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After bookending the harness racing program at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with a couple of his stable favourites, South Australian horseman Robert Caruso is confident of further Victorian success this coming weekend. Caruso-trained horses won two heats of the Battle of the Claimers, Paleface Jasper (11G Village Jasper/My Paleface Navajo) taking the first in 1:55.7 and My Man Dan (10G Pacific Rocket/Fullabubbles) heat four in 1:56.9. Both were driven by Chris Alford, who finished with a winning treble for the night. “I brought them over a month ago and thought they’d go well but things just didn’t quite work out,” Caruso said. “Dan didn’t travel for whatever reason last time. I changed up a few things and that seemed to work. And Paleface had to work too hard.” Paleface Jasper ran to the lead after about 500m and dictated terms from there, race favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) coming around to the breeze through a 30.1secs second quarter. At the home turn both the first and second horses were put to pressure but Paleface Jasper wasn’t going to be denied, fighting on doggedly to score by a half-neck. “I knew if Jasper got to the front he’d be a hard horse to beat,” Caruso said. Ten races later it was Caruso and Alford to the fore again with My Man Dan, who, like his other successful stablemate is a former Queensland pacer. My Man Dan was driven off the pace, one-out and two back, before easing three-wide at the 600m. At the home corner My Man Dan loomed up to hit the front with Ballochbuie (Greg Sugars) and My Elusive Dream (Alison Chisholm) joining in four- and five-wide. The three engaged in a cracking tussle up the stretch but My Man Dan found enough to win, the last quarter run in 28.2secs. “He was just a jump and charge horse up in Queensland but I always thought a horse with that much speed has to be able to come from behind,” Caruso said. “We changed things up a bit and he’s won four of his last six, so he’s got a few extra strings to his bow.” Mighty Mav (5G Town Champion/Shes A Dancer), trained by Matthew Craven and driven by Chris Svanosio, and Inky Cullen (Christian Cullen/Inky Lady), trained by Dean Braun and driven by Alex Ashwood, were the other Battle of the Claimers heat winners on Saturday night. Mighty Mav went 1:56.6 and Inky Cullen posted a rate of 1:55.8. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria >> Video: Paleface Jasper too strong >> Video: My Man Dan overpowers his rivals

When a harness racing trainer takes a horse to the races thinking it probably can’t win, and then when the same thought is reaffirmed during the race, it usually means the horse will be unplaced. But a horse named My Mate Tyson defied the rule to emerge triumphant in Launceston last Sunday night. Carrick trainer-driver Ross Freemen didn’t think My Mate Tyson was a winning chance in the Economy Warehouse Stakes over 2200 metres, primarily because of his back row draw and his recent efforts had been slightly below par. But the gelding surprised Freemen when he emerged from the pack in the home straight and powered home to score a last-stride win over Baldock, with Orial three metres away third. “I didn’t give him much of a chance before the race, and, from where he was turning for home, I thought he had no hope,” Freeman said. “He was making up good ground and with the leaders paddling a bit, but he rattled home the last 50 metres to get up.” My Mate Tyson was bred and is owned by Freeman in partnership with his wife Cheryl, with the son of Town Champion breaking his maiden status as his sixth start. PETER STAPLES

Great Western's Manning family - father Peter and daughters Kerryn and Michelle may have created history at the nearby Ararat HRC fixture held on Tuesday December 10, by winning every race on the six event card. Peter prepared four winners Sunnyandcher, Znana, Rinashi and Valentino Rustler, Kerryn drove three Sunnyandcher, Znana and Suerte which she also trains, while Michelle scored aboard Shanira for herself and Rinashi. Seven year old ex-Kiwi mare Sunnyandcher a daughter of Sundon and Cherourwishes who at times can be a little risky, was successful in the Bricklayers Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2165 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from a 20 metre handicap, Sunnyandcher was sent forward three wide solo in the back straight on the final occasion to give chase to the leaders. Finishing determinedly, Sunnyandcher proved too strong for the ever reliable Stunning Jasper which raced outside the pacemaker Family Decision before leading into the straight, with Mister Beckham (one/one) third. The mile rate 2-06.7. Art Major/Ananz filly Znana brought up a hat-trick by taking out the Plumbers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 2-01.7, much to the delight of Adelaide's Cormack family who also race Sunnyandcher. Speeding across the face of the field from outside the front line to lead, Znana treated her rivals with contempt, scoring by 4.5 metres over The Jiggler which led out from gate two before handing over to the winner. Onlyeconomyclass ran on late from mid-field to finish in third place. Former Kiwi six year old gelding Suerte (Falcon Seelster/Atomist) opened his Australian account by easily taking the Plasterers Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres. Making his third appearance on Australian soil, Suerte was never in any danger, leading throughout from gate three to register a 11.6 metre victory in advance of Thewaytolive which trailed from the pole, with Mayorshinetown third after racing in the open. The surprise winner of the evening was 5-Y-0 Armbro Operative/If Iseeyouinheaven mare Shanira in the Earthworks Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres. Starting from gate two on the second line, Shanira enjoyed a cosy trip, with the well supported Viva Courage burning to the front from gate three. Sent forward three wide in the approach to the final bend, Shanira ran on gamely to gain the day by 1.9 metres over the pacemaker in a rate of 2-01.7, with Mystic Soldier (three back the markers) 12.9 metres away in third place. Four year old Town Champion/Epona Sunshine mare Rinashi was tough in her 1.8 metre victory of the Engineers Pace for C0 class over 1790 metres. Despite racing parked from gate five outside Artois Stone (gate three) from the outset, Rinashi surged to the front in the last lap and defied a strong challenge from Peters Ace all the way up the running. Shalamint which trailed the weakening front runner finished third 5.3 metres away. Tough as teak six year old Rustler Hanover/Cuddle Me Good gelding Valentino Rustler registered his 4th victory in 69 outings by winning the Builders Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1790 metres in a rate of 1-59.5. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Valentino Rustler momentarily settled one/one from gate two with the pole marker Spiral Jet leading from Gnotuk (gate four). One the tempo slowed, Valentino Rustler was eased three wide to assume control racing for the bell and from that point, the race was as good as over. Racing clear on the home turn, Valentino Rustler was untroubled to score by 9.3 metres over Our Burning Desire (three back the markers) and Garabaldi Union (one/one) a stablemate of the winner. Len Baker  

Echuca duo Matt Beecroft (part-owner/trainer) and Steve Lindberg (driver) scored an upset victory with 4-Y-0 Town Champion/Girlsontheavenue gelding Grand Assassin in the Aqua Peel Wangaratta Pace for C0 class over 2190 metres at the Wangaratta HRC fixture held at Shepparton on Tuesday October 15. Unplaced from nine outings going into the race, Grand Champion ($27.90 )led throughout from the pole, defeating Gary Pekin’s Attack On Command (three wide last lap from mid-field in the running line, with Narryna Jetstar third after following the winner all of the way from inside the second line. The mile rate 2-03. Another longshot to score on the night was 8-Y-0 Dr Ronerrail/Sunny Folly gelding Doctor Sam for Kialla trainer Kevin Mark in the Ken Bevan Builders Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2190 metres. Driven by Bendigo’s Haydon Gray, Doctor Sam began best from the pole to lead, before surrendering to the pressure of Chevals Racer off the 10 metre mark at the bell. Using the sprint lane, Doctor Sam raced clear over the concluding stages to register a metre victory over Chevals Racer and Miss Eliza (three back the markers last lap) in a mile rate of It was Doctor Sam’s 7th success in 122 outings, the most recent being at Shepparton on February 13. Local (Kialla) trainer Geoff (Marto) Martin combined with David Moran to land the Gas Honda Motorcycles Wangaratta Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with former NSW gelding Mister Desirable in a rate of 1-59.1. A 5-Y-0 gelded son of Real Desire and Nepeans Last Bid, Mister Desirable which had been racing well without winning settled five back in the moving line from gate three on the second line, before trailing Scotts Den three wide in the final circuit. Sprinting like a gazelle approaching the final bend, Mister Desire raced to the front on straightening and careered away to score by 11.1 metres in advance of Frosty Star along the sprint lane after handing up to the weakening leader Tom Grainger shortly after the start. Cityscape (three back the markers) also used the sprint lane to finish third. Undera trainer Glenn Freeman has 6-Y-0 Bettors Delight/Maggie Carmel gelding Sword And Pistol airborne at present, bringing up his 11th victory when greeting the judge in the J & T Joinery Wangaratta Pace Final for C1 class over 1690 metres for horses which qualified in the heats held at the Mooroopna HRC meeting on October 6. Driven by David Moran who wasted no time in easing off the marker line after starting from inside the second row, Sword And Pistol possied four back in the moving line, before being sent forward racing for the bell to park outside the pacemaker Antigua who was also a heat winner. Driven vigorously on straightening, it appeared as though Antigua had held on, however the print showed that Sword And Pistol had prevailed by a nose in a finish which tricked many, with Zedaguy (three back the markers) a half head away in third place after being taken into the clear on turning. The mile rate 1-57.5. Horses trained in the Macedon Ranges enjoyed a profitable night at Shepparton, with Braeview Bomber, Revivalist and Crusader Acey all successful. Braeview Bomber (Courage Under Fire/Braeview Express) trained and driven by Chris Alford snared the Wangaratta Spring Works 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-01.1. First up since April, Braeview Bomber bred and raced by the Ferraro family led for most of the journey, winning by 7.8 metres from Arctic and the first starter Wemen Dot. Revivalist (Village Jasper/Shiftys Revival) trained and driven by David Miles was victorious in the Byrne Removalists & Storage Pace for C2 class over 1690 metres. Leading from the pole, Revivalist was surprisingly restrained at the bell to allow her only danger Our Warwick Lad to assume control. Inclined to race a little fierce in the last lap, Revivalist was eased outside the leader on the final bend and ran home best under a tight rein to score by 2.3 metres in a rate of 1-56.7, with Im Noddy (one/one – three wide last lap) a further 12.6 metres away in third place. Talented four year old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey (Rod Petroff), had nothing more than a “stroll in the park” in his event after crossing to lead from gate four shortly after the start. Always in control, Crusader Acey bounded away on turning to register a 10.2 metre margin over Goldiedomic which trailed from the pole, returning a mile rate of 1-57.2. Smokin Tally (three back the markers) finished third. Len Baker

Heats of both the Autumn Championship and the Racing Ministers Cup will be the feature events on the Albion Park Harness Racing Club's eight event program this Saturday night February 25).

Stallion Station this year boasts a stallion roster without doubt the envy of the world when it comes to harness racing stallions. Boasting 15 world class stallions, including proven sires, Mach Three, and Courage Under Fire, who are now well entrenched at the top of most sire lists.

An evenly poised 10 race card will take place at Albion Park this Saturday night, where harness racing punters will no doubt be looking for value, particularly when placing exotic wagers. The Black & White Army of the Dixon's will be endeavouring to start the night on a winning note with Sargeant Jujon, who has drawn favourably in barrier 2.

The Panderosa horse, Town Champion, a 1:48.4 winner and $410,000 stakes earner, who stands at Stallion Station's Toolern Vale farm, was credited by his first winner when the two-year-old Who Thru Teddy emerged successful at his first start at Gloucester Park last night (January 19).

Two-year-old Who Thru Teddy, a member of the first crop of the fast American harness racing import Town Champion, was an impressive trial winner at Byford, near Perth, last Sunday (January 3). Bred by Robert Watson, the gelding won by an ever-increasing 13 metres and was later the subject of several substantial offers.

Stallion Station, one of Australasia's newest and most progressive harness racing stallion operators has employed harness racing 'Hall-of-Famer', Bob McArdle as an Australia and New Zealand director. He will also be involved with sales.

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