Search Results
1 to 16 of 780
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Messini’s rise to harness racing stardom continued last night at Bendigo. The pacer, whose racing style is to keep his head low, stick his neck out and storm forward like a bullying gridiron hulk barging through would-be tacklers, never looked like getting beat. With Chris Alford in the sulky for trainer Brent Lilley, Messini came home with a 57-second last half to score a 4.6-metre victory in the ninth heat of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown Series for three-year-old colts and geldings. The high-class son of Art Major led from gate three and toyed with his rivals, only Glen Craven’s lightly raced Jilliby Jagger able to get within a bull’s roar of the winner at the end, the Terang pacer 4.6m behind in second. With a 1:57.5 mile rate – easily the quickest of the three Crown heats on the night – Messini looks cherry ripe for the semi-finals, with a decision to be made regarding whether the pacer remains with Lilley for the business end of the series or heads back to Lilley’s close mate and New Zealand’s leading trainer, Mark Purdon. Purdon sent Messini and Kept Under Wraps to Lilley for the lead-up to the Breeders Crown and Lilley has both horses firing on all cylinders. Messini Other heat winners last night were Will Mach My Word for trainer Geoff Webster with Emmett Brosnan in the chair, the son of Mach Three leading from go to whoa, and Dream Away gelding Hectorjayjay for Bill and Simone Walker, which scored by over 12m in a rate of 2:00.4 in the last race on the card. Will Mach My Word Hectorjayjay by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Whereibylong scored a seemingly effortless win in heat eight of the Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies’ series at Bendigo on last night. Driven by Gavin Lang for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, Whereibylong finished over eight metres clear of runner-up Our Santa Catalina in a rate of 1:58.6. Whereibylong finished off in a last half-mile of 56 seconds, running her opponents ragged despite not leaving second gear, says Tonkin. “Gavin never had to pull the plugs,” Tonkin said. “I’d actually say it was a soft run.” Whereibylong dominated the recent Breeders Challenge series at Menangle, romping home in the Group 1 final by almost seven metres after proving too good in the heat and semi-final. The fact she seems completely adept on the sometimes tricky Menangle track was a big tick, said Tonkin, and should bode well for her in coming seasons. “She’s a great filly. She came through Sydney really well. “She’ll definitely (go on to) race in open class.” Already a Breeders Crown champion (as a two-year-old), Whereibylong has had 13 wins and three minor placings from 21 starts for prizemoney of $340,457. David Moran trained-and-driven Our Santa Catalina boxed on for second after working in the breeze, while Charlie Wootton trained Madison Louise finished third for driver Greg Sugars. The other three-year-old fillies’ Crown heat last night was taken out by David Aiken trained Quick Draft for driver Chris Alford. Quick Draft, which started $1.30 on the tote, romped home by 12.1 metres despite working three-wide early and punching the breeze thereafter. Her winning mile rate was 1:58.0 with a last half of 57.8 seconds. Tuscan Breeze ran second for Stewart/Tonkin and Lang, while Kiss Kenny was third beaten 24.1m for trainer Greg Hansen and driver Danielle Lewis. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Last week was possibly the worst ever for the ring-around with just the one winner. However, that one winner, Equulei, tipped by Jay Abernethy, did pay odds of $10.70 and $2.50. Let’s see what the boys have come up with for us this week: Addington – Thursday Jonny Cox: Thinks 2-win mare Pay Me Quick, who has been in sublime form of late, will be hard to beat against non-win rivals in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the very smart Dalton Bromac, who looks half of the quinella with Wesley Silcox – race four. Matthew Williamson:  Expects Very Persuasive to prove very hard to beat in the Golden Girls Final – race eight. Ken Barron: Has a massive opinion of Bracken Ridge and expects him to be simply too classy for his rivals in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race nine. Alexandra Park - Thursday Josh Dickie: Thinks Sunny Vacation, with manners, is the one they all have to beat in race six. Scott Phelan: Thinks the inform Cyamach, who is likely to head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, can continue on his winning ways – race seven. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who looks a strong chance in the eighth race on the card. Simon Lawson: Thinks Shedontloveme is a very good each-way chance in the last race on the card. Kurow – Sunday Blair Orange: Thinks Quaint Glen, who had trialled up stylishly prior to her debut third, can win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Lovetodream, who also looks a good chance in the first race on card. Gavin Smith: Thinks Billies A Star, who has been ultra impressive at the trials, should prove too strong for what looks an average maiden line-up – race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Sunoflindenny, who has been backed and beaten in his first two runs back, can make amends in the sixth race on the card.  

Hunter Valley harness racing trainer Shane Tritton enjoyed plenty of success during his recent trip to Queensland for the Winter Carnival and with the Breeders Crown series in Victoria less than a month away, he has confirmed he will be taking a strong team south. However before heading off Tritton has a large contingent in at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night including two exciting prospects, Lombo Kotakinabalu and Fearless Leader. "We have a big team in on Saturday night and I'm looking forward to producing a couple of horses that look to have big futures going forward," Tritton said. "Fearless Leader was sent to us with the idea of getting him on the big track at Menangle and so far we haven't even given him a start there because we took him to Queensland for the carnival but I really think he is going to be suited on the 1400 metre track." Fearless Leader has already had three starts at Menangle in his career and has only been placed on one occasion. "He's only little but he has got a tremendous attitude and Lauren (Panella) has told me that he really likes to find the line in his races so I'm expecting a big performance this weekend." "The plan is to take him back to Melbourne for a Breeders Crown graduate race next month." Lombo Kotakinabalu has only had one start at Menangle and he was a big winner on that occasion, taking out a Country Series Final on Breeders Challenge Final Day. "He is a very exciting horse, he has been winning his races very easily and he is a free rolling type which I think will be better suited over the mile so the 2300 metres will be something different this weekend." "The plan is to take him to Melbourne as well. I'm planning on taking eight at this stage including horses like Suave Stuey Lombo, Controversial, Marty Monkhouser and Im Supersonic." By Greg Hayes  | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

On Sunday, two days before the box closed on the $1 million Hambletonian, owner Marc Goldberg had a conversation with his trainer Trond Smedshammer about Royal Ice. "I told him I thought the Townsend Ackerman was a good race for him," said Goldberg of the conversation. "He thought that there weren't going to be enough horses entered and that if it was just going to be one heat why not take a chance." Smedshammer's opinion matters to Goldberg. The pair has been closely connected most notably to the betting public with the $4.2 million winning Arch Madness. A week ago it might have appeared to be pure madness to consider Royal Ice entered for anything but a non-winners of one race. Everything changed for the horse, trainer and owner this past Friday (July 25) at the Meadowlands. Royal Ice broke his maiden in 1:51 3/5 with catch-driver Yannick Gingras in the bike. The son of Muscle Hill reached the winner's circle for the first time in his career surprising both the trainer and owner. "I didn't think he was sharp enough and I told Marc he might be a little short," said Smedshammer, well aware that the horse hadn't raced in four weeks. "We really didn't get to see how good he was in some of the earlier races. He was always racing on a sloppy track," said Goldberg. But everyone got to see just how strong a horse Royal Ice was this past Friday. "He definitely has the desire," said Smedshammer who admitted that earlier this season he was concerned that the horse was having trouble breathing. With but seven career starts, Royal Ice lacks experience going into Saturday's Hambletonian. He landed post six between two of the Taker's three stable stars Nuncio (post five) and Trixton (post seven). "I think he has enough experience," said Smedshammer unconcerned about whether the horse could be competitive. "Takters horses are better than him but anything can happen," he said. It's somewhat ironic that both trainer and owner hadn't given much consideration to the Hambletonian. As a matter of fact they hadn't given much consideration to staking the horse as a three-year-old. "He's really not in very much," said Goldberg. "It can get very expensive to stake a three-year-old. I don't want an owner to spend $20,000 staking a horse that hasn't shown that much," Smedshammer said. Yet surprisingly the trainer managed to keep Royal Ice eligible to one major race. "I had to talk him into keeping him eligible for the Hambletonian, but it's not as expensive as some of the other races," the trainer said. For Goldberg purchasing the colt for $70,000 as a yearling was not a surprise. "Barry (Goldstein) and I raced his dam The Ice Queen and this was her first foal by a great horse: Muscle Hill, said Goldberg. "Geoff Stein and David Reid bred the colt." What appears paramount to both Goldberg and Smedshammer on Saturday is not to do anything that would hinder the development of the colt. He's stepping up in class in a major way and even the trainer is not blown away by his final time in last week's race. "They are going much faster and I don't take much stock in that. I like the fact that he's a horse that's very willing and wants to go," said Smedshammer. Ron Pierce gets the assignment on Saturday with Gingras committed to Hambletonian favorite Father Patrick. "I think Ron's a good choice," said Smedshammer, "He's not afraid of the moment." Smedshammer's Arch Madness landed post three in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Saturday and the ten-year-old. "Brian (Sears) wanted to leave with him in the eliminations but then he had to take him off when others left," said Smedshammer, "That wasn't good for the horse but he fought back late." The wins have not come as often this year for Arch Madness, but his owner hasn't lost faith. "He's still going the same kind of miles he's always gone but it seems the other horses are going faster," said Goldberg. The owner is excited to come out to the Meadowlands on Saturday to watch his favorite horse compete win, lose or draw. As for his new kid on the block Goldberg sounded as if he would do whatever it takes to see Royal Ice race against the best if he's up to it. "We put up $62,500 to supplement Arch Madness to the Breeders Crown against an undefeated horse," the owner reminded. That gamble paid off rather well when Arch Madness defeated Donato Hanover in the Breeders Crown sophomore trot at the Meadowlands in 2007. Seven years later Arch Madness is still going strong and will join his three-year-old stablemate Royal Ice on the big stage Saturday. by Jay Bergman, for the Hambletonian Notes Team  

Champion juvenile Follow The Stars has had to bow to stablemate Linda Lovegrace in their final public outing before heading to Australia for the Breeders Crown. And their trainer Mark Purdon wasn’t surprised. The pair have A$650,000 worth of ABC races ahead of them in the next month and warmed up for their trip to Victoria by finishing only a nose apart at the Ashburton trials on Tuesday. The fact the filly could even keep up with Follow The Stars, who has looked freakish this juvenile season, might surprise some but Purdon says Linda Lovegrace has been a huge improver. “She is definitely a better filly now than say Jewels time,” said Purdon. “She is the one from our team that has really gone on in leaps and bounds.”
 Purdon is also happy with Follow The Stars, who hasn’t raced since being knocked out of the Jewels, his only defeat. Both juveniles won their ABC heats at Addington in walkovers. They will fly out to Melbourne next week with Follow The Stars likely to race in Victoria before the pair contests ABC semi-finals at Ballarat on August 16. They will be joined in Purdon’s care by Arya, Kept Under Wraps and Iceobar, but Vicbred Final-winning three-year-old Messini may stay with ex-pat trainer Brent Lilley, who has been looking after most of Purdon’s Victorian team in the last month. Lilley trained Kept Under Wraps to beat Australia’s best juvenile Birdy Mach in an ABC heat at Shepparton on Tuesday night, suggesting Purdon may have the two favourites for the juvenile division. Purdon says his main NZ Cup hopes Smolda and Adore Me look great, with Smolda only a month away for the trials whereas Adore Me, because she raced later into the season, will not start until October. By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)

A fluke is defined as “an unlikely chance occurrence, especially a surprising piece of luck”. So one could mount an argument that to pinch a win over a highly rated opponent in horse racing is a fluke, but to do it twice in two starts? Not so much. Kept Under Wraps is no longer the hunter in his mini-rivalry against Birdy Mach – he has to be hunted by virtue of his two-from-two record against the highly rated New South Welsh colt. The colt by Bettors Delight in the care of Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took out the 11th heat of the American Ideal @ Woodlands Breeders Crown Series for two-year-old colts and geldings at Shepparton last night with a blistering fourth quarter of 26.8 seconds. Birdy Mach ($1.50) and reinsman Luke McCarthy pinged off the arm to find the lead early from the 2190-metre start with Kept Under Wraps ($2.70) straight on to his back for in-form Greg Sugars. Kate Gath took the third favourite Burnaholeinmypocket ($13.60) to the breeze from gate seven, the trio jogtrotting through the middle stages of the race to make it near impossible for the backmarkers to make late ground. With a third quarter of 30.5 seconds after earlier splits of 31.4 and 32.1 it was always going to be hard to topple Birdy Mach in the straight, but once Kept Under Wraps gained  the sprint lane in the home stretch his withering burst of speed carried him over the line first. The final margin of a half-head was closer than when Kept Under Wraps defeated Birdy Mach in the Tatlow Stakes (1.1m) the start prior. Burnaholeinmypocket battled on gamely for third. Lilley admitted Birdy Mach might still be a little bit green and said that horse lacked nothing in the ability stakes before heaping praise on his fella. “Last night to come home with a really quick last quarter like that was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “He’s really come along nicely in the time I’ve had him down here.” Lilley said leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon was likely to take Kept Under Wraps and Messini, who Lilley has also enjoyed immense success with of late, back for the Breeders Crown semi-finals and finals next month. “I’ve definitely enjoyed having them here, that’s for sure,” Lilley said. Lilley used to work for Purdon in New Zealand before starting his own training operation at Kaiapoi, near Christchurch. “The relationship with Mark goes back a long way,” Lilley said. “I worked for him when he started out about 15 years ago, then I went out on my own and I’d work a fair few horses on the beach. “Mark would send some down to me that were suited to beach work and he actually sent me a really good horse in Cool Hand Luke (16 wins from 36 starts).” Lilley puts the polish on Messini tomorrow night at Bendigo in heat nine of the Roll With Joe Breeders Crown three-year-old colts geldings series. Messini has won four races on the trot – including an 8.8m success in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final two starts back. Meanwhile, Scott Stewart trained-and-driven Its Just Kenny made it two wins from two starts with a 3.4m win in the 10th heat of the two-year-old males’ Breeders Crown series last night, the Kenneth J gelding going 1:59.8 to defeat Mojo Major by 3.4m. The other heat winner was Show Me The Bling, who defeated Mach Doro by 1.4m in a fast rate of 1:58.4 (last half 56.9). Show Me The Bling is trained by David Aiken and was steered by Nathan Jack. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Of the three two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown heat wins at Ballarat on Saturday night, Niki No No’s was the most resounding. The Kari Males trained filly’s fifth win from seven starts assured her a spot in the Breeders Crown semi-finals at Ballarat next month – and the fact she shaved 1.5 seconds off Ballarat’s age record showed she’s the real deal. Niki No No’s winning mile rate of 1:57.5 was 3.5 seconds quicker than Big Lucy’s heat victory in Race 3 and 3.6 seconds slicker than Soho Tokyo’s in the last race. Greg Sugars took Niki No No ($1.90 race favourite) straight to the lead from gate two, while John Caldow sent the second-favourite, Smooth Showgirl, to the spot outside the leader. Niki No No kept her rivals chasing throughout the 2200m journey, punching out sectional times of 29.9, 29.9, 29.5 and 28.9 on her way to a 1.5m win over Missed By Red. The recent win of New Zealand pacer Katy Perry in the Tatlow Stakes didn’t bode well for the Australian brigade of two-year-old fillies, as the filly named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars is one of three very talented – and evenly matched – Kiwi horses heading Down Under in pursuit of the two-year-old girls’ Crown. The other two are Joanne’s A Delight and Supersonic Miss. But as one of Niki No No’s owners, Rob Auber, told me last week. “We know we’ve got a pretty serious racehorse ... we’re certainly not running scared”. And Saturday night’s win certainly cemented Auber’s view. “Nothing’s changed,” he said on Monday morning. “She broke the age track record by 1.5 seconds. We’re thrilled with how she’s going. “She’ll have a freshen-up now and then we’ll head to the semi-final.” By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

There is waiting a long-time between drinks and then there is dying of thirst and Tim Trathen probably came close to later. But if he continues to drive his promising trotter Summer Vacation and drives him in the way he did at Rangiora on Sunday he probably won’t have to wait another ten years before driving his next winner. The popular farrier trained a winner earlier in the season and one back in 2011 but on Sunday it was the first time Trathen had driven a winner since 2004. Sent straight to the front by Trathen, Summer Vacation was allowed to dictate terms in front before sprinting strongly in the straight to hold off the talented Commander Paris. He came his last half in 59.8 and his last quarter in 29.2 to hold on for a game win. By Dream Vacation out of five win mare In Command, Summer Vacation is a close relation to top race mare Meniscus. He was now had six starts for a win and a further three placings and has been driven by Trathen on each of those six occasions. Trathen has now trained 15 winners and driven 26 (since 1986) but is more widely known for his work as a blacksmith and a breaker. He did the early educating of Jewels winner Cowgirls N Indians before selling his share in the boom filly. Meanwhile, Madiba Magic broke the track record at Rangiora for a 2000 metre mobile when pacing the distance in a slick 2-24.8. Driven by Sam Ottley, the erratic Christian Cullen four-year-old was kept back from the gate early before lobbing the one-one. He then unleashed a powerful sprint in the home straight to overhaul stablemate Lumos and favourite Explosive Art. Madiba Magic is out of superstar Washington VC mare Foreal, who notched up a double for the weekend. Her smart Art Major two-year-old son Field Marshal was an impressive winner at Cambridge on Thursday and will now head to Australia for the Breeders Crown. By Mitchell Robertson

Two of the better two year olds from the current harness racing season in Kept Under Wraps 1:57.1 ($81,903) and Birdy Mac 1:53.8 ($15,855) fought out a thrilling finish to the Tatlow Stakes for two year old colts and geldings at Tabcorp Park at Melton recently. It was a great race between two very talented horses with the ring craft of Kept Under Wraps helping him just overcome the raw talent of Birdy Mach. The racing public haven't had to wait long for the rematch with both horses lining up in the same  Breeders Crown heat  for two year old colts and geldings at Shepparton tomorrow night Tuesday the 29th of July. The Brent Lilley trained Kept Under Wraps has drawn the ace on the front line which will give driver Greg Sugars plenty of options with Birdy Mac also drawn well at four on the front line. Driver Luke McCarthy may try to use Birdy Mac's gate speed to grab the front so there could be plenty of fireworks early on. However it plays out both of these lovely two year olds should progress to the Breeders Crown semis and final where they will come up against the likes of Follow The Stars 1:53.8 ($272,010). Both Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac have the breeding to match their performance. Kept Under Wraps was brought out of the Sydney leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sales last year for just $18,000 by Kiwi trainer, Mark Purdon. A son of champion sire Bettors Delight, Kept Under Wraps is from a half sister to Genuine Number 1:53.6 ($190,112). The grand dam Classic Figure is a full sister to Saab 1:57.1 ($577,197)  Talladega 1:57.8 ($411,680) and Saabella 1:59.2 ($205,745) while the third dam is none other than the former Australian Broodmare Of the Year in Soky's Number. Birdy Mac was bred by one of Australia's leading  breeders in Robert Watson from Western Australia. A son of outstanding sire Mach Three, Birdy Mac is from the young Art Major mare in Pixel Perfect. The dam is a half sister to the former outstanding pacer in Village Gem 1:52.1 ($587,403) and a full sister to the smart Manellina 1:56.9 ($97,625). Both of these very smart two year olds look to have big futures ahead of them and tomorrows night clash should be the first of many over the next few years. Kept Under Wraps and Birdy Mac in the Tatlow Harnesslink media    

Junior harness racing reinsman Matt Anderson got his All Stars career away to the best possible start when guiding juvenile pacer Bettor With Bourbon to victory at Rangiora today. In what was his first ever drive for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Anderson sent the Bettor's Delight two-year-old to the front from barrier three before taking a trail behind favourite Western Art. He then looked flat down the back straight but under the urgings of Anderson he picked up the bit again and finished strongly along the passing lane to down Western Art by half of a length. Livura finished a further length and a half away in third. Anderson, who only started work with All Stars a fortnight ago, took up a spot with the country's leading stable after an opening appeared as a worker and junior driver earlier this month when Purdon's sons Nathan and Michael headed away on their big OE. With the encouragement of mate Nathan, Anderson was quick to, not only take up that opening, but also notch up his first winner in the bullet proof colours. Anderson, 22, returned home to Canterbury to take up the position after spending six months in the North Island working for Purdon’s brother-in-law, leading trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Anderson said that he had learned a lot from Herlihy and had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North but he had struggled for drives during his six month stint. "I was stoked to get a good opportunity for All Stars so soon after joining the stable and was pleased that I didn't let them down," beamed Anderson post-race. "Hopefully it is the first on many for the stable." "I am really enjoying working for Mark and Natalie," he added. "They have phenomenal team around them and putting on the colours certainly gives you a lot of confidence." Anderson, who looks a natural in the sulky, does not come from a racing background but gained earlier experience in harness racing through Canterbury trainers Dean Taylor and Robbie Holmes. Matt, who won his first race aboard the Robbie Holmes trained Highview Ember at Rangiora back in August of last year, has now won seven races from just 57 drives. *Bettor With Bourbon was All Stars 21st individual two-year-old winner this season. Their 20th was Big Lucy, who was successful in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat on Saturday night. By Mitchell Robertson

Luck plays a big part in harness racing. After two runs in New Zealand where she had absolutely no luck at all, Big Lucy showed tonight (26th July) in the Breeders Crown 2 year old filly heat at Ballarat why trainer Mark Purdon holds her in such high regard. After trialing outstandingly in Canterbury prior to her debut, Big Lucy was backed off the board in her first two starts in New Zealand but had no luck in the running on either occasion. But Mark Purdon knew her potential and even after those two runs, Big Lucy was on the plane to Melbourne for the Breeders Crown series. Drawing on the second line in tonights (Saturday 26th July) Breeders Crown heat, driver Chris Alford sent Big Lucy forward early when the favourite Luvumum went rough going into the first bend. Finding the front after 500 meters, Chris Alford let Big Lucy amble through to the 800 meters mark from where he upped the tempo. Big Lucy never looked out of second gear from there, cruising home a comfortable winner. Big Lucy paced the 2200 meters in 2:45.5, a mile rate of 2:01  with closing sectionals of 58.3 and 28.1. Big Lucy is yet another Australian bred horse to win for the All Stars barn this season. Bought out of the Sydney leg of the Australian Pacing Gold sale last year for $20,000, Big Lucy is from the family imported into New Zealand from North America by Nevele R Stud. She is by noted filly sire Badlands Hanover from the McArdle mare Halcyon Franco and is her dams first foal. The grand dam is Huntress Hanover 1:58.2 who is a No Nukes half sister to the champion sire Holmes Hanover. The third dam is the champion Tar Heel mare Hazel Hanover (22 wins) who was 2 year old of her year in North America. It is a noted filly family and Big Lucy looks to have inherited all the family ability. Judging by tonights win, Big Lucy looms as a major threat in the Breeders Crown series. Big Lucy Harnesslink media

Smart three-year-old Sky Major looks right on song for the upcoming Breeders Crown Series in Australia after downing a smart field of older rivals at Alexandra Park last night. The Art Major colt, who was having his first race start since his emphatic victory in the 3YO Emerald division of the Harness Jewels, was driven cold by Zac Butcher, sitting last before moving into the race three wide down the back straight. He then let down strongly in the home stretch to run down Cyamach, who looked home after kicking away at the top of lane. Beyond The Silence finish a further half length away in third after enjoying a nice run in the trail. The Barry Purdon trained star paced the 2200 metre journey in a slick 2:43.3. The official last half was 56.5. However, Sky Major would have gone his last 800 metres a lot quicker as he came from a long way off the pace. The dual Jewels winner, who won a walkover heat of the Breeders’ Crown at Cambridge last week, will now head to Australia to compete in an MO at Melton on the 8th of August before tackling the 3YO Breeders Crown semi finals on August 22. All going well he well then progress through to the rich Group One final on the 30th of August. Cyamach, who was good in second behind the speedy colt, is also likely to head to Australia for the four-year-old male division of the series, while Cambridge winners Field Marshall and Cyclone Kate will also be part of the ever-growing Kiwi contingent heading across the Tasman for the series. Meanwhile, star Australian three-year-old Bling It On, who was thought to be the main danger to Sky Major in the ABC 3yo colts and geldings division, suffered a shock loss to Kiwi export Alleluia in a two horse heat of the Breeders Crown at Albion Park last night and will now head to repechage on the 13th of August. After sitting second while Alleluia set a leisurely pace in front, driver Bart Cockburn set Bling It On a light at the 700 metres. The pair then eyeballed each other until the bend, but it was Alleluia who showed more dash in the straight, sprinting away for a 6 metre win. Alleluia paced his last 800 metres in a sizzling 54.8 with a final quarter of 26.3. Driver Bart Cockburn was questioned regarding his driving tactics on Bling It On when allowing Grant Dixon to go through the first half of the last mile in 68 seconds. Under rule 149 (1) he was suspended for a period of eight weeks. By Mitchell Robertson

Kari Males hopes to quality two fillies for the Breeders Crown semi-finals at tonight’s Ballarat harness racing meeting. Males will put the harness on Bella Sainz in the seventh heat of the two-year-old fillies' division of the Crown (Race 3 at Ballarat) and last-start Vicbred Super Series final winner Niki No No in heat eight (Race 6 on the card). Despite their obvious form differences – one being a Group 1 winner and the other boasting just one placing at Shepparton in three goes to date – Males said the two fillies worked similarly at home. “Bella Sainz is Bellas Delight’s half-sister and we’ve got a pretty good opinion of her,” Males said. “She was possibly the best one early in the piece, but obviously Niki No No has shown what she’s capable of while Bella Sainz has just taken a bit more time. “Her work at home is every bit as good as Niki No No.” Greg Sugars will drive both runners and Males is thrilled with both horses’ gate draws – both drawn gate two in their respective heats. Males said she deliberately bypassed the Tatlow Stakes with Niki No No to concentrate solely on the Breeders Crown series. “We tossed up the Tatlow and in the end decided to just focus on the Breeders Crown,” she said. “She’s gone absolutely above and beyond what we initially expected early in the piece. “Her semi-final was very gutsy. We learnt a lot about her and what she’s capable of in the Vicbred series.” Males feels Niki No No has drawn the strongest heat tomorrow night, coming up against Belinda McCarthy-trained Smooth Showgirl. “She’s probably drawn the strongest of the heats and we know it’s not going to be an easy race. But if we don’t win it then there’s always the repechages,” Males said. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria Related Links Fields for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014 Form guide for Ballarat, Saturday 26 July 2014

Trainer Jim Raymer hasn't gotten where he is today in the Standardbred sport by not understanding the competition. For Raymer, who entered two in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks on August 2 at the Meadowlands, it's been a long and well thought out process. Raymer's Harley Momma and Nitro Nittany are not exactly household names in a field that includes world champions Designed To Be, Shake It Cerry and Cooler Schooner, but he's been planning this destination for a long time and believes he's got a chance. "I think my fillies are capable of trotting in 1:52 or a little better," said Raymer. "I think it was a good thing that Harley Momma has been sidelined because she didn't have to run into those 1:52 miles in Pennsylvania." The trainer is hopeful that in the long run his fillies will prosper, not necessarily because they are faster than the competition, but because they will hold up better late in the year with less wear and tear. "I don't think there are more than one or two 1:52 miles in these fillies," Raymer said, referring to the competition. "At least I'm hoping there aren't." Raymer's long term outlook could be as a direct result of circumstances that befell his filly Harley Momma, who suffered quarter cracks on both of her front feet in mid-May of this season. Raymer had her slated to race in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event but reconsidered. "I probably could have raced her but I thought it would be better if I gave her time to heal," he said. Harley Momma had just captured a $74,132 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia in 1:54.2, defeating the very good Take The Money, but Raymer thought about the future of his filly and deferred. Unfortunately it took a little longer than desired for Harley Momma to recover. That left the trainer with less time to prepare her for the Hambletonian Oaks, the biggest race of the year for 3-year-old trotting fillies. "I was hoping there would be eliminations. That qualifier (last Saturday at the Meadowlands) against Cooler Schooner wasn't what I wanted. My filly was so far behind that filly that she didn't know what to do," Raymer said of the daughter of SJ's Caviar, a $30,000 purchase by the Harbor Racing Stable. Harley Momma was beaten nearly a dozen lengths by Cooler Schooner in the qualifier, timed in 1:55.2. While Harley Momma was sidelined, the Raymer stable enjoyed success with Nitro Nittany. The $22,000 yearling purchase has seen her career bankroll swell this season thanks to some careful strategic planning. "I took her out of the sire stakes and raced in the stallion stakes," Raymer offered. "I didn't want to go up against those good fillies. Nitro Nittany won a $99,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on May 17 at the Meadows before a sabbatical, finishing on the board in six of her eight starts while racing at Tioga, The Meadowlands and Pocono, avoiding the top class fillies. She has career earnings of $154,490. What concerns Raymer now is whether his fillies have the mile-track conditioning required to be at their best on Hambletonian Oaks Saturday. "The Meadowlands is different," he said, "They have to get acclimated to the speed they go at least one start." With his fillies racing primarily on five-eighths mile tracks with stops and starts, while the pace of races at the Meadowlands is constant. Fortunately for Raymer, although eliminations weren't necessary for the Oaks with just 11 fillies entered, a prep race was carded on Saturday at the Meadowlands. This will afford both his fillies the opportunity to get acclimated to the speed required. For Harley Momma it will be her first competitive start in more than 10 weeks. Prior to her absence she had captured three of her four races as a sophomore with earnings of $51,066 this season. "I was impressed with her last two starts," Raymer said. Harley Momma scored back-to-back victories in 1:54.2 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono in late April and at Harrah's Philadelphia in early May. For some it's all about winning the Hambletonian Oaks, for Raymer and his solid fillies, the outlook is a bit longer. "I think we'll be competitive," he said. "Both fillies are eligible to the Breeders Crown (at the Meadowlands, November 21 and 22) and we'd like to make that." by Hambletonian Society Notes Team  

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

1 to 16 of 780
1 2 3 4 5 Next »