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Dylan Ferguson achieved the biggest win of his career when he won the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Hawera on Easter Monday. The 17-year-old won the C3-Oc pace behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien trained outsider, Beckinsale. It was the 4-year-old mare’s eighth win from 50 career starts, and fourth this season. For Ferguson it was his 11th win since starting his driving career at the start of the season. He’s also placed 34 times in 191 drives. “This is my biggest win by far. I’m really happy for Pat and Mike because they have supported me a lot. I’m also pleased that Dad drove Lifesofine (seventh) which freed me up for the drive behind Beckinsale,” Ferguson said. Beckinsale stepped well from her 10m handicap and Ferguson settled the daughter of Falcon Seelster three and then four deep on the inner. When the moves were made Ferguson managed to get off the markers and flew down the outside to get up and win the 3000m standing start event by three quarters of a length and a neck. Kippenberger (Simon Lawson) and favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) were second and third. Beckinsale, who was the $46.50 eleventh favourite, sprinted her last 800m in 60.8. Her winning mile rate was 2:17.6. “She hasn’t had things go his way recently but this time everything worked out well. We got an economical run early on which allowed her to sprint when it mattered. “It was a brave run. She is much better than what her price suggested. She was always travelling well and brought out her A-game this time,” Ferguson said. “I thought she’d go well because he seemed really happy in her warm-up,” he added. The Waikato horseman, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard at Tauherenikau, said he was enjoying his first season of driving. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities to drive thanks to Graeme, Peter, Mike, Pat, and of course Dad. There have also been so many other owners and trainers I’m grateful to for giving me the chance to drive their horses,” he said. It’s been five months since Ferguson drove his first winner. That was on his favourite horse – Carlos at Cambridge Raceway on November 17. Ferguson left Cambridge High School at the end of Year 11 (sixth form), but if he had it his way he would have left the day he started. He said school got in the way of the horses because he had his mind set on following in the footsteps of his father Peter - and becoming one of New Zealand’s finest reinsmen. He said 2013-3014 was all about learning and taking advice from the horsemen and women around him. “I’ll just keep trying to win races and see what happens from there. I’d like to give the New Zealand Junior Champs a crack,” he said. Meanwhile, Beckinsale is owned by Pat O’Brien and was bred by the Astaire Standardbred Breeding Company. She is the second foal of five out of the seven-win Presidential Ball mare, Ballroom Babe. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Elegant Christian ran a dazzling trial for the $200,000 WA Derby next Friday night when he gave a sparkling frontrunning display to win the $50,000 TABtouch Western Gateway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I'll take them on again next week and I think we'll have a similar result," declared Clint Hall after driving the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding, hot favourite at 3/1 on, to a stylish victory over Classic American (54/1) and Eyre Crusher (14/1) to give master trainer Gary Hall sen. the trifecta which returned a dividend of $340.10 for a $1 investment. Hall sen. now has won the Western Gateway Pace three times, having driven The Falcon Strike to victory in 2001 and scoring with Alta Christiano in 2013 when the colt was driven by Gary Hall jun. Elegant Christian now has won at six of his seven starts, all in Western Australia, with his only defeat coming at the start before Friday night's success, when he was suffering from a mouth ulcer and hang in badly throughout before finishing a half-head second to Mister Jadore. This problem has been cured and the Hall camp is looking forward to the Derby with great confidence. Elegant Christian burst straight to the front from the prized No. 1 barrier on Friday night and dashed over the lead time in a slick 35.6sec. when challenged early by Bettor Offer, who mustered plenty of early pace from the outside of the front line. Hall then was able to get Elegant Christian to relax and go through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30.3sec. and 30.5sec. before sprinting the third quarter in 28.2sec. and coming home in 29.1sec. to record a smart mile rate of 1.56.1 over the 2130m. Elegant Christian's stablemate Machtu, second favourite at 4/1, settled in eighth place before Kim Prentice sent him forward to move to third, out three wide, at the bell. Machtu fought on grandly to finish fifth, with Bettor Offer wilting to seventh. Fourth place went to Mister Jadore, who had followed the three-wide run of Machtu. The win boosted Elegant Christian's earnings to $92,540. Classic American, driven by Chris Voak, was most impressive. He was last in the field of 12 at the bell before unleashing a brilliant finishing burst, out wide of the track. Eyre Crusher trailed the pacemaking Elegant Christian throughout and was badly blocked for a clear passage in the concluding stages. "We expected some early pressure after his last-start defeat," said Clint Hall. "But we were very happy and confident with the horse leading into the race. I thought it would be detrimental to the chances of any horse who took Elegant Christian on early, and I think that was shown in the end. "Elegant Christian is a terrific horse. Down the back I wasn't quite sure how much he had left. He never really travels like that he's got that much left. But once I let him down he had plenty left. I knew I had the two outside of him beaten and I was just worried about Eyre Crusher then. "He's a typical Christian Cullen. He goes to the gate charging and as soon as they move away from his head he just drops the bit and does what we ask him to do." SOHO VALENCIA GETS UP IN THE FINAL STRIDE Victorian-bred five-year-old Soho Valencia further illustrated his wonderful potential and showed that he would be a major player in the feature summer carnival events next season with a fighting victory in the 2130m Princi Butchers Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko drove a canny race in front with polemarker Franco Torres, the 8/1 third favourite behind Soho Valencia (7/4 on) and Lovers Delight (11/2) and he just failed, with Soho Valencia being fully extended in getting up to snatch victory by a nose. Soho Valencia, trained by Gary Hall sen., started from barrier three on the back line and Clint Hall settled the horse into eighth position in the one-wide line after Franco Torres had recorded a modest lead time of 37.4sec. and a first quarter in only 30.6sec. Suvaljko then increased the tempo and Franco Torres reeled off the next three quarters in 29.7sec., 27.8sec. and 28.6sec.Hall started a three-wide move with Soho Valencia approaching the bell and the horse was eighth with a lap to travel. Hall had to drive Soho Valencia hard to gain a last-stride victory by the barest possible margin. The winner rated 1.56.4 and boosted his record to 20 wins, nine placings and $320,902 from 36 starts. He has raced four times in Western Australian for two wins and two seconds. "They drove clever races up front and our hands were tied," said Clint Hall. "We had to come with one run. We thought we would save him up a bit longer tonight and come out about the 800m. If we had come out at the 1200m it might have made the difference (winning more convincingly). "Once I pulled the plugs (after turning for home) he felt like he was going to get the leader. But the leader kept kicking and made him fight it out right to the line." The stewards fined Hall $200 for an incorrect whip action in the final stages of the race. MISTER SHEEDY GIVES JONES A BIRTHDAY PRESENT Former Victorian pacer Mister Sheedy gave Lauren Jones, a recent arrival in Western Australia from Queensland, a wonderful 19th birthday present at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he scored a game win in the 2130m TAB Funding The Industry Pace. Mister Sheedy was driven confidently by Jones and his win gave master trainer Gary Hall sen. the first of four winners on the ten-event program. He was also successful with Alta Christiano, Soho Valencia and Elegant Christian. But celebrations were dampened somewhat when Mister Sheedy pulled up after the race with a fractured nearside pedal bone, an injury which will keep him out of action for at least 12 months and could quite likely spell the end of his racing career. For Jones, who answered an advertisement a couple of months ago to work for the powerful Hall training establishment in Serpentine, this was her first Metropolitan-class success in the State. Mister Sheedy, a six-year-old and winner of 13 races from only 39 Victorian starts, was making his WA debut on Friday night. He was drawn to start from the outside (barrier two) on the back line in a field of nine and was heavily supported to start favourite at 6/4 on. Polemarker Kotare Ash, second fancy at 9/2, withstood an early challenge from Anvils Big Punt and after she went through the lead time in a reasonable 37.1sec., Jones, who had settled Mister Sheedy in the favourable one-out, one-back position, seized the initiative and sent the gelding forward with a three-wide burst to move into the breeze 100m later. Kotare Ash began to wilt approaching the home turn and Jones sent Mister Sheedy to the front with 150m to travel. He went on to win at a 1.59.9 rate over the 2130m journey by one metre from 22/1 chance Rojen Cruz, who was seventh at the bell and charged home out six wide on the track. A close third was 12/1 chance Anvils Big Punt, who raced without cover early before gaining the one-out, one-back sit behind Mister Sheedy. Mister Sheedy, by American stallion Presidential Ball, has earned $85,688 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. He had been unplaced at his final four Victorian starts and was having his first start since finishing ninth in a 1720m event at Melton last November. He is the second foal out of New South Wales-bred mare Intoxicating (by Chandon) who had 47 starts for 12 wins, ten placings and $79,060. PEMBROOK HENRY ENDS LOSING RUN OF 34 Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Pembrook Henry is thriving on racing and after breaking a losing sequence of 34 by winning the 2503m TAB Bet Today Collect Today Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night reinsman Chris Lewis predicted further successes for the hardy nine-year-old. "If he begins as fast as he did tonight there's definitely a few more wins in him," said Lewis after Pembrook Henry, a 9/1 chance, had begun speedily from barrier five on the front line in the stand and led all the way. "You like to see them jump away that quick and that was a boost to his confidence (getting straight to the front). Then we were able to get the sections we needed and he hit the line fairly solidly." Pembrook Henry, trained by Ross Olivieri, had finished second at each of his four runs since resuming in late February after a two-month break. His task on Friday night was made easier by the scratching of noted frontrunner and last-start winner Major Fury and the bad manners of polemarker and 5/2 favourite Copagrin, who galloped at the start and dropped back to fifth. Frontmarker Maggies Mystery also was slow to begin and Lewis was able to shoot Pembrook Henry straight to the front. Callan Suvaljko dashed Copagrin forward, three wide, in the first lap to move into the breeze after a lap had been completed. After opening sections of the final mile in 31.1sec. and 30.8sec., Lewis gave the opposition little chance as he urged Pembrook Henry to move up a gear. The oldstager, owned by Montana Stark, sprinted the final quarters in 29sec. and 28.2sec,. and he won by just over a length from Copagrin, with Compact Rocket finishing third after trailing the leader all the way. Pembrook Henry, whose previous win was at Melton in July 2012, is the latest beneficiary of the drop-down rule which enables pacers handicapped M2 or better to drop down one classification after every losing sequence of ten. Pembrook Henry arrived in Western Australia in the winter of 2012 as an M3-class pacer and he has dropped back to an M1 mark which enabled him to start off the front line in Friday night's event. Now a winner of one race from 21 WA starts, Pembrook Henry won three races in New Zealand and 11 times in Victoria. WILKINS LUCINDA RELISHES THE INSIDE DRAW The tremendous advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was further illustrated on Friday night when Wilkins Lucinda, a four-year-old mare with a losing sequence of nine, made full use of the inside draw by setting a fast pace and scoring an easy win in the 1730m Gannons Pace for mares. Most punters took little heed of her favourable barrier and the Noel Keiley-trained mare was a 10/1 chance, with Jungle Genie favourite at 7/4 on from barrier two on the back line. Aldo Cortopassi got Wilkins Lucinda away to a flying start and the mare gave her rivals very little chance by speeding over the final four 400m sections in 28.5sec., 29.5sec., 29sec. and 28.4sec. She recorded a slick 1.54.8 rate and took her record for owner Stan Wilkins to 39 starts for seven wins, 13 placings and stakes of $80,979, a figure boosted by her third to Lucky Joy in the group 1 $100,000 State Sires Series for two-year-old fillies in July 2012 and her win in a $25,000 listed classic for three-year-olds last June. By Rich And Spoilt, Wilkins Lucinda is the fourth foal out of Shoneer Lobell, who won five races in New South Wales and five in WA for earnings of $52,353. Wilkins Lucinda is a full-sister to Sheer Dreams (157 starts for 19 wins, 47 placings and $153,994) and Sweet Charlee (67 starts for 11 wins, 17 placings and $77,630). Cortopassi said that he had given Wilkins Lucinda an excellent winning chance after driving her the previous Friday night when she had to be retired with broken gear. "Forget last week," he said. "She was going extremely well when she broke a hopple. And tonight I was not worried after she had run the opening quarter in 28.5sec. She actually had her ears pricked. She was happy in doing what she was doing, just happy to be rolling along. So I let her do what she wanted." AROUSING FOLLOWING IN HER DAM'S FOOTSTEPS Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri's honest mare Arousing maintained her consistent form when she was driven a treat by Kristian Hawkins to win the 2130m The West Australian Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Arousing, who has earned $86,818 from nine wins and 22 placings from 82 starts, is following the steps of her dam Roustabout, who showed considerable promise with two wins in New Zealand and two in WA before being retired with earnings of $33,171 after only 12 starts. Roustabout, by Christian Cullen, showed her class by winning the group 3 Empress Stakes from Precious Maiden and Sovereign Beejay at Gloucester Park in March 2006. Arousing is her first foal and Arousing's younger half-sister Loving You finished third behind Frith in the group 1 WA Oaks last year and has a record of 33 starts for seven wins, 11 placings and $70,292. Hawkins drove Arousing at Gloucester Park for the second time at her previous start three weeks earlier when the mare finished sixth behind Southern Legacy. He admitted after Friday night's victory that he was to blame for the mare's unplaced effort, saying: "I slaughtered her at her last start, so I knew I had to be patient this week whereas I wasn't at her previous run." Arousing, favourite at 11/4 from the No. 2 barrier, challenged unsuccessfully for the early lead, but polemarker Chillin Dylan (13/4) held up and Hawkins cleverly slotted Arousing in behind the pacemaker 200m after the start. The Oyster Bar (3/1) broke into a gallop after 200m and outsider Touch Me Toes moved up to race in the breeze, giving My Bachelors Delight a perfect sit, one-out and one-back. Arousing appeared to be in all sorts of trouble half-way down the back straight in the final circuit when Chillin Dylan began to weaken, shuffling Arousing back to fifth. Hawkins kept his composure and eventually was able to ease Arousing off the pegs 350m from home. Arousing finished determinedly to hit the front close to home and win by a half-length from My Bachelors Delight, who had taken the lead with 520m to travel and had opened up a, lead of two lengths at the 100m mark. "I knew I had plenty of horse in my hands, but Aiden's horse (Aiden De Campo's My Bachelors Delight) had a pretty handy break on me at the right time," Hawkins said. "It just came down to a bit of luck when we got out." LITTLE BOY BLUE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT How do you multiply an investment by five times? It's simple. Buy your wife a pacer for $10,000 and watch it as he earns $50,660m in the space of eight months. That's what Waroona horseman Bob Mellsop did last July. He outlaid $10,000 to purchase Little Boy Blue Blue to give to his wife Val as a birthday present. Little Boy Blue, driven by Kiara Davies, set a fast pace and outclassed his rivals in the TAB Radio Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His four-length victory over I Am Legend took his record for his new owner to five wins and six placings from 19 starts. And that boosted the New Zealand-bred five-year-old's career record to 58 starts for 13 wins, 20 placings and $117,276. Everything fell into place for Little Boy Blue, who started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line and second favourite at 11/4. Polemarker Carters Rocket, an all-the-way winner the previous week, galloped badly at the start and dropped back to a distant last and I Am Legend paced roughly after starting from barrier two. Davies grabbed the heaven-sent opportunity to dash Little Boy Blue straight to the front and the gelding charged through the lead time in a fast 35.4sec. as he established a three-length lead over I Am Legend. This left the 7/4 favourite Mighty Flying Thomas in the breeze. Davies let Little Boy Blue roll along in the lead and he sped over the final two quarters in 29.2sec. and 28.6sec. to leave his nine rivals floundering in his wake. I Am Legend fought on to be second, almost a length in front of Mighty Flying Thomas. The winner rated a smart 1.55.8 over the 2130m trip. "When the one galloped and the two went rough, I just went for it," Davies said. "And once I saw them coming (in the back straight in the final lap) I thought I'd get them running because Little Boy Blue is pretty hard to catch once he gets going." CONNIVING MAJOR DAVE BOUNCES BACK Tenth placings at each of at his past two appearance and just one minor placing from his past seven starts did not deter many smart punters who cashed in when Aiden De Campo drove Conniving Major Dave to victory in the 2130m British Night Next Friday Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conniving Major Dave started from barrier four on the front line and he enjoyed a perfect passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing boldly to defeat the pacemaker Ohoka Squire (9/2) by a neck, with Grand Cru fighting on from sixth at the bell to be third. "His past two starts weren't his fault," said de Campo. "It was probably my fault, hitting a couple of wheels. He trialled well on Wednesday when he got over Dasher VC, sitting on him and running a quick last half. "Tonight I was pretty confident if he got the right sit and steered tractably. He got down a bit on the last bend which cost us a length or so. But he was still good enough to win. He's got a lot to learn and I really like the horse. He's got a bit of toughness and, hopefully, he can win a couple more." Conniving Major Dave, trained by de Campo's father Andrew, has earned $44,913 from eight wins and six placings from 29 starts. He has raced 17 times in WA for five wins and five placings. His dam Kind Martar is a younger sister of Pocket of Grace, who had 210 starts for 30 wins (16 in Queensland and 14 in New South Wales) and 41 placings for stakes of $160,975. HIGH FIVE MOZZA BREAKS THROUGH AT LAST Punters rallied to support High Five Mozza in the 2130m Sky Racing Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night, not because he went into the race with a losing sequence of 34 and had not managed a minor placing at his most recent nine starts, but because he had drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier. He was solidly supported to start favourite at 11/8 in a particularly weak field. Then everything went according to the script. Shannon Suvaljko jumped the New South Wales-bred six-year-old straight to the front. After a moderate lead time of 38.2sec. and a slow first quarter in 31.2sec. High Five Mozza broke 30sec. for the next three quarters to win by just under a length from 9/2 chance Will of Iron, who ran on from sixth at the bell. High Five Mozza, prepared at Wanneroo by Debbie Padberg, finally repaid the trainer for her perseverance and patience. The gelding had managed six placings from his first 32 starts in WA before Friday night's success. He won ten races in New South Wales (eight at Penrith and once each at Bankstown and Newcastle and had six starts in Victoria for one win before arriving in WA. by Ken Casellas  

There were winners left, right and centre after the opening race at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. The Menangle track was a “first-up” winner with horses coming from everywhere in the closing stages of the final heat of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship as the Peter Walsh-trained Little Red Cloud got the money with a 1:59.9 mile rate over the 2400m journey. Tasmanian reinsman Dylan Ford may have also given a hint of things to come for his fellow Tasmanian Beautide in the TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion Grand Final later in the day when he brought Little Red Cloud with a well-timed run up the middle of the track to score. All the competitors in the Young Drivers Championship rated the track in remarkable condition despite persistent showers over the weekend, with every runner accorded a fair run. Still none were more satisfied than New Zealand’s Andre Poutama, who finished seventh with Im Blue Double Dee, but accrued enough points to take the series from another Kiwi, Samantha Ottley. Poutama, from New Zealand’s North Island, went into the race with a 13 point lead and was desperate to avoid running in the last couple to jeopardise his chances of winning the overall series. Little Red Cloud grabbed Poacher (Aaron Bain) in the shadows of the post, with Condagen (Josh Duggan) third. Trainer Peter Walsh’s good run continued in the Lexus International Lady Drivers Invitational when Narissa McMullen led all-the-way with his pacer Essbee Doubleyou. The Queensland reinswoman took the son of Presidential Ball straight to the top from barrier nine where they dictated terms throughout. Rolling through the quarters in 27.1, 29.0, 28.5 and 27.4s, which resulted in a slick mile rate of 1:52.0, again proving the track was in fine order for the string day of racing ahead. Bathurst reinswoman Amanda Turnbull finished second with Medal Of Honour while the Tasmanian Kate MacLeod finished third with Ballochbuie. Harness Racing NSW

The flagships of the Division are the Australasian Classic and New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales held in Auckland Monday 17th February and Christchurch Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th of February. Billed as the “Sale of the Stars” their graduates include seven modern day New Zealand Cup winners, thirty two Harness Jewels winners and thirty one Australasian Breeders Crown winners. Unity under the PGG Wrightson organisation has been a major benefit to the sales. Especially in producing a top quality catalogue, funding a very successful inward buyer scheme and the $1 million Sales Race Series now in its 24th year. Harnesslink is running a short series on some of the yearlings on offer. Lot 6 Premier sale - NERVE OF STEEL SIRE - ART OFFICIAL- His first crop raced in North America last year and made a very encouraging start in the Pennsylvania Sires stakes program against the likes of Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. His son Let's Drink On It 1:51.2 created a big impression as did Xtra Desire 1:52.8. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and several have shown up at the early workouts and trials with Taj Bromac the early standout. DAM  - OUR FIRST LADY - She was a $50,000 yearling sale purchase who showed enormous promise before being sidelined with wind issues. Her first foal at stud was the Presidential Ball filly in Presidential Rose who qualified at two and had two starts at three for a win and a second before being sold to Australia for a reported $50,000. Her second foal by Mach Three is Wings Of Hope who also qualified at two but suffered a setback which has meant an enforced break. She is due back into work in three months and is held in good regard by trainer Steven Reid. The third foal and first colt is Nerve Of Steel. Our First Lady is a full sister to Line Of Fire (1:50.3. $240,077) and a half sister to Heres Rommel (1:55.3). Her dam is the very smart race mare Borowan who won 15 races in NSW and Victoria on her way to being voted four year old mare of the year in NSW. The third dam is the race winning mare in Smooth Rowan who left seven winners and is a half sister to Summertime Girl who left the champion pacer, The Falcon Strike ($1.303,000) . OVERVIEW - This great looking horse is the first colt of his dam who had blinding speed but whose wind issues blighted her race career. Her first two filly foals have both qualified at two and the colt is the best type by far that the mare has produced to date. Coupled with his great maternal family, this colt has a lot to recommend him to potential buyers. Lot 32 Premier sale - OFFICIAL EXCUSE SIRE - ART OFFICIAL - The biggest stake earning son of super sire Art Major had his first crop race in North America as two year olds in 2013 . They competed  in the very strong Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program against the great Somebeachsomewhere and the leading first season sire in Well Said. One of his daughters in Sister Stroll (1:54.1. $102,619) created a big impression in her debut season. His first crop in Australasia are two year olds in the 2013/2014 season and while it is very early both "Coaster " Howe and Gavin Smith have had promising types at recent trials in Canterbury. DAM - PRECIOUS EXCUSE--  she is an unraced Acquisitor (Albatross / Ambiguity) daughter of the broodmare gem Excuse me. This filly is the fifth foal of her dam who is developing a great record at stud. Her first was the smart colt in Precious Lord (p3,1:59.5) and he was quickly followed by the filly I Cee U (1:58) and her full sister Crazy Mach (1:58.6). The fourth foal was Machs Excuse who looked to be the best of them all, being un-beaten at trials and workouts before suffering a career ending pedal bone injury. She is now at stud. The grand-dam Excuse Me is one of the best broodmares of the last 30 years. Not only did she leave eight winners including the very smart Mighty Hurricane (15 wins) and No Excuse (19 wins) but her daughters and grand-daughters have produced a string of elite racehorses headed by the dual New Zealand Cup winner in Just An Excuse ($944,068), DB Bopper (1:50. $690,000), Second Wind (1;49.8. $341,000),  Franco Sequel (1:51. $356,121) and Smooth Performer ($184,355). OVERVIEW - A lovely long barreled filly from a mare who has yet to miss at stud. With the incredible number of elite horses close up in her pedigree she would appear a great prospect on both the track and at stud. Her residual value when she goes to stud will be significant. JC  

Toretto's effortless victory in the $35,000 Kennards Hire Christmas Gift final at Gloucester Park on Friday night was the highlight on a memorable evening for champion trainer Gary Hall sen. and star reinsman Kim Prentice. Hall and Prentice combined to win five of the ten events on the program, with Hall extending his lead on the Metropolitan trainers' premiership table. He shows the way with 51 winners and 71 placegetters from 240 starters and leads from Greg and Skye Bond (26 winners from 143 starters) and Ross Olivieri (19 winners from 152 starters). The quintet enabled Prentice to move into fourth place on the city drivers' premiership table. He has driven 19 winners from 93 drives and is behind Gary Hall jun. and Colin Brown (30 winners each) and Chris Lewis (20). Toretto is, at last, repaying Hall sen. for his great patience with the New Zealand-bred five-year-old who has been plagued by injury and on Friday night was having only his 14th start after spending much of the past couple of years recuperating from bowing a tendon twice on the same leg. Hall has trained a quintet of winners several times, but this was only the second time that Prentice has landed five winners on a program. Hall also trained six winners (all driven by his son Gary) at Gloucester Park two months ago. Prentice has been driving most of the Hall runners in recent weeks while champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. and his elder brother Clint have been on the sidelines, serving terms of suspension. Hall jun. was also suspended when Prentice previously drove five winners --- at Gloucester Park on October 8, 2011. Three of them, Im Tim Kelly, Lukcon Lad and Albert Jaccka, were trained by Hall sen. and he trained the other two, My Sound of Thunder and Sea Gale. Toretto, who has won nine times from his 14 starts (all in WA) for earnings of $83,730, arrived from New Zealand in Perth in November 2011 and won at two of his first three starts in the State between June and November 2012. He then bowed a tendon and was out of action for 11 months. Toretto, perfectly drawn at the No. 1 barrier, was a warm 6/4 on favourite and he gave his supporters little cause for concern as he jumped straight to the front and dictated the terms of the race and won by 5m from 28/1 chance Our Major Mark, who started at three-wide move with 1250m to travel. Red Salute (5/1) trailed the leader throughout and finished third, a head in front of 10/1 chance Hez The Bart Man, who sustained a strong burst from the rear to move into second place in the closing stages before breaking into a gallop in the final couple of strides. The winner rated a moderate 2.0.1 over the 2`30m. Toretto is by Julius Caesar and is the seventh and last foal out the unraced Soky's Atom mare Scottish Seal and he looks destined for bigger and better things. "He surprised me last week with the ease of his win in the heat and when he drew the No. 1 marble I was very excited to keep the drive," Prentice said. "Gary has been saying for a long time that Toretto has got a huge amount of ability and tonight he has won in second gear. "He was absolutely just jogging. Gary said that the previous time he had led he was off the bit and Junior (Hall jun.) had to drive him the whole way. But he was hard on the bit tonight and was never ever going to lose. He'll go all the way; he's definitely fast-class material. " Toretto's win gave Hall sen. a record fifth success in the Christmas Gift after wins with Nixons Creed (1993), Allioop (2004), McRaes Mate (2007) and Livingontheinterest (2012). It was the second win for Prentice, who drove McRaes Mate to victory over Cosmic Legacy. J WALKER STORMS HOME FOR THE IN-FORM WILLIAMS Young Henley Brook trainer Robbie Williams continued his recent run of successes when he produced a near-perfect patient drive to land 11/4 favourite J Walker a thrilling last-stride winner over the pacemaker Salliwood in the $20,500 Kennards Hire Mount Eden-No Dill Christmas Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred J Walker, a seven-year-old son of Christian Cullen, started from 20m and the 25-year-old Williams was quite content to allow the gelding to relax at the rear in the field of 12, while frontmarker and 8/1 chance Salliwood set the pace J Walker was tenth after a lap and ninth at the bell before he unwound a spirited burst to charge home and snatch victory from the ten-year-old Salliwood, who had won the Christmas Handicap 12 months earlier. The half-head defeat also foiled reinsman Shannon Suvaljko's bid to win the event three years in a row. Before Salliwood's 2012 win, Suvaljko had driven Rocket Reign to victory in 2011. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice prepared the third and fourth placegetters. He brought Braemoor (13/2) home with a powerful burst from the rear at the 1250m mark to be third, with Kaiden Hayter finishing fourth with Gday Mate (7/1). Gate Bender, a brilliant first-up winner in weaker company a week earlier, was second favourite at 15/4 off the 20m mark. He dashed forward in the first circuit to move into the breeze before gaining a good sit, one-out and one-back. But he had no luck in the last lap and finished tenth. J Walker, owned by former New Zealand trainer-reinsman Graham Bond and Stephen Schmedje, of Esperance, won eight times from 50 starts in New Zealand before arriving in WA in August 2012. Friday night's win boosted his record to 81 starts for 17 wins and 18 placings for stakes of $163,456. J Walker is named after John Walker, one of New Zealand's greatest athletes, winner of the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976. He broke Tanzanian Filbert Bayi's world record for a mile with a time of 3min. 49.4sec. at Gothenborg in Sweden in August 1975 and he ended his career with the remarkable record of 135 sub-4min. miles. J Walker is the sixth foal out of Tareena Jay (21 starts for five wins, four placings and $41,606) and he is a half-brother to Presidential Ball gelding Jays Debut, who amassed $239,455 from six wins and five placings from 22 starts, including wins in the $100,000 group 1 New Zealand Two-Year-Old Championship at Alexandra Park in June 2005 and a $97,500 listed classic at Franklin the following month. J Walker is also closely related to Lordship pacer Reba Lord, who earned $384,880 from 17 wins and 16 placings from 69 starts in New Zealand, Australia and America. "We have had a few problems with his soundness," Williams said. "But at the moment he's pretty good and, fingers crossed, he can keep fit and go through the grades. I think he has a bright future. He's a beautiful little horse and is no trouble. He's easy to train and is lovely to drive." LIVINGONTHEINTEREST, NOT AT HIS BEST, IS STILL TOO FAST FOR HIS RIVALS Speedster Livingontheinterest warmed up for the $60,000 Village Kid Sprint next Friday night with a smart all-the-way victory in the $21,000 Medic One Pace over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But the New Zealand-bred six-year-old did not impress reinsman Kim Prentice, who said that the gelding did not travel with his usual zest. "He's gone really good, time-wise. Normally he travels really, really strongly, but to me he didn't feel the same as he normally does. But he has won the race and that's what counts. I'm just glad to get that out of the way. "He had me worried the whole way because he normally travels really, really strongly, and tonight he didn't travel well at all. However, he responded when challenged in the closing stages and Senior said that the horse's last 50m was what pleased him." Livingontheinterest, favourite at 3/1 on, began fast from the No. 1 barrier, but had to be driven hard to resist an early challenge from 110/1 outsider Ohoka Dallas from barrier three and he sped over the first 400m of the final mile in 28.5sec. Dasher VC, third favourite at 11/1, dashed forward in the first lap to move into the breeze and put pressure on the leader, and after a second quarter in 29.5sec. the third section whizzed by in 28.4sec. Hokonui Ben, the 4/1 second fancy and stablemate of the pacemaker, enjoyed the trail behind the leader before finishing determinedly in the home straight. Livingontheinterest held Hokonui Ben at bay and beat him by a half-length, rating 1.54.9 after a final quarter in 28.9sec. Dasher VC held on to be 11m farther back in third place. Livingontheinterest, who is related to prolific winners Party Party, Another Party and Champagne Party, won at seven of his 15 starts in New Zealand and now has a fine record of 37 starts for 19 wins, seven placings and $212,325 in prizemoney. MAJORLY FOXY STYX EMERGES AS A BRIGHT PROSPECT FOR THE WA OAKS New Zealand-bred filly Majorly Foxy Styx has resumed after a spell in superb condition and owner Rob Watson and trainer Gary Hall sen. are looking forward with confidence to the rich WA Oaks next year after her runaway victory in the Kennards Hire Pump and Power Three-Year-Old Fillies Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her win by five lengths from Generally Outspoken at a 1.58.7 rate over 2130m followed her outstanding first-up performance to win the previous Saturday night when she raced three wide all the way and won convincingly from The Parade. Generally Outspoken, owned by Watson and Grace Inwood and trained at Northam by Glenn Elliott, should also develop into a leading Oaks candidate. Second fancy at 7/2, Generally Outspoken (Chris Voak) raced without cover for most of the way and battled on gamely before breaking into a gallop in the final couple of strides. Majorly Foxy Styx, favourite at 5/4, began speedily from barrier five and Kim Prentice sent her past polemarker Flicka Whitby and into the lead after 500m. Prentice then was able to get the three-year-old to relax and travel through the first two quarters of the final mile in 31.4sec. and 30.4sec. before she sprinted over the final quarters in 29.3sec. and 28.8sec. Majorly Foxy Styx did not race in New Zealand and she raced seven times in Victoria as a two-year-old for three seconds (at Kilmore, Ararat and Bathurst) before coming to Western Australia. She now has earned $30,865 from three wins and three placings from 11 starts. She is the second foal out of unraced Christian Cullen mare Foxy Styx, whose dam Prim And Proper (by Soky's Atom) had seven starts for one win, by a half-head in a minor race over 2200m at Greymouth. NORTHVIEW PUNTER WINS "WITH A LEG IN THE AIR" Four-year-old Northview Punter gave further proof that he is on the road to developing into a top-flight open-class performer when he outclassed his older rivals in the 2536m Kennards Hire Pump and Power Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. A strongly-supported second favourite at 5/2, Northview Punter made light of starting from the outside of the back line and the ease of his victory delighted trainer Gary Hall sen. and reinsman Kim Prentice. "He's gone super," said Prentice, substituting in the sulky for the suspended Gary Hall jun. "Junior said that he likes to chase, and down the back the final time I couldn't hold him slow enough to them, waiting for something to come to keep him concentrating. He was travelling that well that I just had to cut him (loose) and he's won with a leg in the air. I just wish it was that easy all the time." Asian Courage, favourite at 9/4, jumped straight to the lead from the No. 2 barrier while Northview Punter settled down in tenth position. Prentice quickly seized the initiative and he sent Northview Punter forward with a fast three-wide burst after 550m. Northview Punter then sat on the outside of Asian Courage before bursting to the front 350m from home and winning by two and a half lengths from 10/1 chance Bronze Seeker, who was tenth at the bell before unwinding a sparkling sprint. The final 400m was covered in 28.4sec. and the winner rated 1.58.4. The Feather Foot (85/1) impressed in coming from last at the bell to finish third and veteran Rojen Cruz (14/1) also caught the eye by finishing powerfully from the rear to be fourth. Asian Courage faded badly to finish last. Northview Punter, a winner of one race from two starts in New Zealand as a two-year-old, ended a losing sequence of six and improved his record to 30 starts for 15 wins and ten placings for earnings of $192,825. He is the ninth foal out of American-bred mare Watch Your Step and is a half-brother to smart New Zealand and American winners Stopwatch and Announcement. FLYALONG FALCON CONTINUES ON HIS MERRY WINNING WAYS Promising New Zealand-bred six-year-old Flyalong Falcon maintained his outstanding form and upset strong betting moves for Vapour and Shnappy when he finished full of running to win the 2536m Make Your Job Easy Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Flyalong Falcon, part-owned, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, was sent out at the handsome odds of 11/2, with Vapour (11/8) and Shnappy (2/1) both heavily supported. Polemaker Grand Cru (5/1) set the pace, with Shnappy (making his WA debut after winning ten times in Victoria) in the breeze and Vapour (unbeaten at his first two WA starts after three wins in New Zealand) racing in seventh position in the small field of eight. Flyalong Falcon, the solitary runner on the back line, enjoyed a perfect run behind the pacemaker before Turvey eased him off the pegs and into the clear 350m from home. Flyalong Falcon surged to the front 60m from the post to beat Vapour (who had started a three-wide move with 950m to travel) by a half-length, with Grand Cru finishing third and Shnappy wilting to fifth. The final 800m was covered in a brisk 56.9sec. and Flyalong Falcon rated 2.0.2 and took his record in WA to five wins and a second from six starts after having 29 starts in New Zealand for three wins and nine placings. He has earned $46,216. He is the only foal out of unraced Christian Cullen mare Skip Along. "He got the right run, which obviously helps," said Turvey. "He also got out at the right time and that went a long way towards his win. His best attribute is his standing-start manners and he's a pretty adaptable and laid-back character. I'd like to think he will win one or two more in the city." IM TERRIFIC DAWDLES EARLY BEFORE SPRINTING AWAY FOM HIS RIVALS New Zealand-bred five-year-old Im Terrific took full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when Colin Brown drove him to an easy all-the-way victory in the 2130m second heat of the Kennards Hire Lift And Shift The Coulson Pace on Friday night. Starting favourite at 5/4, Im Terrific took a stranglehold on the race when he dawdled through the lead time in 38.8sec. and ambled through the first 400m section of the final mile in a slow 31.9sec. After a second quarter in 30.2sec. Im Terrific dashed over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.2sec. to win by just under a length from 11/1 chance Rocky Marciano, who enjoyed the perfect trail, one-out and one-back, before finishing strongly. Heez On Fire (2/1) was an excellent third, just a head behind Rocky Marciano. Heez On Fire was trapped four wide early before Chris Lewis restrained him to the rear and then set him alight, three wide, from tenth at the bell. "I don't think that we necessarily had to get it as easy as that early," said Brown. "But once we did, it was all over. Since they put the go-straights on him he has improved no end. He used to get on a knee a little bit, particularly at Gloucester Park. Now he's a different horse and has got a lot more confidence." Im Terrific, who is trained by Greg and Skye Bond, had eight starts in New Zealand for one win (over 2000m at Otago as a three-year-old in January 2012) and his 223 starts in WA have produced nine wins and six placings. MOONLIGHT ROCKHOLE ENDS A LOSING SEQUENCE OF 19 Veteran performer Moonlight Rockhole ended a losing sequence of 19 when he unwound a stirring finishing burst to get up in the final couple of strides to snatch victory from the pacemaker and 4/1 favourite Miss Rivertin in the 1730m Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Moonlight Rockhole started at 17/2 and his young trainer-driver Dylan Egerton-Green was content to sit back in the field before asking him for a strong effort in the closing stages. Moonlight Rockhole was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell where Miss Rivertin was being put under pressure by nine-year-old Whitbys Beach, who was making his first appearance for 23 months. A hectic opening quarter of the final mile in 28.6sec. set the scene for a swooper and the final quarters were run in only 29.5sec. and 29.9sec., with the winner rating 1.58.2. Kristen Louise (9/2) ran on solidly from seventh at the bell to be third.' "He has been a grand old horse for us and the Robbie Tomlinson syndicate," said Egerton-Green, who explained the seven-year-old's disappointing sixth behind Soho Monza in a field of seven at his previous outing a fortnight earlier by saying that the gelding was a bit flat when having his second run in the space of five days. Moonlight Rockhole, who is still eligible to contest a Metropolitan-class maiden event, has amassed $98,683 from 15 wins and 31 placings from 127 starts. By Northern Luck, he is out of Windshield Wiper mare Gold Duchess, who had 27 starts for eight wins, six placings and $116,920. Moonlight Rockhole is a half-brother to six winners, including Manu Magic (152 starts for 13 wins, 30 placings and $89,986) and Goldanover (135 starts for 11 wins, 30 placings and $75,220). BEAUTIFUL NIGHT SETS THE PACE AND FIGHTS ON GAMELY Six-year-old Beautiful Night, who is in foal, broke a losing sequence of 11 when she set the pace from the coveted No. 1 barrier and fought on grimly to win the 2130m Kennards Hire Merry Christmas Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 2/1, Beautiful Night was rated well by Shannon Suvaljko and she had just enough in reserve to defeat the strong-finishing 12/1 chance Hoylakes First Lady by 1m, with Arch On Fire (25/1) coming from fifth at the bell to be third. The winner, trained by Peter Tilbrook, rated 1.58.2. Beautiful Night, bred and owned by Neven Botica, has been a handy performer and she now has earned $70,369 from nine wins and 16 placings from 51 starts. By American stallion Western Terror, Beautiful Night is out of the New Zealand-bred P JS Dream, who won five times from 25 starts in New Zealand before having two unplaced runs in WA (at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra) in November-December 2006 and then being retired to the breeding barn. "The barrier certainly helped," said Suvaljko. "She has led from an inside barrier before and I was confident of leading again tonight. She received a good bit of pressure early and did a good job to hold on and win." THIS TIME DYLAN TURNS THE TABLES ON MAROONED Rejuvenated pacer This Time Dylan notched his sixth win from his past 11 starts when he came from last in the middle stages to score a runaway victory in the 2130m Kennards Hire Concretecare Claiming pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His five-length win over Marooned made amends for his second at odds-on to Marooned in a claimer the previous Friday night. This Time Dylan, favourite at 6/4 from the outside of the front line, was restrained to the rear by Kim Prentice while 40/1 outsider Heavens Delight set the pace from Davy Maguire (in the breeze), Artorius (behind the leader) and Tee pee Village in the one-out, one-back position. The pace was fast and furious throughout, with a sizzling lead time of 36sec. Prentice started a three-wide move (following Marooned) approaching the bell. Marooned got to the front 380m from home before This Time Dylan swept past him 130m later and raced away to win very easily at a 1.56.3 rate. "They went hard early and we just had to go back, and it all just fell into place" Prentice said. "The only decision I had to make was when to come off the back of Marooned. I knew that this guy would sustain a real strong sprint. If I had left it to the top of the straight I probably still would have beaten Marooned. But I just wanted to make sure of it." by Ken Casellas  

Monday trotting was held at Hamilton in the South West of the state on Monday December 16 and what a day it was for Ararat based Emma Hamblin who registered her first win as a trainer, when seven year old Keystone Salute/Downsouth Soon gelding Trappers Puzzle greeted the judge in the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2160 metres. Also driven by Emma originally from NSW, Trappers Puzzle started from a daunting 70 metre backmark, but as there were no front markers, actually gave the leaders 60. Naturally settling at the tail of the field with the red-hot favourite Weregonnarock (10 metres) taking over from old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start, Trappers Puzzle gained a lovely one/one trail in the final circuit when Idle Suntime came away from four back the markers ahead of him. Looming large on straightening, Trappers Puzzle raced clear in the shadows of the post to score by 10.1 metres in advance of Weregonnarock which gave nothing, with Idle Suntime third after making a break in the last lap. In winning, Trappers Puzzle bred and raced by squaregaiting devotee Gary Bailey returned a new track record mile rate of 2-02.3. Hawkesdale trainer Graham Gee's four year old BlissfulHall/Weena Rena entire Bliss Man continued his rapid rise through the classes when successful in the Taylor Motors Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1660 metres. Again taking a concession for Jason Lee, Bliss Man led throughout from the pole to street his rivals by 25.6 metres in a new track record of 1-54.1 over Alta Antonio which raced in the open for the last lap. Mosquito Flyer finished third 5.8 metres away. Bungaree's Julian Jobe combined with Greg Sugars to land the Alexandra House Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres with Cobargo Jack, a six year old gelded son of Village Jasper and Jewell Of Cobargo raced by wife Alison. Beginning swiftly from gate two, Cobargo Jack coasted at the head of affairs to record a comfortable 7.3 metre margin in advance of Ruby Heart which faced the breeze, with Latoya Lass (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.6. Mount Gambier (Glencoe) father and son - Barry & Jayson Finnis snared the Hunt's Auto Spares Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with last start Globe Derby Park winner Paris To Berlin, a beautifully bred four year old gelding by Falcon Seelster from the good producer Roses In Paris a smart racemare herself. Despite racing in the open from gate three outside the heavily backed Jilliby Mac inside him, Paris To Berlin after dropping to trail the leader into the straight, finished strongly to score by 1.4 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 over The Jiggler (one/four - three wide last lap) and Jilliby Mac which got very tired over the concluding stages. The Finnis' were to make it two for the day when four year old Courage Under Fire/Surfing Queen gelding Flaming Hero scored in the Mountain View Stud Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres. Starting from the extreme draw, Flaming Hero possied near last in the running line, with the favourite Beau Ciel beginning fast from gate four to lead. Latching to the back of Tres Hombre ahead of him at the bell for a ride home, Flaming Hero when taken wide on turning, finished all over the top of his rivals to defeat a game Mayorofshinetown to give Mount Gambier the quinella, with Beau Ciel a disappointing third. The mile rate 2-00.4. Blacks A Fake's seven year old half brother The Avoca Flyer (Presidential Ball/Colada Hanover), trained by Peter Manning and taking a lift for Jason Lee, ran his rivals ragged from outside the front row in the Logical Property Services Pace for C1 class over 1660 metres. Always travelling under a tight rein, The Avoca Flyer scored by 1.4metres from the fast finishing Magical Bazz off a three wide trail from mid-field in the last lap. Mister Huxtable although very wide on the home turn, finished third. The mile rate 1-56.2. Jason Lee was to chalk up three for the afternoon after guiding border hopper Dagati Image to victory for Yahi trainer David Phillips in the Choice Hotels Pace Final for R0 class over 1660 metres which qualified in the heats held at Mount Gambier on December 8. Burning away from gate five, Dagati Image a 4-Y-0 gelding by Tinted Cloud from Cassels Atom led throughout to win in a breeze from Just Like Elle which trailed and Wings Of Delight (one/one) in a mile rate of 1-58.5. By Len Baker                                                        

Washington VC is one of the best performing stallions available to NZ breeders but seldom gets the accolades or mares his record suggests he should. As a racehorse he was smart without being a standout. Going US1:52:3 and earning $560,000 is not the record of a champion. He is a son of Presidential Ball who earned over $3,000,000 and also stood in NZ.  At stud however Washington VC has a far superior record to Presidential Ball. When you try to ascertain how the inferior racehorse is the far superior sire, you are drawn to the dam side of Washington VC. He is from a full sister to the brilliant Dexter Nukes who was renowned for leaving great gaited and wickedly quick stock, traits which Washington VC is also known for.  Imported to NZ by Keith Norman and syndicated  amongst a group including noted yearling sales vendor  Brian West, Washington VC was based in Southland at Norman's stud. Right from the start he has had issues with his semen traveling which has resulted in mares having to be served on farm which has meant he hasn't had access to a lot of the commercial mares in NZ, especially from the North Island. That has not stopped him from establishing a fantastic record of leaving top quality stock who are both quick and durable. The limestone country in Southland has always had a reputation for producing stock who handle the ravages of hard racing better than most and the stock of Washington VC are no exception. His flag bearer is the superstar I'm The Mightyquinn ($4,377,000) and he would have to rate up there with the best horses produced in the Southern Hemisphere. Horses of the caliber of Dasher VC ($630,000)  Foreal ($623,000)   Georgetown ($610,000)   I'm Victorious ($540,000) are prime examples of the kind of stock he leaves. His American record is outstanding. He only has 11 horses to have been exported there, all have won with 10 earning $100,00 plus for total earnings of $3,067,000. His stock to have excelled include Report For Duty ($847,000)  Steuban ($382,000)  VC Atom ($376,000) and Ruling VC ($266,000). As with a lot of NZ sires a big proportion of his stock are exported but he has still managed to leave over 255 winners in NZ with 148 in 2:00 including such smart types as It's Ella ($291,000) and Vice Chairman, whose wins at the recent NZ cup meeting stamped him as a grand circuit star in the making.  All things considered Washington VC has a stud record the equal of any. If his semen would travel his book would double overnight. Which makes what he has achieved from his Southland base so notable.  Traveling mares to studs doesn't  happen much these days but in the case of Washington VC it is definitely worth the trouble. JC This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink are doing with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia. Elsu - Redemption awaits McArdle - The quiet achiever Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up! Major In Art - Big and fast Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed Monkey Bones - All class Tinted Cloud - Still going strong Real Desire - The real deal

Harnesslink recently caught up with Victorian harness racing trainer-driver Steve Cleave to see how things had been progressing for him since his story of tragedy, dedication, passion, and, eventually, triumph, was published. But, before we get to that, if you are yet to read his truly tragic yet inspiring story, here it is. From Tragedy To Triumph - By Jason Bonnington After six long years and more than a handful of tears, this was to be the moment of quiet redemption. Invited to compete in Victoria’s young drivers’ championship at the state’s former home of harness racing, Moonee Valley, preternaturally talented teenage reinsman Stephen Cleave had made it. Cleave left school at the tender age of 14 by virtue of a complete cognisance of his need to work with horses. This desire was kindled and cultivated in those formative years by following his uncle and fellow horseman, Ron Campbell like an obedient dog whenever time would permit. Born to a father in Max, who was far from bereft of the capacity for love, but iron fisted at best in pursuit of the best for his sons, Cleave knew from the moment he pursued his passion the two men would be at loggerheads. Harness racing was “a bum sport” and the young man was more than subtly encouraged to “get out of it and do something decent with his life”. Yet at the tender age of just 19 he had already achieved what Max had feared impossible and won his implicit support in the process. Over the course of little more than half a decade working for some of the industry’s most respected names including Tony Peacock and John and Jack Caldow, the kid who “only ever wanted to be a trotting driver”, had forged and fortified a reputation as a budding reinsman of rare quality and a rising star of the standardbred world. But on the night preceding the piece de resistance of Cleave’s emerging career in the cart, where he would perform to a captive audience of family, friends and the industry he had embraced, the phone call came. AND THINGS WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME “It was on the Friday night that the accident happened, at about 4:30pm, and I got the call at about seven o’clock that night,” Cleave explained. On the way from Bendigo to the city, to see their son in his shining moment of glory, Max, along with Stephen’s mother Joy, had been killed. And in a decision that speaks to a passion for his profession that few of us will ever enjoy or understand, the 19-year-old opted to drive the following night. “I was supposed to go to Benalla to drive a horse in their day meeting on Saturday before going to Moonee Valley that night to drive in the final of the young drivers championship,” Cleave revealed. “My girlfriend at the time, her father said to me, ‘Look, don’t go to Benalla, I’ll go and drive that horse for you, you just concentrate on Moonee Valley,’ and I did”. After approaching Stewards to inform them of the tragedy and pleading for their support in allowing him to take his place in the sulky, all that was left was to act on the bravest instinct of his fledgling life. “It was definitely the toughest drive of my life, but mentally, as hard as it was, I felt it was something I needed to do,” Cleave said. “It was very personal, the decision to drive that night. I never had a problem with my parents, but dad just wanted the best for his kids and he spent a long time resisting my decision to follow my heart into the sport. “I’d been steadfast since I was 14 years old that this is all I wanted to do with my life and we had plenty of blues over it, but at the time that he died, he was my he was my biggest supporter. “Once he knew I wasn’t going to change my mind he got right behind me, 110 percent, so I knew he’d come to terms with it. That was why I had to keep going I suppose. “THIS WAS WHAT I HAD SET OUT TO DO WITH MY LIFE…I COULDN’T STOP NOW.” After finishing the race in a position neither him nor anyone else at the track that night would remember, the grim, sombre, raw realisation of what had happened finally dawned upon him. And quietly, inwardly and without fanfare, a road to redemption was paved. “The hardest part was coming back after the race and all my family were standing above the tunnel that you go back through leaving the track,” the Junortoun native recalled “As soon as I spotted them, that was the end of it. While I was on the track I could put everything behind me and just focus on the job at hand but as soon as I came back and saw them all standing there I just fell to pieces. It’s a life defining moment isn’t it? It either makes you or it breaks you.” Fortunately, having been blessed with what most would consider an incredible capacity for humility, prescience and positivity, Cleave was bowed but never for a minute close to breaking. Unlike so many in a similar situation, his dilemma was not whether to go on with the life that he had chosen, to persevere in hunting his harness racing dreams, but just how he would make that next crucial step. Adrift, afraid and in many ways alone, Cleave needed a hero, someone willing to support and encourage a young man with more to offer than most, in his pursuit to live a productive and fulfilling life. In Ken and Pat Ward he found two, and a relationship traversing the wildly disparate territory of family, friendship, business and passion was born. “I met the Wards soon after the accident through my friendship with David Miles,” Cleave remembered. “Us junior drivers used to call in there a lot. It was a bit like drop-in house on the way home from the trots. “I don’t know what it was between us, but there was just a special connection and before I knew it I was completely enveloped and still am to this day. “The Wards are what I would call my adopted family. Not adopted as in legally, but basically for the past 14 years, Pat and Ken and their family have taken me in as one of their own. “They treat me like a son, but they’re not like a mum and dad to me, if that makes sense. They offer unconditional support and we’re just best friends. “We own all the horses together and basically we’ve just bought 70-acres that we’re setting up as a training establishment this very minute.” That still to be named Romsey property – the brainchild of two men, 10 years and more than a few quiet Sunday beers – has been a pipe dream, a reverie, a fireplace fantasy for two men with a boundless love of horses and a passion for harness racing. And now that its sale nears completion – more than a year since an offer was first tendered – the new proprietor can barley disguise his delight. “We put a deposit on this block back in May of last year,” Cleave said. “It took us 12 months to get through all our permits with the council, which finally got approved in August (2010) and we’re just finishing up the final bits of paperwork now.” “It’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The Wards and I have had more conversations about our hopes for what we call, ‘Cleave Racing’ than I can possibly recall and it’s just surreal to think that it’s actually going ahead. “We’re on the cusp of setting up what we’re hoping will be a life-changing scenario, so it’s bloody exciting – of course it is.” But both Cleave and the Wards know that the faith to fashion their own horse heaven in the scenic surrounds of the Macedon ranges was nurtured not by blind hope, but the racetrack deeds of one of Victoria’s finest five-year-olds; Indigo Bay. “HE’S DEFINITELY THE BEST HORSE I’VE EVER TRAINED,” CLEAVE ENTHUSED. “We – that is Cleave Racing –leased him for a start, then we got an option to buy and he’s been all ours since he was a late season three-year-old.” “I remember when we first saw him on the videos, he looked like he had ability, but he always galloped so you didn’t really know what you were dealing with. “Then, the first start we gave him at Kilmore he just bolted in the run. I’ve never in all my life had one that I couldn’t hold in the run Until he came along, but when I let him go, he whipped around the field at a million miles an hour. “He wilted on the run as you’d expect, but it was then I knew that this horse had his fair share of speed and we were going to have a fair bit of fun.” Twelve wins, $92,768, a 1.55.1 Track Record (still stands) and six Group 1 finals later, and Indigo Bay’s stunning success has proven to be the catalyst for the greatest adventure of Cleave’s life. Now the quietest of his trinity of talented pacers, the sit-sprinting son of Presidential Ball will be the headline act of Cleave and Ward’s new establishment, with a crack at some of the rich Country Cups in his immediate future following an unlucky run in last month’s Melton Plate. Accompanying him during those germinal days at Romsey will be classy four-year-old mare Maximum Joy – a horse so promising in its freshman preparation, Cleave named her in honour of his late parents – and a Faye McEwen bred Grinfromeartoear baby with plenty of wraps called Cheshire Cat. But with the right slice of serendipity and support, Cleave is hoping his team will soon number closer to a dozen. “We’re looking at 10 to 14 horses in the formative stages at the moment,” the conditioner said. “I want to keep it small enough that everything is hands-on. Hands-on work is the best work you can do. I want to be with the horses 24/7. “It’s the only way I reckon. I remember Indigo Bay put in a lame step out in the paddock one day and I picked it up out of the corner of my eye, simply because I know him back to-front. Those little things are the difference between getting the best out of your horses or not. “It’s that attention to detail we’ll be relying on to ensure this place is a success.” Having overcome the greatest adversity a young man can face with a wisdom and maturity he had no right to harbour, it’s impossible not to believe that the disarmingly down to earth and gifted horseman will make Romsey work. Perhaps no longer driven by the tragedy that catapulted him from carefree kid to philosophical young man, but always informed by it, Cleave is ready to fulfil the destiny he surrendered to so many years ago. “I think about my parents every day of my life mate. When something like that happens to you it puts you on your arse pretty quick and it makes you grow up even quicker. “But I’ve had so much support from the Wards – even their daughters are like sisters to me – and if you’d told me at 15 that I’d have my own training centre at 34, I wouldn’t have slept in between. “I’m always someone who’s looking forward and there’s so much on the horizon now I just want to get to work and get the winners and make my name. “I love being the underdog, but now it’s time to show the world what we can really do.”   ---------------------------------------------------------------- ENDS------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ *A few years on and Stephen Cleave has now been training out of his Chitin sanctuary since the first of January 2012. “We have completed one full season at the new property and I am very pleased with the results,” said Cleave. “We may not have trained that many winners last season but our strike-rate was very good,” he explained. “In fact I think close on 70% of our starters picked up a cheque. “I am absolutely loving life at the new place and so are the horses, it really is an equine paradise,” he enthused. That equine paradise Cleave refers to is made up of 70 acres of lush green pasture, (4m x 12m), architecturally designed boxes, 10 x 1 acre paddocks, 15m x 15m Day yards & 30m x 30m Day yards, and a 1000 metre uphill sand track. “700 metres of the track is uphill, which really makes them work hard and is great for toughening them up,” explains Cleave. Cleave is currently working six horses but is looking to add to that number, while Ken Ward is currently doing two himself. “I’d like to get up to 10-12 horses, but no more than that as I like to pay special attention to every one of my horses. “Each horse is an individual and I like to train them as one,” says Cleave. “If I have any more than a dozen in work I don’t think that would be manageable,” he added. Cleave said that he doesn’t currently have a stable star but, like everyone, he is on the lookout for one. “I don’t have the most talented team at the moment, but I am hoping someone will walk in off the street and change that for me,” he laughed. “Indigo Bay has been retired through injury which is a real shame as he probably still had his best seasons ahead of him. He has however, earned himself a permanent spot on the farm and now spends his days keeping Cleave’s younger stock in their place. “He is my little champion,” said Cleave. “He may not be one to other people, but he really put me on the map as a trainer and got me into six Group One races, so I will be forever grateful for that.” Although the banner reads “Cleave Racing” Steve says he is in no way, shape, or form, a one man band. “It is a real family effort,” insists Cleave. “Ken & Pat Ward, their daughter Carissa, her partner Stuart, and myself all live on the farm together and everyone one of us plays a big part in Cleave Racing.” “Ken and Pat’s other daughter Hailey and her husband Adrian, who live down the road in Romsey, also come to help out on the weekends. My family are not just my biggest supporters but my biggest help as well. I certainly couldn’t do this without them,” he added. Cleave Racing currently has a great band of owners but are on the hunt for more. “All of our Owners are welcome to, and do, come out to see their horses anytime they like, whether it’s to watch their horse work or just to come out to say hello. "We want our owners to enjoy all the thrills in Harness Racing, from the day to day stuff through to the excitement of Race Day and the Joy of winning - Not just seeing their horse at the racetrack. “Horses are an emotional investment and we want all of our owners to enjoy every little bit of it,” he concluded. To view pictures of Cleave Racing’s new property or to get in touch with Steve, visit By Mitchell Robertson

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

Melton trainer/driver Lance Justice’s 7-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Flying Flo gelding Alchemy showed vast improvement to land the Graeme Lang Free For All for C7 or better class over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday November 21. One of four runners from the Justice stable – the others being Dominus Vobiscum, The Smiler and Because I Can, Alchemy which had been racing in much weaker grade over the past few weeks was sent forward to cross the pole marker Giveusagrim shortly after the start. With a number of more fancied runners making forward moves including Jaccka Clive, Youranut, Mustang Mach and Broadways Best prior to the bell with Youranut first up since July occupying the breeze for the final circuit, leaving Mustang Mach on a limb three wide with Broadways Best on his back and Jaccka Clive one/one after surprisingly handing over the death-seat. Tackled strongly by Youranut on straightening, Alchemy ($16.80) fought back like a caged tiger to gain the day by a head after being momentarily headed in a rate of 1-57 (last half 56.2 – quarter 27.2), with Broadways Best third after peeling wide halfway up the running. Brother John Justice was also a winner on the program, snaring the Reg Cooper Claiming Pace over 2240 metres with $56.80 chance Whodareswins, a 7-Y-0 daughter of Presidential Ball and Mumtaz Mahal who registered her first success since July 2012 when successful at Spreyton (Tasmania). Given a sweet passage from the pole trailing the pacemaker Astral Flight after leading out, Whodareswins in a punishing finish prevailed by half head in 1-58.8 after using the sprint lane to defeat Astral Flight trained by sister Joanne Justice with Brian Gath in the sulky, with Run Forrest close up in third place after racing in the open from the bell. Bendigo’s Matt Gath was in the winners stall when promising Yankee Spider/Kingsford Ado 4-Y-0 mare Ifu Seek Flight greeted the judge in the Gus Underwood Trotters Mobile for T1 & T2 class over 1720 metres in a rate of 2-03.2. Enjoying an easy trip from the pole following the pacemaker Marios Dream, Gath angled Ifu Seek Flight away from the inside on straightening and she finished best to score by 2 metres in advance of Mallee Trapper which raced wide from the bell. Drop Us A Line ran her usual honest race to finish third after trailing the winner and using the sprint lane. Raced by Michael Taranto of Seelite Windows & Doors fame, Ifu Seek Flight has raced 12 times for 4 wins. Rochester  trainer Mark Thompson has an impeccable record when taking a horse to the races and landed the Rob Merola 3-Y-0 Pace over 2240 metres with Total Truth/Karamea Toastime filly Lies. With stable reinsperson Ellen Tormey in the sulky, Lies raced by Mark and wife Sue having her first outing since July, led throughout from the pole, defeating Geoff Webster’s Tuscan Breeze which shadowed her and Phoebe Jack (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-01.5. Parwan part-owner/trainer Jaime Madruga combined with Gavin Lang to snare the Gunbower Cup Sunday Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2240 metres with 5-Y-0 D M Dilinger/Jaja gelding Amazing Kano who can put a run in every so often. Despite racing in the open from gate five outside Discrimination, Amazing Kano surged clear on turning to win by 6.4 metres in 2-00 even over Nimble Jack off a three wide trail last lap on the back of the third placegetter Jasmine Sheffield. Gisborne’s Brendan Said provided a shock winner in 6-Y-0 Jaguar Cam/Meadow Glory mare Dainty Cloud who took out the Lisa Miles Pace for C2 class over 1720 metres in a rate of 1-57.4. Taking advantage of a mares concession, Dainty Cloud was given every opportunity one/one from gate two, with Lance Justice’s Medonc crossing This Is Your Life shortly after the start leaving Our Miss Vivienne in the breeze. Taken into the clear halfway up the running, Dainty Cloud ($42.80) finished too well for a game Our Miss Vivienne, scoring by 1.1 metres, with Medonc third. Geoff Webster and Emmett Brosnan combined to land the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C1 class over 1720 metres with ultra consistent 4-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Big Time Babe mare Bit Of A Babe, leading all of the way from gate four in accounting for Union Belle (one/two) and Lady Suffragette which raced in the open from the bell. The mile rate 1-57.5. By Len Baker  

The 2012/13 HRNSW Industry Awards night was held at the Hilton Hotel Sydney on Saturday night where the feats of both humans and equines were recognised. Exciting filly Frith was unanimously named NSW Horse of The Year after a scintillating three-year-old season which included the NSW Breeders Challenge, Victorian Breeders Crown, WA and Victorian Oaks. The 3YO of the year was also taken out by Frith whilst Bling It On took the honours in the 2YO category. The Nicole Molander-trained Keystone Del was named Trotter of The Year and Gaius Caesar won the open aged horse division. The Board and staff of HRNSW would like to congratulate the following award winners:   Award Nominees Winner McLachlan Thorpe & Partners Carnival of Cups - Leading Trotting Trainer   Blake Fitzpatrick   Blake Fitzpatrick   Goulburn HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   NSW Standardbred Owners Association Carnival of Cups - Leading Trainer   Steve Turnbull   Steve Turnbull   Albury HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Horse   Make Some Magic NZ   Make Some Magic NZ   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 1 Meeting   Coolamon HRC Maitland HRC Penrith HRC   Maitland HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 2 Meeting   Eugowra HRC Fairfield HRC Orange HRC Orange HRC   Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 3 Meeting   Blayney HRC Broken Hill HRC Griffith HRC   Broken Hill HRC   Tabcorp Centurions   Amanda Turnbull Lauren Panella Blake Fitzpatrick Luke McCarthy Robert Morris Steve Turnbull Shane Tritton Belinda McCarthy   All   Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country)   Andrew Pitt Ashleigh Camilleri Grace Grant Paul Diebert Sam Hewitt   Paul Diebert   Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro)   Alex Alchin Kylie Barnes Lauren Panella Todd McCarthy   Lauren Panella   OAMPS Champion Junior Driver   Amanda Turnbull   Amanda Turnbull   OAMPS Champion Driver   Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull OAMPS Champion Trainer   Steve Turnbull Steve Turnbull   National Trotguide Best Coverage by a Regional Newspaper   The Daily Advertiser - Wagga The Irrigator - Leeton The Maitland - Mercury   The Daily Advertiser Wagga   PMG Media Best Coverage by a Regional Television Station   Harbor Television Productions NBN Newcastle Prime 7 Wagga   NBN Newcastle   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Volunteer Appreciation Awards                         Stephen Hunt Cootamundra HRC Greg Maxwell Young HRC John Den Eugowra HRC  Robert Chew Bathurst HRC Megan Lavender Bankstown HRC Andrew Ho Bankstown HRC Bert Read Bankstown HRC   All Penrith HRC Don Clough Appreciation Award   Richard Earnshaw   Richard Earnshaw   Harness Breeders NSW Broodmare of the Year   Falcon Black Beauty NZ Jackie Kelly Left For Me Full Pleasure Rochelle Hanover   Left For Me   Pepper Tree Farm NSW Sire of the Year   Presidential Ball USA Tinted Cloud USA Pacific Rocket Ifihadyourluck USA John Street North USA   Presidential Ball USA   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar Outstanding Service to the Breeding Industry   Pepper Tree Farm Pepper Tree Farm   Breckon Farm NSW 2YO Trotter of the Year   My Valerie NZ Swishbye Verbier   My Valerie NZ   Addington Raceway NSW 2YO Filly Pacer of the Year   Denises Legacy Distant Memory Majestic Amy Ocean Diva Spicy Stride   Distant Memory   House of Brook NSW 2YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Allblack Stride NZ All Eyes On Us Bling It On Business In Motion Lettucerockthem   Bling It On   Sky Racing NSW 2YO of the Year   My Valerie NZ Distant Memory Bling It On   Bling It On   Bulli HRC NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year   Duchess Ella Nickys Invasion Vincennes   Duchess Ella   Sir Lincoln NSW 3YO Filly Pacer of the Year                 Frith Gypsy Babe Im Tondelayo Laaganoosh Tarelle   Frith   Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar NSW 3YO C&G Pacer of the Year   Be Brave Caesar Augustus Ee And Em Stride Home Of The Brave Sir Eric NZ Ultimate Art   Home Of The Brave   Tabcorp NSW 3YO of the Year   Duchess Ella Frith Home Of The Brave Frith   NSWHRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year   Keystone Del NZ King Of Strathfield NZ Neville Vaughan NZ   Keystone Del NZ   Cordina Farms NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year   Baby Bling NZ Forever Gold Obahma Joy Our Sixpence NZ   Baby Bling NZ   Harness Racing Travelworld NSW Aged E&G Pacer of the Year   Chariot King Excel Stride Gaius Caesar NZ Ideal Scott NZ Mach Alert NZ Mach Beauty Washakie NZ   Gaius Caesar   Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Aged Horse of the Year   Keystone Del NZ Baby Bling NZ Gaius Caesar   Gaius Caesar   OAMPS - NSW Horse of The Year   Bling It On Frith Gaius Caesar   Frith        

Victorian trainer Michael Stanley has two runners engaged at Goulburn this Friday afternoon including talented four year old pacer Hilltop Hustler. The son of Presidential Ball will compete in the Gr. 3 Tab Rewards Championship Final and will be looking for his seventh win in his past eight starts. "I got him from New Zealand and I always thought Hilltop Hustler had plenty of ability but he has really charged through the grades so this race series looked a really nice option for him," Stanley said. "For winning the heat he only copped a country penalty and the money is just about the equivalent of winning his M0 in Melbourne so it made sense to make the trip to Sydney and now he finds himself in a $30,000 race." Hilltop Hustler won his heat in 1:53.9 accounting for Gliding Rose and has drawn barrier two in the final. "There looks to be a bit of speed in the race, Franco Noriega likes to lead in his races and if we were able to slot in behind a horse like Freyberg and lob into the 1-1 then that would be ideal but if he gets shuffled back I wouldn't be afraid to make a move because he is pretty tough and can do some work in his races." "When I travel to Sydney I like to get up there the day before the race, when I race at Menangle I normally stay at the Morris's but because this week's meeting is at Goulburn, I will travel up on Thursday and stay with Graham Moon just near the track, it will be ideal." Stanley has confirmed his talented mare Blucolla Tigerpie is being set for the Robin Dundee Stakes, a Gr. 2 event for mares on Miracle Mile night. "She is only two weeks away from the trials, I am really happy with her and that race at Menangle fits into her campaign really well, the only problem with her now is that she is so highly assessed that it is going to be tough to find her a couple of races to compete in beforehand." Nancy O'Grady || Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Hryhorec hits them for six over long weekend.   Ryan Hryhorec finished the long weekends racing on Monday at Betezy park Globe Derby with a treble to give him six winners for the long weekend.   Hryhorec started with a double at Port Pirie on Friday night with the Les Piper trained pair Spoilthepartyartie and My Southerncomfort  then drove the Barry Preston trained  square gaiter Siegfried to a 12 meter victory on Saturday night at headquarters.   He then put the icing on the weekend with three at Globe Derby Monday Dixie Wagon scored in a photo in the trotters handicap Hryhorec made it a race to race double with Cullen Guest and later in the day scored with the Matt Mcguire trained Alongthehighway who notched her 3 win this season.   BOTRA launches Christmas Raffle at Globe Derby Markets.   SA BOTRA took the opportunity to fundraise to patrons outside of harness racing when they launched their Christmas raffle at the Sundays monthly market held in the old bookmakers ring at Globe Derby. The wheelbarrow full of goodies containing everything from Wines to 20kg bag of Dog food was on show and a $2 per ticket it was popular amongst market goers. BOTRA also ran their famous BBQ at the market which will be held once a month at headquarters.   SAMOS series launched   The South Australian Mares Owner’s Scheme (SAMOS) continues to be an important part of the state’s breeding. Enhancements to SAMOS introduced last season, will continue in the 2013-14 season. The majority of the studs have continued to support the scheme, with new Studs or Stallion Management Company’s being Bred in the Blue, Majestic Lodge and Yirribee Pacing Stud. The full list of SAMOS supporters is included.       A reminder of the changes that will continue this season:       •           A mare can now win up to 4 certificates, but must race into a third year to earn them. She can win 2 in her first 12 months and then 1 in 2 subsequent 12 month periods.   •           There is now a restriction on interstate owned mares. To be eligible to earn a certificate, the mare must have been trained in an SA stable at least 28 days prior to the race.   •           It is now listed in the conditions that broodmare owners must advise the studs up front if using a certificate/s. Failure to do so may void any agreement made with the Stud.   •           HRSA has already negotiated with participating studs a 20% discount on the face value of the certificates.   •           The Certificates will have an expiry date of 5 years after date of issue.   •           Certificates can now be won on a race at any TAB covered meeting in SA.   •           Certificates Mares that had already won 3 certificates prior to 2012-13 are eligible to win additional certificates as per the conditions.       This season SAMOS is supported by Alabar Farms, Global Stallion Management, Alderbaren Park, Bred In The Blue stallion management, Eldarin Park, Empire Stallions, Goodtime Lodge, Lochend Stud, Londdon Valley Stud and New Zealand’s Nevele R Stud plus three local studs Skyline who stand Tiger Woods, Majestic Lodge who will stand first season sire Alzano  by Presidential Ball and Tranquil Valley Stud who stand the Artsplace stallion Hearts Space.

SPRINGSTEEN TRIUMPHS FOR HARPER AFTER A BAD START Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred five-year-old Springsteen stamped himself as an up-and-coming summer carnival prospect when he overcame a terrible start to outgun his rivals in the $21,000 Garrard’s Horse And Hound BOTRA Cup over 2902m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Springsteen, the heavily-supported even-money favourite, dismayed his backers when he galloped badly off the front line and quickly dropped back to eighth. But his 23-year-old trainer Kyle Harper finally got Springsteen into a pacing gait and then dashed him forward with a powerful three-wide burst which took him to the front after 900m. The gelding had lost 35m at the start and many punters thought that the early effort to get to the lead would leave him vulnerable in the closing stages. But Springsteen showed a touch of class after Harper had given him a much-needed breather with moderate quarters of 32sec. and 31sec. in the first half of the final mile. Springsteen then warded off a stern challenge from dour stayer and 30m backmarker Shardons Rocket as he accelerated sharply and sprinted over the third quarter of the final mile in a sizzling 27.6sec., followed by a final quarter in 28.9sec. Springsteen went to the post powerfully and defeated the gallant Shardons Rocket by 2m, rating 2.2.1 over the marathon journey. Shardons Rocket fought on grandly after racing in the breeze over the final 1500m. This Time Dylan, who raced without cover early, finished solidly, but was badly hampered for room in the home straight to be third, just in front of False Promise. “When he galloped I wasn’t overly worried because he usually gets down pretty quickly,” Harper said. “But tonight he didn’t get down as quickly as he normally does and after 30 to 40 metres when he was still cantering I was a little bit concerned. “But once he hit his straps I thought I would just balance him up three deep around that bend and work him forward. Once I got to the front and was able to get the quarters I got I was pretty confident again. We got that breather after a solid first half. “When Shardons Rocket moved alongside Springsteen I was still quite happy, mainly because we had got that soft half. I reckon Shardons Rocket got a nose in front down the back (at the 450m mark), but I wasn’t worried. Once I levelled up with him at the 400m I was confident I had his measure. “I haven’t got any plans for him at the moment. I’ll just see how he pulls up. He’s not just a stand horse and is just as good in mobiles.” Springsteen, who is owned by John Kirkpatrick, Nigel Bruce and Warren Went, had 19 starts in New Zealand for five wins and seven placings. He raced five times in stands over 2600m for four wins and a third. He has won at six of his 15 WA starts and his record stands at 34 starts for 11 wins, nine placings and stakes of $92,217. His victory gave Harper his second success in the BOTRA Cup, after his success with 25/1 outsider Outstandin last year. Harper’s father Lindsay also won the BOTRA Cup twice, scoring with Ariege in 1998 and Shattering Class in 2000. This was the second successive year that Harper had defeated a horse trained by Tony Svilicich and driven by Morgan Woodley into second place in the BOTRA Cup. Twelve months ago Outstandin beat 7/4 favourite Mysta Magical Mach. Springsteen’s dam Holms Spirit earned $50,323 from four wins and eight placings from 65 starts. Her first foal Im Jasper the Ghost has won five times in WA and has earned $55,730 from his seven wins and 23 placings from 77 starts. MIDNIGHT DYLAN GIVES BROWN HIS THIRD WIN IN CRANLEY MEMORIAL Noted frontrunner Midnight Dylan left his rivals floundering in his wake when he produced a sparkling display to score an effortless victory in the $21,000 Pat Cranley Memorial over 1730m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old’s win by two and a half lengths from Empire Flame at a 1.56.3 rate gave reinsman Colin Brown his third success in this event, following wins with Can Return Fire in 2008 and Motu Treasure in 2010. Midnight Dylan, second fancy at 2/1 behind 6/4 favourite The Ragpickers Dream, surged straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and after a moderate first 400m section of the final mile in 29.4sec. Brown virtually gave the opposition no chance when he was able to let Midnight Dylan amble through the second quarter in 30.9sec. Midnight Dylan was not seriously challenged. He covered the third quarter in 29sec. before sprinting over the final section in 27.7sec. Empire Dream (12/1) raced without cover and fought on well to be second. Western Cullen, a 35/1 chance sustained a good three-wide burst from seventh at the bell to be third. The Ragpickers Dream, who started from the back line and settled down in 11th position, fought on gamely from ninth (three wide) at the bell to be fifth. Midnight Dylan, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, won once from nine starts in New Zealand and now has earned $145,325 from 12 wins and 18 placings from 54 starts. Interestingly, he raced against Western Cullen four times as a two-year-old in New Zealand and finished behind him every time. He also competed against Springsteen, Heez Orl Black and Mein Guy in New Zealand. Springsteen won the BOTRA Cup on Friday night, Heez Orl Black was unplaced behind Chaldea earlier in the night and Mein Guy was successful in a race at Kalgoorlie on the same night. Midnight Dylan, by Mach Three, is out of Midnight Skipper, who is a younger sister to Sandy Bay, who raced 28 times in WA between 2003 and 2005 for 12 wins and seven placings. Sandy Bay’s most notable victory in a career of 40 starts for 13 wins, 13 placings and $198,896 was in the 2907m Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park in 2005 when he was driven by Chris Lewis and defeated Ohoka Ace and Baltic Eagle. Midnight Slipper, by Presidential Ball, was out of the Victorian-bred mare Kirlian, who raced as a two and three-year-old, earning $94,300 from five wins and four placings from only 20 starts. She finished second to Donna Who in the Australian Gold final for two-year-old fillies at Harold Park in April 1993 before winning the Pink Bonnet Mile on the same track in July that year. Midnight Slipper raced 49 times for two wins, ten placings and $29,835. TILBROOK, SUVALJKO AND BOTICA COMBINE FOR A WINNING DOUBLE Herron trainer Peter Tilbrook brought two four-year-olds to Gloucester Park on Friday night and he was all smiles when he left for home, contemplating the stylish victories of Loving You and Senor Jet. Both pacers started a firm favourite and were driven in fine style by Shannon Suvaljko. The wins also gave owner Neven Botica a double. Loving You, favourite at 11/8, started from the inside of the back line in the 1730m Regency Food Mares Pace and she trailed the pacemaker and 5/2 second fancy Bettor Whitby before Suvaljko eased her off the pegs 220m from home. Loving You was switched three wide on the home turn and she finished strongly to burst to the front 50m from the post before scoring by just under a length from Terra Into The West, who had taken the lead with 130m to travel. Bettor Whitby, who had overraced, held on to be third. This brought up four wins in a row for Loving You, an Art Major filly bred by Botica. Loving You has already earned $67,372 from seven wins and ten placings from 28 starts. She is the third foal out of New Zealand-bred mare Roustabout, who raced 12 times for four wins, two placings and $33,171. Roustabout’s first foal is Arousing, who has raced 60 times for seven wins, 19 placings and $64,973. Tilbrook produced Senor Jet in fine fettle for his first start for four months when the New Zealand-bred gelding started favourite 5/4 on and gave a bold frontrunning display to beat the fast-finishing Ardens Southee by 5m in the Slater Gartrell Sports Pathway Pace over 2130m. Toretto, making his first appearance since winning at Gloucester Park 11 months ago, began speedily from barrier three, but was unable to cross Senor Jet, who started from the prized pole position. Senor Jet sprinted over the final 400m in 28.6sec. and Toretto fought on gamely to finish third. Senor Jet rated 1.58.7 and took his record to five wins and two seconds from only ten starts for stakes of $22,977. After one win from three New Zealand starts he has chalked up four wins and two seconds from seven WA outings. A DOUBLE KEEPS VOAK AT THE TOP OF THE PREMIERSHIP TABLE Chris Voak continued his outstanding start to the 2013-14 season when he completed a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night by driving 25/1 outsider Chaldea to a surprise victory in the 2130m first heat of the David Strom Leading Driver Gary Hall jun. Preux Chevalier Pace. The 25-year-old Voak, who had been successful earlier in the night with hot favourite Smirking, maintained his lead on the Statewide reinsmen’s premiership table. At the end of the night Voak’s record for the first five weeks of the season stood at 19 winners and 21 placegetters from 94 drives, giving him the lead over Shannon Suvaljko (17 wins and 20 placings from 73 drives), Colin Brown (17 wins and ten placings from 52 drives) and Gary Hall jun. (15 wins and 16 placings from 56 drives). Chaldea, one of three runners in the event trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, had been placed at his four previous starts, but was disregarded by punters, mainly because he was at a distinct disadvantage of starting from the outside of the back line. Mellsop elected to drive Little Boy Blue (4/1) and he engaged Nathan Turvey to handle 40/1 chance Notabadexcuse. Polemarker Myouri (5/1) set the pace, with stablemate What God Knows in the breeze, 3/1 favourite Heez Orl Black in the one-out, one-back position and Chaldea in eighth spot. When Brown sent Ballas Arockstar (14/1) forward approaching the bell, Voak was quick to follow that gelding’s three-wide burst with Chaldea. Chaldea sustained a strong finishing run and burst to the front in the closing stages to score by a head from Myouri, with outsider Courage Tells impressing in finishing fast from 11th at the bell to be a half-length away in third place. Chaldea dashed over the final 800m in 58.2sec. and rated 2.0.3 to end a losing sequence of 12. A winner at three of his ten New Zealand starts, he has had 32 starts in WA for six wins and 12 placings to take his overall earnings to $63,661. Chaldea is by Western Terror and is out of the unraced New York Motoring mare Summer Solstice, whose dam, the unraced Sands A Flyin mare Love And Light produced good winners Mr Chin and Im Light Hearted. Mr Chin, by Village Jasper, won four races in New Zealand and one in Australia (as a three-year-old at Menangle in June 2006) before winning 30 times in America. He had 225 starts for 35 wins and 57 placings for prizemoney of $407,317. Im Light Hearted has raced 107 times for 12 wins, 31 placings and $118,097. MAKE ME GRIN HAS CALLEGARI SMILING Astute Busselton trainer Michael Callegari has a good eye for a horse and he made a wise decision last November when he made an offer to buy a lightly-raced four-year-old by the name of Make Me Grin. Callegari produced Make Me Grin in superb condition at Gloucester Park on Friday night when Ashleigh Markham drove him to a convincing victory in the 2130m Remote Foods Pathway Pace at the five-year-old’s first appearance at that track. It was also the gelding’s first start since March. “Make Me Grin was owned by Ryan Bell and his Dad Peter was working him on the track where I was training my horses,” Callegari said. “I liked the look of him, so I made an offer and got him for $3000.” Callegari races Make Me Grin with his mother Margaret and the gelding has had 11 starts for them for two wins and three placings for stakes of $11,488. Before that, Make Me Grin had won once (at Bunbury) from six starts. He had been purchased by Ryan Bell for $26,500 as a yearling. At his first start for Callegari, Make Me Grin finished a nose second to Dougie Bromac at Bunbury last December before he set the pace and was a most impressive winner over Livelong And Prosper at Albany on New Year ’s Eve. However, the gelding’s next starts, five at Albany and three at Bunbury, produced just two minor placings. “I kept taking him down to Albany every week and I don’t think he handled all the travelling,” Callegari said. “So I sent him for a long spell before giving him a nice long preparation.” Make Me Grin was a 13/2 chance from barrier three on the front line. He mustered plenty of early pace and Markham sent him past the 7/4 favourite Mene Jaccka and into the lead after 300m. After dawdling through the first 400m section of the final mile in a very slow 33.4sec. and the next quarter in an ambling 31.1sec., Make Me Grin sped over the final 800m in 57sec. to win by a length from 11/4 chance Northview Cardle, who raced in the breeze over the final 1300m. Make Me Grin is out of the Safely Kept mare Spirit Away, who earned $71,250 from nine wins and 19 placings from 64 starts. Make Me Grin traces back on his dam’s side to several outstanding WA pacers of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, including Magic Flute, Eroica, Flute Song and Enrico. Star Song, the dam of Magic Flute and several other winners, was an elder half-sister to the South Australian-bred Modulation, who contested the 1957 interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park. Both Modulation and Magic Flute were unplaced in the final won by the South Australian frontrunner Radiant Venture. SANJAYA CHARGES HOME FROM LAST Well-travelled New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Sanjaya, whose ancestry on his dam’s side traces back to champion New South Wales pacer Don’t Retreat, gave promise of better things to come when he surged home from ninth in a field of nine at the 350m mark to score an easy victory in the 2536m Force Equipment Service And Hire Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Sanjaya, trained at Serpentine by Gary Hall sen. and driven by his elder son Clint, was a 6/1 chance from the outside of the front line and at his third start after a spell. Hall restrained Sanjaya back to last as Romulus (7/1) sped to an early lead from barrier three. Heavens Delight (7/1) overraced in the breeze and Bet Your Life, a newcomer from Victoria and favourite at 4/1, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back. Chris Voak sent Bet Your Life to the front 250m from home, with Jar Zinyo (10/1) unwinding a solid three-wide burst. Sanjaya was last passing the 350m mark as Hall followed the three-wide run of Jar Zinyo. Jar Zinyo got to a narrow lead in the closing stages before being swamped by the fast-finishing Sanjaya, who scored by a length at a 1.59.7 rate. The final 400m was covered bin 28.9sec. Sanjaya ended a losing sequence of eight and took his record to 60 starts for 12 wins, 16 placings and $84,064. He had 24 starts in New Zealand for two wins and six placings, 15 starts in New South Wales for four wins and five placings, 11 starts in Queensland for four wins and four placings and ten starts in WA for two wins and one placing. Sanjaya’s great, great, great granddam Tui Scott produced Don’t Retreat, a star of the 1970s when he had 112 starts for 55 wins, 32 placings and stakes of $340,317. Don’t Retreat qualified for the final of the interdominion championship in Brisbane in 1977 and Melbourne a year later, but was unplaced in both events. Sanjaya also is related to recent Perth winner Me Old Mate, who has raced 39 times for nine wins, eight placings and $64,126. OUR MAJOR MARK GIVES HIS BACKERS A SCARE New Zealand-bred six-year-old Our Major Mark, favourite at 5/1 on, gave his backers plenty of palpitations when he looked beaten on the home turn in the 2130m Central Fruit Sales Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The pacemaker Kiss Chasey (10/1) had shaken off Our Major Mark on the home turn and looked set for victory. But Our Major Mark, who had dropped back more than a length behind the leader (after racing in the breeze for most of the way) fought back grimly to get his nose in front 10m from the post. He won by a neck from Kiss Chasey, with Copagrin battling on into third place after enjoying the run of the race in the one-out, one-back position. Our Major Mark drew the prized No. 1 barrier and was looked upon as a certainty to set the pace. But, surprisingly, Our Major Mark lacked early sparkle and settled in fourth place before Colin Brown quickly eased him off the pegs and took him three wide to move outside Kiss Chasey after 500m. This was Our Major Mark’s eighth win from 15 starts in WA for trainers Greg and Skye Bond and it took his earnings past $600,00. He won at ten of his 39 New Zealand starts and twice from six starts in Victoria before arriving in WA. The son of Art Major now has amassed $609,275 from 20 wins and 16 placings from 60 starts. He has graduated from an M0 mark to an M1 classification. Our Major Mark was an outstanding performer for Mark Purdon as a two-year-old in New Zealand when he won three group 1 events and one group 2 event. He won the group 2 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park in March 2010, an $80,000 group 1 event at Addington in April, the group 1 Sires Stakes at Addington in May and the group 1 Emerald at Cambridge in June. SMIRKING FIGHTS ON DOGGEDLY TO SCORE NARROWLY South Australian-bred six-year-old Smirking, the seventh foal out of WA-bred mare Princess Talaria, responded doggedly to heavy punishment to scramble to a half-head victory over 27/1 outsider Ya Dreamin in the 2536m Red Pepper Catering Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trained by Ross Olivieri and driven by Chris Voak, Smirking was hot favourite at 3/1 on and he burst straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier. Colin Brown sent Ya Dreamin forward, three wide, soon after the start and the gelding moved alongside Smirking after 500m. Ya Dreamin poured on the pressure in the final circuit and the final two 400m sections were covered in 28.9sec. and 28.7sec. Voak had to wield the whip vigorously over the final 450m to stave off the determined Ya Dreamin. This was Smirking’s third win from nine WA starts after he had raced 21 times in South Australia for nine wins and eight placings. Princess Talaria (by Northern Lights) was bred in WA and she was successful as a three-year-old at Gloucester Park and Harvey in 1999 before winning three races in Victoria as a four-year-old. Princess Talaria produced Oztreos, who won at his first seven starts (all at Globe Derby Park) and he earned $123,278 from 21 wins and 12 placings from 50 starts. Smirking’s maternal granddam Minerva Reef produced ten winners, including The Maitre Dee, who won seven races in a row at Gloucester Park as an eight-year-old early in 2000 before retiring with a record of 140 starts for 19 wins, 32 placings and $107,161. ADDA PATERNAL SUIT DELIGHTS LOONE Oldbury trainer-reinsman Shane Loone celebrated his surprise victory with Adda Paternal Suit in the 2536m The Gate Leading Trainer Gary Hall Senior Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night with an extroverted display of uninhibited exuberance. Adda Paternal Suit, the 26/1 outsider in the field of eight, worked hard in the breeze for 1150m before getting to the front 350m from home and racing away to score by 5m from Arousing and Benjamin Banneker. Loone thrust his left arm skywards and wielded the whip jubilantly as Adda Paternal Suit coasted to the post. Loone and Maria Petricevich outlaid $19,000 to claim Adda Paternal Suit on September 13 and now the West Australian-bred seven-year-old has had two starts for his new owners for a good fourth to Springsteen in the Kalgoorlie Cup and Friday night’s impressive victory for stakes of $13,710 which have boosted his career record to 93 starts for 21 wins, 28 placings and $228,705. The win ended a losing sequence of 12 and Adda Paternal Suit was eligible to contest Friday night’s event for horses classified M1 to M4 after he received a drop-down concession from an M5 to an M4 mark when his losing sequence reached ten. Polemarker Arousing (9/1) was first into stride and Bronze Seeker (9/2) and Rojen Cruz (8/1) raced wide early before Morgan Woodley sent Bronze Seeker to the front after 600m, leaving Rojen Cruz in the breeze. Loone had Adda Paternal Suit out three wide before getting the gelding into the breeze with 1500m to travel. Benjamin Banneker, favourite at evens, raced in last position before Gary Hall jun. sent him forward with a three-wide burst 1350m from home. Benjamin Banneker was kept three wide until Adda Paternal Suit got to the front with 350m to travel. He fought on solidly to be third, just a nose behind Arousing, who finished strongly after trailing the pacemaking Bronze Seeker, who was a close-up fifth. by Ken Casellas  

Smythes Creek (Ballarat) trainer Emma Stewart and freelance Bacchus Marsh reinsman Gavin Lang each recorded doubles at Saturday's Cranbourne fixture, Stewart with two six year olds - Mister Sheedy in the Tintin In America Pace for C6 or better class over 2080 metres and Tara Toplady the Cranbourne Trainers Bonanza for C4 & C5 class (mares) over 1609 metres, while Lang was successful aboard Gatesys Girl in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2575 metres and Flaxton Filly in the Bayside Group Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Mister Sheedy a gelded son of Presidential Ball and Intoxicating driven by Michael Stanley, was surprisingly able to head off the favourite Astronaut shortly after the start from gate five and after an easy time, proved too strong for Astronaut along the sprint lane in a rate of 1-59.4 (last half 56.9 - quarter 28.3), with the Cranbourne specialist Stylish Jasper close up in third place after following the pair. Bettors Delight/Perfect Passion mare Tara Toplady taking a concession for reinswoman Jaimie-Lee King, was a big winner of her race after being trapped three wide from gate four and eventually working to the lead at the bell.  Joined by Arber for the final circuit, the pair raced away approaching the home turn with the race to themselves, with Tara Toplady giving plenty to hold a margin of a neck on the wire. Jasmine Sheffield (one/one) was 8.2 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-56.9. Smart 5-Y-0 Conch Deville/Glamor Loch mare Gatesys Girl is good when she's on her game and was at Cranbourne with a tough victory in a mile rate of 2-07.4.  Trained in Gippsland at Longwarry by Michael Hughes, Gatesys Girl stepped cleanly from a 10 metre handicap, with Lang having no hesitation is sending her forward to park outside the pole line leader Mallee Trapper.  Appearing to be under pressure on the final bend with the leader holding a clear margin, Gatesys Girl rallied under desperate driving to score by a head right on the wire in a rate of 2-07.4. The 40 metre backmarker Earl Or Nothing ran on late from last to finish third. Eight year old Village Jasper/Turn To Gold mare Flaxton Filly which had recorded 6 wins from 86 outings prior to the race, was given a cosy trip three back on the marker line from inside the second row, with the heavily supported Obama leading from gate four with Monique Burnett in the sulky for trainer Maree Caldow. Extricated into the clear on straightening, Flaxton Filly came with a brilliant burst of speed to register a runaway victory in advance of Obama which offered no resistance, with Zoomba third after racing in the open. The mile rate 1-59.8. Lara trainer Dean Braun made it three from three with recent stable addition Sals Mo in the Ade Turf Equipment Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2080 metres. Beginning with a wing on every foot for Nathan Jack from gate five, Sals Mo was untroubled to lead throughout, winning by 9.6 metres in a rate of 1-58 from Conflict Of Interest (one/two) and Courageous Spirit which trailed the winner. A five year old Art Major/Dream Chaser gelding, Sals Mo is the 6th winner from the dam, the most noticeable being 18 race winner Detriot Dan (By Oil Burner). Len Baker

Western Vintage and driver Yannick Gingras seemed to have the $683,000 final of the Metro Pace all but wrapped up Saturday evening at Mohawk Raceway, until mid stretch when driver Sylvian Filion found clearance from sitting third along the rail and rallied Boomboom Ballykeel to win in an upset at odds of 10-1. The race was marred by numerous horses bumping into one another and one pair locking wheels in the stretch and it took five minutes before the judges could sort it all out, reviewing the video tape and talking with the drivers involved. At the start it was Tellitlikeitis and driver Ron Pierce going out to the early lead but that was short lived as driver Yannick Gingras had Western Vintage on the move and in command by the opening quarter mile in :26.1. The 3/5 betting favorite then cut the mile to the half in :54.3 as Luck Be Withyou (Scott Zeron) started up first-over with Let’s Drink On It (Jim Morrill, Jr.) following second-over. Racing down the backstretch Luck Be Withyou went off-stride and that left Let’s Drink On It first-over on the final turn as they passed the three-quarters in 1:22.2. Some Major Beach (Doug McNair) was able to slip out and follow Let’s Drink On It second-over. Meanwhile, Filion was trapped in third place along the rail with Boomboom Ballykeel. As they started down the stretch, horses beared into each other, broke stride, locked wheels, all the while Western Vintage and Tellitlikeitis were clear of any interference and then Filion, who pulled out of third place with Boomboom Ballykeel, closed with a great rush of speed, blowing by Western Vintage before the finish to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:50.4. Some Major Beach closed well for third with Tellitlikeitis fading to fourth place. “It was tight quarters coming down the stretch,” Filion explained, “I was pretty confident that I was in my own rights…anytime there is a race like this, going for big money, the judges need to check out and they did. “He (Boomboom Ballyreed) was full of himself tonight,” Filion said. “I knew if we could get some cover he would be real close. When we drew the rail I knew we had a pretty good shot in here. He raced so good last week, just missed. You have to give credit to trainer Richard Moreau, he has done a great job with this horse.” It was the third win in seven starts this year for Boomboom Ballyreel. Sired by Mach Three from the Presidential Ball mare, Teig N Riley, Boomboom Ballyreel is a homebred colt bred and owned by Ballykeel Racing of Tillsonburg, Ontario. At 10-1 odds, Boomboom Ballyreel paid $23.00 to win and he lowered his lifetime mark by five full seconds. “We had a full brother to him (Boomboom Ballykeel),” said trainer Richard Moreau, who is also the Mayor of Tillsonburg. “He was a nice horse too so we thought this one would be good. It wasn’t until his first qualifying race that he showed great closing speed that we knew he was very good.” by Steve Wolf

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