Day At The Track

LEBANON, OH. – A pair of ultra-impressive harness racing performances, both by horses starting from the outermost No. 9 post position, highlighted the Saturday (Jan. 25) night action at Miami Valley Raceway. Windsong Leo (Chris Page) ran his win streak to five capturing the $25,000 Open Pace in 1:52 over a sloppy track.  The outstanding 8-year-old son of Jereme’s Jet has won three straight at the top level at The Meadows and now two straight at Miami Valley following a third place finish in the Preferred at The Meadowlands to end 2019. Page rushed his odds-on favorite, trained by Ron Burke, off the gate and controlled all the fractions (:27.1, :56 and 1:23.3) enroute to the victory.  Windsong Leo, a 53 time winner in 117 career starts, towed Gerardo (Kayne Kauffman), My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith), Shagnwiththedragon (John DeLong) and General Dolan (Trace Tetrick) across the wire. Pet Shark (Sam Widger) copped the $32,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame Series for $20,000 male pacers. After leaving with alacrity from his outside post, Widger and Pet Shark pestered favored Ponderingjacksfame (Page) through fractions of :27.4, :55.4 and 1:24.1. Despite being dispatched at odds of 17-1 and never seeing a pylon in the race, the winning 7-year-old Shadyshark Hanover gelding mustered a gutsy :29.2 final panel to hold off the late charges of Ram N Desire (Smith) and Cool Like That (Brett Miller). Owners Ryan Bellamy and Chris Bulak claimed Pet Shark for $26,000 a week ago in the final preliminary leg of the series and got $16,250 of that investment back in the final.  The winner now sports 19 triumphs in his 114 lifetime starts. Pet Shark was an upset winner in the $32,500 championship leg of Miami Valley’s Claim To Fame Series for $20,000 claimers. Racing resumes Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. at Miami Valley when the feature will be the $37,500 championship final of the Claim To Fame Series for $30,000 male pacers.  Gregg Keidel

Paris, France – Sunday afternoon the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes will transcend into the biggest day of harness racing around the globe. It’s the 100th anniversary of the classic trotting event, the Grand Prix d’Amerique. There will be 18 world class trotters racing from a standing start, 2,700 meters (1.67 miles), down and up a hill, completing for 900,000€ in prize money. But at Vincennes, it’s more than just a rich race. It’s a tribute week honoring America for its help in fighting World War I. The track is already decorated throughout the entire facility with the Red, White and Blue and Stars and Stripes of America. There will be more than 1.6 million euros in prize money for the afternoon. There are 11 races, 7 of them graded stakes. It is estimated that more than 30 million euros will be wagered on the afternoon to evening race program. The races start at noon (6:00 am in the USA east coast) with six races held. Then the following takes place after the sixth race. Parade of 100 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, 100 young drivers, 100 flag bearers, acrobats, dancers, stilt walkers, surprise birthday party for the 100th Grand Prix d’Amérique The 18 drivers in the Prix d’Amerique will be presented individually on the Vincennes Hippodrome de Paris track. The French Royal Lancers Show on the racetrack arena. The post parade of the 18 horses and drivers in the Prix d’Amerique. Then the Grand Prix d’Amerique race will start at 4:10 pm followed by a victory lap for the fans by the official winner of the race. That will be followed by a major winner’s circle presentation to the winning connections followed by the last four races on the program. For the Prix d’Amerique race itself. Bold Eagle is the class of the field. A career winner of 4,956,617€, Bold Eagle is a son of Ready Cash who will have the top driver Eric Raffin in the sulky. He has won the Prix d’Amerique twice, just as his sire did. If he can finish in the top four positions, he will surpass the great Timoko and become the richest French trotter in history. Back in November he came to Canada and the won the Breeders Crown for Older Trotters. The horse most people are talking about is Face Time Bourbon. Also sired by Ready Cash, Face Time Bourbon is a five-year-old stallion that was a late bloomer, but in the past two years has made just 21 starts, but has won 18 times with two second place finishes. His driver, Bjorn Goop, won the Prix d’Amerique in 2018 with Readly Express. There are six mares in the field and the top one is last year’s Prix d’Amerique winner, Belina Josselyn. This nine-year-old daughter of Love You was sidelined with an injury for the better part of the 2019 season but has made a superb comeback. She was so dominant recently in the Grand Prix de Belgique that she may very well be able to defending her title from last year. She also had the great Jean-Michel Bazire driving. Other horses that cannot be overlooked include Propulsion, Billie De Montfort, Davidson Du Pont, Uza Josselyn and Ringostarr Treb, who will be retired to stud duty as the Prix d’Amerique will be his last start as a racehorse. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

By Jonny Turner    Ashburton trainer Laurence Hanrahan has all bases covered ahead of race 7 at Motukarara today. Hanrahan will line up impressive first up winner, Rocknroll Max, and the consistent Ultimate Rocker in the 2400m standing start event. Having that talented duo means a Hanrahan runner should be in the finish whether the race tempo suits front-runners or back-markers. Rocknroll Max is likely to land near the speed, as he did when winning his first start of the season at Timaru, earlier this month. The 4yr-old showed he had returned bigger and strong from a spell when powering along the passing lane to break his maden. “He won nicely last time, so hopefully he can take the step and mix it with the next grade,” Hanrahan said. “He has probably just taken a little bit of time.” “He just wasn’t mentally ready or mature enough last season, but this year he seems to have bounced back quite nicely.” Hanrahan is hopeful his A Rocknroll Dance pacer will handle stepping out of maiden grade to race more experienced campaigners in today’s event. “I hope so - his work has been fine since he raced.” “He had a quiet run at the Methven workouts on Sunday and he felt quite good there.” “So, going forward, hopefully we are on the right path.” Rocknroll Max must beat his stablemate Ultimate Rocker to continue his rise through the grades. The question of whether he can do it is not one Hanrahan can not answer easily. The two 4yr-olds have totally different racing styles, meaning race tempo and positioning will dictate their chances. “I don’t know if I would favour one – they are both different styles of horses in terms of how they need to be driven.” “But, if either of them get the right run, I would like to think they could be in the finish.” Getting back and sprinting off a fast tempo is the best scenario for Ultimate Rocker. “Ultimate Rocker has had a bit more experience in that grade.” “He has been going well without a lot of luck.” “If he gets the right run, he can come out and sprint quite fast.” “As he gets a bit more hardened up from a bit more racing, hopefully he will go forward from that.” Driver Stephen McNally will combine with Rocknroll Max, with Lawrence McCormick to drive Ultimate Rocker. Hanrahan also starts Pembrook’s Legacy in race 6. On form, the 6yr-old looks a strong eachway chance in the 2000m event for junior drivers. “He has come back nicely.” “The only question mark I have over him is I don’t know whether he is as effective on the grass as he is on the crusher dust.” John Morrison will drive Pembrook’s Legacy today. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    James Stormont is hoping his patience will be rewarded in Sunday’s $10,000 Rotorua Pacers Cup on the grass at Arawa Park. He prepares one of the race favourites, Magilligan Point, who is fresh-up for seven weeks. “He’s had some hard runs up at Auckland through November; I think three starts in a row he had to come home between 55 and 56 seconds. “His owner was going away on a holiday, so we decided to miss the last few Auckland meetings before Christmas and freshen him up.” The son of Gotta Go Cullect hasn’t been seen at the workouts in the interim, which would have been Stormont’s preference, but he’s still delighted with where the horse is at. “I’m very happy with him; his work has been excellent. “He hasn’t had a trial, because there haven’t been many and they didn’t really fit in with his training, but I think he’s ready to go anyway. “The only query is that it’s his first start on the grass but I don’t have any reason to think that will bother him.” It’s only the speedster’s second standing start, too, the first coming at his last start on December 7 when he finished a close-up fifth behind Some Do. “He stepped away clean that day that went rough for a few strides and lost ground.” Stormont reunites with his own horse, Clifton Flutter, in an R47-51 after putting him in amateur drivers’ races for stable staffer Ange Temu in recent weeks. She got the job done with an excellent win at Cambridge on January 5 and he’s done nothing to dissuade Stormont from thinking he can win again this week. “I thought his run the next start was even better; he did a heap of work and stuck on well. “I wasn’t going to back him up but he’s thriving and it made sense to fill the truck up since I was coming down anyway. “He had an issue with ulcers when I first got him, but that’s been treated and he’s been a different horse since.” Stormont’s team is rounded out by the debuting maiden trotter, Take The Monarch, in the last on the card. He’s five, and has been a bit of a project, but he’s getting there, his trainer reckons. “He’s been in work a long time and we’ve had a lot of problems with him.” Take The Monarch qualified for now Australian-based trainer Richard Brosnan as a three-year-old in April of 2018 so it has taken plenty of patience on the part of his connections to get to this point. Stormont wasn’t too sure what to expect from the horse. “I was going to take to Auckland on Friday night, but then I saw the noms for Rotorua – only seven horses – and it looked a far better option for him. “I guess we’ll know more after Sunday.” The day’s feature trot, the $10,000 Rotorua Trotters Cup, is headlined by Pukekohe mare Lovely Bundy, in what is her farewell race. She’s hunting a hat-trick of wins to round out her career for trainers, Peter and Vaughan Blanchard, and will head to the broodmare paddock next week safely in foal to What The Hill. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Blueblood trotting mare Daisy Hill cracked maidens in impressive fashion at Alexandra Park on Friday night, but still has a long way to go. That’s the belief of her driver and co-trainer, Josh Dickie, after the Muscle Hill half-sister to Stent cleared out to win by four lengths. “I’ve always liked her and she’s got a bit about her, but has just been a bit mentally weak,” said Dickie. “A couple of times she has galloped when she felt like she was going to win. “Really, she’s been letting herself down.” And while she’s finally put it all together in impressive fashion, Dickie reckons it will take plenty of racing and miles in her legs before she’s ready for the better company. “She’s the type of mare that’s not going to come out in her next few starts and keep doing this, I don’t think. “I really think we are a year away from seeing the best of her. “I believe with horses like her you’ve got to keep going around, putting the miles in to them. “She works perfectly at home, but she’s got to learn to keep her head in the game on race night.” Daisy Hill is the sixth foal of racing age out of broodmare gem Belle Galleon, who has a 100 percent winners-to-foals record thanks to Stent, Belles Son, Arya, Izmok and Lone Star Lad. She’s owned by Cantabrians Kevin Chapman and Trevor Casey, who have bred her about-turn for the last eight years. Daisy Hill was bred, and is co-owned by Chapman, who has been a regular collaborator with Dickie and his father, John, for a many years. “Kevin always has a nice horse around him and he’s been brilliant to us; we’ve had a bit of luck with the horses he’s sent north. “He did warn us that this one wouldn’t be easy as he’d had a bit of trouble with her, and he was right.” Tony Herlihy was the star of the show at Alexandra Park, training three of the eight winners on the night. Classy trotting mare Kenny’s Dream got her season back on track thanks to a heady drive from stable foreman, Tony Cameron. “It was a good effort after starting from a handicap,” said Herlihy. “There are a couple of nice mares’ races coming up for her.” Dina Brown was the easiest winner on the night, clearing out to win comfortably after leading throughout. “She’s just kept improving and is better than what I probably thought she was going to be. “It’s a great breed and she’s definitely got more wins in store.” And while the betting plunge came for stablemate Delightful Catherine, it as the Herlihy-trained Cowgirls N Lace that won the night’s opening event, a maiden. “She’s a good, honest filly from a nice family.” On The Cards put some disappointing recent performances behind him with a confidence-boosting win in the night’s feature pace, an early mistake the difference-maker for race favourite Double Rocket, who ran second. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

YONKERS, N.Y. – After a three-month hiatus, 2019 Yonkers International Trot winner Zacon Gio resumed harness racing serious work last Friday, Jan. 17. With trainer Holger Ehlert in the jog cart, Zacon Gio trained 2,000 meters in his first fast workout of the year. Zacon Gio was timed in 2:49, trotting his final 400 meters in about 30 seconds, according a Facebook post by Ehlert. “After three months of vacation Zacon Gio worked on the round track 2,000 meters (in) 2:49 with 30-(second) last 400 meters in the company of Vai Mo Blessed and Maine [ sic ] in about a month we are ready to run.” To view a video of Zacon Gio’s workout, click here. Zacon Gio is a 6-year-old Ruty Grif son out of the Yankee Glide mare May Galde Font Sm. The three-time Group 1 winner is 21-for-30 in his career with $996,834 earned for owner Giuseppe Franco. Zacon Gio’s last start came in the Yonkers International Trot Oct. 12. In his first start outside Italy, Zacon Gio romped to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $1 million stakes with Roberto Vecchione in the bike. Zacon Gio maintains a 12-race win streak dating to Oct. 25, 2018. Zacon Gio’s first start of 2020 could be less than one month away, according to Ehlert’s post. The trotter’s main targets this year include the Group 1 Gran Premio Lotteria at Agnano in Naples this spring and a title defense of the MGM Yonkers International Trot this fall. Slide So Easy Honored in Denmark Slide So Easy, the 2019 Yonkers International Trot runner up, was honored in his home country of Denmark with year-end awards. After a 10-year-old campaign that saw the Quite Easy son win eight of 16 starts with another six placings and more than double his earnings to 4,464,884 kr, Slide So Easy earned Older Horse of the Year and Horse of the Year titles. Slide So Easy won races at home and abroad in 2019. His biggest wins last season each produced lifetime marks. He trotted a 1:10.3 kilometer rating when besting Coktail Fortuna by a neck in a 1640-meter Gulddivisionen leg at Kalmar June 23. Slide So Easy lowered his mark again to 1:10.2 in a 1600-meter League 1 trot at Charlottenlund Aug. 25. Slide So Easy was only worse than second in two starts this year, including when seventh in the Group 1 Oslo Grand Prix at Bjerke June 9. Slide So Easy came to the U.S. ahead of the foreign contingent for the Yonkers International Trot, staying with Åke Svanstedt. Slide So Easy took full advantage of his inside draw in the Yonkers International, staying inside and finishing second at odds of 22-1 and adding $250,000 to the trotter’s bankroll. Slide So Easy raced four more times after his Yonkers International Trot bid, finishing his season with a victory in a 2,000-meter League 1 Final at Charlottenlund. Slide So Easy is owned by Team Clemmensen & Christensen and trained by Flemming Jensen. Slide So Easy   Cleangame Presented ‘Save the Date’ for 2020 MGM Yonkers International Trot Yonkers Raceway Director of Racing Alex Dadoyan presented Jean Michel Bazire with a ‘Save the Date’ for the 2020 MGM Yonkers International Trot for his trotter Cleangame. At Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris for this weekend’s Grand Prix d’Amérique, Dadoyan made the presentation after the Bazire trained and driven C D captured the Prix de Yonkers Raceway Thursday (Jan. 23). Jean-Michel Bazire won today’s Prix de Yonkers Raceway and I gave him a save the date card to bring his top trotter Cleangame to the MGM Yonkers International Trot September 12 pic.twitter.com/8OetA84Z24 — Alex Dadoyan (@AlexAcesRaces) January 23, 2020 Cleangame is regarded among the top trotters in the world. The 8-year-old Ouragan de Celland son went 13-for-16 in 2019, earning 628,750€. His biggest victories to date came in the Group 2, 150,000€ 42nd Grand Prix du Sud-Ouest Oct. 13 and the Group 2, 130,000€ Grand National du Trot Final Dec. 1. Most recently, Cleangame dominated his rivals in the 90,000€ Prix de Brest at Vincennes Jan. 18. Cleangame’s appeared to be on the way to victory over Propulsion, Bahia Questnot, and Bold Eagle in this fall’s Group 2 UET Trotting Master’s Final at Vincennes, but made a break on the lead in deepstretch. In his career, Cleangame has earned 1,269,720€. Cleangame is a gelding, excluding him from the biggest races at the Vincennes Winter Meeting. Yonkers International Trot Veterans Line Up in Grand Prix d’Amérique Sunday Three Yonkers International Trot veterans will start in the Group 1, 900,000€ Grand Prix d’Amérique at Vincennes Sunday (Jan. 26). Uza Josselyn and Bahia Quesnot, mares who started in the 2019 renewal of the International, and Ringostarr Treb, who came to New York in 2018, will each bid for France’s biggest race. Uza Josselyn finished sixth in the 2019 Yonkers International Trot and prepped for the Grand Prix d’Amérique with fourth-place finishes in the Grand Prix du Bourbonnais and Grand Prix de Bourgogne and a seventh-place finish in the Grand Prix de Belgique. The 9-year-old Love You daughter made the field based on her earnings of 1,274,678€. Pierre Vercruysse will drive for Rene Aebischer. Uza Josselyn was seventh in the 2019 Grand Prix d’Amérique. Bahia Quesnot made a break at start of the 2019 Yonkers International and did not finish the race. However, she rebounded at home for trainer and driver Junior Guelpa, finishing second in the Grand Prix de Bourgogne to punch her ticket to the Grand Prix d’Amérique. Guelpa will drive again on Sunday, Bahaia Quesnot’s second Grand Prix d’Amérique bid after finishing 10th in 2019. Ringostarr Treb was favored in the 2018 Yonkers International Trot, but made a costly break in stride on the first turn of the $1 million stakes. The 2018 Elitloppet champion won two Group 1 races in 2019: The Hugo Åbergs Memorial and the Sundsvall Open Trot. The Jerry Riordan trainee made a break in the Grand Prix de Bourgogne, but qualified for the Grand Prix d’Amérique field on earnings of 1,648,631€. Ringostarr Treb’s Grand Prix d’Amérique bid will be his final start before going to stud. The 2020 Grand Prix d’Amérique field is the richest ever assembled, with the 18 starters combined earnings standing at 25.9€ million. The race will be streamed on LeTrot.com. Lionel Wins in Norway Norwegian trotter Lionel, who finished second in the 2018 Yonkers International Trot at 11-1 odds and eighth in the 2019 renewal after making a break in deep stretch, found the winner’s circle in his home country Jan. 18. The 10-year-old trotter bested nine rivals at Bjerke Travbane with owner and trainer Gøran Antonsen in the sulky. The 2020 edition of the $1 million MGM Yonkers International Trot is set for Sat. Sept. 12. For more information on the race and its participants, visit http://www.internationaltrot.com. By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Vincennes, France – On the eve of the prestigious Grand Prix d’Amerique, American-born trainer, Jerry Riordan announced that this will be the last race for his top performer, Ringostarr Treb. Sired by Classic Photo, Ringostarr Treb has competed in 95 races with 33 wins and career earnings of 1,648,631€. “He is feeling great,” Riordan said of Ringostarr Treb, but this will be the last race of his career tomorrow. It just happens to be the Prix d’Amerique. The important thing for us is that after tomorrow we will not have him anymore. He is going to be a stallion so it’s a happy ending. “He’s ten years old now,” Riordan added. “It’s time for him to stop racing. I can’t think of a better way for him to end his career then racing in the Prix d’Amerique. With all the thousands of people clapping and cheering for the race, we will just think they are cheering for Ringostarr Treb’s last race.” A winner of the 2018 Elitloppet, Ringostarr Treb will be known for his classic battles with Propulsion in many elite races. It is his second time racing in the Prix d’Amerique. He will be driven by Jean-Philippe Monclin and is owned by E. Vam Racing Trotters. John Campbell, Tom Charters and Moira Fanning of the USA’s Breeders Crown/Hambletonian Society were at Vincennes and they were honored in the second race Saturday. Named the Prix Moni Maker, the trio made the trophy presentation to the winner. “I have been to Vincennes three times,” said Hall of Famer John Campbell. “And I regret that I never drove in a race here. I knew the first time I came here I should have asked to drive in some races. It’s such an amazing track, the racing surface is superb, the fans are so supportive of racing. I made a big mistake. It would have been great to have a drive in the Prix d’Amerique, but I would have been happy to get a drive in any race at this amazing track.” The Hippodrome Pari-Vincennes racetrack is an amazing place. There are three huge jumbo screens to watch the races from outside. New this year is a special running board that features what position each horse is in as the race is going. They also have a camera mounted on wires that catches all the action as the field comes down the stretch, very similar to what is done in professional American football. The paddock area for the horses racing that day is attached to the grandstand so people can go back and forth to see the horses with ease. But I know tomorrow it will be jammed, elbow to elbow. On Saturday there was a crowd of 15,000 fans and it will be hard to imagine that tomorrow there will be close to 40,000 fans. Tomorrow Vincennes will be the Kentucky Derby of Harness Racing. The feature race on Saturday was the 100,000€ Prix du Luxembourg. The winner was 18-1 Anzi Des Liards for driver Romain Derieux, who won by one length in 1’10’9, a lifetime record for the upset winner. He is a 10-year-old son of Look De Star. Track Notes: Harnesslink’s Thomas Hicks reported that the final Arqana-Trot Prix d’Amerique Sale at Paris-Vincennes produced some explosive bidding. Overall the sale saw 161 lots sold from 258 presented with gross proceeds of 3,529,000€, an average of 21,919€. The gross was up 1.6% from last year with the average down nearly 6%. Three young females sold by Jean Pierre Dubois led the sale. The sale topper at 370,000€ was hip 228 High Qualita (3f Ready Cash-Qualita Bourbon) that has recorded a win and two placings in four starts for 15,900€ earned. This is a classic pedigree with the dam Qualita Bourbon being a Gr. I winner of 1,538,050€ and this is the maternal family of Mara Bourbon, Kamera Bourbon, Sam Bourbon and the 2020 Prix d’Amerique starter Face Time Bourbon. The other Dubois presented toppers were hip 238 Haiti Dream (3f Love You-Tahiti Dream) that SRF Stable acquired for 200,000€ and hip 223 Gourgandine (4f Bold Eagle-Udine) that brought 160,000€ from Thomas Bernereau. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

An extraordinary night for Anthony Butt, who claimed both the Victoria Derby and Oaks, and a ground-breaking performance by Lochinvar Art highlighted a stunning Night 2 of the TAB Summer of Glory. The Alabar 4YO Bonanza proved a scintillating spectacle that re-wrote the record books, with Lochinvar Art winning from Self Assured in a time of 1:48.6 to record the first Victorian sub-1.50 mile rate. In addition Temporale produced an imposing win and Always Fast became the first Mercury80 champion amid a cavalcade of highlights captured in thetrots.com.au Live Blog.   Group 1 Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby Anthony Butt doubled-down on a sublime night for the reinsman as he added the Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby to an earlier Victoria Oaks triumph. Line Up carried his favouritism status with aplomb in the night’s $200,000 feature Group 1, having been in a class of his own out of the gate to claim the lead and holding a late challenge from Governor Jujon to salute in the three-year-old classic at Tabcorp Park Melton. Butt said he got a lot of “satisfaction” from the victory, having not only driven but trained the winner, though he was quick to share the accolades. “Sonya (Smith’s) a major part in it and the staff at home – Cam and Ash and Grace – it’s not a one-man band so it’s immensely satisfying,” Butt said. “Also Ray Green, he sent the horse over (from New Zealand) in magnificent order and we’ve just topped him off. A big team effort.” Tonight's win never really looked in doubt as Line Up emulated his heat victory at Ballarat by comfortably finding the front, with Youaremy Sunshine advancing to the breeze for Damien Burns. The two held those placements almost to the final bend, when Line Up spaced the chasing bunch with a 26.8-second third quarter and closing with a 27.8-second final 400 metres, which was enough to win by 1.6 metres from Grant Dixon’s Governor Jujon. “He’s a lovely horse, very relaxed,” Butt said. “He just went to sleep in front, that’s what he likes. He just goes along, same the other night at Ballarat, when I pulled the plugs around the bend he really zipped away. It was a big effort.” It was also a big result for owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, not only with Line Up winning but their other entrant, Perfect Stride, running third. “He’s a fantastic owner,” Butt said of Emilio. “He’s been in the game a long time and certainly spends millions and millions of dollars on his horses. He just absolutely loves them. You can see the satisfaction he’s getting tonight, it was a huge thrill when he offered Sonya and I the job, and we are just rapt to get so much success so early for them.” Emilio said “it is an absolute dream”. “It doesn’t get any better than this. Yes we put a lot of money into it, we all die one day, you can’t take it with you,” he said. “I love a challenge, and when I started in this sport people told me, mate, that guy just loves to waste money, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, half them are dead and the other ones are broke, I’m still here.”   Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Oaks Dr Susan broke in a false start, then broke the hearts of her rivals with a 26.3-second third quarter to set up victory in the Group 1 Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Oaks. The all-the-way win was scored by 4.4 metres from favourite Stylish Memphis, a satisfying win for reinsman Anthony Butt and co-trainers Nathan Purdon and Cran Dalgety, which the latter dedicated to Victorian reinsman Gavin Lang. “I just saw my good friend Gavin Lang today,” Dalgety said post-race. “Gavin’s having a wee bit of an off time, if I can dedicate a race I’m going to dedicate it to that good man Gavin Lang. It seems a bit hollow tonight not having him win one of these big races.” It was a fitting dedication given the might of Dr Susan’s performance, having worked to the front after Good Faith and Rockingwithsierra burned early and then controlled proceedings from there. “The draw was great for her, she found the front pretty easily,” Butt said. “I kept her out of the early burn and then went around when the pace eased and she got a really good first lap.” After moderate first (29.6-second) and second (29.3-second) quarters, Butt stepped on the gas. “I knew Mark was still back in the field about a lap out, so I slowly just kept up the pace. I knew he would be coming down the back, I didn’t look around.” A 26.3-second third quarter made making ground difficult. “You leave yourself open doing that, but Stylish Memphis is a great filly and I didn’t want her getting close.” Dr Susan then had enough left in the tank to hold on and win, with Rockingwithsierra boxing on well to finish third for Gary Hoban and John Caldow.   Group 2 Allied Express Casey Classic Mach Shard sent a shiver down rivals’ spines a week out from the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup, crashing the line to win a quickly run Allied Express Casey Classic. The pace was bristling throughout but it was the Barry Purdon-trained and Zac Butcher-driven five-year-old Kiwi who was hitting the line best to win the $50,000 Group 2 in a 1:52.2 mile rate, only 0.7 of a second outside Bling It On’s track record. “All the credit goes to Barry (Purdon) and all the boys back home and at Craig (Demmler’s) place,” Butcher said. “They put all the hard work into this fella. (Barry’s) a master, he’s a freak and I’m just lucky to be in the seat I am in, just ride the wave while I’m here.” Butcher was happy to wait while others poured on the pace, with Jilliby Bandit finding the front with Triple Eight on his outside, and when Thefixer loomed three-wide there was no easy move to the breeze.                                                                                      --Stuart McCormick photo Triple Eight pressed, eventually working past Jilliby Bandit and allowing Thefixer into the running line, but the leader’s had paid a price and were exposed when Cash N Flow flashed around the field to lead, only to be nabbed late by Mach Shard. “He went super,” Butcher said. “He got stuck a bit wide on that bend when they were running really hard. You probably lose a length or two just being a bit wider. “Then when he straightened up I thought he was a chance to get (Cash N Flow). I will give it to Mach Shard he fought hard and got there in the finish.” They ran incredible time in the final 1200 metres, clocking quarters of 27 seconds, 27.3 second and getting home in 27.4 seconds, with Mach Shard eventually winning by 1.3 metres from Cash N Flow and My Kiwi Mate running into third. For Mach Shard and Butcher it was a great lead-in to next week’s $500,000 Grand Circuit headliner, the A. G. Hunter Cup. “Barry mentioned to me not long ago that he has taken the next step this horse and he was spot on. “He keeps getting better and better and tonight proved that as well. The fact that he can hit the line like he did when a lot were probably dropping out, that’s what you have got to take out of that race and into next week’s Hunter Cup. He might even get a bit better with than run.”   Group 1 Alabar 4YO Bonanza Lochinvar Art has left no doubt that he’s at the pointy end of the Australasian pacing scene, winning the Group 1 Alabar 4YO Bonanza for trainer-driver David Moran ahead of Self Assured. The pair separated themselves from the field in a boldly run race, with Lochinvar Art stealing a march on the competition leading into the final turn to record a memorable win. “He’s just a legend really,” Moran said. “I don’t know what more to say, I’m chuffed and lost for words really. He’s been really good all week. He’s just a champion.” Moran worked forward from the gates but had to wait as those inside him found position before finding the front with Lochinvar Art, comfortable that whatever work he had to do Self Assured had to do more. “Tonight (Self Assured) had to cover a bit extra ground,” he said. “We were happy to keep him running, while we were one-off and then in front he was going to be three-wide and then one-off, so he was going to have to do a lot more work than us. If we were going to beat him tonight was the night.” Moran kicked into the final turn and created a buffer that Self Assured wouldn’t threaten, with Hurricane Harley running into third, but the Group 1 was always in Lochinvar Art’s keeping. “He’s just that sort of horse, nothing worries him whatsoever – distance wise, class wise – just nothing worries him at all.” Moran said providing all fell into place the four-year-old would be directed towards Sydney’s Chariots Of Fire, having earned qualification into the final with tonight’s victory.   Group 2 Mercury80 Final Always Fast has made history, becoming the first Mercury80 winner with Emma Stewart's aptly named pacer leading all the way to salute in the Group 2 $50,000 final. The $2 favourite lived up to its billing, not only producing an all-the-way win in reinswoman Kima Frenning's hands but setting the fastest time of the series, having stopped the clock at 81.4 seconds. "It's hard not to do it on him, because he's just so cruisy," Frenning said. "It feels like you are going in second gear and he goes even 27-second quarters. I didn't do much, Emma (Stewart) and the team do a really great job with him. I'm very grateful." Always Fast endured pressure from Call Me Hector in a 26.7-second first quarter but managed to hold the lead and was largely unthreatened from there, producing 27.7-second and 27.0-second quarters to secure the win. "He probably took a little bit too wind up out of the gate, but he held them and then after that he did everything pretty comfortably really." Off The Radar finished second for trainer-driver Richie Caruana and Fourbigmen third, while Frenning and the connections of Always Fast snapped up a further $20,000 bonus after their four-year-old won in the fastest time of the series. "I think it's a good concept with the four heats and the final and a bit of a bonus, it's great," Frenning said.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard HRV Trots Media Live Blog

He’s been a bit underrated but today at Ascot Park West Melton trained Dadndave had his day in the sun when he won the $30,000 Group Three Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup. This race was not initially on the horse’s radar, but Southern Harness CEO Jason Broad who was raceday Secretary for the recent Nelson circuit, mentioned it to trainer Tim Trathen. “Yeah, Jas mentioned it on the first day at Nelson. I thought it was a bit of a quick turn around and I actually thought the race was next week. A few said it was a bit of a tough call. He’s had a bit of racing but pulled up well (last start) and he’s just been thriving so we bit the bullet. He can have a wee freshener after this,” Trathen said. The Bettor’s Delight four year old brought a consistent form line into today’s feature and his trainer was confident of a good run. “He hasn’t had much luck. At Blenheim he was fairly much last on the turn a couple of times and he ran home in 55. I wasn’t worried about any of them really. I thought if he was handy he’d go well.” Driver Brent Barclay took Dadndave straight to the top which kept the field rolling and at the end of the 2700 metres only Franco Santino which was trailing, got close. The winning margin was three quarters of a length. The winning time was 3-22.9 with the last 800 metres run in 56 seconds. “It was a great drive. I said (to driver Brent Barclay) he usually steps good so let him roll. It worked out great.” This is the first time in twenty three years  the Cup has been run over 2700 metres, as since 1996 it’s been contested over 3200 metres. Dadndave is owned by Trathen, his father John and host at the Yaldhurst Hotel in Christchurch Dave McHugh. “It good for Dad because he’s been a bit sick and Dave’s got a few with us. I’m only allowed to drink at the Yaldy otherwise he’d probably take the horses off me.” Today’s win is Trathen’s biggest since he started training thirty years ago and his first group winner. “I have a few horses but I don’t race that many. I do a few for Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen). I just tick away and breed a few of my own.” Winning connections with trainer Tim Trathen fourth from right    – Photo Bruce Stewart. Trathen said he’s expecting two establishments to be going off tonight – the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill and the Yaldy in Christchurch. “I’m staying with Brownie (Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown) so I’ll have a few friends tonight. I’m flying home in the morning. My wife and friends are all at the Yaldy. Dave will be gutted he’s not here. He went to Nelson and Blenheim and said he’d better stay at home this time.”   Bruce Stewart

The well-bred Amore Lancome is enjoying life in the south. The Art Major mare out of the thirteen win Courage Under Fire mare Lancome has been at the Oreti Beach stable of trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis for four weeks. Amore Lancome won twice for her previous trainer Bob Butt. “Brian West sent her down just to race in the south and race into the winter. Then he wants to breed from her,” said Tank Ellis. This was her second start for the stable after running fifth at Wyndham two weeks ago. She was 6/6 in the betting. “She’s a lovely horse and we were quietly confident.” The winning margin was one and three quarter lengths with Divinia Bellezza running second. Under Wraps enhanced the great record of stallion Terror To Love when he easily won the Sheet Metalcraft Mobile Pace. Trained by Paul Court and driven by Blair Orange the winning margin was three and a quarter lengths from favourite Croesus. Jacks N Jazz made a lot of owners happy when he won the Forklifts New Zealand Mobile Pace, capping off a consistent run of form to win his fourth race. Jacks N Jazz winning at Ascot Park – Spot the winning trainer and owners in the background  – Photo Bruce Stewart Trained by Geoff and Jude Knight at Roxburgh he’s owned by the Have Fun Syndicate, the Goes All Day Syndicate and TW Croft. Bettor’s Delight filly Nikasa won her second race when she took out the Pure Pac NZ Cherries Mobile Pace. Driven by Brent Barclay the Darryn Simpson trained filly beat Revitalise by three quarters of a length. There were nervous moments when Tolkien won the All Things Harness Ownership Trot due to him galloping on or near the line but the Stewards dismissed the enquiry. It was the second win for the Kirk Larsen trained trotter from eighteen starts. The Merv and Meg Butterworth owned trotter Cuchulainn under a great drive by Brent Barclay, won the main trot of the afternoon. While other runners had to work for their spots the five year old Skyvalley gelding trained by Brett Gray did nothing in the run and came with a last run down the middle of the track to beat a game Sekkie Monkey. Third place getter Get Lucky will derive plenty of benefit from the run today. It’s his first run since the Harness Jewels in early June. Betterthanbrie made it a double for the Barclay/Ellis stable when she returned to winning form. Betterthanbrie after winning at Ascot park                             --Bruce Stewart photo The five year last won in July 2019.  Stablemate Chuckles ran second just a neck away from the winner.   Bruce Stewart

Young Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful feels lucky she was able to secure a lease in the well-bred Pay Me Speedy. Faithful shares in the ownership on the first start winner with her grandparents Norm and Bev Cox and her mother Louise Cox. “I was very lucky to get her off the Horse Trader website. Her full-brother Pay Me Mach was a good horse that Hamish (Hunter) had but he broke down. Hopefully she’s got a wee bit of what he had,” she said. Pay Me Mach started at the races seven times, winning twice and running three other placings. Faithful has had the daughter of Mach Three and Pay Me Painter since the horse was an unbroken yearling. “She’s been great to do anything with. She used to buck every now and then but that’s out of her system now.” In today’s PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace the three year old drew one and trailed pacemaker Weren’t Watching before coming up the passing lane to beat her  by a neck. “I wasn’t overly happy with the run. She’s better than that but it was her first start and she got pretty nervous. I think she got quite hot as well. Nathan was a bit disappointed…… but she did what she had to do.” Faithful’s phone has been ringing with offers, prior to today’s debut. “Mum’s not too worried about selling. Grandma loves her. If she’s not sold I’d like to think she’ll be good enough to run in the Southland Oaks. We’ll look at the Ladyship next though.” Faithful, who’s into her fourth season of training has five horses in work. She  said Tartan Trilogy won nicely at the Winton Workouts on Friday in 3-03 and is likely to race at the second day at Wyndham. “I’m loving the training. You put so much into (it).  It’s disappointing if they don’t go that well but if they win you get a great thrill. I’ve got five boxes – one taken up by the pony, and I have one in the paddock.”   Bruce Stewart

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Odds On St Lucie gave harness racing driver Vinny Ginsburg quite a workout Friday night. And that was just in the post parade. Before the featured $31,250 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares at the Meadowlands, the 4-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou-Shes Some Treasure was rank in the pre-race lineup and would not calm down until the outrider intervened. "Headstrong doesn't quite describe her," joked Ginsburg. Given how she raced, the amount of difficulty she brought was well worth it. Odds On St Lucie saw her two-race win streak end last week at the hands of odds-on favorite Major Occasion A, but got back on the winning track Friday by beating a top-flight field in 1:50.2. Wisdom Tree, the 4-5 favorite, made her way to the top while parked at the half in a demanding :54.4. Once Wisdom Tree cleared, Odds On St Lucie was left first-over, and while she did inch her way closer to the leader down the backstretch, she was still 2¼ lengths behind in third with just three-sixteenths to go. But she was up to the task at hand. "She's wicked fast and becoming versatile and improving every time she goes on the track," said Ginsburg. Odds On St Lucie Through the stretch, 'Lucie' kept on coming, and after having to swerve a bit to avoid contact with Sandy Win as that one vacated the pocket, went on to a neck victory. Sandy Win finished second with Wisdom Tree third. "She really dug in tonight off a tough trip against some nice mares," said Ginsburg. "I thought I'd be second-up but when Timmy (Tetrick, driving Wisdom Tree) went to the lead I just rode and she did the rest." Odds On St Lucie returned $8.00 to her backers as the 3-1 second choice in the betting. She races out of the Tony Alagna barn for owners Odds On Racing and has now won 10 of her 27 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $231,217. ALL HAIL THE CAPTAIN: Corey Callahan had the hot hand among the drivers, steering five to the winner's circle. 'The Captain' piloted the winners of four in a row beginning in the sixth race before taking the 13th and final to cap his five-bagger. ... Muscle Fashion and Pat Berry Pat Berry had three winners, including 5-1 and 16-1 shots, respectively, in the 10th and 11th races, to complete the Pick-4, which paid $285.40 despite Callahan winning the first two legs at 3-5 and 3-2. ... Ginsburg also handled three winners on the card, meaning Callahan, Berry and Ginsburg combined to win 11 of the 13 races on the program. A LITTLE MORE: One sharp player betting into the Kentucky hub was the only bettor to last eight legs in the 20-cent Survivor Pick-10 and collected a healthy payoff of $7,538.82. That makes seven straight SP10s that have paid $3,000 or more. ... All-source handle totaled $2,290,954. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Odds On St Lucie Muscle Fashion Tt`s D-jay By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 24, 2020 -- A season-debuting Robyn Camden (Jim Marohn Jr., $11) proved best Friday night (Jan. 24th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $35,000 Filly and Mare harness racing Preferred Handicap Pace. In play from post position No. 5, Robyn Camden was able to plotz into a early pocket after 11-10 favorite Feelin' Red Hot (George Brennan) made a nasty break. From there, Robyn Camden was stalking Cay's Blessing (Jason Bartlett) through the latter fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3. It was an antsy two-hole for 'Robyn,' who edged out early to take her shot. Robyn Camden did go by mid-lane, the final margin a half-length in 1:54.2. Rockin' the Boys A (Jordan Stratton) was a three-hole third, with Made of Jewels AS (Eric Goodell) fourth around the oval. Misbehavers She's Pukka N (Dan Dube) and the aforementioned Feelin' Red Hot were fifth and last among the half-dozen. For fourth choice Robyn Camden, a now-5-year-old daughter of Art Professor owned by James O'Sullivan and trained by Rene Allard, she's off a 14-win, $192,000 season in 2019. The exacta paid $50, with the triple returning $178. Robyn Camden The Raceway's mutuel windows open at 11 AM Saturday (Jan. 25th) for Gulfstream Park's Pegasus Day program, with first post of 11:30 AM. The $3 million Pegasus World Cup and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf go as races 11 and 12, respectively. Frank Drucker

Trotting fans should get ready for the era of Oscar, who makes his Australian debut at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight in the Group 1 V L Dullard Trotters Cup, the lead-up to next week’s $250,000 Great Southern Star. His full name is Oscar Bonavena, the New Zealand trotter many are predicting will soon be the best in Australasia, if he’s not already. The great horses, even those in waiting, often end up with one name, like Brazilian soccer players. We get to know them, love them, speak of them so often they become like old familiar friends. Blackie (Blacks A Fake), Quinny (I’m Themightyquinn), Trigger (Smoken Up) and even a one-word champion in Lazarus quickly became Laz. The difference is they all earned their nicknames the hard way. Oscar hasn’t yet. He is like the young gun footballer playing with the men, who just looks faster than them. Several times this season Oscar has jogged past very good horses, including Inter Dominion champion Winterfell at Cambridge last start. But he is yet to win a race worth more than $50,000 and in his greatest test to date he had to settle for third after sitting parked in the National Trot at Alexandra Park two starts ago. He was made to race tough outside the leader, blunting his weapon of sheer speed. And when young upstarts have to play tough with hardened old warriors they can be exposed. Champion trainer Mark Purdon says that defeat may help Oscar overcome his second line draw tonight. “He learned from that,” Purdon said. “He is very fast and sometimes wants to go flat out and he didn’t do himself any favours when he got beaten. “But it taught him to look after himself and the next start at Cambridge he was far more relaxed. “That could be really crucial over the next week because, as we saw at Ballarat last week, you can’t sit back in races over here, so I might have to move with him mid-race. So racing kinder will be important and I think he will.” Purdon thinks so highly of Oscar he will stake him for every major race in North America next year, so if the small but athletic trotter turns out as good as the boss thinks he is the Australasian era of Oscar may be cut short. Purdon is, as so often, at the centre of the New Zealand attack on Melton tonight and realises Self Assured will probably have to sit parked outside Lochinvar Art in the 4YO Bonanza tonight while Stylish Memphis faces a huge task in the Victoria Oaks. “But I actually don’t mind her (gate 13) draw,” he said. “She has so much speed I think she is better coming from behind them and as long as she gets a cart into the race she can still win.”   HRV Trots Media - Michael Guerin

Grosbois, France – As one of the top harness racing drivers in all of Europe, Bjorn Goop knows his horses and he says that his horse in Sunday’s 900,000€ Grand Prix d’Amerique, Face Time Bourbon, is in prime shape. The horse heads into the Prix d'Amerique on a five-race winning streak. “The horse is good,” Goop stated. “I think it is I that will need to have a little luck.” Goop was referring to and explaining that the Prix d’Amerique is so different from any other horse race because it is done from a standing start. There is no starting gate used for this world class field of horses. “It is not easy to be ready in a standing start,” Goop explained. “You have to stay in your general area and keep on moving, waiting for the word to start. You need to time it just right and yet you need some luck too. “You do not want to be last at the start,” Goop added, “And you do not want to be in the middle of the pack on the rail and then you are trapped for the race and cannot get out.” There are 18 horses going in the Prix d’Amerique, 18 older trotters, most of whom earned their way into the race by winning other Groupe races. More than half the field have each won over 1 million euros with Bold Eagle leading way. The two-time Prix d’Amerique winner has career earnings of 4,956,617€. A win, second or third place finish will put Bold Eagle over the 5-million-euro mark. Face Time Bourbon is a five-year-old stallion by Ready Cash, the same sire as Bold Eagle, who also won the Prix d’Amerique twice. The 2019 race season was superb for Face Time Bourbon as he started just 11 times with 9 wins and two second place finishes. Every one of his starts was in a Groupe I, II or III races. Face Time Bourbon is trained by Sebastien Giuarato, who has three starters in the Prix d’Amerique, Face Time Bourbon, Valko Jenilat and the mare, Billie de Montfort. Face Time Bourbon is owned by Scuderia Bivans SRL, who also has Vivid Wise AS in the Prix d’Amerique. Bjorn Goop has his choice of whom to drive in the Prix d’Amerique and he choose Face Time Bourbon. “He is such a great horse,” Goop said. “He can race well from behind or can go on the front. I think for this race maybe we sit in the middle and see what happens. He is coming into this race in very good shape.” Goop is no stranger to the Prix d’Amerique. He won the race in 2018 with Readly Express and then raced back with him again in 2019 and was third. This past year Goop scored his 7,000th career win and has over 2,000 wins as a trainer. Track Notes: Of the 18 starters in the Prix d’Amerique, 8 are mares. All 18 horses will be not be wearing shoes in the race, which is not uncommon in European trotting. It was also reported that the Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) have posted a better-than-forecast set of provisional results for 2019, with turnover of €9.56 billion and an operating profit returned to fund racing and trotting of €760 million. That is €13 million ahead of budget and will be welcome news to both the Trotters and Thoroughbreds, both of whom have been forced to tighten their belts in terms of running costs in recent years. Saturday’s race card at Vincennes will feature the Groupe II Prix de Luxembourg with a purse of 100,000€. Thursday first day of the Arqana-Trot Prix d’Amerique Sale saw 152 lots presented with 95 sold (62.5%) for gross proceeds of 1,263,000€. Stallion shares and broodmares highlighted the offering, many of the mares being in foal. Charmeause Mayjc (8f Prince Gede) led the sale at 120,000€ to AM Bloodstock. She was bred to Love You in 2019 and is barren, but her Ganymede first dam Teza Josselyn has produced the million euro plus winner Uza Josselyn that starts in Sunday’s Prix d’Amerique. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The Brisbane APG yearling sale marks the start of the harness racing sale circuit and it kicks off at 12 noon tomorrow. 2020 will see the debut Southern Hemisphere crops of both Always B Miki and Racing Hill be offered and both have some quality yearlings in the Brisbane sale. Every year this sale produces some quality horses - the Group 1 winners Expensive Ego (sired by Rock N Roll Heaven) and Muscle Factory (sired by Roll With Joe) are perfect examples. The QBred scheme has gone from strength to strength and coupled with the terrific money on offer through the APG race series there are some serious reasons to buy in Brisbane.   BRISBANE YEARLING SALE Albion Park, Sunday, 26 January 2020 Sale Commences 12 noon   ALABAR SIRED YEARLINGS Click through to view some of the Alabar sired yearlings on offer in Brisbane.