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When competitive sportsman Rick Cashman decided the time was right to give away football and cricket, he desperately wanted to focus on something else. "In the end it was probably an easy decision to get involved 'hands on' in harness racing because I'd owned a few horses with well-known personality Rob Auber," Cashman said. "But the idea of training my own stable of horses and perhaps one day driving them really did appeal," he said. "So aged 43 years, I took leave from my public service job and went and did the course offered at Warragul's Gippsland Harness Training Centre." Cashman graduated from the centre 11 months later, and described the course as "absolutely awesome". "I'd attend most days from 7am to 1pm and I just cannot speak highly enough of the thorough way all aspects of harness racing were covered. It's a fantastic opportunity," he said. "When I did it, the co-ordinator was Des Hughes, with the training teacher being Chris Hunter and they were brilliant. There were also others you could turn to, like veteran horseman Gordon Turner." And now Cashman is one of a number of trainers based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre complex, which he describes as "a great amenity with everything a horse trainer would want". "I only live 10 minutes from the track, but I'm up at 4.30 most mornings to do the horses and then it's off to my job in the taxation office." Eight-year-old gelding Danman (Village Jasper-Ritzy Emm (Armbro Operative) caused a huge boil over at his home track on Sunday for Cashman, being the 25/1 rank outsider in the SBG Accountants & Business Advisors Pace. "His fast work leading up to the race was quite good. I don't get ahead of myself with him however as he played up at the start in his previous run, and was always off the bit," Cashman said. "But when my driver Shannon O'Sullivan was able to zip across early and grab the one-out and one-back spot, my confidence was up a little," he said. "On the home turn he looked like he was struggling, but he puts his head down over the last 100 metres and kept coming." Hobby trainer Cashman and a group of friends leased Danman as an unraced four-year-old from the horse's owner Trevor Reid. "He ran second on debut then was lucky enough to win and get the bonus for Trevor. He's now won 12 races and has been a great learning horse for me," he said. "I got to know Trevor through his work - he does fencing and did some work at our place. We later purchased Dansbro (Elsu-Ritzy Emm) from Trevor, a half-brother to Danman." Dansbro has gone on to record six wins (all courtesy of reinsman Greg Sugars) and three placings from 20 starts. Cashman was also full of praise for junior driver O'Sullivan, who is based at Heathcote. The youngster, studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at La Trobe Uni, Bendigo, is daughter of legendary horseman and Gordon Rothacker Medallist, Jim O'Sullivan. "Shannon has now driven 18 winners, three of those on old Danman, and looks to have a bright driving career ahead of her," he said. Cashman is now aiming his pair of talented pacers for a tilt at an upcoming Melton meeting. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Star Victorian pacer San Carlo deserves to win a Group 1 race and is set to be given another three chances to do over the next few months. Trainer Steve O’Donoghue said it was “very likely” his classy veteran would chase the Len Smith Mile at the end of June and then the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake during Albion Park’s Winter Carnival. San Carlo followed a dominant Mildura Cup win with a comfortable Warragul Cup victory last Sunday. It was a one-act affair with driver Bec Bartley working to the front, rolling along and ripping home in 55.6 and 27.4sec to win by 3.2m in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for the long 2627m trip. The slow-maturing eight-year-old boasts 28 wins from just 48 starts along with nine placings and almost $500,000 in earnings. Buzz former Kiwi four-year-old Ana Malak looked San Carlo’s only real danger on paper at Warragul, but found the task of sitting outside him for the last 1400m simply too much. He tired late for fourth. It was the Golden Nugget winner’s  second run for caretaker trainer Dean Braun after he dropped back staggeringly in grade to win first-up from a spell at Stawell six days earlier. Ana Malak is sure to keep improving, having just raced twice for Braun since the Group 1 Golden Nugget for part-owners and trainers Greg and Skye Bond last December. “We’ll see how he goes in Victoria with Dean (Braun, trainer) for a while then bring him back home,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ For the umpteenth time in his stellar career, Gavin Lang’s drive made all the different in a feature. Lang, recently sidelined with a bout of shingles, was at his aggressive and tactical best in a desperate first 100m of the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmanian Easter Cup (2698m). Ultimately, somehow staying in front of major rival Ryley Major won Lang and his former Kiwi pacer Franco Tristan the race. Lang went on to find the lead, dictate the terms and win by 1.1m over a gallant Scooterwillrev, who sat parked. But Ryley Major should’ve won. He was buried four pegs, got clear too late and stormed home for a close third. If not for Lang’s genius early, Ryley Major’s trainer-driver Rohan Hillier would almost certainly have found the lead and won as he liked. Franco Tristan has been ultra-consistent since coming to Lang’s barn from NZ with 16 starts netting si wins, seven seconds, two thirds and now almost $90,000 in stakemoney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trainer Andy Gath said some the practice at home the Alexandra Park direction of racing ended a planned Anzac and Rowe Cup raid. “He just wasn’t comfortable going that way, certainly not enough for take him overseas,” Gath said. “We’d love to have gone, you know I love chasing the big races when we’ve got the right horse.” McLovin was beaten but far from disgraced after striking early trouble in the Uncle Petrika Sprint (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night. He gave the leaders almost 50m start once they’d settled and ran on well for third behind rejuvenated and very much in-form Savannah Jay Jay, who ran down classy mare Red Hot Tooth in a slick 1min55sec mile rate. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Emerging NSW stayer Ellmers Image had to be content with winning the consolation of last year’s Melbourne Inter Dominion. But he’s gone to another level since and will surely tackle the Auckland series late this year. Amanda Turnbull’s gelding sat parked and beat Majordan in a 1min49.6sec mile at Menangle then out-stayed a hot field in last Thursday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The mile rate was a blazing 1min56.7sec for 2565m around the tight, old-school circuit. Buzz pacer Ignatius ran a close and excellent second at his first run back from a let-up, while classy recent Kiwi import Sicario was third. The trio look set to meet again in this week’s Group 2 Treuer Memorial – a former Grand Circuit race – at Bankstown. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trevor Casey’s former Kiwi filly Dracarys looks a standout for the Group 1 WA Oaks. Champion driver Gary Hall Jr has been talking her up for many weeks and she again showed why be thrashing a good field in a prelude of the Oaks at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Hall Jr worked around the field from a back row draw to find the lead midrace and kept rolling. Dracarys won as she liked in a brisk 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2138m, capped by closing splits of 56.6 and 28.5sec. The daughter of Bettors Delight won one of her three NZ starts before Casey sent her to Justin Prentice in WA and she’s posted another 10 wins and two placings in her 13 starts in WA. On the same card last Friday, American Ideal gelding Mighty Conqueror underlined his potential with a narrow but big win in the $50,000 Group 2 Easter Cup. Greg and Skye Bond’s four-year-old came from a 20m handicap, worked around to lead and just staved-off a big late surge from As Happy As Larry to win by a nose. “We think he’s got so much potential,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. “If you talk to Ryan (Warwick, driver), he just loves the horse and thinks he’s still developing with every run. “He’s had a big campaign so he’s out a spell now with the hope he’ll come back and take the next step.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ One of Australia’s most exciting mares Share The Road died suddenly in trackwork last Tuesday. The Kiwi-bred daughter of Tintin In America, who boasted nine wins and 11 placings from just 28 starts, was due to resume for new trainer Matty Craven at Melton last night (Saturday). “We assume it was a heart attack. She went onto the track, went 100m, collapsed and died,” owner Zac Cornell said. “It’s devastating because she had so much potential and we just switched her to Matty for a change-up to try and get a bit more speed back into her.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Could Majestuoso be the trotter to test the freakish Alpha Male in the major Aussie three-year-old trotting features? There’s no doubt the speedy son of Majestic Son has the talent, as evidenced by his five wins from just six starts this season. The latest came after a massive scare when Majestuoso was cruising to an easy Ballarat win last Tuesday night before galloping at the 400m, but getting going again in time to win easily. Majestuoso showed talent but galloped so often last season, but, generally his manners have been much better this campaign. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Queensland veteran Glenferrie Hood deserves a mention for topping $100,000 in earnings in free-for-all ranks so far this season. The much-travelled nine-year-old made it nine wins from just 19 starts for the term – his best strike rate of any season in his career – when he overcame a wide draw and stormed around the field to win at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Wayne Graham-trained gelding has won 42 races and is closing in on $500,000 in career earnings.   Adam Hamilton

Record stakemoney will be just one of the highlights of the Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup meeting which is approaching quickly.   The traditional Easter Sunday fixture, this year on April 21, will be headlined by record prizemoney for both pacing and trotting Cup races, and exciting trainer giveaways to increase interest in the event from horsepeople.   Warragul Sporting and Social Club have again thrown generous financial sponsorship behind Warragul's flagship harness race, and with additional statewide stakemoney increases previously announced by Harness Racing Victoria, this year's Cup will be staged for a record $35,000.   The time honoured Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup will be run for $14,500, and is again sponsored by the Evison and Sherar families. Support races are also expected to draw strong entries.   In an effort to significantly increase industry participation in this year's event, three $500 cash giveaways are on offer for trainers who race on the day at Warragul.   Each trainer/training partnership which races on the day will receive one ticket into the lucky draw, regardless of how many starters they have, which means that all participants will have an equal chance of sharing in the cash, whether they win a race or not.   Local finance broker Rob Lee (Liberty Financial) is a harness racing enthusiast, and his company are generously backing Warragul Harness Racing Club with support of this trainer's incentive.   Winning Formula product will also be given away to trainers of all placegetters on the day, courtesy of Origin Powders and Liquids.   Warragul Harness Racing Club Operations Co-Ordinator, Des Hughes, said that his focus for the club's premier racing event is to foster the support of the industry people who put on the show day in, day out.   "We needed to get the focus back on the participants, particularly for the Cup meeting, and keep Warragul as an attractive racing alternative for locals and visitors," Hughes said.   "If you look after those who put on the show with good facilities, a few giveaways, that sort of thing, hopefully people go away with a positive impression of our club even if their horse doesn't win."   "The same applies for those who follow the sport...we need the die hard industry fans to come out and support us and make Warragul a go to destination on the Easter weekend, as this meeting is one of a number of great country events that every harness fan should have on their bucket list."   Warragul's close location to Melbourne with direct freeway and train access lends itself to a leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon for a top day of racing.   Legendary harness form analyst Bill Glover will be trackside to run Warragul's Punters Club, and local officials are hoping Bill's reputation as an astute student of form will lead to record ticket sales.   The first class facilities at Warragul are available for dining package bookings, which are already selling well.   A bistro and barbecue will also be on offer during the day, along with the usual fare of lucky racegoer giveaways (including $2000 in holiday vouchers), pony trots and kids activities.   Punters are spoiled at Warragul with a giant indoor screen for race viewing, excellent tote facilities, and bookmaker Tom Hogan also represented, while all facilities are indoors, overlooking the track which is one of the best in Victoria for viewing harness racing.   So far this season horse numbers at Warragul are well up on last season, and club officials are quietly confident that trend will continue for their main event.     Kyle Galley  

Trafalgar trotter Sovereign Minx scored an impressive victory at the Warragul race meeting staged on Wednesday afternoon.   Sovereign Minx led throughout to win the Drouin Signs Trotters Handicap, where three of the six starters galloped during the race. The field was spread out over 180 metres as the winner crossed the finish line.   Despite half the field making mistakes, nothing should be taken away from the win of Sovereign Minx, a four-year-old mare scoring her second victory at start 20.   She trotted faultlessly throughout for driver Rod Petroff, and carved out solid sectional times throughout the 2210 metre event.   Sovereign Minx controlled the speed to suit in front, picking up the tempo at the 1200 metre mark, and running her rival ragged in the process. Trainer Chris Hunter said after the event the plan was to find the lead and not give it away in Wednesday's race, as his horse appreciates being allowed to roll along in front.   Sovereign Minx winning at Warragul last Wednesday  - Matt Walker Photography   Trotting followers will note that Sovereign Minx produced below 30 second sectionals for the last three quarters of a mile in Wednesday's race, a very good effort for a maiden trotter and one that will give Hunter every confidence that he can win further races.   The four-year-old is out of a former smart pacer the Hunter family raced, named Golden Teardrops, however Sovereign Minx now has the score on the board as a trotting, as opposed to her dam.   Hunter's son Glenn drove Mota Mate to win the fourth race of the day for Cranbourne horseman Hugh Cathels.   Fellow local four-year-old So Much Bettor scored his second win on end at Warragul when a narrow winner in the second race of the day.   Two drivers, Glen Craven (Hail Georgie) and Jack Laugher (Lady Flora) notched up their first career winning drives at Warragul during the day, while former Kiwi mare Sumthin Special scored her second win on end for trainer Rob O'Connell and driver Zac Phillips.   Premier horseman Gavin Lang collected the last two winners, My Kiwi Lady and My Cash, to extend his lead in the Warragul drivers' premiership.     Kyle Galley

Eight races will be staged at the first trots meeting at Warragul for 2019 on Wednesday afternoon.   It will be an early start for the card with the first race at 11:41am and the last event run by 4pm.   A Morning Melodies concert, staged for the first time by the Warragul Harness Racing Club, has attracted good bookings and will be staged before the racing begins. There are some smaller fields throughout the day but the meeting has attracted support from locals, and even trainers from the state's Western District will head across to compete.   Top horseman Gavin Lang got away to a flying start in the Warragul driver's premiership with five winners at the meeting on December 23, and has a strong hand again with four drives on Wednesday.   Lang is bringing some of his own horses to compete at the meeting, and will also drive the impressive last start Warragul winner Just Anything in the Trotters Handicap for local trainer Michael Hughes.   Veteran 11-year-old pacer Astronaut, who first raced at Warragul in June 2010, is running in the last race on Wednesday.   Wednesday's meeting is part of a busy week of racing locally - there will also be greyhound racing at Logan Park on Thursday afternoon followed by the big Warragul Cup card at the dogs on Saturday night, January 12.     Kyle Galley

Top horseman Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there on Sunday. Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul. His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (who he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger. Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event. That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race. Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess. For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers' premiership on the Gippsland track. Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title. Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent. The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley  

Top harness racing driver Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there yesterday afternoon.   Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul.   His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (which he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger.   Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event.   That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race.   Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess.   For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers premiership on the Gippsland track.   Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title.   Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent.   The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley

Local trots followers are eagerly awaiting the opening meeting of the 2018/2019 Warragul harness racing season, which takes place this Sunday afternoon, December 23.   It is the first meeting staged at Logan Park since late August, and the first of several Sunday afternoon programs to be staged by the Warragul Harness Racing Club over coming months.   Numbers of local horses competing on Sunday are expected to be strong.   Last Saturday morning 17 horses competed in barrier trials at Warragul, and many of them are expected to back up this weekend for race assignments.   Local trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan and Michael Hughes also expect to have strong representation in the events on Sunday from their stables.   Sunday's race meeting celebrates 30 years of racing on what is known as the Warragul Pacing Bowl, the racetrack of just over 800 metres in circumference which opened for competition in December 1988.   The track replaced a much smaller circuit which had hosted regular trots meetings since the late 1940s.   Warragul's current track was upgraded with an improved track surface and better camber on the corners in late 2014, and has produced faster race times since.   There will be free entry for patrons attending Sunday's race meeting, with the first race expected to start around 1pm.   A lucky racegoer raffle, giveaways and a visit from Santa Claus will keep patrons young and old amused between races.   Kyle Galley  

Top trainer Emma Stewart took over the mantle for the most number of wins prepared in a season in Australia when Tiger Storm won the fourth race at Warragul trots on Sunday afternoon. It was only the second horse Stewart had raced at the Warragul Pacing Bowl during 2018, but Tiger Storm's victory goes down in the record books with the success bringing up 300 victories for the season for the stable, passing the previous mark of 299 wins set by Queensland horseman Bill Dixon in 2010/2011. Tiger Storm ran a a short-priced favourite on Sunday, and went straight to the front at the start of the race for driver Chris Alford, one of four wins on the day for the master horseman who himself has set a national record for winners driven this season. Alford's quartet of victories enabled him to secure the Warragul Driver of the Year title for the fifteenth time. Three of those victories came for Gippsland horseman Gary Quinlan, who was once again crowned Trainer of the Year at Warragul. His winners on Sunday were Scruffy Marshall, Starofsahara and Emiliana. Feature race on Sunday was the Women in Trotting Tribute, to acknowledge the involvement of females past and present in harness racing. The race, for female drivers only, attracted seven starters, and, fittingly, local reinswoman Casey Parker drove the winner, Rocknroll Gold. It was Parker's biggest racetrack success so far, having been a past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. Competitors in Sunday's Women in Trotting Tribute staged at Warragul -photo Matt Walker Fellow local Simone Walker drove Montenero to produce a local Quinella. The winner is trained by Michael Hughes, who produced a double on the day, after Express Yourself won the Trotters Handicap. Hughes has recently settled into a new property at Iona, and Sunday's victory by Express Yourself was the first winner from the new facility. It was also the first race success for Michelle Seamons, another past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, who owns the talented five-year-old mare. Gippsland trainer Steve Austen was a proud man after his horse Priddy Easy won the first race of the day. Four months ago Priddy Easy suffered a nasty chest injury after a paddock accident at Austen's Labertouche property. He and his wife Karen have nursed the horse back to health, and Sunday's victory was the third for the pacer, which has also run nine minor placings. Greg Sugars drove Priddy Easy on Sunday - his wife Jess trained Fong Nien to win the sixth event to bring up a double for the top reinsman.   Kyle Galley

Emma Stewart recorded her 300th training win of 2017-18 today, the most wins an Australian trots trainer has produced in a single season. Only hours after claiming three Group 1s titles at last night’s TAB Breeders Crown it was back to business for the Ballarat trainer at Warragul, where she achieved the unprecedented milestone with Tiger Storm winning the Leonie Collins and Deb Quinlan 2YO Pace. The victory moved Stewart pass the record set by Queensland trainer Bill Dixon in 2010-11, with Stewart amassing the triple century from just 772 starts, a remarkable 39 per cent win rate. The achievement is testimony to Stewart and her great partnership with Clayton Tonkin, who said they had a real “passion for it and I’m sure when success follows you, you want to work hard because it’s something you love”. Last night’s TAB Breeders Crown delivered three Group 1 wins to Stewart’s stable, with Ride High winning the showcase IRT three-year-old colts and geldings final and Lauriston Bloodstock speedsters Speak No Evil and Hurricane Harley claiming their divisions. “(Ride High’s) very special to us, for him to win I'm very excited,” Stewart said. “We just let him mature and he's only had a handful of starts and he just keeps getting better and better." Tiger Storm’s victory that brought up the 300 was fittingly steered by reinsman Chris Alford, boosting his season win tally to 447, a national driving record that by Friday’s season end will be a mark that many think will never be bettered. Michael Howard

The significant contribution from women to the sport of trotting will be recognised at the first Ladies Day race meeting staged at Warragul Harness Racing Club on Sunday afternoon, August 26. Forty years ago the rules were changed in Victoria allowing women to drive in races against men. Although a small number of women had been competitors in races decades earlier before being banned, it wasn't until the early 1970s that women were issued with drivers licences after a lengthy campaign, enabling them to compete in organized Lady Drivers events, usually non-betting affairs staged between races at professional trots meetings. In April 1978, Boort Trotting Club in Central Victoria conducted the first professional women's race with betting, once the rules were changed to allow open competition. In August of that year, local horsewoman Debbie Turner (now Debbie Quinlan) drove Ranj Beau to defeat the men for the first time at a meeting at Terang. Since the floodgates were opened during the late 1970s hundreds of women have achieved great success in trotting, either as drivers, trainers or officials, and have won races across the country, right through to the elite events such as the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion Championship. To pay tribute to 40 years of success on the racetrack by women, a special Ladies' Drivers race has also been programmed for the Warragul meeting. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials have invited Australia's only female race caller, Victoria Shaw, to commentate the event for on and off track viewers. Guest speaker at a Ladies Day luncheon held in conjunction with the raceday is Dianne McGrath, one of seven Australians short listed as a candidate for the Mars 100 mission, which seeks to establish permanent human settlement on Mars in 2032. The proposed journey to Mars is a one-way trip - so McGrath's story is expected to be a fascinating one. Her sense of adventure, determination and fitness has seen her sail a tall ship in the Southern Ocean, cycle extreme distances, jump from a plane, and run multiple marathons and an ultra-marathon. Live music and giveaways will also feature around the local race meeting on the day for luncheon guests. Tickets cost $65 per head and include a two-course meal and reserved indoor seating overlooking the racetrack. From every ticket sold, $10 will be donated to the West Gippsland Healthcare Group. Ticket bookings can be made by phoning the Warragul Harness Racing Club on (03) 5622 2008. Kyle Galley

Leading reinsmen Chris Alford and Greg Sugars will stage an exciting battle for the Warragul drivers' premiership at the club's next race meeting on August 26. Alford drove a treble at the latest race meeting at Warragul yesterday (Sunday), while Sugars drove one winner and three minor placings, with both horsemen sitting at the top of the premiership table heading into the final race meeting of the season. Both Alford and Sugars could have several drives at the August meeting, so an enthralling battle may take place. Alford's treble were trained by local horseman Gary Quinlan - courtesy of pacers Roll With Rocky and Heavens Showgirl, and trotter Omy Son, while Sugars drove Illawong Maestro to win the fourth race for his father, Ross. Top young horseman Darby McGuigan also drove two winners at the Sunday meeting, courtesy of Undaliner and Into You. The performance of Into You in particular was one of the better wins of the day. The Rob Evans trained mare came with a strong finishing burst in the home straight, claiming leader Mystic Castle in the shadows of the post. Locally trained, Into You has won at the last two Warragul meetings, and is towards the top of the table for the Warragul "Horse of the Year" award for season 2017/2018, heading into August's season close. A further win at the August meeting would sew up victory in the award for connections. Surprisingly, Into You went around as a $14.90 chance on the TAB on Sunday, despite having won last month at Warragul in close to track record time. Four-year-old mare Yourgottabelucky made it two wins in succession with victory in the second race on Sunday for trainer/driver Richard Caruana.   Kyle Galley

Gippsland trotting trainers have enjoyed a great start to the month, with the prospect of more success at next weekend's Warragul meeting. There were three local wins at Geelong on June 5 - Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan won two races with Rocknroll Pearl and Professor Tom, while three-year-old trotter Sovereign Minx scored her maiden win on the same night for Trafalgar trainer Chris Hunter. At Cranbourne last Thursday night, Warragul horsewoman Jenni Lewis produced Miss Intense to win the final race on the program, while Cranbourne trainer Michael Hughes was also a winner earlier in the night with Bettor Beau. At Kilmore last Tuesday night Feel The Rhythm backed up her recent good form to score her third victory, giving further success to the Chris Hunter barn. And at Melton on Wednesday afternoon (today), Gary Quinlan produced another double, with two-year-old Sahara Tiger, and three-year-old Roll With Rocky, which, like stablemate Professor Tom, is raced by local owner Grant Rathjen. The Sunday, June 24 race meeting at Warragul features the $10,000 Ken Miller Memorial, and the $10,000 Traralgon Pacing Cup, with strong local entries expected in both of these races and the support card. Kyle Galley

The harness racing Traralgon Pacing Cup will be run for record prizemoney this year. Scheduled for the next harness race meeting at Warragul, on Sunday, June 24, the 2018 edition of the event will be run for $10,000 in prizemoney, a substantial increase on the $7000 stake provided for last year's event. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials expect a strong field of pacers to contest this years event, especially given the increase in prizemoney. The increase has come about because of Harness Racing Victoria's improved financial position, enabling the controlling body to add extra stakes to races statewide in May and June. First staged as the Latrobe Valley Pacing Cup in 1976, the race recognises two decades of trotting at the Glenview Park Racecourse in Traralgon, from 1975 to 1995. The event was reintroduced to the local racing calendar by the Warragul Harness Racing Club in 2006. The previous record stake for the race was $7500, when the race was last staged at Traralgon at the final trots meeting there in November 1995. This year's event will be for two to three win pacers, and should attract strong local entries as several trainers across the region have horses eligible for this class of event. Harness Racing Victoria officials have also seen fit to allocate a $10,000 stake to the Ken Miller Memorial event, to be staged on the same day as the Traralgon Pacing Cup. Three races programmed with $5000 prizemoney on the day will also carry a further $1000 bonus to the winning connections as part of another initiative by Harness Racing Victoria to increase returns to participants during the months of May and June. In a further boost to the sport locally, all remaining meetings at Warragul this year will be staged on Sunday afternoons, in an effort to increase attendances trackside. Further Sunday meetings are planned for July, August and December this year. Harness Racing Victoria officials have adjusted funding arrangements for country trots clubs conducting Sunday afternoon meetings, to help offset the increased cost of casual wages at these events.   Anthony Logan  

Top harness racing driver Greg Sugars drove two of the six winners at Monday's Warragul trots meeting. The impressive three-year-old pacer Joe Nien, and Bright Shadow were driven to victory by Sugars, who has narrowed the gap between himself and Chris Alford in the race for the Warragul drivers' premiership. Alford was also in the winners' circle on Monday, when Gippsland pacer Courageous Call scored a narrow victory in a finish where less than three metres separated the first five horses across the line. The victory was a consolation for the top reinsman, who was lucky to escape injury when Sentimental Life struck trouble in the third event. The mare choked down and dropped out of the race with a circuit to travel, and crashed to the track as Alford steered the horse to the outside fence. Connections had a few anxious moments as track officials worked to remove the sulky and gear from Sentimental Life, however the eight-year-old slowly got back up and was taken from the track. Alford became the first reinsperson to crash during a race at Warragul since the refurbished track was reopened just over three years ago, a good indication of how safe the Pacing Bowl is. Visiting trainers were in the money on Monday, with Bright Shadow (Allan McDonough), The Loustar (Phillip Walters) and Joelissa (Richard Caruana) all successful. Monday's meeting was a quiet one on course, however Warragul trots officials anticipate a much larger attendance for the next race meeting, the 60th running of the Warragul Pacing Cup, on Easter Sunday, April 1st. Kyle Galley  

The twenty first graduation dinner for the Gippsland Harness Training Centre was staged in Warragul last Saturday night. Students celebrated a successful year of studies at the Centre, which operates from the Warragul harness race track at Logan Park. Several awards were presented on the night in recognition of the efforts of particular students who excelled in their studies this year. Warragul and District Light Harness Club Student of the Year award was presented to Kaitlyn Payne, and the Ted Demmler Encouragement award was won by Tracey Brooks, who has commenced employment with Yabby Dam Farms, one of Victoria's leading trotting establishments. The Angelique Club award was received by Mary Back, while the Dani Lewis Memorial award was won by Katherine Atkins, and the VETiS (VET in Schools program) award went to Shannon Sutcliffe. Community College Gippsland CEO Sue Geals thanked the Centre staff and volunteers for their efforts in co-ordinating the courses this year on behalf of the college. Sue congratulated the students on their successful year. She said that while the local harness racing industry may not be big on numbers of participants, there is a great level of dedication to the sport in the Gippsland region. Also on the night, past GHTC graduate Montana McStay told the audience of her experiences this year, working with several leading trotting stables as the recipient of the second Victorian harness racing internship. Montana said the past 12 months, travelling the state and learning all aspects of the trotting industry, have bought her out of her comfort zone and have provided her with memories and skills that will last a lifetime. She encouraged the current intake of students to consider the internship when it is offered again soon. The connections Montana has established in the industry, and experiences she has been offered, will shortly see her travel to the United States to one of their leading standardbred establishments. Well known trots Clerk of the Course and former top jumps jockey Kevin Wynne was also presented with a plaque in recognition of almost two decades of service to local harness racing on the night. Kyle Galley

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