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Victorian trainer John Meade flew out to the USA on Sunday night thinking what could have been with his stable star Sparkling Success.  Meade was forced to withdraw Sparkling Success from next month’s US $1 million International Trot last Monday after scans confirmed the gelding had a hole in his suspensory. The couple decided to still make the trip to America without the horse after the months of planning and preparation that had gone into their once in a lifetime opportunity. “If the Yonkers track is what I think they are, I think they’ll look after us pretty well when we get to the track because I haven’t ripped anyone off,” John Meade said. “I did the right thing by Yonkers, it wasn’t my money I was spending going to America, it was someone else’s money. “You can’t rip someone off for $70,000 and not give them some miles, if the race had been next week we would have probably raced him but there was so much work he needed to do between now and the big race that it was only right to scratch him.” Sparkling Success is set to spend more than 12 months on the sideline recovering from the injury and Meade is looking forward to getting him back to the races. “The vet said the hole is contained within the suspensory, it hasn’t blown the side out of it. “He had platelet-rich plasma treatment last Thursday and I have had it done on my old horse Crescent Glory with great success but in saying that Sparkling Success is still going to need rehabilitation, six months in the paddock, then a bit of light work and then I just hope for the best.” The son of Great Success has suffered from leg injuries in the past but Meade confirmed this was a new injury. “It is definitely not the problem he had after winning the Vicbred as a 4-year-old, that was on the other leg. “His front feet stick out past his nose when he is trotting at top speed, the entire breed does it, and that puts immense pressure on the tendons and suspensory but do you want a horse that does that and can win races or have a slow horse that struggles to win.” Meade noticed there was some slight filling on the suspensory in the lead up to his last run in Australia and hoped it was nothing too serious. “I thought it might have been dermatitis he picked up from boot rub and I treated him for that and on the night of his last run when I put his shin boots on he felt really good and he raced really well. “When I got home after the race I treated his leg and the next morning it looked good and he wasn’t sore but I just had a gut feeling something wasn’t right so I asked the vet to scan his leg and that’s when we got the bad news.” Sparkling Success has won 17 of his 37 starts and earned $420,170 in his career. Greg Hayes

John Meade was on Monday night downing a few stubbies and doing bit of dairy work. The 63-year-old dairy farmer/trainer was doing his best to take his mind off things after experiencing one of his toughest days in harness racing. Meade was feeling “hollow” after scans confirmed his star trotter Sparkling Success has injured his near front suspensory ligament and is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines. “My gut was telling me something was wrong, so I got my vet to check him out. I wasn’t feeling too good when he was scanning him; I’ve seen a few scans in my time, and when you see black holes it’s not what you want to see,” Meade told RSN927. “It could be a 15-month injury. It’s like getting hit by a bolt of lightning. One day it’s chocolates, the next day it’s boiled lollies; we’re down to the boiled lollies.” A winner of Saturday night’s Group 3 Maori’s Idol Free For All at Tabcorp Park Melton, Sparkling Success was only days away from heading to America for the famed Yonkers International Trot in New York on October 13 – a race worth $500,000 USD ($700,000 AUD). “It was that big of an opportunity, I didn’t even dream about it,” Meade said. “We’re still going to go (to New York). I’m going to front up and tell the people from Yonkers that I’m sorry I couldn’t get here with him; I tried my best.” Bred by Meade (Great Success out of Diamond Insitu), Sparkling Success has won 17 of his 37 career starts, including the 2016 Group 1 Vicbred Super Series final (for four-year-old entires and geldings) and this year’s Group 1 Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star for earnings in excess of $400,000. An emotional Meade, who lives on a farm with wife Mary, said: “I love my animals. My mother always told me that if you treat them right, they’ll treat you right. You can imagine how much we love this horse and how much he’s done for our farm and our lives."   Trent Masenehelder

The American dream for Sparkling Success and trainer John Meade is over before it began. Following his dominant Maori’s Idol Trotters Free win at Melton on Saturday night, John Meade has advised Harness Racing Australia that his star trotter has suffered a suspensory ligament injury and his future racing career is in doubt. It is shattering news for John and Mary Meade, as Sparkling Success was due to fly to New York later this week to compete in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on October 13. More to follow.   Harness Racing Australia

AMERICA here we come. That’s something Victorian dairy farmers and harness hobbyists John and Mary Meade never thought they’d say. Now it’s reality as they pack their bags to head to New York of all places with their pride and joy, their star trotter Sparkling Eyes. And, judging by his farewell Aussie run, Sparkling Eyes is primed o do everyone proud in the $US1 million Yonkers International Trot in New York on October 13. John Meade looks to have timed the preparation well with two sound placings to open this campaign then a pair of dominant Melton wins. Sparkling Success sat parked with driver Chris Svanosio controlling the tempo while his only real danger, Kyvalley Blur, two back in the running line. Svanosio put paid to the leader, El Paco, rounding the final bend, opened-up and big league and easily held-off a game Kyvalley Blur to win by 3.4m in a slick 1min55.9sec mile rate for 1720m. They dashed home in56.5 and 27.7sec. What an exciting time for Down Under harness with Lazarus commanding so much attention in North America and an in-form Sparkling Success headed his way. _________________________________________________________________________ NOW we are starting to see why Team Tritton thinks former their Kiwi pacer My Alpha Rock is Inter Dominion material. The sixth year-old posted his fourth successive Menangle win and this time ran a personal best and broke with the 1min50sec barrier with a sparkling 1min49.5sec mile last night (Saturday). All this from a wide draw and being part of a slick 26.8sec opening quarter then splits of 28.1, 27.2 and 27.4sec. “We’ve always liked him and have given him time. He’s really gone to the next level these past few runs,” Shane Tritton said. “The plan is to take him down (to Melbourne) for the Victoria Cup (October 13) and then the Inter Dominion later on.” My Alpha Rock has won eight of his 11 starts since joining Team Tritton at the end of last year, Shane and Lauren Tritton also have Inter Dominion hopefuls Franco Nelson and Gotta Go Ya Hu. The other key winner at Menangle was Steve Turnbull’s emerging five-year-old Joes Star Of Mia, who sat parked to win the Group 3 Dahua final in a 1min50.9sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the Inter Dominion theme and gifted Victorian pacer My Kiwi Mate is another headed that way. Craig Demmler’s gelding has always shown Group 1 potential and his Melton win in The Gammlite (2240m) at Melton last night (Saturday) was the most “complete” of his career. More renowned for his lethal sit-sprint style, My Kiwi Mate worked early, was stuck wide, drifted back to last and then came five and six-wide around the entire field to snatch a half-neck win. All this in a slick 1min55.2sec mile and closing splits of 57 and 28.2sec. It’s been a fantastic training effort from Demmler to nurse My Kiwi Mate back from a bone chip in a back fetlock which required an operation. Demmler has often likened My Kiwi Mate’s potential to Breenys Fella, who he drove in a string of major races for his father, Ted, including second to Shakamaker in the 2000 Inter Dominion final. My Kiwi Mate’s win came at only his second run on the comeback trail, which saw him spend between October 14, last year and August 24 this year off the scene. Some of his best runs so far have included a second in the 2015 Queensland Derby, 3rd in the 2015 Breeders Crown 3YO final and 4th in the 2016 4YO Harness Jewels. _________________________________________________________________________ SAD news during the past week with the passing of popular and highly-talented pacer Messini. The former classy Kiwi juvenile, who spent most of his open-age career in Victoria, passed away last Wednesday. “It’s been a terrible morning for us all at Lilley racing with the passing of our brave warrior Messini. Will be missed around the place that’s for sure. RIP mate,” tweeted Brent Lilley. Messini raced 97 times for 26 wins, 28 placings and earned a thumping $711,711. His major wins included the 2018 Bendigo Cup and Group 1 victories in the 2015 Vicbred 4YO final and 2014 Vicbred 3YO final. _________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING WA pacer Vampiro is one of many who will be glad when Chicago Bull leaves the state for major races in Victoria and NZ. While not in the Chicago Bull league – certainly not yet anyway – Vampiro has raced through the grades for Greg and Skye Bond to be on the next level. And he confirmed it with another impressive Gloucester Park win, this time in free-for-all class, last Friday night. It was his third successive win at the track and he made the most of a good trail and lovely Ryan Warwick drive to easily account for Chicago Bull’s talented stablemate, Runrunjimmydunn, who worked outside the leader, Natural Disaster. Despite the dawdling midrace tempo of a 62.6sec middle half, Vampiro was simply too quick in an official 55.9sec closing half to win by 2.9m.   Adam Hamilton

The reigning Great Southern Star champion, Sparkling Success, has been invited to compete in the US $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway in New York on October 13 after resuming from a five month break at Maryborough this afternoon. The six-year old son of Great Success was issued the invitation by Yonkers Raceway’s Chief Operating Officer and Vice President Bob Galterio and the Racing Secretary Steve Starr and was immediately accepted by trainer John Meade. “I’m being realistic, I’m a dairy farmer from country Victoria taking on some of the best trainers in the world, some people would say I’m no chance of winning over there but what an opportunity this is going to be,” Meade said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, my wife Mary and I have decided to sell the cows and from the end of August we won’t have to worry about milking them anymore. “I’m not someone who can sit on my backside for long so I’ll concentrate on getting the farm right and train a few horses and what better way to spend the first few months of not having to worry about milking the cows by spending some time in the USA.” Sparkling Success is expected to leave Australia on September 15 and Meade will meet the gelding on arrival. “I haven’t travelled horses before so I have a lot of talking to other trainers to do, Brent Lilley is at Maryborough today so I’ll be having a chat to him about how he got Maori Time across to Sweden in such good condition. “I wouldn’t mind having a chat to Mark Purdon at some stage as well because he travels his horses quite a fair bit so hopefully I get the chance to bump into him between now and when I leave.” Meade confirmed the short term goal will be the Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Melton, a race he beat Maori Time in last year. “The Breeders Crown race would be nice to win again, he won it narrowly last year and it is on a couple of weeks before he leaves so it fits in nicely. “I am going to stay with Jonas Czernyson while I’m in New York, Duncan McPherson from Aldebaran Park has already made contact with me and offered to help me out which is great because I haven’t dealt with too many people in America before. “If everything goes to plan in the USA I might leave Sparkling Success there until Christmas, he needs to do five weeks quarantine before he can come back to Australia, so if I brought him home straight away after Yonkers he will miss the Inter Dominion anyway, I guess it all depends on how he is going, if he is racing competitively it makes sense to stay.” Harness Racing Australia Chief Executive Andrew Kelly believes the invitation was another step forward for Australian trotting. “To have Maori Time competing in the Elitloppet and now Sparkling Success invited to the International Trot in the same calendar year should be a clear indication how much the Australian trotting industry is respected on the world stage,” Kelly said. “On another issue it is great to see as soon as an opportunity like this arises, men with international experience like Aldebaran Park’s Duncan McPherson offering their assistance to John and Mary with Sparkling Success.” Greg Hayes

This is no pipedream.  Victorian dairy farmers John and Mary Meade are poised to snap-up an invitation to tackle the world’s best trotters in New York later this year with stable star Sparkling Success.  Harness Racing Australia’s CEO Andrew Kelly delivered the invitation for the $1.3 million Yonkers International Trot on behalf of the New York track this week.  Most thought it would be a bridge too far for the Meade’s, but no so.  “We want to go. And we are going at this stage,” Mary Meade said. “As John said, we’ll never get another chance like this.  “And we have family in the US. Our son and his family live in Virginia and are so excited about us having our horse racing over there.”  Sparkling Success, winner of the Great Southern Star three starts back, has one more target this campaign before sights are set on the US trip.  That’s tomorrow (Saturday) night’s $100,000 Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix (2240m) at Melton.  Sparkling Success will need to show better manners than when he broke early as a hot favourite, but recovered remarkably well for a huge third in last week’s Knight Pistol Trot at Cranbourne.  “It was his first run at Cranbourne and people told us that corner he broke on is a bit notorious,” Mary said. “We thought his run was fantastic after the break and he seems very well this week.”  Sparkling Success is a $1.70 favourite on the Aussie TAB despite drawing outside the front (gate seven). “After this he’s out for a break and then comes back to prepare for the US trip,” Mary said.  Anthony Butt, who boasts plenty of US experience through the likes of Lyell Creek and Under Cover Lover, has spoken in-depth with the Meades about the trip.  “Anthony has been great. He thinks we need at least a couple of lead-up runs here and we must get to the US at least a month before the race to acclimatise, so that’s the plan,” Mary said.  “We aren’t allowed to race there before the big race, but we can afterwards if we choose.  “So we’ll get across early to settle in and maybe trial him.”   Adam Hamilton

It's got a bit of Crocodile Dundee about it - the dairy farmer from Victoria's south-west heading to the biggest smoke of them all, the Big Apple - New York City, for a $1.3 million horse race. Mick Dundee isn't a dairy farmer and as far as we know didn't train horses, but there are plenty of parallels between the man who hunts crocodiles and the dairy farmer who hunts race wins. John Meade says he is stoked to be invited to contest the $1.3 million Yonkers International Trot in New York in October with his champion trotter Sparkling Success. "I would say at this stage we'll be making the trip but there's a bit of water to go under the bridge yet," the affable trainer whose race-night hat is not dissimilar to Croc Dundee's told the Warrnambool Standard's Tim Auld. Read the full story at TheTrots.com.au   Cody Winnell

Sparkling Success has arrived. He’s well and truly announced himself. And he did it on the biggest stage possible, dominating his harness racing rivals in the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight (Saturday) – the second leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. In the biggest and richest square gaiting event staged in the country, the John Meade trained and Chris Svanosio driven trotter proved too classy for his rivals in the 2760m mobile start feature defeating New Zealand raider Temporale and Hey Yo in track record time. The six-year-old Great Success gelding proved his greatness with a hard fought victory in a time of 1:58.7, eclipsing the previous mark of 1:58.8 set by last year’s victor Glenferrie Typhoon. Boasting outstanding credentials, punters kept the local star safe in the market before an aggressive Svanosio drive landed the prize. Vincennes was able to spear to the lead from a wide draw and dictated terms while race favourite Red Hot Tooth was left without cover in the early stages. Sydney trotter On Thunder Road worked forward and took up the role on the outside of the leader while Sky Petite and Sparkling Success quickly made their moves. The lead time was covered in 84.2 seconds. With Vincennes leading, Sparkling Success eventually parked outside with 1400m approximately left to run. The first half of the final mile was covered in 30.5 and 30.2 seconds. Entering the back straight, Vincennes led Sparkling Success while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo gained economical trips against the pylons. Red Hot Tooth made a solo three-wide move with Daryl Boko tracking the move, both Speeding Spur and My Tribeca sat well back in the field as the tempo quickened. The third quarter was covered in 28.8 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Sparkling Success raced clear of Vincennes while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo all found room to move and loomed as legitimate threats. But Sparkling Success wouldn’t be denied and held Temporale by 1.2 metres with another 1.7 metres back to Hey Yo in third position. The final quarter was covered in 29.9 seconds. Race favourite Red Hot Tooth wilted to finish at the rear of the field. “This is unbelievable, he won the Maori Mile two starts ago but this race easily tops that, this is the biggest race on the calendar in Australia for trotters.” A jubilant John Meade declared, a dairy farmer from Cudgee in the state’s south-west. Sparkling Success boasts an outstanding record of 15 wins from 30 starts while his earnings now exceed $360,000. The next leg of the APG Trotting Masters takes place at Melton with the running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix on March 10. Sparkling Success now joins Dominion winner Amaretto Sun as the leg winners of the 2017/18 APG Trotting Masters to date. 6 9:00pm PRYDE'S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR (GROUP 1) 2760M $300,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SPARKLING SUCCESS      Sr3 10 John Meade Chris Svanosio   $ 4.10   PRS PRU 3WM 2 SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by GREAT SUCCESS USA out of DIAMOND INSITU (CR COMMANDO USA)  Owner(s): J F Meade, M B Meade  Breeder(s): J F Meade, M B Meade 2 TEMPORALE NZ      Sr1 8 Tony Herlihy Tony Herlihy 1.2m $ 5.70   PRS PRU 5 D/F$ 3 HEY YO NZ      Fr5 5 Sonya Smith Greg Sugars 2.9m $ 48.30   PRS 3WE RES 7 SWAB 4 THE BOSS MAN      Fr1 1 Ellen Tormey Ellen Tormey 7.3m $ 47.90   PRS PRU GS 3 5 MY TRIBECA ITA      Sr4 12 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 10.2m $ 35.20   PRS 8 HO HUE 6 VINCENNES      Fr7 7 Anton Golino Jason Lee 15.3m $ 79.30   PRS GS L 1 7 DARYL BOKO FIN      Fr2 2 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 17.6m $ 25.10   PRS W2 3WLT LW 8 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Sr5 13 John Dickie Josh Dickie 24.6m $ 6.30   PRS W3 3WLT LW 9 SKY PETITE      Sr2 9 Dean Pattison Michael Stanley 27.8m $ 56.70   PRS 3WM 4 10 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Fr6 6 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 30.2m $ 11.60   PRS RAS INC W4 3WLT 11 ON THUNDER ROAD NZ      Fr4 4 Darren Hancock Darren Hancock 57.3m $ 17.70   PRS 3WE 6 BUP SD1T 12 RED HOT TOOTH      Fr3 3 Kari Males Zac Phillips 77.2m $ 3.10 fav  PRS GS W1 3WL TIRE QUER VXAR SWAB WI Scratchings   FABRICATION 11 Track Rating: Gross Time: 3:23:6 Mile Rate: 1:58:7 Lead Time: 84.2 First Quarter: 30.5 Second Quarter: 30.2 Third Quarter: 28.8 Fourth Quarter: 29.9 Margins: 1.2m x 1.7m   Chris Barsby

“It felt bloody good,” winning driver Jackie Barker said. “It was awesome.” A weekend of triumphant sporting underdogs was kick-started at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday night, when the concession driver’s metro harness racing career launched with victory in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap. The John Meade-trained $12.70 shot Glorious Finale was Barker’s sole drive for the night, making for a hearty wait for the 20-year-old who made the journey from Hamilton to Melton “a bit after lunch” and counted down to her race, the night's last. “I didn’t want to be in a rush, especially for a drive like that. I watched a couple of races and then went and had a chat with John about the race,” she said. “I wasn’t really nervous. I’ve had a fair few drives now and I just looked at it as another drive. I didn’t want to think about how big a race it was for a concession driver like me, but just looked at it as just another race.” There were certainly no signs of nerves, with Barker guiding Glorious Finale to a perfectly timed standing start. “It all depended on how well he stepped out and luckily he stepped away really good,” she said. “The aim was to find the front and I was lucky enough to hold it, and then the plan was to hold it unless one of the favourites came around, which happened and I was happy for (Maorisfavouritesun) to find the front.” With a little under a mile to come David Aiken, trainer and driver of $1.80 favourite Maorisfavouritesun, came knocking, overcoming his 10m handicap to take the lead. “David Aiken kept the speed on, which suited my horse really well, and I was lucky enough to get out around the corner at the top of the straight.” For Barker, this was a case of making the most of her opportunities, having diverted from her original plan to take what would prove the winning move. “Down the back I was thinking sprint lane, but I saw David tapping his horse coming around the bend and that the horse outside (Heza Boy Star) had dropped off a bit," she said. “I thought it’s better to get out when you can. I knew that my horse can make up pretty good ground around bends, so it was better to not have to sit and wait for a sprint lane run when you never know what’s coming from the back.” Before the 200m mark Barker eased Glorious Finale off the back of Maorisfavouritesun and by the 50m mark she had captured the lead, from where she survived a sprint lane burst by Kerryn Manning on Illcryifhewinds. “We had the perfect run and the horse went really good,” Barker said. “I didn’t think my first metro drive would get a winner, let along being one on a trotter. Most concession drivers don’t get a go on good trotters, but John has been awesome and given me an opportunity.” And, having relegated trots veterans and stars Manning and Aiken to the minor placings, Barker is hopeful the metro win would be the first of many. “It’s a good way to start off my metro career and hopefully that gets me further drives in the future,” she said. “It’s back to normal, back to work and back to competing at the country races, which I love doing. Hopefully I will pick up a few more drivers from a few different trainers in the future.” CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE RESULTS AND REPLAYS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT'S RACING Michael Howard 

Press mentions of John Meade can now preface the respected Cudgee horseman’s name with “Group 1 winning harness racing trainer”. His homebred four-year-old gelding Sparkling Success, a son of Great Success out of Diamond Insitu, produced a last-stride dive tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton to edge out Jodi Quinlan’s Illawong Armstrong in the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series four-year-old trotting entires and geldings final. Driven by Gavin Lang, who is certainly no stranger to top-level glory, Sparkling Success angled behind Illawong Armstrong from barrier two after the polemarker led early. Lang was full of praise for Meade. “I take my hat off to John and his family,” he said. “They don’t train a great number of horses and this guy and the guy he’s got in the next race (Diamond Wes) are the first two foals of the dam, so for a guy that only trains a few horses it’s a great effort on his behalf.” Illawong Armstrong travelled along boldly in the lead, covering the lead time in 45.9secs the first half of the final mile in 62.3secs and his third quarter in 29.5secs. At the home corner Illawong Armstrong pinched what looked a winning break on Sparkling Success, but the south-western squaregaiter found another gear and produced a winning lunge right on the wire to score by a nostril after a 29.3secs final quarter – the mile rate 2mins flat. RE-LIVE SPARKLING SUCCESS WINNING VICBRED GLORY “My bloke had to dig deep to get over (Illawong Armstrong),” Lang said. Meade was absolutely stoked. “It’s just a thrill. This win will mean something for us … it will do something for us. I’ll wake up in the morning and I won’t be tired.” Kyvalley Boomerang (Anthony Butt) ran on well for third, beaten 19.7m, with Save Our Pennys fourth and Bring The Action fifth.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Illawong Armstrong produced an extraordinary run in last year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old final for harness racing trotting colts and geldings. Twelve months have passed since the son of Dream Vacation/Figment blew the start and was tailed off in the Vicbred final before making enormous ground late to finish third, and trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan has the gelding absolutely flying. Illawong Armstrong, a member of owner Dr Martin Hartnett’s ‘Illawong squad’, romped home in his Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Maryborough yesterday, defeating runner-up Belts by 23.5m in a mile rate of 2:04.5. And the news only got better for the Illawong team tonight with Armstrong drawing the pole for next Friday night’s Final. He has to be hard to beat from there. In driving rain yesterday Illawong Armstrong looked every bit the professional, Quinlan going easy on the prodigious talent who, but for his poor manners last season, arguably could already boast two Group 1 wins – producing two of the biggest runs you’ll ever see in defeat in the Vicbred and Breeders Crown finals. “He had a good run. His manners were really good,” Quinlan said of his most recent outing. “He got a lovely, easy trip out front and I expect him to do that, he is an above-average horse. “He’s probably the best horse I have put a bridle on. Unfortunately it hasn’t been an ideal preparation because he got really sick, but we have made the most of the time we have had.” Quinlan said Illawong Armstrong’s Maryborough win will have him peaked fitness-wise for next Friday night’s Group 1 final. “He really needed the (heat) run,” she said. “He’s not really a natural leader, and has an exceptional sprint, but if he draws to run at the front then he can do that.” John Meade-trained Sparkling Success won the other Vicbred four-year-old trotting males’ heat, defeating fast-finishing Kyvalley Boomerang by a short half-head. Sparkling Success (Great Success/Diamond Insitu) has drawn right alongside the expected favourite in gate two. Driven by Gavin Lang, Sparkling Success enjoyed the perfect run behind leader Eljaykay Phoenix and got the better of that horse when it galloped halfway up the straight. Kyvalley Boomerang flashed home late, while Save Our Pennys picked up third from last year’s Vicbred two-year-old reigning champion Eljaykay Phoenix.   Draw for Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Entires/Geldings Final 1: Illawong Armstrong 2: Sparkling Success 3: Wake Up Wilbur 4: Eljaykay Phoenix 5: Akotiri 6: Save Our Pennys 7: Kyvalley Boomerang 8: Well Deserved 9: The Third Son 10: Spud 11: Belts 12: Bring The Action (ODM) 13: Fabrication (ODM) EM Cody Winnell

The Hamilton HRC staged a well balanced eight event harness racing card on Thursday August 29 - the highlights being Mt Gambier (Allendale East) trainer David Kemp snaring the quinella in the Taylor Motors Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with Forced Out and Arr En Special and Terang junior reinsman Jason Lee driving a treble. Four year old Safely Kept/May Be Trouble mare Forced Out driven by Jason Lee from the pole having her 28th outing for the season, settled on the back of the leader Franciselizabeth, before being relegated back a spot when Dam Lucky assumed control. Coming away from the markers to be one/one approaching the home turn, Forced Out when eased wide in the straight, finished best to defeat her stablemate Arr En Special who faced the open for the final circuit at season start number 22 after No Bettertime which had raced parked, strode clear along the back straight on the final occasion. Franciselizabeth weaving in-between runners in the straight finished third. The mile rate 1-58.1. Both horses have raced at almost every Hamilton, Terang, Horsham and Ararat meeting held this season. Jason Lee's second victory came up in the Alexandra House Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1660 metres aboard underrated Ballarat trainer Kelvin Barker's recent stable addition Cyclades, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Armbro Operative and San Torini. In a masterful piece of driving, Cyclades possied on the back of the poleline leader Pas Mate from gate two on the second line, easing away from the inside to face the breeze at the bell after Pas Mate was crossed by The Avoca Flyer. Proving to be the better stayer, Cyclades was too strong at the finish, registering a neck victory over Ima Village Casper (three back the markers - one/one last lap) in a rate of 2-00 even, with Cheesy Grin running home late from last to finish third. Leg three came about with 4-Y-0 Mach Three/Jilliby Sparky mare Jilliby Showtime leading throughout from gate three in the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 1660 metres to score by a nose over Haryda Hanover along the sprint lane which may have momentarily hit the front in the straight. Extra finished third off a three wide double trail last lap from near last. The mile rate 2-02.6. Cudgee (Camperdown) part-owner/trainer/driver John Meade's highly promising home bred Sundon/Maori Daunou 4-Y-0 gelding Maorisfavouritesun is going from strength to strength and brought up his 5th victory from 13 outings (all this season) when a convincing winner of the James & Son Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Coming off a terrific second to Rosalie Bay in the rich Australasian Breeders Crown Series at Tabcorp Park Melton on August 18, Maorisfavouritesun stepped safely from a 30 metre handicap, gradually making ground to settle mid-field in the moving line with Sunnyandcher rushing forward from 10 metres to assume control. Trailing up both Mountain Earl and Knapdale Girl three wide in the last lap, Maorisfavouritesun was taken four wide on the final bend, putting the race away on straightening to score by an untouched 8.3 metres over Knapdale Girl and Earl Of Charity which followed the trio home in a rate of 2-03.6. Glencoe (Mt Gambier) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis were successful with 4-Y-0 superbly bred Holmes  Hanover/Catch A Boquet mare Burston Holme in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres, coming from last at the bell off a three wide trail on the back of Vee Jay Jazz. Although right of the track on the home turn, Burston Holme sprinted clear on straightening to register a 14.7 metre victory in 1-57.9 from Modern Hitch which was held up in traffic until the race was virtually over, with Panorama Wealth a game third after racing parked from the bell. Len Baker  

Cudgee (Camperdown) harness racing trainer/driver John Meade who enjoyed plenty of success with the smart trotter Crescent Glory now retired, has unearthed a 4-Y-0 gelding with plenty of untapped ability by the name of Maorisfavouritesun who established a new track record in winning the Ian McCallum Tribute Trotters Handicap at Hamilton in Victoria's Western District on Monday June 17.

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