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Star Tasmanian three-year-old pacer Scooterwillrev will embark on his next interstate sojourn in top form following the harness racing gelding's impressive win on Sunday night. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere raced with cover in the one-out line before latching onto the back of Call Her Julie for a ride home three-wide. When trainer-driver Craig Hayes eased his stable star four-wide to challenge nearing the top of the home straight the gelding quickly put the end result beyond doubt and went on to defeat Another Swinger by almost 121 metres with Modern Chic about two metres away third. "I couldn't be happier with the horse's effort on Sunday and he's pulled up great from his run," Hayes said. "He ate everything in his feed bin when he got home and he's right where I want him to be, fitness wise, at this stage of his preparation. "He will head to Melbourne on the boat next Tuesday night and he'll race at Kilmore on the Thursday night (June 22) in a heat of the Vicbred series. "Provided he races well in his heat he should make it to the semi-final stage at Melton eight days later and all going well he'll be in the final at Melton a week later." Peter Staples

Menangle trainer Shane Tritton is confident Tingira Beach is capable of repeating his semi final performance in Saturday night's Group 1 Vicbred final at Melton. The son of Somebeachsomewhere led throughout to record a thirteen metre win last Friday night and after drawing the same barrier Tritton is hoping history repeats itself. "This horse has a lot of ability but he is so green and has so much to learn, it is scary to think what he will do when the penny drops," Tritton said. "He has always had a great deal of talent and he has only had the two runs back since Lauren and I returned back from Hawaii so he is still on the up. I'm hoping the trip away from home helps him with his development but I still think he is going to be a better horse next season." Prior to the barrier draw Tritton was hoping to draw three, four or five and when it was announced Tingira Beach had drawn gate four he knew he had a realistic chance. "To be honest the only gate I didn't want was one because I don't want Lauren to have to rev him up to hold the front. He's got plenty of natural speed but as he showed at his second start he can do things wrong so from there he can work forward in the early stages without being bustled. "I think at some stage Lauren is going to find herself up outside the horse drawn in barrier one (Wrappers Delight) it will be up to Geoff Webster whether he wants to sit on our back knowing that we are going to take him to the top of the straight or have us sit outside him throughout." In more good news for the stable another talented two-year-old is ready to trial. Blue Moon Rising is set to compete at the Menangle trials on Tuesday. "He's feeling very strong and I'm very happy with Blue Moon Rising and another horse that showed plenty of ability at two, Salty Robyn is not too far away either. "While Lauren and I were away having a break and we didn't have very many starters, the stable was still ticking over and these horses have all been working up to another campaign." Another of Tritton's horses that is back in full work is Miracle Mile placegetter Arms Of An Angel. The four-year-old mare was invited to represent Australia in the Harness Jewels in New Zealand but was withdrawn after a setback. "The good news with Arms Of An Angel is that she is back fast working again and there are no signs of the problems we had before the Jewels. I've got no plans with her this campaign to be honest, I just want to get her back to the races and give her more experience. "I won't be throwing her into the deep end this preparation, I've got no plans to go to Perth for the Inter Dominion. I don't want to tax her until the Miracle Mile or Ladyship Mile next year." Suave Stuey Lombo is also back in work in Victoria and is set to rejoin the Tritton stable in Sydney once he has a solid grounding. "The reports with Stuey are good, he is doing some jogging and getting plenty of work into him before he returns to Sydney. "Mach Beauty and Yayas Hot Spot both raced Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark on Sunday. They need to step up to be competitive in that grade but to be fair I think Mach needs constant racing to show his best. Yayas Hot Spot has always struggled to produce his best at Menangle but he has graduated to the level where most of his racing will be on the big track." Greg Hayes

It has been some time in the making, but it feels like a whirlwind. Harness Racing trainer Donna Lewis’ aptly named three-year-old trotter Into The Unknown burst into the limelight with a blazing Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat, winning amid a stacked field to enter Friday night’s Group 1 final the favourite. “This is by far the most important race I have had a horse in,” Lewis said. “I had a runner in the semis of the Vicbred pacing years ago, and have had trotters before but only one got to the races. “Her being pacing bred and me not having much experience with trotters, we are learning as we go along.” There is plenty experience in her favour. The daughter of famed trainer Peter Manning, Lewis worked for trainer Graeme Lang for about four years before working with Harness Racing Victoria for about eight years in registrations and racing. She stepped away to pursue a family with husband and trainer Dean Lewis, who is now a full-time farrier, but continued training. Donna Lewis’ stable was once 10 horses strong, but with family commitments she likes to limit it to two or three and at present Into The Unknown is her only horse racing. The filly by Grinfromeartoear out of Dolly Jasper came into Lewis’ stable to be broken as a pacer. “Russell Hockham bred her. Two years ago when she was a weanling I got her, Shadow Sax and Spirituality,” Lewis said. “I had had Into The Unknown’s mum (Dolly Jasper) and her mum’s mum (Navy Girl), basically the whole family. Russell kept Shadow Sax, I trained Spirituality and said I’d love to lease Into The Unknown. “She broke into pace, but when she was pacing she wasn’t very good at it. I got Clarrie Hamilton, a friend of mine, to drive her and left the hobbles off her. She trotted and he said “I think she might make a trotter”. We left the hobbles off her and she run along really well.” Into The Unknown’s first taste of the track came as a two-year-old trialling at Bacchus Marsh on July 11, 2015, when was fourth of four starters. “She had two trials, on the first one she ran well but broke once and the second one she broke at every turn,” Lewis said. “I put her in the paddock, then the next time she was worse, so I put her in the paddock again and hoped that would fix things. “When she came out the next time she put every foot right.” She trialled twice in May of this year, then placed fourth on debut at Bendigo when up against the boys in a three-year-old trot, which had her start her second race as favourite at Ararat when she placed second on June 8. Next stop was the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series heat at Bendigo on June 22. “She did everything right before I went to Bendigo,” Lewis said. “I think she had the hardest of the heats. I thought that if she qualified for the final you would have to think she was going well and deserves to be there. “When she came up the back straight I thought it looks like she might qualify, and then she went straight past them.” Driver Kerryn Manning placed Into The Unknown in the breeze going around the back straight for the last time, and then with a 28.8 last quarter she blew away Rift Valley ($2.90) and leader Princess Phoenix ($1.80 fav) to win by 3.1m. And suddenly expectations are high. “We are still feeling our way of how much work we need to give her. She is just being her usual self,” Lewis said. “She has never done anything to inspire confidence at home. I have to growl at her all the time to get her to do anything like fast work speed. She just does it so easy.  “Now I feel like I can’t do any more. We will see what happens, I just hope that she goes around like she has the previous weeks.” Michael Howard

Harness Racing Stars of the sulky give their thoughts on their Vicbred semi final winners at Melton last Friday. Tabcorp Park Melton, winning driver interviews, Friday night 24/6/2016. Race 1 - Chris Alford on Soho Tribeca (American Ideal/Pixel Perfect) after winning 3YO Colts and Geldings First Semi-Final - View here Race 2 - Gavin Lang on Rocknroll Magic (Rock N Roll Heaven/All The Magic) after winning 3YO Fillies First Semi-Final. - View here  Race 3 - Greg Sugars on Whirily School (Courage Under Fire/Mayhappen) after winning 3YO Fillies Second Semi-Final. - View here Race 4 - Jason Lee on Jilliby Kung Fu (Four Starzzz Shark/Slip Slop Slap) after winning 2YO Colts and Geldings First Semi-Final. - View here Race 5 - Chris Alford on Iceenothink (Art Major/Decethree Lombo) after winning 3YO Colts and Geldings Second Semi-Final. - View here Race 6 - Gavin Lang on Delight Me (Bettors Delight/Cornsilk) after winning 4YO Mares First Semi-Final. - View here Race 7 - Greg Sugars on Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder/Wya Mya Macray) after winning 4YO Entires and Geldings First Semi-Final. - View here Race 8 - Lauren Tritton on Tingira Beach (Somebeachsomewhere/Western Tingira) after winning 2YO Colts and Geldings Second Semi-Final. - View here Race 9 - Mark Pitt on Stay And Play (Live Or Die/Play Ball) after winning 4YO Mares Second Semi-Final. - View here Race 10 - Gavin Lang on Ideal For Real (American Ideal/Tamara Hall) after winning 4YO Entires and Geldings Second Semi-Final. - View here Race 11 - Michael Stanley on Petacular (Somebeachsomewhere/Ideal Priority) after winning 2YO Fillies First Semi-Final. - View here Race 12 - Damian Wilson on Flying Moth (Art Major/Moody Moth) after winning 2YO Fillies Second Semi-Final. - View here Cody Winnell

The road to the Empire Vicbred Super Series finals on July 1 and 2 continues at Ballarat & District Trotting Club on Wednesday when the three-year-old fillies begin their campaigns. Good Form's Blake Redden takes a look at the standout hopes. Take a look at the video here: https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10157040630510611/

Hectorjayjay looks set for another big Vicbred Super Series after winning yesterday’s harness racxing four-year-old entires and geldings’ heat at Charlton. The Bill Walker-trained Dream Away/Sheer Finesse gelding is a two-time Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final winner, at two and three, and is now a two-time heat winner. Today he defeated last-start Harness Jewels placegetter Messini – from the Brent Lilley stable – by 1.6 metres over 2100m in a rate of 1:55.5. Driven by Simone Walker, Hectorjayjay crossed Messini early before handing up to Chris Alford aboard the favourite. In the straight Hectorjayjay pulled out and overran Messini late, finding the line impressively. Jilliby Jagger finished third for Glen Craven and Keayang Active fourth for Marg Lee and Jason Lee. Finishing order Video replay Who impressed you most in this heat? Tweet us @HRVnews using the hashtag #Trots >> Find out more about how the Super Series works Cody Winnell

Changeover 1:53.4 ($2,404,473), New Zealand's richest ever harness racing stallion and the winner of 19 Group and Listed races, has left some smart two-year-olds from his first crop in both NZ and Australia. In his first season he produced 151 foals in New Zealand and he has been represented by 43 qualifiers and 28 starters from that crop, 13 of which won including Controversial (1:57.1), the winner of three races including a Queensland Breeders Crown heat, fellow Breeders Crown finalist Beaudiene Bill, Prince Of Pops 1:59.8 (3 wins), Change The Rulz, an Addington winner in 1:58.9; promising Victorian winner Big Spending Telf; and Cambio, who won the  Listed Yearling Sales Series NHT Final at its only start at Auckland. Another of Changeover's first NZ crop in Nuala, who is a filly from the Live Or Die mare Forever Blue, established an all aged track record at Oamaru, rating 1:58.8 for 2000 metres. At her first start on Australian soil Nuala blitzed her rivals at Pinjarra (WA), running her last 800 in 56.4 seconds. The Paul Kerr trained Oneover competed with real distinction in several of NZ's feature juvenile events and was placed third behind Alta Orlando in the Group 2 NZ Welcome Stakes. He looks like he will develop into a very nice three-year-old. Changeover was clearly NZ's leading first-season sire based on individual winners and stakemoney and he was the third leading overall sire of two-year-old winners. In Australia, Changeover produced 29 foals from his first crop racing as two-year-olds and he has achieved an excellent 44 percent winners-to-starters percentage ratio. With a 13.8 percent winners-to-foals strike rate, Changeover is second only to Sportswriter (19.4%) on the first-season percentage sires' list. Of nine foals to have raced, four have won and another two have been placed including the Vicbred Super Series and Home Grown Classic heat winner Licinia; the Albion Park winner Chang; Grace Campbell, a Launceston winner and runner-up in the Group 3 Evicus; and Glenferrie Boss, a 1:59.1 Victorian winner. Changeover, a son of champion sire In The Pocket and the Vance Hanover mare Chaangerr and from the maternal family of Chokin, Fly Like An Eagle and co, is lining up for his fifth season at Nevele R Stud, Christchurch. Courtesy Of Nevele R Stud

A month ago mighty mare Spidergirl made it a clean sweep of harness racings Vicbred Super Series with a brilliant win in the four-year-old trotting division. She’d won the Vicbred finals at age two and three but had come up short in the previous Breeders Crown finals. But today the daughter of Yankee Spider netted the Breeders Crown win that had so far eluded her, taking out the four-year-old trotters’ final. Trained by David Aiken – bringing up a race to race Group 1 double for the Avenel horseman – and driven by champion reinsman Chris Alford, Spidergirl led easily in the 2240-metre race from pole before proving too tough for runner-up Glenferrie Typoon, who had a great trip leader’s back in the run, and tough trotter Blitzthemcalder, who sat parked. Paris Pepperell finished fourth. Spidergirl’s winning mile rate was 1:58.7 and the margins were 2m x 10m. “Getting to drive great horses like her makes it easy to get out of bed each morning,” winning driver Alford said post-race. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Andy Gath’s rising star two-year-old Padrisimo has been scratched from tomorrow night’s Breeders Crown heats at Shepparton. Gath told Harness Racing Victoria this morning the horse would be scoped and is possibly suffering a cold, which is the affliction that ruled him out of the Harness Jewels in New Zealand earlier this year. “It is bad luck but you’ve just got to put the horse first,” Gath said. Birdy Mach spearheads the line-up for the three Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and geldings heats at Shepparton. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s colt will line up in gate four in heat 11 of the series (Race 7 at Shepparton), hoping to bounce back after a shock defeat in the Tatlow Stakes last start. Birdy Mach took a two-from-two record into the Tatlow and was heavily backed before having his colours lowered by Kept Under Wraps. Team McCarthy has huge wraps on the son of Mach Three though, and if he can reproduce his Sydney form he will be very hard to beat. Kept Under Wraps is back for another crack though and has drawn pole in his bid to beat Birdy Mach again. The Brent Lilley trained son of Bettors Delight will be driven by in-form reinsman Greg Sugars and another victory would thrust him to the top of betting calculations for the Crown finals. Gath-trained Burnaholeinmypocket will contest the same heat as Birdy Mach but is drawn seven and will find it tough, his trainer says. “He’s a very quality racehorse but the way the numbers have fallen realistically there’s no way he can run in the first two,” Gath said. “But we’re not too deterred because realistically the first five or six in the repechage can usually make their way into the final.” The first of the three heats tomorrow will feature Vicbred Super Series champion Feeling Arty. Trainer-driver Cameron Maggs is hoping Feeling Arty can bounce back after dropping out badly in the Tatlow last time out. “I followed through OK last time but I just couldn’t get in unfortunately and when they run those times it makes it tough,” Maggs said. “I was a bit disappointed. His recovery wasn’t real good on the night but he ate up afterwards and has worked good since.” Maggs said although Feeling Arty led throughout his Vicbred campaign the horse had previously raced off the speed. “I’ll probably have to follow through again … but the only time he’s led in his races are in those Vicbred races,” he said. “He can sit in behind them and come with a run at the finish if he needs to race that way.” By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

Two of the stallions that appeared on the Alabar Stallion Roster in 2013 will be heading for new farms in the upcoming breeding season. Firstly Major In Art, the 2008 USTA Two Year Old of the Year will be heading north of the border to Darren Reay’s Medowie Lodge on the outskirts of Newcastle. The handsome son of Art Major is not far outside the Top Ten on the Australian Three Year Old Sires List in this current season. He has sired 21 winners of over $310,000 to date including the smart Queensland pacer Major Sam 1:54.7 and the Bathurst based pacers Smack Dab Shannon 2:00.1 and Lagoon Stride 1:59.8. The Two Year Old colt Artillery Major was a fast finishing second in $102,000 Pearl Classic Final at Gloucester Park in mid June. Medowie Lodge is based in the strong Harness Racing area surrounding Newcastle and Major In Art should be a welcome boost for breeders in that area and indeed for breeders throughout NSW. Darren Reay can be contacted by phoning 0429 817 199. The trotting stallion Great Success is the other lad on the move. He will be taking a trip across the Tasman to take up residence at Ken and Jan Wills’ property of Niota Bloodstock at Girgarre (near Shepparton) in Victoria. The now ten year old stallion sired the exciting, but injury plagued gelding, Roy Hobbs tr 2:00.2 in his first crop and has since sired the recent multiple winners Boundary Row, Jeter and Senitas Success. Ken and Jan Wills can be contacted on (03) 5854 6572. Finally an update on Safari, the powerful son of Fake Left. He will be heading back to Alabar’s Echuca property next month to join the other seven stallions that are based at the northern Victoria property. July has been a good month for the progeny of Safari and in particular three fillies. Berisari had only the smallest of noses that separated her from a victory in the $110,000 Vicbred Final for three year old fillies, whilst on the same night Viva Safari finished runner up in the two year old Vicbred Final for fillies to take her seasons earnings past $50,000. Meanwhile in Queensland, the three year old filly Beef City Safari finished second and then a fast closing third to star filly Nike Franco in the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks respectively. Safari’s service fee will be unchanged from that of last season - $1,650 (incl GST). Alabar Stud

PROMISING two-year-old pacer One Mans Pass is likely to be a travelling companion for his high-profiled stablemate Barynya when she embarks on a trip to Victoria this week to prepare for her 3YO fillies' Breeders Crown assignment. Barynya is one of the favourites to win her division of the Breeders Crown and not surprising given she won the Tasmanian and Victorian Oaks and was favourite in the recent Group 1 Vicbred Super Series final in which she was devoid of luck. One Mans Pass, prepared at Karoola by Dick Eaves, earned his trip away when he scored an effortless win in a 2YO Pace at Devonport on Monday night. With Rohan Hillier in the cart, One Mans Pass faced the breeze throughout but when he was asked to extend at the business end of the race he forged clear and went on to score comfortably from Karalta Jazzman and Be Good Franklin. "This is a very nice horse - he's got wheel and he's very strong," Eaves said. "If he is spot on, I'll take him with Barynya and run him in a repechage of the 2YO Breeders Crown." "He won't be out of his depth because I reckon he can handle that class." One Mans Class was third behind Boasson Hagen in the Tasmanian Breeders Crown heat in Launceston last Sunday week prior to winning on Monday night. "He went a bit roughly on the home turn in the Breeders Crown heat and they ran home (the last 400m) in 27 seconds so it was a good effort," he said. At his only other outing (on debut at Ballarat in Victoria) he broke just after the start and that was the end of his chances. "He trialed really well before his debut run but then we had him shod and I think it might have left him a bit foot sore," Eaves said. One Mans Pass is owned and raced by Lloyd and Judy Whish-Wilson who also own Barynya. By Peter Staples  

They say you can’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. It seems the same can be said for horses. For Group 1 winning mare Pressplay, punters who wrote her off as inconsistent must have felt as though they’d been kicked in the shins when she won the Vicbred Super Series final earlier this month at big odds. Pressplay has never lacked in ability, says trainer Rebecca Cartwright, but the horse’s feet have not been the same since she trod on a nail. “Some of her runs might have looked a bit disappointing on paper but if you knew the horse you’d know in some of those races it was like she was running on a hot tin roof,” Cartwright said. Farrier Stephen Said, who has been in harness racing a long time, has played an integral role behind the scenes with Pressplay. Due to her hoof ailment shoeing the mare is problematic, but Stephen’s persistence has paid off in spades, Cartwright said. “He did the most amazing job with her. Stephen really cared and made particular sets of shoes for her … her feet had never been as perfect as he got them heading into the Vicbred Final.” Doreen-based Cartwright bred Pressplay and raced her mother, Miss Superb. “It was just so humbling (to win the Group 1). We’ve been in the game a long time and to breed one and then to win a Group 1 with that horse was just amazing,” she said. “Craig (Rebecca’s partner) should take a lot of the credit for the win. He’s done a wonderful job with her and has always loved her.” Pressplay has drawn gate six in the Pet Rock Pace Final (Race 2) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with Amanda Turnbull, who has become the horse’s regular reinswoman after guiding her to Group 1 success, taking the reins. “It’s a bugger of a draw,” Cartwright said. “I don’t really know at this stage. I’m going to have to sit down and look at all the runners and work it out.” Cartwright said Pressplay was a “dead-set sit-sprinter”, so making her own luck in running can be tricky. But in terms of ability, Cartwright always knew Pressplay had at least one big-race win in her. “Her first run in the (Vicbred) heat was a good one. Then she ran a super race in the semi-final. We always said she could win a big race she just need a little bit of luck,” Cartwright said. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Melton trainer Ross Sugars' run of form continued on Sunday at the famous Redwood Carnival meeting at Maryborough. Sugars trained the winner of the 2690-metre Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, Illawong Helios, which overpowered hot favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten in the last 200m. Ross said driver – and his son – Greg Sugars delivered a “10 out of 10” drive aboard Illawong Helios, finding the back of Claudys Princess early before tracking Our Twentyten off the back and peeling three-wide into the lane the final time. “They were all running on empty in the straight,” Ross Sugars said. “It was a very slow last quarter (32 seconds). It was the first go for all of them at that kind of distance and it was just a case of those at the front having done more work, which allowed us to be that little bit stronger in the straight. “Our filly keeps on trying and she just found the line a bit better because of the way the race was run. That was the difference.” Sugars said heading down the back the last time he started thinking his filly was capable of at least running a place. “I even thought ‘don’t tell me she’s going to win’,” he said. Sugars said Claudys Princess, which finished runner-up in the Derby 1.7m behind Illawong Helios, was still the best three-year-old filly in the business and said her run on Sunday was enormous. But it was Illawong Helios’s day, the daughter of Majestic Son breaking a run of three consecutive second-place finishes in the Oaks and two Vicbred Super Series races. Illawong Helios set a new race record with his winning mile rate of 2:01.6 eclipsing the mark set by Blitzthemcalder last year by 0.3secs. She will now head to the Breeders Crown. Illawong Helios paid $23 on the tote. Sugars, who said he was not a betting man, admitted if he was an odds watcher he'd have moved at that price. "She was an 8-1 to 10-1 chance, I thought. Those odds were enormous," he said. Another trotter from the Sugars stable, four-year-old mare Quite A Moment, also won on Redwood day, taking out the John Slack Memorial Trotters Handicap over 2190m. Quite A Moment recorded a 58-second last half to score by 1.9m over Lord Liam, last year’s three-year-old trotters’ Breeders Crown champion hitting her straps ahead of this year’s series. “She’s done a really good job in the last 12 months. She’ll have a run or two and then she’ll be back in the Breeders Crown for the four-year-olds’ race.” On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton Sugars-trained Bettor Rock On made it five starts Down Under for five wins. The former New Zealander sat parked in the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final before sprinting up down the back in 27.8secs and skipping clear of early leader Essbee Doubleyou in a 28.4-second last quarter to win in a rate of 1:54.4. “He’s done the job and won five in a row,” Sugars said. “We’ll give him a break now and then prepare him for the new season and target some country cups. The Kilmore Cup (October 26) would be an aim. He’s a very good stand-start horse.” Sugars said the brilliant Youranut (Vicbred Super Series 4YO Final winner last year) was back in work and would resume racing in the next month or so. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Brilliant trotter Eljaykay Phoenix is this year’s Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic champion. The son of Sundon from the all-conquering David Aiken yard made it six wins from seven starts in the $50,505 Group 1 event on Sunday at Maryborough. Runner-up My Arya made a race of it though, the New Zealand two-year-old champ getting within a neck of Eljaykay Phoenix at the end of the 2190m journey. The pair finished 12.5m clear of third placegetter Endsino and will both be leading contenders come Breeders Crown finals time next month. Sunday’s victory was junior driver Josh Aiken’s second Group 1 triumph after he won on Eljaykay Phoenix in the Vicbred Super Series final recently for his first. Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead early in the Redwood before coming home in a last half-mile of 58.7secs. My Arya and Mark Purdon used the sprint lane to close on the winner late, while Endsino for Andy and Kate Gath worekd home strongly for third after travelling three back the markers. Fabrication finished fourth and Sheza Amason finished fifth. The well-backed Twice As Much had a day to forget, galloping twice in running to finish tailed off last. Eljaykay Phoenix By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Australian trotters are getting faster every year as a result of smarter breeding and modern training techniques. And the fact the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough field gets better every year is a direct correlation to Australia’s burgeoning passion for the squaregaiter. David Aiken-trained Eljaykay Phoenix is the favourite for Sunday’s $50,505 two-year-old Classic despite a second-row draw (gate 10) in the stand-start race. The standing start will be relatively new to most of the runners, who have been contesting mobile-start races of late as they look to etch their names among the country’s leading juvenile trotting ranks in races such as the Vicbred Super Series. Eljaykay Phoenix won the colts and geldings’ Super Series final with panache, comfortably accounting for runner-up Illawong Helios and third placegetter Black Valley – both of whom he meets again on Sunday. Eljaykay Phoenix has won five out of six starts but interestingly his only defeat has come at his only stand-start race. New Zealand’s champion two-year-old trotter My Arya has drawn gate one on Sunday, the Brent Lilley-trained, Mark Purdon-driven daughter of Angus Hall out to follow in the footsteps of previous Redwood filly winners Lady Thor (1987), Truscott Dawn (1995), Lacey Truscott (1997), Petite Morley (1998), Jauriol (2004), Elusive Charm (2009), Maidstone Miss (2011) and Daenarys Targaryen (2013). My Arya comfortably won her Australian debut race at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last weekend off a 10m handicap in a stand-start race. Early money has come for New South Wales raider Twice As Much, which is unbeaten in two runs to date at Menangle and will be driven by gun reinsman Luke McCarthy. Twice As Much opened $12 and had shortened into $8 as of Thursday with TAB fixed odds. Andy Gath has two runners entered in this year’s Redwood, impressive last-start Super Series fillies’ winner Endsino, which has drawn gate eight and will be driven by Kate Gath, and Naked Majesty, which will start from gate five for John Caldow. “It’s a bit of a tricky draw for Endsino and being a filly taking on the boys is always a bit hard,” Gath said of Endsino, whose mother Jauriol is a past Redwood champion. “These races can be about being in the right place at the right time. If you trot the best on the day you’re always a chance. “Naked Majesty bombed the start last time but she went really good after that. If she gets away good, there’s probably not much between my two.” Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan will start Illawong Armstrong in the Classic, the impressive gelding finishing second to Eljaykay Phoenix in the Super Series Final. Illawong Armstrong has won four of six starts and Quinlan has a huge opinion of him, but his manners can be a worry. If he trots, he’s a huge chance. The Redwood Classic is Race 5 on Saturday’s Maryborough program and is scheduled to start at 2.06pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Imamenace earned a reputation as a giant-killer and a giant when he won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ trotting final recently at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Peter Cormican-trained gelding, which stands over 17 hands high, started cricket-score odds before upstaging Spidergrace and Asdenro over 2240m. It was an amazing feat to win a Group 1 that night, as that run was only Imamenace’s second visit to the racetrack. On Sunday he will contest the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby over 2690m at Maryborough, hoping to pull off another upset at start number three. Grant Campbell replaces Imamenace’s usual driver, Greg Sugars, who has elected to drive his father’s trotter Illawong Helios. Cormican, who trains out of Arcadia, was visibly shocked and thrilled after his gelding’s last-start success. “This is the first time I’ve won a Group 1 and I’m going to make the most of it,” he said moments after the win. Speaking on Thursday, Cormican said he was sure Imamenace would not disappoint on Sunday. “We’re going to be the fourth, fifth or sixth horse picked again but we’re just happy to be in the race,” he said. “He did a super job to win that last race but geez, it’s a big ask to win this at his third start.” Asked to compare Imamenace’s trackwork this time compared to before his last-start success, Cormican said it was “on a par”. “He had a good hit-out this morning. He’ll have a bit of a break after this race because he’s not entered in the Breeders Crown. “We’re not going to rush him.” Despite the wide draw (gate seven) on Sunday, Cormican said the horse was likely to push forward early. “We’ll probably come out and have a bit of a look,” he said. “We just don’t want him on the fence.” Our Twentyten opened favourite for the Derby, which is scheduled to run at 3.18pm, with filly Claudys Princess tightening in from $3.60 into $3 early with fixed-odds betting. Imamenace eased from $12 to $15 overnight on Wednesday. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

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