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From disaster came great harness racing success in 2015-16 for Victorian Breeder of the Year, Bruce Edward of Durham Park. Bruce and wife Vicki’s breeding property was razed shortly before Christmas last year but stayed positive throughout and committed to rebuilding his establishment; his stock certainly gave him good reason to remain positive as the year rolled on with horses like Petacular and Ideal For Real cleaning up on the track. Edward was presented with the Woodlands Park Victorian Breeder of the Year award at the IRT Harness Breeders Victoria awards night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, one of several premier awards to recognise achievements in the breeding industry across the season. Long-time stalwarts of the Victorian industry, Dr Martin & Kaye Hartnett, were recognised with the Metro Ian Daff Memorial for tenured service to the industry. The Benstud Pacing Broodmare of the Year was awarded to the Gleeson-Cameron managed mare, Celebrity Ball, dam of Celebrity Guest and Starburst Girl; while the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Broodmare of the Year went to Fred Crews’ mare, Sundonna, dam of the impressive Maori Law and Maori Time. Three sires were recognised for their impressive strike rate of starters to winners – the A Rocknroll Dance @ Alabar Juvenile Sire of the Year was awarded to Alabar’s own Courage Under Fire (51.5%); the Niota Bloodstock Trotting Sire of the Year was presented to Rosehill Farm’s Armbro Variable (74%); while the Victorian Pacing Sire of the Year went to Royal Mattjesty, formerly of the Stallion Station (72.5%). Championship trophies were awarded to 2YO fillies Petacular (Bruce Edward) and Kyvalley Kyrie (Aldebaran Park); 2YO colts & geldings The Storm Inside (Helen Head) which tied with Our Little General (Lauriston Bloodstock), and Illawong Byron (Dr & Mrs Hartnett); 3YO fillies Rocknroll Magic (Peter Gleeson, Bruce & Craig Cameron) and Aldebaran Eve (Aldebaran Park); 3YO colts & geldings, Our Waikiki Beach (The Fusinato family) and Cruisin Around (Pauleen Thomson); and aged horses Frith (Dianne Kelly), Maori Time (Fred Crews), Super Zeck (Shane Murphy) and Lennytheshark (Kevin Newbound Family, represented by Dion Gleeson). Breeders were again recognised for excellence in breeding salable stock, with Greg, John & Kath Fusinato being awarded the APG Yearling Sales High Earner trophy for their $150,000 Somebeachsomewhere colt, and the Terry Forster & Heather Lyttleton combination for their $47,000 Majestic Son colt at the Australasian Premier Trotting Sales. Excellence in recorded mile rates were presented to over 100 horses who achieved an exceptional time across the season. Breeders of Group 1 race winners across the country were also presented with plaques for their efforts in 2015-16.   Available for comment: HBV President,  Mr Shannon Nixon, 0487 764 966 Photos will be available on HBV’s social media streams across the night, and further images will be uploaded in the following week. Information about the awards criteria and selection process, and full results from the night, can be found on the HBV website under ‘Made in Victoria’.

With respect to the actions taken by Victoria Police at the Melton harness racing meeting on 28 August 2016 involving four harness racing participants, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) provides the following update: On 9 September, 2016 HRV Stewards suspended the licences (for no longer than 3 months) of the four participants in accordance with the provisions of Rule 183 of the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) whilst the police investigations continue.  The HRV Stewards also excluded the participants from attending harness racing tracks in accordance with the provisions of AHRR 15 (d). The HRV RAD Board today heard the appeals of all four licensed persons and ordered that the restrictions be lifted, enabling the participants to conduct licensed activities and attend race meetings.  In making this decision, the HRV RAD Board Chairman noted the obligations of the Stewards to consider the integrity of the industry and made no criticism of the decision which had been taken to impose the restrictions in the circumstances, indicating he would have been surprised had such not occurred.  However, the RAD Board Chairman noted the RAD Board's obligation with respect to the presumption of innocence of the parties and determined on the current information before the RAD Board, there was insufficient material to support the continuation of the suspensions and exclusions HRV Stewards will monitor the ongoing Victoria Police investigation and if any circumstances change in the future, HRV Stewards will reconsider whether any necessary protective measures need to be taken. With respect to the further investigation by Victoria Police, HRV is unable to make any further comment at this time.   CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS/MEDIA MANAGER  

Lenny or Hector?  Or both? David Aiken certainly is the latter. But the intra-stable battle between Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay should add stacks of spice to the 2016-17 Summer of Glory carnival and Perth Inter Dominion. And harness racing fans will take sides. Both Aiken-trained stars will be headline acts all season long. While reigning Inter Dom champ Lennytheshark deserves top billing for now, Hector fans are undoubtedly growing in bullishness. When Hectorjayjay scorched past Lennytheshark in the Len Smith Mile (1:50.5) during June a rivalry was born. Tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton Hectorjayjay (Dream Away-Sheer Finesse) added the City of Melton Plate to his owners’ trophy cabinet. And he did it with plenty of panache. Reinsman Gavin Lang hit the go button off the arm at the 1720-metre start and Hectorjayjay ripped across the face of the field to find the pegs first. Unlike last start when Hectorjayjay had to arc the field before getting upstaged by an unlikely vanquisher in All Eyes On Us, Lang and Hectorjayjay put the issue beyond doubt early tonight. With Maximan sitting outside him and Five Star Anvil in the trail, Hectorjayjay posted a 6.7secs lead time followed by first and second quarters of 29 and 29.9.  His third quarter was 27.2 and his fourth 26.6 – the 53.8secs final looked half a powerful statement. His 1:51.7 mile rate exquisite. In 2015-16 Hectorjayjay won eight races from 17 starts for $279k. He’s launched 16-17 on the right hoof. Five Star Anvil and Stunning Grin filled the Plate minor placings. Chris Alford took driving honours tonight with three winners, while Gavin Lang picked up a winning double in the gig and Aiken won two races as trainer. Kyvalley Blur (Chocolatier-Duo Val Car) notched a strong win in the City of Melton Scotch Notch Memorial for Brent Lilley and Nathan Jack, scoring by 2.1m over The Boss Man (Ellen Tormey), who looks to have taken the next step, and Maori Time in third for Anthony Butt. In the Battle of the Claimers heats trainers Marnie Bibby, Cheyenne King-Davies and Luke Bryant all tasted success with Ubringthedrinks (Panorama-Sorrento Star) (David Moran), Four Needed (Real Desire-For The Don) (Alex Ashwood) and Kenny Trickem (Stonebridge Regal-Alexina) respectively. Larry Eastman had five-year-old Morton Plains (Bettors Delight-Dont Answer That) back to her best with a 1:56 run in the DNR Logistics Pace to beat Michael Stanley-trained pair Soho Tokyo and Soho Berlin, while Lightning Calder (Ganymede-Miss Calder) prevailed for trainer/driver Craig Demmler in the Aldebaran Park Trot, Upanatom (Christian Cullen-Atom Queen) went 1:53.2 to win the Middy’s Industrial Laverton Pace, and talented five-year-old Mister Wickham (Julius Caesar-Bronte Jones) overcame barrier 11 to win the TAB.com.au Pace for trainer Lee Evison. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Two of Australia’s most talented Perth-bound harness racing pacers will chase the City of Melton Plate tomorrow night at Tabcorp Park Melton, but they should expect no white flag from the competing class. Vince Vallelonga, trainer of well-travelled Major Crocker, is looking forward to the chance to again test his talented six-year-old against short-priced favourite Hectorjayjay and his recent conqueror Ohoka Punter. Andy Gath’s Maximan, Brent Lilley’s Lets Elope and Geoff Webster’s returning dual Inter Dominion placegetter Flaming Flutter are among the challenges competing to add their names to the time-honoured plate, which bares the likes of Tailamade Lombo, Shakamaker and Sokyola. “He’s been a revelation really,” Vallelonga said of Major Crocker. “He’s been a good horse all along.” The six-year-old ran fourth behind Ohoka Punter and Hectorjayjay in July’s Group 1 Ubet Blacks A Fake, with his Melbourne return producing a Blacks A Fake Free For All win before a brief freshen up. “He was due to race two weeks prior to his last start but he had a little bit of a bruised heel and we sort of backed off on him then, treated him and got it right, fronted him up last week,” Vallelonga told RSN’s Inside Word. On return Major Crocker ran sixth. “He had a pretty tough run last week, but he has done good from it and I think will back up from it OK.” He steps out tomorrow night from barrier eight, where he is drawn behind Flaming Flutter. “It’s a bit tricky, we would have liked to have drawn the front row,” Vallelonga said. “If he’s taken no harm from his run last week, which I think he hasn’t, I think he will be really competitive, it just depends on his luck in running.” Also needing luck will be stablemate Stunning Grin, a winner of two of his last four starts. “(Stunning Grin) is one of those horses who always seems to be a step behind those top ones, but he can be like a sniper,” Vallelonga said. “He can be sitting there doing nothing and can be right in amongst the action. He’s just that sort of horse who has improved as he has gone along in better races and he hasn’t let us down either.” It’s a similar story for Brent Lilley’s hope Lets Elope, who’s generally been found out of his depth against the top shelf but can also sniff out a chance. “He’s an opportunist, he will tuck in and hopefully get past a few. There are three or four that are probably going to beat him home.” Lilley’s stable is likely to be more present in tomorrow night’s Group 3 for trotters, the City of Melton Scotch Notch Memorial, with Maori Time and Kyvalley Blur both among the leading chances. They will likely take vastly different runs at the $20,000 prize. “They have both been racing really well,” Lilley said. “Couldn’t be happier with both of them, looking forward to tomorrow night. “(Maori Time) is back on the front row, (driver) Anthony (Butt) will probably put the handlebars down and look to go for an all-the-way win. “Kyvalley Blur’s best races have been when he’s been tucked away and has one run at them, so I imagine that’s how he will be driven. I think he’s going as well as I’ve ever had him going. Sure, he’s going to need a cart up, but if he is handy to them heading around the corner he’ll be finishing better than most I imagine.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 September 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 September 2016

The race to secure the harness racing trophies on offer at the IRT Victorian Breeders Awards Night is tight, with several close contenders for the top awards, including the Victorian Pacing Broodmare of the Year and Woodlands Stud Victorian Breeder of the Year.   To be held on Saturday 24th September Tabcorp Park Melton, the annual awards hosted by Harness Breeders Victoria see the best of the state’s breeding industry celebrated – and a lot of fun had along the way.   The Benstud Pacing Broodmare and Niota Bloodstock Trotting Broodmare of the Year top the card of over 20 categories of awards, including the APG & APTS Yearling Sales High Earner trophies.   In a recognition of the strength of trotting bloodstock in Victoria, the Niota Trotting Sire of the Year which was added in 2015 will continue.   For the second year running the Victorian Breeder of the Year will be awarded to the member whose had the most successful year, complementing the Metro Printing Ian Daff Memorial Award for long-term service to the industry.   The Pryde’s EasiFeeds Pacing Stallion of the Year and the A Rocknroll Dance @ Alabar Juvenile Sire of the Year round out the gold standard.   The Time Excellence Pins, Championship Trophies, Vicbred & Group 1 trophies will also be awarded on the night.   A hit in 2014, the breeding quiz will be back, pitting table against table to raise funds for life after racing programs.   Guests are treated to a welcome drink, finger food and a delicious two-course meal and the opportunity to win extra prizes on the night, all for the ticket price of $69 (or $690 for a table of 10).   Bookings close September 19 and will sell out fast – enquiries to contact@vicharnessbreeders.org.au or download a booking form from the website or Facebook page.   Tabcorp Park are also offering guests a discount on accommodation bookings – contact them directly for details.    Harness Breeders Victoria Inc     

The finish line to the Race to Royalty has arrived. Eight Group 1 races are been contested today at Tabcorp Park Melton for the annual TAB Breeders Crown Finals Day with huge prizemoney on offer and a big harness racing crowd is in attendance. Race 1 - Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown 3YO Trotting Fillies Final By Cody Winnell WILMAS MATE (Pegasus Spur-Mybrotherwasastar) is the first Group 1 Breeders Crown champion of the day at Tabcorp Park Melton. Punters backed the Paul Nairn-trained three-year-old filly into $1.55 fixed with TAB.com.au and she didn’t disappoint, taking out the Haras Des Trotteurs sponsored three-year-old trotting fillies final in memorable fashion. Moving to the chair from back in the field in the running line when the bell chimed, reinsman David Butt aboard Wilmas Mate put the pressure to leader High Gait down the back with a 27.8secs third split the result. High Gait rallied fiercely with Chris Alford in the gig.  That filly initially worked to the lead after Aldebaran Ay M found the pegs early and handed up. High Gait posted a 45.5secs lead time and opening splits of 29.9 and 30.4. Down the back it became a race in two as the class fillies gapped their rivals. Shades of Bonecrusher/Our Waverley Star ensued. Or we could compare it to Terror To Love/Christen Me at Cranbourne. High Gait lifted and fought right to the wire but Wilmas Mate always just had her measure, scoring by 1m with a 29.6secs last quarter for a swift 1:57.3 mile rate for the 2240-metre journey. “She got a bit pully down the back, probably not wanting to go so quick but Chris was making a bit of noise wanting to go,” Butt said. “It’s great to win a race like this. She’s a great filly.” That’s 13 wins from 25 starts now for Wilmas Mate, whose earnings skyrocket to almost quarter of a million dollars on the back of today’s win. Sky Majesty (Jodi Quinlan) ran a super race for third. She's had a great season and her run today was full of merit, while Aldebaran Eve was fourth.  Courchevel and Princess Phoenix galloped early and left their chances at the gate. Video replay  Race 2 - Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting Fillies Final By Cody Winnell KYVALLEY Kyrie (Angus Hall-Aldebaran Maori) has upstaged her rivals in the Aldebaran Park two-year-old trotting fillies Breeders Crown Final at huge odds. Driven to the lead early by Anthony Butt from barrier six, Kyvalley Kyrie defied all comers at $41 at TAB.com.au to score by 3.2m in a mile rate of 2:01.7. “I’ve always had a lot of faith in this filly,” Butt said post race. “It was a great training performance by Brent (Lilley) as she performed pretty average last start. “If I handed up I was handing someone the race, so I was keen to hold the lead today.” Kyvalley Kyrie opened her final mile with a 31.2 quarter before middle splits of 29.7 and 29.8. She got up the straight in 31.1 and had 3.2m to spare over Our Regal Love (Chris Alford), who had her chance in second, with Iona Spider finishing with a venomous burst to be 3.8m off the winner in third after missing the start for Jodi Quinlan and Shane Hall. That was a huge run. Derrie Aire also produced a big effort for fourth for Amy Tubbs, while Sval Queen finished fifth. Nieta galloped, a horror start to the day for Anton Golino/Greg Sugars, with two favourites missing away to start the day. On to the third. Race 3 - Aldebaran Park 2YO Trotting Colts/Geldings Final By Cody Winnell CUSTODIAN (Muscle Mass-Maia) is Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon’s first Crown star of the day. The gelded son of Muscle Mass was backed off the map in markets across the country, into $1.9 on the tote and $2.1 fixed with TAB.com.au, displacing Illawong Byron as favourite. The winning move was made just prior the mile when Purdon took Custodian around the field and attacked early leader Illawong Byron, who started from pole. Illawong Byron, who has been an absolute model of consistency all season, made a rare mistake and jumped off stride, gifting Custodian the front. To Illawong Byron’s credit he got back down and trotting and by the end of the race had made up good ground to finish a creditable fifth. Eyrish Mist finished second beaten 3.6m for Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt, who are having a good day themselves, while Claudys Prince was gallant in third for Mick Blackmore and Gavin Lang, just holding off Kheiron, who also ran another bottler for Peter Lane and Chris Alford. “He trotted beautifully today,” Purdon said of Custodian, who rated 2:00.7 in winning. “He behaved himself really well. “Jodi’s unfortunately galloped and the race looked to be between the two horses on paper.” Results Video replay Race 4 - IRT Breeders Crown 3YO pacing Colts/Geldings final By Michael Howard THEY threw everything at him including Iceenothink but Mark Purdon’s super Somebeachsomewhere three-year-old, Our Waikiki Beach, held on to win the Group 1 and reaffirm his status. The track’s class record was smashed as they rattled from start to finish, with Our Waikiki Beach recording its 23rd win from 24 starts by claiming the IRT Breeders Crown final for three-year-old colts and geldings. “He’s a champion,” Purdon said. “He can’t do any more than he’s done, he just keep delivering.” It was anything but easy for the $1.04 favourite, who found the lead from the gates but a procession of challenges took the breeze, with fellow Kiwi Franco Cristiano pouring on the pressure with Dexter Dunn holding the reins. A blistering 27.9 first quarter followed a 45.1 lead time and Purdon was concerned.   “He had to burn hard early to hold the top. Even from a lap out they were really humming,” Purdon said. “With a lap to go, I’m not sure what speed we were going, but we were going better than 30 seconds for a quarter. I knew we were going real hard and we couldn’t maintain that for the whole lap.” A 28.8 second quarter was followed by a 28.9 third and come the final straight the early challenges had faded but Iceenothink burst wide, Match In Heaven poured down the sprint lane and Rock In America loomed. In a 28.0 final quarter Our Waikiki Beach held off all challenges for a 1m win, with Match In Heaven second for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick and driver Blake Fitzpatrick. The 1:54.0 mile rate was only 0.8 outside Keayang Cullen’s track record and 0.4 under the class record. “It wasn’t an easy race but full credit to the horse, he really dug deep,” Purdon said. Results Video replay Race 5 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO fillies By Michael Howard IT didn’t all go to script but Emma Stewart’s stable etched its name on a 2016 Breeders Crown trophy when Rocknroll Magic rattled home to win the three-year-old fillies final. The expected playbook – favourite Heavens Trend leads, stablemate Rocknroll Magic sits on her back and they work the rest out in the straight – was torn up when Mark Purdon’s My Mackenzie flew the gates. That placed Gavin Lang leader’s back on Heavens Trend and Chris Alford and Rocknroll Magic buried away three-back on the pegs, and a huge crowd held their breath awaiting the final straight. “Preferably we would have been behind the leader, but when My Mackenzie came out so quick Gavin wasn’t able to get off the fence and do a retake because it was just going a bit too hard,” Alford said. “I was sort of happy, because we were rolling along pretty strong.” After a 59.9 first half and a 28.4 third quarter, My Mackenzie still had plenty left in the tank, with Heavens Trend urging off his back before the sprint lane but unable to open up in the straight. That left the sprint lane for Rocknroll Magic, but still My Mackenzie pressed on and it was only in the dying moments that Chris Alford found the front and recorded a memorable victory. A 27.5 final quarter would see the Owners Enclosure erupte as Rocknroll Magic’s huge loyal following in raptures. “At the top of the straight she was sort of flat out, flat out. She is only little but she just keeps giving,” Alford said. “Fifty metres out she wasn’t going to get there and then she just stuck her head out and hit the line. “She went from fifth to first in about the space of that last 50m, she’s done a great job.” Rockstar Angel ran third for trainer David Aiken and driver Michael Bellman. The first two home are both by Rock N Roll Heaven. Results Video replay   Race 6 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 2YO colts and geldings final By Michael Howard A RAPT Chris Alford and the horse that typifies his determination, Our Little General, produced a brilliant Breeders Crown win. The Mach Three colt just kept on chugging while all the favourites battled around him, with Tingira Beach having a torrid time for Shane and Lauren Tritton’s and Mark Purdon’s Pacing Major looming but then fading. “He’s a great little horse,” Alford said. “He’s only small, but he is all heart. He drives like a little car: He goes forward and drops the bit, goes forward and drops the bit. He still had a great kick at the top of the straight and he well deserved that win.” Tritton was unable to hold the front with Tingira Beach on the polemarker and $1.60 favourite, with Big Gun Johnny sweeping to the front. This pricked Alford’s interest. “I thought Big Gun Johnny had crossed and I thought that’s a great opportunity for me to get the front again like last week,” Alford said. Tingira Beach then galloped twice in the running, falling back along the pegs and out of contention. “I’m not too sure what happened with Lauren, whether she was going where these was no room or Matty hadn’t quite crossed, we’ll just have to leave that up to the stewards,” Alford said. “Once she was out of the race it changed the complexion a bit and then I thought I would get the front, but Colin McDowell’s horse (Sunset Zeus) just took charge and I just had to sit their patiently and wait for his horse to slow down a little bit so we could make a move.” Alford took the front and was soon joined by Purdon’s well-backed Art Major colt, Pacing Major. “I was really worried when Pacing Major got outside him so early, I thought if he puts the gas on down the back I’d nearly have to let him go,” Alford said. “Little General, he just kept chugging away and Mark’s horse was sort of gone off the back, so I was pretty confident as we straightened and then when I let him go he really kicked.” Our Little General hit the line first, 4.9m clear of Astride who had a big run for the McCarthy camp after being unsettled by a galloping Tingira Beach, with Wrappers Delight third for trainer Geoff Webster and driver Gavin Lang. Results Video replay   Race 7 - Alabar Breeders Crown Series two-year-old fillies final By Michael Howard HE came, he saw and, despite one hell of a run from Petacular, he conquered. Mark Purdon’s stable claimed a third Breeders Crown for the day, winning the two-year-old fillies with his talented Bettor's Delight filly, Partyon, who retained her unbeaten record with a blistering Group 1 win. Partyon stopped the clock at 1:54.4, some 1.8 seconds quicker than the track’s previous distance record for this class, having survived a battle with Michael Stanley’s brave Burrumbeet filly Petacular. “She’s done a great job. She is a beautiful filly and you just can’t fault her record,” Purdon said. “She’s been great from the time she stepped out to cap it off today.” The Kiwi reinsman and trainer steered Partyon to the front from barrier seven. “(Partyon’s) got good gate speed, although in saying that we didn’t cross them by much and we were going early,” he said. Petacular joined her mid-race, with Gavin Lang tucking well-rated Miss Graceland on leader’s back. “I was a little bit worried, because (Partyon) was really getting plenty of pressure, and I was worried how Gavin was going on my back,” Purdon said. “She just stuck to her task all the way up the straight.” Petacular fought on superbly but, having sat in the breeze for much of the running, didn’t have the fuel tickets to win after a 27.5 third quarter, with Partyon winning by 3.1m from Petacular and My Casino Belle finishing off well to claim third. Results Video replay   Race 8 - Breckon Farms Breeders Crown four-year-old entires and geldings By Michael Howard Ideal For Real (American Ideal) reaffirmed his status as a racehorse to be reckoned with, dominating the four-year-old entires and geldings Group 2 final. Emma Stewart notched up her third win to match Mark Purdon’s mighty haul, claiming the Breckon Farms Breeders Crown Championship by 6m when Ideal For Real produced an all-the-way win. “It is a pretty serious little horse this one,” Lang said. Ideal For Real flew the gate from barrier five, with his main rival, Tee Cee Bee Macray, tucked away at the rear of the field from his wide second row draw. “He’s showed a little bit of gate speed today, which he hasn’t had to use much in the past,” Lang said. “He come off the arm pretty good and got a good position, eventually found the front and got it done pretty easy.” Ideal For Real separated from the pack before they reached the straight and the margin only swelled until a late surge when the win was well in hand. Greg Sugars warmed Tee Cee Bee Macray up at the turn and the star swooper stormed home down the straight, but Ideal For Real’s advantage was too great and he hung on to win by 6m, with $195-shot Egodan only a half-neck further back in third for Vince Vallelonga. Results Video replay   Race 9 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown for three-year-old colts and geldings By Michael Howard THEY did it on Vicbred night and served up another dose on Breeders Crown night – the Cranbourne crew’s Cruisin Around stood alone when the moment mattered most. The three-year-old Bacardi Lindy trotter stood up to test one, survive the onslaught out of the gate, and driver Greg Sugars kept enough petrol tickets in the bank to steer Michael Hughes’ gelding to a memorable 5.6m win. “There was a lot of pressure on me to get out of the gate and stay in one piece and thankfully he rose to the occasion for me,” Sugars said. Cruisin Around’s rival, Sundons Courage, was ever present for trainer Chris and owner Brad Angove, but despite Chris Alford’s best efforts in the breeze he couldn’t claw back the gap and Cruisin Around held on to win by 5.6m. Sugars gave much of the credit to trainer Michael Hughes. “I’ve driven a few horses for Mick (Hughes). He does do a very good job,” Sugars said. “An important way to measure a trainer’s ability, they might not always have the best horses going around, but if they can run consistently week-in week-out to their ability, that’s all you can ask for from a trainer. “That’s Michael Hughes to a T. Everytime you step out on one of his horses you know it’s going to run a good race.” Temporale ran third for trainer-driver Tony Herlihy, with Maori Law reaffirming his talent for trainer Bill Morgan, placing fourth.  Results Video replay Race 10 - Nevele R Stud Breeders Crown Championship four-year-old mares By Michael Howard Chris Alford drove Lovelist (Always A Virgin) to victory to cap a brilliant night’s racing with a win in the last, which has seen him draw level in the SBG Accountants Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership. Lang and Alford, who tied for the award last year, are level at 47 wins apiece with the winner to be decided at Wednesday night’s Breeders Crown silver series races. “At the start of the day I thought my best two drives were (trotters) High Gait and Our Regal Love, and they both ran great but weren’t quite good enough on the day, and then you get a bit depressed,” Alford said. “But it’s been a great day, three wins and a couple of seconds and a couple of fourths. These horses are unreal, they are just like driving machines, they never let you down.” In Delight Me, Lang was driving the $1.60 favourite in the Group 2 championship for four-year-old mares, but Delight Me was always going to have to do plenty from her back row draw and she tailed the field for much of the running. Conversely, Lovelist enjoyed cover to sit mid-race early, and then improved on Keayang Mercedes’ back mid-race before rolling all the way to the front well before the bell, and by the time that rang Delight Me had moved from the back to take the breeze. Alford stole a march at the last bend and Delight Me couldn’t go with the leader, with only second-placegetter Cyclone Kate making ground as Lovelist recorded a 4.7m win. “We had a little bit of luck earlier. She got in nicely in midfield, when the speed backed off I took the opportunity to get around and once she found the front she just slipped into another gear,” Alford said. “With Delight Me outside you never know how confident you can be but she felt really good going around the last bend and when I asked her she kicked away really well.” Results Video replay

Harness racing from Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday the 26th of August 2016, the beginning of Breeder's Crown Weekend. Race 1 - DNR Logistics Pace PICOBELLO (Christian Cullen-Lynne Falcon) has won the DNR Logistics Pace to kick-start night one of the Breeders Crown weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton. The five-year-old mare paid $30.30 on the Victorian tote, no doubt blowing the majority of punters out of the early quaddie. Trained and driven by Glenn Douglas at Strathfieldsaye, Picobello turned her 3.4m fourth to Blurred Lines in the heat for this race around despite starting from outside the front row. Our Red Sky Knight finished second after finding the back of leader All Eyes And Ears early in a nice piece of driving by Allan McDonough (from gate three), jumping into the trail ahead of Destiny Warrior (barrier eight), who couldn’t muster quickly enough. Blurred Lines finished third after looking the winner at the top of the straight for Brad Chisholm, finishing on gamely, while All Eyes And Ears boxed on for fourth and Any Wonder ran fifth. Video replay Race 2 - TAB.com.au Breeders Crown Graduate Pace KOTARE York (Mach Three-Kotare Yoyo) has pocketed his sixth win at start No.36 by taking out the TAB.com.au Breeders Crown Graduate Pace. Trainer Geoff Webster is in great form and the four-year-old stallion appreciated comfortable early splits in the 2240-metre race (lead time 46.9secs, first and second quarters of 30.5 and 29.9), reinsman Emmett Brosnan only having to up the ante late with a 56.4secs last quarter to hold off fast-finishing Game We Play (who was last in the run before commencing a three-wide move from the 800m) – his run was super – and Iceobar in third. The winner rated 1:57.6. That’s two wins from Kotare York’s last three starts now. Video replay Race 3 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Championship 4YO Entires/Geldings Trotters ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG (Majestic Son-Lunar Landing) has taken out this year’s Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Championship for four-year-old trotting entires and geldings. Driven by trainer Jodi Quinlan, the gifted gelding was pushed out from the pole draw after long-time rival Eljaykay Phoenix (Josh Aiken) tested his mettle. Anthony Butt put Kyvalley Boomerang into the trail from barrier five, and Nathan Jack took second-favourite Fabrication around the field to the breeze. But it was all Illawong Armstrong in the 2240-metre race, always travelling well to notch his fourth win from nine starts this season with splits of 30, 30.9, 28.6 and 29.3 for a mile rate of 1:59.3. Illawong Armstrong’s stake earnings are now pushing $160,000. Will this be the only Illawong to win over Breeders Crown finals time? Jodi and Dr Martin Hartnett will team up again Sunday with the two-year-old Redwood Classic champ Illawong Byron, and he looks mighty hard to beat. “I didn’t have any confidence tonight,” Quinlan said tonight of Illawong Armstrong. “But his ability takes him a long way. “We’ve had our issues with him. That’s why he’s had eight starts in eight months.” Quinlan said if she had her way Illawong Armstrong would go the paddock for a spell. “But if Martin has his way probably not,” she said. We’ll see who wins that battle. Video replay Race 4 - Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Graduate Trot  STUNNING JASPER (Village Jasper-Stunning Impact) was a fast-finishing winner of the Haras Des Trotteurs Graduate Trot tonight. Driven by evergreen Brian Gath Stunning Jasper ($31.90) overhauled race favourite Zhenya by a half-neck in 2:00.7. Sammy Charles led with Its Not Dark Yet in the chair. At the bell Stunning Jasper was three back on the pegs in the 2240-metre race. Its Not Dark Yet was battling approaching the home turn and dropped behind Sammy Charles (Chris Alford) who kicked in front, with Zhenya looming up strongly. Zhenya took the lead at the 150m but Stunning Jasper wouldn’t be denied, charging late to grab the win. “It took him a long time to wear them down but he always travelled like he’d make it,” Gath said. “If they raced over 2400m he would have won more. The 2100m is a bit short for him.” Gath said it was a pleasure to drive the winner for good mate Joe Vassallo. “Good fella, Joe, and Sam, they’re great people.” Video repay Race 5 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pacers Free for All (Group 2)  ALL EYES ON US (Art Major-All Eyes On Me) won tonight’s Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pacers Free for All in extraordinary fashion tonight. The C11-M0 assessed five-year-old equalled the track record for the 2240-metre trip at Melton (joining Keayang Cullen at a mark of 1:53.2), lifting off the canvas after being headed by C25-M8 long odds-on favourite Hectorjayjay to score a half-neck win for trainer John McCarthy and reinsman Luke McCarthy. “We’ve always had a good opinion of him,” Luke McCarthy said. “He ran second in the APG as a two-year-old and missed his three-year-old season when he had a bone chip taken out of his ankle. “We purposely kept him out of the M0s so he’d draw well in this race. He’s got a big heart and we think he’ll take the next step. He’ll make a real good horse.” Undoubtedly he will if he keeps producing runs like tonight. Jilliby Jagger led early with Burning Cash in the breeze, All Eyes On Us leader’s back. Hectorjayjay ($1.25 favourite) settled back in the field in the running line but punters would not have been panicking with a swift lead time of 43secs flat recorded. The leader paced a 60.3secs first half before they scorched down the back in 26.9secs. Hectorjayjay eased to the outside to make his run and looked to have the race shot to bits for Gavin Lang before McCarthy and All Eyes On Us hit top gear, rallied back and took the win (final quarter 27.3, last half 54.2). The winner paid $27.20 and the first four paid almost twelve grand.  Video replay Race 6 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Championship 4YO Trotting Mares VAL GARDENA (Kadabra-Lets Be Happy) only won by 3.7m but the margin could have been more. She didn’t give her rivals any hope in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Championship for four-year-old trotting mares, rated a treat by the Candyman, Greg Sugars, to score in a mile rate of 2:00.9. The impressive mare from the Anton Golino stable at Cardigan fended off all comers in the run, her first half covered in 62.7secs before third and fourth splits of 29 and 28.6. Damien Burns trained/driven Itsgettingcalder produced another big run for second, she’s in great form, while Glenferrie Burn finished third for Blake Fitzpatrick. Glenferrie Burn is raced by Yabby Dam Farms, who also owned the winner. Video replay Race 7 - Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters FFA (Group 2)  SUPER ZECK (Modern Art-Me Dolli Kit) is this year’s Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Graduate Trot winner. Trained by Darren Cole at Terang and driven by John Caldow, Super Zeck made it 11 wins this season from 32 starts with a 2.8m win over Maori Time (Anthony Butt) and El Paco (Chris Svanosio) third. Super Zeck took off three-wide from the back at the 1100m mark, getting to the breeze outside leader Vics Cheval, who was chasing back to back wins. Maori Time, who had crept around the field also was left one out and one back, while early leader El Paco, who quickly handed up to Vics Cheval, was travelling sweetly behind the pacesetter. Following early splits of 31.8 and 30.6, Super Zeck put more pressure on the frontrunner down the back (28.5secs third quarter) before going to the front approaching the home turn. Maori Time kept chasing and was game in defeat, while El Paco is one for the black book. He got carted back at the 300m when the leader gave ground and was savaging the line at the finish. Wins soon. Video replay Race 8 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Cup STAR OF DIONYSIS (American Ideal-Star Of Venus) has captured the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Cup for husband/wife team Andy and Kate Gath. The five-year-old went around $1.50 first-up on August 4 from a 50-metre handicap and finished fourth, and then ran seventh as a $2.40 favourite on August 19. Tonight he paid $14.20. Punters who stayed aboard can celebrate with a vino. Fun fact: Dionysus is the god of wine, theatre and revelry in Greek mythology (note, I’m getting that straight from Google as Greek mythology is not my strongpoint). Star Of Dionysis lobbed the one-one for Kate Gath over the 1720m trip and finished too powerfully for his rivals, holding off Art I Special, who was held up at the top of the lane and flew late once in the clear, with Mach Doro third. The winner went 1:55.5. Star Of Dionysis has won 10 races from 46 starts now and that was his fifth win this season. That wraps us up from Melton, so see you Sunday!  Video replay Results Facebook photos

Trots owners will receive the royal treatment at TAB Breeders Crown Super Sunday this weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton. The VIP owners’ enclosure will see owners, trainers and drivers congregating in luxurious surrounds, talking trots, cheering on their charge and watching the Race to Royalty trackside. “Elevating the ownership experience is a key theme for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV),” said HRV Ownership Manager Tori Glenister. “Owners are obviously such an important part of the industry. Racing a horse is fun and exciting, so the owners’ VIP enclosure is another way for connections to ‘Own the Moment’ on race day. “The enclosure is located between the Legends Café and the Sports Bar so our owners are looked after with some of the best views in the house.” AFL star Josh Jenkins is HRV’s TAB Breeders Crown ambassador this year. A racehorse owner himself, Jenkins will be in the owners’ enclosure throughout the day socialising. “Since I became interested in the trots, attending Breeders Crown day has been a goal,” Jenkins said. “The trots has quickly developed into a passion of mine and to be on track Sunday will be great fun.” Owners with a horse racing on Sunday can pick up their owners’ pack, which includes their VIP enclosure ticket for them and a guest, at the race day office. Finger food, scrumptious Breeders Crown cupcakes, decadent chocolates and Champagne will be just some of offerings in the owners’ enclosure. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Classy trotter Illawong Byron is due for a spell, probably overdue, says harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. But the Parwan horsewoman also says she’s never trained a horse with his constitution and she is hopeful the Redwood Classic winner can produce another grand performance on Breeders Crown Day. TAB.com.au has installed Illawong Byron $1.60 favourite to win the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown Final on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings from gate two after his impressive heat win at Maryborough last week. “He was definitely not right in the Vicbred Final (when finishing second) and he took a couple of weeks to get over that,” Quinlan said. MARKETS: ILLAWONG BYRON IS $1.6 FOR THE BREEDERS CROWN AT TAB.COM.AU “He bounced back with a really good run in the Redwood and then he was probably even better in the heat last week. I just hope he didn’t run his race a week early. He'll go for a good break after Sunday.” Quinlan makes the point Illawong Byron has had a long season, literally given he ran in the very first two-year-old trot of the 2015-16 season. “I’ve never had a horse with a constitution like his.” Raced and bred by Martin and Kaye Hartnett, Illawong Byron – by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush – has won seven races from 11 starts and looks a shoe-in for Victorian two-year-old male trotter of the year. Quinlan has repeatedly expressed her appreciation for the Hartnetts, who she says are very loyal and supportive. “They’ve been fantastic supporters of mine through good times and bad and they put a lot of money into the game, so they deserve every success they get,” Quinlan said. VIDEO: ILLAWONG BYRON WINS THE REDWOOD CLASSIC AT MARYBOROUGH Mark Purdon-trained Custodian ($2.90 with TAB) has drawn barrier nine and will trail Illawong Byron out. “With Custodian following me I’ll probably have to do a bit to hold the front,” Quinlan said. Quinlan also puts the polish on three-year-old trotting filly Sky Majesty in the Haras Des Trotteurs Breeders Crown Final (Race 1) on Sunday. Raced by passionate trots owners Michael Taranto, Rob Merola and Sam Godino Sky Majesty has drawn gate six and is a $61 outsider according to TAB.com.au. “She has had a fantastic year but she just can’t snag a decent barrier in a big race. From the draw Wilmas Mate looks unbeatable on paper, but they are three-year-old trotters so anything can happen.” Already a Breeders Crown winner in the sulky behind Ladyinred in 2005, Quinlan said the day held a special place in her heart. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Breeders Crown as a driver. If I could win one as a trainer that would definitely be special.” BOOK NOW: SECURE YOUR BREEDERS CROWN DINING PACKAGE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday 26 August 2016

Unbeaten Partyon will improve into the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown Final after her Semi-Final win, said harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon last night at Bendigo. After finishing 1.4m ahead of runner-up My Casino Belle in the first Semi-Final for the two-year-old pacing fillies in 1:58.5, Partyon was installed $1.75 fixed odds favourite with TAB.com.au for next Sunday’s Group 1 final at Tabcorp Park Melton. “She was quite casual actually. I think she will be better with the run under her belt and she was busy looking at everything with the new track and new surroundings,” Purdon said. “She’ll be spot on for the final.” VIDEO: MARK PURDON TALKS ABOUT PARTYON AFTER WINNING SEMI Partyon, by Bettor's Delight out of Beach Parade and unbeaten in four starts, began from barrier 11 last night at Lord’s Raceway but wasted little time getting into the race, Purdon pushing her forward to find the lead after 300 metres. Once in front there were very few moves made in the run and Partyon dictated terms before dashing up the straight with a 27.2 final quarter to hold off a valiant My Casino Belle for Brad Hewitt. But while Partyon, who won the 2YO Diamond at the New Zealand Harness Jewels meeting in June, is all the rage for the Final Victorians Petacular and Miss Graceland will be far from easy-beats next Sunday. Michael Stanley trained Petacular in particular has had a super season with eight wins – including victory in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final – from 10 starts for over $160,000 in stakes. MARKETS: TAB FIXED ODDS BREEDERS CROWN MARKETS Last night she was at the top of her game once again, taking out her Semi-Final by 4m over Emma Stewart trained Miss Graceland in 1:57.7. Driven by Chris Alford, Petacular overcame a barrier 11 draw, circling the field to assume control at the mile. VIDEO: PETACULAR GRABS ANOTHER WIN, THIS TIME IN SEMI-FINAL Miss Graceland, who started from barrier 13 last night, moved to second at the 500m before dropping on to Petacular’s back for a breather turning for home. Those two dashed right away from the rest of the field and the winner never looked in any serious danger, scoring by 4m with third-placed Miss Dangerfield coming in 23.9m behind the winner. Petacular, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Ideal Priority, drew poorly for the Final resulting in TAB.com.au putting her up as a $5 third favourite, with Miss Graceland drawing well in gate four for the Final opening at $3.50. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

He came, he saw, he conquered – and Sunday it’s going to take one heck of a run to prevent him doing it all over again in the harness racing Group 1 $185,000 Breeders Crown final. Mark Purdon’s super Somebeachsomewhere gelding Our Waikiki Beach run down talented front runner Iceenothink, from Larry Eastman’s camp, to win his IRT Breeders Crown semi-final at Bendigo. VIDEO: OWNER TREVOR CASEY DELIGHTED WITH HIS STAR'S WIN And the Victorian bred, New Zealand trained winner of 22 of his 23 starts looks to have a stranglehold on the competition after a favourable barrier draw placed him in gate two for Sunday's Tabcorp Park Melton final, outside only emergency Carter Bromac. Leading rivals, who also qualified in last night’s semi-finals at Bendigo, Spiritwriter (barrier 5), Kingofthestars (barrier 6) and Iceenothink (barrier 7) have drawn outside the Kiwi on the front row, while Rock Of America (barrier 8) will likely be on his tail. Highly rated Kiwi Franco Cristiano, who ran fifth in his heat, will start from the back row, as will semi-final winner Soho Tribecca. The latter had a shining moment at Bendigo, where he controlled the race after driver Chris Alford found the front from barrier six on the Jayne Davies trained American Ideal colt. “He’s been running in all the good races this year and just been falling short,” Alford said. “Tonight for him to win a semi of the Breeders Crown is terrific and onwards to the final now.” VIDEO: CHRIS ALFORD CHATS AFTER SOHO TRIBECCA TAKES HONOURS Soho Tribecca was brilliant out of the gates to cross Keep On Rocking from gate one, while $1.40 favourite Franco Cristiano had a much more modest start and was swamped from gate four, which left driver John Dunn three-wide until he crept to the breeze mid-race. Soho Tribecca by contrast was able to do his own thing and when they came knocking at the final bend it was only Geoff Webster’s Keep On Rocking, from the box seat, who threatened. “(Soho Tribecca) found the front pretty comfortably and the main thing was that he relaxed pretty well the first lap and got it pretty easy,” Alford said. “When the pressure come on and they wanted to get rolling along, if you fight him he doesn’t seem to finish off so I was happy to let him stride and thankfully he held on.” Soho Tribecca won by a neck in a 1:55.7 mile rate for owner-breeder Rob Watson. “He’s had a lot of horses over the years Rob and he does put a lot of money in and so he deserves every winner he gets,” Alford said. The mile rate was 0.5 quicker than semi-final two, which ran as expected with Iceenothink leading and Our Waikiki Beach taking his back from barrier eight. It was then a waiting game until the sprint lane opened for Purdon, who gave Our Waikiki Beach a gentle urging and he found the front to win by 2.9m in a 27.9 final quarter, delighting part-owner Trevor Casey. “We had to drive him that way and hope for luck,” Mr Casey said. “We got it and that was our main mission (tonight).” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Clayton Tonkin’s declaration that he doesn’t like comparing his two top-gun harness racing fillies Rocknroll Magic and Heavens Trend is completely understandable. They’re both lovable. The Emma Stewart and Tonkin prepared three-year-olds won their respective Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO semi-finals last night at Bendigo and then drew gates one (Heavens Trend) and eight (Rocknroll Magic) for the $185,000 final. “I don’t like comparing them too much. They’re lovely horses in their own right,” Tonkin said. The barrier draw result is intriguing. Heavens Trend clearly has the advantage from the pole and TAB has reacted by installing her $1.65 favourite for next Sunday’s final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Rocknroll Magic will trail her more fancied stablemate and is currently $3 to win the final. “She’s been unbelievable. It’s been a long, long season for her and for her to run the way she ran tonight is just unbelievable,” said Craig Cameron, who bred Rocknroll Magic (by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic) and now races the filly with a big ownership group. “She’s only a tiny little horse but she’s all champ.” VIDEO: EXCITED OWNERS OF ROCKNROLL MAGIC Heavens Trend went around $1.50 favourite last night in the First Semi-Final and after punching the breeze for the first 500m Gavin Lang took her to the front at the mile, Chris Alford happy to take cover on initial leader Dancingwithsierra. After coasting through a 61.3secs first half, Lang and Heavens Trend only really quickened considerably from the quarter pole, the filly covering the last split in 26.6secs for a 1:55.9 mile rate. At the wire Heavens Trend had 7.3m to spare over Mark Purdon’s My Mackenzie, who came from three-pegs, with Rockstar Angel in third for Michael Bellman after weaving a passage from well back on the inside. Dancingwithsierra dead-heated for fourth with Whirily School, the latter, also from the Stewart yard, fighting on gamely after sitting parked for the final mile. “I thought (she) did a good job, too,” Tonkin said of Whirily School. VIDEO: CLAYTON TONKIN TALKS ABOUT HIS FILLIES Queenslander Get In The Groove, who last year won a Breeders Crown Semi, qualified for the final by finishing sixth for driver Luke McCarthy. Rocknroll Magic came from behind in the run to win her Semi-Final, Lang extricating her off the pegs from barrier eight early before settling sixth in the running line. At the 500m Lang made his move, easing wide to get within striking distance of race leader Luisanabelle Midfrew and the breezing Nikkibadwagon. In the stretch once Lang shook up the $3.20 favourite, Rocknroll Magic rounded up the leaders and scored by 1.6m in a rate of 1:56.4. The last half-mile was trekked in 56.3. MARKETS: TAB BREEDERS CROWN FIXED ODDS Nikkibadwagon was brave in second after facing the breeze throughout, while Just Rockon Bye finished third after showing blistering gate speed to lead from five before handing up to Luisanabelle Midfrew, who ran fourth. Gina Grace appreciated the pole position draw and qualified in fifth, while Ilikemillie scraped into the final by closing late for sixth. Lang revealed late last night he would drive Heavens Trend in the Crown final. "Her heat run was very good and she was good again tonight so it all augers well for next week," he said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Having waited a long time to unwrap his trotting gift harness racing trainer Bill Morgan’s patience has been quickly rewarded, with his talented three-year-old putting his best foot forward. Maori Law’s unbeaten streak reached four at Maryborough yesterday when the Lawman / Sundonna gelding stepped out in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown heat and saw off a challenge from Tony Herlihy’s short-priced entrant, Temporale. It has the Seymour stable buoyant, having stepped carefully with their lightly-raced gelding, who is owned by Fred Crews. “Early doors he looked like he was going to hit his knee (when trotting) so we put him away as a two-year-old and he must have been out for eight to 10 months,” Morgan said. “Then we worked him up, had good speed, but just wasn’t good enough to trot early, wasn’t balanced enough, so we put him away for another three months and then we had another go at him again. He was handling the early speed and so we raced him.” There was still uncertainty, but Morgan was optimistic he had a good one. “I remember one night when we were getting him going we took him up to Shepparton just to have a run about,” Morgan said. “We were only educating him, he couldn’t balance early so we would work him two-mile and then build him into it. “One particular night, when Bernadette (Page) was driving a pacemaker, I said just come off his back and let him work home in the quarter and he ran 27.7. If I had have raced him then I think I might have brought him undone because he just wasn’t balanced enough early, so we put him away and waited for him.” His debut came at Maryborough on July 18, when in Gavin Lang’s hands he won by a head via the sprint lane. “His first start here he sat behind the leader, they went slow and then sprinted. He was entitled to lose, if they had have ran it true I think he would have won it easy at his first start.” Further victories followed at Cranbourne on July 30 and Maryborough on August 7, but yesterday presented his most stern test against Breeders Crown aspirants. “He’s got stronger, in saying that of course (he hadn’t raced) the likes of the Tony Herlihys then,” Morgan said. “Each time he’s racing better horses.” From gate two yesterday Lang guided Maori Law to the front and followed a 42.7 lead time with 31.6 and 31.9 first and second quarters. Temporale remained in the one-one through a 29.6 third quarter, drawing wide at the final bend and almost level with Maori Law, but the latter matched every stride and in a 28.0 final quarter won by 2.1m, with Hudson Bay third. “I didn’t know whether he could or he couldn’t (beat the likes of Temporale), but when he got the cheap splits I had a gut feeling, and I said to young Bernadette, that I don’t know if (Temporale) can beat him now.” Next stop is the Sunday, August 28, Breeders Crown finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, where the Group 1 $60,000 prize will have Maori Law square off against fellow heat winner Sundons Courage, Vicbred champion Cruisin Around and Geoff Webster’s Big Jack Hammer among others. It’s a challenge Morgan is looking forward to, in a matter-of-fact kind of way. “Breeders Crown only comes around once a year, if it wasn’t around normally you would put him away, but he is paid up for it and after that we will put him away, give him a freshen up and in another preparation we should find him better again.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Race programme for Tabcorp Park Melton, Sunday 28 August 2016

Some of Australia’s leading drivers were heralding their horses amid a star-studded night of harness racing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. In one thrilling 60-minute swoop Tee Cee Bee Macray, Hectorjayjay and Our Waikiki Beach emerged from cover to mow down their rivals and win their respective races, confirming their status as some of Australasia’s elite. Tee Cee Bee Macray was first to get the job done, again overcoming a back row draw to sweep the field and win the Decon Pace for trainer Alan Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars. “He’s fast becoming my favourite horse at the moment, that’s for sure,” Sugars said. “He’s got incredible acceleration as everyone has seen in recent times and I struggle to think of too many horses who I have sat behind that have that kind of speed.” ENJOY GREG SUGARS POST-RACE INTERVIEW The Minuteman Free For All followed and $1.10 favourite Hectorjayjay rewarded punters' faith with a 2.7m win in a 1:54.0 mile rate for trainer David Aiken and driver Gavin Lang. “He’s always had a great amount of ability,” Lang said. “This horse has got a great outlook on life and he is a pleasure to drive really. We have a race in a couple of weeks here, David said, hopefully he holds together well and Perth late in the year will be good.” WATCH GAVIN LANG’S POST-MORTEM ON ANOTHER HECTOR WIN And then it was over to the All Stars, with New Zealand trainer-driver Mark Purdon’s jet three-year-old Our Waikiki Beach recording a 21st win from his 22nd start by rounding up favourite Menin Gate and careering away for a 2m win in the tab.com.au Pace. “He’s a lovely horse,” Purdon said. “He’s a pleasure to work with. I think he’s close to 100 per cent, I think he will benefit from tonight’s run. We look forward to the (Breeders Crown) semi-finals now with him.” The high-calibre racing continues with the Breeders Crown trotting heats at Maryborough tomorrow, a return to racing at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday and then the Breeders Crown pacing semi-finals at Bendigo on Saturday night. SOAK UP ALL SATURDAY NIGHT’S WINNING DRIVER INTERVIEWS HERE by Michael Howard

Some of Australasia’s greatest harness racing talent will step out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night providing a pre-Breeders Crown feast. Outstanding New Zealand three-year-olds Our Waikiki Beach and Franco Cristiano, and Group 1 horses Hectorjayjay, Messini, Tee Cee Bee Macray, Flaming Flutter and Menin Gate are among the stars splashed across the card’s central races. And then there’s Group 3 races the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship final, featuring Stay And Play, and the Aldebaran Park Vulcan Trotters Free For All, featuring Maori Time. For most runners the racing presents a final tune-up ahead of Breeders Crown commitments, with all roads leading to the August 26 and 28 finals at Tabcorp Park. Among that number is Hectorjayjay, David Aiken’s five-year-old Dream Away gelding who has taken all before him in his short time at Avenel. Only a barnstorming run from Ohoka Punter in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake robbed him of a fifth board on his picket fence. Aiken said Hectorjayjay’s venture north to Menangle and then Albion Park hadn’t taxed him, which boded well for his Perth Inter Dominion campaign in December. “He’s good, he worked well this morning and has travelled well,” Aiken said. “He had a little stopover in Sydney for six days and has been really good. That’s the second trip he has had away now, having had a short trip to Mildura which (also) went well." Drawn barrier six in the Minuteman Free For All, Hectorjayjay will step out Saturday night as favourite, but will clash with a quality field and with one eye on an August 26 feature race. “This is very much a lead up run for the Breeders Crown Graduate race in two weeks’ time,” Aiken said. “We were only going to give him one run, but with the Melton Plate now just a week after (Breeders Crown) we might put him in that, then freshen him up before all things head towards Perth. “There are some challenges (Saturday night). Chilli Palmer has been very good, Messini is a good horse on the way back up, Young Modern is a nice horse when 100 per cent and Major Crocker was good last week. They are nice horses and with where we are drawn it will be a challenge, but a strength of his racing is that he can win from behind and is probably the best horse in the race. The outside draw just evens it up a bit.” Young Modern is unlikely to cause Hectorjayjay too many headaches, according to his trainer Emma Stewart. Having his first run in the stable of this year’s leading state and metropolitan trainer, Young Modern will step out for the first time in three months and the Modern Art five-year-old has given his new trainer her fair share of headaches. “He steps into the deep end and will be swimming with the sharks, but at this grade there are no easy races,” Stewart said. “We are not 100 per cent happy with him, he is not our favourite horse at the moment. He will need a couple of runs and be better for them.” The camp has higher expectations for Stay And Play, who will contest the final of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship, having won her heat by 7.1m. “I think she is the class runner of this race,” Stewart said. “She has trained good and drawn well, so I think she will run a really good race.” Fellow heat winner Snip Of Grand is among her rivals in the $30,575 feature. Much interest will also surround the tab.com.au pace with New Zealanders Our Waikiki Beach, for Mark Purdon, and Franco Cristiano, for Robert Dunn, to start from the back row, with Victorian Vicbred champ Menin Gate to take up the running from gate three. For John Dunn, driver of Franco Cristiano, the cards hadn’t fallen as he may have hoped for the Breeders Crown tune-up. His three-year-old Bettors Delight gelding trialled at Melton on Tuesday and ran second to Highview Ruler. “He drew five out of six, so I just took him back to last and they dawdled round up front, but he had a good last half and last 400 so I was happy with him,” Dunn told RSN’s trials review. “I came over a couple of weeks early to let the horse settle in and try and find a nice race. Unfortunately on paper this week’s not that good of a race for him, but we will see how we go. “He’s still not a foolproof horse. It’s quite good coming a wee bit earlier to let him have a couple of looks at the track anyway and the style of racing over here. Whatever he does this week he hopefully should improve on.” LISTEN TO JOHN DUNN'S FULL INTERVIEW ON RSN 927 A winner of eight of his 11 starts the half-brother to Ladyship Mile placegetter Cruiser Franco will start from gate 10, outside superstar Our Waikiki Beach who he will battle for Breeders Crown glory on August 28. “(Franco Cristiano) showed a fair bit as an early three-year-old and showed he could compete against Lazarus and horses like that, but unfortunately got a hairline fracture of his pastern so we put him aside, which could have been a blessing in disguise the way those three-year-olds were flying back home and over here earlier in the season,” Dunn said. “We brought him up late in the piece and that’s why I decided to have a crack at Breeders Crown.” The night will also be notable for the Decron Pace, with Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series star swooper Tee Cee Bee Macray to step out for the first time since his brave second in the four-year-old age classic. Starting from 13 in the preferential barrier draw, he will come up against the likes of in-form runners Johnny Fox (Kerryn Manning) and Major Star (Andy Gath). Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Caretaker harness racing trainer John Dunn was gobsmacked when he saw the field for Franco Cristiano’s  Breeders Crown “warm-up” race at Melton on Saturday night. And it’s no wonder when you consider the city “maiden” race (M0) boasts last season’s triple Derby winner Menin Gate (gate four) and this season’s superstar three-year-old Our Waikiki Beach (gate nine). Franco Cristiano has gate 10. “It’s going to be a good indicator of where we are at, that’s for sure,” Dunn said. “I don’t expect to beat Waikiki Beach or Menin Gate, but I’d love to be hitting the line strongly behind them.” Franco Cristiano arrived at Andy Gath’s stables near Melton last week, has settled in well and had a low-key trial around the Melton track yesterday (Tuesday). “He did what I wanted and he’s got a few wee tricks still, so getting a look around the track in the trial and again in a race this week will help,” Dunn said. “In the trial he drew five, drifted back then I went to the death, but sat back off the leader (Highview Ruler) and got within a length or so of the winner at the finish (running second).” Highview Ruler won by the 2240m trial in a 2min1.5sec mile rate and finished off in 56.3 and 27.6sec with Franco Cristiano. “He badly needed the run so the trial and this week’s race will bring him on nicely ahead of the semi-final (of the Breeders Crown),” Dunn said. Dunn said Franco Cristiano had always displayed enormous talent and was still maturing. “He’s a horse we’ve always liked a lot and he’s getting better all the time,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll be competitive in the Crown and it’s great for his owners, a good group of people from Ashburton, to be have him across here being a part of it.” Dunn will take the reins himself this week in what will be just his second drive in a race at Melton. “The only other one was Franco Nelson in the Hunter Cup (running sixth) in 2014,” he said. Although (Our) Waikiki Beach will be a warm favourite, he will face a big challenge to beat former Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate if the finds the lead from gate four over the 1720m sprint trip around Melton. The other highlight of the Melton meeting is Hectorjayjay’s return from a freshen-up in the Minuteman free-for-all (2240m). He will be a clear favourite despite a wide draw (gate six) and quality rivals like: Chilli Palmer (one), Messini (two), Flaming Flutter (seven) and Major Crocker (10).   Adam Hamilton

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