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Emma Stewart keeps putting Smythes Creek on the map. Victoria’s leading harness racing trainer scored a winning quartet on Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final night last night at Tabcorp Park Melton and set herself up for a big grand final night next Saturday. On the strength of the semi-final results Stewart looks set to walk away with at least some grand final silverware, four-year-old mare Berisari expected to lead the charge after her dominant display last night. The night's success for Team Stewart began early with Always A Virgin/Lifeline filly Lovelist taking the first race on the 12-event program, the three-year-old fillies’ first semi-final. Driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang, Lovelist powered home by 2.5 metres over reigning Vicbred champion Niki No No (Greg Sugars) with Vapar Grin (Matthew Craven) third in a mile rate for the 2240-metre trip of 1:58.6. Stewart then teamed with Sugars to win Race 4, the two-year-old fillies’ first semi-final, with Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen youngster Whirily School, who won by 2.1m win over Drumborg’s Just Wantano (Craven), with Lang piloting Heirloom Angel into third place 10.6m behind the winner. Whirily School, already a Group 2 winner via the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Final last month, worked her way to the lead 1800m out before rating 1:59.9 in victory last night. Stewart’s next winner was another two-year-old filly, this time impressive Rock N Roll Heaven/All The Magic bay Rocknroll Magic, who led from the pole and held off a late challenge by Soho Madeleine (Luke McCarthy) to score by a head in 2:02.4. Rounding out the night for Stewart was $1.10 favourite Berisari – by local sire Safari, who Stewart trained, out of Beris Holmes – winning the last race, the second of the four-year-old mares’ semis, by almost eight metres in 1:56.8. Stewart’s other qualifiers for Super Series finals were Apache Shark (fourth in the first semi-final of the two-year-old colts and geldings), Ideal For Real, who ran second to Follow The Stars in their three-year-old colts and geldings’ semi and Shadow Sax, whose superb second to Christmas Jolt in the two-year-old colts and geldings semi has him well-placed for Group 1 success next week. Click here to view the full Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final results Cody Winnell

“They’ll know he’s in the race,” said Chiltern harness racing trainer Peter Romero of his stable star Wingara, who heads into next Saturday night’s three-year-old colts and geldings Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final in winning form. Wingara was a brilliant semi-final winner tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton, rating 1:57.3 with Nathan Jack in the cart over 2240m. The son of American sire Dawn Ofa New Day out of Bobydeane finished 6.5 metres ahead of The Culture (Matthew Craven) after working to the front early from gate six before reeling off splits of 31.9secs, 29.3secs, 27.7secs and 27.9secs. Polemarker Justbritell, who has had a cracking season, ran third, while Mister Wickham worked hard in the run but held on well for fourth. "He's done a good job. He's a professional and he's got gate speed, as Nathan said," Romero said. "The barrier draw will be important." New Zealand star Follow The Stars was impressive winning the other three-year-old boys’ semi for superstar trainer Mark Purdon, defeating New South Wales Derby winner Menin Gate and Victoria Derby hero Menin Gate in one of the strongest Futurity semis you’ll ever see. Follow The Stars’ mile rate was 1:56.2, out-sprinting his rivals in the straight. Click here for a full list of Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final results Cody Winnell  

A huge 12-race card chock full of quality and depth greets harness racing punters tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton for the annual Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals. It's going to be massive and the big fields are great to see with the Vicbred program No.1 of its kind anywhere in Australasia, with $9.5 million in stakes and bonuses paid out to the connections of eligible horses. It sure pays to be Vicbred. We've also got the Teal20 Challenge continuing tonight, so check out our tipsters' plays of the night below, and have a crack at the $20,000 quaddie jackpot tonight with the TAB. With big fields and competitive racing, the potential for a big dividend is there! Good luck and enjoy what should be a great weekend at the trots. - Cody Winnell (Media & Communications Manager, HRV)     Jason Bonnington's Preview for Melton tonight If the Victorian harness calendar hits four genuine peaks then we are fast approaching the penultimate of those peaks this term with semi-finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series at Tabcorp Park tonight. The quality of tonight's card, particularly when focussing on the three and four-year-old males is simply outstanding and from a punting perspective there are so mouth-watering options that the main objective is not to get too carried away! For my part, I'm advising on 2 Best Bets, 2 Value Bets, 1 Roughie, 6 Money Races and some Quads. Remember what I said about getting carried away. Get the full game plan now at Good Form   20,000 more reasons to have a quaddie tonight   The TAB has posted a $20,000 quaddie jackpot tonight on races 5-8 at Tabcorp Park Melton. So grab your mates and get trackside to have a crack, visit your local TAB outlet, bet via the TAB app or online at tab.com.au     This week's Plays of the Night are at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-finals. All plays are worth $20 in total. Follow the leader board each week to see how much money will be donated to the Women's Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute after Feb 28, next year.   Race 2 Flexi Trifecta $20 for 166% 2/ 1,6,8,10/ 1,6,8,10   $10 All-Up R3 No.9 Stay And Play into  R6 No.1 Justbritell $5 Win on both   Race 12 Flexi Trifecta 10/ 8/ 3,7 $10 for 500% Race 5: $5 each-way No. 13 Sketch Me   Multiple Early Quaddie for 24.69% 2,9,12/ 2,6,10/ 5,10,12/ 1,5,7   I'm told it was the Aurora Australis this week, so we'll go an All-Up for $20 ... Race 7 No.8 Follow The Stars into Race 8 No.5 My Bella Starr   Cody Winnell threw down the gauntlet in week 1 with a nice profit. "Premierships aren't won in Round 1 though," he said in the media conference.   HRV's Country Run of the Week   MAGIC MOMENT LOMBO (by Lombo Pocket Watch out of Lady Julie Lombo) got shuffled back to last at Cobram in Race 7 on Monday, the Bakers Delight Pace. With less than half a lap of the Cobram track to go, driver Stephen Boyington remained cool and eased his five-year-old three-wide on to the train. Off the back the mare was running on strongly but still had ground to make up. In the stretch she levelled up then went wooshka, straight past the leaders to come away for a 4.9-metre win in a mile rate of 1:59 (last half 57.8secs).  Click the image for a replay of the Country Run of the Week   Media Centre Podcast: Gait Speed with Jason Bonnington & Blake Redden (RSN Tuesday) Podcast: Inside Word with Cody Winnell (RSN, Winners, Thursday) Podcast: Trots Weekend Preview with Jason Bonnington (RSN Friday) Podcast: Harness Review with Len Baker (Melton 97.9FM Monday) Podcast: HRV's Vaughn Lynch on Racing Ahead w/ Shane Anderson (RSN) Podcast: Onefortysevenseven with Brett Coffey & Shannon Nixon Newsletter: Subscribe to the Harness Breeders Vic Online Newsletter here Print: Check out Melton Leader's harness racing column in their digital edition Vicbred: Stay in touch with the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Video: Tabcorp Park Trial replays via HRV Youtube Sectional times: Get the latest Melton sectionals Twitter: Follow HRV on Twitter Facebook: Check out HRV on Facebook Check out the latest Victorian trots news in the HRV Newsroom    

Prospective owners encouraged to attend Harness Racing Victoria's Ownership Expo Anyone interested in experiencing the excitement of harness racing ownership is invited to attend Harness Racing Victoria's Ownership Expo next Saturday at Tabcorp Park Melton. Hosted by Tanya McDermott and featuring interviews with key industry players such as driver Greg Sugars, trainer Alison Alford, owner/breeders Shannon Nixon and Duncan McPherson and more, the Ownership Expo will offer prospective owners a range of information and assistance in getting involved with the industry. Harness racing contributes annually over $422 million to Victoria's economy and is responsible for more than 4000 full-time or full-time equivalent jobs, with over 19,000 people actively involved in the industry. A new Raceapacer syndicate - HRV's successful syndication program - will also be launched at the session featuring a well-bred filly who will head to the stables of leading trainer Emma Stewart. The HRV Ownership Expo will be held 4pm-5pm in the Legends Café before the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series pacing finals get under way in the evening. For more information call Jess Tubbs on 0401 346 813 or email jtubbs@hrv.org.au HRV OWNERSHIP EXPO - Where: Legends Cafe, Tabcorp Park Melton (2 Ferris Rd, Melton) - When: Saturday, July 4, 4pm to 5pm (Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Pacing Finals Night) - More info: Jess Tubbs (0401 346 813 or email jtubbs@hrv.org.au) Cody Winnell [Harness Racing Victoria]

Michael Stanley says Soho Tokyo is back to her best and the Burrumbeet trainer is confident the filly will produce a big run on Friday night in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies' first semi-final at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. "She's definitely back to her best," Stanley said. "She had a lot of back issues early this preparation, which probably came about due to her long two-year-old season. We've had a lot of work done by chiropractors and the vets but I think we've got on top of that now and she's racing really well." Soho Tokyo is by super sire Bettors Delight out of former Australian juvenile of the year Pelicanrama and has won two of her past three starts. She made up ground to win at Maryborough three starts back off a 56.8secs last half before a second to Niki No No at Shepparton when she worked three-wide on her own and attacked the line. Last time out at Shepparton she won a C0 after leading, Stanley explaining that she's not at her best when in front. "She'll still win from in front but she's got a powerful sprint from behind," he said. From barrier five, Soho Tokyo will be punching forward early and Stanley says she's the stable's best chance at a Super Series trophy this year. Stanley will also line up Soho Berlin in the three-year-old fillies' category, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere snaring the pole draw in the second semi-final. "Barrier one gives her every chance to qualify for the final," Stanley said. "I'd be disappointed if she didn't run in the top six but I'm realistic about where she stacks up compared to the better ones." Stanley hopes Young Modern can put his best foot forward in the four-year-old entires and geldings' first semi-final and the horseman is thrilled with how the son of Modern Art is travelling. "I'm rapt with him. He's had a super prep and his work has been great. He's on the right path," Stanley said. "He's probably got the hardest four-year-old group of any year I can remember. In the past there have always been one or two standouts, but the depth of this class is really strong. "It's been the same the whole way through for these horses. "Any other year he might have gone in as first or second-favourite, but this year he could quite easily go in sixth or seventh." Stanley said Young Modern would work forward into a handy spot and try to make his own luck. "He's a genuine free-for-all horse in my opinion. And he was probably only 80 per cent the other day so he'll come on a lot this Friday night." Rounding out the stable's Vicbred chances is APG Consolation winner Soho Lexington in the second semi-final for two-year-old colts and geldings. "I'm really happy with him," Stanley said. "I'd expect him to make the final and while he's not the best two-year-old he's the sort of horse who if the best ones are down on their game, he can win a big race." The first on a huge 12-event Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Semi-Final card kicks off at 4.50pm on Friday. CODY WINNELL

The Fat Man and So Demanding will carry Hamilton trainer David Lewis’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series hopes on Friday night at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. Lewis says both horses have solid chances of qualifying for the July 4 Super Series finals but added both would find winning on Friday night difficult. The Fat Man, who traditionally races near the front of the field, has drawn inside the back line in the four-year-old entires and geldings’ second semi-final. Hectorjayjay flies the arm and is drawn to lead in gate two, which should see The Fat Man buried away at least three back on the pegs behind polemarker Field Major. Lewis doesn’t mind that outcome, though freely admits winning from there with a horse not known for his turn of foot will be tricky. “We’ll get our chance ... I think Hectorjayjay leads, which puts us three back on the inside. My gut feel is something else will come around,” Lewis said. “He’s the sort of horse who needs to get out and roll along a bit but it’s not a bad spot to be in in terms of qualifying for the final. “I reckon he’ll improve sharply this Friday, he’s just no good as a sit-and-sprint horse. “If he was to get into the final and get the right draw he could spring a surprise.” So Demanding will start from pole in the four-year-old mares’ second semi-final, Lewis hoping the mare can utilise her lethal turn of foot at the right time. “She’s pretty limited but she can rip through a pretty quick quarter,” he said. “She can’t do any work. She’s drawn for a soft trip, so that’ll help.” Regular driver John Caldow is committed to Barynya, drawn barrier eight, so Luke McCarthy will pick up the drive on So Demanding. CODY WINNELL

Macho Comacho’s standing start record held him in good stead on Friday night in the Benstud Enduro at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton. The six-year-old by Royal Mattjesty out of Alberts Daughter stepped swiftly from the tapes, quickly establishing a handy buffer and holding on to it for the next 2760m. Bettor Rock On camped on the $6.90 leader’s back for Greg Sugars from barrier two and poked through in the straight to finish third, just pipped in a photo finish by second-placed Metro Mike, who made an early move to be in the chair riding a comfortable first half (62.8secs) for Jason Lee. Driver Chris Alford rated the tempo perfectly aboard Macho Comacho from the Dean Braun stable, the gelding upping the ante through a 28.2secs third quarter before ripping to the line in 26.8secs (55secs last half) to give nothing else a shot. The win was Macho Comacho’s ninth career victory, all nine coming in standing start races. “It certainly helped him, getting back to the stand,” Alford said. “When he first came over here from New Zealand he had good form in some country cups." “The mobile races don’t really suit him as much.” Macho Comacho had been screaming out to win one after three straight second placings of late, all in mobile races. Getting out to a trip was also certainly no problem as he stays all day. Alford predicted Macho Comacho would be a fierce Country Cups Carnival competitor next season. The win was the first leg of a weekend treble for Braun, who teamed with reinsman Nathan Jack for a double at Cranbourne on Sunday night with well-bred two-year-old Soho Chelsea (Mach Three/Cornsilk) and talented three-year-old filly Quaint Glen (Pay Me Christian/Quantam Franco). CODY WINNELL

Harness racing six-year-old Cold Major made it back-to-back Del-Re National Food Group Italian Cup wins at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. After defeating Keayang Cullen in the 2240m feature race a year ago, the David Aiken-trained gelding produced a powerful late burst this time to score by 1.6 metres in a mile rate of 1:56.2. Aiken’s son Josh drove Cold Major to victory, his 10th win aboard the son of Art Major/Vangold. In-the-run players wanted to be on Metro Mike early when Jason Lee took the in-form Emma Stewart-trained pacer to the lead, thus snookering race favourite Glenferrie Hood on the markers. Metro Mike’s backers would have been pleased with 800m to go after he covered the first half of his last mile in a comfortable enough 60.6secs. Michael Stanley had his talented four-year-old Young Modern in the breeze at this point, and together he and Metro Mike upped the tempo along the back straight for a third quarter of 28.1secs. Metro Mike eventually got the better of Young Modern in the home straight, but Cold Major and Five Star Anvil (Chris Alford) were the fresh horses to arrive when the leader finally started to feel the pinch inside the final 50m. Cold Major finished best, reeling in Metro Mike in the shadows of the post, while Five Star Anvil charged into second place out wider. The result KO’d most quaddie players at the first hurdle, the opening leg winner paying $36.20 on the tote. Glenferrie Hood ($1.90fav) never got into the action and finished seventh. Video - relive Cold Major's Del-Re National Food Group Italian Cup success by Cody Winnell

Unlike many of her harness racing compatriots, Amarula won’t be chasing any Vicbred or Breeders Crown riches in coming months.   Instead, the three-year-old trotting filly will head to Saturday night’s VHRSC Holmfield and then maybe the Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough in August.   Amarula’s driver, John Caldow, whose wife Maree trains the filly, predicted the daughter of Bacardi Lindy/Valley Of The Moon would get better with time.   “Hopefully she comes back a good four-year-old,” he said after mentioning the Trotters Derby being a potential target race.   “She’s a lovely horse and she’s got good high speed.”   Amarula produced a massive run in last weekend’s Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks, attacking the line to finish second behind My Arya.   “There wasn’t a lot of speed early, which didn’t help, so to be able to get home after no speed early it was a really good run,” Caldow said.   While the shorter trip of the Holmfield (1720m) on Saturday night isn’t ideal for the staying type, Caldow said Amarula should still run well.   “She stays really well … and most horses who stay well go pretty good over the short trip anyway,” he said.   “She’s a lovely trotter and I’m sure she’ll go well.”   The Group 2 Holmfield has drawn a stellar line-up with the likes of Fabrication (drawn the pole), Group 1 winner Endsino (barrier two), highly rated gelding Illawong Armstrong (gate four), talented ex-Kiwi Blue Sky Commander for the Butterworth team and Kerryn Manning (gate five), Oaks champion My Arya (barrier eight), rising star Gus An Maori (barrier nine) and champion juvenile Eljaykay Phoenix (barrier 10) in the field.   Cody Winnell

Since it was first run in 1954, several top-line pacers have taken out Harness Racing Victoria’s Italian Cup.   The likes of My Lightning Blue (1986), Il Vicolo (1996), Tailamade Lombo (2000), Sokyola (2002) and Smoken Up (2009), just to name a few, adorn the race’s honour roll.   On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, another pacer’s name will be etched on to the Del-Re National Food Group Italian Cup trophy.   This year’s field consists of 11 runners, including reigning race champion Cold Major from the David Aiken stable at Avenel.   In-form Glenferrie Hood has drawn barrier two and looks sure to line up as one of the favourites after back-to-back wins at Headquarters for trainer Belinda McCarthy.   Driven by Joe Taafe, who won aboard the five-year-old gelding two starts back, Glenferrie Hood has won five of his last six races – his only defeat in that time coming in the stand-start Melton Pacing Cup when he began badly.   Lance Justice has won the Italian Cup on multiple occasions and has Im Barney Rubble in this year’s renewal.   Michael Stanley’s impressive four-year-old Young Modern will be chasing his first victory this time in after two strong seconds in recent starts.   Jason Lee will pilot Metro Mike, one of two Emma Stewart-trained horses in the race – the other being six-year-old mare The Good Times for reinsman Anthony Butt.   Like Glenferrie Hood, Metro Mike is a recent back-to-back Melton winner.   Six-year-old gelding Exciteusinthecity has drawn awfully in barrier seven but has produced two excellent runs for third since resuming from a spell for Terang trainer Darren Cole.   As well as lining up the reigning race winner Cold Major, who has gate 11, Aiken will also have veteran Smudge Bromac in the Italian Cup from barrier nine.   Country Cups king Arber has gate 10 for trainer Tim Bolitho and reinsman Michael Bellman, while Bellas Delight (barrier five) and Five Star Anvil (six) round out an even line-up.   The Italian Cup is Race 5 at Melton on Saturday night and will be run at 7.30pm.   CODY WINNELL

Outstanding harness racing youngster My Arya will face her toughest Australian assignment at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.   Unbeaten from eight Aussie runs this season, My Arya will compete against the ‘boys’ in the time-honoured The Holmfield.   Along with a strong assembly, the Brent Lilley-trained trotter also has to contend with a second row draw.   Although disappointed with the three-year-old’s starting position, Lilley believes My Arya is “racing well enough to overcome it”.   “She is one off the back, but I would have preferred she drew one off the front,” Lilley said. “The draw makes it tough, and the field is pretty handy, but she is in top shape and form.   “There is no doubt she is racing well enough to overcome it, but she will need a bit of luck.”   Despite his confidence in the daughter of Angus Hall, Lilley concedes rising star Eljaykay Phoenix is the one to beat.   Last season’s premier freshman, Eljaykay Phoenix will begin from gate 10 for trainer David Aiken.   Boasting 12 wins from 16 starts, Eljaykay Phoenix missed a placing for the first time when fifth at fifth at Melton on May 19.   “Forget his last run, Eljaykay Phoenix is the one to beat,” Lilley said. “Although he also has the back row to overcome, he has the class to do it.”   Paul Courts

It didn’t take long to realise harness racing trainer Brent Lilley might be in for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton. But not many could have predicted just how well the script would play out for the Bolinda horseman, who walked away from tonight's Trotters Oaks meeting with five wins – including the two feature races. It all began with five-year-old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey, who showed his last-start win at Shepparton was no fluke with victory in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m to open the program. From barrier seven reinsman Anthony Butt produced a carbon copy of his steer aboard Hollywood Sign last month when it won the Rising Stars Final, driving Crusader Acey across the field early to find the pegs before handing up to the favourite, Macho Comacho. Crusader Acey out-sprinted Macho Comacho late along the sprint lane to win by a neck in a mile rate of 1:54.1. Lilley notched a winning double in the fourth race with five-year-old Monarchy/Sun Mist mare Rosemma. The foolproof trotter dashed to the lead early from barrier five for Rodney Petroff, while stablemate and race favourite Kyvalley Pink blew its chances by galloping away. Rosemma rated 2:00.7 to hold off a fast-finishing Mister Independent by 1.1m in the Garrards Horse and Hount Trot. Lilley and Butt then snared Race 7, the TAB.com.au Pace ,with impressive gelding Lets Elope (by Real Desire out of Alta Vista), finding the lead from barrier two before staving off all comers at the finish. Lets Elope carved out splits of 30.4secs, 29.8secs, 28.5secs and 27.6secs, clocking a 1:56.4 mile rate. Punters backed Lilley and Butt in to do it again in Race 8, the night’s feature, the $60,505 Group 1 Noel Simpson Memorial Trotters Oaks. Favourite backers were grinning 2mins and 47secs after the mobile arms folded back, My Arya leading from start to finish to register a 3m win over Amarula with Little Miss Zigzag flashing home for third. The Angus Hall filly held out an early challenge from Fiery Mountain Girl to lead before getting away with a 61.3secs first half at the head of affairs. She upped the tempo down the back the last time and took the zing out of any chasers with a 28secs third quarter. Sprinting home in 29.8secs, My Arya never looked like being headed and has now won 10 of her 11 Australian starts. Her winning mile rate for tonight’s 2240m trip was 2:00.4. Lilley and Butt capped the night in Race 9 by taking out the Pryde’s Easifeed Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old trotters with Kyvalley Tinman. The son of Majestic Son/Kyvalley Kitty sat on the speed in the run before out-staying his rivals, quickly getting the better of early leader Calder Knight turning for home before seeing off a late charge by impressive filly Princess Phoenix for a 1.3m win in 2:04.2 for the 2240m journey. While Lilley made the headlines with five winners, Butt’s performance should be undersold, finishing with a metropolitan quartet of his own. In other results, Aldebaran Macha easily took out the Good Form Pace over 2240m for David and Josh Aiken, the son of Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac too good for runner-up Hez The Wild Card in 1:56.2. Anton Golino and Todd McCarthy took out the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot with rising star Arboe, who held off Vics Cheval at the finish by 3.2m. Arboe, by Love You out of Lough Neagh, has now won five of six starts and has genuine star power. Arboe rated 1:59.0 over the 2240m, Claudys Princess finishing third beaten 13.2m by the winner. Bringing up a double for Todd McCarthy was Glenferrie Hood, a pacer making a name for himself in Victoria with two straight wins here. The son of Christian Cullen/Niftey Franco found the lead from gate seven early and ran along to record a mile rate of 1:53.7, defeating Sapphire Swayze by 3.6m with Im Barney Rubble third. Shes A Runa notched her 16th win at start No.27 by taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship Final for trainer Amanda Turnbull and driver Nathan Jack. The Jeremes Jet/Runacullen mare, a four-year-old, was 7.3m too strong for Gollahman, while in-form Ithappenstobeametro stuck on gamely for third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:55.5. Trainer Dean Braun looks to have another star on his hands in the form of Wardwell, who won tonight’s Pegasus Club 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. The gelding by Mach Three out of Ohappy Daze won by 7.4m over Starwyn Jasper with Brighty Valentine third in a rate of 1:59.0. Wardwell has now won three from three and bigger races look on his agenda moving forward. David Miles and his talented four-year-old Smokey Quartz capped the night with a gutsy success over Masterofthurles, that pair racing well clear of third placegetter Thunder Fee in the last race, the 2Construct Pace Final over 1720m. Smokey Quartz and Masterofthurles were involved in a speed war early, the latter eventually holding up and Smokey Quartz dropping to the leader’s back. From there Smokey Quartz eventually got out, rounded up the early pace setter and went on to score by 2.8m in a rate of 1:56.4. Smokey Quartz is a son of the great Courage Under Fire out of Pareen. View replays of all tonight's races and get full results by Cody Winnell

Harness racing trainer Nicole Molander and champion reinsman Chris Alford finished with winning trebles at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, Friday the 29th of May. To find out how many trebles Alford has had on a metropolitan race night it would take significant trawling through the archives, so I’ll have to take it on notice and put it on the to-do list. For now, let’s just say he’s probably had more trebles than the world's No.1 dart thrower. For Molander, her stable is on fire and tonight she wasn’t just enjoying success with the squaregaiters, which she’s famous for producing, but a lightly-raced pacer by the name of Dream Fulfilled, who impressively took the first race. The Bettors Delight/For Dear Life gelding won the DNR Logistics Pace Final with Rodney Petroff in the cart, who finished with a winning double of his own. A son of a former NSW Oaks winner and an APG winner and runner-up, Dream Fulfilled made up for a luckless last-start sixth at Bendigo with an all-the-way victory over 2240m. He carved out a 61.2 first half, quickened marginally through the third section (29.5) and sprinted home in 28.4 to rate 1:58.0 flat for a 2.8-metre win over polemarker Dependlebury (Anthony Butt) and third placegetter Snip Of Grand (Adrian Douglas). A top drive by Charlie Borg ensured in-form four-year-old mare Lucky Metro success in the Garrards Pace Final over 2240m for trainer Douglas Adams. The Metropolitan/Armbro Sunshine mare went super in her heat from a good draw, but had to overcome barrier 13 tonight. No problem. Lucky Metro cruised around early three- and four-wide to get to the breeze before out-staying early leader Five Star Belle, a brave Bushi and Nobetterthanthis in the finish. Bushi (Lance Justice) was a head behind the winner at the end with Nobetterthanthis (Michael Bellman sprint-laning for third in a mile rate of 1:58.3. Molander’s second winner for the evening came via impressive four-year-old Muscle Mass/Invasions Pride gelding Sammy Charles, who won the Alabar Vicbred Trot over 1720m despite an outside back-row alley. With Alford in the gig, Sammy Charles held off a fast-finishing Star Style (Gavin Lang) to score by 1.9m in 2:01.1. Alford took the half-brother to Let Me Thru and Lord Liam around the field three-wide to the home turn before staving off the late comers at the business end. Star Style’s run was nearly as impressive as his flashy mane, while third placegetter Opia and Monique Burnett are knocking on the door of another victory. Follow. Four-year-old mare Shes A Runa is well on song for this year’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series after defeating Barimah in tonight’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship First Heat. Crossed early by Damian Wilson aboard Barimah, Alford sat Shes A Runa (Jeremes Jet/Runacullen) behind the leader before bursting through along the sprint lane in the home run for a 2.3m win in 1:58.2. The Family Guy was third for Gavin Lang. Taswegian star Barynya captured the Eynesbury Golf Club Pace over 2240m for trainer Dick Eaves and Gavin Lang, the daughter of Blissfull Hall/Lombo Anastasia holding the lead from the pole and repelling fierce challenges from Spitfire Rose (Greg Sugars) and Washmepockets (Emmett Brosnan), who dead-heated for second. Keayang Active, who started favourite, ran fourth after sitting parked in the breeze throughout and weakening late. The winner's rate was 1:57.1. Alford was at it again in the sixth race, the Garrard’s Horse and Hound Trot over 2240m with in-form Monorail giving Molander three winners for the evening. The six-year-old gelding by Dr Ronerail out of Globe Trotter used the shortcuts to win along the sprint lane after sitting behind race leader Mister Independent, holding off Star Gun (Matthew Craven) by a half-head with Maybelina (Lang) pipping Mister Independent (Michael Bellman) for third. The winner rated two minutes flat. Reinsman Jason Lee continued his affinity with Metro Mike, winning his fourth race aboard the Metropolitan/Tuscan Skies six-year-old from the Emma Stewart stable in Race 7, the VHRMA Young Pedro Free for All. Despite drawing gate seven over the short-course 1720m trip, Metro Mike worked forward and proved too strong for his rivals, veteran Wartime Sweetheart (David Aiken) battling on for second and Exciteusinthecity finding the line nicely in third for Tim McLean. The winner went 1:54.5. Consistent five-year-old McArdle/Jarita mare McRita won the second heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship, Race 8, for trainer/driver Petroff. From the pole, McRita came out swiftly before handing up to Ithappenstobeametro, who flew out of gate seven. A slick lead time of 44.1 seemed to set it up for the swoopers, but they never really turned up and McRita was able to finish on strongly from behind the leader – using the sprint lane to advantage for a 4.6m win, Ithappenstobeametro running a big race for second, while My Bella Starr snatched third for Gavin Lang. McRita rated 1:56.3. King of the claimers Composed (Our Sir Vancelot/Troys Dream) took out the Teddy Boomgardt Claiming Pace over 2240m for trainer David Aiken and son reinsman Josh Aiken. The lone runner on the back row, Composed made his move mid-race, dashing around to run to the lead. Livin It Lovin It (Petroff), shooting for five straight wins tonight, had initially led from barrier seven but handed up when Composed came hunting. In the home straight Livin It Lovin It took it up to Composed, but the leader packed too much punch, holding on by 2.3m. Our Mels Dream, a stablemate of Livin It Lovin It from the Beau Tindale yard, ran third with Lisa Miles in the cart. The winner clocked a mile rate of 1:56.7. Capping the night was Fabrication (Dream Vacation/Figment) taking out the Olympus Feeds 3YO Vicbred Trot for trainer David Abrahams and driver David Murphy. Fabrication scored by 6.1m over Donski (Tony Mallia), who ran on well, and Belts (Bellman) in third, the winner’s mile rate 2:02.3. Tomorrow night’s harness racing heads to Bray Raceway, Ballarat, with the John Slack Memorial Ballarat Trotters Cup the feature event on what looks an exciting card. Cody Winnell

David Aiken has long been one of the state’s leading harness racing trainers since locating to Victoria over a decade ago and following a double at Tabcorp Park Melton last Saturday, repeated the dose at Bendigo on Tuesday when in-form mare Vics Cheval scored in the Bendigo Tafe Monte and smart juvenile Hadrians Phoenix the Aldebaran Park 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres. Vics Cheval a five year old daughter of Yankee Boy and Vics Lady raced by David, with overseas rider Kima Frenning in the sadlle, raced in the open from outside the front row for the entire journey, before toying with her rivals to register a 23.1 metre victory over Illawong Moonshine which followed her for the final circuit, with Hakuna Sunset a further 3.7 metres away in third place after trailing the weakening leader Bill Peperell. The mile rate 1-57.4. An interesting aspect to the race was that cross country rider Paul Hamblin made the trip to Bendigo to ride rank outsider Shea Keystone in the race after competing in the first two highweight races at the all new Pakenham complex during the afternoon.  Eilean Donon/Dodo Rocket gelding Hadrians Phoenix driven by Gavin Lang was given plenty of time to find his feet from barrier two, settling three back along the markers, before being sent forward to take over mid-race from Sugar Free (barrier six). Nursed to the wire, Hadrians Phoenix had 1.1 metres to spare on the wire over Sugar Free and the 10 metre backmarker Aldebaran Midnite which sprinted swiftly to join the winner on the home turn. The mile rate 2-06. Sunbury trainer/driver Ahmed Taiba has picked up a handy performer in Colonel Joy who snared the Alabar Breeders Crown 3-Y-0 Pace over 1650 metres in a rate of 1-58.4 when first up since winning at Kilmore in April last year. A gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere and Lady Joy who is half brother to quality racehorses Captain Joy (Mach Three) 26 wins, Master Joy (Art Major) 17 wins, Lightning Joy ( Western Terror) 12 wins, plus Another Joy (Presidential Ball) 9 wins. Colonel Joy is also a full brother to Admiral Joy (5 wins). Settling mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, Colonel Joy was off and running to park outside the pacemaker Aurelius at the bell and after applying pressure on turning, strode clear over the concluding stages to score by 2.3 metres from Aurelius and Secret Agenda which trailed the front runner. Kyabram trainer Mark Watson usually comes up with a handy horse each season and landed the Bendigo Advertiser 2-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres with Major In Art/Miss Athens colt Brallos Pass. Driven by Chris Alford, Brallos Pass coming off an eye catching second to Mar Nien at Shepparton a week earlier possied one/one from gate two on the second line, with the heavily backed Thats How Weroll from the Belinda McCarthy camp working to the front for Greg Sugars from gate five. Sent forward three wide in the last lap, Brallos Pass sprinted brilliantly to take a slender lead on the final bend and score by 9 metres in 1-59.6 over the pacemaker, with first starter Blazedale (three back the markers) 13.4 metres away in third place. Melton based Maree and John Caldow have Kiwi bred Art Major/Tootsie filly Nicky Delight going great guns at present and was successful in taking the Vantage Fuels Pace for C0 class over 2150 metres. Sent forward from gate four to assume control hitting the back straight on the first occasion, Nicky Maguire well rated was never headed, greeting the judge by 14.2 metres in 1-59 from Classic Shark which trailed and Smooth Mikaela who was always handy. Eight year old Pass The Mustard/Ladybird Joy gelding Mister Pickles registered his first victory since May 2012 when successful in the Petstock Pace for C1 class over 2150 metres. Backed for bundles when narrowly beaten by Lights And Music at Swan Hill on May 14 when first up since December, Mister Pickles trained at Junortoun by Danny O’Bree and driven by stable reinsman Scott Dyer went forward from outside the front row to take over within a lap, before running his rivals ragged, scoring by 14.4 metres in a rate of 1-59 over a death-seating Art Of Locksley and Baranduda off a three wide trail last lap on the back of Our Bold Lustre. Lance Justice was in the winners circle following the victory of speedy Aces N Sevens/Smooth De Babe four year old entire Four Smart Aces in the Schweppes Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1650 metres. Driven with aggression from gate five to cross Admiral Joy inside him, Four Smart Aces was too slick over the short trip for Admiral Joy which tried hard in the straight, going down by 1.4 metres in a brilliant 1-54.3. Polemarker Blue Seelster finished third after trailing the pair. Andy and Kate Gath gained some spending money for a trip to the Harness Jewels in Ashburton over the weekend, when three year old Always A Virgin/Shove Off gelding Always Arjay led throughout from the pole to land the Great Ocean Road Real Estate Pace for C2 class over 2150 metres. Bowling along at his leisure, Always Arjay defied all challengers to score by a head from Arden Castle which trailed, using the sprint lane to just fail in a rate of 1-59.1, with Our Petite Soeur third after racing in the open from the bell. Len Baker Harness Racing Victoria

Another of the Melbourne Inter Dominion champions will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with the running of the harness racing Young Pedro Free-For-All. One of the lesser-known winners of the time-honoured series, Young Pedro captured the feature at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds in 1959 in what was the 18th running of the Trans Tasman event. Owned, trained and driven by South Australian Leo Hunt, Young Pedro became just the second four-year-old to secure the Championship, following Springfield Globe’s triumph in Launceston 20 years earlier. Foaled in 1954, the chestnut colt was by Van Derby from Pedro’s Salute by Pedro Pronto from Royal Salute by Royal Lulu. Fifth in his opening heat won by Dusty Miller, Young Pedro was then successful on the second night before running third behind Caduceus in his third qualifier. Caduceus and Dusty Miller were the only unbeaten performers during the heats. The rank outsider at 33/1 in the 12,000 pound Final over 14 furlongs (2800 metres), Young Pedro began well from the front line to settle in the coveted one-one as Dusty Miller led. Angled into the clear on the last bend, Young Pedro dashed past the pacemaker at the top of the straight before scoring by three yards from Dusty Miller, which was second favourite at 9/2. Billabong Scott, which also won a second round heat, was two yards away third at 25/1. Caduceus, a 6/4 favourite despite his 36-yard handicap, could only manage fifth. Young Pedro rated 2:11.8 in front of a crowd of 30,153, which was considered disappointing due to “bad weather conditions”. Overall, the four-night series attracted 92,042 patrons. Young Pedro’s triumph rounded out a hat-trick for South Australia, with Radiant Venture winning in Perth in 1957 and Free Hall in Adelaide in 1958. Young Pedro was also victorious in the 1959 South Australia Cup with Hunt in the sulky. As for this week’s race in Young Pedro’s honour, Chilli Palmer is the one to beat despite his awkward draw. Filling the placings behind Lennytheshark during his last two outings - including eye-catching second last weekend - Chilli Palmer should have little trouble registering an overdue win for trainer Dean Braun. The son of Inter Dominion winner Elsu will begin from barrier six, with Braun confident of victory. “He has been racing really well and is ready to get back into the winners’ circle,” Braun said. “The draw makes it a little tricky, but he should be able to overcome it.” Paul Courts

Life is about to get tougher for the handy harness racing performer Columbias Deejay.   Racing in ultra-consistent fashion this season, Columbias Deejay has been set for the rich Vicbred Super Series following his victory at Geelong yesterday.   Pleased with the four-year-old’s progress, trainer David Magri believes the Bacardi Lindy gelding is capable of making his way into the Final.   The $60,000 decider is scheduled to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on July 3 as part of a stellar weekend, which will see 12 Group Ones conducted at the venue across two nights.   “He has come along really well this season and is capable of mixing it with some of the better ones in his age,” Magri said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he will come out and win the Final, but he is good enough to get into it.   “Once you’re in the race you never know what might happen.   “He’s certainly capable of winning a heat, so that’s the way we will head. The heats are still a few weeks away, so I will give him another start or two before then, including Melton next Friday night.”   With Magri in the cart during his latest win, Columbias Deejay led throughout from three to score by eight-and-a-half metres from Tommy Kay, with Tawonga South a metre-and-a-half away third.   “Once he got to the front I knew they wouldn’t run him down,” Magri said. “He was down in class on what he has been racing against, so I felt he would be hard to beat.”   Paul Courts

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