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New South Wales harness racing has been rocked with the revelation the State's top training partnership is relocating to the United States. Record-breaking husband and wife partnership Shane and Lauren Tritton have decided to pursue their future careers in the New York region - a choice they say is prompted, in part, by the state of the industry in Australia. The couple shared their decision with family and friends this week and have advised key owners of their plans. "This decision has been made for many reasons, both business and personal, and to leave such a successful stable located in the world class facility (Menangle) is not without hesitation," Team Tritton said. "We would love to be staying in Australia for the rest of our careers, but the reality is the viability of a trainer and driver in harness racing in Australia is too volatile," they said. "We believe that in life we should always strive to reach our full ability, and the challenges of reinventing our stable in America will allow our techniques and understanding of this sport we both love to grow and prosper." Shane Tritton's father Peter has been operating successfully in the USA for many years. A number of the couple's key owners have elected to follow the stable and send their horses to the USA. "We're very grateful and proud they are willing to take this leap with us," the couple said. Team Tritton Stable at Menangle Park will continue with business as usual as the team prepares for the relocation. But the couple also sounded a clear "call to action" for the sport's governing bodies. "On a final note, we hope that those in control of harness racing can see they need to do more to make this great sport of harness racing bigger and better," they said. "In the past decade (it) has lost its viability to support participants who rely on it. "We have tried to stress this to those in charge without any reaction or concern for the issues that every trainer or driver in the country faces every week. "Please take notice those in charge need to do better for everyone in this industry who rely on it to survive. This is a sport and it should be fun - surviving isn't fun."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THE King of Miracle Mile qualifiers admits he may have to take a different path to get more runners in to the $1million sprint next week.  And that information from trainer Shane Tritton could boost the already high confidence of fans of Tiger Tara.  Tritton and his wife Lauren have been geniuses at getting horses into Miracle Miles over the last five years, often horses others wouldn’t have even targeted the great race with.  They have already pulled off their latest miracle for the Miracle by qualifying Yayas Hot Spot by winning the Newcastle Mile at 80-1 two weeks ago but that isn’t enough, they want two more in the March 2 classic.  That is likely to mean a chance of the typical Tritton modus operandi, which is use the horse’s gate speed to lead and then keep trucking at a sub 1:50 mile time to deter attackers and kick for home early, securing a winning break.  That would sound ideal for Maximan drawn barrier two in the $100,000 Allied Express Sprint at Menangle on Saturday night, a Miracle Mile qualifier, except for the little problem of  Australia’s best pacer Tiger Tara being drawn inside him at barrier one.  “I suppose we have two options,” says Tritton, before conceding that might only be one option.  “We could go forward and try and lead because sometimes Tiger can be a bit slow off the gate.  “But drawn where we are if it looks like Tiger is getting off fast then we could go straight to his back and trail him, from where we should be able to run top three and get into the Mile.  “So a lot will depend on how Tiger gets off the gate but to be realistic the way he is going trailing him wouldn’t be a bad place to be and it doesn’t look a fast front line.”  Not only does that suggest the place play on Maximan makes sense but they will make punters taking the shorts on Tiger Tara feel a little more secure.  The Trittons have a similar choice to make in Saturday’s other Miracle Mile qualifier where they have the ace draw with My Alpha Rock and could try to lead or take a trail, more than likely on Tiger Tara’s stablemate Majordan, providing the pacing bad boy scores up safely.  “He (My Alpha Rock) has actually been sold to a new US owner so that decision on tactics might come down to what they want but I think trailing would give him the best chance of getting into the Mile.”
 Tritton says Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory (race seven) couldn’t be better or his NSW Derby heat on Saturday.  “He is better than when he won the Derby so he should be in a race of his own.” Michael Guerin

SUCH is the aura around Ultimate Sniper, you could hear the sigh of relief when Mark Purdon said his Sydney trip was off. Leading the charge was top local trainer Shane Tritton, who has the now logical NSW Derby favourite Muscle Factory. Remembering Ultimate Sniper was a $1.70 favourite for the NSW Derby in Aussie prepost markets before Purdon ruled him out today (Thursday). Instead, Purdon said the All Stars’ Victoria Derby runner-up Im Anothermasterpiece was staying in Australia to tackle the NSW Derby. He was quickly added to betting markets as equal favourite with Muscle Factory, who beat him in the Victoria Derby. “It’s certainly helps us not having Ultimate Sniper coming after what’s he done in NZ. Maybe we scared him off,” Tritton smiled. Ultimate Sniper was the second big name All Stars’ horse to defect from Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles this week. Earlier, Inter Dominion finalists Spankem, the long-time Chariots of Fire favourite, was scratched from Saturday night’s Paleface Adios owing to a virus. He’s heading home. It’s a huge weekend in NSW ahead with the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on Friday night and the Paleface Adios at Menangle on Saturday night. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto holds the key at Newcastle with defending champion Majordan (gate three, $1.40) and exciting four-year-old Picard (gate four, $3.30). “I can’t split them. Picard is absolutely flying and Majordan is on the way up. They’re two great changes,” he said. In Picard’s case, a win would create a dilemma because the conditions of the Newcastle Mile state the winner cannot race again before the Miracle Mile. However, because Picard was already qualified for the Chariots before accepting to race at Newcastle, it’s different for him. HRNSW has told Pizzuto that Picard cannot run in both the Chariots and Miracle Mile if he wins at Newcastle. “I have to tell them by 9am Monday which race I’m going to. Even if I go to the Chariots and Picard wins that, he’s not allowed to run in the Miracle. It’s crazy,” he said. Despite Spankem’s scratching, the All Stars still holds the key to the Paleface Adios at Menangle with comeback star Chase Auckland $1.90 favourite from gate two. They also have $13 All U Need Is Faith from gate nine. Much interest centres on Tasmanian star Ignatius, who smashed the clock first-up in the Hondo Grattan last week and will be fitter. He’s a $3 shot despite a wide draw (gate 10).   Adam Hamilton

AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase Muscle Factory has registered his second record from three starts this season. Stopping the clock in a brilliant 1:49.6 three weeks ago when first-up from a five-month spell, Muscle Factory became the only three-year-old in the southern hemisphere to break the magical 1:50 barrier. At Tabcorp Park Melton last night (Saturday) the son of Roll With Joe produced a bold front runner performance to capture the Victoria Derby in 1:54 over 2240 metres. As such Muscle Factory equalled Our Waikiki Beach’s age track record set in the 2016 Breeders’ Crown. Thrilled with the colt’s performance, co-trainer Shane Tritton revealed a trip across the Tasman is being considered for Muscle Factory. Tritton has set his sights on the New Zealand Derby on April 5 and the Harness Jewels on June 1. First Muscle Factory will return to Tritton’s New South Wales base to prepare for his home state Derby, which begins with heats in Menangle on February 23. Should all go according to plan, Muscle Factory will then contest the $200,000 Final on March 2. “We paid the nomination fee for the New Zealand Derby during the week, so it is definitely on the cards,” Tritton said. “He has owners in New Zealand so they’d like to see him over there to race. “There is also the Jewels before being back in Melton for the Breeders’ Crown towards the end of the season, so there are plenty of options for him. “He’ll head home now have a couple of easy days then get ready for the Derby at Menangle.” Driven by co-trainer Lauren Tritton, Muscle Factory began brilliantly to lead from barrier six as Max Delight and then Hurricane Harley worked on his outside. Striding clear of the pack leaving the back straight, Muscle Factory scored by four-and-a-half metres from Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art four-and-a-half metres away third. “He was driven a little more conservatively in the heat and during the week we realised it was to his detriment as being driven for speed suits him better,” Tritton said. “Lauren rated him perfectly and he showed he can maintain his speed over a longer distance than a mile.”   APG Media

SHANE Tritton is someone who walks it like he talks it. Tritton is often outspoken about pre-race tactics and delivers on what he says. That’s why he giggled to himself when some doubted his vow “300 per cent My Alpha Rock will be holding the lead if he can” in the opening heat of the Inter Dominion pacing series at Melton on Saturday night. “Of course we want to lead. He’s won all his races leading or sitting parked. Why wouldn’t anyone think we would want to look for a soft option after drawing barrier one. We’re there to win, not run second or third,” Tritton said. “Not only will he hold the lead if we can, but we will bowl along. That’s his style, he’s a free-runner this horse. It’s how he goes best. “I think he’s the one to beat if he leads. I can’t see how they’ll get past him.” By “they”, Tritton is referring to two of the big guns of the series in Tiger Tara (gate four) and Wrappers Delight (two) in the strongest of the opening round pacing heats. If My Alpha Rock holds the front, this heat as all the ingredients of a seriously heated contest. Wrappers Delight is sure to try for the front and can get fired-up, while Tiger Tara only knows one way and he’s sure to be right up in the firing line. It could bring zippy Kiwi four-year-old Im Pats Delight ($7.50) into the mix from a good trailing draw (gate nine) with Gavin Lang aboard. Punters, buoyed by Tritton’s confidence, have backed My Alpha Rock from from $4.40 into $3.40. Tiger Tara has eased from $2.60 to $3.10, while Wrappers Delight has been $2.90 to $3.20. Tritton also holds the key to the second pacing heat with Franco Nelson (gate two), who has eased from a crazy $2.30 opening price to $2.60. “This is his chance with such a great draw to compared to his main dangers. I’m as keen as anyone to see how he measures up. He’ll be very hard to beat if he can find the front,” Tritton said. The support has been for star Victorian pair San Carlo (gate 10, $5 to $4.20) and Shadow Sax (gate 10, $7 to $6) despite their back row draws. Mach Doro has also firmed from $7 to $6 from the pole. Other chances in that strong second heat include WA raider Galactic Star (gate four, $9.50) and emerging NSW talent Ellmers Image (gate three, $10). The third pacing heat is a all about Cruz Bromac as far as betting goes with the All Stars’ NZ free-for-all winner firming from, $1.50 to $1.28 given he looks the leader from gate four. Plenty of eyes will be on Let It Ride as well, but he will need from lots of luck from an inside back row draw (gate eight). _________________________________________________________________________________ AUSSIE punters have unleashed on the two big guns of the trotting series to win their heats. In the opening heat, Australia’s best hope Tornado Valley – the $2.60 favourite for the final – has been crunched from $1.70 into $1.45. Kiwi star Speeding Spur is even shorter at $1.28 (in from $1.35) in the second heat after drawing to find the lead in the weakest of the heats from gate two. Tornado Valley’s trainer Andy Gath found himself having to dismiss “rumours” the star trotter was under an injury cloud. “Not sure where the rumours originate from that Tornado Valley is under an ‘injury cloud’. I can assure you that I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment. Admittedly he had a foot abscess some weeks ago, but (he’s) good as gold now,” Gath tweeted. Tornado Valley is drawn wide on the front row (gate six), but has plenty of gate speed and and is sure to press for the front from the likes of Wilmas Mate (one), Tough Monarch (two) and Alderbeck (four). Speeding Spur’s heat lacks depth, he possesses early speed and gate two give him every chance to lead, control the race and win as he likes. Adam Hamilton

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

A tragedy avoided could bring triumph to Shane Tritton's team with Franco Nelson, only months from a near-death illness, well-placed for a mighty tilt at Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. The New South Wales' trainer joined Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on RSN 927's Gait Speed ahead of yesterday's barrier draw, when Franco Nelson drew barrier six, outside Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull but still rated by some to make a forward running. This will be the Christian Cullen nine-year-old's 13th start for Tritton, all in 2018, a year of a significant up - his first Group 1 win in the Bohemia Crystal - and a significant down, which Tritton outlined on Gait Speed. "He's had an interesting year since he won his Group 1 at Miracle Mile time, we gave him a little let up and brought him up for the Len Smith," Tritton said. "We didn't know that he was racing and training with pneumonia. We didn't find this until he got crook and he actually had his intestines turned toxic and almost died." Having been first up from a two-month spell before the July 1 Len Smith Mile, Franco Nelson wouldn't return again until the September 29 Les Chant Cup, when he was fourth, 3.8m behind Victoria Cup contender Mach Doro. "We've taken our time, he's probably feeling the best I've ever had him - he's screaming at all the mares and is certainly on the top of his game," Tritton said. "I'm confident that, he's obviously going to improve with racing, but if he gets the right trip I wouldn't be swapping him for any in the race. "Someone asked me the other day what's the best horse you've ever trained. I think Nelson is a horse that can race under any conditions and if you have got to do the bullocking work he's still there at the end." While Franco Nelson's gate 6 draw and My Alpha Rock's gate 11 draw are tricky, stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu claimed the polemarker and is well placed. "I'm very happy with all three of them, I think Nelson's a proven horse. I think Lauren will stick with him to drive, which says a lot. If you are going to take one into a battle you want one that's done it plenty of times before." Trots Media

CHICAGO Bull will farewell his home state, at least for a couple of months, when he tackles Friday night’s $50,000 J P Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park. Trainer Gary Hall Sr confirmed he would run Chicago Bull this week, just eight days ahead of the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton. “It’s a good race this week and he thrives on backing-up,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull will dominate betting regardless of draws on Friday given he’s won his past eight on end and 11 of his past 12 starts. Beyond the Victoria Cup, Hall Sr still has his sights on a 2200m standing-start handicap at Alexandra Park on October 26 for Chicago Bull. The Aussie TAB has Chicago Bull $3 favourite for the Victoria Cup and $4.50 favourite for the NZ Cup. __________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Kima Frenning could face a big choice in a week or so. Frenning, the popular former Swede with the infectious smile, won her fourth Victorian country cup inside the past 12 months aboard former claimer Im The Boss last Thursday night. It the biggest of the four as well when Im The Boss led throughout to snare the $70,000 Group 2 Kilmore Cup, a race won by Lennytheshark and Soho Tribeca. It followed last season’s wins in the Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton Cups. The win, first-up from a spell and despite overracing at times in the lead, surely makes Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup a logical next target. But the same can be said for Im The Boss’ stablemate and another of Frenning’s regular drives, Wrappers Delight, who won well again at Melton last night. Frenning loves both horses, but has a special affinity for Im The Boss as he was her “breakthrough” horse. “I have got absolutely no words for this horse, he has just done so much for me. He just came to the end of his preparation last campaign and to come back and win a race like the Kilmore Cup against horses like that, he is just ridiculous,” she said. “When he is at his best he just goes to the front and keeps going and that is the way he races and that is what he does, he just knows it’s raceday.” Frenning admit to concern down the back straight the last time after Im The Boss had been so keen in front. “I was a bit worried as he’d been pulling a bit and then I saw I had My Kiwi Mate outside of me and Bettermatch out three-wide, but he just felt so strong on the bit and he just keeps boxing on and that is his best asset. He’s just got the biggest heart ever.” Im The Boss held-on to beat the rejuvenated Three Ways by 2.6m with another 1.9m away to Bad Billy in third spot. Favourite My Kiwi Mate didn’t enjoy doing the work outside the leader and tired late for seventh. __________________________________________________________________________________ A VICTORIA Cup tilt is next for classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro after his return to winning form at Menangle last night (Saturday). Owner Dom Martello looks set to have two runners in the Cup with his emerging pacer Wrappers Delight also right on target after winning at Melton last night. For Mach Doro, it won’t be his first Victoria Cup. Trainer Craig Cross took him down for the January, 2017 Cup won by Lazarus, but it was over at the start when Mach Doro galloped away. Cross looks to have timed his run at the race well with Mach Doro needing the run when first-up at Menangle two week’s back, then making the most of a gun run to beat quality rivals last night. Driver Luke McCarthy blasted Mach Doro off the gate to find the lead and then, sensibly, took the trail on seasoned Grand Circuit star Tiger Tara over the longer 2300m trip. Favourite Franco Nelson, first-up since June, had to work outside the leader, while Mach Doro had the cold trail. Tiger Tara sizzled a 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and still ran home in 27.7sec, but Mach Doro out-zipped him along the inside to win by 2.2m. Much-improved mare Village Witch ran a fantastic third, while Franco Nelson tried hard and was only beaten 3.8m in fourth spot in a slick 1min54sec mile rate. __________________________________________________________________________________ A DARING dip into open-class just failed to pay-off with emerging WA star King Of Swing last Friday night. With stable star Chicago Bull having a week off and knowing the Media Guild Cup was a preferential draw, trainer Gary Hall Sr threw King Of Swing into the race. The immensely talented former Kiwi drew the pole and led as expected, but was nabbed late by the tough and more seasoned Motu Premier. King Of Swing certainly had his chance with comfortable early splits and, although got a tad keen at times, driver Gary Hall Jr kicked away with what looked a winning break rounding the home bend. But Motu Premier, who did the work outside, just kept coming and snatched victory by a half-head over King Of Swing with Vampiro another head away in third spot in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2536m. It’s great to see Motu Premier, himself a former member of the All Stars’ barn, getting back to his best form for Merv Butterworth and trainer Ross Olivieri. __________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has turned his unbeaten Chariots Of Fire hopeful Gods Spirit out for a spell. “He pulled-up with a bit of a cold after winning at Menangle last Tuesday so he can have a break now and come back around Christmas time to wind-up for the Chariots,” Tritton said. Gods Spirit won his first and only NZ run and, since being sold to Tritton, has won all four runs at Menangle by an aggregate of 65.1m. And he’s already paced a 1min50.9sec mile. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter Father Christmas just keeps getting better for Brent Lilley. The eight-year-old posted his fourth and best win from just 12 Aussie runs – he’s been placed six times as well – when he made light work of a 10m handicap to thrash his rivals in the Group 3 Kilmore Trotters’ Cup last Thursday night. Lilley flexed his muscle with five runners in the race and also snared third spot with Kyvalley Barney.   Adam Hamilton

YOU can rule-out the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion is very much touch-and-go with sidelined superstar Hectorjayjay. It’s not that anything has gone wrong, more the rehabilitation process new trainer Matt Craven is putting him through. “It will be a very fine line for the Inter Dominion. Any little setback and it will be off the cards, I’d say,” Craven said. “I’d say at the start of November I’d know either way for sure. “Ultimately there’s no point pushing him too for the Inter unless we’re sure he’ll be ready. There are lots of good races after Christmas. “He’s been jogging well and doing his beach work. He’d got another three weeks or so of that before we’d step him up.” Hectorjayjay has raced just once since his barnstorming Group 1 Blacks A Fake win at Albion Park on July 15, last year. That one run was his comeback win for Gavin Lang at Kilmore on June 30, this year when he was found to have sustained another injury soon after. ________________________________________________________________________________ AWFUL news late last week with an injury to one of Australia’s most exciting pacers The Storm Inside. It’s the second major injury setback for the five-year-old, who boasts 11 wins and a second from just 12 starts. Trainer Emma Stewart confirmed The Storm Inside had suffered a fractured hind leg and would be sidelined for four to six months. The son of Rocknroll Hanover had surgery last Sunday and Stewart said all signs indicated it had been successful. The Storm Inside burst onto the scene winning all six starts as a juvenile, including the Australian Gold final. He posted 11 successive wins before being beaten for the first time, but smashing the clock in the process, when second to Wrappers Delight in the Breeders Crown 4YO final at his latest run on August 25. ________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton declared Gotta Go Ya Hu one of his Inter Dominion horses during the week and he duly resumed from a freshen-up with a sparkling win. The five-year-old could not have been more impressive, launching with a last-to-first Menangle win in a 1min51.1sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu thrives on being saved for one big, late run and this time he reeled-off his own last half in 54.2sec out three, four and five wide a times to gun down a gallant leader Epaulette. “That’s his go, sitting back and having the last go at them. It leaves him vulnerable if the race isn’t run to suit, but it; the way to drive him,” Tritton said, Gotta Go Ya Hu, the in-form My Alpha Rock and Franco Nelson – who trials at Menangle on Tuesday – are Team Tritton’s three major Inter Dominion hopefuls. “Gotta Go Ya Hu and My Alpha Rock will have a crack at the Victoria Cup as well,” Shane Tritton said. Another impressive Menangle winner last night was Amanda Turnbull’s emerging five-year-old Ellmers Image, who, despite doing the work outside the leader from a wide draw, won strongly in a 1min50.7sec mile. Turnbull had to be content with second in the Menangle feature when Eye See Diamonds chased home in the in-form Village Witch in the Group 3 Adore Me Stakes for mares. ________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S steep climb in a short time, but exciting former Kiwi pacer Diamonds N Cash could tackle the Inter Dominion. The four-year-old didn’t win by much, but did smash the clock with a 54.2sec last half – after sitting parked – at Ballarat last Friday night. It was his third win from six starts since being bought from NZ by Norm Jenkin for trainers Andy and Kate Gath. The best pointer to his potential was his fifth in that super strong Breeders Crown 3YO final won by Ride High. “He’s just kept improving since,” Kate Gath said. “He’s going through his grades at the moment, but the Inter Dominion is here in our backyard so we’ll obviously consider it if he keeps winning.” The Gaths also snared a winning double at Melton last night (Saturday) with former Kiwi pair Three Ways and Star Of Memphis. Three Ways, who finished second to Lazarus in the Victoria Derby at three, has fluctuated form since, but looked good winning the free-for-all at Melton. Things are about to get busier for the Gath’s with their star trotter Tornado Valley nearing a racetrack return and being set for two runs, including the Dominion Trot, during NZ Cup Week. ________________________________________________________________________________ A PATIENT Gary Hall Jr drive helped the emerging Runrunjimmdunn overpower his main rival Vampiro to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Vampiro sat outside the leader, Tricky Styx, in a slowly run race, put paid to him down the back in a 28.4sec split, but Runrunjimmydunn stormed home from last in the small five horse field to win by 1.9m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2130m. It reversed the result of their previous clash when Vampiro stalked Runrunjimmydunn and beat him. Chicago Bull is the obviously standout in Australia let alone WA, but outside of him Vampiro and Runrunjimmydunn are the emerging stars of Perth’s open-class ranks. Chicago Bull is due to return from a freshen-up in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park next Friday night. The plan is two lead-up runs in Perth ahead of the Victoria Cup at Melton on October 13 then across to Auckland for a lead-up race on his way to the NZ Cup. Former All Stars’ pacer Motu Premier broke a long drought from the winner’s circle with an impressive display at Gloucester Park and he looks another major open class player. It was a big effort to sir parked outside the emerging Speed Man and out-tough him a slick 1min57.6sec mile rate for the longer 2536m trip. Motu Premier had gone winless in 17 starts since scoring at Gloucester Park on October 13, last year. ________________________________________________________________________________ COMEBACK trotter Maori Law continues to build towards his Inter Dominion bid. Trained by Bill Morgan and raced by Fred Crews, who races Maori Time, Maori Law won as he liked again at Melton in a slick 1min58.7sec mile rate for 2240m last night (Saturday). Maori Time has 13 months out with injury, resumed with a couple of strong placings and has now won his past two. His career record is 18 starts for 14 wins and four placings. ________________________________________________________________________________ IT was siring double for Art Major in the two Group 2 Vicbred Home Grown finals at Melton last night. Trained David Aiken teamed with driver Kima Frenning to win the colts and geldings final with Malcolms Rhythm (Art Major-She’s Got It All) in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m. The fillies’ final went to Izzy Jolie (Art Major-Dee Jay Jolie) for trainer David Miles and driver Greg Sugars in a 1min58sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

AMERICA here we come. That’s something Victorian dairy farmers and harness hobbyists John and Mary Meade never thought they’d say. Now it’s reality as they pack their bags to head to New York of all places with their pride and joy, their star trotter Sparkling Eyes. And, judging by his farewell Aussie run, Sparkling Eyes is primed o do everyone proud in the $US1 million Yonkers International Trot in New York on October 13. John Meade looks to have timed the preparation well with two sound placings to open this campaign then a pair of dominant Melton wins. Sparkling Success sat parked with driver Chris Svanosio controlling the tempo while his only real danger, Kyvalley Blur, two back in the running line. Svanosio put paid to the leader, El Paco, rounding the final bend, opened-up and big league and easily held-off a game Kyvalley Blur to win by 3.4m in a slick 1min55.9sec mile rate for 1720m. They dashed home in56.5 and 27.7sec. What an exciting time for Down Under harness with Lazarus commanding so much attention in North America and an in-form Sparkling Success headed his way. _________________________________________________________________________ NOW we are starting to see why Team Tritton thinks former their Kiwi pacer My Alpha Rock is Inter Dominion material. The sixth year-old posted his fourth successive Menangle win and this time ran a personal best and broke with the 1min50sec barrier with a sparkling 1min49.5sec mile last night (Saturday). All this from a wide draw and being part of a slick 26.8sec opening quarter then splits of 28.1, 27.2 and 27.4sec. “We’ve always liked him and have given him time. He’s really gone to the next level these past few runs,” Shane Tritton said. “The plan is to take him down (to Melbourne) for the Victoria Cup (October 13) and then the Inter Dominion later on.” My Alpha Rock has won eight of his 11 starts since joining Team Tritton at the end of last year, Shane and Lauren Tritton also have Inter Dominion hopefuls Franco Nelson and Gotta Go Ya Hu. The other key winner at Menangle was Steve Turnbull’s emerging five-year-old Joes Star Of Mia, who sat parked to win the Group 3 Dahua final in a 1min50.9sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the Inter Dominion theme and gifted Victorian pacer My Kiwi Mate is another headed that way. Craig Demmler’s gelding has always shown Group 1 potential and his Melton win in The Gammlite (2240m) at Melton last night (Saturday) was the most “complete” of his career. More renowned for his lethal sit-sprint style, My Kiwi Mate worked early, was stuck wide, drifted back to last and then came five and six-wide around the entire field to snatch a half-neck win. All this in a slick 1min55.2sec mile and closing splits of 57 and 28.2sec. It’s been a fantastic training effort from Demmler to nurse My Kiwi Mate back from a bone chip in a back fetlock which required an operation. Demmler has often likened My Kiwi Mate’s potential to Breenys Fella, who he drove in a string of major races for his father, Ted, including second to Shakamaker in the 2000 Inter Dominion final. My Kiwi Mate’s win came at only his second run on the comeback trail, which saw him spend between October 14, last year and August 24 this year off the scene. Some of his best runs so far have included a second in the 2015 Queensland Derby, 3rd in the 2015 Breeders Crown 3YO final and 4th in the 2016 4YO Harness Jewels. _________________________________________________________________________ SAD news during the past week with the passing of popular and highly-talented pacer Messini. The former classy Kiwi juvenile, who spent most of his open-age career in Victoria, passed away last Wednesday. “It’s been a terrible morning for us all at Lilley racing with the passing of our brave warrior Messini. Will be missed around the place that’s for sure. RIP mate,” tweeted Brent Lilley. Messini raced 97 times for 26 wins, 28 placings and earned a thumping $711,711. His major wins included the 2018 Bendigo Cup and Group 1 victories in the 2015 Vicbred 4YO final and 2014 Vicbred 3YO final. _________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING WA pacer Vampiro is one of many who will be glad when Chicago Bull leaves the state for major races in Victoria and NZ. While not in the Chicago Bull league – certainly not yet anyway – Vampiro has raced through the grades for Greg and Skye Bond to be on the next level. And he confirmed it with another impressive Gloucester Park win, this time in free-for-all class, last Friday night. It was his third successive win at the track and he made the most of a good trail and lovely Ryan Warwick drive to easily account for Chicago Bull’s talented stablemate, Runrunjimmydunn, who worked outside the leader, Natural Disaster. Despite the dawdling midrace tempo of a 62.6sec middle half, Vampiro was simply too quick in an official 55.9sec closing half to win by 2.9m.   Adam Hamilton

Kiwis Clive and Rona McKay have raced a long list of top horses, but Muscle Factory is potentially the best yet. Rona went a step further after Muscle Factory’s mind-blowing $100,000 Group 1 Australian Gold Brisbane Graduate final at Albion Park last night. “I’ve been waiting 80 years for this moment, for this horse to come into my life,” she beamed after the presentation. “This is so exciting. Did you see how easily he won it and the time he went?” Muscle Factory paced a smoking 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1660m capped by mesmerizing closing splits of 27.4 and 26.8sec. His winning margin was a whopping 37.9m, reviving Queensland memories of 1999 when Courage Under Fire won the Gold Coast Derby by 48.75m. “He’s still raw and has so much to learn. I can’t wait to get him out for a spell now and being him back as a three-year-old,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. “I know this is a strong crop, but after a break I’ll be surprised if there are many better three-year-olds next season than him.” The McKay’s snared a large slice of Muscle Factory’s ownership following a conversation Rona had with Tritton on Miracle Mile night. “I told Shane and Lauren to buy us a nice two-year-old if they found one, but Clive said we already had enough horses,” Rona smiled. Adam Hamilton

ENJOYING Queensland’s pleasant weather this week, power couple Lauren and Shane Tritton are hoping for a warm reception at Albion Park on Saturday. The duo are set to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final with Muscle Factory, which is the short-priced favourite from his wide draw. Winner of his heat at the same venue last weekend, Muscle Factory will begin from the outside of the front row. Despite the two-year-old’s tough starting position, Shane is positive Muscle Factory can add the Group One to his impressive record. The son of Roll With Joe has won four of his eight starts, with three placings also to his credit. “He has pulled up super from his heat and everything is moving along nicely,” Tritton said. “He needed that run in the heat as he hadn’t one in a while. “His work has been great this week and he will be better again in the Final., “We couldn’t be happier with him going into this race…it is the best he has been all season as he’s started to work out what it’s all about.” Citing Victorian filly For All We Know as the one to beat, Tritton expects Miss Moneybags to improve from a favourable draw. Prepared by Brett Bunfield, For All We Know also won her heat, which followed a second in the Qbred Final at her previous start. Triumphant in the nation-wide APG Consolation last April, the daughter of Art Major has drawn gate two. Fourth behind Muscle Factory in her qualifier, Miss Moneybags will begin from the pole to local horseman Grant Dixon. The daughter of Mach Three is one of four runners Dixon has engaged in the $100,000 feature. Dixon will also be represented by Saint Kilda Beach, Sea Hawke and Bettor Because. “For All We Know is a nice filly, which has proven she is Group One class against girls, is the one to beat here,” Tritton said. “The saying tells us ‘a good colt will beat a good filly’ but For All We Know has to be given respect. “Miss Moneybags has been thereabouts all season and gets her chance from the pole.” APG Media

Another Gloucester Park meeting, another easy win for the NZ Cup-bound Chicago Bull. Gary Hall Sr’s five-year-old made it three cosy wins from as many starts this campaign when he led from the pole and was never out of second gear at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chicago Bull zipped home in 26.8sec with driver Gary Hall Jr just sitting against him in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2130m. It was a Hall Sr quinella with the emerging Runrunjimmydunn sitting behind Chicago Bull and running second, while the talented Galactic Star ran a brave third after parking outside the champ. “He’ll have another a couple of runs, then a freshen-up before we lock-in travel plans. I’d like to go to the Victoria Cup on the way to NZ. The timing works if it fits the available flights,” Hall Sr said. ______________________________________________________________________ BRENT Lilley’s new Kiwi import Stress Factor is the one to beat in next Sunday’s Group 1 Victoria Trotters’ Derby. That was clear after the former All Stars’ trotter made an impressive Aussie winning debut for new trainer Brent Lilley. Stress Factor showed great manners and gate speed with Chris Alford aboard to work forward and take the lead and went on to win by 2.3m in a 1min59.4sec for 2240m. The eye-catching run was Anton Golino’s Majestic Player, who stormed home from midfield to finish second. Highly-rated local Anywhere Hugo finished third, but would need to improve sharply to be a major player in the Derby. ______________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has no regrets about skipping the recent Queensland Carnival with his emerging star Gotta Go Ya Hu. The four-year-old son of Big Jim made it two sparkling wins in a row at Menangle when he blasted home from last to win running away by 5.2m in a 1min51.3sec mile. “We think he’s our next really top horse, but we made the decision to keep him back from the big races and let him learn,” Tritton said. “Of course you look back at those Queensland races and wonder. I think he’s match it with anything racing right now, he’s got this amazing speed, but we will turn him loose next campaign.” In contrast to most Tritton horses, Gotta Go Ya Hu excels when driven from back in the field, as shown by his past two wins. Suited by the leaders blazing a 54.2sec first half, Gotta Go Ya Hu stormed around the field to win easily. “You’ll note how we drive him and you’ll see more of our horses driven like that. While it’s worked to be aggressive and on the speed, we’re a bit sick of being the bunny for others,” Tritton said. ______________________________________________________________________ MOST Kiwis know Our Golden Goddess has always had the potential to be one of the best mares in Australasia. And now two sparkling wins this campaign have her firmly headed in that direction for trainer-driver Kerryn Manning. The five-year-old Art Major mare toyed with her rivals last night at Melton, the highlight being a staggering 26.2sec closing quarter. Manning had a big night after earlier leading throughout for an impressive but upset win aboard Tough Call in the Group 3 TAB Multiplier final, beating highly-rated Jilliby Bandit on his merits. ______________________________________________________________________ ONE of the biggest stories of this year’s hugely successful Queensland Winter Carnival has been the massive interstate flavour. Queenslanders are used to raiders snatching their major races, but this year trainers like Chris Frisby, Craig Cross and Kerry Ann Turner sent teams up from NSW and had a massive influence. Of course the now NSW-based Tim Butt won the Blacks A Fake with Let It Ride and Amanda Turnbull also came from NSW to win the Sunshine Sprint with Tact Tate. Even last night, NSW raiders won four of the 10 races and Luke McCarthy, who has enjoyed a stellar stint up north, drove three winners. “It’s been a huge success story this Carnival,” Albion Park chief Damian Raedler said. “Betting figures have soared, the media coverage has been outstanding and there is a real buzz around.” ______________________________________________________________________ ROBBIE Morris returned home from his successful three-week Queensland stint to reunite with fiancé Kerry Ann Turner and the pair dominated the Menangle meeting last night. Turner trained four of the nine winners and in two of the races she also snared the quinella. Turner drove Redbank Blaze to win, while Morris was aboard their other three winners: Cherry Stride, Dance For Glory and Fat Prophet. “We had plenty of success in Queensland, but Kerryn Ann did a fantastic job back home and it’s great to back together and having the success we did last night,” Morris said. ______________________________________________________________________ SAME dominance, different state for Emma Stewart. Victoria’s top trainer snared yet another feature this season when Art Major colt Thats Perfect thrashed his rivals in the $50,000 Ubet Southern Cross final for three-year-old colts and geldings at Globe Derby last night. Thats Perfect, driven by Sidney Van Den Brande, roared away to win by 26m in a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 2230m and led a Victorian dominance on the night. Trainer Brett Bunfield, who has taken over most of the horses previously trained in Victoria by Nicole Molander, won the 3YO fillies’ final by 17m with Bettors Delight filly Saphirique. And Nathan Jack trained the quinella in the 2YO colts and geldings final with Art Major colt Animal thrashing stablemate Young Rooster in a sparkling 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1800m. Trainer Bronte Giorgio landed the only local win in the finals with Bubbles And Cheese beating another local, Shesashark, by a whisker in the 2YO fillies’ final. ______________________________________________________________________ IT might not have been the result punters hoped for, but nobody could begrudge popular trainer-driver David Murphy his feature win with Valla Reine in the $50,000 Australian Gold Autumn 2YO Sale final. The daughter of Cams Fool led and just staved-off a gallant Cautivar to win by a nose with heavily-backed favourite Jilliby Macarena having every chance after a superb Jason Lee drive in third spot.   Adam Hamilton

THE door is wide open for Chicago Bull. Right now he’s top seed for the tag as Australasia’s best pacer, but the rest of this year will tell the story. More immediately, November’s NZ Cup will be the defining race of his career. Trainer Gary Hall Sr has repeatedly dismiss doubters saying he won’t make the trip to Addington and Chicago Bull is doing his part to ensure it. The pint-sized gelding made it two easy wins from as many starts this campaign when he toyed with a good free-for-all field at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Somewhat surprisingly, but sensibly, main rival Bettors Fire opted to surrender the lead to Chicago Bull in the early stages of the long 2536m race and it developed into a sprint home. Chicago Bull ambled through a 60.1sec middle half, then dashed home in 54.9 and 27.0sec to win by 4.7m without being extended by Gary Hall Jr in a 1min56.8sec mile rate. “It’s all about the NZ Cup now. If the timing and flights work, he’ll probably go to the Victoria Cup then across to NZ nice and early,” Hall Sr said. “For now, we will just pick off a few free-for-alls here then given him a freshen-up and go again.” Trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan opted to dodge Chicago Bull with his evergreen The Bucket List and was rewarded with a win off a daunting 50m backmark in the Botra Cup. ___________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi mare Our Golden Goddess looks ready to stake her claim for the crown as Australia’s best mare. It’s tight at the top with the likes of Ameretto, Tell Me Tales and Carlas Pixel, but Our Golden Goddess was awesome winning first-up from a spell at Melton last night. Sure she led, but it was against open-class free-for-allers and she ran blistering times to win by 8.6m in a 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2240m. ___________________________________________________________________________ MILLIONARE trotter Keystone Del didn’t win his comeback race, but he did the next best thing. Sidelined for almost a year, the rising 11-year-old produced a monster run for second to stablemate Kyvalley Blur after having the hardest run in the race. It thrilled trainer Brent Lilley, who has nursed Keystone Del back to form and fitness. Lilley’s pair pulled away from hot favourite Tornado Valley, who looked flat and might be ready for a spell after a busy and blazing start to his Aussie career. ___________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi pacer Master Moonlite caused one of the biggest upsets of the Queensland Winter Carnival when he snatched a last-stride win in the Group 2 Queensland Derby last night. The race supposed to be a walk in the park for another former Kiwi, Duplicated, with local pin-up pacer Colt Thirty One the only possible danger. Duplicated, who thrashed virtually the same field in the South East Derby the week before, led as expected from gate one and cruised through a first 800m as Colt Thirty One parked outside him. The race changed suddenly in the middle stages when local driver Dannielle McMullen launched three-wide and tried unsuccessfully to get the “death” seat off Colt Thirty One. As a result, the heat win into the race and a revved-up Duplicated started pulling ferociously in front for driver Luke McCarthy. It was clear down the back straight he’d run himself ragged and Colt Thirty One powered to the front while Master Moonlite set out after him. Master Moonlite, trained and driven by Victorian Matty Craven, lunged right on the wire to win by a half-head over the very gallant Colt Thirty One with another 9m away to the filly Fame Assured in third spot. Duplicated wilted four fifth, while another very recent Kiwi import Pembrooks Passion ran a sound fourth at his first run for new trainer KerryAnn Turner. Master Moonlite has been an astute purchase by Craven, having won three of his seven starts for the barn. His Derby win did underline the amazing strength of Emma Stewart’s three-year-old crop given Master Moonlite finished a well-held sixth in the recent Vicbred final at Melton where Stewart had the first four home, headed by Poster Boy. ___________________________________________________________________________ NRL star Jarrod Croker added some celebrity power to Blacks A Fake night and didn’t go home empty handed. Croker, captain of the Canberra Raiders, has shares in a few pacers, including the consistent and talented Our Triple Play, who won last night’s $30540 Group 3 4YO Championship for trainer-driver Brad Hewitt. It was a brilliant drive from Hewitt to find the lead then kick away on the home bend while main danger and eventual runner-up Conviction was bailed-away in traffic. ___________________________________________________________________________ EVERY now and again Queensland produces a young pacer capable of matching Australia’s best. Last year’s Winter Carnival unearthed Colt Thirty One, who has already gone on to win the Victoria Derby. This year it could be Smart As Camm Be, who lifted off the canvas for trainer-driver Kylie Rasmussen for a narrow but fantastic win in the $100,540 Group 1 Qbred Trial final. Luke McCarthy did every possible to get Victorian raider For All We Know home, but failed by a neck after a glorious drive. McCarthy did win the Group 1 2YO colts and geldings equivalent earlier in the night when First String camped on leader and hot favourite Regulus and ran him down in the last 200m. ___________________________________________________________________________ IT was a week of milestones in Victoria with Chris Alford’s record-breaking 389th win of the season the headline act. But another bright star of the sport, Kate Gath, reached her 1300th career win when she snared a double – both trained by husband Andy Gath – at Bendigo on Friday night. Gath’s first Bendigo win came on promising former Kiwi three-year-old trotter Scallywag Sam and then added another aboard Chief Running Cloud. Scallywag Sam now boasts five wins from just six Aussie runs. ___________________________________________________________________________ WHAT a shame buzz Victorian youngster Lochinvar Art isn’t paid-up for the Breeders Crown. Many think he’s up with the best juveniles in Australia and it’s hard to argue after the way he demolished his rivals in last night’s Group 2 Tatlow Stakes (2240m) at Melton. Trained by Laura Crossland and driven by David Moran, Lochinvar Art had to dragged back from an inside back row draw, but circled the field and won by 20m in a 1min55.7sec mile rate. ___________________________________________________________________________ A COUPLE of months ago Shane Tritton popped an advertisement on this website spruiking the opportunities for Kiwi owners to send horses to him to race at Menangle. Just one of the many people to contact him was Dougal Steel, who sent his young mare My Major Pocket across. “He took a chance and has already been rewarded,” Tritton said. “Her Menangle win last night was her third from just seven starts for us. She’s run two seconds and a third as well.” My Major Pocket came from a seemingly hopeless position in a slowly run race to overpower one-time glamour mare Rocker Band and win in a 1min54.9sec mile at Menangle. The other Menangle win of note came from two-time Inter Dominion contestant Major Crocker, who resumed from a spell with a sharp win in the opening race for new trainer Michael Doltoff. Major Crocker, a winner of 29 races and over $680,000, will be a welcome addition to NSW’s open-class ranks.   Adam Hamilton

Aussie challenger Shane Tritton has learned a valuable lesson about taking on New Zealand's best at tomorrow's Harness Jewels — don't try to be a Kiwi. Tritton and his wife (and stable driver) Lauren train two of the five Australians at tomorrow's huge meeting at Cambridge, with both Platinum Revolution (race one) and Pete's Big Jim (race six) drawn the ace. Which is exactly what the Trittons wanted and an advantage they will not be giving away. "I have learned from campaigning horses like Salty Robyn at the Jewels before and having Suave Stuey Lombo at the NZ Cup meeting," admits Shane Tritton. "We have come over here and tried to race like the Kiwis, almost been fooled into it. "With Salty Robyn at the Jewels at Ashburton we handed up to one of Mark Purdons and I still regret it because you are not going to beat him doing that. "We have to race the way we know best and that is to try to outstay them and get them out of their comfort zone. So we came here this time hoping for draws that we could do that from, to be masters of our own destiny, and we have got them. So we are going to use them." Tritton's horses are well-known for their catch me if you can tactics and just a few months ago he declared a comparative outsider in Anything For Love would lead and run against powerhouses like Soho Tribeca in a Miracle Mile prelude. He did and won his way into the Mile in typical Tritton fashion so his pre-race bravado tends to not be just hot air. His best chance tomorrow looks to be Platinum Revolution, a horse co-bred by the voice of Addington, Mark McNamara. She has good gate speed and is aided by the two All Stars big guns in the race, Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie being drawn wide, meaning it should take them at least until the 1000m mark to get outside Platinum Revolution and apply any real pressure. "She is a better filly than people realise and Mark Purdon's pair, and the rest of them, are going to need to be good to run past her," Tritton says. Pete's Big Jim meets opposition of more depth and doesn't have the same sparkling formline but has only been with Tritton for the last two weeks. "He has improved a bit coming from a smaller stable and he will fly the gate. He trialled in 1:53 at Menangle last week and if this race was there on Saturday he would pace 1:52. Whether the others in this race can go that quick, I don't know." The answer is, judging on previous years, probably yes, with Jesse Duke maybe the horse peaking at the right time. Tritton says winning in the Australian green Jewels colours at Cambridge would be a career highlight for Lauren and he. "We probably have more respect for the Kiwi horses and industry than just anybody in Australia and about 90 per cent of our horses are from over here. "So to come over here and show everybody we can train with the best of them would mean the world to me."   Michael Guerin

Shane Tritton thinks he could be the surprise packet of the Harness Jewels. And today’s barrier draws have only boosted his confidence with his juvenile pair Platinum Revolution and Petes Big Jim both snaring prized pole positions at Cambridge tomorrow (Saturday) week.  Tritton and wife Lauren have tackled the Jewels before so knows the enormity of the challenge, but he insists his two raiders should not be sold short despite not being dismissed by many.  “I know lots of people have written us off and, in the case of Petes Big Jim, even laughed at us going, but I think they’ll be surprised,” he said.  “I had Platinum Revolution underdone first-up at Goulburn, it was my fault. Then she could’ve won by a huge space last time, but she wanted to switch off in front.  “She hasn’t been in many races against the best fillies because she hasn’t been paid-up for those races, but I’ve got no doubt she will thrive on it. She’ll follow any speed and run a great race.  “Drawing the pole is a big plus. It should put us right up there on the speed without having to do much work.”  Petes Big Jim joined Tritton’s team right at the time he landed a Jewels invite which surprised many.  “I’ve liked this horses for a long time. I tried to buy him when he ran second in a big race to College Chapel in super time earlier in the season,” Tritton said.  “He’s certainly nowhere near the best two-year-old in Australia on his form, but I’m sure he’s up there on sheer talent.  “I changed a few things after he came to our stable and you saw the immediate results with that 1min53sec trial win at Menangle the other day.  “Put it this way, we’ve got one of the best two-year-olds going around in Muscle Factory and Lauren (Tritton) said after Petes Big Jim’s trial the other day that if clashed with Muscle Factory, she wouldn’t be sure which one to drive.  “Lauren also said he felt that good in the trial that now he’s drawn to lead in the Jewels she wouldn’t hesitate to hold the front.”  If you needed any reminding how upbeat and great for the game Tritton is, check his tweet just moments after the Jewels’ barrier draws came out: “BRING ON THE JEWELS”! Adam Hamilton

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