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The Sugars named is successfully etched into Australian harness racing. Today it is Greg and Kylie who are in the form guide, before them it was their father Ross, a champion and world record holder, and before him, the patriarch Len who started the family on a 70-year involvement in the sport. Len Sugars, 92, is in the SA Hall Of Fame while Ross was named a Living Legend of Australian Harness Racing in 2015. Sugars drove his first winner in 1948 but it was in the 1960s and early 70s at Wayville that his stable became a household name. That success followed the family to Globe Derby Park and now the family’s involvement is in Victoria. Despite his age, Sugars and his family are looking forward to a family get-together at Harness Racing South Australia’s Retro Night at Wayville on Friday, October 27. “They were exciting days,” Sugars said. “The atmosphere was electric with the crowd encompassing the track and they always made plenty of noise. Sugars said the turning point of his career was a horse called Van Nut. “He won about 26 races and really set up my stable and I’m sure someone was looking over me when he came about,” he said. “I wanted to breed a horse by Van Derby out of a Raider mare so I advertised in the paper for a suitable mare and a Mrs McIntosh answered my call with a mare called Nell’s Choice. “When Van Nut was only 22 months old he won seven trials at Klemzig and Campbelltown under the name Sonross. “For some reason when I tried to name him Sonross it wasn’t allowed and when I took him to the races he was called Van Nut. His first start was at Kapunda and we got 40/1 because very few knew he had trialled as Sonross. “He was a brilliant beginner and led easily and coming to the home turn he was set for an easy win but in those days the track sloped away and with the dip he struck himself, galloped and finished fourth. “Lloyd Webster won the race and on pulling up asked me what had happened. He knew the horse was Sonross and had backed him at the long odds.” Van Nut went on to become one of SA’s best pacers and his wins included the 1965 Easter Gift, 1966 Gawler Cup and the Minor Derby Free For All the same year. Sugars also drove Laradoc in Richmond Lass’ 1969 Inter Dominion win at Wayville. “Laradoc was trained by Jack Caldow, John’s father, and he sent her across and we won a heat of the Inter Dominion before finishing unplaced in the final. In her heat win she reared at the start and nearly tipped me out but was still good enough to come down, hit her gear, lead and win.” But a career highlight for Sugars is the introduction to race driving of his son Ross. “I drove a horse called Perkandi at Wayville back in November 1977 and he was a 6/4 favourite and I was happy to sit three wide waiting to make a run but another driver came up four wide and put me in a pocket,” Sugars said. “I leant across and tried to push him out of the way. After the race, the stewards called me in and asked me what happened and were going to give me a two-year disqualification. “I told them I was driving the red hot favourite and anyone who came outside me had ulterior motives and they said because I was so honest they only gave me a three-month suspension. I said that was okay because my son Ross had a permit to drive and could start driving. “The following Saturday Ross had three drives – Red Score, Hallett and Perkandi – and they all won. It is a world record that still stands for a driver to win at his first three drives, all on a city track and as a B grade licenced driver.” Sugars is looking forward to going back to Wayville and his family has already booked a dining package for the night. Greg Sugars is one of the invited drivers for the night’s racing while Len and Ross and their families will be happy to ‘drive’ from the grandstand. In an amazing co-incidence, the Wayville Retro Night, Friday, October 27, is the birthday of Sugars’ late wife Shirley so there it is certain to be an emotional evening. Tickets for the Wayville meeting are now available via www.ticketek.com.au by Graham Fischer Race programme for Port Pirie, Friday 08 September 2017

When leading harness racing reinswoman Danielle Hill started season 2016-2017 she stated a goal was to improve her status as a trainer. Four winners over two nights at Globe Derby Park on the weekend took her tally to 44 for the season and she sits in fourth place on the SA Trainers premiership behind Ryan Hryhorec (70), the training partnership of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain (50) and Les Harding (48). Her tally might have more but for a virus slowing down her stable for several months earlier this year. To the end of March, Hill had 31 winners to sit second on the premiership but lack of runners saw fellow trainers go past. On Friday, the South-East-owned Missy Deyo ($1 fav) scored an all the way win in the Ubet Pace (1800m) beating Markleigh Fireball ($72.50) by two metres with Cyclone Mach ($17.40) a half-head away third. “She wasn’t impressive tonight,” Hill said. “I am finding she doesn’t like float trips, even though my stables are not that far away, unless she has a travelling companion. “She came by herself tonight and maybe that is why she wasn’t at the peak of her game.” On Saturday night, Hill produced Ricks Shadow, Hez A Chance and Arber in consecutive races to land a treble. Ricks Shadow ($1.80 fav) led throughout in the PFD Food Services Pace (1800m) to score by a metre from Smooth Delight ($8.30) with Ace To Play ($6.80), 2-1/2 metres away third. “I was glad she was able to win for her new owners,” Hill said. “The mare was purchased from Jake Webster and Aaron Bain last month and has had three runs previously and picked up a cheque each time but it was great to win for them tonight.” Hill made it a double when Hez A Chance ($1.30 fav), also led throughout to win the Schweppes Australia Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m) by 6-1/2 metres from I Wanna Rocknroll ($18.20) with Priddy Sporty ($10.30), 10-1/2 metres away third. Hez A Chance is also owned in the South-East and normally prepared by Bec East. The three-year-old came to Adelaide for the Southern Cross series but Bec left the gelding with Danielle Hill to try and win his breeders’ bonus – and it only took the one start. “He’ll be on the float back to Bec on Monday,” Hill said. “Actually, I understand he is for sale and as his is lightly assessed could be a nice purchase for someone looking for a winner.” The treble came courtesy of the former talented young pacer Arber. Now a 10-year-old, Arber was bred and is owned by Phil Nott, who sent him to South Australia to extend his racing career. The $2.50 favourite, Arber came from near last to score a 2-1/2 metre win in the BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies Claiming Pace (1800m) from Sir Julian ($6.50) which trailed him for much of the race with Machtwister ($6.10), a long neck away third. “The owner has a $15,000 claiming price on him and I’m, sure it won’t decrease,” Hill said. “He’s a lovely old horse enjoying a new lease on life here in Adelaide. I believe the owner really doesn’t want to lose him but just wants to see him performing positively.” Hill drove all three winners and she will land back-to-back driving premierships currently sitting on 154 winners – 31 clear of Ryan Hryhorec. by Graham Fischer

The success of Adelaide standardbred syndicator Bruce Cameron in the Southern Cross series continued in 2017 but produced firsts of his own which impressed champion harness racing driver Gavin Lang. Cameron’s first win on Saturday was in the Group 2 Ubet Three-Year-Old Fillies Southern Cross Final (2230m) where Perfect Look proved too strong for stablemate Our Celebrity. His second victory came in the following race when That’s Perfect led throughout to win the Group 2 Ubet Two-Year-Old Colts & Geldings Southern Cross Final (1800m). As usual, both were trained in Victoria by Emma Stewart. It was Cameron’s ninth overall winner in Southern Cross races but his first in a colts & geldings race but what took Lang’s attention was that his Saturday night winners were brother and sister, by Art Major out of the mare Perfect Life. “I’m not sure that would have happened all that often,” Lang said. “It certainly is a wonderful achievement.” Perfect Look’s victory in the Three-Year-Old Fillies final was the fourth straight success by a Cameron runner in that Southern Cross race – and his fifth overall. The first success was in 2012 with Beauty Secret, then from 2014 it has been Punch Line, Lovelist and Rocknroll Magic which have been successful. This year, Our Celebrity, with Lang in the sulky and the $1.50 favourite, was expected to follow her victory in the Two-Year-Old Fillies final last year with a win to complete the double but it was Perfect Look, driven by international reinsman Sidney Van den Brande, which proved too strong. For Van den Brande, it was his first Group success, in a career which began in Europe and has seen him work in the United States before coming to Australia. He drove the perfect race on Perfect Look ($3.70) which sat outside the leader Our Celebrity over the last lap before drawing clear to score by a metre with Canelliesparkle ($69), 20-1/2 metres away third. Our Celebrity began well from gate five but the Vince Vallelonga-trained Lisa Crocker, driven by Jayden Brewin from gate one, came away quickly to lead, and while most expected Our Celebrity to roll to the front, Brewin kept the favourite out a bit longer than her supporters would have hoped. Once in front, Lang eased the tempo markedly with a 32.8 second first quarter before improving for a 31.4 second quarter. Once the speed back off, Van den Brande took Perfect Look from the running line to sit parked and helped dictate the tempo. The pair went for home from the 600m mark with final quarters of 28.6 and 28.1 but it was Perfect Look which prevailed. Cameron said he was in a position where he couldn’t lose up the home straight. “Perfect Look was a bit of an unknown,” Cameron said. “She was a late starter and having only her fourth start. We knew she had ability and would improve and I’m happy for the owners which include Mary Hook from Orrorroo, and Sidney (Van den Brande). “Sidney was under a bit of pressure last week with his four drives, all favourites, while this week he was able to focus on just one drive, with far less pressure, and he drove superbly.” Cameron said Our Celebrity, having just her second run from a year off, found the winner just too good. That’s Perfect, a red-hot $1.45 favourite, had an easy lead with Gavin Lang in the sulky, and scored a comfortable 6-1/2 metre win from Clarenden Valour ($10.50) which trailed the winner with Tin Roof Raider ($9.40), two metres away third, after sitting parked for the entire journey. Cameron said he would see how all his Southern Cross runners came through the series before working out whether they would proceed to the Breeders Crown races. by Graham Fischer

There is no doubt the Southern Cross story of the night at Globe Derby Park was the win by Somebeachsomegift in the Group 2 UBET Southern Cross Three-Year-Old Colts & Geldings harness racing final (2230m). It was the first Group success for driver Megan Gee, breeder Viv Clark, and part-owner John Hill but he only knew the result by text message as he was being transported to hospital by ambulance after suffering angina pains. For trainer Jill Neilson, it was her second Southern Cross win, but after 14 years, following Leftem For Dead’s success in the 2003 Three-Year-Old Fillies final. A $35.70 chance, Somebeachsomegift came from back in the field with a strong run to score a 1-1/2 metre win from Brohart ($65.80) with Clarenden Hustler ($20.90), a similar margin away third. Heavily backed favourite Stars Of Courage ($2.60 into $1.40) worked to lead but faded up the home straight to finish fifth. Neilson was happy to deflect the praise for the success of Somebeachsomegift to Megan Gee who works for her stable. “He is Megan’s horse,” Neilson said, “she spends pretty much all day with him. “He is a very big horse but is pretty much scared of his own shadow, and Megan is always calming him, saying ‘I’ve got your back, mate’.” Gee, who took 24 hours to appreciate the significance of the victory, said she loved ‘the big horse’. “John, who is a trainer himself, didn’t get along with the horse early on as he probably didn’t have the time to be with him, and said I could have a go,” Gee said. “I always seem to be attracted to problem horses, and was happy to take a lease with John, and brought up him up to Jill’s stable. “Jill saw my love for the horse and was happy to let me try to get him going and from the first time I was able to get him going thought he would be something special. “He is still a big boofhead and can get upset over the smallest thing but is improving.” Gee said she was pleased with Somebeachsomegift’s semi-final fifth but knew the job would be ahead when he drew gate 11 in the final. However, she had the three-year-old away quickly and he settled one-out, four back off a quick early tempo. Gee made a winning move with as lap to go when she came three wide and put the gelding into race before challenging Stars Of Courage 300m out and taking the lead in the home straight. Somebeachsomegift kept running and although the placegetters were coming home strongly, they never looked like taking victory. Gee said she was very happy for Viv Clark and John Hill. “Viv is a fantastic breeder and has had plenty of winners and thoroughly deserved a Group winner while John has given me driving opportunities and gave me the chance to work with Somebeachsomegift. “I was shocked and sorry to hear he was on his way to hospital when the race was being run. I hope he has a speedy recovery. “For Jill, who has been a close friend and wonderful supporter since I came into harness racing, it was fabulous to give her a second Southern Cross win.” Gee said Somebeachsomegift might have just one more run before going for a spell. In a shock, Gee said she might also be taking a break. “I have been working seven-days-a-week for a few years. I don’t mind hard work but I know in myself I need a break so while the horse is having a spell I might take the opportunity to get away from the industry for a while to re-evaluate my goals. “I’m sure when he comes back into training, I’ll be ready to have his back again.” Gee has had her most successful season in 2016-2017 driving 18 winners and she currently sits fourth on the SA Female Drivers table behind Dani Hill, Lisa Ryan and Kaela Hryhorec. by Graham Fischer

Don’t try and tell top trainer Ryan Hryhorec that harness racing has no future in South Australia. Hryhorec has backed harness racing to survive, and prosper, with the development of a new training complex just outside the town of Two Wells, about 40km north of Adelaide. In the space of 12 months, Hryhorec and his partner Kerri (Stauwer) have transformed 75 acres of bare land into a magnificent harness training base. A feat achieved while the trainer was still successfully preparing his team at his previous stables at Angle Vale, owned and previously used by Geoff Webster. Hyrhorec, also a champion driver, has been South Australia’s top trainer since going out full-time in the 2013/2014 season when he prepared 66 winners. In subsequent seasons, he has prepared 81 winners, then 88, and this season he again heads the premiership with 63 winners and still more than two months of the season remaining. The new property has yards for 26 horses, a stabling area for four horses, a wash down bay plus a large shed, 26m by 12m, which houses all the gear, bikes, room to harness up plus most importantly a white board which is the trainer’s ‘Bible’ with all the information needed for every horse. At the back of the property is a training track, just under 900 metres in circumference, with a five-metre incline in the home straight. “Yes, things could better, everyone would love more prizemoney,” Hryhorec said, “but if you work hard it is possible to make a living. “Harness racing is my life, I love it, and I believe in its future. If I didn’t I would not have invested in this property. With that, I also have to thank my partner Kerry who supports and encourages me to be the best I can. Without her, this wouldn’t be possible.” Hryhorec said a number of friends had helped with the building of the training complex. “I really want to thank Michael Winning. He worked day and night to build all the facilities. Michael is great at what he does and we weren’t always easy to work for as plans changed numerous times but he made sure that we got what we wanted. “I was here as often as I could but still had to train horses at my old placed as well.” Hryhorec said he was fortunate to have all yards filled at present. “I have been fortunate to have many great owners – Frank Borg and Greg Baker are just two – but I really have to thank (Victorian owner) Paul Brumby who has been a wonderful supporter of my stable for many years. He always has between six to 10 horses with me at any one time. His support has been invaluable and I thank him for his support. Again, without him, this new complex would not have been possible.  “To make my property work I will need to have a constant turnover of horses and I’m always on the lookout for new additions. “Horses reach their mark and have to be moved on, while others, such as Glenferrie Bunter, are entitled to go interstate to have a chance at the bigger stakemoney.” Hryhorec revealed he also did pre-training of thoroughbreds. “It started a few years ago and it something which is not too time-consuming. I never had more than four at any time but it helps supplement my income.” Hryhorec is proud of his new complex. “It is everything I wanted and I’m pleased that the winners are still coming. “It took me a little while to work out the training regime to suit the new track but I think we are on the right track now.” A typical day for Hryhorec starts when his alarm goes off at 5am. It is up check and work the horses with the team finished by about 11am, then complete chores around the property, update work schedules, another check of the horses, then three days a week off to the races, and that doesn’t include any interstate Victorian ventures to try and pick up bonuses. “It’s a busy lifestyle but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” the trainer said. All made a bit easier on his magnificent new training complex. Graham Fischer

It is often said you don’t need big fields for exciting harness racing and such was the case at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night. There were only five acceptors for the Just Wrecking Toyota’s 2YO Pace (1800m) but the field was down to four by race time with the morning scratching of One Of My People, but the remaining runners had already shown they were among of the best of their age in SA. Punter pinned their faith in the Golden Nursery winner Don’t Tell William, trained by Toby Ryan and driven by his wife Lisa, and the gelding firmed from $1.90 in $1.30 favourite, expecting him to lead and be too good for his rivals. The Kevin Brough-trained Bayview Harbour, a winner of the Kindergarten Stakes in February, and to be driven by Danielle Hill, eased from $2.10 to $3.90 with the support for the Ryan runner. The main other hope appeared to be the Alan Cronin-trained, Ken Rogers-driven Our Royal Lady, a winner of the SA Sapling Stakes at her first start, but she also eased from $4.60 to start $7. The Scott Ewen-trained Gotta React, a winner at Kilmore, at his first start completed the field as a $31.70. When the mobile drew away, the race developed as many punters expected with Don’t Tell Linda leading, Our Royal Lady dropping onto his back, Bayview Harbour crossing to third and Gotta React at the tail of the field. Lisa Ryan took advantage of no early pressure to record a pedestrian 33.3 for the first quarter of the last mile on Don’t Tell William, speeding up to 31.8 for the second quarter. Punters who backed the favourite would have been happy with those sectionals, and Danielle Hill, knowing she had to put Bayview Harbour into the race, moved up alongside down the back to put interest into the race. This played into the hands of Rogers on Our Royal Lady giving him the chance to sprint lane the leaders in the home straight. A third quarter of 28.5 put the pressure on and favourite punters would have been dismayed when Bayview Harbour went clear from Don’t Tell Linda as the field straightened and it was left to Our Royal Lady to come along the sprint lane which she did. At the finish, Bayview Harbour held sway by a half head from Our Royal Lady with Don’t Tell Linda battling on well to be 1-1/2 metres away third. Bec East, representing her partner Kevin Brough, was delighted with the win. “He’s my favourite,” East said. “He tries his heart out and is getting better with racing. “He is one we will be looking to bring back for the Southern Cross series later in the year. I’m not sure he will be ready for the Vicbred series but I’m sure he will be suited back here in Adelaide.” Driver Danielle Hill was suitably impressed. “He’s a real racehorse,” Hill said. “When he was alongside Don’t Tell William he wanted to race but once he put him away wanted to ease off a bit, thinking his job was done. “He couldn’t see the filly coming along the inside but I did and made sure he kept running and once he saw her he was ready to go again.” Graham Fischer

Improving harness racing pacer Futurist came up the victor in the ‘last man standing’ 2017 Platinum AG Services Strathalbyn Pacing Cup (2110m) at Strathalbyn on Monday, June 12. The $2.80 favourite, Futurist outstayed his rivals up the home straight to score a one metre win from Bettor Party ($3.80), with the winner’s stablemate Whenmechief ($5.20), a nose away third. “He was out on his feet getting to the home turn,” trainer-driver Darren Billinger said, “but fortunately so were those chasing him. “I just kept asking him to find a bit more and while the home straight seemed longer he was good enough to win.” Futurist will now head to Victoria for a heat of the Vicbred Super Series at Ballarat on Friday, June 23. “He will be a 50/1 chance, but he’s eligible and has earned a chance. “People said we were mad when we took Come On Frank across and he proved them wrong. I’m not saying this bloke is Come On Frank, but he deserves a chance and the bonus is that there are Silver and Bronze races which give him the chance to race for good prizemoney.” The Strathalbyn Cup was a race right from the mobile release. Sir Julian ($16.70), driven by Justin Brewin, kicked through from gate one to hold the early challenges for the lead, mainly from Ryan Hryhorec on Tezz Khora ($10). After failing once, Hryhorec decided to go again and as the field went into the back straight he challenged for the lead, and after a short battle, assumed control. All the while, Futurist was in third spot, chasing the front pair and no sooner had Tezz Khora taken the lead than Billinger asked his drive to go forward and he eventually took control. The result was a sizzling lead time of 35.3 seconds and a first quarter of 29.7. Billinger tried for an easy second quarter with a 31.4, but then Danielle Hill, on Bettor Party, came wide from back in the field and moved around three wide to challenge with a lap to go and he was forced to speed up again. On a soft surface, Futurist ran a 29.2 third quarter as Whenmechief and Bettor Party drew clear from the rest of the field to issue the challenges. In a survival of the fittest, Futurist kept going to win with Bettor Party snatching second in the final few bounds. Graham Fischer

Popular young reinsman Michael Smith drove his first harness racing winner back from injury when the trotter Bold Law scored an impressive win in the Hopkins Saddlery Trotters Discretionary (2230m) at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night. Smith injured his right wrist in an accident in late April and only returned to driving on the Friday night before partnering Bold Law on Saturday night. He has formed a good association with the Marcus Hearl-trained trotter and the pair were in peak form on Saturday. The five-year-old, a $5.10 chance, flew away from the stand start to quickly assert control and was rated perfectly by Smith to score a 3-1/2 metre win from Tendaho ($13.10) with Rejuvenation ($4), four metres away third. Once in front, Smith slowed the tempo for a 33.4 first quarter of the last 1600m, before increasing for 31.0, 29.3 and 30.3 second quarters to maintain control and score comfortably. The victory was Bold Law’s ninth from 56 starts but he also has been placed 23 times. Saturday night’s race was his first for just over a month and Hearl and connections look sure to have a lot of fun with him over the next few seasons. Graham Fischer

Harness racing trainer Matt Maguire landed an unusual double at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Maguire trains Sonic Classic which won the DPR Insurance Brokers Claiming Pace and is a part-owner of Illawong Spartan, which is trained by his father Robin, a victor in the Lion Pty Ltd Three-Year-Old Pace. Sonic Classic ($10.80), driven by Kaela Hryhorec, sat parked before dashing away to win by six metres from Teramby Star ($2.20 fav) with Callaway Bromac ($6.20), 3-1/2 metres away third. Maguire said the eight-year-old has ‘his issues’ but the best way to drive him was to let him bowl along. “I didn’t mind him racing outside the leader,” Maguire said. “He goes well for Kaela and settled well and I thought he would be hard to beat. “His form has been very consistent and with the right run he is always going to be hard to beat.” Maguire only has a small team in work as he also works for top trainer Ryan Hryhorec and also for the partnership team of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain. “Life’s busy but I love it,” Maguire said. Illawong Spartan ($24.80) was beautifully driven by Wayne Hill to score a half-head win from The Lemondrop Kid ($2.10 fav) with Bella Sofia ($8.10), 17-1/2 metres away third. The three-year-old was three back on the inside early before coming off the fence along the back straight and looming up behind the leaders. Hill was able to sprint Illawong Spartan up the home straight and he was good enough to grab victory. The three-year-old has now won three races for Robin Maguire after coming across from Victorian trainer Ross Sugars. The gelding is raced on lease by Matt Maguire and his sisters Karen and Rachel. Credit to The Lemondrop Kid. It had been tackled for much of the race and fought on strongly to go under in a photo. Graham Fischer

Champion harness racing reinsman Greg Sugars returned to South Australia on Friday night and left with the first prize of the Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation from the Port Pirie meeting. Sugars landed only one winner – Ultimate Won for Port Pirie trainer Lyndon Hall – but with consistency, was able to grab a win with a third place on Weaponry in the sixth and final heat. He picked up seven points to go to 44 points while hometown favourite Kate Gath only picked up two points on Timansi to finish with 41. Ken Rogers was back in third on 37 points. Sugars, who was a leading driver at Port Pirie early in his career before moving to Victoria, said he was delighted with the win. “It was great that I was able to accept the invitation to drive in the series and to win was a bonus,” Sugars said. “The Elders Insurance Drivers Invitation has been a popular event ever since I took up driving and to take part and win is great. Sugars upset hometown heroine Kate Gath who always drives well at Port Pirie and was a co-winner of the Invitation in 2013 with Ryan Hryhorec and was outright winner in 2016. Heat one of the Elders Insurance Invitation went to Hez Declan, driven by Ken Rogers for Port Pirie trainer Michael Dennis. An $11.80 chance, Hez Declan scored by a head from Wills ($7), driven by Michael Bellman, with Pure Theatre ($2.90 fav), partnered by Wayne Hill 6-1/2 metres away third. The ‘Queen of Port Pirie’ Kate Gath scored an all-the-way win for trainer Tyson Linke on Reil Quick ($7.40) in heat two. Reil Quick scored easily by 6-1/2 metres from Sir Julian ($7.10), driven by Leah Harvey, with Hes Just Rusty ($9.60), partnered by Danielle Hill, 2-1/2 metres away third. Linke said he had recently freshened the six-year-old mare and believed she would continue to hold her winning form. An aggressive Sugars went forward on Ultimate Won ($17) in heat three to grab the lead from gate four and battled on strongly to score a metre win from Flaming Sheffield ($22.50), driven by Lance Justice while Wayne Hill had little luck on the $1.40 favourite Live For Peace which was a metre away third. Ultimate Won is trained by Lyndon Hall who said he was confident the three-year-old would continue to improve. Reinsman Ken Rogers landed a winning double, as did trainer Tyson Linke, when Queen of Sharkz ($1.20 fav) scored a brilliant 27-1/2 metre win in heat four of the Elders Insurance Invitation series. The four-year-old mare landed her fourth successive victory in defeating Habanero ($11.30), driven by Greg Sugars, with Coast Patrol ($14.90), partnered by Leah Harvey, four metres away third. Kath Gath landed a driving double when Big Behemoth ($1.30 fav) scored an easy all-the-way win in heat five. Trained by Leah Harvey in Kadina, Big Behemoth scored by eight metres from Little Miss Piggy ($9.40), driven by Wayne Hill, with Michael Bellman third on Timeless Jasper ($22.90), a neck away. Teenage reinsman Jayden Brewin got a late call up to the series replacing Ryan Hryhorec who had to withdraw through family issues and made the most of the opportunity with a half-neck win on Marzzz Barzzz Bazz ($3.20) for Kadina trainer Mick Darling. Manonthemoon ($4.40) finished strongly to finish second for driver Leah Harvey with Weaponry ($3.90), driven by Greg Sugars, 1-1/2 metres away third. Final points score was: Greg Sugars 44; Kate Gath 41; Ken Rogers 37; Wayne Hill, Leah Harvey 33; Danielle Hill 29; Jayden Brewin 28; Michael Bellman 27; Lance Justice 25; Aaron Bain 15. Graham Fischer

Talented concession harness racing reinswoman Megan Gee had her best night in the sulky at Globe Derby Park last Friday night landing three winners. Gee was successful on Blackntan ($2.60 eq. fav.), Puddinhead ($16.10) and Muscle Hillbilly ($10.70). Her first winner is owned and trained by John Hill, while the other two come from the stable of Jill Neilson. “It was a great night,” Gee said, “the three all raced up to their ability.” “When I went to the track I thought they all had a chance, if they did their best, but history has shown they all have their quirks.” Blackntan was well backed in the opening race, the Schweppes Australia Pace (1800m) and Gee had the five-year-old away well from gate three to sit parked in the early stages. “He trialled well on the previous Sunday and I thought it was important to be prominent to control the tempo and he was on the top of his game.” Blackntan scored by 2-1/2 metres from Picturebook ($32.50) with Genuine Excuse ($16.20), 9-1/2 metres away third. Gee owns Puddinhead and while she loves the seven-year-old is the first to admit he has a mind of his own. “I always wonder which Puddinhead will turn up,” she said. “If he has his mind on the job he is always a chance and even in a race he can suddenly switch off.” On Friday, Gee had Puddinhead away well from gate nine to obtain a one-one trail early in the Ubet Pace (1800m) before dashing clear off the back to score by 3-1/2 metres from Night In Berlin ($4.70) with Markleigh Fireball ($13.10), 1-1/2 metres away third. While he might be a bit quirky, Puddinhead has won nine races and earned more than $37,000 in stakes. The horse which excites Gee, and trainer Jill Neilson, is the two-year-old trotter Muscle Hillbilly who brought up her the driving treble in the Just Wrecking Toyota’s Two-Year-Old Trotters Handicap (1800m). At his previous two starts, Muscle Hillbilly had, through inexperience, broke in running but on Friday night he showed he was a quick learner trotting away safely and going to the front and giving nothing a chance. The colt scored by 44-1/2 metres from Reils ($1.60 fav), with Majestically ($27.80), a half-head away third. “At home, he trots well but both times at the races he has made mistakes,” Gee said. “It was partly my fault last time but tonight he was right on his game. “I kept talking to him throughout to keep him feeling comfortable. I’m sure he has a good future.” For Gee, it has been a somewhat later introduction to harness racing. Despite her father Geoffrey being a trainer-driver for about 50 years, she had taken no interest in the sport as a youngster and didn’t drive a horse until 2012. “I actually went to Queensland to become an apprentice jockey but that didn’t work out so I decided to come home and it was only then I had my first drive,” Gee said. “After riding trackwork, then driving, I found the difference in speed unusual but quickly learnt there were many, many differences in driving rather than riding. Gee works for top trainer Jill Neilson and is highly regarded for her work with young, or wayward, horses. Once horse which Gee helped turned around was the former good trotter Chuck Wagon which she turned from a talented, but unruly, trotter to a very consistent performer. Graham Fischer

The successful South Australian harness racing training partnership of Jake Webster and Aaron Bain is looking to increase its profile. Now in their third season, the Webster-Bain team is having its best season with 39 wins, equal to the best tally recorded in their first season of 2014-2015. Last season the partnership had 36 wins. Webster, who has been working in Perth for the past few years in the aviation industry, is being relocated to Adelaide in a few months and back home can take a bigger role. “I’ve made trips home regularly to help out but basically I have been doing the programming,” Webster said. “When I moved home it will mean I can be a lot more involved.” The team are looking to build their social media profile through Facebook, Twitter and their own website. “We are always on the look out for new owners and horses and hopefully by spreading the word on social media will open our business up to new clients but at the end of the day training winners will be our best advertising.” Webster-Bain had a double at Globe Derby Park on Saturday landing Arrokeefe and Im Riddick. Arrokeefe ($2.40 fav), driven by Webster’s brother Brodie, finished best to score a head win in the Ubet Pace (2230m) from Futurist ($3.20) with Destine To Take ($5.30), 5-1/2 metres away third. Webster led early from gate one on Arrokeefe before allowing Futurist to go around and take the lead. He brought the six-year-old to the outside around the home turn and after a stirring battle grabbed victory in the last few bounds. Jake Webster drove Im Riddick ($2.30 fav) which produced a sensational finish to grab victory in the Maughan Thiem Ford Mondeo Claiming Pace (2230m). Last on the home turn in the field of nine, Im Riddick looked to have no chance of victory. Sonic Classic ($9.80) which had been trailing the leader Our El Nino ($8.90) came through along the sprint lane and was being hailed the winner when suddenly Im Riddick appeared out wide charging home. So fast did he finish, Im Riddick won by 2-1/2 metres from Sonic Classic with Our El Nino, four metres away third. “I was surprised he won as easily as he did,” Webster said. “I knew he would sprint home well because the race was run to suit him.” Graham Fischer

A decision taken just over 12 months ago returned a major dividend when Our Royal Lady made a harness racing winning debut in the 2017 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Trained by Alan Cronin and driven by Ken Rogers, Our Royal Lady finished brilliantly to score a short half-head win from The Fifth Ace ($10.50) with Bulletproof Boy ($40.10), five metres away third. Cronin, who trains at Monarto, south of Adelaide, regularly has a small team in work but just over 12 months ago had a discussion with longtime stable client Greg Moy. A former Ballarat Harness Racing Club president, Mr Moy now resides at Glenelg in South Australia. “We have had good success with the likes of Try Some Magic, Jakkara Magic and Burning Desire but they were coming to the end of their racing lives,” Cronin said. “Greg asked me if I would like to have a go with a few two-year-olds and I accepted the challenge. “Consequently, we haven’t been to the races for quite a while but tonight has made the break worthwhile. “Greg went to yearling sales last year to pick out a few horses but ironically found Our Royal Lady in a paddock. “He went to look at yearlings which were going to the sales and saw this filly in a paddock, asked about her, and purchased her on the spot.” Cronin said the filly had always shown ability. “She is still a bit immature but should continue to improve with racing and will be even better suited over trips such as 2230m.” Our Royal Lady had trialled well in preparation for the Sapling Stakes and punters were happy to make her a strong favourite. Rogers had her away well from gate one and took the trail behind Paris Scene which began quickly from gate four. Don’t Tell William also got away quickly from gate nine and driver Lisa Ryan took him to the spot outside the lead resulting in 31.4 and 30.8 for the first two quarters which ensured Our Royal Lady remained comfortable third on the fence. Ryan Hryhorec, on the Ray Holberton-trained The Fifth Ace, sprinted sharply coming off the back and dashed to what looked to be a winning break in the home straight. When Don’t Tell William began to tire, Rogers took Our Royal Lady off the fence but gave her about 50 metres to keep balanced before asking her to take out after The Fifth Ace. “I did think I might have left it a bit late,” Rogers said. “The filly sprinted brilliantly once I asked her for an effort and on the line I wasn’t sure she had arrived but I was delighted when her number went up. “With the good tempo she settled beautifully but because she is still learning I was careful not to push her out of her stride when I came off the inside. She has a lot of upside.” Cronin added that he need to thank fellow trainer Lance Holberton. “Lance has been fantastic. Whenever I have had an issue, Lance has been only too ready to help out with information when I’ve given him a call.” The Sapling Stakes has been a feature two-year-old race in South Australia for many years with some champion winners, including Inter Dominion winner Richmond Lass, but sadly had only been able to be run once in the past three years through insufficient nominations. The 2017 version was a wonderful race with an exciting finish and hopefully the Sapling Stakes has regained its prestige of past years and won’t suffer again going forward. Our Royal Lady is the first winner for the son of Mach Three, Sir Lincoln or in Australia called Lincoln Royal. The Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has a small crop of just 19 two-year-olds in Australia so his effort to leave a Sapling Stakes winner and a filly at that is impressive. Our Royal Lady was one of only three fillies in the race. Graham Fischer

Part-owner Adam Cormack was despairing he had never won a race at Victor Harbor since moving to the town 10 years ago, but Al Bundy put it right with a brilliant harness racing win in the Rob’s Rural Services Victor Harbor Trotters Cup (2660m) on Easter Sunday. Perfectly driven by Jock Dunlop, Al Bundy ($3 fav) sprinted away from his rivals to score a 13-metre win from Natural ($7) with Gus Or Bust ($10.80), two metres away third. “I have to say it was an ambition to win a feature race at Victor Harbor, and Al Bundy has done it for us,” Cormack said. Bred in New Zealand, Al Bundy was purchased early in his career by father Terry, Adam and brother Ben and races for their AB&T Cormack Racing Pty Ltd. The Cormacks decided to bring the gelding to Australia at the end of last year after he had won eight races for them in New Zealand and was given to stable trainer Greg Norman who manages their harness property outside Two Wells, north of Adelaide. Al Bundy won his first two starts under Norman’s care before a second at Port Pirie, then a fourth at Mildura where he unfortunately locked wheels with a rival and had to drag it about 100 metres before getting clear. The trotter was handicapped off 50 metres on Sunday but a good beginning, then a trail from co-back marker Rejuvenation, saw Dunlop able to obtain a one-one trail for much of the race. With that perfect run, Dunlop was able to let the gelding sprint home coming off the back and Al Bundy trotted away from his rivals to win easily. “That was a perfect run for him,” Norman said, “there is no doubt he loves a sit-sprint race. “He has done a great job since coming into my stable. His handicap was just too tough the way the race was run at Pirie, then he had legitimate excuses at Mildura. “I’ll just keep looking at suitable races for him, maybe we will have to look interstate from time to time, but we will stay local when we can.” Adam Cormack said he had moved to Victor Harbor about 10 years ago but wasn’t in the town as much as he would like. “With my job (direct, O’Brien Meats) I do a lot of travelling and we also have a house in Adelaide. “With a new piggery near Snowtown (in SA’s mid-North), there is even more travelling but I make sure I’m home for the weekends at least – it is a beautiful area. “We haven’t had a lot of runners here at Victor Harbor but I wanted to win a race, preferably a feature, and Al Bundy has ticked that box today.” Graham Fischer

Tough pacer Bettor Party picked up his third cup in South Australia with an impressive, and easy harness racing victory, in the 2017 UBET Victor Harbor Pacing Cup (2160m) before an excellent crowd on Easter Sunday. A well backed $3.10 favourite, Bettor Party came around the field to sit outside the leader before sprinting away at the top of the home straight to win untouched by seven metres. Driver Danielle Hill sat quiet over the final stages as the WA-owned pacer added the Victor Harbor Cup to his trophy collection alongside the Kadina and Gawler Cups. For trainer Les Harding it was his first Victor Harbor Cup win and he now puts Bettor Party in the top echelon of horses he has trained. Harding has always felt ill-fated Zanardi, a winner of 16 races in just over 12 months of racing for the stable was the best but acknowledges Bettor Party is really making an impression. The seven-year-old has now won five races from just 12 starts since coming into his stable from Western Australia where he is still owned. “To be honest David (son David Harding, stable foreman) deserves all the credit because I have never sat behind him,” Harding said. “We each have our own horses which we work and David took Bettor Party when he came into the stable.” Bettor Party came away quickly from gate six but driver Danielle Hill said she was a bit concerned when there was plenty of early speed. “I was out wide and there was plenty of pressure,” Hill said. “Fortunately, I was able to go forward along the back and get to the spot outside the leader (Oceans Predator). “He travelled really well and basically pulled his way to the front coming off the back and once in the home straight I knew he wouldn’t be caught.” Adam Cartwright ($3.40) came from last to grab second by a nose from Smiling Crest ($38.70). Bettor Party broke the track record rating 1:57.9 to better the previous best of 1:59.0 recorded by Glenferrie Hustler on December 26, 2013. The winner ran final quarters of 28.2 and 28.7 off the front making it impossible for Adam Cartwright to win after giving away a 30 metre start down the back straight. Harding said he would just look for local races for Bettor Party. “As well as he is going, it is a tough contract going to Victoria to take on their horses on their tracks,” he said. “We took him to Mildura for the Cup and he found it too tough taking on Major Crocker.” by Graham Fischer

South Australia’s Kapunda Harness Racing Club will celebrate 70 years of harness racing at its final meeting of the season on Monday, April 24. Highlights of the day will be the $10,000 Ubet Kapunda Pacing Cup (2610m) and the $10,000 Mantina Quarries / Prince Of Wales Kapunda Trotters Cup (2610m). Both are standing start events. The UBET Pacers Cup is a C6 or better discretionary while the Trotters Cup is a T2 or better discretionary. Club Secretary Rod Whenan said the club was delighted to be able to have good stakemoney for both cups. “We are hoping for excellent fields for both races and maybe the stakemoney might also appeal to interstate trainers,” Whenan said. The Peter Borrelli-trained and driven My Elusive Dream won last year’s cup in a thrilling photo-finish from My Man Dan. Trainer Rob Caruso said the 2017 Kapunda Cup was the next target for My Man Dan after the gelding’s win at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. “He went under in a photo last year after not having much luck, so we will go back this year to go one better,” Caruso said. The Trotters Cup went to Joekenn, trained and driven by David Smith. A three-year-old trotters’ mobile has also been programmed this year. Whenan said the race should appeal to horses preparing for the South Australian Trotters Derby to be run at Globe Derby Park on Saturday, May 6. The Kapunda Committee was formed in 1945 after 18 months of clearing scrub land and in filling a creek which ran through the property with the first race day held on March 11, 1947. A total of 105 horses competed at the meeting, the majority arriving and departing by train. Some horses came from interstate and the train stopped at sidings on the way from Adelaide to collect horses on the way to Kapunda. Eight races were conducted with 385 pounds total prizemoney. There were 24 registered bookmakers and the first race was won by Prefix trained by Mr J C Edwards, driven by the legendary Bill Shinn, owned by Mrs E D Bush. The largest fields of the meeting had 20 horses and the smallest 11. Club president Tom Hansberry drove a double. A copy of the first race book is displayed in the clubrooms. Three meetings were held in 1947, and increased to 22-per year in the popular 1950s to the 1990s, mostly under lights on Tuesday nights which were installed in the mid-50s. Major events had stakes of $20,000 and crowds of up to 3000 attended. The Kapunda Harness Racing Club now races in the daylight hours, and currently has four meetings per season. Graham Fischer Race programme for Kapunda, Monday 24 April 2017

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