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Classy gelding Emain Macha, who overcame a life-threatening illness earlier in his career, continued his stellar Victorian country cups harness racing campaign by taking out the Stawell Cup on Sunday. The six-year-old, known around the stables as Fritz, was having only his fifth start for the season, but has now claimed two country cups this stint- having won the St Arnaud Cup on November 10. Emain Macha (Safari-Machabella (Mach Three) is trained by astute horseman Greg Scholefield, who a few years ago decided to concentrate on preparing his small team on a full-time basis. A builder by trade, Scholefield is based at Naracoorte, a small sheep, cattle and wheat farming town in south-east South Australia near the State border with Victoria. Emain Macha took an early lead in the Group Three $45,000 feature for in-form junior reinsman James Herbertson, of Ballarat, and narrowly got the money over short-priced race favorite Code Black (Greg Sugars). "He felt terrific in the run and Greg certainly had him cherry ripe for the assignment," Herbertson said. "When I put the foot down with 600 metres to go, the horse really hit top gear," he said. "He knocked off a bit over the final stages, but I wasn't concerned because he always does that." It's been an admirable training achievement by Scholefield to return Emain Macha to prime health and fitness. After winning the $20,000 Guineas at Mildura on April 8, 2017, in what was his 14th career victory from just 18 starts, Emain Macha contracted a virus, which put him on the sidelines for almost a year. Aside from the effects of the virus, the horse later came down with bronchitis, his weight dropped away, he developed foot swelling and there were fears for his life. Trainer and part-owner Scholefield sought the advice of local vet Tony Tully who put "Fritz" on a course of treatment and a long and arduous road to recovery began. Emain Macha resumed racing in late February the following year, winning at a Mt Gambier meeting first up. The pacer, owned by Scholefield, Gail Davis, Peter Lamond, and father-and-son John and Sean Penny, now has a total of 29 wins and 13 placings from his 50 starts, amassing $258,000 in stakes. At Stawell, Herbertson certainly didn't dawdle over the mini marathon Cup distance of 2600m with early splits of 31.4 and 29.9. He later cranked up the tempo with a strong last half of 56 secs (28.8 and 27.2) to hold off Code Black, a recent winner of the Yarra Valley Pacing Cup. "We decided before the event to go for the lead because he bowls along nicely out in front. He's a lovely horse and he's been good to me because in my three drives on him he's had two wins and a second," he said. Watch the race replay here: Herbertson last season topped the ton (102 wins) for the first time in his short career, and is off to a flying start this season, with 37 wins and 75 places, racking up an impressive 43% strike rate. He also got the chocolates at Stawell with Seemepearlywhites (Grinfromeartoear-Numismatic (Elsu). "She is a handy mare and she gives her best. The Platinum Sprint heat was a good race to win and they picked up a Vicbred bonus as well," Herbertson said. Seemepearlywhites is trained by popular Maryborough track curator-trainer Tim Mortlock. Mortlock trains only two horses but comes from a good pedigree with his late father Rob and legendary grandfather Jack Hargreaves both successful horsemen.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Sweeping a Trots Country Cups Championship night was so night Kate Gath would love to do it twice, with the leading reinswoman to steer a talented duo in Sunday's Stawell pacing and trotting cups. Having guided Phoenix Prince to Saturday night's Geelong Pacing Cup and War Spirit to the trotting equivalent, both in track record time, Gath joined Trots Talk this week ahead this Sunday's Stawell features. "(Winning country cups is) what it's all about and it's good reward for the hard work - definitely makes it worthwhile," Gath said. "(Phoenix Prince) was pretty impressive the way he hit the line. He was jogging the whole way and felt like he was doing it pretty easily, even though they were running. "He felt like he'd get up the straight pretty good if I got a decent run at them somewhere and we were lucky enough to get that and full credit to him. He was still good enough to get the job done against pretty quality horses." Phoenix Prince beat Code Black, leader in the $35,000 Trots Country Cups Championship, into second at Geelong and the Emma Stewart trained pair will go head to head on Sunday in the Talquist Tree Stawell Pacing Cup. "It's a little bit harder on the smaller, tighter tracks off the second row to make up the ground, but it's not a full field and with a little bit of luck he won't be too far away at the finish," Gath said. She will also steer Chief Runningcloud in the Grampians Excavations Stawell Trotters Cup, with the lightly-raced five-year-old to come off 10 metres along side Jerichos Trumpet. "He trialled quite well (at Melton) on Monday night," Gath said. "He's pretty good from the stand. It doesn't have a whole lot of depth in it, obviously Kyvalley Finn's the one to beat, but providing he handles the track hopefully he won't be too far away." CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL EDITION OF TROTS TALK:     HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard  

Some of the most famous colours in Australian trotting will come out of the closet when Pink Galahs contests tomorrow's The Maori Legend at Stawell. Trainer-driver Matt Craven will don the green and gold worn by champion Maori's Idol - the horse the race is named after - when he chases glory in the $14,000 feature. Pink Galahs' co-owner Caleb Lewis is married to Laura (nee Healy), who is the daughter of Bryan and granddaughter of Ric. The Healy family bred Maori Miss, the mare who instigated arguably Australia's most famous trotting breeding line which includes the famed Maori's Idol but also Maori Mia, the great-great granddam of Pink Galahs. Lewis said Craven will wear the actual jacket carried by Sumthingaboutmaori throughout her triple Group 1-winning career. Sumthingaboutmaori, another descendant of Maori Miss, won 31 of 75 starts including races at the elite level in 2003 and 2004. "I was with the father-in-law (Bryan) the other day and he asked me if the two-year-old was running in the race. And then he said 'it would be good if you wore the colours'," Lewis recalled. "He gave me the Maori's Idol colours to wear. I have got the original ones but they might blow apart in the wind. These are actually Sumthingaboutmaori's colours." Lewis said it would be a "massive thrill" to win the race that meant so much to the family. "Just for the breeding and trotting industry - the Maori breed has done so much for it," he said. Pink Galahs looks one of the main players in Thursday's feature, having won a heat of the Alderbaran Park Vicbred Super Series (two-year-old fillies) before running third in the Group 1 final behind Jaxnme. Lewis said the daughter of Skyvalley was in good order ahead of Thursday's assignment. "She made a mistake in the (Vicbred) final just after the start, happened to get herself back down and made up a massive amount of ground to run third," he said. "She just needs to get a bit of luck. She's drawn inside the second row. If she gets a bit of luck early, well hopefully she can get through a bit of traffic and be thereabouts. "It is two-year-old trotting so you've got to bite your tongue and hope everything goes right." If successful on Thursday, expect one of John Williamson's classics Galleries of pink galahs - the inspiration behind the horse's name - to be playing at Lewis' hotel in Portland. "I'd be happy to play it - no worries," he said. "My grandfather, who got me into trotting, when I was a really young kid we used to go around in his ute and he'd always have John Williamson going on the radio. "Most of my horses are named after songs - that year of two-year-olds I named after John Williamson songs." Pink Galahs is likely to run second favourite behind Peter Manning-trained Dublin Chubb, which has drawn outside her on the second row. Dublin Chubb was second favourite in a heat of the Alderbaran Park Vicbred Super Series (two-year-old colts and geldings), but galloped on numerous occasions and finished last. The Maori Legend is race six on a 10-event card at Stawell and will start at 2.15pm.   Tim O'Connor HRV Trots Media

The sun will resurface on Sunday, the experts say, when Stawell will host its biggest day of harness racing in the wake of the big wet. Stawell Harness Racing Club has been preparing manfully throughout the course of the week amid the threat of 50-100mm of rain forecasted to fall up to Saturday. To make matters a little more challenging for the club, fire threatened on Thursday after nearby lightning strikes earlier today, but was soon brought under control by emergency services. Club CEO Lisa McIlvride said they had sealed the race track on Tuesday and again today to do their utmost to ensure a great day’s racing centred around the trotters and pacing cups. “We’re all prepared and have everything in place,” Ms McIlvride said. “We’ve got extra material and a spreader on standby. We can only do what we can do and hope for the best.” Talented pacers Shadow Sax and Bad Billy are among the Choices Flooring By Westside Stawell Pacing Cup, while My Skypocket will try to shoot clear of the pack in the Maori’s Idol Trophy Points Table in the Ecks Electrical Stawell Trotters Cup. “We have got good bookings for the bistro, kids’ activities and a big shed if it’s wet so all the fun can be had underneath cover,” Ms McIlvride said. “A lot of farmers are getting their crops off as we speak and have been hard at it for a few days now, so hopefully Sunday can help them and be a support.” Michael Howard

More than $15,000 was handed out to community organisations by the Stawell Harness Racing Club at Tuesday night’s community grants presentation.  With the funds generated through the club’s gaming facilities, the grants aim to give back to the community.  Stawell Harness Racing Club chief executive officer Lisa McIlvride said it is very important for the club to contribute to the area. “There aren’t a lot of grants available to clubs nowadays,” she said. “It is very important for us as a club to give back to the community.  “It makes us proud of where we work.” 15 community organisations and individuals were handed grants which will assist them in various ways.  There aren’t a lot of grants available to clubs nowadays. It is very important for us as a club to give back to the community. Lisa McIlvride The club also handed out scholarships to Stawell West, St Patrick’s and Stawell primary schools as well as Stawell Secondary College.  McIlvride said the grants were “well received” on the night. “All the groups were happy with their donations,” she said. “Councillor Karen Hyslop, who was part of the panel who approved the grants, talked about how important the grants are to small organisations.” Since 2002, the Stawell Harness Racing Club has given $814,818 worth in community support, including racing stake money and trophies. The grants were handed out in one of the busiest weeks for the club, which will host the 2017 Stawell Pacing Cup on Sunday.  GRANT RECIPIENTS Stawell West Primary School - Bus passes and scholarship Anglican parish of Stawell - Stained glass windows restoration Stawell Ballet School – Printer and ink Stawell Rifle Club - Gun barrel trophy Stawell pony club - New poles and paint Stawell Golf Bowls Club - Tournament Youth Club Cricket Club - Fridge for club house St Patrick’s Primary School - New PA, fruit program, scholarship Campbell’s bridge progress association – Window repairs Stawell Secondary College - Breakfast program and scholarships Stawell Primary School - Breakfast program and scholarship Stawell Golf Club - Honour board restoration  Connor Clarke – $500 Mavis Stanley – $500 Ag society – Gate for show day By Lachlan Williams Reprinted with permission of The Stawell Times

Stawell Harness Racing Club’s track is in the midst of a $546,446 overhaul, which will see significant upgrades. The club’s camber will be vastly increased and its surface improved courtesy of the funding, 50 per cent of which came from the State Government’s Victorian Racing Industry Fund and the remainder from the club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV). HRV manager of development and infrastructure Rob Pongho said the works would dramatically improve the on-track experience. “The increased camber is another example of the industry optimising track design to improve the welfare and safety on the horses and drivers,” Mr Pongho said. “The new base and cushion will be installed to provide an improved cushioning effect for competing horses and upgraded fending will improve the safety aspects along with the aesthetic enhancement.” The existing camber of about 6 per cent will increase to 12 per cent on the 72m turn past the winning post and to about 14 per cent on the 66m radius home turn. Extensive new fencing works will also be performed as part of the funding. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

It was a bad start for the Stawell Harness Racing Club when on the first bend in the first race a driver was tipped from her sulky and sent to hospital. Jackie Barber lost control of horse Showem Shifty and fell from her sulky. With gravel rash over her body she walked away from the incident, but was sent to hospital as a precaution. The horse Showem Shifty was a late scratching from the race and the race was re-run half an hour later. Club manager Lisa McIllvride said both the horse and the driver were fine following the incident. “As bad as it looked there was nothing major to come from it,” She said. “Jackie has some gravel rash and the horse will be fine.” Showem Shifty was assessed by the on court vet and deemed unfit to race. “The horse dragged its sulky around for a while, but as far as I know there was no injury.” Once the race was officially completed it was race favourite Lemon Shark who was victorious. Dundees Desire took out the Brian Gunnell Memorial race while Peppercorn Dell won the Kaye Mathews Memorial race with starting odds of $23.50.  By Grace Bibby Reprinted with permission of The Stawell Times News    

The Kilmore, Cranbourne and Stawell pacing cup champion, Yankee Rockstar, has been crowned the harness racing Country Cup Championship winner. Trained by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin at Smythes Creek, 15 minutes south-west of Ballarat, Yankee Rockstar’s three cup wins and a third at Shepparton saw the five-year-old amass 13 points in the series and record a two-point win ahead of Kotare Roland. VIDEO: RELIVE YANKEE ROCKSTAR'S SUPER CUPS SUCCESS Stewart said it was a great result for the horse and the stable. “Safari won it when he was around, so it is good to win because it is hard racing in the cup circuit,” Stewart said. “It is really a feather in his cap. Making the feat all the more remarkable was the depths of illness Yankee Rockstar experienced in the lead-up to the season. “He has had a terrific season. He has really come back well from a bad illness, so that just adds to what has been a terrific job.” Yankee Rockstar suffered from an illness that required a throat operation. Then when returning from Sydney after running seventh in the Chariots Of Fire in March 2015, the gelding was struck with travel sickness owing to his throat alteration. “We nearly lost him,” Stewart said. “It was 50-50 and he was at the vets for a two weeks.” Yankee Rockstar bounced back to not only win the three country cups, but to finish fourth in the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. Yankee Rockstar is now spelling “for a month” before he will resume, with Grand Circuit racing front of mind. Final standings: Yankee Rockstar 13 points, Kotare Roland 11, Almost El Eagle 9, Im Corzin Terror 9, Ideal Sucess 8, Keayang Steamer 8, Barimah 7, Lennytheshark 6, Ohoka Punter 6, Five Star Anvil 6.  For full standings click here. Michael Howard

The memory of trotting legend Knight Pistol will live on at Stawell’s Laidlaw Park, following the unveiling of a memorial plaque on Tuesday. The plaque, made by Bruce Hemley out of horseshoes from the Peter Manning stables, was unveiled during Stawell Harness Racing Club’s Australia Day meeting. Known affectionately as Trigger, the memorial plaque recognises Knight’s Pistol’s achievements and his induction into the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame. Knight Pistol’s career was at the crossroads before joining the Manning stables in Great Western. After three ordinary efforts in the double blue silks, he had his act together and in February 1997 the nine year old bay took out the $125,000 Group 1 Australasian Trotters Championship at Moonee Valley. He ended up having 181 career starts for 55 wins. The same year he won the Australasian Trotters Championship, he flew to Norway where he won the Group 1 Harley Davidson Trot. Knight Pistol still holds the record over 3200 metres (2.04.4) which he set at Moonee Valley in 1998. Reprinted with permission of the stawelltimes.com. site

The connections of Narra Operative will be hoping their honest gelding can make it back-to-back Rayners Fruit and Vegetables Stawell Pacing Cup successes on Sunday. Locally owned and trained, Narra Operative hails from the camp of Kerryn Manning in Great Western – less than 15 minutes from Stawell. “He’s a lovely horse. I always like driving him,” the New Zealand Trotting Cup winning trainer/driver said. “First-up he went real good and then second-up at Gunbower he might have been a bit flat maybe. I don’t know if it was because he was backing up so quickly.” Narra Operative has drawn barrier eight in the Group 3 2590-metre stand start race on Sunday, following out stand start debutant Yankee Rockstar, who will start a short-priced favourite. “He’s got a good draw if the one gets away,” Manning said of her charge. “Sometimes barrier one is the toughest draw for one having their first go at the stand.” Manning said the speed needed to be on for Narra Operative to be a winning chance. Stand start specialist Macho Comacho has drawn barrier three and can begin quickly, as can country cups stalwart Arber drawn in four. “He’s not really a sit-and-sprint horse so he needs the speed on, but if there’s a bit of pressure up front and he can get a soft run he’s a rough show. He can surprise them,” Manning said. Yankee Rockstar is trained by Emma Stewart and will be driven by Gavin Lang, the team behind Philadelphia Man in the Perth Inter Dominion series at the moment. From the pole if he steps away the five-year-old is clearly the horse to beat, having won 17 or 23 starts. Almost El Eagle is drawn two and is coming off back-to-back cup wins at St Arnaud and Gunbower. He’s making an early play for country cups horse of the year. Michael Stanley trains Hilltop Hustler, a smart six-year-old who resumes on Sunday and is drawn six for Greg Sugars. Expect a good show from him first-up. Last-start Melton winner Weallwantano has struck form at the right time and is drawn six, while Jivin Cullen is a former Kiwi who has campaigned in Queensland and Sydney but has recently joined the Brad Hunt stable at Great Western. He’s drawn seven. Last year’s country cups king Road To Rock will come out of nine for Haydon Gray, while Master Pip has drawn 10, Nota Lada is the emergency and is No.11, Owen Martin-trained Farmersntradies is racing well and has got barrier 12, while Smudge Bromac from the David Aiken stable – a stablemate of current Inter Dominion favourite Lennytheshark – is the lone runner from the 10-metre tape. The Stawell Times News Stawell Trotters Cup is the other feature race on Sunday. Race one will be at 1.22pm. by Cody Winnell

If you’re ever looking for someone to go fishing, take a long drive or perform any task that requires plenty of patience, call Arthur Lasgis. Based on the first event at Stawell yesterday, Lasgis is certainly a man with a patient nature! Lasgis captured the opening race on the Cup Day card with moderately-performed trotter Mygreekkalesa, which scored at $12.40 on the tote. Not only did the eight-year-old cause an upset, she broke a 38-month, 68-start, drought from the winners’ circle. “It’s been a long time between drinks, but I knew she would win again one day,” Lasgis declared. “It is a really hard game this one to win. “I always felt she would win again, she just needed luck.” Luck certainly came Mygreekkalesa’s way on this occasion. Driven by Greg Sugars, the daughter of Wind Cries Maori began well from her 10-metre handicap to settle two-back along the pegs as Maccas Gone Kracas led and Upandgone worked in the ‘death seat’. Forging his way to the lead leaving the back stretch, Upandgone galloped turning for him, which saw several runners checked as a result. Sugars seized the opportunity to angle Mygreekkalesa away from the pegs, with the mare sprinting to a seven-metre win from Maccas Gone Kracas, with Gavlenn Sunset four-and-a-half metres away third. “She got everything her way this time, but having said that, she trialled well leading up to this and I knew she was at her top,” Lasgis said. “She should’ve won before this as she run several placings in a row, but couldn’t get a win. “I will just keep pressing on with her now and hope she can get another win.” A former Take Away shop owner in Ararat, Lasgis, who part-owns Mygreekkalesa, prepares a couple of standardbreds as a hobby. “My wife Maria and I sold the shop many years ago and now just enjoy our retirement,” Lasgis said. “I like to train a few horses for something to do and keep me active. “We love heading to the races as much as we can.” PAUL COURTS

All roads will lead to Stawell today, which is a pain if you’re trying to drive somewhere else! But, if you’re interested in some great harness racing actions, you’ll be pleased as the club conducts its popular Cup program. Patrons are expected to flock to the complex for the eight-race program, headed by the club’s Pacing Cup, which is part of the TAB.com.au Country Cups Carnival. Secretary Lisa McIlvride stated the club was ready for a great day’s entertainment and racing, with live music between races, stacks of giveaways also on the agenda. Although Stawell, along with the rest of Victoria, has sweltered through a pair of 40-degree plus days, the mercury will dip to 29 degrees this afternoon. “We’re lucky that we’ve been able to get that good day in between,” McIlvride said. “We’re hoping for a big crowd…people really look forward to this day.” The club will give away $500 worth of fuel to a lucky racegoer, a $1000 TAB voucher via the HRV Trot Selfies competition, an iTunes voucher valued at $100 for a junior racegoer as well as other betting vouchers throughout the day. Children are well catered for with face painting, show bags, a jumping castle and the always popular go-karts, while the local Lions Club will run a barbecue. The Michael Stanley-trained Hilltop Hustler is the sole back marker off a 10-metre handicap in the Cup, with stablemate, Allrightythen, drawn four. Stanley rated Hilltop Hustler as the hardest to beat. “I held him back from this rather than go to Cobram for their Cup. He’s won around Stawell before, so I knew he’d handle the track there,” Stanley said. “He’s also very good from the stand start. “Allrightythen was a bit unlucky the other day, but most of the field has similar ability to him, so he should be thereabouts. It would be a very nice race to win.” Entry to the Stawell Pacing Cup meeting is free. Harnesslink Media

At long last it was “cheers‘nbeers” time for the members of the Orange & Green syndicate when their 5yo mare Metrofromelle scored a solid victory at Stawell on Monday afternoon, in the Stanley Anyon Memorial C1 Pace Final.  It’s been a long time waiting for many members of the syndicate which last tasted success with Slammin Stan at Maryborough, way back in December 2007. Sam ran a few minor placings after that then headed off to SA but in the years since, the owners had had their patience severely tested, trying out a number of (sorry, too slow) horses with trainer Ashleigh Herbertson. A couple of months ago, the Herbertson team suggested the syndicate take on a going horse that was showing consistent form out on the racetrack. So at the end of September, Metrofromelle remained in her Burrumbeet stable but became the new hope of the Orange & Green after being purchased from her breeders, Equine Body Therapy Pty. Ltd. From 7 starts since, the black daughter of Metropolitan and Elleovalooka has continued her honest efforts with a victory, 3 seconds and a fourth and hopefully, plenty more fun to come. And just for the record, the syndicate, consisting of Coughlin Park lawn bowlers, West Side Horsham regulars and their family/friends; includes Dennis Wade, Ian Ryan, Titch Thompson, Howard Schier, Athol Cowan, Neville Marra, Col Henry, Vin Mellington, Kevin Cramer, John Robertson, Tim Nihill, Craig Decker, Pat Hennessy, Wally Besselaar, Jarrod Logan, Luke Besselaar, Ken Schurmann, Tony Logan and manager, Arch Besselaar. With Terang reinsman Glen Craven taking the reins, Metrofromelle began smartly from gate 4 and raced kindly outside the leader Beau Ciel throughout, but still proved too strong over the final stages. The mare finished 3 metre clear of Venus Williams (Greg Sugars) with Beau Ciel (Emma Hamblin) battling on for third in a rate of 1:57.8 for the 1780 metre trip. Monday’s event honoured the memory of the late Stan Anyon, who was a both a quiet achiever and true legend of the Stawell Harness Racing Club. The former trainer, driver & farrier was instrumental in the formation of the Club in 1956 and gave more than 50 years of outstanding service as a committee member, volunteer & track curator, before his passing in 2009. All going well, Metrofromelle will return to Laidlaw Park for the twilight, Stawell Cups fixture, on Sunday December 1st to contest a heat of Vicbred Platinum Mares Championship. TONY LOGAN

The Stawell Harness Racing Club paid tribute to those who have assisted the club over the years when a seven event card was held at Laidlaw Park on Wednesday August 7 in very wet conditions. Former Ararat based trainer Aaron Brown now domiciled in South Australia, made a successful trip home when Presidential Ball/Lombo San Jan gelding Whata Player greeted the judge in the Reginald Cooper Life Member 2-Y-0 Pace over 1790 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Whata Player led throughout from the pole to defeat the well backed Just Call Me Mac (one/one - three wide home turn) in a rate of 2-05.8, with the first starter In The Trenches third after moving to face the open for the last lap. The Terry McManus Life Member 3-Y-0 Pace over 2175 metres was taken out by the Peter Manning (Great Western) trained and Matt Craven driven Armbro Speedstar in a rate of 2-03.9. Starting from gate two on the second line, Armbro Speedstar (Armbro Operative/Princess Of Stars) settled with most of the field ahead of him, with Sapper Ford leading from gate four. Sent forward three wide solo in the final circuit, Armbro Speedstar was too strong at the finish for the hot favourite Galleons Warrior which did a power of work from the outset to park outside the pacemaker.  When Galleons Warrior surged clear approaching the home turn, Armbro Speedstar was hot in pursuit and finished best to score by 2.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.9, with Rising Power third from mid-field. Ultra consistent P Forty Seven/Just Moonstrike 4-Y-0 gelding Arr En Special notched up his 4th victory for the season in the Leslie McLeod Life Member Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Trained at Allendale (Mount Gambier) by David Kemp and driven by David Murphy, Arr En Special was trapped four wide from outside the front row running into the first bend, before angling into the one/one spot. Easing three wide at the bell, Arr En Special raced three wide uncovered for the rest of the journey, exploding to the front approaching the home turn. Although tackled by Peters Ace (four wide last lap from last) on straightening, Arr En Special held a margin to the wire, registering a 4.9 metre margin in a rate of 2-02.1. Kurraca Knight (one/one last lap) finished third. Arr En Special usually races at most Western District meetings and was making his 51st appearance at the races (19 this season). Redan (Ballarat) trainer/driver Michael Stanley may have something special in ex-Kiwi 3-Y-0 Presidential Ball/Pamela Pamela gelding Hilltop Hustler who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Life Members Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres. Settling three back in the moving line with the tearaway leader The Kingston Flyer making every post a winner, Stanley wasted no time in sending Hilltop Rustler forward to face the breeze at the bell. Doing a lot of chasing, Hilltop Raider dropped in for a short breather approaching the home turn. When asked for a super effort on straightening, Hilltop Hustler responded in grand style to record a four metre victory in 1-58.2 over the leader, with Roman Abbey a further 26 metres away in third place. Former Portland trainer Peter Tonkin now based in Ballarat, snared the Colin Prockter Life Member Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with Guvs Boy, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Artiscape and Natashas Rose. Taking a concession for much improved Bendigo youngster Haydon Gray, Guvs Boy from the pole led throughout,  ccounting for In The Frame Lombo which trailed, using the sprint lane to no avail, with Burston Holme third after following the pair. The mile rate 2-07.7. The Gregory Cooper Life Member Trotters Mobile went the way of Longlea (Bendigo) trainer/driver Paul Morrissey's 5-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Lady Clare mare Canadian Dream. Spending most of the race buried three back the markers from gate three, Canadian Dream was extricated to be three and four wide on the final bend, finishing with a wet sail to blouse the pacemaker A Stylish Jewel in the last stride, with Hezminenotyours a game third after racing in the open. The mile rate 2-11.8. Three year old Artesian/Soky Sue colt Easy Lighting trained and driven by Ahmed Taiba of Sushi Sushi fame, landed the Geoffrey Sanderson Life Member Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-01.7. Held in a firm pocket three back the markers after starting inside the  second line, Easy Lightning finished hard along the sprint lane to tip out  Make A Fuss also along the sprint lane ahead of him after trailing the weakening leader Tara Tom. Mathias a stablemate of the pacemaker finished third off a three wide trail last lap from last. Len Baker Len Baker len-baker@bigpond.com 03 9307 5265 0401 679 745  

Great Western sisters Michelle and Kerryn Manning took the honours at the Stawell harness racing fixture held on Wednesday May 8th, Michelle with a training and driving double - Wheatsheaf Avaball and Aheadofhistime and Kerryn with a driving double - Shandorlass and Paparazzi Snapshot.

Wednesday's harness racing Stawell fixture belonged to the Western District with no less than seven of the eight winners coming from the area including regular Mount Gambier visitors Alta Antonio and Bobby Maravu.

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