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The David Aiken stable had a hugely successful night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday with four harness racing winners. While David trained four winners, son Josh drove three of them and finished the night with a perfect three-from-three record thanks to wins aboard Cold Major (Art Major/Vangold) in the Bold David Free-for-All, in-form Bryce Cooper (Four Starzzz Shark/Lombo Heart Beat) in the Homestead Stud Pace, and absolute trooper Composed (Our Sir Vancelot/Troys Dream) in the SEW-Eurodrive Claiming Pace. The stable’s other winner came in the Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies Consolation Final with Rockstar Angel (Rocknroll Hanover/Arty Alice) scoring an impressive triumph with David in the sulky. Rockstar Angel, heavily backed with fixed odds markets, officially started a $3.50 second favourite but defeated $3 shot Love And Desire by 7m in a mile rate of 1:58.0 for the 1720m trip. Cold Major and Bryce Cooper it could be said won their races at the start, Josh taking both runners to the front in their respective events from barrier four. Cold Major defeated The Good Times by 5.1m in a mile rate of 1:57.8 over 2240m, while Bryce Cooper – who last week found the top from the back row – held out Classy Guy at the end this time to win by 1.1m in a 1:55.6 mile rate over 1720m. Composed took a while to get the better of leader Ardle Mcardle at the end of the 2240m claimer, but eventually the eight-year-old was able to draw clear, rating 1:57.1 over 2240m to notch his 30th career victory. Our White Knight got home late to run second from a tired but brave Ardle Mcardle. Meanwhile, trainer Emma Stewart also picked up a winning double at Melton courtesy of Berisari (Safari/Beris Holmes) scoring an impressive win in the Harness Breeders Vic Chalice over a brave Just Cala, who worked hard in second place, and Fremarks Ceejay (Village Jasper/Fremarksjodie), who got around stablemate Bit Of A Babe early before controlling proceedings in the GBL Property Constulants Pace over 1720m. The feature trot for the night went to Kyvalley Blur (Chocolatier/Duo Val Car) for Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt, while other winners were Jilliby Jitterbug (Rock N Roll Heaven/Keppel Bay) in the Australian Pacing Gold Fillies Final for Marg Lee and Jason Lee, Tallulah Bay (Metropolitan/Bye The Deep South) for Sebastian Steenhuis and Zac Steenhuis in the Del-Re National Food Group Pace Final and flying mare Illawong Helios (Majestic Son/Shining Sun) in the Mittys Trot for trainer Ross Sugars and driver Greg Sugars. Re-live Aiken's Saturday night successes Rockstar Angel Cold Major Bryce Cooper Composed - HRV Media

While the national harness racing spotlight remains focused on Tasmania's dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide another Tasmanian-owned and trained pacer named Star Chamber has been creating records and notching outstanding wins on the local front. Star Chamber has captured all three major cups run so far this season in Tasmania and should he emerge triumphant at his next assignment in the $40,000 Easter Cup he will create a modern day record that might never be repeated. The Nathan Ford - trained gelding won the $40,000 Tasmania Cup in December and followed up with an impressive win in the $20,000 Hobart pacing Cup and on Sunday night he snared the $25,000 Devonport pacing Cup over 3020 metres on the tight Devonport Showground circuit. Star Chamber had to start off a 30-metre handicap to win the Devonport Cup but he did it with authority to prove why he is rated the best pacer in Tasmania. On Sunday night Ford allowed the Our Sir Vancelot six-year-old to settle at the rear of the field before easing him out three-wide to get into the race about 1400 metres from home and he did so on the back of Truly Blissful. But when Ford realised that horse was going nowhere just under a lap from home he eased out four-wide to make his charge down the back stretch the last time. Star Chamber collared the leaders turning for home and went on to win easily. "This horse is a freak. To do what he has done this season is truly amazing," Ford said. "I know he is not in the same class as Beautide but Star Chamber must now be ranked at least the best horse racing in Tasmania," he said. Star Chamber was purchased by Ford about 16 months ago for $4000 from Neil Day in New South Wales and the horse came to Tasmania having won only one race and was rated a C1 class horse. On Sunday night Star Chamber notched his 12th career win and his 11th for Ford to take his career stake earnings to $110,000 with a class rating of C12-M3. "The horse has done an incredible job to win what he has in such a short space of time," Ford said. "We'll go to the Easter Cup and hopefully this time the horse will be handicapped according to his class rating so we should again be off 30 metres," he said. Star Chamber is owned by the trainer in partnership with his life partner Bianca Heenan and two of Ford's friends Jake Gillie and Josh Nelson. "It's great when you can race a horse with friends and get one that does unbelievable things and that's what we've got with Star Chamber." "He's only six and has no injury issues so realistically he should be able to keep doing this for another year or more," he said. Star Chamber's greatest assets are his ability to settle in his races and he possesses a scintillating turn of foot, something he has utilised to win all three of his major cups. Peter Staples  

Star Chamber made it a clean sweep of Tasmania’s feature Cups run so far this season when he gave his rivals a pacing lesson in the Devonport Cup last night. With his trainer Nathan Ford in the sulky, Star Chamber began well off his 30-metre back mark to settle last, but when Ford angled him there-wide with a lap-and-a-half to travel, he flushed out Truly Blissful to gain a trail. Taken four-deep heading down the back stretch, the son of Our Sir Vancelot quickly hauled in the leaders. Star Chamber proceeded to demolish the opposition in the short run home to score by 10 metres from The Majority, with Whodeani a game third four metres away. “I really thought he would struggle a bit off that back mark of 30 metres on this tight circuit, but he came through again,” Ford said. “He showed what a freak of a horse he really is.” Star Chamber notched his first major win when he outclassed a top field in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup lasy December and he followed up with a brilliant win in the Hobart Pacing Cup. Ford took him to Victoria to tackle the Shepparton Cup, but nothing panned out as planned in that race, so he was taken straight back to Tasmania to prepare for this latest assignment. Ford is likely aim him Star Chamber at next month’s Easter Cup in Launceston, and if victorious, it would give the gelding victory in all four major Cups in the state. But he already has proven to be Tasmania’s best pacer and an Easter Cup win would top off what has been an outstanding season for the six-year-old. PETER STAPLES

Star Chamber only needs to capture the Hobart Pacing Cup in a fortnight to claim the title of Tasmania’s best harness racing performer following his heat win at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday night. Star Chamber won the $40,000 Group Three Tasmania Cup in Hobart last month to signal his arrival as a class act, but some doubters questioned standard of his opposition. But on Sunday night the Nathan Ford-trained and driven gelding stepped cleanly from his 20-metre handicap to settle midfield while, Whodeani, having his first start for just over a year, stepped straight to the front as driver Gareth Rattray ensured a solid tempo. Our Chain Of Command circumnavigated the field midrace to face the breeze, while Ford was content to sit and wait until the field entered the back straight the last time to make his move. Our Chain Of Command kicked clear at the top of the home straight, but when Ford called on Star Chamber for the supreme effort the son of Our Sir Vancelot put the result beyond doubt within the blink of an eye. “I couldn’t be happier with the horse and I am looking forward to the Hobart Cup in a fortnight,” Ford said. PETER STAPLES

Exciting pacer Star Chamber gave young Tasmanian trainer-driver Nathan Ford his greatest moment in harness racing with an empathic win in the $40,000 Tasmania Cup at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart yesterday. So impressed with the win, Ford suggested he will head to the Group One A G Hunter Cup in Melbourne in February. Star Chamber landed in Ford’s stables about this time last year and he declared six months later the gelding would win feature and Group races while in his care. Today his prediction was realised and stamped the flashy chestnut as one of the brightest prospects in the state. It was an emotional Ford who was brought to tears when asked to describe his biggest win. And when his father Scott Ford, who has won just about every feature race in Tasmania except the Cup, arrived to congratulate his son, he was unable to hold back the tears. Star Chamber began well from the pole, but was crossed by the in-form Blue Pointer, which led with ease from barrier two. The $1.20 favourite Im Corzin Terror was held back at the start to settle near the rear and when Chris Alford made his move just over a lap from home, he was forced to sit three-wide until they were well into the home turn the last time. Blue Pointer had a kick at the top of the straight, with Im Corzin Terror under extreme pressure to overhaul the leader, but when Ford eased Star Chamber off the pegs to challenge, the son of Our Sir Vancelot stormed home to win easily from Im Corzin Terror and Blue Pointer. Star Chamber rated 1:57.8 for the 2579-metre trip, with the last half covered in 58.63 seconds. PETER STAPLES

Triple Inter Dominion winner Our Sir Vancelot is favoured to secure the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Greatest Ever Pacing Cup. Collating a field of super stars as a novelty, the club will release a ‘phantom call’ during its last meeting at the circuit on Sunday, September 21. After drawing the pole for trainer-driver Brian Hancock, Our Sir Vancelot has been installed a $2.75 favourite for the 2520-metre event. Our Sir Vancelot only made one appearance at Bathurst, which also doubled as the last of his 97-start career. The son of Vance Hanover captured the 1999 edition of the Cup in 1:59, a time he will have to better in his attempt to register a ‘second’ Cup triumph. Former champion New Zealander, Master Musician, is the second favourite at $4 after drawing gate three for Robert Dunn. Renowned for his staying qualities, ‘The Master’ is expected to test Our Sir Vancelot early from the ‘death seat’, which will make it interesting as another stayer – Hondo Grattan – is sent around the field from gate six. Affectionately-known as The Bathurst Bulldog, Hondo Grattan could even make a line of three as Tony Turnbull puts the stallion’s seemingly endless supply of stamina to use. That could see the feature ‘set up’ for a quality sprinter, bringing Smooth Satin and Cocky Raider right into the action during the latter stages. Harnesslink’s top selections: SMOOTH SATIN 1, Our Sir Vancelot 2, Cocky Raider 3, Master Musician 4. Cup Field In Barrier Order: Our Sir Vancelot ($2.75), First Kiss ($17), Master Musician ($4), Cocky Raider ($13), Hondo Grattan ($6), Grogan ($13), King Frost ($34)….Back row: Rowleyalla ($6), Smooth Satin ($8), Karloo Mick ($51). PAUL COURTS

As part of the countdown to the track’s farewell meeting, the Bathurst Harness Racing Club has released a ‘field’ as a novelty for its greatest Pacing Cup. The club will conduct its last meeting at the circuit on Sunday, September 21, with a phantom call to decide which of the all-time stars is the greatest. After collating a short list from various industry experts, the Cup’s final line-up has been decided, with the assembly reading like a ‘who’s who’ of champions. Each judge’s top selection – based on all horses which have won at Bathurst - received five points, counting down to one for the last nomination. The final field is: Cocky Raider (driver Gordon McWilliam)….Renowned for his devastating finishing burst, ‘Cocky’ won 38.5 of his 78 starts, with 19 placings also to his credit. He also raced three times in America for a third. First Kiss (driver Joe Turnbull)…Sadly, stats are incomplete for the star of the late 1950s and early ‘60s, but he was classy enough to qualify for two Inter Dominion Finals. A high speed competitor, First Kiss was a favourite among patrons of the time. Grogan (driver Barry Stocks)…Although restricted to 21 starts, the promising son of Bruce Hall bowed out of racing with an impeccable record of 18 wins, including the 1962 Cup in track record time. Hondo Grattan (driver Tony Turnbull)….The Bathurst Bulldog needs no introduction and is heavily favourite to capture the Cup on September 21. A dual Inter Dominion winner, Hondo Grattan was New South Wales Harness Horse of the Year in 1973 and 1974. Karloo Mick (driver Barry Lew)…A crowd favourite, particularly in New South Wales, ‘Mick’ is the only pacer in Australasia to earn more than $1million without capturing a Group One! The son of Panorama was the ‘bridesmaid’ in seven top-shelf events. King Frost (regular drivers Ian Mutton and Jim Turnbull)…Completing his biggest win in the Winfield Gold Cup at Moonee Valley, ‘The King’ also famously spoiled Hondo Grattan’s farewell start when beating the ageing pacer at Bathurst in 1976. Master Musician (driver Robert Dunn)…The outstanding New Zealander was renowned for his ‘never say die’ attitude, which carried him to 34 wins and 37 placings from 110 starts for earnings of $1,926,810. During his freshman season, in which he won the Bathurst Gold Crown, the ‘Master’ became the first two-year-old to earn connections more than $1million. On top of his $571,164 in stakes, the gelding collected a $500,000 bonus for winning several eligible features. Our Sir Vancelot (driver Brian Hancock)…Affectionately-known as ‘Sandy’, the champion became the industry’s first triple Inter Dominion winner during the late 1990s. A popular visitor at Bathurst, the stallion retired with a record of 48 wins and 26 placings from 97 starts for record earnings of $2,197,990. Rowleyalla (driver Keven Rivett)…Arguably the quickest juvenile produced in the Southern Hemisphere, ‘Rowely’ shocked onlookers when he time trialled in 1:55 at Harold Park as a freshman before setting a record 1:52.6 at Albion Park at three. The son of National Byrd was triumphant in the New South Wales and Queensland Derbys and finished second behind Another Bart in the Australian Derby. Smooth Satin (driver Steve Turnbull)…Another local hero which needs no introduction, ‘Sox’ has achieved it all. Boasting 46 wins and a bankroll of $1,428,490, the son of Stature registered his biggest wins in the Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and Chariots Of Fire – all at Harold Park. The barrier draw for “The Greatest Ever Bathurst Showground Paceway Cup” will be conducted during tomorrow night’s Bathurst meeting. PAUL COURTS

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. The feature event this weekend at Albion Park is the Gr.1 $100,000 TattsBet Blacks A Fake, a race named in honour of the greatest Queensland pacer of all time. And arguably, the best this country has ever produced. Born and raised on the lush soils on the Darling Downs at Egmont Park Stud at Toowoomba in Queensland, the rise to prominence for the horse affectionately known as ‘Blackie’ was meteoric and just like his tenacity to win, simply spectacular. Blacks A Fake was raced by Cheryl Rasmussen, the mother of the young trainer/driver plus Helen Pointer, the wife of Ron Pointer who shared in the ownership of Egmont Park Stud and Trevor Titcomb, a fish ‘n’ chip shop owner at Boonah, west of Brisbane. Partnered throughout his entire life with a talented young horseperson in Natalie Rasmussen, the pair combined to attract fans world wild as they dominated some of the biggest pacing events in the southern hemisphere and at times, on more than one occasion, and in a sport which is largely male dominated. But that never stopped the runaway success train of Blackie and Natalie Rasmussen as they plundered features throughout Australia year after year and in doing so, continued to re-write the record books. When the dynamic duo combined to win the first of their four record breaking Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Finals in Tasmania back in 2006, they became the first Queenslander and first female to win the prestigious event. The record books clearly show that Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen are Inter Dominion legends, they combined to win four titles starting with their initial success in Hobart back in 2006 followed by their victory in Adelaide in 2007 while completing the hat-trick in 2008 in front of a massive Moonee Valley crowd in Melbourne. In 2009, on his home soil on the Gold Coast, Blacks A Fake was run down late by former North American pacer Mr Feelgood to deny him an historic moment after he was savaged in front by a tear away Auckland Reactor. Sharing the record with Our Sir Vancelot as triple Inter Dominion winners lasted only another twelve months because in 2010 at TABCORP Park, Menangle, Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen created their piece of history as four time Inter Dominion champions after fighting off fierce rivals Monkey King and Smoken Up in an epic battle. The record of four Inter Dominion titles has never been broken but Im Themightyquinn is still a legitimate chance of equaling it if he remains sounds over the next twelve months but, as it stands, Blackie is the complete Inter Dominion king. A crown thoroughly and richly deserved. Fittingly, both Blacks A Fake and Natalie Rasmussen have been recognized in the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame. The record of Blackie in his home state of Queensland is also worthy of special mention. In Queensland, or more importantly Albion Park, Blacks A Fake and Natalie constantly thrilled the local fans winning many a race on the famed Breakfast Creek site. Blacks A Fake started 56 times at Albion Park (technically 52 but four races were staged at the Gold Coast in lieu of Albion Park including the Inter Dominion and 2009 QPC among other events) and won on 42 occasions while also managing 12 minor placings. He amassed more than $1 million in prizemoney at Albion Park. In other key stats with Blacks A Fake and Albion Park, his arch rival and dual Miracle Mile champion Be Good Johnny finished second to Blackie 6 times. His shortest winning margin was a half head victory over Slipnslide in the 3yo QBRED Triad Final. The biggest winning margin was 19.8m over Loud N Clear in a C9+ event in 2009. He never started in a ‘SS’ event at Albion Park, only 6 in his career. His most starts in a season at Albion Park came in his last with 14 runs while he never started during the 2004/05 season. Blacks A Fake won the Winter Cup three times, the race that now carries his name. Ironically, the favourite the for the 2014 Blacks A Fake is Im Themightyquinn, the wonder from the west who is rapidly closing in on his Inter Dominion record while looking certain to eclipse the Australian prizemoney record held by Blackie at $4, 575, 438. Im Themightyquinn requires another $67, 982 to pass the record. Fittingly, these two champion pacers, the two greatest of the modern era will come face to face on Saturday night as Blacks A Fake will lead out his race. Blacks A Fake – a living legend! By Chris Barsby (Harness Racing Australia)

Now for the Lombardo final for Jungle Genie Classy New Zealand-bred pacer Jungle Genie leapt the first hurdle in her quest to win two feature events in the space of eight days when she produced a powerful burst to score a narrow victory in the $30,000 Clipsal And Schneider Electric Pace for four-year-old mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her strong performance boosted the confidence of Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond that she will complete the double by proving too good for her rivals in the $25,000 final of the Lombardo Pace next Friday night. Jungle Genie, second favourite at 9/2, overcame the distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line when she relished the solid pace set by 9/1 chance Loving You. Colin Brown was content to keep Jungle Genie ninth position before starting a three-wide move in the final circuit. Miss Atomic, the 10/9 favourite, surprisingly was easily beaten out at the start when she was lethargic and lacked sparkle. Stablemate Loving You burst straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and then was able to withstand an early challenge from Am Opulent. Miss Atomic slotted in behind the pacemaker and gained a fortuitous inside passage when Loving You, despite the efforts of reinsman Morgan Woodley, drifted off the pegs passing the 450m mark. Miss Atomic then took lead 150m later and Chris Lewis drove her vigorously in the home straight. But she was unable to hold out the fast-finishing Jungle Genie, who got to the front 120m from the post and won by a head from Miss Atomic, with 20/1 chance Bettor Dreams running on from tenth at the bell to be third, a head in front of Cielito. The final 800m was covered in 58.5sec. and Jungle Genie rated 1.57.2 over the 2130m. She has been wonderfully consistent for owners Greg Bond, Kevin, Rob and John Gartrell, Andrew Foster and Craig Hampson since arriving in Australia 13 months ago after managing just one third placing from five starts in New Zealand as a three-year-old. Her 34 WA starts have produced 14 wins and 13 placings and her win on Friday night boosted her earnings to $101,412. She is by Bettors Delight and is the second foal out of the Live Or Die mare Jungle Jane, who raced 43 times for six wins, ten placings and $58,371 in prizemoney. Im Themightyquinn on target for Queensland It's all systems go for Im Themightyquinn, who will enter the next phase of his remarkable career when he contests feature events at the annual Queensland winter carnival in Brisbane next month. The champion pacer rounded off his preparation with a thrilling last-gasp victory over stablemate My Hard Copy in the 2130m Clipsal Powerhouse Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he will travel by air to Brisbane on Thursday, with his driver Gary Hall jun. full of confidence. "I know that a lot of people will think that he hasn't come back anywhere near his best (after a nose victory over Crombie in the Pinjarra Cup followed by a two-length second to David Hercules at Gloucester Park)," Hall said. "But I'm glad that they are sort of writing us off again before we go to Queensland. "I've got no worries. He'll be excited because it will be a new place and once he gets into a genuinely-run race and is driven the way he likes to be driven, he'll prove his worth. "There aren't many horses capable of doing what he did tonight. I think that people expect him to just beat those horses easily because they consider those horses are not in the same class as he is. But those horses are hard to beat round here (the 805m circuit at Gloucester Park) when they run a slow lead time (69.9sec.) and then walk around the next half (60.9sec.) and then run a 55sec. last half. "That makes it almost impossible to come from the back in the field. Around the bend out of the front straight in the last lap I had a good hold of him and he was going pretty much as fast as he can go. That was a quarter in 27.6sec. off the front and he would have gone 27sec. "I think that in his old age he has got a bit dour. Tonight I just wanted to creep up on the others, nice and relaxed, but he's gone back to pulling a bit. It's always hard to do that (remaining relaxed) when he is out of his comfort zone and they're running 55sec. halves. "However, I always felt that he was going to win. I was still holding him a bit down the back straight. When we got to the breeze he thought that his job was done. But he knuckled down in the straight when I gave him two cuts with the whip. He dug in as deep as he ever has. "He's having a bit of trouble in recent races because they are so slow early and are not really genuine fast-class races. Generally there is no pressure put on the leader and he's finding it a bit tough with that. And the way the track is, horses from behind are having trouble getting past the leader when they're running quick times in the last lap. "I don't think that he's a hundred per cent fit yet. He's come in tonight a bit big, but that's not too much of a worry. He's got a lot ahead of him. He leaves by plane on Thursday and will be on the tarmac for an hour in Melbourne before continuing to Brisbane. "Once he gets over there he can really tighten up. I have no doubts that he has come back as good as ever." Champion trainer Gary Hall sen. will remain with Im Themightyquinn and prepare him at Shannon Price's property. Hall jun. will fly in and fly out to drive the nine-year-old in the $60,000 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park on Saturday week (July 5) and the $100,000 Blacks A Fake Free-For-All a fortnight later. Providing that he performs strongly in those events, Im Themightyquinn will wind up his Queensland campaign in the $40,000 standing-start Redcliffe Cup on August 8. Im Themightyquinn was favourite at 10/1 on in Friday night's race in which he started from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. He was restrained back to last, while stablemate My Hard Copy, second fancy at 6/1 from the No. 2 barrier, bounced straight to the front for Clint Hall, with Shardons Rocket moving to the breeze after 450m. Hall jun. started a three-wide run with Im Themightyquinn with 900m to travel and the champion sustained his spirited finishing burst to get up and score in the final stride, rating 1.58.5 over the 2536m journey. Im Themightyquinn boosted his earnings to $4,468,736 from 56 wins and 33 placings from 108 starts. Pacific Black proving a wonderful bargain Baskerville trainer Sonia Zucchiatti and Adam Kirke made an inspired decision six years ago when they outlaid $20,000 to purchase Victorian-bred three-year-old Pacific Black. Now a nine-year-old, Pacific Black, ended a losing sequence of 27 when he sprinted home fast to score a surprise win at 18/1 in the 2503m Schneider Electric Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This boosted Pacific Black's earnings for Zucchiatti and Kirke to $167,609 from 16 wins and 38 placings from 122 starts to take his career record to 143 starts for 21 wins, 46 placings and $190,684. As a three-year-old, Pacific Black won four races in a row in the month of August 2008, one at Shepparton and three at Wagga, before being advertised for sale. "I saw him advertised on the internet, on the Trading Ring, for $20,000," Zucchiatti said. "He had won four in a row and I thought that was a good enough reason to buy him. He had one start for us and won at Harold Park and now has won five city-class races at Gloucester Park. " Pacific Black certainly has made the most of the drop-down regulation which enables a pacer assessed M2 or better to drop down a classification every time he has a losing sequence of ten. Pacific Black has gradually dropped down in class and went into Friday night's race as an M1-class performer. He is now back to an M2 mark. Zucchiatti credits Pacific Black's longevity to racing almost exclusively in stands. His five city wins have been in stands and he has contested a mobile race only twice in his past 50 starts. "He pulls in mobiles and I've had to restrict him to stands in the past few years," she said. "He is getting old and basically he needs to race back on the fence. He travels better on the fence and if he gets the right run he'll finish thereabouts." Pacific Black started off the 10m mark on Friday night and Kim Prentice quickly manoeuvred the old gelding to the pegs, with 11/1 chance Telham Lane setting the pace. Pacific Black gained a split half-way down the home straight and he sprinted fast to gain the upper hand in the final couple of strides. Heez Orl Black bred to be a star It is little wonder that Heez Orl Black is developing into a smart performer. He is closely related to former champion pacer and highly-successful sire Christian Cullen. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old is by In The Pocket out of the unraced Holmes Hanover mare Cracker Kate, who is a half-sister to Christian Cullen, who earned $1,249,150 from 22 wins and four placings from 31 starts before developing into an outstanding sire. Cracker Kate is also a full-sister to Kates First, who had 65 starts for 19 wins, 19 placings and $624,023 in prizemoney. Kates First's successes included the New Zealand Oaks at Addington and the Queensland Oaks at Albion Park in 1997 when she defeated Concorde Lombo. She finished second to Holmes D G in the $250,000 Victoria Cup at Moonee Valley in January 1999 when she finished in front of Our Sir Vancelot, Tailamade Lombo and Iraklis. Heez Orl Black, owned by Max Grynberg, Bill Paterson, Tony and Ruth Thompson, Dave Kahl, Karen Hall, Frank Borrello and Trudi Spiniello, revealed tremendous pace to score an effortless victory in the Clipsal Saturn Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This gave leading trainer Gary Hall sen. the first leg of a double and reinsman Kim Prentice the second leg of a double after an earlier success with Pacific Black. Heez Orl Black, favourite at 10/9 on from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line, had no difficulty in jumping straight to the lead. After a slow lead time of 8.6sec., the tempo increased when outsider Empire Flame began to overrace badly in the breeze and the first 400m section of the final mile whizzed by in 27.5sec., followed by a quarter of 28.8sec. Gary Hall jun. eased 4/1 third fancy Vapour from the one-out, one-back position to start a three-wide move 650m from home. The third quarter was covered in 29.2sec. and Heez Orl Black appeared vulnerable after such a hectic pace. However, Heez Orl Black revealed sparkling speed and great resilience to dash over the final quarter in 28sec. and win by five metres from Vapour, with Slick Chapel (7/2) running on from sixth at the bello to be third to give Hall sen. a trifecta result in the 1730m event. Heez Orl Black rated a sparkling 1.53.6 to improve his record to 59 starts for 14 wins, 16 placings and $190,065. He has had 27 starts in Western Australia for eight wins and eight placings. Macintosh surges from last to first New Zealand-bred four-year-old Macintosh looks well and truly on the path to many more wins when he impressed with a splendid last-to-first victory in the 2536m Clipsal Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Produced in fine fettle by veteran trainer Dick Moore, Macintosh, favourite at 6/4, was driven with supreme confidence by Colin Brown. Macintosh started from the outside of the back line and Brown was quite content to let the Mach Three gelding lob along in last position in the field of eleven. Four Grinners (15/1) set the pace and Brown had Macintosh travelling easily at the rear until Chris Voak started a three-wide move with Barkers Hall 1100m from home. Brown then followed the run of Barkers Hall and Macintosh exploded to the front 60m from the post to win easily by four metres from Four Grinners, with Barkers Hall three lengths away in third place. Macintosh rated 1.59.2 and took his West Australian record to seven wins from nine starts after having raced ten times in New Zealand for two wins and three third placings. Macintosh is the second foal out of Style By The Mile, who won once from 17 starts. Style By The Mile is a full-sister to Gomeo Romeo, who earned $340,193 from 13 wins and 12 placings from 52 starts. He was the winner of one group 1 and two group 2 events in New Zealand. Olivieri consolidates second place Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri maintained his recent run of successes with a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night and consolidated his spot in second place on the Metropolitan trainers' premiership table. Olivieri now has trained 54 city winners this season and trails Gary Hall sen. (143 wins), with Greg and Skye Bond in third place with 43 winners. Olivieri's winners on Friday night were Real Hammer and Finbar Abbey. Real Hammer, a Victorian-bred five-year-old, was second fancy at 9/4 who enjoyed the ideal passage behind the pacemaker and 11/4 chance Well Hello Dolly in the 1730m Schneider Acti 9 Pace before gaining a late split and finishing strongly to beat that mare by one metre, with 6/4 favourite Black Aquila a fighting third after working hard in the breeze. This gave Chris Lewis the first leg of a double, which he completed with the all-the-way win of Say It Now in the final event. Real Hammer, a recent addition to the Olivieri stable, has now raced 23 times in Western Australia for four wins and five placings to improve his career record to 12 wins, 14 placings and $100,062 from 52 starts. Finbar Abbey, driven by Chris Voak, was a 11/2 chance off the 20m mark in the 2503m Clipsal Lighting Handicap, in which former New Zealand performer Robyns Raider dominated betting and was favourite at 5/4 at his first appearance at Gloucester Park. Punters groaned when Robyns Raider galloped from the outside of the front line and lost several lengths. However, Colin Brown quickly got Robyns Raider back into a pacing gait and the four-year-old surged forward to assume control after 450m. Finbar Abbey settled down in ninth place before Voak sent him forward, three wide, after a lap to move to the breeze 1450m from home. The eight-year-old appeared under considerable pressure 250m from home when he was not responding particularly strongly to heavy punishment. However, he ran home with dogged determination to hit the front 50m from the post and win by a neck from 16/1 chance Thumpem, who was eighth on the pegs at the bell before finishing fast. Robyns Raider was a close third. Finbar Abbey, who has won at five of his nine starts for Olivieri, has earned $138,831 from 16 wins and 24 placings from 106 starts. $400 pacer takes earnings to $96,870 Four-year-old West Australian-bred mare Lucky Joy, unwanted as a yearling before being picked up for a mere $400 at a dispersal sale, boosted her earnings for Raelene and Ian Williams and their son Robbie to $96,870 when she stormed home to win the 2130m third heat of the Clipsal 56 Series Lombardo Pace for mares at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Robbie Williams, who trains Lucky Joy at Henley Brook, drove a typical patient race with the talented sit-sprinter, who started from barrier two on the back line and raced in sixth position in the one-wide line before unleashing a powerful finishing burst, out wide, to hit the front 70m from the post and win by a half-length from the fast-finishing 16/1 chance Ace of Cards. Hoylakes Firstlady, second fancy at 3/1, had a tough run in the breeze before fighting on to finish third, with the heavily-backed 6/4 favourite My Lady of the Night setting the pace and fading to finish sixth. Lucky Joy, by Canadian stallion Northern Luck, was third favourite at 9/2 and she impressed in dashing over the final 400m in 28.9sec. Her 30 starts have produced seven wins and 11 placings. Smooth Caesar is a giant-killer Giant pacer Smooth Caesar, a generally unfancied 21/1 chance, caused an upset when he stormed home from tenth and last 350m from home to beat 6/4 favourite Pride of Colorado in the 2130m Clipspec Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The powerfully-built eight-year-old has certainly been a great buy for Marie Bingham, who claimed him for $10,000 last November. Since then Smooth Caesar has won four races and been placed nine times for Pinjarra trainer-reinsman Kim Young, earning $46,985 in stakes to take his career record to 91 starts for 13 wins, 24 placings and $115,039. Polemarker Heavens Delight (7/4) set the pace from Pride of Colorado in the breeze, with Our Gent trailing the pacemaker and Elite Under Fire enjoying the one-out, one-back trail after having been fastest into stride from barrier five, but being unable to cross to the lead. Smooth Caesar, who started from the No. 3 barrier, was tucked away on the pegs and did not get into the clear until 420m from home. He was still last at the 350m mark when Young switched him five wide. After a third quarter in a slick 28.8sec., the final section was a considerably slower 30.2sec. and Smooth Caesar burst to the front 50m from the post before defeating Pride of Colorado by two metres. Veteran The Oyster Bar was a half-length away in third place. Say It Now has the last say Noted frontrunner Say It Now further illustrated the great advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when Chris Lewis drove him to an all-the-way victory in the 1730m Clipsal and Schneider Electric Westbred Pathway Pace on Friday night. Say It Now was a well-fancied 7/4 second fancy, but many punters preferred the highly-promising four-year-old Bettor Party, who was favourite at 5/4 despite the marked disadvantage of starting from the outside of the front line of seven. Bettor Party was wisely eased back to last by Colin Brown, while the lack of any great pressure in the early stages enabled Lewis to rate Say It Now expertly in front, with modest opening quarters of the final mile in the sprint trip in 30sec. and a casual 31.1sec. This proved the decisive factor in the result. Brown started a three-wide move with Bettor Party approaching the bell and the gelding moved to seco0nd 320m from home and fought on with great determination. But after a third quarter in 29sec. Say It Now was able to sprint the final section in 28.4sec. and just hold Bettor Party at bay to score by a head at a 1.57.7 rate. Leftrightgoodnight tracked Bettor Party in the final lap and ran home strongly to be a close third. Say It Now, bred and owned by Kevin Charles and his son Kody, is prepared at Hopeland by Kevin Charles and the stallion showed early promise with wins in the 2012 South-West and Country Derbies. He has now earned $90,431 from 11 wins and 11 placings from 51 starts. He is related on his dam's side to former champion pacer Preux Chevalier, who won the 1985 interdominion championship at Moonee Valley, beating Village Kid, before being retired with earnings of $791,331 from 40 wins and nine placings from 53 starts. by Ken Casellas  

"If this is not the best than I don't know what is . . . whatever it is, it's going to be hard to top." Those were the words of Barrie Rattray after he witnessed his son James drive their horse Beautide to victory in the $750,000 TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Beautide defied all odds to take out the Grand circuit gem after doing plenty of work outside the leader in world record time of 3.36 for the 3009 meters race (a 1:55.5 mile rate). He is the first horse in more than 15 years to win the Miracle Mile and the Inter Dominion in the same season. The last horse to do so was Our Sir Vancelot, who won the three Inter Dominions from 1997 to 1999 and won the Miracle Mile in 1997. After settling mid-field early, James Rattray elected to angle Beautide three wide to the 'death seat' at the mile mark as Kiwi star Smolda worked to the lead. With the quarters of the last mile clocked in 26.5, 30.0, 28.6 and 27.1, Beautide cruised to the line with more than five metres to spare over Seel N Print with For A Reason a close third. "We were lucky to be here in November [for the Miracle Mile] and I didn't think it would happen again," Barrie said. Harness Racing NSW    

Hopetoun Park trainer Ross Sugars took the honours at the Warragul HRC fixture held on Monday December 2 after preparing a stable treble, with reinsman son Greg driving two of the stable runners. New addition Living Lord (Greg) taking the Warragul Cup Easter Sunday Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2205 metres and Forest Fury the Danny's The Venue Pace for C1 class over the same trip. Living Lord a former member of the Jackson Painting (Narrandera) team making his first appearance for the camp, led throughout from gate three to easily account for Andy Gath's Regal Knight who wasn't disgraced after facing the breeze, with Mister Clooney third. The mile rate a new track record of 1-57.9. A six year old Kiwi bred gelded son of Live Or Die and Lady Matueus, Living Lord has fronted the starter on 30 occasions, winning 11 times. Four Year old gelding Forest Fury (Bettors Delight/Forest Glory) taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips won in identical fashion, leading throughout from gate three in defeating Stynz Boy which trailed in 2-01.1, with Eclipseofthemoon (three back the markers) running on late for third when extricated into the clear on turning. Ex-Kiwi mare Our Burning Desire, a five year old daughter of Real Desire and Knowing Pocket, brought up the treble when successful in the Warragul Pacing Bowl 25 Years Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1785 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Restrained from a solo second line draw to settle three back in the moving line with the pole marker Hollys Miss Molly a surprise leader, Greg Sugars made a swift forward move racing to the bell to shadow the pacemaker for the final circuit. Joining Hollys Miss Molly on the home turn, Our Burning Desire proved much too strong over the concluding stages, winning by 3.9 metres without being pushed out from the leader, with Greenough third after trailing the front runner and making no impression along the sprint lane. Another Melton area winner on the program was honest five year old Our Sir Vancelot/Cinderella Lady mare Belated for David Manning in the Momentum Equine Myotherapy Pace for C0 class over 2205 metres. Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Belated showed plenty of speed at the start from gate five to lead and despite being pressured at various stages by the roughie Cap Lord, still held a narrow margin on the final bend. When Electrastar (four wide from last) appeared to hit the front on the final bend she looked the winner, however Belated refused to give in and fought back to gain the day by 1.1 metres in a rate of 2-02.6. Stormee (one/one - three wide last lap) finished third. Kilmore trainer Rita Burnett combined with nephew Kevin Weidenbach (Jnr) to land the Linc Building Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres with speedy Jet Laag/Spiral Staircase 7-Y-0 gelding Spiral Jet. Bred and raced by staunch stable client Alan Zammit, Spiral Jet taking a concession led for most of the journey from gate three, defeating Jetts Afella which trailed after leading out from the pole, with Viva Courage coming from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-00.8. Rockbank's Angela McDonough combined with Long Forest reinswoman Kate Gath aboard seven year old Village Jasper/Karara Elle mare Elle Jasper to land the letsgotrotting.com Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres in a mile rate of 2-00.9.. Starting from the extreme draw, Elle Jasper possied three back in the running line, with Rita Burnett's Isntshesomething leading easily from the pole. Despite being off the track on the final bend, Elle Jasper motored to the wire to record a runaway victory in advance of All Aussie Star (one/one - three wide home turn) and the favourite My Lishi a stablemate of the winner which trailed the leader. Coimadai trainer/driver Graeme Whittle did punters no favours, when ten year old Keystone Salute/Solander gelding Keystone Blues greeted the judge in the Pascoe Vale TAB Agency Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2205 metres, paying odds of $29.00 on Supertab. Starting from the 30 metre mark, Keystone Blues who's last success had been at the same track in February, settled with most of the field in front of him, with the favourite Jumeirah Jane crossing the old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start. Still last at the bell, Keystone Blues saved for one dash at the leaders after following the local Zoes Dream home, finished best to score from My Name Is Earl (one/one) and Zoes Dream which dashed to the front on turning. The mile rate 2-05.8. It was Keystone Blues' 12th victory in 203 outings. Len Baker                        

It is the most anticipated Miracle Mile in recent memory, but what does history say about the 2013 edition of the famous sprint? Smoken Up is out to win his third Miracle Mile. No horse has ever achieved that feat. Christen Me (by Christian Cullen) is trying to become the first son or daughter of a Miracle Mile winner to replicate his/her sire's success. Paleface Bubble (by Paleface Adios) and Melpark Major (by Iraklis) both finished second. Beautide is attempting to break a long hoodoo for Newcastle Mile winners. The only horse to go on to win the Miracle Mile in the same year is Westburn Grant in 1990 (Our Sir Vancelot won the Newcastle Mile in 1998 the year after winning the Miracle Mile). In what is a truly rare occurrence, the last time a horse won the Miracle Mile for the first time at his/her third attempt was Double Agent in 1984. That's the challenge for Terror To Love! There are four NSW Derby winners that went on to win the Miracle Mile. Paleface Adios, Westburn Grant, Holmes DG and Divisive. Can For A Reason join that elite group. No driver has ever won 4 Miracle Miles. Vic Frost, Tony Herlihy and Lance Justice are currently on three each. Can Lance take the lead? Before Terror To Love, the last horse to win three New Zealand Cups was False Step in 1958-60 - seven years before the first Miracle Mile was even run! I'm Victorious is trying to emulate the deed of Village Kid by becoming the first West Australian since 1987 to win the Miracle Mile "cold" without a lead-up run in Sydney. Dale Walker  

Bankstown Paceway harness racing club director Megan Lavender is encouraging all trotting fans and their families and friends to support New South Wales’ summer Group 1 harness racing event, the historic 30th Anniversary M. H. Treuer Memorial, which will be held on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, at Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. ‘Tell your children and your grandchildren that you were at the track – at Bankstown Paceway – to see the 30th Anniversary M. H. Treuer Memorial on Saturday, December 7th, 2013,’ Ms Lavender told Harnesslink. ‘Tell them about how some of the greatest standardbred horses in the southern hemisphere raced – not just to win NSW’s summer Group 1 harness racing event, but to make history,’ she said. ‘Tell them about the summer carnival race night – the festival atmosphere, musical theatre show, fashions on the field, children’s activities and the return of le trot monte racing to NSW. ‘Tell them the story of a man – born on a Chullora farm – who founded a race club that changed the destiny of countless Australians. ‘The Treuer Memorial is not only one of the premier pacing events on the planet – and a wonderful night out for the whole family – but, it is a tremendous tradition and tribute to the late Max Treuer (1898-1982) – a visionary Australian of whom we can all be justifiably proud. ‘A successful local businessman and bus company founder, an avid sportsman and harness racing enthusiast, and, as a Bankstown city councillor, a true champion of the battler, Max was an asset and inspiration to all people. ‘Born on a Chullora farm, Max Treuer served as the founding president of Bankstown Paceway and was instrumental in establishing the adjoining licensed club, the Bankstown Trotting Recreational Club. ‘Exactly three decades ago, we honoured Max when the M. H. Treuer Memorial was run for the first time – and that inaugural race, worth just $30,000 back in 1983, was won by one of the Asia Pacific’s all-time favourite pacers, Double Agent. ‘As prizemoney reached $100,000, in 1986, Vic Frost partnered True Delight to an upset win, while other Treuer legends adding to the tradition and glamour of this time honoured prestigious Grand Circuit event include champion pacers Village Kid (1987), Westburn Grant (1989) and Our Sir Vancelot (1996 and 1997), all of whom also took out both the Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile. These are the stories worth telling,’ Ms Lavender added. New South Wales’ summer harness racing event, the historic 30th Anniversary Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial, will be held on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, at the heart of Australian harness racing, Sydney’s Bankstown Paceway. Entry is free. Racecourse gates open at 5.00 pm and the first race starts at 6.10 pm. Bookings for race night dining packages can be made at admin@bankstownpaceway.com.au or on 02 9708 4111. Photo: Bankstown Paceway directors Andrew Ho and Megan Lavender with the Group 1 M. H. Treuer Memorial trophy at Bankstown Paceway. For additional information or comment, please contact: Megan J. Lavender  

Quick thinking by Kyle Harper enabled him to narrowly avoid a dramatic situation as the mobile barrier released the field for the $50,000 Nepean Conveyors Mount Eden Sprint at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper was driving 13/8 second favourite Bettors Fire when the five-year-old, starting from the prized No. 1 barrier, ducked his head and attempted to dive underneath the mobile barrier arm. The big gelding then veered sharply towards the inside of the track and Harper had to reef him back to get him behind the arm. Harper had Bettors Fire keen on the bit to ensure that he would take full advantage of the inside draw by jumping straight to the front. But Bettors Fire was so anxious to outpace his rivals at the start that he made an attempt to get under the mobile arm. The 23-year-old Harper remained cool in the crisis and was able to avert what could have been a catastrophic situation. For a fleeting moment there appeared the possibility that the horse could have become wedged under the arm of the mobile barrier, and this could have resulted in him crashing to the track and causing chaos to the runners on the back line in the field of 12. Bettors Fire burst straight into the lead and gave a superb frontrunning display to win the feature event by two and a half lengths from the 10/9 on favourite Im Victorious, with a length to 40/1 chance Dredlock Rockstar, who was most impressive in charging home from last at the bell. Bettors Fire sped over the final 800m in 56.8sec. and his rate of 1.53.8 was the second fastest recorded in the 58-year history of the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship. The race record of 1.53.6 was set by Im Themightyquinn over 1700m in 2011. All honours were with the brilliant Bettors Fire, who is owned by Frank Ranaldi and appears set for stardom. But Im Victorious was extremely unlucky, after starting from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and being hopelessly hemmed in between runners for most of the event. Im Victorious was tenth with 350m to travel before, finally, Justin Prentice was able to get the five-year-old into the clear about 300m from home. Im Victorious sprouted wings and flew down the home straight. Harper was simply following a family tradition. His father Lindsay drove Havago to victory in the Mount Eden Sprint in 2002 and was successful with Lively Medley in 2004. Kyle Harper’s elder brother Donald won the race with Hayton Brain in 2007. Kyle Harper now has ambitious plans for Bettors Fire, including contesting the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup and $400,000 Nepean Conveyors WA Pacing Cup in January. “He is a very good horse,” he declared. “I’ve tried to play him down and keep him a bit quiet. But he is a very serious horse and everything has fallen into place for him. The barrier draws have been perfect.” Bettors Fire set the pace from Dasher VC, with Banana Dana on the pegs and Adda Paternal Suit in the one-out, one-back position. Shardons Rocket went forward from the No. 5 barrier and was trapped out on a limb, three wide, in fourth place for the entire race. Wrongly Accused, trained by Tony Svilicich and a stablemate of Shardons Rocket, followed his three-wide run and kept Im Victorious in a watertight pocket in the one-wide line until the race was virtually all over. “I thought that when Tony’s horses were three wide it was going to make it difficult for Im Victorious to get out,” Harper said. “Had you switched the draws it probably would be a different story. But with the No. 1 draw I was pretty confident going into a race like this with an M1 horse against Im Victorious, Dasher VC and Better Cover Lover. “When I saw that Im Victorious was hemmed in I backed off and tried to get a bit of a breather (with a 29.1sec. for the second 400m section of the final mile). I thought that I wouldn’t have to get going until the bell and unleash him at the 600m. Unfortunately for Im Victorious the race wasn’t run to suit him.. “Bettors Fire had only one month off after arriving from New Zealand, but providing if he keeps going forward we’ll be aiming for the big carnival races.” Bettors Fire has won at seven of his eight starts in Western Australia and now has earned $158,407 from 18 wins and eight placings from only 38 starts. Dasher VC, who was making his first appearance since last February, fought on well to be fourth, while champion New Zealand mare Bettor Cover Lover was a 17/1 chance from the outside of back line and finished in seventh place after5 settling down in 11th position and sustaining a three-wide burst from tenth at the bell. ARTORIUS COMPLETES A BONANZA FOR THE BONDS AND BROWN Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond have never lost faith in their Victorian-bred pacer Artorius, who charged home from the rear to snatch a last-stride victory in the 2536m TABtouch Claiming Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to give them and ace reinsman Colin Brown five winners on the ten-event program. Artorius was a $6.60 chance on the tote and their other winners were At Princeton ($10.60), Bettor Still ($13.80), Johnny be ($1.70) and Our Major Mark ($5.50). The stable also had two quinella results, with Lord Jowers ($17.20) finishing a head second to Bettor Still and Talk It Up ($10.30) finishing a half-head second to Artorius. Artorius ended a losing sequence of 25, but the Bonds have no regrets that the heeded the advice of a Victorian contact and outlaid just $15,000 to purchase Artorius early in 2010. Now an eight-year-old, Artorius, a son of former champion pacer Our Sir Vancelot, has had 69 starts for them for 11 wins, 20 placings and stakes of $128,361. Artorius, who has been noted throughout his career for his sparkling late finishing bursts, has an overall record of 113 starts for 22 wins, 33 placings and $169,261 in prizemoney. He started from the outside of the front line on Friday night and Brown was happy to drop him back to the rear in the small field of seven. He was sixth at the bell and Brown waited until passing the 400m mark before sending him forward with a four-wide burst. Arnoux, the 6/4 favourite, set the pace from 33/1 outsider Tsunami Lombo, with Shifting Sand on the pegs and Talk It Up in the one-out, one-back position. Ryan Warwick started a three-wide move with Talk It Up with 320m to travel and the nine-year-old got to the front 90m from the post before being grabbed by Artorius in the final stride. Arnoux was a wilting third. The quintet of winners for Greg and Skye Bond completed a tremendous week for them. The had four runners at Kellerberrin , and all four of them --- Lunar Tide, Carters Rocket, Jungle Genie and Galactic Galleon --- were driven to victory by Ryan Warwick. Then the Bonds were successful with Condrieu (Brown) at Gloucester Park on Monday. There was one claim lodged in Friday night’s event, with Vance and Wayne Stampalia outlaying $10,000 for Shifting Sand, who finished fifth at his first outing since mid-July. Shifting Sand, a seven-year-old by Jennas Beach Boy, has had 51 starts for ten wins, 14 placings and $55,190. AWKWARD OUR MAJOR MARK KEEPS BROWN GUESSING New Zealand-bred six-year-old Our Major Mark thundered home with a sizzling late charge to score an easy victory in the 2536m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night to take his earnings to $622,965 from 21 wins and 17 placings from 62 starts. But he continues to cause his driver Colin Brown plenty of headaches. “He is an awkward horse to drive and basically he goes just when he wants to go,” Brown said. “When his head is right he is a very good horse, but he certainly gives you some anxious moments. When I hooked him out he started to make ground and about half-way round the bend I actually thought he could win. “But he puts that little bit of doubt every time you sit behind him, and he keeps you guessing. But maybe he just knows where the finishing line is and is telling me not to worry.” Our Major Mark, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, settled down behind the early pacemaker Heavens Delight before being shuffled back to last in the field of six. The polemarker Hez The Bart Man, favourite at 7/4 on, galloped badly in the score-up and lost about eight lengths. Gary Hall jun. sent 5/2 second fancy Askmenow to the front after 450m and was joined 500m later by Hez The Bart Man, giving Smirking the one-out, one-back trail. Hez The Bart Man put in a tremendous effort to get to the front 250m from home, but he was swamped by Our Major Mark, who was still last with 360m to travel. Our Major Mark surged to the front 90m from the post and won by two lengths from Hez The Bart Man, with a fading Askmenow a further 8m back in third place. Our Major Mark sprinted both the final two quarters in 28.4sec. and recorded a mile rate of 1.58.1. TOUGHER GDAY MATE IS NO LONGER JUST A SIT-SPRINTER New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Gday Mate has turned the corner and the renowned sit-sprinter is surprising Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice with his newly-found strength. Gday Mate, a 5/1 chance off the 10m mark in the Chaff City Handicap, settled in ninth place before Prentice sent him forward, three wide, after 700m. The gelding then raced in the breeze outside then pacemaker Ya Dreamin for 550m before 20m backmarker and 6/4 favourite The Ragpickers Dream dashed forward from the rear to race without cover. The Ragpickers Dream eventually worked his way to the front 150m from home, but was no match for Gday Mate, who produced a sizzling late burst to race away and win by two and a half lengths at a 2.1 rate in the 2503m stand. Ya Dreamin held on to be third. “Now Gday Mate makes it much easier, being able to be used earlier to get into a forward position,” Prentice said. He said that circumstances had forced him to take off, three wide, with Gday Mate much earlier than usual at his previous start when the gelding was beaten by a nose in the final stride by This Time Dylan. “I didn’t want to do that, but it was a good test for him and he showed that he could do it,” Prentice said. “Things worked out perfectly tonight. He did a bit of work early (to get to the breeze) and then The Ragpickers Dream gave me cover, and then we were always going to be hard to hold out.” SWITCH TO STANDS SUITS THIS TIME DYLAN “He’s got a few more wins in store for him,” declared leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. after driving This Time Dylan to a convincing victory in the 2503m European Prestige Auto Service Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “I think the switch to stands has been the key for him. He always got too fired up in mobiles and never settled or paced that well.” This Time Dylan, a New Zealand-bred eight-year-old trained by Gary Hall sen., was favourite at 11/4 and he impressed in running on from eighth in the middle stages to hit the front 140m from the post and race away to win by almost three lengths from Lord Coburn (10/1), with a head to Red Salute (10/1) in third place. Hall jun. gave the gelding time to settle from the 10m mark while Ideas Man set the pace. Chris Voak made a fast move 1050m from home with Red Salute to move to the breeze, leaving This Time Dylan three wide without a trail in the final circuit. This Time Dylan fought on grandly to hit the front soon after rounding the home turn. The final two quarters whizzed by in 28.4sec. and 28.6sec. and This Time Dylan rated 2.0.9 in improving his record to ten wins and six placings from 31 starts for stakes of $80,405. He has had 23 starts in WA for seven wins and three placings. He raced eight times in New Zealand, all in mobiles, for three wins and his first 16 starts in WA were in mobiles and produced three wins in modest company. Hall sen. switched him to stands less than two months ago and his first seven starts in stands have produced four wins. “He is racing super and he did something tonight that I didn’t think he was capable of,” said Hall jun. “We followed Red Salute into it and when he got the breeze we lost our cover. So I thought we would struggle from then on. He took charge of me a little bit when we lost the cover and he travelled very well down the back. “He’s a funny sort of horse. You can’t fight him too much, so I just let him slide and was very surprised on the home bend when I pulled the plugs and he had that much to offer. He’s really turned the corner.” KISS CHASEY UPSETS BIT OF A LEGEND AT HIS WA DEBUT West Australian-bred six-year-old Kiss Chasey made the most of the massive advantage of starting from the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when he set a solid pace and caused a major upset in holding on to defeat star New Zealand pacer Bit Of A Legend in the 1730m Lancaster Park Pace on Friday night. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri produced Kiss Chasey in fine fettle and Chris Lewis rated the gelding expertly with quarters of 29.6sec., 30.1sec. and 29sec. before a blistering final 400m in 27.9sec. Bit Of A Legend, a winner at 16 of his 32 starts for stakes of $621,918, was making his first appearance in Western Australia and was having his first start since mid-August. He was considered a certainty in the M0-class event and was favourite at 5/1 on. Brent Mangos gave Bit Of A legend time to settle down from the wide barrier at No. 6 on the front line before he started a three-wide move after 450m to move to the breeze at the 1000m mark. He finished determinedly, but failed by a neck to beat Kiss Chasey, who rated 1.55.8. Bit Of A Legend is in Perth to contest the three rich events for four-year-olds over the next five weeks. He is sure to be vastly improved by his first-up performance. “Starting from barrier one over the short distance suited Kiss Chasey,” Lewis said. “The other horse (Bit Of A Legend) had to do a bit of work to get around, and it’s early in his preparation. He obviously needed the run and that I was hoping would be the case.” Kiss Chasey has started from the No. 1 barrier seven times for four wins, a second, a third and a fifth. He is owned by the reinsman’s wife Debra and has earned $74,179 from nine wins and nine placings from 31 starts. He is by Yankee Sensation and his dam Hello Boys (by Crouch) raced 55 times for 12 wins, 17 placings and $89,541. Hello Boys is a half-sister to former talented mares Party Date (111 starts for 25 wins, 27 placings and $256,003) and Red Hot Date (44 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $99,730). BROWN TIPS MANY MORE WINS FOR SPEEDY JOHNNY BE Colin Brown was effusive in his praise of Johnny Be and declared the New Zealand-bred six-year-old had the ability to become a top-class performer after driving him to a stylish all-the-way victory in the 2536m Make Smoking History Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Johnny Be, a heavily-supported 7/4 on favourite, burst straight to the front from the No. 3 barrier and set a solid pace before giving his rivals little chance by sprinting the final 400m in 28.4sec. He won by a length from 35/1 outsider Franco Torres, who came from the rear with a fast move at the 1500m mark to work hard in the breeze. Chloe Vargarita (4/1) trailed the pacemaker and finished third. “The horse’s head is in a good space at the moment,” Brown said. “He went through a period of about 12 months once where he would knock off in the run and wasn’t quite genuine. But his head has been in the right place for his past half dozen runs. “The horse has always had the ability and we think he is an open-class horse, providing his head is right. He’s certainly got the motor and the speed. And he can stick on as well. So as long as Skye (Bond) can keep his head right, we’re looking okay. Johnny Be was able to contest the M1-class event on Friday night because he had received a downgrading from M2 to M1 last May when he posted a losing sequence of ten. He has earned $118,605 from 14 wins and 31 placings from 82 starts. He is raced by Greg Bond, Kevin, Rob and John Gartrell, Andrew Foster and Craig Hampson, who also were successful on Friday night with At Princeton and Our Major Mark. Brad Collett also is a part-owner of Our Major Mark. KOROBEIT ANGEL BOOSTS HER CLAIMS FOR A RUN IN RICH EVENT Korobeit Angel, a Victorian-bred four-year-old, enhanced her prospects of gaining a start in the $100,000 group 1 Mares Classic at Gloucester Park on November 29 with a smart victory in the 2130m West Australian Mares Pace on Friday night. Favourite at 3/1 on, she started from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and raced three wide for the first 500m before getting to the breeze outside Hoylakes Firstlady. She began to overrace and Robbie Williams relinquished the lead to her with 1100m to travel. She went on to win by 4m at a 1.58.7 rate from Hoylakes Firstlady, with Terra Into The West running on from ninth (and last) at the bell to be third. “She’s probably going to be outclassed in the $100,000 race, but you’ve got to be in it to win it,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. She’s just a crazy, crazy redhead, but she is a nice mare if we can get her to settle. “Obviously Robbie (Williams) wanted to hold the lead with Hoylakes Firstlady and I was happy to leave him in front. But Korobeit Angel just takes charge and you can’t do much about it. It was good that Robbie elected to sit and he’s earned second place by doing so.” Korobeit Angel, trained by Gary Hall sen., has won at six of her 12 WA starts and has an overall record of 25 starts for 11 wins, six placings and $71,420 in stakes. BETTOR STILL BREAKS A LOSING SEQENCE OF 21 Bettor Still made the most of the benefit of two concessions under the drop-down regulations when he scored a narrow victory over stablemate Lord Jowers in the 2536m McInerney Ford Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred eight-year-old, trained at Forrestdale by Greg and Skye Bond, had his classification reduced from M3 class to M1 class after two successive losing sequences of ten during this year and his victory broke a losing sequence of 21. He started at 13/1 on the tote and from out wide at barrier five on the front line and Colin Brown was content to drop him back to the rear in the small field of eight while 5/2 favourite The Feather Foot set the pace from barrier two. Brown started a three-wide move with 950m to travel and Bettor Still got to the front 140m from the post before he held on to win by a head from 16/1 chance Lord Jowers, who finished powerfully from the rear. “When he got out there three deep he was travelling very strongly and when the horse is right and you turn for home he drops into another gear, which he did tonight,” said Brown. “Fortunately, we had enough left on the line (to hold out Lord Jowers). “Skye was confident that he would run a race tonight. The company was less than impressive and it was a small field. His run when fifth at Kellerberrin last Sunday was quite good. He had to go four deep and didn’t get into the race.” Bettor Still is the second foal out of Holmes Hanover mare Dancinonmoonlight, who amassed $402,832 from 19 wins and 34 placings from 100 starts. She won four times in New Zealand, ten times in Australia and twice in America and three times in Canada. Bettor Still now has earned $110,670 from 16 wins and 13 placings from 69 starts. AT PRINCETON SURPRISES HIS DRIVER New Zealand-bred six-year-old At Princeton surprised Colin Brown when he began speedily from the No. 3 barrier and burst to the front after 100m before setting the pace and scoring a runaway victory in the 2130m Gannon’s Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Unplaced at five previous starts, At Princeton was a 10/1 chance, with most punters pinning their faith with Soho Highroller and Rakatup from the stables of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. However, At Princeton relished his frontrunning role and after speeding over the final 400m in 28.7sec. he beat the fast-finishing Ardens Southee by just over three lengths at a 1.57.7 rate. Soho Highroller (5/4) and Rakatup (13/4) did not enjoy the best of luck in running and finished seventh and tenth, respectively. “Before the race I didn’t think I could lead,” Brown explained. “Last week I went wide (three wide early, the breeze after 300m and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing fifth behind Mohegan Sun) which I thought was the right move. “But we got dragged back and I thought it was a good run and a pointer that he was ready to win. But we thought that he had to draw to lead to win, and it just goes to show you that you’re not always right.” At Princeton raced 24 times in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings and his 20 WA starts for trainers Greg and Skye Bond have produced four wins and two placings. He has earned $47,546. He is a half-brother to San Fran lady, who has won seven times in New South Wales and seven times in Queensland in the past three years and has earned $127,012. by Ken Casellas

Not only is he the most inexperienced pacer at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, outside of Chancellor Cullen in the Gammalite, Manuka Man is perhaps the most untapped horse on the entire program. He will only be tackling a C2-3 race early on the night but his three starts to date have yielded two impressive victories and a brave second where he had to venture three wide in the last lap. Vince Vallelonga only acquired the horse through a bit of luck too. A casual conversation with a fellow trainer led to the opportunity to purchase the son of Our Sir Vancelot. “We actually bought him after his first start. I was saying to Geoff Martin that it’s hard to buy good horses in Australia these days and I wouldn’t mind trying to find one that goes half alright,” Vallelonga said. “A fortnight later he rang me and said I think I might have found a nice horse and he told me a bit about him so I made arrangements to go and drive him and I went over and he felt good so I negotiated the price and I told Luke (Primmer, former trainer) that I’d take him.” That set the wheels in motion for his second race start, a win at Beckley Park, which was followed by what Vallelonga described as an even better run. “I thought his second was a better run than his win at Geelong. His times were unreal, being off the track to run home in that time was unheard of,” he said. “He’s a nice horse in the making; I’ve got a lot of time for him.” His previous connections also knew he had ability, in fact having just turned five it’s reasonable to think it’s unusual to have had just three starts. Vallelonga asked the same question of Primmer and was given a surprising answer. Having jumped on the back of his own hoof as a two-year-old, Manuka Man had to spend six months in the paddock thanks to what his trainer described as “pulling half his foot off.” But with those issues behind him, the gelding now has to contend with barrier seven in a tricky race. “It’s all a learning curve, he is still pretty green and he hasn’t done a lot but he does have some gate speed he just hasn’t had the chance to use it,” Vallelonga said. “It’s a bit tricky whether we can use it this week because I don’t really want to break him early in his career.” And it’s a career that his conditioner believes can blossom in the coming seasons, for that reason he won’t be pushed this preparation. With the allure of a summer campaign after he has been given some time out in the paddock the driving force behind the decision. “He’ll have a short preparation then have a break in the nice spring weather and then we’ll bring him back. He should go through his classes, once he has a spell he might come back that little bit stronger,” Vallelonga said. “I think he has a nice future; I would actually love to get him to Menangle in some of those heats and finals series because he’ll develop into a horse that can sit on any speed and run home well. He’s so relaxed and casual.” Manuka Man has been marked a $4 chance by Harness Racing Victoria price assessor Jason Bonnington. by Blake Redden Harness racing Victoria

Avenel harness racing trainer Wayne Potter enjoyed a happy night at Shepparton on Saturday, providing a stable double with exciting 4-Y-0 American Ideal/Elegant Falcon gelding Authorized taking the Fords Coach Travel / GV Plumbing Pace Final for C1 class over 1690 metres and American Ideal/Bring Her Back filly Sophies Ideal the Sherbourne Terrace Pacefor non winners over the same journey.

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