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Harness Racing Victoria and radio broadcast partner RSN have teamed up to deliver two special extended nights of Vicbred Super Series harness racing finals coverage. Kicking off tonight with the running of the Aldebaran Park Trotters VSS19 Finals, GoodForm's Blake Redden will be based live in the RSN studio throughout the night for his special comments and late mail for the Melton trots. It was only last week Redden tipped listeners of the Grand Circuit podcast and his Twitter followers into Out To Play as his on-top best value play, and the pacer won his Vicbred Super Series semi-final at $151 on TAB fixed odds! Redden's late mail will be much sought after tonight and tomorrow night, but you'll have to be listening to RSN 927 - Victoria's radio home of the trots - for all the news, views and hopefully big-value winners! Meanwhile, the GoodForm team of Jason Bonnington and Redden have delivered THE MOST DETAILED EVER Punters Paradise for the 2019 Alabar and Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series Finals. Check out the most extensive form hub of any code you'll ever see right here. Harness Racing Victoria

Quite often the headliners of the Vicbred Super Series the three-year-olds didn’t fail to live up to that top billing in tonight’s eight-heat hit-out at Kilmore. While Kualoa reminded all of her standing with a blistering run among the fillies, the night will be best remembered for the showdown between Emma Stewart’s trio Demon Delight, Hurricane Harley and Centenario, who served up an enthralling match-race that will leave trots fans eagerly anticipating return bouts as the series progresses. It was another remarkable night for Stewart’s stable, capturing five heats to add to Tuesday night’s clean sweep of seven two-year-old wins, but there was also delight in the Jess Tubbs, Matt Craven and Leroy and Danny O’Brien camps as their chargers also tasted success.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings first heat: He may not yet have earned the chops of some of his stablemates but Fourbigmen should be considered a potential Vicbred Super Series winner, says reinsman Chris Alford. Speaking to TrotsVision immediately after the Emma Stewart runner won the night’s first heat by proving himself the best horse in the race in a testing run, Alford said Fourbigmen could make plenty of noise over the next couple of weeks. “He’s probably, on ability, right up with them, he just hasn’t had the luck in the better races and he had a few little quirks, where he could make a mistake now and then,” Alford said. “But he’s putting it all together now and if he had a good run in the final and things went his way he’d be hard to beat.” Owned by a syndicate featuring the Stokie Racing Group, Sue Murray, Fred Crews, Willow and Peter Tonkin, Fourbigmen was bred by Wayne Schulz and Dale Eastman who serviced their mare, Aleppo Heiress, with late Alabar stallion Mach Three. Gifted the widest back row draw, Fourbigmen advanced to the breeze outside Nancys Boy and while Jeff and Tim McLean’s entrant put up plenty of fight the favourite ultimately nudged clear for a 2.3-metre win. “The leader ran a good race at Horsham last time, he’s given him something to chase,” Alford said. “(Fourbigmen) just knocked off a little bit when he went to the front, so I just pulled the plugs out to keep his mind on the job without having to smack him. He ran to the line really well.” Hes An Artist ran third and Titan Bromac fourth to also advance to the June 29 semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, with Major Delico fifth and his qualification to depend on time. And for the Emma Stewart stable, taking into account Tuesday night’s clean sweep, that’s eight on the trot in this year’s Vicbred Super Series. “They seem to have them spot on on these nights and this one was no different,” Alford said.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ first heat: She was challenged in every possible way but patience from reinswoman Kate Gath would see Two Times Bettor eventually grab control and salute in the first of the three-year-old fillies’ heats. Plenty of money had come for David Miles’ polemarker Enchanted Stride in the lead-up but she was tested from the outset with Chooz Reactor (Brian Gath) and Divine Diva (Gavin Lang) out quickly and not only stretching the gate one horse but making Gath bide her time in moving forward on Two Times Bettor from gate five. “The best way to get beat is if you burn too hard too early and get nowhere, so I grabbed hold pretty quick and I was just out there but cruising,” Gath told TrotsVision post-race. “I wasn’t pushing her, then once I moved to the death I thought I’ll have a look for the front and thought she’d probably get it and she did.” As the dust settled Gath rolled to the top with Miles happy to defer and give his filly a final crack in the straight, but Two Times Bettor would prove too strong, winning by 1.7 metres. “She’s really done a terrific job,” Gath said. “The lead time was quite quick and luckily in the middle I could give her a little breather, but she was really good on the line. “She’s such a nice filly to drive and she relaxes really good, she’s got all the attributes there and she’s just getting better at the right time. Her last start before tonight was terrific and she was very good tonight as well.” It would have been a pleasing result for owners and breeders Leslie, Ian and Gary Johnson, whose Bettor’s Delight filly was out of Twice As Hot, who was also the dam of dual Inter Dominion placegetter Flaming Flutter ($789,015). With the top eight advancing to the fillies’ semi-finals Two Times Bettor and second-placed Enchanted Stride will be joined by Bettor Robyn, Celerina, Millah Joy, Chezmac, Divine Diva and Edwina Express.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ second heat: This heat win had to mean plenty for co-owner, co-breeder and trainer Jess Tubbs with the filly that carries her farm’s name, Larajay Macray, saluting in fine style for husband and reinsman Greg Sugars. Tubbs shared breeding rights and ownership with long-time family friend Ian Kitchin, who Sugars lauded when speaking to TrotsVision post-race. “Kitch has just been a fantastic supporter of mainly the Tubbs family over many years,” Sugars said. “He’s done the hard yards, been through all the ups and downs, reached pretty high levels but quite a few lows along the way as well. Being a breeder, it probably is the toughest thing you can do in harness racing. “He’s been around a long time and deserves every winner he’s got. This one was bred in partnership with my wife Jess and was the first one they bred in partnership, and she’s turned out to be all right. We are very happy to have her in the stable.” That feeling will only be heightened after Larajay Macray impressed in her Vicbred Super Series heat, finding the front before handing it over to favourite Vena May and then showing plenty of fight in the final quarter. “She gets out of the gate pretty good this one and she has led and won a couple of races and she’s taken a sit and won as well,” Sugars. “She’s starting to strengthen up as she gets a little older too and I took the other one’s back, who was kicking the wheels when it came around and looked pretty keen, so I played the safe option to follow it and thankfully we were able to just grab it up the straight, but it did a very good job and didn’t lay down.” A Sportswriter filly out of Wya Wya Macray, the half-sister to Tee Cee Bee Macray advances to the June 29 semi-finals with Vena May (second), Mona Mia (third), Izzy Jolie, Mornings, Galactic Gal, Speed Dating and Tarzali.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ third heat: Chris Alford’s best laid plans to sit quiet on Kualoa were rewritten by the two-year-old champ who was keen to kick-start her Vincent Vicbred Super Series campaign. Starting from the widest gate, Alford put on the brakes and eased into the running line before putting Kualoa in the race – at her own demand – with over a lap to go. “There was good speed early and I was quite happy just to try and sit back and come with one run, but she just got touching the wheel a little bit and got a bit keen,” he said. “I didn’t want to fight her and just let her stride up and once she rolled to the front she was always in control.” Having emerged three-wide at the top of the straight for the second last time she had found the lead by the bell and was in a class of her own from there, stretching out with 29.4 and 29.6 third and fourth quarters to register a 20-metre win. It was a second Vicbred heat success this season for owner-breeders Bruce and Val Edward, with Kualoa’s (by Art Major) little half-sister Jemstone (by Bettor’s Delight) winning her Vicbred two-year-old heat only two nights prior at Bendigo. And it was also a continuation of the winning ways for trainer Emma Stewart. “As horses you couldn’t ask for better horses to drive, that’s for sure,” Alford said. “(Kualoa) has met some good three-year-olds this year, but she looks the benchmark and hopefully she can have a bit of luck when it comes to the final.” With the top eight advancing to the semi-finals, Kualoa will be joined by stablemate Looking Fabulous (second), Soundslikeart (third), Causing Strife, Fiscal Fantasy, Tryna Portray, Single Tree Road and Headline Act in moving on.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ second heat: Brevity looked like his race was shot to bits in the very early stages but the brave Bettor’s Delight three-year-old just kept giving for reinsman Chris Alford. Having run the quickest lead time of the boys’ heats by 1.5 seconds and followed with the quickest first quarter of the night (28.5 seconds), Brevity looked ripe for the picking for favourite Malcolms Rhythm with the latter’s reinswoman Kima Frenning watching it all unfold from one-out one-back behind Catch A Moment. “His hocks were coming back and hitting the footrest and he was hitting the wheel a bit with his foot and got pretty keen,” Alford said. “He did a really good job just to finish he had gone that hard.” The challengers loomed at the bend but the leader refused to wilt, winning by a neck from Malcolms Rhythm with stablemate Out To Play 1.5m back in third. “He was pretty aggressive that first lap so he did a great job to hang on,” Alford said. “He just puts his head down. He’s never really raced the best ones before but he’s going to measure up.” It was a delightful sight for owner-breeders Russell Maisner, Karen Dunwoodie, Apri and John Chase, with the latter on-course to watch the colt out of Abbreviated for the first time. Major Exclusive ran into fourth for Darby McGuigan and Ted Caruana to book his semi-final spot, with fifth-placed Catch A Moment’s advancement to be determined on time.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ third heat: It was billed as the night’s heavyweight bout and boy did it live up to expectations with Emma Stewart’s star-studded trio Hurricane Harley, Demon Delight and two-year-old Vicbred champion Centenario leaving it all on the Kilmore track. And, remarkably, it was the contender who arguably had it the toughest who emerged triumphant in Demon Delight, who reinswoman Kate Gath placed in the breeze for the last mile – sitting outside leader Centenario and directly in front of Hurricane Harley. “I thought he was tough, he’s always gave me that feel that he had super high speed, but he’s a little machine and I’m just really happy to get the chance to drive him,” Gath said. After first and second quarters that were a tick over 30 seconds, Alford broke open the field with a 26.9 third quarter aboard Centenario but couldn’t shake his stablemates. Demon Delight kept surging out wide and David Moran cut the corner on Hurricane Harley to challenge along the pegs, with the 27.4 last quarter seeing Demon Delight finish 1.6m clear of Hurricane Harley with Centenario 4.9m back in third. “He’s just a consummate racehorse where he relaxes, drops the bit and then goes when you ask him, gets the job done and gets past one and then goes again if another one comes,” Gath said. “I’m not surprised with what he did tonight because he always felt like he was a pretty strong horse.” The delight would have been shared by owners Pam and Russell Hockham who snapped up the Bettor’s Delight colt out of Ghadas Koala for $30,000 at the 2017 Australian Pacing Gold sale. Bred by David Pefferini, Salen Fatrouni and Freddy Taiba, Demon Delight has since banked almost $75,000 in stakes win and is likely the new series favourite. Joining the top three in advancing to the series’ semi-finals was Keith Cotchin’s Betternbetter, while Cee Cee In America ran into fifth and his advancement will be determined by time.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ fourth heat: The Vicbred Super Series has long been the home of a fairytale story or two and this year’s Disney movie applicant may well be Leroy and Danny O’Brien and their entrant Im Sir Blake. Having produced one of the finds of the season in 2017 when Im Princess Gemma won the $50,000 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic, the pair have plucked another pearler from the Shepparton Mixed Sale in Im Sir Blake. While the latter’s $4000 price was four times that paid for Im Princess Gemma, it’s certainly looking similarly bargain basement after the Rob Watson-bred Alta Christiano gelding blew away his rivals in an eventful front-running performance. Advancing to the breeze from gate four outside leader and co-favourite Perfect Major, Im Sir Blake was a handful for reinswoman Kerryn Manning for much of the running, overracing and continually pressing until finding the front the last time down the back straight. By that stage he’d broken up the field and kept coming, clearing out with a 27.8 third quarter and winning by 12.6m to Perfect Major and 29.9m to Explicit Castle despite closing in his slowest quarter (30.3 seconds) of the race. “The further he goes the keener he gets,” Manning said. “Since he choked down in Adelaide he’s probably drawn the back (row) most of the time and he’s settled pretty good off the back, it’s only when he gets out in the open that he tends to say ‘let’s go’. And when he gets on the chewy he really can get on it quite hard. “I didn’t ask him out of the gate, I really wanted to let him settle the best that I could. He sat up there until probably turning into the back straight for the first time, just started to get a bit keen and the further the race went the keener he got. He had the speed to get across down the back and he knocked off a little bit once he found the front.” There’s room for improvement, but it was a big win on a big stage and much to be satisfied about for co-trainer and co-owner Leroy O’Brien. “He just loves his racing, he’s a little racehorse and at home he’s a kids’ pony, walks around with the grandkids. He’s amazing, he really is.” Joining the first three in the semi-finals was fourth-placed Messerati, with fifth-placed Foolish Pleasure’s advancement time dependent.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ fifth heat: Crime Writer looked ripe for the picking at the final turn as Emma Stewart’s Always Fast loomed large in reinswoman Kima Frenning’s hands, but the Sportswriter gelding put his head down and punched on to record a satisfying victory for trainer-driver Matt Craven. “It wasn’t anything sensational but he was headed on the corner into the straight, he fought back and on the line he was going as good as he was at the top of the lane, so that was very pleasing,” Craven told TrotsVision post-race. A fourth victory in his 20 starts, which also brought up Craven’s 50th driving win of the season, came by a neck over Always Fast for owner-breeders Tony and Pamela Coniglia, who bred their mare Our Crime Of Passion to Sportswriter to produce the winner. “Hopefully he will continue to improve off the back of that run,” Craven said. “We left a little bit in the locker, so hopefully as things progress, and we’ve still got to progress through next week to the final which is never easy, but the first step’s there and we’ll see how we go.” A good performance in the June 29 semi-final and potentially July 6 final to follow could convince the stable to take the three-year-old north for the Queensland Derby. “You ask a lot of them as a three-year-old, especially if you think they go OK and you chase the big money. We’ve got in the back of our mind that, if he comes through this series well, we could head to Queensland. The good part about this fella is not much worries him wherever he’s been and even at home, he’s pretty much a cruiser and he settles in pretty well.” In addition to Always Fast, third-placed Rossini – who was beaten only 2.5m having boxed on well from leader’s back – and fourth-placed Firestorm Red will also advance to the semi-finals, while fifth-placed Belittled’s progression is time dependent.   Michael Howard  for Trots Media

Ballarat harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is the on the way to capturing 16 Vicbred Super Series pacing heats for a second year in a row. She took her tally to 12 on the second of three nights at Kilmore on Thursday. Her team took out five three-year-old heats to go with seven two-year-old races at Bendigo on Tuesday. Stewart last season reversed the sequence with five at Bendigo and seven at Kilmore. She then went on to win four heats for 4yos in Ballarat. Her stable has 10 runners in six 4yo heats at Bray Raceway on Friday night. Unfortunately her superstar Poster Boy will be missing after being scratched. Demon Delight ($6.70) provided the highlight of the night at Kilmore for Stewart when he led home stablemates Hurricane Harley ($4.70) and Centenario ($1.50 favourite) in a heat for colts and geldings. Demon Delight raced outside leader Centenario, but still drew away. Stewart's other 3yo heat winners: - Fourbigmen (driven by Chris Alford) colt - Two Times Better (Kate Gath) filly - Kualoa (Chris Alford) filly - Brevity (Chris Alford) colt After winning all seven 2yo heats at Bendigo, Stewart kept the sequence running by taking out the first two at Kilmore. Myrniong trainer Jess Tubbs broke the run with filly Larajay Macray - in a race in which Stewart was not represented. Other Ballarat district-trained starters through to semi-finals: Colts and geldings: Hes An Artist (Tim McGuigan, Gordon), Out To Play (Emma Stewart), Hurricane Harley (Emma Stewart), Centenario (Emma Stewart), Perfect Major (Emma Stewart), Foolish Pleasure (Ashleigh Herbertson, Lexton), Always Fast (Emma Stewart) Fillies: Millah Joy (Jess Tubbs, Myrniong), Mornings (Damien Burns, Bunkers Hill), Looking Fabulous (Emma Stewart), Soundslikeart (Anton Golino), Causing Strife (Wayne Ronan, Glen Park), Fiscal Fantasy (Colin Holloway, Redan), Single Tree Road (Michael Stanley) By David Brehaut Reprinted with permission of The Courier

Emma Stewart’s stable has given an extraordinary muscle flex on night one of the Alabar Farms Vicbred Super Series with a clean sweep of the night’s seven two-year-old heats at Bendigo. Having last year produced a national record equalling eight victories on Vicbred Super Series semi-finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton and seven victories on three-year-old heats night at Kilmore, the stable looks set for another golden three weeks of racing in the 2019 edition. “It speaks for the talent that they have at Emma and Clayton’s stable of getting their horses prepared for racing, not only to get them fit and ready to go, but to have them so tractable,” said reinsman Greg Sugars, who piloted Mirragon and Maajida to victory for the stable. “It makes our job a lot easier as drivers when you want to race at the top level, which these horses are competing at at the moment. Sometimes you can have the best horse, but if you don’t have the manners that can get you beat. They are certainly doing a wonderful job to get the horses to perform as they do and to behave as they do.” They were thoughts echoed by Chris Alford, who produced a race-to-race Stewart double with Jemstone and Beale Street. “It’s a lot to do with the way they train them at home I think,” Alford told TrotsVision. “They sit in and follow or go round and lead, swap and change so they are all pretty adept to doing anything really.” It was also a golden night for Alabar Farms’ sire Art Major, who produced four of the Vicbred Super Series winners and also earned the praise of Sugars. “He’s record speaks for himself. Very few sires out there have done a better job than he has. He just keeps producing headline acts year after year.” So how did all it happen? Always B Miki Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings’ heat one: Pandering continued his impressive season in the first of the night, building on his June 8 hit on Globe Derby when he won by 12.5 metres in Group 1 The Allwood. The Tiger Army showed some initial resistance from the inside draw but reinswoman Kima Frenning’s determination to find the front on Pandering won through and from there she was able to control proceedings, taking a breather with a 31-second second quarter before hustling home in 27.6. “It’s a big relief,” Frenning told TrotsVision host Paul Campbell post-race. “He’s such a cool dude, every single time I drive him he just keeps improving. Emma and the team are doing a great job with him and I’m very happy and grateful I get the drive.” Owned by Justin Baker, the Courage Under Fire two-year-old colt was bred by Shepparton’s Danny Gange out of Pandalay Bay, also the mare of US half-a-million-dollar winning colt Panmunjom. The Tiger Army held second by almost 18 metres from third-placed Sham Rock, with Our Art Christian, Mea Culpa, Yianni, Alte and Monsieur Delacour rounding out the top eight, who advance to the June 29 Vicbred semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Art Major Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies’ heat one: Amelia Rose put on the afterburners to set a significant statement in the first of the fillies’ heats, getting home in 27.3 seconds to make it two from two for Emma Stewart. After leading early and then allowing WA visitor Askmeilltellya to slide to the front, Amelia Rose was in a class of her own in the final stages, winning by 3.9m from a dogged Vouchers on the back of a blistering initial burst for reinswoman Amanda Turnbull. “She was very quick and sprinted home good,” Turnbull told TrotsVision post-race. “They said not to panic if she does carry the sit, because she’s got blistering speed, so it didn’t matter where you come up and there was a good one to follow. “She went straight past (Askmeilltellya) in two strides and then didn’t know what to do. It was pretty exciting to go that quick and she wasn’t that switched on.” The Art Major filly was bred by Benstud Standardbreds out of mare Bennies Daughter, who herself is out of Benelise, the dam of the likes of Majordan ($333,028), Soho Valencia ($332,782), Niki No No ($294,455) and Wardan Express ($195,068). Amelia Rose advances to the June 29 Vicbred semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton along with Vouchers (2nd), Askmeilltellya (3rd), Rockingwithsierra (4th), Power Of Faith (5th) and Oursouthernstar (6th). Art Major Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies’ heat two: The show rolled on for Stewart, Turnbull and sire Art Major in the next with that trio combining to guide Treasure to victory in the second of the fillies’ heats, having clawed over stoic second favourite Realnspectacular. Treasure had to do it from the breeze and the pair separated from the field with a 28.2 third quarter and 27.3 run to the finishing post, with the winner getting home by a neck. “She got checked a couple of times, but she’s got a motor,” Turnbull said of Treasure. “She just seems to do it so easy, she just sort of switches off and stays out in front of them.” The filly is owned by Buckland Park Homestead for South Australia’s Glenda and David Battye and was bred by Bruce and Val Edward out of US mare O Narutac Bella, making her a full-sister to Perfect Sense, who placed second in her Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies final in 2016. The front running pair will be joined in the semi-finals from heat two by Kezzamac, Easy Rolling, Cuzin Lyndal and Fixed Lines. The next question for Turnbull will be which one she’ll drive going forward, but she said that will be a decision for Stewart and partner Clayton Tonkin, before adding both Amelia Rose and Treasure “give you a super feel”. Always B Miki Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings’ second heat: Few were more eye-catching in tonight’s heats than Mirragon, who advanced to the breeze at the mile mark and was left to do plenty of bullocking outside Yejele Hammer. A 27.8-second third quarter saw reinsman Greg Sugars draw level with the leader and at the turn he had put his rivals to the sword, getting home in 27.8 to win in the equal fastest mile rate (1:56.7) of the night’s heats. “Very impressive,” Sugars told TrotsVision post-race. “His run was full of merit last week after being wide early in a very fast mile, just found one (Youaremy Sunshine) that was too good for us on the night. “He’s backed that run up with a complete performance tonight. When I first drove him at the trials I had him up a few times and he showed incredible acceleration over a short distance and I envisaged him being a more of a sit-sprint type horse. As he’s developed he’s turning into a lovely well-rounded racehorse and can be put into the race and sustain a very long run. Very important thing to have.” Aishabeach (second), Star Hunter (third) and Yejele Hammer claimed good ground out of the winner late to advance through to the semi-final along with Night Spirit, Adapt, Focus Stride and Nevada Yankee. But all honours went to the winner, his big group of owners and breeders Ross, Aaron and Hugh Gange, who coupled their mare The Waratah with Art Major for her first foal and would be rapt with the results. Art Major Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies’ third heat: Alice Kay threatened to break the Stewart stable’s hold on the night in the third heat but the Adam-Kelly trained, Zac Phillips driven filly fell just shy in her attempt to climb over leader Jemstone. Reinsman Chris Alford emerged from a 64.3-second first half to run 28.3 and 27.3 in the third and final quarters and register a half-neck win. “This little filly she was good,” Alford told TrotsVision post-race. “She was really relaxed in front, that’s probably why I went a bit slow, and ripped home a good half.” It was a victory enjoyed by a big syndicate of owners the Big Wookie Racing Group, Clayton Tonkin, Ben Prentice and Simon Holt, with the Bettors Delight filly out of breeders Bruce and Val Edward’s mare Hawiian Hottie, making her a full sister to Vicbred winner Kualoa. Jemstone will be joined in the semi-finals by second-placed Alice Kay, third-placed Summertime, Dougs Cino, Dolly Peachum and Bella Bronski. Always B Miki Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings’ third heat: The cult following is likely to be large for the big boy of the two-year-old class, Beale Street, who claimed the third heat and looks to have a future as grand as his frame going by his trainer’s review. “He’s my Breeders Crown tip, I think he will just keep getting better and better,” Emma Stewart told TrotsVision. “I’ve never had a bigger two-year-old and he’s quite solid for his age as well, so he’s not gangly but he doesn’t really know what it’s all about at the moment.” Improvement aside the present also looks pretty impressive as Beale Street was guided to the front by Chris Alford from gate two with major threat, Gavin Lang’s Withoutthetuh, on his tail. He’d roll out in the night’s quickest lead time (37.1 seconds) before consistent quarters (31, 30.1 and 29.2) left enough in the tank to get home in 28.5 seconds and keep a length on Withoutthetuh. “He’s a big fella, he’s starting to learn what it’s all about now,” Alford said. “His first two starts were good but he didn’t know a lot, but now he’s starting to switch right on. “He’s starting to get on the bit now and travel, and when a horse comes near him he wants to race, so he just keeps getting better and better and that’s a good sign.” Joining Beale Street and Withoutthetuh in advancing to the semi-final were third-placed Forever Yin, Highclere, Ozzie Battler, Sahara Sirocco, Ilkiemebettor and Junior Warfare. Art Major Vicbred Super Series two-year-old fillies’ fourth heat: A bold sprint lane rally by David Murphy’s Final Peace almost upset the applecart but Maajida clawed over all comers to land Emma Stewart her seventh Vicbred Super Series heat win for the night and cap the clean sweep. It was an impressive win given Maajida had punched the breeze outside highly rated stablemate Artemede, who led throughout with Final Peace – a $67-1 shot – tracking her every move. But the last 100m belonged to Maajida and she swept clear for reinsman Greg Sugars to win by a neck. “I knew the leader would be hard to catch and sort of had to stay with it and just make it a strong last half a lap basically, and make sure we can hold off any challenges from behind,” Sugars said. “I wasn’t quite confident I would be quick enough to catch the leader because it had pretty good sectionals early but to this filly’s credit she just knuckled down and just wanted to win. She’s got a terrific attitude.” It was a super result for owners Gary, Ian, Leslie and Steve Johnson, who coupled their mare Arterial Way with sire Somebeachsomewhere to produce the full-sister to Gold Chalice winner Lifeonthebeach. Joining Maajida, Final Peace and Arte Mede in booking a semi-finals spot were fourth-placed Elita, The Pantheist (fifth) and Starsbythebeach (sixth).   Michael Howard for Trots media

Victoria’s leading trainer presents a bevy of well-bred and to date well-performed prodigies at Bendigo tomorrow night as the Alabar Vicbred Super Series gets under way. Last season, Stewart had 10 runners on opening night for five heat wins from seven races. She finished second in the two heats she didn’t win and claimed the quinella in two of the events she did. This year Stewart has nine runners engaged across seven 2yo heats. Will the domination continue? Given her Vicbred form in recent times, it made perfect sense – funnily enough that’s also the name of a Stewart-trained pacer who won her Vicbred heat on this night back in 2016 – to invite the leading trainer on to the Inside Word podcast to give punters insights into her line-up, and she was happy to oblige Stewart’s two-year-olds in action tomorrow are last-start Group 1 winner Pandering, Amelia Rose (whose grand-dam produced Niki No No, Wardan Express, Majordan, Soho Valencia and Yrubla among others), winner of four of five Treasure, Home Grown Classic victor Mirragon, one-for-one son of Lovelist Adapt, Kualoa’s half-sister Jemstone, last-start winner Beale Street, and supremely talented Home Grown Classic quinella pair Artmede and Maajida top round out proceedings. Some of the other headline acts to keep an eye on tomorrow include Leeton Breeders Plate winner The Tiger Army for Laura Crossland, a winner of four of six to date who finished second last start in the Group 2 Sapling Stakes at Menangle, West Australian filly Askmeilltellya for trainer Kat Warwick, Realnspectacular for Terry Coelli and Blake Jones, Michael Stanley’s Yejele Hammer and Andy Gath’s Night Spirit, who have both run several placings in recent times and are itching to break through, smart fillies Summertime for Ted Caruana and Alice Kay for Adam Kelly, and Gavin Lang’s bold son of Courage Under Fire Withoutthetuh.   Cody Winnell for Trots Media

It was fittingly a Group 1 win at Tabcorp Park Melton that would see Gavin Lang join the elite harness racing group of two Southern Hemisphere winners of 6000 races as a drive. Lang won the Captain Treacherous Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies with Tell Me Tales to join Chris Alford on the magical mark. Lang said the victory was a “good feeling”, with the win all the more significant for the fact it was done representing Emma Stewart’s stable. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now,” Lang said. “I’m quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that.” The modesty belied a cracking drive that brought up the victory, with Tell Me Tales upstaging highly fancied favourites Petacular and Miss Graceland, who worked to the front but with the latter overracing it kept the door ajar for the contenders. Come the final stages it was Tell Me Tales hitting the line best to secure the bulk of the $120,000 prize. “Everything worked out well for her,” Lang said. “The barrier draw came out and (12) was not what you would have chosen if you had the choice, but you knew full well the ingredients were there that it might be a genuinely run race and when you’re drawn bad that’s what you require. “She’s progressively got better each run Emma and Clayton have had her.” The win was one of three Group 1s captured on the night by Stewart’s stable, with Poster Boy and Nostra Villa winning the two-year-old features, both with Alford in the sulky. For results and video replays of races from Tabcorp Park Melton click here. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The final night of the 2017 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series delivered three top-level harness racing triumphs for the Emma Stewart stable. Stewart's triple Group 1 success also saw champion reinsman Gavin Lang pick up his 6000th career winner in the sulky, aboard Tell Me Tales in the three-year-old fillies' final, upsetting favourites Petacular and Miss Graceland. Nostra Villa remained unbeaten winning the two-year-old fillies' big dance for Chris Alford before stablemate Poster Boy doubled up for the Puppet and Stewart combo with victory in the two-year-old final a race later. Without You wired her rivals in the four-year-old final, Nathan Jack flying the Lauriston Bloodstock owned four-year-old off the arm from gate seven before staving off all comers at the finish for trainer Amanda Turnbull. Jilliby Kung Fu is this year's three-year-old boys' champion for the Terang team of Marg Lee and Glen Craven. And West Australian raider Soho Tribeca overcame adversity to notch a stunning win for trainer-driver Kim Prentice in the four-year-old entires and geldings' final. For results and video replays of races from Tabcorp Park Melton click here. Below is a snapshot of what the winners had to say post-race Race 1 – Greg Sugars on Hes Okey Dokey “His manners before and during the race are really good now whereas he was a bit wayward early days. Keith’s (Cotchin) done a marvellous job to sort him out. He never runs a bad race. He’s been a bit fortunate in recent times and tonight was no exception.” Race 2 – Zac Phillips on Four Ex Dan “His first dip at free-for-all level last week and we were over the moon with his run. He chaired up and held off Maximan and It Is Billy. We were confident enough if we were aggressive early we could find the front and if he found the front he’d be a hard horse to get past.” Race 3 – Chris Alford on Nostra Villa “She just keeps getting better and better each week. Tonight was the first night she had not got to the front but she travelled really well. Nearly dropped in before the turn. Clayton said her last 50m would be her best. “She was just travelling too well. She wasn’t off the bit. She stuck her head in front and didn’t know to run right away. She did enough and that was super.” Race 3 – Anthony Curuana on Nostra Villa “Amazing. I’m still pinching myself, I still can’t believe it.” Race 4 – Chris Alford on Poster Boy “Things didn’t pan out exactly like we would have liked but he was able to get a good trail, poke around and get another good trail, had to come out a bit earlier than I would have liked but he was really good. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to lead, as soon as the gate left I could see Gavin wanted to get out hard. Just had to wait and see what happened and thankfully we got cover for a while and he got a bit of a breather. “He’s a perfect little racehorse. “Clayton always thought he was the pick of his two-year-olds this year and the way the season’s going he’s probably right.” Race 5 – Nathan Jack on Without You “Big thanks to everyone at home. Everyone that chips in, without them we wouldn’t be here tonight. We’ve had a rough trot lately, but Bill and Anne have been there the whole time. “Lauriston horses turn out looking amazing and she’s coming good at the right time.” Race 6 – Gavin Lang on Tell Me Tales “Good feeling… “Everything worked out well for her. She was good last week. Barrier draw came out and not what you would have chosen if you had the choice but you knew full well the ingredients were there that it might be a genuine run race and when you’re drawn bad that’s what you require. She’s progressively got better each run Emma and Clayton have had her. “These colours have been very good to me for a lot of years now. Quite happy to achieve this tonight, especially for these guys. 6000 wins, I’m nearly 60 years that’s only 100 a year so it’s not much when you add it up like that." Race 6 – Emma Stewart on Tell Me Tales “This one’s quite special to us because we’ve had a good association with Mrs Head (Helen, the breeder) over the years.” Race 7 – Glen Craven on Jilliby Kung Fu “We got the draw. He’s been plagued with bad draws and he’s always had to run second fiddle to Emma and Clayton’s good horses. He’s developed into a really nice horse now and was able to get the job done. “We’ve always liked him. He took a while to get going as a young horse but every time you took him out on the track he just got better. It’s a great thrill. The amount of work everyone does at home, the hours and after hours, it’s a team effort and that’s what we’re here for.” “Jason’s (Lee) won more races on him but I drove him as a two-year-old. I went to Sydney with the Breeders Challenge horses. Jason rang me straight after his heat win and said 'he’s ready for you'. “He’s still improving and hopefully we can have a bit more success with him.” Race 7 – Marg Lee on Jilliby Kung Fu “He’s been racing really well and he was super at Kilmore and he did the same tonight sprinting over the top of them. “You can sit him in and come from behind or he can lead, he’s just a really good horse to deal with. He’s still a stallion and you wouldn’t know it.” Race 8 – Kim Prentice on Soho Tribeca “I just have to take my hat off to this horse. I wanted the second favourite to be sitting outside me for longer but it was gone turning for home. He’s an incredible horse and there’s plenty of people Id like to thank, Rob Watson, but this win goes to Mick and Gen Stanley, what they’ve helped me with the last couple of weeks has been unbelievable and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d be there. “He was 90 per cent better than last week but he’s still only 80 per cent right.” Race 9 – Michael Bellman on Whenmechief “(It has) been good to get a pick-up drive for Darren and Julie when they came across. He was a good horse in the Sunraysia and I think he ran third in a South Australian Cup last year, and he’s done a good job for them tonight.” Race 10 – Greg Sugars on Rule Of Thumb “Tim’s done a good job to get him back racing as well as he has his last couple. He showed as a two-year-old he was going to be a horse of the future, but unfortunately he’s had a few little hiccups. But they’ve got him back doing everything right and doing well. “The Nott family put a lot of money into the sport over a number of years and it’s good to see those people get the rewards.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Kinvara Sue and Wobelee left little doubt as to who are the premier Vicbred trotters in their harness racing categories with scintillating Group 1 wins. On the night that Gavin Lang reached 5999 career wins when saluting on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun, it was the two-year-old colts and geldings (Wobelee) and three-year-old fillies (Kinvara Sue) races that produced the most jaw-dropping performances of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series trotting finals. “He just likes to race,” Chris Alford said of Wobelee, who is trained by Alison Alford. “He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight.” As has been his custom, Wobelee found the front with ease from his gate five draw and from there it was lights out, winning by 18.2m from Fend Off with Smashthemcalder a further 8m back in third. Kinvara Sue was just as impressive in the three-year-old trotting fillies, overcoming her Victoria Trotters Oaks disappointment when she led, sustained pressure, overraced and dropped out. Tonight she led, sustained pressure and then put her rivals to the sword. A triumphant Jason Lee salute with 50m to go reinforced what this win meant to the driver, the trainer (Anton Golino) and the owner (Pat Driscoll). “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special,” Lee said. “To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome.” The stable had a super night with Nieta winning the three-year-old silver trot in addition to Aldebaran Eve’s four-year-old trotting mares Group 1 win, a second Group 1 victory for the Skyvalley trotter having saluted in last year’s Vicbred three-year-old final. That winning feeling was also savoured by Neville Pangrazio, trainer of Moonshine Linda who he also owns and bred with Michael Pangrazio. The two-year-old trotting filly won her Group 1 with a 1.8m salute ahead of Allthemoves. It was a night for the trainer-owner-breeder, with Terry Young’s ripping Tennotrump gelding Deltasun storming home to win the three-year-old boys Group 1 for owner-breeder Alison Young. Brent Lilley and Anthony Butt teamed up to add another Group 1 notch to their belts, this time with Enrolled in the four-year-old entires and geldings final. “He’s got a bit of ability there, it’s just a matter of doing things right. That’s half the battle,” Butt said. “I got a lovely run through early. He relaxed after the first half a mile. They kept the pace on and it worked out good for him.” Sparkling Success (TAB.com.au Trot) and Maorisfavouritesun (Noopy Kiosk Trotters Free For All) also reaffirmed their status at the pointy end of metropolitan racing with impressive victories, while it was also a night that highlighted the trotting gait’s diversity, with the 10 winners coming from 10 different stallions. For the full results click here. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) ................................................................................................. What the winners said Night one of the 2017 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Grand Finals saw Cardigan trainer Anton Golino notch three triumphs, while champion reinsman Gavin Lang picked up two to move within one victory of the magical 6000 career wins mark. Here's a snapshot of what the winners said post-race tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton.  Race 1 – Chris Svanosio on Sparkling Success “He’s a very nice horse and it makes it easy to drive. He’s very professional. I was able to control it and stay in front of the main dangers and he did it well at the finish. “Terrific against the pacers last time and he’s got a terrific record this horse and hopefully he can build on it in the future. “John's (Meade) done a great job with this horse and he went terrific tonight.” Race 1 – Trainer John Meade on Sparkling Success “He’s done a lot of work. I work him fairly solidly at home. I think he’s a real chance to win a few cup races off a stand.” Race 2 – Nathan Jack on Nieta “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight but I think they underestimated her speed tonight. “Everything went wrong at Bendigo for her but that’s the way it goes and it was her day today and hopefully come Breeders Crown time she can get her chance again.” Race 3 – Jason Lee on Kinvara Sue “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Race 4 – Neville Pangrazio on Moonshine Linda “Half to Trumpem Johnny and Marvellous Max, she’s the third one out of Maoris Sunshine and she’s just like Mum. She’s a bit pudding and she’s hard to get the weight off her but we love her. “We’ve had a good time with the Vicbred it’s been great.” Race 4 – Nathan Jack on Moonshine Linda “I was pretty confident a long way from home. You probably never should be with two-year-old trotters. Was just a matter of doing everything right and she never let us down. “A dynasty doesn’t happen overnight. I have to thank the Pangrazio family a lot and we’ve all been rewarded tonight. To hear them crossing the line, that’s what it’s all about. “I can’t take the credit. Neville and everyone at home has done a great job.” Race 5 – Mark Pitt on Maorisfavouritesun “He’s a tough horse. He was a little bit keen tonight. Was a bit worrying over the later stages but he was too strong for them. “I knew it was pretty close… He’s going really good. David (Aiken) and the crew have got him really good at the moment. I really enjoy driving him.” Race 6 – Anthony Butt on Enrolled “He’s come a long way and he’s just gotten better and better. “Tough situation because this guy likes to get rolling. The danger was on my back early so I had to wait as long as I could and I thought if I dashed up the lane he’d take a bit of picking up.” Race 7 – Gavin Lang on Deltasun “He’s always been up in the top bracket of his age group and just lately a few of the others have caught up to him but the great thing about him is he’s a great racehorse. Unfortunately for Andy’s horse he never really competed. I drove him quietly tonight and it really suited. “In the past I might have driven him like he’s the best horse but because of the high esteem I’ve held him in I was probably a bit disappointed with his last run but I knew Terry would have him in good order tonight.” Race 8 – Gavin Lang on Aldebaran Eve “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Race 9 – Chris Alford on Wobelee “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Race 10 – Anthony Butt on Crow Power “Good run. I’ve driven him a couple of times ta the trials and once at the races. He’s got a bit of ability there, it’s just a matter of doing things right. That’s half the battle. “I got a lovely run through early. He relaxed after the first half a mile. They kept the pace on and it worked out good for him.” Race 11 – Brad Angove on Sundons Courage “It didn’t cross my mind that he wouldn’t be in the final, but these things happen. “In trackwork at home he’s working as good as he has in his life. I was pretty happy, I got my A Grade licence on Tuesday to drive him tonight, to win my first metropolitan race as a Group 3 was pretty good.”  

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards provide the below information regarding Soho Tribeca and Petacular, which are engaged to compete in next Saturday night’s (08/07) Vicbred Super Series Finals, in light of the veterinary findings identified subsequent to their Semi-final performances. SOHO TRIBECA - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS) (FINAL) A post-race veterinary examination of Soho Tribeca revealed the horse to be lame in the off foreleg and as a result Soho Tribeca has been stood down from racing pending a veterinary clearance being tendered. The HRV Stewards will monitor this situation and if necessary Soho Tribeca will be examined by an independent HRV Veterinary Consultant prior to competing next Saturday night. PETACULAR - EMPIRE STALLIONS VICBRED SUPER SERIES (3YO FILLIES) (FINAL) A post-race veterinary examination of Petacular revealed the filly to have bled from the offside nostril. In accordance with Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 101B(2) Petacular will not be permitted to start in the final until trialling to the satisfaction of the Stewards on one occasion.   AHRR 101B(2) states: If the Stewards determine that a horse has bled from one nostril the horse shall not be eligible to race until it has trialled to the satisfaction of the Stewards. Michael Stanley, trainer of Petacular, has advised the filly will trial at Geelong on Tuesday night (04/07). Petacular will be examined by a HRV Veterinary Consultant at the completion of the trial to determine whether the filly has successfully passed the embargo. Harness Racing Victoria

Tabcorp Park Melton was the scene for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Semi-Finals tonight and the harness racing action was electric. Here’s what the winning drivers had to say post-race ahead of the Grand Final double-header next Friday and Saturday back here under lights at Victorian Trots Headquarters. R1 Jodi Quinlan on General Dodge (Courage Under Fire) “I wouldn’t swap him. He can carve out 27-second sectionals and he feels like he’s doing it in third gear. Next week will be harder again. He wanted to over-race in patches tonight. You’ve got to remember he’s only had 10 starts so it’s all still pretty new to him. It’s scintillating the speed that he does possess. He’s a really exciting horse.” R2 Michael Bellman on Rockstar Angel (Rocknroll Hanover) “She’s pretty exciting. The hard part’s done now, she’s into the final. Josh and David, and Kima and the rest of the gang have her in perfect order and everything’s ticking along beautifully. Brendan’s idea a couple of weeks ago was to send to Menangle and do her prep up there in the water walker and a bit warmer weather, and her coat suggests that’s worked quite well. One thing’s for sure, she’ll be hard to beat next week.” R3 Craig Turnbull on Major Occasion (Art Major) “She’s coming along. (I’m) very thankful to Anthony and Chris for sending her down to me. The draw was vital but she did the job well. It suits her just coming out and relaxing. She can be a bit of a nutter here and there. She can get out of the gate but we pay the penalty during the race and at the end.” R4 Chris Alford on Nostra Beach (Art Major) “She’s a lovely filly she’s got speed, she’s got good strength and she relaxes so well. Once she gets into a fight she’ll really dig deep. She stills seems to be on the rise. This filly she just seems to go through her races pretty well and have something in reserve. She’s pretty good at the moment.” R5 Greg Sugars on Wrappers Delight (Bettor's Delight) “He’s been a very well performed horse right throughout his entire career. He had a good draw tonight, which really helped. Against the very best he’s probably a bit more of an opportunist but given the right run and the right circumstances he’s very good and good enough to knock off the best.” R6 Greg Sugars on Whirily School (Courage Under Fire) “She’s had a couple of starts early this prep where she was not quite right but ever since then Clayton and Emma have done a great job to resurrect her. She really knuckled down hard the last 400, 500 metres and hit the line strong.” R7 Anthony Butt on Stars Align (Art Major) “(That was a) big run. We got running down the back and Chris got me off the bit. Lucky we had a wee breather. He really picked up and felt strong when I did that and felt really strong at the line. He was one of the Purdon army as a three-year-old. It’s not easy getting a horse off Purdon. Sometimes you’re on a hiding to nothing. He’s three-out-of-three here. Dean’s a master trainer in his own right and he’s proven it with this horse.” R8 Gavin Lang on Major Times (Art Major) “He’s bred to be a good horse but he’s a big gangly guy at the moment. He possesses his share of ability. His run at Bendigo last week was awesome really. He should be good for next week. He’s a veteran of three, four starts, so don’t worry … if I had have got more fair dinkum with him I’m sure he could have done more than he did. He’s going through it pretty well at the moment. I’ll wake him up when the time needs. When he ran home here in the Youthful Stakes he hit the line very good. He’s pretty versatile, which is a nice asset to have.” R9 Kim Prentice on Soho Tribeca (American Ideal) “I hadn’t been here before so he had to show me around. He just got left alone. I was hoping the six-horse would stay outside of me a lot longer. Next week we’ll have the pull-ups on him and he’ll find the line next week. He’ll be so, so much better next week.” R10 Chris Alford on Poster Boy (Somebeachsomewhere) “He’s racing really well. He’s so beautiful and relaxed and does everything you ask of him. He came out nice and once the speed backed off. He roared up the straight.  The draw will be interesting. Emma and Clayton will have six or seven in the final. He doesn’t have to lead. I wouldn’t swap him for any of the others.” R11 Chris Alford on Miss Graceland (Rocknroll Hanover) “She zoomed up the straight good. She sort of knocks off a bit when she’s out by herself. She won as she liked, really. She had a bit of a break before the heat and tonight would have topped her right off.” R12 Michael Stanley on Petacular (Somebeachsomewhere) “That’s the first times I haven’t had to pull the ear plugs, she’s normally pretty casual. Shows she’s starting to learn what it’s all about. She does it so comfortably. She’s been a top filly all the way through and hopefully we can keep her together.” > Facebook Gallery of the Winners > Fields for Super Series Grand Finals > Semi-Final Facebook Live video wrap > Semi-Final Results Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing trainer Emma Stewart qualified 10 two-year-olds for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Semi-Finals last night at Bendigo. The Cardigan trainer presented 12 horses at the 10-race card and won five races. "They were terrific," Stewart said of her team. "You always go into these nights hopeful so we were really pleased." Stewart’s winners were Concealment (an Art Major-Trojan Fire colt), Nostra Villa (an Art Major-Crystal Journey filly), Tam Major (an Art Major-Magic Z Tam colt), Poster Boy (a Somebeachsomewhere-Aston Villa colt) and Nostra Beach (a Somebeachsomewhere-Amarillen filly). Vicbred sponsor Empire Stallions had a strong night on the track with Somebeachsomewhere registering two Super Series heat wins and Artistic Fella one (Regal Cheval for trainer Bill Galea). It was also a big night for Art Major, who sired four Super Series heat winners. Champion driver Chris Alford drove three of Stewart’s winners last night in Nostra Villa, Tam Major and Poster Boy. Alford said all three winners were precocious youngsters but highlighted Poster Boy’s potential brilliance. “He’s pretty untapped at the moment,” Alford said of the half-brother to Yankee Rockstar and Born To Rocknroll. Poster Boy paced a 1:55.8 mile rate, making him the quickest winner of the night. His trainer agreed. "Poster Boy is a freak, so Major Times (stablemate) went bloody super to run second like he did after copping some pressure," Stewart said. Nostra Villa remained unbeaten with a 2.4-metre victory over recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic winner Imprincessgemma in 1:58.9. “Normally if they have to run a lead time of 37.3 they don’t even get to the finish, so to still finish it off in 27.4 up the straight was pretty impressive,” Alford said. Alford described Tam Major as “very strong”, adding “he looked gone at the 600 but kept on whacking away”. Tam Major refused to yield under driving for the bulk of the last lap as stablemate Tapthekeg sprint-laned to run second and Beltane grinded away from the chair for third. Other winners in Super Series heats last night were Passions Delight (Bettors Delight-Passions Promise) for trainer Nicole Molander and driver John Caldow in the fillies’ second heat, Regal Cheval (Artistic Fella-Star Cheval) in the second of the colts and geldings’ heats for trainer Bill Galea and reinsman Darby McGuigan, and Craig Turnbull trained-and-driven filly Major Occasion. Given the quality of horses he is driving it is little wonder Alford enjoys the Vicbred series. “There’s a bit of pressure driving all these good horses but that’s all good as long as they stay well and get to the finals night.” The Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series spotlight turns to Kilmore tomorrow night for the three-year-old pacing heats where Stewart and Alford are expected to dominate again. “Miss Graceland probably looks the pick of the fillies but Tell Me Tales is going very well, too,” Alford said. “Our Little General is top-line, but the other one (Stars Align, from the Dean Braun stable) felt good the other night, too. I don’t think there’s much between them.” The Super Series heads to Ballarat on Friday night for the four-year-old heats and Alford was most confident about Rocknroll Magic (in Race 8). The Vicbred two-year-old semi-finals will be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on June 30. Click here for full results from last night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Heats Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

This season has been a little drawn out for one leading three-year-old filly, but connections are optimistic further success is just around the corner. Dancingwithsierra will be among the many chasing  harness racing silver and bronze at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow, when the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series concludes with the silver and bronze pacing races. Trainer Gary Hoban remains adamant his three-year-old filly, Dancingwithsierra, is top shelf, providing she gets a little luck before and during the race.Unfortunately for the Tasmanian Oaks winner and her connections that luck of the draw has seemed all too fleeting.  It is disappointing from an owner and trainers point of view that when she gets into big races she never draws a barrier,” Hoban said. That frustration was renewed when Dancingwithsierra drew barrier 12th for the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series semi-final and ran eighth, having been unable to make an impression on the leaders who had rolled along comfortably. “When (driver) Chris (Alford) jumped on her in the semi we had to hope for speed on up front,” Hoban said. “When he came off he said with a lead time of (45.3) and a 63-second first half of the mile they ran home in (55.2) and from the back, how could she get into it?“ For the Victoria Oaks she drew barrier 12, for the Breeders Crown she drew 10 and then she drew 12 in the Vicbred semi-final.  In today’s racing there is probably not a lot between first and last ability wise and if she doesn’t draw well it is hard to make up that 20m on the others. “When she draws a barrier, like in the Tassie Oaks, she has shown what she can do. When she draws in the first three or four she finishes there.” Poor random draws are not an uncommon complaint, begging the question in Dancingwithsierra’s case, does it stack up?In 21 starts her average draw is 6.52 in an average field size of 9.48. Well below par, and makes all the more notable that her average finishing position is 3.05.And to Hoban’s point the bigger the stakes the worse her draw? In races with stakes of more than $20,000, Dancingwithsierra’s average draw is 7.63 in an average field size of 9.81. “She is not a filly who can make her own luck against the elite,” Hoban said. “Rocknroll Magic, who won the (Vicbred) final, three months ago Dancingwithesierra defeated her when she led and Rocknroll Magic had to come from behind.”And that’s where the frustration stems from, Hoban’s confidence in his filly. This brings us to tomorrow’s 11-race card, when Dancingwithsierra has drawn barrier seven in the $25,000 stakes race. “Again she is drawn poorly, but she is probably not against the elite,” Hoban said. “Chris wasn’t disappointed with her run last week. She has probably trained on as well as you could expect her too and she will give a good show Michael Howard.”

It was billed as the race of the harness racing series and it didn’t disappoint.  The Empire Stallions $115,000 Vicbred Super Series Final four-year-olds, on the cusp of Grand Circuit racing, dazzled under the Tabcorp Park Melton lights, none more so than Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin trained star Ideal For Real. Despite getting parked outside the Birchip Bull and reigning Victorian horse of the year Menin Gate, a noted fighter when in front, Ideal For Real packed too much punch in tonight’s Group 1 final and delivered a knockout 3.9-metre win over runner-up Tee Cee Bee Macray, who produced a super run rocketing home from the back, with Menin Gate boxing on gamely for third beaten 4.7m. Driven by “Group 1 Gavin Lang”, who notched his third top-level trophy for the evening with the victory, Ideal For Real rated 1:56.1. “We expected that’s how it would unfold in the race,” Lang said. “He cornered so well … in the straight he wanted to make a bit of a beeline to the outside … but he’s a great little racehorse and it was a great training performance from Emma and Clayton.” Ideal For Real (by American Ideal out of Tamara Hall) started from gate five and notched his fifth straight success this time in from five starts. Ideal For Real has now won 11 of 19 starts for almost $300,000 in stakes. And the future for the powerful pacer is bright, according to Lang. “With the four-year-olds their next step is the Grand Circuit racing next year so it’s harder as we go along but I’m quite sure this little guy will take that step,” he said. “He had too much speed for his own good when he was young. When you would show him a little bit of daylight he would try and go from A to B too quickly. He wasn’t sort of ready for that and he had a couple of little issues early as you can see now the team have turned him into a great little racehorse.” Stewart said the stable would take a cautious approach to Grand Circuit racing for Ideal For Real. “He’s a nervous sort of horse so we’ll take him slow," she said. “He’s a lovely horse and I think the second horse (Tee Cee Bee Macray) is a terrific horse too so I look forward to those clashes in the future." Lang drove four Group 1 winners tonight, all four legs of the quaddie.  Ideal For Real was bred by Bruce Edward of Durham Park.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

You won’t see too many performances in harness racing more impressive than what Delight Me produced tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton to win the Empire Stallions $115,000 Vicbred Super Series four-year-old mares’ final. The powerful daughter of Bettor's Delight/Cornsilk sat wide for basically the entire trip before putting her opposition away in the straight to claim Group 1 glory. For the mare’s driver, Gavin Lang, the victory was his fourth Group 1 for the night – and fifth across both nights of the Vicbred finals after guiding Sparkling Success home last night. “There won’t be too many pats on the back for me for that drive,” Lang said post-race. “Andrew Peace a few years ago, I said to him, 'You didn’t drive that one too well, Andrew' and he said, 'well, nobody’s going to know because it won'. “That one didn’t pan out like we hoped but like I say the horse obviously trained to the minute. She’s a special horse really to do what she had to do to win.” Lang drove all four Group 1 quaddie leg winners tonight – Rocknroll Magic, Dont Hold Back, Ideal For Real and Delight Me. He also finished second in the two-year-old fillies’ final aboard Perfect Sense. “People often say ‘that was a good win’ and I always say ‘all wins are good, just that some are better’,” Lang said. “Nights like this are what it’s all about though. It’s not about quantity it’s about the quality of the race you win. “I’m fortunate to drive for the right stables, good horses, and it’s very satisfying but I don’t get too far ahead of myself because I know I’m only as good as the horses I drive.” Delight Me produced a slick 1:55.3 mile rate despite covering extra territory, with stablemate  Starburst Girl (Mark Pitt) finishing 4m away in second place and Paul Campbell-trained Miss Dreamin (Kerryn Manning) producing a huge run for third at big odds. Delight Me was bred by Rob Watson and is raced by John Clements. Stewart spoke Delight Me being a personal favourite, adding: "It's been a great night and it was great to see Michael Stanley get a Group 1 too, so it was a good night for Ballarat".  On the run of Delight Me, Stewart said: “I was very worried early on, she had a torrid run, but it just shows you how good she is." Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Mario Attard handed the keys to harness racing driver Gavin Lang and ‘Group 1 Gav’ did the rest, guiding his beloved three-year-old colt to Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series glory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Dont Hold Back won to rapturous applause for owner-trainer Attard and his sea of supporters, with the colt by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Express mowing his opponents down in the straight to claim the Group 1. “I’m really excited,” Attard said. “I’ve got a great family and a great bunch of friends. It’s a lot of fun.” It was Lang’s first drive on the colt, who Attard had previously steered, but with the $110,000 prize pool decided to call in another. “I thought (Gavin’s) the man to give the horse every chance,” Attard said. “I believe he is the best around and he was the right man for the job.” Lang was only too happy to accept, and was up to the challenge of overcoming Dont Hold Back’s tricky barrier draw. Soho Tribeca took up the front running, with Brallos Pass joining him by taking the breeze before the bell. Lang was one-out and five-back, and took Iceenothink’s back to get an armchair ride into the race. At the 100m mark they were a line of four, come the finish line it was Dont Hold Back by 2.8m to Iceenothink, with Brallos Pass a further 3.2m back in third. “Gav being Gav, he knew that Gary Hall was on Iceenothink and he knew he was going to pull out in front of him, the guy is a genius,” Attard said. “I’m very happy,” Lang said. “It was a big decision for Mario to step down and let somebody who had only ever watched the horse before step up and drive him. A little bit of perceived pressure I suppose to get the job done and fortunately the horse was good enough to deliver.” Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

Harness racing connections of the Group 1 three-year-old fillies winner at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight have every reason to rock’n’roll all night long after adding the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Group 1 title to their talented charge’s list of achievements. Favourite Rocknroll Magic delivered Emma Stewart’s Smythes Creek stable the first of three Group 1 wins for the night, when in Gavin Lang’s hands the filly strode four-wide and gobbled them up in the straight. “She’s been going gangbusters this preparation, great effort to get over a good quality line-up tonight,” Lang said. Connections admitted concern when Barry and Aaron Dunn’s in-form flyer, Nikkibadwagon, found her way to the front, with Rocknroll Magic some way adrift and with plenty of work to do. But Lang found a good sit on stablemate Celebrity Guest to round the field and, come the straight, blazed past Nikkibadwagon to win by 4.5m in a 1:56.9 mile rate. “Nikkibadwagon, once she found the lead, I didn’t know if we would be able to round her up,” Lang said. “Full credit to this little girl, she has got a great motor. “Great breed this one that Bruce Cameron has put together. He introduces a lot of owners, they really enjoy it.” Cameron, breeder and part-owner, heads a huge ownership group who delighted in their filly by Rock N Roll Heaven out of All The Magic’s success. “It’s been great tonight. We have people who have come from Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Adelaide – and they are all here to have a great time to see this little filly get her well-deserved Group 1 win,” Cameron said. “This filly’s ability has shone through tonight to be able to nail a Group 1.”  Michael Howard Harness Racing Victoria

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