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Central Victorian horsewoman Trish McVeigh has finally found her perfect base for her harness racing operations. Over the years, McVeigh has bobbed up - and decided to stay - at a number of centres with a small team of horses. "I've landed winners in four states as a driver and three as a trainer. It's been good travelling because we've met a lot of people and have made so many lasting friendships," she said. But Trish is adamant her days of being on the move have come to a halt at a little town called Milloo, near Elmore. "We are setting up a property there that was previously used for cattle and we're so happy. I reckon this is it," McVeigh said. "There's a house, plenty of paddocks and an old shed that can be converted to a barn. It's on nearly 50 acres so there's plenty of room to put in a 960m track," she said. "It's obviously going to take a few years to get it exactly as we want it, because we're planning to set up yards with shelters and do some other things. But we'll get there." McVeigh said that both her and partner Dan love the region and community. "The town only has a population of about 34 people, but it's central to quite a number of harness racing tracks. My dad Bob also reckons it's great," she said. Back in the winner’s circle, the star of the McVeigh stable, Clem McArdle. Victorious driver James Herbertson is with trainer Trish, partner Dan and Trish’s dad Bob. Photo courtesy Ian Woolridge McVeigh grew up in North Queensland and can remember being at trotting meetings with her parents at Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay. "Dad always had an interest in the sport. If he wasn't training some, he'd have an ownership interest. Over the years he's been a trainer, driver, breeder and owner-and now he's my stablehand," she said. McVeigh started her career competing in amateur events. "We moved down to the Sunshine Coast and I used to drive in the amateurs at Albion Park," she said. After the family shifted to Victoria, McVeigh said her first actual race drive was at Maryborough in 2004. "I got in behind the leader in a three-year-old standing start race. We did everything right and ended up running fifth. My first winner was 12 months later on an eight-year-old maiden trained by dad," she recalled. "It was so exciting with a lot of people congratulating us. We took all the harness off, washed the horse and we were heading to the bar to celebrate when an announcement was broadcast to say stewards had watched the replay and decided to call it a no race. "I was devastated, but I won at the same track a few months later with a trotter Buntys Invasion so that was officially my first win." McVeigh said she read a story about a gallops trainer recently winning a race at huge odds, only to have stewards declare a no race. "I really felt his pain," she said. After five years at Eddington, near Maryborough, a plan to campaign for a few months in South Australia with four horses ended up in a five-year stay. "We had a fair bit of fun over those years. We won quite a few races with nice horses like Riverboat Rosie, who had at least 10 wins, and then there was Sky King and others. "I also had a job with Campbells Wholesale, who have been fantastic over the years in giving me time off to do the horses and go to the races." McVeigh also spent time in Tasmania, and had a five-year stint in Queensland based at a Deception Bay stable. "I really thought I would call the sunny north home, but there was never any change in the weather," she said. "I just enjoyed Victoria the most. We were in Dingee for two years and then Marong the last 12 months. But if I was to nominate a favorite track, I would have to say Maryborough, because we've always spoken about it as our local track. "We've had a few wins there and besides I'll never forget where I got my first winner!" McVeigh said all the family loved the sport. "We lost mum in 2001 to cancer, but she was always involved and was a big part. We probably don't win out of turn, but celebrate when we do." And there would have been plenty of cheering after the Kilmore meeting on Tuesday with the McVeigh colors carried to victory by James "Herbie" Herbertson. Stable star Clem McArdle (McArdle-Sheezalittlebeauty (Fake Left) took out the TAB Long May We Play Pace in a time of 1.57. It was the gelding's fifth win of his career. The dam, six-times winner Sheezalittlebeauty, was also bred and raced by the McVeigh family. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

You can't keep a good man down, as the saying goes, and that surely fits the bill as far as popular Kilmore harness racing identity Austin "Aussie" Mifsud goes. The veteran trainer-driver was seriously injured in a racefall at a Charlton meeting seven weeks ago last Monday. But despite still recuperating from his injuries, the trainer-driver is in good spirits and determined to get back to what he loves best. "I ditched the wheelchair a week ago and this morning I walked into hospital to see my surgeon," Mifsud said. "I'm doing my best and I'm pretty happy at where I'm at with my rehab - I'll be back at it as soon as I can," he said. "I might need a seat belt maybe! But when it comes to race driving, I just love it." Mifsud was taken to Bendigo hospital with broken ribs, a collapsed lung and other injuries after he was flipped from the sulky and landed heavily on the track in the racing incident. At that same meeting on October 19, talented youngster Ryan Sanderson was also injured when he was thrown out in the race following Mifsud's mishap. The teenager escaped serious injury and is now back driving. Mifsud said while his ribs had all healed, the focus was now on his shoulder. "They had to put in a plate when they were reconstructing it. They'll be taking x-rays to see where we are at," he said. "I honestly didn't think the fall I had was as bad as it's turned out. My main concern was that I couldn't breathe because of a collapsed lung. Apart from that I thought I was okay. "I was sitting in the ambulance when they were attending to young Ryan after he was injured. They thought he had a broken pelvis and I was telling them to leave me alone and attend to him. "They flew him to Melbourne and thankfully he came out of it well in the end. He's only young and probably bounced a bit more than I did!" Mifsud said he was confident he'd bounce back because he had been able to recover from a worse fall at home a while ago. "I was badly smashed up and suffered a cracked spine, 16 bruised ribs and some other injuries. It was nasty," he said. Aussie, pictured with son Willie, said he was lucky to have great family support during his recovery and rehab Mifsud said during his fortnight in hospital at Bendigo he and his wife Julie were lucky to have his daughter Mary-Jane and her family who live on a property just outside Bendigo. "Mary-Jane called in to check often and there were heaps of well-wishers. The Charlton president Joey Thompson and the head steward who was at the Charlton meeting Kylie Harrison regularly kept in contact asking about me. That was really nice," he said. Mifsud, who has been involved in harness racing virtually all of his life, has not given the slightest thought of giving away driving. "I've been licensed since I was 16, and before that I was probably sitting on my father's lap while he was jogging horses. There's eight of us in the family and we're all involved in the sport one way or another," he said. "I'm hoping to return in the early new year. But I'll just have to wait and see. All I do now is the horses and everyone knows how much I enjoy driving my trotters. I'm really missing it. When you love doing something and suddenly it's taken away, it's very hard." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

There are no doubts that dedicated Victorian harness racing horseman Jason Ainsworth is going to remember his first training double for many years to come. Ainsworth, who is based at Armstrong, halfway between Ararat and Stawell, was successful with brown mare Underplay, who paid a whopping $29.20, and then Flaming Lucky, an equally impressive winner at $19.90. "Yes, I'd love to think that it's onwards and upwards from here," Ainsworth said. "We've been doing really well in recent months. I've previously had a few driving doubles, but to get my very first training double was a bit special," he said. Underplay (Shadow Play-Subversive (Armbro Operative) won the Carbine Chemicals Pace at Ararat, while Flaming Lucky (Courage Under Fire-Bay Torrent (Sports Town) took out the Ararat Farm Supplies Pace. To watch the video replay of Underplay click here. To watch the video replay of Flaming Lucky click here While Ainsworth was also the successful driver, his partner Natasha Raven had a most enjoyable evening being the victorious owner. "Both Natasha and I work for (Great Western trainer) Peter Manning and then after that we are doing a team of eight ourselves. It does get pretty busy, but getting winners helps a lot," he said. "We need to keep the momentum going now and perhaps the success may lead to attracting some new owners, which would be great." Ainsworth obtained his trainers licence back in March, but it didn't take him long to taste success with Underplay and then Flaming Lucky, in the space of nine days, at two Stawell meetings. "I was always going to be in horses because dad and mum (Barry and Katrina) have been involved for a long time. My older brothers Ashley and Toby are both right into it as well," he said. "Most of us start off with a dream of just wanting to train horses each day-but once you get going, you realize that you need a job as well! "I've been with Peter for about four years, while Natasha is coming up to three and a half years. We both love our jobs and do all our own fastwork at his sand hill track." The hardworking couple prepared three winners and nine placings up until the end of the normal season, but during the extended period due to COVID, they've been on fire with six wins and eight placings from just 28 starters. "We have 17 acres with a track, but recently also purchased a nearby 75-acre property that we aim to develop," Ainsworth said. "I'm really hoping that Natasha one day decides to have a crack at race driving because the horses absolutely run for her. "I rarely beat her because the ones she drives always find that extra little bit - but my excuse is that I'm just under 80 kilos and she would be lucky to weigh 50!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Queensland harness racing young gun Angus Garrard has his feet firmly on the ground, despite completing a whirlwind first full season. The gifted 17-year-old driver landed a sensational 125 wins and 200 placings up until the end of August, when the calendar racing season normally ends. In the nine weeks since, Garrard has won 35 races with 87 placings. "My parents (Daren and Gayle) are really good, but they make sure I don't get too far ahead of myself," Garrard laughed. "They obviously keep me pretty humble, which is okay. But I do have to stop and pinch myself sometimes at how fast it has all happened." The teenager won the 2019/20 Queensland Junior Driver's premiership and remarkably found himself in the top six or seven on the senior driving table. "I've been really lucky because some of the big trainers and owners have got behind me. They've been unreal and I've been lucky that a lot of small stables have given me a chance too," he said. "They're giving me opportunities on some of their best horses and a lot of the time it's without using my three-point claim." The Garrard family is steeped in harness racing tradition with Angus' grandfather Chris Garrard OAM, a former trainer-reinsman, who still continues with owning and breeding interests. The successful businessman, the founder of Garrards Horse and Hound shops and vet practices, is renowned for his generosity to the sport and is still a major sponsor. "My dad (Daren) hasn't driven in a race for quite a while now, but he enjoys the training side. Dad also manages the family businesses," Angus said. "I suppose I was always going to follow in their footsteps and get into harness racing. I finished Year 12 three weeks ago and while I was at school, I didn't have any other career paths in mind. "Since school finished, I've been helping dad at the stables and really loving it." The youngster cut his teeth from an early age competing in the pony trots. "I started off when I was six and was part of the minis for 10 years. It was awesome. I was very lucky to have some nice ponies along the way and won three mini-Miracle Miles at Menangle," he said. "I then did nearly 100 trials in 12 months when I had a trials licence. I didn't have to do anywhere near that many, but it was great to get as much experience as I could." Garrard competed in his first official race drive two days after celebrating his 16th birthday. "I don't remember being all that nervous, probably due to all the trials I did," he said. But it didn't take him long-just a few weeks-to land his first winner in Kylie Bromac, prepared by his dad. He lists one of his biggest highlights as a treble at his first metropolitan meeting at Albion Park last June. Garrard won with Sir Fahrenheit (for Donny Smith), Wattlebank Flyer (Brett Cargill) and Speech Is Silver (Darren Weeks). "The win by Sir Fahrenheit was in a $20,000 trotters cup feature race for Scott Whitton, of Tumby Park, so that was special. I've been pretty lucky with Speech Is Silver because I've won four on him," he said. "I don't try and model myself on anyone in particular, but I've always looked up to the likes of (the late) Gavin Lang, Luke McCarthy and Darrel Graham. But all the other drivers up here in Queensland are great. They are always ready to help me out with some helpful feedback and advice." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When Great Western harness racing trainer Michelle Wight retired her durable pacer Wheatsheaf Avaball nearly three years ago, she wanted to have something unique to remember her old mate. She picked up the welder to make something to keep from the last set of shoes "Charlie" had raced in - and a passion for rustic horseshoe art was born. Michelle's been welding and creating ever since - with orders coming in from "friends of friends of friends" and her work now being sold at Central Highlands regional markets and a local winery. "I just wanted to make something special for Charlie, because he is special," Michelle said. "We retired him after start 200 and we knew he was going to retire then. So I got some photos taken that night, I took his shoes off and I made a picture frame from the shoes," she said. Michelle’s most enjoyable projects are photo frames requested by owners for their “special horses” "Now I make all sorts of things, but still the ones I really enjoy most are where people ask me to make something from the shoes of their special horse or horses." Wheatsheaf Avaball (Presidential Ball - Dontsayawordbut (Safely Kept) retired with 17 wins, 26 seconds and 35 thirds to his name - the 35th third was at his final start at Melton, driven by Michelle. To watch the video replay click here. "I didn't do much more with the artwork at that time, although I did make a frame for Frances Annie (Safely Kept - Sunelle (Sundon) when she retired about a year later (15w-8-13 for $100,779 in stakes) because she was pretty special too," Michelle said. "Dad (legendary Great Western horseman Peter Manning) showed me the basics of how to weld, and I've never had any lessons - just trial and error. "But I really got going with the art when I came across a guy in Stawell about a year ago who was using horseshoes to make spheres. It just twigged something in me, and he was good enough to explain how to do them and I just started - and I've never really stopped!" Michelle said the horseshoe spheres are made using a plough disc as a mould. "The shape of the plough disc basically means that if you keep following the mould, the horseshoes will join up and form a perfect ball," she said. "But that first one was probably the hardest job I ever did because I unfortunately chose a big plough disc - which meant a big ball, and a lot of welding! I can do small, medium and large balls now, but I think I've only ever done one more of the large ones! Garden Art by Michelle "I love making the flowers, and people seem to like them because they're really popular. But I like to make one-off sculptures, as well. I have quite a few on display and for sale at Best's Winery, which is just down the road." Michelle said finding the resources for her art creations was sometimes a challenge. "With the garden art, I don't always know what I'll make, and often it's a matter of creating what you can. I find bits and pieces of scrap metal, often from dad's junk pile, and form them into something. It's a bit like making a cake from the ingredients you have, rather than the other way round! "But I'm always happy to receive steel shoes from anyone who wants to get rid of some. As well as what I had here, I had a couple of big 44-gallon drums of shoes from dad to get me going and a couple of trainers have dropped me off some bags of shoes. "Any size, any shape, pony shoes, hack shoes, pacing shoes - any sort of steel shoe is great, because I need different sizes for different jobs," she said. "I use up the good ones first, but when you get down to the rustier ones, there's a lot more work in getting the rust off so that you get a good hold with the weld. Actually, a lot of the time is taken up in preparation, getting rust off, getting nails out and straightening out the shoes." Some of Michelle’s creations Michelle, who works as an estimator for Hotondo Homes, said busy times at work had caused her to reduce her team back to three. "I've only got one racing at the moment, Outback Shadow (Shadow Play - Charlotte Church (Christian Cullen) who's a half-sister to Wrappers Delight. She's a very honest bread and butter horse who's doing a good job for us," she said. "I still like to find time for the artwork though. There's nothing better than heading out to the shed and being a bit creative. And I am getting better as I go - I originally had an arc welder, but last Christmas I asked for a MIG welder, and that's meant my work's better, and there's a lot less swearing!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing journeyman Rick Holmes knew that it had been a long time between drinks for his recent stable addition Laser Major - but he was more than happy to team up with the old-timer to try to break the drought. "I was aware that he'd been racing in the Bathurst region and that's pretty strong, but he was struggling a bit to find any form. I wasn't overly concerned by that because I did like the horse," Holmes said. "But the length of time away from the winner's circle did catch me by surprise." However, after some promising placings, 10-year-old Laser Major (Art Major-Virgin Goddess (Albert Albert) landed the money at his Victorian home track with an impressive 1.58-3 over the 1709m trip. To watch the video replay click here. Laser Major and Michael Stanley combined to win at Mildura His prior victory was 1727 days previous (or four years, eight months, three weeks and one day) at Newcastle in February, 2016. And he needed another 51 starts to again taste victory-this time at Mildura. Holmes, who is now based at Red Cliffs, near Mildura, said a friend from Adelaide had told him Laser Major was on the market. "He's a pretty good judge and besides the horse was a real cheapie. So Mick Andreadis, who has horses racing in most States, thought he could be okay for the Mildura region and bought him," he said. "Laser Major was unlucky at his first start. He was going to run a place before copping severe interference on the home corner. He then ran third and second." Holmes said the pacer finished down the track at his next few, but a foot abscess was found to be the problem. "When I saw that Mick Stanley was coming up from Ballarat to drive, I didn't hesitate to put him on and he got the job done for us," he said. Laser Major downed Selaphobia, who has since posted a victory, and consistent Bendigo trained horse Goodjet. "We used to joke that we'd never bought a 10-year-old before. And then when we realized he hadn't won for nearly five years, we probably did start to question ourselves," Holmes laughed. Laser Major has had 85 starts for four wins and 11 placings for $25,900. Holmes grew up in the Millewa farming region, between Mildura and the South Australian border. "We were in the Werrimull area and I used to watch Paleface Adios and other horses of that era. They would show the trots on TV back then and we'd also go to the Mildura meetings as much as we could," he said. "I remember when the grandstand would be packed and there'd be about 25 bookies operating. I used to walk around the grandstand picking up empty coke bottles and getting 10 cents for each one. "My sister started going out with a young trotting trainer and eventually I decided to have a go. I still remember thinking 'how good is this?' at my few first goes! "Later on, another local well-known horseman in Frank Cavallaro was a big influence. It was 32 years ago and Frank wrote a reference to help me get my B Grade trainer's licence." Two years on and Holmes moved to Melbourne and got a job with John "Bulldog" Nicholson. "I've probably had seven or eight stints with him. One of the biggest things I learnt there was that every horse is an individual and the importance of feeding them correctly," he said. "I also worked for the Lance Justice and Tonkin stables. As well I spent eight years in Queensland and was an A Grade trainer and driver. I also had a short stint as a stablehand in SA." Holmes said he took a break from harness racing for a seven-year period during which time he "saw a fair bit of the country". "There were all sorts of jobs - I worked on a cotton farm and ran a pub for a bit," he said. "My harness racing driver's licence ran out, but I'm back at the trials so I can be re-licenced. I've got to do 30 trial drives. "I only ever drove in about 20 races back in 1993 and got a couple of placings-I'd just love to get a winner." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

A square gaiter that was destined for the retirement paddock is giving longtime harness racing trainer Brian Kiesey plenty to smile about. Kiesey, who is based at the outer Melbourne suburb of Rockbank, is hoping bay gelding Gentleman Sir NZ can keep improving and develop into a consistent competitor. "He's got a few niggling issues and we're having trouble getting him to settle in his races, but there's plenty of ability there," he said. Gentleman Sir (Love You-Tip Your Hat Loui (Continentalman USA) recently gave a first-hand display of his capabilities at Ararat with a runaway 38 metre victory in track record time. To watch the video replay click here. Gentlemen Sir well clear on his way to a well-deserved win at Ararat "I really believe there's a lot of improvement left in him. I've got a nice little team at the moment and Gentleman Sir could easily be the stable star," Kiesey said. "His last half dozen starts have been pleasing where he hasn't finished further back than fourth, but at Melton last weekend (eighth) he just got fired up too much in the mobile event and then choked down," he said. "John (driver John Justice) had a terrible time because the horse was just trying to fight him. He's not a good racehorse at the moment because he tends to get himself so wound up, so it may be best that we concentrate on standing start races," he said. Kiesey said while Gentleman Sir was a bit of a "duffer" in stands, they were more suitable for him. "He gallops out and always gives them a bit of a start, but at least he's controllable and has enough class to catch them up and be in it. He's been going terrific." Gentleman Sir has now had 79 starts for eight wins and 16 places for $109,000 in stakes. When it comes to trotters, Kiesey certainly has had his share of success over the years with the likes of Shepparton Cup winner and InterDominion contestant Georgian Flight. Others include Master Kiesey (winner of 24 races) and Meekatharra Minor (16 wins) who competed in all the top races. And he's needed to call on all of that experience with Gentleman Sir. "There's been a heap of problems. I take him down to the Altona Beach which is 20 minutes away and that helps a lot with his legs," Kiesey said. "Fred and Elizabeth Crews and all the other owners have been so patient. They had planned to retire the horse and I'm so glad Fred spoke with them and they decided to give me a go. "I've got a few other horses belonging to the Crews. They are just mad on the sport and have been very good to me, along with John Justice, who just jumps in the car with me and travels around the State with Gentleman Sir." Kiesey said he's been involved in harness racing for most of his life. "My dad Colin, 86, and I have been in it for over 45 years. We've probably had more trotters than pacers along the way-that hasn't been by design, just the way it's turned out," he said. "You have to spend time with them and have them balanced up. But it's rewarding when you get a nice one."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

What she lacks in size and experience, little Kenzie Rattray makes up for in determination - and if she's any example, the future of harness racing in Tasmania will be in good hands! At "five years and one day" Kenzie is the newest recruit to a rejuvenated mini-trots scene in Tasmania - and although she just had her first race drives at the weekend, Kenzie's already built something of a cult following. And not without reason. The pint-sized reinswoman and her much more experienced pony Kitty Whiteface missed out at Kenzie's first drive at Devonport on Friday night, but then put together a string of three wins - at her second appearance at Devonport, then a double at Carrick on Sunday. "She's a world beater!" laughed Tas Racing Coordinator and Mini Trots enthusiast Wayne Yole. "In her first drive she was just finding her way, but she came back and told me she'd 'beaten five home'," he said. Kenzie was all smiles making her racing debut at five years and one day "Three weeks ago, before she had her approval to drive, she brought Kitty to the races and showed me how she could harness her up, all by herself. She definitely doesn't want anyone helping!" Kenzie is third-generation harness racing, the daughter of trainer-driver Gareth Rattray and trainer Melissa Maine. She's been driving ponies at home since she was three and has now followed older siblings Jackson Burke (13) and Lauren Rattray (7) into the mini trots. The Rattray kids are following in their dad's footsteps, and among an emerging second-generation of harness racing mini-trots participants. Gareth (who's had up to 100 wins in a season as a driver) also began his career in the pony trots at age 6. "She was ready to go a while ago, but she had to wait until she was old enough to get her licence," her dad Gareth said. "Her birthday was on Thursday and she drove her first race on Friday - and I definitely think she was more excited about driving!" he said. "She just loves it. She goes to school three days a week, and on the days she's not at school she trains Kitty every day - even through the winter," he said. "Both the girls are horse mad - we bought them a cubby house a couple of years back, thinking we were doing a great thing. But they run straight past the cubby to get to the stables." Yole said the Mini Trots in Tasmania was undergoing a welcome resurgence. "We've got at least eight ponies at every meeting in the North, and a fantastic bunch of kids are coming through. Especially in the past 12 months, we've had a real surge in interest and we have another three or four kids who are all just about to turn five and get their licence," he said. "We do make sure there is a bit of a preparation and training process involved - and at the end, they get their official plastic card to drive at the races, just like the senior drivers, which they love," Yole said the mini trots had been a great training ground for emerging drivers in Tasmania. "Bronte Miller has just started driving in the past few months, and she went through mini trots. Adrian Duggan's son Jacob has just got his licence. The oldest of our current mini trots drivers, Brodie Davis is certainly going to be a driver, and Makenna Hillier won't be far behind. "The pathway for these kids is just so important to the future of our sport," he said. "But really more important than that is that the kids and their families just get so much out of it. The skills they learn, the life skills they develop, and the fun of doing something together that they all love - it's what makes our sport great and it just gives me a great buzz to watch that." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Former South Australian harness racing trainer-driver Scott Ewen has every reason for relishing the thought of a trip back home. Ewen, who moved over the border to be based at Cranbourne 15 months ago, has his stable star Bulletproof Boy (Art Official-My Riviera Girl (Red River Hanover) firing on all chambers at the moment. "We'll keep poking along for a bit and give him a few weeks off after Christmas," Ewen said. "Then our aim will be the South Australian Cup in March-I've had one crack at it with another horse before and finished midfield, but it will be exciting to go back there with 'Bullet'," he said. There's no doubt the horse is racing in his career-best form - but there might yet be some improvement left. "It might sound silly to say, because he's a five-year-old, but he can still be green in his races," Ewen said. "I've made a few small gear changes and he's certainly been putting his best foot forward. He was pulling in his races and doing things wrong, but I've got him in an open bridle with no head check and now he drops the bit and doesn't engage." In consecutive weeks at TABcorp Park Melton, Bulletproof Boy has blasted his opposition out of the water with long-priced wins in feature events. He took out the $30,000 Breeders Crown Graduate Cup (G3) at 60/1 last Friday week and followed up with a super win in the $24,000 TAB Blacks A Fake FFA as rank outsider at 45/1. To watch the video replay 20th November clck here To watch the video replay 28th November clck here Bulletproof Boy has now won 26 races with 18 placings from 84 starts for stakemoney of over $171,000. Ewen said he always had a high opinion of "Bullet" who showed plenty of potential with "such a good turn of foot." "But I guess there was always a tendency to be very wayward. Twelve months ago I told the boys who are in him that one day he could be a country cups horse and might even go to the next level," he said. "I sort of compared him to a talented footballer who would just keep jogging along in the lower grades, but once he got promoted to the A Grade team would step up and shine. "Bullet can pick up on things quickly when he wants to and racing at Melton consistently has done him the world of good." Ewen, who trains out of the Cranbourne Training Centre, says he "pulled the right rein" after talking to Cranbourne club officials at last year's Mildura Cup Carnival and then making the move in September. "It took a little getting used to like anything does because the rest of the family was back home in SA. But we had a bit of success early which helped, and then later my partner Kylie was able to move across," he said. "We both do the horses together. There's seven in work with two others out in the paddock. The Training Centre is a first-class facility with everything you need from three training tracks, a swimming pool, walking machine and treadmill." Ewen has been training for nearly 30 years, but says the last 15 have been in a more professional capacity. "I've always been working at something else while I've been doing the horses-the family has tagged me as a Jack of all trades," he laughed. "I guess they are spot on because over the years I've done concreting, worked for a shed construction company, changed tyres, drove a Tip Top bread delivery van and a few other things" The couple will be taking a well-earned short rest later this week as 21-year-old daughter Courtney, who is forging a successful dancing career, graduates this Friday after completing a scholarship in Sydney. "We are really looking forward to the little break. It will be great," he said. "Then we'll be back home chasing our next winner-you have to keep at it because you can go from hero to zero very quickly in this game!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Champion pacer Cruz Bromac, who amassed more than $1 million in stakes with some spine-tingling harness racing performances on both sides of the Tasman, has been retired. The nine-year-old gelding, one of many from Bromac Lodge, the barn of successful NZ breeder the late Bob McArdle, competed against the best in Australia and New Zealand. Cruz Bromac goes out with an amazing winning record at nearly 50 percent of his starts. Highly regarded trainer Dean Braun, of Lara, near Geelong, has had many class performers over the past two decades, but there's one that stands out in his opinion. "Cruz Bromac was the best horse without doubt that I've trained. He put up some phenomenal runs over his career and his victories speak for themselves," Braun said. Dean Braun "He was a lovely horse with a kind attitude. He was still working super on the track at home any day of the week, but his best was behind him," he said. "Deep down I knew for a while that he wasn't the horse he had been and (regular reinsman) Chris Alford was on the same page. Cruz Bromac hasn't got anything to prove so after a meeting with the owning group manager Danny Zavitsanos recently, it was decided to retire him." Cruz Bromac (Falcon Seelster-Crown Defender (Life Sign) posted 23 wins and 13 placings from just 56 race starts for $1,057,995 in earnings. Braun said among his favorite memories of Cruz Bromac were wins in the NZ Cup last year, a NZ FFA, the Len Smith Mile and Victorian Country Cup successes at Cobram, Hamilton and Warragul. Cruz Bromac winning the New Zealand Cup "He also won five InterDominion heats and there was a big metro feature race win at Melton. He actually held the track record there up until recently when Lochinvar Art broke it," he said. "When you went to the races with him, you always knew you would never be far away. He certainly did an outstanding job over the years." Braun paid a modest amount for the pacer who was being prepared by astute Kiwi horseman Mark Jones. "We bought him as an unraced three-year-old. Mark had a high opinion of the horse, so I organized for Blair Orange to drive him and the deal was later sealed," he said. "I was racing a few in Sydney at the time so Cruz Bromac was flown into there. I started him a few days after he landed, and he ran fourth, and then won his next two-in one of these he went a bit over 1.51." When Braun headed back to Victoria, Cruz Bromac won at his first two starts at Yarra Glen and Melton. Cruz Bromac goes to the line in one of his Tabcorp Park Melton victories "I took him over to the west then, but he didn't handle Perth's Gloucester Park at all," he said. On his return he quickly got back into the winner's circle with victories at Geelong, Melton, Maryborough and Ballarat. Champion Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford partnered Cruz Bromac to six wins. Others to enjoy success were Natalie Rasmussen (five), Greg Sugars (four), Luke McCarthy and Nathan Purdon (two each), while Chris Geary, Blair Orange, Mark Purdon and Nathan Jack each had one win. Braun said Cruz Bromac would enjoy his retirement at a property belonging to one of his owners. "We'll miss him. As well as being an awesome racehorse, he had a bit of character." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Swedish-born horsewoman Sofia Arvidsson has lost count of the hours she's spent working on her "special project", harness racing square gaiter Gus An Maori - but recently, there was no doubt it was worth every minute. The rejuvenated trotter had one hoof on the road to retirement when Arvidsson took him on at the Ecklin South stable of her partner Mattie Craven, and by Arvidsson's admission, they've "come a long way together". "I used to ride him - a lot! And all I used to think of when I was riding him was that 'one day he's gonna win a metro race, this horse, and it will all be worth it'," she said. Last Friday night the pair finally achieved Arvidsson's dream of metro success - and a first group victory for both in the Schweppes Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters Free For All (Gr 2). To watch the video replay of this race click here. "He is my number one, and has been for a long time. He is just a lovable horse. A bit of a show pony, but just a lovely boy and I'm just so proud of him," an elated Arvidsson said. "We always thought if we could just win one or two more with him - and now this!" she laughed. On the face of it, the pair made an unlikely combination. Arvidsson admits she knew nothing about harness racing before joining the Craven team and eight-year-old Gus An Maori (Angus Hall - Sumthingaboutmaori (Pine Chip) had been dogged by long periods on the sidelines, largely the result of bad feet. Sofia Arvidsson and Gus are planning a tilt at some country cups after their Group Two success Gus An Maori was more than three years without a win before his comeback victory at Horsham. Almost 12 months later to the day he recorded his first Group Two success - and, in between, another seven victories. Arvidsson said undoubtedly the key to turning him around was a dramatic change in training approach. "Mattie came back with me to Sweden and he spent some time there with trainers who use straight tracks. Also, the European style of training is not to work them so much, but when they do, they work them quite hard," she said. "It was something we wanted to try, and Gus was the guinea pig on the straight track. It doesn't work for every horse, of course, but for him it's really been the key to him." Arvidsson said Gus An Maori's training regime was based a lot on "feel". "Before, he used to jog every day and fast work every second day on the round track. Then I started with riding him and working him the more European way - fast work, a couple of days off, then fast work," she said. "So, before he won this time, he ran on the previous Saturday night. He had nothing the next day, I might have swum him once, then I gave him a fast work on the Wednesday, and he raced and won on the Friday. "Before, he would chicken out or have a gallop, but he has a lot of confidence this season. He isn't sore and he's stronger, and he knows he can do it. "I'm so excited for the owners, as well, who are massive supporters of Mattie and breed some lovely horses. Gus had been battling for a long time and now they're just so thrilled to enjoy watching him race again." Winning team: Sofia and partner Mattie Craven Teaming with Gus An Maori has also undoubtedly built the confidence of the novice driver, who became licenced only in October last year. Arvidsson recorded 20 wins from 110 drives in the 2019-20 season, and so far in the extended season she's been flying, with 14 wins from 49 starts. Although she was accomplished in dressage and jumping before she arrived at the Craven stable, Arvidsson had no experience at all in the harness racing game. "I was backpacking, travelling and living in New Zealand for a bit, then spent time in Melbourne. I had to do some farm work to get my visa extension in Australia, so I went to Alice Springs. Then to finish it off Kima Frenning (another expat Swede having success in the sport in Australia) suggested I come down here," Arvidsson said. "I'd always had riding horses but had never driven a horse before. But as soon as I started fast working I thought: why haven't I been doing this all my life? "I am very fortunate that Mattie gives me a good go, but I am absolutely loving it. It's such hard work, but the highs are just such highs and it's easy to keep going when you are having success." Arvidsson said Gus An Maori's success now has them looking to target more feature races in the months ahead. "I'm so happy to be able to put look at some country cups - we've climbed the ladder together and to take that step together would be very exciting." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Well-liked Kyneton horseman Tony Xiriha doesn’t care one bit that he’s widely known in harness racing circles as “The X Man”. And there’s a simple reason for it. “Most people have trouble working out how to say my surname. It’s pronounced using Sh – but most people find ‘The X Man’ a bit easier!” he said. For the affable horseman, who celebrated his 56th birthday yesterday, he’s just grateful he is up and about and doing what he loves after getting “pretty smashed up” in a bad race fall at Stawell five years ago. “It’s hard to believe that one minute I was sitting upright behind a horse in a race and then I was out like a sling shot. We still don’t really know what happened. Perhaps I ran over another horse’s hoof...I really don’t know,” Xiriha said. After being air-lifted to Melbourne, Xiriha spent over a week in hospital. He suffered a broken right wrist (which is still held together by plates), a dislocated right shoulder, serious facial lacerations and a split forehead.  His injuries required 10 months of rehabilitation. “I was lucky that my wife Dale is a nurse, and our kids were great.  A good mate in Tony Trimboli was also fantastic. He would drop in to see how I was going, or give me a call,” Xiriha said. “One of the hardest things was that I lost my memory about a month after the racefall. It’s gradually got better, but I have to write things down or I’ll forget,” he said. “I still struggle every now and again. The pain in my arms and hand can be agonizing and my wrist still hurts if I get a puller to drive, but I’m doing what I love and that’s being around horses. “Next season I’ll renew my driver’s licence, but my plan is to give race driving away. I mainly want it so that I can keep driving my own horses at the trials.” Xiriha was introduced into harness racing in the mid-1980s by his uncle John Woodham.  (Woodham was still involved in the sport up until this season when he decided it was time to relinquish his licence.) “I worked at Broadmeadows at the Ford Motor Company and on my way home to Kyneton I would drive through Gisborne, where John had his trotting property,” he said. “I knocked off half an hour before John, who was a supervisor at a different factory. So, I’d harness up the horses and if John was a bit late getting away, more times than not we’d be doing them in the dark. There were quite a few occasions that I was hoping the horses could see okay! But we never had any worries at all. “John’s daughter Jody Woodham-Murdoch is keeping the family tradition going and still trains horses at Monegeetta.” When he bought his first block of land, a 12-acre property, Xiriha was just 18 years old. “My wife and I set it up and we then moved to our current 75-acre property, which has an 840m track. There’s always a heap of feed growing for the broodmares,” he said. “Our youngest in Ben has his stable hand licence and is enjoying doing fast work. Joel drove for three years and when he lost his claim, he gave it away.” Prior to his race meeting accident, “The X Man” had up to 24 horses in work. “I would do really well with horses that I’d get out of the claimers. I had a lot of them.  Now that I’ve slowed down a little, I’m only doing eight which includes three babies,” he said. Xiriha has held a trainer/driver licence since 1990 but didn’t work more than one or two at a time for the next decade. “I was operating an electrical contracting business and after finding it difficult to take even a few days of holidays, I closed it down in 2001,” he said. “It got to the point where I was unable to take even a day off and I was on the job seven days a week. I was just totally burnt out and I enjoyed the horses. So I decided to give them a go and if it didn’t work, I could always go back to my electrical trade. “I’m happy with the decision I made. As you get older you realise it’s not all about the money.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Lively Shepparton horsewoman Donna Castles was taken to hospital after a heavy racefall on Monday, but says she'll be "all good to go again soon". Castles, who prepares a big team at Ardmona with partner Doc Wilson, was thrown into the air when another runner got its hoof wedged in her sulky during a scrimmage in race six at the Cobram meeting. "I did have a little sleepover in hospital for a night. They just wanted to keep me under observation because I landed on my back and hit my head," she said. "I felt like I was being flung about like a rag doll. I remember being really worried when my leg got stuck-but thankfully it was only for a split second and I got it free before I got tossed out." Castles was driving chestnut mare Dances in the Peter Enals Cobram Caravans Trot. They were positioned three back the pegs with about 450 metres to go and gave ground slightly before the trailing horse Itsarapt, who was racing fiercely for pint-sized Bec Bartley, put his front foot into the off-side wheel of Castles' sulky. Watch the race replay click here "I knew he was pulling hard and over-racing for Bec, but she was doing her best. His hoof jammed near the stay and I got thrown onto a shaft, then back to the seat, but then hit the shaft again and that was it for me," Castles said. "I really felt at one point that I was being dragged out to the front of Bec's horse, which could have been really bad." The popular reinswoman who is a regular at meetings in the Goulburn Valley region said it was only the second time she had ever been involved in a racefall in her career. "I've been pretty lucky. But I'm okay and hopefully I'll be back at it again soon. We've got two starters in the one race at Maryborough on Friday so fingers crossed I'll be there," she said. The Cobram event was won by father-and-son Steven and Ryan Duffy with four-year-old brown mare Majic Fair (Majestic Son-Clefairy (Extrovert), who has turned it all around this season with five wins and seven placings for over $27,000.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

It won’t really come as a surprise...but champion harness racing horseman Anthony Butt has declared that Victoria is once again home on a permanent basis. Butt, who has been preparing a big team at Menangle for Emilio Rosati and his wife Mary, headed south recently with some quality horses, predominantly trotters. And he’s been on fire! Butt, a former Kiwi, made no secret that the visit was aimed at the rich races that were on offer, saying it was easier to place horses at a plethora of meetings within one or two hours from his temporary base at Melton. “There are so many trotting races programmed down here and Emilio is heading more and more in that direction,” Butt said. “We thoroughly love Melbourne. We’ve made a lot of friends over the years here during our trips and then when we lived here.” When it comes to Butt’s Midas touch with square gaiters, the past champions in Lyell Creek and Take A Moment come to mind, both trained by his brother Tim. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Hard-working Romsey trainer-driver Chris Svanosio is sure to remember his last weekend’s Breeders Crown triumph for many years to come. The win with Watts Up Majestic (Majestic Son-Rainbow Maori (Maori’s Idol) was his first Group One success since relocating to his new base from Bendigo nearly 12 months ago. Watts Up Majestic, raced by his breeder Bradley Watts, finished full of running to claim the Skyvalley @ Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown $100,000 event for 2yo trotters. “He’s a lovely horse and I got him when his regular trainer Rickie Alchin couldn’t make it down due to the travel restrictions in Syndney,” Svanosio said. “I’ve been friends for years with Rickie and his brother Jarrod. I first met Jarrod when he was a junior driver and drove for a good mate in Bruce Morgan at Bendigo and Rickie was down in Victoria working there for a while with John Ryan,” he said. Svanosio, who worked as a scientist in Tasmanian aquaculture before getting the harness racing “bug”, has now landed four G1 winners in a successful career as well as being victorious with three he trained. “I’m on a lovely 40-acre property with girlfriend Elizabeth (MacLean) and we’re doing a team of 33 horses at the moment,” he said. “We’re lucky to have Michelle Phillips, Tayla French, my dad Peter and a few others giving us a hand because there’s also nearly a dozen rising two-year-olds that need to come in.” Svanosio drove 55 winners and 113 placings in 2019-20. He has won another 12 races and 22 placings in the extended season. In the training ranks, he chalked up 56 wins (12 metro) and 93 placings. The extended season has seen an additional 18 wins and 22 minor placings. Chris Svanosio and Watts Up Majestic (Photograph Stu McCormick)  ****************** Shepparton-based David Moran helped himself to a personal training/driving double at Cobram yesterday—and in addition landed three other winners for three different trainers. Meanwhile, 740kms away, champion South Australian reinswoman Dani Hill also posted five victories for the day at Globe Derby Park. For Moran, of Lochinvar Art fame, it was the second occasion in his career that he’s driven a “high five”. The first time he achieved the feat was at Albury, back in February of 2015. He was successful yesterday with Redbank Cooper (Art Major-Lettucedance (Western Ideal) and Angelic Miss (Shadow Play-Heavenly Hiraani (Fake Left), both prepared at his Kialla stables. Moran also tasted success with Russell Jack-trained Major Angel (American Ideal-Mattie Angel (Art Major); Geoffrey Allan bay mare Sassyfeet (Julius Caesar-Symphonic Jade (Strong Life); and a gelding trained by his partner Kasey Kent in Reckon Im Smart (American Ideal-Pacing Grace (In The Pocket). It’s incredibly the seventh time Dani Hill has bagged five at a meeting. And incidentally she has gone one better on three occasions, the most recent at Globe Derby in August with a big six. Dani combined with her father Gary to record a treble for the popular trainer-Bettaminethanyours (Alta Christiano-Bettainmypocket); Citysiren (Mr Feelgood-Ima Golden Girl) and The Queen Of Heart (Four Starzzz Shark-Couldbeagoodone). She was also successful with Shane Loone-trained pair Jake’s Sportswriter (Sportswriter-Tina) and Pay Me Interest (Gotta Go Cullen-Pay Me Girl). While over the Bass Strait to Tasmania, Ben Yole has kept kicking goals with four winners at Burnie on Friday, followed with a double at Hobart on Sunday. Seven-year-old gelding Jakes A Joy carried the winning flag at each meeting—firstly Taylor Ford got him home by a head, and then Mark Yole won by a neck on the pacer. “High five” for David Moran at Cobram. (Photograph Cobram HRC)   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Tasmanian horseman Wayne Yole knew deep down he had a natural trotter on his hands in pacing-bred youngster Bullapark Beno, but the family team tried everything possible to convince him to be a pacer. "We left no stone unturned-he wasn't any value to us as a square gaiter over here because we don't cater for two-year-old trotters in Tassie," Wayne said. "Of course, his breeding said he should pace, but he didn't know that, and he wouldn't have paced too many steps, if any, in his life!" he said. But Bullapark Beno knew what he was born to do, and with a last-start win and an encouraging third from just four outings, appears to have a bright future in Victorian square gaiting ranks. Prepared at Romsey by astute horseman Chris Svanosio, he didn't put a foot wrong with an all-the-way win at Bendigo recently when handled by in-form driver Michelle Phillips. Watch the race replay click here Bullapark Beno (Changeover-Jomeka (Village Jasper) was purchased by Yole at last year's Adelaide yearling sales for $5000 from breeder Danielle Helbers. Wayne said he picked the horse out of the catalogue, due in no small measure to the sensational racing credentials of his pacing sire Changeover. Changeover, by In The Pocket, won 29 races including such G1s as the NZ Derby, Noel Taylor Mile, NZ Cup and Len Smith Mile. He finished with over $2M in stakes and now stands at Burwood Stud, Qld. Wayne said he sent Bullapark Beno to Hamilton to be handled and broken-in by father-and-son team, Jim and Rod Barker. "I lived at Hamilton for years before shifting over to Tasmania nearly five years ago. They are not only personal friends of ours, but excellent breakers and I regard them as the best in the business," Wayne said. "I can clearly remember the day that Rod rang me to say I had a trotter. I sort of argued with him, saying that's not right, I'd definitely bought a pacer!" he laughed. "I'm not a big fan of trotters and have never had one before. When I was with the Barker team, I did drive a couple-but it wasn't very often. So in the end I told Rod to send him over to us." Wayne is the father of the leading Tasmanian family team Ben, Mark and Tim, and despite their combined expertise and "trying everything", Bullapark Beno only wanted to trot. "Unfortunately, that was really obvious from day one. But I don't know how many times we threw hopples on him trying to convince him!" Wayne said. "It just wasn't happening, though and because he was eligible for a VicBred bonus I decided to give him his chance with trotting. I rang Chris because I've always liked him as a trainer," he said. Chris Svanosio                                          (Courtesy Cobram HRC) "I actually had Bullapark Beno advertised for sale before his win. I got a few nibbles, but they were a bit short of what I wanted. I've decided to leave him on the market though, because his future really isn't over here in Tassie." Wayne said the name Bullapark Beno came from his grandmother's name Ellen Bulla combined with one of his son's names, Ben. "My property is named Bullapark. My grandmother was a fantastic lady and was from the Stolen Generation era. Obviously Beno is the nickname that Ben has picked up around the stables," he said. Wayne is getting back to good health after a stable accident two years ago put him in hospital for nine months. "It's been slow, and I've still got a bit of a limp, but I was lucky. A horse tipped me out and I landed on my back, squashing all the nerves onto my spinal cord. I was told I'd never walk again," he said. "I was so determined when I was confined to a wheelchair-and three months after the accident I walked back into the hospital. "I've had three back operations, and when I was in hospital for one of them, I got Golden Staph and was given about half an hour to live. I was flown from Launceston to Hobart hospital and pulled through." Wayne said despite the setbacks, life in Tasmania was "just great." "I do as much as I can to help the boys with the horses. The stable continues to tick over nicely." For the record, Bullapark Beno is not Changeover's first square-gaiting winner - five year old mare Heart of Change (Changeover - Bravest of Hearts (Big Band Sound) claimed that honor in August of last year. Heart of Change was a multiple race winning pacer before being converted to trotting after almost 12 months on the sidelines.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

After Melanie Maxwell put her harness racing ambitions on hold for more than a decade, a rogue horse that she just wouldn't give up on has finally fulfilled her dreams. The optimistically-named One Mans Trash (Falcons Icon-Psycho Molley (Dare You To) finally broke through to win a modest maiden at Cranbourne on Saturday - but his path to the winner's circle is one of the unlikeliest of harness racing success stories. That One Man's Trash was an eight-year-old having his third lifetime start (and his first in two years) gives some inkling of the back story. But the impressive barnstorming victory repaid in a moment Melanie's countless hours of patience and care. "I've watched the replay of the race probably 100 trillion times! He went awesome! I always knew he was a good horse and my friends Chris Hunter (trainer) and Des Hughes kept telling me he was capable of running some smart times," Melanie said. "There were plenty of times I threatened to send him back. I may not have been 100 percent serious, but that's how I felt at the time - but oh what a fantastic feeling to finally get that win," she laughed. One Mans Trash strides to his maiden victory at age 8 The happy-go-lucky horsewoman's harness racing ambitions began in the 1990s when she completed the harness course at Victoria's Gippsland Training Centre at Warragul. "After I did the training, I worked with the late Arthur Fullwood for 12 months and then with Chris Hunter for a few years," Melanie, of Neerim, in West Gippsland, said. "I never really stopped being interested in harness racing, but I got occupied with raising a family of three lovely daughters, as happens," she said. "Then 10 years down the track I just happened to spot a two-and-a-half-year-old standardbred 'cast off' in an Echuca sales catalogue, and it was funny, because I just kept coming back to check out this one particular horse." Curiosity got the better of her, and Melanie made some calls to track down the youngster's background. "I'm pretty sure he was headed for the knackery - everyone I spoke to warned me about him, that he was crazy, but I just couldn't let him go, for some reason." Melanie couldn't afford the horse's $350 price tag, but a conversation with Rehoming Horses Victoria was the key. "It was unreal. Rehoming Horses Victoria raised the money in 24 hours from people wanting to save these horses. I was just blown away by all the lovely people gathering up the money," she said. When the horse arrived at Melanie's property, he was more than a little worse for wear, and clearly a "project horse" - not an ideal prospect for a relatively inexperienced trainer. "He was scared of everything, even his own shadow and he was always ready for a fight! He was my first horse, so it was like the blind leading the blind!" she laughed. "It took two months to get a rug on him and over 12 months to re-break him. At home I would jog him along an 800m stretch of a dirt road and just keep doing loops. "I felt I was always taking two steps forward with him, and then 10 back, but after 18 months I finally got him onto a float so we could go into Warragul and do trackwork-and we both survived! Then we started going there two or three times a week." Melanie junior with the family favorite One Man's trash began showing solid progress and Melanie believed, some promise and in October of 2018, he was ready for the next step. "I was going to trial him and when they got called off, I just put him straight into the races at Cranbourne," she said. "It was the first time he'd seen a mobile barrier and our driver Rodney Petroff did a terrific job. The horse went super by running second. We went back three weeks later and ran 5th, but the next day he couldn't walk." Melanie found the pacer's hoof had been attacked by an aggressive condition similar to seedy toe. "Half of his hoof rotted out and we had to make sure it stayed dry and was kept cleaned out, so he had two years in the paddock as we cut out the infection." In the extended recovery period, Melanie began studying to be a paramedic, and being time-poor, let her trainer's licence lapse, accepting her dream may have ended. "I thought: 'Well that's that.' I'd run out of time, but deep down I believed he could do it after he'd overcome all of his setbacks, so I asked Chris Hunter if he would have a try with 'Monkey'," she said. "I just wanted to see the horse out on the track and the only way that was going to happen was to hand him on to someone else. Chris has always been happy to help and is always there for you and thankfully he agreed. "He's done a brilliant job, and our driver, Rodney (Petroff) also deserves a lot of credit." Hunter, a highly respected horseman at Trafalgar, was full of praise for One Mans Trash, one of three horses he has in work. "He has a will to win and it was a good job to come back and get the victory after two years in a paddock. We'll have a bit of fun with him because he's definitely got some high speed," Hunter said. "Mel has been marvellous with the horse. He was an absolute idiot when she first got him, but she kept hanging in there. She was rapt with the win - she was on the phone about five seconds after the race!" Watch the emotional win of One Man's Trash here. One Mans Trash will face the starter again on Sunday at Warragul and his four biggest fans in Melanie and her three girls Shae, 17, Chelsea, 15, and Melanie Jnr, 11, are sure to be cheering their hearts out. "The amazing thing is that he is such a lovely horse now - all he girls have ridden him at some stage, they brush him and he loves all the fuss," Melanie said. "I'd love to have 100 horses. Even when we started a family, I always thought I'd be back and was trying to keep a toe in. I just love it."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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