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Exceptionally talented pacer Pat Stanley, who claimed this year’s South Australian Pacing Cup in brilliant fashion, is off to the US. The five-year-old gelding, sired by Western Ideal, out of Jaz Tanner (Artiscape), will join the in-form barn of ex-Aussies Shane and Lauren Tritton, at Pine Bush, 130 kms from New York City. Accompanying Pat Stanley will be brown gelding War Dan (Bettors Delight-Kalypso (Safely Kept), formerly prepared at Lara by Amanda Grieve. “We’re pretty excited - Pat Stanley is a terrific horse with so much ability. The other one, War Dan, is extremely honest. They will both be suited to the racing over here—we’ve got no doubts that they’ll fit in the classes nicely,” Tritton said. “We’ve known Danny (Zavitsanos) and Warren (Viney), who own War Dan, for a long time, but this’ll be the first horse they have raced in the States,” he said. “This will take us up to 17 or 18 horses in work. The two latest ones coming over are quality and as long as we keep the ball rolling, all is good.” Team Tritton continues to tick along with regular winners. Early last week they broke new ground when USA-bred trotter La Dolfina was successful at Yonkers, driven by regular reinsman Jordan Stratton. “We trained a few trotters over the years when back in New South Wales but this was something a bit different.  We really didn’t expect to pick up one that was bred and owned in the US,” Shane said. “He’s owned by the three Betts brothers.  Scott Betts, the trainer, is based and races The Meadows, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they thought La Dolfina would be suited to Yonkers. “They actually sent another three down to us as well. They’re hoping they may be better placed down our way.” The husband and wife team travelled to The Downs, Pocono, yesterday to compete at that venue for the very first time. “It was a special day for the country being Independence Day. They are so patriotic over here—they are proud to be Americans with flags outside their homes and buildings. All those things are a new experience for us and we’re just loving it.” The Tritton’s took three runners to the Pocono meeting and got the money with Letspendanitetogetha (1.50-4). It was the pacer’s second victory since making the US his home. Jordan Stratton again took the lines. Elsewhere in the US, former Kevin Pizzuto-trained speedster Majordan (Art Major-Benelise (Vintner) won his first North American start in 1.49-3 over the Scioto Downs 5/8ths mile track at Columbus, Ohio. Part-owner Gordon Banks posted that the pacer, who this year won the $100,000 Newcastle G1 Mile when handled by Todd McCarthy, was in front before the quarter in a zippy 26.2. “He then cut the half in 54.4, pulling away to win by two and a half widening lengths,” Banks added. “Thanks to Virgil Morgan Jnr for a great training job and to Brett Miller for a nice wire-to-wire drive. Also congratulations to our new co-owners in Ned Hodkinson and Milton Leeman.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Team Tritton harness racing juggernaut rolled into Yonkers Raceway just before midday yesterday (AEST) - and a sentimental favorite brought home the chocolates at the Aussie stable's first look at the famed New York Raceway. Shane and Lauren Tritton have now won six of their eight starts since hitting the American tracks for the first time a little over a fortnight ago. Yesterday it was a stable favorite, the consistent Yayas Hot Spot (Jeremes Jet-Star Of Heaven (In The Pocket) posting a first-up US win and taking his career victories to 27. "He went super because he was up a bit in grade. Our driver Jordan (Stratton) thought the horse was day-dreaming and could have gone a little faster," Shane said. "We were very pleased with it. He went into the race a bit fat, so hopefully there's some improvement to come with more racing," he said. Yayas Hot Spot has been a great old horse for the Trittons, winning more than $620,000 so far in his career. "He won his first 10 starts with Lauren driving in seven of them, then he's been in two Miracle Miles and won the ($100,000 G1) Newcastle Mile early last year, so he's a pretty special horse for us," Shane said. "The half mile tracks just suit him down to the ground. When we were back home, we were always wanting to send him across to see how he'd go, but it just never worked in, so it's terrific to now be over here with him ourselves." The former Sydneysiders headed off in March this year with a team of a dozen horses to try their luck in the US. And while all the preparation work had been done, the couple is no doubt pinching themselves at how well their relocation is playing out so far. Yayas Hot Spot was their sixth winner, adding his name to a list of Meadowlands successes in Gods Spirit (1.50-1); My Ruebe Star (two wins - 1.50-1 & 1.50.3); Flaming Flutter (1.49-1); and Letspendanitetogtha (1.51). They have had another two starters. Ohoka Johnny ran third in 1.49-3, while Im A Director lost any chance when checked with 800 metres to go and suffering a flat tyre. "We've had an unbelievable start but we realize that it's going to get tougher from here," Shane said. "There's a few bad barrier draws coming up in our next couple of meetings and one of our starters in Foo Fighter is nearly in the open class," he said. "But we have to just aim on being consistent. All we can do is build on what we've learnt so far, putting in the work and doing our best." Tritton said they had received some enquiries from potential owners in recent weeks. "There's been a few reaching out to us and we'll have to sit down and weigh things up at some stage but our first priority is always to our loyal owners," he said. "We arrived here with a stable of 12 and then we've picked up another six since. We've got a few staff with us now and after knowing nothing about horses, they've come a long way!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

AN old marvel of Aussie harness took Team Tritton’s phenomenally successful North American launch to a new level. After two wins from their first two US runners last weekend, Shane and Lauren Tritton snagged another three wins from their next four runners. My Ruebe Star backed-up from her US debut win to repeat the dose, again at The Meadowlands on Saturday morning (NZ time). Their three-race winning streak ended with Ohoka Johnny finished third at The Meadowlands yesterday morning (Sunday), but Team Tritton bounced straight back for wins with former NZ Cup contestant Letspendanitetogetha and Flaming Flutter. “That one (Flaming Flutter) was a bit emotional for us. He’s been such a great horse, but he’s so special to us. Lauren said we weren’t allowed to leave home without him,” Shane said. “We thought he’d settled in really well and were disappointed when he drew the outside for his first run, but it didn’t stop him. “To be four-wide into the first bend, the three-wide and never see the marker pegs, but still put them away and go a 1min49.1sec mile – it just shows his class. “He might be an 11-year-old over here, but he’s going to love the racing and win a lot more races. It’s hard to say he’ll make it back to the top at his age, but he’ll give some good horses a big fright with the right run on the strength of what he did today. People were saying, ‘wow, that’s a serious horse’ after he won.” Flaming Flutter raced 122 times Down Under for 25 wins, 43 placings and $814,235 in stakemoney, mainly for Geoff Webster before joining Team Tritton late last year. He was a top flight juvenile, but it best known for finishing second to Beautide in the 2015 Sydney Inter Dominion final and third to Lennytheshark in the Perth Inter Dominion final nine months later. Team Tritton’s first unplaced runner came in the 15th race at The Meadowlands yesterday when Im A Director copped a check and a flat tyre. In total, they’ve had seven runners for five wins and a third. “It’s certainly been a dream start and it’s a bit surprising because we’re still very much working out how to train the horses here compared to back home,” Shane said. “People are certainly taking notice. We’ve had a few calls from owners which could lead to us getting some more nice horses in the barn.” Team Tritton will race mainly at The Meadowlands and Yonkers, which re-opens today (Monday) after a COVID shutdown. “It’ll be great to have Yonkers back open because they race for such amazing money. They the standard races will be $US44,000 once we get fully past COVID. As it is, they say they’ll be racing for $US33,000,” Shane said.   Adam Hamilton

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

Former Aussie harness racing team Shane and Lauren Tritton have kicked off a new chapter with the best possible start to their USA move. The couple has a team of 18 in work, and took their first runner to the famed Meadowlands circuit, near New York City, early today Australian time. My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring) didn't disappoint, scoring a comfortable win for reinsman Jordan Stratton. A relieved Shane Tritton described the win as "pretty surreal" but the couple was thrilled to get "the monkey off their back" in the best possible way. "I'm not sure if its relief or what it is, but it was just unbelievable to get the win," he said. "I think the greater relief was actually to get one to the races - we have been under a lot of pressure being away from home and away from our friends. It was a big move and it is a relief to finally be underway." Shane said he was pleased his dad, trainer Peter who moved to the US 20 years ago, was able to be trackside for the win. "Dad's been showing us the ropes, so it was fantastic to have him there. I think he was relieved as well, because I think he was worried we might blame him if things didn't work out as we hoped!" Shane laughed. "It's just so exciting. We've been talking to family and friends back home and you just have to pinch yourself that it's happened." My Ruebe Star was a winner of 10 races in Australia and was among a dozen horses that relocated to the Northern Hemisphere with Team Tritton. "We're so proud of her. She had to do it a bit tough early and we were wondering if we'd had to use her up a bit much. But Jordan said she felt fantastic right from the start, and first up, we just couldn't have asked for any more. "We always liked her back home but she was coming up against he best mares in NSW towards the end. We always thought she just needed to mature a bit and she would take that next step." The couple will follow up with another ex-pat Aussie, again at the Meadowlands, on Saturday night (Sunday morning Australian time) in eight-times Australian winner Gods Spirit (Tintin in America - Cathar). "Gods Spirit is in a similar type of race but we're definitely not getting ahead of ourselves. As long as he runs up to his ability, we'll be happy." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

TEAM Tritton formally start an exciting new chapter of their career in the US on Saturday morning (NZ time). Husband and wife, Shane and Lauren Tritton, moved to the US a couple of months back and have their first two starters at the famed Meadowlands track in New Jersey. Kiwi-bred pair My Ruebe Star and Gods Spirit fly the stable flag. There will be some familiar faces against them with Dexter Dunn and Aussie Andy McCarthy driving at the meeting. “We’ve got 18 in work, 12 we brought across from Australia and six we’ve picked-up over here,” Tritton said. “It’s great to be having our first runners, but we are taking is nice and steadily over here and think we’ll get better with time. “There are so many different viruses over here, you can’t go anywhere near as hard at the horses in training as we did back home, especially in their first few months here. “We’ve had quite a few qualify and they all get in quite well here under the stakemoney handicapping system.” Tritton expects solid showings from Gods Spirit and My Ruebe Star. “Gods Spirit is probably the best up-and-comer we have here. He qualified well with a second to the star here, Wiggle It Jiggleit,” Tritton said. “Of the horses we’ve got, Gods Spirit is the up-and-comer, but the proven Group 1 horses from back home, headed by Flaming Flutter and Yayas Hot Spot, are working well and should do a good job when they start racing soon. “We’re also looking forward to racing Letsspendanitetogetha. He’s come up really well.” Lauren Tritton has been driving at the qualifiers and won two of them last weekend, but will watch from the sidelines for now. “Lauren’s all set to drive when the time is right, but wants to let the horses have a few runs and watch some of the racing before getting amongst it herself. It might be a few weeks I think,” Shane said. Jordan Stratton, a long-time stable driver for Shane’s father, Peter, will drive Gods Spirit and My Ruebe Star this week. “We’re training from the farm Dad trained at, about a hour north of New York City, and Jordan’s had a long association with Dad. He’s especially good as knowing how to drive these former Down Under horses without gassing them too much in their early runs,” Shane said. Team Tritton will race mainly at the Meadowlands and Yonkers, when it re-opens for racing post-COVID on June 22. “It’s been a bit of a blessing the suspension of racing because of COVID for us. It’s given us extra time to get settled-in and find our way. Now we’re keen to get into it,” Shane said.   Adam Hamilton

The big day has finally arrived for ex-pat Aussie harness racing team Shane and Lauren Tritton when they make their first trip to the races. It's now down to business, after 10 weeks of preparation at their new North American base, with the couple having their first two starters at Meadowlands on Friday and Saturday. My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring), a winner of 10 races in Australia, will get the ball rolling on Friday night (race 6), followed by eight-times Australian winner Gods Spirit (Tintin in America - Cathar) on Saturday night (race 5). Lauren said although the COVID-19 shutdown was somewhat of a blessing, allowing the family to settle into their new lives at Pine Bush, an hour from NYC, they were now itching to go. "We're so excited to have our first starters, but we're taking it slow," Lauren said. "We're not rushing into things because we want this to be a long-term success. We'll let the horses build into their preparations and we expect that they'll then improve every start they have moving forward." Lauren Tritton in action at Menangle – next step competing in the US   Their much-anticipated racetrack debut is the highlight of a big fortnight for the couple. Ten of the team they took with them to the US went around successfully in the qualifiers last weekend, where Lauren also made her debut in the bike, landing two wins from two drives. To watch the videos click here "Having my first drive in the qualifying was exciting," Lauren said. "I'll admit, though, it was a little like jumping into the unknown when I jumped in the cart! But once we hit the track, Flame (Flaming Flutter) reminded me that this is just another track, and it's time to get on with the job," she said. "After that, I was really comfortable with an all-time favorite in My Rona Gold. They both scored nice wins and I have to admit, I did really enjoy that!" To watch the videos click here. But both the race starters this weekend will be handled by accomplished North American reinsman Jordan Stratton, a winner of nearly 4000 races. Stratton already has a formidable partnership with Shane's father Peter Tritton, who's been training in the USA for 20 years. Lauren said while she definitely has her eye on regular race driving, she's not rushing that next step. "I really enjoyed driving in the qualifiers, but I'm not going to jump straight onto all the horses," she said. "I want them to get used to the racing here and Jordan has really helped us get them ready, so I'm happy to let him get them sorted. "I'll pick my time to start driving in races, but I'm sure it won't be long. I'm ready to rock 'n' roll when the time feels right, but right now, I'm just enjoying working the horses with Shane. "I know women don't drive as often here especially at the higher level - and that was the case in Australia, too, at one point. "But we proved we are more than capable in Australia and I've got no doubt in time the same will happen here. "If I can be a part of that movement, I would be very proud." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

They're without doubt one of the best-credentialled harness racing partnerships ever to leave Australian shores to try their luck in North America. But Shane and Lauren Tritton say they're now back on the steepest learning curve of their careers as they prepare for a return to racing in a new continent and a new post-COVID industry phase. When COVID-19 struck, the husband-and-wife team was forced to fast-forward plans to move their training operation to the United States in March. But the couple, and their three year old son Levi, have served out their lockdown in the picturesque hamlet of Pine Bush (population approx. 2000) about one hour north of New York City, and Shane says they're now itching to go once racing resumes. "The Pine Bush training facility is absolutely state-of-the art - it's incredible and, in hindsight, the enforced break has probably been in our favor. It's been a good chance to get settled and our preparations haven't been disrupted at all," Shane said. "The word around is that it could soon be back to normal after coronavirus so we are very hopeful," he said. "The horses we brought over here will have to qualify before being eligible to race, so once we get the green light to start up again, we could be at the qualifying trials in a few weeks and we just have to run two minutes to be good to go." The couple begin the next phase of their training and driving careers with not only impressive CVs, but enthusiasm, a hard work ethic and a few handy horses. Although the list of Aussie trainers and drivers who have tasted success in the US and Canada is impressive, most experienced their biggest highs in the sport in North America -- there are few who have elected to gamble with a move while they're at the top of the game in Australia. Shane Tritton holds the record in his home State of New South Wales for the most wins in a season (222), and has won the past three NSW Metropolitan trainers' titles. He dominated in the NSW Hunter region while at Keinbah, winning seven consecutive Newcastle premierships, and the Tritton Team's dominance continued after a move to Menangle in early 2016. Lauren and Shane Tritton prior to departing from Australia (Ashlea Brennan Photo) Lauren Tritton is no less accomplished. She blasted onto the scene four years ago, and became the youngest driver in history to drive 500 winners in Australia. She was the first female ever to win the NSW Metropolitan Driver's Title and has more than 900 winners (including more than 100 Group races) to her name. Shane said Lauren was keen to continue her driving career in the US, although he acknowledged she would take her time to adjust. "Mostly the other women seem to drive only in amateur races here, which are equivalent to the show races back home. But she'll ease into it and get used to the different style of racing before she starts driving our horses," Shane said. "She's serious, though! She's ordered a race cart and new helmet and she'll be busting to get amongst it. "If she can make her mark - and I'm biased, but I'm sure she will - we're bound to see more and more girls competing." Shane said the couple was thrilled with the quality of the Pine Bush Training facility. "We have a great barn there, and can also use another that's nearby," he said. "The barn's been refurbished to double the size of the boxes and we've opened them up more as well, so the horses can see each other. "The training complex itself has one main track, that's modelled off the Yonkers half mile raceway, and there's also a pool, 12 to 14 horse walkers and lush paddocks. Trackwork at Pine Bush Training Facility "It's a great facility, but we're not looking to do big numbers. We've done big teams in the past, up to 94 horses at one stage, before we shifted to Menangle. Then once we were at Menangle we had between 40 and 45 in work. "But we're aiming here to keep our numbers to 20, because at the end at the end of the day, we are here to make a career and set things up as a family." Team Tritton selected the pick of the Australian race team for the move, and will be relying on a trio of big guns in Flaming Flutter, Yayas Hot Spot and Salty Robyn to get established. "We plan to race at Yonkers and Meadowlands, which are both an hour away and it's exciting to look at the opportunities from the different tiers of racing. At Yonkers for example- the races start at $US15k ($A26k) and range up to $US40k ($A72k). "Those three horses have all raced at the top level and we're hopeful they'll do a job for us here. And we've also brought a few others who are versatile types, so it's exciting times. "We're certainly encouraging any owners back home to have a look at the opportunities here to send horses over because with the races handicapped on dollars earnt in the past five starts and with the Australian dollar conversion, they certainly kick off on some nice easy marks." Settling in to their new lives has been made easier by Tritton's father Peter, who's trained successfully in the US after moving about 20 years ago. "Our move probably started in the pipeline two years ago when we brought Levi over to visit Dad," Shane said. "We talked about it because we were finding it a bit hard to stay ahead financially in Australia. "We really didn't know if a move was possible but after putting in an application, we were surprised to get the go-ahead last January-February and then when coronavirus hit, it all just had to be done in a hurry. "We've found Americans to be very much comfortable in just letting you run your own show, but Dad has been a massive help and he's here to give us a guide when we need it, which has been awesome in finding our feet. "We naturally think a lot about home because we left my mum and sister, as well as Lauren's parents, her sister and grandparents, who are Lauren's biggest followers. And of course, we left all of our friends behind, but we are still in touch with everyone and we still check all the race results and news." Hoofnote: Australasian trainers who have been trail blazers in the US include Brett Pelling, Noel Daley, Kelvin Harrison, Peter Walsh, Chris Ryder, Peter Tritton, Ross Croghan, Richard "Nifty" Norman, Pete Foley, Chris Scicluna, Marty Noonan, Darren Cassar, Ross Wolfenden, Darren McCall, Tahnee Camilleri and Aaron Lambert. DownUnder superstar reinsmen also add to the list, including Andrew McCarthy and Dexter Dunn. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Following last week’s announcement of the first two Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels (Lulu Le Mans and Major Occasion), Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway are thrilled to now confirm our three latest Australian competitors.   Pete’s Big Jim (3yo Emerald), Falcon Stride (4yo Emerald) and Majestic Player (4yo Ruby) will represent their homeland in this year’s edition of the Jewels.   Shane and Lauren Tritton will bring back Pete’s Big Jim, who was a gallant second beaten just a neck by Another Master- piece last year, and talented four-year-old gelding Falcon Stride across the Tasman for a Jewels endeavor.   Peter Kohlsdorf is the owner of Pete’s Big Jim, and was ecstatic to be able to return to New Zealand with his pride and joy.   “It’s hardly sunk in to be honest,” said Kohlsdorf. “I’ve been thinking about it since last year when we were just beaten a neck by Another Masterpiece. So we set a programme to come back with the horse to the Jewels again, if it was at all possible.”   Pete’s Big Jim has not had the best of luck this year, struggling with setbacks and lameness but Kohlsdorf and Tritton report the horse is on the way back up.   Falcon Stride is a horse that Shane Tritton has a high opinion of and has won 6 of his 14 career starts. He has previously won over a mile in 1.51.7.   “He’s a horse that I’ve said several times, if he was in a Miracle Mile and they went 1.48, I’ve got no doubt he’d be good enough to be there, ” said Tritton.   “I’m really excited about him. I know it’s a strong division don’t get me wrong, and he’s a horse that a lot of people won’t know a lot about. But he’ll turn some heads at the top of the straight if he can be close enough.”   Anton Golino will also return to the Harness Jewels when he presents four-year-old trotter Majestic Player in the Ruby.   Golino campaigned with Dance Craze at Cambridge in 2018. She was third despite being desperately unlucky in the running and has since gone on to win the Great Southern Star and Saturday night’s La Coocaracha.   The Yabby Dams Farm owned Majestic Player extended his career record to 13 wins from 25 starts when winning at Menangle untouched on Saturday night. This season alone he has won 7 of his ten attempts.   Pat Discoll of Yabby Dams Farm is elated to returning to New Zealand with Jewels contender for Australia. But he did explain to HRNZ that the horse has not been without his challenges.   “We are very honoured and privileged to get the invite and providing the horse has pulled up ok after Saturday night we will definitely be there,” said Driscoll.   “He’s a bit of a stable star.”   “The horse has actually come from nowhere,” explained Driscoll. “As a young horse and a two-year-old he was short in stature and gangly and everyone loved him because even though he tried, he couldn’t trot.”   “Each year he’s just got better and better and from the horse’s point of view it’s a wonderful story. A horse that had a wonderful will to win but just couldn’t trot, and each year has just improved. He just seems to be getting better every start.”   Yabby Dams Racing is an exclusive trotting focused farm, following European training styles and focusing on the best trotting bloodlines worldwide. In an interview (link below) Driscoll describes his passion for the square gait breed and how that has led to the establishment of Yabby Dam Racing.   New Zealand Racing Board Harness Bookmaker Richard Wilson has released the opening prices on the New Zealand TAB for the latest Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels; Pete’s Big Jim $26; Falcon Stride $12 and Majestic Player $8. All IRT Harness Jewels future markets are now open on www.tab.co.nz   To hear an interview with Shane Tritton, Peter Kohlsdorf and Pat Driscoll please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=vC2kelvv66M&feature=youtu.be   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc          

It wasn’t with the horse most expected, but Shane and Lauren Tritton broke through for a special Newcastle Mile win in dramatic fashion on Friday night. Yayas Hot Spot, the first emergency when fields were released and an $81 Fixed Odds chance, made the most of an inside run with Lachie Manzelmann in the gig to beat Little Rascal by a nose and pacesetter Picard by a half head in 1:54:7. Odds-on favourite, track record-holder and defending champion Majordan galloped at the start and never recovered in the race which was delayed by almost an hour because of a rain-affected track and nearby lightning. The rest of the meeting was abandoned after the group 1 race. The surprise victory gave the Trittons, who were raised in the Hunter and dominated pacing in the region before moving to Menangle Park three years ago, another group 1 but their first Newcastle Mile title. Yayas Hot Spot earned a start in the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 2 at Menangle with the win. Yayas Hot Spot, on the inside, gets the win Yayas Hot Spot, now eight, had finished third in the group 3 Newcastle Mile in 2018 and was eighth in 2016. Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto was expected to win with Majordan or Picard and the Tritton-trained Maximan was next best in betting. But it was the Adam Sofoulis-owned Yayas Hot Spot, which had barrier two and gained a start after Rakarolla was scratched, that flew late from a sit three back on the pegs. It’s most recent start was a ninth in the Inter Dominion consolation.  “It’s definitely a special one, especially for that horse,” Shane Tritton said. “The owners have been big supporters of Newcastle for a long time and this horse has been here two years when no one wanted to come because it was only worth $30,000, and he just deserves it. I’m really proud. “He’s been working super. You can’t go off how old they are and what they’re doing. At the end of the day, he’s feeling good. He’s raced the best horses in the Inter Dominion and he came out of that great. “He’s been to the Miracle Mile before, the Hunter Cup, the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion, so you knew he was good enough. Just sometimes people forget. “We got a bit of luck. The track surface might have helped us. It brought a few of them back to us. Instead of going 1:50, they’re going 1:54, and at the end of the day, he’s first past the post and that’s all you can ask.” The group 1 win was a first for Manzelmann. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission from Newcastle Herald

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

“Horses are only human” said legendary gallops man George Hanlon, and listening to harness racing driver Lauren Tritton talk about Muscle Factory you’d be forgiven for thinking she was talking about one her own children, such is the affection she exudes for last night’s Woodlands Victoria Derby winning colt. “I always say to win with babies, two- and three-year-olds, it’s a big thrill because you feel like you’ve really worked hard with them the whole way along through their careers and it really pays off when you win a big one,” Tritton said this morning after guiding the three-year-old son of Roll With Joe to an all-the-way Derby win in an age-record equalling 1:54.0 at Tabcorp Park Melton. “He does it all so easily. Nothing fazes him. It’s great to have a horse who is so versatile, as a two-year-old he won a couple of races from behind … and just how arrogant his win was last night, we’ve got a superstar ahead of us.” Tritton, 25, boasts 827 wins since jumping in the sulky in season 2010-11 and among those are several memorable features – the Len Smith Mile aboard Gaius Caesar in 2013, Breeders Crown Final with Marty Monkhouser and Cordina Sprint with Suave Stuey Lombo in 2014, Vicbred Super Series Final on Tingira Beach in 2016, Allied Express Sprint with Anything For Love and the Bohemia Crystal FFA with Franco Nelson in 2018 to name a few. But last night’s Derby success was something else. “It was all a bit of a blur really (after the race). You get so wound up it’s actually quite tiring, but it was really special,” she said. Tritton co-trains Muscle Factory with husband Shane and, reflecting on the rising star’s second-place finish in the Derby heat at Ballarat a week ago, she says a combination of factors brought about his undoing that night. “I overreacted a little bit … I wanted to get an easy half and then sprint home, which is totally upside-down to his racing pattern,” she said. “That was a little bit my fault, and a little bit our fault too in that we eased up on him after running the 49 mile. It’s sort of like ‘what do you do with a three-year-old who’s just gone 49?’ The first thing you think of is backing off. “But with him, it’s just a different case. He really enjoys working and working hard. And like I said, I drove him upside-down (in the heat) and let the other horses get into the race. It wasn’t his night, but we had him 110 per cent last night and that was his night.” After finding the lead early last night Tritton said she had to “pinch herself” in the run. “I never really thought this would be the plan to be honest… I was thinking we’d have to sit outside them or get cover somewhere.” But Muscle Factory showed more toe than he’s done in his young career to date, which obviously pleased his driver. “He’s never really shown that much gate speed but last night he was right up on the gate and had his neck tucked up like he really wanted to run the gate. I just let him roll out himself and then when I realised I’d gotten half a length on Im Anothermasterpiece I gave him a little tap and he just took it on from there. There was no stopping him after that. “I just let him do whatever he wanted to do and he wanted to run those even quarters. He got a little bit off the bit at about the 800m so I just shook him up and he kicked into another gear. “I knew I had something left then, and I hadn’t pulled the plugs. He’s all heart and I knew he’d finish off.” Muscle Factory completed his last half-mile in 56.7secs after a 57.7secs first half. Race favourite Im Anothermasterpiece chased gamely late but finished 4.7m astern. Tritton says Muscle Factory has eaten extra feed today as he embarks on his journey back home to Sydney where the New South Wales Derby (March 2) is his next major goal. “He’s pulled up super. We gave him extra feed because we’re travelling home and he ate everything … he couldn’t have pulled up any better,” she said. “He’ll keep heading towards Derbies. The owners are considering a New Zealand Derby trip, but that’s not 100 per cent confirmed yet. He’ll certainly try and win his own Derby trophy back home.” As has been well documented, Muscle Factory’s 1:49.6 win in the Simpson Memorial three starts back was absurdly fast and asked about the feel the prodigy gave her in full flight, Tritton explained: “I’ve got fast class horses who struggle to run a mile in 49 and would struggle to run the sectionals he did last night. He’s only three and can do all that. We’re super excited about his career and where he can head.” Muscle Factory is $5 with TAB.com.au for the NSW Derby. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Adam Hamilton@AdamTABSports     Three weeks ago today ... Shane Tritton: “If anyone has a 3yo good enough to beat Muscle Factory in the Victoria Derby then I’ll be stunned and good luck to them.” Nobody did. Career defining win away from home for @Tritton_Team   38 12:25 PM - Jan 27, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy   See Adam Hamilton's other Tweets       View image on Twitter Jared Kahlefeldt@workoutjared     So this just happened.... Wowee

As tough as he was brilliant, Muscle Factory led all the way to comprehensively win the harness racing Woodlands Victoria Derby in emphatic fashion, matching the age track record at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was a triumph for husband-and-wife team trainer Shane and reinswoman Lauren Tritton as Muscle Factory reinforced his all-time standing, saluting in the age classic only three weeks after smashing the Australasian three-year-old record when winning in 1:49.6. “I just know this horse is a superstar and that’s how we drove,” said Lauren after they saluted by 4.7m from All Stars entrant Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art the best of the swoopers to claim third. But the Group 1 $200,000 was always in Muscle Factory’s keeping, with Tritton lighting him up out of the gates to lead from barrier six, with Max Delight and then Im Anothermasterpiece sitting outside him before Hurricane Harley advanced to the breeze for the final lap. However, Muscle Factory’s determination to keep the pace on throughout the 2240m meant all would have to advance under strain, with a 44.3 lead time preceding first (29), second (28.7) and third (28.3) quarters that were all sub-29 seconds. “He got a bit keen tonight. We just decided to let him do whatever he wanted to do,” Tritton said. “I had a good hold of him, but those were the sectionals he wanted to run.” They were also the sectionals the Trittons wanted to deliver to give themselves the best chance, confident their Roll With Joe-Malena colt would thrive. “Im Anothermasterpiece, we’ve raced against him a couple of times now and he’s a star too, he doesn’t stop trying. I knew that was the only way that I could beat him tonight. I knew if I was going to beat it I had to break it,” Tritton said. The 28.4 last quarter iced the win in a 1:54 mile rate, matching the track’s age record set by Our Waikiki Beach in the 2016 Breeders Crown and providing a significant highlight for owners Rona and Clive McKay and Dayna Kahlefeldt. “He’s a star and I hope they can just keep winning big races for (the owners),” Tritton said. To watch the video click here. Trots Media - Michael Howard

LAUREN Tritton sat behind the fastest three-year-old pacer to ever grace a track in Australasia just recently. And now the top reinswoman is excited to see what Muscle Factory can produce against some of the nation’s best at Ballarat on Saturday night. Muscle Factory set a southern hemisphere record when clocking 1:49.6 in the Simpson Memorial at Menangle a fortnight ago. And on Saturday night south of the border the colt faces his next challenge in a heat of the Victoria Derby. “I’m really excited to see what Muscle can do against the best of them,” said Tritton. “It’s hard not to declare a horse that just won in 1:49. “I’m not worried about the smaller track either as we saw what he did at Albion Park.” However, there is an element Tritton is concerned about. “It is the hardest heat but we’ve drawn accordingly,” said Tritton. “It’s still going to be tough facing the locals on their home turf . . . some of those horses have been raised on that track their whole life so they have that advantage.” Some of those dangers include Lochinvar Art and Australian Pacing Gold winner Centenario. Meanwhile, the $1.65 TAB Fixed Odds favourite is the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Im Another Masterpiece. Tritton does not have to face the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen combination in her other Victoria Derby heat with Petes Big Jim. The gelding is a $15 chance behind the $2.50 elect Max Delight and the Menangle Park horsewoman is full of praise of her drive’s latest effort at his local track. Petes Big Jim finished fourth to Muscle Factory in the scintillating Simpson Memorial. “He went into that race 50/50 after being sore and tender on his feet and he is only a little horse but has a heart of gold to push through and go as well as he did,” said Tritton. “He went 1:50 himself and I’ll drive him conservative now as he steps up with the big boys.” ‘Team Tritton’ will be represented on home soil at Menangle on Saturday night as well with seven runners nominated. This includes Tritton’s two recent Inter Dominion campaigners My Alpha Rock and Maximan. “Maximan and Alpha are super since the trip to Victoria,” said Tritton. “We private trialled them around Menangle and they worked the mile in 1:51. “It’s not easy for them coming back to racing in that grade but we are happy with how they have come back after their campaign.” Tritton trains her team of horses with her husband Shane Tritton and they have trained 264 winners since starting their partnership in the 2016/17 season.   Some fun facts: Mile Records – Australasian: http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/ausn_milep.pdf HRA’s Milestones – Pacers http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/mstonesp.pdf   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

EARLY tactics will be vital in tonight’s Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle according to reinswoman Lauren Tritton. The premiership winning driver is taking the reins behind the $1.33 TAB Fixed Odds favourite Muscle Factory and drawing barrier one with the colt has not made the situation any easier Tritton admitted. “It’s an awkward barrier for him as he does have early speed but for his whole two-year-old season we drove him with handbrakes on early and just drove him out easy to stay out of trouble,” said Tritton. “This draw won’t allow us to do that and this is a pretty fast front line.” One rival Tritton will have her eyes on early is Victorian visitor Lochinvar Art. The colt is the only other starter in single figure odds at $4.20 and will begin from outside the front line. “It will be interesting to see what they do with him early and it will be interesting to see Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art race each other again,” said Tritton. “Muscles is tough whereas Lochinvar Art has a quick last half in him. “Lochinvar Art has been running some ridiculous sectionals in Victoria and just drawn where he has, you would expect that they will have to put him into the race at some stage.” Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art clashed in the Breeders Challenge Final last June with the pair finishing third and second respectively. Lochinvar Art has had two starts this season for a win and a second while Muscle Factory is first up from a spell. “We couldn’t have him any better,” said Tritton. “He went super winning his trial and there has been some good form come out of that trial too.” Meanwhile, Tritton’s other two starters have already raced this season. This includes Petes Big Jim which finished sixth at Menangle on December 18. “He got himself beat last start over-racing, pulling outside the leader which is not his go,” said Tritton. “He is the fastest two-year-old out of the gate that I’ve ever driven so should be suited by his draw.” Tritton’s other starter is Petes Said So. “He has blistering early speed as well,” said Tritton. “He is the highest assessed horse in the race so deserves his spot in the field.” Petes Said So will be driven by Lachie Manzelmann while Josh Aiken has obtained the drive on Petes Big Jim.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

CLASSY Kiwi pacer Locharburn is heading to NSW to continue his career. The son of Christian Cullen will be flown to Sydney to join Shane and Lauren Tritton’s stable and be aimed at the Miracle Mile. Owner-trainer Kevin Chapman said it would be an emotional time when Locharburn left the barn for Sydney on Friday. “He’s part of the family, but it’s the right thing to do for him. So much work has gone into getting him back from a tendon and a suspensory. He’s really well now, but he can only run in the best races here,” he said. “He’s also not suited to how the races are run here, just sit-up and sprint home. He can run back-to-back 57sec halves, but not a 59sec and a 54sec. “He also hates Auckland. I know he’s run some good races there as a younger horse, but he just doesn’t go anywhere near as well the opposite way.” Chapman said he chose Tritton because of his record rejuvenating older horses the “drop-back” handicapping system at Menangle. “Shane says they can earn $60,000 a year at Menangle without having to beat the best ones,” Chapman said. “It would be great to see the horse drop back in class and find winning form again. Tritton can’t wait for Locharburn to join the barn. “He’s a really serious horse at his top and I reckon he’ll love the Menangle mile racing,” he said. “It’s a real buzz for us that Kevin’s decided to send him across and give us a go with him. “He’s a bit like Franco Nelson when he came to us. He’s had his issues, but our system here seems to get the best out of these older horses. “We’re really looking forward to getting him across and into our system.” Locharburn’s 39 starts have netted 14 wins, eight seconds a third. He was a superstar at three, winning the NZ Derby and finishing second to Tiger Tara in the Northern Derby and second to Isaiah in the NZ Sales Series’ final. As an older horse, Locharburn’s best win came in the 2016 Eastern Cup at Group 1 level, beating Smolda.   Adam Hamilton

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