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An excerpt from "Time To Hail Group One Gav" by John Peck (February 2020)   Nicknames are just so Australian. In horse racing one must be exceptional to be afforded a nickname that will have you remembered forever. Fans across Australia would instantly recognize “The Pumper”, “The Professor”, “Big Red”, “Cups King” and even the initials “T.J.” Similarly Harness Racing aficionados would have no difficulty in putting names to “The Puppet”, “Ginger”, “Bathurst Bulldog”, “Mr. Inter Dominion” and the initials “V.J.” There is another - Group One Gav - a moniker earned by champion reinsman Gavin Lang, the first driver to win 5,000 races in Australasia and now after exhaustive research, it can be confirmed that Gavin indeed was, and will forever be, the first Australian driver to win 100 Group One races. The always humble Gavin kicked off his skein of Group One victories in style, when he piloted the Graeme Johannesen trained champion True Roman to success in the 1988 Inter Dominion Trotters Final at Moonee Valley. His 100th Group One was achieved with Delight Me in the Vicbred Super Sires final for 4YO pacing mares at Tabcorp Park (Melton) on 2nd July 2016. Every State jurisdiction is represented in Gavin’s first 100 Group One wins – Victoria (68), New South Wales (17), Tasmania (6), South Australia (5), Queensland (3) and Western Australia (1). The beauty of Gavin’s first 100 Group One wins was that he was never permanently tied to any leading stable and exemplified by the fact that the 100 Group One winners he drove were prepared by 24 different trainers (including himself).

Harness racing will honour a legend tomorrow night, with participants pausing for a ceremony and a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the late great Gavin Lang. The legendary trainer and reinsman, who passed in April at age 61 after battling a rare type of lymphoma, will be celebrated and remembered with a ceremony at 7.40pm, when a video presentation will precede a minute’s silence and a lap of honour by Pantzup, the last horse to deliver Lang a victory. Pantzup will be driven by Lang’s mate and fellow reinsman John Caldow, who said the tribute was “going to be fitting, that’s for sure”. “It’s a Group 1 night, Breeders Crown – that’s him,” Caldow said. “This is what he lifted for, when he was always at his best. “It’s a perfect night to honour him. He was a good mate, so it’s good to be a part of it.” Lang won an extraordinary 18 pacing and trotting Breeders Crown titles, with the first being with Self Denial and The Sentry in 2003 and the last with Moonshine Linda and Born To Rocknroll in 2019. He won an astonishing 6300 races from 32,000 starts and earned almost $50 million in stakes for connections, and a display will be set up in the inner circle of the track near the finishing line to honour him, with all participants to be invited to be trackside for the ceremony. Lang was regaled as ‘The Iceman’ for his cool head in big races, but Caldow said it was his professionalism, confidence and natural gifts that set him apart on night’s like the Breeders Crown. “He was just the perfect form student. He knew every horse and backed himself to the metre,” he said. “He would win by an inch and he would know his horse, exactly what he was doing but also the opposition horses. He was about perfection and would always back himself.” The ceremony will be streamed live on Trots Vision at, where viewers can enjoy wall-to-wall coverage live and free from the first race to the last. Lang and his father Graeme will also be honoured at Bendigo on December 4 with the introduction of the Gavin Lang Aldebaran Park Trotting Mile for two-year-old colts and geldings and the Graeme Lang Aldebaran Park Trotting Mile for two-year-old fillies, which will be Group 3 races. The night will also feature a series of race names in honour of the Lang family. These races are an opportunity for juvenile trotters to set a fast mark on one of Victoria’s quickest tracks. The initiative has been driven by Aldebaran Park’s Duncan McPherson, the Bendigo Harness Racing Club, the Victorian Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria. Meanwhile, HRV has announced “The Gav”, a trophy awarded to the most successful Breeders Crown driver of the series. The inaugural “The Gav” will be presented to the driver who collects the most points over the November 20-21 TAB Breeders Crown Finals. The winner will be presented the following week. During each TAB Breeders Crown race, drivers will score points based on: 1st - 3 points, 2nd - 2 points, 3rd - 1 point.   Harness Racing Victoria

Alison Alford says she and husband Chris are “chuffed” and “honoured” at the opportunity that presents for them at Kilmore today - the chance to race the horse who delivered the late Gavin Lang his last win. Pantzup saluted by a half-head in the Melton Toyota Trot on September 14, a fitting horse to deliver Lang a legacy win having been a remarkable training performance. The pacer joined Lang after 14 starts without a victory and he remodelled the mare into a trotter who would proceed to win 11 of her 20 races for him, including a Breed For Speed Group 1 among seven successive wins. It was after that triumph that Lang marvelled “'she’s a freak of nature really”. It’s a history well-known to trainer Alison Alford, for whom Pantzup will today have her first start after a four-start stint with another great friend of Lang’s, Kerryn Manning. “It’s amazing what Gavin did with her,” Alford said. “The day after he passed away I was feeding her and I got thinking about Gav and his last winner, which was her. We’re pretty honoured Gavin and Meagan gave us a go, but, of course, we wish Gav was still here training her. “He did a wonderful job with her, so we have very big shoes to fill, but we will be trying our hardest.” Alford said today's race – the C & M Build Group Trot streaming on Trots Vision at 4.03pm today – would also mean plenty to her husband and Pantzup’s reinsman Chris Alford. “The last 12 or so years (Gavin and Chris) have been really good mates, they were respected rivals on the tracks and went to each other’s weddings off it,” she said. “They probably brought the best out of each other.” Lang’s influence won’t merely be in the form of inspiration, with the horseman having given the Alfords a “long list of dos and don’ts” on how to best handle the prized mare. “He has given us a lot of instructions,” Alford said, and whatever the mare does today she expects Pantzup will only improve for the run, her first since December 14. “She has had a couple of trials. She is going as good as we can have her without race fitness – there’s nothing like race fitness. Sundons Courage will be hard to beat, but I expect she will be competitive.” And big plans are afoot, with Alford “marking out the better races for her”, but for now “I’m just hopeful that we can get her going and win for Gav”. CLICK HERE TO READ AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE GAVIN LANG TRIBUTE WALL It could well be a particularly special afternoon for the Alford stable with another horse dear to them, Patched, also stepping out. The three-year-old trotter’s had a troubled start to life. “We nearly lost him as a two-year-old, when he got a virus which triggered laminitis,” Alford said. “He couldn’t walk and spent months locked up with special shoes on. The vets were not sure if he would make it and he’d be off the scene for 10 months.” Fortunately, he survived and is now three runs into his first campaign, having finished fifth in his first two starts amid quality opposition before an eye-catching third at his last start, when he was squeezed and broke gait at the 400-metre mark before savaging the line. “Being inexperienced cost him, but once he got back down he really found the line,” Alford said. “It was the glimpse the owners needed to see. I don’t know if he can win from the barrier, but he should be up there.” He will step out today in the Jet Roofing 3YO Maiden Trot, streaming at 2.46pm on Trots Vision. TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden have another big line-up for today's Talking Trots on SENTrack, which runs weekdays from 11am-1pm on 1377AM in Melbourne, 657AM in Perth and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Kilmore, R1 N8, Le Belle Bijoux Was last of the four runners throughout but was beaten by less than a length on the line in a terrific finish. REPORT Kilmore, R4 N9, Comandante Dashed to the lead in the early stages and ran along at a rapid rate. He established a big lead mid-race and was never going to be beaten. He was tiring noticeably in the final 100m but he still scored by 30m. REPORT Ballarat, R1 N8, Celtic Cash Hasn’t raced since January and joins trainer Paddy Lee after formerly being prepared by Anton Golino. She won the third trial by a large margin over SIERRA KEA. REPORT   HRV - Michael Howard

Group 1 Gav will eternally overlook the trots after Victorian harness racing photographer Claire Weston initiated the purchase of and named a star in honour of late reinsman Gavin Lang. A piece by Weston, published at's tribute wall, revealed the purchase of a star in the Scorpius constellation (right ascension: 16h51m51.76s, declination: -26°52'25.8"). Weston named the star 'Group 1 Gav' with Star Registry, having said she was "shattered" by Lang's passing and "looked to the sky and whispered rest in peace Superstar". "I felt you were up there somewhere looking down on all your loved ones, friends, colleagues and the harness community who loved and looked up to you," Weston wrote. "It was at this moment an idea hit me: GAVIN DESERVES HIS OWN STAR! I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to the 'Greatest of All Time' than a star for those that you left behind to share, a space to search for you to just say 'hi' or a 'we miss you'." CLICK HERE TO READ THE TRIBUTE WALL AND LEAVE YOUR OWN DEDICATION   HRV

Myself, along with our children Danielle, Brayden, Courtney, Baylie, Montana and Ruby, our grandchildren Jaxon and Arlie, Gavin’s parents Graeme and Dot and our extended families  are all just so extremely humbled and thankful for all of the continuous calls, messages, cards, gifts, flowers and beautiful well wishes which we have continued to received over the past 7 months. The Support and love from so many people within the industry and beyond has been just so emotional and overwhelming. We could never thank everyone enough for the outpour of generosity and it was this love that kept Gav fighting on hard each day. Not once during this battle did Gav complained, never did I hear him say “poor me” or “it’s not fair.” He remained positive, determined, in good spirits and the warrior within him kept him pushing on throughout the entire crazy emotional roller coaster. We were a great team together, I could not possibly be any prouder of him and I am honoured to have been holding his hand and facing this battle right beside him all the way. He fought so hard right until the very end. He was courageous, strong, dignified and proud, and was so loved and respected by all of the amazing nurses and medical team who cared for him on Ward 4 Grey at Epworth Richmond. This was his final race, and it was one he could not win , but now it has ended and he is at peace . Taken from us all way too soon, My heart is breaking, He was my everything Love you more. Meagan Lang Statement from Meagan Lang Listen to RSN’s tribute to the life of Gavin Lang.  

Harness racing world champion Ted Demmler says he will always cherish a special few hours he spent talking and laughing with former fellow reinsman Gavin Lang. Lang, 61, an icon of the sport, lost his battle to a rare form of cancer on Friday. "It was just wonderful - I was there for a couple of hours and we spoke about a lot of things and had some laughs along the way," Demmler said. "I got a big surprise because when I turned up at the hospital Andrew Peace, who was also a brilliant driver in his day was visiting as well," he said. "And anyone who knows Andrew will know he can be the life of the party. We all just had the most special time together." All three are Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductees: Demmler in 2011, Lang in 2013 and Peace, a son of legendary horseman Ron "Tubby" Peace, in 2015. Demmler and Peace said during their driving days, Lang "very seldom put a foot wrong". "I drove against both Gavin and Andrew but I seemed to be the number two driver for some of the big stables. I got called upon when the main men got outed or were interstate!" Demmler said. "Gavin was just a super guy and the smartest driver I'd ever seen. We got on very well, but I'm pleased to say that I don't think I was ever on the receiving end of one of Gavin's 'headshakes' when you displeased him!" Andrew Peace was also prominent during the Vin Knight-dominated era of the 1980s but gave the sport away and got employed at Melbourne Airport. A lineup of stars contested the 1990 Horsham Driver’s Championship.  From left to right, Andrew Peace, the late Vin Knight, Gavin Lang, Gaita Pullicino, Lance Justice, Brian Gath, John Justice, Ted Demmler, and Geoff Webster (Greg Matthews Photograph) Demmler hasn't driven for 15 years since being seriously injured in a sickening race fall at Warragul, but was a driving world champion in Europe and an eight time Victorian Drivers' premiership winner, as well as five-time leading Australian driver. He was the first Australian reinsman to land 3000 wins. "I suppose I enjoyed some time at the top levels of the sport, but in saying that, I never classed myself in the same league as Gavin," Demmler said. "He was just a professional - I always held WA's Phil Coulson in the very top bracket, but I'd also put Gavin up there as well," he said. "I can't image life without Gavin, and I've been crying ever since that visit. It can be a cruel world that we live in at times, but Gavin left a legacy that will last forever in our sport.: There will never be another Gavin Lang. Harnesslink sends condolences to Gavin's wife Meagan and daughters Danielle and Courtney.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing great Gavin Lang has died, with the sport mourning the loss of a much-loved genius and gentleman. Gavin’s fight with a rare type of lymphoma has ended at age 61, an outcome that will sadden the many family, friends and admirers that have felt his kindness and witnessed his brilliance. His passing draws to a close a career that brought delight to many among 6303 victories, second only in the sport to Chris Alford. Renowned for his peerless driving instincts, Gavin won owners almost $50 million in stakes across more than 32,000 starts and earned the moniker Group 1 Gav for his ability to perform on the grand stage. Fuelling that reputation were victories in the 2007 Victoria Cup with Robin Hood, two Inter Dominion Trotting Championships and an extraordinary list of Breeders Crown, Chariots Of Fire, Australian Pacing Gold, Vicbred Super Series and New South Wales Derby triumphs. It is a record with few peers, but Gavin’s influence stretched far beyond the winners’ circle. Harness racing was a sport he was born to dominate. The son of fellow Caduceus Club Legend Graeme Lang, in a recent interview Gavin said he had never imagined doing anything than compete in the trots. He would rise early in the morning before catching the bus to school and clean the boxes. When he got home it was off to the shed to “see what father had for me to do, whether it was cleaning gear or organising feed”. He would often take days off school to go to the races to help dad, attending the showgrounds every Saturday night to “care for the horses”. And it wouldn’t be long before he had rein in hand. Raised among ponies and horses, from age eight he would drive with his brother Chris, saying “I was always comfortable with it, it was always fun back then. Some days it was a bit more of a chore, but I enjoyed it immensely”. At Kilmore on June 2, 1975, Lang registered his first win as a trots driver on Pensive Dream, and some 32 years later he would drive his 6000th victory when steering Tell Me Tales to Vicbred success in another showcase win. His was a life spent in the sulky, a skillset so fine-tuned that decisions were made with instinct and without hesitation. “It becomes second nature to you, making moves is a reflex action,” he said. “You seldom think about it, it just comes to you. It is hard to explain why that happens. You do everything on instinct. If you have to stop and think whether to make a move, by the time you are done thinking it’s generally too late.” He was motivated not only by success, but by those he could bring along for the ride, including the trainers and owners, many of whom he would deliver their first Group 1. “I know only too well the time and effort people put into getting their horses to that stage. It’s pretty special when you win a race for people like that. “Harness racing is an industry, but it is also a lifestyle. There is a lot of sacrifice, but in any industry if you strive to be the best you can be you have to be prepared to do the hard yards. I never envisaged doing anything else.” Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Gavin Lang’s family, friends and many fans.   HRV Trots Media

Tomorrow night's planned special Gavin Lang fundraiser and sportsman's gala event at Tabcorp Park Melton has been postponed in light of the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation - but organizers are determined to come up with an exciting alternative. The event coordinator Steve Cleave said it was disappointing the pandemic had disrupted the plans, but organisers are working towards the key fundraiser event going ahead in an altered format. "The bottom line was there would have been over 350 people in one area for the fundraiser. That was a huge concern, in keeping with the Government guidelines we decided not to go ahead," Cleave said. "We are still raising money through the mega raffle and on-line silent auction and a few ideas have been tossed about such as a televised live auction, but we will be making an announcement soon." Cleave, who is also a trainer and driver, said a number of new items had been added to the silent auction which was still receiving bids. "The support people are throwing at the fundraiser has been terrific. There's harness racing items, stallion services and some brilliant football memorabilia that would have to appeal to those types of punters," he said. "We're urging everyone to have a look at what's been listed for auction, and anyone interested in a particular item can have a crack. "People can still buy raffle tickets, and there is a fantastic list of prizes there." Legendary reinsman Gavin Lang has faced many battles on the racetrack but is now facing his greatest challenge with a rare type of lymphoma. Industry participants and supporters have rallied over the past few months to raise more than $100,000 to assist Lang to obtain expensive treatment from USA. Lang has so far endured a series of intense chemotherapy but is said to be in good spirits. The 60-year-old is an icon of the sport, and followed in the footsteps of his famous father Graeme. (Daddy Lang, as Graeme was often referred, was recently dealt a cruel hand himself, suffering a severe stroke).   "Yes I got into the game through family involvement. My father was a trainer-driver, while his dad owned horses back in the day," Gavin Lang said in one of his many media interviews. He was quick to heap praise on his dad who he credits as being the main influence in "helping get me to where I am". And not many of the harness racing diehards would possibly remember, but Gavin prepared his first winner as a trainer when just an 18-year-old. He has since mainly been a driver, although in the past decade has enjoyed the role of trainer again. Lang has never been drawn into nominating the best horse he's driven over the years. In his well-known pleasant and precise manner, he said: "That's a tough question. I've driven a lot of very good ones at various stages of their careers. I won a 3yo race at Stawell one day on My Lightning Blue, who went on and won an InterDominion. "I could say that one of the best for me personally was Floreat who I paid $14k for at the yearling sales. She won 7 of her first 10 starts and over $210,000. "That was about 28 years ago and the money I earnt, set me up no doubt." Floreat, sired by Sokys Atom, out of the dam Shu Fly, won $150,000 when taking out the Fosters Australian Gold Series 2 Fillies Final at Albion Park on April 25, 1992. "Another one I have high regard for was Persistency. I trained him and he had a lot of injuries, but managed to win two Group One events as a nine-year-old," Lang said. Lang remarked that it was fantastic to see more and more young people who don't have family involvement getting into harness racing. "The Gippsland Harness Training Centre, and another at Bendigo, have played a big part in opening up an opportunity for these youngsters," he said. "People in the industry just love the animals like they are one of the family. I had many girls work for me over the years because they are so caring and patient with horses. "Sky channel and social media has also played big roles. When I travelled far and wide with my race driving engagements, people would come up to chat because they had seen me doing interviews and thought because of this they knew me!" Raffle tickets and silent auction bidding is available now at   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing fans and industry participants across the country are getting behind a crowdfunding campaign to help with the cost of an expensive new treatment regime for champion trainer-driver Gavin Lang. Lang was diagnosed in September with a rare form of Lymphoma, and has been undergoing treatment at Melbourne's Epworth hospital. A recipient of the Distinguished National Service Medal and a Victorian Hall of Famer, Lang is also a legend of the prestigious Victorian Caduceaus Club, which this week established the GoFundMe campaign, with a goal of reaching $100,000. Within 48 hours the GoFundMe site received contributions of up to $27000 from more than 70 people. Lang has an extremely rare form of Lymphoma (only one in every 100 Lymphoma patients is diagnosed with this type) and has already undergone several months of intensive chemotherapy. The campaign site reports Lang's medical team has now recommended an intensive three-month program of therapy with a new drug, available only in the USA. "Gavin has given us so much joy over the years as well as being a fantastic ambassador to our great sport," the GoFundMe page said. "The Harness Racing industry is often referred to as a big family and families support each other when things turn tough. Well, now is the time. We need to support Gavin and Meagan in their time of need," it said. "This is our way of showing our love and support, as well as our gratitude for what this humble man has given to our wonderful sport, so we hope you will all get behind this cause and donate generously so we can make a difference." Considered by many as Australia's best driver of the modern era, with 6300 wins to his name, Gavin Lang drove his first winner as a sixteen-year-old at Kilmore in 1975. "Group One Gav" has since been four times Australia's leading driver and leading Metro driver, and the most successful reinsman ever at Moonee Valley with 1029 winners. Make a donation to the campaign here: or search for Gavin Lang at GoFundMe.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It's full steam ahead for Michael Stanley's Grand Circuit star Soho Tribeca after a successful return to the trials at Tabcorp Park Melton yesterday. Stanley partnered the six-year-old in a modest hit-out alongside stablemate Rackemup Tigerpie, who was driven by Gavin Lang. Soho Tribeca won the trial by a narrow margin, zipping home in a 57.48-second last half. The Burrumbeet-based Stanley said he was pleased with how both horses got through the run. "They both stepped away really clean and went the first lap pretty steady. We just let them find their feet and then just upped the pace gradually," he said. "They both hit the line under a hold and had a really good hit-out without going over the top first-up." Soho Tribeca hasn’t been seen at the races since July 2018 after fracturing a leg in the Sunshine Sprint in Queensland. Successful surgery and a long rehabilitation program has followed to get the star pacer back at the track, which is likely to occur in the Del-Re National Italian Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, June 15. "Soho Tribeca will have a couple more trials and we will gradually increase the speed we go - just step him up each time," Stanley said. Stanley said it had been a long road to recovery for the one-time Inter Dominion favourite. "He spent three months in Queensland (post surgery) and then spent another three months here (at Burrumbeet) pretty well locked up in a small stable and taken out for a walk," he said. "It's been a long, slow process and now we are back to somewhere where we can start thinking about getting to the races again. "When it first happened you are always fearful they might not race again, so at least we have got to a stage where it looks a real possibility we are going to get back there." Rackemup Tigerpie, who last raced in the Group 1 Chariots of Fire in February, is being aimed at the Alabar Vicbred Super Series, which has heats in Ballarat on June 21. Stanley said he was likely to give the son of Rock N Roll Heaven one lead-up run prior to the start of the series. Arguably the horse's career-best effort came in last year's Group 1 Ballarat Pacing Cup when he finished a narrow second to Thefixer. Stanley sent around four other horses at Tuesday's trial program, including Macey Jayde, Vicstar Sharazzz, Iolanta and Keilah. Macey Jayde is also being sent towards the Vicbred Super Series, while Stanley was full of praise for Iolanta, an unraced two-year-old Bettors Delight filly who looks "above average".     Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

Veteran Ararat harness racing trainer Terry Young has been enjoying the highs of the sport in recent years with an enviable streak of success – but he’s also recently experienced the lows first hand.   Young, 77, who puts the polish on classy square-gaiter Deltasun (Tennotrump-Deltasu (Elsu NZ), had a fall at his hometown track and dislocated his collarbone.   “I was working a two-year-old named Premonition and he shied and spun back in the opposite direction,” Young explained.   “I just wasn’t ready for it because it’s just not part of his make-up,” he said.   “So while the horse trotted back to the stabling area to my wife Carol, I was sprawled on the track with my arm twisted up around behind my back.   “I popped the collarbone right out. The doctors put it back okay but told me I’m out of action for at least the next six weeks.   Young said he had already been toying with the idea of giving Deltasun, a winner of 17 races and 15 placings for $225,000, a short let-up.   “When I had the track mishap, that made the decision for me to spell him, and I’ve tossed the other three out for a break as well,” he said.   In just three seasons of racing, Deltasun has stamped himself as one of Victoria’s most consistent square-gaiters, winning seven races at TABcorp Park Melton, including the 3YO Vicbred final.   “He’s never far away, because he’s got outstanding manners and he’s very well gaited,” Young said.   “We have had a fantastic time with him because he’s won two Group One races and a few GroupThrees.”   Terry and Carol were especially thrilled to win the Central Victorian Trotters Championship and then the rich Tontine series early last year.   “Even more so because we aimed him specifically for those two events. It doesn’t happen all that often, when everything just goes right, but it’s great when it does!” Young said.   Deltasun with PT Young, Gavin Lang and Terry and Carol Young (Courtesy Tabcorp Park Racing)   He paid tribute to the stable’s main driver Gavin Lang.   “He’s been a major part in making the horse into a true racehorse. He’s outstanding with young ones and he’s taught me how to look after a good horse,” Young said.   “Just little things, like we never work Deltasun against another horse in trackwork because he just fires up and you can’t hold him.”   Deltasun, driven by Gavin Lang (Courtesy Wimmera Mail Times)   Young was a jockey as a youngster, and a respected one at that, landing country winners as well as a city win at Caulfield in 1956 for Jerry Tye, a Chinese trainer.   “The gallops were always hotly contested, and you know I was never thrown off or injured during the years I was involved. But my weight increased, and I was forced to give away race riding,” he said.   Young moved to Ararat in 1960 to be closer to his parents who lived near Port Fairy.   “Dad was a shearer and neither of them had an interest in horses. I worked as a roustabout in the shearing sheds and rode trackwork as well,” he said.   “And that was how I met Carol at an early morning trackwork session. She had ponies and her father Mick King was one of the first harness racing trainers in Ararat.   “Carol was virtually riding ponies before she could walk, and she could have easily carved out a career as a jockey if females were allowed back then.   “She was an excellent rider and had an uncanny way with horses, and she still does to this day. Along with being a hard worker and great support to me.”   Young was introduced to harness racing by Carol’s father Mick and didn’t take long to adjust. He won at the old Horsham showgrounds at his very first drive on Chalambar.   “The horse was probably classes above them, I think, but the gaps just opened up everywhere I went, and I thought how easy is this?!   “I was soon brought back to earth by the head steward, Mr Rowse who gave me a huge lecture, saying I didn’t display much control. I did admit that I was loose reining, but I’ve never forgotten that spray.”   When his interest in harness racing began to wane, Young opted for a break, turning his interest in the 1980s to running.   “I enjoyed that and was lucky enough to win the veterans event (restricted to runners over 40) at the Stawell Gift,” he said.   But his interest in harness racing became rekindled and Young found himself driving to Peter Manning’s place at Great Western to help out.   “I’ve now probably been doing that for the past 20 years or so and I’ve learnt so much from Peter and the team out there. Peter is always ready to give you a hand or some advice,” he said.   “I used to help work Tennotrumps and he was just a lovely horse. I decided to take our mare Deltasu to him when he stood as a stallion and I’m pretty glad I did because the result was Deltasun!”   Young uses the Manning track most days, trucking his small team out there.   And to add to the family flavor, son Peter (PT as he’s known) attends most meetings with his dad.   A talented jockey, PT was lured to Melbourne by astute trainer Jim Moloney.   “He couldn’t hack it in the city, like a lot of country fellas find out, but he had a successful career around the bush,” Young said.   “I asked him to come to the trots with me one day, and he was a bit undecided. Now he’s nearly the first in the car! He drives to the meetings which suits me perfectly,” he said.   “His wife Alison is right into the breeding and ownership side of it, so between the family we’ve got most parts of the industry covered. An old friend in Terry Cahill is also a breeder.”   Young intends to enjoy his enforced short break, despite counting down the days until he’s back doing what he loves.   “I’m still a bit dirty on myself for getting tipped out and hurt,” he laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Premier reinsman Gavin Lang came out in support of standing-start races after winning the Easter Cup at Mowbray on Saturday night. Lang said he would like to see them reintroduced in Victoria where there have been no standing starts for pacers since the start of the 2017-18 season. "I believe there is still a place for them, especially at this level where you are dealing with readymade racehorses," the trainer-driver said. Harness Racing Victoria made its contentious decision to scrap stands after an extensive review of the format from both a wagering and an image perspective. "On both counts, the board has viewed standing start races as harmful to the viability of the industry," chief executive John Anderson said at the time. Prominent media commentator Adam Hamilton supported the decision, saying "standing starts have served the sport well through history but have passed their use-by date." There's been no suggestion, not in public anyway, that Tasracing has ever considered following suit. Opinions will always be divided but standing starts still have a strong body of support among diehard harness racing followers. Punters know the risks involved when they bet on stands. So the only real problem is their potential to seriously delay the start of races which can lead to them being 'flicked' by Sky Channel. But plenty of mobile races run late as well, as was the case on Saturday night for some reason. Although Franco Tristan was Lang's fifth Easter Cup winner, it was the first time he's won it from a standing start. Franco Tiger, Northern Brewer, Here Comes David and Jonells Son all won when it was a mobile free-for-all.   By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

Easter Cup heat night once again had plenty of action on and off the track in Launceston on Friday. A power issue off track caused a lengthy delay with credit to the Office of Racing Integrity stewards and participants for ensuring the meeting was able to proceed after a 90-minute delay. On the track, it was a great night of racing with Gavin Lang dominating the night in the sulky with a treble, including a heat of the Easter Cup with Franco Tristan. The other heat of the cup was won by Illegal Immigrant who came home well to win courtesy of a well-timed drive by Troy Hillier. Ben Yole extended his lead on the state’s trainers’ premierships with a treble in Devonport on Sunday. This week we see the first ever harness race meeting in Australia on Good Friday when the Tasmanian Trotting Club plays host to the tier two meeting of the week before the Launceston Pacing Club conduct their premier night of racing on Saturday, featuring the Group 2 Dakin Refrigeration Easter Cup. The Stars Gavin Lang - produced three excellent drives to put on the tape to be played at the junior driver's school when he won the first three races on the Launceston card. The main purpose of Lang’s Launceston mission was to qualify Franco Tristan for Saturday night’s Group 2 Easter Cup, and the six-year-old gelding was the first horse to qualify for the final with an effortless win in the opening heat when he scored by four-metres over Scooterwillrev and The Aussie. Lang also trained and drove Castle Retreat to victory as well as driving Art Frenzy to his third win of the season. Illegal Immigrant - caused a minor upset when he stormed home late to defeat Ryley Major by 1.9 metres in Heat Two of the Easter Cup. Trainer-driver Troy Hillier settled the American Ideal gelding three-back along with the marker pegs and was able to be driven conservatively off a solid tempo that saw the last three quarters all run in under 30 seconds, Illegal Immigrant had too much speed late to record his fifth win of the season. Kohanah - “I think he’s pretty good,” was the quote from his trainer-driver Todd Rattray after the son of Sweet Lou took out the Launceston Pacing Club Golden Slipper. Kohanah flew home in the final 100 metres to pick up the short-priced favourite Topzavski to record his second win at only his third race start. The colt is the first foal out of the Bettors Delight mare Benediction. War Dan Delight - Victorian-trained pacer who looked a class above his rivals on paper in the C0 Pace and he won accordingly. Driver Greg Sugars was forced to do a little bit of work when finding the spot outside the leader in the middle stages of the race, the Dean Braun-trained colt wasn’t out of second gear when winning by 9.8 metres. Black Ops - after finishing in the second spot of five consecutive occasions the Ben Yole-trained pacer is now finding the winning post first winning three of his last four outings, including wins in Launceston on Friday evening and again in Devonport on Sunday night. Multiple Winners Launceston – Friday evening Gavin Lang - driving treble; Art Frenzy, Franco Tristan and Castle Retreat, Gavin Lang - training double; Franco Tristan and Castle Retreat. Devonport – Sunday evening  Ben Yole - training treble; Black Ops, Ready To Fire and Blacklist. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action. Launceston – Friday evening Harjeet 55.49s, The Aussie 55.73s and All Style Sammy 55.79s. Outside of the Easter Cup heats; Castle Retreat 56.40s, Reign Of Pain 56.52s and El Jays Mystery 56.54s. Devonport – Sunday evening  Mostly Spirit 59.34s, Karalta Moondance 59.40s, Lille 59.45s, Navua Pixie 59.55 and My Girl Pearl 59.56s. View all available Tasmanian Sectional Data by clicking here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston – Friday evening  Hits: Nil Defied The Drift: Art Frenzy $3.70 out to $4.00, Franco Tristan $2.70 out to $3.60, Castle Retreat $2.40 out to $3.40, Illegal Immigrant $12 out to $21, Kohanah $3.70 out to $4.80 and Redason $3.70 out to $3.90. Missed: Maybe Jack $9.00 into $7.50, Mister Magic Man $3.70 into $3.30, War Dan $3.20 into $2.40 and Beam Me Up Chopper $3.20 into $2.35. Devonport – Sunday evening  Hits: Karalta Moondance $3.80 into $2.80, Ready To Fire $9.00 into $4.40, Blacklist $26 into $14 and Flashy Ruler $12 into $6.50. Defied The Drift: Black Ops $3.20 out to $3.60. Missed: Lille $4.60 into $3.60, The Lemondrop Kid $3.80 into $2.90, El Jays Monet $31 into $15, Jetcract $15 into $11 and The Diamond King $15 into $7.50. Trial File Carrick Park - Saturday morning The Melissa Maine trained two-year-old Better Amour recorded the quickest winning mile rate of the four trials conducted when she recorded 2m 7.0s for the 1670-metre distance. Driver Gareth Rattray positioned the daughter of Betterthancheddar behind the leader at the bell before defeating He Got Rocked by one metre with the early leader Badrick a further metre away in third position. Other winners at the trial session included; Its All Bliss (2m 21.1s), Sermac (2m 9.6s) and Levi Jimmy (2m 13.2s). Hobart - Monday evening Tasmanian Derby runner up, Resurgent Storm recorded the fastest winning mile rate of the session in Hobart when the Betterthancheddar colt ran a mile rate of 2m 1.6s. From barrier two driver Zeke Slater had the Roger Whitmore-trained pacer behind the leader at the bell and was able to hold off handy three-year-old filly Still Hungover by one metre, with the third place getter Dee Bee Bobby 99 metres away in third placing. The last two quarters were recorded in 30.8s and 28.5s. Remaining trials were won by; Finn Mac Kee (2m 3.9s), Sweetimnot (2m 3.6s), Brystabella (2m 6.2s) and Dasher Houli (2m 6.7s). Week Ahead Star Tasmanian Pacer Ignatius is back at the track on Thursday night when he lines up in the Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The James Rattray-trained and driven pacer is first up since mid-February and was an impressive trial winner at Menangle on April 9 when recording a time of 1m 53.8s for 1609 metres. Ignatius will start from inside the second row over the 2525 metres event that is scheduled to start at 20:03. Friday afternoon the Tasmanian Trotting Club will stage the first-ever harness race meeting in Australia on Good Friday. The meeting will be telecast on Sky Racing 1 and’s Live Stream. The Launceston Pacing Club will stage their premier night of racing on Saturday night, with the $75,000 Group 2 Dakin Refrigeration Easter Cup the main event of the 10-race card. You can make a strong case for almost half the field in the Cup including Victorian-trained runners Franco Tristan and War Dan who will take on Tasmania’s best headlined by Ryley Major, Harjeet, Scooterwillrev, The Aussie and Illegal Immigrant. The Cup is set down to commence at 20:10. Other highlights on Saturday night include the Kevin Gillies Memorial, where Izaha looks the one to beat, and the Elders Insurance Launceston Easter Plate, where the Gavin Lang trained and driven Castle Retreat will be chasing back to back wins on the Launceston track. The first of ten races in Launceston is scheduled for 18:17 and you can catch all the action on Tasracing’s Live Stream Service and Sky Racing who will televise races one and two on Sky Racing 2, with the remainder of the meeting on Sky Racing 1.   Duncan Dornauf

Perhaps the greater chapter thus far was etched in the fairy-tale story of the season when Pantzup added a Group 1 to her stunning blitz of the trotting ranks. Trainer-driver Gavin Lang’s pacing-bred mare savaged the line to outpoint a game Aldebaran Kiri and clinch the $50,000 Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Final, Pantzup’s finest moment after previously winning the Group 2 Vicbred Platinum crown and running second in the Vicbred four-year-old trot. “She’s a freak of nature really,” said Lang. “Bought her as a 14-start maiden pacer and she just goes from strength to strength.” That strength had Pantzup well positioned to take care of the race’s happenings, beginning with favourite Into The Unknown going off stride early and Aldebaran Kiri shooting through off the back row, first trailing up Princess Mila and then carrying on to lead. “I expected that Aldebaran Kiri may do that, she has great speed and one of my plans was that she may do that and when I saw her poking through, all of a sudden I was out in  no man’s land but was lucky to slot back in … one off the fence,” Lang said. “Aldebaran Kiri made it a genuine race which was good – suits this one because she, at this stage of her career, probably a nice horse that doesn’t have the point-to-point speed of a lot of the other trotters at this stage. While they were trucking it really suited her good.” Stuart McCormick photo And she showed that, advancing from the running line to mow down all challengers in the straight and record a 2.3m win from Aldebaran Kiri, with Moonshine Linda a close third. “The honour roll of this race, she doesn’t really deserve a place amongst them I wouldn’t have thought but you can’t do any more than she has done,” Lang said. “It’s hard to know, going forward, whether she can get any better, but she probably doesn’t have too and I don’t care if she does because she’s done a great job.” Earlier the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Silver Series Final saw Amore De Frere all-powerful in an impressive all-the-way win ahead of stablemate Parisian Amore, with the placings filled out by a fast-finishing Fatouche for Donna Castles. “She’s probably still not doing everything right, but the team at home are working hard,” winning reinsman Jason Lee said. “I know (owner) Pat Driscoll and (trainer) Anton Golino have got a pretty big opinion of her. She’s not doing every right at the moment but she’s still winning, she’s a pretty smart horse.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Two of the season’s greater trots tales added further chapters to their unlikely stories with feature victories at Echuca on Friday night. Gavin Lang’s average pacer turned top-line trotter Pantzup continues to take everything in her path, with the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket a seventh straight and ninth career victory after the mare showed her might against open class types. And Kima Frenning’s rapid rise in Victoria’s ranks continued unabated with her debut training project, Buster Brady, launched to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship with victory in the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. “It’s crazy,” Frenning said post-race after her former Kiwi produced a fifth win and third country cup in his ninth Australian start. “To train a horse like him, to come here and win a race like this, it’s very exciting and I can’t thank everyone around me enough. “He was really good tonight. He’s a really nice horse and he does it pretty easy when he wants too.” Off the second row Frenning advanced three-wide for much of the first lap before taking the front, from where Buster Brady was too strong in the straight, saluting by seven metres from Shadow Reign and Gottashopearly. The victory would have brought more delight for Luke Stokie and his fellow owners, with Buster Brady now a point clear of San Carlo in the Trots Country Cups Championship, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. Only an hour earlier Pantzup entered the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship race when he scooped up the Crystal Bucket, a winning streak that has surprised even the most experienced and successful of trainer-drivers. “She’s amazing really,” Lang said “It’s well documented that we bought her cheaply as a pacer to win a couple of races and then probably flick her on, but she showed she had a propensity to trot from day one that she entered the stable. “I’d like to be able to say I did this and did that, but I haven’t done nothing – I’ve just trained her and fed her and she’s done the rest. “I’ve been in the game for a long long time, my Dad’s had plenty of trotters, I’ve had a couple of nice ones in the past, but every time I drive home from the races with this one I just shake my head because I can’t believe what she does. It’s a great story.” Drawn off 10m in the standing start, Pantzup advanced to the breeze with a lap and a half to go and found the front when leader Als Law dropped out about 500m from home. A 29-second final quarter was enough to keep all challengers at bay and salute by 5.4 from Fratellino, who picked up valuable points to leapfrog King Denny and take the lead in the $10,000 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

A fairy-tale season could etch another chapter in tonight’s J A Connelly Crystal Bucket at Echuca, where pacing mare Pantzup will hunt a seventh consecutive victory. By Always A Virgin, sire of the world’s fastest pacer Always B Miki, and out of pacing mare Evasive Moves, an APG Final placegetter, Pantzup has defied her heritage this season for trainer-driver Gavin Lang. She is one of the many stories that will play out at Echuca tonight, where Buster Brady is favoured to win the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup and shoot to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, a remarkable feat for first-horse trainer Kima Frenning. The night’s $35,000 feature at 9.20pm comes an hour after the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket, Echuca’s trotters’ cup, which presents Pantzup’s greatest test to her now six-race winning streak. “King Denny, Kheiron, both went round through the recent Inter Dominion trotting section, so they are good quality horses,” Lang said. “Another runner off 10m (Endsin A Party) was the winner of the Geelong Cup this preparation as well. “Not an easy race by any means, combined with the fact that it’s a stand, on the Echuca track, it will be an interesting race, but she is going very well and you can’t beat winning form.” Her six wins in a row are the tail-end of eight wins from 11 starts since joining Lang’s Bacchus Marsh stable. “We purchased her as a late three-year-old as a 14-start maiden who was a pacer,” Lang said. “We thought we might be able to win a few races as a pacer and then move her on, but from the time she entered our stables she did nothing but show she may have been a trotter. Eleven starts later and eight wins later, it’s staggering really. “She started this campaign as a T1 assessed horse, in other words she’d basically won one race as a trotter, and now leading into the Echuca trotters’ cup she’s now assessed T7.” With each victory comes greater tests, but as she showed with her metropolitan win on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night last Saturday Pantzup keeps rising to every challenge. “Each time you win it progressively gets harder,” Lang said. “Every time she goes to the track now she just keeps stepping up. It gets harder each win and this race is no exception, but you can’t do any more than win. “I wish I could put my hand up and say what a job we have done but not really at all, we just took her on board and trained her and, as I said, she showed a propensity just to trot from day one – no special shoeing, no special gear, no anything. She’s bred to be a good pacer, she’s turned out a great trotter.” Michael Howard for Trots Media

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