Day At The Track
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A terrific Zac Phillips drive and a terrific horse combined to win a heck of a race for Anton Golino’s trotting team, adding the Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks to the mantelpiece. Only a fortnight after claiming the New South Wales equivalent, Une Belle Allure was advanced from a difficult draw to produce a ripping win by 1.9m from brave maiden Four Walls. “She’s just keeps getting better and better as the days go by,” Phillips said. “To the team at Anton’s, they have done a great job with this filly. She’s had her fair share of problems over the last few months and hasn’t been trotting the best. To get her right on a night like tonight is a real credit to them.” An early war between Kinvara Sue and Kyvalley Kyrie not only saw the latter break but the former – a heavily-backed $1.95 favourite – unsettled and appearing to overrace early. Phillips had placed three-back the outside from the widest back row draw and advanced on the final lap to sit outside Kinvara Sue, with Une Belle Allure soon claiming the front as her stablemate tired. Matt Craven’s Four Walls was the best of the challenges and loomed likely come the final straight, but Une Belle Allure had all the answers and claimed the Group 1 $60,000 prize. “She had to do a bit of work and was a bit of a sitting shot for those back in the field, but to her credit she just kept digging deep and I still don’t think we have found the bottom of her,” Phillips said. “Anton’s always had the opinion that she’s pretty good, it just took a little while for the penny to drop. He was patient enough with her and is starting to reap the rewards of that now.” It’s also great reward for the investment of Yabby Dam Farms' Pat Driscoll, owner and breeder of Une Belle Allure. “It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious event,” Mr Driscoll said. “As a breeder, you really dream of winning these types of races, it’s fantastic to have such a terrific filly. I’m really blessed.” Read about the other winners from Melton Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Punters left Tabcorp Park Melton on a high after favourites dominated the nine-race harness racing card, including well-travelled three-year-old High Gait, who added a third Australian Group 1 to her decorated career. Driver Chris 'Puppet' Alford brought up his 200th win in Victoria for the season in the Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks when he steered High Gait to a hard-earned victory, with the Muscles Yankee filly out of Regal Volo having to fight off a terrific Red Hot Tooth to claim the bulk of the $60,575 stakes. “(High Gait) is a professional little horse. They have probably caught up to her a little bit from last year, but she was still good enough to win,” Alford said. “It’s always good to drive a real nice trotter and ones like this don’t come along too often.” The win rewarded the efforts of trainer Nicole Molander, who has taken back responsibility for the filly after a stint in leading Kiwi trainer Mark Purdon’s care. The Group 1 win was hard earned, with Kari Males’ filly Red Hot Tooth (Yankee Paco/Karaka Tooth) defying her $36 odds to lead impressively. She was joined by the favourite at the 400m mark but never gave up the fight, with High Gait’s class edge bearing fruit in the dying stages to win by 1.3m. “There was plenty of action early and I had to probably come out earlier than what I would have liked,” Alford said. “She got to the front and, I’m not sure what happened, she was going to win by a length and just clocked off, but fortunately she held on.” It was the second of a double for Alford on the night, having earlier steered Our Missionary Man (Jeremes Jet/Hawthorne) to victory in the DNR Logistics Pace for trainer Emma Stewart. Stewart also walked away with a double after Major Secret’s return from a lengthy lay-off continued to bring success, having claimed the tab.com.au Pace for two consecutive victories in the hands of driver Gavin Lang. “For a horse that’s come back after nearly 12 months off and to win two races in a row like that, it’s really a credit to everybody involved,” Lang said of the five-year-old by Art Major out of Secret Life. “We all know how good he has been, but to come back and race at this level and show the ability he has got, to sundry and all it’s a great effort.” Alan Tubbs’ four-year-old Ponder gelding, Tee Cee Bee Macray, again produced a show-stopping burst to salute, this time winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Metropolitan Pace final for driver Greg Sugars. “He’s got tremendous speed,” Sugars said. “That’s a pretty impressive last quarter … he would have run clearly under 27 (seconds). Very fast horse, very bright future in front of him.” From last at the bell, Tee Cee Bee Macray was given cover into the race before taking off four-wide around the last corner to pursue Kerryn Manning’s heat winner Miss Dreamin and Mildura flyer Murranji Track, who emerged from the box seat into the sprint lane. None could match Tee Cee Bee Macray’s irresistible pace. “He’s turning into more and more of a racehorse every time he steps out on to the track,” Sugars said. “That speed he’s got, it’s going to hold him in good stead when he’s up in grade against better horses, because he can follow any speed and still finish off just as quick. He’s an exciting animal.” Others to venture into the winners’ circle included talented trotters Illawong Byron and Claudys Princess. Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan's two-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush registered a fourth win from seven starts when Illawong Byron won the Group 2 Haras Des Trotteurs Tatlow Stakes. “He was very fired up tonight in the warm up,” Quinlan said post-race. “I always planned to press forward, I just had to really balance him early. He was just trying to go a little bit too hard and starting to mix his gear a little bit. That’s all an experience thing and if he settles he doesn’t usually trot like that, he usually trots quite good. He is just getting a little fired up.” But despite being a temperamental two-year-old he proved too good, as did Claudys Princess (Bacardi Lindy/All Finesse) who by contrast was once again on her best behaviour to win the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot for trainer Michael Blackmore and driver Gavin Lang. “That’s been the great thing about (Claudys Princess), her manners have been exemplary all her life and, as you know, in the trotting ranks you are halfway home when they are like that,” Lang said. There were further smiles in trainer Michael Barby and driver Anne-Maree Conroy’s camp after It Is Billy also confirmed his top billing to win the Mittys Young Pedro Free For All, a second straight success for the It Is I gelding out of Glenlyon Glad. Having led throughout a 26.8 last quarter clinched the deal for It Is Billy. “He can move when he wants too,” Conroy said. “It’s terrific that he did win. The (owners) are happy all the time, it’s great to win for them.” Also making it two wins in as many meetings at Tabcorp Park Melton was Tenno Dance, who won the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for trainer Glenn Sharp and driver Josh Duggan. The five-year-old by Tennotrump out of Disco Dance registered a half-head win from Jimbo Johnson. The night closed with an old favourite from trainer David Aiken’s stable, Smudge Bromac, winning the Cogs Claiming Pace, a 34th career win for the 10-year-old veteran of 189 races. “He went awesome,” driver Josh Aiken said. “He knows his job and loves racing and it’s just good he can still win at age 10.” by Michael Howard

High Gait gets her chance to atone for a recent string of minor placings in Friday night’s Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks at Tabcorp Park Melton. The daughter of Muscles Yankee (fourth on the Australian 3YO trotting sires’ list this season) out of Regal Volo, bred by Breckon Bloodstock, has drawn barrier 10 in the 2240-metre Group 1 race, which carries a purse of $60,575. CHECK OUT TAB.COM.AU’S FIXED ODDS MARKET ON THE TROTTERS OAKS The multiple classic-winning youngster has been out of the winners’ list since March 12 when she won the Need for Speed Final, but trainer Nicole Molander said she was particularly pleased with High Gait’s last-start effort in the New South Wales Trotters Oaks at Menangle. “She had a pretty hard run the other day … she still went very good, especially with the run she had,” Molander said. “They ran a world record time for three-year-old fillies over the 2400m and she was wide then parked the whole way. “If she had have had the sit on another runner then she would have finished over the top of them.” Champion reinsman Chris Alford has won five races aboard High Gait. “Chris is a top driver to have on from the tricky draw, so that will be his job,” Molander said. Molander said Pizza Queen and Keayang Yankee were two major dangers in what looks an open Trotters Oaks field. Matt Jackson

New Zealander Trevor Casey is enjoying a lot of success with his team of harness racing horses both sides of the Tasman. The popular owner has 30 horses including Australasia's best trotter Stent, leading two year olds Our Waikiki Beach and Lazarus and Saturday night's NSW Trotters Oaks winner My Arya. Saturday night's victory meant a lot to Casey as he bred the talented daughter of Angus Hall. "I did breed her and she's the only daughter that Belle Galleon (Stent's mother) has had and I certainly will be retaining her as a broodmare at the end of her career," said Casey. "I raised her right from day dot, watched her grow up, then saw her get broken in and have since watched her all the way through." Casey chose to target the New South Wales Trotters Oaks rather than the NZ Harness Jewels after a narrow defeat in the Menangle feature twelve months ago. "My Arya could have got into the Harness Jewels and she would have been a show but I wanted to win the NSW Oaks because I ran second last year with Daenerys Targaryen and I wanted to come back and have another go at it and we were successful." "We won't be coming back for the NSW Trotters Derby next week, the Victorian Oaks is the week after which means she would have to race four weeks in a row and I just don't think that's fair on her." While at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night Casey took the opportunity to speak with club officials about Stent returning to race on the 1400 metre track. "Stent will be back, I actually said to the team here tonight I'd like to see a mile race here for the open trotters again, I would really love to see the horse at Menangle over the mile again because I think he could go 1:52.0." My Arya's trainer Brent Lilley was excited with the victory and thought her manners took her a long way. "She's proved over here she's the best trotting filly at the moment but I thought the run of the second horse (My Tribeca) was great, My Arya has got manners but the gap between her and the rest is definitely closing," said Lilley. "In saying all that, we still wouldn't swap her for any of them, so after the Victorian Trotters Oaks she will head towards the Breeders Crown and then spell." Greg Hayes

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