When the term 'Ponzi scheme' is mentioned these days, the names Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford instantly spring to mind. The pair of them ran multi-billion dollar frauds (US$60bn and $8bn respectively) that destroyed the lives of thousands of investors who had put their life savings into a 'wonderful' investment strategy. How so many people were sucked into the scheme is baffling to those on the outside. The lifestyle, the sales pitch, the success stories of the early investors - I suppose it all adds up. So where does this link to racing you ask? A prominent Australian 'racing identity' this week has been reported to have lost access to a bank account with punters' club funds of $194m in it. Firstly - is there a worse term for anyone to be labelled with that 'racing identity'? It ALWAYS ends up meaning shonky crook! Secondly - who the hell has a punters' club with an active bankroll in the tens of millions? It simply can't be done. The media has just started to scratch the surface on this case: - Racing identity Bill Vlahos denies punting club losses - $5m bill for Caviar's brother unpaid - Punters' club man faces suit over Black Caviar's half-brother but my sources tell me there is a lot left to expose. Let's examine the alleged punters' club run by Bill Vlahos: There was no prospectus for potential investors, no contracts securing their investments, nothing at all in writing. No public records of the club activity. All members were sworn to secrecy. (Anyone hearing alarm bells?) Members would put money into the club and then receive regular dividends. Members were promised a return of over 6% per quarter, adding up to 25% annual profit on investment, and that's what the early investors received. It was a betting syndicate. Since when are betting returns consistent? All the dodgy betting investment scams in Australia are based on the Gold Coast, so surely this one had to be legitimate? The syndicate was allegedly betting on Melbourne and Sydney racing each week, but with 'offshore outlets' via a broker. Punters worldwide will tell you that getting on is harder than ever. As soon as you start winning, your cards are marked and the industry works against you to shut you down. Corporate bookies shut or heavily restrict your account. Betfair hits you with a Premium Charge of up to 60% of your profits. There simply aren't offshore outlets who will let you bet millions on Australian racing, and there certainly aren't charitable betting firms out there who will let you win a million dollars per quarter to keep up with your promised 6% quarterly return. There is more truth in a Harry Potter novel! The master system behind this money tree: "Mr Vlahos developed his system during a two-year stint living near Randwick racecourse when he was not working full-time. He said he used his mathematical training gained during his La Trobe University psychology degree to come up with a way to beat the odds. Mr Vlahos said that members of his club trusted him despite the lack of written contracts, and accepted that he collected five per cent of the winnings. "There's nothing in writing because it's a punting club and it's a trust punting club, the people that are in it have made the decision that they understand how the punting club works between me and them," he said." "Mr Vlahos said that the maths-based system he used for the punting club brought constant quarterly profits back into the common pool." The "mathematical training gained during a psychology degree" allowed him to develop a system, which he coincidentally did while living next door to one of the biggest racecourses in the country. I'm calling bullshit on that one. Wagering is an incredibly complicated business which requires an enormous workload just to keep up with continually evolving markets. Maths alone will not make you a profit. Form study alone will not make you a profit. The best money management scheme of all time will not make you a profit. Anyone who tells you they can make consistent, unlimited profits on horse racing has as much credibility as a politician.... The reference material for a successful and disguised Ponzi scheme is the success of the early members. They make their money from introducing new members, although it is highly likely they are unaware of the mechanics of it. Every new member brought into the syndicate bring new liquidity, which is actually the profit they supposedly make every week from their betting investments. The ground-floor investors do very well out of it, and continue to innocently provide glowing references for anyone else considering joining. For them, everything seems above board. So Bob is considering putting money in, he looks at Jim who has been in for a year and done well, then he looks up to Max who has been in for longer and is genuinely displaying the lifestyle of someone making solid, regular profits from their investments. So Bob thinks he's onto a good thing, everyone knows each other and believes what they see, and injects more money into the 'club'. This cycle continues with everyone profiting until it gets too big. Suddenly the rate of signing up new members starts to fall away, the liquidity dries up and so does the flow of profits. Vlahos claims that they had only lost money in one quarter in eight years - that's all it needs to start crumbling.... One piece of anecdotal evidence I have heard is of an early member in regional Victoria who had an incredible run signing up new members - while they all bought cars and swimming pools with their profits, he kept re-investing his profits to create that golden nest egg for retirement. I'm told he believed his share of the syndicate pot was as much as a third - in the vicinity of $60-120m! I'm tipping he'll be rather disappointed. The Westpac account allegedly containing the $194m hasn't been locked by the bank, it hasn't gone missing, they haven't lost the account due to a computer glitch. It never existed in the first place. Bill Vlahos doesn't exactly have the cleanest of connections in the racing industry - he has a link to Tony Mokbel, the big time drug dealer who laundered much of his cash flow through various forms of gambling. When the heavy hand of the law started closing in on Mokbel and his associates, it was Vlahos who took over ownership of a horse owned by Tony's brother Horty Mokbel, Pillar of Hercules. The chances of that being coincidental are very slim. And it was this love of horses which reports say, saw him come up with another front for the Ponzi scheme. Vlahos was most famous for his backing for BC3 Thoroughbreds - a new age bloodstock syndication company who entered the market with a bang, paying huge prices for yearlings, including $5m for a half-brother to Black Caviar. It seemed over the top at the time, their attitude was "we weren't going to be outbid on this one". And now we know why. Value didn't seem to matter to them. So long as the horse could attract investors, they'd be fine. The sales company, Inglis, have yet to be paid for the horse. This isn't uncommon, trainers often take a while to syndicate horses, but they have to pay interest on their debts. It is reported that several people have paid cash for shares in the blue-blood colt, but none of that money has been passed onto Inglis - the allegations are that it has all been tipped into the Ponzi scheme. If all this is true, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt my sources who have seen this building up for several years, there are many highly respectable people caught up in this, completely innocently. Investors from Melbourne society, football clubs, players and administrators. Highly respected administrators who have left their jobs to become part of the BC3 'success story'.... My sources tell me that BC3 staff were told this morning Australian time that the company is no longer. I'd expect most of them knew nothing of all this until very recently. The interest started to mount up on 'Jimmy', the half-brother to Black Caviar. Pressure was on to find more funds to put into the club - surely this sham would last forever? Vlahos allegedly relocated to Singapore earlier in the year - to secure more suckers? To get away from the front-line pressure of the scheme? To stay away from investigators and start preparing an escape route? Theories of what has happened to 'Jimmy' are plentiful. The SMH article said 'the insurance policy can only be paid out in death'. Spider bite, heavy dose of anti-biotics from a vet which is rumoured could be linked to laminitis, a potentially fatal disease.... If the horse survives this ordeal which he is still recovering from, a successful life on the racetrack must be highly improbable now. A stud career for an unraced colt, no matter how esteemed the bloodlines, will be nowhere as lucrative as it could have been with a few wins under his belt. This scandal has only just started to hit the courts, brought upon by legal proceedings from an unhappy member who is unlikely to ever see his money again. Vlahos' assets have been seized, his passport taken away. Criminal reporters will dig further into this, further than the traditional racing media who are always reluctant to expose/embarrass people within the industry. I'm told investigative journalists from The Age have been close to breaking this story but were holding back - articles from their rivals may now force their hand. The fallout from this will be enormous. Racing can't afford to have thousands of people with significant sums of money involved become disenchanted with the sport. When the Nathan Tinkler empire crumbled, the people who felt it most were the businesses and staff he owed money to. This scandal goes so much wider. And yet it's not a new blight on the racing industry. Go back to the 80s and a Melbourne conman called Joe Talia did something similar, using the gift of the gab to convince people to invest in his schemes. There were no miracle investment schemes, it was just him pissing the money away at the racetrack, in casinos or living far above his means. Courtesy of Scott Ferguson "This article written by and reprinted courtesy of Scott Ferguson, seasoned betting industry expert and editor of www.sportismadeforbetting.com blog. You can also follow him on Twitter via @borisranting"
Mount Gambier conducted their first meeting of the season and while it was a big punting weekend at the Mount with Thoroughbreds & Greyhound meetings during the day the twilight fixture still drew a good crowd to the trots. President Phil Wood could not have been happier with the result " our gate was good as were takings at canteen and the bar". The committee has worked hard to make the venue more family friendly during the off season and this was well received by patrons. On the track the action was hot - three of the six winners broke the magical two minute barrier, another two rated just over two minutes while Caleb Lewis was allowed to walk on the Kevin Brough trained Amberlu Lilly. Driving honours went to David Dury who won with Alta Antonio, the promising Big Gorilla and former Kiwi filly Our Mackalena who was having her first SA start after having trialled impressively winning a trial by 25 metres, the Christian Cullen filly started at the lucrative odds of $5.60. Caleb Lewis also drove a double, while Rodney Baker won the Boarder Watch Pace heat for his father Jim on board Dee Cees Desire. The final of this race is to be held at Hamilton next Monday. The Mount Gambier club has negotiated with a Victorian club to run five heats. The final will be run at either Hamilton , Horsham or Terang, Phil Wood said "it gives the opportunity for local trainers to qualify for $5000 finals in Victoria and also encourages Victoria trainers to boarder hop and come to Mount Gambier for the heats" Gary Newton
The first round heats of the much sought after Snowball Series for C0 class horses four year old and older were held at the Charlton Graduation class meeting on Monday December 9, 2013. A unique series where stake levels increase as the series progresses - Heats $3,000, Semi-finals $5,500 and the Final $10,500 Heat one over 2100 metres was taken out by Great Western trainer/driver Kerryn Manning's Washington VC/Robyne Measure 4-Y-0 gelding Willow Robyn in a rate of 1-59.9. Beginning brilliantly from gate four, Willow Robyn a prohibitive $1.10 favourite, led throughout to street his rivals in winning by 18 metres over a death-seating Sassy man and Playing The Ace. Heat two saw South Australian visitor Sparks On Nudgee, a four year old daughter of Life Sign and Big Brown Eyes successful in a rate of 2-01.2. Driven by Greg Sugars for Globe Derby Park trainer Andrew Mitton, Sparks On Nudgee was sent out with a rush from gate three, but was unable to head off the polemarker Miss Toolern Vale, with Sugars easing to take a trail. Using the sprint lane in the shadows of the post, Sparks On Nudgee ($3.20) finished best to gain the day by a head from Shes Even Cooler (one/two - three wide home turn), with Miss Toolern Vale a half neck away in third place. Smart Lombo Pocket Watch/Road To Paris four year old gelding Clancys Fobwatch snared Heat three in the fastest rate 1-57.7 from gate three. In what was a great staying test, Clancys Fobwatch ($2.10) trained at Hopetoun Park (Bacchus Marsh) by Ross Sugars and driven by Greg, raced outside the highly fancied Seven And A Half (gate four), before prevailing by a half neck in a thrilling duel all the way up the running. Tearitup which led out before being eased to follow Seven And A Half finished 37.4 metres away in third place. Two Semi-Finals over 2190 metres will be held at Maryborough on December 18, with the 2200 metre Final at Ballarat on December 26. Len Baker
Mark Jones has decided to freshen Dominion winner Master Lavros after he galloped twice and finished down the track in yesterday’s Green Mile at Methven. “I drove Choise Achiever a couple of races prior to the Trotters Green Mile and didn’t think the track was that bad, but by the time his race came along it had really deteriorated,” said Jones. He didn’t handle it at all and if I had of known it was going to be that bad, I wouldn’t have bothered starting him,” he added. Jones said that Master Lavros’s Australian campaign is his main priority which is why he will now briefly spell the five-year-old Sundon gelding before preparing him for feature racing across the Tasman in February and March. “I think pressing on to the Auckland carnival and then going to Australia would just be too much as there wouldn’t be any chance to give him a let-up. At this stage of his career I really want to look after him.” He added. “The Glenferrie Farm Challenge in Sydney on the 3rd of March is his main target but provided things go well there he could press on to the Great Southern Star in Victoria later on in that month.” That could see the giant trotter race for in excess of $500,000 during his Australian sojourn. Master Lavros will be accompanied during his Australian raid by Jones’s pacing stable star Saveapatrol, who will look to gain automatic entry into the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire by winning the Pelorus Classic at Waterlea Raceway early next month. “I think I will test my training skills and bring him into the Pelorus fresh,” said Jones. “There is the Grass Track Championship Final on the 29th of the month at Motukarara but the field selection is done by points on grass tracks and we have only had one start for one win, so I’m not sure if we will get a start,” he added. Jones said that even if Saveapatrol doesn’t gain automatic entry into the Chariots through winning the Pelorus, he will still head to Sydney. “There will be plenty $20,000 races for him in Sydney anyway and there isn’t a lot for him at home during the time he will be away, so at this stage he is definitely going,” Jones concluded. By Mitchell Robertson
The 2013 Decron Cranbourne Cup has been won by The Gold Ace in a brilliant front-running display for harness racing trainer Belinda McCarthy. Drawn two, Andy McCarthy shot off the arm to find the top from American Muscle with Youranut sitting parked for much of the race. In an event which lacked any serious mid-race moves, The Gold Ace started to pull in the middle stages before McCarthy let him down off the back to apply the pressure to his rivals. Never seriously threatened, The Gold Ace raced home in a 26.7sec third quarter before a last section of 29.3secs. The mile rate for the 2555-metre journey was 1:58.9 with The Gold Ace charging clear by 1.7 metres from Terrorway and Im Corzin Terror. The winner now secures a spot in the Group 1 SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup next week in what is expected to be a superstar field of pacers. The other Group 1 race of the night, the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Mile was taken by Kyvalley Blur in a deceptive finish. With Elegant Image sprint-laning to the front, Kyvalley Blur kept grinding his way to the lead which he landed right on the winning post. The winner rated a track record 1:59.1 with a 59.1sec last half in the short half-head win from Elegant Image and My High Expectations who sat parked in the race. by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria
Tomorrow night the SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup Carnival gets underway at Cranbourne as the best horses from around Australasia converge for the Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup and the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Mile. The Game Plan for Melton with Jason Bonnington @jasonbonnington Best Bets/ Formula 4 ($100 gets 20 Units) Goodtime Marjie (Race 3 no. 8) $1.80 No Bettertime (Race 4 no. 1) $1.80 Magical Telf (Race 8 no. 3) $1.80 Just a week out from one of the biggest races of the year, TAB has already joined in the trotting festivities with an extraordinary $250,000 First 4 Pool Guarantee on this Saturday night's Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup. With the injection of funds, a very healthy dividend looks likely for any punter fortunate enough to land the First 4 in a race that is already being declared as one of the most intriguing in Cranbourne Cup history. Cranbourne will host the Group 1 Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup this Saturday night, 7 December with a mouth-watering feast of racing and on-course entertainment planned. Upgraded to a Group 1 in 2010, the race has continued to attract some of Australasia's best horses including the winner that year, Im Themightyquinn. If Ross Sugars was a football coach then he would be in an enviable position. He has two young guns fit and firing at the right time of year but the problem now is they have to go head to head in this Saturday night's Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup. Beautide staked his claim as Australia's best in the Miracle Mile and he will now have his sights set on a vintage Victoria Cup next Saturday, December 14. It's a racenight that promises much as 12 outstanding pacers go head to head in one of the state's biggest races. The Victorian Harness Racing Media Association's Balmoral On York Tipping Competition has just seen its fifth week run. Jack Gasolina edged back ahead to assume command from Tony Logan and John Dunne. Matt Robertson from Radio TAB and Jason Bonnington from HRV are next in the pecking order. Recently launched in Victoria after being a standout success since kicking off in NSW. Rewards punters with points for every bet they place with the TAB. Click here for more > The very first two-year-old race of the season was run at Geelong today and the highly anticipated opener paid dividends for the winner thanks to the rich Vicbred incentive scheme. A massive $7,000 first win bonus will be received by the connections of Spot Ona Shadow just for being paid up to the Vicbred program.
Two meetings were held in Victoria on Thursday December 5, with Geelong racing in the afternoon and Nyah at Swan Hill in the evening. At Geelong, Terang owner/trainer Darren Cole produced a nice juvenile by the name of Spot Ona Shadow to land the Bartletts Enviromental 2-Y-0 Pace over 1609 metres when all runners were making their race debut. With young Tim McLean in the sulky, Spot Ona Shadow a gelded son of Shadow Play and Charlotte Church began with great zest from gate five to lead throughout in accounting for Stitchintime which raced outside him 13.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.6, with Captain Bronze (oneone) third. Beautifully bred Bettors Delight/Top Tempo four year old mare Musical Delight a former outstanding youngster, had an easy 13 metre victory in the Chas Cole Cellars Pace forC0 class over 2100 metres. Trained at Drouin by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, Musical Delight unbackable at $1.10, led throughout for reinsman Nathan Jack to score untouched in advance of Shes His Story and Bye Bye Luv Lombo in a rate of 2-02.4. Winning nine from 14 outings, Musical Delight has stake earnings in excess of $234,000. Exciting Hawkesdale (Western District) four year old Blissful Hall/Weona Rena entire Bliss Man brought up four wins in succession when victorious in the Your Business name Here Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2100 metres in a mile rate of 1-59.4. Taking a concession for Terang's Jason Lee, Bliss Man trained by Graham Gee for wife Christine, had little trouble leading from the pole and was always travelling under a tight grip. Given an inch of rein approaching the home turn, Bliss Man bounded away to record a 13.2 metre margin last half 56.7 - quarter 28.6 ahead of Nimble Jack along the sprint lane from last, with Amazing Kano third after racing in the open. Highly talented four year old Art Major/Maikona mare Glenferrie EJ is starting to show the potential she was touted with and made it two from two this time in when successful in the Zilco Pace for C1 class over 1609 metres. Trained at Parwan by Craig Demmler for Peter Chambers' Glenferrie Farm Pty Ltd, Glenferrie EJ from gate two was beaten for speed by Antiquities (gate five), with Jodi Quinlan immediately easing around her to take over the front running role. After that, it was a procession as Glenferrie EJ coasted to the wire to score by 4.7 metres untouched from the in-form Bit Of A Babe from mid-field, with Howcomewhynot third. The mile rate 1-58.1. At Swan Hill, Echuca trainer Wayne Lear took the honours by providing a stable double - Seven year old Royal Mattjesty/My Halo Broke gelding Who Broke Our Halo in the Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Sandstorm FJ Pace for C2 class over 1609 metres and four year old Artesian/Glimpse mare Philotes in Swan Hill & Kerang Toyota Crystal Pearl Pace for C0 class (mares) over the same journey. Who Broke Our Halo (Rebecca Bartley) settled mid-field in the moving line from gate two on the second row, before moving forward three wide solo in the last lap. Sustaining the run, Who Broke Our Halo was too strong over the concluding stages for the heavily supported local Cashisking along the sprint lane from three back the markers last lap, with On Fire Within third after facing the breeze before assuming control at the bell. The mile rate 1-56.3. Philotes (Daryl Douglas) spent the first lap in the open from outside the front row, before gaining cover when Madsisteritis came away from behind the leader In Theory heading into the back straight on the final occasion. Taken three wide approaching the home turn, Philotes ran home strongly to gain the day over Maarek (one/one) and Shes A Spy along the sprint lane (three back at bell) in a rate of 1-58. Lightly raced, it was Philotes 4th race appearance. Kerryn Manning snared the Swan Hill Kia Honey Bee Cerato SLI Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres with Metropolitan/Liberty Print five year old gelding Kickittochris in a rate of 1-57.9. Starting from the extreme draw, Kickittochris spent most of the race at the rear of the field, before latching to the back of Run Forrest ahead of him at the bell, with the Shane Cramp trained Queen Mab at the head of affairs. Eased four wide on the final bend, Kickittochris put the race beyond doubt in a few strides as he exploded away to record a 2.6 metre victory over the local hope Life Of Ted which followed him home. Ezee Duzit Lombo finished third after a chequered passage just off the speed. Avenel's Wayne Potter made the trip to Swan Hill with happy results, when heavily backed five year old Armbro Operative/The Milky Way gelding Teo Enteo captured the Swan Hill Toyota Dark Furnace Kluger Pace for C6 or better class over 2240 metres. Driven by Nathan Jack, Teo Enteo first up since July possied one/one from gate two on the second line, with Kerryn Manning's Jaccka Luke leading from gate three. Easing three wide approaching the home turn, Teo Enteo sprinted brilliantly to join Jaccka Luke on turning, with the pair going head and head to the wire, with Teo Enteo prevailing by a neck in 1-58.1. Centonic (one/three - three wide last lap) finished third. Len Baker
Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick is expecting a major form reversal from recent stable recruit Fly Like An Eagle after the New Zealand Cup runner-up drew barrier number one in Saturday night's Treuer Memorial. Fitzpatrick admitted he was disappointed with the performance of the horse at his first run for the stable in the Cordina Sprint at Menangle over a week ago but had always planned on targeting Bankstown's Gr. 1 event. "He went below par at his first run for me but he was one of two horses that came across from New Zealand after the Cup and the Free For All and neither horse produced their best in the Cordina Sprint," Fitzpatrick said. "I've got no doubt that he was a little bit tired when he arrived so I have just lightened up on him a bit and with the fortnight between runs he should be ready to go, his work last Friday tells me that he is feeling fresher." Fitzpatrick is expecting Fly Like An Eagle to lead Saturday night's event. "Mark Purdon has told me that he has pretty good gate speed and drawn barrier one I think he should hold the front, Washakie is obviously the main danger, he has a tremendous record in the Treuer Memorial having won the previous four." "I haven't spoken to the owners about whether he will head to the Victoria Cup should he perform up to expectations on Saturday night, they can make that decision after the race." Meanwhile Fitzpatrick confirmed Rohan Home has been back in work for twelve weeks and should be ready to trial in the next fortnight. "I retired him and put him in the middle of my track with all of the young ones but he looked so well that I decided to give him another go, he has been coming along very nicely and I plan on nominating him for the 2014 Inter Dominion." "He's doing everything I've asked of him and I'm looking forward to seeing him back, he is a great horse at his best." Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |
Leading Victorian trainer Dean Braun was ecstatic when his star four-year-old Chilli Palmer drew the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night and predicted that the gelding would lead and prove very hard to beat. Braun's optimism will certainly take the wind out of the sails of several rival trainers and reinsmen who were planning for their horses to charge forward in determined bids to take an early lead against Chilli Palmer, a pacer they believed did not possess the speed to take advantage of the inside barrier. The brilliant Chilli Palmer, to be handled by ace Victorian reinsman Chis Alford, has won at each of his past six starts and has a record of nine starts for seven wins, a second and a seventh. He has won most of his races by producing a sizzling finishing burst. He has never jumped straight to the lead in his brief but spectacular career. "Everyone is entitled to his opinion," Braun said from Melbourne after the barrier draw. "But we will be aiming to make full use of the inside barrier. Chilli Palmer has got great natural high speed and I haven't had a horse with more natural gate speed. So far we have never really used his gate speed. "I couldn't be happier with the way is working. He had a good blowout at Byford on Saturday when Shaun Kittel worked him over a mile and a half and he sprinted over the final 400m in 27.3sec. "Hopefully Chilli Palmer will be able to make amends for the defeats of my horses Mustang Mach and Chancellor Cullen in the past two Gold Nuggets. It should be a great race on Friday night and every horse in the field can win, with the right run, but I wouldn't swap my horse for any other runner." Mustang Mach (11/1) started from barrier four and raced without cover for most of the way when a fighting second to The Gold Ace in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen (5/4) raced in the breeze for the final 1550m when fourth behind Im Victorious a year ago. The No. 1 barrier has been a huge advantage in the recent Golden Nugget Championships, with the No. 1 horse leading and winning three of the past five Nuggets and the other two winners in this period coming from the No. 2 barrier. Schinzig Buller won from barrier two in 2008 and then Bonavista Bay (13/8), Dasher VC (6/4 on) and The Gold Ace (10/1 on) won in the following three years before Im Victorious (11/4) started from barrier two and thundered home from ninth at the bell to win from Bettor Reason (20/1) and 6/1 chance Reuben Brogden, who started from barrier one and set the pace until the final stages. Chilli Palmer could not have been more impressive than he was at his West Australian debut in the 2536m McInerney Ford Classic last Friday week when he charged home from last at the 600m to score a decisive victory over the pacemaker Condrieu, with My Hard Copy third and Rocky Marciano fourth. Condrieu began with devastating speed from barrier five to burst to the front after 120m and Greg Bond, who trains the gelding with his wife Skye, plans to instruct reinsman Colin Brown to charge forward from out wide at barrier six. "We'll go forward; there's no point in going backward," he said. "We decided to have a crack for the lead from barrier five in the McInerney Ford, and it worked for us. The element of surprise won't work for us again, but we'll still be going forward. "We don't know whether Chilli Palmer has the necessary gate speed. He may well be better sat up; that's how he has been driven in most of his races. I don't think they will want to be caught in the early hustle bustle. Condrieu has done well since his second in the McInerney Ford and we're really happy with him." Condrieu is at his best when he leads. He has set the pace at four of his seven wins in WA, two of them being over 2536m, the distance of the Golden Nugget. Victorian trainer-reinsman Daniel Jack was delighted to draw barrier two with the speedy Nowitzki, who led from the No. 1 barrier and won the $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship three Fridays ago. "The draw goes a long way (to winning) and I'll be trying to get across to the lead," he said. "His three runs in WA have been below par, but I expect him to go better this week. If he races as well as he can, he's certainly the horse to beat." Leading WA trainer Gary Hall sen. was disappointed with the barriers drawn by his two runners, Northview Punter (No. 3 on the back line) and My Hard Copy (outside of the front line) and said that he would need plenty of luck to win. "It's going to be a great race and I reckon Nowitzki will come out hard and lead --- and Condrieu will also come out hard," he said. "So hopefully it will be on from start to finish. My best chance from the draw is Northview Punter. We might drive him a bit quiet and let him come home." DALGETY RETAINS FAITH IN BIT OF A LEGEND Champion New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety returned to Perth last week for the first time for 17 years and he has not given up hope of winning the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night with outstanding four-year-old Bit Of A Legend, even though the horse was unplaced in the Four-Year-Old Championship and McInerney Ford Classic at his past two starts. The 45-year-old Dalgety has fond memories of his first trip to Western Australia when he prepared Desperate Comment for the 1996 interdominion championship. Desperate Comment, who was driven by Peter Jones, qualified for the final as leading points scorer after a third, a second and a win in the heats. But he finished sixth in the final, won by Young Mister Charles. Bit Of A Legend, who has amassed $640,178 in prizemoney from 17 wins and 11 seconds from 36 starts, was trained and driven for his four starts at Gloucester Park in this campaign by New Zealander Brent Mangos. His best effort was an easy victory in a prelude of the Golden Nugget three starts ago when he defeated Galactic Galleon and Northview Punter. "Brent has done a fine job with him, but the horse faces a hard task in Friday night's race," Dalgety said. "Bit Of A Legend is only small and he's not stylish or elegant, but his assets are his great will to win and determination. "He has drawn barrier four and I'm pretty excited that just to be inside barrier five on the front row. Nowitzki and Condrieu are very fast beginners and I think that when we settle Bit Of A Legend will definitely be in the better half of the midfield --- and that will be a good start. In most of his wins he's come from behind. He just wants to be the winner." Bit Of A Legend, who will be driven by New Zealand's champion reinsman Dexter Dunn, and has the stable name of Carter, after Dalgety's ten-year-old son Carter, who insisted that his father buy the pacer at the New Zealand yearling sale. "Bit Of A Legend was very little, but Carter picked him out and said 'we've got to have this one,' Dalgety said. "So I bought him for $NZ50,000, probably from the heart than the head. I had had his half-brother London Legend, who was a good horse. "I bought Bit Of A Legend for myself, a good stable client in Darryl Brown, from Perth, Ross Stanbury, from Christchurch, and Pat Cabarlla, from Invercargill, and we have no regrets." London Legend, by In The Pocket and the first foal out of Soky's Legend, raced 101 times for Dalgety between 2008 and 2011 for 25 wins, 27 placings and stakes of $456,124. DEXTER DUNN OUT TO EQUAL HIS FATHER AT GLOUCESTER PARK Dexter Dunn, New Zealand harness racing's golden boy and a superstar at the age of 24, will make his first appearance in Western Australia when he drives Bit Of A Legend in the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And he would dearly love to emulate the performance of his father Robert, who landed a winner at his only trip to WA, in 1996 when he was successful with Master Musician in a second-round heat of the interdominion championship. Robert Dunn then was in the sulky when Master Musician, the 5/2 favourite, finished third behind Young Mister Charles and Sunshine Band in the final. Dunn, who will arrive in Perth on Thursday, will get the opportunity to experience driving on the 805m circuit when he handles three pacers trained by Matt Scott in early events on the program. Scott has nominated Dunn to drive Miss Tee Dawn in the 1730m V. and K. Congerton Memorial Mares Pace, Marooned in the 2130m Happy Birthday Ryan Berti Pace and Zurbaran in the first heat of the Livio (The Champ) Tolomeo The Coulson Pace. Miss Tee Dawn has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier and has sound prospects of giving Dunn a winner at his first drive at Gloucester Park. This would equal his feat of landing a winner at his first drive in America --- when he was successful behind McClelland (1.50.1) over 1609m at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on June 25, 2011. Miss Tee Dawn started from the outside of the back ,line and did a good job to finish strongly from the rear to be fourth behind Arts Gangsta over 2190m at Northam on Tuesday of last week. She also unwound a powerful burst from the rear to win from Mount Richon over 2150m at Harvey the previous week. Marooned, who was claimed for $10,000 last week, has a losing sequence of 20 and faces a stern test from barrier four on the back line. He trailed the pacemaker Sanjaya when a sound third to that pacer last week, with the winner rating 1.55 over 1730m. Punters are likely to be keen to support the polemarker and smart frontrunner Taiaha against Marooned and the other ten runners in this week's event. Taiaha, who is prepared by Hazelmere trainer Mike Reed, caught the eye when racing first-up at Northam on Tuesday of last week when he raced three back on the pegs and was hampered for room before finishing solidly to be second to Celtic Crusader. Zurbaran, a winner six starts ago and placed second at two of his past four starts, will be at handsome odds from the outside of the front line in a race in which polemarker Cool Johnny (resuming after a let-up), What God Knows and Soho Highroller will be fancied. THE BEAU BRUMMELL RETURNS AFTER A SPELL IN FINE STYLE New Zealand-bred five-year-old The Beau Brummell looks one of the best bets on the program at Gloucester Park on Friday night after scoring an effortless first-up victory at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop produced The Beau Brummell in fine fettle for his first appearance for three months when he trotted faultlessly three back on the pegs in a race run in Indian file before he surged to the front 100m from home and scored by more than three lengths from All Over Red Rover at a 2.1.9 rate over 2185m. The Beau Brummell will start from barrier three on the front line in the 2130m mobile Kyle And Dozer Trot on Friday night in which he will clash with then highly-regarded Prince Eddie, smart frontrunner Heez Speedy Gonzalez, last-start winner Earl Harbour and Hot Holiday, who has won in good style at two of his past four starts. by Ken Casellas
Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford was successful at his home track Frank Ryan Raceway Echuca on Tuesday December 3, when more than handy four year old Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn scored in the Christies Welding Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from gate four on the second line, Kamwood Dawn was set alight three wide approaching the bell and with a sharp turn of speed, crossed the pacemaker Billy Branach to lead for the final circuit. Holding a slender margin at the straight entrance, Kamwood Dawn defied all challengers to register a 1.2 metre victory over the heavily supported Final Flutter which moved outside her on the final bend after an easy time, with Billy Branach battling away gamely for third. The mile rate 1-59.4. It was Kamwood Girl's 3rd victory in 28 outings. Kilmore's Bruce Kennedy always sends his horses out looking a picture and four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Krisney mare Krisney Girl rewarded him by taking the Add Print Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-01.4 with Chris Alford in the sulky. Starting from gate two on the second line, Krisney Girl had most of the field ahead of her for the first lap, before gaining a lovely three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of the Riverina visitor Donated which was backed for plenty, with the pair joining the pacemaker Direct Art on the home turn. Given full rein on turning, Krisney Girl prevailed by 1.9 metres from Donated and Direct Art which led for the final circuit after racing outside Miss Wong Sue for the first half of the journey. Kyneton part-owner/trainer Tony Trimboli's Earl/Arnees Sensation six year old gelding Arctic Wolf snared his 6th victory in 89 race appearances, when successful in the Wandana Standardbreds Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2530 metres. With regular reinsman Tony Xiriha handling the ribbons, Arctic Wolf from the 10 metre mark was unable to cross Featherfoot Sun shortly after the start, being restrained for a perfect trail. Easing into the open approaching the bell, Xiriha put the foot to the floor to lead for the final circuit and in a punishing finish, just held on from Doctor Sam which failed by a nose and Featherfoot Sun in a mile rate of 2-07.8. Speedy Kilmore mare Modern Mary chalked up her 8th victory when greeting the judge in the $5,500 Echuca Moama Storage Moama Pacing Cup for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Trained by Julie Mifsud and driven by sister-in-law Rita Burnett, Modern Mary a five year old daughter of Modern Art and Marys Girl first up since August, began like a rocket from outside the front line to lead running into the first turn and after being rated a treat, held too many guns at the finish for the hot favourite Gangster Boy which trailed, moving outside her on the final bend, with Fergus McCool (threeback the markers) third. The mile rate 1-59.4. Melton trainer "Honest" Robbie O'Connell combined with stable apprentice Zac Phillips to land the Moama Bowling Club Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with eight year old E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel. Given a beaut passage three back along the markers from gate two on the second line, Juke Kartel was eased to be one/one approaching the final bend and when taken three wide on turning, ran home strongly to score by 6.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.7 from Brother Rabbit which trailed the weakening leader and third placed Transaction. Juke Kartel was also a winner at the previous Echuca meeting on October 1. Ever reliable nine year old Peace of Art/Bubblegum mare Bubble Art always races well at this time of year, bringing up her 13th victory by taking the Choicehotels.com.au Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1755 metres much to the delight of Wallaloo East (Stawell) trainer/driver Troy Raven and the Raven family. Using a mares concession, Bubble Art starting from the pole was given a sweet trip on the back of the leader and favourite Lookatime Philo next to her, which crossed after racing roughly at the start. Easing wide on straightening, Bubble Art despite shifting out, gained the day by a half neck over Goldiedomic along the sprint lane off her back, with Scottish Glamour (one/one - three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Marong trainer Trevor Patching has been a regular competitor at Echuca over the years and snared the Bendigo Bank Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with lightly raced 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in a rate of 2-03.2. Given the run of the race from the pole following Foyer (gate five), Sherpa Star making his 11th race appearance was eased away from the markers by Nathan Jack on the home turn and finished best to gain the day by 2.5 metres in advance of Foyer and Thelove Child (three back the markers). Serpentine trainer Robert Rothacker joined forces with Daryl Douglas to capture the Echuca Cup 21 March Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with five year old Art Major/Rachelanne mare Policious. Having her 9th outing and second for the season, Policious from gate three on the second line settled well back in the field, making ground at the bell trailing the well backed Thankbonnie three wide. Dropping in for a breather in the final circuit as Thankbonnie applied pressure to the pacemaker Pascarma, striding clear approaching the home turn, Policious issued an immediate challenge on turning and raced clear over the concluding stages to score from Pascarma which came again, with Miss Tanami running on late to cut Thankbonnie out of third. The mile rate 2-02.6. Robert gained all the spoils as he is the breeder/owner/trainer. Benalla trainer Jason Ross combined with Nathan Jack aboard 4-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Flighty Lisa mare The Hen House to land the New Years Night Hot To Trot Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres, leading virtually throughout from gate four in defeating Brown Rice and Katie Lively in a rate of 2-01.7. By Len Baker
Terror To Love’s Australian campaign is over but the confusion over his record there is no clearer to being resolved. The three-time New Zealand Cup winner has been pulled out of next week’s Victoria Cup in Melbourne after an embarrassing last placing in Saturday’s Miracle Mile. Terror To Love settled last in the A$750,000 race, hung badly and then improved wide before dropping in the home straight. It was his sixth failure at Menangle, where he has yet to win a race, and his connections are as stunned as any of the fans who watched him win his third New Zealand Cup so incredibly three weeks ago, “We have no idea what is going on with him,” said co-trainer Paul Court. “He just never seemed happy. He hung, which he can sometimes do in New Zealand but he also straightens up in the straights. “But on Saturday he actually paced roughly in the home straight too. “He just wasn’t himself at all and we have no idea why. “So we will miss the Victoria Cup and he can come home, but we are none the wiser as to what is going on.” His performances at Menangle are baffling because you can argue against any conceivable explanation. While some horses struggle with the intense Mile racing there, Terror To Love jogged a 1:51 mile at Ashburton back in June, when arguably not as screwed down as he was on Saturday. The Ashburton track and Menangle are almost identical and while driver Ricky May was concerned the track surface was hard on Saturday, that would hardly explain Terror To Love hanging so badly early in the race when he can’t possibly have been jarred up. He paraded before the event looking amazing and when you consider he gave Christen Me a 30m start and thrashed him in the New Zealand Cup, it is impossible to work out how he could perform 20m inferior to his fellow Kiwi rival just 18 days later. It also raises a serious question for his connections: whether they should even bother taking Terror To Love back to Menangle for the Interdominion Final on March 2? They would almost certainly win their Addington heat on February 15 but can’t have any great confidence he would bring anything like his A-game to Sydney. Whereas if they elected to bypass the Inter, they could aim as the Ballarat and Hunter Cups in Victoria in late January before the Auckland Cup in March, worth a total of $950,000. “The problem is we want a big Aussie win for his stud career,” admits Court. “It could boost his future service fee by $2000 or something, which is a lot of money over a few seasons. “But we almost don’t know where to start with that.” One of the great ironies of the race was that Terror To Love’s arch rival Christen Me looked far more at home at Menangle than he has been on his home track at Addington. He will now head to the Victoria Cup and could be best placed staying in Australia for the entire summer, culminating in the Interdoms. The Kiwi invasion on the Victorian carnivals started well on Saturday when Tim Butt prepared Vulcan and Pass Them By to win at Melton while Mah Sish was a greatly-improved third in a free-for-all. There rapid improvement matches their form last season in Victoria, where Butt’s team seem to grow another leg, suggesting they are in for another profitable summer. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Hopetoun Park trainer Ross Sugars took the honours at the Warragul HRC fixture held on Monday December 2 after preparing a stable treble, with reinsman son Greg driving two of the stable runners. New addition Living Lord (Greg) taking the Warragul Cup Easter Sunday Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2205 metres and Forest Fury the Danny's The Venue Pace for C1 class over the same trip. Living Lord a former member of the Jackson Painting (Narrandera) team making his first appearance for the camp, led throughout from gate three to easily account for Andy Gath's Regal Knight who wasn't disgraced after facing the breeze, with Mister Clooney third. The mile rate a new track record of 1-57.9. A six year old Kiwi bred gelded son of Live Or Die and Lady Matueus, Living Lord has fronted the starter on 30 occasions, winning 11 times. Four Year old gelding Forest Fury (Bettors Delight/Forest Glory) taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips won in identical fashion, leading throughout from gate three in defeating Stynz Boy which trailed in 2-01.1, with Eclipseofthemoon (three back the markers) running on late for third when extricated into the clear on turning. Ex-Kiwi mare Our Burning Desire, a five year old daughter of Real Desire and Knowing Pocket, brought up the treble when successful in the Warragul Pacing Bowl 25 Years Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1785 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Restrained from a solo second line draw to settle three back in the moving line with the pole marker Hollys Miss Molly a surprise leader, Greg Sugars made a swift forward move racing to the bell to shadow the pacemaker for the final circuit. Joining Hollys Miss Molly on the home turn, Our Burning Desire proved much too strong over the concluding stages, winning by 3.9 metres without being pushed out from the leader, with Greenough third after trailing the front runner and making no impression along the sprint lane. Another Melton area winner on the program was honest five year old Our Sir Vancelot/Cinderella Lady mare Belated for David Manning in the Momentum Equine Myotherapy Pace for C0 class over 2205 metres. Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Belated showed plenty of speed at the start from gate five to lead and despite being pressured at various stages by the roughie Cap Lord, still held a narrow margin on the final bend. When Electrastar (four wide from last) appeared to hit the front on the final bend she looked the winner, however Belated refused to give in and fought back to gain the day by 1.1 metres in a rate of 2-02.6. Stormee (one/one - three wide last lap) finished third. Kilmore trainer Rita Burnett combined with nephew Kevin Weidenbach (Jnr) to land the Linc Building Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres with speedy Jet Laag/Spiral Staircase 7-Y-0 gelding Spiral Jet. Bred and raced by staunch stable client Alan Zammit, Spiral Jet taking a concession led for most of the journey from gate three, defeating Jetts Afella which trailed after leading out from the pole, with Viva Courage coming from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-00.8. Rockbank's Angela McDonough combined with Long Forest reinswoman Kate Gath aboard seven year old Village Jasper/Karara Elle mare Elle Jasper to land the letsgotrotting.com Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres in a mile rate of 2-00.9.. Starting from the extreme draw, Elle Jasper possied three back in the running line, with Rita Burnett's Isntshesomething leading easily from the pole. Despite being off the track on the final bend, Elle Jasper motored to the wire to record a runaway victory in advance of All Aussie Star (one/one - three wide home turn) and the favourite My Lishi a stablemate of the winner which trailed the leader. Coimadai trainer/driver Graeme Whittle did punters no favours, when ten year old Keystone Salute/Solander gelding Keystone Blues greeted the judge in the Pascoe Vale TAB Agency Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2205 metres, paying odds of $29.00 on Supertab. Starting from the 30 metre mark, Keystone Blues who's last success had been at the same track in February, settled with most of the field in front of him, with the favourite Jumeirah Jane crossing the old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start. Still last at the bell, Keystone Blues saved for one dash at the leaders after following the local Zoes Dream home, finished best to score from My Name Is Earl (one/one) and Zoes Dream which dashed to the front on turning. The mile rate 2-05.8. It was Keystone Blues' 12th victory in 203 outings. Len Baker
Ever reliable seven year old gelding Arber was victorious in winning the $25,000 Stawell Farm Supplies Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2590 metres at Stawell on Sunday December 1. Bred and raced by Geelong's Philip Nott, trained at Anakie by Tim Bolitho and driven by Gavin Lang, Arber was able to cross and lead the pole marker Jukebox Music from barrier five when Uncle Wingnut inside him galloped shortly after the start when almost certain to take over the front running. Content to hold the front running when Uncle Wingnut once balanced moved forward but was unable to cross leaving him in the open, Arber better known as a sit/sprinter defied all challengers to score from a game Uncle Wingnut and Macho Commacho (one/two) in a mile rate of 2-01.5 (last half 57.1 - quarter 28.5). A son of Village Jasper and Any Danger (Keystone Scotch), Arber has fronted the starter on 62 occasions, winning fifteen times for stakes in excess of $128,038. It was a similar scenario in the $10,000 Norton Ford Stawell Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2590 metres, with Bendigo trainer Alan McIntosh's nine year old Sundon/Sorry Hall gelding Si Capisco greeting the judge. Raced by members of the McIntosh family, Si Capisco jumped straight to the front from barrier five, with reinsman Matty Craven adopting "catch me if you can" tactics. Holding a handy margin on the final bend, Si Capisco coasted to the wire 9.3 metres in advance of Im Demimondaine which trailed, with last week's Gunbower Cup winner Zedalite (one/one mid-race - three wide last lap) after Waikare Aristocrat moved to face the breeze third. The mile rate 2-05. It was Si Capisco's 16th victory in 108 outings, his last being at Ballarat in June 2012. By Len Baker
Veteran Daylesford trainer Bob Conroy's horses always perform well at Bray Raceway Ballarat and honest 8-Y-0 S J's Photo/Patricia Pernod mare Mother Nature won her third race there when victorious in the Porter Plant Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over 2200 metres on Friday November 29.. Taking a mares concession, Mother Nature starting from 10 metres with regular reinsperson Anne-Maree Conroy in the sulky, possied beautifully on the back of the pacemaker Mallee Trapper one of only two front markers and received a charmed passage throughout. Angling away from the inside on straightening, Mother Nature finished her race off well to score by 2.8 metres in a rate of 2-05.5 over The Bohemian (one/one last lap) which was badly held up in the approach to the home turn, with Mallee Trapper weakening slightly in the shadows of the post to finish third. Coimadai trainer Adam Kelly snared the Michael Jackson Tribute Friday Dec 6 3-Y-0 Pace over 1710 metres with Kiwi bred Art Major/Badlands Legend filly My Bella Starr in a race that was certainly no thriller. Driven by Gavin Lang, My Bella Starr raced very greenly out of gate five as the start was effected, resulting in her being left in the open outside the well supported Tallulah Bay. With Gavin putting the foot to the floor in the last lap, My Bella Starr crossed to lead prior to the home turn, before coasting to the wire 7.6 metres in advance of Tullulah Bay and Fast Rockin Paige (one/one home turn) in a mile rate of 1-59.1. It was a Lang trifecta in the third heat of the Aldebaran Park Monte Series for T0 or better class horses over 1710 metres, with Nagambie's Chris Lang (Jnr) snaring the quinella and father Chris (Snr) providing the third horse - the victor being 11-Y-0 Sundon/Unique Black Magic gelding Our Unique Star. Ridden by partner Haley Toulmin, Our Unique Star enjoyed a sweet trip on the back of the leader Ex Con after starting outside the front row proving too strong at the finish for another old timer in Andys Favourite, with Kyvalley Rap third. The mile rate 2-02.2. Mernda father and son - Ian and Matt Dornauf combined to land the $10,500 Porter Industries Eureka 159 Cup Final for C4 & C5 class over 2200 metres with 5-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Shimode entire Royal Witness. Beginning speedily from gate four, Royal Witness was able to clear the field running into the first turn, before leading for the rest of the journey. Although shortening stride in the shadows of the post, Royal Witness held on to last by a half head only from Please Dont Talk which trailed, with Kickittochris third after racing three wide from the bell. Bred and raced by Cindy Dornauf, Royal Witness returned a mile rate of 1-58.9 in recording his 11th victory in 29 outings. Len Baker
The Bendigo trotting fixture held on Thursday November 28 belonged to the Goulburn Valley and Bendigo area who provided five of the eight winners on program, with Bunbartha horseman John Newberry taking the honours after providing a stable double. First to come along was talented Earl/Shine On Alisha six year old gelding Just Call Me Earl in the CV Batteries Strath Village Trotters Handicap for T1 or better class over 2150 metres. Starting from a 20 metre equal backmark, Just Call Me Earl bided his time mid-field with Man Of The World (barrier four) working to the front after travelling a couple of hundred metres. Easing three wide in the final circuit, Newberry in what was “the drive of the night” switched Just Call Me Earl down to the sprint lane, before finishing strongly to defeat Man Of The World and Jusamirel which raced rough on more than one occasion. The mile rate 2-05.1. Raced by the Newberry family, Just Call Me Earl has fronted the starter on 63 occasions for nine wins. Leg two came about when lightly raced four year old Monarchy/Shine On Alisha gelding The Majestic scored in the Freedom Tanks Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 1650 metres in a mile rate 2-02.2. A surprisingly short priced even money favourite, The Majestic (gate two) settled three back in the moving line and driven with the patience of Jobe, was taken four wide on the final bend before putting the race away with ease, defeating Brother Of Sonoko and Ballan Road which led. Echuca/Moama trainer Shane Gilligan four year old Northern Luck/Soap Box mare Mary Mon returned to form when successful in the Bendigo Cup Eve Cocktail Party 10 January Pace for C2 class over 1650 metres. Taking a concession, Mary Mon driven by son Tom was restrained to the rear of the field from gate six prior to gaining a three wide trail in the last lap on the back of both Johnny Tee and Flyin Indi Air. Despite making the home turn very wide, Mary Mon a half sister to the smart juvenile Lady Belladonna finished all over the top of her rivals to score from Flying Indi Air and Johnny Tee in a rate of 1-57. Charlton’s Mark Boyle has Blissful Hall/Lensmare six year old gelding Xbolt racing at the top of his game, landing the Christmas @ Lord’s Raceway 12 December Pace for C0 class over 1650 metres. With Neil McCallumin the sulky, Xbolt began swiftly from gate five to lead throughout in a rate of 1-58.6, defeating The Muse which raced outside him, with the hot favourite Heathbern Star running on late when extricated clear of a pocket three back the markers to finish third. Shelbourne trainer Larry Eastman’s above average Northern Luck/Decethree Lombo five year old mare Lombo Cloud Nine treated her rivals with contempt in the N.Y.E Party @ Lord’s Raceway 31 December Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2150 metres with Chris Alford in the sulky. Sent forward from outside the front row to settle three back in the moving line, Alford was off and running in the back straight on the first occasion to be surprisingly handed the lead on a platter from the last start Ballarat winner Tere T. Travelling under double wraps for the rest of the journey, Lombo Cloud Nine coasted to the wire 6 metres in advance of Tere T and Nimble Jack (three back the markers) in a rate of 2-00.2 to record her 10th victory in 42 starts. Astute Avenel trainer/driver Ian Mongomery provided a smart first starter by the name of Captain Under Fire to blitz his rivals in the Bendigo Bank 3-Y-0 Pace over 2150 metres, leading throughout from the pole in accounting for Notjustanothalombo (three back the markers) by 22.7 metres in a rate of 2-00.9. Braeview Bomber finished third after racing in the open. Bolinda trainer/driver Lisa Miles also provided a winner on debut when four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Sassy Stoneridge mare Denim Npearls greeted the judge in the Victorian Equine Group Pace for C0 class over 1650 metres. Taken back from gate two as the start was effected, Denim Npearls possied three back in the moving line, before unleashing a powerful burst out wide on straightening to impressively gain the day over Majestic Swan which led and Imsosweetaboucha which followed the winner home in the final circuit. The mile rate 1-58.7. By Len Baker
Victorian harness racing is In Mourning following the passing of three long serving industry participants. Bookmaker Arthur Bell (81) suffered a fatal heart attack on Thursday November 21 and both John & Margaret Pace members of a large harness racing family, were tragically killed in a road accident not far from Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday November 22. Harnesslink extends sympathy to both families. By Len Baker