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David Hewitt doesn’t claim to have any preference for racing females, or to have any special knack with them, but a double with two five-year-old mares at last Wednesday’s Bathurst harness racing meeting might give him cause to reconsider. Village Jasper daughter Verdot ($10.30) used the increasingly-popular Bathurst sprint lane to edge out a very bunched field in the second race, a C4 sprint, and two races later, Keilor Kimberly ($2.60 favourite), by Browning Blue Chip, came from the one-one to narrowly take out  a C2 Tabcorp Park Country Series heat. Hewitt was pleased with the efforts of both mares, which have held their form very well over the winter, and was especially pleased to see Verdot bounce back from an unlucky run, when she locked wheels, at her previous start. Keilor Kimberly likes the speed on in her races, so a fast lead time and three sub-30 second quarters, as she peeled from her one-one sit, had her backers feeling rather smug as they turned for home. The mare ran to a clear lead early in the straight, and the result looked a formality, but someone forgot to tell Ashlee Siejka and the death-seating Hi Its Only Me NZ, which fought right to the wire, to go down by just a head, in a 1:56.5 rate. “She travelled so well in the run, I turned her loose as soon as we straightened, but I think I probably went a bit early on her – she’d had enough on the line,” said a relieved Hewitt after the result came down. The Goulburn-based trainer currently has about 20 horses in work and he’s a popular figure at Bathurst, where he and son Brad have a very good strike-rate. Emma Turnbull also drove a double at the meeting, to continue her excellent start to the new season. She drove 14 winners at her home track last season, and seems certain to exceed that figure very early this time around. Shes The Real Deal ($1.30 favourite, for Lester Hewitt) dominated from the lead in the opening race, a C1-C2 mares sprint, reeling off a slick 28.2 final quarter to gap her rivals by almost 10 metres, with seemingly plenty in hand. “I’m pleased to be able to take these drives for Lester, while J.T. (O’Shea) is away" "I’m having a very good run at the moment, and I guess I’m a good fill-in,” was Emma’s modest self-appraisal. Racecaller Kevin Thompson clearly agreed, by applying the winner’s name to the driver herself. After Dave Hewitt’s double, and winners to Ash Siejka (Our Leonardo), Mat Rue (Izzy Watt) and Chris Geary (Smiling Cullen), Emma completed her double with one of her mother’s team in the 2260 metres C0- class seventh race. Soldier Of Fortune NZ ($9.70) occupied the one-one position for most of the race, and held on in a desperately close finish from Lap Dancer, which raced inside it on the markers.  A dawdling pace accounted for the 2:03.5 mile rate, easily the slowest on a night of otherwise quick times. Steve Turnbull rounded out the meeting with an all-the-way win in 3YO class with Iownaturbo ($3.30), the third win in just eight starts for the filly, who improves with every run. After the earlier win of stable runner Smiling Cullen, his was the third double for the meeting. It attracted a good crowd, and with five favourites successful, they headed home pretty pleased with themselves. Terry Neil

DOVER, Del. --- The 18th renewal of the $400,000 (est) Progress Pace at Dover Downs is the highlight of the first full month of the track's 45th season. The Progress Pace is the signature event of the 2013 Dover Downs' "Novemberfest of Racing." The Progress Pace features the sport's leading three-year-olds in training in a two-week event. First, a $35,000 elimination division on Nov. 10 with the top eight finishers return for a $284,160 final on Nov. 17. Vegas Vacation, driven by Brian Sears, scored a 1:48.3 victory in this year's Matron Final. The gelding was favorite for the Progress Pace elim., but did not come out of the Matron, "100 percent," thus was scratched. Twilight Bonfire, a 20-1 longshot from post 8 with Tim Tetrick driving, pulled a major surprise in the $35,000 elim by nipping Sunshine Beach by half a neck. The Progress Pace Final on Dec. 1 is the richest race in Delaware harness racing this year. Progress Pace history The Progress Pace was created by Dover Downs' CEO Denis McGlynn in the fashion of a former state of Delaware sports' tradition - The Battle of the Brandywine - formerly the showcase event of ill-fated Brandywine Raceway. Over the years, Most of the sports leading drivers, owners and stables have participated in the Progress Pace. Hall of Fame drivers include three-time winners John Campbell and Ron Pierce, Mike Lachance, Cat Manzi, Dave Palone and David Miller. Luc Ouellette also drove three winners while Bret Pelling trained three Progress Pace champions. Sampson Street Stable has shared in three Progress Pace champions, Newman Racing is the only other with more than one winner. The first Progress Pace was carded in 1996 with a $100,000 final. The winner was Armbro Operative, owned by Tom Walsh, Jr. and Dave McDuffy, driven by Mike Lachance. It was the first of three Progress Pace winners conditioned by Brett Pelling. Pelling also trained the winners of the next two winners of the event, when Dream Away, owned by Canadian horsemen Marvin Katz, Sam Goldband and Al Libfeld won the 1997 edition and Crown Jewel Stable's Browning Blue Chip took 1998 laurels. Both winners were driven by John Campbell. Luc Ouellette drove Jeff Snyder's Royalflush Hanover to his first Progress Pace titles. The gelding overtook Grinfromeartoear on the backstretch and pulled off to win the 1999 title. The following season, Ouellette came back to drive 2000 winner Powerful Toy, owned by Newman Racing Stable, Sampson Street and Dodge A Bullet stables. Ron Pierce made the winner's circle in the 2001 event driving Peruvian Hanover for owners Sidney Korn and Alvin Jacobson. Art Major beat stablemate McArdle to win the 2002 edition. Owned by Deena Frost, Jerry Silva, Sampson Street and TLP stables, Art Major was the third Progress Pace champion driven by John Campbell, In 2003, for the second straight year and third time in Progress Pace history, Radar Sign, a colt owned in part by Sampson Street Stable and Newman Racing Stable, driven by Ouellette, won the final. The 2004 winner was longshot Holborn Hanover, with George Brennan driving for trainer Mark Harder and owners John Fielding and Canamerica Capital Corp. Holborn Hanover became the first sub-150 Progress Pace winner posting a come-from-behind 1:49.3f victory. In 2005, Gryffindor, became the first Delaware-owned and trained winner. After being purchased by Three Point Acres in time to win the Messenger Stake at Harrington Raceway, the sophomore won the 10th Progress Pace wire-to-wire in 1:50 with David Miller in the sulky. The purse was the event's all-time highest, $394,120. Another Delaware owned and conditioned colt, Total Truth, was the 2006 Progress Pace champion. The colt owned by Only Money and Teague Inc., the first of two straight for Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce. Pierce returned to take 2007 Progress Pace in upset fashion. Trained by Robby Siegelman for The Cheyenne Gang, Ghee House rolled down the lane for a 1:50.4 upset victory to take the 12th edition. In November 2008, overlooked at 32-1, Cat Manzi drove Bettor Sweet to a surprise 1:52.1f victory, the second richest Progress Pace boasting a $390,000 purse. Two locally owned horses Rudy Rednose and Badlands Nitro, both trained by George Teague, finished second and third respectively. Vertical Horizon and Jim Morrill Jr. were the winning 1:50.4 team, for the 2009 edition. In 2010, Yannick Gingras guided Rockin Image to an impressive 1:50.3 victory. The 2011 winner was Westwardho Hanover, a 1:49.1 performance piloted by Dave Palone. Heston Blue Chip completed an outstanding Fall campaign to win the 2012 Progress Pace with Tim Tetrick in the bike, in event winning time of 1:49. Progress Pace Champions Year Purse Winner (Driver) Win Time 1996 $100,000 Armbro Operative (Mike Lachance) 1:53f 1997 $100,000 Dream Away (John Campbell) 1:54f 1998 $225,000 Browning Blue Chip (John Campbell)1:51.2f 1999 $225,000 Royalflush Hanover (Luc Ouellette) 1:51.2f 2000 $228,000 Powerful Toy (Luc Ouellette) 1:52.1f 2001 $337,100 Peruvian Hanover (Ron Pierce) 1:52.3f 2002 $335,000 Art Major (John Campbell) 1:51f 2003 $350,060 Radar Sign (Luc Ouellette) 1:51.4f 2004 $345,900 Holborn Hanover (George Brennan) 1:49.3f 2005 $394,120 Gryffindor (David Miller) 1:50f 2006 $348,900 Total Truth (Ron Pierce) 1:52.2f 2007 $350,900 Ghee House (Ron Pierce) 1:50.4f 2008 $390,000 Bettor Sweet (Cat Manzi) 1:51.2f 2009 $350,000 Vertical Horizon (Jim Morrill Jr.) 1:50.4f 2010 $320,000 Rockin Image (Yannick Gingras) 1:50.3f 2011 $330,000 Westwardho Hanover (Dave Palone) 1:49.1f 2012 $270,000 Heston Blue Chip (Tim Tetrick) 1:49f - event record by Marv Bachrad for Dover Downs  

Victorian trotting was held at Kilmore on Thursday September 19, with three of the seven events on the card being for the squairgaiters. Four year old Armbro Variable/Maoris Dream mare Bella Cheval registered her third victory in 13 race appearances when successful in the George & Win Brosnan Memorial Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class (mares) over 2180 metres. Trained by Sutton Grange (Bendigo District) mentor Ross Graham, Bella Cheval with Daryl Douglas in the sulky led throughout from the pole, streeting her rivals to score by 16 metres in 2-05.5 from Charliesbaby along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Packed Up Early third after following the winner. The Last Chance To Buy Club 200 3-Y-0 Trotters Handicap over 2150 metres saw smart Armbro Invasion/Belle Kiri gelding Dell Boy bring up a hat-trick of wins. Trained at Diggers Rest by Carlo Corso and driven by veteran Peter Wells,Dell Boy began brilliantly from the 10 metre mark to trail the running pole line leader Weregonnarock and was always travelling kindly. Eased outside Weregonnarock on the final bend, Dell Boy ran to the wire strongly to score a comfortable 5.6 metre victory in 2-06.3 over the leader, with Girls Go First running home late from five back the markers to finish third. Very honest 6-Y-0 Wind Cries Maori/Salute The Rain gelding Salute The Wind chalked up victory number seven when greeting the judge in the Down Under Muscles Standing At Eldarin Park Trotters Mobile for T2 to T4 class over 2180 metres. Trained and driven by Echuca/Moama's Ron Gilligan, Salute The Wind enjoyed the run of the race one/one from gate four, with the speedy beginner Mister Gunsen flying away from gate two to assume control, a role he relishes. Although momentarily pocketed in the last lap when Chipmont Lad made a short lived three wide forward move, Salute The Wind when taken into the clear on straightening, motored to the post out wide to nab Mister Gunsen in the last stride ( a head the winning margin). Conchs Critter finished third after trailing the winner. The mile rate 2-03.4.  Whittlesea trainer/driver Mark Peace has a promising mare by the name of Joelles Dream which brought up two wins in a row by taking the Mr Rental Thomastown Pace for C1 class (mares) over 1690 metres in a rate of 1-59.9. Unable to cross the speedy Statelyness (gate five), Joelles Dream (gate three) was trapped in the open until Linga Longa Lass circled the field from near last to join the leader at the bell. Given a breather for the final circuit, Joelles Dream a 4-Y-0 daughter of Browning Blue Chip and Above The Rest when taken wide on straightening, ran home stylishly to score by 8.1 metres over Isabelle Delacour along the sprint lane after following the leader, with Three Gold Bars (one/two - three wide last lap) third. Len Baker

'Down Under' harness racing breeders are in for a bit of a treat this year thanks to Morley Park - and Goodtime Lodges Ian & Judy Slater. Morley Park is situated in Shepparton in Victoria Australia. The Slaters live in Elliminyt, near Colac, also Victoria.

Many of Australia's leading stud farms have thrown their support behind the inaugural Terang Harness Racing Club Stallion Tender. Alabar Bloodstock, who operate standardbred breeding establishments in Victoria, New Zealand and the Riverina, has offered a choice of three stallions in Armbro Operative, Elsu and Gotta Go Cullect.

Harness racing trainer Chris Oakes wasn't looking to take on any new owners when he met Tim Hauser, but after a few minutes together, he reconsidered. As it turns out, it was a good decision.

Squaw’s Ebony Chip equaled the fastest mile of the season at Vernon Downs with his 1:52 triumph in Saturday night’s $6,500 featured pace.

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