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Ricky May could hardly believe what he was hearing the other day when he got the call that Terror To Love had drawn the outside of the front line in this weekend's Victoria Cup. Time and again throughout his appearances in Australia, Terror To Love has drawn the worst possible barrier and Ricky thought they were well overdue for a decent marble. But  that was not to be and while the longest run of bad barriers in major races is set to continue on Saturday night, Ricky is far from conceding defeat with Terror To Love. " Last year Christen Me came from last at the 400 metres and six wide on the corner to run third so I don't think we are out of it at all" I drove Monkey King here from the same draw and we ran fourth with a terrible run so with a little bit of luck we can get some of it." "Seeing Franco Ledger run past them the other night has given the camp some confidence that we can be more than competitive," Ricky said. Post Saturday Ricky is really looking forward to the standing start Hunter Cup where the draw will not be half as influential as it is on Saturday night. Before then Ricky has the New Zealand Premier Mares Championship on Friday night at Addington on his radar and once again his drive Helena Jet has drawn poorly. Twice second to champion mare Adore Me in mares races over Xmas at Alexandra Park, Ricky thought Helena Jet would be very hard to beat with no Adore Me around but the Jeremes Jet mare has had the misfortune to draw outside her main rival, Venus Serena. Ricky though still thinks he can still find the front from barrier six on Friday night. " She has blinding gate speed so I am pretty committed to going forward with her." " She doesn't have many more runs left as she is in foal so we are not going to die wondering." "I think she is good enough to work early and still win the race," Ricky said. The master reinsman has been in great touch this season and the chances of a little bit of Ricky May magic over the weekend at both Addington and Melton cannot be discounted. Harnesslink Media

One of the forgotten stars of harness racing will make his return at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Sidelined since November 2013, Chancellor Cullen will be first-up in The Pure Steel for trainer Dean Braun. Before injury halted his career, Chancellor Cullen was regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the country, boasting 11 wins and three seconds from 16 Australian starts. The stallion’s victories include the McInerney Ford Classic, Melton Plate, The Graduate and Kilmore Cup, with the latter two handicaps - the same conditions as this weekend’s assignment. Although Chancellor Cullen is returning from a long spell, Braun is confident the six-year-old son of Christian Cullen is ready to kick-start his career on a winning note. “He had a slight strain in his suspensory, and although we could have pushed on with him, we felt he was too good to risk,” Braun said. “We’ve always had such a high opinion of him and felt a long break was the better option.” Drawn five, Chancellor Cullen faces tough opposition from New Zealand raider Bit Of A Legend, along with locals Smudge Broman and Savesomtimetodream. “Although he hasn’t raced for a while, he has had plenty of ground work and will be forward enough for this,” Braun said. Citing the Inter Dominion as Chancellor Cullen’s main mission, Braun has also earmarked next week’s A G Hunter Cup. Heats of the Inter Dominion are scheduled to be run on February 14, with the Final at Menangle on March 1. “I’d like to see him in the Hunter Cup, but it depends on how he gets through this week,” Braun said. “We are definitely looking at the Inter Dominion with him.” PAUL COURTS

If you build it, they will come. Bringing together Victoria’s two biggest summer gems – the TAB Victoria Cup and the Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup – has resulted in what long-time harness racing pundits are describing as the greatest ever Victorian Cup field. Long-time trots form analyst and scribe Bill Hutchison remarked at the TAB Victoria Cup barrier draw this morning at Eynesbury Golf Club that: “Depth wise this is the best Victoria Cup field I’ve ever seen.” Master of Ceremonies, Adam Hamilton, agreed. “It’s definitely the best overall Victoria Cup field I’ve seen in my time,” Hamilton said. The Australasian harness racing world is abuzz ahead of the Group 1, $400,000 feature race to be run over 2240 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The best from New Zealand, including three-time New Zealand Cup winner Terror To Love, reigning NZ Cup champion mare Adore Me and Miracle Mile hero Christen Me, will be hoping to take the cup back across the ditch, but the Australian brigade – spearheaded by Tasmanian superstar Beautide and a three-pronged Emma Stewart attack – Guaranteed, Philadelphia Man and Restrepo – will provide fierce resistance. “This race won’t be for the fainthearted,” said champion reinsman Gavin Lang, who is expected to pilot Guaranteed on Saturday night. Impressive five-year-old Lennytheshark, who took all before him as a four-year-old last season, drew the coveted pole for the Victoria Cup. Drawn alongside the David Aiken trained runner will be Geoff Webster’s last-start Shepparton Cup winner, Franco Ledger, who stunned Philadelphia Man and Lennytheshark to win last weekend. The race favourite, and a heavily backed one at that, is Beautide from gate three for trainer/driver James Rattray. Beautide hasn’t raced since finishing second to Christen Me in November’s Miracle Mile but has trialled impressively in recent times. Trainer Amanda Grieve drew gate five with her Ballarat Pacing Cup winner Im Corzin Terror. Grieve also has Chilli Palmer, the first emergency, in the race, who drew gate eight. Cran Dalgety’s superstar Kiwi Christen Me will come from gate six, while Terror To Love and Ricky May will be hoping to emulate their Cranbourne Cup win from December but will have to overcome a barrier seven draw here. West Australian star David Hercules comes out of nine, drawn to trail through nicely on the back of Franco Ledger for Victoria Cup winning reinswoman Kate Gath. Guaranteed and Gavin Lang have drawn gate 10, reigning Victoria Cup winner For A Reason is coming out of 11, superstar New Zealand mare Adore Me is in gate 12 and last-start Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Restrepo rounds out the field in gate 13. The trots world will pause for the big race at 9.32pm on Saturday.  Race 7 TAB VICTORIA CUP (GROUP 1) 9:32 PM  M0 Or Better. * The winner of the following races in 2014 will be exempt from ballot for this race - New Zealand Free For All, Miracle Mile, Cranbourne Pacing Cup and Ballarat Pacing Cup. * This race is a leg of the Pacers Grand Circuit. * Acceptance Fee - $2, 000. * Stakemoney of $3, 375 per horse to be paid to the 6th to 12th placegetters respectively. TRAINERS NOTE: * Nominations for this race close at Noon on Friday, December 19. * Late nominations for this race close at Noon on Monday, January 19. A late nomination fee of $2, 000 will be applicable. RBD. Prizemoney: $400,000 2240 METRES 2ND LEG DAILY DOUBLE, 3RD LEG QUADDIE, 5TH LEG BIG6 MOBILE START   Form Horse Trainer Other Eng. Driver   Class  Hcp 1 111s3 LENNYTHESHARK  D Aiken   Chris Alford   C10 M4  FR1 2 89151 FRANCO LEDGER NZ  G F Webster   Geoff Webster   C20 M14  FR2 3 4112s BEAUTIDE  J R Rattray   James Rattray   C37 M13  FR3 4 11112 PHILADELPHIA MAN  E J Stewart   Gavin Lang   C13 M4  FR4 5 61264 IM CORZIN TERROR NZ  A J Grieve       C16 M9  FR5 6 51121 CHRISTEN ME NZ  C T Dalgety   Dexter Dunn   C22 M14  FR6 7 44412 TERROR TO LOVE NZ  G T Court   Ricky May   C27 M21  FR7  ---------- Second Row ----------  8 020s3 CHILLI PALMER NZ (Em 1)  A J Grieve Balarat 30/01/2015     C9 M5  SR- 9 s1112 DAVID HERCULES  D A Thompson   Kate Gath   C33 M23  SR1 10 11231 GUARANTEED  E J Stewart   Gavin Lang   C16 M6  SR2 11 35177 FOR A REASON  B J McCarthy   Luke McCarthy   C20 M9  SR3 12 12111 ADORE ME NZ  M Purdon   Mark Purdon   C22 M12  SR4 13 s4421 RESTREPO  E J Stewart   Gavin Lang   C12 M5  SR5 BY CODY WINNELL 

Former kiwi pacer Easy On The Eye will be aimed at the Hunter Cup after his win in Monday's Frank and Edna Day Goulburn Cup. The Shane Tritton trained gelding led throughout to record his second Australian win but his 17th victory overall. "Easy On The Eye's form is faultless since he joined my stable if you ignore the Miracle Mile run and on that occasion we simply overdid it early," Tritton said. "I was extremely happy with his performance at Goulburn, he worked to the lead and controlled the race throughout so now I will take him to Victoria and hope to get a start in the Hunter Cup." Tritton did nominate Easy On The Eye and Suave Stuey Lombo for this Saturday night's Victoria Cup but both failed to make the final field. "We want to wish the connections of horses in the Victoria Cup the best of luck, it should be a great race, it is just a pity Suave Stuey Lombo couldn't gain a start because we would have started from the carpark if they had let us." "Easy On The Eye, Artistic Flite and Yayas Hot Spot will all go to Victoria this week and then after Saturday night's Ranji Bill Stakes at Menangle I will also send one of my four mares down but I just want to wait and see what happens this weekend first." The leading driver in New South Wales, Lauren Panella will drive at Melton on Saturday night and Tritton confirmed drivers that he has used recently will get another opportunity. "A lot of the drivers who have been driving for me will retain their drives this week, outside of Lauren I have been using David Morris, Bruce Birch and Blake Fitzpatrick as well." "We will go down for two weeks and be back for the Inter Dominion heats in Sydney." By Greg Hayes                

Last start Melton winner Fiery Achiever is on the market. Following the gelding’s victory at Tabcorp Park, trainer Lance Justice revealed Fiery Achiever is for sale. A handy son of Courage Under Fire, Fiery Achiever will suit interstate racing according to the premier mentor. “This horse is actually up for sale,” Justice revealed. “As he showed tonight he is capable of winning in town, but he will be better suited interstate. “Western Australia would be perfect for him as he would be hard to catch around Gloucester Park. “He led easily tonight and he has always had gate speed, so a track like Perth would be ideal.” Driven by Rodney Petroff, Fiery Achiever led from six before being eased to trail his stablemate, Toulouse Lautrec. Angled into the passing lane during the latter stages, Fiery Achiever regained the lead in the shadows of the post to score by a head, with Mister Livan a neck away third. “They have both been working well and I felt they would be right in the finish,” Justice said. “To run the quinella wasn’t unexpected and is a good result for the stable.” Stretching his record to 11 wins and 15 placings from 76 starts, Fiery Achiever will continue to contest suitable events until sold. “I haven’t got any major plans for him,” Justice said. “Just keep him going around in his class unless he is sold sooner.” PAUL COURTS

One of harness racing’s underrated stars will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Named after the star trotter of the mid 1990s, the Lenin Free-For-All is the program’s co-feature and has attracted a solid field, headed by new local, Keystone Del. Racing in sensational form, Keystone Del should be untroubled to extend his winning sequence to 12 despite drawing the outside of the front row. As for the honouree, a veteran of 107 starts, Lenin was trained by Ray Matthews and John Justice, who both enjoyed feature wins with the gelding. Debuting for trainer Ray Matthews as a four-year-old, Lenin opened his account with a victory at Maryborough. Successful at six of his first eight starts, with two placings also in the mix, the trotter then mixed his form before again finding his best. Making a quick transition through the grades, Lenin announced his arrival at the top with a gripping triumph in the 1991 V L Dullard Cup at Moonee Valley…a race Keystone Del captured at Ballarat three weeks ago. The son of Noodlum then captured the E B Cochran Cup before being sent for a well-earned spell. Returning with a pair of wins in late 1991, Lenin then mixed his form again before stringing together six wins, including the Freestone Cup. Transferred to the Justice stable, Lenin continued to compete against, and beat, the best Australasia had to offer, including another Dullard as well as a Cochran Cup win. A triple Inter Dominion finalist, the squaregaiter’s best result in the time-honoured series was a third behind Night Allowance and David Moss at Alexandra Park in 1993. After finishing towards the tail of field during his four starts in early 1996, Lenin was retired with the record of 41 wins, 11 second, eight thirds and earnings of $282,259. Lenin enjoyed his retirement as a member of the Pleasure Driving Club before passing away last April aged 28. PAUL COURTS

For those harness racing fans still working out their New Year’s Eve plans Tabcorp Park Melton has the answer. The home of the Victorian industry is gearing up for what promises to be a bumper race meeting and celebration. One the racing side of the equation, eight events will be hotly contested, with the first at 7pm and the last at 10.30pm. The night promises to be a true family affair, with heaps of children’s activities and rides, plus an all-exciting fireworks display at midnight. Patrons will also be treated to a live performance by Redline, who will play on the lawn between races and until midnight. The party will then ‘kick on’ in the sports bar with Scat playing live. Although dining in the Home Straight Restaurant and Toolern Room is sold out, walk-up dining will be available in the Legends Café, with a variety of food vendors in operation. Entry, along with the children’s rides and activities, is free. PAUL COURTS

While he won’t try to reach quite as high with Aimforthemoon, harness racing trainer David Aiken will chase several major targets with the promising youngster. A well-bred trotter, Aimforthemoon has been set for features such as the various Derbys and Vicbred Super Series. “He is capable of competing in the main races this season, but he will have to improve as he goes along,” Aiken said. “He’s only had a handful of starts and is still a little green, but the ability is there. “If he progresses as expected as he keeps racing, then I’ll have a look at the Derbys.” Driven by leading reinsman Chris Alford at Tabcorp Park Melton last Saturday night, Aimforthemoon broke his maiden in the Group One Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic. Caught there-wide from barrier six, the gelding worked to the lead as Illawong Cognac was eased to take a trail. Forced to dig deep during the latter stages, Aimforthemoon staved off a determined Bad Boy Leroy to score by a head, with Well Deserved nine metres away third. “He got close at the end, but he showed plenty of fight,” Aiken said. “Like I said, he still has to improve with experience, but the ability is there.” Covering the last half in 60.2 seconds, the three-year-old rated 2:03 for the 1720 metres, taking his record to a win and a placing from five starts for earnings of $30,313. Bred and owned by Kevin Riseley’s Sheron Park, Aimforthemoon is by Angus Hall from former top filly, Right Interest. Successful in the 2006 Breeders’ Crown, Right Interest also captured the Hankook Tyres Plate and Darrell Alexander Memorial. From broodmare gem Late Withdrawal, Right Interest is a half-sister to Group One winners National Interest and Magic Interest. PAUL COURTS

Defending champions For A Reason and Christen Me are among the record nominations for Victorian harness racing’s two Grand Circuit events. Scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31, the Victoria Cup has attracted 58 nominations, headed by New South Wales competitor For A Reason. A member of the powerful Belinda McCarthy stable, For A Reason captured last season’s edition when driven by the trainer’s reinsman-husband, Luke. Miracle Mile placegetter, Guaranteed, heads the locals prospects, with the list including reigning Inter Dominion title holder Beautide, last week’s Ballarat Cup winner, Im Corzin Terror, and recent Cranbourne Cup winner, Terror To Love. Christen Me will also contest the mobile event before backing-up for his A G Hunter Cup defence a week later. A member of the Cran Dalgerty stable, Christen Me fifth pacer to successfully defend his crown in Australia’s premier handicap. Springfield Globe was the ground breaker in 1961 and ’62, followed by Monara in ’73 and ’74, Pure Steel in ’77 and ’78 and Blossom Lady in ’94 and ’95. Pure Steel was also triumphant in 1980 to be the only triple champion. Minuteman is the only other dual winner, having captured the time-honoured event in 1964 and ’66. Thanks to his Kilmore Cup victory last October, Guaranteed is exempt from ballot, with the remainder of the 70 nominations via for a place in the elite field. PAUL COURTS TAB.COM.AU VICTORIA CUP NOMINATIONS Falco Peregrinus Macha Artoc Bit Of A Legend Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Comply Or Die Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Cold Major Come On Frank Guaranteed Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP NOMINATIONS Bushrod Falco Peregrinus Macha Macho Comacho Rule Like A King Star Chamber Yayas Hot Spot Artoc Bio Marinus Bit Of A Legend Classy Western Lets Elope Our Jimmy Johnstone Washmepockets Comply Or Die Dynamite Dude Flaming Flutter Hilltop Hustler It Is Billy Marty Monkhouser Our Major Mark Philadelphia Man Steam Washed Bellas Delight Blazin N Cullen Fearless Leader Franco Nelson Keayang Steamer Lennytheshark Mark Dennis Monifieth Pub Blitz Savesomtimetodream Uncle Wingnut Adore Me Chilli Palmer Guaranteed Kotare Roland Laterron Magical Telf Restrepo Wartime Sweetheart Chancellor Cullen Maximan Blucolla Tigerpie Chariot King Gumdrops Mach Alert Mach Beauty Smudge Bromac Bettors Fire For A Reason Abettorpunt Easy On The Eye Im Corzin Terror Motu Crusader The Gold Ace Avonnova Jaccka Clive Saucy Legend Seel N Print Keayang Cullen Beautide Bitobliss Christen Me Suave Stuey Lombo Forever Gold David Hercules Terror To Love Arden Rooney Franco Ledger Tiger Tara

Delight Me has all the makings of a top-line harness racing filly. A royally-bred three-year-old, Delight Me is by top sire Bettors Delight from quality mare Cornsilk. A top youngster, Cornsilk won 43 races, including the Two and Four-Year-Old Vicbred Super Series Finals and Breeders Crown. As for Delight Me, she has won three of her four starts for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, including Melton last Friday. Despite her second row draw, Delight Me is the one to beat in Saturday night’s Silver Chalice at the same venue. Stewart and Tonkin also have Lovelist engaged in the feature. Another well-bred youngster, Lovelist will begin from barrier five. “Delight Me is the better chance of our two,” Stewart said. “Her form is good and she keeps on improving. She won impressively last start.” “Lovelist is probably a run short for this grade.” HRV Media

At last night’s SEW Eurodrive Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame Awards evening at Melton, HRV Chairman Ken Latta announced one of Australia’s most famous identities, George Gath, had been elevated to Legend status. Gath’s elevation sees him join inaugural legends, Gordon Rothacker and Maori’s Idol. The posthumous honour was accepted by George’s eldest son Neville, who is a Hall of Fame member, who was visibly moved by the honour and spoke warmly about his father and his achievements. George was a remarkable horseman and remains the only driver to win at Richmond, Ascot, Melbourne Showgrounds and Moonee Valley as well as the first person to win 300 races in Melbourne. He won six Victorian driving premierships, four Melbourne driving premierships, two Adelaide premierships and was beaten by a victory in a Sydney drivers’ premiership. In addition, George won four Melbourne and thee Adelaide trainers’ premierships as well as training and driving Tara Meadow to record the first two minute mile in Victoria. George trained many great horses, including trotters Paddy McKinney, Bingen Redmond, Carlottas Pride and Delvin Dancer, while his best pacers were Joy’s John, Heroic Action, Gyro and Tara Meadow. The function also saw six inductees to the Hall of Fame, which now boasts 53 members. The latest additions are pioneering reinswomen Pearl Kelly, record breaking reinsman Chris Alford, the Abrahams family, journalist Max Agnew, True Roman and broodmare gem, Maori Miss. The overdue induction of Pearl Kelly was a highlight, with photographs and a remarkable life story having the audience in awe. Pearl Kelly was the first woman to win a metropolitan race against the men in Perth and Melbourne in a time when women were banned in the thoroughbred industry. At the peak of her career in 1927 officials also banned women in harness racing and it would be 50 years before they were would be licensed again to compete in races against the men. The attentive crowd included many Hall of Fame Legends and were entertained by the polished MC Rob Gaylard and internationally recognized comedian, Col Elliott. The Trainers’ and Drivers’ Association, which is an integral part of the Hall of Fame night, presented an award to Cliff Powell and a posthumous one to Neville Clarke. Also on the evening the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association presented their major award – Bob Cain Distinguished Service - to the “voice of Harness Racing” Dan Mielicki. Geoff Want, Chairman of Harness Racing Australia presented a number of national awards including one of the Joseph Coulter Awards for Best Book to Peter Collier for “ Manaroa – the People’s Champion” and Harnesslink’s Paul Courts for Best News Story for his piece title “Trigger’s Final Shot”. Harness Racing Victoria was also on stage to recognize the media with a series of state awards for journalism, radio, television and photographic excellence. JOHN PECK

Popular harness racing couple Dean and Nicole Molander are facing a busy, yet exciting, month. Beginning with a hit-and-run mission to Melton this weekend, the Molanders will make several trips across the Murray River during the next few weeks. The border hoping will cease on December 19 when the Molanders officially leave their New South Wales base to move into their new Riddells Creek property. Astute trainer Adam Kelly has been preparing his team on the property, which includes two tracks, swimming facility and several dams. “We are really looking forward to the move,” Nicole said. “The time was right for us to head down to Victoria, so we’ve bought a property in Riddells Creek.” Citing the handicapping system in New South Wales as a major influence on their decision, Molander also stated the extra opportunities for trotters was also a factor. “The handicapping in New South Wales has become frustrating to say the least,” Molander said. “The handicapping is not that flash at Menangle and we are finding it hard to get competitive races there. “We also have three trotters, which are better catered for in Melbourne. Plus we are in a position to buy a place and you get more for your money in Victoria and it’s still close to Melton.” As for the first trip south, Dean will bring outstanding squaregaiter Keystone Del to Tabcorp Park for the Derby Royale Free-For-All. Keystone Del is the sole runner off the second row in the feature named after the 1978 Inter Dominion champion. Winner of his last nine starts – including two this campaign - Keystone Del has been installed favourite at $2.20, with local performer My High Expectations next in line at $4.80 after drawing the outside of the front line. “He has come back in great form,” Molander said. “We couldn’t be happier with him. “He’s pulled up well from his run last Saturday night and should be hard to beat again.” Following his Group Three performance, Keystone Del will return to New South Wales, with plans of heading back to Victoria two weeks later. The son of Dr Ronerail has been aimed at the Bill Collins Mile on Cranbourne Cup night, followed by the V L Dullard Cup a week later. The Dullard Cup is part of the Ballarat Pacing Cup program on December 13. “When he returns for the two main races in December he will stay in Victoria at Brent Lilley’s place as we move into our new home a week after the Dullard Cup,” Molander explained. PAUL COURTS

Promising harness racing performer Yankee Rockstar earned an interstate trip with his win at Melton last night. To be more precise, Yankee Rockstar will head to Menangle for next week’s Mount Eden Championship heat, with the bid of qualifying for the Final on November 29 – Miracle Mile night. Co-trainer Emma Stewart confirmed the trek across the Murray as reliant on Yankee Rockstar’s latest outing, in which he performed stylishly. Stewart, who prepares her team with partner, Clayton Tonkin, is no stranger to Mount Eden Championship success, having captured last year’s edition with boom pacer, Guaranteed. “Although he won his first two starts this time in, he wasn’t overly impressive,” Stewart said. “We’ve had the Mount Eden series in mind for him, but were waiting to see how he went tonight. “He’s done a top job and now will be heading to Sydney next week.” Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Yankee Rockstar was given time to settle from his second row draw before being sent forward three-wide to test the leader, Motu Prince Of Peru , from the ‘death seat’. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, the talented son of Rocknroll Hanover cruised to an impressive 11-and-a-half metre win from Supreme Genes, with Motu Prince Of Peru a metre-and-a-half away third. “He’s a very nice type and was always going to be hard to beat despite the draw,” Stewart said. “Although he worked in the breeze, he just did it so easy up the straight and won with a bit up his sleeve.” Covering the last half in 56.9 seconds, the entire rated 1:56.7 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to an imposing 10 wins and two placings from 13 starts. The four-year-old’s success was the opening leg of a double for Stewart, Tonkin and Lang who combined to score with Metro Mike. Also overcoming a back row draw, the son of Metropolitan accounted for Our Burning Desire and Hes Kinky in 1:55.7 for the 2240 metres. With no major plans in mind for the six-year-old, the top training partners will select suitable targets as they become available. PAUL COURTS

Leading harness racing trainer Amanda Grieve remains confident her latest promising campaigner – Sparkling – can remain unbeaten at Melton tonight. Producing a sensational debut victory at Ballarat a fortnight ago, Sparkling faces a small, but select, field over 1720 metres. Drawn wide in barrier six, the daughter of Mcardle has improved since her maiden voyage and is “more than capable” of overcoming the obstacle according to Grieve. “She was very impression on debut, which wasn’t a surprise,” Grieve said. “She’s come through the run well and her training since has been pretty good. “It’s only small, but a handy field, so she will need to improve again. “The draw isn’t the best, but with a bit of luck, she is more than capable of winning.” Citing Morton Plains as the one to beat, Grieve rates Rebel Diamond as the one to watch. Morton Plains, which will come from gate seven, finished second behind Sparkling, having won her two previous starts. Winner of the Australian Pacing Gold Consolation last season, Rebel Diamond completed a stylish first-up win at Shepparton earlier this month. The daughter of Art Major has drawn barrier five. “Morton Plains is a very nice filly and I know Rebel Diamond has some wraps on her,” Grieve said. “It’s not going to be an easy race by any means.” To be given a short break after tonight’s run, Sparkling will then be aimed at various features, with the Victoria Oaks the main objective. “She will have a wee break after this, then we will see how she shapes up when she comes back,” Grieve said. “If she can match it with the better ones we will aim at the Oaks. “We’re not getting carried away just yet as it is only early days and she has a long way to go.” PAUL COURTS

Little did Joshua Smyth realise sparking a friendship with Sarah Tippet would lead to a love affair. While the details of their relationship remain private, Smyth’s love story stems from his new passion – harness racing. After meeting Tippet’s father, astute trainer Ken, Smyth became smitten with the industry and was soon a regular helper at the stable. “I was dating Sarah and asked her what her father did for a living and one day went down to the stable,” Smyth explained. “I just fell in love it and now get there as often as I can. “I’m a carpenter by trade, but on Saturdays, holidays or whenever I’ve got spare time, I’m at the stable. “It’s something I just love doing.” With his lust for competition growing, Smyth quickly obtained his driver’s licence which saw him enjoy the ‘honeymoon’ portion of the sport by registering a win at Melon last Friday night. Partnering the Tippet-trained Regal Equation, Smyth reined the son of Sierra Kosmos home at $90 on the tote to capture the country-front event. Not only was it Smyth’s initial success at Victoria’s premier track, it was his maiden trip to the winners’ circle. “I’m just rapt,” Smyth declared. “To get my first winner is very exciting and something I will definitely remember. It is just such a buzz.” Working towards his metropolitan licence, Smyth’s long term goal is to train a small team. “I’m hoping I can pick up a few drives here and there and get out onto the race track more often,” Smyth said. “To get a metropolitan licence and then win a metro race will is my next goal. “Further down the track, I’d like to get my trainer’s licence and train a winner or two.” PAUL COURTS

Star trotter My High Epxectations will continue his trek towards some of harness racing’s biggest events when he lines up at Melton on Friday night. Kept fresh since his win at the same venue last month, My High Expectations is engaged in the time-honoured Chris Howe Trotters’ Cup. Trainer David Aiken is using the Group Three as a stepping stone towards majors such as the V L Dullard Cup, which is one of the many highlights on Ballarat Cup program on December 13. Drawn ideally in barrier three, My High Expectations is expected to lead throughout the 2240-metre journey to register another effortless win. “I couldn’t be happier with the way he is going,” Aiken said. “I gave him a few days off after his last start and his work since has been terrific. “From that draw he is going to be very hard to beat. “These races are good lead-ups to targets such as the Dullard Cup.” Aiken will also be represented by in-form mare, Cold Sister, which will begin from gate six with the horseman’s reinsman-son, Joshua, in the cart. Cold Sister has also been kept fresh since finishing second behind My High Expectations on October 17. “She also had a few days off after that run,” Aiken said. “I’m very happy with the way she has been working and she’ll be thereabouts again. “The draw is a little awkward, but she’s good enough to overcome it.” PAUL COURTS

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