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APG Australian Premier Trotting Sale graduate Alpha Male is poised to provide trainer Emma Stewart with her second Group One for squaregaiters. Chasing just her fourth win with a trotter, Stewart is odds-on to capture the Need For Speed Prince Final. Successful with Manwarra Dollamaka more than a decade ago, Stewart’s second win came with Alpha Male in the Group One Home Grown Classic last December. “I won a race at Geelong with Manwarra Dollamaka in 2005, which was the only winner I’d had with a trotter before Alpha Male,” Stewart said. “That said, trotters haven’t been a big part of the stable.” Sent for a spell following this top shelf victory, Alpha Male returned to secure a Need For Speed Prince heat in Maryborough last week. Despite drawing the back row in Saturday night’s $60,000 Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, the three-year-old son of Majestic Son is rated as a $1.40 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds. “He did very well in his heat and will benefit from the run,” Stewart said. “His work has improved and he’s in pretty good shape “The draw makes it tough, but he is going well enough to overcome it.” Although Montpellier is regarded as the biggest threat as the $5.50 second elect from barrier four, Stewart considers Archleo has a major danger. Runner-up to Alpha Male in the qualifier, Archleo is listed at $13 from gate three. “I liked Archleo’s run in the heat and think he will be right in the finish on that effort,” Stewart said. Alpha Male was purchased from 2017 the APG Premier Trotting Sale, with this year’s edition being conducted on Sunday. “We purchased Alpha Male at the Trotting Sale as he looked like a nice type and has certainly turned out that way so far,” Stewart said. “Everything he has done suggests he can develop into a pretty handy trotter.” APG Media

The Angelique Club has welcomed the news Victoria Shaw will call three harness racing meetings for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) this month. Ms Shaw has had stints calling all racing codes during a long association with the industry, but tomorrow will be the first time she’s called a full Victorian harness meeting. “We’d like to take this opportunity on the week of International Women’s Day (Friday March 8) to publicly support and congratulate Victoria,” Angelique Club President Judy Rothacker. Ms Shaw will also call trots meetings at Warragul on Monday March 18 and Cranbourne on Tuesday March 26. “I think it’s brilliant. I welcome the opportunity for Victoria to demonstrate her skills, which she’s long held in the race calling space,” HRV Board Member, Pearl Kelly Award and Gordon Rothacker Medal recipient Elizabeth Clarke said. “I have been involved in this industry for 50 years and I’m proud to say that not once in that time in harness racing have I ever felt treated any differently because I am a woman. “Victoria is very passionate about her racing and I look forward to her being afforded future opportunities in the broadcasting space.” See below for the Angelique Club’s statement:   Angelique Club welcomes Victoria Shaw to Victorian trots race calling ranks The Angelique Club, an organisation which has honoured and promoted the role of women in harness racing for the past 25 years, welcomes the addition of Victoria Shaw to our state’s harness race calling ranks. Victoria has an extensive background in race calling and racing journalism, and we’re thrilled to see a female represented in the race calling space, an area which, for whatever reason, hasn’t had strong female representation in the past. Our club understands Victoria will call three race meetings for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) this month, starting with Yarra Valley tomorrow, and we’d like to take this opportunity on the week of International Women’s Day (Friday, March 8) to publicly support and congratulate Victoria. Victoria joins a proud list of prominent women in our sport to have held key industry positions and our club is thrilled that women have been so well represented in all facets of harness racing, including on the track, in the board room, club leadership positions, stewarding panels and many other areas.   Trots Media

Hamilton harness racing officials are hoping the 1660-metre sprint trip mile rate record is obliterated on Sunday as the club hosts the inaugural $14,000 Glenn Miles Memorial Mile. Under sunny skies with a warm lead-in to the action looking guaranteed, the club is confident the track will be cherry ripe for a Miles Memorial Mile runner to smash My Harmony Blue’s 1:52.0 flat record mile rate. “One day, who knows, they might break 1:50.0 here,” club manager Chrissy Hawker said. “What I’m certain of is they’ll all be trying for that, that’s for sure. We’re predicting fans will be treated to a fast and furious race, faster than Hamilton has ever seen.” The club’s newest feature race is expected to draw some of the fastest up-and-coming metro performers to the south-west 1000-metre track to contest a race that pays homage to a passionate local trots man in the late Glenn Miles, who sadly passed away last August. “We’ve been keen to explore a new sprint feature for a while now and I must thank Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) for being so open-minded to the idea and helping us with the programming,” Hamilton HRC Manager Chrissy Hawker said. “We’ve got the fastest track in Victoria and Mick Turner and his team do a fantastic job of turning out a tiptop racing surface every time we race. They’ll have it in great order this Sunday. “Milesy, who we’ve named the race after, was a great bloke. He was very community minded, heavily involved in local sport and he just loved his harness racing.” The inaugural Glenn Miles Memorial Mile is a C5 or better race restricted to horses with a metropolitan assessment no faster than M2. It will be the feature event on the Hamilton card this Sunday and the club is hoping the meeting develops into an annual celebration. “We’re not afraid to try new things and hopefully the community turns out in droves to witness potentially the most exciting race the club’s ever seen,” Hawker said. “What a great opportunity this is for trainers to chase a brilliant lifetime mark next to their horse’s name and the $14k prizemoney on offer. It’ll be great to watch. “We’ve got a hot week ahead but Sunday’s looking perfect at 33 degrees. We’ll have the bar stocked, plenty of activities and food options for families. It’s just a wonderful day out and you won’t be disappointed.”   Cody Winnell for Trots Media

Have you heard the one about the horse at the bar?   The drinkers at the Torrumbarry Hotel, near Echuca, couldn’t believe their eyes last Sunday afternoon when a harness racing horse strolled up to the bar.   “They weren’t too sure whether it was a dare or a bet – they were totally blown away!” said Mark Lee, a trainer-driver based at Tallygaroopna.   “After they all settled down and realized what was going on, there were mobile phones taking photographs everywhere.”   Mark and his wife Stacey took out the Torrumbarry Hotel Motel Trot at the Gunbower meeting with seven-year-old gelding Col Du Galibier (  USA-Styx (R C’s Dee Jay) so they thought it was only fitting to call into the hotel on the trip home.   “The idea of actually taking the horse into the bar was probably hatched at the trots meeting when we were having a few drinks and a chat with a group of people,” Mark said.   “I’m not sure who suggested it, but we all got on board because race sponsors like the Torrumbarry Hotel people are so important these days,” he said.   “There was probably about 20 people in the bar when we walked in with ‘Cadel’ as he’s known at home around the stables.   “He didn’t get bothered one bit – not that we thought he would, because we wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”   Col Du Galibier raced by Jeff, Annette and Andrew Towers, along with Kerrie Lee, was the first leg of a training double for Mark Lee. And it was the first of two winners for owner Kerrie, who is Mark’s mum.   Mark Lee    - Photo Barry Bennett and Cobram Harness Racing Club.   To add to the celebrations, Stacey’s parents and brother are also part-owners in Col Du Galibier, so it was a day to remember.   “The horse has been going nicely and it was fitting that Stacey got the win. She does most of the work with him and he’s actually her stable favorite,” Mark said.   Stacey Towers    - Photo Barry Bennett and Cobram Harness Racing Club.   “I thought when Stacey got cover and landed in the one-one they would be hard to beat.”   Just on half an hour later in the following race, the Egmont Park Stud Pace, Mark was not only in the winner’s circle as trainer again, but this time as driver as well.   A forward move to race in the death- seat proved to be a winning one as Rebellin Ruby (Art Official- Hope To Fly (Jet Laag) dug deep to score well as rank outsider at nearly 60/1.   “I really couldn’t believe she was at those odds as her form wasn’t that bad,” Mark said.   “But the races do have to be run to suit her, I guess. If she can be up the front somewhere, she keeps grinding away and that was why I didn’t hesitate to get to the chair when they slowed up.   “After the first quarter of 33 secs, the race tempo stepped up with even splits of a bit over 29 secs from then on, so I was reasonably happy.”   Mark said he’d previously trained a couple of other winning doubles, but that was his first at Gunbower.   “We hardly ever miss a meeting at that venue – it’s a good club and not all that far for us to travel.   ”Rebellin Ruby is owned by Kerrie along with keen stable supporter Dennis Rebbeck, of Euroa, who enjoys having shares in horses from the stable.   Both Mark and Stacey have been training for 15 years and were originally from Sydney but decided to make the Shepparton area their home.   They have a huge 92-acre property that boasts a 1000 metre track.   “We are doing a team of 12 at present, with seven of those being babies. Apart from the two winners, a few others including Nica MacDonon are being jogged up,” he said.   “Nica missed getting in foal so it’s back to the races for her, but that’s ok.”    Nica MacDonon, a last start Shepparton winner in early December of last year, when driven by Stacey, has been a handy racehorse for breeder-owner Peter Hornsby.   The mare, by Eileen Donon USA, out of Styx (winner of 5 from 17, and a prolific broodmare) has won 13 races with 29 placings for over $122,000 in stakes.   The Gunbower meeting was also successful for Danny Curran, who prepares a small team at Marong.   Curran trained a winning double with Sunrose Master (Vintage Master-Sunrose Mary (Village Jasper), handled by James Herbertson; and Mia From Memphis (Rocknroll Hanover-Armbroosky (Armbro Operative), driven by Ryan Duffy.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Bendigo-based harness racing farrier John McDermott can still remember the day he borrowed shoeing gear belonging to his father in what would be the pathway to a busy career. “It’s rather funny to look back on it now – I was only about 10 years old and decided I would put shoes on my old pony,” John said. “Dad (Henry) was leaving for a trots meeting and saw what I was up to and said he’d see me when he got home.   I think he had a fair idea that I would be at it for some time,” he said. “He wasn’t wrong – it took me half a day just to put the front shoes on!” Needless-to-say John is far more accomplished and a lot quicker these days.  His expertise sees him travel thousands of kilometres each month to clients near his hometown of Bendigo as well as a vast “shoeing run” that takes him as far afield as Echuca, Shepparton, Sea Lake, Ouyen, Robinvale and Mildura. “I was asked by a few trainers up in north-west Victoria if I would travel that far because one guy quit and another was forced to give it away,” John said. “So, the number of clients just grew by word of mouth and now I have a regular gig.” John said he loved watching horses that he shod perform well. “I get a real kick out of it.  I’m rapt if I can help out because there’s certainly a shortage of people in my profession,” John said. “Dad had a very good reputation as a farrier so that’s why I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said. “Probably my biggest highlight is that I can say I re-shod Sydney superstar Tiger Tara before he triumphed in the recent Inter-Dominion final in Melbourne. And I did it under a fair bit of pressure, I can tell you!” John still has a trainer-driver licence but admits that it wouldn’t be possible to keep his small team going without the invaluable help of his mum Shirley. “I do as much as I can, but mum is an amazing back-up. She’s always there to do the jog work and feeds the horses in the mornings and at night,” he said. The mother-son combination had reward for their efforts with a Shepparton win last week in the C1 only race, with five-year-old gelding Whata Challenge (Falcon Seelster-Scarlett Finn NZ (In The Pocket). To watch the video replay click on this link. Astute reinswoman Lisa Miles zipped the pacer to the front from the wide six alley and cruised to a 13m win over Pushinupdaisies. Blazing Orion was a further 10metres back. “He ran a nice second at his first run back but was off his game a little at his next few,” John said. “It was awesome for Lisa to get the win as back in the day Dad was one of the main drivers for her grandfather, the great Alf Simons. “Alf was also fantastic to me because as a young fellow he gave me many race driving opportunities.  I’ve never forgotten that, so it was nice to repay the favour for Lisa.” The McDermott family, comprising parents Henry and Shirley, and siblings Graham, John and Kerry moved from Parkes, NSW, to Bendigo in the late 1970s to concentrate on full-time horse training. “Dad had been farming and doing the horses as well, so it was a big decision,” John said. However, it didn’t take Henry McDermott long to show his outstanding knowledge and talent with horses and over the next decade there was a steady stream of success. Classy winners that come to mind include Waikare Gold, Quambys Pride, Gosh, Springfield Rajah, Bondi Pride and Thor On.  While Quambys Pride was huge in defeating Gammalite in the 1980 Queensland Derby, Gosh was a superstar in the same era winning 36 races and over $320,000. But a horrific fall at Moonee Valley in the late 1980s changed Henry’s life forever. Henry suffered a cracked skull and broke nearly every bone on the left-hand side of his body. He was in a coma for a week and doctors doubted he would drive again. Unbelievably he did return to the racetrack and at Shepparton on August 1, 1990, saluted with Waikare Royal at his first drive back. He died in early 2007 after battling a long illness. Henry was known far and wide for his work ethic, selfless attitude, love for horses and a cold beer. And perhaps fittingly, his last win at Bendigo was on the appropriately named trotter Frosty Vee Bee! Hoofnote: Local reinswoman Ellen Tormey took out the Henry McDermott Memorial 3yo pace at Bendigo last Sunday when successful with Prosecco Boy (Betterthancheddar-Rosalee Hanover (Walton Hanover) trained by Mark Watson. The pacer was impressive in winning in 1.58 for the 1650m trip. To watch the video replay click on this link. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Two more names were added to the growing list of Auckland Reactor-sired rising stars at the Swan Hill harness racing meeting this week. Thermal Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Ballygeana - Presidential Ball) trained by Zac Steenhuis and driven by Ryan Duffy gave a dominant front-running display to score by 18 metres in the Steven and Kyra Valentines pace.  To watch the replay click here. The win was followed up by another impressive performance in Quamby Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Lady Lunchalot - Armbro Operative) trained and driven by Chris Svanosio. To watch this video replay click here Both are four year olds and both amply demonstrated the depth in maturity that’s emerging in the Auckland Reactor progeny. “Quamby Reactor took a little while to put it all together as a young horse, but he has improved massively with each preparation,” an elated Svanosio said. “He’s a very big fellow and I think that was part of the problem in his first prep - he was gangly and took a while to get it all together. But once he worked things out he won his three year old and his Vicbred bonus and we gave him another break,” he said. “This time as a four year old he’s come back really strong and he won well at Swan Hill. I think he’ll have a few more wins in him yet.” Quamby Reactor posted a 1:55.8 mile rate thrilling the big crowd of owners and supporters at the Swan Hill meeting. The ownership group is made up largely of farmers from the nearby Kerang-Quambatook area, and who raced Quamby Reactor’s mother Lady Lunchalot.  “They’ve been a fantastic group to work with. When the horse was taking longer than I’d thought I asked them if they would like to try another trainer, but they were happy to wait for him to click,” Svanosio said. “They never miss his races and even his trials so it’s great to see him rewarding their loyalty.” The Svanosio stable itself is also “putting it all together” of late,  also notching up three second placings at Swan Hill and Chris getting another second as a driver. Based at Junortoun, Bendigo, Svanosio has a “essentially a full team” of 20 horses in work with the help of Michelle Phillips, Tara Youngson and Taylor French. The stable has had four winners and a swag of placings over the past two weeks. “Im lucky to have a fantastic team of staff and they do a great job.  The last few weeks things have been going nicely, which is great - it gives everyone a kick along,” he said. “We just need to keep things going and build from there.”  Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Popular Pearcedale trainer Bill Walker passed away at the weekend after battling serious health issues over the past few years. A talented horseman, Bill produced a string of top performers over many years including Lombo Sykrider, Stoned At Midnight, Charley’s Dream and Stoned I Am and is credited with putting the early polish on Hectorjayjay. He was also an active member of the local harness racing community and, fittingly, a funeral service celebrating Bill’s life will be held this Thursday February 14 commencing at 1.30pm on the first floor of the Cranbourne Racing Centre. Cranbourne Vice-President David Scott said "Bill was the consummate professional". "He was a quietly spoken man and was never one to get carried away even when his team got on a roll," Mr Scott said. “He always seemed to have a nice horse in his team and did so without ever having a barn full of expensive blue-blood types. I think that speaks volumes about his horsemanship. “Bill was also a wonderful supporter of our club and could always be relied on to throw in a late nom if we were struggling for fields or help out with a horse or two for a dual-seater sulky race when the need arose. “I’m sure that those who remember Bill fondly will join us at the track on Thursday to farewell one of harness racing’s gentlemen." The Cranbourne Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria extend their condolences to Bill’s wife Nell, his daughters Simone and Trudy, and all family and friends.   Trots Media  

Two of the season’s greater trots tales added further chapters to their unlikely stories with feature victories at Echuca on Friday night. Gavin Lang’s average pacer turned top-line trotter Pantzup continues to take everything in her path, with the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket a seventh straight and ninth career victory after the mare showed her might against open class types. And Kima Frenning’s rapid rise in Victoria’s ranks continued unabated with her debut training project, Buster Brady, launched to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship with victory in the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. “It’s crazy,” Frenning said post-race after her former Kiwi produced a fifth win and third country cup in his ninth Australian start. “To train a horse like him, to come here and win a race like this, it’s very exciting and I can’t thank everyone around me enough. “He was really good tonight. He’s a really nice horse and he does it pretty easy when he wants too.” Off the second row Frenning advanced three-wide for much of the first lap before taking the front, from where Buster Brady was too strong in the straight, saluting by seven metres from Shadow Reign and Gottashopearly. The victory would have brought more delight for Luke Stokie and his fellow owners, with Buster Brady now a point clear of San Carlo in the Trots Country Cups Championship, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. Only an hour earlier Pantzup entered the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship race when he scooped up the Crystal Bucket, a winning streak that has surprised even the most experienced and successful of trainer-drivers. “She’s amazing really,” Lang said “It’s well documented that we bought her cheaply as a pacer to win a couple of races and then probably flick her on, but she showed she had a propensity to trot from day one that she entered the stable. “I’d like to be able to say I did this and did that, but I haven’t done nothing – I’ve just trained her and fed her and she’s done the rest. “I’ve been in the game for a long long time, my Dad’s had plenty of trotters, I’ve had a couple of nice ones in the past, but every time I drive home from the races with this one I just shake my head because I can’t believe what she does. It’s a great story.” Drawn off 10m in the standing start, Pantzup advanced to the breeze with a lap and a half to go and found the front when leader Als Law dropped out about 500m from home. A 29-second final quarter was enough to keep all challengers at bay and salute by 5.4 from Fratellino, who picked up valuable points to leapfrog King Denny and take the lead in the $10,000 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

A fairy-tale season could etch another chapter in tonight’s J A Connelly Crystal Bucket at Echuca, where pacing mare Pantzup will hunt a seventh consecutive victory. By Always A Virgin, sire of the world’s fastest pacer Always B Miki, and out of pacing mare Evasive Moves, an APG Final placegetter, Pantzup has defied her heritage this season for trainer-driver Gavin Lang. She is one of the many stories that will play out at Echuca tonight, where Buster Brady is favoured to win the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup and shoot to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, a remarkable feat for first-horse trainer Kima Frenning. The night’s $35,000 feature at 9.20pm comes an hour after the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket, Echuca’s trotters’ cup, which presents Pantzup’s greatest test to her now six-race winning streak. “King Denny, Kheiron, both went round through the recent Inter Dominion trotting section, so they are good quality horses,” Lang said. “Another runner off 10m (Endsin A Party) was the winner of the Geelong Cup this preparation as well. “Not an easy race by any means, combined with the fact that it’s a stand, on the Echuca track, it will be an interesting race, but she is going very well and you can’t beat winning form.” Her six wins in a row are the tail-end of eight wins from 11 starts since joining Lang’s Bacchus Marsh stable. “We purchased her as a late three-year-old as a 14-start maiden who was a pacer,” Lang said. “We thought we might be able to win a few races as a pacer and then move her on, but from the time she entered our stables she did nothing but show she may have been a trotter. Eleven starts later and eight wins later, it’s staggering really. “She started this campaign as a T1 assessed horse, in other words she’d basically won one race as a trotter, and now leading into the Echuca trotters’ cup she’s now assessed T7.” With each victory comes greater tests, but as she showed with her metropolitan win on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night last Saturday Pantzup keeps rising to every challenge. “Each time you win it progressively gets harder,” Lang said. “Every time she goes to the track now she just keeps stepping up. It gets harder each win and this race is no exception, but you can’t do any more than win. “I wish I could put my hand up and say what a job we have done but not really at all, we just took her on board and trained her and, as I said, she showed a propensity just to trot from day one – no special shoeing, no special gear, no anything. She’s bred to be a good pacer, she’s turned out a great trotter.” Michael Howard for Trots Media

Experienced Victorian harness racing trainer Ron Francis has a sneaky feeling that three-year-old filly Hecs Elect (Auckland Reactor-Shes Elegant (Safely Kept) could just be the horse he’s long been looking for. Hecs Elect became Auckland Reactor's 73rd individual winner, with his oldest crop just four-year-olds. Francis, based at Woodstock, near Yan Yean, has been a hobby trainer pottering around with a small team for more than 40 years. During that time, he has had his fair amount of success with such pacers as Tibur Power (who finished with a wonderful record of 17 wins for $110,000); the injury-plagued Pacesetter (a winner of 12 races, eight of these at the old Victorian Moonee Valley headquarters); Ringtripleowe had 13 wins and 60 placings for $94,000 and Somedreamsomewhere (12 wins, 23 placings for nearly $75,000). “We do think Hecs Elect has the potential to perhaps be our best horse,” Francis said. “She is very strong and can peel off some excitingly quick quarters.” And Hecs Elect gave an exhilarating display of her capabilities on Monday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, with a last-to-first win in the Melton Toyota 3yo pace. After being eased out from her front barrier alley by master reinsman Gavin Lang, the filly sat at the rear before being asked for an effort going down the back straight for the final time. The Auckland Reactor-sired youngster dashed around three wide to be outside the leader and race favorite Allspark on the final turn. Given a bit of rein, Hecs Elect sprinted nicely to score from Final Chapter by 10.5m, with Allspark ($1.70 fav) a further 3.2m back in third spot in a handy 1.56-3 mile rate. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. While pleased by the win, Francis has been patient in waiting for his horse to show her true ability. “She is the quickest pacer I’ve had over the years.  I decided a while ago in a fast work hit-out to let her quicken up each quarter and the times she was doing were just crazy,” he said. “We’ve had a few glitches along the way as she kept growing and couldn’t handle her speed and then she started tossing her head all over the place. “I’m lucky I’ve got some experienced people in Gavin Lang and Greg Sugars who have driven her, to give me the best feedback and advice.” Francis said the first five times Hecs Elect faced the starter, she was racing in the top-class group. “At her latest effort she was probably in a lower division of her class, but I have to agree with Gavin who said afterwards that there are just no easy races now,” he said. Hecs Elect was purchased for only $7000 at the APG sales.  Her owners previously enjoyed racing her half-sister Somedreamsomewhere (now in foal to Yankee Rockstar), and from all indications, they are in for some more fun. Also, on the breeding side, Hecs Elect has a half-brother in Tightrope who posted 22 wins and 50 placings from 196 starts for $196,000. “We haven’t any big plans in mind at the moment and she will probably go around next week at Cranbourne. Hopefully she brings her best game along again.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It takes a special horse to claim the Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup. But it takes a great horse to do it in the same season. Brilliant pacer Tiger Tara joins Preux Chevalier in this exclusive club following his rampaging victory in the Gr.1 $500,000 Del Re National A G Hunter Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday). And again, it was brutal power running at its finest. It was a carbon copy performance of both his Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion triumphs this season. Starting from gate three, driver Todd McCarthy fired Tiger Tara to the lead and just kept improving his position thereafter to claim the 2760m feature defeating Our Uncle Sam and San Carlo. The lead time was covered in 81.2 seconds. With Tiger Tara controlling the speed, rivals were making their moves early with Buster Brady moving around San Carlo quickly who was sitting without cover before the All Stars duo of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer made moves and attempted to assert their authority on the event. The first half of the final mile was covered in identical splits of 28.9 seconds. And McCarthy was only starting to up the pressure as he headed into the back straight; Tiger Tara was hiking along while rivals were starting to feel the pain. It only intensified as Tiger Tara charged off the back in a sectional of 27.2 seconds. Tiger Tara widened his advantage with Our Uncle Sam doing his best to hold his place after trailing the hard-running leader throughout while San Carlo emerged late as a place possibility. Both Thefixer and Cruz Bromac gave ground quickly. In the straight, Tiger Tara ($1.90 fav) charged clear and scored easily by 14.5 metres over Our Uncle Sam ($6.80) with another 12.7 metres back to San Carlo ($39.40) in third. The final split was covered in 28 seconds. The winning mile rate was 1:53.2 – easily eclipsing his own track record set when successful in the Inter Dominion back in December at 1:53.9. “He’s an amazing animal and he deserves everything this horse.” Trainer Kevin Pizzuto beamed immediately after the event. The Bettors Delight entire has now won 35 races while his earnings are now in excess of $2.27 million. The victory has also clinched the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit title following his mauling’s in the Garden State features this term. Tiger Tara has amassed 360 points – Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion & Hunter Cup victories plus a nose second behind Thefixer in the New Zealand Cup at Addington back on November 13. Only two legs of the APG Grand Circuit remain – the Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on March 2 followed by the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 20. And both events are well within the reach of Tiger Tara. While Tiger Tara and Preux Chevalier stand alone with victories in the Victoria Cup, Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup in the same season, they’re joined by the likes of Koala King, Blacks A Fake, Mr Feelgood and Lazarus as winners of the Big 3 events but across different seasons. Chris Barsby for Harness Racing Australia

MAINTAINING her perfect start to the season, Kualoa completed a timely win at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. Having her second outing for the term, Kualoa captured the Three-Year-Old Classic for premier trainer Emma Stewart. A Group One winner last season, the filly extended her record to eight wins and three seconds from 12 starts for earnings of $176,760. What made the Kualoa’s victory so well-timed is her sister is set to enter the ring during tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Australian Pacing Gold Sale in Melbourne. The pair are by Art Major from Hawiian Hottie, with the younger sibling known at this stage as Lot 221. An American import, Hawiian Hottie boasts a perfect record from three starters. As for Kualoa – which won her APG heat last season before producing her only unplaced performance in the APG Final – her latest triumph came with Chris Alford in the cart. Caught three-wide early from barrier five, Kualoa worked to the lead before coasting to an effortless six-metre win from Arabella Star, with Tangoingwithsierra four metres away third in 1:57.5 over 2240 metres. “She has come back really well and should continue to get better,” Stewart said. “She had improved in her track work since her first-up run and should be sharper again next time out.” That “next time” is likely to be in a New South Wales Oaks heat at Tabcorp Park Menangle on February 23. Kualoa will be seeking redemption during the series as he APG Final run was at Menangle. “She is working towards the New South Wales Oaks,” Stewart said. “I will have to have a look at the program and see whether there is a suitable race for her between now and the heats. “If not she might just head to the trials.” APG Media

A perfectly timed swoop delivered Team Teal its first Victorian Group 1 when Kima Frenning guided Big Jack Hammer to the Hygain V L Dullard Cup. A plan paid off perfectly for trainer David Aiken, Frenning and owner Domenic Martello with the popular victory reward for an outstanding campaign by the six-year-old gelding.  “It’s crazy,” Frenning said. “He’s been racing so well during the Inter Dominion campaign, I think his best runs have definitely been off the speed and he proved that tonight. He’s a super quick horse and really consistent.” Frenning was able to implement plan A, ceding the lead to Gavin Lang and Save Our Pennys and then biding her time while others boxed on. Outside the leader Temporale and then Red Hot Tooth punched the breeze, but come the final straight none could muster the speed of Big Jack Hammer, who emerged down the sprint lane to score by 1.8m. “Now that he’s up in class a bit he’s probably best driven off the speed,” Frenning said. “He’s a super consistent horse, Aiks has done a really good job with him, Domenic’s given me so many opportunities. This is crazy.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Champion Victorian harness racing driver Chris Alford admits he had his fingers crossed when he travelled to Maryborough on Thursday to drive exciting first-starter Kyvalley Chief. The three-year-old colt (Muscle Hill-Love Ya Doosie (Love You), raced by KPC Racing, had shown some Jekyll and Hyde tendencies at the trials – a touch unpredictable, but brilliant on his best behaviour. “There’s no doubting his ability – when he decides to put his best foot forward, he does it effortlessly,” Alford said. Punters sent Kyvalley Chief out as a $3 chance with the Gavin Lang-trained and driven Classy Spirit assuming favouritism at $2.10. With several of the youngsters not bringing their best manners and breaking at the start to cause interference, HRV starter Doug Gretgrix, officiating at his final meeting after 21 years, had no option but to call the first attempt of the race a false start. “I was a bit lucky because Kyvalley Chief was in a cranky mood. He galloped in the score-up, wouldn’t trot properly and was trying to go sideways, so I did have my hands full,” Alford said. “Without doubt, had they gone I’d have been 200 metres behind them. “But fortunately, in the second attempt he went up like a complete gentleman and we trotted to the lead.  He went fantastic.” Kyvalley Chief won by 19 metres from Classy Spirit, with a massive 51 metres back to Zarem in third spot with quarters of 30.8, 31.4, 29.5 and 31.3 for a rate of 2.03. “It was annoying that he played up the first time, but thankfully he made amends time and went similar to his Bendigo trial four days earlier.  He was on his best behaviour there and won in a jog and in a pretty handy time.” Alford said Kyvalley Chief, despite having a handful of trials and heaps of education, was probably still “a big immature boy”. “He’s certainly a work in progress, but he’s got heaps of raw ability so hopefully it will all come together for him soon.” To watch a video replay click here. Kyvalley Chief was bred by Breckon Farms, who have a full brother to Kyvalley Chief at this year's inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland, on the 18th of February. He is Lot 53, Doosie Do by Muscle Hill from Love Ya Doosie. For the catalogue pedigree click here. Doosie Do From the race winning Love You mare Love Ya Doosie (T, 2.7.5, 2 wins, $12,375) who is a half-sister to champion trotter, 9-time Group 1 winner and 4YO Trotter of the Year, Trotter of the Year (twice), Harness Horse of the Year and Australian Trotter of the Year I Can Doosit (T, 1.55.5; 36 wins, $1,445,774,), Group 3 winner and Group 2 placed Sno's Big Boy (T, 1.58.4, 15 wins, $215,309), Heezadoo Early (T, 2.06.9, 5 wins, $46,866) and Yankeedoosie (T.3, 2.05.2, 4 wins, $43,999). Second dam is the broodmare gem and dual Broodmare of the Year sheezadoosie (T, 2.04.2, 7 wins, $48,632) who is the dam of 6 foals to race, 6 winners and the granddam of the promising Forget The Price Tag (T, 2.04.9, 2700m, 2 wins & 2 placings from just 6 starts, $21,703). From the family of Golden Blend (T, 1.55, 33 wins, $294,630), Group 2 winner Aldebaran Ay M (T, 1.58.8, 9 wins, $72,419), Group 1 placed Aldebaran Southland (T, 2.00.1, 12 wins $67,332), Breena Almahurst, Brighton Lobell, Noble Hustle, American Hustle, Hardesty, Noble Traveller etc Kyvalley Chief was the first leg of a winning treble for master reinsman Alford at the Maryborough meeting. He followed with victories in the 4yo and older trot with Flash Kyvalley (Skyvalley-Cashel Dagha (Pine Chip) and a heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series with Bettor Be Sorry (Bettors Delight-Whos Sorry Now (Western Ideal). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Melbourne Cup-winning horse trainer Darren Weir and two other men have been arrested in police raids at Weir's Victorian properties. Victoria Police said the raids were part of a Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit investigation into alleged corruption in racing. In a statement, police said the men were arrested for questioning as part of an investigation into suspected offences including obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception. A 26-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were also arrested. Weir, 48, is widely regarded as Australia's leading horse trainer and trained the 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning horse Prince of Penzance, which jockey Michelle Payne rode to victory. At the end of last year, harness racing in New Zealand was rocked by allegations of race-fixing. It's believed that a number of high profile figures in harness racing were the target of raids around the country. Most of those accused have been granted name suppression and are due to appear in court this year. In a statement, Racing Victoria's general manager of integrity, Jamie Stier, said the police raids were linked to an investigation by the racing body. "Racing Victoria's Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas," he said. "During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit." Mr Stier said members of Racing Victoria's integrity team joined police on the raids at the properties. "Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria Police on those investigations." Police said a firearm and "what is believed to be a conducted energy device" were also seized. Weir has a high-tech training facility at Miners Rest and a beach stable in Warrnambool. Police searched a truck at the trainer's Miners Rest property this morning, going through its cab and the vehicle's exterior. Victoria's Racing Minister, Martin Pakula, said he was aware of the police investigation and did not want to say anything to prejudice its outcome. "I would simply say as a racing fan and as the Racing Minister, integrity in our sport is incredibly important and any allegation of a breach of the rules of racing is extremely disappointing," he said. "It is important to note that this is another demonstration that our racing integrity unit within Racing Victoria will pursue any matter without fear or favour, and that is clearly what they have done." Reprinted with permission of Radio New Zealand

Melbourne Cup-winning horse trainer Darren Weir and two other men have been arrested in police raids at Weir's Victorian properties. Victoria Police said the raids were part of a Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit investigation into alleged corruption in racing. In a statement, police said the men were arrested for questioning as part of an investigation into suspected offences including obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception. A 26-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were also arrested. Weir, 48, is widely regarded as Australia's leading horse trainer and trained the 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning horse Prince of Penzance, which jockey Michelle Payne rode to victory. At the end of last year, harness racing in New Zealand was rocked by allegations of race-fixing. It's believed that a number of high profile figures in harness racing were the target of raids around the country. Most of those accused have been granted name suppression and are due to appear in court this year. In a statement, Racing Victoria's general manager of integrity, Jamie Stier, said the police raids were linked to an investigation by the racing body. "Racing Victoria's Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas," he said. "During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit." Mr Stier said members of Racing Victoria's integrity team joined police on the raids at the properties. "Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria Police on those investigations." Police said a firearm and "what is believed to be a conducted energy device" were also seized. Weir has a high-tech training facility at Miners Rest and a beach stable in Warrnambool. Police searched a truck at the trainer's Miners Rest property this morning, going through its cab and the vehicle's exterior. Victoria's Racing Minister, Martin Pakula, said he was aware of the police investigation and did not want to say anything to prejudice its outcome. "I would simply say as a racing fan and as the Racing Minister, integrity in our sport is incredibly important and any allegation of a breach of the rules of racing is extremely disappointing," he said. "It is important to note that this is another demonstration that our racing integrity unit within Racing Victoria will pursue any matter without fear or favour, and that is clearly what they have done." Reprinted with permission of Radio New Zealand

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