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PHIL Williamson has put his name alongside Mark Purdon as the only Kiwi trainer to win Australia’s treasured Group 1 Redwood Classic. Purdon has trained and driven two winners of the juvenile trot at Maryborough – High Gait (2015) and Daenerys Targaryen (2013) – and Williamson won yesterday’s renewal with the exciting Ultimate Stride. It was a truly Kiwi affair with Anthony Butt making the trip down from his NSW-base to take the reins on Ultimate Stride. “It’s a time-honoured race and one I’ve always wanted to win. It’s great to finally get it,” Butt said. “It’s been a hard race for the Kiwis to win, so all credit to Phil for coming across and winning it.” The Aussie flavour from the win came through owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, who not race Ultimate Stride, but went back-to-back in the Redwood after Emerald Stride scored last year for trainer-driver David Miles. Butt said he was also confident in the run even when he had to make his move earlier than he wanted. “He was almost going to too, I couldn’t hold him any longer,” he said. “I was happy to make it a staying test anyway, I had faith in his staying ability.” Ultimate Stride was backed into $1.60 favouritism and won by 3.4m over Is That A Bid with Im Daddy Warbucks third in a 2min4.1sec mile rate for the 2190m standing start. His task was certainly made easier when second favourite Powderkeg galloped his way out of contention. Williamson’s hopes of a Group 1 double were dashed when his Victoria Trotters’ Derby favourite Liberty Stride galloped hopelessly at the start and finished tailed-out. ________________________________________________________________________________ YOU know something else special happened when winning first-up aboard Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley isn’t the highlight of Kate Gath’s massive Redwood Day. Gath was left in awe of the raw but seriously gifted Majestuoso after thrashed his rivals in the Group 1 Victoria Trotters’ Derby. It’s no secret Kate and Andy Gath have a big opinion of the son of Majestic Son and no everybody knows why. The way he stormed around the field from near last, out four, five and six wide, then powered clear to win by an increasing 10.1m was something to behold. Majestuoso’s manners were an issue last season when he won two of nine runs, but he’s come back and although still green at times, he’s won eight of his nine starts this term. All Cashed Up led and ran well for second despite having every chance, while Kiwi raider Kratos couldn’t match Majestuoso’s brilliance, but worked home quite well for third. Majestuoso’s win capped a magical 30 minutes for the Gaths with Tornado Valley sparkling in his first-up win in the free-for-all. Despite drawing the back row and settling third-last while main danger Big Jack Hammer led, Tornado Valley launched a three-wide run from the 700m without cover and toyed with his rivals. Kate Gath just nursed him down the straight to win by 8.9m in a slick 1min57.9sec mile rate for 2190m. Arguably it was as impressive as Tornado Valley’s ever looked. ________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER of the highlights on Redwood Day was the winning return of former superstar juvenile trotter Wobelee. The Alison and Chris Alford-trained four-year-old did everything asked of him and won well after working to the front from a wide draw and dictating terms. It was Wobelee’s first run back after 13 months sidelined by injury. Kiwis will remember he ran third when clearly not at his top in the 3YO Jewels trotting final at Cambridge in June, last year. Wobelee’s raced 20 times for 15 wins, three seconds and two thirds.   Adam Hamilton

There aren’t many trots mountains Anthony Butt hasn’t climbed but the champion Kiwi-turned-Aussie reinsman was beaming at Maryborough today after guiding Ultimate Stride to his first Volstead Redwood Classic. Taking the reins of the favourite for New Zealand trainer Phil Williamson, Butt put in a flawless display to sit in wait while leader Is That A Bid and breeze-horse Dublin Chubb were brisk early, then challenged three-wide a long way from home on Ultimate Stride to ensure a staying test in the 2190-metre standing start. Come the final straight he would prove too strong, winning by 3.4m ahead of valiant leader Is That A Bid, with Daddy Warbucks third and a significant gap to all others. “He got going too good really, they walked that second quarter of the last mile and I just basically got to the stage that I couldn’t hold him any longer,” Butt told interviewer Paul Campbell post-race. “I knew Kerryn’s (Dublin Chubb) was pulling and I wouldn’t be able to get past her too easy, but I just wanted to make it a bit of staying test as well and I had a lot of faith in (Ultimate Stride's) staying abilities. Drive a horse like that, you’ve got to keep him out of trouble as well and I just wanted to cover all bases.” Watch the video here! The win meant plenty to Butt, being his first Redwood Classic triumph, an honour he said had slipped through the grip of many who had crossed the Tasman to capture the crown. “It’s a very hard race for the Kiwis to win, I think Mark Purdon won it just a few years ago and he was the first Kiwi to do it. It’s a time-honoured race, one I’ve always wanted to win and it's great to do it.” It was also a terrific result for prolific owners Emilio and Maria Rosati and trainer Williamson, who also held high hopes for Liberty Stride in the Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby only to see the race favourite gallop out of contention at the mobile start. Both are expected to now turn their focus to the TAB Breeders Crown, with pacing heats for the great aged racing series beginning on Tuesday.   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media 

Sunday’s time-honoured Volstead Redwood Classic is the annual clash of Australasia’s best juvenile squaregaiters and this edition promises to be no different. Powderkeg has quickly ascended to the head of the Australian ranks with wins in his first two Victorian starts, which included a strong win in the Group 1 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series a month ago. The Lisa Miles-trained son of Muscle Hill is an imposing character on and off the track. “To sit behind him, he’s just a beautiful trotter. He’s well balanced and the fact that he’s a colt probably adds a bit of spark to him,” Miles said. “Since he won the Group 1 race at Melton he’s actually gained quite a lot of confidence and he’s trotting well so I’m really happy with him. “He’s a pretty casual customer, he’s been in a false start from the mobile and he seems to take everything in his stride so hopefully he can do that in a full field on Sunday.” Originally prepared in South Australia, it was a matter of right place and right time for Miles who took over the training of the two-year-old after he debuted at Port Pirie. “I’ve trained horses for Geoff Easom on and off for quite a few years now and through my really good friend Jill Nielson who trains for Geoff on a full-time basis,” Miles said. “The two-year-old trotting races are quite sparse in South Australia so it was probably always likely that he’d come to Victoria.” For Miles, it will be a special day win, lose or draw. She’ll have a runner earlier in the day in a race named after her Grandfather Alf Simons. Following a heartbreaking defeat in the Cricket World Cup just a matter of weeks ago, the Kiwis will be looking find some solace in a Group 1 win at Carisbrooke Raceway this Sunday. Ultimate Stride was green on his Australian debut but he rushed past Powderkeg late when they clashed in what is a key form reference for the feature race on Sunday. In what looms a particularly deep edition of the Redwood Classic, almost every horse has winning claims. New South Wales trainer Blake Fitzpatrick has put big wraps on Gimondi, who will begin from barrier three, while Im Daddy Warbucks was one of the runs of the race in the Vicbred Super Series final. Andover Sun and Dublin Chubb both have their fair share of ability however it would be folly to count out Is That A Bid, who is already a Group 1 winner this season. TAB bookmakers opened Ultimate Stride the $2.10 fixed odds favourite with Im Daddy Warbucks ($5), Powderkeg ($5.50) and Andover Sun ($10) the others well represented early doors. Value punters have been keen to play early with Dublin Chubb ($31-$18) and Pink Galahs ($21-$15) both supported.   Blake Redden HRV Trots Media

An extraordinarily well-bred pacer has scooped one of the most prized trotting titles on the calendar with Emerald Stride claiming the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. A delighted trainer-driver David Miles swept past leader Always Ready via the sprint lane to salute in the Redwood Day feature at Maryborough today. “Unbelievable,” Miles told Rob Auber on Trots Vision post-race. “I was having a look on Friday at the honour roll for this race and some great trainers and drivers have won it. To be amongst them now is really special.” Miles said prolific owner Emilio Rosati would be “stoked” with the Group 1 triumph by his two-year-old filly, who’s not only sired by pacing great Bettors Delight but is out of Emilios Stride, a half-sister to US Pacer of the Year Well Said. “We did qualify her as a pacer, she just wasn’t quite fast enough,” Miles said. “The day we switched her over we knew she was something special. “I always thought she was a trotter, but she was paid up for the APG and it’s a lot of money to pay up for those series, so we tried to get her to that series. She trialled as a pacer at Bendigo one morning and Rod Petroff drove her and said, ‘I think she’s a trotter’. “A week later she went to Melton and run a mile in five, they don’t do that after only have the trotting shoes on a week.” That trotting destiny was fulfilled with victory in today’s $50,000 Classic, when Emerald Stride ripped off the second row to challenge favourite Always Ready for the lead before settling on leader’s back and pouncing late. “To land where she did off the second row was amazing,” Miles said. “When the barrier draw come out I was really shattered because I thought if she drew the front line she was going to be super hard to beat and to win off the back row here is very hard to do. “(Behind) leader was the perfect spot in this sort of race. It was very windy. The leader did a great job, that wind down the back straight really hurt the horses out in the open and I just had the perfect trip.” Michael Howard

If there was one box left to tick to reaffirm Wobelee’s status as the finest two-year-old trotter of the season consider it ticked, marked and crossed. The Alison Alford trained, Chris Alford driven and Colin Murphy owned Down Under Muscles two-year-old was in a class of his own in winning the $50,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Redwood Classic, a third Group 1 victory of the harness racing season. Since running second to One Muscle Hill in his first start, coincidentally named the 157 Days To Seelite Redwood handicap, and then third in his second start, Wobelee has reeled off eight consecutive victories including Vicbred and now Redwood acclaim. It’s been enough to surprise even the most seasoned of drivers. “After his first trials we thought at least he’s going to make it to the races and he’s just improved and improved and improved the further the year has gone along,” Chris Alford said. “It’s pretty amazing really." Many considered the Classic – having blemished many a two-year-olds spectacular debut season – a key test of Wobelee’s standing, but the inside back row draw was no barrier. Wobelee burst from the standing start to lead in a matter of meters, capitalising on the polemarker (Whizzbang Dan) leaving a door open. “Pretty lucky really at the start,” Alford said. “In the warm-up Christopher Shinn’s horse, he gave it a practice and as it jumped it did a right-hand turn and went out about three carts and I thought, this couldn’t be true. If this happens and we are moving forward we will just go straight through. “Thankfully it happened and the professional little thing that he is he just trotted away.” And from there it was all she wrote. A 48.2 lead time set an honest pace and no challenger could threaten as Wobelee, as is his custom, used his high cruising speed to churn out 29.9 and 30.9 first and second quarters. “He was just rolling along, when I saw 29.9 I thought I might be going a bit quick here, but he just likes to run.” With 29.6 and 30.5 quarters he closed out a 2:04.4 mile rate, matching Illawong Byron’s race/age/sex record set in last year’s Classic and clearing out by a colossal 32.6m. It was a heck of a statement and connections, in particular owner Colin Murphy, will be hoping the Down Under Muslces gelding can extend his winning ways to Breeders Crown’s super Sunday. “He’s had a long year,” Alford said. “He’s starting to tire a little bit, we will just try and keep him ticking over. “The good thing is he doesn’t do a lot at home, so he’s got two more runs and then he can have a rest, so hopefully he can keep it up.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The premier country two-year-old trotting race in Australia is without doubt the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and it is that time of the year again. Held at Maryborough each year, the Redwood Classic is an iconic race steeped in prestige. It attracts a big crowd and this Sunday's renewal promises to deliver. Harness Racing Victoria, the Maryborough club and the AVCHRC have once again combined to run the TAB.com.au Redwood Rattler, a chartered 'train to the trots' experience now in its second year. Last year the Rattler was a huge success with 161 people booked aboard. This year's train will carry 220 passengers, a percentage increase of 36.64%. The Rattler will also carry an extra lounge carriage and revellers are sure to be well catered for both to and from the Redwood. Past winners of the Group 1 Redwood Classic, sponsored by long-time trotting aficionado Michael Taranto of Seelite Windows and Doors, include inaugural champion Young Trouper, driven by Gavin Lang in 1986, prolific winner Dark Edge for Barry Alford in 1988, Ghia in 1991, the mighty Wagon Apollo in 1993 for Graeme Lang, Lacey Truscott in 1997 for Chris Angove, Andandon in 2000 to net Gavin Lang a second Redwood Classic trophy, Kyvalley Road for Chris Lang in 2002 – this horse won 20 out of 27 all up including two Breeders Crown trophies, Jauriol in 2004 for Chris Lang, Lord of the Gym in 2007 for John and Maree Caldow, Eljaykay Phoenix in 2014 for Team Aiken and Illawong Byron last year for Jodi Quinlan. The event is a standing-start race but is not a handicap, with starting positions drawn at random. Some fast facts to consider when you are trying to pick the winner on Sunday include: The last 5 winners are filly/gelding/filly/gelding/filly/gelding... Black Cat Claw ($71) & Our Renezmae ($9) are fillies.   Gavin Lang (One Muscle Hill $5) & Chris Alford (Wobelee $1.65) are the only multiple Redwood winning drivers in Sunday's field. Sundon has sired 4 of last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of Fend Off ($10), Tomahawk Phoenix ($61) & Wobelee ($1.65). Safely Kept has sired 2 of the last 20 winners. He is the grandsire of La Grange ($10) & Black Cat Claw ($71) on Sunday. Illawong Byron holds the Redwood race record mile rate of 2:04.4. He is a stablemate of Fend Off ($10) for @JodiQRacing Trial form from behind the tapes can give a pointer to how these juveniles might handle Sunday's standing start. Click here to view some of the key standing-start trials. TAB.com.au has fixed odds markets open for both the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic and the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, which is also run on Sunday at Maryborough. Race 1 at Maryborough will be 11.40am Sunday morning and the 10-race program will finish with the Alf Simons Memorial Trot at 5.07pm.  Racetrack address is 106 Chaplins Rd, Carisbrook. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017 Form guide for Maryborough, Sunday 06 August 2017

Sunday's Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic is of course a standing-start Group 1 event for harness racing two-year-old trotters. Therefore, punters will need to keep that front of mind when assessing the form for the runners in the time-honoured $50,000 feature. Below is a list of key trials that feature several of the hopes ahead of Sunday's contest, which may help save you time studying up before Sunday. All the trials below were recorded at tracks throughout Victoria or in South Australia and all are of course started behind the tapes. Tickets for the Redwood Rattler have been selling well and the trip promises to be bigger than last year.  To purchase tickets visit trotscountry.com.au and follow the prompts. KEY TRIALS FOR SUNDAY'S SEELITE WINDOWS & DOORS REDWOOD CLASSIC Tabcorp Park Melton – February 20, 2017 Featuring: Wobelee, One Muscle Hill, Smashthemcalder, Hades Sky Shepparton – July 18, 2017 Featuring: Black Cat Claw Maryborough – February 19, 2017 Featuring: Bebubbalouie, Louieville Lass Maryborough – February 26, 2017 Featuring: Bebubbalouie, Louieville Lass Bendigo – July 17, 2017 Featuring: Chissy Globe Derby – April 9, 2017 Featuring: Crow Power Bendigo – March 5, 2017 Featuring: Dellsun Tabcorp Park Melton – May 16, 2017 Featuring: Fend Off Maryborough – July 2, 2017 Featuring: Just Call Me Molly Tabcorp Park Melton – July 11, 2017 Featuring: La Grange Warragul – July 8, 2017 Featuring: Sovereign Minx Maryborough – July 25, 2017 Featuring: Strops Shepparton – March 21, 2017 Featuring: Tomahawk Phoenix, Moresuccess, Patsdelight, Allthemoves   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

At first glance, Sovereign Minx might not have enough experience on the board to gain a start in next Sunday's (August 6) $50,000 Redwood Classic for harness racing two-year-old trotters at Maryborough in central Victoria. But if her stable's past history in the race, and two impressive recent placings have any influence on the field selection, then the Trafalgar trotter is in with a live chance should she start in this weekend's feature. Despite having to float his horse hundreds of kilometres just to be able to compete, Trafalgar horseman Chris Hunter more often than not has a young trotter in the stables. This season it is Sovereign Minx, a filly which has produced two eye-catching placings in recent weeks from only three starts to date.   The first was at Melton on July 19, while last week at Ballarat, Sovereign Minx dwelt at the standing start, but made up plenty of ground from back in the field to finish second. The Ballarat race was over a longer distance, and Sovereign Minx handled that, and the travel, well in her recent start. It's a long way to any race for a two-year-old trotter trained in Gippsland, given that there are no events for those horses run in the district. The closest races are usually at Melton or Ballarat, or perhaps at Kilmore or Geelong. It will be a 600 kilometre round trip for the Hunter's on Sunday just to get to the track if Sovereign Minx gains a start in the Redwood. This travel does not deter Chris Hunter or his son Glenn - in fact, the pair have won the Redwood Classic twice between them, overcoming the odds and defeating the more fancied stables with Blue Rock in 2003 and I See Icy Earl in 2010. Sovereign Minx has a way to go to reach the heights of those two feature race winners, but, on what she has shown so far, her trainer is confident the filly will "make the grade." Sovereign Minx's dam, Golden Teardops, won six races for the Hunter's as a pacer, however, as a broodmare, four of her five foals have been trotters. Best performed so far has been Dawn Tears, a winner of six races. The Redwood Classic is the race all trotting purists want to win - for the Hunter's to have won it twice despite their isolation from the main trotting action in Victoria is testament to their dedication. Their stable is in good form at present, and the Redwood Classic isn't always won by the best backed horse, but usually the best mannered on the day. Should Sovereign Minx make the field, and trot as safely as she has in recent weeks, you wouldn't mind having a few dollars on her if she is within sight of the lead coming around the home turn at Maryborough.   Kyle Galley

Harness racing trainer / driver Jodi Quinlan and two of her biggest fans, Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, picked up the win they wanted most today at Maryborough. In front of a huge crowd Quinlan guided two-year-old gelding Illawong Byron to a memorable victory in the $50,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. “This is very special to be standing here on this stage,” she said. “I’ve always said with this horse that this is the race I wanted to win.” Illawong Byron’s owner, Dr Hartnett, whose wife Kaye bred the horse, concurred. “This is the one we always wanted. We’re very pleased with Illawong Byron,” he said. Illawong Byron (Muscle Mass-Illawong Blush) began like a pro from the 2190-metre stand start to lead from outside the front row. Once in front Quinlan rated the Tatlow Stakes winner and Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series runner-up a treat, Illawong Byron notching a 63.3 first half before taking the sting out of her rivals down the back (28.8secs). It was a winning move. “His manners today were the best they have ever been. We ran that quarter down the back and  got them off the bit,” Quinlan said. Illawong Byron then held off a late challenge by Mark Purdon’s odds-on favourite Custodian, digging deep to score by a half-neck with Quinlan drawing a rapturous applause from the crowd. The final quarter was trotted in 29.3secs for a mile rate of 2:04.4. Our Regal Love for Nicole Molander and Chris Alford ran third, beaten 15m, while Lance Justice guided Carnera to fourth at huge odds ahead of Truscott Hall. Quinlan mooted a long-range plan for one of Australasia’s rising star squaregaiters. “He’s very immature and with a bit of extra size about him in 12 months I hope we’re back here at Maryborough for the Derby,” she said. Quinlan also thanked Illawong Byron’s owners for their ongoing support. “Martin and Kaye have always been fantastic support for me. They’re 100 per cent behind me no matter what.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Kima Frenning leads Haley Toulmin on the Aldebaran Park Monte Rider’s Premiership ahead of Sunday’s harness racing Redwood Carnival at Maryborough. The Thompson Timber Saddlery and Grain Maffra Monte sees a field of eight engaged with Frenning hoping to extend her buffer on the ladder aboard Alison Alford-trained Miracle, while Toulmin will be hoping to bridge the gap aboard Majestic Ess Jay for trainer Graham McDermott. Both those runners will start from 30m handicaps, alongside Star Gun for trainer Matthew Craven and Hamilton based reinswoman Jackie Barker. Ben Aubron is third on the riders’ premiership and the Frenchman will pilot Dabbsey for Baddaginnie trainer Margaret Davies on Sunday. The monte kicks off a huge day of trotting at Maryborough with 10 races on the card, highlighted by the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic for two-year-olds and the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby for three-year-olds. Both races carry Group 1 status. Tickets for the Redwood Rattler are selling fast but will be on sale until midday Thursday. Click here to book your seat aboard the train, which leaves Southern Cross 8.25am before stopping at Melton (9.02am), Bacchus Marsh at 9.16am and Ballarat at 10.15am.   MONTE RIDER STANDINGS Kima Frenning 35 Haley Toulmin 30 Ben Aubron 27 Warren Cochrane 23 Emma Hamblin 11 Jackie Barker 11 Paul Hamblin 11 Malin Hammarskjold 10 Kylee Paull 9 Michael Quadara 1   MONTE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS Horse No. of Wins Cold Crusher 2 Gidah 2 Lightning Calder 2 Majestic Ess Jay 2 My High Expectations USA 2 Star Gun 2 Stoned I Am 2 Miracle 2 Cold Sister USA 1 Heza Boy Star NZ 1 Unico Crown NZ 1 Valley Ess Jay 1 Waikare Aviator 1 Dabbsey 1 Empire Earl NZ 1 Boundary Row 1   MONTE TRAINER PREMIERSHIP Trainer No. of Wins David Aiken 6 Graham McDermott 4 Matthew Craven 3 Alison Alford 3 Craig Demmler 2 Glenn Sharp 2 Simone Walker 2 Dean Braun 2 Margaret Davies 1   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Maryborough, Sunday 07 August 2016 Form guide for Maryborough, Sunday 07 August 2016

Honours and dollars were shared although there were hardly any great surprises after the three Group Two Trotters Finals at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon. Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Blake Fitzpatrick kicked off the big Breeders Challenge Finals Day in typical fashion when he took Empire Bay to victory in the opening event, the Two-Year-Old Trotters Final. Sent out a prohibitive $1.50 favourite, Empire Bay was a comfortable winner over his only two rivals Shang Fang Sword and Nanas Eyes. While he was expected to dominate the trotters’ races, Fitzpatrick could only fill the minor places with his following two entries with Seven Secrets running fourth in the three-year-old final and short-priced favourite Glenferrie Burn leaving its run too late and ending up second with a late burst in the four and five-year-old Trotters’ Final. Zac Phillips guided Red Hot Tooth to victory to deny Fitzpatrick of making it two from two while Todd McCarthy held on from a fast-finishing Fitzpatrick with Glenferrie Burn in the third race. Fitzpatrick was delighted to draw first blood: “He (Empire Bay) went great, he’s been a really smart horse and he’s made mistakes in the wrong races,” he said. “His record really should be better than it is. “I was happy to follow Shang Fang Sword as my bloke has really good speed and he picked the leader up quickly and finished the race right off. “He’ll have a short break now and then head to Victoria for the Redwood and then the Breeders Crown.” The Three-Year-Old Trotters Final could almost be considered a Bathurst victory as Red Hot Tooth was bred by Geoff Bullock from Bathurst. He sent the horse to Kari Males, who trains out of Bolinda in Victoria but is originally a Bathurst girl. Young Victorian-based reinsman Zac Phillips, 20, caught a plane this morning to drive the horse and then headed straight back to drive at Shepparton tonight. “I’ve been up here a few times but this is the first time I’ve driven a winner here,” he grinned. “She’s been a revelation this horse and came down around six months ago. She wasn’t much to look at but has had six starts and kept improving. “Once she began to race the better horses she just acquitted herself well. “I thought I’d be hard to beat if could lead and we had such a great run I was really confident. “If she’s in front she runs her best races. “I think she could have gone quicker had she needed to. It’s a terrific story the owners are lovely people and it’s really good to see people win on a big day like today.” Michael Howard

Get trackside this Redwood Carnival (Sunday August 7) via the Redwood Rattler, a “trots express” to Maryborough for the historical all-trotting harness racing meeting. Get your caboose aboard and ride the rail as the train, bound for one of the most exciting meetings on the Victorian calendar, steams off. Departing Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station at 8.25am, the Rattler rolls into Melton at 9.02am, followed by stops at Bacchus Marsh (9.16am) and Ballarat (10.15am) to take travellers to the famous Carisbrook Raceway. The trip promises to be a social affair with an on-board café and a lounge car featuring a bar. Passengers are also welcome to bring their own food on board the train. BOOK YOUR TICKET TODAY ABOARD THE REDWOOD RATTLER On the track the day’s feature races are the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic (Group 1), a time-honoured standing-start trot for two-year-olds, and the $75,575 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby (Group 1) for three-year-olds. The train departs Maryborough at 6.25pm following a big day’s racing. All passengers receive a ticket to the Redwood Punters Club, run by the “Carroll brothers”, who will be more than happy to impart some tips as the train keeps a rolling. All aboard!   Note: Tickets must be pre-booked Tickets on the Redwood Rattler cost $85 for adults and $45 for children (17 years and under) Tickets include: Return train ticket Bus from Maryborough Station to Carisbrook Raceway Admission Racebook Souvenir cap 2-course lunch Beer, wine or soft drink on arrival $10 TAB voucher $20 punters club ticket  For more information contact Events & Sponsorship Coordinator at Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Jacinta Payne on (03) 8378 0212 or jpayne@hrv.org.au

High Gait who was denied in the Harness Jewels by former stablemate Missandei gained a deserved reward when she led all the way in the Redwood Classic at Maryborough on Sunday. The race was probably won at the start when the filly was guided away safely from the stand by Mark Purdon and headed straight for the front. Sundon's Courage took the favourite on but she was too strong with Missandei reversing the Jewels finish with a late run for second. "She went terrific" Mark said. "The other horse was niggling at us a bit in the middle stages but she was always trotting well and that made the difference." High Gait continued a great run for the All Star barn in Group One races in Australia this winter. She has her next outing in a qualifier for the Breeders Crown in two weeks. It is Mark's third training and driving win in the race with Galleon's Assassin and My Arya previous winners. Mark also expressed pleasure at the run of Classical Art on Saturday night  who was run down late by All Black Stride which trailed all the way and won by a head. "I was really pleased with the way she went." "She steered good  and did everything right and that was probably more important than whether or not she won," Mark said. Classical Art runs in the semi finals of the BC on August 22. David McCarthy Reproduced with permission of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  

Master harness racing trainer Mark Purdon became a two-time Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic winner today at Maryborough. Purdon’s rising star filly High Gait produced a flawless performance in the 2190-metre stand-start Group 1 to score a 2.7-metre win in a mile rate of 2:06.3. High Gait is by Muscles Yankee out of quality producer Regal Volo. She is a full-sister to Breeders Crown winner Our Twentyten. High Gait’s 65secs first half set the filly up to dash home. She got home in 58.4secs, holding off runner-up Missandei comfortably with Sundons Courage third. High Gait has won six races from seven starts, her only defeat coming when second in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton. by Cody Winnell

The trotters take centre stage this weekend as Maryborough and Harness Racing Victoria celebrate the time-honoured Redwood Carnival. Three huge days of trots action got under way today, will continue tomorrow (watch all the action from Saturday's non-TAB Redwood day two live streamed online here) and will climax Sunday with the running of the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Trotters Derby and Redwood Classic. Tonight we're racing at Tabcorp Park with the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup Final and the Conect Blacks A Fake Free-for-All the feature races. Tomorrow night Kilmore takes the Saturday night spotlight with three TAB Breeders Crown heats scheduled. – Cody Winnell (Manager Communications and Media, HRV)   Did you follow Jason Bonnington's Good Form Game Plan last Friday and Saturday night? If so, here's what happened!    The tipsters had the choice of Tabcorp Park Melton tonight or Redwood Day Sunday this week for their $20 play of the weekend. Here's what they thought... Follow the leader board each week to see how much money will be donated to the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute after Feb 28, next year. $20 All-Up Win Melton Friday Night R2 No. 8 Oh Johnny B Good R8 No. 7 Miley Rose R9 No.6 San Carlo   Flexi Quaddie Melton Friday Night $20 for 27.77% 1st Leg: 1,2,5,8 2nd Leg: 3,4,5,8,11,12 3rd Leg: 6,8,9 4th Leg: 7 $20 place Maryborough Sunday R6 No.3 War Dan Destroyer (fixed odds $7.15 @ TAB) $20 All-Up Melton Friday Night R1 No.2 McNiven R9 No.6 San Carlo Bit of a space omen in Race 4 at Melton tonight… so let's got $5 each-way on both No. 4 Apollo Thirteen and No.5 Rowdy Rocket.  Another big profit last week with Jason, Cody and The Omen all profiting! Above are the overall standings so far.    New season club memberships on sale now The access-all-meetings Trots Card – Victorian harness racing’s must-have card for owners and fans – is a key component of the 2015-16 club membership packages. Club membership packages are on sale now for season 2015-16, with prices ranging from $25-$100 and clubs offering a variety of different entitlements for members.     The Country #Trots Run of the Week PROVOCATOR and trainer/driver Geoff Martin didn’t quite emulate Scott Torney’s celebrations of a week ago in winning the Neatline Homes Pace at Shepparton in the last race on Wednesday, but he still would have been chuffed. The $3.70 race favourite drew the pole, settled leader’s back behind Milady Denver before using the sprint lane to score by 1.8m in a mile rate of 1:59.3. The four-year-old gelding is by Kenneth J from Seductress.          

Redwood Day at Maryborough this Sunday is one of most keenly anticipated dates on the Australian harness racing calendar. Two trotting only meetings are being held on Friday and Sunday this week with the two Group 1 races on the Sunday being the highlights This year there is another strong contingent of Kiwi trotters involved but to say they have received the visitors draw is an understatement. There are three Kiwi trotters involved in the $50,500 Redwood Classic for two year olds but all of them have drawn in the carpark. The outstanding Muscles Yankee filly High Gait has drawn the best of the Kiwis at barrier 6 and she will probably move into barrier five if the emergency doesn't get a start. After her recent trial at Menangle where she broke 1:56 for the mile with ease, High Gait looks the one to beat post draw. The Paul Nairn trained Conon Bridge has copped the worst possible marble for a horse who can be a touch unruly, drawing one on the second line. Up till now the son of Raffaello Ambrosia has started from the unruly position in all his mobile starts and his draw on Sunday means the Nairn camp will be crossing their fingers through the first 100 metres. The third of the Kiwi runners in the two year old Redwood Classic is Missandei and the daughter of Angus Hall is right out in the carpark at five on the second line. Missandei won her only start since crossing the Tasman but the draw makes her task to beat High Gait again very difficult. The other Group 1 on Sunday is the $75,000 Victorian Derby and the outstanding New Zealand three year old Speeding Spur is another Kiwi to be handed a horror draw. Speeding Spur will start from six on the second line and will need all favours from out there to be a winning chance. Arya will start from barrier four so she instantly becomes a great each way chance while the top local Illawong Armstrong has also drawn the second line but his last win over Arya was outstanding and with any luck early he will be a big threat.. Harnesslink Media

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