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Nike Franco’s position among Australia’s elite harness racing mares has been further entrenched with a powerful $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific win at Tabcorp Park Melton. The five-year-old mare (by McArdle out of Nearea Franco) from Dean Braun’s Lara stables upstaged a quality line-up in the Group 1 mares’ classic, including former race winner Gumdrops and millionaire earner Frith. Nike Franco led for the majority of Saturday night’s 2760-metre journey and rated 1:56.5, finishing 1.9m clear of runner-up Milly Perez with third placegetter and race favourite Cyclone Kate 3.1m off the winner. RE-LIVE NIKE FRANCO’S QUEEN OF THE PACIFIC TRIUMPH “This mare’s so exciting,” an elated Braun said. “I’ve had some really good racehorses but this mare’s very special. “I said to Greg Sugars (Driver) that I thought I had her pretty right tonight … he drove her really well.” Nike Franco has won feature races in four Australian states, with two Oaks successes in Queensland – the Gold Coast and the Qld, the Raith Memorial in New South Wales, the rich Mares Classic in Western Australia, and this season’s Warragul Cup and now the Queen of the Pacific in Victoria. “To do what she did tonight was pretty special,” Braun said.   The victory capped a great night for Greg Sugars, who drove a winning treble and dual Group 1 successes after earlier securing the win in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final for 2YO Trotting Fillies aboard Illawong Shimmer, trained by Greg’s father Ross. Illawong Shimmer (by Muscle Mass out of Shining Sun) is, as her name suggests, a member of trots owner Dr Martin Hartnett’s clan. “They deserve every win they get for what they put in,” Sugars said post-race of Hartnett and wife Kaye. Illawong Shimmer rated 2:01.2 for the 1720m trip to defeat Yankee Redback (Kerryn Manning) with Sval Queen (Anthony Butt) third. Deltasun won the night’s other Group 1, the colts and geldings’ trotters Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic. Trained by former jockey Terry Young at Ararat, Deltasun (by Tennotrump out of Deltasu) handled the final corner better than race favourite Illawong Byron (Jodi Quinlan) and held a half-neck advantage over that horse on the line in a rate of 2:01.6, with Kheiron (Peter Lane) third. Sugars and Lang shared driving honours at Melton, each grabbing a treble. In addition to the abovementioned victories Sugars steered Anton Golino-trained Val Gardena (by Kadabra out of Lets Be Happy) to victory in the Haras Des Trotteurs Sweetheart Trot Final, while Lang guided former New South Wales Derby winner Major Secret (Art Major/Secret Life) home in the Best In Town Concreting Pace for Emma Stewart, and Hectorjayjay (Dream Away/Sheer Finesse) to victory in the Group 2 University Meat 4YO and 5YO Championship over 2240m. CHECK OUT ALL THE RESULTS & VIDEO REPLAYS FROM MELTON Other Melton winners were Little Lyn (by Jeremes Jet out of Rappa Scooter), a homebred mare raced and trained by Barry Dunn at Horsham and driven by son Aaron Dunn in the Service Sphere Pace, popular It Is Billy (by It Is I out of Glenlyon Glad) in the Crown Coffee International Golden Reign Free-for-All for trainer Michael Barby and driver Anne-Maree Conroy, Stoned I Am (by Sundon out of Stoned At Midnight) in the Seelite Windows and Doors Coulter Crown for trainer/driver Simone Walker, and in-form eight-year-old Might Be Luck (by Northern Luck out of Marilyns Might) in the Riddell Umpires Association Claiming Pace for trainer Beau Tindale and reinsman Michael Bellman. Victorians shine interstate Another week, another domination from the Emma Stewart stable – this time at Globe Derby, South Australia. The Smythes Creek trainer secured a winning treble on Saturday night at the SA home of metro trots racing, with unbeaten two-year-old filly Our Celebrity (by Mach Three out of Celebrity Ball) winning the Alabar/SA Botra 2YO Fillies Golden Nursery Final, impressive three-year-old Rocknroll Magic (by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic) taking out the Home Loans-Providing Solutions SA Botra 3YO Fillies Final, and Metro Mike (by Metropolitan out of Tuscan Skies) saluting in the Carbine Chemicals Pacers Dash over 1385m. CHECK OUT ALL THE RESULTS FROM GLOBE DERBY, SA All Stewart’s winners were driven by Mark Billinger, who picked up five winners for the night overall. Meanwhile, at Menangle in New South Wales, classy five-year-old trotting mare Claudys Princess (by Bacardi Lindy out of All Finesse) took out the Rio Meteor Race Sulky La Coocaracha (Group 3) with Darren Hancock in the cart for Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore, and Golino-trained Pizza Queen (by Credit Winner out of Armbro Domino) won the Garrards Horse and Hound NSW Trotters Oaks for reinsman David Morris, upstaging race favourite High Gait in a thrilling finish. WATCH PIZZA QUEEN'S NSW TROTTERS OAKS SUCCESS Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)  

Former Kiwi mare Cyclone Kate is poised for the biggest win of her career in Saturday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Queen Of The Pacific (2760m) at Melton.  Trainer-driver John McCarthy insists the former Gareth Dixon-trained mare is primed and has a perfect draw in the pole.  “This is the biggest race she’s been in for me and I couldn’t be happier with her,” he said,  “She’s got so much gate speed and will lead. Unless something really wants to attack her, she’s going to be very hard to run down. “She likes to run along in front, so it will be a staying test.”  McCarthy is not worried about the long 2760m trip.  “She’s always been fast, but she’s strong now, too. She’s kept getting stronger,” he said.  “She runs the 2300m out realty strongly at Menangle so the trip doesn’t concern me.  “I love her. I think she’s a ripper mare. And I think she’ll be even better next season.”  Cyclone Kate is $3.50 equal favourite on the Aussie TAB with Nike Franco (gate four).  Then it’s out to $4.50 for champion mare Frith from the back row (gate 10).  Frith’s stablemate My Willow is also in the race from gate 12.  Luke McCarthy is expected to drive Frith ahead of My Willow.  John McCarthy also has Blazin N Cullen in the Golden Reign free-for-all.  “It’s a good race for him. He’s been running home well at Menangle without winning,” he said.  “The draw (inside back row, gate eight) makes it a bit tricky, but he is the class runner.”  On the same night, emerging star Hectorjayjay dominates betting for the Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2240m).  He’s won three of his four runs since joining David Aiken’s stable and being the lone back row runner suits his sit-sprint style of racing.  The main danger will be Bling It On (gate six), but co-trainer and driver Luke McCarthy thinks he might be a run or two away from peak fitness. Adam Hamilton

Trainer Anton Golino will hold a strong hand when the gates open for the $50,000 Group 1 trotting final for two-year-old fillies. The Cardigan trainer’s fillies Nieta and Sval Queen won their Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic heats at Shepparton last Wednesday, booking qualification for the May 21 final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Both were debutants for Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms, whose investment in trots racing continues to garner great dividends. Golino, who trains exclusively for Driscoll, said Wednesday night’s results were pleasing after the fillies met their first race-day test. “You can never be overly confident with two-year-old trotters,” Golino said. That included Nieta, who started the first heat a short-price and he said while she had “definitely shown she can go a little bit, she is obviously still learning the caper”. “I thought it pretty brave taking the $1.70 for a two-year-old trotter at her first start.” But in Greg Sugars’ calm hands Nieta never missed a beat, finding the front from barrier one and finding separation when the moment arrived. “(Greg) let her come out of the gate on her own, she had an easy middle half and she ran it out on her own stead,” Golino said. “She won it fairly handy. It was a good way to start.” The task was greater for Sval Queen in heat two, with Anthony Butt having to punch the breeze for much of the running. “Sval Queen did it tough. She had to sit in the death seat the trip and the fact that she could do that made me real happy with her.” From cover, favourite Illawong Shimmer loomed up late but Sval Queen had the answers to win by 2.2m and reward her trainer’s faith. “Nieta’s probably a little bit more talented, but Sval Queen has better manners,” he said. “She’s a readymade racehorse and has been from day one. I am probably more confident with Sval Queen if anything. She was impressive, it was very workmanlike.” The promising fillies will only enhance owner Driscoll’s dominance in the category. “Pat’s very passionate, hard working and does a lot of research on pedigrees,” Golino said. “He’s choosing the right stallions, having gone down the path of French stallions, and is seeing a lot of benefit from that. He deserves all the success he gets.” Michael Howard

The post-race interview videos with all of the winning drivers from Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night are online now at Trots Media's YouTube channel. Interviews this week:  Gavin Lang winning on Brighty Valentine in the DNR Logistics Vicbred Pace Mark Pitt winning on Starburst Girl in the Join The Pegasus Club Pace John Caldow winning on Super Zeck in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot Final Josh Aiken winning on Marylebone in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Fillies Final Jason Lee winning on Presidentialsecret in the MACHRA Melton Pacing Cup Mark Pitt winning on Gumdrops in the Angelique Club Cup Chris Alford winning on Starofsahara in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Colts and Geldings Final Kate Gath winning on K D Muscles in the TAB.com.au Trot Cody Winnell

The winning harness racing drivers from Saturday night's card at Tabcorp Park Melton share their thoughts post-race. This week's videos are: Zac Phillips on Mister Hairy Maclary in the DNR Logistics Pace   Emmett Brosnan on Mach Doro in the E. K. Bray Country Clubs Cup Final   Greg Sugars on Duchess Ella winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot (1st Heat)   Alex Ashwood on Artoc winning the TAB.com.au Pace Final   Jodi Quinlan on Adam Cartwright winning the Country Clubs Championship Final   Mark Pitt on Gumdrops winning the Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen   Michael Bellman on Stunning Grin winning the Cougar Bourbon Pace   Gavin Lang on Hectorjayjay winning the Bold David Free for All   John Caldow on Super Zeck winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot (2nd Heat)   Jason Lee on Easter Jolt winning the Pridmore Electrics 2YO Pace Cody Winnell 

At the height of his power Artoc was a C7-M2 assessed harness racing gelding taking on some of the cream of the Victorian trots crop. Now at age 10 the son of Artiscape out of Eileen Monica is a C2-M1 pacer, but has recaptured winning form with two victories on the trot over the past fortnight. Driven by Alex Ashwood (23 wins this season), Artoc won the TAB.com.au Pace Final last night at Tabcorp Park Melton for local trainer Danny Mullan, who also produced runner-up Jaccka Wilco for a stable quinella (which paid $45.70 on the Victorian tote). “When they get to this age they usually don’t find the line, but his horses when they get older, it doesn’t faze them,” Ashwood said of Mullan’s training performance. “(This horse) has a great will to win, which goes a long way with these older horses.” Artoc made it 22 career wins and took his stake earnings to more than $164,000 with last night’s victory. “He’s been a great old horse for connections,” Ashwood said. “He’s raced against the best of the best, probably the last six months he’s really dropped down in grade and it has paid dividends tonight.” In his bright yellow gear, matching his racing silks and saddlecloth No.5, Artoc marched to the lead after about a quarter-mile before kicking on to hold out a challenge from Big Bang Leonard, the lead time posted at 45.4secs (nearly a second quicker than average). Stablemate Jaccka Wilco appeared to head off Artoc as they swung around the final bend. And in the straight Black Cougar looked home and hosed when he chimed in at the 100m. But Jaccka Wilco and Black Cougar ran out of steam as Artoc dug in, Ashwood getting everything out of the veteran at start No.231 to score a neck win in 2:00.1. According to the computer Mullan has trained 108 winners in his career, but it is important to note he was training when Australian trotting data moved to computers (season 1979-80), so he may have had more successes. Artoc started second-favourite tonight after winning his series heat. Race favourite Shishi finished last and underwent a vet’s examination post-race. Cody Winnell

Harness racing's flashy grey Adam Cartwright produced a barnstorming finish to win last night’s Country Clubs Championship Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Driven by Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old by Ponder out of Lombo Regalia (a daughter of Jet Laag) bloused runner-up Emmanuel and race favourite Murranji Track to score a thrilling victory by a half-neck in a rate of 1:56.4 over 2240m. Amazingly at the 100m though, Adam Cartwright was last. Quinlan eased the South Australian from the Greg Norman stable to the extreme outside and when he hit top gear Adam Cartwright savaged the line, grabbing victory in the shadows of the post. Last time out at Shepparton Adam Cartwright pulled hard and almost choked down, finishing fifth, but he settled much better last night from his second-row draw and benefited from a solid tempo up front. “He over-raced last start … but tonight he settled much better,” Quinlan said. “Greg was very happy with him leading in the race. He said if he settles he’ll run a really good race, and Greg’s always been a good trainer so you’ve got to respect his horses.” WATCH ADAM CARTWRIGHT GO FROM LAST TO FIRST Norman has trained 418 winners in a 30-year trots career, with punters sure to remember some of his stable stars such as Ti Vogliobene, Indicative, Preferential and prolific winner Rosco Robust. Quinlan said Adam Cartwright had overcome several injuries and last night’s win as “a real credit to Greg”. Emmanuel finished second for Matthew Craven after sprinting early to find the lead from gate four, while Sunraysia star Murranji Track finished close-up third, just ahead of Stagger Lee and Animated. Connections said Adam Cartwright would now go to the Strathalbyn Cup, where he will clash with another recent South Australian Melton winner in Whats Emma Got. Cody Winnell

Gun mare Gumdrops remains undefeated since joining the Emma Stewart harness racing stable with victory last night in the Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen at Tabcorp Park Melton. The 2014 Queen of the Pacific champion, who also won aged mare of the year in 2014 at the Victorian industry awards, picked up her 18th career victory in the 1720-metre Make Mine Cullen in a mile rate of 1:53.1. She did it in true Gumdrops fashion, coming from near last at the home bend before an electric final 200-metre dash wide in the Tabcorp Park straight. The eight-year-old by Western Terror out of Awesome Powers hit top gear and chewed up the ground, motoring by the tiring My Willow and grabbing Milly Perez and Quick Draft on the line for a short half-head win. Gumdrops has only been at the Smythes Creek stable for two runs and has won them both, tonight’s win following a Decron Westburn Grant Free-for-All win in April when she went 1:55.2 over 2240m. It is just the third time in her career that Gumdrops has been able to register successive wins. WATCH GUMDROPS POWER HOME IN THE MAKE MINE CULLEN Given the final half-mile last night was covered in 56.1 – and Gumdrops came from last – her sectionals would have been supersonic. “She was really great tonight. I thought she might not be able to pick them up but she proved that she could,” winning reinsman Mark Pitt said. Pitt has piloted Gumdrops to both her wins this time in. “It’s a good feeling,” he said when asked how it felt to zoom over the top of a quality field of mares to win. “I thought being back there it was going to be pretty hard because I thought they were going to run a bit of time up front, but she proved she is getting back to her best.” Larry Eastman’s talented five-year-old Milly Perez was game in defeat running second, while Quick Draft covered plenty of ground but still got past early pacesetter My Willow in the run to the line to finish third. My Willow’s early splits of 29.2, 28.2 and 28.4 appeared to bring her undone, the $1.50 favourite wilting at the finish to run fourth. But she was only beaten 2m. Once mighty mare Steam Washed finished well back in ninth place of the 10, and the Shinn camp will be hoping the longer mares’ races will see her recapture form. The mares’ circuit continues next Friday night at Melton with the running of the Group 3 Angelique Club Cup, followed a week later by the $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific over 2760m. Cody Winnell

Tomorrow night’s Harness Breeders Victoria Make Mine Cullen will see a crack field of harness racing mares do battle at Tabcorp Park Melton. Cobbitty trainer Belinda McCarthy will line up My Willow, who is likely to start a pronounced favourite, but a trio from the Eastman camp at Shelbourne will be out to spoil the Sydneysider’s party. Larry Eastman has Milly Perez and Ponder Girl engaged, while wife Lynette has recent stable acquisition Highview Ember in action. “Her normal racing pattern is to take a trail at some stage so she will be driven that way. Whether she can zip the pole marker (Wow She’s Smooth) I’m not sure but I’ll leave that up to the master (driver Gavin Lang),” he said. Ponder Girl was a fast-finishing third in the Silver Chalice behind Starburst Girl last time out and Eastman is desperately hoping there is speed on throughout for her to play a role. “The barrier draw hurt her last week but she went really well. She is back on track and in good form. She will run really well again, in fact I am sure she will. If we can get some genuine tempo in the race it’s not beyond her to get home over them,” Eastman said. “She has always had above-average ability. We have looked after her as she has a few little issues soundness wise early on. She has just been a mare that has taken her time but now we are starting to get the rewards.” For Highview Ember, the new girl on the block, it’s a case of so far, so good. “She has taken to our system of training really well. She seems to be improving with each run. Even though it is a horror barrier, barrier seven, it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if she ran well,” Eastman said. “She is one of those mares who could just keep getting better. It probably isn’t her sort of race on Saturday night from that draw in that field but don’t underestimate her going forward.” Matt Jackson Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016

The King of the Sunraysia – Murranji Track – gets his chance to shine under the harness racing metro lights at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday night. The Colin Rogers-trained gem will contest the Group 3 Country Clubs Championship Final (Race 5) on a 10-event card. Rogers makes no secret of the fact he rates Murranji Track as the best he’s ever trained. “I’ve had a couple of handy horses over the years. Surstromming (Murranji Track’s granddam) won the Australian Gold in 1999 but he is the best horse I have ever trained,” he said. Runner-up in the Mildura Cup in early April, the Grinfromeartoear gelding turned in a brilliant win at Bendigo in a heat of this series and Rogers is confident he will back up well in the final. “It would have been nice to have drawn the front row on Saturday night but it is better than seven or eight I suppose. And he should get a good follow-through early. He is the perfect racehorse in that he can sit, sprint but also do some work if need be.” Admitting Murranji Track is “not the best traveller”, Rogers added the 1000-kilmometre round trip will be made more often if his charge can keep justifying his faith. “If he can keep travelling well I will keep sending him down,” he said. “He probably won’t do much more racing this season. He is only a four-year-old, so he will run Saturday night and then I’ll wait for the Vicbred series before sending him for a spell.” Matt Jackson Harness Racing Victoria Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016

Harness racing driver Chris Svanosio returns to the sulky on Saturday night following a three-month battle with a cerebrospinal fluid leak, also known as CSF leak. Svanosio, 34, spent six weeks in Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and another six weeks laid up in Bendigo battling ongoing severe headaches, neck and shoulder pain and vomiting. “It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before,” Svanosio said of the pain. “It was because there was no fluid around my brain.” The initial symptoms attacked Svanosio at a Caduceus Club function in February and escalated quickly. The popular horseman, who has 269 wins to his name in the sulky, underwent neurosurgery in late February before several rounds of blood patch treatment, where Svanosio had blood taken and injected into his spinal cord. “In the end they must have injected the blood into the right spot (in mid-March) because I could stand up and was feeling virtually all right,” Svanosio said. “They sent me home and told me to go easy.” Svanosio is back in Terang, where he works with trainer Matthew Craven, and returns to race driving on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Among Svanosio’s three drives is exciting trotting mare Aldebaran Deebee, owned by father Peter, in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot. “Matty’s done a great job with her while I’ve been sick. There are a couple of nice races ahead for her with the Sires (Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series) and the Bacardi Lindy (June 3),” he said. Svanosio will also take the reins aboard Owen Martin-trained Hellovaway in the Cougar Bourbon Pace and Hinault for Craven in the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Trot. While he was sidelined Svanosio says he was inundated with well-wishes. “I’ve had people ringing me up and sending me messages, taking the time to send cards, that’s been really great. I couldn’t believe the amount of people. It’s amazing how many people have taken time out to get in touch and wish me well,” he said. And being back at work is a great feeling. “(I’m) Loving it … It really makes you appreciate it. This morning I was up early and worked 22 (horses). “Everything just seems really good at the moment. There’s no guarantee it won’t flare up again but the doctors are hopeful they’ve solved it.” Svanosio now has something in common with basketball star player/coach Steve Kerr and Hollywood superstar George Clooney, who have both overcome CSF leak. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 07 May 2016

Keystone Del took his place among the illustrious harness racing millionaire stake earner’s club last night, the champion trotter’s comfortable Uncle Petrika Free-for-All win at Tabcorp Park Melton driving his career winnings to $1,001,176. “He deserves it,” reinsman Anthony Butt said after steering Keystone Del to the 9.8-metre success over flying mare Barefoot Sally. “He’s a great horse and he’s going as good as ever at the moment.” Keystone Del posted a winning mile rate of 1:55.3 after ambling along three-wide at the back of the small six-horse field early, eventually cruising to the breeze at the bell, and putting the matter to rest at the quarter pole when Butt said go. VIDEO: KEYSTONE DEL WINS THE UNCLE PETRIKA FFA Since joining the Brent Lilley stable Keystone Del has won four Group 1s, adding to the six he picked up with former trainer Nicole Molander. Keystone Del's Group 1 resume features dual victories the V L Dullard Trotters Cup, Glenferrie Challenge at Menangle and Great Southern Star heats. He also picked up the Great Southern Star Final and the Bill Collins Trot at Cranbourne in 2014, and the Trotters Grand Prix at Melton and the Knight Pistol at Cranbourne this year. Among his millionaire Australasian trotting alumni are Lyell Creek, I Can Doosit, Sundons Gift, Take A Moment, Stent and One Over Kenny. Cody Winnell

Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton Terang once again proved a town rich in trots horsepower. Harness racing trainer Darren Cole, based in the western Victorian town, produced classy seven-year-old Exciteusinthecity first-up to win the Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All over 1720 metres. Rated perfectly by driver Tim McLean, Exciteusinthecity punched through from the pole gate to hold out fast starter Maximan early, withstood a challenge from It Is Billy at the bell and went on to score a gritty win by a metre in a mile rate of 1:55.7. The Metropolitan gelding joins guns such as Lennytheshark (2015) and Smoken Up (2009) on the Captain Sandy FFA honour roll. Not giving much away in his post-race interview, reinsman McLean said leading was the key to unlocking success for the gelding by Metropolitan out of Safely Kept mare Excite. “He loves getting to the front. He fought well to hold them off (tonight),” he said. When asked what was next for the 2014 Casey Classic and Gammalite winner, McLean borrowed a line from an old coaching manual. “We’ll just take it one race at a time.” Exciteusinthecity has now won 20 races, his stakemoney exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. VIDEO: EXCITEUSINTHECITY WINS THE ALABAR CAPTAIN SANDY FFA McLean has piloted the pacer to eight city victories. It Is Billy finished second to Exciteusinthecity, his vocal fan club appreciative of the Michael Barby-trained pacer’s efforts – cheering him hard with a lap to run and giving him another cheer post-race, while Metro Mike ran third. Dalvui Raceway Terang will host a seven-race program on Tuesday night, featuring the running of the 2016 Terang Guineas. McLean will be chasing another feature victory in that race aboard The Big Show, but Im Wrongly Accused from the Terang stable of Matthew Craven, exciting Sebastopol-trained King Of Rocknroll and Group 1 winning local Jilliby Jitterbug – one of five Marg Lee Terang-trained runners on the program – will all draw support from punters. Cody Winnell

Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Stunning harness racing colt The Storm Inside achieved what for long has appeared his two-year-old destiny and won the Group 1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Emma Stewart’s freak by Rocknroll Hanover out of Spirited Storm appeared to do it easy, with Greg Sugars taking the lead and clearing out on the straight, requiring only a flick of the reins and a tap of the whip to claim the mantle of Australia’s finest. “He’s an absolute pleasure to drive,” Sugars said. “Clayton (Tonkin) and Emma have done a wonderful job with this horse.” The race appeared in The Storm Inside’s keeping throughout, with Sugars driving it to the lead from barrier two while Weona Sizzler took the sit on his back. Chris Alford temporarily put Our Little General, Stewart’s other runner, into the breeze, but an unsettled Three Of The Best kicked up first time down the main straight, looping Alford as Gavin Lang wrestled with the Queensland gelding. He eventually settled in the breeze, but there was little respite with Geoff Webster hooking Wrappers Delight three-wide with almost 1000m to go and there they remained to the final bend. Having raced fiercely, Three Of The Best’s bid appeared done at the final turn, on his tail Alford and  second-favourite Our Little General struggled to find a run while San Domino made ground four-wide and Weona Sizzler moved up on the pegs. The latter two would run into second and third, but removed from the commotion was The Storm Inside, who Sugars urged clear at the turn and who advanced to win by 6.8m in a mile rate of 1:55.6. “Bit of a relief to get it out of the way. I’m sure it’s a big weight off the shoulders of Emma and Clayton,” Sugars said. “He proved the best horse tonight and it all went to plan. He had a good draw and he’d probably already shown before tonight that he was the best horse in the field, but it’s still never as easy as just turning up. You’ve got to earn it.” While it may have appeared oh-so-easy for the bay colt, many hands have gone into crafting The Storm Inside, who improved to six wins from as many starts. That began with Helen Head of Manna Lodge in Congupna, who ventured to America to purchase a filly, which she brought back to Australia and utilised to breed a champion. “I’m thrilled to bits tonight to win,” Ms Head said. And then there were the owners, strong in numbers and bursting with pride, none more so than Justin Baker. “To win a race like this, wow, this is just a dream come true,” Baker said. And, of course, Stewart herself, who not only claimed the night’s grandest crown, but produced five of the card’s 10 winners. “It’s just a fantastic series,” she said. “I know sales time is Clayton’s favourite time and we really appreciate the Australian Pacing Gold.”  Michael Howard

Melton harness racing debutante driver Tim Williams gave A Piccadilly Princess a brisk breather and then revved her up for a scintillating win in the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton. The dip from the breeze to the box seat was described as “the winning move” by the connections of another Mark Purdon-trained Group 1 triumph, having overrun Emma Stewart’s super three-year-old filly Heavens Trend in the straight.  “It was a great performance,” Williams, 26, said of A Piccadilly Princess, who recorded a fifth straight victory and a seventh in 13 starts. “I’m privileged to be able to sit behind these horses with these colours on. I can’t thank Mark enough.” The filly by Bettor's Delight out of Hyde Park Royal had to earn the win. Flojos Gold flew out of the gates and was then crossed by Gavin Lang on Heavens Trend when they reached the back straight. As that was happening up front, down back Dancingwithsierra led A Piccadilly Princess three-wide, with the latter settling in the breeze outside Heavens Trend. “We got a good cart into it and that made a difference,” Williams said. There they remained through a 59.7 first half-mile before Lang stretched out on Heavens Trend in a 27.2 third quarter, with A Piccadilly Princess losing touch approaching the final bend and Williams dropping her on to the tail of the leader. “I thought I was in a wee bit of trouble,” Williams said. “It was a timely breather.” Having given more than a length, A Piccadilly Princess found new life down the straight, with the filly putting her nose in front at the 100m and advancing to win by 2.2m from Heavens Trend. Stewart’s other hope, Celebrity Guest, put in an enormous last 200m to draw from the pegs to the outside and storm home into third, relegating a resilient Dancingwithsierra to a close fourth. With some having flown in from Hong Kong for the race, a proud group of owners, including Simon Bradley, Michael Ward and Thomas Patterson, were on hand to accept the coveted Oaks. Patterson said Williams decision to provide their filly brief cover at the top of the straight may have made all the difference. “Coming around the bend we were a little concerned, but Tim was obviously confident he still had a little in her,” Patterson said. “He ducked in and I thought that the other one, Heavens Trend, had got away from us. But Mark and Nat and the team believe in what they have and Tim didn’t panic and it worked out and was probably the winning move.” Patterson said A Piccadilly Princess would return to Purdon’s New Zealand stable for a likely tilt at the New Zealand Oaks and a potential collision with stunning stablemate Our Dream About Me, who won the New South Wales Oaks. Cody Winnell    

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