Search Results
1 to 16 of 1053
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Connections of the exceptionally-bred harness racing performer Vanderley are confident he is ready make up for lost time. Successful at two of his first five starts, Vanderley was sidelined in May 2013 before returning at Tabcorp Park Melton last night for leading horsewoman Emma Stewart. Registering a strong victory with Gavin Lang in the cart, the five-year-old is capable of completing a smooth transition through the grades according to Stewart. Vanderley is owned by Stewart's partner, Clayton Tonkin. "He is a nice type, which can certainly win his share of races," Stewart said. "He has come back a maiden as his wins were as a two-year-old and three-year-old, which puts him on an easy mark. "Although his win tonight was only in a C0, he is capable of bigger things and shouldn't have much trouble getting through the classes." Eased into stride from the outside of the front row, Vanderley worked three-wide without cover from the bell before accounting for Stylishgate and Grininalltheway. Covering the last half in 56.7 seconds, the stallion rated a slick 1:56.6 for the 1720 metres. "Although he was first-up for a year-and-a-half we felt he would be too sharp for them," Stewart said. "His work at home has been impressive and he was ready to run a good race. "This run will do him the world of good and he will be better again next time out." By boom sire Art Major, Vanderley is from broodmare gem, Secret Life, which boasts five winners from six starters, including two Group One stars. Also members of Stewart's stable, Beauty Secret ($337,436) and Major Secret ($235,642) head the dam's progeny. In fact, Beauty Secret reminded her younger half-brother "who's boss" when she scored first-up later in the evening. With Lang holding the reins, the daughter of Armbro Operative was never fully extended in beating Shakti Bromac and Glencoe V C in 1:58.6 for the 2240 metres. "She has come back well," Stewart said. "We'll be looking at the main mares' races with her, with the Ladyship Mile the main aim further down the track." The clan also traces back to outstanding performers such as Safe And Sound, Gold Rock, Massarua and Doubter. by Paul Courts, for Harnesslink.com

Despite reports to the contrary, comeback hero Philadelphia Man was never going to compete in the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore on Sunday. A notable absentee from the fields, Philadelphia Man is being kept fresh ahead of the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton on November 7. Co-trainer Emma Stewart confirmed the rising star’s plans, stating the son of Art Major “was never heading towards Kilmore”. Philadelphia Man returned from a 27-month absence to register a scintillating victory at Melton last Friday night. “Kilmore was never part of our plans,” Stewart said. “He will be kept ticking along at home before the Smoken Up Sprint.” Should the six-year-old race as expected in the Group Two, Stewart will head to Menangle for the Coca-Cola Sprint a week later in a bid to earn a berth in the Miracle Mile. Australasia’s premier speed test, the Miracle Mile is scheduled to be held at Menangle on November 29. “At this stage he will be racing in the various sprints to try and get into the Miracle Mile,” Stewart said. “He has pulled up great from his first run back, so now we will work towards the Smoken Up Sprint. “Then we will see how he is after that run and go from there.” The Smoken Up Sprint has been run under several names throughout the years, with Harness Racing Victoria changing it again, this time to honour the recently retired champion. Originally named the Melbourne Mile and run on Melbourne Cup eve, the 1609-metre dash was then combined with the Pacing Australia Legends – run over 1940 metres - to become the Legends Mile, then The Legends before being altered in July. PAUL COURTS

Harness racing driver Chris Alford is confident in-form mare Tandias Bromac will have no trouble handling the step up on class at Melton tomorrow night. The Amanda Grieve-trained pacer has won three of her last four outings, including a last-start 1:58.5 win in an M2-M4 at the same venue. Despite competing against the likes of fellow rising stars Maximan and Bettor Rock On, the five-year-old is ready for the acid test according to the premier reinsman. “It’s a good test for her, but she’s racing very well,” Alford said. “She won’t disgrace herself.” Early race favourite Keayang Cullen was scratched this morning, leaving Maximan a short-priced elect, but Alford said he would have preferred the Marg Lee-trained getting remaining in the field. “Keayang Cullen would probably have kept them rolling up front,” Alford said. “Tandias Bromac can come out of the gate well, but against this kind of class, she’s better driven a bit quieter, so it didn’t help that he got scratched.” HRV Media

One of harness racing’s forgotten stars will make his highly-anticipated return at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Sidelined for more than two years with leg problems, Philadelphia Man will contest an M0 for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Pleased with the Group One winner’s progress, Stewart is confident the son of Art Major is ready to resurrect his once promising career. “He has come up really well and we couldn’t happier with him,” Stewart declared. “He’s had a couple of trials and done well in both. “More importantly, he has pulled up in great shape each time, with no signs of problems.” Much to connection’s dismay, Philadelphia Man’s comeback has been marred by an awkward second row draw. Successful at his last seven starts before injury struck, the stallion will begin from barrier nine, with the in-form Cool Machrista to come out of four. “The draw isn’t the best, but that’s racing,” Stewart said. “As long as he stays out of trouble and pulls up without any issues we will be pleased. “We’ve got bigger targets in mind beyond his first run back, so a win will just be the icing on the cake.” Handy pacer Jadahson will also return to the power couple, with the exceptionally-bred gelding to begin from gate nine as well. By Falcon Seelster from top producer and former star mare, Jadah Rose, Jadahson is first-up since May. The stallion will be joined in the 2240-metre contest by his well-bred stablemate, Born Again Sassy, which has fared better in barrier two. By Mach Three from Group One winning youngster Sassy Sarah, the mare is fresh from her first-up second at the same venue last week. “Jadahson has come up well, but again the draw isn’t the best,” Stewart said. “Whatever he does this week he will improve on as he gets race hard. “Born Again Sassy did well first-up and will go close again from the draw.” PAUL COURTS

Talented trotter Elegant Image will continue to be taken along slowly ahead of harness racing’s Trotting Masters. Successful at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, Elegant Image has been aimed at several majors by trainer Andy Gath, who is confident the son of S J’s Photo can make his presence felt at the highest level. With events such as the Bill Collins Mile and Dullard Cup on the agenda, Gath’s primary target is the Great Southern Star in March. “At this stage I will race him in the free-for-alls, which are on about every fortnight, as we prepare for the better races close to Christmas,” Gath explained. “Long term, I’m looking at the Great Southern Star.” With Gath’s wife, Kate, in the sulky, Elegant Image was driven with extreme confidence outside the leader, El Paco. Overpowering the front runner on the home turn, Elegant Image appeared to be set for an easy win before Cold Sister issued a late challenge, only to fall a half-head short. I See Icy Earl, which raced two-back in the running line, was 11 metres away third. “It’s never easy to win in the breeze in this company, especially at Melton, but he’s done well again,” Gath said. “It got close on the line, but he was holding off the other one. “I’m pretty happy with his run and he will continue to improve.” Covering the last half in 57.3 seconds, the squaregaiter rated 2:00 for the 2240 metres. “They don’t go much quicker for the distance and he’s done it in the breeze at only his second run back,” Gath said. “Like I said, I’m happy with where he is at.” PAUL COURTS  

Rising harness racing star Maximan maintained his unbeaten Australian record with a ‘Smoken Up style' victory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. First-up for seven weeks, Maximan registered his third win for trainer Andy Gath, who is thrilled with the gelding’s performance. Driven by Gath’s reinswoman-wife, Kate, Maximan began brilliantly to lead from barrier six but was given no peace in front as in-form gelding, Exciteusinthecity, applied pressure from the ‘death seat’. Fending off the initial challenge turning for home, the son of Armbro Operative was passed by Cut For An Ace along the sprint lane during the latter stages before fighting back to score by a head. “That was a super run,” Gath said. “He is first-up from a spell and is in need of the hit out. “To be headed like he was and fight back the way he did is pretty impressive. “It was a Smoken Up type performance and if he can be a quarter as good as Smoken Up I’ll be rapt.” Covering the last half in 57 seconds, Maximan rated a slick 1:55.5 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to 12 wins and 12 placings from 34 starts. Citing next month’s Kilmore Cup as the six-year-old’s first major target, Gath believes Maximan can make his way to some of the major races during summer. “I will aim him at the Kilmore Cup via the Nyah Cup,” Gath said. “I’m not sure if he will have a run before then. “I’ll just wait and see how he pulls up.” PAUL COURTS

Two of harness racing most promising pacers return to racing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Maximan will step up to open company in the Preux Chevalier Free-For-All, while Bettor Rock On will take his place in an M1-M2 Pace. Both are unbeaten since crossing the Tasman, with Maximan successful at his two outings for trainer Andy Gath. The son of Armbro Operative faces a tough first-up task after drawing awkwardly in barrier six over 2240 metres. Last season’s Bendigo Cup winner, Im Corzin Terror, will also make his return in the feature and will come out of gate give for trainer Amanda Grieve. Maximan and Im Corzin Terror’s assignment has been made all the more difficult thanks to the presence of in-form gelding Exciteusinthecity. A rampaging son of Metropolitan, the Darren Cole-trained Exciteusinthecity has won five of his eight starts while finishing second in the other three. A member of the Ross Sugars stable, Bettor Rock On has also received no favours from the ‘barrier Gods’ after drawing the outside of the front row. Going on his trial form at the same venue recently, Bettor Rock On should have no trouble overcoming the obstacle as he aims for his sixth consecutive victory. PAUL COURTS

Following a successful cameo appearance, promising harness racing youngster Spinners Boy is heading to the paddock. Brought back in work purely for the Empire Stallions Home Grown series, Spinners Boy accomplished his mission by capturing tonight’s Group Two Final at Tabcorp Park Melton at his second run from a spell. Spinners Boy was first-up in his heat when fourth behind Another Broadway before annexing the rich decider in impressive style. Pleased with the gelding’s performances, trainer Chris Alford will give Spinners Boy “four to six weeks off” before targeting features such as the Victoria Derby and Empire Vicbred Super Series. “He will go back to the paddock again now,” Alford said. “I’ll give him four to six weeks off, then bring him up slowly. “He’s only had three starts and has already shown he is above average. That said, I don’t want to push him. “If he is forward enough when the Derby comes around I will put him in a heat, otherwise we’ll just wait for the Sires’ a little further down the track. “We’ve taken our time with him so far, so no need to change that now.” With Alford in the sulky, Spinners Boy was lucky to avoid early trouble from his second row draw to settle towards the tail of the field as Abitgoingonhere led while being pressured by Shadow Of Fortune. Angled three-wide leaving the back straight, the son of American Ideal quickly sprinted to the lead before cruising to a soft eight-and-a-half metre win from Midnitedelite, with Upwardly a nose away third. “I thought he would go really well despite the draw,” Alford said. “Although well beaten in his heat he still went well considering he was first-up. “For a few days earlier in the week he was a bit flat, but he came good as the week progressed and was pretty sharp tonight.” Rating 1:56.6 for the 1720 metres, Spinners Boy covered the last half in 58.9 seconds to take his earnings to just over $35,000 for owners Katie and Sam – Alford’s kids! “I don’t think I’ve ever had better owners,” Alford said. “Win, lose or draw, the ‘sling’ is the same…a hug and kiss from both of them!” PAUL COURTS

Well-bred harness racing youngster Kira Jo picked a great time to break her maiden status. With just two thirds to her credit from her previous eight starts, Kira Jo captured the $50,000 Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Thrilled with the breakthrough victory, trainer Vivian Tomren “never doubted” the daughter of Art Major was capable of scoring in the Group Two. “She actually went along really well during the Breeders’ Crown series and her work since has been terrific,” Tomren declared. “This week is the best she has worked and I just felt with a bit of luck she could win. “The ability is there, it’s just a matter of her getting a few breaks go her way at the same time she puts it all together.” Driven a treat by talented reinsman Emmett Bronsan, Kira Jo was given time to settle into her stride from the second row as Lombo Medlyn Miss led from barrier four. Angled three-wide along the back straight, Kira Jo sustained a strong sprint to score by a half-head from Snip Of Grand, with Glory Daze four-and-a-half metres away third. “The second row was always going to be tricky, but she showed tonight she is good enough to overcome such obstacles,” Tomren said. “Emmett drove her perfectly. After letting her come out on her own, he took off at the right time and then got the best out of her up the straight.” Covering the last half in 60.1 seconds, the filly rated 1:57.4 for the 1720 metres. To be given a well-deserved spell, Kira Jo will be set for several local features throughout the season, with Tomren also eyeing off interstate riches. “She will have about six weeks off now,” Tomren said. “After she’s been out for four weeks though I will go and have a look at her as she can get pretty fat pretty quickly. “It will all come down to how she is travelling at the time, but I’ll be setting her for races such as the Oaks and Breeders’ Crown again. “I’m also willing to do a bit of travelling with her for some of the Oaks races as the travelling will be good for her. “She’s got her share of ability and I can’t see any reason why she won’t keep getting better as the season goes on and she gains more experience.” PAUL COURTS

Astute harness racing trainer Darren Cole is hoping the connection between his rising star Exciteusinthecity and former champion Gammalite can extend beyond their place of residence. One of the greatest pacers produced in the Southern Hemisphere, Gammalite thrilled onlookers with his brilliant mix of speed and seemingly endless supply of stamina during the 1980s. Gammalite raced 179 times in Australia and New Zealand for 94 wins, 33 seconds and 19 thirds, picking up a record $1,386,480 in stakes. The stallion’s biggest victories include two Inter Dominions, fourth South Australia Cups, the Queensland Pacing Championship and the A G Hunter, Western Australia and Fremantle Cups. A son of Thor Hanover, Gammalite was prepared throughout his career by the late Leo O’Connor at his Terang stable, which is where the connection to Exciteusinthecity begins. Following O’Connor’s passing, Cole purchased the horseman’s property, with Exciteusinthecity domiciled in Gammalite’s former box and yard. As such, Cole entered Exciteusinthecity in tomorrow night’s The Gammalite at Tabcorp Park Melton for sentimental reasons. “I became close friends with Leo’s wife, Maureen before her passing after moving up here and The Gammalite just seemed like the right race to try and win,” Cole declared. “He isn’t flash from the stand, but I’d like to win it given he know lives and relaxes exactly where Gammalite did during his wonderful career and retirement." The feature will mark Exciteusinthecity’s second attempt from the tapes, however, Cole isn’t concerned about the gelding’s lack of experience. The son of Metropolitan’s previous standing start was in last season’s Stawell Cup when he began roughly before finishing eighth behind Arber. “We’ve been working on his standing start manners to prepare for this and I’m sure he will go away safe enough,” Cole said. “As long as he can go away safely and be in touch with the field early, I think he will be a real winning chance.” Following his 2760-metre appearance – during which he will begin from a 10-metre handicap – Exciteusinthecity will be given a brief freshen up as Cole selects suitable targets. “At this stage he will have a few light weeks to brighten him up,” Cole revealed. “He has been up for a while and a break will do him good. “I haven’t really got any plans picked out for him as I just like to take it one step at a time. “If he can keep racing like this and be competitive against the better ones, then I guess we will have to look at some of the main races down the track.” PAUL COURTS

Astute harness racing trainer Ross Sugars is expecting big things from boom pacer Bettor Rock On this campaign. Unbeaten from five starts since crossing the Tasman, Bettor Rock On is close to a return having been freshened following his victory at Tabcorp Park Melton last July. The son of Bettors Delight won a trial at Victoria’s racing headquarters on Tuesday night, with Sugars pleased with Bettor Rock On’s performance for two reasons. Firstly, the gelding gave every indication he has improved this time in, and secondly, he handled his first standing start test like a seasoned trouper. Those positives combined have Sugars citing several features, including the Melton Plate and some of the more prominent country cups, as targets for the five-year-old. Bettor Rock On will return at Melton next week as a lead-in to the Plate a fortnight later. “He showed last time in he has the makings of a nice horse,” Sugars said. “He did everything we asked of him and more. “After a nice little break he has come back better again and we expect him to be a contender in some of the better races. “I put him in that trial to test his standing start manners and he stood up well, which also gives us the option of chasing some of the country cups. “He’ll go around at Melton on the 19th, then have a crack at the Melton Plate a couple of weeks later. “We will see how he measures up in that, then we’ll make plans as we go along. At this stage it will just be baby steps with him as he has raced through the grades pretty quickly. “To go from restricted country front to open metro is a quantum leap and so far he is taking that leap in his stride.” PAUL COURTS

In any other harness racing year, Lombo Mandingo would have been a standout. Unfortunately for the son of Million To One he wasn’t born in ‘any other year’, he was part of the crop that produced arguably the greatest juvenile Australia has seen – Lombo Pocket Watch. As such Lombo Mandigo was relegated to ‘bridesmaid’ in features such as the Bathurst Gold Crown, Vicbred Super Series Final and Linden Huntley Little Memorial as Lombo Pocket Watch grabbed the glory. Lombo Mandigo also finished third in the Australian Pacing Gold, Breeders’ Crown and Victoria Derby and fourth in the Kevin Seymour Nursery – all won by Lombo Pocket Watch! Retired as the result of injury as a late three-year-old, Lombo Maningo was sent to stud with an impressive record of 14 wins and eight placings from 29 starts for earnings of $216,675. Now the handsome black stallion has the opportunity to grab a belated Group victory via his daughter, Lombo Medlyn Miss. A member of the all-conquering David Aiken stable, Lombo Medlyn Miss is engaged in an Empire Stallions Home Grown Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Successful in her heat Kilmore last week, Lombo Medlyn Miss has drawn to repeat the dose in the $50,000 decider. Receiving barrier four, the three-year-old slots into three with the removal of the emergency, which should see the filly lead throughout the 1720-metre trip. “She has ample speed from the gate and from there you’d have to go forward to settle in, or as close to, the lead as possible,” Aiken said. “She led and won from three in her heat, so with a bit of luck she can do it again in the Final. “She’s coming along really well and her last start was her best, so I can’t see any reason why she won’t be better again. “There are a couple of nice fillies in the race such as Chilled Desire and Three Dee Delight, but luckily for us, they have to come off the back row.” Aiken will also be represented by Glory Daze, which captured her heat by leading throughout in stylish fashion. A daughter of Bettors Delight, Glory Daze faces a tougher task from barrier six. “The draw makes it a little awkward for her, but she’s capable of overcoming it,” Aiken said. “From there she is going to need a bit of luck.” The ‘boys’ will also do battle in their division of the series, with Rule Of Thumb the leading prospect from barrier two. Winner of his last two starts – including his qualifier – the son of Dawn Ofa New Day is also expected to lead throughout for trainer Tim Bolitho. PAUL COURTS

Veteran harness racing mare Broadways Best is not finished yet. That’s the call from trainer Shannon McLean, who stated the multiple Group One winner will continue to compete throughout the season as long as her form warrants a career extension. Racing in a consistent manner this campaign, Broadways Best’s last five starts have netted a win, two placings and two fourths. “She is happy racing and is holding her form well,” McLean said. “As long as she keeps doing that she will keep racing. “I’ve said all along, the moment she starts giving me signs she’s had enough, she will be retired. “As it stands, she is happy in what she is doing and still enjoys the competition of racing.” Successful at 29 of her 91 starts, with 28 placings and a bankroll of $637,439 also to her credit, Broadways Best is engaged in tomorrow night’s Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. The feature also doubles as champion pacer Smoken Up’s farewell appearance, with McLean “thrilled to be part of the moment.” “It’s going to be a race to remember with Smoken Up having his last start and I’m just thrilled to be part of the moment,” McLean said. “Everyone would like to see Smoken Up retire with a win, but that said, we will still be doing our best to come home with the win as well.” Blessed with her share of gate speed, Broadways Best has drawn to settle in a forward position from barrier two, with Smoken Up to follow the daughter of Village Jasper through from the second row. Follow this weekend’s appearance, the nine-year-old will be given a brief freshen up before being aimed at several country cups and features. “I may give her a week off after this and then sit down and see what’s around,” McLean said. “A few of the country cups and features such as the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore will be on her radar during the next few months.” PAUL COURTS

While the focus will be firmly on Smoken Up on Saturday night, it seems appropriate that another of harness racing’s superstars will also be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton. One of the great pacers of the modern era, Smoken Up is having his 143rd and last start for trainer Lance Justice in what is the end of a sensational career for the evergreen 12-year-old. Successful at 15 tracks across Australasia – collecting 13 Group Ones along the way – Smoken Up is aiming for a fairytale ending to his career as he chases his 34th win in town. The gelding’s 33 triumphs break down to 12 at Moonee Valley and 21 at Melton, making the son of Tinted Cloud Victoria’s most successful metropolitan pacer. Victory this weekend will see Smoken Up fall one short of True Roman’s ‘all-comers’ record in town. Among the best trotters produced in the Southern Hemisphere, True Roman won an amazing 35 races at the Valley. True Roman’s tally consists of an incredible 34 metro and one country success. Better yet, his country win was in a pacers’ event! The squaregaiter’s crowning moment came in the 1988 Trotters’ Inter Dominion, which has led to this weekend’s True Roman Free-For-All as part of the Melbourne-based/Victorian-trained Inter Dominion winners’ features. A pacing-bred son of True Duane and Romanda, True Roman was trained by astute horseman Graeme Johannesen after being purchased by Johannesen and close friend, Roger Dalton, from Ron Pocock, who originally bought the youngster at a Sydney yearling sale in 1981. Sixth upon debut at a Wedderburn non-TAB meeting, True Roman broke his maiden status at his fourth outing when driven by master reinsman Gavin Lang. That was the beginning of a formidable partnership, with Lang partnering True Roman to top shelf triumphs such as the Australasian Trotters’ Championship, two V L Dullard Cups, two South Australia Trotters’ Cups, four Cochran Cups, three Freestone Cups, three Chris Howe Cups and two Grand Slam Finals during the next nine seasons. Lang was also in the cart when True Roman accounted for Fair Tally and Simon Katz in the Moonee Valley Inter Dominion Final to complete a clean sweep of the time-honoured Championship. Like Smoken Up, True Roman was still performing solidly as a ‘greybeard’ before being retired as an 11-year-old with record earnings of $530,732 thanks to his 73 wins and 36 placings from 137 starts. As for this weekend’s event in True Roman’s honour, top trotter My High Expectations is the one to beat for trainer David Aiken despite drawing wide in barrier six. The American-bred son of Ken Warkentin has been kept fresh since his second in town on August 15, which followed a pair of impressive wins. - PAUL COURTS

SUPERSTAR Azumah Nelson will be harness racing’s special guest at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. In Australia to promote his biography and raise awareness of his home country’s fight against poverty, the champion boxer and humanitarian has been lured into harness racing via his close friendship with Tony Peacock. Accepting an invitation to be a guest of Harness Racing Victoria, Nelson, who is affectionately-known as The Professor, stated he is ‘excited’ to return the world class venue. The Ghanaian-born triple world champion admitted he caught the ‘harness bug’ while visiting Peacock’s Kilmore property and Tabcorp Park in 2010. With poverty the standard, not the exception in Ghana, Nelson is doing his best to eradicate the problem while also overseeing the Azumah Nelson Foundation. The Academy’s objective is to provide facilities and opportunities for handicapped and disadvantaged youth to reach their full potential. On offer are a range of educational and sporting ventures, including Australian Rules Football, which Nelson took a liking to during his previous visit. Along with their interest in standardbreds, Peacock and Nelson also share a love for pugilism, with the latter’s achievements well-known. The world’s best pound-for-pound boxer during the early 1990s, Nelson won three world titles as a featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight as well as the Ghanaian, Commonwealth and African crowns. Nelson’s new book – The Professor, Life story of Azumah Nelson – is a must read for all boxing, and general sports, fans. In a bid to meet and greet harness racing participants during his visit, Nelson will present each winning trainer with a signed copy of his book throughout the program. Nelson’s visit may also double as an omen for local trainer Lance Justice, who is hoping his retiring champion Smoken Up can end his career on a winning note. The last time Nelson enjoyed the racing at Melton Justice scored a double, including the night’s free-for-all! For more information on Nelson’s biography visit: www.azumahnelsonbiography.com PAUL COURTS

Harness racing superstar Smoken Up faces a tough challenge in his bid for a farewell victory at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Due to be retired after his appearance in the Casey Classic, Smoken Up has drawn awkwardly in gate nine for trainer Lance Justice. Admitting the barrier has hampered the prospects of a final win, Justice stated the outing is “more about enjoying the moment” with the sprightly 12-year-old. “If he wins, he wins and if he doesn’t it’s not the end of the world,” Justice declared. “Saturday is more about enjoying the moment as he says good bye to racing. “We’ve been fortunate to have won 72 races with him, so one more will only be some sweet, sweet icing on the cake. “Naturally, I would love to see him go out on a high, but from the draw it may not be possible. “Don’t get me wrong, I still think he can win, and no matter what happens, I know he will do his best as always. “Overall, it is going to be very emotion as it’s the end of an era.” Justice was fortunate to enjoy a perfect end to former stable star Sokyola’s career at Moonee Valley on June 22, 2007 when the son of Soky’s Atom accounted for The Warp Drive and The Phantoms Guest. “We were lucking enough to have a happy ending with Sokyola and with a bit of luck we can enjoy the same with Smoken Up,” Justice said. “A win would also bookend his career with me as he won on debut at Yarra Valley in March 2007. To begin and end with a win would be a fairytale.” Smoken Up has registered 72 victories and 48 placings from 141 starts with Justice for earnings of $3,588,949 to be Australasia's third richest pacer behind Blacks A Fake ($4,575,438) and Im Themightyquinn ($4,567,456). His wins include two Miracle Miles, four South Australia Cups, four Len Smith Miles and the Victoria Cup, with his best time of 1:48.5 coming at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 30, 2011. The son of Tinted Cloud has claimed 13 Group Ones across the Southern Hemisphere, won at 15 tracks and set numerous records, including becoming the first standardbred on this side of the equator to better 1:50. While his favourite track is Menangle due its spacious 1400-metre circuit, Smoken Up has registered the majority of his wins at Melbourne’s two metropolitan tracks. In fact, the gelding boasts the record for the most wins at headquarters, with his 33 triumphs breaking down to 12 at Moonee Valley and 21 at Melton. That total also equates to 32 metropolitan wins and one country front. Former top mare Make Mine Cullen held the previous record thanks to her 30 wins between the two tracks. The daughter of Christian Cullen won 29 at Melton and one at Moonee Valley for Glenn Douglas. Her tally breaks down to 25 city and five country wins, with one of her provincial fronts coming at the Valley. Sokyola was credited as Moonee Valley’s leading performer with his 29 wins, which splits to 26 metro and three country. Former outstanding pacer Dusty Miller is believed to have won 27 races at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds, however, there are no in depth records to verify his stats. To put things into another perspective, the immortal Popular Alm notched 21 wins at the Valley, while his arch-rival, Gammalite, had 24! A farewell victory will also see Smoken Up fall a win short of True Roman’s ‘all-comers’ record in town. Among the best trotters produced in the Southern Hemisphere, True Roman won an amazing 35 races at the Valley. True Roman’s tally breaks down to an incredible 34 metro and one country success. “To have Sokyola as the most successful metro horse in numbers and now Smoken Up is amazing,” Justice said. “Now with a bit of luck Trigger can match old Soky by bowing out with a win. “Like I said, it’s going to be an emotional night and we will both be out there doing our best.” - PAUL COURTS

1 to 16 of 1053
1 2 3 4 5 Next »