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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

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

Kerryn Manning fired for three wins at the Terang trots on Tuesday night. The Great Western reinswoman won the second, third and fifth events aboard Jetcraft, Red Nigel and Jaccka Lonny on a foggy night at the track. Jaccka Lonny was first-up for the Manning yard since joining from New Zealand, the four-year-old son of Mcardle too strong despite working hard on the last lap. Manning took the gelding straight back to last early in the 2180m Tiz A Masterpiece C2-C3 Pace before easing three-wide at about the 900m. The ex-Kiwi made his move down the back straight the final time, ranging up to the leaders strongly. Despite sitting three-wide approaching the bend and being driven along, Jaccka Lonny had more fight than his adversaries and overpowered them in the home stretch for an impressive triumph. Jaccka Lonny’s winning mile rate was 2:00.7 with a last half-mile of 59.4 seconds. Other drivers to score multiple successes at Terang were local Matthew Craven, who kicked home a winning double aboard Volatile Girl in the Squires Supermarket Vicbred Pace over 1680m and smart colt Clark Griswold in the Western Edition Pace, and Chris Alford, who guided Baccarat to a last-stride win over Desdon Murruffy in the Dick and Anne Box Pace over 1680m and Hurricane Stride to a half-head win in the Shadyshark Hanover Pace. The other winner for the night went to leading local trainer Marg Lee for leading local reinsman Jason Lee, Keayang Ebonyrose saluting in the first – the Silvan Ridge Business Advisers 2YO Pace. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

How good is Keayang Cullen? The 'Terang Terminator' said hasta la vista to harness racing superstar Smoken Up and a field of other strong free-for-all horses in tonight’s Melton City Council Sprint over 1720m. Glen Craven said post-race the Marg Lee-trained gelding was improving with every race and tonight had won comfortably. “We didn’t take him up to Brisbane … instead there are plenty of good races down here at the moment so we’ll keep hopefully picking them off,” he said. “The first aim will be the Breeders Crown Free for All. “Hopefully he can continue improving with each run.” Keayang Cullen went 1:53.9 tonight, finding the lead easily from his wide front-row draw before reeling off comfortable sectional times of 28.8secs, 30.6secs, 27.8secs and 27.7secs. Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Bitobliss showed a win isn’t far off with a strong second placing, while superstar veteran Smoken Up battled on for third after punching the breeze throughout. Keayang Cullen   by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

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

Three-time Olympic Gold Medallist and TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Ambassador Stephanie Rice is excited with the build up to Inter Dominion Grand Final day this Sunday afternoon. "It's been an absolute pleasure to be ambassador for such a wonderful race series," said Rice. Rice is a tremendous advocate of women in sport and will be cheering for Lauren Panella (Mach Beauty), Kate Gath (Caribbean Blaster), Belinda McCarthy (The Gold Ace and For a Reason) and Marg Lee (Keayang Cullen). "The success of females in harness racing was my attraction to the sport and I am pleased to see so many ladies with chances in the big one this Sunday afternoon," she said. Rice will attend the Heroes Ball at Luna Park this Friday night followed by a busy Grand Final day on Sunday. "I am so looking forward to being involved with the Fashions On The Field as there is over $25,000 in prizes on offer, she said. "I encourage as many people from all walks of life to come out to Menangle and celebrate a wonderful event." Three industry ambassadors will also be present this Sunday. Amanda Turnbull, Sammy Kilgour and Seryn Adams have also helped raise the profile of women in harness racing. In what promises to be a bigger and better series than last year, the 2014 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final will again be broadcast live on Channel 9 from 3pm. Harness Racing New South Wales  

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

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

Metropolitan harness racing is at Melton on Friday night this week and The Sew-Eurodrive Free For All is the final leg of the Quaddie. Yarra Valley Cup winner Mustang Mach is a scratching but the field boasts some serious horseflesh nevertheless. Congupna hero Bitobliss will take his place in the field as will Sew-Eurodrive Victoria Cup victor and winner of over $930,000 in prizemoney, Caribbean Blaster. An interesting runner is Keayang Cullen, trained by Marg Lee at Terang.  The Christian Cullen gelding boasts an impressive strike rate of 17 wins from 33 starts and his trainer is ‘very happy’ with how he has performed in his two starts back from a spell.  “He just had a few little problems, a few niggles after the Inter Dominion so I decided to give him a good rest,” Lee says.  “There’s a lot of speed off the front row tonight but Keayang Cullen has good gate speed himself. “He’ll just have to follow something through.  Drawing off the front would have been better but you take the draws you are given.”  Keayang Cullen is likely to contest the Bendigo and Hamilton Cups, and connections will make a decision on which races he contests after that.  The Lee family has a little more to worry about right now than fast horses – about an hour before Keayang Cullen’s recent third at Ballarat Lee received the news that son Jack Lee had sustained burns to his legs in a sprint car fire at Avalon raceway.  Lee made a late night dash to his side but Jack is progressing well, and according to Lee will make a full recovery. Perhaps Keayang Cullen can speed that recovery with another good performance this Friday night. by Lucy McCormick

There isn’t any trot racing on Christmas Day so enjoy the turkey and pudding but be warned: things will not be starting off slowly at Ballarat’s Boxing Day night meeting. The highlight of the night’s racing is the $30,000 Laser Electrical Lightning Mile (Group Three). A sensational field will assemble for the race, which carries two separate $10,000 bonuses – one if any horse can break the Ballarat record mile rate of 1:53.7 set by Saab Quality, and another if any horse is able to eclipse the Victorian record mile rate of 1:51.1 set by the champion Smoken Up.  ‘Trigger’ is not going to miss out on a crack at his own record, although he’ll have to be quick out of gate seven. Following a comfortable trial win on Monday, zipping home in a last quarter of 26.9 seconds, Lance Justice’s gelding will be primed and ready for battle once more. Racing off the pole is the Emma Stewart trained warrior Restrepo.  A winner of almost $320,000 in career prize money, the Group One winning entire will be hoping to take advantage of the favourable draw. The racing talent is not restricted to two horses, however.  The race consists of a field of quality horses (special conditions allow all eight runners to start from the front line).  Lining up for his forty-seventh start is Del-Re Hunter Cup champion and last years Ballarat Cup winner Mah Sish.  Also in the field is the locally trained last start Yarra Valley Cup winner Savesomtimetodream.  Add the Marg Lee trained Victorian Sires Classic winner Keayang Cullen and last start Melton winner National Service and you have a mouth-watering clash to look forward to. The Lightning Mile is not the only race to entertain those unwinding in the holiday period. The $10,500 VHRSC Snowball Series Final will be run at Ballarat, and Clancys Fobwatch from the Sugars stable is unbeaten this from four runs this season since joining the Hopetoun Park crew.  The four-year-old gelding is looking to make it five from five in the third leg of the quaddie. So if you’re looking for some post Christmas cheer, head out to Bray Raceway for some first class racing action – first race is scheduled for 6:25pm. by Lucy McCormick  

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

Terang trainer Marg Lee continued her remarkable strike rate, when first starter Keayang Active greeted the judge in the Bayswater Jayco 3-Y-0 Pace over 2100 metres at Charlton in Central Victoria on Monday September 25, returning a mile rate of 2-02. Driven by nephew Glen Craven who has only just returned to the sulky after having a knee attended to, Keayang Active a well supported gelded son of Art Major and the Fake Left mare Delta Dream began speedily from the pole and despite a serious challenge as the mobile pulled away by Jumbo Asakei (gate six), easily retained the inside running. Travelling boldly under a tight rein, Keayang Active bounded away on the final bend to record an untouched 5.1 metre victory in advance of In The Trenches (one/two – three wide last lap), with Jumbo Asakei which had dropped down to trail the winner after the early burn a further 1.9 metres away in third place. The heavily backed Ellen Tormey trained and driven favourite Done And Dusted also on debut, dropped out after moving to face the open mid-race. Popular Moonlight (Maryborough) trainer John Douglas made a welcome return to the winners stall when lightly raced 8-Y-0 Wind Cries Maori/Lopsided gelding Right Side Up scored in the Charlton & District Community bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2100 metres. Making his 30th appearance at the races, Right Side Up with Bendigo’s Chris Svanosio in the cart, led throughout in accounting for a death-seating Sans Frontiere which appeared to have him covered on the home turn, with the 40 metre equal backmarker Allawart Ugo (one/one) third. The mile rate a pedestrian 2-09.5. John Douglas was one of Victoria’s top junior reinsmen in the Showgrounds and early Moonee Valley era when attached to John Harland’s Flemington stable. On a day of short priced favourites, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp combined with Nathan Jack to land the Dunlop Superdealer Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2100 metres with South Australian owned mare Spokeswoman, a 4-Y-0 daughter of Art Major and Fatalistic. Safely holding the inside running from the pole, Spokeswoman ($1.50) was untroubled to lead throughout to score from Tere T which had an early dig for the front from gate four before dropping down to be three back the markers. Aftermidnight Sam (one/one – three wide last lap) finished third. The mile rate 1-58.5. Last season’s leading trainer at Charlton, Rochester based  Mark Thompson snared the Charlton Community Newsletter Pace with classy 4-Y-0 Falcon Seelster/Karamea Toastime gelding Timeseel an unbackable $1.10 chance. Driven by stable reinsperson Ellen Tormey, Timeseel had nothing more than “a stroll in the park”, winning by 14.5 metres from Wealthy Warrior which trailed and Absolootmagic (one/one) in a rate of 2-00.6. by Len Baker

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