The success story of this year's Young Drivers Challenge was undoubtedly the rise and rise of Rebecca Bartley. Over the space of three days the Congupna reinswoman, 22, became a household name in Victorian harness racing, winning the first four races in the five-race invitational series. And they weren't aboard odds-on favourites, in fact far from it. Bartley piloted two longshots to victory at Shepparton on Thursday night (Riviera Kiss $26.60 and Boom Boom Hall $18.80) before striking at enormous odds at Melton's Tabcorp Park on Friday night (Smiling Spirit winning at $54.30). To cap it off Bartley won the fourth race of the series at Ballarat on Saturday night (aboard Kankkunen at $10.70) before having to settle for fifth with Belvoirama in the last race to finish with a series points score of 46 - just four points shy of an unprecedented 50 points (the maximum a driver can accrue in the 10-points-per-win series). "She was the story of the series, that's for sure," said Ballarat and District Trotting Club CEO Paul Rowse. "By the time the series finished everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was." Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept. "I'd encourage other clubs to follow Shepparton's lead and look at holding similar series in the future," Rowse said. "It certainly added interest to our meeting as we were the lucky beneficiary of the series' final." Rowse said any notion that harness racing was a sport dominated by males had long been debunked, with Victoria's driving ranks filled with top-line women's talent. "It wouldn't surprise me at all now if Rebecca can go on to achieve similar to what Kerryn (Manning), Jodi (Quinlan), Amy (Tubbs) etcetera have been able to do," he said. "It's a good news story for everyone that the girls are going so well in Victoria." Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat. New South Wales based driver Todd McCarthy finished second in the series, 14 points behind Bartley, while Narissa McMullen (Queensland), Josh Duggan and Jason Lee all tied for third on 31 points. YOUNG DRIVERS CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS 1: Rebecca Bartley 46 2: Todd McCarthy 32 3: Narissa McMullen 31 3: Josh Duggan 31 3: Jason Lee 31 6: Dylan Ford 25 7: Aaron Bain 24 8: Josh Aiken 23 9: Aiden De Campo 22 10: Zac Phillips 18 By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)
The Shepparton Harness Racing Club, in conjunction with Tabcorp Park Melton and Ballarat, will again conduct their annual Young Drivers Challenge over three meetings, kicking off on Thursday May 29. The two races involved on the card will be the C2 to C3 for four-year-old and older as well as the C1 for four-year-old and older horses with drivers to be randomly allocated from the list of outstanding junior talents. Josh Aiken, Josh Duggan, Haydon Gray, Jason Lee and Zac Phillips will be representing their home state while interlopers Aaron Bain (SA), Aiden De Campo (WA), Dylan Ford (Tas), Todd McCarthy (NSW) and Narissa McMullen (QLD) all converge to try and take the title. In an exciting new turn for the competition, the young drivers will not only compete in two penalty free races at Shepparton, they will also take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Melton the following night. That will be followed up by the chance to compete on one of Victoria’s most popular tracks, Bray Raceway Ballarat the very next night. Shepparton Harness Racing Club Secretary/Manager Ian McDonald was thrilled with the opportunity being provided to those driving. “I think we’ve assembled the best young driving talent in Australia and it’s just terrific to see them get the opportunity to compete in the Young Drivers Challenge,” McDonald said. “This year we’ve added races at Melton and Ballarat to spice things up and it will give all the drivers a chance to drive on one of the biggest stages in the sport. “The fact that the winner of each of the races won’t incur a handicapping penalty just gives trainers the best opportunity to race for good prizemoney.” For more information visit the meeting calendar for the Shepparton meeting calendar here, the Melton meeting calendar here and finally for more on the Ballarat leg, click here. by HRV Media
Four year old Live Or Die/Inclination gelding Excuse To Live had everything go right for a change when successful in the $6,000 Community Day Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres at the Stawell HRC meeting conducted on Monday December 30 for those which qualified in the heats held at Terang on Sunday December 22 Trained at Sebastopol (Ballarat) by Colin Holloway and raced by the Holloway family (Colin, wife Heather and son Brett) who drove the horse, Excuse To Live led throughout from the pole to defeat the raging hot favourite Keayang Starzzz from near last by a half neck in 1-57.1, with Dancing Feet running home late from a mile back to finish third. Excuse To Live rarely has any luck in his races and probably should have finished closer in many of them. Popular Sebastian owners Garry and Brenda Jackson finished the year on a high note, when their honest five year old Pegasus Spur/Cassies Miss mare Mosquito Spur landed in the Stawell Windows & Glass Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2175 metres. Trained and driven by Garry, Mosquito Spur began with a wing on every foot from the 10 metre mark to cross Family Decision shortly after the start, with her task being made easier when all of the favoured runners were badly away. Bowling along at her leisure, Mosquito Spur although shortening stride over the concluding stages, scored by 2.5 metres in a mile rate of 2-08.9 over Frances Annie which they away all chance at the start and was meritorious in making up many lengths to get so close at the finish. Rough Voyage (three back the markers) was third. Melton breeder/owner/trainer Charlie DeBono's Safari/Living Angel gelding Another Safari snared the 2nd Heat of the Stawell Veterinary Clinic Platinum Country Series I for Three Year Olds over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-00.5. Driven by Zac Phillips, Another Safari had little difficulty in leading from the pole, just lasting to defeat Always Wantano along the sprint lane after trailing by a half neck, with Notjustanotherlombo (one/one - three wide home turn) third a neck away after racing roughly prior to the post. Another Safari's mother Living Angel a multiple cup winning mare, won the Stawell Pacing Cup in 2001. Peter Manning kept his Stawell record intact by winning the Gold Reef Clothing Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with in-form Art Major/Ananz filly Znana. With daughter Kerryn in the sulky, Znana led throughout from the pole to defeat her stablemate Additallup which raced outside her by 3.4 metres, with Amberlu Angus (one/one) third. The mile rate an easy 2-04.8. It was Znana's sixth victory. Armstrong trainer Brook Hansen's beautifully bred four year old Blissful Hall/My Cherie gelding Blessed IsThe Boy broke his maiden status at start number 12 when successful in the Carey Covers Pace for C0 class over 2175 metres, returning a mile rate of 2-01.7. Driven by Kerryn Manning, Blessed Is The Boy starting from the extreme draw commenced a forward move from last racing for the bell, being accommodated by the favourite Fearless Courage coming out ahead of him from three back in the running line. Making the final bend very wide, Blessed Is The Boy rattled home at a great rate to blouse the leader Urban Shadow by a half head in a tricky finish, with Onlyeconomyclass third after switching down to the sprint lane from mid-field on turning. Another four year old winner on the day was Jet Laag/Pandoras Reign gelding Pandoras Jet for Marong part-owner/trainer Col Latter in the Stawell farm Supplies Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Driven by Terang based "whiz kid" Jason Lee, Pandoras Jet showed blistering speed out of gate four to cross the pole marker Peters Ace on the first turn, defying all challengers to score in a rate of 2-00.7 from Peters Ace which used the sprint lane to no avail and Sir Dasher Dee which followed the pair. Former HRV Board member Peter Bourke now Chairman of Australian Pacing Gold, enjoyed a day of days at Stawell as apart from breeding the main race winner Excuse To Live, also bred and races Garabaldi Union the victor of the Hygain Feeds Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres. Trained by Peter Manning at Great Western, Garabaldi Union a five year old Union Guy/Miss Incline gelding which has been on fire of late, possied three back in the moving line from gate five, with Secret Ruby leading from the pole being shadowed by Metrofromelle. Easing three wide racing for the bell, Garabaldi Union showed plenty of staying prowess to wear down both Suerte (one/one) which shifted down to the sprint lane on straightening by a head and a game Metrofromelle in a mile rate 1-58.3. This is my final column for HARNESSLINK - thank you for all the support over the years and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2014. Len Baker
The Gunbower Harness Racing Club held a compact eight event meeting at Echuca on Tuesday December 17. Kyabram trainer Mick Blackmore combined with Bendigo based Scott Dyer to land the opening race on the program - the Gunbower Electrical 3-Y-0 Pace over 1755 metres with Sutter Hanover/Grace Anatomy gelding Sutter Man. Beginning best from gate two, Sutter Man led throughout to score by a half neck in a rate of 2-01.2 from Glen Alpine Drive along the sprint lane after trailing from gate three, with Billy Mack third after following the pair. Orrvale trainer Steven Duffy's quality McArdle/Nuclearaccelerator four year old gelding Almost El Eagle notched up his 13th victory in 30 outings, when victorious in the Northern Herd Development Pace Final for C1 class over 1755 metres which qualified in the heats held at the Wangaratta fixture at Shepparton on December 8. Driven once again by Greg Sugars, Almost El Eagle from inside the second row was given a sweet passage trailing the well support pole line leader Khaleesi, before using the sprint lane to gain the day by 5.2 metres in advance of Sicilian Slumber (one/two) and Forever Arma which raced in the open. The mile rate 1-59. Campbells Forest husband and wife Greg and Julie Ryan were successful with 4-Y-0 Live Or Die/Princess Kiara gelding Bronco Apache in the James Godden Designer Tanks Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-02.4. Bred by the pair and driven by Nathan Jack, Bronco Apache was trapped four wide from outside the front line as the starter released the field, with Jack angling to be three back in the moving line as In Jet Spirit retained the front running from the pole. Not happy with the tempo, Bronco Apache was sent forward to park outside the leader racing for the bell, allowing Jack to dictate the terms for the final circuit. Surging clear prior to the home turn, Bronco Apache won as he pleased, cruising to the wire 8.7 metres clear of Direct Art along the sprint lane off the back of the leader, with Warrior Mac (one/one last lap) third. Narrandera's Shaun Snudden loves coming to Echuca and has a pretty good record on the track, adding another winner to his tally there when tough 4-Y-0 On The Attack/Dainty Lea gelding Brown Rice snared the Mawsons Pace Final for C0 class over 2160 metres which qualified at the Wangaratta meeting. Driven by the stable's Paul Diebert, Brown Rice after starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with the almost unbackable favourite Major Meggs leading from the pole. Set alight mid-field to park outside the pacemaker, Brown Rice was able to drop to the back of Major Meggs approaching the home turn as Scott Stewart kicked away. Asked for a supreme effort on straightening, Brown Rice showed a "never give in" attitude to wear down the leader and score by a half head in a rate of 2-00.7, with Miss Tanami running on late from the rear to finish third 17.3 metres away. Jot down the name Amanda Turnbull as a reinsperson to follow as she is likely to be based in Victoria after joining a partnership with Nathan Jack. Amanda was successful aboard Marong trainer Trevor Patching's 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in the Joe Newitt's Service Centre Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Breaking his duck at start number eleven at the last Echuca meeting, Sherpa Star from the pole repeated the dose on this occasion after a cosy trip three back the markers from the pole as Lerrad Maharg led out before handing over to the heavily supported Mrs Devine a former NSW mare having her first outing in Victoria for Dylan Marshall. Extricated into the clear on the home turn, Sherpa Star finished strongly to defeat Goldiedomic (one/one at bell) through the centre by a half head in 2-00.3, with Look At Russo close up in third place after racing in the open from the bell. Nyah trainer Malcolm O'Bree is no stranger to Echuca meetings and landed the Steve Oliver Plumbing & Gas Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres with Cashisking, a five year old gelded son of Falcon Seelster and Better Motoring who has done most of his racing north of the border. Taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips, Cashisking led throughout from gate two, accounting for Hezfullarunning which shadowed him throughout. Border Patrol finished third off a three wide trail last lap. The mile rate 2-04.2. Yanco trainer Kim Hillier was successful with 4-Y-0 Dream Away/InThe Corner gelding Street Meets in the Brian & Lyn Wills Santa Claus Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Beginning on equal terms with both Double Happy and Gangster Boy inside him, Street Meets was eased to take a one/one trail on the back of Gangster Boy. Becoming pocketed at the bell as the favourite Quadentate moved forward three wide, Blake Jones angled Street Meets into the clear three wide on the final bend and he ran on best to nose out a game Gangster Boy in a mile rate of 2-01.3. Life Of Ted used the sprint lane off the back of the leader to finish third a head away. Bet Bet (Swan Hill) breeder/part-owner/trainer Greg Fleming was in the winners stall at Echuca, when 4-Y-0 Totally Ruthless/Tiny Gigi gelding Oils Jay Bee broke his maiden status in the Gunbower Committee Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres. Driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman, Oils Jay Bee making his 15th race appearance began swiftly from outside the second line to lob one/one trailing Fiddlers Lane, with Kim Hillier's Reckless Valour burning away from outside the front row to lead. Sent forward three wide along the back straight on the final occasion, Oils Jay Bee proved too strong at the business end of proceedings to register a 15.9 metre margin over Kiss ToLive(one/two) and Say Cheese from last in a mile rate of 2-00.4. By Len Baker
Moama breeder/owner/trainer/driver Mal Whiteford was successful at his home track Frank Ryan Raceway Echuca on Tuesday December 3, when more than handy four year old Artesian/Kamwood Toy mare Kamwood Dawn scored in the Christies Welding Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Settling mid-field in the moving line from gate four on the second line, Kamwood Dawn was set alight three wide approaching the bell and with a sharp turn of speed, crossed the pacemaker Billy Branach to lead for the final circuit. Holding a slender margin at the straight entrance, Kamwood Dawn defied all challengers to register a 1.2 metre victory over the heavily supported Final Flutter which moved outside her on the final bend after an easy time, with Billy Branach battling away gamely for third. The mile rate 1-59.4. It was Kamwood Girl's 3rd victory in 28 outings. Kilmore's Bruce Kennedy always sends his horses out looking a picture and four year old Four Starzzz Shark/Krisney mare Krisney Girl rewarded him by taking the Add Print Pace for C0 class over 1755 metres in a rate of 2-01.4 with Chris Alford in the sulky. Starting from gate two on the second line, Krisney Girl had most of the field ahead of her for the first lap, before gaining a lovely three wide trail home in the last lap on the back of the Riverina visitor Donated which was backed for plenty, with the pair joining the pacemaker Direct Art on the home turn. Given full rein on turning, Krisney Girl prevailed by 1.9 metres from Donated and Direct Art which led for the final circuit after racing outside Miss Wong Sue for the first half of the journey. Kyneton part-owner/trainer Tony Trimboli's Earl/Arnees Sensation six year old gelding Arctic Wolf snared his 6th victory in 89 race appearances, when successful in the Wandana Standardbreds Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2530 metres. With regular reinsman Tony Xiriha handling the ribbons, Arctic Wolf from the 10 metre mark was unable to cross Featherfoot Sun shortly after the start, being restrained for a perfect trail. Easing into the open approaching the bell, Xiriha put the foot to the floor to lead for the final circuit and in a punishing finish, just held on from Doctor Sam which failed by a nose and Featherfoot Sun in a mile rate of 2-07.8. Speedy Kilmore mare Modern Mary chalked up her 8th victory when greeting the judge in the $5,500 Echuca Moama Storage Moama Pacing Cup for C4 & C5 class over 2160 metres. Trained by Julie Mifsud and driven by sister-in-law Rita Burnett, Modern Mary a five year old daughter of Modern Art and Marys Girl first up since August, began like a rocket from outside the front line to lead running into the first turn and after being rated a treat, held too many guns at the finish for the hot favourite Gangster Boy which trailed, moving outside her on the final bend, with Fergus McCool (threeback the markers) third. The mile rate 1-59.4. Melton trainer "Honest" Robbie O'Connell combined with stable apprentice Zac Phillips to land the Moama Bowling Club Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres with eight year old E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel. Given a beaut passage three back along the markers from gate two on the second line, Juke Kartel was eased to be one/one approaching the final bend and when taken three wide on turning, ran home strongly to score by 6.3 metres in a rate of 2-00.7 from Brother Rabbit which trailed the weakening leader and third placed Transaction. Juke Kartel was also a winner at the previous Echuca meeting on October 1. Ever reliable nine year old Peace of Art/Bubblegum mare Bubble Art always races well at this time of year, bringing up her 13th victory by taking the Choicehotels.com.au Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1755 metres much to the delight of Wallaloo East (Stawell) trainer/driver Troy Raven and the Raven family. Using a mares concession, Bubble Art starting from the pole was given a sweet trip on the back of the leader and favourite Lookatime Philo next to her, which crossed after racing roughly at the start. Easing wide on straightening, Bubble Art despite shifting out, gained the day by a half neck over Goldiedomic along the sprint lane off her back, with Scottish Glamour (one/one - three wide last lap) third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Marong trainer Trevor Patching has been a regular competitor at Echuca over the years and snared the Bendigo Bank Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with lightly raced 8-Y-0 Safely Kept/Westmoor Elegance gelding Sherpa Star in a rate of 2-03.2. Given the run of the race from the pole following Foyer (gate five), Sherpa Star making his 11th race appearance was eased away from the markers by Nathan Jack on the home turn and finished best to gain the day by 2.5 metres in advance of Foyer and Thelove Child (three back the markers). Serpentine trainer Robert Rothacker joined forces with Daryl Douglas to capture the Echuca Cup 21 March Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres with five year old Art Major/Rachelanne mare Policious. Having her 9th outing and second for the season, Policious from gate three on the second line settled well back in the field, making ground at the bell trailing the well backed Thankbonnie three wide. Dropping in for a breather in the final circuit as Thankbonnie applied pressure to the pacemaker Pascarma, striding clear approaching the home turn, Policious issued an immediate challenge on turning and raced clear over the concluding stages to score from Pascarma which came again, with Miss Tanami running on late to cut Thankbonnie out of third. The mile rate 2-02.6. Robert gained all the spoils as he is the breeder/owner/trainer. Benalla trainer Jason Ross combined with Nathan Jack aboard 4-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Flighty Lisa mare The Hen House to land the New Years Night Hot To Trot Vicbred Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres, leading virtually throughout from gate four in defeating Brown Rice and Katie Lively in a rate of 2-01.7. By Len Baker
Hopetoun Park trainer Ross Sugars took the honours at the Warragul HRC fixture held on Monday December 2 after preparing a stable treble, with reinsman son Greg driving two of the stable runners. New addition Living Lord (Greg) taking the Warragul Cup Easter Sunday Pace for C4 to C6 class over 2205 metres and Forest Fury the Danny's The Venue Pace for C1 class over the same trip. Living Lord a former member of the Jackson Painting (Narrandera) team making his first appearance for the camp, led throughout from gate three to easily account for Andy Gath's Regal Knight who wasn't disgraced after facing the breeze, with Mister Clooney third. The mile rate a new track record of 1-57.9. A six year old Kiwi bred gelded son of Live Or Die and Lady Matueus, Living Lord has fronted the starter on 30 occasions, winning 11 times. Four Year old gelding Forest Fury (Bettors Delight/Forest Glory) taking a concession for Melton based Zac Phillips won in identical fashion, leading throughout from gate three in defeating Stynz Boy which trailed in 2-01.1, with Eclipseofthemoon (three back the markers) running on late for third when extricated into the clear on turning. Ex-Kiwi mare Our Burning Desire, a five year old daughter of Real Desire and Knowing Pocket, brought up the treble when successful in the Warragul Pacing Bowl 25 Years Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1785 metres in a rate of 1-57.8. Restrained from a solo second line draw to settle three back in the moving line with the pole marker Hollys Miss Molly a surprise leader, Greg Sugars made a swift forward move racing to the bell to shadow the pacemaker for the final circuit. Joining Hollys Miss Molly on the home turn, Our Burning Desire proved much too strong over the concluding stages, winning by 3.9 metres without being pushed out from the leader, with Greenough third after trailing the front runner and making no impression along the sprint lane. Another Melton area winner on the program was honest five year old Our Sir Vancelot/Cinderella Lady mare Belated for David Manning in the Momentum Equine Myotherapy Pace for C0 class over 2205 metres. Driven by Melton based Zac Phillips, Belated showed plenty of speed at the start from gate five to lead and despite being pressured at various stages by the roughie Cap Lord, still held a narrow margin on the final bend. When Electrastar (four wide from last) appeared to hit the front on the final bend she looked the winner, however Belated refused to give in and fought back to gain the day by 1.1 metres in a rate of 2-02.6. Stormee (one/one - three wide last lap) finished third. Kilmore trainer Rita Burnett combined with nephew Kevin Weidenbach (Jnr) to land the Linc Building Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres with speedy Jet Laag/Spiral Staircase 7-Y-0 gelding Spiral Jet. Bred and raced by staunch stable client Alan Zammit, Spiral Jet taking a concession led for most of the journey from gate three, defeating Jetts Afella which trailed after leading out from the pole, with Viva Courage coming from near last to finish third. The mile rate 2-00.8. Rockbank's Angela McDonough combined with Long Forest reinswoman Kate Gath aboard seven year old Village Jasper/Karara Elle mare Elle Jasper to land the letsgotrotting.com Pace for C1 class over 1785 metres in a mile rate of 2-00.9.. Starting from the extreme draw, Elle Jasper possied three back in the running line, with Rita Burnett's Isntshesomething leading easily from the pole. Despite being off the track on the final bend, Elle Jasper motored to the wire to record a runaway victory in advance of All Aussie Star (one/one - three wide home turn) and the favourite My Lishi a stablemate of the winner which trailed the leader. Coimadai trainer/driver Graeme Whittle did punters no favours, when ten year old Keystone Salute/Solander gelding Keystone Blues greeted the judge in the Pascoe Vale TAB Agency Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2205 metres, paying odds of $29.00 on Supertab. Starting from the 30 metre mark, Keystone Blues who's last success had been at the same track in February, settled with most of the field in front of him, with the favourite Jumeirah Jane crossing the old timer Master Kiesey shortly after the start. Still last at the bell, Keystone Blues saved for one dash at the leaders after following the local Zoes Dream home, finished best to score from My Name Is Earl (one/one) and Zoes Dream which dashed to the front on turning. The mile rate 2-05.8. It was Keystone Blues' 12th victory in 203 outings. Len Baker
Christmas came early for Kilmore based mother and daughter Rita and Monique Burnett at Yarra Valley on Monday October 14, when they snared the quinella in the aptly named Christmas Parties Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2150 metres aboard the Bill Millner (Kilmore) trained stablemates My Archie Way and Wortherly. Stepping swiftly from the 10 metre mark to lead, My Archie Way (Monique) was content to allow Wortherly (Rita) off the same mark to take over shortly after the start, with the pair controlling the race. After a cosy trip, My Archie Way was eased away from the markers to issue a challenge on straightening and with the race to themselves, My Archie Way ($8.20) prevailed by 2.2 metres in a rate of 2-06.5, with the heavily supported favourite Did I Imagine It 1.7 metres away in third place after racing in the open for most of the journey also from 10 metres. A six year old gelding by Yankee Paco from Auravalley bred and raced by Bill Millner, My Archie Way has fronted the starter on 47 occasions, winning four times. Beautifully bred five year old Mach Three/Out Swing N gelding Machin Out is getting better with every outing and after coming off a great third at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday, scored an easy victory in the United Petroleum Pace for C4 & C5 class over 2150 metres. Trained at Melton by Lance Justice, Machin Out taking a concession for competent teenager Zac Phillips began with a rush from outside the front line to lead with ease and after being allowed to dictate terms to suit, coasted to the wire untouched to register a 4.7 metre victory over the Jayne Davies stablemates Golden Grinder out wide from four back the markers and polemarker Mister Clooney which trailed the winner. The mile rate 2-02.3. It was Machin Out's 11th victory in 79 outings. Former Kiwi 6-Y-0 In The Pocket/Lite Jade mare Lite Jagermeister made it two wins from three Australian outings when successful in the De Bortoli Pace for C2 & C3 class for Coimadai duo Adam Kelly and Gavin Lang. Despite racing in the open from gate three shadowing the polemarker Amazing Kano, Lite Jagermeister travelled smoothly all through the 2150 metre journey, winning by 3.7 metres from Magical Molly which trailed her in a rate of 1-59. Amazing Kano held down third 15.2 metres away. Melton owner/trainer/driver Jason Hackett was victorious with 4-Y-0 Armbro Operative/Heartlite mare Open Heart in the Oaks Day Pace for C0 class (mares) over 1650 metres. Fronting up from a fourth at Bendigo the previous Thursday, Open Heart was restrained from inside the second line to settle at the tail of the field, with Isntshesomething speeding across from gate three to assume control. Sent forward three wide racing for the bell, Open Heart sustained a long run to record a 9.2 metre margin in advance of Dancinwithjodi (three back the markers), with Isntshesomething weakening to finish third. Bred and raised in the deep south of the Shaky Isles, Jason Hackett is stable foreman for Lance Justice. The old stagers stepped out in the Cox Plate Day Claiming Pace over 2150 metres, with victory going the way of the Ross Sugars (Melton) trained 8-Y-0 I Am A Fool/Sheza Fake gelding Cowboy Cadillac who chalked up his 19th victory when making his 144th appearance at the races, while also giving Zac Phillips a driving double for the afternoon. Starting from inside the second line, Cowboy Cadillac raced by Denis Grieve and partners was quickly away from the markers to settle four back in the moving line, with the 14-Y-0 Mister Douglas leading out from the pole, before surrendering shortly after to Dartmoor. Once the speed slackened, Cowboy Cadillac was off and running to park in the open, with Phillips dictating the terms of the race. Taking care of the leader prior to the home turn, Cowboy Cadillac defied all challengers to score from the fast finishing Flyin Interstate from last, with Mister Douglas and Takeiteasyonme dead-heating for third. The mile rate 2-00.9. Len Baker
Teenage reinsman Zac Phillips produced without doubt the "drive of the night" at the Echuca meeting on Tuesday October 1, when successful aboard 8-Y-0 E Dees Cam/Universal Alice gelding Juke Kartel in the $5500 Book Christmas Functions Now Pace for C1 class over 1755 metres. Raced by Judith Ferrie, Duke Kartel now trained in Melton by Robbie O'Connell (Zac's boss) after being in several different camps since he first graced the track, positioned on the back of the pole mark pacemaker and favourite Find Time To Cruise after starting outside the front row, receiving the run of the race. Easing outside the leader on the final bend, Juke Kartel put the race beyond doubt in a couple of bounds as he raced away over the concluding stages to score by 14.1 metres in a rate of 1-59.2 from Find Time To Cruise and Statelyness which recovered after a check at the start when Swift Sita which she was following galloped away. The annual Don Guy Memorial Pace for C1 class over 2160 metres, named after one of the all time great harness racing trainers in the state who's stables were situated on the raceway, went the way of Elmore trainer Matt Higgins' honest 7-Y-0 Blissful Hall/Armatrix mare Nova Arama with Brian Gath in the sulky, returning a mile rate of 2-03.8. Raced by mother Betty Welsh, Nova Arama led throughout from gate two, accounting for Chiquita Bromac which trailed giving Elmore the quinella. Jialiner (one/one) finished third. Rochester's Mark Thompson kept his impeccable record at the track going when 5-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Life Of Perfection gelding Stonethachristian driven by Ararat's Michael Bellman greeted the judge in the Lara Judd Pace for C0 class over 2160 metres. Starting from gate two, Stonethachristian was unable to cross Attack On Command inside him at the start, but after persisting, strode to the front in the back straight on the first occasion. Appearing to be in trouble on straightening when Life Long Voyage off a three wide trail last lap from mid-field issued a strong challenge, Stonethachristian under desperate driving kept on giving to score by a half head in a rate of 2-02, with Hezupnabout (one/one - three wide last lap) third. Five year old Bettors Delight/Spirited Storm entire Stormed Out taking a concession for Josh Duggan was an impressive winner of the Echuca West Primary School Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2160 metres in a rate of 2-00.7. Trained by Chris Alford at Bolinda, Stormed Out (gate four) spent the entire race parked outside the leader and hot favourite Timeseel from the Mark Thompson camp, before outstaying him to score by 1.3 metres. The Riverina visitor Ultimate Sheldon (one/one) finished third 2.3 metres away. Len Baker
The Metropolitan & Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA) - the oldest Kindred Body connected to Victorian Harness Racing, presented their annual awards for season 2011/12 at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday night (May 17).
There were two harness racing meetings held in Victoria on Wednesday April 17 with Shepparton racing during the afternoon and Bendigo at night, the highlight being heats of the 2013 Goulburn Valley & Central Victoria Young Drivers Challenge.
With temperatures around 37 degrees, those in attendance at Charlton certainly braved the extreme heat to witness some exciting harness racing.
Speewa trainer Matthew Kearns a former HRV steward, was successful in taking out the Laser Electrical Lighting Showroom Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres at the Nyah harness racing fixture conducted at Swan Hill on Tuesday November 20 with 6-Y-0 Grinfromeartoear/Starorama gelding Tapper Torney.