The pecking order amongst the three year old harness racing fillies in Victoria has become a lot clearer after Niki No No’s Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks win has again moved the Kari Males-trained filly to the top of her age group charts. The three-year-old by Sportswriter out of Benelise thundered home along the sprint lane to claim the lion’s share of the $150,505 and the Oaks trophy in the 2240-metre race at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Driven by reinsman Greg Sugars, Niki No ($4.40) began fast from barrier two and crossed polemarker Keayang Ebonyrose (Jason Lee, $75.30) but was herself crossed by early race favourite Makes Every Scents (Luke McCarthy, $6), who fired out from gate six. The $2.60 favourite Delightful Lana moved up to the breeze for Dexter Dunn from gate four before Amanda Turnbull made a move aboard Glenferrie Bronte ($7), working to the chair and giving Delightful Lana cover. After posting a lead time of 46 seconds, Makes Every Scents paced through her first and second quarters in 31.7 and 30.5secs before the mustard was added 800m out, when Glenferrie Bronte eyeballed the leader and heat winner Sudden Change (Gavin Lang, $16.40) was making her run out three-wide from the back of the field, trailed up by Morton Plains (Chris Alford, $19.70). The third quarter was covered in 27.5secs, Niki No No enjoying a cold sit on the two pacemakers as the field swung the final bend. Makes Every Scents carried Niki No No right to the sprint lane and once the Kari Males trained Vicbred 2YO Final winner of last season got the run it was basically game over. The last quarter was clocked at 28.9secs, Niki No No coming away to win by 2.8 metres in a mile rate of 1:58.3, Makes Every Scents holding on for second and Glenferrie Bronte battling on gamely for third beaten 3.2m. Morton Plains worked home gamely down the outside to be beaten 4.6m, with Miss Riviera Belle (Lauren Panella, $13.60) also hitting the line hard for fifth beaten 5.3m. As mentioned Niki No No won the Vicbred Final as a two-year-old, and although she finished fourth in the Breeders Crown Final, it is worth noting she was the first Australian filly home on that occasion behind Kiwis Katy Perry, Joannes A Delight and Cyclone Kate. Emma Stewart-trained filly Delight Me was unfortunately ruled out of Oaks calculations before the heats, so we’ll never know, but Niki No No’s record in big races is virtually flawless and as such a strong case can quite rightly be argued for why she is the best filly of her age group in Victoria. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria
Queensland continued on their winning way last night. A team of six from the sunshine state took on Team Victoria in a harness racing junior drivers challenge at TABCORP Park Melton in a two race series. The Queensland team was made up of Hayden Barnes, Brittany Graham, Dannielle & Narissa McMullen, Trent Moffat and Amy Rees. Team Victoria comprised of Josh Aiken, Alex Ashwood, Haydon Gray, Mark Pitt, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips. It was a clean sweep for the Queensland team. Heat one went the way of Dannielle McMullen who took the winning drive aboard the Peter Thompson trained Our El Fuego in a time of 1;57.8 in the 2240m event. Placing’s were filled by fellow Queenslanders Narissa McMullen (Our Summer Wind), Trent Moffat (Mister Rufus) and Hayden Barnes (Brite Spark Lombo). Our El Fuego was the rank outsider and returned a dividend of $61.50. Heat two went the way of Hayden Barnes (Jambiani) who defeated Trent Moffat (Bushi) and Brittany Graham (Clarenden Daydream) in a time of 2;00.9 for the 2240m journey. Following a countback, the individual winner of the series was Hayden Barnes who beat Trent Moffat. “It was a great result for Queensland with a clean sweep and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves as they showcased their talents on foreign soil. It was great to see them catch up with friends while making new contacts; hopefully this helps them going forward,” Queensland Team Captain Kevin Seymour said. “I would like to thank Harness Racing Victoria and all of the trainers who supported the series, it’s about gaining experience and making them better and this is a great opportunity to do this.” Seymour added. In three series to date, Queensland has a perfect record after inflicting defeats over New South Wales, New Zealand and now Victoria. The winning form of Hayden Barnes continues with victories at Alexandra Park, Auckland late last year with Millie Sampson and then again last night at Melton with Jambiani. Seymour is now eyeing off a series against South Australian in the coming months. by Chris Barsby
The road to the Australian Pacing Gold Final continues at Menangle on Saturday night with two semi-finals for the two-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. The first semi features seven Victorians, while the second semi five runners representing the Big V. Heats six and seven of the Carousel are also on the program, with two Victorians in each qualifier. Trainer Dean Braun will prepare three of the four Victorian Carousel combatants. Victorians in action at Menangle on Saturday night are: Race 3 – Lands Legal Carousel Heat 6: Liv Lavish (Dean Braun, Nathan Jack), Vinny Chase (Ahmed Taiba) Race 4 – APG 2YO Colts and Geldings Semi-Final 1: Herehecomes (Stephen O’Donoghue, Rebecca Bartley), Firenglow (Glenn Douglas, Jim Douglass), Wotchawaitingfor (Marnie Bibby, Darren Hancock), The Jet Player (Darren Cole, Tim McLean), Moonlight Man (Glenn Douglas), Most Happy Cullen (Gary Quinlan, Blake Fitzpatrick), Kingofthestars (Emma Stewart, Nathan Jack). Race 5 – Lands Legal Carousel Heat 7: Upanatom (Dean Braun, Nathan Jack), Glenferrie College (Dean Braun, Todd McCarthy) Race 6 – APG 2YO Colts and Geldings Semi-Final 2: Soho Lexington (Michael Stanley), Goodtime Sammy (Emma Stewart, Nathan Jack), Christmas Jolt (Peter Manning, Kerryn Manning), Saint Tommy (Glenn Douglas), Brallos Pass (Mark Watson, Gavin Fitzpatrick) Race 7 – MIR Group Pace: Saint Flash (Glenn Douglas) Race 8 – Marsdens Law Group Pace: Villagem (Glenn Douglas), Im Corzin Terror (Amanda Grieve, Nathan Jack) Race 9 – Wests Ashfield Leagues Ladyship Pace: Shakchloe (Stephen O’Donoghue, Rebecca Bartley). Race 10 – Im Supreme (Peter Manning, Kerryn Manning) HRV Media
Friday night @ Tabcorp Park Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks heats @ 6pm, 8.30pm and 9.30pm Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies heats @ 10pm and 11.05pm Harness Breeders (Vic) Ian Daff Memorial @ 8pm Saturday night @ Mildura Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup Final @ 9pm Mark Gurry & Associates Cup Final @ 8pm Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas @ 8.30pm Get the full fields and form via harness.org.au - FEATURE OF THE WEEK - PARK DOUGLAS PRINTING MILDURA PACING CUP FINAL 2600 metres -- mobile start -- $50,275 -- Group 2 1: HOTASEL Trainer: Murray Jardine Driver: Simon Jardine Form comment: Ouyen gelding who qualified for the Cup with a third placing behind Major Crocker and Cut For An Ace in the heat. Drawn for a soft run and could sneak a place with a bit of luck in transit. 2: MAJOR CROCKER Trainer: Vince Vallelonga Driver: Greg Sugars Form comment: Super four-year-old who won his heat by a head over Cut For An Ace. Won last year's 3YO Breeders Crown Final and also swept the Southern Cross Series in South Australia. Drawn to get the pegs and he's the main danger to Arden Rooney for mine. Can he beat the Hunter Cup champ though? Greg Sugars says they're not going out to run second! 3: BEACHSTAR Trainer: Joe Costa Driver: John Justice Form comment: Won back-to-back races in February and loves Mildura. Should get a nice run here from the good barrier and did defeat Hotasel recently. Place hope. 4: OUR WALDEN BURY (EM1) Trainer: Robert Hyder Driver: Damian Wilson Form comment: He's an honest gelding but form isn't good enough to be winning here if he does gain a start. 5: CUT FOR AN ACE Trainer: Adam Kelly Driver: Zac Phillips Form comment: Big run in the heat to finish a close-up second to Major Crocker. Ultra-consistent seven-year-old who always seems to be around the mark. 6: CHILLI PALMER Trainer: Dean Braun Driver: Gavin Lang Form comment: Sat without cover for the last lap and a half in his heat when third behind Arden Rooney and Lets Elope. Sit-sprint specialist, but seems to have a few extra strings to his bow of late - having sat without cover to win the Gawler Cup recently. He's better than his heat third would suggest and with luck in running he's a knockout chance despite the wide alley. 7: LETS ELOPE Trainer: Brent Lilley Driver: Anthony Butt Form comment: Showed plenty of early speed in the heat and finished second to Arden Rooney. Previous second to Hectorjayjay is good form and stable confident they've got him back to his best. Has to be considered right in the mix. 8: SAINT FLASH Trainer: Glenn Douglas Driver: Ellen Tormey Form comment: Has been solid enough of late but is likely to find this a pretty tough task from the back row. 9: UNCLE WINGNUT Trainer: Joe Costa Driver: Michael Bellman Form comment: Scored a rock-solid win in the Ouyen Cup two runs back and then last time out sat outside the leader and battled away gamely behind Major Crocker. With the right run he's capable of running a mighty race. Include. 10: ARDEN ROONEY Trainer: Kerryn Manning Driver: Kerryn Manning Form comment: Brilliant gelding who has won six straight races, including the Hunter Cup and cups at Terang and Geelong. He's the class runner of the field and on the strength of his form if he's 100 per cent then he'll win. 11: FRANCO LEDGER Trainer: Geoff Webster Driver: Geoff Webster Form comment: Just racing a shade below what we know he can produce. Didn't fire in his heat at his first go at Mildura. It's a track that you're either suited to or you're not. But you don't write anyone off after just one average effort. This fella won a Group 1 three starts back and if he produces the lightning sprint that carried him to second place in the Hunter Cup then look out when the heat is on! Tips: 10 Arden Rooney, 2 Major Crocker, 11 Franco Ledger, 6 Chilli Palmer. (By: Cody Winnell) BIG6 Jackpot TONIGHT @ Melton Get your mates together and have a crack at landing the BIG6 tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. The TAB is pumping $20,000 into the BIG6 pool (Races 3-8) with the first leg under way at 7pm. So get trackside, visit your local TAB outlet, visit the TAB website or bet on your TAB app. TAB Trots/AFL Special: Round 2 If Adam Cooney kicks one goal or more against Hawthorn this Sunday and Arden Rooney wins the Mildura Pacing Cup on Saturday night, punters who back the Rooney and Cooney TAB Trots/AFL Special will collect! The Tab has put up $2.50 about the double, a great price given many form experts believe Arden Rooney will start long odds-on on Saturday night and Cooney jagged three goals first-up for the Bombers against Sydney last weekend. Access the special online by clicking here, have a crack at the track, at your local TAB outlet or via the TAB app. Have a crack on track this weekend, at your local TAB outlet, online at tab.com.au or on your TAB app. #Girls #Trots #Oaks #APG The fastest fillies in the trots will clash tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. Three heats of the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks will pit the best three-year-old girls against one another over 2240m, all vying for a start in the Victoria Oaks final on April 18. And two heats of the rich Australian Pacing Gold 2YO Fillies series will also be decided, while the Harness Breeders (Vic) Ian Daff Memorial will feature open-age female pacers over the 1720-metre short-course trip. READ THE FULL STORY
Andy Gath trained a treble and his wife Kate drove all of them at yesterdays harness racing meeting at Charlton on a big day for the Long Forest husband and wife team. True Stride (a two-year-old son of Christian Cullen/Gina Falcon), Abetta Tiny Dancer (a three-year-old filly by Bettors Delight out of Laurel Franco) and Party Boy (a four-year-old gelding by Bettors Delight out of We Love To Party) all won for Team Gath. Abetta Tiny Dancer was impressive on debut in the Cricket Club Hotel 3YO Pace over 2100 metres. Starting from the second row, the filly was given plenty of time to balance up for Kate Gath, settling towards the rear of the main division – with Prince Of Zanzibar the trailer after making an early break. At the bell Abetta Tiny Dancer eased three-wide and commenced her run. But it was only upon navigating the last bend that Abetta Tiny Dancer really stamped her authority, rounding up the leaders quickly and finishing well for a four-metre win over Give Me Fifty, who ran an improved race for Keith Cotchin and Amanda Turnbull into second, with Box Lu Cove third for Glenn Douglas. The debutant winner rated 2:00.7. Party Boy resumed in the Charlton & District Community Bank Pace and was sent out at unbackable odds of $1.10 from barrier four. Last time in Party Boy looked a serious racehorse in the making with three straight triumphs before being sent for a spell after an out-of-character run at Cranbourne when something was obviously awry. But the impressive son of Bettors Delight bounced straight back today, rating 2:00.5 (last half 58.1secs) to win by 2.4 metres over a bold Jay Dee Zed, who is nearing another win, with early speedster Splendid Choice poking through for a well-beaten third placing. True Stride opened the program with a five-metre win in the Natasa Dean 2YO Pace over the mile, the winner posting a 1:59.2 mile rate in defeating Swift Fantasy and Dallas Nikolay. Other winners on today’s card were Karkarook and Indiana Angel, who brought up a double for trainer John Hallam and reinsman Nathan Jack, Cudgee Boy for Wayne Maher and Neil McCallum, Super Lenny for Keith and Rodney Pratt and Pink Diamond Lombo for Max Jardine and Greg Sugars. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria
At his 10th country cup start this season, Road To Rock won his second trophy. The Keith Cotchin trained seven-year-old edged out Macho Comacho in a thrilling finish to Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup – adding the victory to his feature race CV alongside his St Arnaud Cup triumph earlier this season. The gelded son of Village Jasper/Diva La Diva ran to the front after Macho Comacho and Ardle McArdle both held interim leads early. Ardle McArdle stepped strongly from seven to tackle early leader Macho Comacho out of three, working to the front when Macho Comacho galloped. Macho Comacho (Chris Alford) quickly got back into stride and hooked off the markers to retake control at the head of affairs, Nathan Jack then seizing the initiative to grab the front aboard Road To Rock when Macho Comacho slowed, which pocketed Ardle McArdle (Amanda Turnbull) three-pegs. Reigning Ararat Cup winner Savesomtimetodream with Jodi Quinlan aboard then made his move to work to the breeze, giving 2013 Ararat Cup winner Jukebox Music (Glenn Douglas) one-one cover. Kotare Roland (Neil McCallum) was four-back the markers, Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) on his back, with Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips), Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley) and Farmersntradies (Michael Sullivan) in the running line, while Narra Operative (Kerryn Manning) was second-last and Arber (Gavin Lang) made an uncharacteristic bad getaway and settled at the back of the field. Road To Rock comfortably navigated the opening half of the last mile (31.4 and 30.4 for a 61.8 half) before Jack upped the ante when challenged by Savesomtimetodream down the back. Road To Rock was still travelling well to the home turn though, shaking off the reigning champ’s challenge with a 28.8 third split. In the home straight Macho Comacho angled into the sprint lane and charged hard, while Hilltop Hustler and Ardle McArdle were winding up out wide. But the leader dug deep, Road To Rock holding off all the challengers to score a victory by a head over Macho Comacho, with Hilltop Hustler up for third beaten 3.5 metres. The winner got home in 29.2 for a 2:02.9 mile rate (last half 58). Ardle McArdle ran fourth while Kotare Roland showed he was working back into some kind of form with an eye-catching fifth beaten 7.5 metres. Savesomtimetodream weakened out of the action late to finish sixth beaten 8.2 metres, with Weallwantano heading up the rest in seventh place. Earlier in the evening father and son Neville and Clinton Welsh combined for victory in the Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup with consistent six-year-old Sundon/Wheels To Go gelding Wildenstein, who led and rated 2:07.2 for the 2570-metre trip. Wildenstein defeated Death Defying by 3.3 metres with Maorisfavouritesun third. Meanwhile, trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Gavin Lang combined with Our Petite Soeur to take out the Angelique Club Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship (18th heat) by 2.3m over So Demanding with Graceful Affair third. ROAD TO ROCK’S COUNTRY CUPS RECORD Ararat Cup 1st Echuca Cup 3rd Boort Cup 4th Wangaratta Cup 2nd Stawell Cup 2nd Gunbower Cup 2nd St Arnaud Cup 1st Maryborough Cup 6th Kilmore Cup 8th Swan Hill Cup 2nd Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria
Pearcedale father and daughter Bill and Simone Walker combined for their second Warragul Cup win on Easter Sunday with their harness racing star pacer Hectorjayjay. After Doolan Jack won the race in 2009, Hectorjayjay led throughout on Sunday, setting a track record mark on 1:59.8 for the first Cup run over the new distance of 2627 metres. Aged just four the Dream Away gelding having only his thirty-seventh race start, Hectorjayjay held off all his rivals to score his sixteenth win. It was only his second start at the Warragul Pacing Bowl - Hectorjayjay scored his maiden win on the circuit at age two. Since then, he has worked his way through the classes and has raced against, and beaten many of, the best competitors in three seasons of racing. The Walker family look set for some fun times ahead in future too with Hectorjayjay, winner of over $142,000 in stakes. Owner Matthew McLellan accepted the gold cup from Frank Hone, representing race sponsor the Warragul Sporting and Social Club. Trainer Bill Walker was clearly emotional at the trophy presentation - he hasn't enjoyed the best of health in recent times however Sunday's win will be a great boost for him. The Walker stable have been great supporters of Warragul trotting for decades, and their win was a celebrated one among the local crowd. Hectorjayjay Feature race for the trotters on Sunday was the Eddie Evison Memorial Cup. Sunset Invasion won the event. Accepting the Cup was Barry Garbutt - ironically he shod horses for the late Eddie Evison as a farrier in Gippsland many years ago. Connections of Sunset Invasion were delighted with their victory - the Last Sunset six-year-old is a most consistent racehorse having recorded 14 wins and 16 placings from only 36 starts. The Ken Miller Memorial Pace went to exciting four-year-old Kurahaupo Gambler, now a winner of three on end for Burrumbeet horseman Michael Stanley. Undefeated since settling in Australia from New Zealand, the Bettor's Delight four-year-old looks set for greater success after his all-the-way win in Sunday's race. All mobile start events on Sunday saw times which broke the magical two minute barrier - a first at Warragul and a credit to the track maintenance team. Despite overcast weather conditions, attendance numbers were up slightly on last year at the Cup meeting. Trotting returns to Warragul on Monday afternoon, May 4. Kyle Galley
Former Kiwi five year old Monarchy/Rob The Nest gelding Just Leave (Nathan Jack) was gigantic in winning the Betta Home Living Cohuna Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2190 metres at the Shepparton trots on Tuesday March 31. Stepping cleanly from 20 metres to settle nice and handy with Kains Boy jumping straight to the front from barrier four before surrendering to the Kari Males trained Secret Kiss which started outside the front line, Just Leave went into a wild gallop shortly after the start appearing to put himself out of business. Gradually making up the lost ground to be last in the running line at the bell, Just Leave trailed the 30 metre backmarker Just Call Me Earl forward three wide in the final circuit before making the home turn very wide. Producing a brilliant turn of speed on straightening, Just Leave charged down the outside of the track to record a runaway 3 metre victory over the pacemaker in a mile rate of 2-05, with Kains Boy holding down third after a cosy trip. Raced by former Kilmore trucking magnate Jack Knight, Just Leave trained at Avenel by Wayne Potter had recorded three wins since crossing the Tasman. The wraps were huge on beautifully bred first starter Showgun Thomas in the Betta Home Living Mansfield 2-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres, however the gelded son of Bettors Delight and Forest Charm could manage only third behind the all the way victor Casino Tommy. Trained and driven by Kilmore’s Robbie Walters, John Street North/Casino Princess gelding Casino Tommy began brilliantly from gate three to lead throughout in a mile rate of 2-02.6, defeating Combined Interest from last by 2.5 metres. Showgun Thomas (one/one – three wide home turn) was a neck away in third place. Local Lemnos trainer/driver Mark Pitt provided a shock result to the Betta Home Living Finley 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres, when Village Jolt/Our Beebee Pocket gelding To The Rescue greeted the judge in a mile rate of 1-59.6 at Supertab odds of $38.60. Leading out from the pole, To The Rescue was restrained to allow the heavily backed Three Mugs In (gate five) to take over giving him the run of the race. Using the sprint lane, To The Rescue finished best to score by a head from a death-seating Yankee Strutter, with Three Mugs In 2.7 metres away in third place. Shepparton (Lemnos) partners Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack combined to land the Betta Home Living Echua Eureka Series (Heat 4) for C0 class over 2190 metres with Lis Mara/Gee Cam five year old entire Last Issue. Pushing through from gate three on the second line to receive a lovely one/one passage, Jack not happy with the tempo sent Last Issue forward to take over from Blazing Orion at the bell and was never headed, winning by an easy 14.8 metres in advance of Tragic (three back the markers) and Blazing Orion which trailed the winner after crossing Ok Why Me prior to the bell. The mile rate 1-59.1. Four year old Real Desire/Live Love Laugh gelding Hazpazzaz brought up two wins in a row when successful in the Betta Home Living Seymour Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1690 metres in a brilliant rate of 1-55. Trained at Sunbury by Justin Livingstone for the Livingstone family, Hazpazzaz driven by Brian Gath starting from the extreme draw spent most of the race at the rear of the field, with NSW visitor Peking Duck (David Moran for Kim Hillier) assuming control running into the first turn. Still a “mile” off the leaders on turning, Happazzaz weaving in-between runners sprouted wings halfway up the running to blouse the pacemaker by a nose in a tricky finish, with Glenferrie College (one/four – five wide home turn) a half neck away in third place. The Betta Home Living Deniliquin Pace Final for C1 class which qualified in the heats held the previous Thursday, went the way of heat winner Nothings Final for Undera trainer Glenn Freeman and Avenel based reinsman Mark Pitt. Given a sweet trip one/one from gate two on the second line following the favourite Indiana Angel (gate two) also a heat winner which shadowed another heat winner in Magic Moment Lombo (gate three), Nothings Final was eased three wide on turning and ran home strongly to register a neck victory over a game Indiana Angel and Tennaya along the sprint lane off the back of the leader. The mile rate a slick 1-55.9. A five year old gelded son of P B Bullville and Timid Lady, Nothings Final has fronted the starter on 52 occasions for 10 wins. Bendigo (Junortoun) owner/trainer Gary Donaldson has a terrific percentage ratio and landed the Betta Home Living Kyabram Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2190 metres with consistent six year old Art Major/My Gentle Persuasion gelding Bazzas Art in a rate of 1-59. Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Bazzas Art was eased to the tail of the field from gate six, with polemarker Philtra Phella leading out before being crossed by Stormed Out, while the hot favourite Smo coming off a second in the recent Echuca Cup was trapped on a limb from gate five before going forward to join the pacemaker. Gaining a beaut ride home three wide on the back of Riseandriseagain in the final circuit, Bazzas Art cruised up to Smo which had led on turning in the straight, before coasting to the wire 5.8 metres ahead of Forbidden Forest (one/one) after working out of gate four, with Smo weakening to finish 2 metres away in third place. The mile rate 1-59.1. Punters went home on a much needed happy note when smart Bettors Delight/Dont Answer That filly Morton Plains trained at Shelbourne (Bendigo) by Larry Eastman scored in the Betta Home Living Cobram Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres. Driven by Chris Alford, Morton Plains a stablemate of Victoria Derby winner Menin Gate raced in the same interests was first up since mid-January and raced in the open from gate four throughout. Surging past the leader Bright And Sonny approaching the home turn, Morton Plains ($1.70) although under pressure kept on giving and giving to the wire, scoring by a half head only in 1-58.7 over Just Knew (one/two) and The Pix (one/three). Len Baker - Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria
Michael Stanley’s Hilltop Hustler looks well-placed in Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup. The Redan five-year-old gelding will come out of barrier nine in the 2570-metre race, which carries stake money of $25,505. Hilltop Hustler won at Horsham two starts back in the $8505 O’Keefe before a game third off a 20- metre handicap in the Boort Pacing Cup on March 15. “At Boort he pinned the ears back and had a real crack,” said Stanley, who trains and drives Hilltop Hustler. “He’s a tough little bugger. He leaves everything out on the track … He should be hard to beat.” Hilltop Hustler is a winner of 12 races from 52 starts for stake earnings of $107,626. He has placed on a further 13 occasions. At about this time last year he won the Warragul Pacing Cup defeating Lovable Larrikin by 1.3 metres and Savesomtimetodream by seven off equal marks. The latter, trained by Paul Rowse at Ross Creek, has to spot Hilltop Hustler 10 metres from the stand start conditions at Ararat. “It’s not going to be easy from the second row but he’s working as good as ever,” Stanley said of his runner. “It’s an even sort of field.” Stanley withdrew Hilltop Hustler from a recent Melton meeting because the pacer had a virus. But a round of antibiotics has cleared up the charge’s ailment and he’s expected to be fit and firing for the Ararat feature. Twelve horses have accepted for the Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup, which will be run at 10pm. Club secretary Lloyd Grice said former AFL player turned RSN radio host Mick McGuane would be on-course master of ceremonies at Ararat, filing roving reports over the microphone and helping run the punters’ club. “It’ll be great having Mick there,” Grice said. Patrons can purchase punters’ club tickets for $10 and they essentially can’t lose, because everyone who purchases a $10 ticket will receive a $10 TAB voucher. “You’ve got your money back before there’s even been a race won,” Grice said. The club has organised plenty of children’s activities but the club is hoping to attract a mix of patrons including families, punters and people just keen for a great social outing. “There’ll be plenty for the families but there will be plenty for everyone,” Grice said. “We’re hoping to get a great crowd for the Easter Saturday meeting. “We’ll even have the Easter Bunny there handing out some goodies for the kids.” A $1000 TAB voucher will be won on the night via Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition with patrons simply having to post a “selfie” on to facebook.com/trotselfies with the most creative entry taking the coin. The 10-race card gets under way at 6.25pm with the last at 11pm. The Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup will also be held at 8.30pm with in-form Death Defying sure to prove hard to beat with Nathan Jack in the sulky for trainer Kari Males. The Ararat Cup meeting is a leg of the TAB Trots Country Cups Carnival. CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER
Harness racing fans can take a step back in time at Easter Sunday's Warragul Cup meeting, by viewing a memorabilia display. An area of items relating to the Warragul Cup will be on display in the undercover area outside the Sponsors Room. And courtesy of the family of the late Gippsland trainer, John Collins, items on display will include race trophies won by the great local pacer of the 1960's, Macaree. Macaree's colours, and original all leather harness, will also be on show along with photographs and scrapbooks. The brilliant pacer, an idol of Melbourne Showgrounds crowds, was only 15 hands high and earned the nickname "The Little Bulldog." The tiny horse was full of courage, winning 56 races including the 1967 Lightning Mile at Harold Park, the Stawell Cup and numerous Melbourne events. He ran in the 1967 Miracle Mile, and also placed second twice in the Kilmore Cup from 48 yards and 60 yards behind. It is fifty years since Macaree won the 1965 Warragul Cup from a 48 yard handicap. It is also sixty years since the first Warragul Cup was held in 1955. John Collins also trained several other smart pacers, including Annastere, the filly who beat the boys to win the 1972 Victoria Derby. It is expected that Annastere's winning sash from the Derby will also be on display. A video screen will show old trotting races from Warragul throughout the day and various rare photos, including the photo finish print from the first Warragul Cup, will be on display. The Warragul club is always keen to hear from people who have items of interest relating to the club that can be copied to add to their collection. Sunday's meeting features the $25,000 Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup, and action kicks off just after Noon. Kyle Galley
Glenferrie Bronte has emerged as a serious Victoria Oaks hopeful after a stunning harness racing win in the Harness Breeders (Vic) Trackbred 3YO Classic tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton. Trainer/driver Amanda Turnbull set the speed aboard the Changeover / Equus Franco filly after landing the front early from gate three. With Keayang Torah (Glen Craven, $13.10) up eyeballing her in the run, Glenferrie Bronte ($3.10) had to notch quicker sectionals than she would have liked. She covered the first quarter of the last mile in 28.9secs before a 28.8secs second split made it a 57.7secs first half. Glenferrie Bronte kicked clear coming off the back straight with Keayang Torah spitting the dummy after pulling hard. Last season’s Breeders Crown and Vicbred Super Series champion Niki No No (Greg Sugars, $2.9fav) spotted Glenferrie Bronte the best part of 20 metres at the home bend and was covering ground out wide. Glenferrie Bronte’s third quarter was 29.1secs and she was in top flight on straightening for the run home. Niki No No and Du Vella (Geoff Webster, $8.2), both driven off the speed, were launching late claims – especially Niki No No – but it was to no avail, Turnbull and Glenferrie Bronte clocking a 29.7secs final quarter for a mile rate of 1:56.7 over the 2240m trip, the margin 1.4m between the winner and Niki No No at the post. The victory was Glenferrie Bronte's fourth in six starts. >> Video: Watch Glenferrie Bronte take out the Harness Breeders (Vic) Trackbred 3YO Classic. Du Vella was third ahead of Lovelist (John Caladow, $9.8) in fourth and Union Ally (Grant Campbell, $39.40) in fifth. Delight Me, who would have started a short-priced favourite tonight, was scratched earlier today. by Cody Winnell
WILL ARDEN ROONEY'S WINNING STREAK CONTINUE? Since his Hunter Cup win during the TAB Summer of Glory carnival Kerryn Manning trained and driven Arden Rooney has become "the Cups King". The five-year-old gelding made it three straight cup wins following his Hunter Cup success with victories in the Terang and Geelong pacing cups. Tonight he will line up for five straight wins in the $20,505 2240-metre SEW Eurodrive Westburn Grant Free-for-All at Tabcorp Park Melton. But he will have fierce opposition from several talented rivals, including speedy duo Chilli Palmer (drawn pole) and Franco Ledger (barrier nine). Tonight sees a 10-race card at Melton, kicking off at 6.30pm. And don't forget tomorrow night is Girls' Night Out at Cranbourne in support of the Women's Cancer Foundation. First race of the night tomorrow is 6.20pm. - FEATURE OF THE WEEK - SEW Eurodrive Westburn Grant FFA 2240m mobile start @ Tabcorp Park Melton, Friday night 9.30pm 1: CHILLI PALMER Trainer: Amanda Grieve Driver: Alex Ashwood Form comment: One of the two fastest horses in the race, you'd have to say. He and Franco Ledger both have withering bursts of speed once they're in top flight. The problem here might be the barrier. He's a get-back-run-on horse, so he might find himself buried away on the pegs. The other side of that of course is if he gets that soft three-markers trip and they run along a bit up front, he'll be the fresh horse on the scene bursting home with any sort of luck late, either around the outside or through along the sprint lane. He's a last-start winner and he's top-class at his best, so don't leave him out. 2: SAVESOMTIMETODREAM Trainer: Paul Rowse Driver: Jodi Quinlan Form comment: The general view is that Jodi Quinlan will cross the polemarker with this talented seven-year-old before handing up to Arden Rooney. That would ensure Jodi and Savesomtimetodream would get first use of the sprint lane in the home straight. Can he win? He's coming off back-to-back fourth-place finishes at Melton and Charlton in a FFA and the Charlton Cup. He's got to be more of a place chance, I'd suspect, but I'd never say never with this fella. 3: VILLAGEM Trainer: Glenn Douglas Driver: Glenn Douglas Form comment: Once upon a time he'd be one of the favourites here for sure and certain. Nowadays he's nine years old and his best racing is in the past. However, he's still competitive, as we saw three starts back when he defeated Wartime Sweetheart and Bit Of A Legend on Hunter Cup Night. His Geelong Cup was fair and his Charlton Cup second behind Barynya was also solid given he worked hard out three-wide late. Racing well but not for me against a few of these. 4: KOTARE ROLAND Trainer: Roly Wilson Driver: Neil McCallum Form comment: Not really a factor last weekend in the Echuca Pacing Cup. Wasn't beaten far though. His previous recent form is nowhere near strong enough for him to be entertained as any sort of realistic chance against some of these A-graders. Prefer in something easier at this stage. 5: ARDEN ROONEY Trainer: Kerryn Manning Driver: Kerryn Manning Form comment: Has really turned it on since his Hunter Cup win when 80-1! We'll never see those odds again with him. Made the trip to Swan Hill last start and won easily over Goodtime Marjie. Expect Kerryn Manning to send this fella forward at the start and attempt to find the lead. Once there I'd say he will be allowed to stroll, which seems to be his go. If Savesomtimetodream kicks up I'm tipping there'll be a bit of pressure about. That scenario would open the door for a Chilli Palmer or Franco Ledger late. But I'm tipping it'll be scenario A, with Rooney running to the front, setting the speed to suit himself and winning. 6: METRO MIKE Trainer: Emma Stewart Driver: Gavin Lang Form comment: Super-consistent customer who won back-to-back Melton races recently and was a touch unlucky not to win The Stampede as he paced roughly for a stride turning for home. He still attacked the line in that 1200-metre race and he'll be better suited to this trip. Both Arden Rooney and Franco Ledger prefer it longer, and while both have the class edge on their rivals, and Chilli Palmer always needs a pinch of luck given his racing style, it may open the door for Metro Mike to go close here at nice odds. I'm including him. 7: IT IS BILLY Trainer: Michael Barby Driver: Anne-Maree Conroy Form comment: Last-start winner at Melton when found the lead from gate five and rated 1:56.4 to comfortably defeat runner-up Fiery Achiever. Was first-up from a spell on that occasion so further improvement second-up would not surprise. He's a six-year-old with plenty of upside and despite the wide draw you need to show him respect. 8: LOVABLE LARRIKIN Trainer: Gaita Pullicino Driver: John Caldow Form comment: Has struck top form of late with two impressive wins, one at Bendigo and the other in The Stampede over 1200 metres at Melton. Draws inside-back-row here, following out noted sit-sprinter Chilli Palmer. So he'll get back no doubt and need to repeat his lightning late finishing burst of last start to get the chocolates. One for the trifectas. 9: FRANCO LEDGER Trainer: Geoff Webster Driver: Geoff Webster Form comment: Us Victorians are still disappointed we never got to see him contest the Inter Dominion Final. He would have gone close. Still managed to win the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal however on the big day in Sydney. In fact, it was not just a win ... he blitzed his opposition. He'll trail through nicely and will settle a bit closer to the speed than he did in the Hunter Cup when he stormed home late to run second to Arden Rooney. He's quicker than Arden Rooney, so if it comes down to who can sprint sharpest at the finish, he's the one you'd want to be on. He's a serious winning hope and I've got him running second. 10: FIERY ACHIEVER Trainer: Lance Justice Driver: Rodney Petroff Form comment: Handed up to It Is Billy last start and battled on well for second but was no match for the winner. He's drawn terribly here and against this lot a win would certainly surprise. 11: COLD MAJOR Trainer: David Aiken Driver: David Aiken Form comment: Rarely runs a poor race. Finished third behind Franco Ledger and Villagem in the Sokyola Sprint in January when worked in the run. He could play a role with a mid-race move but he's one for first-fours at best from the draw, I'd say. (Comments by Cody Winnell) WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the SEW Eurodrive Westburn Grant Free For All tonight (Friday night). All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm tonight. One entry per person. Must be over 18 years of age to enter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org the subject WIN. The winner will be notified via email.
Young Trafalgar horsewoman Tamie Frith will be seeking her biggest success in harness racing on Easter Sunday, April 5. Tamie's horse Bettor Biaggi will compete in the rich Ken Miller Memorial Pace event at Warragul, one of the feature races on the traditional Warragul Cup raceday. Bettor Biaggi finished second in a qualifying division of the Miller event at Warragul on Monday, March 23 and will be one of several Gippsland horses to compete in the race. Tamie is involved in trotting as a hobby. Her partner Glenn Hunter will steer Bettor Biaggi in the race. She has a soft spot for Bettor Biaggi, who has yet to win a race but has finished in the minor placings five times from 13 race starts. Tamie turned an interest in the trotting sport into a hands-on involvement after she competed a certificate course at the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre several years ago. One of many graduates of the Centre who have gone on to train their own horses, Tamie has enjoyed previous success both as a trainer and as a reinswoman, and has also gained valuable experience working in local stables. Looking to take some of the family spotlight away from Tamie and Glenn on Easter Sunday will be Glenn's father Chris, who has Feel The Rhythm running in the Ken Miller race. Chris will also start his smart horse Dawn Tears in the Trotters Cup event. The Hunter stable is racing consistently at present and will hopefully be rewarded with success on the biggest day on the local trotting calendar. Warragul trotting officials are hoping that good weather should draw a crowd of close to 1000 to the Logan Park track for a top day of racing that will kick off at around Noon. Kyle Galley
Harness racing driver Greg Sugars scored a winning treble at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Victoria’s leading reinsman guided home short-priced favourites Goodtime Sammy in the Geoff and Lorraine Barnes Youthful Stakes and Illawong Helios in the Carbine Chemicals Vicbred Trot, and also scored aboard a $15.90 shot in Classy Guy in the Swift Signs Pace. Goodtime Sammy (Somebeachsomewhere/Graces Beach) made it two wins to start his career with a 7.9-metre win in the 1720m Youthful Stakes from gate six, rating 1:56.7. Rocknroll Gold (Nathan Jack, $18) and Soho Lexington (Michael Stanley, $7.20) filled the placings. Five-year-old gelding Classy Guy (Union Guy/Classy Dream) found the front in Race 5 from the 1720m start despite a gate seven draw and held off all challengers late for a 2.1m win over Saint Flash (Chris Alford, $6.90) and Lombo Flashlight (Jodi Quinlan, $18.60). The Angela McDonough-trained pacer rated 1:54.4. Four-year-old mare Illawong Helios made it seven wins from 15 starts with a 9.3-metre win in the last race on the card, the Ross Sugars-trained daughter of Majestic Son/Shining Sun beating home Guiltless (Nathan Jack, $5) with Maybelina (Gavin Lang, $13.10) 33m off the winner in third place. The winner started $1.30 and rated 1:59.1. High-class four-year-old mare Bettor Downunder (Bettors Delight/Trebla Trebla) made it two enormous wins straight for trainer Steven Loftus and reinsman Michael Stanley. She won by 29.7m despite an outside-back-row draw over the 2240m. Bettor Downunder has now won her past two starts by an aggregate margin of 74.8m. Punters cashed in, the winner starting $1.40, with Mister McKinnon (Courtney Slater, $20.20) second and Flying McPocket (Anthony Butt, $8.20) third. The winner posted a 1:57.4 mile rate. >> VIDEO: Watch Bettor Downunder cruise to the easiest of wins The Boss Man (five-year-old gelding by Bacardi Lindy out of Oh Yes Indeed) bounced back after some frustrating performances with a 1.5m win as a $1.70 favourite over Death Defying in the Benstud Standardbreds Trot over 2240m. Scott Dyer drove the David Aiken-trained squaregaiter, who rated 2:00.7. Death Defying (Nathan Jack, $11.40) is racing well and did a good job to run second from gate six, while Steal A Sixpence was third for Gavin Lang at $4.80. Wonderful mare Steam Washed (Washington VC/Laura Lace) returned to the winners’ list in the Harness Breeders Vic Jodies Babe over 1720m. Sent out at odds of $5.70, Steam Washed was taken straight to the lead for reinsman Chris Shinn early from gate five and held off Emma Stewart-trained pair Goodtime Marjie (Greg Sugars, $7.50) and Beauty Secret (Gavin Lang, $1.40fav), the winner rating 1:53.5. Andy Gath’s talented three-year-old Bettors Delight/Kelly Maguire gelding Burnaholeinmypocket was ultra-impressive taking out the VHRSC 3YO Cup with Kate Gath in the sulky. The $3.50 second-favourite found the lead early from barrier two before coming right away at the finish for a 17.2m success over runner-up Virgil Hilts (Lisa Miles, $32.50) with Goodtime Alltime (Courtney Slater, $75.80) third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.3. Alan Tubbs-trained Lierre Noir saluted the judge first in the feature event of the night, the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace Final over 1720m. The five-year-old mare by Bettors Delight out of Saabette was driven by Kerryn Manning and paid $9.70 for the win. Odds-on shot Quick Draft (Chris Alford, $1.80) ran second, beaten a neck, with Echeveria (Kate Gath, $25.90) third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:54.4. Adam Kelly and Gavin Lang combined to win the University Food Group Pace over 2240m with five-year-old McArdle/Tactile Franco gelding Tiago Bromac. The $2.10 favourite outgunned runner-up The Noble Steed (Kerryn Manning, $4.90) and Heading North (Nathan Weightman, $25.30) in third in a rate of 1:57.1. >> KEY NOTES FROM TABCORP PARK MELTON - Greg Sugars notches a winning treble - Bettor Downunder at her brilliant best again - Steam Washed takes out Jodies Babe - Burnaholeinmypocket ultra-impressive winning VHRSC 3YO Cup - Lierre Noir takes out the G3 Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace - Quaddie: $1853 on Nos 7-2-2-3. Early Quaddie: $25.80 on Nos 13-5-6-5. - Good Form Game Plan (goodform.trot.com.au): Outlay: $415. Return: $145.40. >> Check out all the results and watch the replay videos from Tabcorp Park Melton by Cody Winnell
DOUBLE-HEADER COUNTRY CUPS WEEKEND This weekend features a TAB.com.au Trots Country Cups Carnival double-header with Echuca on Saturday night followed by Ouyen's big day on Sunday. The weekend action kicks off tonight though at Tabcorp Park Melton with a nine-race program getting under way at 6.30pm and featuring the running of the Harness Breeders Vic Jodies Babe and the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace Final (Group 3). Don't miss your shot at a $20,000 quaddie pool jackpot offer from the TAB tonight at Melton, with the quaddie on Races 5,6,7 and 8 and kicking off at 8.33pm. - FEATURE OF THE WEEK - Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup 2530m standing start 1: SMO Trainer: Laura Crossland Driver: Laura Crossland Form comment: Drawn well and if he can step cleanly and hold a forward position then he could sneak a place at odds. 2: ROAD TO ROCK Trainer: Keith Cotchin Driver: John Caldow Form comment: In really good form, loves the stand-start conditions. Back to the front line should be able to step and press forward. If finds the front is a great each-way chance. 3: JUKEBOX MUSIC Trainer: Julie Douglas Driver: Glenn Douglas Form comment: Been competing in claiming grade but has a really good turn of foot when right. If he enjoys a soft peg-line run he could well be finishing off into a placing. 4: KOTARE ROLAND Trainer: Roly Wilson Driver: Neil McCallum Form comment: Enjoyed a nice run of form a few months back, but struggling to recapture that right now. This does look a little drop in class. 5: SKIPPY RASCAL Trainer: Julie Douglas Driver: Greg Sugars Form comment: Could well be the best roughie in the race. Defeated Macho Comacho three starts back when leading and handing up. If he's able to step cleanly here he could perform a similar role and finish off along the sprint lane. 6: CAM BEFORE THE STORM Trainer: Nicole Molander Driver: Chris Alford Form comment: Led and was run down in the Boort Pacing Cup last week but was only second-up. If he takes benefit from that run he'll be in the mix. Stable's in fine form. 7: MACHO COMACHO Trainer: Amanda Grieve Driver: Alex Ashwood Form comment: Super first-up after missing the start. He should be able to step more cleanly here and if that's the case you only have to go back to his form of a previous lifetime where he ran third in the Stawell and St Arnaud Cups and won the Wedderburn feature. 8: WASHMEPOCKETS Trainer: Vivian Tomren Driver: Emmett Brosnan Form comment: Honest little fella who tries his heart out every time. Another who needs a soft run to be a winning chance but if the pace is on he should be hitting the line. 9: NARRA OPERATIVE Trainer: Peter Manning Driver: Matthew Craven Form comment: Back to 10m here and didn't have a lot of luck in the Boort Cup last week. He's just the type of horse who can bob up at odds and he did win back to back cups at Wedderburn and Stawell earlier this season. 10: ARBER Trainer: Tim Bolitho Driver: Michael Bellman Form comment: Shooting for back to back wins in this race. He was last year's country cups champion who wasn't far away at Boort. But he will need to improve to make it two in a row here. 11: SMUDGE BROMAC Trainer: David Aiken Driver: Nathan Jack Form comment: Has come off a little break since contesting the Victorian Inter Dominion heat. All his form, including a fifth in the Hunter and Shepparton Cups, and a second in the Pure Steel, is a strong pointer to the sort of form he is in at the moment. Genuine winning chance. 12: WARTIME SWEETHEART Trainer: David Aiken Driver: David Aiken Form comment: If David Aiken can perform a miracle and he can sneak through along the pegs, he could possibly be the blowout chance. But he's probably not suited to coming wide in such a strong field. (Comments by Blake Redden) $20,000 Quaddie Jackpot Have a crack at the quaddie at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight for your chance at a slice of the $20,000 jackpot thanks to the TAB. Bet at the track, online at tab.com.au, via your smart phone app or at your local TAB outlet. WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the Echuca Pacing Cup on Saturday night. All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm on Saturday night March 21. One entry per person. Must be over 18 years of age to enter. Emailcompetitions@hrv.org.au with the subject WIN. The winner will be notified via email.
Reinsman Nathan Jack will honour the late Tiffany Murray by wearing her driving pants at Echuca Harness Racing Club’s annual Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night. Tiffany, a popular local harness racing figure, died in 2011 after a brave battle with cancer. Jack knew Tiffany well through his good mate and Tiffany’s partner, Leigh Sutton. Sutton is also a harness racing driver and he and Tiffany have a daughter, Milla. Jack will also donate $100 per winning drive to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation – and $200 should he win the Echuca Cup – and Sutton will match it dollar for dollar. It means the organisation set up by Tiffany's neurosurgeon, Charlie Teo, will benefit $200 per winner and $400 if Jack’s horse, Smudge Bromac, can win the main event. “I knew her quite well. I was good mates with Leigh,” Jack said. “It’s definitely a cause close to my heart.” The club will also run the Tiffany Murray Memorial Pace (Race 4 at 8.03pm), with only female drivers invited to contest the event. The association between Jack and Smudge Bromac will hold him in good stead aboard the David Aiken trained entire on Saturday night. The nine-year-old pacer is in a rich vein of form, having recently contested the $400,000 Hunter Cup, finishing fifth beaten only 8.3 metres by Arden Rooney. “He’s a great little horse, you’d love to own him,” Jack said of the 31-time winner. “He’s in great form. His Yarra Glen Cup win was terrific, in the Pure Steel he sat outside Uncle Wingnut and beat him by over a metre, and in the Shepparton Cup he turned for home level with For A Reason and beat him a length. “He’ll find it a bit hard off the 20-metre (handicap) on the tight track but he’s racing really well.” The huge 10-race program at Echuca kicks off at 6.20pm with the cup to be run at 9.33pm. Loads of giveaways and entertainment will be provided, with one lucky patron winning $1000 thanks to the TAB simply by uploading their Trot Selfie to facebook.com/trotselfies. The Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup meeting is a leg of the TAB Trots Country Cups Carnival. by Cody Winnell Related Links Fields for Echuca, Saturday 21 March 2015 Form guide for Echuca, Saturday 21 March 2015