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Locals Greg Fleming (Wood Wood) and Vince Costa (Woorinen) gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about at the Nyah meeting at Swan Hill on Thursday. Fleming’s smart four-year-old Totally Ruthless/Tiny Gigi gelding Oils Jay Bee won the Swan Hill Prostate Support Group Pace over 2240m in a rate of 2:00.3. Driven by Ellen Tormey, Oils Jay Bee settled three back in the moving line from gate three, with polemarker Magic Attack holding the lead for Jim O’Sullivan. Gaining a three-wide trail home on the back of Thesonofgeorgia, Oils Jay Bee passed that horse stylishly at the end to win by 1.3m, while Kilbirnie North snared third place. Madis Mate, first-up for the Costa team, was ultra-impressive in his Freemasons Swan Hill Lodge 2YO Pace win over 1609m. With Ararat’s Michael Bellman aboard, Madis Mate was taken back to last from outside the front row before moving to the one-out-one-back position approaching the home turn. Once clear in the straight, Madis Mate sprouted wings to score by 1.7m over first-starter Times A Bonus, with another debut runner Trentleigh finishing third in a mile rate of 1:57.8. The Costa stable made it a double when well-performed 5YO gelding Blissful Hart won the C2-C4 Pace over 2240m. With Mick Bellman again in the sulky, Blissful Hart spent most of the race three back along the marker line after starting from inside the second line. Coming away from the inside approaching the home turn to be three-wide on the bend, Blissful Hart was too strong at the finish for the leader Miss Toolern Vale in a rate of 1:59.7, winning by 1.1 metres. Virginia Lightning finished third after following the pacemaker. By Len Baker (Harness Ra

Ballarat stock agent Bill Middleton has been involved with the greyhound industry for most of his life, but through an association with Lawrence trainer Ken Whelan was enticed to take a share in a standardbred mare named Djasker last year. Djasker, a six-year-old daughter of Wind Cries Maori and Tachometer, after winning races at two, three and four years old when in the Ross Graham stable, broke through for her first win since September 2012 when successful in the Morning Melodies Book Now Trotters Handicap at Kilmore on Saturday night. In what was the drive of the night by Daryl Douglas, Djasker stepped safely from 10m, avoiding several gallopers to settle four back in the running line with Conchs Critter showing her usual manners to pint straight to the front from barrier five. Making a lightning move to park outside the leader racing for the bell, Douglas controlled the race for the final circuit allowing Djasker to surge to the front on the final bend. Driven vigorously in the straight, Djasker held on to score by a half-head in a thrilling finish over 40m back marker Salute The Wind, with Im Anonymous close up third in a mile rate of 2:08.0 on a rain-affected track. Raced in partnership with Bill, Merna Whelan and Peter Watson, all are hopeful that Djasker will now make her way through the grades. By Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Terang’s Matthew Craven took driving honours with a treble at Horsham on Monday. Joining forces with Terang trainer Tony Harrison, talented Modern Art/Moroni colt Clark Griswold was first to arrive, scoring easily in the Conways Pace over 1700m. Having his first outing since March, Clark Griswold wasn’t pushed out from his outside-front-row draw, gradually moving forward to cross the pacemaker Sign No More, which had worked three-wide from gate four to lead running into the first turn. Once in front, Clark Griswold coasted for the remainder of the race to score by 16.8m in a rate of 2:00.2 from Sign No More, which battled away gamely for second. It was Clark Griswold’s third win from four starts. It Is I/Shy Star gelding Okelerho Lad, trained by Craven, was a big winner of the Westvic Race Pix 3YO Pace over 2200m. Beginning brilliantly from the extreme draw, Craven wasted little time in sending Okelerho Lad forward to race outside the pole line leader Rockin Roger, where he dictated terms. Surging to the front approaching the home turn, Okelerho Lad was too strong over the concluding stages to score a 4.3m win in advance of ex-Kiwi Ark, with Game Cullen third in a rate of 1:59.6. Burrumbeet trainer Ashleigh Herbertson’s much-improved four-year-old It Is I/But Ler Raine mare Its Raining was successful in the Nat’s Rug And Harness Repair Vicbred Pace over 2200m. Sent forward from gate six to park outside leader Raw Steel (gate two), Its Raining outstayed her rivals to score by 32.9m over Extra, which was behind the leader and then one-one for the last lap, and Linora Dawn, which had raced three back on the markers. The mile rate was 1:59.5. It was a great day for the western district with Great Western owner/trainer Michael Gadsden landing the Moore Bulk Haulage Pace over 1700m with seven-year-old Village Jasper/Tennessee Songbird gelding Xavier Jack in a rate of 2:01.0. Driven by Denbeigh Wade, Xavier Jack led from gate three, running his rivals ragged to score by 6.1m from a death-seating Longtan Tigerman and Nicnac Bromac (three back the markers) in third. Redan’s Michael Stanley produced a nice type in Big Spending Telf, a colt by Changeover from Super Telf (a half-brother to metropolitan pacer Magical Telf) to take the Betta Electrical Horsham 2YO Pace over 1700m on debut. Allowed to find his feet from gate two with Wotplanetrufrom (gate four) leading, Stanley put the foot to the floor once balanced and Big Spending Telf showed exceptional speed to lead racing for the bell. Challenged strongly by Frostyflyer approaching the home turn, which had been outside him for the final circuit and almost crossed, Big Spending Telf rallied like a good horse on straightening to draw clear in the shadows of the post and register a 5m win in 2:00.7, with Shadow Spar third. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)  

Ultra consistent pint sized six year old Western Terror/Awesome Flowers mare Gumdrops was rewarded for her consistency by brilliantly taking the $100,000 (Group 1) Pegasus Club Queen Of The Pacific, a designated race for Mares M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2760 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday. Having her first standing start attempt, Gumdrops stepped safely from barrier four as starter Todd Matthews released the field, as did Bluecolla Tigerpie to lead from outside the front line along with Steam Washed (barrier five) who pressed forward to assume control leaving Gumdrops momentarily in the open. Queenslander Forever Gold also making her standing start debut began swiftly from 10 metres, with Kylie Rasmussen immediately sending her forward to race in the open giving Gumdrop the sit she was looking for. Born Again Sassy (barrier two on the second line) slotted in beautifully trailing Gumdrops, being followed by Broadways Best and Carpenters Daughter which had missed the start. No changes were made until Luke McCarthy commenced a forward move three wide solo from the rear with 20 metre backmarker Baby Bling racing for the bell, being trailed by Vansumic ahead of her after being tardily away from the second line. Extricated into the clear on the home turn, Gumdrops sprinted sharply to challenge Steam Washed halfway up the running and following a deafening roar from all of her supporters which would have done credit to a Melbourne Cup crowd, drew clear to record a 5.1 metre victory over a game Steam Washed, with The Good Times using the sprint lane from three back the markers to finish third 12.5 metres away ahead of Carpenters Daughter and Baby Bling. Raced by Coimadai (Melton District) residents Ron and Connie Mallia along with trainer Steve Zammit who is based at the Mallia property, Gumdrops recorded a mile rate of 1-59.4 (last half mile 57.6 – quarter 28.9) which is only .3 seconds outside Our Sixpence’s race record set last year. It was the 11th time that Gumdrops has greeted the judge in only 41 outings, taking her earnings to $143,105. Steve Zammit was lost for words immediately following the event saying “he could not believe what had happened” in giving him his biggest win in the sport. On a night full of highlights, the $50,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2-Y-0 Fillies Final went to the Emma Stewart trained and Gavin Lang driven Lovelist, a daughter of Always A Virgin and Lifeline. Gifted the lead racing for the bell by stablemate Licinia, Lovelist coasted to the wire 4.4 metres in advance of the roughies Starzzz Of Icon and Union Ally in a mile rate of 1-58.                                                                               Lara trainer Dean Braun’s outstanding Kiwi bred four year old Elsu/Make It Hot gelding Chilli Palmer showed he is on target for next week’s $50,000 Four and Five Year Old Championship with a devastating victory in the TAB.com.au Pace for M1 & M2 class over 2240 metres, giving young Terang teenager Jason Lee a thrill he will never forget. Settling a “mile” off the leader Amajorjoe, Chilii Palmer taking a concession, reeled off a brilliant last quarter smashing the clock to blouse the dead-heaters Machin Out and Composed in a mile rate of 1-56.7.    Nathan Jack took driving honours with a treble – apart from Gumdrops, Tezz Khora trained by father Russell in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series N Final for C1 class over 1720 metres and giant killer Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken) the Captain Sandy Free For All over 1720 metres, defeating Five Star Anvil and Smoken Up in 1-54.5. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

Local Woorinen co-trainers Joe Costa and son Vince each provided a winner at the Nyah harness racing meeting held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre last Thursday. Joe landed the open class feature of the evening – the tab.com.au Pace for C6 or better class over 1609 metres with ultra-consistent Life Sign / Edna June five year old gelding Life Of Ted in a slashing mile rate of 1-56.7. Leading out from gate two, Life Of Ted was rated to perfection by Ararat’s Michael Bellman who does the bulk of the stable driving and kicked clear on straightening to score by 1.3 metres in advance of Shayne Cramp’s Washington Heritage (one/one – three wide home turn), with Well Oiled Lombo third after trailing the winner from the pole. Life Of Ted has recorded 10 wins (five this season) from 64 race appearances. Vince Costa’s very much in-form Dream Away / Royal Beach Girl four year old gelding Beachstar brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the choicehotels.com.au Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 1-57. Again with Bellman in the sulky, Beachstar was trapped three wide from gate three, before crossing the polemarker Terre T entering the back straight on the first occasion. Given no peace by Shayne Cramp aboard Changing Code which moved from last to join him, the pair went head and head a long way from home, with Cramp trying to outstay the pacemaker. In quarters of 30, 30.1, a sizzling 26.8 and 30.8 for the last mile, Changing Code was the first to crack, allowing Beachstar to race clear on the final bend, with Terry T giving chase. Although out on his feet halfway up the running, Beachstar kept on giving to score by a meritorious three metres over Double Happy (three back the markers) which ran home nicely when finally extricated into the clear, with Terry T a further half metre away in third place.   Budding superstar Vee Rock made it four from four with another outstanding performance to capture the 2nd Heat of the $7,505 Sky Racing Vicbred Platinum Country Series Q for C1 class over 2240 metres. A winner of the first heat held at Mildura the previous Friday, Vee Rock kicked up from the pole, before reinsman Mark Lee elected to hand over the front running to the second elect Illawong Fantasia drawn next to him. Immediately eased away from the inside not wanting to risk a pocket, Vee Rock then challenged for the lead and was allowed to cross and lead all within the space of a lap. Cruising for the remainder of the journey, Vee Rock coasted to the wire 15.3 metres in advance of Philtra Phella off a three wide trail approaching the home turn, with Illawong Fantasia a disappointing third. The mile rate 1-58. Bred by Swan Hill’s Mick Cirillo and Anne-Maree Short, Vee Rock trained at Cardross by Frank Merceica is a four year old gelded son of Universal Rock and Annie Teaghan and will be the logical favourite in the rich $10.275 Final to be held at Mildura next Wednesday. Len Baker Victoria Harness Racing

Many of Australia’s best mares  are poised to do battle in Victoria’s premier race of the season for the fairer sex at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday – the $100,000 (Group 1) Pegasus Club Queen Of The Pacific for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2760 metres. With representation from four states - Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Tasmania facing the starter, an interesting tactical event is sure to develop. History will show that in the past the race has been won by horses which have enjoyed a cosy passage up close and handy and can reel of a quick final quarter making it difficult for the backmarkers to sustain a long run, however given the calibre of the field this week, it will not be a surprise to see one of those back in the field greet the judge. Headlined by last week’s Angelique Club Cup winner Baby Bling who faces a daunting task from 20 metres and the previous week’s Make Mine Cullen victor Forever Gold who will start from 10 metres, strong competition will come from the likes of Vansumic, Steam Washed, Laterron, The Good Times, Bluecolla Tigerpie, Broadways Best, Carpenters Daughter and Gumdrops who can all play a hand in the finish should things go their way in one of the most intriguing contests of the season considering a number of runners have little standing start experience. The Queen Of The Pacific race seven on the program closes off the TAB Daily Double and is the third leg of the Quaddie and 5th leg of the BIG6. Another highlight on a great night’s racing will be the $20,275 Captain Sandy Free For All in which everyone’s favourite pacer Smoken Up is aiming to chalk up his 74th victory at start number 148 giving him a 50% average winning strike rate. On a night full of quality, racing gets under way at 5:40pm. There will also be a juicy $10,000 Early Quaddie on the meeting. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

The new harness racing star of Sunraysia – unfashionably bred four year old Universal Rock / Annie Teaghan gelding Vee Rock is set to continue his unbeaten record at the Nyah HRC meeting to be held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday, when he contests the second heat of the Vicbred Platinum Country Series O for C1 class over 2240 metres. A brilliant winner of the first heat at the Ouyen fixture held at Mildura last Friday in a mile rate of 2-02.2 (last half mile 57.6), Vee Rock is able to take his place in the field due to a paucity of numbers, coming in on terrific  terms as he is now assessed as a C3 class pacer. Trained at Cardross on the outskirts of Mildura by Frank Merceica formerly of Broken Hill, Vee Rock has been ultra impressive to date having first raced on April 23 when victorious at Swan Hill. Avenel concessional reinsman Mark Pitt will again hold the reins. Stanhope trainer/driver Gary Pekin’s Illawong Fantasia coming off two successive victories at Tabcorp Park Melton looks the main danger, while Gary Donaldson’s Gian and the last start Echuca victor Philotes appear to be great trifecta and first four chances. The race will close off the Nyah Quaddie. At Tabcorp Melton during the afternoon, former Kiwi four year old Sands A Flyin/Western Star gelding Garibaldi which created a huge impression winning first up at the same track last Thursday, steps out again from gate three in the Tabcorp Park Melton Pace for R2 to R4 class over 2240 metres, third leg of the Quaddie and second leg of the Daily Double. Trained and driven by Lance Justice, Garibaldi will meet some handy opposition in Adam Kelly’s Lady Suffragette from the pole, Ian Dornauf’s last start impressive Yarra Valley victor Royal Deviate (gate six) and Shannon McLean’s honest Broadway Classic (gate two on the second row). Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Lovers of the squaregaiter will be enthralled by Wednesday’s meeting at Maryborough – home of The Redwood, when six of the nine races on the program are for trotters.  With Redwood Day (July 20) not all that far away, the program will feature four races for the Two Year Olds – two heats for Fillies and Two for the Colts & Geldings of the $10,325 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic over 1690 metres, with some beautifully bred youngsters facing the starter for the first time.  No doubt connections will be eagerly looking forward to participating in the big race should they perform admirably.   Heats of the $7,505 Glenferrie Farm Sweetheart Trotters Mobile for four and five year olds - T0 Only and T1 to T3 class over 2190 metres will also be an attraction on the day.  The T1 to T3 class sees Dizzyinterest, Pride Of Sundon, Frances Annie, Rosemma and I Dreamt It all do battle in an interesting contest which is race eight on the program – last leg of the Quaddie.  Racing commences at 12.22pm.  At Ballarat on Wednesday evening, race seven – the Brett Knight Pace for C6 & C7 class over 2200 metres which is the third leg of the Quaddie and second leg of the Daily Double highlight’s the meeting.  Here we see a clash of the Emma Stewart pair Johnny Quid and Hes Kinky doing battle against former stablemate Fearless Leader and Andy Gath’s Quadentate, plus Narra Operative which returned to form when a huge second at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday.  By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)  

A late decision by Appin (NSW) harness racing trainer Nicole Molander to contest the $30,505 (Group 2) Bruce Skeggs Memorial Cranbourne Trotters Cup for TM0 or better class over 2555 metres at Cranbourne on Saturday after nominations were extended, paid dividends when  prolific winning six year old Dr Ronerail/Flipside gelding Keystone Del scored a fighting victory in the feature event on the program. With regular reinsman Blake Fitzpatrick again holding the reins, Keystone Del who two stars back was successful in the rich Great Southern Star Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in March, began swiftly from gate five, however Chris Alford aboard Spidergirl inside him had similar thoughts and the pair went head and head as the mobile barrier pulled away, with Keystone Del winning out. Allowed to dawdle at the head of affairs with the field racing in Indian file, Keystone Del went through the first two quarters of the last mile in 33.8 and 33 seconds, with Vics Cheval one of three David Aiken trained runners moving from last to creep forward in the open at the bell. In a last half mile of 29.9 and 28.6, Keystone Del had to pull out all stops to defy a strong challenge by Spidergirl along the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in a pedestrian mile rate of 2-06.2, with Vics Cheval 4.8 metres away in third place. Even through the rate was nothing special, the race had the crowd on their toes cheering all the way up the running. It was Keystone Del’s 17th victory in 34 outings. The trotters took pride of place at the meeting, with brilliant Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse filly Claudys Princess taking the $10,275 Aldebaran Park Starlet for Three Year Olds over 1609 metres and in doing so, brought up her eighth victory from eleven outings. Driven by Gavin Lang for Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore, Claudys Princess starting solo on the second line was allowed to amble at the rear of the field, before moving forward three wide racing for the bell to park in the open for the final circuit. Cruising to the front on straightening, Claudys Princess registered a 5.6 metre victory in a rate of 2-01 over Im Havinaball which led and  Indie Pepperell (one/one last lap) which came in third 8.7 metres in arrears of the pair. Bred by veteran Goulburn Valley trotting devotee Gus Underwood, Claudys Fancy is raced by the Catchya Racing Group of which Gus is a member. Honest eight year old Conch Deville/Springfield Wilma mare Rockin Wilma chalked up her 10th victory and first since February, when successful in The Red Shed Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres. Trained and driven by Sunbury’s Justin Livingtstone, Rockin Wilma starting from 20 metres was given the run of the race trailing the front runner Mosquito Spur after the heavily supported pole line favourite Seascape Boy galloped shortly after the start when contesting the lead. Taken away from the markers approaching the home turn, Rockin Wilma proved far too strong over the concluding stages to score by an easy 14.1 metres in advance of Seascape Boy which made up plenty of ground, with Mosquito Spur holding down third albeit 25.5 metres from the winner. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Part of a lyric featured in the Carly Simon hit song Nobody Does It Better from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, includes the words “Baby Your The Best”. That certainly applies to the winner of last Friday’s $25,505 Angelique Club Cup (second leg of the mares Triple Crown Series) winner Baby Bling at Tabcorp Park Melton. Bred by the late Kaye Kilgour and raced by a syndicate including Harvey Kaplan, Sammy Kilgour, P O’Shea, Z O’Shea, B McCarthy, A Fairley and the Kilgour estate, Baby Bling was superb in winning. With non stop action over the 2240 metre journey from the outset, Maarstricht crossed Courageousnquick before handing over to Carpenters Daughter mid-race, with the position outside the leader changing several times as Born Again Sassy, Vansumic, Baby Bling and last week’s Make Mine Classy victor Forever Gold all took turns to face the breeze. Forever Gold racing parked for the final circuit. Again looking the winner on the final bend, Forever Gold was nabbed by Baby Bling in a thrilling finish to score by 1.4 metres in a rate of 1-55.5 (last half 56.8 – quarter 28.6). Lara trainer Dean Braun expected a better showing from the mare this week as he had increased her work load. A six year old daughter of Western Terror from the Caprock mare Alldatglittersidgold, Baby Bling chalked up her 20th victory in 50 race appearances – the biggest being the 2013 Miracle Mile. On a night filled with quality racing, highly promising Julius Caesar/Bronte Jones colt Mister Wickham was a strong winner of the $50,000 (Group 2) Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic for Two Year Old Colts & Geldings over 1720 metres. Bred by Ross and Mary Conway, Mister Wickham purchased on behalf of a large syndicate of owners by Gippsland (Longwarry) trainer Lee Evison for a high sum several weeks back, wasn’t bustled at the start from gate six, with Andy Gath’s Ricimer leading from gate four. Sent forward once balanced, Mister Wickham comfortably parked outside the pacemaker with a circuit to travel, with driver Greg Sugars having a tight grip of the reins. Joining Ricimer on the final bend, Mister Wickham was very strong at the finish and although inclined to hang in, scored by 2.3 metres from Be Good Juddy along the sprint lane after trailing the leader, with Ricimer a further 1.5 metres away in third place after mixing his gait in the shadows of the post. On returning to the all clear area, Kate Gath (Ricimer) lodged a protest against the winner for interference in the closing stages which was quickly dismissed. Making only his second appearance for Lee Evison and fourth overall, Mister Wickham returned a mile rate of 1-57.4, running his last half in 57 seconds and final quarter in 29.1. The $20,505 Mediatec Melton Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2760 metres went the way of Avenel trainer David Aiken’s war horse Smudge Bromac. Driven by Nathan Jack, Smudge Bromac who mixes his racing between open class and claiming company settled well back in the field from the 10 metre mark, with speedy beginner Our White Knight jumping straight to the front from barrier four. Sent forward three wide mid-race to shadow the leader Warragul Cup winner Hilltop Hustler which had taken over in the straight on the first occasion, Smudge Bromac then received cover from stablemate Wartime Sweetheart who then took a trail on Five Star Anvil. Easing wide on straightening, Smudge Bromac finished full of running to overhaul Five Star Anvil over the closing stages by 1.7 metres in a mile rate of 2-01.2 (last half 57.9 – quarter 28.5). Composed (five back the markers) ran on late for third after a slow beginning. A eight year old stallion by Falcon Seelster from Sabrina Bromac, Smudge Bromac has faced the starter 143 times for 27 wins and stakes in excess of $300,000. Excitement machine Lennytheshark (Four Starzz Shark/Botswana) overpowered the opposition to register a massive victory in the $25,000 choicehotels.com.au Rising Stars Pace Final for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres. Trained by David Aiken and driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, Lennytheshark (gate three) couldn’t lead as expected with Flaming Flutter (gate four) getting there first and after a number of moves, exploded away from his rivals halfway up the running to score by 10.7 metres in 1-55.7 over Narra Operative and Asoka. Five year old Last Sunset/Maramas Invasion gelding Sunset Invasion trained and driven by Parwan’s Jodi Quinlan, led throughout from the pole to snare the $30,505 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot Final for TMO & TM1 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 2-00.1, defeating Lord Liam along the sprint lane by a half neck after trailing and the favourite Brunelleschi which raced in the open from the bell. Another huge meeting will take place at Melton next week featuring the $100,000 Queen Of The Pacific for the mares. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

The 2014 edition of the Breeders Crown Series kicks off early in June as heats begin Australasia wide. Interstate and New Zealand heats are being held prior to the Victorian ones, with June 6 being the commencement date as the Three  Year Old Colts & Geldings and Two Year Old Fillies do battle at Port Pire. A week later June 13, sees the Two Year Old Colts & Geldings and Three Year Old Fillies compete at Globe Derby Park, while the Two Year Old Trotting Colts & Geldings and Two Year Old Fillies step out at Addington, along with the Three Year Old Trotters. Other Heats are to be held all over the country and New Zealand through to August 4 – see schedule in the June/July Harness Racer. The first Victorian Heats are listed as : Two Year Old Colts & Geldings  -   Shepparton July 29 Two Year Old Fillies  -  Ballarat July 26 Three Year Old Colts & Geldings - Bendigo July 31 Three Year Old Fillies  - Kilmore July 30 Two Year Old Trotters (C & G)  - Maryborough August 4 Two Year Old Trotters (Fillies)  - Maryborough August 4 Three Year Old Trotters  - Maryborough August 4 Repechages will be held on August 6, 7 & 14 for various sexes at Geelong, Kilmore & Maryborough All Semi-Finals will be held on August 16 at Ballarat All Consolations will be held on August 21 & 22 at Tabcorp Park Melton The huge Grand Final Day at Tabcorp Park Melton for all classes will be Sunday August 24 Following a sensational day at Bray Raceway Ballarat last year, the Ballarat Trotting Club are delighted to once again retain the hosting of  the Semi-Finals. All categories will create great interest and those to watch out for include : FOUR YEAR OLDS  Adore Me, Chilli Palmer, Flaming Flutter, Bliss Man, Frith, Im Smouldering, Nowitski and Blitzthemcalder. THREE YEAR OLDS Bling It On, Asendro, Bespoke Artist, One Over Da Moon, Motor Smoker, Niki Franco, Hectorjayjay, Barynya, Claudys Princess, Mindarie Priddy, Major Crocker, Whereibylong and Claudys Princess. TWO YEAR OLDS Kept Under Wraps, Padrisimo, Queen Of Pop, Rosie Oreilly, Alta Orlando, Joannes A Delight, Linda Lovegrace and Follow The Stars. To view the heat schedule click here:  http://www.breederscrown.com.au/abc/index.cfm/2014-series/race-schedule/ By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

Outstanding Queensland six year old Famous Forever/Making Gold mare Forever Gold was a brilliant winner of the $25,275 Harness Breeders (Vic) Make Mine Cullen – the first leg of the huge Triple Crown Series for Mares M0 or better held over a three week period at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday, thanks to a brilliant drive by Kylie Rasmussen. Trained by Darren Weeks at Toorbul, Forever Gold starting from gate three on the second line was set alight almost immediately the start was effected in the 1720 metre feature to circle the field and park outside the pacemaker Beauty Secret (gate two) which had crossed the polemarker Baby Bling. Relaxing beautifully in the run, Forever Gold cruised up to Beauty Secret on straightening and quickly put a gap on her rivals. In quarters of 29.4, 29.4, 28.8 and 27.7 for the last 1609 metres after a lead time of 6.9 seconds, Forever Gold scored by 2.6 metres in advance of a very much in-form Gumdrops from five back the markers in a rate of 1-54.3, with Baby Bling using the sprint lane for third ahead of a disappointing Beauty Secret. Darren Weeks was thrilled with the performance in registering his first Victorian winner, while Kylie Rasmussen commented that “she was always confident throughout the race, especially on the final bend”. It was also Kylie’s first success in Victoria. On a super night of racing loaded with highlight’s, Victoria’s favourite pacer eleven year old marvel Smoken Up (Tinted Cloud/Carnlough Bay) chalked up his 73rd victory at start number 147 to win the Bold David Free For All over 1720 metres with trainer/driver Lance Justice in the sulky. Sent forward from outside the front line to assume control from Five Star Anvil (gate six), Smoken Up enjoyed an easy passage all through the race and although looking to be in trouble on straightening when both Five Star Anvil which surprisingly moved away from the inside and Chilli Palmer (three wide after a one/one passage from gate four) issued strong challenges, Smoken Up rallied as he usually does to record a fighting half neck victory from Chilli Palmer in a rate of 1-58.3 (last half 55.4 – quarter 26.9), with Five Star Anvil a neck back in third place. Quality four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Botswana entire Lennytheshark now with David Aiken at Avenel, resumed off an eleven month lay-off with an awesome display to land the second heat of the choicehotels.com.au Rising Stars Pace for M0 & M1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Chris Alford, Lennytheshark raced by Kevin Risely and son Martin, led throught to score by 22.1 metres in a rate of 1-56.5 (last half 55.8 – quarter 28.1) from Sapphire Swayze which faced the breeze from the bell and Astronaut. The first heat saw Melton trainer/driver Alison Chisholm’s six year old Grinfromeartoear/New York On Sunday gelding Asoka outstay his rivals after racing parked from gate six to defeat the long odds-on favourite Flaming Flutter which led from gate two, with the ever reliable Weallwantano third after racing wide in the final circuit. The mile rate 1-57.1.   Bacchus Marsh reinswoman Amy Tubbs experienced a night of “ups and downs”. After guiding Brunelleschi to a brilliant victory in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trotting Series for TM0 & TM1 class over 2240 metres, she “hit the deck” when tipped from the sulky of Blazeaway Macray in the Make Mine Cullen. Fortunately Amy suffered no injuries. The 1st Heat of the Trotting Series was taken out by seven year old Conch Deville/Smilin Eyes gelding Monsieur Deville for Shepparton’s Geoff (Marto) Martin. The $30,505 Final will be held next Friday By Len Baker (Harness Racing Victoria)

Eight year old Jet Laag / Preserved entire Im Blue Double Dee was victorious in taking out 57th running of the harness racing $50,275 (Group 2) Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup for M0 or better class horses over 2600 metres at Mildura on Saturday April 13. In what was a real family affair, Im Blue Double Dee trained at Bathurst (NSW) by Steve Turnbull, raced by wife Jenny and driven by daughter Amanda settled four back along the markers after starting from gate two on the second line, with the polemarker Maastricht leading as the start was effected keeping the favourite Flaming Flutter (gate three) wide and Machin Out even wider on the track from outside the front row. Driven with aggression by Greg Sugars Flaming Flutter was able to assume control within a lap. The action didn’t stop there however, as runs came thick and fast with Hilltop Hustler and Mark Dennis both making forward moves through the middle stages. This allowed Shayne Cramp aboard the home town hero Washington Heritage to ease away from three back the markers into the running line mid-race after starting from inside the second line and going forward to park outside the leader with around two laps to travel. Putting his foot to the floor at the bell, Cramp and Washington Heritage pressured the leader which kicked away on the final bend. While all this was going on, Im Blue Double Dee which had moved to be three back the markers after Washington Heritage left the inside appeared to be travelling approaching the final bend. Gaining an inside passage on turning (no sprint lane), Im Blue Double Dee ran home best to score by two metres in a thrilling finish over a game Flaming Flutter, with Maastricht running the race of her life to finish third .9 metres away. Both the runner up and third placegetter shifted away from the inside on straightening. Kotare Roland finished fourth after following the winner throughout. In quarters of 30.7, 31.7, 29.7 and 28.4 for the final mile, Im Blue Double Dee returned a mile rate of 1-59.1 for the journey, nine tenths of a second outside Safari’s 1-58.2 set in 2007 and in winning, took his stakes tally to almost $200,000. A winner of 21 races from 110 outings prior to the race, Im Blue Double Dee has been a consistent performer in the Western part of NSW since he first graced the tracks. Im Blue Double Dee was the fourth NSW trained winner of the prestigious race, the others being Wongala Glen (Bill McKenzie 1965), Dillon Light (Kevin Robinson 1973) and Ben’s Image (Vic Frost 1987), although Wongala Glen did the majority (if not all) of his racing in Victoria as he was trained just across the Murray River from Swan Hill. On a night of features, S-A visitors Caribbean Crest (Toby Ryan – Scott Dyer) scored in the $30,275 (Group 2) Mark Gurry & Associates Cup and Glenferrie Affair (Ryan Hryhoric) the $15,275 Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas, while Uncle Wingnut (Vince Costa – Michael Bellman) the $17,775 Loddon Valley Stud Free For All. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Once a year the square gaiters take pride of place at Mildura as part of the Pacing Cup Carnival and Thursday April 10 was the night this year, with Kiwi bred four year old Monarchy/Sunny Gem gelding Unico Crown scoring a brilliant all of the way victory in the $14,505 Seelite Windows & Doors Mildura Trotters Cup for T5 or better class over 2600 metres. Trained at Lara by Dean Braun and driven by the stable’s number one reinsman Chris Alford, Unico Crown began smoothly from the pole to lead and rated to perfection around the tight circuit, ran out an easy 7.7 metre victor in advance of Sandys Boy which trailed, making no impression in the run home, with Monte specialist Motu Young Jacob a further 2.7 metres back in third place from a 20 metre handicap after racing mid-field in the moving line. With quarters of 31.1, 31.1, 31.2 and 29.9 for the last 1609 metres, Unico Crown returned a mile rate of 2-05.5, well outside Si Capisco’s track record of 2-03.3 set in 2012. Unico Crown has made only one blemish since crossing the Tasman, when unable to handle the tiny Boort track in the Boort Trotting Cup. Earlier in the evening the VSTA Trotters Handicap for T0 to T4 class over 2190 metres was taken out by the Brent Lilley (Bolinda) trained and Lance Justice driven in-form five year old gelding Like It Chilled, a son of Sundon and Rite Effort. Raced by Bruce and Margaret Dalton, Like It Chilled coming from a solo 20 metre backmark settled six back along the markers, with the South Australian visitor Buff Orpington leading out from from the pole before going off stride entering the straight on the first occasion which allowed The Final Cut to take over. Set alight racing for the bell, Like It Chilled was able to stride clear when the leader galloped with a circuit to travel. Travelling easily, Like It Chilled coasted to the wire by 18 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.4 over Candy Digger which was always handy, with Featherfoot Sun another S-A raider third. By Len Baker (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)  

Six year old Village Jasper/Cultured Lombo gelding Savesomtimetodream landed his third country cup for the season, when successful in the $25,505 Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2570 metres at Ararat in the heart of the Western District on Saturday March 5.   Raced by Ballarat Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse and partners, Savesomtimetodream which already had captured both the Yarra Valley and Gunbower Cups, began smoothly from a solo10 metre mark to possie one/one on the back of the roughie Farmersntradies, with Narra Operative (barrier five) going forward after a tardy start to race in the open after competing a lap.   Jodi Quinlan then set Savesomtimetodream forward three wide to tackle the leaders (favourite) Jadahson (barrier three) and Narra Operative (barrier five), parking outside the leader mid-race.   Applying plenty of pressure to Jadahson in the final circuit, Savesomtimetodream outstayed his rivals to record a courageous 1.6 metre victory over Jadahson, with Arber (three back the markers) using the sprint lane for third.   The well supported polemarker Inky Cullen galloped away from the pole, while equal 20 metre backmarker Our Blackbird with Arber, settled at the rear from a 20 metre handicap, before moving three wide racing for the bell, with Inky Cullen following.   In quarters of 31.7. 31.1, 28.9 and 28.8 for the final mile, Savesomtimetodream returned a mile rate of 2-04.6, well outside the track record of 2-01.1 set by 2010 winner I Am Sam.   Race sponsor John Hawke on behalf of Renown Silverware has sponsored the Ararat Pacing Cup for the last 20 years.    Supplementing the program was the $10,505 Clive Reed Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2570 metres which was a blow out for punters with $73.70 rank outsider Idle Suntime scoring for Great Western trainer/driver Michelle Wight (formerly Michelle Manning).   Settling on the back of the leader Im Whitney (barrier three) from the pole, Idle Suntime sailed through along the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.8 metres in advance of Im Whitney which hung rather badly on the final bend, with Wildenstein (three back the markers) running his usual honest race for third. The mile rate 2-07.6.   A six year old gelded son of Sundon and Foreign Interest, Idle Suntime chalked up his 10th victory from 67 outings.   The country cup scene moves to Sunraysia next week, with the Mildura Pacing Cup being held next Saturday. By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)

It might have been Geelong Pacing Cup night on Saturday March 29, but without doubt the biggest harness racing winner of the evening was young seventeen year old Patrick (Paddy) Lee, the younger brother of talented concessional reinsman Jason following the victory of nine year old Keystone Salute / Amanda Branach gelding Salute Branach in The Weekly Review Greater Geelong Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2570 metres. Trained at Terang in the name of mother Marg, Paddy after pleading with the family purchased the horse which had been spending his life lost in the wilderness in a paddock at Warrnambool after being given a couple of tries by Portland’s Garry Jennings for a mere $500. Paddy does all of the work with the horse which was making only his fourth appearance at the races and second for the week after having been in work for a considerable time, having finished third at Terang the previous Wednesday when first up since August 2012. Driven by cousin Glen Craven, Salute Branach bred by Burrumbeet’s Brendan Cahill came into the race on bad terms having never won a race, but jumped straight to the front from barrier three, before surrendering to Gazoline which began like a rocket from 30 metres. Travelling beautifully all of the way, Salute Branach used the sprint lane to register a 1.8 metre victory untouched over the former Breeders Crown victor Triumphant Monarch (three wide home turn from one/two at bell), with Armed Guard third after racing in the open for the final circuit. Trotters are rather new to the Lee stable which is famous for the Keayang brand and Paddy is going to have plenty of fun along the way. The victory would also have given grandparents Harold and Alice Craven a tremendous thrill. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

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