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Rothacker is a name sononymous with Bendigo and Bridgewater trainer/driver Peter Rothacker son of Inter Dominion winning father Eric, landed a stable double at the Wangaratta HRC fixture held at Shepparton on Thursday January 23, taking both trotting events - Windy Big scoring in the Park View Motor Inn Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres and Gazoline the Frascia’s Steel & Belting Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over the same journey. Windy Big a seven year old gelded son of Wind Cries Maori and Wendy Robyn starting from gate four on the second line was given plenty of time to find his feet, settling with only Prettygirl Lassie behind him, with Unsolved Mystery leading from gate three. Eased three wide racing for the bell, Windy Big was momentarily pushed four wide when Bill Morgan came out aboard Gioiosa Ionica from four back in the moving line, with Rothacker easing for a three wide trail. Taken wide on straightening, Windy Big charged home to score by 6.1 metres in a mile rate of 2-05.3 from Yankee Mara which followed the pacemaker and Prettygirl Lassie, chalking up his third victory in 29 outings. Ten year old Classic Adam/Sues Shadow gelding Gazoline a bold front runner, raced in the open from the 10 metre mark outside the speedy Conchs Critter (barrier three), before taking control mid-race. Challenged strongly by Dabbsey approaching the final bend, Gazoline kicked clear at the straight entrance and after being driven vigorously as the winning post loomed, held on the score by 1.8 metres in 2-04.9 over Conchs Critter and Wildenstein (one/one last lap). An honest horse who always gives his best, Gazoline recorded his 12th success in 126 race appearances. Both horses are raced by Peter and wife Dianne. Quality five year old Art Major/Magic Music gelding Scruffy Major returned to the winners list by taking the Porter Plant Hire Country Clubs Championship for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres at Shepparton. Trained in Gippsland at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan for Debbie’s parents octogenarians Gordon and June who bred him, Scruffy Major had little difficulty in leading from the pole with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Pressured mid-race by the roughie Bon Jovi which was pulling extremely hard, Douglas elected to let him go racing for the bell aiming to make use of the sprint lane on turning and that’s exactly what happened, with Scruffy Major sailing home to score untouched by 3.5 metres in advance of Fiery Count which followed him throughout in a rate of 1-58.7. Bon Jovi held on to finish third .3 metres away. It was Scruffy Major’s 12th victory in 28 outings. The Quinlan’s also notched up a double, with Countdown (Nathan Jack) greeting the judge in the Essential Living Curtains & Blinds Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)

In a bygone era – the Shepparton Gold Cup was one of the most sought after prizes in Victorian provincial harness racing. Champions the calibre of Raiarmagh Pool, Bold David, Just Too Good, Royal Gaze, Popular Alm and Quite Famous just to name a few not only contested the race, but etched their name into the record books by winning in front of capacity crowds, while in more recent times horses such as Sokyola, Sting Lika Bee and Mr Feelgood have greeted the judge. The race appeared to lose its identity for a period of time, but is now back to where it once belonged and a terrific field lined up at the Kialla Racing Complex on Saturday January 18 for the 2014 version – a Group 2 event for M0 or better class horses over 2690 metres sponsored by Neatline Homes– the victor being Cranbourne Cup winner Gold Ace for NSW based Belinda and Luke McCarthy. In what was one of the most exciting cups this season, Smudge Bromac one of three David Aiken trained runners handed up to Bitobliss (20 metres) shortly after the start, with The Gold Ace (20 metres) circling to race in the open being followed up by the phenomenal Smoken Up (30 metres) who assumed control mid-race. While all this was going on, Restrepo (10 metres) was enjoying the run of the race just off the speed. The favourite Bendigo Cup winner Im Corzin Terror was slowly away from 10 metres settling closer to last than first, while Scandalman having his first try from the tapes missed away hopelessly and was tailed off. When Luke McCarthy put his foot to the floor with The Gold Ace in an effort to cross Smoken Up in the last lap, the tempo was hectic and it appeared that the likes of Bitobliss and Restrepo could fight out the finish, however it was Smoken Up showing his “never say die” attitude holding a slender margin all the way up the running only to be bloused in the last stride by a game The Gold Ace, with Restrepo third – the sectional times for the last mile being 30, 32, 27.3 and 28.3 seconds – the margins being a head by a half neck in a mile rate of 2-00.6. A prolific winning intact son of Bettors Delight and Hill Of Gold, The Gold Ace has raced only 52 times for 20 wins and 12 placings and in all probability will now go straight into the A.G. Hunter Cup in two weeks time. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Terang trainer Marg Lee snared the quinella in the Terang Co-Op Free For All for C9 or better class horses over 2200 metres at the Terang HRC fixture held at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday with stable superstars Keayang Steamer and Keayang Cullen. In what was a heady drive by nephew Glen Craven, Keayang Steamer starting from the extreme draw was sent forward early in the race to park outside Keayang Cullen which exploded away from outside the front row with Jason Lee in the sulky. Content to allow “Cullen” to dictate the terms in quarters of 31.1, 29.6, 28.3 and 28 for the last mile, “Steamer” moved on terms with his stablemate on the final bend, before outstaying him to score impressively by 3.1 metres in a rate of 1-56.5. Old timer Melpark Major in search of cracking the one million dollar stake barrier, moved a step closer by finishing third 5.1 metres away. Keayang Steamer was victorious in winning the Horsham Cup on January 5, while Keayang Cullen finished second in the Hamilton Cup on January 12. On what was a “night of nights” for the Craven family, Matt Craven was successful aboard Hamilton trainer David Lewis’ American Ideal/Atomic Fusion colt The Fat Man in the Terang Harness Racing Club Silver Vase for Three year olds 3C0 to 3C2 class over 2240 metres. Having his first outing since last July, The Fat Man raced by David and Terry Lewis led throughout from gate two, running his rivals ragged to score by 9.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.4 over Stormy Lecture and Gotta Go Henry. By Len Baker courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Semi-Final day of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships hosted by the St Arnaud HRC at Charlton on January 15, were impacted by scratchings resulting in small fields contesting a number of the races due to the extreme heat conditions prevailing all throughout the State. Four runners contested the first Pacers Semi, with victory going to four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze for Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stand in reinsman John Caldow. Enjoying a sweet passage trailing the leader and favourite Bushrod with both horses coming from the 10 metre mark, Sapphire Swayze when eased away from the markers in the last lap, sprinted like a gazelle to lead running into the final bend to defeat the rank outsider Red Riverbed along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Bushrod a disappointing third after hanging away from the inside in the last lap. The mile rate 2-08.3. Semi number two consisted of seven starters, with Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy’s above average four year old McCardle/Nuclearaccelerator gelding Almost El Eagle greeting the judge in 2-01.3. Driven by John Caldow, Almost El Eagle stepped cleanly from barrier three to trail the surprise pole line leader Dynamite Dude, with Boyz Talk being sent forward after a slow beginning from 10 metres to park in the open. Charging home along the sprint lane, Almost El Eagle coasted to the wire 2.9 metres in advance of Nimble Jack (one/one – three wide last lap), with Dynamite Dude weakening to finish third 2.9 metres away. The first Semi of the Trotters saw only six starters, with Junortoun trainer/driver Scott Dyer’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Oh Yes Indeed gelding The Boss man an impressive victor. Slowly away from barrier two, The Boss Man settled three back along the inside, with the favourite Unico Crown bounding straight to the front from the pole. Given an easy time by Chris Alford, Unico Crown always looked the one to beat judging on his brilliant heat performance at Bendigo. The other highly fancied candidate Quite A Moment (last season’s Breeders Crown winner) possied five back along the markers from a 30 metre backmark, moving to be one/one at the bell when The Boss Man eased away from the inside. Ambling up to Unico Crown on the home turn, The Boss Man was strong at the finish even though the margin was only a head, scoring in a rate of 2-07. Quite A Moment finished 10.1 metres away in third place. Six also contested the second Semi with the winner being Bendigo trainer David Van Ryn’s four year old Bacardi Lindy/Belstar gelding Belmac Cody much to the delight of Pyramid Hill resident Teddy Carmody and partners. Driven by Haydon Gray nephew of the trainer, Belmac Cody galloped away from the pole, settling three back along the markers in a strung out field with the roughie Featherfoot Sun leading from barrier two, being trailed by 20 metre marker Man Of The World. Taken back a spot mid-race after Invasive made a lightning move from four back the markers to assume control from Man Of The World which had moved around Featherfoot Sun, Belmac Cody left the markers to race in the open at the bell. Pushed three wide in the last lap when Invasive shifted ground enabling Man Of The World to lead into the straight, Belmac Cody ran to the wire strongly to score from Man Of The World and Invasive in a mile rate of 2-07.5 Both Finals each worth $25,000 will be held at Maryborough next Monday January 20. Unfortunately several horses will miss out on a spot due to their non penalty scratching from the Semi’s due to the heat. Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

CENTRAL VICTORIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTINUE AT MARYBOROUGH Heats three of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships continued at the Wedderburn HRC fixture held at Maryborough on Monday January 6, with Sapphire Swayze taking the C2 or better class pacers division over 2190 metres and Mallee Trapper the T0 or better class trotters over 2690 metres. Four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze was ultra impressive in his victory, returning a mile rate of 2-01.6 for the standing stat event. Trained by Adam Kelly at his new Riddell complex, Sapphire Swayze first up since June with stable reinsman Gavin Lang aboard, stepped cleanly from 10 metres to settle four back along the markers in a strung out field, with pole marker Whata Avenue pouncing straight to the front as the tapes released. Easing away from the inside to park in the open racing for the bell, Sapphire Swayze in a twinkling of an eye exploded to the front in the back straight with the race safely in his keeping. With Lang just sitting there in the straight, Sapphie Swayze coasted to the wire 4.8 metres in advance of Whata Avenue who struck to her task well, with Boyz Torque (three wide last lap) a further 10 metres away in third place after a tardy beginning. Popular Portarlington trainer Gary Bailey a devoted follower of the squaregaiter, received a boost when home bred six year old Wind Cries Maori/Trappers Girl gelding snared the trotters division. Driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, Mallee Trapper was quick to begin from a 30 metre handicap, going forward to surprisingly arrest the lead away from the last start Melton winner Invasive at the judge on the first occasion. Rated to perfection, Mallee Trapper defied all challengers to defeat the co 50 metre backmarker Loveyougoodboy (three wide last lap) by 1.1 metres, with Invasive a disappointing third after having every chance along the sprint lane a half head away in third place. The mile rate 2-05.8. Gary has been recuperating from a more than painful knee operation. Semi-Finals will be held at the St Arnaud HRC meeting at Charlton on Wednesday January 15, with the Finals at Maryborough five days later on Monday January 20. One of the highlights of the day was the victory of exciting Blissful Hall/Weona Rena four year old entire Bliss Man in the Wedderburn Motel Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1690 metres. Trained in the western part of the state at Hawkesdale (Hamilton District) by Graham Gee for wife Christine, Bliss Man again taking a concession for Terang’s Jason Lee was quickly away from inside the second line to press forward and park outside the pacemaker Aleppo Tiger (gate two). Pouring on the pressure in the last lap, Bliss Man cruised to the front on the final bend to score by 4.9 metres in a rate of 1-55.6 over Our Eastwood Cullen (four wide last lap) from near last, with Aleppo Tiger holding down third 3 metres away. It was Bliss Man’s 9th victory in 15 race appearances, the last six in succession. By Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

The ever progressive Horsham Harness Racing Club conducted a sensational race day program on Sunday January 5th, highlighted by the running of the $60,000 (Group 2) Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2700 metres and what a race it was with the victor being five year old Riverboat King / Alimar Star gelding Keayang Steamer for Terang trainer Marg Lee, nephew Glen Craven and the Craven family. Although small in numbers, the field attracted a tremendous array of talent headed by champion Smoken Up, along with last year’s Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish, outstanding gelding Abettorpunt and potential stars Keayang Steamer, Magical Telf, and Im Corzin Terror. Mah Sish was best to begin from the pole from Hugo Play (gate two) with Smoken Up (gate six) three wide pushing forward to assume control running into the first turn. Keayang Steamer (gate five) was trapped wide, with Glen Craven having no option but to press forward to occupy the position outside the leader. The pattern of the race didn’t alter until the final circuit when Hugo Play eased three wide to challenge the leaders, while at the same stage Keayang Steamer immediately and surprisingly strode past Smoken Up with Glen thinking to himself that he had gone for home too early. Although unable to pass Smoken Up completely, Keayang Steamer held a 4.7 metre margin to the wire, with Hugo Play running the race of his life to finish 3.6 metres in arrears of the pair in third place. With quarters of 31.1, 31, 28.8 and 28.7 for the last mile, Keayang Steamer returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.8 for the journey. The additional highlight of the day being the $15,000 Conch Deville HorshamTrotters Cup for TM0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2700 metres which saw brilliant four year old Metropolitan / Like A Calder entire Blitzthemcalder thrill the crowd with a tremendous performance to snare the major prize, Bred and raced by Rick Burchell, Blitzthemcalder trained at Lara by Dean Braun with regular reinsman Chris Alford in the sulky, was very slow to begin from the pole, giving the tearaway leader Si Capisco up to 50 metres start at one stage, with both Allaward Ugo and the Kiwi Thanesan which both galloped early putting themselves out of business. Commencing a forward move racing for the bell, it was easily seen that Blitzthemcalder was going to round his rivals up with ease as the tempo in which the race was run suited him to perfection. Not bustled to make ground in a hurry, Blitzthemcalder strode effortlessly to the front on the home turn and careered away to score by an official margin of 35 metres in a mile rate of 2-04.9 (last half 64.1 – quarter 33) in advance of Lightning Joy (three back the markers – one/one last lap) and Trappers Puzzle (one/two) which recovered after an early gallop. The mile rate being only .9 of a second outside Sir Gondola’s race record set in 2005. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Four year old Live Or Die/Inclination gelding Excuse To Live had everything go right for a change when successful in the $6,000 Community Day Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres at the Stawell HRC meeting conducted on Monday December 30 for those which qualified in the heats held at Terang on Sunday December 22 Trained at Sebastopol (Ballarat) by Colin Holloway and raced by the Holloway family (Colin, wife Heather and son Brett) who drove the horse, Excuse To Live led throughout from the pole to defeat the raging hot favourite Keayang Starzzz from near last by a half neck in 1-57.1, with Dancing Feet running home late from a mile back to finish third. Excuse To Live rarely has any luck in his races and probably should have finished closer in many of them. Popular Sebastian owners Garry and Brenda Jackson finished the year on a high note, when their honest five year old Pegasus Spur/Cassies Miss mare Mosquito Spur landed in the Stawell Windows & Glass Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2175 metres. Trained and driven by Garry, Mosquito Spur began with a wing on every foot from the 10 metre mark to cross Family Decision shortly after the start, with her task being made easier when all of the favoured runners were badly away. Bowling along at her leisure, Mosquito Spur although shortening stride over the concluding stages, scored by 2.5 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.9 over Frances Annie which they away all chance at the start and was meritorious in making up many lengths to get so close at the finish. Rough Voyage (three back the markers) was third. Melton breeder/owner/trainer Charlie DeBono's Safari/Living Angel gelding Another Safari snared the 2nd Heat of the Stawell Veterinary Clinic Platinum Country Series I for Three Year Olds over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-00.5. Driven by Zac Phillips, Another Safari had little difficulty in leading from the pole, just lasting to defeat Always Wantano along the sprint lane after trailing by a half neck, with Notjustanotherlombo (one/one - three wide home turn) third a neck away after racing roughly prior to the post. Another Safari's mother Living Angel a multiple cup winning mare, won the Stawell Pacing Cup in 2001. Peter Manning kept his Stawell record intact by winning the Gold Reef Clothing Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with in-form Art Major/Ananz filly Znana. With daughter Kerryn in the sulky, Znana led throughout from the pole to defeat her stablemate Additallup which raced outside her by 3.4 metres, with Amberlu Angus (one/one) third. The mile rate an easy 2-04.8. It was Znana's sixth victory. Armstrong trainer Brook Hansen's beautifully bred four year old Blissful Hall/My Cherie gelding Blessed IsThe Boy broke his maiden status at start number 12 when successful in the Carey Covers Pace for C0 class over 2175 metres, returning a mile rate of 2-01.7. Driven by Kerryn Manning, Blessed Is The Boy starting from the extreme draw commenced a forward move from last racing for the bell, being accommodated by the favourite Fearless Courage coming out ahead of him from three back in the running line. Making the final bend very wide, Blessed Is The Boy rattled home at a great rate to blouse the leader Urban Shadow by a half head in a tricky finish, with Onlyeconomyclass third after switching down to the sprint lane from mid-field on turning. Another four year old winner on the day was Jet Laag/Pandoras Reign gelding Pandoras Jet for Marong part-owner/trainer Col Latter in the Stawell farm Supplies Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Driven by Terang based "whiz kid" Jason Lee, Pandoras Jet showed blistering speed out of gate four to cross the pole marker Peters Ace on the first turn, defying all challengers to score in a rate of 2-00.7 from Peters Ace which used the sprint lane to no avail and Sir Dasher Dee which followed the pair. Former HRV Board member Peter Bourke now Chairman of Australian Pacing Gold, enjoyed a day of days at Stawell as apart from breeding the main race winner Excuse To Live, also bred and races Garabaldi Union the victor of the Hygain Feeds Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres. Trained by Peter Manning at Great Western, Garabaldi Union a five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding which has been on fire of late, possied three back in the moving line from gate five, with Secret Ruby leading from the pole being shadowed by Metrofromelle. Easing three wide racing for the bell, Garabaldi Union showed plenty of staying prowess to wear down both Suerte (one/one) which shifted down to the sprint lane on straightening by a head and a game Metrofromelle in a mile rate 1-58.3. This is my final column for HARNESSLINK - thank you for all the support over the years and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014. Len Baker                                      

It was Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup Day on Friday December 28, with a bumper crowd of Murray River holiday makers enjoying the nine race harness racing card. Bannockburn trainer Geoff Webster having won three of the past five - Genuine Star (2008), Mister Zion (2009) and Lets Slash An Burn (2010), was looking to make it four with much travelled gelding Rakarebel, as was Melton based reinsman Greg Sugars aboard the Webster elect, after guiding Genuine Star, Lets Slash An Burn and Jaccka Clive to victory in 2011 for Avenel’s David Aiken. The $25,000 feature for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2678 metres attracted a small but quality field, with prolific winning Jaccka Clive (one of four runners from the Aiken barn) the 20 metre backmarker. Last year’s successful trainer Tim Butt made it back to back cup victories, when five year old Grinfromeartoear - Against The Wind gelding Pass Them By with John Caldow in the sulky prevailed. Beginning brilliantly from barrier four, Pass Them By pounced on the lead, with Uncle Wingnut from outside the front line moving outside him, polemarker Washmepockets trailing the leader, Rakarebel (barrier two) one/one being followed by Wartime Sweetheart and stablemate Smudge Bromac from the 10 metre mark, with Jaccka Clive last. Composed settled three back the markers, with stablemates Lovable Larrikin and Jaydens Castle trailing him. With no moves being made until the last lap, Wartime Sweetheart was eased three wide to commence a forward move, giving Jaccka Clive a ride home and Smudge Bromac working between runners. Joining Pass Them By on the final bend, Wartime Sweetheart issued a strong challenge, however Pass Them By after a relative easy trip, rallied to gain the day by a head in a punishing finish, with Washmepockets using the sprint lane for third just in advance of Composed which also made use of the inside run. Rated to perfection by Caldow in quarters of 29.6, 30.1, 28.4 and 28.5 for the last mile, Pass Them By raced by a large number of stable clients returned a new track record mile rate of 1-59.5, bettering Mister Zion’s 1-59.9 by .4 seconds. The other highlight of the afternoon being the $15,000 Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup for TM0 or better class (D-H) over 2678 metres, with victory going the way of David Aiken’s all American bred seven year old Ken Warkentin - Kovel rig My High Expectations, obliterating the track record by two seconds. Well in on handicaps to start from a 20 metre backmark, My High Expectations stepped cleanly with old timer Oi You beginning best to lead from barrier three, before surrendering to the Kiwi Thanesan entering the front straight on the first occasion. Biding his time with most of the field ahead of him, My Expectations moved to be one/one mid-race when I See Icy Earl ahead of him eased away from the markers to lead up the outside division before taking cover on Bellingham from last. Taken four wide in the final circuit, My High Expectations quickly joined Thanesan on the home turn and raced away to score by 6.8 metres in a mile rate of 2-01.3 (last half 58 seconds – quarter 28.9) over Thanesan who was game in defeat, with I See Icy Earl (three wide last lap) third 5.1 metres away. It was My High Expectations 23rd victory from only 71 outings. David reaped all of the rewards, as apart from training and driving the winner, he also races him. An interesting winner on the day was nine year old Panorama - Regal Sarnel gelding Regalramapleasure for Chiltern trainer Peter Romero who despite winning eleven races (mostly in three year old and restricted events over the years), started in the C1 class Clydesdale Hotel Pace over 2170 metres thanks to the drop back system. Driven by Nathan Jack, Regalramapleasure led throughout from gate five, defeating Pelling and Smart Sista in a rate of 2-00.3 when having his first outing since Melbourne Cup Day. Videos of the two Cups are attached. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

At Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday, talented Riverboat King/Alimar Star 5-Y-0 gelding Keayang Steamer resumed with a strong victory in the For A Reason Pace for M2 & M3 class over 2240 metres. Raced by the Levard Racing Group, trained at Terang by Marg Lee and driven by nephew Glen Craven, Keayang Steamer having his first outing since August settled mid-field in the running line from gate three on the second line, before trailing Jadahson ahead of his forward three wide shortly after the start to park outside the Stawell Cup winning pacemaker Arber (gate two) racing for the bell. Pouring on the pressure approaching the home turn, Keayang Steamer class told on straightening as he recorded a comfortable 2.5 metre victory over Composed which followed him into the straight after a cosy passage on the back of the leader. Washmepockets (three back the markers) used the sprint lane to finish third. With a last half mile of 55.9 - quarter 27.8, Keayang Steamer returned a mile rate of 1-55.9 and could now head to Adelaide for the S-A Cup to be held at Globe Derby Park on Saturday January 11. It was Keayang Steamer's 14th victory in 32 race appearances. Len Baker  

A night of competitive racing was held at Kilmore on Tuesday November 26, with the Avenel area taking the honours. Former Kilmore trainer Wayne Potter now based at Avenel, snared the Jet Roofing Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1690 metres with sit/sprint specialist Tombstone Eden in a mile rate of 1-58.8. Driven by Nathan Jack, Tombstone Eden from gate two on the second line settled four back in the moving line, before gaining a beaut three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of Gangster Boy ahead of him. Despite making the final bend four wide, Tombstone Eden sprinted home brilliantly to defeat Post It Away (one/one – outside the leader Whosgunnagetit from the bell) and Easy Lighting who was never better than three wide the trip. A five year old daughter of Armbro Operative and Eve Of Eden, Tombstone Eden has recorded nine wins from 37 race appearances. Other Avenel winners on the program were five year old Art Major/Vangold entire Cold Major for David and Josh Aiken who was successful in the Goulburn Murray Credit Union Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2180 metres following a gigantic performance at Shepparton a week earlier and promising mare Vics Cheval who was first up since June in A Harness Christmas At Kilmore 11 December Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2150 metres. Taking a concession, Cold Major bred by Queensland millionaire Clive Palmer had little luck from gate four being trapped wide,before being sent forward to park outside the pacemaker Fifth And Broadway (gate two) who was the favourite. Gaining cover mid-race after Amazing Kano moved to face the breeze, Cold Major when eased wide on turning, finished his race off well to score from Big Zee (mid-field) using inside runs prior to the home turn before easing wide on straightening and Major Deed in a mile rate of 1-59.7. David was to finish the night on a high note when extremely talented Yankee Boy/Vics Lady four year old mare Vics Cheval recorded her 4th victory in 16 outings. Starting from the pole, Vics Cheval raced very roughly as the starter released the field, being given plenty of time to find her feet, settling four back along the markers with the roughie Ifu Seek The Luck leading from barrier three. When Jumeirah Jane ahead of her was eased away from the inside to face the open for the run along the back straight on the final occasion, Vics Cheval immediately latched to her back for a nice ride home. Issuing a strong challenge to Jumeirah Jane on the home turn, Vics Cheval gained the upper hand shortly after and coasted to the wire 17.6 metres in advance of the 60 metre backmarker Miss Southern Land, with Jumeirah Jane a head away in third place. The mile rate 2-07.7. Both Cold Major and Vics Cheval were bred by Queensland millionaire Clive Palmer and are raced by David Aiken. Melton trainer Sue Hunter combined with Gavin Lang to land the Kilmore H.R.C Trotters Mobile for T2 & T3 class over 2180 metres with smart pacing bred 6-Y-0 Elsu/Amanda Woodward gelding Mister Elwood. Having his first outing since May, Mister Elwood starting inside the second line was soon travelling just of the speed in the running line, with Conchs Critter leading from the pole. His task was made a lot easier as two of the main fancies Chevals Racer (gate two) and Star Style (gate five) galloped away. Send forward three wide gradually in the final circuit, Mister Elwood raced clear over the concluding stages to defeat the honest mare Sultry Lady which moved to face the open at the bell from three back the markers after an unsuccessful bid for the front running from gate four, with Tawonga South third off a three wide trail last lap from last on the back of the winner. The mile rate 2-02.4. Glen Park’s Sebastian Steenhuis has a wonderful strike rate and was successful Safari/Truly Sue gelding Bobby Fabulous in the Kilmore HRC 3-Y-0 Pace over 2180 metres with Michael Stanley in the sulky. Leading out from gate two, Bobby Fabulous ran his rivals ragged, accounting for Ruato Bay off a three wide trail from six back in the running line at the bell and Christian Torado (one/two) returning a mile rate of 1-59.8. Dunnstown based Nathan Cahir was also a winner on the night when five year old Metropolitan/Cornelia Lombo gelding No Bettertime greeted the judge in the Ashley’s Kids Rides Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres. Driven by Nathan, No Bettertime was given a sweet passage from gate four trailing the well supported Pass It To Billy which flew the gate from barrier five and was always travelling beautifully. Using the sprint lane, No Bettertime dashed clear halfway up the running to score by 1.7 metres over the flying Dont Wanadie (four back the markers), with Packedtotherafters coming from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-00.1. Len Baker

The Gunbower HRC held their once a year annual Cup Day on Sunday November 24 – with the Gunbower Family Hotel sponsored $12,000 Gunbower Pacing Cup for C5 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2630 metres going the way of six year old Village Jasper/Cultured Lombo gelding Savesomtimetodream, much to the delight of a host of Ballarat owners headed by Ballarat Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. Trained at Ross Creek by Paul, Savesomtimetodream driven by Jodi Quinlan began beautifully from inside the 10-metre mark which was actually the pole as there were no front runners to lead, before being crossed by Glenn Douglas’ Boort Cup winner of last season Daylight Dan racing into the first turn. Jodi Quinlan immediately moved away from the inside to change spots with Daylight Dan as the 30 metre backmarker Smudge Bromac was set alight by Nathan Jack to comfortably park outside the leader. With the quick tempo of the last half mile, those back in the field had difficulty in making ground allowing those up front to fight out the finish. In quarters of 31.8, 31.6, 29.1 and 28.2, Savesomtimetodream defied all challengers to score by 2.1 metres over a game Smudge Bromac in a mile rate of 2-01.5. Narra Operative one/one finished a creditable third after a cosy passage, with Thats Mister Ali running on late to finish fourth.. Racing at the elite level for most of his career, Savesomtimtodream coming off a gallant second to Kid Coconut after facing the breeze at Tabcorp Park Melton eight days earlier when first up since June,  registered his 13th victory in 38 outings. The $10,000 Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2630 metres supplemented the eight race program, which saw former smart juvenile Zedalite successful for Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley with Melton based Rod Petroff in the sulky. Stepping safely from barrier five, Zedalite first up since August was sent forward to cross the polemarker Im Demimondaine, before handing over the front running role to the 20 metre backmarker Cold Sister approaching the bell. When Gavin Lang vacated the prime one/one position with the well supported Lightning Joy to park outside the favourite at the bell, the pair of quality runners appeared to have the race to themselves. Locked together on straightening with Trappers Puzzle easing three wide from the one/one after racing parked for the first circuit, Lightning Joy momentarily hit the front with Trappers Puzzle in hot pursuit and Zedalite poised to use the sprint lane. Finishing best, Zedalite gained the day by a half head in a thrilling finish over Trappers Puzzle which ran the race of his life, with Lightning Joy a head away in third place in advance of Cold Sister. The mile rate 2-04.2. A five-year-old gelded son of Zooma and Rememberance Day bred and raced by Broomfield (Creswick region) residents David (Davo) Davidson and wife Beth, Zedalite has fronted the starter on 58 occasions for 18 victories. The novelty event of the afternoon – the Echuca Steel Gunbower Hot Lap for C2 & C3 class over 1390 metres, was taken out by the Glenn Douglas trained and driven ex-Kiwi five year old Falcon Seelster/Duomo Bromac gelding Conflict Of Interest in a mile rate of 1-56.1, leading all of the way from gate three to account for Shifty Shivas (one/two) which gained a late split halfway up the running, with Life Of Ted (one/two) snatching third out wide on the track. Len Baker

Peter Manning’s Armbro Invasion/Free Rider 3-Y-0 gelding Weregonnarock brought up four wins in a row by taking out the Seelite Windows & Doors Vicbred Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres at Maryborough on Friday November 22, but not before giving his supporters heart flutters. In what was a superb performance, Weregonnarock galloped away from the pole as the start was effected settling a long last, with Thekiwikid working to the front. Commencing a forward move three wide racing for the bell, Weregonnarock was left on a limb until he exploded to the front on the final bend and raced away to record a brilliant 18.6 metre victory in advance of Ships Shui (three back the markers) and Ballan Road from mid-field in a rate of 2-03. Western District (Hawkesdale) trainer Graham Gee’s very smart Blissful Hall/Weona Rena 4-Y-0 entire Bliss Man chalked up his 6th victory when successful in the Redpath Tyres & Battery Service Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres. Taking a concession for Terang young gun Jason Lee, Bliss Man was sent forward from outside the front row to lead for the majority of the trip in easily accounting for Zedaguy which trailed after leading out, with Rosy Ogrady Lombo (one/one) last lap third. The mile rate 1-55.1. Jason was to finish the day with a double after piloting cousin Matt Craven’s Kiwi bred 5-Y-0 Real Desire/Explosive Franco gelding Dont Tell Jim to victory in the Bristol Hill Motor Inn Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres. First up since July, Dont Tell Jim enjoyed a cosy passage on the back of the leader Rapid Art Beat after the favourite Bettor Move galloped in the back straight on the first occasion. \Using the sprint lane, Dont Tell Jim sailed to the front in the shadows of the post to score from the pacemaker and a death-seating Exsalont in a rate of 2-00.6. Congupna trainer Danny Ferris has a potential top liner in Bacardi Lindy/Strapon filly Barefoot Sally who made it two from three when successful in the Yield Boko @ Aldebaran Park 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Driven by Chris Lang (Jnr), Barefoot Sally starting solo on the second row, possied one/one trailing the favourite Spidergrace (gate six) which shadowed the pacemaker Riegle Deception (gate four). Easing wide on straightening as Spidergrace got the better of the leader, Barefoot Sally ran home stylishly to register a 1.2 metre victory over Spidergrace, with Rumbaron third after trailing the front runner. The mile rate 2-03.8. Eight year old Dream Vacation/Maori Princess gelding Maori Vacation snared the Red Samurai Trotters Handicap for T3 or better class over 2190 metres for veteran Stanhope trainer Malcolm Shaw. Driven by Gavin Lang, Maori Vacation first up since August settled mid-field in the moving line after starting from 20 metres, with old timer Kingofthedesert leading from the pole. Set alight three wide racing for the bell, Maori Vacation had little difficulty in parking outside the leader and was always travelling kindly. Surging to the front approaching the home turn, Maori Vacation had plenty in hand at the finish, winning by 1.7 metres from Balletto (four wide home turn after a bad beginning) and Imagunnadogood (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-06. The Adam Kelly/Gavin Lang (Coimadai) combination were successful with Kiwi bred 6-Y-0 In The Pocket/Lite Jade mare Lite Jagermeister in the Maryborough & District Advertiser Pace for C5 & C6 class over 1690 metres. Taking advantage of a mares concession, Lite Jagermeister (gate four) was sent forward to obtain the front running racing for the bell off the pole marker Night Affair. Travelling smoothly for the rest of the journey, Lite Jagermeister coasted to the wire 5.3 metres in advance of Night Affair in a rate of 1-56.3, with The Unionist (three wide last lap from last) running home strongly for third. Len Baker

Long Forest husband and wife Andy & Kate Gath back home after a week in Christchurch with Caribbean Blaster competing at the New Zealand Cup Carnival, took the honours at the Shepparton meeting held on Tuesday November 19 with a stable double – Jeremes Jet/Millpac Maid colt Gowan Brae taking the Elite Horse Transport 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres and 6-Y-0 Yankee Paco/Katie Daley mare Jumeirah Jane the Hunter Home Hardware Trotters Handicap for T0 class over the same journey. Gowan Brae raced by Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame, was first up since April and led throughout from the pole to easily account for the first starter Major Crocker off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit on the back of the third placegetter Provocatator (one/one) in the last lap. The mile rate 1-59.3. Much improved mare Jumeirah Jane raced by Bullengarook’s Wendy Harrison in partnership with mother Jean Johnstone, was probably the most popular winner on the night when making her 16th appearance at the races. Starting from barrier three, Jumeirah Jane crossed Giacomo inside her shortly after the start and was always travelling boldly under a tight rein. Showing no signs of stopping, Jumeirah Jane scored by 7.7 metres in a rate of 2-06.1 over Thumbs Up Jerry (three back the markers) and the roughie Unsolved Mystery from last. The Goulburn Valley, Bendigo and Echuca areas provided five winners on the program. Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford’s 4-Y-0 Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn snared the Quest Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Given the run of the race from gate three trailing the pacemaker Art De Triumph (gate five), Kamwood Dawn was taken away from the markers on straightening and finished best to score by a half neck from the leader, with Rosemary Lane third after following the pair. Shepparton’s Patrick Ryan combined with Chris Alford to land the Neatline Homes Pace (first division) for C0 class over 1690 metres with 4-Y-0 Rollon Bigred/Chocaholic entire Turnoffate, Raced by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park Pty Ltd, Turnoffate despite racing in the open, prevailed by a half head in 1-57.6 in defeating Lets Go Rabbitoh which followed him all of the way. Tuxedo Toff (one/two) finished third after joining the leaders approaching the home turn. Goornong trainer Peter Salathiel joined forces with daughter Katrina to capture the Grenada Park Standardbreds Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2190 metres with 4-Y-0 Courage Under Fire/Be All Dilinger mare Cheval Charette which did her early racing in King Island. Jumping straight to the front from the pole as the tapes released, Cheval Charette was rated to perfection, running out an easy 8 metre victor in 2-02.3 from a death-seating Illawong Bill and Junie Jasper which trailed the winner. Popular local trainer Geoff (Marto) Martin took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan to land the Ausure Insurance Brokers Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres with ex-NSW Real Desire/Nepeans Last Bird 5-Y-0 gelding Mister Desirable, leading for the majority of the journey to gain the day in advance of Saint Liliana (one/one) which joined the winner on the home turn, with Tom Grainger third. The mile rate 1-59.8. Kyabram trainer Greg Caldwell’s honest 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Orta Be Ruthless gelding Ortabe Good saluted the judge in the Neatline Homes Pace (second division) with Tooleen reinsman Nigel Milne in the sulky. Given a cosy trip three back in the moving line from gate three with the polemarker Kentucky Sands leading, Ortabe Good ran home strongly off a three wide trail last lap to gain the day by 4 metres in advance of Donated which raced in the open from the bell, with The Muse (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.9. Other winners on the nine event card were : Jingling Silver (Paul Davies – Baddaginnie) with Daryl Douglas in the sulky and Our Warwick Lad (David Aiken – Avenel) and Nathan Jack. Len Baker

Underrated Great Western trainer Warren Bird has picked up a smart performer by the name of Death Defying which greeted the judge in the Sign Online Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class horses over 2175 metres at the Stawell HRC fixture on Monday November 18. A recent addition which scored for the stable on debut at Maryborough on November 3, Death Defying a five-year-old daughter of Life Sign and Lombo Luvbird starting from a 30-metre equal backmark began swiftly for reinsman Greg Sugars to settle one/one on the back of Peter Manning’s Sunnyandcher (20 metres) which raced in the open covering Candy Digger (10 metres). When Sunnyandcher gained the upper hand to lead on the final bend, Death Defying immediately pounced and raced clear in the straight to score by 2.5 metres in advance of the local hope Baltimore Boy which trailed the winner all of the way, with Sunnyandcher 5.9 metres away in third place. The mile rate 2-06.2. It was Death Defying’s fourth victory in 11 outings. Kyneton trainer Mario Callus was victorious with four-year-old Four Starzzz Shark/Taras Gift gelding Tenfour, taking out the Stawell Dry Cleaners Pace for C0 class over 2175 metres. Driven by Daryl Douglas, Tenfour led throughout from gate three and although headed in the shadows of the post by Sassy Man along the sprint lane after trailing, fought back like a caged lion to gain the day by a half head in a rate of 2-02.6 to break his maiden status at start number 24. The heavily supported I Am Mister Red finished third after facing the open. Navarre trainer/driver Marnie Bibby caused an upset in the first leg of the TAB Quaddie, when seven-year-old Lake Hills Jeb/Wrap Around gelding Hellovanite snared the Stawell Farm Supplies Pace for C4-5 class over 2175 metres. Given an easy time from gate two trailing the leader Seven Nations inside him with the red-hot favourite Kickittochris racing in the open after starting outside the front row, Hellovanite trained at Stawell by breeder Owen Martin at one stage of his career, used the sprint lane to gain the day by 1.3 metres over Kickittochris, with Kiwi Rage (three back the markers) also using the sprint lane for third. The mile-rate a slick 2-00.3. Burrumbeet (Ballarat) trainer Ash Herbertson is a regular competitor at most Stawell meetings and landed the Stanley Anyon Memorial Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres with ultra-consistent five-year-old Metropolitan/Ellovalooka mare Metrofromelle who chalked up her fifth win in 33 race appearances. Driven by Matt Craven, Metrofromelle (gate four) raced outside the pole line leader Beau Ciel for the entire journey, proving the better stayer on the day to defeat Venus Williams along the sprint lane off the back of the pacemaker, with Beau Ciel weakening over the concluding stages to finish third. The margins 3.1 metres by 1.4 metres in a mile rate of 1-57.8. The sprint lane was the place to be on straightening throughout the day and another winner to benefit from it was much travelled five-year-old Life Sign/Velvetsledgehammer gelding Mayorofshinetown for Mt Gambier’s Kevin Von Duve in the Lillies & Lattes Restaurant Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres. Having start 67, Mayorofshinetown with Terang concessional reinsman Tim McLean in the sulky, settled on the back of the heavily supported pole line leader Mystic Soldier who was kept honest all through the race by the last start Swan Hill winner Blude Master. Gaining an inside passage on turning, Mayorofshinetown finished best to blouse a game Blude Master by a half-head, with Tres Hombres (three wide last lap) finishing hard to be a head away third in the most thrilling finish of the day. The mile rate 2-02.4. Peter Manning rarely goes home from Stawell without a winner and iron four-year-old gelding Boyz Torque kept the record intact when successful in the Stawell Florist Pace for C2-3 class over 2175 metres. Driven by daughter Michelle, Boyz Torque (Union Guy/Hot Reaction) was sent forward from gate two on the second line to park outside the pacemaker Amberlu Angus which led easily from the pole. Joining the leader on the home turn, Boyz Torque having his 60th outing, raced away in the straight to score easily by 4.5 metres over the fast finishing Mister Rufus from mid-field in a rate of 2-03, with Garibaldi Union a stablemate of the winner third after racing wide from the bell. Len Baker

The Gordon Rothacker Medal has become the trots night of nights and this year was no different as the sport recognised one of the true champions of the game. Graeme Lang, affectionately known as the doyen of harness racing, was presented with the 2013 Gordon Rothacker Medal on a memorable night at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was no surprise to most involved in the trots when Lang was announced as the winner given his long and illustrious career in the sport. A champion trainer and driver, Lang was accomplished in all facets securing award after award through the late 1960’s and 1970’s into the 1980’s. The five time leading Victorian state trainer and two time leading Victorian state driver was crowned the leading Australian driver in 1979/80. Lang will always be remembered for his topline squaregaiter Scotch Notch who was not only an Inter Dominion Trotting Champion, but also campaigned successfully throughout North America. Lang has had a massive influence on the sport for many years and that includes his family history which has gone from strength to strength with his sons Chris and Gavin dominating their chosen areas. Chris, as a squaregaiting trainer and driver is unparalleled while Gavin has proven superior to any driver before him in the cart. Graeme Lang still remains an active participant in the sport and he proved he still has his eye in as a trainer when he produced Save A Sixpence to win the Group 3 Holmfield last season defeating boom Kiwi filly Habibti. Harness Racing Victoria and the entire trotting fraternity have been lucky to see Graeme in full flight and he is a deserved winner of the 2013 Gordon Rothacker Medal. There were plenty of other winners on the night amongst the Country Clubs and representatives who have worked so tirelessly in the past 12 months. The best Choice Hotels Country Cup meeting went to the Nyah club for their return to racing at the Swan Hill circuit and a hugely successful night which saw a mammoth crowd attend the first Country Cup of the season. Paul Rowse, from the Ballarat club, took out the full-time secretary of the year while at the same time Ballarat were afforded the honour of being the club of the year for those who had conducted over 16 meetings. Bernadette Costantino was the part-time secretary of the year for her diligent work at the Wangaratta track. Kyabram secured the Graduation club of the year for the second time running. Despite having just two meetings per season, the club puts on trials for participants every Sunday morning with their training centre accommodating for up to 50 horses at any one time. Yarra Valley continues to go from strength to strength and the innovative club have been regarded as the club of the year for those who had less than 16 meetings in the past season. Thanks in part to their massive Melbourne Cup Day extravaganza, this year their Oaks day meeting continued the Cup week theme with an excited crowd out at the trots. And that’s where the next award went with Yarra Valley taking out best on-course promotion for their Oaks Day. The club doubled its event attendance in 2012 with an appetizing array of on-course activities, including fashions on the field and free ladies and kids enclosures. Promoting the event with an exhibition at Eastland Shopping Centre over 4 days, the Yarra Valley club is quickly consolidating their Oaks Day meeting as one of the highlights of the local social calendar. The award for the best local media – traditional went to Mildura for their coverage across the Sunraysia Daily, WIN TV and ABC Radio to name a few. Bendigo took out the category for best local media – digital thanks to the advent of their social media platforms and up-to-date website. The Shepparton Club were acknowledged as the best presented in the state thanks to the on-track experience which patrons receive when heading to Quest raceway. Stawell legend Reg Cooper was the winner of the Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs Volunteer Service Award and rightly so after another year of helping the Western Victorian track. Cooper has full-filled many roles including the Club president for 13 years, track supervisor and swabbing attendant. The night couldn’t have been complete without a special commendation to the Horsham club who have had another terrific 12 months and was acknowledged for its high level of professionalism and consistency across all categories. The Pearl Kelly award this season went to Lisa Miles following another terrific year as both trainer and driver. A winner of the 2007 Young Achiever of the Year award, Miles has gone on to win the Vin Knight Medal in 2009 and train a string of Group 1 horses including Villagem. Special mention must also go to distinguish service medal winners in Gus Underwood and Rob Merola. Underwood has been a terrific advocate of the sport in the state’s north as a journalist for a raft of newspapers including the Shepparton News while Merola is most well-known as the managing director of SEW-Eurodrive and as the owner of star pacer Caribbean Blaster. Harness Racing Australia also distributed awards on the night with Mindarie Priddy winning the National Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and Chris Alford taking out the JD Watts national driver’s award following a brilliant season. Alford was also recognised for his 5000 career wins which came with a flourish at the end of October. Art Major made a thorough clean-sweep of the HRA Stallion awards by taking each and every single category up for offer; that being the Leading Sire of 2YO’s by stakemoney, Leading Sire of 3YO’s by stakemoney, Leading Sire of 2YO’s by Winners, Leading Sire of 3YO’s by Winners and Leading Sire of Winners. The Harness Racing Victoria Media Awards were also presented to the deserving winners. The Best Country Feature went to Raelee Tuckerman – Bendigo Advertiser for her story on retired standardbreds. Best Radio Feature went to Len Baker and the Harness Review team for their interview with Neville Welsh following his Gordon Rothacker Medal win last year. The Best Feature (Print or Internet) went to John Peck for his story on Gavin Lang and his 5000 career victories. Best News Story (Print or Internet) was again taken out by the Bendigo Advertiser, this time Nicole Ferrie for the emotional ‘Tears Flow After Courageous Win’. The full list of award winners is below: Gordon Rothacker Medal Graeme Lang A.V.C.H.R.C Volunteer Service Award Reg Cooper VHRSC Owner of the Year Heather Anderson 2 year old Filly of the Year Mindarie Priddy Sire of the Year Art Major USA JD Watts Award Chris Alford 5000 Winners Presentation Chris Alford HRV Media Award – Best Country Feature Raelee Tuckerman – Bendigo Advertiser HRV Media Award – Best Radio Feature Len Baker HRV Media Award – Best Feature (Print or Internet) John Peck HRV Media Award – Best News Story (Print or Internet) Nicole Ferrie – Bendigo Advertiser Best Local Media Coverage – Traditional Mildura Best Local Media Coverage - Digital Bendigo Special Commendation – local media Horsham Graduation Club & Secretary of the Year Kyabram Best on Course Promotion Yarra Valley Best Presented Track / Venue Shepparton Most Successful Country Cup Meeting Nyah @ Swan Hill Secretary of the Year – 16 Meetings or Less Bernadette Costantino Frank Ryan Memorial Secretary of the Year Paul Rowse Country Club of the Year – 16 Meetings or Less Yarra Valley Country Club of the Year – More than 16 Meetings Ballarat Pearl Kelly Award Lisa Miles Distinguished Service Medal Rob Merola Gus Underwood   Harness Racing Victoria

The feature event of the evening at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday was the $25,000 Harness Breeders (Vic) Tailamade Lombo, with victory going the way of former top line juvenile filly Shake It Mama. Now five years of age, Shake It Mama bred and raced by Heathcote’s David Sheppard, trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Gavin Lang was sent forward from gate three to cross Fairest One Youare inside her running into the first turn, with stablemate Bettor Give It (gate six) also pressing forward to park in the open. Allowed to bowl along without any pressure being applied, Shake It Mama had plenty in reserve at the straight entrance, before coasting to victory 1.3 metres in advance of Fairest One Youare and Bettor Give It in a sizzling mile rate of 1-54.7. Running her last half mile in 55.6 and quarter in 27 dead, Shake It Mama recorded her 15th victory in 38 race appearances.. Eight year old Falcon Seelster/Sabrina Bromac entire Smudge Bromac notched up his 23rd victory at start number 128, when successful in the Yarra Valley Cup Day Claiming Pace over 1720 metres, returning a brilliant mile rate of 1-56.5. Trained by David Aiken at Avenel and driven by Nathan Jack, Smudge Bromac was immediately taken back to the rear from outside the front line, but enjoyed the electric tempo of the race set by a free running Mister Grizzly. Taken three wide in the final circuit, Smudge Bromac’s quality told on straightening as he strode clear to score by 2 metres in advance of the fast finishing Our Archangel out wide from four back the markers, with the ever reliable Washmepockets holding down third after racing in the open throughout. Tough ex-Tasmanian 5-Y-0 Hugo Play showed his true staying prowess by taking out the $15,000 Tabcorp Park Melton Pace Final for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres which qualified in the heats held a week earlier. Now in the care of Lance Justice in close proximity of the track, Hugo Play a gelded son of Jr Mint andToy Story was allowed to find his feet three wide after starting outside the front row, with stablemate Alchemy beginning at 100 miles an hour from the extreme draw to park outside the favourite Sals Mo which led from gate three. Once balanced, Hugo Play moved forward to join Sals Mo and once there, Lance made it quite clear that the pacemaker was not going to get it easy. Taking a narrow lead on the final bend, Hugo Play was very strong at the finish, defeating Alchemy which was given every chance on his back due to the “drive of the night” by Rod Petroff. Pole marker Mister Orion finished third after trailing the leader and using the sprint lane, while Sals Mo battled on to finish fourth. In quarters of 30.1, 29.3, 28.3 and 28.6, Hugo Play returned a mile rate of 1-56.5 for the journey. The margins a neck by 1.6 metres. Peter Manning’s exciting Elsu/Hanover Chic gelding Eliseos Falcon was once again ultra impressive in landing the Benstud Standardbreds 3-Y-0 Pace over 2240 metres in a mile rate of 1-59. Raced by a group of dedicated harness followers Tony Prochilo, Ange Cammaroto, Rob Merola and Michael Taranto, Eliseos Falcon driven by Kerryn Manning was sent forward from outside the front row to park outside the last start Melton winner Woodlea Beau which was backed for plenty. Despite over racing at times, Eliseos Falcon surged to the front on straightening to score by 12.5 metres over Blackwarrior along the sprint lane after trailing the leader, with Countdown (one/one) third. It was Eliseos Falcon’s 3rd victory in 7 outings. On an entertaining night of racing, Chris Lang’s fully American bred 6-Y-0 Chocolatier/Duo Val Car gelding Kyvalley Blur chalked up victory number 13 when successful in the Prydes Easifeed Trotters Free For All over 1720 metres. Using the sprint lane off the back of the leader Cold Sister, Kyvalley Blur returned a mile rate of 1-58.7 in defeating Cold Sister and I See Icy Earl (one/one) a stablemate of the winner. David Aiken enjoyed a good night “at the office”, with 7-Y-0 Courage Under Fire/Soky’s Sweetheart gelding Wartime Sweetheart winning her 19th race by taking out the Tab.com.au Pace for M1 & M2 class over 2240 metres. Taking a concession for Caroline Springs based Rhys Nicholson, Wartime Sweetheart from inside the second row was quickly away from the markers to possie mid-field in the moving line. Easing three wide to follow the favourite Jazz King in the final circuit, Wartime Sweetheart sprinted like a gazelle on straightening to blow his rivals away, scoring by 6.2 metres in a rate of 1-56.5 from Illawong Kath which used the sprint lane after trailing the weakening leader Because I Can, with The Phantom (one/one) third when first up since February.  By Len Baker  

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