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This years mixed age sale at the Shepparton harness racing complex yesterday (Sunday) reinforced the view that it is a tough market out there at the moment. Sixty nine of the cataloged horses went through the ring yesterday but 22 (31.8%) were passed in which must have disappointed both the auctioneers and the vendors. The first horse to stir a bit of emotion from the bidders was lot 12 which was a two year old filly by Courage Under Fire from a Holmes Hanover half sister to nine winners including Allwoods Chief ($465,497) She was knocked down to the bid of Trevor Cottrell for $20,000 which was the equal top price for the whole sale. Shortly after lot 16 had the bidders active again with a three quarter sister to lot 12 attracting a lot of interest. The two year old filly by Courage Under Fire was from a Even Odds half sister to Allwoods Chief ($465,497) but failed to sell, being passed in for $10,000. It took more than another twenty lots before the bidders got fired up again. Lot 37 was the smart Modern Art racemare More Than Alright 1:58.6 ($45,369) who is a daughter of the very smart Imported Cam Fella mare Out Of Sight 1:52 ($200,142) who is a half sister to the champion Volez Hanover 1:49.4 ($1,690,543) Sold as either a racemare or a broodmare, More Than Alright surprisingly only made $10,000 and was knocked down to the bid of Garry Hawthorn The next lot after that was the half sister by Badlands Hanover to More Than Alright in Vista Bella 1:57.9 ($110,291) In foal to the champion sire Art Major, Vista Bella went home with Bruce Dumesny after he bid $20,000 In the yearling section, two youngsters shared the top price of $9,000  Lot 58 was a Majestic Son colt from the racewinning Holdonmyheart mare Closetomyheart from the family of the top New Zealand trotting filly French Accent who was sold to Nathan Jack. The other top priced yearling was lot 72 who was a Mach Three colt from the very speedy Artiscape mare in Room With A View 1:56 ($45,369) who was purchased by the Racerpacer group. This sale has the potential to be a really good clearing sale for breeders and trainers but it is not quite there yet. Check sale results here Harnesslink Media

The Shepparton Mixed Stock Sale will be conducted by the Shepparton Harness Racing Club at 1pm next Sunday at their Kialla complex.   Seventy-three quality lots will go under the hammer including yearlings by champion sires, going two-year-olds, three-year-olds, older racing stock and well-bred broodmares in-foal to the world’s leading stallions.   Several two-year-olds included in the catalogue will be trialled on the track from 10am.    Yearlings sold on the day can be made eligible to the Australian Pacing Gold subject to APG conditions.   An auction of services to former NZ Horse of the Year Auckland Reactor and the well credentialled trotting sires Peak and Great Success will be held during the sale.   A complimentary breakfast will be served from 8.30 to 9.30am with full catering on the day. A Happy Hour will be conducted between 12 noon and 1pm.   Live streaming of the sale can be viewed from 1pm via the Shepparton HRC website or on the Harness Racing Victoria website   Phone bidding is available subject to buyer registration prior to sale day.   For a catalogue or further information contact Ian McDonald on phone 0428 231 403 or email or Ian Chambers on phone 0409 171 154.   Pedigrees can be downloaded from the Club’s website. Click on the News link.   Pedigrees are also available on the Shepparton HRC Facebook page.     Peter Wharton

Yearlings by many of the world’s greatest sires will go up for auction at the Shepparton Mixed Sale, to be held at the Shepparton Racing Complex on Sunday September 6.   The 18-strong yearling contingent features yearlings by 14 different sires headed up by champion sire Mach Three and leading trotting sire Majestic Son, as well as Modern Art, Shadow Play (3 lots), Artistic Fella, Jet Laag, Village Jolt (3 lots), Major In Art, Tell All and Mister Big.   Several exciting, young sires will be represented by their first crop and they include  USA 2YO of the Year Big Jim, the $1.6million winner Betterthancheddar, dual NZ Horse of the Year Auckland Reactor and NZ 2YO of the Year Smiling Shard.   The catalogue comprises youngsters out of 2:00 winning mares and 2:00 winner producers.   There’s colts out of the former 3YO Filly of the Year Yeronga Songbird, Melbourne winners Room With A View (1:56) and Our Favourite Girl, Got The Gold (6 wins) and Closetomyheart (Tr 2:04.2) and fillies from the USA Stakes winner Out Of Sight  1:52.4 ($200,142), the NSW Oaks placegetter Lahaini (1:57.5) and the Melton winner Kiss And Fly (1:58.4).   The sale also highlights half-sisters to   *The Youthful Stakes winner Vista Bella 1:57.9 ($110,021)   *The smart racemares Twirling ($105,707) and Golden Grinder 1:55.6 ($90,340)   * Half-brothers to the Moonee Valley winner Stormwarning, Boston Yankee (1:56.6) and The Lombo heat winner Rosemay.   For a catalogue or further information contact Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager Ian McDonald on phone 0428 231 403 or email    Pedigrees can be downloaded from the website   Click on the News link. Pedigrees are also available on the Shepparton HRC Facebook page.   Peter Wharton

Catalogues for the Shepparton Mixed Stock Sale, to be held at the Shepparton racing complex on Sunday, September 6, are now available. The sale comprises 73 lots including broodmares, yearlings, two-year-olds, three-year-old and older racing stock and features a reduction of the racing and breeding stock of Colleen and Kevin Bamford’s Daisy Hill Breeding. The strong broodmare contingent is highlighted by former Australian 3YO Filly of the Year Yeronga Songbird, the multiple Group placegetter Vista Bella as well as several metropolitan-winning mares. Mares are in foal to high-profile sires including Art Major, Sportswriter, American Ideal, Rock N Roll Heaven, Shadow Play, Roll With Joe, Betterthancheddar, Grinfromeartoear, Blissfull Hall, Western Terror, Always A Virgin, Auckland Reactor, Alta Christiano, Caribbean Blaster and Majestic Son. There’s yearlings by well credentialled sires such as Mach Three, Shadow Play, Modern Art, Betterthancheddar, Big Jim, Artistic Fella, Auckland Reactor, Village Jolt and Majestic Son and two-year-olds by Somebeachsomewhere, Sportswriter, Courage Under Fire, Roll With Joe, Shadyshark Hanover and Badlands Hanover. For a catalogue or further information contact Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager Ian McDonald on phone 0428 231 403 or email Pedigrees can be downloaded from the website  Click on this link. Pedigrees are also available on the Shepparton HRC Facebook page. By Peter Wharton

This Tuesday's harness racing meeting was at Shepparton and close finishes were the order of the night which featured two heats of the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for Two Year Old Colts & Geldings over 2190 metres. Heat eight went the way of the local training - driving combination of Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack with Tintin In America/Zwish gelding  Zee Dana. Driven by Nathan, Zee Dana led out from the pole, before taking cover on the well fancied ex-Kiwi Code Black to enjoy the run of the race. Assisted by third elect Born To Rocknroll moving from mid-field racing for the bell to keep the leader honest, Zee Dana made full use of the sprint lane to register a soft 1.3 metre victory over Code Black, with Born To Rocknroll 3.2 metres away in third spot. The mile rate was 1-58. Heat nine saw Vicbred Super Sires victor Shadow Sax continue on his winning way with a strong victory in a rate of 1-59.4, much to the delight of popular owner/breeders Russell and Pam Hockham. Trained by Emma Stewart  and driven by Gavin Lang, Shadow Sax who is getting better with every run, possied one/one from outside the front row with Peter Manning’s one time boom pacer Christmas Jolt leading from the pole with Greg Sugars aboard. Not happy with the tempo, Lang vacated the prime spot mid-race to park in the open and Shadow Sax outstayed his rivals, scoring by a neck after the pair drew away at the straight entrance. Swan Hill winner Betanotblink was 10.5 metres away after trailing the pacemaker. A gelded son of Shadow Play from the handy racemare Miss Saxony, Shadow Sax has fronted the starter on nine occasion for five wins, the last three in succession. Rockbank area trainer Rob O’Connell and stable reinsman Zac Phillips snared the Hunter Rural Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with five year old Falcons Icon/Alkaliner gelding Jialiner in a rate of 2-00.7. Burning away from gate four, Jialiner was untroubled to lead throughout in  defeating Lights And Music which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail, the margin 2.1 metres, with Brother Rabbit 8.9 metres away after following the pair. Jialiner is raced by Peter Earl and partners who have won many races with horses using the “Liner” moniker. Riverina (Wagga Wagga) trainer Russell Campbell combined with Gavin Lang to land the Shepparton BMW 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres with Sportswriter/Aflyin Home Lombo filly Lombo Newsy Scoop. Driven brilliantly, Lombo Newsy Scoop settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, weaving in-between runners in the last lap before dropping down to the inside approaching the home turn. Using the sprint lane, Lombo Newsy Scoop finished best to gain the day by 5.2 metres in two minutes even over Wantalinga Dream off a three wide trail last lap and first starter Mesmeric which led for the final circuit after crossing Major Missile at the bell. Five year old Righteous Hanover/Jasmin Korikina gelding Black Jasmin recorded his first victory since May 2013 when victorious in the 1st division of the Saddleworld Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres. Trained at Gingarre (G/V) by former New South Welshman Greg Lewis, Black Jasmin driven by Ben Gledhill was given the run of the race one/one from gate five, with the Narrandera visitor To Infinitynbeyond leading from the pole. Taken three wide at the top of the straight, Black Jasmin in a punishing finish prevailed by a nose over Tee Da Green (one/one) out wide, with Boardwalk Emperor  (three back the markers) using the sprint lane to be a half head away in a thrilling finish. The mile rate was 1-58.5. The second heat was taken out by another border hopper in 3-Y-0 Flight Path/Maud gelding Quagmire giving Zac Phillips a driving double. Trained at Cobbity by Belinda McCarthy, Quagmire led throughout from the pole, scoring by a neck from Our Grasshopper which trailed in 1-57.2. Bubbas Princess rushed home from last at the bell to finish third 28.8 metres away. Sit sprinting specialist Awesome Mattjesty chalked up his 8th victory in 62 outings (4 this season), when successful in the Neatline Homes Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres. Driven by “Rocket” Rod Petroff for Coimadai trainer Steve Zammit, Awesome Mattjesty starting from inside the second row was given a charmed passage following the poleline leader Tennaya, before steaming home along the sprint lane to register a nose victory in advance of Bettor Atom off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit, with Royal Deviate (one/one at bell – three wide home turn) a half neck away third in another tight finish. The mile rate was 1-57.1. Speaking of tight finishes, the Equine After Care Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres was a ripper, with local trainer Stephen O’Donoghue’s No Tomorrow blousing Forbidden Forest in a finish with had all guessing the result including caller Dan Mielicki. Driven by the stable’s Bec Bartley, No Tomorrow a 5-Y-0 gelding by Life Sign from Cobbity Cobbity was sent forward after starting outside the front line to park outside the leader Forbidden Forest which had moved around Ramblenroller which flew away from gate four. With the pair being joined by Nor Nor West three wide approaching the home turn, the three went head and head to the wire with No Tomorrow getting the judge’s nod by a nose in 1-58.8, with Nor Nor West first up since February just weakening over the concluding stages to be 1.9 metres away in third place. Len Baker

Memories of the late and great doyen of the Melbourne Showgrounds – Gordon Rothacker were revived at Shepparton trots on Wednesday, when Gotta Go Cullect/Wendy Anne filly Heirloom Angel greeted the judge on debut in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for harness racing Two Year Old Fillies over 2190 metres. Bred and raced by Gordon’s daughter Judy and granddaughter Kate, Heirloom Angel trained at Doreen by Craig Turnbull and driven by Gavin Lang carrying the famous Rothacker colours of Red with a Dark Blue V, led throughout from the pole to impressively account for Jovial Jurno Lombo (three back the markers) by 5.5 metres, with Rockstar Angel ((one/one – three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 2-03.4. by Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing trainer Rosemarie Weidenbach is daring to dream with last-start Bendigo Guineas winner Phantom Rockstar.   The son of Grinfromeartoear/Music Of The Night was afforded a stellar drive by Kevin Weidenbach Jnr last Saturday night to take out the Bendigo feature by 1.8m in a mile rate of 1:56.8 and will now take his place in the Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts and Geldings second heat at Shepparton tomorrow night.   “It was a big thrill,” Phantom Rockstar’s trainer said of the Bendigo Guineas win.   “You don’t win those races every day.”   Phantom Rockstar has drawn barrier six at Shepparton but will be big odds as he runs into the might of Mark Purdon and a member of his All-Stars team in Follow The Stars.   But Weidenbach is confident her horse can keep improving.   “His breeding suggests he’ll only improve,” she said.   “He’s got good manners and brilliant gate speed. I’ve got no doubt he’ll keep improving.”   Follow The Stars was third in the 3YO Emerald at the Harness Jewels meeting last time out behind Have Faith In Me and Hug The Wind.   The only solace his rivals at Shepparton will feel is that he’s drawn the second row.   Follow The Stars has been marked a $1.20 favourite, with Show Me The Bling from Team McCarthy drawn alongside in gate 10 a clear second pick at $3.   Show Me The Bling was involved in a sapping speed duel first-up in the 3YO Classic at Ballarat when they dashed through a sub-27 first quarter before weakening at the business end to finish sixth of seven behind My Kiwi Mate.   Prior to that Show Me The Bling had won three on the trot by vast margins.   An interesting runner in this heat is Stening, who ran some cracking races in last year’s Breeders Crown preliminaries.   Trained by Wagga Wagga’s Bernie Kelly, Stening is coming off successive wins at his past two starts at Forbes and Cootamundra.   Meanwhile, the third heat of the 4YO Mares Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series is Race 4 at Shepparton and features rising star Shes A Runa (barrier two).   The daughter of Jeremes Jet/Runacullen is coming off successive wins at Melton and will be driven by Nathan Jack.   Also in the field are Dean Braun-trained Melita Bromac from the pole, Larry Eastman's Milly Perez from gate three, in-form David Aiken-trained Beach Shack in four, Peter Birks-trained Hells A Comingfrom gate five and the John Hallam-trained Indiana Angel from gate six.   CODY WINNELL

Tuesday trots in Victoria were held at the harness arcing meeting at Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley and Long Forest trainer Andy Gath produced a nice Art Major/Our Southern Rose colt by the name of Battle Born to land the Saddleworld Shepparton 2-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres when having his first start at the races.   Driven by wife Kate, Battle Born from gate six was taken back to the rear of the field, with polemarker Herehecomes retaining the lead and the well supported favourite Emiliana (Nathan Jack) going forward from outside the front line to park in the open giving another first starter Anything For Love one/one cover.   Despite making the final bend four wide, Battle Born ran home stylishly to record a runaway 1.4 metre victory over Anything For Love and Herehecomes in a mile rate of 2-01.1.   Aucklander Mark Burley who has seen a fair bit of Australia’s east coast recently having campaigned in NSW and now in Victoria, was successful in taking the DPR Insurance Brokers Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2190 metres with a filly by the name of Little Miss Zigzag who is to start in the Victoria Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday.   Settling three back in the moving line from gate two on the second row, the daughter of Love You and Meander With Earl was sent forward shortly after the start to stride past the leader Illawong Sunny (gate six) which had crossed Aldebaran Hest (gate four).   Travelling beautifully, Little Miss Zigzag gave her rivals the slip on the home turn to register an easy 8.9 metre victory in advance of a death-seating Im Havinaball and Illawaong Sunny, returning a mile rate of 2-04.5.   Popular Huntly (Bendigo) trainer Barry Quigley combined with Chris Alford aboard six year old Mach Three/Janoela Star mare Sukovia to greet the judge in the Betta Home Living Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres.   Taking advantage of a mares concession, Sukovia led most the way from gate three to defeat the hot favourite Glory Daze (gate five) by a neck which raced in the open from the bell after a poor beginning, with polemarker Sailors Sweetheart 6.6 metres away after leading out and taking a trail. The mile rate 2-00.2.   Avenel duo David and Josh Aiken have a great record at their home track and four year old Somebeachsomewhere/Arty Alice mare Beach Shack raced by Brendan James’ BFJ Bloodstock Trust brought up two wins in succession when victorious in the Neatline Homes Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2190 metres.   Racing outside the pacemaker Party Boy inside her, Beach Shack (gate four) prevailed by a nose in a tricky finish over the leader in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Holdonsu (three back the markers) finished 1.8 metres away in third place.   The Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for Four Year Old Entires and Geldings (Heat 1) went the way of Bacchus Marsh trainer Alan Tubbs’ potential top liner Macterra Lad in a rate of 1-59.4.   Driven by daughter Amy, Macterra Lad a gelded son of Artistic Fella and Marilyn Macray raced outside the pacemaker Bryce Copper all of the way from gate five to outstay his rivals and score by a nose in advance of the heavily supported Young Modern and Sketch Me (one/three).   Macterra Lad bred by Ian Kitchin and raced by Mount Gambier’s Michael McQuade brought up his 7th success in 12 race appearances.   The Empire Stllions Vicbred Super Series for Three Year Old Fillies (Heat 1) was taken out by quality Sportswriter/Benelise filly Niki No No, much to the delight of locally based Benstud Standardbreds.   Trained at Bolinda by Kari Males and driven by regular reinsman Greg Sugars (the state’s leading driver), Niki No No wasn’t involved in the early speed from outside the front row, easing to possie three back in the moving line.   Urged forward three wide approaching the bell, the Victoria Oaks winner was surprisingly able to slide past the leader Come Cullect (gate three) which had crossed Glenferrie Baby (gate four) and proceeded to lead for the rest of the journey, accounting for Soho Tokyo (one/two – three wide home turn) and Glenferrie Baby in a rate of 2-01.2.   Invergordon trainer Stuart Govers and local concessional reinsman Riley Fortin are proving to be a formidable combination and once again joined forces to land the Shepparton BMW Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres with improving five year old Blissful Hall/Cheryls Fancy gelding Ramblenroller in a mile rate of 1-56.8.   Starting from the extreme draw, Ramblenroller raced by father Max ran home strongly from a mid-field passage to gain the day by 1.5 metres from a death-seating Lagoon Beach (gate five), with Calcavado running on late out wide to finish third.   Lockington breeder/owner/trainer Shane Pangrazio combined with Avenel based Mark Pitt to snare the Harness Breeders (Vic) Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres with Safari/Wahini Elle 4-Y-0 mare Safari Beach in a mile rate of 2-00.8.   Trapped wide from outside the front line, Pitt had no option but to go back at the start and settle at the tail of the field.   Trailing home both Pushinupdaisies and Miss Tanami three wide in the final circuit, Safari Beach finished best to blouse Miss Tanami by a head right on the wire.   The pacemaker Highly Persuasive was 4.5 metres away in third place after having every possible chance.   Len Baker

Kari Males and her harness racing team have sensational filly Niki No No in great order to go back-to-back in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series. A flawless start to her title defence tonight in the first of the Vicbred Super Series heats at Shepparton has the Victoria Oaks winner and last year's 2YO Super Series champ at the top of her class again. Leading driver Greg Sugars slotted Niki No No into the running line in seventh place from gate seven early before sprinting up and taking the lead off Come Cullect (David Miles) as the bell chimed. Niki No No wasn’t out to break any records once in front and, minus a short-lived raid from the chair by Yankee Showgirl at about the 300m, the daughter of Sportswriter/Benelise was never seriously challenged to win by 3.1m over a fast-finishing Soho Tokyo (Michael Stanley) in 2:01.2. Glenferrie Baby (Nathan Jack) found the line well for third, while Come Cullect battled on for fourth ahead of Shakahari (Gavin Lang) in fifth. It was Niki No No’s 10th win from 17 career starts. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots by Cody Winnell

Victorian harness racing trainer David Aiken will launch a three-pronged attack on the upcoming Summer of Glory starting with Saturday night’s Shepparton meeting. Aiken has a trio of stable stars resuming, with Lennytheshark first-up in the Group Two Cup, Spidergirl in the Group Three George Gath and Eljaykay Phoenix launching his three-year-old career in the Saddleworld Trot. Lennytheshark famously had Guaranteed’s measure last time in when he proved too good for the Stewart-trained sensation in the Vicbred Super Series Final for four-year-olds last July. “He’s had three trials,” Aiken said. “Last week we stepped him up a bit and he trialled very good with a fast last half. He just needs the racing now. “We would have liked another run or two before the Victoria Cup, but it just didn’t work out that way.” Aiken stated he has no concerns with Lennytheshark making his debut from the tapes. The son of Four Starzzz Shark will begin from three. “He takes things in his stride. He’s a good gaited horse,” Aiken said. He’s been good at the trials from the stand and he’s had some practice at home.” Lennytheshark has won 15 of his 30 starts, including his last seven outings. Spidergirl will resume over 2190 metres, with the five-year-old’s connections hoping she can reach the dizzy heights of her 2014 preparation when she won the Breeders’ Crown and Vicbred Finals. “Her work’s been good and she’ll improve with racing,” Aiken said. “She’s still on the big side, but we’re pretty happy with where she’s at.” Last season’s juvenile trotting champion Eljaykay Phoenix will begin from the pole in his racing return. The winner of eight of his 10 starts, Eljaykay Phoenix is primed for a first-up tilt according to Aiken. “It’s great to have him back,” Aiken declared. “He’s had two trials and won both of them. This looks a suitable race for him and we’ll go into the race pretty confident.” HRV Media

Harness Racing Victoria was thrilled with the industry’s response to today’s Echuca dispersal sale. Industry people from all parts of Victoria heeded the call to ensure numerous standardbred horses – the majority of which were young, unraced and unnamed – were given the opportunity to find a new home. Harness Racing Victoria also took phone calls and emails from people interstate eager to bid for horses. Shepparton Harness Racing Club racing and operations manager Ian McDonald praised the sport’s rank and file members for their extraordinary turnout at the Echuca sale yards. “I’d say there were about 120 genuine harness racing folk there,” he said. “There were floats everywhere. There were far more floats than there were horses. “It was absolutely fantastic; an incredible call to arms from the industry and a very special day.” Harness Racing Victoria’s Raceapacer ownership program purchased two of the unnamed horses, which will now get their chance to race in the Raceapacer colours. “The interaction between our participants was pretty special. To see people giving each other the nod saying “that’s yours” and not bidding against another genuine harness person was just very special,” McDonald said. Harness Racing Victoria CEO John Anderson was thrilled with the response to the sale. “I am absolutely rapt. From what I am told there was a tremendous industry spirit present and I’m very proud of everyone involved,” Mr Anderson said. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media

The Shepparton trots will come to life next Wednesday night as the town is flooded by one of the highlights of the social calendar. Thousands of Victorian tennis players will descend on the trotting stronghold for a week of social and sporting activities in the ‘Country Week’ event. One of those activities will be to head out to the race meeting on Wednesday night and the club has stepped in to offer a few incentives for heading out. “We are putting together a fun-filled night with AFL and TV star legend Billy Brownless coming out to spin his famous wheel and give prizes out to the crowd,” Club secretary Ian McDonald said. “There will also be a punters club so we can hopefully turn a profit for those who might not be across the form.” With one of the biggest crowds of the year expected at the event, the locals won’t be missing out either with the huge Shepparton Cup night fresh in the memory bank. For more information on the night you can call the club on (03) 5823 1403. Harness Racing Victoria

In a bygone era – the Shepparton Gold Cup was one of the most sought after prizes in Victorian provincial harness racing. Champions the calibre of Raiarmagh Pool, Bold David, Just Too Good, Royal Gaze, Popular Alm and Quite Famous just to name a few not only contested the race, but etched their name into the record books by winning in front of capacity crowds, while in more recent times horses such as Sokyola, Sting Lika Bee and Mr Feelgood have greeted the judge. The race appeared to lose its identity for a period of time, but is now back to where it once belonged and a terrific field lined up at the Kialla Racing Complex on Saturday January 18 for the 2014 version – a Group 2 event for M0 or better class horses over 2690 metres sponsored by Neatline Homes– the victor being Cranbourne Cup winner Gold Ace for NSW based Belinda and Luke McCarthy. In what was one of the most exciting cups this season, Smudge Bromac one of three David Aiken trained runners handed up to Bitobliss (20 metres) shortly after the start, with The Gold Ace (20 metres) circling to race in the open being followed up by the phenomenal Smoken Up (30 metres) who assumed control mid-race. While all this was going on, Restrepo (10 metres) was enjoying the run of the race just off the speed. The favourite Bendigo Cup winner Im Corzin Terror was slowly away from 10 metres settling closer to last than first, while Scandalman having his first try from the tapes missed away hopelessly and was tailed off. When Luke McCarthy put his foot to the floor with The Gold Ace in an effort to cross Smoken Up in the last lap, the tempo was hectic and it appeared that the likes of Bitobliss and Restrepo could fight out the finish, however it was Smoken Up showing his “never say die” attitude holding a slender margin all the way up the running only to be bloused in the last stride by a game The Gold Ace, with Restrepo third – the sectional times for the last mile being 30, 32, 27.3 and 28.3 seconds – the margins being a head by a half neck in a mile rate of 2-00.6. A prolific winning intact son of Bettors Delight and Hill Of Gold, The Gold Ace has raced only 52 times for 20 wins and 12 placings and in all probability will now go straight into the A.G. Hunter Cup in two weeks time. by Len Baker for Harness Racing Victoria

A HOT field of in-form pacers will come together for the running of the Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup on Saturday night. The headline act for the stand-start Group 2 feature will be backmarker Smoken Up after his brave second to Caribbean Blaster in last Saturday night's Group 1 SA Cup. Shooting for an unprecedented five SA Cup wins, Smoken Up was beaten a head by Andy Gath-trained Caribbean Blaster but lost no admirers after the run. Justice, originally from South Australia, said Smoken Up was brave in defeat. "The winner got a metre ahead on the home turn when I locked wheels with the one on the inside and Smoken Up fought back to be beaten a head at the end. In his mind he won," Justice said. "The 30m (back-mark handicap) is a bit tough on him but he's been racing really well and if he has to go to this race to get a start in the Hunter Cup, that's what we'll do. With how he begins, he could easily win the Hunter Cup." Justice said Smoken Up's huge fan base cheered him off the track last weekend despite getting beaten. "The committee wanted me to do another couple of laps but I said I couldn't because I didn't win the race. It's for the winner to be out there after the race," he said. Avenel trainer David Aiken will have three runners in the Shepparton Cup, Wartime Sweetheart, Smudge Bromac and Composed. All three will start from the front line. Wartime Sweetheart ran second to Im Corzin Terror in the Bendigo Cup last weekend and Aiken said his seven-year-old could run another big race. "He's flying, we're rapt with how he's going," he said. "Both he and Smudge Bromac can be a bit risky from the stand. I'd probably lean towards Wartime Sweetheart as my best chance though because he's going a bit better at the moment." Trainer-driver Scott Stewart will be hoping Bitobliss's last-start flop in the Bendigo Cup was a mere apparition, with the star pacer dropping out sharply in the straight after looking a chance heading off the back. Alongside Bitobliss behind the 20m tape will be New South Welsh raider The Gold Ace from the powerful Cobbitty stable of Luke and Belinda McCarthy. The Gold Ace, who two starts back won the Cranbourne Cup, ran sixth last time out in the Victoria Cup after leading. Washmepockets, in-form Scandalman, Restrepo and up-and-coming star and last-start Bendigo Cup winner Im Corzin Terror are the other Shepparton Cup combatants. The feature for the trotters on Shepparton Cup night will be the Group 3 George Gath over 2190m, which pits the two horses who finished one-two in the Maori Mile last Saturday, My High Expectations and Kyvalley Blur, back against one another. Cold Sister has drawn three for the event after an unlucky run in transit last week, while veteran Earl Of Mot - a stablemate of Smoken Up - has drawn outside the front row in what will be his 207th and most likely final start. "I just can't get a good draw with him," Justice said. "This will most likely be swansong, I'd say. We'll probably retire him afterwards. He's been a grand old horse." Shepparton Cup night kicks off at 6.25pm. By Cody Winnell [Harness Racing Victoria]  

Long Forest husband and wife Andy & Kate Gath back home after a week in Christchurch with Caribbean Blaster competing at the New Zealand Cup Carnival, took the honours at the Shepparton meeting held on Tuesday November 19 with a stable double – Jeremes Jet/Millpac Maid colt Gowan Brae taking the Elite Horse Transport 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres and 6-Y-0 Yankee Paco/Katie Daley mare Jumeirah Jane the Hunter Home Hardware Trotters Handicap for T0 class over the same journey. Gowan Brae raced by Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame, was first up since April and led throughout from the pole to easily account for the first starter Major Crocker off a three wide trail from near last in the final circuit on the back of the third placegetter Provocatator (one/one) in the last lap. The mile rate 1-59.3. Much improved mare Jumeirah Jane raced by Bullengarook’s Wendy Harrison in partnership with mother Jean Johnstone, was probably the most popular winner on the night when making her 16th appearance at the races. Starting from barrier three, Jumeirah Jane crossed Giacomo inside her shortly after the start and was always travelling boldly under a tight rein. Showing no signs of stopping, Jumeirah Jane scored by 7.7 metres in a rate of 2-06.1 over Thumbs Up Jerry (three back the markers) and the roughie Unsolved Mystery from last. The Goulburn Valley, Bendigo and Echuca areas provided five winners on the program. Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford’s 4-Y-0 Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn snared the Quest Shepparton Pace for C0 class over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Given the run of the race from gate three trailing the pacemaker Art De Triumph (gate five), Kamwood Dawn was taken away from the markers on straightening and finished best to score by a half neck from the leader, with Rosemary Lane third after following the pair. Shepparton’s Patrick Ryan combined with Chris Alford to land the Neatline Homes Pace (first division) for C0 class over 1690 metres with 4-Y-0 Rollon Bigred/Chocaholic entire Turnoffate, Raced by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park Pty Ltd, Turnoffate despite racing in the open, prevailed by a half head in 1-57.6 in defeating Lets Go Rabbitoh which followed him all of the way. Tuxedo Toff (one/two) finished third after joining the leaders approaching the home turn. Goornong trainer Peter Salathiel joined forces with daughter Katrina to capture the Grenada Park Standardbreds Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2190 metres with 4-Y-0 Courage Under Fire/Be All Dilinger mare Cheval Charette which did her early racing in King Island. Jumping straight to the front from the pole as the tapes released, Cheval Charette was rated to perfection, running out an easy 8 metre victor in 2-02.3 from a death-seating Illawong Bill and Junie Jasper which trailed the winner. Popular local trainer Geoff (Marto) Martin took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan to land the Ausure Insurance Brokers Pace for C1 class over 1690 metres with ex-NSW Real Desire/Nepeans Last Bird 5-Y-0 gelding Mister Desirable, leading for the majority of the journey to gain the day in advance of Saint Liliana (one/one) which joined the winner on the home turn, with Tom Grainger third. The mile rate 1-59.8. Kyabram trainer Greg Caldwell’s honest 4-Y-0 Union Guy/Orta Be Ruthless gelding Ortabe Good saluted the judge in the Neatline Homes Pace (second division) with Tooleen reinsman Nigel Milne in the sulky. Given a cosy trip three back in the moving line from gate three with the polemarker Kentucky Sands leading, Ortabe Good ran home strongly off a three wide trail last lap to gain the day by 4 metres in advance of Donated which raced in the open from the bell, with The Muse (one/one) third. The mile rate 1-58.9. Other winners on the nine event card were : Jingling Silver (Paul Davies – Baddaginnie) with Daryl Douglas in the sulky and Our Warwick Lad (David Aiken – Avenel) and Nathan Jack. Len Baker

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