showing good speed from gate 2, driver John Caldow found the front early, and then elected to take a sit, behind tough pacer Lombo Del Rosso, and she was able to use the sprint lane in the home straight, to score an easy win. Trainer David Lewis was certainly pleased to notch another win with the improving 3yo. “Its nice to win another one, she seems to be improving with racing, so hopefully we can continue to have a bit of fun with her” “She is a 3A1 now, so hopefully he can pick up another 3yo race, before the end of the season” he added The second leg of the double was with a stable favourite, with open class pacer Amajorjo making a successful return to the racetrack, in the final event on the program, the Gowans Homes And Renovations Pace. With only a field of six lining up, it looked a race in two on paper between Amojorjo and star local pacer Come On Frank. Amajorjo was having his first run back from a long spell, and drawn ideally in gate 4, he was well supported in betting, sent out as a $1.40 favourite, on Ubet tote. Sent straight to the lead by Caldow, he looked to be in trouble on the home corner, with Come on Frank looming on his outside, and it was certainly a grandstand finish in the final stages. With Come on Frank hitting the lead half was up the straight, he looked the winner, but Amajorjo was able to kick back near the line, to score a narrow win. A great money spinner throughout his career, for connections, Amajorjo took his earning past the $105,000 mark on Saturday, and Lewis is ecstatic to have the son of Art Major back at the races. “Hes got his fair share of ability, and hes run some good races in the past, and although first up tonight, he had trialled well in the lead up, against good horses” “I was confident he would be hard to beat” “Hes won 15 races now, so the hard thing now will be to try and find suitable races going forward, but hopefully he can continue getting the job done” he added   Graham Fischer

The big harness racing day at Maryborough today with its sole focus on the straight out trotter is akin to the holy grail for followers of the squaregaiter. The jewel in the crown today was the $75,000 Victoria Trotting Derby which drew together the best Australian three year old trotters with the undisputed New Zealand champion three year old Speeding Spur. Speeding Spur's main problem was that he drew barrier 13 which was the outside of the second line in the ten horse field. Due to scratchings there was only four runners on the front line and Josh Dickie, the driver of Speeding Spur took advantage of the small front line and sent the son of Pegasus Spur forward from the start and grabbed the lead within the first 200 metres. Blue Sky Commander settled into the trail behind Speeding Spur with My Arya facing the breeze. Second favourite Illawong Armstrong circled the field mid-race to sit outside Speeding Spur but he really latched on and as a result there was no let up in the hot speed as he pulled himself into the ground. Turning for home Speeding Spur still held the front but was being attacked on all sides. Blue Sky Commander and Kerryn Manning were issuing a challenge up the passing lane after their soft trip while Amarula and John Caldow were finishing on stoutly centre track. However as he has done all season in New Zealand, Speeding Spur kicked bigtime when he was challenged and was drawing away again at the line with Josh Dickie giving a little victory salute as he hit the line. Blue Sky Commander ran into second with Amarula battling the last bit to run third. Amarula's run was full of merit as she did have a short gallop in the score up but was with the field at dispatch. Speeding Spur trotted the 2690 metres in 3:21.8, a mile rate of 2:00.7 which was a new track record. Trained by Josh and John Dickie at Clevedon in South Auckland, todays win by Speeding Spur was his 11th from 14th starts as a three year old and took his seasonal earnings over the $250,000 mark. His win today from barrier 13 after being attacked savagely mid race in track record time is further proof if any was needed that he is a superstar in the making. New Zealand breeders would have had a big smile on their faces post race as the first three home were all bred in New Zealand and that carried on the great record that New Zealand bred trotters have in Australian age group classics. Harnesslink Media    

Changeover/Nifty Franco filly Whitney H made a successful Australian debut by winning the Jet Roofing 3-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres at the harness racing meeting at Kilmore on Tuesday July 7. Unplaced in three outings in her homeland, Whitney H raced by former Bendigo HRC President Dennis Byce and wife Brenda, trained by the Melton combination of Maree and John Caldow with John in the sulky, led throughout from gate three, accounting for Carmens Spirit (three back the markers) along the sprint lane by 2.9 metres, with first starter Whatelsugot also using the sprint lane to finish third after trailing the winner. The mile rate was 1-58.3. Avenel concessional reinsman Mark Pitt possibly landed his first winner as a trainer when Sportswriter/Bonwarra filly Missy Deyo greeted the judge when making her first race appearance in the Weekend Breakfast @ Trackside From 9am 2-Y-0 Pace over 2180 metres. Raced in partnership with “boss” Wayne Potter, Missy Deyo bred in the Goulburn Valley by Benstud Standardbreds was restrained from gate six to possie three back along the markers, with Bold Comment Lombo immediately inside her leading. Coming away from the inside to be one/one approaching the final bend, Missy Deyo finished full of running on straightening to record an impressive 2.1 metre victory over the hot favourite Our Odette which faced the breeze from the bell, with Bold Comment Lombo holding down third. The mile rate was 2-01.5. Wallan’s Shinn stable snared the Sentimental Journey Xmas In July–23 July 3-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres with home bred Four Starzzz Shark/Adelong filly Machli in a mile rate of 1-59. Bred and raced by Noel and trainer Ruth, Machli driven by Chris was tough in victory as she raced in the open after going forward from gate four. Striding clear halfway up the running, Machli had 1.5 metres up her sleeve on reaching the wire from Bee Bee Elle which followed her all of the way. Miss Sixties weakened to finish third after leading for Cameron Maggs. Daylesford octogenarian Bob Conroy almost trained the quinella in the Seniors Meal Deal Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2150 metres when Girls Go First and Miss Cosmos were split by Kadabra Dynasty. Driven by son Glenn, Girls Go First a 4-Y-0 daughter of Bacardi Lindy and Lucy Lastic bred by wife Pat, was driven a patient race mid-field in the moving line from 10 metres, with Miss Cosmos leading from the pole. Trailing up Kadabra Dynasty three wide in the last lap, Girls Go First ran home best to score by a head from Kadabra Dynasty in a rate of 2-07.7, with Miss Cosmos (Anne-Maree Conroy) 3.5 metres away in third place. Bathurst concessional reinsman Mitch Turnbull is having a ball in Victoria, chalking up another winner courtesy of 6-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Georgia Rose gelding Bettor Atom in the Trackside Advantage Loyalty Program Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres. Trained at Bolinda by Paul Males for parents Peter and Yvonne, Bettor Aton taking a lift led out from gate two, before handing over to the speedy Royal Shootout racing for the bell. Using the sprint lane, Bettor Atom fended off a challenge by Miss Metro Glen out wide in the shadows of the post who appeared to have him covered by 1.1 metres. Rowdy Rocket was 1.7 metres away in third place after following Miss Metro Glen home. The mile rate was 1-58.6. Not to be outdone, sister Amanda Turnbull combined with Doreen based aunt Bec Cartwright to land the Mitre 10 Kilmore Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2180 metres with smart Modern Art/Miss Superb mare Pressplay in a rate of 2-00.9. Bred and raced by Bec, Pressplay safely held the lead from the pole as the mobile gate pulled away, before surrendering to Just Knew at the bell. Making full use of the sprint lane, Pressplay bloused Just Knew by a half head in a thrilling finish, with Givemeaspell rushing home late out wide a half head away in third place after being extricated from three back the markers. Ararat trainer Michael Bellman and partner Emma Hamblin were successful with Kiwi bred 5-Y-0 Holmes Hanover/Divine Lustre gelding Our Bold Lustre in the New Winter Menu @ Trackside Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2150 metres, paying Supertab odds of $17.20. Taking a concession for Emma, Our Bold Lustre starting from 10 metres settled beautifully one/one to receive the run of the race, with the hot favourite C C Chevron going forward from 20 metres to gain the lead within a lap without spending too much petrol. Easing four wide running into the final bend, Our Bold Lustre was much too strong over the concluding stages, winning by 1.6 metres in advance of the local hope Hollys Miss Molly (three back the markers) and Rogue Assassin which raced without cover from barrier three. The mile rate was 2-05. On what was a great night for the Turnbull’s, Amanda handed the reins to partner Nathan Jack aboard 5-Y-0 Mach Three/The Perfect Paua mare Perfect Trouble to capture the Phoenix Designs Pace for C0 class over 2180 metres in 2-02.5. Staring from the extreme draw, Perfect Trouble was set alight three wide from mid-field to cross the poleline leader Rockn Ruby and assume control at the bell. Although runs were coming from all directions on straightening, Perfect Trouble a $1.30 favourite, was punched to the wire to score by 1.5 metres over Feel The Rhythm (one/three last lap) and Premier Rose (three back the markers). Len Baker

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