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Four-year-old pacer Perfect Stride produced a track record breaking performance in winning Easter Sunday's $35,000 The Downtowner Warragul Pacing Bowl Cup. Driven by talented young reinsman Zac Phillips for Melton trainers Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, Perfect Stride was patiently driven, settling at the rear of the nine-horse field from the start of the 2627-metre event. Phillips moved his horse three wide on the track heading into the final lap, before a sweeping run up to the lead horses on the home turn. Perfect Stride overhauled the race leader Fourbigmen in the closing stages to score a three-metre victory. Majestic Cruiser also made good late ground to run second with Fourbigmen holding third spot at the finish. The winning mile rate took half a second off the track record set in the 2016 Cup courtesy of a solid tempo set throughout. Perfect Stride won the Cobram Pacing Cup earlier this year and now boasts a record of 13 wins and 14 minor placings from only 38 starts for owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, and looks set to continue his rich vein of form in coming starts. Not long after their Warragul win, Perfect Stride's trainers landed a second feature race win, when Wolf Stride won the $100,000 Riverina Championship Final at Wagga to cap a big day for all concerned. Elsewhere on the Cup program there were small fields in most events but still some entertaining racing. The Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup drew plenty of attention, with Stress Factor taking out the handicap race for trainer Brent Lilley and driver Daryl Douglas, in his return visit to Logan Park since making a comeback to race driving. Douglas has now driven the winner of the Gippsland trotting feature three times, with his other pair of winners, Homer Hawk and Our First Jewel, being among the top trotters of their time. Stress Factor collected the feature trot at Echuca at its previous run, and may continue to work towards being compared to those other two trotters - the six-year-old has now won 13 times from only 43 starts. Douglas wore the club's colours of white with the blue W, normally a bad omen for the wearer if you believe the old racetrack talk. However this set of silks were also sported by the winner of the first race of the day, Bonnie Belle, for driver Greg Sugars and trainer Alan McDonough. Eleven-year-old gelding Wonderforce won race two for trainer Julie Mifsud and driver Monique Burnett the veteran pacers latest victory coming almost a year after his last triumph. Young local reinsman Kyal Costello steered the Ahmed Taiba trained pacer Major Mal to a nice win in the third event, while Cranbourne horseman Scott Ewen won the Trotters Handicap with Trouble Giero. Reinswoman Taylor Ford landed her first winner at Logan Park with The Chancer in the sixth event for trainer Jodi Quinlan. The victory was also the 100th of Ford's career. One lucky punter left the course with a broad grin after Croydon trained pacer Lotakevi scored an upset win in the last race of the day. Lotakevi gave reinsman Daryl Douglas a winning double and the lucky punter, who had his name drawn out of the barrel for a $10 TAB betting ticket, managed to turn his free flutter "on the nose" on Lotakevi into a return of just over $1000. The nine-year-old pacer scored at triple-figure odds and for the sake of the punter in question the horse picked the right day to record just his third career win at start 85. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials were pleased to welcome back a crowd to the racetrack for the first time in more than 12 months. Though numbers are down on traditional crowd sizes as the racing industry eases its way back to how things used to be, there was a still a good atmosphere trackside on Sunday. Patrons were impressed with upgraded spectator facilities at Logan Park, which now sees Warragul offer one of the most comfortable places to watch the racing action, certainly as far as the smaller trotting tracks in Victoria are concerned. Racing returns to Warragul on Monday afternoon, May 24th.     by Kyle Galley

Top horseman Greg Sugars won his second Traralgon Pacing Cup at the Warragul trots harness racing meeting last Friday afternoon.   Sugars drove in five of the six races run on the day, and collected four wins.   His wife, Jess Tubbs, trained two of those winners, namely Treacherous Rock in the two-year-old race, and La Puddie in the feature $10,000 Pacing Cup.   The Cup event produced one of the most exciting finishes seen in the race's history. La Puddie led, and Sugars rated his horse beautifully in the lead.   Several of his eight rivals launched strong attacks inside the final 400 metres, with Joonior Brown and Didnt I sweeping down the outside in the home straight.   La Puddie held on to win in a three-way photo finish, by a short half head, with a similar margin separating second and third.   La Puddie is a three-year-old gelding raced by the Munnerley and Jose families and was only having its thirteenth start on Friday afternoon.   The horse was taking on older rivals in the Pacing Cup, and is only the third three-year-old to win the Cup after Kotare Knight in 1979 and Sahara Tiger last year.   Sugars had previously won the Traralgon Pacing Cup driving Bettor Rock On in 2014, for his trainer father Ross.   Greg Sugars with horse La Puddie and the silverware after the race   The Traralgon Pacing Cup trophies were sponsored this year by Brian and Pat Andjelkovic, who were heavily involved with the former Traralgon Harness Racing Club before it closed in 1995.   The Pacing Cup is now staged at Warragul each year in recognition of the former Traralgon club.   Warragul Harness Racing Club president Steve Austen, based at Labertouche, trained a winner at Friday's meeting when Kick It To Jack led throughout to score, while Caabello came from a 20 metre handicap to win the trotters race for Iona trainer Michael Hughes.   Those two local winners were the other pair of successes for reinsman Sugars.   Covid-19 restrictions kept patrons away from the racetrack on Friday, however when racing returns on Monday, February 15th next year, local officials are confident of having spectators trackside for the pacing action.   by Kyle Galley

Nearly four decades ago, well known horseman Greg Leight found himself on the front page of the Latrobe Valley Express newspaper after driving at a Traralgon meeting. The paper's photographer snapped Leight wearing plenty of shell grit, but still smiling despite an unplaced drive on a wet Saturday in 1981. This Friday, Leight is looking to be the headline act again with Daddywho running in the Traralgon Pacing Cup at Warragul. Daddywho is driven by Leight's son Steve, and draws barrier three in the 2210-metre race. The Traralgon Pacing Cup has attracted a quality field for a $10,000 prizemoney purse and is the last of six races on Friday. The race commemorates two decades of registered trotting meetings in Traralgon from 1975 to 1995. The Cup was staged at Traralgon from 1977 to 1995, while a Latrobe Valley Pacing Cup was also staged there for a number of years. Legendary horseman Ted Demmler dominated those Cup races at Traralgon with seven winners as trainer or driver. Since the Traralgon Pacing Cup was reintroduced at Warragul in 2006, Chris Alford has won the race five times, to go with his one Cup win at Traralgon. Former Traralgon committeeman Brian Andjelkovic and his wife Pat have donated trophies for Friday's race. They sponsored the last race run at Traralgon in November 1995.   Kyle Galley

The Warragul Pacing Cup trots meeting on Easter Sunday, April 12, has been officially cancelled due to a revamp of Victorian trotting caused by Covid-19. While the sport continues at the moment subject to strict biosecurity measures, Harness Racing Victoria has announced a redesign of its existing racing calendar, with race meetings to be rescheduled to specific venues and participants to be linked with tracks in their immediate areas to minimise unnecessary travel.   Therefore, for the immediate future, racing for local participants will be restricted to the Cranbourne and Kilmore tracks.   Participants located in the designated area on the map determined by HRV will only be allowed to travel between and race their horses at those two tracks until at least April 12.   While it is a disappointing decision to lose their premier event, the Warragul Harness Racing Club was initially faced with the prospect of running a "ghost" meeting with no spectators, and only essential officials and competitors.   Other clubs which have conducted their Cup in the last fortnight had to face this reality, having already allocated funds to marketing and advertising.   There may be a possibility of rescheduling Warragul's feature raceday to later in the year, although that would seem unlikely given the reluctance to program extra racing at Warragul in recent years.   While the club will not take a significant financial hit by losing its premier meeting it does lose a rare opportunity to showcase the sport of trotting to a local audience. It is hoped racing will resume in time for Warragul's meeting on the Queens Birthday Holiday.   The last time there was no Warragul Cup run during a racing year was in 1988 when the present racetrack was under construction.     Kyle Galley

Top harness racing drivers Chris Alford and Greg Sugars again dominated at Warragul trots on Monday afternoon, winning six of the seven races staged between them.   Alford produced another four winner haul at the meeting, including the drive behind Amazing Daisy which won one of the feature events, the Rodney Demmler Memorial Pace, in a three-way photo finish that had many patrons guessing.   Alford also drove Sahara Sirocco (stablemate of Amazing Daisy), Freedom Writer and Shesa Tricky Bridge to victory.   Sugars meanwhile steered Forever And A Day to success in race five, and won the last race with Bao Nien, trained by his wife Jess.   Lisa Miles produced trotter Tam Oshanter to win the Gordon and June Turner Memorial Handicap event.   Family of the late Gordon and June Turner with race winning driver Lisa Miles   Despite small fields and icy conditions on Monday, a good day of racing was witnessed by spectators.   After a break of several weeks, the major trots meeting on the season takes place at Warragul on Easter Sunday afternoon, April 12 with the staging of the annual Warragul Cup events for pacers and trotters.   Kyle Galley

Smoky conditions greeted participants and spectators for the start of another year of trotting at Warragul today (Monday).   There were eight races which produced good contests and fast times, despite some small fields.   Gippsland born reinswoman Michelle Phillips returned home from her Bendigo base to drive another winner at the Pacing Bowl after her first success on the track at Warragul's December meeting.   Michelle drove the first starter Crocrock to an all the way victory in the fourth race for Bendigo trainer Chris Svanosio.   Michelle Phillips all smiles after her winning drive with Crocrock   Her victory was the third in a row on the day for female drivers - Shannon O'Sullivan drove Its The Emblem to win the second event for Cranbourne trainer Bill Kucks, while Kate Gath steered Goodtime Pe Rabbit to an all the way victory in the Trotters Handicap for Gruyere horseman Peter Goudie.   Top reinsman Greg Sugars and Chris Alford again collected their share of success at the meeting.   Alford drove the opening race winner, Say A Prayer, for Longwarry horseman Geoff Walker, along with Heavens Showgirl and Its Longtall Sally for Drouin West's Quinlan stable.   Sugars and his wife Jess Tubbs produced the Daily Double with Robert The Bruce and Little Peanut.   The two top drivers look set to battle out another driving premiership at Warragul with six meetings remaining in the season. Next trots at Warragul are on Monday afternoon, February 3rd.     by Kyle Galley

The win of eleven-year-old pacer Bushi at Sunday's Warragul trots meeting was a drought breaker in more ways than one.   Significantly it was the first time a horse trained in the Latrobe Valley has recorded a victory in at least two decades.   The region once boasted its own racing club, racetrack and group of grassroots participants, however only a few have continued to dabble in training horses there since the Traralgon club closed down in 1995.   Wayne Evans is a relatively recent addition to local training ranks, having returned home to train from a property at Tyers, north of Traralgon, after some years away in the north east of the state.   His family has a lengthy involvement in trotting, and Wayne and his daughter Stephanie prepare Bushi, which scored its first win in exactly 366 days on Sunday.   It was also Wayne's first training win since 1998, though he has had only a handful of horses to the races in that time.   Stephanie assists at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, and Christmas came early for the family with Bushi's twelfth win coming at start 129.   Another local, Michelle Phillips, now based away from Gippsland, returned home to drive her first winner at Warragul with Run Myles Run in the first race on Sunday.   Greg Sugars drove four winners on the day, including Doug which won the feature $10,000 Trotters Cup.   The consistent four-year-old is trained by Greg and his wife Jess and beat Trafalgar trotter Sovereign Minx.   Top horseman Chris Alford recorded winning drive 100 less than fourth months into the season when Rocktagonal won the fourth race on Sunday.   The race meeting saw fast times recorded in all events, and officials were pleased with the attendance despite clashes from Sale races and Big Bash cricket in Moe.     Kyle Galley

On Sunday, December 22 Warragul Harness Racing Club celebrates 80 years since the first race meeting staged by the club, then known as Warragul and District Trotting Club, which took place at the Warragul Showgrounds on Saturday, November 18, 1939.   A souvenir programme and an 80th Anniversary Cup race will be highlights of the upcoming race meeting.   Over 2000 people made their way to Warragul to witness the inaugural meeting, run in ideal weather conditions.   The meeting was conducted under the rules of the Victorian Trotting and Racing Association, the body established by John Wren of "Power Without Glory" fame, as the government controlled Trotting Control Board would not be established until after the War.   Many trotting enthusiasts made the journey from Melbourne by way of a special race train, which departed Warragul at 6.50 p.m. Those bringing horses by train could take advantage of a special carriage capable of carrying horses and sulkies.   The grandstand was a hive of activity, with the publicans booth and afternoon teas located underneath the building, along with the secretaries and telegraph and telephone offices.   Prizemoney was set at 17 pounds to the winner, two pounds to second and one pound to third, while the feature event carried 30 pounds prizemoney for first, seven for second and three for third.   Nineteen bookmakers fielded on local events and the Melbourne gallops meeting at Williamstown.   The day's racing commenced with the Hylsbroke Handicap, run over a distance of one mile and three furlongs. Fifteen acceptors faced the starter including the aged gelding Marvin Chief, a clear backmarker on 60 yards.   The afternoon's highlight was the 40 pounds Warragul and District Handicap for 2.20 and better pacers, over a distance of one and a half miles.   The result was what many expected, with a thrilling finish, in which Main Derby, from 72 yards behind, dead heated with Burly Vin, from 36 yards behind. The pair cleared away from the field approaching the home turn, and battled neck and neck for the length of the straight.   The owners tossed a coin for the trophy of a canteen of cutlery, with Hubert Shinn keeping the prize.   Most of the committee were newcomers to trotting, and their enthusiasm carried through. The grass track was closely mowed, and the large crowd attending the meeting were satisfied with the facilities. The track held up well after recent rain, with only one part of the course heavy. Fast times were the order of the day.   All who attended were very impressed with the way the meeting was conducted. They saw no reason why trotting could not be conducted successfully in Warragul for many years to come. As one patron put it "Warragul Trotting Club is here to stay".   The opening meeting was an outstanding success, and drew interest from right across the country. As Warragul was one of the few country trotting venues in Victoria, there was a great deal of interest in the club's activities. The success of the first meeting carried over to the two other meetings conducted in the remainder of the season.   Kyle Galley

Well known trots horseman Rodney Demmler passed away on Friday after a battle with cancer, aged 65. Despite not having the high profile of his older brother, Ted, Rodney was himself an accomplished horseman and well known as a freelance reinsman during the 1970s and 1980s. Like his brother, Rodney worked for famed horseman Dave "Darky" Wilson and his son, Graeme, and soaked up all the knowledge they offered on training and driving horses. He helped Ted with his horses when he developed his own stable, while also taking freelance driving opportunities and preparing a small team on the Mornington Peninsula, while also working full-time. His connection with the Wilson stable helped Rodney secure his first city winning drive, behind the grand old trotter Touch Merchant at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds on May 1, 1976. Rodney took the steer behind Touch Merchant at the recommendation of Dave Wilson, after Graeme Wilson had been suspended. A week later, Rodney combined with another Wilson horse, Intrepid Prince, for a second city victory. Rodney was a member of the group of drivers to land a winner at both the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley, however the unique aspect of this was that his first victories at both tracks were with trotters. He later trained and drove Phengory Boy to win at Moonee Valley in July 1981. Rodney won several races with Padthaway, and other multiple race winners he drove included Amorous Heel, Ritzi Riki, Deux Cent and Tuned In. Rodney's wife Deborah passed away in 2014. Together they had four daughters - Samantha, Maddison, Gabrielle and Jamieson.   Kyle Galley

Imperial Whiz scored the most impressive win at Monday's Warragul trots meeting, giving his rivals a start and a beating in track record time.   The four-year-old, prepared at Melton by Danny Mullan and driven by Chris Alford, came off a 60 metre handicap in the trotters event, and dashed around his rivals at the 600 metre mark to put the race quickly beyond doubt.   Racing away to win by over 15 metres, Imperial Whiz took a half second off the previous track record time. Iona trainer Michael Hughes produced Reign Maker to win the first race narrowly.   It had been a successful few days for Hughes, who recorded a winner at the Redwood Classic meeting at Maryborough the previous day, while also running second in the Classic race itself with young trotter Is That A Bid.   Reign Maker's win was the first of a driving double for reinsman Rod Petroff, who also drove Hypersonic Drive to win race four.   Ellmers Hoofing It and Live On Broadway both started almost unbackable favourites in their respective events on Monday, but did the right thing by punters in winning.   Husband and wife Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs combined to win the two-year-old race with Illawong Mustang, while the curiously named three-year-old Arggghhh took on the older horses in the final event of the day, and won easily for Croydon trainer Ray Woods and driver Michael Bellman.   Monday's program was the final one in the current Victorian racing season for Warragul - the Gippsland club now goes into recess as far as race meetings are concerned with the next fixture not until Sunday, December 22.       Kyle Galley

Warragul Harness Racing Club committeeman Steve Austen had one of the happiest faces on course at Sunday's Warragul trots meeting.   His five-year-old pacer Rockntingira scored an upset win in the fifth race of the day, the pacers ninth victory from 40 starts.   Steve and his wife Karen prepare Rockntingira from their Labertouche property.   Driven by Rod Petroff, Rockntingira stormed home in the closing stages to grab a narrow victory over Raptover A Rainbow and Hes An Artist.   Rock On Playboy, trained a few kilometres away at Longwarry North by Geoff Walker, scored an easy win in the fourth event when driven by Greg Sugars.   Leading throughout as a well supported favourite, Rick On Playboy proved far too good for his rivals, the three-year-old breaking through for his first victory at start 14.   Completing a treble for horses trained in the immediate area was Drouin West horse Glenledi Boy, which looked extremely well graded in the other division of the three-year-old, and produced a winning result.   It was another Warragul winner for trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan and driver Chris Alford.   Clyde trotter Mascott led throughout to provide Alford with a double. Trainer Jayne Davies hasn't prepared a great number of trotters over the years, but the ones that have passed through the stable have been of good quality, meaning Mascott should be one to follow in future.   The first four horses over the line in the trot are trained locally.   Stazzz Princess and Smart Little Shard were the day's other winners.   The current racing season at Warragul concludes on Monday, August 5.   Kyle Galley

Reinsman Chris Alford created his own piece of harness racing history on the weekend, driving the winner of the Traralgon Pacing Cup for the sixth time.   Alford eclipsed the previous record for winning drives in the event of five held by Ted Demmler, when Sahara Tiger won the feature race at Warragul on Sunday afternoon.   Sahara Tiger overcame the inside second row draw of the mobile to win Sunday's race, with Alford getting the horse off the inside and into clear running, before sweeping past the field at the 600 metre mark and going on to record an easy win.   A three-year-old taking on older horses, Sahara Tiger became the first horse of his age to win the Traralgon Pacing Cup since Kotare Knight in 1979.   Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan at Drouin West, giving the stable their third win in the race, having won with Pinball and Sharazar when the event was staged at Traralgon.   Co-feature race on Sunday was the $10,000 Ken Miller Memorial Pace, won by Diamond Cullen for trainer Jodi Quinlan and driver Craig Demmler.   Family and friends of the late Ken Miller at the presentation of the Ken Miller Memorial race on Sunday                                                                                                                      --Matt Walker Photography   A good crowd attended Sunday's meeting in fine conditions. Warragul Harness Racing Club has another Sunday meeting scheduled for July 14.     Kyle Galley

Star pacer San Carlo capped a top season of harness racing with an easy victory in Sunday's $35,000 Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup. The Goulburn Valley trained eight-year-old, finalist in the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship and recent Mildura Cup winner, went straight to the front from barrier six in a small six horse field, and driver Rebecca Bartley controlled the race to suit from the front. Sprinting the last lap of the Pacing Bowl in 58.6 seconds, San Carlo held a margin of three metres at the finish from outsiders Tough Call and Motu Gatecrasher which filled the minor placings. Trainer Stephen O'Donoghue said after the race San Carlo will head to paddock for a well earned spell over Winter, and he is hopeful the geling still has one or two seasons of racing in him. From Only 48 starts, San Carlo has won 28 races and nearly $470,000 in prizemoney for his owners, the Eichorn family. Although the appearance of San Carlo dominated the Pacing Cup, the $14,5000 Eddie Evison Memorial Trotters Cup was a more open race for punters. A confident front running drive by reinsman Greg Leight with 14/1 shot Law Legend paid dividends, with the veteran six-year-old gelding running out a two metre winner. From 113 starts, Law Legend has won 13 races for trainer Greg Leight. Gippsland trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan won two races on Sunday. Rocknroll Pearl will be aimed at feature events in New South Wales after an easy win in the final heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. The four-year-old has qualified for the $40,000 Final at Melton this Saturday night. Three-year-old Sahara Tiger took on the older horses and won in the third race. Cranbourne's Jayne Davies also collected two wins on the card with Alliyahs Choice and Betterman Stride, while Iona horseman Michael Hughes produced the consistent trotter Express Yourself for another victory, in what was a good day for local trainers. Huli Nien was very well backed to win the Rob Lee Warragul Guineas for trainer Jess Tubbs and driver Greg Sugars. Although crowd numbers appeared to not increase on last year, the on-course TAB holdings were up, and there was an increase in the number of horses racing at the Cup meeting this year.   Kyle Galley

Record stakemoney will be just one of the highlights of the Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup meeting which is approaching quickly.   The traditional Easter Sunday fixture, this year on April 21, will be headlined by record prizemoney for both pacing and trotting Cup races, and exciting trainer giveaways to increase interest in the event from horsepeople.   Warragul Sporting and Social Club have again thrown generous financial sponsorship behind Warragul's flagship harness race, and with additional statewide stakemoney increases previously announced by Harness Racing Victoria, this year's Cup will be staged for a record $35,000.   The time honoured Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup will be run for $14,500, and is again sponsored by the Evison and Sherar families. Support races are also expected to draw strong entries.   In an effort to significantly increase industry participation in this year's event, three $500 cash giveaways are on offer for trainers who race on the day at Warragul.   Each trainer/training partnership which races on the day will receive one ticket into the lucky draw, regardless of how many starters they have, which means that all participants will have an equal chance of sharing in the cash, whether they win a race or not.   Local finance broker Rob Lee (Liberty Financial) is a harness racing enthusiast, and his company are generously backing Warragul Harness Racing Club with support of this trainer's incentive.   Winning Formula product will also be given away to trainers of all placegetters on the day, courtesy of Origin Powders and Liquids.   Warragul Harness Racing Club Operations Co-Ordinator, Des Hughes, said that his focus for the club's premier racing event is to foster the support of the industry people who put on the show day in, day out.   "We needed to get the focus back on the participants, particularly for the Cup meeting, and keep Warragul as an attractive racing alternative for locals and visitors," Hughes said.   "If you look after those who put on the show with good facilities, a few giveaways, that sort of thing, hopefully people go away with a positive impression of our club even if their horse doesn't win."   "The same applies for those who follow the sport...we need the die hard industry fans to come out and support us and make Warragul a go to destination on the Easter weekend, as this meeting is one of a number of great country events that every harness fan should have on their bucket list."   Warragul's close location to Melbourne with direct freeway and train access lends itself to a leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon for a top day of racing.   Legendary harness form analyst Bill Glover will be trackside to run Warragul's Punters Club, and local officials are hoping Bill's reputation as an astute student of form will lead to record ticket sales.   The first class facilities at Warragul are available for dining package bookings, which are already selling well.   A bistro and barbecue will also be on offer during the day, along with the usual fare of lucky racegoer giveaways (including $2000 in holiday vouchers), pony trots and kids activities.   Punters are spoiled at Warragul with a giant indoor screen for race viewing, excellent tote facilities, and bookmaker Tom Hogan also represented, while all facilities are indoors, overlooking the track which is one of the best in Victoria for viewing harness racing.   So far this season horse numbers at Warragul are well up on last season, and club officials are quietly confident that trend will continue for their main event.     Kyle Galley  

Trafalgar trotter Sovereign Minx scored an impressive victory at the Warragul race meeting staged on Wednesday afternoon.   Sovereign Minx led throughout to win the Drouin Signs Trotters Handicap, where three of the six starters galloped during the race. The field was spread out over 180 metres as the winner crossed the finish line.   Despite half the field making mistakes, nothing should be taken away from the win of Sovereign Minx, a four-year-old mare scoring her second victory at start 20.   She trotted faultlessly throughout for driver Rod Petroff, and carved out solid sectional times throughout the 2210 metre event.   Sovereign Minx controlled the speed to suit in front, picking up the tempo at the 1200 metre mark, and running her rival ragged in the process. Trainer Chris Hunter said after the event the plan was to find the lead and not give it away in Wednesday's race, as his horse appreciates being allowed to roll along in front.   Sovereign Minx winning at Warragul last Wednesday  - Matt Walker Photography   Trotting followers will note that Sovereign Minx produced below 30 second sectionals for the last three quarters of a mile in Wednesday's race, a very good effort for a maiden trotter and one that will give Hunter every confidence that he can win further races.   The four-year-old is out of a former smart pacer the Hunter family raced, named Golden Teardrops, however Sovereign Minx now has the score on the board as a trotting, as opposed to her dam.   Hunter's son Glenn drove Mota Mate to win the fourth race of the day for Cranbourne horseman Hugh Cathels.   Fellow local four-year-old So Much Bettor scored his second win on end at Warragul when a narrow winner in the second race of the day.   Two drivers, Glen Craven (Hail Georgie) and Jack Laugher (Lady Flora) notched up their first career winning drives at Warragul during the day, while former Kiwi mare Sumthin Special scored her second win on end for trainer Rob O'Connell and driver Zac Phillips.   Premier horseman Gavin Lang collected the last two winners, My Kiwi Lady and My Cash, to extend his lead in the Warragul drivers' premiership.     Kyle Galley

Eight races will be staged at the first trots meeting at Warragul for 2019 on Wednesday afternoon.   It will be an early start for the card with the first race at 11:41am and the last event run by 4pm.   A Morning Melodies concert, staged for the first time by the Warragul Harness Racing Club, has attracted good bookings and will be staged before the racing begins. There are some smaller fields throughout the day but the meeting has attracted support from locals, and even trainers from the state's Western District will head across to compete.   Top horseman Gavin Lang got away to a flying start in the Warragul driver's premiership with five winners at the meeting on December 23, and has a strong hand again with four drives on Wednesday.   Lang is bringing some of his own horses to compete at the meeting, and will also drive the impressive last start Warragul winner Just Anything in the Trotters Handicap for local trainer Michael Hughes.   Veteran 11-year-old pacer Astronaut, who first raced at Warragul in June 2010, is running in the last race on Wednesday.   Wednesday's meeting is part of a busy week of racing locally - there will also be greyhound racing at Logan Park on Thursday afternoon followed by the big Warragul Cup card at the dogs on Saturday night, January 12.     Kyle Galley

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