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To quote one of my favorite Australian Football League commentators Brian 'Bristle' Taylor: "Boy Oh Boy...Wow-eee!" And even former harness racing Sydneysiders Shane and Lauren Tritton, now domiciled in North America, admit that they are pinching themselves. The couple is living in Pine Bush, an hour from New York City, and have had two starters for the 100 percent strike rate of two victories. My Ruebe Star got the job done mid Saturday morning Australian time and then stablemate Gods Spirit did likewise the following day. Both won at the famed Meadowlands circuit and were handled by Jordan Stratton. They naturally came in for support on our TAB agencies so there was sure to be plenty of cheering around the country. "We're riding a wave we never want to get off," the Trittons posted. "And a big thank-you goes out to everyone who has helped us along the way. The support we've received has been unbelievable." Shane and Lauren took a team of 12 over with them and have picked up another six horses since arriving in the US in late March. Some of their others yet to be unveiled by Team Tritton include Yayas Hot Spot, Flaming Flutter, Ohoka Johnny, My Rona Gold and Katy Perry, who should all be going around soon. Jordan Stratton has helped Shane and Lauren Tritton to two first up wins ------------ THE superstar of Victorian regionalization racing in the far north west corner of the State, Bernie Winkle is unfortunately taking an enforced break from the action. Bernie Winkle (Rock N Roll Hanover-Dolly McD (Mach Three) recorded six consecutive victories on the Mildura circuit-but it was the authoritative manner he went about business that earnt him a cult following during lockdown racing. The brown gelding, raced by Eric and Heather Anderson, was sent up the Calder Highway by Glenn Douglas, to his long-time mate Geoff Lucas. From April 24 to June 5, Bernie Winkle thoroughly enjoyed his working holiday in the sunshine. Shane Smith guided him to five wins and then stand-in reinsman Andrew Stenhouse (coincidentally both former Broken Hill horsemen), took the horse to a 1.56-4 last start win. Stenhouse, who recently drove his first winner for 10 years, was cool as a cucumber and handled Bernie Winkle with aplomb for an impressive win. Stewards noted after the race the gelding was lame in his off-side foreleg and stood him down until he gets a veterinary clearance, with the problem believed to be a hoof abscess. A relieved Andrew Stenhouse got the job done like a pro on Bernie Winkle at Mildura ------------ THE marvel from Shepparton, nine-year-old pin-up boy San Carlo, is warming up for another campaign. San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry) performed with plenty of zest in a recent trial and then wasn't all that far away in his first race start for nearly five months. The tough warrior, trained by Stephen O'Donoghue and Bec Bartley, stepped out at a Shepparton meeting last Saturday night. The gelding finished fourth to Courageous Saint, owned by enthusiastic Swan Hill participant Noel Watson, in a handy 1.56-9 for 2190 metres. San Carlo boasts a super-impressive 50 percent win to start strike-rate at the races. He's had 30 victories and 11 minor placings from 60 outings for over $571,000 in stakes. Raced by John Eichhorn, the pacer performed in a tough NZ Inter Dominion campaign last November-December. He later won a fast class event at Mildura on January 24 prior to having a let-up. San Carlo is sure to make his presence felt in feature races on the country circuit. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It wasn’t to be for Victorian trainer-driver Bec Bartley and her popular pacer San Carlo on New Zealand Cup Day, but it is onward and upward to the Inter Dominion. “Unfortunately things didn’t go the way we expected,” Bartley said. “He appeared to have an off day as well as not handling the track 100 per cent.” Bartley, who co-trains San Carlo with Steve O’Donoghue, said the nine-year-old would “have a few light days before heading to Auckland”. Cruz Bromac produced a powerful finishing burst for driver Blair Orange to win the NZ Cup, delivering his Australian connections the silverware, while earlier in the day Tough Monarch captured the Group 1 New Zealand Trotters Free for All for New South Wales trainer Rickie Alchin and driver Anthony Butt. Victorian McLovin produced an enormous effort to finish second for the Kate and Andy Gath team. Both trotters will contest the Group 1 Dominion Trot at Addington.    HRV Trots Media

A decisive move laid the platform for a commanding victory and with that San Carlo and reinswoman Rebecca Bartley launched the Trots Country Pacing Championship in fine style. The Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup winning moment came with two laps to go when Bartley guided San Carlo from the rear of the field to the breeze, daring to challenge Buster Brady for the front of the running line and from there 'Murray' was able to dictate and the claim the bulk of the $80,000 cup stakes. The victory was also a warning shot for his rivals ahead of the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 12, with connections confirming that will be San Carlo's next major stop before a New Zealand campaign. It promises to be an extraordinary start to Australasia's Grand Circuit season with competition for places tight, particularly after Cruz Bromac and The Storm Inside also both saluted on the Kilmore undercard tonight and flagged an intent to chase a Victoria Cup. But for now the want for future glories can wait as Bartley and co-trainer Stephen O'Donoghue bask in the success of a Kilmore Cup, a prize the latter said he hadn't dared dream of. "I was just happy to have a runner in the cup to be honest, that was the biggest thrill," O'Donoghue told Trots Vision. "I didn't expect to win tonight, honest to God that was the furthest thing from my mind. I just thought we get through the race, hopefully he pulls up well and we go from there but to run 27.2 down the back and still fight on - huge thrill." O'Donoghue gave plenty of credit to training partner and reinswoman Bartley. "I think this horse has made her as far as her confidence and realising that she can hold her own in that class of drivers," he said. "The last two years she's taken the next step, thanks to San Carlo really, he's given her that confidence and belief in herself." Bartley has piloted San Carlo for all 49 of his starts which have produced 29 wins, none richer than tonight's. "To be honest I knew he'd go good but I didn't know if he could win it or not, that was a really big thrill, really big surprise," Bartley said. Despite San Carlo being first up from a spell Bartley showed little hesitation in thrusting the nine-year-old into the throng mid-race, advancing to the breeze in what would prove the decisive move. "He's been working really good at home and we thought he might have needed the run," Bartley said. "When Buster was there and it felt like they were (going) slow I thought, 'oh, I'm not going to do any good back here so I may as well give it a go'. It was a surprise that Kima (Frenning) handed up, which was really good, he was really on the charge, he was on the bit. "He was quite fresh in the warm up and I thought I would have had trouble holding him, but he relaxed pretty good. When we hit the front and I sort of looked at the TV (big screen) and we had cleared away and I couldn't believe it." There were also plenty of smiles in the Cruisin Around camp after he grabbed the early ascendancy in the Maori's Idol Trotting Championship with a well-timed win in the MC Labour Kilmore Trotters Cup, having been placed perfectly by reinsman Chris Alford and produced a winning burst to register 3.2-metre win. Cruisin Around found Magicool's back in the running line off the standing start and it would prove the perfect platform for the sprint home, with the Brent Lilley trained trotter winning by just over three metres from placegetters Magicool and Maori Law. "He raced nice tonight, slotted in nice and early on the back of the favourite who carted him everywhere he needed to go," Alford told Trots Vision. "He might not be up with the Tornado Valleys and them, but in these sort of races (he) can do a little bit of work as well. He was good tonight and hopefully that gives them a bit of confidence."   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

The winners will be many at Cobram this Sunday when the spoils of the fundraising day will benefit a great cause but also reward those putting on the show. Cobram Harness Racing Club's annual Pink Day, which raises money for and awareness of the McGrath Foundation, will have plenty of prizes to help race goers, the charity minded and participants to get into the Pink Day spirit. This year’s major fundraiser is once again a raffle, with tickets sold to win the major prize of a $3000 travel toucher thanks to Flightcentre Marketplace Shepparton as well as luggage valued at $1000. Minor prizes of $1000, $500 and $100 Visa Gift Cards will also be drawn. There will be a lucky entry draw with all on-course patrons having the chance to win a Gold Coast accommodation package valued at $1600 donated by Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, as well as $200 holiday package vouchers. Trainers will have plenty of reasons to nominate their horses for the meeting with six trainers in each race being drawn throughout the day to take home products thanks to Carbine Chemicals and Hygain, as well as a lucky trainers draw for the chance to win a set of Hyland Colours. The feature race on the card is the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace. The $10,000 C1 class event will see horses randomly allocated to the following drivers: Ellen Bartley, Rebecca Bartley, Juanita Breen, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett, Donna Castles, Laura Crossland, Kima Frenning, Lisa Miles, Ellen Tormey, Abbey Turnbull and Tania Ward. All trainers with a starter in this race will receive a Carbine Chemicals product and a Hygain-Mitavite showbag, with the winning trainer also taking home a new set of hopples donated by Trot Pace, as well as further prizes for the runners up.   Last year’s fundraising efforts raised more than $27,000 for the McGrath Foundation, which assists in placing breast care nurses in country areas, with organisers hoping to raise a similar amount for the charity once again. Raffle tickets can be purchased from any of the female drivers competing in the race or by contacting the club on 0409 401 189. Nominations for the race day close at noon tomorrow. For race day details click here.   Trots Media

Star pacer San Carlo capped a top season of harness racing with an easy victory in Sunday's $35,000 Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup. The Goulburn Valley trained eight-year-old, finalist in the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship and recent Mildura Cup winner, went straight to the front from barrier six in a small six horse field, and driver Rebecca Bartley controlled the race to suit from the front. Sprinting the last lap of the Pacing Bowl in 58.6 seconds, San Carlo held a margin of three metres at the finish from outsiders Tough Call and Motu Gatecrasher which filled the minor placings. Trainer Stephen O'Donoghue said after the race San Carlo will head to paddock for a well earned spell over Winter, and he is hopeful the geling still has one or two seasons of racing in him. From Only 48 starts, San Carlo has won 28 races and nearly $470,000 in prizemoney for his owners, the Eichorn family. Although the appearance of San Carlo dominated the Pacing Cup, the $14,5000 Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup was a more open race for punters. A confident front running drive by reinsman Greg Leight with 14/1 shot Law Legend paid dividends, with the veteran six-year-old gelding running out a two metre winner. From 113 starts, Law Legend has won 13 races for trainer Greg Leight. Gippsland trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan won two races on Sunday. Rocknroll Pearl will be aimed at feature events in New South Wales after an easy win in the final heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. The four-year-old has qualified for the $40,000 Final at Melton this Saturday night. Three-year-old Sahara Tiger took on the older horses and won in the third race. Cranbourne's Jayne Davies also collected two wins on the card with Alliyahs Choice and Betterman Stride, while Iona horseman Michael Hughes produced the consistent trotter Express Yourself for another victory, in what was a good day for local trainers. Huli Nien was very well backed to win the Rob Lee Warragul Guineas for trainer Jess Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars. Although crowd numbers appeared to not increase on last year, the on-course TAB holdings were up, and there was an increase in the number of horses racing at the Cup meeting this year.   Kyle Galley

Back in 1971, a single was written and recorded by American musician and actor Jerry Reed that’s been a well-worn catchphrase ever since.   That song was “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”. It provided Reed (1937-2008) with a Grammy in 1972 and it’s become a maxim for card-sharks, punters and athletes.   So our usage of the lyrics won’t come as a surprise in relation to Shepparton superstar pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Gary), known around the stables as “Murray”.   The eight-year-old is ultra-hot at the moment, and connections have indicated they are now headed to the Group Three $35,000 Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup next Sunday afternoon.   San Carlo is described by his reinswoman Bec Bartley as “a once in a lifetime horse”.   He already has a host of cups to his name this season. Last week it was a heat and final of the Mildura Pacing Cup after earlier picking up the Bendigo, Yarra Valley and the Cranbourne Gold Cups during the season.   Long-time Mildura trainer Noel “Lucky” Cameron hosted the San Carlo team during their carnival stay – and got the pre-race “warm up” duties on the cup contender! Bartley said trainer Stephen O’Donoghue, was keen to head to Warragul.   “But the decision hinged on how well the horse pulled up after the Mildura carnival,” she said.   “He didn’t leave a crumb from Sunday night’s tea and the following day was zipping around his paddock full of beans, so the final decision was really pretty easy.”   Bartley said San Carlo was impressive in Saturday’s Mildura Cup, and once he found the lead he relaxed in the race and didn’t knock himself around.   “It was quite the contrary to Tuesday in the qualifying heat when he over-raced and got all wound up,” she said.   That particular event is still being talked about and will be for some time to come. A proud Bartley later described that effort as “probably close to his best performance”.   “If you take the sections into account of 29.3, 29.7, 28.7 and 30.4 for a mile rate of 1.58-5 for 2600 metres on a track just 805m in circumference, it was a monster effort,” she said.   Bec Bartley (Courtesy Cobram Harness Racing Club) San Carlo and Brallos Pass went head and head in a gruelling battle for the final 250 metres with neither “giving an inch”.   San Carlo got the honors after a late dive right on the post.   When you’re hot, you’re hot!   Play it again San Carlo...   Hoofnote: And just for the music buffs who crave a bit of history and context, a little bit more trivia on that 1970s Grammy hit. The song describes an illegal game of craps, in a back alley. The protagonist is on an uncanny winning streak, which ends when a cop arrests all the players and takes the money as evidence. Undeterred, our hero believes his lucky streak will continue and tells the cop: “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”. The third verse describes the court case. The singer is delighted to see the judge is an old fishing buddy, to whom he owes money. But a bribe to pay back the money for a lighter sentence backfires. The judge grins and does the opposite: giving the others small fines, and a 90-day jail sentence for the singer…accompanied by an ironic summation by the Judge: “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”!     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Victoria’s premier female drivers appear to hold the keys to this Saturday night’s $60,000 Mildura Pacing Cup Final after dominating last night’s heats.   The Mildura Pacing Cup is the only event on Victoria’s country cups circuit to be run in a carnival format, with Tuesday night’s heats over 2600 metres, followed by a Saturday night final over the same distance.   Great Western pacer Reciprocity (Panspacificflight-Weka Lass (Badlands Hanover), driven by Kerryn Manning for her father Peter, scored an emphatic win in the first heat, over Perspective and South Australian Bulletproof Boy.   In the second, Shepparton pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry), for driver Bec Bartley, ground out a narrow death-seat victory over leader Brallos Pass, driven by Ellen Tormey, with the pair 28 metres clear of their nearest rival, Emain Macha.   Barring accident or incident, Saturday night’s final is effectively at the mercy of the three accomplished reinswomen – and it’s shaping as an intriguing battle.   Reciprocity’s victory was comprehensive – and dispelled any doubts astute mentor Peter Manning had about the mare’s ability to handle the 805-metre Mildura circuit.   The five-year-old sat back in the early stages from her barrier eight draw. She was then sent three wide by Kerryn at the bell, then careered around the final turn at Mildura four and five wide, with all the confidence in the world, posting 2:00.4 for the journey.   “That was going to be the test – whether she would handle the track or not. We’ve found she does,so that’s all we needed to know,” Manning said.   With only five days between heats and finals, and with another night of racing on Thursday night, trainers often relocate to the remote Sunraysia region for the week, but Kerryn Manning said   Reciprocity would be home in her paddock by the early hours of Wednesday morning.   “She travelled up really well on her own, and we thought it’d be best to get her home again,” Manning said.   “She did an awesome job for us tonight, everything we wanted, so we’ll just hope for one better on Saturday.” Kerryn Manning and her father Peter with Reciprocity, winner of the first heat Reciprocity is owned by Henry Campbell and came to the Manning stable from the Tamworth region. Since arriving late last year, she’s chalked up seven wins, including an MO and the Group 3 VHRSC Metro Pace Final, in Victoria. But the Group 2 Mildura Pacing Cup would be her biggest win. “I’d trained a couple of horses for a fellow up at Tamworth and he was the one who recommended to Henry that he send the horse down,” Peter Manning said. “We’re pretty glad he did. She has improved in leaps and bounds, particularly in the past couple of months. “She used to hop along a bit and we’ve done some work on her feet and let her hopples out and she’s just thrived on the sandy track at our place. “She’s a very smart horse.” In the second heat, Shepparton pair Brallos Pass (trained by Mark Watson) and San Carlo (trained by Stephen O’Donoghue) always looked the key chances on paper, and that proved to be the case, with only a head margin separating the pair at the post. Brallos Pass was sent forward by Ellen Tormey from his extreme outside (barrier six) draw, and early leader Lucky Lombo (Zac Phillips) was content to hand up. As Tormey crossed to the lead, Bartley, who had come from barrier eight, made a forward move to “death seat” outside Brallos Pass. With a lap to go, San Carlo strode up alongside Brallos Pass, and the two went to war down the back straight. "I wanted to be alongside Ellen as we got around the final corner, because I thought if she pinched a break on me, I might not be able to get it back – but I thought San Carlo would be tough enough if we were on terms,” Bartley said. She was right – but only just. San Carlo raised a final effort on the line to score narrowly from a gallant Brallos Pass.   An elated Bec Bartley after Heat Two of the Mildura Pacing Cup   Bartley and San Carlo are spending the Cup week in Mildura, with Bartley super-keen to go one better this year, after finishing runner up last year to Im the Boss (with Shakahari).   “San Carlo has pulled up really well after the race, and he’s settled in nicely where we are staying,” Bartley said.   “He’ll have a day off tomorrow and then he’ll just have a jog leading up to the final. I’ve got no doubt he’ll handle the two close runs.   “We don’t have too many problems with him these days. He’s such a seasoned horse now. He eats everything you put in front of him and come Saturday I think he’ll be jumping out of his skin.”   The full list of 11 qualifiers includes one local horse, Brocks Territory trained by Luke Watson. Other qualifiers are Assassinator, Lucky Lombo, Bulletproof Boy, Ideal World, Perspective, Brallos Pass, Resurgent Spirit, Emain Macha, Reciprocity and San Carlo.   San Carlo looks likely to draw the extreme outside of the back row for Saturday night’s final, with Reciprocity right next door on his inside. Brallos Pass may face a tricky assignment, with an inside back row barrier draw if all qualifiers accept.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It’s Mildura Cup week. The racing is fierce, the atmosphere is electric, the whole town's buzzing, and did I mention the racing is fierce? Going into night one of the annual three-meeting carnival, many thought San Carlo wasn’t just over the line in his heat of the Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup, they thought he was unbackable for Saturday night's final, too. As it went, he did win tonight, but by only a head after a scintillating contest befitting a picture-perfect Mildura Cup Carnival evening. San Carlo, better known to those closest to him as “Murray”, was sent to the breeze position (outside the leader) in his heat once reinswoman Ellen Tormey pushed her charge, Brallos Pass, to the front ahead of early pacesetter Lucky Lombo.  Bartley would have known Tormey had signalled her intentions aboard the leader pre-race – “I respect San Carlo a lot but on these tight tracks you have to do that sometimes," she said – and during the event when Brallos kicked up. Tormey's unwillingness to relinquish top billing made the race. She also allowed Brallos Pass to stride along freely in the middle stages, the heat a significantly quicker affair than the other cup qualifier won earlier by Reciprocity. Just over a furlong from the finish, approaching the final bend in the gruelling 2600m heat, Brallos Pass and San Carlo had cleared out from a valiant Emain Macha and Lucky Lombo in third and fourth.  Yes this was a heat, but you couldn’t tell. Neither horse, neither driver would yield in a stride-for-stride slog. But in the finish there can only be one winner and tonight San Carlo landed the decision on points. His winning mile rate was 1:58.5. “I was a little bit worried on the turn,” Bartley admitted post-race. “He came off the bit and I thought 'oh gee, maybe he’s not as fit as I thought', but he really tried hard and I know I’ll have a better horse on Saturday.” Bartley paid tribute to her steed, but also to the runner-up’s driver Tormey for making it a stoush for the ages. And this is just the entrée. Of her boy Murray, Bartley remarked he’d developed into the all-round racehorse under the tutelage of trainer Stephen O’Donoghue. “He’s so seasoned now. He’s a seasoned traveller who just takes trips away all in his stride. He’ll probably have an easy day tomorrow then a bit of jog work the next few days," she said. Earlier, star mare Reciprocity (pictured winning below) won her heat courtesy of a typically perfectly timed Kerryn Manning drive. The five-year-old, trained by Kerryn’s dad, the legendary Peter Manning, produced a mile rate of 2:00.4 to upstage Perspective by 7.9m. Hitting the road home for the long trip back to her Great Western property after the win, Manning said Reciprocity was every bit “worth the trip”. “She’s worth coming to drive and we’ll do it all again on Saturday,” she said before saying she had the chance tonight to make it home not too long after midnight, which "wasn't too bad!" “It panned out well. We trailed through nicely and lobbed handy enough. She settled really well and we got a nice cart up. They went pretty hard up the back, which helped me a lot.” Manning is already a two-time winner of the Mildura Cup, and she’s hopeful Reciprocity can upstage San Carlo and co in the big dance on Saturday to deliver a third helping of Sunraysia silverware to sit alongside Go Charles’ trophy of 2001 and Arden Rooney’s of 2015. “She handled the track pretty good. She’s been to Melton most of the time lately, so the littler track and the distance was a bit of a query, but she’s tough and very versatile. She’s showed the last few runs she can do a bit of work or sit back and sprint,” Manning said. Meanwhile, Jimmy Herbertson and John Caldow snared winning doubles on the card. Herbertson could hardly believe the ride he got aboard Our Little Actress, who cruised to a 25.8m win in the DNR Logistics Pace Final for trainer Frank Mercieca after securing the perfect trip in transit. Herbertson backed it up in Race 4, the first of the Tenderprint Australia Cup heats with victory aboard Sunrose Master for trainer Danny Curran, who defeated Willem. Caldow, who is driving in sublime form right now, steered Stephen Telfer pair Our Dance Time and Our Step Up to wins in the Mildura Working Man’s Club Pace (Second Heat) and Tenderprint Australia Cup (Second Heat) respectively. Other winners tonight were Starzzz Princess for Peta Brown and Darby McGuigan in the Tankard Dental Pace Final at big odds, and Geronimo Dan for Sandra O’Connor and Alex Ashwood in the first heat of the Working Man’s Club Pace. The action continues on Thursday night with the Seelite Windows and Doors Mildura Trotters Cup before Saturday night's Cup Final meeting.    Cody Winnell Trots Media

Young Shepparton harness racing driver Bec Bartley is looking forward to renewing fond memories of her early days in the sport during next week’s Mildura Pacing Cup carnival. Bartley, 27, was a regular competitor at Mildura for a two-year period from November 2011 as trainers sought her services, particularly because she was a junior concession driver obtaining a one class lift. Next week the determined and hardworking horsewoman will be in the spotlight at the 2019 carnival with boom pacer San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry). “I certainly did a big number of 10-hour return road trips to the top end of the State, but I got valuable experience through it all,” Bartley said. “The racing is always competitive at Mildura and a few of the trainers were willing to give me a go when I was just starting out,” she said. “I was lucky to persuade my parents David and Chris to do the long trip with me for a while, and other times I would meet up with drivers, like Ellen Tormey and Nigel Milne, along the way and we’d car pool and do some of the journey together. “There are a few sharp bends and bumps on the road, and I reckon I could still remember them all!” Bartley has drawn the eight alley with San Carlo in the second heat of the Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup on Tuesday night. The format of qualifying divisions leading into a $60,000 Group Two final is the only one of its kind in the State. The three-night carnival, comprising Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night racing, has been a favourite on the racing and social calendar for harness fans for many years. “We finished runner-up with Shakahari last year behind Im The Boss (Kima Frenning) so naturally we are hoping to go one better this time,” Bartley said. “San Carlo had a trial a while ago at Kilmore and I wasn’t all that excited with him, so we gave him another hit-out at Shepparton trials two nights ago and he was a lot better – he felt sharper and switched on.” Bartley said trainer Steve O’Donoghue, of Morley Park Stud, always had the Mildura feature event in the back of his mind. “We were here for the Italian Cup last October and the horse won well after doing all the work in the death-seat, clocking in at 1.55-9,” she said. “He felt quite at home, so we know he is suited by the smaller (805 metre) track.” It would be a fair bet to say that Bartley and O’Donoghue can now look back with irony at the considerable time they took to get San Carlo to the racetrack. After O’Donoghue broke in the pacer, there were more than a few frustrations. “He was very spooky and just difficult to do much with.  Even getting a bridle on was a major task,” Bartley said. “And then in his work on the track he had this habit of going around and around past things without any worries, and then he’d shy on the last time as if it was something new!” she said. O’Donoghue gave the horse a number of preparations, finally managing to get him to stay in his gear and not gallop. “I think he was an early three-year-old when we headed off to the trials. But he was back to his old tricks, so Steve gelded him, and he was turned out,” Bartley said. “When he returned as a four-year-old he had a different attitude with improved manners, but he was still touchy.” Two trials, nothing too spectacular, preceded a race debut at Bendigo in June, 2015. Bartley crossed from a wide draw to the death seat and San Carlo showed he’d “turned the corner” with a 10-metre victory in 1.58-6 (last quarter 27.8). He then posted five consecutive wins, before the honeymoon ended with a luckless fifth behind the brilliant Hector Jay Jay in a Group Two feature at Melton. But Bartley was far from disappointed, as she knew from that day they had a well-above average horse. Another spell was followed by a winning six-race sequence. And San Carlo – named after Rome’s 17th century church of San Carlo alle Quatro Fontane – has risen to star status with Herculean performances in such prestigious events as the Inter Dominion series, the Bohemia Crystal FFA Group One and country cups. His record speaks for itself with 25 wins and nine placings from just 45 outings for more than $400,000 in the bank. Bartley said much of Morley Park’s success was due to “very good team” and facilities, including a swimming pool, allowing a balanced workload for a handy team of racehorses and youngsters. “Steve and his wife Anne are both hands-on, as well as their sons Jono and Corey, who are always helping out whenever they can. We also have a few other stable helpers,” she said. “We have a team of about 25 horses in work at the moment so there’s always plenty to do.” San Carlo will come up against last start Ouyen Cup winner Brallos Pass (Ellen Tormey) in the second heat, while Emain Macha (Wayne Hill), Murranji Track (John Caldow), and Lucky Lombo will have admirers. The first qualifying heat sees well-credentialed Reciprocity (Kerryn Manning) do battle with Perspective, Resurgent Spirit and local hope Rocknroll Eyes. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The darling of Victorian harness racing, Bec Bartley, couldn’t hide her excitement after scoring an all-the-way victory in the Kiel Tiling 2019 Blue Pearl Classic. Bartley, 27, took out the prestigious, female-drivers-only event at Swan Hill on Wednesday night with classy four-year-old Three Summas, prepared by astute horseman Russell Jack. “I’m over the moon with the win – just being invited to take part was a huge honor as it’s a bit special, but I’m stoked to be successful,” Bartley said. The annual Blue Pearl Classic, now in its third year, is aimed at highlighting the contributions of reinswomen in the sport. The $8000 race also carried a $1000 blue pearl necklace for the winning driver and an inscribed rug for the victorious owner. And keeping with the “girls’ night out” theme, talented race caller Victoria Shaw took centre stage and called the event with aplomb. Bartley, who drove in the feature event last year, said she was reasonably confident after finding the top soon after the start with Three Summas (Somebeachsomewhere - Summa of Dreams). “I drove him recently at the trials and he is certainly a horse with a bright future ahead of him,” she said. “When I was able to get away with some easy quarters, he was always going to be hard to run down.” Three Summas had a two-metre advantage at the wire over Arden Voyager (Kate Gath, with a short head back to in-form Ouyen 3yo Mallee Reactor (Ellen Tormey). The first quarter was in a leisurely 32 seconds, but then things hotted up with 29.8, 28.7 and a super slick 26.6 for the final split. Three Summas now has eight wins and five placings from 16 starts for over $80,000. The Blue Pearl Classic contenders, (L-R) Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Monique Burnett, Abbey Turnbull, Shannon O’Sullivan and Kate Gath with race sponsor Tony Kiel Bartley said it was a pleasure to get the win for trainer Russell Jack and owners Todd and Wendy Rivett. “Russell lives just around the corner from us and I’ve known him a long time, while the Rivetts are from Swan Hill and just love the sport,” she said. Bartley has been catapulted into the limelight over the past few years through her deeds with brilliant gelding San Carlo. After dropping out of high school at the end of Year 10, pint-sized Bartley, who could have easily been a jockey, was always going to be involved with horses. “It’s in the family blood and I think it was within three weeks that I had a job with Stephen and Anne O’Donoghue, at Morley Park near Shepparton,” Bartley said. “I’ve now been with them for 11 years and I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it,” she said. “It’s hard to keep at it, as anyone in the industry would agree, but there’s always challenges and that’s the part I enjoy. “Whether it’s getting a problem horse sorted out and then to the track, or handling and educating a champion like San Carlo, there’s that satisfaction at the end.” Bartley is quick to want to talk more about San Carlo...and who could possibly blame her?! The powerhouse has been on a rampage in country cups, taking the Maryborough, Yarra Glen, Cranbourne and Bendigo feature events in his stride. But perhaps a little surprising, Bartley names an Interdominion heat win in Perth as her highlight. “Yes, that does stand out because it was a big experience traveling to Perth, and there was the expectations, the pressure and all that stuff and I still remember the absolute relief when we took out a qualifying heat,” she said. With a big team of 25 horses in work, Bartley’s career is testament to the old adage that hard work brings success. “Some days are harder than others, but I love it and I don’t really know anything else but horses.” Hoofnote: Bartley will drive San Carlo in the rich $60,000 Shepparton Cup on Saturday, January 12. To watch the video (R5) click on this link. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THE hopes of a “local” win in the upcoming Melbourne Inter Dominion gained more momentum with sparkling wins by San Carlo and Wrappers Delight this week. San Carlo is into $7 equal second favourite for the final with Let It Ride and behind only Tiger Tara ($5) on the Aussie TAB. Wrappers Delight is right in the mix at $11. San Carlo won a heat of last year’s Perth Inter Dominion final before drawing poorly and not being a factor in the final, but he’s clearly a better and more complete racehorse now. That was underlined when he crushed a small field, which included the tough and in-form In The Boss, in slick times in last Thursday’s Yarra Valley Cup. He’s three wins from as many starts this campaign and has won 24 of his 36 career runs. At Yarra Valley he did all the work, but powered clear to win by 4.8m without being extended by driver and co-trainer Bec Bartley in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for the long 2650m. “We’re very happy with the way he’s come back. He feels terrific,” Bartley said. San Carlo will have one more run before the first round of Inter Dominion heats at Melton on December 1. That will be in either the Popular Alm free-for-all at Melton next weekend or the Geelong Cup a week later. Wrappers Delight continued his rapid rise with an arrogant win in the $75,000 Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton last night. It followed a booming second to Shadow Sax from a back row draw in the Smoken Up Sprint. Last night driver Kima Frenning punched through from the back row, kept surging forward in a very slick 42.5sec lead time to find the front and never looked in danger. Wrappers Delight raced away to win by almost eight metres over an eye-catching Diamond N Cash in a sharp 1min54.4sec mile rate for 2240m. __________________________________________________________________________________ THE Rando family’s hopes of having two runners in the Inter Dominion trotting series looks a light brighter after last night. First came the impressive win of the rejuvenated veteran mare Rompers Monarchy in the Group 3 La Coocaracha Mares’ free-for-all at Melton. The Rando clan specifically sent her south to try and impress and climb the rankings for the Inter Dominion and she delivered. The Kiwi-bred nine-year-old led throughout in a 1min58.1sec mile rate and zipped home in 57.1 and 28.2sec to win easily over the classy Red Hot Tooth, who sat parked. Hot favourite Dance Craze ruined her chances by galloping at the start. Up at Menangle, the Randos won the trot with Kowhai Monarch in a 1min59.6sec mile rate for 2300m. __________________________________________________________________________________ WE are continually given reasons to marvel at the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin training team. And one-time buzz mare Delight Me gave us yet another reason with a spectacular return from more 15 months on the sidelines to win at Melton last night. It was no “soft” return either. They picked the Group 3 Cinderella Stakes for her return and had to content with reigning Ladyship Mile champ Carlas Pixel. But Delight Me worked to the front, kept bowling along and made it a one-act affair, cruising home with plenty left in the tank by 4.1m. Her 1min52.3sec mile rate was just 1.6sec outside Cruz Bromac’s Melton track record. “We’ve always thought the world of her, but she’s had a few setbacks along the way,” Emma Stewart said. “She’s been really pleasing us at home and it’s such a thrill to see her go back to the races and win like that.” Make no mistake, Delight Me has the potential to be Australia’s best mare is she stays sound. __________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT a lovely touch at Bendigo last Friday night where they ran a “veteran” drivers’ race won by the legendary Brian Gath. How fitting it was Gath, who lives in Bendigo, led and held off Lance Justice and Noel Shinn to win. Others in the race were: Geoff Webster, Jim O’Sullivan, Glenn Conroy, Ginger Gleeson, David Jack and Mark Hayes. __________________________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton’s two Inter Dominion players, Franco Nelson and My Alpha Rock, won’t race again before the opening round of heats at Melton on December 1. Shane Tritton said the emerging My Alpha Rock was scratched from Menangle last night after a minor hiccup, but would primed for the Inter Dominion. “We just had to treat him so, like Franco Nelson, we’ll take him fresh into the Inter Dom,” he said. “We think they’ll both be very competitive with luck in the draws.” Tritton said Gotta Go Ya Hu would bypass the series and be saved for a quest to make the Miracle Mile field. “The Victoria Cup run showed he wasn’t as mature as the other two, so we’ll keep him to races up here and aim for the Miracle Mile,” he said. “We are considering paying the late entry for Maximan because he’s going so well, but it’s tricky because we’re not sure where they will rank him and you lose the $20,000 late entry fee if you don’t make the cut. We’ve got until November 19 to make the late payment.” __________________________________________________________________________________ CHAMPION driver Luke McCarthy is starting to work out the All Stars former classy pacer Cash N Flow. “I think you’ve got drive him quite aggressively and put him into the race,” he said before Cash N Flow won impressively at Menangle last night. “He won really well at Melton when I went to the breeze then I was disappointed with him when we sat him up last week, so I wanted get serious at the start this time,” McCarthy said. Cash N Flow led and McCarthy increased the tempo from the 1200m with a 28.7sec split then zipped home in 54.4 and 26.6sec to win easily in a 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2300m. “He was a nice horse in NZ and we’ve got a good opinion of him. He’s going to have some fun in the free-for-alls here if he keeps running up to this sort of form,” McCarthy said. McCarthy teamed with trainer Craig Cross for a double on the night after talented young mare Darkershadeofpale won the forth event in a slick 1min52.8sec mile. __________________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER Gary Hall Sr thinks he has a Golden Nugget “smoky” in the Kiwi-bred Ideal Liner. The son of American Ideal went to the races for the first time at Gloucester Park last Wednesday and turned plenty of heads, overcoming a very tough run to win in a 1min56.3sec mile rate for 2130m. “Not many horses can do that at their first start,” Hall Sr told Gloucester Park TV. __________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S great to see one-time “whiz kid” Mark Reed back and driving winners at Gloucester Park. Reed, son of prominent WA trainer Mike Reed, was a megastar young driver before losing his way and having time out of the sport. But he’s back and showed he’s still got it with a drive of real poise to win the feature race, the $30,000 Group 3 York Cup, aboard family horse Maczaffair last Friday night. “It’s good to be here tonight,” Reed said. “I got really crook last week and had some time in hospital, but I bounced-back well and to come here and win for the team with this mare is fantastic.” Maczaffair finished too strong for a very gallant Eden Franco, who sat parked in a slick 1min55.1sec mile rate for 2130m. Trainer-driver Kyle Harper also enjoyed a big night with a double on Thereugo and Ace Bromac. Adam Hamilton

At picturesque Yarra Valley racecourse today, Shepparton pacer San Carlo (pictured right, by Nikkita Ross) took another mighty step towards scaling the TAB Inter Dominion pinnacle. The brilliant eight-year-old dazzled as he sat parked outside one of the toughest horses in the caper in the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup before scooting clear in the last 200m for an emphatic win. San Carlo’s driver, Bec Bartley, only needed to gently flick the reins when she wanted her charge to go, and go he did, the pair romping home by 4.8 metres as Hickstead ran the race of his life in second place and early leader Im The Boss battled into third. “He took himself to the front, and as soon as I pulled the plugs he took off,” Bartley said of the 1:56.8 win. “He was so strong right to the line. We’re super happy with him.” Today’s win came at just his third run back from a spell and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue has San Carlo on track to peak during ID18, which kicks off on Saturday night December 1 at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was 12 days ago that San Carlo fiercely fended off Tiger Tara in the Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup. That pacer is a serious player in the New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday. So it is little wonder TAB today slashed San Carlo’s ID18 price from $10 this morning into $7 by early evening. San Carlo was ranked No.6 at the most recent ID18 rankings released on October 31 after initially being No.14 when nominations closed. When the fourth and final rankings are revealed on Wednesday November 21, he’ll be higher again. Read more here   Cody Winnell Trots Media

The story of tonight’s Natale and Camera Italian Cup Pace at Mildura was the long-awaited return of 2018 TAB Inter Dominion contender San Carlo. Given the obvious origins of the pacer’s name, omen players may have ignored the fact San Carlo was deep in the red and just taken the $1.04 on offer. And truth be told, he never looked like losing, although he did have to do it the hard way. In-form local Brocks Territory and Luke Watson weren’t going to relinquish top billing in the run and San Carlo's driver, Bec Bartley, would have to breeze aboard her champ. Despite covering extra ground however, the eight-year-old eventually drew clear for a 5.5m win in a rate of 1:55.9, simply proving too classy for his rivals as San Carlo took his important first steps towards ID18. "We're really happy with him," Bartley said. "He pulled up really good and we're looking at either Swan Hill or Cranbourne (Cup), but will see how he travels home.  "He's probably about 90 per cent at the moment and needed the run tonight." San Carlo won a heat of last year's Inter Dominion in Perth before finishing ninth in the grand final. The victory was the second leg of a winning double for Bartley and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue, who combined to win the fifth race at Mildura with honest six-year-old Willem.   Cody Winnell

Twenty-six-year-old Rebecca Bartley is the youngest harness racing driver in the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion championship final at Gloucester Park on Friday night and she will be handling San Carlo, the least-experienced runner in the Group 1 feature over 2936m. San Carlo gave a powerful frontrunning display to win a 2536m qualifying heat last Friday night and Bartley is confident the Victorian-bred seven-year-old by Mach Three will be strongly competitive in the biggest test of his short career. San Carlo was considered almost a hopeless case as a young pacer and he did not race as a two and three-year-old before making his debut as a late four-year-old with an easy victory in a $3000 R0 event in Bendigo in June 2015. He has blossomed since then for Steve O’Donoghue, a trainer from Kialla in the Goulburn Valley, and he goes into this week’s final with an impressive record of 21 wins and three placings from just 27 starts, all of which has seen Bartley in the sulky. His winning record of 78 per cent is bettered by only one of the other nine finalists --- the champion New Zealander Lararus, who has an 82 per cent winning record. Bartley and O’Donoghue never lost faith in San Carlo despite his wayward behaviour as a young horse. “He was really immature as a youngster and we couldn’t work him out,” said Bartley. “He kept galloping in his trials, at the start and in running. Finally, we just chucked him out with the broodmares. We didn’t really think much of him. “He came back into training as a four-year-old and his work became better. He’s pretty quiet, but is still a bit of a funny horse and every now and then has a brain fade. He’s probably more like a thoroughbred than a standardbred. “Small tracks are still a bit of an issue, getting him around the bends. But he was a lot better last Friday and he hit the line really well. The distance of the final will really suit him.” Bartley was born and bred into harness racing. Her father David used to train a small team and her parents encouraged her through pony trot ranks until she gained her A grade licence to drive at 18. She has driven 298 winners and will become only the second female to drive in an Inter Dominion championship final at Gloucester Park. The previous female to drive in an Inters final in Perth was Kellie Kersley, who drove Norms Daughter into fifth place behind the winner Young Mister Charles in 1996. O’Donoghue is thrilled to have a runner in the final, saying: “We’re stoked. We were excited to be just part of the series. San Carlo was at No. 43 in the early rankings and when he got to 30 to gain a start we weren’t thinking about making the final. It’s just a bonus.” Ken Casellas

Victorian harness racing reinswoman Rebecca Bartley entered the record books when she won the eighth heat of the Inter Dominion at Gloucester Park last night with the Stephen O’Donoghue trained San Carlo. It was Bartley’s 298 career win and she joins Western Australian Kellie Kersley as the only women to drive an Inter Dominion heat winner in a Perth Inter Dominion. It will be Bartley's first drive in an Inter Dominion final. Next Friday night she will join Kersley as the only women to drive in a Perth Inter Dominion Final. Kersley won a heat of the 1996 Perth Inter Dominion with the Neil Lloyd trained Norms Daughter which finished fifth for Kersley in the final behind Young Mister Charles. San Carlo, who didn’t commence racing until a 5yo, took his record to 21 wins in 27 starts and Bartley has been at the reins for every one of those wins. San Carlo goes into next week’s final as the most inexperienced horse in the race. Alan Parker

After beating one of the best Maryborough Cup fields in recent memory, the harness racing team behind Inter Dominion bound star San Carlo couldn’t be happier. “He did it really easily. I was looking around wondering where they had all got to,” driver Bec Bartley said of San Carlo’s 1:56.6 Maryborough Cup win today over 2690m in front of a big crowd. San Carlo blitzed out of the gate to lead the field, showing the kind of gate speed that will aid him enormously in his quest for glory at a track like Gloucester Park in a month’s time. “I wasn’t expecting that,” Bartley said of San Carlo’s gate speed today. “After 100m I couldn’t believe it. I just encouraged him a bit. Steve and I have never really asked him to show that, but to know he’s got it really gives us great confidence.” San Carlo romped around Maryborough in quarters of 29.4, 28.9, 28.4 and 27.6 on his way to a 3m win over reigning Len Smith Mile winner My Field Marshal. The Mach Three-Bridge Player gelding is trained by Stephen O’Donoghue. Bartley said she “just can’t wait” to get to Perth to drive in the Inters, but first things first, San Carlo will likely head to Yarra Valley for the club’s Cup on Oaks Day, Thursday, November 9. The last time rankings were released San Carlo had jumped from No.42 to No.30 and was virtually assured a start in the first round of Inter Dominion heats on November 24. “Hopefully he’s climbed a bit further again now,” Bartley said. San Carlo picks up four points on the Victorian Trots Country Cups Championship to share the lead with leg one winner Messini, while Mr Mojito finished third today to give trainer Kerryn Manning two horses on the Championship ladder after Ideal Success’s second placing last week at Swan Hill. Sparkling Cup success John Meade-trained trotter Sparkling Success won today’s Seelite Windows and Doors Maryborough Trotters Cup by 2.1m over Clover Mac. Driven a treat by Chris Svanosio, the six-year-old Great Success-Diamond Insitu gelding powered past race favourite My Tribeca (fourth) in the home straight and held off Kate and Andy Gath’s Clover Mac late in a mile rate of 2:03.5 for the 2690m standing start race. Our Twentyten finished third for Rod Petroff. Terang mare Perth bound? Following her slashing third placing today at Maryborough, Terang mare Keayang Kallisto might be joining fellow south-west star Jilliby Jagger on the plane west for the Perth classics. Flight availability is being looked at and options considered for the recent Blossom Lady winner, who ran third from the back row today in a spicy C3-C4 pace won by supremely talented Shadow Sax over another rising star in Audi Hare. Darby double Young gun reinsman Darby McGuigan drove the winners of races three and four today on Cup Day at Maryborough, both at bolters’ odds. McGuigan struck first aboard Glen Davies-trained trotter Brandons Price at $14.70 before a huge boilover aboard Shot To Stardom for trainer Jody Woodham-Murdoch in the C0 pace, winning at $41.70. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)  

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