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Melton trainer Ross Sugars' run of form continued on Sunday at the famous Redwood Carnival meeting at Maryborough. Sugars trained the winner of the 2690-metre Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby, Illawong Helios, which overpowered hot favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten in the last 200m. Ross said driver – and his son – Greg Sugars delivered a “10 out of 10” drive aboard Illawong Helios, finding the back of Claudys Princess early before tracking Our Twentyten off the back and peeling three-wide into the lane the final time. “They were all running on empty in the straight,” Ross Sugars said. “It was a very slow last quarter (32 seconds). It was the first go for all of them at that kind of distance and it was just a case of those at the front having done more work, which allowed us to be that little bit stronger in the straight. “Our filly keeps on trying and she just found the line a bit better because of the way the race was run. That was the difference.” Sugars said heading down the back the last time he started thinking his filly was capable of at least running a place. “I even thought ‘don’t tell me she’s going to win’,” he said. Sugars said Claudys Princess, which finished runner-up in the Derby 1.7m behind Illawong Helios, was still the best three-year-old filly in the business and said her run on Sunday was enormous. But it was Illawong Helios’s day, the daughter of Majestic Son breaking a run of three consecutive second-place finishes in the Oaks and two Vicbred Super Series races. Illawong Helios set a new race record with his winning mile rate of 2:01.6 eclipsing the mark set by Blitzthemcalder last year by 0.3secs. She will now head to the Breeders Crown. Illawong Helios paid $23 on the tote. Sugars, who said he was not a betting man, admitted if he was an odds watcher he'd have moved at that price. "She was an 8-1 to 10-1 chance, I thought. Those odds were enormous," he said. Another trotter from the Sugars stable, four-year-old mare Quite A Moment, also won on Redwood day, taking out the John Slack Memorial Trotters Handicap over 2190m. Quite A Moment recorded a 58-second last half to score by 1.9m over Lord Liam, last year’s three-year-old trotters’ Breeders Crown champion hitting her straps ahead of this year’s series. “She’s done a really good job in the last 12 months. She’ll have a run or two and then she’ll be back in the Breeders Crown for the four-year-olds’ race.” On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton Sugars-trained Bettor Rock On made it five starts Down Under for five wins. The former New Zealander sat parked in the Yeomans Slate and Stone Winter Championship Final before sprinting up down the back in 27.8secs and skipping clear of early leader Essbee Doubleyou in a 28.4-second last quarter to win in a rate of 1:54.4. “He’s done the job and won five in a row,” Sugars said. “We’ll give him a break now and then prepare him for the new season and target some country cups. The Kilmore Cup (October 26) would be an aim. He’s a very good stand-start horse.” Sugars said the brilliant Youranut (Vicbred Super Series 4YO Final winner last year) was back in work and would resume racing in the next month or so. By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

When Alannah Hall and Have Faith In Me were successful at Ashburton yesterday it was the 56th time that Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have trained multiple winners on a card this season. The 55th time was last Friday night at Addington where they were successful with Saratoga and Vice Consul, who where both driven by Mark Purdon. However, on Sunday Purdon was driving at Maryborough in Victoria so it was Rasmussen who did the driving honours. In the first race she gave two-year-old trotting filly Alannah Hall a beautiful trip in the trail before using the passing lane for a neck win. Owned by The Good Sports Syndicate which has enjoyed a tremendous season, Alannah Hall is a half-sister to top three-year-old trotter (Our) Twentyten and is the fourth New Zealand winner by top American stallion Angus Hall. Remarkably, Purdon and Rasmussen also train two of his other three NZ winners in (My) Arya, who finished a very good second in the Redwood Classic on Sunday, and the talented Petite One. Rasmussen then guided Adore’s full-brother, Have Faith In Me, to an effortless win, dashing away for a three length win in a slick last quarter of 26.7. Bettor With Bourbon, who is also from a family that Purdon has had plenty of success with, finished in second with stable foreman Ross Payne in the bike. Both juveniles are owned by the Dunfords, giving them the race Quinella. The lethal partnership has now trained 19 individial two-year-old winners this season and 156 in total, which is 18 winners more than Purdon’s previous best term of 138 when in partnership with Grant Payne. By Mitchell Robertson

Filly Illawong Helios upstaged the two punters’ favourites Claudys Princess and Our Twentyten to take out the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough on Sunday. In front of a big crowd, Greg Sugars gave Illawong Helios, who is trained by Greg's father Ross Sugars, the perfect run in transit in the Group 1 race before overpowering star filly Claudys Princess and colt Our Twentyten in the home straight. It was a Derby for the ages, with pressure up front right from the start of the 2690m event. Claudys Princess (Gavin Lang) dashed to the lead at the bell before Chris Alford attacked aboard Our Twentyten down the back straight. All the while Sugars was biding his time with Illawong Helios and when they swung into the straight he popped out three-wide to stake his claim. The trio battled it out up the lane with Illawong Helios eventually prevailing victorious, the daughter of Majestic Son scoring by 1.7m over Claudys Princess, with Our Twentyten third another metre away. Asdenro’s run was valiant, the early leader battling on well despite the strong tempo throughout to finish fourth. One Over Da Moon over-raced early and weakened out to finish well back, while Imamenace had no luck whatsoever early and finished second-last. The mile rate for the Derby was 2:01.6. Illawong Helios By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria  

Brilliant trotter Eljaykay Phoenix is this year’s Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic champion. The son of Sundon from the all-conquering David Aiken yard made it six wins from seven starts in the $50,505 Group 1 event on Sunday at Maryborough. Runner-up My Arya made a race of it though, the New Zealand two-year-old champ getting within a neck of Eljaykay Phoenix at the end of the 2190m journey. The pair finished 12.5m clear of third placegetter Endsino and will both be leading contenders come Breeders Crown finals time next month. Sunday’s victory was junior driver Josh Aiken’s second Group 1 triumph after he won on Eljaykay Phoenix in the Vicbred Super Series final recently for his first. Eljaykay Phoenix worked to the lead early in the Redwood before coming home in a last half-mile of 58.7secs. My Arya and Mark Purdon used the sprint lane to close on the winner late, while Endsino for Andy and Kate Gath worekd home strongly for third after travelling three back the markers. Fabrication finished fourth and Sheza Amason finished fifth. The well-backed Twice As Much had a day to forget, galloping twice in running to finish tailed off last. Eljaykay Phoenix By Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Australian trotters are getting faster every year as a result of smarter breeding and modern training techniques. And the fact the Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Group 1 Redwood Classic at Maryborough field gets better every year is a direct correlation to Australia’s burgeoning passion for the squaregaiter. David Aiken-trained Eljaykay Phoenix is the favourite for Sunday’s $50,505 two-year-old Classic despite a second-row draw (gate 10) in the stand-start race. The standing start will be relatively new to most of the runners, who have been contesting mobile-start races of late as they look to etch their names among the country’s leading juvenile trotting ranks in races such as the Vicbred Super Series. Eljaykay Phoenix won the colts and geldings’ Super Series final with panache, comfortably accounting for runner-up Illawong Helios and third placegetter Black Valley – both of whom he meets again on Sunday. Eljaykay Phoenix has won five out of six starts but interestingly his only defeat has come at his only stand-start race. New Zealand’s champion two-year-old trotter My Arya has drawn gate one on Sunday, the Brent Lilley-trained, Mark Purdon-driven daughter of Angus Hall out to follow in the footsteps of previous Redwood filly winners Lady Thor (1987), Truscott Dawn (1995), Lacey Truscott (1997), Petite Morley (1998), Jauriol (2004), Elusive Charm (2009), Maidstone Miss (2011) and Daenarys Targaryen (2013). My Arya comfortably won her Australian debut race at Melton’s Tabcorp Park last weekend off a 10m handicap in a stand-start race. Early money has come for New South Wales raider Twice As Much, which is unbeaten in two runs to date at Menangle and will be driven by gun reinsman Luke McCarthy. Twice As Much opened $12 and had shortened into $8 as of Thursday with TAB fixed odds. Andy Gath has two runners entered in this year’s Redwood, impressive last-start Super Series fillies’ winner Endsino, which has drawn gate eight and will be driven by Kate Gath, and Naked Majesty, which will start from gate five for John Caldow. “It’s a bit of a tricky draw for Endsino and being a filly taking on the boys is always a bit hard,” Gath said of Endsino, whose mother Jauriol is a past Redwood champion. “These races can be about being in the right place at the right time. If you trot the best on the day you’re always a chance. “Naked Majesty bombed the start last time but she went really good after that. If she gets away good, there’s probably not much between my two.” Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan will start Illawong Armstrong in the Classic, the impressive gelding finishing second to Eljaykay Phoenix in the Super Series Final. Illawong Armstrong has won four of six starts and Quinlan has a huge opinion of him, but his manners can be a worry. If he trots, he’s a huge chance. The Redwood Classic is Race 5 on Saturday’s Maryborough program and is scheduled to start at 2.06pm. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Imamenace earned a reputation as a giant-killer and a giant when he won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ trotting final recently at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Peter Cormican-trained gelding, which stands over 17 hands high, started cricket-score odds before upstaging Spidergrace and Asdenro over 2240m. It was an amazing feat to win a Group 1 that night, as that run was only Imamenace’s second visit to the racetrack. On Sunday he will contest the Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby over 2690m at Maryborough, hoping to pull off another upset at start number three. Grant Campbell replaces Imamenace’s usual driver, Greg Sugars, who has elected to drive his father’s trotter Illawong Helios. Cormican, who trains out of Arcadia, was visibly shocked and thrilled after his gelding’s last-start success. “This is the first time I’ve won a Group 1 and I’m going to make the most of it,” he said moments after the win. Speaking on Thursday, Cormican said he was sure Imamenace would not disappoint on Sunday. “We’re going to be the fourth, fifth or sixth horse picked again but we’re just happy to be in the race,” he said. “He did a super job to win that last race but geez, it’s a big ask to win this at his third start.” Asked to compare Imamenace’s trackwork this time compared to before his last-start success, Cormican said it was “on a par”. “He had a good hit-out this morning. He’ll have a bit of a break after this race because he’s not entered in the Breeders Crown. “We’re not going to rush him.” Despite the wide draw (gate seven) on Sunday, Cormican said the horse was likely to push forward early. “We’ll probably come out and have a bit of a look,” he said. “We just don’t want him on the fence.” Our Twentyten opened favourite for the Derby, which is scheduled to run at 3.18pm, with filly Claudys Princess tightening in from $3.60 into $3 early with fixed-odds betting. Imamenace eased from $12 to $15 overnight on Wednesday. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

The Redwood Carnival rolls into Maryborough this weekend for three days of top-notch trotting action. It all begins on Friday with an eight-race program kicking off at 12.45pm before racing continues on Saturday and Sunday. The on-track highlights will come on Sunday with the running of the time-honoured Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic for two-year-olds and the Group 1 Victoria Trotters Derby for three-year-olds. Music lovers are well catered for throughout the carnival, with Australian country music legend James Blundell and rising star Courtney Conway entertaining patrons on Saturday night and Conway backing up with a performance on Sunday after the last race. Friday night will see the annual Redwood Dinner Dance from 6.30pm featuring more live music, with overnight camping available for patrons from $10. Racegoers can also secure a camping spot on the Saturday night, following Saturday’s six-race trots program. Friday will see a Last Five Winners Jackpot of $500 up for grabs, with other prizes and giveaways for patrons throughout the day. The first race on Saturday will be at 11am, with a courtesy bus to and from the Maryborough post office. On Sunday a mammoth 10-race program will be run and won with the Group 1 Redwood Classic featuring some of the best up-and-coming two-year-old trotters from Australia and New Zealand. The Derby meanwhile has also attracted a bumper field, with in-form filly Claudys Princess to start from pole for champion reinsman Gavin Lang. Liberal candidate for Ripon Louise Staley said the three-day event was a great way to bring people together and attract them to Maryborough for a number of days. "This event is a fun way to support local jobs, the local econony, local entertainers and the local racing industry," Ms Staley said. "The Victorian Coalition Government's Raceday Attraction Program will provide $17,227 towards the event, with the Maryborough Harness Racing Club contributing $6479 and Harness Racing Victoria contributing $5832. In-kind donations totalling $4850 have also been provided through the club." The Raceday Attraction Program, part of the Coalition Government's Victorian Racing Industry Fund, aims to attract people back to the state's racetracks and target new audiences through partnering with the local community. HRV Media

Mildura harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp has achieved what is believed to be an Australian, and maybe even a world, first. Cramp's stable absolutely dominated proceedings at his home track on Tuesday night, not only winning every race but recording a trifecta in Race 1 and the quinella in the third, fifth and seventh events. Shayne drove three winners himself, while Reece Moore also had a winning treble and Greg Cramp booted home two victors for the stable. It began with the Fishers Supermarkets Pace when Lis Mara Shadow (Greg Cramp) defeated stablemate Boltenin by 9.8m, while another Cramp horse Anarion finished third. The second event, the Redwood Day @ Maryborough Sunday Pace, went to Cramp-trained two-year-old Mach Three filly Aldebaran Brandi, which defeated runner-up Lucky Eight and another Cramp runner East Emperor in third. Race 3, the Sunraysia Daily Pace, was taken out by Macray Soiree, Cramp’s three-year-old Grinfromeartoear filly, which defeated stablemate Glen Alpine Drive by 5.3m. The Cramp wagon rolled on in Race 4, the Seelite Windows and Doors Pace, when Soho Jagger prevailed victorious 8.5m over Georges Lad in second and yet another Cramp runner in Squiggymaguire in third. The fifth event saw the Cramps in the winners’ stall in the Bill Hanson Memorial Pace, with a stable quinella via Philtra Phella defeating Sutter Man. Hargrave took out Race 6, the Mildura Sports Pace, Cramp’s only runner in the race prevailing by 12.1m. The seventh event went to Inransit, while stablemate Vivant gave Cramp yet another quinella. And in the last history was made in emphatic fashion, Reece Moore piloting Cramp’s Cenosilocophobia to victory by a huge margin. Moore gave an emphatic victory salute as he crossed the line in first place; but his winning margin was so enormous he probably could have got out 50m before the line and danced his horse and sulky to success. Trots fans' Twitter and Facebook feeds were all about Cramp after the last race, many suggesting it was one of the most remarkable feats seen in the sport's history. By Cody Winnell  (Harness Racing Australia)

Bolinda harness racing trainer Kari Males is enjoying a blistering run of form. Males, whose two-year-old stable star Niki No No won the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, had a winner on Tuesday night at Shepparton with trotter The Truth before backing it up on Wednesday afternoon with six-year-old gelding Hall Of Famer victorious at Maryborough. It means Males’ last three runners to the races have been winners. Hall Of Famer, a C6 horse, utilised the claim for junior driver Kyle Marshall in the C4-C5 Bill Davies Memorial Pace over 1690m. Marshall took the son of Blissfull Hall to the breeze early, outside pacemaker With Gusto (Daryl Douglas). At the 400m, Hall Of Famer poured the pressure on full-blast, taking the lead early in the home straight before With Gusto fought back gamely to go down by a neck. Another junior driver in Mark Pitt enjoyed a great day out at Maryborough with a winning double. Pitt piloted Yankee Strutter home in the Col and Margaret Ford Memorial 2YO Pace (Race 1) before bookending the program with victory in the last on Waltalight. Both winners were trained by Wayne Potter. Two heats of the Trustees Carisbrook Racecourse Reserve Trotters Handicap were run and won at Maryborough, with Bill Morgan trained-and-driven Gioiosa Ionica victorious in the first heat by 4.3m over William John, while Tennotrump gelding Jay Gee from the Ross Graham stable won the second heat by 8.4m with Daryl Douglas in the sulky. Veteran trainer-driver Ginger Gleeson drove Sun Bird into second behind Jay Gee, the 10-year-old trotter finding some form at huge odds. Peter Manning and Greg Sugars combined with Village Jasper gelding Mixedwithajasper in the Seelite Windows and Doors 3YO Pace over 1690m, the three-year-old defeating Fremarks Ceejay by 3.7m in a mile rate of 1:57.2. Fremarks Ceejay and trainer-driver Courtney Slater bowled along freely at the front of the field for much of the race but couldn’t match the winner in the last 50m. Alan Dunsmuir-trained Western Gretel continued her strong recent form with victory in the McPhersons Printing Group Pace, defeating hot favourite Hellovaway by 3.6m. Driven a treat by young gun reinsman Alex Ashwood, Western Gretel finished too strongly for Hellovaway (Michael Sullivan), which was backing up after a gutsy seventh in the Vicbred Super Series Final on Saturday night. And another junior driver, Corey Bell, scored career win number 11 aboard Stunning Grin in the Happy 90th Frank Bartlett Pace over 2190m. The three-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding from the Vince Vallelonga yard prevailed by 8.1m at $1.60 in a mile rate of 1:59.4. by Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

Josh Aiken celebrated his 21st birthday last month and received the ultimate belated present at the trots on Friday night. The rising-star young reinsman drove Eljaykay Phoenix to victory in the two-year-old trotting males’ Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final at Tabcorp Park (pictured below). It was Aiken’s first Group 1 winner and it gave him the ultimate buzz. “It felt awesome coming around the home turn. That’s just unreal. I can’t explain how good it feels,” he said immediately after the race. Aiken’s father David trains Eljaykay Phoenix at his Avenel property, where Josh plays an integral role. There’s no doubting young Aiken’s future in the cart should he elect to make a long-term career out of harness racing. He’s cool under pressure and his style in the sulky is reminiscent of a professional reinsman many years his senior. Aiken is studying equine science at Charles Sturt University but has deferred after a semester to focus on his driving during a busy period for the stable. “It’s something I’m definitely going to be getting back into but I deferred after the first semester to focus on the Breeders and the Sires. It’s a pretty busy time,” he said. After completing his Year 12 studies Aiken spent some time working at the family stables before travelling for 18 months. “I’ve been back working full time at the stables for just over 12 months now,” he said. “I did a little bit when I’d finished Year 12 but then spent some time on a travelling holiday.” Aiken said the stable’s focus had quickly turned to the Breeders Crown after the weekend’s Vicbred finals, stable-star Lennytheshark, who took out the four-year-old pacing males' final on Saturday night, one of the key competitors for the August features. “Dad still doesn’t think he’s got him 100 per cent fit, so it’s scary to think he still might have improvement on what he’s already done,” he said. Eljaykay Phoenix will head towards the Redwood Carnival at Maryborough on July 20. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Popular harness racing horseman Anton Golino is only working two horses at the moment but his stable is full of talent with promising two year olds Twice As Much and Artistic Flite.  Twice As Much won the Breeders Challenge for two year old trotters on Sunday at Tabcorp Park Menangle and Golino will now turn his attention towards Victoria. "I've only got the two horses in work at the moment but that suits me because I have committed to Belinda and Luke McCarthy to do all of their farrier work so that keeps me very busy," Golino said. "I was really happy to see Twice As Much win on Sunday, he's a pretty good trotter and to be honest he's not even ready so at this stage I'm going to take him to the Redwood at Maryborough." The big trotters day at Maryborough will be held on Sunday July 20 and win lose or draw Twice As Much will held to the paddock straight after the event. "I'm going to shut him down after the Redwood and give him a good break because I think if he continues to improve he might become a derby type horse next season." "He's not Breeders Crown eligible so that's not even an option." Twice As Much is raced by internationally recognised French trainer Jean Pierre Dubois, a horseman that enjoyed success at the highest level across the world. Artistic Flite last raced on May 17 when he finished second in the Gr. 1 Nursery Pace at Albion Park. "The plan is to trial him on July 15 at Menangle and then return the following week for a heat of the Breeders Crown, I also want to give him a good break at the end of the season, he has had the ten starts and has done a great job winning the Bathurst Gold Crown."  

Superb trotting filly Claudys Princess edged out Illawong Helios in the first heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for 3YO trotting fillies today at Maryborough. The Mick Blackmore-trained star, who last start won the Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Trotters Oaks, went 2:02.4 with a last half of 61.5 to defeat the Ross Sugars-trained runner-up by a half-neck. Gavin Lang didn’t bustle Claudys Princess early and allowed her to balance up three back on the pegs, following Illawong Helios, which had the back of race leader Illawong Moonshine. Turning for home Illawong Moonshine had run her race and was quickly gathered up by Illawong Helios, but once the sprint lane opened up Claudys Princess darted through with a successful late winning bid. Sister Of Sonoko ran third for Ross Graham, while Kapitan Claire from the Sugars yard with Kylie Sugars in the sulky ran fourth. Claudys Princess has now won 11 races from 14 starts. Later on the card top three-year-old trotter Asdenro won the boys’ Vicbred heat by 3.9m over Guiltless. Haydon Gray took the David Van Ryn-trained son of Armbro Variable to the front early from gate five, holding off all challengers late to score over David Abrahams-trained Guiltless, with Alan Tubbs-trained Drunken Maniac finishing on for third. Savannah Jay Jay put some value into first fours with Neil McCallum guiding the Stan Cameron-trained gelding into fourth place despite a scratchy beginning. Favourite Holdonsu made it seven wins from 16 starts with victory in the Vicbred 3YO males’ pacers heat at Maryborough, the Jayne Davies-trained, Rodney Petroff-driven son of Elsu scoring a head win over Jedi Mind from the David Aiken stable, with Time Capsule coming in third. My Bella Starr captured the 3YO pacing fillies’ Vicbred heat for trainer Adam Kelly and Gavin Lang in Race 8. The daughter of Art Major/Badlands Legend went 1:59.8 and prevailed by 1.6m over runner-up Distant Memory, who had made the trip south from New South Wales for trainer-driver Kerry-Ann Turner, with Phil Chircop-trained The System Black getting third-place prize money for driver Petroff. Lang capped off a winning treble in the last race on the program, the Vicbred seventh heat of the 3YO colts and geldings, aboard Presidentialsecret for Emma Stewart. The Presidential Ball gelding prevailed by 4.4m over Young Modern for Michael Stanley, while Lisa Miles guided Su You Too into third place. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Pinup filly Claudys Princess will be chasing a seventh successive victory when she steps out in the first race at Maryborough on Thursday. Mick Blackmore-trained Claudys Princess is coming off a Group 1 Glenferrie Farm Trotters Oaks win at Melton, where she pocketed connections $40,298 with a 2.2m win over Illawong Helios in a mile rate of 2:01.4. The lucrative Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series is seeing some of harness racing’s biggest stars hitting country tracks right across Victoria in their bid to qualify for a spot in the July 4-July 5 grand finals at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Claudys Princess will be hoping to continue her winning form in the first heat of the 3YO trotting fillies’ Super Series, which kicks off the Maryborough program at 12.15pm. Illawong Helios, from the Ross Sugars stable, has drawn gate one alongside Claudys Princess (two) for Thursday’s race, while Jodi Quinlan-trained Illawong Moonshine usually fires out of the blocks and should be serving it up to any potential frontrunners early from gate five. The 3YO trotting colts and geldings will contest their heat in Race 4 at Maryborough. Guiltless, which finished runner-up to One Over Da Moon in the VHRSC Holmfield last start, the highly talented Asdenro and in-form Tiavons Dream are among those in action. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan experienced a rollercoaster ride at the track last weekend, with a brilliant winning double on Friday night at Melton followed by a fall at Ballarat 24 hours later. “I’m a bit sore,” Quinlan said of the fall from Sir Hutchy in the Kirsten New Pace, when her horse ran into the back of a fiercely galloping Bettor Downunder. Despite the bumps and bruises, Quinlan was back in the sulky during the week and has a strong book of drives this Friday night. Punters are likely to judge Quinlan's best winning chance to be Sunset Invasion in the Seelite Windows and Doors Winter Trotters Cup Final (Group 2) over 2240m. The five-year-old gelding by Last Sunset was the most impressive heat winner last Friday night, recording a mile rate of two minutes even and a 58.7secs last half to lead all the way and defeat Unico Pegasus by 4.9m. Despite leading throughout a week ago, Quinlan said Sunset Invasion was “better driven with a sit”. She said the Holmfield and Derby winner as a three-year-old was now ready to take the next step. “He’s a really nice horse and he’s going really well. I don’t think the draw is going to be too much of a problem on Friday night. I wouldn’t swap my bloke for anything.” Earlier on the card Quinlan will kick off her night aboard Glenferrie Dreamer, which found the line strongly first-up at Maryborough. “He’s up a long way in class but we were happy with the first-up run. Craig’s got him in this because he needs to keep him ticking over, but he’s drawn well and hopefully will run well.” Quinlan then pilots last-start winner Glenferrie College in the Alabar Pace over 1720m. The four-year-old son of Mcardle stunned most punters last time out at Maryborough when he won at $22, but Quinlan said he should never been that price. “You had to put the pen through the two runs beforehand,” Quinlan said. “His run three starts before at Melton had been terrific. He’s definitely going a lot better than his form might suggest. He ran good time the other day.” Glenferrie College went 1:55.5 with a last half in 57.1secs, finishing strongly from back in the field after sitting solo three-wide. The Quinlan/Demmler team will have two runners in the Woodlands Stud Pace, Essbee Doubleyou drawn gate two and Lombo Flashlight in five. “I was really happy with Lombo Flashlight’s first-up run. Fitness wise he’ll be improved and he certainly can win. “The other one (Essbee Doubleyou) is drawn to lead and it was a super run last time, so he should go well, too.” And the stable has Our Eastwood Cullen in the last race, the Junction Hotel Claiming Pace, drawn inside the back row. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Trainer David Lewis doesn’t know just how fast in-form Amajorjo can go but he hopes the five-year-old can continue to take things up a notch. Following Friday night’s Tabcorp Park Melton Pace success over 1720m, Lewis has nominated the son of Art Major for this Friday night’s Young Pedro Free For All at Melton. Amajorjo set a new Australian record for fastest ever last half-mile a month ago when winning at Maryborough. The son of Art Major stopped the clock at 53.3secs for the final half-mile on that occasion, and last Friday he recorded the fastest mile rate for the night (1:55.1) in defeating Magical Telf and Discrimination at Melton. “He’s going fantastic. His work at home keeps on improving all the time,” Lewis said. “We don’t really know how quick he can go but his speed is just incredible. He can reel off some really quick last quarters; he just finds it a bit tough sometimes at the end of those 2200-metre races.” The 1720m distance of the Young Pedro would suit, but Lewis said he would weigh up the strength of the line-up before deciding whether to start the pacer or wait for another race. Scott Stewart-trained star Bitobliss and Miracle Mile champion Baby Bling are among nominations for the Young Pedro. Stewart said he hoped to get Bitobliss “back to where he should be” this time in after a frustrating summer campaign. “He seems all right at the moment. A few things didn’t go his way last time in – a few bad barriers and maybe I didn’t drive him the best a couple of times. And being a seven-year-old stallion he got a bit over it,” Stewart said. “People remember what he can do.” Meanwhile, Lewis’s smart two-year-old filly Luvumum has had to overcome a throat problem in recent weeks, scuppering her Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series ambitions. She will now be aimed at the Breeders Crown. Lewis’s stable star Abettorpunt, who resumes fast work this week, will also target the Breeders Crown. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)

All roads lead to Maryborough on Sunday, July 20, for the running of the Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic. The all-trotting program will also feature the Group 1 Victoria Trotters Derby. The Metropolitan and Country Harness Racing Association will again be taking a coach to Redwood Day. The coach will depart from both Moonee Valley Tabaret car park and Tabcorp Park, Melton, at times to be determined. The cost for the coach will be $70, which will include transportation, lunch, afternoon tea and a racebook. For bookings call Len Baker on 0401 679 745. Spaces are limited. Please note: The Herald Sun today published a Redwood article stating Redwood Classic day will be held on “Sunday week”. This is incorrect. The correct date for the Redwood Day is Sunday, July 20. HRV Media

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