Day At The Track
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All roads will lead to Stawell today, which is a pain if you’re trying to drive somewhere else! But, if you’re interested in some great harness racing actions, you’ll be pleased as the club conducts its popular Cup program. Patrons are expected to flock to the complex for the eight-race program, headed by the club’s Pacing Cup, which is part of the TAB.com.au Country Cups Carnival. Secretary Lisa McIlvride stated the club was ready for a great day’s entertainment and racing, with live music between races, stacks of giveaways also on the agenda. Although Stawell, along with the rest of Victoria, has sweltered through a pair of 40-degree plus days, the mercury will dip to 29 degrees this afternoon. “We’re lucky that we’ve been able to get that good day in between,” McIlvride said. “We’re hoping for a big crowd…people really look forward to this day.” The club will give away $500 worth of fuel to a lucky racegoer, a $1000 TAB voucher via the HRV Trot Selfies competition, an iTunes voucher valued at $100 for a junior racegoer as well as other betting vouchers throughout the day. Children are well catered for with face painting, show bags, a jumping castle and the always popular go-karts, while the local Lions Club will run a barbecue. The Michael Stanley-trained Hilltop Hustler is the sole back marker off a 10-metre handicap in the Cup, with stablemate, Allrightythen, drawn four. Stanley rated Hilltop Hustler as the hardest to beat. “I held him back from this rather than go to Cobram for their Cup. He’s won around Stawell before, so I knew he’d handle the track there,” Stanley said. “He’s also very good from the stand start. “Allrightythen was a bit unlucky the other day, but most of the field has similar ability to him, so he should be thereabouts. It would be a very nice race to win.” Entry to the Stawell Pacing Cup meeting is free. Harnesslink Media

At long last it was “cheers‘nbeers” time for the members of the Orange & Green syndicate when their 5yo mare Metrofromelle scored a solid victory at Stawell on Monday afternoon, in the Stanley Anyon Memorial C1 Pace Final.  It’s been a long time waiting for many members of the syndicate which last tasted success with Slammin Stan at Maryborough, way back in December 2007. Sam ran a few minor placings after that then headed off to SA but in the years since, the owners had had their patience severely tested, trying out a number of (sorry, too slow) horses with trainer Ashleigh Herbertson. A couple of months ago, the Herbertson team suggested the syndicate take on a going horse that was showing consistent form out on the racetrack. So at the end of September, Metrofromelle remained in her Burrumbeet stable but became the new hope of the Orange & Green after being purchased from her breeders, Equine Body Therapy Pty. Ltd. From 7 starts since, the black daughter of Metropolitan and Elleovalooka has continued her honest efforts with a victory, 3 seconds and a fourth and hopefully, plenty more fun to come. And just for the record, the syndicate, consisting of Coughlin Park lawn bowlers, West Side Horsham regulars and their family/friends; includes Dennis Wade, Ian Ryan, Titch Thompson, Howard Schier, Athol Cowan, Neville Marra, Col Henry, Vin Mellington, Kevin Cramer, John Robertson, Tim Nihill, Craig Decker, Pat Hennessy, Wally Besselaar, Jarrod Logan, Luke Besselaar, Ken Schurmann, Tony Logan and manager, Arch Besselaar. With Terang reinsman Glen Craven taking the reins, Metrofromelle began smartly from gate 4 and raced kindly outside the leader Beau Ciel throughout, but still proved too strong over the final stages. The mare finished 3 metre clear of Venus Williams (Greg Sugars) with Beau Ciel (Emma Hamblin) battling on for third in a rate of 1:57.8 for the 1780 metre trip. Monday’s event honoured the memory of the late Stan Anyon, who was a both a quiet achiever and true legend of the Stawell Harness Racing Club. The former trainer, driver & farrier was instrumental in the formation of the Club in 1956 and gave more than 50 years of outstanding service as a committee member, volunteer & track curator, before his passing in 2009. All going well, Metrofromelle will return to Laidlaw Park for the twilight, Stawell Cups fixture, on Sunday December 1st to contest a heat of Vicbred Platinum Mares Championship. TONY LOGAN

The Stawell Harness Racing Club paid tribute to those who have assisted the club over the years when a seven event card was held at Laidlaw Park on Wednesday August 7 in very wet conditions. Former Ararat based trainer Aaron Brown now domiciled in South Australia, made a successful trip home when Presidential Ball/Lombo San Jan gelding Whata Player greeted the judge in the Reginald Cooper Life Member 2-Y-0 Pace over 1790 metres. Driven by Greg Sugars, Whata Player led throughout from the pole to defeat the well backed Just Call Me Mac (one/one - three wide home turn) in a rate of 2-05.8, with the first starter In The Trenches third after moving to face the open for the last lap. The Terry McManus Life Member 3-Y-0 Pace over 2175 metres was taken out by the Peter Manning (Great Western) trained and Matt Craven driven Armbro Speedstar in a rate of 2-03.9. Starting from gate two on the second line, Armbro Speedstar (Armbro Operative/Princess Of Stars) settled with most of the field ahead of him, with Sapper Ford leading from gate four. Sent forward three wide solo in the final circuit, Armbro Speedstar was too strong at the finish for the hot favourite Galleons Warrior which did a power of work from the outset to park outside the pacemaker.  When Galleons Warrior surged clear approaching the home turn, Armbro Speedstar was hot in pursuit and finished best to score by 2.2 metres in a rate of 2-03.9, with Rising Power third from mid-field. Ultra consistent P Forty Seven/Just Moonstrike 4-Y-0 gelding Arr En Special notched up his 4th victory for the season in the Leslie McLeod Life Member Pace for C0 class over 1780 metres. Trained at Allendale (Mount Gambier) by David Kemp and driven by David Murphy, Arr En Special was trapped four wide from outside the front row running into the first bend, before angling into the one/one spot. Easing three wide at the bell, Arr En Special raced three wide uncovered for the rest of the journey, exploding to the front approaching the home turn. Although tackled by Peters Ace (four wide last lap from last) on straightening, Arr En Special held a margin to the wire, registering a 4.9 metre margin in a rate of 2-02.1. Kurraca Knight (one/one last lap) finished third. Arr En Special usually races at most Western District meetings and was making his 51st appearance at the races (19 this season). Redan (Ballarat) trainer/driver Michael Stanley may have something special in ex-Kiwi 3-Y-0 Presidential Ball/Pamela Pamela gelding Hilltop Hustler who brought up a hat-trick of wins by taking the Life Members Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres. Settling three back in the moving line with the tearaway leader The Kingston Flyer making every post a winner, Stanley wasted no time in sending Hilltop Rustler forward to face the breeze at the bell. Doing a lot of chasing, Hilltop Raider dropped in for a short breather approaching the home turn. When asked for a super effort on straightening, Hilltop Hustler responded in grand style to record a four metre victory in 1-58.2 over the leader, with Roman Abbey a further 26 metres away in third place. Former Portland trainer Peter Tonkin now based in Ballarat, snared the Colin Prockter Life Member Pace for C1 class over 2175 metres with Guvs Boy, a 4-Y-0 gelded son of Artiscape and Natashas Rose. Taking a concession for much improved Bendigo youngster Haydon Gray, Guvs Boy from the pole led throughout,  ccounting for In The Frame Lombo which trailed, using the sprint lane to no avail, with Burston Holme third after following the pair. The mile rate 2-07.7. The Gregory Cooper Life Member Trotters Mobile went the way of Longlea (Bendigo) trainer/driver Paul Morrissey's 5-Y-0 Malabar Maple/Lady Clare mare Canadian Dream. Spending most of the race buried three back the markers from gate three, Canadian Dream was extricated to be three and four wide on the final bend, finishing with a wet sail to blouse the pacemaker A Stylish Jewel in the last stride, with Hezminenotyours a game third after racing in the open. The mile rate 2-11.8. Three year old Artesian/Soky Sue colt Easy Lighting trained and driven by Ahmed Taiba of Sushi Sushi fame, landed the Geoffrey Sanderson Life Member Pace for C2 & C3 class over 1780 metres in a rate of 2-01.7. Held in a firm pocket three back the markers after starting inside the  second line, Easy Lightning finished hard along the sprint lane to tip out  Make A Fuss also along the sprint lane ahead of him after trailing the weakening leader Tara Tom. Mathias a stablemate of the pacemaker finished third off a three wide trail last lap from last. Len Baker Len Baker len-baker@bigpond.com 03 9307 5265 0401 679 745  

Great Western sisters Michelle and Kerryn Manning took the honours at the Stawell harness racing fixture held on Wednesday May 8th, Michelle with a training and driving double - Wheatsheaf Avaball and Aheadofhistime and Kerryn with a driving double - Shandorlass and Paparazzi Snapshot.

Wednesday's harness racing Stawell fixture belonged to the Western District with no less than seven of the eight winners coming from the area including regular Mount Gambier visitors Alta Antonio and Bobby Maravu.

Great Western trainer Peter Manning and reinswoman daughter Kerryn have long been the dominant force in the western part of the state and it was no different at the Stawell harness racing program held on Monday February 18, with the pair chalking up a treble of winners.

Hopetoun Park (Bacchus Marsh) trainer Ross Sugars has 9-Y-0 Artsplace/Nyanjee gelding Veranjee airborne at present, chalking up three wins in succession including the second of two feature harness racing country cups, by taking out the $30,000 (Group 3) Stawell Florist Lillies & Lattes Restaurant Pacing Cup for M0 or better class (Discretionary Handicapped) over 2590 metres at Stawell on Sunday November 2.

Champion Victorian harness racing driver Chris Alford chalked up a driving treble at the Stawell fixture held on Monday November 19, all three winners coming from the Shelbourne (Bendigo) stable of Larry and Lynette Eastman.

Victoria's "Princess Of Pace" Kerryn Manning has an impeccable record at Stawellharnesss racing meetings and it was no different at Wednesday June 13th 's fixture, when she drove four of the eight winners on the program.

The time-honoured harness racing Tontine Pacers Series has been given a fresh new look for its 31st birthday. With the generous support of Decron Hoof Care, stakemoney for each of the heats has received a healthy $2000 boost and the series format has also been tweaked slightly.

Longlea (Bendigo) harness racing breeder/owner/trainer Paul Morrissey's 9-Y-0 Armbro Invasion/Anna Sophia gelding Barneys Invasion registered his 11th victory in 108 outings, when successful in the $10,000 Bayunga Lodge Stawell Trotters Cup for T5 or better class (D-H) over 2590 metres on Sunday December 11.

Summertime traditionally heralds the arrival of the Choice Hotels Country Cups Carnival throughout the Western Region of Victoria. To celebrate the 'coming of the cups' the Horsham, Hamilton & Stawell Harness Racing Clubs have joined forces to give racegoers the chance to win a $3000 Gold Coast Family Holiday.

Heywood harness trainer Kevin Brough and Terang based reinsman Matt Craven are proving to be a formidable combination of late and snared the $5250 Stan Anyon Memorial Pace Final for C1 class over 1780 metres at Stawell on Monday November 21 with talented 6-Y-0 By Xample/Berts Babe gelding Flynno.

The 2010/11 harness racing season has been completed and we look forward to a new season of highlights. Field sizes in Victoria have been remarkably strong in September, indicating a positive mood in the state.

One of the most sought after events held in the Western District each harness racing season - The O'Keeffe named in honour of the late Jim O'Keeffe a stalwart of the industry, appears to have lost its status, no doubt to the dismay of the O'Keeffe family.

Exciting Last Sunset/Maramas Invasion (Armbro Invasion) gelding Sunset Invasion gave strong indication that he would be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming two year old trotting feature the "Redwood Classic", when a comfortable winner of $10,000 The Maori Legend - an important lead up eharness racing vent to the big one held at Stawell on Thursday July 7.

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