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When Bushi raced away to win the Quirk Real Estate Pace (1790m) at Warragul on December 22, he broke a 21-year win drought for Tyers harness racing trainer Wayne Evans. The 11-year-old stormed home to take out the race by two lengths. It was Bushi's 12th career win from 129 starts and it came 366 days after his previous win at Shepparton. The run was the gelding's second since Evans took him in after finishing fifth at Yarra Valley at $52 odds on December 13. Evans is only a recent addition to the Latrobe Valley's harness racing scene having renewed his trainers licence 18 months ago. Evans got back in the game after a 15-year layoff, he was previously worked out of Echuca with his last winner coming in Mildura in 1998. His move to the region came about when Evans' parents passed away and he wanted to move closer to his daughter Stephanie and her husband Michael Walton. Evans said Stephanie, who is in the process of attaining a trial driver's licence, was instrumental in getting him back into the sport, so much so that they developed a training track on his Tyers property. "After being out of the game for 15 years, she talked me into getting my licence back," Evans explained. "She caught the (harness racing) bug which makes it easy to get out of bed in the morning and we put together a training track in the hills which is fantastic and is great for working in the horses. "All credit has to go to Stephanie, she fell in love with (Bushi) and she put most of the work in (to getting Bushi prepared)," Evans explained. "It was fantastic to have my daughter, my son-in-law and their daughter there to see the win." The Evans' stable includes two other mares in Casino Cat and Valonte Swan. The latter is a chance of racing at the Warragul meeting on January 13 and her name is an anagram of Evans and Walton. According to harness racing devotee Kyle Galley, Bushi scored the first win by a Latrobe Valley-trained standardbred since Brunei Achilles won the Traralgon Cup on November 7, 1995, the last trots meeting staged at the venue. Evans said he hoped his recent success a generate a little bit of buzz in the sport. "It's a shame Traralgon harnesses closed down," he said. "I am a great advocate for country trots, there are only a few trainers in this region but it is out of our hands. "Hopefully this win can put Tyers on the maps, it shows you don't always have to be the best, you just have to show some perseverance. "It's good to get a few pats on the back. Hopefully it gets a bit more interest in the sport." By Dylan Arvela Reprinted with permission of Latrobe Valley Express

Imperial Whiz scored the most impressive win at Monday's Warragul trots meeting, giving his rivals a start and a beating in track record time.   The four-year-old, prepared at Melton by Danny Mullan and driven by Chris Alford, came off a 60 metre handicap in the trotters event, and dashed around his rivals at the 600 metre mark to put the race quickly beyond doubt.   Racing away to win by over 15 metres, Imperial Whiz took a half second off the previous track record time. Iona trainer Michael Hughes produced Reign Maker to win the first race narrowly.   It had been a successful few days for Hughes, who recorded a winner at the Redwood Classic meeting at Maryborough the previous day, while also running second in the Classic race itself with young trotter Is That A Bid.   Reign Maker's win was the first of a driving double for reinsman Rod Petroff, who also drove Hypersonic Drive to win race four.   Ellmers Hoofing It and Live On Broadway both started almost unbackable favourites in their respective events on Monday, but did the right thing by punters in winning.   Husband and wife Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs combined to win the two-year-old race with Illawong Mustang, while the curiously named three-year-old Arggghhh took on the older horses in the final event of the day, and won easily for Croydon trainer Ray Woods and driver Michael Bellman.   Monday's program was the final one in the current Victorian racing season for Warragul - the Gippsland club now goes into recess as far as race meetings are concerned with the next fixture not until Sunday, December 22.       Kyle Galley

When Adam Shaw got a job about 15 years ago working on a farm near Melton, just outside of Melbourne, his promising harness racing career took a back seat. "My dad and grandfather had a farm when I was a kid and I always thought I wanted to do the same. I still kept involved with horses, but it was through rodeo competitions," Shaw said. "It was kind of always in the back of my mind to one day return to harness racing because I did enjoy it," he said. And that opportunity first gathered momentum last year when Shaw successfully completed 10 trial drives and regained his driver's licence. Fast forward to a recent Warragul meeting, at only his fifth race drive back, and Shaw showed he hadn't lost touch with an impressive victory with four-year-old Smart Little Shard (Smiling Shard-Jules Hanover (Holmes Hanover) in the $7000 Toyota Pace. To watch the video replay click here. The driving engagement came through helping out trainer John "Bulldog" Nicholson, who prepares his team at a property neighboring the farm where Shaw works. "I've known 'Bulldog' for many years, and I was doing trackwork, just to keep my hand in, as well as a heap of shoeing and some breaking-in," Shaw said. "I was keen to do well. I just didn't want any dramas because I'd fallen out twice in the early days of my career at Warragul. I didn't tell anyone before the race because I didn't want to be a jinx," he said. "On the positive side, I had driven a winner there though, back in the day. "Hopefully with the win I might've been promoted to second string stable driver, because there's a few others above me! Winners are grinners! Adam Shaw didn’t waste much time notching up a first win back. "But, seriously, I've got the attitude that I'm about if I'm needed. It's early days, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it this time around." Shaw said he initially got into harness racing through his parents being friends with well-known studmaster, trainer-driver Bill Le Sueur and his wife Merrilee, who run Pine Lodge Stud at Oaklands Junction. "I left school when I was 16 and my dad told me I'd better go and help Bill. I learnt a lot and went from training to race driving. I won at my first two drives at Echuca and Geelong with the same horse in Current Assets. "I thought how easy is this caper?! Of course, I found out that it wasn't always that easy. But I did go on and drive probably about 20 winners. It was a great grounding under Bill and I later worked with Stephen Dove at the Knight stables at Kilmore and his legendary father, Don. "There were good times with all of them and I actually drove my first and only double when I was working for Don Dove." Over the past 20 years, Shaw has been involved with rodeo events, including bull riding, barrel racing and team roping. "I've been tangled up with that on most weekends. I've always loved the rodeo, probably going back to my early 20s," he said. "I still do the team roping now whenever I can." Team roping is also known as "heading" or "heeling" a steer with two mounted riders - the header has the job of roping the steer to allow the heeler to rope the animal's back legs. Shaw said his farm job involved running a property of 1000 acres all under irrigation, through a recycled system, growing lucerne, running sheep and cattle, as well as agistment. "I thought it would be okay when I took it on. It was only part-time, but I'm still here and enjoying it," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When competitive sportsman Rick Cashman decided the time was right to give away football and cricket, he desperately wanted to focus on something else. "In the end it was probably an easy decision to get involved 'hands on' in harness racing because I'd owned a few horses with well-known personality Rob Auber," Cashman said. "But the idea of training my own stable of horses and perhaps one day driving them really did appeal," he said. "So aged 43 years, I took leave from my public service job and went and did the course offered at Warragul's Gippsland Harness Training Centre." Cashman graduated from the centre 11 months later, and described the course as "absolutely awesome". "I'd attend most days from 7am to 1pm and I just cannot speak highly enough of the thorough way all aspects of harness racing were covered. It's a fantastic opportunity," he said. "When I did it, the co-ordinator was Des Hughes, with the training teacher being Chris Hunter and they were brilliant. There were also others you could turn to, like veteran horseman Gordon Turner." And now Cashman is one of a number of trainers based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre complex, which he describes as "a great amenity with everything a horse trainer would want". "I only live 10 minutes from the track, but I'm up at 4.30 most mornings to do the horses and then it's off to my job in the taxation office." Eight-year-old gelding Danman (Village Jasper-Ritzy Emm (Armbro Operative) caused a huge boil over at his home track on Sunday for Cashman, being the 25/1 rank outsider in the SBG Accountants & Business Advisors Pace. "His fast work leading up to the race was quite good. I don't get ahead of myself with him however as he played up at the start in his previous run, and was always off the bit," Cashman said. "But when my driver Shannon O'Sullivan was able to zip across early and grab the one-out and one-back spot, my confidence was up a little," he said. "On the home turn he looked like he was struggling, but he puts his head down over the last 100 metres and kept coming." Hobby trainer Cashman and a group of friends leased Danman as an unraced four-year-old from the horse's owner Trevor Reid. "He ran second on debut then was lucky enough to win and get the bonus for Trevor. He's now won 12 races and has been a great learning horse for me," he said. "I got to know Trevor through his work - he does fencing and did some work at our place. We later purchased Dansbro (Elsu-Ritzy Emm) from Trevor, a half-brother to Danman." Dansbro has gone on to record six wins (all courtesy of reinsman Greg Sugars) and three placings from 20 starts. Cashman was also full of praise for junior driver O'Sullivan, who is based at Heathcote. The youngster, studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at La Trobe Uni, Bendigo, is daughter of legendary horseman and Gordon Rothacker Medallist, Jim O'Sullivan. "Shannon has now driven 18 winners, three of those on old Danman, and looks to have a bright driving career ahead of her," he said. Cashman is now aiming his pair of talented pacers for a tilt at an upcoming Melton meeting. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Star Victorian pacer San Carlo deserves to win a Group 1 race and is set to be given another three chances to do over the next few months. Trainer Steve O’Donoghue said it was “very likely” his classy veteran would chase the Len Smith Mile at the end of June and then the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake during Albion Park’s Winter Carnival. San Carlo followed a dominant Mildura Cup win with a comfortable Warragul Cup victory last Sunday. It was a one-act affair with driver Bec Bartley working to the front, rolling along and ripping home in 55.6 and 27.4sec to win by 3.2m in a 1min58.3sec mile rate for the long 2627m trip. The slow-maturing eight-year-old boasts 28 wins from just 48 starts along with nine placings and almost $500,000 in earnings. Buzz former Kiwi four-year-old Ana Malak looked San Carlo’s only real danger on paper at Warragul, but found the task of sitting outside him for the last 1400m simply too much. He tired late for fourth. It was the Golden Nugget winner’s  second run for caretaker trainer Dean Braun after he dropped back staggeringly in grade to win first-up from a spell at Stawell six days earlier. Ana Malak is sure to keep improving, having just raced twice for Braun since the Group 1 Golden Nugget for part-owners and trainers Greg and Skye Bond last December. “We’ll see how he goes in Victoria with Dean (Braun, trainer) for a while then bring him back home,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ For the umpteenth time in his stellar career, Gavin Lang’s drive made all the different in a feature. Lang, recently sidelined with a bout of shingles, was at his aggressive and tactical best in a desperate first 100m of the $75,000 Group 2 Tasmanian Easter Cup (2698m). Ultimately, somehow staying in front of major rival Ryley Major won Lang and his former Kiwi pacer Franco Tristan the race. Lang went on to find the lead, dictate the terms and win by 1.1m over a gallant Scooterwillrev, who sat parked. But Ryley Major should’ve won. He was buried four pegs, got clear too late and stormed home for a close third. If not for Lang’s genius early, Ryley Major’s trainer-driver Rohan Hillier would almost certainly have found the lead and won as he liked. Franco Tristan has been ultra-consistent since coming to Lang’s barn from NZ with 16 starts netting si wins, seven seconds, two thirds and now almost $90,000 in stakemoney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trainer Andy Gath said some the practice at home the Alexandra Park direction of racing ended a planned Anzac and Rowe Cup raid. “He just wasn’t comfortable going that way, certainly not enough for take him overseas,” Gath said. “We’d love to have gone, you know I love chasing the big races when we’ve got the right horse.” McLovin was beaten but far from disgraced after striking early trouble in the Uncle Petrika Sprint (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night. He gave the leaders almost 50m start once they’d settled and ran on well for third behind rejuvenated and very much in-form Savannah Jay Jay, who ran down classy mare Red Hot Tooth in a slick 1min55sec mile rate. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Emerging NSW stayer Ellmers Image had to be content with winning the consolation of last year’s Melbourne Inter Dominion. But he’s gone to another level since and will surely tackle the Auckland series late this year. Amanda Turnbull’s gelding sat parked and beat Majordan in a 1min49.6sec mile at Menangle then out-stayed a hot field in last Thursday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith. The mile rate was a blazing 1min56.7sec for 2565m around the tight, old-school circuit. Buzz pacer Ignatius ran a close and excellent second at his first run back from a let-up, while classy recent Kiwi import Sicario was third. The trio look set to meet again in this week’s Group 2 Treuer Memorial – a former Grand Circuit race – at Bankstown. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Trevor Casey’s former Kiwi filly Dracarys looks a standout for the Group 1 WA Oaks. Champion driver Gary Hall Jr has been talking her up for many weeks and she again showed why be thrashing a good field in a prelude of the Oaks at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Hall Jr worked around the field from a back row draw to find the lead midrace and kept rolling. Dracarys won as she liked in a brisk 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2138m, capped by closing splits of 56.6 and 28.5sec. The daughter of Bettors Delight won one of her three NZ starts before Casey sent her to Justin Prentice in WA and she’s posted another 10 wins and two placings in her 13 starts in WA. On the same card last Friday, American Ideal gelding Mighty Conqueror underlined his potential with a narrow but big win in the $50,000 Group 2 Easter Cup. Greg and Skye Bond’s four-year-old came from a 20m handicap, worked around to lead and just staved-off a big late surge from As Happy As Larry to win by a nose. “We think he’s got so much potential,” part-owner Rob Gartrell said. “If you talk to Ryan (Warwick, driver), he just loves the horse and thinks he’s still developing with every run. “He’s had a big campaign so he’s out a spell now with the hope he’ll come back and take the next step.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ One of Australia’s most exciting mares Share The Road died suddenly in trackwork last Tuesday. The Kiwi-bred daughter of Tintin In America, who boasted nine wins and 11 placings from just 28 starts, was due to resume for new trainer Matty Craven at Melton last night (Saturday). “We assume it was a heart attack. She went onto the track, went 100m, collapsed and died,” owner Zac Cornell said. “It’s devastating because she had so much potential and we just switched her to Matty for a change-up to try and get a bit more speed back into her.” _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Could Majestuoso be the trotter to test the freakish Alpha Male in the major Aussie three-year-old trotting features? There’s no doubt the speedy son of Majestic Son has the talent, as evidenced by his five wins from just six starts this season. The latest came after a massive scare when Majestuoso was cruising to an easy Ballarat win last Tuesday night before galloping at the 400m, but getting going again in time to win easily. Majestuoso showed talent but galloped so often last season, but, generally his manners have been much better this campaign. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Queensland veteran Glenferrie Hood deserves a mention for topping $100,000 in earnings in free-for-all ranks so far this season. The much-travelled nine-year-old made it nine wins from just 19 starts for the term – his best strike rate of any season in his career – when he overcame a wide draw and stormed around the field to win at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Wayne Graham-trained gelding has won 42 races and is closing in on $500,000 in career earnings.   Adam Hamilton

Record stakemoney will be just one of the highlights of the Warragul Downtowner Pacing Bowl Cup meeting which is approaching quickly.   The traditional Easter Sunday fixture, this year on April 21, will be headlined by record prizemoney for both pacing and trotting Cup races, and exciting trainer giveaways to increase interest in the event from horsepeople.   Warragul Sporting and Social Club have again thrown generous financial sponsorship behind Warragul's flagship harness race, and with additional statewide stakemoney increases previously announced by Harness Racing Victoria, this year's Cup will be staged for a record $35,000.   The time honoured Eddie Evison Memorial Warragul Trotters Cup will be run for $14,500, and is again sponsored by the Evison and Sherar families. Support races are also expected to draw strong entries.   In an effort to significantly increase industry participation in this year's event, three $500 cash giveaways are on offer for trainers who race on the day at Warragul.   Each trainer/training partnership which races on the day will receive one ticket into the lucky draw, regardless of how many starters they have, which means that all participants will have an equal chance of sharing in the cash, whether they win a race or not.   Local finance broker Rob Lee (Liberty Financial) is a harness racing enthusiast, and his company are generously backing Warragul Harness Racing Club with support of this trainer's incentive.   Winning Formula product will also be given away to trainers of all placegetters on the day, courtesy of Origin Powders and Liquids.   Warragul Harness Racing Club Operations Co-Ordinator, Des Hughes, said that his focus for the club's premier racing event is to foster the support of the industry people who put on the show day in, day out.   "We needed to get the focus back on the participants, particularly for the Cup meeting, and keep Warragul as an attractive racing alternative for locals and visitors," Hughes said.   "If you look after those who put on the show with good facilities, a few giveaways, that sort of thing, hopefully people go away with a positive impression of our club even if their horse doesn't win."   "The same applies for those who follow the sport...we need the die hard industry fans to come out and support us and make Warragul a go to destination on the Easter weekend, as this meeting is one of a number of great country events that every harness fan should have on their bucket list."   Warragul's close location to Melbourne with direct freeway and train access lends itself to a leisurely drive on a Sunday afternoon for a top day of racing.   Legendary harness form analyst Bill Glover will be trackside to run Warragul's Punters Club, and local officials are hoping Bill's reputation as an astute student of form will lead to record ticket sales.   The first class facilities at Warragul are available for dining package bookings, which are already selling well.   A bistro and barbecue will also be on offer during the day, along with the usual fare of lucky racegoer giveaways (including $2000 in holiday vouchers), pony trots and kids activities.   Punters are spoiled at Warragul with a giant indoor screen for race viewing, excellent tote facilities, and bookmaker Tom Hogan also represented, while all facilities are indoors, overlooking the track which is one of the best in Victoria for viewing harness racing.   So far this season horse numbers at Warragul are well up on last season, and club officials are quietly confident that trend will continue for their main event.     Kyle Galley  

Trafalgar trotter Sovereign Minx scored an impressive victory at the Warragul race meeting staged on Wednesday afternoon.   Sovereign Minx led throughout to win the Drouin Signs Trotters Handicap, where three of the six starters galloped during the race. The field was spread out over 180 metres as the winner crossed the finish line.   Despite half the field making mistakes, nothing should be taken away from the win of Sovereign Minx, a four-year-old mare scoring her second victory at start 20.   She trotted faultlessly throughout for driver Rod Petroff, and carved out solid sectional times throughout the 2210 metre event.   Sovereign Minx controlled the speed to suit in front, picking up the tempo at the 1200 metre mark, and running her rival ragged in the process. Trainer Chris Hunter said after the event the plan was to find the lead and not give it away in Wednesday's race, as his horse appreciates being allowed to roll along in front.   Sovereign Minx winning at Warragul last Wednesday  - Matt Walker Photography   Trotting followers will note that Sovereign Minx produced below 30 second sectionals for the last three quarters of a mile in Wednesday's race, a very good effort for a maiden trotter and one that will give Hunter every confidence that he can win further races.   The four-year-old is out of a former smart pacer the Hunter family raced, named Golden Teardrops, however Sovereign Minx now has the score on the board as a trotting, as opposed to her dam.   Hunter's son Glenn drove Mota Mate to win the fourth race of the day for Cranbourne horseman Hugh Cathels.   Fellow local four-year-old So Much Bettor scored his second win on end at Warragul when a narrow winner in the second race of the day.   Two drivers, Glen Craven (Hail Georgie) and Jack Laugher (Lady Flora) notched up their first career winning drives at Warragul during the day, while former Kiwi mare Sumthin Special scored her second win on end for trainer Rob O'Connell and driver Zac Phillips.   Premier horseman Gavin Lang collected the last two winners, My Kiwi Lady and My Cash, to extend his lead in the Warragul drivers' premiership.     Kyle Galley

Eight races will be staged at the first trots meeting at Warragul for 2019 on Wednesday afternoon.   It will be an early start for the card with the first race at 11:41am and the last event run by 4pm.   A Morning Melodies concert, staged for the first time by the Warragul Harness Racing Club, has attracted good bookings and will be staged before the racing begins. There are some smaller fields throughout the day but the meeting has attracted support from locals, and even trainers from the state's Western District will head across to compete.   Top horseman Gavin Lang got away to a flying start in the Warragul driver's premiership with five winners at the meeting on December 23, and has a strong hand again with four drives on Wednesday.   Lang is bringing some of his own horses to compete at the meeting, and will also drive the impressive last start Warragul winner Just Anything in the Trotters Handicap for local trainer Michael Hughes.   Veteran 11-year-old pacer Astronaut, who first raced at Warragul in June 2010, is running in the last race on Wednesday.   Wednesday's meeting is part of a busy week of racing locally - there will also be greyhound racing at Logan Park on Thursday afternoon followed by the big Warragul Cup card at the dogs on Saturday night, January 12.     Kyle Galley

Top horseman Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there on Sunday. Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul. His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (who he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger. Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event. That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race. Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess. For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers' premiership on the Gippsland track. Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title. Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent. The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley  

Top harness racing driver Gavin Lang equalled the record for the most number of wins at a Warragul trots meeting when he drove five winners there yesterday afternoon.   Lang joins fellow top drivers Ted Demmler, Chris Alford, Jodi Quinlan and Craig Demmler as those to have landed five race wins on a single program at Warragul.   His haul came courtesy of Alpha Charlie and Harpagus (which he also trains), Just Anything and Rocknroll Gold (prepared by local horseman Michael Hughes) and Sahara Tiger.   Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan, who also produced So Much Bettor to win the fourth event.   That gelding was the second of two winning drives for reinsman Chris Alford, who had driven the Jayne Davies trained 12-year-old All I Can Be to win the third race.   Greg Sugars was the only other driver to win a race on the afternoon, courtesy of Wattabout Rioli, trained by his wife Jess.   For all his success during over four decades in harness racing driving, the Warragul born Lang has not won a drivers premiership on the Gippsland track.   Sunday's meeting was the first of the racing season at Warragul, so Lang certainly has got away to a flying start in a bid for his first driving title.   Warragul's track raced in fast order on Sunday afternoon, and field sizes and on-course turnover were excellent.   The next meeting at the Warragul Pacing Bowl will be staged on Wednesday, January 9.   Kyle Galley

Local trots followers are eagerly awaiting the opening meeting of the 2018/2019 Warragul harness racing season, which takes place this Sunday afternoon, December 23.   It is the first meeting staged at Logan Park since late August, and the first of several Sunday afternoon programs to be staged by the Warragul Harness Racing Club over coming months.   Numbers of local horses competing on Sunday are expected to be strong.   Last Saturday morning 17 horses competed in barrier trials at Warragul, and many of them are expected to back up this weekend for race assignments.   Local trainers Gary and Debbie Quinlan and Michael Hughes also expect to have strong representation in the events on Sunday from their stables.   Sunday's race meeting celebrates 30 years of racing on what is known as the Warragul Pacing Bowl, the racetrack of just over 800 metres in circumference which opened for competition in December 1988.   The track replaced a much smaller circuit which had hosted regular trots meetings since the late 1940s.   Warragul's current track was upgraded with an improved track surface and better camber on the corners in late 2014, and has produced faster race times since.   There will be free entry for patrons attending Sunday's race meeting, with the first race expected to start around 1pm.   A lucky racegoer raffle, giveaways and a visit from Santa Claus will keep patrons young and old amused between races.   Kyle Galley  

Top trainer Emma Stewart took over the mantle for the most number of wins prepared in a season in Australia when Tiger Storm won the fourth race at Warragul trots on Sunday afternoon. It was only the second horse Stewart had raced at the Warragul Pacing Bowl during 2018, but Tiger Storm's victory goes down in the record books with the success bringing up 300 victories for the season for the stable, passing the previous mark of 299 wins set by Queensland horseman Bill Dixon in 2010/2011. Tiger Storm ran a a short-priced favourite on Sunday, and went straight to the front at the start of the race for driver Chris Alford, one of four wins on the day for the master horseman who himself has set a national record for winners driven this season. Alford's quartet of victories enabled him to secure the Warragul Driver of the Year title for the fifteenth time. Three of those victories came for Gippsland horseman Gary Quinlan, who was once again crowned Trainer of the Year at Warragul. His winners on Sunday were Scruffy Marshall, Starofsahara and Emiliana. Feature race on Sunday was the Women in Trotting Tribute, to acknowledge the involvement of females past and present in harness racing. The race, for female drivers only, attracted seven starters, and, fittingly, local reinswoman Casey Parker drove the winner, Rocknroll Gold. It was Parker's biggest racetrack success so far, having been a past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. Competitors in Sunday's Women in Trotting Tribute staged at Warragul -photo Matt Walker Fellow local Simone Walker drove Montenero to produce a local Quinella. The winner is trained by Michael Hughes, who produced a double on the day, after Express Yourself won the Trotters Handicap. Hughes has recently settled into a new property at Iona, and Sunday's victory by Express Yourself was the first winner from the new facility. It was also the first race success for Michelle Seamons, another past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, who owns the talented five-year-old mare. Gippsland trainer Steve Austen was a proud man after his horse Priddy Easy won the first race of the day. Four months ago Priddy Easy suffered a nasty chest injury after a paddock accident at Austen's Labertouche property. He and his wife Karen have nursed the horse back to health, and Sunday's victory was the third for the pacer, which has also run nine minor placings. Greg Sugars drove Priddy Easy on Sunday - his wife Jess trained Fong Nien to win the sixth event to bring up a double for the top reinsman.   Kyle Galley

Emma Stewart recorded her 300th training win of 2017-18 today, the most wins an Australian trots trainer has produced in a single season. Only hours after claiming three Group 1s titles at last night’s TAB Breeders Crown it was back to business for the Ballarat trainer at Warragul, where she achieved the unprecedented milestone with Tiger Storm winning the Leonie Collins and Deb Quinlan 2YO Pace. The victory moved Stewart pass the record set by Queensland trainer Bill Dixon in 2010-11, with Stewart amassing the triple century from just 772 starts, a remarkable 39 per cent win rate. The achievement is testimony to Stewart and her great partnership with Clayton Tonkin, who said they had a real “passion for it and I’m sure when success follows you, you want to work hard because it’s something you love”. Last night’s TAB Breeders Crown delivered three Group 1 wins to Stewart’s stable, with Ride High winning the showcase IRT three-year-old colts and geldings final and Lauriston Bloodstock speedsters Speak No Evil and Hurricane Harley claiming their divisions. “(Ride High’s) very special to us, for him to win I'm very excited,” Stewart said. “We just let him mature and he's only had a handful of starts and he just keeps getting better and better." Tiger Storm’s victory that brought up the 300 was fittingly steered by reinsman Chris Alford, boosting his season win tally to 447, a national driving record that by Friday’s season end will be a mark that many think will never be bettered. Michael Howard

The significant contribution from women to the sport of trotting will be recognised at the first Ladies Day race meeting staged at Warragul Harness Racing Club on Sunday afternoon, August 26. Forty years ago the rules were changed in Victoria allowing women to drive in races against men. Although a small number of women had been competitors in races decades earlier before being banned, it wasn't until the early 1970s that women were issued with drivers licences after a lengthy campaign, enabling them to compete in organized Lady Drivers events, usually non-betting affairs staged between races at professional trots meetings. In April 1978, Boort Trotting Club in Central Victoria conducted the first professional women's race with betting, once the rules were changed to allow open competition. In August of that year, local horsewoman Debbie Turner (now Debbie Quinlan) drove Ranj Beau to defeat the men for the first time at a meeting at Terang. Since the floodgates were opened during the late 1970s hundreds of women have achieved great success in trotting, either as drivers, trainers or officials, and have won races across the country, right through to the elite events such as the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion Championship. To pay tribute to 40 years of success on the racetrack by women, a special Ladies' Drivers race has also been programmed for the Warragul meeting. Warragul Harness Racing Club officials have invited Australia's only female race caller, Victoria Shaw, to commentate the event for on and off track viewers. Guest speaker at a Ladies Day luncheon held in conjunction with the raceday is Dianne McGrath, one of seven Australians short listed as a candidate for the Mars 100 mission, which seeks to establish permanent human settlement on Mars in 2032. The proposed journey to Mars is a one-way trip - so McGrath's story is expected to be a fascinating one. Her sense of adventure, determination and fitness has seen her sail a tall ship in the Southern Ocean, cycle extreme distances, jump from a plane, and run multiple marathons and an ultra-marathon. Live music and giveaways will also feature around the local race meeting on the day for luncheon guests. Tickets cost $65 per head and include a two-course meal and reserved indoor seating overlooking the racetrack. From every ticket sold, $10 will be donated to the West Gippsland Healthcare Group. Ticket bookings can be made by phoning the Warragul Harness Racing Club on (03) 5622 2008. Kyle Galley

Leading reinsmen Chris Alford and Greg Sugars will stage an exciting battle for the Warragul drivers' premiership at the club's next race meeting on August 26. Alford drove a treble at the latest race meeting at Warragul yesterday (Sunday), while Sugars drove one winner and three minor placings, with both horsemen sitting at the top of the premiership table heading into the final race meeting of the season. Both Alford and Sugars could have several drives at the August meeting, so an enthralling battle may take place. Alford's treble were trained by local horseman Gary Quinlan - courtesy of pacers Roll With Rocky and Heavens Showgirl, and trotter Omy Son, while Sugars drove Illawong Maestro to win the fourth race for his father, Ross. Top young horseman Darby McGuigan also drove two winners at the Sunday meeting, courtesy of Undaliner and Into You. The performance of Into You in particular was one of the better wins of the day. The Rob Evans trained mare came with a strong finishing burst in the home straight, claiming leader Mystic Castle in the shadows of the post. Locally trained, Into You has won at the last two Warragul meetings, and is towards the top of the table for the Warragul "Horse of the Year" award for season 2017/2018, heading into August's season close. A further win at the August meeting would sew up victory in the award for connections. Surprisingly, Into You went around as a $14.90 chance on the TAB on Sunday, despite having won last month at Warragul in close to track record time. Four-year-old mare Yourgottabelucky made it two wins in succession with victory in the second race on Sunday for trainer/driver Richard Caruana.   Kyle Galley

Gippsland trotting trainers have enjoyed a great start to the month, with the prospect of more success at next weekend's Warragul meeting. There were three local wins at Geelong on June 5 - Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan won two races with Rocknroll Pearl and Professor Tom, while three-year-old trotter Sovereign Minx scored her maiden win on the same night for Trafalgar trainer Chris Hunter. At Cranbourne last Thursday night, Warragul horsewoman Jenni Lewis produced Miss Intense to win the final race on the program, while Cranbourne trainer Michael Hughes was also a winner earlier in the night with Bettor Beau. At Kilmore last Tuesday night Feel The Rhythm backed up her recent good form to score her third victory, giving further success to the Chris Hunter barn. And at Melton on Wednesday afternoon (today), Gary Quinlan produced another double, with two-year-old Sahara Tiger, and three-year-old Roll With Rocky, which, like stablemate Professor Tom, is raced by local owner Grant Rathjen. The Sunday, June 24 race meeting at Warragul features the $10,000 Ken Miller Memorial, and the $10,000 Traralgon Pacing Cup, with strong local entries expected in both of these races and the support card. Kyle Galley

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