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Midnightatpinevale, Aballofmuscle, Truscott Hall and Garston Girl all won their way through to $50,000 harness racing finals of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic series at Tabcorp Park Melton last night. The four three-year-old trotters won their $10,000 heats, with all four heats broadcast live into France where punters wagered on the races via the French tote (PMU). The $50,000 finals, separate races for fillies and colts/geldings, will be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, December 17. The Monday night Melton meetings broadcast into France are an important part of Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) efforts to showcase the industry to overseas markets with the industry receiving vital revenue via wagering. In addition to winning the $5000 first place prizemoney last night the connections of two of the four heat winners, Midnightatpinevale (by Lawman out of Midnight Rush) and Garston Girl (by Lawman out of Pocket Fantasy), received $7000 Vicbred first win bonuses. Midnightatpinevale, driven and trained by Amy Tubbs, led all the way in a mile rate of 2:00.5 to win the first heat of the fillies’ Classic over 1720m by 2m over fast-finishing Star In Sight (Chris Svanosio) with Breezin Around (Greg Sugars) third. Peter Manning trained Garston Girl (Sugars) to win the second fillies’ heat, rating 2:00.4 to score by 3.6m over Rosanna Lindy in second (Rodney Petroff), with Margaret Ruth (Anne-Maree Conroy) running on well for third. Aballofmuscle (Muscle Mass-Baileys Model) and Truscott Hall (Angus Hall-Truscott Photo) won the colts’ and geldings heats, both driven by Chris Alford. Aballofmuscle defeated runner-up Goodtime Pe Rabbit (Glen Craven) and Garshaway (Jodi Quinlan) in a mile rate of 2:02.8, while Truscott Hall rated 2:00.7 and was 2.1m too strong for Magicool (Matthew Craven) with All Muscle (Sugars) third. Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic heats are restricted to Vicbred eligible horses, who have not won total stakes in excess of $10,000 at acceptance time for the heats. “Vicbred is the most important futurity series we have,” trainer Larry Eastman says. The Vicbred Platinum program is backed by the Victorian Daniel Andrews Government, which reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to the scheme in May. HRV’s Vicbred program is worth over $9 million each year in bonuses and stake money and provides incentives for people to “think Vicbred” and “industry first” when breeding and purchasing standardbreds. Find out more about Vicbred at www.vicbred.com.au Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The internationalisation of Victorian harness racing entered a new phase at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday when renowned French reinsman and trainer, Jean-Etienne Dubois, guided the horse he bred and owns to victory. A winner of famous French race the Prix d’Amerique and Sweden’s Elitloppet, Dubois made his Australian debut driving My Tribeca to victory in Saturday night’s Benstud Standardbreds Trot. It was the Italian bred five-year-old’s first open-age metropolitan win and she did it with ease, doing plenty of work in the run but still cruising to a 12m win. “It’s always easy when you get the better horse,” Dubois said post-race. “She was perfect. Pulling a bit hard, but she’s very good, you can’t do much better than that.” SEE JEAN-ETIENNE DUBOIS' POST-RACE INTERVIEW Throwing the keys to Dubois also gifted great joy to My Tribeca’s trainer, Anton Golino. “That was probably, to this day, one of the biggest highlights of my career,” Golino said. “He’s an idol to me. I worked for his father (Jean-Pierre Dubois) and he is probably regarded as the greatest horseman in the world, and Jean-Etienne is about his equal. "It was more than I could dream of. We’ve become great friends and it was a privilege for me. I really enjoyed it.” Dubois, now based at Mittagong in New South Wales, said he felt at home on the track. “It’s always good when you win,” he said. “It’s a nice track. It looks very much like the track we have in Sweden or up in Europe, bit different to our track in France, but it’s a good track.” Plenty more joy appears in their path, with My Tribeca developing nicely. “She is just learning to be a better racehorse,” Golino said. “She’s only four by actual breeding age, having been Northern Hemisphere bred, and has only had 13 starts so she is still a baby. “We know she’s very good, but are still wary about how far we push her. They are racehorses, they have got to race, but we don’t want to over race her.” The temptation could be great to point My Tribeca towards summer’s headline trots races, including the Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. With Kiwis Speeding Spur and Monbet ruled out and Keystone Del having challenges this campaign, the Group 1 $300,000 prize is calling. “There is a window with a few having dropped off, but once you get to that level it’s hard, they are all good horses,” Golino said. The French connection continues at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic trotting heats will be broadcast into France. The greater exposure will continue on Monday nights up until February 13, and then further select nights will follow with 80 races to be broadcast into France in 2017. WATCH MY TRIBECA'S WIN IN FULL VIEW Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Monday 05 December 2016

There was no stepping on Blue Suede Hooves on Saturday night, despite the Steve Cleave trained and driven harness racing gelding bumping into a $1.04 shot in the form of Cant Refuse at Tabcorp Park Melton. Punters sent Cant Refuse out at the seemingly unbackable odds of $1.04 in the Cogs Services Pace Final, but a win for that pacer never looked likely as pacemaker Four Starzzz Forsa ran hard throughout and Cleave and Blue Suede Hooves enjoyed cover on the back of the leader before sprinting to victory in the $10,000 event. “Once John (Justice) got to the front and kept rolling I knew we were in with a big chance,” Cleave, who trains in Chintin, said. “Once the $1.06 pop was out there doing a bit of work it was open for us to come through.” HEAR FROM THE WINNING DRIVERS AT MELTON Blue Suede Hooves is a well-named son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of Presidential Ball mare Presidential Night. Cleave has enjoyed four wins from 20 starts with the pacer. With only a small team in work, Cleave is enjoying a prosperous period having also enjoyed success aboard Springfield Tattoo last month. “We’ve had a great month this last month and now we’ve got a win to star this month, so hopefully it can continue on,” Cleave said. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The return of Tee Cee Bee Macray highlights Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton harness racing program. The Alan Tubbs-trained five-year-old contests the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Pace over 2240 metres, first-up since an unlucky second to arch rival Ideal For Real in the Breckon Farms Breeders Crown Final. The Aldebaran Park Trot features K D Muscles, who is in terrific form but will face a stiff test against The Boss Man, who was terrific in defeat last weekend. But the most enthralling news story on the card could be the booking of Jean-Etienne Dubois to pilot Italian bred My Tribeca in the Benstud Standardbreds Trot. Dubois bred the five-year-old Goetmals Wood-Image mare and races her in the stables of Cardigan’s Anton Golino. The Frenchman has won 1500 races as a trainer and has more than 1200 victories in the cart and in saddle in mounted events. His biggest success came in 1996 when he trained and drove Coktail Jet to win the world’s biggest race, the Prix d’Amérique for legendary French thoroughbred and trotting owner Daniel Wildenstein. “It’s pretty exciting,” Golino said. “He is a great driver who has won an Elitloppet, a Prix d’Amérique, his won just about every major race in Europe and has trained multiple champions including Coktail Jet but also had Quaker Jet and The Best Madrik, who stand at Haras des Trotteurs. “I’ve asked him a couple of times if he would come down and drive and he was never really interested and recently he said I’ll come down and we’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure if he’ll continue to drive her (My Tribeca) after this but we’ll see what happens … it’s a privilege to have him drive her.” It will be Dubois’s first Australian drive. Golino’s association with the Dubois family is well documented. During his stint in France he worked for Dubois’ father, Jean-Pierre Dubois. “Pat (Driscoll) and Jean-Étienne Dubois are great friends and through the stallions such as Love You and the horse we had out here last year, Used To Me, we’ve become good friends and it’s been a great opportunity, and also for breeding in this country,” Golino said. My Tribeca goes into Saturday night’s contest off a down-the-track result after galloping last week. “She was a bit stirred up and a bit fresh and drawing on the inside didn’t help her. It’s better if she has horses either side of her.” The first of nine races on Saturday kicks off at 6:30pm. by Luke Humphreys Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 03 December 2016

Lightly raced seven-year-old gelding Allies Mate delivered a Group 3 harness racing triumph to his connections, trainer Alan Donohoe and reinsman Chris Alford at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. The son of McArdle out of Fake Left mare Mon Repos scored a neck victory in the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship Final with a 1:54.2 run. There were great scenes trackside as Allies Mate's connections celebrated the win enthusiastically.  From gate five in the 1720-metre dash Alford had Allies Mate one-by-one at the 1200m mark after Zermanion ran by early leader Bazzas Art to get the top and Egodan whipped to the chair  from his back-row draw. When Im Lonely took off three-wide down the back stretch Alford stayed in and held the back of Egodan, who hit the front for Rod Petroff at the quarter pole, allowing Alford room to swing three-deep on the home corner. Once Egodan and Allies Mate hit top gear for the final fight to the wire it was Allies Mate who out-sprinted his rival, the last quarter 27.3 and last half 55.7 as Allies Mate notched his seventh career win and took his stake earnings in excess of $50,000. Egodan was game in second, with Im Lonely third for Greg Sugars and consistent Hollys Miss Molly fourth for Robbie Walters. Earlier on the card Metro Mike (Metropolitan-Tuscan Skies) took out the Pridemore Electrics Sokyola Sprint over 1720m in 1:53.9 courtesy of a 26.5 last quarter (55.1 last half). Major Secret initially led from barrier three, but Metro Mike and driver Jason Lee came around early and dashed to the front from his back-row draw, giving the Emma Stewart-trained stablemates the lead and box-seat positions. Once in front, Metro Mike dictated and ripped up the lane to hold off an audacious  Im Corzin Terror, whose run was super in second, and Major Secret, who couldn’t come on to challenge the leader once he’d surrendered the front. Veteran Smudge Bromac was fourth. Metro Mike’s win gave Lee a double in the cart, as he also drove Desdon Murruffy (Mordern Art-Spellmaker) to an all-the-way win in the Cogs Services Pace for trainer Matthew Craven, which also gave Craven a winning double after he trained and drove El Paco (Yankee Paco-Kellybrooke) to take out the Aldebaran Park Chris Howe Trotters Cup over 2240m in 1:58.2. Long odds-on favourite Maori Time dropped out sharply to only beat the ill-behaved My Tribeca over the line and the vet will check the Brent Lilley star mare to ensure all is well moving forward. The Boss Man finished second for Scott Dyer and Ellen Tormey in the Trotters Cup, producing a brave performance to only just get pipped at the post, with Hinault – a stablemate of the winner – finishing third. Metro Mike’s win also gave trainer Emma Stewart a winning double at Melton because her five-year-old Mach Three-Star Chaser mare Our Star Dust won the DNR Logistics Pace for Chris Alford. That win was the first leg of a winning double for Alford, too, given his later success with Allies Mate. Another driver in great form is Greg Sugars, who also walked away with a winning double courtesy of six-year-old Modern Art-Bella Aurora gelding Heza Modern Guy winning the HERO Life After Racing Pace for trainer Kari Males, and Fairest Fella (Artistic Fella-Mirra Mirra) winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series E Final for trainer Michael Hughes from barrier 13. Other winners were five-year-old Elsu-Fluffy Handcuffs gelding Feel The Buzz for Maro Stella and Brad Chisholm in the TAB.com.au Pace Final, flying mare Zibibbo (Shadow Play-Karamea Dreaming) in the Allied Express Transport 4YO Pace for Kerryn Manning, and unbeaten three-year-old Star Of Memphis (Rock N Roll Heaven-Star Of Venus) for Andy and Kate Gath in the SBG Accountants Pace to finish the night. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Two graduates of the Gippsland Harness Racing Training Centre were in the winner's circle at Cranbourne last Saturday night. Local horsewoman Kylee Paull bought up her first training victory with her horse Whiskey Business in the Monte, or ridden trot race. Kylee has been a regular competitor in these under saddle races - she rode a winner at Geelong earlier this year but last weekend was the first time she had partnered her own horse to victory. Whiskey Business had been getting close to a win for some time, doing a good job against strong opposition. The horse has proven quite capable at the saddle events, and the victory will only do his confidence the world of good. He led all the way on Saturday night, and Kylee was delighted with the well deserved win. Steve Austen has recently moved to West Gippsland, having trained at the South Oakleigh circuit for some years. His horse Monterey Jack won the last race of the night on Saturday, the horses first victory for Steve. Steve was one of the early graduates of the GHTC, which celebrates 20 years of operation in January. This year's intake of students at the Centre will attend their presentation awards night at the Warragul harness race track this Saturday evening.

K D Muscles proved her toughness yesterday at Gunbower when she scooped up a second harness racing win in three days, having won at Melton on Friday and then Sunday’s Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup over 2630m. The Muscle Mass six-year-old mare, who lead throughout in Friday night’s Haras Des Trotteurs Trot, received a penalty from her Melton win and in the Cup started outside of the 20m mark, instead of the inside. After stepping safely, she worked forward into the box seat before Kate Gath came three-wide at the bell. After pressuring 2015 winner Dead Cat Bounce at the 1200m, K D Muscles found the lead but copped pressure from Aleppo Sunrise and Tenno Dance. In Gath’s hands she found some breathing space with a 28.2 third quarter, holding off second-placed  Aleppo Sunrise in the straight to win by 6.1m in a 2:03.4 mile rate. Trainer Andy Gath heaped praise on his “really nice mare”. “She has a good turn of speed with a really good gait about her,” Gath said. “(She) has come a long way in a short space of time since we’ve had her, and just about every run she has had has been pretty good. “She’s a really strongly built mare with a really good constitution and recovers well all the time, so she’s a perfect racehorse really”. New Zealand born K D Muscles, who was bred by Grant Beckett, joined the Gath stable in February this year. “She came on the market, took a lot of persuading for my owner, Norm Jenkin, to buy as she only had the one win in New Zealand and he was put off by that a bit, but she was up against nice horses,” Gath said. “We were able to purchase her for a pretty reasonable price and she’s earned some nice money since and she has more to offer.” Gath mentioned her next run is likely to come at Melton on Saturday week in a TM1-M3 mobile in favour of the The Weekly Advertiser Stawell Trotters Cup the following day. Gath’s other runners  at Gunbower were Star Of Dionysis in the Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup, who finished last as an odds-on favourite, and Yackandandah, who finished third in the Easy Ride Sulky Gunbower Club Pace. “At this stage Star Of Dionysis has pulled up all right, there are no alarm bells going off to say there’s something wrong, but maybe the hot weather got to him,” Gath said. “Yackandandah had to come quite wide and I was happy with him, he’s a good honest horse.”  Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Those in Victoria’s north will be powerless to quell the urge to step outside on Sunday and get their backsides trackside to the much-loved Gunbower Pacing Cup. Powercor maintenance work to perform fire prevention measures and maintenance will affect the area, but Gunbower Harness Racing Club secretary Peter O’Shea said the club would be fully functional and a timely escape. “We’ve had a few problems with Powercor turning the power off in the area, but they have come to the party and given us generators, so everything has come together,” Mr O’Shea said. “With the power out at home there’s even more reason for everyone to get to the track. They can’t do much else, maybe pull the weeds out of the garden or something, so they might as well come to the trots.” Mr O’Shea said Sunday’s race day was a much-needed opportunity for the Gunbower township and those in its surrounds to enjoy a day out. “It’s a dairy industry up around here. We get a lot of people in a radius of 30 to 40km all the way up to Echuca, which is half an hour away,” he said. “It’s only a small community and it is great that we can have the trots and come together and have a day off. “Parents are under a fair bit of the pressure running the kids in all different directions to various sporting events, which they know they need to do to keep the sports alive in the area, and then they don’t get a lot of chance to enjoy themselves. On Sunday they can sit back, relax, have a few drinks and chill out a bit.” And there is plenty to enjoy at the unique event, not least of all the games. There will be the gumboot competition, “the bloke that won it last year threw it 45-50m”, the Spit The Dummy Comp and the 4x100m mixed relay race, with all carrying first, second and third-placed cash prizes, plus vouchers. The ever-popular umbrella area will also provide an escape and has already attracted “70-odd” attendees. “We have the big square bales of hay as our fence and will have a bar area and TAB, so people can put a bet on without having to leave the area,” Mr O’Shea said. Those in attendance will also be able to enjoy some first-class racing, with an eight-race card including several quality affairs, no less than the Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup, which will be contested by Star Of Dionysis, Bad Boy Brad, Diamond Ace and Beachstar among a quality field. “We put a new surface on the track this week, which is looking really good and has come up well, so we are very pleased with the participants getting behind our meeting. We’ve got 87 or 88 horses, a capacity field in the cup and 11 in the trotters’ cup.” by Michael Howard Fields for Gunbower, Sunday 20 November 2016 Form guide for Gunbower, Sunday 20 November 2016

St Arnaud’s annual cup meeting will be run on Sunday, March 5, after Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the Swan Hill club and St Arnaud successfully negotiated the date swap. Swan Hill was initially down to race that Sunday but its committee agreed to move to an earlier date, freeing up the March 5 timeslot for St Arnaud, whose cup program was washed out at the weekend. “It’s a great result,” St Arnaud secretary Kaye Boyd said. “We are very keen to have another go. I’m calling it Take 2! Everybody around town is asking about it. I’ve had umpteen people asking whether we’re getting another go, so I’m really pleased we are.” Ms Boyd said the community was “100 per cent” behind St Arnaud’s cup meeting and she expects a big crowd will be on hand come March 5. The disappointment of losing Sunday’s meeting following an overnight downpour of rain was obvious on the faces of the club’s hard-working committee and volunteers, Ms Boyd said. “I wasn’t the only one disappointed. You could see it on everybody’s face when we all went out for a meal on the Sunday night. But these things happen and we’re very thankful to all those who helped us get that second chance, especially HRV and the Swan Hill Club for allowing us that date.” HRV Interim General Manager of Operations Shane Gloury said he was pleased St Arnaud was able to have another crack at running a successful cup day. “The whole team at St Arnaud put a lot of effort into promoting and organising cup day and it really was bad luck that they weren’t able to race,” Mr Gloury said. “I must thank the Swan Hill Club for working proactively with HRV to ensure this date was available. Our clubs are always only too willing to help each other in these circumstances and we hope the whole community gets behind St Arnaud in March.” Mr Gloury also reiterated HRV’s commitment to pay to pay all drivers’ fees from Sunday and make a ‘meeting abandonment payment’ to each trainer who had a runner engaged. “Trainers and drivers work hard and to lose their earning opportunity due to the weather is horrible luck. We feel it is the right thing to do to compensate our participants in these circumstances.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria

Tabcorp Park Melton hosted the eighth annual Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Hall of Fame gala presentation dinner last night. In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees and the elevation of Popular Alm to ‘Legend status’, the night featured the Harness Racing Australia Media Awards, the VRHMA Certificates of Merit and the Trainers and Drivers Association Certificates of Merit. Presented by the VHRMA in conjunction with Tabcorp Park, the Trainers and Drivers Association, SEW Eurodrive and Harness Racing Victoria,  six inductees to the Hall of Fame were honoured plus one legend of the sport. Hall of Fame inductees: Don Dove Jack (JP) McKay Ben Coram Jack & John Campbell Adaptor Carlotta’s Pride Legend status Popular Alm Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association Meritorious Awards Graeme Prosser Jim Matthews (Posthumous) VHRMA Certificates of Merit Ron Anderson (Former HRV Board member) Stan Rutland (Former Bendigo HRC President) Neil Keamy (Long time press photographer) Dr Peter Ellis (Kilmore Veterinary Surgeon) Neil Richmond (Former HRV Board member) Kyle Galley (Long Time Media Participant) Len Baker

It was a case of the meeting of the generations at the Bendigo Harness Racing on Friday, November 11, with many of Victoria’s legendary drivers of the past uniting with the future stars of the sport to highlight the night’s racing. The Veteran Drivers Trot attracted a stellar list of Victoria’s most decorated drivers, with the line-up reading like a ‘Who’s Who’ of major race wins. Six Inter Dominion victories as well as Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature were listed on the career records of the drivers involved. The combined total of winners driven by the eleven competitors was over 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with over 3,300 wins. Other drivers involved included Graeme Lang, Jim O’Sullivan, Neville Welsh, Ginger Gleeson, Cliff Powell, Keith Pratt, Graeme Whittle, Peter Manning, Noel Shinn and Bill Spiteri. The crowd gathered in numbers around the Presentation Dias for both the pre-race introduction of the Veteran Drivers and the race itself, and were treated to a thrilling finish, with Brian Gath securing a narrow victory on the Christine Douglas owned and Jennifer Douglas trained Hanging On A Dream. Also on the same program was a heat and final of the Ted Manton Memorial Pony Trot for aspiring junior drivers. A massive field of 19 Pony Trotters took to the track, with the youngest competitor just six years old. And just to reinforce the links between the past and future of our sport, both the owner and trainer of Hanging On A Dream had children competing in the Pony Trot series. They were all very excited to greet Brian and Hanging On A Dream for a photo at the completion of the race. To round out the eventful night of racing, the favourite for the upcoming Perth Inter Dominion Hector Jay Jay, scorched around the Lord’s Raceway track in a near-record time to win the Markovina Free For All, convincingly recording a 1:55.2 mile rate. This race had been re-scheduled from Melton on the following night to accommodate  the participating Inter Dominion horses that were Perth -bound on a Sunday flight. by Bendigo Trots Club

Breaking news at Lilley Land, the Queen has overthrown the King. Most harness racing analysts believe the coup will be short-lived, with the King currently recuperating. However, some are boldly suggesting there is a changing of the guard at the top of the Victorian trots. In the past fortnight reigning Victorian trotting mare of the year Maori Time has claimed back-to-back victories over more highly acclaimed stablemate, and reigning trotting male of the year, Keystone Del. And last night the Brent Lilley-trained mare was completely dominant, while Del only beat one runner home. Important note, a post-race veterinarian’s examination revealed Keystone Del to be suffering cardiac arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat – and he was stood down by stewards pending a vet’s certificate, ECG and one successful trial. But no matter how you look at it, Maori Time’s win in last night’s $50,000, Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint was dominant. The seven-year-old daughter of stallion Pegasus Spur out of Sundonna burnt the candle at both ends of the 1720m race to record a 1:55.4 mile rate, going coast-to-coast for a 7.5m win over Sydneysider On Thunder Road. Maori Time’s victory – her second straight success in this race – was even more impressive when you consider what she had to overcome in the run, revealed post-event by winning reinsman Chris Alford. “We had a bit of drama… she started belting the wheel out of the gate and wanted to bowl along. She was all right to the winning post and then she wanted to get going again,” he said. Maori Time hummed through the first quarter in 28.6secs, notched a 29.7secs second split, and then went 28.5secs and 29.4secs for the third and fourth stanzas. Her sustained speed was too hot to handle for the opposition. It is also worth keeping in mind there was a stiff breeze up the straight last night, so conditions weren’t conducive to ultra-quick times. The win followed a last-start Derby Royale Trotters Free-for-All triumph where she also had Keystone Del’s measure. “She’s lost none of her zest, that’s for sure,” Alford said, referring to the fact he drove Maori Time four years ago when she was a three-year-old filly. “She’ll probably be targeting the major races (over summer) and she’s not out of them.” Keystone Del is an absolute superstar and has earned over $1 million in stakes. So while the Queen is keeping the throne warm for the time being it must be likely the King will be back where he belongs. Then again, father time waits for no man… Meanwhile, from a squaregaiting viewpoint the upcoming Summer of Glory looks tantalising. On Victoria Cup night (January 30) we’ll see the $100,000 Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix, and one week later on Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup night the $300,000 Group 1 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star over 2760m should prove to be one of the races of the summer after the news during the week that New Zealand superstar Monbet is crossing the ditch in search of more riches. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

“We’ve had some really nice horses, but I think potentially this guy could be the best I’ve had,” said harness racing trainer Dean Braun, moments after his talented five-year-old Cruz Bromac won the Group 2 $50,000 Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. “He’s pretty scary in what he can do and he’s relatively green.” Braun’s five-year-old Falcon Seelster gelding put in a super performance, punching through the breeze outside Alotbettor and while the pace took a toll on the New South Wales visitor Cruz Bromac muscled on. The $50,000 stakes were hotly contested with Admiral Bronski, Mister Wickham and El Major pouring on the pressure, but the leader held up. “It was a really good field tonight,” driver Chris Alford said. “He had to do all the work sitting outside the leader, but things worked out OK early, we didn’t have to burn too hard and then got to the breeze nice and he was still really strong up the straight.” For such a field, the first two quarters were ticked off pretty comfortably enabling Cruz Bromac to hit the line with a 55.2 last 800m and win in a 1:56.4 mile rate. “He’s strong, but he has really high speed as well. He’s still a little bit funny in his gate, but once he all sorts himself out he will be a really good horse.” It’s a fact well-known to Braun, who has a soft spot for Cruz Bromac. “I don’t get sick with too many horses making me nervous, he is one of the three. He’s a very special horse,” Braun said. “To have Chris on him tonight and win this race, I’ve had a bit of luck in this race, it’s pretty special. “He’s had 15 starts and the sectionals he can run are pretty amazing really, and he’s not a one-trick pony as some people think he is. He can sit parked like he did tonight, he can lead, he’s devastating off the sprint as well. He’s very, very fast. “We will just see what happens. This was his man target early in the season. We will just give him a quiet time after this and reassess.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

All the talk was about Lennytheshark in the lead-up but it was a different flash of Perth-bound yellow that dropped harness racing jaws at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s Sydney raider, Bling It On, burst home late to clip the Australian Horse of the Year, winning in a 1:51.4 mile rate, just 0.6 of a second outside Cold Major’s track record. The win in the Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint further swelled Bling It On’s seven-figure career stakes and come much to the joy of driver Luke McCarthy. “He’s been a great horse right from the start of his career,” McCarthy said. “He won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old, he’s gone over a million dollars. We gave him a good spell, he’s only had the three runs back this time and we think he’s going as good as he’s ever gone.” McCarthy made a play for the front from gate six but soon eased back, with plenty of pace underneath him from Major Crocker, who found the front, and Exciteusinthecity. “There was a heap of speed early,” McCarthy said. “We came out as quick as them, but there was too much tempo underneath then so I just ducked in and thought I’d wait for Guaranteed to come around and try and get the back of him. He always takes you a long way and it worked out really good.” Gavin Lang looped Bling It On to take Guaranteed to the breeze, and then down the back straight Lennytheshark stepped out three-wide and the race was on in earnest. Major Crocker’s lead was gobbled up by Guaranteed and Lennytheshark by the turn while Bling It On lay in wait, having the last crack at Lennytheshark and grabbing David Aiken’s superstar on the line. “You are never confident you can get past Lenny because he is such a great horse,” McCarthy said post-race. “We’ve just been so happy with this guy, we are just glad to see him hit the line like that and hopefully he can hold the form for the Inter Dominion.” Bling It On is expected to fly to Perth later today, in addition to a host of Victoria’s topline horses, to contest the Inter Dominion, with heats on November 25, 29 and December 2, before the December 9 final. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing driver/trainer Darren Hancock will bring plenty of thunder and lightning to the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. While Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley appears to hold the aces with last-start Derby Royale winner Maori Time drawn to lead in gate two over her pet trip (1720m), and the big daddy of Australian trotting Keystone Del lining up in barrier seven, Hancock will have no qualms dictating terms with classy Sydneysider On Thunder Road from gate five. While it’s unlikely the front will be up for grabs, Hancock will ensure Saturday night’s Group 1 is truly run. “I can sit outside and keep her pretty honest,” he said. “I’ll be making sure it’s a genuinely run race that's for sure. (On Thunder Road) is a good stayer. If he found the front they wouldn’t beat him, but he’ll just keep going from the breeze.” The Pheasants Nest based trainer has scored back-to-back wins with the seven-year-old gelding at Menangle, On Thunder Road taking out a Group 2 3009m standing start on October 30 and a free-for-all over a mile on November 5 in 1:57.3. Anthony Butt will have decisions to make aboard Keystone Del from the wide draw, but if they run along up front he should be suited as he does possess a booming finish. The up-and-comer at this level could be last-start Yarra Valley Trot Cup winner The Boss Man, who should lob beautifully from barrier three and off a hot pace looms as a knockout threat for Junortoun trainer Scott Dyer. Asked how he thought the map might play out, Hancock said: “I don’t think (Keystone Del) he’ll go forward, but obviously I don’t know, and I’ll certainly be staying in front of him if I can”. But take one thing to the bank, Hancock is confident. “I am. I know how good they are. Keystone Del is a champion and Maori Time won well last start and she’s a good miler. But we’ll be keeping them honest and I’m confident with where mine is at.” On Thunder Road’s travelling buddy El Major will also be chasing feature race success in the Group 2 Casey Classic over 2240m from barrier eight. A winner at Menangle two runs back, the four-year-old entire will benefit from the peg-line draw. “He’s going good at the moment and he should get a nice trip from there and run a good race,” Hancock said. Saturday night’s Melton meeting will also feature the Grand Final of the TAB Great Trots Tipoff, with TAB’s Nick Quinn and HRV’s John Dunne hosting a live event in the Toolern Room. HRV social media channels will cover the Grand Final, where tipsters will be battling it out for $5000. The confirmed Grand Final line-up will consist of tipsters ‘Armsofaraff’, ‘Showgrounds’, ‘BallaratBertie’, ‘Vandyk’, ‘Burglar’, ‘David81’ and ‘Aliasunavailable’. There will also be several TAB voucher giveaways via the second chance barrel for punters having a wager in the Toolern Room and Eynesbury Golf vouchers also up for grabs. The night will also feature the 2016 HRV Media Awards and the ‘Legends’ function, which will see trots and AFL greats congregating for a night at the trots. To book email bwalker@tabcorppark.com.au or phone Bianca Walker on 8746 0626.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 November 2016 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 12 November 2016

Bendigo Harness Racing Club will turn back racing’s clock as the club stages its Memorial Race Night on Friday night. The BHRC has assembled one of the best lists of master drivers available in Victoria to compete in the Oxley Feed Mills Veteran Drivers Trot, a feature race of $10,000. Combined the veteran drivers have six Inter-Dominion victories as well as Hunter Cups, Breeders Crowns, Oaks, Derbies, Country Cups and just about every other major race feature listed on their career records.  The combined total of winners driven by the 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Longlea-based Gath and dual Inter-Dominion winning driver Jim O'Sullivan, based at Heathcote, are in the star studded line-up at Bendigo.  Melbourne Showgrounds harness racing veterans include dual Inter-Dominion winner Graeme Lang and Hunter Cup winner and driver of more than 1300 winners, Elmore’s Neville Welsh. The wizard of Great Western, Peter Manning, a perpetual state leading trainer who on several occasions topped the national rankings, will don his silks, along with Inter-Dominion winning driver Cliff Powell (Elmore) and well-known Junortoun horsemen Keith Pratt. Recent additions to the “65-year-old veteran ranks” taking their place in the field are Noel Shinn and Ginger Gleeson.  Past winners of the Veteran Drivers Trot Dick Lee and Graeme Whittle are also back chasing further glory, while dual Maryborough Cup-winning driver Bill Spitiri rounds out the field. As a further highlight of the Memorial Race night six races have been named to remember the significant contributions to Bendigo district harness racing of past participants Merv Dillon, Henry McDermott, Ted Manton, Ron Pocock, Les Pratt and Daphne and Ken Pocock. The night will also feature the official opening of the Henry McDermott Collection. This includes the unveiling of a feature wall of memorabilia that documents Henry’s many successes and contributions to harness racing over a long period.  The collection was compiled with the assistance of the McDermott family, who will be on track for the official opening, and will add to the Bendigo club’s considerable history and memorabilia collection. The history and memorabilia room will be open to the public for viewing throughout the night. The combined total of winners driven by the 12 competitors is more than 11,000, with Brian Gath heading the group with more than 3300 wins. Fittingly the Markovina Free For all, in which Interdominion contenders Hector Jay Jay, Yankee Rockstar, Restrepo, Flaming Flutter Stunning Grin and warhorse Smudge Bromac clash, honours Markovina , which was was trained and driven by Gath to victory in the 1978 Interdominion  

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