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YET to return home from his current one, Jilliby Nitro is already on target for another interstate trip. Speaking after Jilliby Nitro’s Australian Pacing Gold triumph at Albion Park just moments ago, trainer Marg Lee outlined her plans for the boom freshman. Set to embark on a long float trip to Victoria, Jilliby Nitro will be given a light week before being prepared for the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge. The futurity culminates in a $125,000 Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle on June 30. Menangle’s Training Centre is also part of Lee’s itinerary on the way home. “The long float home won’t seem so bad now after that win,” Lee said. “We will stop Menangle to use the Aquagait on the way home as we have had a few little issues with him like a bit of a sore back and couple little things. “We’ll see how he pulls up from tonight, but all going well, he will be back in Menangle next month for the Breeders’ Challenge.” Driven by Lee’s son Jason during his latest Group One success, Jilliby Nitro began quickly to lead from barrier two as Be Happy Mach worked overtime on his outside. Fending off the initial challenge at the top of the home straight, Jilliby Nitro sprinted to a three-and-a-half metre win from Yejele Hammer, with Be Happy Mach battling on bravely to be a half-head away third. Rating 1:53.6 over 1660 metres, the son of Bettors Delight stretched his record to four wins and a second from five starts for earnings of $210,095. “It was a super win,” Lee said. “He did it so well. “He has done a terrific job to win the Bathurst Crown and now this. “He’s got a good nature and settles anywhere he goes which is great and is just a lovely horse.” Lee’s trek home was made even more pleasant in the following race when Jilliby Bandit - also an APG purchase - scored from Saloon Passage and Colt Thirty One. “Bandit and Nitro are friends at home, plus this was a suitable race for him, so he made the trip as a companion,” Lee said. “He might also go to Menangle with Nitro too.”   APG Media

He won the Bathurst Gold Crown Final in exciting fashion and now Jilliby Nitro will hunt for his second Group 1 prize when he heads to Albion Park on Saturday night. A brilliant winner of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club's annual two-year-old colts and geldings feature on March 29, the Victorian youngster has been sent north for the rich Australian Pacing Gold Final. Second in his heat at Melton when first-up for a month, the previously unbeaten colt has drawn barrier two in the $350,000 decider. Jilliby Nitro will slot into the pole for trainer Marg Lee once the emergency is removed from the equation. "It is a good draw and hopefully we can take full advantage of it," Lee said.  "He has gate speed and will go forward from there." Arriving in Queensland on Tuesday afternoon, Jilliby Nitro is expected to improve from his qualifier with Lee confident she can capture her second APG Final. Lee prepared Jilliby Jitterbug to secure the fillies' division in 2005. Jilliby Jitterbug was driven by Lee's son, Jason, who will take the reins behind Jilliby Nitro. "He arrived in Queensland with Jason today and seems to have handled it okay," Lee said.  "He's had bit more work into him since the heat and that run has also done him good. "He's going very well and will be ready for this." Lee has also sent Jilliby Bandit to the Sunshine State as a travelling companion, with the five-year-old drawn barrier six in the following race on the card. Successful in Melton last weekend, Jilliby Bandit is a brother to Jilliby Jitterbug with the pair by Rock N Roll Heaven from 2008 APG champion, Keppel Bay. "Jilliby Bandit is in good form and went well last week," Lee said.  "He and Nitro are friends at home, plus there was a suitable race for him, so he made the trip as a companion to make Nitro feel relaxed. "He will also be hard to beat." Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

You can put the pen through Australia’s most exciting pacer Jilliby Kung Fu for the Len Smith and Queensland Winter Carnival. Trainer Marg Lee is only focused on the Vicbred 4YO series now with the Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up. Jilliby Kung Fu, who sadly missed the Harness Jewels after a minor hiccup, returned from a spell with a narrow but ultra-impressive Shepparton win last Friday night. Forced to sit parked at his first run since the Miracle Mile, Jilliby Kung Fu kept lifting under pressure for driver Glen Craven and snatched a neck win over the underrated and emerging leader, Wrappers Delight. They paced a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2190m on a cold wet night, which was just 1.1sec outside the track record. “I doubt he’ll travel in the short term, we’re only thinking about the Vicbred for now,” Marg Lee’s son, Jason, said. “The long term plan is the (Melbourne) Inter Dominion because we think he’ll love the long trip.” Jason confirmed his cousin Glen Craven would drive Jilliby Kung Fu through the Vicbred series and he would partner another of the family’s promising pacers, Jilliby Chevy. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Leviathan owner-breeder Rob Watson has found his next star. Kiwi-bred American Ideal colt Franco Edward oozes X-factor. Trained and driven by Kyle Harper, Franco Edward made it three wins from four starts when he arrogantly thrashed a crack field in the $100,000 Pearl Classic final (1730m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night. In contrast to his heat win when he raced greenly and did plenty wrong, Franco Edward looked a real professional in the final, zooming out to lead from the pole and winning as he liked in a 1min56.4sec mile rate. “He’s really exciting. It looks like we’ve got another really nice one,” Watson said. The run of second-placed Shockwave was also fantastic considering he came wide and made-up plenty of ground and the last three quarters were paced in 28.3, 28.8 and 28.0sec. The disappointment was Bling It On’s baby brother, Bletchely Park, who blazed a 1min53.6sec mile rate for the same trip a week ago, but weakened after sitting parked last Friday and ran seventh. Back to Harper and it both ends of the spectrum for him last Friday with baby Franco Edward winning and stable veteran and stalwart Bettors Fire also saluting. It was the nine-year-old’s 39th win from 100 starts and edged him very close to $800,000 in earnings. _______________________________________________________________________________________ The news is a lot better than first feared with high-class former Kiwi pacer Shandale. Now based in WA with Mike Reed, Shandale seemed to trip and crash heavily to the track in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. He was tended to for a long time on the track, but a relieved Reed later said Shandale had cuts, abrasions and would require some time off, but seemed to have escaped really serious injury. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Champion driver Luke McCarthy had a night to remember at Menangle last night. McCarthy drove both semi-final winners of the rich NSW Breeders Challenge series for two-year-old colts and geldings with Victorian raiders Lochinvar Art and Hardhitter. The Laura Crossland-trained Lochinvar Art toyed with his rivals in the first semi, sitting off the pace then blowing them away to win by 8.8m in a 1min55.4sec mile. Hardhitter showed he was yet another Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin juvenile star when he blasted to the front and smashed the clock to beat buzz baby Muscle Factory in the second semi. Despite the fact he went a 1min52.7sec mile – much quicker than Lochinvar Art – McCarthy confirmed he would drive Lochinvar Art in the July 1 final. It’s expected Chris Alford will take the reins on Hardhitter. McCarthy also partnered the Darren Reay-trained Rollin With Holly for a dominant win in the first semi of the Challenge for two-year-old fillies in a 1min54.3sec mile. That series was thrown wide-open when nominal final favourite Miss Halfpenny was narrowly upset by Cee Cee Armbro in the second semi in a 1min54.9sec mile. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Leviathan NSW-based owner Emilio Stride has found his next star. Improving mare Cherry Stride sparkled winning the first semi-final of the NSW Breeders Challenge for flour0-year-old mares and looks to have a mortgage on the July 1 final. Trained by KerryAnn Turner, it was her husband Robbie Morris who worked forward to find the lead after the start on Cherry Stride and played with their rivals. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover opened right up to win by 21.4m in a sizzling 1min51.4sec mile signailing she is a bit special. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Another Victorian trotting feature and another win for Andy Gath’s former Kiwi gelding Tornado Valley. Owned by Norm Jenkin of Flashing Red fame, Tornado Valley was blasted to the lead from outside draw (gate seven) by Kate Gath and always looked in control. He cruised around in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2240m to post his ninth win from just 12 starts since crossing the Tasman to join the Gaths’ stable. _______________________________________________________________________________________ The buzz around WA three-year-old Jack Mac hit a slight snag when he beaten but certainly not disgraced at Gloucester Park last Friday night. On face value, he seemed to be beaten by a very smart former Kiwi gelding in Bettor Aim, who has sparkled winning all three WA runs for Greg and Skye Bond. Driver Ryan Warwick drew six and inside Jack Mac (eight) and used that advantage to work to the front and park Jack Mac. They blazed a 1min55sec mile rate for 2230m, including a 27.4sec split down the back straight, but Bettor Aim found plenty to beat Jack Mac by 3.9m. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Brilliant former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter continues to zoom through the grades for Shane and Lauren Tritton. The four-year-old daughter of Christian Cullen led and thrashed a handy field in her most impressive Aussie win yet at Menangle last night. She ran the mile in a slick 1min51.5sec, won by almost 11m and posted her 10th win from just 15 starts since crossing the Tasman.   Adam Hamilton

Brilliant Australian three-year-old pacing filly Shez All Rock and Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu have been announced as the latest recipients of an invitation to the 2018 Harness Jewels. Shez All Rock In winning the Victoria Oaks last Friday night for trainer-driver Mark Pitt Shez All Rock became the first filly since 1989 to collect the rare Victoria Oaks/New South Wales Oaks double. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has now been defeated just once in eight career starts, with her only other race resulting in a second place at Cobram in February. Trained by Mark Pitt in those eight starts, Shez All Rock was purchased by expat Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder in late February. She will now transfer to the care of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen to tackle the New Zealand Oaks on Friday 18 May and now for certain target the Harness Jewels on Saturday 2 June. The intention for Ryder is to return the filly to Australia after the Jewels to head to the Vicbred Series and the Breeders Crown but was unsure as to when she will head to the Northern Hemisphere. “It’s still to be determined. I had a little bit of an idea to leave her down there as a four-year-old but I haven’t looked into it much. Either way I’ll give her a good break and just decide at the time,” said Ryder. Originally from Greymouth, Ryder is based in Allentown, New Jersey and has been living in the States for 29 years. He made the move after his wife Nichola received a transfer with her job to work in New York city as an accountant, and after a two years he decided to start a training career there. Ryder been associated with some exceptional pacers during his training career there, including Put On A Show ($2.4 million and former 3YO US Filly of the Year), I Luv The Nitelife ($1.94 million and former 3YO Filly of the Year in the US and Canada), Art Major for the early part of his career, and he also trained McArdle who earned $2.6 million before heading to stud. Ryder had previously been very keen to purchase a filly down under. “I’d been trying to buy a couple of horses around New Zealand without much luck and Mark Purdon had been at the Miracle Mile and saw Shez All Rock win the New South Wales Oaks. He thought she might be available to buy,” explained Ryder. “After looking at her replays there was everything to like about her. So Mark (Purdon) called them up and we got her bought.  It was quite a simple deal and I was very happy to be able to buy her at the time.” “So far it’s working out very well.” Ryder was keen to make the trip down to New Zealand to witness his filly race, but due to it being spring currently at home his training schedule didn’t allow for him to be here. However Ryder will be keenly waiting for news from his family down under admitting he has a sister ‘who is pretty handy on the telephone.’ Despite being half a world away Ryder was grateful for the opportunity to start a horse in a feature race in his home land. “We are very pleased to be invited. We appreciate it.”   Jilliby Kung Fu Australia’s next emerging star, Jilliby Kung Fu, has been announced the recipient of an invitation into the Four-Year-Old Emerald at this year’s Harness Jewels. The 2018 Chariots Of Fire winner will represent Australia in the Four-Year-Old Emerald on Saturday 2 June at Cambridge Raceway. In his Chariots win he recorded a sizzling 1.48.8 over a mile, and followed that win with a brave second placing to My Field Marshall in the Miracle Mile. On that occasion he was beaten by a mere head when just caught on the line, with the winner recording a new Australasian record of 1.46.9. Since then the horse has had a month spelling and all things going to plan will start in a fresh state on Harness Jewels day. A son of Four Starzzz Shark, Jilliby Kung Fu is trained by Marg Lee of Terang, Victoria and is driven regularly by her son Jason Lee. At just 22-years-old Jason has focused on his harness racing career diligently and this year it has really paid off. Being associated with a horse like Jilliby Kung Fu has presented Lee with some remarkable opportunities to compete at the highest level. The horse has continued to go from strength to strength. “To do what he did in the Miracle Mile was really quite special when you go back and think about it. At the time you were probably disappointed just to get beat but it was quite an extraordinary effort from a four-year-old,” said Lee. Jilliby Kung Fu has raced 29 times for 14 wins and 10 placings, and has earned just over $492,000 in stakes. His impressive resume already includes the Group One Chariots Of Fire, Group One 4YO Bonanza, Group One Vicbred 3YO Final and a Group Two  APG 2YO Consolation Final. And whilst the horse faces a big ask coming into the Jewels potentially in a fresh state, Lee was positive about the trip. “It’s one of those things if you don’t go and try you may never get a horse or the opportunity to go and try and do it again.”   To listen to the full interviews with Chris Ryder and Jason Lee click here   Jess Smith

THE Harness Jewels remains very much “front and square” in the minds of the Jilliby Kung team. Although the Chariots of Fire winner and Miracle Mile placegetter is yet to be officially invited to the Jewels, it looks a formality if trainer Marg Lee and the team want it. “The Jewels is the plan at this stage,” driver Jason Lee said. “I’d say he’s three weeks or so away from a race. “We need to race the big boys to get better and for the spectacle of the game.” What a great attitude and what a coup it would be for Cambridge. Jilliby Kung Fu hasn’t raced since his fantastic second to My Field Marshal in the Miracle Mile on February 24. With Custodian invited and Jilliby Kung Fu, Wobelee and Carlas Pixel surely soon to follow. Then a bunch of others chasing invites, this will take the Aussie presence at the Jewels to a new level. Yes I’m biased, but surely this is the year an Aussie wins a Jewels final for the first time. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ AGEING champ Lennytheshark will try to break the $3 million stakemoney barrier without a lead-up race. Connections had hoped to run at Bendigo last Friday night, but the race was scrapped so will have to settle for a trial on Tuesday. “Sure we’d have loved a race, but he’s got a great first-up record and ‘Aikey’ (David Aiken) will have him ready for a race like this,” part-owner Martin Riseley said. It will be an emotional night with Lennytheshark needing just $4915 to reach $3 million with his 79 starts netting 39 wins and 30 placings so far. “We’ve had this planned for a long time. The chance to chase a milestone like this at his and Aikey’s home track is so exciting,” Riseley said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ANDY Gath admits an Addington raid in November is tempting, but first he wants to win a Group 1 at home with his new stable star Tornado Valley. The former Kiwi trotter made it six wins on end when he did the work and won as he liked in a slick 1min56sec mile rate for 1720m in the Group 3 Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton last night. Gath’s immediate target is the $50,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship at Melton on May 19. “We loved him the first time we worked him, but the best part is he just keeps getting better and better in his work and he’s thriving on racing just about every week,” Gath said. “Other than the Australasian Champs next month there’s nothing big for him, but if he can just keep picking off these free-for-alls it’s money in the bank.” Tornado Valley has already banked more than $120,000 from just nine Aussie runs for Gath. Asked about NZ, Gath said: “We did think about the Anzac and Rowe Cups. We like to travel with out horses for the right races, so the Dominion is definitely an option later in the year.” ________________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER buzz Kiwi filly Our Angel Of Harlem lost fans in defeat in yet another WA Oaks prelude at Gloucester Park. It’s the third prelude of the Oaks (final run on May 5) she has contested and after a second and a win, she had to settle for a close and brave third in last Friday night’s race. Gary Hall Sr’s classy filly Liberty Rose was crossed at the start, re-took the lead, and then dictated through a 62.9sec middle split before dashing home in 56.0 and 27.7sec to win from another former Kiwi, Purest Silk. Our Angel Of Harlem settled well back and had to sustain a long three-wide run without cover in the sprint home, so to get within 3.4m was a big effort. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ IF Ladyship Mile winner Carlas Pixel doesn’t tackle the Harness Jewels then Shane Tritton’s former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter would be a strong second pick. The four-year-old made it eight wins from just 11 Aussie runs when she blasted to the front in a 26.5sec opening quarter and found plenty late to win in a 1min52.5sec mile at Menangle on Saturday night. Tritton and wife Lauren have made it clear they’d love a Jewels invite. The feature race at Menangle was the Group 2 Bulli Trotters’ Cup which was won by former Kiwi veteran Sundons Comet, now in the Joe Rando barn and driven by David Morris. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart has a staggering four finalists in the $300,000 Australian Gold final for colts and geldings. Centenario, Hurricane Harley and Hardhitter all won their heats at Melton last Friday week. Then Fourbigmen, who was a well-held third to Hurricane Harley in his heat, lifted for a powerhouse repechage win at Melton last night. Amazingly, Chris Alford drove all four to win their qualifiers. Fourbigmen’s improvement didn’t surprise the stable who have always said he is as good as any of their stellar juvenile crop on ability, but is still raw and developing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ OUR Waikiki Beach’s baby brother Bechers Brook is doing the family proud. While Our Waikiki Beach was a superstar from day one, the raw and tough Bechers Brook is getting better with every run. He just missed winning the WA Derby when a close second to King Of Swing on April 6, then narrowly but impressively won at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Bechers Brook has raced just 13 times for seven wins, four placings and almost $120,000. “I like him. He’s really strong. It didn’t surprise me he ran so well in the Derby,” Reed said. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ CANBERRA Raiders captain Jarrod Crocker loves his harness racing and classy pacer Our Triple Play is rewarding his passion. Our Triple Play continued his golden season with another feature win, the Group 3 Sydney Cup, at Bankstown last Friday night. The Brad Hewitt-trained and driven four-year-old had already won the time-honoured Inter City Pace final at Maitland and Wagga Cup this season. He’s won six races this term for almost $76,000 in earning to take his career record to 41 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $141,720 in stakemoney. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ NO doubt the news of Hectorjayjay’s switch from David Aiken to Gavin Lang’s stable turned a few heads. Lang hasn’t trained many horses for the past decade or so,  but now has an exciting team of “10 or 12” in work. One of them, recent Kiwi import My Cash, made it two very impressive Aussie wins from as many starts with a dominant display at Bendigo last Friday night. Despite sitting parked in solid times, My Cash left her rivals standing to win by 10.2m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2150m. All going well, Hectorjayjay could have his first start for Lang as soon as early June.   Adam Hamilton

Stunning Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu is pushing on to the Miracle Mile. While some might be intimidated by the thought of taking on the rampaging Lazarus, Jilliby Kung Fu’s trainer Marg Lee sees it differently. “It’s a great opportunity, one we may never get again,” she said. “He’s the best horse we’ve had, Jason (Lee, driver) said that a few weeks back, and we might never get another good enough to run in a Miracle Mile. “Providing he comes through that (Chariots) win well over the next few days, we’ll take him back to Menangle for the Miracle Mile. “He’s really blossomed as a horse this campaign. He’s so big and strong now. He’s ready for it.” The clock says Jilliby Kung Fu is up to the challenge as well. He posted a 1min48.8sec mile leading throughout to win last night’s Chariots Of Fire, capped by closing splits of 53.2 and 26.6sec. That 1min48.8sec matched the race record set by Have Faith In Me in 2016. He then backed-up to win the Miracle Mile. Lazarus went 1min49sec winning last year’s Chariots and finished third to Lennytheshark in the Miracle Mile. Jilliby Kung Fu put the writing on the wall for his Chariots win when he sat parked and so brutally won the Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton two weeks ago. “When he did that, we knew he’d be hard to beat in the Chariots. Horses don’t do what he did in the Bonanza,” Lee said. “He’s just kept getting better and stronger each season. “I think back to late in his two-year-old season. We still had the Breeders Crown to come, but Noel Alexander told me he thought the horse looked a bit special and if it was his, he’d miss the Crown. “We thought about what he said and did that. We gave him a longer break instead and I think it’s helped him develop into the horse he is now.” Jilliby Kung Fu blasted off the gate from barrier seven to lead in the blink of an eye, but copped constant pressure from classy young stayer Atomic Red through a 55.6sec first half.                      All the while, Tim Butt’s classy speedster Let it Ride was getting the gun sit behind the leader. When Let It Ride saw daylight at the top of the straight, he came at Jilliby Kung Fu quickly, but the Victorian found plenty to win by 1.3m with Atomic Red another 7.3m away in third spot. Adam Hamilton

The impressive harness racing winner of Sunday’s Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup will make his next stop at Shepparton this Saturday night. Keayang Steamer, who captured his second Horsham Cup success at the weekend (he also won the 2014 Horsham Cup), will line up in the Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup, said winning reinsman Glen Craven. The Shepparton Cup is worth $75,575 and is a Group 2 standing start race, the perfect lead-in race to one of the Summer of Glory jewels, the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup on February 6. Keayang Steamer, trained in Terang by Marg Lee, travelled well throughout in the breeze on Sunday before putting his opposition away with a lethal sprint off the back straight. He went on to win by 6.5 metres in a mile rate of 2:01.3 for the 2700-metre trip, his last 800m covered in 55.5secs. Five Star Anvil finished second from the one-one, with the two race favourites Mister Mundaka and Im Corzin Terror clocking in third and fourth. “He was travelling good… It helped that Im Corzin Terror put in a couple of rough ones on the corner,” Craven said. “He travelled good in the run and always felt strong. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on (leader Mister Mundaka) over the long trip because I was mindful of quality horses coming from behind (if we went too quick) “He’s come back in really good order. Things didn’t go quite as we would have liked up at Bathurst but hopefully he’ll keep on improving now.” Keayang Steamer has had six runs this preparation, winning the Maryborough Cup first-up and also scoring victories in the Sokyola Sprint at Melton and the Treuer Memorial (Group 2) at Bankstown, NSW. Keayang Steamer is a $16 shot for the Good Form Victoria Cup and a $13 chance for the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup with Meanwhile, trainer Dean Braun teamed with driver Nathan Purdon to take out the Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup (Group 2) on Sunday with eight-year-old squaregaiter Unico Pegasus. After settling back in the field, Unico Pegasus made his move three-wide down the back before swamping the frontrunners in the home straight to score by 5.1m in 2:05.5 for the 2700-metre standing start trip. Action Kosmos was second and Lord Liam third. >> Video replay of Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup >> Video replay of Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup WINNERS’ BREEDING/OWNERSHIP Im Stately Horsham Trotters Cup UNICO PEGASUS (By Pegasus Spur out of Chiola’s Gem) Owners: A P Coniglio, P J Coniglio Breeder: Dave Gibbons Wimmera Mail Times Horsham Pacing Cup KEAYANG STEAMER (By Riverboat King out of Alimar Star) Owner: Levarg Racing Group Breeders: M A Lee and A C Craven   Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Talented Victorian seven-year-old pacer Keayang Steamer last raced in New South Wales in the 2013 Chariots Of Fire.  The son of Riverboat King finished fourth behind Christen Me, Smolda and Restrepo all subsequent Group One winners at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  This Friday night, the Marg Lee trained gelding will be chasing Bankstown’s feature event of the year, the Treuer Memorial. Regular driver Glen Craven will make the trip north to drive Keayang Steamer and believes he is a strong chance of winning after recording a 1:53.1 victory at Melton on Saturday night. “From a driving perspective he is feeling and racing as well as he ever has and I think his last win proved that he isn’t too far off his best in regards to his form,” Craven said. “The biggest query will be the track, he has never raced at Bankstown but he works on a half-mile track at home so I don’t think the size of the track is going to be too much of a concern.” The Treuer Memorial looked an ideal race for Keayang Steamer over the longer distance. “I think that’s why Marg was keen to get him to Sydney, Keayang Steamer loves the longer trip, she put him in hoping for a good draw and so far everything has gone to plan. “He was probably a month behind where we wanted him in his preparation and therefore he wasn’t aimed at the Inter Dominion in Perth but if he is racing well and stands up to constant racing then I would think next year’s Inter at Gloucester Park would be a logical target.” Since his Chariots Of Fire performance he has only raced seventeen times. “There hasn’t been any major issue, no torn ligaments or anything that severe, we just couldn’t keep him strong enough. “He couldn’t keep any muscle definition over his back and hindquarters so we changed his training program around and he does a lot more work up hill which has definitely helped him.” Craven was happy with barrier number three in Friday’s event but is hoping the perfect gate doesn’t put a target on his back. “In a race like the Treuer Memorial a good barrier draw is always important, three is perfect but it could quickly become a bad draw especially if the pace is hot. “He’s definitely drawn to take advantage in the early stages.” Craven will be having his first drive on the Bankstown track having previously driven in New South Wales at Menangle and the old Bathurst Showgrounds. The Treuer Memorial is race six at the Bankstown meeting on Friday night and is scheduled to start at 9:10pm. Greg Hayes

Talented Terang pacer Keayang Steamer resumes from a long spell in Sunday’s Central Goldfields Shire Maryborough Pacing Cup. At his best Keayang Steamer was able to upstage superstars like Smoken Up and Melpark Major, getting the better of Trigger in the 2014 Horsham Cup and toppling Melpark Major a couple of weeks later at Tabcorp Melton. But the son of Riverboat King has only graced the starter twice in 14 months and is first up since February this weekend, so it’s a case of “fingers crossed” rather than taking grand expectations into the race for trainer Marg Lee. “He’s shown what he can do, so we’ve got our fingers crossed and we’ll take each race as it comes,” she said. “He’s done a lot of fast work over the distance without fully putting the pressure on him.” The impressive gelding has won 16 races from 38 starts for $210,043 prizemoney and will be aimed at next year’s Sumer of Glory carnival all going well. But it is a case of baby steps for the time being, according to Lee, who said Keayang Steamer wasn’t strong enough in his “back, stifles and quads” last time in. “His quads needed a lot of bulking up. He’s been doing a lot of riding and a lot of hill work here,” she said. “He’s had three trials and we’re happy enough with where he’s at. It was just a matter of finding a suitable race and with Arden Rooney and Flaming Flutter not in it we decided to go here.” Keayang Steamer will start from a 10-metre handicap alongside Exciteusinthecity in the $30,610 Group 3 Maryborough feature. Lara’s Dean Braun has polemarker Macho Comacho in the field and will be hoping the stand-start specialist gelding can improve on a first-up 11th in the Swan Hill Pacing Cup. Brent Lilley-trained Lets Elope has gate three after a big third at Swan Hill, while Glenn Douglas-trained stablemates The Dip (gate four) and Skippy Rascal (six) will be split by Vince Vallelonga’s last-start M1-M2 winner Manuka Man. Keith Cotchin will present country cups specialist Road To Rock after it ran fifth in the Swan Hill feature, while Matthew Craven-trained Changing Code has barrier eight, Craig Demmler’s Charlie Machsheen will come out of gate nine, Tim Bolitho-trained Arber will start from 10 and Geoff Lucas-trained Daylight Dan has barrier 11. Kerryn Manning’s in-form six-year-old Jaccka Art is the emergency. Meanwhile, the popular TrotsCruiser will be in attendance at Maryborough with showbags for people who enter the "Drive Away in the Trotscruiser" promotion.  HRV and the TAB will also be giving away a $1000 bet on the Cup via the Trot Selfies competition.   CODY WINNELL

A field of six will line up in the Terang Guineas tonight, Race 3 on a seven-race harness racing program at Dalvui Raceway. The favourite is likely to be unbeaten Dean Braun-trained filly Sparkling, who made an impression at her first preparation with two wins from two starts. The daughter of McArdle/Champagne N Diamonds produced a strong last 800m to win at Melton in November last year, rating 1:56.4 for the 1720m trip after coming from last. “She’s a nice filly,” Braun said. “Whatever she does tomorrow night she’ll improve on." Braun said there had been talk about sending Sparkling to Tasmania for the Oaks in March, which his stable won with Sudden Change. Sparkling has had three trials to prepare for her racetrack return and has drawn gate five in the six-horse field over 2180m for reinsman Alex Ashwood. The main danger is expected to be another filly in Keayang Torah, who finished fourth in a heat of the Victoria Oaks before running eighth in the final beaten 6.9m by Niki No No. Trained locally by Marg Lee, Keayang Torah has had two starts at Terang for a win and a second and has drawn barrier four. Another local in Bellas Jet, from the Matthew Craven camp, is also expected to run well despite starting from gate six. Bellas Jet has won two of her past three starts and possesses good gate speed. The remaining runners in the Terang Guineas are Wabash Avenue for in-form trainer/driver combination Sebastian and Zac Steenhuis from the pole, Slap On The Wrist for Tim Bolitho and Greg Sugars from gate two, and 18-start maiden Delta Safari for trainer Mathew Falzon and reinsman Bill Spiteri out of four. The seven-race program at Terang kicks off at 6pm. Watch Sparkling win at Tabcorp Park Melton last year. by Cody Winnell Related Links Fields for Terang, Tuesday 05 May 2015 Form guide for Terang, Tuesday 05 May 2015

Terang trained horses finished 1-2-3 in yesterdays Goodtime Lodge Mount Gambier Oaks at the harness racing meeting at Mount Gambier.   The Marg Lee trained winner Keayang Ebonyrose (Village Jolt/Secret Twirl), who won by 19.3 metres in 2:01.4 for reinsman Glen Craven, while the Matthew Craven-trained duo Bellas Jet and Ameares finished second and third respectively.   Bellas Jet initially led but galloped wildly early, allowing Keayang Ebonyrose to push through to the front.   Matthew Craven, driving Bellas Jet, was able to get his filly to settle back into her gait and she sat second for the remainder of the race, holding out stablemate Ameares (Chris Svanosio in the sulky) at the finish.   The winner rated 2:01.4.   It was a good day for the Vics at the South Australian meeting, Showem Shifty (Life Sign/Capreolate) winning the first heat of the Easter Egg Pace for Hamilton's Jim and Jackie Barker.   Heywood’s Rebecca East combined with Matthew Craven to win the second race with talented Jeremes Jet/Summer Fairytale colt Hez The One.    And south-western reinsman Caleb Lewis drove Dreamsndesires to victory in the last race for Scotts Creek trainer Anthony O’Connor over Tarrington trained Vegas Prince with Hamilton pacer Shalamint third.   Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

No matter which way you look at it, harness racing in Victoria was the big loser tonight. In what has been described as a “totally unprofessionalism”, Harness Racing Victoria stewards have prevented several trainers from using their UFO sulkies, which led to a host of scratchings - including six of the 10 runners in the Group One Ballarat Cup. While the vast majority of participants accept the specific sulkies fail to meet Harness Racing Australia specifications, it is the handling of the situation which has infuriated trainers, drivers and owners alike. Despite being made aware of the use of the specific sulkies, which are five centimetres wider than permitted, earlier in the week, HRV stewards failed to notify trainers ahead of the popular meeting. In fact, stipes began measuring the sulkies after horses entered the parade ring for the first event. “We were here about an hour before the first, but the stewards decided to check the sulkies after we were in the parade ring,” trainer Marg Lee declared. “It is an absolute disgrace. “My horse (More Than Modern) was uncomfortable in the replacement sulky, was hitting the wheel, and as such, got fired up which cost him the chance to race truly. “You bust your gut working horses to get to the races and then cop this…is there any wonder why people are getting out of the game?” Widely-regarded as the finest reinsman produced in Australasia, Gavin Lang lashed out at stewards for their lack of foresight and handling of the situation. “Stewards wonder there is no respect coming from participants when they do things like this,” Lang said. “They knew they were going to do this, but never told us. “I’m very disillusioned with the process and it’s another case of the stewards being on one side of the fence and we’re on another. “It is ridiculous…is there any other industry in the world where they don’t go through the due process before making these calls?” Prominent trainer Emma Stewart’s four Ballarat Cup entrants were scratched from the Group One – including the favourite Guaranteed - which has left her contemplating legal action. “This is beyond a joke,” Stewart declared. “This is why Victoria is so far behind the rest of Australia. “We won the last race at Melton last night using one of these sulkies, then find out once we get here we can’t use it tonight. “If they had of told us during the week we could have made some arrangements…There will definitely be legal action.” Leading trainer David Aiken had Cold Sister scratched from the Group One V L Dullard Cup, while Thanesan contested the feature only to race out of his comfort zone. “If the sulkies are too wide, fair enough, but they knew about this days ago and decide to tell us tonight at the track, it is unprofessional,” Aiken said. “Thanesan raced in one of the sulkies a week ago and was perfect, tonight he was bolting for Gavin as he kept hitting the wheel.” Chief steward Neal Conder confirmed he was aware of the issue with the sulkies earlier in the week, stating he had ordered inspections last Thursday. “I was informed by HRA during the week of concerns some UFO sulkies were wider than allowable,” Conder said. “I informed our steward who looks after gear that when next at races to measure the sulkies. “He measured them Thursday and there was no issue, then we measured them before the first race tonight and found that some weren’t compliant with the HRA specifications. “Trainers were only told tonight. We didn’t expect given the results on Thursday to find any that were outside regulations. “We are bound by HRA specifications and it is our job to ensure that our participants adhere to those standards.” HRV chief executive John Anderson stated he is “disappointed with the communication” between the stewards and participants, having only become aware of the situation upon his arrival at Ballarat. Stewards report directly to the integrity council, and it would be up to the integrity council to advise on ways to improve processes around communication between stewards and participants HRV has also stated it will work closely with Ballarat on a way to compensate patrons who attended tonight’s meeting. Ballarat’s chief executive Paul Rowse revealed patrons were asking for refunds within minutes of the six Cup scratchings. For the record, handy pacer Im Corzin Terror caused a minor upset in the four-horse field when he upstaged the $1.10 favourite, Terror To Love, in 1:59.7 for the 2710-metre trip. - PAUL COURTS

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

The rise of Keayang Cullen continued at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with an easy Minuteman Free-For-All win. It was billed as a potential showdown between Keayang Cullen and ageing superstar Smoken Up but the old warrior just wasn’t able to go with the Terang terminator, who gave none of his rivals a chance in a flawless start-to-finish triumph. Driven by young up-and-coming reinsman Jason Lee, whose cool-under-pressure style has him touted as one of the sport’s stars of the future, Marg Lee trained Keayang Cullen pinged to the front from gate one in the 2240-metre event. Lance Justice took Smoken Up around fast starter Exciteusinthecity (Tim McLean) early to park outside the leader, while Chris Alford angled second-favourite Magical Telf behind Keayang Cullen from gate two. Not much changed for the next 1400 metres as Keayang Cullen carved out first and second sectionals of 31.6 and 29.5, setting himself up for a dash home in the last 800m. Smoken Up always sat back just slightly in the run, not eyeballing the leader and attacking at the bell from the chair as was once his caper. Keayang Cullen was running some good time in the last 1200 metres though, sprinting down the back in 28.3 to get Smoken Up – an impressive last-start Globe Derby winner – off the bit. When the leader swung the home bend it was clear he had Smoken Up’s measure, but the two-time Miracle Mile superstar – and Australasian mile rate record holder with a 1:48.5 mark – kept on giving his all. Exciteusinthecity emerged down the outside in the final 150 metres, while Magical Telf had every conceivable chance to run down Keayang Cullen but couldn’t despite an economical drive by Alford. Keayang Cullen kicked home in 27.4, recording a last half-mile time of 55.7 seconds to win by 3.2 metres, with Exciteusinthecity running second – he’s racing in career-best form – and Magical Telf third. Teo Enteo never looked a winning threat but ran on fairly for fourth, while Jack In Flight was fifth of the seven ahead of Smoken Up, who beat only outsider Our White Knight to the line. Leading up to last night’s race Jason Lee said he would love for Keayang Cullen to get a crack at the Miracle Mile in Sydney next season. Given his picket fence form line and utter domination of the current free-for-all crop in Victoria, the Terang star’s invite is surely in the mail. Smoken Up meanwhile will have his send-off at Tabcorp Park Melton on September 6 in the Casey Classic, where he will be hoping to draw an inside barrier and to be given the chance to race where he does best - out in front. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria    

Reinsman Rodney Petroff nailed the tactics aboard Zedalite to win the Vulcan Trotters Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. Petroff took the Brent Lilley trained five-year-old gelding straight to the front from gate three and refused to hand up to Josh Aiken aboard the short-priced favourite, My High Expectations, in the 1720-metre feature event. The pair, who punters favoured with My High Expectations starting $1.50 favourite and Zedalite the second pick at $4.20, sat one-two for the bulk of the race but Petroff’s charge had the upper hand. In the finish My High Expectations loomed large late and almost got level with the early pacesetter in the final 200 metres, but Petroff lifted Zedalite to a memorable half-head win. Zedalite has been a terrific money-spinner for connections and last night’s success was his 22nd career win from 75 starts. The son of Zooma stopped the clock at 1:58.1 for the mile rate. Stoned I Am ran on at the finish to grab third for Simone Walker, while Lightning Joy was fourth for Gavin Lang. Earlier in the night Inky Cullen bounced back to winning form after some out-of-character efforts with a win in the Tabcorp Park Melton Claiming Pace. The Amanda Grieve trained five-year-old scored a three-metre win over stablemate Catch Your Breath; Alex Ashwood driving the winner and Chris Alford piloting the second horse. Other Melton winners were Palais Du Louvre for Leigh Miles and Scott Dyer in the first race, Smiling High for David Aiken and Nathan Jack in Race 2, El Paco for Joe Attard in Race 4, Keayang Cullen for Marg Lee and Jason Lee in Race 5, Goodtime Mike for Emma Stewart and Alford in Race 6, Im Barney Rubble for Lance Justice and Brian Gath in Race 7, and The Majestic for John Newberry in Race 9. The early quaddie paid $520.30 on the numbers 9-5-9-8, while the traditional quaddie paid $1453 on a 1-2-10-3 combination. Don't forget tomorrow's guaranteed $200,000 quaddie pool at Ballarat for semi-final night of the rich Breeders Crown Series. Details at the TAB website. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Friday night’s Minuteman Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Melton is shaping as a classic battle. Keayang Cullen has won five straight races and has drawn the pole for the 2240-metre race, while 11-year-old Smoken Up – on his farewell tour – is coming off a cracking win at Globe Derby in Adelaide. With both horses boasting noteworthy speed off the arm, the sparks looks set to fly early in what should prove an intriguing battle. Trainer/driver Lance Justice has at times been lambasted in social media for having the audacity to pin such tags as “certainty” on his stable superstar along the journey. Justice often publicly suggested his horse could sit outside other champions and run them into submission. Often he was right. Smoken Up boasts a 74-win career from 151 starts for stake winnings of in excess of $3.6 million. Justice’s confident style has had to be toned down in recent times as the burden of age crept up on Smoken up. But what if the barriers were reversed this Friday night and Smoken Up had the pole with Keayang Cullen to come out gate six? “If you reverse the draw then one thing I can tell you is he (Keayang Cullen) couldn’t sit outside Smoken Up and beat him, I don’t care what you say,” Justice said. As it stands, Keayang Cullen defeated Smoken Up a month ago in the Melton City Council Sprint over 1720m. The Marg Lee trained six-year-old led from gate five that night, while Smoken Up came from wide on the second line. The margin between the two pacers at the finish was a substantial though not huge 10.5 metres. Jason Lee, who will drive Keayang Cullen on Friday night, has full faith in his charge, who he says can hopefully measure up in the Miracle Mile should he get the opportunity next season. “Just to get a start in that race firstly would be pretty special,” Lee said. Lee is well aware he takes the form horse into Friday night’s race and, tactically, he’s confident of holding the front no matter what Smoken Up – or the dark horse in Exciteusinthecity – can serve up when the mobile speeds away. “Nah, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he would consider allowing Smoken Up to work to the lead. “He’s going to cop pressure in good races so I think we’ll just try to hold the front at all costs.” Exciteusinthecity has pinged out at his last two impressive wins in town but will find this a different kettle of fish. Driver Tim McLean is likely to try and find some cover. While Keayang Cullen is a highly skilled frontrunner, Lee pointed out his charge has been able to come from behind in past races – highlighting his February Inter Dominion heat win when he sprinted sharply in the home straight after being behind the leader in the run. But none of that is expected to matter on Friday night, as Lee is adamant he won’t be handing up. Justice admits he has very little chance, if any, of finding the lead this week so is resigned to sitting parked. “He’s pulled up enormous since Adelaide when he was half-a-second outside the track record -- I can see him sitting outside Keayang Cullen and giving him some curry,” Justice said. “He’s 100 per cent right now. I wanted to give him this run before his finale as I didn’t want him to have such a big break going into that race (September 6, the Casey Classic). “Keayang Cullen led and beat him first-up at Melton, but he’s running into a much fitter Smoken Up this time. “He’ll run a huge race.” If there are fireworks early, expect champion reinsman Chris Alford to be grinning like a Cheshire cat aboard Magical Telf, who from gate two is likely to jump behind Keayang Cullen for a cheap run. Making up the field are Jack In Flight from gate three, Teo Enteo from gate four and Our White Knight in the cheap seats draw (gate seven). Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 15 August 2014 Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

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