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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)  

Boom pacer San Carlo is on trial for the Queensland harness racing winter carnival. The outstanding Victorian gelding, fresh from his success last weekend at Bendigo, is being considered for the final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season – the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake on July 15. It’s the biggest event staged in Queensland, the 2680m mobile start feature takes place at Albion Park. And co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley are very interested in dipping their toe in the water with their rising star. A winner of 14 races from 16 starts, the Mach Three six-year-old gelding made a massive statement when he demoralised his rivals last Saturday night at Lords Paceway after sitting wide throughout before racing clear over the concluding stages. San Carlo scored easily by 5m while rating 1:55.4 for the 2150m. “That was a big step forward into making Brisbane a reality, he performed in such a great manner and Steve thinks the Blacks A Fake is a good target for him but he’s got to prove himself once more before any decision is made.” Bartley said. And that next assignment comes up next Thursday (June 22). San Carlo will start in the Leo Crameri at Maryborough, a race that has historically produced plenty of high quality performers. The event will be staged over 2190m. “That’s his next target and it’s likely he will meet plenty of classy rivals but it will also tell us if Brisbane is one or off. A victory will go a long way in making the northern trip a reality, Brisbane will be tough but it looks a good opportunity for him. “I don’t think he shocked us in anyway last week because we’ve known for some time how good he really is but to do it in the manner in which he did was the best part. He was really strong. “And that’s his best asset; he’s a very strong horse.” O’Donoghue, the boss of Morley Park (of Classic Garry fame), believes San Carlo is the best horse he has worked with and rates him higher than Barclay Court (23 wins – $99k) and Triple Vance (20 wins - $182k). San Carlo is raced by John Eichhorn. Chris Barsby

On a night dominated by close finishes it was the blow-out margin in the last tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton that had many harness racing pundits salivating. San Carlo (Mach Three/Bridge Player) mightn’t have beaten a field glistening with stars, but he did it in style taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series A Final and remains unbeaten in four trips to the races. Reinswoman Bec Bartley alluded before the score-up on Sky Racing to the fact she and trainer Stephen O’Donoghue rated the Kialla four-year-old. “We’ll just keep pushing forward," she said, then suggesting the fans would know more about what the gelding was capable of post-race. San Carlo ambled away from barrier six at the 2240-metre start and Bartley kept him clear of harm’s way out wide before trekking forward. Once San Carlo was in front the $1.20 he started with the bookies looked about right. And, after a first half of 62.4secs in-the-run odds makers would have shut up shop. Quickening up through the third stanza (28.6secs) San Carlo slipped into another gear and put his rivals to the sword. Importantly, however, while tonight’s rivals were clearly not in the same league as the winner, San Carlo basically cruised to the line hard held. His fourth quarter was 28.9secs and he romped clear to win by 32.8 metres, but Bartley didn’t budge a muscle and caller Dan Mielicki even suggested the mercy rule be enacted. San Carlo rated 1:59.4. The winner’s dam Bridge Player (by Classic Garry) ran second in the 1997 Sires final at Moonee Valley at two (beaten narrowly by Belinda) and all four of her progeny which have made it to the track have won races. by Cody Winnell

A reminder, as we close in on the end of season 2013/14, that for the first time Harness Racing Victoria will conduct just one industry awards night, the Gordon Rothacker Medal, including Horse of the Year, on October 8. ......................................................................   Breeders Crown The Australasian harness racing spotlight will be squarely on Tabcorp Park Melton this Sunday as the rich Breeders Crown series culminates with a $1.6m "Super Sunday". 10 Group 1 finals will be contested on what has become arguably the best day's racing on the harness racing calendar. The Breeders Crown is the real trans-Tasman battle, with New Zealand's best two, three and four-year-old horses heading across the ditch to take on the Australians. I particularly like the $297,000 two-year-old fillies' final with Kiwis Katy Perry, Cyclone Kate, Linda Lovegrace, Joannes A Delight and Big Lucy dominating the early fixed odds betting charts. But don't tell a couple of the Aussies that the Kiwis are set for an easy ride, as Mick Stanley (trainer of Soho Tokyo) and Rob Auber (owner of Niki No No) have both declared they're not running scared. Probably the battle that has punters salivating most is the rematch between three-year-old semi-final combatants Our Sky Major and Bling It On. Punters are also reminded of a $25,000 first four pool guarantee on all races at Tabcorp Park on Sunday thanks to the TAB. Super Sunday kicks off at 12.05pm, with 11 races to be contested. Ballarat HRV's thanks goes to President Greg Moy and CEO Paul Rowse for yet again doing a great job in hosting an important industry event, the Breeders Crown Semi Finals last Saturday (August 16). As always a job well done. .......................................................................................... Interesting Statistics (Season) Plenty of highlights this season as we near the end of another racing year: Chris Alford's drives earned over $1m for the second time in his career; Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and Gavin Lang have all driven over 200 winners nationally this season; David Aiken is the first trainer to have trained 50 winners in a season at Tabcorp Park. Next best is Lance Justice with 49 in 2010/11; David Aiken has also smashed the trainers stakes earned at Tabcorp Park in a season, currently sitting just under $1m. Speaking of Greg Sugars, if you click here you will see a nice segment featuring Greg with Jaimee Rogers from Tabcorp called "Behind the Moment" where Greg talks of his relationship with the great Sushi Sushi. ............................................................................................. Smoken Up We are building toward a big farewell for Lance Justice's champion Smoken Up's last ever run at Tabcorp Park on September 6. For the record, before his final run, he will have had 152 starts for 74 wins and career stakes of $3.6m Included in his 74 wins have been 21 wins at Tabcorp Park, from which he has earned $700,000. The horse to have won the most at Tabcorp Park is Make Mine Cullen with 29 wins at the new headquarters. The occasion is being generously supported by the State Government's Raceday Attraction Program and the Premier Dr Denis Napthine will be in attendance. ............................................................................................... Red Balloon Experience for Father's Day The State Government recently approved a grant for the promotion of a Mobile Barrier Ride and dining package offered through Red Balloon. Participating venues are offering a 25% discount ($165 down from $220) as part of Red Balloons Father's Day promotion which runs from August 18 to Father's Day on September 7, where people can purchase the package as a gift for use over the next 12 months. The Package includes the usual dining and drinks for two plus two mobile barrier rides. Click here for the link to the package on Red Balloon. ......................................................................................... Youth Policy People often associate the trots with an ageing demographic. It is pleasing to see that this is now becoming a myth as we see the rise to the top of our gun young drivers, who are knocking on the door of the likes of C Alford and G Lang. In recent months names such as Josh Aiken, Matt Craven, Jason Lee, Rebecca Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Glen Craven, Emmett Brosnan, Zac Phillips, Alex Ashwood, Josh Duggan and plenty of others have tasted regular success and are hot on the heels of more seasoned youngsters, such as Greg Sugars, Amy Tubbs and Nathan Jack. It is important for administrators to manage the business in such a way that this new generation of participants see a long term future in this great sport. ..................................................................................... Don Dove Since the last CEO News, HRV was saddened to hear of the passing of the one and only Don Dove. Below is copy penned by Len Baker following his funeral service at Kilmore: A large number of trainers, drivers, owners and harness racing people in general were in attendance at Kilmore's Trackside Tabaret on Tuesday July 29, to celebrate the life and times of iconic Victorian trainer/driver Don Dove who passed away in his adopted state Queensland on July 14, 2014 at the age of 86. The memorial service was conducted by the "Pacing Priest" Father Brian Glasheen and numerous stories were told during the service. Don was a legend of the sport and was associated with horses such as Kol's Idol, Monara's Image, Nelson's Report, Playalong, Amlin, Jaygo, Missing Charm, Jay Ar Ewing, Just Money and Victoria Derby winner Kelly Kid just to name a few, with his best being prolific winner Monara which finished second to Welcome Advice in the 1972 (Brisbane) Inter Dominion when driven by Neville Welsh. Originally training in Heatherton where he was based for many years in an area which was also home to G.D. (Dave) Wilson and several other trainers including Lloyd and Bruce Coram, the trio would conduct trials on a rotation basis at their property's each weekend prior to the formation of Southern Speedways where Don was a regular competitor at the weekend trials called by at one stage by Trackbred editor Peter Wharton. Dove then moved to Kilmore and further north to Avenel, before relocating to Queensland. A master reinsman with wonderful hands who was great in getting horses away from the tapes, there was no better driver at the head of the field in a trotting or pacing race than Don Dove. Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing Junior driver Josh Aiken has joined the Group 1 club. The 21-year-old produced the sort of drive you’d expect from someone many years his senior to land the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Eljaykay Phoenix, trained by Josh's dad David, who looks set for a big two nights of Super Series racing, started $1.35 and worked to the front early before handing up to Jodi Quinlan aboard Illawong Armstrong at the bell. Illawong Armstrong, a clear second favourite in the race, then slowed the pace and his backers would have had their fingers crossed that he could stay in his gait throughout – because he’s developed a nasty little habit of breaking stride in the run. But tonight it wasn’t his manners that cost Illawong Armstrong victory; it was that Eljaykay Phoenix was too strong, winning by 5.4m in a mile rate of 2:03.8. Aiken took Eljaykay Phoenix to the front early in the home stretch and, while Illawong Armstrong battled on valiantly for second, all honours were with the winner. Aiken gave a victory salute as he crossed the line, clearly a moment he won’t forget. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn,” he said. “That’s just unreal. I can explain how good it feels.” Eljaykay Phoenix has now won five of his six starts. Ever-consistent Black Valley was third for Rebecca Bartley, beaten 9.9m, and they came well away from the fourth placed runner Majestic Jess. by Cody Winnell

David Aiken's promising two-year-old gelding Eljaykay Phoenix made it four wins from five starts with an impressive victory in the second heat of the Empire Stallions Super Series for trotters at Bendigo's Lord's Raceway last night. The $1.20 favourite rounded up its opposition 1100m out with Gavin Lang finding the top at the post with a lap to go. Lang released the brakes on the final turn and the son of Sundon sprinted away for a 9.9m victory. Black Valley (Robert Shellie/Rebecca Bartley held down second ahead of Bring the Action (Darren Gray/Doc Wilson). Eljaykay Phoenix trotted home the final quarter in 29.9secs for a 2:03.7 mile rate. The first foal of Maple Eve Phoenix (Malabar Maple) was narrowly beaten at its first race start then has gone undefeated at four starts since, winning twice at Melton. HRV Media

The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18   By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Sound the alarm because the Shark has well and truly arrived. Punters had already been warned of course – the wraps on the David Aiken-trained horse were enormous before last night’s University Foods 4YO and 5YO Championship, following a powerful win first up when he donkey licked his rivals earlier this month. Heavily backed since fixed odds opened midweek, Lennytheshark started $2.10 but had been odds-on. The punters nailed it. From the pole draw, Lennytheshark cruised to the lead almost unchallenged for driver Chris Alford early and nothing wanted to take him on until the bell. Emma Stewart star Restrepo, which was first up from a spell, launched his claim as the bell sounded and improved to the breeze. Down the back, Dean Braun’s rising star Chilli Palmer started his move with an audacious burst as Lennytheshark quickened up front. Turning for home though and the Shark attacked, Lenny skipping clear and powering further away late to eventually score by a substantial 10.3m. Braun trained the second, third and fourth horses over the line – Inky Cullen, Chilli Palmer and Magical Telf – while Restrepo dropped out to finish seventh. The mile rate was 1:56.5. Meanwhile, two young trotters became Group 1 winners via the finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series. In the fillies’ final it was Blake Fitzpatrick trained and driven Royal Treat too strong. The Majestic Son filly utilized the sprint lane in the home straight to defeat Meadow Valley Road, with Neville Welsh-trained Est Est Est third. Illawong Armstrong prevailed in the colts and geldings’ final for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan, defeating Black Valley and Bring The Action. Champion reinsman Chris Alford took driving honours for the night with a winning treble, while Rebecca Bartley’s amazing run in the Young Drivers Challenge continued, winning the third race of the series after collecting the first two at Shepparton on Thursday night. Last night Bartley steered Smiling Spirit home at cricket score odds of $54.30. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

A small but select field will vie for the $30,505 Group 2 John Slack Memorial Trotters Cup at Ballarat tomorrow night. While only five runners will line up in the 2200m race after the scratching of Cold Sister, there are winning form lines aplenty for punters to think their way through. The expected favourite is New South Wales visitor Keystone Del from gate two. The six-year-old boasts a five-win streak and dug deep to hold off tomorrow night’s polemarker, Spidergirl, two starts back at Cranbourne. Keystone Del is tipped to find the lead again with Spidergirl most likely holding his back, making for a potential carbon copy situation from Cranbourne. Spidergirl, from the David Aiken stable with Chris Alford in the spider, has gate speed and has won three of her last four starts – including a 1.8m win over Brunelleschi in the Uncle Petrika Trot at Melton on May 2. Brunelleschi has drawn gate four tomorrow night for Amy Tubbs. The son of Tennotrump has only been unplaced four times in 24 starts with 12 wins to his name. Two starts back he overcame a wide draw to win at Melton over Sunset Invasion before a tough effort for third when forced to work in the run last time out. Aleppo Midas is drawn widest of the five runners tomorrow night and will be hoping to bounce back after throwing her chances away last start when fourth to Spidergirl after breaking in the score up. She had won three races leading into that event with victories over Cold Sister, Brunelleschi and Shes An Image. The longshot of tomorrow night’s field is likely to be five-year-old mare Waikare Sunset from the Graham McDermott stable at Nagambie. The daughter of Last Sunset finished 3.1m second to Spidergirl in the La Coocaracha Trot in April but hasn’t been able to fire in three runs since. Another highlight for patrons at Ballarat will be the running of two heats of the Young Drivers Challenge (Races 2 and 3). Rebecca Bartley made a perfect start to the series at Shepparton on Thursday night, winning the first two races after producing impressive drives. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The promotion for the female driver’s to wear TEAL driving pants in March to promote awareness of OVARIAN CANCER has been a major success with the girls booting home a total of 61 winners. March was highlighted by the massive night at Tabcorp Park where over $80,000 was raised for the WOMEN’S CANCER FOUNDATION in conjunction with Girls Night Out and the PRYDE’S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR. The leading female driver for the month was WCF Ambassador Jodi Quinlan with seven wins, closely followed by a group of four drivers with six winners – Kerryn Manning, Alison Chisholm, Kate Gath and Rebecca Bartley. For further information or to donate to the fantastic cause please go to http://www.womenscancerfoundation.org.au/ By HRV Media

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