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Promotions, cup programs and ownership were top of the agenda when representatives of Victoria’s harness racing country clubs attended Tabcorp Park Melton today for the 2017 Club Marketing Seminar. More than 30 attendees represented the majority of the country clubs at the seminar, which featured a range of guest speakers. Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said the forum was a chance for the clubs and Harness Racing Victoria to discuss marketing and promotions strategies for cups, feature events, industry branding and strategic initiatives. “Forums such as these are vital to developing the relationship between clubs and HRV as well as developing the knowledge of club managers and secretaries,” Mr Brick said. “Importantly the forum provides an opportunity for clubs to network and discuss and share initiatives such as syndicates, race night video promotion and social and digital media advertising.” HRV CEO David Martin, who outlined his strategy as part of the seminar, said it was fantastic to be a part of forum that “encouraged proactive discussion between our dedicated country club administrators and HRV”. “It is important as an industry we are all working together and our marketing messages are on brand, closely aligned to our strategic goals and communicated openly to our country clubs,” Mr Martin said. The seminar began with a presentation by HRV marketing staff members Ryan Stanaway and Courtney Thompson, followed by a branding and advertising presentation by Matthew Kelly of Collaborate Communications. Opportunities via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund were detailed by Mark Brett from the Office Of Racing before Tori Glenister, HRV ownership manager, discussed club syndications. Mr Martin then closed the seminar with his presentation. Ms Thompson said the seminar had been an opportunity for HRV to help ensure the clubs had the tools to succeed in their marketing and media endeavours. “HRV has an important role to play in helping the clubs enact a modern, effective and consistent marketing strategy,” Ms Thompson said. “It was great to be able to get everyone in a room and to collectively set the foundations for another successful season.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A 1:56.3 run in last night’s Tabcorp Park Melton VHRSC Sires Classic (Group 3) saw Emain Macha further enhance his race record and give Naracoorte harness racing trainer Greg Scholefield a metro feature trophy. Scholefield has, in recent times, boasted one of the strongest strike rates in the sport and Emain Macha is his stable star, with stake earnings of over $107,000 after last night’s win, which was his 13th at start No.17. Emain Macha initially had a crack for the front but was held out by both polemarker Misterfreeze and Rocknroll Icon from gate two. Reinsman Greg Sugars slotted three-year-old gelding by Safari into third position on the pegs, following Chris Alford on Rocknroll Icon and Emmett Brosnan aboard pacesetter Misterfreeze. Inside the final mile Alford took Rocknroll Icon to the lead and at the 1200m Sugars angled Emain Macha away from the markers. You wanted to be on one or the other. Off the back the final time, Rocknroll Icon tried to pinch the race but Emain Macha always had the leader in his sights. At the home bend – after a 28.4 third split – Emain Macha swept to the front and opened up over the final 100m for a 4.3m win, sprinting home in 28.1secs. Rocknroll Icon finished second and Albarock ran his usual honest race in third. Meanwhile, Andy and Kate Gath finished with a winning treble at Melton, taking out the City of Melton Stampede with Armbro Operative-Clifton Beauty gelding Maximan, the Western Base Vicbred Pace over 1720m with Major In Art-Henin Hardenne five-year-old gelding The Culture, and the Choose Atherstone Pace Final over 2240m with four-year-old Courage Under Fire-Village Glow gelding Firenglow. Maximan added his name to the Stampede honour roll, the annual six-furlong dash at Melton seeing the Gath gelding edge out perennial fast-finisher Tee Cee Bee Macray by a half-head in a time of 1:23.5. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

A magical 35 minutes for Melton harness racing driver Zac Phillips also produced a mighty thrill for trainer Kari Males and owner Graham Bullock when Red Hot Tooth captured Group 1 glory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Phillips first Group 1 triumph on Une Belle Allure was followed quickly by his second when he found the front mid-race and Red Hot Tooth put in a searing performance to win the $50,000 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final. “Unreal, words can’t describe how this feels right now,” Phillips said. “It’s a little bit surreal, I think I’m going to have to get back into the drivers' rooms and pinch myself. Massive thrill.” They are the high emotions that were shared by Males, who was full of pride for her Yankee Paco four-year-old mare. “She’s an absolute little superstar, I just love her,” Males said. “She’s very casual, she’s like a kids pony half the time, she just plods around half asleep, but when she gets on the track she just does the job.” Nica Macdonon initially held High Gait and Red Hot Tooth at bay, with High Gait directed into the chair while Phillips waited and then had a second crack at the lead when Charming Lavra loomed up on his outside at the bell. “It definitely surprised me the one (Nica Macdonon) holding up early,” Phillips said. “I knew it got out of the gate good, but when Ants came (on Charming Lavra) I was confident (Nica Macdonon) would be happy to sit on me once it had done that little bit of work early. “Once (Red Hot Tooth) found the front she was travelling so good, when Jason (Lee on Heavenly Sister) got up outside her she was just on the bit. She just felt like she was never going to get beat.” After a 58.8s first half she peeled off a 28.7 third quarter and in the final straight she looked a class above, winning by 1.6m to Heavenly Sister with Illawong Helios 10.2m back in third. “She’s just a great little trier,” Phillips said. “When she’s in front she’s hard to get past. “Paul and Kari have been massive support for my career and this horse is unreal. She means the world to me. She was my first winner at Menangle, my first Group winner and my second Group 1 winner. “She’s a different horse as a four-year-old. It was always a worry whether she’d improve from a three-year-old and take the next step, but I definitely think she’s proven this time in that she’s done that.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A big camp’s investment and a young man’s persistence both paid off with Une Belle Allure claiming the $60,000 IRT Need For Speed Prince Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The victory delivered harness racing driver Zac Phillips his first Group 1 success less than a week after his 21st birthday and capped a dominant performance by trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms. Having qualified six for the $60,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies, Golino’s crew preceded to fill the first four placings with Une Belle Allure winning by a half-head from favourite Dance Craze, with Nieta 5.7m back in third and My Chimera claiming fourth. “It’s a great thrill,” Golino said. “We worked hard for this, it was a big night, we had a lot of horses in it. It doesn’t always mean that you get the job done, this is satisfying.” That it was his Angus Hall three-year-old who saluted was no surprise to Golino. “I thought she was our best last year as a two-year-old. She had a horrible prep, a few things went wrong, she got sick, she got kicked. We sort of rushed her there and she didn’t probably perform as well as we thought she could. “She’s come back super this season and she’s shown that again tonight.” Phillips guided Une Belle Allure to the front from gate three with Diz Luck on his outside when they settled before Dance Craze joined him at the bell. A 32.3 second quarter sured up the leaders’ control of the race and after a 29.8 third quarter they would have plenty left in the final straight. Dance Craze loomed in Gavin Lang’s hands but Une Belle Allure fought on and when they hit the line a half-head was enough to give Phillips his crowning moment. “It’s a massive thrill. I’ve dreamt of winning a Group 1 for as long as I can remember and to do it on trotting’s night of nights, it really means a lot to me,” Phillips said. “To Anton and the team, for them to give me the opportunity, I really can’t explain how grateful I am to them. “It just shows the quality of people they are, they do a great job with their team and put a lot into the sport.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters has reached the fork in the road. On Saturday night, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix will take place at Tabcorp Park Melton and the harness racing title to be crowned the premier trotter in the southern hemisphere is up for grabs. It’s leg three of the five and there are a number of candidates vying for the top prize. Star New Zealand trotter Monbet took the opening leg with his victory in the Dominion last November while Australian ace Glenferrie Typhoon proved triumphant in the Great Southern Star last month. Neither is competing this weekend. But quality performers Speeding Spur and Sunny Ruby are ideally placed to take control of the Trotting Masters if victorious. Speeding Spur has 60 points while Sunny Ruby has 45 points, both well within reach of co-leaders Monbet and Glenferrie Typhoon who have 100 points. And historically the New Zealand bred performers have a commanding edge in this event. First staged in 2001, star local mare La Coocaracha proved successful before the Kiwi’s arrived in force with Take A Moment, Gold N Gold, Allegro Agitato, Sundons Gift, Vulcan, Stent and Keytsone Del all proving successful. Joining La Coocaracha as Australian bred winners are Sumthingaboutmaori, A Touch Of Flair and I Didn’t Do It. There are four Australian bred trotters competing this year in the shape of Glenferrie Burn, Maorisfavouritesun, Vincennes and El Paco while Itz Not Dark Yet is listed as the emergency. The remainder of the field is New Zealand bred with Daryl Boko being Finnish bred. The Chris Lang trained and driven Sundons Gift is the most successful trotter in the races history winning it four straight times (2007/10) while Stent went back to back in 2014/15 but reigning champion Keystone Del won’t get the opportunity to defend his crown owing to setbacks. However, Speeding Spur gets the opportunity to go one better after finishing a gallant second behind Keystone Del in track record time last year. Three mares have won the Grand Prix with La Coocaracha, Sumthingaboutmaori and Allegro Agitato the most recent when successful back in 2005. Representing the fairer sex this year is Sunny Ruby, Glenferrie Burn and KD Muscles. Leading reinsman Anthony Butt is chasing his third victory in the event when he takes the drive behind Sunny Ruby following his previous triumphs with Take A Moment and Keystone Del. And Sunny Ruby looms as the horse to beat given her recent form; the Sonya Smith trainee has won 4 of her 5 starts on Australian soil including last week’s Gr.1 Knight Pistol at Cranbourne while she also prepares Daryl Boko. Also duly represented is Andy Gath (Clover Mac & KD Muscles), Anton Golino (Glenferrie Burn & Vincennes) and Mattie Craven (El Paco & Uncas). New South Wales trotter On Thunder Road will command respect along with the Nicole Molander trained Prince Fearless. Leading trainer David Aiken prepares Maorisfavouritesun. The Grand Prix is listed as race 7 and scheduled to start at 9.30pm local time. The Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will head back to New Zealand for the two remaining legs of the series with the ANZAC Cup followed by the Canam Rowe Cup in late April. Both events will take place at Alexandra Park, Auckland. Chris Barsby

It's Hot To Trot @ Horsham on Monday afternoon for the 27th annual Decron Horse Care - Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship & the harness racing Industry Participants Recognition Raceday. Ten of Australasia's best are set to weave their magic with the reins in a four race contest, with the leading points scorer joining the Club's elite honour roll. Reining champion Ricky Duggan returns to defend his 2016 Crown. Duggan also enjoyed a great 2015/16 season home in the Apple Isle, finishing second to Mark Yole on the State tally board and with a fine winning strike rate of 21%. Honorary "BigV" Anthony Butt will compete at Horsham for the first time after finishing in 4th place on the 2015/16 Metropolitan Drivers Premiership table. The highly decorated Kiwi horseman started driving in 1983 and quickly made his mark as the NZ Junior Champion in both 1985 & 1988. Butt is just one of nine drivers inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame and is a four time, Inter Dominion Championship winning driver with Lyell Creek (2000), Take A Moment (2001 & 2003) and Mr Feelgood in 2009. His mighty tally of 49 Grand Circuit driving victories is miles ahead of the rest with Mark Purdon second on 27 and he is currently edging towards his 2000th career winner (1609 NZ, 381 AU). Leading Kiwi reinsman Blair Orange and last season's NSW premier driver Todd McCarthy are also headed to Horsham for the first time. Orange started driving in 1996 and by 1999 was NZ Champion Junior Driver. He's driven a century plus tally in 2014, 15 & 16 to be three times runner up behind Dexter Dunn and has already passed the century mark this season. While the Invitees may hold the spotlight, the meeting also recognises the contribution made by all our Industry Participants with $$$$ galore in products, goods, services & merchandise distributed to trainers, drivers and owners during the afternoon. Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Finn Tack, Pryde's Easifeed, Bertocchi Smallgoods, Cordina Farms, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Oringi Protection Wear, Hyland Racing Colours, Fly Veils By Design, Harness Breeders Victoria, Grafx Inc, Western District Horse Transport, Mustad Australia & Roma Pocock have thrown their support behind the meeting to ensure that everyone's a winner. Trainers, drivers, stablehands, owners & breeders will enjoy a designated hospitality area sponsored by the Victorian Trainers & Drivers Association. The Club will throw the gates open at 1.00pm with FREE entry for all to encourage families to pack their picnic basket, esky, blanket & chair and lounge on the lawns to enjoy a great day's racing. Racegoers & participants also have the chance to win a short break courtesy of View Hotels St Kilda Rd, Raglan Motor Inn Warrnambool, Tabcorp Park - Choice Hotels Melton & Deluxe Riverspa Moama. Tony Logan    

Harness racing trainer Anton Golino baulks at the thought of ranking his three-year-old trotting fillies, but he is categorical on one point. Dance Craze is his best. The Cardigan horseman dominated the heats of the Need for Speed Princess at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, finishing first and second in both. But it was the run of fourth placed Dance Craze in heat one that caught the eye most, the daughter of champion mare La Coocaracha and super sire Muscle Hill producing an enormous performance after missing the start. “It was a massive run,” Golino said. “A little bit of interference leading up to the gait was enough to put her off last night, which was unfortunate. “She is the best of them (my fillies) though. I think she can develop into a really, really good horse.” Dance Craze charged to the line behind stablemates Nieta and My Chimera, who ran 1-2, with Iona Spider for trainer Shane Hall and driver Jodi Quinlan winding up third after leading. Nieta rated 1:58.1 winning for Nathan Jack, finishing a head in front of My Chimera (Zac Phillips), the pair storming to the line together. “She showed a world of ability as a two-year-old and this time in has really learnt to settle. It’s a credit to Gavin (Lang) who drives for us in the trials. He’s really got her to settle and that’s helped her a lot,” Golino said of Nieta. “We’re very lucky Gavin is able to educate these horses for us in the trials and teach them to be racehorses. “Nathan said last night if anything Nieta was a bit lazy, which is good because she was not pulling. “My Chimera has surprised us a little bit. She tied up badly at Ballarat and didn’t want to go at all, really. Then, since winning at Charlton she hasn’t put a foot wrong.” Heat two was another Golino special with Une Belle Allure (Angus Hall-Glenferrie Unixa) producing a 1:56.9 rate first-up to overhaul impressive newbie Ima Bourbon Girl by 1.6m. Driven by Zac Phillips, who finished with a winning double after piloting Majestic Moves (Majestic Son-Kwik Kiss) home at big odds in the Aldebaran Park Handicap, Une Belle Allure looked every bit the beautiful mover as she boomed down the outside. Having just her second start, Ima Bourbon Girl (Sam Bourbon-Lough Neagh) led from gate four for Gavin Lang. Diz Luck finished third for trainer-driver Gavin Smith from the pole. The Group 1 IRT Need for Speed Princess Final will be run on Saturday night, March 11, part of a huge four Group 1 program. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Bad Boy Brad’s ascension continued on Saturday night in front of a large harness racing crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the 2017 Exclusive Homes Maltese Cup. The Diane Giles trained six-year-old produced a withering sprint for driver Lance Justice to capture the silverware in a stirring four-way finish, with first through to fourth separated by not much more than a long head. The Gunbower Cup winner has already won six races from 21 starts this season, Bad Boy Brad’s assessment climbing from C7-M0 to M3-C12. Video: Re-live Bad Boy Brad's Maltese Cup win Bad Boy Brad (Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe) rated 1:54.1 to overhaul south-west Victorian pair Jivin Cullen (trained by Brad Hunt and driven by Glen Craven) in a photo finish officially by a half-head, with a head further back to Roy George (Matthew Craven) and another head to Upanatom (David Aiken/Mark Pitt) in fourth. Bad Boy Brad launched late down the outside against a 27.7 last quarter and a 28 secs third split and looks destined for bigger assignments again. Long Forest husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath secured a winning double and three second placings for the night, successful with trotters Clover Mac (Dream Vacation-Clover Lass) in the SEW Eurodrive Trotters Handicap in 2:00.3 from the 2240-metre standing start and Posseidon (Fling It-Maori Acacia) in the Rayner Real Estate 3YO Trot over 1720m in 1:59.8. Click here to view all results from Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Click here to listen to the winning drivers on HRV YouTube  Cody Winnell

The East Grampians Health Service Cranks and Defibrillators will take their bikes to the trots this month. The two teams are in training for the annual Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay, a 525-kilometre relay from Swan Hill to Port Fairy in April. The teams are aiming to raise $25,000 to assist with the purchase of a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre at EGHS and one of their major fundraisers will be a trots meeting at the Ararat Harness Racing Club on Thursday, February 16. Team members will attend the twilight Murray to Moyne Race Meeting and they will be out and about the track selling raffle tickets and shaking donation tins. Racegoers can also make a gold coin donation at the gate. The team has also sold race names to local businesses for the seven-race event as part of their fundraising. “East Grampians Health Service has been participating in the Murray to Moyne Relay for many years and has raised thousands of dollars to purchase equipment for the health service in that time,” EGHS community liaison officer Jodie Holwell said. “This year the teams are helping to raise funds for a new bus for the Patricia Hinchey Centre, which will enable clients to attend community events and go on outings as part of their activities’ program. “The teams are training twice a week for the gruelling relay, which will start at Swan Hill on April 1 and finish at Port Fairy on April 2. “The teams develop great camaraderie and work hard together not only in training and riding, but in running a number of fundraising events in the lead up to the relay. They are great ambassadors for the health service.” Ararat club president Tony Bond said all were welcome to come along for a great night of trots racing action and help to raise funds for the Patricia Hinchey Centre’s new bus. “The Ararat Harness Racing Club is very pleased to be able to support the East Grampians Health Service again this year by hosting a race meeting for the Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay fundraising team,” Mr Bond said. “We hope to see the Ararat community at the track on Thursday night and encourage them to dig deep for a great cause.” Meanwhile, the #TeamTeal campaign will continue at Ararat, the national trots initiative raising important funds for the Women’s Cancer Foundation through donations for every winner driven by a female driver until March 12. Women drivers in the trots are wearing teal driving pants for the length of the campaign and Harness Racing Victoria and TAB.com.au are each donating $200 per win, meaning $400 goes to the Foundation for every Victorian #TeamTeal winner. Last month Harness Racing Victoria donated $12,500 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia via a similar campaign. HRV and TAB.com.au are also raising funds for the Good Friday Appeal via the Good Friday Appeal Charity Tipoff on its weekly Trots Talk show, aired across Victoria. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Fields for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017 Form guide for Ararat, Thursday 16 February 2017

Long-serving Ballarat administrator Dennis Foley has announced his retirement. Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse paid tribute to the harness racing club’s long-time treasurer – Mr Foley has been in the role continuously since 1982 – and wished him well for the future. “Dennis wants to spend more time with his family, being a first-time grandfather, and pursue other areas of his life he has enjoyed more in in recent times including world travel and building his racing empire,” Mr Rowse said. “Dennis has been an integral part of the success of the Ballarat club for a long period of time. His business acumen and huge network of contacts accrued over 35 years with the club will be a big void to fill in the future. He should be immensely proud of the condition he’s leaving the club in. “On a personal note, Dennis has been a great role model in my professional and personal life. His attention to detail is second to none. “For those who were lucky enough to have been on tour with him to the feature race carnivals in Australia and New Zealand, we will all remember those trips fondly as the reason we love this sport so much. The community feeling that is harness racing.” Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) CEO David Martin also paid tribute to Mr Foley and acknowledged his long service to the industry.  “Harness Racing Victoria takes this opportunity to thank Dennis for his long and dedicated period of service to the Ballarat and District Trotting Club and the industry more broadly," Mr Martin said. “It takes passionate and devoted people to drive the country clubs and Dennis ticks both of those boxes. HRV wishes him all the best for the future.” Ballarat club president David Young said Mr Foley had played a huge role in Ballarat’s many achievements over the years. “On behalf of the BDTC committee we would like to congratulate Dennis on what is an amazing stint in serving the BDTC as treasurer. He has for 35 years taken ownership and shown such passion for our club and business,” Mr Young said. “He has been a great assistance to our management team on a daily basis. There have been many achievements at the club in which Dennis has played a major role. He is a life member and received club legend status last year. Our club is indebted to Dennis for his contribution.” Country Clubs Association CEO David Brick also took the opportunity to wish Mr Foley well. “Dennis has been a strong supporter of the club network and a leading advocate for maintaining on-course patronage and atmosphere,” Mr Brick said. “The Association of Country Clubs congratulates Dennis on his significant contribution to the Ballarat club and broader club community for close to four decades. We wish Dennis all the best for the future.” At a special committee meeting Ballarat appointed Leon Underwood, previous assistant treasurer, to the position of treasurer.  Mr Underwood works for the City Of Ballarat as a Socio Economic Development Officer and has been mentored by Mr Foley over the last 12 months in line with the club's succession plan. Rob Kerr was appointed to the position of assistant treasurer. Mr Kerr, who is the Ballarat Branch Manager for the Bank Of Melbourne, has been on the club committee for over 15 years including time as the vice-president. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

There are eight races set for the harness racing Warragul meeting this Wednesday, February 15. Entries are strong across the program, with good numbers in most events. A strong contingent of local horses will compete, with about half of the total starters engaged from the region. Last start winner Run Myles Run, for Gippsland Harness Training Centre graduate Alan Ratnasingham, could start the day on a successful note for punters. Despite drawing wide on the mobile barrier, Run Myles Run is a strong chance of making it two victories on end - he is the only horse in the seven runner field to have won a race in their last four starts. Smart local four-year-old Professor Tom returns to the races in the fourth event. Raced by Warragul HRC committeeman Grant Rathjen and trained by Gary Quinlan, Professor Tom will have to overcome a back row draw on the mobile barrier over the short 1790 metre journey. Premier reinsman Chris Alford will have to choose which drive he takes between stablemates Courageous Call and Toscas Delight in the last race. The last is one of the better quality races on the program, boasting several horses in good form. Former Kiwi Our Mcardle Star returns to racing in the seventh event. A winner of two out of three runs in Australia last year, the five-year-old last raced at Shepparton in December for trainer Ahmed Taiba, who usually does well when he brings horses across to Warragul. Earlier, the second event looks a real lottery with no real standout in the eight horse field. Local hopes rest with La Patata, British General and Monterey Jack, all drawn off the front row. With fine and warm weather forecast, racing commences on Wednesday at 1:17pm. Female drivers competing on Wednesday will wear teal coloured driving pants, as part of a nationwide promotion raising awareness, and funds from race winning drives, for ovarian cancer research. Kyle Galley

Persistence and patience blended with talent to see Glenferrie Typhoon win the Pryde’s Easifeed $300,000 Great Southern Star, a super harness racing training and driving performance by Andy and Kate Gath. After a season plagued by disappointing runs, Glenferrie Typhoon’s undoubted talent spilled on to Tabcorp Park Melton with a blistering run, stopping the clock at a 1:58.0 mile rate, 1.5 seconds under the old track record. The all-the-way win gifted the $300,000 feature, the richest trotting race in Australasia, to a proud group of owners and a triumphant local stable. “It’s a huge thrill,” Andy Gath said. “I know he had the draw and everything, but he still had to do it. “I’ve always had a great affinity with the trotters and they have really emerged in Victoria, there are so many good trotters around and it’s such a great race to win and great to have it on like this with the Hunter Cup. Such a big night and it’s a huge thrill.” Sharing that delight was his wife, Kate Gath, who had been put through the ringer as Glenferrie Typhoon battled to re-find form. The Majestic Son gelding ran second in this feature last year amid an outstanding run, made all the meritorious by the fact he was suffering from a bladder stone. He resumed late in 2016 but two poor performances saw him tipped out for another spell. A sixth placing in The George Gath at Shepparton preceded a win against far more modest competition at Melton on January 30, when Glenferrie Typhoon appeared to switch off and have his considerable lead gobbled up.  “He’s done my head in over the last couple of months, I did everything I could to get him trotting,” Kate Gath said. “I haven’t conceded. I tried a few different things again on Monday and he couldn’t trot it out up the straight. I didn’t know what else to do, I know he’s got the ability and thank goodness we got it right on the night that we needed to get it right on.” From gate one Glenferrie Typhoon held off Maori Time’s advance to find the front, but the pressure was persistent with one challenger after the next coming to the breeze to press forward. Josh Dickie then guided favourite and reigning champion Speeding Spur on to Glenferrie Typhoon’s back and when they hit the straight it became a race in two. “If I got a lot of pressure I was going to play it by ear and see how I felt, but he just travelled so good the whole way I couldn’t hand handed up if I wanted too,” Kate Gath said. “When Speeding Spur got on my back I thought “oh no, this isn’t good, this wasn’t part of the plan”. “(Glenferrie Typhoon) was just travelling so well the whole way. When I got to the corner he was still travelling and I know he can get a bit hot in the straight and I thought, all right, we’re going to run now, they are going to have their chance but they are going to have to catch me.” And in the match-race between Glenferrie Typhoon and Speeding Spur it was the Victorian who held on by a half-neck. “His ability’s always been there, we know how good he is, so it’s just fantastic that he was able to get the job done tonight,” Kate Gath said. “All the owners are here, absolutely over the moon.” Sunny Ruby ran a brave third for Sam Smolenski, having been the best runner from deep to finish 9m shy of the leader. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Our Little General (Mach Three-Kabbalah Karen) caused a minor harness racing upset by taking out this year’s $200,000 Victoria Derby on Hunter Cup night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Last season’s Breeders Crown winning two-year-old rated 1:56.8 to beat a Mark Purdon trained pacer, not the $1.40 All Stars favourite Vincent, but the $25.60 shot Motu Meteor driven by Grant Campbell. Vincent copped a bad flat tyre and had to be pulled out of the race at the mile mark, much to the chagrin of punters. All the while Our Little General was in front, out of trouble, making his own luck for champion reinsman Chris Alford. The General pumped out quarters of 30.3, 30.7, 28.1 and 26.6, Alford looking around at the bell, no doubt wondering where his much vaunted opponent was. Trained by Victoria’s leading trainer, champion horsewoman Emma Stewart, Our Little General has now earnt over $360,000 in stakemoney. “He’s a great little horse,” Alford said. “Emma and (partner) Clayton (Tonkin) do a great job. I went in with confidence, not that I could beat the favourite, but that he would run a great race. “When he kicked on the turn he was really strong.” Motu Meteor ran second, beaten 4.1m, while Luke McCarthy guided Astride into third.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The scene has been set for a magnificent Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton after an outstanding fortnight of harness racing. The PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup set the foundation for a magnificent TAB Summer of Glory, which began with last weekend's Eynesbury Victoria Cup. Grand circuit superstars Lazarus, Smolda and Lennytheshark performed superbly to finish 1-2-3 in the Group 1 Ballarat cup. The 2015 (Lennytheshark) and 2016 (Smolda) Inter Dominion winners then sat out Victoria Cup night but the third of the equine jets set Tabcorp Park alight. Lazarus - with his group of loyal and prominent owners in attendance - destroyed a talented Victoria Cup field, obliterating the cup record and becoming just the fourth four-year-old to win the $400,000 race. I was on track to see Mark Purdon's protégé crush his rivals in the Victorian Derby 12 months earlier and the strong on-track crowd once again stood and applauded as Lazarus strolled past the post for a dominant win. I couldn't help but wish I owned him, which is where Sunday's APG yearling sales may come into consideration! The entire Victoria Cup night was sensational. The racing immense as Purdon put on a driving and training clinic to collect five victories in the cart, four of which were trained under his and partner Natalie Rasmussen's guidance. In a race that may have escaped the attention of some, I was eagerly watching the action in race three as my mare, Highview Christina, regained some form and at any old odds ($28 the place) rumbled home for a gallant third. Despite being known to put in the odd average run, I look forward to seeing how 'Apples' goes in Saturday's final of the Rising Stars Pace. Vic Cup night was something special, on and off the track, but Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night promises to be even better! Five Group 1 races, with question marks everywhere thanks to some challenging draws to the favourites and a grand old warrior on the quest to repeat his 2016 Hunter Cup victory. In the last edition of the stand start, Smolda fought off fellow Kiwi Ohoka Punter for the bulk of the $500,000 kitty. But, arguably Smolda's greatest rival is back. After overcoming some issues in the Inter Dominion, Lennytheshark looks ripe for the Cup, despite drawing worse than Smolda's gate nine (Lenny will nearly drag driver Chris Alford across my feet as he begins from gate 13). New Zealanders Vincent, Speeding Spur, A Piccadilly Princess and Lazarus are all favourites to collect the other four Group 1s but there are more than enough locals to keep some of the big trophies on our soil. Away from the races, Collingwood AFL Women's superstar Moana Hope will be fresh off her AFLW debut and will be signing footballs and taking photos. So, five Group 1 races, my own horse in a Group 3, the sport's megastar rolling around at $1.04 plus entertainment, great food and a great crowd - the finale to the 2017 Summer of Glory is guaranteed to be amazing! I'll see you all there (and IF Highview Christina wins, it's my shout in the owners’ tent)! by Josh Jenkins Fields for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017 Form guide for Tabcorp Park Melton, Saturday 04 February 2017

Star New Zealand trotter Speeding Spur is chasing a piece of harness racing history this weekend. The Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton is the next leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series and the Auckland based star looms as the horse to beat. A relatively new race for the elite trotters, the race was first staged back in 2013 and run under a fairly radical format, the event is the richest in the southern hemisphere. Initially modelled on Sweden’s universally revered Elitlopp, the Great Southern Star originally featured two Group 1 heats with a final all run on the same programme. Both heats will be drawn randomly staged over Melton’s 1720m trip with 10 horses progressing to the decider later in the night. And the Kiwi trotters have dominated with outstanding performer Vulcan winning the inaugural series before Keystone Del, Stent and last year’s winner Speeding Spur all swept to glory. But the 2017 version has been drastically altered with the event now becoming a straight out race being staged over the staying journey of 2760m. A full field of 12 with an emergency runner drawn will chase the major prize on offer. And it’s a high quality line-up with trotters representing all parts of the globe. So, can Speeding Spur become the first trotter to claim back to back titles? Prepared by father/son combination of John and Josh Dickie, the Pegasus Spur entire has recently returned from injury and many thought the Great Southern Star would come too soon but following his excellent return last week at Alexandra Park when second, he now has a shot at further glory. Speeding Spur will start from gate five. Glenferrie Typhoon represents husband and wife partnership of Andy and Kate Gath, a runner-up last year behind Speeding Spur has drawn the inside gate and the last start winner will be looking to go one better this year. Quality New South Wales trotter On Thunder Road was luckless last week in the Dullard Cup but his winning effort two starts ago at Ballarat in the Cochran Cup gives him an excellent chance at redemption. The Darren Hancock trained and driven gelding starts from gate two. Cardigan Boko possesses a cosmopolitan flavour, bred in Sweden and trained in Perth, the flashy looking stallion starts from gate four and rates highly amongst the chances. The son of former world champion Varenne is prepared by Clive Dalton and will be handled by champion reinsman Chris Lewis. Another import is Daryl Boko; the former Finnish trotter is now trained in New Zealand by Tim Butt, a previous winner of this race through Vulcan. The Majestic Son gelding has drawn gate nine and will be handled by master reinsman Anthony Butt. Giant New Zealander Great Things Happen who is on loan to ace local horseman Greg Sugars also boasts strong recent form. The Love You gelding starts from gate ten. Local star The Boss Man must overcome a tricky draw of the inside of the second-line (gate 8) but the Scott Dyer trained and Ellen Tormey driven son of Bacardi Lindy boasts excellent recent form. Like Kate Gath, Tormey is hoping to become the first female driver to win the race. Classy mares Maori Time, Heavenly Sister, Quite A Moment, KD Muscles and Sunny Ruby are all chasing a slice history with a victory this weekend because no mare has ever won the Great Southern Star. All mares boast very strong credentials and loom as legitimate threats. The speedy beginner Maori Time has drawn nicely in gate three while Heavenly Sister (gate 6), Quite A Moment (gate 11), KD Muscles (gate 12) and Sunny Ruby (gate 13) may require some lady luck.   The Great Southern Star is scheduled as race six and listed to start at 8.30pm local time. Chris Barsby

Australia’s premier summer harness racing carnival at Tabcorp Park Melton is being supported by a $180,000 joint funding package announced by the Andrews Labor Government. The Government is contributing more than $90,000 to the Summer of Glory Carnival through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund Raceday Attraction Program. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) is matching the Government’s contribution. The first day of the carnival took place on Saturday, 28 January, and attracted a crowd of more than 3000 people. The carnival will conclude this Saturday, 4 February, with the prestigious $500,000 Hunter Cup, the $200,000 Victoria Derby Final and the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star for trotters. Stakemoney for the carnival will exceed $1.8 million and entertainment will include live music, a DJ, roving performers and Chenda drumming. A range of children’s activities will include an animal farm, face-painting, jumping castle and atomic drop-slide. Return shuttle buses will transport patrons from the regional harness racing centres of Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Maryborough, Warragul, Cranbourne, Kilmore, Echuca, Terang, Geelong, Horsham, Stawell and Hamilton. Harness racing in Victoria generates more than $421 million in economic benefit each year and employs almost 4000 in full-time equivalent jobs across the state. Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula “The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support the Summer of Glory Carnival which provides top quality harness racing for the community.” “I commend Harness Racing Victoria for its hard work in bringing together this year’s carnival which includes entertainment off and on the track.” Quote attributable to Harness Racing Victoria CEO David Martin “Harness Racing Victoria is grateful for the Government’s support and with some of the best pacers and trotters in Australasia competing at the Summer of Glory we can guarantee exciting racing and top-notch entertainment.” http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/hot-summer-harness-racing-carnival-at-tabcorp-park/

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