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There are few harness racing people more passionate about their sport than Sunraysia trainer Noel "Lucky" Cameron and his wife Midge. In more than 50 years in the sport, only once has the couple from Gol Gol, near Mildura, missed being on track to race their horses. So, you can imagine the tension was high when COVID-19 restrictions meant they had to watch their nine-year-old mare, Bella Cullen (P Forty Seven-Victoria Bound (Christian Cullen) make history at Mildura recently. To watch the video replay click here The durable veteran pacer cracked the $100,000 mark in stakes - but what made the milestone unique is that she's the only pacer ever to have achieved it without venturing outside Victoria's Northern Region. In her 167 starts, Bella Cullen has raced only at Mildura, Ouyen and Swan Hill, winning 13 races and stacking up more than 50 placings. "It wasn't that she was a bad traveller or anything. We just never got around to taking her to race anywhere else," Cameron said. "We just love the horses and love racing and Bella's been a bit special because she's just been so honest and with us so long," he said. "All our horses we just raced ourselves and the only other time we've missed being on track was one night a few years back when I was taken off to hospital! "So I have to say it was absolutely terrible watching at home! We were so thrilled she won but watching on the TV, once it was over, it was all over red rover - we just sat there like stunned mullets!" When Victoria introduced Regional Racing as part of coronavirus management measures, the Camerons were locked out and no longer able to race, because their stable is on their fruit growing property on the NSW side of Sunraysia (less than four kilometres, as the crow flies, from the Mildura track). But with Bella Cullen only $1100 short of $100,000 career earnings her regular driver Dwayne Locke, and his partner Andrew Stenhouse couldn't stand to see "Bella" potentially retire without a chance to reach the milestone. "She's been racing well, her last four or five starts had been good runs without winning, so we were just so happy that Andrew and Dwayne took her on to give her a chance to get to that milestone," Cameron said. "It's not usually her thing, but she was able to lead from barrier two and Dwayne was able to get away with I think the slowest ever lead time at Mildura for the 1720 trip - so she actually broke two records!" he laughed. Cameron said Bella Cullen arrived at their stable as a foal at foot when Midge purchased her dam, Victoria Bound. "She would get around the paddock okay, but she was just a scruffy little club-footed thing when she was weaned and as a yearling. You would never have dreamed she would be anything at all, but she did grow into quite a nice-looking mare in the end," he said. "She was a bit of a hard case to break in. She'd kick pretty viciously and at the races she'd double-barrel the back of the stables and hated being put in the cart. "But after four or five starts she seemed to settle down, and from then on, she has just been a lovely horse to have and to race." Lucky and Midge have been involved in harness racing together for 52 years. Lucky's dad was a gallops jockey, but when Lucky was a teenager, he became more interested in harness racing, working with former Sunraysia trainer, the late Vic Berryman. "But it was Midge who really pushed me over the line into the sport, I suppose. Her dad had pacers, and before we were even married, without telling me, she leased a horse for us," he said. "I think we gave him three starts and he ran last in every one, but we were hooked and it became the thing we loved to do. So since then, we've always had one or two in work, and these days we breed a few as well." Cameron said Bella Cullen was not the most capable horse the couple had raced - naming Kidlin and Grand Hand as their best ability wise, but who had their racing careers cut short by injury. "But Bella's definitely been the most successful and she's the most docile lovely horse you could ever want, so she's probably our favorite," he said. "We've got her booked into Sweet Lou this season, but Dwayne looks after her in her races, and we'll just keep watching from the couch for a bit longer yet, because she's probably, in all honesty, racing as well as she ever has!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing mare Bonny Under Fire loves Mildura, and why not?   The track’s been pretty good to her.   The bonny mare from the Vince Vallelonga stable won her third race at the venue at start number eight there last night and secured a spot in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 4YO Mares Semi-Final for her trouble.   Pinging the start from gate six in the mares’ Super Series 1st Heat for Damian Wilson, Bonny Under Fire crossed to the markers before handing up to short-priced favourite Our Petite Soeur (Michael Stanley) for the slipstream.   After doing some work early the leader was able to get away with cheap first and second quarters of 33 and 31.7secs before upping the tempo slightly down the back with a 30.3secs third stanza.   Bonny Under Fire followed the leader everywhere until the home bend when Wilson wheeled her to the outside and the daughter of Courage Under Fire/Heirofgrace hit top speed, momentum carrying her clear at the finish to win by 5.6m over Our Petite Soeur in a mile rate of 2:03.4.   Flagbearer (Ryan Hryhorec) finished third with Little Lyn a well-beaten fourth for Aaron Dunn. Vallelonga and Wilson combined for a winning double at Mildura, with three-year-old filly Regal Hostess having the mostess in Race 4 at gigantic odds.   CODY WINNELL

Greg Sugars made the trek to the Mildura harness racing meeting last night and went home with a winning double, including victory aboard one of Emma Stewart’s many talented two-year-olds, Apache Shark.   The son of Four Starzzz Shark out of Mustbeheaven took out the first heat of the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series for 2YO colts and geldings by 3m over last-start APG Consolation winner Soho Lexington.   Apache Shark ran to the lead early after initial frontrunner Fortitudo relented for the soft trip behind the $1.40 favourite.   From there it developed into a procession for the tote elect, whose lead time was a leisurely stroll – 46 seconds – and opening half of the last mile a jog, 65.9secs.   The field raced in single file until the 1200m when Michael Stanley made his move aboard Soho Lexington, which had gone back to last from the wide barrier six in the six-horse field.   Soho Lexington improved to second place and staked his claim for victory from the 400m.   But Apache Shark had too much left in the tank and was able to sprint home in 58.9secs to win his second race from three career starts and, in doing so last night secure a spot in the 2YO Super Series semi-final.   Soho Lexington battled on well for second, while Glacier Heights – a stablemate of the winner – hit the line hard on debut to snatch third with Jaimie-Lee King in the cart from a tiring Fortitudo.   The winner’s mile rate was 2:05.5.   CODY WINNELL

Prominent South Australian harness racing participant Ryan Hryhorec has enjoyed another raid on Victoria’s riches. Hryhorec made the trek across the border for last night’s Mildura meeting and returned home with a treble. “I’m very pleased with the result,” Hryhorec declared. “Especially with Sammy Seelster. “I had been waiting to find the right race for him there as he is eligible for the Vicbred bonus. “For him to pick it up at his first attempt it a great result.” Leading throughout from barrier five, Sammy Seelster staved off a late challenge from Scout Hall Road to score by a head, with One Golden Day five-and-a-half metres away third. Covering the last half in 60.1 seconds, the son of Gotta Go Cullect rated 2:02.5 for the 2190 metres. “He has been racing well, so I knew he’d be hard to beat,” Hryhorec said. “I’ve got nothing specific in mind for him now, so he will just go in whatever suitable races I can find for him back home.” Hryhorec completed a running double when he piloted Skylarker to a drought-breaking victory. Also leading throughout, the daughter of Village Jasper registered her first win since August 2014. “That was her last run for me,” Hryhorec said. “I think she will be better suited to the smaller track at Mildura, so she will head to Frank Cavallaro’s stable. “I’m sure she can win a couple more there.” Hryhorec then combined with fellow South Australian trainer Allan Cronin to score with Trysomemagic, which led throughout in 2:02.3 for the 2190 metres. “It was good to get that win for Allan and topped the night right off,” Hryhorec said. PAUL COURTS

Premier harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp came close to equalling his Australian record at Mildura last night. Last July Cramp became the first horseman to complete a clean sweep of a meeting, when he dominated the eight-race card at Mildura. As for his latest haul, Cramp won six of the seven races, having finished second in the opening event. It is the fifth time Cramp has prepared a sextet – also a national record - with each registered at Mildura. Cramps winners, of which he drove five, were Taj Bromac, Your a Jet, Welcome To Vegas, Intransit, Lis Mara Shadow and Spokeswoman. Talented concession driver Zac Phillips partnered Lis Mara Shadow. Cramp also boasts a record 15 provincial quintets as a trainer…with Mildura again playing host on each occasion. Western Australian trainer Gary Hall, who Cramp previously worked for, holds the national record for the most metropolitan quintets, a feat he has achieved 14 times. Lance Justice (March 17, 1989) and John McCarthy (June 19, 2010) share the metro record of seven victories on a card. Queensland’s Bill Dixon holds the mantle for the most wins in a day – nine – across two race meetings. As a driver, Cramp has nine quintets, with Gary Hall junior boasting a record 16. PAUL COURTS

It was has become the ‘norm’ at Mildura, premier harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp dominated proceedings last night. Although his evening began with a second, Cramp won four of the following six races, while finishing third in another. Paint The Hammer opened Cramp’s account before the horseman scored with Gotango, Spokeswoman and Tibytoa. The record-breaking mentor also drove each of his stable’s winners. As impressive as a quartet is, it pales in comparison to some of Cramp’s other feats, including a clean sweep of the eight-race card at Mildura last July. Cramp has also prepared four sextets, the most of any Australian trainer, with each registered at Mildura. Cramp also boasts a record 15 provincial quintets…with Mildura again playing host on each occasion. Western Australian trainer Gary Hall, who Cramp previously worked for, holds the national record for the most metropolitan quintets, a feat he has achieved 14 times. Lance Justice (March 17, 1989) and John McCarthy (June 19, 2010) hold the metro record of seven victories on a card. Queensland’s Bill Dixon holds the mantle for the most wins in a day – nine – across two race meetings. PAUL COURTS

The Choice Hotels Country Cup season is now complete following the highly successful Mildura Cup at the weekend. Well done to Mark Kemp and Barry Bottams from the Mildura Club for yet another great Carnival that is enjoyed by many industry enthusiasts from all over Victoria.

The 2013 Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival concluded on Saturday April 13, with former Kiwi Five Star Anvil taking the $50,000 Park Douglas Printing Mildura Pacing Cup for M0 or better class harnes racing pacers over 2600 metres.

The second night of the Mildura Cup Carnival on Thursday April 11 was highlighted by two trotting races which are only held once a year in Sunraysia.

Flaming Flutter has drawn the extreme barrier for the harness racing 'Tankard Dental Mildura Guineas', but it hasn't stopped TAB fixed odds opening him at $1.40.

It's been a career littered with 'what might have been's' for National Service, but as a seven-year-old gelding he may just be coming into his own according to top harness racing trainer Grant Campbell.

Fantastic racing was the order of the night at the opening meeting of Victoria's premier provincial harness racing carnival - Cup Week at Mildura on Tuesday April 9.

A six month suspension of his driving licence hasn't deterred Victoria's leading harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp from preparing winners, chalking up another five at his home track Mildura on Tuesday March 26.

Victoria's leading harness racing trainer Shayne Cramp added another five winners to his tally at the Mildura meeting on Thursday March 14.

On Tuesday night Harness Racing Victoria Stewards concluded their inquiry into an incident that occurred after the winning post following race 7 at Mildura on February 12, 2013.

Mildura is a long way from Melbourne's harness racing headquarters (around 470 kilometres), however local trainer Shayne Cramp is presently leading the Victorian state premiership table - a rare feat indeed.

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