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Before last month's Victorian CEO's report trots harness racing trainer Andy Gath had no idea the milestone was imminent, but admits there was definite satisfaction in surpassing the 2000 career wins mark last week. “This one did mean a bit,” he said. “... I guess you’ve got to be consistent over a long period of time (to get to this mark), so yeah, I’m pretty proud of the achievement.” Three-year-old Art Major/Our Southern Rose gelding Battle Born provided the Long Forest horseman with the landmark success last Thursday at Kilmore, winning a heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old males’ division with wife Kate Gath in the driver’s seat. “I’ve had plenty of people congratulating me since and it’s just starting to sink in what sort of achievement it is,” Gath said. “I wasn’t aware I was close actually ... it was only when John Anderson (HRV CEO) put it in his monthly statement that I knew it was coming.” Along his trots journey so far Gath has amassed many a feature race triumph but he doesn’t miss a beat when asked to name his three favourite horses ever. Champion trotter La Coocaracha (Safely Kept/Poetry) heads the list. “She was a champion… in fact she remains the only ‘champion’ I’ve ever trained, in my mind,” he declared of the mare who won 23 of 36 starts for $428,911. Next up Gath nominates 2006 A.G. Hunter Cup winner About To Rock (River Khan/Karalta Cheri). “That Hunter Cup win came at a really good time of my career,” he says. Thirdly Gath nominates Caribbean Blaster, a $1.11m earner with 24 wins from 79 starts and a two-time Victorian Horse of the Year. “He was just a lovely horse to work with. You get to spend so much time with them one-on-one. Every time they step on to the track they go to war for you. They’re the sorts of horses that actually make me look good.” Gath sits second on the Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership table this season with 89 wins from 301 starters. One of only 11 trainers to have reached the 2000 winners milestone – the others we know of being Lance Justice (3384 wins), Steve Turnbull (3272), Bill Dixon (2833), Peter Manning (2593), John Justice (2358), Julie Weidemann (2312), Paul Fitzpatrick (2291), Gary Hall Senior (2260), Darrel Graham (2239) and David Aiken (2068) – Gath says he is “proud to be in such illustrious company”. As for a horse to follow closest from his current crop, Gath says Glenferrie Typhoon is the clubhouse leader. "What he achieved last prep, to run with a bladder stone and do what he did ... you've got to think he'll be better for having the stone removed," he said. "He's defeated Keystone Del a few times on his merits, which is not easy to do.  "He's a very high quality horse." Cody Winnell

If Harness Racing Driver Kate Gath stood for any office in Port Pirie she would be elected in a landslide as she is definitely the unofficial ‘Queen’ of the South Australian industrial town. Port Pirie born and raised, Gath now lives in Victoria with her husband, trainer Andy, and her father Peter Thompson also relocated when he left his job as a postman. Each-time Gath returns ‘home’ she dominates the Port Pirie harness meeting and last Friday night took off the annual Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation series. Gath amassed 38 points to take off the series from Lance Justice and Leah Harvey who tied for second on 33. It was also a personal birthday present as she celebrated another year on Sunday. At her previous visit to the SA town in March, Kath drove a personal best five winners including her first Port Pirie Cup. The 2016 Elders Insurance Invitation Series saw Gath joined by another expatriate South Aussie Lance Justice, also now based in Victoria, along with Lisa Miles (Victoria) and Western Australia’s Kim Prentice take on the South Australians of Danielle Hill, Leah Harvey, Scott Ewen, Wayne Hill, Mark Billinger and Michael Smith. Ryan Hryhorec was also to be part of the team but was a race day scratching having had off colour for several days with suspected food poisoning. Gath staked her claim early with a win on Billy Mack ($6.60) in heat one beating Novappeal ($14.80) driven by Leah Harvey with Dani Hill third on Just Read My Mind ($3.90). Harvey went to the lead by scoring in heat two on Doubledipofheaven ($1.90 fav) beating Lance Justice on Springfield Oflynn ($10.70) with Timansi ($34.80) third for Lisa Miles. It was Dani Hill’s turn to keep the victories going for the female drivers with her victory on Rip It Up Sister ($2.10 fav) in the third heat with Michael Smith second on Uphill Battle ($6.30) and Kim Prentice third on Marzzz Barzzz Bazz ($14.10). Top pacer Glenferrie Bunter ($1.40 fav) gave Mark Billinger a comfortable victory in the fourth heat from Kate Gath on Cheersbigears ($11.40) and Lisa Miles third on Hey Hardy ($22.60). Lance Justice was at his brilliant best lifting Johnny Tsunami ($6,10) off the canvas to win the fifth and final heat beating Kim Prentice on Tahlia May ($13.90) with Mark Billinger third on Time To Dash ($1.,60 fav). Final points tally was: Kate Gath 38, Lance Justice, Leah Harvey 33; Danielle Hill 31; Kim Prentice 25; Michael Smith 24; Lisa Miles, Mark Billinger 22; Wayne Hill 20; Scott Ewen 13.   Graham Fischer

When harness racing driver Kate Gath left South Australia’s Port Pirie as a teenager bound for the big smoke she took with her lofty ambitions and big plans.  When the Long Forrest driver departed the same coastal town at the weekend – some 16 years on – she took with her a hefty haul of trophies and a big purse.  Along with husband Andy Gath, Kate dominated Saturday’s Port Pirie Cup night. She won on all five of her drives, three of which were trained by Andy, including with Star Of Dionysis in the 2016 Ubet Port Pirie Pacing Cup.  “They all had really good chances and I thought they would probably win, but in racing there is no such thing as a certainty,” Gath said. “I haven’t had that many wins before, so it was a good night.”  Born and raised in Port Pirie, Gath said she gets back to the township when she can, but this was the first time she had departed with the pacing cup in tow.  “I have all my extended family there, so they all come out and get into it,” Gath said.  “It makes for a very busy day because there is a lot of people to talk to and catch up with. It is 16 years since I left, so it is really good to get back and catch up. They haven’t changed and hopefully I haven’t changed either.”  Also unchanged is the stable’s high opinion of Star Of Dionysis, who recorded a fourth win in five starts since he was brought across the Tasman.  “He had strong form in New Zealand and is sensational in standing starts, where his form is just impeccable,” Gath said.  The six-year-old gelding by American Ideal out of Star Of Venus will get to again exercise those talents in Saturday’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, a standing start over 2570m.  To win Star Of Dionysis, who Gath said pulled up well from Saturday’s win, will have to outpoint Kerryn Manning’s Ouyen Pacing Cup winner Ideal Success.  Unbeaten in two starts in Australia, Ideal Success has been similarly outstanding since being imported from New Zealand, while prolific country cup campaigner Almost El Eagle has also been nominated for Ararat. by Michael Howard Race programme for Ararat, Saturday 26 March 2016

K D Muscles had only once tasted victory in New Zealand before joining Andy Gath’s harness racing stable at Long Forest, but she still managed to amass over $60,000 in winnings. “I don’t know how she accumulated that with only winning the one race but she did,” Gath said. On Monday at Horsham the five-year-old mare by Muscle Mass out of Kazzle Dazzle won the Pegasus Spur @ WoodlandsTontine Trotters Series Final (Group 3) in bold fashion, sitting in the chair throughout before outpunching Tryncatchme in the stretch for a head victory. She rated 2:05.7 for the 2700m standing start with Kate Gath in the sulky. WATCH K D MUSCLES PACK TOO MUCH PUNCH “It was a bit of a fluke that the Tontine came up on the calendar after we bought her, so we earmarked that series and she did a great job,” Gath said. “She’s a mare on the way up. To win from the death over 2700m in a feature race, she obviously has ability. “She’s still got plenty of improvement in her yet. She’s got a bigger future.” Gath said he suspected K D Muscles was a victim of bad luck in New Zealand, “always managing to find one better” in her races. And as for her next stop? “We’ll just head to the next available race for her. She’s a really good mobile horse. She runs the gate really quickly,” Gath said. Cody Winnell

Emma Hamblin has issued a challenge to champion harness racing reinswoman Kerryn Manning in the Teal Pants Championship after landing a winning treble at Mildura on Wednesday night. Hamblin became the punter's pal when she saluted on three short-priced favorites, Shadow Spar, Monumental and Murranji Track on the eight-race program. Hamblin’s treble elevated her into second place (on seven wins) behind Manning who heads the Championship on 14 wins. Kate Gath and Ellen Tormey share equal third place on five wins apiece with Victorian reinswomen chalking up a tally of 50 wins to as of February 24. The number of wins highlights the key role reinswomen play in Victorian trots with the girls averaging two wins per day since the Championship began on February 1. The Teal Pants Championship has so far raised $20,000 for the Womens Cancer Foundation- Ovarian Cancer Fund with another 16 days of the series remaining. Harness Racing Victoria 

Glenferrie Typhoon's force is looking more and more powerful every time he steps out of late. The Andy Gath trained trotter, who won Friday night’s Bacardi Lindy Trot in easy fashion, looks destined for bigger and better things. The six-year-old by Majestic Son out of Cyclone Vance now boasts back-to-back wins at Melton and next year’s Great Southern Star is potentially on the radar. After working hard three-wide for the first half a kilometre, Glenferrie Typhoon eventually found the top, giving early pacesetter Action Kosmos a trail in the 2240-metre race. Once in front driver Kate Gath applied the brakes and the gelding trotted through his first and second quarters in 32secs and 31.3secs, sprinting up down the back to get Action Kosmos off the bit and chasing (29.3secs) before blasting clear seemingly under a hold in the home straight to score by 10.8 metres in a mile rate of 1-58.9 (last quarter 27.6secs). Action Kosmos held on for second place, defiantly withstanding the challenge of Cold Sister in third. Later on the card Ellas Puppeteer beat Iceobar in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series C Final. The four-year-old gelding by Shadow Play out of Smiley Ella, who smashed the track record at Charlton leading into Friday night’s race, rated 1-53.7 over 1720 metres from his inside-back-row draw. Trainer/driver Michael Stanley kept Ellas Puppeteer out of trouble early, going back to last before cruising around the field to assume control at the bell. Iceobar trailed and stuck on gamely thereafter but was no match for the winner. Ellas Puppeteer now boasts three wins from five starts and looks to have a sparkling metro career in front of him. by Cody Winnell >> Replays and results from Friday night's Melton trots.

Long Forest husband and wife Andy and Kath Gath made the trip to Swan Hill a worthwhile one on Tuesday to contest the Nyah Harness Racing Club’s September meeting after landing a stable double with a pair of four year old geldings – Mister Whittaker (Somebeachsomewhere/Twice As Hot) taking the He’s Watching @ Alabar Stud Pace for C1 class over 1750 metres and Valens (Shadow Play/Seymour Lady) the Lucky Chucky @ Stallions Australasia Pace for C2 class over 2240 metres. Mister Whittaker was ultra impressive in his event after racing in the open from gate six, with a running Earl Of Huntington (gate three) crossing One Knight Stand (gate two)  shortly after the start. Cruising to the front on the home turn, Mister Whittaker careered away in the straight to record an unextended 25.6 metre margin in advance of One Knight Stand and Graceful Art (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-54.9. Valens bred and raced by Alabar Bloodstock starting outside the front line, brought up three wins in succession after moving forward to race in the breeze from the bell, defeating Oasis Dream (gate five) from mid-field by 2.8 metres, with Tennaya (gate four) 1.5 metres away in third place after leading for the last half of the journey. The mile rate was 1-58.2. Bunbartha trainer/driver John Newberry a regular at most Swan Hill meetings, snared the Angus Hall @ Mountain View Stud Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2240 metres with 8Y0 Earl/Shine On Alisha gelding Just Call Me Earl, but not before giving his supporters a scare. Galloping away from 30 metres, Just Call Me Earl settled at the tail of the field with Majestic Flash beginning swiftly from 10 metres to lead. Assisted by both Mike Titan and Jacob Alm breaking during the run, Just Call Me Earl had improved to be three back in the moving line at the bell. Easing three wide approaching the final bend, Just Call Me Earl ran home best to gain the day by a head over Declaring along the sprint lane after following the pacemaker which held down third a neck away. Raced by the Newberry family, Just Call Me Earl recorded his 13th victory in 119 outings, returning a mile rate of 2-05.9. Quality 4Y0 Bettors Delight/Linda Grace mare Linda Lovegrace made a one act affair of the Sweet Lou @ Woodlands Stud Pace for C0 class over 2240 metres much to the delight of Ken Breckon’s The Good Sports Syndicate. Formerly with Mark Purdon, Linda Lovegrace now with Kerryn Manning at Great Western, was untroubled to lead throughout from gate two with husband Grant Campbell in the sulky, accounting for Drayton (one/one – outside winner home turn) by 16.5 metres in 2-03.1, with Clontarf Guy (three back the markers) a further 17 metres away in third place. The Manning/Campbell combination were to bring up a double when impressive former Kiwi 4Y0 Bettors Delight/Princess Alberta gelding Duke Of Albany streeted his rivals in the Four Starzzz Shark @ Empire Stallions Pace for C3 to C5 class over 1750 metres and by doing so, chalked up six wins in succession, the last five on Australian soil. Surprisingly crossed from gate two by Life Of Ted (gate four), Campbell immediately eased away from the markers to assume control, before racing clear on turning to register a 2.1 metre victory over Precious Cullen which faced the breeze from the bell. Life Of Ted battled on gamely for third after using the sprint lane and will no doubt benefit from the outing. The mile rate was 1-56.7. Local Woorinen trainer Joe Costa sent punters home on a happy note when the “star of the stable” Uncle Wingnut returned to his best form to land the Hurricane Kingcole @ Egmont Park Stud Pace for C6 or better class over 2240 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. With regular reinsman Michael Bellman aboard, Uncle Wingnut was taken off the gate from outside the front line to settle four back along the markers, with only Diamond Ace (gate four) behind him after being trapped wide and another of the Manning team Jaccka Art leading from gate three. Making a mid-race move to join the pacemaker at the bell, the pair were head and head for the final circuit, with Uncle Wingnut taking the lead on the home turn. Drawing clear on straightening, Uncle Wingnut prevailed by 1.1 metres over Diamond Ace which followed him home from the bell, with Daylight Dan (three back the markers) 11 metres away in third place. An eight year old gelded son of Courage Under Fire and Paulas Way raced by the Costa family, Uncle Wingnut has faced the starter on 77 occasions, resulting in 17 victories. *** The next Nyah meeting will be Cup Night – Saturday October 17.   Len Baker

The $40,000 Gold Coast Derby at tonights harness racing meeting at Albion Park looked a bit of a gimme for the brilliant Menin Gate after he drew perfectly at barrier two and thats exactly how it played out as the big free going son of Somebeachsomewhere dealt to the field in the manner of a budding champion. Sent straight to the front by regular reinsman Chris Alford, Menin Gate applied the pressure a long way out and had them all in trouble well before the corner. Kate Gath sent Burnaholeinmypocket around to sit parked at the 1500 metres mark giving the other favoured runner Hug The Wind with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike a great sit in the one by one. However Burnaholeinmypocket punctured badly at the 500 metres and Hug The Wind showed little when asked for a big effort by Natalie at the 400 metres mark, running on for a so so fourth. It was left to Spare Me Days to flash home brilliantly from well back for a great second in front of a very game My Kiwi Mate who after being wide for most of the last lap fought on bravely for a top third. Menin Gate paced the 2138 metres in a very smart 2:33, a mile rate of 1:55.1 with sensational closing sectionals of 54.7 and 27.3 It was the eight win of the season for Menin Gate and his second Derby after his success in the Victoria Derby in early February. Menin Gate treated the opposition with disdain tonight and it is hard to see how they beat him in next weeks Queensland Derby. Harnesslink Media 

Port Pirie 2015 Elders Invitation Drivers Series Saturday night 20th June is one of the feature harness racing meetings in South Australia where five of the best drivers from Victoria challenge six drivers from South Australia. The series is run over four races on the night with the driver with the most points winning the title. This series has been going now for forty years and has brought together a good line up of drivers as you can see by their profiles. Ex Port Pirie driver Kate Gath is making a return, while local driver Brad Sims will be aiming to again win the series as he did in 2006 Victorians Lance Justice: Driven 2865 winners, started his career here in SA and was great supporter of Northern harness racing when he was here. Has had lots of success over the years here and in Victoria with many good horses with the best being Sokyola and Smokem up. Always loves coming back here, won this series back in the ninety’s, won the trainers and drivers premiership here in 2000 the year the new track was opened, loves talking with the locals. Anthony Butt: Formerly from New Zealand where he drove 1609 winners and now situated in Victoria where he has driven another 694 winners while coming to and fro. This is Anthony’s first time at Port Pirie and he would really like to increase on his winning tally. Will be a good draw card having someone very approachable from NZ come here Michael Bellman: Has driven 952 winners in his career, participated in this series in 2011 where he was runner up to Lisa Miles. Is currently having a great year, being fifth on the Victorian State driver’s premiership having driven ninety winners. Is prepared to travel all over the state, having had over 1000 drives in Victoria this season, and we welcome him back Kate Gath: Has driven 942 winners so far in her career, Born and raised here in Port Pirie where she won the Port Pirie Drivers Premiership in 2004. Currently having a very good season, driving 83 winners so far and sits sixth on the Victorian State Drivers Premiership. Has been a regular competitor in this series over the last ten years where she tied in first place in 2013. Family and friends are sure to cheer on Kate help increase the crowd. Lisa Miles: Has driven 498 winners in her career always puts her hand up to come here for the series where she has had good success winning in 2011where she came at a days notice and 2013. Does really well training her small team of horses but is a great who competitor and would really love win her third series going back to back. SA Drivers Ryan Hryhorec: Has currently driven 1380 winners, is a regular here at Port Pirie having won the Drivers Premiership in 2008, 2011, 2014 and currently well in front this season in the drivers premiership. Tied in first in this series in 2012 and 2013 and has driven 130 winners in SA and Victoria this coming season. Tough competitor and is sure to account himself well Mark Billinger: One of the state’s top drivers has had 1014 career driving wins has had 62 wins this season and is currently fourth on the states leading driving premiership table. Always gives his horses a great run and has a good strike rate in the sulky. Wayne Hill: He is another regular driver here at Port Pirie has had 768 career wins, is currently fifth on the state driving premiership having driven 52 winners for the season. Wayne has come through the junior ranks and is a good competitor who has been in the series before and will account himself well. Leah Harvey: Has had 666 career wins, now getting towards the veteran stage having won this series in 2002 and 2010. Was the leading driver here at Port Pirie in 2001 and 2012 so she well and truly knows her way around the track here. She has represented the region well over the years on and off the track and it would not surprise if Leah won her third series. Scott Ewen: Has driven has  660 winners throughout his career and has been a regular here at nearly every meeting over the past five years, winning the Port Pirie driving premiership in 2013. Is currently having a good season having driven 45 winners, has competed in the series for the last three years without much luck but this could be his year. Brad Sims: Has driven 86 winners in his career, was the leading young driver in 2005 here at Port Pirie and had good success in winning this Drivers Series in 2006. Has also driven many placing throughout his career, has taken a trainers licence out this season and has had success with that. With limited opportunity he has always given his drives every chance. Good luck to all the drivers competing and also to David Harding who would have been here if it was not for nasty fall that he had at Globe Derby on 8th June. by Neville Thomson, Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Related Links Fields for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015

The picturesque Yarra Valley Racecourse hosts what is expected to be eight harness racing action-packed races on Monday. With several stand out runners on the day all drawing barrier one, there is a particularly good chance that all eight winners could be wearing the No.1 saddlecloth. Andy and Kate Gath will hold a major key to the determination of this bizarre possibility. They have three runners drawn the pole that will almost all start favourite. Padrisimo has already proven his ability and the obvious high regard Andy has for the three-year-old when he took him up to Sydney for the NSW Derby.  He takes on a C1 class field on Monday but should prove too strong for them. Gowan Brae also competes for Andy and Kate from numero uno, coming off a return to the winners list after striking trouble at Yarra Valley the start before. He will take a power of beating in a small but strong field. The third Andy and Kate Gath runner to draw one is Destined To Take in Race 7.  He has had no luck with draws recently and will be very hard to beat, as his closest rivals on paper appear to be drawn the second row. All that said it could be Andy and Kate Gath that spoil the No.1 party.  Before those three runners, in Race 2, they will present Sir Major Stride to the races for the second time since his arrival from New Zealand.  He has drawn barrier three and will take a lot of holding out in a C0 class race. His main danger could come from where else but the pole, with local horse Temporal Join.  She has run nine placings from 14 starts, and if she is ever going to break her duck why not Monday? The other No.1s on the day include Race 1 – Thats How Weroll – A Belinda McCarthy-trained two-year-old that will appreciate a sharp drop in class and should start a firm favourite.  In Race 4, Soh Filthy Rich has been consistently improving in three runs since coming over from South Australia.  The four-year-old mare is the only horse off the front row and should give a great sight in front.  Race 6 sees Chestervale Jet get the No.1 saddlecloth.  He has been racing well from awkward draws of late and emerges a clear top pick in an otherwise even field. Finally in the last race, the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Heat for three-year-old colts and geldings at 4.19pm, patrons will be treated to the exciting clash of two of Victoria’s upcoming stars in Wingara and Mister Wickham.  In talent it would be hard to split the pair however, Wingara has drawn barrier one, and if Nathan Jack can back the tempo off mid race and dash home could he be steering home the eighth winner from the pole.   by Toby McKinnon Related Links Fields for Yarra Valley, Monday 15 June 2015 Form guide for Yarra Valley, Monday 15 June 2015

Tuesday trots in Victoria were held at the harness arcing meeting at Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley and Long Forest trainer Andy Gath produced a nice Art Major/Our Southern Rose colt by the name of Battle Born to land the Saddleworld Shepparton 2-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres when having his first start at the races.   Driven by wife Kate, Battle Born from gate six was taken back to the rear of the field, with polemarker Herehecomes retaining the lead and the well supported favourite Emiliana (Nathan Jack) going forward from outside the front line to park in the open giving another first starter Anything For Love one/one cover.   Despite making the final bend four wide, Battle Born ran home stylishly to record a runaway 1.4 metre victory over Anything For Love and Herehecomes in a mile rate of 2-01.1.   Aucklander Mark Burley who has seen a fair bit of Australia’s east coast recently having campaigned in NSW and now in Victoria, was successful in taking the DPR Insurance Brokers Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres with a filly by the name of Little Miss Zigzag who is to start in the Victoria Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday.   Settling three back in the moving line from gate two on the second row, the daughter of Love You and Meander With Earl was sent forward shortly after the start to stride past the leader Illawong Sunny (gate six) which had crossed Aldebaran Hest (gate four).   Travelling beautifully, Little Miss Zigzag gave her rivals the slip on the home turn to register an easy 8.9 metre victory in advance of a death-seating Im Havinaball and Illawaong Sunny, returning a mile rate of 2-04.5.   Popular Huntly (Bendigo) trainer Barry Quigley combined with Chris Alford aboard six year old Mach Three/Janoela Star mare Sukovia to greet the judge in the Betta Home Living Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Taking advantage of a mares concession, Sukovia led most the way from gate three to defeat the hot favourite Glory Daze (gate five) by a neck which raced in the open from the bell after a poor beginning, with polemarker Sailors Sweetheart 6.6 metres away after leading out and taking a trail. The mile rate 2-00.2.   Avenel duo David and Josh Aiken have a great record at their home track and four year old Somebeachsomewhere/Arty Alice mare Beach Shack raced by Brendan James’ BFJ Bloodstock Trust brought up two wins in succession when victorious in the Neatline Homes Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres.   Racing outside the pacemaker Party Boy inside her, Beach Shack (gate four) prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the leader in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Holdonsu (three back the markers) finished 1.8 metres away in third place.   The Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for Four Year Old Entires and Geldings (Heat 1) went the way of Bacchus Marsh trainer Alan Tubbs’ potential top liner Macterra Lad in a rate of 1-59.4.   Driven by daughter Amy, Macterra Lad a gelded son of Artistic Fella and Marilyn Macray raced outside the pacemaker Bryce Copper all of the way from gate five to outstay his rivals and score by a nose in advance of the heavily supported Young Modern and Sketch Me (one/three).   Macterra Lad bred by Ian Kitchin and raced by Mount Gambier’s Michael McQuade brought up his 7th success in 12 race appearances.   The Empire Stllions Vicbred Super Series for Three Year Old Fillies (Heat 1) was taken out by quality Sportswriter/Benelise filly Niki No No, much to the delight of locally based Benstud Standardbreds.   Trained at Bolinda by Kari Males and driven by regular reinsman Greg Sugars (the state’s leading driver), Niki No No wasn’t involved in the early speed from outside the front row, easing to possie three back in the moving line.   Urged forward three wide approaching the bell, the Victoria Oaks winner was surprisingly able to slide past the leader Come Cullect (gate three) which had crossed Glenferrie Baby (gate four) and proceeded to lead for the rest of the journey, accounting for Soho Tokyo (one/two – three wide home turn) and Glenferrie Baby in a rate of 2-01.2.   Invergordon trainer Stuart Govers and local concessional reinsman Riley Fortin are proving to be a formidable combination and once again joined forces to land the Shepparton BMW Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres with improving five year old Blissful Hall/Cheryls Fancy gelding Ramblenroller in a mile rate of 1-56.8.   Starting from the extreme draw, Ramblenroller raced by father Max ran home strongly from a mid-field passage to gain the day by 1.5 metres from a death-seating Lagoon Beach (gate five), with Calcavado running on late out wide to finish third.   Lockington breeder/owner/trainer Shane Pangrazio combined with Avenel based Mark Pitt to snare the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres with Safari/Wahini Elle 4-Y-0 mare Safari Beach in a mile rate of 2-00.8.   Trapped wide from outside the front line, Pitt had no option but to go back at the start and settle at the tail of the field.   Trailing home both Pushinupdaisies and Miss Tanami three wide in the final circuit, Safari Beach finished best to blouse Miss Tanami by a head right on the wire.   The pacemaker Highly Persuasive was 4.5 metres away in third place after having every possible chance.   Len Baker

Kilmore held its memorial night last Saturday with several dignitaries honoured throughout the evening. Among them were Vin O’Sullivan, superstar journalist Bob Cain and the legendary Vin Knight. While the card is widely applauded, there is still a large contingent which believes Knight’s race should carry greater status. Some feel a metropolitan event at Tabcorp Park Melton is more befitting, while others are convinced Knight deserves a Group One. In fact, there is a Facebook page titled Vin Knight Memorial should be a Group One race. It has been almost 25 years since Knight died in tragic circumstances, but his feats and standing as one of – if not the - greatest horseman Australia has seen remain intact. Knight drove his initial winner, Dian Glenfern, at his home track of Kilmore on July 6, 1970, a little over two months after his 16th birthday. He registered his first metropolitan win with Cita Dollar at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds on May 1, 1971, four days before his 17th birthday. During the next two decades Knight added another 720 wins to his tally while competing at the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley. Included in his record 721 Melbourne victories are four quintets, (a record), nine quadruples, (another record), 45 trebles and an incredible 143 doubles. He also drove hundreds of country winners, along with numerous winners in every Australian state as well as New Zealand. Knight was leading Melbourne reinsman six times, including the years of his death despite only driving half the season! He won a record 18 Inter Dominion heats – 16 with pacers and two with trotters – and drove in 10 consecutive Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Finals – also a record. First Glimpse provided Knight with his last winner when he captured the inaugural Oceania El Dorado at Moonee Valley on April 6, 1991. Three days later harness racing in Australasia went into mourning when it was announced Knight was dead. A man who enjoyed life, and lived it to its fullest, Knight took his own life four weeks short of his 37th birthday. The champion was found dead in his car about a kilometre south Kilmore on Tuesday, April 9. Despite his inner demons, Knight was a star of the industry and was associated with topliners such as Popular Alm, Garry’s Advice, Smooth Falcon, Bag Limit, Our Maestro, Jane Ellen, Jodie’s Babe, Rockleigh Victory, Almeta Boy and Sinbad Bay. As for the race in his honour, it was captured by Bettors Package with driver Kate Gath fittingly wearing the famous Knight colours of Yellow with a Red Maltese Cross. Trained by leading horsewoman Emma Stewart, Bettors Package rated 1:55.8 for the 1680 metres when accounting for Daylight Dan and Eye Like Candy. The silks were also worn to glory in last season’s edition by popular horseman Steve Cleave. PAUL COURTS

Perfect weather conditions complimented a good day of harness racing at Warragul on Monday. Seven events produced keen racing - importantly winners came from both the front and rear of the field across the day, defying the usual trend of on-pace runners being suited on the smaller Warragul circuit. Again, fast times were recorded during the day, highlighting the quality of Warragul's renovated circuit. One trainer particularly happy to win on Monday was Warragul boy Michael Hughes, who prepared Illawong Libby to win the Warragul Downtowner Pace. Hughes has only had the four-year-old mare in his Cranbourne stable for two starts. He explained after the race that he had set Illawong Libby for the Warragul event some four weeks ago. He felt Illawong Libby would be suited by the Warragul track, and that proved the case. She led from barrier one, holding off a late challenge by Readyforreign to score narrowly in a deceptive finish. The five owners of Illawong Libby were delighted with their victory, the mare's third from 24 starts. Former Gippsland trainer Graeme Lang also claimed a victory on Monday's card with Maybellina in the Drouin Signs Trotters Handicap. Lisa Miles donned Lang's famous dark blue silks and drove a well judged race behind Maybellina, which grabbed Slancio close to home to win. Husband and wife Andy and Kate Gath collected a double on the day, courtesy of Lagoon Beach and Qtown Rip Roaring - both horses coming home strongly from off the pace in their victories. Leading combination of trainer Jayne Davies and driver Chris Alford have won more races than most at Warragul over the years, and claimed another victory on the day, this time with Baccarat in the Healers Shack Pace. Hoofnit provided the upset of the day in winning the Don Collins Pace - the longest priced winner of the afternoon at around 10/1. After three racedays in the last six weeks, Warragul now has a break before the traditional Traralgon Pacing Cup program on Monday, June 29.    

Andy Gath trained a treble and his wife Kate drove all of them at yesterdays harness racing meeting at Charlton on a big day for the Long Forest husband and wife team.   True Stride (a two-year-old son of Christian Cullen/Gina Falcon), Abetta Tiny Dancer (a three-year-old filly by Bettors Delight out of Laurel Franco) and Party Boy (a four-year-old gelding by Bettors Delight out of We Love To Party) all won for Team Gath.   Abetta Tiny Dancer was impressive on debut in the Cricket Club Hotel 3YO Pace over 2100 metres.   Starting from the second row, the filly was given plenty of time to balance up for Kate Gath, settling towards the rear of the main division – with Prince Of Zanzibar the trailer after making an early break. At the bell Abetta Tiny Dancer eased three-wide and commenced her run.   But it was only upon navigating the last bend that Abetta Tiny Dancer really stamped her authority, rounding up the leaders quickly and finishing well for a four-metre win over Give Me Fifty, who ran an improved race for Keith Cotchin and Amanda Turnbull into second, with Box Lu Cove third for Glenn Douglas.   The debutant winner rated 2:00.7.   Party Boy resumed in the Charlton & District Community Bank Pace and was sent out at unbackable odds of $1.10 from barrier four.   Last time in Party Boy looked a serious racehorse in the making with three straight triumphs before being sent for a spell after an out-of-character run at Cranbourne when something was obviously awry.   But the impressive son of Bettors Delight bounced straight back today, rating 2:00.5 (last half 58.1secs) to win by 2.4 metres over a bold Jay Dee Zed, who is nearing another win, with early speedster Splendid Choice poking through for a well-beaten third placing.   True Stride opened the program with a five-metre win in the Natasa Dean 2YO Pace over the mile, the winner posting a 1:59.2 mile rate in defeating Swift Fantasy and Dallas Nikolay.   Other winners on today’s card were Karkarook and Indiana Angel, who brought up a double for trainer John Hallam and reinsman Nathan Jack, Cudgee Boy for Wayne Maher and Neil McCallum, Super Lenny for Keith and Rodney Pratt and Pink Diamond Lombo for Max Jardine and Greg Sugars.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Saturday night’s Tattsbet South Australia Cup promises to set the scene for a great night of harness racing action. In what is always a popular night, another large crowd is expected to descend on Globe Derby Park to see some of Australasia’s best pacers compete in the Cup. The Cup field includes experienced and highly rated former New Zealaner, Franco Ledger, which recently joined the Geoff Webster stable, as well as the Emma Stuart-trained Guaranteed. Guaranteed has established himself as one of Australia’s most promising horses, having won the Chariots of Fire and the Kilmore Pacing Cup in 2014. Kate Gath is aiming for consecutive Cup victories, having captured last season’s edition with Caribbean Blaster. This time around Gath will partner last weekend’s Globe Derby winner, Maximan. The evening will also feature a Commemoration for the Centenary of ANZAC, with a mounted light horse procession presenting the Cup before the race to descendants of WW1 light horse veterans, and a bugler will play both the last post and the rouse. Other key activities for the night include: Four-time SA Cup winner Smoken Up will be making a guest appearance and lead out the Cup field; Free Kids rides; Live band Frenzy are ready to play the night away and the Atlantic Street Jazz Band will also welcome patrons; and Fashions on the Field. Sky Racing will also host a live trackside broadcast throughout the evening to be hosted by Gareth Hall. HRSA Media

Former handy pacer Renaissance Man has been sent to Western Australia for the beginning of the harness racing breeding season. A dual Group One winner, Renaissance Man had his career limited to just 48 starts for trainer Andy Gath due to injury. That didn’t stop the son of Art Major capturing the New South Wales Sires’ Stake Final and the South Australia Derby. Renaissance Man was also successful in the Group Two Globe Derby Birthday Cup. In total, the stallion won 18 races, with 12 placings and a bankroll of $297,904 also to his credit. On the breeding side, Renaissance Man’s father needs no introduction as the sire of progeny with earnings close to $100million throughout Australasia. Renaissance Man’s dam My Ami Lee boasts the perfect record of six winners from six starters, with three passing $100,000 in stakes, including Group One winners Louvre and Miss Hazel. Regular driver Kate Gath stated Renaissance Man is “the fastest horse I have ever driven, combining exhilarating speed with the temperament of an angel”. The eight-year-old will stand at Mike Hackett’s Global Breeding Farms in Mundijong at an introductory fee of $1500 or $1000 two mares or more. PAUL COURTS

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