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When Tornado Valley NZ and Sky Petite crossed the line first in the harness racing Inter Dominion Trotting Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night it gave their sire Skyvalley a well needed huge boost for the Australasian breeding Industry. Well under patronized at stud by breeders in New Zealand and Australia this sensationally bred stallion Skyvalley gave notice that he has all the credentials to become a top end commercial sire.  With only 135 foals of racing age from his first five crops in Australia and 53 foals of racing age in New Zealand Skyvalley is the sire of 65 winners to date with $2,859,599 in progeny earnings total for both Countries.  Tornado Valley became Skyvalley's richest earner to date with the Inter Dominion Final giving him lifetime earnings of $412,887. The Inter Dominion Final also catapulted Sky Petite to become his second richest earner to date with $237,785 in the bank. These two earners are followed by Aldebaron Eve with $158,508 and then Blue Sky Commander NZ with $136,913. Tornado Valley NZ and Sky Petite Skyvalley NZ is unquestionably one of the best bred and best performed harness racing trotters ever to stand at stud in Australia From 47 starts he won 24 and was 13 times placed for $322,675 in stakes. He won six races at Group level and was placed a further three times and established three national records. A dual winner as a two-year-old, Skyvalley announced himself as the next big thing in Australian trotting when he trounced his rivals by 15 metres in the final of the $102,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-olds at Bendigo, rating a brilliant 1:59 for the 2150 metres - an all age Australian record. Skyvalley NZ really came into his own as a four-year-old winning 14 races, the most by any standardbred in Australia that season. His wins included the 4YO Breeders Crown (by 32 metres), demolishing his opposition with Dan Mielicki describing it as the best win by any horse that season, drawing comparisons to the great Maori's Idol by many who witnessed his thrashing of his rivals that day. He won the Melton Trotters Cup on Tabcorp Park opening day beating the best open age free-for-all horses over the 2760 metre journey, running his last mile in 2:01. He also won the Cobram Trotters Cup and several metropolitan free-for-alls. One of his memorable wins as a five-year-old was the Bill Collins Sprint over 1720 metres at Grand Curcuit level in a track record 1:56.4, beating Sundons Gift NZ, and wearing no shoes, such was his impeccable gait and manners. At the same age he won the Scotch Notch Memorial at Tabcorp Park and the Freestone Trotters Cup at Moonee Valley. He also finished third in the Inter Dominion Grand Final after an injury interrupted campaign. Skyvalley winning The Breeders Crown for Four-year-olds Skyvalley NZ is a rare individual who took your breath away with some of his feats on the racetrack. Champion horseman Chris Lang, who trained him throughout his career, said: "Having the privilege of training some of the best trotters of our generation, there is no doubt he was the one who could leave you breathless. To sit behind him was like sitting in a sled, such was the fluency of his gait. His stride was like no other horse I have ever seen. He never needed shoes and only ever wore aluminiums when he did." "He was ahead of his time and I believe represents the future of breeding in this part of the world," Lang stated. Skyvalley is a son of the world No.1 sire in Muscles Yankee 1:52.4, leading living sire of juvenile and all aged trotters in North America. Muscles Yankee has sired the winners of over $100 million in stakes and at this stage is credited with 139 on the 1:55 list. In the Southern Hemisphere Muscles Yankee USA is best represented by 2011 and 2012 Inter Dominion Champion I Can Doosit NZ. Muscles Yankee is also credited with producing the worlds best current trotting stallion Muscle Hill who is completely dominating the breeding scene throughout the world today. On his distaff side he can claim equal distinctions. He is a half-brother to a champion trotting mare in Allegro Agitato NZ Tr 1:57.8 ($529,854), a multiple winner at Group 1 level in New Zealand and Australia and herself being sired by Sundon USA, proving that crossing with Sundon USA mares will undoubtedly work. Their dam, Chiola's Lass NZ Tr 2:04 ($157,779), was two-year-old and three-year-old trotter of the year in New Zealand and is one of the leading daughters of a champion trotting sire in Chiola Hanover USA. She won 10 of her 17 starts including the Victoria Oaks, NZ Great Northern Derby and The Holmfield and was voted the NZ Trotter of the Year at 2 and 3. Harnesslink Media

Considerable interest will surround the first appearance in Western Australia of the Ross Olivieri trained New Zealand-bred trotter Blue Sky Commander (Skyvalley) when he contests the Pat Harding Handicap, a stand over 2503m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The six-year-old’s past seven starts, all in Victoria, have been in mobiles after the gelding was placed outside the draw in stands following his sixth as the 9/4 favourite in the Trotters Cup at St Arnaud in March when he broke soon after the start. However, Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri has had no hesitation in running Blue Sky Commander in a stand at his WA debut. The gelding is an experienced standing-start performer, with his three wins from 11 starts in New Zealand all being in stands and then his eight wins in Victoria included five in stands. Blue Sky Commander will be driven by Chris Lewis and will start from the outside of the 10m line. “He continues to please us and we’re confident he’ll go really well,” said Olivieri. “And whatever he does, he’ll improve on.” Blue Sky Commander’s chief rival looms as Lightning Calder, the solitary runner off the 20m back mark. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for Wundowie trainer Bruce Stanley, worked hard in the breeze when a fighting last-start third behind Lord Liam and Ropeburn at Gloucester Park. Olivieri is also optimistic about the prospects of Assassinator in the Wayne Currall Pace, a 1730m mobile event in which Assassinator will start from the No. 4 barrier with Chris Voak in the sulky. “He’s got a tricky draw, but he’s a good chance,” Olivieri said. “Punters should ignore his run when he finished tenth behind Heez On Fire last Friday night. He started off in the one-out, one-back position before being shuffled back to second last. He went to the line hard held.” Ken Casellas

An emerging trotting powerhouse fired its first shot in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series, with Aldebaran Eve winning the three-year-old fillies’ final at Tabcorp Park Melton Friday night for harness racing trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll. Having established Yabby Dam Farms at Cardigan, near Ballarat, Driscoll and Golino won with the filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Dream, who Greg Sugars put into the box seat from barrier one and had the most tickets left in the straight. “It’s a real thrill for Pat and Anton to score a winner in the Vicbred series, their first since setting up and moving down to Victoria,” Sugars said. “They are a terrific outfit and great group of people, not only those two but all the workers around them. It’s a privilege to be associated with them.” Golino said he “appreciated” the win “a lot”, lauding “all my staff and Greg for such a great drive”. Aldebaran Eve was steered to the leader’s back from barrier one, with favourite Into The Unknown taking the breeze outside the leader, second favourite Princess Phoenix. Come the final straight and Into The Unknown found the challenge too much, enabling Aldebaran Eve to peel off the leader’s back and run a 29.8 final quarter to win by 1.7m in a 2:00.6 mile rate. “She’s a nice little filly, she’s getting better with every start and we said after the heat we just need a good draw, one would be nice and that’s what she got and that’s what won us the race.” The win came as something of a surprise for the stable, with Sugars admitting this one had “probably been at the bottom of the list” of the Yabby Dams crew. For owner Driscoll, it made victory all the sweeter. “It’s quite a thrill,” he said. “A bit unexpected, because she was probably the least of the runners we have here tonight. It was a great drive by Greg and a wonderful training performance by Anton.” Michael Howard Harnes Racing Victora

Smythes Creek harness racing trainer Emma Stewart holds plenty of aces in next Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. The three-year-old pacing fillies’ division appears to be one of her strongest hands. Stewart has four runners in the field and semi-final winner Whirily School’s stocks only rose when she pulled gate one at the barrier draw. “It was one of those cases where the wide barrier draw was actually to her advantage,” Greg Sugars said of Whirily School’s semi-final win tonight. “We were able to press forward and once she was able to take up the lead she was always the one to beat. “It’s probably a very honest and fair assessment to say she’s probably a length or so behind the very best of her age group, but she is certainly not far behind them . With a bit of luck in the final she is definitely in with a chance.” Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) worked forward to eventually find the lead through a 45secs lead time and posted quarters of 30.5, 32.5, 28.9 and 28.9 for a mile rate of 1:58.7. Stablemate Rocknroll Magic will take a power of beating in the final though, despite drawing barrier 11. The filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic made it 15 career wins from 22 starts tonight, notching a 1:57.5 mile rate in the chair (55.2 last half) to overhaul leader Rockstar Angel by a half-neck. “I probably expected that is where I would land in the run but I was still confident enough she’d be good enough,” winning driver Gavin Lang said. “She’s one of the main players (in the final), as you know with Emma and Clayton’s horses this time of the year they’re always on song.” Rockstar Angel has drawn barrier eight so will follow Whirily School. In the three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, semi-final winners Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) and Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) have drawn gates three and four for the Final. Iceenothink finished powerfully tonight for Chris Alford and trainer Larry Eastman (who combined to win this section last year with Menin Gate), holding off Mario Attard and Don’t Hold Back, who also savaged the line from well-back. Iceenothink posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. Soho Tribeca, trained by Jayne Davies and driven by Alford, scored by a half-neck over Carter Bromac, with Brallos Pass third in a rate of 1:57.4. “He was going to get a good run through, (it was) just whether he could stay in front of Brallos Pass. That didn’t work out but he (Brallos Pass) had to do a fair bit of work,” Alford said. “Just got to hope he gets a good draw and he can play a part next week.” Burrumbeet trainer-driver Michael Stanley is set for a busy Vicbred finals night once again, qualifying six pacers through tonight’s semis. His three-year-old Spiritwriter drew the pole in the males’ division and that brings him right into contention.   Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final Barrier Draw 1: Whirily School 2: Ideal Lifestyle 3: Kalinda 4: Platinum Power (em) 5: Just Wantano 6: Nikkibadwagon 7: Flojos Gold 8: Rockstar Angel 9: Alessa 10: Celebrity Guest 11: Rocknroll Magic 12: Rockabella Starz 13: Champagne Taste Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Colts & Geldnigs Final Barrier Draw 1: Spiritwriter 2: Battle Born 3: Soho Tribeca 4: Iceenothink 5: Keep On Rocking 6: Senor Macray 7: Brallos Pass 8: Herehecomes 9: Professor Tom 10: Showgun Thomas 11: Illawong Maestro 12: Dont Hold Back 13: Carter Bromac ..................................................................................................................................................................................... Advantage Sundons Courage and Princess Phoenix after the three-year-old trotters' barrier draws for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals. Drawn on Friday night amid the pacers' semi-finals, Sundons Courage drew the front row in the colts and geldings and fellow heat winner Cruisin Around will start from barrier eight, while Sky Majesty will start from barrier 12 in the fillies, opening the door further for her rivals. The three-year-old fillies semi-final promises to be an evenly fought and engaging final, with several winning hopes. Among them is Princess Phoenix, a $1.80 favourite in the second heat at Bendigo last Wednesday, who led but was beaten into third by winner Into The Unknown, from Donna Lewis’ Toolern Vale stable, and Geoff Webster’s Rift Valley. The first heat was all about Sky Majesty (Skyvalley/Mystic Hush). Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan was rapt with her filly’s heat win, which she said was one of her “best runs to date”. The 12m victory came after she found the front and careered away, and Sky Majesty should be right in the final despite the tough draw. “I was very happy with her heat,” Quinlan said. “She’s a good chance. There’s not a lot of difference between the horses in the grade, it is pretty even. “(Sky Majesty) can sit and sprint. She is not a class above them, but I think they have all come back to each other.” The three-year-old colts and geldings final also promises much, not the least of which is another showdown between Cruisin Around (Bacardi Lindy/Cloud Chaser) and Sundons Courage. Both won their heats, with Sundons Courage (Sundon/Truscott Photo) a 1.6m winner for Muckleford trainer Chris Angove and Bolinda driver Chris Alford, with Brent Lilley’s $34-shot Kyvalley Tinman running into second. Cruisin Around’s win was even tighter. Driven to one-out one-back by Myrniong’s Greg Sugars, Cruisin Around lost touch with front runners Calder Knight and Big Jack Hammer at the final bend but wound up sufficiently in the straight to win by a short half-head. Bannockburn trainer-driver Geoff Webster’s three-year-old Big Jack Hammer (The Press/Running Pinevale) punched on for second in the breeze and will be a threat come next Friday’s final, says Cranbourne’s Michael Hughes, trainer of Cruisin Around. “There are three or four really good horses,” Hughes said. “(Cruisin Around) has always had a ding-dong battle with Sundons Courage. Big Jack Hammer looked back on song, and a few others are also a chance. It will all come down to who has the best luck.” Hughes’ confidence about his own charge’s horse were only emboldened with Cruisin Around’s heat win. “I think he went pretty good. I was a little worried when he lost ground at the top of the straight, but he did a good job to pick them up in such a quick quarter,” Hughes said. “I give him a really good chance as long as he does everything right. The horse is really good, feels really good, there are no issues. He is a good sit-sprinter, but has also done it the tough way and led before.”   Barrier draws: Three-year-old colts and geldings trotters 1: Kyvalley Tinman 2: Skyflyer 3: Big Jack Hammer 4: Calder Knight 5: Sundons Courage 6: Cargerie 7: Sun Valley Road 8: Cruisin Around 9: Diamond Wes (emg) 10: Sky Me A River 11: Menewa 12: Shetland  13: Imahe Man (ODM)   Barrier draws: Three-year-old fillies trotters 1: Aldebaran Eve 2: Never Never Land (emg) 3: Princess Phoenix 4: Mizurri 5: Defence Power 6: Into The Unknown 7: The Cooler 8: Tension Seeker 9: Getthenet 10: Illawong Bliss 11: Rift Valley 12: Sky Majesty 13: Scottish Sardius (ODM) Michael Howard/Cody Winnell

For Terang harness racing trainer Matthew Craven the win of his mare Aldebaran Deebee in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series four-year-old mares’ heat at Maryborough on Thursday was a celebration for two reasons. One, she won. Two, good mate and stable employee Chris Svanosio returned to the winners’ list after a recent health battle. “It was terrific to see Chris win aboard the horse owned by Peter, his father,” Craven said. “Chris is a huge asset to my stable. He’s first there in the morning and last to leave. He’s a terrific worker.” Aldebaran Deebee (Skyvalley/Dirty Harriet) rated 2:02.2 to defeat Kimmywho by 3.9m, with Hush Your Majesty third. The Ararat Trotting Cup winner from earlier this year drew gate five for next Friday night’s Final, while talented Endsino from the Andy Gath yard grabbed the pole draw. “We’ve had a few little setbacks,” Craven said of Aldebaran Deebee’s recent patchy form. “But I think we’re on top of that now and she’ll benefit a lot from the run (at Maryborough). “The trouble with her is … any little setback really hits her hard and prevents us from working her how she needs to be worked.” The four-year-old mares’ trot Vicbred final shapes as one of the races of the night next Friday, with another heat winner Val Gardena (Kadabra/Lets Be Happy) drawing barrier three, and Sky Petite, who defeated Endsino in their heat, drawn eight – inside the second row. Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Trotting Mares Final Draw 1: Endsino 2: Kimmywho 3: Val Gardena 4: Zaire Diva 5: Aldebaran Deebee 6: Vari Perfect (EM) 7: Ruby Pinevale 8: Sky Petite 9: Sashas Dream 10: Desert Flyer 11: Knocked Off Early 12: Hush Your Majesty (ODM) 13: Donski (ODM) Cody Winnell

Seventy six lots will be on offer at the Alabar Blue Ribbon Sale on Sunday April 24th and there promises to be a horse for every budget. Wrappers Delight has stamped himself as one of Australia’s best two year olds with two victories in as many starts to date including his last start win in a heat of the APG 2yo C&G Series. You will be able to purchase his mother, Charlotte Church, in foal to leading sire Mach Three at the sale. Another of the highlights will be Golden Showgirl 1:55.9 in foal to Art Major. The resultant foal will be a full sibling to the Group One winner Smooth Showgirl 1:52.3 - $210,149. Bruce Edward will be selling six lots including mares by Somebeachsomewhere, Rocknroll Hanover Art Major, Holmes Hanover and Badlands Hanover. Three of his mares will be sold with foals at foot. Jim Connolly will be selling three mares by the leading sires Pine Chip and Skyvalley. Included among these is a half sister to Australian Two and Three Year Old Trotter of the Year Kyvalley Road. Jack Munnerly has one entry and she is a half sister to the Group One winner Secret Desire and in foal to new season sire Heston Blue Chip. There will also be 20 weanlings on offer and these are by such stallions as Art Major, Mach Three, Shadow Play, ,Auckland Reactor Betterthancheddar as well as the first crop stallions Alta Christiano and Caribbean Blaster. This is a sale not to be missed. The sale will be held at Alabar Farm and begins at 1pm. The catalogue can be viewed online (http://bit.ly/1VhBLvg) or please contact us for a hard copy – (03) 5859 2201 or brett@alabar.com.au.  

As this weekends Australasian Breeders Crown finals loom large, here at Harnesslink we thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each of the finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. First up is the $84,000 two year old trotting fillies final 1) High Gait  (Muscles Yankee)     Starts 8   -   Wins 7   -   Seconds 1   -   Thirds 0     Stakes  $100,631   High Gait has had an outstanding season winning seven from eight and being beaten a nose in her other start. Beat the boys on Redwood day and from this draw with her gait speed it is hard to see her beaten.  Great manners just add to the impression that she is nigh on unbeatable from barrier 1 2) The Cooler  (Majestic Son)   Starts 4   -   Wins 0   -   Seconds 0   -   Thirds 3   -   Stakemoney $8,200 The Cooler is yet to go a bad race in her brief four start career with three thirds and a fourth. Hard to see her troubling two or three here on class but does things right which is a big plus in two year old trots. Throw in for trifectas and first fours 3) Smile Smile Smile  (Angus Hall)   -   Starts 3  -  Wins 2  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $7493 Promising filly with a good draw but needed to draw inside High Gait to be a chance to beat her. Still on the up and looks a major player her. Must include for trifecta and first four takers. 4) A Nip Will Do (Bacardi Lindy)  Starts 14  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 3  -  Stakes $7,178 Thereabouts in a lot of her starts this season but it is hard to see her playing a major part here. Several runners appear to have the wood on her in this race going on past performances. Not for us. 5) Jay Bee Flex (Federal Flex)  Starts 6  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 2  -  Stakes $4363 Last run at Maryborough was her best run this season, finishing a close up third to Smile Smile Smile. However the depth of this field is far stronger and the draw doesn't help either. Not for us. 6) Liava (Bacardi Lindy)  Starts 4  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $1403 Has failed to really impress in her four starts todate. Hard to see on exposed form how she is a player here. Not for us 7) Parisian Chic (Love You)  Starts 6  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $18,658 A real winning chance if she had just drawn well instead of the outside of the front line. Really nice second two starts back to Missandei and has won three of her last four. Major player here but more a trifecta and first four chance due to the draw                                                                                                                         SECOND LINE 8) Missandei (Angus Hall)  Starts 7  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $76,530 The obvious danger to High Gait  having drawn on her back and seems to have improved even further since her Harness Jewels win. Only filly in this field to have beaten High Gait but her fortunes may depend on how much mid race pressure the favourite is put under. Can win this but does need a few things to go her way. Clear second pick. 9) Cobbler Creek (Great Success)  Starts 9  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $6438 Has won a race this season which is more than some here. Just appears to be be a length or two off the good ones in this race Not for us. 10) Sky Majesty (Skyvalley)  Starts 8  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 1  -  Stakes $12,540 Has really come solid in her last four starts and has definitely improved lately. Needed a good front line draw to help her chances so from three second line she faces a real challenge. First four player at best for us from the draw. 11) Fear Not (Skyvalley)  Starts 12  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $2935  ( Emerg 1) The emergency for the race and on disclosed form would appear to be out of her depth. Not for us 12) Social Fireball (Courage Under Fire)  Starts 7  -  Wins 1  -  Seconds 4  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $18,676 Pacing bred filly that has developed into a lovely trotter. Hard to fault her last five runs with her second in the $60,000 Vicbred Trot in smart time over the distance of 2240 metres a good pointer. Appeals to us as a trifecta and first four player even from the draw. 13) Mizurri (Skyvalley)   Starts 3  -  Wins 0  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 0  -  Stakes $1,038 Very inexperienced filly and this looks a huge jump in class to us. Throw in the draw and it looks like mission impossible. Not for us. SELECTIONS High Gait from the draw looks very hard to beat. Should lead and should win Missandei is the clear second pick and if High Gait is eyeballed in front during the race, she is a chance to upset the favourite up the passing lane. For trifecta and first four takers, throw in The Cooler, Smile Smile Smile, Parisian Chic and Social Fireball. Harnesslink Media

Last Sunday’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale at Tabcorp Park Melton saw a 20 per cent spike in registered bidders. While the overall average price was down on previous years, $12,941 compared to $16,359 last year, APTS promoters said this was in partly due to only 40 lots passing through the ring. “We would expect that number to jump around a bit with only 40 lots going through,” Harness Racing Victoria’s Vaughn Lynch said. “We would have liked a higher average, but we understand there are several factors behind it dropping. “There was less competition than usual at the bottom end of the sale, meaning there were bargains for the astute buyer.” Lynch stated it was great to see more bidders than usual with “strong competition at the top end of the sale seeing several potential buyers going home disappointed”. The sale topper was a striking bay colt by Angus Hall out of unraced Muscles Yankee mare Bromac Aldebaran, which sold for $38,000. “He’s got good confirmation and a good pedigree,” said Richard Matthews, who made the successful bid. “I’ve had a bit more luck with the trotters over the years for whatever reason. I bought a broodmare from New Zealand, Invasions Pride. She didn’t race a long time but she threw a trotter called Let Me Thru, who ran second in an Inter Dominion when he was only a five-year-old. “The mare’s progeny have produced about $740,000 worth of stake winnings.” The second-highest priced purchase was Lot 15, a bay colt by the sire of the fastest two-year-old in history Muscle Hill, from Calder Fury, which went for $37,000. A sister to exciting mare Barefoot Sally (an impressive winner at Melton on Saturday night) went for $22,000, the filly by Bacardi Lindy – sire of Claudys Princess – out of Strapon. Scott’s Creek horseman Anthony O’Connor purchased two yearlings at the sale, Lot 20 a filly by Skyvalley from Maori Road for $5000 and Lot 31 Aldebaran Doc, a colt by Skyvalley from Aldebaran Deegan for $4000. “You can’t breed them for that price,” O’Connor said. “It’s worth rolling the dice at that price. “My son Nicholas and I wanted a trotter and we were looking for a filly, so to get into a good family of trotters is great. “The other one, I had a few mates who wanted to race one, so we’ll probably go quarter shares.” The APTS finished off a big weekend of Victorian trotting, which saw New Zealand star Stent win the $300,000 Group One Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star on Saturday night. “This is the third year for the Australasian Premier Trotting Sale and we’re looking forward to being able to build on it further in coming years,” Lynch said. 2015 AUSTRALASIAN PREMIER TROTTING SALE RESULTS Lot 1: Colt by Lawman out of Speedy Naomi – Withdrawn Lot 2: Filly by Eilean Donon out of Kyvalley Bling – $9000 to Chris Lang Jr Lot 3: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Arnikas Pride – Passed In Lot 4: Colt by Angus Hall out of Bromac Aldebaran - $38,000 to Gatto Pty Ltd Lot 5: Filly by Skyvalley out of Countessa Hest – $7000 to Glenn Conroy Lot 6: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Catchya Kasey – Passed In Lot 7: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Cruzenthepacific - $6000 to Terence Howard Lot 8: Colt by Angus Hall out of Maoris Dream - $30,000 to Ian Hunter Lot 9: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Stand On Me - $10,000 to Maree Caldow Lot 10: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Spring Fly – Passed In Lot 11: Filly by Skyvalley out of Sundons Babe – $7000 to Greg Scott Lot 12: Colt by Angus Hall out of Poignant – $30,000 to Maree Caldow Lot 13: Filly by Skyvalley out of Maori Lindy – $4000 to Glenn Conroy Lot 14: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Maori Moments – $5000 to Joe Pace Lot 15: Colt by Muscle Hill out of Calder Fury – $37,000 to Jim Connelly’s KPC Racing Lot 16: Filly by Angus Hall out of Aldebaran Maori – $18,000 to Blundell Family Trust Lot 17: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Maori Missile – Withdrawn Lot 18: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Docmelfi – $10,000 to Jayne Davies Lot 19: Colt by Metropolitan out of Countess Angela – $5000 to Greg and Denise Muir Lot 20: Filly by Skyvalley out of Maori Road – $5000 to Anthony O’Connor Lot 21: Colt by Kyvalley Blur out of Kyvalley Kitty – Passed In Lot 22: Colt by Muscle Mass out of Queens Rhapsody – $10,000 to Brent Lilley Lot 23: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Honey – $4000 to Russell Commens Lot 24: Colt by Muscle Mass out of Icantremember – Withdrawn Lot 25: Colt by Sundon out of La Tonneralla – $15,000 to Paddy Lee Lot 26: Colt by Muscles Yankee out of Elusive Charm – $32,000 to Don Smith Lot 27: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaranfavourite – $9000 to Brent Lilley Lot 28: Filly by Angus Hall out of Flaming Action – $9000 to B Cabria Lot 29: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of A Poem Kept – $11,000 to John Murdoch Lot 30: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Modern Maori – Withdrawn Lot 31: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Deegan – $4000 to Anthony O’Connor Lot 32: Filly by Yankee Spider out of Positive Logic – $8000 to Michael Scandolera Lot 33: Filly by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Chloe – Withdrawn Lot 34: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Charlotte Galleon – $7000 to Steven Hall Lot 35: Filly by Bacardi Lindy out of Strapon – $22,000 to WJ and MD Cameron Lot 36: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Breeze – $22,000 to David Scott Lot 37: Colt by Armbro Variable out of Gladys Emanuel – $8500 to Mario Azzopardi Lot 38: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Revenue – $5000 to Blake Fitzpatrick Lot 39: Colt by Armbro Invasion out of Im Mumbo Jumbo – Passed In Lot 40: Colt by Pegasus Spur out of Lets Be Happy – $25,000 to Michael Taranto Lot 41: Colt by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Hall – Withdrawn Lot 42: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of All Finesse – Passed In Lot 43: Colt by Tennotrump out of Mystic Jewel – $9000 to Tubbs/Sugars Lot 44: Colt by Bacardi Lindy out of Seek And Destroy – $6500 to S Hayes Lot 45: Filly by Skyvalley out of Aldebaran Sunset – $8000 to Chris Lang Jr Lot 46: Colt by Fling It out of Keyfield – $4000 to Olivia Berg By Cody Winnell 

Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has joined Patumahoe’s Geoff Small as NZ’s most successful trainers of Group One Breeders Crown Final winners after Katy Perry’s hard fought success in last Sunday’s $A297,000 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton. Both have achieved five Breeders Crown Final successes in the specialised two-four age group categories, just one ahead of NZ’s premier trainer Mark Purdon. Cran Dalgety’s growing list of ABC Grand Final winners is: Sparks A Flyin (2001 3YO fillies), Smiling Shard (2009 2YO colts/geldings), Bit Of A Legend (2012-13 3YO colts/geldings) and Katy Perry (2014 2YO fillies). Former world champion driver Mark Jones partnered Sparks A Flyin. Current NZ champion Dexter Dunn has driven the stable runners since 2009. The Kentuckiana Lodge mentor is challenging as NZ’s most successful trainer at the Breeders Crown, taking into account his additional three Grand Final seconds _ Smiling Shard (2010 3YO colts/geldings), Onlyforyou (2012 2YO fillies) and Bit Of A Legend (2014 4YO entires/geldings). Northern-based, but Canterbury-raised Geoff Small, set the early pace among the Kiwis. Small’s ABC Pacing Grand Final winners are: Pullover Brown (2003 3YO Fillies), Changeover (2007 3YO Colts/geldings), Tintin In America (2009 3YO Colts/geldings), De Lovely (2010 3YO Fillies) and Cowgirls N Indians (2011 2YO Fillies). He also has a Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA (open class race) to his credit, with All Tiger in 2009. Recuperating Cambridge driver David Butcher has partnered all but one of Small’s ABC winners. Templeton driver Anthony Butt partnered Pullover Brown for her ABC win after also driving her to win the NZ Oaks that season.  Anthony Butt, a close second driving Joanne’s A Delight in last Sunday’s 2YO Fillies Final, also won the 1998 ABC 3YO Fillies Final driving Under Cover Lover, Mark Purdon, who gained early ABC Final training successes with Galleons Assassin (2005 2YO trot) and Fly Like An Eagle (2012 3YO colts/geldings), doubled his quota when (My) Ayra (2YO fillies trot) and Follow The Stars (2YO colts/geldings) delivered last Sunday. His additional driving win with (Our) Twentyten (who he formerly trained) in the 3YO trot final on Sunday, makes him jointly NZ’s top driver in the 2-4YO age group catergories, with David Butcher, who besides the Small-trained winners, also reined Miami H to win the 2010 3YO trot final for trainers Derek Balle and Owen Gillies. Victorian trotting training master Chris Lang is the most successful Breeders Crown trainer with seven wins. His successes, all in ABC trot finals, are: Kyvalley Road (2002-03 2 & 3YO trot), Right Interest (2006 3YO trot), Skyvalley (2008-09 3 & 4YO trot) and Let Me Thru (2009-10 3 & 4YO trot). Lang has also added three Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA wins, a race for open class trotters, with former champ, Sundons Gift (2007-08 & 2010). Lang’s brother, champion Victorian reinsman Gavin, although winless at the Breeders Crown this year, remains the most successful driver in Breeders Crown Finals, with 10 successes. Courtsey Of Cran Dalgety Racing

Champion trainer Chris Lang has announced he will retire from harness racing once his property is sold at auction on October 17. The leading trainer, a pioneer in in the Australian trotting industry, has made the decision to concentrate on his health as he battles Raynaud's Disease, which is a rare disorder of the blood vessels affecting his hands. Lang, 54, told Harness Racing Victoria media this morning he was shattered to have to step away from the sport, but said he was making the tough call for the betterment of his long-term health. “Basically it’s a decision that was forced upon me,” Lang said. “I’ve had a few minor health issues over the last few years, with pneumonia and a lung infection, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and basically I have little ongoing issues that are minor now but because of the lifestyle I lead can lead to far more major issues later on. “I have Raynaud’s Disease, which affects the circulation in my hand, especially during the winters. “At the present time it’s very minor but it has the potential to develop into a far more life-changing condition if I don’t go and try to get it fixed now.” While shattered to have to make the call, Lang said he was determined to pull the pin while he still had some say in the matter and said he won’t rule out returning to training in future. “I’m going to make the decision while it’s still my decision to a degree rather than wait until I’ve got no other option,” he said. “This is possibly just a hiatus for me rather than a retirement. “If I’m able to go away now and get this sorted out then who knows what will happen in the future?” Lang has informed his owners of his decision and stressed it was “business as usual” until his property in Nagambie is sold at auction. Lang, who has developed his property from bare land to a state-of-the-art harness racing training mecca, said he was disappointed to be selling the venue. “When we shifted there about 21 odd years ago it was a bare paddock and to build it into something that Sharon and I are so immensely proud of, I always envisaged being carried out of there in a wooden box to be honest. “We’ve always said though that we want to do the right thing and we feel this is the right thing as hard as it is.” Lang has been an indomitable force in Australian trotting circles for many years. He won the 2009 and 2010 Inter Dominion finals with the glorious squaregaiter Sundons Gift and consequently earned an invitation to the Elitlopp in Sweden. “That was an amazing achievement, really,” Lang said. “Going over there (to Sweden) was in my opinion the greatest experience because it was life-changing. “We brought a whole lot of knowledge back with us from that trip.” Lang, whose other stable champions have included Kyvalley Road, Skyvalley, Let Me Thru, National Interest, Jauriol and Lester Scot, said he remembers attending the Shepparton trials with his trotters and being the only trainer there with squaregaiters. “Now 40 to 50 per cent of horses at those trials are trotters,” he said. “It’s actually amazed me how far trotting has come since then in Australia. I’d like to say I sat back and could see it happening, but that wouldn’t be true. It really has amazed me.” Lang will continue training and driving horses until his property has been sold and said he would likely remain in the sport as an owner afterwards, but he was yet to make a decision on that. He said it would be up to his individual owners to decide how they wanted to handle the transition. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

Harness racing prominent breeder-owner Pat Driscoll knocked down the three top-priced lots at the second Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 23. Driscoll, who trades as Yabby Dam Farms, pocketed a cool $119,000 for his three-strong draft including the sale topping colt at $41,000, a son of USA superstar Muscle Hill out of the Malabar Maple mare Calder Luck, a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Calder Sensation, Calder Image and Bella Cheval. The handsome youngster was bought for a syndicate by John and Maree Caldow, who developed and trained Calder Sensation, a winner of 16 races and $142,762. An Angus Hall colt out of Maori’s Dream, the grand-dam of the top priced lot, realised the second highest price of $40,000. He was knocked down to Romsey trainer Chris Alford on behalf of stable clients Phil Walshe and Craig Nott. While another of the Muscle Hill progeny, a colt from the USA bred Let’s Be Happy, the dam of Bathurst Gold Coronet winner Verbier, was garnered by Christchurch trainer Tim Butt for $38,000. Two Angus Hall youngsters, one out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step (1:57.4) and the other from the useful Sundon mare Pinevale Ellason, realised $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. Majestic Son, a leading sire of juvenile trotters, had three head sell including a gelding out of the R C’s Dee Jay mare Howdoudo, the dam of Vicbred champion Split Image, which was haltered by Chris Lang Jnr for $30,000. Two Majestic Son colts out of strong New Zealand-bred mares from Harness Breeders Vic committeeman Gerard Moloney’s draft sold for $22,000 and $20,000. Former local champion Skyvalley was the sire of the highest priced filly Aldebaran Eve, out of the Victoria Oaks winner Aldebaran Dream, consigned by Aldebaran Park and sold for $18,000, while a Skyvalley colt from the 2YO and 3YO Trotter of the Year Jauriol realised $20,000. Running Pinevale, also a Victoria Oaks champion, was represented by her second foal, a colt by NZ-based import The Pres, who was knocked down for $22,000. Of the 36 lots offered, 31 were sold for an average price of $16,359, up almost 25 percent on last year. by Peter Wharton

Group 1 winning mare Quite A Moment ended a frustrating run of minor placings to post a near record victory at Lord's Raceway last night. The daughter Quite Easy had posted four seconds and two third placings this season from six starts before last night's win. "Finally," driver Greg Sugars said as he returned to get the all clear from Steward Barry Delaney. Trained by Greg's father Ross, Quite A Moment has won almost $140,000 winning 8 races from 33 race starts including the Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown 3yo Trot Group 1 final at Melton last August. In the Skyvalley Trot (2150m) at Bendigo, Sugars had Quite A Moment in cruise control striding along in front to dominate the race from start to finish. The mare strolled to the line posting a 2.00.3 mile rate, just outside Skyvalley's 2008 record of 1.59. In the Harness Breeders Victoria Trot (1650m) favourite Secret Kiss. trained and driven by Paul Males just held on to beat Queens Vacation (Glenn Douglas). The Armbro Invasion mare won by a neck in a 2.00.8 mile rate. Majestic Son filly Majestic Grace was far to good for its opposition in the Aldebaran Yankee 3yo Trot (1650m). The Mick Blackmore trained trotter won by 7 metres in a 1.59.7 rate and was driven by Chris Alford. Bendigo’s next race meeting on Saturday 8 March 2014 features the Gold and Silver heats of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Series. With the winner’s progressing to the Breed for Speed Finals at Tabcorp Park’s Great Southern Star race meeting on 22 March 2014. By David Alfred (Harness Racing Australia)

The second annual Australasian Premier Trotting Sale, sponsored by Pryde’s EasiFeed, will be held on Sunday, March 23 at Tabcorp Park Melton, the day following the running of the Group 1 $400,000 Great Southern Star. The sale has attracted 44 nominations – up from 40 last year – and will feature the cream of the crop of Australia's trotting yearlings. And, to give the sale a truly international flavour, 40 percent of the catalogue are out of overseas mares – three USA, 14 NZ and one Europe. Duncan McPherson, a Director of the sales company, said: “The sale represents an opportunity for purchasers to buy at any level of the market. With 18 stallions represented there’s a horse in the sale for every pocket. Never before in Australia has such an offering and variety of yearlings been made available to the Harness industry. “Full credit goes to the vendors of the yearlings who have shown great faith not only in the sale but also in the initiatives taken by Harness Racing Victoria in its efforts to internationalise and globalise the Trotter.” A feature of the sale will be the first Australian crop of former USA superstar and now siring sensation Muscle Hill. He will be represented by two colts, one out of a half-sister to Calder Sensation and to the dam of Blitzthemcalder, and the other from the American-bred Let’s Be Happy, the mother of Vicbred heat winner Verbier. Muscles Yankee, the sire of Muscle Hill, has a single entry, a filly out of the multiple Group 1 winner Adella’s Dash, dam of the SA Trotters Derby winner Glenferrie Dreamer. Muscles Yankee’s highest stakes earning entire son ‘Down Under’, Skyvalley ($322,675), has by far the biggest draft with seven fillies and two colts. The top picks could be the colt out of former top racemare Jauriol, the colt from the sister to Swedish star Yield Boko and fillies out of Aldebaran Dream (Vic. Trotters Oaks) and the Muscles Yankee mare Charming Yankee. Besides Muscles Yankee and his sons, the catalogue boasts stock by established sires such as Angus Hall, Majestic Son, Pegasus Spur, Monarchy and Conch Deville and the exciting newcomers Bacardi Lindy, Federal Flex, Great Success, Lawman, Armbro Variable, The Pres, Bad Boy Truscott, Tennotrump, Aldebaran Yankee and Zooma. Angus Hall, one of America’s most successful sires of all-time, has four nominations including a gelding from the 1:57 $150,000 winning Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step, two colts out of mares from the wonderful Maori Miss tribe and a colt from the classics-winning Pinevale Ellason. Another sire with a strong representation at the sale is Majestic Son, last year’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters. His five entries include a half-brother to the Vicbred champion Split Image, a colt out of a half-sister to Skyvalley and Allegro Agitato, a half-brother to the Derby placegetter Our Dreamlover and a filly out of a half-sister to the cup class trotter Danny Cash. While Pegasus Spur, the sire of three Breeders Crown champions, has fillies out of Shez Allrighty ($85,431), Kyvalley Bling (family of Kyvalley Road) and the Muscles Yankee mare Aldebaran Honey and a colt out of Maori Sunshine (Lightfoot Laurels). Other well performed racemares with progeny in the sale include the Trotters Oaks winner Running Pinevale, Speedy Naomi ($77,316), Aldebaran Maori ($74,581), Cloud Chaser (VSTA Cup), Poppy, Strike Destroyer, Enjoy A Champers and the Breeders Crown placegetter Pocket Fantasy. There’s a sister to the dual Vicbred champion Brunelleschi and close relatives to a swag of Group and Cup winning trotters including Galleon’s Assassin, Merinai, Spidergirl, Danny Bouchea, Stoned I Am, National Interest, My Missindependent, Jazz Legend and Tucumcari. All prospective purchasers should note that the $7,000 Vicbred First Win bonus is applicable to Vicbred eligible horses as is Breeders Crown and Need For Speed Series. All purchasers are encouraged to become members of the Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club as owners bonuses are available to all those horses owned by members in selected events during their racing careers. The online catalogue for the Australasian Premier Trotting sale can be viewed at www.austrottingsale.com.au Hard-copy catalogues can be requested from Harness Racing Victoria on phone 8378 0200 in early February. by Peter Wharton

Weanlings by the well credentialled sires Shadow Play, Art Official, Major In Art, Grinfromeartoear, Tell All and Skyvalley will go up for auction at the Alabar Blue Ribbon Yearling and Broodmare Sale to be conducted by Davidson Cameron & Co Dubbo Pty Ltd on Sunday, October 6 at Alabar Bloodstock, Echuca. A total of 27 yearlings have been nominated including four by both Major In Art and Santanna Blue Chip and two by Shadow Play and Art Official. The offering includes a half-brother by Grinfromeartoear to the Spring Championship winner Crimson Knight, a Santanna Blue Chip grandson of Majestic Tess (Breeders Plate), a Kenneth J half-brother to the Inter Dominion heat winner Faking It, an Allamerican Ingot colt out of a half-sister to Wally Walton, a Safari filly out of the Bathurst Gold Tiara winner Donna Lombo, Shadow Play and Major In Art fillies both closely related to Rocknrolla. There’s yearling colts and fillies from the families of ‘black type’ performers Alta Christiano, Saint Flash, Hilarious Guest, Her Sparky Self, Gotanedge, Six Oclock Rock and Newsbreaker. The sale also features broodmares in-foal to leading sires such as Art Major, Mach Three, Rock N Roll Heaven, Armbro Operative, Live Or Die, Shadow Play, Mr Feelgood, Sportswriter, Village Jasper, Roll With Joe, Mister Big and Grinfromeartoear. The online catalogue for the Alabar Blue Ribbon sale can be viewed at www.graemeboard.com Hard-copy catalogues can be requested from Peter Dow on 0412 195 986 or the office on (02) 6884 8355 or email gboard@dcco.com.au by Peter Wharton

Squaregaiting has come of age in Victoria; a fact beautifully illustrated by the second annual Aldebaran Park Girls On Fire Time Trial Series, which kicks off this Sunday at Lords Raceway, Bendigo. The initial harness racing series was considered a success however the focus will intensify this year with two Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star qualified mares contesting the series.

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