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As the countdown to Smoken Up’s farewell race at Tabcorp Park Melton continues, Harness Racing Victoria has announced it will rename a race in the champion pacer’s honour. The Legends, previously named The Legends Mile, will become The Smoken Up Sprint (to be run on November 7) to honour the Lance Justice-trained superstar pacer’s career. Smoken Up is a 13-time Group 1 winner who still holds the record for the fastest milerate in Australasia – 1:48.5. A winner of 73 races from 150 starts, Smoken Up’s achievements have thrust harness racing into mainstream and social media channels. The winner of over $3.6 million in stakemoney is to have his final ever racetrack start at his home track, Tabcorp Park Melton, in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6. HRV CEO John Anderson said renaming a race such as The Legends in Smoken Up’s honour made sense due to the horse’s phenomenal record at sprint trips – having won four Len Smith Miles and two Miracle Miles, as well as a bevy of other short-course features. “The Smoken Up Sprint will commemorate the wonderful career of the Lance Justice trained pacer, whose achievements on the racetrack have captivated audiences throughout Australasia,” Mr Anderson said. “Smoken Up is a Victorian harness racing icon and renaming The Legends in his honour will acknowledge that into the future. “To illustrate the changing nature of engaging with the public, Smoken Up has generated an enormous following on social media which has enhanced his appeal.” Smoken Up has his own Facebook page, with fans kept abreast of the horse’s life at home as well as his on-track performances. HRV will celebrate Smoken Up’s farewell with a special Smoken Up Race Night at the September 6 meeting. The night will feature a special Smoken Up video package on the big screen, souvenir racebook, rug presentation, Smoken Up poster and mini-flag giveaways and more. Full details will be announced in coming weeks. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Chris Alford took a 10-win lead in the metropolitan drivers’ premiership – and won his 264th race for the Victorian season – last night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford drove a winning double to take his state premiership buffer to a whopping 69 wins over second-placed Greg Sugars (195) with Gavin Lang in third on 179. Craig Demmler-trained Blitzthemcalder opened Alford’s account last night with victory in the first race on the card, the Aldebaran Park Trot. Alford steered the long odds-on favourite to the lead early from outside the front row, the four-year-old then running his rivals into the ground to score a 16m win. Alford doubled up in Race 8 with Tandias Bromac saluting by nearly three metres for trainer Amanda Grieve. Tandias Bromac clocked a winning mile rate of 1:55.5 over the 1720m sprint trip. The in-form father-son team of Ross and Greg Sugars collected the night’s black-type event, the Harness Breeders (Vic) Lightfoot Laurels, with four-year-old trotter Quite A Moment. Quite A Moment caught the spot behind the leader’s back early when Paris Pepperell ran to the lead before being pocketed three-markers when Vics Cheval took the lead at the bell. Sugars angled Quite A Moment into the sprint lane in the home straight before the mare sprinted sharply to overhaul Shes An Image, who came with a run out wide, and Vics Cheval, who battled on for third. Maximan (Andy and Kate Gath) and Exciteusinthecity (Darren Cole and Tim McLean) took out the two heats of the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup. Maximan clocked a winning mile rate of 1:57.2 in his short-half-head win over Beauty Secret, while Exciteusinthecity found the lead from gate two and ran 1:56.2 in winning, ripping down the back straight in 27.6 before recording a last half mile of 55.9 seconds. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The 2014 Breeders Crown promises to be bigger than ever with a huge schedule of harness racing events set to showcase Australasia's premier age-restricted pacing and trotting talent. Breeders Crown Semi Finals Saturday night 16th August at Bray Raceway, Ballarat. After a successful return to the country last year, the Breeders Crown Semi's are again hosted by the Ballarat and District Trotting Club this year. Hospitality options range from a 2 course Carvery in the Draught Room for $30; or 3 courses for $35 in the Terrace restaurant or for $40 on the Finish Post. Reserve your place by calling Paul O'Donnell on 5335 9041 or email pod@ballarattrottingclub.com.au Breeders Crown Barrier Draw Sunday 17th August Legends Café, Tabcorp Park Melton Experience all the drama and the tension of the Breeders Crown Barrier Draw. Book yourself a table in the Bistro or grab a quick bite in the Legends Café where all the action will take place. For Bistro bookings call 8746 0600. Breeders Crown Gala Dinner Thursday Night 21st August Toolern Room, Tabcorp Park Melton Fast becoming one of the social events of the year, the Breeders Crown Gala dinner is the ultimate place to be seen during Breeders Crown week. Featuring a live band and three-course dinner with beverages for just $75, you'll dance the night away in preparation for one of our greatest race days while listening to the good oil from the major players and form experts. For bookings please contact Jackie Dobson at Tabcorp Park on 8746 0604 or email jdobson@tabcorppark.com.au Breeders Crown Finals A Race Day for the Ages, Sunday 24th August Tabcorp Park Melton. Tabcorp Park comes alive for the biggest day of Group 1 racing on the calendar as the stars of the Trots battle it out for the Breeders Crown. Enjoy a premium 3-course buffet luncheon, afternoon tea and beverages in the exclusive Toolern Room for $110 or feast on the Home Straight Bistro buffet for just $75. For bookings please contact Jackie Dobson at Tabcorp Park on 8746 0604 or email jdobson@tabcorppark.com.au  

Harness racing trainer Alison Chisholm believes Asoka’s fourth placing behind The Good Times last Saturday night was the six-year-old gelding’s best run in recent memory. “He’s performed well but I’ve always felt there’s been a bit left,” trainer-driver Chisholm said. “He tends to want to just race the horse next to him. The other night he tried really hard the whole way and it was probably the best run I can remember from him. “You can’t insult him. He’s quite a playful horse. Everything’s a bit of a game to him and he’s real character. “If he had his mind on being a real racehorse then he could have won more races.” Asoka is a 14-time winner from 79 starts with prizemoney of $141,081. This season he’s won two from 23 and placed 14 times for $32,894. “He’s always been pretty consistent,” Chisholm said. Asoka has been racing forward of late but Chisholm said she would elect to slot in behind the speed it the early pacemakers went lickety-split in Friday night's second heat of the Tabcorp Park Melton Cup (Race 7) “A lot depends on the tempo of a race. He appreciates following a good tempo. I think from the draw (gate six) we can roll forward. “Last time we got caught out over the 1700m but it’s a lot different over the 2200m.”  Chisholm’s other runner on Friday night will be Apollo Thirteen in the Empire Stallions 4YO Pace. Apollo Thirteen has won five of his 20 starts. “I’ve only had him for about three weeks and I haven’t gotten him 100 per cent. I thought this would be a nice race for him but he’s a work in progress,” she said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

They say you can’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It seems the same can be said for horses. For Group 1 winning mare Pressplay, punters who wrote her off as inconsistent must have felt as though they’d been kicked in the shins when she won the Vicbred Super Series final earlier this month at big odds. Pressplay has never lacked in ability, says trainer Rebecca Cartwright, but the horse’s feet have not been the same since she trod on a nail. “Some of her runs might have looked a bit disappointing on paper but if you knew the horse you’d know in some of those races it was like she was running on a hot tin roof,” Cartwright said. Farrier Stephen Said, who has been in harness racing a long time, has played an integral role behind the scenes with Pressplay. Due to her hoof ailment shoeing the mare is problematic, but Stephen’s persistence has paid off in spades, Cartwright said. “He did the most amazing job with her. Stephen really cared and made particular sets of shoes for her … her feet had never been as perfect as he got them heading into the Vicbred Final.” Doreen-based Cartwright bred Pressplay and raced her mother, Miss Superb. “It was just so humbling (to win the Group 1). We’ve been in the game a long time and to breed one and then to win a Group 1 with that horse was just amazing,” she said. “Craig (Rebecca’s partner) should take a lot of the credit for the win. He’s done a wonderful job with her and has always loved her.” Pressplay has drawn gate six in the Pet Rock Pace Final (Race 2) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with Amanda Turnbull, who has become the horse’s regular reinswoman after guiding her to Group 1 success, taking the reins. “It’s a bugger of a draw,” Cartwright said. “I don’t really know at this stage. I’m going to have to sit down and look at all the runners and work it out.” Cartwright said Pressplay was a “dead-set sit-sprinter”, so making her own luck in running can be tricky. But in terms of ability, Cartwright always knew Pressplay had at least one big-race win in her. “Her first run in the (Vicbred) heat was a good one. Then she ran a super race in the semi-final. We always said she could win a big race she just need a little bit of luck,” Cartwright said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Melton trainer Ross Sugars' run of form continued on Sunday at the famous Redwood Carnival meeting at Maryborough. Sugars trained the winner of the 2690-metre Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, Illawong Helios, which overpowered hot favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten in the last 200m. Ross said driver – and his son – Greg Sugars delivered a “10 out of 10” drive aboard Illawong Helios, finding the back of Claudys Princess early before tracking Our Twentyten off the back and peeling three-wide into the lane the final time. “They were all running on empty in the straight,” Ross Sugars said. “It was a very slow last quarter (32 seconds). It was the first go for all of them at that kind of distance and it was just a case of those at the front having done more work, which allowed us to be that little bit stronger in the straight. “Our filly keeps on trying and she just found the line a bit better because of the way the race was run. That was the difference.” Sugars said heading down the back the last time he started thinking his filly was capable of at least running a place. “I even thought ‘don’t tell me she’s going to win’,” he said. Sugars said Claudys Princess, which finished runner-up in the Derby 1.7m behind Illawong Helios, was still the best three-year-old filly in the business and said her run on Sunday was enormous. But it was Illawong Helios’s day, the daughter of Majestic Son breaking a run of three consecutive second-place finishes in the Oaks and two Vicbred Super Series races. Illawong Helios set a new race record with his winning mile rate of 2:01.6 eclipsing the mark set by Blitzthemcalder last year by 0.3secs. She will now head to the Breeders Crown. Illawong Helios paid $23 on the tote. Sugars, who said he was not a betting man, admitted if he was an odds watcher he'd have moved at that price. "She was an 8-1 to 10-1 chance, I thought. Those odds were enormous," he said. Another trotter from the Sugars stable, four-year-old mare Quite A Moment, also won on Redwood day, taking out the John Slack Memorial Trotters Handicap over 2190m. Quite A Moment recorded a 58-second last half to score by 1.9m over Lord Liam, last year’s three-year-old trotters’ Breeders Crown champion hitting her straps ahead of this year’s series. “She’s done a really good job in the last 12 months. She’ll have a run or two and then she’ll be back in the Breeders Crown for the four-year-olds’ race.” On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton Sugars-trained Bettor Rock On made it five starts Down Under for five wins. The former New Zealander sat parked in the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final before sprinting up down the back in 27.8secs and skipping clear of early leader Essbee Doubleyou in a 28.4-second last quarter to win in a rate of 1:54.4. “He’s done the job and won five in a row,” Sugars said. “We’ll give him a break now and then prepare him for the new season and target some country cups. The Kilmore Cup (October 26) would be an aim. He’s a very good stand-start horse.” Sugars said the brilliant Youranut (Vicbred Super Series 4YO Final winner last year) was back in work and would resume racing in the next month or so. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Sydney pacer Freyberg ran the race of his life to upstage Smoken Up at the Lance Justice trained superstar’s New South Wales farewell run on Saturday night. The Victorian champion fired out of gate seven to find the lead early with a 26.1-second first quarter while Freyberg jumped straight on to Smoken Up’s back. Justice was able to give Smoken Up a breather in the middle stages before stoking him up rounding the final bend. Smoken Up kicked on like he’s done so many times before over the 1609m journey he’s come to call his own at Menangle and looked home for all money with 100m to go before Freyberg saw daylight. Once the Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding got to the outside he sprouted wings to pip Smoken Up on the post by a head in a mile rate of 1:51.7. Smoken Up will head to Globe Derby, South Australia, next month for his final run at the venue where he’s won four Group 1 SA Cups. Then he will cap his career with a farewell run at Tabcorp Park Melton – likely to be in September in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6 – where all racing fans will be able to salute the superstar one final time at his home track. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia) Freyberg  

Harness racing owner Kevin Riseley confirmed last week that Lennytheshark is out of Breeders Crown contention this year, owners preferring to give the classy four-year-old a spell before chasing summer riches. But Riseley and fellow connections of two-year-old Bettors Delight colt Kept Under Wraps have a serious live Crown chance after the Brent Lilley-trained youngster upstaged boom Sydneysider Birdy Mach in the $50,505 Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Kept Under Wraps, driven by Greg Sugars, raced one-out, one-back for the bulk of the journey while Birdy Mach ran along in front for Todd McCarthy in the 2240m race. The Sydney colt, which started $1.60 favourite after two blistering wins to start its career at Menangle, found the lead easily early with no one willing to challenge. This allowed last-start Vicbred Super Series winner Feeling Arty to dash to the death chair for Cameron Maggs, which gave the eventual winner cover in the running line. When Birdy Mach pinched a 10m lead coming off the back straight Sugars sent Kept Under Wraps out after him, while Iceobar, from the Brent Lilley yard with Mark Purdon in the spider, followed into the race stylishly. In the straight Birdy Mach led, Iceobar used the sprint lane and Kept Under Wraps came down the outside. Birdy Mach kept on kicking but Kept Under Wraps had more in the tank and nailed the early leader on the line to win by 1.1m, while Iceobar was a further 3.5m away in third place. The winning mile rate was 1:57.1 with a fourth quarter of 29.3secs and a last half of 58.3. Kept Under Wraps now boasts four wins from six starts. Kept Under Wraps The $50,505 Group 2 fillies’ Tatlow Stakes went to New Zealand star Katy Perry, who scored by 2.5m over Michael Stanley-trained Soho Tokyo, while Read About Lexy was third for Bernie Hewitt. Katy Perry, who started from the back row, whipped around the field early for reinsman Dexter Dunn before taking the lead and holding off all comers late. Katy Perry clocked a winning mile rate of 1:59.4 with a last half of 57.2. Katy Perry Earlier on the program Messini continued his dominance of the Victorian three-year-old ranks with a 5.5m win over Epaulette in the A Rocknroll Dance The Graduate. Despite starting from gate 13, Chris Alford guided the Brent Lilley-trained son of Art Major home in a mile rate of 1:56.5. Bettor Rock On remained unbeaten in five Australian runs with victory in Race 8, the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final for in-form father-son combo Ross and Greg Sugars. Bettor Rock On scored by 3.5m over the 1720m trip in a rate of 1:54.4 (last half 56.2) to defeat Essbee Doubleyou in second and Tandias Bromac in third. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Imamenace earned a reputation as a giant-killer and a giant when he won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ trotting final recently at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Peter Cormican-trained gelding, which stands over 17 hands high, started cricket-score odds before upstaging Spidergrace and Asdenro over 2240m. It was an amazing feat to win a Group 1 that night, as that run was only Imamenace’s second visit to the racetrack. On Sunday he will contest the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby over 2690m at Maryborough, hoping to pull off another upset at start number three. Grant Campbell replaces Imamenace’s usual driver, Greg Sugars, who has elected to drive his father’s trotter Illawong Helios. Cormican, who trains out of Arcadia, was visibly shocked and thrilled after his gelding’s last-start success. “This is the first time I’ve won a Group 1 and I’m going to make the most of it,” he said moments after the win. Speaking on Thursday, Cormican said he was sure Imamenace would not disappoint on Sunday. “We’re going to be the fourth, fifth or sixth horse picked again but we’re just happy to be in the race,” he said. “He did a super job to win that last race but geez, it’s a big ask to win this at his third start.” Asked to compare Imamenace’s trackwork this time compared to before his last-start success, Cormican said it was “on a par”. “He had a good hit-out this morning. He’ll have a bit of a break after this race because he’s not entered in the Breeders Crown. “We’re not going to rush him.” Despite the wide draw (gate seven) on Sunday, Cormican said the horse was likely to push forward early. “We’ll probably come out and have a bit of a look,” he said. “We just don’t want him on the fence.” Our Twentyten opened favourite for the Derby, which is scheduled to run at 3.18pm, with filly Claudys Princess tightening in from $3.60 into $3 early with fixed-odds betting. Imamenace eased from $12 to $15 overnight on Wednesday. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

As brilliant as Birdy Mach might be, harness racing punters won’t be ignoring the undefeated Andy Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket in the Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes for 2YO colts and geldings on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. The son of Bettors Delight boasts impeccable form lines; beating subsequent Group 1 winners despite starting from awkward draws and working in the run at both his starts to date. Burnaholeinmypocket sprouted wings late in his debut race, beating Justbritell (winner of the Shakamaker Classic at Melton in March) by 1.9m and Feeling Arty (winner of the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series colts’ and geldings’ final) by 7.3m. At start number two, Burnaholeinmypocket drifted a long way back early from gate seven before getting caught three-wide with no cover on the last lap. Despite covering a stack of ground from the bell to the finish post, Burnaholeinmypocket still proved 1.7m too good for Waves Of Fire, who would go on to win the Group 1 Nursery Final at Albion Park in 1:58.4. “He’s pretty gifted,” Gath said of his fledgling gelding. Asked if gate one was a definite bonus, the Long Forest trainer responded: “Always”, adding: “He had the second row at his first start and then seven at his second. I think he’ll hold his own out of the gate. Whether or not he can hold out Birdy Mach, we’ll wait and see, but my bloke’s shown he’s very strong.” Birdy Mach is the likely thorn in Burnaholeinmypocket’s side; the Sydney colt unbeaten in two runs at Menangle and from the powerful Belinda McCarthy yard at Cobbitty. Such is the boom about the son of Mach Three that champion reinsman Luke McCarthy said on Tuesday: “He’s right up there with the best two-year-olds I’ve ever driven”. Birdy Mach has blitzed his rivals in two runs so far, and on debut last month he clocked a 1:53.8 mile rate (last half 55.7secs). Saturday’s Tatlow field is full of top-quality youngsters including Kept Under Wraps, winner of three of five starts and a member of the Brent Lilley team, David Aiken-trained Show Me The Bling, runner-up in his Vicbred Super Series semi-final and the final, and Feeling Arty, who provided trainer-driver Cameron Maggs with his maiden Group 1 success recently in the Super Series at Melton. Gath will line up Looks Like Heaven in the fillies’ Tatlow Stakes and, like her stable-mate in the boys’ section, she’s drawn sweetly. The daughter of Lombo Mandingo will begin from pole if emergency Bubbling Gypsy fails to gain a start. Looks Like Heaven won on debut at Kilmore before trekking north on a Bathurst Gold Tiara mission. She won her Tiara heat by 8.8m but galloped in the final and finished down the track. “She’s going through a growth spurt at the moment ... We’ll see how she goes on Saturday and make a decision on the Breeders Crown after that,” Gath said. Team McCarthy filly Smooth Showgirl resumes in this race from gate 12 after winning the Group 1 Nursery fillies’ final at Albion Park in May. Also off the back row will be highly rated Kiwi Katy Perry, to be steered by Dexter Dunn, and Michael Stanley’s exciting Soho Tokyo, who ran second beaten a head by Tricky Styx in the 2YO Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park last time out. Hamilton trainer David Lewis will line up Luvumum in the Tatlow, the daughter of Grinfromeartoear boasting a one-from-one record after a sensational debut win at Melton in the Sapling Stakes. Luvumum was backed into $1.70 before scoring by 15.2m over Viva Safari in 1:57.6 in the February race. She’s pretty good. Punters aren’t generally a forgiving lot, so one suspects Lovelist might be on the drift. The Emma Stewart-trained Always A Virgin filly was rolled in the Vicbred Super Series semi-final after being sent out a $1.20 pop and then was beaten 11.8m in the final. Her previous form (four wins from four starts) was solid. The Tatlow Stakes races will be Races 5 and 6 at 7.32pm and 8.05pm. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 19 July 2014 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 19 July 2014

Birdy Mach might be the best two-year-old Luke McCarthy has ever driven, the champion harness racing reinsman says.  The unbeaten Mach Three colt went 1:53.8 to win on debut last month before making it two from two at Menangle on July 1.  Birdy Mach will contest the colts and geldings' Garrards Horse and Hound Tatlow Stakes (Group 2) this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. He has drawn gate two for the 2240m event, alongside unbeaten polemarker Burnaholeinmypocket from the Andy Gath stable.  “He’s really good. On raw ability he’s right up there with the best two-year-olds I’ve driven,” McCarthy said. “He’s pretty special. “He’s still got a bit to learn but we wanted to get him down to Melbourne to settle in before the Breeders Crown and the Tatlow looks a really nice race.”  Birdy Mach's first lifetime start Smooth Showgirl will also head to the Breeders Crown via the Tatlow Stakes for fillies, the Art Major youngster put away for a spell after winning the Group 1 Nursery Final at Albion Park in May.  “We turned her out after the Nursery, elected to bypass the Vicbred and head straight to the Breeders,” McCarthy said.  “She’s had a couple of trials at home and won them both. She’ll be in good order.”  Todd McCarthy will steer both horses at Melton this weekend while Luke pilots stable big guns Chilli Palmer and Bling It On at Albion Park.  Bling It On has won eight straight races and will be a hot favourite in the Queensland Derby on Saturday night.  “He’s a great horse. Let’s hope he can make it nine from nine this week and then we’ll head to the Breeders Crown head up there next Friday,” McCarthy said.  Chilli Palmer will race in the Group 3 4YO Championship after his last-start win last Saturday night at Albion Park.  By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Smoken Up, known to his legion of fans as ‘Trigger’, will be given a personal farewell on Saturday night with photo and autograph opportunities for those patrons on-track. Tabcorp Park Menangle will distribute commemorative posters of the fastest horse in the Southern Hemisphere free to all those fans who want to have their photo taken with Smoken Up and trainer/driver Lance Justice. Two sessions have been set for the photographic opportunities to fit in with other racing requirements. These are at 7pm (pre-race) and also at 9pm when his racing career at Tabcorp Park Menangle is completed. “I really want the public to be involved and I thank the people at Menangle for allowing Trigger’s fans access to the race stalls.” said trainer Lance Justice “We will go through a few pens signing autographs and the cameraman should be kept really busy.” Commemorative racebooks will be distributed free to patrons who will be able to watch the “Tribute to the Miracle Miler” produced by Sky Racing on the big screens in the infield and on the course monitors. Smoken Up started in 10 races over the mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle for eight wins . . . the best being in the 2011 Tabcorp Len Smith Mile when he recorded 1:48.5, the fastest mile rate by any pacer outside of North America. “We are very appreciative of all the calls and offers we have received since the announcement was made yesterday of Smoken Up’s impending retirement,” said John Dumesny Chief Executive of the NSWHRC. “SKY were first on board with the tribute offer, then followed a photographer offering his services and, of course, Lance and Trigger were always going to be in the thick of the celebrations. “It is a moment in harness racing which should not be missed and I encourage people to make it to the track to bid a fond farewell to a true champion” Saturday will be the first leg of Smoken Up's farewell tour, which will take in Adelaide before the curtain falls on the superstar once and for all at his home venue, Tabcorp Park Melton, in September. Harness Racing New South Wales  

Champion New South Wales mare Frith added the Harness Breeders (Vic) Jane Ellen to her list of feature race wins at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. The six-time Group 1 winner found the lead comfortably from the 2240m start before controlling the race to score by 2.6m over runner-up The Good Times, with Broadways Best rocketing home for third. Frith, a Bruce Harpley-trained daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, has now won 26 from 35 race starts. Frith’s winning mile rate was 1:56.7. She finished with a last half-mile of 55.7 after splits of 29.8, 30.2, 27.6 and 28.1. Emma Stewart’s The Good Times was given a cushy run by Gavin Lang on the back of the favourite before using the sprint lane to run second. Chris Alford steered in-form Broadways Best into third, powering down the outside late to edge out Beauty Secret, which ran fourth, while Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling wound up fifth. Frith already boasts Group 1 victories in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria. She will be looking to add a second Breeders Crown success to her resume next month after taking out the three-year-old fillies’ title last year. Frith Father-son combination Ross and Greg Sugars won the first three races on Friday night’s program. Illawong Magic kicked off proceedings with a 3.7m win in the Granny Reilly Performance Mix Vicbred Trot. The seven-year-old gelding found the lead early and never looked like losing, pinching a break approaching the home bend before holding off David Van Ryn pair Paris Pepperell and Enjoy A Coldie in the home straight. The Sugars’ team then combined for success with Bettor Rock On in the first heat of the Tabcorp Park Melton Winter Championship. Punters who took the short odds for the son of Bettors Delight were surely sweating with 50m to go, as Bettor Rock On was taking forever to reel in Tandias Bromac. But the $1.10 shot poked his head in front just in time to win by the narrowest of margins. Bettor Rock On posted sectionals of 29.0, 29.9, 28.5 and 28.4, with his mile rate a slick 1:54.9. Mulgrave then made it three from three for Team Sugars, defeating Gotta Go Henry in the Alabar 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. Mulgrave won by 2.8m in a mile rate of 1:58.3. The in-form David Aiken stable absolutely dominated the Granny Reilly Sole Mate Mix Trot over 2240m, Thanesan defeating stable-mate Vics Cheval by 5.1m. Junior driver Josh Aiken, who drove his first Group 1 winner last weekend, steered the winner, while his father David drove the second horse over the line. Amanda Grieve and Chris Alford combined to win the Granny Reilly Perfect Pacer Pace over 2240m with Magical Telf, who scored a half-neck win over Teo Enteo. Long odds-on favourite Almost El Eagle took out heat two of the Winter Championship for Steve Duffy and John Caldow. Ginger Bliss made it a winning double for Josh Aiken with victory in the Granny Reilly Maintain Mix Pace over 1720m, the talented four-year-old clocking 1:55.3 to beat Exciteusinthecity by 1.2m. Ginger Bliss found the lead early and dictated terms before cranking things up in the last half-mile, with third and fourth splits of 27.7 and 27.9 for a 55.6 last half. Exciteusinthecity ran a bottler of a race for Tim McLean, while Washmepockets poked through for third for Haydon Gray. Our Twentyten showed he is right on song for the Trotters Derby with an 8.9m win in the Redwood Day 20 July 3YO Trot, the Brent Lilley-trained son of Muscles Yankee defeating runner-up One Over Da Moon and third placegetter Daenerys Targaryen. The last race on the card, the Book Now For Breeders Crown 2YO Trotters Handicap, saw Greg Sugars snare win number four for the night and gave Lilley a winning double when My Arya got the chocolates. My Arya was the only filly off 10m in the race, the daughter of Angus Hall stepping sweetly early and trotting perfectly throughout to score by 2.3m over debutant Shared Interest (Nathan Jack), who ran a crackerjack race on debut and will be winning soon, while Sheza Amason was about 20m away in third. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

New Zealand trotting breeders would have slept very well last night after watching the Kiwi breds dominate the trotting races at Tabcorp Park Melton. There were no Kiwis in the first trotting race of the night but from then on it became a bit of a Kiwi bred benefit with the New Zealand breds winning the other three trot races. First up for the Kiwis was Thanesan who capatalised on a soft trip early before sitting parked for the last lap and just getting home over stablemate Vics Cheval. Having just his second start for the Aiken stable, Thanesan trotted the 2240 in 2:47.5, a mile rate of 2:00.4 The next race to fall to the Kiwis was the three year old trot where the first four home all carried the NZ tag after their name with Twentyten an easy winner. The son of Muscles Yankee was brought out of the Mark Purdon barn by Brent Lilley on behalf of clients a few months ago and looks to have a big future in his adopted homeland. The former star New Zealand 3 year old completely dominated proceedings after finding the front after 300 meters even though Spidergrace was over racing outside him When Chris Alford let him go at the 400 meters, Twentyten quickly asserted his superiorty and won with a fair bit in reserve. One Over Da Moon ran on well without looking a winning chance for second and Daenerys Targaryen and Dieu De lamour rounded out the Kiwi first four. He trotted the 2240 meters in 2:49.3, a mile rate of 2:01.7 The race for two year old trotters was notable for the Australian debut of leading Kiwi 2 year old, Arya. The daughter of Angus Hall had been promient in all the major New Zealand stakes races this season for Mark Purdon and was sent to the Brent Lilley stable for a preparation aimed at the Breeders Crown in August. Handicapped off ten meters, Arya settled third early before being sent to the front with 1100 meters to go. Pressured in front by the Angus Hall debutant Shared Interest, Arya wasn't really let down in the straight with Greg Sugars hardly moving in the bike as comfortably held Shared Interset at bay. Arya trotted the 2240 meters in 3:01.3, a pedestrian mile rate of 2:09.7 although she did quicken up over the last half in 58.9 and quarter in 29. With her impeccable manners and speed, Arya looms as a genuine threat in the Breeders Crown. Harnesslink Media

Bolinda harness racing trainer Kari Males is enjoying a blistering run of form. Males, whose two-year-old stable star Niki No No won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, had a winner on Tuesday night at Shepparton with trotter The Truth before backing it up on Wednesday afternoon with six-year-old gelding Hall Of Famer victorious at Maryborough. It means Males’ last three runners to the races have been winners. Hall Of Famer, a C6 horse, utilised the claim for junior driver Kyle Marshall in the C4-C5 Bill Davies Memorial Pace over 1690m. Marshall took the son of Blissfull Hall to the breeze early, outside pacemaker With Gusto (Daryl Douglas). At the 400m, Hall Of Famer poured the pressure on full-blast, taking the lead early in the home straight before With Gusto fought back gamely to go down by a neck. Another junior driver in Mark Pitt enjoyed a great day out at Maryborough with a winning double. Pitt piloted Yankee Strutter home in the Col and Margaret Ford Memorial 2YO Pace (Race 1) before bookending the program with victory in the last on Waltalight. Both winners were trained by Wayne Potter. Two heats of the Trustees Carisbrook Racecourse Reserve Trotters Handicap were run and won at Maryborough, with Bill Morgan trained-and-driven Gioiosa Ionica victorious in the first heat by 4.3m over William John, while Tennotrump gelding Jay Gee from the Ross Graham stable won the second heat by 8.4m with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Veteran trainer-driver Ginger Gleeson drove Sun Bird into second behind Jay Gee, the 10-year-old trotter finding some form at huge odds. Peter Manning and Greg Sugars combined with Village Jasper gelding Mixedwithajasper in the Seelite Windows and Doors 3YO Pace over 1690m, the three-year-old defeating Fremarks Ceejay by 3.7m in a mile rate of 1:57.2. Fremarks Ceejay and trainer-driver Courtney Slater bowled along freely at the front of the field for much of the race but couldn’t match the winner in the last 50m. Alan Dunsmuir-trained Western Gretel continued her strong recent form with victory in the McPhersons Printing Group Pace, defeating hot favourite Hellovaway by 3.6m. Driven a treat by young gun reinsman Alex Ashwood, Western Gretel finished too strongly for Hellovaway (Michael Sullivan), which was backing up after a gutsy seventh in the Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night. And another junior driver, Corey Bell, scored career win number 11 aboard Stunning Grin in the Happy 90th Frank Bartlett Pace over 2190m. The three-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding from the Vince Vallelonga yard prevailed by 8.1m at $1.60 in a mile rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing trainer Ross Sugars has a high opinion of his in-form four-year-old Bettor Rock On. And why shouldn’t he? Since arriving Down Under from New Zealand, the son of Bettors Delight is three from three after two wins at Ballarat and one at Warragul. Bettor Rock On will contest the first of two heats of the Tabcorp Park Melton Winter Championship over 1720m on Friday night. At his most recent outing Bettor Rock On sat in the breeze to win at Ballarat over 2200m in a mile rate of 1:58.9, arguably never leaving second gear in defeating Arr En Special by 3.9m. “Under their handicapping system in New Zealand he was running into the very best too soon,” Sugars said. “We’re friends with the owners so they sent him over to us and I couldn’t be happier with having him.” In New Zealand Bettor Rock On was forced to take on the likes of top-class free-for-all gun Franco Nelson. And he wasn’t getting beaten far in those sorts of races. Bettor Rock On led and won at Warragul two starts back, beating Baccarat by 6.2m. Baccarat has since gone on to win at Kilmore, franking the form. “He’s such a lovely and relaxed racehorse and he’s very adaptable to circumstances and the tempo of any particular race,” Sugars said. “He’s also got a very good burst of speed, so there’s no real set running pattern for him, which makes the driver’s life a hell of a lot easier.” Sugars predicted Bettor Rock On would make a strong country cups horse next season. “The plan is for him to go right through the grades,” he said. The Hopetoun Park trainer has La Machane in the Harness Breeders Vic Jane Ellen on Friday night, but he admits defeating New South Welsh star Frith will be a tough task for the mare. “Last start was a shockingly slowly run race. She went 55.1 for the last half,” he said. “She’s going really well. “The bad draw makes it difficult on Friday night. Frith probably leads and history says she’ll be left alone.” The Sugars stable will also be represented by Illawong Magic in the first race, Mulgrave in the third and Quite A Moment in the seventh. Daylight Dan is an emergency in Race 8. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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