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Great Western gelding Wheatsheaf Avaball will greet the harness racing starter for the 200th time in the APG Sale Pace on Monday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. It will be the popular 11-year-old’s last time at the races. Trainer-driver Michelle Wight said “Charlie”, as he’s known in the stables, would spend his retirement years on the family property. “He’s here for life,” she said. “He has been preparing for his retirement. He has been broken to saddle and he even made an appearance at the Ararat show this year, finishing third in his lead class before backing up at Horsham races the next day sporting curls from being plaited up!” Wight and husband Craig first leased Wheatsheaf Avaball in 2010 from Darren Cole, Terang horse trainer and Wheatsheaf Hotel proprietor. The couple purchased him three years later when their lease expired. Now, in the words of Wight, “Charlie is so much part of the family that we bought his mum from the Alabar sale a few years ago. We now also have Charlie’s three-year-old sister by Grinfromeartoear and a yearling three-quarter brother by Mafioso”. RE-LIVE WHEATSHEAF AVABALL'S TERANG WIN FROM MARCH LAST YEAR Although he’s never won a metropolitan race, Wheatsheaf Avaball has been a rock-solid competitor every time he’s stepped on to a racetrack, earning over $111,000 with 17 wins and a further 60 minor placings. “He is such a tough and honest horse that I have often gotten Facebook messages from random people asking after him or congratulating us after a win,” Wight said. “We were going to retire him last year when he got to $100,000 (in stakes) but he was still going so well that we decided to aim for the 200 starts. “He loves local tracks and has an amazing record at Horsham. He hasn’t won many races there but produced some huge runs. “It’s funny when you go back through his race replays, so many times the caller says as they go over the line, ‘big run by Wheatsheaf’ or something along those lines.” Wheatsheaf Avaball has drawn barrier five in the third race on Monday night at Melton.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 09 January 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 09 January 2017

Streamers, Santa and the pitter-patter of some proud pony hooves will engulf Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday, when the trots celebrate the harness racing season with the Kids Christmas Race Night. The much-loved Christmas pony trots race and parade will again steal the show, while children can also enjoy a special night out via the jumping castle, fairy floss, face painting and a visit from Santa. Among those embracing the Christmas family flavour will be the Alfords, with trainer and mum Alison, dad and famed driver Chris and children Katie, 9, and Sam, 6, set for a jolly night. And Dad, reigning Victorian state and metropolitan driver of the year, is going to have to share the limelight with Sam, whose enjoying his debut season as a pony trots driver. “Pony trots are such a great way to start in the sport,” Alison said. “Sam grew up looking through the fence at the big boys and now he feels like a big boy himself. “He goes to every meeting I can get to. He works his pony at home and dresses in Lennytheshark colours, because he wants to replicate his dad and David Aiken, who are his heroes.” Sam’s loyal steed is Sir Bai, or Bailey when the 23-year-old doesn’t have his race face on, a veteran who has guided many to the pony trots finishing post. Alison said he had helped provide a great education to her six-year-old. “(Sam) knows the drill,” she said. “Our rule is if you don’t work him, you don’t race him. He works him a few times each week, rugging him up before and after school. (Bailey’s) great for him. I’ve never seen a kid so happy to run last.” But it doesn’t come without its challenges, one of which is presented by Saturday night’s seasonal celebration. “We are agonizing over the outfit for the Christmas parade,” she said. It’s a problem they’ll potentially tackle as a family, with nine-year-old Katie, a show jumper and part-time pony trots stablehand, among those helping her brother in the “big family involvement”. The family activities start from 6pm on Saturday, December 17, with entry free to all. The night will also feature some great racing, including the $30,000 Popular Alm Free For All Group 3 and the $20,000 Group 3 Aldebaran Park R C Freestone Trotters Cup. And there will be two big Group 1s, with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic three-year-old trotting colts and geldings and fillies finals, each worth $50,000. For more details about the Kids Christmas Race Night see the flier. For more details about the pony trots click here. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 17 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 17 December 2016

Midnightatpinevale, Aballofmuscle, Truscott Hall and Garston Girl all won their way through to $50,000 harness racing finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. The four three-year-old trotters won their $10,000 heats, with all four heats broadcast live into France where punters wagered on the races via the French tote (PMU). The $50,000 finals, separate races for fillies and colts/geldings, will be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, December 17. The Monday night Melton meetings broadcast into France are an important part of Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) efforts to showcase the industry to overseas markets with the industry receiving vital revenue via wagering. In addition to winning the $5000 first place prizemoney last night the connections of two of the four heat winners, Midnightatpinevale (by Lawman out of Midnight Rush) and Garston Girl (by Lawman out of Pocket Fantasy), received $7000 Vicbred first win bonuses. Midnightatpinevale, driven and trained by Amy Tubbs, led all the way in a mile rate of 2:00.5 to win the first heat of the fillies’ Classic over 1720m by 2m over fast-finishing Star In Sight (Chris Svanosio) with Breezin Around (Greg Sugars) third. Peter Manning trained Garston Girl (Sugars) to win the second fillies’ heat, rating 2:00.4 to score by 3.6m over Rosanna Lindy in second (Rodney Petroff), with Margaret Ruth (Anne-Maree Conroy) running on well for third. Aballofmuscle (Muscle Mass-Baileys Model) and Truscott Hall (Angus Hall-Truscott Photo) won the colts’ and geldings heats, both driven by Chris Alford. Aballofmuscle defeated runner-up Goodtime Pe Rabbit (Glen Craven) and Garshaway (Jodi Quinlan) in a mile rate of 2:02.8, while Truscott Hall rated 2:00.7 and was 2.1m too strong for Magicool (Matthew Craven) with All Muscle (Sugars) third. Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic heats are restricted to Vicbred eligible horses, who have not won total stakes in excess of $10,000 at acceptance time for the heats. “Vicbred is the most important futurity series we have,” trainer Larry Eastman says. The Vicbred Platinum program is backed by the Victorian Daniel Andrews Government, which reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to the scheme in May. HRV’s Vicbred program is worth over $9 million each year in bonuses and stake money and provides incentives for people to “think Vicbred” and “industry first” when breeding and purchasing standardbreds. Find out more about Vicbred at Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The internationalisation of Victorian harness racing entered a new phase at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday when renowned French reinsman and trainer, Jean-Etienne Dubois, guided the horse he bred and owns to victory. A winner of famous French race the Prix d’Amerique and Sweden’s Elitloppet, Dubois made his Australian debut driving My Tribeca to victory in Saturday night’s Benstud Standardbreds Trot. It was the Italian bred five-year-old’s first open-age metropolitan win and she did it with ease, doing plenty of work in the run but still cruising to a 12m win. “It’s always easy when you get the better horse,” Dubois said post-race. “She was perfect. Pulling a bit hard, but she’s very good, you can’t do much better than that.” SEE JEAN-ETIENNE DUBOIS' POST-RACE INTERVIEW Throwing the keys to Dubois also gifted great joy to My Tribeca’s trainer, Anton Golino. “That was probably, to this day, one of the biggest highlights of my career,” Golino said. “He’s an idol to me. I worked for his father (Jean-Pierre Dubois) and he is probably regarded as the greatest horseman in the world, and Jean-Etienne is about his equal. "It was more than I could dream of. We’ve become great friends and it was a privilege for me. I really enjoyed it.” Dubois, now based at Mittagong in New South Wales, said he felt at home on the track. “It’s always good when you win,” he said. “It’s a nice track. It looks very much like the track we have in Sweden or up in Europe, bit different to our track in France, but it’s a good track.” Plenty more joy appears in their path, with My Tribeca developing nicely. “She is just learning to be a better racehorse,” Golino said. “She’s only four by actual breeding age, having been Northern Hemisphere bred, and has only had 13 starts so she is still a baby. “We know she’s very good, but are still wary about how far we push her. They are racehorses, they have got to race, but we don’t want to over race her.” The temptation could be great to point My Tribeca towards summer’s headline trots races, including the Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. With Kiwis Speeding Spur and Monbet ruled out and Keystone Del having challenges this campaign, the Group 1 $300,000 prize is calling. “There is a window with a few having dropped off, but once you get to that level it’s hard, they are all good horses,” Golino said. The French connection continues at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic trotting heats will be broadcast into France. The greater exposure will continue on Monday nights up until February 13, and then further select nights will follow with 80 races to be broadcast into France in 2017. WATCH MY TRIBECA'S WIN IN FULL VIEW Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016

There was no stepping on Blue Suede Hooves on Saturday night, despite the Steve Cleave trained and driven harness racing gelding bumping into a $1.04 shot in the form of Cant Refuse at Tabcorp Park Melton. Punters sent Cant Refuse out at the seemingly unbackable odds of $1.04 in the Cogs Services Pace Final, but a win for that pacer never looked likely as pacemaker Four Starzzz Forsa ran hard throughout and Cleave and Blue Suede Hooves enjoyed cover on the back of the leader before sprinting to victory in the $10,000 event. “Once John (Justice) got to the front and kept rolling I knew we were in with a big chance,” Cleave, who trains in Chintin, said. “Once the $1.06 pop was out there doing a bit of work it was open for us to come through.” HEAR FROM THE WINNING DRIVERS AT MELTON Blue Suede Hooves is a well-named son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of Presidential Ball mare Presidential Night. Cleave has enjoyed four wins from 20 starts with the pacer. With only a small team in work, Cleave is enjoying a prosperous period having also enjoyed success aboard Springfield Tattoo last month. “We’ve had a great month this last month and now we’ve got a win to star this month, so hopefully it can continue on,” Cleave said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The return of Tee Cee Bee Macray highlights Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton harness racing program. The Alan Tubbs-trained five-year-old contests the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Pace over 2240 metres, first-up since an unlucky second to arch rival Ideal For Real in the Breckon Farms Breeders Crown Final. The Aldebaran Park Trot features K D Muscles, who is in terrific form but will face a stiff test against The Boss Man, who was terrific in defeat last weekend. But the most enthralling news story on the card could be the booking of Jean-Etienne Dubois to pilot Italian bred My Tribeca in the Benstud Standardbreds Trot. Dubois bred the five-year-old Goetmals Wood-Image mare and races her in the stables of Cardigan’s Anton Golino. The Frenchman has won 1500 races as a trainer and has more than 1200 victories in the cart and in saddle in mounted events. His biggest success came in 1996 when he trained and drove Coktail Jet to win the world’s biggest race, the Prix d’Amérique for legendary French thoroughbred and trotting owner Daniel Wildenstein. “It’s pretty exciting,” Golino said. “He is a great driver who has won an Elitloppet, a Prix d’Amérique, his won just about every major race in Europe and has trained multiple champions including Coktail Jet but also had Quaker Jet and The Best Madrik, who stand at Haras des Trotteurs. “I’ve asked him a couple of times if he would come down and drive and he was never really interested and recently he said I’ll come down and we’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure if he’ll continue to drive her (My Tribeca) after this but we’ll see what happens … it’s a privilege to have him drive her.” It will be Dubois’s first Australian drive. Golino’s association with the Dubois family is well documented. During his stint in France he worked for Dubois’ father, Jean-Pierre Dubois. “Pat (Driscoll) and Jean-Étienne Dubois are great friends and through the stallions such as Love You and the horse we had out here last year, Used To Me, we’ve become good friends and it’s been a great opportunity, and also for breeding in this country,” Golino said. My Tribeca goes into Saturday night’s contest off a down-the-track result after galloping last week. “She was a bit stirred up and a bit fresh and drawing on the inside didn’t help her. It’s better if she has horses either side of her.” The first of nine races on Saturday kicks off at 6:30pm. by Luke Humphreys Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016

Lightly raced seven-year-old gelding Allies Mate delivered a Group 3 harness racing triumph to his connections, trainer Alan Donohoe and reinsman Chris Alford at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The son of McArdle out of Fake Left mare Mon Repos scored a neck victory in the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship Final with a 1:54.2 run. There were great scenes trackside as Allies Mate's connections celebrated the win enthusiastically.  From gate five in the 1720-metre dash Alford had Allies Mate one-by-one at the 1200m mark after Zermanion ran by early leader Bazzas Art to get the top and Egodan whipped to the chair  from his back-row draw. When Im Lonely took off three-wide down the back stretch Alford stayed in and held the back of Egodan, who hit the front for Rod Petroff at the quarter pole, allowing Alford room to swing three-deep on the home corner. Once Egodan and Allies Mate hit top gear for the final fight to the wire it was Allies Mate who out-sprinted his rival, the last quarter 27.3 and last half 55.7 as Allies Mate notched his seventh career win and took his stake earnings in excess of $50,000. Egodan was game in second, with Im Lonely third for Greg Sugars and consistent Hollys Miss Molly fourth for Robbie Walters. Earlier on the card Metro Mike (Metropolitan-Tuscan Skies) took out the Pridemore Electrics Sokyola Sprint over 1720m in 1:53.9 courtesy of a 26.5 last quarter (55.1 last half). Major Secret initially led from barrier three, but Metro Mike and driver Jason Lee came around early and dashed to the front from his back-row draw, giving the Emma Stewart-trained stablemates the lead and box-seat positions. Once in front, Metro Mike dictated and ripped up the lane to hold off an audacious  Im Corzin Terror, whose run was super in second, and Major Secret, who couldn’t come on to challenge the leader once he’d surrendered the front. Veteran Smudge Bromac was fourth. Metro Mike’s win gave Lee a double in the cart, as he also drove Desdon Murruffy (Mordern Art-Spellmaker) to an all-the-way win in the Cogs Services Pace for trainer Matthew Craven, which also gave Craven a winning double after he trained and drove El Paco (Yankee Paco-Kellybrooke) to take out the Aldebaran Park Chris Howe Trotters Cup over 2240m in 1:58.2. Long odds-on favourite Maori Time dropped out sharply to only beat the ill-behaved My Tribeca over the line and the vet will check the Brent Lilley star mare to ensure all is well moving forward. The Boss Man finished second for Scott Dyer and Ellen Tormey in the Trotters Cup, producing a brave performance to only just get pipped at the post, with Hinault – a stablemate of the winner – finishing third. Metro Mike’s win also gave trainer Emma Stewart a winning double at Melton because her five-year-old Mach Three-Star Chaser mare Our Star Dust won the DNR Logistics Pace for Chris Alford. That win was the first leg of a winning double for Alford, too, given his later success with Allies Mate. Another driver in great form is Greg Sugars, who also walked away with a winning double courtesy of six-year-old Modern Art-Bella Aurora gelding Heza Modern Guy winning the HERO Life After Racing Pace for trainer Kari Males, and Fairest Fella (Artistic Fella-Mirra Mirra) winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series E Final for trainer Michael Hughes from barrier 13. Other winners were five-year-old Elsu-Fluffy Handcuffs gelding Feel The Buzz for Maro Stella and Brad Chisholm in the Pace Final, flying mare Zibibbo (Shadow Play-Karamea Dreaming) in the Allied Express Transport 4YO Pace for Kerryn Manning, and unbeaten three-year-old Star Of Memphis (Rock N Roll Heaven-Star Of Venus) for Andy and Kate Gath in the SBG Accountants Pace to finish the night. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Tabcorp Park Melton hosted the eighth annual Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame gala presentation dinner last night. In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees and the elevation of Popular Alm to ‘Legend status’, the night featured the Harness Racing Australia Media Awards, the VRHMA Certificates of Merit and the Trainers and Drivers Association Certificates of Merit. Presented by the VHRMA in conjunction with Tabcorp Park, the Trainers and Drivers Association, SEW Eurodrive and Harness Racing Victoria,  six inductees to the Hall of Fame were honoured plus one legend of the sport. Hall of Fame inductees: Don Dove Jack (JP) McKay Ben Coram Jack & John Campbell Adaptor Carlotta’s Pride Legend status Popular Alm Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association Meritorious Awards Graeme Prosser Jim Matthews (Posthumous) VHRMA Certificates of Merit Ron Anderson (Former HRV Board member) Stan Rutland (Former Bendigo HRC President) Neil Keamy (Long time press photographer) Dr Peter Ellis (Kilmore Veterinary Surgeon) Neil Richmond (Former HRV Board member) Kyle Galley (Long Time Media Participant) Len Baker

Breaking news at Lilley Land, the Queen has overthrown the King. Most harness racing analysts believe the coup will be short-lived, with the King currently recuperating. However, some are boldly suggesting there is a changing of the guard at the top of the Victorian trots. In the past fortnight reigning Victorian trotting mare of the year Maori Time has claimed back-to-back victories over more highly acclaimed stablemate, and reigning trotting male of the year, Keystone Del. And last night the Brent Lilley-trained mare was completely dominant, while Del only beat one runner home. Important note, a post-race veterinarian’s examination revealed Keystone Del to be suffering cardiac arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat – and he was stood down by stewards pending a vet’s certificate, ECG and one successful trial. But no matter how you look at it, Maori Time’s win in last night’s $50,000, Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint was dominant. The seven-year-old daughter of stallion Pegasus Spur out of Sundonna burnt the candle at both ends of the 1720m race to record a 1:55.4 mile rate, going coast-to-coast for a 7.5m win over Sydneysider On Thunder Road. Maori Time’s victory – her second straight success in this race – was even more impressive when you consider what she had to overcome in the run, revealed post-event by winning reinsman Chris Alford. “We had a bit of drama… she started belting the wheel out of the gate and wanted to bowl along. She was all right to the winning post and then she wanted to get going again,” he said. Maori Time hummed through the first quarter in 28.6secs, notched a 29.7secs second split, and then went 28.5secs and 29.4secs for the third and fourth stanzas. Her sustained speed was too hot to handle for the opposition. It is also worth keeping in mind there was a stiff breeze up the straight last night, so conditions weren’t conducive to ultra-quick times. The win followed a last-start Derby Royale Trotters Free-for-All triumph where she also had Keystone Del’s measure. “She’s lost none of her zest, that’s for sure,” Alford said, referring to the fact he drove Maori Time four years ago when she was a three-year-old filly. “She’ll probably be targeting the major races (over summer) and she’s not out of them.” Keystone Del is an absolute superstar and has earned over $1 million in stakes. So while the Queen is keeping the throne warm for the time being it must be likely the King will be back where he belongs. Then again, father time waits for no man… Meanwhile, from a squaregaiting viewpoint the upcoming Summer of Glory looks tantalising. On Victoria Cup night (January 30) we’ll see the $100,000 Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix, and one week later on Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup night the $300,000 Group 1 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star over 2760m should prove to be one of the races of the summer after the news during the week that New Zealand superstar Monbet is crossing the ditch in search of more riches. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

“We’ve had some really nice horses, but I think potentially this guy could be the best I’ve had,” said harness racing trainer Dean Braun, moments after his talented five-year-old Cruz Bromac won the Group 2 $50,000 Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. “He’s pretty scary in what he can do and he’s relatively green.” Braun’s five-year-old Falcon Seelster gelding put in a super performance, punching through the breeze outside Alotbettor and while the pace took a toll on the New South Wales visitor Cruz Bromac muscled on. The $50,000 stakes were hotly contested with Admiral Bronski, Mister Wickham and El Major pouring on the pressure, but the leader held up. “It was a really good field tonight,” driver Chris Alford said. “He had to do all the work sitting outside the leader, but things worked out OK early, we didn’t have to burn too hard and then got to the breeze nice and he was still really strong up the straight.” For such a field, the first two quarters were ticked off pretty comfortably enabling Cruz Bromac to hit the line with a 55.2 last 800m and win in a 1:56.4 mile rate. “He’s strong, but he has really high speed as well. He’s still a little bit funny in his gate, but once he all sorts himself out he will be a really good horse.” It’s a fact well-known to Braun, who has a soft spot for Cruz Bromac. “I don’t get sick with too many horses making me nervous, he is one of the three. He’s a very special horse,” Braun said. “To have Chris on him tonight and win this race, I’ve had a bit of luck in this race, it’s pretty special. “He’s had 15 starts and the sectionals he can run are pretty amazing really, and he’s not a one-trick pony as some people think he is. He can sit parked like he did tonight, he can lead, he’s devastating off the sprint as well. He’s very, very fast. “We will just see what happens. This was his man target early in the season. We will just give him a quiet time after this and reassess.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

All the talk was about Lennytheshark in the lead-up but it was a different flash of Perth-bound yellow that dropped harness racing jaws at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s Sydney raider, Bling It On, burst home late to clip the Australian Horse of the Year, winning in a 1:51.4 mile rate, just 0.6 of a second outside Cold Major’s track record. The win in the Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint further swelled Bling It On’s seven-figure career stakes and come much to the joy of driver Luke McCarthy. “He’s been a great horse right from the start of his career,” McCarthy said. “He won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old, he’s gone over a million dollars. We gave him a good spell, he’s only had the three runs back this time and we think he’s going as good as he’s ever gone.” McCarthy made a play for the front from gate six but soon eased back, with plenty of pace underneath him from Major Crocker, who found the front, and Exciteusinthecity. “There was a heap of speed early,” McCarthy said. “We came out as quick as them, but there was too much tempo underneath then so I just ducked in and thought I’d wait for Guaranteed to come around and try and get the back of him. He always takes you a long way and it worked out really good.” Gavin Lang looped Bling It On to take Guaranteed to the breeze, and then down the back straight Lennytheshark stepped out three-wide and the race was on in earnest. Major Crocker’s lead was gobbled up by Guaranteed and Lennytheshark by the turn while Bling It On lay in wait, having the last crack at Lennytheshark and grabbing David Aiken’s superstar on the line. “You are never confident you can get past Lenny because he is such a great horse,” McCarthy said post-race. “We’ve just been so happy with this guy, we are just glad to see him hit the line like that and hopefully he can hold the form for the Inter Dominion.” Bling It On is expected to fly to Perth later today, in addition to a host of Victoria’s topline horses, to contest the Inter Dominion, with heats on November 25, 29 and December 2, before the December 9 final. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The Markovina Free for All, to be run at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo tomorrow night, has attracted a high quality line-up. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) last month made the decision to move the Markovina from Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton program to Bendigo due to the flight transporting horses to the Perth Inter Dominion booked to take off Sunday. Trainer David Aiken has elected to run both his Inter Dominion big guns this weekend, reigning Perth champion Lennytheshark stepping out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night in the Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint, while outright Inters favourite Hectorjayjay ($3.40 with runs tomorrow night from barrier six in the $20,000 Markovina FFA. Hectorjayjay is a commanding favourite tomorrow night ($1.65 into $1.40 with, but he bumps into his last-start Yarra Valley Pacing Cup vanquisher in Restrepo from the Emma Stewart stable. Restrepo is $2.60 with and driver Chris Alford predicted the eight-year-old son of Art Major would improve on his first-up win. But the superstar reinsman also placed a caveat on his statement, saying it would be a tricky task to upstage Hector twice in succession. “It was well documented he’d had 20 months off (before Yarra Valley) but his run there was super. He did have a nice, easy run, but he still ran a super half and I’m sure the run will have done him the world of good,” Alford said. “It’ll be a hard task tomorrow in such a small field and with Hector being there. But I’m sure he’ll go great again.” The pair dominates the market but there is not one slouch among the chasing brigade tomorrow, with Group 2 winning speedster Stunning Grin drawn the pole for Rod Petroff, dual Inter Dominion placegetter and Group 1 winner Flaming Flutter in gate two for Greg Sugars, reigning Country Cups Champion Yankee Rockstar to in three for Gavin Lang and evergreen 36-time winner Smudge Bromac the rank outsider of the field for David Aiken in barrier five. Meanwhile, legendary drivers will contest the annual Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot tomorrow night at Bendigo (Race 4). Cliff Powell, Neville Welsh, Peter Manning, Keith Pratt, Graeme Whittle, Brian Gath, Graeme Lang, Dick Lee, Bill Spiteri, Jim O’Sullivan and Noel Shinn will all jump in the gig in the 2150-metre race at 7.40pm. The race meeting is the annual ‘Memorial night’ meet, honouring past Bendigo and district greats such as Ken and Daphne Pocock, Ron Pocock, Less Pratt, Ted Manton, Henry McDermott and Merv Dillon. Bendigo’s 10-race card kicks off at 6pm. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Bendigo, Friday 11 November 2016 Form guide for Bendigo, Friday 11 November 2016

Harness racing driver/trainer Darren Hancock will bring plenty of thunder and lightning to the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. While Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley appears to hold the aces with last-start Derby Royale winner Maori Time drawn to lead in gate two over her pet trip (1720m), and the big daddy of Australian trotting Keystone Del lining up in barrier seven, Hancock will have no qualms dictating terms with classy Sydneysider On Thunder Road from gate five. While it’s unlikely the front will be up for grabs, Hancock will ensure Saturday night’s Group 1 is truly run. “I can sit outside and keep her pretty honest,” he said. “I’ll be making sure it’s a genuinely run race that's for sure. (On Thunder Road) is a good stayer. If he found the front they wouldn’t beat him, but he’ll just keep going from the breeze.” The Pheasants Nest based trainer has scored back-to-back wins with the seven-year-old gelding at Menangle, On Thunder Road taking out a Group 2 3009m standing start on October 30 and a free-for-all over a mile on November 5 in 1:57.3. Anthony Butt will have decisions to make aboard Keystone Del from the wide draw, but if they run along up front he should be suited as he does possess a booming finish. The up-and-comer at this level could be last-start Yarra Valley Trot Cup winner The Boss Man, who should lob beautifully from barrier three and off a hot pace looms as a knockout threat for Junortoun trainer Scott Dyer. Asked how he thought the map might play out, Hancock said: “I don’t think (Keystone Del) he’ll go forward, but obviously I don’t know, and I’ll certainly be staying in front of him if I can”. But take one thing to the bank, Hancock is confident. “I am. I know how good they are. Keystone Del is a champion and Maori Time won well last start and she’s a good miler. But we’ll be keeping them honest and I’m confident with where mine is at.” On Thunder Road’s travelling buddy El Major will also be chasing feature race success in the Group 2 Casey Classic over 2240m from barrier eight. A winner at Menangle two runs back, the four-year-old entire will benefit from the peg-line draw. “He’s going good at the moment and he should get a nice trip from there and run a good race,” Hancock said. Saturday night’s Melton meeting will also feature the Grand Final of the TAB Great Trots Tipoff, with TAB’s Nick Quinn and HRV’s John Dunne hosting a live event in the Toolern Room. HRV social media channels will cover the Grand Final, where tipsters will be battling it out for $5000. The confirmed Grand Final line-up will consist of tipsters ‘Armsofaraff’, ‘Showgrounds’, ‘BallaratBertie’, ‘Vandyk’, ‘Burglar’, ‘David81’ and ‘Aliasunavailable’. There will also be several TAB voucher giveaways via the second chance barrel for punters having a wager in the Toolern Room and Eynesbury Golf vouchers also up for grabs. The night will also feature the 2016 HRV Media Awards and the ‘Legends’ function, which will see trots and AFL greats congregating for a night at the trots. To book email or phone Bianca Walker on 8746 0626.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 November 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 November 2016

At the Geelong Harness Racing meeting on 18 October 2016, Stewards reconvened an inquiry into Mr Nathan Purdon's drive on Ohoka Punter NZ in Race 6 the 'VHRSC Classic' at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016. Mr Purdon explained that prior to this race he was unaware of the change of tactics notified for Stunning Grin to be driven less aggressively circumstances permitting and given that, he was satisfied to remain in a position back at the wheel of the leader Stunning Grin during the early and middle stages, despite the relatively slow tempo during the lead time and first quarter. Mr Purdon added that given the manner in which Stunning Grin had been driven to maintain the lead at its previous start at Melton on 29 September 2016 he was reluctant to challenge for the lead and he was also mindful that Ohoka Punter NZ had paced roughly shortly after the start and that an ear plug had also prematurely released. Mr Purdon further explained that due to these factors he elected not to challenge for the lead as he also considered Ohoka Punter NZ may over-race had he of not been able to obtain the lead. Ultimately, Ohoka Punter NZ finished in 3rd place beaten 1.9 metres as a $1.30 supertab favorite. After giving consideration to further evidence from Mr Purdon and Licensed Trainer Mr Dean Braun who was present to assist Mr Purdon, Mr Purdon pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 239A which reads: A person whose conduct or negligence has led or could lead to a breach of the rules is guilty of an offence. The particulars of the charge being that Mr Purdon as the trainer and driver of Ohoka Punter NZ in Race 6 at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016 was negligent in failing to have an awareness of the notification of driving tactics declared by the connections of Stunning Grin in the aforementioned race and due to not being aware of such publicised information, Mr Purdon failed to progress forward in an attempt to lead during the early and middle stages, when Stewards considered that based on the combination of the declared tactics of Stunning Grin and the times recorded during the lead time of 49.1 seconds and first quarter of 31.7 seconds it was reasonable for Mr Purdon to attempt to do so. In assessing penalty Stewards acknowledged Mr Purdon's guilty plea, relative inexperience as a licensed person, personal circumstances, the expectation that particularly as a licensed driver Mr Purdon and fellow drivers ought to be aware of such information for the professional preparation of driving in a race, especially given that the declaration of intended driving tactics in accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 44(1) and HRV Change of Tactics Policy is information that can affect the manner in which a race is tactically run and therefore has the potential to influence a drivers obligations under the provisions of AHRR 149. Mr Purdon was fined $500. HRV Stewards intend to recommence an inquiry on Friday, 21 October 2016, in relation to the tactics adopted on Stunning Grin by driver Rodney Petroff and trainer Vince Vallelonga in Race 6 the 'VHRSC Classic' at Tabcorp Park Melton on 8 October 2016. Link to HRV Change of Tactics (COT) Policy. Victoria - Supplementary Reports Yarra Valley – 10 October 2016 RACE 6 – JOHN & MARLENE’S 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PACE Steve Cleave, trainer or Blue Suede Hooves, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the performance. Mr Cleave added that Blue Suede Hooves had worked strongly subsequent to the race and has engaged the gelding at Kilmore on 19 October 2016. Brent Lilley, trainer of Best Scribe, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the performance. Mr Lilley added that he was disappointed with the performance of Best Scribe and has sent the gelding to the spelling paddock. Shepparton – 11 October 2016 RACE 7 – BOHBRON PARK PACE (2ND DIV) Danny Thackaray, trainer of Shezarocka, has reported that the mare had pulled up well since the race. Mr Thackeray added a veterinary examination of Shezarocka subsequent to the race revealed the mare incurred some minor grazing and bruising as a result of the incident and had been given a slight let up in her work. Shezarocka is engaged at Shepparton on 20 October 2016. Tabcorp Park Melton – 14 October 2016 RACE 5 – EDITHVALE PROBUS PACE Kerryn Manning, trainer of Jaccka Art NZ, has reported that a veterinary examination has revealed a slight strain in the gelding’s near fore suspensory ligament. Ms Manning added that Jaccka Art NZ has been sent to the spelling paddock. RACE 9 – ALDEBARAN PARK TROT Kerryn Manning, trainer of Matatoki NZ, has reported that the gelding had pulled well since the performance. Ms Manning added that Matatoki NZ has been sent to the spelling paddock. Swan Hill – 15 October 2016 RACE 5 – HARAS DES TROTTEURS JIM ROBERTS SWAN HILL TROTTERS CUP Peter Lindberg, trainer of Robbie Zuve, has reported that the gelding had pulled up well since the race. Mr Lindberg added that he was satisfied with the performance of Robbie Zuve and that the gelding had worked well subsequent to the race. RACE 8 – HELLOWORLD PACE Joe Costa, trainer of Bernies Idol, has reported that a veterinary examination and blood tests taken from the gelding have failed to reveal any abnormalities. Mr Costa added that Bernies Idol had pulled up well since the performance and that the gelding had worked strongly subsequent to the race. Bernies Idol is engaged at Maryborough on 23 October 2016. Harness Racing Victoria

Mario Attard hopes his beloved boy is ready to become a man. Dont Hold Back will step out Friday night in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace, the Courage Under Fire colt’s first exposure to open age metropolitan harness racing. “He has got to take it to the next level now,” Attard said. Attard is the just turned four-year-old’s owner, trainer and, more often than not, driver, and was at the centre of jubilant scenes when Dont Hold Back won the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series title on July 2. A season of age racing opportunities still lie ahead, but they will be intermingled with transitioning to M class racing, beginning with Friday night’s Group 3 $30,000 feature. Unfortunately it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. “I had (the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Pace) in mind and wanted to give him a couple of starts before hand, but about three weeks ago I took him down to the beach, where I have taken him plenty of times, and he cut his leg,” Attard said. “That put me back again. It is tough to go into a race like this without races under his belt.” Dont Hold Back trialled at Melton last Tuesday when third to Cruz Bromac and Field Major, and then again last night when he won in a 1:59.9 mile by a head from Wingatui Dew and Charlie Macsheen. The next chapter is clearly still to be written. “He’s got to step up to the next level,” Attard reiterated. “This horse has done what he’s done basically out of the paddock, I’ve nursed him for as long as I can, and now it’s make or break for him as far as making the step to the elite level.  “I will try and race him against four-year-olds. If he comes up to the next level I might go to Perth to contest the Golden Nugget, but that would be more about the holiday and the experience given how Chicago Bull is going. With him you take it day by day and he’ll let me know where we go to from here.” Friday night’s racing at Tabcorp Park Melton will also feature The Pegasus Club Pace, an $18,000 prize that has lured a nominee for Emma Stewart’s smart mare Berisari in addition to Our Missionary Man, Johnny Fox and last start winner Lucky Lombo. Race programme for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 21 October 2016 Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)    

Whereibylong pushed her harness racing career winning strike rate to above 50 per cent last Friday night with an all-the-way win in the Harness Breeders Victoria Tailamade Lombo at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Emma Stewart-trained six-year-old mare, a daughter of mighty stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of well-performed Fake Left race mare and producer Bylong Bele,  stormed off the gate to lead at the 1720-metre start for Chris Alford and finished a half-neck clear of Hu Hu R U in the Group 3. “She might be a bit older now but she’s still got her zest for racing,” Alford said. “She stormed off the gate really well and just had a good little breather but really ripped home the last half.” Whereibylong produced a 54.6 final 800m (27.4 and 27.2). Alford said the mares’ Triple Crown races later in the season would most likely be Whereibylong’s aim. Whereibylong has won 20 races from 39 starts for $444,710 in stakes. Both Hu Hu R U and Juliette Bromac, who ran second and third in the Tailamade Lombo, produced strong finishes, Juliette Bromac’s 53.61 second-quickest of the night only behind fifth placegetter Mistressofillusion who also attacked the line. VIDEO: Hear from Chris Alford post-race after winning the Tailamade Lombo Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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