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Twelve months after taking out the George Croxford Tribute Final at Wangaratta, four-year-old gelding Wingara has continued his affinity with the venue – this time winning the North East Fasteners Wangaratta Pacing Cup. Trainer Peter Romero’s hotshot by Empire Stallions’ Dawn Ofa New Day (out of Million To One mare Bobydeane) led from barrier four on Sunday and was never overtaken to defeat Hall Of Famer by a head in a 1:59.3 mile rate over 2210m on the half-mile circuit. Nathan Jack drove Wingara, who is now on a three-rce winning streak with victories in the Albury Cup, Nixon’s Cup at Wagga and the Wangaratta feature. The win improved Wingara’s record to 11 wins from 16 starts for prizemoney of $96,975 Wingara raced clear of a death-seating Hall Of Famer at the 400m, while the second-favourite, Almost El Eagle, made his move three-wide from the back but was 20m off the lead. Despite the urgings of Rodney Petroff when $1.30 favourite Wingara snuck away off the back, Hall Of Famer fought on bravely in the breeze and in the stretch very nearly caused a boilover only to fall narrowly short. Almost El Eagle made ground to finish third beaten 6.7m, with Wes Lewinksy fourth ahead of Itcan Happen and Arber. Cody Winnell 

Manly rugby league hero Brett Stewart has never shirked making a tackle . . . and now the harness racing pacer he part-owns, Zee Dana is set to do the same. The gelding son of Tintin In America threw the gauntlet down to New Zealand's unbeaten superstar Our Waikiki Beach when he set a world-record time for three-year-old colts and geldings on the way to smashing his rivals in the first heat of the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight Saturday the 20th of February. A masterly drive by Victoria Nathan Jack saw Zee Dana stop the clock in a stunning 1:54.7 for his final mile, breaking Major Secret's previous world record for three-year-olds over 2400m by a full second. Jack quickly showed his intentions when he was smartly away from gate five before taking a trail on Don't Hold Back in the opening Derby qualifier. But turning for home a split came when Power Of Red began to drop off after racing outside the leader and Zee Dana shot clear before romping away to score by almost 14 metres from Code Black (Todd McCarthy) with El Major (Mat Rue) a late-closing and impressive third. Zee Dana Jack barely had time to wipe the mud from his visor on a night hit by intermittent showers before he was back in the winners' circle in the second Derby heat, leading all-the-way with Brallos Pass to score by 2.9m from Sams The Master with another Victorian visitor Soho Tribeca (Chris Alford) flashing through to nab third. The son of Major In Art already has the SA Derby to his credit before a creditable fifth to Lazarus in the Victoria Derby. With the right draw he is now certain to make his presence felt in tomorrow week's $200,000 Coca-Cola Amatil NSW Derby. Brallos Pass The third and final Derby heat was just what the fans expected with the unbeaten Our Waikiki Beach (Natalie Rasmussen) doing just enough to make it 15 successive wins and maintain his unbeaten record. Rasmussen made her move with the gelding son of Somebeachsomewhere from last with 1000m to travel and settled outside the leader Shadow Runner before putting paid to his rivals in the straight to score in a 1:57.1 mile rate. Our Waikiki Beach The make-up for next week's 12-horse NSW Derby, with the barrier draw to be done tomorrow (Sunday) morning is: Zee Dana, Code Black, El Major, Frankie Rocks, Brallos Pass, Sams The Master, Soho Tribeca, Ascot Encounter, Our Waikiki Beach, Kingofthestars, Cant Refuse and Stanley Ross Robyn. by Michael Court                

Harness racing trainer Amanda Turnbull took a gamble and it paid off when unraced youngster Eliza Dushku scored a stunning win in tonight's Group Two Mt Franklin Pink Bonnet at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Turnbull explained that Eliza Dusku hadn't been paid up for a lot of the feature races so she decided to take the gamble and rush her youngster's preparation to be ready for a tilt at the $51,500 Pink Bonnet at her first start in a race. "Eliza" did the rest racing away to score an amazing 14.5m win in a 1:55.7 mile rate, beating Shez Sugarsweet and Its All Bliss to give reinsman Nathan Jack three winners in the first four races at Menangle after he earlier scored in two heats of the NSW Derby. "We had to take the gamble and go forward to put her in the race, sometimes you have to take that risk but tonight it paid off," said a jubilant Jack, celebrating one of his best night's at the south-western Sydney harness racing track. The daughter of Bettor's Delight is certain to be a contender in anything she starts in and Turnbull admitted she would have to look around and find some more worthwhile targets for Eliza Dushku now that she had shown her talents to the world. "This is a big group of owners and this is what's it's all about," said Jack. "A lot of them travelled up from Victoria to see her race tonight, so I was happy we could give them a feature win in the oldest two-year-old fillies' race in Australia. "I'm not sure we'll be able to get the famous pink bonnet on her . . . but we'll give it a good-old fashioned try." Eliza Dushku by Michael Court                  

The Raising of Lazarus is a prominent miracle attributed to Jesus. Erasing Lazarus from the VHRSC Victoria Derby history books may take a similarly divine feat. Mark Purdon’s trotting freak lived up to expectations in the Derby heats at Ballarat last Saturday, and most discussions about the Tabcorp Park Melton final are framed around New Zealand’s short-priced favourite. Nathan Jack trains and drives Zee Dana, which ran second to Lazarus in last weekend’s heat. “It was a bit disturbing how easy Lazarus could beat him,” Jack said. “He was pretty impressive. “Once he straightened up it was just like Mark hit the turbo button and he was gone.” Jack said Lazarus held all the keys, and while disadvantaged to draw 11, “he’ll have to have a lot of bad luck or interference to get beaten”. But beaten he can be, says West Australia trainer Gary Elson, who will have Sprinter starting from barrier seven. Elson said it was important not to get lured into serving Lazarus a red carpet run to the finishing line. “He’s very good, but I don’t think he’s unbeatable,” Elson said. “We have one of those in our own team called Beaudiene Boaz. People think he’s a superstar, and Lazarus might be that, and so no one attacks them. If he has to do a bit of work things could be different.” There’s certainly no bluster from Purdon’s camp that would increase the target on Lazarus’ back. “He’s done nothing wrong all season and he’s still on the improve,” Purdon offered. A strong contingent will attempt to unseat the raider, and potentially knock a boatload of punters out of the first leg of the quaddie. Much of that form can be drawn around Jack. First off, Zee Dana, his own three-year-old that drew horribly and will start from barrier 13. Jack said he “was really happy with” Zee Dana’s Ballarat effort, having been back from a spell and had two soft runs before the heat. “I tried to hold the front and see how he went. I was happy that I could hold the rest of them off.” Jack also steered Brallos Pass and Kingofthestars into second placings in their respective Derby heats, and said all three would “be better for the run”. “I was pretty happy with (Brallos Pass at Ballarat). He sat back and kept creeping forward and was really good in defeat, but that’s to take nothing from the winner (Dont Hold Back), who was just too good on the night.” And of Kingofthestars, Jack said “he was like a junior footballer going into A grade – it was first game against the big boys”. “He was pretty good. At the top of the straight I thought I’d win, but he probably got a little tired.” It was Elson’s Sprinter that ran Kingofthestars down, completing its last 800m in 54.65s, the quickest of the three heats that included a 26.95s final 400m. Only Lazarus (26.77s) and Cant Refuse (26.85s) ran a better final quarter-mile of those contesting Derby heats. “I was really happy with how he run and really happy with the drive,” Elson said. “The horse will improve this week, because we only got in about three o’clock last Thursday morning. “I think he’s a real chance, he just has to get a barrier. Sprinter is really quick and knows where the winning post is.” Sprinter drew barrier seven, having been the last horse called, leaving Kristy Elson a little downcast as she flipped the final hat to confirm their hope’s starting position. On their immediate inside are Brallos Pass and Dont Hold Back, the latter being Mario Attard’s colt, a son of Courage Under Fire. Attard said the field contained many threats. “It is a good mark for us to come up against Lazarus, but also Sprinter – the guys from the west haven’t come here for the weather,” he said. “If you look at the field they are all good horses.” Michael Howard

Reigning Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup winning harness racing trainer Emma Stewart has a double shot at the title this Sunday. The Smythes Creek star will line up two runners in the $30,575, 2660-metre Group 3 feature – part of the Road to Glory ahead of the TAB.com.au Summer of Glory – with Jadahson and Presidentialsecret both taking winning form into the race. Both horses have won two races on the trot with leading reinsmen Chris Alford (Jadahson) and Nathan Jack (Presidentialsecret) to drive the pair. Asked if either horse could replicate Restrepo’s record-breaking Hamilton Cup procession last year, Stewart’s response was obviously predictable. “I don’t think so!” “They might be able to win it but they won’t be able to do what he did.” Jadahson is drawn barrier three on Sunday for three-time Hamilton Cup winning driver Alford (Justa Jomahl 1992, Earlsplace Ego 2003 and Lady Lisa 2004) and Stewart is hopeful he can step well and set the tempo to suit himself. “As long as he brings his manners he’s in good form,” Stewart said. On Presidentialsecret Stewart said: “He has a tricky draw (barrier eight) but he’s going well.” One of Stewart’s Victoria Derby bound three-year-olds, Kingofthestars, has the extreme draw in Race 2, the Western District Employment Agency 3YO Pace over 2160m for reinsman Jack. “He’s a lovely horse. He won well last week and he’ll be targeted towards the Derby,” the trainer confirmed. A key challenger in cup markets on Sunday will hail from the Matthew Craven stable in Desdon Murruffy, a last-start Melton M1-M2 winner in 1:56.2 (last half 55secs) over 2240m. The Craven team has been flying of late, winning 13 races between December 1 and January 14 – including seven wins between January 1 and January 14. Craven said Desdon Murruffy was a good each-way chance in the cup but was a “take on trust” proposition at the stand start. “The key to his chances are he’s got to get away,” Craven said. “He completely bombed his first go at the standing start and at home he’s hit and miss. He’s in terrific form though.” A horse that is no stranger to the Hamilton track is polemarker Arber, who has lined up in the Cup three times for a second in 2012, third in 2013 and eighth in 2014. In-form The Majority makes the trek across from Tasmania for the Cup, former local driver turned Tassie star Mark Yole also returning home for the day to pilot the Matthew Dwyer trained six-year-old, who has run 1-2 seven times out of nine from behind the tapes. Local trainer Kevin Brough, who won the Cup in 1997 with Chase A Rainbow, has Weallwantano lining up from barrier four for reinsman Chris Svanosio. Weallwantano finished down the track last time out at Melton but won there three starts back over Charlie Machsheen, who has barrier five on Sunday for trainer/driver Craig Demmler. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan will combine with five-year-old Ideal Majority in the Cup, drawn seven, while Lara's Dean Braun has two key chances in Macho Comacho (barrier nine) and the high-class stayer Im Corzin Terror off 20 metres for top driver Greg Sugars. Im Corzin Terror ran on well in both the Geelong and Horsham Cups leading into Sunday and is ready to win. Alongside Im Corzin Terror on the back mark is the lightning quick Keayang Cullen, who won the Ballarat Lightning Mile two starts back in 1:53.3. Cody Winnell Fields for Hamilton, Sunday 17 January 2016 Form guide for Hamilton, Sunday 17 January 2016

A plan devised eight months earlier came to fruition when Brallos Pass scored an all-the-way win in the harness racing $30,000 Group 3 SA BOTRA South Australian Derby (2230m) at Globe Derby Park in South Australia. A well backed $2 favourite, Brallos Pass was never really troubled in scoring a 4-1/2 metre win from Dont Hold Back ($4.10) with Motu Gatecrasher ($4) a further 1-1/2 metres away third. Such was the quality of the placegetters, and the rating of the race by driver Nathan Jack, that the first three in running filled the placings. Brallos Pass is trained at Kyabram in Victoria by Mark Watson who explained he was a little lucky to end up with the three-year-old. “Mal and Neil Lennie (who own Brallos Pass) have had horses with dad (Ian) for many years and went to the sales a few years ago and purchased three yearlings,” Mark said. “Dad said he didn’t have room for all of them so Mal asked me if I could take him and I’m glad I did. “I picked out the SA Derby as a potential target about eight months ago. “He raced really well as a two-year-old and I always felt the Derby was a perfect test for him, now I have to see if he can step up to another level in the Victoria Derby – that is going to be a big ask.” Watson said he thought Brallos Pass a ‘good thing’ first up when he took the colt to Charlton last year but found himself sitting parked outside Goodtime Sammy and had to be contest with second. “I was also delighted with his fourth in the APG final at Menangle – I think from a better draw he could have been placed.” Mal Lennie, from Mildura, is enjoying the ride. “I’ve had horses for about 40 years and pretty much could count my wins on one hand,” Lennie said. “I went to the Inglis sale in Melbourne and got this bloke for $7000 – no-one seemed to want him. “My brother Neil will be a bit upset. He lives in Brisbane and had to stay home for a 60th.” Watson said the Victoria Derby was the next logical target for Brallos Pass. Jack had no trouble crossing from gate three to head off Motu Gatecrasher (gate one) while the previously unbeaten Don’t Hold Back showed good speed from the extreme outside gate of seven but had to be content to sit outside the lead. Brallos Jack had comfortable lead quarters of 30.8 and 30.6 before sprinting up for 28.8 and 28 final quarters to confirm himself the Derby winner. Don’t Hold Back couldn’t match the winner’s acceleration and looked likely to miss a place 300 metres from home but credit to him he kept battling on and although well-beaten still managed to finish second. He was far from disgraced. by Graham Fischer

Leeton harness racing horseman Wayne Sullivan has targeted the Breeders Plate for as long as he can remember. It is a race that his grandfather won but has so far eluded Sullivan despite qualifying a number of competitors in the two-year-old feature previously. Sullivan decided to try something different this year and rather than drive his runners himself, he booked leading Victorian reinsman Nathan Jack to drive his two fillies in the series. The move paid immediate dividends with Jovial Rock winning a heat on Saturday night after a calculated drive from Jack. "I've lost count how many times I have had a drive in the Leeton Breeders Plate, but for some reason in the big one I tend to go left when I should have gone right or go right when I should have gone left," Sullivan said. "It is a race I would really like to win and with the prizemoney for the race now being $40,000, it makes it even more attractive." Sullivan was pleased with the barrier draw after Jovial Rock drew barrier one in the final. "I think she needed to draw there to have a realistic winning chance, it is a big ask to take on the better colts and geldings from a wide draw but from gate one she looks set to get a really nice run." The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven raced behind the leader in her heat before pulling to the outside in the straight and hitting the lead in the shadows of the post. "I told Nathan not to get too aggressive on her because she is still learning and he did what he was asked, he didn't get too excited when he got into the clear and let her chase down the leader without being bustled too much. "I got her by accident, she didn't make her reserve at the yearling sales and Andrew Daniels sent her to me with an option to buy and six weeks later I made the decision to take her." While in recent years there has been a standout going into the final, Sullivan believes this year is a wide open event. "It is fair to say there are probably four or five chances going into Friday night and with the right run I think my filly is one of the hopes." The Leeton Breeders Plate is race five on Friday night's program and is scheduled to begin at 8:40pm. Greg Hayes

This Tuesday's harness racing meeting was at Shepparton and close finishes were the order of the night which featured two heats of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for Two Year Old Colts & Geldings over 2190 metres. Heat eight went the way of the local training - driving combination of Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack with Tintin In America/Zwish gelding  Zee Dana. Driven by Nathan, Zee Dana led out from the pole, before taking cover on the well fancied ex-Kiwi Code Black to enjoy the run of the race. Assisted by third elect Born To Rocknroll moving from mid-field racing for the bell to keep the leader honest, Zee Dana made full use of the sprint lane to register a soft 1.3 metre victory over Code Black, with Born To Rocknroll 3.2 metres away in third spot. The mile rate was 1-58. Heat nine saw Vicbred Super Sires victor Shadow Sax continue on his winning way with a strong victory in a rate of 1-59.4, much to the delight of popular owner/breeders Russell and Pam Hockham. Trained by Emma Stewart  and driven by Gavin Lang, Shadow Sax who is getting better with every run, possied one/one from outside the front row with Peter Manning’s one time boom pacer Christmas Jolt leading from the pole with Greg Sugars aboard. Not happy with the tempo, Lang vacated the prime spot mid-race to park in the open and Shadow Sax outstayed his rivals, scoring by a neck after the pair drew away at the straight entrance. Swan Hill winner Betanotblink was 10.5 metres away after trailing the pacemaker. A gelded son of Shadow Play from the handy racemare Miss Saxony, Shadow Sax has fronted the starter on nine occasion for five wins, the last three in succession. Rockbank area trainer Rob O’Connell and stable reinsman Zac Phillips snared the Hunter Rural Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with five year old Falcons Icon/Alkaliner gelding Jialiner in a rate of 2-00.7. Burning away from gate four, Jialiner was untroubled to lead throughout in  defeating Lights And Music which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail, the margin 2.1 metres, with Brother Rabbit 8.9 metres away after following the pair. Jialiner is raced by Peter Earl and partners who have won many races with horses using the “Liner” moniker. Riverina (Wagga Wagga) trainer Russell Campbell combined with Gavin Lang to land the Shepparton BMW 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres with Sportswriter/Aflyin Home Lombo filly Lombo Newsy Scoop. Driven brilliantly, Lombo Newsy Scoop settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, weaving in-between runners in the last lap before dropping down to the inside approaching the home turn. Using the sprint lane, Lombo Newsy Scoop finished best to gain the day by 5.2 metres in two minutes even over Wantalinga Dream off a three wide trail last lap and first starter Mesmeric which led for the final circuit after crossing Major Missile at the bell. Five year old Righteous Hanover/Jasmin Korikina gelding Black Jasmin recorded his first victory since May 2013 when victorious in the 1st division of the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres. Trained at Gingarre (G/V) by former New South Welshman Greg Lewis, Black Jasmin driven by Ben Gledhill was given the run of the race one/one from gate five, with the Narrandera visitor To Infinitynbeyond leading from the pole. Taken three wide at the top of the straight, Black Jasmin in a punishing finish prevailed by a nose over Tee Da Green (one/one) out wide, with Boardwalk Emperor  (three back the markers) using the sprint lane to be a half head away in a thrilling finish. The mile rate was 1-58.5. The second heat was taken out by another border hopper in 3-Y-0 Flight Path/Maud gelding Quagmire giving Zac Phillips a driving double. Trained at Cobbity by Belinda McCarthy, Quagmire led throughout from the pole, scoring by a neck from Our Grasshopper which trailed in 1-57.2. Bubbas Princess rushed home from last at the bell to finish third 28.8 metres away. Sit sprinting specialist Awesome Mattjesty chalked up his 8th victory in 62 outings (4 this season), when successful in the Neatline Homes Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres. Driven by “Rocket” Rod Petroff for Coimadai trainer Steve Zammit, Awesome Mattjesty starting from inside the second row was given a charmed passage following the poleline leader Tennaya, before steaming home along the sprint lane to register a nose victory in advance of Bettor Atom off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit, with Royal Deviate (one/one at bell – three wide home turn) a half neck away third in another tight finish. The mile rate was 1-57.1. Speaking of tight finishes, the Equine After Care Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres was a ripper, with local trainer Stephen O’Donoghue’s No Tomorrow blousing Forbidden Forest in a finish with had all guessing the result including caller Dan Mielicki. Driven by the stable’s Bec Bartley, No Tomorrow a 5-Y-0 gelding by Life Sign from Cobbity Cobbity was sent forward after starting outside the front line to park outside the leader Forbidden Forest which had moved around Ramblenroller which flew away from gate four. With the pair being joined by Nor Nor West three wide approaching the home turn, the three went head and head to the wire with No Tomorrow getting the judge’s nod by a nose in 1-58.8, with Nor Nor West first up since February just weakening over the concluding stages to be 1.9 metres away in third place. Len Baker

Drouin harness racing co-trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan were successful in taking out the Hygain 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres at Tuesday’s Cranbourne fixture with Bettors Delight/Modern Girl filly Magical Delight. Driven by Chris Alford,  Magical Delight having her seventh appearance at the races showed plenty of speed from gate six to lead, before being restrained to take a trail on Maree Caldow’s well supported Courage Under Fire colt Madeeba which started outside her. After a cosy passage, Magical Delight used the sprint lane to gain the day by a nose in the thrilling finish after the pair drew clear of their rivals in the straight. Pablo Santanna (one/two – three wide at bell) finished third 13.2 metres in arrears of the winner. The mile rate was 1-59. Lemnos (Goulburn Valley) based Amanda Turnbull who spends many hours travelling backward and forward to her home town of Bathurst on a regular basis, combined with partner Nathan Jack to land a training double at the meeting with two Kiwi breds – boom Mach Three/Maikona colt Oh Jonny B Good the Condo’s Horse Transport Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres and Monarchy/Amanda’s Gem 4-Y-0 mare Beta Hanoverdakash the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2110 metres. Oh Jonny B Good driven by Amanda, a prohibitive $1.40 favourite, was eased from inside the second row to settle at the rear, with speedy gelding Terra Beau leading from gate three. Following Lucky VC three wide at the bell which crossed to be in the open for the last lap before striding clear on the final bend, Oh Jonny Be Good joined Lucky VC on turning, with the pair moving away to fight out the finish. Gaining the upper hand as the winning post came into view, Oh Jonny B Good scored by a comfortable 5.8 metre margin in 1-59.6, with Holdonsu 4.5 metres away in third place after following the winner home. Beta Hanoverdakash pinged straight to the front from the pole and after being rated a treat by Nathan, was never headed in accounting for Soh Filthy Rich (barrier four) which trailed by 4.9 metres. Always Treasure was 7.2 metres away in third place after following the pair. The mile rate was 2-08.3. Beautifully bred Grinfromeartoear/Counterfiet Girl gelding Fake Smile made it two from two when greeting the judge in the Blue Hills Rise 3-Y-0 Pace over 2080 metres with Greg Sugars in the sulky. Raced by Paul Sequenzia who had so much success with multiple Derby winner Sushi Sushi, Fake Smile trained at Sunbury by Ahmed Taiba  settled four back in the moving line from gate three on the second line, with Lombo Medlyn Miss flying away from outside the front line to lead. Moving forward three wide uncovered at the bell, Fake Smile crossed to lead the outside division in the back straight, but was pushed three wide again approaching the home turn after the leader hung off the track allowing Blue Chipped to obtain an inside passage momentarily. Dashing to the front on straightening, Fake Smile registered an easy 3.8 metre victory in advance of Another Broadway (one/one last lap) and Dependlebury (one/two) in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Whittlesea trainer Charlie Farrugia and reinsman nephew Darren Zahra have enjoyed a fruitful season with a handy limited team and snared the Devilish Smile @ Elderslie Farm Stud Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres with Major Minor, a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Gay And Bright in a rate of 2-00.6. Given a sweet trip from the pole trailing the heavily backed Ian Dornauf trained Royal Shootout (gate three), Major Minor angled into the clear on turning to just hold on by a half head from sprint laner Village Me (four back the markers) and Royal Shootout in a slugging finish. The Caldow’s made amends for Madeeba’s narrow defeat earlier in the night when Bettors Delight/Millwood Touche filly Millwood Brandy scored in the Decron Pace for C0 class over 2080 metres. Sent forward from gate four to cross Bay Tint (gate two) shortly after the start, John Caldow elected to allow Phantom Rockstar (gate five) which had been three wide to assume control hitting the back straight on the first occasion. Enjoying a charmed passage, Millwood Brandy used the sprint lane to register a 3.9 metre victory over Phantom Rockstar and Lombo Idle Belief third after racing in the open from last for the final circuit. The mile rate was 2-02.8. Melton trainer Beau Tindale’s Sportswriter/Full Pleasure 3-Y-0 gelding Egodan chalked up his fifth success (four this season), when victorious in the Hyland Harness Colours Pace for C1 class over 2080 metres. With regular reinsman Rod Petroff in the sulky, Egodan settled with most of the field ahead of him after starting from the extreme draw, with Amanda Turnbull’s Airbournemagic circling the field from gate four on the second line to lead. Set alight racing for the bell, Egodan led for the last lap in defeating Cullen Regent from mid-field and Airbournemagic in a mile rate of 2-01. The margins being 6.1 X 4.8 metres. Melton mentor Lance Justice presently sidelined with a nasty heel injury after being involved in a freak accident at Geelong the week before, landed the Seelite Windows & Doors Pace for C4 & C5 class over 1609 metres with ex-Kiwi 5-Y-0 Sands A Flyin/Zwish gelding Phil Monty much to the delight of the large number of stable clients who share in the ownership. Driven by the stable’s Jason Hackett, Phil Monty was revved up from gate six to lead and allowed to bowl, ran his rivals ragged to score by 7.6 metres from Blitzsuzy off a three wide trail on the back of the third placegetter United Legacy. The mile rate was 1-59.1. Len Baker

Lightly raced four year old Yankee Paco/Maybe Hall gelding Maybetothemax was a most impressive victor of the Bendigo Party Hire Trotters Mobile (1st Heat) for T1 & T2 class over 2150 metres at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Tuesday July 14. Trained at Kyabram by Graham Lyon who loves the squaregaiters, Maybetothemax coming off an excellent second to Im Stately in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Sires Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton eleven days earlier and making his 21st race appearance, possied one/one from gate five with the well supported Pipe Me Home shadowing the poleline pacemaker Law Legend. The short priced favourite Gus An Maori (gate four) missed away hopelessly. Vacating the prime spot shortly after the start to race in the open, Nathan Jack was able to dictate the terms of the race to suit and Maybetothemax raced past the leader prior to the home turn under a tight hold. Although Lightning Calder (three wide last lap from last) tried hard on turning, Maybetothemax bounded clear halfway up the running to record a 7.6 metre victory over Lightning Calder, with rank outsider Illawong Sunny 1.8 metres away in third place. The mile rate  was 2-02.5 on the rain effected track Graham Lyon enjoyed plenty of success in the eighties with a horse by the name of Northsea Rover and at one stage had champion mare Claudys Princess under his care, winning the Two Year Old Vicbred Super Series Final. Heat two will be held at Ballarat this Saturday, with the $8505 Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on July 26. Echuca trainer/driver Steven Lindberg provided a shock result to the Dunlop & Pitson Earthmoving Pace for C2 class over 2150 metres, when speedy seven year old Christian Cullen/Time’s On My Side gelding Bon Jovi saluted the judge at $18.50. Crossing the long odds-on poleline favourite Padrisimo at the start from gate five,  Bon Jovi led all of the way and although headed by Mrs Devine in the shadows of the post after racing outside him, came again to gain the day by a head in 2-01.9.  Padrisimo was quite disappointing in finishing third after having the entire length of the sprint lane, going down by 1.6 metres.  It was Bon Jovi’s first victory since November 2013. Hopetoun Park father and son – Ross and Greg Sugars snared the Santons Of Bendigo Claiming Pace over 1650 metres with P B Bullville/Pleasant Speed seven year old gelding Rumsron in a rate of 1-57.6 in driving rain, much to the delight of Bacchus Marsh part-owner Denis Grieve. Spearing away from gate five, Rumsron led throughout to account for Our Mels Dream (three wide last lap) and Our Horizon which faced the breeze from outside the front line. Long Forest duo Andy & Kate Gath appeared set on paper to have a great night, but only snared only one winner – smart Majestic Son/Starcus Me filly Naked Majesty in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2150 metres. Beginning smoothly from the extreme draw to lob three back in the moving lane, Kate wasted no time in sending the filly forward to park outside Miss Cosmos. Travelling sweetly, Naked Majesty put pay to her rivals on turning to record a 3.1 metre margin on the wire over Mont Morley (three wide home turn after trailing the leader), with Miss Cosmos holding down third. Seymour’s Billy Morgan combined with Gavin Lang to land the Yorkshire Park Standardbreds Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres with four year old Pay Me Christian/Arma Class gelding Arma Augustus. Given a sweet passage one/one from gate three, Arma Augustus after being eased three wide on the final bend, prevailed in the last bound to nose out the leader Nikita Maguire in 2-00.5, with Three Mugs In (one/two) running his usual honest race to finish third after making the home turn four wide. Kiwi bred Bettor’s Delight/Millwood Touche filly Millwood Brandy at start number eleven, snared the Bush’s Produce 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres for Melton duo Maree and John Caldow, leading all of the way from the pole to just last by a nose from Shakahari along the sprint lane from three back the markers which would have given Bill Morgan a double. Abetta Tiny Dancer was 2.5 metres away in third place after racing uncovered from the bell. The mile rate was 2-00.4.   Woorinen (Swan Hill) trainer Joe Costa has enjoyed a most fruitful season with his small but select team, taking out the Amadee Park Vineyard Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1650 metres with ultra-consistent 3-Y-0 Million Dollar Cam/What About Now gelding Riley James in a slick 1-57.2. Driven by Ararat freelance Michael Bellman who hardly ever misses a meeting throughout the state, Riley James led throughout from the pole to score by 1.7 metres in advance of Givemeaspell which trailed and a death-seating Time Capsule. On a night when leading was the place to be, Heathcote trainer Jason Tyack made a welcome return to the winners list when Courage Under Fire/Realy Dry 5-Y-0 gelding Realy Under Fire with Scott Rains in the sulky, led throughout from gate four to blitz his rivals in the Samios Plumbing Supplies Pace for C1 class over 1650 metres, scoring by 6.6 metres in 1-58.9 metres from the favourite Our Danger Mouse which raced outside him for the final circuit. Olivia Rockstar (four wide home turn from last) was 6.2 metres away in third place. Len Baker

Tatura trainer David Abrahams combined with leading harness racing reinsman Nathan Jack to take out the three-year-old colts and geldings’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final with Fabrication tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. The gelding by Dream Vacation out of Figment bolted in by 12.5 metres, well-tried in the betting ring into $4.70 third-favourite behind Valley Ess Jay and Illawong Armstrong. Punters who took the $2.30 about Illawong Armstrong were shattered shortly after the start, the talented squaregaiter jumping out of his gear and losing enormous ground. Amazingly he fought his way back into contention late in the race, charging into third placing for reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, while Valley Ess Jay finished second for Chris Svanosio. But it was all honours with the winner and Jack was full of praise for Fabrication’s trainer. “I’d like to thank David and the Abrahams family, they’ve been good supporters of mine since day dot,” Jack said immediately after the win. “Dave’s doing a great job. There are not many that do a better job than Dave.” Down the back the final time Jack cut loose on Fabrication, darting past leader Valley Ess Jay. It was a winning move, Valley Ess Jay unable to fight back and regain the lead, Fabrication instead drawing well clear in the lane. “Everything went to plan,” Jack said. “Obviously it was going to be a very tactical race. “I was real happy in the run … even happier when Gavin (Lang) went and Ants (Anthony Butt) decided to post him. That played into our hands. Then that one galloped at the bell, which was good as it left a spot for Gavin to get in, where we didn’t have to go four-wide. Everything worked out perfect.” Fabrication rated 2:00.4 in winning. Watch Fabrication take out tonight's Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

The Gr. 3 Ready2Run Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on August 15 is already shaping as an exciting contest.  The $30,000 harness racing event over 2300 metres is restricted to horses sold at last’s year Ready2Run Sale at Menangle and with talented pacers such as Zee Dana, Boundtobemad, Redbank Lenny, Kleened Out, Alesha Maguire and Milias Ideal eligible, the race should be a strong one. Zee Dana is unbeaten after two starts and scored an effortless victory at Shepparton on Thursday night with regular driver Nathan Jack impressed by the son of Tintin In America. “I like him, he is doing a good job now but I think he is going to be an even better three-year old,” Jack said. “At Shepparton he got a comfortable time of it in front but ran home very well and I still haven’t had to pull the plugs on him yet.” Jack confirmed connections will be forced to make a decision on the gelding’s short term future soon. “He is eligible for the Breeders Crown and the Ready2Run Stakes at Menangle, he won’t be able to go in both so Amanda (Turnbull trainer) will have to make a decision either way but we’re leaning towards going to Sydney at this stage. “His next start will be the Tatlow Stakes, he is a big horse, a real good type but I think he will be even better once he has had a spell.” Zee Dana is part owned by Manly fullback Brett Stewart and he is enjoying his first foray into harness racing.  If Zee Dana does compete in the Ready2Run Stakes at Menangle, Stewart was hoping to be trackside to watch the two year old compete but will need clearance from coach Geoff Toovey with Manly set to play the Raiders in Canberra the following day. Another quality youngster being aimed towards the Gr. 3 event is the Steve Harris trained Boundtobemad.  Harris got the opportunity to train the filly after original trainer Dean Cernovskis made his annual journey north to campaign a team of horses in Queensland during the winter carnival. “She was a nice filly and understandably her owners wanted her to be aimed towards the Breeders Challenge and the Ready2Run race at Menangle, her part owner Troy Saddler lives in Wagga so I suggested he send her to Steve Harris,” Cernovskis said. “Dave Reichstein took her down to Wagga for me for her first start and we weren’t expecting her to do too much but she ran a really good race, she was very green and was still learning so Steve has done a great job with her.” Harris took over the filly’s preparation after her debut effort and the daughter of Sportswriter has blossomed culminating in a Pepper Tree Farm NSW Breeders Challenge placing. “Since I’ve had Boundtobemad she has just continued to improve, I was very proud of her at Menangle in the Breeders Challenge,” Harris said. While the Ready2Run Stakes will be a target for Harris he is looking forward to seeing the filly win her first race. “I’d be happy to win an ordinary two year old race with her, we’ll definitely have a look at the Ready2Run Stakes though and the longer distance will be right up her alley. “She is a very tall filly but racy with it, I think she is going to improve with a bit of time and especially once she fills out into her frame.” Harris prepared youngsters for last year’s Ready2Run Sale and will be looking to have more horses in the sale later this year. “I only have a small team of racehorses at the moment but there are a lot of young ones here and I will be having a few for the Ready2Run Sale for sure.”    The Ready2Run Sale this year will be conducted on Sunday 6th December at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Greg Hayes

With two months of the harness racing season remaining, the national driver’s premiership title is up for grabs with several contenders still in the mix. Leading the way is Victorian based reinsman Greg Sugars with 200 wins on the board and he holds a two win lead over Queensland based Shane Graham. Fellow Victorians Gavin Lang (189) and Nathan Jack (183) sit next and well within striking distance. Sugars landed his 200th winner on Saturday at Shepparton aboard the Leigh Miles prepared Be Good Juddy. Last season, Sugars finished third behind Chris Alford (298) and Amanda Turnbull (219) with 218 winners. Graham finished 12th with 164 winners. Double century seasons are nothing new for Sugars who has now surpassed the mark in five of the last six seasons. His highest tally of wins in a single season came in the 2012/13 term with 258 victories. Graham is yet to register a double century season. He has posted ten century seasons previously. Interestingly, star Kiwi reinsman Dexter Dunn registered his 200th winner on Friday night at Forbury Park when successful behind Give Me Strength. It is the fourth time he has reached that figure in a season with his best tally, 220 in the 2010-11 season. He has also 199 wins in two seasons. He won 206 in NZ last season. The final two months of the season in Australia offers plenty of feature racing, this weekend, the rich Vicbred Super Series Finals at TABCORP Park, Melton take place while the opening night of the winter carnival gets underway in Brisbane at Albion Park. Both Sugars and Graham will figure prominently. This is a race that looks set to go right down to the wire, so strap yourself in and follow the action closely in the months of July and August. Chris Barsby

“They’ll know he’s in the race,” said Chiltern harness racing trainer Peter Romero of his stable star Wingara, who heads into next Saturday night’s three-year-old colts and geldings Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final in winning form. Wingara was a brilliant semi-final winner tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton, rating 1:57.3 with Nathan Jack in the cart over 2240m. The son of American sire Dawn Ofa New Day out of Bobydeane finished 6.5 metres ahead of The Culture (Matthew Craven) after working to the front early from gate six before reeling off splits of 31.9secs, 29.3secs, 27.7secs and 27.9secs. Polemarker Justbritell, who has had a cracking season, ran third, while Mister Wickham worked hard in the run but held on well for fourth. "He's done a good job. He's a professional and he's got gate speed, as Nathan said," Romero said. "The barrier draw will be important." New Zealand star Follow The Stars was impressive winning the other three-year-old boys’ semi for superstar trainer Mark Purdon, defeating New South Wales Derby winner Menin Gate and Victoria Derby hero Menin Gate in one of the strongest Futurity semis you’ll ever see. Follow The Stars’ mile rate was 1:56.2, out-sprinting his rivals in the straight. Click here for a full list of Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final results Cody Winnell  

The harness racing breeding industry in Australasia has always been a hard place for young colonial stallions to establish themselves and with the advent of shuttle stallions and frozen semen it has become even harder in the last 15 years. One who is just starting out is Tintin In America 1:53.2 $934,305 who has two year olds on the track this season in both Australia and New Zealand. As you would expect in todays competitive market the son of McArdle has struggled to attract mares to his court and his crops to date have been small to put it mildly. In Australia Tintin In America has just 15 two year olds and has had three starters this season for two winners to date. The best of those is the smart filly Just Wantano who took out the $15,000 Kindergarten Stakes Final at Globe Derby in a 2:00.7 mile rate for the 1800 metres. Of note is that the other winner in Australia by Tintin In America in Aussie Vista is also a filly. In New Zealand where he stood at Nevele R Stud, Tintin In America has had 32 two year olds to represent him this season. He has had five qualifiers to date and one starter in New Zealand in American Flybye who won her only start to date. One of the qualifiers is Dame Puissant who qualified at Ashburton in December last year in 2:00.5 and is now in Perth, Western Australia. A nice second first up where the winner went 1:56.8, Dame Puissant won her only other start and looks very promising. Another one of the Kiwi bred two year olds to make his way to Australia is Zee Dana. Sold by Greg Payne at the Ready To Run sale last December at Menangle for a hefty $71,000, Zee Dana made his long awaited Australian debut at Bendigo yesterday from the Amanda Turnbull barn with Nathan Jack in the bike. Sent straight to the front by Nathan, Zee Dana just brained them by 27 metres in a 1:57.3 mile rate for the 1650 metres with closing sectionals of 56.8 and 28 and appeared to do it with plenty in reserve. So considering the number of mares he served and the quality of most of those mares, Tintin In America has made a good fist of his debut season with horses on the track. The way both his fillies and colts are going it wouldn't be a surprise if he served his biggest books in both Australia and New Zealand in the upcoming breeding season. Harnesslink Media

Four-year-old harness racing mares will do battle in the second heat of their Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series at Bendigo tomorrow night.   Queen of the Pacific runner-up Berisari will be favourite in the six-horse field after snaring gate one for Nathan Jack and Emma Stewart.   Tasmanian Barynya is tipped to run a mighty race from gate three for John Caldow and Dick Eaves after her last-start win at Tabcorp Park Melton.   Other mares in this heat are Sweet Kisses for trainer John Nicholson and reinsman Zac Phillips in barrier two, the consistent Quick Draft from the David Aiken camp for Josh Aiken in barrier four, Charlie Wootton-trained Madison Louise in barrier five for Emmett Brosnan and Blitzsuzy for Hopetoun Park’s Ross and Greg Sugars out of gate six.   Cody Winnell

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