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The fairytale has continued for Swedish young gun harness racing driver Kima Frenning with a significant milestone. Frenning, 27, who has rapidly etched a name for herself in the sport in Australia, posted her 100th winner for the season with a pillar-to-post win at Kilmore late last week. "I was asked early on if I'd set any goals for 2018-19, and I did say of course I had and it was to get a century," she said laughing. "It was just an unrealistic statement at the time because I never thought I'd actually get there. "I will be honest and say I knew I was getting close awhile back. It's exciting, but I'm very lucky to be given good horses to drive. Without the support of the trainers who keep putting me on, I wouldn't be where I am today." Frenning had no cause for concern in reaching the magical 100 as former Kiwi gelding Raptors Flight (Bettors Delight-Circus Flyer (Falcon Seelster) was effortless in recording his second win for the David Aiken stable since crossing the Tasman Sea. The pacer zipped to the front and after getting an easy time early had things under control from that point. He got into third gear up the final stretch in 30.2 and 27.5. "He is so laid back. I had to get into him a bit, then he woke up," Frenning said. Kima hard at work in the feed shed The popular horsewoman so far hasn't had time to celebrate her remarkable achievement, with drives at most meetings. "We are pretty much at the races five nights a week. It's so busy, but I hope to squeeze in a little celebration soon," she said. And the victories have kept coming for Frenning since the milestone win - she was successful with the David Aiken-trained pair - Dynamic Bromac (Live Or Die-Diana Bromac (Holmes Hanover), at Bendigo on Friday night and then Big Jack Hammer (The Pres-Running Pinevale (Wesgate Victory) in the G3 Touch Merchant Trotters FFA at Melton the following night. She was again in the money yesterday at Cranbourne. This time for Dean Braun with bay filly Buzinga (Bettors Delight-Safedra (Mach Three), a promising type stepping out for the first time in Australia. Frenning has been a remarkable success story after deciding to take a break from studying law at home for some travel to get away from another cold winter. She arrived in Victoria nearly five years ago as a talented monte rider, where trotting harness horses compete under saddle with riders like jockeys. After landing a job in a top stable and igniting her harness racing career, Frenning was a sensation in the montes. "I always had a love for horses and my family back home all took riding lessons. My dad Goran is a hands-on person and thought riding was something we could all do as a family," Frenning explained. "So that meant my mum Hima and sister Sarah also had to join in," she said. "My parents aren't into it now, but they have been out to Australia to watch me at the races. Sarah is busy studying environmental science as well as being a vegan cook." Frenning said she tried to watch as many races as possible to keep improving herself. "I probably have a role model in Kerryn Manning, who is a wonderful reinswoman. She is also humble and so down-to-earth. "I will be happy if I can keep getting winners. I need to save up as I get home once a year and I'm hoping I can do this next Christmas." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When enthusiastic Cranbourne harness racing trainer Matthew Martin needs some expert advice, it's never far away. "I've got a nice network of family and friends to lean on when I need a bit of help or guidance regarding horses, so I'm very lucky," he said. And Martin, 32, was thrilled to see his one-and-only stable representative in Final Chapter (Art Major USA-Nyanjee (Classic Garry) get the money at Sunday's Mooroopna at Shepparton twilight meeting. "The race did look ideal for her and I thought if she could lead over the short trip, we'd be hard to beat," Martin said. "I've since read that a punter had $30,000 on at $1.65 - and I can guarantee that it wasn't anyone that I know!" he laughed. Driven perfectly by Kima Frenning (who also showed awesome touch with three winners for the Emma Stewart stable the previous night in Adelaide) Final Chapter was always going to be the one to beat. A first quarter of 29.9 was followed by a casual 33, then 29.1 and 27.9. "When Kima got that easy second quarter, I did think she had pinched the race," Martin said. Matt Martin and Kima Frenning are all smiles after the Shepparton win (Courtesy Shepparton HRC) Final Chapter, raced by Martin, his wife Kym, and successful gallops trainer Luke Oliver, had been placed at Melton, Warragul and Shepparton before her maiden victory. Martin, who's based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre, said he learnt a lot as a teenager when working horses with his father Alan. "I realise now that probably I should have listened a bit more, because if I can't get one to pace properly or it needs sorting out, I send it straight up to dad at Marong," he said. "But the other trainers based at the centre are awesome too - if it wasn't for them I would have been in the deep end and struggling along. I've definitely learnt so much and we all help each other out." But Martin also has some impressive cross-code expertise he can call on - in the form of Black Caviar trainer, Peter Moody. "I got to know Peter through my horse farrier business and, even though he was doing gallopers, I did pick up a lot about training and conditioning horses in general," Martin said. "Peter's ethic was to work them hard with lots of swimming, and his horses would go to the races so fit first-up, and that's rubbed off onto me, which I've tried to replicate." Martin said the Cranbourne centre was a "fantastic venue", boasting A1 facilities. "We have the use of a racetrack, 1200m jog track and a 600m heavy track and all of those are prepared daily. There's also a swimming pool, eight horse walking machine and a treadmill - we are spoilt rotten that's for sure," he said. Martin completed a four-year farrier apprenticeship in 2008 and has since built up a big clientele, including three days a week at Caulfield racecourse and the other two at the Romsey stables of Luke Oliver. His work days start when the alarm clock goes off between 4 and 4.30am and in a juggling act, he then gets back to Cranbourne in the early afternoon to train his pacer Final Chapter. "I recently decided to retire Mulgrave, a horse I got out of the claimers which actually gave me my first winner - Kima also drove him, but he was struggling towards the end," Martin said. "I've trained two others which didn't make it. So, all in all, I've only ever had just the four horses. I've held a trainer's licence for four years and now have six wins from probably not many more than 50 starters. "But it's an enjoyable sport and my only other hobby is supporting the mighty Collingwood AFL team." And it's not hard to miss the Martin stable--a race sulky in the Pies black and white colors, drivers colors likewise, while Matthew and Kym's two-year-old son George has his own set, which he wears with pride at the meetings.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

TWO of the “queens” of Aussie harness teamed to win South Australia’s richest race at Globe Derby last night (Saturday). Emma Stewart booked Swedish young gun Kima Frenning for exciting colt Pandering and they raced away to win the inaugural $100,000 Group 1 “The Allwood” final by 12.5m from Andy Gath’s Night Spirit. Female drivers snared the trifecta with NSW youngster Ashley Hart aboard Night Spirit and local Lisa Ryan aboard third-placed Ammicchi. __________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN claimer With Gusto has a special place in Chris Alford’s heart. Last year he gave Alford his 400th win of the that season and last Friday night he provided the champion driver’s 300th win of this season – still with almost three months of the season remaining. It moved Alford to tweet after the race: “Got to love ‘with gusto’ (sic) can find a milestone race to win, last season win 400 this season win 300, #gogussy.” Alford recently turned 51 and is driving better than ever. He sits poised on 99 career Group 1 wins. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter McLovin is issuing the challenge to Tornado Valley for the crown as stable star in Andy and Kate Gath’s barn. While Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley is out spelling, McLovin has been building quite the CV. The six-year-old’s 12 starts since joining the Gaths’ stable have returned seven wins, two seconds and two thirds. And his latest win, in last Friday night’s Bendigo Trotters’ Cup, was the best of his career. McLovin chased hard early from a 20m backmark, did all the work outside the and plunge runner Cruisin Around and powered away to win as he liked in a track record 2min0.3sec mile rate for the long 2650m trip. We’ve really liked him since he got here. He’s got lots of speed for a trotter, but he really showed some toughness winning that way (at Bendigo),” driver Kate Gath said. The Gaths toyed with a Rowe Cup raid earlier this year, but the way McLovin is racing, he looks ideal to accompany Tornado Valley to the Dominion Trot and/or Auckland Inter Dominion later this year. In other stable news, the Gaths exciting three-year-old trotter Majestuoso snared his biggest win in the Group 3 Holmfield at Melton last night. The son of Majestic Son broke after the start and lost about 20m, then circled the field sit parked and rundown the leader, Georgias Pride, to win by 1.6m in a 1min59.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The big question is whether heavily-backed favourite All The Muscles was going to beat him when he switched back to the sprint late to challenge, but went into a gallop. Majestuoso struggled for manners at two and won just two of his nine runs, but has returned better and more reliable with six wins from seven runs this season so far. __________________________________________________________________________________ IT hasn’t taken long for former Kiwi driver Trent Lethaby to make an impact in Queensland. Lethaby, who had stints with Brent Mangos and Jay Abernathy, is now with one of Australia’s top trainers Grant Dixon in Queensland. And, at just his sixth drive for the new boss, he led throughout to win by a whisker aboard Rocknroll Emma at Albion Park last night (Saturday). “It’s bloody great here. I’ve been here four weeks or so, but I’m loving it,” Lethaby said. __________________________________________________________________________________ COLT Thirty One remains Queensland’s best pacer and a serious player for the upcoming Winter Carnival. As good as recent Kiwi import Northview Hustler has been winning all his three Queensland runs, Colt Thirty One has a bigger score on the board … at least for now. Grant Dixon’s four-year-old reminded everyone how good he was with a powerhouse and very quick free-for-all win at Albion Park last night (Saturday). He settled near last over the 1660m from a back row draw, but sustained a long three-wide run around the field without cover to win running away by 3.8m. And the mile rate was a blistering 1min52.9sec. Whether he can beat the interstate raiders in upcoming Group 1 races like the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake remains to be seen, but Colt Thirty One certainly has the sheer speed to be very dangerous with the right run. __________________________________________________________________________________ RENOWNED giant-killer Loorrim Creek barnstormed his way to another upset win in the free-for-all at Menangle last night (Saturday). The race was expected to see emerging star Ignatius return to winning form, but instead Loorrim Creek roared home to snatch a neck win over the much-improved Franco Totem with Ignatius a tiring third. Admittedly Ignatius was first-up from a freshen-up and did all the work outside leader, Letspendanitetogetha, in a solid 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2300m. Ignatius now heads to the semi-finals of the NSW Breeders Challenge on June 22 before the final eight days later and a possible Queensland winter campaign. On the same card, Victorian trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan snared the Group 3 Go Girlfriend final with their improving mare Rocknroll Pearl, who led throughout to win easily in a slick 1min52.8sec mile. And former Kiwi pacer Cullenburn made it four wins (and a second) from his five Aussie runs for Craig Cross when he paced a slick 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2300m. __________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Aussie harness racing’s great “non-winners” is a new horse since a stable switch. As great a trainer as Gary Hall Sr is, Luis Alberto was an exasperating pacer in his care and continually found ways to go close but very rarely winning. Luis Alberto moved to the care of Debbie Lewis, wife of champion driver Chris, and has roared through the grades to win a free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was his eighth win in just 16 starts for Lewis. Luis Alberto’s latest win was a big upset as a $61 outsider against the likes of King Of Swing (sixth), My Hard Copy (fourth), Whoideawasthis (fifth) and Vultan Tin (11th) in a slick 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1730m. The win came just 30 minutes after Debbie and Chris Lewis combined to win the feature race of the night, the 4&5YO Westbred Mares’ final (2130m) with exciting Advance Attack mare The War Nurse. In other highlights of the night, Gary Hall Sr’s emerging star Ideal Liner won easily again, making it seven victories from just 10 starts. And Justin Prentice’s emerging three-year-old Know When To Run won as he liked in a good field with Gary Hall Jr aboard. __________________________________________________________________________________ BUZZ juvenile Mirragon suffered a surprise defeat when second to Youaremy Sunshine in the Youthful Stakes (1730m) at Melton last night. Touted as being the equal of any juvenile seen so far this season, Mirragon had a lovely trip and always looked the winner, but was beaten on his merits by Damian Burns’ Hurrikane Kingcole colt in a slugging finish. They paced a sizzling 1min53.8sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

Harness racing hobby trainer Wayne Anderson admits he couldn't hide his excitement when he watched his horse win the feature event at Cobram's annual Pink Day for Breast Cancer on Sunday. "It was my biggest win in nearly 40 years in the sport - gee it was a huge thrill and I know I was cheering at the top of my voice all the way down the straight," he said. Four-year-old bay gelding My Magic Merlin (Mach Three-Making Magic (Fake Left) showed great tenacity to take out the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace at bolter's odds of 20/1. "We haven't had him all that long, but he's shown he can do it tough," Anderson, who is based at Barnawartha, a small town in north-east Victoria, said. "Over the years we've had some nice horses that could work the clock down, but his trackwork leading up to Cobram was unbelieveable. "There were a few sheep grazing close to our track one day and he just got all cranky and nearly bolted. But he felt so good! "I spoke with (driver) Kima Frenning before the race and we decided our best chance was to make it into a staying race." And the bold plan paid dividends as My Magic Merlin was able to outstay Vena May (Lisa Miles) who was sent out a hot $1.20 favorite. Vena May took control from early leader Sheer Modern (Bec Bartley) and rolled along at a reasonable clip. Frenning speared through from the back row to be one-out and two-back, but soon pulled out confidently and moved to outside the leader. The top two raced head-and-head over the final stages with My Magic Merlin getting in front 50 metres from the wire to land a huge upset. Race Replay COBRAM Sunday Race 6 Frenning said she loved getting the win for the passionate harness racing family. "The whole Anderson family was very excited - they love their horses and that's what it's all about," she said. "I'd watched a few of the horse's race videos and Wayne was correct because the horse was more tough than speedy. "The win was a bonus because I was just so glad to be part of the special day." Cobram has certainly been a happy hunting ground for the 27-year-old former Monte rider, who originally came to Australia on a three-month backpacking holiday to get away from another cold Swedish winter. Kima Frenning                                   --Cobram HRC photo The popular horsewoman has won the past two previous Cobram Cups with Im The Boss and Buster Brady. "Yes, I do seem to have much success at the track, but I enjoy it, and the people are just great," Frenning said. My Magic Merlin was purchased by the Anderson clan about three months ago from the strong Grant Dixon stable, at Mount Tamborine, in the Hinterland overlooking the famous Gold Coast in Queensland. Dam of the pacer, Making Magic, was a consistent racemare with 15 wins and 22 placings for over $130,000 when prepared by Dixon's father Bill, during the 2008-11 seasons. Macheasy, a full brother to My Magic Merlin, is a C9 class gelding with 14 wins and 19 placings for $75,000, trained by Grant. Anderson said he believed a change in feed and a different workload had helped My Magic Merlin to hit top form. "If he can keep on improving, I might just see a dream come true and aim at a Melton race in Melbourne," he said. "That would be special, and even better if our son Chris could drive him."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The winners will be many at Cobram this Sunday when the spoils of the fundraising day will benefit a great cause but also reward those putting on the show. Cobram Harness Racing Club's annual Pink Day, which raises money for and awareness of the McGrath Foundation, will have plenty of prizes to help race goers, the charity minded and participants to get into the Pink Day spirit. This year’s major fundraiser is once again a raffle, with tickets sold to win the major prize of a $3000 travel toucher thanks to Flightcentre Marketplace Shepparton as well as luggage valued at $1000. Minor prizes of $1000, $500 and $100 Visa Gift Cards will also be drawn. There will be a lucky entry draw with all on-course patrons having the chance to win a Gold Coast accommodation package valued at $1600 donated by Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, as well as $200 holiday package vouchers. Trainers will have plenty of reasons to nominate their horses for the meeting with six trainers in each race being drawn throughout the day to take home products thanks to Carbine Chemicals and Hygain, as well as a lucky trainers draw for the chance to win a set of Hyland Colours. The feature race on the card is the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace. The $10,000 C1 class event will see horses randomly allocated to the following drivers: Ellen Bartley, Rebecca Bartley, Juanita Breen, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett, Donna Castles, Laura Crossland, Kima Frenning, Lisa Miles, Ellen Tormey, Abbey Turnbull and Tania Ward. All trainers with a starter in this race will receive a Carbine Chemicals product and a Hygain-Mitavite showbag, with the winning trainer also taking home a new set of hopples donated by Trot Pace, as well as further prizes for the runners up.   Last year’s fundraising efforts raised more than $27,000 for the McGrath Foundation, which assists in placing breast care nurses in country areas, with organisers hoping to raise a similar amount for the charity once again. Raffle tickets can be purchased from any of the female drivers competing in the race or by contacting the club on 0409 401 189. Nominations for the race day close at noon tomorrow. For race day details click here.   Trots Media

Connections of Buster Brady are hoping the horse has done enough this season to take home the Trots Country Cups Championship. The Kima Frenning-trained six-year-old had the harness racing world in awe with a fighting victory in Sunday's The Weekly Advertiser Horsham Pacing Cup (2700m) and a decision has been made to bypass the last two features on the series calendar. Buster Brady's win at the weekend has given him a huge break at the top of the championship leaderboard, but the move to skip the Mildura and Warragul cups leaves the door slightly ajar for Perspective to steal the spoils. Tim O'Brien's pacer is nine points behind Buster Brady in the standings and would need to win both cups to secure the $25,000 bonus for connections. Buster Brady's owner Luke Stokie said his horse had been nominated for the Preux Chevalier Free For All at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night and, if he starts in that race, it will be his last before a spell. "Initially we thought about going to Mildura, but we just thought it was maybe just asking a little bit too much of him given how good of a job he has done," Stokie, who shares ownership with his two brothers, said. "If he runs (on Saturday) that will probably be his last race for the season. We will probably give him three or four weeks off." Stokie is happy to tip his cap to Perspective if that horse can steal the Trots Country Cups Championship right at the death. "If Perspective can go out and do that, good on him because it would be an unbelievable effort," the 36-year-old said. "He's been running in these races throughout the whole season as well and he's acquitted himself really, really well." Stokie was full of praise for Frenning, who was given the opportunity to begin her training career with the former New Zealander. He said it was a matter of luck that Frenning landed such a good horse to be the first to race under her name. "She didn't have her trainer's licence at the time when we had Sapphire Swayze, which I claimed and was pretty much Kima's horse in the (David Aiken) stable. She looked after him and all that sort of stuff," Stokie said. "We paid $12,000 for him and I think he won three races and got claimed back for $17,000. "And then I said to her 'I'll find you another horse, but you've just got to get your trainer's licence'. "I was in the middle of purchasing a horse, the deal fell through and Buster Brady came up. "It was just pretty much the fact that the next horse I bought was going to be for her to train." Since then, it's been a dream run for the Swedish horsewoman, who has trained and driven the son of Real Desire to seven wins, including the Geelong, Cobram, Echuca, Maryborough and Horsham cups. Buster Brady's record now stands at 15 wins from 50 career starts with more than $320,000 in earnings.   Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

Not a day goes by when rising harness racing star Kima Frenning doesn’t stop and reflect on the fortunes life has dealt her over the past four years. The 27-year-old Swedish Monte rider, of Middle Eastern heritage, had planned on a three-month backpacking holiday in Australia to avoid winter at home. But she landed a job in a top stable and is carving out a successful career as a driver and now trainer. “I have been so lucky – but it’s all thanks to a big circle of supporters who have put their faith in me. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Frenning said. “Early in my career I copped a three-week suspension for a really bad drive and I retired there and then. Fortunately, some friends changed my mind for me and I came out of retirement again! “The Aiken team, Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart, Lance Justice, and owners Luke Stokie, Domenic Martello and others have been a massive support. “I’m still learning, but the best thing for me is I’m driving good horses and if I stuff up, often they can still get the job done.” Frenning is perhaps being a bit tough on herself, as a check on the 2018-19 season premiership tables will show.  She is currently fifth on the State Driver’s Premiership, behind the likes of Chris Alford, Greg Sugars, Kate Gath and Gavin Lang.  She is second on the Metropolitan Driver’s Premiership, only seven wins behind Alford.  And needless to say, she holds a handy lead in the State Concession Driver’s Premiership. David Aiken and Kima Frenning Frenning, who is based at David Aiken’s Avenel stable, claimed the 2019 $60,000 Horsham Pacing Cup (Group Two) on Sunday with Buster Brady (Real Desire USA - Kacie Marie NZ (Clever Innocence USA). And next week she will be in Mildura for the rich three-night carnival, chasing the prestigious Pacing Cup with Wrappers Delight (Bettors Delight USA - Charlotte Church NZ (Christian Cullen NZ). “I won the Mildura Cup last year with Im The Boss for the Stokie Racing Group, which is trained by David (Aiken), so it would be awesome to think I could make it back-to-back victories,” Frenning said. “I absolutely love driving on the (805-metre) Mildura track.  It is one of my favorites, along with Gloucester Park in Perth. The fans are up close on the fence, there’s competitive racing and the atmosphere is unreal.” Im The Boss won’t be making the trip to Sunraysia for the Pacing Cup, as he is little behind in his preparation after a strenuous Interdominion series. Frenning said she had also considered at one stage to take Buster Brady, the only horse she has of her own, to Mildura, but was worried about getting around the bends. “He wobbles a bit at times, but as soon as he’s balanced, he’s up and going,” she said. “I had to check him twice at Horsham and I really thought I’d blown my chance. But he has a strong will to win and he took off after I balanced him.” Buster Brady has been a revelation, being bought from New Zealand winless in his past 17 starts, and now having the title of country cups king of Victoria. He has won the Shepparton, Geelong, Cobram, Echuca and Horsham cups in the past four months. Frenning said it was an “unreal feeling” when Buster Brady won at Cranbourne last November to be her first winner as a trainer. “I’ve always had a passion to be a trainer. It actually interested me more than the driving. And I’m in the right place to learn because David is an amazing mentor,” she said. “When I was growing up I just loved horses. I did the pony trots with my sister Sara and that was quite exciting. “At school I studied law and economics. I also worked part-time in sales but didn’t like it much.” Frenning later took to Monte riding, where trotting harness horses compete under saddle, with riders like jockeys. It is particularly popular in France and Scandinavia. Kima Frenning riding in a Monte race at Kilmore She was based in southern Sweden at Jagersro, an A class track in Malmo and recorded two wins from about a dozen rides. Soon after joining Team Aiken, with the aim of furthering her experience with horses, fortuitously, monte racing was gaining momentum in Victoria. “I was lucky to win a few premierships. I was helped by a few trainers like the Aikens, Chris and Alison Alford, and others, who put me on their good horses,” Frenning said. But despite this success, the Swede wanted to drive and not just ride the standardbreds. And on her own admissions, she improved out of sight after a very slow start. “I’ll admit that sometimes I haven’t given Buster Brady the best drive, but we are learning. David helps me understand what I have to do,” she said. Frenning said she goes back to Sweden once a year to see family and friends. “But Australia is home at the moment. I’m loving what I’m doing now and don’t want to leave.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

FORMER Kiwi Buster Brady confirmed his tag as Victoria’s Country Cups “King” with a spellbinding win in the $60,000 Group 2 Horsham Cup. The gelding is known for switching off at times in his races, but also for his staggering will to win. He showed plenty of both, but rallied courageously when it mattered to snatch a 1.5m win over talented pair Jilliby Chevy and Cant Refuse. Both had easier runs than him. Today’s Horsham Cup win followed other country cup wins at Maryborough, Echuca, Cobram and Geelong. The gelding has been a revelation for owners the Stokie Group and Kima Frenning, who is trying her hand for the first time as a trainer with Buster Brady. It was a stirring contest today, especially when Cant Refuse’s trainer-driver Matty Craven showed aggression in the middle stages, posted Buster Brady three-wide then eventually worked to the front and Buster Brady outside him. Cant Refuse pinched a break coming to the home turn and Buster Brady looked spent, while Jilliby Chevy surged through along the sprint lane. Just when it seemed Jilliby Chevy had Cant Refuse beaten and was home, Buster Brady lifted remarkably, surged and snatched the an epic win in a 1min58.7sec mile rate for the long 2700m trip. Another former Kiwi, Monty Python, made light of a 10m handicap courtesy of a superb Chris Alford drive to win the $25,000 Group 3 Horsham Trotters’ Cup. Andy Gath’s latest Kiwi import, Il Pirata, was the heavily backed favourite, but did some midrace work, trotted roughly and hung in the last 300m and was just fair in third spot. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is a real sense of timing about Major Trojan’s WA Derby campaign. In fact, barriers pending, Gary Hall Sr’s latest star has next Friday night’s Group 1 feature at his mercy. That became clear when, after three placings from his only three previous WA runs, Major Trojan finally draw well, led and thrashed his rivals in the Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was an armchair drive for Gary Hall Jr, who dictated through a dawdling 62sec middle half then zipped home in 56.2 and 27.3sec to win by 10.6m in a comfortable 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2130m. “All his runs have been fantastic and we knew he was building fitness. When he drew well this time, we knew he had the speed to use the draw and expected to him to win,” Hall Sr said. “Gaz said he did that easily and he’s right where we want him going into next week.” The main rival looks to be Kyle Harper’s exciting Franco Edward, who actually beat home Major Trojan (third) when second to Eloquent Mach at Gloucester Park two week’s back. Franco Edward stormed home from last and also looks to be building nicely. His owner Rob Watson shocked many recently when he said Franco Edward was potentially the best horse he’d had, remembering Watson also bred and races the outstanding Soho Tribeca. __________________________________________________________________________________________ THIS is shaping as one heck of a juvenile crop in Australia. Jilliby Nitro grab top seeding with his mesmerizing Gold Crown win at Bathurst last Friday. But we’ve been hearing for weeks now Be Happy Mach is the next young star out of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s barn. Be Happy Mach made the most of a lovely run to win his second race from as many starts and beat some exciting youngsters in the process in last night’s $24,000 Shakamaker Classic (1720m) at Melton. After trailing the leader and using the sprint lane, Chris Alford nursed him to a 2.9m win over the eye-catching Sanday for Andy and Kate Gath charging home for second and Kiwi-bred Hes Goneski tiring after leading for third. The only buzz youngster in the race, Soho Hamilton, was far from disgraced in fourth spot after drawing wide, being three and four wide early then doing the work outside the leader. Be Happy Mach and Jilliby Nitro are headed towards an Australian Gold showdown. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LOVEABLE young mare Miss Sangrial gave Team Brennan and stable driver Michael Grantham not only one of their biggest, but most rewarding wins at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Blowing punters away as a $51 shot, Miss Sangrial snatched a half-head win over classy former Kiwi mare Our Alfie Romeo with Lady De La Renta third and hot favourite Eden Franco fourth in the $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m). “This is as good as it gets,” trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan said. “We’ve always had a good opinion of this mare, she’s a stable favourite, and to share the big win with Mickey (Grantham) is fantastic.” Another popular win on the came from Vultan Tin, who returned to form in the free-for-all for trainer Phil Costello and driver Chris Voak. The seven-year-old snatched a half-head win over Brennan’s evergreen The Bucket List with favourite Handsnwheels third in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2536m. __________________________________________________________________________________________ LAST season’s star three-year-old trotter Stress Factor will need to lift to snare a Harness Jewels invite. The Trotters’ Derby and Breeders Crown winner was moderate at best when fifth to Claudys Prince at Maryborough last Friday. He’s yet to show anything like his best form this term, casting in serious doubt a planned Kiwi raid by trainer Brent Lilley. __________________________________________________________________________________________ AS well as a Melton treble, top trainer Emma Stewart also won the feature race at Globe Derby last night. Stewart’s filly Celebrity Chef did the work outside the leader and dug deep to win the $15,000 Botra Fillies’ Classic with Jaimie-Lee King aboard for her first race start.   Adam Hamilton

Two of the season’s greater trots tales added further chapters to their unlikely stories with feature victories at Echuca on Friday night. Gavin Lang’s average pacer turned top-line trotter Pantzup continues to take everything in her path, with the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket a seventh straight and ninth career victory after the mare showed her might against open class types. And Kima Frenning’s rapid rise in Victoria’s ranks continued unabated with her debut training project, Buster Brady, launched to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship with victory in the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. “It’s crazy,” Frenning said post-race after her former Kiwi produced a fifth win and third country cup in his ninth Australian start. “To train a horse like him, to come here and win a race like this, it’s very exciting and I can’t thank everyone around me enough. “He was really good tonight. He’s a really nice horse and he does it pretty easy when he wants too.” Off the second row Frenning advanced three-wide for much of the first lap before taking the front, from where Buster Brady was too strong in the straight, saluting by seven metres from Shadow Reign and Gottashopearly. The victory would have brought more delight for Luke Stokie and his fellow owners, with Buster Brady now a point clear of San Carlo in the Trots Country Cups Championship, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. Only an hour earlier Pantzup entered the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship race when he scooped up the Crystal Bucket, a winning streak that has surprised even the most experienced and successful of trainer-drivers. “She’s amazing really,” Lang said “It’s well documented that we bought her cheaply as a pacer to win a couple of races and then probably flick her on, but she showed she had a propensity to trot from day one that she entered the stable. “I’d like to be able to say I did this and did that, but I haven’t done nothing – I’ve just trained her and fed her and she’s done the rest. “I’ve been in the game for a long long time, my Dad’s had plenty of trotters, I’ve had a couple of nice ones in the past, but every time I drive home from the races with this one I just shake my head because I can’t believe what she does. It’s a great story.” Drawn off 10m in the standing start, Pantzup advanced to the breeze with a lap and a half to go and found the front when leader Als Law dropped out about 500m from home. A 29-second final quarter was enough to keep all challengers at bay and salute by 5.4 from Fratellino, who picked up valuable points to leapfrog King Denny and take the lead in the $10,000 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

TIGER Tara’s stunning Hunter Cup win wasn’t Kevin Pizzuto’s only major win last night, Pizzuto’s four-year-old Picard made it two wins from as many starts this campaign and booked a spot in the Chariots Of Fire. Picard blasted to the front from gate nine, steadied through a 29sec second quarter then rocketed home in 53.3 (26.4 an d 26.9) to win the Group Hondo Grattan. “I told you he’s good,” Pizzuto said. “He’s the reason I missed races like Perth and the Ballarat Cup with Tiger … to get this guy ready for the Chariots.” The All Stars’ Ashley Locaz was the hardluck story, emerging too late from a three pegs pocket and storming home to run second, just 1.2m from the winner. The first four home qualified for the Chariots Of Fire, including Hail Christian (third) and The Black Prince (fourth). Poster Boy qualified through the 4YO Bonanza win at Melton last week, so five spots remain going into next Saturday’s Paleface Adios. That field include the likes of Spankem, Chase Auckland, Ignatius, Maraetai, Rackemup Tigerpie, All You Need Is Faith and Colt Thirty One. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is just no stopping Kima Frenning. The former Swede added to her golden past 12 months with another Group 1 win aboard emerging trotter Big Jack Hammer at Melton last night. Frenning used gate one to sit behind the leader and favourite Save Our Pennys and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win the $50,000 Group 1 Dullard Cup. It was her second Group 1 win, the other coming aboard Wrappers Delight in last season’s Vicbred 4YO final. “I’m lost for words. He’s such a lovely trotter, so fast and off a run like that I knew he’d be hard to beat,” Frenning said. “Aik (trainer David Aiken) has really liked this horse since came to the stable and that’s why we had a go at the Inter Dominion.” Big Jack Hammer posted a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2240m. “To win this for Aik is great, but also for Dom (Martello, owner), who has been such a big supporter of mine,” Frenning said. Martello also owns Wrappers Delight. Save Our Pennys had its chance after leading, while Kiwi raider Temporale ran yet another minor placing (third) in Australia. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ A TOUGH Inter Dominion campaign certainly hasn’t jaded veteran Maximan. The 10-year-old has returned to Menangle in great style and ran down star speedster Majordan to win in a 1min50.4sec mile last night. Admittedly Majordan did have to burn a 25.9sec opening quarter to lead from the outside, but he still ran home in 26.4sec and was unable to hold-off Maximan. Maximan and Majordan are now expected to clash again in Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto said Majordan’s stablemate, Tiger Tara, also remains a chance of backing-up at Newcastle. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ CHASE Auckland did what was needed at Menangle last night. After missing a place when first-up from his long spell last week, Chase Auckland enjoyed the stretch from a mile to 2300m and finding the lead last night. Driver Luke McCarthy nursed him to the line to beat a gallant Franco Landry, who chased hard, by 2.7m in a 1min54.9sec mile. They ran home in 54.3 and 27.1sec. Chase Auckland get his one chance to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire, a race he was a long-time favourite for, in star-studded Paleface Adios at Menangle next Saturday night. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ NEXT stop Sydney for classy Kiwi mare Utmost Delight. The five-year-old gave Steven Reid his second win of the Summer of Glory when she lifted after looking beaten to win the Group 3 Pure Steel against the boys at Melton last night. And she’s into $5 for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle. Utmost Delight settled midfield before stand-in driver Greg Sugars made the move to sit parked when leader Shadow Reign slowed the tempo. Utmost Delight looked beaten on the home bend, but just kept lifting and snatched victory by a whisker on the line in a slick 1min54.4sec mile rate for 2240m. “Greg Sugars gave her a good wrap and said he thought she was always going to win it,” Reid said. “I just want to get to Sydney on the big track and where they go hard in the races.” Reid said he would decide during the week who drives Utmost Delight in Sydney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ SIDELINED superstar Chicago Bull got the all clear to resume training this week. The six-year-old has been sadly missed in the big league since a freakish stable mishap sidelined him during his time in Auckland back in October. One horse enjoying Chicago Bull’s absence has been popular WA pacer Vultan Tin, who made it back-to-back Gloucester Park wins last Friday night. The WA-bred gelding made the most of gate two to lead throughout and score easily over Team Bond’s El Jacko in a 1min57.7sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip in the $50,000 Group 2 City Of Perth Cup. Another winner of note at the Gloucester Park meeting was WA Derby hopeful Shockwave. Trained by Ryan Bell and driven by Gary Hall Jr, the son of Mach Three made it four wins from seven starts this season and seven from 17 lifetime.   Adam Hamilton

A perfectly timed swoop delivered Team Teal its first Victorian Group 1 when Kima Frenning guided Big Jack Hammer to the Hygain V L Dullard Cup. A plan paid off perfectly for trainer David Aiken, Frenning and owner Domenic Martello with the popular victory reward for an outstanding campaign by the six-year-old gelding.  “It’s crazy,” Frenning said. “He’s been racing so well during the Inter Dominion campaign, I think his best runs have definitely been off the speed and he proved that tonight. He’s a super quick horse and really consistent.” Frenning was able to implement plan A, ceding the lead to Gavin Lang and Save Our Pennys and then biding her time while others boxed on. Outside the leader Temporale and then Red Hot Tooth punched the breeze, but come the final straight none could muster the speed of Big Jack Hammer, who emerged down the sprint lane to score by 1.8m. “Now that he’s up in class a bit he’s probably best driven off the speed,” Frenning said. “He’s a super consistent horse, Aiks has done a really good job with him, Domenic’s given me so many opportunities. This is crazy.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Written off and forgotten, will tonight’s greatest race on the Victorian calendar be the night the local resistance returns? The Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup has long been Victoria’s most coveted trophy but the local hopes have been cast into the background behind a marauding Tiger and New Zealand’s brilliant pacers. It’s an all-too familiar tale, with Kerryn Manning and Arden Rooney’s win in 2015 the only Victorian triumph in the past 11 stagings of the $500,000 long distance classic. Five Victorian-trained contestants will step out tonight, of which only Flaming Flutter has won an open-age Group 1, that being the SA Cup back in January 2016. The trainer perhaps most likely to break that sequence is Swedish born Kima Frenning, the reinswoman whose first training experience with Buster Brady has secured country cups and a Hunter Cup start from gate four. “It’s ridiculous,” Frenning said of their rapid rise. “He’s been really, really good. He’s just such a cool horse to be around and I’m really appreciative to have him as my first horse. “I think he’s right up to this task here. It’s just going to depend on how this race is run.” Frenning said the winner of four of his seven Victorian starts was “super quick” and would likely roll forward from the draw, “find a spot and then see what happens from there”. It may well be a similar game plan for San Carlo and, like Frenning, Shepparton trainer Stephen O’Donoghue was optimistic about how his contender was situated for tonight’s pacing grand final. “He’s better than what he was this time last year, there’s no doubt about that,” O’Donoghue said. “He’s a bigger horse, a more mature horse, this is the race I probably set him for. All the way through, this is the one. It means so much to me. The longer distance, he’s a stayer, that’s not going to worry him.” Gate six certainly “makes it a little bit harder” but “you never know, whether we go forward, whether we go back, it’s hard to gauge”. The scenario will likely be simpler for fellow Victorian Wrappers Delight, who’s normally in Frenning’s hands but tonight will be driven by Gavin Lang for trainer David Aiken. Drawn gate eight, Wrappers Delight looks set for a soft pegs run behind Our Uncle Sam and likely leader Tiger Tara and then it’s a matter of taking your opportunities when they present. Similarly, long shot Victorians Flaming Flutter and Cant Refuse, the last of the locals, will likely look for every short cut before attempting to launch for the money late in the race. Michael Howard For Trots Media

THE rise and rise of Buster Brady will be tested in Saturday night’s PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup as Kima Frenning’s debutant training experience dips its toe into the top tier of Australasian pacing. Plucked from New Zealand by new owners Stokie Racing Group after a career on the edge of the Kiwi’s elite, including a fifth in the 2017 New Zealand Trotting Cup, Buster Brady burst on to Australia’s scene with Geelong and Cobram cup victories. The only horse in Frenning’s care, the six-year-old was held back from the TAB Inter Dominion despite a late rankings rise that earned qualification, making Saturday night’s Group 1 his Australian debut against the big boys. “It’s definitely going to be a test for him to go out in the Ballarat Cup against a couple of the best ones and just see where we’ve got him,” Frenning told RSN 927’s Gait Speed. She will steer Buster Brady from gate five, outside race favourite Thefixer and directly inside TAB Inter Dominion placegetter Cruz Bromac, with the All Stars pair dominant in the market. At $4.40 with tab.com.au fixed odds, Buster Brady is the shortest priced challenger in a field of Victorians eager to put their case as the next big thing and boost their chances of getting a start in the February 2 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. “He’s pulled up really well from Cobram and seems really good,” Frenning said. “The draw looks a little bit tricky, but this probably gives us an opportunity to see if we can drive him with cover, just drive him for his speed and see how we go from there. He is very quick.” Frenning will also steer David Aiken-trainer pair Big Jack Hammer in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup and Malcolms Rhythm in the first Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby heat, the latter unbeaten in six starts since breaking his maiden status. “He’s just come through his races really, really well and keeps improving every single run,” Frenning said. “He’s still learning about racing, which is pretty scary. I would love to see when he actually switches on and starts to race. He’s just going really, really good and I’m super excited to go into the Derby heats with him.”   Trots Media

The morning after three of his horses secured berths in TAB Inter Dominion grand finals, passionate trots owner Dom Martello is both dreaming of an ID18 trophy and studying pedigrees for future sales. “I bought all these horses as yearlings,” he says proudly, pointing at the fact that last night and this morning he’s been delving into the breeding and studying the type of horses like Spankem as he plans for future members of his equine Hammer team. Martello will attend tomorrow morning’s TAB ID18 barrier draws at Zinc, Federation Square, where he’ll be hoping to draw successful gates for his two pacers, Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro, and his trotting star Big Jack Hammer for Saturday night’s grand finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Martello said Wrappers Delight had especially been taking him on the ride of his life in recent times, the David Aiken-trained pacer securing feature wins such as the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, the Hygain Breeders Crown Championship, TAB Smoken Up Sprint and Cogs Services 4YO & 5YO Championship. “Wrappers in particular has been going through the dream list and ticking them off one by one, but this race (the Inter Dominion) is different,” Martello said. “I feel like if you win a race like the Inter Dominion then you go down in history. This is one race that you actually dare to dream.” Martello reserved special praise for young driver Kima Frenning (pictured above with Wrappers Delight by Ashlea Brennan), who has piloted both Wrappers Delight and Big Jack Hammer throughout their ID18 heats and helped secure both grand final berths. “One thing I especially like about Kima Frenning is she doesn’t have an ego. She’s hard working, positive and has talent. People like that just need a chance,” he said. Mach Doro is trained by Craig Cross and driven by star Sydney based reinsman Luke McCarthy. Tomorrow’s barrier draw will be live on Sky Racing 1, RSN and Sky Sports Radio from 9am, hosted by Greg Hayes and Adam Hamilton. From 6am until 10am RSN will broadcast live from Federation Square for the ID18 event, with roving panels and guests, including a half-hour Super Panel from 9.30am of Michael Felgate, Dan Mielicki, Jason Bonnington, Andy Gath and Adam Hamilton deep-diving into the form for the deciders. Head to the banks of the Yarra near Zinc to check out the show live, which will also feature HRV HERO ambassadors.  Check out the final TAB ID18 Standings   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Buster Brady has announced himself as a contender in the Trots Country Cups Championship after an impressive win in the Flying Brick Cider Co. Geelong Pacing Cup. The six-year-old backed a convincing maiden Australian win at Cranbourne on November 17 with a hard-fought victory on Saturday night, when he punched the breeze for much of the 2570m race before running over the top of TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship entrant Cash N Flow (third) in the straight. It was Buster Brady’s first win of the championship after a disappointing first-up ninth in the St Arnaud cup earlier this month and the victory took driver Kima Frenning’s record to an impressive 21 wins from 73 starts this season and her second victory as trainer. Frenning said to take out a $50,000 cup for owners the Stokie Racing Group in just her third race as a trainer was “ridiculous”. “I’m still on cloud nine today,” she said. “I can’t believe it and I really, really want to thank Luke Stokie for giving me the opportunity but also David Aiken. I could not have done this without him. “He’s just been a great mentor and to be able to work alongside him for so long has just been amazing. He’s such a great trainer and I couldn’t have done any of this without him.” She said it hadn’t been the ideal run in the Geelong cup and had been concerned about Buster Brady being so open for much of the race, but he was proving to be a “tough” horse. “I was a bit worried throughout the run being without cover for that distance but you know he was just so strong the whole race and then, at the last turn, I was like, you know we might be able to finish this,” she said. Buster Brady finished just outside the ID18 rankings at 43 but Frenning said even if they had snuck through he’d already been scratched from the series. “He’s probably 12 months off that and there’s other races that we can target,” she said. “There’ll be a couple of country cups he’ll go in and I know there’s a free-for-all on Inter Dominion finals night that we’ll aim him for as well. There’s plenty of good races around for him.” In the Yabby Dam Racing McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup Endsin A Party held off a fast finishing Save Our Pennys for an impressive win for owner-trainer Brad Stevens. In Chris Svanosio's hands, Endsin A Party found the front from the standing start and held on to win by a head and gift Stevens his greatest stakes win. San Carlo and I’m the Boss (10 points each) continue to lead the 2018-19 Trots Country Cups Championship while King Denny (12 points) has pulled clear of the Maori's Idol Trotting Championship. The Trots Country Cups Championship reaches its 2018 conclusion with Sunday’s Barham Insurance Advisers Stawell Pacing Cup, which presents as a big day in Victoria’s west as the party continues after Saturday night’s first heats of the TAB Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships. A big day is planned, with more details here: http://www.trotscountry.com.au/meeting/stawell/   Mark Smith Trots Media

Having to choose between two live chances - and personal favourites - in a Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup is a nice problem to have, but it also brings a tinge of heartbreak. For rising star driver Kima Frenning, who less than four years ago relocated to Australia from Sweden as a monte rider, she never fathomed being in such a pleasant predicament. But this morning she made the call after seeking counsel from her team, siding with Wrappers Delight over Im The Boss for Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton and beyond. "It was a very, very hard decision but I'll be driving Wrappers," she said. "I talked with Aik (trainer David Aiken) and the owners of both horses, and that's the decision we've come up with. He's done so much for me that horse (Im The Boss), but you've got to pick one."  Five-year-old Wrappers Delight heads into the Victoria Cup having taken out last weekend’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, finishing ahead of three of his Vic Cup rivals on that occasion. He also won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and Hygain Breeders Crown finals last season. “He’s the up-and-comer,” she said. “I’d say there will be improvement (from last weekend). This will be his third run back and the way he raced through the Vicbreds he just kept improving. The earplugs never came off in the Smoken Up Sprint, so he should have a bit left.” Im The Boss has been a revelation since joining the Aiken stable after being claimed for $11,000. He’s since won the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup, Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and the Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. Both horses will target the TAB Inter Dominion, which kicks off in Victoria on December 1. WA star Chicago Bull is the hot favourite for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Frenning’s own rise in the sport in a short time has been nothing short of remarkable. She has transitioned from saddle to sulky with an ease that only comes from having an innate knowledge of standardbred horses. “It feels amazing. It’s just so special. I didn’t think I’d even be driving this much, let alone in the big races. I’ve got so many good people around me supporting me and I’m pinching myself,” she said. “It feels unreal. I’m loving it and just trying to take it all in.” Frenning hadn’t even heard of the Inter Dominion before moving Down Under, but now explains it to those back in Sweden as “the Australian version of the Elitlopp” “It’s clearly the biggest race here and to have four horses from the (Aiken) stable nominated, it’s crazy,” she said. Book your ID18 tickets today The confirmed starters for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup in alphabetical order are: AMERETTO CARLAS PIXEL CHICAGO BULL NZ FRANCO NELSON NZ GOTTA GO YA HU NZ IM THE BOSS MACH DORO MAJORDAN MY ALPHA ROCK NZ SHADOW SAX TIGER TARA NZ WRAPPERS DELIGHT THREE WAYS NZ (Em 1)   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

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