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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting pacer Eureka put the finishing touches to Kate Gath's magical return to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Fresh from a driving-related suspension, Gath claimed the last leg of a winning treble with the former New Zealander, who scored a dominant victory in the VHRC Pace (1720m, NR 64-69). The son of Washington VC had to race in the death seat for much of the journey, but it proved no barrier as he let down at the top of the straight and charged clear to win comfortably in a mile rate of 1:55.3. It was the four-year-old's fourth win from five appearances in Australia, with the only blemish coming when he galloped and broke gear at Cranbourne in late March. "His last start at Ballarat and his trial since then, he has just given me a really good feel," Gath told SEN1116's Talking Trots on Track. "I've just come back and gone to (trainer/husband) Andy (Gath) 'I really like this horse'. And I don't say that about that many. "He just seems to be getting better and better and I'm really not surprised that he did what he did (Saturday night) on the feel he has given me on the last couple of starts." Gath scored earlier wins with Emma Stewart's Two Times Bettor and Arden Voyager, which like Eureka is trained by her husband Andy. The reappearance of Stewart's superstar pacer Poster Boy was billed as a major highlight of Saturday night's card and he didn't disappoint. Injury and illness had kept the multiple Group 1 winner sidelined for close to a year before the previous weekend's victory at Melton and he backed up seven days later with another scintillating performance. Racing in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 90-120), Poster Boy was allowed to roll to the front by driver Greg Sugars and with minimal pressure, he covered his last 800m in 54.8sec to clock a mile rate of 1:55.7. "As you saw, he straightened up and did that all himself. To snap off a sub-27 quarter without even being asked for it - it takes a real good horse to do that," Sugars said. The win was the last of three on the night for the Myrniong-based Sugars, who also scored with Im No Outlaw and Cocosfella for trainer/wife Jess Tubbs. Sugars' sister Kylie was another to leave Melton with a big smile on her face after the performance of Sammy Showdown in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 75-120). The horse beat a quality field of squaregaiters to register his first success since his six-race streak ended in early February.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

It's not the most conventional of training methods, but regular runs and jogs through the bushland near Daylesford has become the norm for evergreen trotter Fear Not. Trained by Glenn Conroy at Musk Vale and raced by his daughter Lyndal, the seven-year-old mare is one of the more recognisable competitors on the Victorian harness racing circuit. Since making her debut in March of 2015, the daughter of Skyvalley has run another 178 times for seven wins and 57 minor placings. Essentially, she's raced week in, week out across that five-year period with great consistency. Lyndal, who operates a hairdressing salon in Daylesford and works closely with the horses, explained the secret to getting Fear Not to the track so often. "The only time she sets foot on the track is when she races," she said. "Every other day she jogs out the bush. We are very fortunate to live over the road from the bush so there's all sorts of fire trails for her to go and jog on. "During the start of the week, she does a power of work. She does a lot of hill work to make sure her fitness is at its peak and coming up to race day, it will taper back slowly and just some nice jog work to keep her ticking over. "That's what allows her to race weekly and so regularly, because she isn't having a lot of strain from fast work on the tracks. "We just use her fast work hit-out as her race and look after her during the week." Lyndal is well known for pampering her horses and Fear Not certainly gets the full treatment. "She has her own woolen dress rug with her name embroidered on the side of it," she said. "She has got a really nice bling brow band and I always braid her forelock and her main. "To me, I think presentation is part of it as well. I like knowing not only do my horses look good, they feel good and hopefully they reward us." Fear Not, who has contested 13 Group 1 races over her career with a fourth placing in February's Breed For Speed Gold final her best result, will step out in the Niota Bloodstock Trot (2240m) at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday night. She will be out to break a losing sequence that spans back to December last year, but is well suited to the small field according to Lyndal. "She's not very fast out, so drawing six, she definitely won't be leading. Dad always drives her for luck," she said. "He sits her in and we always hope for a bit of speed on, a bit of pace because she likes a good solid race. And then we just hope for the best." Anton Golino's Imsettogo looks the one to beat from the barrier one draw, but there's a host of chances in a small but quality seven-horse field. Another highlight on Saturday night's card will be the return of Emma Stewart-trained star Poster Boy, who made his return from injury and illness with a sizzling first-up win last weekend. The Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m) is another exciting event, which will see a mouthwatering clash between top squaregaiters I Am Pegasus, Sammy Showdown and Savannah Jay Jay.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and the Victorian Harness Racing Club (VHRC) are pleased to announce a significant new media partnership. HRV’s live digital streaming service Trots Vision will broadcast The Parade Ring sponsored by the VHRC – Victorian harness racing’s preeminent club for trots owners – at every Tabcorp Park Melton Saturday night meeting. The VHRC also joins the RSN family through this HRV partnership with the long-time weekly trots show Gait Speed now sponsored by the VHRC. “The VHRC is firmly committed to working alongside HRV to add value to our industry and promote the great game wherever possible,” VHRC’s Rob Auber said. “Trots Vision is a wonderful media platform which provides great value for owners and participants who cannot be at the track and now they are able to see their horse in The Parade Ring brought to you by VHRC. “We are also thrilled to align our VHRC brand to RSN’s Gait Speed program, which can be heard every Monday on RSN Central with Gareth Hall. Dan Mielicki and I are regulars on that show and we’re looking forward to continuing to bring great stories to life for the benefit of the listeners and the industry. “We are honoured to partner with HRV and this will be the first of many exciting VHRC projects. We hope all owners and industry lovers will support our club with its membership initiatives for 2020-21 and we’re confident the harness industry will only grow if we are prepared to all support each other and pull in the one direction.” HRV General Manager of Marketing Andrew English welcomed the new partnership and spoke highly of the role VHRC has played over many years. “The VHRC has been an integral part of the Victorian trots industry for a long time and HRV is excited to extend this partnership to encompass two of our key media brands in The Parade Ring on Trots Vision and Gait Speed on RSN,” English said. “I congratulate the VHRC team, and Rob Auber in particular, not only for the exemplary work he does as one of our hosts on Trots Vision, but also for the way in which he is working so effectively in his role with the VHRC and for the greater good of our industry as a whole. “HRV is thrilled to be working so closely with the VHRC to develop our mutual vision, which will only strengthen the entire harness racing industry for many years to come.”   HRV - Cody Winnell

The show must go on for trainer-driver Kylie Sugars, whose star trotter came from the clouds this season and returns from a brief spell to contest the last race of tonight’s Tabcorp Park program. The rise and rise of Sammy Showdown has been one of the stories of the season, with Sugars, who co-leases the Baccardi Lindy gelding with his owner-breeder Graeme Rayner, guiding the trotter from a moderately rated, lightly raced four-year-old to a Group 1 threat. “He returned in November at the end of last year after five and a half months away due to injury and if you had told me then that by the first week of March he would have competed in two Group 1 races and only just gotten beaten in both of them I would have said ‘you are insane’,” Sugars told Trots Talk. “But every challenge that’s been thrown at him he just keep stepping up, he gives you everything, he leaves nothing in the tank and he answers every call. “He’s done a phenomenal job really from where he was in November, a 54 rater, to stepping up into free-for-all country. He’s only four years old, he’s relatively lightly raced and his acceleration to fast class has been very quick.” That emergence continues at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when Sammy Showdown contests the Aldebaran Park Trot, the last on the program that streams on Trots Vision at 9.37pm. It’s his first start since running third behind Big Jack Hammer and Red Hot Tooth in Menangle’s Aquagait Trotters Mile, which came on the heels of a fourth placing behind Tornado Valley, Wobelee and Temporale in Aldebaran Park The Knight Pistol. Beaten only 1.1 and 6 metres respectively, it’s quite extraordinary company he’s keeping. “It was a huge thrill, huge buzz,” Sugars said. “All those horses that competed in those Group 1 races have been going around in those races for last two or three seasons and he’s a Johnny come lately. “I can go into those races confident that whatever happens he’ll gives his best, and I’m very lucky sitting behind him because he always does – no matter what happens he goes down fighting.” She’s optimistic those traits will again be on show tonight, when Sammy Showdown starts from gate four and is likely to start short in the market amid the open class field. “A small field, but a small field of very consistent horses,” Sugars said. “Scruffy Doolan has really hit its straps the last two starts, I Am Pegasus has got very good, solid form from the Breed For Speed Series against her own sex over a mile. She’s hugely talented. “And Savannah Jay Jay has been going around in free-for-all company for a number of seasons and he’s a very good sit-sprinter. “A small but select field of horses who are always thereabouts and capable of running a good race. (Sammy Showdown) is going to have to begin quite well if we want to get to the front, but if we have to sit outside them then so be it. “He’s picked up right where he left off, so I thought we’ll head back to the races and see what happens.” It’s not only been a breakout for Sammy Showdown but also one of sorts for Sugars. This season marks her 20th in the sulky, having competed every year since her 1999-2000 debut. But while Sugars has had her least amount of driving starts (37) so far this season since 2007-08, she has remarkably enjoyed her greatest amount of stakes won ($71,405) since 2005-06, with five of her six winners being Sammy Showdown (the other was Horratio). TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will guide listeners through the wins, near-misses and opportunities of tonight's Tabcorp Park card with Talking Trots on Track from 6-10pm. Aired on SEN 1116AM and 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong, you can also click here to listen live online and for links to download the SEN app.   Craig Rail's Trial File All the good oil from the Victorian trials circuit. BLACKBOOKER: Race 6 No. 3 War Dan Settled five back on the markers and was the widest runner turning into the straight. He finished very quickly out wide on the track for an eye-catching second. FULL REPORT     HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

Former Canadian 2YO Colt of the Year Warrawee Needy, now based at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga (NSW), was credited with his fifth harness racing winner from his first Australian crop when the two-year-old Menames Needy emerged successful at Wagga on Easter Day. Having only his fourth start, the gelding was second last on the home turn and disappointed for racing room but gained a needle eye opening and finished full of running to claim the thick end of the prize. Tintin In America, a studmate of Warrawee Needy at Yirribee, left a couple of very smart three-year-old winners on either side of the continent last weekend. Wotdidusaaay took full advantage of a perfect trip to outsprint his rivals at Melton in 1:58 over 2240 metres. It was his sixth win and sent his stake tally over the $30,000 mark. He looks a really good youngster. While Middlepage, a three-year-old colt, finished strongly after enjoying a box seat trail to post his first win at Gloucester Park. He rated 1:59.6 over 2130 metres. To complete a successful week Timely Sovereign, a son of Lombo Pocket Watch, notched win No. 9 and increased his earnings to almost $80,000 at Penrith.   By Peter Wharton

There was a big dollop of joy for harness racing trainer/breeder Charlie Mizzi at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night when his promising three-year-old kept a cool head and claimed a big scalp. Wotdidusaaay, now a winner of six of his 18 starts, capped Saturday night’s racing with victory in the Allied Express Pace, bringing great delight to his Sunshine-based trainer-breeder, who also co-owns the gelding with Kurunjung’s Charmaine, Jay and five-year-old Addyson Briggs.   “He’s getting better all the time,” Mizzi said. “Getting stronger, bit of a smart arse, he tries you out. Lance (Justice) has done a nice job with him.” Mizzi trains a team of five from Justice’s Melton property, with Justice not only his race-night reinsman but helpful in the day-to-day training. Saturday’s night’s $8000 showdown pitted Wotdidusaaay against last start winner Error, for Bacchus Marsh’s Jodi Quinlan, and short-priced favourite Abouttime for the all-powerful Emma Stewart stable. The latter had received plenty of support in the lead up, with the lightly-raced Art Major gelding having won both his previous starts this campaign, including a romping 75-metre victory at Shepparton. And all initially looked to go to plan for Abouttime, with reinsman Greg Sugars easily sliding to the front of affairs in a moderate 47.3-second lead time, but things were also going to script for the trailing Wotdidusaaay and Justice. “The reason I didn’t come out of the gate was because it was a bit of a game plan, I thought if I don’t bustle him early, I’ve got barrier one, I am going to be behind the leader,” Justice said. “Worst case scenario I run second, but with a good trip I was confident he could win.” Crucially, the leader continued to pull in the run, getting little respite as his 29.5-second first quarter would see him pulse at the front of affairs. Conversely Wotdidusaaay, who had raced keenly at a recent start, was in cruise control on Saturday night. “That was why he went so much better," Justice said. "He raced here a couple of weeks back in a really good three-year-old race, he run fourth in the race but he pulled really hard all the way behind them. “Tonight as soon as the first quarter came up in under 30, Greg kept slipping away from the field all the time and I kept thinking it won’t run up the straight.” As they approached the final turn, Wotdidusaaay advanced around Abouttime, making short work of the leader, with Error running into second. It was great reward for Mizzi and Justice was only too happy to deliver it “(Charlie’s) a really good guy,” Justice said. “One thing about him, he’s really loyal. He tries really hard. I can’t say enough about the guy – he’s just a really kind-hearted person.” To watch the video replay click here. The Stewart camp wasn’t without joy, with new addition Egodan winning the TAB Multiplier Pace ahead of stablemate Major Times. Having been first up in three months, Saturday was the much-travelled Egodan’s 100th start and he made it count, hitting the line strongly for reinsman Greg Sugars in the night’s $12,000 open class feature. To watch Egodan's video replay click here. The victory was one of the two for the night for Sugars, who also saluted on Little Peanut in the Garrards Pace, when Myrniong’s Larajay Farm stable, owned by Sugars and his wife trainer Jess Tubbs, filled the first three placings. Little Peanut won from Cocosfella and Huli Nien and Sugars said post-race the five-year-old winner should only get better for the run. To watch the video replay of Little Peanut click here. Matching Sugars’ driving double was Ryan Duffy, whose magic Melton form continued when he steered trotters Scruffy Doolan (trained by Geoff Webster) and prodigiously talented Always Ready (trained by Anton Golino) to victories. To watch the video replay of Scruffy Doolan click here. To watch the video replay of Always Ready cliick here. HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

There is no stopping talented harness racing squaregaiter Always Ready at the moment. From the powerful Cardigan stable of Anton Golino, the group 1-winning four-year-old made it four wins on end with an effortless all-the-way victory at Melton on Saturday night. Always Ready ($1.20 favourite) raced away by 26m, giving Ballarat reinsman Ryan Duffy an armchair ride. With regular stable drivers Jason Lee and Glen Craven unable to take the reins as they live outside Harness Racing Victoria's specified mid-west region under the COVID-19 racing model, it was Duffy's first time behind Always Ready. Always Ready's eighth win in just 12 starts brought up a double for Duffy - the third time in as many Saturday nights that he has had multiple wins at Melton. The Trots@TheTrotsComAu   The new Prince of @Tabcorp_Park Ryan Duffy strikes again, this time with Scruffy Doolan winning the Niota Bloodstock Trotters Handicap. #TheTrots Watch live and free: …     9:03 PM - Apr 11, 2020 Twitter Ads info and privacy See The Trots's other Tweets   MYRNIONG trainer Jess Tubbs produced a trifecta in the Garrards Pace, 2240m, at Melton. Little Peanut ($1.20 favourite) found the front and led home stablemates Cocosfella and Helki Nien in a tight finish. Tubbs' husband Greg Sugars pulled the right rein by being on Little Peanut. It was the first leg of a double for Sugars, who went on to also score on the Emma Stewart-trained Egodan ($2.90) in 1:54.3 over 1720m. While it was Egodan's 100th race start, it was the eight-year-olds first start for the Cardigan stable of Stewart after a short stint with Matthew Craven near Terang. Stewart also scored with Tina Calls ($3.10) on the night. Ballarat has a mid-west race meeting on Friday night. By David Brehaut Reprinted with permission of The Courier  

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