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AUSTRALIA’S most exciting pacer Ride High looks set to miss all the big summer races with a suspensory ligament injury. Trainer Clayton Tonkin confirmed the injury and scratched him from Saturday night’s $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. Fears emerged Ride High’s shock defeat – just his second loss in 18 starts - in last Saturday night’s Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint was caused by a lot more than his hard run or a lack of fitness. “It’s a suspensory (ligament). We’ve just found out. It’s his nearside front leg,” he said. “We knew something wasn’t right the other night.” If there is any upside, Tonkin said the diagnosis was minor. “The vet says it isn’t bad, but these things are never good, either,” Tonkin said. “He’s got to have six weeks of light jogging and rehab, then be scanned again. We’ve got to hope it scans well after that and go from there.” Ride High roared to the front at the 400m in the Smoken Up and looked set for an easy win before weakening uncharacteristically from the top of the home straight to finish fifth as a $1.10 favourite, beaten almost 13m, by $126 outsider Rishi last Saturday night. Although immediate post-race checks didn’t reveal anything, Tonkin suspected there was an issue. Ride High’s injury robs the Victoria Cup of its headline act, but, thankfully, Miracle Mile and Hunter Cup winner King Of Swing is confirmed to travel down from Sydney for Saturday night’s feature  He looks set to be one of a staggering five Cup runners for trainer Craig Cross. The others being: Balraj, Cash N Flow, Alta Orlando and Bling It On. Champion driver Chris Alford is set to snare the King Of Swing drive unless Luke McCarthy is granted a permit to travel which excludes him from quarantining for two weeks when he returns to NSW.   Adam Hamilton

IS pacing sensation Ride High alright and will he tackle the Victoria Cup? Those are Aussie harness racing’s burning questions after Ride High’s shock defeat – just his second loss in 18 starts – as a $1.10 favourite in Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Tabcorp Park Melton. The pacing powerhouse went from cruising to the lead at the 400m to beaten 150m later and wilted to finish almost 13m from $126 upset winner Rishi. Victoria Cup betting remains suspended until Ride High’s status is clearer given he was a $2 prepost favourite before last night. Whether he tackles the Victoria Cup hinges on extensive veterinary tests, while Victoria Cup nominations close at noon (Melbourne time) today (Monday). Driver Kate Gath seemed dumfounded straight after the race: “He felt terrific in the run, but started to struggle at the top of the straight when he hit the lead.” Harness Racing Victoria stewards ordered an immediate post-race veterinary inspection, but reported “no significant findings.” HRV’s integrity chief Brent Fisher added: “We spoke to Emma Stewart (co-trainer) who stated it was three weeks since (Ride High) last raced and his work during the week was nothing different to usual. “(Stewart expressed) some concerns something isn’t right so will be getting a full vet check in the next few days.” Ride High had a throat operation late last year after it was found he had only “about 50 per cent breathing capacity.” He returned to win six races in effortless style and blistering times this campaign. The final field and barrier draw for the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup are released at 9.30am Melbourne time tomorrow (Tuesday).   Adam Hamilton

With a brilliant dash up the sprint lane three-year-old filly Pink Galahs bettered Australia’s leading trotting mares and delivered Matt Craven a victory dripping in sentimental delight. The trainer-driver dedicated the win to Pink Galahs’ part-owner Bryan Healy, son of Ric Healy, who produced the extraordinary Maori family that changed Australian trotting, which includes Sumthingaboutmaori after whom tonight’s race was named. “That’s one for Bryan in Queensland,” Craven told Trots Vision post-race. “I am sure he’s having kittens up there on the Gold Coast. “All his mates will be at the pub and to win a race named in the honour of his great mare (Sumthingaboutmaori), I’m sure he will be super thrilled tonight, as will Caleb (Lewis) and Laura (Lewis). They will be super excited and very proud of their little filly.” Bryan shares ownership of Pink Galahs with daughter Laura and her husband Caleb. The Skyvalley filly is out of Sweetasay, whose lines lead back three generations to Maori Mia, dam of Maori’s Idol, and a fourth generation to the great Maori Miss. Now Pink Galahs is writing an extraordinary new chapter of trotting success in the Maori family, having tonight registered her ninth win in just 15th starts, despite her last six starts having been run outside of her age group. “We were a bit concerned we had been way to easy on her and the reason she was here tonight was because we needed to get a run into her before the Oaks,” Craven said. “There’s not a lot of options for her, she’s put herself in this position basically because she’s been so good.” Tonight’s Aldebaran Park Sumthingaboutmaori Trotters Free For All was a whole nother level, with the likes of Dance Craze and Red Hot Tooth contesting for the Group 3 prize. Pink Galahs tagged on to the back of leader Imsettogo out of the gates, with Red Hot Tooth again doing heavy work in the breeze while Dance Craze loomed likely with her typical late run. But it was Craven’s runner, benefitting from a perfect run on the pegs, who had enough late zip and plenty in the tank to score by 2.1 metres. “Tonight we had the ideal trip in the box seat right behind the leader. Against this class of horse, stepping up against the older mares, super experience, well performed horses, she’s going to need that trip at the moment,” Craven said. “She’s probably all heart. Considering we have been so easy on her, she was great to the line and I think she will take a lot of benefit out of that. It’s a big thrill for me.” And it has the Terang trainer optimistic about his filly’s chances as the three-year-old classics near, beginning with the $60,000 TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks on October 17 at Melton. “It’s a great ride that she’s given us, hopefully we can take this form into the age feature races that are coming up, the Oaks, we could have a throw at the stumps at the Derby maybe,” Craven said. “Then we’ll just have the (Vicbred Super Series) in December.” And, if all goes well, the Great Southern Star? “Every time we’ve raised the bar she’s stepped up to it,” he said. “There’s one thing that we know: that she tries hard. She’s got good speed, you’d love to see her following the fence in a race like that. It wouldn’t be beyond her by any means.”   HRV - Michael Howard

REIGNING NZ Cup champion Cruz Bromac launches a campaign aimed at defending his crown when he tackles a strong Minuteman free-for-all (2240m) at Melton tomorrow (Saturday) night. It’s his first run since being sidelined with a fetlock injury after the Auckland Cup last New Year’s Eve. Managing owner Danny Zavitsanos is thrilled to have him back at the track and expects a bold showing despite a back row draw (gate 10) and quality opposition, headed by Lochinvar Art (gate 11) and Zennart (seven). “Amanda (Grieve) and Dean (Braun) think he’s at least as well, if not better, than the same time last year, which is great to hear,” he said. “We’re sure he’ll run well this week and then it’s into the Victoria Cup two weeks later. “All going well in these two runs and I told Mark (Purdon) he’ll be back to over to him to get ready for the (NZ Cup) again.” Zavitsanos, who “lit-up” Addington with his post-race celebrations last year, said Cruz Bromac was booked to return. “He’s booked with IRT for the 12th or 14th (of October), so we just need to be happy with his next two runs and he’ll head back over. It’s just a shame we won’t be able to go with him because it’s such a special day,” he said. Champion driver Chris Alford is aboard Cruz Bromac for his return, which is a vote of confidence given he’d been approached to drive Craig Cross’ Zennart and one of their many runners in the Victoria Cup. Kerryn Manning has picked-up the Zennart drive. Lochinvar Art, who smashed the clock when a monstrous second to Hurricane Harley, has been backed from $1.80 into $1.60 to atone tomorrow night. Zennart has firmed from $4.80 into $4.60 second elect, while Cruz Bromac is next ($4.60 out to $5).   by Adam Hamilton

ONLY a late change of plans will thwart the first clash of superstar Aussie pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art at Melton next Saturday night. Ride High’s trainer Clayton Tonkin confirmed his pacing sensation would chase his 17th win from just 18 starts in the $30,000 Minuteman Free-For-All (2240m), while Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said it was “very likely” his charge would be there as well. Lochinvar Art lost no admirers when a monstrous second in scorching times at Bendigo on Saturday night. The Chariots Of Fire winner smashed the clock from a horror draw and after doing all the work when a mighty second to Hurricane Harley in track record time. He was timed to run his last mile of the 2150m race in a mind-blowing 1min50.9sec, some of it three and even four-wide. “His run was massive under the circumstances,” Moran said. “And, as I said going into it, he needed the run. He’ll take a lot out of it. “I’ll give him the day to make sure he’s come through it well, which he seems to have, and make a final decision tomorrow (Monday), but I will most likely back-up next week. “He thrives on racing every week and he needs the hard racing to be right at his top for the (Victoria) Cup.” Confirmation Ride High will run this week means he will almost certainly bypass the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Melton on October 3 and continue his routine of racing every second-week by going straight to the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) on October 10. In other Victoria Cup news, it’s growing increasingly likely Sydney sensation Cash N Flow will stretch-out from his beloved sprint racing to the 2240m of the Cup. Cash N Flow won a staggering 12th successive Menangle mile race last night (Saturday) and broke the magical 1min50sec mark for a record eighth time. “We’ll chat with the owners and make the final call, but we’re not worried about him going out to 2240m, especially the form he’s in at the moment,” driver Luke McCarthy said. McCarthy and Craig Cross are sending Australasian 2300m record-holder Zennart down to race against Ride High and Lochinvar Art. And McCarthy said three of their stars – Balraj, Alta Orlando and Cash N Flow – were definite to go straight into the Victoria Cup without racing again. Bling It On is also a Victoria Cup definite, but he will race against King Of Swing at Menangle next Saturday night. And what about King Of Swing for the Victoria Cup? “No update from last week. It really depends on the restrictions. He’ll be ready to go if I can get in/out (of Melbourne) easily. We probably won’t decide until the last-minute,” McCarthy said.   By Adam Hamilton

He may be by some way the second highest stakes earner contesting tonight’s headline pace but few fly under the radar like this five-time Group 1 placegetter. Sicario, whose season includes a country cup win and seventh placing in the Inter Dominion final at Auckland, returns tonight amid a stellar Simonds Homes Bendigo Pace field. While the spotlight will draw to the two horses on his outside, Major Times and Lochinvar Art, Brent Lilley’s five-year-old is well-placed to add to his $427,125 in career stakes win. Reinsman Chris Alford said Sicario had only known top-flight competition and he was optimistic there was more success in store for the gelding, who's first up from consecutive Kilmore victories in April. “He did really well in the Inters and every race that he’s contested has been free-for-all or above,” Alford said. “He’s had three or four trials. Although trials aren’t races, he’s going to be pretty close to the mark and he felt super in his last couple.” Sicario comfortably won his three trials from August 2 to August 16, including getting home in a 56.9-second last half at Maryborough last start when he impressed his reinsman. “He does feel a lot stronger this time that what he did last time in,” Alford said. And he has no doubt he has the speed to match that improved strength. “I think you’ll find that he ran the fastest last half ever at Auckland when four or five wide on the track in one of the Inter heats, so he’s always had the ability,” he said. “He probably can’t do the work against the best ones, but if he gets the right run he’s always dangerous.” And that includes tomorrow night, when he’ll start from gate nine, behind Rupert Of Lincoln, from where Alford will plot a path forward. “We’ve got a good trailing draw so he should be able to push through,” he said. “Whether we get a chance to get around in front of the other ones (Lochinvar Art and Major Times) could be problematic, but we will just have to play it by ear.” Tonight’s race is a fortnight since Major Times upset $1.10 favourite Lochinvar Art, with the latter found to be suffering a minor viral infection post-race, while third-placed My Kiwi Mate has drawn gate eight and again lies in wait. The race streams at 7.35pm on Trots Vision, with the following race – the Yabby Dam Racing Trot – another must-see match-up with Dance Craze and Tornado Valley making their return to clash with Red Hot Tooth, Big Jack Hammer and Wobelee among a glut of Group 1 winners. Click here for more on the high-class trot.   HRV - Michael Howard

A night at Melton doesn't get much better for young up-and-coming drivers than the one Kyal Costello experienced on Friday. The 19-year-old ticked off three significant career milestones from his book of six drives at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Costello scored victory with Mario Azzopardi's Radical Major in the Woodlands Stud Pace (1720m) and then captured his first-ever double at a single meeting when taking out the Breckon Farms Maiden Pace (1720m) with odds-on favourite Charisma King for trainer Peter Peacock. Costello then picked up his maiden metropolitan winner aboard Delightful Jazz for his new master Freddy Taiba in the $20,000 TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m). That success also completed a breakthrough treble in the gig. Costello, who now lives and works at Taiba's Sunbury property, went awfully close to making it four with stablemate Zoliver, who just fell short in the Nevele R Stud Pace (1720m). "It was really good," Costello said of Friday night's results. "It was a shame I couldn't get the last over the line for the fourth, but what can you do?" Costello, whose father Brad is a hobby trainer, has been working for Taiba for the past fortnight and says he is keen to try and make a career in the sport. "If I can keep progressing the way that I've been going, I think I might be able to make a living out of it. That's the goal," he said. Costello's big night at the office didn't land him outright driving honours, however. He was forced to share that honour with John Justice, who scored victories with his horses Pippo Nien, Justice Served and Hatchback. Much was made about the return of Hatchback to the races and he didn't disappoint. After stepping cleanly from the standing start, the four-year-old Group 1 placegetter made a one act affair of the Alderbaran Park Trotters Handicap (2240m) with a dominant front-running success. His 14-metre triumph was the sixth of his career. The win of Justice Served, who narrowly held off Zoliver, was also a special one for the stable. "I reckon he did that run tonight for his little brother... he's in Werribee Hospital fighting for his life," Justice said on Friday. "It was ironic Justice Served went so good tonight for his brother." Justice's treble also secured him training honours on the eight-event card. Racing will return to Melton next Friday night.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Over the years, Melbourne harness racing trainer-driver Mario Attard has tried his hand successfully at a number of business pursuits, but horses have always been in the background. Attard, based at Rockbank, just minutes away from Tabcorp Park, Melton, now admits that he's fully focused on his small team of pacers-and the results are certainly coming. Two of his three horses in Don't Hold Back (Courage Under Fire-Braeview Express (Badlands Hanover) and Power Of Faith (Art Major-Golden Showgirl (Armbro Operative) recently scored longshot wins at his home track. Three-year-old filly Power Of Faith started the ball rolling with a narrow victory on June 22 at bolter's odds of 40/1 and stablemate, seven-year-old stallion Dont Hold Back, joined the party with a win last Saturday night at 15/1. "I've been licensed for nearly 40 years, but during most of that time I was trying to run businesses and do the horses at the same time. To be honest, the horses probably weren't getting the care they needed," Attard said. "So I decided not all that long ago to give it my best shot. I'm a happy sort of guy, but I'm really enjoying it at the moment," he said. "I've nursed Dont Hold Back along for a number of years and now I'm going for broke with him. He ran a good fourth first up at Melton after a little break and then his last start win in 1.55-5 was solid." Dont Hold Back has been a marvellous performer for Attard with 14 wins and 11 placings from 52 starts for nearly $250,000. After starting out as an electronics technician, which involved making specialized gauges for refineries, Attard was lured to the automotive industry in the late 1980s. "I was one of the first in Melbourne to be qualified to convert motor vehicles to run on gas. I put in a huge amount of hours for probably 12 or 13 years," he said. "Then I went into curtains and drapes for a bit before running a big building business called New Look Homes Pty Ltd. I was in that with one of my sons, Ian, and we had four supervisors and a team of office staff. "It was successful, but one day I just thought to myself that I'd had enough. So I went and told Ian of my decision-he was okay with it because he'd had the same feelings. "There were a few other ventures. It was all fun and it certainly taught me how to deal with a lot in life, particularly learning how to read people. "We dabble in a bit of development now. But the boys take care of me. 'Leave it to us', they tell me! Our other son Darren has Dream Design Build in Melbourne, while the oldest, Karen, runs Que One Homes with her husband. "My wife Anna is my biggest supporter in harness racing, while our children and 10 grandchildren are in it for the fun." Attard was always going to be involved in the sport with his father Charlie being a successful trainer-driver for many years, while his late grandfather Tony was also a keen participant. Charlie, who still attends meetings with Mario, was associated with many great horses when training at nearby Sydenham. He was involved with such smart pacers as Lombo Limmo (23 wins including the 2008 Devonport Cup), Bells and Whistles (Moonee Valley 2yo recordholder, 12 wins, $99k), Oh Lord (21 wins, $40k, before continuing a successful career in the US), and Gold Glen (4 wins from just a handful of starts). "Dad had a great eye for a nice horse. He could pick them out and he never paid a lot. He was also very good with young ones and got them going, just by understanding them," Mario said. And the Attard father-and-son team will be back at Melton tonight with Power Of Faith, one of the top fancies in the IRT Australia 3yo Pace.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

EMOTIONS ran high for Kate Gath at Melton last night. And the winners flowed freely as she drove four of the eight winners. Less than two days earlier, Gath’s grandfather, well-known Port Pirie racecaller and hobby trainer John Tee, passed away. That’s why she raised her whip and looked to the sky as Kiwi import Arden Voyager brilliantly won the opening race at Melton. “It was a special night to land a bag of winners, it meant so much,” Gath said. “Pop loved his racing and we had this strong connection through the horses. He put on too high a pedestal at times, he loved the success I had. “He’s at peace now and reunited with the life of his life, our nanna, who we lost 15 months ago. They were married over 60 years.” Gath teamed with husband, Andy, to win with Arden Voyager, who has been a handful at times, but made it three wins on end and paced a slippery 1min54.7sec mile rate for 2240m. The family connection ran even deeper for Gath’s second win of the night aboard Plan Ce, who used the sprint lane to win from behind the leader for her father, trainer Peter Thompson. Major stable owner Norm Jenkin then provided Gath with her third and fourth wins of night, courtesy of exciting four-year-old pacer Eureka and star trotter McLovin. Eureka made it six wins from nine runs since joining the stable and smashed the clock with a 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1720m, capped by a 52.2sec last half and 26.8sec closing quarter. McLovin atoned for a surprise defeat last week to make it three wins from his four runs since campaign as he strolled home by 12.7m in a 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2240m. It was McLovin’s 14th win since joining Team Gath 18 months ago. One race Gath didn’t win was the fourth when she led on favourite and recent Kiwi import, Zigzagzoo, but was beaten by a phenomenal effort from Anton Golino’s emerging gelding Imsettogo. The four-year-old mare galloped in the score-up, gave the field a least a 40-50m start, caught them up and circled them in the last 500m to win running away by 17.1m.  It was one of the more extraordinary wins at Melton for a long time. __________________________________________________________________________________________ ONLY time will tell is Chicago Bull can still be a genuine Grand Circuit force, but the signs are good. Gary Hall Sr’s rising eight-year-old showed his trademark dash to post his fifth win from nine runs in this comeback campaign. He’s finished three times and third in the only other run. The rising eight-year-old enjoyed being able to camp off the pace, albeit only a moderate tempo, instead of sitting parked and had his rivals covered out three-wide rounding the final bend. Driver Gary Hall Jr strategically waited before pressing the button, knowing he had his main danger, Ocean Ridge, pocketed in the one-one trail. Chicago Bull held-off Ocean Ridge, who charged late when clear, to win by 2.1m in a 1min55.6sec mile rate for 2130m. Hall Sr will soon a better line on Chicago Bull with some of WA’s best pacers, including the likes of Shockwave, Mighty Conqueror and Vampiro, all back in work. It’s going to be an exciting build-up towards the rescheduled Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups in November/December. __________________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT a shame the much-improved Leonidas is just about to leave for the US. The four-year-old showed he could’ve been a potential Victoria Cup player with yet another powerhouse win at Bendigo in slick time last Friday night. It Leonidas’ fifth win with another three seconds from just eight starts since bring sold to US owner Steve Finkelstein and switched from NSW trainer Blake Fitzpatrick to David Aiken in Victoria. Leonidas’ 1min54.8sec mile rate after coming from a back row draw and sitting parked was 1min54.8sec for 2150m, just 1.3sec outside Centenario’s track record. Aiken’s son, Josh, took the reins last Friday as he has in every run since Leonidas joined the stable. The Aikens snared a double when the exciting Auckland Reactor gelding Reactor Now made it nine wins from just 12 runs and seven on end. The rising five-year-old came from a mile back in a hotly-run 1650m scamper and stopped the clock in a 1min52.2sec mile rate. It was just 0.5sec outside Leonidas’ recent track record. __________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER megastar Kiwi juvenile Follow The Stars snared one of the biggest wins of his siring career at Gloucester Park last Friday night. His exciting daughter, Black Jack Ruby, continued her rise with a dawdle and sprint home to win the Group 1 Westbred 2YO Fillies Classic (2130m). Chris Voak used the pole to lead on the Shane Quadrio-trained filly and slowed them to a walk through a 64.6sec middle half and ripping home in a 26.6sec last quarter. Black Jack Ruby, out of former NZ-based McArdle mare What A Card, made it seven wins and a second from her eight starts. Team Bond continued its stellar year by winning with the Group 1 Westbred final for colts and geldings with Mach Three two-year-old Give Us A Wave. Stable driver Ryan Warwick held the lead from the pole and never looked in danger, dashing home in 56.1 and 28sec to score by 5.8m in a 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2130m. __________________________________________________________________________________________ EXCITING juvenile Manila Playboy let himself down in his first feature race, but wasn’t about to do the same the second time round. In contrast, the Pet Rock gelding highlighted his potential by doing all the work and digging deep to win the $100,750 Group 1 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sale final (1780m) last night. It took his record to three wins from just four starts, the only defeat coming at his second run when he galloped and lost all chance as favourite in the Qbred Breeders Classic final at Albion Park in May. It gave owner/breeder/trainer Shane Fraser his first Group 1 success as Manila Playboy dug deep after sitting parked for the last 1100m in a 1min57.3sec. In the other feature, the Redcliffe Gold Cup, former classy Kiwi pacer Northview Hustler was denied victory in the last stride. Northview Hustler, second from a spell, came off a 10m handicap and unleashed around the field to storm to the front on the final bend. But it was another Kiwi-bred, the four-year-old Sole Ambition, who snatched victory for young driver Lachie Manzelmann and trainer Donny Smith by a half-head. __________________________________________________________________________________________ MUCH-TRAVELLED pacer Zennart is building nicely in the latest chapter of his career with Craig Cross in NSW. After the success switch of King Of Swing to Sydney, many of the same owners agreed with Gary Hall Sr to do the same with Zennart, who had been enigmatic at Gloucester Park. Zennart’s six runs for Craig Cross has netted two wins and second, but his win last night certainly pointed to lots more. The rising nine-year-old worked to the front for driver Luke McCarthy and just kept running for a very slick 1min53.6sec mile rate for the longer 2300m trip, capped by closing splits of 54.6 and 27.4sec. He’s still sparingly raced with just 37 starts for 14 wins. Cross has three wins on the night, including the feature, the Group 3 Frith Stakes, with Black Silhouette, the $81 outsider of his five runners. Black Silhouette, a five-year-old Shadow Play mare, came off the back of leader, stablemate and favourite Speak No Evil to salute in a 1min50.5sec mile.   Adam Hamilton

With a wealth of experience behind her working for top harness racing stables in Australia and New Zealand, Amanda Grieve was always going to step up to the plate with the right opportunity. And that came eight months ago when her former boss, astute Lara horseman Dean Braun decided to move away from full-time training and concentrate on a few business ventures-exporting horses to the US and assisting his partner Pauline at her Melton Saddlery business. Needless-to-say, in her role as head trainer, Grieve has taken a similar approach to Braun. Put simply, concentrating on quality of horse flesh, rather than quantity. "I'm actually only training a small team of four at the moment. There are a few others out spelling such as Holy Basil, but I seem to be spending all day at the farm doing them. I don't know if I could do too many more," Grieve said. "We've been getting a fair bit of rain being near the coast. That tends to slow things down because I try to bring them inside if it starts getting too heavy." Grieve's latest success was at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night when talented youngster Pur Dan (Art Major-Collectable NZ (Mach Three) took out the TAB Long May We Play Pace. He was handled by star lightweight driver Kima Frenning. To watch the video replay of Pur Dan winning click here The win took Grieve to a tally so far this season of 11 wins, 15 second placings and 7 thirds for $122,000 in stakes. Her win/place percentage to race starters sits at an impressive 56 percent. Pur Dan, raced by well-known and successful owners in Danny Zavitsanos, of Geelong, and Warren Viney, of Tasmania, started his career in New Zealand under the care of Mark Purdon (hence the play on his surname in naming the horse: Pur Dan). "He won first up as a 2yo at Addington, and then had a second and a fourth. He's got a few issues and had a wind operation after those first three starts. Despite being quite lazy in getting him to do anything, he's a nice type and is an honest horse," Grieve said. "Kima was actually rapt with the win and told me later that he's still green and should keep showing a lot of improvement with more race experience." Grieve said that under the national ratings system, Pur Dan kept missing out on racing in his age group. "He always had a few too many points and was racing in the next grade. He was sent out a red hot favorite a few times, but he was far from disgraced being runner-up four times and had a third and a fourth," she said. Kima Frenning after her Melton success with Pur Dan Others in the Grieve stable are StaggerLee, War Dan and rising nine-year-old superstar Cruz Bromac. Grieve couldn't hide her excitement at again having Cruz Bromac back in her care. "Yes, he's my favorite. Horses like him don't come along all that often. We've had him back for a couple of weeks now," Grieve said. "He ran fifth in the Auckland Cup on New Year's Eve. He later had a problem in his leg or hoof. I don't think they could pin-point it, although most thought it was in his fetlock. "But there's no problems at all now. It's quite exciting because he's a brilliant horse. He will just be brought up nice and easy. It would be great to go back over later this year and defend his NZ Cup." Cruz Bromac ran third for Braun/Grieve in the Victoria Cup and then headed across to NZ for the Addington FFA (third) and the Inter Dominion series (a win, two placings prior to fourth in the final to All Stars' barn stablemate Ultimate Sniper). Over the years, Christchurch-born Grieve has had stints in NSW with greats in Paul Fitzpatrick and (uncle) Dennis Wilson, while in New Zealand, she worked for two of the best in Tony Herlihy and Cran Dalgety. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

KIMA Frenning can’t wait for Saturday night. That’s when she gets to drive the awesome and as yet untapped Ride High for the first time in his comeback race at Melton. The lightly-raced Ride High, who boasts 10 wins and a third from just 11 starts, is back from a minor throat operation at Melton. It’s a huge boost for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin as it comes just a week or so after their other stable star, Poster Boy, was retired to stud. Stewart and Tonkin often jokingly argued over which of the star pair was better, Stewart siding with Poster Boy, but Tonkin adamant it was Ride High. Frenning partnered Ride High for the first time when he sharpened-up for his comeback race in a Ballarat trial on June 9. He won the trial by 20m Ballarat trial and mile-rated a slick 1min55.2sec for 2200m, but most impressed with closing splits of 54.2 and 26.9sec. “That was ridiculous. It was actually insane how easily he did that. I didn’t even turn the stick and he ran those times and won by so far,” Frenning said. “I don’t know I’ve ever had a feeling like that on a horse and I’ve been lucky enough to drive some really good ones. “I just can’t wait to drive him a race. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.” Frenning, who now works for Stewart and Tonkin and is doing the bulk of the stable driving, is Ride High’s fourth driver. Chris Alford has driven him four times for as many wins, Mark Pitt five times for four wins and Greg Sugars twice for as many wins. Ride High won the Breeders Crown 3YO final in August 2018, but then spent 14 months sidelined with a leg injury. The rising six-year-old returned for two wins late last year, but didn’t quite look himself and was found to have a breathing issue with required a minor procedure. He’s drawn ideally in gate two Saturday night, should work forward and find the front and looks a class above his six rivals. The other star attraction of the Melton meeting is classy trotter McLovin. He’s two-from-two this campaign and with Victoria’s zoned racing still in place, he meets much the same field as the past two wins again this week for Andy and Kate Gath. The Gaths also have promising Kiwi import Zigzagzoo going for his second win in as many Aussie runs at the Melton meeting. The Majestic Son gelding was bought by Norm Jenkin, who races McLovin and Tornado Valley, after four placings in eight NZ runs. He looked terrific leading throughout against a weak field at Ballarat to win by 16.5m at his debut for the Gaths on June 11.   Adam Hamilton

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO Dayle Brown today confirmed the Victoria Cup would be held on Saturday night October 10. Brown told Sky Racing’s Adam Hamilton that “harness racing’s iconic events had moved around a lot” in recent years and as a result people had lost track of some of the major events. “It’s important we solidify when these major events are to be run, so the Victoria Cup will stay on the 10th of October,” Brown said. “It’s a very strong wagering day following the Caulfield Guineas and I can also announce the Redwood will be on Sunday 1st of November.” Brown said Victoria’s latter part of the year would be “filled with some great feature and group racing”, highlighting the Breeders Crown in November and the Vicbred Super Series grand finals on New Year’s Eve at Tabcorp Park Melton. Watch the full interview below.   Harness Racing Victoria

ONE of harness racing’s great success stories, Kima Frenning, has kick-started another exciting new chapter. Frenning, the Swede who came to Australia on a working holiday and never went home, is fresh back from injuries sustained in nasty fall at Melton in mid-March. And she’s also fresh into a new job with Victoria’s dominant stable, Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. “It’s so good to be back into it, it seemed like I was out for so, so long, but they told me my injuries actually healed really quickly for what they were,” Frenning said. “I had severe concussion, which they described as a brain injury, and fives different broken bones in my right hand and wrist. “I’m still having therapy on the hand now.” Frenning returned to driving last Saturday night at Melton with second and third placings, but returned to Melton and winning form with a double for Stewart and Tonkin last Monday. “The move to Emma and Clayton has been in the pipeline for a while,” Frenning said. “It’s actually to work at their new farm, the one next door, which is the pre-training and water-walker set-up. “That really excites me, the chance to help nurse injured horses back to racing and pre-train them as well. “But that property isn’t up and running yet, so I’m at the racing stables and it’s great to be back into it. I’ll move to the other farm when it opens.” Frenning heads back to Melton’s main meeting Friday night with another three drives for Stewart and Tonkin. “I’d say the best of them are Like A Wildfire and Struve,” she said. “Like A Wildfire was really unlucky last week and would’ve gone close to beating Major Times with more luck, while Struve has his quirks, but he’s a nice horse when puts it all together.”   Adam Hamilton

Talented trotting filly Pink Galas helped mark her trainer/driver's long-awaited return to Saturday night racing at Tabcorp Park Melton across the weekend. Matt Craven has been one of the notable absentees from Victorian harness racing headquarters since the region-based model was introduced due to COVID-19 and opened the night's seven-race card with an explosive victory behind the three-year-old squaregaiter. The win in the DNR Logistics Trot (1720m, NR 61-74) made it two on end this preparation for the daughter of Skyvalley, who won at Stawell on resumption earlier this month. 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. "Bryan Healy, who is famous with all the Maori horses, it's great that he's been able to come in on the ownership and he's always looking forward to an update as to how she's going," Craven said. "Early days when we first produced her, he just loved her. It's great to have him on board and involved in the journey. Caleb and Laura are huge supporters of mine." Craven, who is based near Terang, said it was great to be back racing at Melton after such a long period away from the state's premier circuit. "It's good to see a few faces you haven't seen for a while and catch up," he said. "It's our headquarters and this is where we strive to be. Although we are not technically here at a metro meeting, it's Melton on a Saturday night, and going forward it will be good to get back to metro racing. I'm excited about what the summer is going to hold for harness racing. "It's been an unfortunate time, but it could even be a blessing in disguise with a lot of our really good races being pushed back." Pink Galahs has now won six of 11 starts and secured more than $40,000 in prizemoney for connections. Craven has been the talk of the industry during the lockdown period for some of the drone vision that he's been producing for owners. "We've been putting a little bit up on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter," Craven said. "For the owners to see actually what their horses are doing and when they are working in a bunch, working up and down the track or swimming in the pool... it gives them a highlight and it actually helps them be involved with what their horses are doing from day to day." Horses from the former "West" region of the state won the first three races on Saturday night's card before those from the old "Inner West" area claimed the remaining four. Saturday night was the first meeting at Melton since the sport moved to the three-region model across Victoria. Racing returns to Melton on Monday for an eight-event card, starting from 1.42pm. HEAR FROM ALL THE WINNING DRIVERS IN ALL CLEAR:   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Tabcorp Park Melton today Race 1: Niota Bloodstock 2YO Trotters Handicap N3 Sangreal (2YO Father Patrick filly out of Solar Flash; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Andy Gath is blessed with a couple of the sport's star squaregaiters in his stable and is ready to welcome one of those back to the races tonight, the last of the scheduled morning and night dual meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton. Group 1-winning trotter McLovin will make his first appearance at the track since February and, while he hasn't been sent to the trials to prepare for the first-up assignment, there's plenty of confidence from connections that he can return in winning fashion. The Long Forest-based horseman has opted for the fresh approach with the seven-year-old, who last competed in the Great Southern Star when well beaten by champion stablemate Tornado Valley. "His work has been really strong the last two weeks and I've been really happy with him," Gath told "We could have trialled him but then our theory was that last time we raced him first-up he virtually sat three-wide the whole way and won a Group 1 race (2019 Bill Collins Trotters Sprint). So he does go pretty well fresh and he has had a fair bit of work. "He is well advanced in his preparation. I would expect that he would (win). I know you never just turn up and win - you have still got to earn it - but there is no doubt he is the best performed horse in the race and he can make his own luck. "He is in really good order and we expect a really good performance will be there (tonight)." McLovin was sent to New Zealand for a tilt at the Inter Dominion series late last year, but a mystery illness saw him never compete in the heats. He returned to Australia and had three runs through the early part of the year before being sent out for a break. "He had about two or three weeks off in New Zealand and then I got him back here and had the three runs," Gath said. "He's had six weeks off and now he's back. He never had any injuries, he just got quite sick." McLovin will go around as a short-priced favourite in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120), which comes up during Saturday's evening card at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Gath stable also has Moonlight Dream engaged in the race, while other threats might come from first-up pair Doug and Egee Money for Jess Tubbs and Anton Golino respectively. Saturday will see the third installment of the Melton double-header, with the early morning card kicking off from 8.55am before the second program fires up from 4.49pm. While Gath felt McLovin was clearly his best winning chance on the night, he said Hit The Sky was probably his next best chance at more generous odds in the Benstud Standardbreds Pace (1720m, NR 50-59). TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (morning), R1 N6, SOUNDSOFCASH Has galloped at her two starts to date but she is very handy when she puts it altogether. She settled four back on the inside, moved into the death seat at the bell and put a large gap on the field at the end to win impressively. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (night), R2 N3, FISCAL FANTASY Dropped back to last, was held up badly for a run and when she gained a clear passage DAWNS PEACH was already away for the prize. She came out very wide on the home turn and finished quickly, without being pushed out to the line, for an eye-catching second. REPORT & REPLAY     HRV - Tim O'Connor

Trainer Emma Stewart has grabbed another piece of harness racing history. She took out the first race in a new morning timeslot for the sport at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. Beautiful Women ($1.70 favourite) led home a 3yo trifecta for Stewart's Cardigan stable. Having her second start, Beautiful Women is a half-sister to former top flight juvenile pacer Our Little General, which was also trained by Stewart. Our Little General was a multiple group 1 winner, including the 2017 Victoria Derby, as a 2yo and 3yo - winning 15 times in Australia before being exported to the United States. Stewart went to have a treble on the seven-race program. In a massive day she added another four winners at Melton on Saturday night. It was also a memorable day for Ballarat 17-year-old Connor Clarke, who drove his first double at Melton on Saturday night to give him three wins over the two meetings. Reprinted with permission of The Courier

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