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Harness Racing Owner Martin Riseley has stated that a defence of Lennytheshark's Inter Dominion title is his main focus and everything is currently going to plan for an apperence in November/December later this year. Scott Hamilton

Wheen Christen Me's trainer Cran Dalgety announced his star pacer would miss the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle later this month and head straight to Queensland, rival harness racing trainer David Aiken decided to reconsider his plans. Aiken was keen to keep Inter Dominion winner Lennytheshark and rising star Hectorjayjay apart until the Perth Inter Dominion however he has confirmed the pair will clash in the Len Smith Mile. After the June 26 race, Hectorjayjay will continue onto Queensland while Lennytheshark will remain in Sydney. "Josh (Aiken) told me that Cran Dalgety had decided to go straight to Queensland with Christen Me so I thought I might as well start Hectorjayjay in the Len Smith Mile against Lennytheshark," Aiken said. "It is a dream to have two horses the quality of Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay in your stable at the one time, obviously the headache is keeping them apart as often as you can. I think the gap between the two has closed noticeably and I know the driver of Hectorjayjay (Gavin Lang) is pretty excited and he doesn't get excited about much." Aiken confirmed the recent bad weather in Sydney had caused him a few concerns with Lennytheshark but he has already overcome those issues. "I wanted to give Lenny a trial at Menangle on Monday but because of the rain and the flooding around the track the races were transferred to Wednesday. The main track was closed but I was still able to give him a good hit-out on the training track. "He always improves with racing, he works his way into his campaign. The draw on Saturday night isn't ideal but he'll be better for the run and the Len Smith Mile is the main target, I then will just keep him ticking over until Perth which is a long time away." Lennytheshark is likely to remain in Aiken's Sydney stables if he can get access to the water walker. "Once I can start to use the water walker at Menangle it will be perfect. I like Lenny to do a lot of his work in the water walker so if he can use the one being built at Menangle then I'd be more inclined to keep him in Sydney. "If there was an attractive race for him in Melbourne he would definitely go south and compete." Greg Hayes

Emerging Victorian star Hectorjayjay is Queensland-bound. Trainer David Aiken had planned a freshen-up, but Hectorjayjay’s breathtaking 4&5YO Championship win at Melton last Saturday night changed his mind.  “He forced our hand, he changed our minds. He went to another level the other night. We have to give him a chance against the big boys now,” Aiken said.  “He’s scary fast and the other night he showed a new side when he did so much work in a really fast last half and still won with the plugs in.  “I knew he was good when he came to our stable, but I didn’t realise just how good.”  Hectorjayjay has won four of five starts since a change of ownership saw him switch from Simone Walker’s stable to Aiken’s barn. “He’d be unbeaten for us with any luck. His only defeat came when he drew inside the back row and never saw daylight,” Aiken said.  “This is a seriously exciting horse and I’m setting for the Perth Inter Dominion along with Lennytheshark.  “This guy can go to Queensland for the Sunshine Sprint (July 9) and Blacks A Fake (July 16), while Lennytheshark can go to Sydney.”  Lennytheshark finished a pre-training stint on the water-walker and returned to Aiken’s satellite stable on-course at Menangle yesterday (Monday).  The reigning Inter Dominion champ will go first-up into the Group 3 Golden Mile at Menangle on June 11.  Then comes the $100,000 Group 1 Len Smith Mile at the same track on June 26.  “I can get him fit enough by working at Menangle and a trial before the Golden Mile and that run should top him off nicely for the Len Smith,” Aiken said.  “Then he’s out for another little break until the new season.  “He didn’t really need these races, but he puts on too much weight when he’s out spelling, so I didn’t want to leave him out too long.  “It’ll be great to have he and Hector to bring-up together towards Perth.” Adam Hamilton

According to HRNZ, New Zealanders are breeding better quality horses. While breeding numbers are slightly down, from around 2690 last year to 2520 this year, the breeding industry isn't in dire straits like many think. The slight decline can be attributed to a major shift from breeders to produce a higher quality product, with a significant commercial value.  With sire fees going up, many breeders are cutting back their broodmare numbers to focus on better bred mares, who have shown ability on the track. Leading sire Bettor's Delight served 289 mares this season, while Christian Cullen has dropped to just he 45 mares this season.  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The Shane Tritton trained 2yo High Rolling will not make the Harness Jewels trip.  While stablemate Arms Of An Angel ,Kevin Pizzuto trained Heza Bromac and the Craig Demmler trained My Kiwi Mate are the only confirmed Australian invites to the Cambridge Harness Jewels. The focus has shifted to the trotting sections with HRNZ's Racing Manager Darrin Williams working on several runners and awaiting responses. The David Aiken trained 3yo trotter Princess Phoenix will not make the trip, although her stablemate Eljaykay Phoenix is still a chance of making the trip to complete against Monbet and Sunny Ruby in the 4yo Ruby.  Connections will sit down with the Aiken’s this afternoon to make a decision on their first jewels trip. Andrew Fitzgerald

Last Friday night the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton proved the $5 each-way punter is very much looked after in the trots with winners at odds of $36.10, $65.10, $6.10, $11.20 and $33.10. If you’d played field into field in Races 1 and 2 – both open races on paper – into One Yankee Hall ($1.20) – considered by most to be night’s “moral” – into Hellovaway  ($4.40) and Mistressofillusion ($2.80) – the clear second favourites in Race 4 – in a $50 flexi early quaddie, you would walked away with almost $9000 in your pocket. The EQ paid $38,431.80 overall and the $50 ticket would have had you on for 22.72 per cent of the dividend. But of course, how easy is everything in hindsight!? Josh Aiken took driving honours from the meeting with a winning double. The first leg for the young reinsman was One Yankee Hall defeating Columbias Deejay in the Pridmore Eelctrics Trot over 2240m in a rate of 2:02.3. Later on the card Aiken combined with father David, who trains the Avenel team, again with Vics Cheval to win the Alabar Trot over 2240m in a rate of 2:00.5. Vics Cheval ($3.20) led from the start out of gate two, Aiken expertly guiding him through a jogging 61.4secs first half before taking the sting out of his chasers down the back with a 27.9secs third section. Vics Cheval had almost 10m to spare on her rivals at the wire after a 29.2secs final split. Mister Sumna achieved something rare in winning heat three of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship for trainer Dean Braun and reinsman Chris Alford, coming from off the pace to win after a 32.7secs second quarter in a sprint race. Mister Sumna ($11.20) charged by the opposition late to score by 1.8m over race favourite Under Worked. “It’s not often the leaders run a 32 quarter around Melton and one wins from back there, but he did get a nice cart-up and swamped them at the finish,” Alford said. Despite the superb win by Mister Sumna, Barimah from the Tony Peacock stable looks hard to beat in the Rothacker final after his comfortable heat win on Friday night. Cody Winnell

Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division.  2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more.  All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours.  Harnesslink Media    

The three best male two year old trotters in Australia landed in the same Breeders Crown heat at Maryborough this afternoon and the least favoured of the trio upset his more fancied competitors and made a real statement with the final only three weeks away. Shared Interest, a son of Angus Hall was a runners chance before todays race but now looms as a genuine winning chance on August 24th. Hot favourite Eljaykay Phoenix ($110,569) who had won his last six straight sped to the lead from barrier five for driver Joshua Aiken while Shared Interest and Nathan Jack lobbed the trail from barrier one. Illawong Armstrong ($49,012) who had won four from six this season before today, dropped back early from barrier seven for trainer/driver Jodi Quinlan. Eljaykay Phoenix upped the tempo with a lap to go at the same time that Illawong Armstrong tried to improve from well back in the field. Why he made it up to Eljaykay Phoenix's wheel at the 500 meters mark, the son of Majestic Son was under pressure soon after and turning for home Eljaykay Phoenix looked to have the race in safe keeping. However why all this was going on, Shared Interest had managed to hold the back of Eljaykay Phoneix and once they straightened for home he sprinted through on the inner to good effect for a notable victory.  It was the first victory for Shared Interest at just his third lifetime start and breathed some life back into the Breeders Crown final which up to today had appeared Eljaykay Phoneix's to lose. Shared Interest trotted the 2190 meters from the mobile in 2:46.8, a mile rate of 2:02.6 with smart closing sectionals of 57.6 and 28.8. Illawong Armstrong battled away in the home straight but was over 20 meters back in third. Angus Hall had a great day all round with his stylish 2 year old filly  Endsino winning her Breeders Crown heat comfortably earlier in the day. The way the heats are playing out, Angus Hall could be in for a huge day at the Breeders Crown finals.  Shared Interest Endsino Harnesslink media

David Aiken has his stable firing on all cylinders. The Avenel harness racing trainer had four winners at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, with son Joshua Aiken steering three of them. Aiken, who leads the Victorian metropolitan trainers’ premiership by six wins, enjoyed success with in-form trotter Spidergirl in the Glenferrie Farm Kahdon Trot (Group 2) over 2240m with Chris Alford in the cart, before son Joshua drove Aiken's next three winners – Cold Major in the Dimattinas Restaurant Italian Cup over 2240m, rising star Elljaykay Phoenix in the 2240m Group 2 Blue Train Café Tatlow Stakes for 2YO Trotters, and Smudge Bromac in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace over 1720m to finish the program. Eljaykay Phoenix looked pretty special winning the Tatlow, the son of Sundon sitting one off the fence outside the leader before kicking away for a 7.9m triumph in a mile rate of 2:03.6. Glintintheeye ran second for Brent Lilley and Chris Alford, while Endsino made up ground late to run third. Meanwhile, the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship Final over 2240m went to Cyrus, who left his rivals with achy breaky hearts – scoring a 14.4m triumph. Trained in Wallington by Neville Henderson, Cyrus’s driver Matthew Craven made his move midrace and ran to the lead before running the competition off its legs in a mile rate of 1:55.7. Must Be Nice finished second for Greg Sugars, while Three Pints was third for Alison Chisholm. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The marbles have fallen the way of David Aiken ahead of Friday night's Group 2 University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship at Melton's Tabcorp Park. The Avenel trainer has two runners in the event, with Lennytheshark likely to start tote elect for driver Chris Alford after snaring the coveted pole position at this morning's barrier draw. Lennytheshark, a four-year-old son of Four Starzzz Shark, has returned to the track in great nick this year, winning his past two starts in impressive style. Last time out at Melton he clocked a mile rate of 1:55.7 and won by over 10m, the triumph coming a week after a first-up 22.1m victory over Sapphire Swayze on May 9. Stable-mate Cold Major will start from barrier three on Friday night with Joshua Aiken in the sulky. The five-year-old Art Major horse was shooting for three wins on the trot last start against a supremely talented field, eventually having to settle for fourth behind Wartime Sweetheart, Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up. Kerryn Manning's in-form gelding Gotta Go Yanky will be looking to register his fourth win on the trot and has drawn barrier two for the Championship. The son of American Ideal was too strong for Highview Conall last time out in 1:55.5. Petstock Ballarat Cup hero Restrepo has drawn four for his resumption to racing, the Emma Stewart-trained talent to be driven by Gavin Lang. Dean Braun will have three runners in the nine-horse field, Inky Cullen (barrier five), Magical Telf (barrier seven) and Chilli Palmer (barrier nine). Daryl Douglas will drive the Allan McDonough-trained last-start Maryborough winner Classy Guy from position six, while the inside-back-row draw has gone to Michael Barby-trained, Daylesford pacer It Is Billy, to be driven by Anne-Maree Conroy. The University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship will be run at 8.14pm. Two Group 1 races highlight Friday night's card at Melton, with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for 2YO trotting fillies and 2YO trotting colts and geldings to be contested. The first race on the mammoth 11-event programme is scheduled for 5.02pm. Fields for Friday night can be found here: By CODY WINNELL

Wednesday September 11 will forever remain in the memory bank of young Avenel concessional reinsman Joshua Aiken, as he guided his first winner when fully American bred 4-Y-0 Yankee Boy/Racy Remarque entire Chevals Racer scored in the Wangaratta Stock Foods & Farm Supplies Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres at the Wangaratta HRC fixture held at Shepparton, with proud parents David & Colleen cheering him home. Trained by David, Chevals Racer began with a wing on every foot from gate five to lead and rated to perfection, ran out an easy 14.2 metre victory in a mile rate of 2-03.1 from the Chris Lang trained pair of Did I Imagine That (three wide last lap from last) and Kyvalley Rancher (three back the markers). It was Josh’s third registered race drive as he had finished third aboard Wolfpack behind Itcan Happen in the Warby Street Butchery Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres after leading and fourth to stablemate Quick Jet with Lets Go Rabbitoh in the Wangaratta Members Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres – the first two races on the program. It was a great night for the stable, as apart from Quick Jet leading throughout with Chris Alford in the sulky, David was successful with 4-Y-0 Lis Mara/Triple Franco entire Our Warwick Lad in the Naish Security Shredding Pace for C2 class over 2190 metres. Starting solo on the second line, Our Warwick Lad settled three back in the moving line, before making an early move to assume control mid-race. Travelling boldly throughout, Our Warwick Lad coasted to the wire 10.7 metres in advance of Cream Of The Team which led out from gate five before taking a trail on the winner, with the red-hot favourite Sword And Pistol third after racing in the open after following the winner forward. The mile rate 2-00.3. Kialla trainer Peter Hornsby scored a well deserved victory with ultra consistent mare The Pearl Of Paris in the Avian Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Driven by Shepparton local Stephen (Boyo) Boyington, The Pearl Of Paris stepped safely from the 10 metre mark and was immediately sent forward to stride past Red Hot Chilli which had crossed Silver Memory shortly after the start. Always looking the winner, The Pearl Of Paris defeated Just Call Me Earl out wide off a three wide trail last lap by 1.9 metres, with the outsider Miss Kai Ching using the sprint lane from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-06.3. On what was a good night for the Goulburn Valley, revitalised 8-Y-0 Washington Vc/New York Glow gelding Fergus Mactavish trained at Nathalia by Noel Tyndall and driven by Donna Castles taking a concession, snared the J & T Joinery Wangaratta Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres and Ardmona trainer Doc Wilson’s very much in-form 6-Y-0 D M Dilinger/Nora Barnacle also driven by partner Donna Castles, brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Wangaratta Stock Foods & Farm Supplies Pace for C3 & C4 class over the same journey. Len Baker  

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