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A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

An exciting night of trotting at the Nyah District Harness Racing Club was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday, with many races on the program named after those who have been associated with the club for a long period of time. This season’s state leading trainer, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp, had favourite punters cheering when he won the opening race – the Alta Christiano @ Alabar Stallions 2YO Pace over 1750 metres with Mach Three/Ally McBlossom filly Aldebaran Brandi. A winner on debut at Mildura on July 15, Aldebaran Brandi ($1.60) repeated the dose by leading throughout from outside the front line to easily account for Bright And Sonny (four wide last lap from last), with Our Work Of Art a stablemate of the winner coming from four back the markers at bell along the sprint lane to finish third. The mile rate was 1:57.2. Bendigo duo David Van Ryn and nephew Haydon Gray had an easy victory with Courage Under Fire/Delightful Emm 3Y0 gelding Courageous Emm in the Alan Branson Pace for C0 class over 1750 metres. Driven with aggression from gate two to retain the front running, Courageous Emm ($1.20) bounded away on the final bend to record a 10.9 metre victory in a rate of 1:57.5 over Another Approval (three back the markers) and Marcellus, which trailed the winner. Echuca trainer Wayne Lear is a regular at most Nyah meetings and landed the Max Slater Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1750 metres with five year old Village Jasper/Macray Purple gelding Purple Village in a rate of 1:58.7. Taken back to the tail of the field from outside the front line by Bec Bartley, Purple Village ($2.90) came with a barnstorming finish on straightening to blouse the leader Illawong Lively right on the wire (the margin a runaway half-neck), with Parisian Ruler third after facing the open from the bell. Honest five-year-old Die Laughing/Lily Princess mare Misschinoise scored a well deserved victory in the Peter Coady Pace for C2 class over 1750 metres, chalking up her seventh success in 51 outings. Trained and driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, who travels many thousands of miles around the state each season, Misschinoise ($3.70) enjoyed a sweet passage from gate three three back along the markers, with the pole marker Soho Jagger driven desperately to hold out the second elect Attack On Command (gate four) which then eased to follow the pacemaker. Moving away from the inside in the last lap, Misschinoise cruised up to Soho Jagger on the home turn and when asked for an effort on straightening, coasted to the wire 5.5 metres in advance of Soho Jagger and Attack On Command in a mile rate of 1:59.8. Popular Mildura trainer Frank Cavallaro was in the winners stall following the victory of Tommys Song ($5.80) in the Arthur Graham Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Luke Watson, Tommys Song, a 4YO gelded son of P Forty Seven and Tell Laura began smartly from gate three to be outside the leader Gnarly at the start, before being eased to take one/one cover when Unfair Dismissal was driven forward to park in the open. Eased three-wide in the last lap, Tommys Song ran home strongly to gain the day from Boom Boom Hall, which rattled home from near last on turning, with Yankidoodledanvers using the sprint lane for third after following the weakening leader. The mile rate was 1:59.8. Mildura (Cardross) trainer Frank Merceica’s six-year-old Pass The Mustard/Princess Yum Yum gelding Sir Pickles Yum Yum loves competing at Swan Hill and registered his third victory on the circuit when successful in the Jim Roberts Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky after making the long trek from Melton, Sir Pickles Yum Yum ($12.50) settled four back in the running line from gate four, with Mind The Wire leading before handing up to Mick Bellman’s Ourcrownin. With a number of changes happening during the race, Sir Pickles Yum Yum had moved to be three back at the bell and when taken wide on turning, rattled home to score by 1.3 metres in a rate of 2:00.2. Well Oiled Lombo (four wide final bend) ran home from last to claim third place. The Blissful Hall @ Empire Stallions 3YO Pace, first leg of the Daily Double and second leg of the Quaddie was declared a no race following a fall by Warana Court on the first turn. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

There have been plenty of Jillibys and Keayangs which have been successful over the years coming out of the Terang harness racing training establishment of Marg Lee, Peter Craven, Jason Lee and Glen Craven, and another potential top-liner by the name of Jilliby Master showed what a bright future he has by toying with his rivals in the Permewans Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres at Hamilton on Wednesday. Trained and driven by Glen Craven, Jilliby Master was sent forward from gate five, but was unable to head off The Fire Within (gate three) resulting in him being left facing the open. Eventually crossing over at the bell, Jilliby Master careered away to register a most impressive 4.6-metre victory in advance of brother Matt’s Faraway Man from last with a circuit to travel, with Misschinoise (four back the markers at bell) again running her usual honest race to finish third. The mile rate 1:57.5. The Western District usually supplies a number of winners at most Hamilton meetings and leading reinsman Mattie Craven was successful with four-year-old Badlands Hanover/Susie Sheffield mare Susie Badland in the Angelique Club Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres when having her first outing for the stable. Given every opportunity to figure in the finish one/one from gate three, Susie Badland ran on best to blouse the pacemaker What A Sheila by 4.3 metres in a rate of 2:02.5. Floral Touch battled on strongly to finish third after facing the breeze. Great Western’s Kerryn Manning landed the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with former Kiwi five-year-old mare Supa Slick in a rate of 2:02.1. Making her second appearance since December 2012, Supa Slick was sent forward from gate five to take over the front running role from the polemarker Ima Little Tycoon and was never headed, just lasting to gain a head decision over Ime Little Tycoon along the sprint lane, with Tres Hombres (three-wide last lap from the rear) third. A daughter of Washington Vc and Supamodel, Supa Slick can be purchased for a paltry $1000 from a claimer at Bendigo this Saturday. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria

Charlie Attard, who has had many smart horses over the years, was successful with Major In Art / Golden Navajo colt Im The Boss in The Red Shed Pace for two-year-olds over 1609 metres at Cranbourne on Tuesday night. Driven by Greg Sugars, Im The Boss led throughout from gate four, scoring easily in advance of Major In Arms in a mile rate of 1:58.8. Gaita Pullicino landed the Ultra Signs Claiming Pace over 2080 metres with much-travelled seven-year-old Julius Caesar / Lavra Supreme gelding Caesar Supreme. Spearing straight to the front from gate six, Caesar Supreme ran his rivals ragged to register his 30th victory in 114 outings, defeating Cowboy Cadillac by 1.7 metres in a rate of 2:00.2. Old-timer Dartmoor (one/one – three wide last lap) finished a close-up third. Andrew Farrugia provided the upset of the night when lightly raced four-year-old Grinfromeartoear / My Minnis Folly gelding Sumo Grin ($36.10) greeted the judge in the Aldebaran Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2110 metres in a mile rate of 2:07. Driven by Zac Phillips, Sumo Grin starting from the pole stood flat-footed as the tapes released, settling three back in the moving line with Zoes Dream beginning brilliantly from 20 metres to lead. Sliding forward to be one/one in the last lap after Koko De Ville had eased away from the markers to face the open mid-race before galloping approaching the home turn, Sumo Grin raced to the front on the final bend and held a margin to the wire, winning by 7.5 metres over Ive No Boundaries and Framework Salute who were always handy on the pegs. Hopetoun Park duo Ross and Greg Sugars brought up victory number three with beautifully bred Bettors Delight / Misty Maiden gelding Mulgrave in the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza 3YO Pace over 2080 metres. Sent forward at the start from gate four to lead, Greg Sugars allowed the well-supported Williamlee outside him to assume control, giving Mulgrave the run of the race. Using the sprint lane, Mulgrave was too slick at the finish for Fifty Shades (one/one – three wide home turn) and Williamlee, winning by 4.4 metres in a rate of 2:01.6. Melton trainer/driver Rod Petroff’s ultra-consistent mare McRita was a strong winner of the Dooza Sulky Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres in 2:00.6. A four-year-old daughter of McArdle and Jarita, who has now recorded six wins and 19 placings from 36 outings, McRita again showed her great gate speed to lead from barrier three and despite being pressured at various stages, dashed away on the home turn to score by 2.3 metres from Jeans Mattjesty. Daylesford husband and wife – Mick Barby & Anne-Maree Conroy – snared the ADE Turf Equipment Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2080 metres with ever-reliable six-year-old Blissful Hall / Go Bush gelding Sir Jaybe Hall, who chalked up his seventh victory in 38 outings. Given every opportunity one/one from gate four, Sir Jaybe Hall ran home nicely to gain the day by a head over Mister Clooney along the sprint lane after trailing the pacemaker Im Living The Dream which finished third. The mile rate 2:01.3. Jayne Davies kept the home flag flying when Mach Three / Atworthy Maid gelding Macworthy led throughout in the Condo’s Horse Transport Pace for C0 class over 2080 metres, defeating Wingofwaves and Miss Metro Glen in a rate of 2:02.9 with Chris Alford in the sulky. Veteran Whittlesea trainer Charlie Farrugia has enjoyed plenty of unheralded success over the years with a number of well-placed horses and he captured the Seelite Windows & Doors Pace for C1 class over 2080 metres with Courage Under Fire / Terrabeauty five-year-old gelding Terra Beau. Driven by nephew Darren Zahra, Terra Beau – first-up since January – led from the pole before surrendering to the sensationally backed Public Persuasion ($8 into about $3.50) racing for the bell. When Mor Laag moved to race in the open for the last lap after being mid-field and applied plenty of pressure to the leader, Terra Beau was able to ease off the marker pegs approaching the home turn and sprinted home stylishly on turning to score by 3.9 metres from a game Mor Laag and WillsSon (three back the markers) in a rate of 2:01.3. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria

Thursday’s Tabcorp Park Melton meeting belonged to Riddell trainer Adam Kelly and stable reinsman Gavin Lang, Kelly chalking up a stable treble and Lang a driving quartet. Four-year-old Mach Three/Going Royce gelding Pushkin was first to greet the judge in the SEW-Eurodrive Pace for R2 to R4 class over 2240 metres. Trapped in the open from gate three in the early stages, Pushkin extended to cross the surprise pacemaker Danish King and Pushkin enjoyed a sweet time at the head of affairs. Kicking clear at the straight entrance, Pushkin just lasted from a flying Jeans Mattjesty, which had been at the tail of the field for most of the trip, scoring by a nose in a rate of 2:06.5, with Voce (one/one – three wide home turn) an eye-catching third when first-up since April. Kiwi-bred Art Major/Strathrowan filly Dazzling Arded was next to come along in the Alabar 3YO Pace over 1720 metres. First-up since June and on debut in Australia, Dazzling Arden starting from gate two on the second line raced three-wide for most of the trip, with the polemarker Shes Pinkalicious retaining the front running. Showing plenty of intestinal fortitude, Dazzling Arden outstayed her rivals to record a 2.8-metre victory in 2:01.5 over the first-starter Kristy Ann Hanover along the sprint lane after trailing the leader. Richly Deserved (four-wide home turn) from last looked a big chance on straightening and finished third. Ex-Sunraysia seven-year-old gelding Eyes On The Sky, having his first outing since May 2013, was a tough victor of the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Making his first appearance for the stable, Eyes On The Sky a son of D M Dilinger and Gipsy Belle who’s most recent victory had been at Mildura on May 26, 2013 raced in the open from gate five, proving too strong over the concluding stages for Pas Mate (one/two – three wide home turn) which joined him halfway up the running appearing to be going better, with Bucksaroo third after following the runner up throughout. The mile rate 2:05.1. Lang was the “punters pal” on the day, also snaring the Pegasus Club 3Y0 Pace over 1720 metres aboard the Sue Hunter (Melton) trained Kenneth J/Artistic Dash gelding Kool Kenny. Given a beaut trip one/one from gate five, Kool Kenny was switched to the sprint lane on straightening, scoring by a half-neck from Gowan Loch, which led from the pole, and Daddywho (three back the markers) The mile rate 2:00.6. It was a great day for the Macedon Ranges district with Kyneton duo Greg and Steve Leight taking the Aldebaran Park 3Y0 Trotters Handicap over 2240 metres with Lawman/Kellybrooke gelding Law Legend, leading all of the way from barrier two, accounting for Eureka Encounter and Fire To Rain in a rate of 2:12.3 in appalling conditions. Four-year-old Britewell/Jenola Bay gelding Our St Pierre gave Bolinda’s Brent Lilley another winner for the week when successful in the tab.com.au Trotters Handicap for TRO & TR1 class over 2240 metres in a rate of 2:09.5. With Chris Alford in the spider, Our St Pierre starting from the 10 metre mark settled six back along the markers, with Atego Turbo beginning like a rocket from outside 10 metres to lead. Moving to be one/one racing for the bell, Our St Pierre was eased three wide on the final bend and finished strongly to gain the day in advance of Our Elvis which moved to face the breeze at the bell before striding clear on the home turn. Only One Aussie which trailed the weakening pacemaker finished third. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

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)

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