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TIGER Tara continues his NZ Cup build-up at Menangle on Saturday night. And, in exciting news for Addington officials, trainer Kevin Pizzuto confirmed his other open-class star, Majordan, would accompany Tiger Tara to Christchurch. “Majordan’s target will be the (NZ) free-for-all on the Friday,” Pizzuto said. Majordan will clash with Tiger Tara for the third consecutive week in Saturday night’s 2300m Kevin Newman Cup. Majordan led throughout to beat an eye-catching Tiger Tara (second) over a mile at Menangle two week’s ago. Tiger Tara then led throughout to brilliantly win last week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton with Majordan having little luck from a back row draw and finishing seventh. This time the 2300m distance suits Tiger Tara (gate 11), but Majordan’s blazing gate speed means he’s almost certain to find the lead despite gate 10. The early money has been for Tiger Tara ($2.80 into $2) on the Aussie TAB with Majordan out from $2.25 to $2.80. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ JUST over three years ago, Menin Gate looked the next big thing in harness racing. In 2015, the then Larry Eastman-trained star had finished a season with wins in the Victoria and Queensland Derbys, Vicbred final and Breeders Crown final. It’s been a rocky road since. Now, after 16 months away from the track, Menin Gate returns in Friday night’s Swan Hill Cup for new trainer-driver Michael Stanley. “He was found to have had a small fracture in his pelvis,” Stanley said. “So far so good on the comeback trail. He seems really sound and I’m happy with how he’s shaping to this point.” Menin Gate looked sharp winning a Maryborough trial by 20m in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for 2190m, sprinting home in 55.8 and 27.6sec. It’s a good test first-up at Swan Hill where last week’s Victoria Cup sixth placegetter Im The Boss is $2.20 favourite from gate nine. Menin Gate is $5 second elect from barrier three. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ JUST before Gary Hall Jr heads to NZ with Chicago Bull as caretaker trainer, he’s popped back home for Friday night’s Gloucester Park meeting. And he had a big decision to make with his drive in the feature race, the $50,000 Group 2 Mount Eden Sprint. Hall Jr had to choose between King Of Swing for his father, Gary Hall Sr, and the exciting Rocknroll Lincoln for trainer Justin Prentice. To the surprise of many, Hall Jr went with the barrier draw an opted for Rocknroll Lincoln from gate two. King Of Swing is right next door in gate three. Hall Jr then heads back to Auckland to prepare Chicago Bull for his race at Alexandra Park on Friday week.   Adam Hamilton

On 25 January 2018, licensed trainer/driver Mr Larry Eastman was convicted in the Bendigo Magistrates Court of five criminal charges that included using corrupt conduct information for betting purposes and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event. Subsequently, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued a charge against Mr Larry Eastman under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 267 which states: Subject to sub-rule (2) the Stewards may for such period and on such conditions as they think fit, disqualify a person who is found guilty of a crime or an offence in any State or Territory of Australia or in any country. As a result of Mr Eastman’s conviction and through further investigations by HRV Stewards, charges have also been issued against the following licensed persons;  Mr Scott Dyer (8 charges), Ms Lynette Eastman (3 Charges) and Mr Danny O’Bree (2 Charges). All charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.     Harness Racing Victoria

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has been fined $20,000 for his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014. Larry Eastman, 60, was sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to five dishonesty offences. A magistrate said Eastman’s conduct reflected poorly on the honest and hard working people of the local harness racing industry. Eastman came to police attention during their investigation of Mildura father-and-son harness racing figures Shayne and Greg Cramp, when Eastman was involved in intercepted phone calls. His conduct involved using the technique of drenching, involving placing a tube down the horse’s throat and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate – illegal within 48 hours of a race as it gives horses an unfair advantage. Eastman was aware that the horse Cashiking was drenched four hours before Race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Cashiking’s odds shortened from $35 the day before to $8.50 after a “noticeable betting plunge”. Two Queensland men bet on Eastman’s behalf in an attempt to disguise his betting activity. Cashiking won the race, and the associates of Eastman won $22,110. Eastman drenched the horse Waterslide three to five hours before Race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. He planned for the horse to win the race, but not as “convincingly” as it did. The horse was held back for a blood test by stewards. Eastman attempted to inject potassium to mask the effects of drenching, but knocked the syringe down the back of the horse stall. An associate of Eastman managed to inject Waterslide.  Eastman pictured with Menin Gate in 2015.    Eastman told the associate that what they did “goes to your grave”. He also said the syringe would be found in 2060 when they are “pulling the joint down”. Eastman placed a successful $200 bet at three-to-one for a profit of $400. Almost three years later, detectives found the syringe in the stall. Eastman then told an associate to drench the horse Dynamite Dick three hours before Race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. The associate was driving another horse, which was the favourite for the race. He was instructed to allow Dynamite Dick to win. Eastman told his Queensland associate that the horse would be “getting a bit of help”. Eastman bet $200 on the race. His associates won a combined $13,655. Three days later, Eastman arranged to make a number of losing bets in an attempt to hide his betting activity. Detectives started investigating Eastman at the time, but took more than three years before charges were laid. Eastman has since surrendered his racing licence after being involved in harness racing for 44 years. No one else involved in the race fixing has been subject to criminal charges. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman fixed the races after encountering financial difficulty in 2014, and claimed he only had $400 left in his account for Christmas. No documents were tendered to court to prove his financial status at the time. Mr Timms said it was unfortunate because in 2015 Eastman had a number of group 1 winners. “The bizarre thing is that he engaged in this corrupt activity, and appears to have obtained less than $2000 out of it,” he said. “We have a man who has lead an exemplary life up until this time of extreme financial hardship. “He has now lost the opportunity for him to work within the industry, the only industry he has ever worked in.” Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Alan Walker said a prison term was within range for the offending. Magistrate Patrick Southey said the offending put the public’s faith in harness racing at risk. “If the public say ‘I don’t trust it, I’ve had enough of it, I’ll follow another sport,’ all those innocent hard working people will be impacted,” he said. “I’m sure you will accept that the racing industry employs a lot of good people. Honest and hard-working, with a genuine love of horses. “Their livelihoods will be put at risk if the public turn their back on it.” Eastman was convicted and fined $20,000, with $122.30 in court costs. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

A Shelbourne harness racing trainer has pleaded guilty to his role in fixing three races in country Victoria in 2014, two of which involved his own horses. Larry Eastman, 60, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to five charges including use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, and engaging in conduct to corrupt a betting outcome. The court heard Eastman had nasogastric intubation – known as “stomach tubing” or “drenching” – administered to two of his horses within 48 hours of race meets, and knew of a third horse that was illegally receiving the technique. The technique is illegal within 48 hours of races as it can enhance performance through improved rehydration. It involves placing a tube down the throat of the horse and adding a mixture of alkalising agents, sodiums and bicarbonate. Eastman then encouraged others to bet on the races on his behalf, knowing that the horses had this advantage. His horse Cashiking was administered stomach tubing before race 7 at Nyah at Swan Hill on December 2, 2014. Related: Integrity commissioner tackles corruption in harness racing industry Eastman administered stomach tubing to another of his horses, Waterslide, for race 5 at Charlton on December 8, 2014. Eastman then had the driver inject the horse with potassium a short time after the race to conceal the effects of stomach tubing from Harness Racing Victoria authorities. Eastman personally gained $400 from betting $200 on the three-to-one result. Eastman also knew that horse Dynamite Dick had been administered stomach tubing before race 5 at Horsham on December 15, 2014. He had two other men bet on his behalf. Eastman came to the attention of police during their investigation into Shayne and Greg Cramp, of Mildura, who were later sentenced in relation to race fixing offences. Police intercepted a phone call between Eastman and one of the men, and suspected Eastman was also involved in “corrupt conduct”. The practice of stomach tubing, or drenching, has been the subject of “strict controls” for racing worldwide. Defence counsel Robert Timms said Eastman’s offending was small compared to others in the harness racing industry. “My client, as part of the plea, was a small fish in a much bigger pond,” he said. “The co-accused in Mildura were involved in far more.” Mr Timms said he would be asking the court to sentence Eastman to a community corrections order, or a fine. Eastman will be sentenced in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on February 2. By Adam Holmes Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

The Trots Country Cups Championship has been blown open with Milly Perez scorching the Mildura straight to remain within reach of the $25,000 harness racing crown. Larry Eastman’s mighty mare mowed down Major Crocker (second) and Brallos Pass (third) to win the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup, moving within three points of the season-long championship with two cups to run. Im Corzin Terror, Milly Perez and Cardon Merger are among the likely starters for Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, with the Group 3 $30,000 showdown further fuelled by the championship implications. Cranbourne Cup winner Im Corzin Terror holds a three-point lead from Milly Perez (Mildura and Charlton cups) and Cardon Merger (Boort and St Arnaud cups), with four points gifted to a win, two points to second and one point to third in each of the season’s 25 country cups. Saturday night’s Ararat feature precedes Sunday’s Warragul Bowl Pacing Cup, the last of the country cups season. Eastman said his six-year-old Four Starzzz Shark mare was well positioned for Ararat, having pulled up “fine” from Mildura, where she followed a second placing in last Tuesday’s heat with victory in Saturday’s final. “She’s is full steam ahead for Ararat,” Eastman said, adding the championship prizemoney offered for the first time was a big lure. Of the $25,000, $15,000 will be awarded to the winning horse’s owner and $10,000 to the trainer. Milly Perez’s career earnings blew past the $300,000 mark for owner Frank McGrath with Saturday night’s triumph, having been driven a treat by John Caldow, who placed her from gate nine on Murranji Track’s back in the outside line. Major Crocker advanced from last to join Brallos Pass and create a talented front line, which stretched the field with a 27.6 third quarter that dissolved any attempts to create a third row. Caldow waited until the approach to the final bend to guide Milly Perez three wide and come the straight he gradually wore down the leaders to win by a neck from Major Crocker with Brallos Pass 1.8m back in third. “It was a good race and a great carnival,” Eastman said. “The 800m tracks always make for more exciting racing. I was a Mallee boy and it was good to go back and win this one. She showed again that she is among the top mares in this country.” After Saturday night’s Ararat Cup Milly Perez will get a chance to further prove her standing against the nation’s leading mares in the $100,000 Queen Of The Pacific on May 20, when she will attempt to better last year’s second placing to Nike Franco. “She’s right there, right in the top bunch of mares and her high speed is what does it for her, it’s what sets her apart.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Milly Perez will carry the hopes of Shelbourne harness racing trainer Larry Eastman in Friday night's $75,000 Group 2 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. The last-start Charlton Pacing Cup winner comes out of gate 10 in the time-honoured Cranbourne feature race with in-form reinsman John Caldow in the sulky. Caldow is 10th on the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership with 39 wins this season. He is no stranger to Cranbourne Cup success, winning the race in 1997 with Golden Reign off 50 metres from a standing start. "She's a sit-sprint little mare and the long trip doesn't seem to worry her. If she gets on the back of the right one she'll be there at the end," Eastman told Trots Talk this week. Milly Perez is an $11 outsider in the 12-horse field, with Flaming Flutter $2.3 favourite with TAB.com.au from six-time metro winner Maximan ($4.2), last-start Bendigo Cup winner My Kiwi Mate ($4.4) and multiple country cups winner Im Corzin Terror ($8), who ran second to Yankee Rockstar in this race last year. The Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup boasts an illustrious honour roll with the past three winners being The Gold Ace, Terror To Love and Yankee Rockstar.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Cranbourne, Friday 03 March 2017 Form guide for Cranbourne, Friday 03 March 2017

No harness racing trainer has ever prepared back to back winners of the Queensland Derby. Many have featured multiple times but never has a trainer scored successive victories. On Saturday night, respected Victorian horseman Larry Eastman is hoping to rewrite the history books and do the unthinkable following his victory last year with the mighty Menin Gate. Eastman prepares Iceenothink in the $75,000 Sure Duz Mosquito Candle Queensland Derby, and the Art Major gelding has been installed as the favourite after drawing the inside gate in the 2680m feature. Again, champion reinsman Chris Alford will combine with the Eastman trainee. But he has a simple message for punters. “This horse is no Menin Gate, he’s a nice horse who continues to improve but he’s not at the level that Paulie was last season. We think he deserves his chance in a race like this and his recent form is very good, his run in the Vicbred Final was very good last start so we’ve decided to head north again.” Eastman said. Iceenothink has developed nicely this term which followed on from his unbeaten rookie season and Eastman has been thinking Queensland Derby as a long range target. His efforts during the recent Vicbred Super Series have only confirmed the thoughts of Eastman; Iceenothink finished a brave second behind talented pacer Dont Hold Back in the July 2 feature. “I’m really happy with his form, I thought he performed really well during that series and his effort in the final was very good. Gary (Hall Jnr – Driver) said he went very well and the Queensland Derby comes at the right time, we don’t need an excuse to be in Queensland at this time of the year. “The draw is lovely because it looks a very open race on paper; there is no standout and most if not all can win this race with some luck on their side. This horse has gate speed and Chris has options while the distance shouldn’t pose any problems. “The Gold Coast Derby last week was a keenly contested race and this week will be no different, I thought there were a number of good efforts in that race and I’m not selling any them short. This should be a good race.” Last year, Menin Gate won both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics but given the Vicbred series and the Queensland carnival clashing, Iceenothink was never considered for the Gold Coast Derby. UBET have listed Iceenothink as the $2.40 favourite. Chris Barsby Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 16 July 2016 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 16 July 2016

Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.”   Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland  13: Imahe Man (ODM)   Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell

Twelve months after his extraordinary domination of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, picking up a Group 1 three-peat, Shelbourne harness racing trainer Larry Eastman says he could only dream of achieving similar this time around. "It brings back a bit of deja vu but up until this time last year of course we'd only won the one Group 1 race, so we're under no illusions. To be honest I was just happy we were a part of it last year," Eastman said. The horseman takes three horses into tomorrow night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, in-form gelding Iceenothink and reigning Vicbred champs Morton Plains and Menin Gate. Speaking firstly about last season’s star three-year-old and Victorian Horse of the Year, Menin Gate, Eastman is pleased with the recent progress of the classy son of Somebeachsomewhere/Dreams Of Heaven. “All the signs are good. Everything’s gone to plan so far,” he said. “I liken it to this time last year. He was a shade off his top, then into the semi, then at his top for the final.” Menin Gate is $3 second-favourite with TAB.com.au for Race 7 at Melton tomorrow night, with Alan Tubbs-trained Tee Cee Bee Macray ($2.20 favourite) and Emma Stewart-trained Solarsonic ($3.50) also among the market’s top contenders. Menin Gate, who at three won the Breeders Crown and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals, the Queensland and Gold Coast derbies and the Victoria Derby, is usually an on-pace runner and he takes a power of beating when he finds the front. Tomorrow night he’s drawn gate 10. Quizzed for his view on tactics Eastman replied: “It’s all tempo-related, but I obviously just leave it up to Chris Alford.” At both his runs this time in Menin Gate has finished second, behind Solarsonic and then Ideal For Real last start. CHECK OUT ALL THE FIXED ODDS FOR VICBRED SEMI-FINAL NIGHT Eastman’s talented son of Art Major/Decethree Lombo, Iceenothink, will fly the stable flag in the male three-year-old division this year, drawing gate four for tomorrow night’s second semi-final (Race 5). “He’s been a bit of an unassuming horse, just gradually progressing along. He’s a nice three-year-old and he’s shown the signs that he can go on to another level, too,” said Eastman. “He’ll just keep on getting better and I think he’ll make a very handy four-year-old.” Eastman’s other runner, Morton Plains (Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That), goes into her four-year-old mares’ first semi-final with just one run this time in under her belt. She finished third in her Super Series heat at Shepparton on June 17, 3.3m behind Vapar Grin. “I was rapt with her run at Shepparton. She raced a bit fresh but was really strong to the line. It’s a big ask going into this with just the one run but she had trialled up before the first-up run and she’s on the way up.” Cody Winnell

Tomorrow night’s Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen will see a crack field of harness racing mares do battle at Tabcorp Park Melton. Cobbitty trainer Belinda McCarthy will line up My Willow, who is likely to start a pronounced favourite, but a trio from the Eastman camp at Shelbourne will be out to spoil the Sydneysider’s party. Larry Eastman has Milly Perez and Ponder Girl engaged, while wife Lynette has recent stable acquisition Highview Ember in action. “Her normal racing pattern is to take a trail at some stage so she will be driven that way. Whether she can zip the pole marker (Wow She’s Smooth) I’m not sure but I’ll leave that up to the master (driver Gavin Lang),” he said. Ponder Girl was a fast-finishing third in the Silver Chalice behind Starburst Girl last time out and Eastman is desperately hoping there is speed on throughout for her to play a role. “The barrier draw hurt her last week but she went really well. She is back on track and in good form. She will run really well again, in fact I am sure she will. If we can get some genuine tempo in the race it’s not beyond her to get home over them,” Eastman said. “She has always had above-average ability. We have looked after her as she has a few little issues soundness wise early on. She has just been a mare that has taken her time but now we are starting to get the rewards.” For Highview Ember, the new girl on the block, it’s a case of so far, so good. “She has taken to our system of training really well. She seems to be improving with each run. Even though it is a horror barrier, barrier seven, it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if she ran well,” Eastman said. “She is one of those mares who could just keep getting better. It probably isn’t her sort of race on Saturday night from that draw in that field but don’t underestimate her going forward.” Matt Jackson Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016

Harness racing fans will only have to wait a few months until the TABtouch Perth Inter Dominion carnival to see the much anticipated clash between star three year olds Menin Gate and Beaudiene Boaz. It was tipped the two stars would meet in the upcoming Breeders Crown series, before Gary Hall Snr decided to keep his WA Derby winner at home. Menin Gate’s trainer Larry Eastman will give his three time Group 1 winner a short break after the Breeders Crown before preparing the ‘Birchip Bull’ for the $125,000 4YO McInerney Classic and the $200,000 Golden Nugget Championship. “The money is too good to bypass and this will be his major aim in his four-year-old campaign, which means I will bypass the Chariots of Fire in Sydney because he will go for a big spell after Perth,” Eastman said. Menin Gate has become one of the most popular horses in the sport thanks to his group of owners, who come from the Mallee towns of Birchip and Wycheproof in country Victoria. “It’s been a tough couple of years for the country towns in the Mallee." "The drought has hit a few of those towns pretty hard and Menin Gate has been able to put a smile of the faces of the locals and has given them something to look forward to." “The whole town of Birchip especially has fallen in love with him. They all think they own him and the owners shout the bar when he wins". "Even Father Eugene stops his service to listen to Menin Gate’s races,” Eastman said. The clash between Beaudiene Boaz and Menin Gate is set to be one of the highlights of the season and both Hall Snr and Eastman are looking forward to the clash. “It’s great for the sport to build up these kind of rivalries and I have so much respect for Beaudine Boaz and he’s trained by the legend Gary Hall Snr, so Menin Gate will have to be at the top of his game”, Eastman said. Hall Snr is also looking forward to testing his star against a top quality pacer, who has proven he can mix it with the best in Australasia. “We usually have to travel across to them to take on the best, so I think its great Larry has decided to send Menin Gate for the carnival." "It will be great for the carnival and I suppose the draws will decide which horse starts favourite," Hall Snr said. Gareth Hall

Star harness racing pacer Menin Gate, trained at Shelbourne by Larry Eastman for a group of owners from Birchip in the Mallee, will take on a field of 3yo male pacers in Heat 10 of the IRT Breeders Crown for 3yo colts and geldings at Lord’s Raceway on Thursday night. Menin Gate has been Australasia’s dominant 3yo this season, winning the Sires Classic at Ballarat, the Vicbred Super Series Final, a heat and the final of the Victoria Derby, then in Queensland, the  Gold Coast Derby, and the Queensland Derby.  Menin Gate has amassed $377,548 in winning 10 of his 15 starts. He has drawn barrier 5 of 10 starters in race three, due to start at 7:30 PM. Chris Alford will pilot Menin Gate, who is likely to start a short-priced favourite. Eastman, who hadn’t trained a Group 1 winner prior to this season but now has four of them, said he was “stoked” with Menin Gate’s win at Albion Park 10 days ago in 1:55.1 (54.7). “He’s really come on,” the trainer said, pointing out a patient, carefully planned preparation was paying dividends. Menin Gate’s Birchip owners are rejoicing in the success of the “Birchip Bull”, as he is also known. In fact the whole town is. Local priest Father Eugene even halted a recent service temporarily to inform the congregation: “Menin Gate just won”. The people erupted in applause. “He is the people’s horse, I suppose,” Eastman acknowledged. “He’s got that ring about him now and it’s good for him and it’s good for the sport.” Noel Ridge

Exciting four-year-old Alleluia produced an outstanding effort to claim tonight’s (Saturday) harness racing Gr.2 $50,000 Moreton Bay Regional Council Redcliffe Gold Cup. Trained and driven by leading horseman Grant Dixon, Alleluia ($5) sat without cover in the 2613m standing start feature and proved too strong for Five Card Draw ($9.90) and Jivin Cullen ($17.10) in track record time of 1;59.6. With several runners inconvenienced at the start including race favourite Avonnova and defending champion Majestic Major, the field covered plenty of territory in the early staged with Jivin Cullen setting a solid temp in front. The lead time was covered in 76.5 seconds. Over the final mile, Jivin Cullen continued to dictate terms with Alleluia sitting parked while star mare Forever Gold raced solo three-wide while Avonnova found the back of Forever Gold. The first half was covered in splits of 29.7 and 29.5 seconds. Heading down the back straight on the final occasion, Jivin Cullen travelled strongly with Alleluia sticking to his guns bravely while many struggled in the frantic speed. The third quarter was covered in 28.7 seconds. At the home turn, Jivin Cullen was quickly joined by Alleluia while Five Card Draw came fast via the passing lane but Alleluia refused to give up and fought off the challenge from Five Card Draw before winning by 2m with Jivin Cullen third a further 1.25m away. Avonnova finished officially 11th, beaten 18m. The winning mile rate for the gelding by Art Major took a full second off the previous mark, which was established last year by Majestic Major. “I’m just so happy for the horse, he’s been a great addition to the ranks here in Queensland and he always performs at a high level. He was unlucky not to pick up a big race during the Albion Park carnival so he deserved this one tonight, I would say a career best effort.” Winning owner Greg Mitchell said. The victory provides Mitchell with his second Cup success in the past three years after Only The Brave scored in 2013. Grant Dixon has now claimed the Cup for the past three seasons following the victories of Only The Brave and Majestic Major. In the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks, race favourite Morton Plains ($1.50) led throughout to score comfortably from stablemates Bettorthanspecial ($5) and Bettor Promise ($9.40) in the 2040m fillies feature. The Victorian trained filly has enjoyed a stellar season highlighted by her Gr.1 Vicbred Super Series Final victory plus her placing in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks behind star Kiwi filly Fight For Glory. Prepared at Shelbourne by Larry Eastman, Morton Plains was handled for the first time by John Cremin. The winning mile rate was 1;58.2. The top three fillies are all daughters of super sire Bettors Delight. Racing Queensland

The wonderful Queensland winter campaign for the ‘Birchip Boys’ could end on a high this weekend. Following the recent domination of stable star Menin Gate in the Queensland and Gold Coast Derby’s coupled with the fast finishing effort of classy filly Morton Plains in the Queensland Oaks, the 2015 stint in Brisbane has been filled with everlasting memories for trainer Larry Eastman and his loyal bunch of owners. But there is one remaining target in sunny Queensland for the crew from Birchip – the Gr.3 $30,000 Redcliffe Oaks this Saturday night. And victory with Morton Plains would cap a dream season. “It’s been unbelievable this season and it’s stuff you never dream of because you never think it will happen to you, I’d never trained a Group One before this season and now I’ve got five of them plus many other features this term. We’ve enjoyed it immensely and we’ve celebrated long and hard, I just hope it never ends.” Shelbourne based trainer Eastman said. While the Queensland campaign has been an extraordinary success, the season overall has been truly magnificent with feature race victories including the Victoria Derby plus a haul of Vicbred Super Series Finals through the deeds of Menin Gate, Morton Plains and Milly Perez. All four Gr.1 victories came at TABCORP Park, Melton. With Menin Gate now back in Victoria and being readied for the upcoming Australasian Breeders Crown series, Morton Plains has remained based in Brisbane and will start a clear favourite in the Oaks after landing the inside gate on the tight turning bayside track. “This filly is not eligible for the Breeders Crown and therefore, the Redcliffe Oaks seemed a logical target for her which will ultimately end her season. I’m so proud of the job this filly has done this season and I think she’s got one more good effort left in her. “Landing the inside gate is a major advantage at Redcliffe and it clearly takes some pressure off now, it takes all the guess work out of the race. Her effort in the Queensland Oaks against Fight For Glory was great and like many in the Queensland Derby, she had little or no chance considering the sectionals Pauly (Menin Gate) was running up front. “I gave her trial yesterday (Tuesday) at Albion Park and she went really well, she got trapped on the pegs but hit the line hard once clear and the splits were impressive. That hit-out will bring her on for Saturday night and I’m pleased with the way she’s come through it, she’s enjoying Queensland but who doesn’t because it’s a great place and we’ve got some really good friends up here.” Morton Plains finished a close-up fourth in the Victoria Oaks earlier this season. Last season, Eastman finished second in the Redcliffe Oaks with Milly Perez, the race was won by local filly Charming Allie. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015 Form guide for Redcliffe, Saturday 01 August 2015

Advantage Menin Gate. The Larry Eastman-trained pacer – Victoria’s newest “people’s horse” – yesterday drew a plum gate for Saturday night’s Group 1 Queensland Derby at the harness racing meeting at Albion Park, giving him an early victory against his biggest dangers. The Victoria Derby, Vicbred Super Series and last-start Gold Coast Derby winner will come out of gate two in the $150,000, 2680-metre three-year-old classic, and TAB fixed odds bookies have reacted by installing him a prohibitive $1.40-into-$1.35 favourite. “I’m happy,” Eastman said of the barrier draw, which also saw stablemate filly Morton Plains draw gate nine – following Menin Gate out early. Eastman, who hadn’t trained a Group 1 winner prior to this season but now has four of them, said he was “stoked” with Menin Gate’s win at Albion Park last weekend in 1:55.1 (54.7). “He’s really come on,” the trainer said, pointing out a patient, carefully planned preparation was paying dividends." “We stayed home from Sydney (the New South Wales Derby) and gave him five weeks out instead because he’s a big, immature horse." “That’s made a real difference.” Any question marks over the son of Somebeachsomewhere’s gate speed have disappeared in recent times, Eastman’s addition of block blinkers to the gelding sharpening him right up. “He’s been coming off the arm really good since we changed his head gear around,” Eastman said. Menin Gate wore the block blinkers and won as a two-year-old and is clearly relishing them now. Meanwhile, Menin Gate’s Birchip owners are rejoicing in the success of the “Birchip Bull”, as he is also known. In fact the whole town is. Local priest Father Eugene even halted his service last weekend temporarily to inform the congregation: “Menin Gate just won”. The people erupted in applause. “He is the people’s horse, I suppose,” Eastman acknowledged. “He’s got that ring about him now and it’s good for him and it’s good for the sport.” Morton Plains will be driven by Gavin Lang on Saturday night and is a $21 shot early with the TAB. “She went really good (last Saturday night in the Queensland Oaks when second)." "She is probably nearing the end of this preparation,” Eastman said. “If things happen and if someone goes crazy and turns it into a last-man-standing affair, then she can run into it." “She lives in Menin Gate’s shadow a bit, but if I didn’t have Menin Gate I’d still be absolutely stoked to just have her.” Other Victorians in the Derby are Craig Demmler-trained My Kiwi Mate (Jodi Quinlan to drive) from gate seven, who is in ripping form and will be strong late over what looks a suitable trip, Burnaholeinmypocket from the Andy Gath yard (Kate Gath to drive), who ran below-par last weekend but was a Group 1 winner the start prior to that, and consistent Mister Wickham for trainer Lee Evison and driver Greg Sugars (gate 12). Cody Winnell

Victorian raiders are heading north in force. Last weekend, Burnaholeinmypocket scorched the harness racing Albion Park oval winning the $100,000 Nursery Flying Stakes and now fellow state mates are following suite and heading up chasing the lucrative prizemoney and warm winter sunshine. Shelbourne trainer Larry Eastman, fresh from his triple Group 1 glory on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton with Menin Gate, Morton Plains and Milly Perez are headed to Queensland this week. Both Menin Gate and Morton Plains will fly to Brisbane on Wednesday. Targets for the star pair include this weekend’s Gr.1 $100,000 Greg & Sharon Mitchell Queensland Oaks with Morton Plains while the main focus for Menin Gate will be the Gr.1 $150,000 Queensland Derby on July 18. “All the horses have come through the weekend in great shape and we’re keen to head up there again and take in some of the winter carnival features. Lynette (wife) and I have some great friends in Queensland and we love the racing and in particular, the weather.” Eastman said. The Queensland Oaks will boast an outstanding field with a bunch of outstanding fillies already in town and the presence of Morton Plains only adds further intrigue. The Bettor's Delight – Don’t Answer That filly scored a decisive victory in the Vicbred Super Series Final last weekend defeating Niki No No and Vapar Grin in the 2240m feature. “She’s a lovely filly that is honest and continues to improve; the Queensland Oaks comes at the right time because she’s fit and in-form so it’s worth taking a shot, “Obviously the Purdon/Rasmussen fillies (Fight For Glory & Linda Lovegrace) will be tough to beat but I’m more than happy with my filly and an Oaks victory would be a nice bonus.” The victory of Menin Gate in his Vicbred Super Series Final provided his connections with his second major this season after winning the Victoria Derby back in February. The Somebeachsomewhere – Dreams Of Heaven gelding led throughout to win the 2240m feature defeating Mister Wickham and Follow The Stars. “I was really happy with him leading into that race because he trialed well at Maryborough the week before and Chris (Alford – driver) said he felt great in that trial. We added the block blinkers to his gear and it worked a treat, “The Queensland Derby has always been a target for him this season but I wanted to get through this series first before committing; now it’s full steam ahead.” Champion reinsman Chris Alford will take the drives in Brisbane. Chris Barsby

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