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A delicious Zac Phillips drive set up a dominant Wolf Stride victory in tonight’s Terang Co-Co Pacing Cup, and the winner's “miracle” early move to the front may well lead to a Miracle of another kind. Co-trained by Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, the five-year-old gelding is on a path north to chase qualification in the $1 million Miracle Mile and will head in full of confidence after a peerless performance in tonight’s $50,000 Group 2. Watch the race replay click here Despite his gate 12 draw, Phillips had the race favourite in the lead within 500 metres of the green light going on in the 2680-metre Cup, having glided past Malcolms Rhythm and the latter’s stablemate Sirletic who were first to the pegs. Somewhere Secret emerged at Wolf Stride’s outside but there was little pressure throughout and when Phillips urged the leader on in a 55.1sec last 800 metres the win was always in hand. Accepting the trophy post-race for winning connections, Amanda Grieve told Trots Vision Phillips had declared his intentions to her in the lead-up and told her he was “either going to look like an idiot or I’m going to pull this off”. And pull it off he did. “He’s pretty special,” Phillips said of the winner, who’s now won 13 of his 27 starts. “Anthony and Sonya have done quite a remarkable job with him, it’s just really a credit to them. “I’ve really got to pay credit to all the staff at home, Anthony’s been away and Sonya and all the team have done a remarkable job, not just with this horse but the whole lot of them.” Butt is up north for Sydney’s Carnival Of Miracles and Phillips said he would soon be joined by Smith and Wolf Stride, who was chasing a place in the March 6 Miracle Mile. “(Wolf Stride will) head up Monday,” Phillips said. “Anthony’s up there at the moment, Sonya’s going to head up on Monday for the Miracle Mile qualifiers and fingers crossed he can get into that.” The victory propelled Wolf Stride to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, having amassed 12 points this season courtesy of wins at Bendigo and Terang and a third at Ballarat. Terang also delivered a new leader in the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, with Well Defined producing a perfect performance to back up his success at Ararat for trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinswoman Ellen Tormey. “It all worked out perfectly,” Tormey said of tonight’s win from the standing start. “After we went away and found the front it was always the first suitable one that we could hand up to and Robbie Royale was that – he’s a really good front runner and been in really good form, so he was a good one to follow.” While it was easy going out front, there was drama behind with local favourite Pink Galahs breaking gate early and having to spend much of the race recovering lost ground, while McLovin advanced to the breeze and kept things ticking over only to surprisingly tire and fade. That enabled Robbie Royale and Well Defined to clear out in the closing stages and the latter overrun Brent Lilley’s seven-year-old in the 28.6-sec last quarter to score. “He’s a little beauty to drive,” Tormey said. “He’s a little bit difficult in the warm up, but once those tapes go he just rockets away and then puts himself in such a good position every time. “I think he just makes you look good. He goes away that fast you are nearly in front or behind the leader every race. He’s got that nice little sprint, so when you are in that spot he’s going to run a nice little place or be near about. “These stands and the 2600, they suit him down to the ground. He runs them out really well. Whatever he does the owners and trainer are really rapt with the job he’s done.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Lochinvar Art etched his name in trots immortality with a commanding victory in the $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup, claiming the heavyweight title that’s long seemed his destiny. The Shepparton harness racing superstar was advanced to the front early for trainer-driver David Moran and broke the field open with an extraordinary 53.2sec last 800 metres to win by 6.4 metres. Watch the race replay click here! “It was huge for me,” Moran said. “It’s one of those races you watch as a kid growing up. It’s probably a race that I’ve wanted to win to be honest more than an Inter Dominion and races like that. It’s just been such a time-honoured event. “You see some great horses and great drivers win it over the years. It’s great just to know your name’s going to be up on the honour roll with some of the greats. It’s a big achievement.” Lochinvar Art led for the last two laps of the 2760-metre feature, flushed out early by the advancing Star Galleria. With a tick over a lap to go his lead rival King Of Swing advanced to sit on his outside, but Moran never allowed Luke McCarthy’s reigning champion a sniff, putting his foot to the floor a long way out and winning in a 1:54.8 mile rate, just 1.2 seconds outside the track record. “It looked like a good draw on paper but we had to get on our bike a bit earlier than we would have liked,” Moran said. “I was pretty confident. He just felt good in the run. He did it pretty easy, I know his first half wasn’t too bad, but he did it so easy, he was gliding across the ground.”   HRV - Michael Howard

The million-dollar club has a new member after Our Princess Tiffany turned a delightful draw into a dominant performance to win the Alabar Bloodstock Ladyship Cup, a remarkable fifth Group 1 on Australian soil. For trainer Dean Braun and reinsman Chris Alford, Our Princess Tiffany tipped over to $1,000,262 in stakes for owner-breeders Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and co-owners Philip and Margaret Creighton. And the five-year-old Art Major mare did it in style, comfortably holding the lead from gate one and then holding all challenges to the winning post. Watch the race replay click here! “They didn’t come out full tilt, but she did come out well and could have come out even quicker again if I needed her to,” Alford said. From there Our Princess Tiffany was in control, with her 54.6sec last 800 metres holding lead rival Bettor Enforce on her outside to win by a half-neck, despite being first-up since her Vicbred Super Series Group 1 win on New Year’s Eve. “(Dean’s) always had them spot on on these big nights,” Alford said. “Five weeks and she’s had one really quiet trial at Geelong a few weeks ago, but tonight she was spot on.” And they’ll hope to see that good form roll on to Tabcorp Park Menangle for the February 27 Ladyship Mile, which will likely be another showdown with Luke McCarthy’s Bettor Enforce. “It’s always going to be hard up there, the way they race and Luke’s horse went terrific and I’d say she will be there. It should be a good contest, that’s for sure.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Two blistering stagings down and Kima Frenning's quickly made the Mercury80 her plaything with the driver-turned-trainer making it two from two as Yorkshire saluted in tonight's $50,000 Group 2. Following on from Always Fast's win in the inaugural series last year when Frenning was in the sulky for Emma Stewart, Yorkshire lit up the final night of the TAB Summer of Glory with a two-metre win by the $2.50 favourite, the second richest win of the young trainer's career. Reinsman Chris Alford dropped Yorkshire on to the back of Carlas Mach once he had a good look to ensure the polemarker wouldn't be crossed, with Boncel Benjamin sitting on the leader's outside throughout the 1200-metre sprint. When the sprint lane opened opportunity knocked for Alford, with Yorkshire whipping past to score ahead of Rollova (Aaron Dunn) and Change The Print (Marg Lee and Glen Craven). "It worked out pretty much like it looked on paper and the good thing was he relaxed well," Alford said. "Last time he was behind the leader he choked down, so it was good that he relaxed and had a good sprint up the straight. "They've got to be fast and strong at the same time. He had the draw and things worked out perfectly, but last time he led and won, he's pretty versatile."   HRV - Michael Howard

Prepare for every scenario and then expect the unexpected is how David Moran will map his way to what would be the greatest victory of his career. The trainer-driver’s Shepparton superstar, Lochinvar Art, is a short-priced favourite to land tonight’s Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup, a feat that would make them only the second Victorian-trained winner of the great race since 2007. “It’s the one race everyone wants to win,” Moran said. “I remember as a kid watching Chris Alford drive Mont Denver Gold three or four back on the fence and win, and it’s probably one of my favourite races of all time.” Alford, who will tonight steer one of Moran’s lead rivals Alta Orlando, has won three Hunter Cups, the last with Sting Like Bee in 2007. Since then only Kerryn Manning, with Arden Rooney in 2015, has produced a home-town win, with Victoria’s heavyweight championship having otherwise been a whitewash, instead dominated by Kiwis and New South Welshmen. The latter remains an imminent threat tonight, with Belinda and Luke McCarthy again coming well-armed, starting reigning champion King Of Swing, likely early leader Alta Orlando and recent addition Star Galleria. “Our team is all going really we’ll, particularly my drive King Of Swing,” Luke McCarthy said. “He’s the best horse in the stable.” Already a winner of $1.6 million in stakes off a stunning 2020, King Of Swing’s hopes of a Hunter Cup defence were rocked by Sunday’s back row draw, which McCarthy labelled “a big blow”. But stablemate Alta Orlando has “great gate speed,” McCarthy said, and “should end up in front and get a good trip”, while the stable’s other runner, Star Galleria, has “been super” and worked “really good”. “I love driving at Melton,” he said. “I love being a part of it all, the big Victorian carnival.” His tribe are just three of the 11 imminent threats Moran will have to consider when plotting his route from gate nine to the finishing line. “Alta Orlando holds the key. I think he probably crosses (Triple Eight), then it’s a matter of whether he holds or hands up,” Moran said. Lochinvar Art will start on the back of Alta Orlando in gates nine and two respectively, but Moran said he won’t press the issue early. “It can be a little tricky following through. You don’t want to burn ridiculously hard, because a horse like Alta Orlando can make you work,” he said. “If you lob the breeze straight away you can be there a long time. “Some horses don’t follow that hard from the second row, (Lochinvar Art) doesn’t. But we’ve got an advantage on the others a little bit, if they punch through they will do a lot of work, if they don’t we will be in front and the first ones on our bike.” The others he speaks of are the likes of Star Galleria (gate 10), Wolf Stride (gate 11) and King Of Swing (gate 12), who drew directly on Lochinvar Art’s outside on the back row and will occupy much of Moran’s thinking. “I’m excited. I’ve got to put my game face on a little,” he said. “Emma (Stewart) and Clayton (Tonkin) have three or four runners, Luke has three runners, I need to use this week to really concentrate in the right manner. “These races, you have to have a really good look at them. When it doesn’t quite go your way you just have to sum it up. It can be a split-second decision.”   HRV - Michael Howard

“It’s almost to be good to be true,” says Kate Gath after steering Tornado Valley to an historic second successive What The Hill Great Southern Star triumph. “To win the heat and then win the final, it was almost like a comeback fairytale that doesn’t really happen.” The brilliant nine-year-old bounced back from the cusp of retirement to shock the trotting landscape, first by holding out short-priced Majestic Man to win their second heat and then to zip down the sprint lane to claim the richest price in Australian squaregaiting. “For him to do what he’s done tonight, for Andy to train him like he does,” Kate told Trots Vision post-race. “At the start of the week when I said to Andy, ‘run this horse’, I didn’t expect him to come out and win it. “Andy thought the heat was probably his grand final, because you just don’t know when he’s been out of the races for so long. “To come back like he has ... I’d been saying to Andy for a little while, I think we should retire this horse. He just didn’t feel the same.” But a change in preparation brought a new lease on life and tonight Tornado Valley's 37th victory in start 101 elevated him to the top tier of horses Kate said she had driven. “He’s just done the best job and these horses, they are probably like one in a million. You can’t find them. For Andy to have found him and for Norm to have bought him, how lucky am I.” And he won despite some adversity. The speed map was thrown out when Magicool crossed both lightning quick beginners Majestic Man and Tornado Valley, leaving the latter on the leader’s back while those in front clamped on the brakes in a 32.8sec second quarter. “It was a tricky situation when Zac (Phillips) crossed me, I did have the opportunity to come back around and do a retake but Majestic Man was happy to sit there pretty quiet and I think that definitely changed the racing pattern,” she said. “We had earlier raced in one heat, the speed wasn’t on and it turned out it was the best spot to be. “He was travelling all right, but he wasn’t bolting. He actually took a little while to come into the sprint lane. He ran out, and I was like, maybe we are not going to get him then when he took a little while. “But it’s Tornado Valley, he just loves to win and he just kept coming. It’s probably the quickest quarter he’s ever run.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Two Tabcorp Park Melton warriors will lead the Gaths' defence of the What The Hill Great Southern Star, with a fresh-faced Kiwi amid brilliant young talent challenging their grip on the class. In-form and tough as teak trotter McLovin will kick off proceedings for trainer Andy Gath and reinswoman Kate Gath in the first of tomorrow’s Group 1 heats, which kicks off at 7.22pm. Then brilliant gelding and reigning champ Tornado Valley, first up since October 10 and winless since March 21, will cross swords with series’ favourite Majestic Man in the second of tomorrow’s heats. It’s the latter that no doubt enters with the most question marks, with Tornado Valley having lost a little gloss at his last four starts, which followed an extraordinary run of 28 wins from 36 starts. Nineteen of the wins came at Tabcorp Park Melton and his record at the track over the sprint distance is equally intimidating, having won five of seven. But the question marks are many, not least of all his three-month absence. “He worked well during the week and that made the decision for us to race,” driver Kate Gath said. And she will not be playing it conservatively in the heat, eager to use Tornado Valley’s outstanding tactical speed from gate two to challenge lightning fast beginner Majestic Man, a $1.35 favourite to win the heat and $1.60 favourite for the series. “It gets down to gate speed,” Gath said. “(Tornado Valley’s) got it. I will definitely hold the front if I can and see what happens.” And with only the first three home guaranteed a spot in the $300,000 final at 10.22pm there’ll be no taking the foot of the pedal. “You have to qualify,” she said. “You don’t want to play it safe in the heat and miss out because you were thinking about the final. I’m taking it one step at a time and never get too confident.” It will be a similar ethos for McLovin, who often has a ‘2’ attached to his name, not because he’s run second but because he’s battled away in the breeze. That’s been the case in his past three runs and may again in his heat, with Tough Monarch and Magicool among those drawn inside his gate five. “He’s on the front row, we will take that and hopefully use it to advantage,” Gath said. “It’s not going to be easy. There is a lot of speed drawn inside him, but then he’s so tough and feels in great order. He definitely seems to be feeling terrific.”   HRV - Michael Howard

With 600 metres to go in Victoria’s richest trots race driver Greg Sugars expects to learn a lot about his stable addition, who will give him his first feel in Saturday’s Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. Triple Eight flew in today to join Sugars and wife Jess Tubbs’ Myrniong camp, three days after a thrilled part-owner Father Brian Glasheen plucked gate one at Sunday night’s barrier. The six-year-old has been racing in New Zealand for Steven and Amanda Telfer, with his 57 starts producing $299,051 in stakes, but a change in ownership prompting a permanent move to Tubbs’ Victorian stable. “I haven’t got much knowledge of him at the minute, with Steve Telfer doing most of the preparation,” Sugars said. “He came across last year for the Hunter Cup, ran fourth in the Casey Classic and then got camped outside King Of Swing in the Hunter Cup at the start and tired. He’s only had around 50-odd starts, mostly against really good competition in New Zealand.” It’s going to be a quick education for Sugars and most of it done on the last lap of Saturday’s $500,000 classic at Tabcorp Park Melton, but that’s not a completely unusual scenario. “It’s nearly the same scenario as A Gs White Socks last year, I only had a look at him for two or three days before, went to the Ballarat Cup blind and he still got the job done,” he said. “I can only hope (Triple Eight) settles in well and there will be unknowns when I’m driving him in the run and how he should feel. “It’s not unusual. You can learn a bit by watching them, but until you experience it for yourself you don’t know 100 per cent.” He will at least have every opportunity after the gate one draw. With fast-starting Alta Orlando on his outside, Sugars will hope to glide on to the New South Wales’ gelding’s back and take the armchair ride to the final straight. “He’s going to get a good spot without having to do too much work,” Sugars said. “He follows the speed well and can finish off late, so it has probably worked out ideal. Alta Orlando is the obvious leader. I’m more than happy to jump on his back, what happens after that we’ll see. “The two big guns (King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art) will possibly come looking for the lead off the back row. In any big race, as long as you are following the right horses, (the pegs are) as good a spot as any to be.”   HRV - Michael Howard

It's advantage Our Princess Tiffany and Perfect Stride after the barriers have been drawn for Saturday night's Group 1s for mares and four-year-olds. Dean Braun's brilliant ex-Kiwi has drawn gate one and looks well placed to break through the million-dollar mark with victory in the Alabar Bloodstock Ladyship Cup. Victory would secure the five-year-old mare $57,000 in prize money, which would increase her career stakes to an extraordinary $1,000,262, but there will be no shortage of threats attempting to halt her advance. Team McCarthy's Bettor Enforce, who drew gate six, will be hellbent on breaking through after running second in this race last year to Belle Of Montana and second in October's Benstud Queen of the Pacific to Speak No Evil. HERE'S THE DRAW FOR THE GROUP 1 ALABAR BLOODSTOCK LADYSHIP CUP 1: Our Princess Tiffany (Dean Braun) 2: Mornings (emg) (Damien Burns) 3: Delightful Mia (Chris Svanosio) 4: Miss McGonagal (Stephen Clarke) 5: Six Elements (David Mioles) 6: Bettor Enforce (Belinda McCarthy) 7: Delightful Jazz (Ahmed Taiba) --- 8: Jenden Strike (Chris Frisby) 9: The Pantheist (David Miles) 10: Rockasaki (Jack Laugher) 11: Pick Up Line (David Miles)   Perfect Stride looks well placed to add to his Cobram Cup success in the DNR Logistics 4YO Bonanza, which last year launched Lochinvar Art into an extraordinary season. But the threats are many, not least of all Andy Gath's prodigously talented Pacifico Dream, whose front line draw also ensures he'll be a player throughout, and David Aiken's Honolua Bay, who was so impressive in winning on Saturday. The stakes couldn't be higher, with the victor not only claiming the bulk of the $100,000 prize but a ticket to Sydney's Chariots Of Fire.  DRAW FOR THE GROUP 1 DNR LOGISTICS 4YO BONANZA 1: Perfect Stride (Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith) 2: Kowalski Analysis (Matt Craven) 3: Major Meister (Adam Kelly) 4: Tinder Surprise (Kerryn Manning) 5: Pacifico Dream (Andy Gath) 6: Sonny Weaver (emg) (Amanda Turnbull) 7: Major Jodi (Glenn Douglas) --- 8: Expensive Ego (Belinda McCarthy) 9: Honolua Bay (David Aiken) 10: Beat City (Kate Hargreaves) 11: Boots Electric (Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith)    HRV - Michael Howard

A track record and the Australian trotting landscape were both rattled as Majestic Man dominated the TAB V L Dullard Trotters Cup, stamping himself a clear favourite for Friday’s rich What The Hill Great Southern Star. While all that occurred largely went to the expected script, with fast-starting Majestic Man comfortably cruising to the lead and then saluting at $1.30, it was the nature in which Phil and Brad Williamson’s Kiwi trotter dominated proceedings that has tongues wagging. There was no let up as Majestic Man stopped the clock in a 1:55.4 mile rate, slashing six-10ths off the record that had stood since Keystone Del’s win in the 2016 Australian Trotting Grand Prix. It was a rewarding result for the Williamsons, who sent reinsman Brad and their six-year-old gelding across the Tasman decide potential COVID challenges. “We took a big risk getting over here with all the regulations and everything,” Brad told Trots Vision. “A lot of people back home probably thought we were mad coming. We were the only Kiwis to come and we’ve made it a winning trip so far, so hopefully we can carry on.” The $50,000 Group 1 win was more than a nice way to kick things off, with Brad saying despite the horse arriving only mid-week he had “never had him feeling better than he was tonight”. “It didn’t feel like we were running as quick as we were, I actually thought I got it quite easy the first 500 or 600 metres. He was just happy to run, he felt tremendous, it would be scary to think he could improve off of that.” And he may not need to to claim Australia’s richest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, but the acclaimed Group 1 is certain to throw up an unfamiliar test with the February 5 heats-into-final format. “Obviously I expect him to go super in the first heat providing he draws well and everything, he’s such a good short distance, mobile (start) horse,” Brad said. “We are going into the unknown with this double heat racing. We will just have to wait and find out. “He’s definitely got sensational gate speed, as we saw tonight he crossed them easy as. If he draws the front line in the heat he should be able to qualify for the final. Whether he’s going to come out and dominate them, it’s easier said than done. If he draws well in a heat that would be ideal and he can get a nice run into the final.” Andy Gath’s camp again looks like leading the Victorian resistance, with Majestuoso and McLovin both single-figures in the pre-nominations market, which is now dominated by Majestic Man, who shortened from $4 into $2 on the back of tonight’s win. Majestuoso galloped in the home stretch to finish third tonight, but the trainer was satisfied with the performance in trying circumstances. “He did a lose a shoe in the run, whether that’s why he galloped I’m not 100 per cent,” he said. “(Driver) Kate (Gath) seemed to think he lost it early, so he probably lost a little bit of balance there and obviously got a bit tired chasing Majestic Man, because he was going so quick. “We were pretty pleased he showed a good turn of foot down the back. It was going to be a lot better run if he didn’t gallop, but we were still pretty pleased with the third. Going to have to improve next week, especially on what we saw tonight, but it’s all going to be crucial down to barrier draws.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Dreams came true for owner/trainer/driver Aaron Dunn who snapped up a second Group 1 success when Bondi Lockdown rattled home to win tonight’s VHRC Caduceus 3YO Classic. The reinsman was beaming post-race after his lightly raced three-year-old upstaged short-priced favourite and leader Patsbeachstorm in the $100,000 feature, some 6770 days since Dee Dees Dream delivered Dunn and his father, Barry, a Vicbred Super Series two-year-old title. “It’s nearly 20 years since I’ve driven a Group 1 winner, at least now it’s not a fluke – I’ve got two,” Dunn told Trots Vision post-race. Bondi Lockdown brought up the third win of his nine-start career tonight, more than compensating for the $20,000 Dunn paid at the 2019 Australian Pacing Gold sale for the Carl Reinedhr-bred colt, who was by Somebeachsomewhere out of Without Guile, making him a half to Rocknroll Eyes ($162,252). “From when we broke him in, both me and dad said this is the closest thing we’ve had to Dee Dees Dream,” Dunn said. “He does amazing things. “Because he’s a Somebeach(somewhere) I’ve tried to keep him quiet, but then he did a few things wrong, galloping off the bit. I’ve changed a bit of gear and now he’s probably overracing. Even a week ago I thought should I just chuck him in the paddock. (Thankfully) it’s paid off.” All went perfectly tonight for the winner, with Bondi Lockdown starting from gate three and when Helluva galloped from leader’s back Dunn was able to snag from the one-one to the pegs to trail the short-priced favourite. “Stoked, couldn’t believe my luck,” Dunn said. “Even I went a little bit rough trying to go to the fence.” From there it was smooth sailing as Patsbeachstorm and his trainer-driver David Moran controlled proceedings, with a 31.5-sec second quarter setting up a sprint to the finish. While all others lost touch, Bondi Lockdown showed elite pace, running past the leader in a 26.4sec last quarter to score by 2.6 metres, with Patsbeachstorm a clear second and Platinum Stride 13 metres back in third. “He’ll go to the paddock (now),” Dunn said of the winner, who he said will next be directed towards the Australian Pacing Gold series in May in search of a third Group 1 for Dunn.   HRV - Michael Howard

The much-anticipated rematch between Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing is on, with the pair headlining hopefuls for a Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup start on February 6. Nominations closed at noon today revealing a select 20 scrambling for entrance in the $500,000 race regarded as Australia’s pacing heavyweight championship. Ahead of the all-important barrier draw on Sunday night as part of the VHRC Caduceus Group 1 Night of Nights at the Crown Palladium, all of the big names in pre-race betting have put their hands up. Most notably, $1.70 favourite Lochinvar Art for trainer-driver David Moran and $3 rival King Of Swing for Belinda McCarthy and Luke McCarthy feature prominently, which would be their first meeting since their epic Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup stoush. King Of Swing is one of three McCarthy runners, with third favourite Alta Orlando ($9) and fourth favourite Star Galleria ($11) also nominated. Emma Stewart’s stable also has three Hunter Cup hopefuls – Always Fast, Fourbigmen and Somewhere Secret – while training partner Clayton Tonkin has Out To Play in the mix, fresh from a bold second placing in Saturday’s PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. Trainer David Aiken is also well represented, with Malcolms Rhythm, Reactor Now and Sirletic all vying for a start, with the former two getting a chance to stake their claims when they line up in this Saturday night’s Allied Express Casey Classic. Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith have nominated both Alpine Stride and Wolf Stride, the latter coming off a withering burst to run third at Ballarat after previously winning the Garrards Bendigo Pacing Cup. Locally part-owned but previously Kiwi-trained Triple Eight will add some international flavour. Having ran ninth for New Zealand's Stephen and Amanda Telfer in last year's Hunter Cup, Triple Eight will be transferred into Jess Tubbs' camp and has been nominated along with future stablemate Im Anothermasterpiece. The nominees will be reduced down to a final field of 12 plus an emergency on Sunday ahead of Sunday night’s barrier draw. Here’s the full list of nominees (with trainers): Alpine Stride (Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith) Alta Orlando (Belinda McCarthy) Always Fast (Emma Stewart) Bettor Be The Bomb (Basil Dooley) Fourbigmen (Emma Stewart) Ignatius (Todd Rattray) Im Anothermasterpiece (Jess Tubbs) Jamieson Steele (David Miles) King Of Swing (Belinda McCarthy) Lochinvar Art (David Moran) Malcolms Rhythm (David Aiken) Our Uncle Sam (Chris Frisby) Out To Play (Clayton Tonkin) Reactor Now (David Aiken) Rishi (Lance Justice) Sirletic (David Aiken) Somewhere Secret (Emma Stewart) Star Galleria (Belinda McCarthy) Triple Eight (Stephen and Amanda Telfer) Western Sonador (Stephen O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley) Wolf Stride (Anthony Butt)   HRV - Michael Howard

Lochinvar Art proved life’s a breeze at the top of the trots with a commanding victory in the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, pouring home in a 53.1-second last half to claim the $110,000 Group 1. Trainer/driver David Moran was content to go the long way round with his million-dollar pacer, sitting outside leader Out To Play for much of the 2710-metre distance race and, when it came time to burn, he proved in a class of his own as he notched a seventh win in eight outings. “They don’t come around very often and thank God I’ve got him,” Moran said. “He’s got everything. He’s so fast that it’s just not funny.” Moran said the win was the perfect tune-up for the Shepparton superstar ahead of the February 6 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup, when he will lock horns with the likes of Sydney raider King Of Swing. “He does always back up week-to-week a lot better,” Moran said. “I’m sure two 2700-metre races will tighten him up.” The fact that Moran didn’t bully the field, as was perhaps expected, has only reaffirmed the versatility of the five-year-old, who reminded of his extraordinary speed in the closing stages. Kate Gath nabbed the lead with Out To Play, winning an early speed battle with Sicario to find the front and then Lochinvar Art lobbed to the leader’s outside soon after. Moran was content to bide his time, following an 84-second lead time with moderate first (31.3-second) and second (29.8) quarters, before pressing in a 26.-7-second third quarter. Out To Play battled gamely, but Lochinvar Art had another gear to give, getting home in 26.4 seconds to win by seven metres, with Wolf Stride running on well to finish third ahead of Somewhere Secret. CLICK BELOW TO ENJOY LOCHINVAR ART'S BRILLIANCE: HRV - Michael Howard

He would have likely started a warm odds-on favourite in one of tonight's support races, but Matthew Craven has opted to throw his exciting prospect Kowalski Analysis into the deep end of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup.  Craven's charge was emergency for the $110,000 Group 1 feature, but gained a start following the shock withdrawal of Hurricane Harley on Thursday.  The Ecklin South trainer said he was happy to skip the PETstock Rewards Pace and give the son of Roll With Joe his first crack at elite level open class company.  "We're looking at the bigger picture long term with him. We just threw him in just for experience really," Craven said.  "He's ticking along okay, but we think he's more a next year horse. If we can just hopefully get runs in some of these better races and he can just follow around the fence and really get accustomed to what the big racing is all about, I think we could see a really nice horse next year."  Kowalski Analysis has won five of 16 career races and heads to Ballarat on the back of a fifth in the Vincent Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts and Geldings Final behind Pacifico Dream and a second to Fourbigmen in last weekend's Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup.  Craven isn't tipping miracles this evening - nor does he expect them - but he's just happy to give the four-year-old brown gelding an up-close-and-personal look at some of the best in the business.  "He's got really high speed and then he's just got to develop that tough edge to him to race these better horses," he said.  "I think just driven quiet and up the fence, he's going to win a nice race at some stage.  "If he happens to step up to where we think he is potentially capable, he could be one of the (Ballarat Pacing Cup) contenders next year rather than just a horse that's going to follow them around."  It's not just Kowalski Analysis that will gain some valuable knowledge tonight, with Craven's partner Sofia Arvidsson set to take the drive in one of Victoria's premier races. The Swedish-born horsewoman has partnered the horse in 12 of his 15 starts and will be out to do her best again from barrier 10.  "She's come a long way in a short period so far and the more experience she can get in these races, the better it will be for her going forward in any race," he said.  Kowalski Analysis is a $126 chance with the TAB behind the heavy odds-on favourite Lochinvar Art, who sits at $1.15.  Tonight's Ballarat Pacing Cup is race eight on the 10-event card and is set to go at 9.32pm.   HRV - Michael Howard

Should any horse beat Lochinvar Art home tonight not only will it become the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup champion, but it will have to rattle Smolda’s track record in the process. A data deep dive reveals a history-making performance will be required to upstage the Shepparton superstar in tonight’s $110,000 Group 1, which promises to kick-start the TAB Summer of Glory in explosive style. Lochinvar Art, who’s just turned five, enters fresh off a victory in his home cup last Saturday night, when he became the 91st Australasian-bred pacer to eclipse $1million in stakes. Over the course of the next three weeks he could elevate himself into the all-time top 40, with tonight’s Group 1 preceding the $500,000 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 6. HAVE YOU FILLED OUT YOUR TROTSTARS TEAM? CLICK HERE TO JOIN Trainer-driver David Moran said Lochinvar Art’s “pulled up really good” from Shepparton, which was “was like track work for him” and he’s ready for even higher honours. “He hasn’t won a Hunter Cup or Miracle Mile yet, but he’s in the next bracket. If he wins one of those we’ll be able to say he’s one of the greats.” Time is on his side and the clock doesn’t lie. Lochinvar Art holds Tabcorp Park Melton’s track record over the short distance and last week matched the Shepparton track record over the long distance. He’s won eight of his last 10 starts, five of which have been in the 10 fastest times ever run at those tracks. The two times he was beaten he was pipped by one and 1.5 metres by Hurricane Harley, who was brilliant but advantaged by the draws and had to break the Bendigo middle-distance record and match Lochinvar Art’s Melton middle-distance record to hold ‘Arty’ at bay. “The biggest thing for him is it’s not one thing – it’s not speed, it’s not stamina, but it’s probably three things,” he said. “His will to win, his versatility and his raw ability. “You look at a lot of great horses and over time they are always quality at everything, whether it’s over distance or sprint. You look at the horses like Lennytheshark, Smoken Up, Westburn Grant – it didn’t matter the situation, they dealt with it. “There is not one thing that bothers him. He has it all.” And when he’s on, like in his recent Victoria Cup and Vicbred Super Series Group 1 wins, there’s nothing quite like it. “You can definitely feel it in the run. Sires night you knew, Vic Cup night you knew,” Moran said. “You just feel him ticking really good along the back (straight). It’s a great feeling. Scary sometimes when they can do the work they do, you click them up and they don’t find one gear, they find two.” He’ll be looking for that strength tonight, when Lochinvar Art rolls forward out of gate five and pursues the biggest open age win of his career thus far. “It’s obviously a very prestigious race and has been for a long time. It would be an awesome race to win.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Peter Gleeson will unleash a fast-finishing pair on the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, with his well-drawn duo part of the owner-breeder’s talented stable that’s set for a busy 12 months. Out To Play will launch from gate two and Always Fast is set for a perfect pegs run from gate eight in Saturday night’s classic, with both well positioned to be doing their best work at the finish in the $110,000 Group 1. For a breeder to qualify two for such a prestigious race is an extraordinary effort, but it’s all the more notable when it’s considered who’s still waiting in the barn. Ride High, who set the season alight last year before a minor suspensory injury again sidelined him, is working towards an April return and may emerge at a similar time to his unraced little half-brother, Breezin. Gleeson said Ride High was “big and burly” as he worked towards a first return since his October 3 shock defeat that snapped an 11-race winning streak. “(Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin) are putting in a water walker in early February and he’ll be in it four to five days a week and on track a couple of days,” Gleeson said. “Clayton will be conservative. He will bring him along slowly, but when he runs he will be 100 per cent, because he will not want him getting beaten.” He said, once fit, a trip to Menangle was front of mind to set an eye-watering mile rate to benefit a stud career, with the Len Smith Mile and Inter Dominion among likely targets. The expectations will be more modest for Breezin, who’s also by dam All The Magic, making him the fifth in line behind Rocknroll Magic ($466,183), All A Breeze ($38,185), Ride High ($289,427) and Always Fast ($115,310). Breezin, by A Rocknroll Dance, is now a four-year-old gelding, having been unraced owing to a chipped bone that had to be removed from his stifle. He’s shown promise, but Gleeson said he was about four months from trialling. For now they’ll both have to watch from the sidelines as middle-brother Always Fast attempts to do the family tree justice in his biggest hit-out to date, representing the Gleeson clan along with Out To Play on Saturday night. “They grew up together, they were paddock mates as foals all the way through until they were big enough to want to fight each other,” Gleeson said. “I don’t know if they still remember that they were good mates, but they are probably not good mates now they’re five-year-old stallions.” Out To Play is a $19 chance with, clearly benefitting with Hurricane Harley’s scratching directly on his inside which means only Sicario stands between he and a pegs run for trainer Emma Stewart and reinswoman Kate Gath. “Hopefully this week he gets out of the gate good and with a bit of luck gets a good trip,” Gleeson said. “He’s got high speed and if you can smother him up and just use his high speed at the end of a race he’s pretty hard to hold out. Fingers crossed he gets that great trip and is close to them when they straighten up. It’s a long way down the straight at Ballarat.” Always Fast’s situation looks even more crystal clear. To be driven by Jackie Barker, the gate eight draw has the lightly-raced five-year-old poised to follow Sicario early and hope for luck in the run to the line. Always Fast                 --Stuart McCormick photo “It turned out to be a great draw,” Gleeson said. “On Monday Clayton said to me, ‘do you want to put Always Fast in the Ballarat Cup'. I said ‘he’s got no hope of beating Lochinvar Art and if he doesn’t get a great draw …’. “Clayton said ‘it’s a $110,000 race, you can run in $20,000 races any time’. I said, ‘yeah, well, good point, there’s always a chance he may get a good draw and a good trip. So we’ll do that’. And here he is.”   HRV - Michael Howard

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