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A filly with a true international pedigree topped today’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale results. Lot 126, a Muscle Hill filly from Swedish bred mare Swede Dreams, was purchased by Aldebaran Park for $76,000. The bay yearling’s granddam is by the immortal Italian bred sire Varenne and belongs to a top northern hemisphere family, which boasts multiple European grand circuit winner Meadow Roland. Lot 116, a Father Patrick-Mystic Hush filly, went for $50,000, while Lots 106 and 119 – a Father Patrick-Kyvalley Bling colt and a Majestic Son-Sciamachy colt – fell for $48,000 and $39,000 respectively to John Nicholson Rounding out the top five was Lot 101, a Majestic Son-Fortunate Phoenix filly, purchased by Ken Fulton. Strong bidding was a feature of the 2021 APTS, with above average attendance at the Inglis Sales Complex in Oaklands Junction and lots of bidding online.  HRV provided a live broadcast of the APTS sale on Trots Vision and social media, which can be viewed below.  Click here for the full APTS sales results HRV - Cody Winnell

A Boots Electric home straight barrage landed trainers Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt the Group 1 DNR Logistics 4YO Bonanza at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The son of Somebeachsomewhere sprinted over the top his more fancied rivals at cricket score odds for a 1.8-metre win in a slick 1:51.2. Sugars’ first 4YO Bonanza triumph landed Butt and Smith, as well as Sugars, early doubles on Hunter Cup night. It also obtained Boots Electric a ticket in the $200,000 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 20. “He’s been a very consistent horse, like most of the stable (Butt and Smith),” Sugars said. “They do a wonderful job. Their horses are always immaculate. “Ants was pretty upbeat about this horse’s chances pre-race. I would have liked him to have drawn better, but he said if the breaks come your way, he’ll go good, and he was spot on.” Three-fence for most of the race, Boots Electric benefited from a solid tempo up front. Sugars had to extricate the eventual winner from a tricky position late but once he saw daylight, those Boots were made for pouncing. “It was just a matter of finding that gap,” Sugars said. Pacifico Dream produced yet another brave run to finish in second place for Kate and Andy Gath, while Sofia Arvidsson and Matthew Craven combined with Kowalski Analysis to finish in third, ahead of the winner’s stablemate Perfect Stride.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Following fabulous Face Time Bourbon’s second consecutive conquest of the Prix d’Amerique, the world trotting spotlight turns to Australia. More specifically it centres on Tabcorp Park Melton, in Melbourne, Victoria, for the running of the What The Hill Great Southern Star on Friday night (February 5). The ninth renewal of the illustrious race, Australasia’s premier event for trotters, sees the Great Southern Star revert to its original format – two Group 1, $50,000 heats into a $300,000 Group 1 Final on the same night. The format sees the top three placegetters in each of the two heats receive automatic qualification into the Final, with the remaining four starters in the Final the fastest unplaced horses in the heats. The all-important barrier draws for the Great Southern Star heats will take place tomorrow morning at 10am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) and will be broadcast live on Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Facebook page. Form analyst and harness racing broadcaster Jason Bonnington will be joined by former Swedish monte rider turned Australian harness racing driver Kima Frenning, and they will take viewers through the barrier draws for the big race. The Great Southern Star is a key component of Victoria’s new Aurora Australis series of races, designed to attract international participation in Victoria in coming years. New Zealand’s Majestic Man rocketed up Great Southern Star calculations on Saturday night with a track record-breaking 1:55.4 performance at Melton to obliterate his rivals in the TAB V L Dullard Trotters Cup, winning by over 10 metres.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Champion Victorian pacer Lochinvar Art and the pride of New South Wales, King Of Swing, will both have to navigate back row draws to win Victoria’s greatest harness race. Lochinvar Art drew barrier nine for the $500,000 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup, while King Of Swing will need to overcome barrier 12 to make it back-to-back victories in the race. The pair have a commanding hold over betting markets for the 2760m race, with Lochinvar Art long odds-on with TAB and King Of Swing $5. Lochinvar Art is coming off impressive back-to-back cup wins at Shepparton and Ballarat, which followed a Vicbred Super Series final triumph on New Year’s Eve. King Of Swing is on a five-race winning streak, including a Grand Circuit success at Albion Park in December’s Blacks A Fake. In the head-to-head battle, King Of Swing has a 2-1 lead over Lochinvar Art, but in October’s Victoria Cup, when they last clashed, the Victorian David Moran-trained superstar could not have been more emphatic. Moran’s confidence was not dented by gate nine. “He’s got nothing more to prove in my eyes,” he said of Lochinvar Art. “I’m pretty happy (with gate nine).” If there were to be an upset in the big race, recent Hamilton Cup winner Fourbigmen was luckless in the Ballarat Cup and is flying. Fourbigmen is one of two Emma Stewart-trained pacers in the Hunter Cup, the other being outsider Somewhere Secret in barrier seven. Wolf Stride is another pacer with a huge Grand Circuit future, but his task has been made all the tougher for drawing barrier 11. Champion reinsman and seven-time Hunter Cup winner Anthony Butt will drive Wolf Stride, who he co-trains with partner Sonya Smith. $500,000 2021 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup Final Field 1: Triple Eight 2: Alta Orlando 3: Sirletic (1em) 4: Fourbigmen 5: Bettor Be The Bomb 6: Our Uncle Sam 7: Somewhere Secret 8: Out To Play 9: Lochinvar Art 10: Star Galleria 11: Wolf Stride 12: King Of Swing 13: Malcolms Rhythm   HRV - Cody Winnell

It is far from a surprise, but Lochinvar Art will start a commanding favourite for Saturday night’s Group 1 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup. The five-year-old Chariots of Fire, Victoria Cup and Vicbred Super Series champion drew gate six tonight for the $110,000 TAB Summer of Glory, Grand Circuit opening night Ballarat feature, and TAB responded by opening him $1.30. And the $1.30 disappeared literally quicker than Lochinvar Art’s 1:48.6 4YO Bonanza run – wheeled into $1.25 moments later. Trainer-driver David Moran was certainly confident immediately after the draw. “I guess Hurricane Harley drawing gate two makes it a little bit tricky,” he said, before adding “but at the same time it leaves them with a tough decision to make; whether they try to post (Arty) knowing he (Harley) probably won’t get the 2700 metres,” he said. Quizzed about how Lochinvar Art had pulled up after his Shepparton Cup dalliance, Moran said “really good”, adding “he’ll be spot on” for Ballarat. It is obviously ominous given the heights this horse has already achieved, including that Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup win in October when he was simply better than a cracking field, which included New South Wales star King Of Swing.   Of the other runners in a sterling Ballarat Cup line-up, Sicario pulled the plum gate one draw, with Hurricane Harley likely first to the pegs in two. The remainder of the field is Out To Play (three), Bettor Be The Bomb (four), Somewhere Secret (five), Lochinvar Art (six), Our Uncle Sam (seven), Always Fast (eight), Wolf Stride (nine), emergency Kowalski Analysis (10), Jamieson Steele (11), Forty Thieves (12), and Sunday’s Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Fourbigmen (13).   HRV - Cody Winnell

The barrier draws for the 2020 Alabar and Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series (VSS20) finals were conducted this morning live on’s Facebook page. The final fields for 10 of the Vicbred Super Series finals are listed below, with the four-year-old trotters' still heats to be contested tonight at Shepparton live on Trots Vision.    2YO PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS Series favourite MAJOR MOTH has drawn barrier nine and TAB has him $1.55 compared to fellow Semi-Final winner IDYLLIC (gate two – one if the emergency is scratched), who is $2.3. BLITZERN, who finished runner-up to MAJOR MOTH in the Semi-Final has a nice draw in gate three.   2YO PACING FILLIES Advantage TOUGH TILLY at the barrier draw with gate two, but will it be enough for her to turn the tables on her unbeaten stablemate LADIES IN RED, who must overcome barrier eight? TAB says LADIES IN RED is a $1.65 favourite with TOUGH TILLY $2.8. JOANNA – also from the Emma Stewart yard – is the other filly in single digits at $9.5 despite drawing gate seven.   2YO TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS UTOPIA was backed into $2.2 after drawing barrier five (in from $2.5 to start the day). KEAYANG NINJA drifted from $2.3 to $2.4 with his barrier 10 draw, while DONT CARE (gate 6), ILLAWONG BARMAH (gate 12 and first emergency) and ALDEBARAN ZEUS (gate 13) are $7.5, $8.5 and $7.5 respectively.   2YO TROTTING FILLIES All the early money at TAB came for ALDEBARAN URSULA despite drawing barrier 11 on the back row, the Andy Gath-trained speedster in from $6 to $4.5. Both heat winners BANGLEZ (gate 1) and EVAS IMAGE (gate 8) drifted from $2.8 to $3.4 and $2.8 to $3.2 respectively despite securing peg-line starting positions. SENITAS STRENGTH was specked in from $7 to $6 after securing barrier 6.   3YO PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS PACIFICO DREAM opened very short today at $1.5 and only got shorter despite drawing gate 9 this morning – now into $1.4 with TAB. BEAT CITY is $9 after securing barrier 2, while MIRRAGON is $5.5 and SAHARA SIROCCO $7 from what looks a suitable gate 8 draw.   3YO PACING FILLIES MAAJIDA is $3.5 to $2.8 despite drawing inside the back row for the final, while AMELIA ROSE drifted today from $1.9 to $2.1 after securing barrier 7. ITS BEAUJOLAIS is $7.5 from barrier four, while STARSBYTHEBEACH has been tried in from $14 to $11 after pulling gate 2.   3YO TROTTING COLTS AND GELDINGS Unbeaten COVER OF DARKNESS is a commanding favourite at $1.6 from his back-row gate 10 draw. CRACKER JET drew favourably in two and is $6.5, while IS THAT A BID (gate 6) and POWDERKEG (gate 8) are on the next line at $7.5, marginally ahead of NO BIGGIE (gate 1) at $9.5.   3YO TROTTING FILLIES ILLAWONG STARDUST is in the red at $1.9 for the final here but must circumnavigate most of her rivals from barrier 11. ARAIGNEE FLAIR is right in play at $4 after securing the pole, while IMAMAORIJET (gate 6) is $4.2 and OFORTUNA (gate 8) at $7 have plenty of admirers. GOLDEN SUNSET might be one at odds after securing a terrific barrier two position. She is $15.   4YO PACING ENTIRES AND GELDINGS Well, LOCHINVAR ART has opened almost as short as you get at $1.15 after drawing pole position for the VSS20 final. HURRICANE HARLEY looks his main adversary at $7.5, but will have to overcome gate 6, while OUT TO PLAY at $16 will certainly have fans after securing barrier 3. MALCOLMS RHYTHM is also in the mix at $16 from inside the back row.   4YO PACING MARES The chances of OUR PRINCESS TIFFANY appear to have only improved courtesy of a barrier 2 draw, with logical threats MISS MCGONAGALL (gate 6) and TWO TIMES BETTOR (gate 8) having to overcome trickier positions. The Aldebaran Park 4YO Vicbred Super Series Trotting Heats will be conducted tonight at Shepparton. All the action will be live and free at on Trots Vision.   Check out all the VSS20 markets at   HRV - Cody Winnell

David Moran has outlined a busy summer campaign for his superstar pacer Lochinvar Art following last night’s TAB Preux Chevalier win. The Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup is the long-range target, with the more immediate goal either the Breeders Crown Free-for-All or the four-year-old Championship next Saturday. “We’ll go to either the Crown Free-for-All or the four-year-old next week, I’m not 100 per cent sure but we’ll nominate for both and figure it out,” Moran told Trots Vision. “We’ll push on to Vicbred in December, then in January you have the Bendigo, Shepparton and Ballarat Cups on the way to the Hunter Cup. Then possibly the Newcastle Mile on the way to the Miracle Mile.” The Chariots of Fire and Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup champion cruised home last night at Tabcorp Park Melton, rating 1:55.0 for the 2240-metre trip from the breeze. “He got a little bit keen tonight,” Moran said post-race. “I guess last start he got revved off the gate a bit … it was a month between runs and I haven’t done a hell of a lot with him at home, so he was a bit fresh tonight.” Moran said Lochinvar Art was doing a “lot of swimming” and he was confident last night’s run would “top the race fitness off” going into next Saturday night’s TAB Breeders Crown finals night. Meanwhile, gun mares Dance Craze and Red Hot Tooth continued their dominance over the fast-class trotting ranks with a quinella in the Aldebaran Park Lenin Trotters Free-for-All. Jason Lee took Dance Craze to the front from gate six early before handing up to Kerryn Manning aboard Red Hot Tooth in gate seven. The race didn’t change complexion after that, with Dance Craze sprinting sharpest up the sprint lane to score a 1.5m win in 1:56.4. Matthew Craven-trained Gus An Maori continued his strong form with a third placing, while Wobelee (seventh) and McLovin (eighth) couldn’t get into the race after settling rearward from back-row draws.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Trotting’s most exciting superstar has shone again on trotting’s biggest day with filly Pink Galahs upstaging the boys to win the Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby Final at Maryborough. The daughter of Skyvalley extended her winning streak to five – three of those races Group 1s – as she sprinted home from three back on the pegs to claim the lion’s share of the $75,000 race prizemoney. “The excitement, the pride, I’m just so proud of this little girl,” trainer-driver Matthew Craven told Trots Vision. “You just can’t describe her. She makes you so proud. Yesterday we brought her in for a swim and a brush and took her for a walk, and she absolutely toed me around. You’d think four runs in four weeks was going to be a bit too much for a little filly, but she just gave me so much confidence that she was still up and about and ready to go.” Pink Galahs pinged from mobile and crossed to the pegs in front before handing up to the other Trotters Derby heat winner in Gimondi when Greg Sugars took that colt forward. “Initially we were very keen to hold the front depending on how it all panned out but Gimondi has super in the heat and when he was coming and Lisa’s horse (Powderkeg) was trailing I just thought it the right thing to hand up,” Craven said. “I wanted to make sure we weren’t going to cop too much pressure and make sure we got the trip (2600m).” The race changed complexion at the bell when Anthony Butt exploded around the field on Elite Stride to run to the front, snookering Pink Galahs three-pegs. “I wasn’t going to panic,” Craven said. “When Greg went off stride (approaching the home turn) we still had a little way to make up, but just ask her (Pink Galahs) and she just puts her head down. It’s a privilege to have a horse like this in your care.” Matthew Craven and Pink Galahs                 --Stuart McCormick photo Pink Galahs’ major goal this campaign had been to win the TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks, which she did. But additionally, the filly has now beaten the older horses in the Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint and the Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby. “This is what it’s all about. This is why we do it,” Craven said. “I’m so rapt to be able to pull it off.” Pink Galahs rated 2:01.2 today to defeat Elite Stride by 4m, with Lisa Miles’ Powderkeg producing another tough effort to finish 4.5m behind the winner in third place.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Kiwi filly Mexicana delivered trainer Josh Dickie and reinsman Greg Sugars the prestigious Volstead Redwood Classic trophy today at Maryborough. Having her first run in Australia, the daughter of Muscle Mass began safely from the standing start before working around early leader Illawong Barmah to take up the running. Once in front, Mexicana and Sugars set a controlled tempo and repelled the late challenge of Illawong Barmah along the sprint lane and Aldebaran Zeus out wider to register a 1.4-metre win. “I’m stoked,” an elated Sugars told Trots Vision. “It’s a very prestigious race and this trophy is one that all trainers and drivers aim to get their hands on at some stage in their career. “I’m extremely thankful to Josh and his team and to Trevor (Casey) and the owners to trust me with this filly. She’s a beautiful girl.” Mexicana was lining up for career start No.7 and in winning today extended her unbeaten record at standing starts to three. “All credit to Josh and his team,” Sugars said. “They have obviously educated this filly very well. She was a pleasure to deal with from the parade ring to warming up, to that crucial 10 to 15 seconds facing the tapes. She began safe and solid. “I never pulled the earplugs and got too serious with her. She was actually pretty casual out in front. She felt really strong on the line, so I think there’s plenty more there.” The sentiments augur well for Mexicana’s upcoming Breeders Crown series, the heats of which will be run at Maryborough on Thursday November 12. Sugars also spoke of the Victorian trotting industry more broadly when commenting on the class of today’s Redwood field. “There are so many really top-quality trotters going around at big prices, which is testament to where our industry is at, particularly in the squaregaiting ranks,” he said. “Just how far the trotters have come in the last decade, it’s great to see. It’s a staple now for all stables to look for young trotters.” Runner-up Illawong Barmah trotted flawlessly and set the speed early before rallying late for trainer-driver Craig Demmler. Third-placed Aldebaran Zeus was held up momentarily before pushing into the clear late from three-back on the fence. He attacked the line like a high-class trotter. The fourth and fifth placegetters, Aldebaran Ursula and Tipsy Turvy, also produced big runs for Andy and Kate Gath and Maree and John Caldow respectively. Earlier, Majestuoso showed dashing gate speed to hold out the early challenge of noted quick beginner Red Hot Tooth to score an all-the-way win in the Peter Egan Bi-Rite Electrical Trotters Free for All. The four-year-old son of Majestic Son trained by Andy Gath rated 1:59.0 to defeat Wobelee and Brandlo Prince. “It’s not entirely surprising (the Majestuoso gate speed) but until you do it you just don’t know,” winning driver Kate Gath told Trots Vision. “With him it’s always in the back of your mind to trot, but he’s matured a fair bit now. He was keen in the warm-up today … once he found the front he relaxed well and got to the line nicely.” Gath said the top-level trotting ranks were incredibly even and in coming months the feature races would come down to barrier draws and achieving the best run in races. “There’s probably no standout at the minute, so whoever gets the easiest run out of all of them probably wins the race,” she said. Kate and Andy Gath’s flagship Group 1 trotter Tornado Valley is currently spelling but will be back in training within a month for a tilt at the TAB Summer of Glory jewels.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Sunday’s Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby Final may have changed complexion in the minds of some after the heats were contested at Maryborough yesterday. The horse many thought series favourite, Elite Stride, had to settle for third in his qualifier behind Matt Craven’s flying filly Pink Galahs (pictured), who made it four straight wins after sprinting a head triumph over Lisa Miles’ brave Powderkeg in the second heat. Elite Stride led and appeared to have every chance before finishing 4.4m third, while Chris Lang’s rising star Red White An Bloom ran on into fourth place from an extreme back-row draw. Pink Galahs, a daughter of Skyvalley, has now won 12 of 18 starts, including a Group 1 double in the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint and TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks.  Earlier New South Wales raider Gimondi did all the work and took the chocolates in the first of the heats, the Blake Fitzpatrick-trained sone of Peak NDK 4m too good for Michael Hughes’ Is That A Bid, with Emmanuel Portelli’s underrated Sky Eagle running into third place from the back ahead of Cracker Jet. Highly rated French import Holzarte Vedaquais galloped twice in running and came in last in his heat after initially showing terrific gate speed to lead from the pole. Meanwhile, two-year-old Father Patrick gelding Have No Fear shortened in markets for the Volstead Redwood Classic after extending his unbeaten run to three in the Garry Angus Memorial 2YO Handicap yesterday. Trained and driven by Anthony Butt (pictured above), Have No Fear stepped professionally to lead before drawing clear to score by over 10m in 2:07.1. “He’s been really well mannered the whole way along,” Butt said on Trots Vision post-race. “We’ve given him a couple of standing start trials and he’s always been away beautifully. That won’t worry him next week. “It’s great to be able to give him a run on the track a week out.” Butt won last year’s Redwood Classic aboard Ultimate Stride.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Those who follow our sport know harness racing winners are often raced, trained, bred, and even driven by members of the same family operation. It is a huge selling point. A point of significant difference. A story that needs telling to the masses: The accessibility of the trots; the thrill of involvement, from the initial decision to get a mare in foal, to the foaling itself, to the initial training, then to the trials, to the races, and hopefully to the winners’ stall. At headquarters tonight, in the two juvenile trotting feature races – the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic Trotting Finals – the Lee and Craven family from Terang, and husband and wife team Dennis and Shirley Paton from Harston achieved the ultimate final step of the abovementioned journey. Group 1 glory. Keayang Ninja (pictured above with Jason aboard and below with trainer Paddy) prevailed for Paddy and Jason Lee in the Home Grown Colts and Geldings Final.   Paddy takes the training credit, Jason the driving, while mum Marg has a one-third breeding credit in the gelding along with her sons. Dennis and Shirley Paton meanwhile bred Sheza Pleasure (pictured right with Dennis and below with Kerryn Manning in the sulky), winner of the Fillies Home Grown Classic, with Dennis the trainer. Tonight, he engaged Manning to steer the filly to Group 1 success. “He’s a lovely bloke,” Manning said of Paton, whose win tonight broke a 35-year metropolitan training win drought, with his previous metro win coming in 1985 with Anne Of Hanover at Moonee Valley. “He’s had a bit of a headache with this one sometimes. He’s been doing a few different things with her of late. She was naughty last time but added the Murphy Blind for hanging in and she was good tonight. “She’s got ability. Once she starts putting it together, she should win a few nice races.” Jason Lee admitted winning on “a family horse” was a bit special. “Paddy’s put a lot of work into this fella. He’s been a lot of hard work from day dot. He’s been difficult, but he’s got a bit of a motor. All credit to Paddy.” Lee said his confidence spiked when he knew Paddy was attending the races given his brother’s beloved Cats were playing off in a preliminary final. “He generally won’t go to the races if Geelong are playing,” he said. Keayang Ninja is by Wishing Stone out of Keystone Crosby mare Another Clare, who won nine races for the Mahncke family between 2009 and 2014. He rated 1:58.9 over 1720m to defeat Illawong Barmah (Craig Demmler trained and driven) by 4.9m with Utopia (trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Jodi Quinlan) running third. Sheza Pleasure is by Bacardi Lindy out of Sierra Kosmos mare Sheza Comment, who never raced but has so far thrown multiple winners Sheza Amason, Lord Lohki and Millys Magic. She rated 1:59.6 to defeat Keayang Xena (trained by Paddy Lee and driven by Jason Lee) by 2m with Evas Image (trained and driven by Chris Lang) finishing third. So, tell your friends – there are many avenues to getting involved in the trots. There is big money invested at the top end from major players daring to dream; bargain buys at every yearling sale and dotted through claiming races; and family projects whose toil and tears are often immeasurable as they pursue their lifelong passion.   HRV - Cody Winnell

A Yield Boko filly out of Ushaka Bromac named Aldebaran Ursula set Menangle ablaze yesterday and the upcoming Breeders Crown and Vicbred Super Series now beckon. The KerryAnn Morris-trained two-year-old, a graduate of the 2019 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale, rated 1:56.8 to defeat older horses in the two- and three-year-old trot over 1609m from the mobile start. Driven by Josh Gallagher, Aldebaran Ursula stretched out like she’d been trotting for seasons at the top of the Menangle straight, ripping home against a slick 28.7 last quarter to upstage three-year-old Sunny Gee in the run to the wire. Robbie Morris, partner of KerryAnn Turner, said Aldebaran Ursula had been a consummate professional since day one. “She’s always been very natural and her gait is terrific,” he told Paul Campbell on Campbell’s Comments yesterday. “From the word go we thought she could be something, but you never like to get too excited. The faster she’s got the more she’s trotted out. She’s just gotten stronger and stronger as it goes on.” Morris broke the news that Aldebaran Ursula would now transfer to the Andy Gath stable for a Victorian campaign. “She’ll go there at the start of next week. With COVID-19 and the way everything is right now, we could go with her but if things don’t change getting back could be a hassle,” he said. With four wins from six starts, Aldebaran Ursula – a graduate of the 2018 APTS sale – has quickly put herself and the quality of young Australian trotters on the map. Duncan McPherson, principal of Aldebaran Park, congratulated the filly on her performance.  "Aldebaran Park bred and raised - and Australasian Premier Trotting Sale graduate 2yo filly Aldebaran Ursula (Yield Boko Se - Ushaka Bromac Nz) T2 - 1.56.8 - today broke her own race record for 2yo Trotters at Menangle Park Raceway - New South Wales - Australia 13th October 2020," he wrote.  "Congratulations to our Stud and Farm managers Melinda and Danny Thackeray and all our team on farm. "Congratulations to her owners for having faith in Aldebaran Park yearlings and to her trainer KerryAnn Morris and driver Joshua Gallagher."   HRV - Cody Winnell

The fanfare as Courage Under Fire made his way to the track in January 2000 at Moonee Valley for a heat of the Inter Dominion was like nothing else in recent time at that time. The “Mighty Mouse”, having won 24 straight races to kick-start his career. He was seemingly perfection, surrounded by his human entourage as the powerful pint-sized pacer arrogantly strode on to the big stage. If a racehorse was ever unconquerable, this seemed that. Enter Kyema Kid. No slouch, no Courage Under Fire either, but courage of a different nature that night. Striding by the champ in front of a huge crowd. We’d all just survived “Y2K”. But as Dan Mielicki famously declared, “The world must be ending!”   Fast-forward 20 years. Last night at Tabcorp Park Melton all eyes were on the TAB Smoken Up Sprint. Not just harness fans, but newbies from all codes, all sports, wanting to “find out more about this Ride High”. It propelled the Ride High discussion to No.14 on the Melbourne Twitter trends map during a heightened AFL finals period. No mean feat. The drama began as the horses were in the Parade Ring before the Smoken Up Sprint. Several lights unexpectedly went out along the front straight, resulting in a lengthy delay and an electrical technician summoned to explore the situation. Ride High and his rivals went back to the stables.  The race was rescheduled. The horses were then back in the parade ring, but the lighting issue rose again, and this time required a complete shutdown of the system to keep the remainder of the night on track. A further delay ensued. Third time lucky, and with the lights back in action, the horses completed their preliminary warm-ups and Ride High was sent out a $1.10 favourite. Unbackable and seemingly unbeatable. The Clayton Tonkin-trained pacing powerhouse was forced to motor hard mid-race to overcome his extreme back-row draw, eventually getting to the chair. And when he glided by the race leader Cruz approaching the home corner it appeared a case of ‘how far?’ as predicted by most punters. Normalcy had returned after a peculiar night. Or so it seemed. For as quickly as Ride High hit full tilt, he appeared to tire. The calvary arrived, sprinted past the favourite, and Rishi at odds of $120 produced a famous victory in the race named in honour of his trainer Lance Justice’s best-ever pacer, Smoken Up. And as was the case 20 years prior, Mielicki delivered a line sure to become almost as famous: “The lights have gone out in a different way – this is a massive upset!” All honours to popular Ararat reinsman Michael Bellman, who drove Rishi, Justice, and the hard-working technical crew at Tabcorp Park Melton for ensuring the race eventually went ahead in trying circumstances. To the victor goes the spoils.  The quaddie paid over $25,000. I wonder if Rishi’s owner, long-time industry supporter, John Hawke, had a live ticket. Most punters were flabbergasted. And that’s racing. Now, the next 24-48 hours will be as intriguing as last night and as next Saturday night’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, because fans will be glued to the channels to find out how Ride High pulled up and whether the superstar will take his place in the $300,000 Grand Circuit classic at Melton next Saturday night. Will we have to wait longer after all for the long-awaited and much hyped clash between Ride High and Lochinvar Art? Perhaps we’ll have to turn to the 2021 TAB Summer of Glory for that score to finally be settled? What is certain is that we’ll learn a fair bit more today/tomorrow, then on Tuesday morning when the barriers are drawn for the Vic Cup. And we’ll learn a stack more next Saturday night. And it’ll be a magnificent show. But the biggest learnings of all may come in February 2020, because if “the clash” doesn’t occur beforehand, the A.G. Hunter Cup would surely become the most anticipated in modern history.   HRV - Cody Winnell

Sunday’s Aldebaran Park Starlet 3YO Trot at Cranbourne has attracted a classy line-up of trotting fillies. The $10,000 race carries an additional $1500 service voucher courtesy of Aldebaran Park to the winner, which can be claimed to offset a service to Aldebaran Park’s resident stallion Skyvalley or Aldebaran Eagle, whose semen is available through Aldebaran Park for the 2020 or 2021 seasons. This year’s Aldebaran Park Starlet will prove a key guide to the upcoming Group 1 TAB Victoria Trotters Oaks, to be run at Tabcorp Park Melton on October 17. The stellar Aldebaran Park Starlet field consists of the following runners:  2. Araignee Flair (by Yankee Spider out of Petite Flair) Has won two races from 10 starts, including a last-start Ballarat triumph in 2:02.5. The filly is out of Petite Flair, making her a half-sister to The Girls Gotflair and Mister Pepe. Petite Flair was a full-sister to A Touch Of Flair (1:52.6, $569k), and a half-sister to Mighty Maori (1:55.2, $256k) and Son Of Flair (1:56.2, $257k). Yabby Dam Farms races Araignee Flair and she was bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud. 3: Imamaorijet (by Quaker Jet out of Sumthingaboutmaori) Broke her maiden status last start at Kilmore with a 2:04.3 victory over 2180m. In addition to that she has placed five times. Bred and raced by Yabby Dam Farms, Imamaorijet is from 31-time winning mare and Inter Dominion winner Sumthingaboutmaori. 4: Homonym (by Majestic out of A Touch Of Sun) Winner of two of four starts. A filly trained by Emmett and Richard Brosnan, Homonym is a full-sister to smart squaregaiter King Denny. Her only two defeats so far have come when she has broken in running. Bred by Jordash Breeding Trust. 5: Aldebaran Tess (by Muscle Hill out of Solar Powered) Bred and raced by event sponsor Aldebaran Park, Aldebaran Tess looks a star on the rise for Terang trainer Matthew Craven. The daughter of Muscle Hill is out of unraced daughter of Sundon Solar Powered, who has also produced the smart Aldebaran Willo (five wins from 13 starts to date). Aldebaran Tess has won three of her six starts and looks a serious feature race player this season. 6: Illawong Stardust (by Muscle Hill out of Lunar Landing) A four-time winner from 14 starts to date, Illawong Stardust is a well-bred daughter of gun producer Lunar Landing, making her a half-sister to Spidergirl (42 starts, 20 wins, $317k, 1:56.8), Illawong Moonshine (40 starts, 10 wins, $63k, 1:58.1) and Illawong Armstrong (84 starts, 18 wins, 1:56.0, $230k). Illawong Stardust was bred by prolific breeder Dr Martin Hartnett, who passed away earlier this year. She is raced by Hartnett’s loving wife, Kaye. 7: Naked Ambition (by Andover Hall out of Starcus) A daughter of Andover Hall and Starcus (a mare who has produced 13-time winner Zhenya, nine-time winner Naked Majesty, 18-time winner War Dan Destroyer and three-time winner Birthday Suit) Naked Ambition has won four races from 12 starts to date for trainer Dylan Stratford. The talented trotting filly is raced by the Cranbourne Club 21 Syndicate and is coming off a last-start Melton win. She was bred by Gerard Moloney. 8: Im Ready Jet (by Quaker Jet out of Im Ready Set) Breeders Crown champion at two and IRT Australia Need for Speed Princess Final winner earlier this year at three, Im Ready Jet has won six races from 11 starts to date and resumes from a spell here for trainer Anton Golino. Im Ready Jet is out of Im Ready Set, who has also produced talented fast-class trotting mare Imsettogo. Bred and raced by Yabby Dam Farms and looks set for a big next few months on the feature race scene. 9: Tailored Elegance (by Muscle Hill out of Classic Armbro) The real Tailored Elegance stepped out last time out at Bendigo and won by over 20m in 1:58.7 – a new career-best mark for this filly. Tailored Elegance has won five races from 14 starts for stakemoney of $77,926. She is bred and raced by Breckon Farms and was successful in New Zealand before crossing the ditch recently.  10: Queen of Crime (by Sportswriter out of Our Crime Of Passion) The second of Matt Craven’s fillies in this year’s Aldebaran Starlet, this daughter of Our Crime Of Passion is pacing bred and has made mistakes at both of her trotting runs to date when favourite. Bred and raced by Tony and Pam Coniglio. 11: Hopeful Beauty (by Brillantissime out of Beauty Life) French-bred trotter owned by Yabby Dam Farms and trained by Anton Golino, Hopeful Beauty has one win from four starts to date. That success came at Charlton in August. 12: Quality Sunset (by Quality Cam out of Troys Sunset) Trainer and owner Peter Fiscalini also drives this daughter of Troys Sunset, who has shown plenty of brilliance in winning two races from 10 starts to date. Quality Sunset possesses a powerful finishing burst and looms as a smoky in the good three-year-old races in coming months.  Sunday's Aldebaran Park Starlet is Race 4 at Cranbourne and is scheduled to be run at 7.25pm.   Meanwhile, Australasian Premier Trotting Sale graduates Whose Me Mum, Captain McCraw, Fend Off and Scootin Around will all compete at Cranbourne in Race 6 on Sunday.  Check out the full list of APTS graduates and explore the 2021 APTS catalogue at the new and improved APTS website today.  Picture: Smart trotting filly Im Ready Jet cruises to victory. By Stuart McCormick.  APTS graduates in action in coming days are:   Friday October 02 FEAR NOT @ BALLARAT (Race 6) KYVALLEY SHAUNIE @ BALLARAT (Race 6) RIGONDEAUX @ BALLARAT (Race 6) Saturday October 03 GREG THE GREAT @ ALBION PARK (Race 10) MY LITTLE COMET @ GLOBE DERBY PARK (Race 6) CRUISIN AROUND @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 7) ALDEBARAN CRESCENT @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 10) ZAREM @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 10) KYVALLEY CLICHY @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 10) HOTJANE BLING @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 7) Sunday October 04 WHOSE ME MUM @ CRANBOURNE (Race 6) CAPTAIN MCCRAW @ CRANBOURNE (Race 6) FEND OFF @ CRANBOURNE (Race 6) SCOOTIN AROUND @ CRANBOURNE (Race 6) Monday October 05 ALDEBARAN GWEN (First Starter) @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 2) KYVALLEY HIPHOP @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 3) EVAS IMAGE @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 3) LOVE TO DASH (First Starter) @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 3) QUEEN INVASION @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 4) AMOUR MATERNAL (First Starter) @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 4) ALDEBARAN YAHTZEE @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 4) BULLION HARRY (First Starter) @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 5) BROMWICH @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 5) UTOPIA @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 5) DREAM INCEPTION @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 5) MAESTRO @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 5) DONT CARE @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 6) TENNERSON @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 6) ALDEBARAN ZEUS @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 6) SUNSUP @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 6) ALDEBARAN ROCKY @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 7) DICKO DIXON @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 7) BIRTHDAY SUIT @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 7) BALL PARK @ MARYBOROUGH (Race 7) HAMMERS LAW @ PINJARRA (Race 9) Tuesday October 06 SHADOW HALL @ ALBION PARK (Race 1) MELPARK MAGIC @ ALBION PARK (Race 3) GREG THE GREAT @ ALBION PARK (Race 3) COME AT ME @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 1) AGENT MAORI @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 2) DO BALL @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 3) Wednesday October 07 GLENGARRIFF @ BENDIGO (Race 1) BACARDI JESS @ BENDIGO (Race 7) ALDEBARAN SUNDOWN @ HORSHAM (Race 1)   HRV - Cody Winnell

Saturday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton program shapes as a tantalising prelude to the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup to be run Saturday week. The Group 2 TAB Smoken Up Sprint, a race named in honour of the mighty Lance Justice-trained champion, will feature the modern-day pin-up pacer in Ride High who, despite drawing the extreme gate 11 over the 1720m, opened prohibitively short with TAB at $1.25 before easing to $1.33. Ride High (pictured), aka 'Chainsaw', has only tasted defeat once in his 17-start career to date. And since that gutsy third in the Vicbred Super Series three-year-old final of July 7, 2018, the brilliant son of Art Major has built a picket-fence of 11 straight successes.  And if he can overcome the alley and take his winning run to a dozen with victory on Saturday night, Ride High will only strengthen his hold on market top billing for the $300,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup. PODCAST: CODY WINNELL AND ANDREW BENSLEY DISCUSS THE FIELDS Among his rivals on Saturday night, New South Wales visitor Cruz, a winner of 27 of his 77 starts, shapes as an interesting contender. The speedster boasts a career-best 1:49.9 mark at Menangle and is drawn to take full advantage of his early gate speed in barrier two. With four wins from his last five starts, including twice upstaging Queensland wonder horse Colt Thirty One, the six-year-old son of American Ideal from the Craig Cross camp has never raced better. South-west Victoria's latest star pacer, Code Bailey, has drawn gate seven for his return, the Marg Lee-trained Bendigo and Terang Cup winner first-up since finishing sixth in the Miracle Mile.                   Another highlight on Saturday night will be the Allied Express Jane Ellen Pace over 2240m, which has attracted a sterling line-up of mares. Group 1 winners Kualoa, Dr Susan, Goodtime Heaven and No Win No Feed will all contest the $30,000 event.                And the Aldebaran Park Chris Howe Trotters Free for All brings together a star-studded line-up of trotters, with Tornado Valley, Sparkling Success, Dance Craze and Sammy Showdown among the key contestants.                     HRV - Cody Winnell

Storm Cloud steps out at Shepparton on Saturday night and the exciting five-year-old will be out to maintain a higher than 50 per cent winning record. The son of power producer Cloud Chaser has won six from 11 starts thus far with a 2:00.1 best mile rate to date. Purchased for $36,000 as ‘lucky for some’ Lot 13 in the 2016 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale (APTS), the son of Majestic Son has already pocketed connections $32,514 in stakemoney. Should Storm Cloud and young reinsman Brad Chisholm trot to victory in the Your Sold Real Estate Trot (Race 9) on Saturday, the $5700 first prize cheque will push the trotter into the black. Since joining the powerful Brent Lilley stable Storm Cloud has only tasted defeat once in five starts – that loss coming last time out at Ballarat when fresh-up off a month’s break. Storm Cloud has dominated some talented squaregaiters along the way, too, including Is That A Bid, Royal Charlotte, Powderkeg, Barhoon and Kyvalley Kyrie who have all been left in his wake during recent months. Storm Cloud is the third foal of eight-time winning mare Cloud Chaser, who threw dual Group 1 winner Cruisin Around in 2011. To win on Saturday night Storm Cloud will have to outpunch phenom Cracker Jet, a winner of four out of seven to date, and a small but select filed of flair, which also features Zarem – a graduate of the 2017 APTS. Zarem fetched a bargain $9000 as Lot 63 but has won $54,180 in stakes. Meanwhile, Saturday night’s win of Hotjane Bling at Menangle took the Eilean Donon mare to No.10 on the overall APTS graduates’ earning chart. Trained and driven by Brian Portelli, Hotjane Bling’s career tally stands at $112,970 with 13 wins from 60 starts. Hotjane Bling was purchased for a meagre $9000 at the 2015 APTS. The most recent victory sets the scene for a cracking contest this Saturday night at Menangle where the new No.10 APTS earner will take on the trotter immediately above her on the earners’ list, Agent Maori.   APTS graduates in action in coming days are:   Wednesday August 12 TIP TOP EURASIAN @ STAWELL (Race 3) KYVALLEY CATWALK @ STAWELL (Race 3) ALDEBARAN ROCKY @ STAWELL (Race 3) BACARDI CHARDY @ STAWELL (Race 3) DICKO DIXON @ STAWELL (Race 3) Thursday August 13 RULES DONT APPLY @ BALLARAT (Race 1) KEAYANG LIVANA @ BALLARAT (Race 2) FEAR NOT @ BALLARAT (Race 2) GUS AN MAORI @ BALLARAT (Race 2) THE GIRLS GOTFLAIR @ BALLARAT (Race 7) Friday August 14 JADE NIEN @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) CAPTAIN MCCRAW @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) ALDEBARAN STEVIE @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 1) Saturday August 15 GREG THE GREAT @ ALBION PARK (Race 10) AGENT MAORI @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 7) HOTJANE BLING @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 7) MARVELLOUS MAX @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) STORM CLOUD @ SHEPPARTON (Race 9) ZAREM @ SHEPPARTON (Race 9)     Visit the new-look APTS website for more information on the annual APTS sale, including Harness Racing Victoria's special 'sales day special', which sees yearlings purchased eligible for the industry leading Vicbred program, the Need for Speed series and the Breeders Crown for just $1000 – a saving of over $500. Earlier this year the Victorian Harness Racing Club announced it had signed a partnership with the APTS and Australian Pacing Gold which will deliver up to $900,000 in financial benefits shared between owners and trainers of APTS purchases.   HRV - Cody Winnell

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