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The rise of Red Hot Tooth continues. The four-year-old harness racing mare stunned a field of older, more experienced rivals to take out last night’s Haras Des Trotteurs Australasian Trotting Championship at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trainer Kari Males has had confidence in Red Hot Tooth the whole way through, nominating the daughter of Yankee Paco-Karaka Tooth for a potential Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star berth over summer. Last night, with regular driver Zac Phillips in the gig, Red Hot Tooth produced a faultless display from the standing start conditions to rate 2:01.0 for a comfortable 6.2m win over fellow mares Sky Petite (five-year-old) and Illawong Helios (six) in the $50,000 Group 1 over 2760m. The win was Phillips’ third Group 1 triumph in the last month. WATCH RED HOT TOOTH'S GROUP 1 WIN AT MELTON “It’s funny how it works. It takes a long time to get one and then I get three in a few weeks,” Phillips said. “She’s such a great trier. I was talking to Paul (Males) during the week and he said ‘if she trots to the front just go fast enough that they can’t go near you’. “The art of training is setting horses for races like this and Paul and Kari have done a great job with that over the years. No one works harder than them.” Red Hot Tooth booted well clear at the home bend and produced final splits of 28.8 and 28.4. She completed the marathon trip in 3mins 27.5secs. Race favourite On Thunder Road finished 10th, while two other horses well in commission that finished back in the field were Sunny Ruby (eighth) and Cruisin Around (11th). “I just can’t speak highly enough of her… she’s just a little superstar,” a clearly elated Kari Males said post-race. The win was Males’ 250th career victory. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A magical 35 minutes for Melton harness racing driver Zac Phillips also produced a mighty thrill for trainer Kari Males and owner Graham Bullock when Red Hot Tooth captured Group 1 glory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Phillips first Group 1 triumph on Une Belle Allure was followed quickly by his second when he found the front mid-race and Red Hot Tooth put in a searing performance to win the $50,000 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final. “Unreal, words can’t describe how this feels right now,” Phillips said. “It’s a little bit surreal, I think I’m going to have to get back into the drivers' rooms and pinch myself. Massive thrill.” They are the high emotions that were shared by Males, who was full of pride for her Yankee Paco four-year-old mare. “She’s an absolute little superstar, I just love her,” Males said. “She’s very casual, she’s like a kids pony half the time, she just plods around half asleep, but when she gets on the track she just does the job.” Nica Macdonon initially held High Gait and Red Hot Tooth at bay, with High Gait directed into the chair while Phillips waited and then had a second crack at the lead when Charming Lavra loomed up on his outside at the bell. “It definitely surprised me the one (Nica Macdonon) holding up early,” Phillips said. “I knew it got out of the gate good, but when Ants came (on Charming Lavra) I was confident (Nica Macdonon) would be happy to sit on me once it had done that little bit of work early. “Once (Red Hot Tooth) found the front she was travelling so good, when Jason (Lee on Heavenly Sister) got up outside her she was just on the bit. She just felt like she was never going to get beat.” After a 58.8s first half she peeled off a 28.7 third quarter and in the final straight she looked a class above, winning by 1.6m to Heavenly Sister with Illawong Helios 10.2m back in third. “She’s just a great little trier,” Phillips said. “When she’s in front she’s hard to get past. “Paul and Kari have been massive support for my career and this horse is unreal. She means the world to me. She was my first winner at Menangle, my first Group winner and my second Group 1 winner. “She’s a different horse as a four-year-old. It was always a worry whether she’d improve from a three-year-old and take the next step, but I definitely think she’s proven this time in that she’s done that.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Honours and dollars were shared although there were hardly any great surprises after the three Group Two Trotters Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick kicked off the big Breeders Challenge Finals Day in typical fashion when he took Empire Bay to victory in the opening event, the Two-Year-Old Trotters Final. Sent out a prohibitive $1.50 favourite, Empire Bay was a comfortable winner over his only two rivals Shang Fang Sword and Nanas Eyes. While he was expected to dominate the trotters’ races, Fitzpatrick could only fill the minor places with his following two entries with Seven Secrets running fourth in the three-year-old final and short-priced favourite Glenferrie Burn leaving its run too late and ending up second with a late burst in the four and five-year-old Trotters’ Final. Zac Phillips guided Red Hot Tooth to victory to deny Fitzpatrick of making it two from two while Todd McCarthy held on from a fast-finishing Fitzpatrick with Glenferrie Burn in the third race. Fitzpatrick was delighted to draw first blood: “He (Empire Bay) went great, he’s been a really smart horse and he’s made mistakes in the wrong races,” he said. “His record really should be better than it is. “I was happy to follow Shang Fang Sword as my bloke has really good speed and he picked the leader up quickly and finished the race right off. “He’ll have a short break now and then head to Victoria for the Redwood and then the Breeders Crown.” The Three-Year-Old Trotters Final could almost be considered a Bathurst victory as Red Hot Tooth was bred by Geoff Bullock from Bathurst. He sent the horse to Kari Males, who trains out of Bolinda in Victoria but is originally a Bathurst girl. Young Victorian-based reinsman Zac Phillips, 20, caught a plane this morning to drive the horse and then headed straight back to drive at Shepparton tonight. “I’ve been up here a few times but this is the first time I’ve driven a winner here,” he grinned. “She’s been a revelation this horse and came down around six months ago. She wasn’t much to look at but has had six starts and kept improving. “Once she began to race the better horses she just acquitted herself well. “I thought I’d be hard to beat if could lead and we had such a great run I was really confident. “If she’s in front she runs her best races. “I think she could have gone quicker had she needed to. It’s a terrific story the owners are lovely people and it’s really good to see people win on a big day like today.” Michael Howard

Sportswriter mare Niki No No will compete in the Alabar Breeders Challenge this season for the first time. Connections of the Group 1 winner have decided to target the Breeders Challenge series rather than Harness Racing Victorian features with the conditions of the NSW series more suitable to the four year old mare. Part owner Rob Auber confirmed there had been some discussion between connections on whether they would aim at the Breeders Challenge. "She won the Vicbred as a two year old and finished second in it last year at three but the mile racing is ideal for her so the Breeders Challenge was the way we decided to go this season and we're looking forward to seeing her compete at Menangle," Auber said. "Her recent form has been against very good opposition and sometimes racing mares out of their grade helps them take that next step in their development. Importantly she is very fit going into the series and Kari and Paul Males are experts at having horses peak for a particular series." Niki No No will compete in the first of Saturday night's Alabar Breeders Challenge semi finals for the four year old mares and has been installed second favourite for the race behind the Belinda McCarthy trained Makes Every Scents. According to Auber, Niki No No's gate speed should negate the effects of the wide barrier draw. "Her versatility is a huge bonus, she has got the acceleration at the start so she can come out of the gate and she can also come with a run but because she is so fit on Saturday night she will go forward early on. "Makes Every Scents is a very good mare and Dolly Braveheart has been racing well too, I have a lot of respect for the opposition but she has had the perfect lead up to the series and there will be no excuses." Niki No No had nine starts as a two year old, ten at three and is lining up on Saturday for her tenth at four. "She won't have many more starts this season. Hopefully the final of the Breeders Challenge and maybe one more and she will deserve a good long break. "The Mares Classic in Perth at the end of the year might be twelve months too soon but I won't rule it out totally because one of her owners is WA trainer Gary Elson. If she measures up, the Ladyship Mile next year could be the agenda for her." Auber also owns a share in stablemate Bella Sainz and she will compete in the second of the semi finals. "Bella Sainz has all the ability in the world but she is a stress head and her worst enemy in the world is herself. She hasn't had a lot of racing because she has never been mature enough mentally. "I'm quietly confident she can qualify for the final by running well on Saturday night. She is a fast beginner and her two victories she has led from start to finish." The mares will travel up from Victoria on Saturday morning and Auber is hoping the trip away helps Bella Sainz take the next step. "They will head up on Saturday morning, stay at Menangle on Saturday night and head home on Sunday morning. I'm hoping the trip away from home might just make her grow up. "If you go back through her career you will see that she only has about four runs each campaign because of her immaturity. Stepping up to race mares the calibre of Ameretto might just help with her development." Auber has an affinity with mares having also raced Group 1 winner Bellas Delight. The daughter of Bettors Delight was retired in November last year and is enjoying winding down from a career that saw her earn more than $442,000. "Bellas Delight is at Benstud, she is enjoying her retirement and will be put in foal this breeding season. At this stage we will be going to Somebeachsomewhere." Greg Hayes

Several Victorians are heading up the Hume Highway for a strong Menangle card of Harness Racing action this Saturday night, with Kari Males-trained Red Hot Tooth leading the charge. Contesting the Garrards Horse and Hound New South Wales Trotters Oaks at Group 2 level, Males is confident her charge can bounce back after two luckless runs back from a spell this time in. “She did a bit more work than I would have liked first-up at Shepparton so that accounted for her weakening late, then she didn’t handle the track terribly well at Cranbourne last start," Males said. “Although it wasn’t the result we wanted I think she can definitely improve off those runs. She has raced at Menangle before and went quite well there that should suit her fine” Drawn gate two is ideal, says Males, but it is a hot field with a host of super fillies to battle, including fellow Victorian David Aiken-trained Princess Phoenix. But Males says Kiwi trotter High Gait is the horse to beat. “They all go pretty good. Princess Phoenix hasn’t been going hopeless that is for sure but High Gait is the main danger as she has the form on the board,” Males said. The La Coocaracha (Group 3) for the trotting mares is the other feature race at Menangle and flying the Victorian flag will be Kyabram champ Claudys Princess. The Victorian starlet has drawn poorly outside the front line but she sure will make her presence felt where she takes on the like of Edge Hill, Duchess Ella and Our Dainty Lady. Matt Jackson

Kari Males and her harness racing team have sensational filly Niki No No in great order to go back-to-back in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series. A flawless start to her title defence tonight in the first of the Vicbred Super Series heats at Shepparton has the Victoria Oaks winner and last year's 2YO Super Series champ at the top of her class again. Leading driver Greg Sugars slotted Niki No No into the running line in seventh place from gate seven early before sprinting up and taking the lead off Come Cullect (David Miles) as the bell chimed. Niki No No wasn’t out to break any records once in front and, minus a short-lived raid from the chair by Yankee Showgirl at about the 300m, the daughter of Sportswriter/Benelise was never seriously challenged to win by 3.1m over a fast-finishing Soho Tokyo (Michael Stanley) in 2:01.2. Glenferrie Baby (Nathan Jack) found the line well for third, while Come Cullect battled on for fourth ahead of Shakahari (Gavin Lang) in fifth. It was Niki No No’s 10th win from 17 career starts. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots by Cody Winnell

The pecking order amongst the three year old harness racing fillies in Victoria has become a lot clearer after Niki No No’s Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks win has again moved the Kari Males-trained filly to the top of her age group charts.   The three-year-old by Sportswriter out of Benelise thundered home along the sprint lane to claim the lion’s share of the $150,505 and the Oaks trophy in the 2240-metre race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.   Driven by reinsman Greg Sugars, Niki No ($4.40) began fast from barrier two and crossed polemarker Keayang Ebonyrose (Jason Lee, $75.30) but was herself crossed by early race favourite Makes Every Scents (Luke McCarthy, $6), who fired out from gate six.   The $2.60 favourite Delightful Lana moved up to the breeze for Dexter Dunn from gate four before Amanda Turnbull made a move aboard Glenferrie Bronte ($7), working to the chair and giving Delightful Lana cover.   After posting a lead time of 46 seconds, Makes Every Scents paced through her first and second quarters in 31.7 and 30.5secs before the mustard was added 800m out, when Glenferrie Bronte eyeballed the leader and heat winner Sudden Change (Gavin Lang, $16.40) was making her run out three-wide from the back of the field, trailed up by Morton Plains (Chris Alford, $19.70).   The third quarter was covered in 27.5secs, Niki No No enjoying a cold sit on the two pacemakers as the field swung the final bend.   Makes Every Scents carried Niki No No right to the sprint lane and once the Kari Males trained Vicbred 2YO Final winner of last season got the run it was basically game over.   The last quarter was clocked at 28.9secs, Niki No No coming away to win by 2.8 metres in a mile rate of 1:58.3, Makes Every Scents holding on for second and Glenferrie Bronte battling on gamely for third beaten 3.2m.   Morton Plains worked home gamely down the outside to be beaten 4.6m, with Miss Riviera Belle (Lauren Panella, $13.60) also hitting the line hard for fifth beaten 5.3m.   As mentioned Niki No No won the Vicbred Final as a two-year-old, and although she finished fourth in the Breeders Crown Final, it is worth noting she was the first Australian filly home on that occasion behind Kiwis Katy Perry, Joannes A Delight and Cyclone Kate.   Emma Stewart-trained filly Delight Me was unfortunately ruled out of Oaks calculations before the heats, so we’ll never know, but Niki No No’s record in big races is virtually flawless and as such a strong case can quite rightly be argued for why she is the best filly of her age group in Victoria.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Former Kiwi five year old Monarchy/Rob The Nest gelding Just Leave (Nathan Jack) was gigantic in winning the Betta Home Living Cohuna Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2190 metres at the Shepparton trots on Tuesday March 31.   Stepping cleanly from 20 metres to settle nice and handy with Kains Boy jumping straight to the front from barrier four before surrendering to the Kari Males trained Secret Kiss which started outside the front line, Just Leave went into a wild gallop shortly after the start appearing to put himself out of business.   Gradually making up the lost ground to be last in the running line at the bell, Just Leave trailed the 30 metre backmarker Just Call Me Earl forward three wide in the final circuit before making the home turn very wide.   Producing a brilliant turn of speed on straightening, Just Leave charged down the outside of the track to record a runaway 3 metre victory over the pacemaker in a mile rate of 2-05, with Kains Boy holding down third after a cosy trip.   Raced by former Kilmore trucking magnate Jack Knight, Just Leave trained at Avenel by Wayne Potter had recorded three wins since crossing the Tasman.   The wraps were huge on beautifully bred first starter Showgun Thomas in the Betta Home Living Mansfield 2-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres, however the gelded son of Bettors Delight and Forest Charm could manage only third behind the all the way victor Casino Tommy.   Trained and driven by Kilmore’s Robbie Walters, John Street North/Casino Princess gelding Casino Tommy began brilliantly from gate three to lead throughout in a mile rate of 2-02.6, defeating Combined Interest from last by 2.5 metres. Showgun Thomas (one/one – three wide home turn) was a neck away in third place.   Local Lemnos trainer/driver Mark Pitt provided a shock result to the Betta Home Living Finley 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres, when Village Jolt/Our Beebee Pocket gelding To The Rescue greeted the judge in a mile rate of 1-59.6 at Supertab odds of $38.60.   Leading out from the pole, To The Rescue was restrained to allow the heavily backed Three Mugs In (gate five) to take over giving him the run of the race.   Using the sprint lane, To The Rescue finished best to score by a head from a death-seating Yankee Strutter, with Three Mugs In 2.7 metres away in third place.   Shepparton (Lemnos) partners Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack combined to land the Betta Home Living Echua Eureka Series (Heat 4) for C0 class over 2190 metres with Lis Mara/Gee Cam five year old entire Last Issue.   Pushing through from gate three on the second line to receive a lovely one/one passage, Jack not happy with the tempo sent Last Issue forward to take over from Blazing Orion at the bell and was never headed, winning by an easy 14.8 metres in advance of Tragic (three back the markers) and Blazing Orion which trailed the winner after crossing Ok Why Me prior to the bell. The mile rate 1-59.1.   Four year old Real Desire/Live Love Laugh gelding Hazpazzaz brought up two wins in a row when successful in the Betta Home Living Seymour Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1690 metres in a brilliant rate of 1-55.   Trained at Sunbury by Justin Livingstone for the Livingstone family, Hazpazzaz driven by Brian Gath starting from the extreme draw spent most of the race at the rear of the field, with NSW visitor Peking Duck (David Moran for Kim Hillier) assuming control running into the first turn.   Still a “mile” off the leaders on turning, Happazzaz weaving in-between runners sprouted wings halfway up the running to blouse the pacemaker by a nose in a tricky finish, with Glenferrie College (one/four – five wide home turn) a half neck away in third place.   The Betta Home Living Deniliquin Pace Final for C1 class which qualified in the heats held the previous Thursday, went the way of heat winner Nothings Final for Undera trainer Glenn Freeman and Avenel based reinsman Mark Pitt.   Given a sweet trip one/one from gate two on the second line following the favourite Indiana Angel (gate two) also a heat winner which shadowed another heat winner in Magic Moment Lombo (gate three), Nothings Final was eased three wide on turning and ran home strongly to register a neck victory over a game Indiana Angel and Tennaya along the sprint lane off the back of the leader.   The  mile rate a slick 1-55.9.   A five year old gelded son of P B Bullville and Timid Lady, Nothings Final has fronted the starter on 52 occasions for 10 wins.   Bendigo (Junortoun) owner/trainer Gary Donaldson has a terrific percentage ratio and landed the Betta Home Living Kyabram Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres with consistent six year old Art Major/My Gentle Persuasion gelding Bazzas Art in a rate of 1-59.   Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Bazzas Art was eased to the tail of the field from gate six, with polemarker Philtra Phella leading out before being crossed by  Stormed Out, while the hot favourite Smo coming off a second in the recent Echuca Cup was trapped on a limb from gate five before going forward to join the pacemaker.   Gaining a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Riseandriseagain in the final circuit, Bazzas Art cruised up to Smo which had led on turning in the straight, before coasting to the wire 5.8 metres ahead of Forbidden Forest (one/one) after working out of gate four, with Smo weakening to finish 2 metres away in third place.   The mile rate 1-59.1.   Punters went home on a much needed happy note when smart Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That filly Morton Plains trained at Shelbourne (Bendigo) by Larry Eastman scored in the Betta Home Living Cobram Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Driven by Chris Alford, Morton Plains a stablemate of Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate raced in the same interests was first up since mid-January and raced in the open from gate four throughout.   Surging past the leader Bright And Sonny approaching the home turn, Morton Plains ($1.70) although under pressure kept on giving and giving to the wire, scoring by a half head only  in 1-58.7 over Just Knew (one/two) and The Pix (one/three).   Len Baker - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Kari Males hopes to quality two fillies for the Breeders Crown semi-finals at tonight’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Males will put the harness on Bella Sainz in the seventh heat of the two-year-old fillies' division of the Crown (Race 3 at Ballarat) and last-start Vicbred Super Series final winner Niki No No in heat eight (Race 6 on the card). Despite their obvious form differences – one being a Group 1 winner and the other boasting just one placing at Shepparton in three goes to date – Males said the two fillies worked similarly at home. “Bella Sainz is Bellas Delight’s half-sister and we’ve got a pretty good opinion of her,” Males said. “She was possibly the best one early in the piece, but obviously Niki No No has shown what she’s capable of while Bella Sainz has just taken a bit more time. “Her work at home is every bit as good as Niki No No.” Greg Sugars will drive both runners and Males is thrilled with both horses’ gate draws – both drawn gate two in their respective heats. Males said she deliberately bypassed the Tatlow Stakes with Niki No No to concentrate solely on the Breeders Crown series. “We tossed up the Tatlow and in the end decided to just focus on the Breeders Crown,” she said. “She’s gone absolutely above and beyond what we initially expected early in the piece. “Her semi-final was very gutsy. We learnt a lot about her and what she’s capable of in the Vicbred series.” Males feels Niki No No has drawn the strongest heat tomorrow night, coming up against Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl. “She’s probably drawn the strongest of the heats and we know it’s not going to be an easy race. But if we don’t win it then there’s always the repechages,” Males said. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014

Bolinda harness racing trainer Kari Males is enjoying a blistering run of form. Males, whose two-year-old stable star Niki No No won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, had a winner on Tuesday night at Shepparton with trotter The Truth before backing it up on Wednesday afternoon with six-year-old gelding Hall Of Famer victorious at Maryborough. It means Males’ last three runners to the races have been winners. Hall Of Famer, a C6 horse, utilised the claim for junior driver Kyle Marshall in the C4-C5 Bill Davies Memorial Pace over 1690m. Marshall took the son of Blissfull Hall to the breeze early, outside pacemaker With Gusto (Daryl Douglas). At the 400m, Hall Of Famer poured the pressure on full-blast, taking the lead early in the home straight before With Gusto fought back gamely to go down by a neck. Another junior driver in Mark Pitt enjoyed a great day out at Maryborough with a winning double. Pitt piloted Yankee Strutter home in the Col and Margaret Ford Memorial 2YO Pace (Race 1) before bookending the program with victory in the last on Waltalight. Both winners were trained by Wayne Potter. Two heats of the Trustees Carisbrook Racecourse Reserve Trotters Handicap were run and won at Maryborough, with Bill Morgan trained-and-driven Gioiosa Ionica victorious in the first heat by 4.3m over William John, while Tennotrump gelding Jay Gee from the Ross Graham stable won the second heat by 8.4m with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Veteran trainer-driver Ginger Gleeson drove Sun Bird into second behind Jay Gee, the 10-year-old trotter finding some form at huge odds. Peter Manning and Greg Sugars combined with Village Jasper gelding Mixedwithajasper in the Seelite Windows and Doors 3YO Pace over 1690m, the three-year-old defeating Fremarks Ceejay by 3.7m in a mile rate of 1:57.2. Fremarks Ceejay and trainer-driver Courtney Slater bowled along freely at the front of the field for much of the race but couldn’t match the winner in the last 50m. Alan Dunsmuir-trained Western Gretel continued her strong recent form with victory in the McPhersons Printing Group Pace, defeating hot favourite Hellovaway by 3.6m. Driven a treat by young gun reinsman Alex Ashwood, Western Gretel finished too strongly for Hellovaway (Michael Sullivan), which was backing up after a gutsy seventh in the Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night. And another junior driver, Corey Bell, scored career win number 11 aboard Stunning Grin in the Happy 90th Frank Bartlett Pace over 2190m. The three-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding from the Vince Vallelonga yard prevailed by 8.1m at $1.60 in a mile rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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

Niki No No gave on-course harness racing MC Rob Auber a huge thrill tonight, winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies’ final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Auber is one of the owners in the Kari Males-trained Sportswriter filly, who toiled in the breeze early, eventually worked to the lead and then still had enough left to hold off all comers at the finish. Niki No No, driven by Greg Sugars, was panels ahead of her nearest rivals in this series, because her semi-final win a week ago was equally as gutsy as tonight’s performance. After posting a quick first split of 28.8secs, punters who took the short odds about Niki No No might have been breaking into a sweat despite the chilly conditions. A 32.4secs second quarter however gave Niki No No some respite before she came home in 58.9secs for the last half to hold off Viva Safari, driven by Michael Azzopardi, by 3.6m, with Yankee Showgirl third for Chris Alford. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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