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A big, bullocking colt may well form the frontline in the Victorian resistance as the raiders threaten to again claim the prized Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby. Youaremy Sunshine's gate five draw has him well placed for a forward running for trainer-driver Damien Burns, but with New Zealand-turned-New South Wales race favourite Line Up (for Anthony Butt) and Queensland hope Governor Jujon (for Grant Dixon) drawn on his inside, the task is tall to reverse the trend. Victorians have only won their three-year-old classic twice in the last eight years, with Our Little General saluting for Emma Stewart in 2017 and Menin Gate in 2015. Along with polemarker Soho Hamilton ($11 with, Pacifico Dream ($11) and Mirragon ($13), Youaremy Sunshine ($21) is among those next best in the market. "We think he's (close to his peak), definitely," Burns told Trots Talk. "Going into the heat we had a week without a race and we probably thought he was going in a little underdone, even though he had a bit of racing. From the heat and with this week he should be as good as we could get him." Youraremy Sunshine was third in his heat, bustling in the breeze as is often his way but unable to make ground on leader Pacifico Dream in the closing stages. "The race was a bit of a funny one, there was no pressure on whatsoever, it was literally only a 500-metre sprint." Burns said. "My bloke, his legs couldn't go any faster, he ran quite strong to the line, I just couldn't pick up any ground on the leader. Things will definitely be different this week. "They are funny, heats, the main thing is to qualify. You definitely want to win it if you can, but the pressure's on and if you miss you can be made to look a bit silly." There will be no thinking about tomorrow in Saturday night's $200,000 final and Burns is optimistic about using his mid front-row draw to advantage. "It's a funny draw, there's a lot worse draws there. It gives us a couple of options," he said. "He has got high speed and we haven't used it to date, when you are in the big one, a faint heart never won a fair lady. We may light him up early and have a go. "If we don't do that I can see him probably running similar to the way he has been, except it won't be a 500-metre sprint home in the Final, it will be a survival of the fittest that's for sure." CLICK BELOW TO TUNE IN TO TROTS TALK:   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

“Horses are only human” said legendary gallops man George Hanlon, and listening to harness racing driver Lauren Tritton talk about Muscle Factory you’d be forgiven for thinking she was talking about one her own children, such is the affection she exudes for last night’s Woodlands Victoria Derby winning colt. “I always say to win with babies, two- and three-year-olds, it’s a big thrill because you feel like you’ve really worked hard with them the whole way along through their careers and it really pays off when you win a big one,” Tritton said this morning after guiding the three-year-old son of Roll With Joe to an all-the-way Derby win in an age-record equalling 1:54.0 at Tabcorp Park Melton. “He does it all so easily. Nothing fazes him. It’s great to have a horse who is so versatile, as a two-year-old he won a couple of races from behind … and just how arrogant his win was last night, we’ve got a superstar ahead of us.” Tritton, 25, boasts 827 wins since jumping in the sulky in season 2010-11 and among those are several memorable features – the Len Smith Mile aboard Gaius Caesar in 2013, Breeders Crown Final with Marty Monkhouser and Cordina Sprint with Suave Stuey Lombo in 2014, Vicbred Super Series Final on Tingira Beach in 2016, Allied Express Sprint with Anything For Love and the Bohemia Crystal FFA with Franco Nelson in 2018 to name a few. But last night’s Derby success was something else. “It was all a bit of a blur really (after the race). You get so wound up it’s actually quite tiring, but it was really special,” she said. Tritton co-trains Muscle Factory with husband Shane and, reflecting on the rising star’s second-place finish in the Derby heat at Ballarat a week ago, she says a combination of factors brought about his undoing that night. “I overreacted a little bit … I wanted to get an easy half and then sprint home, which is totally upside-down to his racing pattern,” she said. “That was a little bit my fault, and a little bit our fault too in that we eased up on him after running the 49 mile. It’s sort of like ‘what do you do with a three-year-old who’s just gone 49?’ The first thing you think of is backing off. “But with him, it’s just a different case. He really enjoys working and working hard. And like I said, I drove him upside-down (in the heat) and let the other horses get into the race. It wasn’t his night, but we had him 110 per cent last night and that was his night.” After finding the lead early last night Tritton said she had to “pinch herself” in the run. “I never really thought this would be the plan to be honest… I was thinking we’d have to sit outside them or get cover somewhere.” But Muscle Factory showed more toe than he’s done in his young career to date, which obviously pleased his driver. “He’s never really shown that much gate speed but last night he was right up on the gate and had his neck tucked up like he really wanted to run the gate. I just let him roll out himself and then when I realised I’d gotten half a length on Im Anothermasterpiece I gave him a little tap and he just took it on from there. There was no stopping him after that. “I just let him do whatever he wanted to do and he wanted to run those even quarters. He got a little bit off the bit at about the 800m so I just shook him up and he kicked into another gear. “I knew I had something left then, and I hadn’t pulled the plugs. He’s all heart and I knew he’d finish off.” Muscle Factory completed his last half-mile in 56.7secs after a 57.7secs first half. Race favourite Im Anothermasterpiece chased gamely late but finished 4.7m astern. Tritton says Muscle Factory has eaten extra feed today as he embarks on his journey back home to Sydney where the New South Wales Derby (March 2) is his next major goal. “He’s pulled up super. We gave him extra feed because we’re travelling home and he ate everything … he couldn’t have pulled up any better,” she said. “He’ll keep heading towards Derbies. The owners are considering a New Zealand Derby trip, but that’s not 100 per cent confirmed yet. He’ll certainly try and win his own Derby trophy back home.” As has been well documented, Muscle Factory’s 1:49.6 win in the Simpson Memorial three starts back was absurdly fast and asked about the feel the prodigy gave her in full flight, Tritton explained: “I’ve got fast class horses who struggle to run a mile in 49 and would struggle to run the sectionals he did last night. He’s only three and can do all that. We’re super excited about his career and where he can head.” Muscle Factory is $5 with for the NSW Derby. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Adam Hamilton@AdamTABSports     Three weeks ago today ... Shane Tritton: “If anyone has a 3yo good enough to beat Muscle Factory in the Victoria Derby then I’ll be stunned and good luck to them.” Nobody did. Career defining win away from home for @Tritton_Team   38 12:25 PM - Jan 27, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy   See Adam Hamilton's other Tweets       View image on Twitter Jared Kahlefeldt@workoutjared     So this just happened.... Wowee

As tough as he was brilliant, Muscle Factory led all the way to comprehensively win the harness racing Woodlands Victoria Derby in emphatic fashion, matching the age track record at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was a triumph for husband-and-wife team trainer Shane and reinswoman Lauren Tritton as Muscle Factory reinforced his all-time standing, saluting in the age classic only three weeks after smashing the Australasian three-year-old record when winning in 1:49.6. “I just know this horse is a superstar and that’s how we drove,” said Lauren after they saluted by 4.7m from All Stars entrant Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art the best of the swoopers to claim third. But the Group 1 $200,000 was always in Muscle Factory’s keeping, with Tritton lighting him up out of the gates to lead from barrier six, with Max Delight and then Im Anothermasterpiece sitting outside him before Hurricane Harley advanced to the breeze for the final lap. However, Muscle Factory’s determination to keep the pace on throughout the 2240m meant all would have to advance under strain, with a 44.3 lead time preceding first (29), second (28.7) and third (28.3) quarters that were all sub-29 seconds. “He got a bit keen tonight. We just decided to let him do whatever he wanted to do,” Tritton said. “I had a good hold of him, but those were the sectionals he wanted to run.” They were also the sectionals the Trittons wanted to deliver to give themselves the best chance, confident their Roll With Joe-Malena colt would thrive. “Im Anothermasterpiece, we’ve raced against him a couple of times now and he’s a star too, he doesn’t stop trying. I knew that was the only way that I could beat him tonight. I knew if I was going to beat it I had to break it,” Tritton said. The 28.4 last quarter iced the win in a 1:54 mile rate, matching the track’s age record set by Our Waikiki Beach in the 2016 Breeders Crown and providing a significant highlight for owners Rona and Clive McKay and Dayna Kahlefeldt. “He’s a star and I hope they can just keep winning big races for (the owners),” Tritton said. To watch the video click here. Trots Media - Michael Howard

The barriers draws have been staged for Saturday night's harness racing four BIG Group 1s at Tabcorp Park Melton, night two of the TAB Summer Of Glory, headlined by the Woodlands Stud NZ Great Southern Star and Victoria Derby. Get yourself trackside at Tabcorp Park for one of the great trots nights. Details: Woodlands Great Southern Star Woodlands Stud Victoria Derby Ladyship Cup 4YO Bonanza Trots Media

BEING the All Stars’ second-best three-year-old could be enough to make Im Another Masterpiece the stable’s third Victoria Derby winner. Mark Purdon won his first Victoria Derby when Tony Herlihy partnered Rare Gem to win in 2001 then it wasn’t until the awesome Lazarus in 2016 when he won it again. But Im Another Masterpiece made a real statement winning by far the strongest of the three heats and doing it in style at Ballarat last Saturday night. Driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen was content to let Shane and Lauren Tritton’s buzz pacer Muscle Factory lead and sit on it, but things changed when Im Another Masterpiece left the trail to sit parked with a lap to run. In doing so, Rasmussen avoid being pocketed on a track without a sprint lane but also kept another key contender, Centenario, three-wide for the final lap. “You don’t come all this way to be unlucky,” Rasmussen said. “You have to run top three and I wasn’t going to to run a nice hard-held fourth on the fence. “It was a nice win and the run should tighten him up for the final.” Back home, Im Another Masterpiece has played second-fiddle to gifted stablemate Ultimate Sniper, who is being saved for the NSW Derby next month. Im Another Masterpiece simply packed too much zip for his rivals in a scorching 54.9sec last half and won by 2.9m from Muscle Factory with a gallant Lochinvar Art third after doing plenty of work outside the leader for much of the race. In the talent-crammed heat, Centenario tired for sith and missed the final, while stablemate Demon Delight was only first emergency for the final after finishing a luckless fifth. Im Another Masterpiece went a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2200m, while the first heat winner, Breeders Crown 2YO champ Hurricane Harley, led throughout win softly in a 1min56.8sec mile rate. The third heat was a dawdle early for leader and winner Max Delight, who sprinted home in 26.5sec at the end of a slow 2min0.4sec mile rate to win by 2.8m over Perfect Major and Petes Big Jim. The Aussie TAB has Hurricane Harley a slight $2.60 pre-draw favourite ahead of Im Another Masterpiece at $2.70 then the other heat winner, Max Delight, at $4.50. Adam Hamilton

Hurricane Harley is the harness racing favourite pre-draw with TAB for next Saturday night’s Group 1 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby following the heats tonight at Ballarat. Trainer Emma Stewart’s reigning Breeders Crown champ was completely untroubled around Bray Raceway, his 2.6-metre win not a wholly accurate depiction of his dominance. Driver Amanda Turnbull didn’t need to move aboard the powerful son of Bettors Delight in the home straight, Hurricane Harley striding out with the swagger and authority of a champion wrestler inside the final furlong. Hurricane Harley rated 1:56.8 and covered his last 800m in 56.5 (27.1 last split). Stablemate Hardhitter ran second, with Malcolms Rhythm third. It was a familiar tale in the second Derby heat as the All Stars’ team of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon produced Im Another Masterpiece for victory (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick). Rasmussen’s drive was worthy of a headline. It was a masterclass performance aboard the son of Bettors Delight. After handing up early to Lauren Tritton aboard Muscle Factory, Rasmussen camped behind the leader until the bell when she shimmied into the clear to breeze the last lap. The move posted a key rival Centenario, advancing three-wide, on a limb for the final kilometre and secured Lochinvar Art one-one cover. “You don’t come all this way to be unlucky,” Rasmussen said. “You have to run top-three and I wasn’t going to run a nice hard-held fourth on the fence. “(It was a) Nice win for him and the run should tighten him up a little bit more.” Im Another Masterpiece finished 2.9m clear of Muscle Factory in 1:55.9. David Aiken trained and driven Max Delight (pictured right, by Stuart McCormick) made it a Bettors Delight Derby heats clean sweep, taking out the final qualifier courtesy of a controlled front-running steer. “He’s a nice horse on the way up and he’s got great speed. It’ll be a different story next week, but we really like him and wouldn’t swap him for a few in the race,” Aiken said. “He’s fast. His A to B speed is really quick but he doesn’t have to lead, he can come off cover and sprint really well.” Max Delight’s winning mile rate was the slowest of the night at 2:00.4, but his last 400m (26.5) was electric. The top four finishers in each Derby heat qualify for the final, with Demon Delight (fastest fifth) the emergency.   Results Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (1st Heat) 1st: Hurricane Harley by Bettor's Delight         Emma Stewart     Amanda Turnbull 2nd: Hardhitter by Mach Three                         Emma Stewart     Chris Alford 3rd: Malcolms Rhythm by Art Major                 David Aiken          Kima Frenning 4th: Arggghhh by Rock N Roll Heaven            Craig Demmler     Craig Demmler 5th: Our Millionaire by Million Dollar Cam        Emma Stewart     Sidney Van Den Brande MR: 1:56.8 To watch the video of Hurricane Harley click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (2nd Heat) 1st: Im Another Masterpiece by Bettor's Delight        Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen   Natalie Rasmussen 2nd: Muscle Factory by Roll With Joe                       Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton          Lauren Tritton 3rd: Lochinvar Art by Modern Art                               Laura Crossland                                 David Moran 4th: Crime Writer by Sportswriter                               Matthew Craven                               Matthew Craven 5th: Demon Delight by Bettor's Delight                      Emma Stewart                                   Gavin Lang MR: 1:55.9 To watch the video of Im Another Masterpiece click on this link. Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby (3rd Heat) 1st: Max Delight by Bettor's Delight                   David Aiken                                   David Aiken 2nd: Perfect Major by Art Major                         Emma Stewart                               Amanda Turnbull 3rd: Petes Big Jim by Big Jim                            Shane Tritton, Lauren Tritton         Lauren Tritton 4th: War Dan Delight by Bettor's Delight            Dean Braun                                   Greg Sugars 5th: Supreme Dominator  by Bettor's Delight     Barry Purdon                                 Mark Purdon MR: 2:00.4 To watch the video of Max Delight click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell ID18

Aussie punters have unleashed on a Kiwi raider to beat some of their best in a stellar heat of the Victoria Derby at Ballarat on Saturday night. Remarkably given the random drawing of fields, five of the first six in betting to win the Victoria Derby final will clash in the second and by far strongest heat. Only four of them can make it through to the final at Melton a week later. And it’s the All Stars’ young buck, Im Another Masterpiece, who has been smashed from $3 into $1.65 favourite after drawing the pole. Yes he’s exciting, but that’s a crazy price given the calibre of his opposition, which includes: Australasian 3YO mile record-holder Muscle Factory (gate two, $4.20), last year’s Victorian star juvenile Centenario (nine, $6.50), the untapped Lochinvar Art (seven, $7) and buzz pacer Demon Delight (five, $9.50). The other Kiwi raider in the Derby heats, Barry Purdon’s Supreme Dominator, has also attracted early betting support, $3.50 into $3, from the pole in the third heat. He’s second elect behind the exciting Max Delight, who has been $3.20 into $2.50 from gate three. Former Kiwi youngster War Dan Delight, now with Dean Braun, is a $12 shot from gate six. The opening heat looks a one-act affair with Emma Stewart’s superstar juvenile of last season, Hurricane Harley, $1.20 from the pole. The Derby heats bolster an already awesome meeting headed by the Group 1 Ballarat Cup where All Stars pair Thefixer and Cruz Bromac head the betting, as well as the Group 2 Cochran Cup for trotters. Andy Gath opted to skip the Cochran with Tornado Valley and go straight into a clash with Marcoola, Speeding Spur and others in the Group 1 Great Southern Star at Melton a week later. With Tornado Valley absent, Save Our Pennys is a $2 favourite from gate four in the Cochran ahead of Dance Craze (gate five, $4) and Inter Dominion runner-up Sky Petite (seven, $6). The most head-spinning race of the night is the ninth event – thee Petstock Pet Smart Pace – where somehow Inter Dominion fourth placegetter Spankem drops back to a C3/C4 grade. It highlights the extraordinary different between the Victorian and NZ handicapping systems and makes Spankem arguably the greatest handicapping certainty the game has seen.   Adam Hamilton

Respected Queensland harness racing identity Kevin Seymour he landed his most satisfying win with Colt Thirty One in Saturday night’s Group 1 Victoria Derby at Melton. Nobody has given more to harness racing than Kevin Seymour. So it’s fitting in his 50th year in the sport as an administrator, sponsor and leviathan owner-breeder that he landed his most satisfying win with Colt Thirty One in Saturday night’s Group 1 Victoria Derby at Melton. In Seymour’s own words: “This is the best. It doesn’t get any better.” It sounds a big call in the moment given he’s won so many big races, most notably an Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup with Mr Feelgood, but the emotions ran deeper with Colt Thirty One for Seymour and his wife, Kay. “We bred this fella. We watched his first start, we followed him through the grades and Grant (Dixon, trainer-driver) kept telling us he was special,” Seymour said. “As a two-year-old Grant thought he was good enough to take to Sydney for the (Australian) Gold, but things didn’t work out. “It was always a long range plan to take him to Melbourne for the Derby. “It’s the first Victoria Derby I’ve won and I can’t recall another Queenslander winning it.” Colt Thirty One rated 1:54.2 over 2240 metres, slashing nine-tenths of a second off Lazarus’ race record. Colt Thirty One  Just for good measure, most considered this the strongest Victoria Derby for a decade the winning time underlined that. Colt Thirty One smashed Lazarus’ 2016 race record. His 1min54.2sec mile rate for 2240m took 1.3sec off Lazarus’ time. And it stacked-up well with the 1min52.5sec track record set by Lazarus in the 2016 Victoria Cup. “Beating Lazarus’ time certainly adds to how the special the win is,” Seymour said. “Kay and I have been lucky enough to have some great moments in this sport, but this is the best of the lot.” The fireworks started from the very start when Maraetai, Spankem and unbeaten hot favourite Lumineer burned through a 43.1sec lead time. To give that perspective, Lazarus’ lead time in that track record Victoria Cup win was only 44.2sec. It was clear Lumineer and those who burned with him early, were sitting shots. The All Stars’ The Devils Own launched the three-wide train without cover, Poster Boy grabbed his back and Dixon found a way out of a nasty pocket to follow Poster Boy. They steamrolled past the leaders rounding the home turn and, just when it seemed Poster Boy was home, Colt Thirty One stormed past him to win by 1.2m with another three metres away to a gallant The Devils Own. Spankem held on well for fourth after trailing the leader, while Lumineer’s eight-race unbeaten streak ended with a sixth placing. Lazarus is a clear favourite in early betting for Hunter Cup. Picture: Stuart McCormick Colt Thirty One, like many of his rivals, now heads to Sydney for the NSW Derby heats and final on February 17 and 24. More immediately, Victoria’s Summer of Glory continues with the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup — headed by the mighty Lazarus — next Saturday night. It will be the race of the season with Lazarus’ rivals set to include: Lennytheshark, Soho Tribeca, Heaven Rocks, Tiger Tara, Bling It On, San Carlo and others. HUNTER CUP BETTING $1.80 Lazarus $4.80 Heaven Rocks $5.50 Lennytheshark $10 Tiger Tara $12 Soho Tribeca $14 San Carlo $17 Bling It On $21 or better the rest LATEST MARKET: TAB FIXED ODDS Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun  

Australian Pacing Gold eligible youngster Colt Thirty One has registered his second harness racing Group One victory. Triumphant in last season’s Qbred Final at Albion Park, Colt Thirty One upstaged a super field in tonight’s $200,000 Victoria Derby at Melton. Trained and driven by Grant Dixon, the son of Mach Three overcame a second row draw to beat fellow APG eligible three-year-old Poster Boy by a metre. “I couldn’t be happier with him,” Dixon said. “He had no luck when third here in the Breeders’ Crown last season, so to come back and win the Derby is fantastic. “We’ve always had a big opinion of him and his record speaks for itself.” Thrilled with the colt’s performance, Dixon has extended his interstate campaign to include next month’s New South Wales Derby at Menangle. “I will give him a light week now as we go to Sydney for the Derby,” Dixon said. Stretching his record to 10 wins and three placings from 15 starts, Colt Thirty One rated 1:54.2 over 2240 metres, slashing nine-tenths of a second off Lazarus’ race record set in 2016. 7 9:32pm VHRSC VICTORIA DERBY FINAL (GROUP 1) 2240M $200,000 3YO. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 COLT THIRTY ONE      Sr3 11 Grant Dixon Grant Dixon   $ 19.60   PRU 6 INC SWAB   BAY COLT 3 by MACH THREE CA out of CHARM PERSONIFIED (PERFECT ART USA)  Owner(s): Solid Earth Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): Solid Earth Pty Ltd 2 POSTER BOY      Fr7 7 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 1.20 $ 4.40   PRS RAS W2 3WLT SWAB 3 THE DEVILS OWN NZ      Sr5 13 Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen 4.70 $ 35.40   PRU W1 3WL 4 SPANKEM NZ      Fr4 4 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon 6.70 $ 5.90   PRS GS L SLM 3 HUE USL D/F 5 MARAETAI      Fr3 3 Emma Stewart Nathan Jack 9.90 $ 8.80   PRS GS L SLE 5 HUE 6 LUMINEER      Fr6 6 Ange McDowall Jason Lee 11.40 $ 2.00 fav  PRS 3WET L 1 QUER 7 MAJOR TIMES      Sr1 8 Emma Stewart Gavin Lang 11.70 $ 30.80   PRU HO INC 8 HUE 8 THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER NZ      Sr2 10 Phillip Walters Phillip Walters 21.50 $ 154.00   PRS 3WM 2 9 TAM MAJOR      Fr2 2 Emma Stewart Rodney Petroff 22.40 $ 315.00   GS 4 10 LITTLE PEANUT      Sr4 12 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 24.10 $ 102.00   PRU 10 3WLT 11 CORZIN CHANGE NZ      Fr5 5 Emma Stewart Mark Pitt 91.90 $ 365.00   3WE 7 TIRE LCRT r CODE BAILEY NZ      Fr1 1 Margaret Lee Glen Craven   $ 19.00     Scratchings   YANKEE ROLLER 9 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:39:0 Mile Rate: 1:54:2 Lead Time: 43.1 First Quarter: 29.7 Second Quarter: 30.6 Third Quarter: 27.9 Fourth Quarter: 27.7 Margins: 1.2m x 3.6m   APG Media

BUZZ Aussie three-year-old Lumineer’s quest to continue his unbeaten streak headlines a stellar and fascinating start to Melton’s Nights of Glory Carnival at Melton tomorrow (Saturday) night. ADAM HAMILTON casts his eye over the feature races on the card: VICTORIA DERBY (Race 7) Can’t tip against LUMINEER (6) in his quest for ninth win from as many starts, but he’s drawn wide at by far his biggest test. POSTER BOY (7) has always looked elite and his heat win was enormous. Needs luck from outside draw, but sure to run well. SPANKEM (4) returned to winning form in his heat and draws well again. MARAETAI (3) is untapped and ran a super race against Lumineer in heat. CODY BAILEY (1), COLT THIRTY ONE (11) and THE DEVILS OWN (13) also have some claims in hot field. SUGGESTED BET: Lumineer to win if he gets to $2.80 or better. Saver on Maraetai at $9 or better. GREAT SOUTHERN STAR (Race 6) Daunting race for punters. Emerging mare RED HOT TOOTH (3) has been heavily-backed and looks the leader, but this is a huge step-up for her. I’m going with SPARKLING SUCCESS (10) despite the back row. His past two runs have been huge. KYVALLEY BLUR (6) returns from terrific NZ campaign and flew in a trial against the pacers last week. TEMPORALE (8) needs luck from inside back row, but is flying. SPEEDING SPUR (13) would win at his best, but comes into this with form query. DARYL BOKO (2) and ON THUNDER ROAD (4) also command respect. SUGGESTED BET: Sparkling Success at $5 or better. LADYSHIP CUP (Race 5) Ripper race, but OUT GOLDEN GODDESS (1) is all class, unbeaten in four runs this campaign and looks leader from the pole. Should win. Her stablemate AMERETTO (8) will follow her throughout is all class. Obvious threat if she’s primed first-up. Purdon/Rasmussen pair A PICCADILLY PRINCESS (10) and PARTYON (2) are next best. CARLAS PIXEL (3) could place. SUGGESTED BET: Our Golden Goddess to win. 4YO BONANZA (Race 8) Looks a real match in two between OUR LITTLE GENERAL (1) and STARS ALIGN (3). Going with OUR LITTLE GENERAL to use the pole, lead and run them ragged. STARS ALIGN will be fitter for first-up win, is tough and will make a real race of it. JILLIBY KUNG FU (7) would’ve been favourite from a good draw, so keep him safe at odds from gate seven. BEACH SURGE (6) is a raw talent with place claims. SUGGESTED BET: Our Little General to win at $1.90 or better. CASEY CLASSIC (Race 4) Veteran champ LENNYTHESHARK (1) will be fitter for late-closing second to Heaven Rocks in Ballarat Cup last week. Drawn to lead and win from the pole. SAN CARLO (2) is an exciting talent going places. First-up from a break and expecting big run. BLING IT ON (5) caps his Hunter Cup prep, but will need luck to win from out in gate five. MESSINI (3) is flying, but up in grade. Place hope. SUGGESTED BET: Trifecta 1 to win from 2,5 for second and 2,3,5 for third. SUMMARY BEST BET R5 n1 Our Golden Goddess BEST VALUE R6 n10 Sparkling Success BEST ROUGHIE R7 n3 Maraetai Adam Hamilton

Trainer Ange McDowall had an insightful answer when asked to name the biggest danger to her buzz pacer Lumineer's unbeaten streak. Rather than nominate a key rival like Spankem or Poster Boy, McDowall said Lumineer himself could bring about his own undoing. In a fascinatingly raw assessment, McDowall fears Lumineer's relative inexperience and tendency to become headstrong at times in his races could leave him vulnerable in Saturday night's Group 1 Victoria Derby. "I'm more worried about him beating himself than any particular rival," she said. "Don't get me wrong, I've huge respect for so many of the rivals, but my horse has to get it right himself or he's going to vulnerable. "He didn't get it right in the heat. He needs to learn from that and do things better or he won't win again this week. "He hung out for a long time down the back straight last week once he found the lead and when Jason (Lee, driver) tried to straighten him, he started to fight him and overrace quite badly. "Even on the home bend, just when he straightened, you look at the replay and you'll see he wanted to duck-in. "I wasn't happy with him last week. He got away with the win, but found some new tricks he hasn't shown us before." Lumineer is an easing $2.40 to $2.50 favourite with the Aussie TAB after drawing gate six where he has one major rival Spankem (four, $3.10) on his inside and another, Poster Boy (seven, $5.50) outside him. There has also been early speaking for Code Bailey (gate one, $11-9.50) and Poster Boy's stablemate, Maraetai (three, $12-10). Lumineer has shown explosive gate speed to win the Australian Gold final last season and his Derby heat this week, but will need every bit of it to cross from gate six. "We always knew this was going to be his biggest test and that's how it's panned out," McDowall said. "I can't tell you if he's learnt from last week because he never shows you much in his track work, but I know he'll be fitter for it and that he'll also need to race more tractably against a field this strong." Spankem is clearly the All Stars' best hope, especially now The Devils Own will start from outside the back row (gate 13). He is a $13 shot. Adam Hamilton

Hobby trainer Ange McDowall is both excited and slightly overawed by the prospect of her unbeaten pacer Lumineer shaping up against the two biggest stables in Australasian harness racing. The hobby trainer from a Victorian coastal hamlet — Childers Cove near Warnambool — taking on the two biggest stables in Australasian harness racing. That’s the exciting albeit daunting challenge for trainer Ange McDowall and her unbeaten buzz pacer Lumineer. After seven ultra-impressive wins, Lumineer steps up to the next level when he launches his Victoria Derby assault in the third of three heats at Ballarat on Saturday night. Between them, champion trainers Emma Stewart and Mark Purdon, have 13 runners across the Derby heats. Amazingly, Stewart and her training partner Clayton Tonkin have 11 of them. The Kiwi-based Purdon, who boasts such a lethal strike rate when he and partner Natalie Rasmussen raid Australia, has two very highly-rated runners in The Devils Own and Spankem. Despite the depth, Lumineer has been so impressive so far, he is the favourite to the win final before a heat has been run. And he’s a $1.15 chance with TAB to win his Ballarat heat. “It’s so exciting, but a bit daunting at the same time,” McDowall said. “You can’t help but admire the amazing job those two top stables do and how many great horses they keep producing. “But that’s the great thing about racing. People like me can compete against them if we get the right horse.” McDowall thinks she’s got Lumineer primed after two easy lead-up wins, but knows a Derby heat is a new challenge even from a good draw (gate four). “I’m really happy with his preparation, but it’s hard to tell on his trackwork exactly where he’s at. He only does what he has to. He’s never worked sensationally at home,” she said. “We haven’t used his gate speed since he won the Australia Gold final (last April), but we know it’s there. I’ll leave it up to Jason (Lee, driving) as to how quick he wants to come out this week. The in-form Lumineer is a $1.15 chance with TAB to win his Ballarat heat. “Tam Major is drawn inside us. He’s quick out and fought hard to hold the lead time. “We’ve done a lot of work with him to settle him. The one risk in blasting it out is firing him up again. That said, he’s versatile. He won leading, sitting parked or coming around the field midrace as he did last time.” Although McDowall is in awe of the Purdon and Stewart barns, she surprised a little by pin-pointing Grant Dixon’s Queensland raider Colt Thirty One as the horse she most fears of her Derby rivals. “There’s something about him. I thought he was the danger in the Aussie Gold final as well, but he galloped,” she said. “He looks to have come back well and I really like what I’ve seen of him.” Colt Thirty One has been backed from $2.80 into $2.40 favourite with TAB to win the first Derby heat with the Purdon-trained The Devils Own ($2.60 to $3.20) and Stewart’s Poster Boy ($7 to $4.80) the main rivals. Purdon is expected to win the second heat with Spankem drawn the pole and already being crunched from $1.50 into $1.30 with TAB. Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun

The first bricks along the road to the VHRSC Victoria Derby will be paved this weekend when some of Victoria’s leading lights begin their pursuit of the harness racing three-year-old crown. Ange McDowell’s unbeaten Sportswriter colt Lumineer will contest Friday night’s $20,000 VHRSC 3Y0 Classic and then, less than 23 hours later, Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series winner Poster Boy kick starts his summer campaign at Bendigo in the Alabar 3YO Pace. The two are yet to cross swords and almost certainly won’t until their Victoria Derby campaigns, which begin with semi-finals on Ballarat Pacing Cup night (January 20). A favourite of trainer Emma Stewart, Poster Boy has won seven of his 10 starts and pipped Lumineer for the Victorian two-year-old pacing colt and gelding of the year, a statehood Stewart is confident her colt can reinforce in the January 27 $200,000 Derby final. “I think he’s come back terrific and I’m itching to take on Lumineer,” Stewart told RSN 927. “He’s probably the benchmark, but I think we’ve pegged him back a bit and (Poster Boy) will run a terrific race on Saturday night.” She said Poster Boy’s “up and going, he’s ready to fire”, and when asked directly whether she could knock off Australian Pacing Gold winner Lumineer she was typically confident.  “Of course with Poster Boy and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of our other ones (beat Lumineer) too,” Stewart said. “I’m definitely not worried.” LISTEN: EMMA STEWART JOINED RSN 927 TO TALK ABOUT HER RUNNERS The “other one” she referred to is Maraetai, her lightly raced Somebeachsomewhere colt who has won both his starts, the last on November 10 at Bendigo. Stewart also signalled that Konan, who will contest Saturday night’s Strath Village IGA Pace at Bendigo, was also Derby bound, being “a good strong fella” and “a lovely horse, he just has to learn to settle in his races”. And so it’s over to Lumineer, who will attempt to produce a seventh win from as many starts at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night against a field of combatants that includes Stewart’s Art Major gelding Amendment Thirteen. Reinsman Jason Lee, who has guided Lumineer to each of his victories, is looking forward to being back in the sulky behind trainer Ange McDowell’s superstar. “He’s obviously just a horse with untapped ability,” Lee said. “He’s shown that right through. He’s still learning his craft. He’s got plenty of upside. The sheer speed and how long he can maintain that speed is probably what sets him apart from most horses. “It doesn’t sort of matter what you do from here into the future, what he’s already done for Ange and the family in winning (the APG final), he’s probably already the horse of a lifetime. “Obviously you want him to go on and be a really good horse for a long time, but we will just take what comes and be grateful with that.” LISTEN: JASON LEE JOINED THE TROT LINE TO TALK LUMINEER, BAD BILLY AND VINCENNES The VHRSC Victoria Derby features as part of night one of the Summer Of Glory, which is headlined by the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. Details: Trots Media - Michael Howard

Star Queensland pacer Colt Thirty One is on target for a big season. The richly talented harness racing three-year-old made it back to back victories when successful in the $10,540 Pot of Gold Final at Albion Park today (Friday). Fresh from his clinical display last week when resuming the previous week, the Mach Three – Charm Personified colt sat parked in the 1660m event before easily defeating former New Zealand filly Lisa Lincoln and Paternity Suit in a time of 1:54.1. Sectionals were covered in 28.8, 29.9, 27.5 and 28.2 seconds. It was the 9th victory from 13 starts and all victories have come via the Albion Park oval. The proven Gr.1 winner is being readied for a tilt at the $200,000 Victoria Derby series next month and trainer/driver Grant Dixon is content with the progress his top pupil is making. “I was really pleased with the effort today, it was a nice follow-up from his effort the previous week and he felt strong to the line and the sectionals were sharp.” Dixon said. The heats of the Victoria Derby are scheduled for January 20 while the final will take place the following week at TABCORP Park, Melton. Key rivals will include star local and the unbeaten Lumineer while the dominant All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are also likely to be represented among many others. Outstanding Tasmanian youngster Ignatius is likely to skip the Melbourne feature in preference for the New South Wales Derby the following month. But Dixon is confident his colt will be amongst the action. “He proved he was competitive with his efforts during the Breeders Crown back in August and I think he has come back in really good shape, we’re in the mix anyway. “He’s filled out and thickened in the right areas and he’s very relaxed which is great, he’s very tractable and driving very well. “I’m hoping to find another race before heading south and that should have him in great shape for the series.” Colt Thirty One finished third behind King Of Swing and Poster Boy in the Gr.1 $285,000 Australasian Breeders Crown on August 27. The Gr.1 QBRED Triad winner is raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. Chris Barsby

A pleasant surprise from the handicapper has ended Enghien's Australian assault before it began. The champion three-year-old trotter was supposed to be heading to Victoria this week for Sunday's A$75,000 Victoria Derby and then the Breeders Crown later in the month, two group ones he would have been the red hot favourite for. But trainer Greg Hope has pulled the pin on the trip after discovering Enghien will be better treated than expected in the rating system this season. "We have found out he will come back as a rating 85 horse because the rating will be capped at the end of his three-year-old season [yesterday]," says Hope. "Initially I thought he would come back rated like a 110 or something and to me that meant his four-year-old season would have been almost a write off so it made sense to go to Australia for these last two races. "But with the handicapping being capped now he can come back on a realistic mark next season so we will definitely race him at four now." Hope and his wife Nina still could have taken Enghien to Victoria but say lessons learned with superstar stablemate Monbet have them erring on the side of caution. "I think you can over-race them when they are young and still developing. "He is mucking around at the stable here now and when the weather improves he will have a good break, maybe until December." That will come as a huge relief to the trainers of his Australian rivals as Enghien was as short at $1.20 with some bookies for the Breeders Crown. While Enghien is heading for a break, Monbet continues to thrill Hope as he edges toward his return. "He has been jogging for nearly two months and I am rapt with him," said Hope. "Obviously we had him operated on to get some bone chips out and the way he is behaving now I think they might have been bothering him a lot longer than we realise. "His attitude is the best it has ever been. He seems really happy." Monbet is being aimed at the Flying Mile at Ashburton in October before defending his Dominion title at Cup week but the Hopes still plan to restrict him to a six to eight-start season. "I think if we don't over-tax him we can get two or three more seasons out of him." Reprinted with permission of The New Zealand Herald

This was a weird Victoria Derby.  Most watching spent the middle stages of the race in disbelief as Mark Purdon eased the most dominant heat winner and $1.40 favourite, Vincent, out of the race.  Vincent always needed a little luck after drawing the worst possible barrier (eight, inside back row). Well, at least he needed no bad luck.  The race was over for the regally-bred son of Art Major when, soon after Purdon was able to extricate himself from being stuck on the inside, the pace slackened up front and the horse trailing him, Blue Moon Rising, crashed into his sulky and burst a tyre.  You could see a startled Purdon look around immediately and, after assessing, the problem he eased Vincent out of the $200,000 race.  While all of this was happening, last season’s Breeders Crown 2YO champion A Little General pounced on the lead and driver Chris Alford slowed the pace to a dawdling 46.8sec lead time. That’s as so as you’d ever see them go in a feature race.  In a stop-start affair, maybe caused by everyone looking, wondering and waiting to see where Vincent was, Alford still keep cruising with a 61sec middle half.  Vincent’s stablemate Motu Meteor made the early move to sit parked and loomed as the main threat to Our Little General, but the leader packed too much speed, dashed home in 54.7 and 26.6sec to win by 4.1m from Motu Meteor with John McCarthy’s Astride a close-up third.  For all of the top young horses Emma Stewart and Clayton have trained, this was their first Victoria Derby win.   “He’s been a pleasant surprise to be honest, but we’ll certainly take it,” Tonkin said. “Given how small he is, we thought he might not go on, he doesn’t look like a Derby horse, but he’s got one on the board now.  “He’s such a pro and always puts himself into the race. When he got that slow a lead time, I knew he’d be hard to beat.  “Vincent may well have been too good, but the way the race was run and the slow lead time our guy got, it would’ve taken something special from Vincent to come around the field and beat us.”  Tonkin savoured the win with some of the stable’s most loyal owners, which included well-known Aussie racing media man Andrew Bensley.   The co-trainer was also left wondering what might have been with the stable’s best three-year-old The Storm Inside, who is rated vastly superior to Our Little General, but sidelined by injury.  “He’s a bit special. It’s a shame he wasn’t here, but we’ll get him back and then you’ll see why we are so excited about him,” Tonkin said.  Motu Meteor, who will stay in Victoria with Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell, fought on well for second and is maturing with every race start.  Adam Hamilton

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