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Will he or won't he? It's the question many are asking about Reactor Now's ability to measure up to metropolitan grade racing. And if you ask one of the men that knows him best, you'll get a pretty confident answer. Top driver Josh Aiken has partnered his father David's horse in its last seven-straight triumphs, which have come at Shepparton, Kilmore and Bendigo. He's been breaking the clock and winning by good margins, but now comes his biggest test since joining the Aiken stable from Michelle Wight's team last year. "You see it so often. Horses fly through their grades and they hit their mark once they get to that metro level," Josh Aiken said. "He definitely feels like the horse that is going to go on with the job. "He's blessed with a stack of gate speed, he's very tough, he's got good high-end speed and I think he's going to be a versatile horse going forward. "He's got all the right ingredients to take that next step and be a really serious horse. You live in hope as a trainer and a driver so you just hope that it happens. "I'd back him to say that he's going to take that next step and be a genuine country cups contender come summer." Reactor Now, who has won nine of 12 career races, will come from the back row in Saturday night's COGS Regional Challenge Pace Final (1720m, NR 70-79). His main rival looks to be the in-form Eureka, who has drawn in barrier four. "It's an interesting race," Aiken said. "I can probably see a situation where Streitkid crosses early and Eureka comes across and finds the running line, and hopefully I can follow Bullys Delight through and lob in a pretty handy spot, whether that's one-out one back or one-out two back. "I think it will be a pretty fast mile rate. I think it will be a good race." Aiken will be looking to Reactor Now to become one of the pin-up boys of the stable with news top-line pacers Leonidas, Bringitonhome and Ideal Star are all off to the United States on Monday to race abroad. Both Leonidas and Bringitonhome had been engaged to race at Melton, but have been scratched from their respective races due to imminent flights. Aiken said he was looking forward to his first trip back to Victorian harness racing headquarters on Saturday night. It will be the first Saturday evening program since the move away from regional racing, which started back in early April. As well as Reactor Now, Aiken will also partner Sassy Pants in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-79). TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden tackle the Tabcorp Park Melton card on SENTrack from 5.30-9.30pm on 1593AM in Melbourne, 1539AM in Sydney, 657AM in Perth, 801AM in Gosford, 96.9FM in Ingham, 99.1FM in Atherton and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Tabcorp Park Melton, R4 N5, Ride High The outstanding pacer is on the comeback trail and appeared to be very sharp at his trial victory. He has only suffered defeat once in eleven starts to date but he has only raced twice since winning the Breeders Crown in 2018 with his latest performance being in December. He pushed forward to find the lead and dominated the trial. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R5 N6, Wobelee Put in a slashing trial performance to finish second. He settled down last of the four runners, moved away from the inside on the home turn and flew home late in a slick final half of 56.0 seconds. REPORT & REPLAY     HRV - Tim O'Connor

If paying tribute to a loved one can be achieved on the racetrack, then Kate Gath's stunning four-peat at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night was the perfect way to honour her late grandfather John Tee. Tee, 81, passed away on Friday after a long-running health battle and Gath was able to say goodbye with a brilliant night in the sulky at Victorian harness racing headquarters. The usually reserved Gath gave a salute to the heavens when she crossed the line first behind Arden Voyager, which made it three wins in succession by taking out the DNR Logistics East Versus West Pace. She then followed up with victory behind Plan Ce, who is trained by her father Peter Thompson and raced in family interests. Further success with stars Eureka and McLovin completed a treble for her husband Andy and capped off a huge night at the office. "(Pop) was always a person to acknowledge birthdays and stuff, so he'd always go to the racecaller who was calling and say it's so-and-sos birthday and it used to drive me mad," Gath laughed. "I hope he was watching because I think he would have been really happy that he was acknowledged in that way and with the connection we both had with the horses, it just seemed fitting really to be able to do that." Gath has fond memories of Tee, who spent more than 30 years at the Port Pirie Smelter where he worked as a leading handler of the concentrate storage bins. While it was more of a hobby and passion, Tee also had a rich history in racing both as a standardbred trainer and racecaller of all codes. He broadcast Gath's first career triumph in the sulky all the way back in 2000 with Rxplore at Whyalla, and was able to share the joy of training a horse his granddaughter was able to steer to victory. "I got home (on Saturday night) and I had like a million messages on my phone. Even from people that you forget that knew pop - everyone nearly knew him from harness racing. Even people like Lance Justice, because they were originally from South Australia, and people like Geoff Webster. "I forgot how well known he was and the amazing life that he had and career that he had as well. In harness racing, in calling racing in general. He loved the gallopers." While Gath stole the show in the gig, the performance of Anton Golino-trained squaregaiter Imsettogo was the most impressive by a horse on the night. After galloping before the start and giving her rivals a huge advantage, the four-year-old mare eventually caught the field and then managed to charge clear in the home straight to win by nearly 20m. Racing returns to Melton on Wednesday night.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

On a night when superstar pacer Ride High stole the headlines for his breathtaking return to racing, it could be easy to forget the return of Savannah Jay Jay to the winner's list at Tabcorp Park Melton. The evergreen nine-year-old showed he will be a major player in upcoming feature races after registering his first success since May 2019 in the Woodlands Stud Trot (2240m, NR 70-120). Given a perfect drive by reinsman James Herbertson, Savannah Jay Jay tracked long odds-on favourite McLovin for much of the trip and then outgunned him in the home straight. "It's super to have him back," Herbertson said. "It was all super at the end of his last campaign and then got a bit of bad news that he'd got a couple of injuries. He's always had bad feet, (Invermay-based trainer) Stan (Cameron) said, and I thought the run had finished, but tonight the old Savannah Jay Jay ... I think he's back." Herbertson and Cameron teamed up to win their first Group 1 race with Savannah Jay Jay in the 2019 Australasian Trotting Championship and Saturday night was just the second time since that the trio had joined forces. Herbertson had been unable to keep the drive on the horse through the early stages of the regional racing model. "It was just super to be able to get back on him," he said. "We've had such a good run and hopefully it hasn't finished. Tonight has given me a big buzz. To win on him again, it means a lot." Just over half an hour later, the return of Ride High didn't disappoint. In fact, the Clayton Tonkin-trained gun's comeback would have exceeded the expectation of most. Kima Frenning had been nervous about her first drive behind the five-year-old, but barely had a moment to worry as the son of Art Major strolled home to win the Vale Rod Osborne Pace (1720m, NR 90-120) by nearly 30m. Tonkin's partner Emma Stewart had declared the horse the best in Australia when fully fit and that statement looks hard to argue based on Saturday night's display. Ride High reeled off a blistering 1:51:6 mile rate, including final quarters of 26.9 and 25.8. Stewart said the horse would be raced sparingly in the lead-up to some of the big feature races, including the Victoria Cup in October. "He'll keep ticking along and stay in work and we'll probably just pick races here and there for him," Stewart said. In an ominous sign for future rivals, Stewart believes there's still "a fair bit" of improvement to come with Ride High, who has now won 11 of 12 career starts. "There's definitely improvement there and to do what he did tonight is just a huge achievement, not only for the horse but for Clayton in getting him to perform so well... he's done a terrific job," she said. It was announced last week that the 2020 Victoria Cup will carry $300,000 in prizemoney, as will the 2021 Great Southern Star for the elite level trotters such as Savannah Jay Jay.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

It was party time for the Nicholson team on Friday night after Bullys Delight returned to racing with a long-odds success at Tabcorp Park Melton. The five-year-old hadn't been seen at the races or the trials since April, but proved he was good to go with a sprint lane victory in the DNR Logistics Pace (1720m, NR 70-77). The horse was given a great drive by Rhys Nicholson - the son of trainer John - who found the early lead and then handed up to Pradason, who he collared in the run to the line. "Thirty-to-one, when we get a winner like that, you know there is a party isn't there? Dad had him spot on and he showed it tonight," Rhys Nicholson said. "He has had a lot of groundwork, the horse. He's been off the place, had a couple of hobbles and Dad has just taken his time. "He said he was ready, I said next week. Obviously the old boy is still right and I'm wrong. He proved it again." Trained in Mt Cottrell, Bullys Delight has now scored eight wins from 48 career runs for more than $60,000 in prizemoney. While there was only one winner, it was a good night for the whole Nicholson team. Stablemates Smart Little Shard and Its Back In The Day both turned in impressive performances while finishing second and third respectively. Ecklin South's Matt Craven took training and driving honours on Friday evening for his winning double. In-form young trotter Pink Galahs made it three wins in succession this preparation by taking out the Alderbaran Park Trot (1720m, NR 61-74) narrowly over stablemate Gus An Maori, before Miss What Usain broke a run of narrow defeats to claim victory in the Catanach's Jewellers Pace (1720m, mares NR 55-66).                                                                                              --Stuart McCormick photo Later in the card, Grant Campbell-trained Glenavril King continued his super sequence of form since arriving at the Great Western stable with a fifth win from six starts. Driver Kerryn Manning had to get busy on the four-year-old a long way from home, but he responded to score a convincing triumph in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, 4YO and older). "He's quite a lazy horse and you've got to make him do everything and tonight he had an open bridle for the first time," Manning explained. "He was looking at everything. He was looking at the people on the inside down the back and half wanting to pull up and there was nothing near him either. If something (comes) near him, he sort of gets up on the bit a bit. He was very lazy and I had to keep reminding him to concentrate." Glenavril King was trained by Barry Dunn up until April this year, but had only won two of 19 starts. Racing returns to Melton on Saturday night. CLICK BELOW TO HEAR FROM FRIDAY NIGHT'S WINNING DRIVERS:   HRV - Tim O'Connor

It's a formidable partnership on paper and the Emmett and Richard Brosnan team is hoping to build into a successful force out of their new base in Meredith. Richard, a semi-retired champion trainer/driver from New Zealand, moved to Australia to be closer to his children and taken up a co-licence with his son, who has gone alone after a decade-long grounding with Geoff Webster in Bannockburn. It's only a part-time venture at this stage for Emmett, who works full-time as an equine sports therapist, but it's one that has been enjoyable since moving to the new property at the start of the year. "It's really a two-way street. Dad's brought horses over and they wanted to scale down a little bit and I wanted to have a few extra ones so we took a partnership. It's been working really well," Emmett said. "We kind of met in the middle." Emmett said he had originally just trained some of his own horses out of Webster's stables, but had decided it was time to expand. "It basically just got to a point where I had to make a decision ... if I just kept one or two horses and had horses at Geoff's place and continued as I was going or whether I started growing it a little bit more, which, obviously at that point, you need your own space," he said. "I am pleased I made the move, but at the same time it's really early days. At the moment it's a really basic set-up and we are just working hard to get it to a point where it's fully operational. It's a pretty low-key set-up right at the moment, but the horses are still training good off the property." The team fancies its chances tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton with one of the few horses to have connections outside the family. That is Betta Bopper, who is raced by the Ballarat and District Trotting Club Standardbred Group. The daughter of Betterthancheddar has drawn the outside barrier in the small field of six, which will contest the Catanach's Jewellers Pace (1720m, mares NR 55-66). The Melton circuit is one that Betta Bopper enjoys, with two of her four career wins having come at the venue. "I actually think she's right in it," Emmett said. "She does race really good at Melton and does have good closing speed and finishes off her races well. If they do run it along, she'll be right there." Once again, it's a seven-race card at Victorian harness racing headquarters this evening, with the first event set to go at 5.37pm. ALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Tabcorp Park Melton, R2 N2, Majestic Dream CASH LOVER came out of the gate quickly and took cover behind MAJESTIC DREAM. That pair were able to dominate the trial thereafter with CASH LOVER running down MAJESTIC DREAM right on the line. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R2 N7, Success Counts Trailed the leader DOUG in a slowly run trial and sprinted sharply at the end to win comfortably in what was just a 200m dash up the straight. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R3 N1, Keayang Shady Hasn’t raced since a victory at St Arnaud in November and was able to defeat VETNESS by three metres. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R6 N4, The Hervey Bay Raced without cover and was able slot onto the back of the leader FRIENDS at the mile marker. He came away from the inside on the home turn and got up to defeat FRIENDS in the run to the finish. REPORT   HRV - Tim O'Connor

High quality mare Imsettogo was back on her best behaviour and returned to winning ways in impressive fashion on Friday night. The Anton Golino-trained squaregaiter blew her chances of a fourth-successive victory on May 30 by galloping at the start, but got it all right six days later to take out the Pridmore Electrics Trot (2240m, NR 56-69). The win at Tabcorp Park Melton was the horse's fifth since mid-February and lifted the daughter of Used To Me's prizemoney over $60,000. Driver Darby McGuigan said he had lots of confidence in the mare despite her error at the same track a week earlier. "I think she just tried to go a bit too fast," McGuigan said of the mistake. "There was a line of about five or six of us off the front all wanting to go forward and just as everything has come out with her, she has gone to take that stride too much and jumped up in the air. "It was a bit of a shame because I thought she would have won last week as well. She made up so much ground on the main group and I thought with that run she'd go pretty close tonight as well." McGuigan said he approached the start differently on Friday night. "I just sort of held onto her a bit more. Anton wanted to go back because she is a fiery mare, so if he keeps heading her off the arm she is only going to go one way," he said. "So I was just happy to keep hold of her tonight and go back and just let her hit the line." The Melton card was dominated by husband/wife team Andy and Kate Gath, which combined for a successful treble. Ragnarr broke through for his first win since March and Arden Voyager continued his devastating front-running form with a second successive triumph before Chief Runningcloud ($53.60) blew most out of the quaddie with a stunning long-odds victory in the last race of the night. The son of Lawman hadn't won since December last year and ran last at his most recent try at Melton, but turned it all around with a barnstorming finish in the Niota Bloodstock Trot (1720m, NR 70-120). Sammy Showdown beat Chief Runningcloud by nearly 40m at their most recent battle, but had no answers for the five-year-old when he surged home in the straight. "Rapt that he is back," driver Kate Gath said. "His first-up run was too bad to be true and this week he probably worked the best he has this time in. "It was a terrific win tonight and I'm so happy for the owners. Peter Goudie and David Goudie and everyone else. Dave has got a lot of important friends in this horse and I'm rapt to win for them." Greg Sugars produced drive of the night with the in-form Little Peanut, which weaved through the field from near last to win the Hyland Racing Colours Pace (1720m, NR 90-120).   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Kerryn Manning's long-awaited return to Victorian harness racing headquarters was a successful one last weekend, but it wasn't necessarily the triumphs on the racetrack that gave her the biggest thrill. Manning drove a winner and trained another at Tabcorp Park Melton and treated herself to a long-awaited feast of Maccas on the way home to Great Western. "My most exciting part was getting McDonald's on the way home because I hadn't had it for a couple of months," Manning said. "It was good. I was very hungry by then. I was definitely thinking about it half-way through the night when I was starving." With the state's racing regions partially opening, Manning will be back at Melton this evening with exciting duo The Bull Pen and Rupert Of Lincoln. And as far as racing tendencies go, the pair couldn't be any more different. A recent stable acquisition, The Bull Pen has been pulling hard and over-working in his races while Rupert Of Lincoln is described as a "lazy" customer by his trainer. A former New Zealander, The Bull Pen broke through for his first Australian win at Stawell on May 28 and now sets his sights on the Allied Express Pace (1720m, NR 62-69) at Melton. Manning said she had switched to an open bridle for the son of Tintin In America and hoped that would help him remain calm during the early and middle stages of the race. "Hopefully he'll settle a little bit better and relax in the run a little bit," she said. "He worked good in it but he's good at home so it's hard to tell." Manning said she was unsure if the gelding had the speed to cross the field from barrier six. "He feels quite good and he was still a little bit fat that second run (May 28) so hopefully he has tightened up a little bit more and got a bit fitter," she said. "It's a little bit stronger field (than Stawell) and he's drawn slightly awkward again. I'm not sure what the plan will be at the start - it depends on him a little bit. "He does run on good from behind here at home, so if he did settle back he would still run on well I'd think." Owned by the Butterworth family, The Bull Pen had 37 starts in New Zealand before being sent to Manning's stables following his last race at Alexandra Park in August last year. Stablemate Rupert Of Lincoln was a country cups campaigner last preparation and returned from a spell in winning fashion at Terang on May 24. "He's the opposite of the other one. He's very relaxed and you've got to make Rupert do everything," Manning said. She said it's likely the son of Lincoln Royal would be sent forward from barrier five in Friday's TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 79-89). "He's drawn a little bit awkward, but he will probably roll forward and see what happens," she said. "He's always been better up the front of the field because he is a bit of a grinder. He's got a lot of stamina and he tries really hard, so he's got good qualities about him." Friday's seven-race card at Tabcorp Park Melton will kick off at 5.22pm, with the last scheduled to go at 8.30pm. TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. The show includes the Friday Good Form panel from noon. Then from 6-10pm it's time to tune back in for Friday Night Trackside featuring Sam Hargreaves and Tim O'Connor. The duo stream on SENTrack (1377AM) for the entire show and SEN1116 (1116AM) from 8-10pm. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Tabcorp Park Melton, R2 N7, Struve Began quickly to find the lead and rolled along at a reasonable tempo before sprinting home quickly in the final stages. He dashed home in a sizzling final quarter of 26.9 seconds and scored by a large margin. REPORT Tabcorp Park Melton, R7 N4, Egee Money Settled last of the three runners before moving away from the inside at the 300m. She finished off well to get up and defeat the early leader FORGOT TO REMEMBER. REPORT     HRV - Tim O'Connor

Talented trotting filly Pink Galas helped mark her trainer/driver's long-awaited return to Saturday night racing at Tabcorp Park Melton across the weekend. Matt Craven has been one of the notable absentees from Victorian harness racing headquarters since the region-based model was introduced due to COVID-19 and opened the night's seven-race card with an explosive victory behind the three-year-old squaregaiter. The win in the DNR Logistics Trot (1720m, NR 61-74) made it two on end this preparation for the daughter of Skyvalley, who won at Stawell on resumption earlier this month. Pink Galahs' co-owner Caleb Lewis is married to Laura (nee Healy), who is the daughter of Bryan and granddaughter of Ric. The Healy family bred Maori Miss, the mare who instigated arguably Australia's most famous trotting breeding line, which includes the famed Maori's Idol but also Maori Mia, the great-great granddam of Pink Galahs. "Bryan Healy, who is famous with all the Maori horses, it's great that he's been able to come in on the ownership and he's always looking forward to an update as to how she's going," Craven said. "Early days when we first produced her, he just loved her. It's great to have him on board and involved in the journey. Caleb and Laura are huge supporters of mine." Craven, who is based near Terang, said it was great to be back racing at Melton after such a long period away from the state's premier circuit. "It's good to see a few faces you haven't seen for a while and catch up," he said. "It's our headquarters and this is where we strive to be. Although we are not technically here at a metro meeting, it's Melton on a Saturday night, and going forward it will be good to get back to metro racing. I'm excited about what the summer is going to hold for harness racing. "It's been an unfortunate time, but it could even be a blessing in disguise with a lot of our really good races being pushed back." Pink Galahs has now won six of 11 starts and secured more than $40,000 in prizemoney for connections. Craven has been the talk of the industry during the lockdown period for some of the drone vision that he's been producing for owners. "We've been putting a little bit up on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter," Craven said. "For the owners to see actually what their horses are doing and when they are working in a bunch, working up and down the track or swimming in the pool... it gives them a highlight and it actually helps them be involved with what their horses are doing from day to day." Horses from the former "West" region of the state won the first three races on Saturday night's card before those from the old "Inner West" area claimed the remaining four. Saturday night was the first meeting at Melton since the sport moved to the three-region model across Victoria. Racing returns to Melton on Monday for an eight-event card, starting from 1.42pm. HEAR FROM ALL THE WINNING DRIVERS IN ALL CLEAR:   First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Tabcorp Park Melton today Race 1: Niota Bloodstock 2YO Trotters Handicap N3 Sangreal (2YO Father Patrick filly out of Solar Flash; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The relentless front-running display from Arden Voyager highlighted a stunning Saturday for reinswoman Kate Gath, who snared six winners across the double-header of meetings at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Prepared by Gath's trainer-husband Andy at their Long Forest base, the former New Zealand pacer produced a brilliant all-the-way victory in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 79-89). He ran quarters of 29, 28.9, 28.1 and 28.8 seconds and recorded a of 1:55:2 mile rate on a wet Tabcorp Park Melton track. It was a breathtaking performance from the four-year-old, who has now won three of his past four starts at the circuit. Gath could hardly believe her horse was able to fight off all challengers after working so hard during the early stages of the race. "I haven't had one pull that hard for a while and I just thought in the run that he is pulling himself into the ground," she told Trots Vision. "I was really concerned, but I didn't know he could do that. "It was a really good field and he just shouldn't have been able to hold on against those sort of horses." Watch the race here. Gath said the stable had really liked the son of Somebeachsomewhere when he was purchased as a three-year-old from overseas, but he had gone "off the boil" for a period of time until recapturing his best over the past couple of months. "Obviously now his last three or four runs he's finally showing us what we knew was always there," she said. Arden Voyager's success was one of four for Gath on the Melton night program and followed a double from the morning meeting. Gath's heroics in the sulky came soon after a four-peat at Ballarat last Tuesday night and included the successful return of Group 1-winning trotter McLovin - who took out the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120) - and was another of Andy Gath's four winners for the day. An effortless triumph from Emma Stewart's star pacer Poster Boy was among the highlights on Saturday, as was the big victory by promising Jess Tubbs-trained trotter Overandout. Driver Greg Sugars was almost sent crashing through the outside fence when the four-year-old squargaiter veered abruptly over the concluding stages of the Beraldo Coffee Trot (1720m, 4YO and older) but still managed to prevail by close to 30m. Sugars said he thought the horse had taken exception to something flashing on the semaphore board located on the inside of the track near the winning post. "He is a keen watcher of Trots Vision when he is at home not racing and I think he just wanted to head over to here to where we are now to talk to you Rob," Sugars joked with host Rob Auber during a post-race interview. First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: CPO Cafe Carisbrook 3YO Pace N8 Thump (3YO Village Jolt gelding out of Umi; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Andy Gath is blessed with a couple of the sport's star squaregaiters in his stable and is ready to welcome one of those back to the races tonight, the last of the scheduled morning and night dual meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton. Group 1-winning trotter McLovin will make his first appearance at the track since February and, while he hasn't been sent to the trials to prepare for the first-up assignment, there's plenty of confidence from connections that he can return in winning fashion. The Long Forest-based horseman has opted for the fresh approach with the seven-year-old, who last competed in the Great Southern Star when well beaten by champion stablemate Tornado Valley. "His work has been really strong the last two weeks and I've been really happy with him," Gath told "We could have trialled him but then our theory was that last time we raced him first-up he virtually sat three-wide the whole way and won a Group 1 race (2019 Bill Collins Trotters Sprint). So he does go pretty well fresh and he has had a fair bit of work. "He is well advanced in his preparation. I would expect that he would (win). I know you never just turn up and win - you have still got to earn it - but there is no doubt he is the best performed horse in the race and he can make his own luck. "He is in really good order and we expect a really good performance will be there (tonight)." McLovin was sent to New Zealand for a tilt at the Inter Dominion series late last year, but a mystery illness saw him never compete in the heats. He returned to Australia and had three runs through the early part of the year before being sent out for a break. "He had about two or three weeks off in New Zealand and then I got him back here and had the three runs," Gath said. "He's had six weeks off and now he's back. He never had any injuries, he just got quite sick." McLovin will go around as a short-priced favourite in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120), which comes up during Saturday's evening card at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Gath stable also has Moonlight Dream engaged in the race, while other threats might come from first-up pair Doug and Egee Money for Jess Tubbs and Anton Golino respectively. Saturday will see the third installment of the Melton double-header, with the early morning card kicking off from 8.55am before the second program fires up from 4.49pm. While Gath felt McLovin was clearly his best winning chance on the night, he said Hit The Sky was probably his next best chance at more generous odds in the Benstud Standardbreds Pace (1720m, NR 50-59). TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (morning), R1 N6, SOUNDSOFCASH Has galloped at her two starts to date but she is very handy when she puts it altogether. She settled four back on the inside, moved into the death seat at the bell and put a large gap on the field at the end to win impressively. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (night), R2 N3, FISCAL FANTASY Dropped back to last, was held up badly for a run and when she gained a clear passage DAWNS PEACH was already away for the prize. She came out very wide on the home turn and finished quickly, without being pushed out to the line, for an eye-catching second. REPORT & REPLAY     HRV - Tim O'Connor

Brooke Wilkins introduced herself to Victorian harness racing in the best possible fashion on Saturday night with victory at her very first drive since moving to the state. The former Sydneysider recently joined the powerful Emma Stewart stable and partnered the yard's six-year-old horse Somewhere Secret to an all-the-way victory in the Alabar Pace (1720m, NR 80-89) at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was a memorable triumph for the 22-year-old, who only shifted to Victoria to work for Stewart a few months ago and had rarely been seen in the sulky during recent years. "It was good to start off with a winner. I haven't driven in a race for a long time so it's good to be back," Wilkins said. "It's very special. He's a lovely horse around the stables, he's good to do anything with and it's good to get that win for Emma and Clayton (Tonkin)." Wilkins has a rich harness racing background with her grandfather Bill and father David both having been trainers. Bill was perhaps best known as caretaker of champion pacer Cardigan Bay during his career. Wilkins said she was loving her time in Victoria working for the state's premier training complex. "It's quite an experience driving so many Group 1 winners in one day - it's just crazy," she said. "They've got a great team out there and great horses and it's a really good environment." Somewhere Secret has now won 11 of his 22 career starts for more than $80,000 in prizemoney. Like the previous weekend, racing was conducted at Melton in the morning and then the evening on Saturday. Across the day's 15 races, Stewart collected five winners while Greg Sugars took driving honours with four victories. Another major highlight was the third installment of the Eureka versus Rocknroll Ronnie rivalry. With the ledger sitting at one apiece from their two recent Melton battles, it was Andy Gath-trained Eureka that took a lead in the showdown with a tough win in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (1720m, NR 70-79). "They keep turning the tables on each other and I'm surprised at that time (1:53:7)," driver Kate Gath said. "I think he's tough and tonight we just went around, kept running and thought we would see what happens. We had nothing to lose and he was very good." The success was one of two for Andy Gath on the night after Explicit Castle scored victory in somewhat unusual circumstances. Generally regarded as a key piece of gear for pacers, the hopples were taken off the horse for the DNR Logistics Pace (2240m, 4YO and older) and it helped the horse score his first win since February. For the third weekend in a row, a morning meeting will be held before the regular night card next Saturday as the industry continues its trial of the new early timeslot. TROTS VISION: HEAR FROM SATURDAY NIGHT'S WINNING DRIVERS IN ALL CLEAR First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: Swift Freight Maiden 3YO Pace N3 Magic Smile (3YO Grinfromeartoear gelding out of Cobargo Magic; trainer John McDermott, driver Scott Raines): Fourth foal out of 13-time winning What's Next mare, whose siblings are yet to taste success. N9Jet Jockey (3YO Art Major gelding out of Eilish Mary; trainer Gary Dolandson, driver Jayden Brewin). Four-time winning Exotic Earl mare's most prolific progeny was Regal Ambition, winner of 13 of 146 starts and more than $100,000 in stakes.   HRV - Tim O'Connor  

The last few months have been filled with many firsts for up-and-coming star Connor Clarke and this Saturday will provide yet another. While the young reinsman has had over 30 drives and five winners, the 17-year-old is yet to take on the task of partnering a squaregaiter under race conditions. That will change when he gets in the sulky behind Brian Kiesey-trained Gentleman Sir in the Breckon Farms Trot (2240m, NR 61 to 74) at Tabcorp Park Melton. "I'd like to drive a few more trotters and eventually drive a trotting winner - that's probably my closest goal," Clarke said. "I've driven a few at the trials for Glenn Sharp, but not in a race yet. This is my first race drive on a trotter. "The pacers are a bit more naturally held to their gait so you can swing them a bit more and rush them a bit more and that sort of thing. "Where trotters you have got to be real patient, hold them through their gait and always have a hold of their mouth to keep them more fluent in their gait. Just keeping them trotting is the main thing." Gentleman Sir looks outclassed in the field of six, but it will be a good learning experience for Clarke, who has a great book of drives across the double-header of Melton meetings. The Ross Creek-based youngster feels he is building confidence with more and more exposure to races. "I'm getting more comfortable and confident as I go through the drives," he said. "I'm learning each race and taking it as it comes really." Clarke scored three winners across last weekend's meetings at Tabcorp Park and looks well placed to at least equal that feat again on Saturday. On top of the steer on Gentleman Sir, he has locked in a couple of drives from the powerful Emma Stewart stable, including Firerockfireroll in the early card and Like A Wildfire in the evening program. He will join forces with father Stephen's horses Monsieur Delacour and Miss Mcgonagall, as well as Ted Caruana's Lets Go Better and Allan McDonough's Pradason. And his best of the seven drives? Probably Firerockfireroll. "It's a hard pick, there's a lot of nice chances," Clarke said. "It's a good problem to have, but I reckon Firerockfireroll is my best chance in the last of the day. "They've got a really high opinion back in the camp with him. He's still a little bit green, but he should roll to the top as well and be able to dictate and be too quick for them at the end." The Saturday morning meeting runs from 8.30am to 10.45am, with the evening timeslot between 4.52pm and 8.30pm. TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will guide listeners through the wins, near-misses and opportunities with a Talking Trots on SEN Track double, running from 9-11am and 5.30-9.30pm. Aired on SEN 1116AM and 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong, you can also click here to listen live online and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R1 N1, Act Now Broke at the start and lost approximately 30m, tacked onto the group at the 1100m mark and finished off strongly for second. It was a big performance and he obviously has a promising future. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R1 N4, Sumomentsomewhere Was able to take out the trial by trailing the leader and using the sprint lane. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R7 N8, Pur Dan A smart former New Zealander that is now with trainer Amanda Grieve. He settled last of the five, ran up behind the pack in the straight and went to the line absolutely jogging with no clear run. He is worth following. REPORT & REPLAY BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (NIGHT), R3 N3, Beautiful Woman April 17: Settled behind the leader, moved around to find the front at the 1400m and took cover shortly afterwards. She came to the outside on the home turn and dashed to a big victory. REPORT April 9: Settled three back on the inside and finished on strongly for a game victory. The final sectionals were fast and she is nicely bred so she appears to be very promising. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Emma Stewart scored seven winners at two meetings across 12 hours as Saturday's Tabcorp Park Melton double-header proved a major hit. Talented youngster Beautiful Woman kicked off the brand new morning timeslot with victory for the Cardigan trainer before smart veteran Freddy Funk completed the seven-peat with success in the last event of the night card. There were a host of winners in between for Stewart, but none were as slick as Major Times, who recorded the fastest winning mile rate of the day's 15 races. Taken straight to the lead by reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, the five-year-old was never headed in the Alabar Pace (1720m, NR 90 to 120) on his way to a comfortable win in 1:53.5. The triumph was his 15th in a 36-start career that has netted nearly $200,000 for connections. "He went well last week and Clayton (Tonkin) thought he had trained on from that run and thought he was a chance of really pressing forward and finding the front," Quinlan said. "He got that nice breather the second quarter, so he was able to rip home the last two." Major Times' stablemates Like A Wildfire, Rocknroll Ronnie and Freddy Funk helped complete the Stewart quaddie on Saturday night after Beautiful Woman, Abouttime and Mirragon all saluted in the morning. Connor Clarke and Greg Sugars were the most prolific of the reinsmen across the two cards with three winners each. The early meeting was beamed live to the United States and broadcaster Dan Mielicki was quick to get the new audience on side with a memorable call of Kaudo's victory in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 46 to 55). As trainer-driver Michael Cole surged to the lead in the wet conditions, Mielicki roared "oh this baby loves the slop, eats the slop! His father was a mudder, his mother was a mudder and Kaudo charges clear and wins easily!" Of course, Milecki was referencing the famous Seinfeld episode, which includes a similar line. The victory was the first leg of a race-to-race double for Cole, who also scored with Trevean in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (1720m, 4YO and older NR 47 to 51). Harness Racing Victoria General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said early indications were that punters didn’t mind an early start with "turnover at a level we hoped for". "I haven’t got the numbers from the USA just yet but our correspondent has indicated it was well received," Bell said. "Fifteen races at headquarters on a day was a challenge for all involved but everyone, including staff and participants, did an amazing job to put on a great show." Melton is host to another Saturday double-header next weekend, with a morning meeting followed by an evening program.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

With her first runner at 9.15am and the last at 8.30pm, trainer Maree Caldow's day will be more than a little unusual, but being trackside at Tabcorp Park Melton near her vast trots 'family' is a welcome support. Along with husband John, the Caldows are close friends of Meagan Lang and her late husband, brilliant reinsman Gavin. Their training bases are only a short drive apart and Maree said she had a deep feeling of sadness that would be with her for some time. "I just walk in to Melton and look over where he had his horses and just feel sad. There's just going to be a sadness and emptiness for a long time," she said. "He's a hero to so many. John grew up idolising him and (has) then been best mates with him. It's just really, really sad." John will be well-placed a pay tribute to Lang today on the track, with all four horses having tricky draws and likely to be kept quiet for a late pounce in true Group 1 Gav style. The Caldows quartet are evenly split across Melton's morning and night sessions, and while Maree said "it's going to be an early start for sure on Saturday, but if that's where the punters are going to be following us, we've got to go where we've got to go". Today is the first of three weeks Melton will host Saturday morning meetings, with racing to run from 8.30am to 10.45am and then resume at 5.03pm for the night session. Plenty will be tuning in on Trots Vision and Sky Racing throughout today, in addition to the US audience taking in the Saturday morning racing, and among those sure to be watching the coverage during covid-19 trackside restrictions will be the many connections of the Caldow entrants. "The hardest thing for us is we miss our owners. We've got wonderful owners that come and watch their horses race all the time," she said. "I do try to Facetime and send photos and videos, but not having them there is not the same." Maree will prepare Meziah for the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 46 to 55) and Ian Raymond for the Empire Stallions Pace (1720m, NR 52 to 55) in the morning Melton meeting before returning to the track in the evening with Bye Bye Barbie for the Allied Express Pace (1720m, mares NR 57 to 69) and Our Sportscaster for the Hyland Racing Colours Pace (2240m, NR 70 to 77). Here are her thoughts on her four runners for Trots Centre: Morning: R3 N9 Meziah: "He's been going quite well, three thirds in his last five starts, so he's been thereabouts. He's got a following through draw, sometimes with trotters you don't know what's going to happen in front of you, but he's got a good chance if he does everything right." R5 N8 Ian Raymond: "I think he's got a good show. Same again, he's got a following through draw, the one (Itsokbeingbetter) hopefully if it can hold up we will get a good run on its back. He was really pleasing last start, his owners up in Ouyen, they are the sort of people who would come all the time to watch their horse. They will be watching with pride and it would be awesome if he could get the winner for them." Night: R2 N6 Bye Bye Barbie: "It's a bloody tough field. There are some really nice mares around at the moment. She's drawn awkwardly in six, we have jut got to hope that John can slot in their somewhere and she's the sort of girl that can come off the speed and with a bit of luck she could do her best. She always tries her best. Hopefully the speed's on and she's doing her best at the end." R8 N7 Our Sportscaster: "He won four starts, he's been going really good - last two (starts were) seconds. He does go good when the speed's on, drawn seven he will probably have to go back. There are some nice hores in it, Two Times Bettor and some pretty handy ones, so hopefully someone puts a bit of speed on and Our Sportscaster will be coming home at the end as well." TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden will guide listeners through the wins, near-misses and opportunities with a Talking Trots on SEN Track double, running from 9-11am and 5.30-9.30pm. Aired on SEN 1116AM and 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong, you can also click here to listen live online and for links to download the SEN app.   The good oil from the Vic trials circuit BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R1 N1, Beautiful Woman Settled behind the leader, moved around to find the front at the 1400m and took cover shortly afterwards. She came to the outside on the home turn and dashed to a big victory. REPORT BLACKBOOKER: Tabcorp Park Melton (MORNING), R7 N2, Pur Dan A smart former New Zealander that is now with trainer Amanda Grieve. He settled last of the five, ran up behind the pack in the straight and went to the line absolutely jogging with no clear run. He is worth following. REPORT & REPLAY   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Exciting pacer Eureka put the finishing touches to Kate Gath's magical return to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Fresh from a driving-related suspension, Gath claimed the last leg of a winning treble with the former New Zealander, who scored a dominant victory in the VHRC Pace (1720m, NR 64-69). The son of Washington VC had to race in the death seat for much of the journey, but it proved no barrier as he let down at the top of the straight and charged clear to win comfortably in a mile rate of 1:55.3. It was the four-year-old's fourth win from five appearances in Australia, with the only blemish coming when he galloped and broke gear at Cranbourne in late March. "His last start at Ballarat and his trial since then, he has just given me a really good feel," Gath told SEN1116's Talking Trots on Track. "I've just come back and gone to (trainer/husband) Andy (Gath) 'I really like this horse'. And I don't say that about that many. "He just seems to be getting better and better and I'm really not surprised that he did what he did (Saturday night) on the feel he has given me on the last couple of starts." Gath scored earlier wins with Emma Stewart's Two Times Bettor and Arden Voyager, which like Eureka is trained by her husband Andy. The reappearance of Stewart's superstar pacer Poster Boy was billed as a major highlight of Saturday night's card and he didn't disappoint. Injury and illness had kept the multiple Group 1 winner sidelined for close to a year before the previous weekend's victory at Melton and he backed up seven days later with another scintillating performance. Racing in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 90-120), Poster Boy was allowed to roll to the front by driver Greg Sugars and with minimal pressure, he covered his last 800m in 54.8sec to clock a mile rate of 1:55.7. "As you saw, he straightened up and did that all himself. To snap off a sub-27 quarter without even being asked for it - it takes a real good horse to do that," Sugars said. The win was the last of three on the night for the Myrniong-based Sugars, who also scored with Im No Outlaw and Cocosfella for trainer/wife Jess Tubbs. Sugars' sister Kylie was another to leave Melton with a big smile on her face after the performance of Sammy Showdown in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 75-120). The horse beat a quality field of squaregaiters to register his first success since his six-race streak ended in early February.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

It's not the most conventional of training methods, but regular runs and jogs through the bushland near Daylesford has become the norm for evergreen trotter Fear Not. Trained by Glenn Conroy at Musk Vale and raced by his daughter Lyndal, the seven-year-old mare is one of the more recognisable competitors on the Victorian harness racing circuit. Since making her debut in March of 2015, the daughter of Skyvalley has run another 178 times for seven wins and 57 minor placings. Essentially, she's raced week in, week out across that five-year period with great consistency. Lyndal, who operates a hairdressing salon in Daylesford and works closely with the horses, explained the secret to getting Fear Not to the track so often. "The only time she sets foot on the track is when she races," she said. "Every other day she jogs out the bush. We are very fortunate to live over the road from the bush so there's all sorts of fire trails for her to go and jog on. "During the start of the week, she does a power of work. She does a lot of hill work to make sure her fitness is at its peak and coming up to race day, it will taper back slowly and just some nice jog work to keep her ticking over. "That's what allows her to race weekly and so regularly, because she isn't having a lot of strain from fast work on the tracks. "We just use her fast work hit-out as her race and look after her during the week." Lyndal is well known for pampering her horses and Fear Not certainly gets the full treatment. "She has her own woolen dress rug with her name embroidered on the side of it," she said. "She has got a really nice bling brow band and I always braid her forelock and her main. "To me, I think presentation is part of it as well. I like knowing not only do my horses look good, they feel good and hopefully they reward us." Fear Not, who has contested 13 Group 1 races over her career with a fourth placing in February's Breed For Speed Gold final her best result, will step out in the Niota Bloodstock Trot (2240m) at Tabcorp Park Melton this Saturday night. She will be out to break a losing sequence that spans back to December last year, but is well suited to the small field according to Lyndal. "She's not very fast out, so drawing six, she definitely won't be leading. Dad always drives her for luck," she said. "He sits her in and we always hope for a bit of speed on, a bit of pace because she likes a good solid race. And then we just hope for the best." Anton Golino's Imsettogo looks the one to beat from the barrier one draw, but there's a host of chances in a small but quality seven-horse field. Another highlight on Saturday night's card will be the return of Emma Stewart-trained star Poster Boy, who made his return from injury and illness with a sizzling first-up win last weekend. The Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m) is another exciting event, which will see a mouthwatering clash between top squaregaiters I Am Pegasus, Sammy Showdown and Savannah Jay Jay.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

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