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The $500,000 Hunter Cup is on Barimah’s radar should the five-year-old maintain his harness racing form throughout summer. Trainer Tony Peacock nominated the Group 1 stayers’ race as the target following the gelding’s win in Saturday night’s Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship Final (Group 3) at Tabcorp Park Melton. Barimah ($1.50) sat in the breeze after John Justice held the front aboard Loong Nien in the 1720-metre $30,350 race, reinsman Damian Wilson controlling the tempo by pouring pressure on the leader from the 800m. Barimah fended off Beach Shack in the straight, Josh Aiken giving the second horse every hope in the one-one, while Lots More Art finished strongly for third from three-pegs. Loong Nien battled on valiantly for fourth beaten 3.4m. The winner rated 1:53.4, with the last 800m trekked in 55.7secs. “He’s going to finish up a pretty good horse,” Peacock said. “He’s very versatile. He can lead or he can sit parked, but he’s probably best following the speed. “Damian drove the perfect race on Saturday night. The plan was to just let him poke out, sit parked and then put the pressure on a long way out. He’s quite a strong horse.” Barimah will likely target the Yarra Valley and Cobram Cups in coming weeks. by Cody Winnell

Trainer Mick McMahon has a message for everyone who attends horse sales. Dreams can come true. A horse he purchased for $310 at the Echuca horse sales has gone on to win three races in Victoria, including the Ron Pocock Memorial Handicap at Bendigo last Thursday night. Current Assessment (by Modern Art out of Pleasure Machine) came into the ring while McMahon was at the sale “trying to pick up a bit of gear”. “A big athletic type came into one of the rings there … and after a bit of research on the brand we realised he had a bit of breeding behind him,” the horseman said. “We happened to snaffle him up for a bargain.” The outlay on the horse was $310. He has now won a tick over $13,000 in his first 12 months of racing. “When I picked the horse up I rang the previous owner, Laurie Paton from Bathurst, and he had the same question: how did he get down there (to a horse sale)?” said McMahon. “I said I don’t know but he’s at my place. I asked him if I could get the papers for him and he said yeah no worries, and lo and behold down he came." “After Googling the name Laurie Paton I noticed he had an Inter Dominion winner Smooth Satin.” Steven Lindberg, who drove Current Assessment to the victory last Thursday night, was working the pacer for McMahon one day when he asked: “Does this horse have a name?” “I said no, I just call him Lumpy because he was sort of lumps and bumps when we got him,” McMahon said. “He said to me I think you should find that horse a name because he’s ready to trial.” “It’s certainly a dream come true. If you had have asked me what was going to happen 13 months ago I wouldn’t have said it’d pan out like this.” Cody Winnell

Hotasel might just be Australia’s most improved horse and Saturday night he looks to continue his impressive rise through the ranks when he contests the Sokyola Sprint at Tabcorp Park Melton A former Sunraysia trained pacer he was transferred to the Toolern Vale stables of John Justice six months ago to race in better quality races and now he is justifying the owners' belief that he was a serious racehorse. Justice has been pleasantly surprised, not by his ability but more so with how consistent he is as a racehorse and that has shown with his three runs this time in. “His run in the Mildura Cup when second behind Arden Rooney when he galloped at the start was terrific so from that point on I knew he was a very good horse but to be as consistent as he is is probably a surprise," Justice said. Even from a young age he has always had an abundance of high speed but now Hotasel is developing the strength and race smarts to become a top-liner." "He finds the line strong and does everything right," Justice said. If there is one small blight on him is that he doesn’t handle the stand starts so it all but rules out country cups, but Justice is setting him some very lofty goals in the next couple of months. “He’ll run Saturday night then he’ll go to the Popular Alm Sprint in two weeks." "If all goes well we’ll probably head to Ballarat and then go to Adelaide for the SA Cup, which will be his first major assignment." "Then when he comes back to Victoria we have the mobile cups including the Victoria Cup, Ballarat Cup and Bendigo Cup provided he measures up.” He faces a tough ask from the back row Saturday night but he has been a dominant winner at his past two starts and he looks a terrific chance to make it three on end. Justice also has Loong Nien engaged in the Group 3 Gordon Rothacker Memorial and he believes if he leads he will run a tremendous race. “If he can hold the horses drawn out wide and work to the front again he is certainly capable of running very fast times off the front over that trip," Justice said. Matt Jackson  

Bolinda trainer Brent Lilley took the honours at the Geelong trots on Tuesday, finishing the night with a stable double thanks to a pair of six-year-olds. Art Major/Endeared mare Star Crossed, first-up for the stable having her first outing since February, greeted the judge first in the Flying Brick Cider Company Pace for C1 class over 2100 metres. With stable reinsman Anthony Butt in the sulky, Star Crossed starting from the extreme draw wasn’t pushed early, settling with most of the field ahead of her as Joelissa led from gate two after the hot favourite Captain Snoozzze galloped away from gate three. Gaining a three-wide trail home in the final circuit on the back of Jimmy The Editor, Star Crossed at tote odds of $17.40 finished best to score from Jimmy The Editor and Joelissa in a mile rate of 2:00.2. Kiwi bred American Ideal/Jazz Tanner gelding Eric Clapton taking a concession for youthful Brad Chisholm who has been helping out at the camp, made a one act affair of the Relay For Life Dec 3rd Pace for C3 & C4 class over 2100 metres. Beginning fast from outside the front line, Eric Clapton ran his rivals ragged in accounting for Guggenheim (four back the markers) which death-seated for the last lap by a neck, with Bad Boy Brad (four wide last lap from near last) five metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1:57.1. Wallan’s Shinn family snared the Harness Breeders Victoria Trackbred Pace for C0 class (mares) over 1609 metres with Aurore, a four-year-old daughter of Dawn Ofa New Day and Aurelia bred and raced by Noel Shinn. Trained by Ruth and driven by son Chris, Aurore was another to begin with great zest from outside the front row to lead and was never headed, registering a 1.3-metre margin in advance of Fianna Gael which trailed from the pole and Nymeria (one/one – three wide home turn) in a rate of 1:59.5. Flowerdale part-owner/trainer/driver Ivan Antolas was successful with 4Y0 Bacardi Lindy Springhasprung  mare Aussie Beach Blond in the Corio Waste Management Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres. A winner in restricted company at Bendigo on November 7, Aussie Beach Blond from gate four was trapped in the open, before receiving cover racing for the bell when Anthony Butt sent Georgies Smile forward from mid-field to park outside the pacemaker Shiftywall which crossed to lead as the start was effected. Easing wide in the last lap, Aussie Beach Girl raced clear on turning to record an easy 12.2-metre victory over Handy That from last at the bell in a mile rate of 2:09, with Very Belle third after following the weakening leader. Drouin’s Gary and Debbie Quinlan snared the Geelong Pacing Cup 2nd January Trotters Mobile for T0 class over 2100 metres with 4Y0 Sundon/Star Spangled Rama gelding Omy Son which broke his maiden status at start number 10. Driven by Nathan Jack, Omy Son settled four back along the markers from gate three, with Lilymaystorm inside him beginning best to lead. Rushing forward when the speed slackened to make an unsuccessful bid for the front running, Omy Son was then eased to drop to the back of the pacemaker. Moving off the heels of Lilymaystorm on the final bend, Omy Son was nursed to the wire in winning by 3.8 metres from the leader, with Ghent (one/one at bell) third. The mile rate 2:06.3. Perennial placegetter The Gingerbreadman finally cracked it for another victory by taking the Devcon Properties Pace for C2 class over 2100 metres in 1:59.8. Part-owned and trained by Meltonian Ian Hunter, The Gingerbreadman driven as usual by John Justice possied four back in the moving line, as the polemarker Aloha Don Ho retained the front running. When Aloha Don Ho surrendered the lead mid-race to stablemate Bettor Than Best, The Gingerbreadman was off and running three-wide racing for the bell. Despite racing wide for the remainder of the trip, The Gingerbreadman raced away in the straight to score convincingly by three metres from Glenferrie Arch which followed him home. Aloha Don Ho used the sprint lane to finish third. McArdle/Glenferrie Miss 6Y0 gelding Glenferrie College notched up his 12th victory at start number 70 when successful in the Jims Mowing Claiming Pace over 2100 metres. Trained at nearby Lara by Dean Braun, Glenferrie College driven by Chris Alford starting from inside the second line was restrained immediately the start was effected to settle at the tail of the field, with only stablemate Comply Or Die behind him after being trapped wide from gate six. Trailing Our Mels Dream forward in the last lap, Glenferrie College despite being four wide on the home turn, ran home strongly to record a 6.2-metre margin on the wire over Our Mels Dream and The Family Guy which raced in the open. The mile rate 1:58.4. Terang trainer Matthew Craven combined with Chris Svanosio to land the Bendigo Bank Trotters Handicap for T2 or better class over 2570 metres with smart but sometimes unreliable 8Y0 Ganymeade/Smokey Robyn gelding Hinault, who has been going great guns of late. Raced by a large group of stable supporters including veteran Terang identity Ray Payne, Hinault began safely from 30 metres and was soon racing one-one after Sundons Comet went forward at a great rate from 10 metres to cross the poleline leader Shiraz Cabernet. Not happy with the tempo through the middle stages, Hinault was set alight to assume control at the bell and from there on, the race became a procession, with Hinault coasting to the wire untouched to register a 1.8-metre victory over Sundons Comet along the sprint lane in a rate of 2:05.3. Maybelina, first-up since July, ran home nicely from four back the markers to finish third 4.1 metres away. Len Baker  

An eight race program signals the return of harness racing to Warragul after a couple of months this Monday afternoon.   As usual, entry is free for patrons and the first race will commence at 1:18pm. In conjunction with the program, winners of last season's Warragul racing awards will be honoured. Driver of the Year (Greg Sugars), Junior Driver of the Year (Josh Duggan) and Trainer of the Year (Jayne Davies) will be in attendance, along with connections of the most successful Horse of the Year, trotter Stoned Again. The horse will also compete on the day, in a race named in his honour. Monday's card features several locally trained horses, and caps off a busy few days for local trotting followers - the Gippsland Harness Training Centre holds their 2015 graduation dinner this Saturday night.   Kyle Galley

Victorian horses will have the chance to race for metropolitan prizemoney in a country penalty race thanks to a new deal between Canberra Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV). HRV has welcomed the opportunity to bolster ties with the Canberra club to help promote the 2016 Canberra Cup. This season’s Canberra Cup will be a heat and final format series with the first heat in Canberra on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, and Heat 2 going to Shepparton Harness Racing Club on Thursday, January 28. The third and final heat will take place at Goulburn Harness Racing Club on Monday, February 1, before the final is held at Canberra on Sunday, February 7. The Cup is worth $25,000 and is a C2-C5 race. An exciting trainer’s bonus has been attached to the race this year with the Canberra Cup winning trainer to receive a trip to the 2016 Little Brown Jug held in Delaware, US. Canberra’s dynamic committee decided it needed to find ways to make the cup an attractive racing proposition for trainers and connections to fill a niche in the country cup calendar. With limited funds available to put on 20 race meetings a year, the challenge for the committee was to maximise bang for buck. The Canberra club’s General Manager Greg Nugent said: “The uniqueness of the cup format would not have been possible without the assistance of HRV and the Shepparton club. Also we extend thanks to our friends at Goulburn. We would also like to acknowledge the support of in helping us get this concept off the ground. To have a Cup format that covers three jurisdictions is very unique and to my knowledge has not been done before.” Mr Nugent added: “Since our deletion from the Harness Racing New South Wales Carnival of Cups circuit we have struggled to find a place for our Cup in the racing calendar. Hopefully this new approach will reinvigorate our Cup and allow us to once again showcase our feature race. The C2-C5 format allows the local and hobby trainers to participate and with the added bonus of a trip to the Little Brown Jug, trainers will have an opportunity to reap the rewards of this trip which is high on trots fans’ bucket lists.” The Canberra Cup program also sees the running of the annual ‘Ackie Hawke’ and the Capital 3YO Championship. “Hopefully the support card will encourage visiting owners and trainers who may have qualified for the Cup to throw a couple of extra horses on the support card,” Mr Nugent said. HRV CEO John Anderson said Victoria welcomed the opportunity to support the Canberra club. “It’s a great fit for Canberra to become closer to HRV and some of our trainers here in Victoria will jump at the opportunity to race for good prizemoney in a $25,000 Cup as well as a potential trip to the USA for the Little Brown Jug.”   CODY WINNELL

Last Friday night the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton proved the $5 each-way punter is very much looked after in the trots with winners at odds of $36.10, $65.10, $6.10, $11.20 and $33.10. If you’d played field into field in Races 1 and 2 – both open races on paper – into One Yankee Hall ($1.20) – considered by most to be night’s “moral” – into Hellovaway  ($4.40) and Mistressofillusion ($2.80) – the clear second favourites in Race 4 – in a $50 flexi early quaddie, you would walked away with almost $9000 in your pocket. The EQ paid $38,431.80 overall and the $50 ticket would have had you on for 22.72 per cent of the dividend. But of course, how easy is everything in hindsight!? Josh Aiken took driving honours from the meeting with a winning double. The first leg for the young reinsman was One Yankee Hall defeating Columbias Deejay in the Pridmore Eelctrics Trot over 2240m in a rate of 2:02.3. Later on the card Aiken combined with father David, who trains the Avenel team, again with Vics Cheval to win the Alabar Trot over 2240m in a rate of 2:00.5. Vics Cheval ($3.20) led from the start out of gate two, Aiken expertly guiding him through a jogging 61.4secs first half before taking the sting out of his chasers down the back with a 27.9secs third section. Vics Cheval had almost 10m to spare on her rivals at the wire after a 29.2secs final split. Mister Sumna achieved something rare in winning heat three of the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship for trainer Dean Braun and reinsman Chris Alford, coming from off the pace to win after a 32.7secs second quarter in a sprint race. Mister Sumna ($11.20) charged by the opposition late to score by 1.8m over race favourite Under Worked. “It’s not often the leaders run a 32 quarter around Melton and one wins from back there, but he did get a nice cart-up and swamped them at the finish,” Alford said. Despite the superb win by Mister Sumna, Barimah from the Tony Peacock stable looks hard to beat in the Rothacker final after his comfortable heat win on Friday night. Cody Winnell

French import Used To Me made his long awaited Australian debut in the Ted Manton Memorial Trotters Handicap at Bendigo last night, and it was a winning start. Trained by Anton Golino and driven by Greg Sugars, Used To Me stepped cleanly from his 20-metre handicap in the 2150-metre race before making a three-deep move from four-back the running at the bell. Class prevailed at the finish with Used To Me cruising past the early pacesetters and recording a 4.3-metre win, Sugars allowing him to coast to the line virtually untouched. “He did what he had to do,” Sugars said. “It was his first time at the stand conditions and he handled that well.” Used To Me was granted an international invitation to contest the 2015 Great Southern Star before injury scuppered his preparation. Whether or not the now eight-year-old would be up to that level after recovering from injury remains to be seen and Sugars said the team was “taking it one race at a time, at this stage”. “I’m sure they’ll be hopeful of getting more wins and competing in better races than last night, but the important thing at this stage is he’s back on track.” Given Used To Me’s journey back to the racetrack Sugars admitted to feeling some relief after last night’s win. The stallion’s winning mile rate was 2:01.2 with the last half-mile completed in 59.7secs.  Cody Winnell  

Mistressofillusion makes her debut for trainer Brett Cox at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night. The four-year-old mare has looked infallible this time in with three wins from three starts at Ballarat, Swan Hill and Terang. Formerly trained by Cox’s training partner David Lewis, Mistressofillusion is expected to start near the top of the betting tables in the Gippsland Racing Training Centre Pace over 1720 metres. Cox, 26, who has been training with Lewis for about four years, has spent time training horses in Sydney and was also previously based in the USA with top horseman Chris Ryder for 18 months. “I’ve been doing it full-time my whole life,” he said. “It’s been really good with Dave. He’s taking a bit of a step back while he builds his house and it’s a great opportunity to be able to train Mistressofillusion." “When I first started there it was only a small but select team. We’re up to about the 14-horse mark now." "To walk into a stable with horses the calibre of what Dave had was fantastic." “It helps that he breeds his own. He’s very meticulous and has been a great mentor to me.” Cox said Mistressofillusion had come a long way in her three campaigns to date. The daughter of Jeremes Jet out of Whodyou Wantmetobe has racked up five wins and a second from 11 starts and displays a potent turn of foot. “She’s one of the quickest horses I’ve got behind,” Cox said. “We’re not sure how good she is yet. After Friday night she’ll probably go to the paddock for a month then we’ll return her for the Vicbred Mares Sprint Championship and then hopefully the Vicbred Super Series." “She’s been a late maturing horse. She’s quirky and has a real mind of her own. She’s very quick and she’s getting stronger. She’ll hopefully keep on getting stronger.” Mistressofillusion savaged the line at Terang winning on November 2 over a mile, coming from last at the 400m to score by 2.1m over Dam Lucky in a rate of 1:58.3, her last quarter clocked in the low 27s. Cody Winnell

Although he hasn’t won since taking out a claimer in September last year, Kotare Roland takes good form into Sunday’s Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup. The seven-year-old gelding from the Roly Wilson stable at Yarra Glen powered home at Melton last Friday night in the Kerryn & Arden Rooney FFA, recording a 26.9-second final quarter and a 55.5secs final half to finish fifth. Two runs back he notched the third-fastest final 400m of the night at Melton when sixth behind Major Crocker and despite only beating one runner home he finished off strongly three runs back when beaten less than 12m by Inter Dominion hopeful Lennytheshark. “(Driver) Neil (McCallum) was pretty chuffed last week. He came back smiling,” Wilson said. “It didn’t surprise me how well he finished off. He’s always shown he can win a nice race.” Kotare Roland won last year’s Enduro at Melton, a stand-start race over 2760m, suggesting the 2630m stand conditions at Gunbower will suit. “I think he’ll possibly lead or take a sit behind one of the good ones from the pole,” Wilson said. Plenty of big-name stables are represented in the Gunbower Pacing Cup including Amanda Turnbull and Nathan Jack with Star Black, Nicole Molander with Cillas Boy and Im Meticulous, Peter Manning with Narra Operative, Vince Vallelonga with Manuka Man and Brent Lilley with emergency Eric Clapton. Cody Winnell

Last-start St Arnaud Trotters Cup winner Irish Whisper will be chasing two cup wins in two weeks in the Cohuna Car Sales Bill Poxon Memorial Gunbower Trotters Cup on Sunday. The Tony Peacock trained eight-year-old has twice beaten New Zealand champion Stent, so he’s always had ability, but Peacock has him at the peak of his powers right now. He did plenty of work last Sunday but still proved too strong with Damian Wilson in the sulky. Wilson will drive the son of Sundon again this weekend. “We haven’t had him long but he’d gone all right at the trials." "He’s beaten Stent twice." "We knew he was going good and he’d run a good race,” Peacock said of the St Arnaud success. “He’s got ability that’s for sure.” Nicole Molander and Chris Alford will combine with former Kiwi Dead Cat Bounce, who attacked the line strongly last week after making an early break behind Irish Whisper, while Brent Lilley trained trotter Sun Of Anarchy is sure to have plenty of supporters.   CODY WINNELL

Almost El Eagle’s Weirs Supa IGA St Arnaud Pacing Cup win yesterday was about as eye-catching as wins get. From five back on the pegs at the home turn, the Steven Duffy trained six-year-old sprouted wings, reinsman John Caldow steering him through needle-eye gaps for a last-stride victory. “The horses three and four back on the fence both went to the sprint lane, which gave me a good run through,” Caldow said. “I could see it opening up before I got there. It doesn’t always work like that of course. The horse was in great order for the race. Steve had set him for the cup.” Caldow said he was confident Almost El Eagle, who had bumped into Yankee Rockstar at his two previous runs before yesterday, was travelling like a winner at the corner but after a tardy beginning from the tapes he had his work cut out for him. “I didn’t give him any chance at all,” Duffy said when asked how he was feeling at the final corner. “I thought if he got a gap he might be able to run on and get fourth or fifth and at least pick up some prizemoney. “It was a 10-out-of-10 drive.” Duffy had set the son of Mcardle/Nuclearaccelerator for the St Arnaud feature and plans to back him up this Sunday in the Gunbower Pacing Cup before aiming him at Cobram’s cup in December. “He’s a great little horse. He’s got the best nature you could ever ask for and he won the Lombo as a two-year-old and is still winning races now. I think that was his 19th win at the weekend, so he’s been a ripper of a horse,” Duffy said. “He’s not a big, strong horse, but he’s probably 25-30kg heavier now than ever so he’s getting stronger. You hope that strength keeps building up and if you’re lucky enough he might be able to be just short of the better ones.”   Almost El Eagle’s winning mile rate was 2:01.6. The clock on his last 150m would be interesting.   IRISH WHISPER WINS TROTTERS CUP Heavily backed Irish Whisper won the St Arnaud Sporting Club Trotters Cup to bring up a race-to-race double for Moama trainer Tony Peacock and reinsman Damian Wilson. The eight-year-old son of Sundon/Little Contessa stepped cleanly from his 30m handicap and moved three-wide solo for the last lap, out-staying his rivals in a rate of 2:05.6 for a 3.2m win over favourite Dead Cat Bounce. “We haven’t had him long but he’d gone all right at the trials. He’s beaten Stent twice. We knew he was going good and he’d run a good race,” Peacock said. Peacock also heaped praise on Wilson’s drive. “Brilliant. He does a great job. I’ve always got nothing but confidence in him when I send him to the races.” The Gunbower Trotters Cup is next on the agenda for Irish Whisper. Cody Winnell

Word out of the tank has been consistent since the very earliest part of Lennytheshark’s harness racing Inter Dominion preparation. “I wouldn’t swap him for any other runner” is the message trainer David Aiken has used several times right through the prep, and tonight’s obliteration of a star-studded Olympus Feeds Smoken Up Sprint field has Lennytheshark a clear favourite for the Perth Inter Dominion starting in a fortnight. Lennytheshark’s win took a huge confidence chunk out of several ID15 contenders, the son of Four Starzzz Shark/Botswana exploding to beat pacemaker Keayang Cullen by 10.6 metres in a 1:52.8 mile rate at Tabcorp Park Melton. About sixth 100m before the quarter pole, Lennytheshark eased wide and let rip with surging run around the field. Into the straight he booted clear, the final quarter clocked in 27 seconds – Lennytheshark making up 10m on top of that. Reinsman Chris Alford delivered a brilliant drive, steering Lennytheshark away from the markers early after starting inside the second row. Lennytheshark ended up one out and two back in the run. Early in the race Keayang Cullen pressed hard to find the top for Jason Lee, working to the pegs after 400m, crossing early leader Avonnova. Race favourite Our Hi Jinx came away from the markers to avoid being buried alive, while Easy On The Eye punched the breeze. Keayang Cullen’s lead time was quick – 6.8 – and his first quarter about as slick as they come (27.2secs). The Terang pacer secured a much-needed breather through the second stanza (31.4) before the pace hastened again down the back. Avonnova, who ended up with the run of the race on the leader’s back for Shane Graham, chased hard in the home straight but couldn’t reel in a game Keayang Cullen, which kept on fighting to run second. Five Star Anvil wasn’t far off in fourth, while Keayang Steamer found the line fairly well for fifth. Meanwhile, mare Maori Time led throughout to win the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint over 1720m. Driven by Anthony Butt for Brent Lilley, the six-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur/Sundonna cruised to the lead from gate two and was never threatened, coasting home in a cool 1:55.0 to beat Sydneysider On Thunder Road by 2m with Kyvalley Blur in third. Trainer Courtney Slater opened proceedings with victory in the DNR Logistics Vicbred Pace, driver Glen Craven steering Goodtime Rusty (Artesian/Rustlin A Kiss) home by a short half-head over Desiring Kate, with Hollys Miss Molly third in 1:56.5 over 2240m. Lilley combined with Gavin Lang in Race 2 with Sun Of Anarchy prevailing in the Rayner Real Estate Trot over 2240m defeating Barefoot Sally and Lightning Calder in 1:59.8. Lightning Calder wasn’t on his best behaviour early and lost considerable ground, so he’s one for your black book. Trainer Paul Rowse made up for his narrow defeat in Race 1 in the third race with Savesomtimetodream victorious for driver Greg Sugars. The eight-year-old by Village Jasper out of Cultured Lombo worked his way around to the lead after about 600m scouting deep. Lets Elope emerged very late to grab second ahead of a brave Daylight Dan in 1:58.3. The second leg of a winning double for Gavin Lang came via roughie Guggenhein in Race 4, the Pridmore Electrics Pace Final over 2240m. Driven forward to find the chair Guggenheim always travelled well before skipping to the lead in the home straight and holding off Milady Denver (leader’s back) and Ark (one-one) in a rate of 1:57.8. Guggenheim is trained by Amanda McHenry at Melton. Andy and Kate Gath enjoyed success in the Caduceus Club Living Legend Pace with impressive six-year-old Bettors Delight/Regret gelding Mister Mundaka leading from gate seven and fending off Ive Gottalife and Desdon Murruffy at the finish over 1720m. Mister Mundaka found plenty when Kate Gath asked him for maximum effort, rating 1:54.1 to win by almost 2m. John Justice said SA Cup plans were well on track for handy six-year-old Hotasel (Elsu/Hotgossip), who beat Manuka Man and Franco Ledger in second and third in the Congratulations Kerryn and Arden Rooney Free-for-All over 1720m in a rate of 1:54.7. Hot favourite Mach Alert wilted after leading to run fourth. Emma Stewart and Nathan Jack combined with five-year-old Art Major/Sabrina Bromac mare Tuscan Breeze to win the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association Pace over 1720m. Driven in the one-one by Jack, Tuscan Breeze eased three-wide into the home straight and hit the line best to stave off a fast-finishing Kamwood Dawn, with long odds-on favourite Morton Plains battling on for third. Trainer Joanne Franklin, who is based at Moonlight Flats, teamed with Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman for victory in the Sheron Park Trot Final (Race 10) with Royal Dream. The five-year-old by Monarchy out of Dreamlands Nancy drew well clear at the finish to defeat stablemates Tella Tall Tale and Spud, who made up plenty of ground, in a rate of 2:02.5. Bellman brought up a career milestone during the week with Witzend’s win on Tuesday at Stawell the driver’s 1000th success in the sulky. Rounding out a cracking night of trots action was exciting four-year-old Cruz Bromac, who slayed his rivals in the Eynesbury Homestead and Golf Pace Final over 2240m. Driven by Greg Sugars, the son of Falcon Seelster/Crown Defender probably didn’t leave third gear, cruising home in 1:56.8 by 23.8m over runner-up Mystical Tilly with Maken Art Magic third in the 2240m race. Based on the strength of tonight’s win the Dean Braun-trained pacer has much bigger wins in store. by Cody Winnell

Well known trots fan Steve "Pogga" Salter has jumped on board as a sponsor of the Warragul Harness Racing Club for their new harness racing season which commences on Monday afternoon, November 30. Steve's popular tipping website has a legion of followers, and he is sponsoring the new Lucky Longshot Award to be decided across Warragul's nine meetings. The trainer of the longest priced winner for the season at Warragul, based on the SuperTAB starting price, will receive $250 cash courtesy of The racebook at each Warragul meeting will contain the name and starting price of the contest leader, and those interested will be able to keep track of the outcome of the contest throughout the season on Warragul's award-winning social media outlets. became involved in trots sponsorship when they purchased naming rights to Warragul's feature Traralgon Pacing Cup two years ago, and since then, Steve and his website have become well known throughout the industry. Warragul Harness Racing Club is pleased to have Steve and his website back involved where it all began, and is looking forward to seeing which horse and trainer take out the Lucky Longshot title this season.   Kyle Galley

Equine students at Community College Gippsland's harness racing training centre welcomed a visit from Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert, who toured the stables recently and met two of the centre's star racehorses. Staff and students achieved a record recently when Break a Wrist and Mystic Castle both won races at Cranbourne. Community College Gippsland chief executive officer Sue Geals said the visit was a great opportunity to showcase the accredited training available in equine studies and racing training in Gippsland and for the minister to speak to staff and students. "He was particularly interested in seeing how our students learn hands-on in our racing stables and what impact it has on their lives and careers. Some 60 students who have graduated from the centre in recent years are now employed in the equine industry 17 year old student Abby Orchard is about to complete a Certificate III advanced stable hand qualification and is also training to be a driver. She told the minister how her training with horses had given her ambition and purpose. "I wasn't enjoying school and was considering leaving. The college suggested I try equine as a VET in schools subject and while I had never been around racehorses, I thought I'd give it a go. "It has changed my life. I'm now working towards a career as a Driver in harness racing. It's hard work but it's such a great feeling to be out on the track and working with horses. " Former student now assistant trainer Brad Walters has achieved his professional driver licence and said he too had come to the centre with no horse experience after leaving school early. "It's like a family here. Once the horse bug gets you there's no turning back you just can't leave." Mr Herbert, who has a keen interest in horses, said the visit was a great way for him to connect and hear from staff and students about training programs aimed at engaging youth who may be at risk of falling through the cracks. The Gippsland Racing Training Centre is run by Community College Gippsland at Logan Park, Warragul. The centre provides accredited training for people to work with horses both in the thoroughbred or harness industries. Courtesy of Community College Gippsland and the West Gippsland Trader  

Cranbourne harness racing trainer and veterinarian Dr Hugh Cathels has embarked on an ambitious plan to race the North American trotting filly Waiting Room from his base at the Cranbourne Training Complex in the coming months. Cathels has long harboured a desire to turn his hand to the trotting gait after achieving success with the prominent pacers Garnet River, Gemfire and Astronaut in recent years. Never one to do things by halves, Cathels hatched a plan some time ago to purchase a well-bred, well-performed USA filly and realised that dream when he secured the three-year-old daughter of Credit Winner at last week’s Harrisburg mixed sales. The winner of over $78,000US to date, Waiting Room has taken a lifetime mark of 1:56:1 and has recorded wins in a heat of the Kindergarten Series at two and legs of the Excelsior Series at both two and three years of age.  Waiting Room is the oldest progeny of the race winning 1:56:4 mare Wedding Dress who accumulated over $100,000US on the track. Understandably Cathels is excited at the prospect of getting his purchase downunder. “My daughter Holly actually flew to Harrisburg and settled on Waiting Room after inspecting a dozen or so fillies that we had picked out from the sale catalogue. I couldn’t get away at this time of year but Holly says she is a lovely big filly with a wonderful temperament.  Hopefully we have got the right horse,” Cathels said. “She was just below the A-graders this season and only managed one win but was placed in five New York Sires Stakes heats before being unplaced in the final." Waiting Room will begin a one-month quarantine period in mid-December before flying out to Australia in January. In the meantime Cathels intends racing the mare from the Noel Daly barn hoping to pick up another three-year-old win before the end of the North American season. “It would be tremendous to pick up another win or two before she flies out to help with the transport costs of getting her home. She is in full work and won a trial last week so we’d be silly not to keep her going. My understanding is that even if she was to win another two before leaving Waiting Room will arrive as a four-year-old T0 mare and so there should be plenty of scope to win a race or two with her here.” When pressed on his plans for the filly Cathels explained: “We will see how she acclimatises before deciding on a programme for her." Hugh and Holly, who combine their training duties with a busy equine veterinarian practice, also have high hopes for a current two-year-old colt by Mach Three from Gemfire and a two-year-old filly by Somebeachsomewhere from Penultimate who should return to their Cranbourne stable in the coming weeks. by David Scott Harness Racing Victoria

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