Day At The Track
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Top horseman Greg Sugars won his second Traralgon Pacing Cup at the Warragul trots harness racing meeting last Friday afternoon.   Sugars drove in five of the six races run on the day, and collected four wins.   His wife, Jess Tubbs, trained two of those winners, namely Treacherous Rock in the two-year-old race, and La Puddie in the feature $10,000 Pacing Cup.   The Cup event produced one of the most exciting finishes seen in the race's history. La Puddie led, and Sugars rated his horse beautifully in the lead.   Several of his eight rivals launched strong attacks inside the final 400 metres, with Joonior Brown and Didnt I sweeping down the outside in the home straight.   La Puddie held on to win in a three-way photo finish, by a short half head, with a similar margin separating second and third.   La Puddie is a three-year-old gelding raced by the Munnerley and Jose families and was only having its thirteenth start on Friday afternoon.   The horse was taking on older rivals in the Pacing Cup, and is only the third three-year-old to win the Cup after Kotare Knight in 1979 and Sahara Tiger last year.   Sugars had previously won the Traralgon Pacing Cup driving Bettor Rock On in 2014, for his trainer father Ross.   Greg Sugars with horse La Puddie and the silverware after the race   The Traralgon Pacing Cup trophies were sponsored this year by Brian and Pat Andjelkovic, who were heavily involved with the former Traralgon Harness Racing Club before it closed in 1995.   The Pacing Cup is now staged at Warragul each year in recognition of the former Traralgon club.   Warragul Harness Racing Club president Steve Austen, based at Labertouche, trained a winner at Friday's meeting when Kick It To Jack led throughout to score, while Caabello came from a 20 metre handicap to win the trotters race for Iona trainer Michael Hughes.   Those two local winners were the other pair of successes for reinsman Sugars.   Covid-19 restrictions kept patrons away from the racetrack on Friday, however when racing returns on Monday, February 15th next year, local officials are confident of having spectators trackside for the pacing action.   by Kyle Galley

Reinsman Chris Alford will be chasing a record sixth win in the Traralgon Pacing Cup at Warragul on Sunday afternoon.   Alford is tied with legendary horseman Ted Demmler who also drove five winners of the Traralgon/Latrobe Valley Pacing Cup in the 1970s and 1980s.   Only one of Alford's wins in the race came on the Traralgon track, in 1988, however since the race was reintroduced at Warragul in 2006 the Bolinda horseman has made it his own, with a further four winning drives.   On Sunday Alford steers three-year-old Sahara Tiger, trained by the Quinlan stable, who have won the Traralgon Pacing Cup twice previously.   Should the horse overcome the inside second row draw, Sahara Tiger will become the second three-year-old to win the Cup, the only other being former InterDominion class pacer Kotare Knight in 1979.   Hurricane Stride is aiming to become the first horse to win the race twice, and young reinsman Brad Chisholm will take the reins on Sunday.   A field of eight contests the $10,000 feature at 3:44pm.   The day's other feature, the Ken Miller Memorial Pace, has drawn together a good line-up of C0 class pacers for a $10,000 stake.   One of the trainers competing in Sunday's race will win a Dooza Sulky, which will be drawn through a lucky draw held before the race.   There are eight races on Sunday, with free entry, bistro lunches in the clubs heated rooms overlooking the track, and TAB and bookmaker betting with races shown on the indoor giant screen.   Trots followers are encouraged the make the trip out to Warragul, only an hour from Melbourne with direct freeway access for a good day of country racing from Noon. Kyle Galley  

The harness racing Traralgon Pacing Cup will be run for record prizemoney this year. Scheduled for the next harness race meeting at Warragul, on Sunday, June 24, the 2018 edition of the event will be run for $10,000 in prizemoney, a substantial increase on the $7000 stake provided for last year's event. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials expect a strong field of pacers to contest this years event, especially given the increase in prizemoney. The increase has come about because of Harness Racing Victoria's improved financial position, enabling the controlling body to add extra stakes to races statewide in May and June. First staged as the Latrobe Valley Pacing Cup in 1976, the race recognises two decades of trotting at the Glenview Park Racecourse in Traralgon, from 1975 to 1995. The event was reintroduced to the local racing calendar by the Warragul Harness Racing Club in 2006. The previous record stake for the race was $7500, when the race was last staged at Traralgon at the final trots meeting there in November 1995. This year's event will be for two to three win pacers, and should attract strong local entries as several trainers across the region have horses eligible for this class of event. Harness Racing Victoria officials have also seen fit to allocate a $10,000 stake to the Ken Miller Memorial event, to be staged on the same day as the Traralgon Pacing Cup. Three races programmed with $5000 prizemoney on the day will also carry a further $1000 bonus to the winning connections as part of another initiative by Harness Racing Victoria to increase returns to participants during the months of May and June. In a further boost to the sport locally, all remaining meetings at Warragul this year will be staged on Sunday afternoons, in an effort to increase attendances trackside. Further Sunday meetings are planned for July, August and December this year. Harness Racing Victoria officials have adjusted funding arrangements for country trots clubs conducting Sunday afternoon meetings, to help offset the increased cost of casual wages at these events.   Anthony Logan  

Champion horseman Chris Alford won his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup on Sunday. In front of a good crowd despite windy and wet conditions Alford partnered Hurricane Stride to a strong victory in the $7000 race. While Alford is used to victory in the feature event Clyde trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander had never won the race before Sunday, despite having won many races in the district over more than three decades. The Traralgon Pacing Cup remembers trotting held in the Latrobe Valley from 1975 to 1995. Alford won the last race on the Traralgon track in 1995. Gippsland horses collected plenty of success at the Sunday meeting. Trafalgar pacer Choosa Cruiser landed win one at start four in the three-year-old event, surprising many punters. Choosa Cruiser held the lead from barrier one on the wet track and scored at odds of $41. Glenn Hunter drove Choosa Cruiser for his father Chris, who trains the filly for Thorpdale owner/breeders Pete Ransom and Rowan Blackshaw. Most Happy Cullen scored an impressive 13-metre victory for trainer Gary Quinlan and a big syndicate of local owners in the third race. The four-year-old stallion's victory was the second winning drive of Chris Alford's treble for the day. Alford also teamed up with trainer Ray Mathews to win the second race with Jackmichaels. Mathews has been patient with the five-year-old gelding, who scored his first race win on Sunday at start 38. Ten-year-old gelding Outpunch Enchanter won the Trotters Handicap, his eighth victory from an incredible 222 race starts. The trotter has also finished in the minor placings on 47 occasions. She Can Rock led throughout to win the first race, while Irish Player won his second race for the year at Warragul in the final event of the day, gaining the major prize in an exciting three-way finish. Warragul trots return on Monday, August 28. Kyle Galley

Champion harness racing driver Chris Alford won his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup on Sunday afternoon. In front of a good crowd despite windy and wet conditions, Alford partnered Hurricane Stride to a strong victory in the $7000 race. While Alford is used to victory in the feature event, Clyde trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander had never won the race before Sunday, despite having won many races in the district over more than three decades. The Traralgon Pacing Cup remembers trotting held in the Latrobe Valley from 1975 to 1995. Alford won the last race on the Traralgon track in 1995. Gippsland horses collected plenty of success at the Sunday meeting. Trafalgar pacer Choosa Cruiser landed win one at start four in the three-year-old event, surprising many punters. Left alone by many punters, Choosa Cruiser held the lead from barrier one on the wet track, and scored at odds of 40/1. Glenn Hunter drove Choosa Cruiser for his father Chris, who trains the filly for Thorpdale owner/breeders Pete Ransom and Rowan Blackshaw. Most Happy Cullen scored an impressive 13 metre victory for trainer Gary Quinlan and a big syndicate of local owners in the third race. The four-year-old stallion's victory was the second winning drive of Chris Alford's treble for the day. Alford also teamed up with trainer Ray Mathews to win the second race with Jackmichaels. Mathews has been patient with the five-year-old gelding, who scored his first race win on Sunday at start 38. Ten-year-old gelding Outpunch Enchanter won the Trotters Handicap, his eighth victory from an incredible 222 race starts. The trotter has also finished in the minor placings on 47 occasions. She Can Rock led throughout to win the first race, while Irish Player won his second race for the year at Warragul in the final event of the day, gaining the major prize in an exciting three-way finish. Warragul trots return on Monday, August 28. Kyle Galley

Cranbourne harness racing horseman John McGuinness will this Sunday compete to win his second Traralgon Pacing Cup - 37 years after he won his first. McGuinness, a familiar name in Gippsland racing since the early 1970's, trained and drove pacer John Arthur to win the 1980 edition of the Cup at the Traralgon Racecourse, and this year will compete with Zipping Elmo. Zipping Elmo has to overcome a back row draw from the mobile in Sunday's $7000 event run at Warragul. John had plenty of winners at Traralgon over the years, and was one of a handful of people to drive in races at the first and last meetings on the track in 1975 and 1995. The Traralgon Pacing Cup is now staged each year at Warragul in recognition of the two decades of racing in the Latrobe Valley. Top reinsman Chris Alford will seek his fifth victory in the Traralgon Pacing Cup when he drives Hurricane Stride on Sunday. Seven races will be run at the Warragul Pacing Bowl on Sunday with the first race due at 12:39pm. Gippsland horses will feature prominently among the fields throughout Sunday's card, and Warragul Harness Racing Club officials are looking forward to a good attendance at the meeting. Kyle Galley

A family favourite put retirement talks on the backburner with a barnstorming run in the harness racing Traralgon Pacing Cup at Warragul. Pressplay has long been held in special regard at Daisy Hill Racing, a Doreen farm that Rebecca Cartwright oversees with her husband, Craig Turnbull, for trots and gallops owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford, whose success includes the 2010 Melbourne Cup with Americain. Owned and bred by Cartwright, the six-year-old has mustered almost $140,000 in stakes across her 55 starts, which have yielded 31 placings including 12 wins. Most prominent among them was the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for four-year-olds in 2014, which garnered $66,550 for the stable. “She’s been a good little mare,” Cartwright said. “She was our first Group 1 winner when she won the Super Series.” It was the career that almost never happened after a freak injury struck the previous year. “She pierced her pedal bone when she was a three-year-old. She had lost a shoe in the paddock and stood on a nail,” Cartwright said. “She has had problems with her feet ever since and has had to be managed.” This has long been viewed as the pacer’s final season before she is sent to the breeding barn, a decision that was almost fast-tracked when Pressplay ran poorly when beaten by 54m at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 1. “She pulled up really distressed. Her action was really different on the night and we were not sure why,” Cartwright said. “It was back to the drawing board. We thought it may have been her last run and that it was time to retire her, but her track work was sensational, so we thought we would take her to trial and test her.” In the trial Pressplay ran third behind Hokonui Ben and Show Heeza Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 26. “She got through the trial pretty good and so we found a decent run for her in the Traralgon Cup.” Raced at Warragul Harness Racing Club, Turnbull eased Pressplay to the rear of the cup field from barrier five while Shifty Shivas and Show Heza Classic poured on the pace at the front. Turnbull showed patience, waiting until the approach to the final bend before setting Pressplay three-wide to try and run down the leader. “The speed was on in front and that’s how she needs it. She’s a real sit-sprinter,” Cartwright said. “She come with a big run and was really strong on the line. She doesn’t really have a chance to win at the turn, and if she had have run into fourth or even sixth I would have been so excited. But she just kept coming. “When she won it we were very excited. She is only a little mare but has a big burst of speed.” Cartwright said she “pulled up as well as she ever had” and they planned a “couple more races” for her, including at Shepparton on Wednesday. Michael Howard

Local harness racing trainer Michael Hughes prepared five-year-old mare Narreeva to win the Ken Miller Memorial race at Warragul's trotting meeting on Monday afternoon. In a keen contest Narreeva stormed home out wide to grab victory from Comigal and Temporal Join. The mare is bred and raced by veteran Narre Warren horseman Arthur Fullwood and is a recent addition to the Hughes stable. Narreeva bought up three winning drives for the afternoon for top horseman Greg Sugars, who won earlier in the day with Manly Mach and Betterman Stride. Melton trainer Brett Cargill had his name selected as the winner of a new Dooza Engineering racing sulky, from trainers who had a starter in the Miller Memorial event. Cargill was lucky enough to win the same lucky draw two years ago. Co-feature at Monday's meeting was the Traralgon Pacing Cup, where another exciting contest saw Pressplay grab victory in a keen finish. Trained at Doreen by Rebecca Cartwright and driven by Craig Turnbull, Pressplay has recorded 12 wins from 55 starts. Locally owned and trained filly Courageous Call scored an easy win in the fourth race. Coming off a sixth placing in the recent Victoria Oaks, Courageous Call appreciated a significant drop in class, and led all the way for trainer Gary Quinlan and driver Anthony Butt. She has won connections almost $29,000 in stakes with three wins and five minor placings from only 11 starts. Two other popular winners on the day were Mister Gunsen for trainer-driver Paul Grech in an eventful Trotters Handicap, and Change Of Address, which recorded a third win in succession when taking out the last race. Despite cold, windy conditions, a good crowd was on hand for the eight race program at the Warragul Pacing Bowl. Kyle Galley

The Traralgon Pacing Cup is one of the highlights of an eight-race harness racing meeting at Warragul this Monday afternoon. Run each year by Warragul Harness Racing Club to recognise two decades of racing in the Latrobe Valley (1975 to 1995), the pacing cup has attracted eight starters. Champion reinsman Chris Alford drives Mister Manhattan in Monday's race in an effort to win his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup. He won the event at Traralgon in 1990 and has won three of the cup races run at Warragul since it was reintroduced in 2006. Alford also drove the last race winner on the old Traralgon circuit. The Traralgon Pacing Cup runs at 3:33pm. The main race on Monday's card is the Ken Miller Memorial, constructed from qualifying heats at Warragul on April 18. Sir Liberty looks particularly hard to beat from barrier two, however a strong contingent of local horses have qualified for the event and they are all keen to win the race named in honour of a Warragul trots stalwart. Lara trainer Dean Braun has half the field engaged in the main two-year-old event, with three of the six starters from his stable. Although the field is small, it will be an interesting race to kick off proceedings on Monday at 12:35pm. The last race of the day could be a good betting contest, with a number of in-form, up and coming horses set to do battle. Over the sprint journey on the tight Pacing Bowl, luck in running will play a part in the result of this race. Kyle Galley Fields for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016 Form guide for Warragul, Monday 02 May 2016

Although Bart Lightning is having his first race start in the Glenview Park Trotters Handicap at Warragul on Monday, the harness racing seven-year-old is already well and truly familiar with the racetrack surroundings. For the last 18 months, Bart Lightning by the SJ's Photo horse Zooma has served his apprenticeship as a teaching horse for the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. Between sixty and seventy students have gained their initial experience at driving behind Bart Lightning, either on their own, or in the Centre's double seater sulky. A perfect, placid teaching horse, Bart Lightning is the first point of contact for new students, as they learn about the sport of trotting, including unfamiliar subjects such as gearing up of horses, training methods and trackwork. "He's always been for everyone, for their first contact," GHTC trainer Jenni Lewis said. "He's not the bravest horse around, but he is the most trustworthy and versatile." Since arriving at the Centre via part-owner/breeder Trevor Brown in July 2013, Bart Lightning has done countless laps of the Warragul Pacing Bowl. But it is only now that Jenni has the confidence to place the horse in a race. Bart Lightning made a mistake in a barrier trial at Warragul last Saturday, but did win a trial on the track the previous week. Local horseman Gary Quinlan has been steering Bart Lightning in his recent trials, helping the horse build his confidence. Jenni would have sought the services of Gary for the race drive on Monday, however he gave away race driving some years ago. Top horseman Chris Alford will take the reins on Monday. Ironically, Bart Lightning's stablemate, Golden Phaeton, also aged seven, will too make his race debut in Monday's event. Although she is not going into the race overwhelmed with confidence about the chances of the two horses, Jenni is pleased that the Centre has trotters at the races again, as it has been a couple of years since a squaregaiting horse has sported the stable's silks. Over the last decade, horses such as Selsdon and Drop Of Paradise (both winners of Horse of the Year at Warragul), have been among the best trotters produced by the Centre. An influx of student enrolments in recent times has seen the numbers of horses at the Centre increase. Recent additions to the barn include fast class pacer Mediation, and youngster Mystic Castle. Currently there are 20 full-time students enrolled at the Warragul facility, with a further 15 secondary school students participating in the once-a-week VET in Schools program. Many students past and present will be on track on Monday to see the pair of trotters compete. Meanwhile, the Traralgon Pacing Cup is the highlight on a bumper nine-event card on Monday. The race recognises the twenty-year history of the trotting sport at Traralgon, and runs at 3:02pm. Longwarry pacer McNiven looks well placed in the event, after a solid effort in winning a barrier trial at Warragul in fast time last Saturday. Champion reinsman Chris Alford trains and drives Stormed Out, and Chris is in pursuit of his fifth winning drive in a Traralgon Pacing Cup. Chris drove the last race winner on the old Traralgon track. Such has been the response from trainers to Monday's card, the first race will run at the early time of 11:42am to accommodate the big program. Strong entries have been received for all races on the day with 93 horses drawn across the nine events. Picture attached of Bart Lightning in training mode at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre at Warragul.   Kyle Galley

The annual Traralgon Pacing Cup highlights the next harness racing meeting at Warragul on Monday afternoon, June 29. A C4-C6 pace over 2210 metres, this year's edition is sponsored by theprofits.com.au, and carries a Cup to the winning owner. Run at Warragul for the past 10 years, the Pacing Cup recognises the two decade period from 1975 to 1995 when harness racing was staged at Traralgon. In the lead-up to the event, the Warragul Harness Racing Club Facebook page is sharing video and photo memories of the Traralgon days. Top reinsman Chris Alford has won several Traralgon Pacing Cup races both at Traralgon and Warragul, and no doubt will have a drive in this year's event. Alford also has the honour of having driven the last winner on the old Traralgon track 20 years ago. Gippsland pacer Artique is another likely competitor in the event - trainer Gary Quinlan won two Pacing Cup's in the old Traralgon days with Pinball and Sharazar. Gary's father-in-law Gordon Turner won the first race run at Traralgon in November 1975. An excellent support program is on offer at the June meeting, including the Hygain 3YO Pace Final from heats run at Cranbourne on Sunday, June 21. Nominations close at Noon on Wednesday, June 24. Kyle Galley

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