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It was a homecoming fit for a queen. Natalie Rasmussen, aka Miss Inter Dominion returned to the feature race stage at Albion Park tonight (Saturday) and claimed two feature harness racing events. Rasmussen landed the Gr.2 $50,000 Seymour Premiers Cup with race favourite Gentle Western who led throughout while she guided star filly Fight For Glory to victory in the Gr.3 $30,000 UBET Gold Coast Oaks. The winning Oaks drive was tactically brilliant. Fight For Glory (Art Major) defeated stablemate Linda Lovegrace while local filly Bettor Promise ran a brave third in a mile rate of 1;55.9 for the 2138m with the final half covered in 56.3 seconds. Gentle Western, a lightly raced stayer with enormous potential stepped safely before leading his rivals a merry dance in the 2647m stand-start marathon defeating Corporal Luna and Raring To Go in a race record time of 1;57.7. The last half was covered in 55.7 seconds. The Western Ideal – Gentle Audrey stallion is raced by Natalie’s mother, Cheryl Rasmussen and Trevor Titcomb. The All Stars stable of Rasmussen and Mark Purdon will aim their runners at several features in the coming weeks during the Brisbane winter carnival which will be staged on July 4, 11 and 18. Rasmussen is based in Christchurch with Purdon. The Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 2yo Finals were also staged and provided thrilling finishes in both finals with Catcha Lefty and Get In The Groove proving victorious. Catcha Lefty was the punters elect and scored narrowly from New South Wales visitor Roarn after locking wheels over the concluding stages while Make A Statement finished third in a time of 1;55.1. The Village Jasper – Lefty gelding has now won 6 of his 7 starts and will head to the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final on July 18. He is raced by his breeder and trainer, Cristina Monte and was handled by leading reinsman Shane Graham. In the Fillies division, Get In The Groove sprintlaned to defeat Covert Beauty and Firebby in a time of 1;57.0. Get In The Groove trailed race favourite Reds Jet Star before sprinting quickly over the concluding stages. The Mach Three – Get Happy filly is raced by her breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour. Trista Dixon took the winning drive; the filly is trained by her husband Grant. The Dixon stable struck in the feature trotting event, the $15,000 Statewide Taxation Services Marathon when former New Zealand Sharons Millicent led throughout in the 3157m event. Unbeaten in six Australian starts prior to tonight, the Monkey Bones – Black Onyx mare kept her perfect record in place scoring comfortably from Mister Malakye and Its Three By Two. The winning mile rate for the stand-start feature was 2;06.7. Handled by trainer/driver Grant Dixon, Sharons Millicent is raced by Sharon Mitchell. And reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova made a successful return when he led throughout in the Garrards Horse & Hound Open defeating Forever Gold and Caesars Folly. The free legged pacer was resuming since competing in the Inter Dominion Grand Final on March 1, Avonnova recorded a winning mile rate of 1;57.3 for the 2647m. Co-owner and trainer Ian Gurney is aiming his ‘stablestar’ at several features next month including the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint (July 4) and the $125,000 Blacks A Fake (July 18). Fight For Glory Gentle Western

It’s a family tree that runs deep. Very deep. And exciting harness racing rookie Catcha Lefty is quickly proving himself to be the best of the progeny of Fake Left mare Lefty for the Cini / Monte families. Husband and wife team of Charlie Cini and Cristina Monte prepare Catcha Lefty, a pacer they bred, raised and reared before taking him all the way through to the precocious talent that he is today. Catcha Lefty is the ruling favourite for Saturday night’s Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Breeders Classic 2yo Colts & Geldings Final at Albion Park after winning five of his six starts to date. “He’s a classy horse with a great attitude, he’s been great to deal with from the very start and he’s kept improving all the way through. We think a lot of him and hopefully he keeps improving.” Cini said. The Village Jasper gelding hails from great lineage, his mother Lefty has proven to be quite the broodmare leaving ten individual winners from ten foals to race to date. Lefty was no slouch herself and amassed a fine record of 17 victories and 26 minor placings from 67 lifetime starts but her value as a broodmare has proven to be immeasurable. Her winners to date include Chucka Lefty (9 wins - $51k), Shes A Lefty (10 wins - $102k), Lotsa Lefty (4 wins - $17k), Another Lefty (7 wins - $24k), Major Lefty (17 wins - $88k), Just A Lefty (9 wins - $29k), Royal Lefty (2 wins - $6k), Feelin Good Lefty ( 2 wins - $11k), Bring On Lefty (1 win - $2k) and now Catcha Lefty. The last foal for Lefty is Mr Feelgood colt. “We retired her after the Mr Feelgood colt and she’s now enjoying retirement at home with us, she’s been an absolute star at stud and we’re very lucky to have a mare like her. It didn’t matter what stallion covered her, she just kept throwing winner after winner. “I think Catcha Lefty is the best of her progeny but she’s had some good ones including Shes A Lefty, Another Lefty was a trotter by Safely Kept and he could trot on his day, it just underlines her worth. “Catcha Lefty has speed, real speed and that separates him from his brothers and sisters. From the time we broken him in, he was a natural and his attitude is great, he’s a very intelligent horse. He’s the only youngster that we staked for the Breeders Crown so that just proves what we think of him.” Catcha Lefty has drawn nicely in gate four on Saturday night. Connections will target the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Final on July 18 at Albion Park while a Breeders Crown campaign will also be strongly considered. by Chris Barsby Related Links Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 20 June 2015

Well-bred filly Flojos Gold made it successive wins to start her harness racing career and booked a 2YO Fillies Vicbred Super Series semi-final berth at Mildura on Friday. Trained in South Merbein by Ian Watson, Flojos Gold is a half-sister to Kira Jo ($50,000 Vicbred Home Grown Classic 3YO Fillies winner last year) and Madison Louise (1:55.9 winner at Melton and an APG semi-final placegetter at two). Flojos Gold is a daughter of Grinfromeartoear out of Jasper Jo, who was also a handy race mare (13 wins from 91 starts, including a 1:56.3 win at Moonee Valley and a third placing in a Breeders Crown Graduate Mares Free-for-All in 2009). Driven by Luke Watson, Flojos Gold held the front from gate one in the second of the Vicbred 2YO fillies’ heats at the 2190-metre start and was never headed, rating 2:01.2 (last 800m covered in 58.8secs). Hilltop Sophia ran second for trainer Gawler River trainer Peter Bain and driver Matthew Smith, while Drumborg trainer Kevin Brough combined with reinsman Michael Bellman with Just Wantano in third place. Luke Watson made it back-to-back Vicbred heat wins on the day aboard Brooke Hanson-trained Starwyn Jasper later on the program. The son of Village Jasper/Issadora lobbed the one-one early as the leaders fought for the early ascendency (lead time 42secs). The frontrunners kept the pressure on throughout (29.4secs and 29.3secs middle splits after a 30.5secs opening quarter). At the home bend Murranji Track had the better of early leader and odds-on race favourite Hez The One, but Starwyn Jasper was the fresh horse on the scene and finished too well to win by 1.1m in a rate of 1:59.3. Itmademyday ran second for Damian Wilson and Scout Hall Road was third for Simon Jardine. 2YO FILLIES 2nd HEAT Finishing order Video replay 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS 3rd HEAT Finishing order Video replay Cody Winnell  

Prominent South Australian harness racing participant Ryan Hryhorec has enjoyed another raid on Victoria’s riches. Hryhorec made the trek across the border for last night’s Mildura meeting and returned home with a treble. “I’m very pleased with the result,” Hryhorec declared. “Especially with Sammy Seelster. “I had been waiting to find the right race for him there as he is eligible for the Vicbred bonus. “For him to pick it up at his first attempt it a great result.” Leading throughout from barrier five, Sammy Seelster staved off a late challenge from Scout Hall Road to score by a head, with One Golden Day five-and-a-half metres away third. Covering the last half in 60.1 seconds, the son of Gotta Go Cullect rated 2:02.5 for the 2190 metres. “He has been racing well, so I knew he’d be hard to beat,” Hryhorec said. “I’ve got nothing specific in mind for him now, so he will just go in whatever suitable races I can find for him back home.” Hryhorec completed a running double when he piloted Skylarker to a drought-breaking victory. Also leading throughout, the daughter of Village Jasper registered her first win since August 2014. “That was her last run for me,” Hryhorec said. “I think she will be better suited to the smaller track at Mildura, so she will head to Frank Cavallaro’s stable. “I’m sure she can win a couple more there.” Hryhorec then combined with fellow South Australian trainer Allan Cronin to score with Trysomemagic, which led throughout in 2:02.3 for the 2190 metres. “It was good to get that win for Allan and topped the night right off,” Hryhorec said. PAUL COURTS

At his 10th country cup start this season Road To Rock won his second harness racing trophy. The Keith Cotchin trained seven-year-old edged out Macho Comacho in a thrilling finish to Saturday night’s Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup – adding the victory to his feature race CV alongside his St Arnaud Cup triumph earlier this season. The gelded son of Village Jasper/Diva La Diva ran to the front after Macho Comacho and Ardle McArdle both held interim leads early. Ardle McArdle stepped strongly from seven to tackle early leader Macho Comacho out of three, working to the front when Macho Comacho galloped. Macho Comacho (Chris Alford) quickly got back into stride and hooked off the markers to retake control at the head of affairs, Nathan Jack then seizing the initiative to grab the front aboard Road To Rock when Macho Comacho slowed, which pocketed Ardle McArdle (Amanda Turnbull) three-pegs. Reigning Ararat Cup winner Savesomtimetodream with Jodi Quinlan aboard then made his move to work to the breeze, giving 2013 Ararat Cup winner Jukebox Music (Glenn Douglas) one-one cover. Kotare Roland (Neil McCallum) was four-back the markers, Weallwantano (Matthew Craven) on his back, with Turnpike Cruiser (Zac Phillips), Hilltop Hustler (Michael Stanley) and Farmersntradies (Michael Sullivan) in the running line, while Narra Operative (Kerryn Manning) was second-last and Arber (Gavin Lang) made an uncharacteristic bad getaway and settled at the back of the field. Road To Rock comfortably navigated the opening half of the last mile (31.4 and 30.4 for a 61.8 half) before Jack upped the ante when challenged by Savesomtimetodream down the back. Road To Rock was still travelling well to the home turn though, shaking off the reigning champ’s challenge with a 28.8 third split. In the home straight Macho Comacho angled into the sprint lane and charged hard, while Hilltop Hustler and Ardle McArdle were winding up out wide. But the leader dug deep, Road To Rock holding off all the challengers to score a victory by a head over Macho Comacho, with Hilltop Hustler up for third beaten 3.5 metres. The winner got home in 29.2 for a 2:02.9 mile rate (last half 58). Ardle McArdle ran fourth while Kotare Roland showed he was working back into some kind of form with an eye-catching fifth beaten 7.5 metres. Savesomtimetodream weakened out of the action late to finish sixth beaten 8.2 metres, with Weallwantano heading up the rest in seventh place. Earlier in the evening father and son Neville and Clinton Welsh combined for victory in the Clive Reid Memorial Ararat Trotters Cup with consistent six-year-old Sundon/Wheels To Go gelding Wildenstein, who led and rated 2:07.2 for the 2570-metre trip. Wildenstein defeated Death Defying by 3.3 metres with Maorisfavouritesun third. Meanwhile, trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Gavin Lang combined with Our Petite Soeur to take out the Angelique Club Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship (18th heat) by 2.3m over So Demanding with Graceful Affair third. >> Re-live Road To Rock's thrilling Renown Silverware Ararat Pacing Cup win ROAD TO ROCK’S COUNTRY CUPS CARNIVAL Ararat Cup 1st Echuca Cup 3rd Boort Cup 4th Wangaratta Cup 2nd Stawell Cup 2nd Gunbower Cup 2nd St Arnaud Cup 1st Maryborough Cup 6th Kilmore Cup 8th Swan Hill Cup 2nd by Cody Winnell

Elmore harness racing trainer Keith Cotchin says he will look back on yesterday’s St Arnaud Cup win with enormous pride in years to come. The 54-year-old horseman produced Road To Rock to win the feature, which is part of the TAB.com.au Country Cups Carnival. “We’d been confident for a while that he had a country cup in him,” said. “He hadn’t had much luck though, first running into Guaranteed in the Swan Hill Pacing Cup and then not having much room at his next two starts in the Kilmore and Maryborough Cups.” Road To Rock was afforded a typically marvellous drive champion reinswoman Kerryn Manning, who guided the son of Village Jasper off his 10-metre handicap to slot in nicely just off the pace in the 2520-metre event. Manning kept the gelding out of trouble and away from the markers, eager to give him every chance at a traffic-free run. The result was a head victory over Tyler Bromac, with Lord Monaloo a metre-and-a-half away third.  “Kerryn drove him really well,” Cotchin declared. “We didn’t want him to be locked in. He’s such a genuine stayer.” The victory was Road To Rock’s 13th from 45 starts, with the seven-year-old’s earnings sitting on $83,370. Cotchin stated he was thrilled to be training Road To Rock, which was transferred from owner Graham Locke’s stables last July when Locke’s son got a job in Mildura. “I was in the right spot at the right time and I’m very lucky to be training the horse for Graham,” Cotchin said. Cotchin, who prepared Tanabi Bromac to win the 2010 Shepparton Gold Cup, revealed the Gunbower, Yarra Valley and Cobram are potential target races. “He’s pulled up really well again. He’s eaten all his food this morning,” Cotchin said. “The country cups only come around once a year, so we deliberately targeted this time of year with him. “He can stay, which makes a big difference because you don’t have to rely on the races being run a certain way. He’s also good from the stand starts.” Evergreen nine-year-old squaregaiter Neville Vaughan won the St Arnaud Trotters’ Cup over 2520 metres with Mat Craven in the cart for Bolinda based trainer Ryan McMillan. HRV Media

Team Tritton is set to launch a strong attack on Saturday night’s harness racing meeting at Newcastle. Trainer Shane Tritton has 14 representatives and an emergency engaged in seven of the eight races on the program. Tritton’s primary target is the evening’s main event – the Newcastle Mile – in which the premier mentor has four starters. Tritton also has Lombo Toscannini on standby as the emergency in the Group Two. In-form speedster Suave Stuey Lombo heads the team, with rising star Marty Monkhouser the ‘prince in waiting.’ Trittong also has Laterron and Shipwreck in the 1609-metre dash. Winner of his last three starts, having also trialled in 1:49.2, Suave Stuey Lombo has drawn awkwardly in barrier 10, but will begin from nine with the removal of the emergency. Despite the wide gate, Tritton remains confident the son of Bettors Delight is the one to beat. In fact, Tritton declared Suave Stuey Lombo is ready to break Beautide’s 1:52.6 track record established in last season’s edition of the prestigious event. “He is flying at the moment and is still the one to beat regardless of the draw,” Tritton said. “Avonnova is likely to find the lead first from nine, but I’m more than happy to sit outside him and still run 1:50. “We’ve had this race picked out for Stuey for a long time and he is in perfect condition for this. “The winner will have to go close to 1:50, whether it’s Stuey or any other horse in the field.” Kept fresh following his disappointing hit and run mission to Queensland a fortnight ago, Marty Monkhouser is expected to be a big improver. The son of Village Jasper was first-up from a spell when unplaced in the Queensland Pacing Championship won by For A Reason. Marty Monkhouser has drawn to settle forward from barrier three. “Might as well forget he went to Queensland as he never got a crack at them and only really followed them around,” Tritton said. “His work since has been tremendous and he is in absolute prime condition for this. “He loves racing fresh, and from the draw, will be in this for a long way. “Laterron and Shipwreck will need a few breaks go there way, but under the right conditions they are capable of winning.” PAUL COURTS

Well known Reporoa harness racing enthusiast Danny McGill has had a lot of smart horses over the years and in last nights Alexandra Park winner Elliesjet  he seems to have another one to keep the bank manager happy. Danny has had a great run over the years breeding such smart types as Magie Lilly Rose 1:54.1 ($202,718), Golden Trowel 1:52.4 ($117,056) and Maximus Meridius 1:52.3 ($109,515). His latest winner though has been a bit of a surprise to the noted stockman. "She is a big filly, I mean really big and I didn't think she would have any speed," he told Harnesslink today. By Jeremes Jet from the speedy Village Jasper mare Elle Mary Rose 2:00.7, Elliesjet has been given plenty of time to grow into her large frame. "The original plan was to get her up and running and try to sell her but after after the way she has gone the last two weeks we have taken the for sale sign down," Danny said today. The 4 year old mare was having just her third lifetime start last night and on the back of a super third last week was warmly supported even though she drew the outside of the second row. Patiently driven in the early stages by driver Todd Mitchell, Elliesjet settled back in the running line before Todd sent her forward after 600 metres to grab the lead. From there it turned into a procession as Elliesjet gradually increased the tempo and then powered away in the home straight for an emphatic win by four lengths. Elliesjet paced the 2200 metres in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 28.9 Today Danny was musing that you should never judge a book by its cover. " Todd said she absolutely jogged it and had plenty left at the finish so thats very encouraging,"  "Gareth Dixon (trainer) has suggested we should look at some of the support races over the Xmas carnival at Auckland so thats where we are heading,"  he said. Its been a big week for Danny as a half sister to Elliesjet in Annie Morva was successful at Menangle last Saturday night. "She ran second in the Ladyship stakes to Adore Me at three at Alexandra Park and then we sent her to Blake Fitzpatrick in Sydney to race. "Its worked out really well as she has topped the $100,000 mark in earnings and took a mark of 1:52.9 when she won last week," Danny said Danny almost made it a trifecta for the week as a breeder when the trotter he bred Al Bundy was an unlucky third at Alexandra Park last night. With Elliesjet and Annie Morva in such fine form, Danny looks in for a very profitable summer over the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

I’ve never felt so happy cleaning out the stalls…That was the call from harness racing’s latest edition to the winners’ circle Maddie Ray. Ray, who works for Rebecca Cartwright and Craig Turnbull, registered her maiden victory as a driver when partnering Popeye Village at Shepparton last night. After enjoying the perfect one-one trail, the son of Village Jasper completed a five-metre win from Thelove Child, with Krisney Girl a half-head away third. Covering the last half in 58.4 seconds, Popeye Village rated 1:59 for the 1690-metre dash. Rapt with the triumphant, Ray stated the milestone will forever remain her greatest moment within the industry. “I’m so excited and think I’ll be on a high for such a long time,” Ray declared. “Even this morning, I’ve never felt so happy cleaning out the stalls…it was great! “To get my first win is just amazing and is something I will never forget.” The 19-year-old also had an extra reason to be happy with his success, which came at her 16th drive. “Craig got his first win at his 17th drive, so that rivalry has been on as the countdown got closer,” Ray said. “I’m so happy to have the bragging rights now.” A talented horsewoman, Ray has spent the bulk of her life around horses and is an accomplished show jumps rider. It is her equestrian passion which led Ray into harness racing, with the budding star hoping to forge a career with standardbreds. “My mum was into horses and I got my first horse when I was three,” Ray said. “I’ve had them ever since, so horses have always been in my blood. “I use to keep my show jumper at Colleen’s (Bamford, owner) place, which is how I got introduced to harness racing. “Now I work full time for Rebecca and Craig, but I’d love to become a professional driver one day. “Further down the track, I would like to train as well, but for now I just want to built up some drives and hopefully winners along the way.” PAUL COURTS

Veteran harness racing mare Broadways Best is not finished yet. That’s the call from trainer Shannon McLean, who stated the multiple Group One winner will continue to compete throughout the season as long as her form warrants a career extension. Racing in a consistent manner this campaign, Broadways Best’s last five starts have netted a win, two placings and two fourths. “She is happy racing and is holding her form well,” McLean said. “As long as she keeps doing that she will keep racing. “I’ve said all along, the moment she starts giving me signs she’s had enough, she will be retired. “As it stands, she is happy in what she is doing and still enjoys the competition of racing.” Successful at 29 of her 91 starts, with 28 placings and a bankroll of $637,439 also to her credit, Broadways Best is engaged in tomorrow night’s Casey Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. The feature also doubles as champion pacer Smoken Up’s farewell appearance, with McLean “thrilled to be part of the moment.” “It’s going to be a race to remember with Smoken Up having his last start and I’m just thrilled to be part of the moment,” McLean said. “Everyone would like to see Smoken Up retire with a win, but that said, we will still be doing our best to come home with the win as well.” Blessed with her share of gate speed, Broadways Best has drawn to settle in a forward position from barrier two, with Smoken Up to follow the daughter of Village Jasper through from the second row. Follow this weekend’s appearance, the nine-year-old will be given a brief freshen up before being aimed at several country cups and features. “I may give her a week off after this and then sit down and see what’s around,” McLean said. “A few of the country cups and features such as the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore will be on her radar during the next few months.” PAUL COURTS

Harness Racing New South Wales is offering services to several star stallions via auction. New season sire Caribbean Blaster heads the crew, with support coming from former champion juvenile Lombo Pocket Watch and leading producer Village Jasper. Bids can be place online via ebay.com.au and are expected to attract plenty of attention. A multiple Group One winning son of Bettors Delight, Caribbean Blaster is standing for Alabar at Yirribee Pacing Stud for a fee of $2750. Australia's only 'Million Dollar Baby', Lombo Pocket Watch is also based at Yirribee, where he stands for a price of  $2200. Rounding out the Yirribee supported auction, Village Jasper - the sire of winners of more than $34 million in Australia and New Zealand - has an asking price of $3300. Interested parties can start bidding today at http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/harnessracingnsw?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 - HRNSW Media

New South Wales trained Marty Monkhouser has made it two straight wins with an all-the-way triumph in the Empire Stallions 4YO Breeders Crown colts and geldings’ final today at harness racing headquarters at Tabcorp Park Melton. Lauren Panella delivered the perfect drive aboard the Shane Tritton trained son of Village Jasper, whose second quarter of the last mile – 32.5 – had to have played an important role in the victory. Marty Monkhouser found the lead early from gate six despite there being plenty of talk about the front line’s gate speed pre-race, though she had to work for it. Race favourite Bit Of A Legend worked around the field to the breeze but did have to put in some hard yards out three-wide early. Turning for home the final time, Marty Monkhouser kept on kicking, holding off all challengers to score by 1.4m over Bit Of A Legend and Dexter Dunn, with Majestic Mach finishing third for Grant Dixon. The winner’s mile rate was 1:57.6. It was an ultra-gutsy performance by Marty Monkhouser, who has now won 10 races from 35 starts. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

An exciting night of trotting at the Nyah District Harness Racing Club was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday, with many races on the program named after those who have been associated with the club for a long period of time. This season’s state leading trainer, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp, had favourite punters cheering when he won the opening race – the Alta Christiano @ Alabar Stallions 2YO Pace over 1750 metres with Mach Three/Ally McBlossom filly Aldebaran Brandi. A winner on debut at Mildura on July 15, Aldebaran Brandi ($1.60) repeated the dose by leading throughout from outside the front line to easily account for Bright And Sonny (four wide last lap from last), with Our Work Of Art a stablemate of the winner coming from four back the markers at bell along the sprint lane to finish third. The mile rate was 1:57.2. Bendigo duo David Van Ryn and nephew Haydon Gray had an easy victory with Courage Under Fire/Delightful Emm 3Y0 gelding Courageous Emm in the Alan Branson Pace for C0 class over 1750 metres. Driven with aggression from gate two to retain the front running, Courageous Emm ($1.20) bounded away on the final bend to record a 10.9 metre victory in a rate of 1:57.5 over Another Approval (three back the markers) and Marcellus, which trailed the winner. Echuca trainer Wayne Lear is a regular at most Nyah meetings and landed the Max Slater Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1750 metres with five year old Village Jasper/Macray Purple gelding Purple Village in a rate of 1:58.7. Taken back to the tail of the field from outside the front line by Bec Bartley, Purple Village ($2.90) came with a barnstorming finish on straightening to blouse the leader Illawong Lively right on the wire (the margin a runaway half-neck), with Parisian Ruler third after facing the open from the bell. Honest five-year-old Die Laughing/Lily Princess mare Misschinoise scored a well deserved victory in the Peter Coady Pace for C2 class over 1750 metres, chalking up her seventh success in 51 outings. Trained and driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, who travels many thousands of miles around the state each season, Misschinoise ($3.70) enjoyed a sweet passage from gate three three back along the markers, with the pole marker Soho Jagger driven desperately to hold out the second elect Attack On Command (gate four) which then eased to follow the pacemaker. Moving away from the inside in the last lap, Misschinoise cruised up to Soho Jagger on the home turn and when asked for an effort on straightening, coasted to the wire 5.5 metres in advance of Soho Jagger and Attack On Command in a mile rate of 1:59.8. Popular Mildura trainer Frank Cavallaro was in the winners stall following the victory of Tommys Song ($5.80) in the Arthur Graham Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Luke Watson, Tommys Song, a 4YO gelded son of P Forty Seven and Tell Laura began smartly from gate three to be outside the leader Gnarly at the start, before being eased to take one/one cover when Unfair Dismissal was driven forward to park in the open. Eased three-wide in the last lap, Tommys Song ran home strongly to gain the day from Boom Boom Hall, which rattled home from near last on turning, with Yankidoodledanvers using the sprint lane for third after following the weakening leader. The mile rate was 1:59.8. Mildura (Cardross) trainer Frank Merceica’s six-year-old Pass The Mustard/Princess Yum Yum gelding Sir Pickles Yum Yum loves competing at Swan Hill and registered his third victory on the circuit when successful in the Jim Roberts Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky after making the long trek from Melton, Sir Pickles Yum Yum ($12.50) settled four back in the running line from gate four, with Mind The Wire leading before handing up to Mick Bellman’s Ourcrownin. With a number of changes happening during the race, Sir Pickles Yum Yum had moved to be three back at the bell and when taken wide on turning, rattled home to score by 1.3 metres in a rate of 2:00.2. Well Oiled Lombo (four wide final bend) ran home from last to claim third place. The Blissful Hall @ Empire Stallions 3YO Pace, first leg of the Daily Double and second leg of the Quaddie was declared a no race following a fall by Warana Court on the first turn. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

Successful harness racing horseman Jarrod Alchin has been spending plenty of time travelling recently and things may not change in the short term should everything go to plan. Alchin trains talented two year old Franciso De Gore, the son of Village Jasper that placed in a repechage of the Breeders Crown at Geelong last week. "I was really happy with his performance in the repechage and if things all go to plan, including a good barrier draw, I think he can qualify for the Breeders Crown final," Alchin said. "His run behind Ominous Warning was very strong at Menangle. They went 55.1 for the last 800 metres and he wanted to hit the line, I think he is going to make a really nice three year old next season." While Alchin will be in Victoria on Saturday night with Franciso De Gore, his stable will have two runners at Tabcorp Park Menangle too. "Kennedy Creek won a race three starts ago when he led and was too good, he worked very strongly on Monday and I'd like to see him hold the front again this week." "He finished eighth last start but if you watch the run it wasn't too bad. He was well back, made some good ground and didn't have much luck in the straight." Alchin's other runner is Eagles Ace, a three year old that has some strong Riverina form to his credit. "He only arrived last week, he's a nice horse and has been racing well in the bush but he has been sent up here to try and win a Metropolitan three year old before the end of the season." "I was really happy with his work on Monday too, so if he races up to the work I think he is going to be right in the finish. He is only going to be here for a month or so." By Greg Hayes Harness Racing New South Wales

Bernie Hewitt has had a relatively modest season by his own high standards, but the last month has been highly successful for the Georges Plains harness racing trainer-driver with a feature win in the Breeders Blue Final by promising filly Read About Lexy and multiple successes at a number of other harness racing meetings. That strong finish was maintained with a treble at last Wednesday’s Bathurst meeting. Joannie Pony ($4.50) was reined by his nephew, the in-formScotty Hewitt, who brought the mare with a well-timed run in the C1 sprint, right over the top of favourite Polished Rocks, who tried very hard, and Queen Khawaja. The last half was covered in 59.8 but the overall mile rate of 1:59.9, good under winter conditions,was the result of unrelenting pace in the first part of the event. Hewitt completed his good night’s work by driving the winners of two of the final three races. Famous Fella ($3.60) came from well back in a 3C0 sprint to overhaul death-seating Kyalla Tee Jay and Monica’s Magic, which had enjoyed the one-one trail. The last half was run in a minute flat. The winner was a smart two-year-old last season, placing fifth in the Crown final won by All Black Stride NZ, but his only success this term had been in Restricted company. He will try to pick up that hardest win – the second 3YO – before heading for a break. Bernie’s wife Cathy shares in the ownership of Famous Fella, but she would have been even more impressed by the result of the following race. Pass The Magic ($4.00) was an easy all the way winner of a 2C0-2C2 Fillies sprint and better still hers is the only name on the ownership papers. A Menangle winner earlier in the season, she’d been unlucky in some of her recent starts, but a smart 59.5 last half gave an indication of the ability of the daughter of Passmaster Hanover. Asked to comment on his wife’s ownership double,Bernie ‘s thoughts turned to a possible roast dinner. Hopefully so, with a cuddle thrown in for good measure! Ashlee Siejka is another trainer putting in the big strides in the latter part of the season, and she was rewarded with a double at the meeting. Red Vee Hanover, $2.70 favourite in a very strong C 2 over 2130 metres, justified the support by sitting outside the lead and opening up a clear break on the turn before holding on narrowly from his stablemate Packnplenty, which got an inside run close to the line. Smack Dab Shannon held on for third. With the first half run in a pedestrian 64 seconds, the speed came on over the final lap, which took just 58.4 seconds, adding merit to the win, the first this season for the five-year-old. “He didn’t go as well as we’d hoped early in the season, with illnesses and a few injuries, but now that he’s struck some form, we hope he can keep it going,” was the trainer driver’s assessment after the race. Our Miss Kathryn NZ ($3.30 ) brought up the Siejka double in the following race, a 2130 metres C3 – C6, and like the earlier win, it was achieved sitting outside the lead, throwing in a very quick third quarter – 28.3 in this case – and out staying her rivals down the running. The overall mile rate was 2:02.4 . The winner races for Siejka’s partner Ryan Grives, who’s had a dream introduction to harness racing, with wins by this mare and by promising juvenile Ameretto. Time for Ryan to check out that baked dinner recipe? Amanda Turnbull was yet another to grab a driving double in successive races, hers coming in the middle of the meeting, sandwiched between the Siejka and Hewitt efforts. Padabing Stride ($2.30 favourite, for father Steve) deserved his win in a C 0 sprint sponsored by his owners the Rosati family. After working round the field to the death, he controlled the race, for a clear win from leader Kapow Shannon and trailer Lawsons Way. Lacking high speed, the Village Jasper four-year-old is usually required to race from the death, and had been runner-up at his previous three starts when driven in that fashion. His driver reckons “he’s like a big, gangly kid, still growing up, and working it all out. Long Hot Summer ($2.90 ) recently joined Josh Turnbull’s team from the Dean Cernovskis stable, and grabbed his second win for the season in a 3CO sprint, prevailing in a slogging finish from death-seat runner Noahs Ark ( a half to earlier winner Red Vee Hanover) and Puffnstuff. Like his sire Metropolitan, the winner is a big strong type, and he is yet to grow into himself. When the starter released the field in the opening C0 – C1 sprint, eventually taken out by The Rag Doll ($3.90, Jarrod Alchin / Colin McDowell ) an electrical malfunction prevented the on-course broadcast and the crowd had the strange, almost surreal, experience of watching the race in total silence. This lasted till the final turn, when things changed suddenly- the din of drivers all yelling at their horses was a novel, and dramatic experience normally hidden by the commentary. No-one would willingly do without Kevin Thompson’s fine race calls, but this enforced silence gave everyone at the track some insight into just what goes on at the business end of a race. Amy Day kept up her Bathurst strike-rate with a deserved win by Audrey Maree in the final race, an R 0 sprint. The four-year-old mare has been a model of consistency this season, with 8 places from 12 starts prior to this maiden win. Coopers Beach Boy and Tim McGee filled the minor placings. Bathurst HRC has announced two important dates for the diary –September 21 for the final meeting at the Bathurst Showgrounds track, and October 19 for the opening at the new Mt Panorama complex. They’ll both be huge milestones - for the club, for Bathurst and the Western Districts, and for harness racing in New South Wales. More about these special days, in coming weeks. By Terry Neil    

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