Former Victorian Derby winner Scandalman will have his first run in more than seven months on Saturday night when he competes in a heat of the M0 series at Newcastle. The five year old stallion has not raced since winning the Goulburn City Sprint in March but with four trials 'under his belt' driver Jimmy Douglass is expecting a good performance. "It has taken him a while to get into race condition, he is a five year old stallion and he does so well while he is out that Ian (Wilson trainer) has had to give him four trials to prepare him for his first run back," Douglass said. "He trialled at Menangle on Monday, he was beaten about two lengths in 1:54 in the fast class trial, he has been getting better and better with each run and while there will be definite improvement after Saturday night I'm still expecting a pretty good run from him especially after he drew barrier one." Douglass stated that Scandalman has always been a horse that has improved with racing and his win in the Victoria Derby was proof of that. "He won the Victoria Derby after an absolute gut buster in the heat a week prior and I honestly think he is a horse that could race ten times and he would get better with every run, he just thrives on racing." "Despite his performances as a younger horse he is still only classed M0 so this upcoming series with the final at Menangle on Miracle Mile night looked perfect for him, after that Ian will sit down and reassess what races to target him at." Douglass is returning from suspension this week and Scandalman will be his first drive back. "Luckily I got to drive him in the trial on Monday otherwise I might have needed to have a practice myself." "I'm back from suspension after Thursday night but I won't be driving on Friday so Newcastle will be the first meeting for me and I've got a few nice drives so I'm looking forward to it." Dale Walker (Harness Racing NSW)
The Australians were left with a few crumbs after New Zealand's big guns blasted the locals off the track at Saturday's feature harness racing meeting at Melton.
The New Zealand harness racing contingent made their presence felt on Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night and they struck the first blow in the Group 1 events when Ohoka Punter capitalised on a fast pace in the VHRSC Victoria Derby.
The biggest owner in New South Wales Emilio Rosati believes Ee And Em Stride can play a major role in the Victoria Derby on Saturday night after drawing barrier one. The son of Christian Cullen has won five of his eleven starts and finished second in his Derby heat on Saturday behind Lennytheshark.
Dr Hook, Mah Sish appeal as top prospects but no guarantees of Victoria Derby success. New Zealand's chances of a group one treble at Melton on Saturday received two boosts and a giant setback yesterday. Kiwi harness racing horses will be among the favourites for the Hunter Cup, Australasian Trotting Champs and Victoria Derby.
Champion Bolinda harness racing reinsman Chris Alford snared a quartet of winners at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, including a rare treble of all three heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby.
The headline act going into the VHRSC Victoria Derby heats was Guaranteed and he didn't disappoint anyone with a dominant display ensuring he will retain overall favouritism for the harness racing final to be run next week at Tabcorp Park.
Tony Herlihy is no stranger to bringing horses across the ditch for a mission at our premium Group 1 harness racing events but with Our Bettor Dream he is starting with the softly, softly approach.
If the temperature in Victoria hasn't been hot enough lately, things are about to heat up even more over the next few days with a whopping fourteen New Zealand trained harness racing horses set to do battle over the weekend.
The Dean McDowell trained Home Of The Brave will compete in this weekend's harness racing Gr.3 Simpson Memorial at Tabcorp Park Menangle before embarking on a trip south to compete in heats of the Victorian Derby on Australia Day. The three year old son of Presidential Ball resumed from a spell at Bankstown earlier this month and demonstrated that he has lost none of the ability he showed last season.
The war of words in lead-up to the Gr.1 $200,000 Alabar Victoria Derby continues. Earlier this week, harness racing fans were robbed of the opportunity of seeing the first match-up between the country's two most exciting prospects in reigning Australian 2yo Pacer of the Year Majestic Mach and proven Gr.1 winner Guaranteed in the blue riband classic.
The Gr.1 $200,000 Alabar Victoria Derby has already lost its greatest drawcard. In a bizarre move, connections of unbeaten Queensland freak Majestic Mach have decided to bypass the blue riband classic in view of protecting him as a long term harness racing Grand Circuit star.
Last season's Victoria Derby winner Scandalman returned to the trials at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday and could trial on another two occasions before resuming as a four year old. Trained by Ian Wilson and driven by Jim Douglass, the son of Live Or Die trialled at Penrith on October 24 and was in the need of the hit-out.
Harness racing's 2009 Dominion Handicap winner Springbank Richard died of peritonitis in Oamaru on Wednesday (August 22). Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the thin membrane that lines the abdominal wall and covers the organs inside.
Talented New South Wales trotter Fortheloveofmoney may be only small in stature but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his harness racing ability and determination and trainer Dean McDowell is hoping that it is these qualities that can take him to success in the Victorian Trotters Derby.
Jimmy Douglass has more to thank Ian Wilson for than just his biggest ever win in the $200,000 Alabar Victoria Derby at Melton on Saturday night. He owes him the better part of his harness racing career.