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South Merbein harness racing trainer Ian Watson and son reinsman Luke made the long trip south worthwhile by taking out the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final for two-year-old fillies at Melton on Saturday night. “I usually sit at home and watch these races on telly." "To win it is just an absolute miracle to me,” declared Luke after steering well-bred Flojos Gold to victory in the 2240-metre event. At odds of over 50-1, Flojos Gold – by Mach Three out of former smart race mare Jasper Jo – made it three wins from four career starts by upstaging hot favourite Soho Madeleine for Belinda and Luke McCarthy by a head in a mile rate of two minutes. “I thought she could run a good race if she landed like she did." "If you had have told me we’d land behind the leader then I’d say we’d end up in the top few,” the winner’s driver said shortly after the race when asked about his thoughts going in. “It definitely makes up for all those ones you think were good enough but might have had a little bit of bad luck here or there not to win a Group 1." "It’s definitely a great thrill.” Rocknroll Magic ran third for Emma Stewart and Gavin Lang, while Just Wantano was fourth for Kevin Brough and Michael Bellman. Luke Watson said the filly had only travelled down to Melton in the hours leading up to the race. “We arrived a couple of hours before we had to be here … with the babies we always reckon they’re best off at home in their own environment until they have to leave and I think it’s paid dividends,” he said. “I knew this filly got out pretty quick, we just wanted to come out early and find a spot." "To end up where we did was probably just good luck more than good management,” Luke said. Re-live Flojos Gold winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

Ararat freelance reinsman Michael Bellman took the honours for the night at the harness racing meeting at Terang on Tuesday June 23 with a driving treble – Babalaas Jack in the Noir Rover 3-Y-0 Pace over 1680 metres, Four Starzzz Fella in the Welcome Computers Pace for C1 class over the same journey and Sheza Party Doll in the Phonse Hickey Memorial Pace for C0 class over 2180 metres. Babalaas Jack a fully American bred Somebeachsomwhere/Western Tingira colt bred and raced by David Carpenter and trained at Great Western by Michelle Wight, spent most of the race at the tail of the field after starting from the extreme draw. Despite being five wide on the final bend, Babalaas Jack was too strong at the finish for a most unlucky Mister Chomp which was all set to win approaching the final bend only to go off stride before getting going again in the straight to fail by a head in 2-00.1. Cheersbigears finished third after trailing the weakening leader Aurelius. Five year old Four Starzzz Shark/Clarenden Diva gelding Four Starzzz Fella trained at Heywood by Kevin Brough coming off a victory at Mildura on June 12, was given an easy time three back in the moving lane after also starting from the extreme draw. Moving forward three wide uncovered in the final circuit, Four Starzzz Fella outstayed his rivals to score by 6.7 metres in advance of a death-seating Smoken Fields, with the pacemaker Emma Jade third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Michael Bellman was to finish the night on a high note after Holmes Hanover/Divine Lustre 5-Y-0 gelding Our Bold Lustre landed the Murfett & Whiting Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres, as he trains the winner. Using a concession for Denbeigh Wade, Our Bold Lustre began with a rush from outside the front line, but was unable to head off the speedy Jilliby Diablo (gate four). Taking cover on Our Uptown Girl mid-race, Our Bold Lustre switched down to the sprint lane on straightening to score by 1.9 metres over Jilliby Diablo in 2-02.2, with Destined To Take (three wide last lap from last) third. Sheza Party Doll a 4-Y-0 mare by Dream Away from Lombo Party Doll trained by Bec East at the Brough property, came from near last at the bell after starting from gate three on the second line to defeat Mister Untouchable which raced parked from the bell by 2.2 metres in 2-01.9. Dayraid (one/one at bell) finished third after switching down to trail the weakening pacemaker and odds-on favourite Jilliby Passion in the last lap.   Bec East landed a training double at the meeting, when Rocknroll Hanover/Best Of Wine gelding Dancin With Elvis greeted the judge in the Talisman Floats 3-Y-0 Pace over 1680 metres with Jayson Finnis in the sulky. Starting from gate two, Dancin With Elvis angled away from four back the markers to be one/one for the last lap, before running home strongly to account for Esspee Rockstar (gate three) which galloped away before circling the field to lead at the bell. Turbo Elly finished third after easing to face the breeze from three back the markers in the last lap. The mile rate 2-01.7.   Four year old Chief Marty/Quintessa Bromac gelding Our Supreme Guy gave veteran Glenburnie (Mt Gambier) trainer Ken Dihm a happy birthday present when successful in the Cooinda Work Crew Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres at Terang. Driven by local Glen Craven, Our Supreme Guy showed blistering speed from gate five to lead easily as the mobile moved away, before surrendering to the polemarker Nobetterthanthis which moved off his back to assume control. Using the sprint lane, Our Supreme Guy raced clear over the concluding stages to register a 2.3 metre victory over Nobetterthanthis and Top Trio which followed the pair. The mile rate 2-02. It was Our Supreme Guy’s 5th victory in 39 outings. Ken Dihm had enormous success in the nineties with a fabulous mare by the name of Helens Pleasure who won 32 races including several at Moonee Valley and Globe Derby Park.   Dunnstown brothers John and David Murphy snared the Terang Co-Op Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2180 metres with honest 5-Y-0 Armbro Variable/Irish Tess gelding Tommy Kay in a mile rate of 2-08.2. Coming from 10 metres, Tommy Kay was sent forward by David to park in the open with The Night Wind leading from barrier two.  Gaining cover when Bee Arr Dee dashed to face the breeze at the bell from mid-field, Tommy Kay Joined Bee Arr Dee on the home turn and finished best to register a 13 metre victory (his third) over Veegee Bentley (four back the markers), with Bee Arr Dee holding down third. Long Forest duo Andy and Kate Gath’s Kiwi bred Bettor’s Delight/We Love To Party 4-Y-0 gelding Party Boy led throughout from the pole to land the Dick & Anne Box Pace for C4 to C5 class over 2180 metres. Allowed to dictate terms to suit without any challengers, Party Boy was untroubled to win by 7.9 metres from No Bettertime along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Keayang Storm third after trailing the winner. The mile rate 2-01.1. Len Baker  

Port Pirie 2015 Elders Invitation Drivers Series Saturday night 20th June is one of the feature harness racing meetings in South Australia where five of the best drivers from Victoria challenge six drivers from South Australia. The series is run over four races on the night with the driver with the most points winning the title. This series has been going now for forty years and has brought together a good line up of drivers as you can see by their profiles. Ex Port Pirie driver Kate Gath is making a return, while local driver Brad Sims will be aiming to again win the series as he did in 2006 Victorians Lance Justice: Driven 2865 winners, started his career here in SA and was great supporter of Northern harness racing when he was here. Has had lots of success over the years here and in Victoria with many good horses with the best being Sokyola and Smokem up. Always loves coming back here, won this series back in the ninety’s, won the trainers and drivers premiership here in 2000 the year the new track was opened, loves talking with the locals. Anthony Butt: Formerly from New Zealand where he drove 1609 winners and now situated in Victoria where he has driven another 694 winners while coming to and fro. This is Anthony’s first time at Port Pirie and he would really like to increase on his winning tally. Will be a good draw card having someone very approachable from NZ come here Michael Bellman: Has driven 952 winners in his career, participated in this series in 2011 where he was runner up to Lisa Miles. Is currently having a great year, being fifth on the Victorian State driver’s premiership having driven ninety winners. Is prepared to travel all over the state, having had over 1000 drives in Victoria this season, and we welcome him back Kate Gath: Has driven 942 winners so far in her career, Born and raised here in Port Pirie where she won the Port Pirie Drivers Premiership in 2004. Currently having a very good season, driving 83 winners so far and sits sixth on the Victorian State Drivers Premiership. Has been a regular competitor in this series over the last ten years where she tied in first place in 2013. Family and friends are sure to cheer on Kate help increase the crowd. Lisa Miles: Has driven 498 winners in her career always puts her hand up to come here for the series where she has had good success winning in 2011where she came at a days notice and 2013. Does really well training her small team of horses but is a great who competitor and would really love win her third series going back to back. SA Drivers Ryan Hryhorec: Has currently driven 1380 winners, is a regular here at Port Pirie having won the Drivers Premiership in 2008, 2011, 2014 and currently well in front this season in the drivers premiership. Tied in first in this series in 2012 and 2013 and has driven 130 winners in SA and Victoria this coming season. Tough competitor and is sure to account himself well Mark Billinger: One of the state’s top drivers has had 1014 career driving wins has had 62 wins this season and is currently fourth on the states leading driving premiership table. Always gives his horses a great run and has a good strike rate in the sulky. Wayne Hill: He is another regular driver here at Port Pirie has had 768 career wins, is currently fifth on the state driving premiership having driven 52 winners for the season. Wayne has come through the junior ranks and is a good competitor who has been in the series before and will account himself well. Leah Harvey: Has had 666 career wins, now getting towards the veteran stage having won this series in 2002 and 2010. Was the leading driver here at Port Pirie in 2001 and 2012 so she well and truly knows her way around the track here. She has represented the region well over the years on and off the track and it would not surprise if Leah won her third series. Scott Ewen: Has driven has  660 winners throughout his career and has been a regular here at nearly every meeting over the past five years, winning the Port Pirie driving premiership in 2013. Is currently having a good season having driven 45 winners, has competed in the series for the last three years without much luck but this could be his year. Brad Sims: Has driven 86 winners in his career, was the leading young driver in 2005 here at Port Pirie and had good success in winning this Drivers Series in 2006. Has also driven many placing throughout his career, has taken a trainers licence out this season and has had success with that. With limited opportunity he has always given his drives every chance. Good luck to all the drivers competing and also to David Harding who would have been here if it was not for nasty fall that he had at Globe Derby on 8th June. by Neville Thomson, Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Related Links Fields for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015

“He’s a bloody ripper,” declared a beaming harness racing driver Michael Bellman after driving Uncle Wingnut to victory in Sunday’s Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup. The Joe Costa-trained seven-year-old gelding broke the track record for the 2809-metre trip, his 7.3-metre win accompanied by a mile rate of 2:00.4 – bettering the previous mark by 0.7secs. Despite sitting in the sulky behind the best horse in the race Bellman still produced some magic, easing three-wide early to commence a move and flushing out South Australian Mister Styx, which allowed Bellman to jag into the coveted one-out-one-back trail. Michael Smith driving Mister Styx must have immediately regretted his move as fellow border-hopper Glenferrie Rustler declared the death seat not up for grabs, posting Mister Styx three-wide and in a bind for the remainder of the race. Entering the back straight the final time Bellman made his move, angling the $2 favourite three-wide when Mister Styx tailed out after a torrid run, Uncle Wingnut dashing to a clear lead at the top circle. Gollahman and Our Waldenbury had both enjoyed economical runs from their respective drivers, Zac Phillips and Damian Wilson, and both ran into the placings but there was no catching Uncle Wingnut. The son of Christian Cullen powered home, his last half clocked at 56.3secs. “When I lobbed the one-one I was quietly happy with things,” Bellman said. “He’s versatile. There’s no set way to drive him. Joe (Costa) and the team have done a great job with him.” Costa said Uncle Wingnut was “a great trier” who was “easy to train” and “laidback”. Meanwhile, the Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final was taken out by Vince Vallelonga-trained Bonny Under Fire. The consistent mare found the lead from gate two, crossing stablemate Kissed Flush who eventually went off stride and had to be pulled up after breaking gear. Several runners put the pressure on Bonny Under Fire mid-race, but she was able to overcome it and respond tenaciously for a 3.3-metre win in a track-record run of 1:57.9 for the 2040m start. Madis Made finished second in the Championship Final for Bellman, with Dark Side third. It was a big day for Bellman, who finished with two winners – the cup aboard Uncle Wingnut and Race 2 with in-form Murranji Track. The Ararat reinsman also finished second with Scout Hall Road in Race 3, Life Of Ted in Race 4 and Rayner Storm in Race 6, and placed third on outsider One Knight Stand in the last race. A huge crowd was on hand at Ouyen, club president Graeme Mengler thrilled with how the day played out. “I’ve had people telling me how good the kids’ entertainment was and the crowd was excellent,” Mengler said. “It was a really positive day for the club.” Local Amanda Foster won $1000 from the TAB thanks to Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition, while loads of other patrons walked away with prizes from the plethora of on-course giveaways that were offered. >> VIDEO: Watch Uncle Wingnut take out the Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup by Cody Winnell

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  

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

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

Allendale East  harness racing trainer David Kemp enjoyed a red letter day at Hamilton this afternoon with a winning double. Kemp’s ultra-consistent five-year-old gelding Arr En Special took out the PDF Food Services Pace to give the trainer the first leg of his winning double, narrowly holding out hot favourite Flaming Hero after an excellent drive from talented young reinsman Jason Lee. Kemp’s mare, Forced Out, then prevailed from pole in the last race, the Logical Property Services Pace, again with Lee the winning reinsman. Kerryn Manning also drove a winning double on the program, opening with two-year-old gelding Jereme Jetsetter in the first, the Hunt’s Auto Spaces 2YO Pace, for trainer Peter Manning, before taking out the fourth race, the Ward’s Jewellers Ladies Challenge Pace aboard Kankkunen for Burrumbeet trainer Kati Gunn, over Sir Dasher Dee for Marnie Bibby and Tara Tom for Jamie-Lee King. In other races, Lovable Nick won the Alexandra House Trotters Handicap at big odds over Brian Kiesey-trained pair Candy Digger and Master Kiesey in second and third. Lovable Nick won by 4.6m in a mile rate of 2:04.3. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to win the Trevor Krause 3YO Pace over 1660m, defeating runner-up In The Trenches by a head, with 5m back to Goodtime Blackie in third place. The mile rate was 1:56.2 with the last half in 58.8secs. Matthew Craven took out the Graham and Mary Torbet Memorial Pace over 1660m with seven-year-old mare Shards Of Ice. Craven, who rarely misses a win at a Hamilton meeting, settled his $34 shot three back along the pegs before bursting through in the sprint lane for a barnstorming win. The mare ran a slick mile rate of 1:53.9. Drumborg’s Kevin Brough combined with Ararat driver Michael Bellman to win the Judith Astbury Pace with Modern Art four-year-old mare Just Like Elle. She scored by 2.6m over Whisper Away, with Sign No More in third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.4. Harness racing heads to Kilmore tomorrow night for a huge 10-event card, with the first race at 5.05pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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

CENTRAL VICTORIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS CONTINUE AT MARYBOROUGH Heats three of the Central Victorian Pacing and Trotting Championships continued at the Wedderburn HRC fixture held at Maryborough on Monday January 6, with Sapphire Swayze taking the C2 or better class pacers division over 2190 metres and Mallee Trapper the T0 or better class trotters over 2690 metres. Four year old Union Guy/Bold Sapphire gelding Sapphire Swayze was ultra impressive in his victory, returning a mile rate of 2-01.6 for the standing stat event. Trained by Adam Kelly at his new Riddell complex, Sapphire Swayze first up since June with stable reinsman Gavin Lang aboard, stepped cleanly from 10 metres to settle four back along the markers in a strung out field, with pole marker Whata Avenue pouncing straight to the front as the tapes released. Easing away from the inside to park in the open racing for the bell, Sapphire Swayze in a twinkling of an eye exploded to the front in the back straight with the race safely in his keeping. With Lang just sitting there in the straight, Sapphie Swayze coasted to the wire 4.8 metres in advance of Whata Avenue who struck to her task well, with Boyz Torque (three wide last lap) a further 10 metres away in third place after a tardy beginning. Popular Portarlington trainer Gary Bailey a devoted follower of the squaregaiter, received a boost when home bred six year old Wind Cries Maori/Trappers Girl gelding snared the trotters division. Driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, Mallee Trapper was quick to begin from a 30 metre handicap, going forward to surprisingly arrest the lead away from the last start Melton winner Invasive at the judge on the first occasion. Rated to perfection, Mallee Trapper defied all challengers to defeat the co 50 metre backmarker Loveyougoodboy (three wide last lap) by 1.1 metres, with Invasive a disappointing third after having every chance along the sprint lane a half head away in third place. The mile rate 2-05.8. Gary has been recuperating from a more than painful knee operation. Semi-Finals will be held at the St Arnaud HRC meeting at Charlton on Wednesday January 15, with the Finals at Maryborough five days later on Monday January 20. One of the highlights of the day was the victory of exciting Blissful Hall/Weona Rena four year old entire Bliss Man in the Wedderburn Motel Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1690 metres. Trained in the western part of the state at Hawkesdale (Hamilton District) by Graham Gee for wife Christine, Bliss Man again taking a concession for Terang’s Jason Lee was quickly away from inside the second line to press forward and park outside the pacemaker Aleppo Tiger (gate two). Pouring on the pressure in the last lap, Bliss Man cruised to the front on the final bend to score by 4.9 metres in a rate of 1-55.6 over Our Eastwood Cullen (four wide last lap) from near last, with Aleppo Tiger holding down third 3 metres away. It was Bliss Man’s 9th victory in 15 race appearances, the last six in succession. By Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

Maryborough in Central Victoria - home of the trotter held a 10 event card on Monday December 23 which featured no less than five events devoted to the squaregaiter. Redwood winner Daenerys Targaryen returned to the winners list in the Highland Heavy Games 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres. Now in the care of Brent Lilley at Bolinda, Daenerys Targaryen with Greg Sugars in the sulky wasn't pushed at the start from gate six, before striding clear to lead for the majority of the trip, defeating Sister Of Sonoko (one/one at bell) from near last by 2.4 metres, with the first starter Maybelina using the sprint lane from four back the markers to finish third. The mile rate 2-06.4. St Arnaud trainer Brian Kiesey provided an upset result when six year old Life Sign/Abby Beach mare Apple Beach scored in the Showstoppers @ Princess Park New Years Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres, paying Supertab odds of $59.00. Driven by Michael Bellman, Apple Beach having her first outing in almost 12 months (January 7 2013), galloped away from the extreme draw settling at the tail of the field along with The Yankee Clipper which was badly away and Pride Of Sundon who was slow to begin, with the hot favourite Rosemma leading from gate three. Still last prior to the home turn, Apple Beach produced a barnstorming finish out wide to blouse Rosemma by a head in 2-08.1 which surrendered to Pride Of Sundon mid-race before easing off his back on turning. Tommy Kay (three back the markers at bell) used the sprint lane to finish third. The Highland Dancing Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres went the way of five year old Goodboytruscott/Truscott Photo gelding Loveyougoodboy for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove. Trotting faultlessly on this occasion after making several mistakes in recent outings, Loveyougoodboy starting from a 40 metre equal backmark with Im Demimondaine, was immediately sent forward by Josh Duggan to park outside the front line pacemaker Kingofthedesert. Taking care of the leader approaching the home turn with Im Demimondaine issuing a challenge, Loveyougoodboy prevailed by 3.9 metres in a rate of 2-05.4, with A Stylish Jewel (three back the markers) third. Sutton Grange trainer Ross Graham's improving Zooma/ImaBarbie Girl five year old gelding Brother Of Sonoko broke his maiden status at start number six, when successful in the Side Show Alley New Years Day Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-05.1. Given a lovely trip one/one from gate two for Daryl Douglas with the hot favourite Hachashaq leading from the pole, Brother Of Sonoko when eased three wide on the final bend, raced clear on straightening to record an easy 8.3 metre victory in advance of My Turn My Turn from last, with Redcavier third after following the winner throughout. Seven year old Grinfromeartoear/Hyclass Souix mare Paparazzi Snapshot recorded her 8th victory in 54 outings by taking the Chieftain Andy Brumby Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Starting from the 40 metre mark after taking a mares concession, Paparazzi Snapshot with Kerryn Manning in the sulky, wasn't bustled in the early stages, settling at the rear of the field as the polemarker Mygreekkalesa stepped to the front at barrier rise. Moving three wide in the last lap, Paparazzi Snapshot proved much too strong for Gluteus Major off a three wide trail last lap and Idle Suntime which followed the pair home. The mile rate 2-04.3. By Len Baker                                                            

The Gunbower Harness Racing Club held a compact eight event meeting at Echuca on Tuesday December 17. Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore combined with Bendigo based Scott Dyer to land the opening race on the program - the Gunbower Electrical 3-Y-0 Pace over 1755 metres with Sutter Hanover/Grace Anatomy gelding Sutter Man. Beginning best from gate two, Sutter Man led throughout to score by a half neck in a rate of 2-01.2 from Glen Alpine Drive along the sprint lane after trailing from gate three, with Billy Mack third after following the pair. Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy's quality McArdle/Nuclearaccelerator four year old gelding Almost El Eagle notched up his 13th victory in 30 outings, when victorious in the Northern Herd Development Pace Final for C1 class over 1755 metres which qualified in the heats held at the Wangaratta fixture at Shepparton on December 8. Driven once again by Greg Sugars, Almost El Eagle from inside the second row was given a sweet passage trailing the well support pole line leader Khaleesi, before using the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.2 metres in advance of Sicilian Slumber (one/two) and Forever Arma which raced in the open. The mile rate 1-59. Campbells Forest husband and wife Greg and Julie Ryan were successful with 4-Y-0 Live Or Die/Princess Kiara gelding Bronco Apache in the James Godden Designer Tanks Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-02.4. Bred by the pair and driven by Nathan Jack, Bronco Apache was trapped four wide from outside the front line as the starter released the field, with Jack angling to be three back in the moving line as In Jet Spirit retained the front running from the pole. Not happy with the tempo, Bronco Apache was sent forward to park outside the leader racing for the bell, allowing Jack to dictate the terms for the final circuit. Surging clear prior to the home turn, Bronco Apache won as he pleased, cruising to the wire 8.7 metres clear of Direct Art along the sprint lane off the back of the leader, with Warrior Mac (one/one last lap) third. Narrandera's Shaun Snudden loves coming to Echuca and has a pretty good record on the track, adding another winner to his tally there when tough 4-Y-0 On The Attack/Dainty Lea gelding Brown Rice snared the Mawsons Pace Final for C0 class over 2160 metres which qualified at the Wangaratta meeting. Driven by the stable's Paul Diebert, Brown Rice after starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with the almost unbackable favourite Major Meggs leading from the pole. Set alight mid-field to park outside the pacemaker, Brown Rice was able to drop to the back of Major Meggs approaching the home turn as Scott Stewart kicked away. Asked for a supreme effort on straightening, Brown Rice showed a "never give in" attitude to wear down the leader and score by a half head in a rate of 2-00.7, with Miss Tanami running on late from the rear to finish third 17.3 metres away. Jot down the name Amanda Turnbull as a reinsperson to follow as she is likely to be based in Victoria after joining a partnership with Nathan Jack. Amanda was successful aboard Marong trainer Trevor Patching's 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in the Joe Newitt's Service Centre Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Breaking his duck at start number eleven at the last Echuca meeting, Sherpa Star from the pole repeated the dose on this occasion after a cosy trip three back the markers from the pole as Lerrad Maharg led out before handing over to the heavily supported Mrs Devine a former NSW mare having her first outing in Victoria for Dylan Marshall. Extricated into the clear on the home turn, Sherpa Star finished strongly to defeat Goldiedomic (one/one at bell) through the centre by a half head in 2-00.3, with Look At Russo close up in third place after racing in the open from the bell. Nyah trainer Malcolm O'Bree is no stranger to Echuca meetings and landed the Steve Oliver Plumbing & Gas Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres with Cashisking, a five year old gelded son of Falcon Seelster and Better Motoring who has done most of his racing north of the border. Taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips, Cashisking led throughout from gate two, accounting for Hezfullarunning which shadowed him throughout. Border Patrol finished third off a three wide trail last lap. The mile rate 2-04.2. Yanco trainer Kim Hillier was successful with 4-Y-0 Dream Away/InThe Corner gelding Street Meets in the Brian & Lyn Wills Santa Claus Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Beginning on equal terms with both Double Happy and Gangster Boy inside him, Street Meets was eased to take a one/one trail on the back of Gangster Boy. Becoming pocketed at the bell as the favourite Quadentate moved forward three wide, Blake Jones angled Street Meets into the clear three wide on the final bend and he ran on best to nose out a game Gangster Boy in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Life Of Ted used the sprint lane off the back of the leader to finish third a head away. Bet Bet (Swan Hill) breeder/part-owner/trainer Greg Fleming was in the winners stall at Echuca, when 4-Y-0 Totally Ruthless/Tiny Gigi gelding Oils Jay Bee broke his maiden status in the Gunbower Committee Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres. Driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman, Oils Jay Bee making his 15th race appearance began swiftly from outside the second line to lob one/one trailing Fiddlers Lane, with Kim Hillier's Reckless Valour burning away from outside the front row to lead. Sent forward three wide along the back straight on the final occasion, Oils Jay Bee proved too strong at the business end of proceedings to register a 15.9 metre margin over Kiss ToLive(one/two) and Say Cheese from last in a mile rate of 2-00.4. By Len Baker                                

Great Western trainer Peter Manning’s Art Major/Anannz filly Znana was successful in the Wimmera Mail-Times 3-Y-0 Pace over 1700 metres at the Horsham trots meeting held on Monday November 25. Bred and raced by Adelaide’s Cormack family, Znana (Ananz spelt backwards) was given a charmed passage by Matt Craven from gate two trailing her pole line stablemate Adam Cartwright raced in the same interests and when eased off his back on turning, finished full of running to score by 3.1 metres in a new track record mile rate of 1-55.3. Racer finished a further 30.2 metres away in third place after racing in the open. Ananz (Aces N Sevens) died while foaling to Somebeachsomwhere recently with the foal not surviving. On a day of multiple wins, Peter Manning landed a double when seven year old Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover gelding The Avoca Flyer, a half brother to the great Blacks A Fake snared The Horse Shed Shop Melton Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres, recording his first victory in almost 12 months. Driven by Matt Craven, The Avoca Flyer began with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to lead all of the way, defeating the heavily supported Suerte (three back the markers – outside the winner home turn) and Big Gorilla (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-56.3. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Four year old Union Guy/Echelon Express mare Sorority Sister broke her maiden status at start number eighteen by taking the Moore Bulk Haulage Pace for C0 class over 1700 metres in a mile rate of 1-59.2. Raced and trained by Marnie Bibby from nearby Navarre and driven by Daryl Douglas, Sorority Sister led throughout from gate three, accounting for the favourite Gee Mae which trailed, making no impression over the concluding stages, with Pandoras Jet third after facing the breeze. Daryl Douglas was to chalk up a successive double after piloting Ararat hobby trainer Gary Hull’s five year old mare Frameworks Pride to victory in the Become A Sponsor Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2200 metres. Beginning speedily from the 10 metre mark, Frameworks Pride a daughter of Framework and Yawithme was sent forward to take over from Family Decision within a lap, before cruising to the wire 4.1 metres in advance of Champ Devine which raced outside her in a mile rate of 2-06.1. Looks A Moral showed a return to form in finishing third from three back in the moving line. Making three for Douglas and two for Bibby was very much in-form four year old Attorney General/Bludegirl gelding Blude Master in the Finn-Tack @ Horze Aust. Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres. Restrained from inside the second row, Blude Master settled three back in the moving line, with the pole marker Thewaytolive retaining the front running. Sent forward to park outside the pacemaker for the final circuit, Blude Master led on turning and held a margin to the wire to score by 5.4 metres over Mightbeme from last and Venus Williams (one/three – three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-00.1. Michelle Manning’s highly promising Four Starzzz Shark/Talilia four year old gelding Jackabeams recorded his 3rd victory in 5 outings, when successful in the H&DHRC Membership Pace for C1 class over 1700 metres with sister Kerryn in the sulky. Coming off a disappointing 4th to Chilli Palmer at Melton nine days earlier after leading, Jackabeams an unbackable $1.10 favourite again led from gate two and was never headed in defeating father Peter’s Additallup which raced outside him, with Miss Dilly (three wide last lap from mid-field) third. The mile rate 1-57. Mildura (Merbein) trainer Brian McGinty made the journey south with Kiwi bred four year old Bettors Delight/Invisage mare Our Mischievious Miss a happy one, as she saluted the judge in the Horsham Salutes G.A. Lang Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres. Taking a concession, Our Mischievious Miss led from gate two and after looking to be in trouble on turning, just lasted to nose out Bubble Art (one/two – four wide home turn) in a rate of 2-00.2, with Peace Of Art (one/one – three wide home turn) a head away in third place in the most thrilling finish of the afternoon. Ararat trainer/driver Michael Bellman does a great job with his select team and landed the Wimmera Roadways Pace for C0 class over 2200 metres with Witzend, a four year old gelded son of Dawn Ofa New Day and Fake Trick, leading throughout from gate two in defeating Rinashi which trailed and Saab Magic which faced the breeze in a rate of 2-0 By Len Baker

Teenage reinsman Zac Phillips produced without doubt the "drive of the night" at the Echuca meeting on Tuesday October 1, when successful aboard 8-Y-0 E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel in the $5500 Book Christmas Functions Now Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Raced by Judith Ferrie, Duke Kartel now trained in Melton by Robbie O'Connell (Zac's boss) after being in several different camps since he first graced the track, positioned on the back of the pole mark pacemaker and favourite Find Time To Cruise after starting outside the front row, receiving the run of the race. Easing outside the leader on the final bend, Juke Kartel put the race beyond doubt in a couple of bounds as he raced away over the concluding stages to score by 14.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 from Find Time To Cruise and Statelyness which recovered after a check at the start when Swift Sita which she was following galloped away. The annual Don Guy Memorial Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres, named after one of the all time great harness racing trainers in the state who's stables were situated on the raceway, went the way of Elmore trainer Matt Higgins' honest 7-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Armatrix mare Nova Arama with Brian Gath in the sulky, returning a mile rate of 2-03.8. Raced by mother Betty Welsh, Nova Arama led throughout from gate two, accounting for Chiquita Bromac which trailed giving Elmore the quinella. Jialiner (one/one) finished third. Rochester's Mark Thompson kept his impeccable record at the track going when 5-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Life Of Perfection gelding Stonethachristian driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman greeted the judge in the Lara Judd Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres.  Starting from gate two, Stonethachristian was unable to cross Attack On Command inside him at the start, but after persisting, strode to the front in the back straight on the first occasion. Appearing to be in trouble on straightening when Life Long Voyage off a three wide trail last lap from mid-field issued a strong challenge, Stonethachristian under desperate driving kept on giving to score by a half head in a rate of 2-02, with Hezupnabout (one/one - three wide last lap) third. Five year old Bettors Delight/Spirited Storm entire Stormed Out taking a concession for Josh Duggan was an impressive winner of the Echuca West Primary School Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres in a rate of 2-00.7.  Trained by Chris Alford at Bolinda, Stormed Out (gate four) spent the entire race parked outside the leader and hot favourite Timeseel from the Mark Thompson camp, before outstaying him to score by 1.3 metres. The Riverina visitor Ultimate Sheldon (one/one) finished third 2.3 metres away. Len Baker

The “Trots” returned to the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday September 12, when the Nyah HRC stages a compact seven event harness racing card. The theme for the night was excitement after a thrilling dead-heat was signalled in the opening event on the program – the Nevele R Stud Pace for C0 class over 1609 metres between Stonethachristian and Nuggetpan. Stonethachristian’s performance was gigantic, as he race three wide for almost the entire journey from gate six before joining the pacemaker and favourite Bazzas Art approaching the home turn. Surging clear in the straight with Nuggetpan in hot pursuit after following him throughout, the pair hit the wire in unison with the judge unable to declare an outright winner. A 5-Y-0 gelded son of Christian Cullen and Life Of Perfection trained by Mark Thompson in Rochester and driven by Michael Bellman, Stonethachristian recorded his 5th victory in 46 outings, while Nuggetpan a lightly raced 6-Y-0 gelding by The Wrath Of Pan from Fly Home trained at Pyramid Hill by Andrew Grogan with Brian Gath in the sulky was making only his third appearance at the races. The Reverend Black (three back the markers) finished third after being wide on the final bend. The mile rate being a brilliant 1-55.9. The Morley Park Stud Pace for C1 class was taken out by Merbein South owner/trainer Jason McGinty’s Kiwi bred 8-Y-0 Live Or Die/Andos Prospect gelding Gone Cruzin in a rate of 2-00.4. Driven by Nathan Jack, Gone Cruzin starting inside the second row enjoyed a cosy passage trailing the poleline leader Macray Divale, before using the sprint lane to score from Woodlea Cosmos (one/three – three wide last lap), with Los Bravos (three back the markers) third after also using the sprint lane. It was an all Mildura trifecta. It was another tight finish in the Global Stallions Pace for C0 class (mares), with Stanhope trainer/driver Gary Pekin’s 4-Y-0 daughter of Grinfromeartoear and Illawong Fabulous Illawong Fantasia greeting the judge. Despite spending all of the race parked outside the leader and favourite Carbon Cate (gate three) drawn inside her, Illawong Fantasia raced by wife Jane prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the fast finishing My Lishi (six wide home turn) from last in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Haryda Hanover finished third from three back in the moving line. Strathfieldsaye brothers Glenn and Daryl Douglas who usually win a race or two at most Nyah meetings, landed the Alabar Bloodstock Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2240 metres with 6-Y-0 Live Or Die/Kutas Lass gelding Itsnewstome in a rate of 2-00.2. Restrained from outside the front line at the start to settle at the tail of the field with the stablemate and favourite Run Forrest leading from gate three, Daryl sent Itsnewstome forward approaching the home straight on the first occasion to surprisingly be handed the front running on a platter. After an easy time, Itsnewstome kicked away on the home turn with Run Forrest using the sprint line to issue a half hearted challenge, so much so that Shelby Cruzin (three back the markers) was able to also use the sprint lane to dead-heat for second, with Itsnewstome scoring by 1.8 metres. On returning to the all clear, an interesting protest was lodged by both placegetters against each other which was subsequently dismissed. Glenn Douglas was again a winner when honest 6-Y-0 Flight N Irish/Blueberry Kris gelding Patos Wallet snared the Woodlands Stud Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Taking a concession for Bolinda based Josh Duggan, Patos Wallet starting from the extreme draw possied three back in the moving line, with Luke Watson’s East West Star leading from gate three. Easing three wide solo in the final circuit, Patos Wallet surged clear on the home turn, winning by 1.4 metres in advance of Wrinkle Knutt (one/three), with Lerrad Maharg (three back the markers – four wide home turn) running home late for third. The mile rate 1-58.4. It was Patos Wallet’s 5th victory in 47 outings. On what was a great night for the Mildura McGinty’s, former Kiwi gelding Cyclone Mach was successful in the Warwick Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres in a rate of 1-57.1. Trained by Brian (Jason’s father), Cyclone Mach driven by Michael Bellman was taken back from outside the front row to settle at the rear. Sent forward three wide uncovered in the last lap, Cyclone Mach ran to the wire in impressive fashion to score by 4.2 metres from the heavily supported leader Who Broke Our Halo (gate five), with Primo Tapia (gate six) a game third after racing in the open. The Goodtime Lodge Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1609 metres concluded the meeting and the long odds-on favourite Spokewoman was an easy winner in 1-58. Prepared at Mildura by last season’s state leading trainer Shayne Cramp, Spokewoman (gate two) driven by Nathan Jack crossed the pacemaker Lycoming Racer inside her at the bell, before coasting to the wire 6.9 metres in advance of Joe Costa’s Life Of Ted (one/two) and Elle Jasper along the sprint lane from three back the markers. *** The next Nyah meeting will be Cup Night on Saturday October 19. Len Baker    

Bolinda trainer Vince Vallelonga was responsible for an old fashioned well planned plunge at the Kilmore trots on Tuesday September 3, when 9-Y-0 former Kiwi gelding Pontificate greeted the judge in the Weddings, Parties & Celebrations Expo Nov 3rd Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres. Having his first outing since May 2009 when unplaced at Moonee Valley and only 15 in all, Pontifico (Safely Kept/Trans Tasman) backed on the fixed odds betting from $26 to run at $4.80, was driven forward by Rodney Petroff from gate six to assume control at the bell and was never headed, scoring by 3.2 metres in a mile rate of 2-00.2 from Jialiner (three back the marks at bell), with Squiggymaguire (four back the markers) third. Pontificate's only victory was at Gore back in 2008. Shrewd Lara based trainer Shaun Kittel does a terrific job with his small but capable team and was successful with 6-Y-0 Life Sign/Jazz Opera gelding Jazz King at Kilmore, taking out the Cheeky Monkey Market 13th October Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2180 metres in a mile rate of 2-01.3. With stable reinsman Michael Bellman in the sulky, Jazz King formerly trained in the northern part of the state by owner Greg Fleming was driven in almost identical fashion to Pontifico by going forward to arrest the lead away from the poleline pacemaker Tombstone Eden. Always travelling under a tight rein, Jazz King bounded away from his rivals on straightening to score by an easy 7.8 metres in advance of the heavily supported Manuka Man, a stablemate of Pontifico which led up the three wide line from the bell. Revivalist which was also well backed finished a creditable third after moving from the one/one to race in the open for the final circuit. It was a vintage Brian Gath who landed the Become A Club 200 Member Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres aboard local trainer Pat Carrafa's 5-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Nightline gelding Classic Grin. Beginning swiftly from the pole to retain the lead leaving the red-hot favourite Colby Reilly in the breeze, Gath was seen at his brilliant best rating the horse to perfection. Even though Colby Reilly issued a strong challenge on straightening, Classic Grin gave plenty over the concluding stages to record a half head victory in 2-03.5, with Patos Wallet (one/one - three wide home turn) third. Len Baker  

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