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

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

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

Keystone Del has moved within $13,000 of joining an elite group of hrness racing trotting millionaire stake earners after tonight’s E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. The eight-year-old gelding dominated a small but select field of squaregaiters to rate 1:59.2 for the 2240-metre trip – well outside his own personal best and track record of 1:56 flat. His next success will see him join Lyell Creek ($2.2m), I Can Doosit ($1.3m), Sundons Gift ($1.2m), Take A Moment ($1.1m), Stent and One Over Kenny ($1.0m) on the all-time Australasian trotters’ earners list. “He’ll get there,” said winning reinsman Anthony Butt after tonight’s win. “He felt terrific tonight. He had to run given the way the race panned out.” Keystone Del trotted casually to the front early, crossing in-form polemarker Illawong Helios with Sun Of Anarchy slotting in three back on the pegs. The order didn’t change for the remainder of the journey as Keystone Del reeled off comfortable splits of 31.2, 30.9, 29.6 and 27.3. RE-LIVE KEYSTONE DEL'S E B COCHRAN TROTTERS CUP WIN Illawong Helios, who is racing in super form for Ross and Greg Sugars, finished 5.9m behind Keystone Del, with Sun Of Anarchy holding off a challenge from stablemate Our Twentyten to hold third a further 10.4m away. The Yonkers International Trot remains a potential assignment for Keystone Del, who is a 33-time winner from 46 career starts. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Storm Inside’s reputation as a freak two-year-old was only heightened when the colt produced an outstanding win in the second Australian Pacing Gold semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Smythes Creek stable claimed both semi-finals with Our Little General (Mach Three) and The Storm Inside (Rocknroll Hanover) , and it was the latter that again dropped jaws having been tested early before finding the lead and still having plenty in the tank to draw clear and win by 9.5m. “He’s showing start-by-start that he’s an improved horse,” driver Greg Sugars said in the wake of The Storm Inside’s win. “He’s the real deal. He’s a top horse and I’m looking forward to next week.” He’ll likely start a short-priced favourite after Saturday night’s outstanding showing. In the first semi-final, Our Little General, renowned for his sprint, was instead called on to produce a dogged run to win the first of the semi-finals. With heat on in the early going Our Little General was the third of four-wide to the first corner, eventually claiming the lead inside Jilliby Kung Fu. By the bell Geoff Webster’s fancied Wrappers Delight had cornered the field and sidled next to Our Little General in the breeze, and they cooled their heels from a 27.7 first quarter to a 29.3 second. Our Little General and Wrappers Delight gained separation at the final bend but the latter lost touch and $21 shot Three Of The Best was the best of the swoopers, almost pinching the race from Stewart’s short-priced favourite. Driver Chris Alford had Our Little General hold on to win from Three Of The Best by a half-head, with Wrappers Delight third and Weona Sizzler (fourth) and None Bettor (fifth) also qualifying for the final.  “He’s a good little horse and had to earn it tonight,” Alford said. “Being in front is not ideal for him. You never know when they get pressure how they will handle it. He is probably better with the sit. Hopefully next week we can get a draw and a bit of luck.” Our Little General won in a 1:55.4 mile, a time eclipsed by 0.8s in the second semi-final.  Alford, chasing a fourth win from as many races on the night, made The Storm Inside earn the lead by pushing Redbank Blaze along early before handing up to Greg Sugars when they entered the straight for the first time. Sugars settled in on The Storm Inside but was kept honest when Bettor Be Gold loomed into the breeze on the back straight. Any thought that the $1.20 favourite was under threat though was soon erased with Sugars again barely moving as The Storm Inside rattled down the final straight to win in 1:54.3. Redbank Blaze ran second from Atomic Red, Bettor Be Gold and fifth-placed San Domino, who all qualified for Friday night’s $322,000 final. by Michael Howard

Harness racing trainer Lance Justice has high hopes for filly Hu Hu R U despite bookmakers offering huge odds in early fixed price markets for Saturday night’s Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks Final. TAB.com.au opened the Melton-trained filly $41 to win the $150,000 Group 1 three-year-old fillies’ classic despite the daughter of Jereme's Jet breaking 55 seconds and recording the fastest last half-mile behind Mark Purdon’s highly acclaimed A Piccadilly Princess in Oaks heat three last Friday night. Hu Hu R U has been ultra-impressive since arriving in Australia, the former Kiwi pacer's overall record an impressive 11 starts for seven wins and three minor placings. In last Friday night's heat, Hu Hu R U was taken off the arm from gate seven before storming home to run second, her last half recorded at 54.89secs and her last quarter at 27.45secs. “She’s got a really good turn of foot as you saw last week. She actually ran one of the quickest last halves of the night … she’s very, very quick,” Justice told RSN’s Gait Speed this morning. “She’s a very good horse. If she takes the next step she could potentially be the best,” he added. Hu Hu R U has drawn barrier 10 for the Oaks Final, giving Justice plenty to think about. Does he sit back and allow Hu Hu R U to close hard at the end, or will the one-one be up for grabs if he makes an early move? The one thing that is clear is Justice says the filly has pulled up a treat from her super first-up hit-out. “She’s pulled up really well and should improve a little bit more for Saturday night," he said. “Brian Gath  to his credit did a great job looking after her last week. He didn’t over-punish her.  Basically he chased her just on her own urgings.” The early money for the Oaks Final has been for Emma Stewart-trained Heavens Trend, who drew gate three. She opened $2.20 with TAB.com.au and is into a $1.80 favourite, while opening favourite A Piccadilly Princess has eased from $1.80 out to $2.20. Both impressively won their heats. That pair stifles the betting with $11 chances Im Wrongly Accused from the Matthew Craven stable, also a heat winner, and Gary Hoban-trained Dancingwithsierra, who ran second in her heat behind Heavens Trend, on the next line. The Oaks is Race 7 (9.02pm) on Saturday night's 10-event program at Tabcorp Park Melton and carries a $20,000 First 4 jackpot with TAB.com.au. Cody Winnell 

Gippsland pacing fillies Magical Delight and Courageous Call will compete in the $150,000 Harness Racing Victoria Oaks at Melton this Saturday night. The Gary Quinlan-trained pair qualified for the event after excellent performances in their heats last week. Raced by large syndicates of local trots followers, Magical Delight and Courageous Call will both start at good odds in Saturday night's race, which has drawn together an outstanding field of young horses. No doubt connections are thrilled just to be represented in such a prestigious event, regardless of the result. At the Yarra Valley meeting on Monday, Gippsland was well represented throughout the day. Gary Quinlan scored another winner, with Professor Tom scoring for owner, Warragul Harness Racing Club stalwart Grant Rathjen. Trafalgar horseman Chris Hunter produced the quinella in the trotters' race. Lazy Sunday won after an eye-catching run at Warragul on Cup day, narrowly defeating stablemate Slancio. Hunter's son Glenn drove the winner, and both horses will compete against each other again this Saturday night in the Victorian Square Trotters Association Cup Final at Melton, where Glenn will have the pick of the drives. Local horseman Matt Cormick produced Mor Laag to win the feature event on the program at odds of over $51. Cormick trains his horse at Carrum Downs but his family have been involved in trotting locally for many years. Mor Laag has a habit of winning at big odds on occasion, although his last victory at Warragul in January was less of a shock for punters, as he started an $8 chance. Meanwhile the trots return to Warragul this Monday, ahead of a further meeting on May 2. Heats of the Ken Miller Memorial event will be staged. Local trainers will be strongly represented in Monday's heats, all keen to qualify their horses for the final of the race run in honour of a great local trotting supporter. Monday's meeting kicks off just after Noon. Kyle Galley

A pair of Queensland harness racing rookies will venture to Melbourne this week chasing gold. Following their one/two result in the Australian Pacing Gold qualifier staged at Albion Park last Tuesday, both Three Of The Best and Maestro Bellini are due to fly south to contest the semi-finals this Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton. In the Brisbane qualifier, Three Of The Best overpowered Maestro Bellini in the latter stages in a slick time of 1:55.0 while covering the final half in 56.6 seconds. Three Of The Best is prepared by husband and wife combination of Scott Miller​ and ,Shannon Price no strangers to success in the garden state while Maestro Bellini belongs to the Chris Petroff stable. “We’re booked on a flight on Wednesday night at this stage and that will give us a few days to settle in before racing on Saturday night. We were always keen to go and after speaking with Chris, it made sense to book the flights and travel together.” Miller said. Three Of The Best, a $45,000 purchase from the Sydney sale last year was a beaten favourite on debut when 7th behind his stablemate Statement Made after making an early error before making amends last week. Handled by Adam Sanderson, Three Of The Best sat parked outside Maestro Bellini before outstaying him over the concluding stages that was having his first start back in Brisbane following his Bathurst Gold Crown campaign. The Mach Three – Snug Harbor (by Bettors Delight) gelding has thrived following his triumph and connections are optimistic about their chances. “We’re in with a chance and the fact we’re heading south and prepared to take on this series proves we think we have a show of getting some of the good prizemoney on offer. We’ve always rated this horse from the start and he continues to improve, anything can happen in juvenile racing. “It appears to be a fairly open series with the Victorian trained performers looking the most likely with the likes of Emma Stewart and Geoff Webster both having impressive types while it’s rare for Mark Purdon to not have one of the top ranking colts. “Our guy is going to be based with Alan Tubbs and as long as he handles everything, I think we’re in with a good chance. When you break down his winning effort last week, it was very impressive and he’s trained on a treat since.” Champion reinsman Gavin Lang has been booked to drive during the Melbourne campaign. The $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final is scheduled for April 22 Chris Barsby. 

A Piccadilly Princess took her chance in Friday's  harness racing Oaks heat at Tabcorp Park Melton and the result, an advance token to next Saturday night’s Nevele R Stud  Victoria Oaks Final. Mark Purdon’s Bettors Delight out of Hyde Park Royal filly was the fastest of the three heat winners, and her rivals might need a get out of jail free card, maybe in the shape of a poor barrier draw for the All Stars pacer, if they’re to upstage her in the big game. But despite the effortless nature of her heat win A Piccadilly Princess doesn’t have a monopoly on the final with Locals Heavens Trend and Dancingwithsierra, who ran one-two in their Oaks heat, to be major players, while Matthew Craven’s improving filly Im Wrongly Accused looms as a potential dark horse after her heat win. A Piccadilly Princess didn’t quite do it from start to finish on Friday night, crossed early by Flojos Gold before moving to the lead at the 1800m, but once in front she was unstoppable – her last 1200m divvied up by 29.5, 27.4 and 27.8 splits. Her winning time of 2:41.9 was the fastest of the three Oaks heats by .7 of a second, but the ease with which she got the job done – and her impressive Northern Oaks win recently in New Zealand – will have many punters pinning their hopes on the Purdon filly in next weekend’s $150,000 Group 1 final. Smythes Creek filly Heavens Trend won her Oaks heat in a gross time of 2:42.6 and a mile rate of 1:56.8. The Emma Stewart-trained daughter of Rock n Roll Heaven out of Trendsetter defeated another highly rated pacer in Dancingwithsierra in Friday night’s heats. Heavens Trend rolled past Dancingwithsierra early and the pair drew away in the straight with Dancingwithsierra making a late dive but Heavens Trend holding on by a half-neck. Both look live chances in the final. WATCH THE OAKS HEAT REPLAYS AND CHECK OUT THE RESULTS IN FULL DETAIL Im Wrongly Accused (Bettor's Delight out of Gross Misconduct) was the other heat winner, her winning time the slowest of the three qualifiers – 2:44.9 gross and 1:58.5 mile rate – but she sprinted sharply along the sprint lane and looked professional to topple Celebrity Guest. This heat actually produced the fastest final 800m (55secs) and trainer/driver Craven will be pleased with how his filly is progressing since joining his stable from New Zealand. Cody Winnell

The nation’s most talented harness racing two-year-olds are showing early zeal in pursuit of Australian Pacing Gold, which carries a $322,000 purse that will be prized open at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 22. Wrappers Delight, trained and driven by Bannockburn’s Geoff Webster, was among those to salute when four Victorian heats of the series were held at Melton last Friday night, reward for owners Domenic Martello and Doug Webster who invested in the yearling at the 2015 APG sales. “We went along Friday night and cheered him on,” Martello said. “I took my wife and the kids and had a ball. As long as it is a healthy and happy horse we find they will run well, and when they win that’s a bonus.” The APG heats for colts and geldings at Melton last Friday also saw Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s short-priced favourites, Our Little General and The Storm Inside, live up to their top billing, while trainer-driver and part-owner Allison Chisholm claimed the other heat with Whats The Catch. DON'T MISS THE APG REPLAYS OF HEAT ONE, HEAT TWO, HEAT THREE AND HEAT FOUR The four winners will be guaranteed starts in the series’ semi-finals on April 16, which precede the April 22 final. The APG heats for fillies get underway at Melton on Friday, April 8, leading up to the semi-final (April 23) and final (April 30) at Menangle. For Geoff Webster, Wrappers Delight’s impressive win – his second from as many starts – came as little surprise. “He is quite a nice horse and we went in confident,” Webster said. “I was most concerned about coming out of barrier seven, but he got away reasonably well and showed good gate speed. “He cruised to the front without any real effort and was comfortably parked outside the leader.” When it came time to call on Wrappers Delight in the straight Webster required only a gentle urging to draw past second-placed Jilliby Kung Fu, who showed plenty for Terang trainer Marg Lee. “He got to the line very well,” Webster said, and the seasoned trainer was confident Wrappers Delight would challenge Stewart’s much lauded pair were they to meet in a semi-final or final. “I think he’s up there with them. I respect them, but I don’t think they are any better than he is.” The win was great early reward for owner Martello, who has turned many yearlings into Webster’s care in the past three years. “I didn’t go in thinking we’re going to win,” Martello said. “I’m a bit superstitious and didn’t want to mozz the horse. But he raced well and I feel blessed.” Martello’s passion for all things trots has quickly snowballed since crossing from gallops ownership. “I’ve had horses in the gallops and felt it was a bit impersonal,” he said. “In the trots I can never win the Melbourne Cup, but it is not just about that. I know the drivers, the trainers and feel involved. I reckon it’s great value. I feel valued as a trots owner, I feel significant and not just a stat. The horses run all year and they can earn big bucks.” Misterfreeze is another under Martello’s ownership, and he run a brave fourth in a photo finish of heat number three. It is a stable that also includes Big Jack Hammer, a Group 1 winner in December’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Plaitnum Hom Grown Classic. “I look at (ownership) as an intellectual challenge,” Martello said. “I’m a guy who hasn’t got a history in horses, but go to the yearling sales and buy horses that other people who have experience have also seen. “I look it as a challenge to plan to get a horse, to look at the breeding and to then buy the yearling. When they race, like was the case on Friday night, I feel like you have succeeded just by being there and being competitive.”  He said it was a joy only magnified by being able to share it with those around you. “Harness is down-to-earth big time. It’s a very friendly industry. They are normal people who value the owners and I love it.” by Michael Howard

Self-titled “hobby trainer” Mario Attard wants to soak up every second of life as an owner and harness racing trainer of a boom three-year-old colt. The Rockbank resident will take the reins of Dont Hold Back at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the colt by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Express will start at a short price in the Group 3 VHSRC Victoria Sires Classic. “Win, lose or draw he tries hard and I consider myself lucky to have him,” Attard said. “I’ll have a drive of him. (Regular reinsman) Greg (Sugars) is a fabulous driver and is probably 10 times the driver I am, but I will do it because I enjoy it. I’m a hobby trainer and want to give it a go. “I only have three horses after I bought a yearling. I break them in and get them going from the get go. That’s what horse racing is to me, it’s not about money. If it was I would put Greg on him because he would probably do the job better than I would, but I do it for the enjoyment.” VIDEO: SOAK UP DONT HOLD BACK'S FABULOUS FIVE WINS Dont Hold Back is certainly bringing plenty of joy to Attard’s camp, having claimed $62,830 in stakes after producing eight starts for five wins and two placings, including winning its VHRSC Victoria Derby heat and placing third behind Lazarus in the final. The only non-placing came last start at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 20, when Sugars suffered a flat tyre at the top of the straight after holding the lead with Dont Hold Back. He faded to seventh, 39m in arrears of a fast finishing Zee Dana. “They took my horse on and run a world record time (for three-year-old colts and geldings),” Attard said. “It is hard to keep going at that speed and I don’t think he would have been able to beat Zee Dana. The disappointing thing was that he failed to qualify for the final.” Attard said Dont Hold Back also didn’t “travel too well” in his Sydney stopover and so he put him out for a week “to freshen him up”. “I’m not exactly sure where he’s at.  He trialled last week at Melton and ran home pretty good,” he said.  “He is coming along good. He is going to have to be at his best, with some nice horses in the race. “Shadow Sax is a really smart type, Soho Tribecca won a big race last month, Rocknroll Gold – there are some nice horses in this race. It will come down to the luck on the night and the luck in the race.” Emma Stewart told Trainer Talk Shadow Sax was “a very nice horse” who was “big plans” beyond tonight’s race, but will have to overcome a worst-case scenario draw (barrier eight). TRAINER TALK: READ EMMA STEWART'S THOUGHTS ON HER SEVEN RUNNERS TONIGHT Andy Gath’s has prepared Battle Born for the Victoria Sires Classic and said he thought the horse “has a really good future”. “He is another horse who is a little bit green, he is a little bit in and out in his races, but one who is going to be better with time,” Gath told RSN’s Gait Speed. “He has had a break and freshened up really nice.” With Attard driving Dont Hold Back, Greg Sugars has been released to take the reins of dad Ross Sugars' chance Blackbird Power, which was drawn in barrier 10.  “He’s going really well, but will be up against some very smart horses,” Sugars said. “The barrier draw was no help, he is going well but will have his work cut out. It is a very smart field with Don’t Hold Back, Soho Tribecca and Shadow Sax clearly better horses.” For Attard, he will endeavour to drive Dont Hold Back to the front from barrier six to give him every chance and to, above all, bring him home safely. “I’m just trying to take care of him as much as I can so I can race him as long as I can,” he said. “I don’t have anything to replace him and doubt that I ever will.” Michael Howard

The seas parted for Speeding Spur and the brilliant trotter from across the Tasman blazed off the pegs to claim the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Australia’s richest trotting race lived up to expectations when an outstanding 11-race card reached a thrilling crescendo for trainer John Dickie and his son and driver Joshua Dickie, who drove for luck and capitalised on every bit of it. “Every bit of belief we have had in him he has just delivered tonight,” Josh Dickie said. “He has got the whole package. He won a lot of his races last year on the front, but he can come off the speed, he has a lot of high speed." "I’m just really pleased that he is living up to what he showed us.” Short-priced favourite Keystone Del ran fifth after losing ground from the turn, but earlier set the course alight when in heat two of the Great Southern Star Brent Lilley’s eight-year-old rattled the track record in a mile rate of 1:53.7. On that occasion Speeding Spur was beaten 3.9m into second. In the first Group 1 heat Kate Gath patiently awaited the sprint lane and then shot Glenferrie Typhoon to victory ahead of Maori Time (Yannick Gingras) and Sun Of Anarchy (Dexter Dunn). The draw for the final seemed to only strengthen Keystone Del’s claims, with Speeding Spur and Glenferrie Typhoon drawing the back row. All speculation was put to rest at 10pm when the mobile released the field and it was Yannick Gingras on Maori Time who shot to the front to dictate the running, with Keystone Del taking the breeze while Quite A Moment was in the box seat for Lance Justice. A 7.2 lead time fed into a 29.4 first quarter and 31.2 second quarter as Glenferrie Typhoon made its move three-wide where it would remain through the final bend. By that stage Keystone Del had started to slip off the pace set by Maori Time and it was clear this would not be his day. Speeding Spur was locked in three back the pegs for Josh Dickie, and it looked Maori Time or Glenferrie Typhoon. Yannick Gingras kicked Maori Time clear until the sprint lane opened, enabling Quite A Moment to come off her back and challenge for the lead, while on the outside Glenferrie Typhoon was making ground. But it was further back where the real story developed. Claudys Princess faded slightly, enabling Josh Dickie to get Speeding Spur off the pegs and he drew it four-wide, outside Glenferrie Typhoon. Once straightened Speeding Spur hit the jets to win from Glenferrie Typhoon, with Quite A Moment placing third on the pegs ahead of valiant Maori Time and fifth-placed Keystone Del. “The horse drawn the outside (Claudys Princess) was slightly going back and I thought to myself he could get out here, and he did and I said here he comes,” trainer John Dickie said. “I know what a good horse he is and he proved that tonight.” Josh Dickie said luck was always going to be needed after Speeding Spur drew barrier eight. “The barrier draw probably did look a bit of a concern on paper, but we have a lot of faith in this horse and he backed up great (from the heat),” he said. “He felt that good and I felt the tempo was pretty strong and that if I could get a bit of luck he will finish over the top of them." "I was very luck at the top of the straight I was able to get out and he did the rest." "It’s a breakthrough win, it’s sort of hard to explain, it’s one of my biggest wins.” John Dickie said “it’s (Speeding Spur’s) biggest win for sure” and with the entire by Pegasus Spur out of Della’s Speed aged only four, great success still lies ahead. “Onwards and upwards, he’s only a baby but I’m sure you will see him here next year too.” Group 1 victories were also claimed by Baccardi Hurricane in the Alan Mance Holden Need For Speed Prince Final, and High Gait in the Probuild Need For Speed Princess Final. Baccardi Hurricane drew off Cruisin Around's back from the one-one and trainer/driver Jarrod Alchin let the three-year-old gelding down in the straight, where he outpointed Ball Park (second) and Big Jack Hammer (third). Flying filly High Gait again tasted Group 1 success after Chris Alford drove Nicole Molander's three-year-old to victory, getting the lead from barrier one and building a gap off the first turn that was insurmountable despite Courchevel flashing home late to take second for Anthony Butt (driver) and Anton Golino (trainer). The night also featured the Group 2 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final, in which Greg Sugars took Illawong Helios three wide at the top of the straight and had the best horse in the race from there, drawing clear and holding off the swoopers. Victory for trainer Ross Sugars was scored ahead of second-placed Pretty Sunday and third-placed Barefoot Sally. Aldebaran Deebee was shot to the front by trainer-driver Matt Craven and from there the favourite controlled the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Silver Series Final. Sky Petite was third and Meadow Valley Road filled out the placings, as Skyvalley sired the trifecta. Michael Howard

Fresh from his maiden Group 1 training victory with Bacardi Hurricane in Saturday night's Need For Speed Prince Final at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton, Jarrod Alchin is contemplating whether to start the three-year-old trotter in Thursday's Bathurst Gold Coronet. Alchin will not risk the lightly raced trotter with so many feature races remaining in the season and will determine later in the week whether the son of Bacardi Lindy will make the trip to Bathurst. "Bacardi Hurricane is in the Gold Coronet, he travelled back from Melbourne to Sydney on Monday and I'll see how he pulls up," Alchin said. "At this stage he'll go around but he'll want to travel home well because he's still got the Foundation Final, The Flying Mile and the NSW Trotters Derby just across the road coming up." Alchin thanked the connections of Bacardi Hurricane for being patient and believes their decision to spell the trotter as a two year old has been the making of him. "He had all the ability in the world as a two year old but to their credit the owners listened to me and we just tipped him out. In the long run that has done him the world of good, to look at him now he is still pretty immature and whatever he is doing at the moment he will improve on. "I've been friends with the Munday family for quite a few years since I moved to Menangle about twelve or thirteen years ago. To get my first group one as a trainer for them was very special." Alchin also praised his younger brother Alex who played a big role in Saturday night's success. Alex Alchin has been in Victoria for the past month in preparation for last Saturday night and also trained a winner at Melton with Cyclone Lucky Seven winning a Group 3. "Alex is going to go a long way, he has worked for all of the big trainers in Sydney like John and Luke McCarthy and Paul Fitzpatrick. Nothing gets missed, so when I thought about sending a team to Victoria I didn't hesitate to send Alex down with them. "Alex is going to make a great trainer in his own right. It depends on what he decides to do but I think he's going to go out on his own and try to get a team together. I know he'll be very successful at it because he is so professional." Greg Hayes

“It has been a pleasure to be involved, an honour to be invited and amazing to be able to win,” and with that harness racing driver Kerryn Manning accepted the first International All Star Series title. The Victorian champion sealed the series with a seventh placing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, when the 22nd and final race was held among Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night. Her success and accumulated 165.5 points also helped The Vics eclipse The World team 719 to 712, despite New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn (158) and US driver Brett Miller (152.5) enjoying outstanding weeks to fill out the minor placings. “I started slow but got a bit of momentum up as the week went on and have had a very good week,” Manning said. In fact the Great Western trainer-driver was last on the leaderboard after day one with 15 points, but a victory at Echuca on Tuesday on day two and three second placings at Maryborough on day three soon had Manning back in contention. Two victories on both days four (Ballarat) and five (Bendigo) gave Manning a 10.5-point lead over Dunn heading into the final day, which would prove unassailable. “It has been fun and exciting and I’ve met a lot of great people,” Manning said. “The visitors are just lovely people and the locals have been one happy family, I suppose you could call it, especially on that bus we go around on. “It’s been a highlight all week and it’s sad that it’s finished but I think I’m required back at home so I better head home and do some work.” HRV General Manager – Operations Vaughn Lynch said the series had been a terrific showcase of outstanding drivers from local and abroad and of the state’s country clubs. “We’ve seen a treat of racing,” Lynch said. “I’d like to thank everyone who took part, and their lovely partners, and commend them on what a fantastic week it has been.” Manning said the series could not have been such an amazing journey without the support of many. “I’d like to thank all the trainers who put horses in for us to drive and all the tracks that hosted,” she said. “They put on a great show for us every day we travelled around and they made it most enjoyable.” International All Star Series day seven leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 165.5, Dexter Dunn 158, Brett Miller 152.5, Greg Sugars 150, Chris Alford 145.5, Yannick Gingras 143.5, Jason Lee 140.5, Anthony Butt 130.5, Corey Callahan 127.5, Gavin Lang 117.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 719, The World 712. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

The 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters continued in Melbourne with the running of the Great Southern Star, a true harness racing test for all involved with the heat/final concept staged on the same night. And star New Zealand trotter Speeding Spur underlined his class with an emphatic victory in tonight’s (Saturday) Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Prepared by father/son combination of John and Josh Dickie, Speeding Spur ($5.40) produced a stunning sprint over the concluding stages to defeat a game Glenferrie Typhoon ($10.20) and Quite A Moment ($26.90) in a time of 1:55.5 for the 1720m event. The star four-year-old started from the inside of the second-line and raced three back on the marker line behind Maori Time and Quite A Moment while race favourite Keystone Del ($1.60) was left without cover. The first half was covered in sectionals of 29.4 and 31.2 seconds. Visiting North American based driver Yannick Gingras continued to control the speed with Maori Time while Keystone Del raced on her outside, as the field headed down the back straight for the final time, Glenferrie Typhoon loomed three-wide and forced the action. Heading by the 400m marker, Maori Time led narrowly from Keystone Del who was put to immediate pressure while Glenferrie Typhoon still loomed deeper off the track. The third quarter was covered in 28 seconds. In the straight, Glenferrie Typhoon raced to a slender lead while Maori Time tried to rally on the inside but Speeding Spur was being angled to the outside and unleashed his finishing burst wider on the track. At the line, Speeding Spur quickly raced clear to score 3.3 metres from Glenferrie Typhoon with a further half neck away to Quite A Moment who came through via the passing lane late. The final quarter clocking was 27.7 seconds. Keystone Del finished fifth. “He raced so well tonight, heat and final and I’m just so proud with the way he’s handled everything this campaign. We’ve got a lot of faith in him and he didn’t disappoint us, he’s such a great horse.” Winning driver Josh Dickie said. The Pegasus Spur – Della’s Speed entire will now return to his Auckland base in readiness for the remaining legs of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, the $80,000 ANZAC Cup on April 22 followed by the $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup the following week, both events will be staged at Alexandra Park. Speeding Spur Heat 1; The first $50,000 qualifying heat was dominated from classy Australian trotter Glenferrie Typhoon ($1.60 Fav) who sprintlaned to defeat Maori Time ($13.40) and Sun Of Anarchy ($68.90) in a time of 1:55.7. Big striding mare Maori Time was able to lead comfortably despite her wide draw while Glenferrie Typhoon sat comfortably in the trail throughout. Sectionals were covered in 29.4, 30.1 28.5 and 28.6 seconds. Prepared by Andy and Kate Gath, Glenferrie Typhoon sprinted stylishly over the concluding stages to score by 1.8 metres. Also qualifying for the final from this heat was Claudys Princess, Quite A Moment and Super Zeck. Heat 2; In the second $50,000 qualifying heat, star trotter Keystone Del proved why he was the series favourite with his sensational front-running victory in track record time. Keystone Del ($1.30 Fav) led from his inside draw and proved too strong for Kiwi raider Speeding Spur ($4.10) who sat without cover throughout while Kyvalley Blur ($20.70) filled third place after sitting in the trail. Prepared by Brent Lilley and handled by Anthony Butt, Keystone Del recorded sectionals of 29.3, 29.2, 27.6 and 27.8 seconds. The mile rate was a staggering 1:53.7 – shaving almost a full second off his previous track record at 1:54.5. Also advancing to the final from this heat was former European trotter Daryl Boko. by Chris Barsby

A second successive winning double has harness racing driver Kerryn Manning perched atop the International All Star Series leaderboard, with only Dexter Dunn and Brett Miller a mathematical chance to unseat her. Manning has amassed 161.5 points to lead Dunn by 10.5, with Miller third on 150.5. To claim the crown Dunn or Miller would have to win, claiming the 14 points, and have Manning finish ninth (two points) or 10th (one). Manning has been drawn to drive Majestic Grace from barrier three in tomorrow's 22nd and final race of the series, which will take place at Tabcorp Park Melton at 8.32pm. Miller will start outside Manning in barrier four with Rostevarren and Dunn has Matt Craven's Star Gun from barrier seven. Good Form analyst Jason Bonnington said it was a "difficult race with several winning hopes", but he placed Cyclone Lucky Seven (Greg Sugars) on top from Uncas (Chris Alford), Heza Boy Star (Gavin Lang) and Manning's Majestic Grace. Manning led Dunn by a point going into the final day and her stranglehold on the competition was born from winning the 19th race with Animated and the 21st race with Peking Duck. There's no stopping Kerryn Manning "It's just fun to be involved, it's an honour to be chosen and it's great to be in front." Animated was a $1.90 favourite and the Ross Graham-trained four-year-old was driven accordingly by Manning, who took the gelding to the front and then held her ground on the straight to win by 3.9m from Keayang Ebonyrose (Brett Miller) and Sluggem (Greg Sugars). Kerryn back on top Race 21 was even more conclusive for Manning and Peking Duck, who shot to the front from barrier one and raced keenly throughout, drawing clear down the straight to salute by almost 12m. Birthyday boy Anthony Butt finished second with Arrokeefe and Gavin Lang was third with Mister Hairy Maclary. Earlier, in race 17, Brett Miller began day five of the series in the same fashion as he'd finished day four, with a win, this time with My Sophisticated Lady. Trainer Jarrod Pace's three-year-old filly broke its maiden status in Miller's hands, with the $3.50 favourite saluting from Rockabella Starz (Dexter Dunn) and Albietta (Yannick Gingras). The race was a dominant result for the World team, which filled the top five placings to leave the Vics languishing and surrendering their series lead. Miller makes it two on the trot But that domination by the world was fleeting, with Victorian drivers winning all other races. Race 18 was claimed by Terang's Jason Lee, who was three back the pegs but when Chris Alford drew Boundary Row out to challenge leader and favourite Yannick Gingras on Endsino the sprint lane opened for Lee and he shot Uwouldntbelieveit into contention. Michelle Wight's four-year-old gelding pinched it on the line when it had appeared in Endsino's keeping, with Rumbaron finishing strongly for Corey Callahan to take third ahead of Alford. Lee sprints to a well timed win Like Lee, Greg Sugars hadn't tasted success since night one despite consistently being around the mark and, like Lee, that all changed tonight. Sugars drove with aggression and confidence on Repeat After Me, going three wide early down the backstretch to circle those in front and then gradually drew away from leader, Jason Lee with Machli, to win by 5.3m. The Candyman can Earlier in the day The next and final stop is Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. International All Star Series day six leaderboard:  Kerryn Manning 161.5, Dexter Dunn 151, Brett Miller 150.5, Chris Alford 140.5, Yannick Gingras 138, Greg Sugars 136, Jason Lee 131.5, Corey Callahan 121.5, Anthony Butt 119.5, Gavin Lang 114.5. Overall leaderboard: Victoria 684, The World 680.5. Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 March 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 March 2016

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