Day At The Track
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With nowhere to go and nowhere to be, a day at the beach is just what you need, so the saying goes! And that certainly sits nicely at the moment with crack Victorian harness racing colt Lochinvar Art, who is enjoying a working holiday frolicking in the sun, surf and saltwater of the Pacific Ocean at Redcliffe, north of Brisbane. "l gave him a nice hit-out at the Redcliffe track and then we decided to head to the beach - it was his first-ever dip in the sea and he absolutely loved it," trainer Laura Crossland, of Kialla, near Shepparton said. "He was walking around without a worry in the world. But we did get a bit concerned at one stage when he looked like he wanted to enjoy a roll in the water! "Thankfully I wasn't leading him at the time. Our friend Alex Alchin had that job, but he had it all under control." Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA) is lining up in the Group Three 2019 Egmont Park Stud South East Derby at Brisbane's Albion Park on Saturday night. The promising youngster, owned by a keen supporter of the sport Kevin Gordon, has drawn barrier three, but is likely to start from the two hole with the race emergency on his inside. It will be the first time the pacer has competed at the track, commonly known in the industry as "the creek", and Crossland and her partner-reinsman David Moran are looking forward to it immensely. "We've never been here before and I have just got the surprise of my life with news that I'm driving at the meeting now as well as David," Crossland said. "There's an invitational race for female drivers and I got a guernsey there. I have also got the pick-up drive on one of my old favorites in Hashtag in another event," she said. "I've had to ring David and tell him to bring up my driving pants and boots when he catches the plane on Friday. It's exciting." Crossland said the pacer had now spent a week up north, after his close second ten days ago in the Group One Vincent Alabar NSW Breeders' Challenge. "He came up not long after that run at Menangle and he pulled up unbelievably," she said. "He's thriving on the change of scenery and hasn't been unsettled at all by the different surroundings, so we couldn't be happier." Lochinvar Art has a remarkable record, never finishing further back than third (12 wins and 11 placings) in his 23 starts. Saturday night's derby at Albion Park has some depth, particularly with the Purdon-Rasmussen All Stars team having the brilliant Self Assured and Jesse Duke. "There are a couple of locals in Trojan Banner, Star of Montana and We Salute You who all go really nice, too," Crossland said. "Then we will be in the big one, the $100,000 Queensland Derby on the following Saturday, July 20." Lochinvar Art will then fly home and after three or four days enjoying paddock life, the young Crossland-Moran team have the rich Breeders Crown series at Melton in their sights. While Crossland is enjoying the winter sunshine up north, albeit spending a huge amount of time with their 3yo sensation, it's left a busy schedule for Moran and 15-year-old Cody who've kept the big team going at home. In addition, there have been race meetings at Melton and Cobram where Moran was in demand as a driver. "Being busy is just all part of the game. But I can say Cody and myself are looking forward to Friday when we fly up to Brisbane to join Laura and the horse," Moran said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

Skillful harness racing reinsman David Moran, is hot property at the moment. Moran, based at Kialla, near Shepparton, landed a winning treble at his home track on Monday and four days later was at his very best with a bag of four winners at Wagga Wagga. "To be honest they all did look to be strong chances on paper at Wagga, but we've probably all learnt not to get ahead of ourselves in this caper!" Moran said. "It all worked out okay this time and I think I have been lucky enough to get four previously at Wagga, Leeton and Shepparton," he said. Moran's Shepparton meeting got off to a flying start with the boom youngster Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA-Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA), trained by Moran with partner Laura Crossland, cruising to victory in a tick over 1.57 for 2190m. A relative newcomer to their stable, Mamas New Dude (Western Terror USA-Shake It Mama (Mach Three), looked good in bringing up Moran's second winner, taking out the Alabar 3YO Pace. To complete the trio of winners, Moran then piloted the Patrick Ryan-prepared Starsbythebeach (Somebeachsomewhere USA-Maid For You Lombo (Sportswriter USA) to take out the BMW 2yo Pace. (Bendigo conditioner Glenn Douglas, who has his team absolutely up-and-about at the moment, shared the honors with Moran at Shepparton-also landing a treble.) Moran said he was pleased the way Lochinvar Art went about his business. "He had a bit up his sleeve and it was his first start back after taking out the Gold Chalice Final at Bathurst about seven weeks ago," he said. "We're aiming him for the Breeders Challenge semi-finals and final at Menangle next month, so we are on target. "We chose the Breeders Challenge rather than the prestigious IRT Harness Jewels in Addington, NZ, next Saturday because over there we would have come up against a 'handy horseman' by the name of Mark Purdon!" Moran was the punter's pal in his trip over the border to Wagga Wagga on Thursday, duly getting the prize on three favorites and a second-favorite. It was again none other than the Kevin Gordon-owned flying machine Lochinvar Art, getting the ball rolling, zipping over the 1740m trip in 1.53-8. Moran then landed a double for the powerful Stewart/Tonkin team at Ballarat with Victoria Brew (Sportswriter USA-Charlotte Brew NZ (Mach Three) and Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson (Perfect Art). His fourth for the day was for Victorian Gippsland co-trainers Gary and Deb Quinlan, of Drouin, in Rocknroll Pearl (Rock N Roll Heaven-Jazzam (Christian Cullen NZ). "It's nice to pick up a few drives for Emma and Clayton and it's good to do okay for them and stay in the mix because they have a lot of horses going around," Moran said. Moran's four-win efforts are not his best, though - he joined a select group of drivers in March, 2015, when he bagged five winners at a meeting. "That was exciting, and I remember it well because it was the Albury Pacing Cup meeting and I won five of the eight races on the card," he said. The in-form driver is also enjoying a great season as a trainer, with his partner and co-trainer Laura Crossland. The training partnership was formalised recently and has 11 wins, 16 placings from 44 starts. "Laura is a bit under-rated as a driver, because the horses do run for her," Moran said. "I'm always happy to watch her take the reins and I do think it's a bit surprising that more trainers don't use her services," he said. Demonstrating the commitment required of today's professional reinsmen, after driving at Wagga, Moran caught a plane to Shepparton and then drove his car to the Ballarat meeting that night. "The fairytale unfortunately didn't continue - I had one drive and didn't do any good as the horse jumped a shadow and ended up back in fifth spot in the 3yo Classic," he said. Moran, who has been at Kialla for eight or nine years, got involved in harness racing through well-known and highly successful trainer-driver David Aiken, of Avenel. "I grew up with his son David junior. We were best mates as kids," he said. "It was a natural transition to start with the Aiken stable once I finished school."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura      

Shepparton harness racing team Laura Crossland and David Moran have made a golden start to their official training partnership. The couple have shared the load of training a growing team at Kialla for many years, but they landed their biggest winner, their first Group One success, just two days after the joint training arrangement was formalized. Stable star Lochinvar Art (Modern Art USA - Ponder In Paris (Ponder USA) made a one act affair of the $104,000 Bathurst Gold Chalice Final for colts and geldings at Bathurst on Friday night. “He absolutely deserved that win as he’s had some terrible barrier draws and bad luck in some of his other big races,” Crossland said. “There’s no doubt that the horse could have claimed a big scalp prior to this, but I guess that’s racing and you’ve got to take the good with the bad. “The Bathurst feature race looked really suitable on paper and we thought, without getting ahead of ourselves, that it was his chance to win a Group One.” Lochinvar Art and David Moran (Ashlea Brennan Photo) There was also gold for another Victorian stable, with the strong Margaret Lee team taking home the Tooheys New Gold Crown Group One Final. Unbeaten colt Jilliby Nitro (Bettors Delight-Kiewa Valley (Safely Kept) scored impressively in the two-year-old colts and geldings event, brilliantly handled by young Jason Lee. Jilliby Nitro posted a career-best in 1:53-8 (including quarters of 27.4 and 27.6) in his dominant all-the-way victory. While Moran and Lochinvar Art headed off to Bathurst, Crossland stayed home to look after the couple’s other 12 stable representatives. “It was certainly a bit different sitting home with our kids watching the race on television, that’s for sure,” Crossland said. “I would have loved being there, but you can’t just jump up and go to where you want to because there’s always work to be done at home. “And besides we have four runners at the Wagga meeting tomorrow (Sunday) and that means leaving Shepparton at 7am.” Crossland admitted that she had a celebration after the race with a few beers. “David was fairly ecstatic and probably a bit relieved as well. And it was not only great for us, but also our owner in Kevin Gordon, who’s from Sydney,” he said. “Kevin has been fantastic. The Chalice is a prestigious race and we are rapt to be able to get that win for him.” Lochinvar Art and all the winning connections Connections have decided against a New Zealand trip to Auckland to contest the $150,000 Jewels. “Our plan is to stay at home and chase the Breeders Challenge in Sydney as well as all the Sires events in Melbourne,” Crossland said. “We thoroughly enjoy any long trips to Sydney because they go out of their way to look after you. They really know how to spoil you. “Lochinvar Art will now have a freshen-up in the paddock. We were in two minds about that, though, because he thrives so much on racing.” Moran got the perfect score of 10 out of 10 for his drive at Bathurst, which just had “brilliant” written all over it. Lochinvar Art After starting from the inside back row draw, Moran was off the pegs in a flash. The leaders rolled along at a steady clip, posting a first half of 58.1, with Lochinvar Art settling second last. Moran made a three wide move coming to the bell to sit outside leader and main rival in Shoobee Doo (Amanda Turnbull).  With 400 metres to go, it was evident Lochinvar Art was full of running with the fuel gauge of a few of his rivals sitting on orange. Moran released his stranglehold and immediately put two lengths on the field, with final splits of 28.1 and 28 seconds. Lochinvar Art, courtesy of four slaps of the rein on his rump, won by 12 metres from College Chapel with a further four metres to Straddie. The overall mile rate for 2260m was 1.54-5. Laura Crossland and David Moran “We got to know Kevin after a horse named Smo (McArdle-Laurent Perrier NZ (Sokys Atom) was sent to us. I think (Menangle trainer) Darren Binskin had him for a while and we ended up with him,” Crossland said. “Smo was actually one of my favorite horses. He was one of the nicest horses you could have, with a beautiful nature. “We won six races with him and then he went to WA. He ended up winning 13 with 15 placings for nearly $110,000.” The Crossland/Moran partnership has since prepared such horses for Kevin Gordon as Lochinvar Delight, Lochinvar Hugo and of course, the stable star Lochinvar Art. Kevin Gordon and Lochinvar Art “Kevin’s got greyhounds as well, but he’s got the harness racing bug for sure with a two-year-old going nicely and a recent purchase of a yearling,” Crossland said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura    

IT’S that time of year again. Aussie trainers are starting to cast their mind towards possible NZ Harness Jewels raids. And leading the way is Australia’s exciting three-year-old Lochinvar Art and trained Laura Crossland. “We’re very keen,” she said. “He’s had no luck with draws all season and kept running big races.” Lochinvar Art followed a third in the Victoria Derby with a third in the NSW Derby. Both from awful barriers. “We’ve spoken with Darrin Williams and said how much we’d love the Aussie invite,” Crossland added. Kiwi trainer Mark Jones and his Aussie partner, Aaron Goadsby, are just as keen to get an Aussie invite with their juvenile filly Lulu Le Mans, who followed a third against the boys in the Sapling Stakes with a second in the Pink Bonnet last Saturday night. “She’s the right sort of filly and not really paid-up for anything else,” Goadsby said. “Ideally we’d get the invite early, take her to Auckland and race her in the Aussies colours in the lead-up races.” Powerhouse trotting team Yabby Dams is considering four-year-old Amour De Frere for the Jewels. Trainer Anton Golino said she was the right sort of mare with similar speed to stablemate Dance Craze, who finished a luckless third in last year’s Jewels 4YO mares’ trot. She went on to win the Group 1 Great Southern Star a few weeks back. “Amour De Frere would be ideal if I can get her spot on, which can be a challenge. We’re definitely looking at it,” Golino said. Amour De Frere made it seven wins from just 18 starts when she led throughout to win the Group 2 Breed For Speed Silver final at Melton in a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1720m last Saturday night.   Adam Hamilton

A plan hatched over a month ago to target a rich New South Wales Riverina race saw one of the most spine-tingling harness racing performances seen at Leeton by a two-year-old, on Tuesday night. Young successful harness racing duo David Moran and Laura Crossland headed from their Shepparton base to travel nearly four hours up the highway to Leeton for the $30,000 Breeders Plate Group 3 this week with their unbeaten youngster The Tiger Army (Sportswriter-Scottish Glamour (Elsu). And the colt didn’t let them down with a phenomenal display of his ability. “My heart was racing when we got tangled up with a few of the other horses just after the start and lost valuable ground, but he’s such a lovely horse he just wanted to win,” driver Crossland said. Settling near the rear of the field after the skirmish and at least 50 metres off the lead, Crossland gradually made up her ground to move three wide approaching the bell. “I wasn’t really concerned because he still felt full of running,” she said. Crossland simply changed gears down the back straight and in the blink of an eye The Tiger Army launched wide and dashed to the front to score an unbelievable win. “We actually sat down with the owners after winning the first two-year-old event of the season at Maryborough on December 21 and it was tossed around that we might target the Breeders Plate,” she said. “Then when we won at Kilmore about a fortnight later it was unanimous that we head to Leeton for the series.” After a heat win of the rich series on January 11, it was a confident “army” of followers who travelled to watch the final. The Tiger Army (known as Frank the Tank) has a perfect record of four starts for four wins for over $29,000. And there’s an opportunity to purchase his Captaintreacherous half-brother at the Melbourne APG sale on Sunday (lot 115). Crossland, Moran and some stable owners ventured to last year’s sale after looking over the catalogue. “The ones we picked out were going for too much money,” Crossland said. “One of our owners, Peter Lawlor, and David were looking out the back where some were waiting to be paraded into the sale ring, and thankfully, spotted a Sportswriter colt (The Tiger Army) bred by Lauriston Bloodstock. “Then when he came out into the ring, he looked amazing, so we ended up with him for about $16,000.” Crossland said The Tiger Army was like a seasoned horse from day one and was broken in by experienced horseman Doc Wilson, of Ardmona. “He’s just perfect.  He doesn’t wear a headcheck, he’s in an open bridle and no knee boots,” she said. “In the early days he wanted to get up and go a bit too much, but when he settled down, we knew he would make an early two-year-old.” The rising star is now taking a well-earnt spell before his next campaign is mapped out. “It’s really exciting. He’s eligible for all the feature series and with some natural improvement, we are sure there’s fun times ahead,” Crossland said. His race name seemed reasonably obvious, but just to clarify... Sure enough, the majority of the owners are Richmond Football Club supporters in the Australian Football League competition. But in a strange twist, David and Peter - the two who picked out the pacer- barrack for Essendon (known as the Bombers). So surely, in recognition of their uncanny ability to select a good one, it could have carried the name of an Essendon star like Daniher, Fantasia, Saad or Heppell. “That was never going to happen. It just had to have something to do with the Tigers and a few of us are now wishing we had opted for ‘Dusty’ in honor of our superstar player Dusty Martin,” Crossland, a staunch Richmond fan, said. The Crossland-Moran team has 12 in work, with several more to come back in the next few weeks. Last season they prepared 61 winners, while this season is also ticking along okay with 17 wins, 15 placings from 40 starters. They use an 800metre track, nearby to the Shepparton Paceway, to prepare their team. Speedy three-year-old Lochinvar Art, who ran a brave third to Muscle Factory in the Victorian Derby Final at Melton last Saturday, is likely to contest the NSW Derby in February-March. *Hoofnote: 3yo filly Vena May (Art Major-Tara Royale (Live Or Die) and 5yo mare Share The Road (TinTin In America-High Tops Hanover (Western Hanover) gave Crossland a training double at Bendigo last night. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

NEXT month’s popular Leeton Breeders’ Plate is the initial major target for yesterday’s Maryborough debut winner, The Tiger Army. Successful in the first two-year-old event of the season, the Australian Pacing Gold purchase has been aimed at the New South Wales feature by trainer Laura Crossland. The $30,600 event is scheduled to be conducted on January 25. “I will try and find another suitable race next and see how he goes,” Crossland said. “I’m looking at going to Leeton for the Breeders’ Plate and I think he will handle the track well. “If he continues to improve as we hope he is eligible for the APG Final and Breeders’ Challenge later in the season.” With Crossland holding the reins during his maiden voyage to the races, The Tiger Army led throughout from the pole to account for Youaremy Sunshine and Nuart in 1:59.1 over 1690 metres. “He is a real quick little fella and we were pretty confident with him,” Crossland said. “I knew how good he was going, but the thing is you don’t know anything about the others so you can’t be too confident. “I thought the runner up put in a big run.” Purchased from the Melbourne APG Sale, The Tiger Army is by Sportswriter from Scottish Glamour, which has a colt in the 2019 Sale, which is due to be staged at the Oaklands Junction on February 3. “We didn’t go to the sale looking to buy him, but when he came out in the ring I thought he looked stunning so we bought him,” Crossland said. “From day one he has been a get up and go type so I knew would make an early two-year-old. “Everything has come quite natural for him and hopefully he can continue to improve as the season goes along.”   APG  Media

Laura Crossland-trained three-year-old Lochinvar Art made a stunning return to the racetrack tonight in the Caduceus Club 3YO Cup at Cranbourne. The son of Modern Art covered ground early before making ground from the back, racing home to a 3.9m win in a mile rate of 1:55.9, upstaging $1.40 favourite Demon Delight. As a result TAB.com.au slashed his Victoria Derby price from $31 into $10. “I’m not really a big one for getting too confident and he was first-up tonight … he’s pretty forward, but whatever he does tonight he’ll take lot out of it,” Moran said. “He’s probably one of the best horses I’ve driven. I thought he was really, really good tonight.” Lochinvar Art, a son of Modern Art, won six of nine races as a two-year-old, including feature wins in the Benstud Youthful Stakes, the Alabar Tatlow and an Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi-Final. He was desperately unlucky in the Group 1 Breeders Challenge Final when held up behind Hardhitter. “In the early days he had a lot of high speed. He was so fast it wasn’t funny,” Moran said. “His will to win is unbelievable.” Quizzed about why the team decided not to make a late payment for the Breeders Crown at two, Moran explained they wanted to ensure the horse’s future was protected. “He was up for a long time and I think you can go to the well too many times,” he said. “A lot of people probably worry about money. But if you want a good horse in the long run, you probably have to put that aside a little bit.”   Cody Winnell Trots Media

With the current form Laura Crossland is in, she is almost guaranteed a winner at Shepparton’s Gold Cup night on Saturday. The Kialla horsewoman is in career best form as a harness racing trainer and driver. Having the season of a lifetime, she is ranked one of the top 10 trainers in the state. Crossland grew her standing at the Leeton Cup meeting to start the year where she was involved in three victories. The dedicated horsewoman trained and drove Scotty Titian to first place in the cup, reined Lets Katchmeifucan to victory in the Lady Drivers Invitation for trainer David Eurell and brought up her trifecta when her partner David Moran drove Lochinvar Hugo, a horse she trains, to victory on the card. Crossland is amazed that she is regarded as being one of the best trainers in the state, but said everything was going right for her. ‘‘It’s been awesome actually, I couldn’t have imagined it to go this good so early on,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve always been consistent, but it’s like this season we can do no wrong. ‘‘It’s a bit surreal, it’s hard to imagine all the blood, sweat and tears over the years have all paid off.’’ Crossland and Moran have shown what can be achieved from a small stable. The duo looks after 14 horses, less than half the size of most of the major stables. But Crossland said that those challenges just made the success even more enjoyable. ‘‘With a big stable they’ve got a lot of support behind them, if a horse wins enough races and they’re not winning any more they can get rid of it and the owner will buy new ones, but we’ve sort of got to keep going,’’ she said. ‘‘With us we get a lot of rejects that we’ve got to run around and that’s more satisfying.’’ Having spent a lot of time focusing on training, Crossland thrives when she moves into the driver’s seat. ‘‘I’ve always driven, but I used to take a back seat to David and then Linton Power from out Tally way (contacted me) and I started driving his and I love driving the trotters, so I drive all the trotters here,’’ she said. As Crossland first found an interest in harness racing because of her parents, it looks like a third generation is about to emerge. Her eldest son Cody is learning the trade at Avenel under master trainer David Aitken. ‘‘Aitks is fantastic with him, you couldn’t get a better person, he comes back and tells us what to do,’’ Crossland said. Twins Ella and Lane also spend their school holidays running around the Crossland-Moran racing stables. But the family’s attention this week will be on a host of runners. Moran will again be behind Lochinvar Hugo in race nine at Shepparton, while Crossland herself drives Starlight Storm and Mangochililime. By Lauren Bordin Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News  

Shepparton horsewoman Laura Crossland’s big start to the new harness racing season has continued during the past week. The trainer landed her 11th winner for the new season when Lochinvar Delight saluted last Saturday night at Swan Hill. Then at Kilmore on Wednesday night Crossland posted win number 12 when recent stable addition The Male Model scored in a 1690m dash after a smart getaway. While Lochinvar Delight, driven by David Moran, won by only a narrow margin he raced outside the leader throughout the race and outstayed his rivals in a tough effort to register win number seven from 17 starts. Lochinvar Delight, who is by uncanny sire Bettors Delight, is out of the Tuapeka broodmare gem, Uncork, who has left 12 individual winners including Hes A Corka (45 wins) and Saved A Corka (13 wins). Crossland has had The Male Model for only three starts and has chalked up two wins and a second with the four-year-old son of former smart pacer The Warp Drive. Prominent Nathalia horseman and owner Zac Cornell is one of the owners who race The Male Model who started his career in NSW and had three wins at Menangle when trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton. He was also a finalist in the Breeders Crown three-year-old colts and geldings final at Melton in late August when prepared by Brent Lilley. The two latest wins has Crossland currently sitting in sixth place on the state trainers’ premiership. Rising up rankings Boom Shepparton pacer San Carlo has been virtually assured of a start in the Inter Dominion Championship in Perth in November-December after the third round of rankings were released this week. The Steve O’Donoghue-trained seven-year-old jumped from 42 to 30 in the latest rankings which virtually guarantees him a start in the first round heats on November 24. Superstar New Zealander pacer Lazarus, a winner at Addington on Monday, heads the third round ranking list from the David Aiken-trained champion Lennytheshark. The Gary Hall Sr-trained local hope Chicago Bull, an impressive winner at Gloucester Park last Friday night is number three in the rankings. The Amanda Turnbull-trained Majordan was also a big mover in the latest rankings, coming in from 44 in the second round of rankings to 32. The cut-off deadline for pacers contesting the heats is 30. Fourth and final round of rankings will be released on November 8. In the build-up to the Inter Dominion, San Carlo will tackle the $30000 Maryborough Cup this Sunday. He has drawn barrier two in a hot field in which another of the fancied runners, the Aiken-trained newcomer Thereal Usain Colt, third in last Saturday night’s Swan Hill Cup, has drawn the pole. Another Shepparton-trained pacer John Of Arc will also contest the race in which the Tim Butt-trained My Field Marshall is expected to be the testing material. Medal of Valour Talented pacer Iconic Valour made a successful debut for new trainer Isabel Walsh last week at Shepparton. The Jeremes Jet five-year-old, owned by the Redwoods, was driven a confident race by Mark Pitt who took the pacer from four back on the pegs to the death seat when an opportunity arrived 1200m from home and proved too strong for his rivals, beating the David Aiken-trained Heavenly Shades with Candlestick third. Heath Redwood originally trained Iconic Valor who won three of his first four starts. Iconic Valor had a stint with David Miles who won a race with him before Shepparton horsewoman Isabel Walsh took over his training recently. Last week’s win in a C0 Only class race was his sixth from 19 starts and his effort suggested it won’t be his last. Iconic Valor was the first leg of a driving double for Pitt. He also partnered the Barry Quigley-trained Sixty to beat the hot favourite, the Andy Gath-trained Modern Maestro in a C3-C4 class race. Hoofnote: Iconic Valor followed up his Shepparton success with a second placing at Kilmore on Wednesday night. Earl is a real pearl Consistent Bunbartha-trained trotter Just Call Me Earl won his sixth race on the Shepparton track when he prevailed in a T0 or better class trot last week. Despite being the best performed trotter in the race a 30m handicap deterred punters and he was a 22/1 chance on the tote. But he made light work of his handicap and with a well-timed drive by Matt Newberry was able to secure the win. In a Bunbartha-trained quinella Newberry was able to usher Just Call Me Earl to four back on the outside for most of the race and he finished strongly to account for the Brian Bourke-trained and Laura Crossland-driven Starlight Storm. Just Call Me Earl is a veteran of 186 starts, which have produced 19 wins and 44 placings for stake earnings of just on $128000. Doing it like a boss The Kima Frenning juggernaut rolls on with the Swedish horsewoman enjoying another win last week, this time for her boss, David Aiken. Frenning piloted recent stable addition Im The Boss to one of the most convincing wins on the Shepparton program, which pleased a lot of punters who sent the Major In Art six-year-old out a$2.60 favourite. Frenning took Im The Boss to the death seat early from a wide front row draw and then forged to the front in the home straight with a lap to go and was too strong for the equal favourite Flight Officer with the Mark Pitt-trained and Lisa Bartley-driven Modern Lebron running another good race to fill the minor placing. Im The Boss won again in impressive fashion at Kilmore on Wednesday night with Frenning once again taking the reins. Tiana dines on Fondue It’s all happening for young Kyabram trainer-driver Tiana McMahon at the moment. Fresh from a recent successful trip to South Australia, McMahon produced pacer Miss Fondue to win last week at Shepparton. McMahon was able to give the five-year-old Courage Under Fire mare the run of the race on the back of the pacemaker Village Encounter and she zoomed home along the sprint lane to beat the old warrior Lights And Music and Wotplanetrufrom who was driven by Donna Castles. Miss Fondue was one of the winners — the other was Blissfully Unaware — who had won at Globe Derby for McMahon on a recent trip to South Australia where she first cut her teeth in the harness racing game. Miss Fondue has got stronger as she matures and she posted a PB mile rate out of her three wins of 1:58.4 in winning the C1-C2 1690m event at Shepparton. The quaddie killer Wahring horseman Kevin Weidenbach Jr wasn’t exactly the pin-up driver for most quaddie punters at Shepparton last week. Weidenbach partnered the Barham-trained pacing mare Acropolis Lass to an all-the-way win in the third leg of the main quaddie which floored most punters as she was a 53/1 shot on the tote. Acropolis Lass beat off challenges from Catch Me If Youcan and Joelissa in the run to the judge. Trained by Ruth Arthur, Acropolis Lass hasn’t won out of turn in her 29 starts with the Shepparton win the third of her career. Weidenbach had a big week and was also in the winner’s circle at Bendigo two nights later when he partnered the pacer he trains Lucy McCool to another win. Lucy McCool has now won three races for Weidenbach since joining his stable eight starts ago. Willem home Lightly raced Willem posted a PB best mile rate in winning a C2-C3 class race last week at Bendigo. The Steve O’Donoghue-trained and Bec Bartley-driven five-year-old son of Lombo Pocket Watch came from second last at the 600m in the 2150m event to mow down his rivals one by one to notch his seventh win in 17 starts. His mile rate of 1:56 was not only a PB, but the quickest for the program for races over the 2150m trip and was also equal quickest for the night in the events over the shorter 1650m trip. O’Donoghue describes Willem as a ‘‘nice little horse who always gives his best’’ and it’s certainly an applicable description. Yes, he can run Pacer He Can Fly is certainly living up to his name. The Bettors Delight five-year-old again showed he could be destined for bigger things with another powerful win last Friday night at Melton. Driven by Josh Aiken and despite being forced to race outside the pacemaker for most of the 2240m trip he was still too good for his rivals at the business end of the race, making it six wins in eight starts since migrating south from NSW to the Avenel Aiken barn in July. The win also stretched his current winning streak to four and in the two races he didn’t win since coming to Victoria he finished third and fourth. Gongs for efforts Cobram Harness Racing Club recently honoured its top achievers for the 2016-17 season at its awards night. Harness Racing Victoria’s chief executive David Brick was a special guest. Goulburn Valley industry participants fared well in the awards. Shepparton reinsman Nathan Jack took the Driver of Year award, while Amanda Turnbull was the Trainer of the Year, pipping Glen Douglas by a point. Young Shepparton horseman Mark Pitt carried off the Concession Driver of the Year for the third successive time. Pacer of the Year award was a three-way tie between Somedan, Classic Grin and Be Good Juddy while Dabbsey took Trotter of the Year honours. Ian and Tania Ward claimed the Trials Trainer of Year award, while the Laura Crossland-trained Lochinvar Delight took the Trial Horse of the Year honours. Cobram is now gearing up for its annual Melbourne Cup day meet. Revisiting glory days Harness racing returns to Wayville tonight in South Australia for a one-off meeting on the smallest track in Australia. It is the first race meeting to be held at the Wayville Showgrounds track since 1973. Top SA trainer-driver Ryan Hryhorec said ‘‘Retro Night’’ would be “magic” after driving in trials at the track. “Yes, the track is tighter than what we normally run on, but I was very happy with the way my horses went around,” Hryhorec said. Harness Racing South Australia is hoping for a crowd of 10000 to relive some of the golden days of trots in the state. One of the days was in 1963 when 45000 trots fans crammed into Wayville to watch the great Cardigan Bay win the Inter Dominion. Coming up Maryborough holds its cup meeting on Sunday and Shepparton races on Wednesday night. Today: Melton (n). Tomorrow: Ballarat (n). Sunday: Maryborough (d). Monday: Horsham (d). Tuesday: Bendigo (n). Wednesday: Shepparton (n). Thursday: Cranbourne (n). By the Shepparton News Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

Friday night was a red letter affair for the Aikens. David Aiken, head of the Avenel operation, trained two Group 1 winners on the opening night of the Vicbred Super Series finals carnival at Tabcorp Park, while his son, Josh, drove his first Group 1 winner aboard the stable’s rising star Eljaykay Phoenix. The 21-year-old looked totally undaunted against drivers several years his senior, taking Eljaykay Phoenix to the front early, and not panicking when headed by Jodi Quinlan aboard Illawong Armstrong with a lap to go in the two-year-old male trotters’ final. The pair stayed one-two for the remainder of the race, with Eljaykay Phoenix proving 5.4m too strong in a mile rate of 2:03.8. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn,” the young driver said after the race. “That’s just unreal. I can’t explain how good it feels.” David Aiken then made it two Group 1s for the night with four-year-old Spidergirl capping her domination of the futurity series after previously taking out the two- and three-year-old titles. Chris Alford took Spidergirl to the front early and was never headed, the long odds-on favourite beating second favourite Paris Pepperell by 7.3m, with the rest of the field more than 20m away. Meanwhile, favourite punters were on song for most of the night with seven of the 10 races going their way. Claudys Princess was one of those, the Mick Blackmore-trained three-year-old filly saluting by 2.2m over Illawong Helios in her Super Series final. The win was Claudys Princess’s ninth from 12 starts and Blackmore will now have to seriously consider taking her to the Derby on Redwood Day. “She’ll tell us,” he said when asked about what was next for the daughter of Bacardi Lindy. Winning reinsman Gavin Lang was thrilled with the success. “While there are a lot of people at the top of the tree who deserve the accolades they get, there are a lot of people down the other end who really make our industry what it is,” he said. “You don’t have to be a millionaire.” New South Welsh visitor Vincennes wasn’t the favourite but was well-supported before taking out the four-year-old males’ trotters final. And with six races being beamed live into France for wagering and broadcast last night, there’s a fair chance the French punters took the omen and made him favourite. Trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick delivered a copybook drive aboard Vincennes to defeat punters’ fancy Blitzthemcalder by 2.5m. Blitzthemcalder sat in the breeze mid-race and took the lead on the home turn, but Vincennes had momentum up after securing an economical trip four-back in the running line. Vincennes’ winning mile rate was 2:00.0, coming home in a last half-mile of 58.2secs. Andy Gath’s young trotter Endsino, driven by Kate Gath, started a short-priced favourite and showed she has a bright future by winning the two-year-old fillies’ trotters’ final. Endsino was over 12m too strong for her nearest rival, Shesa Amason, who gave cheek from her pole draw. The other Group 1 victor for the night was long-shot Imamenace for hobby trainer Peter Cormican and reinsman Greg Sugars. Imamenace sat outside race leader Spidergrace before getting the better of the David Moran-trained horse after a stirring battle in the home straight. Despite reinswoman Laura Crossland throwing everything at Spidergrace, Imamenace proved the tougher horse on the night. Alford finished with driving honours on the night, the Spidergirl victory coming after the champion horseman won on Triumphant Monarch in the first race. Amy Tubbs trained-and-driven Brunelleschi won the inaugural Group 3 Noopy Kisok Trotters Free For All, while Sonofanearl won the Aldebaran Park Monte despite a 20m handicap for rider Riina Maattanen. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

It’s party time in Arcadia tonight after the Group 1 success of Imamenace in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts and Geldings Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The win was hobby trainer Peter Cormican’s first Group 1 success and he was predictably thrilled. “This is the first time (I’ve won a Group 1) and I’m going to make the most of it, let me tell you,” he said post-race. Driven by Greg Sugars, Imamenace, who is a huge horse and was having just his second start after a fifth on debut at Maryborough, got off the fence early to sit outside race favourite Spidergrace. The pair controlled proceedings before swinging for home the final time locked together. Despite the urgings of Laura Crossland, Spidergrace just couldn’t shake off Imamenace, who levelled up and then edged ahead near the line after a cracking two-horse battle to pull off an upset victory. “Amazing,” said winning driver Greg Sugars. “I drove him in the heat and Peter said he goes all right. He went well first up, hitting the line hard. “But to come out and do what he did tonight, there’s no way in the world I would have thought he could do that.” Asdenro produced a big run to finish third after being inconvenienced early in the race. The winner’s mile rate was 2:03.9. Imamenace by Cody Winnell

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