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Trenton, NJ — Shane Tritton never had any doubts that My Ruebe Star N could succeed in America after coming from Australia. But even the optimistic trainer has his limits. “I know she can’t keep doing what she’s doing,” Tritton said. That’s about the only negative he can muster, and it makes sense considering she has won 89 percent of her North American starts. And, he quickly added, “But as long as she can keep racing well then I’m sure she’s going to be thereabouts.” The 7-year-old pacing mare was one of 20-odd horses Tritton and wife Lauren brought to their farm in Pine Bush, N.Y., when they relocated from Down Under last March. She was the quickest of them all to acclimate to American racing, and the result has been eight wins in nine U.S. starts entering Thursday’s $30,000 Fillies & Mares Open Handicap at Yonkers. My Ruebe Star N was assigned post seven in the seven-horse field and is the 2-1 morning-line favorite with regular driver Jordan Stratton. “She’s just so competitive,” Tritton said. “She’s good to drive, she can sit in a space, she can leave, she can come from behind, and to me that’s the ultimate in America. You obviously have to have ability but when you’ve got everything else that makes it easier, they can get a lot better.” The New Zealand-bred horse showed promise in her homeland before being exported to Australia by breeder and co-owner Mike Siemelink in May 2019. After joining Tritton’s ranks, she had enough success at Menangle that the owners wanted to stake her in Australia before breeding her. But Tritton felt her gait would help her find success in the States and eventually got the green light to bring her over. My Ruebe Star N became the first winner in America for Team Tritton when she prevailed at The Meadowlands last June. Racing predominantly at Yonkers, the horse won her first five races before taking a third; then finished with two more wins before getting a rest at Tritton’s farm in October. “I only gave her three weeks off,” he said. “There was nothing wrong with her. I just let her wind down and get a little bit of a break and we’re sort of taking our time bringing her right up. We just gave her a break because she’s good and every time we’ve done that she’s gotten better and we’re hoping she can do that again.” My Ruebe Star N made her 2021 debut on Jan. 28 and won the Fillies & Mares Open Handicap at Yonkers in 1:57. As for this week’s F&M Open, Tritton remains hopeful. “We’ve been in this position before, where she gets the outside in the Open,” he said. “We sort of look at it and think this might be tough, but she’s very fast off the gate, she gets herself in a good spot. If she can cross them, she will. If not, she gets a handy spot and gets to where she needs to be. So, we’re pretty confident she’s always going to go well. “One day she’s going to get no luck but at the end of the day so far she keeps defying those odds. It’s always tough in the Open, you’ve got to respect everybody.” In looking forward to this season, Tritton plans on putting the mare in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series next month and will also stake her to several Meadowlands races. He looks forward to a random draw at the Blue Chip. “It’s tough at Yonkers because she’s done so well she keeps getting the outside,” the trainer said. “She keeps defying the odds and Jordan drives her really well. She’s done an extremely good job. We know she can’t keep doing that but at this point in time we’re looking forward to the Blue Chip. She wouldn’t know what the inside looks like, she hasn’t been there for a long time so it would be good to get her at an inside draw a few times and take it a little easier on her.” The strategy is to race My Ruebe Star N fairly solid for six months and then back off and start prepping for next year. “I’m hoping she can do real good and make all the effort worthwhile,” Tritton said. “There’s a lot of racing in America, she loves Yonkers, we’re going to stick to there as often as we can and venture a couple times to The Meadowlands to see how she stacks up. “It just depends on her. I want to race her for the next five years if I can. We want to look after her, let her keep getting better, but she’ll tell us how she’s going.” by Rich Fisher, for the USTA

Ex-pat Aussie harness racing couple Shane and Lauren Tritton hadn't seen a lot of snow before a life-changing move to the USA last year - but that's all changed now! "Both of us went on the usual school trips to the snowfields-and that was about it!" Shane said. But it's winter in America and that can mean extremely cold weather and big snowfalls. The Tritton duo is based at a training centre about one hour and 45 minutes from New York City, at Pine Bush, an area where the average is about 45 inches of snow per year - and this week saw a nice "dump". "It can present some challenges with training the horses, but no way do we dread getting out in it. We look at it as more of an experience," Shane said. "Halfway through this morning it started snowing and didn't stop. I think we got four inches, but it was a cold day with the top temperature being minus four. It was down to minus 15 at one stage. "It's definitely different. We've found you have to get rugged up and just be patient. The work crew at the training centre clear the snow from the tracks so we can keep going." Shane said the colder months presented trainers with a little uncertainty in that "you don't know exactly how the horses are feeling". "It's way more difficult than any other times. By the way the horses act and behave in the warmer months you can get a handle very easily on where they are at," he said. "Horses that haven't grown up with snow find it a bit unusual. You can tell which ones have - they're the ones that want to roll in it and play around." Don’t even venture out without the right gear! Tritton stablehand Herman is rugged up for the elements for trackwork at Pine Bush Official weather records show that Pine Bush can have an early start to the snow season in late October. Snow usually continues for the next four months. The wintry weather can persist with light flurries and snow showers in March - with even mid-spring snowfalls recorded, occasionally as late as May. The Tritton team has got off to a flying start in the new year with former South Australian Cup winner Pat Stanley posting two wins. Their never-say-die veteran Flaming Flutter and former New Zealander Happy Dryden also have one win apiece. "The form of Flaming Flutter is unbelievable. He's got such a good attitude, he's happy and healthy and we certainly look after him. He's 12 years old and can keep racing over here until he's 14 so he's got a few years left in him yet," Shane said. The couple spent many successful seasons based in NSW before arriving in the USA last March. They finished 2020 one shy of a magical 100-win season across two hemispheres. "We recorded 99 winners - 36 in Australia and the other 63 over here in the US," Shane said. Coincidentially their numbers put the Trittons in fifth place on both the Yonkers and Menangle training premiership tables! With Canada shutting down racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tritton barn will soon expand to 30. "We are aiming to still stick around that number and no higher. There's eight of us doing them and trainers over here are only allowed to have one horse in a race. So when you put seven in, there's no double ups, and you're obviously contesting seven races which is a big night," he said. "Strict COVID protocols are in place at the meetings with a limit on the numbers that can attend from each stable, and wearing masks is compulsory. But we feel very lucky that we are living in a small rural area." Two of the stable big guns will return to racing this week-My Ruby Star, who won seven of her first eight starts, will race at Yonkers, while Lady De La Renta is off to Meadowlands. Tritton, who admits to keeping a close eye on the racing scene back home, said the form of superstar Lochinvar Art (David Moran) was exciting. "The horse would match it with them over here if they decided to do the trip after the Newcastle and Miracle Miles. But I think if they asked any other down under trainer who's now based here, I think any of us would suggest a six-month transition period," he said. "It's a huge change. There's so much to take into account like acclimatization, and all of the transition. But also just adjusting to the practicalities of a big move and things like the style of racing and the different bikes. "When we arrived here there was restricted racing due to COVID virtually from day one and it was frustrating, but in hindsight it gave us a chance to ease in. "I've no doubts that Lochinvar Art would be very good here." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since arriving in the United States this March, the harness racing training duo of Lauren and Shane Tritton have quickly made a name for themselves in their new home. Their stable has swelled from the 12 horses the Trittons flew over from their native Australia as American owners have flocked to their barn. Since their pari-mutuel debut June 12, the Trittons have amassed 55 wins from 194 starts with another 52 seconds and thirds.  Forty of those victories have come at Yonkers Raceway, placing the Trittons seventh in the trainer’s standings. Saturday night (Nov. 28) at the Hilltop, the Trittons will make their American stakes debut as they send out Lady Dela Renta in the $100,000 distaff invitational pace for Blue Chip Matchmaker Series eligibles and San Domino in the $125,000 invitational pace for Borgata Pacing Series eligibles. “We’re excited that we’ve been able to get a couple horses in for our owners. We were hoping to be successful coming to America, but you just never know how it’s going to go,” Shane Tritton said. “We’re very relieved that things have worked out OK, we’ve made the right moves. Having these two horses in these races is a big culmination of these six months and hopefully they can do well. They’re both very tough races and we understand they are the best horses going around in this area right now. We hope that we can do well.” Australia-bred Lady Dela Renta appeared to be an open-type pacer last fall when she captured a $42,000 filly and mare open handicap pace at Yonkers Oct. 4, 2019 in just her sixth Stateside start in the barn of Jose Godinez. However, she went winless in her first five races this spring at Yonkers and Scioto between March 6 and July 10. When racing resumed on the East Coast, owner Bukers Stable shipped Lady Dela Renta to the Trittons’ stable in Pine Bush, N.Y. Since the move, Lady Dela Renta has been a standout in the pacing mare ranks at Yonkers. She qualified a winner in 1:52.2 with Lauren Tritton in the bike July 31. Lady Dela Renta won her pari-mutuel debut for the Trittons with Jordan Stratton driving by 3 3/4 lengths in a $15,500 overnight Aug. 13. Since then, Lady Dela Renta has won another five races from seven starts, including three at the preferred or open level. “She was a horse that my wife actually chased after a little bit. The owners seemed interested in sending her to us and my wife definitely wanted her. She had faith that we could turn her around,” Tritton said. “We knew a little bit about her in Australia and she was a pretty high-class mare there. After she came to us, Lauren has done most of the work. She just really got along good with her. She’s certainly a mare we had a lot of respect for before we started training her and I think having that belief in them is enough to try to get them back the way they should be.” Tritton counts Lady Dela Renta’s most recent victory in the $25,000 filly and mare preferred on Nov. 12 as her most impressive performance to date. After starting from the outside post in a field of five, Lady Dela Renta dropped back to race in fourth early as Snobbytown and Lispatty dueled for the lead through a :27.1 quarter over the sloppy going. Sensing the pace slowing, Jordan Stratton angled Lady Dela Renta to the outside first-over with five-eights of a mile to pace. Lady Dela Renta pressured Snobbytown through a :57.2 half mile. Racing up the backstretch, Lady Dela Renta fought to put a neck in front of Snobbytown as the pace accelerated through three-quarters in 1:24.4. Lady Dela Renta held the lead over Snobbytown around the final turn. With Stratton motionless in the stretch, Lady Dela Renta extended the margin to 3/4 lengths to stop the clock in 1:53.3. The victory came two weeks after Lady Dela Renta made a break in stride as the 8-5 favorite and finished last Oct. 29. “I think her last win was very good. She got muddled up in a wet track, she broke the start before and we were really just trying to screw her back down and make sure we had her right for this race,” Tritton said. “She was parked out virtually the whole race and you could see she had the race won from a long way out. It gave us a lot of faith that she can do a lot of work in her races and still be there at the end. We needed to get a good win on the board to make sure we were right for this race, so her last win was definitely the most satisfying.” Lady Dela Renta drew post position eight and is 8-1 on the morning line with Jordan Stratton named to drive in the $100,000 distaff invitational, which will go as race six on Saturday night’s 10-race program.  “We expect that she’s going to keep getting better. We’re still scratching the surface. I think next year, she’ll progress a bit more and we really couldn’t be disappointed in her,” Tritton said. “The only couple of times she’s been beaten, it hasn’t been her fault. We expect her to race really well. We’re obviously disappointed with the barrier draw, but someone has to come from there. That’s how the cookie crumbles and maybe next time in one of these big races we might get the luck, so you just have to take it as you get it.” Lady Dela Renta’s rivals include Shartin, the $2.5 million earner who was voted 2019 Horse of the Year. Shartin is 8-for-11 at Yonkers Raceway and is a two-time Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final winner, having taken the 2018 and 2019 editions. Saturday night will mark Shartin’s first start at Yonkers since the 7-year-old Jim King, Jr. trainee overcame post eight in a $33,000 filly and mare open handicap June 30.  Shartin enters this distaff invitational on the longest winless streak of her career since she began racing in the U.S., having lost five straight races from Oct. 3 through Nov. 21, including four losses to Kissin In The Sand in the $175,000 Dayton Distaff Derby, the elimination and final of the Breeders Crown, and the $150,000 TVG Mares Final.  Shartin drew post seven in the distaff invitational and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with co-owner Tim Tetrick set to drive. The field also includes Caviart Ally, who drew the rail for Andy McCarthy and Brett Pelling and enters off a fourth-place finish in the TVG Mares Final at the Meadowlands Nov. 21. Caviart Ally is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Major Occasion also exits the TVG Mares Final, having finished sixth for trainer Nifty Norman. Major Occasion drew post four in the distaff invitational and is 4-1 on the morning line with Pat Lachance set to drive. Local threats in this race include the Ron Burke-trained mare Snobbytown, who has finished first, second, or third in each of her last 10 starts, all of which came in either the local filly and mare open or preferred ranks. Snobbytown will start from post two with George Brennan in the sulky. The pair are 6-1 on the morning line.  Robyn Camden, Imprincessgemma, and Seaswift Joy complete the lineup. The Trittons will start San Domino in the $125,000 invitational pace two races after Lady Dela Renta. Another pacer bred in Australia, San Domino had been racing in the U.S. for Andrew Harris since August 2019, earning 9 wins and $179,067 from 29 starts, primarily in the open and conditioned ranks at East Coast tracks. However, owners Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing sent San Domino to the Trittons this fall, hoping to reach success at the stakes level. “It’s funny, the owners approached us. They had a pretty good horse called None Bettor and San Domino is kind of like him. I probably had more respect for San Domino than None Bettor from what they had done in Australia,” Tritton said. “I thought San Domino was probably underachieving a little bit, so we concentrated on trying to get him back to the way we thought he should be.” San Domino debuted for the Trittons in a $15,000 Yonkers overnight Oct. 2, scoring a wire-to-wire win by 2 1/2 lengths with Brent Holland in the bike. San Domino doubled up Oct. 10, taking a $17,500 overnight by 4 lengths in 1:51.2 with Jordan Stratton driving. San Domino then moved to the open ranks, finishing third behind Mac’s Jackpot and Ostro Hanover off a pocket trip Oct. 17 with Jason Bartlett in the sulky and second behind The Real One on Halloween with Austin Siegelman at the lines.  In his latest start in the $25,000 pacing feature Nov. 7, Jordan Stratton sent the 7-year-old straight to the lead and never looked back, holding off Leonidas and Micky Gee by 3/4 lengths to score a blistering 1:50.3 win. “San Domino has been stepping out of his stablemate’s shadow and showing what he can do, too. He’s probably gotten better with every run we’ve given him,” Tritton said. “We’re pretty excited with him. He’s a pretty tough horse, he’s always been a good horse in Australia. We just hope that the race can go his way. He can be a real tough bugger and I think he showed that in his last win. He’s had a good couple of weeks to get ready for this race. We think he’s as good as he can be.” The Trittons elected not to race San Domino after his last start and instead trained him up to Saturday night’s invitational. San Domino and Lady Dela Renta shipped to Yonkers last Friday (Nov. 20) to go a training trip. With Shane Tritton driving San Domino and Stratton driving Lady Dela Renta, the pair trained in company in 1:53.1. “We had the choice of running him back to back after that big win last time. Both of them went to Yonkers last Friday and ran a mile in 1:53.1. They’re both basically coming off a pretty good run last week even though they didn’t race,” Tritton said. “We’re confident that their fitness is where it needs to be. Obviously, these are tough races and they need to be 100 percent. We’re pretty confident that they are both there. It’s whether they can get the luck in the running.” San Domino will start from post position four, the same post he left from in his recent down-the-road open win. He and Stratton are 5-2 on the morning line and could be poised to set the tempo again. “I think San Domino showed last time that he likes to be on the front end, he likes to run a really hard race,” Tritton said. “If he can get on the front end and make every post a winner, I think that’s his best chance. I think his last mile showed that and I’m sure that will be the game plan. It’s a nice draw for him, we’re happy with it, and I’m sure Jordan is going out there with the idea that he has a good chance.” Ron Burke will send out the race’s 2-1 morning line favorite in This Is The Plan, who’s three wins this year include the $140,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby Sept. 25. This Is The Plan also finished second in the $150,000 Allerage Open Pace at the Red Mile Oct. 11 and third in the $340,000 TVG FFA Pace last out Nov. 21. George Brennan will drive the 5-year-old gelding from post eight. The field also includes Raukapuka Ruler, who enters off back-to-back wins in local overnights in 1:51.4 and 1:52.4 Nov. 14 and 21, respectively. The Pete Tritton-trained 7-year-old is 4-1 on the morning line with Tim Tetrick programmed to drive.  Ostro Hanover won two local $17,500 overnights in his last four starts and most recently came from 12 3/4 lengths behind to finish third beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the $30,000 open pace Nov. 21. The Daniel Renaud trainee will employ the services of Tyler Buter and is 5-1 on the morning line after drawing the inside post. Micky Gee ran up the score this summer at Yonkers, scoring five local wins in the conditioned and open ranks, most of which came with sweeping three- or four-wide moves in last-to-first style. However, the Lance Hudson trainee is winless in his last five starts dating to Oct. 17 and is 12-1 on the morning line with Jason Bartlett set to drive. Bechers Brook, Mac’s Jackpot, and Tookadiveoffdipper complete the field. If one or both of Lady Dela Renta and San Domino were to win their respective stakes races Saturday night? “It would obviously be great,” Tritton answered. “We’ve had a lot of experience with these big races in Australia. We know that you can have big nights and you can have terrible nights. I’m sure there are seven other horses in these races that are thinking that they deserve to be there and have a chance of winning, too. We don’t get too disappointed if we don’t win. We just like to go in there and do our best and if we can show that we’re competitive at this level, I’m sure one of these races will go our way. Hopefully this weekend. If not, it will be next chance we get. “We’re very humbled to be invited to these races. Hopefully we can put on a good show.” Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Dec. 22. First post time is 7:12 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Aussie harness racing expats Shane and Lauren Tritton might be on the steepest learning curve of their career, but they’re making their mark in their new adopted home at Pine Bush NY in the USA. Despite missing the first three months of the year (the couple relocated early in 2020 and began racing only in April) Shane Tritton is now sitting eighth on the Yonkers trainers’ table but his impressive win-to-starters ratio of just under 33 percent (26 winners from 79 starters) leads the strike rate table. The Trittons had some early success, but it’s in the past two months that they have done their best work, including an unforgettable day on October 1 – 18 starters for eight winners and eight placings, with victories at Yonkers, Pocono and Meadowlands. Their overall tally is 38 wins and 44 placings. “We had a quiet time of it for the first two months, but with the results have come the owners.  The support from owners has been fantastic and we feel confident now that we know what we are doing and the results are coming,” Shane said. “It was a nice surprise to be in that (top 10) list, because it’s hard to know where you are day to day. You just keep turning up at the meetings doing your best!” The couple, with the assistance of six staff, now has 27 horses in work, and are keen to keep it to that number. Shane Tritton hard at work at Pine Bush Shane said it’s been a constant process of the couple learning and refining their training techniques. “In Australia, a lot of the focus is on stamina. The horses need to be tougher because of our style of racing back home – they’re asked to go flat out at the start, then back off, and then pick the bit up over the latter stages and go flat out again,” he said. “If you can get an easy quarter you grab it, cos the last quarter is the quickest. “When we first of all came over, we had probably the wrong opinion about the American style of racing in thinking that it was all about speed. “But we’ve learnt that’s really not what it’s all about— the versatile types of horses, those are the ones that will make you the most money.” Shane said the experiences of his father Peter, who relocated to the USA more than 20 years ago, were instrumental in being able to make some short-cuts in trial and error on their training regime. “When we first arrived, I remember dad telling us that in six months we’d look back and realize we weren’t training them anywhere near like we were back home,” Shane said. “He was right. So we virtually went just straight to what has worked for him and we’ve just tried to fine tune things along the way. “Over here there’s a lot of emphasis on health and soundness and I think keeping the horses a bit fresher – sort of along the lines of preparing thoroughbreds really. We have the horses looking good, they’re happy and they’re feeling great.” Shane said one of the main challenges they’d faced was working out which tracks suit which horses. “We’re basically racing nearly each day. We tend to stick to the same three or four racetracks, with the furtherest being one and a half hours away from Pine Bush,” he said. “The racing is definitely harder at some of the tracks where they just go all out, all the way – it definitely takes a bit out of the horses.  They run some very fast times, and the drivers kind of keep pushing them hard. “We do race at Meadowlands a lot – they don’t seem to go as hard there as some of the other tracks.  But because of the stakes, Yonkers is definitely the place to be if it suits the horse.  The first half there is always faster than the last. “We have horses that like to lead and be driven forward, but some of the drivers decide after doing the form that the best option is to go back, and that’s where the versatility of the horses comes into play.” Shane said there was a renewed buzz around the industry with a post-COVID rise in stakes being slated soon. “With COVID shutting down the casinos, we’ve been racing for 50 percent of normal stakes,” he said. “It’s going up by another 14 percent in a fortnight and hopefully by next February, everything will be back to normal. “We are learning that the sport over here is very healthy.  Our runners have earnt $412,000 in stakemoney so far.  It’s a bit scary to think that in a normal season it would have been double that.” Two former Aussie pacers to recently join Team Tritton have already made their presence felt in the US. “War Dan followed a second placing with a smart Meadowlands victory in 1.50 flat, while Pat Stanley has a Yonkers win and two placings—all three of his starts have been great,” Shane said. “We’ll just keep whacking away. I think we are adapting pretty well and our horses should keep getting better,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

YONKERS, N.Y. – Since the husband and wife training duo of Lauren and Shane Tritton arrived in the United States this spring, their harness racing stable has been on a tear, winning 10 of its first 35 starts, including a 4-for-17 start at Yonkers Raceway. Of the 12 horses the Trittons brought over from Australia, none have adapted quicker or been more consistent than My Ruebe Star, who brings a four-race win streak to the $33,000 filly and mare open handicap Thursday night (July 30). “The horses have done pretty well,” Shane Tritton said. “We’re still learning and we’re still trying to work out the changes between training in Australia and here, but we’re trying to mold it as we go. The horses have been getting better; we knew they’d get better as we went because we are still trying to work out exactly where to race them and where they needed to be. “(My Ruebe Star) has been the horse that’s acclimatized the quickest. She looks a million dollars and she adapted to the way we’re training here better than the rest. We’re pretty happy with her and hopefully she can keep the ball rolling,” Tritton said. “There’s a couple of little things there that you need to adjust and some horses pick up on it quicker than others. She’s been one that you can just tell by looking at her, she’s dappled up and she’s full of beans. I knew she’d keep getting better, we just don’t know where that will end up.” My Ruebe Star is a 6-year-old New Zealand-bred daughter of Falcon Seelster out of the New York Motoring mare Zenola Star. After showing promise in New Zealand for breeder and co-owner Mike Siemelink, My Ruebe Star was exported to Australia in May 2019 and joined Tritton’s ranks. My Ruebe Star won on debut for her new connections with Lauren Tritton in the sulky in a $14,280 overnight at Menangle June 22, 2019. My Ruebe Star racked up another five wins through the end of February 2020 as she climbed the class ladder. She also finished fourth in the Group 3 Garrards New Years Gift Final at Menangle Jan. 11, in which winner Bright Energy was clocked in 1:50.1. “The guy that owned her in New Zealand sent her over to us just to see how she’s shape up at Menangle and she came to us almost a maiden and she raced right through her grades at Menangle,” Tritton said. “She was probably a season shy of going to the top. She ran fourth in a 1:50.1 mile back home a month before we came over. She was just starting to break into some of the better mares’ races and then we shut her down to bring her over here.” Among My Ruebe Star’s best attributes is her gait. Tritton knew she would fit the American style of racing and the half-mile track at Yonkers Raceway, he just needed to persuade the owners, who had their eyes on stakes races in Australia and breeding her later on. “She’s certainly a horse we were desperate to bring,” Tritton said. “It took a bit of convincing of the owners to bring her over. Once we explained that she should do well here, they were happy enough to give us a crack with her and now they’re obviously pretty happy with the decision. We know she can’t keep winning forever, but she’s certainly got the qualities to take out a big race if she can get the right run. “We just knew that with her gait, she would suit the tracks here and she’s probably fitting them better than we could have imagined,” Tritton continued. “We think she’s only going to get better with a season of racing under her belt here. She really hasn’t taken any harm out of the runs she’s had so far, so hopefully she’s still got a bit in the tank and she can keep stepping up.” My Ruebe Star qualified a runner-up at the Goshen Historic Track June 4 before making her first stateside start in a $10,000 Meadowlands overnight June 12, becoming the first pari-mutuel starter and winner for Team Tritton in America. My Ruebe Star took a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 in repeating a week later. “She was a little bit fresh and needed to get that race start under way,” Tritton said. “First two starts, she came through really well at the Meadowlands and we wanted to get her to Yonkers as soon as we could because we knew she was so good-gaited that she’d have a bit of an advantage there over most horses. Once we got her there, she’s come through those runs brilliantly and it hasn’t really taken much of a toll on her.” Tritton moved My Ruebe Star to Yonkers July 9, where she overcame post eight in a $17,250 overnight, riding a pocket trip behind favorite Feelin Red Hot and utilized a :27.0 final quarter to glide past the pacesetter in the stretch for her third consecutive win. In her latest start at the Hilltop July 16, My Ruebe Star went gate-to-wire in 1:52.3 in a $20,250 overnight to make in four in a row.  My Ruebe Star drew post seven in an open draw in this week’s distaff feature and is 8-1 on the morning line with regular driver Jordan Stratton. Snobbytown, twice a winner and once the runner-up in this class in her last three starts for George Brennan and Ron Burke, is the 3-2 morning line favorite after drawing the inside. The field also includes Imprincessgemma, who’s lone win this season came in the filly and mare open handicap Feb. 14 and who has since finished second in this class three times, including twice behind Snobbytown in her last three starts for the Bongiornos. She drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. Monica Gallagher, Lispatty, Kaitlyn, Robyn Camden, and Diamondtoothgertie complete the field. “It’s a tough draw this week and we know these are the best mares going around Yonkers at the moment, so it’s going to be tough,” Tritton said. “We just know that she’s good enough to mix it with them. When she gets the right run, she’ll certainly be good enough to stick her nose out, that’s for sure.” By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Exceptionally talented pacer Pat Stanley, who claimed this year’s South Australian Pacing Cup in brilliant fashion, is off to the US. The five-year-old gelding, sired by Western Ideal, out of Jaz Tanner (Artiscape), will join the in-form barn of ex-Aussies Shane and Lauren Tritton, at Pine Bush, 130 kms from New York City. Accompanying Pat Stanley will be brown gelding War Dan (Bettors Delight-Kalypso (Safely Kept), formerly prepared at Lara by Amanda Grieve. “We’re pretty excited - Pat Stanley is a terrific horse with so much ability. The other one, War Dan, is extremely honest. They will both be suited to the racing over here—we’ve got no doubts that they’ll fit in the classes nicely,” Tritton said. “We’ve known Danny (Zavitsanos) and Warren (Viney), who own War Dan, for a long time, but this’ll be the first horse they have raced in the States,” he said. “This will take us up to 17 or 18 horses in work. The two latest ones coming over are quality and as long as we keep the ball rolling, all is good.” Team Tritton continues to tick along with regular winners. Early last week they broke new ground when USA-bred trotter La Dolfina was successful at Yonkers, driven by regular reinsman Jordan Stratton. “We trained a few trotters over the years when back in New South Wales but this was something a bit different.  We really didn’t expect to pick up one that was bred and owned in the US,” Shane said. “He’s owned by the three Betts brothers.  Scott Betts, the trainer, is based and races The Meadows, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they thought La Dolfina would be suited to Yonkers. “They actually sent another three down to us as well. They’re hoping they may be better placed down our way.” The husband and wife team travelled to The Downs, Pocono, yesterday to compete at that venue for the very first time. “It was a special day for the country being Independence Day. They are so patriotic over here—they are proud to be Americans with flags outside their homes and buildings. All those things are a new experience for us and we’re just loving it.” The Tritton’s took three runners to the Pocono meeting and got the money with Letspendanitetogetha (1.50-4). It was the pacer’s second victory since making the US his home. Jordan Stratton again took the lines. Elsewhere in the US, former Kevin Pizzuto-trained speedster Majordan (Art Major-Benelise (Vintner) won his first North American start in 1.49-3 over the Scioto Downs 5/8ths mile track at Columbus, Ohio. Part-owner Gordon Banks posted that the pacer, who this year won the $100,000 Newcastle G1 Mile when handled by Todd McCarthy, was in front before the quarter in a zippy 26.2. “He then cut the half in 54.4, pulling away to win by two and a half widening lengths,” Banks added. “Thanks to Virgil Morgan Jnr for a great training job and to Brett Miller for a nice wire-to-wire drive. Also congratulations to our new co-owners in Ned Hodkinson and Milton Leeman.”   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Team Tritton harness racing juggernaut rolled into Yonkers Raceway just before midday yesterday (AEST) - and a sentimental favorite brought home the chocolates at the Aussie stable's first look at the famed New York Raceway. Shane and Lauren Tritton have now won six of their eight starts since hitting the American tracks for the first time a little over a fortnight ago. Yesterday it was a stable favorite, the consistent Yayas Hot Spot (Jeremes Jet-Star Of Heaven (In The Pocket) posting a first-up US win and taking his career victories to 27. "He went super because he was up a bit in grade. Our driver Jordan (Stratton) thought the horse was day-dreaming and could have gone a little faster," Shane said. "We were very pleased with it. He went into the race a bit fat, so hopefully there's some improvement to come with more racing," he said. Yayas Hot Spot has been a great old horse for the Trittons, winning more than $620,000 so far in his career. "He won his first 10 starts with Lauren driving in seven of them, then he's been in two Miracle Miles and won the ($100,000 G1) Newcastle Mile early last year, so he's a pretty special horse for us," Shane said. "The half mile tracks just suit him down to the ground. When we were back home, we were always wanting to send him across to see how he'd go, but it just never worked in, so it's terrific to now be over here with him ourselves." The former Sydneysiders headed off in March this year with a team of a dozen horses to try their luck in the US. And while all the preparation work had been done, the couple is no doubt pinching themselves at how well their relocation is playing out so far. Yayas Hot Spot was their sixth winner, adding his name to a list of Meadowlands successes in Gods Spirit (1.50-1); My Ruebe Star (two wins - 1.50-1 & 1.50.3); Flaming Flutter (1.49-1); and Letspendanitetogtha (1.51). They have had another two starters. Ohoka Johnny ran third in 1.49-3, while Im A Director lost any chance when checked with 800 metres to go and suffering a flat tyre. "We've had an unbelievable start but we realize that it's going to get tougher from here," Shane said. "There's a few bad barrier draws coming up in our next couple of meetings and one of our starters in Foo Fighter is nearly in the open class," he said. "But we have to just aim on being consistent. All we can do is build on what we've learnt so far, putting in the work and doing our best." Tritton said they had received some enquiries from potential owners in recent weeks. "There's been a few reaching out to us and we'll have to sit down and weigh things up at some stage but our first priority is always to our loyal owners," he said. "We arrived here with a stable of 12 and then we've picked up another six since. We've got a few staff with us now and after knowing nothing about horses, they've come a long way!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

AN old marvel of Aussie harness took Team Tritton’s phenomenally successful North American launch to a new level. After two wins from their first two US runners last weekend, Shane and Lauren Tritton snagged another three wins from their next four runners. My Ruebe Star backed-up from her US debut win to repeat the dose, again at The Meadowlands on Saturday morning (NZ time). Their three-race winning streak ended with Ohoka Johnny finished third at The Meadowlands yesterday morning (Sunday), but Team Tritton bounced straight back for wins with former NZ Cup contestant Letspendanitetogetha and Flaming Flutter. “That one (Flaming Flutter) was a bit emotional for us. He’s been such a great horse, but he’s so special to us. Lauren said we weren’t allowed to leave home without him,” Shane said. “We thought he’d settled in really well and were disappointed when he drew the outside for his first run, but it didn’t stop him. “To be four-wide into the first bend, the three-wide and never see the marker pegs, but still put them away and go a 1min49.1sec mile – it just shows his class. “He might be an 11-year-old over here, but he’s going to love the racing and win a lot more races. It’s hard to say he’ll make it back to the top at his age, but he’ll give some good horses a big fright with the right run on the strength of what he did today. People were saying, ‘wow, that’s a serious horse’ after he won.” Flaming Flutter raced 122 times Down Under for 25 wins, 43 placings and $814,235 in stakemoney, mainly for Geoff Webster before joining Team Tritton late last year. He was a top flight juvenile, but it best known for finishing second to Beautide in the 2015 Sydney Inter Dominion final and third to Lennytheshark in the Perth Inter Dominion final nine months later. Team Tritton’s first unplaced runner came in the 15th race at The Meadowlands yesterday when Im A Director copped a check and a flat tyre. In total, they’ve had seven runners for five wins and a third. “It’s certainly been a dream start and it’s a bit surprising because we’re still very much working out how to train the horses here compared to back home,” Shane said. “People are certainly taking notice. We’ve had a few calls from owners which could lead to us getting some more nice horses in the barn.” Team Tritton will race mainly at The Meadowlands and Yonkers, which re-opens today (Monday) after a COVID shutdown. “It’ll be great to have Yonkers back open because they race for such amazing money. They the standard races will be $US44,000 once we get fully past COVID. As it is, they say they’ll be racing for $US33,000,” Shane said.   Adam Hamilton

To quote one of my favorite Australian Football League commentators Brian 'Bristle' Taylor: "Boy Oh Boy...Wow-eee!" And even former harness racing Sydneysiders Shane and Lauren Tritton, now domiciled in North America, admit that they are pinching themselves. The couple is living in Pine Bush, an hour from New York City, and have had two starters for the 100 percent strike rate of two victories. My Ruebe Star got the job done mid Saturday morning Australian time and then stablemate Gods Spirit did likewise the following day. Both won at the famed Meadowlands circuit and were handled by Jordan Stratton. They naturally came in for support on our TAB agencies so there was sure to be plenty of cheering around the country. "We're riding a wave we never want to get off," the Trittons posted. "And a big thank-you goes out to everyone who has helped us along the way. The support we've received has been unbelievable." Shane and Lauren took a team of 12 over with them and have picked up another six horses since arriving in the US in late March. Some of their others yet to be unveiled by Team Tritton include Yayas Hot Spot, Flaming Flutter, Ohoka Johnny, My Rona Gold and Katy Perry, who should all be going around soon. Jordan Stratton has helped Shane and Lauren Tritton to two first up wins ------------ THE superstar of Victorian regionalization racing in the far north west corner of the State, Bernie Winkle is unfortunately taking an enforced break from the action. Bernie Winkle (Rock N Roll Hanover-Dolly McD (Mach Three) recorded six consecutive victories on the Mildura circuit-but it was the authoritative manner he went about business that earnt him a cult following during lockdown racing. The brown gelding, raced by Eric and Heather Anderson, was sent up the Calder Highway by Glenn Douglas, to his long-time mate Geoff Lucas. From April 24 to June 5, Bernie Winkle thoroughly enjoyed his working holiday in the sunshine. Shane Smith guided him to five wins and then stand-in reinsman Andrew Stenhouse (coincidentally both former Broken Hill horsemen), took the horse to a 1.56-4 last start win. Stenhouse, who recently drove his first winner for 10 years, was cool as a cucumber and handled Bernie Winkle with aplomb for an impressive win. Stewards noted after the race the gelding was lame in his off-side foreleg and stood him down until he gets a veterinary clearance, with the problem believed to be a hoof abscess. A relieved Andrew Stenhouse got the job done like a pro on Bernie Winkle at Mildura ------------ THE marvel from Shepparton, nine-year-old pin-up boy San Carlo, is warming up for another campaign. San Carlo (Mach Three-Bridge Player (Classic Garry) performed with plenty of zest in a recent trial and then wasn't all that far away in his first race start for nearly five months. The tough warrior, trained by Stephen O'Donoghue and Bec Bartley, stepped out at a Shepparton meeting last Saturday night. The gelding finished fourth to Courageous Saint, owned by enthusiastic Swan Hill participant Noel Watson, in a handy 1.56-9 for 2190 metres. San Carlo boasts a super-impressive 50 percent win to start strike-rate at the races. He's had 30 victories and 11 minor placings from 60 outings for over $571,000 in stakes. Raced by John Eichhorn, the pacer performed in a tough NZ Inter Dominion campaign last November-December. He later won a fast class event at Mildura on January 24 prior to having a let-up. San Carlo is sure to make his presence felt in feature races on the country circuit. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Former Aussie harness racing team Shane and Lauren Tritton have kicked off a new chapter with the best possible start to their USA move. The couple has a team of 18 in work, and took their first runner to the famed Meadowlands circuit, near New York City, early today Australian time. My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring) didn't disappoint, scoring a comfortable win for reinsman Jordan Stratton. A relieved Shane Tritton described the win as "pretty surreal" but the couple was thrilled to get "the monkey off their back" in the best possible way. "I'm not sure if its relief or what it is, but it was just unbelievable to get the win," he said. "I think the greater relief was actually to get one to the races - we have been under a lot of pressure being away from home and away from our friends. It was a big move and it is a relief to finally be underway." Shane said he was pleased his dad, trainer Peter who moved to the US 20 years ago, was able to be trackside for the win. "Dad's been showing us the ropes, so it was fantastic to have him there. I think he was relieved as well, because I think he was worried we might blame him if things didn't work out as we hoped!" Shane laughed. "It's just so exciting. We've been talking to family and friends back home and you just have to pinch yourself that it's happened." My Ruebe Star was a winner of 10 races in Australia and was among a dozen horses that relocated to the Northern Hemisphere with Team Tritton. "We're so proud of her. She had to do it a bit tough early and we were wondering if we'd had to use her up a bit much. But Jordan said she felt fantastic right from the start, and first up, we just couldn't have asked for any more. "We always liked her back home but she was coming up against he best mares in NSW towards the end. We always thought she just needed to mature a bit and she would take that next step." The couple will follow up with another ex-pat Aussie, again at the Meadowlands, on Saturday night (Sunday morning Australian time) in eight-times Australian winner Gods Spirit (Tintin in America - Cathar). "Gods Spirit is in a similar type of race but we're definitely not getting ahead of ourselves. As long as he runs up to his ability, we'll be happy." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

TEAM Tritton formally start an exciting new chapter of their career in the US on Saturday morning (NZ time). Husband and wife, Shane and Lauren Tritton, moved to the US a couple of months back and have their first two starters at the famed Meadowlands track in New Jersey. Kiwi-bred pair My Ruebe Star and Gods Spirit fly the stable flag. There will be some familiar faces against them with Dexter Dunn and Aussie Andy McCarthy driving at the meeting. “We’ve got 18 in work, 12 we brought across from Australia and six we’ve picked-up over here,” Tritton said. “It’s great to be having our first runners, but we are taking is nice and steadily over here and think we’ll get better with time. “There are so many different viruses over here, you can’t go anywhere near as hard at the horses in training as we did back home, especially in their first few months here. “We’ve had quite a few qualify and they all get in quite well here under the stakemoney handicapping system.” Tritton expects solid showings from Gods Spirit and My Ruebe Star. “Gods Spirit is probably the best up-and-comer we have here. He qualified well with a second to the star here, Wiggle It Jiggleit,” Tritton said. “Of the horses we’ve got, Gods Spirit is the up-and-comer, but the proven Group 1 horses from back home, headed by Flaming Flutter and Yayas Hot Spot, are working well and should do a good job when they start racing soon. “We’re also looking forward to racing Letsspendanitetogetha. He’s come up really well.” Lauren Tritton has been driving at the qualifiers and won two of them last weekend, but will watch from the sidelines for now. “Lauren’s all set to drive when the time is right, but wants to let the horses have a few runs and watch some of the racing before getting amongst it herself. It might be a few weeks I think,” Shane said. Jordan Stratton, a long-time stable driver for Shane’s father, Peter, will drive Gods Spirit and My Ruebe Star this week. “We’re training from the farm Dad trained at, about a hour north of New York City, and Jordan’s had a long association with Dad. He’s especially good as knowing how to drive these former Down Under horses without gassing them too much in their early runs,” Shane said. Team Tritton will race mainly at the Meadowlands and Yonkers, when it re-opens for racing post-COVID on June 22. “It’s been a bit of a blessing the suspension of racing because of COVID for us. It’s given us extra time to get settled-in and find our way. Now we’re keen to get into it,” Shane said.   Adam Hamilton

The big day has finally arrived for ex-pat Aussie harness racing team Shane and Lauren Tritton when they make their first trip to the races. It's now down to business, after 10 weeks of preparation at their new North American base, with the couple having their first two starters at Meadowlands on Friday and Saturday. My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring), a winner of 10 races in Australia, will get the ball rolling on Friday night (race 6), followed by eight-times Australian winner Gods Spirit (Tintin in America - Cathar) on Saturday night (race 5). Lauren said although the COVID-19 shutdown was somewhat of a blessing, allowing the family to settle into their new lives at Pine Bush, an hour from NYC, they were now itching to go. "We're so excited to have our first starters, but we're taking it slow," Lauren said. "We're not rushing into things because we want this to be a long-term success. We'll let the horses build into their preparations and we expect that they'll then improve every start they have moving forward." Lauren Tritton in action at Menangle – next step competing in the US   Their much-anticipated racetrack debut is the highlight of a big fortnight for the couple. Ten of the team they took with them to the US went around successfully in the qualifiers last weekend, where Lauren also made her debut in the bike, landing two wins from two drives. To watch the videos click here "Having my first drive in the qualifying was exciting," Lauren said. "I'll admit, though, it was a little like jumping into the unknown when I jumped in the cart! But once we hit the track, Flame (Flaming Flutter) reminded me that this is just another track, and it's time to get on with the job," she said. "After that, I was really comfortable with an all-time favorite in My Rona Gold. They both scored nice wins and I have to admit, I did really enjoy that!" To watch the videos click here. But both the race starters this weekend will be handled by accomplished North American reinsman Jordan Stratton, a winner of nearly 4000 races. Stratton already has a formidable partnership with Shane's father Peter Tritton, who's been training in the USA for 20 years. Lauren said while she definitely has her eye on regular race driving, she's not rushing that next step. "I really enjoyed driving in the qualifiers, but I'm not going to jump straight onto all the horses," she said. "I want them to get used to the racing here and Jordan has really helped us get them ready, so I'm happy to let him get them sorted. "I'll pick my time to start driving in races, but I'm sure it won't be long. I'm ready to rock 'n' roll when the time feels right, but right now, I'm just enjoying working the horses with Shane. "I know women don't drive as often here especially at the higher level - and that was the case in Australia, too, at one point. "But we proved we are more than capable in Australia and I've got no doubt in time the same will happen here. "If I can be a part of that movement, I would be very proud." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

They're without doubt one of the best-credentialled harness racing partnerships ever to leave Australian shores to try their luck in North America. But Shane and Lauren Tritton say they're now back on the steepest learning curve of their careers as they prepare for a return to racing in a new continent and a new post-COVID industry phase. When COVID-19 struck, the husband-and-wife team was forced to fast-forward plans to move their training operation to the United States in March. But the couple, and their three year old son Levi, have served out their lockdown in the picturesque hamlet of Pine Bush (population approx. 2000) about one hour north of New York City, and Shane says they're now itching to go once racing resumes. "The Pine Bush training facility is absolutely state-of-the art - it's incredible and, in hindsight, the enforced break has probably been in our favor. It's been a good chance to get settled and our preparations haven't been disrupted at all," Shane said. "The word around is that it could soon be back to normal after coronavirus so we are very hopeful," he said. "The horses we brought over here will have to qualify before being eligible to race, so once we get the green light to start up again, we could be at the qualifying trials in a few weeks and we just have to run two minutes to be good to go." The couple begin the next phase of their training and driving careers with not only impressive CVs, but enthusiasm, a hard work ethic and a few handy horses. Although the list of Aussie trainers and drivers who have tasted success in the US and Canada is impressive, most experienced their biggest highs in the sport in North America -- there are few who have elected to gamble with a move while they're at the top of the game in Australia. Shane Tritton holds the record in his home State of New South Wales for the most wins in a season (222), and has won the past three NSW Metropolitan trainers' titles. He dominated in the NSW Hunter region while at Keinbah, winning seven consecutive Newcastle premierships, and the Tritton Team's dominance continued after a move to Menangle in early 2016. Lauren and Shane Tritton prior to departing from Australia (Ashlea Brennan Photo) Lauren Tritton is no less accomplished. She blasted onto the scene four years ago, and became the youngest driver in history to drive 500 winners in Australia. She was the first female ever to win the NSW Metropolitan Driver's Title and has more than 900 winners (including more than 100 Group races) to her name. Shane said Lauren was keen to continue her driving career in the US, although he acknowledged she would take her time to adjust. "Mostly the other women seem to drive only in amateur races here, which are equivalent to the show races back home. But she'll ease into it and get used to the different style of racing before she starts driving our horses," Shane said. "She's serious, though! She's ordered a race cart and new helmet and she'll be busting to get amongst it. "If she can make her mark - and I'm biased, but I'm sure she will - we're bound to see more and more girls competing." Shane said the couple was thrilled with the quality of the Pine Bush Training facility. "We have a great barn there, and can also use another that's nearby," he said. "The barn's been refurbished to double the size of the boxes and we've opened them up more as well, so the horses can see each other. "The training complex itself has one main track, that's modelled off the Yonkers half mile raceway, and there's also a pool, 12 to 14 horse walkers and lush paddocks. Trackwork at Pine Bush Training Facility "It's a great facility, but we're not looking to do big numbers. We've done big teams in the past, up to 94 horses at one stage, before we shifted to Menangle. Then once we were at Menangle we had between 40 and 45 in work. "But we're aiming here to keep our numbers to 20, because at the end at the end of the day, we are here to make a career and set things up as a family." Team Tritton selected the pick of the Australian race team for the move, and will be relying on a trio of big guns in Flaming Flutter, Yayas Hot Spot and Salty Robyn to get established. "We plan to race at Yonkers and Meadowlands, which are both an hour away and it's exciting to look at the opportunities from the different tiers of racing. At Yonkers for example- the races start at $US15k ($A26k) and range up to $US40k ($A72k). "Those three horses have all raced at the top level and we're hopeful they'll do a job for us here. And we've also brought a few others who are versatile types, so it's exciting times. "We're certainly encouraging any owners back home to have a look at the opportunities here to send horses over because with the races handicapped on dollars earnt in the past five starts and with the Australian dollar conversion, they certainly kick off on some nice easy marks." Settling in to their new lives has been made easier by Tritton's father Peter, who's trained successfully in the US after moving about 20 years ago. "Our move probably started in the pipeline two years ago when we brought Levi over to visit Dad," Shane said. "We talked about it because we were finding it a bit hard to stay ahead financially in Australia. "We really didn't know if a move was possible but after putting in an application, we were surprised to get the go-ahead last January-February and then when coronavirus hit, it all just had to be done in a hurry. "We've found Americans to be very much comfortable in just letting you run your own show, but Dad has been a massive help and he's here to give us a guide when we need it, which has been awesome in finding our feet. "We naturally think a lot about home because we left my mum and sister, as well as Lauren's parents, her sister and grandparents, who are Lauren's biggest followers. And of course, we left all of our friends behind, but we are still in touch with everyone and we still check all the race results and news." Hoofnote: Australasian trainers who have been trail blazers in the US include Brett Pelling, Noel Daley, Kelvin Harrison, Peter Walsh, Chris Ryder, Peter Tritton, Ross Croghan, Richard "Nifty" Norman, Pete Foley, Chris Scicluna, Marty Noonan, Darren Cassar, Ross Wolfenden, Darren McCall, Tahnee Camilleri and Aaron Lambert. DownUnder superstar reinsmen also add to the list, including Andrew McCarthy and Dexter Dunn. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Following last week’s announcement of the first two Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels (Lulu Le Mans and Major Occasion), Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway are thrilled to now confirm our three latest Australian competitors.   Pete’s Big Jim (3yo Emerald), Falcon Stride (4yo Emerald) and Majestic Player (4yo Ruby) will represent their homeland in this year’s edition of the Jewels.   Shane and Lauren Tritton will bring back Pete’s Big Jim, who was a gallant second beaten just a neck by Another Master- piece last year, and talented four-year-old gelding Falcon Stride across the Tasman for a Jewels endeavor.   Peter Kohlsdorf is the owner of Pete’s Big Jim, and was ecstatic to be able to return to New Zealand with his pride and joy.   “It’s hardly sunk in to be honest,” said Kohlsdorf. “I’ve been thinking about it since last year when we were just beaten a neck by Another Masterpiece. So we set a programme to come back with the horse to the Jewels again, if it was at all possible.”   Pete’s Big Jim has not had the best of luck this year, struggling with setbacks and lameness but Kohlsdorf and Tritton report the horse is on the way back up.   Falcon Stride is a horse that Shane Tritton has a high opinion of and has won 6 of his 14 career starts. He has previously won over a mile in 1.51.7.   “He’s a horse that I’ve said several times, if he was in a Miracle Mile and they went 1.48, I’ve got no doubt he’d be good enough to be there, ” said Tritton.   “I’m really excited about him. I know it’s a strong division don’t get me wrong, and he’s a horse that a lot of people won’t know a lot about. But he’ll turn some heads at the top of the straight if he can be close enough.”   Anton Golino will also return to the Harness Jewels when he presents four-year-old trotter Majestic Player in the Ruby.   Golino campaigned with Dance Craze at Cambridge in 2018. She was third despite being desperately unlucky in the running and has since gone on to win the Great Southern Star and Saturday night’s La Coocaracha.   The Yabby Dams Farm owned Majestic Player extended his career record to 13 wins from 25 starts when winning at Menangle untouched on Saturday night. This season alone he has won 7 of his ten attempts.   Pat Discoll of Yabby Dams Farm is elated to returning to New Zealand with Jewels contender for Australia. But he did explain to HRNZ that the horse has not been without his challenges.   “We are very honoured and privileged to get the invite and providing the horse has pulled up ok after Saturday night we will definitely be there,” said Driscoll.   “He’s a bit of a stable star.”   “The horse has actually come from nowhere,” explained Driscoll. “As a young horse and a two-year-old he was short in stature and gangly and everyone loved him because even though he tried, he couldn’t trot.”   “Each year he’s just got better and better and from the horse’s point of view it’s a wonderful story. A horse that had a wonderful will to win but just couldn’t trot, and each year has just improved. He just seems to be getting better every start.”   Yabby Dams Racing is an exclusive trotting focused farm, following European training styles and focusing on the best trotting bloodlines worldwide. In an interview (link below) Driscoll describes his passion for the square gait breed and how that has led to the establishment of Yabby Dam Racing.   New Zealand Racing Board Harness Bookmaker Richard Wilson has released the opening prices on the New Zealand TAB for the latest Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels; Pete’s Big Jim $26; Falcon Stride $12 and Majestic Player $8. All IRT Harness Jewels future markets are now open on www.tab.co.nz   To hear an interview with Shane Tritton, Peter Kohlsdorf and Pat Driscoll please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=vC2kelvv66M&feature=youtu.be   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc          

It wasn’t with the horse most expected, but Shane and Lauren Tritton broke through for a special Newcastle Mile win in dramatic fashion on Friday night. Yayas Hot Spot, the first emergency when fields were released and an $81 Fixed Odds chance, made the most of an inside run with Lachie Manzelmann in the gig to beat Little Rascal by a nose and pacesetter Picard by a half head in 1:54:7. Odds-on favourite, track record-holder and defending champion Majordan galloped at the start and never recovered in the race which was delayed by almost an hour because of a rain-affected track and nearby lightning. The rest of the meeting was abandoned after the group 1 race. The surprise victory gave the Trittons, who were raised in the Hunter and dominated pacing in the region before moving to Menangle Park three years ago, another group 1 but their first Newcastle Mile title. Yayas Hot Spot earned a start in the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 2 at Menangle with the win. Yayas Hot Spot, on the inside, gets the win Yayas Hot Spot, now eight, had finished third in the group 3 Newcastle Mile in 2018 and was eighth in 2016. Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto was expected to win with Majordan or Picard and the Tritton-trained Maximan was next best in betting. But it was the Adam Sofoulis-owned Yayas Hot Spot, which had barrier two and gained a start after Rakarolla was scratched, that flew late from a sit three back on the pegs. It’s most recent start was a ninth in the Inter Dominion consolation.  “It’s definitely a special one, especially for that horse,” Shane Tritton said. “The owners have been big supporters of Newcastle for a long time and this horse has been here two years when no one wanted to come because it was only worth $30,000, and he just deserves it. I’m really proud. “He’s been working super. You can’t go off how old they are and what they’re doing. At the end of the day, he’s feeling good. He’s raced the best horses in the Inter Dominion and he came out of that great. “He’s been to the Miracle Mile before, the Hunter Cup, the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion, so you knew he was good enough. Just sometimes people forget. “We got a bit of luck. The track surface might have helped us. It brought a few of them back to us. Instead of going 1:50, they’re going 1:54, and at the end of the day, he’s first past the post and that’s all you can ask.” The group 1 win was a first for Manzelmann. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission from Newcastle Herald

AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase Muscle Factory has registered his second record from three starts this season. Stopping the clock in a brilliant 1:49.6 three weeks ago when first-up from a five-month spell, Muscle Factory became the only three-year-old in the southern hemisphere to break the magical 1:50 barrier. At Tabcorp Park Melton last night (Saturday) the son of Roll With Joe produced a bold front runner performance to capture the Victoria Derby in 1:54 over 2240 metres. As such Muscle Factory equalled Our Waikiki Beach’s age track record set in the 2016 Breeders’ Crown. Thrilled with the colt’s performance, co-trainer Shane Tritton revealed a trip across the Tasman is being considered for Muscle Factory. Tritton has set his sights on the New Zealand Derby on April 5 and the Harness Jewels on June 1. First Muscle Factory will return to Tritton’s New South Wales base to prepare for his home state Derby, which begins with heats in Menangle on February 23. Should all go according to plan, Muscle Factory will then contest the $200,000 Final on March 2. “We paid the nomination fee for the New Zealand Derby during the week, so it is definitely on the cards,” Tritton said. “He has owners in New Zealand so they’d like to see him over there to race. “There is also the Jewels before being back in Melton for the Breeders’ Crown towards the end of the season, so there are plenty of options for him. “He’ll head home now have a couple of easy days then get ready for the Derby at Menangle.” Driven by co-trainer Lauren Tritton, Muscle Factory began brilliantly to lead from barrier six as Max Delight and then Hurricane Harley worked on his outside. Striding clear of the pack leaving the back straight, Muscle Factory scored by four-and-a-half metres from Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art four-and-a-half metres away third. “He was driven a little more conservatively in the heat and during the week we realised it was to his detriment as being driven for speed suits him better,” Tritton said. “Lauren rated him perfectly and he showed he can maintain his speed over a longer distance than a mile.”   APG Media

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