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It was was a case of ‘play it again’ at last week’s Shepparton trots meeting for Rochester harness racing trainer Mark Thompson. Six days after Thompson produced Ideal Eagle and Weeks End for wins on the Shepparton track, he repeated the feat. Both Ideal Eagle and Weeks End backed up from that meeting two weeks ago to again outclass their rivals at last week’s meeting on the track. And as what happened the first time, both pacers were again driven by Bendigo horseman Todd Matthews. Both Ideal Eagle and Weeks End were both the punters’ elect and paid $2.20 for their wins. Ideal Eagle skipped over the 1690 metres in a 1.56.6 mile rate time, easily the quickest on the event card. Ideal Eagle is a five-year-old American Ideal mare who has now saluted five times for Thompson since coming from New Zealand where she won once in 11 starts. Weeks End was having just her eighth trip to the races for three wins, two seconds and two thirds. She is a three-year-old by Jet Laag out of the Totally Ruthless mare Orta Be Ruthless, a winner 19 races and who has left two other winners. It’s probably a safe bet Thompson is again scanning programs to find suitable races again for the two pacers. No doubt a Shepparton meeting is preferred. While it was a big night again at last week’s meeting at Shepparton, it was even more satisfying for Matthews. Not only did he rein the Thompson-trained pair to victories, he has also trained pacer Marine Parade to a win at the meeting. Making his debut Marine Parade, a four-year-old by top sire Art Major was driven to victory by Haydon Gray and punters were well aware of his ability as he was a $1.50 favourite. Marine Parade is a half brother to Philtra Phella a Life Sign gelding and a winner of 20 races. Both are from the Safely Kept mare, Philtra Girl. by Campaspe News Reprinted with permission of The Riverine Herald  

Harness racing trainer-driver Bill Trembath is rapt to just have a runner in the Race To Royalty, but in Hows The Memory he may have much more than just a competitive starter. Trembath’s two-year-old filly announced herself with an impressive victory in her TAB Breeders Crown heat at Shepparton, upstaging a well-rated rival. “I have been down and watched a few times, but never had a runner there,” he said of the Breeders Crown, but that all changed when Hows The Memory ran down Australian Pacing Gold winner Nostra Beach last Tuesday. “We had one nominated a few years ago but they never lived up to it, this one has. To be in the running is something special.” Making it all the more so, Hows The Memory – owned and bred by Dennis and Joanne Howe – is by Mach Three out of Distant Memory, Trembath’s talented juvenile who won a Vicbred Super Series and a Bathurst Tiara Final as a two-year-old in 2013. They remain the greatest stakes wins of Trembath’s 30 years-plus training career and it makes the new filly’s emergence all the more satisfying. “When you have done it all the way through and had them as a foal and broken them in, then when they race it means so much to you,” Trembath said. Hows The Memory certainly hasn’t been rushed into emulating her mare. “I gave her a trial early on, then put her out for six weeks to help her relax, and she has just kept stepping up each time.” A debut win at Leeton on July 3 preceded a second placing at Shepparton on July 21 and a further victory at Bathurst on July 30, all in country class. Last Tuesday signalled her first step into the metropolitan class spotlight and she was outstanding against a formidable rival, with Nostra Beach’s nine starts having delivered $189,400 in stakes courtesy of four wins and three second placings. “We gave ourselves a bit of a chance because at Bathurst she ran home in 26.7,” Trembath said. From gate one Trembath kicked along early and ensured Nostra Beach’s driver Mark Pitt had to earn the lead, then come the straight it was a race in two and Hows The Memory emerged from leader’s back to pinch the win by a half-neck. The 2:01.1 mile rate was the quickest of the night’s Breeders Crown heats. “It was good. We were lucky we drew well, but to beat one of Emma’s is not easy,” he said. He will now hope to turn a heat win into a semi-final top six placing that will deliver him a shot at the big dance. “Your draw plays a big part, we will just be hoping to get through to the finals,” he said.   Race programme for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 18 August 2017

Of the top 10 Australian stakes-earning two-year-old harness racing fillies, three will line up tomorrow night at Shepparton in Breeders Crown heats. Emma Stewart-trained Nostra Beach (ranked 1 nationally with $187,800), Molly Kelly (#2, $187,600) and unbeaten Nostra Villa (#4, $118,890) headline the heats, which also feature Cran Dalgety-trained Our Bettor Joy from New Zealand, which would slot in at No.9 nationally with earnings of $68,730. The Breeders Crown heats are Races 2, 3 and 7 on the 10-event card, which gets under way at 5.27pm and is scheduled to finish at 10pm. This week’s Race to Royalty heats Today Globe Derby (South Australia) 2YO pacing colts and geldings 2YO pacing fillies 3YO pacing fillies 3YO pacing colts and geldings Tomorrow Shepparton (Victoria) 2YO pacing fillies Albion Park (Queensland) 3YO pacing colts and geldings Wednesday August 9 Kilmore (Victoria) 2YO pacing colts and geldings Thursday August 10 Ballarat (Victoria) 3YO pacing fillies Friday August 11 Bendigo (Victoria) 3YO pacing colts and geldings Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Shepparton, Tuesday 08 August 2017 Form guide for Shepparton, Tuesday 08 August 2017

You can lock in a win for harness racing trainer Don Bootle at Shepparton on Saturday night, despite analysts not giving his runner much chance of scoring in her maiden pace. A race start for the trainer ’s five-year-old mare Winlock will be a victory for the Bootle family, having been the offspring of their unraced stallion Uturnbay and out of their mare Ankles. “Winlock is one of our own breeds, I’ve had her since she was a foal,” Bootle said. “She’s just a tiny little mare, she’s no bigger than a pony, but she’s got that bulldog attitude and never gives up. “I’m not sure how she will go first up, she’s a five-year-old and for some reason (Uturnbay’s) horses go better when they are older.” Bootle has recently relocated to Melbourne’s east from New South Wales, docking at Croydon Light Harness Club’s track and stables. It’s a long way from Euroma Stud, the family’s Narromine free-range paddock where Uturnbay stands for Bootle’s father, stud and horse owner Terry Bootle. “He was a very quick horse who would have won races for us,” Bootle said of Uturnbay. “As a young horse Donald Cole in Dubbo had him and we put him out in a paddock. “It was a wet day and he was running up and down the paddock and slipped over and broke his neck. He’s actually pretty lucky to be around walking.” Having a staunch dedication to ensuring his horses have a life after racing, Bootle has embraced the potential he saw in Uturnbay, who shares a grandsire, Smooth Fella, with champion trotter Lyell Creek. “The stallion stays in the paddock in season time and we just keep the mares in,” Bootle said. “Only one has missed foal in the last six seasons.” “Eight or nine mares” share a paddock with Uturnbay, and when they are not in season he’s taken to Molong, New South Wales, where he occasionally works as a stockhorse. Of the foals, several have made it to the track and Bootle is optimistic wins and placings will come, but each horse is broken in for saddle as well as sulky. “You’ve got to look at horses for their after-racing life,” he said. “If a horse is broken into saddle you can sell it as a riding horse.” For now the family’s focus is on Winlock, who ran fifth of five in her July 9 trial at Yarra Valley and will start from the pole in Saturday’s Bohbron Park Pace (C0) at Shepparton. “She’s like a little pet to me,” Bootle said. “I broke her in, got her going and then got sick. I gave her to other trainers but they couldn’t get her going. Now I have taken her back and she is going great for me,” he said. “She put a big effort in (the trial) but tired over the longer distance, but I was happy with how she ran. I’m just looking for her to go around, it doesn’t worry me where she comes. I’ll just be happy to see her on the track and trying her best. “Some say she can’t run out of sight, but I like to prove people wrong and show what I can do with a horse. I like horses who are a bit temperamental. I like mad horses so you can be challenged and work them out.” The reins will be handed over to concession reinswoman Monique Barnett tonight – “Winlock prefers lady drivers – she doesn’t like the guys” – and Bootle will hope to begin his Victorian training with an honest effort. “Being her first start I don’t really expect much, but as long as she gets around nicely and gives me her true race I’ll be happy.” Listen in to our chat with trainer Don Bootle on the TrotLine: Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Shepparton, Saturday 29 July 2017 Form guide for Shepparton, Saturday 29 July 2017

Sunday’s broodmare and mixed stock sale promises to be the best Shepparton Harness Racing Club has held, with 91 lots on offer. Club manager Ian McDonald said the line-up of stock was “unbelievable, we expect a huge crowd”. “This is the best list of horses we’ve had in the sale since we have been holding them,” he said. Among the lots are 45 mares including Cornsilk (dam of Delight Me), Pelicanrama and Kyvalley Kyrie’s dam Maori Lindy. Three mares have a foal at foot, which are by Art Major, Life Sign and Pet Rock, and many others have positive tests and are nearing birth. “The timing of the sale is key, because many of the mares are in foal and going to drop within four to six weeks and buyers will get instant return on their investment,” McDonald said. “There are three mares that are in foal to Somebeach Somewhere, whose book is full and closed. “If you take home a horse like Cornsilk or Peclicanrama you get the opportunity to invest in what could be a gold mine going forward.” In addition to the broodmares the sale will offer weanlings and yearlings, and raced and unraced horses aged two and over. A trial will be held, timed and captured on video at 8.30am featuring 11 horses on offer for sale. Mr McDonald said the club’s sales had a proven record, having previously offered pacing superstar Hectorjayjay, leading trotter Claudys Princess and Group 2 winning Im Princess Gemma, who was snapped up for $990. The sale, to start at noon at Quest Racing Complex, will be live streamed via, where you can also find more details. Click here to view the sale catalogue.   Michael Howard

Division remains within Greater Shepparton City Council around the merits of a masterplan for land in Kialla, a week before submissions are heard on the matter at an independent planning panel. Some councillors continued to harbour concerns about the Valley Harness and Greyhound Racing Precinct feasibility study and masterplan at this week’s council meeting. Others stressed Tuesday night’s meeting was not the time and place to debate the merits of the plan, just to note council’s position on the matter heading into the panel. The motion to note the council’s position provoked further disagreement around whether the council’s resolution made any difference at all. Councillors Les Oroszvary, Shelley Sutton and Fern Summer voted against noting the position, with remaining councillors voting for the position and Cr Chris Hazelman declaring a conflict of interest, opting out of discussion. With regard to submissions received for an amendment to the planning scheme, councillors ultimately voted to note officers’ response for referral and presentation to the panel and to note officers may exercise discretion to best achieve the general position council adopted. At this week’s meeting, Cr Dennis Patterson hoped the panel’s findings would give the council ‘‘good direction’’. Speaking against the motion, Cr Summer said she had ‘‘lost a lot of confidence in this project’’, while Cr Oroszvary stressed the panel only made recommendations, not the final decision on the matter. Mayor Dinny Adem described the motion being considered as irrelevant, before chief executive Peter Harriott clarified. ‘‘It is relevant to the point that the independent panel will wonder where officers are coming from.’’ Wrapping up, Cr Patterson said the motion being considered was to ‘‘note the officers’ response’’. ‘‘We’ve gone from noting their response to full stage war,’’ he said. A September resolution had directed officers to prepare and exhibit a planning scheme amendment, seeking to implement findings of the master plan. Fifteen of 21 submissions received had objected or requested changes to the proposed amendment and remain unresolved, some relating to flood modelling and concerns around land use. ‘‘As such, all submissions have been referred to an Independent Planning Panel appointed by the Minister for Planning for consideration,’’ the report read. Council officers’ position at the panel hearing argues the proposal is consistent with council’s adopted policies and strategies and no changes to the flood controls or flood mapping are proposed as part of the planning scheme amendment. The officers’ report estimates the cost of the independent planning panel for this amendment at about $10000. ‘‘Additional costs will be incurred if legal representation and/or expert witnesses are required. This may cost approximately $30000,’’ the report said. By Thomas Moir Reprinted with permission of the Shepparton News

He had gone agonisingly close at times, but Shepparton harness racing reinsman Ryan Duffy finally made it to the winners circle for the first time last weekend. Duffy partnered the Amanda Turnbull-trained Benji Mara to an all-the-way win at Bendigo on Sunday, which greatly pleased ‘‘get out’’ punters who had supported the pacer into a hot $1.50 favourite. Having just his fourth Australian start and only his 22nd lifetime outing, Benji Mara posted a blistering 1:55.9 mile rate over the 1650m trip, which was a good reason why his rivals could not run him down. ‘‘I was pretty confident through the run and on the home turn I was pretty sure he’d win,’’ Duffy said. Duffy has worked for the highly successful Turnbull-Nathan Jack team for the past six months, but has been driving in races for only the past two months. He had driven three second placegetters up to breaking his duck at Bendigo. Duffy has plenty of harness racing blood coursing through his veins. He comes from a strong trotting family with his father, Steve, a prominent Shepparton harness trainer. His late grandfather Bill was also involved heavily in the sport as a trainer and driver. Ryan’s older brother Jake is a successful jockey. ‘‘I did an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker with Liberty Kitchens, who were very good to me, but I was always going to head this way (into harness racing),’’ Duffy said. ‘‘I’m in a good stable and if I can keep getting support, I hope to be able to keep moving forward.’’ In Scorching form John Hallam was another Shepparton trainer to enjoy success at Bendigo, producing his talented mare Scorching Along to roll the favourite Hedge Your Bets in a TR1-2 class trot. It is the fourth time the five-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur has saluted in 27 starts and she will be striving to improve that record when she tackles the Mooroopna Trotters Cup at Shepparton on Sunday night. Nathan Jack also enjoyed a driving double at Bendigo, winning again on the Ross Graham-trained trotter Son Of Sonoko and also the Phillip Walters-trained three-year-old gelding Themightythor. Jack also drove the Jayne Davies-trained Ravello Rock to win the $9500 Ken Miller Memorial race final at Warragul on Monday. Big guns are back Team Aiken big guns are back in action this weekend. Hectorjayjay tackles the $20000 Young Pedro Free-For-All at Melton tonight, while Lennytheshark steps out in the $31000 Golden Mile at Menangle tomorrow night. Both will come from barrier six. Both trialled impressively at Shepparton last week, with Hector narrowly downing Lenny in a slick last half. Aiken also lines up Beltane from barrier two in the $20000 Youthful Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies at Melton tonight, while Craig Turnbull has Major Occasion coming from barrier six in the colts and geldings version of this race. The $30000 VHRSC Holmfield for three-year-old trotters will see the promising Doc Wilson-trained Dark Secret drawn to run a big race from barrier three, while Colbinabbin horseman Graham McDermott has Clarkes Hill coming from barrier two in the same race. In the $20000 Bendigo Trotters Cup tomorrow night, hopes of a district win rest with the Aiken-trained Maorisfavouritesun, Dean Pattison’s mare Sky Petite and the new kid on the blocks Fabrication for Tatura’s David Abrahams. Making mark in area Successful horseman Craig Turnbull celebrated his first win since joining the ranks of Goulburn Valley trainers at the Frank Ryan Raceway at Echuca last week. Turnbull produced Safari Rose to win a C0 only class race with a bold front-running display. Safari Rose was tested early in a battle for the lead, but held her ground and was never in danger of being beaten in the 1755m trip after that. The four-year-old Safari mare, bred by Rochester harness stalwart Denis Pangrazio, posted a PB best mile rate of 1:58.3 in recording her third career win from 30 starts. There have also been nine minor placings. Turnbull is working a team of a dozen horses at Russ Thomson’s property at Gillieston while he develops his own training complex on a property he has bought on the Midland Hwy near Tatura. He is hoping to build a team of 15 to 20 horses and is prepared to take on horses to train. Majestic manners Manners is vital in harness racing, particularly with young trotters, which was clearly evident at Maryborough last week. Shepparton horseman Steve Boyington lined up two-year-old trotter Majestic Action for his third start and the son of Majestic Son worked to the front in the first lap and went on to win the race by more than 20m. But Boyington conceded Majestic Action probably would have run second if the favourite Fend Off had not been knocked off his feet on the home turn when challenging for the lead. ‘‘He (Fend Off) probably would have won, but I would have run second, I’m sure,’’ Boyington said. Boyington said Majestic Action was a young trotter who had come a long way in a short time. ‘‘It was only five or six weeks ago we were deciding to turn him out or keep him going and he has just kept on improving. We are giving him a short break and then we’ll stoke him up again for the Vicbred series,’’ Boyington said. Majestic Action is owned and was bred by Yarrawonga trots enthusiasts Jack and Linda Gale, who have been holidaying in America and are yet to see the horse trial or race. Carlo’s winning habit Shepparton trainer Steve O’Donoghue will attempt to make it 14 wins from 16 starts with his stable star San Carlos at Bendigo tomorrow night. San Carlo, with Bec Bartley in the sulky, made it 13 wins from 15 starts with another emphatic win in a C5 or better class race at Kilmore last Friday night. The six-year-old gelding again won with his head on his chest, clearing out turning for home and working to the front with a lap to go. He cruised to the line nearly 17m clear of the runner-up, rating 1:57.1 for the 2180m trip including a 57.1 last half. In a tough race tomorrow night, San Carlo has drawn barrier seven with what could be his main danger Brallos Pass drawn inside him. San Carlo was not the only GV pacer to win at Kilmore. Marungi trainer Linton Power produced Ok Mara for his third win since joining his stables from New Zealand, while Avenel horseman Ian Montgomery notched a win with Kissmelvis. Ok Mara, driven by Laura Crossland, has had seven starts for Power for three wins, two seconds, a fourth and a seventh and was coming off a last start win at Cobram. Kissmelvis had three minor placings from just the eight starts before breaking through for his first win. Quite the recovery Talk about going from boiled lollies to chocolates. Punters who had supported the Kyabram-trained Mana Master had virtually thrown in the towel when the lightly-raced pacer galloped on the first bend in a C0 only race at Echuca last week. It did not look too good either when Mana Master got back pacing and chased the pack, tacked on and then headed off three wide in the last lap. But Mana Master, driven by Damien Wilson, was more than up to the challenge and outstayed Hidden Rose in a stirring two-horse duel down the home straight. Mana Master was having only his 10th race start and with some promising performances heading into the Echuca assignment showed he had his hoof firmly on the till and punters agreed with some solid support. Mana Master is trained by Graham Lyon, who owns the pacer in partnership with Bob Souter, a Tongala Football Club stalwart and father of former Blues star Mick and grandfather of Jordan. The four-year-old is by Passmaster, who is a son of Cam’s Card Shark and was bred by Kyabramites Peter Hall, Rob Whitford and John Lilford. He is a half-brother of Hall’s smart pacer Winkanditsover, who is on the comeback trail and a winner of two races from just six starts. Quaddie killer Four-year-old pacer Our Bushwacker knocked out a lot of quaddie punters when he upstaged a field of talented rivals at Echuca last week. Despite having a top five finish in his previous six starts since winning at Yarra Valley in December, punters shied away from the son of Art Official, who started at the luxury odds of nearly 22-1 on the tote from a second row draw. Bec Bartley drove a patient race on the Glenn Freeman-trained Our Bushwacker, catching a ride on the three-deep line in the last lap and mowing down his rivals wide out with a strong finishing burst. The Rochester-trained Ruthless Armbro ran the quinella in the race. Our Bushwacker rated a PB 1:56.1 for the 1710m sprint in what was his fifth race win with seven placings from 26 starts. Shepp suits them Consistent pacers Space Junk, Lead Singer and Carter Bromac were all locally trained pacers who added to their impressive form at Shepparton on Tuesday night. Space Junk completed a hat-trick of wins on the Shepparton track for Merrigum trainer Brett Bunfield and Lead Singer made it two straight for the Amanda Turnbull-Nathan Jack team, which also produced Carter Bromac for his fourth successive win. Bunbartha trainer John Newberry also enjoyed a win with trotter The Majestic, who was driven by his son Matt, while trainer Laura Crossland and driver David Moran continued their fairytale with the once rogue pacer Fiery Achiever. Mountainous effort Pacer Alpe De Huez used his poleline barrier draw to lead throughout and notch his fifth win in his past 10 outings at Echuca last week. The Scott Stewart-trained and driven four-year-old son of Changeover stepped straight to the front and warded off all challengers in the home straight with a slick 27.2 last quarter. Alpe De Huez, who just went under to Carter Bromac at Shepparton on Tuesday night, is building an impressive resume with seven wins and two minor placings from 21 trips to the races. Crystal clear Wayne Lear struck a winning blow for the local trainers at Echuca last week when Crystal Colony proved too good for his rivals in a C0 only class race, which rounded off the 10-event card. It was an Echuca quinella with the Rob Caldwell-trained and Todd Matthews-driven I Its Me running second and the Benalla pacer Justcallmechief filling the minor placing. Crystal Colony, who found the lead early, is a four-year-old mare by Art Colony who deserved her maiden win as she had run five seconds and four thirds going into the race. Listen to vision District harness fans will get a chance to hear HRV’s strategy during a road trip to Shepparton on Monday night, June 19. HRV’s chief executive David Martin will give the presentation with those attending able to present feedback. All club managers and secretaries are urged to get their committees together to attend along with trainers, drivers, owns and participants. Coming up It’s a full house for Mooroopna Harness Racing Club’s cup meeting on Sunday evening at Shepparton with a 10-event card to be decided. First event is at the early time of 4.43pm, with the final event at 9.17pm. The Mooroopna Pacing Cup should be a keenly contested affair with Zhukov, Glen Eyre, That Chill Divine, Here For The Goodtimes, Our Bushwacker, Provocation and Takachanceonharry district pacers who are contesting the race. Shepparton Harness Racing Club has a busy week as it hosts a night meeting next Thursday. Today: Mildura (d), Melton (n) Tomorrow: Bendigo (n) Sunday: Mooroopna at Shepparton (t) Monday: Hamilton (d) Tuesday: Cranbourne (n) Wednesday: Melton (d), Kilmore (n) Thursday: Maryborough (d), Shepparton (n) Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

Star pacer Hectorjayjay’s return race itself was hassle-free, but the days leading-up to caused connections angst. The six-year-old made a winning return to race when he led throughout and scored by 8.3m in the $60,000 Group 2 Shepparton Cup (2690m) last Saturday night. It was his first run since the brave second to Smolda in the Perth Inter Dominion final on January 9. But it was a race he almost didn’t start in. Driver Josh Aiken said Hectorjayjay sent a scare through the camp when he “wasn’t quite himself” during the week. “That’s why we got his blood tested and it came back about 80 per cent right,” he said. “We then waited and had our vet (Simon Robinson) check him again on the morning (of the Cup) before making the final decision on running him. “I went into the race confident. I saw him bouncing all around his paddock in the morning (Saturday) and that was enough to tell me he was ready to go.” Aiken said Hectorjayjay felt his old self once he speared to the front at Shepparton. “He won well and wasn’t fully extended, but he felt like he just needed the run a bit in the final stages,” he said. “It’s good to get that run into him.” Aiken said connections were considering running Hectorjayjay again in the sprint – the support race to the Ballarat Cup – at Ballarat next Saturday night. Maybe it’s a long shot, but there is some chance Lazarus could also head to that race. If they don’t meet at Ballarat, the megastar pair will clash for the first time in the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton on Saturday week. In other stable news, Lennytheshark will definitely resume in the Ballarat Cup against Smolda and others. “Dad was really, really happy with his work (over the weekend) and he’s set to go. His foot is fine,” he said. “We’re actually taking him to the (Melton) trials on Tuesday so Chris (Alford) can hop on and have a drive of him before Ballarat.” Adam Hamilton

Piff a snowball, get your boogie on and soak up the spectacle of more than 100 horses taking to the track. That’s what is on offer Sunday when Mooroopna Harness Racing Club hosts its pacing and trotters cups at Shepparton, where it will stage a twilight meeting amid the Queen’s Birthday Weekend. “To me and the committee, our cup meeting is the pinnacle of our club,” president Jeff Gledhill said. “We’re hoping people enjoy a good night’s racing. We have a snow machine for the kids to celebrate the start of the snow season, and there will be music and dancing with Callum Gleeson performing. It is a chance to see what grass roots harness racing is all about.” Entertainment was boosted after the club secured a $10,800 grant from the State Government’s VRIF program, while further support has enabled the club to provide almost $14,000 in raffle prizes to participating trainers. “This year we got a Tuza horse float at a discounted price and sponsor support that has meant we can offer this prize to trainers without costing the club,” Mr Gledhill said. That showing of support to participants goes to the very core of the club, characteristics that it is keen to showcase on its cup day. “Now that we no longer host racing at Mooroopna we have become more of an education club, and about 10 to 12 trainers use the all-weather track to educate their horses in preparation for racing,” Mr Gledhill said. “To host a 10-race program at Shepparton of more than 100 horses just proves that the club can still support the industry.” The 10-race program starts at 4.45pm, with race six featuring the Lift ‘N’ Shift Mooroopna Pacing Cup at 7.30pm and race seven the Eljaykay Phoenix Syndicate Mooroopna Trotters Cup at 8.02pm. Entry is free and there is a $5 discount dining voucher to Mooroopna residents and visitors to the town’s caravan parks. Michael Howard

The stakes will be considerable for harness racing trainers who enter a runner at Shepparton on June 12, when all things Mooroopna will be celebrated. The Lift ‘N’ Shift Mooroopna Pacing Cup will feature at Quest Racing Complex on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, when the Mooroopna club will build on more than 100 years of supporting trainers and owners by offering $14,000 worth of prizes, including a horse float. Mooroopna Harness Racing Club secretary Shane Martin said the prize pool reiterated the club’s support for participants. “We are a grass roots club and are eager to support drivers and trainers,” Martin said. “It’s a successful meeting and we want to get people out there. We are only a little country club, but we are still going strong.” To win the float trainers will need to have a race starter at the meeting, with each trainer getting a ticket into the draw. Other trainers’ draws will include a set of hopples and a $500 John Deere voucher. Throw in retired pacing superstar Smoken Up leading out the cup field and a snow machine to keep children entertained and a night full of winners appears assured. Trots Media

An ambitious and targeted approach saw three-year-old Blackbird Power show great improvement and capture a prized purse. Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars’ gelding, which is by Mach Three out of Power Play, won the George Croxford Tribute Final at Shepparton on Tuesday, when Greg Sugars placed him in front and the $2.40 favourite held off fast-finishing Showgun Thomas and Code Black. The victory delivered Blackbird Power’s connections the bulk share of the $25,575 purse, just reward for owner Gavin Kelly who Ross Sugars said “picked the race out a couple of months ago and we set him for it”. “We weren’t expecting it to be an easy shot, but this horse has been getter better, has good manners and improved a lot from when it was a two-year-old,” Sugars said. Blackbird Power was a maiden when he resumed racing as a three-year-old on Christmas Eve and placed at Maryborough, and was then fourth at the VHRSC 3YO Cup at Melton and seventh in his VHRSC Victoria Derby heat. “He never looked a contender, but got a good education,” Sugars said. “He had a month away from any racing after that and we just kept working him and he blossomed as we worked out a bit of a training routine that suited this guy.” Blackbird Power returned to run second in the first International All Star Series race at Melton on March 7, having been beaten 1m by Spiritwriter, who went on to break a track record at Hamilton. Next up for Blackbird Power was the third heat of the George Croxford Tribute at Wangaratta on March 13. “He drew well at Wangaratta, although we were a little worried about Code Black who come across from New South Wales,” Sugars said. Code Black started the heat a $1.90 favourite, but Blackbird Power led and Code Black was trapped three-wide for much of the early running before finding the breeze. In the straight it was Blackbird Power who had more in the tank. “He went pretty good at Wangaratta, and we thought if he gets a good draw in the final then it could work out well. If he gets that nice run he is capable of running a very quick last quarter. For once it unfolded well.” From gate two Blackbird Power led well from the mobile start to take the lead and soon enough Code Black swept three-wide and took the breeze, mirroring their heat. Come the straight it was a race in three, with Greg Sugars managing to drive Blackbird Power to the line, holding off second-placed Showgun Thomas, who used the sprint lane, by 1.8m with Code Black a further head back in third. Sugars said Blackbird Power would now be considered for the $40,000 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 1, with a likely tilt at Breeders Crown to follow. Michael Howard

Catalogues for the 2016 Shepparton Yearling Sale, to be conducted by Shepparton Harness Racing Club at their Kialla complex on Sunday, April 3, are now available. The sale has attracted 57 yearlings representing 21 different stallions . They include many of Australia’s leading sires such as Art Major, American Ideal, Four Starzzz Shark, Courage Under Fire, Grinfromeartoear, Modern Art, Sportswriter and Shadow Play. There’s also stock being offered by the up-and-coming sires Artistic Fella, Changeover, Shadyshark Hanover, Major In Art, Always A Virgin and Village Jolt. The first Australian crop of dual world champion Betterthancheddar and the outstanding New Zealand pacers New Zealand Auckland Reactor and Lincoln Royal will add interest to the sale. Many of the yearlings nominated for the sale are eligible for the Australian Pacing Gold sales-race series with $322,000 finals for two-year-old colts and fillies to be run in April/May 2017. They are also eligible for the Breeders Crown, Bathurst Gold Crown, Vicbred, Vicbred Platinum and NSW Breeders Challenge. For a copy of the catalogue send an email to or phone (03) 5823 1403 or 0428 231 403. Catalogues are also available from Australian Pacing Gold, Alabar Bloodstock, Melton and Victorian country tracks. Pedigrees are available on the website  Click on the Yearling Sale link here. Peter Wharton

Victorian horses will have the chance to race for metropolitan prizemoney in a country penalty race thanks to a new deal between Canberra Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV). HRV has welcomed the opportunity to bolster ties with the Canberra club to help promote the 2016 Canberra Cup. This season’s Canberra Cup will be a heat and final format series with the first heat in Canberra on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, and Heat 2 going to Shepparton Harness Racing Club on Thursday, January 28. The third and final heat will take place at Goulburn Harness Racing Club on Monday, February 1, before the final is held at Canberra on Sunday, February 7. The Cup is worth $25,000 and is a C2-C5 race. An exciting trainer’s bonus has been attached to the race this year with the Canberra Cup winning trainer to receive a trip to the 2016 Little Brown Jug held in Delaware, US. Canberra’s dynamic committee decided it needed to find ways to make the cup an attractive racing proposition for trainers and connections to fill a niche in the country cup calendar. With limited funds available to put on 20 race meetings a year, the challenge for the committee was to maximise bang for buck. The Canberra club’s General Manager Greg Nugent said: “The uniqueness of the cup format would not have been possible without the assistance of HRV and the Shepparton club. Also we extend thanks to our friends at Goulburn. We would also like to acknowledge the support of in helping us get this concept off the ground. To have a Cup format that covers three jurisdictions is very unique and to my knowledge has not been done before.” Mr Nugent added: “Since our deletion from the Harness Racing New South Wales Carnival of Cups circuit we have struggled to find a place for our Cup in the racing calendar. Hopefully this new approach will reinvigorate our Cup and allow us to once again showcase our feature race. The C2-C5 format allows the local and hobby trainers to participate and with the added bonus of a trip to the Little Brown Jug, trainers will have an opportunity to reap the rewards of this trip which is high on trots fans’ bucket lists.” The Canberra Cup program also sees the running of the annual ‘Ackie Hawke’ and the Capital 3YO Championship. “Hopefully the support card will encourage visiting owners and trainers who may have qualified for the Cup to throw a couple of extra horses on the support card,” Mr Nugent said. HRV CEO John Anderson said Victoria welcomed the opportunity to support the Canberra club. “It’s a great fit for Canberra to become closer to HRV and some of our trainers here in Victoria will jump at the opportunity to race for good prizemoney in a $25,000 Cup as well as a potential trip to the USA for the Little Brown Jug.”   CODY WINNELL

The annual Victorian Harness Racing Breeding Awards were held on Saturday for season 2014-15 at Shepparton Harness Racing Club. Benstud Standardbreds Victorian Pacing Broodmare of the Year was presented to Lauriston Bloodstock for Aston Villa, who has produced Yankee Rockstar (Rocknroll Hanover), Yankee Showgirl (Bettors Delight) and Born To Rocknroll (Rocknroll Hanover) to date. The Niota Bloodstock Victorian Trotting Broodmare of the Year was awarded to Dr Martin Hartnett for Lunar Landing, the famed dam of Spidergirl, Illawong Moonshine and Illawong Armstrong. The Metro Printing Ian Daff Memorial Award was presented to Duncan McPherson, while Sue Wegmann won the prestigious Victorian Breeder of the Year Award sponsored by Woodlands Stud. The Pacing and Trotting Sire of the Year Awards were presented by Pryde’s Easifeed and Niota Bloodstock. Somebeachsomewhere took out the Victorian Pacing Sire of the Year honours, presented to Empire Stallions, while Stonegate Farm took out Trotting Sire of the Year with Armbro Invasion. >> Visit Harness Breeders Vic on Facebook for photos from the night FULL AWARD WINNERS LIST Benstud Standardbreds Victorian Pacing Broodmare of the Year: Aston Villa USA Niota Bloodstock Victorian Trotting Broodmare of the Year: Lunar Landing Metro Printing Ian Daff Memorial Award:    Duncan McPherson Woodlands Stud Victorian Breeder of the Year:    Sue Wegmann Pryde's Easifeed Victorian Pacing Sire of the Year:    Somebeachsomewhere Niota Bloodstock    Victorian Trotting Sire of the Year:    Armbro Invasion IRT    Victorian 3YO Sire of the Year:   Somebeachsomewhere A Rocknroll Dance @ Alabar    Victorian 2YO Sire of the Year:    Art Major Renown Silverware    2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year:    Our Waikiki Beach Renown Silverware    2YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year:    Charlie Runkle Minitube Australia    2YO Pacing Filly of the Year:    Rocknroll Magic Minitube Australia    2YO Trotting Filly of the Year:    Princess Phoenix Olympus Feeds    3YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year:   Menin Gate Olympus Feeds    3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year:    Illawong Armstrong PacificVet    3YO Pacing Filly of the Year:    Morton Plains PacificVet    3YO Trotting Filly of the Year:    Endsino    Aged Pacing Horse of the Year:    Guaranteed    Aged Trotting Horse of the Year:    Brunelleschi Nevele R Stud    Aged Pacing Mare of the Year:    Beauty Secret Nevele R Stud    Aged Trotting Mare of the Year:    Claudy's Princess Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 2YO Pacing Colts & Geldings Final:  Shadow Sax Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 2YO Pacing Fillies Final:   Flojos Gold Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 2YO Trotting Fillies Final:    Princess Phoenix  Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 3YO Pacing Colts & Geldings Final:   Menin Gate Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 3YO Pacing Fillies Final:    Morton Plains Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 3YO Trotting Colts & Geldings Final:   Fabrication Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 4YO Pacing Entires & Geldings Final:   Messini Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred 4YO Trotting Mares Final:    Claudys Princess Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Trotting Fillies Final:    Princess Phoenix  Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Trotting Colts & Geldings Final:   Charlie Runkle Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 3YO Trotting Colts & Geldings:    Aimforthemoon Harness Racing Victoria    Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 3YO Trotting Fillies:    All Under Control Mountain View Stud    Cordina Chickens Farm Sprint:    Suave Stuey Lombo Mountain View Stud    2015 South Australian Pacing Cup:   Guaranteed Mountain View Stud    2015 Camarda & Cantrill NSW Derby:     Ideal For Real Shepparton Harness Racing Club    Len Smith Mile:    Smolda Shepparton Harness Racing Club    2015 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks:    Niki No No Shepparton Harness Racing Club    2015 Pepper Tree Farms NSW Breeders Challenge 4YO Entires & Geldings:    Lettucerockthem Shepparton Harness Racing Club    AG Coombs Need For Speed Prince Final:    Eljaykay Phoenix Trackbred    2015 UBET The Blacks A Fake:   Philadelphia Man Trackbred    2015 VHRSC Victoria Derby:   Menin Gate Trackbred    2015 IRT Breeders Crown 3YO Colts & Geldings Final:    Menin Gate Trackbred    2015 Queensland Derby:     Menin Gate Australasian Standardbred Stallion Guide    2015 Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Colts & Geldings Final: Our Waikiki Beach Australasian Standardbred Stallion Guide    2015 Pepper Tree Farms NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Colts & Geldings:    Our Waikiki Beach Australasian Standardbred Stallion Guide    2015 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 2YO Colts & Geldings Final:   Our Waikiki Beach by Cody Winnell

Harness racing driver Ellen Tormey produced an absolute pearler of a drive aboard Miss Fisher to land the Elite Horse Transport Trot on Tuesday night at Shepparton. In fact, so impressed was long-time harness racing stalwart Bill Glover that he phoned this scribe to sing her praises. Check out the video replay and it’s not hard to see what impressed Bill so immensely. Tormey made all the right calls, avoided plenty of troublesome situations and guided the five-year-old daughter of Tennotrump/Miss Laura Loo to a 5.4-metre triumph. “She was back in the score-up 10 metres and horses 2 and 3 both break. She keeps her horse trotting – and it’s a risky trotter at the best of times – then 60 yards down she has to avoid another one galloping. Then at the 500 she’s one-by-three and Doc (Wilson) pulls three-wide on Illawong Red, Leannes Legacy gets put four-wide and she pokes through the middle. Then she eases out five-wide at the corner. At the 175 Leannes Legacy gallops and I reckon brushes her, but Ellen gets around it and the horse comes away,” was how Glover recalled the drive. “I’d say that was about the best drive I’ve seen without using sprint lanes or anything, on a trotter where you can’t make those sharp moves. It was just a wonderful drive,” he added. The win provided Pompapiel’s John Davidson with his first victory as a trainer in 13 years. “John’s done a great job with her and it was his first win in a fair while, so that was really nice. They’re the wins that really make it worthwhile,” Tormey said. Davidson raced the smart mare Passionfruit in the 1980s. Tormey humbly played down her drive, but said she had felt reasonably confident Miss Fisher would run a big race. “She’d trialled really well on the Monday when I drove her but the key was that she just stayed trotting,” she said. “I knew she had enough speed but I just had to try and eliminate the risk. “She wasn’t trotting smooth in the score-up so I just allowed her to settle and I also knew the ones in front had a habit of doing things wrong. “Around the first turn one galloped and I went to go around it and it went wider, but I eventually got around it. “There was one that knocked me over the start before (Leannes Legacy) so I wanted to get off its back as quickly as I could at the end.” Leannes Legacy mustn’t like Tormey much because she very nearly cost her victory in the straight on Tuesday by galloping again. But Tormey and Miss Fisher avoided the hiccup and coasted home out wide. Tormey made it two wins in two nights last night at Bendigo driving Sheer Strength to victory for trainer and partner Scott Dyer. “He’s quite a nice horse,” she said of the four-year-old son of Shadow Play/Kateeshar. “He’s won seven out of 17 now. He races good over a mile.” Tormey, whose father John is also a trainer, said the stable had bred quite a few young horses in recent years and they were looking forward to finding the next “good one”. “Hopefully there are some nice ones. You always strive to get a good one,” she said. Tormey would also welcome more opportunities in the gig. “I’m realistic. I know it works after you lose your claim,” she said. “You find you have your good runs … but if I’m not getting the opportunities I’m also happy enough to stay at home and keep working on the younger ones.” Given her form, Tormey can expect to pick up a few more drives in coming weeks. Cody Winnell

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

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