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
Four year old harness racing mare Big Mumma Fitz (Armbro Operative/Hi Ho Fitz) has certainly come of age this season, chalking up four wins from eight outings, the latest at her home track Dalvui Raceway Terang on Tuesday May 14 after a rather slow start to her career.
The Terang Harness Racing Club held a neat compact meeting at Dalvui Raceway Terang on Tuesday April 16, with plenty of winners coming from the Western District and South East South Australia.
Terang based trainer Marg Lee and teenage reinsman son Jason combined to land the TAB Daily Double at the Geelong Harness Racing Club fixture on Wednesday April 3 with home bred stablemates Jilliby Ling and Jilliby Ablett, both horses using a concession.
Terang in South-West Victoria was the venue for Tuesday harness racing (September 18), with many of the local fraternity providing winners throughout the evening.