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Keystone Del took his place among the illustrious harness racing millionaire stake earner’s club last night, the champion trotter’s comfortable Uncle Petrika Free-for-All win at Tabcorp Park Melton driving his career winnings to $1,001,176. “He deserves it,” reinsman Anthony Butt said after steering Keystone Del to the 9.8-metre success over flying mare Barefoot Sally. “He’s a great horse and he’s going as good as ever at the moment.” Keystone Del posted a winning mile rate of 1:55.3 after ambling along three-wide at the back of the small six-horse field early, eventually cruising to the breeze at the bell, and putting the matter to rest at the quarter pole when Butt said go. VIDEO: KEYSTONE DEL WINS THE UNCLE PETRIKA FFA Since joining the Brent Lilley stable Keystone Del has won four Group 1s, adding to the six he picked up with former trainer Nicole Molander. Keystone Del's Group 1 resume features dual victories the V L Dullard Trotters Cup, Glenferrie Challenge at Menangle and Great Southern Star heats. He also picked up the Great Southern Star Final and the Bill Collins Trot at Cranbourne in 2014, and the Trotters Grand Prix at Melton and the Knight Pistol at Cranbourne this year. Among his millionaire Australasian trotting alumni are Lyell Creek, I Can Doosit, Sundons Gift, Take A Moment, Stent and One Over Kenny. Cody Winnell

Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton Terang once again proved a town rich in trots horsepower. Harness racing trainer Darren Cole, based in the western Victorian town, produced classy seven-year-old Exciteusinthecity first-up to win the Alabar Captain Sandy Free-for-All over 1720 metres. Rated perfectly by driver Tim McLean, Exciteusinthecity punched through from the pole gate to hold out fast starter Maximan early, withstood a challenge from It Is Billy at the bell and went on to score a gritty win by a metre in a mile rate of 1:55.7. The Metropolitan gelding joins guns such as Lennytheshark (2015) and Smoken Up (2009) on the Captain Sandy FFA honour roll. Not giving much away in his post-race interview, reinsman McLean said leading was the key to unlocking success for the gelding by Metropolitan out of Safely Kept mare Excite. “He loves getting to the front. He fought well to hold them off (tonight),” he said. When asked what was next for the 2014 Casey Classic and Gammalite winner, McLean borrowed a line from an old coaching manual. “We’ll just take it one race at a time.” Exciteusinthecity has now won 20 races, his stakemoney exceeding a quarter of a million dollars. VIDEO: EXCITEUSINTHECITY WINS THE ALABAR CAPTAIN SANDY FFA McLean has piloted the pacer to eight city victories. It Is Billy finished second to Exciteusinthecity, his vocal fan club appreciative of the Michael Barby-trained pacer’s efforts – cheering him hard with a lap to run and giving him another cheer post-race, while Metro Mike ran third. Dalvui Raceway Terang will host a seven-race program on Tuesday night, featuring the running of the 2016 Terang Guineas. McLean will be chasing another feature victory in that race aboard The Big Show, but Im Wrongly Accused from the Terang stable of Matthew Craven, exciting Sebastopol-trained King Of Rocknroll and Group 1 winning local Jilliby Jitterbug – one of five Marg Lee Terang-trained runners on the program – will all draw support from punters. Cody Winnell

Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Stunning harness racing colt The Storm Inside achieved what for long has appeared his two-year-old destiny and won the Group 1 $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Emma Stewart’s freak by Rocknroll Hanover out of Spirited Storm appeared to do it easy, with Greg Sugars taking the lead and clearing out on the straight, requiring only a flick of the reins and a tap of the whip to claim the mantle of Australia’s finest. “He’s an absolute pleasure to drive,” Sugars said. “Clayton (Tonkin) and Emma have done a wonderful job with this horse.” The race appeared in The Storm Inside’s keeping throughout, with Sugars driving it to the lead from barrier two while Weona Sizzler took the sit on his back. Chris Alford temporarily put Our Little General, Stewart’s other runner, into the breeze, but an unsettled Three Of The Best kicked up first time down the main straight, looping Alford as Gavin Lang wrestled with the Queensland gelding. He eventually settled in the breeze, but there was little respite with Geoff Webster hooking Wrappers Delight three-wide with almost 1000m to go and there they remained to the final bend. Having raced fiercely, Three Of The Best’s bid appeared done at the final turn, on his tail Alford and  second-favourite Our Little General struggled to find a run while San Domino made ground four-wide and Weona Sizzler moved up on the pegs. The latter two would run into second and third, but removed from the commotion was The Storm Inside, who Sugars urged clear at the turn and who advanced to win by 6.8m in a mile rate of 1:55.6. “Bit of a relief to get it out of the way. I’m sure it’s a big weight off the shoulders of Emma and Clayton,” Sugars said. “He proved the best horse tonight and it all went to plan. He had a good draw and he’d probably already shown before tonight that he was the best horse in the field, but it’s still never as easy as just turning up. You’ve got to earn it.” While it may have appeared oh-so-easy for the bay colt, many hands have gone into crafting The Storm Inside, who improved to six wins from as many starts. That began with Helen Head of Manna Lodge in Congupna, who ventured to America to purchase a filly, which she brought back to Australia and utilised to breed a champion. “I’m thrilled to bits tonight to win,” Ms Head said. And then there were the owners, strong in numbers and bursting with pride, none more so than Justin Baker. “To win a race like this, wow, this is just a dream come true,” Baker said. And, of course, Stewart herself, who not only claimed the night’s grandest crown, but produced five of the card’s 10 winners. “It’s just a fantastic series,” she said. “I know sales time is Clayton’s favourite time and we really appreciate the Australian Pacing Gold.”  Michael Howard

Melton harness racing debutante driver Tim Williams gave A Piccadilly Princess a brisk breather and then revved her up for a scintillating win in the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton. The dip from the breeze to the box seat was described as “the winning move” by the connections of another Mark Purdon-trained Group 1 triumph, having overrun Emma Stewart’s super three-year-old filly Heavens Trend in the straight.  “It was a great performance,” Williams, 26, said of A Piccadilly Princess, who recorded a fifth straight victory and a seventh in 13 starts. “I’m privileged to be able to sit behind these horses with these colours on. I can’t thank Mark enough.” The filly by Bettor's Delight out of Hyde Park Royal had to earn the win. Flojos Gold flew out of the gates and was then crossed by Gavin Lang on Heavens Trend when they reached the back straight. As that was happening up front, down back Dancingwithsierra led A Piccadilly Princess three-wide, with the latter settling in the breeze outside Heavens Trend. “We got a good cart into it and that made a difference,” Williams said. There they remained through a 59.7 first half-mile before Lang stretched out on Heavens Trend in a 27.2 third quarter, with A Piccadilly Princess losing touch approaching the final bend and Williams dropping her on to the tail of the leader. “I thought I was in a wee bit of trouble,” Williams said. “It was a timely breather.” Having given more than a length, A Piccadilly Princess found new life down the straight, with the filly putting her nose in front at the 100m and advancing to win by 2.2m from Heavens Trend. Stewart’s other hope, Celebrity Guest, put in an enormous last 200m to draw from the pegs to the outside and storm home into third, relegating a resilient Dancingwithsierra to a close fourth. With some having flown in from Hong Kong for the race, a proud group of owners, including Simon Bradley, Michael Ward and Thomas Patterson, were on hand to accept the coveted Oaks. Patterson said Williams decision to provide their filly brief cover at the top of the straight may have made all the difference. “Coming around the bend we were a little concerned, but Tim was obviously confident he still had a little in her,” Patterson said. “He ducked in and I thought that the other one, Heavens Trend, had got away from us. But Mark and Nat and the team believe in what they have and Tim didn’t panic and it worked out and was probably the winning move.” Patterson said A Piccadilly Princess would return to Purdon’s New Zealand stable for a likely tilt at the New Zealand Oaks and a potential collision with stunning stablemate Our Dream About Me, who won the New South Wales Oaks. Cody Winnell    

Keystone Del has moved within $13,000 of joining an elite group of hrness racing trotting millionaire stake earners after tonight’s E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. The eight-year-old gelding dominated a small but select field of squaregaiters to rate 1:59.2 for the 2240-metre trip – well outside his own personal best and track record of 1:56 flat. His next success will see him join Lyell Creek ($2.2m), I Can Doosit ($1.3m), Sundons Gift ($1.2m), Take A Moment ($1.1m), Stent and One Over Kenny ($1.0m) on the all-time Australasian trotters’ earners list. “He’ll get there,” said winning reinsman Anthony Butt after tonight’s win. “He felt terrific tonight. He had to run given the way the race panned out.” Keystone Del trotted casually to the front early, crossing in-form polemarker Illawong Helios with Sun Of Anarchy slotting in three back on the pegs. The order didn’t change for the remainder of the journey as Keystone Del reeled off comfortable splits of 31.2, 30.9, 29.6 and 27.3. RE-LIVE KEYSTONE DEL'S E B COCHRAN TROTTERS CUP WIN Illawong Helios, who is racing in super form for Ross and Greg Sugars, finished 5.9m behind Keystone Del, with Sun Of Anarchy holding off a challenge from stablemate Our Twentyten to hold third a further 10.4m away. The Yonkers International Trot remains a potential assignment for Keystone Del, who is a 33-time winner from 46 career starts. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Storm Inside’s reputation as a freak two-year-old was only heightened when the colt produced an outstanding win in the second Australian Pacing Gold semi-final at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Smythes Creek stable claimed both semi-finals with Our Little General (Mach Three) and The Storm Inside (Rocknroll Hanover) , and it was the latter that again dropped jaws having been tested early before finding the lead and still having plenty in the tank to draw clear and win by 9.5m. “He’s showing start-by-start that he’s an improved horse,” driver Greg Sugars said in the wake of The Storm Inside’s win. “He’s the real deal. He’s a top horse and I’m looking forward to next week.” He’ll likely start a short-priced favourite after Saturday night’s outstanding showing. In the first semi-final, Our Little General, renowned for his sprint, was instead called on to produce a dogged run to win the first of the semi-finals. With heat on in the early going Our Little General was the third of four-wide to the first corner, eventually claiming the lead inside Jilliby Kung Fu. By the bell Geoff Webster’s fancied Wrappers Delight had cornered the field and sidled next to Our Little General in the breeze, and they cooled their heels from a 27.7 first quarter to a 29.3 second. Our Little General and Wrappers Delight gained separation at the final bend but the latter lost touch and $21 shot Three Of The Best was the best of the swoopers, almost pinching the race from Stewart’s short-priced favourite. Driver Chris Alford had Our Little General hold on to win from Three Of The Best by a half-head, with Wrappers Delight third and Weona Sizzler (fourth) and None Bettor (fifth) also qualifying for the final.  “He’s a good little horse and had to earn it tonight,” Alford said. “Being in front is not ideal for him. You never know when they get pressure how they will handle it. He is probably better with the sit. Hopefully next week we can get a draw and a bit of luck.” Our Little General won in a 1:55.4 mile, a time eclipsed by 0.8s in the second semi-final.  Alford, chasing a fourth win from as many races on the night, made The Storm Inside earn the lead by pushing Redbank Blaze along early before handing up to Greg Sugars when they entered the straight for the first time. Sugars settled in on The Storm Inside but was kept honest when Bettor Be Gold loomed into the breeze on the back straight. Any thought that the $1.20 favourite was under threat though was soon erased with Sugars again barely moving as The Storm Inside rattled down the final straight to win in 1:54.3. Redbank Blaze ran second from Atomic Red, Bettor Be Gold and fifth-placed San Domino, who all qualified for Friday night’s $322,000 final. by Michael Howard

A Piccadilly Princess took her chance in Friday's  harness racing Oaks heat at Tabcorp Park Melton and the result, an advance token to next Saturday night’s Nevele R Stud  Victoria Oaks Final. Mark Purdon’s Bettors Delight out of Hyde Park Royal filly was the fastest of the three heat winners, and her rivals might need a get out of jail free card, maybe in the shape of a poor barrier draw for the All Stars pacer, if they’re to upstage her in the big game. But despite the effortless nature of her heat win A Piccadilly Princess doesn’t have a monopoly on the final with Locals Heavens Trend and Dancingwithsierra, who ran one-two in their Oaks heat, to be major players, while Matthew Craven’s improving filly Im Wrongly Accused looms as a potential dark horse after her heat win. A Piccadilly Princess didn’t quite do it from start to finish on Friday night, crossed early by Flojos Gold before moving to the lead at the 1800m, but once in front she was unstoppable – her last 1200m divvied up by 29.5, 27.4 and 27.8 splits. Her winning time of 2:41.9 was the fastest of the three Oaks heats by .7 of a second, but the ease with which she got the job done – and her impressive Northern Oaks win recently in New Zealand – will have many punters pinning their hopes on the Purdon filly in next weekend’s $150,000 Group 1 final. Smythes Creek filly Heavens Trend won her Oaks heat in a gross time of 2:42.6 and a mile rate of 1:56.8. The Emma Stewart-trained daughter of Rock n Roll Heaven out of Trendsetter defeated another highly rated pacer in Dancingwithsierra in Friday night’s heats. Heavens Trend rolled past Dancingwithsierra early and the pair drew away in the straight with Dancingwithsierra making a late dive but Heavens Trend holding on by a half-neck. Both look live chances in the final. WATCH THE OAKS HEAT REPLAYS AND CHECK OUT THE RESULTS IN FULL DETAIL Im Wrongly Accused (Bettor's Delight out of Gross Misconduct) was the other heat winner, her winning time the slowest of the three qualifiers – 2:44.9 gross and 1:58.5 mile rate – but she sprinted sharply along the sprint lane and looked professional to topple Celebrity Guest. This heat actually produced the fastest final 800m (55secs) and trainer/driver Craven will be pleased with how his filly is progressing since joining his stable from New Zealand. Cody Winnell

The nation’s most talented harness racing two-year-olds are showing early zeal in pursuit of Australian Pacing Gold, which carries a $322,000 purse that will be prized open at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 22. Wrappers Delight, trained and driven by Bannockburn’s Geoff Webster, was among those to salute when four Victorian heats of the series were held at Melton last Friday night, reward for owners Domenic Martello and Doug Webster who invested in the yearling at the 2015 APG sales. “We went along Friday night and cheered him on,” Martello said. “I took my wife and the kids and had a ball. As long as it is a healthy and happy horse we find they will run well, and when they win that’s a bonus.” The APG heats for colts and geldings at Melton last Friday also saw Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s short-priced favourites, Our Little General and The Storm Inside, live up to their top billing, while trainer-driver and part-owner Allison Chisholm claimed the other heat with Whats The Catch. DON'T MISS THE APG REPLAYS OF HEAT ONE, HEAT TWO, HEAT THREE AND HEAT FOUR The four winners will be guaranteed starts in the series’ semi-finals on April 16, which precede the April 22 final. The APG heats for fillies get underway at Melton on Friday, April 8, leading up to the semi-final (April 23) and final (April 30) at Menangle. For Geoff Webster, Wrappers Delight’s impressive win – his second from as many starts – came as little surprise. “He is quite a nice horse and we went in confident,” Webster said. “I was most concerned about coming out of barrier seven, but he got away reasonably well and showed good gate speed. “He cruised to the front without any real effort and was comfortably parked outside the leader.” When it came time to call on Wrappers Delight in the straight Webster required only a gentle urging to draw past second-placed Jilliby Kung Fu, who showed plenty for Terang trainer Marg Lee. “He got to the line very well,” Webster said, and the seasoned trainer was confident Wrappers Delight would challenge Stewart’s much lauded pair were they to meet in a semi-final or final. “I think he’s up there with them. I respect them, but I don’t think they are any better than he is.” The win was great early reward for owner Martello, who has turned many yearlings into Webster’s care in the past three years. “I didn’t go in thinking we’re going to win,” Martello said. “I’m a bit superstitious and didn’t want to mozz the horse. But he raced well and I feel blessed.” Martello’s passion for all things trots has quickly snowballed since crossing from gallops ownership. “I’ve had horses in the gallops and felt it was a bit impersonal,” he said. “In the trots I can never win the Melbourne Cup, but it is not just about that. I know the drivers, the trainers and feel involved. I reckon it’s great value. I feel valued as a trots owner, I feel significant and not just a stat. The horses run all year and they can earn big bucks.” Misterfreeze is another under Martello’s ownership, and he run a brave fourth in a photo finish of heat number three. It is a stable that also includes Big Jack Hammer, a Group 1 winner in December’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Plaitnum Hom Grown Classic. “I look at (ownership) as an intellectual challenge,” Martello said. “I’m a guy who hasn’t got a history in horses, but go to the yearling sales and buy horses that other people who have experience have also seen. “I look it as a challenge to plan to get a horse, to look at the breeding and to then buy the yearling. When they race, like was the case on Friday night, I feel like you have succeeded just by being there and being competitive.”  He said it was a joy only magnified by being able to share it with those around you. “Harness is down-to-earth big time. It’s a very friendly industry. They are normal people who value the owners and I love it.” by Michael Howard

Self-titled “hobby trainer” Mario Attard wants to soak up every second of life as an owner and harness racing trainer of a boom three-year-old colt. The Rockbank resident will take the reins of Dont Hold Back at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight, when the colt by Courage Under Fire out of Braeview Express will start at a short price in the Group 3 VHSRC Victoria Sires Classic. “Win, lose or draw he tries hard and I consider myself lucky to have him,” Attard said. “I’ll have a drive of him. (Regular reinsman) Greg (Sugars) is a fabulous driver and is probably 10 times the driver I am, but I will do it because I enjoy it. I’m a hobby trainer and want to give it a go. “I only have three horses after I bought a yearling. I break them in and get them going from the get go. That’s what horse racing is to me, it’s not about money. If it was I would put Greg on him because he would probably do the job better than I would, but I do it for the enjoyment.” VIDEO: SOAK UP DONT HOLD BACK'S FABULOUS FIVE WINS Dont Hold Back is certainly bringing plenty of joy to Attard’s camp, having claimed $62,830 in stakes after producing eight starts for five wins and two placings, including winning its VHRSC Victoria Derby heat and placing third behind Lazarus in the final. The only non-placing came last start at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 20, when Sugars suffered a flat tyre at the top of the straight after holding the lead with Dont Hold Back. He faded to seventh, 39m in arrears of a fast finishing Zee Dana. “They took my horse on and run a world record time (for three-year-old colts and geldings),” Attard said. “It is hard to keep going at that speed and I don’t think he would have been able to beat Zee Dana. The disappointing thing was that he failed to qualify for the final.” Attard said Dont Hold Back also didn’t “travel too well” in his Sydney stopover and so he put him out for a week “to freshen him up”. “I’m not exactly sure where he’s at.  He trialled last week at Melton and ran home pretty good,” he said.  “He is coming along good. He is going to have to be at his best, with some nice horses in the race. “Shadow Sax is a really smart type, Soho Tribecca won a big race last month, Rocknroll Gold – there are some nice horses in this race. It will come down to the luck on the night and the luck in the race.” Emma Stewart told Trainer Talk Shadow Sax was “a very nice horse” who was “big plans” beyond tonight’s race, but will have to overcome a worst-case scenario draw (barrier eight). TRAINER TALK: READ EMMA STEWART'S THOUGHTS ON HER SEVEN RUNNERS TONIGHT Andy Gath’s has prepared Battle Born for the Victoria Sires Classic and said he thought the horse “has a really good future”. “He is another horse who is a little bit green, he is a little bit in and out in his races, but one who is going to be better with time,” Gath told RSN’s Gait Speed. “He has had a break and freshened up really nice.” With Attard driving Dont Hold Back, Greg Sugars has been released to take the reins of dad Ross Sugars' chance Blackbird Power, which was drawn in barrier 10.  “He’s going really well, but will be up against some very smart horses,” Sugars said. “The barrier draw was no help, he is going well but will have his work cut out. It is a very smart field with Don’t Hold Back, Soho Tribecca and Shadow Sax clearly better horses.” For Attard, he will endeavour to drive Dont Hold Back to the front from barrier six to give him every chance and to, above all, bring him home safely. “I’m just trying to take care of him as much as I can so I can race him as long as I can,” he said. “I don’t have anything to replace him and doubt that I ever will.” Michael Howard

The harness racing Country Cups Championships heads to Frank Ryan Raceway this Saturday night for the running of the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. The $30,450 Group 3 race shapes as an even affair, in which Im Alex will be looking to take advantage of his plum draw. VIDEO: KEEP YOUR QUADDIE WIDE AT ECHUCA, JASON BONNINGTON TELLS PUNTERS The seven-year-old gelding has been racing consistently well of recent times without winning and trainer Isabel Walsh is hopeful that will change this week. “He is a nice horse and hopefully from the good draw he can have some luck on Saturday night and run well,” Walsh said. I’m Alex has only had the one stand start and that was when he was a youngster in his homeland, New Zealand, but Walsh wasn’t too concerned about him behind the tapes “It isn’t any problem for him as he has stepped well in New Zealand before. He is a quiet, well-mannered horse so I don’t think the stand will be an issue,” she said. “We also have Brian Gath and he is an excellent driver.” Echuca being a tight, turning track would also play to Im Alex's favour, Walsh said. “He loves the small tracks. He was a horse-of-the-year at Penrith, which is small just like Echuca, so it’s perfect for him.” Walsh didn’t single out any rival as her main danger believing all challengers capable of winning, but she was excited about the opportunities come Saturday night. It is going to be a bumper night of racing, which features the resumption of outstanding five-year-old San Carlo in race eight. There will be a host of on-track entertainment, with the first of 10 races beginning at 5.57pm. Matt Jackson

Warragul born harness racing reinsman Gavin Lang broke a 27-year drought when he won the $30,325 Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup on Easter Sunday. In front of the biggest trots crowd seen at Logan Park for almost a decade, Lang collected his third Warragul Cup, steering Nike Bromac to a memorable victory for Lara trainer Dean Braun. Lang previously won the Warragul Cup with Copper Leopard for local trainer Noel Alexander in 1982, while he also trained and drove top mare Our Navy Lady to win the first daytime Cup run in 1989. In typical fashion, Lang drove a cool race, guiding Nike Franco between horses in the final circuit, and gaining the verdict narrowly with a well timed run down the outside of the track. He didn't panic when hemmed up between horses with a lap to go, knowing full well his horses ability would see it through despite having to come from behind on the small track. "There is a place still for these (smaller) tracks, and there's no doubt they promote competitive racing," Lang said. While having been born in Warragul, Lang has been based at Melton for over 40 years, but still competes at most Warragul meetings, and drove his five thousandth winner on the track in 2012, so the venue hold special memories for him. "Being a Warragul boy, born and bred, I'm always happy to come home here and win a race of this ilk," Lang said. Nike Franco had won over $300,000 in stakes before Sunday's Cup victory, at only her thirtieth race start. A large group of owners share in the horse, which has also won two Oaks classics in Queensland, along with feature mares' events in Melbourne and Sydney. Nike Franco appreciated a drop in grade after finishing at the rear of the field in the Kilmore Pacing Cup a week earlier. The other feature of the afternoon was the Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup, which attracted a strong field and was won by Illawong Helios for trainer Ross Sugars and his driver son Greg. Illawong Helios is another lightly raced horse which should continue to win good races, having collected 16 wins from only 27 starts. The win of Illawong Helios bought up three winners for the afternoon for owners Martin and Kaye Hartnett - the first time the owners had collected a treble at a race meeting. Unfortunately the Hartnett's missed their successful day owing to a family function. Top horsewoman Jodi Quinlan trained two of the Hartnett's winners, and her further success with Christian Major in the Warragul Guineas saw her collect a $1000 bonus for driving three winners on the program. Christian Major flashed home at the finish to deny local pacer Courageous Call a win in the event. Melton horseman Lance Justice produced a nice looking horse in Crockets Cullen to win the last race - Justice confidently predicting the New Zealand bred horse will win good quality races after he easily defeated his rivals. Good weather conditions drew a big crowd to the Warragul Pacing Bowl, with the car park and dining areas at capacity 40 minutes before the first race. A variety of activities kept patrons entertained throughout the day. Visitors to the course praised Warragul Harness Racing Club Manager Mark Johnson and his staff and committee for the amount of work put in to run the successful event. New Harness Racing Victoria Chairman, Dale Monteith, was also in attendance at his first race meeting since being elected to the post the previous Tuesday. Kyle Galley  

This Sunday harness racing heads to Victoria’s smallest track for the running of the Loddon Valley Stud Boort Pacing Cup. The day's drawcard presents an opportunity for the Glenn Douglas-trained Trison to take the next step in his career, having been beautifully drawn in gate one. Douglas said that while it was a big jump in grade for Trison he would acquit himself well. “He is the lowest assessed horse in the race but he enjoys the standing start conditions, which is the main reason he is in this race.” Douglas said. “It’s a tight track and as long as we get away good he will run well." "He was strong in defeat last time sitting parked, which will hold him in good stead for this race." Douglas said the favourable draw and competitive gate speed should position Trison well in the running. “He is going to be toward the front you would think and if they run a solid last mile and a half then it will make it tough for horses back in the field.” Douglas also has Nimble Jack engaged in this race and, like a few others drawn the front row, said if he could find the inside running he could be a fixture in the finish. “His form probably doesn’t read that good, but he is going better than it suggests," Douglas said. "His biggest key is that he steps well and if he found the pegs it would greatly improve his chances.” The back marker Uncle Wingnut, who will start from 30m, and Brent Lilley-trained Crusader Acey are the two that Douglas considered his main dangers. The cup is the main event on Boort’s big day. The first of eight races begins at 1.10pm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Matt Jackson          

Catalogues for the 2016 Shepparton Yearling Sale, to be conducted by Shepparton Harness Racing Club at their Kialla complex on Sunday, April 3, are now available. The sale has attracted 57 yearlings representing 21 different stallions . They include many of Australia’s leading sires such as Art Major, American Ideal, Four Starzzz Shark, Courage Under Fire, Grinfromeartoear, Modern Art, Sportswriter and Shadow Play. There’s also stock being offered by the up-and-coming sires Artistic Fella, Changeover, Shadyshark Hanover, Major In Art, Always A Virgin and Village Jolt. The first Australian crop of dual world champion Betterthancheddar and the outstanding New Zealand pacers New Zealand Auckland Reactor and Lincoln Royal will add interest to the sale. Many of the yearlings nominated for the sale are eligible for the Australian Pacing Gold sales-race series with $322,000 finals for two-year-old colts and fillies to be run in April/May 2017. They are also eligible for the Breeders Crown, Bathurst Gold Crown, Vicbred, Vicbred Platinum and NSW Breeders Challenge. For a copy of the catalogue send an email to shepparton@hrc.org.au or phone (03) 5823 1403 or 0428 231 403. Catalogues are also available from Australian Pacing Gold, Alabar Bloodstock, Melton and Victorian country tracks. Pedigrees are available on the website www.sheppartonhrc.com.au  Click on the Yearling Sale link here. Peter Wharton

Twelve months after taking out the George Croxford Tribute Final at Wangaratta, four-year-old gelding Wingara has continued his affinity with the venue – this time winning the North East Fasteners Wangaratta Pacing Cup. Trainer Peter Romero’s hotshot by Empire Stallions’ Dawn Ofa New Day (out of Million To One mare Bobydeane) led from barrier four on Sunday and was never overtaken to defeat Hall Of Famer by a head in a 1:59.3 mile rate over 2210m on the half-mile circuit. Nathan Jack drove Wingara, who is now on a three-rce winning streak with victories in the Albury Cup, Nixon’s Cup at Wagga and the Wangaratta feature. The win improved Wingara’s record to 11 wins from 16 starts for prizemoney of $96,975 Wingara raced clear of a death-seating Hall Of Famer at the 400m, while the second-favourite, Almost El Eagle, made his move three-wide from the back but was 20m off the lead. Despite the urgings of Rodney Petroff when $1.30 favourite Wingara snuck away off the back, Hall Of Famer fought on bravely in the breeze and in the stretch very nearly caused a boilover only to fall narrowly short. Almost El Eagle made ground to finish third beaten 6.7m, with Wes Lewinksy fourth ahead of Itcan Happen and Arber. Cody Winnell 

The seas parted for Speeding Spur and the brilliant trotter from across the Tasman blazed off the pegs to claim the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Australia’s richest trotting race lived up to expectations when an outstanding 11-race card reached a thrilling crescendo for trainer John Dickie and his son and driver Joshua Dickie, who drove for luck and capitalised on every bit of it. “Every bit of belief we have had in him he has just delivered tonight,” Josh Dickie said. “He has got the whole package. He won a lot of his races last year on the front, but he can come off the speed, he has a lot of high speed." "I’m just really pleased that he is living up to what he showed us.” Short-priced favourite Keystone Del ran fifth after losing ground from the turn, but earlier set the course alight when in heat two of the Great Southern Star Brent Lilley’s eight-year-old rattled the track record in a mile rate of 1:53.7. On that occasion Speeding Spur was beaten 3.9m into second. In the first Group 1 heat Kate Gath patiently awaited the sprint lane and then shot Glenferrie Typhoon to victory ahead of Maori Time (Yannick Gingras) and Sun Of Anarchy (Dexter Dunn). The draw for the final seemed to only strengthen Keystone Del’s claims, with Speeding Spur and Glenferrie Typhoon drawing the back row. All speculation was put to rest at 10pm when the mobile released the field and it was Yannick Gingras on Maori Time who shot to the front to dictate the running, with Keystone Del taking the breeze while Quite A Moment was in the box seat for Lance Justice. A 7.2 lead time fed into a 29.4 first quarter and 31.2 second quarter as Glenferrie Typhoon made its move three-wide where it would remain through the final bend. By that stage Keystone Del had started to slip off the pace set by Maori Time and it was clear this would not be his day. Speeding Spur was locked in three back the pegs for Josh Dickie, and it looked Maori Time or Glenferrie Typhoon. Yannick Gingras kicked Maori Time clear until the sprint lane opened, enabling Quite A Moment to come off her back and challenge for the lead, while on the outside Glenferrie Typhoon was making ground. But it was further back where the real story developed. Claudys Princess faded slightly, enabling Josh Dickie to get Speeding Spur off the pegs and he drew it four-wide, outside Glenferrie Typhoon. Once straightened Speeding Spur hit the jets to win from Glenferrie Typhoon, with Quite A Moment placing third on the pegs ahead of valiant Maori Time and fifth-placed Keystone Del. “The horse drawn the outside (Claudys Princess) was slightly going back and I thought to myself he could get out here, and he did and I said here he comes,” trainer John Dickie said. “I know what a good horse he is and he proved that tonight.” Josh Dickie said luck was always going to be needed after Speeding Spur drew barrier eight. “The barrier draw probably did look a bit of a concern on paper, but we have a lot of faith in this horse and he backed up great (from the heat),” he said. “He felt that good and I felt the tempo was pretty strong and that if I could get a bit of luck he will finish over the top of them." "I was very luck at the top of the straight I was able to get out and he did the rest." "It’s a breakthrough win, it’s sort of hard to explain, it’s one of my biggest wins.” John Dickie said “it’s (Speeding Spur’s) biggest win for sure” and with the entire by Pegasus Spur out of Della’s Speed aged only four, great success still lies ahead. “Onwards and upwards, he’s only a baby but I’m sure you will see him here next year too.” Group 1 victories were also claimed by Baccardi Hurricane in the Alan Mance Holden Need For Speed Prince Final, and High Gait in the Probuild Need For Speed Princess Final. Baccardi Hurricane drew off Cruisin Around's back from the one-one and trainer/driver Jarrod Alchin let the three-year-old gelding down in the straight, where he outpointed Ball Park (second) and Big Jack Hammer (third). Flying filly High Gait again tasted Group 1 success after Chris Alford drove Nicole Molander's three-year-old to victory, getting the lead from barrier one and building a gap off the first turn that was insurmountable despite Courchevel flashing home late to take second for Anthony Butt (driver) and Anton Golino (trainer). The night also featured the Group 2 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final, in which Greg Sugars took Illawong Helios three wide at the top of the straight and had the best horse in the race from there, drawing clear and holding off the swoopers. Victory for trainer Ross Sugars was scored ahead of second-placed Pretty Sunday and third-placed Barefoot Sally. Aldebaran Deebee was shot to the front by trainer-driver Matt Craven and from there the favourite controlled the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Silver Series Final. Sky Petite was third and Meadow Valley Road filled out the placings, as Skyvalley sired the trifecta. Michael Howard

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