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Resilient Moama harness racing horseman Tony Peacock has never been one to accept defeat. From his wild youthful days of competing in boxing tents at country agriculture shows, to breaking-in a non compos mentos yearling, the veteran is well known to not take a backward step. But without doubt his biggest challenge in his colorful life was 21 months ago when a horrific training track accident at home nearly cost him his life. Peacock was catapulted from the cart and landed vertically on his head. He broke his neck between the C2 and C3 vertebrae—the same spot that stops a person’s nerves and breathing when they are executed by hanging. And now after months and months of hospital care, rehabilitation and support from family and friends, Peacock is back doing what he loves....race driving. The familiar colors of black, gold horseshoes and armbands will be in action Tuesday night at Swan Hill with two stable runners in Majadore (Art Major-Jadore Bromac (McArdle) and Bettor Enforce (Bettors Delight-Their Excuse). “I’m really looking forward to being out on the racetrack again. I had to complete a few drives at the trials, pass medical tests along with a stress test,” Peacock said. “I feel as fit as a fiddle. I’ve actually just finished shoeing Bettor Enforce as I want everything to be spot-on for my return,” he laughed. “She trialed okay against superstar pacer San Carlo at Shepparton recently and I reckon she has a bright future.” Peacock said he had been back in the cart at home for the last six months. He said during his recovery he hadn’t thought much about returning to race driving. “I just ensured I did all the rehab and everything else with the aim of getting my health back to where it was,” Peacock said. “I suppose it was always in the back of my mind to keep my drivers licence if possible. It was probably just in case I find another champion around the corner!” Majadore, a Shepparton winner two starts ago, has drawn barrier 10 in the Ultimate Machete at Alabar Pace (race 4) while last-start Cobram winner Bettor Enforce has come up with the three alley in the Aldebaran Eagle at Aldebaran Park Pace (race 6). After being transferred to the Peacock barn in June, Majadore impressed with a strong second placing at Kilmore and then got the job done at Shepparton. She ran 8th in a fast-run affair at Bendigo last start. Black mare Bettor Enforce, a purchase from New Zealand in May, has two wins (Wagga and Cobram) and a close-up second at Maryborough to her name since crossing the Tasman Sea. Long-time friend and legendary reinsman Brian Gath has been taking care of driving engagements. Despite Peacock hardly being seen in recent years as a driver (he had two drives for one placing in 2015/16 and one unplaced drive in 2016/17), pre-post betting markets have his two horses at Swan Hill among the top fancies. “Yes it’s been awhile. But I’m pretty certain I’ll still know my way around,” he said. For the fields click here. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Where there's lights and music, there's always bound to be plenty of action, even in ageing legs! 12-year-old pacer Lights And Music has been turning it on recently and is right in the harness racing spotlight in country Victoria. The bay gelding, trained by dairy farmer Colin Godden with his wife Michelle, at Nanneella, a stone's throw north-east of Rochester, will be lining up for a hat-trick of wins at his next outing. Lights And Music (Jet Laag USA-Computerize NZ (Stand Together USA) is owned by Godden and his son James and landed the money at Echuca last week then followed up with a Maryborough success on Monday afternoon. Despite the impressive style of his Echuca victory in 1.57-5 (after coming three wide late for reinswoman Abbey Turnbull) punters failed to "hear the music at Maryborough", with the old timer again starting as a generous $19.90 chance. "He's actually been doing a pretty good job over the past few months because he hasn't been getting a lot of luck," Godden said. "But the girls have driven him well at his past two and things have gone his way a bit, which you need these days." Turnbull has forged a great association with the horse with four wins, a third and a fifth from six drives, but was unavailable at Maryborough. "Abbey had an exam at university and while she was disappointed she couldn't make it, she was excited for Tayla French to take the drive," Godden said. "Tayla has had a few goes on him for a second and a fourth, so it was fantastic for her to get a win on him. They'll pair up again at Bendigo on September 18 in a race that's restricted to drivers who haven't more than 10 lifetime wins." Besides Turnbull and French, many other Victorian junior drivers have a soft spot for the consistent and reliable "Jimmy" as he's known, who's given many emerging drivers race experience over his long career. Josh Duggan has won six on him and his fiance Monique Burnett, two. There's also been Tiana McMahon, Jack Laugher and Rhys Nicholson, one win each. Other juniors to have taken the reins include Kima Frenning, Ryan Duffy, Brad Chisholm, Lisa Bartley, Zac Phillips and Connor Ronan. Godden said along with a change of luck, a variation of the pacer's training regime perhaps also contributed to his resurgent form. "I used to swim them in a huge dam, but Jimmy would get quite petrified and start to panic," Godden said. "We decided to put a water walker in eight months ago and he loves it, so we don't do too much else with him now. It's taken the pressure off his joints and certainly given him a new lease of life," he said. "Our son James is an engineer, so he designed and constructed it. It's a bit over a metre deep and we have them going about power walking speed, and occasionally spin them around the opposite way. Going back against the 'current' really spikes their heart rate." The Godden family purchased Lights And Music for $1500 after he was sent by South Australian owners to be broken in by friend, veteran Elmore horseman Max Wishart. "He was a weedy, little fellow and the people who had first option decided against a purchase," Godden said. "We heard about it and ended up with him and after he had six months in a paddock, he showed us very early on that he could run. "Max helped us out a great deal. He drove him a lot at home and later we would fast work at his place. We raced him as a 2yo in March, 2010, and I drove him to thirds at Echuca and Charlton. "We put Daryl Douglas on at Maryborough and they won; he then had a spell and I drove him when he came back at Echuca, and happily landed the money." Godden has lived all his life in the Goulburn Valley community of Nanneella-the word thought to be an Aboriginal name for a local creek. The area was first settled as a pastoral run in the late 1800s and is today a mainly dairy-farming community with a population of 400. "We milk about 280 cows but don't have much water and feed is becoming very costly. Michelle always says harness racing is our outlet and our fun, because the dairy industry isn't looking all that flash at present," he said. And Lights And Music has been a reliable distraction for the popular and well-liked family, winning 27 races and 63 placings for over $160,000 in stakes. "He's a bit cranky at times - he'd rather bite you than say hello - but that's about his only vice. He's always been a nice horse and I doubt there's been a year gone past where he hasn't won for us," Godden said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

One of Victorian Harness Racing's success stories, the innovative Maryborough club, has some new faces at the helm. Long standing secretary-manager Les Chapman and track curator Mick Clover both retired at the end of the season after 50 years of dedicated loyalty between them. The club is best-known for its flagship event the Redwood All Trotting Carnival and it will be enthusiastic industry participant Michelle Eastman who takes over stewardship of the iconic event as the Maryborough club secretary-manager. Michelle holds an A Grade trainer's licence and has prepared horses with her husband Dale at nearby Shelbourne, for over 30 years, but most of her working life has been in the banking industry. "I certainly know my way around the Maryborough facility because we've raced and trialled here for a long time," Michelle said. "The people around the club are just fantastic. I'm so lucky to have landed the job and can't wait to get right into it." Already Michelle has several new initiatives and ideas in the pipeline. "The committee is a really positive group and I'm excited about trying to get more bums on seats. We hope to outsource our function centre, develop some innovations around our Cup and big Redwood weekend and do more with social media," she said. "Several people are working as volunteers here three days a week and another calls in a few days and takes care of the gardening. This is just awesome, and it's great to see them enjoy it because they love harness racing." Michelle is well-known as the former trainer of champion trotter Aleppo Midas, a winner of 16 races and $142,000. The mare is the dam of exciting young square-gaiter Alpha Male (5 starts for 3 wins, 2 placings and $64,000) prepared by Emma Stewart. Likable Mick "Pa" Clover is well-known at Maryborough, having a 35-year association at the club, the last two decades as track curator. He has also been the starter at regular trials for nearly nine years. "I've enjoyed it immensely and have worked with a lot of people over that time - but once Les Chapman took over as secretary, we just gone bigger and better," Clover said. "He's been a terrific administrator and the fact that everything runs so smoothly is due largely to him. The club, our race days, our cups and, of course, the Redwood carnival are all a credit to Les and the committee," he said. But Clover should not be selling his own contribution short, with participants across Central Victoria paying tribute to his work, ensuring the track surface is in optimal condition for speed and safety. His curator's role is just one of the many experiences the 80-year-old has crammed into his colorful life, from racehorse trackwork rider and strapper, to successful harness racing trainer-driver in both Queensland and Victoria. "I would have loved to have been a jockey, but I was always too big," Clover said. "I enjoyed working for the late Ernie Foster in the Western Districts. He used to look after the horses that were sent over to the war on the boats," he said. "One of the biggest influences in my life was legendary trots horseman Bill Davies. I went there to borrow a float, he offered me a job and I stayed for three years! "I learnt so much with Bill in that time because he was a good trainer, good feeder and taught me how to be a farrier. Another great teacher was Jack Moore, of Maryborough, who was also a very astute horseman. "Later I was talked into shifting up to Queensland by good friend and champion reinsman Keith Addison. He helped me out, along with Rod Belford. I used to go shoeing everywhere up there and then started getting more drives as a freelancer. "We leased a place at Deception Bay, starting with two horses and a year later that had blown out to 30. One of the highlights was representing Queensland twice in invitational drivers races and in the last one at Townsville I was victorious, beating them on a 30/1 shot." After 18 years in the Sunshine State, Clover returned south to Eddington and continued to be successful, particularly in discretionary standing-start races. He then moved to Carisbrook where he has been since with wife Cheryl. "We love caravanning, so we have a big trip over to Perth planned after Christmas. And of course, we enjoy following the career path of grandson James (Herbertson), who is shaping as a reinsman of the future." A favorite son at Maryborough in Tim Mortlock has taken over the role of track curator. Tim has a 40-year association in the sport with his late father Rob and grandfather Jack Hargreaves both successful horseman.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The biggest sponsorship signing in the Mildura Harness Racing Club’s history has the vibrant club looking positively to the future. The club secured a lucrative one-year deal with the Euston Club and Resort, a bowling and recreation club midway between Mildura and Swan Hill, with the agreement sweetened by the option to extend to three years. Harness racing is thriving in Mildura with up to 110 horses engaged at recent meetings and some of the State’s most competitive racing. The club is renowned for its annual three-year carnival and Chief Executive Officer Michelle McGinty-Wilson said the new sponsorship arrangement underlines the strong growth occurring at the north-west Victorian club. “The Euston Club will have naming rights to the first race of every Mildura Harness meeting, including over the Cup Carnival, beginning with Race 1 the Euston Club Pace at tonight’s Sunraysia Cup meeting,” Ms McGinty-Wilson said. “The Euston Club and Resort will also have the naming rights to the 2019 Sunraysia Cup tonight,” she said. “It’s a great vote of confidence that we’re able to get big new sponsors on board because they’re noticing how healthy the sport of harness racing is in our region, and they want to get involved.” The Euston Club’s Chief Executive Officer Ray Jones said it was a good business decision for the club to team up with harness racing in Mildura. “We’re a strongly growing business and it is imperative for us to be steering our sponsorship dollars into areas where exposure will be growing,” he said. “As a result, it was an easy decision for us to partner with Mildura Harness Racing Club and we’re pleased to be part of the future growth of the sport in the region.” Ms McGinty-Wilson said the club was also working on additional sponsorship partnerships, as it worked to leverage the sport’s vitality in Mildura. “We’re in a unique situation where we have one of the strongest local horse populations in regional Victoria, but we’re also attracting large numbers of horses from South Australia and southern Victoria to race here,” Ms McGinty-Wilson said. “The industry is strong, and the racing is exciting, and that gives us a great opportunity to reach out to our local community and get more engagement from sponsors,” she said. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to bring people back to the track so they can enjoy the unique racing experience we offer at every meeting here at Mildura.”   HRV Trots Media

Win, lose or draw, you will almost always find a beaming smile on the face of popular Echuca harness racing identity Ros Rolfe. And that radiant grin was on show bigger and brighter at her home track last Tuesday night, thanks to an impressive win by six-year-old gelding Franks Very Much (Grinfromeartoear-Cisstar (Safely Kept) in the $7000 Moama Bowling Club Pace. The meeting was a display of domination by the female gender - women trained five of the eight winners, with Ros Rolfe and Bec Bartley both successful as trainer/drivers. One of Bartley's younger sisters Ellen also trained a winner, and Susan Hunter and Ruth Arthur also had victories as trainers on the night. In addition, young reinswoman Abbey Turnbull chimed in with a winning drive. Rolfe, who has been driving for more than 25 years, said the Echuca win was her first at the track "for quite a while". "We thought he would go okay in the race because he won a trial in good fashion at the weekend. It was just up to me to drive him properly," she laughed. But there certainly wasn't any problem there as the experienced reinswoman couldn't have driven the winner any better. "I was three back the fence most of the way and down the back was able to slip out into the one-out line and the horse did the rest," she said. "It was terrific because my husband Michael was there and two of our boys. "Our eldest, Francis, is studying law at Bundoora, near Melbourne, but it was a bit of a surprise to have Lewis and Henry there. We enjoyed a few drinks later at home and probably watched the race video 100 times!" Rolfe, a competitive all-round sportswoman, said the win by Franks Very Much was particularly satisfying. "Frank's a bit of a favorite with us because he's out of the broodmare Cisstar, who was raced and trained by my dad (the late Frank Farrell) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s," Rolfe said. "Dad was a dairy farmer in the Echuca district and had horses for years on a hobby basis. He really loved them, right up to when he died eight years ago," she said. Cisstar had 10 wins and 27 placings for $46,000-with Ros taking the reins on each occasion the mare saluted. As a broodmare, she had five live foals with Franks Very Much (11 wins so far) and El Ringo (six wins) being the best. Franks Very Much had been off the racing scene for close to six months prior to his win this week. "He ran 5th in the Boort Cup back in March, but we think he had a virus because he just wasn't himself. So, we tossed him out into the paddock," Rolfe said. "It was the right thing to do because he's come back a different horse," she said. "We've run a few placings at Melton with him in the past and now we've decided to have another crack there on Saturday week. I won't be driving though because we'll be using a junior driver with a concession lift. "When we race in the higher classes I find it can be a bit tricky, so that's when I'm happy to step aside and give the professionals a go," she said. Being born and bred in Echuca, Ros and Michael packed up and shifted to Mildura in 2001 and stayed sixteen and a half years before returning home. "It's nice to be back in Echuca because it's a lovely town. Lewis is doing well at school and loving his football. It's all good," she said. While the stable is hoping Franks Very Much can continue with his good form, they have high hopes in a youngster sired by Art Major. And off the racetrack, Michael, who played with Richmond (122 games) and Footscray (47) during 1983-1992 is no doubt now keeping a close eye on AFL proceedings at the business end of the season!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Greg Burns was a tremendous team man during an illustrious Australian rules football career with St Kilda- and now he's playing a similar role at his son Damien's harness racing stables. "Dad was only too happy to take our two runners to Stawell on Fathers' Day because I had to go and watch our son Brody play for Ballarat Swans in the first semi-final of under 13 footy," Damien said. "We would have loved to have included the trots as well, but it was impossible. So, dad and a friend Lindsay Rogers, who's incidentally also a father, did the trip for us." And "taking one for the team" was the winning formula for the pair, with the stable landing a Fathers' Day double. Four-year-old mare Mornings (Dawn Of A New Day-Frans Jewel (Village Jasper) led all the way to win the $7000 Father's Day Pace, while Idle Times (Metropolitan-Princess Dilinger (D M Dilinger) zipped to the front and scored easily in the $7000 Talquist Trees Pace. Idle Times brings up the second leg of a Fathers’ Day double for the Burns clan Both horses were handled by in-form concession driver Ryan Duffy, who landed an impressive 67 winners last season. Mornings and Idle Times have been in great form in recent weeks - Mornings has two wins and four runner-up placings to her name, while Idle Times has now won his past three starts, including a Melton victory on August 23. "We have been having an excellent run with them and having some success does make it all seem worth it," Damien said. "In our case, the show certainly wouldn't go on without everyone's help. Being involved in harness racing does cost a lot of family time, and I'm lucky I have the support of my wife Hayley and our kids (Brody, 12, and Alana, 9). "My nephew Joel Grigg does the morning feeds, while our stable foreman Rowdy Duncan cleans out the boxes, does the night feeds and carts horses to the tracks. That leaves dad and myself to take care of the training. "Dad also gets roped in to go to many of the race meetings because I'm a maintenance worker at Ballarat Health Service. He's also our farrier, and I dread the day he breaks down at that, because I'm pretty ordinary. I've told him when he gives that away, I'm giving away training!" Greg Burns tasted success as a trotting trainer-driver in the 1970s, based at Snake Valley, 20 mins west of Ballarat, before becoming better known as a tough and fierce St Kilda centreman from 1978 to 1989. He was celebrated for his determination to win the ball out of the middle (averaging 24.6 possessions per game in one season) and was often one of the few shining lights for the Saints, particularly when they languished at the bottom of the ladder from 1983 to '86. Greg Burns at his best in his St Kilda days Greg Burns won the best and fairest at the club in '84 and '86 and played 169 games (114 goals) before retiring in 1989. Damien said while he enjoys race driving, it's not something that he feels he has to do. "I occasionally drive to see what's going on with the horses-I guess just to ensure they are happy and all is good," he said. "I think it's my responsibility as trainer, but I haven't got a problem in sharing the driving around. Besides I do seem to get put out fairly often!" he said. Damien has enjoyed a productive training career for the relatively small numbers he prepares, with 56 wins and 115 placings for over $500,000 in stakes. But he admits there's been times when the pair have gone in and out of the sport. "I suppose it's in our blood because dad's grandfather, the late Ernie Nunn always had horses, and I remember when I was just a kid that dad had a licence. "We've probably never been right out of them. We keep just ticking along and then suddenly we'll ramp it up." However, it's sure to be full steam ahead for a while, because apart from the recent winners in Mornings and Idle Times, the stable has some excitement machines in bay trotter Belts (12 wins and 19 placings) and rising star 3yo Youaremy Sunshine (4 wins and 3 placings). The latter was a recent runner-up in the $300,000 G1 Breeders Crown at Melton. "We plan to look at some of the Country Cups this season with Belts, starting with the Kilmore Cup. As far as Youaremy Sunshine goes, he's enjoying a short let-up, and then he'll be on the Derby campaign," Damien said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

CHRIS Svanosio hopes a stellar 2018-19 harness racing year can be the building block to even bigger and better things this season. The young trainer-driver ended the season second among Bendigo region trainers with 43 winners. Only former five-time Victorian leading trainer Glenn Douglas notched up more (112). Svanosio also steered home 68 winners as a driver. It was in the sulky where Svanosio put the lid on a season to cherish, guiding the Sydney-trained Tough Monarch to Group 3 victory in the TAB Coulter Crown at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The seven-year-old lived up top his moniker with a tenacious win, to give Menangle trainer Rickie Alchin his 18th success with the gelding from 52 starts. It was Svanosio' second win aboard Tough Monarch at Melton following previous success in June 2018. The driver-horse combination also teamed up for a third in the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix in March, behind the David Aiken-trained Big Jack Hammer. "(Tough Monarch) has come down to stay with me a few of times now - he's a pretty nice horse to have for a couple of weeks," Svanosio said. "He's in the (Maori's Idol Trotters) Free For All against this Saturday night against Tornado Valley, Big Jack Hammer, Kyvalley Blur and all the big trotters, who have won multiple Group 1 races, and possibly going back to Sydney after that. "We are happy to have him here. "He's a big chance (in the free for all), he was terrific on Saturday night. It will be a tough test; there are some good trotters around. "Kyvalley Blur has won half a million (in prize money) and Tornado Valley has won something similar. There were a few more horses in the noms, but the field has got whittled down to the very best." Tough Monarch gave Svanosio his second Group race win for 2018-19, on the very last night of the season. He notched his other in the Group 1 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series Final for four-year-old entires and geldings with his own horse Kyvalley Finn in July. Those wins were just two of the highlights of a productive and ultimately hugely successful season. "It was a great year .... obviously the biggest win was the Vicbred Super Sires with Kyvalley Finn, but I also spent about five weeks in America during the season," he said. "We were very happy with the number of winners we got this season, hopefully we go even better this year. "I have some nice horses here coming back, like Kyvalley Finn and Anywhere Hugo, and some nice young ones. There's every chance there's some nice ones among those." There has been plenty of early success this season, with Svanosio scoring a driving double with Wild Imagination (Ruth Arthur) and Roslyn Gaye (Gary Merkel) at Echuca on Tuesday night.   By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Official recognition of Victoria’s harness racing greats has been made a top priority through the establishment of the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame (VHRHoF). The new VHRHoF is the industry’s unified and most prestigious accolade, building on the important foundation set by the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association (VHRMA) Hall of Fame Awards. Only the greats of Victorian harness racing will earn a place in this exclusive club, ratified by a nine-person selection panel of harness racing experts. The inaugural VHRHoF selection committee comprises of Gordon Rothacker Medal recipient and legendary trainer/driver Jim O’Sullivan, industry stalwart Judy Rothacker, VHRMA president and long-time industry media icon Len Baker, respected steward Barry Delaney, the sport’s preeminent mainstream media voice Adam Hamilton, Bendigo historian and passionate trots man Noel Ridge, the voice of Victorian harness racing Dan Mielicki, veteran trainer-driver and passionate industry man Ginger Gleeson and Chairman of Harness Racing Victoria Dale Monteith (Chair of the selection committee). It is proposed that there be six distinct categories within the VHRHoF:   Horses: Any horse (pacer or trotter) which has raced on Victorian racetracks which has excelled at the highest level Any horse which has had an exceptional influence on Victorian racing Horses which have raced in Victoria and excelled overseas will also be considered Horses still racing are not eligible Eligibility is not restricted by age, sex, number of race starts or ownership   Trainers: Any trainer who has been licensed in Victorian and has: Made an outstanding contribution to enhancing the reputation of Victorian Harness Racing Consistently achieved results at the highest level (pacers or trotters) Candidates may be active trainers   Drivers: Any driver who has been licensed in Victoria and has: Made an outstanding contribution to enhancing the reputation of Victorian Harness Racing Consistently achieved results at the highest level (pacers or trotters) Candidates may be active drivers   Associates: Any person outside those set aside for trainers or drivers who have made an outstanding contribution to the Victorian Harness industry. This category includes breeders, owners, administrators, media and anyone else who has made an outstanding contribution to the Victorian Harness Industry. Candidates may still be active in their profession and need not reside in Australia or be Australian.   Legends: Achieving legend status in the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame is the ultimate honour bestowed upon participants in Australian standardbred racing. Those elevated to legend status will come from the list of current Hall of Fame members.   Fan Favourite Members of the public help choose inductees which may come from any category and most likely reflect a season highlight or ‘extraordinary’ performance. The top five selected by the public will comprise a “fan ballot” that will be tallied when determining the final list of 2019 inductees. Winners to be announced at an awards ceremony conducted by Bendigo Harness Racing Club on Friday 8th November (details TBC) and will form part of an expanded Bendigo Harness Racing Heritage Collection at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway. The VHRHoF is calling for submissions for the inaugural induction of recipients. Please click here to submit your nomination. The VHRHoF is also seeking sponsorship from businesses or individuals passionate about the industry and the acknowledgement of our champions. Contact our sponsorship team to find out more. Finally the VHRHoF is interested in new objects for the heritage collection, particularly any that that relate to nominees and inductees, and encourage members of the public to contact Noel Ridge if they think they may have something of interest.   HRV Trots Media

The true-blue Aussie country spirit of digging deep for a community vision has again been demonstrated with the recent completion of a $4.2 million multi-purpose sports and recreation facility at Charlton. Past and present residents of the small farming centre, situated just over 100kms north west of Bendigo, raised a phenomenal $1.25 million toward creating the integrated community hub at the town sporting park reserve. And despite having to reschedule its first planned two harness racing meetings to allow completion of some of the details around the project, the local trots fraternity isn't allowing the disappointment to diminish the magnitude of the effort. "We want it to be right - to come all this way and to have some of the finer details not finished off wouldn't be right, so we've decided to defer our first couple of meetings so we can showcase the facility to its full potential," President of Charlton Harness Racing Club Joe Thompson said. "The whole project is a truly remarkable effort by all concerned. I think it works out to $1200 per head of our population which is just amazing when you sit down and think about it," he said. The state of the art social, sporting and conference centre will provide facilities for all users at the park. In addition to harness racing, it will include football, cricket, golf, hockey, netball, tennis and fishing as well as the Agricultural and Pastoral Society. Charlton Park photo "Many of the previous buildings were old, in terrible condition through flood damage, and fell well short of meeting community needs and the community has been working toward redeveloping the facility since 2006," Mr Thompson said. "And it hasn't been easy because there was drought, then a flood in 2011 and another drought." Mr Thompson said while the building had been completed, the first harness racing meeting scheduled for September 29 was being transferred to Maryborough. "Maryborough has been hosting our meetings since redevelopment work began and while it's a little disappointing, the surrounds are not quite ready for a race meeting," he said. "We've also decided to hold our second meeting for the season on October 28 at Melton. Then we will be ready to unveil our new awesome facilities in November." Mr Thompson said his committee was among those "chomping at the bit" to get harness racing back up and running at Charlton. "There's going to be some added atmosphere that has been missing. With the verandah of the new building virtually sitting up against the track, spectators are right on the action," he said. "Mildura and Perth's Gloucester Park are examples of this. At many of the other tracks you feel removed because of distance. "We're thinking that the ringing of the bell with a lap to go in a race, it'll echo right along the verandah of the new building. "You'll be able to hear the thumping of the hooves and the drivers yelling and urging their horses and it'll all add to the excitement of a day at the trots at Charlton, that's for sure."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Lord's Raceway has played host to plenty of history-making events, and the the Bendigo Harness Racing Club was not about to let Chris Alford go without a reminder of where one of his biggest achievements happened. The champion reinsman notched up his 7000th career winner, when he steered the Kelvin Barker-trained No City Chick to a trademark conspicuous win in the second race on Friday night's card in Bendigo. The 50-year-old, known as 'The Puppet' brought up his 6999th victory aboard the Graeme Dalton/Sutton Grange-trained Missus Matilda on Thursday at Maryborough. He would need just two more drives to become the first in the sport in Australia to get to 7000. BHRC marked the milestone with the presentation of a plaque to Alford, who earlier this year nabbed his 100th Group 1 winner. The popular reinsman left behind a permanent reminder of the night by signing a racebook below the magical 7000 number. The book will soon be framed, to be preserved in the Bendigo Harness Racing Museum, operated by historian Noel Ridge. An appreciative Alford was quick to praise the generous support of owners and trainers in helping him reach the milestone. "It's good to have something I can say I've done and that no one else has done before," he said "In years to come that will be broken I'm sure by all these young ones coming through; they are doing very well. "I will just have to try and keep on getting more winners as we go along just to stay in front of them. "I can't thank the owners and trainers enough for putting me on. I go out there and make blues as much as anyone else, but I get to drive lot of fast horses too. "I'd like to thank my family - I don't get to see them much as I am always away racing, but I am sure they would have been screaming at the TV at home. "Hopefully I can keep doing a good job for a little bit longer." Alford's 7000th career win capped a big August for the brilliant reinsman, who earlier in the month went past 400 winners for the 2018-19 season. His last 1000 winners have come in the period from May 2017 and tonight (August 30).   By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

Talented young Heathcote harness racing reinswoman Shannon O'Sullivan was over the moon when her favorite horse grabbed a place at Cranbourne recently - but it meant a great deal more than that. The 20-year old concession driver came home with a barn-storming finish on brown gelding Danman (Village Jasper-Ritzy Emm (Armbro Operative) into third place but in addition - and perhaps more importantly - to capture the 2018/19 Horse of the Year Award. "Going into the meeting, Danman (Rick Cashman) and Captain Bronzie (Bill Galea) were locked together on 16 points for Horse of the Year, and both were competing in the same race," she said. "After starting from a wide barrier, I was happy to sit back with Danman and come around with a late run because he'd won at the track previously for me with the same tactics." With the first quarter a sizzling 26.9 seconds, O'Sullivan's decision to restrain at the start was perhaps fortuitous. With a lap to go, Darby McGuigan on Captain Bronzie, the other horse vying for the award, went to the death seat when the tempo slowed with Danman still biding his time a conspicuous last. But O'Sullivan got a three wide trail late and rattled home four and five wide with a "wing on every hoof" to grab third, just 30 centimetres in front of Captain Bronzie. "I knew it was close and still didn't know if I'd got there in time after coming off the track because the numbers hadn't gone up. Then I heard the commentator Luke Humphries read out the placings and we'd done it! I was ecstatic." she said. "Some of the owners were there and they were absolutely delighted. I felt a bit embarrassed because the winner Live On Broadway, who went brilliant in 1.55-9, probably didn't get the recognition it deserved." Danman had 11 starts on his home track for the season for three wins, two second placings and a third. Cranbourne Horse of the Year Danman in action with driver Shannon O’Sullivan (Matt Walker Photography) O'Sullivan, whose father Jim was the 2017 Gordon Rothacker Medallist, is in only her second season of driving. She has been studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at University, but recently decided to take six months absence of leave. "I talked it over with mum and dad before making the decision and we all thought it was going to be crazy trying to juggle studies and keep driving on a regular basis. I get a concession of five points and hopefully more opportunities keep coming my way," she said. "I had a goal of 20 wins and I've now passed that so hopefully I can keep the momentum going. I try to do the best I can for the trainers, because I know all the hard work they put into it." O'Sullivan said she received invaluable support from media personality Rob Auber, who has a small share in Danman. "He's so good with form and can predict pretty much how a race might pan out. I watch heaps of replays, but Rob has been a major help," she said. This week has been a satisfying one for the youngster. Danman was one of four placings for the week, as well as landing 60-1 longshot winner Mangochililime (McArdle-The Land Lover (Badlands Hanover) at Shepparton on Wednesday night in her first race drive for trainer Linton Power. *Other seasonal award winners at Cranbourne saw Chris Alford once again leading driver, while Darby McGuigan won back-to-back victories in the Concession Driver of the Year Award. Local trainer Jayne Davies was the leading trainer and Yankee Commando, prepared by Jason Fearn, was rewarded for his consistency by taking out the Trotter of the Year.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Humbletonian 2019 was a resounding success, with connections of nine first-time winners (all Vicbred eligible today) picking up significant bonuses and prizemoney at Maryborough. The bonuses were supplied by Harness Racing Victoria, Harness Breeders Victoria, the Maryborough Harness Racing Club and the Victorian Square Trotters Association. It's a day for the grassroots horses, and a day for the breeders to shine.  Congratulations to all the winners.  Let's recap how it all played out.   Race 1 – 3YO MAIDEN PACE Winner: Surbiton Hartbreak (Courage Under Fire-Queena Harts Lombo) Trainer: John Douglas Driver: James Herbertson Breeder: Mick Fryar Owners: John Douglas and Peter Ward   There are more wins in store for Surbiton Hartbreak after his Humbo win today. Reinsman James Herbertson was full of praise for the John Douglas-trained son of Courage Under Fire post-race “He’s a nice horse and I’ve always just tried to keep a lid on Johnny and try and not get his hopes up too much,” Herbertson said. “But he’s a pretty nice horse… if that 26.7 first quarter is right then yeah, that says it all.” The quarter was adjusted to 26.9, so close enough to concur with the young gun reinsman’s sentiments given he had to work to get the lead and was able to kick on boldly late.   Surbiton Hartbreak was bred by Mick Fryar, whose previous breeding successes include Courageous Affair (7 wins, $37k), Crown Dream (9 wins, $50k), Dream Mastar (1 win, $37k), Ima Showgirl (5 wins, $37k), Moonlight Dream (11 wins, $154k) and Royal Dream (7 wins, $56k).   Race 2 – 3YO MAIDEN PACE Winner: Carter Mayson (Auckland Reactor-Angel Spirit) Trainer: Philip Chircop Driver: Darby McGuigan Breeder: Susan Wegmann Owner: Susan Wegmann   Funnily enough Carter Mayson hadn’t started since Humbo 2018, but this year he went one better than his runner-up effort of 12 months ago, a tip-top training performance by Philip Chircop. “I’ve been driving him at the trials so I knew he was up to it,” said winning reinsman Darby McGuigan. “His first trial at Bacchus Marsh he hit the line really good and then last time, I led on him and we worked out the hard way that he doesn’t go in front.” McGuigan said winning any race involving a Vicbred bonus was “a great little kicker”, adding “everyone loves winning those”. Carter Mayson was bred by Susan Wegmann, who has previously bred winners including Aleppo Lady (13 wins, $80k), Classic Act (9 wins, $33k), Dreams Of Heaven (13 wins, $150k), Express Drive (6 wins, $24k), Frankincense (8 wins, $64k), Golden Showgirl (10 wins, $53k), Golden Zeus (13 wins, $39k), Iconic Valor (6 wins, $34k), Insulated (5 wins, $15k), Masweet Georgia (4 wins, $19k), Matty Chrimes (13 wins, $90k), Menin Gate (16 wins, $574k), Mighty Jasper (7 wins, $37k), Millah Joy (2 wins, $29k), Mon Soie (7 wins, $55k), My Bros Dreaming (8 wins, $38k), Nikkibadwagon (11 wins, $167k), Panorama Drive (13 wins, $67k), Princess Hayley (8 wins, $25k), Safe Decision (17 wins, $90k), Schouten Island (6 wins, $43k) and Soho Rockefeller (3 wins, $12k).   Race 3 – 2YO MAIDEN TROT Winner: Illawong Stardust (Muscle Hill-Lunar Landing) Trainer: Jodi Quinlan Driver: Craig Demmler Breeder: Martin Hartnett Owners: Martin and Kaye Hartnett   This filly, Illawong Stardust, might just be a little bit special, and she’s on track to potentially be a freakish three-year-old, according to winning driver Craig Demmler. “(She) could be very dangerous,” he said. “One thing I like is she’s got manners. She can relax, whereas (Illawong) Armstrong (the filly’s brother) can get on the bit a bit. “Hopefully she’s an Oaks horse. “I just wish she’d done that (behaved how she did today) on Saturday night … but she’s getting there. Jodi (Quinlan) has been very patient. I gave up after the Sires and said ‘put her out and let her grow’, but Jodi said ‘keep going’ which is the best thing we could have done. “It’s been brilliant for her manners … and the other night, galloping away and giving them a big start like that just kills you but it shows how much ability she’s got.” Breeder Martin Hartnett is well-known for producing the famous Illawong horses.   Race 4 – 4YO+ MAIDEN TROT Winner: Highway Huntsman (Yankee Spider-Coral Grace) Trainer: Chris Svanosio Driver: Chris Svanosio Breeder: Mick Grace Owner: Mick Grace   He’s only lightly raced but Highway Huntsman is making an impression early for trainer-driver Chris Svanosio. The son of Yankee Spider is bred and raced by trotting enthusiast Mick Grace, whose past racing stock include Tender Don (18 wins and $183k in stakes), Spidergrace (8 wins, $66k), Lindy Vale (7 wins, $44k), Maori Vale (eight wins, $35k), Big And Rich (11 wins, $32k), Annies Life (6 wins, $39k) and Bank On Betty (3 wins from 13 starts, $19k). “(I’m) glad he could put it all together today. He’s a pretty big, strong horse,” Svanosio said. “He’s one of those horses who will hopefully keep getting better and better with racing.”   Race 5 – 2YO VICBRED MAIDEN PACE Winner: Secret Identity (A Rocknroll Dance-Jerulas Shadow) Trainer: David Aiken Driver: David Aiken Breeders: Dot and Edith Schmidt Owners: Dot and Edith Schmidt   On a day where upsets came thick and fast, none were a bigger price than Secret Identity for Avenel’s David Aiken. The juvenile pacing filly by A Rocknroll Dance is out of an unraced Jennas Beach Boy mare named Jerulas Shadow, who has thus far produced four winners from four foals. At over $150 on one of the totes, Secret Identity got home too strong for Techys Angel and Minika. “We locked wheels last week and she’s tender in the mouth … when I grabbed hold she went up in the air, but she felt good after that,” Aiken explained post-race. “She’s a work in progress and she’s always been overgrown, so hopefully she’ll make a better three-year-old.” Secret Identity is raced by Edith and Dot Schmidt, whose previous successes in the breeding barn include Tidal Surge (2 wins, $35k) and Mach Diva (3 wins, $20k)   Race 6 – 2YO VICBRED MAIDEN PACE Winner: Allshookup (A Rocknroll Dance-Ballandella Baby) Trainer: Shayne Eeles Driver: Chris Alford Breeders: Shayne Eeles, Roslyn Eeles, Robert Viney and Jenny Viney Owners: Shayne Eeles, Roslyn Eeles, Robert Viney and Jenny Viney   Chris Alford moved just two wins from yet another career milestone, taking his tally to 6,998 with victory aboard Allshookup for trainer Shayne Eeles. The colt by A Rocknroll Dance enjoyed a beautiful run from the pole draw and got home over the top of first-starter Just Ralph by 3.6m. Allshookup was bred by the Eeles and Viney families.  Eeles hasn’t bred an enormous amount of horses, but has had success already with his breed including Bad Influence (two wins, $8k), Breakntherules (2 wins, $10k), Party Rocka (5 wins, $22k), Pushinupdaisies (7 wins, $42k) and Whosthatchick (7 wins, $44k). “I was a bit worried down the back but once I got the plugs out he got up and was really travelling,” Alford said. “He was nice and relaxed and had that little kick. He only had to come out at the top of the straight.”   Race 7 – 3YO VICBRED MAIDEN PACE Winner: Speed Dating (All Speed Hanover-Chick At The Bar) Trainer: David Miles Driver: Patrick Franklin Breeder: Patrick Franklin Owner: Patrick Franklin   Here’s one of those great harness racing stories of a horse bred, owned and driven by the one fella – Patrick Franklin. Franklin would have been thrilled with today’s windfall for his improving filly, who prior to today had just the one placing to boast from 13 starts. When the David Miles-trained pacer was almost 20m clear approaching the home bend, Franklin must have been grinning. Speed Dating kicked on at the finish to hold on by 3.5m over professional placegetter Jessies Girl, who is more than crying out to win a race.   Race 8 – 4YO+ VICBRED MAIDEN PACE Winner: Missus Matilda (Live Or Die-Andrea Hayley) Trainer: Graeme Dalton Driver: Chris Alford Breeder: Graeme Dalton Owner: Graeme Dalton   Graeme Dalton bred, races and trains black mare Missus Matilda, who was lining up for just her second race start at Humbo 2019. And she didn’t let backers who took the $1.30 down, surviving a scare narrowly from runner-up Clever Cowboy (half-neck margin) in the straight, and then a protest by Josh Duggan in the stewards’ room. In the finish Chris Alford proved the winning reinsman and took his tally within one of career win No. 7000. Some of the horses that Dalton has bred to win include Blended Family (8 wins, $38k), Pop Opera (7 wins, $18k) and Roslei Hilda (11 wins, $25k).   Race 9 – VICBRED MAIDEN 3YO TROT Winner: Dances (Bacardi Lindy-Im Tina Turner) Trainer: Donna Castles Driver: Donna Castles Breeder: Raelene Sweet Owners: Ken and Janice Wills   Dances, trained by Donna Castles, proved simply the best in the last race on the program, fitting given her dam was the memorably named Im Tina Turner. Bred by Raelene Sweet, who has previously had success in the breeding barn with Majestic Melody (six wins, $25k), Dances overhauled Zarem late to score by 1.1m. “She’s a nice little thing,” said winning trainer and driver Donna Castles. “She can get a bit hot but she really moved nicely today.” Franklin has bred four horses to date, three from his broodmare Chick At The Bar, with his other winner being Pick Up Line. Of today’s performance Franklin said:  “She’s a tricky filly to drive, and to train, and she’s tested our patience somewhat, but we found she’s probably better off in front if we could find the front. We’re very happy with her. I want to thank you to everyone involved. It’s a fantastic day.”   Cody Winnell HRV Trots Media 

Veteran Victorian harness racing driver Graeme Whittle is fresh from a Group Three success, but he's more than willing to hand the reins over to his son Matthew at any time. The 76-year-old is one of the most experienced horsemen going around and has the rare distinction of having driven at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Moonee Valley and Melton. "I love driving, but if Matthew is available and wants to jump on there's not a problem. Our stable is a family concern, including my wife Carol and our other son Ashley, and we just all thoroughly enjoy it," he said. Whittle showed a fine touch with a nice drive to land Floating Mountain (Skyvalley NZ-Kyvalley Diva NZ (Pine Chip US) in the $20,000 Group 3 Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Silver Trot at Geelong on Tuesday night. "We had a bit of luck along the way because there were two gallopers at the start so that virtually left a field of four," the modest Whittle said. "Then when we were all settling down to fight it out turning for home, the short-priced favorite went off stride. Anyway, we did everything right and we were lucky enough to just hold on and beat Matt Craven on Miss Maia." He said it was a relief to have Floating Mountain back racing without any issues. "That was only his fourth race start at Geelong. At his second start he ran 4th at 100/1 in the Home Grown Classic Final at Melton in May and then got a hoof abscess and we missed the Vicbred Tatlow series," he said. "Then he galloped at his next start back and we didn't get a run in the Redwood at Maryborough, which was a shame because I've finished runner-up in that race on three occasions." Floating Mountain has drawn the pole at Bendigo tomorrow night in the $7000 Steel Deals 2YO Trot, but this time with Matthew Whittle taking the reins. "Matthew can drive at most of the night meetings, but he's not available during the day through his work as an engineer. I haven't got a problem in sharing the driving. And besides, it's Matthew who owns the horse," Whittle said. Based at Coimadai, near Melbourne, halfway between Bacchus Marsh and Melton, Whittle says he's been involved in harness racing for more than 55 years. "I started out when I was about 21 or 22 and actually drove my first winner at Leeton in the Breeders Crown Consolation," he said. "I worked as a boner at the abattoirs, starting at four in the morning, which meant I could work the horses as well. "We used to train on a track at Maribyrnong, about 10kms from the Melbourne CBD. Around that area, which includes Ascot Vale, there used to be big numbers of horses. "But I think it was the council that decided to sell the land and it's now got one of the biggest shopping centres in Australia there, in Highpoint Shopping Centre. So, we moved out to Coimadai and we've been there for the past 41 years." Whittle enjoyed a huge amount of success in the 1980s with such great horses as Tweedsmuir (Tarport King-Scottish Lassie) and Joueur (Dale Spring-Petite Fleur). The pair campaigned against some of the best and won numerous Cups and Free-For-All events. "The old Melbourne Showgrounds had heaps of atmosphere, but Melton is a magnificent track. And I suppose I probably still have a soft spot for Moonee Valley because that's where I won a Sires Stakes Final with The Slow Coach, back in 1990s," he said. Whittle said they ended up with Floating Mountain after he had the misfortune of losing a broodmare. "When she died, Ashley decided he'd go and find a replacement. So, he ended up buying Kyvalley Diva, who was in foal to Skyvalley (with the result being Floating Mountain) off well-known breeder Jim Connelly," he said. "Then when the foal was born, Matthew ended up buying it from Ashley. "After it was broken in by Ashley, it was given to me to get it up and going. I suppose that was always going to happen because both of the boys work." The Whittle stable recently retired consistent bay trotter Coimadai Lodge (Sundon-Melpark Melody) a winner of nine races and 42 placings for $89,000. But they still have nine-times trotting winner Zoomas Legend, winner of $53,000, and lightly raced square gaiting filly Amunet. As a trainer, Graeme has prepared 162 winners and 448 placings for stakes earnings of more than $830,000. "I'll be 77 years old in December, but I haven't got any plans of slowing down," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Breeders Crown Silver races are gaining a reputation for being punting puzzlers. Tonight at Geelong the favourites failed to land a blow, going 0/6 in the feature events as the rich series wound up. At the corresponding meeting last year the tote fancies went 0/7. The each-way punters might have fared well early, with Theultimate opening tonight’s proceedings with a half-neck win in the Always B Miki Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ Silver Pace. Despite starting a $5.9 outsider against $2.4 favourite Jo Dina and $2.5 second-elect Summertime, Theultimate – prepared by astute trainer John Yeomans – bloused her rivals up the Beckley Park straight courtesy of a typically patient Gavin Lang drive. The champion reinsman bided his time aboard the improving daughter of champion sire Art Major before unleashing her late, Theultimate nailing La La Bron at the post for a half-neck win in a 2:00.0 mile rate. She was specked in fixed-odds markets throughout the day.  The winner is out of unheralded racetrack mare Salix, whose true value has shone in the breeding barn with five winners from five foals – including 38-time winner Ultimate Art (1:50.3). Itzamajor Surprise proved just that in the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown three-year-old fillies’ Silver Pace, causing a boil-over for Terang’s Matthew Craven. Another daughter of Art Major, Itzamajor Surprise looked every bit the athlete late as she powered to her third career victory by 5.1m over Jess Tubbs-trained pair Lady Rocknrolla and Larajay Macray in 1:57.7. Itzamajor Surprise started at $13.7, with commanding $1.2 favourite Two Times Bettor tiring to finish fourth after riding shotgun throughout. Two Times Bettor broke in the score-up and had to do a power of chasing to get into her starting position, before motoring forward to the position outside the leader early on. The effort told late. In addition to being an Art Major, Itzamajor Surprise has bloodlines to shine on her mother’s side, her dam Itz Nosurprisesthere a three-time Oaks winner in 2013 – claiming the New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmanian features. Veteran horseman Graeme Whittle took out the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old Silver Trot with Skyvalley-Kyvalley Diva gelding Floating Mountain (pictured above by Stuart McCormick). At start No.4, Floating Mountain trotted flawlessly and held off the fast-finishing Miss Maia by a half-head in a rate of 2:05.3. Steve Turnbull and Bec Bartley combined to win the IRT Breeders Crown three-year-old colts and geldings’ Silver Pace with Firestorm Red, narrowly upstaging hot favourite Hurricane Harley. Firestorm Red, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of Spirited Storm, had produced a couple of eye-catching runs during the Vicbred and Breeders Crown preliminary races, so the writing may have been on the wall for some punters clever enough to take some of the $14. Firestorm Red rated 1:57.6. An aggressive drive by Kate Gath aboard Night Spirit (pictured below by Stuart McCormick) helped land the Downbytheseaside Breeders Crown two-year-old colts and gelding’ Silver Pace. Gath made her intentions clear early aboard the son of Mach Three, driving hard to get across heavily backed polemarker The Tiger Army. Once in front Night Spirit had to sustain the effort when Krafty Bart pulled and applied pressure throughout. But Night Spirit was up to the task, pulling clear late to upstage The Tiger Army by 5.3m with Monsieur Delacour close-up in third in a 1:59.4 mile rate. Night Spirit is trained by Andy Gath and is a member of the powerful Uncork family (his dam Blissfull Night was out of daughter of Uncork Whatacorka). Uncork has had 13 foals to the races for 12 winners, with Rambunctious – her only maiden runner – showing ability from just six starts to date. Rave On Hall (Andover Hall-Pretty Peggy Sue) capped the night at $11.10 for the all-conquering Anton Golino camp, taking out the What The Hill / Father Patrick Breeders Crown three-year-old Silver Trot. Driven by Rodney Petroff, Rave On Hall packed too much punch late for stablemate Norquay (a $58.3 outsider), rating 2:04.0. And for the trivia buffs, the last favourite to win a Breeders Crown Silver race was Carter Bromac for Amanda Turnbull back in 2017.   Cody Winnell HRV Trots Media

OH WHAT a night - a great result for A-P-G… With six Group races for pacers conducted in Melton during the weekend, Australian Pacing Gold purchases dominated proceedings in emphatic style. The home of harness racing in Victoria hosted another marvelous Breeders’ Crown night which saw four Group Ones and a pair of Group Twos contested. APG Sales graduates captured each of the Group One Finals, while Goodtime Heaven was triumphant at Group Two level. A Sydney buy, Goodtime Heaven rounded out her four-year-old season by leading throughout for trainer Courtney Slater. Part-owned by the Slater family, Goodtime Heaven boasts 12 wins and three placings from 18 starts for a bankroll of $224,017. Earlier on the card record-breaking horsewoman Emma Stewart made a clean sweep of the two-year-old division when Be Happy Mach and Maajida turned their Finals into one-act affairs. Confirming his status as the nation’s premier freshman, Be Happy Mach stretched his record to an impeccable 10 wins and a third from 11 starts by rating 1:56.2 over 2240 metres, with his time nine-tenths of a second quicker than Maajida. With Greg Sugars holding the reins, Maajida led throughout to extend her record to seven wins and a second from eight starts for earnings of $271,800. As for the three-year-olds, Max Delight and No Win No Feed confirmed their position at the head of their crop by adding another top shelf win to their ever-growing tallies. Having already secured the New South Wales and Tasmania Derbys, Max Delight has won nine of his 16 starts for the season, with three placings and $299,310 also to his credit. No Win No Feed annexed her third Group One of the term, following wins in the Bathurst Gold Bracelet and New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge Final.   APG Media

THE similarities are remarkable. Just as the All Stars barn continued dominates so many of the juvenile features in NZ, Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin do the same in Australia. It was underlined again when Stewart and Tonkin snared the two richest Breeders Crown finals at Melton last night with Be Happy Mach winning the $300,000 Group 1 2YO colts and geldings pacing final and Maajida winning the fillies’ equivalent. Winning drivers Chris Alford (Be Happy Mach) and Greg Sugars (Maajida) both heaped praise on the genius of Stewart and Tonkin. “This guy’s had a long season and done plenty of travelling, but kept getting better through it all. He hit a new peak in his last run of a long season. That takes some doing as a trainer,” Alford said. Sugars added: “It’s just been a pleasure to be part of the season with this filly. The thing people don’t probably see is how well-mannered Emma and Clayton’s horses are. You very rarely see one of theirs without great manners.” Be Happy Mach matched young Kiwi trotter Ultimate Stride for “win of the night” honours. Alford launched him early from an outside back row draw, burned through a 27.7sec opening quarter to bludgeon his way to the front from heavily-backed Kiwi raider Zeuss Bromac and then win as he liked. “He’s a really special young horse and just such a professional. To sprint as quickly as he did at two different parts of the race, but relax in between … that’s real maturity for a young horse,” Alford said. Be Happy Mach’s win cemented him Aussie 2YO of the Year honours with 10 wins and third from just 11 starts and $344,215 in earnings. Kiwis Perfect Stride (third) and Zeuss Bromac (fourth) ran good races, but were simply outlassed by Be Happy Mach. Perfect Stride stays in Australia and goes to Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith in NSW, while Zeuss Bromac will also continue his career in NSW. Maajida led and made a one-act affair of her 2YO fillies final, finishing the season with eight starts for seven wins, a second and $271,800. Stewart and Tonkin also landed the Group 2 4YO entires and geldings final with the much-improved Tam Major, who came around to sit parked early and won like a horse headed to the Grand Circuit. “He’s racing like a killing machine,” driver Chris Alford said. “He wanted to get going at the 600m, so I just cut him loose and away he went. “He’s gone from just behind the best ones the past couple of years to winning the Vicbred and Breeders Crown this season.” _____________________________________________________________________________ CHAMPION driver Luke McCarthy was still smarting hours after superstar Kiwi filly Our Princess Tiffany’s shock loss in her Breeders Crown final. And that’s despite the fact McCarthy is a part of the team who trains the filly who beat her, the massively improved No Win No Feed. “Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong there,” McCarthy said. “Tiffany should’ve won easily.” Our Princess Tiffany had to sit parked outside Miss Streisand, but McCarthy knew he had her beaten down the back straight and went for home. “I was just about around the leader and I’d have been off and gone and the race was over, but Miss Streisand veered up the track, took me out and the winner got the run through,” he said. “She kept coming, but that burn the back straight and being pushed out like that, it really cost her.” You could still argue the very best version of Our Princess Tiffany this season would’ve picked herself up again and still won. But maybe that’s disrespectful to No Win No Feed, a former battling Victorian filly who has now won three Group 1 races this season. “She’s been super consistent this filly and just kept stepping-up. Things obviously worked out well for us in the run, but she was still good enough to take advantage of it,” driver Todd McCarthy said. _____________________________________________________________________________ MAX Delight surely locked away Australian 3YO of the Year honours and added some Tasmanian flavour to Crown night with his win in the $200,000 3YO colts and geldings final. Driver Todd McCarthy made the most of the good draw (gate two) to lead, pinched a soft lead time and Max Delight scorched home in 54.6 and 27.8sec to beat a fast-finishing Out To Play. It followed wins in the NSW and Tasmanian Derbys earlier in the season. Max Delight is owned in Tasmanian by big spending owner Michael Maxfield. “I was able to get a bit of breather in front while they sorted themselves out early and then he was so brave in that slick last half,” McCarthy said. It was McCarthy’s second Group 1 win on the night after he teamed with No Win No Feed to cause a huge upset in the 3YO fillies’ pacing final. “It caps a great season, especially down here at Melton,” McCarthy said. Most notably, McCarthy won the Victoria and Hunter Cups as well as the Inter Dominion at Melton this season aboard Tiger Tara.   Adam Hamilton

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