Washington Heritage may be all the talk in tomorrow night’s Mildura Pacing Cup after winning 13 from his first 14 starts but Geoff Webster’s affinity with the week-long carnival has become almost impossible to resist. He of course trained pacer-turned-trotter Mister Zion to win the 2010 Mildura Pacing Cup before he made the switch. And last season Flaming Flutter crushed his rivals in the Mildura Guineas while this year he has already cruised to a win in his Cup heat on Tuesday night. Now, the stage is set for a showdown of epic proportions as the pair square off again for one of the biggest regional features of the year; Flaming Flutter drawn three, Washington Heritage in seven. The leading Bannockburn trainer couldn’t be happier with his charge going into the race. “He had an easy trip in his heat, it really was a good lead in to the final,” Webster said. “He hasn’t really fulfilled his potential yet; he is always on the improve and he just keeps taking the next step so I’m sure whatever he does this season he be in the top level without any problems next year. “He’s only a four-year-old so probably the Breeders Crown later in the year is his main aim so whether I give him a break now I’m not quite sure but at the end of the day he will have a break after the Crown.” But Webster might have his greatest thrill for the weekend a world away at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. The exquisitely bred Mach Doro, a half-brother to Fly Like An Eagle, will tune up for the APG semi-finals when he takes on a small field in his heat. Webster isn’t one for making brash statements but his assessment of the debutante winner is enough to make most stand up and take notice. “He’s the best two-year-old I’ve had, he’s got gait speed and he is very well-mannered, he just ticks all the boxes. It’s going to take a very good horse to beat him,” he said. By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
Harness Racing Victoria has today released the racing calendar until June 30, 2015. And in a landmark decision the SEW Victoria Cup has been shifted to coincide with harness racing's most famous race - the Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup. The Victoria Cup will be run on Saturday night January 31, one week before the Hunter Cup on February 7, offering an unforgettable two weekends of pacing action, showcasing the best horses in Australasia as they vie for $800,000 on their way to the Inter Dominion Final in Sydney in early March. Victoria Cup night will also feature the heats of the Victoria Derby, with the final to be held on Hunter Cup night. As part of the change, the Ballarat Cup will move from January to December 13, in place of where the Victoria Cup has been held in recent years while the Ballarat track will again host Semi-Final night for the Breeders Crown, this year on August 16. "The movement of the Victoria Cup to one week before the Hunter Cup provides a great opportunity for HRV and our main Metropolitan venue - Tabcorp Park Melton, to build these two Fabulous weekends into Australasia's biggest harness racing carnival", HRV CEO John Anderson said. "At the same time, the change not only gives Ballarat the opportunity to develop a mouth-watering feast of Christmas racing, but also allows us to develop one of the great regional carnivals in December with two sensational Group 1 Country Cups a week a part - the Cranbourne Pacing Cup on Saturday night December 6 and the Ballarat Cup on December 13. "The restructuring of the race program will assist both Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat to maximise attendance, wagering, media coverage and hospitality sales." The amendments now dictate a period of exceptional harness racing between January 31 and early March which will house the Victoria and Hunter Cups, a Victoria Derby, an Inter Dominion Final in NSW on March 1, plus a Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star. The total number of meetings for the year will increase by 4 to 460 with no material change to the number of meetings conducted by any single club. BLAKE REDDEN COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER [Harness Racing Victoria]
Relive all the excitement of one of the biggest nights on the trotting calendar – the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star & Girls Night Out at Tabcorp Park Melton. History will show that Keystone Del claimed the $300,000 final, but only those on-course will remember all the glamour and excitement that characterises this great event. Plus over $85,000 for the Women’s Cancer Foundation - Ovarian Cancer Institute – the culmination of plenty of hard work and generosity from all involved.
Harness racing prominent breeder-owner Pat Driscoll knocked down the three top-priced lots at the second Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 23. Driscoll, who trades as Yabby Dam Farms, pocketed a cool $119,000 for his three-strong draft including the sale topping colt at $41,000, a son of USA superstar Muscle Hill out of the Malabar Maple mare Calder Luck, a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Calder Sensation, Calder Image and Bella Cheval. The handsome youngster was bought for a syndicate by John and Maree Caldow, who developed and trained Calder Sensation, a winner of 16 races and $142,762. An Angus Hall colt out of Maori’s Dream, the grand-dam of the top priced lot, realised the second highest price of $40,000. He was knocked down to Romsey trainer Chris Alford on behalf of stable clients Phil Walshe and Craig Nott. While another of the Muscle Hill progeny, a colt from the USA bred Let’s Be Happy, the dam of Bathurst Gold Coronet winner Verbier, was garnered by Christchurch trainer Tim Butt for $38,000. Two Angus Hall youngsters, one out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step (1:57.4) and the other from the useful Sundon mare Pinevale Ellason, realised $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. Majestic Son, a leading sire of juvenile trotters, had three head sell including a gelding out of the R C’s Dee Jay mare Howdoudo, the dam of Vicbred champion Split Image, which was haltered by Chris Lang Jnr for $30,000. Two Majestic Son colts out of strong New Zealand-bred mares from Harness Breeders Vic committeeman Gerard Moloney’s draft sold for $22,000 and $20,000. Former local champion Skyvalley was the sire of the highest priced filly Aldebaran Eve, out of the Victoria Oaks winner Aldebaran Dream, consigned by Aldebaran Park and sold for $18,000, while a Skyvalley colt from the 2YO and 3YO Trotter of the Year Jauriol realised $20,000. Running Pinevale, also a Victoria Oaks champion, was represented by her second foal, a colt by NZ-based import The Pres, who was knocked down for $22,000. Of the 36 lots offered, 31 were sold for an average price of $16,359, up almost 25 percent on last year. by Peter Wharton
It was a stunning harness racing final of the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star and Keystone Del outsprinted his more highly fancied contemporary to claim the $300,000 final. Starting from barrier one, race favourite Stent held up from the inside, working to hold out the early challengers. In a surprise, Keystone Del was shuffled back early as Cold Sister and eventually Blitzthemcalder worked around to find the breeze. But when the pressure went on it was Stent turning for home in front with an ominous figuring looming up out wide in Keystone Del. The ex-kiwi son of Dr Ronerail had to fight hard for it but struck the lead halfway up the lane and continued to grind him to take the race in 1:56.5. Stent held second from My High Expectations and Zedalite who got home into fourth. With the quinella showing form counts for everything after winning their heats, the second ever Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star will go down in history as another war of attrition. Keystone Del is trained by former kiwi Nicole Molander and was driven by usual driver Blake Fitzpatrick. Keystone Del has had an incredible six weeks taking the Glenferrie Farm Challenge and the heat and final of Saturday night’s race. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria
The Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star has arrived. With a plethora of international stars in town, the scene is set for the harness racing $400,000 heat and final series to be run tomorrow night. Australasia's best trotters will converge on Tabcorp Park Melton for a memorable night of squaregaiting. The Game Plan for Great Southern Star Night with Jason Bonnington @jasonbonnington Best Roughie ($10 x $30) Josephine Jones (Race 8 no. 1) $16/$3.22 TAB Fixed Odds The Money Races Race 5 4/ 2,9/ 2,8,9. $40 gets 1000% 4/ 2,9/ 3,5,6,10. $24 gets 300% 2,9/ 4/ 2,8,9. $12 gets 300% 2,9/ 4/ 3,5,6,10. $4 gets 50% Race 6 6/ 4,5/ 4,5,9. $40 gets 1000% 6/ 4,5/ 2,3,7,8. $24 gets 300% 4,5/ 6/ 4,5,9. $12 gets 300% 4,5/ 9/ 2,3,7,8. $4 gets 50% The EARLY Quads (x4 for $120) 4,8/ 11/ 1/ 1,3,6. $45 gets 750% 4,8/ 11/ 2,3/ 1,3,6. $30 gets 250% 4,8/ 1,2/ 1/ 1,3,6. $30 gets 250% 6,11/ 11/ 1/ 1,3,6. $15 gets 250% The Quads (x5 for $120) 4/ 6/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $34 gets 566.67% 4/ 6/ 2,3/ 1,10. $8 gets 200% 4/ 6/ 1,4,5,7,10/ 3,6,11. $30 gets 200% 4/ 4,5/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $24 gets 200% 2,9/ 6/ 2,3/ 3,6,11. $24 gets 200% Visit the Good Form Site here Early Quaddie Jackpot On Great Southern Star TAB.com.au have supported the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star with gusto, announcing earlier in the week a $25,000 Jackpot on the Early Quaddie. The innovative new bet type has already captured punters attention and with the huge bonus money rolling into the two Great Southern Star heats, the Early Quaddie is expected to explode this week. Click here to read more. Calder Has Eyes On Southern Star Blitz If there was just one horse that represents everything the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star stands for, then it's got to be local contender Blitzthemcalder. He is young and brazen, bold and elegant, and he has the high speed required to trot at a rapid pace over the 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. Click here to read more. International Trotting Ambassadors Down Under HRV's international ambassadors have well and truly arrived for the Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton and with them they have brought world-wide coverage to Victoria's newest flagship trotting race. Chantal Sutherland and Corey Callahan have already excelled in their fields - Sutherland a star US jockey and Callahan the leading reinsman in the states this season. And joining them is Jonas Czernyson, one of the young guns of the training scene in North America. Click here to read more. Lang Has Podium Positions Covered Nagambie trainer Chris Lang could walk away with gold, silver and bronze at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Saturday night. Lang takes a strong hand into Australia's trotting night of nights, including live chances in all three of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Series finals. Click here to read more. adies Landing Plenty Of Winners In Teal Team Teal has taken over March in the trotting world with the exciting promotion involving all the female drivers in Victoria wearing TEAL DRIVING TROUSERS to increase awareness in Ovarian Cancer. The female drivers have done the cause proud driving 34 winners to date in March with just over a week left. Click here to read more. Gath Has Stars In Her Eyes The Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star is still in its infant state but after making waves on the international stage in its inaugural year 12 months ago, the scene is set for another classic. With the prizemoney for the final topped up to $300,000, taking the entire series to $400,000, it has already become the most sought after trotting race in the southern hemisphere. Click here to read more. Danny Frawley And Brian Gath Headline Echuca Cup The $25,000 Echuca Cup is upon us with a long list of stars descending on the state's north tonight. The announcements are coming thick and fast with Danny Frawley and Brian Gath ambassadors for the event. Click here to read more. Like us Follow us Visit us Copyright Â© 2014 Harness Racing Victoria, All rights reserved.
If there was just one horse that represents everything the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star stands for, then it’s got to be local contender Blitzthemcalder. He is young and brazen, bold and elegant, and he has the high speed required to trot at a rapid pace over the 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton. But for all the bravado he has lacked a polish throughout his career. Like a juvenile delinquent he has gone off the rails on occasion. Now under the care of Craig Demmler, his time to stand up has arrived this Saturday night in the Great Southern Star. Drawn a perfect barrier in two, his lack of early gate speed won’t crush his chances as they might have if he drew in barrier one – or even out wide. Coming off an unusual preparation, he will be having just his second run since early February in the $50,000 first elimination heat. “He had a break after running second to Aleppo Midas and he did that well that we thought we better bring him in but he is forward enough on to run well, he had a trial on Saturday and went well,” Demmler said. “You’d like to have a little more time to prepare him in an ideal world but he is close enough to the mark. “He is a four-year-old who has been too good for his own age group and it can take a season to get used to racing these horses so I think whatever he does this time in he should take another step next year.” His advantage as a younger horse was evident as he swept all before him, claiming Group 1’s with ridiculous ease in record times. But as that advantage has been whittled down, Demmler will now rely on a more rounded squaregaiter as they take the step towards the Grand Circuit of trotting. “He came out with the pacers in a trial recently and we’ve just been working on his gate speed and his manners but he is never going to be blistering out,” he said. “Chris has the option but I think Aleppo Midas we’ll lead and we will be out in the open. I think he is capable of doing it though.” As to the question of whether or not he can back up and compete twice in one night, it’s something that his new trainer doesn’t even have to think about. Noted for his ability to cruise at a high speed, Demmler is quickly learning that he is a pretty cool customer in all departments. “If he does make the final he is going to be a horse that suits backing up. I just couldn’t believe after his last run he came in and his heart was 74 and he wouldn’t even blow a candle out,” he said. “The only thing against him is that when they are running steady times the whole way if you have a horse like Stent sitting off you then they can beat you with high speed. “In saying that if we can take a bit of gas out of them then that might be the best way we can beat them.” Blitzthemcalder is a $3.80 chance to win his heat with TAB fixed odds while his all-in price for the final has remained steady since opening at $8. By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
The Nicole Molander trained Keystone Del will have his second shot at the Great Southern Star this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton after competing in last year's inaugural series. The son of Dr Ronerail finished last in his heat twelve months ago after making a mistake during the event but Molander believes he has mentally improved since then. "He has come a long way in the last twelve months, the steps he has taken are probably more mental than physical and I think he has learnt now what being a racehorse is all about," Molander said. "Keystone Del had another excuse last year as well because he had missed out on a key lead up race because of a little setback and was probably just too fresh at the end of the day but this year his preparation has been totally different and I am extremely happy with the way he has been trotting." Molander is looking forward to the opportunity of giving Keystone Del two starts on the one day and the Great Southern Star concept will allow for that should he make it through to the final. "I am really looking forward to seeing how he handles it because I remember the day when he trotted his mile in 1:54.9 at Menangle last year I actually worked him solidly on the morning of the race. The heat and final on the same day at the same meeting shouldn't really bother him." "He hasn't had much luck since arriving in Victoria this time, he got shuffled back on the pegs in his first run and charged home late and then was forced to sit parked last weekend and was still brave to the line." While some horses would be concerned by being away from home, Keystone Del handles the travelling comfortably. "He is a brilliant traveller, doesn't move on the float and being away from home hasn't been an issue for him before. Once we get through the weekend I will sit down and discuss what options there are for Keystone Del going forward with his owners but everything at the moment is just about Saturday." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)
The radical rules for Saturday's A$400,000 Great Southern Star are forcing Colin De Filippi to abandon his legendary patience. De Filippi has been known for decades as the harness racing driver with soft hands and the ability to wait, both on the track and in his training decisions. That patience won him a New Zealand Cup with Kym's Girl and a drivers' premiership in 2006, when he reined 121 winners. After a Hall of Fame career, De Filippi is more relaxed about his racing ambitions these days, training just 11 horses with wife Julie and driving 30 winners last season. But the 61-year-old says there is still no thrill like training and driving a top horse which Stent, winner of last Saturday's A$100,000 Australian Trotting Grand Prix, undoubtedly is. His belief in his stable star, coupled with the conditions of the Great Southern Star in Melbourne this Saturday night, suggest you can teach an old dog new tricks. It is based on the famous Elitlopp in Sweden which has proven so expensive and elusive for Australasian trotters and that also extends to the GSS's conditions, which is where De Filippi realises he will need to be decisive.The Great Southern Star comprises two A$50,000 ($53,000) heats run at 7pm and 7.31pm Melbourne time with a A$300,000 final at 10pm. Racing twice at group one level in the same night is tough enough but the connections of the finalist get to choose their own barrier draws in the order they qualify in the heats. With sprint racing around Melton being notoriously biased toward those racing handy, the option to choose barrier one or two for the final is crucial. Stent has the huge advantage of drawing the ace in his heat and De Filippi says with a heat victory ensuring he can choose where he starts from in the final, he will be getting aggressive come Saturday night. "He has always been a horse I have looked after but I realise Saturday is a little bit different," says De Filippi. "I will be asking him to show more gate speed this week in the heat and try and lead and stay there because then we are masters of our own destiny in the final. "And I think he will be able to show it [gate speed]. He has natural speed, it is just that I haven't asked him much in the past." De Filippi admits he has never raced a horse twice in one night before, even though he cut his teeth on the rugged South Island circuits where two races in a day were not uncommon. "It has never been my style but this is a magnificent series and a A$300,000 final. "And he is coming into it on the way up. He feels good and is really fit so I think he will handle it. "But I must admit I don't know much about the whole two races in one night thing." Stent is already profiting from De Filippi's patience as he is in career-best form after being allowed to dodge Australian campaigns the last two seasons. "His owner Trevor Casey has been good enough to back my opinion and it is now paying dividends," says De Filippi. "And being the type of horse he is he could race on for another four years." That could see Stent put together a huge bankroll as the money on offer for trotters around Australasia continues to grow and Stent definitely knows how to claim a cheque. In his past 28 starts dating back two years, he has won 12, been second 12 times and third twice, with this only two unplaced runs being when he galloped away in the Rowe Cup last season and when he became tangled up with the starting tape at Alexandra Park in December. He meets much-hyped Aussie trotter Blitzthemcalder in his heat this Saturday but the other, later heat looks much stronger, including Flying Isa, Keystone Del and defending champion Vulcan. The series has been robbed of some Kiwi interest though through injuries to Peak and The Fiery Ginga and Stig going sore after racing at Addington last Friday, while the connections of Master Lavros, Irish Whisper, Habibti and Sovereignty have decided to bypass it for form reasons. Great Southern Star Where: Melton, Victoria. When: Saturday night. What: Trotting series, with two heats as races 3 and 4, with final as race 9. Who: Many of the best trotters from around Australasia. How much: A$400,000 in total stakes. Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Hearld
Star Kiwi gelding Stent steadied himself for a Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star tilt with an exhilarating win in the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Drawn barrier eight and an unlucky runner-up in the Glenferrie Farm challenge at his latest start, he vanquished any demons with a slick last quarter that saw him peel from three back the pegs to charge to the lead in front of earlier leader Flying Isa and Keystone Del. Aleppo Midas had a cart into the race and let down out wide to fly home into second while My High Expectations ran home resolutely for third. The early tale of the race was widely predicted with Flying Isa crossing Stoned I Am at barrier rise. But when Kyvalley Blur pulled in front of My High Expectations to look for the chair mid-race, the complexion of the event changed as Keystone Del kicked up to hold that position. In a mile rate of 1:59.1 the leader was able to pinch an even first quarter of the last mile in 31.1secs before quickening to trot 30.8secs, 28.4secs and finally 28.8secs in the last fraction. Stent’s dashing win has him set to start one of the favourites in next week’s $300,000 Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star final. The win pushed the five-year-old’s prizemoney in excess of $350,000 already with automatic entry into the GSS already assured. With a wildcard still possibly in play from HRV, Aleppo Midas put her hand up to enter calculations with fields announced on Tuesday. For more information on the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star visit www.greatsouthernstar.com.au. In the night's other feature races, Zedalite pushed his way towards a GSS berth with a strong win in the Trotters FFA over Brunelleschi and El Paco. Smoken Up showed his rivals a clean pair of heals in the Westburn Grant FFA in a mile rate of 1:57.0 while Victoria May finally broke through at Melton this campaign with a win in the Ian Daff Memorial. Major Crocker was too speedy in the 3YO Cup on the night while Melton Plate winner Magical Telf returned to the winners stall with a strong win in the third leg of the Quaddie. By Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)
Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star weekend is quickly closing in but it won’t just be on the harness racing track that headlines will be made. The Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale will be conducted on Sunday March 22 at Tabcorp Park Melton and a stellar line up of yearlings is set to be assembled. In a boon for prospective owners, videos and photos of the lots for sale can now be viewed at www.austrottingsale.com.au. For more information on the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star, simply visit www.greatsouthernstar.com.au
The Belinda McCarthy trained Two Eye See will return to his home town this weekend to compete in the Cordina Farms Young Cup. Two Eye See is a product of the well respected Young based Success Stud and has already enjoyed three victories at the track and is hoping to add Saturday night's $45,000 Carnival Of Cups feature to the list as well. "I'm over the moon that Joe (Two Eye See) is coming back to race at Young this weekend, he is a remarkable horse to even be racing after all the issues he has had," owner Jackie Gibson said. "He was retired at four with several issues and since overcoming those and returning to the track he has had to undergo stem cell treatment for his suspensory, effectively he only has one good leg!." Gibson has been thrilled with the recent performances of her favourite horse and in particular his win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Hunter Cup night. "Hunter Cup night was fantastic, to be a part of a night like that was very special and I sat in front of the television and screamed as loud as I could." "His run in the Inter Dominion heat wasn't great but he has never raced well on a wet track before, so I'm hoping to see him perform at his best but win lose or draw he is going to have a four week break here at home with us after the race." With a strong following including a Facebook page Two Eye See attracts plenty of publicity and with that comes pressure. "For sure, he has a big fan base and I guess I feel the pressure a bit more when he does come home or race in a country feature because people are hoping and expecting for so much." "He is a very special horse and I will have him for as long as he lives, Saturday night won't be an easy race but I'm hoping he will be right in the finish, the purple power will be out in force for sure." by Greg Hayes - SKY Racing (Harness Racing Australia)
With only two weeks remaining and one qualification race left until the 2014 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star the competition for the final few places remaining in the list of 20 to start is hotting up. HRV have only been advised of two qualifiers thus far who do not intend on taking their place in the final 20, this includes NZ Harness Jewels Ruby winner Charlemagne, and Prince Eddie from WA who took out the Discreet Romeo Sprint in February. Seventeen qualifiers have so far secured a position in the final 20. In order of stakes earned over the past 12 months they are: Rank Horse Total 1 Q My High Expectations $207,425 2 Q Habibti $197,496 3 Q Stent $193,646 4 Q Keystone Del $159,655 5 Q Master Lavros $155,342 6 Q Elegant Image $134,072 7 Q Stig $131,819 8 Q Kyvalley Blur $121,918 9 Q Irish Whisper $106,201 10 Q Vulcan $103,112 11 Q Cyclone U Bolt $86,490 12 Q Peak $67,857 13 Q Rosalie Bay $50,425 14 Q Brunelleschi $41,900 15 Q Jingling Silver $29,820 16 Q WINNER - Aust Trot Grand Prix SCR Q Charlemagne SCR SCR E Prince Eddie SCR 17 E The Dude Abides $47,987 18 E Trappers Puzzle $30,851 With the Australian Trotting Grand Prix the last qualification race this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, any remaining places available will be taken up by the next highest stakes earners over the past 12 months. The current order of next highest stakes earners includes: 19 Blitzthemcalder $203,155 20 Im Stately $178,790 21 Prime Power $135,082 22 Quite A Moment $117,625 23 Royal Aspirations $111,149 24 One Over Da Moon $102,137 25 Daenerys Targaryen $92,284 26 Boizel $87,709 27 Spidergirl $84,015 28 Zedalite $80,225 29 Cold Sister $76,175 30 I See Icy Earl $72,900 31 The Fiery Ginga $70,711 32 Springbank Sam $69,910 33 Sheemon $64,867 34 Stoned I Am $64,245 35 Thebestlove $62,546 36 Waikare Patricia $61,940 37 Earl Of Clevedon $61,040 38 Claudys Princess $60,185 39 Maori Time $55,822 40 Rainbow Jay Jay $54,850 41 Hot Holiday $53,690 42 Shes An Image $52,572 43 Alta Rihannah $52,180 44 Dieu De L'amour $51,535 45 Flying Isa $50,324 46 Waikare Aristocrat $49,913 47 Tender Don $49,865 48 Our Dreamlover $49,125 49 Sundons Promise $48,650 50 The Beau Brummell $48,045 HRV handicappers also have the option of choosing to use a Wildcard if they believe a worthy horse has failed to qualify. Last year Dreamit was issued a Wildcard into the event after taking out the Trotters Free For All on Grand Prix night. Recent performances that will no doubt come under consideration for Wildcard entry include Flying Isa - taking the Australasian Trotters Mile record, Swedish bred emerging star Cardigan Boko - in taking seven victories from his last eight starts and Aleppo Midas who is showing plenty of ability. Much could happen over the final two weeks to determine the starting 20 and to keep up to date on all current information visit www.greatsouthernstar.com.au For event details, including all the activities taking place on-course on the night, visit www.trot.com.au. By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing AU)
A rejuvenated Elegant Image again staked his claim for the second ever Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star with a stunning return to form in the Group 1 Knight Pistol at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday. In a race which was dictated by changes with Stoned Am I first finding the front before handing over to the eventual winner. Rating 1:56.3 over the sprint trip, Elegant Image continued to carve out strong splits in front with quarters of 29.5secs, 29.1secs, 29.4secs and 28.7sec recorded by the multiple Group 1 winner. Coming off a mid-year campaign in 2013 which included four straight wins, culminating in a Bill Collins Mile second, Elegant Image staved his rivals off by 1.4 metres. The unlucky runner of the race was no doubt Keystone Del who charged home for a minor placings at his second straight Victorian attempt. With the quinella both already qualified for the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star on March 22, the stage is set for an epic rematch in the ensuing weeks. Stoned I Am battled on for third while NSW invader Rainbow Jay Jay ran fourth after sitting parked early before taking a one by one trail. The nights fast class race for the pacers was taken out by Smoken Up who held early challenger Keayang Cullen at the start before out toughing his rivals in the lane. Savesomtimetodream was produced from the one by one trail to blouse Keayang Cullen on the line for second. For more information on the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star you can visit the website at www.greatsouthernstar.com.au. By Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)
The ultimate test of speed and stamina – the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Trotting Series restricted to mares over 1609 metres commenced at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Saturday March 8, with both the Silver and Gold heats taking place. Considering the association that Duncan McPherson and his family have had with the Lang stable over the years, it was appropriate that trotting maestro Chris Lang was going to dominate on the night winning both races. Without doubt, the Gold Heat was the highlight – the victor being five year old Shes An Image bred and raced by the Humphrey’s from Melton. Beginning brilliantly from outside the front line, Shes An Image almost crossed the well tried Quite A Moment (gate two) as the mobile gate pulled away, however Greg Sugars was able to retain the inside running approaching the first turn, with Shes An Image being restrained to immediately take a trail on her back. Kerryn Manning aboard the local hope Aleppo Midas (gate three on the second line) was off and running prior to the bell and joined Quite A Moment with a lap to travel. With the two favourites engaging in a two horse war along the back straight, the pace was a cracker with neither giving an inch. Just as Aleppo Midas was being hailed the winner in the shadows of the post, Shes An Image a daughter of Last Sunset and Joyces Choice sprouted wings along the sprint lane to score by a head in a tricky finish, with Quite A Moment 1.3 metres away in third place. With splits of 28.9, 30.5, 28.5 and 29.6, Shes An Image returned a mile rate of 1-57.4. The Silver heat going the way of long odds-on favourite Maori Time ($1.40), a well performed daughter of Pegasus Spur and Sundonna bred and raced by Fred Crews which goes back to the famous Maoris Idol dynasty. Not bustled from gate four with Im Anonymous leading from gate two, Maori Time ambled to the breeze, before taking over at the bell. Always in control, Chris allowed Maori Time to cruise to the wire, scoring by 1.4 metres only from Queens Vacation (three back the markers) and Canadian Dream (four back) in a mile rate of 1-59.8. Further heats including the Bronze, will be conducted at Shepparton on Friday March 14. Finals are held on Saturday 22 March - Pryde's EasiFeed Great Southern Star & Girls' Night Out at Tabcorp Park Melton. Videos attached of both races Len Baker Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria
Phenomenal eleven year old Tinted Cloud - Carnlough Bay gelding Smoken Up returned to the track after a few weeks off to score an exciting narrow fighting victory in the SEW-Eurodrive Flying Free For All over 1720 metres at his home track Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday. Showing his customary speed from gate two to hold out Inter Dominion finalist Keayang Cullen (gate five), Smoken Up first up since February 1 was given a comfortable time, before sprinting home his last half mile in 55.7 – quarter 27 to nose out Savesomtimetodream (one/one) in a rate of 1-54.7, with Keayang Cullen fighting all the way to the wire to be head away in third place. Trainer/driver Lance Justice was thrilled with the performance, saying “the horse was nowhere near fit as yet and would contest a couple of minor Free For All’s over the next few weeks prior to possibly heading for a fifth victory attempt in the Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 27”. It was the dual Miracle Mile winners 72nd victory in 142 outings. ................................................................................................................................. Daylesford duo – Mick Barby and Anne-Maree Conroy’s 5-Y-0 It Is I - Glenlyon Glad gelding It Is Billy continued his rise through the grades, by destroying his rivals in the 2nd Heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace for M0 class over 1720 metres. Again showing exceptional gate speed from outside the front row, It Is Billy took over from Royal Witness inside him on the first turn, before coasting to a 5.7 metre victory untouched over Royal Witness in 1-54.5, with Cyrus a gallant third after racing three wide for the final circuit. The $30,000 Final will be held this Saturday. Len Baker For Harness Racing Victoria