Two meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday July 25, Cobram during the afternoon and Kilmore at night, listed below are some of the highlights. Veteran MoamaEchuca trainer/driver Ron Gilligan's 5-Y-0 Wind Cries Maori/Salute The Rain gelding Salute The Wind produced a career best performance to land the Barooga Hotel Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2170 metres at Cobram. Beginning with a rush from outside the front row, Salute The Wind almost crossed the hot favourite Kyvalley Glide (gate five) which kept him at bay, resulting in Salute The Wind having to race in the open. Joining the pacemaker on the home turn, Salute The Wind proved too strong over the concluding stages to score by a half neck in a mile rate of 2-02.9, with Daretobedifferent (three back the markers) third after Prettygirl Lassie which trailed the leader breaking when using the sprint lane to issue a challenge. Popular Avenel/Nagambie trainer Michael Hayes combined with Bendigo based Scott Dyer aboard honest 4-Y-0 Live Or Die/Forest Drive gelding Forbidden Forest to snare the Bakers Delight Pace for C2 class over 1670 metres in a mile rate of 1-56.3. Starting from inside the second line, Forbidden Forest was given the run of the race trailing the poleline leader Abstract Lady and was always travelling kindly. Surprisingly not wanting to use the sprint lane, Dyer eased Forbidden Forest around Abstract Lady on straightening and finished best to record a nose victory in a tricky finish, Pensicola (four back the markers) used the sprint lane to finish third. Much travelled border hopper Our Bulla Boy trained at Lavington (Albury) by Chris Chant and driven by Cameron Maggs provided an upset result in the Jim Howes Memorial Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2170 metres. Trailing the pacemaker and favourite Whatacracker drawn next to him from the pole, Our Bulla Boy gained a freak inside passage approaching the home turn when Whatacracker shifted ground allowing him to lead on turning. Kept going in the straight, Our Bulla Boy scored by 3.5 metres in advance of Dynamite Dude from last after gaining inside runs everywhere, with Peaces Of You running on late out wide finishing third. A winner of 10 races from 51 outings, Our Bulla Boy returned a mile rate of 1-59.9. Astute Kialla (Shepparton) trainer Steve O'Donoghue produced a first starter by the name of No Tomorrow to impressively take the 2nd Heat of the Vicbred Platinum Country Series B for Three Year Olds over 1670 metres. A gelded son of Life Sign and Cobbity Cobbity driven by “Bec” Bartley, No Tomorrow was sent forward from gate six to park outside the leader Tennaya until (gate three) until another first starter Brown Rice (four back the markers) took charge of its driver Mark Buckingham to race inside the marker pegs and lead turning into the back straight on the final occasion before easing out of the race. Despite doing all of the work, No Tomorrow was too strong at the finish for a sprint laning Sophies Ideal (three back the markers) and Tennaya, returning a mile rate of 1-58.9. The Kilmore program was highlighted by three heats of the Rock N Roll Heaven/Bellino Breeders Crown Series 15 for Three Year Old Colts & Geldings over 2180 metres. The first (Heat 8) going to outstanding Kiwi gelding Border Control for Mark Purdon and stand-in reinsman Greg Sugars in a rate of 1-58.7. Settling mid-field from gate two on the second row, Border Control (Bettors Delight/Contrapan) was set alight mid-race to stride clear racing for the bell, winning as he pleased over Almost El Eagle which led for the first lap, with Major Calypso third after moving from near last at the bell to park in the open for the final circuit. Heat 9 went the way of Wahring (Shepparton) trainer Daniel Jack's quality Art Major/Full Pleasure gelding Nowitzki in 2-00.1. Driven by Nathan jack, Nowitzki led throughout from gate five to score by 14.5 metres over Our Warwick Lad which trailed, with Christian Sloy third after following the pair. Heat 10 saw Mt Cottrell trainer John Nicholson's ever reliable Blissful Hall/Lotsa Wealth gelding Ginger Bliss win impressively in a rate of 2-02. Driven by son Rhys, Ginger Bliss starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, before gaining a three wide trail at the expense of Gollahman (one/three) from the bell. Although four wide on the final bend, Ginger Bliss swept to the front on straightening to register a 3.9 metre victory over Magnificent Art along the sprint lane off the back of the weakening leader Wounded, with Doomed (one/one) third. Trafalgar (Gippsland) trainer Chris Hunter was successful with 4-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Rhythmake mare Rhygrin in the Kilmore Swimming Club Pace for C0 class (mares) over 2180 metres. With son Glenn in the sulky, Rhygrin first up since February had to work extremely hard from the pole to hold out Rowan Direct (gate three) as the mobile pulled away, maintaining the front running. Tackled again in the last lap by Cheval Charette three wide from the one/one spot, Rhygrin was very game to fend off all challengers on straightening, scoring by a head from Snow Cone (one/two) and Cheval Charette in a rate of 2-03.9. Parwan father and son - David & Brad Barnes scored a well overdue victory with Falcon Seelster/Crown Defender 5-Y-0 gelding Coltrane Bromac in the Nexus Primary Health Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres. Taking a concession for Brad, Coltrane Bromac was given every chance trailing the leader Dance With Mia after the heavily supported Fifth And Broadway went off stride when leading running into the first turn. Easing three wide on the final bend, Coltrane Bromac finished full of running to cut down a death-seating Cheshire Cat in the shadows of the post by 2.1 metres which was no laughing matter, with Fifth And Broadway weaving in-between runners to finish a close up third. The mile rate 2-02.4. by Len Baker
Wintery weather didn't deter trotting lovers Australia wide from attending the 28th running of the $50,000 (Group 1) Seelite Windows & Doors "The Redwood" Classic for Two Year Olds over 2190 metres at Maryborough on Sunday July 14, taken out by Kiwi filly Daenerys Targaryen for champion Christchurch based harness racing trainer/driver Mark Purdon.
The two mandatory harness racing meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday July 11, with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Ballarat at night.
Western District racing was held at Terang on Tuesday July 9 with surprisingly only three winners coming from the area, the highlight of the evening's harness racing being Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman chalking up 100 winners for the season.
Rising thirteen year old Wagon Apollo/Ritadaft gelding Master Kiesey notched up his 17th victory when making his 258th race appearance, by taking the Lilydale Instant Lawn Trotters Handicap for T0 & T1 class over 2150 metres at Yarra Valley on Monday July 8.
A total of $850,000 in stakes was up for grabs at Tabcorp Park Melton over two night's of harness racing last weekend, with the running of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for two, three and four year olds.
Wednesday Victorian harness racing was held in the Western District at Hamilton where a neat seven event card took place.
Rochester's Mark Thompson has enjoyed a great run with his pacers, especially over the past decade or so and snared a stable double at his local track Echuca on Tuesday July 2, with Lies and Drunken Desire winning their respective races, both handled to perfection by stable reinsperson Ellen Tormey.
The Nyah Harness Racing Club held a terrific meeting at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday June 27, with winners coming from far and wide.
Terang trainer/driver Matt Craven who represented his state in the Australasian Junior Driving Series a number of seasons back, has enjoyed his best harness racing season ever mixing both training and freelance driving.
The Kilmore Harness Racing Club meeting on Tuesday June 25 featured two heats of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series over 2180 metres for Two Year Old Trotters, one for each sex.
Avenel harness racing trainer Wayne Potter enjoyed a happy night at Shepparton on Saturday, providing a stable double with exciting 4-Y-0 American Ideal/Elegant Falcon gelding Authorized taking the Fords Coach Travel / GV Plumbing Pace Final for C1 class over 1690 metres and American Ideal/Bring Her Back filly Sophies Ideal the Sherbourne Terrace Pacefor non winners over the same journey.
Thursday June 20 was a terrific day for Bolinda harness racing trainer Brent Lilley who brought up three winners for the day - a double at Charlton in the afternoon and one Geelong in the evening.
Further heats of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series were held at two venues in Victoria on Wednesday June 19 - Yarra Valley hosting the 3rd Heat for Three Year Old Colts & Geldings and the 3rd and 4th Heats for Four Year Old Entires & Geldings all over 2150 metres in the afternoon, while Bendigo presented the 5th & 6th Heats for both Two Year Olds over 2150 metres at the night session.
Cudgee (Camperdown) harness racing trainer/driver John Meade who enjoyed plenty of success with the smart trotter Crescent Glory now retired, has unearthed a 4-Y-0 gelding with plenty of untapped ability by the name of Maorisfavouritesun who established a new track record in winning the Ian McCallum Tribute Trotters Handicap at Hamilton in Victoria's Western District on Monday June 17.
The Strathfieldsaye combination of brothers Glenn and Daryl Douglas took the honours at the Nyah harness meeting held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday June 13, Glenn providing three winners on the nine event card and Daryl also chalking up a trio of victories including one for the stable.