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Kings, queens, princes and princesses will assemble from Thursday as the Race to Royalty ramps up with TAB Breeders Crown finals qualification for trotters and pacers. Maryborough will host the trotting heats for two and three-year-olds on Thursday, when the squaregaiters will scrap for a place in the elite 12, while an extraordinary 11-race card has assembled for Saturday’s pacing semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. The latter will feature eight semi-finals for two and three-year-olds as well as three outstanding free-for-alls, including the return of Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup champion Lochinvar Art. David Moran’s four-year-old star will contest the TAB Preux Chevalier Free For All at 7.27pm, where he’ll have to overcome gate 13 and chase down the likes of Cruz Bromac, who Chris Alford will guide from gate five. And Saturday night will finish with the Aldebaran Park Lenin Trotters Free For All, where Dance Craze has drawn inside Red Hot Tooth in gates six and seven while Wobelee and McLovin will start from the second row, and the Allied Express Breeders Crown Graduate Mares FFA, where Our Princess Tiffany looms large. In the midst of those free-for-alls are the TAB Breeders Crown semi-finals, which will kick off in explosive fashion as Emma Stewart’s outstanding quartet Treachery, Rogue Wave, Ladies In Red and Joanna box for finals qualification in the Captain Crunch 2YO fillies class. Heat two sees Tough Tilly (gate 2) finally get a good draw for her big group of devoted owners, though Soho Almasi (gate 4) looms ominously, and then it’s over to the Pryde’s EasiFeed three-year-old fillies for race three, when Maajida will attempt to add a 14th win from her 19th start off a tricky gate 11 draw. Loorim Lake will attempt continue his extraordinary streak in the first of the IRT Australia three-year-old boys heats at 8pm, with stablemate Mach Dan certain to make his presence felt, while the sixth looks set to be an even affair with Santa Casa Beach and Willie Go West installed as $2.60 co-favourites with TAB.com.au. The VHRC Caduceus two-year-old colts and geldings first semi-final may well deliver the race of the night, with Beyond Delight (gate 4) and Bar Room Banta (gate 6) to duel, and then in the second semi-final pole marker Jacks Hawk is a $2 favourite with TAB.com.au. Fortunately trots fans won’t have to wait until Saturday night to dip into the TAB Breeders Crown, with the Aldebaran Park two-year-old trotting heats and Catanach’s Jewellers three-year-old trotting heats at Maryborough on Thursday. Competition will be particularly willing in the two-year-old fillies and three-year-old colts and geldings’ classes, with only the first four past the post securing places in the Group 1 finals. Hearts will be in mouths from the outset, with the two-year-old fillies gifting us the first three races, where Queen Elida ($1.95), Keayang Xena ($2.60) and Redwood Classic winner Mexicana ($1.75) are the respective favourites. Emma Stewart’s Cover Of Darkness, who’s unbeaten in four starts, is a $1.33 favourite to keep the good times rolling in the first three-year-old colts and geldings’ heat, while Elite Stride ($1.55) is also well into the red in the second. The last of the class, which races at 1.53pm, has two-year-old Vicbred Super Series winner Powderkeg on top at $2.60 in an open affair. Then for races seven (2.33pm) and eight (3.08pm) at Maryborough on Thursday it’s over to the three-year-old trotting fillies, with Matt Craven’s Queen Of Crime favoured in the first heat and backmarkers Im Ready Jet and Illawong Stardust shortest in an open second heat. The spotlight then settles on the two-year-old boys for races 10 (4.18pm) and 11 (4.53pm), where Jodi Quinlan (Illawong Barmah) and Anthony Butt (Have No Fear) have the respective favourites. It all promises to be a terrific day and night’s racing, with every race to be streamed live and free on Trots Vision at thetrots.com.au. Coverage will be ramped up for the occasions, with Lachie McIntosh to call at Maryborough on Thursday as the trotters strive for finals places. And then on Saturday night Jason Bonnington will join Rob Auber and Dan Mielicki for wall-to-wall Trots Vision coverage, which will celebrate the night's racing and feature the all-important barrier draws for the eight Group 1s, which will be held on November 21 at Tabcorp Park Melton.     HRV - Michael Howard

Breeders Crown season has long been the domain of trainer Emma Stewart’s stable and last week’s winning times rolled on into Saturday night when the stable was prominent and dominant at Tabcorp Park Melton. Having been prolific during the two-year-old and three-year-old Breeders Crown heats on Wednesday and Friday night, Stewart clocked a further three winners at Victoria’s harness racing headquarters on Saturday. Among those victors was Tam Major, who enjoyed the perfect trail behind stablemates Major Times and then Code Black to blister home and win the Allied Express Pace for reinsman Chris Alford. “Things worked out really well, the speed was quite strong all the way, he got that good drag and once Major Times got to the breeze it left Code Black with no trail,” Alford said. “(Code Black) was always going to be hard to run down, (Tam Major) just had to finish it off and that’s what he did.” Racing for owner-breeders Bruce and Vicki Edward, the win was Tam Major’s first since he claimed the Breeders Crown 4YO Championship in August last year, having placed seven times between salutes. “He’s very strong, but sometimes that works against him. He had a great four-year-old year, I think he won the sires and Breeders Crown, it’s just taken him a little while to get back to that form and that’s what he’s done tonight,” Alford said. Stewart also claimed the night’s first race, the DNR Logistics Pace, when Like A Wildfire circled the field, sat in the breeze and then careered away to win for reinsman Greg Sugars, and later another impressive pacer Always Fast led and won in the TAB Make A Date With Play Pace for reinswoman Jodi Quinlan. Like Stewart, driver Sugars walked away with a trio of wins having coupled the win on Like A Wildfire with victories on Zadaka (for trainer Greg Norman) and Bopper Jet (for trainer Kima Frenning). As mentioned, it was a continuation of a stellar week for the pair. Stewart trained five of last Wednesday’s seven Breeders Crown’s two-year-old heat winners, with partner Clayton Tonkin and fellow Ballarat district resident Michael Stanley the only other trainers able to pinch a heat. “Obviously we know how good Emma and Clayton and all their team are with all their horses, but especially their babies – they are always the ones to beat," said reinsman Jason Lee, who guided filly Dangerous Hand to a Breeders Crown heat victory for Stewart. Victoria’s leading trainer kept the good times rolling on Friday night when she claimed a further three heat wins, including from stand out performers Mach Dan and Maajida, who were both steered by Sugars. The Myrniong reinsman was particularly taken by Maajida’s effort, having enjoyed extraordinary success with the filly to date that looks like continuing through the spring and summer. “She just keeps winning, just gets the job done week after week,” Sugars said. “She’s a lovely filly and it’s been great to be a part of the ride. She’s one of my all-time favourites for sure.” The TAB Breeders Crown series continues with the trotting heats for the two and three-year-olds, before the spotlight returns to the pacers for the semi-finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. All roads from there lead to the November 21 finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, when six Group 1s will be run and won. HEAR ALL THE WINNING WORDS FROM SATURDAY NIGHT IN ALL CLEAR: HRV - Michael Howard

The TAB Breeders Crown continues as the spotlight shifted to the three-year-olds, with the best and brightest battling at Bendigo for places in the November 14 semi-finals. And it was a showcase night for reinsman Greg Sugars, who won three of the seven heats and was optimistic that in gelding Mach Dan and filly Maajida he had two bona fide Crown contenders. Relive the great night's racing with this thetrots.com.au race-by-race review.   Heat One: It was smooth sailing in the first heat for trainer Amanda Grieve and reinsman Chris Alford, who advanced with Willie Go West after he led from gate one and was rarely challenged. The Auckland Reactor gelding out of Bettor Go was bred by Studholme Bloodstock and purchased by a big group of owners who brought him to Victoria, with tonight his fourth start and second win on Australian soil. “I think they paid a fair bit of money for him, he’s just a bit awkward-gaited and it’s taken a bit to get him right, but tonight he felt really good and ran really well,” Alford told Trots Vision. Out of the gates Alford held out Big Black Diamond early and from there was barely tested, finishing with a 27.2-second last quarter that secured a 3.2-metre win from Ranger Bomb, with Sahara Sirocco 11 metres back in third. “It worked out pretty well,” Alford said. “We led quite comfortably, got a little squirt down the back when Greg (Sugars on Private Eye) came up, but he held him out pretty easily and relaxed well. “They can run fast on this track and once he had that first lap he was going to run a good half.” Alford said he was optimistic Willie Go West would be a key player as the series worked towards the November 21 final. “Hopefully he’s still on the improve coming up to the semis and hopefully the final,” he said. “He’d probably be the top colt that I’m driving at the moment, the others are nice too, but they’ve all drawn bad tonight, so hopefully they can all get through and we can worry about that later.” Willie Go West advanced to the November 14 semi-finals along with Ranger Bomb, Sahara Sirocco, Big Black Diamond, Moonlite Drive and Goodtime Floyd.   Heat Two: The rise and rise of Loorrim Lake continued with Emma Stewart’s exciting prospect adding an eighth consecutive win in the second IRT Australia three-year-old colts and geldings’ heat. After winning only once in his first 21 starts, the Roll With Joe gelding out of Jethros Madam was snapped up by owners Michael Cirillo and Ann-Maree Short. Bred by Stephen Maguire and David Hargrave, he won five on the trot for trainer Andrew Vozlic in Mildura before being shifted to Stewart’s camp and adding a further three consecutive wins in the hands of reinsman David Moran. “He seems to be progressing into a really nice horse now,” Moran told Trots Vision. “He’s shown enough gate speed tonight to lead, there were a couple off the front row who do begin pretty quick, he showed that he can get out of the gate and burn both ends. “I think his speed’s probably his best attribute ... he’s just starting to really toughen up a bit now and come into himself, so I think that’s probably the best part about him leading into these races – he is so versatile.” Loorrim Lake scored by 6.9 metres in tonight’s heats off a 26.7-second final quarter, with stablemate Firerockfireroll running second. “He ran them along genuine enough and then ripped home a really quick last half. I think he’s got a really big future,” Moran said. Loorrim Lake advances to the November 14 semi-finals along Firefrockfireroll, Im A Denny Too, Imnopumpkin, Mirragon and Krafty Bart.   Heat Three: The tale of the night continued in the third colts and geldings’ heat when Breeders Challenge winner Mach Dan led comfortably and then let down with a withering final quarter to win his heat. After a successful stint across the border for Tim Butt, the Mach Three gelding returned to Emma Stewart’s camp and looked untroubled in winning by 6.6 metres for reinsman Greg Sugars. He said the gelding, who was bred by Shannon and Meaghan Nixon and is owned by Danny and Jo Zavitsanos and Warren Viney, had only improved for his time across the border. “A couple of the other runners who have gone interstate have perhaps been below par but he was right on his A game tonight, which is really good,” Sugars said. He worked to the lead ahead of Santa Casa Beach without any great acceleration and zipped home in 26.8 seconds to win comfortably. “Previously when I’ve raced him, when he’s been in front he’s been a bit casual and waited for them, hasn’t really responded quite as sharp as what I’d like in certain scenarios, but tonight he travelled like a winner right from the word go,” Sugars said. “Was never off the bit really and did it quite comfortably. Really pleasing going forward that he’s not just a follower now, he’s learned how to get out there and do it himself. He’s probably gone to the top of the list on that performance of my three-year-olds.” He will be joined in advancing to the November 14 semi-final by Santa Casa Beach, Jilliby Nitro, Scorcha, Hesty and Daylight At Dawn.   Heat Four:  Pacifico Dream stretched out with the quickest heat of the night, with Andy and Kate Gath’s Mach Three three-year-old working to the front in a bristling 38-second lead time and running sub 30-second quarters in setting up his heat win. “It’s encouraging signs and couldn’t be happier with him,” reinswoman Kate Gath told Trots Vision. “Most of (the heats) have been walking races and that one probably would have been too had Pacifico Dream not got so keen in the running. “I didn’t have to ask him for too much late and I felt like he was holding the second horse (Zeuss Bromac), and obviously the second horse ran very good as well, these races are never easy, but it’s always good to come out and win the heat and fingers crossed that we can keep going.” Bred by Harshall Investments, the Mach Three colt out of Mint Julep is owned by Mervat Caruana and Marlene Johnson and tonight notched an eighth win in just his 15th start. “He hasn’t had a lot of racing but he’s had hard racing,” Gath said. “He’s been against the best three-year-olds pretty much his entire racing prep and you would think it’s encouraging going forward. “He’s a bit lazy at home, so you can never really get that good a guide at home, but we come here and he’s getting the job done, so couldn’t ask for more.” And it gives Gath optimism that he can be a key player as the series advances. “As confident as you can be, but at the end of the day you look at these horses in the other heats and it’s all going to get down to draws.” Pacifico Dream advanced to the November 14 semi-finals along with Zeuss Bromac, Jemsoms Pet, Sanday, Perfect Stride and Monsieur Delacour.   Pryde’s EasiFeed Breeders Crown heats for 3YO fillies: Heat One: With a blistering sprint Sweet Louise threw her name into the TAB Breeders Crown ring for trainer Phil Chircop, with the green but talented Sweet Lou filly showing top end talent. Driven by Greg Sugars for owner-breeders Dorro Downs, Sweet Louise showed early speed to lead before relinquishing the front to Iolanta, who Sugars then clawed passed in the final stages to record the filly’s third career win. “She’s a relatively inexperienced filly,” Sugars told Trots Vision. “She’s got a very good record for wins and placings per start. She was thrown into the deep end (last start in the Argent 3YO Classic) and I was a little unsure how she was going to handle that class rise last week, but she didn’t have the best of luck in running and was hitting the line OK. “That was a really good sign and Phil was happy that the horse had trained on from that and she’s heading in the right direction coming into this series.” She carried that form on with tonight’s impressive run, that included a 26.9-second final quarter and 2.2-metre win over Iolanta. “She didn’t get the turn really good and as you see it’s quite a sharp last quarter, she really rattled home strongly up the straight. She’s a filly with a future,” Sugars said. “She can do a bit of work. She’s a big lump of a filly but she’s probably not 100 per cent tractable at the moment. She’s not one-dimensional, but her manners are going to hold her up a little bit, so depending where she is in the run and how the race gets run (will affect) how she’s going to finish off.” Sweet Louise and Iolanta will be joined in the November 14 semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton by Its Ebonynivory, Dasha The Great, Final Peace, Orbie, Dr Susan and Art Of Sheng Li.   Heat Two: It was smooth sailing for Marg Lee’s Keayang Jackie in the second fillies’ heat, with reinsman Jason Lee crossing from gate two and then allowed to cruise through a 41.4-second lead time and 32-second first quarter to set up a comfortable win. “We just had to run a half tonight and that’s all she had to do so we can keep some in the tank for (the semi-final) next week,” Jason Lee told Trots Vision post-race. Keayang Jackie ripped a 26.8-second third quarter and then got home in 27.4 seconds to hold all challengers at bay, winning by 2.9 metres from Beautiful Woman, who had sat on the leader’s back throughout. The win was further confirmation that Keayang Jackie, A Rocknroll Dance filly out of Christian Party, had come a long way this season, with tonight producing a seventh win from only her 15th start. “She was pretty difficult as a young horse and Glen (Craven)’s spent a fair bit of time with her and Marg, just trying to get her to settle down,” Lee said. “She’d try and kick your head off, I don’t know if we’ve had many as bad as what she was early days for just going out in the bike and kicking, she was scary. She’s come a long way and turned into a lovely filly. “She probably got a bit keen tonight, which she doesn’t usually do, but she was just feeling a bit fresh and wanting to get on with it.” And with that win in the bank Lee is optimistic that, with the right breaks, she’s a Crown contender. “I think she’s every bit a winning chance if she can get through next week and nothing goes bad. Sometimes it can be harder to qualify than win the race if you get the right draw or the right run, but look she’s going to need a lot to go her way but I think any of them do – they’re all pretty even. If she gets in and gets the right run she’s definitely a winning chance.” Keayang Jackie advanced to the semi-finals along with Beautiful Woman, Soundsofcash, Burnforu, Teckys Angel, Dancing With Flo, Belladonna Girl and Louisiana Jo.   Heat Three: The queen is going to take some topping to remove her from the throne if Maajida’s win in tonight’s final Pryde’s EasiFeed heat for three-year-old fillies was any indication. The reigning Breeders Crown champion led from gate two and ambled through the first half before finishing with a 26.4-second final quarter, which was enough to hold fast-finishing Amelia Rose and Its Beaujolais at bay for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Greg Sugars. “(She) had a lovely run in front and got the job done nicely,” Sugars said. “I’ve probably gone too slow for her and let the others into the race, but she has got good speed when required, so do a few of these others, so quite naturally they can keep up with her, but I’m always very confident with her.” By Somebeachsomewhere out of Arterial Way, Maajida has brought plenty of joy to owner-breeders Gary, Ian, Leslie and Steve Johnson throughout her 18 career starts, which have yielded $356,900 in stakes, with Sugars in the sulky for all but her debut run. “There was nothing really flashy about her – the way she went about it or her looks, she just keeps winning, just gets the job done week after week,” Sugars said. “She’s a lovely filly and it’s been great to be a part of the ride. She’s one of my all-time favourites for sure.” Maajida will attempt to keep the good times rolling when she contest the November 14 semi-finals, advancing from the final heat along with Amelia Rose, Its Beaujolais, Rockingwithsierra, Ash Park, The Pantheist, Roquefort Cheese and Alice Kay. The TAB Breeders Crown continues with the trotting heats at Maryborough on November 19.   HRV - Michael Howard

The TAB Breeders Crown is underway for 2020, with the two-year-olds tearing up the track at Ballarat as we build towards the November 21 finals. And it was a familiar feeling with Emma Stewart producing six of the night's eight winners and partner Clayton Tonkin another, with the stable giving a big reminder to its claims on the Crown. Reinsman Jason Lee guided the night's final heat winner, Dangerous Hand, to victory for Stewart and told Trots Vision it was "nice to be teaming up with them rather than having to chase them". “Obviously we know how good Emma and Clayton and all their team are with all their horses, but especially their babies – they are always the ones to beat." Here's how it all unfolded: VHRC CADUCEUS BREEDERS CROWN TWO-YEAR-OLD COLTS AND GELDINGS Heat one: And it was one from one for team Emma Stewart with Jacks Hawk very impressive in advancing three-wide, overpowering favourite Pantaloon and careering away to a five-metre win for reinsman David Moran. “He’s a beautiful little horse, he’s got very high speed,” Moran told Trots Vision. “He’s a little bit wayward, he gets in and out a little bit, he’s got a fair bit to learn, but he’s got a good motor on him.” It was a second win from four starts for the Art Major colt, who’s out of Rotkara Stella for owner-breeder Jessica Francis, and Moran said he could be dangerous as the series advanced. “It’s going to be a great series this year, there is probably five or six really top line two-year-olds, it’s going to make it a great race,” he said. “If they all go to war, horses like Jacks Hawk, it will bring him right into it.” The first six finishes qualify, with Spock, Dessie Gee, Sumomentsomewhere, Sayitaintso Joe and Kimble all joining Jacks Hawk in advancing to the semi-finals.   Heat two: Major Moth produced a statement win in the second heat, with reinsman Damian Wilson pressing the pedal at both ends to set up a victory for trainer Clayton Tonkin. The Art Major colt, who’s out of Macy Lila for owner-breeders Len and Irene Parker, did work to take the lead from Keayang Kamikaze in a 40.7-second lead time, 2.5 seconds quicker than the first heat, and then gapped all challengers in a 26.8-second final quarter to win by 6.4 metres. “It didn’t go to plan, with the one horse (Ideal Dan) galloping and the speed from outside, which I didn’t expect that much early speed, but I thought I would just poke forward and hopefully find the front, which happened,” Wilson said. “Chris (Alford on Idyllic) come around, Amanda (Turnbull on Ideal Dan) come around and they kept me honest, but he was pretty strong on the line. “He’s a speed horse but obviously he can do a little bit of work too, so we’ve got plenty to work with.” Joining Major Moth in advancing to the November 14 semi-finals were Idyllic, Tuppence, Knights Templar, Keayang Kamikaze and Electric Eye.   Heat three: Having watched his brilliant two-year-olds recently enjoy Group 1 glory in another driver’s hands, Mick Stanley was tonight happy to be back in the sulky behind Bar Room Banta and in the midst of Victorian feature racing. “Everyone’s gone through a tough time, but to now be running in Breeders Crown heats, we’ve had a Victoria Cup, we all feel like we’re coming out the other side,” he told Trots Vision. “Not only myself, but for everyone there’s a real buzz around that the good racing’s back. “He got set for the New South Wales (Breeders) Challenge first and Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy did an excellent job with him and Soho Almasi up there, they were unbeaten through that. It’s really exciting to have a sit back behind him again." And he had good reason to be excited tonight, with Bar Room Banta extending his winning streak to six with a 1.1-metre win ahead of stablemate Soho Bollinger. “The lead time (41.9 seconds) was pretty solid for the two-year-olds, but we got that first quarter breather (31.4 seconds) and he’s a strong, fast horse. Being on the fence I knew he’d real off some good sectionals. “The last 400, as silly as it sounds, he was just goofing around. I had to get the plugs out and give him a tap just to wake him up because he was running off the fence thinking, ‘well, what do you want me to do’. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s really exciting.” The winner is A Rocknroll Dance colt out of Jerada Ace, who was bred by Ray Cahill and is owned by BFJ Bloodstock. Bar Room Banta got home in 55.1 seconds for the last half to advance to the semi-finals along with Soho Bollinger, Swayzee, Watts Up Sunshine, Platinum Stride and Act Now.   Heat four: Beyond Delight found the lead comfortably and was never headed in producing an impressive 10-metre win for reinsman Greg Sugars and trainer Emma Stewart, reaffirming that’s he’s a leading contender in this year’s Breeders Crown. Owned and bred by Bruce and Vicki Edward, the two-year-old Bettors Delight colt out of Whatahottie has now won four of his five starts. “Back off the front row tonight, I was always extremely confident with him,” Sugars said. “He was pretty strong at the finish. He got a bit casual in chasing to the line, (had) just to keep his mind right on the job.” Beyond Delight was unchallenged, winning by 9.3 metres and giving Sugars confidence he had “a lot left in the locker if he had have been challenged” when he kicked up after they crossed the finishing line as other horses drew near. That prompted the reinsman to take an unscheduled victory lap. "He had a horse up along side him and still wanted to keep racing it, so bascially got to the back straight by the time I pulled up, I thought much of a muchness here, which is the quickest way home, so I kept going." It was perhaps a further sign of the lightly-raced colt's continual education, which Sugars said gave him optimism that the best was certainly yet to come. “Day one when the first time I drove him at trials he was pretty green but showed really good speed, but just a bit wayward," he said. "That’s probably been his biggest thing, his manners have certainly come a long, long way this time in. There’s still a bit of room for improvement in him. “It’s all good signs, because if he’s not 100 per cent manners wise as a racehorse, as they iron them out he’s only going to get better. That’s a good thing.” Beyond Delight was joined in advancing to the November 14 semi-finals by Mach Hammer, Rock N Roll Doo, Go Dancing, Drain The Swamp and Spring In His Step. CAPTAIN CRUNCH BREEDERS CROWN TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLIES Heat one: Emma Stewart’s two-year-old fillies have been outstanding to date and that looks like rolling through this year’s TAB Breeders Crown, with Group 1 winner Joanna adding a fourth win in her sixth start and holding at bay highly-rated stablemate Treachery. The Balthurst Gold Tiara winner led from gate six, with Treachery sitting in the breeze for the last lap and a half, an advantage Joanna made count in holding on to win by 1.3 metres for reinswoman Amanda Turnbull. “She’s a great filly, she’s done a great job already and she’s just starting to get fit,” Turnbull said of the Somebeachsomewhere filly, who breeder Mark Carey paired with dam Repellem and sold to owners Danny and Jo Zavitsanos and Warren Viney. “She just doesn’t know when to stop. I know when she won the Group 1 she got attacked the whole way and just never looked like stopping. "She loves that, she loves a little bit of a war. She goes to sleep straight away and then she will take off again. That’s the best bit about her, she is so fast but she can hold it as well.” She did just that to win in a 54.5-second last half, with Star Of Timpany and Momentslikethese closing well late to finish third and fourth respectively behind Joanna and Treachery. Also advancing to the November 14 semi-finals were Dougs Babe, Town Echo, Let It Linga and Outa The Blue.   Heat two: There doesn’t look a huge amount between Emma Stewart’s leading two-year-old fillies but time and again it’s Ladies In Red who separated herself from the pack. The full sister to Our Little General ($712,852), being by Mach Three out of Kabbalah Karen B for owner-breeders Lauriston Bloodstock, Ladies In Red recorded a 2.6-metre win to score ahead of stablemates Tough Tilly and Rogue Wave, who were again valiant in defeat. Winning reinsman David Moran said driving Ladies In Red, a winner of all five of her starts, was a “pretty special feeling”. “She just drops the bit and is the most kindest filly to drive, which is going to in time just make her the perfect racehorse," he said. "She’s got such high speed but she can tough it out as well.” Drawn inside the back row, Moran quickly moved to the running line and then circled into the breeze outside leader Eva Mateo. When the latter tired Ladies In Red assumed the lead and held off her stablemates to score in a 26.2-second last quarter. “It panned out pretty good in the end,” Moran said. “They seemed to settle pretty quick, there wasn’t a hell of a lot of speed early on in the race, so I thought there was a good chance to get around and dictate the race from there and just control it to our own speed.” And he lost no respect for Tough Tilly, who again boxed on well for Kate Gath from a difficult draw. “(Tough Tilly’s) a beautiful little filly, if you reverse the roles or reverse the draws, it’s going to be a great couple of races coming up over the next few weeks because if she drew to find the front she’s going to be mighty hard to beat.” Joining Ladies In Red, Tough Tilly and Rogue Wave in advancing to the semi-final were Sahara Storm, Treasure Rainbow, Jo Rocks, No Win No Worries and Covered Kylie.   Heat three: Dangerous Hand made it six wins from the night’s eight heats for Emma Stewart when she found the front for reinsman Jason Lee, holding stablemate Platinum Sparkle at bay to score by a neck. By Captaintreacherous out of Mitzi M Hanover, the win would have thrilled breeder Helen Head and the filly’s big ownership group, who watched her rattle home in 27.4 seconds to register the narrow win. “I thought we were a genuine chance tonight, we just had to get her out as good as we could and just hope we ended up in a good position,” Lee told Trots Vision. “The front was there in the end, she was good. “We’re all here to race, but it is only a heat. If it was the final it would have been a bit more genuine I reckon, but you take what you can get, she did a good job and had a good one on her back (in Platinum Sparkle) and had to hold her off.” And, like all of tonight’s runners, she should only get better as the stakes rise. “She’s only had a handful of starts, she’s still pretty green, so she will benefit from that and look forward to next week.” With the win she advances to the November 14 semi-finals along with Platinum Sparkle, Soho Broadway, Soho Almasi, Cashflow Cassie, Holi Starzzz, Blaze Coops and Jaziah. The TAB Breeders Crown continues with the three-year-old heats at Bendigo on Friday night.   HRV - Michael Howard

Wayne Hill had thought he was on the cusp of something special when COVID-19 changed all before it, including circling Victoria with a strict border that would deny the travelling South Australian reinsman entry. Having become a fixture of Mildura racing after plenty of toil and time behind the wheel, the pandemic hit pause on everything for Hill. That included robbing him of a chance in the Mildura Pacing Cup, which was postponed and then cancelled. “I felt as though I had a really good chance in the Mildura Cup with Bettorhavtim, who was an 83 or 84 rater and due to draw (gates) one or two in the cup heats,” Hill said. “After they wiped (the cup) he won his next six or seven in a row and was low flying.” Instead of chasing Cup glories, March 17 would be Hill’s last trip to Mildura before racing was restricted to locals, a prospect that he had seen coming. “I remember on the way home from that last meeting with Dani and COVID was starting to hit and take Australia into lockdown,” he said. “We thought at the time that might be about it as far as Mildura’s concerned for six to eight months and it turned out to be that way. We were due back about July 20, then two weeks before that date Melbourne got bad and they didn’t reopen the borders.” Hill has since been regularly applying for permits, but said it wasn’t until about a fortnight ago that he finally got some positive feedback and was urged to apply again the folllowing week because “there could be a change of direction”. “The following Monday morning (October 26) I put in again and had a permit to travel on Tuesday. I have got to COVID test every week and once I’m across the border I can’t get out of the car until I get to the track.” Hill said the strict on-track measures, with tracks closed to all but essential staff and participants, and those in attendance being temperature tested, having to wear face masks, social distance and use hand sanitiser, aided in his application. Now he's looking forward to seeing some familiar faces behind the masks. “I had built up good connections with owners and training over the last five years, it’s finally good to get back there. “I kept in close contact with Frank Mercieca and Scott Garraway. I spoke to them every week or fortnight since I left. We had built up good relationships, not only on the driving side, but they are good fellas. And a couple of South Australian horses are going as well.” As a result Hill will steer nine tonight, kicking off with Beancounter for Mercieca in The Euston Club 3YO Pace, with the three-year-old having his second Mildura start having finished third last week. “He doesn’t go to bad,” said Hill, who had driven Beancounter in his nine other starts at Globe Derby. “He is a South Australian horse who is going there to win his (Vicbred first-win) bonus. He has good gait speed and if in front he will take some running down.” Hill then follows up with Orama in The Gateway 2YO & 3YO Pace for Scott Garraway, with his 14-start three-year-old maiden to launch from gate four. “There are a couple of two-year-olds drawn underneath, so she will go forward and be hard to beat.” And there will be potentially more wins in the offing when Hill partners Headmaster in the Happy 80th Birthday Des Tobin Pace Final, Suresoundslikealie in the Tenderprint Australia Pace, Falcons Beauty in the Sunraysia Security Pace, Valbarann in the Zilzie Wins Pace and Have A Crack in the Tankard Dental Pace. In the middle of all that is Im Sir Blake, who he will steer for the first time for Leroy O’Brien in the Tasco Petroleum Pace, the talented four-year-old who’s been racing in elite company. That continues tonight when he shares the back line with Mildura royalty Bernie Winkle and Egodan, while Perspective and Joe Nien loom large on the front line in what shapes as a terrific race. “(Im Sir Blake’s) been to Mildura a couple of times and put up some really good efforts,” Hill said. “He is quite a fast little fella. “He hasn’t been in this grade up Mildura way, but his Melton form is good enough for him to be very competitive at Mildura. It will probably be a quick lead time and some intense racing.”   HRV - Michael Howard

A terrific Amanda Turnbull drive and training performance enabled an outstanding mare, Speak No Evil, to claim the Benstud Queen Of The Pacific and the first Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown. The Lauriston Bloodstock bred and owned five-year-old added tonight's $100,000 Group 1 to last week's Angelique Club Pace, winning successive legs of the Crown series to secure the $10,000 bonus. "What a night, it's been great,” Turnbull told Trots Vision. “Just so happy for the horse, she's come along a long way in our stables. "Lauriston have been good to us and they've given us a couple since I've been down here. They just dropped her off and she's been there about six weeks, a bit longer, and every time you take her out she just gets happier.” And owner-breeders Anne and Bill Anderson would have been rapt with their decision tonight after a flawless performance from both horse and driver. From gate 11, Turnbull settled Speak No Evil five back in the running line and there she remained as first No Win No Feed and then Nostra Villa sat outside the leader Bettor Enforce. Her reinsman Brian Gath kept the quarters ticking over at good time and that kept the challengers at bay, cranking it up with a 27.8-second third quarter that crippled the attempt of Havtime to make in-roads at the head of the three-wide line. That provided an opportunity for Turnbull, who was at the tail of the field but instead attacked via the running line hopeful a window would open. When it did at the turn she advanced and Speak No Evil's blistering sprint separated her from the field, claiming Bettor Enforce in the final strides to win by 1.4 metres. “I thought I would have to do something like that,” Turnbull said. “I didn’t want to have to go too early at the bell, just because I thought they ran so quick down the back. “It was probably a (more) slowly run race than I thought it would be, but when she got the run through the middle and those ones three-wide just struggled a little bit I was pretty confident, because she shows a lot of speed at home. She’s probably better with a sit at home, so I was confident she could do it, just needed the luck in the run.” She got that and produced a narrow win over Bettor Enforce, who’d been valiant in running second and setting the foundation for the race record 1:55.6 mile rate over the 2760 metres. The win was good reward for the Bathurst born and bred trainer, who admitted post-race her 25-team only continued to knock up getting winners in Victoria “because I’m stuck here”. “I’d love to get home (to Bathurst), but I can’t at the moment,” she said. “My plan was to come for winter while we didn’t know what was going on through covid. I haven’t been able to get home since. My stable’s gotten bigger and bigger here and I’ve got a really, really nice team now.” She also won earlier tonight with Catch A Moment in the Group 3 Alabar Vicbred Championship Final, with James Herbertson steering the four-year-old to the front from where he took the honours comfortably. RELIVE SPEAK NO EVIL'S WIN AND HEAR FROM AMANDA TURNBULL:   HRV - Michael Howard

She may have gone from a front-line contender to somewhat overlooked, but reinsman Mick Stanley’s confident his Benstud Queen Of The Pacific steer is perfectly poised to remind of her quality tonight. Goodtime Heaven finished third and eighth in the first two legs of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown, handicapped by tough draws and challenging circumstances, but opportunity finally knocks for the mare in the series' Group 1 grand finale. “Goodtime Heaven’s been in really good form through the past couple of months and things didn’t really go that well for her in the lead-up race last week, you can pretty well forget that she went around,” Stanley said. The Courtney Slater-trained five-year-old mare will launch from gate three tonight, the best placed of those still in contention for the Mares Triple Crown, which for the first time carries a $10,000 bonus. Series leaders Our Princess Tiffany (10 points), Speak No Evil (eight points) and Rock N Roll Chapel (eight points) have all drawn outside the back row, while No Win No Feed, who like Goodtime Heaven amassed four series points in the series first two legs, will start from gate six. Victory tonight carries eight points, and so while Goodtime Heaven will need a lot to fall her way to propel to the top of the pops, the primary target is nabbing a second career Group 1 to sit beside her Vicbred Super Series three-year-old triumph. “She’s bobbed up with a really good draw, hopefully she’s one of the strongest contenders and can put herself right there in the finish,” Stanley said.  “Really excited to get Goodtime Heaven out to the staying trip of 2700 – it’s going to suit her down to a tee. And it really does sort a few out. “I’m not too worried about Our Princess Tiffany running past her (in the Benstud Make Mine Cullen), I just don’t think the way it was run suited her very well. Princess Tiffany was the only horse who passed her on that night, so she still was a really good run on that occasion. “Last week (in the Angelique Club Pace) we just had too much traffic from the 13 barrier draw. She just never really got into the race, we can forget she went around.” So while Stanley urged us to put a line through her previous run, it’s potentially created value for punters with Goodtime Heaven opening a $23 chance with the TAB.com.au. She’s since been backed in to $13, but even that looks generous, with Good Form analyst Jason Bonnington rating her a $7.50 chance. “Definitely a bit of value in price,” Stanley said. “It’s probably on those last two runs, but I’m not worried about that at all. I think the longer trip will definitely suit.” The market is instead dominated by red-price favourite Bettor Enforce, but Stanley said this was a notably different challenge to what the Craig Cross runner had contested of late. “Sometimes you can get wrapped up in other horses' form because they’ve got good numerical form,” he said. “Bettor Enforce and No Win No Feed and those horses coming from Menangle, who have only been racing over a mile, it’s going to be a big ask for those horses to step up to 2700, where as our Victorian horses are more adept at switching and changing their distances. “Princess Tiffany, being a Kiwi mare, she’s going to be really hard to beat, obviously she will see the trip out really well. “One thing is we’re going to settle really handy, and with a tough mare in a truly run race I’m sure she will give us a good sighting.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Simon Jardine will be out tonight to win one more for Murray, his dad and the Ouyen trainer who is set to hang up the hopples after a 40-year career. Simon will steer Carload in the Park Douglas Printing Pace and Miradero (pictured) in the Tasco Petroleum 3YO Pace for trainer Murray Jardine, hopeful of building on the latter’s 191 wins from 1125 starts, which stretch back to the 1983-84 season. “I’m completely proud of what he’s achieved,” Simon said. “He’s been a brilliant trainer, he’s never had a big stable, but of the horses he’s trained not many haven’t finished in the top three. “There wouldn’t be many trainers with a better strike rate and he always looks after the horses.” By our records, 506 of Murray’s starters have finished in the placings, an almost 45 per cent strike rate, while almost 16 per cent have won. And Simon is optimistic they can add to that total tonight. He said Carload “won’t be too far away”, while he’s even more bullish about Miradero, who he co-owns with Melissa Rocchicicioli. They snapped up the filly in April after she'd had eight starts with Amanda Turnbull that produced two placings. “She led most of her starts with Amanda, which is what you need at Mildura,” Simon said. “She had a long prep before we got her, then we just wanted to train her our way and it was another six weeks before she started.” A win on debut, with the accompanying Vicbred bonus, meant it was an immediately savvy buy and the Auckland Reactor filly then followed up with a further three placings and a fourth. “She ran some good placings,” Simon said. “And at the time the three-year-olds were probably at their strongest in Mildura that they have been all year. “We gave her four starts and then another spell, and she's really bulked up since the spell.” Which brings her to tonight’s Tasco Petroleum 3YO Pace, which streams on Trots Vision at 9pm. “I think with any sort of luck she nearly should be winning. She trialled good, she’s gone 1:59 without being bustled. “She’s inside the second row, so she will need luck, but often at Mildura a gap will open up.” And then, all going well, Murray can’t start thinking about the open road. “He was pretty much finished, but when covid hit he couldn’t travel. I purchased Miradero for him to train and he bought Carload, who he may continue to train until he on-sells him,” Simon said. “But they’ve got a new caravan turning up in two weeks time, so that’s the plan.”   HRV - Michael Howard

The avenue to becoming the first Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown winner only got trickier for the contenders, with the draw for Saturday’s Benstud Queen Of The Pacific disadvantaging the series' front runners. Our Princess Tiffany, who’s accumulated a series leading 10 points over the first two legs of the Crown, will start from gate 11, in between Speak No Evil (pictured) and Rock N Roll Chapel, who each have eight points to their credit. Beyond that trio, only Goodtime Heaven (4 points, gate three) and No Win No Feed (4 points, gate six) are in contention for the Crown, which for the first time carries a $10,000 bonus for connections. Each race in the three-leg series grants 8 points to the winners, 6 to second place, 4 to third place, 2 to fourth place and 1 to the fifth-place mare.  Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown standings  Our Princess Tiffany  10  Speak No Evil  8  Rock N Roll Chapel  8  Maajida  6  Goodtime Heaven   4  No Win No Feed  4  Pick Up Line  1  Nostra Villa   1                 The $100,000 Queen Of The Pacific is one of only two $100,000 mares' races on the Victorian calendar along with the Ladyship Cup, which is part of the Summer Of Glory. And it’s a horse who’s not in contention for the Crown who’s gaining most attention, with Craig Cross’s New South Wales entrant Bettor Enforce dominating early markets. The mare has been backed in from her $2.10 opening with TAB.com.au to $1.85, with optimism that her gate two draw has her well-placed to build on her five wins from her past six outings, which include four Menangle victories at Group 3 level. Our Princess Tiffany ($4.20) is second in the market for the 2760-metre feature, which headlines the 11-race card. Kicking off at 5.59pm, other highlights look set to come in the Alabar Vicbred Championship Final, when Catch A Moment again looks beautifully placed for a forward running performance for driver Amanda Turnbull and reinsman James Herbertson. The four-year-old qualified for the final with a dominant 33-metre win his heat, despite Herbertson remarking that “I was trying to get him to go as slow as possible, because he’s got the race next week. To be able to get home in 27.7, the way that he did it, it’s pretty crazy.” Catch A Moment is a $1.28 favourite with TAB.com.au. Rishi, Malcolms Rhythm, Sicario and Wolf Stride are just a sampling of the talented in the DNR Logistics My Lightning Blue Free For All, but it’s Somebeachshadow who’s the shortest clip in early markets having ran on well last start and drawn gate one, which he’s well placed for a late swoop. The night also features Allied Express The Graduate for three-year-olds and is rounded out with heats of the popular HERO Battle Of The Claimers. Trots Vision will carry full coverage, with host Rob Auber to join race caller Lachie McIntosh in bringing you all the action from the VHRC Parade Ring to the Winners Circle right here at thetrots.com.au.   HRV - Michael Howard

It was a night to remember at Tabcorp Park for Amanda Turnbull’s team as five-year-old Speak No Evil and four-year-old Catch A Moment served up bold front-running performances to not only take line honours but flag that bigger things were to come. Speak No Evil held out the challenge of $1.60 favourite Our Princess Tiffany to win the Angelique Club Pace, blowing open the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown, which concludes with next Saturday’s $100,000 Benstud Queen Of The Pacific. Earlier in the night Catch A Moment was stunning in winning the Alabar Vicbred Championship first heat by 34 metres, despite reinsman James Herbertson trying to keep the Art Major entire under a hold and fresh for next week’s final. And the hits kept coming throughout the night. Red Hot Tooth also produced an eye-catching margin win, saluting by almost 20 metres in the Aldebaran Park True Roman Trotters Free For All, leaving in her wake some of the squaregating heads of state including Dance Craze, McLovin and Wobelee. One race earlier, Mister Wickham wound back the clock to beat a talented field, replete with four Victoria Cup contenders, in the TAB Long May We Play Bold David Free For All, which proved a bruising battle that would see the contenders spread across the track in the dash to the line. And that’s not to mention the two Group 2s, with Emma Stewart winning both The Big Screen Company Tatlow Stakes. Act Now led all the way for reinswoman Jodi Quinlan to build a picket fence of victories for owner-breeders Bruce and Vicki Edward, winning the $50,000 Group 2 for two-year-old colts and geldings. “He felt enormous when Michael (Stanley)’s horse (Soho Bollinger) was outside of him and he skipped away and was looking at the clerk of the course on the inside pricking his ears,” Quinlan told Trots Vision. “I’d really like to see him go when one does really test him and see what he can really do. He did that pretty comfy tonight.” And the Stewart stable's flex was even more significant in the two-year-old fillies Tatlow Stakes, where the trainer filled the first six places, including the winner Ladies In Red for reinsman David Moran (pictured below). “There’s not much of her, she’s got it all, she can tough it out, she’s got very high speed,” Moran said. She’s going to make a very nice racehorse.” Which will be music to the ears of Lauriston Bloodstock’s Bill and Anne Anderson, who not only enjoyed success in the Tatlow Stakes but also with Speak No Evil’s win in the aforementioned Angelique Club Pace. “They’ve got a wonderful breed and some really nice horses at the moment,” Turnbull said. She was rapt with Speak No Evil’s performance, having initially been concerned how the four-year-old had trialed in the lead-up. “We wanted to come last week because it was only over the mile, but her trial wasn’t quite good enough, so we just stuck at home and got a bit of work into her,” Turnbull told Trots Vision. “It was a little bit of a worry being first up over the 2200, but she handled it good. She was a different horse again tonight, she knew it was race night, she was a lot more relaxed and a lot better to handle, so she knows what she’s doing.” Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown standings  Our Princess Tiffany  10  Speak No Evil  8  Rock N Roll Chapel  8  Maajida  6  Goodtime Heaven   4  No Win No Feed  4  Pick Up Line  1  Nostra Villa   1                   It makes for a delicious entrée to next week’s Benstud Queen Of The Pacific, which carries not only the Group 1 status and $100,000 purse, but will also decide the inaugural winner of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown. For the first time, the horse who scores most points in the series takes home a $10,000 bonus.Speak No Evil won by a short half-head from Rock N Roll Chapel, who sat leader’s back throughout and almost won in the closing strides, while No Win No Feed pipped Our Princess Tiffany for third, with the latter failing to make ground in the straight after sitting in the breeze for a tick more than the last lap. Turnbull confirmed Speak No Evil will be there and it could also be a big night for Catch A Moment, who will take some topping when he backs up in the $30,000 Alabar Vicbred Championship final after tonight’s blazing win. “We’ve always had really high hopes for him and he’s been thereabouts all the time,” Turnbull said. “Now he’s grown into himself, he’s a big fella and looks amazing, and he’s putting it on the race track too.” He certainly impressed reinsman James Herbertson tonight. “To get behind a horse like that is really something else,” Herbertson said. “And to be still trucking like he was at the finish, he still had another gear left, pretty incredible. “I was trying to get him to go as slow as possible, because he’s got the race next week. To be able to get home in 27.7, the way that he did it, it’s pretty crazy.” Torrid Saint will also advance to the final on a high note, having won the night's second heat for trainer Julie Douglas and reinsman John Caldow. The night's other standout winner was Maajida in the DNR Logistics Argent 3YO Classic, with the classy filly swoop with a long, strong run to win by five metres and reaffirm that she was again at the head of her class for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Greg Sugars.   HRV - Michael Howard

Some elite talent will pass through Chris Alford’s hands tonight, with just three of his horses having already amassed more than $2.3 million in stakes and 14 Group 1s. Across races five, seven and eight 'the Puppet' will steer Cruz Bromac ($1,056,075 winnings, 5 Group 1s), Our Princess Tiffany ($852,262, 6 Group 1s) and Wobelee ($415,239, 5 Group 1s), an extraordinary collection of talent that signals a great night’s racing ahead at Tabcorp Park Melton. “The way the season went, all the good horse are back in getting primed for the big races, so it’s really exciting,” Alford told Trots Talk. The shortest of his stars will likely be Our Princess Tiffany, a $1.60 favourite in the Angelique Club Cup, leg two of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown. Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown standings  Horse   Points  Our Princess Tiffany  8  Maajida  5  Goodtime Heaven  3  Rock N Roll Chapel   2  Pick Up Line   1             The four-year-old, who’s raced for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s All Stars for much of her career but crossed to Dean Braun for her Victorian campaign, was extraordinary in winning last week’s Benstud Make Mine Cullen. It was her first start since jumping the Tasman and has her well placed to not only win the new $10,000 prize for the best horse in the series, but potentially the $20,000 bonus for sweeping all three races. “She was (stunning),” Alford said of last week’s win. “First up from a mini break after coming from New Zealand, to do what she did was pretty amazing, it just shows how classy she is. “She’s pretty professional like a lot of the Purdon horses are, they can do pretty much everything. “She flopped along at the back of the field and when the speed came on at about the 600 she knew it was time to go, she grabbed the bit and just wanted to get on with it. “Around the last turn I had a stranglehold on her just to keep her off (Goodtime Heaven’s driver Mick) Stanley’s head, trying not to clip his wheel as she came out because she was that wound up ready to go.” And expectations in the camp are that she should just get better tonight and into the $100,000 Benstud Queen Of The Pacific on October 31, the final leg of the series. “Dean said she’s trained on really well since then, so all looking forward to the next leg of it and hopefully she can get the second leg down and go into the big one the week after,” Braun said. Before then he’ll take hold of Cruz Bromac in the TAB Long May We Play Bold David Free For All, with the million-dollar pacer having his third Victorian start after disappointing first-up and then rattling home to finish sixth in the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. “He was terrible (first-up), left everyone scratching their heads a bit, but he’s trained a bit harder since then,” Alford said. “Because he’s an eight or nine-year-old now, he probably just took a bit more work than what he did the year before, so he seems to be getting wound up now. “The draw didn’t work out that well for us in the Vic Cup, but apart from the winner his sectionals were quicker than any other horse in the race, and that was only his second-up run in 12 months, so he should improve again this week.” Alford’s also hopeful of improvement from star trotter Wobelee, who’s trained by his wife Alison and looks well placed for a late charge at likely leaders Red Hot Tooth and Dance Craze in the Aldebaran Park True Roman Trotters Free For All. “The trotters are really really strong at the moment,” he said. “You have the two mares off the front row and McLovin, Wobelee and Savannah Jay Jay off the back. It’s going to be a pretty tactical race, hopefully there’s a fair bit of speed on which will suit us. “(Wobelee) went all right in the Bill Collins race, he was probably just a run short because he hadn’t run in three weeks. Hopefully that tightened him up for this week.” While Alford may not have a drive in The Big Screen Company Tatlow Stakes Group 2 for two-year-old fillies, with Rogue Wave the emergency, he’ll drive quality in the colts and geldings division in Idyllic, albeit from the outside-the-back-row draw. He’ll also partner Treasure for Isabel Walsh in the DNR Logistics Argent 3YO Classic, Brevity for David Aiken in the Alabar Vicbred Championship second heat and Kyvalley Clichy for Brent Lilley in the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Trot.   HRV - Michael Howard

She was an eye-catcher at her last start when breaking her maiden status and Richie Caruana hopes to soon learn whether that sizzling finish was more than a drop in the ocean. The trainer-driver-owner’s three-year-old trotter, Excellent Drop, returns from a spell at Echuca tonight for the Jodale Cleaning Echuca Trotters Handicap, where a good performance to kick off her second campaign may prompt a crack at forthcoming age group features. “We will see how we go but there are a couple of good age group races coming up,” Caruana said. Excellent Drop’s return tonight in race four, which will stream on Trots Vision at 8.01pm, pits the lightly-raced trotter against some much more experienced rivals, including sharing the 10-metre line with 97-race veteran Valley Ess Jay. It could be a telling second campaign for the Bacardi Lindy filly, who Caruana broke in for breeder Joe Aquilina, with the latter a “pretty close” friend who “virtually gave me the horse”. “I liked her as a two-year-old, but didn’t push her,” Caruana said. “I like to see if their natural ability shines through. She’s a little-bit-better-than-average trotter. She’s always been pretty honest. I haven’t had any problems with her gait.” Excellent Drop didn’t break stride (touch wood) in any of the six races in her first campaign, which produced four placings and then in her last start at Melton a breakthrough maiden win, despite being shuffled to the back of the field. A tiring Aldebaran Leroy had seemed to put paid to Caruana’s filly's chances in the June 1 trot, but she zoomed home to pick off the tiring front runners in an eye-catching finish. “She worked good prior to that race,” Caruana said. “I was pretty confident she would run a place, but when she got shuffled back on the turn I didn’t think she had a chance. She picked them up pretty good, though they didn’t run great time.” Caruana expects a miracle late dash won’t be required tonight, with Excellent Drop drawn the outside of the three horses on the 10-metre line amid a six-horse field. “First up I don’t know what to expect really,” he said. “I reckon she’s coming up good. She might need another run to get to where she was. “I feel a little better with her behind horses, but it is a leader’s track. I don’t know exactly what will happen at the start. I will drive her safely and if she steps well she will be thereabouts. “These older horses are more experienced, but the young horse are pretty smart too these days.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Our Princess Tiffany will again have to overcome a back row draw but starts behind a very different front row in the second leg of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown. While four Emma Stewart runners made much of the front running in Saturday’s Benstud Make Mine Cullen, none back-up for Friday night’s Angelique Club Pace, which is part of an 11-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton. Stewart’s Techys Angel, Amelia Rose and Maajida will instead pile into the night's DNR Logistics Argent 3YO Classic. In their place two former Stewart runners, Nostra Villa and Speak No Evil, will feature among leg two of the mares series. Both were dual Group 1 winners for Stewart but have more recently raced in Sydney, with Nostra Villa in the hands of trainer-driver Brad Hewitt and Speak No Evil to debut for trainer-driver Amanda Turnbull. Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown standings  Horse   Points  Our Princess Tiffany  8  Maajida  5  Goodtime Heaven  3  Rock N Roll Chapel   2  Pick Up Line   1             The stakes are particularly high for Our Princess Tiffany, who is being trained by Dean Braun for her Victorian assault, with the Crown carrying a $20,000 bonus for any horse that can sweep the series and a $10,000 bonus to the horse with the most points across the series.The latter had most recently been with Craig Cross’s New South Wales stable, which will also be well represented on Friday night with Dracarys and No Win No Feed in the mares field. The series concludes with the $100,000 Benstud Queen Of The Pacific at Tabcorp Park Melton on October 31.  Brought forward a night to avoid a clash with the AFL grand final, Friday night’s card features four Group-level races, including The Big Screen Company Tatlow stakes for both the two-year-old fillies and the colts and geldings. The $50,000 Group 2 race offers another chance to get a feel for the likely lead combatants in the TAB Breeders Crown, which kicks off on November 4, and December’s Vicbred Super Series, which will play out on New Year’s Eve. The fillies will clash at 6.58pm and here the Stewart camp fronts with eight of the 13 entrants, including the fab five Platinum Sparkle (gate one), Beach Music (gate three), Ladies In Red (gate five), emergency Rogue Wave (gate 10) and Tough Tilly (gate 11), who filled the first five placings in the Alabar Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic final. On that occasion they stopped the clock in 1:51.9, an extraordinary 1.6 seconds under the age/distance track record, when they finished within 2.6 metres of each other. Clayton Tonkin and Stewart also have six in the colts and geldings’ final, which will stream on Trots Vision at 9.33pm, with nine of the 12 starters all having won at their last start. The night also features the TAB Long May We Play Bold David Free For All, with Victoria Cup combatants Rishi, Cruz Bromac, Tam Major and Code Black among those fronting. And there is even more Group 1 class on display in the Aldebaran Park True Roman Trotters Free For All, where Red Hot Tooth (gate five) has drawn inside Dance Craze (gate six), while Wobelee (gate nine) and McLovin (gate 10) will plan their attack from the back row.   HRV - Michael Howard

The rich Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown bonuses are well in play as Our Princess Tiffany was scintillating in winning tonight’s first leg, with promise of even better to come. Despite being first-up since her recent Australian arrival, and according to trainer Dean Braun possibly needing the run, the mare looked in a class of her own in coming from the back of the field to win by 3.5 metres and tick past $850,000 in stakes won. The result puts Our Princess Tiffany top of the pops in the three-leg Crown, which for the first-time includes a $10,000 premiership. For each of the three legs, eight points is awarded to the winner (Our Princess Tiffany), six points to the runner-up (Maajida), four points to the third-placed mare (Goodtime Heaven), two points to the mare that finishes fourth (Rock N Roll Chapel) and one point for fifth (Pick Up Line). And there's an additional $20,000 bonus if one mare should win all three legs of the series, which continues with the Angelique Club Pace on October 23 and concludes with the $100,000 Benstud Queen Of The Pacific on October 31. Pre-race, Braun told Trots Vision Our Princess Tiffany had arrived from Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s stable “in fantastic order”, but it was a “tough draw tonight over the mile”. “I’m sure next week and the week after she will really come to it. Not that she’ll be far away tonight either, but we just need a bit of luck,” Braun said. 1720 metres later those words serve as a warning for how hard it will be for any mare to deny Our Princess Tiffany a win this series, with the four-year-old impressing her first-time reinsman Chris Alford with a super late dash tonight. “Surprising how well she did it coming from so far back," Alford told Trots Vision. "The time for the first lap was solid without being crazy and there some really good mares up front. I thought we are in a bit of bother here. “When they sprinted up again down the back she really grabbed the bit and travelled well, she was nearly pushing Mick (Stanley on Goodtime Heaven’s) hat off around the bend she was going that well.”   HRV - Michael Howard

The goalposts may have moved but it was still a sweet feeling for Matt Craven when his fabulous filly Pink Galahs took the honors in what he’s long considered her grand final, tonight’s TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks. Only a week after she shocked the trotting world and won the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint, the three-year-old backed up to claim a second successive Group 1 in a bruising Oaks. “They made her earn it tonight,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race, with Pink Galahs having worked to the front from gate five and controlled proceedings with a 32.2-second first quarter, before being exposed to a mid-race challenge. Jason Lee, steering Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon’s Im Ready Jet, turned it into a staying contest approaching the bell, challenging and claiming the lead in 28.2 and 28.7 second and third quarters. It reverted Pink Galahs to a sit-sprint role, but as she’s shown readily in open class company that suits her just fine, rushing via the sprint lane to a 4.2-metre win from stablemate Queen Of Crime, with Im Ready Jet running third. “Jase with 1200 to go tested us out and was able to beat her for a little bit for speed, but to her credit she travelled really kind on his back and it was just a matter of getting to the sprint lane without doing anything wrong,” Craven said. “It wasn’t easy, but this was the end goal. We reset now and set some more (goals), but just to achieve what we set out to achieve at the start of the season with this little girl, the campaign all through winter was all aimed around this race. We new that we had to improve over that period to be competitive in this race to season her up for what was produced tonight. “That middle half in (56.8), for three-year-old fillies you have got to be pretty brave to be able to finish it off after that. I’m just so proud of her to be able to get through and get the job done.” It was another superb result for breeder Laura Lewis, who co-owns the filly with Caleb Lewis and Bryan Healy, and the Craven camp, particularly with the stable producing second-placed Queen Of Crime. The latter was driven by Craven’s brother Glen, while cousin Jason Lee placed third in a Terang trifecta, but there was little brotherly spirit in the run. “Cousins, brothers, once you are out on the track I think they become your biggest enemies,” Matt Craven told Trots Vision. “People would think you’d look after each other, I think it works the entire opposite because we are all so competitive. “I hate getting beaten, I know (Jason) hates getting beaten and I know Glen hates getting beaten. I think when we see each other, we’re all in red colours, it’s like waving a red flag at a bull. “He takes no prisoners out there Jason and he expects no favors, which makes it so great, we’re all such great competitors, but they’re always the first ones to congratulate each other.” Craven said Pink Galahs would likely be directed towards the November 1 Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough before readying for December’s Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series.   HRV - Michael Howard

The after glow is magnificent for Matt Craven, but the trainer-driver of flying filly Pink Galahs will have little time to bask as another Group 1 opportunity presents. The Terang tearaway who last week changed the trotting landscape will start from gate five in Saturday night’s TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks, to stream on Trots Vision at 8.32pm. It’s the first of three Group 1s on an 11-race card that also includes the Benstud Make Mine Cullen, leg one of the Elizabeth Clarke Mares Triple Crown, when Amelia Rose will lead the Emma Stewart stable's attack against the likes of Goodtime Heaven and Our Princess Tiffany. But it’s Craven’s three-year-old filly that may well outshine them all in the starpower stakes after her stunning victory in last Saturday’s Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint. “It’s a feeling I’d love for many people in the sport to have the chance to experience,” Craven told Trots Talk of the Group 1 win. “It’s something you can’t describe when you win a race like that. Definitely wasn’t expected, it was a huge, huge thrill. I was so proud of my little girl. “Through the run, with a lap to go she relaxed beautifully and you think to yourself, have we got any tickets tonight? How are we travelling little girl? But she really picked up off the back straight and travelled super. To be able to run down Dance Craze, I don’t think I can believe it. When Jason Lee told me I beat him I still could not believe it. Even now speaking about it I’m still quite emotional, I don’t know why, I think I’m just so proud of my little girl. “It’s not something we expected. We knew that she was good enough, not maybe to win, but be competitive. Something that will stay with us for a long time.” But there’s a need to get back down to business as she leaves behind the cut and thrust of open class racing to stoush with three-year-old fillies for the first time since running fourth in the IRT Australia Need For Speed Princess Final at Melton on February 29. On that occasion she finished behind Anton Golino’s pair Im Ready Jet and Imamaorijet, both of whom share the front row with her in the Oaks. Add in Tailored Elegance, Illawong Stardust, Sultan Sass and Chevron Action to name a few and it’s a high-class race, which has been front of mind for Craven for some time. “It’s not something to be taken lightly. One of the reasons why we have taken the (free-for-all) path that we have is we know this three-year-old crop’s very special,” he said. “We’ve seen some of these compete at a very high level and produce very, very good results. We know it’s not going to be easy and all her own way on Saturday night. “Take into account (Tailored Elegance) to our outside, she defeated free-for-all horses in New Zealand before she arrived in Australia. That’s very, very good form for a race like this. If she’s anywhere near right she will be super hard to beat. “Im Ready Jet has already shown she has had my filly’s measure in the past, so those two are going to make life very tough for her. All the runners in the race, you see the form is quite strong and it won’t be a walk in the park by any means and we are not expecting an easy race on Saturday night.”   HRV - Michael Howard

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